As an entrepreneur, I am interested in always finding new ways to promote my business, my mission and me. Publishing book(s) is definitely a big way to do this and I now have two books self-published (more on this later in the week or click here for Lisa Vento Nielsen Author Page on Amazon.com.
I had a great week last week with some very interesting meetings and accomplishments that I wanted to spend some time on this Monday morning reflecting on and sharing my lessons learned.
Using Constant Contact
Last week, I created my first newsletter using Constant Contact. People have been registering with my site to get exclusive content and I have been working on an editorial calendar to deliver something new and exciting each week via newsletter in addition to the daily blog posts. I have a lot of lessons to share so this has been working out well.
People are interested in learning more from me based on the blog and social media plan I follow. Those who sign up from my website are important to me because they took the time to register their email address with me. Every one of my 300+ unique visitors, of course, are important to me of course but those who take the time to sign up definitely deserve extra content and surprises! (Sign Up Here for The Next Step Exclusive Content and Offers ).
It was a simple process to design a newsletter, include some photos and some great insider view content. The template matched my site design and I was able to personalize the whole newsletter and send it to my contacts, networking partners and other with a few clicks. In addition, after the newsletter is scheduled, I can automatically have it post to my social media following a set schedule for more people to read and see what I am doing in this more personal way. It is like a personalized email from me for the week. I will add more detail around Constant Contact once I get more skilled at using it - this is just my second newsletter launching today so I need some time to see if there are results to using a weekly newsletter or if I should do it maybe once a month instead. I am still figuring this out for my business. If you use Constant Contact or some other form of email connection with your clients and subscribers, what do you think works? I would love to hear from you on your lessons.
First PRWeb Experience
Also last week, I wrote, designed and set up my first official press release to go out on the “wire” using PRWeb. This was an investment but I wanted to really make a splash in the media for the east coast about my first book, Entrepreneur-ing and I was also able to include reference to my (now-published) second book on College Readiness.
The whole process was simple from start to finish except for the ultimate fear I experienced that I would make a typo or otherwise make a mistake for sending this out to tons of media organization and other industry focused recipients. This press release is launching this morning and I will make a follow up post on whether the $259 investment was worth it.
PRWeb had cheaper options (beginning at $99) but this was the package that seemed to provide the most potential growth in terms of website hits and potential interest in my book and content.
The website is straightforward to use and you can use their “template” to load in your content on your press release. I had already had a press release written about the Entrepreneur-ing book but I did have to edit it and make it more press-ready. I could include URL links but they had to be 100 words apart to avoid the press release being considered “spam”. I will provide an update on if this investment was worthwhile once I get my results from PRWeb and see how that translates into my business – for instance, will people buy my book or will I get calls for more speaking engagements, etc.
My main focus is on the local geographical area and that was why I selected certain cities in the East coast to highlight for this press release.
As someone who does not normally spend money on promotion and marketing, this is a very interesting experiment for me. I was at one point paying to “boost” my Facebook and Twitter posts but other than that, I have not been “paying” to create buzz for my site. Shortly after launch, I was getting between 100-150 people a day on my site and within the last month it has spiked to between 220-350 people a day on my site. This has been great and I am seeing some conversion in terms of sales but now that I also have some published books, I would love to see a greater conversion rate and some “passive” income due to royalties from said books.
Have you ever used a Press Release service to share content? What did you think about it? Was it worth the investment?
I had a meeting last week with the Staten Island Economic Development Council SIEDC (http://siedc.org/) and I will be attending some networking events as a “mentor” and will be the speaker at the May 17th Business Council meeting. I will be sharing lessons on blogging and social media at that meeting and I am so looking forward to sharing my excitement over how blogging and sharing content can help build a business and a reputation.
There are many more irons in the fire, so to speak and I am looking forward to sharing with you how things turn out between the press release, my Constant Contact experience and my upcoming speaking engagements. I am a real entrepreneur who is interested in bringing you along on my journey. If you are interested in becoming an entrepreneur, you should really consider looking into the certificate course I provide with Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning on Entrepreneurship: Building Your Own Business which will provide you with the tools, skills and abilities to go from zero to launch for your own business.
Now is the time to consider being entrepreneurial and you can even take my lessons in this course and apply it to a side-gig or other initiative that you can do while still working full time. In addition, if you are interested in just a “taste” of how being entrepreneurial can help your career, consider signing up for the seminars at Wagner College on How to Take the Next Step in Your Career; as I just published the book on Entrepreneur-ing and it’s potential impact on careers, you can assume this seminar will run again if you cannot make the first installment on March 1.
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I am the type of person who is always reading, always learning and always considering lessons to bring to my blog and my other content venues (such as my recently published book - see it here: Amazon Author Page The Next Step) and I enjoy finding new lessons out on my own and with some business partners because it always seems to dovetail nicely into new pursuits. For instance, the idea of franchising as a way to become an entrepreneur and how I can now address this option in my next installment of my Entrepreneur-ING book series which will detail going from zero to launch with a business idea. I feel that if I did not recently have some discussions about this, that I would have not included it in the final book.
I think this is the way for everyone and why it is so important to network and build business (and personal) relationships with other small business owners. A big part of the reason I joined the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce and am looking into joining Richmond Business Connections is because a lot of what I do is in a “vacuum” - I interact with clients, potential clients and friends and family of course but sometimes you do not want to turn your personal relationships into business reviewers. Also,I think your clients are already kind of pre-qualified to get and understand your message (because that is why they are your clients). For instance, someone I am working with right now said (I am paraphrasing) that after seeing my content and my message that it was a no-brainer to hire me for my branding package (see more on my blog post on my new Branding Package ).
I recently had some meetings and discussions around franchising and I felt like I had overlooked this in the past in my content and lessons on entrepreneurship. I am definitely going to be doing some research on different franchising opportunities and plan on polling those who registered for my Entrepreneurship: Build Your Own Business course at the Department for Lifelong Learning at Wagner College to see if they want to address this as I already have all 12 modules full of tons of executable zero to launch information for them to go ahead and build their businesses. Click here to register for the Entrepreneurship: Building Your Own Business course at Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning today!
