Babystepping your way to make a living off your passion

Is it even possible for ALL of US to have our passions be our main source of income?  Can you make a living off your passion?

Sure, we’ve been hearing a lot of stories about the few lucky people striking their pots of gold, sometimes making us bright red with pangs of bitterness, but is it really possible for the average you and me? Or are those who made it to their promised land really have the grand scheme of the universe going for them?

Well, after years of doing business unusual, I have good news for you…

I’m sure that there’s something that you love doing, or even business ideas you’d been developing that someone else would be happy to pay top dollar for, right at this moment. But if that’s the case then why is it that 80% of the working people are resigned to jobs they can barely swallow?

Why?

The simple truth is that it’s not easy. And most people aren’t really prepared to give up their salary…

Yeah, rockers, following your passions and trying to make a living out of it means not working for those stable employers (though it’s possible) and getting your regular paycheck every two weeks. Instead, you got to figure out how to make money on your own. That’s the hard part. This is why most people would just grudgingly settle for the paycheck.

Of course, I know the why of it all still remain unanswered. Why can some people invite the sort of enviable success, a fortunate few even jumping seamlessly from one passionate venture to the next, achieving all sorts of achievement, while the unfortunate majority can’t even take that first step to find their passions, and build the same profitable careers out of it? Is there some voodoo or mystical mantras behind it all?

As it turns out, passionate people live not by their passions alone but they seem to possess the uncanny ability to know what’s actually possible. They have an open, wide view of the steps they need to take, so they just dive headfirst to whatever creative idea that excites them in any given moment.

But the rest of the world seems too absorbed with bills to pay that the most spectacular ideas are often smothered inside the creative minds of the average Joe without ever seeing the light of day. It’s sad, and it doesn’t have to be this way.

You agree?

Let me start by telling you that you don’t have to give up your day jobs just so you can pursue your passions. By all means, keep your jobs to pay the bills but delegate enough time to tinker around. After all, if an idea or product evokes so much emotion, then you won’t even notice the amount of time you spent perfecting whatever it is that inspires you.

The next step lies in removing the barriers within your mind.  One of the most common hurdles stopping people from living off their passions is the wrong sided belief that you don’t know something well enough to get paid to teach it to somebody else. That’s a lot of bulls—t – you know more than you think. Expertise is largely based on perceptions, and it is always relative.

To my mind, the last and greatest burden is purely cultural. We grew up in a society conditioned to believe that it’s not possible – and downright impractical – to build a career around your passion. I think the only way to get around this negative, collective mentality is to hang out with people already living comfortably by creating value out of their passions. If you spend enough time with people living squarely off their dreams and insanely proud of doing it, then the impossible becomes possible.

Try this; the shift in psychology will rock your world….

Start by doing one small thing to build the empire of you. I started out by booking a lot of unpaid speaking gigs around blogging. It made me aware that I was too geeky in my approach to the audience (but I became known as the danish blog girl).

Then I hit upon this (great) idea of turning companies into rockbands, which I spent 14 nights writing an ebook around that I gave away for free – and later people could purchase it by opting-in to my newsletter.

An empire of you is built on babysteps. Take the first one now. If you should do one tiny step in the direction of having an empire of you in a couple of years, what would that be ?

How to create a rockin’ LinkedIn profile

I believe that professionals are engaging more and more on LinkedIn on a grand scale, and they use it to reconnect with their peers strategically.

How to create a rocking LinkedIn profile

Every time I do a keynote on social media, the b2b members of the crowd are particularly interested in hearing me break down LinkedIn and in particular their LinkedIn profile for them.

And I understand why. As the hottest professional networking site with over 200 million members, LinkedIn has launched a new design with some cool, customizable options for everyone. It has become more conversational and more of an interactive portfolio page than a CV. It’s a nice transformation from those boring days where people would come only to peek through another member’s resume info and then leave as quietly as they have arrived…

Of course, you don’t want to be left behind with all the changes you can do on your profile. Now that they are viewing your profile you might as well surprise them with the way you rock – right?

Profile pictures and taglines on LinkedIn

The first change that will immediately affect you is the LinkedIn profile photo size (200×200 minimum or 500×500 maximum) providing you with a larger frame for your photo. I think that with the new “LinkedIn profile” picture size it’s increasingly important to have a professional style picture that shows only you.

A larger photo frame provides you the opportunity to brand yourself. Whether you dressed and looked like a stern looking queen or even a casual, comfortable hippie is your choice so long as your profile picture reflects the authentic, real you. Whatever you decide, I think it’s wise to go for a professional headshot especially if you don’t know much about photography.

