S. 2 Ep. 53 – Transform Your Business With The Start Now Start Simple Approach

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Cece Payne

Marketing Coordinator at SpeakerFlow - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!

Cece Payne

Marketing Coordinator at SpeakerFlow - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Technically Speaking S 2 Ep 53 - Transform Your Business With The Start Now Start Simple Approach with SpeakerFlow and Dan Ram

What does being charged at by a lion have to do with business?

It turns out everything!

In today’s episode, we’ve brought in 5x TED Speaker, Event MC, and Professional Speaker, Dan Ram to share his philosophy on life and business.

We get real about what it takes to grow a successful speaking business and no-holds-barred talk about what it takes to do 100+ events per year.

Dan Ram travels the globe as an Event MC & Speaker and has hosted changemakers like President Barack Obama, billionaire founders Sir Richard Branson and Reid Hoffman, F1 champion Nico Rosberg, and Grammy-winning artists and celebrities.

He’s worked on 4 continents from college campuses to parliaments to in-house corporate innovation days for Fortune 500 companies to the biggest tech conferences in the world.

His passion is to inspire people with his motto ‘Start Now Start Simple’ in building a future we all want to live in.

Also, he has great tips on what to do if you’re charged by a lion.

What’s not to love about that?

Watch the Podcast 👀

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Show Notes 📓

✅ Follow Dan on social! You can find him @iamdanram on all social media sites

📷 Watch the video version of this episode and subscribe for updates on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYAr3nGy6lbXrhbezMxoHTSCS40liusyU

🎤 Thank you to our sponsor, Libsyn Studio (formerly Auxbus)! Want the best podcasting solution out there? Learn more here: https://www.libsynstudio.com/

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

Read the Transcription 🤓

Austin: Yay. All right, folks.

Taylorr: We did it.

Austin: We’re live. Welcome. Dan, it’s so good to have you here, thank you for joining us today. Holy cow.

Taylorr: Ready for this?

Dan: I’m so ready for this.

Taylorr: He’s bracing for impact over there.

Dan: Yeah, and I’m holding on to every.

Taylorr: What’s happening? Yeah.

Dan: We have two, really, good looking, slightly overwhelmed by this situation people here with fancy beards and hats and everything. And I feel a little bit naked, my game is not that strong, I don’t have a good hat situation. But I also know, and, maybe, that is just a good role to play because I want you to rip me apart and let’s create as much value as possible. I don’t mean as in be rude to me, you can, if you want to be, but let’s [Inaudible – 00:54] layers, right? Let’s not pretend this is an easy game or it’s a facade or the Forbes magazine, let’s tells just pull everything back, let’s get real. Let’s get dirty, let’s get raw. I don’t even know if that’s appropriate, but let’s do all of the above.

Taylorr: Hey, we have the parental advisory logo, so don’t worry, everything’s acceptable here.

Austin: Real dirty and raw, that’s what we do here at Speaker Flow. I’m terrified of what that means, and listeners, I’m sorry for the visual that you may have just been given, but, you know.

Taylorr: Well, whatever.

Austin: Yeah. We’re excited for this, there are many reasons we’re excited for this. First of all, we’re just impressed by you, so on that note, thank you for sharing your time with us today, that’s awesome. As our listeners know, going into a show, we, kind of, like to be prepared-ish, at least, to have a jumping off point. So, we were looking at your website, which branding on point, by the way, checked out your social media, again, brand consistency is, really, strong; you, really, lived the values that you teach, so thanks for that too. 

Something that caught our attention, though, that I can’t fathom and I’m questioning if I read English properly by, and I have to make sure that I got this phrasing, right? This is on your Instagram page. You are a lion charge survivor?

Dan: Yeah.

Austin: What does that mean?

Dan: So, if you know about the Bible, there’s a character called Daniel, and Daniel gets thrown into a lion’s pit. And I just figured I have to earn my name, and so, okay, I didn’t volunteer to be charged by a lion, to be fair, but it happened to me and I’m here to tell the story. So, yeah, no, when I was 16 years old, I was on a school field trip, clearly the chaperones were not doing a very good job, because we were following a wildlife guide through the jungles, it’s called The Bush in Southern Africa, so through The Bush of Zimbabwe, and I was in the back of the line when out of nowhere you hear this low dense, loud growl. 

