677 - Do speaking the right way: Tom interviews Bret Ridgway - Screw The Commute

677 – Do speaking the right way: Tom interviews Bret Ridgway

Bret Ridgway is here. He's a 25 year veteran of the speaking industry. He got his start handling the back of the room sales tables at around 150 Internet and information marketing conferences. That's where I met him. And that led to the formation of Speaker Fulfillment Services, the company that handled product fulfillment for speakers, authors and information marketers. And now he's working with entrepreneurs and business owners who want to launch a second career as a speaker.

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Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 677

How To Automate Your Businesshttps://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/

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Internet Marketing Training Centerhttps://imtcva.org/

Higher Education Webinarhttps://screwthecommute.com/webinars

See Tom's Stuffhttps://linktr.ee/antionandassociates

[03:31] Tom's introduction to Bret Ridgway

[09:27] The biggest mistakes speakers make when creating a business

[17:30] Content vs Sales on stage

[21:49] Some of the great things that stand out

[25:54] Don't just gather emails or “harvesting the list”

[27:36] Sponsor message

[30:05] A typical day for Bret

Entrepreneurial Resources Mentioned in This Podcast

Higher Education Webinarhttps://screwthecommute.com/webinars

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College Ripoff Quizhttps://imtcva.org/quiz

Know a young person for our Youth Episode Series? Send an email to Tom! – orders@antion.com

Have a Roku box? Find Tom's Public Speaking Channel there!https://channelstore.roku.com/details/267358/the-public-speaking-channel

How To Automate Your Businesshttps://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/

Internet Marketing Retreat and Joint Venture Programhttps://greatinternetmarketingtraining.com/


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Disabilities Pagehttps://imtcva.org/disabilities/

Tom's Patreon Pagehttps://screwthecommute.com/patreon/

Tom on TikTokhttps://tiktok.com/@digitalmultimillionaire/

Bret's Freebiehttps://bretridgway.com/freebie/

Bret's new bookhttps://buildaprofitablespeakingbusiness.com/

View From The Back bookhttps://BretRidgway.com/books

Email Tom: Tom@ScrewTheCommute.com

Internet Marketing Training Centerhttps://imtcva.org/

Related Episodes

Stormy Knight – https://screwthecommute.com/676/

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Episode 677 – Bret Ridgway
[00:00:08] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.

[00:00:24] Hey, everybody, it's Tom here with episode 677 of Screw the Commute podcast. I'm here with an old buddy of mine, Bret Ridgway. Knowing this guy, I don't know, 2, 300 hundred years, something like that. And never heard a bad word about him or he wouldn't be on here, tell you. I mean, he's had lots of businesses he's been in engulfed in the speaker arena for a long time from on the stage and from even more than that, back behind the not behind the stage, but at the back of the room where he's seen, oh, hundreds and hundreds or even thousands of speakers selling it the back of the room. And he's helped out with that and had a fulfillment company sending all kinds of stuff around. So so he's he's one of the guys that's been there done that so we'll bring him on to minute. Hope you didn't miss episode 676 that was and this is her real name, Stormy Night. That's her real name. She's a 27 year search engine expert and done work for Google and stuff. And, you know, I'm I'm pretty much ragging on SEO lately. In the past five years. We gave up on a long time ago, even though I was taught by the best of the best people and was great at it, it's just not worth the trouble anymore. We use paid traffic and email nowadays, but anyway, she's concentrates on local SEO, so if you have any kind of local business, she's great for that. So that was episode 676. This Monday is going to be my results and the things I learned in one month on TikTok. And so far they have they haven't captured me and put me into child slavery.

[00:02:15] So apparently I'm not.

[00:02:19] Well known enough on techno TikTok for them to grab me up and it might lose some weight that way if they put me in the slavery. But anyway, that's episode 678 this Monday, one of our training episodes, and we want to thank the folks helping out on Patreon. We just started a patron account to help fund my program to for scholarships for persons with disabilities. So thank you for that and kick in. We started at three bucks a month and give you a lot of perks and all kinds of stuff. So you're you're and I don't take any money at all for that. That's all going to fund the scholarship fund for persons with disabilities of course less the Patreon fees. All right. Make sure you download a copy of our automation e-book. Just one of the tips in this book has saved me over 8 million keystrokes. That's not an exaggeration. That's why I can take care of customers and prospects lightning fast. So check it out. screwthecommute.com/automatefree. While you're at it, pick up a copy of our podcast app at screwthecommute.com/app, put us on your cell phone and tablet and take us with you on the road.

[00:03:32] All right. Let's get to the main event. Bret Ridgway is here and it's there's no E in Ridgway by the way. I messed that up a couple of times. I'm not going to do that anymore. He's a 25 year veteran of the speaking industry. He got his start handling the back of the room sales tables at around 150 Internet and information marketing conferences. That's where I met him. And that led to the formation of Speaker Fulfillment Services, the company that handled product fulfillment for speakers, authors and information marketers. And now he's working with entrepreneurs and business owners who want to launch a second career as a speaker. Bret, are you ready to screw? The commute?

[00:04:14] I'm ready to screw the commute, man.

[00:04:16] All right, boy, it's been a long time. It's been probably three, four years since we talked, right?

[00:04:22] Yeah, it has been a while, but I'm just tickled to be, you know, on episode number 677, because every stormy night must be followed by a sunny day, right?

[00:04:31] That's exactly right. You said I should have had you on on six, six, six. That was that was a good episode. I know I talked about the history of the number six, six, six. And I said, you know, it's the anti Christ, not the Antion Christ. Yeah. So speaker fulfillment service is what I knew you for for a long, long time because you were shipping CD's and DVDs and big boxes for speakers all over the world, right?

[00:05:02] Yeah. And you know, that's interesting, the industry, because it certainly has changed a lot over the years, Tom. I mean, the day the big box package where, you know, we get 16 DVDs and ten CD's and two big menus and all that, you know, that day is long gone. So, you know, most of the content delivery has gone to the online way, although I do think, you know, smart marketers still recognize the value of the occasional offline touch with their followers.

[00:05:27] Yeah, I like the idea of like thumb drives now because they're very light easy and they can be enormous capacity. People get a kick out of them and they can take them, take them with them. But a lot of people are still sending all kinds of stuff, right?

[00:05:41] Yeah. I mean, thumb drives are great. The key to them, honestly, Tom, is the packaging, because it's such a little small little device. It's so easily out of sight, out of mind. So if you need to dress it up a little bit and put it in some nice packaging, it's on the shelf and they remember to actually consume the content that's on there.

[00:05:59] Right. Right. Yeah. They're pre pre loaded with stuff is what I'm talking about folks. Not just something with your name on the outside. And yeah I used to, I used to sell what was it. Mp Three players preloaded with a whole bunch of audio and people like that, that kind of stuff. And they still like to get stuff in the mail now because all you get is for a while we weren't getting anything in the mail. Everybody went all digital. And then smart marketers said, You know what? Their mailbox is not full of junk mail anymore. Let's start sending them stuff. And yeah, I still, still like it and get it. I'm not so thrilled about doing it myself because I love the digital stuff.

[00:06:37] But I mean.

[00:06:39] You got to weigh the pros and cons of anything, obviously. I mean, there's a guy that we both know well, Armand and yeah, he had a large Internet following online, but he still says a physical magazine to his people once a month, so that there's a reminder there that the tangible of the value that he's bringing to them so it's just not digital can easily be out of sight, out of mind. And so that offline touch is something that he encompasses that help keep in front of his folks.

[00:07:06] Yeah, he's he's got more guts than I do. So but I understand you've moved on from that that business after all those years, right?

[00:07:18] Yeah, it was one of those things where I was ready for a new challenge, honestly. And I've learned so much about the industry over the years. I decided it was time to finally brand Bret Ridgway versus do everything on behalf of the company. So even though I've spoken at a lot of events and, you know, virtual summits and all that stuff myself, it was always with the thought in mind, All right, how am I going to brand and help speaker fulfillment services out from doing this? And now it's about branding Bret Ridgway and building that platform where I can share what I've learned about the stupid things that speakers do and what they should be doing to build a profitable speaking business. So it's kind of a challenge for myself to prove I can do it honestly.

