A few years ago I was working as an executive in a company when a friend approached me to start a tech company together. Excited, I rolled up my sleeves and jumped right in. A few months later we raised $700,000 from investors! “This can’t be real!”, I jumped with sheer joy and immediately quit my job. Little did I know that same day I will also be kicked out of the business.
I was left with No Salary, No Startup and No Investment.
OMG the downhill spiral! How could this happen to me??
I needed to reinvent myself quick!
Since then I started a tech company, sold it, became an investor, board and advisor to companies, paid keynote speaker, and contributor in Forbes on business.
I swore that I will do everything I can to help other driven and capable individuals figure out ‘What’s next’ for them, avoid feeling stuck in their jobs and take their career leap.
I’ve put together content from my 25 years of experience together with dozens of others I’ve helped, into a 60-day online course called #CareerLeap. #CareerLeap has helped individuals leap to leadership, substantially increase their salary, start a business or a side-hustle, build reputation as thought leaders and allowed them to create the impact and lifestyle they wanted for themselves and their families.
If this is you - book a free chat with me to assess if this is the right online course for you.
In any case I hope you find this information helpful.
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WHAT BRAND ARE YOU BUILDING?
The hardest part for most individuals is to decide ‘What do I want to be known for?”.
If you already had your share of experiences in various jobs, there are probably many things you could be doing, many topics you could be teaching, speaking, blogging, various audiences your message is relevant for etc.
#CareerLeap introduces the MASTER technique, goes through the process of choosing your MVE (Minimum Viable Experiment) and your next career step. This includes finding your ‘zone of genius’ and your strengths, refining your message, defining your audience, reputation vehicles (ways you can build a brand with your audience), potential income stream (side hustle or a full-time business) and more.
So, for now, I’ll assume you know where you are heading in your career and you know what brand you want to build for the sake of this exercise, but you can also write down a few options for each of the chapters.
This can also help you assess which topics are better fit for you, what you know, the types of audiences you want to interact with and what you love.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE KNOWN FOR?
If you visualize yourself in 1-2 years from now, what does success look like? If you didn’t have any constraints what would you be doing in the next year or two? When people talk about you behind your back – what do you want them to know or say about you? These are some of the questions you can ask yourself when thinking about ‘What do I want to be known for?” Don’t think too long term since this will probably change, so focus on a year or two.
Obviously, this needs to be a topic you love, naturally curious about and have insights and know-how to share with the world.
Think also about:
- Who are you helping? Who is your audience?
- Why do they need you? What’s their current pain?
- How can you help?
- What will they gain from your help? How can you change their lives for the better?
Write your future-title and mission (as if you are 1-2 years into your future). What does it look like?
This is what this looks like for me:
I help professionals who feel stuck in their job or feel they want to do more, reinvent their career in 60 days, so they can leap to leadership or start a business, building a reputation in their field and creating the impact, growth, pay and lifestyle they want & deserve.
I help _________________ Do ____________________________ so that they ________________________
Now that we have your brand topic, audience and mission – lets see how you can build your reputation and gain potential income stream.
BRAND BUILDERS WITH POTENTIAL INCOME STREAM
I never tried to seriously blog or make money out of blogging.
I usually write on LinkedIn, Medium and now was invited to write for Forbes on Business. The writing did bring me a significant following with the audience I was aiming for and provided a great way to elevate myself.
For example, when I wanted to start getting paid to speak and didn’t have past videos and testimonials, I included a few article-links that were relevant to my topic and audience. Seeing those articles especially if they went somewhat viral, built my reputation and presented me as a thought leader.
You don’t need to blog a lot, but it needs to be professional and along your key message.
Those who blog consistently monetize in a few ways:
Affiliate links – you generate high quality content, drive traffic to your blog and let the affiliate links generate revenue stream
Freebies – In most domains you can get free stuff for blogging if you have a following. For example, many of my travel-blogging pals are invited all over the world to blog about certain places, hotels, resorts and more. There are conferences who will let significant bloggers in for free while charging founders and business owners etc.
Ads and popups can generate money but, I believe, they also drive readers away so although this was the way to monetize blogs a few years ago, I would minimize this if you are blogging also for reputation.
What could you blog about?
What platforms would you use for your blog? (where is your desired audience?)
Speaking can be live or virtual, solo or as part of a panel, main-stage keynote on a specific topic or more motivating and inspiring, conducting a workshop or training etc. Speaking can be done in conferences, corporates, schools, churches and Ted/TedX events depends on your need, audience and goal.
