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Graham Brown and The Virtual Entrepreneurs

And do you usually download notes for this. No, no, okay, okay. So, I'm gonna start recording the notes here. So I'm gonna start with

Graham Brown

our success is only as limited as the stories we choose to believe, and our success is also as good as the stories we choose to tell. Hello everyone and welcome to this episode of the virtual entrepreneur, the title of today's interview slash podcast slash discussion, discussion, is how to get started with storytelling for your business. I'm interviewing Graham Brown today. So, my name is Herbert if innocent, if you're new to this podcast, you're very welcome and today I am talking with the storytelling expert Graham Brown, about how to get started with storytelling, and telling stories for your businesses. Welcome, Graham Brown.

1:14 Awesome, awesome. So Graham Brown is a very well known expert in the subject matter of storytelling, and has kindly agreed to join us in this discussion to share his extensive knowledge and wisdom and experience so that the entrepreneurs in our audience can understand how we define success and how we tell stories about our business, about what we do and how we shape those stories, ultimately, so that we can reach our objective in everything that we do through storytelling, and our businesses. So, Graham, thank you again for joining us on this discussion. Let's jump right in so you can share on how you got started with your audience so that they can learn what you've learned and also apply to all to their business in their situation in their cases, in terms of storytelling but also getting to know you as a person. So, what's usually happen in this episode is my first questions are usually tailored towards your background and experience in the field of storytelling so the entrepreneurs in the audience can understand who you are, where you're coming from, and how you got started. And then we're gonna jump into your thoughts of what you do if you had to start all over again as an entrepreneur because you're as I've learned you're an entrepreneur, you're an author and you're storyteller. So you've done quite a lot of all these things in a lot of our entrepreneurs in the audience are most likely aspiring to do those and they're just getting started. And then so the questions that I'm going to ask after they're gonna jump into your thoughts to what you do if you have to start over again so that the audience can understand how they can apply all of this knowledge, what they're learning into their situations in today's world. And to kick off my first question is could you tell us a little bit about yourself in terms of your background, education, and maybe even your experience in storytelling, and how did you get started.

3:13 I consider myself a storyteller when people ask me, What do I do, because, actually, that is probably one of the worst questions I am on three. But what do you do, what's your official podcast because the podcast.

3:36 But when people ask me that question I'll tell them rather than October, I'm a storyteller, and they'll help people tell stories, because we all love stories, right. Remember at school, the teachers would say gather around the best teachers were always always the first story.

3:56 You remember I'm sure how that.

3:58 Oh, absolutely.

4:03 He or she inspired you to stories, and you remember the subjects and that's really no different in business as well. So, it's now, how do you teach people how you train them to better stories, that's what I do. In essence, in a nutshell. My career has weaved through many aspects of storytelling, writing, podcasting, to being an entrepreneur, all different facets.

4:34 Hopefully that's what you can talk about tonight. Awesome, awesome. I think you're right there when you were talking I kept remembering you know, the teachers and the stories they told, and it's true, it seems the subject, I learned the best were the ones where I could remember the story because I could connect this story to the element and one quick example was I had this female physics teacher now physics was the hardest subjects for the students, we didn't do. We, the content felt very dry, but she had a way of explaining, by being visually, you know, she, I remember one particular example where she would talk about the double effect as you explain how the cars would go, passing balancing, and making that sound and this was so visual, and into the content to this moment, I can still remember that so, I think.

5:32 Exactly yeah I remember that I remember everything.

5:35 I mean I loved the module. It was quite.

5:40 It was quite the experience and I suppose what you mean here is for business owners, we need to create this experience for our customers.

5:55 People always forget what you told them, but they will always remember. How do you make you feel. Now think about every single business presentation you've ever seen.

6:07 You watch webinars.

6:09 And it was the guy that gets the bullet points and the PowerPoints and the slides that kind of bored everybody, even though it may have been really technical. Interesting. And yeah, it was the guy that told the stories that engaged.

