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One of the things I always tell speakers is to have a great website and great video footage because you’re more likely to get hired to speak.

Event planners want to see that you’re a pro…but what if you don’t have anything? What if you’re just starting out and you don’t have video footage, no pictures, you’ve never been on TV, you haven’t been a speaker for big name companies…what do you do?

Well that’s the part that sucks because in order to get hired as a speaker, you need a great website and great video footage…but how can you get that great website and video footage if nobody’s willing to hire you in the first place?

I mean, it’s like nobody’s willing to give you that chance so it’s practically impossible for you to get hired in the first place.

It’s what I call the Speaker Dilemma. It’s when you’re just starting and you don’t have any social proof but the only way you’re going to get hired is if you have the social proof.

I remember when I started, I was doing mind reading shows and I couldn’t charge a lot of money because I didn’t have footage of me on stage for big companies but the only way the big companies would hire me is if I had footage.

It’s a sucky place to be in.

It’s like trying to get a loan from the bank when you’re broke. When you don’t have any money, that’s when you need money the most but banks won’t give it to you. And then when you’re rich and you don’t need money, that’s when banks are practically begging you to take their money. That’s how the world works.

So it sucks but in this video I’m going to show you how to get around it…and you have to be creative.

The first thing you need to do is you need to realize that you’re not going to get out of this Speaker Dilemma in a week. It’s not going to happen fast. In fact, you have to get used to delayed gratification if you want to build a real speaking business.

I can’t stress this enough.

There are so many speakers who think they can build their business in 3 easy steps or just by following a formula. That’s just not how it works.

There are technically only two things you need to become the best basketball player in the world…you have to know defense and offense. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to be the best basketball player in a week or a month from now. It’s going to take a long time…but if you’re serious about it then it doesn’t matter.

So the first way you’re going to get out of this dilemma is to prepare your mind with delayed gratification. Once you get this, now it’s time to get creative.

Now I thought, “If I had to start from scratch, with no footage, no publicity videos, no big named clients like AAA, then what would I do to build my speaking business?”

First, I would get video footage up. But what’s the easiest video footage to get? Think about it? What video footage could you get today? Right now? And tomorrow? What video footage could ANYONE get instantly?

A testimonial!

You could easily go up to someone who knows you and have them talk into a camera and say how amazing you are. If you have a job then you can ask all your coworkers. Or you could go to a networking group and get it from strangers.

But in some way or another, you could easily get video testimonials of people talking about your character…just who you are as a person. And I would get as many as I possibly could.

The first thing you have to understand is that at the beginning, you’re not going to have clients like Remax or other known clients. So at the beginning, you have to accept everyone. Later on, you can pick and choose your clients but at the beginning, if a client says “jump” then you say “how high?”

It sounds harsh but I’m just telling you like it is…

I’m telling you the things you might not want to hear but the things you have to hear. And speaking of that, when you’re learning anything, one of the biggest obstacles that’s going to get in your way is saying, “I already know that.” And the reason is because knowing something means nothing when it comes to doing it.

You might have read a ton of books on martial arts, that doesn’t mean you could beat Bruce Lee in a fight.

It’s important that you’re very realistic with where things are in your life and in your speaking business. If you don’t have any clients and you’re just starting then you have to be willing to accept almost any client. They say ‘Jump’ and you say ‘How High?’

Later on, you can start doing things that books have told you to do like choosing your ideal client and stuff like that, but in the beginning, if you don’t have clients then you better get clients quick.

So getting the testimonials would be easy because you could just go to networking events and talk to people you know, then get speaker testimonials from them. And from there you can get like 50 and flood your website with them.

On top of that, I would think of a cool way I could demonstrate my topic in a one on one situation.

So let’s say I’m an expert on body language. Now it would be cool to have stage footage talking in front of thousands of people but when you’re just starting out, you don’t have that luxury. But what if you could demonstrate it in a one on one setting?

So if you go to a Chamber of Commerce networking event, instead of saying “I’m a speaker body language” I would do a demonstration. I would say, “I’m a speaker on body language, you know what, let me show you rather than tell you. Hold this coin in one of your hands and I’ll guess which hand it’s in 3 times in a row. If I get it wrong one time then I’ll give you $100.”

Do you see the difference?

