Interview with Grant Baldwin
Getting Paid to Speak & Creating a Life by Design with Grant Baldwin
We’re often told that we can’t have financial success while also enjoying a life of fulfillment.
Today’s guest, Grant Baldwin, is a living example that you can have both if you play your cards right. Grant wasn’t willing to sacrifice time spent with family just to see more zeros in his bank account. He has created abundance in both his business and his personal life.
Grant learned the ins and outs of the speaking business by surrounding himself and learning from people ahead of him. He went from speaking to a handful of people in small rooms to filling up arenas and stadiums.
Today, as founder and CEO of The Speaker Lab, Grant teaches speakers how to find and book gigs. During his 10+ years of experience, he’s coached more than 2,000 people to become better speakers. He’s surrounded by A-players and has a work schedule that allows him to enjoy life with his wife and three daughters.
In today’s episode, we dig into Grant’s story and how he started and scaled a 7-figure speaking business. You’ll learn how to find and book paid speaking gigs of your own, the power of surrounding yourself with the right people, and his approach to building true wealth & freedom.
Featured on This Episode: Grant Baldwin
✅ What he does: Grant Baldwin is a keynote speaker, entrepreneur, and speaking coach. He’s the founder of The Speaker Lab, a company that helps people learn how to find and book speaking gigs. Grant has delivered nearly one thousand keynotes to over 500,000 people in 47 states. He’s done small speaking gigs to a handful of people and keynotes in front of thousands of people. He’s earned over $2 million from 500+ paid engagements worldwide. In 2015, he started his podcast, The Speaker Lab, which helps speakers find clarity, confidence, and a clear path to making an impact. He’s also the author of The Successful Speaker: Five Steps for Booking Gigs, Getting Paid, and Building Your Platform, in which he breaks down his formula for success as a public speaker.
💬 Words of wisdom: “Who you are is more important than what you do.” – Grant Baldwin
Key Takeaways with Grant Baldwin
- Grant’s journey from youth pastor to public speaker.
- How Grant found a way to turn speaking from a job into a business that gives him the freedom to design the life of his dreams.
- Learn from people ahead of you, but not too much ahead of you. Find out why.
- Zero people left Grant’s company over the past 15 months. Look out for your employees, and they’ll look out for the company.
- To find success, help other people succeed. How Grant found massive value by being a member of the Lifestyle Investor Mastermind.
- Want to be a public speaker? Hear Grant’s masterclass for finding and booking speaking gigs.
- How to turn speaking into a lead generation machine.
- One of Grant’s speakers made $1 million from virtual speaking over the past year. Find out why Grant believes the pandemic was the best thing to happen to speaking.
Grant Baldwin Tweetables“Finding, attracting, retaining good talent is really, really difficult, and yet it's one of the most important things that we can do as entrepreneurs, as business owners, as business leaders.” - @grantbaldwin Click To Tweet
- Grant Baldwin Website
- Grant Baldwin on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn
- The Speaker Lab
- The Successful Speaker: Five Steps for Booking Gigs, Getting Paid, and Building Your Platform by Grant Baldwin and Jeff Goins
- TLI 049 – Dane Espegard on Creating a Culture of Achieving Your Dreams
- Dane Espegard
- Front Row Dads
- Erik Van Horn
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Read the Full Transcript with Grant Baldwin
Justin Donald: What’s up, Grant? I’m so excited to have you on the show. It’s just been so much fun hanging out with you here recently and it really is a pleasure to connect even more. I can’t wait for my audience to hear just more about the cool stuff you’re doing in this world.
Grant Baldwin: Man, I appreciate it. The feeling is mutual. And I’ve really enjoyed connecting, hanging out, getting to know each other a bit more over the past several months. And so, looking forward to our conversation today. It’s going to be fun.
Justin Donald: Well, this is great because on so many levels there, I mean, you’re impressive through and through. And so, we’ve got so much to talk about from the standpoint of you as a speaker, you as an entrepreneur, kind of building the speaker’s program and business, the transition from like creating a good amount of wealth and like what to do with it, joining the Lifestyle Investor Mastermind. I mean, there’s so much that I want to dig into but maybe we just start at the beginning. I’d love to hear kind of how you got your start and how you transitioned kind of from just how this vision of speaking kind of evolved to what it is today.
Grant Baldwin: Yeah. So, the nutshell is way back in high school, I was really involved in my local church and my youth pastor had a big impact on my life. And so, I was like, “I want to do that.” Like, that seems like a cool gig and kind of felt like if I could make the kind of impact and difference in other’s lives that he had made in my own life like that just seemed incredibly fulfilling and worthwhile in terms of work. And so, that’s kind of the direction I was on. I went to Bible College. I was a youth pastor at a different local church for a little while and that gave me a lot of opportunities to speak. And speaking is one of those things I felt like I was decent at, I wanted to do more of, but just didn’t really know like, how does this world work? Like, how do you find gigs and how much do you charge and who hire speakers? How does this mysterious black box of an industry work? And so, at the time, there weren’t really any podcasts or books or resources about the speaking industry. And so, I found myself just harassing, stalking, emailing, pestering other speakers, just like pick their brain type stuff, like, how do I do this? And so, I learned a couple of things and started booking a few gigs here and there and basically kind of turned that into a business over the next several years. So, I got to a point where I was doing about 60, 70 speaking gigs a year all over, primarily the U.S. for audiences of a handful of people to arenas of thousands and thousands of people, and absolutely loved it. It was an absolute blast.
