Tuesday 20 February 2018

Make Your Own Lane: Stretch. Expand. Move Against Inertia

We always feel safe belonging, conforming, remaining in our comfort zones, following the beaten path, even if the only place it is leading to is called “Nowhere”

I was comfortable in my job of 11 years. I quit.

The mind stretch seemed helpful as I ventured out to dig the digital more than I did before.

I was comfortable working for multiple clients from the comfort of my home for over a year with full control on my time. I changed gears again.

I decided to pick up large or ongoing assignments with teams after training them who had no experience or corporate background to deliver in the global market.

Thinking takes time. I did that part of the assignment and I let the team do the non-thinking components

I was comfortable with teams now as they were trained and aligned to clients. It was time for cerebral stimulation and challenge again. I had to elevate the doers to thinkers now. That evolution is an Herculean task.

This change is very much a part of BECKON Aspirants journey to be a BECKON Coach (Thinker)

I was comfortable with over 80 Clients; 12 virtual team members; 100% positive feedback; 40% repeat business, 6% World Domination, over 150 blogs, a combination of around 20 products and services with marketing and client acquisition Costs being zero. Now again I decided to let other projects gather momentum.

2018 Focus Area:

White Papers on Future of Work and Crypto currencies in India
Launch of a pet project in hospitality industry 
Plan a pet project in entertainment industry

To stand out, to be different, to let go off comfort zone, status quo has to be challenged that may affect your socialization, you may need support
from like minded members who have been there and done that.

It could be a community with a strong value system to lead you to your outcomes or a coach/ mentor who can motivate you to be a better version of yourself.

You need to be ready for that change though. No point attempting change, clinging to old belief system.

Each time I challenged my comfort zone, I first mentally prepared myself.

Power of Habit
I have a BECKON Aspirant who claims again and again, almost in every session that she is working very hard and yet she is not getting an order from client.

It is easy to identify the concerns:
3 - 4 hours in the whole week instead of 40/50 hours.
Working against age old habits which is the toughest part of learning
The natural thought pattern towards earning before learning
The fundamental piece of a learning community is to create a new comfort zone to allow the learners deal with the following more effectively:

Share Economy - Just skill and will is not really enough here, intention and impact are the real game changers that differentiates you from the rest 
Trust Economy - Be worthy of it. You are and you become what you repeatedly do. 
Your credibility depends on what you repeatedly do - Are you late? Do you forget? Do you lie? Do you give excuses? Do you repeat mistakes? Do you blame? Do you respect other's time?
Global First Mindset - If you think you are good enough for the local company, can address the issues of your neighbor - that will not serve long term purpose. You should constantly be able to absorb cultural trends and traditions from around the world and then create a road map regarding how you can use your skills and company's services to make an impact on the environment or business ecosystem
 Outsource "Thinking"

How can you depend on others to think for you? 

You are not expected to be a Think Tank, however to pause, reflect, think, being proactive regarding how to better yourself, how to adhere to the learning road map, how to stretch and do more that is measurable is completely your ownership.

What You Share

What you share with community and followers tells the world who you are.

Be mindful of the ideas and insights you exchange - Is it self centric?
Will they help them grow?
Is it aligned to the mission?
Will this democratize inspiration?
Is this accessible and beneficial to all?

Ask yourself

Are you a taker in giver's clothes?

Are you networking and talking to people only to get more out of them

Give, before you seek. Create abundance mindset

Take Up The Challenge

It is not enough just to rope them in who you have known for years – who has trusted you in the past and will always do in future. The idea is to inspire people who you may not know or who don't think like you - Inspire to uplift their status.

This leads to the fundamental question:

How will you respond to a client you cannot work for?

How will you say "No"?

In marketing campaigns we talk about  walk ins and foot falls. In the digital world it is the same story with eyeballs.

Understand the key sectors of the economy that you can influence with your skills. If you have no idea, try and deep dive, read, learn, talk or write to experts
Learn more about globalization and Industry 4.0/exponential technologies.
It is important to remember, one walk in or eye ball that does not get converted towards measurable outcomes (revenue) is increasing your customer acquisition cost.
A New Trend - The whole brainer
He is done with Engineering, then MBA, worked as Investment Consultant and now is a stand up comedian.

He is with corporate for 15 years handling data security and is now exploring music.

Will this be possible without stretching beyond one's comfort zone?

If you have the time to pursue degrees and certificate programs, it is your call. You have to however find time to build more skills
Industry 4.0 is gathering force, and if you carefully observe and predict expected changes, you have to develop skills and strategies to take advantage of these opportunities.
Are you stretching enough or still whining? Join the BECKON Learning Community to stretch your thinking horizons

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Make Your Own Lane: You Have Many Skills. Yet, You Are Still Without Clients/ Work

