Building a successful speaking career isn't easy.
My name is Vinh Giang and I've wanted to build and grow a speaking career for the last 5 years. I spent 2 years training before I even got into in the speaking arena, my mentor who's a magician told me;
"Do the world a favour and go take singing classes and acting classes before you jump into the speaking ring."
So I did just that, I spent 2 years training my voice and learning stage presence. I believe this is one of the main reasons why my career is taking off globally, if you haven't seen any of my stuff here's one of my full keynotes below if you're interested.
First of all, before we get into what the workshop will cover etc, I want to share with you my journey as a speaker. I think this is really important because it will help you decide to see if I am the right person you want to be learning from, right up front I want to tell you now I am not the most successful speaker and I am not the most famous but I hold my own. I don't know all the steps that will make you successful but I know quite a few. I can't and won't guarantee you 7 easy steps to becoming a 7 figure speaker. There's no such thing. Right now you don't even have to do this workshop, you can just go to Amazon and search the terms; public speaker, professional speaker, keynote speaker etc and you'll find all the information you need. If you haven't closed this page yet and you're still here, my story starts below :)
My journey on the road to becoming a keynote speaker
Before I started my career as a speaker and decided to take the plunge I knew I wanted to document the process. To me how was it possible that someone could make $1,000 - $30,000 dollars per hour? As a magician this seemed like a magic trick if you asked me! I'll be transparent with you, I started out at $300 a keynote 3 years ago and as of mid 2016 I am $12,000 a keynote in Australia and $15,000 USD overseas.
Here's my story, it all began for me when I was pursuing my dream of having my very own magic show. Since I got into magic as a really young boy, all I wanted to do a magic show! I wasn't the typical kid who all dreamed about becoming doctors and lawyers, half the time I knew they were lying anyway. They just said it to get praise. In my heart I knew what I wanted and I was always willing to fight for it, I wasn't an obedient kid but I was respectful. I started my first magic show in 2013!
This is my X-factor, people think it's the magic but it's actually my voice and my showmanship that I've studied and learnt for the last 15 years, I thought that I only did 2 years of training but upon reflection I've been a magician since I was 15. I was consumed by the world of magic and it has taught me so many things. It taught me; presentation skills, audience management, humour, confidence, how to write shows, entertainment, production, scripting, how to deal with nerves, how to deal with failure and so much more.
I've been performing professionally as a magician for years before I dived head first into the world of speaking. As I said I performed my first magic show at the Adelaide Fringe, we had a theatre that seated 500 people and we'd perform! It was a dream come true! I was able to write the show and produce the show, it was an incredible feeling! It was an incredible experience. Our first show was in 2013 and the show was called 3 with 3 magicians, this was the first time I've been on stage. Before this I was just a close up magician.
I still remember the first night, and it was my turn to go on stage. I performed a trick that required a piece of technology and because it was such a hot and sticky night the tech failed on me. Standing there on stage sweating from the heat and the panic, I didn't know what to do. I didn't have a plan B. So I ran back stage, and the audience actually thought it was a part of the show and started to clap!! Then they slowly realised that something was wrong so they slow clapped me back out. The first night was a nightmare, luckily the quick thinking from one of the other magicians saved my butt. The shows got better and better as we became more experienced and our confidence started to grow.
It was hard to believe but after 14 consecutive shows we were awarded with top voted for show and top reviewed show! It was an unreal experience to do what you love and then be recognised for it. This is when I knew that I was in my element and I was on the right path, have you felt this before? I knew I was doing something that I was actually good at, how else do you go from stuffing up on the first night and then winning an award 14 shows later. I knew that I was focusing on the right thing, I followed my progress.
Something interesting started to occur towards the last few shows I was doing, I started to blend many self development concepts into the show script. My magician partners were thinking "What the hell is this guy doing?!", they weren't happy about it. They said "Vinh this is the Fringe dude, it's a magic show not a friggin' Anthony Robbins seminar". I had to snap myself out of it for a second, I started to talk about the common threads behind the world of magic and life. Literally at the end of the show, I would stand there and tell the audience how anything is possible in life and the response was overwhelming. A good kind of overwhelming despite what the others said!
