Ari is a keynote speaker, wilderness liaison, podcast host and more. He worked previously in branding, marketing, and web design for more than ten years he now connects with audiences all over to inspire happiness and spark creativity. He shares with us his resistance to his first speaking gig, how it came about and the drive it gave him to get his message out to more people!
Victor Ahipene: Speaking nation, what’s happening. Welcome to another episode of public speaking secrets. I’m your host Victor Ahipene super excited to have you along with my guests today Ari Gunzberg and he is a keynote and inspirational speaker who helps people get clarity to move forward and gets resilience. And we’re going to go through his journey, which I think, uh, you know, a certain aspect of it will be really helpful for a lot of you are going to talk about a, you know, what he speaks about and who he speaks to that, how he went about getting his first couple of speaking gigs. Um, and you know, what they kind of entailed and getting over some of the fear barriers and different things. So we’ll dive into it. I, I’m not exactly sure where exactly will go, but I’m sure a lot of it will be beneficial for a lot of you out there who are having that first hurdle of maybe getting your foot in the door so they’ll let things here and welcome to the show.
Victor Ahipene: It’s a, it’s awesome to have you on. We’re, we’re about to you in the world.
Ari Gunzburg: I’m in Ohio, in the United States.
Victor Ahipene: Awesome. So we’re on it’s nighttime in the past for Ari and a, it’s the future for me. Um, uh,
Ari Gunzburg: I think we’re on the same day that I actually, I’m after one of them.
Victor Ahipene: Oh, there you go. Yeah. So it’s three, 3:00 PM for me. Uh, so yeah appreciate you jumping on and I know you have just given a given a presentation tonight as well. So, uh, there’s no, there’s no stuff and some people look
Ari Gunzburg: a doubleheader no loss.
Victor Ahipene: But yeah, it’s, um, give us, uh, give us a bit of a background, I guess, about what, how, how you came about. Um, you know, wanting to share a message and getting out there, speaking and, you know, kind of that journey that got you to you wanting to pursue being onstage.
Ari Gunzburg: Uh, okay, so that actually in the Q and a session tonight, somebody actually asked me that and it came up. Yeah. Uh, so basically, I, I have a friend who worked, used to work in the juvenile delinquent center here in Cleveland. And so she was working with her boys and she’s like, all right, you know, the only careers that these boys know of existing our like teacher police officer and prison guard, you know, or drug dealer. And she’s like, so I, you know, so she reached out to a bunch of us and she said it was anybody able to come in and just tell them a little bit about their careers so that they see there’s so many options that this is just a small segment of what there is to do. My initial gut reaction was no way, don’t want to do that. So, uh, when I was younger, I got into some trouble sometimes and the thought of going back behind locked doors and stuff, I mean, there was never no like, you know, hard time or anything, no convictions or anything like that, but just, you know, uh, some, some altercations with the police where I would end up in jail and stuff.Um, that was actually the subject. One of my speeches tonight. But anyways, I was, my initial gut reaction was no way, don’t want to go back in there. Don’t want to like reopen that, that period of my life, even though it’s coming from a completely different angle, you know, it was like a knee jerk reaction, like, nope, not going in there. And then go ahead.
Victor Ahipene: Uh, I always, I always find those knee jerk reactions. It’s just like this wall that we’ve put up their site, this is probably a thing that I should be doing because it’s going to put me outside of my comfort zone to a degree. And Yeah, it definitely is that from the sounds of things, yet it takes you back into Daca times of places you don’t necessarily want to want to think about. But yeah, I’ll let you carry on.
