Throughout time, literature has inspired thousands of successful entrepreneurs around the world. Tech and business giant Elon Musk has said that books such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”, Walter Isaacson’s “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life”, and Peter Thiel’s “Zero to One”, among others, have inspired him in his life, vision, and career in many ways. Small business owners have also shared books that have inspired their business life in this article by Fast Company. For some, books do more than just inspire. For Wilene Dunn, it was the catalyst.
Dunn worked in the sales and marketing in the legal field for 22 years before she left to work in the staffing business for two years. During her stay there, her manager gave her a book entitled “Rock to the Top, What I Learned about Success from the World’s Greatest Rock Stars” written by Houston based radio and television personality, entrepreneur, and keynote speaker Dayna Steele. This not only pushed her to leave the staffing industry and start her own career path but also to contact Steele herself. This led to Dunn eventually representing Steele for speaking engagements. On October of 2008, the Speaker Agency WCD Enterprises was born.
In its inception, the vision for WCD Enterprises was simple: to work with a few speakers to book engagements. Over the years of successfully doing this, they developed into a speaker development which includes public relations and book publishing. This expansion was brought about by the realization that with competition growing since they first started, a change was needed in order to stay on top of the game. Currently, WCD Enterprises represent over 80 speakers, all experts in various fields such as technology, health, business, leadership, and so much more.
Even with this kind of success, for Dunn, the desire for growth never stops. They are currently once again undergoing expansion, this time into a speaker development and a commissionable referral network – We Referred You Business and SpeakerReferral.com. With this expansion, a little help was needed to get it off the ground.
“Ironwood was instrumental in helping me start my expansion dreams of We Referred You Business, which is now a landing page and getting close to launch. The terms were more agreeable than most and truth is, when I got into a little payback issue, one of the Ironwood staff was so helpful, kind, and worked with me through it. One of the kindest people in a very competitive business. Ironwood is helpful with good terms and good people,” Dunn shares.
When asked why she loves most about the industry she’s in, she states that it all boils to down to one thing: being able to help people.
“I love connecting people and helping others grow their businesses. I have a passion for giving information that ultimately results in someone being successful,” she says.
Like any driven entrepreneur, despite her already successful business, Dunn always strives for more. On the side, she is working on another business venture – Phonetics World. They offer promotional products with unique messaging. Check them out here.
With this much experience in different aspects of business, Dunn says she’s had her fair share of bad days to be able to state say that the most valuable business lesson she’s learned is to just keep going even when it feels like you’re already on your breaking point. “If you quit on your bad day, then the next day wouldn’t have had a chance!” she says.
As for what she would tell other small business owners, aspiring or currently working as, her advice is to stay focused and to not let one bad day set the tone for your business, and to always surround yourself with people who will further grow your drive and determination, not people who will tear you down.
“Never give up and collaborate with those that can guide, inspire, and encourage you.”