Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in professional speaking but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Daniel Pennington, Founder of Daniel Pennington's Speaker Training, located in Pensacola, FL, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I work with people who are stuck. That is, they've gotten to where they are because of their technical ability, but now they need this other skill. They need to become a public speaker. Either they get involved in business development and have to present to clients, or they lead teams and have to present to their teams.

Tell us about yourself

I have a degree in filmmaking and started doing that before I found a job in television. In three decades of television, I probably helped 10,000 people tell their stories. When I left television, I found the skills I used to get people comfortable in front of a camera are much the same as getting comfortable in front of an audience. As a speaking coach, I work with incredible leaders to enhance their skills and tell their stories.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Each and every client is my biggest accomplishment. Every time a client calls back and says breathlessly, "I got the job!" or, "I landed the biggest contract our company has ever gotten!" or even just, "I spoke in front of the sales team, and they gave me a standing ovation," I get chills. I love to see people succeed and overcome stage fright.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Doing it all myself. I'm great at so many things, but bookkeeping, taxes, and such are not my strong suit.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Determine the viability of your idea before you invest much money or time. Not every cool or exciting idea is actually a moneymaker.
  2. Keep your costs low when you are starting. A really bad idea is for a startup business to rent expensive properties and buy a new Mercedes.
  3. Measure customer satisfaction. You don't just want to hear from the two or three people a year who are unhappy; you need to hear from as many people as possible. The unhappy ones may not represent what the majority are thinking.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Get out of the house. You can't measure the viability of an idea sitting at your desk. Go out and talk to potential customers. What do they like and don't like? How much would they pay to solve this problem? What are they doing right now to solve this problem? Are you selling a 'must have' service or product or a 'nice to have' product or service?

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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