Finding Your Core Mission with Michelle Onuorah [Coaches Corner]

The Speaker Lab Logo

Looking for practical advice and training from the world’s most successful speakers? The Speaker Lab Podcast features business tactics, tips, and strategies from the world’s most successful speakers. We post transcripts of every episode as resources to help you build your speaking business.

Maryalice Goldsmith
I’m so excited to have Michelle Onuorah on the podcast. One of our most fabulous coaches for sure. Last time Michelle and I did a podcast, fun fact, we did the student highlight podcast in 2021. Full circle, huh?

We’re going to start with something we talk about all the time with our students – businesses evolve. There could be so much more for them and their business in terms of revenue. And so I’d love for you to just kind of talk about how this has impacted you and your own speaking business and how you see this impacting the students that you get to coach every single day.

Michelle Onuorah
Oh, sure thing. Yeah. So in terms of the personal impact it made, like we said earlier, I used to be a student with TSL [The Speaker Lab] and I joined TSL already having a very small coaching practice. AndI went into The Speaker Lab with the mission of becoming a paid speaker, but I also had a bigger picture in mind for where I wanted my coaching business to go.

I wanted to move past doing one-on-ones all by myself. I wanted to scale it and bring in some employees, and in order to do that, I needed more clients.

And I realized that as I was working on my speaking platform and my speaking business, I could actually use speaking as a lead-in or a lead magnet of sorts by speaking about something I was really passionate about – prophetic listening – while also bringing an awareness to my audience that this exists, this is a resource.

And I have a coaching practice that can help you through the process. So for me, it was a no-brainer to merge the two entities.

For other students, it may be a situation where they decide that they want to write a book and they want to take their area of expertise in this topic that they’re speaking about over and over and over again, and actually quantify it in a book and have it available for purchase after a talk.

For other people, it could be that they have a consulting business. We have a lot of students who are not only speakers, but they’re also consultants and they have a practice that they’re already running. And so there’s a lot of areas of synchronicity that can take place between your speaking business and whatever other business you’re trying to run.

And I think you said it perfectly. Even though you have to have, to a degree, a bit of tunnel vision in order to make your business work, you also don’t want to close yourself off to other possibilities and other forms of revenue.

Yeah. And I think what’s really challenging is when you do have those blinders on in your building, let’s just sayI want to be a speaker, and you finally give yourself permission to do that. That alone is super exciting that you’re finally giving yourself permission, right?

And so you go all in, you do the research, you find The Speaker Lab, you sign on to our program and here you are becoming a speaker. But you talk about this critical moment when you decided that you were going to become a speaker to help build these other aspects of your business, right?

So what kind of encouragement or what kind of strategy could you teach our listeners today that are super excited about becoming a speaker or thinking about becoming a speaker? How can they step back and kind of take a bird’s eye view of the business and really look at what this can look like? What kind of questions and deep dives can they do?

That’s a great question. I would say that I’m kind of old school, so I really need to have pen and paper, sometimes construction paper, and something that I like to do, and I do this once a year at the end of the year when I’m going into the new year, I’ll take a big piece of construction paper and I will just write down the vision that I have of what I want my personal brand to look like, what I want to represent.

What are areas that I want to spend my time in and what are areas that would just drain me if I did that?

And The Speaker Lab has a fantastic resource, in our fifth module, the Vision and Strategy Workbook, and I have found that to be incredibly helpful and impactful.

Now, obviously, if you’re just joining The Speaker Lab, we want you to go through the modules in order, however, it’s a really, really great resource to have that drone view of where you want to go with your brand and what you want to offer the world and how you want to make an impact.

So for me, I took all the ideas that were kind of floating around in my head and I put them on that construction sheet of paper. It didn’t have to be pretty or anything, but on one corner I had e-courses that I wanted to develop.

On another corner I had book ideas that I wanted to write someday and on another corner I had different gigs and speaking opportunities that I really wanted to go for. And then I just had an open box for ideas that could come later on.

