Ryan Foland speaks with Lori Granito, an award-winning entrepreneur, and a TEDx Speaker Coach. She coaches clients on how to go from idea to reality, as well as how to generate more speaking opportunities by using the TEDx platform.
Ryan and Lori talk about how to turn difficult situations into messages worth sharing. They also dip into some very practical advice about how to monetize your talk, how to structure storytelling and how to build credibility, even if you are a relatively new speaker.
Listen to this podcast to find out:
- Why and how to book a TEDx Talk
- Why speaker applications that sit on your desktop aren’t helping anyone: You need to hit and send it!
- An easy way to structure your content (spoiler: it's a sandwich) to effectively share ideas.
- How to make monetize after your first TEDx Talk
- The low-down on speaker websites, what you need and what you don’t.
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Lori Granito: Hey there, this is Lori Granito. I just had so much fun speaking with Ryan from the World of Speakers.
We talked about everything, from my "W.O.W Method", to how to monetize your own speaking business, and how to get on the TEDx stage.
We also talked about being emotionally "nekkid", and you'll hear about that a little bit later. I'm looking forward to having you all on the podcast!
Ryan Foland: We are back. I am here today with Lori Granito who is a three-time TEDx speaker, who is an inspiration coming from the projects and now lives in Hong Kong.
She likes to cook and her husband is also a cook; she likes to sleep in. I am excited to learn how you continue to do what you're doing and your passion for helping entrepreneurs.
Good morning? Afternoon? Evening? However it is. How is it in Hong Kong right now? Where is it, 16, 17 hours?
LG: I am not sure where you are based, Ryan?
RF: I am out of Los Angeles.
LG: Okay, I think we are 16 hours, it's 7:30 in the morning here, just about.
RF: Okay, well good morning then, how's that?
LG: That's fine, thank you. Thank you, it's such a pleasure to be here with you.
RF: Let's start by learning more about you. You've got an interesting past and you're in Hong Kong, so that's kind of cool there, too.
I was recently in Hong Kong. I was speaking at the China Marketing Summit, and I love Hong Kong, it's very very cool.
Actually, I'm sorry, I get confused— Hong Kong is not China?
LG: That's right.
RF: I was in Hong Kong for the RISE conference and then Shenzhen for the China Marketing Summit.
LG: You don't want to get those two confused when you're talking to somebody from Hong Kong.
RF: I spoke in Hong Kong and I was like, "I'm so glad to be here in China," and everybody just went silent, I'm like, "Oh my gosh, what did I do?"
There I did it again, but that's the first piece of advice and I will take that wholeheartedly.
How did you end up in Hong Kong?
LG: I came with my husband.
We had just gotten married after, one of my aunts would say "after shacking up for five years."
I just told him, "Wherever we move to, it had to be somewhere where I had the opportunity to work if I wanted to."
I fully expected to come to Hong Kong and be what we call the “Tai Tai”, the wife that doesn't have to work, and I could just do some charity stuff.
Then the reality set in.
When we got here, I realized that not working was not an option because everything was so expensive?
My background was in sales and marketing, so the first job that I actually had was in retail stores there, export manager here. Then I sort of fell into cooking as a fluke.
RF: Your husband is a chef, is that correct?
LG: He is, he is a three-star Michelin trained chef. I actually met him in New Orleans because he was the resident chef for a three-star Michelin restaurant in France.
RF: Interesting. It's funny how I have a chance to meet all these people from around the world who speak around the world.
The one thing that seems to be consistent is how you maybe wouldn't expect what ends up happening from where it all starts.
It's always exciting to hear that path and that journey, where the opportunity presents itself and you end up sort of plunking from one to the other, but at the end of the day, that's your story.
It sounds like you've shared your story quite a bit, and you help people share their stories, is that correct?
LG: That's correct. I have been really fortunate to be able to do three TEDx Talks. I'm about to do my fourth talk at the end of November 2017.
I think one of the things that I always tell people that I help, what I learned was that the power is when you make your mess your message.