[00:07:56] Tom Well, I have no doubt that you can do it because like you witnessed all this stuff, the things that work, the things that didn't work, the the people that almost got drug off the stage. And I remember some of those events, some people were so obnoxious that some of those speakers ended up in jail like that. I forget that guy's name that did the sweat lodge and, you know, so yeah, so there's all kinds of pros and cons and, you know, I pretty much kicked but my whole career in public seminars. Well, I was, I was, I did corporate until, I don't know, around the year 2000 and I was like 20 grand. But when I quit. But and people say 20 grand, you're crazy. Why'd you quit that? Well, you know, you know as well as I do, the one of your buddies did almost a million bucks at the back of the room. Yeah. So 190 minute speech, the most I did was about a quarter of a million, but that was only with 250 people in the crowd.

[00:08:51] So, I mean, yeah, there was no doubt that if you can become an effective platform seller, you'll make far more money selling from the stage as a fee, as a free speaker than getting that keynote fee.

[00:09:03] Exactly. Yeah. I mean, you get the people there and nothing's ever going to replace live stuff. I know the COVID thing, you know, knock the world for a loop, but people were desperate to get back in front of and see people in person, not just all over Zoom all the time.

[00:09:20] It's definitely starting to come back. I mean, you'll be out there again eventually, Tom, I'm sure.

[00:09:23] Oh, darn. Yeah. I like sitting home all over the world. Well, tell us some of the the biggest mistakes. You say you see speakers making up there when they're trying to make this into a business.

[00:09:37] You know, one of the things I think speakers are very weak on, Tom is actually doing their homework ahead of time of an event is not what figure out what the demographics of that crowd are. I mean, you may remember a guy and he put on his first Internet marketing super conference in 1999. Mm hmm. That's how I actually got involved in the industry, because he called me up and asked me if I'd handle the bake sales table. And honestly, didn't even know the back of the room salesmen at that time. Tom But, you know, I hadn't been to Las Vegas before, so it sounded good to me. So I went out there and did that. And that kind of led to a side business where we would provide the crew, and more importantly, in many cases, the merchant account that could handle a large sum of money across multiple speakers in a short period of time. And we'd do that for the event promoters. And those relationships eventually grew into speaker fulfillment services because they found out I was doing a product fulfillment myself or my own website from back in the mid-nineties. And I think it was Jim Edwards that actually cornered me in an event and said, Hey, will you do some fulfillment for me? Because it's not really the best use of my time. And I've been thinking about it for a while because it was a natural outgrowth of all the people I had gotten to know in the industry.

[00:10:41] So that's how speaker fulfillment services came about. But I was talking about the demographics, but three different speakers all talking about the subject of copyrighting. So he was all about getting as many big names on his speaker list as possible and not really thinking about curriculum at all. And so when they got to the, you know, the third speaker about copywriting, the audience was, oh, been here, you know, been done that, heard this or whatever. And so the chances of that speaker selling anything in the back of the room was slim to none because they'd already bought their copywriting stuff if they were interested in copywriting. And so as a, as a speaker, you've really got to do your homework in advance about who's in that crowd and as importantly, who's also speaking at that event and what are they speaking about. I mean, because you might need to slant your presentation in some way so that you're not doing a direct overlap, particularly if your number three speaker in that situation and you're following up two other people who talked about the same thing, you know, bad news. So do your homework in advance to figure out who's in the crowd and who's on the speaker list so that you can deliver the best presentation possible for that. Audience.

[00:11:46] Yeah, and I'll go along with that because by the time I don't know if it's by the time you met me or whatever, my, my speaker agreement was extremely strict because, you know, you've been a lot of events where it wasn't profitable unless I was there. And so I had to make the money for this place. And and, you know, so I controlled just every little thing that I could control. And the promoters went along with it because they knew that I'm going to hit a grand slam if they do tell. You know, that's a problem. Some of the promoters were new people and they didn't haven't been through all this stuff or I had been on stage 3000 times and so I knew what worked and what didn't. I mean, I remember almost tackling Mark Victor Hanson once because.

