“If it’s not repeatable it’s not referable.” Ashley Kirkwood
About Our Guest:
Ashley Kirkwood is an international speaker and award-winning lawyer. She believes that you should learn how to start at the top of the speaking market instead of working your way up from the bottom!™️ In fact, that’s the subtitle of her latest book. She has helped doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, consultants, therapists, DEI experts, and many other experts package and position their expertise to land large corporate and collegiate speaking contracts using her proprietary P.A.I.D. Methodology®️. Ashley has been recognized as a thought leader by media outlets galore, including FORBES, Crain’s Chicago Business, Black Enterprise, The Chicago Tribune and more! Not to mention, she previously sat on the board at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign that determines who to hire for on-campus student activities! She has been on the hiring side of the industry and the talent side. She will use all of her experience to help you level up your speaking career!
This episode is powered by the Move to Millions Method
One of the biggest mistakes I see time and time again amongst entrepreneurs who claim to want to create companies that make millions is that they fail to protect their brilliance so that it can create money in their bank account. The truth is leveraging the power of licensing is a great strategy to grow your business and it can also be the catalyst of passive income. We still live in an information economy and when you recognize the value of the information you have to share, you can turn it into cold hard cash to move your business forward or to establish a legacy for your loved ones. Understanding the role your Intellectual Property plays in taking your company and portfolio to the next level is key. In this week’s episode, I sit down with Ashley Kirkwood and we talk about licensing, but not just any licensing, licensing that can make you millions.
Grab pen and paper and listen in to discover:
- How one idea can make you millions
- The reason your IP is considered an asset and how to protect and monetize it
- Why the fastest path to freedom is paved by licensing
- And so much more
Powerful Quotes from the Episode
- The truth is dependent on your ability to work hard. As you grow up, you become a better person and you have to get more deliberate.
- No business wants to be quick. Every business wants to last.
- You’re exposed to wealth because it’s yours.
- Your mindset will keep you from more money that your mastery will.
- Money is a tool, not a measuring stick.
- You’re exposed to the right things not to be teased, but because they can be yours if you so desire.
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Ashley Kirkwood: A License To Millions
First of all, I had to get myself together. This was one of the most amazing interviews that I have ever done. I’m still on ten. You can feel my energy. I got finished having this amazing conversation with Ashley Kirkwood. I’m excited for you because you are about to learn some amazing brilliance. She says your mindset will keep you from more money than your mastery ever will. She actually said a lot of really great things, but I’m not going to steal the thunder of this powerful interview. I’m going to let you read and then I will circle back and share some of my favorites.
My favorite part of this particular interview was the level of breakdown that Ashley gave through the process of understanding intellectual property and licensing and how right now you are sitting on a massive amount of brilliance and that brilliance could be making you so much more. She said most people lead their lives being great and never learn how to monetize it all, but that will not be your story after tuning into this powerful interview with Ashley.
Ashley Kirkwood is an international speaker and award-winning lawyer. She believes that you should learn how to start at the top of the speaking market instead of working your way up from the bottom. In fact, that is the subtitle of her latest book. She is helped doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, consultants, therapists, DEI experts, and many other experts package and position their expertise to land large corporate and collegiate speaking contracts using her proprietary paid methodology.
Ashley has been recognized as a thought leader by media outlets galore, including Forbes, Crain’s Chicago Business, Black Enterprise, the Chicago Tribune, and more, not to mention she previously sat on the Board at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that determines who to hire for campus student activities.
She has been on the hiring side of the industry and the talent side. She will use all of her experience to help you level up in your speaking career. You need to get an empty notebook or if you have a remarkable, start a new notebook. There are so many powerful juicy nuggets inside of this episode that I am not going to speak any longer. Let’s jump into my conversation with Ashley Kirkwood.
Ashley Kirkwood, I’m so excited to welcome you to the show. How are you?
I’m good. How are you?
I have been waiting for this conversation. Everybody who’s reading, take the hand you write with and shake it. Ashley is so stinking prolific. She is amazing. She is going to have nugget after nugget. Before we even jump in, Ashley, take a moment and tell everybody who you are in your own words.
I am Ashley Kirkwood. I’m a mom and a wife in the personal world. In the business world, I love helping speakers land 5- and 6-figure corporate speaking contracts utilizing their intellectual property. My background is as an intellectual property attorney. I have owned a law firm for the past several years. Now, I primarily focus on coaching brilliant, exceptional experts like many of you reading your first five-figure corporate or collegiate speaking contracts. That is a little bit about what I do. I, myself, licensed my programs to corporations and speak on the keynote stage for corporations and colleges across America.
I love that because there are so many people who theorize how to do what it is that you do, you have done, and you are doing. That is a big part of your work. You lead only where you have gone versus making something up as a part of the process. I know a big part of your story is that you walked away from a very lucrative career. I would love for you to tell everyone, not just the punchline of how much money you walked away from in order to start your own company, but more importantly, why you walked away, why you realized that you had something that was enough for you to have your own company to do it versus sitting behind someone else’s desk.
The punchline is I walked away from a $300,000 corporate litigation attorney salary to start my own business. The reason I walked away was because of respect. Being a Black woman, I was the only Black woman at the department. I’m at one of the largest law firms in America. I am doing the work. I’m having success. I’m on a partnership track, which, to be clear, means that when I was at my first law firm, the lowest paid equity partner was $1.2 million a year. That is not the average. I would have been a millionaire if I had stayed in my corporate career. I left because I was missing that link of purpose, respect, and control.