Beside your name, put some power words that will make you stand out. Replace your title with taglines, for example:”Henriette Weber: Business Unusual, Digital Strategist”. Your photo and your tagline are part of your caller id, and they will show up when you call someone on her phone. However, you are limited to only 40 characters, so you need to be super creative in describing yourself.

Vanity urls on LinkedIn

You can prominently display your name or your brand by creating a unique, personalized public URL as LinkedIn allows you to change your profile link from a nonsensical string to your name or business. Mine is like this: http://www.linkedin.com/in/henrietteweber . You can do this in a snap. Just go to the Profile tab, and then Edit Profile, find Public Profile, make the changes and, presto! You have personalized your URL

Rocking your LinkedIn summary

This is similar to your  elevator pitch. And like your elevator pitch, here is an excellent moment to present your best possible self to the professional world. I beg your pardon? No resume-speak please and make sure your unique personality comes through (read: speak like a human, not a bot).

Spend more time and emphasis in doing your summary because competition is ruthless but if you do it well, you’ll surely get hired. Get those keywords around your work going, and you will find that they are sometimes the reason you’re found on LinkedIn.

Provide and share relevant, useful info for your niche on LinkedIn

But first, build an engaged audience that can relate to your ideas and welcome your updates by focusing more on relevant content and never forgetting to add your take. You should also actively join in the fun by commenting on an activity, sharing it, and if you’re really busy simply liking it (but that doesn’t generate a lot of relationship, the two other options works much better for you).

Join LinkedIn groups and make groups

Hands down – I like facebooks group function much better than LinkedIn’s.

I know its plain common sense, but I’ll say it anyhow. No constant pitching please; not on your profile and not in groups. Instead, focus on what’s valuable for your network and no worries, they will reward you down the road.

Using SlideShare to build an exciting  portfolio on LinkedIn.

And a very secret but hot tip that works for me every time? Cut the summary short. Share some presentations about yourself and your product on Slideshare and make sure it’s right below your summary – around ten lines down. Even though it doesn’t show up on your public profile, it will get noticed when people surf LinkedIn. And because there isn’t a lot of pictures, it will gain instant curiosity. I have written about SlideShare implementation as well here  (featuring a free worksheet)

Of course, there are still a lot of LinkedIn changes, but I think I have covered the most important ones… If you have LinkedIn ads available in your language, you could experiment with that (danish isn’t really covered – yet). They just integrated their company pages as well as your LinkedIn profile in HootSuite and Buffer so that’s really awesome too.

Social media value chain: Learn the art of listening

 Years ago, I created my very own social media value chain mainly to guide me along my work around branding, identity and social networking initiatives. It was just a spur of the moment, curly creative, seminal, scraggly map which I shared in a post here.
social media value chain by henriette weber first edition

But you know what? Surprise, surprise…

Although I did not know then that this map would be very useful in guiding me through my consultations with existing clients and helped me clinch projects with potential clients, it was more like a trial and error journey. There are some highs and a few lows but, I learned a lot through my interactions with business owners and my tweaks in social campaigns.

I even published an ebook, “Rock Your Identity”  to spread the good news. Rock Your Identity is sort of a mini-guide on how you can elevate your identity in social media to rock star status. No worries, rockers, you can download a free copy here.

Here’s a quick model of my social media value chain, distilled through years of practice. This is what a social networking value chain look like:

social media value chain by henriette weber final edition

Today, I won’t dwell too much on everything that I discussed in the ebook, because I assumed that all those who have not yet read it will want to know what the hell I’m talking about. However a value chain of social network is something I deem extremely important in your social media process.

Well, I like to amplify more on that first step when you engage in social media – learning the art of listening. Yeah, it may sound simple when all you listen to are five-star reviews and glowing feedbacks. But how will you react to those big, fat zero reviews and negative feedbacks? It’s too sad that a lot of business has failed miserably in their social media campaigns because they are just not prepared to handle social criticisms.

Sure, they have risk management teams and PRs to handle these situations. But generally, these efforts are superficial at best. In the intolerant and opinionated culture of social media, they only aggravate the brand’s image.

In any case – you have to know how to use those reviews (positive or negative) to add up to the bottom line of your company.

social media value chain: capitalize on user innovation

But that’s just one side of the coin. The other side is just as important. Most companies, after investing much time and effort in engaging their most dedicated consumers, fail to capitalize on user innovation, when those consumers have improved the products to fit their needs. Really, it’s one thing to decorate those suggestion boxes with all the latest tools you can get your hands on but, if those suggestions go straight to the trash… Oh, what a waste.

The culprit? Most brands are just not ready to jump into concrete actions on what they are hearing on social platforms. It’s a needed individual flow, somewhat like dancing into the groove. How are you going to make those comments or those ratings a part of your brand?

