546 Isabel Donadio:
Every entrepreneur is always looking for ways to stand out from the crowd – and attract their ideal…customers. Two proven ways – if you do it right – is to get that book of yours out there, and land a bunch of high-profile speaking gigs.
I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur who at age 25 has built two businesses to help women in business hone their message on stages … and on pages.
Isabel Donadio is the founder of Talent Support Services, helping business owners craft powerful talks and appearances. She’s also the majority owner of Speaker House Publishing, where she helps people get that Amazon bestseller status, and herself the best selling author of Finishing is Happiness. Today we talk about the common mistakes most women make when it comes to speaking and book-writing, and much more.
Isabel will be here in a minute, and first…
Isabel Donadio has accomplished a lot in her 25 years. She’s the winner of the 2019 TWC Most Outstanding Rising Star Award, and her experience includes everything from red-carpet interviewing, event planning, and social media marketing, to strategies for bestselling author campaigning and public speaking. Bottom line, Isabel has a talent for making her clients look good and allowing them to focus on the things they love most about their business.
If you’re trying to figure out how to land that coveted speaker spot or finally ready to write your book … or if you’ve already succeeded at these things and want to share a few tips, please join the conversation over on Podopolo – just download the app & follow Wings there.
So let’s get into the ins and outs of what it takes to get that book written, hone your message for that TedX talk on your list, or land gigs that transform your business.
Let’s put on our wings with the inspiring Isabel Donadio.
Melinda Wittstock: Okay, Isabel, welcome to Wings.
Isabel Donadio: Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, me too. So, how’s business going? Because obviously speaking gigs aren’t as prevalent now with coronavirus as they were before, how has that affected your business?
Isabel Donadio: Well, at first, we didn’t truly know how to fully respond to it. But immediately we saw that the [inaudible 00:00:31] of Zoom and how effective people are using it in one-on-one meetings, we found out you’re able to host large groups of people on there. So, we quickly adapted to changing our live events to online. And we have found not only great success for us as individuals who are able to get people to attend our events and find potential clients of our own, but the people who attend our events not only find their clients, but they’re also creating beneficial relationships.
Melinda Wittstock: I see. And so, you help people prepare for their speaking gigs or their appearances and things like that. What are some of the things women, in particular, struggle with most?
Isabel Donadio: I feel like what women struggle with most, in particular, when it comes to speaking is just truly focusing in on their message. As women, we are multifaceted, multi-dimensional, amazing beings. When it comes to having a central message, we feel like we have to present all these things at once to say why people should work with us. When truly that’s not the case. When you focus on a singular message, that’s where you find the most effectiveness. So, when we work with people to help them get prepared for their next speaking gig, we help them focus on that message and truly amplify, and that’ll kind of lead into the rest of who they are.
Melinda Wittstock: And so, the type of gigs, I mean, there’s so many different types of … Sorry, excuse me. There are so many different types of speaking gigs. I mean, there’s the going for that TEDx talk and preparing for that. Or there’s the speak to sell, or there’s a whole different variety of them. Take me through your process of how you help people prepare for any of these types of scenarios.
Isabel Donadio: The best place to start is … so, this is going to be kind of like a segue to something else that we do as well, which is book publishing. But it all kind of starts in the same way. We find out about that. We find their background. We find out why they got into their business. As we progress, and as we learn and experience all these different things, we try to say, “I’ve done this, I’ve done that.” And what we try to do is just say, “Why did you get started in the first place?” And that’s where we truly begin our first step.
We then go into their products, their packages, who they are, what their message is when they’re trying to communicate to people. So, whether they’re having a one-on-one conversation, or they’re speaking to tens of thousands of people we know that when they are truly prepared, they have that essential message down. So, when they do get that first door … excuse me, get that first step into the door of conversations that’s where they go into more in depth. But where we start is truly the beginning.
Melinda Wittstock: Right so, I mean, this is of a podcast, any kind of marketing, you have to have your message. So, really you’re helping people hone their message, that’s pretty much it.
