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8 brand building tips + Mastermind May 25

Did you know? This month our mastermind will be focusing on tips to build your brand and amplify your reach and voice! 


Source: Entrepreneur Magazine 

1. Be visible and accessible.

You can’t hide in your office behind your computer and expect to build a personal brand. You need to get out and make yourself visible and accessible. Attend industry conferences, even if it’s just to network and socialize. Make your social media profiles open to the public and allow incoming messages. Hold live video Q&A sessions on social media and interact with your followers. The more visible and accessible you make yourself, the stronger your personal brand.

Related: 5 Steps to Build Your Personal Brand

2. Show the real you on social media.

Don’t use social media as a 100 percent marketing channel. It’s fine to throw an offer out there or promote your company occasionally, but focus on showing the real you. If you come across as a robot or unauthentic you will push people away. Consumers love to see the other side — what you do on the weekends, where you eat, what your hobbies and interests are, etc. This makes you appear more human, which attracts more people to you.

3. Understand your industry inside and out.

Your business is only as good as the people running it, yourself included. It’s important that you understand your industry inside and out — common sense. But, this also means staying up to date on latest trends, breaking news and your competition. When you do this, it helps to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, elevating your personal brand to a higher level.

Related: 10 Unconventional Ways to Build Your Personal Brand

4. Practice 2-way networking.

A lot of people network the wrong way. They focus on their own needs and personal benefit, completely ignoring those needs and wants of the other person. Focus on 2-way beneficial networking, making sure to give the other person an opportunity to benefit from the relationship as well. This approach will help you secure more connections and opportunities, which will all contribute to strengthening your personal brand.

5. Maintain a detailed database of contacts.

As your personal brand grows, so will your list of contacts. It’s important that you keep a detailed list of all your contacts. Who the person is, where you connected, potential opportunities and how you can help them are all things to keep track of. While it can be a great resource to search when you need something, it can also be referenced when you have an opportunity. Your relationships will become much stronger and beneficial when you approach a contact with an opportunity that helps them without asking for anything in return.

Related: 22 Statistics That Prove the Value of Personal Branding

6. Become a trusted source of breaking news and relevant information.

You know your personal brand is strong when you become a source of information. Strive to be the person media outlets and journalists contact when they need expert advice or information on a popular topic or breaking news. Start by sharing news and information that you feel is useful on social media and send it to your email list. This can also help to build your following, which leads to people viewing you as a trusted authority in your industry. Ultimately, this will attract more people to you.

7. Develop a strong value proposition.

Every major company has a value proposition and you should too. What makes you, as a person, attractive to potential customers or clients? What is it that makes you special? What should someone work with you? Once you have this established, make sure your audience knows what it is.

Related: How to Build a Personal Brand That Elevates Your Company

8. Give back.

Aside from feeling good and giving you personal satisfaction, giving back can help you build your personal brand. Whether it’s donating money to a charity or volunteering your time to a cause that’s important to you, this type of deed can benefit your personal brand. You can highlight your charitable deeds on your website and even issue press releases to attract positive attention. People remember selfless acts.

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3 ways to rescue your business

Each month I have the privilege of writing for the Microsoft Modern Biz Blog.  There is a lot of support and information for business owners starting businesses but not as much for those looking to stay in business after your initial growth and buzz may have fizzled out. How do you stay competitive in a busy, ever expanding market… especially when you might be burning out as your business is slowing down? Here is some advice on how you can recue your business.

Do you need to rescue your small business? This post explores one of the big reasons small businesses fail and then offers three proven ways to turn things around.

Starting a business is exciting and wildly satisfying, but running it? Maybe not so much. The honeymoon phase of entrepreneurship is short and sweet. We cling to lingering memories of when the possibilities seemed endless. But staying in love is tough, especially when you struggle to make ends meet. Running a business can challenge you in ways you had not imagined…

Slow or no growth?

You need to make more sales—fast. A common way of dealing with a slowing business? Try new ideas, praying, and hoping that this one solution will save our skins. We tell ourselves that if just one of these beautiful ideas sticks, then the business will make it. But generally, no one marketing tactic, like distributing a postcard or a putting up a new sign, can save a business. And because they demand your time and (much-needed) money, too many of these ideas can spread you thin and make you lose focus.