6:24 And he probably was very light. Technical grad, and which you Branson, say, fundamentally, being an entrepreneur, has been the story.

6:39 What do we do as entrepreneurs, part of what we do. For example, you may be raising funding.

6:47 Friends and family, investors.

6:52 That's the story. Yeah, they buy the story rather than the number.

6:58 And then you maybe sell it. But if you're an entrepreneur, you'll sell it, I don't care if you're a. Think of yourself as technical or whatever it may be you are selling in different forms, that is ultimately the purest form of storytelling, yeah, yeah, yeah, packaging, information and making it relevant, that is what stories are whether it's physics.

7:24 She knew how to make it relevant to you. She was engaging connected with your senses. Yes, yes,

7:33 that's exactly what we do as entrepreneurs when you are selling to a customer.

7:40 If you're, if you're an entrepreneur can't sell coffee to an entrepreneur. Yeah, you're selling you're taking information packages, just like, I'll give you another example, something that people tend to think stories are once upon a time, but I'll give you an example of a really powerful story called flattening the curve. So you remember a year ago, when I talked about the COVID pandemic and flattening the curve, get this curve down is this gonna squash instances cases. Yeah, that's a fantastic example of the story.

8:21 It was a story just like the Hollywood movie. Yeah, that had a beginning a middle and an end.

8:28 The rocky road challenge. Departure all these kind of scenes you see fantastic heroes.

8:35 It had all the storytelling has many many different poles. It's not just a classic fairy tales that we know right.

8:46 Ultimately, it's

8:52 yeah it's just all about conveying information.

8:56 Okay, that makes a lot of sense and now I suppose what I'm gonna try to jump into here is into your story because one of the things that we had discussed was, you know, getting to know.

9:09 So, for an entrepreneur, right, who has a business, and they're packaging all this information into a story. And the idea here you're saying, He is the one to deliver this to the audience. What exactly are they doing in fundamentally if you were to tell them into a story packet into a story if you were to give them an example as in, you know what you're doing is this for your audience. So that's something that they will remember and all this was an example, Would you have one on top of your head like what would you think that they're doing they're when they're packaging that story, an entrepreneur.

9:47 I take packages or sell something somebody, how can I use a story. So, Yeah, because one of the things I think is, I think you talked about this in the past is.

10:01 So, sometimes it feels like you're compelled to tell this story this grand crazy beautiful impactful story but you've never told the story before. So you're in the How can I create a Hollywood style movie story, right, so what I'm wondering is, how does an entrepreneur with a simple product, who just wants to sell, how do they go about this process, do they have to be the expert, they have to go and learn, you know, all these fundamentals and.

10:31 So here's the thing about fantastics. Okay, the stories or already written.

10:41 So if you are entrepreneur let's say you are a consultant, an IT consultant, or even if you are a plumber, whatever it is right, what you should think about and one of the most compelling stories you can tell, is why am I doing right. So, what is the origin of this Why are you creating this service, or selling this product because if I understand where it comes from unconnected to the story in the product more engagement.

11:18 Let's say for example you are, you have a an IT services company you're selling security. Right.

11:28 You're selling it to facilities managers.

11:32 What is the story of how you got into that, right, so we got into this because I used to work for this company, I saw a problem, I'd worked there for 15 years. I decided that I was going to leave the company, and start my own business and that's one of the origins for

11:52 a kid that came to this country when I was a teenager. And then I always felt I was an outsider started my business. That's an origin story right. Everybody has an origin story, and by telling an origin story, you can create engagement with what you're doing, because what it does is help people understand the problem we're trying to solve and why you're solving it, rather than just selling and selling a product.

12:22 But yes,

12:27 I understand.

