Digital Marketing Work Explained

We all know the consumer side of digital marketing all too well. Advertisements seem to follow us all over the Internet. Most of the time we are clicking the ads away, but some of them will occasionally catch our undivided attention. They will make us feel good and trigger us to share them with friends as the Heineken ad bellow did with me. Or they will give us new ideas, make us laugh or think.

Those ads engage us, which happens when marketing works.

In this article, I share the two main focus areas of the digital marketer.

If you are considering becoming an affiliate marketer or starting your own online business or perhaps selling products on the internet, then you will need to understand how the magic of digital marketing works.

Marketing is there to produce positive change

Marketing is one of the greatest and most rewarding lines of work.

At the core of marketing is producing positive change and helping someone solve their problem.

Digital marketing is marketing done via digital channels, such as email, websites, and the electronic devices you use.

To be successful in marketing, you need to develop a thorough understanding of these two areas:

  1. Who is your audience
  2. How to produce change

The rest is a mixture of discipline, creative expression, and digital technologies to help you reach your audience and induce the desired change.

Who is your audience

Marketing starts with understanding our customers’ worldview and desires so we can connect with them. We need to see what they see.

If you are curious about other people and wonder about what they are struggling with and what makes them tick, then chances are big you will like working in marketing.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio https://www.pexels.com/@olly

The audience you choose might be, for example, single moms working in the corporate world, teachers who are passionate about van life, or 50+ well-educated people whose’ jobs are not fulfilling.

The more specific the definition of your audience is, the better you will be able to understand what they want, know, and believe in. The more detailed your understanding becomes, the bigger the chances are you can help them become better versions of themselves.

Aspiring online entrepreneurs often start with an audience that resembles them. This is logical because they know their own desires and needs and can communicate about them in an engaging and honest way.

Once you are clear about the audience and their needs, you can invent or choose an existing product that your audience can benefit from and care about.

If you are curious to learn more about digital marketing and the exact steps you need to take to start your own online business check the Mentors education platform.

How to produce change

A big part of a marketer’s job is to inspire and motivate people to change. To do that, he must engage their emotions, and the key to their hearts is the story. 

Through stories, we humans make sense of our lives.

This demands vivid insight and storytelling skills to present the product information packed with enough emotional power to be memorable and engaging. If you can harness imagination and the principles of a well-told story, then you will connect and lead your customers to the desired change.

Persistent, consistent, and frequent stories delivered to the right audience, will earn attention, trust, and action.

The marketing stories need to speak to the desires of your audience. Instead of explaining the features of the product, you are better off focusing on the benefits the customer will enjoy.

How Theodore Levitt Defined Marketing 60 Years Ago And Predicted The Energy  Market Of Today At The Same Time

We are not that interested in features as we are in emotions the product evokes and the effect it will have on us. “We sell feelings, status, and connection, not tasks and stuff.”

To make effective stories that move people, marketers understand how humans make decisions. Seth Godin, one of the most renowned teachers and marketing leaders of our time, in his book “This is marketing“, explains the decision process with real-life examples.

Contrary to what we want to believe about ourselves, we mostly make decisions based on irrational fears and urges, ignoring information that runs counter to our beliefs, most of the time trading long-term for short-term benefits. Our decisions are influenced by the culture with which we identify.

Honest stories resonate and get spread. They entertain, educate, inform, connect people, and transform.

“When our stories spread, we are changing the culture. We build something that people would miss if it were gone, something that gives them meaning, connection, and possibility”.

To summarize, marketers are seeking to produce positive change. They are masters of storytelling. They build trust and authority about the products and their benefits by showing up regularly and consistently in front of the right audience. They write articles, organize events, lectures, they engage with the audience in an honest and respectful way to ignite the change their customers desire to make.

Conclusion

I am very passionate about marketing and have written about it in a slightly poetic and abstract way. However, I can summarize it in two questions that guide all the work of the digital marketer:

  1. Who is it for and what is that they need? (Understand your audience)
  2. How to produce change? (Build a trustful relationship, Storytelling)

Stay tuned for more marketing secrets. If you have any questions, you know where to find me!

Why Did I Become an Affiliate Marketer

For some time I was fed up having an unfulfilling and underpaid job. Deep down I knew I could do much better and I was informing myself what are the possibilities.

From all the options I considered, becoming an affiliate marketer was standing out because of these 3 crucial characteristics:

Characteristic 1: Simple Business Model

The affiliate marketing business model is perfect for first-time business owners because of its simplicity. You are only concerned about marketing products and services of other people.

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All other parts of the chain, such as product development, fulfillment, payment, and customer care are being taken care of by someone else, for example, Amazon.

After 30 years of being an employer in the corporate world, I was going to make a move to entrepreneurship. This on its own requires a big mindset shift, so starting with a lean business model was essential.

Amazon is the largest online retailer. Around 50% of all sales on Amazon come from affiliates.

In addition, while many businesses are struggling at the moment, Affiliate Marketing is thriving. The industry is worth an estimated $12 billion right now and is set to grow by at least a further 10% over the next few years.