You want to figure out a way you can demonstrate something…and when you do, you can now grab a testimonial video but you could also bring a friend along to record you when you do it. So now you have video testimonials but you also have proof that what you do actually works.

The biggest problem professional speakers have is proof.

They can’t prove that what they talk about actually works. If you’re a motivational speaker then you can make people feel good but where’s the proof? What if instead of talking about something, you demonstrated it? Well now, nobody can deny it.

It’s like if a fitness trainer says, “Hey, you need to do these workouts and eat these kinds of foods and you’re going to be the sexiest person alive…six pack abs and everything.” But then you look at the trainer and they’re 400 pounds…

Well everything that trainer just said to you is useless. You won’t believe them because they don’t have proof that it works.

But what if a trainer said, “You have to eat this, do this.” And then you looked at them and they have six pack abs, they’re cut up, and they look someone just photoshopped them in person…well now the game has changed.

And the same goes for you as a speaker.

Nowadays, everyone’s calling themselves an expert so you need proof. And that’s what a demonstration does for you.

So think of a way you can take something you talk about in your presentation and make a one on one demonstration out of it.

So that’s how I would get video testimonials and some footage, but I would also do some creative things to get actual stage footage.

First, I would join some meetup groups and ask the person in charge if I could do a quick 15-20 minute presentation. If they said yes then I would do it and record it and BAM!…there’s some footage. If they said no then I would never go back to the meetup group because there’s no reason to.

Now that sounds harsh but I’m just telling you what others won’t. Your time is precious and if you’re building your speaking business then you need to figure out what the top 2 or 3 activities are and only do those.

So meetup groups would be one way to get stage footage.

Another way would be to join Toastmasters.

Now I don’t believe in joining networking groups with other speakers because your market is event planners…it’s the people who hire you, not speakers. But if you don’t have video footage then toastmasters allows you to do a presentation in front of a group of people and you’re going to take advantage of that by recording it so you have footage to put on your website.

On top of that, you could get more video testimonials.

One mindset you always want to be in is to always get video testimonials because it’s a very effective persuasion tool.

Another way I would get footage is to contact the local colleges and ask to do a guest lecture. So if my topic was leadership then I would find a business professor and ask to do a guest lecture…then record it.

And if you have kids in high school then you could even ask the principle or the teachers if you could do a guest lecture at the high school. Maybe in the classroom but it would be best if they could call an assembly with tons of students.

Another method is the sponsorship method.

You could find an event and pay to be a sponsor for that event and tell them that they have to give you 15 minutes on stage. You could do this at a seminar event or at a tradeshow. If you do it at a tradeshow then you could set up your own booth, set up a camera, grab a crowd, and just start speaking.

In the beginning it’s all about the hustle.

There are so many creative ways to get footage…it just all comes down to how bad do you want it?

You’re going to be doing free speaking engagements in the beginning so you have to get creative with the different ways you can get on stage.

And on top of that, you have to keep contacting people no matter what. You’re gonna be contacting a million people and they’re all going to say no because you don’t have footage but all you need is just one yes. All you need is a little momentum…

And then when you get that one yes, you’re still going to be in a sucky situation but at least it won’t be AS bad. It’s still going to take time to get footage and pictures but at least you have one stage clip and several testimonials.

If you’re interested in getting speaking gigs then it really boils down to how bad you want it. 

I know a speaker who had no footage, no nothing, so he contacted a speaker who was doing a seminar and said that he will actually pay to speak on the stage for 30 minutes because he needed footage.

Now I don’t recommend you getting into the habit of paying to speak on anyone’s stage…especially if someone asks you. In fact, if someone says you have to pay to speak on their stage then it’s probably a scam…but the point is how bad do you want it?

If you wanted it really bad then you would contact the TEDx people in every city to see if you could speak at their event

If you lived in a another state and someone said yes then you would pay for your flight and hotel just to speak for free at one of their events…just so you could get your video footage.

So when a speaker asks me, ‘how do I get video footage and pictures when I’m just starting out and have none?’ Well the reason answer is… “how bad do you want it?”

The true test of how bad you want it isn’t in how much you say you want it and all the talk. The true test is in what you’re doing. If you couldn’t say a single word about what you want and people had to guess how bad you want it, then would they be able to guess just based on your actions?

If someone is saying they want it bad vs someone who is actually out there doing what it takes, who’s more serious. It’s time to stop messing around and start getting serious about building your speaking business.