A lifelong entrepreneur, Holly Hurd understood the barriers to getting an idea to the marketplace. A mother of three, she also knew that moms could benefit from calling their own shots—and had the problem-solving skills to be successful. So, true to her self-starter roots, she launched a company that helps other women build businesses.
Hurd made her mark early in life as an entrepreneur and was the subject of stories in USA Today and Fortune for her success managing her own fund on Wall Street when she was just 25 years old. She says VentureMom grew from conversations she started with other women:
“When I looked around, the happiest women I could find were the ones who had created business ventures around something they loved to do. This resonated with my own experience: When I have a project, I’m on top of the world. I began to interview these women and write their stories. They were so compelling that rather than wait to get a book published, I wanted to share their experiences right away. So I started a website and newsletter and called it what I was, a mom with a venture: VentureMom.”
From that beginning, Hurd now runs an online marketplace to help women build their businesses and get their products to customers. She’s also written a book that details her process for going “From Idea to Income in Just 12 Weeks."
We asked her about the communication skills entrepreneurs should focus on developing:
How does public speaking fit into your work?
Hurd: Public speaking is everything! It’s one of the most important ways I get my message to the world: Every woman can start a business. Public speaking lets me take that message to my target audience.
What’s been your toughest speaking challenge and how did you overcome it?
Hurd: I was asked to talk to a fashion company, and I thought I was talking to their salespeople. I had crafted a speech about how they could take their message to clients. But just as I stood up to speak, I learned that I was talking to a totally different audience—customers who wanted to shop for clothes, not sell them to others. So I had to, on the fly, craft a new message. My training at The Buckley School helped me finesse that. I wound up giving a wonderful speech, but it wouldn’t have been so great if I hadn’t recognized what the audience cared about and made the necessary changes.
What speaking tips can you share with other entrepreneurs?
Hurd: Be authentic. Be real. Be comfortable with who you are—then talk to the audience's needs and not yours. Put humor in it, whatever your topic. And get your audience engaged. Ask a question. Involve individuals. Really relate—that’s my biggest tip.
What else should entrepreneurs know about communicating?
Hurd: Video is where it’s at to promote a business, and you need to be comfortable in front of the camera. I post videos to my You Tube channel and promote VentureMom entrepreneurs with videos there and on Instagram. Being confident and able to talk to the camera is important, and that’s another way my Buckley training has really helped me.
You can watch how Hurd describes VentureMom in this interview:
Here’s an example of how Hurd uses informal videos for VentureMom entrepreneurs:
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