Whether you're an aspiring model, life coach, writer, designer, healer, photographer, make-up artist, nutritionist, marketer or trainer looking for clients—you're not going to further your career in this competitive landscape if you don't promote yourself or your work online.
All entrepreneurs struggle from time to time to figure out WHO THEY ARE. Don't worry, I've been there too!
More and more companies today are outsourcing creative services and have found that hiring third-party professionals is the way to go. Why? Because there's usually no overhead, lower risk, and contracts can be long or short-term.
Over the years, a lot of new business owners have asked me how they can stay fresh and top of mind when everyone it seems is selling their services too. In fact, as you read this, your favourite inspiration and business icons are tweeting, posting, blogging and uploading right now!
Perhaps it's because when I was the editor of a popular women's fitness magazine, I worked with a lot of models—and also mentored tons of aspiring writers and editors on how to get published. But since then the world has changed, and almost everyone is an "expert" in their field. I too find it difficult to keep up sometimes, but it's crucial as a business person and master of your own domain to stay curious about how you can further your knowledge to become the best at what you love to do. So if you're not already—you better get online!
Here are some quick tips that have helped me:
1. BE SEARCHABLE
The more you pop up on Google searches and social networking sites--the more exposure you'll get--the more your name will get traction in people's feeds--and the more memorable you'll remain. In fact, I just spoke to a colleague in the mainstream modelling world who now urges potential clients to check out his talent's profiles and pictures online instead of waiting to see traditional composite (comp) cards at auditions. And same goes for creative agencies that hire designers, writers, web developers, content specialists, production, art directors etc. they insist on seeing online portfolios and landing pages before they even consider you.
2. BE VISIBLE
If you don't have clear and consistent personal branding and a recognizable website, blog, and social media feed, you may also be overlooked. If you aren't a creative person and don't know the first thing about design or creating a brand that best represents you, hire a professional or offer a trade for services. It's important to create and promote a look and feel that resonates with your clients and will keep them coming back.
3. STAY ACTIVE
Post it! Don't be shy—you're trying to showcase your work people! How else are you going to get some buzz out there? Social media hotspots such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest among others are extremely important tools for individuals wanting to market themselves. If you're not on at least two or three of these sites, I'd say you're going to be out of luck. Of course, word of mouth still works in some industries, however if you want to expand your clientele and make more money today, you need to be social. Sure, it can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but trust me... posting informative, inspirational or amazing portfolio pieces once a day will keep you out there. Praise from clients is also crucial. Always ask for a testimonial or review for your product or service with each new happy client. Also make sure your official bio is up-to-date on your website and offer a "media bio" if necessary in your industry. If your business changes focus or you implement a new direction—make sure you tell your clients and fan base online.
4. FIND A MENTOR
Like anything, allowing yourself to become vulnerable at times in your personal or professional life can actually improve your situation. It may seem like taking two steps forward, and three back, but it is monumental to the bigger picture. I look back on my own business journey and all the ups and downs—even a move to a new country—and often I felt overwhelmed and overworked and like I wanted to throw the towel in. Especially when I decided to branch out and officially develop my own publishing and consulting business after sporadically freelancing for years.
I had no team, no consultants, no one to lean on at 2 a.m. when I was confused about how to do something on the back-end of my website (yes I still do all my website updates myself). I also decided to self-publish my book with no agent and no manager—and I've gotten all my press to date myself. But it's tough. I still worry every day that my lucky streak will run out or there's someone else out there who will come along and take my clients or potential clients. But don't fret, these thoughts are very normal!
Remember, it's smart to know how to manage these aspects of your own business from day one anyways. Don't just delegate (if you have the money that is, which most start-up business owners don't) because this is your brand and your passion, so you should be in control. Because learning from your mistakes is one of the best things you can do. Also, a good piece of advice is to find a mentor or someone you look up to from a business aspect or who works in the industry you are hoping to break into. Most people will be open-minded to share their experience. And if they're not, do you really want to be like them?
A good mentor will be there for you through the trials and tribulations and hopefully long after you've made your first million!
