Social Impact Authors: How & Why Author Vanessa Stoykov of Evolution Media Group Is Helping To Change Our World
Don’t wait till it’s perfect. Sometimes you must get an idea out into the world and test it as you go. If you keep waiting till it’s perfect, it will never be ready.
As part of my series about “authors who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Vanessa Stoykov.
Vanessa Stoykov is a money educator, author and CEO of evolution media group. She is on a mission to break down the taboos around talking about money and uses storytelling to help people relate to financial concepts in an entertaining, accessible way.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I grew up in country Australia, where I had an idyllic childhood doing all the things country kids do. My father was an immigrant from Eastern Europe, and my mother Australian, and I was lucky enough to be raised believing I could do anything I set my mind to.
When you were younger, was there a book that you read that inspired you to take action or changed your life? Can you share a story about that?
When I was younger, I read The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. Of course, I loved the concept that a boy who set off on a major journey to find his treasure ending up finding it back where he started. I also loved that there were plenty of morals and lessons weaved into a very entertaining and simple fable.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I can remember being taken to lunch at a fancy restaurant called Level 41 when I was in my 20s and starting my career. I ordered steak tartare, done medium. I was most taken aback when I was told it was raw meat. I quickly learned the art of the work lunch and am renown for my love of doing lunch!
Can you describe how you aim to make a significant social impact with your book?
I have always been in the money industry — both as a journalist in my 20s, and then as I started my own communications company, as an educator to the public. By translating in an entertaining way the principles of money, investing and creating wealth. My latest book, The Five Conversations about Money to Radically Change your Life is designed to blow apart the belief that talking about money is rude or crass. Instead, opening the conversation can lead to empowering people with the skills to take charge of their own financial future, and also create prosperity for their family into the future.
Can you share with us the most interesting story that you shared in your book?
I use fictional characters, scripts and text messages in my book, to get inside the minds of people rather than looking from the outside. There are couples in too much debt, singles who lament their life choices, and parents worried about their kids blowing an inheritance. No matter what stage of life you are at, you can relate to one of the characters in my book and learn from their decisions.
What was the “aha moment” or series of events that made you decide to bring your message to the greater world? Can you share a story about that?
I have been creating stories about money for a long time now — from TV shows to scripted narrative podcasts. I look for as many creative ways that I can to bring money to life for people in a way where they feel empowered to make good decisions.
Without sharing specific names, can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by you.
I have many friends who have embraced my philosophy of getting real about money and opening up to what we don’t know. One of my favorite things to do is ask people their money stories at parties. You would not believe the things people have told me over the years. I am told that it is a cathartic experience talking to me and coming clean about all the things money brings up that we never want to admit. My new book has a quote on the front that says, “Vanessa Stoykov is the Oprah of money”. I love this.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
The biggest way to lose the taboos is to get people talking about money, in a way that is relevant and easy to understand. If you know more than others, share the knowledge. Encourage people to learn. Tell them how you did it. Or ask others what they wish they knew when they started. By talking and encouraging people to be open about their experience with money it allows others to see how it is done and learn for themselves. Everyone wants to look successful, and nobody wants to admit what they don’t know. So, I would say — be brave. Ask questions. Seek answers. Share information. Everybody deserves access to education and information about their finances.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
For me, leadership is about living my purpose and helping others to find their purpose too. At work and with my children (we have three sons) appreciating and understanding what motivates people and aligning my goals with theirs. Sometimes this kind of leadership requires selective sacrifice in other parts of my life, in order to be true to the bigger picture.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- Don’t wait till it’s perfect. Sometimes you must get an idea out into the world and test it as you go. If you keep waiting till it’s perfect, it will never be ready.
- Look out for leaks. All the little costs that come out of your business all add up. Make sure you regularly check for leaky costs on your bottom line.
- It’s not a deal till it’s in writing. While I have done many handshakes deals in my time, putting things in writing is the only way to be clear of the parameters.
- Money is an energy — if your energy is low toward money, you will never grow wealth. Which means you must be very conscious of your own thoughts and actions around money.
- Your word is your bond — even when it’s not for someone else. No matter who lets you down, always choose the path to honor your commitments. It always comes back to you.
Can you’ve us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
The key to success is to never give up. My father taught me this very early on, and I live by it in many ways, both business and personal.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would love to talk to Oprah Winfrey. What she has done with storytelling and conversation is awe inspiring.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I have blog where I have writers from all walks of life creating stories to inspire you. You can find that work, plus my books, TV shows and courses on www.vanessastoykov.com
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!
Social Impact Authors: How & Why Author Vanessa Stoykov of Evolution Media Group Is Helping To… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.