As an author and entrepreneur, I have spent countless hours creating content to help others either via this blog or the books I have self-published and which formulate the basics of this business. Here, at The Next Step, I focus on helping people with:
How or why do I think I can share on these topics and help others? I have spent decades as an educator, an executive and an entrepreneur. I utilize social media EVERY day through content creation, image sharing and more to help promote ME - what I can do to help clients and more.
In addition to this small business, I also run a nonprofit which amalgamates all of the things I feel I have expertise in around education and content sharing and teaching and includes with it the life experiences of being a breast cancer survivor and a young one, at that.
Despite how "young" I was at diagnosis, I am nowhere near as young at diagnosis as many people I have had the privilege and the honor to meet and get to know. Cancer is a cruel disease - it takes all you have to survive it and if and when you do you are left forever changed in both good ways - and very bad ways.
A huge impact on young cancer survivors is the fact that they are always playing catch up and that their incomes and career possibilities are not as open as for people who you know did not have regular chemotherapy in their youth.
To help with this, my nonprofit is working on launching an online course about college readiness for cancer survivors in the very near future. Before the class, though, comes the workbook. I self published my 10th book today and I wanted to share it here - I had no clue when I published my first book in the Spring of 2016 that I would go on to write and publish 9 more books.
I continue to find new things to write about and a new way of looking at the world as a cancer survivor (in training). I know that my expertise and experiences can help others and that is why I share. I also know that having the background in higher education that I have coupled with the empathy of understanding what cancer treatments are like on the mind, body, soul, psyche that having this resource available to fellow survivors / thrivers can help them move forward in their futures.
I hope you can consider helping me reach my goal of being able to continue offering FREE help and training and sending FREE copies of my books to survivors and thrivers who need them by considering making a tax-deductible donation to my nonprofit The Balance After Cancer Foundation.
Thank you and God bless you this holiday season!
Me and my scars - photo credit: Sophie Mayanne Behind the Scars Project
Going Back to cali...Soul Success summit speaking engagement - come with me and get $100 off your ticket with code lisanielsen
I have huge news to share. I met some soulmates - they are Megan and Alisa and they run an annual event called the "Soul Success Summit" out in Santa Barbara California.
As an entrepreneur (since 1999, y'all), I have done a lot, seen a lot and most importantly FAILED a lot. I took all of my lessons and wrote books on it - see them here (and those are just the books I wrote on Entreprenuerial stuff).
It can be so hard to be an entrepreneur - it is isolating (not as isolating as cancer but isolating in its own way). You have all of these ideas in your head and plans and it can be hard to find like-minded people who are interested in hearing about them and giving their opinions.
When I heard about the Soul Success Summit, I knew I had to apply to speak at it - I also knew it would be a long shot for me to be picked. I am, in some ways, a great candidate but I have BIG drawbacks. My talk is more specifically related to my new niche - the one no one wants - that of being a cancer survivor as well as an entrepreneur, educator, author and speaker. I have so much to share but it is all back to "balance" and understanding how we find joy and how we MUST take care of ourselves.
I am not the speaker who will focus only on the bottom line - I talk about the full life, all of the things that bring us joy and HEALTH - health above all. There is a component I bring, a vibrancy and passion to what I share that the founders of this event saw and knew would be a great fit for the AMAZING women who will be speaking and learning at this event.
I cannot wait to find my new girl tribe - I am so honored to have been picked to be a speaker at this event for the weekend of March 30-31; the event is so huge it has been broken up into two weekends! Can you believe it?
If you have read my words and not yet met me, come to California to hang out with the best girl minds in the business of making businesses successful. If you know me anyway in real life, come TOO. Use the code "lisanielsen" to get $100 off your ticket here and come on to Cali with me...
Just a TEASER of my other speaking engagements
Find out more about the Soul Success Summit by clicking on the image below:
And don't forget about the Breast Cancer Rehabilitation and Wellness Summit - by clicking on the image below for more information:
I am so honored to be a part of the GLOBAL Breast Cancer Rehabilitation and Wellness Summit for Day 1. This is a 7 day summit asking us to find 25 ways to thrive. Breast cancer, as we all know, is a global epidemic and one that affects someone every 2 minutes of the day with a diagnosis. It affects men and women and like any life changing diagnosis, it impacts every aspect of our lives.
Through sharing my story and building this nonprofit focusing on survivorship tools around the very things we all need - dignity, a sense of purpose and the ability to make a future in a world that suddenly has been turned upside down - I was so excited to be asked to be a speaker for this event. It is a virtual event so you can be a part of this summit from anywhere in the world. By signing up via the Eventbrite link BEFORE December 8th for FREE access to all of the speakers and the topics - the link is here!
