Publish Date : June 19, 2017 | Category: ,

Ep. 71 – Founder of Living Forward Nafissa Shireen’s “From A $1400 First Year FLOP To Multiple 6-Figures With Speaking”


In this episode, Nafissa Shireen (Founder of Living Forward) shared how she went from a $1400 first year flop to multiple 6 figures with speaking. Nafissa also shares how to become a sought after speaker, create desirable talk titles, and prepare for your speaking gigs.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 1:13 – Introduction.
  • 5:57 – Nafissa had come from a corporate background, she was used to making a lot of money but she didn’t know how to be an entrepreneur, how to sell, how to get clients and she didn’t know anybody because she worked out of the country for five years. So when Nafissa returned, she got online and did all kinds of things but she didn’t have a plan and so her first year was very tough. But her mentor told her to get out there and get speaking and she didn’t need much convincing for that because she was hitting the networking circuit every week and she doesn’t really network now she only hits those things if she is actually the speaker. Nafissa was going out one, two, three times a week she lived way out in the country and these were all downtown Vancouver and so she’d be driving so she thought she’d much rather be the speaker and then go out maybe once a month and get some clients and go home.
  • 7:26 – She had savings from her corporate job but she didn’t want to exhaust her savings so she decided she will start speaking and what she noticed was that everybody was telling her to get speaking but nobody was telling her how to get speaking gigs so she would just approach event hosts and ask them if she could speak for them. She still didn’t have an ideal venue, ideal client and she didn’t know how to approach clients.
  • 8:08 – The defining moment was when Nafissa went to a Mompreneur club at a daycare. These were business owners who were not really serious about business, it was just a hobby for them and she thought she will just try speaking there but even the Mompreneurs told her no. It is possible to make a lot of money in your first year but if it’s not happening, people shouldn’t beat themselves up because there’s so much evolution you have to go through because if you’ve had a different successful business, you have to take on a whole new identity that has nothing to with your actual business skills and so a whole lot of stuff comes up and it can be pretty scary. Nafissa finally got a speaking gig it was a person who she knew and requested the person for the gig. From the time Nafissa decided she would speak, it was a year until she actually got her first gig.
  • 10:15 – Nafissa had the talk, it was a great audience and everything went really well but at that time her list consisted of just fifty people and in one talk she added fifty more people and thirty discovery sessions from it and a guy used that talk as a case study in her own business on why to speak and within a few months, she had sixteen thousand dollars in revenue from that. That felt great and Nafissa was convinced to continue on this path but she didn’t have any more gigs.
  • 13:08 – Nafissa tried really hard to get speaking gigs and since she is a systems geek and she says that systems are predictable and repeatable so if it works once, you can repeat it and do it again and if there’s a piece that’s not working, you can pull it out. She created a system for getting booked and when she put all these steps in place, two three weeks later she had a completely full calendar.
  • 15:25 – According to Nafissa, your first step is preparation, you’ve got to get your mind set into it and you’ve got to appreciate that you do have a gift, you have to be really confident and you’ve got to plan out and make decisions on how you want your speaking to go. Nafissa puts the same effort into a speaking tour as she does to an online launch. So you have to make decisions like how many times a month you want to be speaking, what is an ideal venue for you and whether you want to travel and she doesn’t recommend people start travelling right away to speak until they know their conversion rates because it can get expensive. And you have to make those decisions in advance because it decides how many times you are going to speak, how you are going to reach out. So you need to be really clear on all of that so that you go into it with a purpose and strategy.
  • 17:01 – The next step is time consuming. When Nafissa took two weeks to put a bit of work into it, it totally changed her business so you must take the time it takes to do the prep work. Nafissa says that proper planning makes execution automatic.
  • 18:17 – The next step which is also the most important one is making yourself desirable and a lot of entrepreneurs overlook that step you need to make yourself irresistible to event hosts. First of all, you need to brand yourself as a speaker because if someone’s going to put you on their stage, they need to know that you can fill the room and hold it.
  • 20:58 – Nafissa teaches people that they have to be very clear about their talk titles and they should not reach out with a vague idea or a really abstract title that has to be explained because we are all taught to have an ideal client and in your talk you are speaking to that client but your event host has more than your ideal client in the room and they want to fill the room. So your talk has to make sense for them to put you on there and everyone has to get value hence you should take that step to be very well prepared so that they are impressed.
  • 22:00 – Nafissa says that you should do all your research and find places to speak and look at not just what the event is and who goes there but also why they go there. Even if the content of the talk is the same at different venues, just tweak how you position it and tweak your title a little bit.
  • 23:35 – Unless you are hiring a PR firm that can open doors for you don’t get your assistant to try to market your talk. Reaching out and marketing should be done by you.
  • 24:35 – You should be really, really organized because there are so many details and if you know what all those details are then you can delegate that to someone else. But when you are reaching out, remember that you should not make it about you but about the event host.
  • 26:14 – You want to be thinking about having a successful talk and a successful talk starts the night before at home. So you should go to bed early, be relaxed and don’t drink the night before. Nafissa says that you should get up early in the morning and leave an hour before you are supposed to leave.
  • 28:22 – Whether you are working online or you are working in person, it is very important to have that long term focus that everything you are doing is stacking and building.
  • 29:45 – Turn yourself into a sought after speaker. Get out there and self-promote yourself, put pictures of yourself up speaking, share the event host’s pictures because that gives them more exposure and they like that.

Resources Mentioned:

  • The listeners of the podcast can find Nafissa online at
  • Nafissa has a great gift for the listeners of this podcast and it is about how to do talk titles. You can get the gift at and if you get that gift and like what you see, you can reply to that and say send me the webinar and Nafissa will send a webinar that goes into detail about talk titles.


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"It is very important to have that long term focus that everything you are doing is stacking and building."~Nafissa Shireen


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