So an opportunity came up for me to try out this new idea of mine, speaking. A Ted x event in Adelaide my home city was about to be put on and I put my hand up for this and was selected! I had 1 week notice, this was the result....
It wasn't very good, lets be honest... So this threw me off speaking for a bit.. Just a tad! So back to the magic shows. This time we wanted to do a bigger and better show but also the speaking idea at this point had consumed my mind as well. I didn't want to just perform magic, I wanted to tell stories about my life with magic - I couldn't stop thinking about it. This was the same time I engaged in coaching services with my magician mentors in the UK and with their guidance I started to get serious about improving my ability to perform and write shows. And just like that our new show was born - Deception.
Deception was where I started to learn how to effectively story tell on stage, I was already good at the magic part but I wasn't very good at the story telling part at all. 29 consecutive shows later I was really able to hone my ability and sharpen my axe. This was the show where I discovered something about the world of speaking, people often say that the average speakers go on stage and report, where as great speakers go on stage and story tell. What I discovered was something that could take great speakers to another level, here I discovered the art of demonstration.
If a speaker can demonstrate on stage the lessons, examples, and concepts of what he or she is trying portray on stage this will elevate the speaker to a whole different level. This is where the theatre and showmanship comes in, this was a huge discovery for me.. The path to becoming a speaker was getting more and more clear each day.
At the end of our month of shows, we some how managed to take away the top voted for show and top rated show in 2014!
After this show, I needed an outlet for my desire to speak and use magic. So I signed up to Ted X in Sydney and got accepted! (Disclaimer: I applied for every single Ted x in Australia that I could haha, it wasn't that picture perfect). I spent about 3 months this time crafting a 20 minute talk and rehearsed it about 1000 times (I am certain that's not accurate but I practiced a lot!). This was the result of my 3 months of hard work;
Not sure what you think, but I thought this was A LOT better :) But still I had shaky legs about fully pushing the speaking. So again back to the magic. I did get a few gigs here and there but at this point magic was more of a career and speaking was just a hobby.
And you guessed it in 2015, we were back with another brand new show. Deception - More Deceit, this time we went all out and took out a full page in the Fringe magazine. Bigger venue, bigger tricks, stronger production, improved showmanship and presentation skills. We were ready! This was the best magic show I've ever written, it was an unreal experience!
We performed a piece of magic that required a massive prop the size of a bathroom! Where we would enter and then within moments vanish! Only to reappear at the back of the theatre.
This was the show where I knew with 100% certainty that I want to be more than just a magician, I wanted to share so much more than just entertainment. The applause didn't do it for me anymore, I wanted more meaning and more impact.
Just like a cliche trilogy the good guys win again, we took out the top voted for show and top review show for the third time in 2015, sorry about the boasting.. I know it's making me rather sick too. I just wanted to share with you my background before you decide whether or not to join me for the workshop.
My journey as a speaker officially began..
If you can't already tell I am a bit of a crazy person, when I want to do something I go all in. I don't just beat around the bush. After our show in 2015, sadly I had to tell my partner in crime Matt Tarrant (another amazing magician in the pictures above) that I was leaving the team and pursuing a career in speaking. I knew how important focus was and I don't know about you but I suffer from a huge case of entrepreneurial scatter brain syndrome. And just like that I was standing at the edge of the cliff we all call security.
It was really scary, the magic shows that I was doing for 1 month made me over $250,000 in ticket sales, it was amazing financially but I just wasn't feeling it anymore. So with a decent safety rope, I jumped. I spent over $50,000 getting everything ready, I had read over 30 books on the world of speaking, stalked multiple successful speakers. After about 6 months of intensity I had already mapped out the blueprint of the speaking world (this blue print had a lot of missing pieces until now). I have done all my due diligence, it wasn't time to doubt any longer, it was time to be bold and go all in.
Backyard for daily rehearsals
This is where people call me a little crazy, but I set up my back yard with a projector screen and I purchased a PA system so I can practice daily. It was like my very own stage. I knew that daily rehearsals is what it was going to take for me to win at this game. I still do this now as a part of my daily routine. My wife hates it haha.
Hired theatre for practice
Once a month I would hire a theatre in my local city called the Urban Myth, and I would invite anyone that would want to come and I would speak and perform magic. Every time I created something new I would validate it with a live audience. Instead of waiting for an opportunity to speak, I created my own.
Moved into mum and dads garage
I knew that I had to be lean, so I told my parents I am moving back home. I put my property up for rent and moved into mum and dads garage. My wife is going to kill me for putting this photo up, but I wanted you to understand. When I say I go all in, I go all in. I needed a long run way, I was strapped in for the marathon.
I was now in execution mode. Next I got all the marketing materials done, I did this in about 1 month, I know lots of speakers who lag on getting; websites, videos, photos, social media etc so I just wanted to get it all done and done fast. I knew the strategy was important but the execution was more important.
It took me about a month to get all the pieces of the puzzle together and it was time to heads down and bums up. I was relentless with the execution, I did everything and I mean everything. Every form of marketing, every kind of prospecting, lead generation technique, I was doing it all. I paid over $10,000 for a marketing list of all the media around Australia, I had names and the addresses! Now most of them didn't work but the ones that worked really made all the difference. I knew How important PR was for me as one of my strategies was to look the part to the Bureaus so I strategically got myself onto Sky News with Peter Switzer and this was awesome! It helped immensely, here's the interview:
Once I had everything in place I approached the Bureaus and I have some very interesting stories I'll share but maybe we'll save that for when we meet in person one day! Long story short, I made the strategic decision to become an exclusive speaker with Saxton Speakers Bureau. They are one of the biggest bureaus in Australia. After all the hard work for 2 years in a row now I've been one of their top booked speakers, it's crazy to see my name next to these other incredible people! Here's a link just incase your checking this out via mobile: http://www.saxton.com.au/newsletters/topfiftybusinessspeakers/
Getting onto Saxton's team was great, they started getting me to speak at a massive event in Melbourne that's called AIME and also another event for MEA which are two events where "speaker buyers" attend. If you can get a spot at one of these events, just 10 minutes, can change your career.
The speaking industry is an interesting one, it's extremely lucrative and for that reason it's a little bit secretive. I was used to this, the world of magic is exactly the same, people keep secrets and don't really want to share and I totally respect that as a speaker and magician. I never even knew that speaking could be a career path, it was crazy when I discovered it.
On the right you can see, I was picked to be on of the 9 spotlight speakers at AIME where there were over 2,000 speaker buyers in the room. If there's one talk you have to nail, this one was it. It wasn't easy getting myself on that list of 9 but like every magic trick there's a way.
My next challenge was then MEA which is the other large conference for meeting organisers in Australia.
After a lot of hard work and effort, just this year in 2016 I opened their conference in Melbourne (on the left). This is when I realised that I am starting to understand how this whole speaking world works. I knew what mattered and what didn't. I've spent so much time doing the wrong things because I've been listening to the wrong people (including myself!).
I've never been a part of any speakers association or club. I've been a little bit of a lone wolf building my speaking business, it's not that I wanted to do it on my own. I went to one association meeting in 2013 and a few things that the presenters were saying really threw me off. I felt like they were going backwards with their approach and strategy, I was born in 1986 and I feel super lucky! Let me tell you why, you see I know what it's like to have no computer growing up. I also know what it's like not being able to live without a computer, being born in the mid 80s has one advantage, I'm a cross breed. I know life before the internet and I know life after the internet, hence with my entrepreneurial experience and background I realised that the experts at the speakers association were marketing like it was still the year 2000. I decided right from the start I was going to go a different route.
Next, I had my eyes on the US market place as a speaker. I wanted to see how far I could push this, after all I am just a small town Adelaide boy from the northern suburbs. I started doing my researche, after a few months of non-stop obsession I worked out the map for the world of speaking in the states, I knew that if I wanted to build a career I need to speak at an event for IASB which stands for International Association of Speaker Bureaus. This is like an AIME and a MEA but with one difference. The audience is made up of all Speaker Bureaus from all over!!! America is a bigger market place so there's quite a few bureaus, over 100 of them, I knew that being able to speak here would be game changing... After months of execution my crazy strategy worked.
