We the Young People

Entrepreneur
www.shanevanderhart.com

I believe that our generations are the ones with the power to change the world. We are large in number, we scream for tolerance and change, and Generations X and Y were the first generations to be raised during the rise and rapid evolution of the internet and technology. We were among the first to be able to access the entire world and the wealth of information on the internet.

Today’s teenagers and young adults may be somewhat spoiled from the ridiculous amount of technology and information at our fingertips. Who needs to remember phone numbers or how to do simple math when we can just use our phones? Who needs to actually read the classics when you can just Wikipedia the summary? But whether we are spoiled, entitled, or just misunderstood in an evolving world, we can change everything, and we already are doing so.

 

In an article on Salon.com, author Alexander Balkin talks about why calling Millennials lazy and entitled is wrong, and discusses how we got here: “Baby boomers came of age in an era of unprecedented prosperity. They were raised by parents who had survived poverty, war and the true sacrifice of a generation burdened with great moral struggles. As a whole, they experienced economic and physical security. Baby boomers received, by today’s standards, inexpensive and widely available education, preparing them for a thriving and open job market. […] So what did they do with all their good fortune? From the time the baby boomers took over, the United States has experienced an economic environment plagued with unfounded asset and real-estate bubbles and collapses.”

 

There may be more people in Generation X and Y than there are Boomers, but the Baby Boomers are the ones currently holding office, holding the high level CEO jobs in a lot of companies, and are a lot of the ones making policies that affect our lives. Around 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every day and are retiring, and now it’s our turn.

 

Imagine what we can do. We can literally change the world. Look what we’ve already done.

 

More young people voted in 2008 and 2012 than ever before. We voted, and it just goes to show that your vote does matter. Your vote helped change the direction our country was going in. Generations X and Y have live-tweeted catastrophes, getting information out faster than ever, such as in Egypt and Israel, they have demanded information from governments, they have turned their arguments into petitions, protests, and internet rants.They have leaked information that they believed the people deserved to know.

 

We have built social networks that literally connected the world, we believe in starting something from nothing, and we know that with the right idea, anything is possible. Our generations have created Google and eBay, we have Facebook and Twitter to unite people globally at the touch of a button, we made the Hubble telescope and the biggest strides in space exploration. We are the most entrepreneurial generations so far.

 

Our generations are fighting for LGBT rights, the ones who lobbied the loudest for equal constitutional rights for gays and lesbians to be allowed to marry. We follow in the footsteps of every Civil Rights movement in our history, which proves over and over again that we the people know what we want, and what is right, and are willing to yell and fight and work for it.

 

Jeff Gordinier, author of X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft But Can Still Keep Everything From Sucking, has a pretty awesome quote from when he was featured in Time magazine.

 

“Shirking the media myth that Xers are slackers, Gordinier argues that Generation X has — to borrow a ‘60s term — changed the world. Citing Gen-X icons like Quentin Tarantino and Jon Stewart, along with Gen-X triumphs like Google, YouTube, and Amazon, among others, Gordinier argues that not only are Xers far from over, they might be the most unsung and influential generation of all time. ‘Gen-X stomping grounds of the past — the espresso bar, the record shop, the thrift store — have been resurrected in digital form. The new bohemia is less a place than it is a headspace. It’s flexible enough to bypass all the old binaries. It encompasses mass and class, mainstream and marginal, yuppie and refusenik, gearhead and Luddite. It’s everywhere and nowhere in particular,’ he writes. [In short,] ‘GenXers are doing the quiet work of keeping America from sucking.’”

 

So, rejoice, young(ish) people. We are changing the world, one step at a time.
Seriously, we have the interconnectedness, the tolerance, and the desire to learn, grow, and change the entire world and how it works. We are, in all terrifying honesty, the future.

This article originally was posted on Huffington Post on 8/23/2016  by me (original content).

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Networking: Standing Out in a Crowd!

LinkedIn
networking1
Photo Credit: http://www.business2community.com/strategy/order-work-need-network-01640509#211hApMQjqjMpTYO.97

Depending on who you ask, networking is either relatively enjoyable or a necessary evil to suffer through.

If you were to ask me, I’d be able to regale you with anecdotes from hundreds of career fairs, association meetings, networking meetups, and client visits. I genuinely enjoy the face-to-face connection you get in a networking  situation. You get a more casual environment to meet people, discuss business, but also pepper your conversation with real pieces of your personality. It’s not a job interview, so the solemnity tends to be lessened, and people generally feel more comfortable in a group setting.

