Making It Work: From corporate speaking gigs to virtual coffee meetings


Published on

Australians have had to adapt after their livelihoods took a hit from government restrictions introduced to curb the spread of coronavirus. In this series called Making It Work, we look at how individuals and businesses have pivoted to stay afloat during the crisis.Cheese Therapy has not so much pivoted its own business as it has enabled others to change the way they do business.

PR and marketing powerhouse Tory Archbold reinvented herself late last year when she closed Torstar, her marketing company of 18 years, which had managed public relations and events for the arrival in Australia of High Street fashion brands Zara, Top Shop, Victoria's Secret, Sephora and Steve Madden.

Early last year she launched Powerful Steps, which became her total focus in February.

making it work tory archbold

Powerful Steps was born from Archbold's personal experiences of being harassed by a former partner and wanting to help empower women through their own life challenges.

The company ran corporate workshops for men and women in leadership in companies such as LendLease and Optus on the power of connections.

"We taught people face-to-face how to build a local tribe, build their business and stay relevant," Archbold says.

Powerful Steps also ran workshops targeting female entrepreneurs on "stepping into your power".

"The most incredible people came to these - they wanted to see their full potential," Archbold says.

Under pressure

In March all the bookings Archbold had for the year ahead were gone.

"Because everything was face to face, what I had to do was become relevant for a virtual world," she says.

"That's when I saw the opportunity that people didn't know how to stay connected and didn't see it as an opportunity to learn, evolve and grow.

"I saw the opportunity and knew that if I gave generously and opened my book of contacts I could show people the power of connection."

Archbold set up virtual coffee dates giving the Powerful Steps' tribe access to people they don't know but are at the top of their game.

"Everyone in these coffee meetings has extraordinary stories to share - learning from them and me," she says.

"People are now coming to me for mentoring and virtual workshops, I've also been organising corporate One-hour of Power Workshops."

Learning to adapt

While February was an amazing month for Powerful Steps, March was a zero month, Archbold says.

This is when her ideas evolved into the virtual coffee date which then attracted people to her mentoring program.

"I had all this time to figure out how to pivot," Archbold says.

She did this by taking her whole business online. The virtual coffee date has now grown because it has become accessible around the world. She now has clients in Auckland, Tokyo, LA, San Francisco, Boston and London.

The new business offers one-on-one mentoring as a new arm of her company, and business has tripled since February.

"I love it, it's setting my heart on fire," Archbold says.

"Every single person who has worked with me has re-signed so it's ongoing as a business.

"I'm working with them to rebrand their business, build their personal brand, communicate across social media, and how to elevate their business through strategic storytelling.

"There's a strong pull for people with my skills set in this market."

In a virtual world, your personal brand is your greatest strength, Archbold says.

"When people meet you they Google you and if your personal brand isn't up to scratch, there's a 50% chance that people will walk away." she says.

"They need to understand the purpose of themselves connecting with you."

Powerful Steps is working with people to clean up their profile and be "super attractors". "I work with them on their business but before that I need to work on the person behind the business because if they're not right the business isn't right," Archbold says.

Archbold's business now has a part-time assistant and a team of freelancers.

"I plug in people to the business as I need them. It's very personalised and curated and I love what I can create in one on one sessions with people.

"I check in with people via text, give them action points they need to commit to fix for what they want to achieve, it's the best way because people don't then go off piste."

"The people I'm working with now are incredible and have left top performing businesses and top corporate roles to start their own businesses.

"They have connections but they don't know how to pull it all together. I'm mapping their journey and that's what Powerful Steps can do."

Staying afloat

From Archbold's perspective, money will always flow where your passion lies. "If you're really passionate about something you attract it into your life, it's your value set and when your'e passionate your momentum builds and people want to be part of that flow," she says.

"It's always worked where my passion has taken me."

Archbold says her passion for Torstar's PR business died after she reached a peak launching the Flower Beauty range for Drew Barrymore in Australia.

"I think the Powerful Steps brand will be bigger than Torstar. I know I can help millions of people through my key learnings in life," she says.

"COVID has taught us we don't need much.

"I started Torstar with no money in the bank and I knew I could do that again, I knew that it would happen in the right way and it would happen."

The future

After launching her virtual business, Archbold became international.

"In one week I got six clients in the US, and I haven't even launched into the US yet," Archbold says.

"People working with me in the US are now referring me to other people."

When things open up again, Archbold will return to live corporate workshops and inspirational speaking and has already planned a trip to the US where she intends to launch the brand later this year.

She also intends to keep the mentoring because she can see how it's propelling other people forward.

"It's propelled my business," she says.

On top of launching her new business, Archbold is currently writing a book about her roadmap to success, and is currently talking to publishers.

Get stories like this in our newsletters.

Related Stories

Julia Newbould was editor-at-large and later managing editor of Money from November 2019 to February 2022. She was previously editor of Financial Planning and Super Review magazines; managing editor at InvestorInfo and at Morningstar Australia. Julia co-authored The Joy of Money, a book on women and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney where she serves on the alumni council.