Ari Gunzburg: Absolutely. And I mean, so Neil, Donald Walsh, I think is the guy’s name. He says, you know, life begins at the edge of your comfort zone. And that’s, that’s something I try to aspire to, you know, to constantly just be pushing myself a little, a little bit further. But after a little bit of time, a couple of days or so, I realized how, how wrong I really was. You know, here she is, she’s reaching out to all these people. Most of them are going to get up there and like I say, yeah, this is what I do for a career, Yada, Yada, Yada. And the kids who are going to be sitting there looking at him and be like, I can’t relate to you just like you and I just have nothing in common, you know, so good. It’s your financial analysts. Like I’d have to go to college and like colleges, I don’t even have high school, you know, like they would just be so far and away from it. So I felt like I actually had a, an an obligation or responsibility to go in and talk to these kids and I reached back out to her. I said, okay, you know what I was thinking about and really I should go do it. And she’s like, oh sorry, we’ll fill it up.Finish that one. Like a day later she’s like, okay, somebody canceled. So we have a spot open for you. Um, and that was definitely going beyond my comfort zone because at the time I didn’t, hadn’t really had much public speaking experience side a little bit. Um, and then I started getting incredibly nervous, like right before I walked in and I was like, you know, I stayed up all night, like writing down what, what I can remember from my story, like the main point. So I could sit there and walk in and talk about it off of like my note cards. And I was like, what else? I thinks that they, how do I know that they want to hear my story? Like who am I that they’re going to want to hear what I have to say. And I just like super nervous and super self conscious. Like what makes me think that I have anything to say to these people. Uh, and so because of that, when I walked in, instead of starting off with my story, I started off by saying, look guys, you know, I’ve got my story and I’ve got my, uh, my career talk that I was going to give you and I can start with my story if you guys want, but only if you guys really want it. And almost every hand in the room went up and then I was like, all right, so if they really want to hear it, they really want to hear it. So I broke it all down to them and they kind of told him about some stuff that I had done, some of the stupid things that I, so stupid places that I had been in. So of the stupid things that I had done and uh, we all connected and we moved to straight from that into this marketing exercise. And I talked to him for like an hour and a half or two hours or something. And just, I mean the whole room’s like almost like lighting up with like, you know, they were just getting excited about what we were talking about. Cause I first told them a little bit about what marketing is all about. That’s what I was doing at the time. And then I, you know, did like an off the cuff exercise with them where we, you know, we, we picked a product category and then we designed a product just verbally, you know, and, and it was, it was, um, laundry detergent and they came up with the name fresh for it because it makes all the clothes fresh. And then one kid was like sitting there and he’s like totally just joking around, kind of like disengaged, like sitting back in his chair. And we were like trying to figure out a slogan and he’s like, if it ain’t fresh, it ain’t the best. It’s just joke around like, no, that’s good. That’s it right there. That’s it. Um, but they picked colors and you know, it was like, it was, it was pretty cool. And so after, after I got home, I am a graphic artist also. So I grabbed some stuff, stock image and I tweaked it a little bit and I threw on some of the words and names and everything else. And I sent it over time they were just like, they’re just totally floored. At around the same time I was trying to figure out what to do with my life because I was unhappy in my current career and I was also listening to a lot of motivational speakers. And so my, my business coach that I was talking to the time like kind of pop that idea out and I was like, yeah, I think that my work nice. That’s quite the journey ever since it’s fame.
Victor Ahipene: I mean there’s a lot of things to dive into today cause I, I mean from a learning perspective for other speakers is, I mean the first thing that jumps out to me is, um, uh, saying that I use a lot, I don’t know who I stole it off, but it was, it was someone, but I’ll start creating my staff after a while. But it was, it was facts. Facts tell, stories sell. Like you can give people fact. And percentage and statistic and yeah, here’s effect. I work as this. Here’s what I do. Here’s what I had to do. I’d been to university, I went to this, I went to that. But if you want to get people truly engaged in salary or message, it doesn’t mean you have to sell your product or your services or whatever. Yeah, storytelling is, is the biggest, uh, the biggest thing to be able to do it because what it does and what it did really effectively for you was break down that barrier between you and the audience. You know, if you’re, uh, uh, a multimillionaire up on stage selling a product or a service that’s going to help people become financially know more independent or make them money or whatever it may be. Uh, yeah. A lot of people won’t be able to necessarily relate with you. And that’s where a lot of people will give their background story because it says, oh, I was just like you. I was probably worse than, you know, I had, you know, 10 credit cards that were all maxed out. I was getting kicked out of my apartment