[00:12:33] I'm.

[00:12:34] Getting ready at the end of my thing. I'm doing everything perfect. The crowd's ready to roar and throw money at me. And and he says, Hold on, we got to throw some t shirts out in the crowd. And I'm like.

[00:12:45] No, don't do that, man.

[00:12:47] Yeah, I thought there was a world Internet summit one time and Ted Suber, somebody was speaking and they did their clothes and they did a nice close. But then I don't want to name the name because I don't remember who it was, and I don't want to cast any aspersions that anybody in person.

[00:13:02] But oh, see, I don't mind doing that.

[00:13:06] The emcee jumped up on stage and tried to lead people to a meditation. Oh, supposed to go back to the sales table and make their purchase or whatever.

[00:13:15] So yeah, I mean, even when I was teaching the comical speakers, you know, because I use a lot of humor, you know, you got to pay attention. And some of the promoters, you know, like the the president of the of the organization just passed away and they do a big memorial and everybody's crying. And then now here's our comedian.

[00:13:36] So, I mean, the promoters.

[00:13:38] Yeah, the promoters don't think you to be a real pro. You have to, you know, it's not your event, it's their event. But you have to make suggestions nicely and learn how to do that before you get on stage because it can ruin the whole thing and just a mistake like that.

[00:13:56] Well, you know, and you've seen it time and time again, I'm sure. Tom, is that event promoters, I don't think they're maliciously giving you bad information. They tend to be way overly optimistic about how many people they can get into the room.

[00:14:07] Yeah, that's for sure.

[00:14:09] Whether it's an in-person or a virtual event. And so if they tell you they're going to have 300, then you get there. And if there's 100, you feel blessed.

[00:14:16] Lucky Yeah. Yeah.

[00:14:18] So I mean, you really got to watch that. And if you're a speaker thinking about going on somebody's platform, you need to do your research ahead of time in terms of who spoken there before or what price points did they sell at, what was their success rate. I mean, who who closed the best as best you could find out at what price point? And really dig into it so that, number one, you can better trust or not trust the numbers that the promoter's thrown at you in terms of attendees, etc..

[00:14:48] And this is so important no matter who you are, because I remember always kind of chuckling because I don't know if you recall or not, because I'm certainly not your main focus when you're at an event. But I was always the first one there. I listened to every single speaker. I was always the last one to leave because like you said about duplicating content, somebody before me, if I hadn't been in the room, I wouldn't have known what they said. And I could say something either completely opposite or go down and start saying the exact same thing and then look like an idiot.

[00:15:21] So reuse the same joke or whatever.

[00:15:23] Exactly. Yeah. So but I used to laugh because I'd see these divas march in the room with their entourage and and then, of course, they're too important. They've got to catch a plane. So they bust out of the room afterwards. And then I take home all the money because I talked to people and was there and I knew what was going on. I didn't just blow in. Ego wise.

[00:15:44] Yeah, I really commend you for that, Tom, because one of my biggest pet peeves in the whole industry is the hit and run speaker. I mean, they show up 10 minutes before they're supposed to talk and they're like, you say, they're out the door just as soon as they're done. So they have no real chance of building any more rapport with that audience to help the promoter out and generate more sales. And they just come across as a prima donna.

[00:16:04] And some of the sales they get. I'm sure you're aware of chargebacks and returns on a lot of these people because like you said, there's no rapport that they built. You know, somebody got excited artificially and then felt like they were divorced all of a sudden.

[00:16:21] Yeah, temporary excitement because I've seen it more than one time. But a speaker goes up and wows the crowd. But when you get to really analyzing what they did, they delivered almost no content whatsoever, no truly actionable information. And then after the event, you know, you get 60% of the people were more refunding. Well, no wonder, I mean, that temporary high went away and then they realized that they weren't getting crap.

