Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:
Industry Ups, Downs and Videos with Chris West
jane atkinson speaker launcher



Coming Off the Road with Joe Calloway

Coming Off the Road with Jane Atkinson and Joe Calloway
Listen to this Episode (00:36:42)
Subscribe to our podcast!
Never miss a new podcast! Subscribe today!

I have read and agreed to your Privacy Policy

Quote: “It is the quality of the relationships. It’s about being easy to work with. It’s about being a nice person.” Joe Calloway

We talk a lot about building the speaking business of our dreams, but what happens when we enter a new chapter in our speaking career? What do we have to think about when we’re getting ready to retire our mic and step back from the podium? On this episode of The Wealthy Speaker Show, we’re excited to welcome back the amazing Joe Calloway to share his insight about speaking less and pivoting toward other things he loves.

Joe is a Hall of Fame speaker who is now a partner in companies ranging from snowboard manufacturing to real estate development to the wholesale Kentucky bourbon business. He served as Executive in residence at Belmont University’s Center For Entrepreneurship. 


Read Full Transcript

00:00:02.590 --> 00:00:13.110
Jane Atkinson: Well welcome everyone to the wealthy speaker. Podcast. I'm. So thrilled to be joined by my 30 year, friend Joe Callaway Joe. Welcome back to the show.

00:00:13.260 --> 00:00:21.260
Joe Calloway: Oh, I could do this every day. Yeah, we go. We go way back. We've got some history, Jane

00:00:21.400 --> 00:00:34.450
Jane Atkinson: said. 30 years, and it it really literally has been, and I have had just this great kind of bird's eye view of your business over that time.

00:00:34.560 --> 00:00:48.500
Jane Atkinson: The first time I ever laid eyes on you. Here's a throwback was in the Nsa. So Nsa. National Speakers Association. You guys used to put out a very thick, almost phone book, looking

00:00:48.750 --> 00:00:49.660
Joe Calloway: in one

00:00:49.760 --> 00:01:09.740
Jane Atkinson: vision of Joe Calloway was this photo of him? He took out a full page AD and he's got a suit on and his hands in his pocket, and he he's got his head thrown back, and he's laughing. And I thought to myself, oh, that guy looks cool. I'm gonna get to know him, and sure

00:01:10.090 --> 00:01:21.260
Jane Atkinson: a matter of a year before I got to know. Find out who you were, and we started hanging out, and it's been ever since then that do you remember taking out that full page AD:

00:01:21.580 --> 00:01:32.070
Joe Calloway: Yeah. And I ran it for about 3 years, and it didn't talk about my speeches. It just, said Joe. Call away, and I think maybe had my phone number because that was before email.

00:01:32.860 --> 00:01:41.790
Joe Calloway: And and people were like, Well, it didn't even say what he does, what's up with that. But that was the point just to get everybody kind of chattering about it.

00:01:42.550 --> 00:01:46.400
Joe Calloway: and i'm still talking about it

00:01:46.870 --> 00:02:01.760
Jane Atkinson: more more of those, maybe this i'm thinking about retitling this talk we're really talking about today what coming off the road looks like and feels like for you. But before we kind of dive into that

00:02:01.760 --> 00:02:06.910
Jane Atkinson: talk about your like, where did you start? And what kind of business did you run?

00:02:07.740 --> 00:02:24.070
Joe Calloway: I started. I I was with 2 different real estate firms, Jane one I became the general manager of a very small firm, and then the other one. I was the director of marketing, but in both of those I was in charge of all the training

00:02:24.110 --> 00:02:25.800
Joe Calloway: and all the meetings.

00:02:25.970 --> 00:02:45.630
Joe Calloway: And so I was up in front of these agents trying to give them ideas that would help them be more successful. That moved into doing workshops I got picked up by one of these. You don't seem that much anymore, but there used to be firms that would have catalogs of seminars.

00:02:45.630 --> 00:02:57.300
Joe Calloway: and they were done all over the country, and I went to city to city, to city, doing 2 different, full day seminars. And they were basically

00:02:57.390 --> 00:03:01.380
Joe Calloway: kind of manage your leadership workshops.

00:03:02.400 --> 00:03:09.060
Joe Calloway: And there was a really great training ground for me just to be out there slogging, and

00:03:09.470 --> 00:03:16.560
Joe Calloway: and then people still in a and I did other workshops for companies here in Nashville, and then people started saying.

00:03:16.650 --> 00:03:30.510
Joe Calloway: Love your workshop. Could you come? Do a speech to our professional group, our trade group, whatever. And so I learned how to do. A Little by little I learned how to do a keynote speech.

00:03:31.960 --> 00:03:37.270
Joe Calloway: so I started doing those on my own, then got picked up by bureau's

00:03:37.410 --> 00:03:42.230
Joe Calloway: and bureau's were my main source of

00:03:42.320 --> 00:03:47.520
Joe Calloway: speaking for a very long time. They like 20 years.

00:03:47.820 --> 00:03:55.220
Joe Calloway: So I really really worked that bureau market, and it was. It was very good to me

00:03:57.170 --> 00:04:00.590
Joe Calloway: over the course of my key. Noting career.

00:04:00.710 --> 00:04:10.910
Joe Calloway: I I moved through a number of different topics. I started off, and it was. It was pretty just kind of general motivation, and then

00:04:11.040 --> 00:04:13.220
Jane Atkinson: customer service for a while. Wasn't it

00:04:13.370 --> 00:04:16.360
Joe Calloway: your service for a while.