And I had a lot of people who are asking me like, “Hey, I want to be a speaker. How would I go about doing that?” And at the time, I got to a point where I was doing a lot of gigs and I found that it was like a high-paying manual labor job and that I would get paid really, really well to stand on stage and talk. But the nature of it was I had to get on a plane, I had to leave my family, I had to go somewhere. It’s kind of like a surgeon. A surgeon makes really good money for what it is that they do but they have to show up and perform surgery. And so, quickly realized like I have a job, a really cool job, but it’s not a business. And so, as people were asking me like, “Hey, I want to do what you do. I want to be a speaker as well. How would I do that? I started doing some coaching and teaching and training around that, and that’s really evolved into what we do today. So, I run a training company called The Speaker Lab. We’re a completely virtual company. We’ve got about 28, 29 people within the company now. And so, we work with speakers literally all over the world helping them understand how do you find and book paid speaking engagements. So, whether you want to speak on the side and just do a few gigs here and there or you’re just like, “Hey, I want to do 50, 60, 70 gigs a year. That sounds awesome,” those are the speakers that we work with and helping them understand the ins and outs of the speaking business.
Justin Donald: Well, it’s great when you can teach people to do the thing you’ve already done. I always talk about like when you want to hire a coach or when you want to hire a mentor, hire the person or the people that have done the thing that you actually want to do themselves because everyone today is a life coach, everyone today apparently is qualified to teach you whatever it is that you want to know. And so, I love that you’ve actually done the thing at a high level that you teach and coach people to do. I think that’s so important.
Grant Baldwin: Yeah, I totally agree. Like, I think this is advice that we give even to speakers and entrepreneurs is look for people who are a step or two ahead of you, not light years ahead of you, but a step or two ahead of you of going like, “Okay. That person is where I want to be or they’re on the path of going where I want to be.” And that’s a big reason why I joined the Lifestyle Investor Mastermind in the first place was when I came across the book a couple of years ago or whatever it was, knew that we had several mutual friends and just going like, “Okay. This guy, I’m in a place in my own business where I want to learn more about investing. I want to take some money off the table and invest and I’m not entirely sure what that looks like. So, here’s a guy that is new who is a step or two ahead of where I want to be, and clearly has like the same type of values, morals, and the same type of philosophy on just more than just investing, but just life.” And so, you’re a great example of that for me of what that looks like. So, I think that that’s key in any type of whether you want to do personally or professionally or recreationally or whatever it is like who’s doing something that you want to do in a way that you want to do it and being able to learn from them?
Justin Donald: I love it. And thanks for the kind words. I just I couldn’t, you know, I guess iterate this more that you really in whatever area of expertise you want to have, find the foremost expert in that area and learn from them. I love though that it all stems kind of from your youth and the impact that your youth group and pastor had on you. And by the way, I had a very similar upbringing where my youth pastor was incredibly influential on me and just was an incredible guy, actually several different youth pastors, and had just such a profound long-term impact on me. And it was in those moments where I learned I also wanted to have impact on people and that I also enjoyed speaking and all these things. And so, there’s such a similarity there. And it’s also interesting because one of our previous guests that we had on, Taylor Welch, she started out in the world of being a pastor as well and kind of transitioned into entrepreneurship. There are a lot of people, actually, there are like four or five people that I’ve interviewed on my podcast that have had a similar path, which is interesting.
Grant Baldwin: Yeah. And a quick note on that, just as a total sidebar is that Taylor and I actually came from the same youth group. And so, he was a couple of years younger than me and so we didn’t really know each other at the time and have talked a time or two since then, just kind of connecting the dots. But, yeah, same youth group, same youth pastor that had an impact on both of our lives.
Justin Donald: That’s incredible. And it’s so neat to kind of check that lineage and who had what impact. I just think it’s profound. And then I love the desire then to pay it forward, which is what you’ve done in your business. And one of the cool things that I want to highlight because I’ve had an inside look into your business so your business is highly profitable, but it’s not built around profitability. The core culture of your organization is incredible. In fact, you brought in a dear friend, Dane Espegard, to do a dream session and help your people to be more dream-focused and dream oriented. And for anyone that hasn’t checked out that podcast episode, check it out. It’s fantastic. But I’d love to hear some of the things that you’re doing culturally that are making a big shift in your business.
Grant Baldwin: Yeah. I think that one thing I’ve figured out for myself and just kind of learn from other people is that finding, attracting, retaining good talent is really, really difficult and yet it’s one of the most important things that we can do as entrepreneurs, as business owners, as business leaders. And so, one of the things I tell our team all the time is that I want this to be the best place that you ever work. Now, I don’t mean that in a manipulative way at all. I legit want this to be an amazing place. And so, meaning that everybody on our team is like amazingly talented, awesome people that could do any number of things. And so, I never want them to feel like, “Oh, the grass is greener somewhere else,” or, “I’m in this job looking for my next job.” I want them to feel like, “No, no, like the grass is awesome here.” So, the reality is like a good number of them are going to probably do other things over the course of their career. They may start their own business or work for another company but while they’re here, I want to make it really, really difficult for them to leave. Again, not in a manipulative way in any way but just saying like this is such a good environment, both professionally in terms of the work that I’m doing. I know that the work that we’re doing is making an impact that’s making a difference in the lives of speakers, their audiences, and their families.