RF: Your messages and your mess, I like that. Were things truly messy for you, and is that where you got the content for your story?
LG: Like a lot of people, I had wanted to do a TEDx for a long time, I was hooked on all of the videos.
To be honest with you, I had so much shame around my story.
Hong Kong is very much a place where you don't want to lose face, everybody has sort of a facade, as we would say back home, "You don't want people all up in your business".
That was really one of the things that held me back. I actually filled in the application but left it open on my computer for 3 weeks.
I had this thing in my head, I didn't have any fancy credentials, I dropped out of the university.
They had already announced that one of the speakers would be the person who was the number two in the Hong Kong government. Then another speaker was a Bloomberg television anchor.
And so I was thinking, "There's no way they're going to pick me." I had it open on my computer for 3 weeks.
One of my girlfriends came over and she's was like, "Why haven't you sent that in?"
I was like, "Oh, I still need to tweak some things," and she just walked up to my computer and hit “Send”. That was it.
RF: That's a good friend right there. That's an interesting story in itself about just hitting the “Go” button or the “Start” button.
LG: Yeah, exactly; because I'm not sure that I would have. I like to think that I would have, but there are so much self-doubt and so much hesitation.
Like I said, there was so much shame around the story that I just didn't know if I had the courage to actually get up and tell people.
Once I got shortlisted, we actually had to do an open-mic. There was an open-mic audition.
In my mind, I thought it would be one of those auditions you see on TV, where people go for their dance auditions or whatever.
You have in your mind there is a table with 5 people there, and you walk in, you do your thing and then you leave, and they decide afterwards.
Well, we got to this place and I didn't realize they had actually sold tickets to this open-mic thing and there were 200 people there.
RF: It was like a little salon event for them or something, right?
RF: Okay, lady gets thrown under the bus! It's like, "Welcome."
LG: They had sent out an email saying that we had 4 to 5 minutes. When we got there they had 30 people that were auditioning.
By the time they got halfway through, they were so behind the schedule that the people that were in the other half, they came to us and said, "Oh, now you only have 3 to 4 minutes."
You're already nervous, you're trying to remember everything you are supposed to say and then you have got to cut out 25% of it.
RF: That's a mess itself, right?
LG: Exactly. It was a lot of fun, but it was so nerve-wracking.
Out of that open mic audition, they picked I guess what you would say "Unknowns", they picked 6 people.
RF: And you happened to be one of them?
LG: I happened to be one, that's right.
RF: When you were growing up, did you have a propensity to speak in public, or is it something that you were super gregarious?
Was that always in your blood, or did you just somehow decide that you wanted to, because you like the talks?
How did that originate?
LG: I was always that kid in class, the one that was always running their mouth, getting in trouble. I was talking behind the teachers' back, that was me.
I never imagined that I would be doing something involving speaking as a career. I never imagined that I would have been in the restaurant business either, but I kind of fell into it.
After the first TED Talk, one of the organizers actually came to me and said, "Hey, I have a company that I'm doing an event for. Would you mind coming to speak to them, and they'll pay you?"
I thought, "They'll pay me? Just tell me—"
LG: "And they are going to give me lunch at the Ritz Carlton? Just tell me where to show up."
RF: You're like, "I'd like to press “Submit” now, please."
LG: I just thought, "Wow, this is a thing, people get paid for this?! Just for talking?"
That was how I got into speaking. It wasn't a grand plan or anything.
RF: That's what makes it exciting probably and what makes your authenticity shine through.
There are people that work and spend years crafting their craft, but maybe as a result of that, they lose that— I don't know what you would call it, that genuine beginner's luck.
I'm assuming that you get better and better and better, but you're the person that was talking in class, you're the person that's sort of loud in social.
You've got a message to share, and that's a perfect storm for it.
You're not classically trained, which I think is great.
LG: Doing this professionally for the last two years, the one thing that I have really noticed is that when people try to get into this business, they are often extremely guarded.