I wanted more control over how I made money and the life that I wanted to lead personally and professionally. People are always talking about, “You work a 9:00 to 5:00.” Not in my role. It was a 9:00 to until. I worked a ton of hours, some days 24 hours. One day I left for work, I did not come home two days later and I was working. My husband was like, “This is insane.” Whenever you work at the top of any industry, that is pretty common. I was already working hard. The hard work of entrepreneurship did not scare me. If there is a company that is paying me, as a Black woman in America, $300,000 within a few years of graduating from law school, then that means that my potential is so much greater.
1) To that organization. They were making millions off of me. 2) It means that I could do more if I believed in myself, even just a little bit of the amount that that company was believing in me. It was that. A little bit longer version of that story, I started out at a big firm. I was doing well. I negotiated a $100,000 raise to get to that $300,000 day salary at another law firm. When I got to the new firm, the money was amazing, but the support was nonexistent.
I was very used to having a secretary, a paralegal, a team that was helping me do what I did day-to-day. When I went to the new company, I did not have all of that. That also gave me more resolve that if you are already practicing without a large team and you are running the cases, you are getting the clients, you are talking to the clients, you are handling the matters, you are doing the negotiation, speaking presentations, all of that autonomously, for the most part, you can do it on your own.
You said, “I was missing the link of purpose, respect, and control.” I want everyone to check-in really quickly. Are you missing the link of purpose, respect, and control? This is not even just about as it is an Ashley story of being in a corporate career and not being able to see the synergy between those elements. This is even those of you who are entrepreneurs on the move to millions.
Have you found the link between your purpose, respect for who you are, the work that you do, how you are revered in your industry, and the control that you have over your ability to accelerate whichever part of the process is important for you to accelerate? If there is a disconnect in any of that, I want you to keep reading as we unpack Ashley’s story.
We are eventually going to get to the reason why I brought her here, which is to talk about licensing. This is such an important part because the second thing that you said that I loved is, “I was already working hard because, at the top of any industry, it is common to work hard. I knew that if I could do this for someone else, I could do more for myself.” It is what you are first willing to do for yourself that gives you the courage to step away from a job that is making $300,000 a year. I never made $300,000 in corporate. My top out was $120,000 before my bonus.
I could not imagine having the resolve that Ashley did because of the link between purpose, respect, and control to walk away from that kind of money, only after she negotiated a $100,000 increase in a previous job to get to her new job at $300,000. All of those skillsets that you brought into entrepreneurship gave you such the edge. How long was it as an entrepreneur before you were running million-dollar businesses?
In our first year, we did not make any money at all. It was three full years. 2021 was our third full calendar year in business and we collected $1 million in cash between our revenue streams. Before that, it was like a million in sales. It was all these other things, collecting that money and it was a huge game-changer. After we collected it, we were literally like, “We are getting rid of one of these streams.” It becomes about, how can we best scale our efforts?
I know people say you can’t really hustle your way to a certain amount of money. The truth is dependent on your ability to work hard. You can hustle your way up to a significant amount of money, even up to an exceeding $1 million. If you are going to keep it and sustain it in a way that feels good to you as you grow and become a better person, you have to get more deliberate.
It is definitely doable, but it is also not sustainable. That is a very important distinction. Most people who are hustling are not built to hustle for the length of time they will have to be able to keep going at that pace, which I think makes it hard, but I love that question. How can we best scale our efforts? There are only a couple of options. It is either work hard or start hiring. I know you, like me, and probably every other CEO in the world, has their fair share of challenges and successes through the hiring process. I don’t necessarily want to go down that path because I want to talk about this amazing book. We are all speakers.
We have all been speaking since we were two. Whether you either galvanize people or gain revenue through the ability to orate or not, you need this book because if you are in business for yourself, your ability to be able to position yourself verbally in a way that is going to lead you to more cashflow, all of that is right here inside of Ashley Kirkwood’s book, Speak Your Way to Cash.
First of all, I got the book in the mail. She did tell me that it was coming. I expected it to look as good as it looks, but I did not expect it to be as thorough as it is inside. People write books and they write books on their framework and they go deep into pieces of it but not the whole thing. Ashley went into the whole thing. The whole game is right here inside of this book. You are an intellectual property attorney. I guess you started speaking first, right?
Yes. I started speaking first because I was speaking while I was in corporate. I was getting beat by colleges and a little bit by churches. I was doing it because I enjoy doing it. I bet there are people in your audience like this too. When you make good money at your day job, the other stuff is like, “That is sweet. Go give me that check for about a $1,000.” You don’t think like, “I need to charge the same. I need to charge it, so I don’t have this day job,” which is something that I tell my clients with the day job now.
Make sure you charge as though you don’t have that day job if that is something you want to become your day job in the future. I was being paid nominally to speak while in corporate. I did speech and debate all through high school, travel competitively, won awards, and all that, but it really kicked up when I left. I left my job, started a firm in speaking practice. The money that came in first was the speaking money because building the brand of the firm took more time and then they eventually worked off of each other. Now we are focusing primarily on speaking.
You said charge like you don’t have a day job. That right there needs to be on a t-shirt. I don’t even know if we can fit it all on there. Maybe if we put part of it on the front and the rest on the back, but it is totally a t-shirt. I love understanding the significance of starting your law firm and knowing that there is a process and a hierarchy to building the brand to get them good recognition that you want to be able to sustain yourself and your family through your law firm, but automatically seeing, “I have got this skill set.”
The truth is dependent on your ability to work hard. As you grow up, you become a better person and you have to get more deliberate.
If I think back to that link between purpose, respect, and control, “I have got this powerful skillset. I’m going to use this skillset in order to offset my own revenue,” and then realizing that you have the game. We are going to talk about a couple of the frameworks that you have inside of your book and then deciding to start teaching other people. What was the point at which you said, “I have really got something here. I should teach other people this?”