Franchising is interesting because there are many different options for franchising and you invest in a business that comes with education, training and procedures. The PMP (Project Management Professional) in me adores procedures. I cannot help it. Training manuals and learning plans are just so important to me – I have written them, recreated them and I do believe my new book on Entrepreneur-ing is a basic simple language procedure manual for you to use to execute on building your brand whether for your career or your own business. More on my new Book Entrepreneur-ing here.
So I will be creating some new content around franchising and I know of some people who might benefit from this information. For instance, if you are laid off and / or not ready to retire, the option to be an entrepreneur is a big one – it is called the “second” career or “encore” career. For many people, though, the idea of going out there on their own is a daunting one and perhaps the ability to franchise or to invest in a franchise is a better option for them.
I hope to create some interesting content on this and start sharing it here as the weeks go on – it fits in so nicely with my Entrepreneurship content and learnings. Also, the second installment of my Entrepreneur-ing book is focused on actually launching the business and this can and will include information on franchising.
For instance, I see a lot of people doing MLN (multi level marketing) options on Facebook – while not exactly a “franchising” world it is something similar – you know the kinds the 31-bags, BeautiControl, Younique Makeup and IT Works – it is interesting because this is all done on the idea of running your own business but it is not exactly the same. Look for a future post comparing and contrasting MLNs with Franchising and other entrepreneurial pursuits.
What do you think about franchising? Have you ever considered it as an option to being an entrepreneur? I am working on more content and research on franchising with a new networking partner, Ed Brochin of FranSight - Franchise Consulting Services.
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Sharing My Excitement:
If you watch the above video, you can tell that I am more than a little excited! I published this book on February 17 and it was available as an EBook as of that day and for sale via Amazon for the Kindle or E-readers. Of course, this was great but there is something about holding an actual book with your name on the cover and your picture on the back in your hands. My softcover version of this book is also for sale now on Amazon.
I just received the proof books yesterday and I kind of got a little bit over the moon (see video above)! I have dreamt of being a published author since I started writing as a kid. This book is so exciting to me and it is just the beginning. My college and career readiness book will be following soon and then a next installment of the Entrepreneur-ing series on going from zero to launch. So much exciting stuff going on for this entrepreneur and I wanted to celebrate with you, my readers!
This book is inspirational and lesson-centric on using entrepreneurial skills to have your own business or to be the boss of your career! With the print copy, you can fill out the "homework" assignments from me and carry it with you as a guidebook for your path and your goals.
And now for the good stuff - my Giveaway!
The Next Step Entrepreneur-ing Giveaway
I want to do a giveaway - I will send 1 copy of my published softcover book to the first 5 people who comment on this post! Who doesn't want a free book?
Oh and to make it really cool, I will inscribe the book to you and sign it! Comment away and happy hunting!!
Stay Connected With Me-
If you are interested in hiring me as a speaker on this book or other content, click here to get on my calendar The Next Step speaking engagement.
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Potential New Service Offering for The Next Step - how an entrepreneur creates new Service Offerings
Blogging Service from The Next Step (service idea in infancy stage)
I want to introduce a new service idea that started with my recent speaking engagement at the Richmond Business Connections Group last week.
The Next Step is considering to offer a service to help small businesses or individuals build their own blogs. I talk so much in my new EBook Entrepreneur-ing (click here for information on EBook) about blogging and establishing your self and/or business as an expert.
For me and my business, my use of blogging has been the key to my success. I get over 1400 unique visitors per week to my site without paying any money in advertising. Yes, you read that right – it is without an investment in boosting my posts or otherwise marketing them.
I am now up to 160+ blog posts and sharing this information live with my blog, Instagram and Twitter has enabled me to be noticed in a potentially crowded market place. I am working on building my reputation as an expert and a speaker, which is why I have chosen to also self-publish books in addition to the content I create and share on my blog. Click here to book me - The Next Step speaking engagement.
My Lessons for You to Blog
Here is some quick lessons of how I use my blog and also a basis for me to use to consider breaking this out as a product offering:
What do you think of this potential service offering? I think it fits nicely into my wheelhouse and allows me to expand to a consulting service. I have already spoken at a local business group on how to blog and I am going to create an EBook on blogging – How to Blog Like a Pro-fessor.
For this service, I am thinking of beginning to offer it to local small businesses and considering to offer a lump sum option “Full Blogging Turn Key Operation” for approximately $500 – this would include the full website integration, plan for blog posts and content and how to promote the posts - it would be "turn key" in that once the set up was done, I would step away and the business owner would create the content.
I would also offer the option to create content but I would have to charge by the hour for that option. So I would create the site and then offer consulting / writing services for $50/hour for creating new content for the site.
For individuals, I would offer a blogging tutorial / training for $75 and this would include up to 3 hours of review and implementation of a personal blog. What do you think?
Special thanks to Brian Spicciatie from Hospitality 10 Card Inc www.hospitality10card.com for brainstorming with me on this potential product.
What do you think of this potential service? Happy Hunting!
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I wanted to make a detailed post about this adventure I am on with the self-publication of my first EBook. More on my first EBook here.
I have been published before but it was through my MBA course and done under the Professor’s textbook – although I was listed as a contributor I had actually written and created a large case study on the financial services industry highlighting issue with the Euro and more (I will include some of the stuff I worked on to this post, in case you ever need help falling asleep at night…and remember I created this 50+ page case study and 35+ page instructor’s guide living in Italy with just the online library for sources in 1999.
I talk about this paper a lot as I teach my classes now – it was the culmination of the program taking towards the end and everyone knew from word of mouth that it was the hardest class. It was known we would be responsible to create these publish-able case studies and that without completing it just right the course would be failed and then no MBA and no graduation etc.
I worked on it diligently and felt for my colleagues in the program for whom English was not their first language – in fact, I did a lot of proofreading for some close friends. We were all miserable together.
I submitted the paper the day before it was due to get a quick review as the Professor said he would grade them – and he gave me an F. I remember clear as day going back to the computer lab, opening up the file and just giving up. I resubmitted the file as it was the next day and got an A. I think the professor just wanted to torture me; sometimes we have professors that do that… I make it a point to not do that…
My EBooks - The Process
Writing now is such a joy for me; it is something I schedule for each week. So I know I update my blog every weekday (except holidays) so I spend time on the weekend identifying my topics and drafting my posts. In addition, I spend time working on my book(s), too. I find that if I can carve out an hour or two during the week, I can bang out a chapter or two, depending on how inspired I get. All of the content I am creating is original and not re-purposed – so the stuff in my book was not from the blog except as maybe a theme or an idea.
I started writing the first installment of Entrepreneur-ing and the first installment of College Readiness at the same time. It just happened that the Entrepreneur-ing was done first at just under 17000 words. I am now working on planning for the second installment on Entrepreneur-ing Going Zero to Launch for those who read the first installment and want to open their own business.
The College Readiness will be done next, though, as I have almost 10000 words done and just a few more chapters to write.
To publish, I decided to self-publish. As I asked my students, I will ask you; why would I want to write and self-publish a book(s)? For me, it is all about the speaking engagements, the press and the possibilities of sharing my lessons to many many people. Having a book is another way to add legitimacy to my business, my thoughts and how I execute on them.
I used CreateSpace after checking out some other self-publishing sites; this one seemed the most intuitive and was the easiest for me to use with very limited publishing experience (I worked at a large multinational company and spent a few years in the publishing arm of said company).
I was able to load up the file and have it formatted automatically from the service. I then downloaded the formatted file to make my proof-reading and edits for page breaks and chapter titles. I was able to design my own cover, which was both fun and challenging as most of my photos are not of high enough quality to use so I had to use a stock photo for the cover but I was ultimately happy with the photo.
I was able to change the book’s print color for the cover and format and design the book for Kindle, all within this website. The only thing I had to pay for was the review copies so I can see how the soft-cover copy will print before I launch this option on Amazon.
There are options to pay for help and to have professional publishing assistance in this process but I decided not to do that at this time. I am not saying I do not need it; I think everyone can use help with editing and formatting and more but for me, I am trying to manage this process while building my business so I am not ready to make an additional investment on this process, at this time.
Click below to see my dream come true:
Lisa Vento Nielsen Author Page on Amazon.com
Here is an interesting related article about the importance of content.
I have always been a writer and have always wanted to be a published author on my own without being part of another book- this is my first step and so much more to come! Thank you for being on this journey with me – whether by reading or sharing my content or just learning from me, I value your involvement and your support!
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What is the Next Step "Complete Branding Package for Your Job Search" and how it uses entrepreneur-ing to get to your next step
The Complete Branding Package for Your Job Search - or how I apply the entrepreneur-ing process to your career
I want to take the time to promote this short-term product bundling so you can see and understand what it means when you hire The Next Step.
I recently created a new product offering that includes my top 3 products – the resume creation, cover letter, and LinkedIn overhaul and improvement. This offering is done at a huge price discount from $199 for resume and cover letter combination and $150 for the LinkedIn profile; these three products are bundled for the value pricing of $300.
With this product, I provide so much more than is listed in those 3 things and I wanted to make a blog post about the nuances of my services and what I bring to the table. As an executive with over 15-years experience in editing resumes, hiring professionals and more I have the unique insight into what works.
As an entrepreneur for the past 13 years, I have the fresh viewpoint of running your career search as though you are your own business.
It is highlighted in my blog posts and really set in stone with the instructional lessons and homework in my new Entrepreneur-ing EBook (click here for more on the EBook http://www.thenextstep1234.com/new-ebook-entrepreneur-ing.html) that I think being proactive, entrepreneurial and “hungry” is imperative to your career search and also your earnings potential. When I create your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile I am applying these entrepreneurial, think out of the box ideas to all of these pieces and I wanted to talk a little bit more on what this means.
I start with an in-depth analysis of who you are and what you want to accomplish with your new branding packaging. Your paperwork and your LinkedIn profile will build your brand and with my extensive information on how to use your new LinkedIn profile that comes with this bundle will help you execute on this branding.
Once I do the initial overview I send out a detailed 14-point questionnaire that is used primarily for the LinkedIn profile but also has implications to the Resume and Cover Letter.
I include a Career Plan without any extra cost – this document is your project plan courtesy of this Project Manager of what your options are, short and long term plan and more. This is worth more than anything because it gives you the base for your plan to become an entrepreneurial career person. You can use this document to create your pitch and to build your overall plan for where you want your career to go and how you can get there.
In the career plan, I include the LinkedIn instructions – so not only do I create your awesome stand out in a crowd LinkedIn profile but I also give you the instructions on how to execute on that new LinkedIn page. One of the things we are all most guilty of is having a LinkedIn profile and just ignoring its existence when in reality you can stand out so much for the right reasons with just a little bit of one on one instruction from me.
At the end of this process, you get a resume that stands out and is professionally built around YOUR career plan, YOUR goals. This is not a cookie-cutter one fits all approach. My specialties of course are financial services, Corporate America, education, project management, transitioning back into the work force after taking time off to raise children and/or deal with an issue - as you can see, my specialties are quite long. I can also handle other specialties and industries.
I have the perspective and the ability to make your resume get you results – and combining that with the LinkedIn overhaul and how to guide for YOU, you will have the attention and be on your way to the career you deserve to have.