And I think it’s important to start with writing your ideas down so that they’re not just floating in your head like fireflies in a mason jar. You really want to have everything grounded on paper. And not only does that free up your mind for other ideas to come in or just brain space, but it allows you to see with your eyes where you want to start with.

Because I think a lot of people sometimes get trapped in “shiny object syndrome” where they have a million and one ideas and they’re starting down one track, but they never finish it because they bounce to another opportunity or idea.

And for me, it’s not only important to write down the different things you want to do, but then pick an order and don’t move on until you finish the first one. And I think that that’s a helpful way to tackle that list because eventually you’ll get through it, but you need to do it in an orderly way.

Yeah. I love how you talk about the open box being available to shifts and pivots and whatnot. I think, as an entrepreneur running a business, it’s important to be focused, but really important not to be rigid. Because if you don’t allow for that expansion and flexibility, you might force yourself to stay in a lane that you’ve actually outgrown. And believe it or not, that could cause burnout just as much as forcing yourself into a lane you’re not ready for. So I love how you talk about that.

We talk about that a lot too, when our students get caught up with their website and demo reel, and how many times do we say, “Hey, let it be good enough for now, because as your business matures, this is going to completely change and that’s okay.” None is better than perfect.

And you’ll have multiple websites and you’ll have multiple demo reels. But that allows yourself to have that evolution and focus. Focus is important. And I think when you want to leverage your speaking business, you have to have that long-term goal.

Where are you pointing the dial? Where are you going? Obviously you’re going on stage, but once you get off stage, then where’s the business going? And I think, you know, this conversation really opens up that question: when you step down, where is it going?

I don’t know about you, but for me it’s helpful to check in with that vision kind of on a quarterly basis because that way I can kind of do exactly what you said, make those pivots.

If I’m three months into a focused project and I’m not seeing fruit from it or it feels like I’m bashing my head against a brick wall, well then maybe I need to consider making a change and a shift. And businesses do that with marketing all the time. And that’s just one example, but there’s so many areas in which you can make that pivot.

Yeah, when I was running my own business as a business coach and I was coaching women, I had this conversation with them so much because they would come on the coaching call and they were like, “I’m so frustrated. I’ve been doing this for five months,” and da, da, da. I’m like, well, let’s talk about that, right? Because the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and getting the same results, right? So maybe God or the universe or whatever your higher power is, is trying to tell you something. Those are divine interventions to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

And so that’s what we’re talking about. Allow that room to breathe, because if something’s not working and you’re forcing it, well, you might not be seeing something that’s better and more profound that your business is supposed to be going in.

And I’m also a firm believer that what you are producing, if you’re not enjoying it, then the likelihood of your audience enjoying it is pretty minimal. So, for example, when I write my books, if I find that I’m in the process of writing either a story or a non-fiction book, if I’m bored in the process of writing, if I’m not enjoying it, if it feels like I’m sludging through mud just to finish a chapter, then I have to stop and either take a break or just reassess how I’m approaching it, because I know, and this is something I tell myself all the time, if I’m not enjoying this, my reader isn’t going to. And it’s really, really important that you’re staying in tune with yourself in the process.

Yeah, that’s such a valuable point. And what kind of questions should you be asking? How do you build out this business, right? Because we’re not just speakers. This is a business. And by the way, for those of you who are at this phase of your life, and you could be 20 or you could be 80, I don’t care how old you are, where you’re just like, “I actually just want to speak.”

That’s okay too. We’re not saying you have to have other branches to your business, but for those of you who know that speaking is something you’re passionate about, but it’s also going to help you leverage something that you’re even more passionate about, this is the conversation for you.

The whole point of this is thinking about where your business is going and how do you point the dial? It’s really important to map it out. It doesn’t mean you have to finish through what you mapped out for that year if it’s not working. But it’s important to map something out, to ask those questions. I’m a coach, I’m a consultant, how do I want speaking to move that or build that? What else can I offer?

