I had a very big week last week and I think this week is shaping up to also be a bit intense and exciting. I am working on some potential big announcements over the next few weeks so please stay tuned!
My online article about my business in the Staten Island Advance (read the article here) really gave me a big boost in terms of promoting my business and hearing from potential new clients and partners. It also gave me the confidence I needed to set up my table at the Wagner College and St John’s University Career Fair last week and I am so glad it did because that event was amazing for my company to network with other business owners in Staten Island and service providers from outside the borough PLUS I got to meet and mentor some great students who also gave me their resumes for potential internships with my company.
I am so lucky that I have a “plan” that I follow and add to as I go because I think this is how I have been able to accomplish a lot in the last (almost) 8 months since I hit “publish” on my website www.thenextstep1234.com. I have written and self-published two books; I have almost 200 blog posts floating around and gaining readership as we speak in the great world of the internet. I have been a speaker at a few events and have countless more scheduled in my book over the coming weeks and months. I have an amazing partnership with Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning to provide seminars and lessons on cutting edge career and education topics (find out more here and here) and I have more exciting developments and initiatives in the works.
Just yesterday morning, as my family sat down to breakfast and we checked out the Staten Island Advance print edition, there in section A on page 4 was the amazing write up about my business and I was dubbed “Sherpa for youth” based on my extensive content on my blog on university advice as well as my college and career readiness seminars and workshops and my books on College Readiness and the one I am working on how to graduate with a job offer. (Find out more about my books here Amazon Author Page).
The feeling of excitement, pride and humbleness that this caused is indescribable. I know I am not a mommy blogger but the look on my kids’ faces was enough for me to know that my balancing act of focusing on my business and these initiatives while also trying to be a hands on mom is so worth it – it is hard sometimes to balance but it is so worth it. This is my passion and all of my years of experience as an executive, educator and entrepreneur have led me to this business in this iteration and as I have said many times before, the reason this is so successful is because I tell my authentic stories in blog, in person and in print to build my business by helping people take their next steps.
What do you think about press and promotion? How do you manage building your brand as a business? If you are not a business, do you think these lessons in press and promotion can be applied to you? Keep an eye on this blog for a future post about that –how to use press and promotion to build your brand as a career person (in draft now!). Also, if you are interested in a speaker, click here to book Speaking Engagements.
Thanks and happy hunting!
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A big part of this blog is showing my entrepreneurial journey as I make decisions to add and at times remove products and services that I offer through The Next Step. I had recently posted about potential small business services - read more about that here How an Entrepreneur Creates New Service Offerings.
My new page is here New Page - Small Business Consulting Services. Check it out and let me know what you think. In thinking about this and weighing various decision factors, I decided to move forward with a "soft launch" of my small business services. What does a "soft launch" mean? It means I released the products and services with minimal fanfare and am still in the thinking phases of whether or not these new ideas make sense for me and my business.
That being said, the cornerstone of my small business services is something I have been promoting and working on since September with my partnership with Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning, the Entrepreneurship: Building Your Own Business course - more on that here My Entrepreneurship Certificate Course with Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning.
A new addition for this course is that we will be using my own books in addition to other resources and lessons on building business. My first book in the Entrepreneur-ING series lays the groundwork for identifying entrepreneurial skill sets that can be applied to either launching a business or being the boss of your own career. My second installment, publishing soon, will teach how to go from zero to launch with real expertise and advice from someone who has launched and failed and relaunched and tried again... As I am an educator at heart for the last 13 years, my writing and lessons are applicable and actionable for anyone to be an entrepreneur.
While I would love to see you take my class with Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning, you can start "small" with the books and then move forward with the course with me. Find out more about my books here More on my Entrepreneur-ING books here.
If you are perhaps further along in your process, you can also consider just buying my extensive business plan how to template, which includes my book as a bonus; order here-->
And for even more advanced clients who want to create and build an awesome social media world around their companies I am offering a soup to nuts turnkey blogging service for companies who want to learn and move forward with building their content and business marketing. Here is that product: Small Business Blogging Services.
What do you think of this soft launch of small business services? I considered creating another press release but ultimately thought I would test launch this via this small blog post first and then decide in the future what/if to do for more promotion.
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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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As an entrepreneur, I am interested in always finding new ways to promote my business, my mission and me. Publishing book(s) is definitely a big way to do this and I now have two books self-published (more on this later in the week or click here for Lisa Vento Nielsen Author Page on Amazon.com.