Characteristic 2: Location Independent Income

All I need to run my affiliate online business is a laptop and a good internet connection. Location independent income means a lot to me, it means freedom!!

I will be able to work from home or wherever I need and want to be at a given moment. This will allow me to combine work with travel, but also visit my parents more often and help them with the difficult moments they might encounter as they grow old.

Family instead of face time in Macedonia

I will have more autonomy in organizing my time, so I will be spending more quality time with my children, family, and friends.

The location freedom is priceless and a big motivator getting me through the initial steep learning curve.

Characteristic 3: Personal Growth

As an affiliate marketer, I am promoting products and services that I love and value. To determine what is that you want and can bring to the market, you need to go through a wonderful self-discovery journey.

You need to become clear about what your top values are and what makes your life and professional experience unique. I have written some more about it here.

You also need to figure out what is your ideal day and create a vision with an action plan to come there.

This personal growth journey will help you determine what is your unique contribution to the world, which brings value to others for which they are willing to pay.

In addition, starting your own online business means, you are the boss now. To act like a boss, I needed to learn to take risks, to deal with big money, to be resourceful when things don’t turn as planned. This is exactly what makes me fulfilled, what brings me more excitement and joy in life!

It is not always easy, but you grow together with your business! The path into entrepreneurship is a path of learning to deal with fear and at the same time having a solid and clear vision that feeds your faith to make the small, persistent steps every day.

How do you choose products to promote

As an affiliate marketer, I promote other people’s products and services, earning a commission if people actually end up buying thanks to my marketing. I need to study the products and services that I feel have value.

To determine the products I could promote, I looked into how I spend my free time, which activities I enjoy doing and what are the objects in my home that I love to be surrounded with. I also started noticing which topics I love to discuss with my friends and this is how I concluded to start promoting digital educational products and books.

Awakening the feminine sexuality retreat: Tantra teachings https://christianeameya.com/

The world of tantra yoga and teachings was also a good affiliate niche candidate, but I decided to start small and park it for now.

By the way, this is another convenient thing about this business. You can start with one product and grow your product palette once you have honed your marketing skills or when your personal interests and hobbies change.

What are the skills of the affiliate marketer

My part of the game as an affiliate is to learn everything about the product I promote and find customers for it. I need to know how people can benefit from using the product and educate customers to understand those benefits.

Another part of my job is to know where to find those customers who match with my product. Are they on Youtube and when? Are they using specific digital forums or frequenting specific websites or facebook groups?

For example, I have a whole website around the topic of meaningful work, also called in the marketing jargon, an authority website. I might promote this book by Tim Ferriss by writing a blog on my website and explaining how this book gave me the idea of affiliate marketing as an alternative or addition to the 9 to 5 corporate job.

If you trust me and you find the information valuable, you can then click on the link and buy the book. In this case, Amazon will pay me a commission.

This is called content marketing. There are many other digital ways I can use to get to the potential customers and market my products. I can use social networks like Linkedin, Facebook, and Instagram, or I can create ads to be shown when people search on Google for things related to my products.

The digital ways to reach potential customers are plenty, but once you hone your marketing and communication skills, you can apply them everywhere. So here are the basic skills:

  1. Building and maintaining an authority website – this is a combination of digital skills and building confidence that your voice matters, that you do have something of value to say.
  2. Creating inspiring and valuable content, copywriting, story-telling, topic research. These skills can be compared to journalism in combination with personal growth and self-discovery.
  3. Digital marketing – finding out where potential customers are (market research) and building a valuable and trustful relationship with them (communication and human behavior studies).

Where to start?

If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing and how to start your own online business, then I strongly recommend you to check the Mentors education platform.

There are lots of training institutions out there, but this one I know from the inside and I can tell you that the quality of their education, tools, training, and support is exceptional.

I love being part of this vibrant international community and to have access to all the entrepreneurial and marketing knowledge for the same money per month I pay for my sports club.

Contact me if you have questions or directly create a free account to experience it with your own eyes.
You can create your free account here

All in all affiliate marketing is a good way to get started as an entrepreneur in the online world. Are you considering it?

Let me know in the comments.

Can we improve our emotional intelligence?

I am very fortunate to have Martyn Newman as a trusted and inspiring friend. He is a clinical psychologist and thought leader in the field of Emotional Intelligence. He would often share his knowledge during our interesting dinner conversations to help me address personal and career development issues.

I would like to share the essence of his advice with you. It boils down to developing three crucial emotional intelligence skills:

  1. Self-Reliance
  2. Confidence
  3. Optimism
Me and Martyn spending holidays together with our families

Developing these skills (yes, they can be developed!!) has enabled me to make the right decisions and navigate with confidence the challenging times we are in.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

We used to think that our behavior is explained almost exclusively by intellect and personality and that these things are fixed by the time we are 20.

The social and behavioral sciences discovered that before our intelligence is involved, physical and emotional experiences arise within us that shape our intellectual response. Our judgments and behavior are really driven by these primary experiences.

The effective management of emotions in ourselves and other people is crucial for being effective and successful.