Maybe they are too proud to acknowledge suggestions coming from the front thinking wrongly that their R&Ds, with all the glowing resumes and fat salaries, are more equipped to handle product improvements. Maybe they think that their risk management plans can gloss over their shortcomings and everything will be fine tomorrow.

Here’s the gauntlet – everything comes down to one essential question: how do you react to what you hear around your brand? And have you set up a system that gives you a hunch around what you’re supposed to hear?

Last week I was at a conference in Copenhagen (at Better Place and on a side note I urge you to choose a car with a purpose the next time you’re purchasing).  The ever-awesome Chief Happiness Officer: Alex Kjerulf told a story about Zappos and how they found out that the reason one of their clients hadn’t returned the goods she said she would was because her husband died. Later that day, not only did they pick up the goods themselves, there was also a gigantic flower bucket standing on her porch with condolences from the whole Zappos team.

Do you have an organization that would do that? Do you have people in your employ that simply implements this because of the brand’s DNA ?

How I build strategic relationships on social media

strategic relationships on social media

Strategic relationships on social media is only an introduction away

Have you ever thought about that people, in most cases, get a whole new world of leads and strategic relationships opened up to them when they connect with someone on social media? Ah! the smell of lead generation in the morning.

If we pause our hectic world for a minute, I think it’s in order to celebrate that business tools are working so much better for us than they did 40 years ago. Mainly because they’ve gotten the whole online part developed as well.

And I love the combination of online and offline.  What I love about building strategic relationships on social media (driving a b2b business and all) is that you can actually get introduction to people who doesn’t know you yet in there. From people who really digs what you do.

It’s a business unusual sales approach for most companies.

One cool thing I have done, is that I have identified 100 people in my network, who happens also to be on linkedin, who would be likely to introduce me to other people from their network, because they love what I do. I have put them on a list in my CRM system and I look that list over once a week to see who I can hook up with who.

If you don’t have a 100 people who can introduce you to other people, start with 5 people and see if you can get one introduction from each. Get those strategic relationships/ coffee meetings going and build on your network.

If you’re thinking : oh but that’s shady Henriette, I beg to differ, it’s not shady, it’s business. Like in a 50s movie where two chainsmoking bourbon drinking executives they meet in a bar and one of the says “let’s do business – I have a proposal for you”.

I would never meet with people to pitch them, but I do meet with them to interview them for my websites or newsletters, with the purpose to get to know them better.

What I really like about this approach is that it has helped my own insecurities as a entrepreneur that also has to do sales sometimes. Instead of being terribly confused around sales I identified what actually worked for me. And strategic introductions and coffee meetings do.

After getting this thing in order. I hired Denmarks coolest manager; NiNi Biilmann to help me structure my sales proces. I also got really inspired by the work of salesdivas.com and Kim Duke who has a down to earth practical approach to sales.

I can’t tell you what a relief it was for me, to actually put all my sales confusion on hold because I just took a hard look in the mirror and said “this is what I am good at” and “this is what I don’t want to do”. So instead of using time cracking your own sales codes, get out there and talk to people.

Ps. also I made my strategic relationships-building into a win-win situation by telling people that I will of course give them an introduction the other way around. I have a whole map drawn up around who I want to introduce to whom in my network.

Pps. there’s nothing BETTER to me than a email from a dear friend saying “you guys need to hook up” with an introduction – it something that can make my day – anyday. So get those emails going and start sharing some strategic relationship love.

 

The conference guide of rocking yourself through Le Web (of Things)

Every Le Web is different from the last one. Le Web, day one, 2012 is ending in a couple of hours and even though a lot of awesome things are happening here. I’ve compiled a conference guide, of my observations today. Read on and learn rockers!

1. Don’t use too much of your time  in the plenary rooms. Seats are mostly available in the back and you can’t really get out if you first get into a row (btw – I often fall asleep up there – because I literally can’t get out – and Im not confident enough to step over 100 people’s toes in order to get out). Instead, see if you can forget about it and watch everything interesting online later (and no I don’t mean the product pitches where people are wearing weird costumes to generate instant viral buzz. It was cool 3 years ago when Loic le Meur dressed up as an angry bird – not anymore).

2. Instead I suggest you hang out in the different buildings talking to everything with a pulse.

3. Checking the #leweb twitter feed manically. You’re here to network (go on – admit it -you really are).

4. If you participate in god knows what competition where you can win a computer or a web of thing – and to make the draw you have to tweet or share something, use the hashtag #pimping – because you are. (thanks to Rachel Clarke for mentioning that to me).

