Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Matthew Evilsizor, Founder of Pro Presence, located in Costa Mesa, CA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Professional Presence is a developed skill. We help leaders communicate with confidence, authority, clarity, and warmth. As a communications consultancy providing personalized, one-on-one professional presence training and presentation performance coaching, our main customers are executives who frequently give investor pitches, earnings calls, board presentations, podcasts, fireside chats, discussion panels, and media interviews.

I ultimately think of our agency as a soft skills gym. Presence, eloquence, fluidity, confidence, grace, perception, authority, etc., are all learned through practice and repetition. We help you see what can be elevated, and we curate personalized programs to get you there. Because of the personalized nature of the work, it can be a bit pricey for some as it can vary in length of engagement depending on the unique needs of each individual.

I have a CMO who booked four sessions because they weren’t sure of the impact or value. Cut ahead three years, and they are still doing weekly sessions. It’s cool to see this work be so impactful and to continue to grow with people as their skills develop and those layers open so that we can dive deeper and deeper. As of the day of writing this, they are heading up marketing for what has become the most successful brand in their industry.

Tell us about yourself

I’m a SAG actor and voice artist. I’ve been on film, television, and in commercials. I have a degree in performance and have been a lead or supporting lead in dozens of stage productions across North America with multiple thousands of cumulative performances. I’ve hosted/emceed hundreds of events, from NCAA basketball games to the Discovery Network, to startup pitch competitions and corporate luncheons, to the biggest, most raucous events during Mardi Gas in New Orleans as the event producer and emcee of a Multi-National. I’ve modeled runway and print. As well as danced with classic training for 18 years and professionally as a hip-hop dancer, there’s a ton more in there, but the point is the unique combination of performance prowess has given me a well-rounded eye in a way few others bring to the table. Each is an art. To be able to look at the forest through the trees, I am able to see their cumulative value in my understanding of how to move, how to sound, how to look, and all the little elements that anthropologically stimulate outcomes. This scope of knowledge and technical understanding allows me to analyze aspects and elements that elevate my client’s performance caliber as very few others can.

I’ve always been entrepreneurial, and it was while I had a startup in a fancy incubator that the concept for Pro Presence began. I saw other very talented startup teams with very smart, innovative people who have absolutely no idea how to output the elements that create a compelling pitch/performance. They didn’t know how to communicate their vision with clarity, passion, and authority. They didn’t understand how to read the room and connect to their audience or how to personalize their communication to deeply resonate with each person meeting them where they’re at. They didn’t understand the non-verbal queues that affect the listener’s perception or how to get the non-verbal trust signals in place that are required to build rapport with their audience. Let alone how to build in to polish elements that made someone authoritative and compelling, especially not the more advanced theory of influence. This observation to help great people with great products rise more quickly through improved communication practices was a starting point that grew into what we have become today.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I am genuinely proud of my client’s successes as if they are my own accomplishments, lol. I have been honored to hear my clients say things like, “I’ve given them the confidence to step into the room like the boss they literally are.” I have seen some clients’ viewership and follower count grow as their messaging became deeper, more authentic, and impactful. I’ve seen a shy CTO client go on national television and confidently navigate an interview with an easygoing warmth and smile that would have previously been impossible for them. I’ve seen clients get standing ovations for their keynote speeches in front of 1000+ people.

I mean, how can I look at any of those and feel one is more important than the other? The individual efforts and inevitable growth of each of those people. To see someone flourish from the work we do together is really meaningful to me.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

Being honest with yourself and your goals. Defining what really matters and aligning it with proper time management is an ongoing challenge. I want to be there in all the ways I can for each of my clients, and it can be overwhelming at times.

We are supposed to be in a lot of places simultaneously, and it takes conscious planning for me to define that path and properly allocate the correct time and resources to see it succeed. There are only so many hours in the day, and it’s a worthwhile pursuit to properly place our time, intent, and heart.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

Don’t forget to breathe! Breath is the root of everything, and if we disconnect from it, those are the times we can land in the flight or fight response. That chemical response literally dampens the brain’s ability to process information and make strong decisions. Creating a simple practice of conscious breathing can help fight those stressful times and not allow them to get the best of us and erode our capability.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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