Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dion Flynn, Founder of Improvisor's Mindset, located in Montclair, NJ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business has two components. We lead team-building and human development workshops rooted in the basics of improv, AKA Theatrical Improvisation. The Basic Tools of Improv are the Basic Tools of Human Connection. And we also provide performances and talks for corporate events. Our most popular is that we write and perform a late-night talk show with your company's key players and feature employees as the guests. Imagine if The Tonight Show or Late Night with David Letterman did a show, especially for your company.
Tell us about yourself
I have been cited by Oprah Magazine as “one of our favorite creative thinkers." I am an improvisor, comedian, actor, writer, and army veteran. I am best known for my many goofy characters on late-night tv, with over 100 appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. I am an expert in fun and innovative ways to help people connect with themselves and others. I graduated from New York University with my MFA in Acting.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Playing Obama on television. This is my biggest accomplishment because of what happened after. When you play a president on national television, people want you at their IPOs, weddings, funerals, mergers, etc. And my biggest accomplishment was that I showed up for these gigs, listened to the needs of the organizations, and then adapted. So as the Obama thing faded, I took what I learned about what companies were really needing and adapted my business to match the needs I saw.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Doing everything myself (and I don't do that anymore). At first, you are the sales force, the product, the copywriter, the agent, and the assistant. You're everything. For me, I wanted control of everything (in a bad way), and so doing it all myself worked for me — at first. But then, of course, as the business grew, I discovered that I did NOT want to do everything alone and that I WANTED to collaborate with others.
Eventually, the Divine powers of fate and destiny in the universe send you the people you need to collaborate and partner with. Now I have some collaborators, and I LOVE having a partner there to co-write with and to bounce ideas off of. No solo success story was actually accomplished alone.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Do whatever it takes to get in touch with your deepest giftedness. Read books (and do the exercises) about how to find your calling or how to clarify your purpose. This type of refinement is a big timesaver. Someone said, "Where your gifts meet the needs of the world, therein lies your abundance." And it's so true. I think a business should be the expression of its founder's deepest self; that way, there's integrity at the center of the endeavor.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
There is a tricky conundrum at the heart of growing your own business. You must listen to your clients; they always give you information about what they need and how you can serve those needs. Yet, in a seeming contradiction, you must also clarify what you do well and avoid trying to bend yourself too far out of shape just to keep a client. That middle ground between accommodation and staying true to yourself is a lifelong exploration.
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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