Your cover letter(s) are customized to the industries and/or fields you want to address and they will match and go with your resume. I do a maximum of 3 different versions of the cover letter and resume as I do think you need to focus the documents to the industry and/or role you want to get. I have had clients who are open to education OR advertising so two different resumes focused on each subset. And did I mention I do not charge more for this? I consider this part of the process – part of the BRANDING product package I created all for $300.
Keep in mind, my availability is limited – I put a cap on 5 clients per week. I am a sole proprietor and with the amount of time I spend on each client, I have a limit on my weekly product sell. Order your branding package today.
Is $300 worth it for your career? Is it the amount you can offset with the awesome career growth you will see happening from utilizing my skills, background, experience of 15+ years of resume and coaching experience? What do you think of this new product bundle? Happy hunting!
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Interviewing How To
The trick of interviewing is to be personable, professional and practiced. Those 3 P’s are the most important way to make a great impression and it goes without saying that you must also be “punctual”. At times, life happens but I am by default always early by at least 30 – 45 minutes. Here are some of my words of advice on interviewing:
More on Interviewing:
Recently a student asked me if it was okay to go on an interview even if the job was not appealing. In my opinion, I think this is a conundrum. On the one hand, you do not want to waste anyone’s time – your own or someone else’s. On the other hand, there are times where you have limited information about the job and even less information about the company and their other departments, divisions and needs. It is therefore in your interest to make a point to go to interviews even if you are not sure the company or the job is a good fit for you. It allows you to meet new people, to practice your interviewing skills and maybe could lead to your next step through indirect means. For instance, you might meet with XYZ company about this job but they know someone is hiring within their industry or even within their company for something else and pass your information along.
If you are professional, punctual, practiced and prepared you might find yourself with additional opportunities and that is why I ultimately advised the student to go on the interviews, even if the job did not seem to be a good fit.
What do you think about my advice? Do you think interviewing more helps you be a better interviewee? Would you consider taking training in my seminars at Wagner College on How to Take Your Next Step which focuses on interviewing training, media readiness and more? Click here to find out more: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/seminars-offered-by-the-next-step-and-wagner-college-office-for-lifelong-learning.html
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My First EBOOK
I wanted to make a post all about my upcoming EBook How to Use Entrepreneurial Skills To Launch Your Own Business or to Be the Boss of Your Career. It is being self-published as I type this blog post. I am super excited about this EBook. It is about 60 pages – over 16000 words but this is just the first part of the EBooks I am working on at this time. I have an EBook on College and Career Readiness with over 6000 words done and other ideas in the planning stages. All of these EBooks are original content; not re-purposed from my blog posts. This is all original content.
This book almost wrote itself - I have over 13 years experience being an entrepreneur and also focusing on helping people take their next steps. I focused all of that information and background experience in building out this first EBook on using entrepreneurial skills to rock your career or consider starting your own business. I am using CreateSpace to self-publish. I am doing a hard copy (or 5) for my records and then sending it to Amazon. I will be pricing it very low - and at some point, I will find out if I can use this EBook to give it away for free. I think once I finish the self-publishing process I will know more about it.
Look for future posts from me on self-publishing. I am loving the experience of creating content into an EBook (and actual book form). This will be a calling card, a tangible piece of my business and what I can do for people as a speaker and an educator in this field of business creation. It is a major piece of benefit for my partnership with Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning as I have my Entrepreneurship : Building Your Own Business course there (find out more here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/register-today-for-entrepreneurshipbuilding-your-own-business.html
This Entrepreneur-ing book will have additional installments coming after it. This is the book you can use for either career or entrepreneurial pursuits with ideas and assignments for both sides. Yes, assignments. I am not the prof for nothing – there will be assignments for you to do and to perhaps share with me via my social media or email.
The next installment will be Entrepreneur-ing From Zero to Launch and this will provide the tools to execute on the entrepreneurial spirit you caught in the first installment. It is my believe that many people who read the first book will need the second book because although their plan might have been to focus solely on the creation of a career they can be the boss of that with the economy and potential out there to run their own business either full time or on the side will prove too exciting to pass up.
I am including here my first Chapter for free showcasing what the book will be about and it should be available via my Website as an EBook download within the next week or two.
Happy reading and let me know what you think about this EBook and if you want more information, sign up on this page http://www.thenextstep1234.com/new-ebook-entrepreneur-ing.html. Happy Hunting!
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Chapter 1: Why this book? Why learn with me?
What does Entrepreneur-Ing Mean?
This word means so many things. What it means to you is that you are in the right place to do some self-directed learning from an expert on applying skills and traits of entrepreneurship to either your career or your business.
For those of you focused on building your own business, this book is the blueprint for you to follow to execute on your idea.
For those of you focused on building your career like a boss, this book is the blueprint for you to follow to learn how to make yourself the project of your life.
I was considering doing a choose your own adventure type book for this to provide a one way path for entrepreneur-ing your business and entrepreneur-ing your career but I feel it is best to teach you both sides of the coin in terms of this phenomenon. If you can master entrepreneurship for your business, you will have the tools necessary for when / if you need a steady income and to build out a career in corporate America. For those of you brave enough to learn how to be entrepreneurial in your career, the potential for opening up your own business is definitely something that will happen organically for you.
Why be an entrepreneur and create your own business:
For many subsets of the population, particularly women and minorities, the focus is on building value in your lives through your own businesses. The rates of entrepreneurship has been going through the roof.
For many people who are raising young children, having flexibility is key to the career path. I will not tell you being an entrepreneur is “easier” but you can work around your children’s schedules a little more easily than at any established company.
If you have a passion or an idea, you need to learn how to nurture it and grow it. My unique advice will help you to focus on this venture as a part-time prospect at first – you can follow my steps and lessons while working full time or part time on the side or you can commit yourself to this system / learnings full time. In any way you slice or chunk it, your time will be best spent reading and learning from me in this book.
Why be an entrepreneur in your corporate career:
No one will look out for your growth and career as well as you can. You need to be proactive and focused in order to truly unlock your career potential. You can be anything you apply yourself to be if you can continue learning.