I loved coaching, but as you know, as a coach, you can only take on so many clients. So I needed to start thinking, I’m full, so if my business is capped, it is not going to help it evolve. So I started looking at more passive income, more courses that people can take to warm them up to my coaching. So this is the kind of stuff you have to really start thinking about, like, what do I want this to become?

And another way to approach this is how much money do you actually want to make? I mean, let’s just do the cold hard facts. If you look at the numbers, how much time do you have? How much money do you want to make, and where is that money coming from? That can be a really great exercise to start building out the work-life balance in your business.

This is something that we go through in that workbook that you talked about in module five, the vision and strategy of your speaking business, because we often forget. As entrepreneur go-getters, we often forget about, “Oh, wait a minute. I have a husband or a wife or a boyfriend or a girlfriend. I have family and dogs and cats and horses,” and all the things.

So it’s really important, right? You might as well just go work for someone else, right? If you’re not going to map it out this way where you’re looking at self, business, and clients. We have to look at all of those things, so really ask yourself those questions. “How am I going to leverage the business so that I can be the best version of myself in all areas of my life, build a thriving business, and also nurture, care for, and service clients who need my help?”

I think another thing that you really deep dive into when you’re coaching our students is what is the ultimate goal of your brand as a speaker? What’s the ultimate goal? And so talk to us a little bit more about that and how that can also awaken people to leveraging their speaking brand.

Absolutely. I mean, one of my favorite things about The Speaker Lab is that we focus from the very beginning on the problem that you’re helping to solve.

Our expert positioning statement encompasses three elements, right? Who are you serving? What is the problem that you’re helping to solve? And what’s the unique angle that you bring to the table?

And what’s the transformation? What’s the result on the other side of solving that problem? And by defining that from the beginning, you are able to really build your business from the ground up in a way that makes sense for what you’re passionate about doing and how you want to present and make an impact to the world.

So for me, my whole mission was to help Christians hear God’s voice more clearly, so they can live a radically blessed life. And the process of it, by having that mission statement kind of established, that helped me to decide how many people am I trying to impact? Is it maybe just my local community?

Is it maybe just people on the East Coast or people on the West Coast or maybe just people in the States? Is it young adults? Is it older adults? By defining my audience, it gave me a little bit more focus and body to who I was trying to serve and it helped me to not run all over the place searching for everybody.

I love how Grant [Baldwin] says this all the time: “A speaker who speaks to everybody is a speaker who speaks to nobody.” So it’s really, really important to define your audience and then, by developing the problem and the unique approach that one has to solving it, that helps you to distinguish yourself from the market.

So that’s another helpful element. And then moving on to the transformation that you provide. So with regards to how that informs your business decisions, it’s basically like your mission statement.

I can’t think of a single successful business that doesn’t have a mission statement. And by having your mission statement for your business, you’re able to look at it over and over again and either ask yourself, “Am I living up to this mission statement, which is my expert positioning statement? Or does the mission statement need to change?”

Maybe I’ve evolved to a place where I don’t necessarily want to speak to college students anymore. Maybe I’ve evolved to where I want to speak to recent graduates who are just trying to figure out life and dive into the real world, whatever that looks like in terms of the longer picture. By having that mission statement in mind, you’re able to determine what type of books you want to write.

What type of e-courses do you want to offer? Do you want to offer e-courses? Maybe you serve a much older audience and that wouldn’t serve them because they’re not really into tech like that. And that’s okay.

Or if you’re looking at consulting, like you said earlier, it’s wonderful to be able to consult, but maybe you want to scale your business so that you’re able to impact 30, 40 people at a time in a mastermind versus doing one-on-one, high intensity coaching.

And the beauty of this and the beauty of being a business owner and an entrepreneur is you get to decide. Nobody can tell you how you’re going to conduct your business, but by setting up the parameters of what you want to bring to the world, it helps make the decision a little bit easier.

Yes. I love that because I think there are so many options and you can get caught up in that, right? I’m going to offer a podcast, I’m going to write a book, and then I’m going to write seven more books. I’m going to do consulting and coaching and masterminding, and da, da, da, da. And by the time you implement one of those things, you’re totally fried.