I had a great week last week with some very interesting meetings and accomplishments that I wanted to spend some time on this Monday morning reflecting on and sharing my lessons learned.
Using Constant Contact
Last week, I created my first newsletter using Constant Contact. People have been registering with my site to get exclusive content and I have been working on an editorial calendar to deliver something new and exciting each week via newsletter in addition to the daily blog posts. I have a lot of lessons to share so this has been working out well.
People are interested in learning more from me based on the blog and social media plan I follow. Those who sign up from my website are important to me because they took the time to register their email address with me. Every one of my 300+ unique visitors, of course, are important to me of course but those who take the time to sign up definitely deserve extra content and surprises! (Sign Up Here for The Next Step Exclusive Content and Offers ).
It was a simple process to design a newsletter, include some photos and some great insider view content. The template matched my site design and I was able to personalize the whole newsletter and send it to my contacts, networking partners and other with a few clicks. In addition, after the newsletter is scheduled, I can automatically have it post to my social media following a set schedule for more people to read and see what I am doing in this more personal way. It is like a personalized email from me for the week. I will add more detail around Constant Contact once I get more skilled at using it - this is just my second newsletter launching today so I need some time to see if there are results to using a weekly newsletter or if I should do it maybe once a month instead. I am still figuring this out for my business. If you use Constant Contact or some other form of email connection with your clients and subscribers, what do you think works? I would love to hear from you on your lessons.
First PRWeb Experience
Also last week, I wrote, designed and set up my first official press release to go out on the “wire” using PRWeb. This was an investment but I wanted to really make a splash in the media for the east coast about my first book, Entrepreneur-ing and I was also able to include reference to my (now-published) second book on College Readiness.
The whole process was simple from start to finish except for the ultimate fear I experienced that I would make a typo or otherwise make a mistake for sending this out to tons of media organization and other industry focused recipients. This press release is launching this morning and I will make a follow up post on whether the $259 investment was worth it.
PRWeb had cheaper options (beginning at $99) but this was the package that seemed to provide the most potential growth in terms of website hits and potential interest in my book and content.
The website is straightforward to use and you can use their “template” to load in your content on your press release. I had already had a press release written about the Entrepreneur-ing book but I did have to edit it and make it more press-ready. I could include URL links but they had to be 100 words apart to avoid the press release being considered “spam”. I will provide an update on if this investment was worthwhile once I get my results from PRWeb and see how that translates into my business – for instance, will people buy my book or will I get calls for more speaking engagements, etc.
My main focus is on the local geographical area and that was why I selected certain cities in the East coast to highlight for this press release.
As someone who does not normally spend money on promotion and marketing, this is a very interesting experiment for me. I was at one point paying to “boost” my Facebook and Twitter posts but other than that, I have not been “paying” to create buzz for my site. Shortly after launch, I was getting between 100-150 people a day on my site and within the last month it has spiked to between 220-350 people a day on my site. This has been great and I am seeing some conversion in terms of sales but now that I also have some published books, I would love to see a greater conversion rate and some “passive” income due to royalties from said books.
Have you ever used a Press Release service to share content? What did you think about it? Was it worth the investment?
I had a meeting last week with the Staten Island Economic Development Council SIEDC (http://siedc.org/) and I will be attending some networking events as a “mentor” and will be the speaker at the May 17th Business Council meeting. I will be sharing lessons on blogging and social media at that meeting and I am so looking forward to sharing my excitement over how blogging and sharing content can help build a business and a reputation.
There are many more irons in the fire, so to speak and I am looking forward to sharing with you how things turn out between the press release, my Constant Contact experience and my upcoming speaking engagements. I am a real entrepreneur who is interested in bringing you along on my journey. If you are interested in becoming an entrepreneur, you should really consider looking into the certificate course I provide with Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning on Entrepreneurship: Building Your Own Business which will provide you with the tools, skills and abilities to go from zero to launch for your own business.
Now is the time to consider being entrepreneurial and you can even take my lessons in this course and apply it to a side-gig or other initiative that you can do while still working full time. In addition, if you are interested in just a “taste” of how being entrepreneurial can help your career, consider signing up for the seminars at Wagner College on How to Take the Next Step in Your Career; as I just published the book on Entrepreneur-ing and it’s potential impact on careers, you can assume this seminar will run again if you cannot make the first installment on March 1.
