Episode 19 : Transform Your Side Hustle Into An Income




Jon Selig, comedian, founder of Comedy Abroad, and more recently sales trainer, found in entrepreneurship a way to live of his passion for comedy writing. Being a natural with people and words, Jon was a successful salesman in I.T., but quickly realized he had no passion or interest for these corporate worlds. See how he first recycled his sales abilities in stand-up comedy, to later bring his comedy writing skills to create a sales training program that teaches sales team a more human and natural approach to cold calling, public speaking, networking. You’ll see that, as Jon says, being able to connect with others by making them laugh can go a long way!

Jon’s Growth Story Book Title: 

“Teenage Spurt”

I was 6’4 by the time I was 15, so that’s really when I grew so much. Then another spurt at 18. So there, growth for me happened in two spurts and we’ll stick with that. 

What you’ll learn:

  • Jon started doing stand-up comedy as a hobby. He was looking for some kind of creative activity he could do without being dependent on other people’s collaboration like he experienced with improv or jamming.
  • Comedians are a terrible audience as they are very critical and analytical of everything about their own performance, and other comedians too!
  • Not having a strong memory was one of Jon main challenge starting out in comedy.

Notable quotes:

  • “Something I learned is to trust your instinct. And my instinct was that this isn’t for me. And they were telling me that in so many words, and I was realizing very quickly that these personalities weren’t people I wanted to work for.” – Jon about interviewing for jobs in the world of finances and the importance of trusting your instinct in these decisions.
  • It involved a lot of rejection and frustration, but you soak up so much knowledge because they were selling to every department of every business. – About one of his first jobs, cold calling business people to sell ERP systems.
  • We all kind of start to have some regrets. You start to realize, is this what I want to do with the rest of my life? – The kind of questions that led him to reconsider other career/life avenue.
  • “I didn’t want my brain thinking about their problems. I didn’t care about their problems. I cared about a bunch of stupid and nonsense things like making people laugh and playing music. – Jon realizing he was kind of disengaged at his job and didn’t really have a passion for his work.
  • “I’m getting up there trying to sell my ideas, you’re either laughing – and buying it – or you don’t.” – Jon finding how similar his comedy writing class was to sales.

Show notes: 

03:30 – David mentions the training “Funny You Should Say That” Jon just gave to Proforce’s sales team. You can find the info at www.jonselig.com

04:00 – Jon founded Comedy Abroad to raise money for several central America NGOs by performing stand up comedy fundraisers – while escaping Montreal winter weather.

07:20 – Jon has a bachelor’s degree in business from McGill University.

09:30 – Jon mentions a professor from McGill who changed his life, Reuven Brenner, who taught economics, but by focusing on concepts such as opportunity cost. He was teaching how to learn and to understand rather than just memorizing by heart.

14:17 – Jon’s first job in the 90s was in Internet marketing, which Jon was very excited about. He learned how to code HTML. After 6 weeks he was let go and was devastated.

15:40 – Pressured by his family to get a graduate degree, Jon applied to McMaster MBA in Hamilton, Ontario. He chose this program because they offered work experience through the COOP-program.

16:20 – During his MBA, Jon got to work for Royal Bank and work on many exciting projects related to marketing.

21:30 – Jon got a business development consultant job at Oracle, big software company at the time and had great success, but was never thriving in that type of sales-oriented environment.

43:00 – Even if Montreal hosts the biggest comedy festival, the year-round audience is not sufficient to make a great living out of comedy, with about 750 000 English speaking people, VS Toronto with 5 million English speakers.

50:00 – For a few months now, Jon has been working on adding a video dimension to grow Comedy Abroad and it’s been working great!