37 minutes | Oct 29th 2020

SL086: How To Run A Successful Speaking Business With Your Spouse

How To Run A Successful Speaking Business With Your Spouse James Taylor interviews Brenda Bence and they talked about How To Run A Successful Speaking Business With Your Spouse

In today's episode Brenda Bence they talk about How To Run A Successful Speaking Business With Your Spouse.

A Certified Global Speaking Professional (CSPGlobal), Brenda Bence speaks regularly at conferences, conventions, and corporate gatherings all around the globe. Presenting her eye-opening approach to the combination of leadership and branding, she helps audience members strengthen both their own self-leadership and leadership of others. With an MBA from Harvard Business School and 20 years of experience building mega brands for Fortune 100 companies, Brenda left the corporate world and founded Brand Development Associates International. Her husband, Daniel Jackman, joined the business five years after that. Today - 10 years later – BDA’s client list contains dozens of the world’s most recognizable corporations and spans six continents. How did they grow such a successful speaking business together – and still stay happily married? Brenda will share important steps that she and Daniel took to make sure that both their business and their marriage would not only survive - but thrive!

What we cover:

  • How To Run A Successful Speaking Business With Your Spouse
  • The three most important questions to consider before you and your spouse decide to work together
  • The pilot in command mindset
  • The "Golden Rules" for balancing marriage and jointly running your speaking business


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Read full transcript at https://speakersu.com/how-to-run-a-successful-speaking-business-with-your-spouse-sl086/

James Taylor Hi, it's James Taylor, founder of SpeakersU. Today's episode was first aired as part of International Speakers Summit the world's largest online event for professional speakers. And if you'd like to access the full video version, as well as in depth sessions with over 150 top speakers, then I've got a very special offer for you. Just go to InternationalSpeakersSummit.com, where you'll be able to register for a free pass for the summit. Yep, that's right 150 of the world's top speakers sharing their insights, strategies and tactics on how to launch grow and build a successful speaking business. So just go to InternationalSpeakersSummit.com but not before you listen to today's episode.

Hey there, it's James Taylor and I'm delighted to be joined by Brenda Bence, a certified global speaking professional CSP global Brenda bent speaks regularly at conferences, conventions and corporate gatherings all over the globe, presenting her eye opening approach to the combination of leadership and branding. She helped audiences and members strengthen both their own self leadership and leadership of others. With an MBA from Harvard Business School and 20 years of experience building mega brands for Fortune 100 companies. Brenda left the corporate world and founded brand development associates International. Her husband, Daniel, Jacqueline joined the business five years after that, today, 10 years later, bdaas client list contains dozens of the world's most recognizable corporations and spans of six continents. How did they grow such as successful speaking business together and still stay happily married, Brenda will share important steps that she and Daniel took to make sure that both their business and America would not only survive, but thrive. It's my great pleasure to have Brenda with us today. So welcome, Brenda.

Brenda Bence Oh, thank you, James. It's just a pleasure to be as part of this.

James Taylor So before we get out to share with everyone what's going on in your world, just now what book current projects have your focus? Yeah,

Brenda Bence well, actually, you reach me here today in Thailand, I'm actually I love to write near water. That's my thing. So I'm writing my next book, and it will be coming out in January of 2018. Very excited about it. And so it's a perfect time to just be by the water and right.

James Taylor So that's what I'm doing. Beautiful. And how did you get into this world of speaking in the first place where it all began? For you?

Brenda Bence Yeah, well, actually, I left the big corporate world after 20 years, as you mentioned, and I decided I really wanted to find a sweet spot between leadership and branding. And I wanted to be able to deliver that in a multitude of ways, both in executive coaching, as well as in professional speaking through books, etc. online courses. So really, it was kind of natural, then ultimately, I went and listen to someone talk about being a professional speaker. And I thought, Okay, let's do that. So, so I've started that. And it's really been that that simple. And it just took off from there.

James Taylor And in those early days of just moving from the corporate world into the professional speaking world, who those early mentors or role models here,

Brenda Bence you know, I was one of the things I always recommend to early professional speakers just starting out, get a coach. And I got a couple of coaches early on in my career. The first one was Sandra shrift sound, right? A wonderful woman out of California. And actually then also, I worked with Lou heckler wonderful man, fantastic speaker. And he really helped me shape my my business terms of speaking what I wanted to achieve, know how, what it meant to really be a professional speaker. So there's so many people James, you know, we're, we're always giving back to each other. This is such a wonderful community speakers are, we're always giving back to everybody else. So I did the same, you know, I always say pay it forward, because I felt so mentored and taken care of in my early part of my career.

