Catch Sheila Farragher-Gemma on the #PirateBroadcast™ - russjohns

Catch Sheila Farragher-Gemma on the #PirateBroadcast™

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[00:00:00] Introduction: Welcome to the #PirateBroadcast™, where we interview #interestingpeople doing #interestingthings. Where you can expand your connections, your community, #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. Let’s get this party started.

[00:00:10] Russ Johns: Good day, everyone. It's a fantastic time to actually have a conversation. Let's talk about events and sponsors and putting things together step-by-step with Sheila.

[00:00:22] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: I'm great, Russ. How are you doing? Thank you so much for having me on here.

[00:00:26] Russ Johns: It's a pleasure to connect with people like yourself and actually expand the pirate community with someone that's actually doing some events and in the last 18 months of have really taking a shift in a turn and had a lot of disruption, I guess is the best way I can say it.

[00:00:46] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: Yeah. I like to call it innovation. Cause it's like you can look at the positive or the negative and where there's so much negative about COVID, there's some very positive things as well. And as an industry, we've pivoted and changed to a way that I don't think we're going to go back to where we are. Always look at the bright side.

[00:01:02] Russ Johns: I always look at the bright side. I love that. Thank you for saying that, we're all about the kindness and empathy and taking care of people. So give us some examples of how innovation has taken hold, because I have some examples on my experience on my side, in doing video and live streaming some events, but what are some other examples that you've experienced the last?

[00:01:24] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: So that's a big part of it. So I remember like back in March of 2020 being on calls several times with a bunch of event planners and business owners, just trying to figure out what we're going to do. Those huge events getting canceled. For me, there's a big event in marketing called traffic and conversion and for the longest time they weren't casting. And I was like, okay, so this is going to be okay cause they're not canceling and all of a sudden they did. And that was the line in the sand for me in terms of what was about to come the future. And the woman who runs their events started to organize these calls and just get all kinds of different industry leaders on their AV guys. What do we do? Cause there was always a livestream component to it, but it used to be live event. It was like a long camera in the back of the room that just kinda recorded the live event and you'd sit at home and there was no interaction. And I know some people had started to break out into businesses where it was more of a on the spot roving reporter type of thing. So the live stream was more of a broadcast. Where somebody was running and doing interviews and things like that, which made it more interesting. But all of a sudden we had to just totally pivot from having several thousand people in a ballroom to having several thousand people on individual computers in their living rooms. So that was like, that was a big change. And I think people pivoted very quickly. A lot of new technology came out. A lot of new studios were formed. Tony Robbins did something with, I think it was like a hundred thousand people live online. Crazy like that.

[00:02:47] Russ Johns: Yeah. It's amazing. And fortunately, we have some of the technology that allows us to actually engage with people online like this. A number of years ago, this would not be available to us.

[00:03:02] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And even just on a personal level, like I know definitely for me, cause I've always been like a back of the room type of girl. I didn't like to be in the spotlight. And the thought of even prior to this, that people want you to do a zoom call to discuss something. I was like off video and just hiding on mute most of the time. I'm a little bit of an introvert, so I'm really to get out of our way and just be like, okay, this is the new norm. This is how you have a conversation now. You look at a green dot on the computer versus the person, it's just so different.

[00:03:32] Russ Johns: It is so different. And I see as far as event planners and events in general, that we'll probably start seeing a lot more hybrid events. I've been doing where I've had a camera in the event itself and then we're live streaming from multiple cameras in from the event to social media.

[00:03:53] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: And I think there's a huge opportunity in that as well. Probably about, I think it was about 2017, a good friend of mine, Ken Crow had created a business doing that. And we did a couple of events where we had an an MC who was just for the camera and we were doing interviews with the attendees and it was a really great thing, but it was a little bit before its time and never really took traction. I can see a lot more of that now. There's a huge advantage to having more people have access to your events, like from all over the world, because let's face it, you can't just fly in for every single event and be in every single ballroom. And if you can create that experience for people at home, honestly, I think there's nothing like being there live just for the networking and the experience, but if you can somehow simulate that experience at home as well, think you're onto a winner.

[00:04:37] Russ Johns: I was having a conversation with some virtual reality folks, and they were talking about the possibility of, putting on your goggles and sitting down and getting all the haptic feedback and everything else. So I know that there are other things on the roadmap, eventually, something like that will evolve, like anything else with technology, it will evolve, may not be perfect and it may not be the same, however, like you said, not everybody's able to take, three or four days and fly somewhere and go somewhere else and enjoy exactly.

[00:05:12] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: Yeah, it's funny, you mentioned the virtual reality. I was in California last week. My parents live out there, so I was out visiting and we had to go to the Apple store to get something and as we're walking through the mall, there was an arcade, which was a virtual reality arcades. So first of all, it was the quietest arcade I've ever experienced. All these solo people with these goggles on they're standing there. It's just like the most bizarre thing to watch. I was like, that's the world we're coming to, but yeah, you can definitely do that. There's so many opportunities and I think all of this has shown us that there's more ways than one to skin a cat, which is an awful saying.

[00:05:46] Russ Johns: Yeah, no kidding. So going back, did you just wake up one day and say, I'm going to be an event planner. ? How did you get involved in this whole practice?

[00:05:54] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: So going back is actually going back probably about 25 years. I did the normal things that most normal people do. I went to college, I got a degree. I got a job in what my degree was in which lasted about six years. In the meantime I had come to the states, met my husband, got married. And when I had my first daughter, I really did not want to work anymore and not necessarily not to work, but I wanted to I wanted to be home with her. I wanted to just be able to be like a big part of her life and not have to ask for days off and stuff like that. So at that point I started my own business. And to have had several businesses since then, I ended up selling to them, which was cool. But about 10 years ago, I was in business with a lady Deanna Rogers, who was being recruited out of the business as we were winding it down to go work for digital marketer, which is a big digital marketing company here in the States and she became their director of events and she asked me to come in and help with sponsorship. Cause I'd always done the strategic partnership type of thing with with all of my businesses. I came in and helped her and people start to see what I was doing and they asked me if I could do the same for them. So it just organically grew into a business. It was never really something I sat down and wrote a business plan and said, okay, I'm going to do it. Just started to happen. And then I had to backpedal a little bit and be like, what the heck am I doing with the systems around those? So yeah, so it's like through all my businesses, some of them seem random, but the thread that's always gone through them is just the networking, the strategic partnerships. I feel like there's a great benefit in having a good network of people. You can really help each other out. I call it leverage and I don't want it to sound like... sometimes leverage sounds like using people. It certainly isn't, you can just have these relationships with people that just propel you forward or propel them forward or both, and it's amazing. It's magical.

[00:07:40] Russ Johns: It is magical because I see it as coopertition, we're all helping each other. We're all helping each other grow and just like athletics, having competition and having somebody there to help you measure your results.

[00:07:55] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. And it's if you come from a place of abundance, which that's just a personal choice, it has nothing to do with what's out there in my opinion. Anyway. So if you come from a place of abundance, it's never a case of you're never losing, you're always gaining. And every time you give you gain even more. So it's just a much nicer way.

[00:08:14] Russ Johns: It is a much nicer way to be. So is there like some magic secret because a lot of people, especially podcasters these days and we were talking before the show a little bit about podcasting and live streaming. And a lot of them say I want to get enough viewers to get a sponsor. And I think that model is kind of upside down. You could do partnerships and grow communities around an idea and like yourself, you have a process that you actually share with people about sponsorships and making events profitable, I would imagine. That's the goal, right?