A big part of this book will teach you to have the drive and ability to continue learning at your speed and at your level. Not everyone will be an “A” student and not everyone should be – the goal is just to be a student period in any way shape of form to help continue to grow and learn on a daily basis. So much is changing in the field of careers and business with technology being poised to take over many jobs by 2020 that are now primarily held by women but can affect any gender. Your fields of customer service, banking, administrative assistants and more can be impacted by these leaps and bounds of technology and AI that can take away these roles.
This book breaks down the steps to be an entrepreneur with lessons on applying it to your career or your own venture (and many of you can do both sides of these lessons and win / win on every aspect of your lives).
I am your professor on this journey and we will be using my Web site and social media to learn from each other. I am a passionate teacher and have created and launched various curriculum to teach many different people many different things. I know there is no ONE way to learn – there are many ways to learn and that is why I am structuring this book with a feedback loop. Yes, a feedback loop. I want to build a relationship with each person that reads this book as a mentor to them – or as their own personal professor.
My lessons will focus on how to identify your skills to go from zero to launch. For the next step in your small business launch, there will be another installment in this series all about executing on the business plan and more.
This EBook and my others in draft are an interactive project that you can use my website to help build out and submit your video feedback to me for an interactive journey. You can also use my social media to discuss with me using tag #entrepreneur-ing.
This might be the first “ebook” of its kind that comes with its own professor. I am passionate about sharing this knowledge and in helping as many people as possible to unlock the careers they are destined to have. You can have a career as an entrepreneur or improve your career in corporate America (or insert any country, really) with me. I have experience as being an executive, educator and entrepreneur since 1999. I have lived and worked in other countries for various amounts of time and my focus on project management, teaching and learning means this book will walk you through your path unlike any other.
In Chapter 2, we will identify and expand on your skill sets for going from zero to launch in business and career. In Chapter 3 we will identify learning plans and paths to expand on said skills and how to achieve the new skills needed to rock out your career / business. Chapter 4 is about drafting the plan – just the mission statement; how to really dream it into action – by writing it down, you will make it real. This is where I will be making you respond to me; I will be waiting to hear and read your responses to this chapter.
Chapter 5 is all about building your brand and again this is where you will be following up with me and showing me your media brand and making me impressed with how you take it to the next level.
Chapter 6 is about writing your plan and includes templates and other resources for hitting it out of the ballpark with your communication skills. Chapter 7 discusses different ways to build your connections via networking, mentoring and more. Chapter 8 is about managing success and giving back, which is so important. I think all entrepreneur-ing people will be best served by giving back and doing it as soon as possible. I should move this chapter up higher because it is so important and maybe in future versions of this book I will move it up. Before I even was officially off the ground, I was considering ways to give back and my College Readiness Seminar and community outreach programs were launched before I even had my business “open”. Chapter 9 goes into the feedback loop.
This journey maybe has begun for you because you know deep down you can do more in your career. Or maybe it has begun because you have some blank spaces on your resume that you need to fill in and figure out how to make more meaning possible for your career and more. I have a lot to say about blank spaces and managing career and life transitions.
When you are faced with a blank space because of illness, child care or parental care or even due to self-care, you really need to look at that as being possibility and not liability. What can you do to manage through that time?
A big way to manage through that time is to identify skill sets you have that you can use in other ways that do not involve taking away from your current number one priority (the reason you have a blank space to begin with); or maybe you have blank spaces through no fault of your own but the economy has been unkind to you and you have yet to find your footing in corporate.
You can use this book to identify ways to set yourself apart from the competition by entrepreneur-ing your career. Not every entrepreneur is successful but we all have the grit and abilities to keep trying and putting ourselves out there very much like any job seeker has to do today. But the average job seeker will be shy or timid about opportunities and maybe will not put themselves out there as much as someone who is entrepreneur-ing will do and that is the difference between closing the sale, getting the offer and being able to manage your career like a boss.
That is where this book and its lessons come in to help you make the motions and move forward in a way to truly succeed.
I am so happy to take this journey with you and to build our relationship as more than just a book and an author but as your personalized professor / consultant on the road to entrepreneur-ing.
Something I have done as a professor since day one is to encourage my students to think outside of the box and I look forward to doing that with you – my mix of real-world advice with real actionable lessons and take away is what will set this book apart from any other how-to, business or other learning book you have read. I cannot wait to being this journey with you! You can learn so much and expand so much on your skills and abilities just by reading and acting on these lessons. Even if you only do a chapter at any time, you are heads above the competition that do not have this plan in hand to make their career/business stand out.
Happy entrepreneur-ing and running your career and business like a boss.
I was asked to speak at the Richmond Business Connections about social media and blogging. It is so exciting for me to speak; I am open to all speaking engagements but my calendar is beginning to fill out so please consider clicking here to hold your dates:
Or just right here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/speaking-engagements.html
Speaking Events – Richmond Business Connections
The Richmond Business Connection group is a networking group focusing on referrals, business tips and more. I loved the way they used their website to promote my speaking engagement : http://www.rbcofsi.com/events.html and I used this to promote it, too. It is a great looking site and really highlights the members and the events they provide for their members.
I will say as an entrepreneur, I do a lot of my work in a bit of a vacuum in terms of content creation, social media marketing and more. I definitely have been self-teaching myself the ways of social media and it was great to have a platform to share my lessons learned in person to other business owners. I rely on my strong writing skills and the passion that I have for writing to continue to create and share content to help me stand out as a local expert on careers, college, college and career readiness and more.
In addition to all of the content and work I am doing in the college and career readiness as well as my one on one relationships with my clients who reach out to me for resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn Profiles and more (click here to hire me http://www.thenextstep1234.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html), I am building out a consulting piece in terms of social media and entrepreneurship. I already had an EBook in draft on blogging but now I will branch out my business to include helping entrepreneurs and other small businesses use social media and create content.