00:04:17.190 --> 00:04:36.160
Joe Calloway: say it. One more time

00:04:36.390 --> 00:04:42.680
Joe Calloway: eventually ended up doing pretty much just leadership

00:04:44.010 --> 00:04:47.790
Joe Calloway: topics. I was always very general. The

00:04:47.840 --> 00:04:50.750
Joe Calloway: if you looked at the topics I was doing.

00:04:51.180 --> 00:05:06.020
Joe Calloway: There were a 1,000 other speakers doing the exact same topics. I was also very general in my market. I worked for every kind of company an event you can imagine. So I was very much

00:05:06.060 --> 00:05:19.560
Joe Calloway: a generalist until the the end. When I started zeroing in on leadership, senior leadership and Jane, I shifted from keynote

00:05:19.680 --> 00:05:27.170
Joe Calloway: to small high level leadership workshops. I mean it would be 12 people in me.

00:05:27.830 --> 00:05:34.670
Joe Calloway: and more often than not I would be sitting down through the whole workshop. It would be like in a board room, that kind of thing.

00:05:34.760 --> 00:05:37.280
Jane Atkinson: the brainstorming thing, and in

00:05:37.660 --> 00:05:47.340
Jane Atkinson: what I've noticed, and I want to kind of land on where, where you are today. But what I've noticed over time is that

00:05:47.540 --> 00:06:01.580
Jane Atkinson: you do what you loved until you didn't love it anymore, and then something else. And fortunately the bureau's loved you enough. And here's what I think. You say. You were a generous generalist.

00:06:01.610 --> 00:06:08.340
Jane Atkinson: but I think the differentiator was this kind of joke. Halloween

00:06:08.950 --> 00:06:19.360
Jane Atkinson: just really real authentic. I'm just here to tell you like what it is. I'm just here to report the news to you rather than you.

00:06:19.450 --> 00:06:26.150
Jane Atkinson: I'm the expert on the expert, and that really flew. So the secret socks was Joe.

00:06:26.370 --> 00:06:33.120
Jane Atkinson: The and the ideas were like, I'm just here to reinforce something that you probably already know.

00:06:33.160 --> 00:06:51.040
Joe Calloway: Well, yeah, the you you get on with the a couple of things, one and it it. It evolved over the course of my career. J. And I got progressively more and more conversational and and feedback that I would get very often.

00:06:51.060 --> 00:07:05.440
Joe Calloway: particularly. The last third of my career is, they'd say that didn't feel there were 1,500 people in the room, and that didn't feel like a speech that felt like we were just having a conversation which was exactly what I wanted.

00:07:05.820 --> 00:07:10.840
Joe Calloway: And and it's funny that you say reporting because I actually started

00:07:10.870 --> 00:07:15.750
Joe Calloway: a lot of my speeches by saying, You know i'm kind of a reporter.

00:07:16.000 --> 00:07:18.760
Joe Calloway: and and my job

00:07:18.790 --> 00:07:24.640
Joe Calloway: is to know what works in the marketplace. That's my job

00:07:24.950 --> 00:07:31.210
Joe Calloway: to study the marketplace and also think ahead and say, where is it going.

00:07:31.230 --> 00:07:32.200
Joe Calloway: But

00:07:32.470 --> 00:07:41.290
Joe Calloway: I i'm not here to tell you what I think as much as I am to tell you what I know works and what will work.

00:07:41.520 --> 00:07:43.940
Joe Calloway: So. Yeah, I

00:07:44.450 --> 00:07:47.700
Joe Calloway: I never positioned myself

00:07:50.440 --> 00:08:08.190
Joe Calloway: as being the expert except I did position myself as okay. This guy knows his stuff.

00:08:08.260 --> 00:08:25.390
Jane Atkinson: There's something very endearing about the fact that this guy Isn't standing up there to his own horn. But at the same time you're growing in terms of admiration for how much you did know about an industry. I mean, your research ahead of time was really stellar.

00:08:25.390 --> 00:08:42.480
Joe Calloway: and people really got oh, okay, I never thought about it that way before.

00:08:42.650 --> 00:08:55.430
Joe Calloway: and I researched every single day. I mean, that was my job and other people very successfully. Their job was to sell the speech.

00:08:55.510 --> 00:09:05.970
Joe Calloway: That was never my job ever, ever, ever. My job was to give speeches. I hoped good enough that the market would come to me

00:09:06.310 --> 00:09:07.600
Joe Calloway: which they did.

00:09:07.630 --> 00:09:24.850
Jane Atkinson: Yeah, neither is right or wrong, it's just different approaches.

00:09:25.060 --> 00:09:31.810
Jane Atkinson: What was your line in the stand? What did you say you weren't going to do any more? And how did you come to that decision

00:09:32.420 --> 00:09:37.040
Joe Calloway: in January of oh, my gosh! J. My time in!

00:09:37.240 --> 00:09:42.510
Joe Calloway: I was so lucky in January of 2019,

00:09:42.540 --> 00:09:44.800
Joe Calloway: like

00:09:45.150 --> 00:09:47.600
Joe Calloway: 14 months before Covid.

00:09:47.620 --> 00:09:56.380
Joe Calloway: I send an email on a Monday afternoon an email to every bureau that represented me in my entire client list, saying.

