Ep. 40 – Starting A Speaking Business During COVID (And Succeeding)

Cece Payne

Cece Payne

Content & Graphic Design Manager - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Cece Payne

Cece Payne

Content & Graphic Design Manager - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Ep 40 - Starting A Speaking Business During COVID And Succeeding with SpeakerFlow and Jon Colby
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For today’s episode, we thought we’d mix the show up a bit and introduce a speaker that’s been around for nearly the exact same time that SpeakerFlow has.

While it’s been a short two years, as we all know, starting a business and succeeding during COVID is a tremendous achievement, and Jon has done just that.

With more than 20 years of experience as an educator, theatre performer, and improvisational comedy, Jon decided to bring his message to the world in 2020 and has been on a wild ride of new opportunities – and new business challenges – since.

Find out what Jon’s journey has been like over the last two years and how he’s managed to continue to grow during the pandemic in this episode of Technically Speaking.

Enjoy! 🚀

Listen to the Podcast 🎤

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Show Notes 📓

✅   Join Jon’s mastermind by shooting him an email: [email protected]

🎤   Thank you to our sponsor, Auxbus! Want the best podcasting solution out there? Get your free offer here: https://auxbus.com/speakerflow

🚀   And as always, don’t forget about all the mind-blowing free resources at https://speakerflow.com/resources/

Read the Transcription 🤓

Taylorr: Welcome to another episode of Technically Speaking, we’re your hosts, Taylor and Austin and today we’re talking about how one speaker was able to successfully start and grow their speaking business during COVID. Yes. You heard that right. We wanted to mix it up a little bit and bring in somebody to talk about what it’s been like to grow their business over the last couple of years. Now, Jon Colby has been around nearly as long as Speaker Flow as actually we have a birthday right around the same time, two years. And while it’s been a short two years, as we all know, starting a business in succeeding during COVID is a tremendous achievement and Jon has done just that. Now John has been empowering people with improv for over 20 years from presenting to performing, his engaging interactive approach has successfully helped audiences across the globe to be better communicators leaders, teammates, salespeople, doctors, and even friends and family.

He’s a graduate from the world, famous second city conservatory comedy program and an educator with 15 years of classroom experience. And he’s able to keep an audience laughing while sharing practical knowledge that they can put to use right away. And what’s awesome about Jon is you don’t really just listen to him, speak you play. So, he has a really interesting twist on speaking and being on stage and engaging the audience members and after being a high school teacher and studying theater and improv, John decided to bring his message to the world and he’s been on a rocket ship ever since. So, let’s find out what John’s journey has been like for over the last two years and how he’s managed to continue growing during the pandemic. We hope you enjoy this one. And we are live, Jon, my man, welcome to the show. It is awesome to have you here today. 

Jon: Thank you. Thank you. As you know, I’m the biggest fan of you guys and what you’re doing so it’s cool to have some time to chat with you.

Taylorr: For sure, man…

Austin: It’s our honor.

Taylorr: We’ve known each other now since both of our day one’s nearly, it must be right? How long have you been in the speaking space now would you say? 

Jon: I’ve done it part-time my side hustle for like 17 years, full time was June of 2019. 

Taylorr: Yeah. That’s right around when Speaker Flow got started. I think it was May, 2019. Yeah, wow. We’re already getting our second birthday coming up, which is exciting. Wow. Well, congratulations, Jon happy anniversary. I feel like we’re going to have to celebrate that every year so…

Jon: Yeah, we should, I don’t know what the second an… I know first paper, one of them is paper, so mail you some paper and then we got that on covered. 

Taylorr: All right. Good. That sounds good. So, John, I just want to unpack your background and obviously you part-time speaking for 17 years, you segue waiting to doing it full time. How did you end up in the speaking space? What was your journey like up until that point and how did you get? 

Jon: So, I was a high school teacher. I taught theater and video production on high school level for years but I also did improv comedy and early in my improv career, a guy was teaching an improv workshop to a company, but he was busy and he reached out and he’s like, hey, can you cover for me? I was like, I don’t work with important people before. And he’s like, you teach, you do improv, you can do this. So, I jumped into that and that was 2003 or four and then I just kind of started doing it and it got to the point where I was being asked to do it on my own. And at first it was just for like a church group or some like volunteer thing or whatever. So, I wasn’t even charging for it and then finally I’m like, you know what, I’m going to charge $250.