Even if they share little bits of their story, there's always the parts that it's like, "We don't want anybody to see our ugly."
I'm from the south, I think you got to get emotionally “nekkid”— we don't say naked, we say “nekkid”.
You've got to get emotionally naked, because that is where the beauty is, that's when you become human, that's when you connect with people because everybody has got something going on with them.
There’s going to be somebody in that audience that's going to connect with you.
I'll tell you, my first TEDx Talk was a two and a half years ago, and a guy walked up to me and said, "I remember your talk, and because of you I didn't give up in my business."
That for me is what it is really all about. I had never met him before.
RF: For those people who haven't seen that first TEDx, what was the main message? What was your mess that you were sharing as a message?
LG: The main message was, "Just keep swimming."
There is a bit of a story behind that. I had two restaurants, as I said, I'd fallen into the food business and I wound up opening this big, beautiful restaurant that I had for 7 years.
It was really my baby, it was a New Orleans themed restaurant. We were so busy when we first opened that we had a waiting list of 3 months.
The area that we were in was a very new, up and coming area and Hong Kong is very much known for landlords gouging tenants, that's just the reality. Our rent tripled.
It was right after 9/11, there weren't a lot of the people coming into town. The economy was bad, it was right after the financial crisis.
I had to wind up closing the restaurant. It was so traumatic for me because really it was my baby, I had just had a baby, but that was my second baby.
I went into this really deep depression. We were extremely broke, it was just a scramble every single month.
I remember my lowest point came that I had to go down the hill and, you know that when you don't have a lot of money you know exactly how much you got into your bank account?
I knew that I had $100 HKD in my bank account, which is $13USD.
I had gone down to the bank to get the money out of the bank machine, and I forgot that they had to take out the bank charges, so I had $97HKD left in my account.
I had to go into the bank and line up, and then write a check to get that money out, because I had to go and buy diapers.
Everybody thought my daughter was potty trained because I was this super mom. They didn't realize it was because I didn't have money to buy diapers, so I was waking her up saying, "You've got to be potty trained."
I remember it was in August and the weather in Hong Kong is very much like New Orleans, it's hot, it's humid, it's horrible.
I remember walking back up the hill and I didn't even have the coins to get on the bus, to get back up there and this was a really steep hill, getting back up to my place.
About the time I got to my door, I was not only drenched in sweat, but in this humiliation. I kept having a picture of this teller with the smirk on her face as she slid the money across the counter to me.
I got in, and we had a lady that had been watching my daughter and she left.
If you have anybody with kids or toddlers, they would know that if you want to get your kids to give you a little bit of space, then you just put them in front of a TV with their favorite video.
My daughter's favorite video at the time was "Finding Nemo". I remember I had a third of a bottle of cheap Paul Masson wine, because it was the cheapest thing that was, and I just thought, "I am going to have a glass of wine and a good cry."
I put her in front of her video, I got my low cheap wine, I went into the bedroom and I sat on the bed.
I was literally surrounded by this power bills, and there was a yellow card for the electricity that was final notice, and then I had the gas which was definitely being cut off the next day.
We had this portable gas camping burner, and I remember mentally calculating how many times I would have to boil water on that gas camping burner to fill a bathtub to give my daughter a bath, when gas went off.
I was sitting there having my pity party of one, drinking my cheap wine, crying my eyes out.
And then I heard my daughter starts singing in a living room, she was going, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming."
I always tell people, "I would love to be able to tell a different story than Ellen Degeneres voice-over of a crazy fish that snapped me out of this, but that was what it was!”
I just realized in that moment, that I had to figure out a way to just hold on. I had fallen so deep into this dark space, and that was sort of when I decided that I needed to figure out a way to ask for help.
I need to figure out a way to get myself out of this. That was sort of where my story came from.
As an entrepreneur, failure is part of your journey.
But you need to be able, no matter how difficult it gets, no matter if you feel like you're drowning in a sea of overwhelm, or if you're just at a stage where you're just trying to hang on and tread water— you just have to keep swimming and eventually you'll get to where you want to go.
