Start Somewhere

Auditorium

“But you’re Chris Brogan.” I hear this all the time (mostly because that’s my name). People will say, “I want to get started in public speaking.” I say, “So speak.” They say, “But no one will have me.”

When I started speaking, no one would have me. I showed up to a BarCamp. Anyone can speak there, if they find a space in the schedule. I decided to talk about something I’d blogged about lately. You see, I was already a public speaker. I just did it in textual form on my blog.

Some people came. Christopher S. Penn was there. It started a great friendship and a partnership that led us to cofound PodCamp. It was fun. I was a nobody. I wasn’t “Chris Brogan.” I was just Chris Brogan.

And I spoke everywhere I could find. For free. Tons and tons. And then I spoke for money because Christine Perkett hired me. Thereafter, I spoke for a little more money, and a little more money. And then Guy Kawasaki gave me my big speaking break. I went from charging $2,500 to $25,000 because Guy told me to do so.

And then I wrote a book with Julien Smith, and it was successful, so I could justify charging that much.

And now years later, I speak all over the world, to princesses and to trade organizations and to a little middle school in Monmouth, Maine (pictured above).

Because I started. Because one day I wasn’t a speaker and then I was. Because one day I wasn’t an author and then I was. Because one day YOU weren’t a _____, ….. and then?

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  • http://www.blog.downlandgraphics.co.uk Averil

    I came accross your interesting site on twitter.It caught my eye that you mentioned Monmouth! as I live near the town of Monmouth, UK.The “Genesis Framework ” sounds amazing though I don’t fully grasp it yet.All this Internet marketing is such a learning curve but also so stimulating and exciting!I will definitely look at the demo to know more!
    I will check back to read more of your posts! All the best, Averil

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Glad to hear it, Averil. :)

    • http://www.markeroni.com/ Linda Gentile

      Hi, Averil. Back in 1996, I rode my motorcycle to Monmouth. It was an attempt to be adventurous, as I’d never ridden out of England at the time and made it into Wales! I got hopelessly lost. ;)

      Another time, I stayed at the youth hostel, visited the castle. Monmouth has a lovely feel to it. I was there on a beautiful, sunny day, and I’ve wanted to go back ever since, but when I go to the UK these days, it’s to visit family in Scotland. One day!

      • http://www.blog.downlandgraphics.co.uk Averil

        Hi Linda, nice to hear from you. I love the Wye valley and now live near Chepstow near the big white Severn bridge! I am about to begin a series of paintings of Tintern Abbey, beautiful ruins on the Wye river. Where do you live now?

        • http://www.markeroni.com/ Linda Gentile

          I know Chepstow. It’s near where I crossed into Wales. :)

          I live in a motorhome that is currently in southern Nevada. My home base is in northern California. I’m a long way from where I started. :)

  • http://www.antonkoekemoer.com/ Anton Koekemoer

    So true Chris.

    Everywhere you see people talking “I want to be like ____”, but they haven’t even started. You have to start somewhere before you can become a pro. That is life and how things work. The same with digital marketing – especially with social media and SEO. There aren’t any “magic” buttons that will all of a sudden make your campaign turn into a snowball. You have to start somewhere and learn the ropes.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      We agree. :)

  • http://www.toddejones.net/ tejones

    Well Said. naturally.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Not naturally. I take supplements. :)

  • Mike Goncalves

    Awesome Chris. It’s like they say, we don’t have to be great to start although we must START in order to be great. Right now, I’m just Mike Goncalves but I too will become “Mike Goncalves”. Cheers!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      You are to me, already. :)

  • http://www.truenorthquest.com/ Brian Del Turco

    Ancient-futurist wisdom: “Do not despise the day of small beginnings.” Thanks for highlight this.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Nicely said!

  • http://thefranchiseking.com/about-joel-libava-the-franchise-king The Franchise King

    And then I was an Author. And a guest on radio shows, TV shows. A US Government agency even asked me to assist them…and share my knowledge of franchising. (I even passed their background check!)

    I thought I’d be waiting tables until I was in my 50′s.

    But, I really wanted to be a doctor. Until Biology, Chemistry, Math and the like didn’t agree with me.

    Are any of us where we thought we’d be?

    Nice post.

    The Franchise King®

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Speaking as a guest on TV & radio shows, the thrill wears off quickly. :)

      A doctor. Fun. :)

      • http://thefranchiseking.com/about-joel-libava-the-franchise-king The Franchise King

        I really enjoy being interviewed by the media-on the radio and on tv. Even text interviews. It’s because of my love of broadcasting and the fact that I was a radio DJ. Love it to this day! As a matter of fact, I was just in-studio-a rarity these days, at a real radio station in Cleveland for an hour-long interview. It was great! (WHK-1420 AM)

        JL

  • http://www.snowflakemedia.co.uk ❄️Social Snowflake❄️

    What a simple, yet great post. The journey of a 1000 miles starts with a single step stuff. Thank you! Lee

  • http://www.chandlercrawford.com/ Chandler Crawford

    Great article. Everyone has to start somewhere, and if you don’t start you can never finish. It’s inspiring to be reminded that even the most successful people in their market started doing things to serve their audience for free.