Speaking, aside from the coaching side of my business, grew so organically. I was just out here speaking, landing contracts, and selling my books. There were a lot of people that kept asking me, “How are you getting that contract? How did you know to go to that conference? How do they know to pay you? Why are they paying you again? Why are they paying so much?” When I kept getting asked that question, I just followed the clues. I had an event called Speak Your Way to Cash. When the event first started, the brand started as only an event. It was no up-sale. There was no strategy to it. It was just an event. I know you work with professionals to help them make more money in there a bit because you helped us with our event.
When our event heard it, it was just an event. People were asking questions. I gave them the answer, but because coaching had such a negative connotation to it, I hadn’t seen it as a positive thing. I was not going to be a coach. I was very adamant like, “Don’t call me coach. I don’t know what the people are doing on the internet. You don’t make sense to me. I’m not doing that.” I was just doing an event, giving people some advice, and I was like, “Go, implement. Be great.” People will come back every year to the event. We did for a year in our first year. The people came back. They are like, “I need more. I need you to actually walk me through it.”
I’m like, “Why? I told you what to do. Go and be great.” It was not until after our fourth event we developed a program that could go along with the event. People got better results from doing that than they did just attending the event. We tweaked it from there. It took a while because I was not even clear because coaching isn’t really regulated. I was unclear as to what it meant to be a coach who defines it. My lawyer brain was like, “This doesn’t make sense. What is the governing body or the requirements?” After I started helping people get resolved, realizing that it was so beneficial and in fact, integral to them getting sustainable results, I developed it out of that necessity. It took a while for me to consider myself a coach.
I was just doing something that people want us to know how to do and helping them do it from the event. Now it is evolved into a coaching program. We have a course. We take some private clients a year, very few but it evolved organically. It was never my plan to be a coach. Some people play to be a coach. They were asking questions. I was able to help them get results. We kept doing it and grew organically from there. There is a way to coach with integrity. There are so many brilliant coaches that I have hired.
That helped my mindset to hiring such great, positive, brilliant coaches to help me along my journey and realizing, “It would have taken me so much more time had I not just hired these people.” It becomes a little addiction, like, “I got to go through this. I got to go through that.” I love coaching. I respect the industry quite a bit, but it was something I was apprehensive about doing originally.
A lot of people are. Similarly, when I first started, I started as a motivational speaker. No one is a motivational speaker these days. You can’t. They won’t hire you just to motivate. You got to teach people something. I literally started out as a motivational speaker. Your event was just my speaking. All I had was speaking. I got up on the stage for whatever I was commanding at that time. It was typically somewhere between $2,500 and $5,000.
I had to hustle to get the next gig because I did not have anything else. I was like, “I got to figure this whole thing out.” I did know what coaching was. I had been a certified coach because when I was in Corporate America, they put all of us who manage the efforts of others through a coaching certification back in 1999 or 2000 or something crazy like that.
I had the credential, but I did not use the modality outside of entrepreneurship nor did I think that I would. Similarly, I was like, “I’m great at marketing and breaking down the process and helping people to understand what it is going to take. I’m equally as great as determining all of the steps so that the thing is done and it is done well. I’m going to start doing that. That is what I’m going to offer to people when I come down off the stage. We’ll see what happens.” It was slow going at first. We did not make much money because even though I did not have a full-time job, I was not charging like I did not have a day job. I was charging like I had a day job when I was full-time in my business when I first started.
Eventually, I started hiring coaches. I was like, “I’m out of integrity. I’m expecting people to coach with me, but I’m not coaching with anyone else. That doesn’t feel good. There are things that I don’t even know that I need to know in order to get better at this.” It evolved from there. I totally get that. One of the things that I love about your approach to speaking is, first of all, I want you to break down the paid framework. I want to make sure that you share that with everyone.
The other thing that I really love is that you instantly, instantly is my word, not yours, have people look at protecting their IP, their Intellectual Property, so that they can turn it into another sellable asset. I love that. I would love for you to first break down the pay framework, and then let’s talk a little bit about how we get people who are booking these talks into protecting their IP and then being able to leverage that into the larger contracts and deals.
The PAID methodology, the P stands for Press. You want to have a way to get press into your business. In the book, we go over our owned media, earned media, and paid media. All of which have their own individual strategies that you can employ. At the basic level, you need to have a way to attract clients and get in front of new clients. The media will help with both. Owned media is just your social media. Earned media is like me doing a TV station interview, for instance. We try to do a couple of TV appearances a year just to stay relevant in the press. You have one feature from like, “Ten years ago, that doesn’t look good.” We have the press.
A stands for Assembling your offer. I recommend people have a preassembled offer prior to going into corporations because it allows you to put your clients on a roadmap versus you hearing all their issues and you are custom designing things for all of them. If you have a niche that makes sense that all pay similar issues, it is easy to get them on your roadmap that will actually help get them resolved. I stands for Invite. You have to have a sales plan. Some people have a marketing plan, some don’t, but you need a marketing plan and a sales plan. They are not the same thing. You obviously talk about this to your clients. I’m sure because marketing is how people get to know about you.
Sales is the process by which they are going to buy. That is an entire process. It is not just buy, but rebuy. What does that whole process look like? Our invites section covers what that process is for B2B clients. D is all about Delivering an exceptional speech. We have tips in there for how to make your speeches more impactful, whether it is virtual or in person, and then also delivering good customer service. That is our proprietary PAID methodology. We do have that trademarked.
