Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal and business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Milo Shapiro, Owner of IMPROVentures and Public Dynamics, located in San Diego, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business has three parts to it.
The largest part these days is that I am a public speaking skills coach who helps people feel more "Prepared, Polished, and Powerful" whenever and wherever they give presentations, even presentations to just one person.
Second, I keynote at conferences, both as a motivational speaker who gets the whole audience to play games with me and, separately, speaking on the topic of presentation skills.
Third, I do team-building events for organizations where we use improvisation games for fun and to look at how we work and communicate with others.
Tell us about yourself
I've been doing improvisation for over 30 years and love it.
I quit my job in I.T. to start IMPROVentures so that I could blend something I love with something that would put good into the world. I hadn't planned to do the public speaking skills coaching work, but people came up to me after my speeches and ASKED me if I'd help them, so I eventually said yes, never dreaming it'd become the biggest part of my business, but it's so satisfying to watch people grow so much in a matter of weeks.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Honestly, riding the economic, technical, and business trends for 22 years to remain and be successful through all the highs and lows. In terms of a specific success, though, it'd probably be coaching one woman in the Coast Guard who started out scared to speak to her co-workers at the weekly briefing.
She got so good and so much more comfortable that she moved up from briefing her squad to briefing the admiral, then-congressman, and then The White House... and doing it well and with confidence.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The percentage of time one needs to spend on marketing to finally get back to doing what one wants to do for a living.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Start getting referrals (email, Yelp, Google) from day one.
- Start building a mailing list from the beginning, you'll never go back once you feel "ready."
- Taking SEO seriously brings me about half my coaching work.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Your ability to communicate effectively will frequently make the difference between whether people choose to work with you or not. Whether it's in person, on Zoom, or on the phone, when you sound interesting, organized, and clear, people want to work with you.
If I had $10 for every person who signed up for speaking coaching and then said, "Boy, do I wish I'd done this 20 years ago, my career would have been really different!" I could take the rest of the year off.
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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