and blah, blah, blah. Like, yeah. I don’t know. Yeah. It’s similar to kind of Tony Robbins thought backstory if you’ve heard that. And then it allows people to go, well, he could do it, I could do it. Um, and I think that’s what’s really cool. It was, you know, you walk in there and it’s like, look man, I’ve, I’ve been where you guys have, uh, of, yeah. I’ve seen a lot of the stuff that you guys have seen. I had two paths to go down. I could have been going down this road where it was going to be crime after crime or it could have been, you know, this other thing where I get to do, yeah. I can either mark it with legal products or market on the street corner selling drugs. Yeah. It’s one or the other and one of them, the police aren’t going to crack down on them quite as hard. So I mean, I think for everyone out there, yeah. A lot of people have that. What you said earlier, that imposter syndrome, like what the hell have I got that I’m going to, there’s going to give value to these people who am I to be talking to them and yeah, if you’ve been there, you don’t have to be, you know, Russell Brunson, a marketing expert that I follow. He says, you, you, you, and he has the kind of the catch me if you can, um, movie with Leonardo Dicaprio as well. When he was tutoring law, he was just saying one step ahead, one class a head and then was going back and teaching it the next day. Um, yeah, it’s the same sort of thing. You don’t necessarily have to fake it till you make it, but you don’t have to be 10 steps to hit these people. You can be one and say, look, I went to college instead of when and joining joined a gang and then people know, oh cool. Like that’s an option. Or I went and got my high school diploma and I did that instead. And so I think, yeah, without trying to, trying to steal any thunder or anything like that. I think there’s a lot of really good learning points for aspiring speakers of pushed outside your comfort zone. Realize you don’t, you don’t have to be the world’s utmost expert in something to be able to bring value to people’s lives. And the power of storytelling.
Ari Gunzburg: Absolutely. It’s the power of storytelling is, is, is infant testable. I mean, to, to nuances. Uh, so first of all, you had brought up the imposter syndrome and, uh, it came up tonight, Les Brown of one of the world’s foremost and motivational speakers. He brings down a, an African pot, an old African proverb. A lot of times if there’s no enemy within the enemy without can do us no harm. And so, so if you can work on your own self talk and, and, and, and work on having that confidence. So working on feeling good on the inside, no matter what people are saying on the outside, ultimately they’re not going to affect you because you know, deep within that you have the power to do whatever you want to do. Uh, you know, and, and I mean, it also applies I’m sure, to actual, uh, violence. But I mean in this day and age we just have to apply it to, you know, to moves into words and stuff like that. But I mean it applies to both. That’s one thing. And the other thing is you, you’re talking about storytelling. I do want to say like I’ve, I’ve tried my hand at sales like a bunch of times and um, to some degree, like a technical person, you know, facts, figures, numbers, et. I’m really not that great at sales. I’m just not. So what I, what I, what I would say that I’ve found in that only now that you’re bringing it up, I’m starting to think back. I think that the kinds that I was good at sales was when I wasn’t paying attention to the facts, figures and numbers and when I was paying attention to the story.
Victor Ahipene: Yup
Ari Gunzburg: You know, when I would either tell them a story about what the sale would do for them or tell them a story about where I’m coming from. And either way that story just goes ahead and helps us connect. And then, and then that’s what’s able to allow these things to happen. It’s not, it’s not when you sit there and say, well, this is going to increase your productivity by 25%. They’re like not listening because everybody says that.
Victor Ahipene: Yeah. And that’s, and that’s what are, I think a lot of people go wrong with sales is they try and solve the feature, not the benefit. Yep. If that makes sense. It’s like, yeah, I’ve got this, I’ve got this car and it drives and it does, yeah. Get it goes zero to a hundred kilometers or whatever. It’s like, that’s not a feature of that. It doesn’t need a lot to, you know, that it goes 400 kilometers on a tank of gas or charge if it’s electrical or whatever. It’s the, this will save you $10,000 a year and Petrel or this will, uh, this will make driving more comfortable. You can drive without, yeah. You can do your work while at South drives to you or those sorts of things. People can, uh, you know, they’ll buy into the benefits that it gives them rather than trying to sell them on feature after feature. And Yeah, you look at Steve Jobs when he, he didn’t say, you know, here’s a portable MP, three player, you see it’s 500 songs in your pocket. Right? And people like, man, how good is that? Instead of carrying around cds and yeah, everyone else was selling MP, three players. He was selling 500 songs that you can take around with you. And um, that’s, yeah, I think that’s a, a powerful lesson because it doesn’t matter if you’re up on stage selling an actual product or you’re trying to sell a message, uh, all of them, you know, kind of require that. It’s partly that storytelling aspect and then just, yeah, the Wui, I FM the Watson. It for me a situation, the audience hear about so much about you. It’s about what’s in it for them. And it’s a, so it’s really interesting. I want to dive into, I know you were saying, uh, you spoke at a sort of home, a conference.