I know some people who wouldn’t go to a large networking event even if you paid them, and I know others who knew about it before you tell them, and are already registered.

Obviously, our comfort levels in crowds of near-strangers are individual to each of us. I am a salesperson, and people are my specialty. I have no problem walking into a crowd and introducing myself and my company, and enjoying meeting new people every time I turn around. I am marryied to an introvert who finds it stressful to be in crowds of strangers, and tends to not know how to introduce himself to complete strangers. Luckily, we balance each other out!

It’s not only a personality thing, though. Usually at an event, I’m representing my company, so I feel that I’m able to offer value to people and to companies. I am able to bring something to the table, so starting a conversation is even easier! Not that as myself I am not valuable, simply that as a representative of my company, I am bringing a different sort of value to the table.

Here is an example of how networking has been a huge help to me previously. I was tasked with bringing a rebranded company name out to market in NYC when the company rebranded in 2014. Being able to get in front of people who knew me as the former brand, and explain in person our new name and logo, but with the same great services, was the best way for people to associate the new name with our old brand that was so well known. People could associate me with the new name, as they already did with the old one. Giving presentations at networking events allows me to stamp myself and my company into people’s brains.

A great networker is someone who is remembered. They are not the funniest or best looking person in the room, or the one who spoke the loudest. It is the person who had great conversations with people, who was credible and knowledgeable without being pushy or a know-it-all. It’s someone who focused their undivided attention on the person they were speaking with, and not allowing passersby to distract them. A great networker expands their network by mingling with new people and introducing themselves to newcomers, and being a genuine, friendly source of information.

Bringing value to your events is so important. If you are looking for a job, the way you should think of this is “what do I bring to the table?” This is a view of what YOU can do for a company or service, and don’t even begin to focus on what they can do for you. You are not owed anything by companies, but you may be bringing fresh perspectives, specialized experience, or a tech-savvy eagerness to learn to them, all of which are invaluable to companies.

Expanding your network is vital to branding yourself (or your company) in your chosen industry or market. You can really learn and gain a lot from meeting pillars of your field, or perhaps you are one and you have a lot of knowledge you could be teaching others. Everyone has value to bring to every conversation. Mingling with other experts is a great way to learn new things, meet potential clients, and more.

As a salesperson, when you are marketing anything: yourself, your employer, a client, you are a subject-matter expert putting yourself in a position to expand your network. Hand out business cards, and get them from people you meet. Connect with them on LinkedIn and check in occasionally. Networking is an important piece of the puzzle, but not the only one!

Have you ever had an amazing or amazingly bad networking experience? What has expanding your network done for you, personally and professionally?

This article originally was posted on LinkedIn on 3/11/2015  by me (original content). It has been edited a bit for relevance.

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Why Can’t I Just Write My Own Website?

Copywriting

There are different types of copy and content out there. In a world where we can measure everything, where every ad has analytics and every website has conversion rates, where even success has metrics, you need to have strong copy to stand out, break out, and succeed.

There are types of copy for every format and instance, including straightforward, storytelling, conversational, imaginative, long and short form, creative marketing, Direct-from-CEO copy, starting with warts copy, superlative (sometimes clickbait) copy, and velvet rope copy. There are more, but that is a good list to start.

Each different types of copy is saying the same general thing in its own way. The goal is always to sell. Sell your product or service, your business, or yourself. But how you get there must include one or more of the different types of copy.

How do you attract new customers? How do you get someone to convert to a client from a prospect? Remember, ads are copy, your website is already covered in copy. The marketing emails you send to your clients are copy, as are your social media posts.

Great copywriting is an art and a science. Yes, having the words and the ability to persuade or compel people is certainly important, but the way you say things and the way you frame your business are equally important.

Strong headlines are 80% of great copy. Draw people in, and make them want to know more! Great copy will get you more sales, more money, more followers, and more credibility.

SEO is incredibly important in your copy. You need to be able to be easily searchable and easily found. Most people don’t click to the second page of their Google search, so your page needs to come up sooner.

How do you get all of these things? You use someone like me. An experienced writer who understands the customers and understands your products and services, and has a strong background in sales and marketing. Someone who understands the power of a great headline and loves a beautiful turn of phrase. Someone who brings incredible value to your company and your website by bringing your company to the people.

Every business needs copy.