And, even though, none of us have been trained on what to do with a lion attack, you know when you’re in the bottom of the food pyramid, as humans, we, generally, walk around thinking that we’re at the top, but you instinctively know, run, get out of here, you’re about to get eaten. Which is what everybody did except me. And I would like to say it was courage or boldness or power, but it’s just that my body malfunctioned. And my brain was going run, run, run, run, run. And my body’s going, have you seen yourself? You cannot outrun this creature that’s coming at you. And now, I was like, all right, climb a tree, swim or something. 

But whatever you try to do, you cannot outpace a lion. And so, I just stood my ground, which, actually, was the right thing to do. And in a weird way has become part of the mantra of how you deal with life, is when things get thrown at you, when you face your lion, and, for me, it was a physical wild lion. But when you face your lion, you stand your ground and then you do the unthinkable. So, gentlemen, how do you handle a line attack? What do you do? So, with bears, you pretend to be dead and with, I don’t know what other wild animals you’ve been trained to deal with, but what do you do with a lion? Do you know? Do you know how to survive a lion attack?

Taylorr: Should you run back at it?

Austin: Do you mean before or after I’ve changed my pants? Because that’s the starting point, for me, I’m sure.

Dan: Strike one.

Austin: I don’t know, make yourself big, I feel like might be something, but it’s a lion. I don’t think the lion’s that afraid of you, it seems like the lion’s just going to bite your head off. So, I don’t know, try to give it a pet?

Dan: So, with hyenas that works, really, well, to make yourself look big, because it is about dominance. There’s a little bit of like, who’s the bigger one here. Most animals do that, that’s why elephants spread their ears out, usually it’s against their bodies, but they do that when they are trying to scare you away; to just be big. Why do they have to act big? They’re, already, the biggest animals on earth, but whatever, they do it anyway. No, you don’t make yourself look big with a lion because that is a threat to the lion and it, basically, goes, oh, oh, you think you’re all that? And then they come for you. So, you don’t do that, you’d be dead, Austin. So, other guesses?

Austin: That sounds surprising.

Dan: Taylorr?

Taylorr: My guess would just be to run at it, but that doesn’t seem to be the right thing either.

Dan: Running at it.

Taylorr: Again, because of the threatening.

Dan: No, running at it, actually, could work if it’s an inexperienced or younger lion, because, instead, it goes, wait, am I supposed to run away now? Because they’re so used to being in charge.

Taylorr: Sure.

Dan: But what you do is you, actually, take one step at a time toward the lion, but just one; one calculated step. You don’t know the 10 steps ahead or 20 steps ahead, you don’t run, you don’t go for a stroll; just one step. And that’s been a big part of me dealing with life and even the pandemic is like, what’s my one step that I can take. And part of my whole mantra of start now, start simple, is when you’re facing that lion, you have to start now, start simple, because you can’t run away, you can’t turn around. You, certainly, should not turn around, oh my gosh, that’s the worst thing with lime. 

But you take one step and you do it at that moment and you keep it simple, you don’t think about what to do with your hands or your breathing or your face, just one step, and then another, and then another. But, anyway, I survived the lion attack, here I am.

Taylorr: Wow.

Austin: Oh my gosh.

Taylorr: Holy crap. What a story.

Austin: I’m not going to lie, we read that on the site and the initial impression was like, that’s not real, that’s a metaphor for something, and it is, and that’s awesome. I feel touched by what you just explained, but also, oh my God, that has to have been one of the craziest experiences ever.

Dan: It has been, but I’m also a slow learner, because I’ve had four near death experiences and I, highly, recommend that everybody listening and watching get a near death experience. Now, you don’t, again.

Taylorr: Is that something you just sign up for or?

Dan: You don’t sign up, you don’t volunteer, but step out of the comfort zone, get out there because it’s not until you realize that you are going to lose it all that you realize what you’re living for, right? Because it’s only at that moment and I say, not what you could lose, but what you will. One day, you will say goodbye to all of this, everything. And it’s at that moment that you suddenly realize what is my next breath for? What am I fighting for, at this moment? So, in my other near-death experiences, some that also involve other animals and some that involve things like car crashes and stuff.