12:30 Yes, yes. That makes a lot of sense, and I suppose. Another thing that I wanted to touch on there, you talked about, you know, the origin story, and I wanted to get to dive into your origin story a little bit. We talked we had discussed a little bit about the idea of, you know, how we define success as a story that we ultimately write ourselves. And I think for entrepreneurs, especially at this stage that they are right now that I'm considering right you've started your own business, and you're starting to make those sales, and really the story you tell yourself about where you want to take that business can make or break because it determines the decisions you make, what path, who you partner with all these important things. And rather than discussing and telling, you know, you should do this, you should do that. I wanted to get your experience because you were an entrepreneur you sold the telecom business if I remember correctly, And you went on to this grand adventure relief on a few islands. Can you tell us a little bit about that backstory of yourself there.

13:40 Okay.

13:46 And it was a business that sold research to telecom companies, and not just telecoms company in telecom.

13:57 We sold to MTV Disney from the European Commission. We sold to everybody, every telco every manufacturer in the world, we started that business with nothing.

14:10 We grew that business over 12 years quite substantial. It was a niche business its sole research focused on young people mobile.

14:21 We were the only. We're the only company in the world.

14:24 And so, in 1999, when it wasn't a thing. Nobody wanted our research. But in 2000 2001, when all these telecoms companies were looking at young people texting and value added services.

14:41 We became like the go to people in the world.

14:45 For this huge fast growing industry. You know our phones are ringing people are buying reports. I was flying all over the world to do presentations that young people have mobile phones. So that business. Was it grew crazy. It grew for 12 years, and then at the end of the 12 years when I had enough and I wanted out. And then the same as my wife.

15:09 I don't want to stop.

15:11 We didn't need to stop.

15:14 So I had this opportunity, Probably the only time I've ever get in my life to say what do I want to do.

15:22 And I didn't want to start another business because I hadn't taken a day off for 12 years. Wow, took a couple of days off and my son was born.

15:33 You know what being an entrepreneur is crazy, crazy, he just constantly on on switch orders.

15:41 And so I said what what what do you do, and then we decided that we would travel the world. Now we initially were going to go for six months, with travel the world come back.

15:56 We decided once we started travelling we took a flight from. So we started in London.

16:04 And we said, What's the furthest we could go. Obviously that was New Zealand. The other side of the world. So we flew to New Zealand. Me, my wife, my six year old son. We had three suitcases.

16:19 And we decided we really liked travelling, we really liked living out of trip. It was very liberating.

16:27 And we ended up travelling for four years. Wow, non stop. We lived in places, tropical island. We put my son in schools.

16:40 It goes to the point, we talked about earlier that story. Life is really a story. If you want a better life, tell a story, you choose, as far as you want to tell. And why not to say oh I'll do that when I win the lottery.

16:59 You know what, you're more likely to get struck by lightning than women

17:06 can travel the world it doesn't cost a lot of money, your virtual entrepreneur.

17:12 Didn't work anywhere. Yes, what's not now, not the limitations of the stories we tell about.

17:23 But that was my adventure for years building a tropical island blends rocky MANDARAKE Cypress, with Coraline, worth of Ventura, Africa, walking our Thailand, it along.

17:47 That's a really beautiful story that's very empowering. And I think it really. So for you when you were, you know you when you were doing that when you, you know you defined success, and were you a storyteller back then when you started that, did you see yourself as a storyteller. Back then, when, when you were going on that adventure.

18:11 Because you know the thing about storytelling,

18:20 learn from people in the industry, you see people like Steve Jobs telling stories, read about this you pick up points and tips and then you know like Steve Jobs says, make sense of life, joining the dots and storytelling

18:40 careers are like as an entrepreneurial career it's like T shaped. You start with a bar column, and you become specialists and really good at this one thing and then as you get older, it's a problem.

19:01 Think.

19:04 I think the audio is frozen or something.

19:39 Are you with me Graham audio

19:47 recording stuff,

19:56 recording in progress. So I think I just lost, Graham there recording stuff. Oh, time minute cash, okay.

20:08 Okay, so.

24:40 You're right there. Yeah, I'm so sorry.

24:44 Oh, okay, that's all right, that's it, I thought maybe it was some setting it doesn't like okay, what did I do.

24:52 That's, that's, that's, that's okay. It happens.

