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Hey, how you doing? Good morning and welcome to another episode of The Art of Making Things Happen. This is a little bit of a strange one because I want to talk to you about an argument that I had with my daughter, which basically resulted in something pretty fantastic happening. And, as I openly say, you don’t know what’s next. So if something bad is happening to you now, that actually could be the conduit to something happening that’s fantastic. So let me tell you the story, how it happened.
This was, oh, just over two years ago now. And it was coming up with my birthday and my daughter, love her, but she’s a teenager. And if any of you have got daughters out there, if it’s all under the age of 12 and they all look like princesses, then they’re going to turn into the devils as they get a bit older. And all the ladies in the house know what I’m talking about and all the guys with older daughters know exactly what I’m talking about. So it’s painful. It absolutely is.
But I was having this rough time with my daughter and we were having a lot of arguments inside the house. And she actually said, with birthday coming up, “I’ll get you a birthday card.” And that comment was made. Now I can understand having arguments with people and I don’t have a problem with that. And you’ve got differences and you got hormones, teenage, all that kind of stuff. But I never, ever, ever want my family to be two-faced.
And it was bothering me that I knew that in about a month’s time or something, it was going to hit my birthday and my daughter was going to be forced to come up to me with a birthday card and go, “Happy birthday, Dad. I love you.” I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to be on the receiving end. I didn’t want her to be forced to do it. So I said to Claire, I said, “I’m not going to be here.” And I’m 50-something years old, so a birthday missing wasn’t the worst thing on the planet.
So I said, “I don’t want to be here for it.” And she was like, “Well, what are you going to do?” And I said, “I don’t know.” And I literally went on Facebook and I said, “My birthday’s next month, who wants to hang with me for two days and we’ll get smarter together?” And that was it. That was the entirety of it. I just wanted to find out, was there an outlet there?
And the beautiful thing is that, with the internet now, you don’t actually need to overthink to create a reaction. If you go out there and go “Hey, I’ve got the solution to this, does anyone have the problem?” and no one comes back to you, then your solution is not worth anything. But if a bunch of people come back to you and go, “Oh, Dave, brilliant, I’d never thought of that,” you now have a business. See, that’s the beautiful thing about the internet today.
So I put this out there, “Who wants to get together?” And I had a lot of people come up. A of people said, “That’s fantastic. We want to do that. We want to get together.” And so I was like, “Okay, fine.”
And my old analogy, and I’ve said it a million times, if they don’t pay, they don’t pay attention. So I said, all right then, natural filter, $2,000 for two days. I thought, to hangout with me for a day… I’m not trying to make myself sound all brilliant, but I knew I was going to bring people in. And these people aren’t amateurs. I’m going to bring people in with the idea that when you’ve left and you paid $2,000, you think you’ve ripped me off. You think you’ve got 10 grand’s worth of value and, “Oh my God, I only paid two.” I need that to be coming out of you. And that is still what it is today within my Speakeasies.
But we’re talking about how this started. So what I did was I put on the internet, “Who wants to hang with me?” Great. They do. Great, here’s a PayPal link. The first one was a PayPal link, two grand. And it was no information. In fact, the weird thing is I didn’t even know where it was going to be. And I certainly didn’t know who was going to be there.
Now I’ve seen so many events, and so many people within my groups are in the events space, and it starts by them looking up locations. And how many seats can this hold? It can seat 400, it can seat a thousand. It can sit 250. And then they have to market it and basically start the process with a liability because they’ve got the location and then they have to go out to speakers of which, yeah, you can always get some freebies, but pretty much the people that’ll step up, of any kind of quality, have to be paid. I’m always paid.
And so they’re straight away starting that event with a headache. And so I didn’t want to be that. So I thought to myself, I’m going to twist it. I’m going to find out who wants to come and how many people want to come. And we started getting around about 20, 26, around about that range and they’d all paid two grand. And I thought to myself, I want to reverse the events that I go to. So I thought you look at an event and he’s got this guy, that person, that lady, and you go, “Well that person would be interested, but I’m really not interested in that person.”
I thought, “Why don’t I tackle the problem and not the personality?” So I went to the people that actually paid, and I said, “Hey, you’ve just paid two grand for an event. You know it’s going to be in South California, but you know nothing more than that, other than the dates, and that you’re now two grand lighter. What’s your problem?” And that was it. Stone silence. “What’s your problem?”
I literally asked everybody that paid, “What’s your problem?” Well, some of them were going, “Well, you know, I’m having trouble with marketing, branding, getting my name out there, using the internet, doing blogs, buying a book, getting on stage.” There was all these different answers that came up. And then with the answers, I suddenly started to know a pattern. People had two or three of the same problems.
Now what I could do, armed with that information, I could go on to my Rolodex – anyone over the age of 30, you remember what that thing is – and actually invite people in that could answer your problems. See, I didn’t want speakers, I wanted teachers. I wanted experts that came in and go, “Hey, I know some of you have said you’ve got this problem. This is how I’ve been overcoming that problem, or completely removing it, over the last 20 years,” or whatever.
And I never even had a name. You see, I was focusing on the impact. I was focusing on the event. I was focusing on the afterthought; what would you leave this event with? I didn’t care about doing a pretty poster. We just created a PayPal link. And someone actually said to me, this is like a Speakeasy. You don’t know anything about it, you just know where it’s going to be.
Now a friend of mine had a place just outside of Carlsbad and said, “Look, why don’t we do it here? But don’t give out the address because I don’t want too many people knowing where I live at the moment.” So it even became more shrouded in mystery. And that was it. That was the birth of the Speakeasy.
Now, after that, I thought to myself, “Okay, we’ve got people to come along. They’ve all paid $2,000 to an event. They only found out the address a little bit beforehand. We always told them where the host hotel would be, so they were going to be close and in the vicinity, but we didn’t tell them who was going to be there instructing them and who was going to be there attending.
And I thought that’s pretty cool, but can I do it again? So I did. Thought up a location, city-wise, and said, “Okay, we’re going to do the Speakeasy in…” And I did one in Los Angeles, Reno, Las Vegas, New York, Silicon Valley. I’ve literally bobbed them all over the place. In fact, the most recent one we just did was Nashville, which was last week. For anyone listening to this currently, it was last week that we came back from Nashville and did one, literally, a few days after COVID allowed the rooms to open up a bit more.
So it’s worked. Two and a half years later, we’re still doing it. But it never would have happened had it come from, quite seriously, a dark place. Me and my daughter were not communicating. We were not getting on.
So I’m asking you, what’s going to come out of this dark time for you? What is possibly becoming golden because you paid some attention on it? I remember a friend… I say a friend. A gentleman that I’ve met a few times, John Paul DeJoria, he actually had a saying that, “It’ll all come out okay in the end. And if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”
Don’t get down today. Get feisty, get fighting, get spunky. Through my misery with my daughter, I launched the Speakeasy, which we’ve now had about 200 people go through. They never know the location, other than the city. They never know who’s going to be there. But we have a lot of repeat offenders that come back because they love it. And again, my goal is to give you 10, 20, $30,000 worth of impact for the two grand that you pay to get in.
So I’m asking you, focus on your impact, not where you’re standing. Don’t look down and see it being dirty. Focus on the light at the end of the tunnel because, as they always say, as the classic Aerosmith song said, “The light at the end of the tunnel may just be you.”
Anyway, this is Steve Sims with another episode of The Art of Making Things Happen podcast. I hope they help you. They’re here for you. They’re here for your benefit and your impact. Spread them, share them, tell people to be listening. Maybe you see you at Speakeasy in the future. Bye for now.