Today’s event (and every weekly meeting) was at 8am at Z-One on Richmond Avenue. It was warm, welcoming oh and for the first meeting you attend, it is a free breakfast so don’t say you can’t get anything for free. I got to see each person give a tip or a referral. It was very interesting. Any business person can email and set up to attend the breakfast as a meet and greet. You get 60 seconds usually to discuss your business but because I was asked to speak, I got to give a 15-minute talk on blogging and more.
I was given the floor and everyone was super interested and asked awesome questions. So much of what I do is focused on building content and sharing it – it is the sharing and the building part that I spoke about. I gave a step by step lesson on how they could start doing this and even got to answer some more specific questions to clarify exactly how to move forward. I have some follow up meetings set up with some of the attendees and I am going to work on helping other small business branch out into the promotion and social media that I have self-taught myself how to do. I was not a Twitter native or even a blogger in any of my past lives.
So much of what I knew about the web came from my stint in a dot-com in the early 2000’s (which means like nothing compared to what is available and out there today). I got very lucky in that I have had experience with using technology for small business purposes from 2002- on when I ran some small businesses and know how hard it was to share content without taking out an actual ad in a newspaper to point people to your website. Now with social media, I can just have my website and content to share via various modes of social media. I have to give a shout out to my website building tool, Weebly, is really one of the best I have ever used. I have used other Web site building tools and the site I have with Weebly is, in my opinion, a beautifully designed site and very functional. There is the building blocks there for great design – I personally love it – let me know what you think, though by sticking around after reading this and navigating through the rest of the site.
I look forward to potentially becoming a member of this group within the next few weeks. What do you think of networking groups? Have you joined them as a small business owner? Also, as I have said before when I share all of my social media secrets but I just struggle with Facebook. It seems that I cannot get promotion without paying for it via Facebook. What do you think? Happy Hunting!
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There is so much to think about as we prepare for college and career. A lot of us get caught up in the excitement of going to college that it becomes hard to focus on the end-game which is to have a career. I made the same mistake 17 years ago; coming back with a MBA from a year in Europe and really not looking for a career but for a job.
I speak a lot about my time in Europe because it changed my life. I tell some funny stories about growing up in a small town (Staten Island) and having the experience be everyone pairs up quite young – some people wind up staying with the same friends, the same people for their whole lives. I have the best of both worlds for this and I have shared a few things via Instagram (@thenext_step123) about going to my former high school for a pitch to provide my college and career readiness seminar and getting texts from two ladies I graduated with uhm 22 years ago and who I still consider close friends!
For me, getting the chance to live in Europe and get my MBA changed my life. I learned to speak another language, how to live on my own and made lifelong friends all over the world now in addition to the friends I had in the USA.
I encourage every group I speak to and all of my students to consider living and studying abroad. I do a mini-economics lesson in it, too.
Mini Economics Lesson
When I moved to Roma in 1998, the Lira was still the currency of Italy. The framework was being laid for the Euro – as we know the idea of a European Union had begun many years before the time I was living there but it was the beginning of planning to execute and move to a single currency. My apartment I found was on the same block as the St John’s University Rome Italy campus and was beautiful – two bedrooms, a large living room, dining room area and a nice little kitchen with a washing machine in the kitchen (an actual washing machine – in the apartment) oh and floor to ceiling windows a back yard / patio area and more. From my front door of the building, I could see the cupola of St Peter’s (the Vatican). My rent for my share of the apartment with two other students? About $250 USD a month or about 300,000 Lire.
It was a wonderful time to have US dollars and I was able to travel and explore and study. When the Euro was launched, the costs went up without changing the wages. So a pack of gum that costs 2500lire was now 2.50euro. However, salaries did not change as aggressively. If you made for example 300,000lire a week, you did not now make 300euro a week but the exact translation between 300,000lire ($250USD or $200Euro – depending on the exchange rate).
My mini-economic lesson is that issue with the exchange rate from the country's origin currency to the Euro. There was a huge transition in terms of making the monthly budgets work on the micro-level for each family. Compound this with the mindset and culture of most of Europe (asides from Germany and UK), which is to work to live and not to live to work. These countries had in the past the ability to move and change their fiscal policies, their deficits on a per country basis and now with austerity measures could not move an inch on their own. This has led to some disasters (notably Greece) and now there are rumblings that the grand experiment of the Euro, the plan of the European Union becoming the "United States of Europe " might be dismantled.
There is an art to living in most of Europe - again, where people work to live and not live to work. I tell my students all of the time to consider their living arrangements, how many cars they own in their houses and even down to how many tv’s they have and compare it to what people in other cultures, countries have. I can speak from experience for Italy that most people live in small-ish apartments, maybe family of 5 in one apartment and one car per family (but potentially 2 motorinos - scooters) and maybe 1 television.
On Career Readiness
As we continue to build out our careers and growth plans, it is imperative to learn about another country and culture. As much as we are more interconnected now and able to gain voyeur status into other countries’ other people’s lives, there is nothing like immersing yourself in a new country a new culture and exposing your growing mind to a new perspective. I know that living abroad at 21 changed my life for the better. I look back and cannot believe how lucky I was, how much I changed by those 11 months living outside of US. I went from a typical Staten Island girl who thought I knew a lot because I had a BS in Marketing, I was class valedictorian, etc to really opening my eyes and realizing how much I really still needed to learn and how much was really still out there.
I encourage all of my students and seminar participants to consider traveling, living, studying and working abroad. As my clients (and even me) get older and have more responsibilities (read bills, children etc) it becomes harder and harder for people to pick up and go. The window is really most open during the time of college and right after (or before) to travel, explore and in so doing to find ourselves.