00:09:56.470 --> 00:09:58.760
Joe Calloway: I won't. I'm no longer doing keynotes.

00:09:59.330 --> 00:10:17.280
Joe Calloway: I'm doing a very limited number of these high level leadership workshops, and so I did those for the rest of 19, and into you know, a month or 2 to 20, and that but I was ratcheting down even the number of those.

00:10:17.690 --> 00:10:22.580
Joe Calloway: So when Covid hit it was like. Well, I already quit.

00:10:22.590 --> 00:10:28.090
Joe Calloway: I mean with Covid. Yeah, yeah, I said I, I was totally on the sidelines

00:10:28.220 --> 00:10:40.490
Joe Calloway: through all of Covid. It didn't affect my business because I had already shut down the speaking business. You know I still do. I'll have past clients.

00:10:41.380 --> 00:10:51.730
Joe Calloway: I will still occasionally get on stage with the CEO, and have a conversation

00:10:51.850 --> 00:11:06.170
Joe Calloway: with some solo professionals or small business owners, so I still do some work with a a very limited number of clients. but I shifted into doing some other things that have nothing to do with speaking

00:11:06.390 --> 00:11:10.610
Jane Atkinson: right right. And I just want to say from an

00:11:10.660 --> 00:11:28.660
Jane Atkinson: this interview style that you have worked so well, because you are excellent at making somebody else look like a hero, and so you would pull things out of the CEO, and you would be

00:11:28.870 --> 00:11:44.390
Jane Atkinson: not bragging on them. But you know, really allowing that CEO to shine Well, who's not gonna hire that back right? What? Let me bring Joe Halloween, and we're gonna talk about this by a level.

00:11:44.390 --> 00:11:57.530
Jane Atkinson: And at the same time, you know, I think that was the secret to that you had for the interviews is that you just made other people the hero so easily and so masterfully, and that's what they loved about it.

00:11:57.670 --> 00:12:19.620
Joe Calloway: Well, the key to that, and I think the key to an effective business keynote Speech for me was to absolutely make it about them and what they are facing right now. I mean current real issues in the company, and that's why I had to research

00:12:20.230 --> 00:12:27.760
Joe Calloway: generally business. But, my gosh! I dove deep, deep, deep on research with my clients, and it it.

00:12:28.320 --> 00:12:36.160
Joe Calloway: It it paid off for me. I had speaker friends that made fun of me. They'd say, Call away. I give the same speech every time, and people love it.

00:12:36.360 --> 00:12:38.550
Jane Atkinson: You write a different speech

00:12:38.710 --> 00:12:48.140
Joe Calloway: 3 day, 3 times a week along with you, but I that just that was fun for me. It was a lot of work, but it was fun for me.

00:12:48.140 --> 00:13:02.850
Jane Atkinson: Yeah, and it paid off in spade, because raise your fee and raise your fee and raise your fee. So you know, even though you're in a room with 15 high level executives, they're paying

00:13:03.170 --> 00:13:21.560
Jane Atkinson: full pop for that. And and now that you're in this position you can command whatever you want, because if somebody is coming to you and trying to pull you out of you know whatever we're calling it retirement retirement light. They're gonna have to pay. And I think that that's a beautiful position to be in

00:13:21.770 --> 00:13:30.970
Joe Calloway: It's a great position to be able to. Just you can really pick and choose and just do the ones you want to do. But but

00:13:31.180 --> 00:13:36.080
Joe Calloway: yeah, I I don't do a lot of that. But I still like working with people.

00:13:36.300 --> 00:13:54.470
Joe Calloway: And then I'm. I've got these other businesses that i'm involved with that that's a kick. Now talk about the other businesses, you you and now over time. You've always been in real estate investment haven't you for a long time for 1820 years. Right? What else?

00:13:54.910 --> 00:14:00.540
Joe Calloway: Well, i'm. Still, i'm. I'm. A partner in 2 different real estate partnership groups.

00:14:00.680 --> 00:14:12.400
Joe Calloway: as a matter of fact, got an email this morning from one of the general partners saying, hey, we're we're gonna do a a condo development out on Galton Road in Nashville. I think it's something.

00:14:12.930 --> 00:14:18.500
Joe Calloway: It's your kind of project. Do you want to pursue it. I wrote it back, said, Yes, send me all the information

00:14:18.510 --> 00:14:23.770
Joe Calloway: I I would probably be interested in that. So I still do real estate developments.

00:14:24.960 --> 00:14:37.230
Joe Calloway: I I'm. I'm. Involved with a snowboard scheme Manufacturing Company, Gilson Snow. We've been in business for gosh, 9 years, I guess.

00:14:37.470 --> 00:14:42.300
Joe Calloway: and that's going really well. And the thing that has been

00:14:42.520 --> 00:14:46.760
Joe Calloway: great fun and really has worked

00:14:46.950 --> 00:14:53.360
Joe Calloway: is I'm. Part of a company called Barrel Stock Trading, and it's the wholesale Kentucky Bourbon business.

00:14:53.820 --> 00:15:02.890
Joe Calloway: We buy thousands of barrels at a time of newly distilled Kentucky Bourbon. We age it for 2 years, then resell it

00:15:03.050 --> 00:15:07.320
Joe Calloway: to distillers blenders whatever.

00:15:07.480 --> 00:15:12.990
Joe Calloway: Yeah, and I like Bourbon, anyway. So it's a good for me.