[00:16:45] Yeah, that's for sure. And I don't know if you're aware, when I went after some real fraudulent speakers and, you know, they, they, they were excellent. They were sociopaths, basically. They were professional level con people, and then they didn't come through and just robbing people. And then they had a team of lawyers scaring people. So it was a pretty there was some pretty dirty people in the industry.

[00:17:09] I mean, I think your first obligation as a speaker is to deliver outstanding content to the audience. I mean, you obviously have other obligations to the promoter, to, you know, your staff and team, to any stakeholder in your business and all that. But your first and foremost, you should be delivering outstanding content to the audience now. And your in your opinion, Tom, what percentage of a speech should be content? What percent can you dedicate toward the closed part of it?

[00:17:38] Well, I usually if you're talking about the time on stage, I am probably 90% content and 10% sales. However, that's not the whole story because I had people loving me before I even got to the event. I'm sure you're aware I shot videos for author 101. I did pre-conference classes where I'm given content. People couldn't wait to meet me. I did an early bird session with no selling 100% content for people that flew in early, you know, So that all added up to me just hitting Grand Slams every time. I don't think I ever did less than 100 grand ever at one of those in the high was 250. And there's we're only talking 250, 200 to 300 people. So so on stage, it's not the only thing. It's what you do to be a professional around the whole thing. And and again, I'm standing in the hallway talking to people. I remember this one guy. He was like, I mean, look like an old hippie, but he had feathers hanging off of them with, you know, Indian clothes. I don't know. Nobody would talk to him and I would just sit back and answer his questions and everything. He ended up plunking down three different mentor programs. For me, it was like $15,000 because nobody would talk to him. You know, they were all divas. And and then I would always be the last one to leave. And people that were on the fence would talk to me, talk to me, and then all of a sudden sign up, you know? So it's all these other things, Bret, that that add up to the sale rather than that exact 90 minutes on stage.

[00:19:24] And but you I mean, you're a professional and you recognize the value of doing all those things ahead of time. And that's a valuable lesson for any speaker listening here. Are you prepared to lay that groundwork for an event so that you can achieve maximum success at the event itself? And so many people aren't willing to take that proactive stance.

[00:19:43] So I know you're going to be working with a lot of these people. I would just encourage them, you know, you're kind of wasting your time if you're only shooting for the thinking that you're going to hit the Grand Slams by just jumping in on stage and trying to do a good job because all this other stuff is what made it happen, not just the time on stage. I mean, I was pretty damn good on stage, but that wasn't the only part of it, is what I'm saying.

[00:20:08] Yes, that's such an important lesson there. So, you know, we talked about the hit and run speaker kind of being a prima donna. What are some examples? You've seen a prima donnas at events because I've seen some doozies. Yeah.

[00:20:21] Yeah, yeah. Go ahead and name them all you got.

[00:20:27] You know, you got the guy who insisted on having only green Eminem's right, waiting to speak, you know, Or the lady that has to have a certain type of exotic bottled water to exactly 57.6 degrees up there for her. Or the guy that you mentioned who shows up with his entourage. Expect them all to be competent to the event and then given premium seating to boot. I mean.

[00:20:52] Yeah, and I love those people because I took home all the money.

[00:20:58] You know, or you got the guy who goes 20 or 30 minutes over his time slot. You know, ignores the back, ignores the back of the clock, and then to boot, because he isn't happy with the sales begs the promoter to get back up on the stage and do another pitch.

[00:21:12] Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, man, I've seen that a lot of times. Yeah. And I again, that when that happened to me early in my career. New contract clause. No matter what the is going on, my time will not be cut. So because yeah it throws the whole event off for the the crowd and and the promoter and everything and then it gets running really late and then so people, some of the more inexperienced speakers start talking faster because they there are times cut. Oh yeah, it can turn really bad but what are some of the what are some of the things that stood out is really great that you thought, man, that person's really doing it. And of course you can leave me out of it.

[00:21:58] Well, there's this character named Tom or whatever, you know, he was always primarily the keynoter at these events, even they were even though they were multi speaker events. I mean, you could see that he knew how to deliver to the audience. And, you know, it's interesting, Tom, because, you know, a lot of times as a new speaker, you have to pay your dues.