RF: Wow, what a real story. At the end of the day, that's what you're talking about.
Humility and the Humiliation combined with the Humidity put the triple “H” on you.
Then you get a singing fish, and it almost takes all of that as a perfect storm to have that realization.
It sounds like the magic is in your strength or your courage to share that.
Even though you were too afraid to push the button, you had somebody else push it for you, and then it just sort of happened from there.
Is that really the core message that you give when you train people for TED talks— finding that mess and building it around that?
LG: It's not always a mess but I do tell people that you have to find a story that is.
TEDx is not just about being able to tell a good story, it's really about having people leave with an idea. It really is about the idea worth sharing.
This is why I tell people that, "You don't have to be a famous person, or have any fancy credentials or anything like that. You just really have to have a great idea."
One of the biggest things that people miss and one of the things that I understood later is that most of it is mental.
I just remember sitting with that application on my computer for 3 weeks and thinking, "My story wasn't good enough, I wasn't good enough. Was I really going to tell people this stuff that had happened to me?"
To be honest, I didn't even tell that to my husband before I walked on the stage where I was talking about it. “I have just got to go out there and do it, I don't want anybody to know before I actually do it.”
RF: That's great.
LG: It's really about being in a space where you can sit back and say, "Okay, who am I?" And, "This is who I am."
Almost like when you see the guys before a football game and they are pumping themselves up, and they are getting in that mental state where they can be able to go out and crush the competition.
You really have to psych yourself up and remind yourself what you have gone through, what you have climbed over, everything you have overcome to get to that stage.
Then that gives you the courage to say, "Hit and send is so much of a smaller task than everything else that I've done."
RF: Hashtag #Hit&Send. For all those people that are out there with an open application on your computer, #Hit&Send.
I like that. That's just the beginning, that's just the start.
I know you work with a lot of speakers. I want to know your best tips or your best presentation tips? Something that maybe is unique to you.
I know you help people find the stories, you make sure that these stories are real.
What are some of the tactical things that you do with your clients?
What are some of the things that you would encourage people to do on their own to not only identify this story, but share it in a way that has the highest chance of crushing the audience in a good way, to go back to that football analogy— for the game day?
LG: There are a couple of things. I really encourage people to write their stories out, so that they can look at them on paper and leave space in between.
Inevitably, when we tell our stories for the first time, people generally do what I call "Surface Talking". They tell the story to you, but they don't make you feel the story.
The best tip that I can give people is to really allow yourself to add texture to whatever it is that you are speaking.
For example, in TEDx you have the finite amount of time. When I first did that talk I wasn't able to tell people that story about walking up the hill and that the hill was so steep, that by the time I reached my door I was drenched not just in sweat but in humiliation as well.
You really want people to be able to feel what you're feeling. In order to do that, you have to put those feelings down on paper.
I go through a process where people write the story out and then I tell them, "Tell me what you are feeling, tell me what you saw.”
”Tell me if the room was cold, tell me if your back was hurting, if you had to carry something."
That really puts a lot more texture and then people feel like they are actually there with you.
RF: It's like taking visual language to a whole new level, talking to people and asking them, "What were you feeling during the time they are describing what they were doing." This doing versus feeling— I like that.
When somebody has it all written out, and then you work with them to pull out these emotions, the feelings, setting the scene— do you have a certain pattern that you work people through?
Or, a certain structure from the messaging standpoint, if they have a story and now they've got already probably a long story with now all this added emotion?
Is part of your process helping them to whittle that down?
Sometimes that seems like that's a difficult part?
LG: Yeah, that is the hardest part.
I will tell you, when I did the first draft of my first TED Talk, I had it on my computer, I read it, I was like, "Damn, this is good."
Then I timed it, and it was 38 minutes long. I only had 10 minutes. I had to cut out almost three-quarters of it.
One of the biggest parts of the process is really whittling it down and cutting out the fluff because in every event it really depends on a curator how long you would have.
