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3 Rules of Thought Leadership (by Someone Smarter Than Me)

DanielDiGrizDaniel DiGriz is so smart that after a few minutes of listening to him, you can actually feel yourself getting smarter. Now that is a gift. (Let’s hope it worked.)

The founder of Madpipe, author of All Marketing Is Dead, and self-titled “digital ecologist” (a term he’s had trademarked) has lots of titles, and believes everyone should have a bunch, too, since all social media sites (including LinkedIn) are search engines. Oh, and also because titles don’t matter.

A word about what exactly DiGriz does: He helps clients become thought leaders and create a successful marketing presence in their space—which changes depending on the company. As an external marketing director, he does this through one-on-one coaching, supervision, and training of in-house teams to meet their own marketing needs, which are unique and different from everyone else’s.

Rule #1 of Thought Leadership: Get Over Yourself

The biggest mistake of thought leadership, he says, is this belief that the onus is on everyone else to come to us, read our sites, care about us and what we have to say. In fact, this isn’t about you at all, which is why DiGriz doesn’t spend all that much time talking about himself. It has to do with how you change the world.

“What you are isn’t relevant,” he said. “This is one of the first lessons of thought leadership: It’s not about you. It’s about…what creates a response in the end user.”

Daniel-WIT

Click here to watch interview.

Rule #2: Have An Original Idea

Anyone can be a thought leader, says DiGriz. But thought leaders don’t say, “Yeah, what she said!” You have to have a fresh take and original ideas and insights about the industry right now, and how to make things better.

Knowledge after all, is replaceable, he says. It’s why he doesn’t mind sharing it freely via his blog, his podcast, what have you. Experience, however, is not. And the mark of a pro, he says, brings all of that experience to the table with a defined, intuitive skill set.

Rule #3: Know the Difference Between Being in Charge and Owning the Conversation

Another misconception (and an arrogant one to boot) is that whether you’re in charge of a big company or work for yourself, you’re “the boss” and that makes you important. You’re not the boss: The economy is. That ground is always shifting beneath you, and your success depends on how you can adapt to it.

Which brings me to his book, All Marketing Is Dead—because in fact, he says, it is. And this is where a discussion about marketing becomes one about mortality: Because what holds in the Walking Dead is true for business owners: Traditional marketing tactics, even as we use them, are zombies: stiff, slow, awkward, easy to outrun, consumed only with feeding themselves, and must be killed on the spot.

But that doesn’t mean marketing is going away, or that you or I are in any way above it. If you try to excuse yourself from marketing and all its aspects (social media, outreach, etc), you quite simply aren’t a business owner. In other words, marketing is not a tap you turn on when you need it, but a consistent effort, one that you should make for yourself just as you would if you had thousands of shareholders to answer to.

Thought leaders know this, and thus must continue to adapt and update their efforts, annihilate the stumbling zombies from their strategies and instead find ways to make their marketing elastic, intelligent, human, integrated.

To be a thought leader, says DiGriz, ask yourself: “How can I make the world more effective, raise the bar in my industry and improve the way I communicate about it?”

“You can be a thought leader, introduce new concepts and ideas without getting anyone’s permission. If we can do that, we can lead in our fields, change our industries and grow our business together.

(Watch the full interview with Daniel DiGriz on Solopreneur.)

(Also check out DiGriz’s podcast—on this episode, he had me on to talk about why brands need a spokesperson.)

 

 

 

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Work Smarter, Not Harder: Overcome Busyness with Carson Tate, founder of Work Simply

Carson Tate, productivity coach and author of Work Simply: Embracing Your Personal Productivity Style

Carson Tate, productivity coach and author of Work Simply: Embracing Your Personal Productivity Style

Carson Tate was working in sales when she realized there was a direct correlation between how organized she was and how much revenue she brought in. When her colleagues adopted her system and started earning more, she knew she was onto something.

Carson saw that as her cue: She left her full-time job and launched her business, Work Simply, Live Fully, which helps professionals of all stripes to take back their time and grow their bottom line. Today, she is a dynamic teacher and coach known for personal transformation and simple, powerful, actionable content. A nationally renowned expert on productivity, Carson has been featured in Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, Fast Company, The New York Times, Working Mother and more. And she’s just published her first book, Work Simply: Embracing Your Personal Productivity Style, with Penguin Group (2015).