It was one of the things that you think about, you think, what am I fighting for now? Because I could give up. And, in some ways, it seems easier. When you’re at the hospital, you’re like; I just don’t want to fight. I just want to go. But then you think, if I were to have another breath, and more importantly, if I’m going to fight for my next breath, what am I fighting for? So, I think it changes how you live life. One of the things I get complimented on most onstage is about my energy. Energy is not a mystery. Energy is, actually, very simple to bring onstage. And, for me, a big part of it is gratitude, because I know what it’s like to almost be dead. And every day, every moment, even talking to the two of you is just like, this is awesome. 

I’m here in Germany, you guys are out in the world where you are, and here we’re connecting with technology, having a conversation. And I may not have had this opportunity and I’m having it now. And so, I’m bringing it to this conversation, so, anyway. There are a lot of beautiful life lessons to learn from near-death experiences, stepping out of the comfort zone, going on these adventures. So, highly, recommended. Have you guys had near-death experiences?

Taylorr: Can’t say I have, not like that.

Austin: No, not like that. When I was, really, a, it was too early for me to remember, so I don’t feel like I can even qualify. I got this, really, bad kidney infection and was in the hospital, they were pretty concerned about me. So, maybe, that affected my psyche deep down, I was three, so too young for me to, really, remember, but, maybe, enough for me to have some, sort of, muscle memory or whatever you call it, you know? But, no, nothing quite like that. That’s wild.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: But I agree. Yeah, it’s an important thing to remember, even if you don’t have the near-death experience, you can always take a step back and be grateful for what you have and where you’re at and focus on the progress that has been made and remind yourself of the things in life that, really, matter. I imagine an extreme situation like that will, pretty quickly, snap you into that mindset, but I think people can, probably, get there without losing a limb or something, right?

Taylorr: Hopefully, yeah. Let’s hope.

Dan: You’ll be surprised how often we live like we’re going to live forever. But it’s the one thing we’re guaranteed is you’re going to die. It’s so morbid, but it’s a guarantee, it’s going to happen. So, why do we not live our lives differently? Why do we not say what we truly wish to say to those that we love? Why do we not go chase the dreams that we keep having as dreams, but why don’t we make it a reality? Why don’t we take those risks? Go on those adventures, go on those trips, explore things, why don’t we do that? Because time’s running out, you have an expiry date.

Taylorr: That’s true.

Austin: True that.

Dan: Yeah. And I think, you don’t have, I hate the word motivational speaker, I’m not a motivational speaker, but I’ll say I’m living an inspired and intentional life. And, as a result, it comes across as motivating. I don’t desire to motivate or to just clap for you and go like, oh, that’s amazing, you got this. But I want you to live an inspired and intentional life; I want you to live your best life. Because one thing I do know is you only get this one life. I’m a hundred percent sure about that. I don’t believe in you being reincarnated and coming back. I respect any listeners that have that ideology, but I believe we got this one-shot, get these 60 years, 80 years or a hundred years, hundred and twenty, who knows? Maybe less. What are you going to do with it?

Taylorr: Yeah, that’s right. I remember seeing this poster, it’s called 4,000 weeks, but it’s just dots on a poster and it’s just 4,000 dots and you only have about 4,000 of them, and so I saw that and I was like, holy cow, that puts life into perspective, just staring at your future, basically. So, yeah, it’s a good reminder. It sounds like this has been a recurring theme throughout your life, though. You are a highly decorated speaker, five time TEDx, if I recall, and a hundred, hundred and fifty events a year, did that just happen all of a sudden, did you have a big break? Was that a slow burn and your tenacity just got you there, fill us in?

Dan: Everybody loves a formula. I cannot give you a formula because.

Taylorr: Good.