Remember, staying competitive means setting up shop where your fans are. I hope this post motivates you to stay on top of your business goals and go after your dreams. If you have any questions about how I can mentor you in these or any other area such as; what the press is looking for, writing, getting published, or marketing and communications--or if you would like me to speak at your school, conference, team-building event, meetup or on a call, please contact me. I also offer private consultation calls in the areas of personal branding, social media, content creation etc. You just have to take the first step. Good luck!
P.S. Also don't forget to Sign Up for my upcoming e-zine to get your free online inspiration and more tips like these!
One of the reasons I started this blog was to address specific questions that I've gotten over the years from readers who are still looking for the "inside scoop" on how to get ahead in the fitness industry. Things such as:
How do I take the first step in the fitness world? What kind of jobs are there in the industry? What's the secret to losing weight? How can I land a magazine cover? How am I going to balance training with my family? or Do you think I'll ever look like so-and-so?
Well, my friends, the truth is that there is not one simple answer that suits everyone's needs. Take it from me, it all depends on what your ultimate goals are, how you plan to achieve them, by when, and what's your desired outcome. Maybe you want to get a six-pack back after baby, your doctor is advising that you need to strengthen after surgery, or perhaps you want to lose a few pounds for your wedding, enter a fitness contest for the very first time, or train for a marathon.
But are your goals realistic? That's the million-dollar question! Well, whatever your motivation to get back to fitness, one thing's for sure, it takes two things to make it happen: DEDICATION and A PLAN. Are you ready to take on fitness?
We all have different reasons for focusing on our health. What are yours? Send me your questions and my plan is to address every single one — and if I can't through my own experience, I will go to the best people in the industry to find out for you. Because the more people we can help get back to fitness, the better. Are you in?
Do you ever wish there was a secret pill or magic potion that could strip you of those last few pounds with the snap of a finger? Something that could give you perfect curves in a flash?
Or a beautiful new look, femininity galore, legs to die for, and amazing muscle definition, oh yeah, by tomorrow?
Think of the increased confidence you’d have if this were only true. Imagine, instant change without picking up a weight, changing your schedule, or eating wholesome foods. Sound too good to be true? Well, it is!
We all wish for fast “no-brainer” solutions to our diet and training dilemmas at some point in our lives. I bet, most of us can agree that it’s tough making it to the gym in between classes or when you’re away on business — and it’s equally rough trying to swing by the health food store when you’re late for an appointment or picking the kids up from school. Just trying to make the right meal choices for ourselves (let alone our families) is difficult enough when junk food is so accessible on our way home from work.
But the great thing is that there are numerous resources out there to help us out.
We all dream of having the perfect body, but yet at the same time, we want to get there without putting in any effort at all. But it’s not going to happen overnight — so enjoy the journey and reap the benefits in the end.
We have to prioritize the activities in our life. Here's how:
Make healthy meals and exercise part of your daily regimen. Drink lots of water and get enough sleep. I'm working on these things myself and it is a tough road to change direction at this point in our lives. But we can do it because the truth is that everything in life is a work in progress.
“Work” being the operative word.
Stay strong. Stay healthy. Stay fit.
As a professional writer and editor who has dedicated my entire career to helping others achieve their health and fitness goals, I couldn't resist creating a special place where I could share a little bit about where I've come from, where I'm going, and how I can hopefully inspire you to lead a healthier and happier life.
Since graduating from university, my job as a fitness journalist has allowed me to meet many interesting people from around the world. Now I'd like to share my unique experiences and the inside 'fitness' scoop with you! It's true, the fitness industry can be a big scary place if you're unfamiliar with what goes on in the gym, on the stage, or in front of the camera. So I'd like to share my experiences with you as someone who has led some of the top fitness magazines in the world and who is currently overseeing the marketing and communications function for one of the biggest multi-brand companies in the mind-body category. I also want to continue to help others reach their personal aspirations no matter what they are in life. Because if there's one thing I know about for sure — it's trying to balance work and play.
As a mother of two young boys, a busy 9-5er, freelance writer, blogger, yoga-junkie and wife, I could use a little motivation myself sometimes. So feel free to contact me anytime and subscribe to this blog so we can stay in touch. Let me know what you're up to and what you'd like to see here.
