Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jane Atkinson, President of Speaker Launcher Inc., located in London, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is helping people who want to speak for a living make more money. We run The Wealthy Speaker School, which helps emerging speakers build the business of their dreams (spoiler alert: it's all about lifestyle). Plus, we offer masterminds and private coaching for people who want to move more quickly to take their profits to the next level.
Tell us about yourself
When I was 25, I saw a speaker named Les Brown on a TV special called Live Your Dreams. Not only did the idea of self-improvement land with me, I decided I wanted to work for a motivational speaker. (Note: I sent a letter to Les Brown's office looking for a job, and they sent me back a lovely order form for his products 😂) I hadn't even known there was such a thing as personal development, and I hadn't picked up a book since college! But the Universe intervened, and within weeks I landed a job working as a business manager for a motivational speaker, and a 30+ year career in the speaking industry was born. After 15 years and managing 3 different speakers, doubling their businesses each year. And 2 years representing celebrities and bestselling authors with a speakers bureau, I went out on my own as a coach and hadn't looked back. To date, we've helped thousands of speakers catapult their businesses to healthy 6 and sometimes 7-figure incomes.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Well, if you've ever written a book, you know that it's a pretty big deal. And this Fall, I'll be launching book #6 called The Wealthy Speaker 3.0. That particular book has had to keep up with the times since so much has changed in our field - recessions, pandemics, you name it, they all affect the meetings, travel, and speaking industries. And we've survived it all. I've also written The Wealthy Speaker Daily Success Planner and Journal, which helps people focus on the important things every day.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Keeping it simple. I'm about 20 years in, and I wish I'd had this advice back in the early days. It's very natural as you grow a business to add more products and services along the way. And we often gain complexity in our business as we grow. This past year we pretty much burned it to the ground and are starting again so that we can build in a more streamlined fashion. It's painful but worthwhile. It's very difficult to scale when you are bogged down in systems that don't work. And I'm excited about this next Chapter as a result.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Pick a Lane: No matter what business you are in, specialize and do that one thing really well. I just heard of a massage therapist specializing in the lymphatic system to get a new type of result. I love that. Trying to be all things to all people is exhausting and fear-based. Be brave and be the best at one thing.
- Focus on value in difficult times. If the world is going through something (i.e., recession), then rather than focusing on the fear of what's to come, start thinking about what value you can create and provide while it's happening. Where's the opportunity? One of my clients had her speaking calendar wiped clean (over $500K worth of business) in the 2nd week of March 2020 when the pandemic shut everything down. Instead of wallowing in "woe is me," she started asking her clients how she could serve them. It was like she saw a fire and ran straight into it with a fire hose on her shoulder. The result? Her best year ever. Think about where there is an opportunity to serve and run into the fire.
- Mindset is everything. Being "all in" 100% on your business is a must. When you are waffling about a decision that needs to be made or keep changing your mind, your brain doesn't know what to do with that. But when you go all in and truly commit to reaching your goal, your brain will show you the path.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
There's a follow-up piece to going "all in" on your business, and that is taking consistent action. It's difficult for a business to thrive, especially starting out, but when you do consistent marketing and outreach or provide a consistent level of service, whatever your business requires to separate it from the competition, the years will tick by, and you'll realize it's all paid 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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