Archive for ‘WOB: Words on Business’

November 20, 2012

When it’s Time to Reinvent Yourself…

…go all the way.

I’m convinced that no matter how much we love something and we feel fulfilled, sometimes you just need a change. Not because we don’t like it anymore, but because we need to make sure we stay on our toes. We need to channel our ability to stay resourceful and challenge our creativity. Most importantly, we need to eliminate the possibilities of settling so that we give ourselves the opportunity to be better than we were yesterday.

Despite my best efforts to always chase my dreams, and take risks I must admit I have been settling. Not with my job or my personal needs, but with my business. Yes, I’ve taken the leap to become a full-time freelance writer but I was still playing it safe. From my business name, “Writing by Terri”, to the small businesses and local magazines I would chase for a shot at the dream, I wasn’t going all the way. That’s why I decided to change my business name from Writing by Terri to Terrific Words (something I’ve always wanted to do.) I know what you’re thinking. “But Terri, this blog has been named Terrific Words forever!” The truth is, I’ve been scared. I’ve been meaning to change everything to “Terrific Words” but I got nervous half way.

It wasn’t until I was reminded of my favorite phrase, “Don’t do anything half way unless you are willing to be half happy,” that it was time for a change. I needed to take that plunge. Otherwise, I wasn’t doing any favors to myself other than merely selling myself short.

So on that note, I present you with my new business site, http://www.TerrificWords.com and my new “self.”

It was hard to take the leap, but so worth it. Sometimes the worst thing you could ever do is stop yourself from going all the way. Don’t waste another moment of time. The time is now.

In what ways, have you reinvented yourself? Also visit my new site and let me know what you think! While you’re at it check out my ebook and write a review if you feel so inclined! 

TERRIfic Quip: I know I already mentioned it in the post, but I think it’s so good that it’s worth repeating. Don’t do anything half way unless you’re willing to be half happy. 

November 13, 2012

5 Life Lessons I Learned from Sharing an Office with a Recent College Grad

“I just graduated in May.” They’re the last words you want to hear upon learning your new business quarters consists of sharing Five Life lessons I learned from sharing an office with a recent college gradan office; especially when you consider yourself a well-respected mid-level professional years out of college. I thought “Is this what I’ve been reduced to?” Bumping heads with the clueless but quirky college grad eager to dive head first into the business world with no idea of how to do it wasn’t exactly in my life plan. But somehow, it was the situation I fell into and had no choice but to deal with. Much to my surprise I learned more than the newest flavor of beers and the latest dance craze to break out at frat parties. I learned a few life lessons as well. Here are six facts of life I managed to stumble upon while maintaining my sanity in office space shared with the recent grad.

1. Have a support system

I never knew how awesome it was to have a support system within the office. Whenever I was unsure of something, facing computer issues, etc. there was no need to bother the higher-ups. She was right there to offer some help if needed. And the same applied to her. We had each others back whether we were running late, made a slight mistake or just plain confused. It made the work environment so much more pleasurable and less stressful. It turns out having a support system in all facets of life including the professional world is much needed but much less appreciated by most.

2. Live a little

While sitting opposite of this young and fiery person, I had the pleasure of vicariously living through her. I heard stories of musings with homeless people, parties during homecoming and alumni weekend, and spontaneous but whimsical dates with her equally young and entertaining boyfriend. While I sat there in awe of every intriguing detail of her care free life I couldn’t help but feel a bit jealous that I couldn’t live a life as exciting and spontaneous as hers. After all, I was no longer a “recent” college graduate. I was a young woman well into the business world trying to make a name for herself. Then I realized she was in the process of building her name as well. Why should she be able to have a life while I slaved away for the sake of making a living and carrying myself as a professional? There was no reason why I couldn’t continue to live a life worth getting excited about while maintaining a professional edge. After all, I was still young and living in the moment is what life is all about.

3. Worry only about yourself

In an economy such as this you always hear about all the competition out there, how your career isn’t secure and a million people want your job. Well, sharing an office with a young and vibrant recent grad made me well aware of that job insecurity and competition. I was in awe of her quick mindedness and ability to teach herself tasks in a matter of minutes. And of course, sharing an office with her made my shortcomings even more apparent. It was like I was in high school all over again vying for the coveted seat at the popular table with all the cool girls who batted their eyelashes at the football players better than me. Then I remembered those girls in high school didn’t care and that bright eyed recent grad sitting across the desk didn’t care about me either. As long as I completed my work in a timely manner and exceeded expectation there was no problem. Competition will always be there, but the only competition that mattered at the moment was the one within myself. I could only be better than I was yesterday. There was no reason for me to try to beat out her.

4. Dress the part of you

I admit it. I was a little too afraid to be myself in fear of not fitting in to the cookie cutter mold of the professional world. So instead I was overly nervous about my big afro-like hair taking over the work space and toned down my personality when picking out my wardrobe. But every morning when I saw my carefree office mate roll into  work with her funky, artsy but office appropriate work attire I realized I was worried for nothing. Sure I couldn’t roll out of bed and head out in my pajamas anymore like the college days. But I still had the option to be me, and let me personality shine whether it be through my wardrobe, hairstyle or demeanor. As long as it was office appropriate I was in the clear.

5. Have a little sense of entitlement

For some reason, when leaving college, those young grads have this idea that the world is owed to them because they’re equipped with a new and freshly embossed degree. Never mind the other millions of people who also have a degree and more experience. A shiny new office space, with an amazing salary and two months paid vacation should just be handed to them because they’re equipped with newfound knowledge from an accredited institution. *You may roll your eyes here*   It seems as though they forget about working their way up and gaining experience. As annoying as this way of thinking is, (when being around it all the time it does get annoying) that sense of entitlement isn’t always a bad thing. You may be young. You may be less experienced, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about your worth. This poor economy has scared many people into settling for less. However, I had the pleasure of re-learning from my less-experienced office mate that the job climate does not take away from your knowledge and accomplishments. It does not diminish your value. Nor does it mean you hide all that makes you awesome. If anything, she reaffirmed the need to continue have big goals and an even bigger will to succeed and get what you deserve. Make your credentials known and expect to be recognized for it.

Who knew the beer pong champion, 5 star excuse maker, and expert drunk dialer could be so insightful…
What valuable life lessons have you taken from the office?
TERRIfic Quip: If you judge people you have no time to love them.
October 23, 2012

The Reason Why I Love Rejection (And Why You May Start Loving it Too)

“Thanks but no thanks.”

Image courtesy of: Freedigitalphotos.net

“I’ll pass.”

“Not interested.”

“It’s not right for us.”

These are all words I hear on almost a daily basis. Most people will cringe and sink further into their seat if they saw these in their inbox everyday. But I love every single minute of it. It’s not because my favorite word is no. (It’s not.) And it’s not because I enjoy failure. It’s because every single one of those rejections I stumble upon in my email is a little glimmer of hope that I am getting somewhere.

Let me explain. I work in the media. A majority of my day is spent sending out cold pitches to magazine editors who don’t even know I exist. This happens to be the routine of millions of other freelance writers around the world.  That means editors get hundreds of emails sent to their inbox on a daily basis by people they don’t know. Chances of them actually opening my email are slim. But every once in a while a miracle happens and an editor glides her coveted mouse over to my email and opens it. Now most of the time, I get nothing in return. If I’m really lucky I’ll get a glowing response that says, “I love your idea. How about writing for the upcoming mother’s day issue for $2.00 per word.” But most of the time, if I get any response at all it’s, “I’m not interested at this time, but thanks for thinking of us.”

Of course, I would have preferred to get the uplifting response offering me an assignment. But I’ll take the rejection email too. Although it’s not as obvious, the “bad” email means something too. It means that out of the hundreds of emails the editor got she thought my email pitch was worth opening. And even though the pitch wasn’t worthy of publication she did think it was worth a response. She could of easily deleted my email and went on her way without giving me a second thought. But to that editor, I was more than just an anonymous girl who sent her a failed pitch. I was a girl that took a chance and at least deserved a response. It was proof that I must have done something right. More importantly that rejection was the beginning of a new relationship.

See, I knew that if that coveted editor read and responded to one email the chances of her reading and responding to another one of my emails was heightened. So rather than taking that rejection as a sign of defeat and failure, I flip it and turn it into the beautiful beginning of a new relationship and a dream. It’s my cue to start pitching and emailing that editor as though my life depended it. Even more importantly, it’s a sign to not give up. And nearly 100% of the time, those signs are correct.

It was a few months ago that I got my my rejection letter from an editor at REDBOOK magazine. I didn’t give up hope. I continued to forge a relationship with that editor through consistent emails and conversations. And then one day, a dream came true. I was offered my dream assignment and my article was featured in the August issue of REDBOOK.

Just goes to show you that my favorite words to live by are true. You can’t fail if you don’t quit. And to think it all started with a rejection letter…

When was rejection a sign of better  things to come in your career or personal life?

TERRIfic Quip: When things are falling apart they may actually be falling into place.

October 9, 2012

Be all that can you can be… on Facebook

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ok, I’m sure you’ve seen all the reports by now. “Facebook leads to depression.”  “Facebook is used to steal your identity.”  “Facebook can stop you from landing that job.” “Facebook can break up a marriage.”

Yes, all of those can be true… if you act like an idiot on Facebook. Other than those fine perils if I act out of stupidity, Facebook has reaffirmed that I can be anything that I put my mind to. Let’s reflect for a moment. How often do you see a status that totally doesn’t align with the person you know him or her to be in real life? We all know that person who  knows nothing about science but feels the need to update their status about the weather every hour on the hour as though they are a meteorologist. Or you’ve probably had  a run in more than once with someone who is consistently cursing, sleeping around, and always drunk but feels it’s necessary to quote bible phrases as a status everyday. Wannabe preacher? Or what about the girl you went to school with who has no fashion or beauty sense and never wore heels a day in her life, but constantly uploads pictures of herself everyday as though she is a hot new model?

Naturally, when people see things like this on Facebook a few things come to mind. They sometimes run along the lines of poser, wannabe, and faker. I  admit I used to be one of them until I realized those so called “fakers” had the right idea… sometimes.

Basically, I’ve learned that in order to accomplish something you have to believe you can do it. Much more than that you need to see yourself doing it. Fake it till you make it. It’s what we do when you pad your resume a bit when you’re trying to get that dream job. It’s what you did when you created that Youtube account to document all the songs you’ve written and composed througout the years. And it’s what we do when you attempt to win contests in which you have to demonstrate your expertise in a certain subject through a personal essay.  It turns out that’s what those posers on Facebook are doing. They’re faking it till they make it. They just happened to use a slightly more annoying approach. (I’m not going to lie. It still does annoy me from time to time.)

How often have you heard the phrase, “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.”? Or what about my all time favorite from Sister Act 2 “If you wake up in the morning and you can’t think of anything but being a singer, you’re a singer.” And we all know that for some on Facebook, the first thing they think to do is update their status with whatever prolific thing that comes to their mind. No, it doesn’t always mean that they have nothing better to do with their lives other than give their “friends” up-to-the-minute weather reports. It could mean that they are taking Whoopi Goldberg’s advice to heart and realizing that they are indeed a meteorologist, motivational speaker, etc.

Those “wise” Facebook friends are simply taking control of their own futures and doing everything in their power to turn their aspirations into reality. Perhaps, we can learn a lot from them… If all their annoying updates, hypocritical statuses, and plagiarizing song lyrics simply means that they are “dressing the part” and/or “faking it till they make it”, I can certainly like that.

In what ways do you fake it till you make it? Has Facebook helped you become all that you are capable of?

TERRIfic Quips: Always wear your invisible crown.

July 3, 2012

If You Can List it, You Can Do It

There are two types of people in the world: those who thrive off lists and those who don’t. I happen to fall into the first category.  I make lists for everything! Grocery lists,

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

bucket lists, travel lists, channel lists, blogging lists, networking lists, summer trip lists, wedding lists…. You name it; I’ve probably made a list for it. One might even say I’m addicted to lists. I think it’s something I picked up from my mom. Now I picked up a lot of good things from my mom, but I don’t know if my addiction to lists is one of them. My problem is that I’m never satisfied with my list. I make them to help me stay organized and be productive… or so I thought. But whenever I review them I feel as though I either don’t have enough on them, have too much, or just feel the need to add something new every time I complete something. So I never feel like I accomplish anything. Of course, that only makes me even less productive and like a loser prompting me to just dive into more work.

That’s when I noticed I was approaching lists all wrong. Instead of using it as a tool to increase my productivity, I was using it to prove my productivity to myself. It made me feel like I wasn’t doing enough. So my  lists became unnecessarily long and lacked focus and direction. When you have no direction, you don’t know where you are going. Naturally, the lists never got done. On top of that, expecting myself to finish so many items in a short time period was only setting myself up for failure. It was an unattainable goal but I was too blinded to see that.So I decided to make a change. I wanted my lists to make me feel like I was accomplished and getting things done.

Instead of loading my lists with as many things as I could possibly think of, I decided to limit the items on my list. Now my lists don’t exceed five to seven items per day. And it feels good! Making shorter lists allowed me to stay focused and finish each item to the best of my ability. When I kept packing my lists, I never finished anything and did everything half way just so I can get to the next item quickly. Obviously, that didn’t work out too well. Now, checking off one item on my lists make me feel accomplished.  I don’t feel the need to add another item just as a quickly as I checked one just to prove something to myself. I allowed myself to accept that my best is enough. Once I treated my lists as way to stay organized and not a way to prove my worth and accomplishments I actually felt accomplished! Turns out there is an art to doing check lists and it only took my a few years to figure it out. Now, I can check “write blog post” off my list and feel proud.

How do you organize your lists? Do they make you feel better or worse about your productivity? Am the only one who wrote lists that makes you feel like a loser?

TERRIfic Quip: I am a enough. I have enough. I do enough.

May 30, 2012

It’s Not What You Know or Who You Know…

I’m sure if you are in the job market or looking to grow your business you’ve heard one cliche phrase from everyone over and over. You know what i’m talking about. It’s the one you hear so much that you start to wonder if there is any truth to it or if it’s something that just got twisted up in the grapevine as though it’s a game of telephone. Yet, you repeat the cliche without giving it a second thought.

“It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” 

As popular as it is, it seems as though the phrase just popped up out of nowhere coincidently around the same time everyone became networking fanatics. Well, even though your grandmother, professor, and neighbor across the street told you these fine words of wisdom, I’m here to tell you that it’s not true. But it’s not exactly a lie either.

It just doesn’t tell the whole truth. 

You see, the phrase “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know,” focuses on networking to get to know new people. Of course, it’s important to branch out and meet people. But this saying seems to ignore the people you already know. Other than the professional association and your bosses lunch buddies, you’ve got a whole different networking group you need to tap into every once in a while. It’s called your friends, family, and acquaintances. I know you are probably giving me the side eye right now and wondering what your grandmother and her knitting buddies can do for you, but hear me out….

Your grandmother’s knitting buddy just might be the CEO of that Fortune 500 company you’ve been trying to connect with. Or your godmother just might be in the market for a new brochure.  Your best friend’s boyfriend, who you happen to eat lunch with occasionally could be looking to revamp his resume. Your crazy Uncle Reggie could be best friends with Angeline Jolie’s stylist and looking for a new designer – All of these are something you can do. But because you were too busy following that old mantra and networking with a different group, those in your own network ended up hiring someone else to do the work you could. They didn’t know what you know or what you are capable of.

Unfortunately, it’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way more than once. That’s why I chose to ignore the old business mantra and adhere to this new one:

“It’s not who you know. It’s what who you know knows you know.”

A little tongue-tying, but important nonetheless. Unless your network knows what you know, you won’t be able to reap any benefits. You may only see your child’s preschool teacher as a kind spirit with a knack for children, but underneath it all she may be a first-rate accountant who could use your help. At the very least, she could pass your name along to the right people. But she never would’ve been able do that if you didn’t let her know what you do.

It’s very possible that you do know some very important people. They can’t help you if they don’t know what you know. So rather than dismissing them as “only your dad’s golf buddies” acknowledge the connection, build a relationship, and make sure he is aware of your expertise. Otherwise, you will just be letting a good connection die by assuming the people you know can’t do anything for you.

Have close friends or relatives ever given you lead or helped you out after making your expertise known?

TERRIfic Quip: Repeat this everyday. “Today is the day I do the impossible.” Say it enough and you will definitely believe and make it happen.

April 11, 2012

The Problem with Including Business Cards in Thank You Notes

It alters your message and wastes money. There’s a time for blatant self-promotion and there’s a time for expressing your deepest gratitude. The two shall never meet. If you do, the recipient of your note will surely wonder if you have a hidden agenda. Unfortunately, that could mean less than desirable results for your efforts. The last thing you want is to have your clients wonder how grateful you really are.

So how do you let the recipient know what you do and how to contact you? You do a little thing I like to call soft self promotion. I usually scribble a note at the bottom of the card saying something like, “Let me know if you ever need anything” or “I’d be happy to return the favor”. Right after my signature, I either include my phone number or e-mail address. This lets the person know I am a business woman who genuinely cares about the recipient’s well-being as opposed to being a business woman who only cares about the recipient if there’s something in it for me. Get it?  It’s one of the major differences between soft self-promotion and blatant (hard) self-promotion. Plus it seems to be more inline with proper business etiquette.  Think about it. Are you really going to think favorably of a holiday card from your accountant with a business card in it? You just might be prompted to roll your eyes at it and immediately trash it. Once a business card gets placed in a note or holiday card the intentions may immediately be skewed.

I learned this the hard way. After sending hundreds of holiday and thank you cards with my business card enclosed with little to no response it dawned on me that I was doing it completely wrong. Not only was I was wasting time and money on stamps, I was connecting with my audience the way I had hoped.  I analyzed my approach and realized I was sending the complete opposite message than what I wanted to communicate.  The hallelujah chorus sounded once I replaced my business card with jotting down my contact information. Suddenly, the responses and words of gratitude kept pouring in. It’s amazing what a small change can do for business and how much money it can save!

Do you respond favorably to cards with a business card placed inside? Do you receive responses from placing business cards in thank you note?

 

March 27, 2012

8 Source Blunders to Avoid When Dealing with a Journalist

You interviewed with a journalist and had your advice mentioned in a national publication. You know the journalist writes about  education all the time and you made sure to let her know you specialize in higher education. So why hasn’t she called you back for future interviews?  Chances are you’ve committed one or more of the following blunders that can make a source’s or interviewee’s reputation self-destruct.

1. Having limited availability.

Journalists often work on a deadline. Don’t expect the writer to be happy to use you if you schedule a time to chat but then suddenly  become unavailable and request to reschedule. We understand that life happens, but we’ve got a job to do. Having to reschedule your interview or search for a completely different source creates more pressure for getting the story in before deadline. Journalists like to have a stable of sources they know are dependable in a moments notice. Continuously rescheduling, proves you are incapable of that status and will warrant limited callbacks.

2. Playing avoidance.

If a journalist asks how you think parents should handle their child’s crushes, don’t go around the question by providing information about every childhood crush you can think of and how  none of them lasted. Of if you asked whether or not Trayvon Martin was killed because he was wearing a hoodie, don’t tell the writer that black people look best in jeans but you love to wear skirts most. Avoiding a journalist’s questions is never a way to their hearts. Address the question at hand and only provide background information if it is pertinent to the topic or question asked.

3. Rewriting the story.

When journalists call you to verify a quote or a fact, please don’t attempt to rewrite the whole story for them. The process is called fact-checking, not have an amateur edit and do your job for you. When placed in this situation, simply answer the writer’s question and move on. Nothing extra is necessary at that point unless asked for it.

4. Being a product pusher.

The story may be about chemicals found in hair products, but you probably shouldn’t continuously push your fabulous new all natural shampoo throughout the entire interview. The story is about the topic not your amazing life and products. All that is needed is your expert opinion, so refrain from the sales pitch.

5. Pimp your marketing.

Even if the interview went well, it is inappropriate to sign journalists up for an influx of your newsletters or campaigns. We already have to deal with an overflowing amount of press releases in our mailbox. The last thing we need is another unrequested item to clutter our lives and emails.

6. Requesting special access.

No matter how many times I decline and explain the reason, sources still feel the need to routinely ask to see the story before it’s published. It’s a surefire way to get you blacklisted as a source. Journalists and publications maintain credibility by not being influenced by third parties. Allowing sources to see stories before it is published appears as though you are making changes to suit that source which will lead to questioning the credibility of the story and publication. So keep asking a journalist to see the story beforehand, but always expect the answer to be no. You can also expect to never be called back to interview for future stories.

7. Record Breaking.

When signing on to an interview you agree to have your comments possibly published in a news story. If you plan on breaking interview records, by reciting “off the the record” continuously throughout the interview, don’t agree to the interview. Make it easy on yourself by either declining the interview or refraining from saying something you don’t wish to be published. Otherwise, you will be labeled a PIA (Pain in Ass) to journalists, and see less press time in the future.

8. Sugarcoated Bribery.

Offering to give a free massage or payment of some kind in exchange for favorable coverage of the issue on your part  is not wise practice. Not only is it unethical practice for a writer to partake in, it will be a waste of time and money for you because good writers won’t buy into it. They’ll also remember that you try to manipulate through bribery and will refrain from interviewing you again.

Do any of the above practices and expect to be placed on a journalist’s personal “Do Not Call List”. Do what you can to make the journalist’s job as easy as possible and you will forever be in our good graces.

What other faux pas should sources avoid?

March 22, 2012

The Right Way to Connect on Linkedin

You’re new to Linkedin and finally completed uploading your resume, choosing a profile picture, and writing a summary. Now you do what any newcomer to Linkedin does. You look for some connections! Naturally, you will want to connect with the biggest influencers in your industry whether you know them or not. Most likely they are the ones with 500+ connections, 13 recommendations, and the manager of several groups. And who wouldn’t want to connect with these people? They are obviously the ones who know the most, like to network and can possibly do something for you in the future. Then there are some of you who are intimated to ask the high-rollers of Linkedin to connect and choose to go for those on your level who are just learning to the play the game. Well I’m willing to bet when asking for connections you are doing it the wrong way whether it be for a Linkedin popular or a newbie.

If you are sending requests to connect using the pre-written generic message, “I’d like to add you to my professional network,” this just might be one of the worst possible things you can do. This message doesn’t say anything about you other than, “I am too lazy or bored to take the time to get to know you, read your profile and personalize my message.” Since you are most likely requesting the person because you think you can benefit from the connection, you need to show them how you this person can benefit from connecting with you. A message like the one above, can very well get you ignored. At the very least, you need to give a reason for actually wanting to connect with the person; especially if you don’t know the person personally. (I know Linkedin “requires” you to know the person before you request to connect, but let’s not pretend like this doesn’t happen on a daily basis.) Besides, Linkedin has the potential to be much more powerful than Facebook. The last thing you want is to have a potentially good connection go to waste like a frivolous Facebook Friend. Make sure this doesn’t happen by saying something to start a conversation and building a what can potentially lead to a great relationship. After all, isn’t that the whole reason why you are requesting to connect? If not, you may just want to stick to Facebook and ignore the hundreds of trivial statuses by “friends” you don’t even like.

So what should you say in place of that generic message when requesting to connect? Luckily the options are endless.

Flattery: “I was looking through your profile and I must admit I’m impressed with your work. I hope one day I will get to your professional level. I’d like to add you to my professional network.”

College Connection: “Hey, I noticed we are both writing professionals and graduated from Rider University! Any plans to attend alumni weekend this June? Let’s chat! I’d love to connect.” 

Benefit Factor: “I saw your update discussing the upcoming contest for your company. Do you need help marketing it or coming up with conditions? I’d be happy to assist! I’d like to add you to my professional network.”

Group Buddy: “I noticed you are member of the Freelance Connection. Have you been following the discussion about marketing your writing services to local businesses? I’d love to know your thoughts. Let’s connect!”

Same Strokes, Different Folks: “Hey, neighbor. I grew up in Sayreville too! Tell me, do you hate Bon Jovi as much as I do or is he the source of inspiration in all of your work? Would you like to connect with me?”

Mutual Friends: “Seems we are both connected to Christine. She told me a lot about your plans to start a non-profit organization. As an entrepreneur, I am certainly interested. Care to discuss?” 

Following Fan: “During my search for all-inclusive resorts in Barbados, I came across your travel articles listed in Travel + Leisure and your blog about Groupon. You’ve earned yourself a new fan! I’d like to add you to my professional network.”

I’m sure there a few more options for connection request messages, but these are a definitely a great start. As you can see, the message need not be long. At most, it requires only a few minutes of studying the person’s profile to come up with a unique message to snag a new connection. But remember, once your connection request is accepted, continue the conversation and begin getting to know your newfound connection.

How do you feel about generic Linkedin messages? Have you tried writing personalized messages when requesting to connect?

March 6, 2012

A Picture’s Worth a Business Deal

Everybody knows a picture’s worth a thousand words. What people don’t realize is it can get you a thousand dollar business deal. Yes, you read that right.  A good picture can get you a business deal. And no, this doesn’t just apply to models.

You see, when expanding a business people always emphasize the importance of having an easy to navigate website, marketing materials, a well written bio, etc. What they forget to mention, is the importance of a good photo of yourself. Chances are you have a Twitter profile, Facebook page, blog, website, and Linkedin profile. I’m willing to bet that you have a photo of yourself on at least one of those websites. How much thought did you put into selecting that picture? For business sake, I’m hoping the photo of you throwing back a couple beers on your Facebook profile is not the same one you use for Linkedin. That is definitely not good for business. But if it is your photo on your professional networks, you may be one to something. Why? Because it’s interesting. A photo of you with a couple of beers may not showcase you in the best light but it will get people talking. And you want people talking to you and about you to other people. Of course, you’d prefer they talk about you in good terms (and that photo may not help) but at least they are talking.

Interesting photos get people to talk and keep you in the buzz. That means it may be a good idea to shy away from the graduation type photo of you with a cheesy grin on your face. It doesn’t say anything about you other than you are happy to graduate. A good business photo shows your personality and/or something of interest. It’s got to be slightly different. You want it to capture attention while not venturing too far away from your true colors. After all, people don’t hire a business. They hire a person – a person with a personality they like. So a profile photo is a great way to showcase that winning personality of yours.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many business owners chatted me up just because my photo intrigued them. 

It’s nothing special. My guess is the sly smile, outdoors background, body positioning and coffee mug comes off as warm and very inviting to most people. I tend to get the most comments about the coffee mug. In fact, I tend to get a lot of LinkedIn messages complimenting me on the choice of photo and ask what inspired me to include a coffee mug. Others say, the soft smile and direct eye contact is very captivating and inviting. The most common comment: “I love that smile and coffee mug. What a great marketing ploy!” Next thing I know, I’m drafting a contract for a new client ready to take advantage of my copywriting services or looking at someone ready and willing to refer me thanks to my fabulous “photo marketing ploy”! So what makes a great business photo? I’m no expert but in my experience a great photo for business purposes does the following things:

1. Shows your personality.

2. Intrigues your target audience.

3. Inspires conversation.

If you are completely lost when it comes to your own photo, take a cue from me.  Experiment with props. Take the photo shoot outdoors or search for interesting backgrounds. Work on a stimulating facial expression. You’d be surprised what you might come up with. But whatever you do, make sure you stick to your true colors!