get paid to speak
Project Ignite Podcast by Derek Gehl How To Get Paid To Speak, Grow Your Business AND Take Vacations with Ernesto Verdugo
00:00:00 00:00:00
  • Episode  60
  • Ernesto Verdugo


If you want to grow your business and brand fast, then learn how to be get paid to speak at industry events around the world while taking vacations, and follow the system outlined by entrepreneur, author and international event promoter Ernesto Verdugo in this episode.

Book recommendation: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Travel websites:

Ernesto’s tool recommendations:

To find out more about Ernesto:

Transcription: Learn How to Get Paid to Speak with Ernesto Verdugo

Welcome to the Project Ignite Podcast, a podcast designed to skip ahead, skip the BS and bring you real actual tips and strategies to help you grow your business and income on the internet.

This is your host Derek Gehl, and today’s show is going to consist of two parts because today’s guest has a vast knowledge and expertise in a few different areas that I think our listeners are going to benefit from.

Now, to understand this guest I need to give you a little bit of a back story though because I met this guy in January of this year when I attended the Marketers Cruise. The Marketers Cruise, if you have never heard of, it is an annual cruise where digital entrepreneurs from around the globe meet up on a cruise ship on the Caribbean for seven days straight. We network, there are workshops, lots of sharing, and a lot of parties as well.

Throughout the week, I was attending different events and one of those events was about, I forget what it was called exactly, but it was everybody getting a chance to get up and just share different tools that they use in their digital business.

This guy promptly gets up and starts listing off tool after tool after tool after tool. I thought I had a long list of tools in my entrepreneur toolkit but this guy took it to another level.

After writing a few pages of notes on all sorts of these cool productivity and marketing tools that this gentleman introduced, we then went off to dinner and ended up sitting with him.

We got talking over dinner and then he reveals that in addition to running his own events and his own digital businesses, he pretty much invented the business events, digital business and internet marketing events in the Middle East and Dubai.

He has brought experts from around the world to the Middle East and Dubai for paid speaking engagements, and so after dinner I knew that I needed him to get on the show and share some of what he knows and talk about how to get paid to speak. Without further ado I would like to introduce a man who’s… well his resume speaks for itself.

He is an author, an entrepreneur, an international public speaker, and accelerated learning practitioner, a renowned internet marketing expert and an expert in how to get paid speaking gigs. He has worked with tens of thousands of people from around the world in 45 different countries and to top it all off – he is from what I understand the 247th most traveled person on this planet.

Without further ado, I would to welcome Ernesto Verdugo to the show.

Ernesto, thank you for being here to talk to us about paid public speaking.

It’s a pleasure Derek. I am very excited about sharing with your audience and I think we are going to have a lot of fun.

Now, okay, fill me in, how did you figure out you are the 247th most traveled person on this planet?

Well, once again with my tools I found that there was a website called and in there is a list of everybody which is all the big travelers.

Since I was very small I wanted to become part of the Century Club. The Century Club is in LA and they will only admit people that have been to 100 countries. My goal was to make to 100 countries and in 1993 I landed, on South African Airways, in Zimbabwe, in Harare and while I was just landing in Harare, to make the even more dramatic, I actually ticked that box and I entered there.

In conversation there with people from the Century Club they said, “Well you know you have to list yourself to see in what ranking you would be.”

I said, “Well how will I do that?” They said, “Well you go to this website. It’s called most traveled people in the world or, I don’t remember which one it is and then there is a ranking for all the big travelers. You can just go there and do your ranking.

It’s a free service and then you can just be ranked… for example, the more countries you have been in the more, the higher the ranking that you will have obviously. In the world I am 247th, sometimes it goes up, sometimes it goes down. It depends and in the Netherlands, which is the country that I was registered, I think I am 39th or something like that but it’s very high.

That’s a lot of countries. How many have you visited?


129 countries, wow, that’s incredible. That’s incredible. I was curious how do you even know that? I guess that is how you know. There is a website, who would have thunk it, right?

All right so now as I said in the intro we are going to split this interview into two parts. First I want to get into how to grow your business as an international speaker and get paid to speak which I know you have a ton of information in your head on and then we are going to dig into some of the tools that I saw you sharing on the Marketers Cruise and we will start sharing them with our listeners here as well.

For everybody listening we’ve got two parts and we are going to start off how to get paid to speak. Before we get into the specifics of paid public speaking, let’s start with the question that I know is on so many people’s minds and that is, can I really become an international public speaker? Don’t I need to be famous? Who would put me on their stage? Can I get paid to speak? Right?

When you say to somebody, “Hey you should be an international speaker to grow your business, you should get paid to speak” Most people go, “How? Where do I start? How do I get paid to speak” Over to you, what are the steps to get paid to speak?

That is absolutely correct and that is one of those “I do not know how it works” kind of thing but the moment that you figure out the game and how to get paid to speak it’s just one of the easiest ways to grow your notoriety, to grow your brand, your international brand.