Being able to do a keynote is very different because you've got 45 minutes to lay back and tell your story.
I usually use a very clear structure of content-story-content, where people get the content which is the actual lessons that they want to convey.
Those are two pillars, and then in the middle, you'll have your story.
Sometimes that changes up depending on whether the story will have the most impact at the beginning of a speech or at the end, but it's always anchored on the sides by the content.
At the end of the day, a great story is great, but you do want people to be able to walk away with something that still resonates with them.
RF: Would you call it a content sandwich? I know there's a compliment sandwich, I've got a thing called the 3-1-3 sandwich.
I like to think of things in sandwiches, but is this a content sandwich, so you have the content sandwiches the story?
LG: That's correct, it is the content sandwich, I like that. I might have to steal that Ryan.
RF: You are welcome to it. Then you can have a vegetarian one, and then depending on your story, you can throw some pickles on there, maybe some jalapenos and steam it up a bit. I like that.
How are you going to transition from the bun or the content to the story? You've got to have something that is the buffer. I like that, the content sandwich.
With that structure then, you're able to extract the fluff, but keep the feeling?
Ultimately, everybody knows that it's so boring when you're listening to somebody speaking and all they're doing is giving you content, content, content with no way that it relates to your life.
Of course, you have to know your audience as well. Some stories don't resonate the same way as others do. I do have several different stories that I use.
One of the other topics that I speak about quite often is this negative self-talk, I call it "the biggest bully is you."
I'll tell you one more thing that folks don't know about me— I was actually a contestant on the Biggest Loser Asia about 7 years ago. One of the only two Americans, the last woman standing, I came in fourth.
I love running, that's always been one of my things and I was running about 10 or 12 kilometers every morning.
There's a path here called Bowen Road, it's 4 kilometers each way, so it's a 5-mile running each way.
I had started gaining a little weight and so I had this thing going on in my head, "Okay, I don't want to go out there because people are going to be talking about me and all of this kind of stuff, look, she gained weight again."
I had all of this what I called "bullshit stories" going on in my head. Then one day, I decided, "Okay, I'm just going to get back out there."
It's a trail where you've got a lot of people who are there every single day. You have all of the old Chinese people, they go out and do tai-chi, and they go out for their morning strolls.
There's this one old guy, he can't even walk by himself, he has two helpers that help him come out for his morning walk and I would see him all the time as I would go to the end to the first finish of the 4 kilometers.
He'd always say "jo san," which is good morning. I didn't even know if he spoke English.
The first day I went back up there, I'm really keeping my head down because I had gained some weight, I'm embarrassed, I don't want people look at me.
I got down there, and this big smile came across his face and he said, "Where have you been, we missed you so much!"
I've been telling myself all kinds of stuff in my head, and people are not even thinking about that; we're legends in our own mind when nobody else is even worried about us.
RF: You are your own worst critic, you're almost creating your own reality based on what you think and then you find cues in the universe to reinforce it.
RF: I think there's actually some evolutionary things within there, where whenever you are thinking, your brain tries to find the atmospheric indicators if that's a case.
An example is being in traffic, if you're in traffic you are like, "Oh my gosh, I'm going to be late."
Then everything from that point is trying to reinforce in your brain that you're going to be late. "That car is going too slow— oh my gosh, I missed that light."
You sort of manifest things that are out there, but just interpret them differently. Is that the idea?
LG: Yeah, absolutely. The funny thing was that after that, on the 4 kilometers coming back, when I had my head up everybody I saw was like waving and saying, "Good morning."
I wasn't paying attention to the way going in, I was so into beating myself up and kicking myself for what I hadn't done, that I wasn't even seeing the signals of people welcoming me back.
RF: And are you applying that concept to speakers to empower them to lessen their self-talk and gain self-confidence?
Not worrying about what the audience is thinking? Is that part of it?
LG: Yes, I actually have. I actually created this method called "The W.O.W Method".
LG: Yes, it's called "The W.O.W Method".
