Posts in Personal Branding
It's time to build your own website and start a blog. This is why.
newyearsresolution

December! You know what that means? Soon everyone will start asking you about your new year’s resolution. To make things easier I'll tell you what it should be: “In 2015, I’ll make a personal website and start a blog.” 

Having a blog is not necessarily about being a blogger. It’s not about trying to make money either. It’s about putting yourself out there. It’s about making your opinion, your work and your ideas accessible to a wider audience. Having a blog really is about letting people know what to approach you for. They don’t need to visit your website regularly. They don’t need to read every blog post you publish. But your website should exist so people recall you when something relevant crosses their paths.

You know how some people are on your radar although you never met them personally? Your website is a way to be that person.

Having your own website is a game of serendipity. It’s not about the numbers (ok, I am working on a newsletter that will help you with the numbers too). It's about the people who find your site and think it’s valuable. Your website and your blog are virtual doors for people to say ‘hello' and help you reach whatever you’re after. 

A website will make you more attractive to potential employers because they’ll have access to the ideas that matter to you. Potential clients will be able to find out what to hire you for and old friends will be able to react to your posts after they lost touch with you without seeming awkward. See, it’s all good things!

I am sharing these insights with you because I am currently working on a book for which I’ve interviewed several women about their careers. It truly impressed me how invaluable their websites, their blogs and their social media accounts have been for them. It will be a hands-on how-to guide with stories and tips, tricks and strategies to make next year truly successful. Expected release is mid January. 

Please send me your questions about shifting careers, starting off as a freelancer or founding a business which you want to see answered in the book. I really appreciate every input and every idea. Especially yours. 

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Do you need help with your CV? Once and for all, this is it!
howtowritearesume

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You might ask yourself how to lay out a CV and what to say about yourself; also, you know that you need a CV that stands out.

After having reviewed a bunch of CVs, I'd say it's not that difficult to make a CV the reviewer truly notices. 

This is where Graphic River comes in. It's a website where graphic designers offer templates for five to ten dollars. All you need to do is to replace the placeholder copy. The resumes come with a manual that make it easy for everyone to follow. Also, you can easily update colours, fonts and all the other bits to make it more personal.

You might say that you don't have the necessary programs but that's not a problem nowadays. Download the free 30-day trial version of Adobe's Creative Cloud here

So, when the time comes to update your CV again, you can just ask a friend or look for a student on Fiverr to make the changes.

Now it's just you and about four hours of work between you and a beautiful CV.

Sounds good?

PS: .. and please, do me a favour and forward this article to all your friends who you know are looking for a fresh start.

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The one and only thing you need to know about networking.
networking

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If you think there is a secret to networking I am going disappoint you. There is no special way to approach people, nor are there general tactics to help break the ice between you and a stranger.

I personally believe that networking is a mind-set where you have a genuine interest in other people’s work and the willingness to help them whenever they need your advice or your resources or a bridge to the people who they want to meet. What I think helps too is the knowledge that you have something to give, just as the person who you’re about to approach has something they can give to you or help you with. You are equals!

One of my strongest beliefs is there are no hierarchies between people. You are a human. The other person is a human. They have as much respect for you as you have for them. If not, they’re not worth your time.

Generally speaking there are two ways to meet new people: networking events and conferences or approaching people directly via social networks - the easier one.

The best way to find out about networking events in your area is meetup.com and eventbrite.com. It’s easy to do a keyword search and try to find a group of people with common interests. If you cannot find any events there, you might want to look up events at co-working spaces in your area. My favourite events are hosted by PechaKuchaTedX and Creative Mornings. In case you live in a small town, you could start a monthly meetup yourself.

The other way to meet people who you’d like to have in your network is to approach them online. I prefer to use Twitter or Instagram to approach people I don’t know. Mostly it’s enough to just say “Could we have a coffee sometime next week?” If you feel uncomfortable about it, ask someone to introduce you to the person who you want to meet yourself.

When you meet with others, always offer your help. People might not need your help immediately, but it’s always good to let them know in what situation they should best approach you. If someone approaches you, ask them clearly how you could help them.

Everyone needs some help from time to time. Don’t be afraid to pay favours forward. Make it clear to people that it’s your general interest to help them on their way up. Don’t ask for favours in return. Treat your network as a favour network. Give to someone and trust that they will help someone else.

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Have you ever thought of speaking at a conference? Some valuable tips even if you don’t think you ever will or want to.
indiecon2014

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Have you ever spoken at a conference? An un-conference or maybe a barcamp? Next time you get a chance to speak up, do so!

Of course speaking at conferences can seem scary at first; I used to get very nervous and still get wet hands at the beginning of every session that I run.

Just as with most things, feeling comfortable when speaking publicly comes with practice. It is somewhat necessary to put yourself through the experience of wet hands, sweat stains and whatever side effects you get when nervous. At least that's what I tell myself every time I step up to speak in front of people.

A few weeks ago I attended the #IndieCon2014 in New York and it came to a point when they asked the group if anyone would like to run a session. I spontaneously decided to nominate myself.

By speaking up, you let people know what you’re good at and why they should hire you. After I had finished speaking many people gave me their business cards to follow up and we have since started a dialogue about how we can work together.

Although it was a spontaneous decision to speak at this un-conference, I came to realise that I was already prepared for an occasion like this. Before I quit my job, I was looking for new approaches to professional branding and decided to draft a few presentations about my techniques and views. I created a couple of presentations on community buildingcustomer careaccount managementemail marketing and some other topics and uploaded them to SlideShare, wanting to make more out of my LinkedIn profile. (Did you know you could implement SlideShare presentations on LinkedIn to make your page more visual?)

When you speak at conferences, or at least share your slides online, you give people the possibility to approach you without needing to do any hard sale. Speaking to a group of people interested in my work feels much less scary than cold-calling or emailing strangers and asking them if they will hire me to work on their projects.

So, yes, if you get a chance to speak at a conference, you should take it. If you don’t plan to speak anytime soon, you should at least have some presentations ready and publicly accessible on SlideShare. It will help you be spontaneous and it might also attract potential employers and head hunters who are on the lookout for good people.

Please comment below and share a link to your presentations as soon as you publish them. I’m very excited to learn something new.

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How to write a compelling 'About Me'
howtowriteaboutme

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Last week, I received an urgent request to write an 'About me' text. At first, I wrote about my client's services and described him in the third person. My client wasn't very impressed. He sent me some examples that he liked, which he had found on his competitors websites and asked me whether I had any experience in his professional field. We had never met in person, he didn't know how it was to work with me (he found me on Instagram) and I could clearly sense he had doubts. I admitted to him that I didn't have any experience in his field of work or with his competitors but I believed to understand his target group. 

I realised that all the texts he sent me were texts about the people themselves. These texts were exactly what you would expect an 'About me' copy to be.

But did it make sense to write just another copy like this? If I were a potential customer and had to choose between him or one of his competitors, who would I go for?

That's when I realised that in times when everyone screams 'me, me, me' the only way to distinguish oneself from the masses is by flipping the coin and saying 'you'.

If you want to get heard, don't talk about 'who you are', instead say 'this is what I can do for you.' It's so simple, yet so crucial.

Everyone is busy going through endless amounts of content. Not only have we learned to ignore the advertising that shouts at us from every corner of the internet, we have also learned to scan for copy that solves our problems. We read copy that talks to us, not at us.

I tried to explain to my client why a different approach to writing his 'About me' made more sense. I pointed out that if he wanted me to get the job done as quickly as possible I would just write what he wanted me to write. Of course I could do this, but I preferred explaining to him why I believed his approach should be different.. I made him take on the client's perspective and I then gave him this example:

If you buy a TV from a sales man, would you be interested whether he could buy organic food for his family because of your purchase, or would you want the best TV possible?

The second draft of the copy was done and edited within an hour. The cards, the copy was for, are now printed. The client is happy and wants to continue working with me.

What does this lead me to?

If you want to get heard, increase your sales or establish yourself within an audience, don't tell your readers who you are, tell them what you can do for them. Show them what problems you can solve for them. High chance is that they'll hear your voice much louder.

Is there a question you'd like me to answer? How can I help you with your digital positioning or your customer experience? Please comment below. 

 

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Happiness = Reality - Expectations
happiness

Ambitious but daunted. Recognised yourself? You might one of many millennials who recently entered the job market.

Yesterday I wrote about my recent email exchange on the widely known and often discussed megalomania of GenY. I believe our attitude has to do with the expectations raised in us by our parents. We’ve always been the most special kids in the entire universe, right?

Exactly.

I am very thankful my mother raised me the way she did. She was the one who made me believe that everyone was equal and had the same chances to “make it” - whatever that means - in this world.

But the world can be much more complex than my rather childish positive outlook likes to recognise. While this attitude can open many doors, it’s the same attitude that makes us doubt literally everything when things don’t go as smoothly as we’ve expected them to.

About eight months ago I stumbled upon an article published on Wait By Why, which I’ve forwarded to many people ever since. Their analysis of the attitude and expectations of GenY and the reasons why we sometimes feel rather unhappy is straightforward and insightful. Click here and see for yourself.