Podcast #213 – Marc Interviews Thom Singer Who Has Had His Speaking Career of 11 Years Disrupted and Then Gets an Update in 2021
Thom has authored twelve books on the power of business relationships, sales, networking, presentation skills, and entrepreneurship, and regularly speaks to corporate, law firm, and convention audiences. He sets the tone for better engagement at industry events as the opening keynote speaker or the Master of Ceremonies. The unique Conference Catalyst Program has become a “meeting planner’s” favorite in how it transforms the conference attendee experience.
As the host of the popular “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” podcast, Thom interviews business leaders, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and others who possess an extra dose of the entrepreneurial spirit. The information compiled from these compelling interviews is shared with his clients, as he challenges people to be more engaged and enthusiastic in all their actions.
Thom earned the prestigious Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation in 2014. The Certified Speaking Professional designation, established in 1980, is the speaking industry’s international measure of professional platform skill. The CSP designation is conferred by the National Speakers Association (NSA) only on those speakers who have earned it by meeting strict qualifying criteria. The letters CSP following a speaker’s name identify that speaker as a speaking professional with a proven track record for understanding and delivering value from the platform.
In early March of 2020, Thom saw all of his business disappear.
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Thom first appeared on this podcast in episode 15 – On Becoming The Conference Catalyst with Thom Singer [Podcast].
Thom had pivoted from being a business development, and salesperson to being a full-time public speaker.
Thom had been speaking to audiences for 11 years. He had built a solid lifestyle business where he was on the road for 100 nights a year. He thought he would ride this ride out for the next 10 years. The 2nd quarter of 2020 looked like it was going to be the best quarter ever and then on 3 days in March Thom saw all of that evaporate.
He tried to maintain a positive attitude. He was not alone as the entire meeting industry came to a grinding halt.
The first natural pivot was to go virtual. Many of Thom’s clients switched their events to be virtual.
Thom and Eliz Greene who I interviewed in Episode #170 several years ago started the Conference Talk Show thinking that many events would go hybrid being both online and in person. That really did not happen. Thom and Eliz revamped it to be the Webinar Talk Show.
Thom found that associations were not willing to pay at the same level for virtual presenters as they would for in-person ones. To make this work he would have to present 2 to 4 times as much just to make the same amount of money.
Talking to a Smart People Everyday
Every day Monday through Friday Thom spoke to someone smart. He looked through his Rolodex and scheduled a 30-minute zoom call. One of those calls resulted in being offered a part-time position as an executive recruiter.
Thom made a career pivot and started with Stanton Chase. Thom had been offered executive recruiter positions earlier in his career so this was not a foreign idea. He would also get to keep his speaking business and podcast. The compensation is mostly commission. Thom knows that the speaking business gets tougher as you approach the age of 60. He sees executive search as a complementary role to his speaking business.
Thom rebranded his podcast Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do, which had 574 episodes, and it is now called Making Waves at C-Level.
Thom is being scrappy. He started reading eastern philosophy and Buddhist literature last November. Thom learned to separate who Thom is and what Thom does. That allowed Thom to stay calm and think clearly.
Listen to Daniel Elizalde and how he used his blog and podcast to pivot –> How to Pivot Industries Using a Blog and a Podcast [Podcast]. Thom did not want to take a job only to quit the job when the speaking industry comes back. Thom’s network has been there for him.
Thom is looking at making his emergency funds last. Thom has been working virtually for associations that have had their budgets slashed.
He has developed a new presentation Social Tightening While Social Distancing. He is working on making his 6-month emergency fund last 9 or more months.
Thom was told over many years that he needed to diversify his income. He blew those suggestions off as he thought there was no need to do so until this thing called a pandemic came along.
The 2nd and 3rd quarters revenue for 2020 were way down from the previous year. 4th quarter sales were almost back to normal but none of those came from traditional speaking gigs. He did one on one business development coaching for law firms, and training for law firms. He is learning a lot as an executive recruiter but that has not generated any income.
Besides running a podcast for a technology association, he has struck a deal to host another association podcast. Virtual speaking is a very competitive market and the money is not as good as were live events. Thom and Eliz Greene continue to do Webinar Talk Show.
Thom does not think that 2021 will be the year that the live speaking business comes back. His daughter continues to delay setting a date for her wedding.
Thom has been meditating and has found it valuable. It has given him a sense of peace. He has gotten scrappy.
Nothing he has done has solved his financial problems but piecing together all of the things has done has gotten him through the last year.
You can find Thom Singer at ThomSinger.com
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