RF: I like it.
LG: The "W" stands for "Who am I and why am I doing this."
Part of that is reinforcing of what you've been through, where you've come from, and reminding you that there is a reason that you've gotten to the point that you are now.
Then, “Why am I here” reminds people, a lot of people when they get out of their own head, and remember that the reason they want to tell their story is they may be about to not only inspire someone else and help them in their lives, they might even be saving somebody's life.
When people start remembering that, "Okay you know what I'm about to say is not really about me it's about who I'm about to serve," that kind of snaps them out of it.
Then the "O" is for "Owning your story", really owning that story, the good the bad and the ugly. That's when you've got to get emotionally naked.
Then the last "W" is for, when you put that texture on your story you want them to "Walk in your shoes". You want them to be able to feel what you are feeling.
RF: Honestly, you are a “W.O.W” user, I can tell.
In your stories that you've told, not only does it have to do with walking or running, but you describe the situation and it almost feels like I am there with you.
Taking the time to describe how you're feeling and what you're seeing and people's emotions, those little fine details create that atmosphere of feeling as you are saying in someone's shoes, in your running shoes, I guess too.
LG: That's right.That "W" is for "Having them walk in your shoes", as you are writing that talk.
That's when we start putting it on paper and we start putting texture, put a little bit of a flavor on it, as I say sometimes.
RF: Not a flavor, but flava'. Flava' while you're nekkid.
LG: Yeah, that's The "W.O.W Method" in a really quick, succinct manner.
RF: As we bridge into this last chunk of the show, I think that it would be really fun to find out one of the couple things that you could choose.
How you help people to monetize their message, or, if you are thinking and experiencing that getting on the TEDx stage is a path to monetization?
Maybe some tips on how to land a TEDx talk? Which of those would you like to explore for the next 15 minutes?
LG: We can do either one.
RF: Okay, how about we do both?
How do you get on the TEDx stage, and then how do you leverage being on the stage to monetize your message? How's that?
LG: That's perfect.
RF: Let's say it's some sort of a sandwich. Let's say monetization sandwich.
LG: I have met people that say, "Oh, I want to be on TED, I don't want to be on TEDx."
The difference between TED and TEDx is— TED Talks are actually organized by the TED organization and TEDx Talks are independently curated.
They have their own license and they have their own organizing committees and you could have two or three licenses in the same city.
If you are looking for a way to get yourself out there quickly, then a TEDx event is the way to go.
TED probably receives thousands of applications on a daily basis, and you go into a big pile and they do keep them all, but your chances are incredibly slim.
Whereas if you are looking for a TEDx event, your chances raise a little bit better, but you still have to do some work to get there.
I always tell people, "You've got to do your research, you've got to not expect that it will happen overnight."
I just worked with someone who had gotten 5 rejections from different TEDx events.
Within 3 months of working with her, because we crafted her message a little bit differently, as she did her pitch, she was able to get invited.
She's actually doing a talk in November as well, in a few weeks. We actually managed to get her an invitation within 3 months.
RF: Very cool.
LG: There are a few things that people can do to increase their chances. One is really to research the event, know what the theme is.
Don't be stuck in one particular story or the way you want to tell the story. The main thing is to remember that it is never, ever, ever about you.
TED Talks are never about your brand, never about what you have to sell. It is always about what is the message that you want people to walk away with.
I see so many people that want it as a credibility booster, and it's a great platform.
It's like the holy grail for speakers, everybody wants to get on a TEDx stage and it is a great way to increase your brand.
As I said, I didn't know that it was the possibility for me to start getting paid to speak until after I did the TEDx Talk.
The way that I was able to monetize it is that I had to really get comfortable with tooting my own horn.
We are taught to be humble and not in an arrogant way or in a way that is obnoxious, but to be able to own and say, "Yeah, I did do this."
I remember at one point, my mother she put this post on Facebook, I think I had done my second talk and I didn't tell her, it was just like, "Okay, it's another one."
