As a Board Member for Ventures, I believe in the power of providing a hand up to entrepreneurs. So many small business owners start their businesses because they have a service or product that sets them apart. Something that could make the world a better place. What I didn’t realize was that volunteering to work with small business owners would also make my world a better place.
When I joined the Board four years ago, I was just starting a business of my own: Melissa Forziat Events. After years of working on contract for some of the biggest events and brands in the world (Olympic Winter Games, Rugby World Cup, US Olympic Committee), I started to do freelance event management here in Seattle.
For about a year, event management was the only offering of my business. However, most of the people in my inner circle were business owners, and I was regularly fielding questions about how to market a business. One week, three people suggested that marketing consulting should be something I actually offer.
Around the same time, one of the Ventures instructors asked me if I would be open to speaking to his advanced marketing class. This was getting eerie. I said “yes,” but had my doubts. What authorized me to speak on marketing? Sure, I knew a lot of information about marketing, but what could I offer in a formal setting like that?
Being insecure about how much I would bring to the table, I prepared the best presentation I could. I thought about what lessons I wanted to share and how to make them clear and effective.
On the day of the Marketing Course, I gave my presentation and we workshopped the material. When we wrapped up, to my surprise, a line of people formed to talk to me. They didn’t want to leave the room without getting my guidance. That moment is one that I have thought about a lot- I realized I should never have doubted how much I had to offer. My knowledge made a material difference for the people in that room.
I used it as evidence. I formally began offering marketing services through my business, now called “Melissa Forziat Events and Marketing.” I have continued to speak to groups of Ventures business owners and watch them have breakthroughs right in front of me. Now, it is a robust part of my own business to do speaking engagements on marketing all over Washington, the United States, and the world!
Whatever you think you might have to offer as a volunteer, don’t doubt it. You might be able to change an entrepreneur’s life by sharing what you know.
Interested in volunteering? Contact Jacquee Kurdas at jkurdas(at)venturesnonprofit.org to learn more about how you can help our entrepreneurs succeed!