WHO ELSE WANTS A LIFESTYLE RATHER THAN A JOB?

Happy Friday! Going against the trend of claiming one is not one’s job, we cannot deny how much time our day to day job preoccupies. For some less and for some more. However for the majority much energy and effort go to the job. Coming from Rome, strolling the streets and trying out the Italian culture, I thought about differences between how a day to day life could look like there. And how it looks like where I for the moment lives.

Siesta is for example not a part of the country’s schedule which it often is in southern Europe. While I like that idea, I cannot neglect the fun “rule” of having home office, every Friday. Even if I perhaps do not perform on this, it is very common here. Probably that little norm is not formed everywhere either. Of course, everything does not only go with what country we live in. But also what type of work and company we have chosen to work for. Or maybe we even have chosen an entrepreneur lifestyle? – “Choosing” our days as we like them to be.

A great thinking I like to remind people of, is that we choose every day. We choose to go to this job every day. We choose everything around us, who we have around us and what we occupy our time with. Drawing a harsh line perhaps, but I like this to be more motivating than discouraging. So, if we choose our job, which is a lifestyle, what shall we choose? And when do we know we have chosen correctly?

When we were in Rome, Italy over New Year’s Eve we stayed at the loveliest hotel. We had a wonderful room with a terrace towards the inner backyard in where we on January 1st would order pizza straight to the group of couches. Staying at this most hostile villa was an Italian fairytale itself. 

What Kind of Job Fits Me?

Before applying for jobs 2018 I decided to sit down an analyze my situation. Who am I and what do I want? I thought for a long time of what makes me happy. What kind of job fits me? So, let’s share this piece of mind together. 

Are we athletes, prefers being physical at work? Are we very keen on having a nice environment? Do we want to stroll to work, or take the bus? Do we want to be among nice coworkers or are we more for locking ourselves into an office room? Do we want to dress up for work, or do we prefer change into an overall inside the dressing room? Do we like typing on the computer all day or would we instead fancy spending time outside? 

What do we do in our spare time? What do we think of when our eyes are closed? What is fun for us? What do we picture ourselves doing? 

Eventually an image will form in our heads. If it is not clear enough, perhaps we need more thinking and analyzing. It is a lovely feeling to figure out what we want and wish for. I recommend a moment every day for a good reflection. A thoughtful moment.

How Do I Want to Spend My Days?

Going back to how a job is our lifestyle… when we choose a job we choose how we spend about (probably) eight hours Monday to Friday. The greatest question is how we like to spend them. Some may answer at home? Maybe because we have a certain hobby going on. Alright. How and what can we do to improve this hobby and make it a business? Do we want to become an entrepreneur? What do we need to do then? 

Do we want to spend our days with less pressure? Then perhaps we need to look for a position and company requiring less hectic days? Do we love mingling and talking, selling in concepts and going on business meetings? Then perhaps some kind of selling/negotiating position is for us. If we love spending time with animals and helping them out, there are jobs for that too. 

First of all before going out there and applying for jobs we may think we want, also known as what others’ want for us, we need to wrap our heads around this idea. A comment thrown from a parent, relative or close friend can make us rethink and believe we are looking for a specific type of job. Maybe because it works so well for this person. Here it is crucial to take a moment for ourselves and reflect deeply. We are all different after all and just because a sort of job works well for someone, it does not mean it is how WE want to spend our time. Right? 

Also a great thing to think about is the hours we choose. What time of the day do we want to work during? What benefits do we wish for? The more questions and the more answers we have, the better.

What Are My Strengths vs Weaknesses? 

Recon our strengths vs weaknesses is a thing I believe everyone should do. This helped me a lot. Firmly noting down what we are good at doing. Not only do we in many cases (but not all!) find out that things we are good at are also things we like doing. Let’s bring me as an example. 

I imagined myself as a mingling person. Laid back as I sit in my chair, pen spinning between my fingers as I lean on the backrest with my laptop on the desk, eyes going from the name of the company on the screen to examining the surroundings of a perfect and modern office. Kind of like a movie set from one of those Wall Street movies. I imagined myself as that successful businesswoman, pulling in six figures and dressing up like a queen. I am hyper as I close every single deal by phone and is the absolute best.

Did this happen? 

Not as I wanted it do. 

I knew from the beginning that my voice was not my strength. However, my eye for details are. I am way better off solving math problems, meeting people in real life and organize stuff – but behind a phone to pursue someone? Just no. Not for me. 

So when I instead chose to look for a social yet analytical role, I found success. (My definition). Doing what I do ‘best’ is according to me the definition of success, happiness and a fun life. 

How Does This Help Me for My Future Goals? 

Another thing we can look for is a path on our way for this dream job. When we see progress and growth at work, slowly moving ourselves towards this dream goal – we may feel a bit happier. A bit more excited and filled of life in general. Bring this together with things we are good at, hours we like to spend at work and a sensation of moving forward. What can be a more winning concept? 

Well, to sum up this matter I have now left Roma, Italia. For next time. What do we say? – Arrivederci! I do feel grateful, immensely thankful, for being able to have trips like that. Choosing my job in early 2018 with a cautious eye caused me to say no to many other offers. I was very firm on picking one I would be more than happy to spend time at. After all. Time is all we have, is it not? So, if I would spend a third of my life somewhere, it is definitely a part of my lifestyle. And this, should be chosen wisely with a loving heart. It is worth an extra thought. 

Have a nice weekend! We will hear more from me next week on Thursday. Until then I will be busy moving with my boyfriend. 

Love, Emelena 

A BOSS VS A LEADER

A Boss Vs a Leader

What does people really mean with this hanging question? Which one is the best, promising deserved title? Which one should we aim for and what are the characteristics as to let us define which one of those we are ourselves. Well, talking from both personal experience but also when talking among managers and other supervisors, this is what I came across. This is a post of differences and – let’s go for the leader role. It is definitely the win here. And let’s argument why.

It is quite simple to pin point if our boss, manager or supervisor is a boss or a leader. It usually takes barely a few seconds before I have discovered what kind of person I am handling and here we can be enlightened into a guidance of what we possibly are, or what managers we possible have. 