This is what Emotional Intelligence in essence is about. Unlike personality, the skills of emotional intelligence can be learned and developed.

We now know that emotional intelligence skills are those that make exceptional leaders. We all have these skills dormant within us and we can develop them to access our full potential.

I will elaborate on the three skills that are most frequently found in great leaders.

Self-Reliance

This skill enables us to go inside ourselves and find the courage to take responsibility for our thoughts and our actions. It means, learning to influence our mindset to create beliefs that will motivate us to rise above the limiting circumstances and take bold actions.

Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance.” – American Congressmen Bruce Barton

Often life brings suffering. Those who thrive, rather than simply survive, are those that have learned to protect their minds being brought down by negative emotions, panic, or fear. Self-reliance is the first step in reclaiming our personal power, instead of becoming a victim of the negative circumstances.

To develop self-reliance, we simply need to start taking action. If it fails, admit it frankly and try again something new. Experimentation and persistent action are key to developing this leadership skill.

Confidence

This skill is about feeling good with ourselves. Healthy self-confidence is based on two factors:

  1. Self-liking
  2. Self-competence
Photo by Rene Asmussen, Pexels

The first factor, liking yourself, is a decision you can practice. When you look inside yourself, whatever you find there, you need to make the decision to like it. Because if you don’t, no one else will.
By accepting who you are, the good and bad stuff, you will protect yourself from spending your life compensating for not really valuing who you are. It doesn’t mean that you should not change the things you are less happy with instead, it means to be self-compassionate. You may not be everything that you like to be, but still, begin to treat yourself more kindly.

Self-competence is being shaped in childhood, but can also be learned. Parents who are overprotective can limit their children from experiencing the positive learnings of taking risks. Instead of acknowledging the creative, resourceful, and brave actions of their children, they focus solely on safety and rules. These children do not learn to trust and see themselves as competent.
Micromanagement on the workflow can have the same devastating effect on people. Overcontrolling managers have difficulty with the delegation of tasks. They fail to create a culture where people feel free to be themselves, feel valued and competent.

Luckily, we can take things into our own hands. To boost confidence, we need to start taking risks, developing new initiatives and new skills, and backing up our opinions. This will clearly get us out of our comfort zone, but the more we do that, the faster we will get the nurturing benefits of self-licking and self-competence.

Optimism

In twenty years of psychology research, optimism is the single most reliable predictor of how well people will do in life. I am not talking about some superficial pink glasses through which we should look at the world, neglecting the circumstances. What I mean is choosing optimism as a strategy of not giving up. It is a skill of being creative, looking over the horizon to see what is possible, recognizing opportunities that will help you bounce back from a setback.

I love how Melinda Gates has described optimism as a conscious choice to not look away. This is what she said once she visited one of the hospitals that Gates foundation sponsors in Africa:

Optimism for me isn’t a passive expectation that things will get better; it’s a conviction that we can make things better – that whatever suffering we see, no matter how bad it is, we can help people if we don’t lose hope and we don’t look away.

According to the founder of positive psychology Martin Seligman when people are suffering prolonged adversity, the default and automatic response is helplessness, a sense of a lack of control of our environment.

Optimism is not an inborn quality, but the skill that enables us to protect and maintain hope. We need to learn to deal with the helplessness. We need to learn how to maintain hope, the perception that we can control, and harness the unpredictability around us. The ways to develop optimism are by looking ahead into the possibilities, by experimenting with alternative solutions, by learning lessons from the current situation, and last but not least, by taking constant action.

Emotional Intelligence is all about building leadership skills. If you want to learn more about it, I suggest you read Daniel Goleman.

The main message I wanted to convey with this article is that self-reliance, confidence, and optimism are not inborn skills.
Anyone who puts effort into improving them, can learn how to influence his mindset, protect his mood, and stay flexible and strong in difficult circumstances.

Get in the driver’s seat and create the life you love!

Own Business As Alternative To MBA

Do you want to bring your career and life to the next level and are ready to develop new skills? Are you considering an MBA?
The MBA studies are the standard answer to your need for growth however, creating your own digital business might be even a better investment of your precious time and money.

The MBA Promise

I must admit that the MBA promise sounds really attractive.

You will become a leader with a purpose who can create her job description based on her clear vision. You will unlock your full potential, stand out, be able to identify solutions to complex problems and reflect on your values, goals, and beliefs. You will produce significant value to others and you will be paid abundantly in return. You will be free from financial worries. You will show to the world how much more you have to offer

In my opinion, in the current post-pandemic economic climate, the chances that you will achieve the above goals through an MBA study are much lower than if you would study how to start a digital business instead.

Here are the five reasons why I chose to learn how to start my own business from scratch with the SFM over the MBA.

Comparison Between MBA and Starting Your Own Online Business

I chose to become a digital entrepreneur for the following reasons.

Higher increase in income

  • MBA graduates report salary increases between 60% to 200%
  • SFM student sets up his own digital business during the studies and can start earning while learning. My forecast is that my business will become profitable by the end of the first year. Opposite to how a salary works, I can scale my income, and have seen many fellow students do it, to six figures and beyond. This solely depends on my effort and dedication to develop my business further.