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My First EBOOK
I wanted to make a post all about my upcoming EBook How to Use Entrepreneurial Skills To Launch Your Own Business or to Be the Boss of Your Career. It is being self-published as I type this blog post. I am super excited about this EBook. It is about 60 pages – over 16000 words but this is just the first part of the EBooks I am working on at this time. I have an EBook on College and Career Readiness with over 6000 words done and other ideas in the planning stages. All of these EBooks are original content; not re-purposed from my blog posts. This is all original content.
This book almost wrote itself - I have over 13 years experience being an entrepreneur and also focusing on helping people take their next steps. I focused all of that information and background experience in building out this first EBook on using entrepreneurial skills to rock your career or consider starting your own business. I am using CreateSpace to self-publish. I am doing a hard copy (or 5) for my records and then sending it to Amazon. I will be pricing it very low - and at some point, I will find out if I can use this EBook to give it away for free. I think once I finish the self-publishing process I will know more about it.
Look for future posts from me on self-publishing. I am loving the experience of creating content into an EBook (and actual book form). This will be a calling card, a tangible piece of my business and what I can do for people as a speaker and an educator in this field of business creation. It is a major piece of benefit for my partnership with Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning as I have my Entrepreneurship : Building Your Own Business course there (find out more here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/register-today-for-entrepreneurshipbuilding-your-own-business.html
This Entrepreneur-ing book will have additional installments coming after it. This is the book you can use for either career or entrepreneurial pursuits with ideas and assignments for both sides. Yes, assignments. I am not the prof for nothing – there will be assignments for you to do and to perhaps share with me via my social media or email.
The next installment will be Entrepreneur-ing From Zero to Launch and this will provide the tools to execute on the entrepreneurial spirit you caught in the first installment. It is my believe that many people who read the first book will need the second book because although their plan might have been to focus solely on the creation of a career they can be the boss of that with the economy and potential out there to run their own business either full time or on the side will prove too exciting to pass up.
I am including here my first Chapter for free showcasing what the book will be about and it should be available via my Website as an EBook download within the next week or two.
Happy reading and let me know what you think about this EBook and if you want more information, sign up on this page http://www.thenextstep1234.com/new-ebook-entrepreneur-ing.html. Happy Hunting!
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Chapter 1: Why this book? Why learn with me?
What does Entrepreneur-Ing Mean?
This word means so many things. What it means to you is that you are in the right place to do some self-directed learning from an expert on applying skills and traits of entrepreneurship to either your career or your business.
For those of you focused on building your own business, this book is the blueprint for you to follow to execute on your idea.
For those of you focused on building your career like a boss, this book is the blueprint for you to follow to learn how to make yourself the project of your life.
I was considering doing a choose your own adventure type book for this to provide a one way path for entrepreneur-ing your business and entrepreneur-ing your career but I feel it is best to teach you both sides of the coin in terms of this phenomenon. If you can master entrepreneurship for your business, you will have the tools necessary for when / if you need a steady income and to build out a career in corporate America. For those of you brave enough to learn how to be entrepreneurial in your career, the potential for opening up your own business is definitely something that will happen organically for you.
Why be an entrepreneur and create your own business:
For many subsets of the population, particularly women and minorities, the focus is on building value in your lives through your own businesses. The rates of entrepreneurship has been going through the roof.
For many people who are raising young children, having flexibility is key to the career path. I will not tell you being an entrepreneur is “easier” but you can work around your children’s schedules a little more easily than at any established company.
If you have a passion or an idea, you need to learn how to nurture it and grow it. My unique advice will help you to focus on this venture as a part-time prospect at first – you can follow my steps and lessons while working full time or part time on the side or you can commit yourself to this system / learnings full time. In any way you slice or chunk it, your time will be best spent reading and learning from me in this book.
Why be an entrepreneur in your corporate career:
No one will look out for your growth and career as well as you can. You need to be proactive and focused in order to truly unlock your career potential. You can be anything you apply yourself to be if you can continue learning.
A big part of this book will teach you to have the drive and ability to continue learning at your speed and at your level. Not everyone will be an “A” student and not everyone should be – the goal is just to be a student period in any way shape of form to help continue to grow and learn on a daily basis. So much is changing in the field of careers and business with technology being poised to take over many jobs by 2020 that are now primarily held by women but can affect any gender. Your fields of customer service, banking, administrative assistants and more can be impacted by these leaps and bounds of technology and AI that can take away these roles.