Hands down and I need to admit that my partner is an amazing branch manager. It does not seem as to how great amount of work and territory among employees he seems to become responsible for: he just nails it every single time. And greatly. One day years ago I asked about this phenomenon. How does this come? He would let me know that it may have to do with being a leader rather than a boss. That he does not only talk the talk, but he can also walk the walk. 

When we mention the word ”boss,” right away a mental picture of a person sitting behind its’ desk pops up in my mind. While when we talk of a ”leader,” immediately this picture transforms into a person engaging with the group. I suppose this is to shorten up what we are about to bring up here. Everybody gets to decide what kind of person we wants to be, but I think it is good to look over these statements. And again, I think I will always prefer a leader. Which kind do you prefer?

  • A boss drives people while a leader coaches them. 
  • A boss says ”I” while a leader says ”We”. 
  • A boss inspires fear while a leader inspires enthusiasm. 

When I was a Store Manager

Being the control freak I am, I found it hard eyeing in the corner of my eyes how an employee would let a costumer slip by bad sales technique. Very hard, actually. Many times I would join my employee’s side and help her out to close the sale. When she would hand me the box of shoes, silently thinking of me to steal the provision from her, I would hand them back and shake my head. Because, at least as to how I preferred to see myself; I wanted to be a leader rather than a boss. And I remember her genuine smile when she had her sale and got to write her own sales ID into the checkout register. 

Never ever did I sit there and command employees to do stuff. I tried to guide them, let us work as a team and me leading them into achieving the budget I had as a deal with the owners of the store. It was important for me that the employees knew that if something troubled them, we were in this together and that they always could lighten their heart to me regardless of what it was all about. That way, we could solve problems faster than if they would remain quiet about it. Also, they dared telling me if they did not agree to something. This could be a very good thing as if I happened to work with a fever, even they would save my butt from making a mistake. Now, of course a manager should be able to have the respect of an employee not thinking of her or him as a friend but an actual manager. I am not going to head against that direction. But I want to make a point out of the importance of being the leader in a team against passing the employees on my way to my office room with a latte, throwing a command over my shoulder while not really knowing of what this all is about.

Points

  • While a boss demands respect, a leader earns it. 
  • While a boss measures success on titles, a leader does it by the impact of people he or she influences. 

Another interesting phrase I have discussed many times with my partner was how a boss often wants to create followers, while a leader wants to create more leaders. This is also very a very typical habit I have witnessed many times at working locations. My partner has lift an awful amount of people into managing positions, while I know another guy who just wanted everybody to shut their mouths in his presence due to respect of him. He desperately wanted to create a team for himself, but it only resulted in people dropping off one by one. While on the other hand, people were almost fighting to be on my partner’s team. 

There was a moment when I asked my partner why he gave all his sales away. Right then and there, he showed me the way to go. While bosses would sit behind their phone, my team leader and now partner (yes, haha, that is another story), would come by and help me close the sale. So in other words; while other bosses would simply call their sellers and help them out through phone on a few lines – if my team leader realized it would not work out – he would physically drive over to where I, or another team member, would be and help us out right on the spot. 

These experiences were something I learnt from and brought it with me. Specifically to the store I eventually landed a managing role in, but also in general to know what kind of supervisor I chose to sign an employment contract with. I can say that it takes to overcome a cringing feeling to work for a boss when I prefer working for a leader (if working for anyone). A leader will help me out in more ways than a boss. 

  • A few more points to mention are: 
  • A boss knows how its done and a leader shows how its done. 
  • A boss uses people and a leader develops people. 
  • A boss says ”Go,” and a leader says ”Let’s go.” 

Which one are you? I think it is highly important to know what kind of person we are. What can we do better and is it working at the location I work at? If one fails in a managing position, perhaps we can look over these statements and find out if the group of people may need the other type of managing director. Even if I personally prefer a leader, there are a group of people out there totally favoring the bossy type. So even if I may like the leader, some would vote for the boss. 

Can a Person be Respected Who Cannot Execute the Task Her/Himself? 

A managing position should have respect. Actually, any employee at a workplace should have respect, regardless of position. What I mean to direct is that when a person pushes us hard to execute something and can do it him or herself, we may get eager to perform well and give the results. Although, if the person really cannot do this and yet pushes us far across the line of what would turn out to be humanly possible, how can consequences show here? Is it not a very interesting question? I find this topic very thrilling. But, if we are failing in our role as a manager, perhaps this can be a good thing to look over. 

I see everywhere this phenomenon. Many people apply for a managing position without really being able to walk the walk. They can just talk the talk. At least, if we decide to jump the ladder others usually find necessary to climb, the least we can do is to give a lot of effort into learning the company’s struggles and more specifically – the sellers’. I can tell that the greatest CEOs that I have seen, are the ones who have straight away asked to follow a seller during a whole day to simply and silently examine how a day looks like. To observe and analytically make a strategic move to make the company grow.

To share a bit of experience, after this trip I decided to really choose my manager. I wanted a clear leader. And I did get one.

Wrapping this up, I wish for a calm and peaceful evening. I am heading abroad in any moments to bake cookies with my family and some relatives. Big hug.

Love, Emelena

6 THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN AN EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT

To celebrate me signing a new employment contract, I invited my parents and brother out on a nice restaurant. Afterwards we strolled in a winter wonderland a la Christmas.

Things to look out for in a contract

While signing quite a few contracts, I have learnt the importance of actually looking over it very carefully before putting my signature on that line at the end of the paper. My boyfriend and in general people in position of recruiting, have revealed to me that there are in fact a great amount of people who simply trust the employer. Some which just neatly write their signature on the last paper without even reading the contract. Imagine my astonishment to this. 

Personally, I know too many which have been screwed over by an employer and of course, I have been facing difficult situations as well. I know the trust we have when we are eager, finally getting this job we have dreamt of. It is thrilling and the last thing we want to do, is to point out a missing little line in the contract which we find unnecessary at the moment. But honestly, even if everything is amazing at the beginning (as it should be!) – chances are unfortunately that this will not be the case when we talk of the quitting process. See it as a marriage. When we get married we are all happy and grateful for everything. But when approaching a divorce we may witness parts of each other which we do not appreciate so much. 

