Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Bodine Balasco, Meeting & Event Speaker of Bodine Balasco & Company, located in Las Vegas, NV, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm a professional Keynote Speaker & Entertainer at corporate events. My customers are corporations & associations who are having major meetings & events at the major convention cities in North America.
Tell us about yourself
I went to UCLA on an athletic scholarship as a distance runner and graduated with two degrees in Speech Communications & Social Psychology. After graduating from UCLA, I became fascinated with sleight-of-hand magic. I taught myself magic by reading magic instructional books. I initially performed the magic I learned at some famous nightclubs in Los Angeles. As it turned out, some event planners saw my magic shows. And they hired me to perform my magic at some corporate events as an after-luncheon entertainer. One of my corporate clients, who had hired me as an after-luncheon entertainer, asked me to entertain at their national sales meeting. And he also asked me to "add in some motivational stories" to my magic act.
So I read three prominent motivational books and found three great stories to tell about "creating customer loyalty." I added those stories to my magic entertainment show. I received a thunderous standing ovation from the 300 sales professionals at that national sales meeting. And I decided to keep those "motivational stories" in the act. Several sales professionals at that event recommended me to their corporate meeting planners, who called me to perform my "motivational entertainment show" at their upcoming events. And demand for my services as an "entertaining motivational speaker" grew from there. In the last 20 years, prior to the pandemic, I've been hired to speak & entertain at more than 1,000 corporate events across North America.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Well, in terms of accolades, as a professional speaker, I've been named one of the "Top 21 Speakers for the 21st Century." And as an entertainer, I've been named "Best Comedy Magician of the Year" three years in a row.
I think my biggest accomplishments as a business owner are three-fold:
- I learned how to market myself as a keynote speaker. I developed a marketing process for obtaining bookings to speak at corporate events. (That was, and still is, my biggest accomplishment.)
- I developed a process for completely tailoring my speech content to each corporate group. I learned how to write speeches as part of my University training to obtain my degree in Speech Communications. So, I always asked my corporate clients what their group's main issues were. I would ask the client two primary questions: What are your group's biggest challenges in their work? And, what would you say are the true aspirations of most of the people in your group? And I would then research that material write my speeches to include the best, most inspiring advice to address their issues & aspirations. Then I added in some of my magic. And commonly received standing ovations from corporate groups I was hired to talk to at their events. (In this way, I also quickly developed a broad set of "speaking topics" my clients could choose from in selecting me as a speaker.)
- Ten years into my speaking career, I came across the most exciting information I had ever discovered in all of my research on how human beings can most effectively create the results for themselves that they truly want. And I've spent more than a decade developing my awareness & understanding of this wisdom to share as a speaker. And I've recently developed this information & wisdom into a software application I'll be marketing next year.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Well, of course, the most difficult thing is paying your bills & business start-up operational expenses when you start. It's important to find a niche that you can initially address and offer a service your potential clients need. It doesn't have to be something big, just something you immediately create an offering around that can get some initial cash flow coming in. And then, I think the most challenging thing is to learn how to obtain new customers.
One of America's marketing gurus that I've paid attention to, Dan Kennedy, has a saying that I was constantly reminding myself... "If you don't have systems and procedures actively in place for bringing in new customers, you're not really in business." You've got to be building and tending to those systems & procedures for bringing in new customers. And, of course, when you're in business for yourself, it's so important to become exceptionally productive & organized, so you can also have some kind of personal life, apart from your enterprise. I've had trouble with this. lol, I finally discovered David Allen's extraordinary information from his book, "Getting Things Done." That has helped me a lot.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find a niche where you can develop an "offering around" to serve people and/or companies you truly love. Focus on developing relationships. Always treat people in a way that they will become your friend, even if they don't become your customer.
- Develop your knowledge & wisdom in the area that you love.
- Study internet marketing strategies. Learn to broadcast from your desktop with something like an OBS set-up. Learn how to send emails people will enjoy receiving. Offer your best wisdom for free and ask people what they care about and their challenges. Use that information to develop your offerings and compose your marketing messages.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Learn how to develop & use "creative tension" to create the desired results. I illustrate this principle in a 7-minute video which anyone can watch for free at the following this link - https://breakthroughsecret.net/demonstration (It will be up for another week.)
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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