My Portfolio Career Update

My Portfolio Career Update

In 2013, when I started this blog, I was just fully taking inventory of my portfolio career.

After a decade working in marketing for Fortune 500 companies, I was ready for a new challenge. I found it in working with start-ups on content marketing strategy.

But like many portfolio careerists, despite being able to successfully make the leap to self-employment, I wasn’t quite ready to commit full-time to the  solopreneur life.

When my biggest client gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse to come onboard as a full-time employee, I accepted.

But growing a global content marketing team didn’t leave much time for my portfolio career pursuits.

After a year with a full-time singular focus, I decided to pursue something different.

It’s my long-term goal to operate my own content marketing agency. But I hadn’t ever worked as a full-time agency employee.

I went to work for one of the Bay Area’s top high tech PR firms to head their content studio. The job gave me the variety I craved. I got to work with dozens of different, fascinating start-ups.

But I missed the autonomy of working for myself. And the ability to pick and choose only clients who were a good match for the content marketing activities I’m the best at and most enjoy doing.

Welcome Back to the Solopreneur Life

Even once I went solo again, I still wasn’t committed to the solopreneur life. I instead took on a 30-hour per week client that had the potential to become a full-time job.

But this past Spring I realized I’m not looking for a full-time position working for someone else.

What I really want is to work full-time for me.

And once I made that decision, the right projects started coming to me.

I found some great co-working spaces so I can get out of the house. I started a private Slack channel and invited my favorite content and social solopreneurs and departments of one. I opened a business checking account.

I finally 100% committed to doing this.

It was while working with a career coaching client that I realized I needed to come back here, and revive this blog.

There’s already some great tools here for identifying your core competencies and creating a social media plan to support your personal brand.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing more ideas and resources for creating the career path that fits your life. And I’m also working on some online courses to help you through crafting your own career development plan. Stay tuned. And let me know what you’d like to hear from me.

Creating a Weekly Social Media Plan in Support of Your Personal Brand

Create a Weekly Social Media Tactical Plan(updated October 2017)

It can be easy to get sucked into a social media time sink when you’re getting started building out your personal branding social media strategy. That’s why it’s important to identify your top objectives for your social media usage, then draft a social media plan to define the activities you’ll do on a regular basis.

For instance, as a solopreneur or small business owner, your objectives might look like this:

  • Expand word-of-mouth about my services
  • Connect with 12 new industry influencers
  • Identify and become active in 2-3 online groups/communities related to my services
  • Drive 20% of all new business inquiries from social media channels by the end of the year

So how do you translate your positioning and focus areas into your social media plan?

First, set aside a couple of hours to draft your social media plan.

You’ll want to start by taking a close look at your bios on each of your active social networks. Does your bio consistently reflect your messaging?

Before you dive into tactics, you want to ensure you are presenting yourself with the same photo and/or graphics across your channels, and using the same language to reflect your value proposition, regardless of channel.

Moving into the planning process, you’ll need to identify:

  • Your primary keywords. Pick at least 3 and no more than 5 to focus on. Examples: digital marketing, financial services marketing, financial planning, social media.
  •  Key thought leaders and content sources for your keywords, starting with what you’ve already been reading/sharing via social. Aim for 10-20 total.
  •  Your weekly goal for posting content. Content can be something new that you share and microblog about (i.e. add your own perspective to a link), or can be something you RT from the folks you follow.
  • Your weekly goal for 1:1 interactions. This can include replying to an update someone posts, responding to a question with info or a resource, or just sharing something interesting 1:1 with a key person.

Now that you’ve defined your activities, and aligned your profile content to your objectives and value proposition, go ahead and block off 15 or 20 minutes per day, every day, on your calendar to focus on your social media activities. This time should be spent on your 1:1 interactions with influencers and followers, and tee’ing up content in Hootsuite or another scheduling tool, to be shared with your audience over the course of the upcoming week.

Documenting Your Social Media Plan

Social Media Calendar
Given a 15 minutes per day budget, you can aim for 1 Twitter post and 1 Facebook post per day, and a couple of LinkedIn posts of interest to your network per week. This time budget should also allow for 2-3 Twitter interactions and 2 Facebook interactions with influencers each week, and commenting on a couple of LinkedIn status updates or community posts per week.

To make sure you use your time wisely each day, add the related To Do’s to your daily calendar reminder.  This should include both interactions and content sharing activities.

By setting your goals and having them part of your daily To Do list, you’re on your way to improving your brand through regular use of social media.

How to Identify and Assess Your Core Competencies

How to Identify Your Core CompetenciesWhen starting out in your portfolio career, it’s tempting to take every opportunity that comes your way, just to ensure a steady income stream.

But is that really the best use of your time and efforts? Chances are, if you take on every project that comes your way, you’ll inevitably end up taking on  projects that don’t make the most of your skills and interests. Given that your most recent projects are what is most likely to lead to your next opportunity, it’s important to ensure you keep focused on work that makes the most of your key competencies.

By defining your core competencies and actively going after projects and roles that make the most of them, you will:

  • develop expertise in the areas that matter the most to your customers.
  • have a path for developing your skills in support of reaching your business goals

Identifying your core competencies

Core Competencies ExampleWhat are core competencies?

Let’s start by defining what a core competency is in a business setting. A core competency is a specific factor that is central to the way a company and its employees work. It must fulfill three key criteria:

  1. It is difficult for competitors to imitate.
  2. It can be applied widely across many products and markets.
  3. It contributes to the end consumer’s experienced benefits.

Taking this into a real-life example, if you are a social media consultant, your core competencies might look like the above illustration. You’ll note that these competencies fall into three buckets: functional (which includes unique technical expertise), personal (the areas in which you excel), and leadership (how your competencies interact with managing others.)

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