1.Job Description

What are our tasks? What is expected from us? This is one of the most important things to have written in those contract papers. Otherwise, even if we trust our employers, they may be able to change what we do at work. Suddenly even if we were supposed to organize meetings, we may end up doing something completely different. I know from personal experience the importance of really knowing the words in the contract, and make sure that they are there. 

Additionally, the employer will not be able to use us for precisely everything if the job description is precise. One favorite I find among contracts is ”typical work of an *blabla* and everything surrounding it.” I know it is hard to point out the fact that we want another way of describing our type of work and work tasks that are this diffusive – but I promise it is important. Again, I do have a great understanding that the last thing we want to appear in an interview, is being too demanding. Specifically when it is our dream job or simply that we are desperate to get a job, this job. 

2. Job Title

Not only is this an official title we can write on LinkedIn, but one which will remain on our business cards and resume. Before, I did not use to put a lot of energy in what title I had, more of what I was supposed to execute at work. How I would spend my days. In a way, that is a way to go. But let’s face it. There are many titles while the work may be the same. Therefore, today, I am a bit more selective to point out that I would prefer a specific title before signing the contract. If I am a business developer and the employer wants to recruit me as a seller, I would not again agree to this. If I do the work of a business developer, then I want to be credited as one. So, I admit I did this ”mistake.” However, I will not be doing it again. 

I think the same goes with being a salesman. There are tons of different ones and I would, like I said, not accept a title which does not describe my precise position. This would be an advice I give to you to actually look over. Even if the job opportunity is written in a post in the newspaper, business blog or whatever does advertise for a specific title – it is negotiable. After we have sold us in for the job and it is ours – we just say we want to be titled for what the role is. Of course we shall be realistic. We may not claim to be called for a CEO when we in fact sit in the reception dialing phone calls throughout the day. No, what I wanted to emphasize was the lack of many employers not giving the title to an employer which they deserve! Keep this in mind, please. I know that there is a discussion of inflation of titles thrown out as well, but I preferred pointing out the opposite here.

3. Salary (and what goes in it + how to get it) 

Salaries can vary a lot. It may be based on provision, bonuses, an hourly wage or a monthly one. This will differ a lot. As a month where there are less days is a month we would have earned to have a monthly salary while a month where there are more hours – we would win with an hourly wage. Also with provision, it is important to really read into this. What is required and what happens if we do not manage fulfilling this result every single month? Is there a floor preventing us to fall into the basement? And what happens if we crush the roof and needs to aim for the sky? Will it benefit us or is there a protective and rock solid unmovable roof? In the excitement – READ this and if we do not understand it fully, ASK. Frankly, when reading these lines, we should be able to interpret them correctly. It should really not be a job for a lawyer. Because that screams trouble already then. 

Many times there are lunch included/excluded in the job deal. Phone bills, a quite new but common thing to have included. I think it is very important to have this particular one in your contract. As if not, while the employer promises to pay the bill and actually does so, we will still be the loser in the end when quitting if the employer suddenly decides to make a major cut in our last salary. Now claiming that since this is not written in the contract, the company has its’ right to reclaim this money. Yup, it has not happened to me but I know from friends that this is such a huge yet tiny thing to point out. And crucial. Love that word. But it is very suitable here. Because it is crucial. 50 bucks in phone salary each month which the company pays for, will be quite a lot if we have worked there for over a year and the employer wants to regain it. 

Here are some questions that also must be answered in an employment contract. 

What happens if we will go on maternity leave? What happens if we get sick? Vacation? WHAT is included in this job opportunity? If we are not happy with what is written down, we may negotiate with the employer. It is not at all an impossibility to get what we want. Well, often we need to prove it then with good sales skills of what we deserve. But still, if we are good with negotiating a contract, these are typical stuff we can expand. 

Another important line I do know many companies offer are vehicles. How does those papers look like? Gasoline, gas station card and insurances? What are the rules to this? I know many people just think the obvious here; that everything is included and pinkish heaven. The employer may even assure us that. But, he or she does not in fact assure us that before we have it on a written paper with both signatures. 

Remember other stuff which often are included when starting at a working place: IDs, transport (do we need to use a cab when heading to meetings and who will pay for it?), products and clothing or shoes. Also, keep in mind if one of these things go missing. Will it be up to us to adjust this and open our wallets or does the company? 

4. Start (and end) date + notice period

As simple as it sounds. So, when do we start working? Is it a limited period of time? And how does the notice period look like? Here we must check what happens if we quit our jobs for example on the tenth of October. If we for example have three months notice, does it mean we work October, November, December and until tenth January? Another way can be that quitting when already starting a new month means that the notice period first begins when November starts. Which means with a three months notice period, we would work until last January/1st February. As it means that our quitting statement starts taking place 1st November, even if we officially did quit our job two weeks prior to this. 

And, remember that even if we quit by saying so by mouth: it is important to do this by a written form. Again, as proof if something somehow would go wrong. The employer may brush it off and wave at our arrival with the piece of paper as we carefully knock on their door. And they may claim that they do not need it. Here, we must politely insist that the employer takes it anyhow. Or, send an email. Just do it in a written form regardless of how. First, I recommend of course to reveal our quitting confirmation by talking face to face. But afterwards, it is important to follow up with a written form. An example can be to write ”As we spoke of, I (name) have now decided to quit (+date),” and here we must add our signature. Get it from the employer as well. If done professionally, leave them a copy and keep the original. – Or, do this on two papers. 

By now, we have read the agreements on starting period and perhaps an ending one. Regardless, another check is to make sure what hours we work. Is this a work where we will work 24/7, or is it strictly from 8.am to 4.pm with thirty minutes lunch? Alright, and then what happens when we travel for conferences further away? We may even have to stay at a hotel for a few days for this cause. Keep this in mind. Is the schedule flexible? Often when the work really is based on results, typically those hours will expand or change somehow. Talk with the employer and ask how the others do their work and what will be expected of ourselves as we start here. Also, is there a learning process included? How long and is it paid (as we should demand)? 

Also, notable thing to mention. Check the schedules if we are supposed to work on weekends/nights and holidays. What is expected really? What does the contract say? It does not matter that the employer promises us only working one weekend each month. Because what happens when two coworkers decide to quit, I can assure you that suddenly the employer has forgotten all about his promise and since it is not noted in the contract – we can forget all about it. Also check out that if we do not have a mon-fri work sort of job but one that also contains weekends or evenings – check the salary. We want more money to work on ”uncomfortable” hours. Or, do we not? In addition: location should be noted. Where do we work? The company may have different offices and where will ours be? Across the city or right on the next street to our house? 

5. Clausules 

Typically when accepting a new job, this is not the department among the pages we are looking for. So we have checked the salary, which is great, the hours and in general everything seems to be alright. This is a part of the contract many people just browse with not that focused eyes. And I want to remind that this is after all yet another important deal. Well, according to my opinion every single written word in a contract is important. 

Here the employer may bring up that they do not accept us working part time elsewhere. Or creating our own business. Maybe also that when we quit, we sign onto having a certain amount of time pass before we are allowed to start working for a competing company. As we can see, this is a heavy part of the contract. Specially if we are keen on maybe freelancing a little and try our wings with our own company. It can be as simple as creating a grayish zone if we decide to help out a friend and get paid for it. If the employer finds out, and as result that he or she may not be happy about it, we see the employer angrily point her/his fingertip against this section in the contract to remind us what agreement we have broken. Please, do not end up in that position. 

If we consider working elsewhere too or simply are suspecting we may be eager to have a paid hobby in the future, it is often not harmful to bring this up to the employer and ask them write differently. Of course, we must ensure the employer that this other hobby will not be in the way of the daily work. But after signing the papers as they are and afterwards still work elsewhere too, it can really end badly. For both parts. Chances that the employee will get caught is from what I have seen something that is not too unlikely. We never know about who knows whom and what locations our employer or coworker hangs out at around midnight on that particular Thursday. Really, we will regret it awfully much if we would get caught with a misdeed. 

6. Sign Every Paper We Read

After reading each paper and we agree to the terms; we sign each paper. Many people may raise their eyebrows at this, but I think it is a very smart move. That way, no part can add or remove a paper from the pile. Every page we read we sign (if agreeing). And when we are done, we get the original and the employer gets the copy. At least, I have not experienced a case where it is the opposite. 

Do not ever leave the contract there because the employer wants to sign it another day. Do not EVER let that happen. If that happens we suggest that we can return another day and go through the contract. Even better, let them send it to us through email and that we can return another day to sign it and print it out at their office. In any case, both parts need to be there to sign it at the same time. It is never acceptable to leave a contract with only one signature. We can never assure that there will be no change. Because when both lines are signed, that is the official agreement. And if new words are added or removed, we return home and cry our eyes out. Now, we do not want that, do we? So – always sign the contract with the boss together! And read the contract! 

Good Luck

Lastly, I hope this opened our minds for a more analytical head. I wish you good luck with your new job or simply new contract at the same work place. I wish you get what you wish for and that this text helped you know a little better what to look out for and the reason why it is so crucial. And – read the contract. 🙂 

Love, Emelena

EMAIL PITCHING OR COLD CALLING?

Sharing a few photos from a late summer evening out with me in the old city of Genova, Italy. 

Email Pitching or Cold Calling?

Which alternative of these two is the ultimate one? Not so uncommonly, this is a question many sellers face when realizing they need to reach out to potential clients and set up either a meeting or sell right away. After my fair experience in different areas as a saleswoman, I think I am ready to share my opinions on this matter. 

Obviously there are cons and pros with both, with the ability to switch one of the cons into the other’s pros. So, here it goes. 

Email Pitching Pros

    • Timesaving. Reaching out to more in less time.
    • Better choice when scared of calling by phone.
    • Afraid of conflict.
    • We are better in written format than by speech.
    • Socially scared.
    • We can take our time in figuring out a decent reply to whatever they answer.
    • The prospect may read this when it suits the person.
    • We can get a positive respond a long time ahead when the potential client feels ready to meet us.
  • Chances are higher they snap up every little detail in our written format rather than hearing a salesperson’s voice through phone.

Email Pitching Cons

    • A no is harder to change.
    • When receiving a dismissing response, we may not know the reason why and how we can improve when reaching out to the next one on our list.
    • If sent out to a great mass and there is the slightest grammar mistake or typo of any kind, every single email may contain it. Also, requires much attention to write correct spelling in names and such matters we regard.
    • The email account can get marked as spam if used incorrectly. (Which is rather easy when sending out a massive amount of emails to different people. Annoy a few and it is marked).
    • Email pitching requires a certain mysterious yet informative talent when writing the pitch. (Perhaps we can get into that in another post?).
    • There is a risk that we will not get any kind of response back at all.
    • If our company has a bad reputation, it will be greatly shown when the curious prospect googles the company.
  • The prospect may forget about responding as it is busy and suddenly the email gets deleted by mistake.

Cold Calling Pros

    • We speak directly to the prospect and get an image of the person by its voice.
    • A chance to manage convincing the person when he or she tries to dismiss us.
    • In cases of dismissal, finding out when or how we can contact them again.
    • Letting us know who the person we shall contact is, if he or she is not the correct person. Perhaps even if someone is on vacation and when we can expect to be able to reach the person at work.
    • Sharing a friendly conversation and grow a ”personal” relationship – also known as, getting a like.
    • This is personal for me, but I get energy from speaking with people.
  • We are amazing speakers with a pleasant tone and voice, gaining attention. This is our call.

Cold Calling Cons

    • It is time consuming.
    • Every time we pick up the phone we inwardly cringe and literally hate it.
    • Simply we are not a good enough speaker.
    • Not quick enough to come up with spot on replies.
    • Not comfortable or have skills enough to turn the prospect’s nos into yeses.
    • The prospect might be totally busy and therefore do not listen to what great words we really tell them. They may have been interested on another day but are totally in a bad mood this particular moment when we called.
    • They forget who we are five seconds after hanging up and will not remember our services two days after when realizing it is precisely what they need for their company.
    • They mark us as a seller at once and do not want to continue hearing because of the bad reputation many sellers has dragged down into the mud. Therefore believing we only want to fool them.
    • They get no chance to regret their response by checking up what we really are about before agreeing to meeting us/buying from us.
  • Gatekeepers that refuse letting us pass.