24:58 Okay.

25:00 Okay, so where we were, we were talking about, I used the recording Yes, because I think, I think, I think it automatically stopped for me and for some reason.

25:20 Okay, morning in progress. Do you want me to send you the audio after record as well. Oh, that'd be easier for you.

25:26 Oh, Jenna record, or do you wanna record.

25:31 Yeah.

25:33 Let me see if

25:39 I trust you to be professional and that you have more. Let's see.

25:44 Make co hosts.

25:49 I only see my host as an option here.

25:56 Okay, we are both recording, yes. Okay, perfect. No, that's all right that actually happens, I, I've had that my side as well. So,

26:07 taking technology works and it doesn't.

26:11 Okay, so I think I was asking.

26:16 I left my question here.

26:19 Okay, so tell us about your experience on mentorship, did you have a mentor when you first jumped into this journey on learning about storytelling.

26:31 No I didn't. I mean the mentors that I have had people have studied or read a lot of books I'm a big fan of Seth Godin marketing. I love the work of Malcolm Gladwell, I listen avidly to people like Steve Jobs any entrepreneur I think entrepreneur.

26:54 Mentors are often one of entrepreneurs. Yes.

26:59 These are the most powerful.

27:01 Yes, I remember my first ever job when I came back from Japan.

27:10 I bought a book which is just a collection of stories, entrepreneur, that I was working with that inspired my business I was reading about a traditional entrepreneur.

27:21 And for Rockefeller Okay.

27:29 I was reading. Wow, this is amazing, cause when I was a kid, I didn't have anyone in my family, who's an entrepreneur and hearing entrepreneur.

27:47 Growing a scalable business.

27:52 I had no advice, no one nobody's like an uncle. Yeah.

27:59 So everything I learned, I had to read.

28:03 Still to this day I think he's a great.

28:07 And what did you say maybe was your roadblock that you faced early on that you had to overcome before you know starting telling these stories and inspiring leaders, and, you know, business owners to create their own stories.

28:30 My story's not compelling.

28:33 I find that people I myself sometimes very much on Facebook. I see that as well as leaders, you know, I work with CEOs of large organisations management.

28:53 And that's often their self doubt, because I'm not rich and cause I'm not.

29:04 I'm not worthy, that is very common in all entrepreneurs, who am I really very good at business. But when it comes to storytelling.

29:18 You know I'm not, I'm not a billionaire yet. So maybe my story is not worthy of your time,

29:27 your story is interesting, fascinating

29:33 kid that came from a different world, to Ireland, and a teenager, study that was, that was a transition.

29:44 That's the same as any hero, watching Marvel.

29:50 For some reason, going, crossing the river.

29:57 Everybody has to sell because we see what powerful imagery

30:05 to fill in as

30:11 a mortal, but I put it to you that everybody has a very interesting story and I felt that doubt as well, why, why am I qualified.

30:20 Talk about storytelling.

30:22 But here's the good news that you don't need a qualification.

30:26 Unless you're adopted.

30:29 But everything else you just have to step up and say I can do.

30:34 So, what was the process like of you overcoming that if an intrapreneur if an entrepreneur is stuck in that place right now, you know, they want to make their website they want to tell a story, but they're stuck. What was the first step for you to overcoming that

30:55 a tell you a story about my dad was in the Marines.

31:01 He is one of the things that really, if they do that thing that is spinning life around.

31:13 And as a kid I was. He was born. But I used to joke.

31:22 Why do they do that but what a waste of time. And when the reason we do spinning, life is to develop what psychologists call controlled failed.

31:38 Spin, because if you drop your rifle. You can very quickly develop this ability. What do you do in the situation where you drop the right.

31:51 Pick it up very quickly that trains your brain to deal with self.

31:58 And there's something called rejection therapy.

32:04 There's a great book out there, and it's called fear something that the fear of rejection, I forget the name. It's about rejection.

32:13 Cha cha chang.

32:16 Chinese immigrants.