First of all, and this is something I always ask everybody to really get this tattooed on their brain because this is just exactly the secret to it. This is that proof is stronger than experience.
paid public speaking
If you remember the book the Outliers they say that you need to have 10,000 hours to become an expert. Now truth is, it’s very difficult to say, “Well you know I’m going to have 10,000 hours of stage time.” I have 10,000 hours of stage time and it took me about 12 years or 13 years on going stage after stage after stage speaking all over the world at paid speaking gigs and that, of course, is a very long route.

Now if you can prove that you have spoken in a few stages, if you have the right media kit, if you have exactly what is required for you to prove to event promoters that you have been and you can do a good job then guess what, easily you can get speaking gigs and get paid to speak for $1,500 for 60 minutes to $15,000. That is just very common.

Now what happens is that there is a ton of things which are attached to that. Let’s say that you’re being paid to speak and they are only paying you $1,500 for a gig but then, of course, if you are going to be flying to another country to do one of these presentations you can work with the event promoter, with event organizer, and arrange to do another workshop which will be another half an hour added value and a possibly get a little bit more money.

If you have a book you can suggest that every participant gets a book then of course you get a little bit more money.

The moment that people understand how the speaking, the paid speaking, world works that is just absolutely great. Most people get very confused because they think, “Well, if I want to get paid to speak I have to sell from the stage.

I am very good at doing that because, of course, I could be in webinars. I have done a number of different webinars and then if I do one webinar then of course I will be able to do that on the stage.”

You and I know that doesn’t work like that. Through this most people think, “Well, you know I want to get paid to speak internationally. I have to sell from the stage.” While in reality I would say, please stay away from selling from the stage because unless you know what you are doing, you are going to bomb. The best way to do it is just to work with event organizers, with events promoters which there are around the world.

Just think about it – every city in the world, doesn’t matter how small it is, it has two or three events minimum happening per city and that is if you think business events. But I mean there is a health event, there is alternative healing events. You name it, every city in the world always has events and it’s only few people that understand how the world works that are going from one place to another.

If you meet any of the people that get paid to speak and make a living out of doing keynote speeches and these kinds of things, they have very busy agendas because, of course, they are in high demand and low supply.

Now the reason why there is low supply is because hardly anybody knows how to play the paid speaking game and get paid to speak, and that is exactly what I like teaching people how to do because I have done it for a number of years throughout my life.

Now I want to take a step back because you have thrown some terms out there that I think some people may not be familiar with and I think the first one is media kit. You say to people, “You need a media kit.” For you that is just common lingo.

You know exactly what it means but for the guy that is just sitting here going, “Yeah, I’ve got this thing in natural health and I would love to get paid to speak on it.” For example, he’s got no idea what media kit is or even where to start, right? What is a media kit? How do you start building that when you want to get paid to speak?

That’s a great point and I agree. I am sorry. I just get carried away.

Oh, no, I will stop you, don’t worry.

Let me just go back into this and I tell you basically if you approach and an event promoter and you tell him, “I would like to get paid to speak on your event.” The other guy is going to reply, “Sure, I would be very interested to see it. Can you please send me a demo reel?” Which in past we used to send a VHS tape.

That is how I got started. I used to produce a lot of these VHS tapes and I was always mailing them. Now obviously you can just upload one of these videos in YouTube. Now what happens, most people they have a video recording from one time that they spoke and it is recorded with their telephone. The audio is terrible and it just looks very bad and then of course they send it to them.

That, of course, doesn’t look professional.

First of all these are the elements that you need to have in order to have proper media kit. You are going to need proof if you want to get paid to speak. Once again proof is the most important thing. Proof will always kill experience.

If you have proof that means that you have a good demo reel.

If you have a sizzle reel, a sizzle reel it is about a 60 second presentation video that you are going to show before you go on stage like for example of saying, Derek Gehl, he was doing this in Kuala Lumpur and he was doing this in Singapore. He has been working for the Internet Marketing Center for X amount of years. This is essential if you want to get speaking gigs.

You obviously know what a sizzle reel is but I’m just trying to make people understand what it is. It is just someone is talking about you but in a very very short period of time so that they will introduce you but then that is exactly what will sell to the event organizer and allow you to get paid to speak.

They will think, “Wow, this guy knows exactly what he is doing.” Then, for example, if you have a couple of interviews in radio or podcasts or anything like that and then you have few newspaper articles or whatever it is or you have been featured for example on the Huffington Post or anything like that.

All of these bits and pieces possibly look random, but if you put them all together in a page and then when you are approaching a promoter you say, “Well, you know, I would like to speak in your event, here is my media kit.” The promoter says, “Oh this guy knows how to play the game.”

Then the possibilities of you landing a stage are very very high and you will get paid to speak. Now if you do not have what is required the possibility that you will get paid to speak is going to be almost impossible.

In reality if you have the proof it will always kill the experience. You do not have to have experience. You could be pretty much a beginner, if you have all what it takes the give it to them you are golden, because in reality a keynote speech is 60 minutes, 60 to 90 minutes. If you have a little bit of training on how to deliver properly a keynote speech then it will be relatively easy for you to getting keynote engagements. It’s not difficult to get paid to speak.

Right, so, we’ve covered the media kit, that’s awesome, everybody right now has a better understanding of that and I totally agree. I used to run my own events and now I still do my own events in Asia but that’s just me. I used to have other speakers come to my events and I used to get people that would say, “Hey I’d love to speak for you.”

You are right, I judged them based on what they sent me not based on their experience. If I didn’t know them or I didn’t know somebody that knew them, what they sent me is what I judged them on. If it was some crappy video off their phone, then no. Even if they were an absolute expert you base your opinion on that.

The guy who has some things professionally filmed, which really in this day and age isn’t hard or really that expensive to get done, great. I can’t emphasize enough the power of having yourself published on different media platforms. Even if it’s just once to say you were there, it’s so massively powerful for your credibility if you want to get paid to speak.

Just a side note, going out and getting an article on the Huffington Post or on Forbes or on Entrepreneur or whatever is relevant to your industry in that leading publication is not that difficult to do. Not only is it good for your media kit if you want to get paid to speak but it’s good for all of your marketing. You are not just doing that for your media kit anyway.

Now two more questions about how to get paid to speak that I want to explore a little bit.

Now the benefit beyond money, you know how I work in the speaking world, when I speak I don’t do paid keynotes. That is not where I am at in my career. When I do it I’m doing it to recruit, to sell from stage and now that being said it’s a definitely a different strategy and I think it’s a more difficult strategy. It takes more practice to get to that.

When you’re starting off and you want to get paid to speak, going out there and getting some keynotes under your belt, becoming a paid keynote speaker is great but you are never going to get rich selling keynotes 1,500 or 2 grand at a time, right?

What are the additional benefits that you are really going to get out of out of these different audiences? If you said to somebody, “Hey, come fly to Dubai, I’m going to pay you $2,000 to speak at my event in Dubai.” It’s great to get paid to speak, but what other motivation do I have to do that beyond the $2,000?

Exactly, well first of all there are three kinds of speakers and I think that’s where everything starts.

First of all you are going to have the trainers. Trainers are how many people get started when they want to get paid to speak. They start doing trainings and of course those have not so much impact in your international brand but those are great things for you to start getting used to doing speeches in front of people and you have a lot of interactivity. That’s just one kind of speaking.

Then you have the keynote speakers. When you’re wondering what do speakers get paid, the keynote speakers it could be incredibly well-paid. Just think about it Gary Vaynerchuk charges $85,000 for a 60 minutes speech. That’s great. President Clinton charges half a million dollars for a keynote speech and on top of that you have to pay his security detail.

It depends on what it is but keynote speeches it’s a way to get a notoriety. A way to get your name out on a minutes. It’s basically publicity that is paid. You get paid to speak and you get publicity for yourself.

Obviously, a keynote speech you cannot expect to go from $1,000 to $2,000 to $85,000, Gary Vaynerchuk has earned his pay. That is an important thing but you have to start somewhere to get paid to speak.

Now the reason why I emphasize in speaking internationally and not speaking in the United States and I would also include, for example, Canada because it’s very common here in the United States that you come and somebody tells you, “Well, you know I am an international speaker.” “Well where have you spoke?” “I spoke in Winnipeg.” That’s your experience? Or I spoke in Edmonton. That’s your international experiences? Sorry. It happens. I have seen it many times.

Yeah, Winnipeg is not that international.

Yeah it doesn’t really count as international even though that is in Canada and I know that you are right in Canada. Basically what we need to do is we have to make sure that you fly overseas. That you were somewhere else to get paid to speak.

Now what happens is just a weird thing. In your case you have done good part of your speaking career and events abroad. You have done many places in Australia, many places in Asia, possibly Europe. I’m not sure if you have been in Europe, speaking in Europe, but what happens is now your brand, the brand of Derek Gehl, now it’s an international brand.

Now you become the United Colors of Benetton, now you become Facebook, now you become a big guy.

For example, if I get two media kits or two CVs and I see somebody that has spoken in Singapore, has spoken in Kuala Lumpur, has spoken in Europe, has spoken in Australia and somebody has spoken in Winnipeg and has spoken in Edmonton and has spoken in Tulsa and has spoken in Kansas, I would definitely say, “Well you know, I want this guy.”

What happens is that you will be able to actually charge more money when you get paid to speak and possibly you have less experience than this guy that has been speaking in all these other places like Tulsa and Cleveland and Winnipeg but what happens is because you spoke internationally you have a better brand and that is just absolutely awesome. You are a man of the world and that has a price.

It’s interesting because I’ve got a lot of listeners that are in Asia, that are in Australia, and other parts of the world and I think the same strategy with apply to them as well. If we are talking to somebody, let’s say we have a listener in Singapore to say they went to Malaysia and then call themselves an international speaker is like the same with an American going to Winnipeg, right?

They are not going to get the same credibility when they want to get paid to speak.

Getting what would be considered overseas from your country wherever that happens to be is going overseas. That is going to add a different element of credibility when you want to get paid to speak.

One of the things I found as well for all of our North American listeners is media is hard to get in the US. For example, if I was ever on CNN, I’ve done something horribly wrong probably, right? That is the only I’m going to get on CNN but when I’m in other countries, I’ve been on Channel News Asia on their main morning show in Singapore. That’s like their CNN. I’ve been on NTV7 on Malaysia.