Just a few mentioned in each category. Surely there are tons of positive views and negative views on each. Some people urge that cold calling is timeless. It always works and always will work. That it will remain the best way to reach out to new potential clients.

On another hand. Some bosses believe email pitching is the new revolutionary thing in technology and that cold calling is as good as dead. They think this is the kinder version to costumers and that every seller manages to get the word out to more costumers.

So really – what is my personal opinion?

Many buildings appear like coming straight out of a movie. 

My Story

I have worked as a door to door salesman. It was fun, I learned to become quick-witted and rather ballsy. Utterly daring and outgoing, totally crushing my reputation as a shy girl and I loved every moment spent on work. Interacting with clients was fun and every car ride out to a neighborhood left me with a rushing wave of happiness.

Back in my home country I figured out one thing. I quickly knew working within telemarketing would not be something for me. Sitting beside a phone in front of a computer or notebook, dialing calls every hour awake to talk, talk and talk. Because my voice has never been my greatest strength. I do not want to sit here and say my tone sucks, but rather that my writing skills and interacting face to face are two of my attributes I know give higher results. Thereof the analyzed decision to actually become a door to door salesman.

As I later chose my work at this commercial real estate firm, working for their database – my responsibility was to be ”head” responsible for expanding the department regarding all suppliers getting involved when a company moves. I never want to speak bad of an employment, so this was just a mere misunderstanding during our interviews. Probably because my boss was an amazing talker in the phone and that it never crossed his mind that everybody clearly is not. Me included. So when I brought up the question if I would work as a ”booker”, or had to pitch on phone, I got the reply no. Feeling relieved after the clear words ”You will simply head from meeting to meeting holding a business presentation,” I thought, ”This sounds too good to be true. How easy!”. Well, it was kind of too good to be true. – Also a note to why I will ask straight for what responses and expectations employers will have for me before signing contracts in the future.

Rather quickly it came out that those meetings would be appointments I would book for myself. Alright. With a twitched nose I examined the front-page of Google and realized I would have to find every single client myself. And contact them. My boss wanted me to call them. As I tried so, clearly outside my comfort zone, I was taken as a salesman the prospect absolutely did not want anything to do with. I tried, I tried and I tried. I got an appointment here and there but it was simply not working. I tried to find some coaching and eventually turned to my boyfriend for advice (as he literally is the best motivating coach with good inputs when it comes to sales as a person possibly can be).

Doing these calls over and over again, fearing dismissals (as I struggle with fearing failure…) I was yet determined I would make this, that I would succeed. That is how I work. Whatever mission I take under my arms is something I am determined to finish, following the saying “Don’t start what you can’t finish.” However this was not a working strategy from my part and I decided to send out a few emails. Just a few. I googled around for good information in how to shape the pitch email and eventually I got my first respond.

I remember the shock on my face as I returned from the office room surrounded by glass, completely silent to shut out any noise and any other chatting seller. This time my heart raced as I saw the notification and surely, a prospect wanted to set an appointment with me! Instead of jumping around the office yelling ”I told you so!” I was quick to analyze what I did right here. Why did this particular client answer and how can I repeat receiving yeses? Soon I found my perfect email pitch and sent it out, turning my rate of getting a yes by every 7th phone call to get a yes from 75-90% of all emails I sent out.

Soon I had gotten courage enough to even dial the rest 10-25% and wonder why they had not answered or why they said no, sometimes leading to another appointment anyhow. My confidence was on top and suddenly I began filling my calendar with meetings. Talk about feeling proud as I did right then and there.

The funniest part was a particular one. I had called him probably around five times by this time in late spring. I had tried so many times to tell him that I wanted to set up a business meeting with him. Rather rudely, he neglected me each time and rarely let me finish. When coming out from an appointment I see not only the response from him to my email, but that he had called me three times! He wanted an appointment with me that badly! The person who was rude to me, that I had begged to meet five times now suddenly almost took a cab straight to my office just to see me?!

One time later at the day we had planned on having a meeting, he showed me around the company. Which in fact most of the clients do when I am welcomed to their office, building or factory. The grand tour, so to speak, when they show everything and I get a few samples of coffee, furniture advice or office items to bring home with me. Not only was the appointment a true success, me totally clicking with the owners, the CEO and the head of marketing in this conference room. One of them even drove me back to my office in his private car. Right then when jumping out of it, I thought of how ironical the scenario turned from being unpleasant to a complete positive and happy success. Just because I actually tried a different way. The email pitch.

My Conclusion

My opinion is that every salesperson should take a few moments to think about which parts of us that are the strongest. Ask ourselves: What am I good at, and what am I less good at? The reason is not to never do what we are bad at, but simply knowing where to focus for ultimate result – if that is the goal. Another thing can be to try out both ways to see which fits the seller the best. It may not always be the one he or she thinks. Additionally I would like to say that an excellent coach may be to good help and make a seller confident in one of the areas if he or she feels unsure about emails/calling. A good coach is also crucial for success.

For me, it ended up with emails when reaching out to absolute new clients and phone calls when re-connecting with them. If I really needed a meeting quickly and I had no time to wait for a response, then I would just pick up the phone and dial until the hour I had free was set. Simple as that. My actual strong thinking is that we should not be conservative here and say that one way is the right way. Really, try both in each situation as to what fits us. Also, looking over what type of costumer we are contacting can be a good idea. An IT company may spend more time in front of a computer (making them look over emails more AND even prefer getting an email rather than a pushing seller on the phone) than a marketing boss of an event bureau who just loves to talk to people straight away. Do we see the point?

I hope this helped you out if you were this confused salesman or saleswoman wondering what your call was. Analyze your skills and try out both ways until you know what works for you!

Love, Emelena

4 THINGS TO DO WHEN FACING A CONFERENCE ALONE

Took this beautiful picture yesterday when we had a “break”. A shuttle picked us up at the hotel for a tour at this villa, where the Norwegian constitution was written, 17th of May 1814. It was special to see the old interior and secret corridors inside the walls. When we came to this spot I had to snap a shot. Would it not be nice to sit in that chair beside that window, with a view and write a story? 