Taylorr: Big bucks [cross-talk 03:47].

Jon: Somebody had taco bell [inaudible 03:51] just real chill and it got to the point where I was charging like a couple grand for like an hour-long keynote. And finally got real when I got flown out. I landed in Park City, Utah, and there was a guy with my name on a thing and picked me up in a black car and, and I’m riding there and I speak for Century 21 and the CEO of the company, afterwards, he’s like, are you staying for dinner tonight? I’m like, no, I got to get back to work. And he went, what do you mean work? I’m like, well, I’m a high school teacher. I teach tomorrow. And he’s like, so you flew to Ut… I’m like, yeah, I taught yesterday and then I caught a plane and I’m going right back tomorrow. And he just stopped for a second and he goes, you need to quit and do this full time. And I was like, really? And he was like, yeah.

So, it was in my mind, then I got in the black car to go back to the airport and I was with the woman who hired me, I told her what the guy had said. She was like, oh totally. She’s like to be completely transparent, you way undercharge. And I’m like, really? What should I have charged? She goes, oh, we would’ve paid you three times. What you charged us? I’m like, can we still do that? And she was like, no, oh no.

Taylorr: You can’t go back on that.

Austin: Hey, you miss hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.

Jon: But I went home and I talked to my wife about it and my wife was like, you know what? Let’s go for it. I’m like, we have some money in savings. She’s a teacher too and she goes, you can get on my health insurance for a year or two and if it doesn’t work, you can always find a teaching job again. Let’s go for it. And so, I had already started that next year. That was the 2018, 2019 year, but I told my principal at the beginning of the year, I’m like, hey, this is my last year. He goes, well, if you change your mind, we’d love to keep you. I’m like, don’t say that, literally I want you to start hiring my replacement now so I don’t have that escape route, whatever. And so, they hired somebody and then everything and I’m like, all right, I believe in God and I believe in destiny, here we go. And then COVID hit like eight months later. 

Taylorr: Oh man. Wow. So, you had about eight months ramp before the pandemic hit then? Wow. So, what was that like? What was those eight months like, and then having the pandemic come up?

Jon: Dude it was gravy. I started raising my rates and I started trying some different things and leading up January of 2019 was a great month for me financially and I’m like, oh man, I’m going to be able to do this. This is what I thought it would be. And in February wasn’t quite as good as January, but you know how it is in any kind of business like this there’s ebbs and flows, but I’m like, March I’ve got a lot of maybes and then looking forward into April, I’ve got one thing and June, I’ve got one thing and I’m like it’s going to take off. And then what was it? March 11th or whatever it was of last year, they’d all just hit the fan. 

Austin: Wow. That is a wild journey to go on. They say that being a business owner is like being on a rollercoaster, high highs and low lows. And it sounded like you experienced both of those peaks and troughs in your first year.

Jon: And to add to it, it was doing well enough and we had a kid in 2018. And so, we had a young child and we were doing part-time daycare, and then I was taking care of the kid two or three days a week. This is Georgia. I don’t just want to call her the kid, my daughter, Georgia. But if I happen to be traveling on that day, we’d get my mom or my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law somebody would watch her. And then my wife was like, you know what we’re doing well enough. And I told her, yeah, quit. Quit your job.

And so literally she turned in her letter of resignation in late January or early February of 2019. So, we knew that not only in a pandemic, I didn’t have a regular job, but my wife’s job was going to end in May. We burned all our bridges, like, let’s do it.

Austin: Wow. 

Jon: Yeah. The ebbs and flows of just the month of March was insane. 

Austin: That’s wild. Who was it? Cortez that burned the boats?

Jon: Yeah. 

Austin: So that was very much a Cortez moment for you it seems like.

Jon: I’ll tell you, man, I’ve talked to some people since then and a good friend of mine who actually is a producer. He had backgrounds in theater, but now he literally produces movies and you can watch some of them on Netflix and stuff. He said, man, you are in the deep end of the pool, but you’re holding onto the edge. When you still have a job, you’re holding onto the edge and you don’t know how well you can really swim until you let go. The stress of actually having to provide and being your full-time job. He’s like, let go see what happens. If you start to struggle, you can grab a hold and find another job. I’m like, all right. So, I tell people all the time, have a plan, have a strategy, but if you’re feeling it, the only way you’re really going to know burn the boats. 

Austin: Well, there’s like an element of like procrastination I think that a lot of people have around taking big actions. We’ll relay back to high school since you’re a high school teacher. Got a high school assignment that’s due two weeks from now, we all know we’re not doing that assignment until 10 o’clock the night before. And then we’re going to get it done in an hour and it could have been done at any other point prior, but there’s something about necessity that I think strengthens our ability to actually get things done and do it effectively and fast, generally speaking. And so, if you’re in a position where it’s like, I don’t have options, this is what I’m doing, you just have to do it. You you’ve got to make it work and you did. And I think that’s a testament to what it means to take big actions and just go all in. It generally works out if you’re going work hard and back it up.

Jon: Yeah. And don’t you find that a lot of times when… I’m a procrastinator too, but lot of times you like procrastinate, procrastinate, procrastinate, and then you do it and you’re like, oh, that didn’t take as long or it wasn’t as hard as I thought. It’s just starting, it’s just getting something started is the hardest part. 

Austin: Yeah. There’s the whole idea of the resistance to start and even just taking the smallest action. I’m sure. I’m sure I’ve told this story here. We’ve done a lot episodes at this point. So, I forget, but one of my favorite people in the world is a guy here in Utah with me, Brad Barton. Love this guy. Brad, if you’re listening to this, I love you. Anyways. He told me the story about a friend of his who wanted to train for a marathon and he just kept procrastinating pushing it off. And eventually he made a contract with himself where every day he’d get his running outfit ready to go and he’d put it on his clothes in the morning and put on his shoes and go stand on the asphalt in the street. And if he got to that point and he decided not to go on his run, no problem. He can go back inside, go watch TV, do whatever he wanted to do. 

But it never happened. He always got out, he always went running because you’ve already taken a couple of little actions that have given you some momentum and so it’s easier to keep going. So, it reminded me of that, but…

Jon: Really.

Austin: I got to ask this, and we’re, we’re tangenting a little bit, but it’s been ringing in my head since he brought this up. There’s this idea in copywriting that if you’re going to copyright, your website, for example, you want to write at an elementary school level for the most part, because you need people to understand. So, has your background as a high school teacher, do you feel like, does that help you communicate to adults in a business setting because you’re able to take these complex ideas and package it more simply like you may have done for your high school students in that period of your life?

Jon: It’s funny that you bring that up because high school is not dumb enough. Because I speak to CEO round tables, but I just said… literally was just where was I? I don’t even know anymore. Where was I? I was in Orlando on Monday and I told this group of CEOs, I am not telling you anything that my wife has learned that you also use when reacting to toddler tantrums. Because we have a two-and-a-half-year-old now and she just throws tantrums like kids do. But my wife is totally into child psychology so she sends me these articles about how to react to people and how to interact with people. And I said, it’s literally the same things that I say to the CEOs of multi-million-dollar companies. Everybody just wants to be heard, they want to feel valued, they want to feel acknowledged and at the base of everything if I feel like you care about me, I’m going to connect and we’re going to get stuff done and if I don’t feel like you care about me, I’m going to go pee on the floor. Okay. Maybe that part is a toddler…

Taylorr: Like damn, what type of tantrums are you having over there Jon? 

Jon: Right? But I’m telling you like…

Taylorr: Glad we became your friend.

Jon: It’s not rocket science. I say all the time, all the stuff that I do in the improv world and using that to teach communication or leadership skills, it’s the same as me telling you to think about your tongue. Like right now, you’re both thinking about your tongue because I said… anybody listening, like you’re probably moving your tongue around or you’re like aware of it. Well, now you’re aware of what it’s doing and now that’s how you can fix things. So, I always say, I’m not going to say anything genius. I’m not the smartest person in the room, but I can make you aware of some things that might’ve been your blind spots and then we can work on them. And it’s the same thing I said to high school kids all the time. I’m not saying brilliant things right now, I’m just telling you how to do simple changes to make big improvements to every area of your life. 

