*Note I have not dated in over 15 years so I could be wrong with this analogy but based off of my friends who are still single and what I know from my students, I am on track with this.
Sometimes when you run your own business, it is just like being out there as a single person dating.
When you are an entrepreneur - even if it is just a side gig, you are on top of your contacts and potential "deals" but most times the other party could be less involved or too involved - you can have a stage 5 clinger or a ghoster but the worst is to have nothing.
You have some people who "pursue" you and want to work with you and then.... Nothing. You've been "ghosted" dear entrepreneur. What do you do about it? I guess just move on same as you would do if it was a date. You do NOT want to be the "crazy" one pushing for a response when the communication line goes dead.
Just move on and wait and see because other people do get really busy and just because it was a priority to you does not mean it was a priority to the other person but something might change and as long as you stayed professional, they might come back to you with a contract. Or maybe not. It is best just to move on and expect nothing.
Stage 5 Clinger:
You have someone who just will not let go. This is ultimately ok - you want to always provide excellent customer service but sometimes it is just not possible to please everyone.
The No Responder / Swipe Lefter:
I liken this one to online dating, where you see a profile and you just "know" it's your person but no response. Why did they swipe left on you? You might never know and this happens a lot as an entrepreneur especially when you are always pitching. As an entrepreneur, you kind of are always pitching - but not in a "bad" way - just that you believe in your company and that what you do can help others so you are moved to try.
You must constantly "try" to build networks and potential clients and partners so you do have to send at least 2-3 messages/outreaches sometimes to get a response. I often luck out on my 3rd try OR that could just be because it linked up to when my books were published, I do not know. Sometimes, though, no matter how "right" you know you are for that entity, client or whatever you have to just walk away and let it lie. You tried and when/if they need you, they know how to find you. Do not send another email/voicemail follow up - let it go.
Sometimes you get lucky and you find clients or partners that are "the one(s)". They believe in you and your business and stand by you in the beginning, middle and end.
This is great for your business. It is also great for you as an entrepreneur to have that validation that your mission is worth it even if you have the other extremes of ghoster and clinger in your business experiences.
In your business life, you need all 4 examples to grow and learn just like you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince/princess, I guess? I am sure there are other examples of how running a business is like dating - do you have any others? Happy hunting!
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Getting fired does happen sometimes because you do not fit in with a company OR you are last one in, first one out when things get tough and sometimes you made a mistake or a misstep that led to you being fired.
These are all very different stories and lead to very different options for you to pick up the pieces. Being fired is traumatic. I am lucky in that the last time I was “fired”, I was 15 and working at Roy Rogers. In my defense, it was SO hard to make those chicken packages I just could not deal – and Roy Rogers was hella busy and hey, I was only 15 – and you get the idea – this was over 25 (almost) years ago and it still can be something to be defensive over!
I am lucky, honestly. I led my career with focus (mostly) and never found myself on the chopped block again but that does not mean I did not have issues. For those of you unlucky enough to have been fired more recently, it is not the end of the world. In fact, there are tons of examples of people who have been fired and it was the catalyst that led to bigger and better things.
Being “laid off” is often considered not being fired – but ultimately it is similar to being fired in that you have no job. I was laid off in early 2000 from a dot-com (who wasn’t) but it still left me scrambling. I learned some lessons in early 2000 and I have built on these lessons as I help clients and students alike recover from being fired or “let go” or “separated” from their companies and careers.
What do you do when you are fired? Sometimes, it comes out of left field so it does not leave you time to be prepared but most people can sense something is going to happen. It is rare that you walk into the office thinking today is the day you get promoted and then wind up being escorted out by security with your belongings in a box. I mean, it is rare – unless you are delusional or at a crazy company that likes to torture employees.
For some people above a certain level, being fired leads to a negotiation process with the ability to ask for career counseling and a severance package but for the rank and file, this is just a goodbye without anything. How can you be ready for this without thinking negatively for no reason?
I am huge about not thinking negatively – not to sound all granola and crunchy but I do think if you put out negative thoughts, negative things come back (see a future post about Meditation that I have in the works for more on that). It is important to always be ready for anything and a good way to be ready for your career is to always have a great resume and LinkedIn profile.
If you cannot maintain both, please keep the LinkedIn up to date and active. You can find out more of my advice on LinkedIn here Blog Category LinkedIn Advice. If you just cannot fathom LinkedIn and how it works, please consider either my do it yourself LinkedIn product OR my LinkedIn Improvement Package on improving and instructing you how to use LinkedIn – this takes me over 10 hours of work on my part and it leaves you with an excellent noticeable profile and the game plan on how to use it.
Also, always cultivate your network. You do not need to spend 20 hours a week on this – that is insane. You can just always be “available” and at times, out there with meetings and events. If you see something that would apply to someone’s life, job search or more, take the few minutes to send it over to them just as a way to “water” your relationships. There are some people that might expect more but almost everyone is so busy, just occasionally hearing from you is enough to help the relationship for when you have to send the “Help, I have been fired” message.
And you should never send a “help, I have been fired” message anyway. It should read more like,
“Hi, Joe. I hope the email I sent you about XYZ helped with your project. I wanted to also let you know that I am looking for new opportunities in my field (or another field or x or y). If you know of anyone looking for [INSERT YOUR EVP HERE – find out more here Using Your Elevator Pitch as a Value Statement] please keep me in mind. Looking forward to seeing you again! Warmest regards, Jane”
You do not have to say you have been fired BUT if you are interviewing for a new role, you do have to be transparent. Resist the urge to bad mouth the company or otherwise make it seem like you have been betrayed or abused. These are all massive red flags for hiring managers and everyone, really. Make it as professional as possible. Do not bring emotions into it. When asked your reason for leaving your last job (it is right there on every job application and definitely brought up in any interview), “The company and I decided to part ways” or “The company made some changes that led to my position being no longer necessary” or “I was fired because [INSERT PROFESSIONAL SOUNDING REASON HERE].
