Based on the TED founding principle, there is one qualification to being a speaker at a conference: having an idea worth spreading. The company was founded in 1984, but has seen a surge of popularity in recent years.
TED talks are free to distribute and pretty short (about 12 minutes on average), which is key to their popularity in the digital age. The following videos are essential for anyone in the business world, and will help you to think differently about critical topics such as workplace happiness, communication, and motivation.
#1: Ricardo Semler: How to Run a Company with (Almost) No Rules
Brazilian CEO Ricardo Semler talks about what happened when his company broke free from many of the traditional “rules” of work. There are many systems that we keep in place solely because that is the established norm; however, by continually asking ourselves “What am I doing this for?” we can strip away a lot of this external governing. From the interview process to managing vacation days to setting salaries and making board-level decisions, Semler challenges the way that we think about both corporate culture and the existing education system.
Watch Ricardo Semler’s TED Talk here
#2: Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action
People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. This is the main idea behind Simon Sinek’s 2009 talk. He’s a leadership expert and the author of “Start with Why.” He says that the reason Apple, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Wright Brothers were so successful in their respective pursuits was that they started with “why” and let that drive them.
When it comes to marketing, companies will largely focus on the “what,” but it is the “why” that resonates with individuals on a deeper level. No matter what industry you are in, this talk will ask you to think about what it is that motivates your company, and give you a new perspective on how to reach and inspire customers.
Watch Simon Sinek’s TED Talk here
#3: Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius
Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author of “Eat, Pray, Love” talks about our mistaken notion of “creative genius” in this 2009 presentation. She discusses how putting the responsibility of “genius” on a person is harmful, and can perpetuate the term of “tormented artist.” If we change the way we think about creativity, she says, we can change the way we work. As humans, our job is to show up to work, and genius can show up if it wants to, but if it doesn’t, we just keep doing our work.
Almost ten years after this talk, Gilbert has expanded this idea into a book called “Big Magic.” But all you need is 20 minutes to absorb the idea. Whether you are in an artistic field or not, it’s essential to any company’s productivity and idea flow. Learn how to do the work without the pressure.
Watch Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED Talk here
#4: Kelly McGonigal: How to Make Stress Your Friend
Kelly McGonigal is a health psychologist, and she wants to change our relationship to stress. She cites scientific studies that show how people who believe stress is bad for them often experience harmful effects on their health; however, those who view stress as a positive, have little to no ill effect.
McGonigal explains the body’s biological response to stress, why it is helpful, and how it can promote human connection. This fascinating 2013 talk will change the way you view stress at work, and might even inspire you to alter the way you problem solve within your business.
Watch Kelly McGonigal’s TED Talk here
#5: Margaret Heffernan: Why It’s Time to Forget the Pecking Order at Work
Businesswoman Margaret Heffernan discusses why the “superchicken model,” or the idea that the strongest and most aggressive employees are those that will help a company succeed, can actually have a negative effect on productivity. Through our lives—and particularly in the business world—there is a general understanding that the way to get ahead is through competition. Heffernan argues that instead of pitting employees against one another, we should be focusing on developing teams that promote empathy, diversity, and equal contribution.Through increased socialization at work, we can create a general culture of problem-solving together, and ultimately increase overall performance.
Watch Margaret Heffernan’s TED Talk here
#6: Susan Colantuono: The Career Advice You Probably Didn’t Get
Every woman should watch this video. CEO and founder of Leading Women, Susan Colantuono, talks about why the highest percentage of women are stuck in middle management. She states that there is conventional advice that is given to professional women, typically around helping them build confidence, but this varies from the “criteria for advancement” that is needed to break into senior management. Understanding a company’s business, strategic, and financial acumen is the door to professional advancement, and is directly tied to the gender gap that we see in many companies today. Watch this video to ensure that all employees are given the tools they need to advance their careers and best contribute to the success of your company.
Watch Susan Colantuono’s TED Talk here
#7: Dan Ariely: Are We in Control of Our Own Decisions?
Behavioral economist Dan Ariely uses optical illusions as a way to discuss decision making and explain why we are not as in control of our decisions as we think may think. His funny, insightful talk proves that the way information is presented is perhaps the most important factor in business. Particularly when there are decisions in front of us that are complex and difficult, we will often look to external factors to help us make them; when we don’t know what to do, we will take the road of least resistance and “choose” the direction that is presented to us at the start. This is a fascinating and essential speech for anyone in the business of communication and looking to influence consumer behavior.
Watch Dan Ariely’s TED Talk here
#8: Daniel Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation
Career analyst (and Al Gore’s former speechwriter) discusses the puzzle of motivation. Daniel Pink points to scientific experiences to prove that higher incentives do not always increase performance; in fact, a larger reward can actually lead to poorer performance. Pink states that businesses instead need to look for areas of intrinsic motivation, as individuals are more likely to do things because they believe that they matter and are important. The ideas he presents will change the way you run your business and manage your teams, promoting growth that he believes can change the world.
Watch Daniel Pink’s TED Talk here
#9: Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work
Shawn Achor is a positive psychologist and the CEO of Good Think Inc. In his 2011 talk, he proposes that happiness causes success, rather than the common societal belief that success causes happiness. If you are happy in your present moment, you will be more productive, get better results and be more successful overall.
Changing the lens through which you view happiness and the world around you can improve productivity within your business, and spread to your employees and coworkers. A simple happiness shift could potentially lead your business to grow in directions you hadn’t allowed yourself to think of before.
Watch Shawn Achor’s TED Talk here
#10: Malcolm Gladwell: Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce
Writer Malcolm Gladwell tells the story about what the search for the perfect spaghetti sauce revealed about human happiness. So often businesses seek to find out what consumers want by simply asking them. However, not only do many people not necessarily know what it is that they want, but this assumes that there is a universal answer or product for everyone. In fact, companies need to understand variability between consumers, and the importance of segmentation. By doing so, you’ll be able to better understand and communicate with your audiences, and increase their overall satisfaction with your offerings. This talk will change the way you think about choice within your business, no matter what you sell.
Watch Malcolm Gladwell’s TED Talk here
#11: Seth Godin: How to Get Your Ideas to Spread
Marketing expert and blogger Seth Godin has a really simple but effective theory behind increasing sales and spreading ideas: sell your ideas to the people who love your product, and let them tell their friends. Another way to say this is…be remarkable. Make something worth noticing, and the people who want to notice will, and will go on to help you sell your product. This is a different approach than the status quo of “selling to the masses.” While the concept is simple, it can be incredibly powerful when effectively employed.
Watch Seth Godin’s TED Talk here
#12: Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts
Susan Cain is a writer, lecturer, and champion for the introvert, as is evidenced by her 2012 TED talk. In 2015 she co-founded Quiet Revolution, whose mission is to make schools, workplaces, and the world easier for introverts.
In this speech, Cain makes a case for the introvert, starting with why introversion is looked down upon, and then explaining why the idea that introverts cannot be leaders and innovators is incorrect. To create a more balanced workplace, increase collaboration and communication, and to help you understand the potential of introverts on your team, watch this talk.
Watch Susan Cain’s TED Talk here
The Power of TED
TED Talks are a tremendous resource that every business owner and professional should be taking advantage of. Any one of the talks on this list can help expand your potential and acumen, giving you a new perspective and plenty of inspiration. Learn from experts across a wide range of fields, and see your business strengthen and grow.
Are you ready to start taking your freelance writing career more seriously?
With so many websites, magazines, and competitions to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. And the thought of having to sort through all of them to find the ones that pay, and that you’re actually interested in, can be enough to put you off.
So, to make it easier for you to find freelance writing jobs, Alexandr Timofeev has put together a comprehensive list of 300+ websites that pay freelance writers.