Until next time, stay fit!
No matter how much we want to deny it, as we get older, our bodies change. You may find your muscles are not responding to your usual sets and reps anymore, or you’re out of breath a lot faster after cardio workouts, or you don’t have as much get-up-and-go as you used to after long days at the office or playing with the kids. And then you notice the women in the gym are getting younger and younger... Ouch! Well I can relate.
Ever since I entered my thirties (ahem), I’ve had the undeniable urge to re-think my daily physical activity regimen and eating habits as well. Despite the fact that I still feel alright and think I still look alright – it doesn’t mean that my overall health and energy levels are the same as they used to be in my teens or early 20s. So what does this mean? It means the way we look after ourselves has to be updated too.
Let's face it, there’s so much more to life than dwelling on the fact that we’ve gotten another year older, or we don’t have the body we once used to. So raise your head up high and embrace what you have! Yes, things change, but it’s not all downhill from here. You just have to adapt to what life throws at you. Solution? Perhaps you should update your training logbook, or start one! Talk to a personal trainer to find out which exercises and how many pounds you should now be incorporating into your workout, or if you don’t already have one, get a gym membership – or go for a run!
Take a good look at yourself and evaluate where you think you need improvement: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, or even sexually. Make a list and tackle each one in your time. But never rush. Your results will last longer. Remember, it’s never too late to adjust your lifestyle toward a healthier, happier you.
One year ago yesterday, my first magazine mentor and long-time friend passed away. The following is a tribute article that I was asked to write for Robert Kennedy Publishing last April. Whether you live, work or play in the fitness or bodybuilding industry, I'm sure you'll be able to appreciate how much this man means to so many people.
I will never forget the first day I met Robert Kennedy (“Bob” to those of us who worked for him). It was over 16 years ago when I walked into the old office building on Airport Road in Toronto – the day that changed my life. Despite having just graduated from journalism school, I felt quite unprepared when I entered the MuscleMag International headquarters, which was housed on top of the infamous MuscleMag store. There were boxes and boxes of old magazines, tear sheets, clippings, file cabinets, signed pictures of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and sexy girl covers everywhere. There was even a backdrop set up in the corner of the hall (out in the open) for impromptu photo shoots as well as a weight set and workout bench in case anyone wanted to “pump up” between meetings or on lunch… I had absolutely no clue what was to come of our meeting, and I certainly had no idea what crazy, exciting times were in store for me at his fitness and bodybuilding empire.
I would have died for any job in the magazine world at the time. All I needed was a chance, and Bob is the one who gave it to me. I had no real work experience, very little professional writing experience, and not one Rolodex contact to my name. But as soon as I met Bob, I knew I had found my niche. After spending two hours in the hallway with Bob (because that’s also where he kept his desk) he showed me probably every photo he had ever taken at either a bodybuilding show or sexy cover shoot. He also shared some of his trade secrets like the fact that he started his magazine business on basically what he had in his wallet, with no prior experience, and how MuscleMag was at first a newsletter of sorts. I felt at home and like somehow we could relate.
He hired me on the spot.
I never knew at that time how much Bob’s passion for the written word and beautiful imagery would have such an impact on me in a few years time. A short time after joining the company, Bob approached me about starting a mainstream men’s magazine from scratch. I eagerly took on the challenge and we started American Health & Fitness magazine (now Maximum Fitness), which lasted over five years.
His ability to see my potential continued to blow me away. At which point the position of editor-in-chief of Oxygen became available. Now only familiar with the men’s fitness world, I was surprised when Bob approached me to take over his women’s title. I was completely flattered and wondered how I would ever be able to run a magazine as good as he always envisioned it would be and that he held in such high regard. But for some reason, Bob had faith in me even when I didn’t. That’s what kept me going. If something didn’t work then we’d try something new.
I learned so much from Bob about life and work. He was my mentor, my boss, and ultimately my friend. I will never forget how much it meant to me when Bob and Tosca Reno (the Eat Clean lady) flew to Bahamas to attend my wedding in 2002. Bob said, “Of course we’re going – we can shoot on the beach!” when I sluggishly gave him an invitation. I felt honored to have him come to celebrate such an important time in my life and I will forever think of him and how much of a talented photographer he was when I look at my wedding pictures.