Good morning, people! I packed my bag Monday evening after a weekend spent at my in-laws’, and now I am off on a job trip. Conferences seem to have become a part of my professional life. At least every now and then. Before heading for a hearty breakfast to a wonderful view of this grand lake – I decided to share a bit of tips and tricks of what we can do when being at conferences by ourselves. I have brought my own coffee brewer with me and at the moment I have bunkered up in my bed with a cup of coffee. A winter wonderland is forming right outside the window and the level of coziness is high! So let’s dig into the topic of today.

4 Things to Do When Facing a Conference Alone

Or in fact, whenever you are a newbie to a social place. It can be literally awful, stomach flipping and we may loathe it, while others enjoy it – to have to start from scratch, in an environment where we know absolutely nobody. It feels just like first day of school, or when we moved to that new neighborhood all over again. After facing this situation quite a few times last lately, I decided to share what I went through and how to overcome the ugly feeling. Perhaps how this can benefit us as writers.

A year ago going to conferences were a routine every single month. Usually I kept my eyes shut before opening them to browse the file of papers my boss just had slid across the table in my office room. I would quickly throw a glance over the long lists of names, the people invited and those who had accepted to the invitation of the conference. Fairly seldom was a name written which I was familiar with. And I did dislike it as I knew everybody tended to be over their forties/fifties with a long experience within the business area, meaning they already have their mingling groups and friends among each other.

I would be the newcomer.

After once finding myself completely on my own as every coworker was either busy or not attending, I locked myself into a restroom. Here I brought up my phone to desperately google ”What to do when being at a conference alone.” Do I need to mention that even I found the scenario pathetic? Yes, indeed I did. But what could I do in my desperation? I tried to take my time, sitting on the top of the closed seat to just fold my legs and hope there was no line outside waiting for me to come out of there. Because I feared standing there outside all alone, appearing like the black swan nobody wants to be around. It was a desperate moment, really. And awful.

Now, I will tell you how I coped with this and how the evening turned out great.

1. Get Out There

After a while, I figured that I am an adult now and just have got to pull myself together. After all, I do have a company to represent and how bad would it sound if I dared confessing that I had locked myself in the ladies to avoid social awkwardness? Now, I never did say anything but I am sure my boss would not be too happy about it. Not to mention letting myself down. In the end of the day, I do believe in the motto of growing a little bit each day. Those days when I know I have stepped out of my comfort zone are the ones I cherish the most and can be proud of myself. I happened to want that outcome out of this event as well.

One thing to realize is that even if it seems as if everybody knows someone – truth is that they do not. Perhaps they all have just been able to join a group faster than us. Honestly, there are many people attending who also do not know a single soul. Even if they happen to be elder than us, many people in their forties and fifties also change career path. And what better opportunity to befriend new people within the industry than sending them straight to a social conference? Well, that is how many bosses think.

Typically there are name tags on each person, informing both the name and what company they come from. Here we can just go straight to a group and join, listen and present ourselves. Normally there will be a discussion regarding the companies we come from, our positions and what we do. We need to be sure to have a whole package with business cards with us, as chances are high we will have to exchange some. It does appear more pro to in fact be ready with a card. If absolute not; we can ask for their card and assure them we will contact them right away when situation lets us. Another case can be to find each other on LinkedIn and add one another. That way we can make sure to remain connected.

2. Champagne and Sweets

What drinks and pastries set on tables will differ from conferences to conferences. But, many times they will serve champagne and sweets. If we still stand somewhere alone, or the group of people somehow has dissolved into each way and we are left standing there alone – we can still find a new group. Maybe we can take a deep breath and walk straight towards a group, or we go to the table serving food.

Typically people will surround it, throw a joke about the food or help each other out with grabbing napkins for the cookie crumbles. Another opportunity laid out for us to be able to more smoothly and ”spontaneously” slip in to recommend that a certain cookie there is really good (yes, we have never tasted it), and suddenly a conversation is set. Out of nowhere, the person we are talking to is missing to its’ group. Either way, one from its’ group will look for him/her and join the two of us. Or the best, we follow the person to its’ group and are automatically introduced. ”Hey folks, I just met *blabla* from *blabla*. The person does this and that and this is unique,” and immediately they are all interested in us and what we have to say.

I know it can be hard to ”just go over there” to these randoms. I really do. But we have to if we want to socialize. If our intention simply is getting out information from the lectures, then feel no need but to plop down on a nearby coach to enjoy a drink. However, many of us are specifically sent to mingle and learn knew people, new business strategies and get inside information from other companies. By opening our mouths and get into a conversation with a person, well, it does help.

When standing there alone, we can ask ourselves some questions. Like, what is the worst thing that can happen? Chances that we will be dismissed and totally ignored are small. Yet if they so happen, we will not die. Unless we die, is there really anything to fear? – Appear like a fool, being all alone? Well, we will not end up talking to anybody unless we make an effort, will we? But to emphasize the truth. People are too busy with themselves, many of them panicking just like us – that causes them to not even get a moment to examine us with an analysis.

I think the best approach (yes, no surprise) is to not think, just do. Just walk up to a group and introduce ourselves. Even if they are in an eager chat, be cocky enough and speak up as we promptly take that step between two persons, reach out our hand decisively to one of them and present ourselves. If we happen to know of the topic we may even just join in, even show off our fake laughter to charm our rather ballsy motion. There are tons of ways to enter a conversation, but mine is typically to pick one person and slowly expand to more. When I enter a group just right away, I do find it somewhat more difficult to really engage in a chat as I know nothing of how people are related among each other. While when hanging out with a single or two persons, they tend to always introduce someone when passing by someone. So, an advice – pick a person and go for it!

3. Do NOT Do This!

I know the temptation of picking up the phone. Letting our finger browse and browse, we pretend being totally busy and occupied as the popular soul we are. What we do not think of is how this creates a barrier surrounding us. Like a glassy cloud nobody can enter. A bubble. When we are this imbibed into whatever goes on in social media, we can take a step back and wonder how we look like from an objective eye. If someone were to check us out, probably we look like someone busy and occupied – just as we want.