[00:22:20] Absolutely.

[00:22:21] And you have no say so whatsoever. What kind of speaking slot you're going to get, how much time you're going to have, whether you're going to be on the first day, the last day of the morning, the afternoon or whatever. And so. I saw in you and then very few other people, the ability to be effective in almost any speaking slot. I mean, some people love to be the first speaker. Some people would love to be the last. But if you're the first guy after lunch or the first thing in the morning and that can be a tough road to hoe, and the guys who have been able to master that when they ended up in that slot are the guys that I most admire in the industry, honestly. I mean, they can go with the flow and deliver at any time, at any place.

[00:23:04] Yeah, and it's not that I liked it, you know, because I got to the point where my contract would demand certain time spots. But you had to get there. And I remember one time I was at an early bird session with me and 16 other speakers and like 7 a.m. session. And that's terrible for me because I'm high humor and seven in the morning is no good. So I skipped the banquet and you kind of know what I look like. So, you know, I don't skip that many meals. So and I went to all 50 tables at the banquet and did a funny magic trick. And then I made a quick pitch, Hey, I got to do an early bird session. If you're there, I'll make it worth your while. And everybody's laughing, having a good time. It was standing room only at 6 a.m. and meeting players, begging me to stay and do another session because we the room was going to be too full for fire marshal, you know. So that's what I'm talking about doing being a pro and paying attention rather than just stuffing your face at the banquet.

[00:24:02] And you also got to be prepared to seize opportunities. A few years ago, I was at an event and I watched a friend get carted away in an ambulance and I could see the panic on the promoter's face because the person carted away was actually the next speaker scheduled to be on the agenda. Wow. So if you're and the promoter, what the hell am I going to do? I mean, I've got this obligation to deliver content. I got to keep my audience happy. And if you're a speaker, there's an opportunity there for you that you need to recognize. And that's by having a back pocket speech I call a second speech that you could deliver on a moment's notice to the audience and deliver them value valuable content. Not only will you be a hero in the eyes of the promoter, but you also have a much better chance to build rapport with that audience. So when you have your other speaking slot, maybe where you're selling, you should even have a greater success because you've built even more rapport with that crowd. Yeah, you may never need that back pocket speech, but it's nice to have it handy so that opportunity presents itself. You're the one that can be the hero. Yeah.

[00:25:02] And I started doing that with the early bird sessions where there was no selling. And then also on stage, I always, you know, the way I teach professional speakers is to have three different lengths of your stories, because if you're on a radio interview, a three minute radio interview, you can't go on for a five minute story. But you know, on stage you can have a mid range or a long range. So I had various ranges ready to go no matter what the time slot. I could fit it in without being, you know, sweating it out or talking faster, which is the kiss of death. You know, you're just confusing people. So but but these the business owners and entrepreneurs that you want to work with, they kind of have to realize if you want to cross over and be a pro, it's different than being a Toastmaster reject.

[00:25:55] So now a couple of other things. I see mistakes as speakers make, Tom, that most people don't think about is you've heard that phrase harvesting their list before. I'm sure you know the speaker that goes into event, a multi speaker event, usually with the sole purpose of just basically gathering as many emails from that crowd as possible. So they offer a freebie or a very low cost thing just to try to capture the event promoters list.

[00:26:20] The promoter is not going to be happy.

[00:26:22] I mean, so.

[00:26:23] I've saw I've seen some really big guys do that and sucked everybody out of a 100 person crowd into something else where the promoter would get cut out of his commission that got his big name. He had to he had to go to Asia to speak because no promoters would have him around here.

[00:26:40] Yeah, just don't do it if you're a speaker. I mean, the promoter is going to make their money in the back of the room and so they're expecting you to sell higher ticket items. I mean, they're not interested in 47 or $97 products in the back of the room. They want a thousand or 2000 products.

[00:26:56] Yeah, mine was 4995, this discount. So it's almost 5000 bucks a person.

[00:27:02] Yeah.

