Troy McCann is speaking at one global event each month this year. Here's how he did it.

The phrase ‘global from day one’ is a staple in Australian startup industry.

Though, having a product that you can used globally, and marketing that product globally are two very different challenges.

On the latter front, many founders rely on overseas events to help expand their horizons and build those connections to help bridge their business abroad.

Most pay for stalls at major events like RISE, Web Summit or Slush. But on a rare instance they could be asked to present at one.

Presenting at overseas events is no longer a rarity for Moonshot Accelerator’s Troy McCann.

Just last year, he has burst onto the global stage, speaking at overseas events as a thought leader on Australian space-tech. This year, he expects to be speaking at one event per month. He now charges a speaking fee, and requests to be flown business class to the event.

We asked Troy how he’s managed to achieve this, and what other founders can do to increase their profile at global events.

Can you detail the first time you were asked to speak overseas? What triggered the request?

I started my Moonshot career by initially flying myself around Australia, NZ, SE Asia and North America, running events to engage and seed the start of an international community. Simply being from Australia initially got me small speaking invitations while on this initial tour. This was only in August/September last year!

This led to Moonshot booming internationally, and since I've been getting more and more requests to speak overseas. This year I've been flown and usually paid to speak as a keynote in Silicon Valley (Space Tech Summit), Washington DC (Satellite 2018), Istanbul (Global Entrepreneurship Congress), Tallinn (Robotex International). 2019 is shaping up to be a year where I will be paid to fly and speak internationally at least once per month.

Are there any strategies you have in place to help sustain interest from overseas events in your talks? How do you ensure that you keep getting invited abroad?

A lot of my work isn't location specific. If anything, it's an inherently bigger picture than anything else. Most of my talks range from space technology on the small scale - which already impacts everyone on earth on a daily basis – to what it means to be a part of humankind now and in the future. I work in an area that, for some reason, can be seen as pretty boring for most people. For those that don't find it boring, they expect space tech to be the stuff of sci-fi.

What makes my talks interesting is that through Moonshot we're helping the average person make sci-fi reality today, and we ensure that there's an almost spiritual aspect behind off of the dry but essential stuff that makes space-related tech and business commercially viable.

How has being on the overseas speaking circuit benefitted your business?

We ironically have a bigger brand overseas and struggle within Australia. I think it's the tall poppy syndrome, especially because Australia's space industry is still in its infancy and there's not much faith in what we're doing and what our achievements mean. This is different overseas, where it's clear what we're building is already better than anyone who could be considered a competitor.

A large part of what we're doing is building an international movement, so we can have a catch-all net to cultivate and elevate the best talent to the next level in getting a big-idea from the Earth to the Moon and beyond. So, speaking internationally continues to grow this movement, and means we're able to attract high-potential startups to establish themselves in Australia.

"We ironically have a bigger brand overseas and struggle within Australia"

Troy McCann, Moonshot Accelerator

Overseas trips can be fairly disruptive to work. How do you manage this? Do you have any tips and tricks?

This is true, but it's an essential part of my business, especially as the face. Even if not an entrepreneur, I think everyone needs to learn how to work within disruptive environments. The trick is to make sure you take time to recharge, both when at home or away, to surround yourself with a reliable team who can help carry the load of the deeper work that still needs to be done, and that you never accept going overseas unless it's going to add more value to your business than your business will get if you stay at home.

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I recently went on what was essentially a weekend trip to Tallinn, Estonia. Apart from almost 40 hours of travelling each way, extreme jet lag, piling unread emails, and that I was there for business (3 keynote speaking events as well as other business meetings over 3 days) I made sure to take at most of a day to explore the city, embrace its history, and be a bit of a tourist. This means when you look back after a year of spending a lot of time in airports and flying metal tubes, you can reflect on some pretty impactful personal experiences. I log this through taking 1 second of video every day and stitching it together in the new year so that I can easily reminisce about the good times I've had. Taking time to go for a jog or a long walk also helps keep up your physical fitness as well, which is difficult to keep up if travel disrupts you from settling into a routine.

This trip was interesting also because the agreement initially was business class flights on Qantas and a speakers fee which is my general expectation now. After the conference had some sponsorship fundraising issues my slot was almost cancelled, so I negotiated for premium economy flights and to keynote the event for the next 3 years, and for the conference team to run a local chapter for one of our international ideation programs in the city which is helping us expand through Europe now.

What would be your advice to founders who wanted to do more presentations both locally and abroad? What's the best way to get themselves out there on the speaking circuit?

Don't wait. Go overseas now and run your own events first. Going overseas increases your credibility just by virtue of the fact that you're far away from home so there's an implication you must be worth hearing out. With that opportunity make sure your audience go away wanting to engage further with your message, practice your public speaking, and you'll naturally start getting requests to speak because you will be perceived as that Aussie expert in your area. Don't forget to back this up with online articles, podcasts, etc. to stay engaged with new content in between your speaking gigs.

Most importantly though, make sure you actually need to be speaking. Don't let speaking become an unnecessary distraction or vanity metric keeping you from building your business.