This book breaks down the steps to be an entrepreneur with lessons on applying it to your career or your own venture (and many of you can do both sides of these lessons and win / win on every aspect of your lives).
I am your professor on this journey and we will be using my Web site and social media to learn from each other. I am a passionate teacher and have created and launched various curriculum to teach many different people many different things. I know there is no ONE way to learn – there are many ways to learn and that is why I am structuring this book with a feedback loop. Yes, a feedback loop. I want to build a relationship with each person that reads this book as a mentor to them – or as their own personal professor.
My lessons will focus on how to identify your skills to go from zero to launch. For the next step in your small business launch, there will be another installment in this series all about executing on the business plan and more.
This EBook and my others in draft are an interactive project that you can use my website to help build out and submit your video feedback to me for an interactive journey. You can also use my social media to discuss with me using tag #entrepreneur-ing.
This might be the first “ebook” of its kind that comes with its own professor. I am passionate about sharing this knowledge and in helping as many people as possible to unlock the careers they are destined to have. You can have a career as an entrepreneur or improve your career in corporate America (or insert any country, really) with me. I have experience as being an executive, educator and entrepreneur since 1999. I have lived and worked in other countries for various amounts of time and my focus on project management, teaching and learning means this book will walk you through your path unlike any other.
In Chapter 2, we will identify and expand on your skill sets for going from zero to launch in business and career. In Chapter 3 we will identify learning plans and paths to expand on said skills and how to achieve the new skills needed to rock out your career / business. Chapter 4 is about drafting the plan – just the mission statement; how to really dream it into action – by writing it down, you will make it real. This is where I will be making you respond to me; I will be waiting to hear and read your responses to this chapter.
Chapter 5 is all about building your brand and again this is where you will be following up with me and showing me your media brand and making me impressed with how you take it to the next level.
Chapter 6 is about writing your plan and includes templates and other resources for hitting it out of the ballpark with your communication skills. Chapter 7 discusses different ways to build your connections via networking, mentoring and more. Chapter 8 is about managing success and giving back, which is so important. I think all entrepreneur-ing people will be best served by giving back and doing it as soon as possible. I should move this chapter up higher because it is so important and maybe in future versions of this book I will move it up. Before I even was officially off the ground, I was considering ways to give back and my College Readiness Seminar and community outreach programs were launched before I even had my business “open”. Chapter 9 goes into the feedback loop.
This journey maybe has begun for you because you know deep down you can do more in your career. Or maybe it has begun because you have some blank spaces on your resume that you need to fill in and figure out how to make more meaning possible for your career and more. I have a lot to say about blank spaces and managing career and life transitions.
When you are faced with a blank space because of illness, child care or parental care or even due to self-care, you really need to look at that as being possibility and not liability. What can you do to manage through that time?
A big way to manage through that time is to identify skill sets you have that you can use in other ways that do not involve taking away from your current number one priority (the reason you have a blank space to begin with); or maybe you have blank spaces through no fault of your own but the economy has been unkind to you and you have yet to find your footing in corporate.
You can use this book to identify ways to set yourself apart from the competition by entrepreneur-ing your career. Not every entrepreneur is successful but we all have the grit and abilities to keep trying and putting ourselves out there very much like any job seeker has to do today. But the average job seeker will be shy or timid about opportunities and maybe will not put themselves out there as much as someone who is entrepreneur-ing will do and that is the difference between closing the sale, getting the offer and being able to manage your career like a boss.
That is where this book and its lessons come in to help you make the motions and move forward in a way to truly succeed.
I am so happy to take this journey with you and to build our relationship as more than just a book and an author but as your personalized professor / consultant on the road to entrepreneur-ing.
Something I have done as a professor since day one is to encourage my students to think outside of the box and I look forward to doing that with you – my mix of real-world advice with real actionable lessons and take away is what will set this book apart from any other how-to, business or other learning book you have read. I cannot wait to being this journey with you! You can learn so much and expand so much on your skills and abilities just by reading and acting on these lessons. Even if you only do a chapter at any time, you are heads above the competition that do not have this plan in hand to make their career/business stand out.
Happy entrepreneur-ing and running your career and business like a boss.
