Archive for the ‘Self-Marketing’ Category

  • When It’s Okay to Let Your Brand Go to The Dogs!

    0

    images

    It’s very okay when you’re a dog walker!

    When I read  Corey Kilgannon’s  article, “Dressed to Lead the Pack,” in the New York Times this week, I recognized a hugely successful branding story.

    It’s Precious Costello Caldwell’s story, a dog walker who sets a unique sartorial tone for himself, his employees and even his dogs. Mr. Caldwell was 67 years old and contemplating a career change when he got the inspiration for his new business. Sitting on a park bench in New York City, he noticed the dog walkers looked rather shabby compared to the well-groomed pets in their care.

    He realized that the same owners, who valued the image of their pampered pets, would also value a unique image for their dog walkers and he set about creating a professional brand dog owners could trust.

    “Mr. Caldwell,” says Kilgannon, “is always impeccably turned out in an outfit that seems to borrow equally from Ralph Lauren, Indiana Jones and the Marlboro Man: boots, rugged canvas pants, an olive green sweater and a matching vest bearing a self-drawn logo for his dog-walking company, Royal Wolves.  He provides the same outfit to his staff of other dog walkers. The pups themselves he accessorizes with real leather leashes and a yellow neckerchief, custom printed with the dog’s name.”

    Caldwell says, “We are such eye catchers, everyone asks us for a business card.”

    Caldwell exemplified these 3 classic branding techniques as he took his brand to the dogs – and success:

    1. Establishing His Character, Originality and Authenticity.  Too many brands are packaged, programmed, and plastic. You won’t get very far if you try to be something you’re not. Rather, your personal brand is about figuring out who you really are and what you do best, and then living that brand out. It’s the essence of authenticity.

    2. Identifying and Showcasing His Skills and Talents.   Caldwell had grown up living next door to a kennel where he helped walk the dogs, and years later the skills and his affection for dogs still came naturally to him.

    3. Letting His Voice Be Heard and Seen. In this multimedia world you need to create a spoken, written, and visual message, which is relevant and consistent. Caldwell says, “I stand out. I’m a walking advertisement. People see me and they tell their friends.”

    As we said in an earlier blog post, you have the power to Be Like Matisse and Reinvent Your Life as a Work of Art, or, as in Precious Caldwell’s case,  as the leader of a pack – of dogs of course!

  • Take Back the Word SENIOR!

    2
    These Super Heroes are now in their 70's!

    These Super Heroes are now in their 70′s!

     

    As we dance into the New Year, it’s time to take back the word SENIOR! Really.

    When did “senior” become the uber- negative to be avoided at any cost?  Remember when you were in high school and couldn’t wait to become a senior? Even more so in college when “upperclassman” was okay but senior was the penultimate. Then, after graduation and out in the work world, did you strive to be the junior partner? No – your goal was senior partner, senior editor, senior designer, senior producer etc. Achieving “seniorhood” was always the aim until…  until you hit age 50 and then it became the pariah it is today.

    2014 is the time to reclaim our “senior” creds. Those of us over 50 are among or children of those called the “greatest generation.” We are brave and iconoclastic. We successfully fought for political freedom, eradicated barriers to racial, gender, religious and sexual discrimination, conquered diseases and global epidemics, provided broad access to healthcare and education, and explored the moon.

    Today’s seniors are providing an essential boost to the economy. Eighteen percent of Americans 65 and older continue to work and pay taxes, at least $120 billion a year, a figure that doesn’t include state income taxes.

    Senior entrepreneurs are launching new businesses stimulating job creation and growth, and boosting prosperity for all age groups. The highest rate of business start-up activity over the past decade has consistently been among people in the 55-to-64 age bracket. Almost half of all new entrepreneurs are between the ages of 45 and 64, and this cohort continues to grow.

    It’s time to stop the “senior” gloom and doom. This is not, as too many espouse, a “silver tsunami.” It is, rather, a “golden dividend!”

    Advocacy matters but action’s even better. Here’s to shaking things up, reclaiming the word, “senior,” and to the people who can make it happen!

    Happy New Year!

  • Six Reasons Why It’s Time for You To Write a Book!

    0

    snoopy_writing

    You’ve done all the right things to try and secure a job. You’ve honed your experience and qualifications to create a brand for yourself and retooled your old resumé into a pro-active working proposal. More, you’ve networked your socks off and beefed up your interviewing skills.  Yet – and yet, and yet you’re still unemployed. You may feel you have every right to be blue, but why waste the time?  As Confucious said, “To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.”