But if you go back and you look at what is my goal here? When I was speaking, a lot of people would say to me, “Do you always pitch at the front of the room?” And I said, “Yeah, I do.” Because when I’m speaking about something, I know that it’s a huge problem that I’m addressing.

And if I don’t pitch at the front of the room, then I’m leaving people with their problem and not giving them the opportunity to fully solve it. And not everybody has that same content.

But that was a mission for my business – if I’m going to speak, I’m going to solve the problem on the other end of that. And I knew that the problems that my people were going through needed that one-on-one deep dive type of tension.

And so I always spoke to pitch because the pitch was more of an opportunity and less of a pitch. So that’s something you need to think about. Are you getting on stage and speaking to 30 people and then pitching an offer to coach?

Or is your mission to speak to 3,000 people and then have resources on the backend for them to really grow in that specific content? There’s no right or wrong to any of it, but it has to align with your mission and personal brand. It’s really, really important.

Precisely, yeah. When I was running the coaching part of my business and really making a concerted effort to expand it, I absolutely did the pitch. It was probably a bit softer than maybe what you would’ve done, but I baked it into my talk and I mentioned how we have this resource, but I also had several coaches that were on staff ready to receive those clients.

And by the time I decided to step back from the coaching element of my business and I really wanted to make it more education-focused, that’s when I really made the concerted effort of every speaking gig that I do now, I’m not going to mention the coaching.

I’m actually just going to mention that I have books, I have e-courses, I have a product table. Maybe I’ll have a special discount for people in the audience to take advantage of and by doing that, it allowed me to still bring up that alternative, additional revenue, but in a different way than what I had done before when it was all about my coaching.

Yeah. I wonder how many people are listening and saying, “Gosh, I wish I could do ____. But I started this and I just feel like I can’t change it all up.” I know I have been there. And I know that if that is you and you’re listening to this, it does take a little time to give yourself permission to pivot, to change, and to shift. But I know this much: if you’re not honoring the calling of your heart, and if you’re not honoring what your soul desires, everything’s going to feel like an uphill battle.


And I know, having been able to have the privilege to coach you when you were a student, you went through a huge shift from coming in thinking you were going to change all the things to saying, “Wait a minute, no, no, no, no. I’m going to honor what brought me here in the first place and I’m going to go full throttle on that and really expand it in the way that feels so good for me.” And so it was awesome to watch you in that moment and see you have that “aha” moment and honor that calling of your soul and really go full throttle in it.

So I know you can speak to this.

Yeah. Thank you. And you were so helpful. You and the other coaches. To hold me to account because I was getting to a place where I think I felt intimidated at the prospect of sharing something that was so meaningful to me and possibly being rejected. And we have a lot of students who have that fear deep down inside. Many students are like, “Yep, this is what I’m doing and I’m proud of it, and let’s go.” But there are several students who are like, “Actually this is something that is deeply personal to me. And I don’t want to face the rejection of it not being accepted.”

But at the end of the day, and this is something that you and Erick [Rheam] and Nannette [Hitchcock] kind of helped me to realize is that you will find the right people, you will find the right audience, you will find the right tribe for what you are wanting to bring.

And that’s another reason why we encourage our students to find their market, because everyone’s not for everyone. You’re not supposed to fit everywhere.

Otherwise, you know, we all would’ve been made the same. So it’s okay to push the throttle on something, especially if as you’re testing the market, you’re finding that it responds back to you positively.

And that was the case for me once I decided to go forward with prophetic listening. There were so many churches that I didn’t have direct ties to, but I had friends of friends who kind of connected me with them and next thing I know, I’m getting booked with them and they’re referring me to other churches and it’s just starting to build ministry centers, et cetera.

And now that I’m moving more into an education focus, I’m excited because my time is freed up to create courses and materials that can just really scale in a fashion that I never could while doing one-on-ones. Like, there’s simply not enough time to make that happen. So it’s a really exciting pivot point in my business.