If you were fired for gross misconduct or something very negative, this will come out when your references are called. As much as companies are tied up into what they CAN and CANNOT say (such as basic information confirming employment dates), a savvy hiring manager (on either side) can figure out the real story without too many words. If you have done something extremely unethical or borderline criminal, be honest and beware when / if you can pick up the pieces of your career.
This is in very rare cases; most people are fired due to poor performance which can often be brought back into the culture/fit discussion in terms of how your mesh with a company. And this is hard to identify until you are in the trenches of said company but you can use some of my advice here The Next Step Blog Posts on Culture and Fit.
What do you think of my in case of firing advice? Have you been fired before? Why? Was it something that allowed you to change your career for the better? Is it something that still causes you anger and/or other emotion? How did you mask the emotional aspect? Happy Hunting!
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Although, I have spoken about this in the blog posts quite a few times (see here The Next Step Blog Posts on Culture and Fit) there is still more to say.
I talk about these topics in both of my published books. In
For careers, it is not as light and fluffy. At the end of the day, YOU (or your parents or your loans) are paying for your college experience and therefore you are entitled to help and focus around your needs and how you feel. In the real world, this is not the case. Your employer is paying YOU so it is up to you to identify and know how to manage your needs to keep you happy in your professional life. My book,
Like anything else, sometimes the “match” does not work out but you can try to avoid this misstep by knowing in advance what type of culture you excel in – do you need to have an overzealous manager who micromanages you (my gut would say no one needs this but some people do need to have direction more than others) or do you need a hands off approach from your management? When you are just starting out, it is hard for you to know this in advance and most people just want to get the best paying job for when they start vs the job that is the best fit. There are pros and cons to each decision you make. Yes, money is “important” but if you are miserable every day, that money begins to feel like a curse and not a benefit. If you love going to work every day (or even a few days a month), you are better off than so many people.
Just look around and ask your friends and family who have to be honest with you – ask them if they are truly happy going to their office every day. You will find most people who have to be honest will tell you that they “hate” their jobs. That being said, sometimes this is just a phase and sometimes this is due to someone being negative and hating everything but for some it is that they made the wrong choice in their career path and now they are “stuck” at a company where the fit and culture is wrong. Sometimes this corrects itself in the form of being fired and/or laid off by said company where you do not fit in. Other times, it is something you have to identify and fix on your own either by changing to fit the culture or by moving on to find something that fits your needs more.
A big part of the battle is to know what you need. It is understanding what in terms of culture and fit do you need. Are you looking for a company that is run like a family? Meaning you all go crazy and love/hate eachother minute by minute? Are you looking for a company that is run like the military – meaning everything is controlled and scheduled to the nth degree. Are you looking for something more in between?
Read my books to find out more about culture and fit to be ready for your next step! Let me know what you think about culture and fit? Did you make the right choices for college and career? If yes, how did you know? If not, what can you do to fix it? Happy Hunting!
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The elevator pitch has often been defined as what you would say to the CEO of your company if you were in the elevator together. Now, though, many employees either have more access to their CEO's or wouldn't know them if they met them in the elevator (we live in a time of extremes, after all). This is no longer the best reason for why you need an elevator pitch and I am going to say it should be considered more of a Value Pitch (or an EVP, if you will for Elevator Value Pitch).
This means your old "elevator pitch" (if you had one) needs a makeover to highlight your VALUE of what you bring to any company, client or coworkers. Having this statement be ready and focused is, in my opinion, a magic formula to ensuring people know who you are and what you can do. Yes, magic. If done right this is a quick 2 minute overview of who you are and what you do and can lead to opportunities. This is important to have even if you are secure and happy in your career and it is a necessity if your career is not where you want it to be or if you have no career.
Here are my quick tips to creating and using an elevator value pitch (EVP) for you.
1) To do this right, you need to practice and hone your words so that it matches what you are and you must practice it so that it comes out naturally. Share it with close family and friends to see what they think of it. You could miss something because you are thinking about your career in a certain way. By sharing this potential EVP, you can make it more meaningful and robust.
2) No matter where you are in your career (happy/sad/lacking) this is something everyone you know should be aware of - the highlight of who you are and what you can do / are looking for in your next step. Of course, the level of sharing should be higher if you are lacking a career at this moment.
3) You should have this "pitch" be part of your social media strategy (see more on this here Build Your Online BRAND Not Your LIKES). You can "sneak" it into your LinkedIn profile maybe on the summary section and you can use it via Instagram and Twitter, too. It does not have to seem weird and do not overthink it. Consider creating an Instaquote with your elevator pitch in bullets or sentences and share it. You share much more than that, I am sure.
Do not be embarrassed to present yourself as a professional using the platforms you usually appear relaxed on - it is okay to be complex.
4) You should share this via your close networking partners while asking them what they use to stand out in a crowded marketplace. This can be a great learning experience for you and your partners. Do not share this way with everyone you consider a networking partner; I am specifying to highlight those you are "close" with - those who you speak about career goals and whatnot.