    Why not take advantage of this hiatus and write about all those “right” things you’ve accomplished in your job search.  Writing a book can be a terrific new self-marketing tool.

    Here are six great reasons for you to hit the keyboard, start typing, or even take pen in hand:

    1. Share your expertise – Expand the experience that you’ve bulleted in your resumé. In a book you can include a story or two to bring that expertise to life and help others.

    2. Build Your Authority – Nothing beats authority like having a published book. You can become the go-to resource in your area of expertise.

    3. Separate yourself from the competition – Writing a book provides an opportunity for people to hear your thoughts and insights. Don’t be afraid to say what you really think. Be authentic and your voice will stand out.

    4. Expand your network – Too often we limit ourselves to who and what we know. Your book can introduce you to individuals who you never thought would be interested in your passions.

    5. Break down your protective/self-limiting walls – If you’ve never written a book before you, the experience will jolt you out of your comfort zone. Acting outside the box you’ve created for yourself is a great experience. As we’ve said before, “You have to step outside the batting cage to hit a home run.”

    6. Change your life – Even though you began with the idea of sharing your expertise with the world, the very act of writing is introspective. As you review what you’ve done and strategies you’ve designed, you may come up with a brand new idea of what you’d like to do next!

    And the best part about writing a book is that you don’t need to wait for someone to read your resumé, to invite you to an interview, or for that next networking event. You can “Just Start!”

    Happy Thanksgiving, and we look forward to seeing your name in print.

  • What Is Your Stage Presence?

    0
    Elvis by William Medeiros, courtesy www.toonpool.com

    Elvis by William Medeiros, courtesy www.toonpool.com

     

    This week, I read two great articles that highlighted the importance of authenticity in today’s brand-crazed world. The first, What do you reveal onstage?, was by the inimitable singer, Suzanne Vega, who lately in her tours has been doing a fair amount of workshops. She describes her two kinds of workshops — “one in which I watch performances, and another where I lead the participants through a kind of guided meditation called ‘What Is In Your Toolbox?’”

    Vega tells her students, “Whatever you carry in your mind while you are onstage shows up through the magic of theater, so that everyone in the audience sees it, too. This is something my director, Kay Matschullat, said to me while we were working on a play together a couple of years ago. This is so intriguing to me. How can that be? And yet we see it happening over and over, not just in theater or dance, but in music, too. We go to see a performer. We like his music. We like the way he looks. We prepare to see him by listening to his music and thinking about his life and the stories he tells. And yet once we get to the show we look at him on the stage, in the lights. But his mind isn’t on it, he doesn’t like the audience, he’s not inspired, he’s thinking of his laundry. How do we know? We can just tell. He sees his laundry, and we see it, too.”

    Another article, Rethink ‘Brand You:’ Find Your Authentic Self, by Meghan M. Biro in Forbes.com, reinforces Vega’s insight that you can’t hide your laundry, if that’s really what’s on your mind. You may not be a songstress like Vega, but as Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage.”

    For Biro that “stage” is your business world, and she says, “If there’s one business slogan/fad/concept that’s in danger of becoming meaningless through overuse, it’s ‘brand you.’ These days I can can spot a ‘brand’ (as opposed to an authentic person) from the first word out of his or her mouth. ‘Brands’ tend to be a little too perfect — packaged, programmed, and plastic. They’re pushing what they think we want to buy, not their real selves…  You won’t get very far if you try to be something you’re not. Rather, your personal brand is about figuring out who you really are and what you do best, and then living that brand out. It’s the essence of authenticity.”

    Recently, we published 6 Tips to Charge of Your Brand in These Hyper-connected Times. Check them out, for as the great Bard also said, “This above all: to thine own self be true.”

     

     

     

  • Confidence – in the Eye of the Beholder and Captain America

    0

    images-18

    Confidence – it’s a critical, if not the, ingredient you need whether you’re looking for a new job, trying to be more creative in your current job, or thinking of launching a business of your own.

    Just a few weeks ago, as I was in Washington, DC, driving to Capitol Hill for an important meeting, my radio suddenly announced a traffic alert, “Avoid the downtown area. Streets are closed because Captain America is filming on the mall.”

    I thought, “That’s me!” Not that I am Captain America, but I felt that my tackling a meeting on Capitol Hill required a Captain America dose of confidence.

    Real confidence – not just some superficial braggadocio – can be difficult to achieve. It comes from deep within, and, while we may be confident in certain areas of our lives where we have a lot of experience, new situations and opportunities can challenge.

    How to Be Confident, Even When You’re Not  is a great article by Kevin Daum at Inc.com. Daum has three terrific tips on how to build on the strengths you have to help you deal with the unfamiliar confidently.

    Another valuable online confidence-boosting resource is Linda Descanos, Mastering the Three V’s to Project Confidence and Presence where she provides tools to help us identify and polish our strengths.

    Anne Fisher’s article,  Shy at Work? Seven Ways to Speak Up, at Fortune online shares excellent and actionable tips on how to overcome lack of confidence.

    Lack of confidence does not have to be an insurmountable hurdle. Believe in yourself and, with just a little practice, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy in your eyes and everyone else’s, including Captain America’s.

  • 6 Tips To Take Charge of Your Brand in These Hyper-Connected Times. Don’t Let Yours Suffer the Humiliation of Richard III’s

    0

    images-15

    Yes, the former King of England’s skeleton was recently discovered in a shallow, unmarked grave under a modern parking lot. Humiliating as that is, the scariest part of this story may be that the King’s prolonged royal fall was due, in large part, to just one man, William Shakespeare. The great playwright wrote in his history play, Richard III, that Richard personally ordered the killing of two Princes, his 9 and 12-year old nephews, in the Tower of London to clear his way to the throne. Despite the fact that this was never proven, in point the King was never charged, Shakespeare’s villainous label has stuck for more than 500 years.

    Shakespeare said, “All the World’s a Stage,” and he used this platform to celebrate or skewer many brands. This would be impossible for one man to do in today’s totally networked culture. Technology has created a seismic shift in the ways in which information and opinion are conveyed. Social media has created access to vast amounts of information, producing unprecedented transparency. It’s an opportunity for you to think in terms of how best to stage your brand for maximum benefit.

    We call this Brandraising (a term we learned several years ago from one of our favorite blogs, The Duck Call), and the following tips will help you raise your brand:

    1. Establish Your Character, Originality and Authenticity.

    2. Identify and Showcase Your Skills and Talents – the gifts, passions, interests and natural aptitudes you are born with, which are part of your essential make-up, and those you’ve learned through experience.

    3. Let Your Voice Be Heard and Seen. In this multi-media world you need to create a spoken, written, and visual message, which is relevant and consistent. Each and every word and image counts. It’s your story, your brand, your career and your life. No one is better equipped to capture the essential details than you.

    Great learning tools:

    The Spoken Word – This workshop “Shall I compare thee to a newscast spot?” on how to create one minute radio spots by Phyllis Fletcher and Robert Smith from New Public Radio will help you fine tune your storytelling through the spoken word. You will learn about the importance of your voice – the sound, cadence, pauses and inflections – to achieve high impact particularity for all your non-visual communications.

    The Written Word – Read E.B.White and William Strunk, Jr.’s The Elements of Style, a tiny but venerable guide, which is just as valuable today as when it was when first published in 1919.  The guide begins with sixty-three words that could change your world of writing: “Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his [her] sentences short, or that he [she]  avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”

    Picture It – Pictures, logos, videos and information graphics tell your story – your brand – in much less than a thousand words. There are many free online how-to articles about designing effective logos, choosing your social media photos, and creating videos to engage your audience. YouTube, for example, has some great tutorials for creating digital stories, and a section within YouTube (sponsored by Google and American Express) that allows a small business to create digital stories with professional-quality video, replete with graphics, editing, and sound.

    4. Review, Edit, Rewrite. Always remember that, like a traditional on-the-ground network, your virtual brandraising network needs nurturing and on-going maintenance. Keep it fresh and up-to-date. If you limit your postings to once a year or even once a month, it connotes a certain lack of interest and commitment or, even worse, that you really don’t know what you are doing!

    5. Listen to Your Critics. Once you post what you consider a wise or erudite tidbit, be open to feedback – both positive and negative. That interchange or exchange of information and insights is the real value added – the way we learn.

    6. Stay Ahead of the Message. Know who you are online. If you think you control your online fate by not participating in any Social Media Networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc, you must think again. Even better, try popping your name into Google’s search window.

    And, while you’re in a pro-active mode, check out these classic tips in How To Be Remembered from fellow blogger Liza Barone.

     

  • 5 Strategies to Beat those Extended Unemployment Blues and Re-boot Your Career – Indeed Your Life!

    0

    images-13

    These strategic steps are designed to help you to use this downtime to invest in yourself. These are not soothing tips to help distract you from your feelings of anxiety. If you’re out of work and don’t want to be, the loss of identity can be overwhelming, but, as the late, John Gardner said, “you have more power in you than you know, so pull up your socks and get on with it.”

    In this case “pulling up your socks” requires more than pluck and optimism. To proactively and purposefully re-boot your career, you need to begin with some hard-core introspection. You need to assess the depth of your experience, to understand how your skill sets relate to and can be applied to what you’d like to do next, to identify what you don’t know that you need to learn, and to have the courage to move forward.

    1. Accept the reality. We’ve all read the stats that, if you’re over 40, it could take a year or more to find new work.

    2. Explore what makes you tick. Do a formal assessment such as: Myers Briggs, The Birkman Method or Clifton Strengths Finder to determine your strengths, values, priorities, motivators and align your goals.

    3. Mine your hidden talents. Someone once said, “The greatest wastes are unused talents and untried ideas.” What ideas do you have quietly percolating on a back burner?  Do you have a hobby that could be a good business venture? Here are 3 ideas to get you started:

    1) Rebuilding the world one toothpick at a time. Stan Munro was out of work, when he began building things with toothpicks. He started with small churches, progressed to cathedrals, and then whole cities made entirely of thousands of toothpicks. He was invited to display his artwork at a museum in Spain and is now exhibiting his toothpick masterpieces in museums all over the world.

    2) Decluttering your speciality? As you clear out stuff, think about selling those treasures on sites like eBay, Craig’s List, Tradesy.com, and Etsy, at yard sales or give away what you don’t need. Perhaps you have a real knack for it and can help others set up systems to declutter their lives. Then, too, you could set up a shop and sell their things online for a commission, if they’d prefer not to get into the online marketplace.

    3) Create a blog. Not only will it sharpen your social media skills, it could turn into other writing assignments, a book or maybe even a movie. The Meryl Streep movie, “Julie and Julia,” began as a blog about a disgruntled office worker blogging about trying every recipe in Julia Childs’ The Art of French Cooking.

    4. Become a Skills’ Learning Magnet.  Do not rest on your laurels. Yes, 25 years of solid accomplishments add gravitas to your resumé, but you could also sink like a stone under the weight of that gravitas if you do not convert past kudos into present-day assets. “Real knowledge,” Confucius said, “is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

    First, determine what skills you need or need to re-tune. This might seem a daunting task, but good help is available at the O*Net Resource Center. The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is a free online tool developed under the sponsorship of the US Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA) through a grant to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission. The O*NET program is the nation’s primary source of occupational information. Central to the project is the O*NET database, containing information on hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors. The database, which is available to the public at no cost, is continually updated by surveying a broad range of workers from each occupation. The database also provides the basis for their Career Exploration Tools, a set of valuable assessment instruments for workers looking to find or change careers.

    5. Put a lid on your shy genes.  As we mentioned in an earlier post, “You have to step out of the batting cage to hit a home run!” Volunteer, but don’t just volunteer to stamp envelopes. Join a committee at your neighborhood school, church or business club. Get involved to connect, learn and use this opportunity to test market your idea or product. For example, if cupcakes or natural snacks are your passion, offer to provide refreshments and listen to your customers’ “feedback.”

    Don’t let your fear of being wrong paralyze you. Thomas Alva Edison did not think of his experiments in terms of success or failure, but rather as learning. In his efforts to create the first storage battery, he conducted 10,000 experiments!

    It takes courage to believe in your self, to start something new. Thinking of “The Wizard of Oz” celebrating its 75th birthday and record of the most watched movie of all time, I remember this quote about the cowardly lion from Mary Anne Radmacher, “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day, saying…’I will try again tomorrow.”

  • Pitch – Is Yours Perfect or Are You Tone Deaf?

    0

    Pitch is both a verb and a noun.

    Verb:  One can pitch an idea, a story, a song, a ball – one’s self.

    Noun:  The pitch is an idea, story, song – your self.

    They are two distinct art forms. One can have perfect pitch, as in singing the true sound of any note in a piece of music, and still not understand the song.

    Others can have a profound connection with a song and miss the true notes. If you’ve watched “The Voice” more than once on TV, you’ll have heard the ultimate criticism, “Pitchy!”   When one of the judges declares a singer’s voice “pitchy” – not true, nor flat nor sharp but all over the place, it’s the kiss of death.

    Don’t be tone deaf. When pitching yourself for a job you need to nail both the notes and the story. You must focus on your content, delivery, and above all – your value. The perfect pitch is so much more than what you know; it has to be about what you can do with what you know for the organization where you’d like to work. (See our earlier post on Leonardo Da Vinci’s radical working resumé.)