Yeah. For people who are really struggling to fit all the things in and to do all the things, would you say they need to take a step back and really assess what they have established or they need to build out a team that’s obvious, but there might be something in there? It seems for me, like when you said, “You know what? I’m going full throttle into prophetic listening, and I’m going to really embrace this.” It seemed like everything kind of fell into place very nicely and it continues to do that.

Yes. So, for me, when I came, when I joined The Speaker Lab, I had written a book already, so that was done, but it was really new. And then I also had my website set up because I was taking in some coaching clients, but I only had about a dozen. It wasn’t a huge roster, and as I was exploring my topic and the problem that I helped to solve and really figuring out where I fit in the market.

I was getting feedback not only from the coaches but from other students, which is what I love about The Speaker Lab, is that you have such a healthy community of really accomplished and driven people who get out what they put into it, and so I got a lot of awesome feedback from students letting me know, “Hmm, I’m in this market and I don’t know if that would appeal to me” versus, “Oh, you know, I would actually love to hear more about what you speak about.”

And anyway, by choosing to move forward with prophetic listening, not only did I use the book that I’d created, so I kind of made that a little bit more prominent on my site, but I also developed e-courses and I made a page for that and Erick helped me really organize my site in a way that it made an emphasis on my speaking about the topic of prophetic listening, but it still allowed me to include the other elements of my business that were very important to me.

And that was something that I struggled with figuring out how to do.

Because yes, I’m speaking, but I also have these assets that are incredibly important to me, and you helped me with my demo. I was arranging my demo and editing it in certain ways, and you gave me a few slight tweaks that just made it so much more impactful.

And as a result of my time with TSL, my coaching business grew from a dozen clients to over 80.

And then I had to hire staff and kind of scale in that way. So I ended up having a team of five, including coaches and VAs and that sort of thing. And it just started to grow and grow and grow. But it was cool because I wasn’t doing the one-on-ones.

I was doing the speaking and I was kind of the face of it, but I was bringing in that business through my speaking. So I was basically getting paid to do what I enjoyed doing while also growing my business using speaking.

Yeah. So you bring up a great point. When we’re talking about leveraging, we’ve talked about like on the stage, pitching in front of the stage, but there’s also your website. And in fact, today, as we’re speaking, I’m going to mention episode 429, Erick and I on the Coaches Corner, we go on a deep dive into the website and Erick talks about this. So whatever season your business is in, if you’re in a high speaking season, you want to make sure you’re leveraging that on your website.

If you are not in a high speaking season and you’re pushing more coaching, consulting, or your book, you want to make sure that your website really reflects that. So when we’re talking about leveraging the business, we also have to make sure that we’re using the assets to leverage that business.

You pitch at the front of the room. But you also talk a lot about using speaking as a lead-in for your business in terms of the book and e-courses. I know you just shared that a little bit and how it helped grow the business, but how did you actually use the website and also speaking?

Sure. So with my website, I’ve always made sure that my content of resources is up-to-date. So I have a page for my books. I have a page for my e-courses. And then in addition to that, when I’m actually negotiating a speaking gig, I make it very clear, and this is a non-negotiable for me, that I need to have a product table.

There has to be a product table where I’m able to sell my books, where I’m able to sell my e-courses. I’ll bring my laptop if I have to so that people can enroll then and there on the e-courses. Because obviously it’s a little bit more challenging than having a physical product that you can sell.

But people would be amazed at how much you can sell at an event after the audience has heard you speak. Because you’re very quickly building that trust factor with 50, 100, 300 people and because they’ve just heard you speak and they know they can trust you, if they find out you have a product table, the likelihood is they’re going to leave with something.

Because they like shopping. And if I see value out of it too, of course I’ll get it. But I’m just more inclined to purchase. And then as an author too, the beauty of it is you’re right there to sign it for them. So what was just a speaking gig has quickly evolved into a book signing event.

So I negotiate having that product table. I make sure that it’s there and then I coordinate with the decision-maker. Do you want me to ship the books to you ahead of time? Do I need to bring it with me in my suitcase? And I make sure that I have really flexible forms of payment.

