Friday, February 21, 2014

LEVERAGE Your Business...One Speech at a Time!

Have you noticed that you are always giving advice? When someone is asked to speak on a topic or conversation, do you readily volunteer? Or are you an introvert, but still need to market and promote your business? Finally, are you already speaking in front of groups but would like to go to the next level and MONETIZE it?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, this topic is for YOU! As an iconic entrepreneur who has been a public speaker for over 25 years, I have spoken in many different arenas on many different topics. From those speeches, I have had people write, text, and email me about the impact I made on their life a few days to a few years later! Today, I would like to share with you how YOU can Leverage Your Business...One Speech at a Time, regardless of you current circumstance, status, or personality.

Struggle? We all go through it. Dr. Martin Luther King stated, "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle". As a speaker, our circumstance (ie struggle) is the reason we can stand in front of people and tell our story. As CEO and Founder of Essence of a Lady Inc, a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation celebrating 25 years of philanthropy in 2014, our program for women, called Essence Ladies (aka The E'Ladies Network), focuses on recruiting women entrepreneurs to become philanthropists. One of the roles of philanthropy is speaking. As a philanthropic speaker, the women in the E'Ladies Network(hereafter called "the network") go out to schools and community organizations where we have established our program, Young Essence Ladies...Learning (aka YELL!Mentoring Programs) and TELL THEIR STORY! Each month, there is a theme, module, and national focus based on curriculum created by me, using my Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. The women in "the network"  share their struggles, their triumphs, and their tenacity to become the woman or woman entrepreneur they feel they are purposed to become or have become! The benefit of coming to the schools and community centers, etc, is two-fold: they have an opportunity to impact girls' lives in a positive way, and they make connections with other women, mothers, and girls that may help them LEVERAGE their business. For example, our speaker for the month of February at our community-based YELL!Program was contacted to speak at its Mother's Day event...LEVERAGE in action!

Experienced or Aspiring? It doesn't matter where you are in this spectrum of your business, speaking to others will help you brand your business as you market and promote your products and services to a targeted group. Simon Mainwaring explained it best, "...a brand needs to embrace the first principles of marketing, which involves brand definition and consistent storytelling." Think about it, look at McDonalds, Coca Cola, Macys, Mercedes Benz, and Walmart. They are billion dollar companies but they continue to market and promote themselves through the media, in addition, they continue to evolve with society. They are also involved in the community by connecting with organizations, businesses, and community agencies in order to have their marketing and promotions department staff come in front of the audience of the entity they are supporting to SPEAK on its company's behalf! They tell stories to show how they are connected to the community. One of the benefits of becoming a philanthropy speaker for Essence of a Lady, Inc(aka E/LInc) is the opportunity to become connected with its strategic partners. Public Speakers Association is one of them. At least once a month, Public Speakers Association CEO and Founder, Tonya Hofmann and I provide E/LInc philanthropic speakers in "the network" an opportunity to learn the techniques necessary to get PAID as a speaker. Both of us are very passionate about supporting women and entrepreneurs. We have made it our life's mission to help them LEVERAGE their lives by creating a platform to leverage their business through speaking. In addition, each of us have created bigger platforms to help women LEVERAGE their business by participating and/or speaking at our annual conferences. Public Speakers Association's First Annual Conference is scheduled for March 3-5, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. Yours truly and over 25 other speakers, including Renowned Motivational Speaker Les Brown will be in attendance. E/LInc's Females are FABULOUS! Conference shows information from last year. This year's theme is "Celebrating 25 Years of FABULOUSNESS!" and the conference will take place the weekend after Labor Day...September 5-7, 2014. Women from around the country, and possibly the world, will participate in this "ULTIMATE SLEEPOVER!" Mothers/daughters, sisters, besties, grandmothers/granddaughters, godmothers/goddaughters, and mentors/mentees will come together for a weekend to be pampered, fed, and empowered. They will shop, network, and build lifetime connections. This conference also allows speakers with all levels of experience to engage the audience.For more info, go to

Shy and Introverted? Susan Cain described introverts as people "who will go to a party or event but after a short period they prefer to be at home in pajamas, they don't like wasting energy, therefore they exert most of it on close family and friends and also prefer to express themselves in writing." As I read these comments, I began to reflect on conversations with one of my business and accountability partners, Vernetta Freeney. As a networking extraordinaire, I have always loved going to events, connecting with at least one person at that event, and usually that is the head sister in charge (HSIC). April 2012 was no exception. I was in pursue of women entrepreneurs to support the vision of coordinating the second conference of my life, the first one was in June 1993. I lucked up on a ticket to attend her first-ever Fusion event. While the connection was not immediate, I connected again in January 2013 at a mastermind retreat. My suggestion to turn her blog posts into an ebook resonated with her and from that point forward, she an I have been accountability partners. When she talked about being an introvert on her award-winning Fall Fusion Tour, I was not surprised. That is why I happily volunteered to be her emcee for the 10-city tour this 2013-14 academic year. The most excitement of all has been watching her blossom from a very shy, yet motivated young entrepreneur to a classy, stylish, self-motivated woman entrepreneur with a burning desire to LEVERAGE her speech at a time. She went from having a name for her business...Women are Gamechangers, to using her own name, Vernetta R. Freeney, as her business name after we discussed simplifying our businesses in that manner during the Fall tour. She has been invited to many speaking engagements, including the hard-to-get-into Texas Conference for Women Conference in 2013. Is she still shy, of course! But that has not stopped her from pursuing her dreams of building a successful business her way! Join the unique networking and connection at the Fusion Tour in five cities, Houston, Chicago, Dallas, San Antonio, and Detroit every weekend in March, 2014.

It is women/entrepreneurs, such as the ones aforementioned, who have validated you can leverage your business one speech at a time, regardless of your struggle, experience or personality. Stay tuned, these women and thousands of others will be featured during March-Women History Month and will be spotlighted on, a website that will list women-owned businesses in all cities, states, and countries starting March 2014. The site will allow women to buy, sell, and barter products and services from other women. To receive your FREE listing, a chance to win $1000, and a chance to become a Charter 100 Member go to To receive your FREE birthday gift, go to

Our next blog will focus on MONETIZING Your Speaking!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to all for reading. Please forgive my rush in posting and not editing and revising, as I so desperately needed to! It can only get BETTER!