Isabel Donadio: Yes. And the way that we do that is that we take it back to basics.
Melinda Wittstock: I mean, it always starts there, for sure. And so, is it important to have a book to be able to get on the speaker circuit?
Isabel Donadio: It is not the most important thing, but it is something that can help stand you up from the rest of the crowd. Now, if you’re speaking at, for example, a book convention everyone’s going to have a book there. But what about your book that truly makes a difference? Now, if you’re speaking somewhere where no one has a book, then that book is just something that’ll help you stand out. And how you evolve in that is something else that we kind of do to help people create their presentations, hone their message. So, for example, when they start creating a book, we also help them create into a workbook. We create then diagrams from that, and that all goes into a presentation. So, it’s just giving people information, and truly experience you, and helping them decide why they should work with you.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. So, in addition to being the founder of Talent Support Services, you also are an owner of Speaker House Publishing. Now, take me through what Speaker House Publishing does that’s distinct from Talent Support Services?
Isabel Donadio: So, the distinction from Talent Support Services that we help people hone their message. But what Speaker House Publishing does is that we make them the best-selling author in multiple categories through Amazon, that’s where we do our best seller campaign. And we help our clients create either their first book or their next book, or turning it into a workbook and course where they can build more information on that. But that’s what Speaker House Publishing does.
Melinda Wittstock: Got it. So, you’re really helping that whole Amazon piece. And so, all the marketing, and everything that comes along with it.
Isabel Donadio: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. So, what stage of the process in this do people generally come to you? Do they come to you kind of trying to figure out how to get speaking gigs? Or do they come to you when they’ve already got speaking gigs and they just need to polish up? Or is it a mix of both?
Isabel Donadio: It’s a healthy mix of both. My favorite kind of people though, are the ones that are initially getting in because they have so much passion, and they want to experience as much as they possibly can. They want to talk to so many people. And so, when we first start talking to them, it’s almost like the same way with book writing too. It’s almost like therapy. They’re just coming out with all of these great details and bits about their life of how they got so involved and where they’re at. And you see where they want to go. And I know from experience how much further they can go. And so, having those conversations with them, seeing that moment where they are like, “Yes, this is where my destiny is meant to take me.” So, those are definitely my favorite kind of people. But we do definitely get a healthy mix of both.
Melinda Wittstock: And on the book side, that is a whole other, I mean, I know a lot of people who do things like ghost writing books for people, and helping them with a lot of the marketing, and that kind of thing. Do you also do the ghost writing? Or is it really just really the marketing around the book once the book is done?
Isabel Donadio: No, we also do the book writing. So, we do everything from helping them create a book cover, creating a concept, helping them come up with a table of contents. Scheduling them with a ghost writer to helping them find the best book printer, helping them get their books printed, getting them ISBNs, getting them the Library of Congress, and making them a best seller. But that’s people who haven’t written a single word. But we’ve also worked with people who’ve written their entire manuscript. We help them polish it up. If they already have a book cover done, we throw in some other options. And then, we just continue on with the process from there. So, we definitely have people that have never written a single word, and we have people that have written their entire manuscript, and they just want our help to make them either a bestseller or get their books printed.
Melinda Wittstock: Got it. Yeah, this is such important work because if you’re a business owner or an author, I mean, you can have an amazing business, or you can have an amazing book, or you can have an amazing message, but if you don’t know how to package it up no one will hear it. I mean, what’s the biggest challenge really that you find in your business for getting people into a position where they stand out from all the noise? Because there’s just so much kind of ADD out there. So, what’s the kind of magic formula?
Isabel Donadio: Truthfully, there is no silver bullet to making everything work effectively right away. And some of it just takes time. Some of it takes months. But the biggest challenge I’ve seen that the people have come into with that has halted their is, honestly, them just getting in their own way. They have such a vision, they have such an idea of where they want to go that anything bigger, or anything that kind of takes them from that course they kind of back away against it. And so, we have to have those conversations with them.