But also, I think one thing that has worked really well, and this is super, super cliché, but to really, really care about your team. I think for me as the CEO, as the founder of the company, my most important role is to take amazing care of our team. And so, making sure that I’m loving on them, that I’m caring about them, not just in terms of the work that they’re doing. One thing we talk a lot about kind of a core value of how we operate is we believe that who you are is more important than what you do. Who you are is more important than what you do. And, Justin, I know this is something that you believe and operate in as well. The who you and I are as husbands, as dads, as human beings, is way more important than any of the entrepreneurial crap that we do. Now, we both love the entrepreneurial stuff. It’s a ton of fun but I never want to do those things at the detriment of my role as a husband, as a dad, as a son, as a friend, as a human being. And so, those are the things that really, really matter. We make sure that we instill that in our company. And it’s not something that we just say or something that we just kind of like talk about like sounds nice or fluffy but something that like, “No, this is what we truly believe. We care more about who you are as a person, who you are as a mom, as a dad, as a son, as a daughter, as a wife. Whatever your role is, we care more about that than what you bring to the table.
And when we do that and when you know that as a team member, then I think that you bring your best self and you bring your best self not only to the company, to your teammates, to the customers, the employees or the students that we work with. But you feel a lot more confident that my company has my back. They believe in me. I’m not just a number. I’m not just a cog in a system. I’m not just here to help line Grant’s pocket or whatever. But like no, no, the team knows that we really, genuinely believe in them and care about who they are outside of work way more than what they bring and contribute in work.
Justin Donald: Yeah. That’s powerful, Grant, and it’s very admirable because a lot of people don’t run their business that way. But because of that, there is going to be a stickiness factor and there is going to be a retention of people. And your team wants to know that you’re looking out for them. It’s interesting, people say all the time to me like, “Hey, aren’t you worried about your people leaving that you train them so well that they can go?” And I say, “Yeah, it’s a pain in the butt to have a great person leave but my goal is to teach and train them so well that they can go off and do the thing that it is that they love.” Because I can always find someone else to come in but if I’m pouring into people the way that I know that I can, hopefully, they can serve the world at an even greater good or a higher calling than what they are with me. And if not, then they just stay with me long-term. You know, one of my favorite people that I’ve ever worked with in my entire life, her name is Mary Ortman. She’s been with me since I was in Cutco. She was one of my top salespeople, became an assistant, eventually an executive assistant, promoted her to different roles in different businesses that I’ve started. And now she runs our entire real estate arm, everything under the banner of real estate. She runs the operations for it and just does a great job. She started with me when she’s 17. I think she’s been with me over, what, 19 years now, 20 years, something like that. And I think if you create the right environment where people can thrive, where they feel poured into, where they feel heard and listened to and appreciated, they stick around. And I think that’s so important.
Grant Baldwin: I was telling someone the other day, I realized that it’s been about 15 months since we had someone leave the company and, again, we’ve got close to 30 people on the team of full-time employees. And so, they go 15 months without anybody leaving, as far as I know is not real common. And what that creates, though, is it creates an environment where people feel safe, they feel believed in, they feel valued. And I tell you what, like from a business owner, it just makes things a heck of a lot simpler because you’re not constantly on the hamster wheel of trying to find the next person. They’re trying to convince this person not to leave. Or you’ve created an amazing environment where people can thrive and be successful and they’re not just looking for the exit, not trying to leave all the time.
Justin Donald: Yeah, I love it. I love all the stuff that you’re doing. And what I want to do is I want to kind of dig through a bunch of things with the business here and a little bit where we talk specifics of like how do we book more paid gigs and how do we find ways to have speaking be beneficial and maybe in uncommon space. And so, I want to get into that but while we’re on the track of this, it would be interesting to learn kind of your thought process. So, you’re an entrepreneur, you’re thriving, you’re doing very well. You went from kind of being a sole proprietor to a business owner. You’ve scaled this business, you’ve got great people, great retention, great profitability, things are going well. And then you reached out and said, “Hey, I’m interested.” You applied to the Lifestyle Investor Mastermind. I’m curious to know your journey. Like, why did you want to apply? What were you looking for? Did you get it? Is it living up to your expectations? I know we’ve gotten to do a local like small event in Saint Louis. We came into your town and hosted an event and we’ve done all kinds of stuff via Zoom. But you haven’t even been to our annual retreat, which is kind of like, well, we pull out the big guns. And so, I’m curious to hear just the whole process overall for you.
Grant Baldwin: Yeah. And so, if we go back a couple of years as the business has grown, obviously, it’s been spitting off more and more cash. And so, I’m someone who’s very, my wife and I have been very diligent with our finances. We don’t have debt and we have done the typical traditional stuff in terms of maxing out IRAs and some traditional investment vehicles. But I’m also going like, okay, as the business is spitting off more and more cash, just putting it in the market to sit for the next 30, 40, 50 years, just as an entrepreneur, it seems super boring. Not to mention, I don’t know that that’s the most effective means or route anyway for wealth generation, wealth building. And so, I think whenever your book came out, this would have been, what, January 2021, 2020, something like that, you and I had several mutual friends. I picked up the book. I read it within just a couple of days. And again, it just really, really resonated with me, and kind of what I was looking for in a variety of different ways kind of the Ten Commandments that you teach there, which again if anybody hasn’t read the book, definitely go check it out. And so, reached out again to a couple of mutual friends and they’re like, “Oh yeah, you know, Justin’s legit. He knows what he’s talking about.” And so, I think we corresponded a little bit I think via email or Facebook messenger or something. And so, I was interested in the mastermind but it’s a big investment.
And so, I knew that I was interested. I wanted to do it but also to make sure that the timing was right. And so, I wanted to make sure I had enough cash to dump into some deals. At the time, my wife and I were working on paying off our house, and we’ve talked about some of the pros and cons of that. And so, we finished paying off our house in December of 2021, and so we built this house about four years ago and actually paid it off in just less than four years. And so, we were super proud of that. And so, now I was like, “Okay. Now, we’ve got some cash and so I’d really like to do this.” And so, in fact, I vividly remember talking with my wife about this and kind of like I really had thought it through and I knew like this is a very big significant investment towards a training coaching mastermind type of program. I was like I think she’ll be okay with it but it’s a big investment. And so, I remember like we ran to the grocery store and we were sitting in the parking lot and I was like, “Hey, okay, let’s like talk this through. I really want your attention on this and I want you to understand, hear what I’m thinking through.” And so, I kind of lay it all out, and here’s kind of the pros and cons, and here’s what I’m looking to get out of it, and here’s how I’m going to benefit, da da da da. And she was just kind of like, “Yeah. I think you should do it. And I was kind of like, “Whoa, did you hear all that? Did you hear the price tag?” And she’s like, “No. I can tell that you’ve really thought it through, that you’ve done your homework on this and you know that it’s going to be valuable.”
And so, I’ve been in the Mastermind for about seven months now, give or take or so. I’ve invested in a handful of deals but also, I think that the networking has been really, really solid. And so, I think there’s absolutely something to again when you think about that idea we were talking about earlier of finding people who are a step or two ahead of where you’re at, there are ways to get access to those people. And sometimes it involves paying and investing financially to have access. And so, I view it as you are someone that from the outset I looked at like I thought we would be friends. I bet we would hit it off. I think we have a lot of similar values and we’re both girl dads and have amazing wives and amazing lives and entrepreneurial. I was like that we would be friends, but I also know like we’re both busy, we have a lot going on. And so, by joining the mastermind, I also know like, okay, it gives me access to you. We’ve hit it off and become good friends since then but at the same time, like there’s a large number of amazing other entrepreneurs and business owners and investors that know way more about this stuff than I do. And so, I remember my first call. I remember finishing the call and talking to my wife about it. I said like, “Imagine that you’re like on Shark Tank and the investors or the sharks are being pitched a deal. And then the entrepreneur leaves the room and the investors all talk about it and you just get to be a fly on the wall.”
And I was like, “It was really helpful just to understand here’s the questions people have, here’s the red flags that people have, here’s what they like, here’s what they didn’t like, here’s how they might ask for different terms.” Like, that stuff was just super, super beneficial to me. In fact, even just the other day, I had a deal that I came across that was unrelated to the group, and I messaged one of the group members, Darcy, and I was just like, “Hey, man, can you talk me through what do you think on this?” And he’s like, “Hey, let’s hop on Zoom.” We spent almost an hour on Zoom just walking through this. Here’s why this is good. Here’s what’s not. Here’s what you should ask about. And just like really explain it to me given his thought process on it. So, I think it’s just in a variety of different ways, it has really simplified the learning process. It has sped up the learning process and the learning curve. The deal flow is significant of understanding why some deals are better than other deals and what to look for, what makes something a good deal versus not. So, I think that the group has been, again, it’s a big investment but at the same time, the ROI tangibly and intangibly has been substantial and significant.
Justin Donald: Well, that’s awesome. I appreciate hearing kind of your take and your experience. And one of the things I’m most impressed with is just the group, the community. I love the people. I can’t wait to hang out with them, learn from them. I mean, a lot of people show up thinking that they want to get time for me and learn soon that the group is way smarter, way brighter, just the collective genius that’s there with a guy like Darcy and many others like Darcy that are just willing to give so much of their time to help each other out and invite people over and do weekend trips and have families get to know each other. It’s pretty special. And to me, it’s the community that makes everything. That’s the long-term value is these relationships that carry on for a lifetime.
Grant Baldwin: Yeah. And oftentimes, again, it is centered around investing. That’s the thing that drew us all together but there’s things I’m learning about, again, being a CEO, being an entrepreneur, and the lifestyle component of what do we do. Well, the point isn’t just to accumulate a bunch of wealth, like, what are we doing with it? How are we using that to have amazing experiences and taxation? What do we do with taxes? As your income grows, that causes/ creates tax issues and implications. And so, what do we do about that? I had a call with, two different calls actually, one today, one last week with some people I met from your group on tax-related issues. And so, I wouldn’t have known how to find those connections and contacts. So, I think that that’s also been beneficial. Just again, you’re kind of opening your Rolodex of, “Hey, here’s what I use. Here’s what I recommend. Here’s who you should talk to,” and it just decreases and cuts down on what that learning curve versus just going to Google and saying, “How do I save money on taxes? Who do I need to talk to?” But if I know like, “Okay. I trust Justin. Justin says go talk to this person,” like that simplifies things significantly.
Justin Donald: Yeah. It cuts out a lot of work, right? You know, if I’ve done hours of prep vetting someone and figuring out who’s for real and who’s not, and you can just say, “Hey, Justin’s probably done more work than I would have done or maybe I would have done just as much work but now I don’t have to do the work,” it’s a huge savings of time but cutting out a learning curve of all the questions you need to ask to make sure someone’s the right fit. And I just think that it’s so funny like sometimes people join the mastermind and they’re like, “I want to get these big returns and I want to get cash flow.” And yes, we do that but most people don’t realize the biggest return you can get on anything that you do, number one, from a financial standpoint, it’s saving taxes. So, the greatest return you get is reducing your taxable income, which is a huge focus of ours. And I think the second greatest but the overall largest overarching return is the network, the relationships, the things that are going to add value for years and years and years to come.