Lower costs

  • In the UK, the tuition fees for a full-time MBA can cost anything from £30,000, to £90,000.
  • The SFM education costs around £100 per month for group online lessons, including access to over 10,000 e-Learning courses in Business, Marketing, Creative and Technology and free access to all the Linkedin Courses. If you want Expert Mentorship, Masterminding & Over-the-Shoulder Training it will cost you another £2000 per year.

Bigger Return On Investment – ROI

  • Only after the MBA graduation, you can profit from a higher salary position. However, given the current situation, an MBA might not make any difference to the recruitment opportunities as big companies will be looking hard at their bottom lines.
  • The digital economy on the other hand is booming and the pandemic is even accelerating this trand. According to the latest research of HSBC Global Markets and Banking, some 10 – 30% of retail sales are currently online in most developed countries with double-digit growth over the past year. They estimate that about half of goods consumption could be online in many developed markets by 2030.
    With SFM you can earn as you learn. Usually, it takes 3 to 6 months to start getting revenue from your digital business and then you can focus on developing and fine-tuning your strategies to become profitable in a very agile way.

More freedom and flexibility

  • In your new MBA role, you will most probably be working longer hours than before, be under much higher pressure, and still selling your time for money in a very hierarchical environment.
  • Once you set up your own digital business, it runs on autopilot. You can establish valuable relationships with customers all over the world and run your business from the comfort of your home or where ever you want to travel or be.

Personal growth

  • With an MBA you will probably stay in the corporate world and develop knowledge and leadership which is specific to your role and industry.
  • On the contrary, your own business is centered around your purpose and the things you love to do. You will provide services or products that play to your strengths and that you would feel are truly worthwhile.

Conclusion

I hope you can use this comparison study between MBA and Starting Your Own Digital Business to decide what is the best way to bring your career and life to the next level.

The new circumstances brought by the global impact of COVID-19, have stimulated many people to reimagine their future and ask an even bigger question than the choice of education.

If you are interested in developing new skills and are prepared to invest some time and spend some money to do so, what would you really like to do?

What is that service or product that plays to your strengths, that someone will pay you for, and that you would feel is truly worthwhile?

To learn more about the digital economy opportunities and the SFM educational platform, check the free Webinar given by Stuart Ross, one of the top digital business strategists I have the honor to have as a mentor.

Finding your place in the sun

Imagine yourself jumping out of bed excited and full of energy to start working on the things that you love. Wouldn’t that be great? Imagine being inspired and motivated every day.

Very recently, I realized, that to have this feeling every morning, we need to figure out what is the unique value that we can give to the world. This shouldn’t be some abstract concept, but very concrete service or product that others are willing to pay for.

Me and my brother some 10 years ago

Some lucky people know from their infancy what they want to become, and they identify with that profession for all their life. My brother is one of those people. He was interested in privacy and security since he got his own room in our house. I remember him convincing my parents to buy him a safety box at the age of 12. His favorite pages from the newspapers were the crime investigations where he was analyzing the security breaches that led to these unfortunate events. Today he runs a successful cybersecurity business in Canada.

In contrast, I found it very challenging to determine which profession would fit me. I was one of those kids who got good marks in school but didn’t have any preferences. The things I was passionate about were more in the social domain. I did well at talking to people and was extremely interested in foreigners and other cultures.

I remember coming back home, without notice, with two Korean girls, which I have met on the train from Ljubljana to Skopje, explaining to my flabbergasted parents that they should stay with us for a couple of days and that we should show them around.

Limiting beliefs

Somehow, I developed the limiting belief that exciting things are for your free time.
The things you do for money and your profession, you choose by other criteria, ones that meet the expectations of the society and your parents. Therefore, I have chosen to study computer engineering, like my brother. And again, I finished the studies thanks to my natural intelligence and hard work, but my passion and interests were outside of the IT domain, in the theater lessons and the language courses I attended, with my international friends, in my travels and anthropology books.

Me in the IT land

When I started working as a software developer, I knew deep down inside that this is not my profession. I was struggling to fit because I didn’t share the same passion as my colleagues and I felt I am delivering mediocre results.

However, nothing is black and white in this world. There were many aspects that I loved, such as solving problems, logical thinking, a good salary, and the availability of jobs all over the globe. Also, being a girl who could successfully navigate the nerdy, men’s world gave me some kind of prestige.

For many years, I kept this unfulfilling job and was satisfying my real interests in my free time. First I found a job in Ljubljana, then in Amsterdam, then in France. By being soaked in new cultures and friendships I have managed to tolerate the uncomfortable feeling at work.

All the same, the need to find my place under the sun, a spot where I would feel confident and proud, valued, and respected for what I am, for my unique qualities kept growing within me. Doing so during my free time only, was not enough.

The quest of finding out what makes me tick

At first, I thought I should leave the IT industry and invested in New Media Studies. However, after observing some colleagues I admired, I found a domain within the IT industry that resonated with me. That was the business analysis. As a business analyst, I needed to speak with customers who were looking for IT solutions to support and enable their businesses. I needed to have knowledge of the IT world, which I did, but I also needed to understand the business world of my customers.

I loved that I was able to bridge the gap between the business domain and the exciting world of digital technology! Expressing business needs and visualizing them for the business stakeholders felt great.

Find your place in the sun, perhaps Île de Porquerolles?

I felt more alive, but not there yet.


More self-exploration needed to be done! Once I got the taste of working with pleasure and passion, I wanted more of it.

I continued to pursue a series of new assignments and education programs in the fields of digital strategy, human behavior, marketing, and business and personal leadership. I was massively going out of my comfort zone, both financially and socially.


I regret none of it and I am convinced the best is yet to come!!

You should see my smile in the mornings, waking up to do what I love and what people appreciate.

Never stop searching for a sunnier spot!!

Why We Need Business Mentors

Where would we be without mentors in our lives?

From the day we are born we rely on mentors. Our parents and siblings are our first mentors. They teach us how to walk and eat and what are the norms and the values of our family and culture.

Then one day, we become adults and we expect do be able to do everything on our own. Although I strongly believe each of us has everything needed to succeed, asking, and receiving guidance and help can accelerate the process significantly.

Mentors empower us! They accelerate our success and help us reach our goals!

Here is the remarkable story of Maria Konnikova, a Russian-American writer and psychologist, who seemingly out of nowhere, has dared to approach the poker legend Erik Seidel for mentorship. Thanks to this smart move, within a year she won a major title, made multiple final tables, and amassed close to $300,000 in live tournament winnings

Find a Mentor To Get On The Fast Track

In the face of sudden, frightening disease, Maria starts researching the nature of luck and stumbles upon poker. A game that would never have caught her interest quickly becomes her dedicated pursuit.

In just two years, starting from scratch, she beats the luck and makes income she could never dream of during the academic writer’s career.

Besides knowing what she wanted to learn, Maria also set a goal to learn it fast. She then knew that the best way to accelerate the learning is to get mentored by someone who is already a successful player.

Although totally new in the field of poker, she made a thorough research, just like she would do for the books and the articles she was writing. This is how she determined that Erik Seidel, one of the legends in the poker world, will be her mentor.
Despite the fact that Erik has never had students before, with her academic approach and eagerness to learn, Maria managed to get his attention and commitment.

Personal Growth and Winning Mindset

Maria learned the rules and strategies of the poker game. She got so skilled that she created am additional income stream, an additional business next to her academic career. But more importantly, mentoring catalyzed her personal growth in ways that can serve her entire life.

She learned:

  • to trust and challenge her thinking and make decisions with confidence, knowing that she can never be completely certain or have all the information needed at hand.
  • emotional resilience, going for the long term success and not being taken away by a single unfortunate outcome by focussing on perfecting the process and not on the luck.
  • how to embrace uncertainty rather than fear it, reframing the lack of control into a source of power.

“Anyone can get lucky – or unlucky – at a single hand, a single game, a single tournament. One turn and you’re on top of the world – another, you are cast out, no matter your skill, training, preparation, aptitude. In the end, though, luck is a short-term friend or foe. Skill shines through over the longer time horizon.” – Maria Konnikova

These are the exact mental skills and winning mindset we need to become successful in life and business.

Meet my mentors

My Banner

Like Maria, I am am very grateful for the mentors in my life. I would have never thought I am capable of running my own business. Or having the self-confidence to share my views and teachings via blogs and webinars. But then, with the support of talented and experienced mentors, their encouragement and constructive criticism, I excelled at my expectations and created even bigger dreams.

Realizing big and complex goals, like a career change or a business venture alone is close to impossible.

If you are looking to excel and develop your digital marketing, leadership, or entrepreneurship skills, then I am very excited to help you with the choice of trainers and mentors.

Contact me or create a free account with my mentoring community and see if this business world is right for you. 
You can create your free account here

Just how much of your life will you take credit for, and how much will you leave to simple dumb luck?


Well, you can certainly take credit for finding the right mentor and make sure you achieve that what matters to you the most!


Make Money Doing What You Love

The long and sultry summer holidays are ideal for contemplating life. Away from my regular job and the habitual routine, on a magnificent island in the South of France, I took time to go through the 3 steps that will bring me closer to making money by doing what I love. Let me share them with you:

  1. Find out what is most important to you
  2. Design products and services to offer
  3. Take action
Ile de Porcquerolles

1. Find out what is most important to you

Some people know already from their childhood what is important to them and what makes them happy and fulfilled. My brother was like that. He was interested in security since he was born, ordering a safe in his room at the age of 10, nowadays running a successful cybersecurity business. I, on the other hand also knew that I wanted to do something amazing and magnificent :-), but had to do some more self-exploration and study of my habits to discover what I love doing.

If you are anything like me, start paying attention to these things to figure out what is important to you:

  • Look around your house or office and see what objects you like to see and surround yourself with.
  • Pay attention to what you are doing with your time, especially your free time.
  • What do you talk to other people about?
  • Which activities give you energy and a feeling of flow?

What is important to us is determined by our highest values. Our highest values define our decisions, actions, thoughts, and interests. We spend the most time, money, and energy on our highest values. When we do not live according to them, we feel uninspired, disempowered, and lacking purpose. When we consciously respect our highest values we flourish, awaken our unique talents, and feel expanded and fulfilled.

For example, I noticed that I always have several books I am reading in parallel next to my bed. Whenever I have free time, I am always following a course to learn a new skill or language. I love asking my friends and colleagues about the books they have found inspiring.
So, I figured out that one of my top values is to grow, learn, and expand my mind.

Go ahead, take a pen and paper, or some digital equivalent, and jot your top values. Now that you know what truly is important to you right now, you are ready to go to step 2.

2. Design products and services to offer

Most probably you already provide some services to your friends and family with the things you love doing. I am the girl people come to when they need a book recommendation or a partner for hiking. How about you? Are you fixing the computer of your mother or providing your friends with advice on the latest toys for boys?

When we serve friends and family we call that caring. When we serve to the rest of the world, we call that selling” – Dr. John Demartini

To earn money with what inspires you, you need to define what you love doing in terms of exchangeable value. You need to define it as products and services that are of value to other people. Be creative and bold like an entrepreneur and use your imagination. You can follow these steps described in the excellent, practical guide “Inspired Destiny”.

  • Think of your top 3 highest values you have determined in step 1;
  • Recall the services you have already provided for people around you, for example, “I have helped my neighbor organize his house” or “I have created an audiobook by recording my reading for my father who is blind”;
  • Write down a list of your skills and assets that would be valuable to provide for others as a service and circle those which are most inspiring to you;
  • Identify individuals and groups who can benefit from your service and who would love to pay in return. Start with the people from your immediate environment and what they may need, but do not stop there. Think as big as you can.

For example, in my case of loving to expand my knowledge and read a lot, I could start blogging book reviews. Once I have built a significant audience on social media, I could start earning commissions by recommending certain books as an affiliate marketer. See the book above 😉
Furthermore, I could design a subscription service of matching people’s interests with the books they would love to read. Then I could focus on certain topics and as I have grown my knowledge by reading I could start speaking publicly on those topics, etc.
You get my point, right?

What inspires you?

Now it is your turn.
Once you have clarified how you can provide value to the other people you are ready to go to step 3.

3. Take action

The third step is to start the change of what you currently do to earning money with what you love to do. This is a process much like a career change and is very well described by Herminia Ibarra, a professor of Organizational Behavior at London Business School.

Change only happens when you take action. Take action every day! Small but consistent action every day can bring you to amazing places in a year or two.

Perhaps you can start a small project on aside and test the service or product designed in Step 2. Establish a relationship with potential customers. Find mentors for the knowledge and skills you need to gain. Associate with individuals who share your highest values to build a support and accountability network.
Refine your service design based on the customer’s feedback.

And most of all, enjoy working on the things that inspire you. The natural energy, creativity, and motivation that comes from doing the things you love are your biggest selling point and will eventually get your own business running successfully.

Conclusion

It is very important to find out what inspires you and what is that you want to dedicate your life to.

“The meaning of life is to give life a meaning”Ken Hudgins

This is a continuous 3 step process of consciously paying attention to your highest values, developing entrepreneurial skills to invent services that others find worth paying for, and taking constant action every day.

Making money by doing what you love is living a fulfilled life and making the biggest and unique contribution to our wonderful, colorful world.

How To Move Other People

Wouldn’t it be great if you can confidently persuade your boss to support your next project?
And how satisfied would you feel if you can cajole your teenager to limit the screen time?
If you are up for a real challenge, imagine convincing your partner to get a dog?

If you can handle the above situations smoothly and achieve the desired outcome then:

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

I couldn’t help but borrow this rhyme from Kipling’s poem “If”. We will talk about it another time, but for now, read further if you want to learn how to move people.

We Are All In Sales

Sales? Blecch, I would have exclaimed some years ago.

Vacuum Cleaner Salesman

I was associating selling with being annoying and pushing people to do something or buy a product/service they didn’t want. Today, I know better.
If I could teach my children one skill only, then that would be the skill of selling. I have never thought of myself as a salesperson, but I have come to the realization that we all are.

Only a little part of the sales skills is related to selling products. Selling in a broader sense is moving others to take action and this is what we all spend a significant amount of time on. Today, for example, I have persuaded my daughter to clean her room. I can assure you, this was not an easy task!!
I also wrote this article to convince you that selling is a useful skill. On Monday I will pitch my project to my boss hoping that she will approve its implementation because I understood her needs and requirements well.

woman standing in front of children

Sales is not just about earning money. You can sell ideas, time, attention, anything that can be exchanged and is of value to others.
We can learn a good deal about sales especially from professionals working in not overly commercial sectors, such as education and health care.

Physicians are selling a remedy and are convincing patients to embark on a healthy lifestyle. Teachers are selling knowledge, persuading students that investing time in education will get them a better future.