Ari Gunzburg: I just spoke at a conference a few, uh, two weeks ago or so.
Victor Ahipene: Yeah. Go right. Run us through what did it, uh, how, how did you kind of find the conference or did they find you and how did you, um, yeah, what were the, what are the logistics like that to get to it and things like that for those who haven’t gone through that process.
Ari Gunzburg: Sure. So, uh, I’m going to backtrack a little bit. Um, at a certain point time recently, the past year or so, I noticed that my website and my videos were not as good as it could have been. And so I spent a lot of time, effort and money investing in improving all of those. Uh, you know, some of this stuff I did myself and stuff I had other people do, but I upped my game a little bit, you know, and, and is it as good as it could possibly be? Maybe not. There’s always room for improvement, but it’s, it’s much better now than it was. So I started off with doing all that. Once I got that to the point where I felt like it was adequately representing who I am and what I’m all about. Then I started looking into a little bit more and I started doing searches for like motivational speaker or whatever and I’m starting to find all these websites and I’m like, okay, I want to be out there in front of people. I can’t just be on my website. I have to be on any website that somebody who’s essentially going to be coming across looking for this type of stuff. I need to be on there also. So I started slowly but surely buying memberships to different websites. I’m not on all of them yet, but I’m, you know, I’m adding them on as I move along. And uh, it’s, it’s getting me more exposure. It’s getting me more opportunities to be seen by people
Victor Ahipene: give us some example,and getting memberships to different sites. Like what, what are those kind of,
Ari Gunzburg: um, Gig masters, Gig Salad, stuff like that. You know, we’re, we’re, people are going, they’re going to look for a lot of different things, a caterer for a magician, a clown, whatever. They’re going through lots of different things. But one of the categories that they offer is motivational speaking. So I, you know, when I, when I was seeing that these websites are consistently showing up as the top result of the top 10 results for a lot of different cities, I said, hey, look, you know, I got to put myself on there because if I’m not in front of people when they’re looking for me, I’m not going to be noted. You know, I can’t sit there and say, well, Hey, I failed doing this. If I’m not getting enough gigs, if I’m not putting myself in every single possible place that I should be, you know, like if, if I’m in every single possible place that I should be and I’ve got a good website up and I’ve got good videos up and I’m selling myself in the best possible way and I’m not making it all right, then maybe I did everything I possibly could and I, and I just didn’t do it. But if I, if I can, like I got to do every single thing that I possibly can to get myself out there and then includes putting myself on all these websites that includes making sure that my videos are up to par and I’ve got, I’ve got some 400 gigs that I’m sending a video that I’m sending to my video guy to sit there and start making new videos from. Um, I’ve been, I don’t want to say I’ve been lax in uploading, but the, the one of my videographers took a while to send me a bunch of stuff. So I, I have a boatload of stuff that I have to put the upload and, um, and the easiest way to do it, I might just mail them a hard drive because I’m a hard drive anyways because I’m taking up so much room on his hard drive. That’s one of the problems with shooting in 4k. What are you going to do? You know? Um, but um, I mean like I’m just, I’m just constantly trying to work on my video because a friend of mine who does video, he says, you know, is the most telling. The more that I can just put up videos where people are like, oh, I wonder if I should hire this guy already. Gunzburg and they check out a video and they check on another video that checking on another video. They’re like, Hey, I liked this guy that helps me as opposed to, you know, the other guy down the street who may or may not be a better speaker, but it doesn’t present himself as well. Yeah. You know, I’ll get hired every time.
