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!
When Worlds collide - the unvarnished truth about being an entrepreneur, social media and my resume...
My Resume - #HIREME
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!
As I prepare for a meeting today and tomorrow and Monday, I am thinking about what I do as an entrepreneur.
I spend a lot of time promoting my company, my expertise and my books. I was asked to create something to be sent out about what I do and the resources and/or recommendations I need as an entrepreneur.
I created this email newsletter:
Using constant contact to create an overview of what i do
This email really hits on who I am and what I do. I wanted to share it today as I continue to "hustle" to build my business - making contacts and presenting what The Next Step can do for this borough.
First and foremost, I am an educator. I use my books, lessons and life experiences to teach people how to be college ready, how to kick butt in college and how to be an entrepreneur (among other things). I am always available to meet new people, schools or other organizations that need an educator or speaker.
In addition to being an educator, I am someone who has spent over 20 years' helping people craft the perfect resume, cover letter and now LinkedIn profile, too. This is still a huge part of my business and my mission and is something I get to work on more one on one with people as opposed to my college and career readiness training which are more group sessions.
And of course, I am interested in speaking engagements which help me to reach more people about my company's mission and help people, too. I am focused on helping people get to the next step whether it be in careers, education or launching their own business.
I love this email newsletter because it is succinct yet powerful - it is almost another better version of my mission statement or my elevator value pitch. What do you think? If you know of anyone I should meet with, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helping a small business grow is helping the community around you - more local businesses means more opportunities for local people. For instance, if things continue to grow as they are for me, I will be hiring soon - and that creates a local job. Thank you for all of your support of my small business and for being a part of the journey as I grow into a larger business!
Today is one year since the launch of my company, The Next Step.
As someone who has been entrepreneurial since 2004, having had tons of failures (and some successes) seeing this company grow and grow and grow beyond my wildest expectations has been amazing.
What brings success? I have said many times before that this iteration of my entrepreneurial journey is so different because I have just now with this business branded with me – my ideas, insights, lessons and words. This probably could NOT have been done too much earlier in my professional entrepreneurial career because how much did I have to share in 2004? Not as much as I have now with 13+ years of teaching on the college level, 15+ years in Corporate America and 12+ years as an entrepreneur. I have found my voice and my voice is helping people take the next step.
Over 2000 people a week are on my site and my conversions are healthy (in my opinion) – some of these folks hire me to help them take the next step (thanks!) and others just promote me and connect me with others who decide to hire me.
On Entrepreneurship & Teaching:
I took my concepts and ideas around entrepreneurship and how it helped me in my corporate career to be entrepreneurial and wrote a book about it and then expanded to the next book in the series on going from zero to launch so you too can learn how to execute on your own business OR decide to be the boss of your career. You can learn more about that here Entrepreneur-ING.
I have a limited time entrepreneurship course offered through Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning
on this topic and have continue to speak and teach others on how to execute on their dream of starting their own business.
Also, I am a skilled and experienced educator available to teach online and in-person at universities, programs and through my own online learning classroom - find out more about that here Educator Expertise.
On College and Career Readiness:
In the course of this business launch, I moved quite naturally into College and Career Readiness workshops, training and more. I have branded myself as an expert in this field for the Staten Island area schools.
I have written two books in the college and career readiness series, too and have been hired already at local schools and by city agencies to bring my unique blend of lessons, real talk and experiences to motivate and prepare students for their big next step into college and career. Just some of the feedback from my students are showcased in my Testimonials Page.
On using books to be an “expert”
I started writing books in January 2016 and by May 2016, I had 4 published. I am definitely working on more books as I think this sets me apart as a local expert. I will share more about how I wrote the books in that timeline and how people who read them are amazed at what they learn soon in a coming blog post. Also, I am considering creating audiobook format for my books, too. You can learn more about my publications at The Next Step Publishing.
On helping people take the next step
My core business is and always has been around helping people take the next step and along with that amazing client base via my social media, LinkedIn and more I continue to help people and create new product offerings for them around branding themselves. With my amazing, insightful and creative techniques, each person who hires me gets astounding marketing materials about them to use to get hired, noticed and more. Learn more about my Branding Expertise.
My Next Step
I will continue to grow this business and potentially be hiring some help within the next few months. I have a robust pipeline and more to come with my true focus around college and career readiness, helping people take the next step, and entrepreneurship and teaching.
Gift for you:
I am running a limited time coupon for my branding specializations with 25% off for my new and loyal clients! This offer is only good until 8/2 so act fast! Sign up here for my special One Year Anniversary Savings for YOU.
Special thank you to everyone who reads my content, shares it, learns from me, follows me and hires me! Happy Hunting!
Continue to learn with me via this blog, YouTube Channel, books and on Twitter & Instagram @thenext_step123.
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Enjoy reading this blog post by my intern, Jalynn mcmillan a future pr maven...
Hello, this Jalynn Mcmillan and I am an intern for Lisa Vento Nielsen for the summer of 2016. I am thrilled to be interning for her as I plan to pursue a career in public relations. Many of the things we (me and the other intern Jennifer) do while interning for Lisa are directly related to our career goals. I would highly recommend interning for Lisa, she is very kind-hearted and patient, if you ever have any questions she's more than happy to help you. She can really help you better yourself.
This internship will help me learn a lot of new skills like marketing, photography and of course will help my resume. Since 80% of resumes end up being thrown out, it is crucial to know how to build a resume that will get you hired. One of the books I am currently reading by Lisa is also truly informative The Book on Career Readiness: The Prof's Guide to Graduating College with a Job Offer.
Last week on Tuesday and Thursday, Lisa did her Career Readiness Training at Staten Island Technical School. The other intern, Jennifer, wrote about her thoughts on that training here. It is exciting to be able to share my thoughts on the event, too. Lisa is interested in having us be “career-ready” and writing a blog post definitely fits in to my career goals of public relations. I am also working on creating some press releases for her company, too! Look for updates on that from me soon, too.
On Tuesday July 12th at Tech, she spoke about topics such as what it takes to get hired and how to make a resume worth reading that won't end up in the trash. As younger people, it may be harder for all of us to be hired. Not only for teenagers in high school, but also for me a sophomore in college. The hard truth is millennials get stereotyped. Employers might take one look at us and their head will be filled with negative, harsh judgements of us right away without even giving us a chance. They could think we are always going to be on our phone or that we are bad communicators or that we are too young to be responsible. Lisa talks about the ways to prove that we all don't fit into that stereotype.
It's also important to utilize social media. Our generation may have to prove ourselves harder than other generations but we have some tools that can help this be easier, too. LinkedIn should be your new best friend. Well, not literally but it can 100% help you on your career search. Even if you are in high school it's never too early to start, who knows it might help you land an awesome internship. If you want to be a journalist you could post some articles on there, if you want to be a filmmaker you could post some of your films, or if you want to be an artist you could post some of your artwork. This will help you be seen by employers. Lisa always says use social media to showcase your brand. Furthermore, it is essential to stay true to yourself and be authentic.
The most important thing you should know is how to create a resume worth reading. Employers want academic success and extracurricular activities but they also want experience. You should have references as well. When building a resume it should be in reverse chronological order. The most relevant should come first and the least relevant last. You should focus on the latest and greatest. As Lisa would say, remember this is the script of your story and it's the paper that gets you in door but it's you that gets you hired.
She also had extensive help on what to do during an interview and based on her talk, I documented these rules that will help you on an interview:
Thanks for reading my post! Please follow me on Twitter @nextstep_jalynn and Instagram @thenextstepintern_jalynn and continue to learn from The Next Step via this blog, her YouTube Channel, her books and on Twitter & Instagram @thenext_step123.
Also, please sign up for exclusive content and other special news/events here --> The Next Step Exclusive Content & Offers.
I am proud to showcase my intern Jennifer Riddo’s take on my training that I presented on July 12th at Staten Island Technical High School. Not only did she take photos and some video for social media but she also drafted up this blog post for me.
I particularly like how she wrote about the experiences of learning with me as my intern – I have shared already the prep work I did as a career readiness expert for the interns (read about it here). Thanks for learning with me, too!
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Guest post on career readiness training by Jennifer riddo
Hello my name is Jennifer Riddo. If you don't know anything about me one thing is I love to write. I am honored to be an intern with the Next Step this summer. I am learning so much so far and can't wait to learn more through this program to help me take my next step in applying for college and starting my career.
I am elated to be a guest blogger and have this opportunity. Lisa's projects are very engaging. I even read the The Prof's Guide to Enterpreneur-ING. (Order your copy of the book here.)
It was a great read and one of my favorite quotes from Lisa in this book was, " You do not need to be your own company to be a boss. You just need to identify how to rock out on your career as if you are CEO of yourself."
I found this quote to be very inspiring since I tend to look at people who are my bosses as being in charge of me. It helped me learn how to run my future because I got the power to take charge of myself.
This past Tuesday I went along with Lisa and the other intern, Jalynn, to attend The Next Step's Career Readiness training event at Staten Island Technical High School. Lisa discussed college and career readiness tips to help students take their next step to success. You can learn more about her work on this here --> College and Career Readiness Training and Workshops.
During her interactive presentation, Lisa provided great advice that resonated to me even as her intern taking pictures. Lisa described the importance of building your brand. I am sure when you hear brand, you think Michael Kors or Coca Cola. At least, that is what I always thought of when I heard the word "brand".
We are all our own person and our brand is who we are as a person. The brand of me is made up of my skills and talents and what I can bring to any job anywhere. No two people are alike that's why it is important for you to build and sell yourself as your own brand.
Lisa even said," LinkedIn is more powerful than a paper resume." I found this to be eye opening. As a 17 year old who never heard of the site it opened up my eyes to join in to help create and promote my brand. Since technology is advancing in the world, it is easier for a future employer to find you on the web.
I learned from Lisa's talk that sometimes people write too much on their resume and that hiring managers do not want to read paragraphs; however, LinkedIn can allow for more "space" since it is not a paper based tool.
Lisa also spoke about the importance of knowing your passion and having a back up plan for your career. Since the job field is very competitive having a back up plan after college is a must. It's best to find your passion and figure out how to connect it to a career field of interest. If you love waking up every morning to go to work it's not a job. If you think about it for a second, you are getting paid to do what you love. I thought this was really powerful and I am glad I got to hear it while I am still in high school!
Of course, she spent some time talking about the importance of interviews. I look at an interview as the most important part of the job. If you blow the interview your chance of receiving the job is very slim. Lisa considers your resume the script on the interview. This means that your resume is basically a piece of paper that holds all of your stories.
She spent a lot of time talking about the importance of "stories" and how it is your stories that make you who you are and present your brand and your "professional self" to the interviewers. Don't be afraid to tell your stories.
Lisa also spoke about the importance of being proactive. When applying for an internship it is a good idea to have a list of skills you would like to learn. From that list of skills, show your future employer. It is important to work with them to learn those skills through your internship.
Lisa is the type of person that makes you feel comfortable from the start. When you meet her, you can tell she is really willing to help you. She is the safest person to network with and she is a great resource for help as she told the students we met with at Tech.
As someone reading Lisa's blog, I advise you to use her resources to the best of your ability. As well, feel free to follow me on Twitter @nextstepintern, where I promote and share more about the Next Step. You can also follow Lisa on Twitter and Instagram to learn more from her. This internship is a great experience and writing about it as an aspiring journalist has been an amazing way for me to execute on learning and practicing great skills for my next step. I hope to have the chance to share my experience with you again soon.
photos credit my interns Jennifer & jalynn -stay tuned for jalynn's post about the training
Project management are skills that I use every day in my career, running my business, as an educator and even at home. These are skills you probably use too, but do not even know it.
You can learn a quick definition about Project Management and the skills needed here from the Project Management Institute Website. I also have been blogging about project management, too.
I find myself following project management principles with my business as if I am running multiple projects together that roll up into what makes my company a company. For The Next Step these individual projects are:
I also need to be aware of my resources – which are in a sense limited… For my in-person events, training and speaking engagements, I cannot overbook or double book. I need to have the availability to be at each event, client and/or classroom for the “magic” to happen. Yes, I said “magic” – deal with it. I know I am corny. I truly am passionate about what I do and every event I have is infused with my energetic and passionate presentation. I utilize a PowerPoint file in the background, my books as the take home part of the event but during the event, it is all me and the interaction with my “students” no matter how many or their ages.
For my online events and courses, the limitations are not as severe. I could theoretically host up to 250 students online and still be “teaching” and helping them take their next step. That is why I am working on offering more online learning sessions and options for those who would like help taking their next step.
Managing a business that belongs to me and fits my personal and professional needs oh and is kind of successful has been a dream of mine for the past 14+ years when I first thought about being an entrepreneur and then went for it and failed a bunch of times in the process. Now, I am poised at being able to persue this passion around helping people prepare for college, careers and professional Next Steps.
Are you learning with me yet? I teach about Project Management specifically for careers (and more) via Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning – courses will begin again in the Fall – click here for more information: Seminars on Project Management. Happy Hunting!
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I feel like this anniversary came up quicker than I expected. I continually talk about how I launched in July 2015 but I definitely have been slow to the uptake that we are now in July 2016 and that I am almost at my one year since launch.
I am thinking about ways to celebrate this milestone. I have been moving quite quickly in terms of promotion and client building though I keep feeling compelled to build more clients and to promote my business more and more. I am definitely out there as an entrepreneur. Sometimes, feels like too “out there”. I promote my business and also focus on trying not to throw too much spaghetti at the wall waiting to see what will stick. Meeting with my SCORE mentor made me focus more on revenues.
Sometimes, I feel so driven to just promote, promote, promote as much as I can and other times I think to myself that since I am already “out” there, maybe I do not have to push as hard but I even "work" on vacation (check out image below).
I do this, though, because I am very passionate about what I do. Just taking a look at the 12-months of archives on my blog and the amazing topics I share about helps me to remember that the promotion I do is really for the people I help be college, career and professionally ready for their next step.
In July 2015 when I launched, I started with blogging about other articles and sharing my thoughts and by September I was creating all original content. By January 2016 I began writing my books and as of May, I have 4 books published and more on the way. (Check out my books below --> order books here).
I have helped countless clients Brand themselves or just create rocking Resumes for their next step. I have created new product offerings based on my clients’ needs like the one-on-one Resumes and LinkedIn products which I wrote about on improving product offerings. I have trained 250 students on college and career readiness and look forward to training and preparing many, many more.
I have had various speaking engagements and look forward to more. All of this is not too bad for just one-year out of the gate (plus the previous 15+ years as entrepreneur, educator and executive).
I will be announcing soon my plans to celebrate my one-year anniversary – I am thinking a one-day flash sale for my products and services… still thinking though.
Any thoughts on what I can do to celebrate one year in business as The Next Step? Share away!
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Positioning My company as the staten island College Readiness Expert through content, books and more
I continue to build my business and focus on college readiness for the upcoming College Access for All initiative, as I have written about a lot on my website, my blog and other blogs, too - my posts about my college readiness expertise.
Of course, I have my book series on College and Career Readiness with first being The Book on College Readiness: The Prof's Guide to Surviving High School and Kicking Butt in College and the second The Book on Career Readiness: The Prof's Guide on How to Graduate with a Job Offer. I recently posted about why career readiness is personal for me in my Statistics, Statistics and Damn Lies Post.
There is also my College and Career Readiness Workshops and Training and just a sampling of the testimonials.
In building my reputation as an expert, I have begun creating YouTube video series on College Readiness expanded beyond my regular KnowMe 3-minute limitation spots with the use of my “studio” (man, I wish I had one of those real YouTube professional looking sets – it’s on my wish list regarding office space…)
These videos are more focused on speaking to the students who need my help – the middle school and high school students who can benefit most from my book of lessons and my workshops and seminars. These videos are also, though, for the parents and the schools to see what I can do and “teach” on these subjects. I am including them below along with the Podcasts I am doing on College Readiness.
College readiness part 1 video on doing what you love
College readiness video part 2 on skills and doing what you love
College Readiness Part 3 on Being a Late Bloomer Student
Podcasts on college readiness
I wanted to begin to have a place where I showcase all of the different strategies in action for College Readiness. What do you think of the content and promotional activities I am using right now? I am considering creating a teleseminar, too.
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To check out why over 2200 people this week have learned with me, see my website video here:
As an entrepreneur, you learn that there are times of “feast and famine”, as I was discussing yesterday with my SCORE advisor, Mr John Amodio.
SCORE is the “counselors to America’s Small Businesses” and is really an amazing resource for small business owners like me. I also am lucky enough to be part of the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) and have mentioned in the past my meetings with the organizations for help with planning my next steps (no pun intended). You can see the posts on it here and here.
Yesterday’s session was awesome – not only because Mr Amodio is my defacto editor - (Blogger’s Note: He has read my first two books and given me the feedback that the books are great, very conversational and he found the edits I need to make of the few typos – did you find them, too?) but also because he had some amazing insight into how I am building my company and what I should DO and what I should AVOID.
When you own your own business, it can be challenging to identify what to give away for “free” and what to “charge” for and we discussed focusing on revenue so that this venture can continue to grow and scale.
After yesterday’s meeting, I started jotting down my “to do” list which this Project Management Professional (PMP) had not done in a long time (sorry, end of school year was insane, as I posted about here). See, I feel the need to apologize because I truly do need to make to do lists – it is part of who I am.
I also drafted up a “wish list” and am considering mapping out more formally my financials and also thinking about some angel investors for capital – I have been bootstrapping this entire organization since July 2015. I do have revenues and am quite proud of my revenues but I also know that with the help of SCORE and other advice that my revenue will be growing over the next 6month to a year. With the potential growth in revenue, there are definitely some investments I need to consider now in order to scale my business to be ready for this influx of growth.
We spoke yesterday about the main drawback to being a small business based off of my own expertise and it is all about scheduling. At some point, with the multiple potential proposals I have all over this city, I might have to prioritize and turn things down (I think). There are only so many places one person can be in a given day…
This is truly a good problem to have, though.
We also strategized about my potential online learning offerings which I started building out on my website yesterday and sharing about on social media to help give more focus on my books, lessons and teaching skills and also to make my business able to help the maximum amount of people to take their next step.
As a small business owner and a woman, it can be hard to ask to be paid but I am learning that this is not only a woman thing – it is hard as a business owner to be out there and to be so open about what I am building and how. At the same time, it is through teaching my lessons that I learn – through sharing this content that I gain followers, readers and more. This point is driven home again and again when I check out my website stats. This week has set a record for my website in terms of unique visitors (and potential clients).
On Monday, 744 people were learning with me on my site – this was a record for my website as I had never gone above 600 people before in one day. 744 people is a LOT of people. On Tuesday, I had 400+ people, which is not too bad either. I do not spend $1 on advertising (yet), although this will change as I continue to work on my wish list and financials. As I write this blog post at 8:39am on Wednesday, 87 people have been on my website already…
Thanks so much for reading, sharing and learning with me! I look forward to helping you take your next step.
If you are interested in reading my books, please check them out here. Happy Hunting!
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My online learning planning announcement
My To do and wish lists...
Content and Creation on being an entrepreneur and using content to share my lessons with clients, students and more
I was very busy this weekend both in entertaining children (hello summer vacation and planning for the weeks ahead without routine) and in building and creating content for my small business.
On Saturday alone I made over 5 videos for my YouTube channel and this is after a brief hiatus because I just got too busy. I posted about how the end of the school year kicked my behind and when I had a moment to review my goals and plans for the business, I realized it had been almost a month since my last vlog (video) to go with my content.
I truly believe my words are powerful but my delivery and personality is something that just adds to building my business and my expertise in terms of my business focus: college and career readiness, one-on-one Career help with my branding packages, Entrepreneurial Training / Small Business Consulting and of course my books The Next Step Publishing.
I am placing some videos below to share with you - please make sure you Subscribe to my YouTube Channel .
So much to do today and this week:
Videos about Content Creation, Entrepreneur-ING books, College and Career readiness series:
And finally made some videos about my books:
Lisa Vento Nielsen