Stop second-guessing yourself

After the energy of the launch wears off, even the most passionate and prepared entrepreneurs can find themselves in unknown territory. Forced to work in a variety of areas within their business, we learn new skills on the job. That takes time. And a person can only work so many 80 hour weeks. When we ask for help, we get plenty of advice. Friends and family will tell us what we should do. But somehow, we wind up getting mixed messages that only erodes our confidence.

Keep moving forward!

To survive in business requires an openness to risk, comfort with vulnerability, and great determination. Entrepreneurs require self-belief, flexibility, and tenacity to move through difficult times. First and foremost, never give up!

“Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” – Gena Showalter

Then implement time-honoured business strategies that work:

1. Find a mentor

70 percent of small businesses that receive mentoring survive for five years or more—mentoring doubles the rate of survival for business when compared to non-mentored entrepreneurs.

2. Focus on sales

Focus your talents on sales and business development. Outsource items that consume time and don’t generate revenue. Tip: Look carefully at what tasks could be cut completely. Hire only those that outperform you in time, skill, and energy.


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WTF Happened to LinkedIn?! What Do I Do Now?!

Using LinkedIn shouldn’t be this hard. That’s what she said.

Here in Canada it seems we’ve finally received the dreaded rollout of LinkedIn changes. Like a LinkedIn also ran, we were blessed with these updates well after our friends to the South but really, thanks for suffering before us guys.

So seriously, WTF happened to LinkedIn?!

What I’ve noticed…

The Meh

A more condensed design to prevent infinite scrolling: Thanks for doing your part to prevent carpal tunnel Linkedin!

Bringing the sexy social back: Kinda sorta addd a “wall” feature to the top of profiles?

The Blargh!

“Profile Paralysis”: Can’t. Move. Sections. At. All.

Recommendations are wrecked: Oh, someone wrote you a recommendation for a specific job? HA, tough sh*t. All your recommendations are now consolidated.

The Fugly

Awkward treatment of Media: Like a bad hair piece, Media is now just, there. Not doing you any favors.

After-thought Accomplishments section: Seriously, I can just hear the conversation that the LinkedIn developers had: “Hey Mike, um, yeah so we forgot to do something with the Certifications/Honor and Award/Organization/Language/Project/ALL THE OTHER SECTIONS.”

“Yeah, let’s just throw it all into an ambiguous “Accomplishments” section. They’ll never notice.”

WTF Do I Do Now?!

Streamline Your Summary

No LinkedIn profile is complete without a solid summary. But now we need to take it one step further and prioritize the first 250 characters, which will be given the most prominence, with the rest hidden under a “see more” link. Knowing that it’s unlikely people will click on, hit readers right out of the gate with the most tantalizing tidbits about yourself that they absolutely must know.

Follow the LinkedIn Law of 3’s

As part of the Global Coalition to End Carpal Tunnel, LinkedIn is now only giving your top 3 skills real estate, and concealing everything else. So what does that mean? You need to give some serious thought to what you want to be known for, narrowing it down to your most 3 important specialties, and highlighting those.

Use. Every. Single. Character. Effectively.

I feel like we’re downsizing from a mansion to a studio apartment. Now somehow we have to tetris our king-sized bed, sectional sofa, and 72-inch TV. It just ain’t gonna happen. So we have to trim and use out-of-the-box thinking while still coloring within the LinkedIn lines.

In particular, we need to make sure we’re properly leveraging our Experience sections because, we’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: No one will click on “see more”, “see description”, or “view more” buttons.

My friend Erica Breuer of Cake Resumes threw down the best strategy for this.

First, Erica recommends that you don’t stress over the descriptions of older roles as these are going to be hidden (and probably not read) anyway.

Then, she encourages something that I’ve personally used for some of my clients already because it’s pure genius: to include your absolute BEST win or wins from your current or previous roles in the role title itself since you’re given 100 characters to work with.

What does this look like? Here’s some titles I’ve written for my clients IRL:

“Account Executive: Grew sales pipeline 20% year-over-year, coaching 15+ reps”

“Director of Finance: Streamlined operations saving millions in salary costs”

“VP of PMO: Championed 150+ projects each with $10M+ budgets, producing a 97% accuracy rate”

Freshen Up Your “Following”

This is just good LinkedIn practice. Now that updating our profiles is on our radar, make sure that your following reflects the brand you want to represent.

For example, it totally makes sense that I follow J.T. O’Donnell. She and I are in the same industry.

But should I really be following Gwyneth Paltrow and her goop? Um, no.

Same goes for the companies, groups, and schools that you keep tabs on. Keep it on brand, and reflective of your interests and career.

All hope is not lost for LinkedIn. It’s still the platform that is preferred by 87% of recruiters, and actively employed in their talent sourcing strategies. So until such time that LinkedIn becomes extinct, we roll with the punches, adapt, and make the most of the technology at our disposal.

About our Columnist:

Kamara Toffolo is a resume Writer, LinkedIn Consultant, and Job Search Strategist who helps established professionals DARE to do work differently and land great-fitting gigs!

Career Coach | Resume Writer | LinkedIn Expert
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69 Reasons to Read @Careergasm

Sarah personally sent me an advanced copy of her masterpiece, and I devoured every last word. It’s exactly what everyone who has ever been stuck, confused, or downright unfulfilled, in their career needs in their life.

If you’re ready for a career that makes your toes curl, this book’s for you. Plus, if you want to see Sarah live do register now for our Enlightened Ambition Evening! Why?

In our goal-obsessed society, we can get so focussed on strategizing and striving that we lose sight of the WHY behind our goals. Enlightened ambition is about setting goals that actually feel good and tweaking or tossing the ones that don’t. It sounds so simple, but it’ll change your life.

Women in Biz Network and Shecosystem invite you to an evening of Enlightened Ambition with Careergasm’s Sarah Vermunt – REGISTER NOW! 

Enlightened Ambition is a chapter of Careergasm: Find Your Way To Feel-Good Work, a hot new book about finding your way to feel good work by Sarah Vermunt. Sarah helps people set goals for their careers, but first shows them how to drill down and find out what they really want.

Here are 69 reasons that Sarah Vermunt’s book will give YOU a Careergasm:

1. Real world advice that’ll help you like Mondays again. #feelgoodwork

2. …and Tuesday through Friday too #TGIeveryday

3. Short, punchy chapters. #feelingaccomplished

4. A big ole’ [mason] jar o’ sass. #heygirlhey

5. Permission to embrace your inner toddler (spoiler alert: they’ll give you more career clarity than you realize). #koolaidgrin

6. “If you loved it when you were 8, chances are there’s something you love about it still”. #quotestoliveby

7. Authorization to lean into your obsessions to reveal clues about your passions. #loveyourwork

8. Oh, my shitty job(s) of yester years can offer clues too? #whenlifegivesyoulemons

9. Page 33. I’ll just leave that right there. #greeneyedmonster

10. And page 34. Did she just call us out on being full of shit? Yup. #authenticity

11. A reminder that the right workspace can, well, work wonders. #prettythings

12. Newsflash: Cosmo surveys and Myers Briggs can’t tell you what work will make you HAPPY. #realtalk

13. Breakfast Club reference. #the80s

14. “Passion begins as curiosity”. #wisewords

15. Pointing out our need for certainty is keeping us stuck. #elephantintheroom

16. Consistently being outed on our bullshit stories, excuses and ways we get in our own way. #checkyoself

17. Note to selves: Our bodies know what’s up. #listenup

18. It might be the final ass-kick you need to take your side hustle full-time #alldayeveryday

19. …or take that amazeballs opportunity across the country #allin

20. Advice about advice, and that we should be careful who we listen to. #doyou

21. Tips for facing our fears that actually WORK. #befriendthedragon

22. “Success and happiness are two different things, and one doesn’t necessarily lead to the other”. #dontgetittwisted

23. Why-didn’t-I-think-of-that rationale that thinking about worst case scenarios can actually make things better #makessense

24. “Because nobody fucks with Oprah”. #micdrop

25. Loving permission to stop apologizing for doing WHATEVER it takes #cantstopwontstop

26. Knowing there’s someone else out there that totally gets what it’s like when family and friends don’t support your career changes #inthistogether

27. Lady lumps. #mymilkshake

28. “Somethings like breast symmetry just don’t matter when you’re getting shit done” #lolz

29. to 34. My cat liked it #bartapproved

35. It pairs well with boxed wine and overpriced, over-narrated lattes #getyodrinkon

36. …and yoga pants #fancy

37. …and All-Dressed chips #getinmybelly

38. The author is Canadian #justsayin

39. …who quit a job harder than you ever have (93-pages-into-her-PhD.-dissertation hard) #ballsy

40. to 46. Shit. #yas

47. to 53. Fuck. #yasss

54. to 62. Ample use of the suffix “-ass” #yassssss

63. and 64. A cornucopia of food analogies #nomnomnom

65. Careergasm is on Kindle #savethetrees

66. When you’re done, you can still haunt Sarah’s blog. #yourewelcome

67. …or stalk Sarah on #stalker

68. …or Entrepreneur #fangirl

69. …and take her free Careergasm Crash Course. #signmeup

About our Columnist:

Kamara Toffolo is a resume Writer, LinkedIn Consultant, and Job Search Strategist who helps established professionals DARE to do work differently and land great-fitting gigs!

Learn more about Kamara now.

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How to make Walking Meetings Work + Walking Wednesdays at @Shecosystem


We found this article on our friend YouInc’s site and thought you would find it as useful as we do. I had just recently read an article about way to eliminate procrastination by coupling activities you put off with ones you love.  I am not a fan of meeting in general but if I can couple it with an activity I like such as walking then the outcome is win win for everyone. After meeting face to face with clients I always feel better – it is stressful talking time out of my day but once I get out and connect with someone I like and share a similar passion with then the time away from the office is well worth it.

Here’s how you can make time for living health and reduced entrepreneur isolation by conducting a walking meeting:

Why? Being cooped up in an office all day when the weather is perfect can feel extra cruel, not to mention distracting.

Fresh air is a known mood booster, and physical activity tends to spark new ideas. So it’s no surprise that a number of people are trying “walking meetings” as a way to be more active while still getting the work done. The math is compelling: Turn two 30-minute meetings per day into walking meetings, and you’ll score five hours of aerobic exercise per week. That’s double what the CDC recommends.

People who’ve tried walking meetings also note that there are benefits beyond physical ones. “A meeting room is all about business,” says Chris Kay, managing director of the Los Angeles office of 72andSunny, an advertising company. He says of walking: “I think it knocks down a barrier. It’s quite personal. You’re just having a chat with someone.” You stay connected, even if the conversation is open, honest, or intense.

But just because the walking meeting has a lot going for it doesn’t mean it can replace all meetings. There are logistical challenges. Here’s how to make a walking meeting work:

Plan The Route For The Length Of The Meeting

First, think through some good routes. Beth Kanter, a social media and nonprofit expert who frequently advocates for walking meetings, recommends plotting out walks that are the typical length of calendar slots: 15 minutes, 30 minutes, maybe even a 60-minute one. Avoid noisy or crowded areas if you can. Sometimes it helps to have a destination (hesitant types might be more amenable to “walking to get coffee” than just “walking”). And check the weather. If it’s unpleasant enough that the weather will be a distraction, you’re better off indoors.

Walking Meetings Work Best For One-On-Ones

Julian Berman, director of platform engineering at digital ad tech company Magnetic, says, “Anytime people aren’t walking astride, they’re going to break off onto other tracks.” In most places, it’s pretty hard to walk more than three abreast without ticking off anyone else on the sidewalk. A nine-person meeting would quickly become three three-person meetings. So the best options for walking meetings are regular one-on-one meetings with direct reports, or informal catch-up sessions. Kay says he likes to interview candidates on walks. “I think you can have a more open conversation,” he says, hopefully easing what is often a stressful encounter. “The lack of formality is helpful.”

Mind Your Partner’s Pace

Unless agreed to in advance, think pleasant stroll, not Olympic speed walking. You’re probably wearing business clothes. The goal is not to break a sweat. (Save that for “sweatworking”: See “Networking Is Over. Welcome Sweatworking?“)

Read more on Youinc

Women in Biz Network and Shecosystem invite you to get healthy and happy with us! Join us every Wednesday at Shecosystem for a walk in the Bloor & Christie neighbourhood. Enjoy some laughs, get some fresh air and watch your network expand!

Timing/Location: We will meet at 10 am at inside Shecosystem at 703 Bloor Street where we will enjoy an opening circle and from there we will go for a walk for up to 1 hour.

Want to work from Shecosystem for the day? Free to purchase day-pass for $25 for WIBN Members and
for Non-Members for $30

Why should you join us:

  • Working in isolation is lonely, so getting to know other like-minded business owners & professionals expands your support network.
  • Sitting at you desk all day isn’t good for your creativity, health, productivity or sanity!
  • When you spend time with other business owners and professionals you get “known” and more opportunities open up for you.