Austin: Man. I feel that in my bones. Listeners, take that with you please. That was a golden nugget right there.

Taylorr: For sure. So, I’m curious, Jon, with your background in improv, one of the things we’ve learned, which is interacting with has to be thousands of speakers, coaches, consultants, at this point is that, sometimes there’s this weird kind of blend of entertainment that can happen because we’re highly creative. Some people like comedy, some people gravitate towards being a musician, other people do art, right? We always have these creative outlets luckily when we can be on stage in some capacity and in some ways that entertainment label could potentially hinder somebody. Did you ever really leverage improv in your speaking career? Did that ever hinder you by labeling yourself as having a comedic flare? Did entertainment ever hinder you in that way? Just fill me in on that because having your background and having gone through this experience I guess, more condensely over the last two years or so, I’m kind of curious how that evolved. 

Jon: Yeah. It’s funny, I was just talking to a speaker who does something similar to what I do in a different area so we’re not really competing, I just told her yesterday, that sounds awesome but take out the word improv. And she goes, but that’s what it is. And I said, but that automatically, you’re going to turn people off. I’m confident enough because I have enough referral business now that I lean into improv because it really is what it is and improv changed my life and I’ve seen it changed the lives of so many people so I tout that, but I’ll tell you say, Taylor, you see me speak in an event and you’re like, oh, he would be perfect for our thing. And so, you go to Austin you’re and maybe Austin is the one making decisions or maybe you’re making them together. You’re like, he’s great, we did these improv games, Austin automatically goes, ah, hold on, improv? So, what I always have to do is have the meeting with the VP of whatever or the CEO or whoever and convince them, even though you’ve seen it and you two are always in step and you know, you agree and you trust each other, but when you hear the word improv, all of a sudden like, ah, I don’t know.

So, I always have to win over that other person. And so, what I typically do is I’ll play a game. I’m like, hey, let’s just play a game right here on the virtual call or on the phone call or in person, let’s play a game, show you what it is. And they’re like, oh, okay. So, I’m not like trying to be funny and I’m not performing. I’m like, no, you’re literally just having a conversation, but with an improv rule and then it makes you think differently and then afterwards we break it down and they’re like, oh, okay, so it’s not so scary. But I’ll tell you, the woman who helped me design my website, she said, I don’t know if you want to use the word improv. And so, when you first go there, it’s just like be prepared for think on your feet, success or whatever and now I’ve added back in keynotes with an improv twist, but for a while, the word improv, I just didn’t use it.

Now, like I said, I lean into it, but man, some people… I know another guy that does piano, he like literally has a piano on stage with them. And right away, people are like, that’s weird. They see a keynote as like a guy in a suit or a woman in a suit goes up and talks about a thing, and everybody I don’t care if it’s 20 people or it’s a thousand people, they’re all going to interact. But it’s a keynote? And I’m like, right but research says, if you just listen, passive listeners only remember 10%. So why don’t you get somebody who’s going to make everybody more involved?  And I always say, number one, they’re going to remember more of the content, but number two, they’re going to have a more enjoyable experience and so when they’re filling out those post event surveys, they’re going to be full of all these dopamine and serotonin in their brain, you’re going to get better scores. And that’s what wins over event planners and stuff like that. They just want the event to make people happy because then they give a good feedback. 

Taylorr: You can tell you run into that objection a time or two in sales calls. I love the way you just navigated that. And for anybody out there listening to this who was running into a similar situation, just rewind the episode and listen to everything  Jon just said about overcoming that objection, because you’re just reframing that in the context of providing as much value as possible so thanks for shaping that up for me, Jon, and I’m not surprised to hear about the whole improv thing, but I’m glad you’re leveraging it and you’ve been able to make that actually work for you because it doesn’t always end up that way. 

Jon: Yeah. I’m glad I hit it right. You asked the question. I just closed my eyes and blackout and words come out.

Taylorr: That’s how it goes sometimes. That’s 90% of these episodes. Am I right listeners? 

Austin: You’re doing great, Jon. So, I’m curious, is there a line in the sand that you’ve been able to draw for yourself in terms of the content, the value that you’re providing and then balancing that with this more entertainment focused side of things, the audience engagement component? How do you communicate that, let’s say when a decision maker is asking you where that balance is?

Jon: What’s funny is now that people know what I do and I tell people this all the time. I am not a salesperson, I am not a marketing person, I just speak a lot and I even now, I booked large number of gigs, but I’ll still do something for almost free especially if it’s virtual, just because people will see me and pass my name on hopefully or whatever. So that’s my marketing tool. But I’m to the point now where people will reach out and say, hey, I heard about you. We want to get everybody together; we want to do something fun. We’re still virtual or our teams all over the world and so we want to do something, we just want it to be fun. And I always follow up with what are some of the takeaways in communication or flexibility? And I I’ve heard it so many times like, no, no, we don’t want to learn anything, we just want to have fun. And I am blown away by that because literally they just want something fun, but they don’t just want to have a performance because then they’re all just sitting and watching and they love the idea that’s interactive. My line in the sand is if you want me to entertain, I will get a group of my friends and I have, and we’ll do a virtual show where you all can watch and you’ll give some suggestions and maybe one of you will play a game with us.

But if you want what you’re asking about, what you’ve seen other people do, like I can’t do it without teaching anything. I said, it would be a disservice to take the time to play these games and everybody laughs and then you miss out on the opportunity. I said, if the people play these games, they’re going to have fun in the moment but if I show them the value of it and how they can use it in their day-to-day, they’re going… and I mean, you talk about engagement and I don’t want to turn this into a speech, but right now they say worldwide, only 15% of people feeling engaged at work. And so, when you’re not engaged your 52% more likely to quit your job, you’re 27% more likely to call in sick, your 62% more likely to get injured on the job, depending on the job, I guess. Your 31% less productive all these things happen and I just throw out those stats.

Why wouldn’t you also want that? I’ve gone so far and I was scared after I said it. I just, again, I don’t think I just talk. And I said, how about this? We’ll, let’s do the event and I’ll do it the way I think you you’ll enjoy it. And if you don’t like it, I’ll give you the money back. And the guy was like, okay. At that point, there’s nothing else you can say. [Cross-talk 20:31] No, I’m like, if you want fun, I’m going to give you fun. But trust me, you’re going to get more out of it. And afterwards, the second the event’s over. I emailed him say, thanks a lot. I’d love to hop on a call and let’s find a time to do it. And he, he wrote back immediately and he’s like, can we do another one? And I’m like, yup. Once they see the value in it, then they’re hungry for more. That’s the goal.

Austin: I love your confidence, man. That is such a power. 

Jon: The first time I said it to a client was in maybe May of last year. And so, I was making sure I was providing, but I’m like, crap, that’s five grand. But if he, if he wants his money back, I have to give him back five grand, but I’ve never had a client say, we hated it. I don’t like having fun and learning.

Austin: Yeah. I think people like, even if that’s their reaction, which actually truly surprised me when you said that, by the way that somebody was just asking for pure fun. And I get it, right. If we’re in a virtual environment and things are sort of humdrum, it’s nice to mix things up and have fun. But I think the act of learning, especially for an adult who may not have a lot of opportunities in their day-to-day life to intentionally go out and learn something new, I think that that’s an enjoyable process if it’s packaged into something that’s practical. Maybe not everybody wants to go watch a documentary about something that has no applicable use for them, but with improv and you may have to unpack a little bit more about what that actually means in terms of an outcome for somebody, but that’s something that everybody can use in their daily life. It’s a way to reframe your thought process, it’s a way to better connect with other people and feel more confident in having conversations. And so, I think like being able to package something that is inherently valuable into something, that’s fun gives people the best of both worlds, where they feel juiced up and energized, but they’re also walking away with something that they can use, which lingers.

Jon: I tell people when almost every time I speak, I walk on stage and the first thing I say is, hey, who has a dysfunctional family? And everybody raises their hand.

Taylorr: Everyone raises their hands.