Victor Ahipene: And I think that’s the key thing is if you’re comparing to people and yeah, it’s a flip of a coin. If you can watch another video on that person or you know, video yet. I mean, I tell a lot of people lift up the phone and ask a couple of people who you’re talking to after, after a speaking gig. Yeah. After I’ve gone. Oh, I really loved that. Another law. Hey, do you mind just saying that again into the camera? If it’s, if it’s crap, I won’t use it. Don’t worry. You won’t look bad all over the Internet. I won’t use it. I’ll just ask you a couple of questions and I’ll eat it out my questions and yeah, just if you just say everything is honestly, she just did well you say exactly the same thing to the event organizer and you start slowly building up this testimonial package because event organizers out there have got a huge risk on their shoulders. Uh, whether it be some somebody who’s hosting a large event, so it’s got multiple speakers or an internal workplace event where, you know, it’s tight of their annual conference or the national conference or whatever. If they dropped the ball way picking you, then it reflects on them. And so they want to see some footage. They want to see some testimonials from some other people live at events. You know, it doesn’t have to be awesome audio or anything. It just people saying how much value they got from you. So it’s mitigating some of their risk. We’re not flipping a coin between a couple of different speakers. So again, I think that’s a, yeah, a super valuable, um, side of things. So take guess,
Ari Gunzburg: Oh, 100%. So back when I used to work at website, sorry, yeah, jumping into a question. When I used to work in websites, I used to get upset sometimes because I would see people sometimes hire companies that were for sure more expensive than I was and wouldn’t do as nice work than I as I do. And it bothered me. But, but there’s this old saying I think it’s in sales or maybe it’s in something else and I don’t know who said it originally, but basically nobody ever got fired for hiring IBM. You know, so like, like here it is. They have this one guy who’s a freelancer who their boss is like, I just don’t know. And this other like established company who’s got 10 people working for them and they’re like, okay, probably going to do better work, probably going to do worse work more expensive, less expensive.We’re still going to go with people who probably won’t do as Nice for work and who are more expensive because they’re the safe choice. We always wants to safe choice. So that’s, that’s, that’s a very good point that you brought that up because this is what I’m constantly trying to do is I’m constantly trying to evaluate my materials from an outside perspective and say, am I helping present myself as the safe choice? Cause I know that I can speak, I just, I need to make sure that the people that want to hire me one of that as well.
Victor Ahipene: And I mean I’ve got like an interesting point on the kind of the value proposition of someone going and hiring someone more expensive. I’ve got a friend who consults and speaks to fortune 500 companies around the world and if he charges, if he quotes anything that works out to be less than $5,000 an hour. So if he does a half day presentation and the people, it’s anything less than $20,000 down on their initial thing, they wouldn’t look at, he said they won’t look at them because they say, Oh, you’re obviously not good enough to be working with our company. And he’s like, sweet. Yeah, he first off he, yeah. The only reason he found out was I think he quoted like 500 bucks an hour for one of when it was first kind of reaching his way in there and it was only because he knew someone within the company. Oh, like 500 bucks an hour. You’re, you’re about 90% of what you need to be be doing. So it’s a, yeah, it’s an interesting thing because again, you think you think you’re getting for the $5,000 an hour at Ferrari. Yeah. And it’s still, my still might be the same care or there’s still might need the snack.
Ari Gunzburg: Absolutely. I mean, there, there was another story online talking about pricing. There’s another story online that I saw that I read one time about a photographer she wanted, she wanted to work less. So she’s, she looked at her rates and she’s like, okay, I’m charging $3,000 right now. I’m working so much, I’m going to, or $3,000 for an event. I’m going to bump my price up to 15 grand and I should get a lot less events. And, and strangely, she got more because people saw that price tag and said, oh, she must be actually worth 15 grand. We need to have her. Yeah. And so it’s, it’s absolutely, you know what I mean? A pricing is, pricing is a funny, funny thing.
Victor Ahipene: And so how did this, uh, find you, uh, this, this one that you did?