32:20 It's a fascinating book, it's about his story of rejection, and what he does, he does this amazing video series about 100 days of rejection, what he does.

32:34 Every day, he goes out and gets rejected by something like the first day he thought of going to Dunkin Donuts and walk into Dunkin Donuts and says collaboratory goes up. And I'd like to get out.

32:48 And then he will try something every day it gets more and more outrageous.

32:53 One day he goes up to me, goes into somebody's garden and knocks on the door with how can I plant flower.

33:12 But if you go over the road there's a lady over there and she'll let you do it.

33:16 And so what I'm talking about this controlled rejection of the learning. Rejection is not, it doesn't try, and if you constantly practice rejection.

33:33 Master, Learn that you're in control of it.

33:38 He's not in control of you.

33:40 And so projection characters will now to your point, story, fear of doing it as a projection.

33:49 If I tell you my story, you might laugh. You might think, and grateful we feel rejected, it's very personal. It's not like, here's a product. When you tell your story, it's a bit of you. That's a bit of

34:11 a you may laugh. I'm telling you,

34:17 Duran Duran, whatever it may be, you may want to reject it, but if you keep practising by the spinning of the rifle.

34:29 Right, learn to deal with it. So my advice.

34:34 The way you can get good at.

34:37 Keep telling stories in small way, every opportunity to get a story. Every take every opportunity to every opportunity to do a presentation. Take every opportunity to write about what you do, and you get really good.

34:56 There was a time when I was refiling.

35:00 But now I'm trying to not only because, go back to my spending.

35:12 That is a really fascinating story. I really enjoyed that, and I want I have a question here which is uh, well, do you have like a particular story that you think could really sum up your experience, you know, in terms of storytelling but also your journey because in this case. You are our hero, you know, you've gone from one place to another and I wanted to unless you have a story that sums up all that together in a package. As an example,

35:45 key story.

35:47 Let's go back a little bit, shall we.

35:51 I graduated with my wife.

35:55 In 1995, which is 25 plus years ago so it's last century.

36:01 I wasn't a storyteller I was an AI.

36:05 You can imagine now, if I was me I could Google back then.

36:13 Yeah. You and AI taught AI, that was possible.

36:23 I graduated and like they didn't have any jobs out there for AI five so he was up to ahead of the time ahead of the curve.

36:35 And they didn't have anything.

36:42 Because for me, a future opportunity where, when you're an entrepreneur, where the action is, so she can excited anytime was in Japan.

36:59 So it took the opportunity and awareness.

37:07 And that taught me everything, cultural, how we connect.

37:13 How do you and I connect, even though you're on the West Coast Long Island, Singapore, even though we're born in Africa.

37:21 Even though we connect with similar chef. Right, he talks entrepreneur.

37:31 For me that was the best learning because I trained, one took a different path. Now the interesting part is that we look at where we are now.

37:41 The reason why we seek counsel was so why do people to podcast, true crime

37:54 stories are increasingly coming

38:00 over here often.

38:03 Virtual lives, run by AI feel like now, AI, and AI are happening at the same pace because of doing more work to create more human connection. Because we're increasingly a world driven mind.

38:24 I feel that that's

38:33 the real reason why I'm

38:37 nice thanks to artificial causes increasingly engaging human conversation.

38:49 That's a really beautiful story that I think it has it. It has

38:58 the easiest thing where I've been following your you know your talks on you know storytelling and how you've been explaining them. And I'm noticing paying attention to this I'm noticing that full circle the healer returns, you know.

39:13 So it's a very beautiful cultivating and I think it works and I think it works as a, you know, creating those mammal but also these connections, you know, I think stories really do help us connect, I can't say, the amount of times have listened to people, and you just feel so inspired, you know, so I really agree, I can I can empathise so deeply with those experiences with those with that journey. I have one final question and what final thoughts do you have maybe to help our entrepreneurs get motivated. Get started with their storytelling, you know, and take it to the next level

39:57 is a great feature.



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