00:15:13.130 --> 00:15:25.010
Jane Atkinson: I love your decision making matrix. And and what's so interesting to me about not just Bourbon, but wine, and all the other things. Is it really comes down to the barrel Doesn't it

00:15:25.260 --> 00:15:40.630
Joe Calloway: like? What are they? What are they aging it in it? It all sure starts in barrels, that's for sure. But, Jane, let me tell you a a a to the real estate, the the snowboard, the Bourbon, all of it.

00:15:40.680 --> 00:15:43.560
Joe Calloway: I got into it because of the people involved.

00:15:44.290 --> 00:15:49.130
Joe Calloway: I I I do business with people that if they send me

00:15:49.350 --> 00:15:53.800
Joe Calloway: a 30 page contract for real estate development.

00:15:54.220 --> 00:16:06.750
Joe Calloway: All I do is look for the yellow tabs where I'm supposed to sign. I don't even read it anymore. I don't have to. I know the people. I trust the people. I really like the people.

00:16:06.760 --> 00:16:11.700
Joe Calloway: And so it's a nice nice position to be in

00:16:11.900 --> 00:16:29.160
Jane Atkinson: that it comes down to business in general, and these relationships comes down to a match in values. You value the same thing that they value honesty. You know ethics, hard work, that kind of thing like is that

00:16:29.310 --> 00:16:33.160
Jane Atkinson: is that how you would attribute these successful relationships?

00:16:33.200 --> 00:16:36.840
Joe Calloway: Yeah, I think that's a huge part of it, plus

00:16:37.800 --> 00:16:45.030
Joe Calloway: they're all smarter than me. Certainly, in like the real estate people that I went in business with.

00:16:45.140 --> 00:16:51.840
Joe Calloway: They are real estate people. and I I participated in I chime in.

00:16:52.130 --> 00:16:59.160
Joe Calloway: but they're the experts. Nick Gilson is the expert at the snowboards, and so

00:16:59.930 --> 00:17:08.910
Joe Calloway: I I I love their values, but i'm also betting on them as much as I am the product or the business itself.

00:17:09.060 --> 00:17:12.380
Jane Atkinson: It's lovely. I love that. So

00:17:13.050 --> 00:17:17.770
Jane Atkinson: thinking about the flash points in your

00:17:18.130 --> 00:17:28.470
Jane Atkinson: career. I hate to call it a career because it's really a business. But anyway, let's just call it a career. How many years were you in business for? And what

00:17:28.500 --> 00:17:34.210
Jane Atkinson: were some of the flash points that you think are worth noting.

00:17:35.520 --> 00:17:38.360
Joe Calloway: I was in business as a speaker for

00:17:40.310 --> 00:17:50.760
Joe Calloway: right it. Well, 38 years Yeah, i'm trying to do the math here, probably about 38 years. so 82 to to

00:17:51.610 --> 00:17:54.940
Joe Calloway: to 1920, 37 years.

00:17:56.550 --> 00:18:05.390
Joe Calloway: the first flash point the because of I've talked about this before the first flash point I think was

00:18:05.400 --> 00:18:06.380
Joe Calloway: I was.

00:18:06.760 --> 00:18:13.030
Joe Calloway: I was knocking around getting jobs on my own here in Nashville and in the general area

00:18:13.140 --> 00:18:26.450
Joe Calloway: I was sending out, and Jane, it started out. You didn't have a preview video. You sent a cassette a audio, only that was your preview. That was your demo

00:18:26.480 --> 00:18:33.290
Jane Atkinson: people, cassette tape.

00:18:33.360 --> 00:18:42.610
Joe Calloway: and then I did do. Oh, gosh, i'm sure it was so awful. But it was a video, and I sent it Jane to John Palmer.

00:18:42.630 --> 00:18:56.630
Joe Calloway: who National Speakers bureau, and he was kind of the godfather of the bureau business. He really was one of the pioneers and speaker, and of course his son Brian took over National Speakers Bureau, but

00:18:56.820 --> 00:18:58.480
Joe Calloway: I sent it to John

00:18:58.500 --> 00:19:11.890
Joe Calloway: and one of John's regular clients. It was a restaurant chain. and they call John. John told me the story afterwards about how I got the book called John, said John. We're having a regional meeting, but we don't have

00:19:12.560 --> 00:19:14.450
Joe Calloway: our our usual budget.

00:19:14.560 --> 00:19:26.920
Joe Calloway: And John said, Well, okay, let's both take a chance on this new speaker what he looks like. He might have something, but you willing to roll the dice, and the guy said, Sure.

00:19:27.320 --> 00:19:29.200
Joe Calloway: Well, the speech was a hit.

00:19:29.710 --> 00:19:40.760
Joe Calloway: so I was often running with the National Speakers Bureau. That was a flash point. Another big flash point, Jane. I got book to do a speech

00:19:40.820 --> 00:19:52.550
Joe Calloway: but for roller blade in Minneapolis. and it was Renee Strong who was a bureau person up there for ages.

00:19:52.720 --> 00:19:57.060
Joe Calloway: Renee booked me, and it was the very first booking that she had done for me.

00:19:57.490 --> 00:20:08.450
Joe Calloway: Any one of those speeches Where is, if and everybody listening? He's had this experience, and it's so fabulous. If I had said, You know, guys have been thinking.

00:20:08.850 --> 00:20:22.610
Joe Calloway: and I think the sun's gonna come up in the East Tomorrow the audience would have gone crazy over that. It was just one of those where everything I said was working, and Renee was in the back of the room going holy.