How To Master Selling With Attunement

If selling is so important and omnipresent in our lives, let us learn how to do it properly. According to Daniel Pink attunement is where we should start.

Attunement is a capacity to see the perspective of the other, to get inside of other’s head. If you are attuned with the other, you are able to step outside of our own experience and imagine the emotions, perceptions, and motivations of the other.

Perspective-taking is related, but not the same as empathy. The first one is a cognitive capacity and it is practiced by thinking and imagining, while empathy is an emotional response. Studies show that to achieve attunement it is “more beneficial to get insight their heads that to have them inside one’s own heart”.

The simplest way to get into the head of others is to start a conversation and ask open questions. Be curious about their world and listen actively. Give space to small talk to find commonalities. People are more likely to move together when they share common ground and we usually have more in common then the first sight might suggest. Check this amazing ad from the Danish Television channel TV2.

For even better results, you can reduce your power to open space to the other person to express himself more freely. Another way to attune is by applying strategic mimicry. Both are explained in the continuation.

Reduce your power level

In his brilliant book “To sell is human” Mr. Pink pulls out a very interesting social science research.

He concludes that reducing our own power level when starting encounters helps to get attuned. When we position ourselves lower and act with humility, it is more likely that we will actively listen and we will be more focussed on what we can learn from or about the other person. Much like the art of improvisational theater, we accept any offer from the other person, so that he can feel free to express himself in an honest and authentic way.

Here is an exercise that can help you discover the power levels of the conversation participants.

Exercise: Discussion map

Next time you have a meeting start drawing a diagram of where each person in the meeting is seating. Then every time someone talks mark an X next to his name. When person A speaks directly to person B draw a line from A to B. Here is an example, from which you can see that ST is talking the most, TT is sitting it out, and AT is being targeted perhaps with criticism or complaints.

To reveal a groups social cartography, building a mental map will ...

Especially nowadays where video conferencing is so prevalent, you have the perfect occasion to exercise this without anyone seeing you 🙂 Go ahead, learn to observe, and discover the power games within your team. Create a better understanding of the social relationships and the context adopted by others to be able to get inside of their heads, assume their viewpoints and start moving them in the right direction.

Strategic mimicry

Another technique that can help us be more attuned is mimicking. You can mimic speech accents, tone, and patterns, body positions, facial expressions, basically all the behavior patterns of your conversation partner. In fact, without realizing that, we are naturally mimicking already like for example if the person you talk to leans back in his chair, we tent unconsciously to follow and lean back too.

This technique is about observing your partner and bringing awareness of his body position and expression. Then using mimicry strategically to build rapport.
I know, at first, it might sound like “aping” others, but scientist’s view of mimicry is different. To them, this tendency is “deeply human, a natural act that serves as a social glue and a sign of trust”. This gives us unconsciously the feeling that we are in sync with the other, which increases trust.

Here is a simple game to help you be more aware of the body language and the expressions of yourself and your conversation partner.

Exercise: Mirror, Mirror

I just played this nice game with my daughter (11). She loves it. It goes like this.

Me and my dautherplaying the mirror, mirror game
  • You stand facing each other observing for a minute what is the body position and the facial expression of the other person.
  • Then you turn the backs to each other and each of you changes something small.
  • After a minute you face each other again and try to see what the other person has changed. Small things, like the head leans a bit on the side now, or your feet are slightly more apart.

This exercise is fun to do and it trains you to become a better observer so that you can easily focus on the perspective of the other.

As simple as it sounds attunement requires deftness and finding the right balance between being strategic and being human, between when to speak up and when to shut up.

Conclusion

By now, I hope you realize that selling is a crucial skill and that in most cases, it is not related to commercial objectives. It is much more about building relationships based on honesty, directness, and transparency. Sales is about understanding and moving people to action. Following  is a modern definition of sales from Pink’s book I can relate to:

“The ability to influence, to persuade, and to change behavior while striking a balance between what others want and what you can provide them”

Mastering sales and moving others is a transformative experience. It takes you from being a follower to becoming a leader. Although it is not something we can learn overnight, we do have the opportunity to practice it and get a little bit better every day.

To Sell Is Human

Too old to start a business?

If you are over 50 and your job is at stake due to the COVID-19 pandemic then you are most probably very worried about the future. The prospect of having to search for a new job might feel paralyzing, knowing that this will be a very challenging task in the current state of the economy. Not to talk about age discrimination which is, unfortunately, an undeniable fact.

As hopeless and discouraging as this situation might look at first, it can also be a huge kick in the butt to finally set up your own business and start doing the things you always wanted to do.

Middle age is the Ideal age to start your own business

Here is why I think that your age is your biggest advantage in becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Silver startups are more successful

Did you know that the chances of startups run by older entrepreneurs are twice more likely to survive?
Or that the highest rate of entrepreneurship worldwide has shifted to the 55–64 age group? (Source: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor)

This does not strike me as a surprise.

Take a moment to think of all the valuable and diverse experiences and wisdom you have accumulated so far. Think of the extensive network you have garnered over the length of your career. These are the advantages that can set you up perfectly for starting a business.

Our desire to grow and explore does not decrease with age, neither do our productivity and mental capacity. We have all the resources we need to succeed.

Midlife brings you to your purpose

Midlife is the period when we naturally question the choices we’ve made, realize our limitations, and truly come to know who we are. At this age, we are closer to knowing what our purpose in life is and thus, creating a life that has more meaning. By now, you are probably asking yourself, how this relates to starting a business?
Knowing your purpose gives you the framework for defining the right products and services that will make your own business unique, competitive, and valuable.

If finding your purpose sounds like an impossible or vague task, I suggest you get some inspiration from the memoir of Viktor Frankl. He argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.

Easier to get initial investment

Members of the 50+ club have bigger chances of being able to self-fund their business. This is due to accumulated savings or inherited wealth. For this age group, it is also easier to access their retirement funds, thanks to new, more flexible regulations.

Even if this is not your case, in today’s digital economy, you can start an online business with no initial financial investment. Check out, for example, the lucrative affiliate marketing opportunity, where you can choose to promote products and services that reflect your values and interests from the comfort of your home and get paid for performing a valuable business service.

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Conclusion

My intention was to outline some of the advantages of starting a business at an older age. Entrepreneurship is not only a source of income. It is also a very powerful gateway to personal growth, achieving social recognition, and a deep sense of meaning.

I hope your view of the future is a bit brighter and broader now.
In the highly unlikely case that you still think you are too old for embarking on an entrepreneurship adventure, please spend a few moments here for a reality check.

The Power Of Writing

Do you sometimes feel moody or sad and unable to pinpoint the reason? Is it difficult for you to imagine your desired future in vivid detail? Or perhaps, you would like to be able to transform anger into constructive action?

All these and much more can be achieved by the simple act of writing.

Journaling to get in touch with yourself

Intuitively, I have felt the profound power of writing and have been keeping a journal since my student days. This was the time when I started living on my own and had to rely on my own judgment. On the days when I felt uncomfortable and irritated or excited and overwhelmed, I would find a quiet place – that was easy back then without kids 🙂 – and talk to my journal.

I would write whatever came to my mind and for as long as the words kept streaming out of my pen. After that, I felt lighter and calmer with a sense of clarity and direction. This practice is called journaling. Even just 10 minutes are enough to harmonize your mind and emotions.

If you want to start journaling just do it. All you really need is a pen and paper. For more guidance check the advice of Dr. James Pennebaker.

Writing to boost your imagination

Writing is also a perfect way to boost your imagination. This is important because imagining how you want your life to be, is the first step in creating the life you love.

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
― Albert Einstein

Here is a fun writing exercise you can do.

Recall a feel-good, positive memory and write it down. Then rewrite it to be not only positive but perfect, like in your wildest dreams. Let me give you an example.

Here is a memory of mine:

I am having a holiday and for a week I don’t have to waste my time commuting. I have all the freedom to choose how to spend my time. At the end of this week, the feeling of joy and freedom is replaced by nervousness and dread as I face the moment of entering the rat race again. The thought of spending my time on endless, unproductive meetings and commutes instead of on the things that matter to me, makes me unhappy.

Now I will use my imagination to rewrite it. I do that by removing (crossed out) words and adding new (bold) imaginary experiences until it feels perfect.

I am having a holiday and for a week I don’t have to waste my time commuting work. Yet, my work is so interesting that even when I am on a holiday I enjoy focussing on it now and then. I have all the freedom to choose how to spend my time. At the end of this week, the feeling of joy and freedom is replaced by nervousness and dread as I face the moment of entering the rat race again. The thought of spending my time on endless, unproductive meetings and commutes instead of on the things that matter to me, makes me unhappy. In fact, since I have started my own online business, I have all the freedom to choose how I spend my time in general, not only during the holidays. I am really pleased with myself as I reflect on the fact that I dared to stretch myself and create this freedom to live life on my own terms. 

Your unconscious mind can not tell the difference between a real or imagined event. So, by doing this writing exercise you are actually instructing your unconscious on how to support you in achieving your goals. Interesting isn’t it?

Feel like exploring more? This book gives practical guidance on how to harness your unconscious mind.

Write to channel your anger

Writing is also a fantastic way to calm down anger and channel it into productive action. I have taught this simple technique to my daughter and see her regularly applying it.
When she was around 7 years old she used to have difficulty accepting no as an answer. Often she would burst into anger, for something very insignificant, like not being allowed to have another ice cream.
The technique is really simple.

young_manuel13.jpg
Creative Commons: Credit to Manuel Noah Angeja

When her anger tantrum was beginning, I would give her a piece of paper and suggest she draws or describes what she feels. And to my surprise, she would accept my suggestion and stay in her room busy with that paper for quite some time.

She would come out of her room, calm and approachable. I was amazed at how transformational and healing writing was, even at such a young age.

All in all, writing is a very simple and powerful tool to understand and manage yourself better. And who knows, one day you might even discover that you have a talent and the world will be yearning for more of your amazing stories.