Category Archives: entrepreneur event

My Paradox of Choice

I recently listened to a TED talk that confirmed what I always knew. Choice is bad.

So having a lot of choice is bad because you are buried alive under an avalanche of options and it’s impossible to choose any one option.

That’s my life in a nut shell (hello, first world problem) . There are so many possibilities for what I can do with my time and my life that I just can’t make a decision.

This careeraphobia means I’m usually like a random visitor peeking inside any given industry/career/expertise area.

I do internships, I study random courses, I wander into weird niche part time jobs, I hang out in underground establishments and I sign up for things only to back out of them three seconds later.

All these things I do are great in their own ways but I leave as confused and unsure as I was to begin with.

Here is a brief list of the things I’ve studied/done/worked as: media, journalism, economics, marketing, psychology, copy writing, science, accounting, dispensary tech/customer service, hotel concierge, production runner, english teacher, editorial assistant, telemarketing, script writing, linguistics

The upside: I learn a little about a lot

The downside: I learn a little about a lot

So I’m coming to a point where I’m sick to death of jumping in and out of things. Partly because I am a high achiever. Partly because I don’t want to end up like my dad’s best friend Igor –

Igor (who lives in Moscow) also couldn’t make up his mind about what he wanted to do. At one point he was:

A professional tennis player

A professional chess player

A professional table tennis player

A teacher

A guinea pig breeder

None of this brought in much dough so he immigrated to Israel and joined the military service. He soon got bored of that and came back to Russia.

He still breeds guinea pigs, smokes like a chimney and has moved on to a new obsession – coffee brewing. I don’t think that’s likely to bring in much dough either.

So back to my dilema. The final straw for me was an entrepreneurial event I attended last week.

As a dabbler and a commitment-phobic I go to events only to blog about them, to hear inspirational people and to chat casually with people who are actually doing shit.

But an odd thing has been happening lately. I’ve been having the following conversations:

Me: So your business is about X? Tell me more!

Entrepreneur/business owner attendee: Yes my business is about X. Let me tell you about X: XXXXX XXX, XXX: X, X, X, X. XX! XX? – XX! What about you? What’s your business?

Me: Oh, I don’t have a business.

Entrepreneur/business owner attendee: makes this face ——>

………………….Ohhhhhh. So what DO you do?

Me: PR and social media.

Entrepreneur/business owner attendee: But one day you’ll start your own business…..right?

Me: Er….

Entrepreneur/business owner attendee: Well it was nice to meet you. Hopefully the next time I see you you’ll have your own business. (But, secretly they’re thinking —-

In perspective this is not a big deal. This is like the opposite of a big deal. I mean people are dying in other countries, right?

But if I don’t stick to something, whether it’s building a business or doing something else, I’m less likely to be able to help the dying people with my awesomeness, skills and expertise so it’s in everyone’s best interests really for me to find something to focus on.

Over the past two years I’ve met amazing people from all walks of life and they all have one thing in common. They have laser beam focus. They have one path and they don’t deviate from it.

They are freaking awesome. And it’s time for me to be freaking awesome too.

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Filed under entrepreneur event, networking

How To Get Media Coverage For Your Startup

Learnings from the Media Relations 101 for Startups event: [The basics of talking to media and getting media coverage for your startup]

If you didn’t make it to Media Relations 101 for Startups, read what was covered in the event below.

THE SPEAKERS

In all their wise glory

  • Corrie McLeod – Director of Espresso Communications and a PR professional with experience in the IT industry and working with startups.
  • Jeanne-Vida Douglas – BRW journalist and editor with ten years experience reporting in the IT industry.
  • Mahesh Sharma – Freelance journalist reporting on startups.

THE TOPICS

  1. Contacting the media
  2. Getting the media to want you and your story
  3. Building relationships with representatives of media
  4. Making your business media friendly

THE CROWD

Yes, some of us sat on the floor and it was awesome (as was the free beer)

 THE BREAKDOWN

Slideshare courtesy of Jeanne-Vida Douglas (BRW) and Corrie McLeod (Espresso Communications)

(Good) Reasons for PR

  1.  Support sales – the more exposure your business has, the more people will know about it. More people equals more customers.
  2. Talent – convincing an awesomely skilled person to work an early stage business can be hard. Media exposure can help you build a reputation, so you don’t have to beg for someone to join you.
  3. Other business ends – PR doesn’t just work on a B2C level, it can also help you secure partnerships with other businesses by making it easier to approach them. Instead of saying “Hello I know you’ve never heard of my business but…”  you’ll be able to say “Hello, you may remember my business from such publications as TechCrunch and Mashable…” . Need I say more? Reputation, reputation, reputation.

Key Media Messages 

  1. Who are you? Explain concisely. Imagine you only have 30 seconds to spit it out.
  2. What do you do? Again, sum it up in 30 seconds, people.
  3. Who do you do this for? Who are your users and why would they prefer your service?
  4. How are you different? – What makes you stand out?

Think like the journalist. Ask yourself, “What would make a good story?” For example personal experiences make good stories. Have your users advocate the business by sharing positive experiences. If you don’t have any users yet, ask someone you know to be an advocate.

Media Toolkit 

  • Media Release – write the most newsworthy info at the top, include quotes from the founders that support your newsworthy info. Keep your sentences short and simple and write in the voice of the publication you’re sending your release to.
  • Boilerplate – a boiler plate is your organisation’s information. It is usually found at the bottom of the media release and includes the facts that journalists want to know: When the business was founded, the number of customers,  business vision and achievements.
  • Executive photography – photographs of your team can make your story more appealing to the journalist and more appealing to the reader. Make them good. For extra brownie points be creative. Creative images will capture attention, if nothing else.
  • Product images – high quality images that show your products in the best light.
  • Resource gallery – on your website include press releases that mark all worthy milestones such as the first customer, the first investor, the 100th customer, new functionalities, new additions to the team. Why? A journalist will have more information to work with.

Media Strategy

  • Build relationships with media bloggers, influencers and journalists- leave comments on their blogs and articles, offer advice, engage with them.
  • Pitch a story for a specific section of a publication instead of targeting the entire publication. This will show you are familiar with the publication and have thought about the target audience.
  • Think of whats relevant to the biggest audience – journalists write about things that are relevant to the majority of their target audience.
  • DO NOT send out press releases to the publications you don’t read.
  • DO NOT send out press releases to journalists whose copy you haven’t read.
  • DO NOT send them to journalists you haven’t spoken to.

Executive Profiling

  • Have ONE spokesperson – a personality becomes linked to the brand so keep it consistent.
  • If you are the spokesperson – write down numbers and important details before interviews and remember them so you don’t get misquoted.
  • Create a blog that gives a human face to your business: record your experiences and share business progress with your readers.

Useful Links 

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Filed under entrepreneur event, Media and PR event