The most successful businesses understand the importance of great copy and hire the experts that will deliver their messages in the best way possible, to the widest audiences. A strong message and brand, is extremely important.

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First

JS

Hello! I am proud and excited to have started my own business, to be chasing my dream of being a writer for a living. I am excited, terrified, and freefalling into this newest adventure.

 

Who am I?

Well, I am the youngest of 5 kids, including step-siblings, and the only girl. Yes, I have 4 older brothers. I had a very fun childhood, which involved a lot of playing outside, climbing trees, reading in the sunshine, rollerblading, baseball in the cul-de-sac, and being beat up on by big brothers. I was protected, teased, a little sheltered, and happy. Thank goodness I eventually got a big sister when the oldest brother got married. She is the best, and they made me an aunt, one of the best titles I’ve ever had.

I left home for college and never went back to live in that smaller suburban Florida town. My parents, a couple brothers, and my best friend in the world are still there, and I do visit now and then. I did my Bachelor’s degree, and at 20 years old, I graduated and then fell into a sales job at a publishing company.

After the worst of the recession passed, I moved to the big city in 2010. New York City was not an easy place to live, not at first. It was lonely and I was broke as a joke, and not sure that I would make it here. But later that same year, I met the man who later became my husband, and luckily his whole friend group adopted me.

I am now thoroughly a Brooklynite. I love Brooklyn and we are living in our co-op happily with our fat, fluffy kitty named after the singer of our shared favorite band (it’s the Offspring, duh)! We both work in the city. Me, still in sales, him in a tech startup. We could so easily be the hipsters you’re imagining, but we aren’t. We’re nerds who read the book and then see the movie and debate it, board and card game players who argue the merits of Dominion vs. Ascension or play a rousing game of Settlers of Catan on a Saturday night. We live in a very Russian and orthodox Jewish area, and are neither of those things. We’re redditors and imgurians, and we take a lot of pictures of our cat. We go ice skating every December, and every year he forgets that even though I’m from Florida, I know how to skate really fast.

 

I have always been a writer. I have journals from as young as 4, and I have written poems and song lyrics for so long that I literally can’t remember not writing them. Sometimes I accidentally think in A-B-C-B format. I find Shakespeare tedious, but read sci-fi like it’s going out of style. I have 2 partially finished novels. One is a really interesting dystopian future novel with a twist, and the other is a self-help book about getting, keeping, and projecting confidence in part of your life. I read a whole book every other day or so, and my Kindle Paperwhite is my favorite thing ever. I used to have the second generation Kindle and refused to upgrade, but my husband kept insisting I needed a better newer one and bought it for me for Hanukkah. I got him stock in Nintendo that year for Christmas.

I write stories and dream vividly. I have been maintained a personal blog for 5 and a half years with everything from How To posts, fun facts, rants, silly poems, political posts, research-based posts, recipes I created, things I find funny, and more.

I woke up at 30 and realized I was 10 years into a sales career. I like sales, and I’m good at it; I’ve been successful in my sales and marketing career, and I appreciate where it has afforded me to go.

But I needed more. I am a creative type. I sing. And I don’t mean I just sing in the shower. I sang competitively when I was younger, and also did private lessons, chorus, ensemble, musical theater, and was the only alto from my county to go to state level competition one year. I SING. I write music, I have recorded songs that I’ve written, I sing at my desk, when I’m walking to the train, and as loud as I can in the car. I write, I sing, I even played violin for 7 years! Blogging was a good way to get some creativity out, but I have so much in me, and the blog didn’t provide enough of an outlet.

I branched out into contributing articles here and there to other websites, gaining exposure and putting myself further out there. I kept doing that, adding my biggest fish, Huffington Post, to my roster.

I just finally realized that the worst that could happen is that I got to keep my blog and my writing and the sites I already wrote for, so I put up a small ad, I reached out to a few contacts, and I put some feelers out. Within 48 hours I had 4 paying clients, and interesting diverse writing projects. Copywriting, content creations, marketing and sales emails, even doing a Google ad campaign!

 

Of course it’s scary when you try something new and put yourself out there. But being scared is a terrible excuse to quit. If being scared was a valid excuse, we would have no innovation, no revolution, and no skydiving.

 

I am a writer. I am a rollercoaster-riding, skydiving, cat-owning, singing weirdo who writes. And I am so happy and proud to be able to do it for others, and to someday (soon!) make it my full time occupation.

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