Grant Baldwin: Yeah. I think like you also, especially when it comes to relationships, you have to be playing the long game here. So, it’s not like, okay, how do I get in and how do I find the perfect deal and how do I take X amount of dollars and turn them into Y amount of dollars and I need to do that tomorrow. No, no. Like, especially whenever it comes to relationships, like having a long-term perspective of, “I don’t need anything from this person or that person today but I want to build this relationship so that maybe at some point I have a question that I need to ask them or I need to run it by them.” But also, they know that I’m not coming to them just saying, “Hey, I know we just met but let me da, da, da, da, da.” No. It’s just like I want to build long-term relationships with people that are mutually beneficial. And there are things that maybe that I can help them with in their business or speaking or whatever it may be. And I also know that there are things that I can ask them about. So, I think having a really long-term perspective on the ROI of relationships is important.
Justin Donald: Yeah. That’s awesome. And the education, you learn something today, you can use that in 20 years and I just think that people that invest in their peer group and invest in their education are really going to thrive in the years to come. And so, I love seeing you and so many others really diving in like full all-on both feet in. It’s really inspiring. And then you’re such a giver, too. Like, you’re always saying, “Hey, how do I get back? What do you need? How can I support you?” And having people like you in the mastermind that are so focused on making sure that you’re reciprocating value, that you’re wanting to give more value than you receive is palpable. It’s powerful.
Grant Baldwin: Yeah. And I think, again, that that’s universal life that don’t just come into anything for what you can get out of it but look to see how do you contribute. And I think that oftentimes I think we all have those kind of maybe insecurities or doubts or worries or fears like what do I bring to the table? You know, and I know how they can benefit me but I don’t know what I can do to benefit them. And so, it may not necessarily be something that’s super obvious to you, and it may not necessarily be something that you can do today but, again, having that long-term perspective. So, if they do need something that they know that they can ask you and that they can reach out to you. And so, even right before we start recording, you and I were talking briefly about it of, hey, there’s nothing specific that, hey, here’s a specific, tangible thing that I can do. But in general, as it relates to what you’re doing to build Lifestyle Investor, here’s something I can do to help. Let me know if you need anything and no strings attached. Like, I want to invest in a friend and help a friend and so if there’s anything I can do to help, awesome. If there’s not, the offer still stands. So, again, I think having that long-term view of relationships is very important.
Justin Donald: I love it. Well, and you made the comment that we’ve become good friends over the time, and sometimes you got to put yourself out there just to have the opportunity to connect with some people, which you did. I want to take it one step further, though, because we’ve become more than just good friends. We’ve become pickleball champions together.
Grant Baldwin: I saw where that was going. Yeah.
Justin Donald: Yeah. This is powerful because at Front Row Dads we had a pickleball tournament and just had an absolute blast with it and this was right after I had wrist surgery. And I remember my doctor was like, “Yeah. You can’t really do anything. Don’t play volleyball.” I said, “I’ve got a pickleball tournament coming up. That seems pretty PG-rated like I could play in that, right?” And he’s like, “No, you cannot play in that.” And I was like, “Well, what if I like don’t break my wrist at all? I just keep it straight.” And he’s like, “No. No.” And I was like, but I thought to myself, “You know what? I think I can play, you know.”
Grant Baldwin: Some temporary pain is worth it for the glory and being able to rub in the face of a certain Erik Van Horn.
Justin Donald: That’s right. And I plan to go easy but I mean sometimes you get into the moment, one thing leads to the other, and I really hope Erik is listening to this. Erik and [00:25:57]Ned Shot [0.3s] were kind of our biggest rivals. And when we beat them in that first game, they wanted a rematch. And so, we gave them a rematch and we were able to smoke them again. So, I just want to congratulate you as my co-pickleball champion.
Grant Baldwin: You know, it’s an honor that I wear with pride. You know, we were talking a little bit beforehand that I think that’s also part of when we talk about The Lifestyle Investor and what that means like we tend to emphasize the investor part, but there is such a lifestyle part. You know, we were talking I was telling you a little bit beforehand in the past few months I’ve been playing pickleball three or four days a week for 2 hours in the morning and just having the freedom and flexibility of I’m going to go play a game and goof off for a couple of hours before I start my day. And we usually play from like 5:30 to 7:30, getting up at a stupid hour before anybody else in the house is awake and just go like goof off and play but get the recreation, get the health, get the community, get the competitive spirit going has been so much fun and it really is like a huge part of being a lifestyle investor is the lifestyle component. Because, again, if you build, if you invest really well but your quality of life sucks, like, what’s the point? Like, you missed the point. You missed the purpose of doing this. And so, being a good investor also creates just good freedom of flexibility and autonomy. Those are like values that my family and I like we really, really value. My wife’s been homeschooling our daughters. We got three girls. So, similar to you, it’s a house full of women. It’s the best. I absolutely love it.
And so, my wife homeschools our girls primarily so that we can travel. We have freedom and flexibility. And part of that is being able to travel and being able to work when and where we want. The primary reason that our company is virtual is I don’t want to go to an office. I’m not going to make anybody else go to an office. I want to work from home. We had a team member who worked like six months in an RV just kind of bouncing around the U.S. with their family. I had a guy who his wife’s family was a missionary in Africa and he’s like, “Hey, can I go work over there?” I was like, “Man, if you can make the time zones work, that means you’re going to be getting up early or staying up late or however that works out.” But he worked over in Africa for several months and didn’t miss a beat. And so, the lifestyle component of being an entrepreneur or being an investor is also just so important.