This ability to travel and to live somewhere else gives you insight unlike any studying can give you - it makes you realize how interconnected the world is and how different the world is at the same time. When you are born and raised in NYC or another big city in the United States, you run the risk of being very self-centered in that you know how things are done here and you want to apply that thinking to other places, other countries. Learning on the ground in another country forces you to recognize the phallacy of your thinking, your one size fits all marketing plan - it makes you more marketable to hiring managers who also know that the world is a large place. Adding in the ability to learn to speak another language and you can be even more competitive. I cannot tell you how many of my clients do not realize the power of their alternate languages and the difference they see with just that one addition to their resume under Languages - adding that in can lead to interviews, job offers and more.
For me and my language skills, my goal is to continue my Italian language skills and I do a little bit every week –try to watch one Italian movie per week, read the news in Italian via my Facebook feed oh and now I just downloaded Elena Ferrante’s first book in the Neopolitan series in both Italian and English and I am going back and forth between the Italian and the English to refresh and learn new vocabulary. I would say that each Chapter in Italian I read (before the English), I am comprehending between 30 and 50% of the story - I want to get to a point where I do not NEED to read the English to comprehend the chapter.
The hardest thing about keeping a language is the lack of words to express how you feel. I do try to speak in Italian to my children but I find myself struggling over vocabulary more than conjugation. It is a struggle but one to keep me even busier than I am. Teacher, Educator, Speaker, Author, Writer, Mom and More… keep learning to keep focused and happy, too. And pack your bags to explore the world! What do you think?
I wanted to add some information about the services I provide and the way I try to build my client base. I am lucky in that LinkedIn and social media really are getting me a lot of attention without having to pay any money in advertising. I am always pleasantly surprised when people recognize me from my content – people in real-life will recognize me or acknowledge my work, my writing and more.
At my recent college and career readiness presentation, I was talking about how important it is to do what you love. It is ironic that I am doing something so focused on writing that I am constantly brainstorming and writing in a conversational tone – I almost close my eyes when typing and picture myself in front of you, my reader, in a classroom. I mean I am not so good that I can type with my eyes closed, but you get the idea. I have always loved to write – I have journals from each year starting in 1986 and I have tried (and failed) to write fiction. I did NANOWRIMO two years ago and wrote the 50,000 words in 30 days and it was a challenge, so fun and ultimately absolutely unreadable! (In my opinion anyway).
Now I began working on my EBooks not even two weeks ago and I have 10k words done on Entrepreneur-ing (http://www.thenextstep1234.com/new-ebook-entrepreneur-ing.html) and almost 6k words done on College and Career Readiness (http://www.thenextstep1234.com/new-ebook-college--career-readiness.html). Plus I am blogging 5 days a week (minus big holidays). And when I ran into a person of interest at the college where I teach, I mentioned I am running my own business and the response was, “I know, I see your work – it is really great!”
I offer my students a free resume review and edit; I have always done this for all of my classes since 2003. This year, I asked my students if they googled me before class. (I mean, supposedly we all google everyone our dates, our friends – why not our teachers?) A few had googled me. So when I offered to do their resumes, I got about 6 resumes out of 60. When I asked in class where the other 54 resumes are, the ones who sent said “they must not have googled you!”
I asked my Monday/Wednesday class this week why I did not get as many resumes as I expected and told them I am saving them to my hard drive in the order I receive them so resumes are assigned numbers. I got a few more. My Thursday night class, a student or two said I checked out your stuff, you know your stuff. So I said, “If I offered you $200 right now, would you take it.” They said, “Yes” so I said, “Obviously you would not take it because I still do not have your resume!”
Some of my students are reading my content so hi and send me your resume! Also, some of my students are being proactive and giving me feedback on my site and how I can improve it – it is awesome because so many of them are both digitally native and social media experts and as I keep saying, as I teach and share, I am learning more than anyone else. I am very lucky!
For my pricing plan, though, I have a lot of people who are transitioning back into the workforce and whom I know in real life – I am lucky enough to be thought of by them when they need help to get their resumes ready. My pricing plan for people who know me in real life is quite flexible. I am focused on helping people transition back into a career and take their next step back from their blank spaces on their resumes due to child care or other issues. More about this in the video below.
I hope to help you take your next step soon! Happy hunting!
I am working on a few community initiatives as I write this post; I am also recognizing that I am just one person and that I need to schedule accordingly. I keep mentioning the commercial from 10 or so years ago where the sales team is walking into a meeting and checking to see if the lead has the information to present and he points at his head and goes, "It is all here" and then he gets hit in the head with an opening file drawer and passed out. Everything in my plan and business is me so I need to make time for balance as well as growth.
It is so important to give back. Any person, whether they own a business or not, should consider finding a niche to volunteer with to give back to or to grow themselves. Whether it be just a few hours or just dollars that you want to send in, giving back is good for you. Why?
For those who believe in it, Karma is based off of the theory that what you do, comes back to you. Karma is a big reason to do nice things – it definitely helps you and your brand (or business) to be known as someone who gives back. But Karma is not the only reason.
If you do not believe in or care about Karma, you will believe in the results of doing something nice for someone who needs it. If you have a skill, talent or extra funds, using it to help an organization that means something to you or by pitching in your skills and talents and truly seeing the results is an amazing boost to your self worth and it WILL INCREASE YOUR SKILL SET.
How is that possible – simply because by pitching in and helping others, you will be, in a sense, teaching. By teaching someone something, you are learning. Here I go again with that stuff about learning. If you give back and teach someone or help someone achieve something, you are learning yourself. You are learning how to create a lesson, and perhaps how to make someone understand something. This is a magic ability to have and it will spill over into your professional life and make things click. Yes, being a parent at times can help with this, too but something about helping someone that is not related to you and learning how to handle learning styles for individuals of all ages makes it a powerful tool to have.
My community outreach is in progress (more on my community outreach is here http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/giving-back-to-the-community-as-an-entrepreneur
and here http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/results-of-my-community-outreach) and when I go back in February for my second round of roll up the sleeves and “do-ism”, I will be teaching and helping people execute on their dreams. People who maybe do not have quality career-level help and could not afford my type of help. But in giving back and doing this, I am the one who is receiving the benefit. I am the one who gets to tailor my message and learn more from teaching than they can by listening to me.