Ari Gunzburg: Oh, they found me. They found me on one of those websites. Yeah. Cool. They had had, they had had somebody that they were planning on using I think. And they are, maybe they’ve, maybe they initiated the hiring process with somebody right before me or something. I’m not sure. But essentially the person just started getting a little bit too sketchy for them about money and you know, how it was going to work and everything. I don’t, I don’t have all the details cause they didn’t share them all with me. Uh, but they reached out to me and you know, it was back and forth and back and forth and was always like, Yo, we really want you, but we have to approve it with the committees. So just hold on. Sorry. Just hold on. The committee’s still going to be hold on. And um, you know, after a little while they, um, they said, yeah, you’re, you’re, you’re in, you know, just, uh, can you take care of this? Can you take care of that? You know, here’s the hoops that we need you to jump through and nothing crazy, but here’s the hoops we need you to jump through in order to go ahead and bring you on board. And, and you know, I know you have like a lot of listeners out there who are, uh, I think at the varying stages of building a speaking business, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, so I just want to go ahead and give another message of hope to, uh, you know, so, um, there are times when you’re working on, I guess you could say a sale, but like whatever, working on getting a Gig and it’s, it doesn’t seem to be working and so you may be give up, but just remember that like, you really never know where somebody else’s at. And the example that I’m going to give you is that I have this associate who I said, you know, hey, you know, let’s, uh, let’s do like a little something at your office. You know, we’ve got these online profiles. I’m trying, I’m working on building up, cause they just started them a few months ago and, and I’m trying to just get more stuff in there with the reviews and real stuff. Meaning, you know, you’ll hire me, you’ll pay me, I’ll come in and I’ll do stuff. Um, and then I’ll, I’ll just log it on these websites so that it ends up helping me if you end up deciding to write me a good review, you know? And, and I’m not saying you have to, nothing like that. And, and um, so I was bugging him for like a while and I would email him and he’d probably be back once then I need to let him like three times and then I wouldn’t hear from him and I need them like another time and then he would, you know, so it was like a very, very like, sketchy thing. And I just, I kinda got the feeling over the long period of time, I just wasn’t interested. He didn’t want to tell me that. So I was like, all right. And I just left it alone. And then today happened to be near his office. And I was like sitting there talking to a secretary for like, I have a second, not about this, about something completely different. But she’s like, oh, by the way, he wanted me to schedule with you for that thing. And I’m like, oh, okay, great. Like apparently I had done everything right. I had sold him on it and he just had never had the opportunity to do, to get back to me and say, Hey, by the way, we’re good. Just schedule. And this was my name popped back up into his head and he saw that I was coming into the office or whatever. He’s like, yeah, make sure you schedule with him, please.
Victor Ahipene: Yeah. And it’s, that’s the, it’s the good thing is, is it’s like life gets in the way. Like if you’re a speaker or a trainer, it’s on your mind 100% of the day. I made a book somewhere. I need to make sure that my previous clients are all good and whatever. For a company who might be, I might be an HR person or what, um, yeah. Uh, got 50 different plates spinning like we all do. But the one about that speaker who emailed that they forgot to get back to because you know, five people quit in one day is a, um, you know, it’s a different thing. So I mean, yeah, the power’s in the follow up. Absolutely. Cure. Well I think that gives, you know, I want to thank you and welcome you to our hour speaking nation group cause I think it’s, Oh, what you have given today will give a pit a lot of people a lot of hope, but I think there’s some awesome learnings and you know, your journey so far and moving forward, um, into the Gig. How to start positioning yourself as the speaker that you started a while ago and then how you know, these different things develop and do some life learnings. Because, I mean that’s what this podcast is all about is giving people that behind the scenes look of what has worked for other people because you can often go searching, scouring all over the web and you’re not going to get, yeah, you’re going to get the person who’s like, oh yeah, I speak and I do this, but you don’t get the necessarily the, the, the skin and bones behind it. So I really appreciate you for sharing that and want to thank you and welcome you to our speaker nation family.
Ari Gunzburg: I appreciate that you have me on the show and um, and yeah, I hope I can be of help. You know, if you ever want to, do you ever would like want to do this again? Check back in in six months, a year, something like that. By all means, feel free to reach out.
Victor Ahipene: Absolutely. We’ll lock it in for a year’s time. If people want to get in touch with you, we should, they go, what should they do?
Ari Gunzburg: Number one place Ari, gunz.com that’s a R I G U N z.com. That’s my website. It has a bunch of information about me, links to my blog, and links to my social media profiles.
Victor Ahipene: Wicked well, we’ll link all of [email protected] it’s been an absolute pleasure, mate, and I will let you get some well needed sleep.
Ari Gunzburg: Wonderful. Thank you.