I recently had Carson on my show, where she shared some no-BS insight on how and why to stop wasting time on things you think are productive (but aren’t), and a way to think about time in terms of investment, not just tasks, by keeping your activities and revenue aligned, and maximizing unexpected free time. Here’s more from Carson on the biggest lessons she’s learned throughout her career on how to conserve time and energy, everyone’s greatest assets.

How did you make the decision to leave your last job and go out on your own? What was that job, and how did you know it was time?

I was working in outside sales and had been asked continually over the years by my colleagues how I got my work done so efficiently and stayed so organized. I developed a process to help myself manage a new facet of our compensation system and when it went viral in my organization I knew that there was an opportunity to serve others and it was time to leave my job.

What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?

A doctor 🙂

Click here to watch the episode.

Click here to watch the episode and take back your time.

When did you realize this was (or wasn’t) going to happen?

In my freshman year of college when I was taking chemistry 101. This was only the beginning of my science journey and none of the concepts made any sense. There was no way I was going to make it through organic chemistry. I quickly moved down the hall to the psychology department.

What is it about your life now that you can’t believe you do, and wouldn’t have believed if someone told you 5-10 years ago?

That I would be serving others through my writing, coaching and teaching.

Where do you think most of us waste our time? What do you recommend doing to change it?

Meetings. Before you automatically accept that next meeting request, ask yourself if this meeting will produce a significant return on time investment for you. If not, consider declining the meeting.

What’s the worst advice you’ve ever been given (and did you take it)?

Just stick with it. I have learned that the goal as the entrepreneur is to fail and fail fast. Don’t stick with it. If it is not working, let it go and learn from the experience and then go try again.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time 10 years?

Focus on today and the rest will take care of itself.

What lesson(s) did you learn the hard way (could be your career, or life in general)?

Sticking with things that are clearly not working is a significant waste of time and energy. Let go. Learn and move forward.

Any other advice you want solopreneurs/entrepreneurs to know? 

Every time you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else. Time is your greatest asset and liability. Invest it for the highest return in your life.

For more about Carson and how to manage your time in a way that gets creativity and inspiration flowing, visit www.carsontate.com and @thecarsontate on Twitter, and pick up her book, Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style.

Watch a new episode of Solopreneur every Tuesday at 4pm ET!

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Content First: How Alexis Wolfer Made The Beauty Bean Worth Talking About

Alexis Wolfer, founding editor in chief of TheBeautyBean.com

Alexis Wolfer, founding editor in chief of TheBeautyBean.com

Alexis Wolfer is the founding editor in chief of TheBeautyBean.com, a TV host, a certified health coach, and a real beauty activist. She is also the author of The Recipe For Radiance: Discover Beauty’s Best-Kept Secrets in Your Kitchen (Running Press, 2014) and the forthcoming Radiant Bride (Running Press, Dec 2015). I recently had Alexis on my show to chat about how she turned her unique and forward-thinking take on beauty and health into a business.

Alexis was working in women’s magazines when she started her master’s degree in human rights and women’s studies at Columbia University. It wasn’t until grad school, she says, that she understood the importance of loving and respecting your own body, which is the ultimate human right. But she didn’t see any magazine out there with that message. That was her light bulb moment. She knew she wanted to create something that empowered women to feel great about themselves and treat their bodies well.

She had the idea nailed—beauty content with a feminist twist and a focus on natural ingredients—but Alexis had to learn everything about launching and monetizing an online women’s magazine, from soup to nuts. Here’s more from Alexis, including why you DON’T need a business plan when you’re starting out. You simply need to stop planning and start doing.

Click here to watch the episode. It's worth it.

Click here to watch the episode. It’s worth it.

Do you have another day job? If not, what was your last one and when did you make the decision to leave it?

Nope. My last day job was at Stylecaster.

What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?

Oh man…EVERYTHING. Literally from an archeologist to surgeon, I wanted to do it all (and still do).

When did you realize this was (or wasn’t) going to happen?

Who said it isn’t!?!

What is it about your life now that you can’t believe you do, and wouldn’t believed if someone told you 5-10 years ago?

I would have never thought I would do TV!

Where do you think most of us waste our time? What do you recommend doing to change it?

In planning! Sometimes you just need to DO IT and figure out the details later.

What’s the worst advice you’ve ever been given (did you take it?)

To write a business plan. And NO WAY. For what I do (without investors) it would have been a complete waste of time.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time 10 years?

I would just assure myself that it would all work out so I could stop stressing so much.

What lesson(s) did you learn the hard way (could be your career, or life in general):

When someone tells you something about themselves, believe them! Learned this in a romantic relationship, but it holds for business ones too. Now, I always pay attention to how people describe themselves—they’re always right!