I wanted to write a little bit about managing your career with balance - or how I try to do it. I left Corporate America in late 2009 to focus on my teaching career and entrepreneurial pursuits. I also had a second child during that time and am now the proud mom of two children, wife and owner of a large house with many crazy tasks and more. Oh and of course, I own and run my own business, work as a substitute teacher for the NYC Board of Ed and am an adjunct at CSI with two courses starting next week...
Each day is a balancing act; I wind up spending a little too much time on my social media accounts promoting my business, “meeting” with clients (virtually at times, hence the quotes) and planning content, events and more for my business. I also spend time working on my teaching career –planning my lessons for my college courses and working on my certification for NYS in math grades 7-12 while maintaining relationships with the local schools who call me to come in and sub for them.
Added to this are the other stuff – keeping the house in order, managing the meals, handling extra-curricular activities/homework/etc for the children and more.
Being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 job and in no way when I left Corporate America was I thinking I would be taking a “break” – I knew that with my education, background and experience that I had an interesting path ahead of me but I was not sure exactly where that path would lead to and if you had told me even 6 months ago that I would be using my talents and speaking skills making videos for a YouTube channel and blogging every day to share my content and words, I would have thought you were crazy.
Even with all of the advances and great stuff I am working on, you deal with the "mommy shame brigade". Recentl, another woman said to me, “Why don’t you work in the city anymore? You have your degrees, you are wasting yourself.” It is always interesting that other woman can be the hardest “critics” of what you do and how you do it despite them having to deal with the same societal pressures and decisions. I did not defend myself; though that was my first instinct. I know what I am doing – I am building something that I can do flexibly, without traveling to Singapore (yet) and by continuing to layer in the “triple duty” of teaching and working towards certification, I have multiple opportunities and career choices while I build out my business.
As an entrepreneur, you know that there is always the possibility of failure. I joke around a lot that I am just waiting for something I do to go "viral" because I make a mistake - and I am only half-joking because it is something that actually does scare me. Also, having my face and thoughts be so out there - there are times where I just want to scale it back and "hide" but then I take my minivan with my face on it for a ride and say, "Screw it; I deserve to be here and I have a lot to share with people to help them so I am going for it..."
You know when you are out there and entrepreneurial that there is a possibility of failure. And I have failed; a few times already. But the teacher in me just says, "Well, that is how you learn - if you do not ever fail, you never learn" and then I go about my day and keep trying. I have launched this business idea in different iterations and with way less technological options – like, launching a web site and having almost no way to promote it without paying the money to list it with Google (like at the time over $600++) or with a print ad in a local newspaper or more (also $$$) – I have a post about the increases in technology and how it makes owning your own business so much easier in this decade than it was last decade (see it here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/technology-for-small-businesses).
What do you think about being an entrepreneur? Did you have a dream of being your own boss and running your own business? Did you see the class I offered at Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning on how to be an entrepreneur and to go from zero to launch? Happy Hunting and please click here for more information: http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/entrepreneurship/.
Two big events going on for today. First a meeting at a local high school to see if my college readiness seminar can be launched in their school, as well. I already have a school scheduled and I am looking at expanding the reach of this seminar as I think it can help so many of our high school students in and around Staten Island to hear what I have to say about managing their application essay, being ready for college and beyond. I will be sharing more about this as I launch these seminars...
Also, as an entrepreneur there is nothing more exhilarating than representing your own company at an event. And yes, I will be doing that tonight for the first time with The Next Step. I have been focused on creating this company for the past 10+ years and have just now launched it in a way that gels with social media, technology and my strengths and skills. I say many times if you had told me a year ago that I would have a YouTube channel, Instagram Account and a personalized blog, I would have told you that you were crazy.
Despite that feeling of being in over my head with my head-shot everywhere and branding this company to me and my face, there is the excitement of creating something that is really mine – as a legacy or just as a way to promote the fact that I have this unique background of corporate America and education industry of being a professor since 2003 that comes together and allows me to write content that shares lessons and more – and really proves that learning every day can help you in your career and your life.
This college readiness seminar has been a dream of mine for the past few years – this is not something I just came up with and ran with over the last few weeks although in part it does feel that way with how quickly everything fell into place and came together.
I will share more on the event going on tonight with pictures and more for Friday’s blog post – it is an exciting time for this entrepreneur to step out and represent The Next Step at this event and even more exciting to launch my College Readiness Seminars in early February.