[00:27:03] I mean, so they will they want people that can close up there obviously, but they want people that have price points and make it worth their while to be up there. And those list harvesters that, you know, aren't going to contribute anything to the bottom line. Well, you know, speaking industry is big, but it ain't so big. It really because promoters talk. And if you get that reputation, then we're going to spread the word, so to speak, and you won't be invited on those stages.

[00:27:28] Yeah, exactly. It'll be you might make a short term hit to get the email addresses, but. It, then you're never going to be invited back. That's for sure. Yeah. So. So we've got to take a response, a break. When we come back, we'll ask Bret what a typical day looks like for him. And and I think he's got a freebie for you that might interest you. So. So, folks, about 25 years ago or so, I kind of turned the Internet and digital marketing world on its head. And the people at my level were charging 50 grand or even 100 grand to teach you what they knew. And I knew these people. A lot of them were rip offs and you give them 50 grand up front, you'd never see him again. So. So I said, You know, that's too risky. I'm going to turn this on its head. And so I just charged an entry fee and then I tied my success to your success. So for me to get my 50 grand, you had to net 200 grand. Well, people really love this. And this is one of the reasons I was able to beat everybody back in the room sales because I gave the value and people knew that I wouldn't disappear on them because I'd never get my big money. And so 1800 students later, it's still going strong. It's the longest running, most successful, most unique Internet and digital mentor program ever. I triple dog dare people to put their program up against mine, and they're too embarrassed to do it because I'm a crazy fanatic.

[00:28:51] I've got this $2 million retreat center where you spend an immersion weekend actually living in there with me and the we have our TV studio here where we shoot marketing videos for you. It's all one on one. You don't get lumped in with people that are more advanced or less advanced. You have access to my entire team. You know, it's it's just amazingly popular and still still going strong after all these years. Plus, you get a scholarship to my I have the only licensed, dedicated Internet and digital marketing school in the country, probably the world. You get a scholarship to that school that you can either use yourself for extra training or gift to someone that's some loved one that you don't want to have. Go to these four year indoctrination camps that they call colleges nowadays. And and and then they get out with an MBA and they're competing for jobs at Starbucks. So not my people. My six months, you can get a certificate in Internet and digital marketing and either start your own company or work for somebody else or both. And it's a skill that's highly in-demand everywhere. So check it out at greatInternetmarketingtraining.com.

[00:30:07] Now let's get back to the main event. We got Bret Ridgway here. He's the long time industry veteran in the speaking business, highly respected everywhere he goes and his name precedes him. So Bret, what's a typical day look like for you nowadays?

[00:30:22] You know, Tom, I built speaker fulfillment services almost entirely off of relationship marketing because I've been in the back room of the event getting to know the speakers and all that. So word of mouth referrals built that business to a multimillion dollar company. And so, you know, now that I'm branching off into the Bret Ridgway thing versus the company thing, I'm finding I'm spending a ton of my time these days basically just networking, you know, getting into these virtual summits and these other networking online events where you can meet with other speakers and collaborate and all that and using the services out there that are available that I'd never touched before, like, you know, pod match, etc., to find various venues where I can share a little bit of wisdom and all that. So, you know, networking is probably tying up only, say, 50 to 60% of my time these days.

[00:31:10] Well, maybe you should be on my screw the commute summit coming up in January.

[00:31:16] Yeah, I'd love to.

[00:31:17] Yeah, I've done a couple. I've done three summits in the last couple of months. Two of them were really running in a new kind of way. That's much better where you don't have to sit there all day long and then hit the person you want to listen to at a certain time. These all the recordings are released the morning of a certain day, and then they're available for 48 hours. So people really love that. So again, I cleaned up. I was the biggest seller, both of them. And I think this third one was run in the old fashioned way where you had to sit there. I think I won that back of the room.

[00:31:54] But I always tell people like yourself, Tom, I'm happy to participate. If you think I can add value to your crowd.

[00:32:01] Yes, absolutely. I know you can. Like I said, I'm very particular because the guy that's helping run it, I said, you know, I'm going to have veto power on who we have on here because I'm not going to have some of these people. I know they're rip offs on here for sure. Give us more of the insight of Mr. Bret. Do you get up early? Do you have a morning routine? Do you work out? Do you what do you eat? What's what's the typical day look like for you?