5. Be the last one to leave parties – well at least one of the last ones, best business building always happen at champagne o’clock

6. Approach people and hear their story. They’ll thank you on twitter later. No it doesn’t matter if they are from an xx country innovation institute and handing out leaflets and you are thinking  – “wow – they are being totally innovative handing out leaflefts at one of the most innovative gatherings in Europe”. It doesn’t matter if their are wearing mexican short skirts, they could be a potential network opportunity.

7. This is France, but don’t have more than 2 glasses of wine at lunch. At least I can’t. You don’t want to be pretty drunk talking to people in the afternoon (or maybe if that’s your thing, go ahead=)

8. Don’t get frantic while standing in line for 1 hour to get your badge.. instead dance to make other people happy or do something to lower your intolerance for queues. This is Le Web. You’re lucky to be here in the first place! Who caes about the queues?

9. Yes you do need to hold on to leave the different booth until you’ve gotten a business card. This insecure programmer who just studdered through a presentation of their business ? he could potentially be a beneficial part of your network.

10. Make some sort of strategic map of who you want to talk to each day. It’s super important. Le Web uses presdo.com for the networking but I have been checking out my guys over at Copenhagen based startup Conferize all day. Works like a charm.

What’s going to be new at Le Web of things?

The first week of December is something I look forward to every year. Because it’s spend in Paris. At Le Web. As an official blogger writing about the tricks and trends of the internet, business and tomorrow. This year the conference theme is “web of things” or “le web of things” as I call it.

So what do I expect of Le Web this year ? 

Everytime I go to le web, the thing I foremost expect is excellent networking and people and so far Le Web hasn’t let me down. It’s my 5th Le Web and everytime I have been there, I come back to the north with loads of loads of cool movers, shakers, new friends and so on and so forth. Also if I can get some of the “chills” from some of the talks – that I usually do, Im sure to come back with brand new ideas especially around the market of web of things and how it’s progressing.

Is the speaker lineup really web of things?

However one of the things I was really puzzled by, was the part of the speaker line up that has already been published – because if you’re going to talk about the web of things, I would have expected – well a more web of things packed line up – I can see that Koubachi is there, ninjablocks as well.

But what about my new obsession – changers.com ? Berlin based company who is rocking my world because of their “web of things” consumer product that are urging people to change the world by capturing sunbeams themselves with a solarpanel and use it to charge your computer + phone? and other digital devices ? add a community and a marketplace and you’re looking at one of the most interesting startups in the world (as I see it). Where is evrythng ?

I know the tickets for the conference are very expensive, especially for startups, but see it as an investment. I will almost guarantee you that you will get it back 100 folds. Really, the network this event attracts doesn’t have it’s equal – anywhere really.

See you there?

A link love manifesto – from my creative strategic curls to yours

I know that a lot of people are really happy euforic about my newsletter here on henrietteweber.com, when I send it out every 14 days I really try to do my very best. 2 weeks ago I wanted to try something new: to do a “photos only” newsletter. I know a lot of you newsletter professionals might shout at me very loudly now, but hey I tried it and it actually worked pretty well, and converted a bit more than usual.

Last week somebody who had received my newsletter decided to copy the concept, into her own newsletter, which makes me euforic, because I am always happy to inspire, but I was kinda puzzled that she hadn’t linked to my website at least or mentioned where she got her “inspiration” from. I asked her about it and she said that she didn’t think I would be suited for the targetgroup of her newsletter. Which is sad, because apperently my ideas where more than good enough for them. Anyway I don’t want to be bitchy about it so I decided to turn it into something like this instead: my personal link love manifesto for the whole internet to read:

Social media do’s and dont’s for CSR professionals

I did a talk on tuesday for CSR professionals in Copenhagen through Tania Ellis and the social business club. I entitled it “Social media do’s and dont’s for CSR professionals” I recorded it and here it is:

Im honored that Tania and I are going to be doing a social business/social media masterclass on the 25th of october where it would be so good to see all of you

 

Should you use CAPS LOCK in your online communication?

One of my absolute horrors in business, is when people use capital words to emphasize how strongly they feel about something . How wild it makes them feel. How much they want you to do something for them.

I get a nervous fit everytime I see it.  To me it’s like two people standard across from each other, having a conversation and then a really annoying person comes over and starts to SHOUT at them. Something not in context. Something really important to the person, but that the two other people don’t really care about. You wouldn’t do that at an event, but apperently some people feels like it’s ok to shout at other people on the internet. Please don’t be that person.

It isn’t ok to shout at people – especially if you don’t know them that well.

Because I feel so strong about this, I decided to do the “league against the use of capital words in communication”. Everybody who’s in say “Aye”!

ps. the answer to the question is a HUGE no! use your creative communication skills instead of pressing Caps Lock if there’s something you feel strongly about.

pps. I am thinking about doing a “only speak in caps lock” day as a part of this process – what do you think? good idea ?

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