James Taylor And but before we came on, on this, we were discussing how we can make the topic of our conversation today. And we were talking about the importance of our partners and growing up helping grow our businesses and certain supporters. And, and this isn't something I don't really hear or see talked about so much at conventions or event. So I was really keen to talk about this, because we can do this with the summit, we can go on some of those areas that which aren't talked about so much. So when you you mentioned you can start the business and you got going for the first five years on your own. But then there came a point where you decided to bring your spouse side to kind of come into the business together. Tourism, what were those conversations around that time when you were thinking about possibly coming together and working on the business together?

Brenda Bence Well, Daniel, my husband, Daniel Jackman was actually CFO of a regional company. He had quite a big job and a 500 person organization. So I was really trying to run the business by myself. And I had a small team of people we were doing fine. But the incremental growth was just that incremental those first five years. It wasn't the kind of growth that I felt we could have. And I realized that I was the bottleneck, James, because I was the one right I was trying to manage all the people working with me finance, accounting and all the various people I suddenly realized all that time that I was spending doing that, which is not that I didn't enjoy it, but it's just I'd rather be on the mic. I could be on the mic or working with clients or connecting, I realized I was the bottleneck. So I was talking to Daniel about it. And I just said, I know that I'm the bottleneck here. And what I really neat, what we really need is a good general manager to help with this business. And that's when the conversation started, because I realized I was married to him.

James Taylor So what were those, what were those kind of if someone is listening just now and just for transparency, my wife and I, we we've built our business together since 2001. So So we've kind of gone through that, and and, you know, sent to yourself as well. But if anyone just now this thinking about bringing the husband wife partnering with his significant other and kind of building the business together, what are the questions that they should be asking of themselves to know whether it's a good fit for them?

Brenda Bence Well, it's a great question, James. And in many ways, I wish that we had been asked those questions early on to I think this is learning by fire sometimes, you know, people say you work with your husband, how does that work? You know, but here's the point there, I think there's three key questions you really want to think about before you decide to work together. The first one is, what do you want? What do you want to achieve? Really, like? What's the intention of running the business together? Because it's not like a nine to five job working together in this business. It's a lifestyle choice. And so I always ask people, if you're struggling to manage two careers, is it that you're managing vacation schedules gets too complicated? Or is it you want freedom to spend more time with your kids, that is not our situation, we don't have children. But the first two were very real, we did struggle to manage two careers, it's very difficult to find the time off, when one person is busy in one job, then suddenly they move the other person available. And it just was very challenging. And of course, for our situation, the intention was to marriage to marry the talents that we both brought, for which we realize were quite synergistic. So and we need it simply the business needed a good general manager, someone who could manage the put Daniel, post the back office while I did the front office, and it worked really well. So you have to ask yourself, what do you want to achieve? What's the intention? I think that's the first question. The second question, I would say is, are you as compatible in the workplace as you are at home? It's a very important question. You know, the reasons why you fall in love with someone James, and you know, this, and then you marry them may not be the same characteristics you want in a partner in business. So you really have to think about that. And is there a generally good mix of skills between the two of you? If so, fantastic. But if you like to do the same things, well, how's that going to work out? If you both like to do marketing and branding? Well, then who's gonna be doing the finance and accounting? Right? So I think for Daniel night really worked well, because he's finance accounting administration operations, it it's good at that. I'm branding, I'm strategy, I'm marketing, I'm client relationships, product development, it was a beautiful mix, it was a very, very nice mix. But I really don't think it's always right for every couple. So you have to really look at yourself and say, What do we bring? What do we both bring? And are we as compatible in the workplace as we are at home? And then the third question I would ask is, can you manage the risk, you know, especially if your other if your spouse is working at another job already, and he or she is thinking about leaving that job to join you and your speaking business, that means you're doing two things. One, you're putting both of your career eggs in one basket, right in your one business, but also financially, you know, when you're not on the mic, as a speaker, you don't earn income? Well, unless, of course, you have a thriving online business selling associated products and books. But usually, most speakers don't make enough from that to have a full time as a full time job speaking really needs to be your full time job. And when you drop your spouse's immediate salary, can you justify that? You know, can you justify that? So that's a really important question to look at both financially and from a career standpoint,

James Taylor you went through that transition of kind of going from working big business big corporates, to to small kind of just building it gradually. And then obviously, Daniel went through that same thing of like, 500 person business into being small. So I've always had an interest in the, you know, the psychological side of that, because that's, that's a big trends, regardless of whether someone moves, it makes me lose a job. That's a transition, but going from, you know, working in those larger organizations to being as much small and building it yourself. That that's the challenge. What was what was in your head and how did you cope with that? How did Daniel cope with that?

