Valerie Khoo On Words, Dreams and Entrepreneurship

Last year, your book Power Stories debuted as the no 2 business book in Australia. What did it feel like?

I was a little surprised to be honest. But of course it felt great. It’s a book I’m really passionate about because I’ve always loved “storytelling” and I’ve always been fascinated by the world of small business.

I know it’s hard to believe, but when I was little my mother used to bring home The Daily Mirror newspaper – which doesn’t exist anymore – from work. I would always turn to the kids’ page, which I think was page 13, and the small business pages. I’m not joking. I’ve always loved hearing about entrepreneurs turning their dreams into reality, although at the time I don’t think I even knew what an “entrepreneur” was. I just knew I wanted my own business.

Anyhow, the book is a perfect combination of two topics I’m really fascinated with. I loved writing the book – and I love the feedback I’m getting from readers who are now identifying and telling their own “Power Stories” as a result.

In your book, you talk about the “8 stories you must tell to build an epic business”. One of which you refer to as “passion story”. What’s yours?

I’m passionate about helping people achieve their dreams. My friends probably get a bit sick of me when I try to encourage and motivate them to achieve their goals. They might call it nagging. But I can’t help it. I’ve always wanted people to realise that whatever they want to achieve is possible.

While I would love to coach someone to Olympic glory or develop the mindset so they can conquer Everest, that’s not likely to happen. My technical skill is writing so I’ve channeled my energies into helping people realise their writing goals. That’s what the Australian Writers’ Centre is all about and I’m thrilled that it’s working. Our team is humbled by the number of students who describe our courses as “life changing”.

Best selling author Seth Godin loves your book. What’s the secret to writing something others (like Seth!) will love?

Be authentic – and make sure you have something worthwhile to say. I see too many books out there which should have been magazine articles or blog posts. If you want to write a book, make sure it’s worthy of being a book.

Apart from meaty content, you want to be able to write it in a way that’s easily digestible and enjoyable to read. Practise your craft and edit your work until you’ve mastered this.

Tell us about What is it and what’s the inspiration behind it? is a free service that helps bloggers and social media influencers connect more easily with brands and businesses.

Brands post targeted callouts to engage with social media influencers and, if bloggers find the callout appealing, they connect directly with the brand/business.

So if you’re a parenting blogger you’ll receive callouts only from brands/businesses in categories you’re specifically interested in.

At we connect the right brands with the right social media influencers in a way that’s cost effective and time efficient. It’s a great service and I’m thrilled to be involved with it because it really levels the playing field for bloggers and brands.

What does it take to build a business or three?

Hard work, determination, lots of ideas – and the ability to multi-task!

What have you sacrificed along the way? Was it worth it?

Sleep. Actually, I don’t feel like I’ve sacrificed very much at all. I actually LOVE what I do. Most of the time, it doesn’t feel like work to me. And I think that’s the great thing about doing something that you’re passionate about – it’s a joy.

Sure, there are times when it’s overwhelming and challenging – like when you have to do mountains of paperwork or calculate your taxes. When it gets really busy, one of the first things to fall through the cracks is my fitness routine. But I try to keep that on track by making regular appointments with a personal trainer. That keeps me sane. But, on the whole, I don’t feel like I’ve sacrificed anything significant.

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Robelen Bajar

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