Rachel Sivers

The Power of Free Stages

Don’t we all want to get on PAID stages?

I just recently heard one of our clients talk about how they offered Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), $750,000 to speak on their stage.

This is higher than former Presidents of the United States of America – they make about a quarter of a million dollars to speak on a stage.

There are advantages to paid stages, and we here at Advance Your Reach hope your keynote fees continue to increase as you progress in your career.

At the same time, what if I told you there’s a “hidden power” in free stages? One that is so powerful that can even make them more valuable than paid stages? That’s what today’s post is all about. The power of free stages, and the situations where it makes sense to get on them.

Situation #1 – When You’re Getting Started

Not only are free stages a “good idea” when you’re just getting started, but they are most likely a necessity for most people. There are people who do a 90-day challenge, which I highly encourage you to do as well. This “challenge” means you strive to get on as many free stages as possible within the next 90 days.

Beginners just getting started will gain some credibility in the marketplace, and this serves as your opportunity to do so. In addition, you’ll be gaining experience and feedback within the process, which is extremely valuable for any speaker – paid or not.

Situation #2 – Having Powerful Associations Around You

If I’m given the opportunity to be on a stage with other influential people, I would take that stage in a heartbeat – paid or not. If your audience sees you on stage with other experts, they automatically assume you’re an expert as well. When you can associate yourself without other powerful names, it elevates your position in the market, and going on stage for free becomes WELL worth it.

You’ll be able to say the names of who you shared the stage with when conveying your credibility, you can get incredible footage, and you can even get testimonials. In addition, we’ve had several cases where “big name” celebrities have decided to work with us after being on stage with them, which leads me to my next point…

Situation #3 – Having an Audience of Potential Buyers

I saved the best for last because this is the most important bucket of free stages. If the majority of the people in the audience could potentially buy your products and services, it’s a complete no brainer to take a free stage.

The same thing holds true for the keynote speakers out there who make their living off of keynote fees. In fact, if I was a keynote speaker and the majority of my audience could purchase my products and services, I would take a free stage over a $25,000 keynote fee any day.

Why would I do something crazy like that?

Because often, the value of the audience investing in your products and services is a LOT more valuable than just the keynote fee itself. Many of my free stages have made more money than former Presidents of the United States, who usually get paid $250,000 or more for a talk.

Therefore, I urge you to never “knock” the free stage OR think it’s beneath you.

Want to know the different TYPES of free stages you can get on?

Download our Stage Matrix here, where you’ll discover the 80 types of stages you can land – including those that are free.

So go out, and get on those free stages!

They may be even more valuable than a 5-figure keynote fee…

-Pete Vargas

PS. I can’t wait to hear from you…how are you using free stages in your business?


How to Sell Without Being Salesy

When I entered into this market a few years ago and attended business events and conferences, I always wondered:

“Why are people so hard-core salesy on stage? Why are they forcing me to run to the back of the room to purchase their program?”

It felt so sleazy, that I felt like I needed a shower after these conferences! When I started speaking, I vowed that I would NEVER make an audience feel that way.

Now – I’m not saying that “selling” is bad or evil. In fact, if you have a product or service that helps people, it’s your job to get it in the hands of your audience. However, there’s a way to do that without being overly salesy. Watch the video for the full framework.

Tip #1: Know The Story Braid Framework

The first step is to use the Story Braid Framework. This should be the structure for each talk you give.

You start with the heart, then give them content by teaching their minds on what to do, give them a call to action (hands), and then close with the heart.

If you do not have access to the Story Braid Framework be sure to click here to download it!

Tip #2: Don’t Tease Them, TEACH Them

The #1 mistake “salesy” speakers make is they tease their audience. They don’t give any content away and teach, they tease how amazing their content is going to be…only if you pay. So their entire talk is just a sales pitch.

The better alternative is to TEACH them, and not tease them. You should teach them the methodology on what it takes for them to get results in their lives and being able to show them how to move a step in the right direction. Teaching them how to move to a more desirable state in their finances, businesses, relationships, wealth, or whichever niche you’re in.

Sooo how do you sell WHILE giving away your content?

Tip #3: Embed Throughout Your Presentation

As you’re teaching your content, EMBED two things throughout your presentation: case studies and stories.

You should embed case studies and stories of people using what you teach, and what their results were – be it in their business, relationships, finances, etc.

Once you embed these stories, the audience will want to go deeper with you, and it will NOT feel forced in any way. Rather than “dangling a carrot,” you will be perceived as offering a hand of help, and it will be up to them to take it or not.

This reminds me of one of our clients…

He didn’t want to be slimy, so he was reluctant to make an offer from stage.

We started working together, and we advised him to embed stories and case studies throughout his presentation. Once he made these changes, he converted an audience at 37% with a $5,500 offer – and he didn’t ONCE feel salesy through the entire process!

There was a quote by Tom Ziglar, who’s the son of Zig Ziglar. He said, “you have a moral obligation to have people go deeper with your products and services because your products and services are what’s going to change their lives.” You can do it from a place of not being salesy and sleazy – and you do this by teaching and not teasing.

You’ll also want to be following the Story Braid Framework to properly structure your presentation, and you’ll want to click here to download it.

So go out, and make it happen!

-Pete Vargas


The #1 Marketing Tool in Your Toolbox: You ONLY need ONE Signature Talk

Your Signature Talk.

The greatest marketing tool in your toolbox. Why?

You can use this SAME talk on ALL platforms – including online and offline stages.

It was just ONE great Signature Talk that helped us go from zero to seven figures at AYR. And we STILL use this Talk.

A while ago, I was talking with a pretty well-known entrepreneur (you would probably recognize her name). She was sharing how she LOVED speaking–that she loved connecting with people in person, but she didn’t do it often.

“Pete, the reason why I don’t speak is because of the creative energy that I have to do every single time that I get invited to a new stage, I have to come up with another talk.”

A new talk is a lot of work. My friend Todd Herman said he thought it was 40 – 50 hours of work.

If you want to use stages as a consistent, reliable customer acquisition channel, you need more time ON stages and less type prepping for stages.

Having ONE great Signature Talk using the Story Braid Framework.

Back to my friend… I shared our Story Braid Framework with her and how ONE great Signature Talk is all she needs. And it’s all you need as well.

She said, “Wow, I’ve never done it that way. And you’re absolutely right.”

What about you?

Do you have ONE Great Signature Talk dialed in?

Watch our video above for the complete 4-part Story Braid Framework (and CLICK HERE to download it).

AND… I have a gift for you…

My team is on standby to help you map out your Signature Talk. FREE.

Click here to schedule a Signature Talk Design Session with my team.


-Pete Vargas


3 Steps to Connect with ANYONE

Back when we started to Advance Your Reach a few years ago, I attended a conference and knew absolutely nobody.

I decided that I was going to host a little mastermind in my hotel room, and I invited about 15 people who I wanted to meet.

The result?

A few of those people are some of my closest friends today – and I’m still connected to everyone who came! This snowballed into countless introductions and connections made, as well as many partners we’ve made for our business.

My team pushed me to share HOW I’ve done this, and so I spent time reflecting…and realized there are 3 Key things we do – the WIN Framework.

Next week is the anniversary of that first gathering in my hotel room and it HAS snowballed. A friend I met at that event 4 years ago and I are hosting our 3rd annual party at that same event – over 100 of the top influencers are going to be there. So this was the PERFECT time to share our WIN Framework with you.



Identify Who You Want to Connect With

Identify who you want to connect with. Write down a list of 5 to 10 people you’d like to connect with.

Identify their “win.”

What does that mean?

What helps them win in life?

What helps them win in their business?

What helps them win in their marriage?

What helps them win with their families?

Do they want to be on a stage?

Do they want to be connected to somebody?

Do they need help with something?

Do they need help with something?


What is their win? That’s what connection boils down to.

Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

N – Nurture

The initial “investment” is easy. It’s a great start, but you can’t stop there. How can you nurture this relationship?

Nurture them by checking in on them, sending them gifts during special occasions, or just simply pinging them.

Doing this on a consistent basis is really the secret to building long-term relationships that stick!

Download this week’s worksheet (no opt-in required). Watch this week’s video for the complete WIN framework and put it into action! I can’t wait to see what you experience. Let me know in the comments below.

Find Your Why: The Power of the BHAG

Every organization should have a BHAG – A Big Hairy Audacious Goal. This concept was created by Jim Collins. And it is just what it sounds like – a BIG goal. A goal that stretches you… and in 1 sentence sums up what you and your organization have set out to accomplish.


To reach 1,000,000,000 people by winning 1,000,000 stages by 12/31/2027.

HOW will we do that?

By helping you and people like you win those 1 Million stages.

Honestly, it took a while to come up with ours. And it was a team effort – something our entire leadership team helped craft and agree to.

And BOY is it powerful. It’s not something we just say. It’s something we track. Something that drives our entire team. It has lit a fire under us.

So, how do you come up with a solid BHAG?

Step One: If you haven’t already – watch the video above.
Step Two: Download our worksheet here.

Step Three: Share your BHAG in the comments below!

I can’t wait to hear from you – what is your BHAG?


Tools We Use

“I’m just one person, I don’t have a team around me…”

“I’m not very good with technology.”

“I’m always on the road and don’t have time…”

These are actual quotes we’ve heard from speakers we’ve met on the road and at our own events. They are desperate to scale their message beyond the stage but don’t feel they have the resources or knowledge.

Let me ask you a question:

  • What if you could leverage technology to make it “feel” like you had a team?
  • What if your email marketing were automated, so when you are 30,000 feet in the air between gigs you know people are being followed up with?
  • What if you had a “system” that generated leads for you around the clock?
  • What if you were able to quickly launch new products, resources and campaigns (without having to hire a web designer)?

That would make running your business a whole lot easier, right?

Here at Advance Your Reach we don’t just “use” technology.

We leverage it.

We’re always looking for “hacks” and shortcuts to grow and run our business, and sell our products and services.

We get asked all the time what we use to run our speaking business, book stages, and scale beyond the stage.

So here it is! The 9 tools we use (and they are ALL cheaper than hiring an employee or contractor)…

CRM / Marketing Automation

First off, CRM stands for “Customer Relationship Management.” Think of it as a database (or, if you’re stuck in the 80’s you’d call it a Rolodex). When you’re just starting your business, you might keep the names of your prospects and customers in an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheet. That’s OK, for a period of time.

But you will quickly scale beyond a spreadsheet as a tenable option as you make follow up calls, appointments, and sales. You can’t just keep adding rows and columns to a spreadsheet and expect nothing to fall through the cracks.

What we use:


Infusionsoft Certified Partner

What it is:

Infusionsoft is an industry leader in small business marketing and automation. We’ve used multiple CRMs (customer relationship managers, i.e. “databases”) in the past, and this is by far our favorite. Some CRMs felt too big and clunky (and we used a fraction of their capability). Some felt too small and disconnected. Infusionsoft is “just right”.

Infusionsoft captures all our leads, runs our webinar sequences, helps us book stages, follow up with customers and leads, and even process our payments.

Why we love it:

It is the backbone of our business and integrates with almost everything (most of the tools listed on this page integrate seamlessly). Someone can fill out a form on ClickFunnels or register through GoToWebinar, and they are instantly in our system and being followed up within an appropriate manner.

In short, Infusionsoft lets us run our “follow-up machine” to ensure every customer and lead has a great experience, and no one falls through the cracks.

How you can get it:

We love Infusionsoft so much that we’ve become a Certified Partner. So you can email Cody@AdvanceYourReach.com or click here to learn more and set up a demo.

Landing Page Builder

One of our favorite advancements in technology is how easy it is to get a web page up and live in a few short clicks. HUGE improvements have been made in recent years and there are multiple solutions you can use without having to understand HTML or CSS.

What we use:




What it is:

Fully customizable web page builder, but organized in a cool and easy to use interface.

Multiple templates are available based on your objective (opt-ins, webinar registrations, sales pages, etc), or you can start from scratch.

Once you get the hang of it, you’ll never need a web designer again. Many companies are building their entire web presence completely on the ClickFunnels platform (as opposed to WordPress, Squarespace, etc). You can get a free 14 day trial here.


  • Fully customizable
  • Very fast to make pages
  • Great integrations


  • Slightly higher learning curve
  • Price (but, you get what you pay for)


Another option:



What it is:

Landing page builder largely based around ease of use. There are lots of templates available, but they are not able to be customized. So if you like the template, but you want a video instead of a picture… tough luck!

**UPDATE they are rolling out a Beta version of a customizable drag & drop page builder but I have found it to be clunky at the time of writing. We’ve had issues with the lead boxes integrating with our CRM and have had to uninstall and reinstall the integrations multiple times (as advised by their support team). Inconvenient, to say the least…


  • Easy to use
  • Can get started for only $47/mo


  • Not customizable
  • “Look and feel” not as modern


Membership Plugin:

We offer products, services, archives through a membership site platform. Basically, you have to have a username and password to access the content (even if the content is free).

There is much to be said about a membership model (think Costco, Netflix, Amazon Prime, a gym or YMCA, etc.). Look at your bank statements, and I think you’ll be surprised to see all the transactions that are related to some form of membership economy.


We use Memberium to manage it all. Memberium is a WordPress plugin that integrates Infusionsoft and WordPress. You can protect content (think of a resource, blog post, digital product, video, etc) based on membership levels. You can offer free courses and free content but you still have to be a member (which is a powerful way to grow your list, by the way).


  • World-class support (seriously, it’s the best!)
  • Excellent training via their video documentation
  • Reliability and consistency
  • Full integration with WordPress and Infusionsoft


  • You might need to rely on their support as the install/setup can be kind of tricky.
  • You can’t use it if you don’t have WordPress and Infusionsoft

Video Emails:

As a speaker, author, communicator, would you agree that it’s important for people to understand your speaking style? To get a vibe for what you might be like on stage?

Video email does just that. It’s hard to communicate via black text on a white background on a computer screen. Adding a video has shown that 81% get more replies, 68% convert more leads, and 56% get more referrals over normal email.

We use a service called Bombbomb and we love it…


What it is:

Bombbomb is a way to send videos in an email. You can use your webcam or your smart phone, record a video and embed it right there into your email. We use it for 1-on-1 communication (we still use Infusionsoft for our mass email communication/automation).

You are alerted when someone opens your email or watches your video. They can also reply with video and keep the conversation.

People get dozens (hundreds?) of emails each day, and sending a video can make you stand out. Plus, you can make these really cool email templates:

Bombbomb Template


Digital Marketing Resources:

I don’t care what your area of expertise, we are all marketing on some level. As a speaker, entrepreneur, author etc. you’re always marketing. You might be marketing to get on a stage, to have someone sign up for your newsletter, read your blog or e-book.

You are solving a pain point on the other end of that phone, email, or computer screen. How you communicate that pain and solution is “marketing.”


We are huge Digital Marketer gurus. They are a great company based out of Austin Texas, and they provide seemingly endless resources around marketing yourself and your message online.

One thing I love about Digital Marketer is called DM Labs. It’s an awesome resource (also known as “all you need to learn about marketing) and you can get started for only $1. Check it out here.

Our other favorite resources are called Funnel Blueprint (how to construct any funnel for anything, including landing page templates and email templates) and The Machine (all your emails for any reasons).

Graphic Design

Last but not least, we use 99 Designs for graphics, e-book covers, branding, presentation decks. We even hired the last one for a larger project (started out designing some banners and we expanded that to presentation decks and all visual components for our live event).

Comment below anything that you love to use in your business! We are always looking for new and improved tech to make everyone’s life easier!