Jon: And then I’m like, what about dysfunctional workplace? And they all raised then, I’m like, wow, you’re willing to admit that in front of your boss. That’s crazy. But then I point out, I said, over the next fill in the amount of time I have the speak, we are going to play improv games, low pressure, nobody’s going to be put on the spot, don’t worry. But I’m not only going to make you better at your job, I’m going to make you a better husband or wife. I’m going to make you a better parent, I’m going to make you a better friend, if you’re single, I’m going make you better on dates, if you’re interviewing, you’re not employed right now, I’m going to show you how these things will help you in interviews. No matter where you are in life, you’re going to be better in an hour.

It’s not me. I’ve had some people like don’t people think you’re cocky and I’m like, no, because it’s not me. I’m five 5’8, I’m a hairy man, I have a list. I am a professional speaker and I have a list. I have a speech impediment and it’s my full-time career. So, if a short, hairy man with a list can make a career being up in front of people, like whatever you want to do, it’s possible and for me, it was improv. I started doing improv in college and I just watched how much different my life was. So, I’m like, everybody’s like, but troll can do it, so can I.

Taylorr: Jeez. Oh man, Jon hard on yourself.

Austin: [Inaudible 23:53].

Jon: I don’t [cross-talk 23:55] I’m successful…

Taylorr: Yeah, for sure. You don’t need to. [Cross-talk 23:58] proof is in the pudding. Right? 

Jon: Right. Exactly. If I was attractive too it just wouldn’t be fair. 

Taylorr: Just wouldn’t be fair, yeah, I know. Something’s got to go wrong.

Austin: So, I’m really curious. You’re focused on engagement, not even just from the context of as a mechanism to improve your stagecraft, but also as an outcome or a deliverable for the clients that you work with, which I think is great. 

Jon: Yeah. 

Austin: What’s been like the, I don’t know the journey, like moving from primarily live engagement where you’re with an audience in person going to virtual? Has there been major differences that you’ve seen? 

Jon: Yes. And I will start from the beginning. So, March 16th was a Monday. I literally just came and sat down at my desk. I was out of town for a wedding, the weirdest wedding ever, because everybody’s like, we don’t know if we’re supposed to be here, so I got to see people and be around people but then I knew the world kind of shut down and I just started getting email after email saying, hey, like we’re postponing, hopefully we’ll do this in a couple of months when we thought this would be over in two months, like we’re going to cancel. People are like, hey, what happens with our deposit? If we don’t do the event and I’m just answering all these questions, but I’m like, I don’t know what even to even look like, because improv, I’ve done it on stage for years and I’ve taught it for years, but I’m like, I just don’t know what it would look like. So, another speaker reached out and he’s like, what if we did a thing together? And we called it the Art and Science of Engagement, and I would do the science because he does like a cultural index thing. He’d have him do this thing to learn the science behind it and then you would do art. And so, you could play some improv games with them.

And I’m like let me figure out how that would work. And then one of my clients said, hey, can we do this same event that we’re going to do in April virtually? I’m like, hold on. So, I had people throwing out the idea to me. So, I’m like, I just have to figure out how to do it. Because again, my wife’s not going to have a job in two and a half months, so let’s figure it out. So, I put something on Facebook saying, hey, I’m going to do a free improv class online if anybody wants to take it. And I had a few people sign up. So, I got on LinkedIn and did it there too. I ended up getting like 25, 30 people together on zoom and this is again, burn the boats. This was Monday. I’m like, this is going to be on Wednesday night. So, I have basically 36 hours to figure out what it’s going to look like. 

And the next day I got on and took a zoom class to learn, because I’ve done zoom like one-on-one or small group meetings, but never had I run a workshop on it. But I learned how to do this. I’m like, oh, I can use breakout rooms so they could play these games in breakout rooms. And I’m like, oh wait, there’s a chat feature so the introverts who don’t understand something, if we’re live, they probably end up playing the game wrong because they don’t want to ask a question, but now they can ask it in a private chat to me and so they don’t have to ask out loud in front of people. Wait, now I can reshuffle the breakout rooms and I don’t even have to say, how am I to find a partner where it’s just this awkward, hey, you want to be my partner. It just automatically happens. 

So, within two days I thought I had it figured out, then I played a game, an hour worth of games with people, then they gave me some feedback. Then I did another one with a group of former high school students, theater kids. And I said, hey, you’ve seen me do this. How does this compare? And this was like another week later and they’re like, this is amazing. Because remember at this point, nobody had been around anybody for a week. And so like, this was fun, it was something different. So, I’m like, I might be onto something. And so, I did the one with the other guy and then I did one for the client in early April.