Justin Donald: Oh, that’s such a good point. And I’m glad that you bring it up and you’re such a good example of being a lifestyle investor. Like you embody that. You represent exactly what a lifestyle investor is, and I love that you’re just constantly upping your game in this category. But most people are trying to accumulate more wealth, more money, and the goal isn’t to get more. The goal wasn’t to get more money. The goal is to get more time. It’s to buy your time back. How do you buy assets that produce income so that you can spend your time more the way that you desire inside of passions and projects and things that really fill you up and with the people that you love the most? And so, for a lot of people, it’s like, “Hey, you got to break these patterns of always trying to maximize the dollar or always trying to scrimp and save.” Like, yeah, maybe you’ve made a lot of money but you’re living in this scarcity mindset of like I have to hoard or save or never spend. I’ve got to buy things on sale. I’ve got just to be such a – it’s like just this extreme view but it all comes from a scarcity type of angle or mindset. And I just really want to encourage people to live life more today, but responsibly and at the same time buying assets that will also create a nice future opportunity too. So, having utility today but then having the opportunity for a brighter future tomorrow.
Grant Baldwin: Yeah, totally. Like, when my wife and I got married, actually, we were high school sweethearts. We started dating when I was 15. She was 17. So, I married myself a cougar.
Justin Donald: That’s incredible.
Grant Baldwin: It’s been awesome ever since. We’ve been together for 25 years, been married for 20 years. And like I said, we got three girls. And so, like when we got married, I was 20, she was 21, 22, and like we were broke. Like, you’re just living on love and figuring it out. And so, yeah, like we were definitely like if we’re going out to eat, there’s no chance that we’re getting an appetizer dessert. Like, we’re going to split a side salad and everybody’s going to have water and we’re going to just make it work. And so, yeah, there’s definitely like that stage of life and we look back on and appreciate where life is very, very different today going like I think that going through some of those stages of life helps us to appreciate so much more where we are and appreciate like the work that we’ve done, the sacrifices that we’ve made that has created the opportunities and freedom of flexibility that we have now.
Justin Donald: Oh, I love it. And speaking of this, so let’s dig more into like the value that your company and your brand provides with Speaker Labs. So, you went through the hard times, you had hardships, you figured things out, you prevailed. You’ve joined the Lifestyle Investor Mastermind, you’ve met some cool people, you’ve created some cool opportunities, you’ve scaled. So, you’ve got your business that you’re scaling over here. You’ve got your wealth and investments, passive income, tax strategy, all this that you’re scaling over here. But let’s talk about the benefits that exist inside Speaker Lab. Like, I had someone that I recently referred over to you because he’s like, “I want to be a speaker and I don’t know where to start or how to get paid gigs.” And I’m like, “I know the guy.” I know the guy because he was you at one point so he’s the perfect coach. So, I’d love to dig in to like how do people get paid gigs and what’s some of the secret sauce that people can expect in working with Speaker Lab.
Grant Baldwin: Yeah. So, let’s kind of zoom out for a second here. So, we teach what we call the Speaker Success Roadmap. This is a five-step framework that makes the acronym, SPEAK. And so, every speaker at any level and stage, we walk this through. So, we’ll just kind of walk through this real quick and then we can jump in whenever you want. But to kick us off here, the S is to select a problem to solve. This comes down to two key questions that every speaker needs to answer. You have to be really clear, and to be clear as well, this is not just for speakers. This is for entrepreneurs, business owners of any kind. So, number one, you got to be clear on who do you speak to and, number two, what problem do you solve for that audience? And you want to be as specific and narrow and focused as possible here because the mistake, the challenge that a lot of speakers and entrepreneurs make is we feel like we need to spread the net as far and wide as possible. And so, the more people I can speak to, the more topics I can speak about, the more opportunities I will have. But that’s not necessarily the case. So, for example, when we ask, who do you speak to? A lot of times people are like, “Well, I speak to humans. I speak to people. My message is for everybody.” But we all know like if it’s for everybody is really for nobody at the same time.
And so, that second question there is what problem do you solve? Oftentimes, when I’ll ask speakers, “What do you speak about?” the reply may be, “Well, what do you want me to speak about? I can speak about anything. I can speak about investing and marketing and business and entrepreneurship and family and faith,” and on and on the list goes. And again, the reality is, is that you can’t do all those things. So, one of my favorite analogies that we tell speakers is you want to be the steakhouse and not the buffet meaning, Justin, if you and I are going out to eat, we’re looking for a good steak, like we have a choice. We could go to a buffet where steak is one of 100 different things that they offer and they’re all mediocre. Or we could go to a steakhouse where they do one thing but they do that one thing really, really, really well. They don’t do lasagna, they don’t do pasta, they don’t do seafood. They don’t do tacos like they do steak, and that is it. And so, from the outside, they may be thinking like, “Well, how do we appeal to vegetarians?” Like, you’re not trying to appeal to vegetarians like you’re a steakhouse and that’s okay. “But we should make tacos.” Like no, no, just be a steakhouse.”
And again, the mistake that so many speakers and entrepreneurs make is we feel like, “But there are so many other things that I could do and I want to be all things to all people. I don’t want to limit myself. I want to be this generic Swiss Army knife,” and that’s just not what people are looking for. So, that’s the first part of the process. If you get that part right, everything else becomes a lot simpler and smooth. And again, that’s not exclusive to the speakers. That’s for anybody.