[00:08:53] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: Exactly. Yeah. And sometimes it's not about quantity, it's about quality. So if you have a small group of the ideal target client for your sponsor, that's golden. Why would they not want to do that? So it's like we said, it was backwards the way people go out. I always start at the end and what kind of group have I gathered? What's their demographic and I don't mean demographic, male, female, that kind of stuff. What are they passionate about? What are they trying to achieve? What is it in your podcasts that draws them back every time? What transformation are they looking to make? And then who else besides myself could make... and when I say myself, who else beside yourself could help them with that transformation? What kind of resources do they need? And so that's the check upon sponsor you want to bring in. And that can be difficult sometimes, especially if you have a broader subject area. To figure out like, what's the common thing that these people are looking to find are looking to help them. But if you can approach a sponsor and say, I have a couple of hundred of these people who are super engaged and they need you and this is why they need you. And like you say, you could do with us as a strategic partnership or a joint venture or an affiliate program. And I'm happy to explain all of those if you think your audience might not be familiar with them.

[00:10:01] Russ Johns: I think we gotyour link down here, finding sponsors.

[00:10:09] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: It's just where to find your real low hanging fruit sponsors. And I do a 15 minute training on how to do that. And it's really just to stimulate your mind and cause you'll see some stuff in there and then it will remind you of something else which would remind you of something else. And that kind of gets you going. Cause that's the hard thing with anything is getting traction initially. And if you don't get that traction initially, sometimes you give up and you're like, oh, this is just impossible, but if you can get going quickly then when it gets difficult, you can persevere.

[00:10:35] Russ Johns: And the reality is a lot of us because we haven't experienced it, we really don't know what is possible. And it goes back to your mindset of abundance. Why wouldn't that company want exposure to this community? Why wouldn't we want to share this talent with this company?

[00:10:54] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: Exactly. Exactly. And one of my favorite sayings is a confused mind, says no. So it's like getting that clarity initially will give you the confidence to go out and sometimes you have to sell the idea to a sponsor as well. Cause they may even be saying, why would I want this? And once you show them the value of having it, then they're like, oh, actually that's a really good idea.

[00:11:13] Russ Johns: Yeah. Let's walk through a little bit, just a high level thought process, because I think it's important for the community to understand you can help a lot of people that may not know they even need help.

[00:11:25] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: Yeah.

[00:11:28] Russ Johns: So if we can plant seeds and nurture this concept that you do have an opportunity to have sponsors, there's not a limitation that you can't because everybody wants to be seen. Everybody wants to be heard. Everybody wants a little bit of exposure building authority. So what steps would we want to think through as a small business owner that needs to create a livestream or a podcast or some YouTube channel or whatever it happens to be? What opportunities would we want to think?

[00:12:00] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: So I think in creating a channel, it's good to have a platform, whatever the platform is. I think the first thing you have to think about is where where do you want to have that platform? Do you want it to be a social media platform? Do you want it to be a podcast? Do you want it to be a blog? What comes easier for you? Is it easier for you to get on camera like this and chat with somebody? Is it easier for you to write? Is it easier for you to go on Facebook lives or LinkedIn lives like we are at the moment? So find the platform that's going to suit you versus the best platform or the current exciting platform. Clubhouse is still exciting and current as it was a little while ago, but I know for a couple of months I was going nuts trying to find any kind of an iPhone type device that I could get on Clubhouse. Cause I had so much FOMO not being there. And now it seems to have died down and I'm glad I didn't spend $1,200 on an iPhone just to use Clubhouse.

[00:12:53] Russ Johns: Yeah. It's a place to spend a lot of time.

[00:12:55] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: Exactly. That was my other worry as well, that it would just be a time suck, I heard so many people that have so many great connections on it. But please find the platform that a is a platform that you use that you are comfortable with, but also something that you can be consistent with. Consistency is the big thing. So if it is starting your podcast or doing a Facebook live every week or sending out a blog or a newsletter, whatever it is, figure that piece out. And then start to expose your people to is get engagement, which is huge as well. And then once you've gathered that group of people, even if it's a smaller group, even if it's like a hundred people, try to figure out who they are, what they're trying to achieve. What is this? What transformation are they trying to achieve by coming to it? By listening to you? And then help them with that transformation. Start looking for companies like that. So you starting at the end and working your way backwards versus let's go to the American Express because they sponsor everything and I'll try and get them too. That's a pretty good generic one, but you want to get something that's relevant and that's where the value is going to be for the sponsor and for your listener or reader or whatever the platform is.

[00:13:58] Russ Johns: And the goal has to be to increase and approve the community in some way, shape or form.

[00:14:05] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. You bring in value. You're going to be paid for your value for the value you bring as well, but you have to have the mindset of first year of bringing value. So even if you were never to make a penny out of this, how can you bring value to your community? How can you expose them to the resources that they need? And then in turn that you're bringing value to the sponsor because you're putting them in front of more of their demographic, more of their ideal audience and they're bringing value to yourself because your sponsor is paying you and it doesn't have to be a full on sponsorship where they come out and cut you a check. You can start with a strategic partnership or a joint venture or an affiliate program where you just like, probably the easiest, if they have an affiliate program, you can go on their website, sign up for them. Use your affiliate link as you're talking about them on your podcast. And then if people sign up under your link, you get commission on it. And that might be the easiest way to attract a sponsor as well, because you're doing all the work upfront and then you can go to them and say, hey, I'm sending you like 10 people every month consistently or a hundred people or a thousand people, whatever the number. Would you like to take this a step forward? And you always want to try and give before you get so out there with that kind of giving hearts are leading.

[00:15:11] Russ Johns: And that's one of the things that I love doing for the #PirateBroadcast™ is introducing people to other people. I don't necessarily have an affiliate already stepped set up or established, however, that's a great model to begin with and work with.

[00:15:25] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: Yeah. I know just from talking to you that you're doing this out of the goodness of your heart, not for monetary gain, but it isn't a bad thing. If you make the introduction with them and you get enough of your commissioner, you don't, what's the difference in the introduction?

[00:15:37] Russ Johns: There's no difference.

[00:15:38] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: There's no difference. But on one side you're gaining a little more cause I find and I do the same thing as well. It's oh, it feels if I'm just getting paid for this. You might as well be paid for it. If you're coming from a place of genuineness and you are just making this introduction because it's going to help the person, if you can also get paid for it, why not?

[00:15:55] Russ Johns: Yeah the reality is that for myself anyway, my experience has been when I put it out there and I continue to make introductions. And my whole mantra is #kindnessiscool and #smilesarefree. So if you go out there and you put it out there, it always seems to come home. And I never know when it's going to come back or I never know how it's going to come back. However, as long as it, like you said, if you have a mindset of abundance, things take place that there's magic in the air around every corner.

[00:16:29] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: Yeah. Yep. Yeah. I agree. 100%.

[00:16:33] Russ Johns: So let's shift gears a little bit because I want to talk about, there's a lot of online experiences, a lot of amazing things that take place in events and activities and networking in general. As it evolves into wherever it's going to evolve into in the future, you're spending more time now teaching people about the process rather than actually building events and creating events. So who would be a good connection for you? Who would be a good introduction for you?

[00:17:01] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: So I think that I have three different avatars. So at any given time I'm focused usually on one of them. And then I've shifted the division. My marketing and my message for the first one is an event owner who is running events, live events, virtual events, and looking to bring in sponsors for them. Usually the event owner is gonna quickly just pass me off to somebody in their organization is going to do the actual work. So that person becomes my client, but the entry is the person who runs the event. So I would say tnat's my primary avatar. The second one are event planners. People who plan events. This is a great revenue stream. A couple of opportunities. It's a great revenue stream for them if they can also bring sponsors into the event because they're being paid a commission on that. But the other piece as well is if you are between two people to plan your event, and one of them would plan your event, the other one would plan your event and help you pay for it at the same time. Which one are you going to pick? It's probably the other one. So you just, without doing an awful lot more you're bringing a lot more value to the event. And then the third one, which is probably closest to my heart, because this is what I was, that time 25 years ago when Ashlyn was born and I was desperate, figuring out what the heck I was going to do because I needed to pay the mortgage is mom. I'm in a bunch of different mom groups and they're constantly on there, like what can we do? What can I do to bring in some extra money? I want to stay home with my kids and like me that just tugs on my heart because I was there. And so that's my, I guess my group that would probably be ended up in the least profitable, but it is the one that's closest to my heart because, it was me.