Dan: Anyone in my position gets asked this question, and then we just, kind of, pretend like we know and we go, A plus B equals C. And it’s not that way, everybody’s journey is different, but let me tell you a few things that have helped me. First is, I work, really, hard and I strategize, I optimize, I reflect, I do the hard work, not just on stage, not just when the [optioning – 12:20] happens, but even afterward. I have records of every invitation I’ve ever received of every event, I’ve written notes after every event of what went well, what I could improve on, I have pictures, videos of every place I’ve been to. That seems obvious to do, and you’ll be shocked how many speakers don’t do that, because it takes effort, it takes thinking about it and doing it, and it takes discipline. And I have that, right? 

And I think hard work is super, super important, but hard work alone won’t get you there, and I want to make that clear because I think we live in a world where you keep saying, if you just work hard enough, you’ll get it. And I think a lot of people are disappointed because they are working hard. I know people who are working harder than me and they’re not getting it. So, there are a few other things that I think are important to throw-in because they’re just as valid as hard work. First, I’m surrounded by great people and I have to give credit to good community. Be intentional about the people around you. 

I have people that keep pushing me, believing in me and creating opportunities for me. And the reason I have that, it’s a very simple trick, because I know there are people right now saying, well, that’s nice for you, Dan, because I’m surrounded by haters. It’s, really, simple. You get back what you give out. It’s that straightforward. The more opportunities I create for other people, the more opportunities they create for me, the more I serve and give them, the more they give it back, and I don’t do any of that expecting anything in return. I want to make it clear. This isn’t some economics class here. This is just a state of heart, people feel that. 

And so, the more I love on people, create opportunities for people, I’m generous with people; the more it keeps coming back to me. At 11 o’clock at night at midnight, at four o’clock in the morning when I’m at the airport, when people say, Hey, Dan, can I run a pitch by you? I charge for coaching, but when a friend says, Hey, can I just pick your brain at it? I’m like, absolutely, let’s go. And they don’t ask me, Dan, are you tired? Do you have time? Can you help me? My answer is always, yes. And invariably down the line. They’re the same people that say, Hey, I’m hosting this event or I know this client, can you come and some value to this? 

So, it’s, really, simple; give, serve, love people around you, and you will get that network that, equally, believe and love you. So, I have to give credit to people around me, because I’m not the one opening the doors, in fact, I have never applied for a speaking gig, ever. So, 150 gigs a year and I’ve applied to zero of them. A hundred percent of them are people coming to me. Hundred percent. So, no one’s ever received a cold email from me saying, hey, can I come and speak at your event? Can I MC at your event? No, it’s never happened. 

So, my network is super important. Second, I think, good luck and timing is important too. Because I built a few tech companies, I happened to have sold them at a good time when tech conferences were taking off, and that was my pathway-in, because people wanted to hear the story of what worked and what didn’t work. And that just had to do with timing, because what if my companies did not work out or what if they worked out five years later? I would’ve missed the opportunities right now. 

And also, I remember, clearly, the moment I got my first speaking gig. Because I was volunteering, as I had until that point, at an event, and it just happened that this German woman paused at my stage, and it wasn’t the main stage, I was hosting a startup stage on the side. And she paused; it just happened that the speaker ended early, it just happened that I had a few minutes to fill, and that’s the moment that you know the difference between a good MC and a bad MC, a good moderator and a bad moderator is what do you do in those few minutes? And I turned it to the audience, we did something fun together and she promptly walked up afterwards, and she didn’t have to, she could have said, I’ll go catch up with that guy later. I’ll drop an email. 

No, just chance. She walked up to me, she gave me a business card and she said, I’ll call you this evening, we need to talk. And she did call that evening. And that’s just good fortune, luck, coincidence, what do you want to call it? But you also make your look, right? Because, at that point, I’d been volunteering at events for years, so it wasn’t just like I got lucky the first time. But I have to give credit to also luck, you have to just keep putting yourself out there and, at some point, it clicks and you cannot predict it and you cannot time it. 

My third speaking gig involved Richard Branson. That, substantially, boosted how people saw me as a speaker, which is why, eventually, I got president Barack Obama and some other Hollywood actors and stuff like that, but I could not have timed the Richard Branson thing. It’s not like it was all perfectly strategized and things like that. So, you have to give also room for luck in your life, so I’d say, hard work, good people around you and leave room for timing, the state of the world, opportunities as they arise; that combination is, kind of, what landed me at what I’m doing now.

Austin: Whoa.

Taylorr: Beautifully said.

Austin: Yeah. Man, that was such a cool breakdown, thank you so much for all of that, first of all. So, there’s something that reminded me of that I want to point out. The luck part, because luck, people hear that and, I think some people tune out because, maybe, they think they’re not a lucky person or that betting on luck is betting on hope, and I think all of those things are true. But there’s something that has rung in the back of my head for almost a decade now, since I’ve heard it. And it’s this phrase that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. What happened for you, Dan, was you put yourself in the right place and you were prepared to take advantage of the opportunity when it came along and you did. 

And from that more opportunity blossomed, and so you continue to get more lucky, but luck isn’t just as simple as chance, I think there’s an element of being in the right headspace and be willing to do the thing that, maybe, other people aren’t willing to do when the opportunity arises, and then see what happens from that. There’s something to be said about being bold and not just trusting that good things will happen to you, because that’s not luck, that’s hope.

Dan: Luck is also not something that is passive. I believe that luck is something that is active. And to put things into context, because I did start with hard work. I have been volunteering at speaking, so I was very lucky to grow up in the church, and the one good thing, there are a lot of bad things about church, but one good thing about church is it gives you opportunities; to read a scripture or to sing a song or something of that sort, it’s a space that is for that. And so, from a young age, from six or seven, whenever we had a talent show or a community event in the church, my parents would force me up onstage, and I say force because I am not an extrovert, I am not a, give me your attention, I need your attention, kind of, guy. 

I’m, most certainly, the guy who’s in the back, having a very uncool, unpopular conversation with the other loser that is in the room, that is my, actual, personality. And my parents have forced me up in front, and so I had to learn how to play piano, I had to learn how to tell a little story before playing the piano; I had to learn how to organize games at youth camps and stuff like that. And so, I did that dutifully and because I was bad at it, I worked extra hard at it. Because I was worried about my stutter, and I was like, okay, I have to memorize this because if I don’t memorize it, I’m going to stutter. 

I hated the fact that I used to say, ugh or um. And so, I started working at that and I’m going, okay, all I have to do is think five or six seconds faster than the words are coming out of my mouth. The reason I don’t say um and ugh right now is because this is a, partially, rehearsed line. I’ve thought about this line before it’s coming out of my mouth. So, all of these little things I just started picking at and working at, and I had all of these opportunities, which by the way, everybody has; you’ve all done a class presentation, you’ve all been in some, kind of, setting, whether it’s a family wedding or a get together, of some sort, where you’ve had to, maybe, say a prayer or give a toast, or you just want to say something funny about a friend. 

I just worked harder at it because it did not come naturally to me. And it was all of those years in the background volunteering, trying, failing, learning from the failure, trying again, not having people’s attention and going, how do I get people’s attention. Not being funny, and then thinking, how can I be funny? Not being inspiring and thinking, how do I be inspiring? And then just building and building and building and building and building, and then at the age of 30 is when it, suddenly, clicked; after I’d done a lot of other stuff, working a lot of other jobs, and then, at that point, is when it hit. 

Now, there are a bunch of 22-year-olds that are, probably, listening and going, do I have to wait until 30? No, because I’ve met 12 year olds that already know they’re calling and are living at it. And you might be 40 years old and listening and going, oh, I missed the boat. And the answer to that also is no. Timing is not something that is standardized for everybody, but when it clicks, it clicks and it’s magical. There was something that happened after all those years of overcoming my insecurities, my failures as a speaker; there was something that happened after all those years of volunteering at different gigs and slowly making my way there. 

There was something that happened when I showed up onstage after all of that, that it just, suddenly, felt right. And I will tell you something, my greatest spiritual experience, and I’m using that word very intentionally. The moment that I am the most awakened, the best version of myself is when I am onstage. But that’s something that only started happening at the age of 30, and it took a whole lot of work before that. 

So, luck in finding your calling and finding your purpose, does come disguised as a lot of hard work, as a lot of overcoming your struggles, as a lot of fighting your demons. Luck is not just, oh, I’m good at this, I better get it. Or I deserve it. Or why do people not see this in me when I can see it in myself. Luck involves all of the other stuff too, that I just gave examples of.