The second part of the process, the P, is to prepare your talk. So, be really, really clear on what’s the solution that you can provide. This can come in the form of in-person. There’s a lot of virtual we could talk about as well. This could come in the form of keynotes, workshops, breakout seminars. There’s a lot of different ways that you can provide a solution as a speaker.
Next part of the process, the E, is to establish yourself as the expert. So, there’s two key marketing assets that every speaker needs. You need a website and you need a demo video. In this day and age, if you don’t have a website, people will not take you seriously. You will not exist. So, you’ve got to have a website and you also need a demo video. And what exactly is a demo video? So, think of this like what a movie trailer is. You take a two-hour movie, you boil it down to 2 or 3 minutes, and within those 2 or 3 minutes, you have an idea of who’s in it, what’s the plot, what’s the theme? And the goal of a demo video and the goal of a movie trailer is to make you want to see more. So, from an event planner decision maker standpoint and they are thinking, “Okay. We’re thinking about hiring Justin. So, we know of Justin but if we put him up on our stage, like, is he going to do a good job? Is he going to be a fit for our audience? Can he deliver what it is that we’re looking for?” As they don’t need to see a 60-minute talk in the same way that you don’t need to see an entire movie or 30 minutes of the movie. I just need to see a couple of minutes of a trailer to give me some sense of like, maybe that’s an amazing movie. Maybe it’s going to win a ton of awards, just not my cup of tea, which is fine. So, having that demo video helps kind of remove some of the potential pressure that an event planner may feel whenever they’re considering you.
Next for the process, A, is acquire paid speaking gigs. Now, the mistake speakers make here is that they say, “Okay. I got my website, I got my video, I’m clear on who I speak to. I’m clear what problem I solve.” But now I just sit back and I wait for the phone to ring and it just doesn’t work like that. And so, this is where you want to be a lot more proactive than reactive instead of assuming people are going to magically find out about you that have a system and process to not only reach out but to be able to follow up with people as well who are looking for what it is that you have to offer. So, if I reach out to an event planner, I’m not trying to convince them to host an event. They’re already planning on having an event or a conference, already planning on hiring a speaker. I’m just having a conversation with them about why I’m a good fit for that event.
And then the last part of the process, K, is know when to scale. Meaning a lot of people who are interested in speaking are also interested in writing a book or doing a course or doing coaching or doing consulting or doing a mastermind or doing live events. And all those things are good. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things, but you can’t do all the things at once. So, something’s going to come first. Something’s going to come last. So, you’ve got to be really, really clear about how speaking fits into the mix. So, again, I know we went through that quickly but that’s kind of a big overarching overview there of what we teach speakers in terms of how do you actually find and book gigs.
Justin Donald: That is awesome and it’s very comprehensive. I know what you do like you’re giving an overview here but I know you get into all the details, which is great, and you’ve got your secret sauce in the way you do it and the way that you help people monetize. But one of the things that I think is interesting that you do, Grant, is you kind of have this ideology around why like speaking is beneficial even if you don’t want to be a full-time speaker. And I’d love to hear some of your thoughts around that because I feel like a lot of people listening, maybe they’re not like, “Hey, yeah, I want to become a speaker.” Many of them probably don’t want to become speakers, but how is this beneficial even if that’s not what you want to do for a full-time gig?
Grant Baldwin: Yeah. That’s a great question because there are definitely going to be people who are watching or listening who say, “I would love to do 50, 75, 100 gigs a year,” and that’s absolutely possible. There’s a lot of speakers that do that and others that may be like, “I like speaking but I don’t want to do it to that level,” and that’s fine. It’s not that one is better or worse than the other. Like, you get to decide what makes sense for you. So, you may decide to do five gigs, you may decide to do 50 gigs, and both are fine. So, one of the things I think that’s important to know is that when we think about speaking, there’s a lot of ways that you can derive value from speaking that may not involve whether or not you got a check for an event. And so, for example, anytime you go speak at an event, there’s a certain amount of authority, of credibility, of expertise, of recognition, of networking that exists because someone is up on that stage. And so, any time like any of us have been to an event and you’re listening to someone, there’s a certain amount of just like, “Oh, that person knows what they’re talking about. This event is legit.” And if they’re going to have this person come speak to that, then I know I can probably trust that person and it just validates that person.
So, just in terms of just prestige, recognition, credibility, expertise, in whatever industry you may be, there are industry events where you can be recognized as the go-to authority and expert just by being a speaker at that type of industry event. So, that’s one thing to be aware of. Another thing is that speaking can work really, really well, especially for entrepreneurs who have some type of product or service on the back end. And so, speaking can work really well from like a brand building, from an authority building, and also from a lead gen standpoint. Let me give an example. There’s a client that we worked with and they did a lot of coaching. And what they would do is they would go speak at events and they would speak for free and the whole thing was built upon generating leads for their coaching business. Well, their coaching business generated multiple six figures a year but the whole thing was built upon speaking at the right type of events for lead gen for their coaching business. And so, again, depending on the nature of what it is that you’re doing, I was talking at that meet-up in Saint Louis you’re alluding to, I was talking with another mastermind member and they run actually a fund. And so, I was talking with them and they were saying, “Hey, how do I find more people that would be investors for my fund? Where are these people going to be? I’d be interested in speaking for this.” So, we talked about two questions earlier. You know, who do you speak to? What problem do you solve?