She put a post on Facebook and it had a list of 10 articles that I had been in different newspapers, The Sydney Sun-Herald, different things that I had been in.
She said, "This is what it looks like when your daughter doesn't tell you anything and you've got a google her."
RF: Sorry, mom.
LG: I really had shied away from saying, "Okay, I'm really good at this, and I'd like to be doing it."
My business really took off when I started owning all the achievements that I had had, and said, "Okay, this is what I've achieved, but what you don't know about me is that this is where I came from to get here."
RF: That's interesting, that's a toot your own horn kind of sandwich right, maybe it's not a sandwich, maybe it's more like—
LG: It's a dip.
RF: It's a dip, yeah, I like it, it's the humble dip. You have got to make sure that your dip looks good, it's got to smell good, it's got the cheese, you got to make people want.
Then once they actually get the dip in with the chip, then it's like— there's a lot more that's in that dip.
LG: That is actually one of the techniques that I use.
"This is all of the accolades that I have, but what you don't know about me is this is where I came from, this is what I had to go through."
And then at the end of it, "And that's why I do XYZ. And that's why XYZ is so important to me."
RF: That's a nice way to frame that, it really is.
You're telling people, just so I can understand and so other people can learn, you're saying, "These are my accolades but you don't realize this is where I came from and why I'm doing what I'm doing is because of _________."
RF: It's a nice little formula right there.
RF: Do you have an acronym for that one or a name for it? Is that the dip theory?
LG: No, I just call it the dip.
RF: Okay, I got you.
LG: Sometimes I call it “The Pothole”.
RF: You know what it should be? Again this is all up to you, but what about a layer dip, right?
Everybody knows about the seven layer dip, so you've got these different layers and they all sort of together become a very yummy bite, but individually, if you were just to look at the sour cream, that's all your accolades.
But it goes deeper than that, there's some beans, and then still the bottom you've got the guacamole which is really where everybody is trying to get to.
You got the dip going, you got the TEDx that you're leveraging to build off of that. How do you continue to help people eat?
LG: I will say for me, one of the turning points in my business was I actually got myself a coach.
I knew how to run businesses, I still had restaurants, I still had a catering company, I'd actually just won a huge award from the American Chamber of Commerce for Entrepreneur of the Year.
I had people that were asking me to come and do these talks and I just listed with a speakers bureau and then I realized— I know nothing.
I don't know anything about this business. I didn't know if I was charging the right thing, if I was charging the wrong thing, what my contracts were supposed to look like.
I actually hired a coach. I remember sitting down with her, I had paid gobs of money to meet with her for this one day mastermind.
She said, "Okay, so you're going to be doing coaching now so how are you going to price your packages?"
I said, "Well, I'm going to price it at XYZ," because I'm a smart girl, I did my research right.
She said, "Well how did you come up with that price?" So I said, "Well, I went online and I checked and I did my research and that's the average of what people charge."
And she said to me, "Well, are you average?" I was like, "No."
And then she said, "This is how you're going to price, and this is why you're going to price that way, because there's always going to be people at that average mark.”
”But based on what you've done, you really need to own that you are worth this much and go out and charge it."
She gave me the price for the package, she said, "Now you go out and find 5 people that are going to pay that, and then when they pay you, increase your prices by this much."
In my mind, of course, I am thinking, "No one is going to pay me that."
RF: "My dip is not that expensive."
LG: I've knocked up this like cheesy pdf, so this is the other thing I want to tell people, "You need to start ugly, don't think you've got to have a perfect website."
I didn't have a website, my website is still all jacked up. Don't spend 20 hours on the Pantone color for your business card and all this kind of stuff.
I went out to this one-hour business card place, got some business cards made up.
I did this cheesy little pdf and I have gotten a referral of someone who wanted me to coach them to do, this is actually the lady who had gotten the 5 no's before I met her.
I sent it off to her and again, it was the hit and send thing, it's cheesy and I was like, "What if she says no, should I really keep it at that price? I don't think that coaching was what which he was talking about." Anyway, eventually, I hit send.
RF: Are you sure a friend didn't hit send for you?
LG: No, I did it that time.
RF: Okay, just checking, we are moving up.
LG: I did it that time, but it did take me all day.
RF: I don't know if you've used MailChimp? When you use it, it has a little sweaty monkey finger that's dripping sweat, you have to push it, it's like, "Oh no!"
LG: She emailed me back a couple hours later, and said, "Oh, this is great. I just have one question, can I pay you in two installments?"
And I was like, "That is exactly what you can do." I was confident all along.
RF: What a fun story to see from everything, right, how you sort of started very far from Hong Kong, ended up in Hong Kong, an entrepreneur who got rattled by the economy.
You went to a certain spot up a hill that was humid and you were humiliated because you had $97HKD, which is like $13USD, not enough to even buy diapers or heat the food that you need to eat.
You heard a little fish that was saying to keep swimming.
LG: That's right.
RF: That little fish kept you going and you have been not only swimming, but you are Michael Phelps style.
You've got coaches now, you've been 3-4 times on TEDx, I'm sure there's going to be more.
You've invented sandwiches and dips and everything like that and you're having a good time doing it.
LG: I sure am.
RF: What a pleasure to meet you. I'm super excited to now know you and excited to keep an eye on what's going on.
And definitely, I'll be following this next TEDx Talk that you have and happy to share it and I'm going to binge watch your other three tonight probably.
For people that want to do the same, is the best place to go your website that granted is not perfect, but still works?
LG: Yes, I have a couple of websites.
Actually, the one that I'm using now is for my new program called "Wow the TEDx stage", where I really dive deep with people into the “W.O.W Method” and getting them to actually hit send, getting them to put that pitch together, getting them to put that application together.
Like I said, it's not perfect but it's there.
RF: Done is better than perfect, and that's one of the main lessons here, right?
You don't have to have the accolades, you don't have to have the degrees, you don't have to have just anything other than the fact you've got a real story, with real feeling that connects with real people, and you've really got to push the button.
You've got to hit the send button.
LG: You've got to hit the send button.
I will also say to people that are aspiring speakers, even if you're doing corporate, if you're looking to go into corporate, I've done a lot of events where I go in and I talk about sales, because I've done a lot of different things in my life.
A really flashy website is nice to have, but ultimately what sells people is your own confidence.
I have said to people that, "Listen, you're welcome to go to my website, it is not up to scratch because quite frankly, I am working too hard, I don't have time to do it."
RF: That makes total sense.
LG: "If you'd like to have a conversation about me coming in to show you how I can serve your people or how I can help your team reach their goals, then I'd be happy to do that."
"You're welcome to google me, you might come up with some of my old Biggest Loser videos, but this is what I do now."
RF: If mom is able to find you on Google then I'm sure everyone else can too.
Hey Lori, this has been great, just go for it hit the send button or have friends close to you and your computer open so they can do it, and just continue to work on wow-ing people.
It all really starts with you and your story. So hey, this has been so much fun, Lori.
I appreciate you taking the time to share the story with the World of Speakers.
LG: Thank you so much, Ryan.
This has been so much fun, and I look forward to keeping in touch with you.
RF: Absolutely. All right, well you can google me too.
LG: Okay, I will.
RF: Have a great day in Hong Kong and we will wind down the night here.
Ladies and gentlemen, another very fun and full of laughter as well as amazing nuggets of information from another speaker who speaks around the world here on the World of Speakers podcast.
Check out other episodes and feel free to share if you care, because caring is sharing.
Alright, Lori we're going to take off goodbye from here L.A and you enjoy Hong Kong.
LG: Thank you so much, Ryan.
A bit about World of Speakers
World of Speakers is a weekly podcast that helps people find their own voice, and teaches them how to use their voice to develop a speaking business.
We cover topics like: what works versus what doesn't, ideas on how to give memorable presentations, speaking tips, and ideas on how to build a speaking business.
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