Other posts by Alexandr Timofeev
In our series of articles to help professionals to decide if becoming a Freelancer (or Independent Consultant), we have not yet found content that deal with the personality of the Consultant. Once Again MBO Partners library has produced a great article dealing with Introverts.
My own personal note on this is, being an introvert myself, there is confusion in the market in identifying what is an introvert, how to differentiate from extroverts without making confusion with shy people that not necessarily are introverts, or introvert people that are not necessarily shy.
And this is a huge difference when reading articles like this, to know yourself better and, most important, how o deal with the issue.
June 28, 2017
When thinking of personality traits that make a successful independent consultant, “outgoing,” “social,” or “extroverted” may come to mind. While those who enjoy networking and interacting with others may be at an advantage when it comes to self-promotion or meeting new people, it that doesn’t mean that a natural introvert—or a shy extrovert—can’t succeed as an independent consultant.
The difference between introverts and extroverts isn’t that introverts are reserved and quiet while extroverts are enthusiastic and outgoing, it’s how each gains energy. While a social environment will fuel an extrovert, introverts recharge by being on their own. Here are three ways to use your unique characteristics to your advantage as an introverted independent consultant.
Focus on Your Strengths
Some people may find the benefits of independent consulting attractive, but ultimately conclude that their introverted personality makes them a poor candidate for this career path. However, many introvert qualities are valuable traits when it comes to self-employment. For instance, introverts may be better mentally equipped to not only handle the isolation that comes with working alone, but to actually embrace and benefit from it. Instead of worrying about what you can’t do, focus on the qualities that you do have and use them to your advantage.
Introverts may not be social butterflies, but they are able to build a large network of contacts as quickly and as easily as extroverts. Remember, introverted doesn’t mean antisocial. Introverts tend to excel at building strong, lasting, one-on-one relationships. That type of rapport can easily translate into loyal, long-term clients. Strong client bonds can also lead to referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations.
While introverts may be more reserved, they tend to be good listeners and analytical thinkers. These are valuable traits that can be helpful when it comes to selling your services. When working closely with clients to develop a solution, being able to read people using nonverbal cues can put you at an advantage. By listening carefully and using their intuition, introverts can impress a potential client with a detailed proposal, or gain their trust with a plan that speaks to exactly what they are looking for.
Make Your Weaknesses More Approachable There is a reason why independent consulting is often considered an extrovert’s field: the ability to network and strengthen relationships in a face-to-face setting is invaluable. If you’re the type of person who tends to dread these situations, there are ways to successfully network without having an extroverted personality.
Creating and practicing a short elevator speech before a networking event can be very beneficial for introverts. When you know exactly what you need to say, it can be less nerve-wracking when it’s time to speak to someone.
Another helpful strategy is to have a few questions and short conversation starters in mind that you can ask people you meet. Focus on presenting a friendly and approachable demeanor through non-verbal communication; welcoming body language, confident eye contact, and a warm smile can speak volumes.
Introverts tend to work best one-on-one or in a small group setting. Apply these ideas to networking. Make the first move by speaking to the person who is standing alone, or introduce yourself to a small group. Most people at networking events will jump at the chance to talk about what they do, so ease into a conversation by asking a question and listening.
Use Independence to Your Advantage
While networking may be the most obvious and difficult obstacle for introverted independent consultants, challenges also exist in day-to-day business tasks. By employing strategies to manage trying activities or interactions, you can find a way to work within your personal comfort level.
Don’t hesitate to rely on technology to assist you in appropriate situations. If phone calls and in-person meetings are stressful, make email your primary means of communication. Just be sure that your responses are timely, detailed, and clear. Skype or other instant messaging services can also be useful ways to connect with clients when you need to have a more conversational discussion, so long as the client is comfortable with the technology.
Of course, there will always be circumstances that require face-to-face meetings. In these situations, meet clients in a setting that is most comfortable for you—perhaps a quiet coffee shop as opposed to a corporate-feeling meeting room or your home office.
