What do you do when people want your intellectual property for free?

no intellectual property for free

A couple of weeks back I had a meeting with a potential client on Skype. Well, it wasn’t just a meeting, it was a Nordic PR proposal that we’ve used a lot of time to put together, me and a Swedish + a Norwegian agency. Henriette Weber Inc. was leading agency, and I and the awesome  Elizabeth Rankich had used around 20 hours crafting this and we were totally ready to land this project. However, halfway through the meeting they started questioning our credentials and our media relationships in Scandinavia. They wanted us to come up with some “examples” of people we knew and who they could contact.

Instantly all the agency side participants felt like they were asked to give away their gold for free. And none of us agency side participants would. The conversation turned awkward, especially since this was a  big project. Afterwards, we haven’t heard from them. So what are we going to do next time?

We’re probably going to have the same approach as always, refusing to give away our intellectual property for free. It’s hard though and it’s a fine line between helping people out a bit for nothing and having them leeching on our network. It’s a hard knock life out there, especially in the business world and you could end up working for free for weeks every month. Remember, your intellectual property is your intellectual property, and if you have a notion going on inside your head that what people want from you for free, isn’t cool, then it probably isn’t.

 

rock on

Managing fear in your business

managing fear in your business

I have been practicing a thing lately in Henriette Weber Inc: fear. Looking fear straight into its eyes. Corner it and telling myself; what are you afraid of? I have become great at identifying my fears and asking questions around it – where the most action-packed question I can ask myself is: how can I turn this into something I am not afraid of any more?

Let me give you an example. Last week I was in a meeting with a potential client that I want to work with. I am in a place where I don’t take new freelance work in, but this client would be close to a con-amore project, so I would totally make room for it in my calendar. Our values align, I think they’re awesome – but not that digitally-savvy, yet. Even though, I do a good job of communicating technically hard-to-understand issues to people who haven’t been introduced to them before. I have a metaphor for every issue that could be hard to understand to have people understand it better. However, I just didn’t feel like I was coming across properly. I did my best, but I left the meeting feeling kind of down because I know my message, and the reason they should hire me, hadn’t come across clearly. Now, normally I would have been hitting myself in the head for a day or two because I hadn’t done a great job. I probably wouldn’t be the one running their brand strategy and turning them into the most admirable company in their field. But this time I opened my notebook and wrote down ‘to-do: plan more basic content around my work for newbies’. I turned the fear of being misunderstood into an actionable to-do that I am already working around.

After my illness, and having looked the worst of fear in the eyes and lived with it every day (yes, the fear of dying far too soon). I’ve changed my looks on fear. I could go into the wildest of details, but believe me, having battled a life-threatening illness will make you change your views on pretty much anything. You have to hope for the best and celebrate the small things you can do today that you haven’t been able to do yesterday. For me, every full breath of air was a winning-streak. I have gotten a brand new perspective on how I run my business and how I make my money.  And I have promised to treat my bad-ass self better and more lovingly. Getting myself caught in being misunderstood is not something I want to be afraid of anymore. It will be something I create new cool initiatives around to prevent.

If you turn your fear into actionable items then it will become manageable. If you turn your fear into something, where you have a ton of backup, then at some point it’s not fear anymore. That’s how you’re managing fear in your business.

rock on

 

Do something awesome with your workday

Sometimes, like this morning, I find myself looking restlessly towards my to-do lists and my goals and projects. There’s things on them that I needed to do a couple of weeks ago.

Today, I just can’t seem to get in the zone. Maybe it has something to do with that my husband is at home as well with my sick daughter, who’s belly is hurting and she has a mild fever. Not the best working conditions. Maybe it’s simply because I have too much stuff going on – and the fact of that leaves me doing nothing. I need to simplify my working schedule and do one thing at the time.

On the other hand I am a spoiled brat for even bringing this on. I mean, I, of all people, have the possibility to make this day count. To do something absolutely awesome and mindblowing with this workday. I can decide myself because I am my own boss. I can do the 5 urgent things on my list in an hour or two, like sending those mails for endorsements and getting those offers out for potential clients, and then I can  use the rest of the day creating and writing…

I choose to do something awesome with my workday – also today… and I get the urgent to-do’s done – right now.

Have a great week out there =)

DIY and be your own roadie

Things are quiet on the blog these days, but pretty hectic everywhere else, moving houses is such a big deal and I am looking so much forward to settling in, the transition is driving me slightly mad these days, maybe because there’s so many unsolved issues. But around 2 weeks ago I was so lucky to attend Roskilde Festival in sunshine. It was such a great time and probably one of my favorite festivals ever. (bands rocked, friends everywhere and great weather, what’s there not to like. Laura and Sami drove down from Helsinki to attend the festival as well and Sami made us come to this really cool and weird concert with the finnish band: Circle. It was a weird blast, but after a while people starting really getting into it – and I must say, it’s the first time I’ve ever witnessed a simulated decapitation of the singer by the bassist – with a guitar.