Any other advice you want solopreneurs/entrepreneurs to know? Resources you recommend or folks you like?

I re-read The Alchemist every couple of years. I know it’s not a business book, so to speak, but the life lessons are powerful and always a good reminder. And I LOVE TripIt!!! It’s the best if you travel often!

For more about Alexis and living a beautiful life from the inside out, visit TheBeautyBean.com and @TheBeautyBean on Twitter, and pick up her book, The Recipe for Radiance.

Watch a new episode of Solopreneur every Tuesday at 4pm ET!

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The Business of Friendship: Meet Shasta Nelson, author of Friendships Don’t Just Happen

The lovely Shasta Nelson, author of Friendships Don’t Just Happen and CEO of the female friendship-matching site GirlFriendCircles.com The lovely Shasta Nelson, author of Friendships Don’t Just Happen and CEO of the female friendship-matching site GirlFriendCircles.com

The lovely Shasta Nelson, author of Friendships Don’t Just Happen and CEO of the female friendship-matching site GirlFriendCircles.com 

Shasta Nelson is a relationship expert and the author of Friendships Don’t Just Happen. She is also the CEO of a female friendship-matching site called GirlFriendCircles.com, which she created after recognizing that many of her life coaching clients were having a hard time finding meaningful relationships with other women. I recently had Shasta on my show, Solopreneur on the Whatever It Takes network, to talk about the importance of fostering deep connections and why they’re crucial to health and productivity.

In this episode, Shasta explains that while we live in a world that seems more connected than ever, most of us report not having the connection we want. She shares startling research about loneliness—it’s as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and twice as harmful to our bodies as obesity!

She also explains why it’s especially important for solopreneurs, many of whom are no longer surrounded by colleagues during the workday, to regularly take time out to interact with friends and contacts (it’ll not only boost your well-being, she says—it’ll also help your business).

Here’s some more about Shasta, why she thinks the fear of rejection holds us back from intimacy, and how she knew she was meant to connect people.

Do you have a day job?

I’ve been doing this for over 6 years but am constantly creating new “side jobs” under the umbrella of friendship such as coaching programs, international trips, retreats, and e-books.

What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?

A war correspondent on the news.  Then in college I decided I’d much rather be someone working to make the world a better place (preventing wars!) than covering them!

When did you realize this was (or wasn’t) going to happen?

In college when I felt excitement about possibly becoming a pastor.

What is it about your life now that you can’t believe you do, and wouldn’t believed if someone told you 5-10 years ago?

That I am in the middle of writing my 2nd book for a publishing house.  It was always a dream, but now to not only have done it once but to have the opportunity to do it again?  Awesome!

Where do you think most of us waste our time? What do you recommend doing to change it?

In the world of friendships, we waste a lot of time worrying about people not liking us instead of initiating and adding value to people’s lives in ways that build strong friendships. By fearing rejecting or taking everything personally, we miss out on the intimacy we most want!

What’s the worst advice you’ve ever been given (and did you take it)?

Anytime someone has cautioned me to stay the “same” out of their fear of what the “new” might hold for me. I’m sure I have heeded their fears at times but I’d like to think that for the most part, I have continued to take risks for the people, causes, and opportunities that I believe in.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time 10 years?

Sign up for every workshop that will tell you more about yourself and take every inventory that will tell you how you’re wired so that you can benefit from this wisdom in as many ways as possible!

What lesson(s) did you learn the hard way (could be your career, or life in general)? 

That just having a good idea isn’t enough. I went into my business hoping that if people heard about my website that they’d sign up. Ha! It’s often a bit disillusioning to all of us that the process of growing a business often takes longer than any of us wish it did. Healthy expectations are crucial!

Any other advice you want solopreneurs/entrepreneurs to know? Resources you recommend or folks you like? 

Take the StrengthsFinder 2.0 inventory. And hire a coach who can really help you understand what that means for how you’re wired, identify your sweet spot, manage your weaknesses, and know where you most need help from others. If you don’t know any strengths coaches, my husband Gregory Nelson is one of the best! Secondly, figure out your Enneagram type. My favorite book on it is The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

 

For more about Shasta and her tips on how to nurture your existing friendships and jumpstart new ones, visit her website, follow her on Twitter at @girlfrndcircles, and pick up her new book, Friendships Don’t Just Happen!: The Guide to Creating a Meaningful Circle of GirlFriends.

Watch a new episode of Solopreneur every Tuesday at 4pm ET!