Taylorr: Oh, man. Beautifully said, holy cow. Well, what I love about that story is it’s very realistic, right? Because the things, let’s just, brief history of the story here. You spent years volunteering and speaking and learning from it and improving from it, and I would bet, but again, making some assumptions here. Probably wasn’t the easiest time, but pre 30, speaking, getting onstage, finding your rhythm, all of those things; I’m sure there were moments where this was awesome, but also moments of like, dang, I have some work to do. 

And all of a sudden, it seems to click and that came with lots of hard work and discipline, to your point earlier, and it’s not, yeah, I think often, especially, with the rise of social media and magic wands and silver bullets and so on; it’s, really, easy to seem as if things, you just have it figured out. And it’s a hard journey sometimes and you get to the top of the mountain and you see the view, but it takes some climbing before you get there.

Dan: Absolutely.

Taylorr: And what I want to tie it back to, actually, is to the point of your lion story, actually, and the discipline you mentioned is the start now, start simple concept.

Dan: Yeah.

Taylorr: It just sounds like you just took one step after another throughout that journey and it still seems to be a mantra you live by day-in and day-out. Did that evolve from all of this hard work and you just had lived that start now, start simple or how did it come into fruition?

Dan: In the early days before those four words came together, it was just a matter of reflecting on how some of my greatest moments, at that point, whether it was, I don’t know, winning the Badminton tournaments, remember I said I was a loser? I’m qualified at that. Badminton, this was my greatest moment.

Taylorr: Fun game.

Dan: Whether it was winning the regional Badminton tournament, whether it was, I did get into Yale when I was coming out of high school in Morocco. So, whether it was getting into college, whether it was receiving a, certain, recognition, I reflect back and I’m like, how did that happen? And everybody loves that moment, but where does it start? And I realized, actually, it was something that seemed insignificant. It was something that seemed, really, sometimes even irrelevant to the final point, but it was that one step in front of the other, in front of the other that led there. I’m going to give you a super tiny example of that, but everybody likes to tell their success stories. 

I’m going to tell you about one of the lowest moments of my life. I had graduated from Yale. I graduated from Trinity College, I had an Economics degree, I had an MBA and everyone had told me all of the time, Dan, the world’s your oyster, you can do anything you want. And so with that confidence, with the support of people around me, with that self-belief, I started applying for jobs. I applied for 10 jobs, fully expected to get at least eight interviews. And I got 10 rejections. I then applied for 10 more jobs, I thought, okay, whatever; it’s not a big deal. And I got 10 more rejections. It was 2011, I was living in a country called Ireland, it’s still called Ireland, by the way. 

And in the middle of a recession that had happened. And I didn’t know then what I know now, which is that in a recession there’s high unemployment and, especially foreigners are the last ones to get picked because there are visas and expenses, which is difficult for companies. But no one told me that, they all said, you can do anything you wanted. I applied for 10 more jobs, applied for 10 more jobs; I applied for about 50 jobs before I realized I have to change my strategy. 

So, I applied for jobs that were a degree lower than what I thought I deserved. Didn’t hear anything. I didn’t apply for jobs that were in industries I never dreamt of being in. And then, I applied for jobs I didn’t even want, but I was so desperate. This is not for one or two weeks, gentlemen. This was for 18 months, I was unemployed.

Taylorr: Wow.

Dan: I was down to under a hundred bucks in my bank account, living in this country and going, what am I doing here? What is my purpose? What is my life? I’m so confused. What is going on? And this is after, and still having a very good resume. And I was so confused, and I was hating this word, no, that I just, at that moment, decided I’m just going to say, yes, to whatever the next opportunity is. So, sitting at home and the next phone call was from a friend of mine and she said, Dan, you know how you’re doing nothing with your life? And I’m like, huh, thanks, screw you. 

And she said, how about this? Why don’t you come in and pretend to be an investor to my students? I need someone to volunteer to be an investor, because I’ve been working on this business idea. My ego said, no, I’m above a volunteer position. My bank account said, no, because I was thinking, I can’t afford to be spending time volunteering; I need to go get a job. And also, my lack of qualification. Because investors have money and unemployed people don’t have money. 

So, the imposter syndrome also said, no. But I had told myself, I’m going to say, yes. And so, I told her, yes. And then I Googled Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den and I did my research and I was the best fake investor those kids had ever seen. And that evening an angry dad called me. And he said, Dan, I’ve never heard of you, but because of you, my little girl now believes she can be an entrepreneur. So, you must be some, kind of, motivational speaker. Can you come and motivate my staff? I have a PR company and we’re in the middle of a recession, can you come and motivate them? 

And, again, my imposter syndrome said, no, because hold on a second, they have jobs, they should be already motivated. Why do you need an unemployed person to come in and motivate employed people, that doesn’t even make sense? The irony of it. But I killed all the no’s in my head, and I told him, yes. And then I Googled and I researched and I practiced the best motivational speech I could give. Nothing happened for a few weeks after that. But then the writing section wrote to me and said, Dan, we have an opportunity to write an article, we loved your positivity. The article is five tech trends for the future of Ireland. Do you think you could write that? I was not a tech guru, I didn’t know trends, I was thinking about leaving Ireland at that point, I was unemployed for 18 months, but I still said, yes. 

I researched it, I gave my best, I wrote it, and nothing prepared me for what came after. Because, then, a real shark from the Shark Tank of Ireland contacted me and said, Dan, I read your article, I love your ideas, I’ve been commissioned by the minister of jobs, enterprise and innovation to put together a seven person advisory panel to write the national policy on entrepreneurship. And I would like you to be one of those seven people. And that is how I got appointed to writing the national policy of entrepreneurship that has affected billions in GDP, thousands of jobs, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of jobs in there. And also what catapulted my career after that, but it all started by volunteering for a bunch of 12 year old girls when I was unemployed. 

So, I live out this start now, start simple policy because I didn’t have the resources to be a fake investor, I didn’t have the qualifications, I didn’t have the fancy suit and I didn’t have the millions in the bank, but I started with what I had, I kept it simple. And I didn’t wait until I achieved all of those things, I just started at that moment, I said, yes, I’ll come in and I’ll do it. Even as a motivational speaker, I was not a motivational speaker. And when I was asked to write the article, I didn’t say, let me go get a qualification, let me go study, let me go figure this, I said okay, start now, start simple. During the pandemic, same thing. 

A lot of people lost your jobs and I feel, really, sorry, it was a, really, hard time for people. I know a lot of people felt the pinch during the pandemic, but, for me, my business tripled during the pandemic. Because, again, it was just start now, start simple. Most speakers struggled during the pandemic. I just learned to start now, start simple. Yes, I had to reinvent myself, but we did it and now we achieved even more.

So, I live this mantra and it’s, whenever you follow me on social media and stuff, it is something that you see I’m always encouraging my community to do; whatever your dream, whatever your mission, whatever you’re trying to overcome, whatever you’re trying to achieve, it’s always just one step in front of the other. Don’t waste time preparing for a marathon or a sprint, don’t waste time building your body and getting in the right shape to figure it out, just take the first step, and then figure out the next step, the next step and before you know it, you’re in my position telling the story as ridiculous as the one I just told you.

Austin: Oh, man, it’s such an amazing story. I feel so motivated right now. Holy crap. Look, there are different reasons for why I think this idea is so awesome. One of them, obviously, is that you never know what’s in front of you, if you just take a step, sometimes a thing happens that you never could have anticipated that takes you somewhere you never would’ve gone otherwise. Honestly, I think Taylorr and I’s experience growing Speaker Flow has ancillary things to that. 

The other thing, though, this reminds me of the principle of resistance that people face; specifically, creative visionary people, but resistance is a real thing, there are these barriers we put up in front of ourselves, and then nothing gets done because we’re so focused on, maybe, how much work it’s going to be to get to the end result, or whatever, that we just don’t even start. But I find what happens is by taking that first step, you get a little bit of momentum behind you, and then things get a lot easier, you know?

Dan: Yeah.