Main-stage Keynotes are usually the only type of speaking that can generate money, but I found that speaking, even for free, is an incredible platform, builds reputation fast and helps you make strides towards becoming a brand.
Let’s face it, speaking on stage immediately puts you in a spotlight. Whether you are sharing your stories and tips with tens, hundreds or thousands of participants – this is power!
In #CareerLeap online course there is an entire section dedicated to reputation vehicles touching also how to get paid to speak, how much you should charge and how to land speaking engagements. What type of venues and events are more likely to pay vs others, who will for sure want you to speak for free such as Ted, etc.
But, if desired, doing this right can relatively easily become a 4-5 figure deal per hour of talk!
If you want to get paid to speak and it's one of your goals certainly reach out and see if you qualify for #CareerLeap.
But starting with volunteering to appear in various events as a speaker will immediately build you as a thought leader in your field, give you social proof and open opportunities.
What would you like to speak about?
Which venues and events will be the best fit?
MENTORING & COACHING
When mentoring or coaching you basically help people improve their lives, careers, businesses, relationships or health by bringing your skills and expertise to bridge a gap between where they are at and where they want to be.
You can choose to work with clients one-on-one or in groups, face-to-face or virtual. By mentoring or coaching you essentially position yourself as someone who has skills that other need.
When coaching you will usually charge a fee.
Mentoring is, many times, used in the tech world when helping startups or startup-accelerators. They won’t pay but build your expertise and to some extent your brand.
When I wanted to get into investment, I decided to volunteer to help mentor in startup- accelerators. I learned a lot by just hearing the founder’s questions, dilemmas and other mentors’ tips and answer. Soon enough, I found myself mentoring in some of the biggest accelerators in the world such as Google and Singularity and was invited to the biggest startup show cases (demo days) in Silicon Valley such as YCombinator, 500 Startups and more.
Even if there is no money involved mentoring can help:
Understand if this is an area you want to grow into and learn more about (part of the #CareerLeap is MVE – our minimum viable experiment for your career).
Great learning opportunity in a fast-pace hands-on environment where you will learn exactly what you need to know to proceed into this direction as next step.
Gain experience in a domain you may want to be known for
Build reputation as someone knowledgeable in a certain domain and start gathering social proof by gathering (and sharing) these experiences.
As a coach, you will take this a step further and charge for your time and experience. I was never a coach but know that in some verticals they’ll expect you to study before becoming a coach but in many cases, you can still volunteer as a first step, gain experience and reputation and monetize later.
In the startup world, they’ll sometimes refer to this role as an advisor and award individuals with a small equity for their time.
What are some of the topics you can/want to coach/mentor/advise?
What would be your ideal coaching environment and audience?
CREATING AN ONLINE COURSE
Here you can take the same framework you are known for but instead of small 1-1 coaching or small group environments, you can scale to an online course.
Even if you go this route, I highly recommend starting with a small group coaching (can be Zoom or any other video platform based) to understand your ‘audience’ better, who and how much they’ll pay, the type of results they can expect to achieve and based on this, create an accurate and truly transformative course. This will also help you gain some testimonials and adjust your techniques to gain traction for your course.
Getting traction for a course and getting people to pay isn’t simple. From collaboration with affiliates, social media, ads, SEO, blogs, speaking opportunities and many other traction methods I discuss in #CareerLeap so you need to take this into account. Word of mouth can seriously help if your course is exceptional, so results are key!
Courses vary in price significantly.
From simple courses on Coursera or Udemy which will usually be relatively cheap $10-$50 to premium courses, usually much more elaborated, high quality and longer term like a short school on platforms such as Teachable. Those can be priced at $900-$2000 and more.
#CareerLeap falls into this premium category since it’s a transformational process which takes 60 days of content+actions= results. So, depends on your expertise, your audience, the potential results and how much effort you want to put into your course, this could be a good income stream.
Some use online courses as a way to drive traffic into their social media following, grow their email lists or simply build reputation in certain domains. These will be much shorter trainings like an hour webinar or audio/video training of certain topics. Some even create teleseminars which are basically virtual conferences on certain topics. These can vary from a handful of participants to hundreds depends on the topic, price and more.
How to choose which method is right for you?
First of all, it will be based on your audience and topic.
If you want to talk about “Getting great abs for summer” targeting millennials – this should probably be a low-priced course, millennials can afford and relevant for only a few weeks before summer. But then you can view it as a funnel giving it for free and directing your audience to your site or services.
For example, you could create a few videos building your reputation in the sports/weight watch domain and use them to bring people into your site. Once they are there, you can make your money through personal training, a book, youtube videos ads, free stuff people send you to check their sport related products etc.
So, it also depends on how you want to monetize your framework.
In #CareerLeap I wanted to create a transformation in people and I can achieve that only if an individual is truly committed and wants to invest in themselves. From my experience free stuff will go to the inbox and no one will have time for them, at least not more than a few minutes. When you spent premium dollars for a course, you are committed and motivated to make it work, driving you to really dedicate time and take action. When you take action with the right method and content - you will see results.
In my case I wanted professionals to truly think deep about their strengths, wins, accomplishments, new story, reputation vehicles and more. I needed people to dedicate a few hours each week to drive themselves forward and without premium it simply won’t happen.
So, think what’s right for you, your audience and your framework.
What are some of the topics you can and want to create an online course for?
What format would best suit you, your audience and topic? (Video, audio, webinar, free and short, low price point, premium online course)
Freelancer is a self-employed person that isn't committed to one employer. They provide services in certain domains: photographer, event planner, web designer, content writer, social media, personal trainer and more.
In an era of “gig economy” with great sites like Fiverr and Upwork, it became extremely popular for small businesses, corporates and entrepreneurs to approach freelancers and use their skills to offload certain work.
For freelancers this means they can gain experience and expertise in many domains and with many clients even if they never had any formal education or career experience in the space previously. They will work on multiple projects and probably with multiple clients at the same time. This also means they can take as much work as they can and want to deliver and they can work from anywhere and in any time of day as long as they are done on time and produce high quality.
Some advantages of Freelancing:
Work from anywhere and flexible hours
Small tasks that are usually easier to deliver with success (no feature creep risk)
A great way to try a new skill or get experience in a domain you want to pursue. This is also a terrific way to build repertoire if you need to demonstrate examples of your work on your website, resume etc. (and get paid for it)
Any expertise gaps that you can close via freelancing?
What freelancing services could you provide if needed?
Landing media coverage is one of the fastest reputation builders and, in most cases, the best return on investment.
Media is a broad space these days. There is the old fashion TV and Magazines outlets, but the new-age media is much broader.
From various smaller outlets (Such as Medium, LinkedIn, Blogs etc), social media influencers with a big following, youtube, podcasts and more. All of them need unique and interesting content. If you can provide a compelling story that is very relevant to what they may be looking for – they would like to interview you, have you in their podcast, panel, article etc. All you then need to do is make sure to publish the interview on your own social media channels and website to gain more followers.
Worth also setting expectations: even in popular media outlets the sheer number of publications a day make it almost impossible to grab people's attention. Press-releases for in order to drive traffic will rarely prove itself worth it. What the publicity will do is give credibility and a tool you can use to build reputation and brand.
As an example my media page is https://www.ilanagolan.com/media
How do you get media attention?
Personalize your pitch – there is no ‘one fits all’. Read the publication, what does the editor/interviewer care about? What stories do they like to have or what are they missing? Make your reach compelling.
Think win win – the media has their own needs: They need more followers, unique stories that will drive traffic to their site, possible looking for potential partners etc. What can you provide to help them not just sell yourself?
Think different – How can you differentiate yourself from the hundreds of cold calls they are getting? Get a warm intro? Try to speak in a similar event and meet them personally? Think of unique ways to raise above the noise.
Which media outlets can make the most difference for you and why ?
Which media can be low hanging fruit for you?
WRITING A BOOK
Ok, this one, if done right, does take more time than most of the other points here but it can certainly leap your brand. Becoming an author is a pretty immediate brand recognition.
What it does not guarantee – is income.
Some authors make a good amount, but most can’t make a living from their book. They need to ‘use the book’ as a reputation vehicle to land more speaking gigs, more media coverage, sell a service etc. They can sometimes justify the higher speaking honorarium by providing books to the audience or have an opportunity to upsell at an event by announcing the book and signing the book for those purchasing it on the spot. Some will give away their book to those who sign up for the online course.
Bottomline, the combination of these reputation vehicles can create a brand plus income if done right.
I hope this was useful! Write me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org
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