[00:32:23] Yeah. So, you know, I was I was doing a lot of walking because recently my wife and I did a trip to the Middle East, to the Holy Land. And so I knew the.

[00:32:31] Long walk there. I mean.

[00:32:33] It wasn't long, but I mean, I knew there'd be a lot of walking involved. So, you know, three or four times a week, I was getting out and doing, you know, a couple of miles or whatever to make sure my legs were ready and all that. Now, now that the colder weather is selling in here, you know, that's getting a little less frequent or whatever.

[00:32:47] And what Indiana.

[00:32:48] I'm in Indiana, so it's 40 something today. Not too bad, but it's been down in the teens and all that stuff. And fortunately, no snow on the ground right now. But that'll come eventually. So, you know, some walking and then, you know, honestly, time it was time for me to go out and do some different things from the fulfillment company because I'd been at that for 20 years or whatever. So the new venture is kind of reinvigorated me and I actually look forward to getting up and I'll come into the office at 630 or seven in the morning and things, and if I need to do weekend things and all that, I wasn't doing that before, but I'm happy to do that now because, you know, if you're an entrepreneur, as you know, you've got to get out there and meet people when they're available to me. And sometimes that's in the evening or sometimes that's on the weekends. So I don't I don't keep a fixed schedule per se, but I'm probably working a few more hours a week than I was when I was with the fulfillment company.

[00:33:41] Yeah, they say an entrepreneur is willing to work 18 hours a week for himself to get out of working 8 hours a week or something else.

[00:33:50] I mean, a day, I hope.

[00:33:51] Yeah, Yeah.

[00:33:54] That's right. Yeah.

[00:33:56] So I, you know, I'm I'm married 38 years. I have three kids all grown up. I have two grandkids. You know, I'm a grizzled old veteran, as I say, of the speaking industry. And, you know, it's a great new adventure. Looking forward to it, man.

[00:34:09] All right. So you had the site downloaded today is full of great. It's not real long, but it's full of great information. What what's tell them about it?

[00:34:18] Sure. I'd invite people if they, you know, want to pursue speaking as a career to get my free special report. Three key things entrepreneurs must master to build a profitable speaking business. And it's about building a profitable business. I mean, there's lots of information out there about getting gigs or becoming a more effective speaker, but it's, you know, how you build a business and all that to a certain extent. And you can pick up that free special report at BretRidgway.com/freebie.

[00:34:51] We'll have that in the show notes too and yeah you can download that and and even though it's short you don't just zoom through it because each sentence is kind of really important thing. I might also mention, Tom, I've got a new book coming out after the first of the year called How to Build a Profitable Speaking Business. And if they go to buildaprofitablespeakingbusiness.com, they can opt in there to be notified when the book actually launches. But Morgan James is publishing that and it's going to get out as early in 2023 as I can push him to get it out.

[00:35:32] Great. Yeah, that's beautiful. And then you have one something about the view from the back or something like that.

[00:35:39] Yeah. The first book I actually wrote years ago was called View from the Back 101 Tips for event Promoters who want to dramatically increase back of the room sales. And it was just little things that you should do as an event promoter to make sure you're not distracting your speaker in some way with banging doors or bad microphones or whatever may be just little hints or whatever. But that was the first one. I wrote that book, probably 15 years old, honestly.

[00:36:02] Tom But some of the tips still, still.

[00:36:05] David Still applies.

[00:36:07] Man Exactly. Well, thanks for coming on. Good catching up with you, man.

[00:36:11] It was great, Tom. I appreciate it so much. Thank you, sir.

[00:36:13] Okey dokey, folks. So, BretRidgway.com/freebie.

[00:36:28] Buildaprofitablespeakingbusiness.com.

[00:36:33] All right everybody we'll catch on the next episode. Remember Monday, I'm going to give you my one month results on TikTok. And so far I've got 37,000 video views and I'm studying like crazy and learning all the tips and tricks, though, so we'll let you know on Monday. All right. We'll catch you on the next episode. See you later.