After the show the band members themselves started to clear away  their equipment. It made me burst into a “be your own roadie” statement. One that I promised I would look into more on the blog. I mean being an online rock star and all (ahem=) Im the one to toy around with the statement as well.

And if you think about it “be your own roadie” isn’t really a bad statement for a company that wants to be more like a rockband. If you’re a rockband and you are your own roadie, it means that you’re relying on yourself to get things done. Epic.  In my world it’s often the “being my own roadie” that’s the most exhausting, but also the place where you really can feel the entrepreneurial freedom. It means that even though you’re the band, you’re relying on yourself to make the show go on. Taking away the excuses for not getting things to happen for you and taking responsibility and not blaming the world for everything.

It’s up to you.

You need to do it yourself. Create it yourself. whatever.

Be your own roadie.

People who plan ahead and people who are chasing cars

I found this blog post yesterday by Charlie Hoehn via Hey Amber Rae.  A lot of things came together in my head after reading it  – the best part of it is:

“My favorite part of The Dark Knight is when the Joker is talking to Harvey Dent in the hospital, and he says: “Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just DO things… I’m not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are.”

And therein lies the best career advice I could possibly dispense: just DO things.  Chase after the things that interest you and make you happy.  Stop acting like you have a set path, because you don’t.  No one does.  You shouldn’t be trying to check off the boxes of life; they aren’t real and they were created by other people, not you.  There is no explicit path I’m following, and I’m not walking in anyone else’s footsteps.  I’m making it up as I go.

It’s harder, for sure, and kind of scary sometimes.  But it will allow you to look at yourself in the mirror and know you’re playing by your own rules.”

Especially the “stop acting like you have a set path, because you don’t” line really got to me. Those of you knowing me pretty well as a business owner and an entrepreneur knows that I have had some trouble aligning me with the whole “structure and goal setting go get’em, this-is-who-we-should-contact-today thing”. It’s not something I really like doing and so far I have done really great without it, but as the business grows and as I get smarter, I know I have to get someone inside Toothless Tiger that loves to scheme and plan, somebody who wants a set path – because I really don’t. I know I’m supposed to expect me to have a set path. But -it’s not for me, not right now at least. I became a business owner because I love the freedom to choose what to do next. I basically love the magic of the moment and the un-planning part of it.

That I can (like what I am doing this summer) spend all my time on my favorite clients, writing new products and staying at home with my daughter playing and creating and find out the moving process (we are moving to a house in my hometown Helsingør (basically it’s my childhood home we are buying from my parents) – and selling our awesome apartment 12 km from the city center of Copenhagen)

I love it. I am a dog chasing cars as well. I am not into the whole “getting there”. I just want to run free and do my thing.

Creating markets instead of competing over marketshares

(painting by my good friend Hans-Henrik Fischer)

I just wrote a blogpost on my danish blog about social media on amino.dk about a subject that I am totally on to this morning – which is why I will continue it as here as well.  I have always been thinking there’s a “few” things that separates my business ( you know t to the oothless tiger) from other businesses. And this morning I thought about it even further and… I have never competed. Not once. I guess it depends on how you define competing – but no, not that I am aware of anyway, I simply can’t think of an episode where I have done that. I have always been.. well creating my own marketshare instead of gaining marketshares from others – those things I have been doing has mostly been on a global scale or at least for the english speaking part of the world.

Isn’t there so much more energy to creation that competing ? it makes so much sense. Google creates markets. Apple creates markets. They don’t really compete do they ? either people like you or they don’t. if they don’t like you then they probably won’t buy from you and their preference is elsewhere…Everytime people they book a rock it session or they hire me as a strategist, speaker or rebel, it’s me they want, not anyone else…

global microbrand – revival and pundering

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SXSW has been great. Yesterday Bruce Sterling took the stage and did a keynote – and it was an absolutely amazing keynote. He also mentioned the “global microbrand” a term that Hugh Macleod has been discussing for a couple of years now.

Global Microbrands are or companies without space and time, that everybody know of, in small fragments of a much bigger industry. So people behind these microbrands are extremely valuable speakers at conferences, advisors etc.

I have actually been thinking about it for a while – I love my work. I love running Toothless Tiger, but sometimes it seems like I don’t “do” anything. I talk. I tell people what to do to make things work on the web. My clients think I rock.