Getting to speak there was a HUGE privilege, and since I did the event there I am getting so many bookings I just had to apply for an O1 visa because I was spending so much time there. The visa just got approved and I will be going back and forth a lot between the USA and Australia from this point moving forward, as I created this page and typed all this up it's just crazy looking back.
Every time I get on the plane now as I fly around the world doing what I love most, I get a slight chill. There were so many times I wanted to give up while being on this journey, I can describe to you the specific moments of when I was just ready to throw in the towel. I get the chills because it scares me half to death to think, what if I did give up? What would I be doing now??
One of the biggest lessons that I've learnt is simple. If you are going to learn from someone, make sure the proof is in the pudding. I've spent an exorbitant amount of money learning from speaker gurus from the US, UK and Australia. The thing is, these gurus didn't actually make their money speaking, they made their money teaching people how to speak - it's kind of ironic isn't it? It was a painful and an expensive lesson but one that I was glad I learnt early on my journey.
So I want to be clear here, I am not the best speaker nor am I the most successful speaker and I definitely don't claim to know everything about the speaking industry. But I do know one thing, I am the hardest working one in the room. I've tried to share snapshots of my journey with you and now it's time for you to make your own mind up if you'd like to join me on the 2 day workshop. I believe with conviction that I do have what it takes to teach you how to build a speaking business, the question is do you have enough discipline and the right work ethic to make it happen?
Something that I've always wanted to do was teach, since I was young I loved all my teachers (only the good ones actually). During year 12 I put down teaching as my first preference but because of cultural pressures at the time I changed it to Commerce and Law. I've been teaching magic online via my online business 52kards and Encyclopedia of Magic for the last 4 years and I have loved every moment of it. After documenting my entire journey as a speaker and being able to reach a point in my career where I believe I have enough experience and value, I now am really excited about putting on 4 workshops a year called STAGE.
2 Day Workshop
I will cover the following in the workshop:
1. Understanding the players in the industry; Speaker Bureaus, PCO's, Managers & Association managers. How to build relationships with each and strategies on getting noticed and how to stay top of mind with every single consultant.
2. The underlying structure for a keynote that sells, Vinh will share with you how he's created his signature keynotes that have been sold globally. In the last 3 years Vinh has made over 2 million in speaking fees.
3. Learn world class delivery techniques, Vinh has spent over 15 years mastering the art of showmanship. His X-factor as a speaker is his theatre background, he has distilled the lessons and will transfer them all to you.
4. Learn the Art of story telling. Average speakers go on stage and report to the audience what they know, great speakers go on stage and story tell but there's a level above that. The top speakers who advance past the great do one more thing.
5. The business behind the speaking. Many speakers treat speaking as a hobby, it's a business. Vinh will share and open up his entire speaking business back end, he will share and teach over 15 different types of lead generation that you can immediately implement and start getting bookings! Here you'll learn about; how to set fees, admin, contracts, email lists, marketing, social media and much more.
6. Deep dive into strategy. Vinh hasn't retired as a speaker, he is in his prime and his speaking career is growing leaps and bounds over in the United States. Unlike other workshops where you are learning from a speaker who 'used to speak', you will be learning from someone who's career is sky rocketing. Vinh will hold nothing back.
My speaking business took 3 strategic years to build, it definitely wasn't overnight. Also I am not a best selling author, I didn't build a 100 million dollar business, I am just Vinh Giang. I used to think that I had to have all the business credibility to be a successful keynote speaker but I was wrong. I am still building my speaking business with intensity however I get so many requests from fellow speakers to coach them on the speaking business.
Unfortunately I don't have as much time as I live in the USA half of the year and then in Australia the other half. I don't want to take my foot off the pedal with my speaking career so I thought instead of one on one coaching lets put on a workshop over a weekend here in Australia. I am putting on a two day workshop at the Park Royale in Melbourne on September the 10-11th 2016.
The cost is $5,000 per person.
*You will need to cover your own travel and accomodation
*This course is only for those who are serious about building their speaking career, if you decide to join me on the workshop and you don't feel like you've received enough value. I will refund you the full fee.