Making Dreams Come True for Comics and Speakers since 1984
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Entrepreneurs: 8 Tips for Telling Your Hero Story

If you are an entrepreneur, a salesperson, a comic, or a speaker, there is a story that you need to know and tell.  It's the story that will engage your audience, make them laugh, and motivate them to buy your products and services. What is this amazing story? It is the story of why what you do isn't just a job... but a calling. It is your HERO STORY.

The way to people’s hearts (and wallets) is through storytelling. Your Hero Story is what drives home your message, turning facts and figures into memorable moments and sales. This story, when told with drama and humor, is a story that inspires. After all, people respond to emotion, not data.

Information can be boring. Think of all those times you’ve been trapped in a folding chair, listening to a miserable PowerPoint show, getting the life force sucked out of you with every chart, graph, and missing joke. But, getting your point across by telling a story will have audiences running to buy your products, rather than running for the door.

Last night, I did an online story session with a software sales team. This was a serious group of sales techies that were more used to getting snores than snickers. To their surprise, they found they could take ordinary events and turn them into extraordinary stories. 

So, how do you tell this amazing Hero Story? Here are 8 tips to guide you through the process:

1) Describe a specific person you or your product has helped. Describe that person so we can picture them.  For instance: “Bob is a 35 year old Project Manager, heading a team of 20.” 

2) Tell us what “Bob” wanted. “Bob wanted to get projects completed on time, decrease office stress, and empower his team.” 

3) Share in detail “Bob’s” obstacles that were getting in the way of “Bob” getting what he wanted. As you explain “Bob’s” obstacles, describe his failed solutions, unrealistic demands, and act-out dialogue. 

4) Here’s a sample scenario: “Bob’s staff was constantly complaining. He tried giving didn’t work flow charts, but nothing worked. He just couldn’t get his team to hit deadlines. He constantly had staff lining up outside of his office complaining, ‘I’m not getting my work orders enough ahead of time and the vending machines are broken!’” 

5) Have the obstacles “Bob” is facing build to a crescendo of frustration.  “Bob was always working late, coming home to a frustrated wife complaining he wasn’t helping enough with the kids. And Bob was developing an ulcer.”

6) You (or your product) enter the story. Describe what you or your services did for “Bob.” “After hearing ‘Bob’s’ struggles, I created a 3-Step plan starting with a 2-hour training program to empower his staff.” 

7) Describe the person’s resistance. “Bob said, ‘Are you crazy – I don’t have the time for that!’” This accounts for the concerns your audience might be having and squashes them.
End of the story is where you describe how this person got the results they wanted. Describe this in specific detail. “Their team started to make their own decisions and ‘Bob’ had more time to be with his family.” “Deadlines were met.” 

8) Tell the message of your story: “Empowering your team doesn’t take more money, but better strategy.” 

This story structure works! Don’t take my word for it. The next time you pitch your product or services, try this 8-step story formula and tell your Hero Story. And, bring a lot of your product as you’ll be amazed at how telling stories will increase your back of the room sales.

Need help telling your story?  Download my Ebook “The Message of You: Turn Your Life Story into a Money-Making Speech” 

In NYC? Come to “The Message of You Workshop” and find your stories, TED talk, or the meaning of your life.

How Being Funny Can Save You Money

CC0 Public Domain / Free for commercial use / No attribution required
Having a sense of humor can save you money. I learned that while working as a comic. Open mic nights aren’t as good for fattening up your bank account, which can truly be a sad joke. Self-made millionaires have said (not to me personally) that dramatically cutting expenses increases one’s income. I’ve found out that when you make someone laugh, they feel positively toward you and are more likely to have your back and make cuts in your favor... Read more.. 

Jobs in Show Business: Tips for a Career in Entertainment

The facts are grim for those hoping to break into showbiz. It was while I was on a panel called “Building Your Empire” for the SAG/AFTRA Conservatory that I found out ONLY 10% of actors who are in the union are working. Wait, I’m not done. Only 10% of those who are working are ABOVE THE POVERTY LEVEL. That’s good to know before you quit your day job.  Afterwards they provided food. It must have been a nice change for the participants not to be serving it.

SAG/AFTRA Panel "Building Your Empire"
(L to R) Scott David (CD for Criminal Minds, founder of The Actors Link),
 Ajay Jahveri (Argentum Photos),  
Jamison Reeves (writer, actor, producer, director),  
Judy Carter, (Goddess)  
Lee Garlington (actor, writer, career coach, phenomenal moderator),  
Gary Marsh (founder of Breakdown Services)
Fledgling actors in the audience were asking, “How do I get an agent?”

Well, if you’re just getting over the fact that getting into the SAG/AFTRA union wasn’t your ticket to buying a condo in Brentwood, wait until you see what happens when you sign with an agent.  I’ve been represented by ICM, William Morris Agency, Gersh Agency, 5 different commercial agents, 3 different managers, and have worked with over 15 speakers bureaus.  I once named my dog “Bernie,” after my agent Bernie, because when I called either of them, they didn’t do anything. An actor friend told me he came off stage one night and was approached by a commercial agent, who said, “I’d like to handle you.” That would have been flattering except the guy WAS his agent. 

This year has been one of my most successful yet. I've shot 2 television pilots, my screenplay is being read by producers, I have regular speaking engagements, and I do not have ANY exclusive representation except for my lovely literary agent and a few speaker bureaus.

If you’re like me, you might make the mistake of thinking because you’ve signed with an agent, you can slack off. That’s their job; they often slack off once you’ve signed the agency agreement.


1) Create a database. (CRM – Customer Relationship Management) When I was an 8 year-old magician performing at birthday parties, I kept every client’s name on an index card in a recipe box. I’ve moved up from a recipe box to a computer, where I file away everyone who has ever contacted me. Just like in Game of Thrones, the power is in the hands of how many people are in your army. Now, your power is in the number of followers you have in your database, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on YouTube. I use SugarCRM. You can use MailChimp, or here is a list of reviews

2) Provide your followers with value. They want to hear how you can help them. Give your fans something other than, “Come see my show!”  Email them about things THEY are interested in (don’t assume it’s you). Think of yourself as a first responder for THEIR needs.

3) Network by supporting other people.  After your day job, get out of the house, stay off the 405 and other roads that don’t move so you can talk to other comics, actors, writers, and participate in the community.  If you come to other people’s events, they just might come to yours (it’s not true for funerals).

4) Become a YOUTUBE  STAR. DIY your own projects on YouTube. Build your team to create your own projects and internet content. Join together with actors, writers, and directors to show what you can do. YouTube sensation Jenna Marbles has over 13 million subscribers and makes millions. GloZell turned herself into a star with her zany characters on YouTube. YouTube is the stage you want to be on.

5) Change your thinking. Getting a call and being cast in a network show is as unlikely as getting hit by lightning. Oh, wait, that just happened in Venice Beach! But, until I find a new metaphor, I’m holding onto it as it’s the best way to say you shouldn’t think that waiting to be discovered is a productive step. Be pro-active. DISCOVER YOURSELF. Network TV is yesterday. Think about YouTube, Netflix, Google TV, where new stars are being discovered online. The internet is the new casting couch – where you’ll get hits, instead of being hit on.