5) For those you are not "close" with, consider how you can bring this information up and always know how to be ready to build out this "pitch" into actionable results. If you give your pitch to a new networking person, figure out how you can "show off" (in measure). For example, if you state you are an excellent researcher, bring the conversation around to find out what the potential networking partner might need re research and then deliver some examples to them in a friendly way. Such as,
"Dear, X, It was so great to meet you at XYZ on Thursday night. I enjoyed our conversation about Z and I happened to see this during some of my research and thought it would help you in your work. Have a great day! Warmest regards, XXY"
Do you have an elevator pitch already? Does it meet the criteria of being an EVP? Does it showcase your strengths and abilities in a quick way? I am including my "EVP" for my small business here, although to make it match an actual EVP, I would remove the last sentence. Let me know your thoughts in the comments or via social media. Share your EVP with #EVPTheNextStep. Happy hunting!
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The job market is improving (somewhat). Are you ready?
If you want to stand apart from the other applicants especially if you have been unemployed some of the best ways to do that is to use your skills and leverage what you can to stand out. I have written before about managing blank spaces on your resume (http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/transitioning-back-to-the-workforce) but now I want to talk about how to make sure you are ready for the new potential opportunities opening up.
Some quick tips are:
What do you think about these quick tips? Reach out to me in the comments or via social media if you have any questions. Happy Hunting!
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As I continue to create and build the content arm of my business, I also think about leveraging the content to make more connections and continue my focus on my market of Staten Island, NYC and surrounding areas.
For promoting my books, I am using Twitter and Instagram as well as my website / blog functions. I just started using Snapchat and I totally need someone to help me understand how to use it. I am thenextsteplisa on Snapchat.
I also have my website landing pages for both book series. The landing page for the Entrepreneur-ING series is here - Entrepreneur-ING Book. The page for my College and Career Readiness books are here Book on College Readiness.
I am in talks with some schools to provide copies of my books for some auctions and also for the graduating 8th grade classes. My book was part of a giveaway at a recent College of Staten Island event and I have been asked by a bunch of networking partners for copies of my book. I also would like to arrange speaking engagements around the lessons in my books and it was in that thought process that I created the below flyers to share with my network.
The best thing about having my books is that it is a tangible piece of my business that can be read by anyone and can help anyone take their next steps either in career or education. These demographics are what I excel in helping - I am focused on helping career professionals be ready to grow their careers and/or open their own businesses from my 15+ years' experience in Corporate America and being an entrepreneur. My 13 years' experience in higher education give me the perspective and credentials to share on how to be ready for that big step into college or university.
What do you think about my flyer? Interested in having me speak at your event or meeting - contact me here Speaking Engagements.
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Balancing the entrepreneur-ING way
I do not share much in regards to my family life because it does not really crossover for me though I have seen some similar types of small businesses that make their children a part of it – one such company recently sent a constant contact like newsletter featuring prominently an ultrasound picture of the baby to be born this summer.
I knew when I started this company in July that I would not be comfortable sharing my children with the business. It was my choice as it is other's choices to include their children; I do not judge them at all. I think it is a great way to showcase the business person in different ways and can lead to more clicks. My kids are very good promoters, too. Whenever we are out and about somewhere, if they see other business cards on display, they ask if they can put my business cards out, too. They give out my books to anyone who visits us at home, too - even delivery people (find out more on my Amazon Author Page). That being said, with all I "teach" about social media to the high school set, I was not comfortable putting my kids on the map of social media at their young ages regarding my business.
To be open about my business planning, though, I need to make this post about “balance” as I prepare for the upcoming spring break AND summer vacation, too. In everything I do, I try to balance so that I can focus on my business and also be there for the kids (like all working parents do). This balance, though, was a big part of the reason why I became an entrepreneur. I can build my own schedule and balance around events and activities that I have planned for my personal life. I think this is important for everyone, though, even those without children. Everyone wants to be able to feed their soul to do something that means more than the 9to5 routine. At times, though, it is hard to do this to balance it and to make it work.
As I juggle my multiple “side gigs” with my full time gig as an entrepreneur and my home life, this hits home to me. I do not want to be a “mommy” blogger but that is involved with being “mom-trepreneur”. For instance, I just received an email asking me to speak or partner at an event happening in Europe and it made me think of the times when I would hop on a transatlantic flight for a long weekend or go to Singapore to run projects (even two weeks before my wedding). I am a different type of business woman now. I want to build my business and to be successful but I must do it on my terms and if that means missing the opportunity in Europe right now, so be it.
I am spending time now planning how I will manage my to-do list through holidays and summer vacations, which involves using my PMP project management professional status to know that I can use hours of each day as efficiently as possible. I hope to spend many days at Breezy Point using some wi-fi while we play in the pool and surf! I am considering summer camps for the children to give them a routine and me more “office” time.
Kids are not kids forever – they grow quickly and need more in different ways. I am honored to balance being a mom and an entrepreneur and working through the challenges of spring break and summer vacation are like a fun puzzle for me to work out. I want to keep building the momentum of my business but as someone with many years of experience, I know the summer months can be quite quiet in any industry so I am not considering the summer break as being too disastrous to my aggressive scheduling. I have tons of meetings and events sprinkled through the next few months though that might lead to a trickier puzzle to figure out.
What do you think about balancing kids with entrepreneurial pursuits? I will say that if I worked full time in an office somewhere, I would have more “off” time theoretically in that I run my business 24/7. I know a lot of corporate jobs are like that but when it is your business it can be harder to put the iPhone down, to stop writing that blog post and to stop networking for more opportunities. I am always thinking and planning and working on content and other initiatives as I do with my business but having the luxury to do that while also multitasking on home and life events is key to why I chose entrepreneurship. What about you? Are you interested in being your own boss? Happy hunting!
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I tried something new for marketing my business last week; it does seem like I am always trying new things with promotion and marketing and most of them have been helpful and fun – some things are questionable in terms of impact, though. I wanted to share with my blog what I have going on and how/why it works or does not work.
