I'm writing you this newsletter from the side of the road because I'm homeless and jobless right now.
Okay, I exaggerated a little but let me explain. I'm technically homeless because we're selling our condo and can't be home because of viewings. And with the restrictions in Vancouver, outdoor cafes are my only option.
(Aaaand I just almost lost my vanilla old-fashioned donut to the wind...)
Now for the jobless part. If you read my last newsletter or follow me on LinkedIn, you'll know that in April I started a new job as Director of Biz Dev at a new startup. Well, I decided to voluntarily leave this past Monday.
Let's just say we didn't agree on the vision for the company and I didn't feel I could do my best work. I decided to cut my (and my partners') losses and leave before we invested more into the company.
So I'm back to square one. But not really. 😊 Sometimes doing the wrong thing helps you see what you actually want to do. And I've decided I want to pursue a career in writing and marketing à la freelance! And not burn out while running a startup.
It's the happiest I've felt in a while because I have clarity. And here are this month's lessons:
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you don't feel like yourself or you have to hide the way you are, you're in the wrong opportunity.
If something doesn't feel right and you feel trapped, you don't have to stay in it just because you're scared of what people *might* say.
Part of me felt like an idiot for leaving a new job one month in after kicking the tires for the past year. But I've made peace with my decision and if people want to rip me apart, they can have at it. I'm "clean with myself" as we say in Croatian.
"Anything that costs your mental health is too expensive. Look elsewhere."—Steven Bartlett
*checks watch* And it's time for my monthly tips for establishing a digital presence that generates opportunities for you!
Tips for building an opportunity magnet of a digital presence
If you think about it, the goal of your digital presence should be to attract opportunities. Job opportunities, collaboration opportunities, mentorship opportunities, speaking opportunities... you get the picture (say cheese!)
But how do you do it? Well, by increasing your surface area on the internet—strategically. And without trying to boil the ocean. Here are two tips for this month:
Tip #1: Normalize reaching out to creators whose content you enjoy
Before you hit the cold LinkedIn search bar and blindly add 100 new connections every week, try this instead: Reach out to creators whose content you enjoy and who have an existing audience.
It works particularly well because you have an obvious topic to reach out to them about (their content, duh) AND they're very likely to respond because they want to hear from their audience!
From there, you can create a relationship with them and plant the seed for future engagement, collaborations or even job opportunities.
What's worked best for me is signing up for a creator's email list and replying to their emails. Most people don't respond to newsletters (you may not have responded to mine yet, right? 😬) So it's actually pretty easy to stand out by replying.
Here are some of the things I've gotten out of doing this:
Remember, the key here is that they have an existing audience (and preferably slightly bigger than yours.) So when they engage with your content or reference your content in their newsletter, they help you reach more people by amplifying you.
Tip #2: Capitalize on events
Being active on social media or in communities like Facebook groups, Slack groups and subreddits is great, but there's something about the time-sensitivity of events that supercharges your visibility. 🚀
Two examples for you:
In March, I gave a talk at Product Camp Cascadia (you can see the slides here.) After my talk, I connected with all 80 people who attended my talk on LinkedIn with a personalized message:
"Hi <first name>—I believe I saw you attended my event at Product Camp yesterday. I wanted to thank you so much for attending and I hope you found value out of it. I wanted to connect here. :)"
It took me an hour and a half and my husband thought I was crazy but 90% of them accepted my connection request (an above-average acceptance rate.) Many of them engage with my LinkedIn posts now and a few signed up for my newsletter.
My next example is from Vancouver Startup Week this year. They're using a platform called Whova for attendee engagement that has an awesome feature: a leaderboard. The more you engage on the platform, you more points you get, and the higher you climb up the leaderboard.
I usually don't care for leaderboards but I made it to 2nd place on Tuesday. 😎
Getting a virtual trophy felt great, but the real benefit was visibility. People started messaging me on the platform, engaging with my posts and connecting with me on LinkedIn. Many are also attending a meetup I created about freelance writing.
"But but but Lena, you didn't get a new job offer, an invite to be on a podcast or an opportunity!"
I know, I know. But that's the wrong way of looking at it. I may not have gotten a direct opportunity out of this engagement right now, but I might in the future. It's called compounding.
When you do stuff like this on a regular basis, it all eventually compounds into a massive pinball machine of opportunities. Trust me, trust the process. 😉
Cool internet gems
I have just one cool internet gem for you this month and it's an article on How to be an effective early stage employee. Hint: be helpful. It's a great reminder on how to be a good any-kind-of employee really, not just an early-stage employee.
And that's all I got!
P.S. Congrats on making it 'til the end! So tell me honestly—was it too long? Boring? Too much about me? The only way you'll hurt my feelings is by not replying. 🥺