And when we have clients, we don’t just have that relationship. We definitely develop a friendship with them where we walk them through everything that they are going through. Why they feel like they’re stalled, why they feel like they have to stay where they’re at and not going forward, where we know that they will find the greatest success. So, that’s been the biggest challenge I’ve seen just come in to people, that them just stepping out of their own way,
Melinda Wittstock: Strictly for women, in particular, to step into the light, there’s some sort of underlying fear there I’ve noticed, like mindset issues. What kinds of stuff comes up in particular when you’re working with women business owners, women entrepreneurs?
Isabel Donadio: The biggest challenge I’ve seen for women entrepreneurs is that they want to try to be everything all at the exact same time. And, as much as I can definitely identify with that, there is definitely a time and place where you are mother, where you are a business owner, where you are a coach. We wear all these different hats. And the biggest challenge is knowing when to take off certain hats, so you can be who you are supposed to be in that moment to be the most effective.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s really true. So, what made you start this company? Tell me a little bit more about your background, and what led you here.
Isabel Donadio: How I first got involved in the speaker world, in general, is that I was a business owner, but my business was being a makeup artist. I did makeup on people’s TV shows. And I had met just great people, and they gave me the opportunity to learn more. And I, eventually, became an event producer. But what I noticed the most, though, was that even the greatest speakers had the challenge of getting out of their own way. They didn’t truly know how to delegate to their team, and make the most out of the people that they have surrounded themself with. So, that way they can be the best that they need to be at that moment.
Like for myself, example, I have people that work for me that have been a huge support. I’m not the greatest writer. I am a best-selling author of my book Finishing is Happiness, and I didn’t write a single word of it. Now, all of it is my concept, it’s my beliefs, it’s my systems. But I had a ghost writer help me. I had a designer help me with the book cover. I had to learn all these different techniques to help make it a bestseller, which I have used that same system for my clients, which has made them successes. And so, that’s where I wanted to be more involved.
Melinda Wittstock: Got it. So, [inaudible 00:12:03] pretty entrepreneurial when you were a kid?
Isabel Donadio: I would say I was. I wanted to find out different ways on how to be multi-faceted, but also make money. I just didn’t really have the education. I didn’t really have that experience. My background in my family was that they worked 9 to 5 jobs, they got a paycheck. And we went on vacations when they had enough time to do that. And I truly appreciate my background, but also it showed me the life I didn’t really want to have. So, I knew the entrepreneurial journey was going to be scary. It was going to be hard. But I knew it would be the most rewarding for me.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, it really is. So, what have been some of the challenges that you’ve had to overcome along the way as you built this?
Isabel Donadio: One of the challenges has, truly and honestly, been my age. I’m 25 years old, but it sounds kind of funny in a way, but I forget that. And I’m like, “No, I know these things. I know how to talk. I know how to present. I know how to make sure my clients have everything they need to be successful.” But initially when some people meet me, they’re like, “Oh, can you help me with this?” But it’s mostly in a secretary kind of way. It’s like, “I need this. Go get this.” But it’s like, “No, I’m the host. I’m here to make sure that you have everything you need, so we can get you on stage and ready to go.” So, that’s an example of just one of the challenges I’ve had to overcome. But I don’t let that deter me. I don’t let that slow me down or stop me because I know what I’m capable of. I know what my team and I can deliver on for our clients. So, that has been the greatest motivator to overcome any challenge that comes my way.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s fantastic. So, how many books have you got out into the world so far?
Isabel Donadio: Currently, as of right now, it is my book Finishing is Happiness: 7 Ways Big Idea Entrepreneurs can Become Big Business Finishers. But I have utilized that, and I have leveraged my book to become an audio book. I have turned that into a course. And, as of right now, I’m working on another book with my husband that we are currently still working on, which we’re hoping to have released in the next couple months.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s fantastic. And what about for your clients though? How many client books have you gotten out into the world?
Isabel Donadio: I would say in just the last year of 2020, we have gotten out seven best-selling books, but altogether we have hit over 53 best-selling categories with our client’s books.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s fantastic. My goodness. How long have you been at this?