There was never a dull moment when Bob was around. Even if there were times when he challenged my cover photo choices, or when he would remind me to “stick with your diet girl!” and make sure I did a little weight training at least every day. Bob was unique and definitely a ‘tough love’ kind of guy. But no one can deny that he knew what he was talking about when it came to “losing the flab and tightening the right spots.” He believed in healthy living and strengthening the inside as well as out. I truly believe that if it were not for Bob Kennedy I wouldn’t be where I am today. In fact, I also met my husband in the hallways of MMI, and I know Bob always took a little credit for that (smile).
Bob was extremely passionate about anything that involved working out, weight training and eating clean. He was all about commitment and “living the lifestyle” and I’ll never forget his zest for life. I think if the angels above could pass along just one message to him from me it would be:
I will always remember how you took me under your wings when I didn’t know any better. I spent almost nine years working for you on your various magazines and the impact on my life you’ll never know. I will always cherish the time we spent mulling over photos at the old light table, arguing about the next theme of an issue, and traveling to industry shows like the Arnold Classic and Olympia for photo shoots and some fun. I owe a ton to you, Bob. You will be truly missed.
My thoughts are with Tosca and family at this time and always.
As you read this, two out of three American women are trying to lose weight. Here’s hoping they succeed. But how many times have you heard a friend or someone you work with say they’ve lost ten to fifteen pounds on such-n-such diet and then two months later, they’ve gained the weight back again? Unfortunately, this is a regular occurrence and a dangerous, disappointing cycle for many.
Among the millions who put pounds back on after yo-yo dieting, fewer than five percent are able to lose them again. Some experts say the reason could be your natural body chemistry, or the fact that you may just have bad luck. But I say it’s a lack of motivation. What’s wrong with society these days? Too busy? Too stressed? Too overworked to worry about your health? I say stand up for what you really want - and take control of your body inside and out! There’s no time like the present.
The solution? You’ve got to work harder than ever before to keep flab from coming back – it all comes down to proper diet and exercise. Yes, the same old adage that’s been ingrained into our heads since we were kids. Cut out the junk food, stick to the basics, eat your veggies, and drink plenty of water. (Well, it may be a little more complicated than that as we get older but you get my point). Stick to the basics and you’ll succeed. Promise.
Today I started to get back to basics myself with every intention to stick with my plan of eating healthier and working out. Whether it be yoga (my love lately) or the treadmill in the garage at home – my goal is to lose the weight (and keep it off) once and for all. Are you ready to take the challenge? Let’s do it together!
For over a year now I've been helping my husband follow his entrepreneurial dreams by launching and establishing his company Action Brands Inc., and its premier brand ACTIONETIX™. The company has spawned out of a vested interest our family has in the action sports world – in particular dirt biking. (I can hear all you moms out there right now squirming.)
My son Connor (who’s now only eight years old) is ranked 9th in all of Canada in the 50cc riding class (competing with kids up to age 10 and 12 this past summer). So I figure with all the time we’re putting in at the tracks, the amount of mechanics in our garage dedicated to this expensive pastime, and my past magazine experience talking to various elite athletes about training, nutrition and supplements – my major contribution at this time (other than running to the post office to process orders and consulting on packaging, ads and copy) is to interview the top guys in the sport. From arenacross to motocross, snocross, BMX and endurocross, these unique athletes are some of the most dedicated, performance-driven (literally), successful people I know.
Check out my latest behind-the-scenes interview with motocross pro Kyle Keast. Find out what he’s been going through after two serious injuries in one year and what he plans for his comeback in 2013!
Kerrie Lee Brown is a sought-after health and lifestyle expert. She writes books, blogs and articles and is published all over the world. Kerrie Lee is also a heart-health survivor and has appeared on numerous radio and television shows sharing life-saving tips for women on how to listen to their bodies and slow down. Kerrie Lee is a mom and proud Canadian living in Denver, Colorado.