But then that third question, there’s a third question that we didn’t really cover on is where do those people gather? What are the conferences, the events, the associations? And so, I was talking with her about like talk to me about the current investors. And she is in the medical field. She’s a physician. And so, she has a lot of investors who are physicians. And I said, “Okay. Let’s talk about some of the common challenges that they have where you may be able to come and speak and help solve that problem for the attendees for the event but also it can be lead generation for potential investors for your fund.” And so, for her, she may go speak at something for free and may get nothing, and so on paper, you’re thinking like, “Well, what’s the point of that?” But the relationships that she’s built with potential investors that may invest into her fund or do work with her may be exponentially more valuable than whether or not an event could pay her or how much they paid her. So, again, the point being, there’s a lot of different ways that you can receive value from speaking that goes way beyond whether or not you got a check from an event.
Justin Donald: That’s awesome. So much good information there. And yeah, if you can speak, so sometimes the message isn’t to be in front of a crowd, like on a stage, but it’s more, hey, how do I get my message out there to the right people, to a right fit audience? So, I think that’s incredible. And by the way, this doesn’t have to be in person these days. This could be you speaking on a recording. And in fact, I’d love to talk about with you just how the pandemic has kind of created more opportunities via technology and speaking virtually and all the doors that this has opened up for speakers, for your business, for what other people do, and the standpoint of like, you know, I see it happening all the time in the investment community of people speaking, having their investment pitch, wanting to attract more people to watch it and potentially raise funds. So, yeah, I would love to hear your thoughts.
Grant Baldwin: Yeah. And so, I think one of the best things to happen to the speaking industry has been the pandemic. And I know that that sounds weird but it’s created a lot of opportunities virtually that largely didn’t previously exist. And so, prior to the pandemic, virtual speaking wasn’t really a thing. It isn’t something that a lot of speakers did. It wasn’t something that a lot of event planners took seriously. It just kind of existed. And so, then the pandemic hits, and all live events come to a screeching halt, and everyone’s kind of scrambling to figure out virtual. Virtual becomes the only game in town. And what we really predicted would happen, what has really played out is that as live events have come back, they have not come back in replacement of virtual events, but they’ve come back in addition to virtual events. Now, there’s pros and cons with live versus virtual and we’re all very, very aware of that. But virtual has created an enormous amount of opportunities that didn’t previously exist for speakers. So, even in terms of just being a part of the mastermind, there are people who are members literally all over the world who are receiving value. We don’t all have to be in the same type of place. So, there’s a lot of speakers that we work with today who are generating significant revenue. One of our coaches will generate close to $1 million this year primarily from virtual speaking.
And so, one of the great things in terms of like the lifestyle element is when I was traveling a lot and being gone a lot, my daughters would always ask like, how many sleeps am I going to be gone? And so, when you’re speaking virtually like you’re gone none sleeps, you’re home. And there’s nothing better than sleeping in your own bed and being with your family and still able to speak and make an impact with your message. And so, virtual, there’s been enormous, enormous opportunities for virtual speaking. But again, largely it didn’t exist before.
Justin Donald: Oh, that’s awesome, Grant. And, yeah, I love when my speeches are in Austin. I just recently spoke to Keller Williams and that was incredible at their corporate office for their wealth division. And I love local speeches and I love being able to do stuff via online platforms, whatever that may look like because I like to stay here in town with my family. So, you couldn’t have said it better and I hope more people recognize the huge opportunity. I mean, incredible that one of your coaches almost earned $1 million or maybe they earned $1 million close to that just in the virtual side of speaking. And that is just so incredible of an opportunity. So, where can our audience hear, those watching and those listening, where can they find out more about you, Grant, and more about Speaker Lab?
Grant Baldwin: Yeah. Everything we do is over at TheSpeakerLab.com. If you listen to this podcast and I’m a regular listener as well, but you probably listen to other podcasts as well. We have The Speaker Lab Podcast. We’ve got over 400 episodes there, so a lot of great content there. You can check out. We’ve got a book called The Successful Speaker: Five Steps for Booking Gigs, Getting Paid, and Building Your Platform. So, check that out. That takes that speaker framework we talked about earlier and digs deeper there as well. So, yeah, anything that we can do to help support speakers, whether you want to speak full time or just do a little bit here and there, happy to help however we can.
Justin Donald: Oh, I love it. Well, I highly recommend Speaker Lab. I’ve sent many people to you myself because I believe in you and what you’re building in your organization. And really just in general, I think you’re leveling up. If you’re building another skill set, I mean, this is going to be applicable in some way, shape, or form. And so, I just think it makes sense to dive in. So, thanks for sharing, Grant. And to anyone who had a chance to watch today or listen and you’re just curious a little bit more about how to invest in lifestyle investor deals or how to save more in taxes, or how do you connect with more like-minded and highly successful people, I would really encourage you to apply for the Lifestyle Investor Mastermind. It’s the world’s most exclusive mastermind that turns everyday people into savvy investors who regain their time, they regain control of their time, and really they build their wealth along the way with invisible deals, with pre-negotiated preferred terms in a way where there’s accelerated returns in many cases or very de-risked in many cases. So, you can learn more at LifestyleInvestor.com/Mastermind. And I want to end today the way I end every week which is this: What is one step that you can take today to move towards financial freedom and living a life that you desire by your design on your terms, not by default, but with intentionality in a way that will inspire you and inspire others? Thanks so much and we’ll catch you next week.