I was inspired to write this today for my Instaquote:
Legitimacy as an entrepreneur means
having the tough discussions
stepping into a room of strangers to speak about college and career readiness
representing your own company at a career fair even when you are not sure you should
being highlighted in your hometown newspaper
handing out your books and magnets to potential partners
And it is all so true. I have had an immense week with lots of exciting things happening and I want to "recap" my week here. I wrote some great content - some authentic stories about helping people be ready for their next steps here on Staten Island with some community events - one at my alma mater St John's University and the other at Community Board 2 (Homecoming - Networking Event at SJU Staten Island Campus and Getting College Students of the Future Ready).
I also wrote about Content Management Database and how much I would like to build and use my content more effectively and about my Soft Launch of Small Business Consulting Services.
This blog is about more than just free advice and how to's for professionals and students but is also the live blog so to speak of building and creating a business. As I stand here in my borough and position myself to be the go to person for college and career readiness I am learning through "teaching" each of you who come to this blog and learn with me each day. I appreciate your reading my content, sharing it and giving me feedback so much.
Today, I represented my company at the Wagner College and St John's University career fair and I ran into students who I have met at the networking events at Wagner and SJU I attended recently and it was amazing to see them all again and to get feedback from them was awesome. I was told they are following me and reading my content and that my content is great and useful for their lives. Wow. I was blown away and so humbled. I continue to do that each day of the week - building content, relationships and partnerships as I build this business.
I was feeling unsure about attending the career fair today because I often second guess myself (like we all do - we are all humans) but I got confidence in seeing my business written up in the Staten Island Advance (you can read it here
Staten Island Advance Article About The Next Step). This gave me a boost of confidence that I needed to let me know I belong at these types of events and more.
The event was wonderful - I got a stack of resumes to give me an edge for when the business continues to grow (which I think it will) - I will definitely have an intern-like position soon and hope to expand to paid positions in the near future. In addition to the student resources, I also met and made connections with various industry people and I have a nice list of people to follow up with over the next few days for potential exciting new developments to chat about on this blog.
I had a banner week this week and I look forward to more and more new things to share with you as I continue to build out my business. What do you think about my business, my content and my next steps? Happy Hunting!
I had some meetings recently and at one of them, I was asked to attend the Wagner College Center for Academic and Career Engagement’s Speed Networking Event on March 2nd. I shared a little bit about this on Instagram but really thought it warranted its own blog post because it was an amazing experience.
The event was held on campus in the Faculty Dining Room; which is a wonderful room for this type of event – open, airy and with enough tables to have each “expert” have their own table. Everyone who was there was representing themselves, their businesses, experiences and giving back to the students who need a “safe” place to practice networking.
There were 9 experts there representing all different industries and roles – from finance to publishing to electrical and entrepreneurs and corporate types, too. Or like me, someone who is Corporate, Entrepreneur and Executive all rolled into one!
Each expert stayed seated and the students moved from table to table every 10 minutes. The students were professional to the “t” from clothing to hair / makeup (if applicable) and demeanor. It was an amazing proud moment for me to see so many college students doing so much so well. I cannot take credit for it but I definitely think I helped them even more with professionalism and networking skills in the ten minutes I had them at my table.
Also, I gave them all my business card and I am hoping to hear from some (or all) of them in terms of creating a networking / mentoring relationship. I feel I met many amazing future leaders in business, sociology, law enforcement and maybe a few future NFL players, too.
I got to talk about principles and lessons from my book on Entrepreneur-ING in terms of how to be motivated, proactive and focused in careers. We chatted about how I run my day and where I see my company and it was challenging for me to think this through with each mini-audience in terms of where I do see my company. I was able to tell them about my 1600+ website visitors per week and some of them brainstormed with me on new marketing tips I could use for promoting my site and message and books. It was a give and take even though I was there to “teach” them! Which is how I have found all of the teaching moments in my career / life, I give but get more back than I could ever give.
In terms of my business and growth potential, I can definitely see the possibilities of this little company I launched in July growing within the next 6-12 months where I could be hiring help or interns. In fact, I recently signed up for a table at the upcoming Wagner College / St John’s University Career Fair to begin canvassing for talent willing to help me with some new initiatives.
More to come on my blog and social media about my new initiatives. I am hopeful to have built some mentoring relationships last night and I offered copies of my new book to anyone who asked for it via email so I hope to be sending out some packages soon! You can order your own copy of my books here Lisa Vento Nielsen Author Page on Amazon.com.
What do you think about networking? Did you ever attend an event like this at your school? What would you have wanted to know about networking but never had the courage / opportunity to ask? The best part about this event was we could just share our real-world tips and encourage the students to always network and my biggest advice of the night was to recognize the give and take in relationships and to network by sharing some knowledge, advice, article or something to build a relationship and not to just ask for something. Common sense but I got to give specific examples to them in mini-lessons because that is how this prof teaches! Happy Hunting!
Sign Up Here for The Next Step Exclusive Content and Offers
As an entrepreneur, I am interested in always finding new ways to promote my business, my mission and me. Publishing book(s) is definitely a big way to do this and I now have two books self-published (more on this later in the week or click here for Lisa Vento Nielsen Author Page on Amazon.com.
I had a great week last week with some very interesting meetings and accomplishments that I wanted to spend some time on this Monday morning reflecting on and sharing my lessons learned.
Using Constant Contact
Last week, I created my first newsletter using Constant Contact. People have been registering with my site to get exclusive content and I have been working on an editorial calendar to deliver something new and exciting each week via newsletter in addition to the daily blog posts. I have a lot of lessons to share so this has been working out well.
People are interested in learning more from me based on the blog and social media plan I follow. Those who sign up from my website are important to me because they took the time to register their email address with me. Every one of my 300+ unique visitors, of course, are important to me of course but those who take the time to sign up definitely deserve extra content and surprises! (Sign Up Here for The Next Step Exclusive Content and Offers ).
It was a simple process to design a newsletter, include some photos and some great insider view content. The template matched my site design and I was able to personalize the whole newsletter and send it to my contacts, networking partners and other with a few clicks. In addition, after the newsletter is scheduled, I can automatically have it post to my social media following a set schedule for more people to read and see what I am doing in this more personal way. It is like a personalized email from me for the week. I will add more detail around Constant Contact once I get more skilled at using it - this is just my second newsletter launching today so I need some time to see if there are results to using a weekly newsletter or if I should do it maybe once a month instead. I am still figuring this out for my business. If you use Constant Contact or some other form of email connection with your clients and subscribers, what do you think works? I would love to hear from you on your lessons.
First PRWeb Experience
Also last week, I wrote, designed and set up my first official press release to go out on the “wire” using PRWeb. This was an investment but I wanted to really make a splash in the media for the east coast about my first book, Entrepreneur-ing and I was also able to include reference to my (now-published) second book on College Readiness.
The whole process was simple from start to finish except for the ultimate fear I experienced that I would make a typo or otherwise make a mistake for sending this out to tons of media organization and other industry focused recipients. This press release is launching this morning and I will make a follow up post on whether the $259 investment was worth it.
PRWeb had cheaper options (beginning at $99) but this was the package that seemed to provide the most potential growth in terms of website hits and potential interest in my book and content.
The website is straightforward to use and you can use their “template” to load in your content on your press release. I had already had a press release written about the Entrepreneur-ing book but I did have to edit it and make it more press-ready. I could include URL links but they had to be 100 words apart to avoid the press release being considered “spam”. I will provide an update on if this investment was worthwhile once I get my results from PRWeb and see how that translates into my business – for instance, will people buy my book or will I get calls for more speaking engagements, etc.
My main focus is on the local geographical area and that was why I selected certain cities in the East coast to highlight for this press release.
As someone who does not normally spend money on promotion and marketing, this is a very interesting experiment for me. I was at one point paying to “boost” my Facebook and Twitter posts but other than that, I have not been “paying” to create buzz for my site. Shortly after launch, I was getting between 100-150 people a day on my site and within the last month it has spiked to between 220-350 people a day on my site. This has been great and I am seeing some conversion in terms of sales but now that I also have some published books, I would love to see a greater conversion rate and some “passive” income due to royalties from said books.
Have you ever used a Press Release service to share content? What did you think about it? Was it worth the investment?
I had a meeting last week with the Staten Island Economic Development Council SIEDC (http://siedc.org/) and I will be attending some networking events as a “mentor” and will be the speaker at the May 17th Business Council meeting. I will be sharing lessons on blogging and social media at that meeting and I am so looking forward to sharing my excitement over how blogging and sharing content can help build a business and a reputation.
There are many more irons in the fire, so to speak and I am looking forward to sharing with you how things turn out between the press release, my Constant Contact experience and my upcoming speaking engagements. I am a real entrepreneur who is interested in bringing you along on my journey. If you are interested in becoming an entrepreneur, you should really consider looking into the certificate course I provide with Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning on Entrepreneurship: Building Your Own Business which will provide you with the tools, skills and abilities to go from zero to launch for your own business.
Now is the time to consider being entrepreneurial and you can even take my lessons in this course and apply it to a side-gig or other initiative that you can do while still working full time. In addition, if you are interested in just a “taste” of how being entrepreneurial can help your career, consider signing up for the seminars at Wagner College on How to Take the Next Step in Your Career; as I just published the book on Entrepreneur-ing and it’s potential impact on careers, you can assume this seminar will run again if you cannot make the first installment on March 1.
Sign Up Here for The Next Step Exclusive Content and Offers
My First EBOOK
I wanted to make a post all about my upcoming EBook How to Use Entrepreneurial Skills To Launch Your Own Business or to Be the Boss of Your Career. It is being self-published as I type this blog post. I am super excited about this EBook. It is about 60 pages – over 16000 words but this is just the first part of the EBooks I am working on at this time. I have an EBook on College and Career Readiness with over 6000 words done and other ideas in the planning stages. All of these EBooks are original content; not re-purposed from my blog posts. This is all original content.
This book almost wrote itself - I have over 13 years experience being an entrepreneur and also focusing on helping people take their next steps. I focused all of that information and background experience in building out this first EBook on using entrepreneurial skills to rock your career or consider starting your own business. I am using CreateSpace to self-publish. I am doing a hard copy (or 5) for my records and then sending it to Amazon. I will be pricing it very low - and at some point, I will find out if I can use this EBook to give it away for free. I think once I finish the self-publishing process I will know more about it.
Look for future posts from me on self-publishing. I am loving the experience of creating content into an EBook (and actual book form). This will be a calling card, a tangible piece of my business and what I can do for people as a speaker and an educator in this field of business creation. It is a major piece of benefit for my partnership with Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning as I have my Entrepreneurship : Building Your Own Business course there (find out more here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/register-today-for-entrepreneurshipbuilding-your-own-business.html
This Entrepreneur-ing book will have additional installments coming after it. This is the book you can use for either career or entrepreneurial pursuits with ideas and assignments for both sides. Yes, assignments. I am not the prof for nothing – there will be assignments for you to do and to perhaps share with me via my social media or email.
The next installment will be Entrepreneur-ing From Zero to Launch and this will provide the tools to execute on the entrepreneurial spirit you caught in the first installment. It is my believe that many people who read the first book will need the second book because although their plan might have been to focus solely on the creation of a career they can be the boss of that with the economy and potential out there to run their own business either full time or on the side will prove too exciting to pass up.
I am including here my first Chapter for free showcasing what the book will be about and it should be available via my Website as an EBook download within the next week or two.
Happy reading and let me know what you think about this EBook and if you want more information, sign up on this page http://www.thenextstep1234.com/new-ebook-entrepreneur-ing.html. Happy Hunting!
Sign Up Here for The Next Step Exclusive Content and Offers
Chapter 1: Why this book? Why learn with me?
What does Entrepreneur-Ing Mean?
This word means so many things. What it means to you is that you are in the right place to do some self-directed learning from an expert on applying skills and traits of entrepreneurship to either your career or your business.
For those of you focused on building your own business, this book is the blueprint for you to follow to execute on your idea.
For those of you focused on building your career like a boss, this book is the blueprint for you to follow to learn how to make yourself the project of your life.
I was considering doing a choose your own adventure type book for this to provide a one way path for entrepreneur-ing your business and entrepreneur-ing your career but I feel it is best to teach you both sides of the coin in terms of this phenomenon. If you can master entrepreneurship for your business, you will have the tools necessary for when / if you need a steady income and to build out a career in corporate America. For those of you brave enough to learn how to be entrepreneurial in your career, the potential for opening up your own business is definitely something that will happen organically for you.
Why be an entrepreneur and create your own business:
For many subsets of the population, particularly women and minorities, the focus is on building value in your lives through your own businesses. The rates of entrepreneurship has been going through the roof.
For many people who are raising young children, having flexibility is key to the career path. I will not tell you being an entrepreneur is “easier” but you can work around your children’s schedules a little more easily than at any established company.
If you have a passion or an idea, you need to learn how to nurture it and grow it. My unique advice will help you to focus on this venture as a part-time prospect at first – you can follow my steps and lessons while working full time or part time on the side or you can commit yourself to this system / learnings full time. In any way you slice or chunk it, your time will be best spent reading and learning from me in this book.
Why be an entrepreneur in your corporate career:
No one will look out for your growth and career as well as you can. You need to be proactive and focused in order to truly unlock your career potential. You can be anything you apply yourself to be if you can continue learning.
A big part of this book will teach you to have the drive and ability to continue learning at your speed and at your level. Not everyone will be an “A” student and not everyone should be – the goal is just to be a student period in any way shape of form to help continue to grow and learn on a daily basis. So much is changing in the field of careers and business with technology being poised to take over many jobs by 2020 that are now primarily held by women but can affect any gender. Your fields of customer service, banking, administrative assistants and more can be impacted by these leaps and bounds of technology and AI that can take away these roles.
This book breaks down the steps to be an entrepreneur with lessons on applying it to your career or your own venture (and many of you can do both sides of these lessons and win / win on every aspect of your lives).
I am your professor on this journey and we will be using my Web site and social media to learn from each other. I am a passionate teacher and have created and launched various curriculum to teach many different people many different things. I know there is no ONE way to learn – there are many ways to learn and that is why I am structuring this book with a feedback loop. Yes, a feedback loop. I want to build a relationship with each person that reads this book as a mentor to them – or as their own personal professor.
My lessons will focus on how to identify your skills to go from zero to launch. For the next step in your small business launch, there will be another installment in this series all about executing on the business plan and more.
This EBook and my others in draft are an interactive project that you can use my website to help build out and submit your video feedback to me for an interactive journey. You can also use my social media to discuss with me using tag #entrepreneur-ing.
This might be the first “ebook” of its kind that comes with its own professor. I am passionate about sharing this knowledge and in helping as many people as possible to unlock the careers they are destined to have. You can have a career as an entrepreneur or improve your career in corporate America (or insert any country, really) with me. I have experience as being an executive, educator and entrepreneur since 1999. I have lived and worked in other countries for various amounts of time and my focus on project management, teaching and learning means this book will walk you through your path unlike any other.
In Chapter 2, we will identify and expand on your skill sets for going from zero to launch in business and career. In Chapter 3 we will identify learning plans and paths to expand on said skills and how to achieve the new skills needed to rock out your career / business. Chapter 4 is about drafting the plan – just the mission statement; how to really dream it into action – by writing it down, you will make it real. This is where I will be making you respond to me; I will be waiting to hear and read your responses to this chapter.
Chapter 5 is all about building your brand and again this is where you will be following up with me and showing me your media brand and making me impressed with how you take it to the next level.
Chapter 6 is about writing your plan and includes templates and other resources for hitting it out of the ballpark with your communication skills. Chapter 7 discusses different ways to build your connections via networking, mentoring and more. Chapter 8 is about managing success and giving back, which is so important. I think all entrepreneur-ing people will be best served by giving back and doing it as soon as possible. I should move this chapter up higher because it is so important and maybe in future versions of this book I will move it up. Before I even was officially off the ground, I was considering ways to give back and my College Readiness Seminar and community outreach programs were launched before I even had my business “open”. Chapter 9 goes into the feedback loop.
This journey maybe has begun for you because you know deep down you can do more in your career. Or maybe it has begun because you have some blank spaces on your resume that you need to fill in and figure out how to make more meaning possible for your career and more. I have a lot to say about blank spaces and managing career and life transitions.
When you are faced with a blank space because of illness, child care or parental care or even due to self-care, you really need to look at that as being possibility and not liability. What can you do to manage through that time?
A big way to manage through that time is to identify skill sets you have that you can use in other ways that do not involve taking away from your current number one priority (the reason you have a blank space to begin with); or maybe you have blank spaces through no fault of your own but the economy has been unkind to you and you have yet to find your footing in corporate.
You can use this book to identify ways to set yourself apart from the competition by entrepreneur-ing your career. Not every entrepreneur is successful but we all have the grit and abilities to keep trying and putting ourselves out there very much like any job seeker has to do today. But the average job seeker will be shy or timid about opportunities and maybe will not put themselves out there as much as someone who is entrepreneur-ing will do and that is the difference between closing the sale, getting the offer and being able to manage your career like a boss.
That is where this book and its lessons come in to help you make the motions and move forward in a way to truly succeed.
I am so happy to take this journey with you and to build our relationship as more than just a book and an author but as your personalized professor / consultant on the road to entrepreneur-ing.
Something I have done as a professor since day one is to encourage my students to think outside of the box and I look forward to doing that with you – my mix of real-world advice with real actionable lessons and take away is what will set this book apart from any other how-to, business or other learning book you have read. I cannot wait to being this journey with you! You can learn so much and expand so much on your skills and abilities just by reading and acting on these lessons. Even if you only do a chapter at any time, you are heads above the competition that do not have this plan in hand to make their career/business stand out.
Happy entrepreneur-ing and running your career and business like a boss.
I was back today at the local high school to do another round of my College and Career Readiness. Well, the first round was more of a college readiness whereas this one became more. I added to the presentation and took away from the presentation based on the age of my audience (seniors) and my time-frame (one hour).
When it was done, I got a huge round of applause and I just wanted to bottle that and remember it always as being an entrepreneur is all about these moments - these times of presenting what you are passionate about and what you can speak authentically to in regards to planning out these huge next steps in the lives of these students.
I like to think I helped them a little bit on their way to being an "adult" with my words of wisdom based on years of experience both in and out of the college classroom and in and out of the corporate boardroom. The skills that sell, the things you need to identify and jump on during the ages of 17-21 are so similar and yet so different than they were 20, 10 or even 5 years ago. From my vantage point from having been part of both worlds and being an entrepreneur, I can see this message this mission clearly and I really enjoyed sharing it with the small pilot group that I have over my last two visits to this high school. My most sincere thanks to the school for having me come in and having me come back! I am hopeful I can even continue and keep working on my message and maybe even getting the next one taped for me and my YouTube channel!
I cannot wait to get the chance to roll it out on a larger scale and so many pieces of what I am doing are pushing to that option. This is just a quick post to provide this update on how awesome it was to really present my thoughts and ideas on college and career readiness. The students asked me really great, thoughtful questions and I definitely learned more than they did by listening to me! I cannot wait to do this at many more schools on Staten Island and in different ways with different agencies. What do you think? If you would like to learn more, click on any of the photos below! Happy Hunting!
Bonus post for today to provide an update on my community outreach event on Wednesday night. You can find more information on the genesis of this event here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/giving-back-to-the-community-as-an-entrepreneur
I first thought about giving back on December 9 and by Wednesday, January 27, I started the relationship with a local charity in person with a kick off event. The place I am giving back to is a place where homeless moms and moms-to-be live together. I arrived a little early (I am always early; it is both a gift and a curse) and upon arrival, I threw my prepared "speech" away. I just did not think that was authentic enough or what was needed in this environment. There are 7 women living there and I was able to just sit with them and tell my story. Talk about how being a mom changes everything and how passionate I am about helping people to take their next steps. I told them I would like to volunteer at the facility to help them each identify and move forward on their paths.
I then opened it up and spoke to each of them about what their hopes and dreams are and then brainstormed on how I can help reach those goals. I am working on creating a study group for the GED, working on some applications and essays to get back into programs that were left due to life issues, resume creation and cover letters for next steps and more. I will be going back in February to kick off the working sessions on getting these things "done". I plan on becoming part mentor / part "do-er" with these women.
I received feedback from the director that everyone was so excited to have my help and it made me humbled, happy and proud of being an entrepreneur and devising a plan - I have always been an action person. I remember when one of my companies sent me to Singapore to help a failing project and during the 27-hour plane ride, I thought about how I was going to "teach" and what I was going to "preach" and then when I got off the plane, got to the office (no sleeping; just jump into the time difference; I was a bit of a zombie but it was ok), I threw out all of my "lessons" and "speeches" and just sat down and told them, "I am here to do the work with you; let's go." And just started doing instead of talking - this is the way I am.
As I work on various ideas and ways to promote my company, I always go back to the "just doing" idea that has built my career and makes me the teacher and educator I am today. What do you think about my "doing" methodology? Do you also feel rewarded by giving back? Happy Hunting!
I made this video using some new techniques with Camtasia but I do notice it is blurry. I need to work on my equipment and see what I did wrong. The content though of this video is all about how I became a teacher almost 13 years ago and what role mentors and being a good teacher play in making my decisions about my business and how I run it.
This video talks more about communication and using education to diversify yourself and to stand out from the competition. My seminars coming up at Wagner College for $99 or 3 for $229 are a great way to get your feet wet with continuing your education and growing your career.
There is so much based on my work, educator and entrepreneurial experience that I am bringing to my seminars at Wagner College. Find out more on my February seminar here: http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-management-seminar/
I hope to see you there next month! Happy Hunting!
I just wanted to take a minute to talk something that can be tricky for some people – that of achieving their college degree after the age of 22. For many, it is something that is a challenge because their careers and or lives took a different path than others. Today we have a very high level of college graduates but there are still people for whom life got in the way and they did not complete their requirements, course work or maybe did not even start a college degree program.
I happen to be extremely lucky that I completed my BS and MBA before 22. And even luckier that I did my MBA in Rome, Italy with St John’s University as a Graduate Assistant.
For those who have not been as lucky or for whom life has just gotten into the way, I want to talk about going back to school after being out of school for a while (or maybe never starting).
I have been an adjunct since 2003 and for some classes, I taught students balancing working full time and/or family life and trying to finish their degrees. I have always been understanding for those students as I try to be for all students, of course.
For those of you considering as your New Year’s Resolution getting back to finish (or start) that degree, I want you to know that it is possible to balance but it can be tricky. It pays to be honest with your Professors and let them know you are balancing school and work. It is not good to lay it on too think, though, especially because some adjuncts are also balancing tons of stuff – although an adjunct will have more understanding perhaps than a tenured faculty who is teaching for many years and maybe forgot what Corporate America can be like (no offense; I hope to be a tenured faculty someday, too…)
Even if you never “use” it; there are many people who have found their careers stagnate because they never received their BS or BA degree. Even just having an Associates is not always enough. I recently met a potential client who has associates degree only and I was talking with him about going back to get the BS. It means everything to yourself and your potential future – and it is something that can never be taken away from you. It becomes a part of you and will always help and not hurt. In other words, the only potential downside is if you pick a school you cannot afford. If you find a school that fits your budget and has the degree that will hopefully lead to your next step, what are you waiting for – go for it! If you are not sure where your next step is or should be, consider a liberal arts major to just get that piece of paper.
If you already started the journey back to your degree, congratulate yourself and hang in there. If you did not start it yet, feel free to reach out to me for advice, questions or just words of encouragement. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or other information about continuing your education. It might never be the “right” time but now is a great time to go for it! Happy Hunting!
I am thinking about giving back to the community and how to do it. Recently, I offered to give a training / speech (it is a little of both – a speech with some real professor lessons on how to take the next step) at a local charity that helps young moms.
As a mom myself, I will say that having children changed my life. Primarily for the better but it also changed my career trajectory and what I wanted from my career trajectory. Just the fact that I had a “career” and a say in my “trajectory” though is from a place of privilege of having already had my education “done” when I became a mom. I was not a “young” mom; I already had an MBA and a long career before I had my first child. For people who do not yet have a degree and who maybe come from poverty, becoming a young mom can keep them trapped in that cycle. The cost of daycare far surpasses any wages a young mom can make and without family and community help, having any type of career can be impossible.
I have been going over my talking points in my mind and I wanted to start jotting them down and thought using this blog might be a great way to promote my speaking engagements offerings as well as a brainstorming process for me.
I want to talk about how being a mom will of course have changed their plans and how we can make their plans more focused on their next step.
When I left Corporate America, I did not think I would ever have a real “career” again but I wound up teaching and being an entrepreneur. For most of my talk participants, though, this would not be as organic a process as it was for me. I want to walk them through options they have for continuing their education and/or finding a career even with limited education under their belts. I want to talk about how to balance being a mom while still working on their own development and next steps. So while they help their children, they can also help their children by helping themselves.
The talk would include
The real key will be in helping them after the talk and finding a way to maintain mentor/mentee relationships with them. This is the key for me to also give back to the community and to other moms to help them find their path and the way to support their children and themselves into the future. For most of my speaking engagements, I am available for free to just come in and give my “lessons” – I find this the most rewarding part of my career as an entrepreneur.
I can touch more people this way and for me, this business has to have a component of giving back. I want to be successful and have as many paying clients as I can possibly manage but I also know that as a new “entity” (having just relaunched at the end of July), that any way I can promote my business is helpful to me and the people I can help with my message, my enthusiasm and my lessons learned on how to get to the next step for any type of person, whether they be an executive or someone just starting out. As a teacher, I have an interest in promoting my message to those who have found themselves in tough circumstances and I truly believe that by putting out good to the world, good comes back.
What do you think about my strategy to do speaking engagements for people who need my help, specifically at this charity for young moms? What would you try to teach a young mom to be ready to take her next (or first) step into a career? If you are interested in having me speak at your organization or event, click below. Happy Hunting!
This article from Entrepreneur.com by Mel Carson ties into my theme for the week on mentoring - it is so important to identify mentors for any type of career and even for entrepreneurs.
When I was at McGraw-Hill Education, there was a women run mentoring group called "WINS" - Women's Initiative to Networking for Success and I was lucky enough to run the initiative for the 2 Penn Plaza location and we really had a wonderful group of women dedicated to both being mentors and being mentees. We invited girls from a local high school to come onsite and get partners to find out more about careers in publishing. We also had a corporate run initiative linking women to mentors in the organization to help grow careers and take next steps. I loved helping with WINS and it fit in well with my belief that mentoring helped so much in my career. I am lucky to have had great mentors and I do hope I have been and continue to be a great mentor to others.
Something to think about is that even though technology makes being in touch "easier" it can actually be harder to build these types of relationships where someone has a true vested interest in seeing you succeed for no other reason than to just know that they were some small part of that success. To have these relationships, it is important to also be invested in the success of your mentor and to try to provide help to them as well. We are all human and today's environments in Corporate America and even as entrepreneurs is 24/7 so we can use the help and the support of others most but we do not always want to be asked to do something for others - it has to be a two way street.
This article talks about not being afraid to ask and just as important is to provide support for your mentor, too. And to mentee others - so take on some mentors, too.
What do you think about having mentors in your career? If you are an entrepreneur, do you have a mentor? If no, do you think you could use one? Happy Hunting!
5 Tips for Finding and Keeping a Good Mentor
The first time I heard the term "brand" in reference to a person was back when I was in college, believe it or not. It sounded weird and bizarre and I could not wrap my head around how a person could be a brand - even as a Marketing major it made no sense. So for my second original blog post, I thought I would talk about how to build your own brand from my perspective - a marketing major/professor for whom it did not come intuitively.
I would say that even for my students and clients, the idea of being a brand is just not always an intuitive one. There are some people, though, who can run with the idea and successfully execute managing themselves as a brand from day one. I think that I am finally at that level of branding myself but it took me a long time, a lot of sweat and some major fears to overcome to execute on that plan. So here are my tips on how to build yourself as a brand.
Tip 1: Identify what you are great at
Know your sweet spot. What can you do better than most others? For me, this is teaching. I was always a teacher even when I did not know it - I used to tutor other kids in college on statistics and other subjects and when I did my MBA in Italy, I led some seminars on how to interview well and always had the most students vying to be in my groups - oh and led some late night Black Schole Model Training in the offices of the Rome Campus of St John's University (wow, la bella vita, huh?). Yes, I guess I am a nerd...
But I still did not realize or know how much teaching would become my passion. So how did it come about? I had a mentor (see Tip 2) who helped push me to be an adjunct - he was instrumental in me getting to Italy for my MBA and continued advising and helping me for many years after that. He encouraged me to keep applying to be an adjunct at St John's University even though each time I applied I was told that I was too young, too new out of Grad school and not the right fit. Until finally in 2003, I got the call. You see, an economics Prof had fallen and broken their neck (not fatally, thank God) but could not teach and as it was last minute, they needed someone, anyone and that person was me - what a way to begin my teaching career, right? At the time, I was working full time at Standard & Poor's but got special approval to work from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I could embark on being an adjunct professor. I taught a micro and a macro class to college freshman - could it be any more "boring"? But, I loved it and I was hooked and luckily was asked to come back to teach at nights in NYC campus and even a few super early classes on the Staten Island campus that fit into my work schedule.
Tip 2: Surround yourself with mentors and mentee others
It is important to have a team around you - people who can help you identify what you are great at and people that you can help do the same thing. This is a step deeper than networking - though networking should also be about what you can give and help other people with more so than what you will get back (because by giving, you will get back). This is having people who know you, people you rely on and trust their advice. This is a level of networking that is more focused on helping and creating long term relationships. My mentors have all been in my life between 5-18 years. But I also mentor others - and this is where I feel I truly learn and grow the most. Always work on building a team and giving back to others, too.
Tip 3: Do not be afraid to put yourself out there
I have said before that though I have been an entrepreneur since 2002, this is the first time I have taken my thoughts, my image and even videos of me and used them to communicate my thoughts and more around the business idea that I have to help people achieve their next steps. I have a vision in my head and heart for what this business is and how to execute it and this is the first time I allowed myself to be authentically out there and share that these thoughts and visions are mine. This has been the key to the success I am experiencing with this iteration of my business, in my opinion. It is because I was brave enough to write that first blog post, to send that first tweet and to be out there.
This is something you can do, too. Take something you know about, some business news you have a professional opinion on and write about it and/or use LinkedIn to share an update or to comment in a group. You can start with baby steps. You do not need to create a blog right away - but you should create a blog. Based off of Tip 1, you can create and share with the world that which is your passion. Just be careful about sharing professional opinions only and not personal opinions - that is when you can get into trouble. I would caution to avoid real hot topic issues like religion, politics, etc. Focus on building your brand out based on your skills and capabilities.
Tip 4: Never give up
I think this is important in terms of brand building for both entrepreneurs and corporate career path folks. If you do not get the promotion or the dream job you want, keep trying. Keep learning. Keep trying to espouse and represent the values you want to be known for - but make sure you followed Tip 1 so you know what those values and skills are you want to highlight.
What do you think of my quick 4 #proftips on how to build your brand? Do you think of yourself as a brand? Was it easy for you to think that way or not? Happy Hunting!
I was lucky to attend an event hosted by the New York Small Business Development Center on Thursday of last week. The event was called "The Encore Entrepreneur: Your Second Career" and it was chock full of awesome information and wound up being a great networking event for me, my company The Next Step and for my upcoming Entrepreneurship course with Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning.
The Small Business Development Center for New York has offices locally on Staten Island and the representatives from there were all knowledgeable, helpful and willing to help all of us business owners take our next step. I have a meeting set up to go over my own business plan and a few other helpful things in a few weeks - see, even the teacher can be helped by others. One thing I have to say is that you can never know how to do everything and that is why it is so important to build that network and to have help or even a fresh pair of eyes to review and help you, too. No one is too advanced to not need help.
The speakers were excellent. Hands down - excellent. Ms. Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio, the founder of Six Figure Start, really shared how she runs her business and other great hints on marketing, networking and more. She spoke to us about the decision she made to become an entrepreneur 8 years ago despite being the head of campus hiring at Merrill Lynch and also about how happy she is to have made the jump to being an entrepreneur. She really was an inspiring speaker. On a personal note, I really felt a connection to her and look forward to seeing her again and to hopefully count her as one of my mentors in the future.
Mr. Solomon Chemo spoke on behalf of his own business as a CFP (Certified Financial Planner) and he spoke about the things entrepreneurs need to know re financial management, retirement planning and even exit strategies and insurance policies. I loved hearing him talk about his dad who built a business from scratch as an immigrant to this country and how at one point his dad did not see eye to eye with Mr Chemo re his decision to go into business for himself as a CFP.
At this point, we already got so much but there was still more - a panelist group including the speakers and a representative from the Small Business Administration Ms. Teri Coaxume and a few more financial services representatives from Santander Bank, a small micro-lending organization and a franchise attorney. We all were able to ask questions and get honest, well-thought out answers. For instance, my question was about how to allocate marketing dollars (which are limited, of course) to get the most value. All of the panelists had awesome answers but especially Ms. Thanasoulis-Cerrachio who gave me wonderful advice about using tele-seminars to help build out my business reach, which I will be doing soon. And Ms. Coaxume talked about blogging and sharing, which made me feel great because that is a big part of how I drive both traffic and clients to my site.
The event was well-run and super informative - and when it was over, there was time to network and meet new people who are all entrepreneurial whether they were just beginning or it was their second or third iteration of being in business for themselves. There were a lot of young people there who had spent 5-10 years in Corporate America and now were moving into being their own bosses with new technology innovations and other super exciting ventures and ideas. I wish them all luck and I hope to see some of them in my class on Entrepreneurship.
What do you think about events held by agencies like this? Have you ever gone to such events? Would you go after hearing my positives about it? Happy Hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen