How to Network: The Foundation of Influence

Courtesy of Kaboompics

In addition to writing and marketing, I have also worked in entertainment and if there is one thing that I have learned in that experience, it is that networking is everything. Knowing people and collaborating with them not only gives you new opportunities, but it also lays the foundation for future followers.

However, not everyone understands the importance of networking or are too shy to follow through with conversation. That is why we are giving you a few tips on how you can improve your networking skills

1. “You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery, and I promise you something great will come of it.”-Benjamin Mee, “We Bought a Zoo”

 

Courtesy of Kaboompics

When I met Elie Wiesel for the first time, it was because of 20 seconds of insane courage. The goes with meeting people like President Muhammad Nasheed of the Maldives and interviewing Piper Kerman, the author of the book “Orange is the New Black.” If you see someone that you admire or who you have always wanted to work with, 20 seconds is all you need to say “hello” and make a first impression. Don’t let those 20 seconds leaves you in the dust.

Bonus Tip: If you’re really nervous meeting new people, have a go-to friend that will help introduce you and make sure the conversation doesn’t die. Think of “How I Met Your Mother” and Barney’s favorite game “Have…You Met Ted.”

2. Speaking of First Impressions

Always be ready for a good first impression. If you were to see me out, working on these blog posts, you would see me in a nice outfit (normally a nice blouse, heels, and my Lucky Brand jeans that I swear by) with my hair and makeup done. You only ever get one shot at making a first impression and you never know when it might happen. It might be at a conference or it might be at Starbucks in the morning. Always be ready and waiting to make that next, crucial connection.

Bonus Tip: Invest in a conversation piece. With a simple outfit, they grab attention and can start conversations. Mine is a pair of saddle shoes that no one can believe I got from Payless.

3. “Let Me Give You My Card.”

There is nothing more important than making sure that you leave a conversation with a person’s card and they leave with yours. Invest in nice, eye-catching business cards that stand out amongst the 50 other cards people get at conferences. Also, don’t forget to send a quick “Nice Meeting You” email after big events to keep the conversation going.

Bonus Tip: Don’t be afraid to get creative. Horror filmmaker, Lynne Hansen, leaves “I Make Films Like a Girl” buttons at every film festival she attends. By the end of the festival, everyone knows her name.
Courtesy of “I Make Films Like a Girl” Facebook page

4. Have to Go to Conversations Starts

Small talk sometimes is a good way to start a conversation, but are cliché and die off quickly. Prep some interesting topics in your field that will not only make you memorable but will also impress the other side of the conversation. If they think you know what you’re talking about, they will be more likely to come to you in a pinch.

Bonus Tip: Want to speak with the expert from that panel you loved? Don’t be afraid to wait on the edges after to speak one-on-one with them and ask in-depth questions about the topic. It shows your initiative.

 

IN-Spiration: Self-Evolving Must Always Follow Self-Reflection

Yesterday, we explored the importance of self-reflection. Why is it important to regularly examine your life? Today, we will seek inspiration from a 19th-century educator on the importance of constantly be evolving yourself.

“Be yourself, but always your better self.” – Karl G. Maeser

We live in an age where anyone can be anything. Individuality is encouraged. Being innovative can lead you to great success and influence. However, one must also approach this with caution because it can possibly restrict your self-reflection.

How does it do this? Because if you believe the habit is what makes you YOU,  you will be more likely to not change it.

When you develop your own style or way of doing things, it is YOUR’S. You’ll defend it. If you do something that is against the grain of society, you might say it is a part of what makes you unique. You’re a rebel. No rules are good rules. When that leads you to get stuck, though, you need to look into your own habits first. It doesn’t matter if it’s part of your aesthetic. If it doesn’t work, it needs to go.

Let’s look at Netflix, for example. The multi-billion dollar company started as nothing more than a Blockbuster* your could use from your living room. One click of a button and the company would send your favorite movies straight to your mailbox. When they started their streaming service, they tried to separate it from the Netflix name, calling it Qwikster and upping the fee for the service. It backfired on them.

Netflix quickly realized that they couldn’t keep their old way of business and still succeed with Qwikster. They had to completely change. So,  they started offering more streaming under the Netflix name. However, It wasn’t until they completely changed and became a production company in their own right that the company found its true success. Without that transformation, we would never have shows like “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black,” or “Stranger Things.”

Self-reflection, whether in business or your personal life, can only be successful if it leaves to personal evolution. So, take your moment. Breathe and reflect on your life. Then, get to work.

Now, it’s time to decipher Maeser’s quote for yourself. What do you think he means? Is being yourself hinder you from being a better form of yourself? Let us know in the comments below or leave a comment on our Facebook page and Twitter.

What is “In-spiration?” In addition to creating custom content for entrepreneurs, Write Mind Media LLC is dedicated to helping business professionals create inspiring brands.  We help them to become better business professionals and human beings through inspirational quotes, an in-depth look at how these ideas can help you in business, and developing weekly challenges to push our readers to do better.

*Blockbuster, in case you are too young to remember, was a video rental store that was extremely popular in the 90’s, but died out in the early 2000’s. At least 10 are still open in the United States today.

Motivational Monday: Channeling the Light of Maya Angelou

Today’s motivation comes from the life of a favorite poet of mine: Maya Angelou.

About Angelou’s Life

While she is known for her book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” she was also known as a singer, actor, director, and civil rights advocate. In fact, she was a good friend to civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr.

Most importantly, she was a spiritual leader to many through her words and no-nonsense attitude. She forbade curse words in her home due to the power the words could have. Leaders of peace like Nelson Mandela and President Barack Obama called her a friend. She was truly a “phenomenal woman” as she described in her popular poem.

Photo Courtesy of Maya Angelou’s Facebook Page

Angelou had a difficult childhood, having been sexually assaulted at the age of eight and being mute for several years after the incident. Even then, she knew that her words held the power to change the world. Eventually, she would pen the story for “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”  The memoir would be what took her from a famous entertainer and activist to a global icon.

What We Can Learn From Maya Angelou

This week, we are focusing on becoming your own inspiration, to use your life as an example of perseverance and success. There are very few people that personify this ideal than Maya Angelou who faced adversity from so many fronts throughout her life as an African American woman.

Even though she has passed on, I doubt that her words will ever be forgotten. They are not unlike the words of Elie Wiesel, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, or Malala Yousafzai. They serve as a testament to a life lived. She learned from her experience, reflected on it, and allowed those lessons to make her a better human being.

As an entrepreneur and as an influencer, you must learn from your own life experiences. What would make your life easier? Think of what inspires you, makes you happy or sad. If YOU don’t ask the questions…someone else will and they will be the ones that inspire the world.

So, follow Maya Angelou’s advice.  “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” Find your light so you may inspire others to do the same.

IN-Spiration: Examining Life and How You Can Start to Thrive

It’s almost been a month on this blog! Can you believe it? Throughout our first month, we have explored how failing can lead to greater success, the power of giving back, and how creativity can revitalize your work environment. Now, we want to focus on the most important part of being an influencer: YOU!

To kick off the week, we are getting IN-Spired to self-reflect with Socrates.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” 
― Socrates

What does it mean to examine life? Is looking at which habits work and don’t work in your life? Could it be meditating on your place in the universe? Perhaps it’s cleaning up your social media page?

This quote brings up hundreds of questions. However, the core of Socrates’s statement is simple. If you don’t reflect on your life then it’s all for nothing.

Millions of people around the world work hard to survive, to earn just enough to build a safe life. They don’t dare to fail. There’s no jumping outside the box. It’s just existence.

That’s not living.

Life is meant to be explored and understood. If we didn’t reflect on why we were here or how we can make the world better then what is the point of humanity? What’s the point of consciousness?

Okay, that got very deep. Most people are not philosophers. The same, though, can be applied to everyday life. Examine why you want the new job or if the person you’re with actually makes you happy. If you don’t take the time to ask yourself these questions, then you might not be living your life to the fullest. You’re just existing.

Don’t exist. Live. Thive. Examine Life.

Now, it’s time to examine Socrates’s words for yourself. What do you think? How does examining life effect your life? Let us know in our comments below or on our Facebook page.

What is “In-spiration?” In addition to creating custom content for entrepreneurs, Write Mind Media LLC is dedicated to helping business professionals create inspiring brands.  We help them to become better business professionals and human beings through inspirational quotes, an in-depth look at how these ideas can help you in business, and developing weekly challenges to push our readers to do better.

Motivational Monday: John Lasseter and the $7 Billion “No”

I LOVE Disney. Since its inception in 1923, the Walt Disney Company has prided itself on being the forefront of entertainment. However, as much as I love Disney, I will admit that there have been moments when it made mistakes that would set the company back as an innovator. My favorite mistake centers around Pixar and its founder John Lasseter.

I call it the $7.4 billion no.

Early Career

Photo courtesy of IMDB.com

John Lasseter used to be a Disney animator, living his dream job. In fact, some of his early career projects include “The Fox and the Hound” (1981), “The Black Cauldron” (1985), and “The Brave Little Toaster” (1987). Lasseter first introduced the idea of using computer animation in Disney movies while he was still an animator for the company. Unfortunately, Disney Animation shut the idea down. Using computer software for the arts was still a very new concept, brought on the crest of the computer wave that was hitting the world through Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

Lasseter persisted, but his persistence and the deep dive of revenue for Disney Animation force Lasseter out of Disney animation and over to Lucas films. The company had revolutionized the use of computer special effects. Not long after though, George Lucas’s divorce and several box office bombs pushed Lucas to sell the division to no other than Steve Jobs.

Pixar Animation

Pixar worked mainly with Image Computers when Jobs first reimagined it. The computers did not sell well. John Lasseter, making short demos with the computers, saw this as a chance. He took his demo character, the now famous Luxo Jr., to a large computer conference. The Pixar Animation Company was born with great success.

While the computer sales continued to decline, the animation department continued to thrive. Eventually, it caught the eye of Disney Animation. In 1991, the two companies made a $23 million deal to produce three computer-animated features with Pixar. The first was a little movie known as “Toy Story.”

The Success

Disney and Pixar would continue to grow their relationship, many times butting heads over creative control. In 2006, though a deal was struck. Disney became the majority shareholder of Pixar for $7.4 billion, catapulting Steve Jobs to the largest shareholder on Disney’s board of directors (7%) and promoting John Lasseter to CCO of Pixar and Disney Animation.

To this day, Pixar has not had a movie that didn’t premiere number 1 their opening weekend. Lasseter revolutionized animation, much like Walt Disney did in the 20’s with “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.” It is his persistence and innovation that ensured Lasseter’s success. He continued to persevere despite the constant failure and disappoint in his early career. This makes him a master “influencer.”

And, to think, Disney could have saved billions if they had just said “yes” when Lasseter was still a young animator.

 

IN-spiration Challenge: Dare to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

We did it! The first week of Write Mind Media’s blog is all wrapped up.

Was it stressful? Yes.

Were there moments where I wondered what I was doing? Of course.

Were there technical difficulties? YEP!

However, here we are. We made it, but the end of the week can mean only one thing…. Our first In-Spiration Challenge!

All this week, our in-spiration posts have possessed a similar theme.

We want you to dare.

Each quote dared you to…

-Fail and struggle.

-Shake the world.

-Help others.

-Do the hard things.

This weekend, we want you to take this inspiration a step further. We want you to take a step out of your comfort zone and DARE. The most successful people in history are the ones who dared to be uncomfortable and struggle because they knew that their vision would be worth it in the end.

Talk to someone you don’t know. Start some crazy new business venture. It could even be as simple as taking a left instead of a right on your way to work. Just have fun with it.

Then, when the weekend is over, TELL US ABOUT IT! Go to our Facebook page, our Instagram, or comment down below and tell us how you dared this weekend. And don’t forget to keep an eye on our blog next week for more in-spiration and our next in-spiration challenge.

Our In-spiration Challenges are meant to push the limits of our followers so they can inspire themselves as entrepreneurs and human beings.

What is “In-spiration?” In addition to creating custom content for entrepreneurs, Write Mind Media LLC is dedicated to helping business professionals create inspiring brands.  We help them to become better business professionals and human beings through inspirational quotes, an in-depth look at how these ideas can help you in business, and developing weekly challenges to push our readers to do better.

 

 

In-Spire Yourself: Dare to Do What is Hard, Not What is Easy

Today’s IN-Spiration comes from one of the most beloved presidents of US history when he dared our country to think bigger. It also happens to be one of my favorite quotes from an American president.

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard…”

John F. Kennedy

This quote helped jumpstart American exploration of space and, eventually, inspired men to walk on the face of the moon.  This was a feat that now human had ever fathomed before and instigated a new generation of dreamers.

However, that is not why this is my favorite quotes.

The reason I love this quote is because simply reading it dares you to do better, be better. Every successful brand or entrepreneur in history faced adversity. They struggled to convince others that their ideas were worth something…, but they continued to persist.

No worth-wild idea is easy. If It was then everyone would have a successful brand. The point of doing something hard is to give that idea worth.

Let me say that again…the struggle is what gives your idea worth. It can face the trenches and come out alive. It can push through boundaries no one has ever broken.

Today, so many people expect life to be easy. Maybe it’s because our parents make us think that we’re special by giving us participation trophies. Perhaps it’s the instant gratification we experience with social media and online shopping. We have expected things to be easy.

We’re are challenging you to struggle. Go on a road trip without a map or a plan. Start a new marketing campaign with only the faintest of ideas. Jump out of the plane without the parachute.

Okay, don’t literally do that last one, but you get the idea.

Choose to go to the moon and do the other things. They WILL be hard, but who said making history was ever easy?

Now, what do you think? What does this quote inspire in you and how can you apply it to your business endeavors?

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What is “In-spiration?” In addition to creating custom content for entrepreneurs, Write Mind Media LLC is dedicated to helping business professionals create inspiring brands.  We help them to become better business professionals and human beings through inspirational quotes, an in-depth look at how these ideas can help you in business, and developing weekly challenges to push our readers to do better.

Inspired Trends: Minimalism Mean Less is More

It’s Thursday which means today we are focusing on trends in marketing, design, and brands. Today we’re going to focus on…minimalism.

You might have noticed that our website possesses a rather simple, sparse design similar to brands like Apple.  That is because we are following the minimalist design trend that is sweeping the world.

You can spy minimalist influences everywhere from logos to Ikea furniture to the growing tiny house movement. Everyone, particularly millennials, is drawn to this design because of its elegant simplicity and clean imagery.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska / Kaboompics

What is Minimalist Design?

A minimalist design can be identified by its straight, clean lines, single-shade color balance, and a play with space. In incorporates a lot of whites and blacks with hints of colors such as rich greens, bold reds, and glimmering golds. It lends itself to natural elements that pop and make the design come alive.

These designs are easy to navigate and don’t require a lot of flash to be eye catching. It’s simplicity also allows designers the opportunity to find new ways to be creative with interesting texts or accent pieces.

Minimalist Design and Minimalist Lifestyle

Minimalist design finds inspiration in the minimalist lifestyle. The lifestyle believes that one can live a more fulfilling life by having fewer possessions. Instead of spending money on materialistic things, you have more money to spend on experiences such as travel or hanging out with your loved ones.

Perhaps that is what is so attractive about minimalist design. The empty spaces hint at the idea that there is something more behind the product. For example, your product on a crisp, white background not only has it front and center, but the simplicity of the image suggests that there doesn’t need to be anything. Your product is THAT good. It speaks for itself.

So, next time you are designing your marketing campaign or developing your logo, keep this trend in the back of your mind. With its timeless elegance, minimalism does not appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.

In-spire Yourself: Raise the Future of Your Industry

While you’re aiming higher, don’t forget to look down. You never know who needs your help. 

Audrey Hepburn was an icon of film, fashion, and human rights. For today’s “In-spiration,” we focus on a quote that I believe perfectly encompasses her legacy.

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”

Contacts have been cultivated. Funds have been raised. Experience has been…you get the idea. You are already successful.

Now, it’s time to spread the love.

Imagine where you would be without someone showing you the way or answered your cry for help.

You are only as good as the people you help up along the way. Become a mentor. Hire the passionate intern for a paid project. Write a blog. It’s never been easier to share your skills and wisdom.

So many people are starting out on their own with small businesses. They need people like you to help them along the way. Then, when they are as successful as you are today, they will be thanking you for everything they’ve achieved. This is means you’ve done something to secure the future of your industry and made the world a little better.

What are you waiting for? Reach new heights, but don’t forget to lend a hand to help someone else climb higher. Find someone who needs your help TODAY.

Don’t know anyone, but want to start sharing your knowledge? Start a blog or use social media to start lending a hand today.

Now, what do you think? What does this quote inspire in you and how can you apply it to your business endeavors? Do you have anyone who  needs your help to climb higher?

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What is “In-spiration?” In addition to creating custom content for entrepreneurs, Write Mind Media LLC is dedicated to helping business professionals create inspiring brands.  We help them to become better business professionals and human beings through inspirational quotes, an in-depth look at how these ideas can help you in business, and developing weekly challenges to push our readers to do better. 

In-spire Yourself: Dare to Shake the World

Do you have what it takes to shake the world? We think so.

We’re channeling Mahatma Gandhi for today’s “In-spiration.”

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

It is astounding how everything we do can have an astronomical effect. Whether it only affects our lives or the whole world, it doesn’t matter. It has an effect that will ripple through the world before you know it. 

Perhaps you have been struggling with an idea. You don’t think it’s worth the time, the effort, or the money. How do you know? Think you can’t influence the world. Why don’t you find out? 

You can shake the world. Your idea can change something. Maybe it’ll change the way someone peels a potato or how a whole country is run. 

The point of this post is to make you wonder about the effect your business can have in someone’s life. If you still don’t think that it can have an effect, then ask yourself why. Why doesn’t it matter? Because your mom says you should have a steady job? A classmate said you wouldn’t succeed in anything?

Just by taking the step towards your dream business and sharing it with your audience, you are shaking the world.  The world might just seem small at first.

One of my favorite phrases is “A pebble can start an avalanche.” It means that a little idea can knock into another little idea. Eventually, it can hit a slightly larger rock and a larger one after that. Soon enough, you have people flocking to use your service or buy your product. 

So, what are you waiting for? Start shaking the world.

Now, what do you think? What does this quote inspire in you and how can you apply it to your business endeavors? 

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What is “In-spiration?” In addition to creating custom content for entrepreneurs, Write Mind Media LLC is dedicated to helping business professionals create inspiring brands.  We help them to become better business professionals and human beings through inspirational quotes, an in-depth look at how these ideas can help you in business, and developing weekly challenges to push our readers to do better.