Brenda Bence Well, that's a great question. You know, you have two were both MBAs. You have two MBAs. Yeah. Running, but we're used to being top dogs in two big businesses. And suddenly, we're in, you know, the room together, how do we manage this? Right? So I'm not gonna lie, it wasn't easy. And I'll share with you some, some hints and tips and some very key things we did once we started working together. But you do have to ask those questions up front, too. You know, Daniel, you know, his, I'm very blessed, he doesn't need to be out in front. He doesn't like to actually be on stage that much, although he does a fine job when he is. But he doesn't really like that. And obviously, that's where my sweet spot is. So that works together well, but we had to have those conversations. And for us, honestly, it just became, it made so much sense, it made sense financially, it made sense from a business perspective. And we just had to recognize that the vision for the business was going to be big, and we have to kind of hang our hat on that and get comfortable that it wasn't going to be a lot of ego up front. And that we were running this business together as partners. And ultimately, it worked out fine. It wasn't easy. I'm not gonna lie. I think at the beginning, it's a bit challenging. And there were some real how tos that we picked up on once we did decide to work together. And we'll

James Taylor go through some of those hatches. Just as you're seeing this, there's so many parallels. I know, when I started, my wife and I started our business together. You know, we actually we did a little bit of exercise, we, there was a great company that could incite, who do kind of personality testing and all those, you know, they do all the personality tests. And we actually went to one together because we wanted to make sure because we knew as a couple, we were very well you know, match and everything. But as you say, in business that doesn't always know translate. So we actually went through these, these kind of personality assessments test to look at our different strengths and weaknesses and things. And we were we were pretty fortunate and that we can recognize my I'm most similar to you on being on stage in that way. And speaking and marketing and selling I level that brand branding, whereas my wife, Allison, she is well she's actually adjusting its trade. So she's very used to being on stages in that context. But actually, she's also an attorney, a lawyer. So she is amazing detail or which I hate. So she's so we kind of have that kind of blend. And she's a very good follow up detail type of person. And but even even with us, we also recognize that there was some gaps between both of our skill sets that we needed to fill in. And very early, we had to bring in additional kind of one person, then it became a bit of a team, just to plug those gaps that we just neither of us had, particularly because it was just you just don't have even between just two people, you just don't have those skills.

Brenda Bence That's exactly right. No, there was a couple things we could we did similar to you, after about one year of working together. And you know, it was a tough, it was a challenging year, you know, again, we're both going through massive transition, we decided to do take a step further than what you mentioned, we actually hired a coach. You know, I'm a coach, too. So I know the benefits of having a coach. Yeah. And so we decided, let's bring in a coach. So we hired a coach had a beautiful one day off site, just the coach and myself and Daniel, it was a super smart action to take it was a big aha, I think for a lot of a lot of couples that we talked to who are saying they're thinking about doing this, when I say hire a coach, they're like, Ah, ha, ha, that's a good idea. But what that did was a lot of to do a number of things. One was to have an aligned vision. And that was really key. She asked us some powerful questions around what success looks like. And we did it separately, I had my idea of success. He had his idea of success. And what did each person how did each person See it? And then how do we see it together? And through that exercise, James, we had remarkably similar visions. And so whenever I talk to young couples or couples who are thinking about doing this, I'll say, what's your vision? Is that the same as your spouse's, so you need to have that conversation and that we did that. And then secondly, it changed what you just said, understand each other better. We also did individual style assessments with that coach, to help us better understand our work habits and behaviors, and just little things, you know, it's funny now, at the time, the things that used to drive us nuts about each other, now that we kind of go up, I get it, okay, it's fine. For example, Daniels very much a night owl. Well, I happen to be a really a morning person, like a really surfy happy morning person, one of those people that you hate to have around in the morning, probably. But by the time Daniel makes it to the office, in the morning, I've been there three to four hours, I'm ready to rock and roll, let's address some issues. Well, he just needs some coffee, you know, and I get that and similarly at night, when Daniel has all sorts of work to do things that he wants to talk about, because he's, you know, he's a late afternoon kind of guy, I'm tired. So we compromise and we talk about things in the late mornings and early afternoons. So you know, things like that you just have to learn each other's styles, what works and what paths

James Taylor work that essentially I mean, I my top is on creativity and, and I speak a lot about like finding that those optimal times view from a creative sense. You know, when you're When you're at your peak there, and I'm just saying, I've never actually thought about that, in terms of, I know my time is probably more similar to yours. I'm more than morning I kind of have a morning thing and then I actually have a kind of nine 9pm till midnight thing and then afternoons I do my calls and do do the things which may be pushing me less in that way. Whereas Allison, is the opposite way. I like even more like do you like your husband like Daniel was and, and it's it's kind of finding those kind of crossover periods when you're, you're both on in that place.

Brenda Bence And it's respecting each other, and us respecting each other's nothing's good, nothing's bad, nothing's right, nothing's wrong, it just is. And so you have to learn to expect that. And actually, it works fine. You know, it works fine. We kind of play tag team, when I'm tired at night, I hand it over, and he works on it the morning, I take it back over, so it works fine. So there's another thing that I think is really key that we kind of discovered during that coaching session together. And that was that you're in the business of speaking, you're not a speaker in business. To me, there's a big difference to them, we both really agree on that it is a business. So for us, you know, we are a business people first, and then I'm a speaker, and then he's a partner or whatever. So if you want to succeed, and let's face it, we're the product when we're speakers, the best speakers really understand that we are in the business of speaking. Now, the beauty of that was we had two business leaders that were in the business by two MBAs, you know, really well versed in business. I mean, what a tremendous asset, right? And we wanted to really leverage that to the max. And so our coach really helped us to think about how we could do that. And obviously, the answer is to divide and conquer James and play to your strengths. And think about what each person brings to the table. And I mentioned, Daniel is really good at finance, accounting, IT systems on marketing, branding, plant relationships, etc. And those synergies are fantastic. So how could we leverage them the best? Well, what we decided to do was pull together a system we call pilot in command. And you know, on any plane, you may or may not know this, but there's always two pilots at least. And there's always one that's called the pilot in command. What that means is, the pilots can discuss things back and forth. But ultimately, if there's a crisis, or something has to happen, there's one pilot in command. So what we decided to do is split the business up into the various parts, and each of us would be pilot in command for that particular part. So for example, if it's finance, accounting, contracting, Daniel's very good at legal as well, that type of the keys, pilot and command, another words, we'll discuss it, we'll have a conversation, and we usually agree, but if we can't or cannot ultimately agree, he is the pilot in command for that, and he will take the lead and just make that final decision. Likewise, if it's something related to me, product development, client relationships, marketing, or branding, we'll discuss it always discuss it. But ultimately, if we don't agree, then I will be the pilot in command for that particular topic. And that's how we decide to make decisions. And it works really well. It works really well.

James Taylor That doesn't. That's that's an interesting subtlety there. Because, you know, you sometimes hear I've heard that that the analogy of the copilot used before, and I never kind of quite got it in that way. Because the way the way you've described because always felt like with a co pilot, well, there's always one person in charge. And then there was the copilot, there was like two co pilots in that way. So you mentioned that that phrase like pilot in command, that person has ultimately no command of that particular part of the of the business. That's, that's interesting, because that's because often when I think about pilots, I think about commercial pilots. actually don't think about like, for example, we had Rob Waldo Waldman, when your fellow speakers on the summit, and then they'll often have a lot at the front, maybe the pilot, and you'll have a navigator, you'll have a navigator and you'll have a weapon, for example, they they're different, completely different roles that they're fulfilling, but they know each of them who is in command of that thing. So that's for me, actually, what you've just said, there is a subtle batch of a powerful shift in my thinking, All

Brenda Bence right, thanks. Yeah, no, it really is about that. Because we are co pilots. In fact, we have a wonderful photo of ourselves. Well, I think for our 15th wedding anniversary, we've got into a pilot's chairs, we sat side by side and took a great photo of us both being co pilots, right, both of us put their hand on the main, you know, the stick the driver, but but the point is, ultimately, when it comes to those decisions, we have to have one pilot in command for each of those areas. And that works great.

James Taylor I'm interested in because you obviously, part of the role of being a speaker is you're traveling a lot you're you're going from this conference to this conference. And I'm wondering what kind of what ground rules Did you establish in the early early years as you were going to building what do you do now? So that you can still see each other frankly, cuz you know, I, you know, my wife, Jessie, and she's on the road a lot. And I'll be speaking as when we've, we've kind of worked out our own kind of way of doing it. So, so works for us. But what did you guys work out?

Brenda Bence Yeah, well, one of the nice perks, obviously, of working with your spouse is that you actually get to travel together with the business we have where we travel extensively. And so normally, to be honest, normally I travel with an assistant, I always travel with an assistant, but sometimes if it works, he will travel with me. And we usually do it for around three things, there's three different types of situations where we'll have him travel with me, first, if it's a strategic business opportunity, maybe there'll be buyers in the back of a room, he can connect with them while I'm speaking. One of our clients just adores Daniel. And so every time they have me come back to speak at their annual conference, they always say, bring along Daniel bring along Daniel. So you know, he's, he's just really well loved. And so he helps keep that relationship going. So that's an example of when he travel. The other is think and benefit from cost savings, if some reason we decided to, maybe I'm speaking at a conference where it's more for visibility than incomes, give come along, because you can stay in the same hotel room and save money on that front. But then also he can make make some connections and that type of thing. And then thirdly, obviously, to add in a holiday, you know, we want to have some fun. And if it's a place to work, maybe Daniel hasn't been or we haven't been together. Last year, I spoken at a conference, a corporate gathering. And we've never been to the Taj Mahal, either one of us. I've been to India many times, but never the Taj. And so it was in Delhi as a speaking engagement, we said, dun, dun, let's go. So we actually got done, I got done speaking in the afternoon, went right, got up at two in the morning, drove to the three and a half hour drive to Taj and got a photo as with some companies at 530, right in front of cars with another single person near but there was an awesome experience. And that's the kind of thing let's face it, we're in this business for a reason, right? To have the flexibility to have fun to enjoy ourselves and our business together. So it was perfect.

James Taylor So you start working together? What advice would you give to people who are now couples are now starting to build their business together to ensure not only the the they have, you know, successful in building their business together, but actually successful, ensuring that their marriage also thrives?

Brenda Bence That's a really important question. James. Look, you know, one of the things we early on, we talked about with how do we separate business and personal lives, that's really important, because when you're running this business, let's face it, it's kind of a 24. Seven, situation with any entrepreneurship running a business, small business. So you have to come to an agreement when you will talk about business and when you won't, you know, some couples, you know, for driving to the we have two offices, one downtown one in a home, actually, we have one in our home. So do you drive to your office together? If so, is that work time? Or is that personal time? All right, getting clear on that as a one example, we, when we're working out of our home office, we have a very nice, fully equipped home office, it's on a separate floor from our living quarters. And our we have an assistant that works there with us. And she's actually so she'll have lunch with us every day, she actually asked us not to talk business at lunch. So that's a good reminder, you know, things like that, we have to just be really cautious about that. So finding the separation between business and personal. I think the way to help do that, too, is the second point I have here, James to share with you is give yourself space. You know, I've always said the secret to a successful marriage is separate bathrooms. I agree with you on that. Yeah. And the secret to success of our working together has been separate offices, separate working spaces, you know, some people can do it. We know a couple of very good couple, they've been working together for years, and they sit in the same room every day and work together. I admire that that's not us, we know ourselves and we prefer otherwise. So really thinking about that. So just as a couple of thoughts about how to make sure you really know when it's business and when it's personal, and how to separate in when necessary.

James Taylor I mean, that is is so fundamental. I mean, we we actually have a home here in the UK that we have, we actually have a on our property, we have a separate office building, which I'm speaking from today. And we talk business in here. We do all our stuff there. But actually when we go over to the house, with exception we were talking about stuff in the living in the kitchen and having discussions there. We don't really we have quite quite a strong divide. And there's often I'll make a note of something I'll write it down and I'll bring it in when we're actually and and that's just true. You know that that works for us. But that's not to say that that works works for everyone, but I agree there's that there's that sense of ensuring that you have that space in your life. Otherwise, it could just completely absorb you and your marriage, your worksite.

Brenda Bence What's so important is so so I think if you had thought that I have, it's not so much about, it's more about respecting and honoring the spouse and the role that the spouse play in this business. You know, one of the things some of the things we've also done, not just for business and for the marriage, but both of us get into mastermind together. speakers have a lot of masterminds speakers have a lot of conferences, we have even this one, right, international speaker summit, we have all these opportunities for self development. But we have to think about us as a pair us as a team, and how are we developing as a team in the business. So we have the mind, when other in the face of people who are similar, like they're working with relatives, working with spouses, that's really important to reach out and have that kind of support. Another thing I say is make sure your spouse is active in the industry to if if he or she wants to, for example, been very active in the industry. He's engaged in our local Asia Pacific Speakers Association. And in fact, funny, everybody is a member. But of course he's not. He's not the first. So he's been asked several times. And he's really good at it. People really enjoy learning a lot from how he manages the back office, but making sure your spouse is active issue. I think that's really key. It's not just about the speaker, that's, that's really fun.

James Taylor Well, I mean, this has been so fascinating, just kind of hearing about the relation building your business with your partner, I want to kind of come on to maybe some of the some of the more mundane things. I spoke about travel a little bit earlier. But what is in your speaker bag, what is in that bag that you carry with you to all of your speaking engagements that you never leave home without, there's always packed in and pretty much always ready to go.

Brenda Bence Well, I have a one day of 510 days to test ready to go. Okay, so they're ready to go as much as you know why spend all that time? I think so? Well, I think there's a few things. One that makes some people laugh is I always carry a pair of balls. And at the end of the day, I'm standing on your feet, I sit down and roll them underneath my feet look fantastic. It's like homemade foot massage. So I'm not going to take along, I also put along gym clothes, even if you open because you know what it is you open up there in the suitcase, she passes my gym clothes, that's a good reminder, I gotta get up, I've got to get out there and surfing, I've got to get out there, even walk around the block, whatever. And I'll carry super healthy snack to like vegan snack bars, things like that. I try not stare at you careful as I travel so much internationally. But getting caught with and I've gotten caught with an apple going into the United States forgot to get people on the plane and you gotta be careful, even like thrown in the slammer for that. Same with raisins and Australia caught one during Australia into Australia carrying razors they do not take kindly to that they have to be a little cautious. But I like to take my healthy food with me healthy food and a pair of golf balls. and simple.

James Taylor But that's I know you and I were to discussion before about like obviously you'll fly in the day before two days before your your speaking engagement. And and and this is not the same for every speaker I speak to but in your case you don't like doing the the meet and greet thing of that often happens the evening before when everyone's kind of getting together. There's drinks with restaurant somewhere that drinks at a bar, you're not keen on that.

Brenda Bence I don't I consider it part of my most important instrument is throat care, right? I've got to take care of my voice. That is if I don't have that I'm not earning a living so and now if I don't earn a living that means a lot of people in our company don't are living. So that's really a sense of responsibility I have so I don't join the night before now. I don't drink alcohol the night before. I don't like being loud rooms where you have to yell at some What a beautiful way to destroy your voice the night before speaking engagements. So cops are great about it. I tell them that if you want they want to know that I'm protecting their voice. They're very understanding if there's something night after I'm speaking, let's go out let's have some fun. And there's totally respectful of that. I've never had a problem with it. But I do I've done throughout the night before. Yeah, not turn up for drinks.

James Taylor And you you also gave me a great tip which I've started doing now and one is what because whenever I travel, often if my wife's traveling with me She always has a humidifier.

Brenda Bence For for the room, either the little small ones that you can get just insured depending on where you're traveling in the world. And I know you and I have spoken about you know the power and you told me a tip you said actually many hotels now we'll have them available and you can just call ahead and ask them to do have it in the room. And Paula had I asked for humidifier Now remember, I'm basing Singapore humid all the time or come to Thailand a lot with little place in Thailand. I'm in hot, humid environments all the time. So for me has humidifier in dry places I knew Denver or Seoul or places like that where it's really dry and winter time. Absolutely co-head, let them know you're welcome humidifier. Actually many hotels, you call up the shop, they'll have a huge amount of problem, letting them know that you need a certain level of humidity. It's good about that. Yeah,

James Taylor I used to give me another great tip, which was something you do whenever you check into your hotel room, you basically empty the minibar or have it have the minibar empty before for you in the room. And you go out and you just go out to the liquor store somewhere, or have your system go out and you just stock it with fresh fruit, water, healthy stuff, basically.

Brenda Bence I don't even dump it out myself. Usually I call in advance and ask them to have it empty by the time I show up. Because you know, you just come off with long flight that snicker bar looks awfully and do that, right? So no actually call in advance and ask them to clean out the menu bar. I show up and they're still there build they'll come right away and claim it out. Actually, it's not that unusual. I think most people must be doing it. Because when I ask usually they go right away. Okay, no problem, and they clear it out. So

James Taylor what about any online resources or tools or apps you find useful for yourself as a speaker, as you're traveling all the time, you're out there marketing and selling and and supporting the many leaders that you work with as well in in business? Are there any online resources or tools apps that you find particularly useful? Do you

Brenda Bence know not so much apps, I'm a big fan of Well, I do certain things like offer clones, which is like a scanning technology where I can scan receipts, for example, that I've taken and send them to the accountant right away, it gets taken care of, I can have my expense report ready. By the time I have little things like that I'm very helpful for office when I use a lot. I also am on TripAdvisor, I actually have about 120,000 readers on TripAdvisor. So I'm a lot of going in on that. It's a great way to find out the nearest x the restaurant, the nearest you know, hotel, whatever, that's kind of a nice thing to do. But the other thing that I do is actually I I like to do in exercises. So there's some great, not much app, YouTube videos on how to do real good and room exercises, without needing to have a lot of materials. You know, your use, you get real creative with what you have use your suitcase. It's up and down and do your there's a lot that you can do. And there's literally fun things out there like that. If you know, you know what it is like in the morning, your day have a big difference. You fake it and run into people looking horrible. In the mornings as she went to the gym. Let's face it, right? It's not exactly the image we have a bunch of hurt. So often I'll just do those in romex just grabbing you do with some fun, do some tricep gets on the bathtub, things like that. You'd be surprised what you do when you make shift with it. It's fun for or order trainer, a hotel to the personal trainer, she's going to work. You're working on your

James Taylor next book just now as well. And and that's why sometimes if people know sometimes the signal get a little bit constrained and everything because to the power of the web we are you're in Thailand, today I'm speaking to you from Scotland, the Highlands of Scotland. So you sometimes have to kind of bear with these things. But I want to ask you a question about a book, what would what would be the one book that you would recommend to people to read out read and it could be related to speaking. Or it could be related maybe to your topic you speak out which is that the interconnection between branding and leadership?

Brenda Bence Well, for stickers like that, I'll just say one of my latest books, called leading new and it's about the power of worship, and to lead ourselves effectively. That said, I have a, you know, an offer I want to offer to the speakers listening with this, that I have a book that I created called smarter brands without breaking the bank chains. And this is when I started out this business, I went from having big pockets millions of dollars to run the about literally a billion dollar business because that's what I did. I was in the corporate world, to suddenly, you know, not empty pockets, but I didn't want to spend all my hard earned cash and savings, building my business. So actually, when I took all those learnings that I've had from all these years, working with big businesses and building big brands, find them to individuals, myself, the leader, help other people do the same for smarter branding without breaking the bank. Super simple, pretty short. It's really packed full of information and all those great learnings How do you lie to ourselves as owners of small businesses?

James Taylor I've got a final question for you, Brenda. Let's imagine you woke up tomorrow morning, and you had to start from scratch. So you have all the tools of your trade or the knowledge that you've acquired. You have thankfully, you have your husband with you, as well. So used to the deal to get there. But you know, no one, no one knows you, you have to restart. How would you restart?

Brenda Bence First thing I would do is the first thing I did when I started this business, pick a lane, pick a lane. You know, as a speaker, too many people talk on the same topic. And it sounds like there's a lot of overlap. But it doesn't have to be that way. Pick a lane meaning find your positioning in the market that's unique to you and a specific need, both functional and emotional, that you can meet, and then get, just dive into it. You know, live it, breathe it, eat it, that is your specialty, that's your passion, love it and live it. And that kind of shine to clients get it. They sense it, they love it, too. And they'll follow and they'll hire you again and again.

James Taylor Well, Brent has been an absolute pleasure speaking to you today. Thank you so much for coming on the summit and sharing your knowledge and your wisdom. It's really been fascinating, just having this this conversation today. And we're going to have all these links here. We'll have a link to your site as well. So we will be able to go on there and find out more about you and and your other products and programs you have obviously have your executive coaching that you do as well. But thank you so much. I'm gonna let you get away. continue writing on your book finish that book. I look forward to reading it when it's released.

Brenda Bence Hey, thanks, thanks. It's a great time to talk with you today. I appreciate very much all the best. And

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