And so, by April, I’m like, this could work, not only could this work. There are some advantages to it that I don’t have when I’m speaking live as far as how quickly some of the transitions can happen. And then to go a step further after I’d spoken a couple of times for a couple of groups that I’d already had something plan, I’m like, screw it. I’m just going to offer free ones. So, I reached out to every past client I’d ever had. I sent something out to some potential clients and I did, I have it on a whiteboard over there. I did like 50 something, half hour improv things for free and just like, here’s what it looks like. And that’s it. And that’s all I did. And from that, the world just started going and people started going, hey, this guy can do an actual engaging event on virtual.

And somehow somebody in the UK got ahold of me. And I got interviewed on some UK web show and basically, they’re like Jon Colby, he is the virtual engagement expert. And I’m like, oh, that sounds cool. And so, I got a new title that I didn’t even name myself and from there I started even running events for the NSA, other speakers were asking me if I would do something and I hopped on one-on-one with like three people, and I’m like, why don’t I just do one? So, I posted something on a Facebook group, like anybody want to do this? And I had 86 people sign up other speakers, just wanting to see how you did it. And so that was my journey. 

Taylorr: Wow. 

Austin: Wow.

Taylorr: Wow, man, what an adaptation. What I love about you, Jon, is that you just go after things and who knows if we don’t know them yet or not, but you’re going to solve that problem. You’re going to figure it out. You just go into it all the way. And [cross-talk 29:13] and you do all this other stuff. For sure. Well, thank you for contributing to such a value packed episode. It’s always so fun, we get to unpack the journey and what people have been through. Everyone listening, I hope you found this episode, valuable. Jon, as you know we’re all about creating value for our audience. So, what are some of the things you’re working on right now that our listeners can benefit from? 

Jon: So, in, I don’t even know what month it… in March of this year. I started a, I guess speaker mastermind group. And I felt weird calling it a mastermind because I always thought mastermind was supposed to be like all these like brilliant, like masterminds. And that’s not what it means. It means a bunch of people who are doing something help each other. So, I started it and we meet on Fridays at 2:00 PM Eastern and literally it’s on zoom. I send out a zoom invite to whoever wants to go and we get on there and the rule is you can come and go as you, please, you can be as transparent as you want, but don’t force other people to be. And we just come in and we’re real open. Like, hey, I didn’t get this gig. Somebody tell me what went wrong or, hey, I booked this, but they’re asking how to do this, how do we do that? Actually, I did one, a few weeks ago, it ended up being on a Tuesday instead of a Friday long story. It was because somebody is like, hey, you keep talking about Speaker Flow, can you explain it?

I was like, yeah, why don’t we set something up? And we had almost 20 people, it’s the most popular one we had cause people knew what it was about. And so, they jumped on a couple of them, had Speaker Flow, a couple of them knew Zoho and so they actually helped answer more questions than even I could. And we kind of gave people an idea of what it was, and we answered some of each other’s questions and talked about it and again, we, we jumped into everything from CRM to what fee to charge, to content, writing to a virtual presence, to live events, just everything. So, if anybody wants to jump in just to send me an email, [email protected] and we’ll start inviting you and you’ll just get an invite when we have them.

Taylorr: Awesome. Well, super valuable. Thanks so much for offering that up, I’ll also make sure your email is in the show notes so be sure to check that out. Hey, if you liked this episode, don’t forget to rate it, like it, subscribe to it and if you want more awesome resources like this, go to speaker flow.com/resources. Thank you so much for chiming in. I just wanted to take a second to thank our sponsor Auxbus. Auxbus is the all-in-one suite of tools you need to run your podcast and it’s actually what we run here at Speaker Flow for Technically Speaking. It makes planning podcasts simple; it makes recording podcasts simple; it even makes publishing podcasts to the masses simple and quite honestly, Technically Speaking wouldn’t be up as soon as it is without Auxbus. Thank you so much Auxbus. And if you are interested in checking Auxbus out, whether you’re starting a podcast or you have one currently get our special offer auxbus.com/speakerflow, or click the link below in our show notes.

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