You might be one of the people who have more trademarks than me. I trademark everything, so I know you do.
We trademark everything. Before we even released the book, we got an IP audit. I had the associate at my firm go through and make sure all of our frameworks, methodologies, or trademark and anything that needed to be copywritten was copywritten. That is important to use it as an asset. It is not worth the paper it is printed on if you don’t have an enforcement plan or plan to monetize that IP. That is what you want to protect things that you are monetizing. That is the PAID methodology. That is what we teach our clients how to go through. We worked through it with them in our programs.
I want to pull this back. I don’t think you guys even realize the game that Ashley dropped. She dropped it nonchalantly because that is who she is, and this is what she does, but that was such a jewel. Any time you are looking at producing anything, in this particular case, she is talking about her book. She said, “You want to make sure that there is an IP audit and to verify that everything needs to be copywritten and trademark because that is what gives you the ability to have an enforcement plan and a monetization plan for your IP. It is not worth the paper it is printed on just to have a registered trademark. You need the plans that go along with that.”
We are talking about licensing your way to millions. How do we do this? Your talk. Let’s take them through what the process could look like, Ashley. I write a talk. Let’s say my talk is Move to Millions because that is going to make it easy. I write this talk, Move to Millions, based on my Move to Millions method, which is the proprietary framework that we utilize in there. I write the talk, get it all written down, and get it all out. What’s the next step? What do I do next? Do I go contact an attorney and have an attorney start the processes or is there something I need to do prior to me doing that?
There are a couple of different things because every time you deliver a talk after that topic is recorded, that then becomes the asset. You have your notes for the talk that you may put into a book or something else. The book is the asset. Writing your notes for the talk, I wouldn’t necessarily get a copyright for that, but once you put it into a transferable asset like you record the talk at the presentation, you get that recording copywritten, and then you may determine that you want to license that out to that particular organization. When you are a speaker, it typically starts at the negotiation phase. They will hire you to do a live talk and you are like, “I will have a live talk worth $10,000.” Great, but if they want to replay it, you have to decide strategically if you want to charge them a licensing fee to replay it or if there is some marketing benefit to them replaying it without paying you an additional fee because you want to get in front of that audience.
I know one of the things you talk about is speaking to sell. That is a brilliant strategy, but there are also times when you can basically get paid to market. We are going to go and speak at a particular association. They are paying us on the front end and they are like, “If you allow us to use the license, we’ll put it in front of 6,000 of your ideal clients.” For that, I’m cool with them using the license as long as I can inspect it because all of the people who watch it could potentially become clients so that becomes a lead magnet. In that sense, I don’t want to have any extra barriers to them making that a lead magnet.
If they had to pay for it, that may change the way that they use it.
No business wants to be quick. Every business wants to last.
Yes, or they may decide, “We don’t want to license it or we’ll only license it for 7 days versus 100 days,” which the more it is up on their website, the more people can view it. It becomes a marketing strategy like, “One, how qualified are the people that are going to see it? This can’t be their first event because I have to get my money on the front end or the back end. Either you pay me on the front end or I get in front of your audience and I’m going to get paid because all the people there can pay me on the back end, but there has to be a way for me to evaluate whether that opportunity warrants me giving up a slice of my IP.” Even in that, I tell them, “You can get a license to it.”
Even if they are not paying me for it, I’m still granting them a non-exclusive license so that I can take that recording and sell it to my own clients or use it as my own lead magnet as well so I don’t lose anything by allowing them to use it. When people don’t pay you for something and you are serious about your IP, you can also put language in there that says, “Underneath my recording, you have to have a link to this booking link. Underneath this recording, you need to do this.”
There are a lot of ways that you can use it as long as we have the language. When I’m hired by one-on-one clients, it is just me speaking for their organization, and they are broadcasting it to their employees, it is not the same marketing potential. They are paying me to license that talk over and over again because it benefits them more than it will be benefiting me for that license to be out there.
I liked the distinction there because it is similar to how I have always looked at myself for speaking. I will speak for free if my ideal client is in the room. I don’t do a lot of corporate speaking anymore, but I don’t want your $10,000 fee because I could make $150,000 or $300,000 with the ability to position myself well and make an offer, even if I don’t make an offer from your stage.
I love that you said it starts in the negotiation phase. What I’m hearing, and I want to make sure that I pull back for the readers, is you have to begin with the end in mind. You have to know what you want out of that engagement before you come to the table so that you don’t sell yourself short, you don’t leave money on the table, and you don’t have your IP available to them with no benefit for you.
Understanding what it is that you want and having access to what that plan looks like. I almost feel like people should have maybe three different scenarios. Scenario A is where I get paid $20,000 to speak for up to 90 minutes and I’m not walking away with any clients. I’m making these up, by the way. They may not be exactly what we would suggest. Scenario B is I get paid my travel and lodging in exchange for the ability to be able to position myself and convert people in the room without having to give you a revenue share. Scenario C is like a hybrid. You pay me $5,000, but then I also have the ability to position and license. You need to know going into it. It would make sense.
I don’t know how you teach your clients this inside of your program, Ashley, that you would have each of those scenarios constructed and played out in advance so as you are asking, and maybe even which questions you need to ask to validate what scenario you are playing into because that scenario is already attached to a monetization plan, you’ll know exactly what it is you should be doing every time you get booked to speak and be able to project what your revenue is going to look like on the other side of it, instead of getting excited about getting $10,000 to speak for 30 minutes. Does that make sense?
That makes perfect sense. You have to know who you are. I have some clients that are brilliant, but they are not going to do a keynote. They are not going to set the stage and not going to make an offer. You need to get your money on the front end. That is okay. They are all different strategies based on what you are automatically graded. Before I did law, I did inside sales.
I have done over 20,000 cold calls to people who do not know my name and who I am. Me selling anyone is not an issue. I don’t have mental blocks around it. I don’t think it is a negative thing but if you are someone who’s like, “I just want to share what I know. I don’t have to put any of the extra effort into selling them on the back end,” then your entire plan, you are going to have to sell regardless.
Your entire plan may be more focused on, “How do I get my money on the front end?” Whatever they pay you on the front end, $10,000 or $15,000, the average full-time professional speaker charges $7,500. I always tell my clients, “You are not average. Start at $15,000 and negotiate from there.” Whatever you are paid on the front end, all that is a pricey opt-in for corporate.
I talk about that in the book. They are paying you $10,000. The $10,000 isn’t the only goal. It is just the starting conversation. From that, you want to dominate and then you want to have rebooking conversations and referral conversations. You want to be having conversations that expand your existing client relationship. You also get in their Rolodex to their friends, family, and other clients that could potentially hire you.
On the internet, one of the negatives that I see is people don’t talk about building sustainable business models. It is more mainly about like, “How do I make this $5,000 real quick? How do I make my first $100,000 real quick? How do I make this deal real quick?” Everything is real quick, but no business wants to be quick. Every business wants to last. You can’t look at the front end. It is going to take work, effort, knowledge, expertise, and coaching. It is not going to be easy, no matter which path you choose, because to sell from the stage is not easier than getting paid on the front end and vice versa. They both work and require expertise and skills.
When I think about my own journey, I want the lowest barrier to entry to get the opportunity. I already know who I am. Similar to you, I have a background in cold calling, inside sales and outside sales. I’m also a pink Cadillac Sales Director in Mary Kay. I’m not afraid to sell. I was like, “I know how to position myself.” I don’t even need 30, 40, or 90 minutes on the stage. I just need three and I can have my line of people. I call it the groupie line of people that are waiting to figure out how to take the next step with me. Because I knew that going in, I started looking at all of the national conferences that put out those calls for speakers.
They almost never pay you. I would always negotiate my airfare and my hotel because I already knew that they had a hotel block if they were doing a conference. I will always get a room inside of their block. I would have them pay my $300 to $500 for my airfare. Even they tell you on their applications that they don’t pay for that stuff, everything is negotiable. I would do that and then I would go.
I liked the breakout sessions versus keynotes because I wanted everybody to self-select themselves into my room. Inside of my room, I would do my talk, positioning the way that it would. If I wasn’t allowed to make an offer, I wouldn’t. I would just lead gen and then I would do the follow-up. I always have the line of people in that line I already knew.
Every other person in that line represented $10,000. I knew that if I had 30 people in that line, I could figure out I was walking away with $150,000. Within the next seven days, that is what I would clear. I knew that going in, thinking about the end in mind versus what you just said, which I totally agree with. Some people are never going to do all of that stuff. They don’t have anything to offer. They just want to get up, pontificate, collect their check, and go back home. That is fine too. If that is your model, then $15,000 is the starting point for that. I wanted to make sure we pull out for those of you who are reading before your book comes in the mail. It will come quickly.
I could not believe it came as fast as it did, but while you are waiting on it to actually start reading and she does have an audio version, you can probably get that too, but start thinking about what’s going to work best for you so that as you are going through Ashley’s book, you are reading it in a way based on your business model for how you are leveraging speaking and your ability to speak to make the money that is going to sustain you over time inside of your business.
I want you to be thinking about that in advance because one of the biggest mistakes I see, and I know you see it because you probably see way more speakers than I do, is people who want to get on the stage, like, “I just want to be on that stage. Can I get that stage right there? I don’t even care. I will give a limb to get on that stage.”
No, you have to remember that you are what makes the stage, not the other way around. It is important to go into it, thinking about it that way. I want to pull back and talk more about the IP because I think people underestimate what they have right now, that is, intellectual property that they could be protecting for the purposes of monetization. This is probably going to sound really elementary, but can you just define what IP is so that we can make sure everybody is on the same page?
Intellectual Property is what IP stands for. It is essentially, when you come up with an idea, an idea alone can’t be protected, but when you put it into a format that you use in commerce, it likely can be protected depending on what it is and a variety of other factors. When you write a book, that is IP. You get a copyright for your book.
The name of our company, Speak Your Way to Cash, has a federally registered trademark because it is a name. Names will have trademarks and your actual content will have copyright. If you produce a podcast, that is intellectual property. It is condensed in a way that people can consume it. It can potentially be monetized. That is essentially intellectual property, but most people live to lead their lives being great at something.
Money is a tool, not a measuring stick.
They never think about, “What makes me so excellent at this thing?” It can be a hard skill or a soft skill. A hard skill would be something like, “I’m good at Facebook ads.” That is a hard skill, but I’m good at Facebook ads because of a particular methodology that I use that makes my ads more successful than others. That methodology can be written down and talked about in a book. All of that can happen, but maybe you are just a nice person. We have someone who developed a framework through our program called The Power of Kindness.
Their whole thing is about being kind at work. They called me. I was like, “I just laid them my first five-figure contract. This is a huge company.” They condensed that framework onto paper, put it out, and wrote a blog. I was picked up by, Fast Company, doing all these different things, but it is all their intellectual property. We should be well paid for the things that come out of our minds, but in order to do that, you have to put it in a medium that you can get paid for it and protect it because something as simple as I have a trademark pending for my name right now.
You could license the right to use my name for an event. If someone else is doing an event and they want to talk about speaking and legal and all that stuff, and they know they want to call it like Ashley and Kirkwood and whatever the name of their company is, I could give them a license to utilize my name, because my name has promotional value in the marketplace.
That is what Donald Trump does. If you look at all the Trump hotels’ licenses, he’s not running and owning all of the properties that bear his name. I have a course coming out. I’m recording on April 1st, 2022, for those in my academy. It is called Leveraging the Monetization Strategies of Billionaires and Celebrities Without Being One. It all talks about licensing, how to build your licensing programs.
We have a trademark for that name. Anything that comes out of your head, it is likely that there may be a medium you can put it in and protect it and own it. You need to do that, especially in the face of the internet and everyone else. You do it not just because people may copy you, but also because you don’t want to be accused of copying anyone else.
You said two things that I want to pull on because they were so good. You said most people live their lives being great and never learn how to monetize it. The second one, we should all be well paid for the things that come out of our minds.
Quite literally, thoughts make the world go round. When you think about your iPhone, that product started with a thought. When you think about television or Facebook or anything that you utilize, it quite literally started with the founder of that idea, concept, or product having a thought. We sometimes think, “My thoughts can’t be that big,” but your mindset will keep you from more money than mastery ever will. The requirement isn’t that you master it. It is that you have the right mindset to believe in the things that come out of you and that come from me.
I’m telling you in advance. I’m going to give you credit the first time. I’m crying. That is how good it was. Somehow, someway, this is going to become a Darnyellism. I would smack you if you were here right now. That is how good that was.
I deal with this. I coach clients, you coach clients, so we see it. I don’t know if the email is right. I don’t know if this is right. I don’t know if this is priced right. It is not about your mastery of the thing. It is about what you believe about what you produce. The mastery is not going to keep you breathing. We all know speakers that aren’t as prolific as another speaker that is making a ton of money.
We all know coaches that aren’t as prolific as another coach who is making way more money. It is because they have an undying and unwavering belief in what they produce, regardless of if it is good or not. If they have integrity over time, they will get better at what they do, but it is their mindset that helps them make the money.
I had to get myself together. I’m still tearing up over here. That was so good. It is an unwavering belief. It is everything. That is why I say mindset is 95% of your success. Everything else is only 5%, but it is the way you see yourself, and in the way you see yourself, that is going to determine how much money you actually be able to have.
I felt like that was a mic drop moment. I’m not ready for the conversation to be over yet, but at the same time, I don’t know where we go from here. I felt like I shouldn’t be like, “Thanks for coming out. God bless. Good night.” I love the thought of all of it. Since the very beginning, I have been big into IP without any formal training, anybody telling me I should do it, but I’m like, “I got to protect my stuff.” Especially I have been going through this, I’m going to call it a metamorphosis, for lack of a better way to describe it, where I’m coming into the realization that I am as amazing, great, and brilliant as other people have seen me to be.
I struggled with that. I’m not going to talk about anybody else. I’m going to make it about me. I have always been this brilliant, but I have played small in areas of my life and making excuses for it. “I’m an introvert. I don’t like attention.” All of them are excuses. I have been slowly walking this thing. My clients started calling me to go. I’m like, “I really am to go.”
You are exceptional. It is the fact that you have so much experience and the way you categorize the information that makes it easy for people to understand it. There is so much noise in the marketplace that I value substance. I have started calling Speaker Your Way to Cash a safe haven for substantive experts because of all of the people online that are just, “Rah, rah, rah,” I value your education. I value my clients, and I have worked hard for it. What I know is that even though we can have all this brilliance on the inside of us, if we are not making Bill Gates money, we’ll downplay it.
People believe that just because people have more than us, they are more than us. That is not the case. The measure isn’t how much money someone has. It is, do you know what you say you know? Top money comes with time. If you keep doing something and you are great at it, money is going to come. It is just a matter of when. I will show up greatness now because I know that the money will catch up to me. It doesn’t have to be here now for me to walk in that brilliance and in that purpose.
What’s a lot varies anyway. Even when we make the $20 million, $30 million, $40 million, $50 million, or $100 million, there’ll still be someone with more. I can’t downplay myself because of my revenue. For the men and women reading who haven’t made $1 million yet or who haven’t done $100,000 yet, that does not matter.
Billion-dollar companies that make more money than my company pay us every single month to come in and help them with an issue, they never asked to see my balance sheet. Only on the online space are everybody and their mama who haven’t made any money worried about mama. That is not a real thing in corporations. You hired the expert for their expertise, regardless of what their bank account looks like. Most companies realize you can identify brilliance before the bank account matches the brilliance. You are already there.
You are right in terms of our value being placed on what we have accomplished inside of our businesses. Whether it is that we hit 6 figures or that we hit 7 or 8, whatever the arbitrary number, we are putting too much emphasis on it in terms of it being an indicator of our value. I love talking about money. It is my favorite topic in the whole world. Money and Jesus are the two things I really love to talk about. Here’s the thing, me wanting to talk about money is just for the sake of normalizing it, not as a validator.
I don’t even floss. I have made a lot of money. I have a lot of money in the bank right now. In investments, I have a lot of money, but it is not about the flex. It is about the legacy and what I will be able to leave when I’m going and not the red bottoms, the Louis Vuittons, or whatever things. I own some of that stuff, but it is not about the flex. It is about understanding that my brilliance is not tied to what’s in my bank account, but my brilliance can fill my bank account.
We had a quote plastered around the walls of this Speak Your Way to Cash live event. We have postcards of quotes, positivity, things that motivate them. One of the quotes was, “Money is a tool, not a measuring stick.” It is literally just the tool. Some people have more tools than others, but at the end of the day, your resolve to get things done. There are people every day who get more done with less.
For the women who haven’t made the 6, 7, or 8 yet, make sure that you are not allowing that to keep you from helping women who have, because the most underserved population are, to me, the successful businesses online. Those that already make small 5, 6, or 7 figures. That happened. They are not necessarily being served. People aren’t reaching out to them. We had a celebrity reach out to me. I watched him on TV growing up every day.
You’re exposed to the right things not to be teased, but because they can be yours if you so desire.
I got a voice message. He was like, “We are trying to get paid to speak. We try to speak our way to cash. What do you get? What are you going to do?” I’m like, “I never even considered serving the celebrity populace, helping them navigate this space, teaching their managers how to pitch for them, training their agents on how to do better work for them.” It opened my mind.
All that to say, there are people who may appear to have more status, money or whatever than you that are literally looking at you, wishing you would serve them too. You are open to looking at them because you want to serve down. You only want to serve people you feel comfortable around because your self-esteem will allow you to serve up. It is a problem. You may not even be graced to serve the people you are serving. That is another topic, but don’t limit yourself.
You said your self-esteem might not be a grace to serve up. That is a whole another thing. Here’s what I want to go back to. I love that a celebrity reached out to you because, in this grain, you are absolutely brilliant. This is definitely the lane that you were supposed to be filling. What I wanted to say, more importantly for people, is there are so many people who won’t get a call from a celebrity because they are being cute at the sacrifice of being clear. What I love about all the things Speak Your Way to Cash is that it tells you exactly what it is like. I was literally having a conversation with a potential client. They are having an event. We are talking about me participating in consulting with them for their event.
I’m sorry if you happen to be reading this episode, but I did tell them Ashley, the name of this event is so whack. It is going to require an explanation as to why that is the name of the event. I gave them a suggestion of a name. It was Speak Your Way to Cash Ask. It is so simple. It is clear what’s happening. They wanted to push back because they wanted to use this egotistical name that means something to them but won’t mean anything to the people that it needed to resonate with for them to make money.
Why did I say that as a sidebar to this conversation about licensing and licensing your way to millions? Make sure that you are clear so that your phone can ring. Your DMs can be slid into with people who you might think would never be the person you would serve, but because your clarity makes it obvious to them, the problem that you solve and the solution you can bring to the table for them. That is a way to make sure that you’ll be licensable. That is how the corporations or anybody else will want your content because it is clear what it is that you are talking about and how you are helping people.
That is a good sidebar because one of the reasons why we use Speak Your Way to Cash for our podcasts, books, and events with variations. Speak Your Way to Cash Live is the event. Speak Your Way to Cash is the podcast. It is because once you own that trademark, you want to saturate the market with that. You want to own that corner of the market. We have Speak Your Way to Cash, Pitch Your Way to Cash, and Pitch Your Way to Press. All of the names that are similar to our names that relate to what we do, we have trademarked all those names because once you own that asset, you want the market saturated.
You need to think about, “Is it repeatable? If it is not repeatable, it is not referrable.” People are going to be like, “She got to speak cash.” They’ll get it. If they google any of those combinations, they’ll come to us. That is fine. You want it to be repeatable, referrable, and you want to leverage it. When your audience tells you like, “Somebody is trying to use your stuff. They pick your way to something.” You have your audience serving almost like auditors to make sure other people don’t steal yourself. That is what you want to happen for sure.
We went all in because of God’s mandate on Move to Millions and we got everything. We rebranded the podcast to Move to Millions podcasts. We have Move to Millions Live. All of the things are coming out so that we can saturate the market. We also own all of the phases leading up to the move. We own Plan for Millions, Prepare for Millions, Position for Millions, Live Millions, Make Millions, all of the phrases. All of them are trademarked because it is so important that you understand that, but it is the simplicity.
Every event we have ever had, and we have gone through several iterations, God likes to let me get through five years before usually. He’s like, “You got to change that.” Every single one of them, I’m always clear make it so obvious what it is that you do, because that will help to increase your marketing reach within that thing, as well as being able to saturate the market and get everybody really to understand it. I love that you said this, if it is not repeatable, it is not referrable.
People are like, “What do you do?” That is the worst. People are like, “I don’t know what you do.” We have sponsors in 2022. You’ll appreciate this. In 2021, I worked with Darnyelle on my event. We did sponsors light. In 2022, we closed a $10,000 sponsor. That sponsor, we have already started sending them business because I want my sponsors to make as much money as possible.
I’m first sending in business and he’s like, “How could we help you? I will refer you to three other sponsors.” I’m like, “That is what I want you to help me with.” This is what we do. You have seen what I could do for you. How could I do this for others? Referrals work in a facet of ways. It is not just refer me a speech or refer me a client. You need to be asking people who you have done good business with to refer you for whatever other business you meet, but that clarity is needed.
I don’t want this to end, but we both got other stuff that we need to do. We are running these companies. We are changing the world through our intellectual property. I have my three closing questions that I want to ask you, but before I do, if there is anything else that you feel you haven’t said that is on your heart to say that it is going to be important for the audience, I want to give you the opportunity to share that.
I will say this to everyone reading. If you read this and have any ounce of Imposter syndrome curl or creep up within you, I want you to know that God does not tease you. You are exposed to greatness because you are great. You are exposed to wealth because it is yours. You are exposed to brilliant relationships and happy marriages. Darnyelle and I are both married. I love my husband. He works with me full-time in my business. You are exposed to people who have those things, not to be teased, but because it can be yours if you so desire it. Follow that desire and do what you need to do in order to realize your desires in real form.