Austin: It’s the whole thing with like, you got your basket full of laundry to put away, fold one pair of your underwear and put them up, and by the time you’ve done that, you’re, probably, going to do one more, come on, it’s not that much more work to do one more piece of laundry. And then, by the time you know it, all of your laundry’s done, and it’s just because you took that first initial thing, even if it was just the smallest thing you were willing to commit to. 

So, not only does it set you up for more potential opportunities and possibilities and luck and all of the things we’ve discussed so far, but it also gives you a little bit of momentum so the next step is even easier to take. You’ve already done one, you can do one more and one more and one more, and that momentum is, really, valuable, I find in a lot of areas of life, specifically business too.

Dan: And if I may add, momentum is necessary for longevity. Because a lot of people want to skip steps and there are some, essential, things you have to learn. So, the first time you fold your laundry, you may get it wrong, you might have to do it two or three times, but then you’ll learn how to be more efficient about it, I don’t know why we’re having this laundry analogy, but we’ll just go with it.

Taylorr: Hey, it’s a good one.

Dan: So, there are some very, very important things to learn along the way that you cannot just leap-frog, and then try to learn in retrospect, you need to be in that position, in that step to, then, build-up the momentum to build momentum. So, I would also say, find joy in that first step, don’t keep your eyes so far ahead of like, oh, I can’t wait until I get 50 miles an hour. No, no, enjoy going at five, because there’s some important character building and personality building and just life lessons you have to learn that will sustain you when you’re 25 miles an hour and at 50 miles an hour. 

Because right now, I’m not slowing down and I don’t intend to, because I figured out how to keep it going at this momentum, and then when I’m at 60 and 70, I’m going to keep sticking at it. But if I just landed in this position, honestly, I’d be overwhelmed and I’d be out by now.

Taylorr: It’s great character building. Man. Holy crap, what an episode. Austin, we, really, have to employ the mega episode strategy.

Austin: Oh, man.

Taylorr: I can’t believe there isn’t more time left.

Austin: I can’t believe we did 30 minutes.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: Man, you had me enthralled, man.

Taylorr: I know. Seriously. We could just keep, so this was an incredible episode, Dan. I loved, one, your storytelling, your approach to life, I think sometimes too in content creation, everything can be viewed through rose colored glasses and that’s not the reality of life. And so, this was just a realistic conversation and history of the work that you’ve done, and I think it’s very relatable to me, Austin, and everyone listening. So, just want to thank you again for coming on the show today.

Dan: I want to thank you for doing this because, while you do a lot of thanking for guests, I do know that hosting a podcast and putting one together is, relatively, a thankless job and I’m sure your audience is great and do right to you, but I want to just publicly, on air, thank you guys, because there’s so much work that goes into organizing this and editing it and putting it together and dreaming about it and investing in it. You don’t have to do this, but you choose to do it, so thank you for having me as a guest and, on behalf of your audience, thank you for putting in the work.

Taylorr: Oh, that’s awesome, man. I think that’s, probably, the first time that’s happened in a hundred and some odd episodes, so, Dan, thank you, we appreciate you. If someone wants to connect with you, learn more about you, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Dan: The best way to do that is look up Dan Ram, D A N R A M, my website is Iamdanram.com. You can find me on any social media account @Iamdanram, the only caveat is, do not be surprised when I message you back, and not if, but when. I respond to a hundred percent of everybody that writes to me, personally. So, every comment, it’s not a bot that’s responding. Every DM, it’s not someone on my team that’s responding, because, for me, social media is not for selling anything, I don’t sell anything. I have nothing to sell you, but just love to give and support to give, and that is why, for me, it’s about conversation and communication. 

So, I’m old school that way, connect with me on social media, write to me, tell me where you’re at, you’re not burdening me, that’s why I’m online. I’m here to help you succeed and win; that’s where my joy is, in seeing you win. So, if I can support you in your journey, please reach out, please write, tell me a story, let’s find ways to take you to the next level.

Taylorr: Heck, yeah. Well.

Austin: Wow.

Taylorr: You heard it from the source, folks. Links will be in the show notes, go and check that out. And, as always, if you like this episode, don’t forget to rate it, like it, subscribe to it, and if you want more awesome resources like this, go to speakerflow.com/resources.

Austin: Bye, everybody.

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