A lot of business marketing and networking can be done online, so use this to your advantage. Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date, and use the site to connect and maintain relationships with professional contacts. Promote and market your services using social media, and create a personal website that describes your services, highlights client recommendations, and showcases your portfolio.
Remember, as an independent consultant you’re able to set your own schedule, decide how you run your business, and choose where you work. Introverts bring many benefits to this career path; it’s simply a matter of playing to your strengths and working with your weaknesses. Your independence is a big perk, so use it to your advantage.
Continuing with our series or articles to help on the decisions surrounding the steps to take before being definitively sure about the decision and to know if you are ready, again from MBO Partners (link on their banner) an article all Freelance wannabe should read. Enjoy!
January 26, 2017
Whether you identify as an independent contractor, self-employed professional, freelancer, or entrepreneur, there’s plenty of gratification in knowing that ultimately, you’re your own boss—you work for yourself, you call the shots, and you own your financial destiny.
While you may be confident in your ability to deliver great services and results to clients, it’s important to take a step back and first work through some strategic planning to ensure your business venture is successful. Here are 6 key steps to help you get started.
1. Determine Your Services
While transitioning to independent work is exciting, it is a significant career and life change. Before you begin, you’ll need to define the services or skills you want to offer. Research your industry, see what’s in demand, and configure your services to match market needs. Be confident in your skills and experience; clients will be counting on you to deliver the results you advertise.
In addition to nailing down your offerings, it’s important to put yourself in the right mindset for the additional responsibility that comes with independence. Remember, you’re not only accountable for delivering the work, but also for finding it. Do you have the resilience to hold out for a contract that takes a few weeks to get signed, or the tenacity to use your network to find new clients? Thoroughly thinking through your services and mentally preparing for how you’ll tackle future hurdles will ensure you’re well positioned to begin independent work.
2. Financially Prepare
Financial preparation is key to a smooth transition. Make sure you either have an immediate project to start your cash flow, or a several month cushion of income to cover expenses until you bring in a contract. Keep in mind that even if you land a project, 60-day terms are common—so don’t expect to get paid right away. As you think through your financial expectations, learn how to set the right bill rate so you maintain realistic expectations and charge the right amount for your services.
In addition to income, plan how to best protect yourself, your family, your business, and your retirement. Look into health insurance options available to independent consultants, and be sure to account for about business insurances you may need such as General Liability, Errors and Omissions, and Workers Compensation. As you get started, be initially conservative with spending; instead of making sure your business has all the bells and whistles, focus on getting out there and securing work.
3. Test it Out
If you’re able, join the 12+ million independent workers who do so on a part-time basis to test out independence. In doing so, you can get a feel for contractor life with a safety net. Start reaching out to your network, build confidence, and develop your portfolio with side projects. If you’re currently working, tread lightly, being sure not to violate your current employment contract.
If moonlighting isn’t an option, meet with a trusted advisor or mentor who can provide guidance and feedback on your plan. Look for someone who has made a similar transition in the past and run your planned offering, messaging, and marketing ideas by them.
4. Outline Your Business
StructureWhile you can’t go wrong with a formal business plan, at the very least you should have a short—12-month—and a long—3-year—roadmap in place. Outline your services, your target clientele and how you plan to reach them, a plan for landing you first contract, how you’ll price your services and why, how you’ll utilize contracts, when and where you want to work, and income and personal development goals.
5. Land Your First Client
You’ll need to find clients early on who will provide enough work to sustain your income. Clients may be people from your professional or social networks, or they may come through word-of-mouth referrals. Pitch your business to employers, peers, colleagues, and friends—you never know who may be in need of your services.
Keep in mind that as an individual worker, you may be initially limited to projects of a certain size—i.e., ones you can handle on your own. However, once you get rolling and find the right balance, you’ll find you have the flexibility to choose the projects you want, and even partner with other independents to take on larger projects or more work.
6. Market Your Business
When you know what direction your business is headed and perhaps have a few projects underway, start thinking about how to best sell what you’ve built. A marketing plan will help you step back, take a look at your business as a whole, and align business goals, such as growing revenue or expanding your service offerings, with marketing objectives.