[00:18:33] Russ Johns: Yeah. And I love entrepreneurs and startup groups and things like that. So I always pour into it and to shine the light on people that are doing good, like yourself. Saying that, I think you and I would be a great JV partner or somebody that could actually return comments, introductions, people meet people because in the #PirateSyndicate, the #PirateSyndicate is designed to remove the technological overwhelm out of the equation for the people that are doing an event, we'll live stream, we'll put it up or set it up, we'll get the the social media in place. We'll do all the graphics and some of those elements that sometimes challenging for individuals to take care of and get.

[00:19:17] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: Yeah and that's like the type of person who puts on an event like that as an entrepreneur, they're very driven and they're very creative. They're looking to get things done. They're not looking to do the things, which is an awful way of describing it, so they are looking for that. They're looking for the done from me. I have this huge idea. It's not something I'm willing to just do on my own. I need to bring in the professionals to get it done. So this is perfect for that. And like we were talking the few minutes we were chatting before we went on air here. I already have a list of about five or six people. Because it's just, you're perfect for what they'd want to do. So yeah, I think there's going to be great synergy between us in the future.

[00:19:53] Russ Johns: I think also I would really love to see a course that someone like yourself could create to talk about people, just smaller entrepreneurs that are looking for authors, speakers, coaches that would... a short course that would teach them how to create an activity that would achieve more visibility. And I think with the right coordination and the combination of elements in the course and elements in the event and live stream, I think we can come up with something creative.

[00:20:25] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: I think we could probably do that together. I think we've just starting a new business.

[00:20:30] Russ Johns: There we go. And so you're on the east coast time. So you're out there a little later in the morning for you. I think I read where you're originally from Dublin, aren't ya?

[00:20:38] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: So I'm actually originated from Gallway in Ireland. I went to college in Dublin, so I was there for four years and I came here right out of college. Yeah, Ireland's very small anyway. It's very easy. You can almost reach out with one hand and touch the other side of the country. Not quite, but it's only 300 miles across. I'm sorry, a hundred miles across, 300 miles long.

[00:20:54] Russ Johns: Well, it didn't sound like a Boston accent.

[00:20:55] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: I'm plenty irish over here. It probably does sound a little bit like a Boston accent.

[00:20:57] Russ Johns: Probably. Sheila, it's been a pleasure talking to you and I really appreciate the fact that you joined us today, showed up and so all of this content will be presented on RussJohns.Com and everyone you can join Sheila, go to to learn a little bit more about what it is that you're doing. Growing your business is always a creative process and so take a moment and make the connection. Say you're a pirate. Tell Sheila, hey I'm a pirate let's connect. And where do you like people to connect?

[00:21:32] Sheila Farragher-Gemma: So I'm mainly on Facebook, I'm on LinkedIn as well. I'm trying to get better at LinkedIn. Facebook, you always I think have one platform that you're really comfortable with and Facebook is that for me. I always had people ask me to connect on Instagram and I know I have an account. I'm not quite sure how to get into it so that's probably the least best place. I think you can tell the person's age by their social media, where they are.

[00:21:54] Russ Johns: There you go. There you go. Thank you so much for being here and as always pirates, thank you for being here as well. And I love that we can connect, collaborate and make a difference because #kindnessiscool, #smilesarefree and you #enjoytheday.

[00:22:12] Exit: Thank you for joining the #PirateBroadcast™. If you found this content valuable, please like, comment and share it across your social media channels. I would love the opportunity to help others grow in their business. The #PirateSyndicate™ is a platform where you show up, we produce the show. It's that easy. If you want to be seen, be heard and be talked about, join the #PirateSyndicate™ today.

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