If we ourselves would stand there and two persons in the room are standing with three metres away from each other. One of them sipping a glass of champagne (or water for that matter. I will not market alcohol) and views over the room with scanning eyes, and then we have the one totally into its’ phone. Which one would we pick to approach? I can tell by my own words, that if I would approach the one with a phone, it may be if he or she wore a watch and I happened to wonder what time it was – or, if she or he would turn out to be Sophia Loren. Otherwise, I am 100% we all would go to this alone observing person and try with an opening phrase. Simply because that person appears more approachable.

Another great DON’T! Is the alcohol part. Conferences tend to serve not only champagne, but an awful amount of wine to dinner and then I shall not mention the tables filled with Baileys, Whiskey and Grappa when leaving the dining restaurant to head for the bar/club on another floor. So, have in mind to take it easy with the drinks. Nothing can be worse than waking up the following morning with a great headache, joined by anxiety over what happened yesterday. Perhaps even what we vaguely can remember. So, remember that this is a situation where we in some way present ourselves and the company we work for.

Another thing can be to simply not just hang out only with the people we do know. We never expand our network unless we dare interacting with new people. So another no-no can be to not be open and invite new people inside our group. Remember that one day we might be or we may have been that sole person. Would it not be nice to be approached and invited to join a group of people? I personally think it is one of the nicest things a person can do. That person will remember us for doing this, and who knows when this person can be there for our aid?

4. Where To Sit At Dinner

We all know the easy choice. We find a familiar face and slip down on the empty chair next to it to surely set that we will have a person to talk to. As much as this can help us secure a pleasant evening, making sure to get to know new people means sitting at a random table. Not fully random, but if we have been stalky beforehand (mening that when we received the guest lists – we googled the faces of the names behind), we know which one to ”spontaneously” end up beside. Quite manipulative but it works. How we accidentally end up with a new friend or future business college while it was completely a strategic move from our side.

Sitting down beside strangers at a table is according to my opinion even easier than joining a group of people/reaching out to strangers. Mostly because everybody MUST sit down and there are limited chairs at each table. Also, it is unlikely that a company around a table would take their stuff and stand up to swift table. It simply rarely happens. In a way, we appear by the table in the rush as everybody frantically looks for seats, and we sit down at the one we please. Also, being alone or a couple, it helps being a smaller number as it is easier to get seats at the ”best” tables, referring to those in the centre towards the front. Another reason to straight away head for the ones in the centre is because those tables ALWAYS fill. Everybody wants to sit there, thereof if we so happen to be the first one arriving there – people will join eventually.

It is typically during dinner that I befriend most people. Maybe it has to do with most of the guests’ intake of wine, but really, people opens up and suddenly it feels as if we all have known each other for ages. Some hold speeches and in between it seems to be a common topic to discuss what the person has stated. Also to comment on the cuisine served and discuss wine. Of course, conferences are various, but to have a little knowledge of wine, the business in general and the speech holders, can be an advice as well. At least for me, as a youngster to be able to come with a good reply when the fifty year olds debate on wether the Italian Amarone is heavier in taste than a sweet Portuguese Porto. Sí, I do have my fair experience – haha, I try.

My Previous Experience

During that time in the restroom I went out. I had called my partner and revealed that I despised standing there alone while having nobody to talk to. Whenever I did meet up with someone, the person seemed incompetent of social skills and maintaining a conversation. I would over and over again be left alone and have to start over, feeling like I screamed desperately. So at the end I headed towards the wardrobe, upper body hanging over the counter in my eager to hide from people maybe being able to recognize my escape from this real estate conference. As I had my card pressed at the wooden counter, my fingertips pushing it hard enough to pale and my searching gaze for a staff member who could hand me my jacket – I was approached by a guy.

He came with a glass of champagnen to me (yes, never accept a drink from a person without having eyes on it from start, ladies. And yes it is awful that I in soon 2019 need to say that). I accepted it but never drank from it, pretended sipping. It turned out that he was also there alone and suddenly I ended up having quite a laughter with this young man. Folks wondering what the two of us found hilarious would come from around to join us, and suddenly ”I” had built up a little gang of new friends. So this was fun. When the staff member finally passed me and held his hand out to take my jacket card, I snatched it back to me and shook my head to say that I had changed my mind. He smiled, I did too and off I was to join the conference at dinner.

I did have fun. It was actually the best conference when I look back. I did not share table with this gang, as I was too excited to get to know more people now when I was in the mood. This led me to end up at an ambitious table, filled with the elite from Norway’s real estate life (if I can claim this without sounding too poshy). We laughed so much throughout the night and at the end of it when my boyfriend picked me up, I sighed and told him all about how strange I found it. It had all begun with me, desperately locked inside a bathroom and me ending up mingling and having fun with tons of new people. What a day, and night.

To Sum Up

Summering my advice coming from me, I will divide this:

  • Do not pick up your phone to ”escape” the scenario.
  • Do not drink too much. Getting wasted is a big No-No. Depending on culture, at least do not get wasted too early.
  • Do not underestimate the fact that there are more people there not knowing a bloody soul.
  • Smile! I did not mention this but really, a smiling person is more approachable.
  • Speak up and present yourself.
  • Join a group.
  • Read one’s nametag and ask questions.
  • Mingle at the food table!
  • Do research beforehand and know what faces to look for.

Now, off we go! I will see if I find someone to talk to at the breakfast buffet and tomorrow my boyfriend picks me up for a trip abroad, to the capital of Sweden. What a lovely weekend it will be.

Love, Emelena

4 MORNING ROUTINE TIPS THAT BENEFIT A WRITER

I took this awesome picture on my way to work in Oslo. 

Early awake in my parents’ home. This weekend trip fitted me perfectly as my partner is in Warszaw with his work. I just love mornings like these and could definitely imagine staying here for a bit longer. There is something very special about an early morning, spending it in silence and the sensation of peace. As I am a person who in the majority of my teens would sleep almost until afternoon (!), I nowadays proudly will go up between 4-5 am even on weekends. Here, we can go through the benefits and perhaps explain why this phenomenon is a bit hyped. What we can achieve by doing this and how it can help us as writers.

Grab a cup of coffee, tea or hot cocoa (we are in the mid of November) and let’s dig into this topic together. The benefits of waking up early and setting up a good morning routine that works which as positive consequence can favor us.