I do not limit my students, I do not limit my coaches coming through. I don’t want my audiences having to use cash only, for example. Like if you have a stripswipe, use that. I’ve used Venmo as well. Whatever it takes, I’m going to make it as easy as possible for you to make your purchase.

And I not only have my novels, but I tend to bring my non-fiction books, in particular because I know that it relates to what I just spoke about. But in addition to that, like I said, I have my e-courses and I’ll include a specific discount so that they’re more inclined to make that purchase then and there.

And my e-course is the one I get really excited about selling because even though it’s nice to sell 20, 30, 40 copies of your book, my books are relatively inexpensive, you know $10-15 So it’s nice to have that revenue, but it’s really nice when you have 20 people buying a $197 e-course on hand.So in that respect, it’s a really nice bonus to your speaking fee.

Yeah. And I think you also don’t realize the seeds that you’re planting for possible other speaking gigs and just other passive income on your website and for your books. You have 30 people who engage, love it, and they’re going to tell their friends and their friends and their friends, so that naturally starts growing.

And if you get their email, then that’s your database. You’re building your database of people that you can continue to serve and reach out to with new resources.

Yeah, no, that’s super powerful for sure. So I know this year has been a huge shift for you and I think it speaks to what we’re talking about. People are probably listening going, “Well, you’re doing so well. Why are you coaching at The Speaker lab?”

But there are different seasons like we’ve been saying, and also leveraging your businesses in ways where you can have income coming in a variety of different ways. It doesn’t just have to be this one lane. So talk a little bit more about that decision to say, “You know what, I’m going to do all of this and I’m going to do my love for coaching without having to do all the work to get the coaching clients.”

Exactly. There you go. Well, for me, because I realized about a year and a half, maybe two years into my coaching business that I was actually starting to get a little bit burned out with my coaching business in particular because it’s life coaching, it’s very personal.

People are sharing deeply personal situations and dilemmas that they’re running into. And I wouldn’t call myself an empath, but you know, I’m human. And so there are times when I would come off of a call and you feel the weight on your shoulders.

And I realized that I needed to step back from that and so that’s why I scaled my business and I had other coaches who were doing the one-on-ones for me, and then I quickly ran into the issue of managing people.

And so towards the middle of 2022, I spent some time with the Lord and I took a really hard look and assessment at my life and what I wanted to do with it and how I wanted to spend my time and my work. And I realized that I was far happier writing books, creating resources, and speaking than I was running a coaching business.

And that was hard for me. That was hard to realize, “Wow, this thing that I’ve spent so much energy and effort building up is actually not as enjoyable to me as I thought it would be.” And it wasn’t because I didn’t like coaching. I do. It was just the subject matter of what I was coaching that I found to be a bit draining.

So at that point, I took some time in prayer and I was like, what needs to change in my life in order to make this work? So I gradually and very intentionally stepped back from the coaching side of my business. I don’t want to say I shut it down, but I shut down the coaching segment of the Center for Prophetic Listening, and I ramped up the education side of it so that it was self-paced and people could learn what prophetic listening was and train in it.

And I actually developed a certification program with prophetic listening so that other people who wanted to minister and do it and had the passion and energy for it, because I met people who loved it and they actually were feeding off of doing it.

And I’m like, “Why am I feeling so drained while you are just completely exhilarated by this process? Okay, let me train you how to do this.” And we’d develop the certification process, and then you just go fly. Do your thing.

And I realized that in doing it that way, I was actually multiplying the work as opposed to keeping it all to myself. So I developed that, that element a bit. And then I started working on my eighth book. And in that process, in that gap, I found that I had a lot more time available and the temptation was, “Okay, well maybe I should just go on the road and speak and do workshops and do all of that full-time.”

And because of The Speaker Lab, I absolutely could do that. And I still could do that if I wanted to at some point. But then I met someone and so I realized it’s actually not a good idea to be traveling a bunch at the moment. So it was around the end of August that I was praying really intentionally about my next steps because I was writing, but I still had a lot of space and time and I was also in a pretty location, bound to a degree because of my personal life.