To start, develop materials that present your skills and credentials—an attractive resume, a website outlining your services, appropriate social profiles, and business cards. As you position yourself as an expert in your field, you can also network by sharing your expertise. Volunteer to participate on panels or webinars, and contribute content to blogs and articles.
While it can be challenging to put the processes and systems in place to become self-sustaining, stay motivated knowing you have the potential to grow a successful, profitable company.
No matter what the industry, more professional relationships mean more business — and the biggest boost to a business comes from trusted acquaintances that know your work and advocate for you. This is what we call your "business network". Referral Key helps you leverage your existing business network to generate highly qualified referral leads — and allows you to easily expand your professional network to establish new referral relationships that support ongoing growth of your business.
With Referral Key, you can quickly and easily build a business network of referral colleagues who know and trust you, inviting them to exchange referrals with you. Once your colleagues accept your invitations to exchange referrals, they will begin sending you solid leads.
The result is a web-enabled closed loop that provides a steady stream of timely, qualified leads from your trusted colleagues -- and a much higher probability of converting these leads into actual revenue. Every step of the referral marketing process, from initiating a referral to following up is automatically tracked within Referral Key.
Referral Key also makes it easy to expand your referral network by allowing you to tap into your colleagues' business network. Each member indicates which colleagues in their business network can be browsed by others. You can then proactively approach these business professionals about establishing a new referral relationship. Other features let you track referrals to ensure your relationships are reciprocal and the ability to set up promotional campaigns to reward your most profitable referral partners and customers.
When you sign up for Referral Key, you're also invited to add your business profile to the Referral Key on-line Member Directory. This valuable benefit lets you showcase your unique business offering to other professionals seeking to establish new referral relationships — as well as to potential prospects seeking the products and services you provide.
With our Free Membership you can join today, spend a few minutes setting up your referral network and begin exchanging referrals in no time. Take the quick Referral Key Tour to learn more!
July 25, 2017
© Copyright 2018 MBO Partners
A blog is more than something to update with your weekly experiences as an independent professional—it’s an opportunity to engage and grow your target audience. Blogging is a great way to showcase your expertise, bring in potential clients, and grow your personal brand. In fact, 53% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority.
Blogs are simple to create and maintain, and can help you market your business while building your brand and audience. Here are four reasons to consider making a blog a part of your professional website.
1. Engage Your Target Audience
A successful blog engages readers. There’s something about a blog that is simply more believable and personal than reading a company fact sheet. Blogs are a chance for you to share your voice, and show that you know what you’re talking about as a professional in your industry. While some blogs may turn off readers by acting solely as an opinion column, if you back your statements with research and proven facts, you can build trust in your readers.
Potential clients are looking for an independent professional who is knowledgeable. They want to be sure that you’re really an expert before engaging your services. Providing readers not only with information about how you can help them solve their problems, but also with industry advice and updates, will show them you’re someone who cares about your business as well as your clients.
2. Build Brand Awareness
Blogs help build brand awareness, particularly by increasing traffic to your professional website and improving your visibility on search engines like Google. By consistently publishing new content that includes keywords and topics your audience is interested in, your website will appear more frequently in search engines results. Be sure to share any new content you write on your social networks to drive traffic as well.
3. Future Clients
Your blog is an opportunity to provide your target audience with the voice and personality behind the services you offer. By discussing industry news and trends and backing up your opinions with research, you can begin to establish yourself as a go-to authority. When searching for content ideas, think about common questions your clients have, and create helpful posts around these topics. This will help build confidence in your audience, and ensure you are top of mind when they are in need of expertise for a project.
4. Build Strong Relationships
A blog is an ideal place to build strong relationships with existing and future clients. Engage your readers by asking them questions in your posts. Then, encouraging conversation through comments and feedback. Developing a positive rapport with your readers is a great way to develop trust, and it can also help you gain insight into additional questions potential clients have, what they may be looking for in your services, and what types of problems they are dealing with.