1. Set Goals and Plans the Day Before

It actually starts the day before. Preparation is key to a good following day, according to my say in this. To be able to optimize the other day, I suggest us to start planning it the night before. This way, we may not only be somewhat more eager to start it, but we know in details of what will be required of us, how it will dissolve and further what goals we have.

A simple to-do list is sufficent. We note down what our musts are for the other day, and maybe even schedule tasks in detail of hours. One thing here is to be able to prioritize. There is no use to write everything from the world and back, but rather focus on a few tasks. Mentally it takes a lot to be able to face an almost similar to-do list the following day, as a result of us not being able to accomplish as much as we thought. Personally I think it is better to write fewer tasks which I will be able to accomplish, and perhaps a bonus in the corner of the paper if I manage to be in position for reaching out to another goal. This will rather result in a confident boost instead of feeling disappointment of not accomplishing what I was supposed to do. Also, this may bring down the stresslevel somewhat. Because now we now what will be required of us tomorrow. We will imagine the processes and also achieving the goals. There will be nothing to really memorize in the back of my head and have a stressful sleep if we instead note it down on a piece of paper, preferably an A4 blank paper for each day.

I suggest us writing a checklist before bedtime where we finish the dishes, make a quick-clean and in general do what we can to not feel heavy when waking up the following day.

A newly purchased pineapple lamp and a vanilla scented candle. Level of cosiness high.

2. Start the Morning at 5 AM (Or Earlier)

Many people claim waking up at 5 am is lifechanging. Even the skeptical me has to agree upon this matter. Waking up at 5 AM has shown been benefitting in many different ways. It may be very tough in the beginning but let’s go through the pros together.

– More time in the morning – the obvious one. A few more hours offer us more time to prepare ourselves for the day. Whether it be putting on make-up, having a longer shower or whatever events we tend to have in the early moments. Instead of stressfully jump around the bedroom as we try shoving our legs into those jeans – we can in a more relaxed manner get dressed. Instead of opening the bottle of juice and drink directly, we have time to sit down neatly and enjoy a heartly breakfast. Instead of quickly giving our significant other a peck on the lips, we may have time to share a conversation. Instead of throwing half the world inside our bag and even so forget that important paper, we can take our time to carefully go through what we put in our bag. Better would of course be to pack our bag beforehand on the night before. The emphasis I want to point out is that we have time to fully prepare ourselves, mind and body for the day. We get to let things take the time that they do.

– I have heard about the psychological effect as well. That when we do this, chances are higher we feel a rush of discipline. This is something I want to agree with. I certainly do feel more disciplined when waking up around 5 AM or earlier. Additionally, one common psycological effect is the sensation of leadership. This comes with the feeling of being awake before “everyone else.” One thing though that I like to mention is that we shall not really compare ourselves to others. It is much better if we just realize the positive effects of waking up early within ourselves.

– In these early morning hours, there will be less distractions than later in the day. As the majority of the world has not woken up yet, we are more alone at this moment. We can use it to our advance by doing some of those important tasks or goals we set up the night before. When completing them, chances are we will feel a rush of pride as by 8 o’clock we may think “The day hasn’t even started yet and already I am halfway through to completing all my goals for today!”. This excitement may also push us to a level of really beliving in our discipline, like; we have already proven what we can, so why should not the rest of the day result likewise? A major confident boost, is it not? A following event can be to go through the list and see what we already have done and what we will have to face within the near time capsle. It is lovely to cross and check that line which has bothered us for a while. Now it is finally done.

– There have been many discussions of people claiming that one is more productive during the morning. Mostly because we have lots of energy after a night’s sleep. Also, when we have a “deadline” of wrapping up before going to work – we know we have to put 100% in whatever we do to be able to finish. More effective work, that is to say. The line of being more energized is something I want to repeat again, as when we wake up we tend to feel more excited of life itself.

Love eating vanilla “yoghurt” from Alpro together with cinnamon and frozen berries. 

3. A Morning Routine That Works

So, what we need is a longterm goal. Set for example a goal of writing a screenplay but we never really prioritize the time that it takes. Note that this works for whatever writing goal we may have.

First, we need to define our goal.

Then we decide a moment during the day when we will sit down with a pen and paper to form our dream morning. What is required to achieve this longterm goal? How many minutes or hours are realistic to devote to this goal in the morning?

Can we possibly squeeze in a bit of reading, exercise and mental peace as well? These three is according to me the most important tasks of all.

From at least 5 AM – the moment when we leave, we are free to design our routine. We picture ourselves in our imagination doing all of this.

Always a good book around, and snacks. 

4. Sticking to the Routine

Sticking to the routine WILL be EASIER if we prepare the night before. Really, it makes it easier not to push that snooze button and just go out of bed. We can also lay out the gym clothes and fill a bottle of water which is in the refrigerator, prepare a breakfast and also charge the laptop with battery the night before. Also, making mood boards, dreams and a journal  – laying out the to-do. 

What I do:

  •  I prepare coffee the night before so I can just press the “brew” maker right at once with a partly open eye in the morning.
  • Water of bottle is prepared in the cold fridge.
  • Gym clothes are laid out and a podcast is waiting in my phone.
  • 4 – 4.30 my alarm goes. I brew my coffee at once and enjoy it in the darkness beside my boyfriend. Sometimes I sit beside my windows to view the street.
  • 4.45 I am dressed and go to the GYM.
  • 5.45 I am home again after a workout where I have pumped my mind with a positive thinking podcast. Very important that I do not check regular social media (but only positive thinking accounts) and ignore the news.
  • After a quick shower and breakfsat, I sit down and read in silence (a bit of snoring from my boyfriend of course). This to feel how my brain works and loves to take in information, imagine a little and simply get new impressions. This usually makes me to want to write myself, which leads me to do so.
  • By 7.30 I am ready to leave for my day to day job and then I have written a bit on my online business and read a bit, exercised and I am pumped on positive energy. Additionally I have gotten a confidence boost by feeling high on self discipline that I almost bounces to work, ready to kick ass.:-)

Now, as we saw on my to-do list of the day; I need to wrap my things up as I am heading out with Mom to a Christmas Market. This will be a lovely Sunday.

Love, Emelena

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