So I asked God, “Well, how do you want to fill this gap?” And sure enough, you guys call me and it just worked out really beautifully. And I’m grateful for it. And to me this is an opportunity to not only plug into a really fantastic team and culture, but it’s also an opportunity to help other students who were where I was not that long ago and show them, “No, this actually works. Let me show you how I made it work and work with you too, so that you can have your own success story.”

Yeah, it’s powerful and it speaks to this – it’s like we have to leverage who we are first. We have to gauge what’s our talents, what’s our energy level? What is our mission? How do we fit into all of this? And then we look at the business and we say, okay, this is what I have capacity for. This is what I have energy for.

And this kind of goes back to what we were talking about earlier, right? There’s self, others, business. And we have to really keep all of that in perspective.

I used to do an in-person retreat for women here in Princeton, New Jersey. And I used to talk about the importance of how we have to actually let things die for new things to come to life. And it’s not always easy.

So I went through something similar in 2019 where I felt the Lord was calling me saying, “No, no, no, no, not in 2020. I need you somewhere else.” And I was like, “What? This is for eight years.

What do you mean you need me somewhere else?” And I was freaking out. But then I kept saying, “You know what? I have to let this die for some reason. I don’t know why, but more will be revealed. I know that. Because something else needs to come to life.”

And so we really have to pay attention to that. And so when you’re thinking about leveraging the speaking business, make sure that it’s bringing something to life, that it’s really adding value to yourself as an entrepreneur, to your family, to your spirit, to the people that you’re serving. I think oftentimes we get really distracted with all the things, and so really be intentional when it comes to this topic because leveraging can be amazing.

And it could also be very detrimental if you don’t stay on mission. And I think that’s the big message I want our listeners to walk away with: Leveraging is amazing. You can make a ton of money. But money isn’t everything.

And so we really have to have perspective and we have to really be clear on what is the mission, what’s the value I’m receiving, and what’s the value I am giving forth with leveraging in this way. So be intentional. Spend some time.

I always talk about reflecting and projecting. So reflect on what happened in the last 90 days. What’s working, what’s not working, what’s giving you energy, what’s pulling on your energy? And then as you project for the next 90 days, what can you do better, different, or in a more intentional way?

And I think if you lead your business in that way, you’re always going to leverage in the best way possible and have sustainability and longevity for yourself as a human and for your business.

Amen. I’m not supposed to add anything to have that.

I left her speechless. I love to end a podcast like that.

Brilliant summary.

Yeah. So, I thank you for being here because I know that you’ve dabbled in this big time when it comes to leveraging between coaching and books and e-courses and I know you know that it’s a bigger beast than it looks.

Well, I was just going to say really quickly, because we have a lot of students who, like we just said a little bit earlier, do all the things, but they do all the things because they think they should or they see other people do it.

And so in addition to being mindful about not being destructive in the process of leveraging your speaking business, also be careful to not do it just because it’s something that others have done and have found success in. Really assess if this is something you’re called to.

I have tried to start podcasts. I have learned two episodes in that it is not for me. I have tried to start YouTube channels. I have also learned five videos in, not for me.

If you are thinking of developing an alternative business platform, social media, et cetera, and you’re finding that you’re not able to be consistent, you need to ask yourself why are you doing it in the first place, and are you doing it just because you think that you can replicate somebody else’s model?

Because if it’s not something that is within your wheelhouse, something that you can consistently give your time to, recognizing that things take time to grow, then don’t waste your energy spreading yourself thin between Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat.

So Carrie Green, who runs the Female Entrepreneur Association, says all the time that when she started her business, she was on Facebook and Facebook only because that is what worked for her. It was her sweet spot, and she knew it like the back of her hand.

Eventually, she expanded to other platforms, especially as she scaled and had help. But I highly recommend that you just kind of keep your eyes focused on one thing at a time so that you’re not overwhelming yourself and you’re not confusing your audience and spreading yourself too thin.