What do you think about being an entrepreneur? I made this quick video about the college readiness, social media, stereotypes of Staten Island and of course how being entrepreneurial can be a great career choice for you, too! Happy Hunting!
Last week of 2015! Can't believe how fast time flies...I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend and got to enjoy family and friends - I definitely did! A little too much food, fun and friends...
I thought I would ease back into blogging this week - and it is another short week because it is the last week of 2015. I have had a lot of great milestones in 2015 and as we all know, I round up so I am technically "40" - but really 39, just in my 40th year...
I have so much to be thankful for and definitely need to take some time this week before we sing Auld Lang Syne to make sure my business objectives, goals and yes, resolutions are in order. Some of my resolutions or plans are included here - what are yours for 2016?
Don't forget to join me at Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning for my seminars and courses or hire me directly to help you take your next step - I can help you achieve your new years' resolutions for career, education and more! Happy Hunting!
Before the holidays kick off in full swing, I wanted to send out this new VLOG. Check it out and enjoy your holiday weekend! Be back with more new content on Monday! Happy Holidays & Happy Hunting!
I constantly balance running a small business with my other career(s) as well as with my personal life. It is an interesting balance. It is one that I have been doing (on and off) for over a decade. Here is what I learned about how to become an entrepreneur:
"Just Do It"
Not to steal from Nike, but the idea is to just do it. Think about what it is you have to offer the world – be it a product or a service and then think about how to offer it. There are so many options with technology today for small businesses, which I have created a post (or two) about already. You can have a website up and running with integrated e-commerce capabilities faster than you would believe.
This and all other aspects of going from zero to launch are covered in my course Entrepreneurship: Building Your Own Business with Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning. I am skilled at teaching and doing these topics. I have helped small business owners become small business owners. In fact, I have even helped some undergrads conceive, develop and launch their own businesses over the last 10+ years as an adjunct. I have always pushed my students to present (as you well know if you read my blog) and to make things actionable, interesting and potentially lucrative, I have had them create their own business plans and “launch” their own businesses.
Some students did it just to get the “A” but some of them did it to really have a “back up” plan and some did it to shock me - the first year I did this, one of my students started his own p*rn site. I should have known that would be an option and I learned to have a list of the companies that could NOT be created/ presented after that experience!
I treated my classes like mini-incubators to get them thinking and launching these initiatives. I have even gone so far as to push some of them to get patents on their ideas because the ideas have been that innovative and that amazing. I even did this as a student; when I was an MBA student in Rome and my group had to invent something. We "invented" a wireless mouse for computer use. This was in 1999 and I do not think it existed yet but we set up a business plan and a production model and more. It got us an "A" and years later we met to talk about it and we realized one person from our group was missing... so we tend to think that missing person actually patented the idea and is retired in Belize or something... But, I digress.
When I teach, these are all college students who come up with real plans and some actually execute them. I also do this as a consultant through my business and have helped people launch and / or plan to launch their businesses. Imagine what you could accomplish if you decided to take your years (however many) of real work experience, life experiences and more and package that into your new business – your journey into entrepreneurship can begin in 2016 with a very experienced guide/teacher if you register soon!
What do you think about being an entrepreneur? What would you want to launch? Happy Hunting!
Managing your own business requires you to manage growth in your business, as needed. Sometimes you start slow and grow slowly. Other times you start and grow quickly. No matter what you need to be flexible and ready for anything (as best as possible).
The best way to do this is to have a business plan and have it be a living document. What does this mean? If you have a business plan, we are in very good shape. If you do not have a business plan, check out my quick tips on how to create a business plan included here, too.
To create a business plan, follow these simple steps:
To keep your business plan live and active, consider these tips and advice from this entrepreneur since 2004:
What do you think about my advice on business plans? If you are interested in learning more, please consider joining my course at Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning by registering here: http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/entrepreneurship/.
I use social media to help promote my business and to celebrate recently breaking the 2000 twitter follower mark, I wanted to make a VLOG (in production) and a post about my lessons learned in using social media.
Social media is something I did not use in previous iterations of my businesses; in no small part because social media did not exist through all of my iterations. It used to be just having a website that was amazing and using traditional paper based advertising was the only way to drive traffic. Now, I can create content (which I never did before) and can share and promote it through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and now (newly joined) Instagram (all of which did not exist the last few times I ran this type of business). I thought I would go through my strategy/lessons learned for each piece of my social media strategy. Check it out below.