My overview on some “new” avenues for promoting my business:
My radio interview with AuthorUniverse was so much fun that I decided to create a podcast. This can be fun but I think I will limit it to once every few weeks. I can use this medium to share my highlights of my blogging for the week or some other new lesson or trick I want to share with listeners. If I make a bunch of them, I can share them on IHeartRadio app. I am using REC Studio app and it comes with many bells and whistles in terms of adding in sound effects and tons of other stuff I have yet to even try. Apparently there is a “chat” function you can use while recording live that I would love to check out – maybe I can host a “chat” in show helping people with questions for their next steps – such as interviewing questions, resume questions and more. I think this would be so cool to do.
I do not yet know impacts on this type of promotion; I did get one follower to my “channel” after releasing my first podcast. I have to look into the app more to see if there are “listening stats”.
I need to continue to look into teleseminars; this is something that was recommended to me by someone I look up to who is in a similar type of business and it is something I need to consider for maybe my summer months. I am balancing many things with this business such as my “side gigs” of teaching 3 days a week for College of Staten Island, subbing at local area schools and raising two young children. I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post the upcoming Spring Break and this will make my “time” much more limited as I need to arrange some fun stuff for the kids to do while off from school while still focusing on my business and teaching, too. So, teleseminars definitely have to wait a few more weeks until I launch it but this is key to how I brand and position my company as I want to be the resource for skills-based learning and focus on sharing my teaching skills with many through a teleseminar would be a great way to continue to raise my profile. What do you think?
Constant Contact is what I have used to create some newsletters but I have decided this should be a monthly thing and not a weekly thing. I add and create so much content weekly that I want to be able to curate it and use the newsletter to “reward” those who took the trouble to sign up with my website with unique and different content. I want to make this newsletter interesting and lively with different content and information that is currently on my website. I need to look into how to “host” hidden content via my site. Or perhaps just putting up some unique video content that is only available via link using YouTube.
Lately, I feel like I am hearing a lot about Snapchat and how powerful it can be for marketing your business. I am on the fence about it primarily due to time constraints. I am using already Twitter, Instagram and my Blog for promotion in addition the newsletters and podcasting – do I really need something else? It will get to a point where I will hire someone to help me manage my social media so maybe then? And who is interested in working with me? I will be representing my company at an upcoming career fair as someone who would like to expand with an intern for the beginning and then eventually full time positions, maybe. It is all up in the air and contingent on how I continue to grow and promote my business.
My Plan for Growth
As an entrepreneur, I am considering my own plan for growth. This step is a very big part of my Entrepreneurship: Build Your Own Business certificate course with Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning and it is also a big part of my upcoming new book Entrepreneur-ING The Prof’s Guide to Going from Zero to Launch which I am working on in my “free” time.
I do think I will be diversifying myself into an education based provider for careers such as the classes and seminars I lead with my partner Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning and also the classes and lessons I roll out on my own or with other universities, whether they be through online course for credit or other potential models.
My business plan is a work in progress primarily because I feel like I can add so much to it but then I remember that for now I am a solopreneur and need to prioritize what pieces of business I reach for and how I reach for it.
My current focus is on building out my content and creating some learning opportunities to share with my followers, my clients and more. What do you think about my business plan and promotional plan? Let me know in the comments or via social media! Happy Hunting!
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This week's plan is fluid. I have been busy the last few weeks with meetings and more, which means I have not had much time to write. I plan on using some "free" time this week to write my books and the blog posts. I considered cutting back on the daily posting schedule and changing to a weekly posting schedule or perhaps 2-3 days a week and not 5.
Although of all the things I do, my blog posts do not take the most time. I find that once I set up my week's content ideas, the blog just flows on its own. I have my trusty project management based book that I use for my meetings and my daily to-do list. I wind up changing things around on the fly, though. As much as I stand by my lists, the priorities change daily.
For this weekend, my priority was to rest and it allowed me to recharge and re-prioritize my schedule.
I have found that in running my business, I spend a lot of time building content. With all of this content came the new pages on this site highlighting my ability to create of curriculum and the launch of online courses in addition to the work I am doing with Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning. I also use Instaquote to build up my Instagram and to create more followings and to find people who are interested in my company whether just to follow my story or to become a client of mine.
I have various streams for income with my services I offer around brand creation and now the template guides on resumes and LinkedIn. I have my published books that are out there and starting to get notice on Amazon and via my website.
Here are some samples on my project planning for this week. Only 20+ things with different priorities and management for each. I cross things off once they are done and move on. Lately, I had been moving on a lot of initiatives - such as working on becoming certified as a woman owned business in NYC. I have a project plan for that - with steps and sub-steps to complete on the way.
How do you stay motivated and focused? For me I tend to think I am motivated and focused while continuing all of the fun things I am doing - especially preparing for the upcoming Spring break and having to entertain a bunch of kids who will be off from school. I wonder how much I can get done during those weeks - that will be a true testament to how motivated and focused I am when I host a play-date or four over that break.
As a project manager from (almost) birth, I have the tendency to make project plans and to do lists and more on a daily basis. I have been always focused on managing things like “projects” even before I knew that was what I was doing. When I was in college, I would know down to the day count for requirements to finish the class – like “15 days until my paper is due and 22 days until my final” this was how I compartmentalized and studied and prepared.
I took this with me in my career. It started with my graduate assistant position in Italy; there were some real initiatives I helped with in terms of building databases and tracking application processes with the Queens campus and more.
Once I started my career for “real” at Merrill Lynch in Jersey City, I knew that I was interested in building tasks and plans around activities. It was not until I got to Standard & Poor’s in January 2001, though, that I learned enough to put a name on what I was doing as “project management”. By 2003, I was applying to the Project Management Institute to get my certification in Project Management.
There are stages to projects and in order to sit for the test you need to show documented project hours in all of the stages and sometimes just doing the application process for this exam is a project in itself. As I talk in this post about project management skills and why these skills are important for YOU to learn, I have to mention that for those of you who already KNOW this to be true and are interested in achieving the PMP certification that I am offering an intensive course at Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning to help people prepare for and pass the PMP exam (find out more here http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/pmp-exam-prep/). This course is taught by me and uses my unique learning and teaching style to get you ready to take the exam.
How can being a project manager help with your career?
For those of you who are new to your career and/or have been "typecast" in a certain role and are interested in breaking out and getting more respect, money and/or responsibility in your career, the idea of project management is something that you might want to be taught on by me. I am an expert in Project Management with over 12+ years in Corporate America as a project manager and now as an entrepreneur, I use project management skills and techniques daily to grow my business.
You should register for my upcoming seminar at Wagner College on Project Management (to register, click here http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-management-seminar/). I teach about the ways in which you can use these "project management" skills and how you have already been using these skills, without realizing it. Particularly for the young professional who has found themselves “stuck” in retail or in dead-end admin type jobs, this focus on project management skills training is so important to diversify and become competitive.
These skills allow for you to be a generalist, which is so important in today’s job market, while being able to apply these skills and talents to any job or industry or market. I want to also mention to those who have blank spaces on their resumes (see more here Transitioning Back to the Workforce) having this type of training for the price point we offer it for at Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning is a great way to kick start your learning process and prepare you for your next step.
My two recent books that I have published (order today on my Amazon Author Page) have chapters dedicated to the skills needed in this job market and for your career planning process and I talk at length about Project Management and how these skills are so important. Why just read the book when you can get lessons from me in real life here on Staten Island?
Would you be interested in learning with me in person this May? Register today here http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-management-seminar/ and happy hunting!
Highlighting my Teaching Skills - Curriculum Creator and Adjunct of Online Courses available for teaching assignments
As an adjunct since 2003, I have been so lucky to teach and touch the lives of so many students - both online and in person.
Just yesterday, I gave the midterm review for my upcoming exam (Monday morning, students who are reading) and I was happy some of the students were able to answer the questions (emphasis on some) but I do know they will all study and do as well as they can on the midterm (right, class?).
As someone who has taught in higher education for the past 13 years, I have learned a lot in my classroom. Yes, that is right - I have learned a lot. I have taught a lot, for sure, but the bulk of the experience of teaching is that by teaching is that I learn, too.
One of my more recent skills as an educator is in the realm of online learning and teaching. I am now able to say I am "expert" level at creating and launching curriculum as well as designing the online learning environment. I created a page on my website to highlight these skills because I do believe they go hand in hand with the business model I am packaging as being someone who is the go to person in my area (and beyond with online learning) to create and share lessons and learning modules across various subjects.
My expertise is in both undergrad and graduate business courses. Over the past 13 years, I have taught anything from macro and micro economics to entrepreneurship. I wanted to highlight this diversity and skill set on my website - check out the page here and let me know your thoughts: Online Course Curriculum Development and Execution
Some questions - Am I calling it the right thing? How do I position myself to the colleges and universities that offer online courses in the best way so that I can use my skill set to further build out my business and my experience in using different tools and techniques to bring online content alive?
As I use this blog to share my focus as an entrepreneur, I did post not too long ago about the possibility of branching out to provide a turnkey operation on blogging for small businesses (see more here Small Business Blogging Service)- this is still an option particularly as I have some upcoming speaking engagements discussing my lessons and how to start blogging for a small business.
For now, though, this is the best way for my to execute on diversifying my skill set and making my business more profitable. I would love to be able to teach more classes online (and in person) while also publishing and doing speaking engagements and more with the local high schools on college and career readiness. I have a lot more going on and there will be more to share, too here on my blog, via Instagram and Twitter. If you are not following me already, please do join me on my journey to build out my business using my teaching skills and more!
I have been talking about media training on this blog for some time now. I have referenced my experiences with using media in building lessons and tips for you to follow but I did think I could add more to the discussion.
I am using various media methods to share my expertise, to build my business and a lot of the lessons I am learning can be applied either as an entrepreneur or as a job seeker. If you are looking to build your business using social media (which really is one of the best ways to grow your business, in my opinion as someone who has been entrepreneurial since 2002) you need to be comfortable across mediums to show your prowess, your mantra, your mission. If you are interested in finding a kick-ass job in 2016, the same rules apply.
My Past Experience with Video Teleconferencing
My first exposure using media for an interview happened way back in early 1997, which I detailed in this Classroom of the Future Blog Post. Due to my travel schedule with Speech and Debate team, my interview for the honor's society The President's Society was held via video teleconference.
Did I mention already that this was 1997? This was not the norm – those of you who were in college or older back in 1997 you know there was no Facetime, there were no smartphones. What I had was a rudimentary screen and video camera that was connected via landlines and modems and stuff to the Queens campus. It was crude and old fashioned compared to what exists today.
I can barely remember the experience except to say that those who were part of the decision committee must have been impressed because I found out shortly after my trip to Texas that I was one of 4 students selected from the Staten Island campus to join the total 20 people to represent the school as a member of The President’s Society.
During my time in Italy with my MBA program, we also used teleconferencing to have meetings with the other campuses. When I worked at Merrill in 1999, we used it to "meet" virtually our global team from the Policies and Procedures world.
There were no resources for me to look at about these types of media way back then. After 20 years (almost) of using video and other methods of communication on jobs in interviews and now with my own business, I am the resource for you to follow on how to be comfortable in front of any media.
Today's Experiences and How To's
For me as an entrepreneur, using KnowMe and other tools to create videos and potentially some podcasts is just the norm. I am using photos in my Instagram to detail my story in pictures as someone who is building a business one meeting at a time, one networking at a time, one book at a time. I also write and share content with the written word using this blog and my books.
I use YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and more to build my social media message (more here Social Media Lessons Learned) and with all of this comes the added layer of being interviewed for radio (My Radio Interview on Entrepreneur-ING) and using Skype for interviews.
I do not think I could have done the things I am doing if I did not have these skill sets honed via both Speech and Debate, constant presentations, being a professor AND being able to follow my own rules for using media to share my message. I have already written quite a bit on Media Training (see here for other content I have created regarding media training is here: Media Training Posts). I wanted to add to what I have already created though, so check out these quick hacks to be ready for these types of interviews and potentially sharing some professional versions of yourself and your work via social media.
I was quite nervous before my radio interview knowing it would only be one take and I could not focus before it to really "practice" but because it was about something I am passionate about - my first book and my business, I was able to use my expertise about me and what I bring to the table to create (I think) a compelling story line about what I do and what is important to The Next Step. You really have to listen to it and give me feedback, though (My Radio Interview on Entrepreneur-ING).
For you, you need to continue to reinforce your message, who you are and what you want to acheive to be able to do the same on these interviews and in off the cuff meetings in person. I have already spoken about elevator pitches for me as an entrepreneur but I have not given my real lessons yet on this - look for a post on this within the next few days!
What do you think about media training? What about my latest lessons on using media to share your message? If you like what I have to say, please consider buying my book as my focus on using entrepreneur-ING to identify and move forward in either career OR launching a business are key for taking your next step -and for $7 is a much smaller investment than hiring me in real life! Buy my book here Amazon Author Page.
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Big Meetings & Next Book in College and Career Readiness Series The Prof’s Guide to Graduating with a Job Offer
This week is a big one for me. I have some exciting prospects for teaching at different universities and also on potential seminars for my college and career readiness program that I launch in the high schools.
I am considering how to get more exposure but then I remember that I am doing ok with exposure, all things considered. I have two press releases via PRWeb that are promoting the books I published in February 2016. In addition, I was interviewed on a radio podcast for AuthorUniverse click here to hear it My Radio Interview on Entrepreneur-ING.
And, last but not least, I have been networking and building relationships across Staten Island, as this is my target market. The message I bring to the borough on how to be ready for college and career is a unique one built off of my 13+ years in higher ed as an educator and experience in Corporate America and as an entrepreneur. All of these pieces come together to focus on an amazing presentation highlighting how to succeed in college and beyond. I actually discuss and highlight what skills are needed, how to present yourself, handling social media and more. If you are interested in hiring me to speak on these topics, please book The Next Step for your speaking engagement here.
I am already over 6000 words in to book 2 of the College and Career Readiness Series. Book 1, The Book on College Readiness – The Prof’s Guide on Surviving High School and Kicking Butt in College is published and available on my Amazon Author Page and my website, too.
Here is a sneak peek of the introduction to the Career Readiness installment book that I am working on as we speak, The Book on Career Readiness – The Prof’s Guide on How to Graduate with a Job Offer. Let me know what you think and Happy Hunting!
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This installment of the College and Career Readiness series is focused on career readiness and graduating with a job offer.
I have spent so much time over the last 13 years as an educator focusing on getting my students ready for the real world in addition to teaching them the subject matter at hand that putting these lessons into a book is the best way to share it with everyone who is interested in being ready after graduation to begin their CAREER.
I use the world CAREER instead of JOB for a reason. People can focus on getting a job but the best thing you can do is to think in terms of career. The economy and the skill sets are changing so rapidly but there are ways to be more prepared and more “hirable” than your competition and reading this book is the way to do it.
I will discuss and provide actionable lessons on the following topics that you can then apply to your life and help you to be ready to graduate with a job offer and then you can read my Entrepreneur-ING series to continue to be the boss of your own career:
Chapter 1: Completing Your Degree with “Distinction”
This chapter will discuss how to stand out among others graduating with you across the nation. I will discuss what graduating with “distinction” means and how you can leverage this for your career search. If you read the first installment of this series, you should know what skills you needed to work on and how to make them visible to the world. If not, I will provide all of the quick ways you can achieve distinction at the 11th hour before graduation and during interviewing season.
Chapter 2: Building On Those Networks
This chapter will discuss the best ways to build your network and how to get noticed for the right reasons. We will discuss making the most out of your school work and your school to help you get on the right road to making contacts and having interviews.
Chapter 3: How to Write the Perfect Resume
With over 15 years of resume writing and hiring experience, I will show you the best methods to make the perfect resume applicable to all; I will also have a feedback look implemented where I will be open to receiving resumes for review, as part of the book.
Chapter 4: How to Write Your Cover Letters to Get Noticed
The cover letter is wrongly considered unnecessary; it is necessary and it must be written in an engaging and intriguing way to get you into the door for the opportunities that are out there. This chapter is full of templates and writing ideas to make your cover letter stand out from the crowd.
Chapter 5: Using LinkedIn and Other Social Media to Stand Out for the Right Reasons
Many jobs today are not listed publicly but instead are filled via social media and LinkedIn. Having an awesome LinkedIn profile is a necessity to finding your place in the world and I will walk you through my proprietary 14-step guide to improving your profile and give you for free my lessons on how to use your new profile to stand out for the right reasons. This will also apply to other social media platforms.
Chapter 6: On Interviewing
My hacks and tips on how to be prepared for interviewing. I will discuss the different interview styles, methods and formulations in terms of how you are asked questions, where and the amount of interviewers.
Chapter 7: Interviewing Skills for In-Person Interviews
How to make a personable connection during interviews, how to act on the interview, what to say and how to say it and more.
Chapter 8: Media Training Overview
This is about something near and dear to my heart and that I do extensive training on in real life – how to manage interviews held via technology. There are rules and tips on how to make a connection via Skype or other technology.
Chapter 9: What to Do After the Interview
The full guide on what to do (and not to do) after the interview. I will include detailed information on thank you notes how to write them, why to write them and more.
Chapter 10: Finding Opportunities
More insights into how to take your next step; how to find a career path and what to do when you do not know what you want to do.
Chapter 11: Closing the Deal or Negotiating and Accepting the Offer
On negotiating salary, getting letters of recommendation that will help you get the job and starting on your first day.
Chapter 12: Building Your Career with Skills and Learning
Sneak peek at book “The Prof’s Guide to Entrepreneur-ing: Using Entrepreneurial Skills to Launch Your Own Business or be the Boss of Your Career”
As an entrepreneur I have been running super speed since I launched in July 2015. It has come naturally though all things considered.
By nature I am a project manager and I adore having lists and making actionable steps. I just got a new project notebook that allows me to index the pages and to maintain my list - I sometimes just move the stuff from one day to the next or I cross the things off the list on the way.
As I am coming up to over 2500 words for part two of the entrepreneur-ING book I wanted to talk a bit about project management and going from zero to launch.
I really took the base from book 1 and expanded on the actual execution of launching a business. So much content has been shared and created about entrepreneurship but I do have an interesting perspective being an expert (and someone who has failed before at being entrepreneurial). Also I am an educator by nature not only the last 13 years in the classroom -- so I know how to teach and create lessons and I also have the expertise of trying and failing before as an entrepreneur.
I lay out in this upcoming installment the following information in my introduction, which I am including to this post.
If you did not read the first book, it does help to have done that to be ready to go from zero to launch. Check out more here: Lisa Vento Nielsen Author Page on Amazon.com.
Below is the introduction to the second book in the Entrepreneur-ING series The Prof's Guide on Entrepreneur-ING: Going from Zero to Launch – Everything You Need to Know to be an Entrepreneur Starting Today
The first installment of this series focused on developing and using entrepreneurial skills for either launching a business OR being the boss of your career. This time, I am taking my 15+ years’ experience as an entrepreneur and my 13 years’ experience as an educator teaching courses on entrepreneurship to give you the Zero to Launch Guide on moving forward with your idea or your business.
This might be something you decide to do now as a full time gig or as a side gig. It might be something you want to do but are not ready to execute on right now – but by reading this book and using my lessons, you might decide it is something you want to do right now. You can use this book to save up for your decision in a few years – you do not have to execute and launch right now. Maybe you are just thinking and want a new, fresh look on entrepreneurship.
You are in the right place – I am a new, fresh voice on entrepreneurship using the word I coined “Entrepreneur-ING” to create a full end-to-end launch process for you to use at any time for your idea, your business and more. There is the possibility you will go through all of these steps and decide you do not want to launch but in the meanwhile you started the process. Once you start being an entrepreneur, you will always consider it again and it will help your regular full time work as you focus on making yourself stand out in this potential new venture.
I started being entrepreneurial in 2002 and I have not looked back at all. Being entrepreneurial brought an extra level of skill and focus to my other careers as educator and executive. I have tried and failed a few times and I will provide some real life case study examples based off of my own various attempts at entrepreneurship.
In this book series (and in the other series I wrote on College and Career Readiness), I am the source. My unique background and experiences and my calling as an educator mean I am pulling it all together to tie in the process from start to finish with you here in this book.
I launched The Next Step in July 2015 and for the first time, I was at a point where my age and experience had caught up with my vision. I put my face, my name and my content/writing into this business. I write books now, too and have always dreamed of being a published author so if this business has done nothing else, it allowed me to achieve a major dream of my life.
That is not all, though, all of the lessons I have learned over the years through trial and error and as a professor on this very topic have now allowed me to help you do the same process and do it well! I look forward to being on this journey with you to go from Zero to Launch with your business idea!
In Chapter 1, we will discuss business ideas and execution. It is a good high level applicable discussion on how to move forward with an idea and also on identifying ideas. Business Plan Overview is discussed in Chapter 2; the meat and potatoes so to speak of this book is going to be compiling and completing the business plan as we review it in this book. There are tons of services and templates out there but this book will take you through the steps with your own professor/consultant (me) helping you do these steps.
Chapter 3 talks about websites because you cannot have a business today period without a website. It is as natural as breathing that people will look for your website before they even consider speaking to you and you can be right in front of them and this would still happen!
As a marketing major in undergraduate and someone who is always marketing myself either through my business or other ventures, I have a lot to say in Chapter 4 about Marketing.
I go into social media in Chapter 5; this is something I have taught myself from the ground up. I am not “digitally native” and had never used Twitter or Instagram until I relaunched my company in July of 2015. I have found lots of success with using social media to drive traffic to my site without spending any money on marketing the site. As someone who has launched business prior to social media, I can tell you this is an amazing thing to be able to do. I get between 1500-2000 people per week on my site; this is amazing for a small business that launched just eight months ago.
Chapter 6 discusses how to get that traffic to stay via using blogging. As a novice blogger, too, I learned the ropes on this the hard way. I continue to build out more and more content in addition to the books I self-publish (which I will touch on in this chapter, too but only briefly). The idea of writing a book would make almost everyone run away from this book quicker than quick so I will just discuss this in a high level way. If there is real interest in this, look for an updated Chapter on this in editions of this book moving forward.
Chapter 7 is the basics on structuring your business and identifying your mission or your mantra. This is the core idea of what you offer and your business idea. In Chapters 8, 9 and 10 we will be building your plan together. With insights, takeaways and space for you to add your own information, this book will become a draft of your business plan.
We will discuss managing for growth in Chapter 11 and your official marketing plan in Chapter 12. Chapter 13 will show you how to pull all of this information together into your official business documents and I want to hear from you in and around Chapter 14 for the feedback loop.
Be ready to go from zero to launch based off of my extensive experience as an entrepreneur since 2002 and my background in executing and teaching others to be entrepreneurial. I have spent countless classroom and seminar hours in rolling out my methods and plan on how to be an entrepreneur.
A huge part of this is what I discuss in the first book that really brings home the idea of how to be entrepreneurial; how to be risky in terms of aggressively measuring your worth, your skills and what you bring to the table. Do not make the mistake of discounting yourself in terms of who you are and what you can do. So many people limit themselves to the sidelines when they could be in the mainstream if they had the courage to try.
The first business I launched in 2002-2004 was focused on training and teaching other people and small businesses about how to train project managers and how to take the PMP exam and I can tell you firsthand about the ease of starting and running a profitable business NOW vs then. The idea is that with technology and opportunity the way it is, you have to wonder why you have not launched already. I also run classes through Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning on Entrepreneurship: Building your own business and this book will be used in conjunction with my course design and my first installment of this series.
This book is a professor’s how to – I am the professor behind this book, this method and everything I espouse I have actually DONE in real life. I am not from the ivory tower; I have spent over 13 years in Corporate America, Higher Ed and as an entrepreneur, too. This book is actual time tested and because I have failed so many times, you can learn from me to avoid failure and go right for the success!
That being said, do not be afraid of failing. It is like when you are in school – if you fail it is how you know there is more for you to learn. You must think positively in terms of failure and learning to stay focused and on the path of entrepreneurship. You will find yourself growing as a person and becoming a better career person, a better employee and with higher prospects by trying to be an entrepreneur. Also, with my techniques and my experience as your guide, you will avoid the common pitfalls that impact many other first time entrepreneurs.
If you have been an entrepreneur already, welcome! I am glad you found me so that you can be ready to execute and succeed this next time!!
So much has been happening in terms of my entrepreneurial journey that I thought it definitely deserved a blog post all of its own.
Having two published books now (find out more Lisa Vento Nielsen Author Page on Amazon.com) has been an immense addition to my business. I understand that this is not something everyone can or should do but for me, it has been this snowball like experience with my content and marketing and more.
I got to drop off some copies of my books yesterday to some business partners (both potential and actual) and it was amazing how it was received – this is a big deal to have as an entrepreneur as a kind of calling card. So, in other words, instead of networking and dropping off my business cards to make connections, I can include my book(s). Which book is dependent on the audience – for some of my potential and current partners, the Entrepreneur-ING book is the one to share and for others it is The Book on College Readiness and for some it is both books. Yes, I have a LOT of irons in the fire!
I am excited to share that College of Staten Island will be raffling off some copies of my Entrepreneur-ING book at an upcoming school event. Also, I am in talks with some other local colleges to do the same. Last but not least, thanks to my youngest brother, I am featured on an author radio interview program that aired on Thursday 3/10 – not singing of course but talking about my new books. The link to hear the interview is here: My Radio Interview on Entrepreneur-ING
This link with my presenting the real ideas and passion behind my company is why I am the person to help you with media training and interview prep. I was nervous before this interview because I had never been on the "radio" before and as much as I love to speak, there is a challenge with speaking through the phone line and without facial cues and body language. Oh AND it was recorded "live" meaning no "whoopsies" allowed! That being said, if you listen to the whole thing, you will see how it went. I was quite pleased with the whole interview. I think my enthusiasm and passion came across and that I also was able to present my expertise without "bragging" - it was through stories. What do you think?
On Wednesday, I met with Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning to discuss some of the initiatives The Next Step is working on with them (find out more here Entrepreneurship: Building Your Own Business
and here Seminars at Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning), and during the meeting we marveled at how much is happening so quickly. We were chatting about how I might need to scale – and I can see it. I am a solo-entrepreneur right now but I do not see that staying for long. I do see the need to potentially have an intern in the 3-6 month time frame and that is why I will be at the upcoming career fair for St John’s and Wagner College.
I wrote and published two books because I had so much to share – and the next installments of both series are underway and will be published soon. I have different strategies for my products and my business. I am focusing on getting into the high schools and doing workshops and seminars on how to be ready for college. In addition, I have some other upcoming speaking engagements to share my message and like I said in my Impostor Syndrome Post, I am the source – I have over 13+ years’ experience across higher ed, corporate America and entrepreneurship so it is an interesting background to have for my small town.
I am lucky enough to have been networking and meeting tons of people over the last few months since I have re-launched and everyone has been wonderful, helpful and given great advice. I have mentioned in previous posts that I work with the SBDC and SCORE as well as other organizations to make sure I am positioning my business well.
So to say I have a lot going on is an understatement. What do you think about the business and the way I am running with it? Do you think publishing books is important to being an entrepreneur today? Are you interested in reading my books? What do you think of my radio interview? Happy Hunting!
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Lisa Vento Nielsen