It does not work

  • Sending CVs: not working.
  • Staying until late at work: not working.
  • Billboards: not working.
  • Having a master degree in order to be successful in life: not working.
  • Scoring high in the university tests: not working.
  • Reading every post you can: not working.
  • Watching House of Cards or Narcos: not working.
  • Blaming the system and expecting a different outcome: not working.
  • Reaching everyone on LinkedIn: not working.
  • Tagging friends on Facebook so you can promote your business: not working.
  • Believing that everything it¡s going to be like before the crisis, like the good old days: not working.
  • Working on the next APP: not working.
  • Raising your children to become the next in-garage-entrepereneur: not working.
  • Showing smiling faces through Selfies: not working.

It does not work. It’s broken. It’s never going to work again. See what it changes today.

Whatever it was valuable years ago, whatever, it’s not valuable now. Your job is trying to figure out what’s going to be the solution today and then tomorrow. It does not work, sure.

A lifetime opportunity, drawing what’s coming next, and make it works.

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Leadership supply chain

As it follows…

1. Do exactly what you’ve told to do. Don’t question your supervisor, obey your teacher.

2.  Ask professors edgy questions.

3. Tell your boss or teacher what it’s your best choice among the best available alternatives. Push them, or better, push yourself.

4. Surround yourself with authentic people who is always creating forward motion.

5. Push, encourage and inspire your team to do things differently. Trying different, failing differently, asking differently. Something that it’s not in their plans.

6. Demand encouragement and motivation. Exchange passion.

7. Launch things that can have an impact.

8. Teach others how to create an impact. Increase discernment about opportunities that scare your team and you.

9. Start all over again.

And that, my friends, is what a leadership supply chain looks like.

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Innovation and digital skills

I was asked by Heidi Obschil to contribute in a collaborative article, about innovation and digital skills, for The Business Value Exchange. Here’s the final result for the complete article, which includes various perspectives from other professionals around the globe.

How to fuel Digital Progress







Original article: The Business Value Exchange.

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It’s your community, not your audience

Two approaches, either we overvalue the concept of an audience o we undervalue the meaning of a community. The public is not your community, audience is not the community neither.

Public is the part of the market that it’s eager to listen what we have to say, but not necessarily has to. Audience are those who really listen to use and the community is those who we must listen.

  • Connect, don’t be a pain in the ass.
  • Listen, shut up.
  • Reply, it’s not about you.
  • Care.
  • Help, don’t offer.
  • Lead, don’t manage.
  • Share, don’t sell.
  • Consolidate, don’t gossip.
  • Give, don’t wait.
  • Add.
  • Push, don’t instigate.
  • Enhance, don’t ignore.
  • Show, don’t hide.
  • Educate, don’t talk.

The people you think they should listen to you are precisely the ones you should listen. It’s your community, not your audience.

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Like a heart beat

You work for a decade or two for being tremendously fascinating, you learn, fail, try again, make something happen and ship, change things. And then, you find yourself on the top of your career, ahead of the competition, rockstar, you.

When in the top, the last thing you want to be told it’s that the top it isn’t as high as the first time you thought about it. In fact, at the end, there’s  no such top. That was just an illusion made by the system. Heck. What now?

The world is changing faster than ever, this massive and overwhelming change has been with us from the day we were born, it’s like a heart beat, if it stops, we will die.

And yet, we are still horrified with the fact that change will come. Why don’t we accept change and its journey and see where it can take us?

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Not fair

Of course it isn’t fair:

Training for years.

Paying the tax fear.

Investing in a house.

Trusting in education.

Believing university is the key.

Working for your boss.

Doing what you were told to do.

Subscribing for a Community Manager course.

Opting for a MBA.

Paying attention to critics.

Asking for permit.

Buying the BMW.

Launching a factory business.

And then, suddenly, everything disappears.

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Vote for the work that matters

I’ve an idea, when asking for vote (whatever), first encourage voting for other people’s work, not yours. And second, give credit to those who are excelling.

The work that really makes a difference and creates resonance is the work that comes up to the surface naturally by its brilliance, excellence isn’t an accident, nor depends on others opinion, no less than their vote – or approval. It’s something personal and it happens when someone decides to put all her energy, effort, passion and enthusiasm in trying to change those that impact with that project, idea, business or social initiative.

Don’t look at popularity, or recognition or re-affirmation as KPIs for the work that matters. Seek to do the hard task, commit for the big responsibility, walk the rocky road, seek the uncertain path, stand out in the middle of complexity. These are the moments when the important work occurs, that job, the one that leaves positive impact on people.

Another idea, invest the time you spend on promoting your work as the best in the world, in providing value and utility to your clients, readers or community, keep making something happen and breaking new ground. Be generous.

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The theory of a new Internet

The Internet is a human forward motion machine, basically because connections scale. In that precise moment, information begets for more information and influence, paradoxically this allows other people connecting easily amongst them, that collision provokes the effect that anyone with talent or passion will be able to create the connection that increase the impact of the action, interaction o relationship.

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More doesn’t mean powerful

Before install a more (and new) plugins on your blog, think deeply if you need them, because the more plugins you install, the slower the website uploads. For example, look for plugins that covers – more or less – the same functions, All in One SEO Pack and Worpress SEO works quite the same, so choose one and discard the another, and if it’s already installed, feel free to uninstall it. In addition, XML Sitemaps it’s already included on WordPress SEO plugin, so if you go for this one, you don’t need to install XML Sitemaps because it doesn’t require another plugin. We can look at Permalinks also, they’re working customized on the blog, therefore they don’t need a plugin to carry on with their properties.

Bonus: let me give you an extra suggestion for a bunch of essential plugins that you may want to install in your blog for improve its performance:

  • Disqus Comment System.
  • ShareThis.
  • W3 Total Cache.
  • WP Smush .it.
  • WordPress SEO by Yoast (incluye XML Sitemaps)
  • YARPP Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.

Yes, less and fitted means powerful.

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How to set the difference as a freelance worker

Freelancing, for me, is possibly the best profession there is. Maybe this is because I consider myself part of a legion of agents of change. Freelancing is a job where you can decide how to make a difference, how to stand out, how much you’re going to work, where and how you’re going to do so. You work for a living (the money factor is involved) but, moreover, you work to be happy doing what you love. That is, you choose yourself to the fullest extent.

freelance - how to stand out

Freelancing is a way of life where you need no one’s permission, only your own drive. There’s no one there telling you exactly what to do and how to do it. This involves great responsibility and also a great opportunity. You decide exactly how much of your own time, effort, passion and interest you put into it. The outcome hangs on this.

How to set the difference as a freelance worker

This post includes a number of practices that could be the fuel you need for your freelancing work to stand out, tweaking whatever you feel needs changing. After all, it’s up to you:

  • Create your own personal / professional brand: a freelancer without a personal brand is like the weatherman without a Meteosat satellite. You can find  some tips, here.
  • Ask yourself three direct questions (or more): 1. Choice: why do you want to start freelancing? (Tip: here are some valid answers: being master of my own time; not obeying orders, but leading; working on what makes me happy; living the life I always wanted to lead). 2. Change: what are you going to do differently from other freelancers? (Tip: look for your answers in the micro-segmented services offered to specific online communities). 3. Grabbing attention: how am I going to discover you? (Tip: use your creativity).
  • Communication: everything you do has something to say about you, so you must align your online and offline activity to convey a unique, cohesive, human and truthful message.
  • Choose your clients: be careful with what you do, say, share, respond to, sell or discard.
  • Use connected marketing: find your audience (those interested in what you do and say) and ask them or research how you can add value and be useful for them. And then, do just that!
  • Show your vulnerability: be yourself, mix what you do with your own peculiarities or eccentricities. Counteract criticism by doing your best work and openly talking about what you do best and the results you get. Find an opportunity to face your most critical audience and present yourself to them the best way you can. This wouldn’t be wrong; quite the opposite: it can lead you to meet people who value what you have to offer and who want to do business with you because something in you resonates with them.
  • Social media can help but isn’t creative: if you don’t have an idea, project, initiative, product or service that changes things in your target market, one that is really worth taking the plunge for, then my advice is don’t bother working on the social media aspect: it won’t fix anything. Continue working on something that is at odds with the world. Social media helps to show yourself to the world; however, your creation is what you have to show the world.
  • If you generate waste, you’ll amass waste: if you spend your time talking about others’ failures, pointing your finger every time someone makes a mistake, sending tweets complaining about the lack of professionalisation in your industry or gossiping about the poor work your competition is doing, then waste will be creeping up on you at home. Your own cynicism and negativity will prevent you from seeing all the ways you can fail and how you can get back up to grow further and stand out.
  • Online reputation: As long as you don’t decide that it’s a good idea to show up to a meeting with potential clients stark naked; as long as you don’t appear shirtless in photos, “cross-eyed” or kissing a girl who isn’t your girlfriend; or as long as what you say and do causes no harm or suffering, or can’t be considered to be stalking other people or breaking the law in any way. As long as you don’t do any of the above, don’t worry about online reputation; worry only about achieving results.
  • The best marketing: keep your promises. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it and keep your word. The worst marketing is doing otherwise.
  • Your goal is what matters: the great drawback to being self-employed is the responsibility involved. Working freelance requires a much higher level of responsibility than being a hired worker. Essentially, this is because you go from being the person who does whatever their boss or area manager tells them to, to being the person who has the drive, takes the risk, plunges forward and makes things happen. You need well-defined objectives for this.
  • The new king or queen: it isn’t content but the result you achieve. So leave content aside for a while and focus on your work to exceed market expectations or to get your product to your client in less than 24 hours. If you do all this well, results will speak for themselves and get everything else rolling.
  • Build your digital empire: you must establish your online operations centre. Attacking: traffic, leads, conversations, branding and connection. Defending: active listening, monitoring and community. Use the platforms and tools that best suit your purposes so you can get your message and history out there, finding the drive that will get people to find you.
  • Work flow: organise your workload. Freelance workers are their undertaking’s own managers, administrational staff, bosses, interns and technical staff. Productivity is essential. Find ways to be efficient and prioritise your workload in a way that allows you to move forward.
  • Work structure: define the tasks you need to carry out weekly and monthly so that all areas involved in your work are complete. Take into account the deadlines of the different projects you’re involved in, meet up with people who can collaborate in your projects, think about their part in the project; and remember to invoice your work, prepare sales pitches, retrain professionally, get your brand going (posts, podcasts, videos or any actions you define), etc.
  • Learning process: find the best way to learn about your field of specialisation at all times, spending at least one hour every day (two if you don’t sleep much) staying up to date with any developments that interest you. Tip: be careful and try to be strict in regard to places and contents, the blogs you subscribe to, hangouts or webinars you attend. Otherwise, you will be overwhelmed and can end up spending more time reading and handling all this information than working!
  • Blog: my opinion, experience and results, and that of many other work colleagues who have at some point or other been freelance workers (or who still are): Juan Merodio, Carlos Bravo, Paco Viudes, Víctor Martín, Aitor Contreras, Álex Rubio, Berto López, Amel Fernández, etc., is that you should create a blog to expand on your personality, skills, attitude and specialisation beyond the people who you are in contact with in real life.
  • Productivity: find tools that make your work easier, either by investing the same time to create more or working less to live more.
  • Leverage: if you’re a freelance web designer who’s been working long enough to have gained ample experience and your personal brand has been developed in such a way that a considerable amount of people are interested in what you do, then you can use your influence to develop projects that are leveraged by your current work: for instance, training, writing a book or starting a consultancy company.
  • You don’t work for everyone: since you have to meticulously choose where you invest the limited, valuable time available and your limited resources (compared to any organisation), this is the time to work only for the people you feel at ease with, those who value your work, the jobs you enjoy doing and that you feel can contribute to change (and viceversa).
  • Keep your ego in check: no one escapes this. Perhaps being self-employed, making it ‘on your own’, not having anyone run your life, control your time or supervise your results (clients aside) may make you fall in the trap of making you believe you’re better than anyone else. You could pay for such mistake but it will be interesting for you to run into that wall!
  • The rule to success: you want to make it? Get to the top? Get it all under control? Then you must be prepared to work without a rest, without a break, holidays, days off and work more nights than you’d ever wished for and over Christmas for the next 5 years. Being ready and willing to go through all of that is getting there!

You’re self-employed and you have one of the best advantages life has to offer: being master of your own time. Stand out and set the pace, decide what it is that you feel like changing, find out how and then do it.

Photo credit: Steve Kodis.

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