I know that can be really confusing.
You know you have many skills. In fact you have those skills that are very much in demand today. You were good in your previous job due to those skills. You were promoted, appreciated, recognized for those very skills. Ideally, deep inside your heart you believe - you should be an asset for the company/ client who hires you.
Only after you speak to the interviewer (HR or business or prospect) you feel a sense of inadequacy.
You answered them well. You have a gut feeling you could not make it even before you get the actual rejection.
I faced a similar situation a few years back. I did not understand it back then
I was perfect for the role. I fit the bill. My interview went well. Yet I was not hired.
The only time I found the interviewer rubbing his chin was when I said apart from my primary role as a Transition Manager, I also facilitate leadership training when L&D team sends me an invitation. I tremendously enjoy that experience nurturing young leaders.
**My reason to add that bit of trivia was if sales team cannot win deals and I do not have client business in the pipeline to migrate to our premises, I am likely to tie up with your training team too. The subtle message was – Don’t you dare give me anything else (Just kidding!)**
The interviewer actually muttered – Transition and training are very different skill sets.
Now the following piece is for those who are reading this blog
I wrote books
I managed teams, operations and businesses
I invested in real estate after thorough research and negotiation
I sold electronic type writers, printers, photo copiers, dress material, books
All that I underlined here are skills.
Probable conclusions the interviewer must have made:
Jack of all trades, master of noneNot focusedNot passionate about transitionPossible threat who can quit anytimeShe just might permanently move to L&D
Your value in the job market is determined by the skills you have - provided you know how to highlight them keeping your target audience in view.
You have many skills and no income - That will be a thing of the past soon.
The good news is - that perception is changing and it is changing fast.
When mindsets, HR algorithms, distorted perspectives, prevailing trends can ruin your career - do not make that the reality of your life.
If you know how to trade your skills to multiple entities, where to trade them and most importantly, who would you trade your skills to - you will know your true worth.
Your multi-potentiality should be tapped
You have hybrid skill set
You are a whole brainer. Yes you can work on a Mathematics problems and your can write poetry. 
Image Credit: Canva Design

Styles of communication
There is a way the leaders (Interviewer) of the whole industry perceive a certain statement – their exposure, their environment and their education system builds that faith -That is not in your control.
What is in your control is how you communicate – as you pitch your multiple skills, just add the benefits - What is in for them.

I did not know it back then. Now I do.
It is a wide range of skills that get me repeat clients today - Research, Business planning, one on one coaching, website content development, virtual assistance with social media strategy - Each one of these are skills I offer as service. 
If there is a particular skill that a client wants and I do not have, I quickly check who in my virtual team can support me on that. 
(The virtual team is trained through a booklet and SKYPE session how to cater to global clients either independently on their own or by engaging with my projects. This arrangement will soon see day light as a soft ware)
Meanwhile, keep honing your skills. Join BECKON Learning Community for peer support.

Thursday 1 February 2018

Make Your Own Lane: Choose Who You Want To Work With

It is your choice if you want to handpick the kind of clients you want to work with, knowing that the project will add value to your experience, learning and earnings or be at the mercy of clients who would choose to work with you.

Take Control

What may apparently seem like a great project may actually turn miserable, time consuming that lead to huge waste of bandwidth and unnecessary stress in the following cases: 

If the project owner (The client) is in control of everything
Looking to pay cheap or pick your brain for free. 
Asking for samples to gauge your competence while you have dozens of client testimonials that speak volumes about your good work

Ask yourself

How can a pitch deck or presentation or business plan sample of Real Estate industry tell the prospect how good you can do something similar for a company that deals with dairy products in a different geography altogether?

Turn the table

Clients who genuinely want good work on professional terms are open to suggestions and will never compromise on quality of work.

I have worked with clients who did not have the budget or who could not afford to pay my charges end to end, so they got a small part done by me to suit their budget and also build the required relationship quotient for future needs.

Top Four Tips – Client / Project Evaluation Prior To Engagement

I Timelines

If someone is asking for a business plan within 24 hours, isn’t that a huge hint about the client’s sensibility and sensitivity quotient?

a)   He is not even bothered about how you will deliver it.
b)   He is expecting you, though unspoken, to abandon all work you are currently doing for other clients and prioritize his assignment
c)   Even worse, if he is willing to pay more for this turn around – He actually believes there are people who will commit the impossible for a few dollars. He probably does this based on this past interaction with other freelancers who were willing.

II Take Charge

Do not give the power in someone else’s hands – You not only refuse such assignments upfront, you rationalize your decision of doing so by educating the client about the probable consequences of a quick TAT: 
a)   The project will be under researched.
b)   It affects buyer’s credibility to deliver such below standard work to an intelligent target audience.
c)   The client needs to use his best people skills to negotiate timelines with his audience instead of trying to negotiate turn around time with you.

Client is likely to value your work and perspectives, if what you say actually activates his thinking cell about how his decision to insist on incredible TAT can affect his end business outcomes.

III Try Paid Sample

It will be misleading to proceed with this assumption that all buyers on freelancing portals are low paying clients. There are many who are just being cautious due to past experiences or lack of domain knowledge or judgment to assess the right freelancer for their work. As a precautionary measure, they can give you small assignment before they let you do the big project
Do not be in that race to test who charges the lowest fees.
Do propose to do a quick paid assignment to be on the same page regarding quality work, timelines, competence.
Ask yourself again
Why do they need samples of other business, if you are willing to give them a paid sample for their own business?
IV Bid or Pitch
Bids are for newbies – who are new to online income, new to freelancing portals and new to the whole concept of trading skills.

Once you have a rough idea of what niche skills you have, where it fits in best, who is willing to pay for that, you know where to pitch instead of being limited to freelancing portals. Pitch is the fastest way to build an enterprise of your own,

Freelance marketplaces is your practice pad, a starting point and that is it. It is not your end all future. It is just one of the avenues/ revenue streams/ income options.
Try twitter platform to pitch your skills and drop a comment about  your experience for peer support
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