I’ve been on radio stations, major radio stations, in Australia. I’ve been on TV in the UK. These other countries as well to get that other level of media particularly when you are getting started can be from my perspective is so much easier outside of North America.

A ton easier, for example getting on CNBC or getting on Al Jazeera or getting the major newspapers even for example the Asian Wall Street Journal it’s just not that difficult because of course it’s a complete different perspective. Then, of course, it could be used to grow your brand if you want to get paid to speak. That’s another of the added benefits from it.

Now let me just go back into this story and this is I think a very important point that I can carry on right now. For example, one of the amateur mistakes that most people make when they want to get paid to speak is when they say, “Well I would like to travel. I would like to speak internationally.”

I have booked over 50, 60 different speakers to come to Dubai and in there you can include Mike Filsaime, John Carlton. Right now I can just go through a number of different speakers that I have brought to Dubai and what happens is that all of them they immediately see, well, there is an opportunity abroad. They are willing to put themselves in that environment.

One of the mistakes that most people make is when they’re trying to get paid to speak…for example, this is normally how it will happen. Let’s say that I am scouting for speakers and when I mean scouting it’s like exactly like if you would be doing baseball or football.

I would go to a match and I would try to find out who are the best players, right? I would go to an event and I would try to find out who are the best speakers or who are the upcoming speakers looking to get paid to speak.

It has happened to me recently, I was in San Diego scouting for speakers looking to get paid to speak and I found a very good upcoming speaker, very powerful, very poised, really nice speaker, his message was great. His content was great and he is just up and coming. All his speaking experience has been in California. He has never spoken outside of California.

I go and talk to him and I said, “Well, you know I would like to take you international. I would like to take you to Bangkok. I would like to take you to Bahrain. I would like to take you to Dubai.” He said, “Oh, yeah, great, well my fees are X amount and you have to pay my business class ticket for me and my wife and you have to pay all my expenses, my accommodations and you have to even give me red M & M’s in my room.”

Okay Madonna.

Exactly, sometimes I say, “Well you know, you have to … Don’t act like a prima donna.” The way that you have to see it is the most important person in your speaking career if you want to get paid to speak is going to be your event promoter or your event organizer.
paid speaking opportunities
These guys have a ton of speakers to choose from. If you have already connected with them and they are willing to work with you and you want to get paid to speak, don’t change the possibilities of opening a new market, finding other new things because you want an airline ticket paid. An airline ticket is not really that expensive compared of the opportunities to get paid to speak that you could be getting afterwards.

It’s very interesting. The ones that have the choice to pay the ticket or not it is the event organizers not the speakers and that’s where a lot of people get wrong because, of course, what they say is, “I would like my ticket to be paid. This is my fee and this is my …”

If you are known in San Diego that’s great but that’s not the center of the universe.

Most people in Bahrain, most people in Bangkok, most people in Dubai will have absolutely no clue who you are and that’s what you need to take into consideration. If somebody is willing to work with you and help you get paid to speak and take you abroad you have to be humble enough to accept. To say, “Help me. Show me the ropes. Let me get into new markets.”

Just before we started we were having this conversation you and I, that you would like to explore the market. You immediately understand that that was an opportunity to say, “Well, help me get my name in another market that nobody knows me.” We never talked about this has to be paid or these kinds of things.

A lot of people the moment that they start having a little bit of experience and they want to go abroad to get paid to speak, that’s what they think they should be doing and that’s a big mistake.

Yeah, until you are at an international level or an international brand like Richard Branson or Tony Robbins or … To get paid to speak in a new market you’ve got to be willing to make some sacrifices particularly when you are getting started.

I think you are right people get a little bit of a rock star attitude once they get paid to speak, right? They think, they get up on a couple of stages and get paid to speak and now they are rock star and they have had a few good presentations but the reality is as you said in many of these markets you are unknown.

I look at how long I have been doing business in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, when I can do an event in Singapore I will ask an audience the beginning of the day of one of my workshops, “Who here in the room has heard of me prior to seeing an ad for this event?”

I’ll tell you in every single event 90% of the people put up their hand and say they have never heard of me before. That is a market I have been actually involved in a lot. Here is the way to look at it, event promoters are willing to pay you a lot of money to come speak and cover flights when your name will attract people to their event.

Exactly, when you are the main attraction.

That’s it, when your brand makes them money through pure attraction they will pay you but don’t expect them to pay you to show up and deliver that content or be greedy with it, I should say. Build yourself up and then eventually you can start charging stuff like that but not right away.

The best way to see it is a promoter would be like Don King, for example, a boxing promoter. He was a promoter from Mike Tyson, he was a promoter from Mohammed Ali, he was a promoter of Sugar Ray Leonard. Some of the biggest boxers in history they had been his clients and the question that was always on his mind is the same as every promoter – how can I monetize this person?

If you put already the difficulty in making a profit from you and then you start saying you have to give me this amount of money in order for me to work with you then of course you are shooting yourself in the foot and that’s exactly what you want to avoid if you want to get paid to speak. My recommendation for anybody that wants to get paid to speak and is a beginner is first on all work on your media kit.

What do you need on your media kit if you want to get paid to speak?

  • First of all you need a professional video of seven or eight minutes that shows how you are speaking. There is a number of ways on how to do that. You can, for example, getting yourself booked on a TEDx event. That would be the ultimate. It’s not that difficult either because of course there is TEDx on almost every city around the world. That is one of the greatest ways that you can do it but there are also other ways to do it without actually having to do that.
  • You need professional branding if you want to get paid to speak. That is very important. That’s not getting the picture that you got taken by your nephew or by your niece or your mother-in-law that took a picture of you wearing a suit. That’s not unique. That’s what happens. Sometimes I’m amazed on the pictures that I get from the speakers who want to get paid to speak. It’s just crazy.
  • You need proper photography done for the branding. That’s a very important thing.
  • The next thing that you will require is your sizzle reel. I have seen the cheapest sizzle reels, just Google sizzle reels and there is going to be a number of people that can actually do this for you anywhere from two and a half thousand to five thousand dollars. That is more or less what is going to cost you for a relatively cheap sizzle reel.
  • Then the other thing you are going to require if you want to get paid to speak is you have to get yourself booked. If you cannot get yourself booked on the radio get yourself booked on some podcasts. For example, this podcast is going to go straight into my media kit because of course it’s just another way of showing it.
  • If you can also get yourself an article in the Huffington Post or any of the entrepreneur magazines or whatever which as Derek was saying it is a process. It is a matter of learning the process.

Those are the things that you need in order to get paid to speak.

That is what is going to provide proof and that kind of proof you will be able to send to different speakers and organizers, and event organizers and event promoters or you can just send your media kit and then they are going to start taking interest on you and that’s how it works. There is no more science to it. That’s all you require to get paid to speak.

What does the process look like? Let’s start at the beginning here. Let’s say somebody gets their media kit together, first step is how do you even find a promoter?

That’s obviously a very good question. Well, it’s very, as I was saying in every city the way that I was doing it and the way that I like teaching people to do it is first of all pick a destination where you want to get paid to speak. Where would you like to travel to? As simple as that.

I would like to get paid to speak in Amsterdam. Okay, so, let’s find out what conferences are happening in Amsterdam. Well we have this conference which is about medicine and we have this conference which is about this and this and this and we have this conference which is about the other.

Suddenly you are going to end up with a list of 57 conferences which are happening throughout the year in the city of Amsterdam. Great, well this one looks like a pick for me. This one looks like a pick for me. This one looks like a pick for me.

Who is organizing? Well such and such person is organizing. Then immediately because of course because they are already working and everything you are going to see the email of the person which is in charge organization.

Then you can even go on the websites what happens is they tend to have also many of them applications for you to go and speak. It’s amazing. If you just look for applications for speakers in Amsterdam, you are going to find, in Google, you are going to find 10, 15, 20 different pages which immediately they take you to the application letter.

That is not what I want because I want to find out that I am a match to them so just by doing a little bit of research and also you can even outsource a research. If you know exactly what you are going to look for you can find out a number of different events happening in every city that you want to travel.

Another option to get paid to speak, for example, is some cruises. I have also done a number of cruises where I also do a keynote speech and after the keynote speech talking about internet tools, for crying out loud. That is just weird. Imagine I go do a 60 minutes presentation about internet tools and they pay for my cruise. It’s insane.

I tell you if I have gone to 129 countries, out of those 129 countries 45 to 50 of those countries they are countries that I have gone to to get paid to speak. I go there and they are taking me there. It’s a holiday they paid for.

In those days when I was single and I was just doing that very frequently. I was just going to places and I would get paid to speak. Sometimes they would pay for my expenses. They would also get me connected with other people.

It was a lifestyle. It was just great. Of course now I have an international brand because of course I have spoken. Just check this statistic and every time I say it it’s very impressive. I don’t say it for bragging but to impress upon you how powerful this could be – I’ve spoken to more nationalities than Tony Robbins.


That’s very impressive to whoever you put it to. You put it in your CV or you put it in whatever, people get very impressed with that kind of thing.

Has it been difficult to get paid to speak? No, because of course I understand how the speaking world works, the paid speaking world. All it requires to get paid to speak is for you to understand that if you have a proper media kit and you play fair with event organizer they will take care of you.

Also what happens when you get paid to speak, which is really cool, is if you have a nice relationship with whoever is organizing that event guess what is going to happen? They may have another event where they will call you or they will tell their friends who are also organizers, and then you start getting the word of mouth to get paid to speak and they are going to start bringing you to other places which is also very cool.

Yeah, so, I love the paid vacation. That’s just brilliant. It’s such a simple process to get paid to speak that most people just don’t know about. Go out there, pick the cities you are looking for, find the events that are going on, figure out who is running those events. If you are the right fit send them the media kit, get yourself booked.

That’s it. More simply than that I cannot give it to you. You just basically in 30 seconds gave the whole process to get paid to speak.

One of things too with events in many cases is people are recording this too, so they have professional films crews in there. They are recording them and you are going to get those recording so you can use those in the future, right? That’s a huge benefit if you want to get paid to speak.


Let’s shift direction again now and let’s talk about tools because you are like the tool guy and I don’t know how that happened. You almost been branded as the tool guy as well. In fact how did that happen?

Well it was a funny thing. I was working together with Andrew Lock. I don’t know if …

Yeah, I know Andrew.

Andrew is a good friend of mine. I love the guy. The guy is just awesome also in tools. We actually once at an event we had a showdown, who had the best tools. He won, unfortunately. It was just a lot of fun and people were loving it and everybody was voting and the whole thing, that was there in Dubai.

We helped Yanik Silver prepare Underground 3 to Underground 7 or 8 and we worked together. Andrew and I were always the ones that were behind the scenes. Andrew was running the whole thing. I was running the room.

That’s what we were doing together and we became good friends, but one time I think it was just like bonus session that Yanik threw, they had this thing in Underground that they were voting for the best speaker, whatever.

Anyway, he was not even competing because he was just a bonus session and all he did was share about 10 tools and I said, “Oh my God you shared 10 tools and everybody voted you best speaker and you were not even in the competition. This is just weird.”

That is the effect that this thing has. People are so thirsty and so interested when you start sharing tools. I have a couple of virtual assistants that every week they get me six, seven, eight different tools. I go over them see what which ones they are and then I just make them and put them up in my presentation.

Right now whenever I’m doing presentations anywhere I just do my sessions of 60 to 90 minutes on tools.

The rule is that 90% of them need to be free that is what of course makes people more excited and you could be saying nothing but if you just basically give seven or eight tools that are useful you become just the master. It’s especially good if you want to get paid to speak.

That is interesting for all the listeners and before we get into the tools there is something to take away here because everybody is looking for how to build content. How to build expertise in my industry. And in any industry, in any niche there are tools.

There are different strategies, tools that you know that you are using that are using that either make your life easier, make your health better or whatever.

By compiling that list and just sharing these tools it’s amazing the credibility, the relationship, the authority it can build with people. By sharing stuff you are just using everyday which is a really powerful lesson.

Let’s dig in. We don’t have time to go through your entire list. I wish we did but that will probably take us days, so give me the top five. What are the top five tools you can’t live without as a digital entrepreneur?

Useful Tools and Resources

Well, first I want to share one strategy, possibly two strategies as fast tools would be. You are going to find these very useful.

For example, a lot of people hear that LinkedIn is a great way of getting new leads and new business but the thing is hardly anybody understands how it works and one of the things you require in order for you to start getting traction with LinkedIn is that you need X amount of contacts.

The more contacts you have the better but the problem is that it’s a tedious thing to start sending emails to everybody so that they will connect with you and that kind of thing. Let me just share with you this strategy which is really fast, if you have a Yahoo account so you go to and open an email account, if you have one great, if you don’t have one just go and open one.

Then the moment that you open an account what Yahoo allows you to do is link your Facebook account with your LinkedIn account.

This is a very interesting thing because, for example, in Facebook you have 300 or 400 contacts or 500 or in my case I have almost 5,000 which I also think is your case. What happens is that because it’s been confirmed by Facebook that they are your friends, they will immediately become your LinkedIn contacts. You could go from 200 contacts in LinkedIn to 5,000 or 500 or 700 in a heartbeat just by using Yahoo as a center point.

You will link your Facebook account and your LinkedIn account through your Yahoo account and then suddenly your LinkedIn account explodes. Why is this important? In LinkedIn the power of this is that you can actually have access to the three people below.

For example, if I am linked to Derek now what happens is that Derek is my first connection but then I also have access to people who are on his second line and on his third line. Can you imagine multiply the amount of people that you can have. Suddenly you are connected to the entire world. It’s just insane and this it will take you about 5 minutes to do it.

This is just a very powerful strategy don’t you think?

That’s brilliant.

Yeah and it’s awesome, absolutely awesome.

All you need is a Yahoo email account and then you connect with your Facebook which I’m sure they make that easy, connect it with your LinkedIn account and …

It’s pressing two buttons. That’s it.

… and automatically anybody who is your friend on Facebook will now be connected to you.. You don’t even have to send them a connection request in LinkedIn. They will automatically be connected to you?

Automatically, nothing else needs to be done.

Wow, that’s incredible.

Incredibly powerful, don’t you think?

That’s huge. That’s massive because so many people have a huge friends list and they are not doing the work on LinkedIn. That’s brilliant. Brilliant, I love it. I love it. I just took notes on that because I’ve got to do that. That’s great.

That’s a fabulous one. Now another one that is also awesome and this is very very easy for you to do. You can just Google exif editor, exif editor there is a ton of them, 95% of them are for free.

How do you spell the first word there?

That is exif, like an exit E-X-I-F. Exif editor, now what is an exif editor? An exif editor is the software that will help you edit the name files of every picture that you have in your computer.

For example, let’s say that you want to really brand yourself, so you take all the pictures that you have, if you have gone to an event and you have had pictures taken with the speakers and whatever. You take those exif files and you change the name of the files, the tags and you can put a ton of text on the back of each of the picture files.

Then you upload them, for example, if you look for Ernesto on I have done that a number of times. There is so many pictures … there is a ton of pictures there.

I dominate one or two pages of Google images with that. That is for my personal branding.

Now let’s say you want to do it for your product, you can do the exact same thing and that just goes very fast. I recently did it for a tequila company that I’m working with and in a very competitive word like tequila I am already getting their pictures to appear because nobody takes the time and the effort to change the text files which are on their pictures.

That just takes you about two minutes because you upload everything to the software and you can change the metatags and the file names and all the information that you want to have there on the picture. Immediately it is done when you upload and, of course, the search engines are just going to love those pictures and they are going to be posted in almost every single keyword that you would like because nobody is using this strategy.

Just to stop there I don’t think a lot of people realize what kind of metadata we are talking about. Most people think an image is an image. There is nothing more to it than a file name but with an image file there is a whole bunch of metadata that is included that’s included in that image file which you can edit using the editor that you were talking about. This is a fast way to go through and do a whole bunch of them really quickly.


When you are putting them on the websites now they are getting indexed properly in Google images.

Exactly and I mean within a matter of hours you will can dominate a whole term which on the regular search engine it would be almost impossible but in picture because hardly anybody is changing the text of a picture, hardly anybody uses that. The moment that you start using it you start appearing in all the search engines image parts, the image search.

That’s fantastic, brilliant, brilliant, all right keep going this is good. I’m taking notes.

That’s a cool strategy. Let me give you another one. This is a very very nice one. A lot of people say, “Well, you know send me something by Dropbox or send me something by any difficult way of sending big files.” I can tell you this tool is just awesome. It’s called Tinytake, so that’s and this is a combination between Camtasia, Dropbox, and Screenmatic, which is the one that takes a screen shots?

Screencast-O-matic, I think.

Yes screen, you can take the three things. It is a kind of a Dropbox, Camtasia, the screen, so you can take screenshots.

Now immediately you take all these pictures and it will create a link for the video or the picture you have taken and then you can send immediately to people. You can also upload videos, the pictures, PDFs, Word files, PowerPoint presentations whatever you want.

It’s really useful and it’s for free. What is also nice is if you share it with other people they start increasing very similar to Dropbox. They start increasing your storage. You can very easily get one terabyte of storage with them. It’s just awesome. Absolutely a great tool.

That’s brilliant man and very useful for working with virtual teams and staff and sharing that. That’s huge.

Yeah, super nice. Let me go into the travel part because I’m sure that a lot of people are travelers.

It just sometimes, it hurts my heart when somebody tells me they bought it on Expedia. I almost have a heart attack and every time … or they bought it in Orbitz or whatever.

Oh my God, I think, no please, those sites are for amateurs. I’m going to give you tools for professional travelling. I’m going to give you the two sites.

There is a couple of ways and this is a bit of a sneaky one. There is one site that is called Student Universe. You can go to Student Universe but the only tricky thing is you need to get yourself a .edu email. There is a number of ways and I’m not going to talk about it because as I was saying it’s a little bit tricky.

If you can get yourself one which is not that difficult, you can get some really massive discount on world travel.

Really? Wow.

It’s very good but the only thing is just a bit sneaky because you need to get a .edu email. The moment you have an .edu email you can just book really cheap travel there. That is one.

The other one and I use it all the time, this is awesome because if you go to Expedia or if you go to Priceline or if you go to Hotwire or if you go to any of those sites most of the time what they want is that you book a return trip and you can have the option to book one way but obviously the default is you that you go for a return trip. I don’t know if it has ever happened to you that you want to just go on a one-way trip and that is very difficult to purchase.

What happens is that if you know how to purchase one-way trips sometimes it could be a lot cheaper than if you actually buy return trips. On these websites which many people should know about it already because it has been on the television a number of times but I’m going to show you how to use it correctly.

It’s called skiplagged. That’s What you do is you try to find, especially if you are travelling within North America, Canada, Mexico or whatever or even if you go to Asia within Asian countries or whatever. There is always hubs which are what is called hidden cities.

For example, tomorrow I am flying to San Diego and I bought two one-way tickets and I saved close to $400. If I would have purchased the return trip Houston, San Diego, Houston I would have had to pay $680. I paid only $220 because I purchased a one-way which was Houston to Dallas and then continuing to Mexico. Then I purchased the Dallas forward to San Diego.

Then on the way back I did the same thing via Denver. It actually gives you the possibility of finding hidden cities.

Sometimes, for example, let’s say you want to buy a one-way trip and you want to fly from Vancouver to, I don’t know, New York, right? If will go into Expedia or any of these sites they will tell you, well the fare is $550. But the thing is if you are going to Toronto and you are not travelling with luggage, Toronto is a hub so you can fly Vancouver to Toronto and don’t take that leg to go to New York. That is perfectly legal.

The only thing is the airlines don’t encourage you to do it because of course that is costing the revenues. They don’t have a problem with it but they just don’t advertise.

What this website does it gives you all the hidden cities. It’s the only website that provides hidden cities. I tell you this is a gem because you can save a ton of money booking your flights through hidden cities. Hidden cities are basically hubs, so Toronto is a hub, Dallas is a hub, Houston is a hub, Chicago is a hub.

Different airlines have different hubs so in order for you to take you from A to B they have to fly you through the hub. You can fly some really cheap fares there and many of them could be one-way. That’s also a great tip.

That’s brilliant. I’m actually surfing. This interview is a day late because yesterday I booked a flight overseas to Australia. It drives me crazy because I went to Air Canada, where I have most of my miles, and they wanted just about $9,000 for return business class tickets from Vancouver to Melbourne which is, it was just about the price it was last time I paid for it.

Then I went to and I looked and it was basically the same route, it was $7,000. Then I went to Expedia and I got the same flight on United that they wanted $7,000 for $1,500 less than that. It’s so difficult to know where to get the best deals. I don’t think most people have any idea that these sites exist out there. That’s awesome although a day late.

Sorry for that.

Fantastic, awesome. So any other tools before we wrap this up.

Sure, I will give you three more very quickly.

Let’s do it.

One of them is called Time Cave and this is a great tool. This is a relatively inexpensive tool. I think it’s about $12 a year or something like that, so it’s nothing.

It’s called Time Cave and what you do is it gives you a platform to plan your personal email sending. For example, if you have an auto responder you can program the emails that you are going to be sending to your list, but what happens if you want to send an email to John or Mary but you are going to be traveling?

That becomes difficult, sometimes you cannot do it. This service can actually help you schedule your emails so that they are sent when you are not there.

The way I use this is, for example, whenever I’m going to be traveling and I know that I have to send a number of things I spend an hour or two just filling out the emails that I need to send and then they are sent on the specific times that I tell them that they are going to be sent which is a great tool.

That’s great. Does it integrate with existing email clients?

You have to send emails from the platform itself but you use it from your website so the reply will come to you. That’s a cool thing.

Another one which is also very nice is Vocaroo. Vocaroo is a voice email system. It’s really great. You go there and they give you a platform to record any message. You record it and they give you a link then you can send it in an email or whatever you want.

You can post it on your website or you can post it on Facebook, whatever. It’s great because, for example, sometimes I have to send instructions to my team in the Philippines and then what I do is I record one of this things. I tell them 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds audio recording and I send it to them and then it’s very easy to do.

What is also nice is you can have the app and just do the whole thing and then immediately you have the link, the URL to share it with everyone. It’s very useful. That is V-O-C-A-R-O-O

The very last one because I know we are running out of time this one I think is very useful. I just started using it and I tell you my deliverability on email increased dramatically.

They charge you one cent to verify your list. Let’s say that you have a list of 10,000 people and then you send your email list and your opening rate is 7, 8, 10% which is more or less the average that I was getting.

I don’t know about you but that is more or less the average that most people are getting and the problem is you have no clue why is that.

What you do is you go to a website that is called BriteVerify and then you pay them one penny for every email address that upload there. They are going to check if your emails are being delivered to them and if it’s the right email address and whatever.

If you do that instantly you are going to launch let’s say 5%, 10% of the emails that are not working. Then they are going to tell you, “These people are not receiving this email.” They will just sort your email list. They will clean it. Then suddenly when you reupload the list then you deliverability will go to 25, 30% because you cleaned all the crap.

People need to let go of the idea that bigger is better, right? At the end of the day if people aren’t engaging or it’s not getting there, there is no point sending. It’s just hurting you. That was, right? and it’s one penny per email address.

That’s it, brilliant, brilliant, awesome. That is incredible, so, now last question for you, now you just shared a ton of tools. You just shared a ton of resources, ton of information on speaking, where can people learn more about the stuff you do as speakers to help them build their media kits, get that international exposure?

Where can people find out more about the tools and stuff that you are using?

Well about the speaking we have a program for people looking for paid speaking opportunities where we prepare every single thing for them. Every single thing they need on their media kits and we do that internationally.

We take people to Dubai for paid speaking engagements they can find out a little bit about that on so that I know that they came through you so that I can give them special treatment.

Then afterwards if they want to get one of my books, I have about three or four books which I’m constantly updating but the book that is live now is, even more useful websites, that’s where you can find one of my books with resources.

Right now I’m updating all of them so this is the only one that is live so that they can and download it now if they want.

Fantastic, that is awesome and Ernesto thanks so much for all of you sharing today of tools as well as information on paid speaking opportunities and I’ve got pages of notes here as well. I love it when I do an interview and I’m brimming with ideas when I’m done, so thank you so much for sharing.

My pleasure Derek, it’s been great being in your show.

Awesome, all right everyone that was Ernesto Verdugo and as always any links mentioned in this interview will be included in the show notes along with the entire transcript of this episode and of course you will always find them at

And don’t forget if you haven’t done so already you can automatically have every future episode of this podcast automatically delivered to your smart phone or device. For Apple made devices just head on to iTunes and for you Android users head over to SoundCloud or Stitcher and you can subscribe there.

While you are there if you like what you heard please leave me a rating, leave me a review. That is the fuel that gives the momentum, the motivation to continue to make this the best info packed podcast for digital entrepreneurs.

Now guys it’s time to apply that final essential ingredient to make the stuff that you learnt today work for you and that ingredient is action. Go forth, take action, make your lives, make your businesses extraordinary and stay tuned for more info packed episodes of the Project Ignite Podcast.

This is Derek Gehl signing off.

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