Creating Content Lessons Learned:
I began slowly by commenting on other news pieces. I was afraid to try to post my own content so I relied on other people’s content and then just added my own two cents. Then, slowly, I realized that I have spent over a decade creating my own content in class as an adjunct and began to just imagine myself standing in front of my class but typing it down into a Word document to use in my Weebly blog pages instead of just opining in front of a group.
I think I am doing well with this. Most of my content is read avidly, shared and maybe (someday) will be monetized. I wonder about how that can be; maybe I will continue promoting my content to publications and other websites to see about sharing more for free and then eventually getting to a point where it is paid for content as either a freelancer or maybe even publish a book (or two). I am considering self-publishing an ebook on a few different topics; I have content that I am compiling and writing to do so. I just need some more time to work on it…Stay tuned.
Twitter Lessons Learned:
I literally did not know how to use Twitter at all until I started using it this Summer. I am still not sure if I am using it right. I started off slowly and then realized I needed help and so I use a service (I chose Socialoomph) to manage / schedule my tweeting, follower communication and more. So as soon as I create a blog post, I share it using Twitter. I am still learning how to use twitter and monitoring if I am using it well. I have some content that I share over and over because I find this is the best way to get eyeballs/readers. I do stratagize and change the posting frequencies and then I also share news pieces and tie ins to my content that I find via my other voracious web reading.
Facebook lessons learned:
I feel I still have a lot to learn about Facebook marketing. I only have 200+ likes here and it has been static for some time. I linked Twitter to my Facebook business page and share each day’s blog post to it, too. It seems that I have hit a wall with Facebook and need to keep stratagizing and trying to build this out. Using the boost post / boost page and other functions work but can be price-y and do not always lead to huge increases in people liking the page. Any advice from other business owners on this?
YouTube lessons learned:
If you had told me last year that I would be creating YouTube videos and SHARING them about my business and my advice and more, I would have thought you were insane. However, when I relaunched this business with my new business plan in July; I knew it was imperative to create various types of content and really build on my public speaking skills and media training and the best way to do this was to create a YouTube channel with content and some day with training and other pay for content, maybe, to build out this business model.
I love making videos but I admit it is hard to do it – I need quiet in my house and with two kids and working as a sub teacher and an adjunct I have a very small window of time I can do video production especially because my taping area is in my dining room. Plus, I need to be makeup ready and more to make these videos so even though I am up at 5am every day I still need time to be video ready before the house is no longer uh "quiet". Look for more videos in the future as once I am an adjunct in the Spring, I will have some free time in the morning after school drop-off and before I need to be on campus, which will work out really well for me and my "studio" time.
LinkedIn lessons learned:
LinkedIn used to be a static thing to me; I had maybe 400 connections and that was that. Now I treat it as an extension of marketing of my business. I have over 2000 connections and I am proud of this because it is all part of my networking process for promoting my business, my content and keeping in touch with people I have helped either as a professor where I always did (for free) my students’ resumes any with my clients (both present, past and potentially future). I use my blog posts here and find a lot of traction from this method. I also take some blog posts and expand on them to creating LinkedIn content for the Pulse tool.
Instagram Lessons Learned:
I love Instagram and this is something else that I knew nothing about uhm like three weeks ago or so. I started using this recently and have found that telling the story / lessons of my business journey lends itself to photos as a way of communicating very well. Sharing my content page views and my latest style for managing being an entrepreneur, a mom, a teacher, an educator and more has fit so nicely into how I package my business and promote it that I wish I started Instagram sooner.
How do you as an entrepreneur use social media? What do you think about my strategies? Watch this spot for the upcoming vlog to accompany this post! Happy Hunting!
Saturday was Small Business Saturday and as an owner of a small business, I can say it is so important to the local economy to invest in small businesses. That being said, I offer a service and not a product so my customer base is often changing and goes up and down. I reach a lot of people with my content – on any given day between 150-300 unique visitors find my site – and for a small business on Staten Island, this is huge (in my opinion).
According to those stats, those visitors stick around for a while and check out multiple pages when visiting my site. I find that humbling and very exciting. As a professor, I always know I had a lot to share – it is why I have often been told I was the favorite teacher ever because I brought content and lessons to the classroom that other professors could not (or would not).
This mix of real world and textbook lessons that could help my students take their next step –even before I had called my business that name. I was always focusing them on after graduation. What did they expect? What would they be surprised to find? And based on my experiences and stories, I could convey a lot of that especially to the women students but also to the males as a big sister to two brothers, I know a little about being a male job applicant, too.
For me and my business, I do not want 300 clients a month because that would be too much for me as one person to handle – especially one person who still teachers K-12, is an adjunct and (last but definitely not least) a mom of two children. I like being a small business. I like building personal one on one relationships with my clients. I love having a partnership with one of the largest colleges on Staten Island, Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning, to build my brand and to bring my message to more and more people than I could touch on my own and for different price points, too. With offerings from a $99 seminar to a $1200 soup to nuts course on building a business at Wagner College, I can use my unique skills of teaching and creating content to help people achieve their dreams.
I can leverage my content, knowledge and ability to teach across many different ways. This blog is a big way I share my content and my know-how and it is something that helps me make my business (although small) a big player in the field of content creation and knowledge sharing and I appreciate each and every one of you who are reading this, have read my blog and/or shared my content.
What do you think about creating and sharing content? What do you think about being a small business? Happy Hunting!
I think everyone knows what Black Friday is but I have gotten a few questions regarding what it means so I figured it would be an easy day after Thanksgiving blog post when I have eaten so much turkey I still feel tired after sleeping two hours later than normal (7am vs 5am)…
Black Friday was always historically known as such because it was the day many retailers went into the black. Meaning that up until this day, they were operating in the red (or having more expenses than income). Being in the black means you have more sales than expenses. (Just explaining it simply, here.)
There are grumblings that Black Friday will become irrelevant sometime soon but given my Facebook feed and the amount of people lined up via news broadcasts outside of stores last night before they opened on Thanksgiving, no less, I do not think this Black Friday phenomena will be ending anytime soon.
I do not go shopping on Black Friday. I never did. But, when I owned a small retail store on Staten Island in 2005-2008, I did open on Black Friday and was always astounded at the amount of customers I would see on that day (and that amount would never replicate again at any day of the year). And everyone who walked in my store, left with something they purchased. That was also something that was not replicated on any other day of the year.
So Black Friday is something that is a powerful force in our economy. It spurs spending but maybe the type of spending that cannot be replicated on any other day or time. Maybe it does mean we are a mercenary culture dictated by things and purchases instead of warmth and home given how many store employees had to leave / miss Thanksgiving dinner to be at work (though according to reports and friends who work in retail, for double time pay). I do not know. I do know that spending spurs economic growth and that having a store open for Black Friday can make the whole year for that store.
I have always done the bulk of my shopping on Cyber Monday but to be honest, I am usually done with my holiday shopping before this because I am super early on everything (note in point; my holiday cards are already out – which you saw if you follow me on Instagram).
As a web based business owner, now, I do hope Black Friday and the upcoming holidays spur people to make the investment in themselves and their futures either through one on one consulting work from me on resumes, LinkedIn profiles, cover letters or application essays. I also hope people register for my upcoming seminars and courses at Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning. But I think for a business like mine, New Year’s and its resolutions would be more of my busiest time in getting new clients. Hey, if a business in Brooklyn can be highlighted on news’ sites for a woman offering to rent herself out as a “mom” for $30/hour, I am sure many people need a career guru (who also happens to be a mom – lol) for my low rates given how many hours of work I put in to helping people achieve their next step dreams…
What do you think about Black Friday? Were you out shopping today? Have a great day of leftovers!! Happy Hunting!
Today is thanksgiving and I am so thankful for everything, especially
With the decade + of time I have spent on this company in one way or another, I am thankful I finally had the courage to be out there as a person who creates content, shares my lessons and teaches many. Based on my webstats, many people have been reading my blog. Based on my social media sharing, many have read and shared my tweets and I am connected with wonderful like-minded people via social media and via my chat function and more.
I want to say thank you to each and every one of you who read my words, who shares my content and of course hires me to help you take your next step. Wishing you and yours a wonderful, happy, healthy and very yummy tasting holiday on this Thanksgiving! And in honor of the biggest "shopping" day of the year tomorrow and Small Business Saturday the next day and Cyber Monday, I will include the links to my Order Now page. I would love to help you get to your next step.
What are you thankful for this holiday season? Have a wonderful, well fed, happy and healthy Thanksgiving with your family and friends. Happy Hunting - Lisa
Lisa Vento Nielsen