00:20:23.010 --> 00:20:25.120
Joe Calloway: how this guy is great!

00:20:25.220 --> 00:20:28.990
Joe Calloway: So she called all of her speaker friends

00:20:29.440 --> 00:20:32.180
Joe Calloway: and said, Book this guy and see how it goes.

00:20:32.240 --> 00:20:40.600
Joe Calloway: So yeah. So the those 2 bureau interactions John Palmer got me started.

00:20:40.790 --> 00:20:44.860
Joe Calloway: and then Renee really got the ball rolling with other bureau.

00:20:45.090 --> 00:20:52.260
Joe Calloway: and then the third one. Jane was a New York publisher, called me and said.

00:20:52.520 --> 00:21:05.260
Joe Calloway: I've been looking at articles that you posted on your website. I like the way you write. Would you have any interested in writing a book? I said, yeah, I would. he said. Do you know how to write a book proposal?

00:21:05.400 --> 00:21:10.770
Joe Calloway: I said, interestingly enough. I was just in Maui for the annual authors

00:21:10.810 --> 00:21:22.090
Joe Calloway: and Writers Conference, and I one of the sessions I did was on how to write a book proposal. So yeah, I do know how he said. Send it to me, and we'll take a look. Send it to him

00:21:22.240 --> 00:21:32.340
Joe Calloway: it. I thought they had written me off because it was a couple of months. He called me back. He said, we want to publish a book. Let's do a deal. So it was my first book

00:21:32.840 --> 00:21:39.560
Joe Calloway: becoming a category one. Yeah. in addition to breaking in with bureau's.

00:21:39.720 --> 00:21:50.170
Joe Calloway: That was a huge flash point.

00:21:50.270 --> 00:21:51.690
Jane Atkinson: and

00:21:53.090 --> 00:21:59.540
Jane Atkinson: you did something, though, that pushed it up the bestseller list.

00:21:59.580 --> 00:22:12.540
Jane Atkinson: which was in the field of Pr. What did you do? Do you mind sharing how much you spend to really promote that book, and there was one thing that happened that created a little flashpoint inside the flash point.

00:22:12.890 --> 00:22:30.590
Jane Atkinson: Do you know what i'm talking about?

00:22:30.590 --> 00:22:34.490
Joe Calloway: I think now this was 2,003. I think

00:22:35.160 --> 00:22:51.550
Joe Calloway: I wrote a check for 50,000 bucks to a Pr. Phone firm that's specialized in books, and they said I talked to him about it, and they said, Send us the book because we won't. Take it on if we don't believe in it, that's that's the way we work.

00:22:52.650 --> 00:22:56.490
Joe Calloway: If we like it, then it will probably get good reviews.

00:22:56.790 --> 00:23:05.630
Joe Calloway: because we only like really good books. But we can't guarantee you good reviews. We can guarantee you that if we send the book

00:23:05.690 --> 00:23:21.150
Jane Atkinson: it will get looked at.

00:23:21.200 --> 00:23:31.210
Joe Calloway: I also did advertising in regional editions of U.S.A. Today I advertised in business week

00:23:31.430 --> 00:23:35.210
Jane Atkinson: I spent about a $150,000.

00:23:35.570 --> 00:23:40.630
Joe Calloway: Did you get into airport bookstores?

00:23:40.930 --> 00:23:54.120
Jane Atkinson: And so let's talk about the payoff with that? Okay, so that sounds like a lot of money to spend on a book. But let's look at what happened at the other end. Your fee went up.

00:23:54.410 --> 00:24:01.000
Jane Atkinson: your bookings went up. I mean it probably didn't take that long for that to pay off for you.

00:24:01.150 --> 00:24:04.940
Joe Calloway: No, and here was my strategy with every book I wrote.

00:24:06.130 --> 00:24:18.280
Joe Calloway: you know. Every now and then i'll still get calls from people saying, how do I get a publisher and I I'll say, Well, let's back up. What do you want this book to do for you? I want to sell it in the back of the room, and I said, Well, why in the world would you want a publisher.

00:24:18.640 --> 00:24:20.600
Joe Calloway: A publisher gets all the money

00:24:20.640 --> 00:24:21.680
Joe Calloway: pretty much

00:24:21.980 --> 00:24:34.780
Joe Calloway: what you you want to self-publish if you get all the money, it's what you're going to do something back room. I wanted my books to get me jobs at a higher feed. And actually, J.

00:24:35.110 --> 00:24:42.540
Joe Calloway: What the books did for me was it? Let me cut down on my bookings, which I wanted to do.

00:24:42.750 --> 00:24:47.940
Joe Calloway: I want to stay home more, but my feed. after becoming the category one

00:24:48.200 --> 00:24:52.700
Joe Calloway: Within 18 months my fee had doubled, and it was pretty good

00:24:52.770 --> 00:24:54.450
Joe Calloway: when when it came out.

00:24:54.720 --> 00:25:04.460
Joe Calloway: and then I did 7 more books, and and what those books did was with would let me occasionally bump up my fee again.

00:25:05.320 --> 00:25:07.480
Joe Calloway: But towards the end, Jane.

00:25:07.560 --> 00:25:25.130
Joe Calloway: it seems like half the jobs I got. I'd get an email. I'm the executive assistant to the CEO of such and such we will. They would even said, we want to talk to you, they said. We want you to speak in our leadership Conference what your fee? And when I said, how did you hear about me? Our CEO read your book.

00:25:25.250 --> 00:25:41.200
Jane Atkinson: My book was designed to get me jobs, and I want to say that one of your techniques was You talked to somebody on the phone and then you'd say to them during the call. I'm gonna overnight you this book.

00:25:41.200 --> 00:25:46.450
Jane Atkinson: and the fact that as soon as you said that, what did you think would be the result?

00:25:47.110 --> 00:25:58.440
Joe Calloway: Yeah, that it almost never failed. or or they'd say, Joe, our committee is looking at 4 different speakers. You're all good, and we like all of you.

00:25:58.620 --> 00:26:06.670
Joe Calloway: and they sometimes they tell me who the other speakers were, and i'd say they're right. You're going to be happy. I don't care who you pick. They're terrific.

00:26:07.080 --> 00:26:18.040
Joe Calloway: Let me do this. Let me send each member of the committee 2 of my books. You don't even have to read them. Just thumb through them, and you'll get a real good feel, for whether i'm the best match or not.

00:26:18.650 --> 00:26:22.740
Joe Calloway: And that just worked and worked and worked and worked, plus

00:26:23.200 --> 00:26:28.570
Joe Calloway: the majority of my books were not even close to being sold in bookstores.

00:26:28.730 --> 00:26:36.700
Joe Calloway: I'd speak to 2,000 people, and they back 2,000 books and give one to everybody in the audience.

00:26:36.740 --> 00:26:39.410
Jane Atkinson: and a bookstore at a time, and

00:26:41.640 --> 00:26:59.940
Jane Atkinson: you you would be the one sending the books yourself. By the way, you never ever had a big team behind you. Oh, i'll get my team to send that out. It was so was the team, and so I I love that business model as Well, because that was your choice.

00:26:59.940 --> 00:27:04.610
Joe Calloway: You want it to do that stuff yourself.

00:27:04.760 --> 00:27:23.780
Joe Calloway: Kind of clearing how situations where i'd have the book stored, and i'd say, send 2,000 to there, but a lot of times I would do it myself. It's funny. I never early on I had, and that my wife worked with me, and she went on to have her own bureau, and I had another employee, and then ultimately, it was just me

00:27:23.780 --> 00:27:40.540
Joe Calloway: and people would say, how do you? How do you do that? And i'm a great believer in in what you do, which is contracting things out, or having, you know, long distance assistance that can do certain things that just make sense.

00:27:40.640 --> 00:27:46.890
Joe Calloway: But to me speaking is. it's it's an incredibly simple business. It's not easy.

00:27:46.940 --> 00:27:48.150
Joe Calloway: It's really over.

00:27:48.400 --> 00:27:57.870
Jane Atkinson: You kept your that was your your business model was. Keep it simple, stupid.

00:27:58.840 --> 00:28:10.970
Joe Calloway: So yeah. And the the other thing that I did that is paying off now. as I started taking a chunk of every fee and setting it aside to invest it. Hmm.

00:28:11.230 --> 00:28:23.050
Joe Calloway: You do that for 2025 years, and unless you just really goof up badly. Then then it gives you a tremendous amount of freedom.

00:28:23.130 --> 00:28:24.850
Joe Calloway: When you reach this port.

00:28:24.870 --> 00:28:30.820
Joe Calloway: the financial freedom. So start investing early. That's just

00:28:31.080 --> 00:28:31.980
Joe Calloway: Yeah.

00:28:32.000 --> 00:28:36.000
Jane Atkinson: I just did a post saying, you know something about retirement.

00:28:36.150 --> 00:28:45.960
Jane Atkinson: To me. The definition is only doing the work you love. So that's where i'm starting to move to. We were just talking before we started

00:28:45.960 --> 00:29:03.770
Jane Atkinson: broadcasting here today. You know that i'm getting ready to move from a speed boat to a pontoon that's like so indicative of where we are. And that's exactly what i'm doing in my business, too. I don't feel like i'm keeping my foot on the accelerator

00:29:03.790 --> 00:29:05.980
Jane Atkinson: nearly as much anymore.

00:29:06.060 --> 00:29:11.910
Jane Atkinson: I'm: just like cruising around the lake on the

00:29:12.050 --> 00:29:18.830
Jane Atkinson: that's exact puttering part. And so just doing the types of things that we really really love

00:29:19.050 --> 00:29:25.150
Jane Atkinson: couple of things. If you had your time back that you might have done differently, or

00:29:25.260 --> 00:29:36.040
Joe Calloway: you know lessons learned along the way

00:29:36.600 --> 00:29:41.490
Joe Calloway: in the financial services market specifically banks and credit unions.

00:29:41.570 --> 00:29:45.030
Joe Calloway: I was just such a good match with them.

00:29:45.150 --> 00:29:53.090
Joe Calloway: Yeah, for for me, and I wish I had become known as as other people have as

00:29:53.590 --> 00:29:56.440
Joe Calloway: the bank guy and I I was

00:29:57.700 --> 00:30:07.870
Joe Calloway: yeah, I was to to a large degree, but I didn't say i'm going to make that my turf. I just do that.

00:30:07.900 --> 00:30:27.800
Jane Atkinson: That's interesting. So just to play the devil's advocate on that, some people might say, oh, but am I turning away a whole bunch of other business. The advantage of being the master in one trade and one industry in one vertical is what

00:30:28.680 --> 00:30:43.790
Joe Calloway: well number one you get to do the work that you want to do, because you don't need something unless you go. This feels great. I would have been working only with audiences that I was

00:30:44.370 --> 00:30:48.640
Joe Calloway: almost totally comfortable with.

00:30:49.730 --> 00:30:51.140
Joe Calloway: It would have been.

00:30:52.380 --> 00:31:00.150
Joe Calloway: I think, I I I could. I could have, even before the books. if I had been known as

00:31:00.310 --> 00:31:06.550
Joe Calloway: one of the guys or gals for bank and credit unions. I could have raised my face sooner.

00:31:06.560 --> 00:31:07.330
Jane Atkinson: Yes.

00:31:07.380 --> 00:31:08.590
Joe Calloway: but

00:31:09.320 --> 00:31:15.970
Joe Calloway: so yeah, th those things mostly, I think I just think it would have been.

00:31:16.160 --> 00:31:20.410
Joe Calloway: I think it would have been an easier ride. and it would have been fun.

00:31:20.430 --> 00:31:26.450
Jane Atkinson: Okay, like you'd have so much.

00:31:26.590 --> 00:31:32.660
Joe Calloway: Let me throw this in just for fun. Last Friday I drove to Winston, Salem, North Carolina.

00:31:33.220 --> 00:31:38.860
Joe Calloway: to go to a full day. Seminar put on by the Wake Forest University School of Business

00:31:39.050 --> 00:31:45.780
Joe Calloway: about Change leadership, which was one of my areas. But I got the email about that, and I thought.

00:31:46.300 --> 00:31:53.160
Joe Calloway: you know they may have some perspectives on that that I've never thought of. And so I was a student

00:31:53.240 --> 00:31:58.560
Joe Calloway: in this all day, Seminar. I just wanted to learn something new.

00:31:59.180 --> 00:32:02.250
Joe Calloway: and that's fun to get to be able to do that now.

00:32:02.450 --> 00:32:11.480
Jane Atkinson: It isn't it fun just to go in anonymously to a room and sit back and absorb and see things

00:32:11.530 --> 00:32:16.650
Joe Calloway: active. I think that's so fun backing up to the banking for a second.

00:32:16.700 --> 00:32:23.910
Jane Atkinson: You do a cross country tour for the Bank of America. What did that look like? Was it? Do I have the right bank?

00:32:24.230 --> 00:32:35.710
Joe Calloway: Yeah, that was. That was the bureau job. That was one of the best contracts speaking contracts I ever had ever in the whole career. It

00:32:36.660 --> 00:32:39.700
Joe Calloway: it was the single biggest actually in in dollars.

00:32:39.740 --> 00:32:42.780
Joe Calloway: And what it was, was it was

00:32:43.170 --> 00:32:52.520
Joe Calloway: Chase back? They did about 2026 cities, where they invited their customers to come. Spend the morning

00:32:52.970 --> 00:33:02.210
Joe Calloway: you're in a little bit about what Chase was doing new products, new services. Thank you for being our customers. And now we're going to give you something that will help you grow your business

00:33:02.560 --> 00:33:04.490
Joe Calloway: we're Joe.

00:33:04.870 --> 00:33:08.300
Joe Calloway: and so I I did the

00:33:08.760 --> 00:33:13.860
this pretty much the same presentation, which was unusual for me

00:33:14.280 --> 00:33:20.290
Joe Calloway: 26 cities within about 6, 60 days.

00:33:21.070 --> 00:33:26.720
Joe Calloway: So that was. That was a lot. But that was fun. I loved

00:33:26.890 --> 00:33:36.490
Joe Calloway: the the 2 main contacts that travel to all those. The chase that I was working with the audiences were great. It was a really good fit.

00:33:36.760 --> 00:33:39.060
So the speeches went over

00:33:39.200 --> 00:33:40.570
Joe Calloway: Really? Well.

00:33:40.780 --> 00:33:44.350
Joe Calloway: And yeah, that was a cool, cool project.

00:33:45.300 --> 00:33:53.460
Jane Atkinson: I'm trying to think of what the lesson might be for our listeners. If you get a big

00:33:53.590 --> 00:34:12.770
Jane Atkinson: if you get a big gig like that number one, would you negotiate the looking back on how much work it was a lot! The the the idea is often that with multiple engagements you might reduce your fee. Well, how did you come at that? And any regrets there?

00:34:12.800 --> 00:34:25.130
Joe Calloway: No, no regrets. The the Bureau agent was so somebody that that you and I both know for a long time, and when he's, he basically said.

00:34:25.370 --> 00:34:31.719
Joe Calloway: because he knew what my fee was. and on the front end he talked with Chase.

00:34:31.989 --> 00:34:35.100
Joe Calloway: and he said, Joe, here's the deal.

00:34:35.699 --> 00:34:48.710
Joe Calloway: and I looked at it and said, you got a deal. It was. It was very fair, I tell you, something unusual about it. They gave me a flat

00:34:48.929 --> 00:34:51.400
Joe Calloway: chunk of money.

00:34:52.010 --> 00:34:59.320
Joe Calloway: tens of thousands of dollars to cover, all travel, all travel. And I booked my own hotel.

00:34:59.580 --> 00:35:00.610
Jane Atkinson: Oh.

00:35:00.660 --> 00:35:02.300
Joe Calloway: yeah, I know.

00:35:02.340 --> 00:35:09.170
Joe Calloway: and and a couple of times I didn't even get into the hotel where the event was being held, because it was it was sold out.

00:35:09.210 --> 00:35:10.450
Joe Calloway: But

00:35:10.710 --> 00:35:16.870
Joe Calloway: it it was. It was a really great contract. And actually, Jane, it was less work because

00:35:17.130 --> 00:35:21.460
Joe Calloway: I was kind of doing the same speech every time, which is very unusual for me.

00:35:21.480 --> 00:35:36.530
Joe Calloway: You did all your research and upfront before you got there, and then you could. Well, there was a lot of upfront with chase on putting the presentation together. But once we decided this is going to be it. It was the same for all. 26 cities.

00:35:36.570 --> 00:35:50.070
Jane Atkinson: It's great R. Some repeat, love it, love it Well, if you had one final thing, one final word of advice for people reflecting on a 38 year career, what would you say, and I

00:35:50.300 --> 00:35:53.810
I kind of think I know what the highlight was. But you tell me yours

00:35:55.320 --> 00:35:56.540
Joe Calloway: a highlight

00:35:56.880 --> 00:35:58.090
Jane Atkinson: like just

00:35:58.530 --> 00:36:13.910
Joe Calloway: little nugget that you think would be important if you're going to be in this business for 30 years. Keep this in mind.

00:36:14.050 --> 00:36:26.330
Joe Calloway: Oh, my career to this Along with doing hard working hopefully good work. I'm telling you it is the quality of the relationships

00:36:26.410 --> 00:36:33.180
Joe Calloway: it's about being easy to work with it's about being a nice person.

00:36:33.290 --> 00:36:34.090
Joe Calloway: It's

00:36:34.600 --> 00:36:46.610
Joe Calloway: it. Listen. And the people that I worked with. They were nice people, because little by little, if they weren't nice, I just I weed them out. Anyway, I don't want to work with with jerks.

00:36:46.740 --> 00:36:49.390
Joe Calloway: but i'm telling you it. It's.

00:36:50.070 --> 00:36:57.340
Joe Calloway: And you know the people that that I've worked with. They're great people and their lifelong friends, and it's

00:36:57.470 --> 00:37:04.010
Joe Calloway: It's just It's the relationships

00:37:04.240 --> 00:37:19.670
Jane Atkinson: the easy to work with, build great relationships and invest a portion of every speech in something else, you know, by an index fund in the stock market. Whatever.

00:37:20.340 --> 00:37:22.830
Joe Calloway: Put your money to work

00:37:22.960 --> 00:37:35.480
Jane Atkinson: and money to work for you, so that when 38 years has passed and you're ready to say I don't want to travel as much anymore. You're ready to say, My gosh! I want a big ass, P. To both.

00:37:38.110 --> 00:37:42.970
Jane Atkinson: There we go. There's a song for that. Let's do it.

00:37:43.000 --> 00:37:58.240
Jane Atkinson: I love it, Joe. If people want to connect with you, how would you prefer? Do you want linkedin or what's the yeah, I'm on linkedin. I happy to connect with anybody and everybody. Listen to this on linkedin, and actually that's probably the best way

00:37:58.240 --> 00:38:05.370
Joe Calloway: it it's C. A. L. O. W. A. Y.

00:38:05.380 --> 00:38:20.630
Jane Atkinson: And Joe, I just want to say thank you. I don't know if this is our third or fourth or fifth time that we've talked about different things, and I it's really great to watch you riding around on your own version of your button

00:38:20.630 --> 00:38:28.780
Joe Calloway: and getting to do the things that make you happy. Thank you so much for your contribution, not just to

00:38:28.860 --> 00:38:44.870
Jane Atkinson: you know this podcast, but to my life. I mean you're the one that gave me the the term Pick a lane. People think it's mine, and i'm like no Joe Kelly gave me that term. Thank you so much for the influence that you've had over my life. I appreciate.

00:38:44.890 --> 00:38:55.060
Joe Calloway: It goes both ways, and you know it does. This is just a joy for me to to get to be with you, Jay.

00:38:55.100 --> 00:39:00.240
Jane Atkinson: and with that will say. See you soon, Wealthy speakers by Hello! Everybody.

Highlights you won’t want to miss:

  • Joe’s journey from sales training to speaking. [2:30]
  • Timing is everything. [9:00]
  • Make them the hero. [12:00]
  • Career highlights worth mentioning. [18:00]
  • What your book PR can do for you. [22:30]
  • Why you should always keep learning. [29:30]
  • Reflections of a long speaking career. [36:00]

Joe is the author of eight books on business, including the best-selling
Becoming A Category of One, and his newest book called The Leadership Mindset – How Today’s Successful Leaders Think. He also works with solo professionals on creating focus and strategizing to increase success. Joe lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife, Annette, and has two daughters, Jessica and Cate.

If you would like to see what’s possible when you’re ready to make a shift in your career, you simply can’t afford to miss this episode!

I hope you’ll listen and learn. 


Joe’s books: US  Canada
Joe’s LinkedIn profile
Jane’s LinkedIn profile
Coaching options with Jane
The Wealthy Speaker School

Sharing is caring!

Podcast Reviews
Our Latest Podcast
Podcast Managed By
Learn more about their podcast services HERE.
Podcast Music Provided By

Now Available

Our Latest Blog Post