Paul Zehnder of 100K Ideas shines light on exclusive client storytelling series

FLINT, Michigan — Paul Zehnder of 100K Ideas knows how to take a business to the next level. On his own, he’s an accomplished photographer specializing in portraits and designing and creating business logos. As 100K’s Marketing Specialist, Zehnder’s hand is in all things marketing, including branding, design, and content creation in order to put forth a visual representation of what the company does and who it serves.

Through 100K’s mission to relieve innovators of the entrepreneurial burden, the nonprofit assists clients through mentorship, cultivation of ideas, product development, and marketing. It is the catalyst behind 100K’s Client Storytelling series.

The ongoing series features interviews with local entrepreneurs and creative artists who have passed through the 100K Ideas mentorship program. With names like The Poke Bowl, Flint Social Club, and Flipsity LLC, the storytelling series offers another way to showcase local success through the community. Flintside caught up with Zehnder to talk about the innovative storytelling series and plans for its future.

Flintside: As a Marketing Specialist for 100K Ideas, what are some of the main tasks that you perform in your role?

Paul Zehnder: “As Marketing Specialist for 100K Ideas, I am in charge of all the internal marketing, branding, design, and content creation for our organization. Through the creation of marketing plans, strategies, designs, photos, videos, and more, I work to bring a visual and informational representation of the work we do, sharing it within our community and to our audience.”

Flintside: What made you decide to put the Client Storytelling series together?

P. Zehnder: “We decided to create our Client Storytelling series as there is always a general curiosity as to who we have helped, through the services 100K Ideas offers. We constantly get the questions asked to us, "Who has come through and benefitted from your process?" and "Who are your success stories?"

To be able to answer these questions and present the information that was missing, the 100K Ideas Narrative Project was created and our Client Storytelling component was at the forefront. We hope to use these videos as not only a way for us to showcase our successes, but also to bring recognition to these local innovators and entrepreneurs, bring light to their businesses, and inspire our viewers by showing them that turning their idea into something bigger is possible and already happening within our community.”

Flintside: Will the series be long-term or is it a limited series?

P. Zehnder: “We plan to have this series long-term. As we continue to work with new clients and new ideas, our goal is to spur and help form new entrepreneurs, which will give us more success stories that we can continue to showcase as we progress in our mission. 100K Ideas is a little under 5 years old, so this is just the beginning!”

Flintside: How do you select the clients for the storytelling series? 

P. Zehnder: “When selecting clients for this series, though anyone has the potential to be a part of it, we tend to look at the individuals who are still making moves to expand their ideas and work within our communities. We often brainstorm individuals that we notice have: an impact from the work they have created through their ideas, those who stand out through their inspiring journeys, and/or those who have a positive impact on those around them.

No matter if they are fully operational or still continuing to work hard to grow and progress their idea, the positive effect they have on others is always what brings them to the top of the list.”

Flintside: What piece of advice would you give to someone who may be on the fence about reaching out to 100K Ideas to help them bring their business idea to life?

P. Zehnder: “A piece of advice for anyone who may be hesitating to reach out to 100K Ideas would be to give yourself a chance and see what possibilities are available to you. 100K Ideas prides itself in being a safe and encouraging space, always working to the best of our ability to fit your needs and work alongside you in your journey. Every idea and person is different, and we make sure to accommodate them accordingly.

Our organization has no commitments attached and there are no obligations whether you turn your idea into a full-blown business, expand on it as a hobby, or even drop it completely. All of these avenues are part of a process and allow you to grow and learn, regardless of how you move forward. You never know where your idea can take you, so I would encourage anyone to take the leap and reach out!”

To learn more about 100K Ideas, visit: 100kideas.org and watch previous episodes of the Client Storytelling series on 100K Ideas' YouTube channel.

Read more articles by Tia Scott.