The focus of the event is thriving, healing and building out your resource list for getting back to "normal" after a breast cancer diagnosis. I hope to see you there!
And how I can help you do it for FREE!! Do you know what writing a book can do for your business?
Do you own a business? Do you consider yourself an "expert" (or want to be considered an "expert") in your field?
Do you know the best way to do it is to write a book? Now before you say, "Are you insane? I cannot write a book, I am so busy and/or just working and/or I do not have time to do it..." I will tell you that writing a book is NOT a huge time constraint and that you can do it easily and quickly.
Don't believe me? Here is my FREE How to Write Your Own Book Guide. Yes, I said FREE.
How do you get it? Simply fill out your email here and I will send it to you and you will be well on your way to writing your first book.
Here are just SOME of the books I have written (some in the last 2 months):
I launched my first seminar (YouTube above) to help other cancer survivors and thrivers get back to work after cancer. You can learn more about my initiative here.
Also, you can see more of the traction I am getting in the press.
Thanks for reading and please consider sharing! Thanks! Happy Hunting!
I am passionate about many things - such as being mindful of every moment, of living life and not worrying about the what ifs and about sharing my skills and talents. I am an expert on college and career readiness - I have written books on the subject (check them out here -> College and Career Readiness Series) and have launched training about it (see testimonials from my students here College and Career Readiness Testimonials) and am scaling up to do more about sharing these lessons and my skills in the coming weeks and months.
After cancer, not much scares me - so being out there again and facing potential rejection is like "NBD" for someone who is newly "NED" (no evidence of disease - well for the past year and change already). Yesterday, at CareerCon, I met many many students and offered them all free resume help. I also offered to send them free copies of my College and Career Readiness books and over 80 filled out slips to get copies of the books sent to them (working on it; have to order more books as my stock is down to nothing). These books are for sale on Amazon for $7-8 each and my resume services start at $100 so WHY in the world did I give these things away for free?
Simple - I am starting over from scratch - I spent the last 18 months dealing with breast cancer and for a time working full time as a teacher and now it is all starting over. What is not starting over are my content, my lessons, my speaking ability - that is all as it ever was and ready to be shared with students who struggle - and it is most of them. The days when you could teach yourself (as I did) how to interview well, how to write a resume that rocks are gone. It is a "dead" skill - I am looking to resurrect it, though, one classroom at a time, or one auditorium at a time.
I wrote the books, prepared the presentations and my 15+ years experience as an executive, educator and entrepreneur are ready to jump right in. I also met potential partners yesterday and I offered them free one time presentations about college or career readiness or entrepreneurship. I have some meetings already set up over the next weeks. Giving something away for "free" might sound crazy but it is a great strategy to break back into the world of college and career readiness. I am focused, I wrote the books, I build the training and now it is just a matter of signing the clients.
What do you do to build your business? How does it work for you if you gave away "free" stuff?
I have been many different professions in my life from entry level employee to executive from college professor to K teacher to stay at home mom... and beyond. I have done many different things and learned something from each role that I took with me to the next. I have been entrepreneurial in between and during these positions for over 15 years. Right now, I am unemployed and looking at the big fork in the road ahead of me...
My unemployment insurance ends in a few weeks. I was looking full time for a job since September. I have only had a handful of interviews, despite my constant looking, networking and more. All of a sudden, this past week or two a few different opportunities have opened up for me but they will not really kick in financially until early April so I am still looking and thinking. I think a lot (this is never good for me).
I no longer fear things like I used to (such as being far away from home and my kids to manage things for my own career) and I miss, I really miss the whole environment of being in a large company and having a roll to rock and rocking it. I also no longer get so invested in the whole "WOW, I need to be doing EVERYTHING with my small business" as I had been in the past where it just consumed me to get it right.
Everything is up in the air right now but I do believe things will settle down soon and I will be able to share with you exactly where I wind up and how. I am thinking I will work a lot more than I could have pictured. I, who spent years trying to map my schedule to my kids, am now under no such constraints. I am ready to be out there, to be visible, to be out of the house. I am also thinking that for the last several years, I chopped off my earning potential with my own self imposed limitations.
Those days are over. I was able to get access to a temporary FREE office space through the SIEDC and it is amazing to have someplace to go job hunt, think about entrepreneurship and just be me LISA for a few hours a week. I am here on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons as a way to break up my week and to see where things go - I for one am very excited about the potentials.
I met with my Score adviser today, too. It was a busy day and I am rocking my new suit, my fake boob and my curly pixie hair. It is a whole new world and I hope you stick with me as I figure out what and how that is going to look!
So once upon a time, I wrote a blog post about managing "blank spaces" on your resume due to childcare or illness and I want to say now that I did not have a clue about the illness blank space. I got the parenthood one as I had taken time off to care for my children when they were super young but I had never dealt with an illness. Almost a year after I wrote this post https://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/transitioning-back-to-the-workforce I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Watch the video below to learn what I want to do to help others who have been through hell and back with cancer get "work ready" again. Thanks so much!
I recently have been thinking about my own next step in a new light. I was shying away and actually downright against being an entrepreneur anymore due to the unsteadiness of income and the putting of self out there that must be done to be a small business owner but then the more I think about it, the more I realize that I am so far out there in terms of my life, my truth and who I am that I could not get much further out.
A new opportunity has come up for me to use some of the skills I am so good at to help an organization with their social media marketing. I rock at Twitter, Instagram and of course, the piece de resistance, blogging. It is through these methods that I still, despite NOT promoting this site beyond my Twitter feed have had over 3.2 million page views this past year (I stopped actively being an entrepreneur in July 2016) and over 100k unique visitors. I spent time today updating this site and even making some new pages and other updates throughout. I am still a college and career readiness expert, still available for resumes and cover letters and LinkedIn overhauls but I am definitely thinking my real sweet spot, my real calling is as a social media expert helping small businesses reach new customers and unlock their potential. As a writer, I can create engaging blog posts that are then shared through other social media channels all to make your small business known and followed by people who will shop with you.
I have a lot more stuff up my sleeve that I am working on for a spring rollout, what do you think? Have you noticed how hard it is for entrepreneurial spirits to die? How did you do your comeback?
For the first time in my whole professional life, I am collecting unemployment benefits. This is a first. I had lost my job back in winter 2000 and was given a severance package but moved from Boston to NY so did not even attempt to file a claim, though I guess I could have. I had a new job by January 2001, anyway, so I did not truly need the extra help unemployment could have given me.
This time around, is different. I had a full time job -my first one in a few years and then I no longer had a full time job anymore. Also, during this time, I was diagnosed with and treated for cancer - find out more about that plot twist here
When I went to the required meeting for unemployment, I was surprised at how I was treated - like a bum. I guess this is "normal" for city agencies that think of you as just a number but these were local employees to my town and they looked at me like I was dirt on their shoes. I do not at all agree with it - everyone finds themselves in tough times and, in my opinion, should always be treated with the same respect that is given, you know? So if I walk by and say, "hello" and "thank you" there should at least be a civil response given back. That is obviously neither here nor there - everyone probably has similar stories about being on the "dole" or needing help to get to their next step. There was a training on how to write a resume and interview, ironic, given I had written books about that...
I am in the shoes of countless of my clients have been before me but this time, a bit different. I had spoken about it at length regarding being a mom or having an illness here transitioning-back-to-the-workforce.html and fI can say I really never thought any of those things would apply to me.
How naive I was. After working part time and running my own semi-successful business for a few years, I was back in the game of a steady paycheck and it was good. It was also good to have a goal, to have something that was just mine. When you run a business, you belong to everyone. You want to find clients and make deals and it is downright exhausting.
I still think one day I will go back to being entrepreneurial again. But not now. For now, I am focused on finding my own next step and thinking about ways I can help others who have been in my shoes - who have had to take a leave or lost their jobs due to cancer and its effects. When your body fails you, it is not your fault. I can help others figure out how to manage their next step, after cancer. But for free.
When Worlds collide - the unvarnished truth about being an entrepreneur, social media and my resume...
My Resume - #HIREME
I have decided to no longer be ashamed and to share my story, a story that is getting to be more and more common.
I am at a crossroads in my life and the question was do I share it or do I hide it? I have spent the last year focused on another career type that got interrupted by something no one wants, ever - cancer.
It took all that I had in me to survive chemotherapy (I do not recommend it, it sucks) and balancing that with a full time job (that ultimately did not work out) and also with my family and young children. Something had to give. I gave up a lot to get through treatment but it also made me realize that I had given up a lot much earlier than just because of cancer. During my treatment, I turned down clients and opportunities all with the blanket, "I am dealing with a health issue." What was I afraid of? Why didn't I just say, "I am dealing with breast cancer." Well, here it is, my "statement" a little late but true nonetheless; I was battling and I will always, in a sense, battle but now I am no longer ashamed of it.
I am now done with treatment and beyond hopeful that I will be one of the lucky ones to beat this disease but you never know. No one knows - you don't know what you might be faced with in the future just as I do not know what my future will be. I do know that I had to begin to share somewhere and I started with a blog outside of The Next Step that focuses on the disease and how I handled it and my tips for survival for others whether affected themselves by cancer or someone they know is affected. That blog is www.thetimebetweenis.weebly.com.
Now, my crossroads is around what is my next step? I am still not ready to go 100% into anything and I am taking some time to recuperate and to think. I am writing, though, too. Not just the blog posts at The Time Between but also a book draft about the "c" word. It is dreaded and it is feared but most of all it is very common.
As I was planning my life, presenting my company and trying to build my career, my body had other ideas and was building the pieces to knock me down with a potentially life-threatening disease. No matter my education, my resume, my goals and plans - none of that mattered, all that mattered was that this disease had grown inside of me.
I learned more about back up plans and contingencies than I ever thought possible and most importantly I learned that you just cannot get too wrapped up in anything. If God forbid you were diagnosed with something potentially life threatening tomorrow, what would your career matter? What would you care about your big house? Your cars? You realize something with the possibility of death; you realize there is more to life than the "hustle" and I hustled for years and years. I hustled in Corporate America and then in trying to piece together an income post-childbirth and now, I just want to see where the road lies ahead of me. I need an income but I am taking the time to think and to piece together something that works for me - some hybrid of The Next Step and www.thetimebetweenis.weebly.com - something more authentic, open and raw (like the YouTube video I posted today).
I have a lot to teach people in so many ways and have to identify how that passion for sharing my message meets an income. Also, to balance that out with the pieces I have long neglected in my life - ME. As a mom, caretaker, educator, entrepreneur I have put myself last (my true self). All of the time I built into this blog is a veneer; it is the Professional Lisa the Professor Lisa. There is still so much more to me and what I need to kind of keep myself happy and focused.
I hope to take you on the journey as I build out my next step and if I can help you with either life with cancer or just filling those blank spaces on your resume due to the turns life takes, reach out and share.
Anyone who tells you they can see the future is wrong. You truly just do not know where your life with take you or how you will get there until you are there.
Your career with ebb and flow, opportunities will come and go, but the important things are universal. You want to have your life go a certain way - you want to pick the career that will make you "happiest" but sometimes that is not the career you get. You want to get married and have children but sometimes, that does not happen. You want to buy a house and be able to retire at a certain age but again, it does not always happen.
What does always happen is what is meant to happen. For me, that was working full time for this school year as a teacher while fighting breast cancer.
Yeah, did not see that one coming. At all.
That is the beauty of life. I still get so many people visiting The Next Step (over 2000 per week!) and following me on social media, although I have my social media pretty much automated at this point. I still have my books and content available and people are learning from me even though what I have learned these past 7 months has been beyond teaching.
If you know someone who is battling cancer, give them a hug for me. If you are battling cancer, keep fighting and never give up.
As you move forward in your life and your career, remember the important things. As I take my sick time and focus on getting healthy, I know I will never be the same. The things that stressed me in the past are now just a joke. The impetus I have had in my career and my small business are now just all focused on getting healthy and finding my new path, my next step. When I am no longer in treatment and ready to work again, what will that work be? I do now know what it will be or where it will be but I know I have my 4 books out there and my countless blog posts sharing my advice and tips / tools to take your next step. I will at some point figure out what that next step means for me and when I do, you know I will share it.
In the interim, check out www.thetimebetweenis.weebly.com.
I had an amazing meeting yesterday that was amazing. It made me realize how important it is to have a book on Project Management and work on my expertise about building this skill set in terms of careers and entrepreneurship.
I have in my mind the plan to create a book about project management and how to implement this career path for new and seasoned professionals, too.
My four books are published and I have two in the Entrepreneur-ING series and two in the College and Career Readiness series. I am working on another book in the College and Career Readiness Series all about how to be successful in the workplace for those new to careers, too. I think this next series will be the Project Management Series with two books - one about how to be a project manager and one about passing the PMP exam, which I did in 2004.
For the first book in Project Management, I would start off with just the same 11-12 chapter outline that I have used for my other books that are published and my word count would be the same 15k-22k that I have been doing with my other books.
I am considering the following chapter plan:
Chapter 1 What it Means to be a Project Manager
Chapter 2 Skills Needed to be a Project Manager Planning Scheduling Motivating
Chapter 3 Career Options in Project Management
Chapter 4 How to Position Yourself in Project Management
Chapter 5 Industries to use Project Management
Chapter 6 Hacks to PM Skills (such as planning scheduling motivating)
Chapter 7 Continued Learning in Project Management
Chapter 8 Why You Need to be Certified in Project Management
Chapter 9 Pitfalls in the PM Career Path
Chapter 10 Positives in the Career Path
Chapter 11 Preview of Next Book on Passing the PMP exam
What do you think? Happy Hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen