Valerie Khoo


This is the personal blog of Valerie Khoo – artist, author and podcaster. Valerie is passionate about exploring the worlds of creativity and business. She is co-host of the popular podcasts ‘So you want to be a writer’ and ‘So you want to be a photographer’. Valerie is a mentor to artists, writers and business owners on how they can turn their passions into thriving professional practices. She is author of ‘Power Stories: The 8 Stories You MUST Tell to Build an Epic Business’. Valerie is also CEO of the Australian Writers’ Centre, one of the world’s leading centres for writing courses.

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  1. Adam Franklin

    Great article Valerie. I like how you say that doing endless courses (but not actioning anything) is a form of procrastinating. If that happens to you, like it has to me, perhaps it’s worth setting aside a day or two to implement something from the last course and save the money you were considering paying for the new course.

    Good on you for nudging (yelling at!) your friends to believe in themselves.

    1. Valerie Khoo

      Thanks Adam. It can be tough but I’m hoping my friends will think it’s worth it in the end. *fingers crossed*

  2. Simonne Lee

    Valerie – you can yell at me anytime you want 🙂
    Loved the article, thank you!

  3. Janet Beckers

    Valerie you rock. As a friend who has received your yelling in the past, you yell with love 🙂 This a great article to share and I know many people who need to hear someone else yell at them instead of me for a change!

  4. Carol Jones

    Greetings Valerie from rural Australia.

    What you say is so true. So many people in business simply don’t believe in themselves. They lack self confidence. And worry too much about what other people will think if they make a mistake. Fear of criticism looms large in their minds.

    And some just simply don’t know where to start.

    Business is like every other journey in life. There are mistakes to be made. And to be learned from.

    My attitude has always been to do something every day that gets me closer to where I want to be.

    The squillions of mistakes I’ve made along the way have been like mountain climbing. You don’t get to the top without stumbling and being crushed by a few rocks.

    But here I am, 20 years later with more than 300,000 customers in 29 countries. All achieved from my remote rural property in the Central Tablelands of NSW.

    Do I know a lot more today than 20 years ago? Absolutely. I’ve learned that opportunity is everywhere. And everything is possible. Economic conditions don’t matter. You can thrive in poor economic conditions as well as boom times.

    What really matters is your attitude. And that’s one of the forces in business a person is in full control of.

    Amazing isn’t it? A person is in full control of their attitude. And some just can’t help but trash it with excuses and reasons why something can’t be done. While others are full of optimism and a Yes! I can do this, full steam ahead momentum.

    And your most important point of all. People cannot do business with you if you don’t tell them who you are and what you do.

    Don’t rely on Mr Google. Get out there and find a way to communicate with potential customers. In real time. The telephone. Snail mail. Email. Social media. Networking. Chit chats on the street. And. Keeping in touch with customers on a regular basis. They have friends and relatives who might be interested in what you have to offer. These are all ways to present yourself and your story.

    Too shy to be upfront? I can be pretty shy at times. But I love helping other people.

    So this is what I do. I always introduce myself to someone by asking them what they do. And if I can help them. It’s like holding the tray of canapes at a party and passing it to each person, asking them if they’d like one. It’s how I always meet people at parties. I’m the gal with the tray of canapes.

    In a business situation, I’m always asking if I can help them. When you offer someone something, you get to know them. They get to know you. And within the blink of an eye, you’ve made a business friend. And business friends lead to other business friends which leads to business somewhere down the track.

    With 300,000 customers, many of whom are in business, I can be the perfect Rainmaker. And matchmaker. And in the process, I’m always in touch with customers and prospects.

    People love it when you make things happen for them. And enough want to reciprocate to make it a love match made in heaven.

    I hope this helps the shy ones who don’t know where to start. Start with who you know in business. Ask how you can help them. Find someone you know who you can match them up with. And watch a fire storm develop with that single burning ember.

    Trust me. It works.

    Best wishes,


    Carol Jones, Ironing Diva

  5. aussiewriters

    My clients have the same issue, Valerie:-) “Analysis Paralysis”!

  6. Cate

    This is a brilliant article Valerie, thanks and great new acronym.

  7. Just get on with it! | Chelsea Denny

    […] reading Valerie Khoo’s blog, I learnt about APSTOS and realised I need to pull my finger out. As she explains it, APSTOS are: […]