I know you guys have been as blown away as I have. I don’t even know how many pages in my remarkable I have been writing on to capture all of these goodies. Before I let you go, Ashley, I always have my three closing questions. The first one is, what is the last book you read?
I read so many books at a time. The two that I’m reading right now that popped into my mind immediately, I’m reading Traffic Secrets by Russell Brunson. It is so good. I’m also reading The Wealth Choice by Dennis Kimbro.
What are your favorite quotes?
My favorite quote is from my dad. It is, “If they give you a no, they are just not the right person to give you a yes.”
The last thing is, what is one tool that you swear by that has been instrumental in your move to millions?
I would say HubSpot. That is my CRM. You have to have a good CRM.
I want to thank you so much again, Ashley. I have told you this on numerous occasions. You literally blew me away. I’m a brilliant person snob because when you are brilliant, you can sniff out that people aren’t brilliant. You are amazing and grateful. I know I told you when we worked together, I was so honored that you chose to work with me, and we got to do some amazing work and get you some amazing results and all of that kind of stuff. I love the star that you ride on. I’m grateful that we have this connection and for all the work that you are doing and all the lives you are changing through your ability to help people speak your way to cash.
I don’t know if she is going to keep her intellectual property law firm, but I heard that earlier that we are getting rid of some of these streams. We are not going to talk about it now, but I want to celebrate you because I do absolutely adore who you are, the brilliance that you personify, and that you are so true to yourself the entire time. I believe in giving people their flowers now and not waiting. I also want it to be on record so that people know that I think you are absolutely the bomb.com.
Thank you very much. It was my pleasure to be here. Hopefully, you guys hang out with me. We’ll talk about where they can find me, but you all are welcome to join me in the Speak Your Way to Cash Facebook group. It is a free group, free resources, good place to get started and connect and continue the conversation. I’m working to have more conversations with my community, just to touch the hearts of people. This is still a trying time, even though there has been a lot of beauty that is come out of the last couple of years.
Again, I just want to say thank you for being here. We’ll see you all next time. Take care.
I told you it was going to be good. Did you believe me? I know you believe me now. Ashley is the truth. That was amazing. I am on 250 right now, just reverberating off of all of the energy and knowledge that she poured out into all of us. I have got ten pages of notes. I’m going to scroll through some of my highlights because we’d be here all day for me to tell you everything that I loved about this conversation with Ashley, but from the onset. We started at the beginning. She talked about the reason she left her career making $300,000 a year. Most people don’t ever make that kind of money a year, but she was willing to give it all up because she was missing the link of purpose, respect, and control.
I loved when she said, “I could do more. I was working for this company that was paying me a lot of money and I was working hard for them, but I could do more.” I loved the reminder that at the top of any industry, it is common to work hard. It is not that you are not going to work hard, but it is also about making sure that as you work, you are working smart.
I loved when she said she negotiated a $100,000 raise that she then used to springboard her into getting that $300,000 career. This question, how can we best scale our efforts? That is a question you should be asking yourself right now, especially if you have yet to make the move to millions. You have to charge another nugget from Ashley. Charge like you don’t have a day job.
I loved the walkthrough of the PAID methodology. I want you to get a copy of her book so that you don’t miss that, but Press, Assemble your offer, Invitation, and Deliver. Those are the four steps. She goes deep into them inside of the book. We talked about IP audits and making sure you have the right copyright so that you can create an enforcement and monetization plan. It is so amazing. Asking yourself the question, “Am I going to get my money on the front end or on the back end?” That will help you to determine the right strategy for you if you are leveraging the power of speaking.
Let’s see a couple of other good quotes. “Your brilliance will land in your bank account. You can identify brilliance before it makes it to the bank, which is important too. Your mindset will keep you from more money than your mastery. You got to have that unwavering belief in yourself.” As you can see, time with Ashley was time well spent. I hope that you will want to read back this interview over and over. It was amazing.
If you are speaking or you want to leverage the power of speaking to expand your payday, you don’t know about Ashley Kirkwood. In this episode, talking about the importance of intellectual property and licensing and licensing being the play that can help you to make the move to millions, it is about to go down in your life. I’m so excited for you. Guys, this has been an amazing conversation. I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did. I will see you next time. Take care.
- The Move to Millions Live Event Experience
- Incredible One Enterprises
- Speak Your Way to Cash
- Speak Your Way to Cash
- Speak Your Way to Cash With Ashley Kirkwood – Apple Podcasts
- Traffic Secrets
- The Wealth Choice
- Facebook – Speak Your Way To Cash
About Ashley Kirkwood
After graduating top of her class at Northwestern Law and going to trial around the country for Fortune 100 corporations, Ashley left her mid-six-figure salary to be a full-time entrepreneur. Now, Ashley runs both a law firm and a speaking business, where she speaks at colleges, conferences and corporations around the world delivering her signature speech, The Currency of Confidence!
Ashley has earned the nickname of “the lit lawyer” due to her fun DIY legal trainings such as Get The Tea On Trademarks and Clapback With Contracts. She is high-energy and dedicated to her clients’ success. Through her law firm, Mobile General Counsel, she helps entrepreneurs with critical elements of their business such as trademarks and contracts!
When Ashley speaks, crowds listen. She serves as a regular legal expert for a daytime talk show in Chicago. In addition, she travels the country speaking. So much so, that she was asked to help other speakers to do the same. Through Speak Your Way To Cash®, her speaking business, Ashley coaches and trains emerging speakers on how to kick-start their speaking businesses! She hosts a podcast and a free facebook group where she provides resources to speakers looking to start speaking their way to cash!