    Thanks!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      We quite agree. :)

  • http://www.blazewebstudio.co.za/ Geoffrey Gordon

    I guess this is it…. the talkers (excuse the pun) get divided from the doers. Starting sometimes is the hardest, but once it is done then we feel .. Whew glad i got that out of the way and it gets easier. :)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      I honestly think starting isn’t the hardest. I think sustaining is, but maybe that’s me. :)

      • http://www.blazewebstudio.co.za/ Geoffrey Gordon

        You got me there Chris. However many people don’t even start, so they haven’t even hit the challenge of maintaining.

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  • http://www.squishypeanut.com Deanna Tiemann

    In recent years I’ve also learned to never say never. I’ll never own a business, I’ll never want to start running, I’ll never stop eating at that fast food restaurant. Because those are the things you may very well end up doing. I’ll never get paid to speak in public? That one is probably on a lot of people’s “never” lists. But you never know when that never will turn into a “did it”.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      My never list is pretty small. I’ll never be a pro basketball player. I’ll never be a toddler again. That kind of stuff.

  • http://lifeandbusinesstribe.com/ Monica Carter Tagore

    This is a post anyone can relate to, because we’ve all been faced with the want to do something and have had to decide whether we will just want it or actually do it. One cool trick that can help push you toward actually doing something is to face the fear of “What if it goes wrong?” Think through the worst-case and come up with a response/plan. In most instances, the worst-case won’t happen. And if it does, you’ll be prepared. Once you get over the mental hump (that is what fear is) of the what-if, you can actually move toward tackling that thing, whatever it is!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Great premise! I like that. :)

  • http://jestKultura.pl/ Andrzej Tucholski

    Great post. That’s why I’m not afraid of starting my new adventure. I’m noone to the people I’d love to connect with in the following years. Yet I was noone at least three times already, so there’s no point in fear:)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Start! When does that happen again?

      • http://jestKultura.pl/ Andrzej Tucholski

        11th of August. Exactly two months from now :)

  • http://nivcalderon.com Niv Calderon

    What a great post. I read it inside my gmail and immediately came here to post on Twitter and G+

    Great read. Thank you

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Hooray and thanks!

  • http://jacksonandwilson.com/ Mitch Jackson

    I don’t care who you are, what you do or how old you are. For most, starting a project, task, business, resolution, relationship… is the hardest thing for most people to do– until they actually try. Then, it often times becomes doable :-)

  • http://www.carpscorner.net/ Sean Carpenter

    Chris – Awesome post and so true. I sat in a presentation back in 2002 and was so energized by the speaker, I said to the guy sitting next to me “That’s what I want to do.”

    “What, that last idea he suggested?” said my friend.

    “No, I want to be that guy in front of the audience speaking,” was my reply.

    After the class I started a relationship with the speaker that still is intact today and he serves as one of my biggest mentors. He helped get me invited to my company convention (which you have spoken at) and I have be invited back every year since 2007. He also referred me my first “paid” speaking opportunity.

    Now my fees are higher (still not in your range) but enough that I feel like I am delivering quality and being rewarded for it.

    Thanks for reminding us of the importance of starting.

  • Julia Griffiths

    Love it!

    One day I wasn’t a deck-ripper-outter and patio-putter-inner…and then I was! One day I was afraid…and then I wasn’t.

    You hear a lot about opportunity cost in economics. You even hear about it in relationships. But what about self-image? Fits there, too.

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  • http://justinalyssa.com Justin Murphy

    Chris, you’ve got a real gift for getting the blog to be personal, you’ve inspired me!

  • http://justinalyssa.com Justin Murphy

    Chris, you’ve got a real gift for getting the blog to be personal, you’ve inspired me!

  • Karla Luster

    LOVE this, sooo true for everything we dream to be. You’re such a gift and your blog is my fav.

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  • http://stevespring.org sespring

    Chris, this is an awesome post. My grandfather’s favorite quote was, “A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.” It is so true, the most important step in anything is to just get started. I am now a speaker! Thanks for sharing.

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  • http://www.hisocial.com/ Hisocial

    Very inspirational post Chris. As it often happens, people give up before even trying. It is usually due to the fear of failure, but having a little bit of self-confidence and belief can encourage people to follow their dreams. Thanks for sharing you personal thoughts on this topic.

  • http://www.ChefLeeZ.com/ Chef LeeZ

    True enough. I wasn’t a web master then I created 4 sites and now I am, amongst other things a webmaster. Get up off the sofa!

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  • http://www.brandyoubusiness.com Danielle Louise Ross

    Simple and inspiring. Thank you!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Thank YOU!

  • http://www.extraincomeblogger.com Suné @ ExtraIncomeBlogger

    Thank you, this is very inspirational. If you want to do something, just start! I love it.

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  • http://girlgetyourrootsdone.com/ geturrootsdone

    Thank you for this post! I started putting myself “out there” via my blog 7 months ago. Exciting and terrifying. But, some amazing opportunities have already come my way. Just because… I started.

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