Isabel Donadio: I myself have been at this, in the publishing part of the industry, for the better part of two and half years. But with my husband’s experience and our team’s experience, we definitely have the best knowledge, the best technology at our disposal to help make our clients successful.
Melinda Wittstock: Now, you also run the Top Talent JV Mastermind, what’s that? And tell me a little bit about that, and who that’s for, and … Sorry, let’s kind of pick up there. You also run the Top Talent JV Mastermind. So, tell us what that’s about, and who attends that, and more.
Isabel Donadio: So the Top Talent JV Mastermind is, essentially, focused on influencers, entrepreneurs, and experts. It is truly for people who are tired of just networking, tired of just local networking. They want to go global with who they are.
And I want to explain the difference between creating a joint venture and networking. Before COVID-19, we would have networking events and in those types of situations, people would hand you a business card and say, “Here’s my card. Remember me when you kind of think of me.” And months would go by, and they were probably like, “Oh, who is this person,” and probably just toss the card out. But, now, when you’re creating joint ventures, you’re creating relationships. You are creating a dynamic in conversation of this is what I can offer you, but this is what I need. This is what my business needs to help be more successful.
And that could be anything from helping create a new flyer, helping create a website, helping with branding and having different exchanges of that. I need someone on my podcast. I need someone from my magazine, and having those conversations. You’re constantly being in connections with them. And so, when you have deeper conversations of, “Oh, maybe I want to work with you. Maybe I want to hire your services,” then that’s where it goes beyond networking, because you have those constant conversations with those individuals.
And so, when people come to the Top Talent JV Mastermind, you’re constantly being put into breakout groups where you are forced, and I say it that way because we want you to be vulnerable in these breakout rooms. We want you to truly say, “This is what I need. I don’t know anyone else who can help me with this. Can you help me? And in exchange, I’ll give you this.” You hear from amazing speakers for no more than 10 to 15 minutes. So, everything is constantly moving. So, when you come, you know that you’re going to walk away with at least one connection that is going to be able to help you in your business.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s wonderful. That’s such important work. So, how many people are involved in the Top Talent JV Mastermind, and how often do you have it?
Isabel Donadio: We have at least one event every six weeks. And how many people on average attend our events is anywhere from 120 to upwards of 300. But when you go into these breakout rooms, you’re in no more group … excuse me, you’re in groups of no bigger than 6 to 9 people, but you’re constantly being put into different groups with different people. So, every time you go into a breakout group you are meeting new people every time.
Isabel Donadio: And we definitely welcome anyone who has attended a past event to come again, because we’re constantly having new people attend. And how you can sign up this is a free event by the way. You can attend all three day events, participate in all of the breakout groups. And that’s at no cost, because we know how important this is for people to be able to connect, and be able to create these new relationships with people who you may not have the chance to, if this was a live event. And you can register for free at toptalentjv.com.
Melinda Wittstock: Fantastic. And Isabel, if people are just itching to get that book written, or promoted, or grace stages and want to up their confidence, and their speaking skills, how should they get in touch with you?
Isabel Donadio: You know what? Even though I’m highly busy, even though we are constantly being able to trying to help our clients, I want to give out my personal phone number, if that’s okay.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my goodness. Okay, if you want.
Isabel Donadio: So, for you, who is listening, if you are ready to work on your book, if you’re ready to get on more stages, if you’re ready to make more connections, and hone your message, and find your true ideal clients, please call me. Talk to me. I want to be able to help you be the success you have always known you should be. So call me at 310-993-3561. If you don’t get me … excuse me, if I don’t answer my phone, text me, bug me. I will get with you. I will connect with you. And again, my phone number is 310-993-3561, I give you permission to call me in the middle of the night.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my goodness. Okay, that definitely proves you’re 25. Anyone who’s older than that is not going to be saying that. But that’s awesome. Hats off to you. I just hear the passion and energy in your voice. And such a great accomplishment to be where you are at age 25. So, Isabel, congratulations. And thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us today.
Isabel Donadio: Thank you so much for having me. It’s been truly an honor to talk with you, and thank you for listening.