This blog post was written by Huiping Iler, the president of wintranslation. She is a member of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) and recently attended an EO retreat at Wizard Academy. This article is a write-up of her experience there.
Hello, my name is Huiping Iler, and I am the president of award winning translation company, wintranslation, based in Ottawa, Canada, providing translation services in over 100 languages.
I am a member of the Ottawa chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), a global business network of 10,000+ entrepreneurs in 144 chapters and 46 countries. Founded in 1987 by a group of young entrepreneurs, EO enables business owners to learn from each other, leading to greater business success and an enriched personal life.
Each EO chapter has several forums. Each forum is made up of between four to eight members that meet once a month for half a day to help each other with personal, family and business challenges. Each forum must go on a retreat once a year to build closer bonds among members and strengthen the fellowship.
This year my forum chose the Wizard Academy in Austin for our retreat. One of our forum members, Peter Hauderowicz has been going to the Wizard Academy for several years. Peter has a storage and moving business called PODS. He had taken many of the master classes and works closely with Chris Maddock from the Wizard Academy on copywriting for his advertising messages on radio.
Usually our retreat has a learning component to it. This year the learning piece was a one-day creative copy writing workshop with Chris Maddock. Chris showed us an example of how, through his re-writing of a condo description, a rental place in Punta Cana gets five times more business compared to the exact same units in the same building. We also learned how to write differently for different personality types. Writing a marketing message for a very competitive, ambitious person is very different from writing for a relationship focused people-person. The day of learning how to write from Chris left a powerful impression. In my post class email to Chris, I wrote:
“It was lovely to meet you in Austin with my EO group. I enjoyed what I learned from your class and the wisdom Roy shared at the end of the class. I told my people at work that my life from now on will be changed forever! From that day I learned the power of words, the art of written persuasion. It is powerful and can be applied to so many aspects of my life! It will change the way I recruit employees and communicate with clients; it will also change the way I will write my online dating profile J and also how I find tenants for my rental property. It will pretty much touch on every aspect of my life! The experience is a gift and will change my life for the better. Thank you for that gift!”
After Chris’s class, the wizard himself (Mr. Roy Williams) paid us a visit. He invited us to ask him any questions we like. Louis Ryan from our group asked for advice on difficulty getting invoices issued on time for his clients.
Roy shared his experience of early days at the Williams Advertising Agency when he had trouble invoicing on time and one day ran into serious cash flow problems. Roy only found out what the problem was when psychology professor Dr. Grant did a personality profiling of his entire staff. All twelve people were of the exact personality type (the kind that are brilliant writers but hate anything to do with administrative paperwork!) At Dr. Grant’s recommendation, he started recruiting for a different personality type, one that complimented himself and his staff of creative people- the kind that is detail oriented, consistent and loves routine! After that, Roy’s invoicing problems went away!
When asked about what kind of personal development and growth path each entrepreneur should take, Roy shared with us a recent article he had read about the two most reliable indicators of success. One is curiosity and the other one is a wide and diverse network (as opposed to someone with a very closed, silo-like network where everyone in the network knows each other).
Roy’s straightforward, sharp and witty Q/A session was inspiring and uplifting. He is full of wisdom and his knowledge spans from writing to business management to personal growth. He is truly a wizard!
Aside from the learning, our EO forum members also thoroughly enjoyed the social aspects of staying at the lovely ENGELBRECHT HOUSE on the campus of the Wizard Academy. We did many team building exercises. For example one day we spent two hours going around the table talking about five major decisions we made in our lives and why. Those deep, meaningful dialogues brought us closer, and built trust so that we could support each other at an even deeper level going forward.
The well-stocked kitchen and the relaxed, dorm-like atmosphere at the ENGELBRECHT HOUSE put us at ease. We chillaxed and hung out. One day we started drinking wine at 1 pm and did not stop until 1 am! Toward the end, we were doing push-ups and dancing at midnight! It is an amazing lightness when grown-ups (and business-owners like us) open ourselves up to a genuine playfulness and enjoy the company of each other. The Wizard Academy was definitely the perfect environment for that bond to build.
The learning and bonding at the Wizard Academy was so powerful that as soon as I came back to Ottawa, I booked my entire core staff for a trip later in the year back to Austin to take the Magical World of Communication class from the Wizard!