Yesterday I even caught myself considering a really great joboffer for a fulltime job. Something I don’t do normally.

I think that even though I like the might and glory of being somewhat of a global microbrand (I don’t see myself as a global microbrand – im probably a mutation of it =) I really want to do something. Because in my head it feels like Im not doing anything. I don’t work. I talk. I write. I help people do kickass projects. But I don’t have a project of my own that I can take to webheaven, a project that is useful for other people and that I have time to work on.

My project is so far going to involve geekculture, sustainability, action instead of talking and is going to be based on community and the now-open-sourced-former-fantastic-rockstar-client jaiku.com. I think I might toy around with it since even though with all this twittering, my heart still belongs to jaiku. Maybe I’ll even do two projects. A geekculture one and a actionpacked sustainable community based on Jaiku.

I dunno yet. In my honest opinion Jaiku is the best functional microblogging service out there. It’s just not being developed anymore and I want to change that.

Introduction to a new blog”column” on henrietteweber.com

iheartcommunities

I have decided to add some pratical community experience to henrietteweber.com. Let me introduce “I heart communities” – it is going to a “how-to” column where I will react upon questions that is often asked me. I have been thinking about how I could actually answer these questions and then get them out to a broader public.

So I hope you will enjoy “I heart communities” as much as I love to write about it.

peace out =)

10 things that I love about a home office

the office

This is my office. Well yeah duh! You’re probably thinking. But really, this is where all of my work lies – I really don’t need anything else than my laptop, a notebook, pencil and my phone to get my day in order.

I have had an office, where I went to work in the middle of Copenhagen for the last couple of months. Which has been great – but, it has been an ekstra stress factor to my day that I felt that I HAD to go to my office. The other thing is that I haven’t been that good at using it, because I very soon found out that I couldn’t write from there. When you’re writing a book it’s kinda obvious that you need to be in a place where you can write.

So I moved my office back to Hvissinge.  And I cancelled my office in Copenhagen, even though I am going to miss the EXCELLENT people sitting in there. I can work from anywhere really. But I think my base needs to be my home, when I get my first employee (as I have planned in a couple of months) the tune is going to be different probably – but for now, my office is my home.

so here’s the 10 things I love about my home office.

1. I don’t have any stress getting to the office

2. I can work whenever I want as long as it doesn’t collide with my family time

3. I can wear slippers – that’s a big deal for me (heck I could even wear my pj’s too if I wanted)

4. I can dance

5. I can nap (I love napping)

6. I don’t have any extra costs of an office in the city, or transportation to it.

7. I get a lot of city anyway, and I see people because I have client work in there almost everyday

8. I get to have an office dog ( and he’s really happy im home, even though he’s just sleeping all the time) (picture below)

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9. I get to make my lunch myself

10.  Im relaxed but focused and at work. for some reason it’s easier to me to do all the business-y stuff from home. phonecalls skype calls, etc.

a christmas update from me on freelancing and life as a tiger.

This message has also been posted to all other social communities im in ( like a wildfire!) I haven’t been updating henrietteweber.com that much lately, and I am turning the website into something more than a blog ( basically because I haven’t prioritized the blog that much since I became a freelancer. So now – look out – Henriette Weber.com is going to sum up everything I do in my work and personal life ( yeah it’s gonne be chaotic, but awesome in it’s own Henriette way)..

“So Christmas has finally entered the Weber household. Today I have an excuse of contacting all my fans around the globe.

Toothless Tiger has been my bread and butter since I got married ( to be exact since the 21st of may) and so far things are going really great. I have developed myself as a freelancer in ways I haven’t even thought about, I have become so much clearer on what I do and what I don’t do… and…

Today, I celebrate.

Why ?

because over the last couple of months I have been working hard to get a message across to the world. Both in form of a book, but also in form of a talk and an idea I have been working on for ages.

In addition to that my book is almost ready to be published, some of you know that people have actually placed bets on me being able to transform the danish publishing industry ( and maye the global)..

the story: My book was dumped by a publising house. After licking my wounds I found out again that I need to do everything myself. It’s hard to be a kick ass expert with no apperent need to compromise and become mainstream. Hence came Toothless Tiger Press into works. It is a publising house – with one eBook so far =)

Today I am on 24ways.org writing about rockband’ism. In addition to that, my small publishing house called Toothless Tiger Press has opened with it’s first eBook (my own) called “why every company should be a rockband”. I hope you will find your way to toothlesstigerpress.com and read it =)

It’s such a thrill to me, to know that I have the support of you guys to actually change the business world.

Have a great christmas – next news from here will be when the big book is out ( working title is : online presence strategies – and the art of being where people are)…

hugs from a happy tiger !

Henriette