    Three tips to get you off on the right note:

    1. Create a compelling story: Put your best foot forward. The competition is fierce and you need to be able to demonstrate you are the best of the best.  Focus on what you have to offer and why it will be of value – what’s in it for the organization. You know all about using active verbs but do not forget the blockbuster nouns – key words – that capture you, your strengths and your industry savvy.

    2. Do your research: Know what problems/challenges your company-to-be needs to address and position yourself as key to delivering a distinctive, pro-active, sustainable solution.

    3. Data: Don’t forget to include real evidence: metrics to quantify your successes and specific examples to qualify your accomplishments. You want to demonstrate the impact – outcomes and not just outputs – you can achieve to make a real difference.

    It’s time to reclaim the positive aspects of pitching. You’re not a used car salesman trying to off-load a wreck. Nor are you a fickle, pie-in-the-sky visionary. As Yann Martel’s character, Pi, says in his book, Life of Pi,

    and the spectacular new movie, “I had to stop hoping so much that a ship would rescue me. I should not count on outside help. Survival had to start with me. In my experience, a castaway’s worst mistake is to hope too much and do too little. Survival starts by paying attention to what is close at hand and immediate. To look out with idle hope is tantamount to dreaming one’s life away.”

    Ludwig van Beethoven said, “Music is the soil in which the spirit lives, thinks, and invents.”

    Soooo, warm up your vocal chords and pitch the music of your life and work!

     

  • The Power of Knowing How to Ask the Right Questions

    1

    Author and teacher, Angela Maiers, is a passionate advocate of life-long learning, and this lesson she shared with a group of first graders is just as valuable for us with 50+ more years down the road. Angela and the first graders talked about power of curiosity, and more specifically the power we hold as learners when we know how to ask the right question.

    She says, “Being in charge of the questions we ask matters. Successful thinking and learning require questions to be framed in a wide variety of ways. The ‘framing’ of our questions dramatically influences what we can and are able to understand. Just teaching students to question is not enough. It is critical to explore where different questions take us as learners.”

    We have become skilled at answering questions. Think about the experience you have in test prep. Think about all your interview prep sessions. How many sites do you Google for sample questions before an interview, to minimize any surprise questions? That’s a great way for the interviewer to learn about you, but what have you learned in the process?

    I remember telling my own children, when they were stressing over the questions a college admissions’ officer would ask them, that it was even more important for them to ask questions about the college – courses, professors, culture etc.  Gradually, they understood that they were signing up for four years of living and learning – at an, even then, pretty steep cost – and it would behoove them to ask a few questions. They had a moment of enlightenment as they realized they, too, had something special to offer, and their questions about the institution where they wanted to invest their hearts, minds, time, and money also let the interviewer see and understand the assets they were bringing to the table.

    The same experience applies to you, whether you are interviewing for a job or for a loan to start your own business. Let your interviewer know the assets you bring and ask the questions that will prompt them to sell that job or loan to you.

    Maiers says, “It is important for us to know how the types of questions we ask impact and influence the answers we are capable of getting.”

    Different kinds of questions she describes are:

    ·  Clarifying Questions

    ·  Sorting and Sifting Out Questions

    ·  Strategic Questions

    ·  Planning Questions

    ·  Elaboration Questions

    ·  Comparing Questions

     

    Blogger Jesse Stanchak offers more insights as he writes, “Questions are easily the best tools you have at your disposal for priming the pump of creativity.”

    Specific cues he offers to stimulate questions are:

    • Take a cue from the Jewish Seder. A traditional Passover Seder involves the ritual asking of questions, the most famous of which is, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” That question is at the heart of all story telling…
    • Take a cue from Reddit… Two of their best-loved boards are Ask Me Anything and Explain Like I’m Five
    • Take a cue from the reporter of your dreams… Sit down and interview yourself. Ask yourself all the questions you wish real reporters would take the time to consider…
    • Take a cue from your readers. What are your fans always asking you?…

     

    Once you have some answers, test them by taking a few steps forward. You may have to back-up and try again, but first, ask yourself why these initial steps did or did not work? The answers will put you in an even stronger position to take those next steps.

    Just Start Asking!

  • Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next

Fatal error: Cannot redeclare wp_pagenavi() (previously declared in /home2/miw1/public_html/savvyseniors/wp-content/plugins/wp-pagenavi/core.php:12) in /home2/miw1/public_html/savvyseniors/wp-content/themes/Furvious/functions/wp-pagenavi.php on line 155