Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Philipp Humm, Founder of Power of Storytelling, located in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We help B2B sales professionals use storytelling to become their clients' #1 trusted advisors. In our keynotes, workshops, and 1:1 coaching, we help our clients find, craft and deliver captivating stories at work.
Tell us about yourself
Throughout high school, university, and my first jobs, I was a lousy public speaker.
Any time I had to go in front of an audience, my legs started trembling, my head got red, and my breath was barely enough to maintain three words. Back then, I thought that was just what I had to deal with every time. Luckily, I learned that it doesn’t have to be that way.
During my MBA at Columbia Business School, I started taking an improv class. The first is improv, then acting, and then storytelling. With each class, I realized that public speaking is not rocket science. You don’t have to be a natural-born storyteller. There are, in fact, a few powerful techniques that you can use to become a great storyteller. Realizing that, I started coaching friends and colleagues on storytelling.
I was coaching more and more people on storytelling every month. At one point, I thought, "This is cool." I get so much energy out of this. "Why don’t I make this my job?" And that’s when I started The Power of Storytelling. Now I do what I love: help others discover the storyteller that is within each one of us!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
In May 2022, I got a call from an anonymous number.
Mike: "Hi Philipp, this is Mike from TEDxRoermond." I don’t want to talk about fate, but we had a speaker drop. With that, we have a spot open. "Are you interested?"
Me: "Ahh. Sure. "When is it?"
Mike: "It’s next Wednesday."
Me: "You mean Wednesday in six days?"
Mike: "Yeah. I know it’s tight. "Are you up for it?"
For the past seven years, I’ve been dreaming about giving a Ted talk. As someone eternally lost in a midlife crisis, I've watched an unhealthy amount of TED talks.
This was my chance. "Yeah," I said in a rather high-pitched voice. "I'm up for it."
For the next six days, I spent 10 hours every day revising, visualizing, and rehearsing my talk.
Six days later, my dream came true. I delivered my first TEDx talk. My TED talk had 40k views within 24 hours of being posted on YouTube. The same day, the global TED organization selected my talk out of hundreds of others as an "Editor’s Pick." The talk has been a major accomplishment for my business, as it has given massive social proof to anyone looking into hiring me as a speaker. You can check out the talk here.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Learning how to deal with rejection. In the first five months of starting my business, I received close to a hundred "NOs" and not a single "Yes."
I’m an optimist, but this sucked. What helped me was adopting the mindset that every additional step would make it more likely that I'd get a "yes" soon.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Set yourself 10-fold goals. A 10X goal is one that is 10-times greater than your normal goals. It’s a goal that is so large that it both scares and excites you. Big enough to inspire you and hold your attention.
- Work with big brands early on. Tap into your network. Is there a friend at a prestigious company who could collaborate on a pilot (for free)? Do it even if your product is still WIP. It will give your business immense credibility.
- Share your progress with your network. You’ve just worked with someone; don’t keep it for yourself. Mention it in your next LinkedIn post. Include a picture of you and your client. Ask for a testimonial that you can include on your website. Social proof is key to building your brand.
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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