Yeah. Well, I think it goes back to what you were talking about before – what’s the mission of your personal brand? And if you don’t have that set, if you don’t have your big “why,” get focused on that for sure. Define the goal of the brand and that will really help minimize distraction.

And always just for today, what do you need to do just for today? That’s really critical. So we could go on and on about this for sure, but I think the big takeaway is to really create that mission. What is the ultimate goal for your brand? And what is the next best move that’s going to enhance not drain? Always lead with that.

Is this going to give me energy and build my brand? Or is this going to take my energy and make me a less better version of myself? Yeah, because the company needs you because you are the company, right? You’re the brand. So if you are not energetic and in it, that’s a detriment.

And so just always remember that. Is this going to give me energy and enhance the brand, or is this going to take away my energy, basically crushing the brand? A little dramatic, but you know what I mean. So lead with the mission and leverage in a way that’s next best for you if you just became a speaker.

Just do that for a little bit and keep your eyes open, right? Be a student of your business and it will come to you what you should do next. If you’ve been at this for a little while, what’s calling you? Spend some time. Really write that out. I love the construction paper that you suggested. And keep that open box. Let the business breathe. It will be revealed what you should do next.

Michelle, you’re awesome. Thanks so much for sharing all your insight and wisdom with us.

If you enjoyed this transcript, click below to check out the full podcast episode! 

Want to know exactly what to say to land more paid speaking gigs?

We’ll send you the exact three email scripts you can send to conference planners and event organizers that Grant Baldwin (our founder) used to book over $2M in speaking gigs. 

Related Resources

Here are a few other resources you might find helpful. 

How to Win at Work by Winning at Home First with Cory Carlson
Grant Baldwin Hey, Grant Baldwin here. Welcome back to The Speaker Lab Podcast. Good to have you here with us. Today we are chatting with my buddy Cory Carlson, and we are going to talk...
The Power of Executive Presence with Katherine Johnson [Coaches Corner]
Maryalice Goldsmith I'm so excited today to welcome Katherine Johnson to the Coaches Corner Podcast. How are you doing today, Katherine? Katherine Johnson Yeah, I'm doing well. I'm happy to be here with you, Maryalice....
Silence the Inner Critic with Kindra Hall
Grant Baldwin Last time we had talked, which has been over a year now, it was toward the beginning of the pandemic. Things were just starting to take shape and not in a necessarily good...
3 Lessons From Sara Murray on Building Successful Habits as a Speaker
As Sara Murray transitioned from a sales career to entrepreneurship, she found her focus shifting from the bottom line to the impact she was creating. She learned to bridge the gap between herself and potential...
How to Follow the Speaker Success Road Map
Grant Baldwin: Hey, what's up my friend Graham Baldwin here. Welcome back to the Speaker Lab podcast. Today we're to be getting questions from Clayton Watson, asking all about the next steps for booking. In...
How to Set and Meet Goals for your Speaking Business
Introduction There’s no simple method for how to set and meet goals for your speaking business. It’s a multi-faceted challenge that requires a lot of upfront work when you launch your speaking career and consistent...
Speech Breakdown of Toastmasters Champion Ramona Smith
Grant Baldwin: Welcome back to the Speaker Lab. Recently we started a YouTube channel where we are doing a lot of what we're calling speech breakdowns, where we are taking popular TED talks and speeches...
How to get Booked to Speak at Colleges
Question: How Do You Start Speaking at Colleges? All right, so today we've got a listener question coming in from Eric Moss. And Eric is asking all about speaking at colleges, how do you get...
How to Make it in Marketing with Chris Seo
Grant Baldwin Hey, what's up friends? Grant Baldwin here. Welcome back to The Speaker Lab podcast. Today we are joined by an in-house guy. We're joined by Mr. Chris Seo, who is our Director of...
The State of the Speaking Industry in 2023 With Erick Rheam
Grant Baldwin Hey friends, Grant Baldwin here. Thanks for joining us today. We're also joined by my good friend and co-host, Mr. Erick Ream. Erick and I like to get together. We've actually done a...