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So You Wanna Start A Speaking & Storytelling Strategy Business with Erik Dominguez from Speak Up Stories

Welcome to our So You Wanna Start A... series, designed to give you a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at the journeys that went into creating some of your favorite local brands.

Today's guest is Erik Dominguez from Speak Up Stories, a speaking and storytelling strategy business based in Des Moines, Iowa. 

Our favorite piece of advice: "Know your value as a performer and as an artist." This can be so tough as a local business owner but it's something you have to learn early on if you're going to build a sustainable business. Know your worth and have confidence in your pricing!

If you're curious about starting a public speaking business, learn a little more from Erik and connect with him using the links below!

1. What do you own and why did you start this business?

I own Speak Up Stories, and I created it because I found there was a gap in traditional public speaking training. Traditional public speaking training focuses a lot more on the mechanics, like hand gestures, eye contact, and movements. Those are all beneficial, but there's a deep void in understanding the humanity of what it takes to powerfully, confidently, and joyfully communicate your story. So, that's the why behind Speak Up Stories and the why behind what I do as a speaker, trainer, and as a coach. 

2. What is an early win you had that made you feel like you were on the right path?

When I started, I had a friend refer me to an event that was happening for the Iowa Downtown Conference. Almost immediately I had booked my first major keynote. In the speaking world, you just gotta get one major paid keynote and then there will a be a ripple effect. That was a big confidence boosting early win for myself.

3. What's one of the biggest challenges you’ve had? 

I launched my public speaking and my public speaking coaching business in January 2020. The keynote that I just mentioned, I booked in February 2020, so the major challenge was clearly the pandemic. That keynote and other keynotes were cancelled or moved and events just disappeared. That was actually a huge blessing for me, because my vision was always my own speaking and supporting other speakers. What that did is give a pause for me to work on my coaching programs, and listen to my clients as to what they need to launch their own speaking careers.

4. What are three pieces of advice you’d give to aspiring local business owners in your industry?

1) Don't only focus on your speaking. A lot of people will come up to me and say they want to be a professional speaker. That's great, but what's your message, what's your content, and what's your mission? When I ask these questions people will draw a blank space and say they just want to be a speaker. Speaking is not just about being on stage, it's a summary of the work you're doing. I speak on the personal and professional transformation that sharing your story brings to you. I'm living that work, and because I'm living that work I'm better able to communicate that from the stage. Focus on your vision and your mission so that you can speak.

2) Spend time on your speaking. This is an art form, you are a performer, so it's not sufficient enough to just jot down an outline or create a few slides when you are being paid to speak in front of an audience. It requires rehearsal and studying the art of communication, rhetoric, and storytelling so that you can powerfully impact your audience. Yes, living your life vision and mission is really important, but it's equally important to develop your craft and find the unique personality that you have. 

3) Know your value as a performer and as an artist. If you are hired as a singer to play at a major event, know what value you would bring to that event and what investment that event gets to be for you. Just because we all can speak, doesn't mean we all CAN speak. Be very clear as to what the investment would be for others to pay you to speak.

5. Where is your business heading next and what are you excited about?

All of the states. I currently have engagements in Arizona, New York, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and I'm going to continue to expand. My message gets to be heard not just in Iowa, but all over the country and I get to support others that want to do the same. 

Find Erik & Speak Up Stories:

Instagram: @erik.j.dominguez, @speak.up.stories

Facebook: Speak Up Stories


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