What do you think about giving back? Do you need a speaker or a lesson for an upcoming event in the NYC area (Staten Island and beyond). If yes, check out more about what I can do here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/college-readiness-seminars--more.html to get on my calendar before I book up. Happy Hunting!
Wednesday night was my first Staten Island Chamber of Commerce event and it was wonderful.
I joined the chamber officially just this week and they hosted a mixer where I was able to speak about my business as did the other new members.
This is all new and exciting to me and I always love to speak in general but getting up in a lovely restaurant (South Shore Bar and Grill - highly recommend it lovely place, great food etc) with about 30 people or more watching me was great practice! See, even a public speaker like me thinks of this a challenge though a good challenge...but one nonetheless.
I was ready for the event and loved talking to people one on one and in groups - I found each talk helped me formulate what I wanted to say when I was given the floor.
When it was time for me to introduce myself and my business, I think I hit on everything. Some of what I said is listed below and really encompasses my mantra and my elevator pitch - sometimes, I do not even have to say it - I recently ran into someone that I wanted to tell about my company and they already knew and told me they are impressed seeing what I am doing to build my brand via LinkedIn and other content channels.
My Elevator Pitch
The Next Step is built around helping with college and career readiness. I have experience as an educator and an executive focusing on helping new graduates, high school students and career professionals take their next steps in career and education goals. I create content, EBooks as well as offer interactive and informative seminars, training and courses on careers, blogging, entrepreneurship, and really anything that I blog about can be turned into a lesson / class etc. Also, I work one-on-one with clients to help them with resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and application essays. As part of my service, I include coaching and career plans without additional charge and my LinkedIn product particularly teaches you based on your needs on how to use LinkedIn to have YOUR phone ring instead of you having to make the calls to get attention. Oh, and I closed with the fact that I am interested in speaking at any event - I am an educator and interested in sharing my company, my message and teaching people to be ready for their next step.
Upcoming Speaking Event
For example, here is an awesome link showing an upcoming speaking arrangement on February 16: http://www.rbcofsi.com/events.html
At the event, I got a stack of business cards and I am working on reaching out to everyone who spoke with me.
As I build this business, I look forward to making and creating more partnerships and learning from everyone. I think joining the Chamber was a great way to grow my connections and to learn and grow more!
What do you think? Are you interested in joining the Chamber of Commerce? Let me know if you have any questions! I am looking forward to hitting the ground running and being involved with the upcoming Workforce Development Committee and with the Career-Con event. Happy hunting!
I was back today at the local high school to do another round of my College and Career Readiness. Well, the first round was more of a college readiness whereas this one became more. I added to the presentation and took away from the presentation based on the age of my audience (seniors) and my time-frame (one hour).
When it was done, I got a huge round of applause and I just wanted to bottle that and remember it always as being an entrepreneur is all about these moments - these times of presenting what you are passionate about and what you can speak authentically to in regards to planning out these huge next steps in the lives of these students.
I like to think I helped them a little bit on their way to being an "adult" with my words of wisdom based on years of experience both in and out of the college classroom and in and out of the corporate boardroom. The skills that sell, the things you need to identify and jump on during the ages of 17-21 are so similar and yet so different than they were 20, 10 or even 5 years ago. From my vantage point from having been part of both worlds and being an entrepreneur, I can see this message this mission clearly and I really enjoyed sharing it with the small pilot group that I have over my last two visits to this high school. My most sincere thanks to the school for having me come in and having me come back! I am hopeful I can even continue and keep working on my message and maybe even getting the next one taped for me and my YouTube channel!
I cannot wait to get the chance to roll it out on a larger scale and so many pieces of what I am doing are pushing to that option. This is just a quick post to provide this update on how awesome it was to really present my thoughts and ideas on college and career readiness. The students asked me really great, thoughtful questions and I definitely learned more than they did by listening to me! I cannot wait to do this at many more schools on Staten Island and in different ways with different agencies. What do you think? If you would like to learn more, click on any of the photos below! Happy Hunting!
Giving a Presentation (Lessons from College Readiness)
I have a lot to say about giving presentations and having the ability to give a presentation. This all comes back down to having a message and having the ability to deliver it. You can have the best idea, the best company in the world but if you cannot share that message effectively, you cannot compete. The same is true for your career and your potential for growth. I do think it is important to get this message out to the younger students and this is why my public speaking lessons are included in my college readiness seminars.
When you think about preparing for college and how we do this, there is something fundamentally broken in the process or how we think about the process. We focus on test scores and GPAs (which, of course, are important) and we spend a little less time focusing on the skills and talents needed for that after college-graduation transition from student to employee or mini-mogul.
Yes, let us say everyone can be a mini-mogul (and you could, if you follow my “Entrepreneur-Ing” advice – see more here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/new-ebook-entrepreneur-ing.html) then you can really consider how to strategize and present yourself as a boss.
The best way to do this is to begin presenting in your real life as soon as you can. Starting young is best way to build comfort with this skill. If your school does outreach with younger grades, look into presenting something fun to a younger grade to get your feet wet on this type of skill. Once you do this, do it again and again. Find other organizations or even if you are involved in a group or athletic activity, consider training people on how to do it or how to do it better.
I find that people doubt themselves so much; we think “oh, I am not good enough to do that.” When in reality, we are very good at these things and the trick to getting good and being even better is to keep getting out there and trying and presenting and training and learning.
I made a video about it and how important it is to identify your “teaching” style – get out there and present something soon and let me know how it goes! Also, consider to follow my "University Advice" tag on the blog to find more on my college and career readiness advice that can help you as a younger reader (or can help you with your kids). And my EBook on College and Career Readiness information is here http://www.thenextstep1234.com/new-ebook-college--career-readiness.html. Happy Hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen