Grow your business through the power of speaking and storytelling

entrepreneurship inspirational stories tips from experts Apr 20, 2022

By Kristina Todorova, Head Coach and Founder, Coaching for Transformers

Every business has a story. What made you start yours? Have you shared it with your audience? As founders and business owners, we can not only inspire others by sharing what inspired us to create our businesses, but we can also expand our reach and magnetise our ideal clients and customers. Today, we are talking about the power of storytelling and how we can use it to grow our businesses. I am joined by Monique Blokzyl, an internationally recognized and awarded speaker, business mentor, and founder of HeartPowered Business. Being a serial entrepreneur herself, Monique shares how she used speaking to create success in her business ventures and provides useful tips on getting started with securing speaking opportunities.

Hi and welcome, Monique. Thank you for joining me today. Before we dive into the topic, can you share what inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

I would say that I have been an entrepreneur since I was a child. Even though I grew up in Eastern Germany, where most people were state-employed and there were hardly any entrepreneurs, I somehow intuitively had this entrepreneurial gene inside of me. At the age of 10, 14 and 18, I found something that people wanted and I started to earn money with it. And at the age of 18, I already had people making money for me.

But I grew up with the notion: ‘girl, be good at school, get a good job, live a good life’. So I followed it and studied Economics. Then, I worked for about 15 years in corporate organisationls, holding a variety of international leadership positions, which felt a little bit like I was an entrepreneur in my own way. Then I realized that it’s not so much fun to be a tiny fish in a small pond and I rather wanted to become a big fish in a smaller pond by running my own business. While I was in the corporate world, I realized that I wasn't entirely free to make my own decisions. What I was doing wasn't aligned with the purpose of my life, which is helping people use the power of their voice by speaking authentically to grow their businesses and make a bigger impact in the world. So, I decided to step out of my corporate job and start my own business, even though I had to give up my shiny company car and a pretty good regular salary cheque. I took a leap of faith and launched my own business. Hand on heart, the first business I built failed big time. But with amazing support from friends and mentors, I eventually learned how to think, act, network, and even feel like an entrepreneur. Eventually, I learned what it takes to build a thriving business.

As a serial entrepreneur who has founded multiple businesses, have there been any major mindset shifts that you felt you had to make to create success in your business ventures?

Of course, there were many mindset shifts I experienced on my journey of making my businesses successful. As an entrepreneur, when you start a business and then also whenever you want to reach the next level, you need to take a leap of faith. You need to move forward even when you are afraid. You need to learn to master your fear and step forward in faith. 

We cannot get stuck where we are. When we don’t move forward, we move backwards. And that means we are facing constant change and we need to welcome uncertainty as we continuously step into the unknown. Taking a leap of faith is key! 

I’ve also learned that life is not a linear journey. There is no straight line between cause and effect. As entrepreneurs, we cannot rely on a monthly salary cheque forever. We need to keep reinventing ourselves and our businesses consistently. The market constantly changes, client requirements change, and so on. And you always need to step up. You need to be creative and try things in a new way. We constantly need to learn new things. The only thing that remains the same is change. And that change does not happen in a linear way. Sometimes you go three steps forward and one step back. Sometimes you go one step forward and three steps back. But that is okay. Because if we keep going, our breakdowns eventually become breakthroughs.

Another mindset shift I had to go through was that I had to get comfortable with speaking up, all the time. As business owners, we need to be visible. When we are speaking up and we share our opinions and show up as who we are; when we open our hearts, we get heard and seen. But speaking also means that we are more vulnerable. People sometimes say nasty things about us, and even more when we get more known and celebrated. We also sometimes get judged or ridiculed. We are told that things will not work out the way we want them to work out in our business. But that is okay. I had to learn to trust my inner voice more than to listen to what other people said about me. And I learned that when we speak up, we will always find people that appreciate what we have to say. There will always be people around us that want to learn from us and that want to work with us as they resonate with our WHY. And, attracting these people helps us grow and scale our business, big time!

How has public speaking helped you grow your current business?

I used speaking as a powerful marketing tool from the start of launching my business. I use it to get more visible, to share with the world what I wanted to make happen and what business I wanted to build. And that helped me for a few years in a row to double my income, year after year. Because I was brave enough to speak up; I was vulnerable. I showed up and it paid off.

Speaking has helped me to grow my business in many different ways, and it keeps helping me today. It allows me to not only have one-on-one conversations but to speak to many people at the same time. And this helps me boost my visibility, build a strong reputation, and attract clients. Of course, speaking has also become a great additional income stream for me. It also got me to travel to amazing places; it got me in touch with amazing people who either became my clients, my partners, or my promoters. It got me invited into communities I never even knew existed too. 

Even during Corona times when we couldn't step onto live stages, speaking has helped me continue to grow my business. It has also helped many of my clients to pivot their businesses and to double, triple, and even quadruple their income. It helped them become more confident, attract more clients and scale their businesses in a powerful way.

You often share how important it is for entrepreneurs to use storytelling to build and grow their businesses. How can storytelling help with business growth?

Storytelling truly helps you with growing your business in many different ways. First of all, your story is the core behind your brand. Your story is the reason why you are who you are today as a person and as an entrepreneur. Your story is the reason why you do what you're doing today. Your story is the why for your business. And this again becomes your magnet to attract clients, partners, investors, and others to your business.

My story is that I was told throughout my life that I didn’t have a voice. And when I discovered the power of my voice as hundreds and thousands of people enthusiastically listened to me and started to use my experience and advice to become outstanding speakers and thought leaders and build their thriving businesses, I finally discovered that I have a voice with the power to touch many lives and to make a big impact.

You don’t just use your story in your speeches. You share it in many different ways and formats, like on your website, in your fliers, in your social media posts, and so on. Eventually, your story becomes the magnet to attract whoever and whatever you need to help your business grow.

Do you know what your inspiring story is that holds the potential to change lives and make a bigger difference? Once you know, use it to impact the world!

What can entrepreneurs and business owners do to get started with securing speaking opportunities?

First of all, master your speaking craft. If you've never spoken before, say yes to speaking and presenting opportunities, wherever they show up. Get speaking training and join a speaking club like Toastmasters. Learn to speak with impact and build your confidence as a speaker. Once you are ready to step up with your speaking professionally, you want to ask yourself four questions. The first one is: who are the people that are keen to hear your message. Once you know who they are, ask yourself where you can find them- what events do they go to? What communities do they join? Once you are clear on this, you can pursue speaking opportunities at these events or in these communities. Start networking to get in touch with event organizers that are happily inviting you to speak to their audience. And let me give you an extra hint on this - start by seeing yourself as the speaker you want to become. Look into the mirror and tell yourself: “Yes, I have something to say. Yes, there are people out there who will need to hear my message. And yes, I am a professional speaker". Boost your confidence by becoming that speaker on the inside first. And then start reaching out to event organizers to get your next speaking gig secured!

Thank you for the great tips, Monique. Where can our readers learn more about your work? 

It is my mission to help thriving entrepreneurs to speak up, scale up and impact the world. If you like to discover 50 of my best ways to use speaking to grow and scale your business, check out my Speak to Scale Map.

You can also join our HeartPowered Global Nation to connect, exchange and cross-promote with other like-minded speakers and entrepreneurs from around the globe. Here I also share exclusive invites to our events, regular hints and tips, and best practices on how to use speaking to grow your business and make a bigger impact in the world.

I’m also open to hearing from you directly. Reach out on LinkedIn if you would like to learn more about our programs and membership in HeartPowered Business. We love to explore how we can create more magic together on stages, in business, and beyond. Get in touch!

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