The best part about creating and maintaining a blog is that it will continue to produce positive effects for your business in the long-run. So long as you continue to produce quality content, old posts will still be relevant to your audience well into the future.
(We can consider many Frameworks or Methodologies like Agile, PMI, Lean, etc.)
A Developer is suffering with all the pressure of the Universe to have this solution up and running in production within a very short time frame, let's say a week, give or take. Since he knows better, like many developers, he does not need to conceive, design, validate, proof or test the concept or the feasibility of the solution.
Then the developer creates the world in six days, all by himself. Guess what, he runs out of resources or ideas to continue this lone and selfish journey. During a bio-break, he has yet another brilliant idea: he is going to use his own poop to be able to continue. So he grabs as much turd as his hand can take and uses it to fabricate the resource he needs: a man.
Immediately the developer finds out his implementation is flawed, besides being already late and out of resources. The first feedback man gives to the developer is that he needs help, he needs companionship to be able to continue the developer's work. The developer has one out of two options: either he asks help for a weird speaking sneak that is coiled around a tree nearby or try to use whatever the result of his molding turd was.
Well, lacking a better idea and regretting big time for not validating with future users and clients before, he radicalizes and decides to remove a piece of the code from man, and with the rib shaped function he creates the next resource. However, besides having changed radically the code without proper validation, change management and approval, he creates the next resource.
No surprise it was not another man. Both developer and man agreed to use the name woman for this new resource.
Time goes by ...
The system proves to be crap. Nothing works. Man and woman were able to multiply their codes like a fast spreading virus. Developer was helpless and severely criticized everywhere. His only option was unilaterally purge current deployed system and erase it so that a new, better solution could be deployed. This time he decided to work smarter. He asked a group of people to help him. He came to realize it was the family of an old, blind, drunk dude with great skills, just what he needed.
This dude built a gargantuan ship with his bare hands, something never did before, and that will never be replicated in the entire cosmos. Soon the developer purged the entire system, flooding the host machine so that all his mistakes could be erased forever from memory. The family of the dude was responsible to make it all run again. After one year he gave a few coach class tickets to Kangaroos to go live in Australia and the different Penguin families to live in Antarctica.
Developer tells there was a time of productivity and efficiency. Few people believe him. Until all the system went down south once more. The situation was worse than before. The code was full of bugs, many OS vulnerabilities were explored by scammers and other hackers with bad intention.
At the end the developer was totally screwed ... again.
He became depressed, restless, ashamed for being so selfish and arrogant for believing he was all powerful and had all knowledge in the universe. He found no solution, he need to offer himself to sacrifice. The only way to clean up all the shit he did during millennia as a mediocre designer and even worse developer.
So he did. He manipulated the code so that people would think he was someone else and offer himself to sacrifice, and users were happy to do so since they knew this under-performer, unskilled and mediocre developer couldn't ever do any better.
Today we have many great tools, including MSF (I love it still), Agile (Xtrene, Scrum, etc), PMP. PMI. ITIL, ITSM, DevOps none of us has to live through the shame of incompetence and very poor design.
I do not give exceptions: design thinking for conception, Lean or MSF for implementation, ITIL for operations.
To rely on crap when you run of resources is a big sign your product will be the end of the world,
PH - Hune/21/2018 HAPPY SOLSTICE
I have been contacted few times about publishing related articles, texts, thoughts, ideas and recommendations here. You are more than welcome! Actually, it is a honor to have your contributions to this blog.
Again, even though the original idea for this Blog was related to IT Consulting, a whole new segment of "on line freelancing" or similar is booming around the globe.
Also, like many other examples (see eBay sellers), we learned that the more we contribute to each other, the more space we gain, the more opportunities are visible to all of us and also more opportunities are created with the growing quality supply.
Just e-mail me and we go from there.
I dedicate my life to science, technology, music and to bringing people together. And I do it my way.