YOU CAN’T HAVE A RAINBOW WITHOUT A LITTLE RAIN. (CONTINUED)

In case you missed Part 1 of this short story, read it here:

You can’t have a rainbow without a little rain. (A Short Story)

Otherwise, here is how the story ends ;).

 

Tentatively I lifted up my left leg.

The tightness of my pencil skirt ruined my intention.

Saved again.

I laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation.

I didn’t really mean it.

I must not have meant it otherwise I would have already done it.

So what other choice did I have then to keep going?

Once I put my leg back down, I put the skirt back in place and straightened up.

My eyes searched for the stairway which I knew had to be somewhere around here. Once I found it, my body walked towards it willingly, without flinching even once while my mind screamed in protest.

I took each step one at a time, carefully balancing every single one on my high heels.

Tak. Tak. Tak.

It sounded throughout the fourth level of the garage.

I didn’t like the noise.

I felt as if it drew attention to me and I didn’t like to draw unwanted attention.

When I saw the signs for an elevator, I followed it almost immediately.

While walking by the first row of cars I got a good look at the rest of the garage. It was not even full. In fact, half of the spaces were still empty.

Why do I keep going? Why don’t I stop?

Because I had long ago admitted to myself that I hadn’t wanted to. Not really. Deep down I wanted to experience the excruciating pain of moving on.

The elevators were now to my right. I tugged my purse even tighter underneath my shoulder and proceeded.

My fingers were shivering lightly when I pushed the button that would lead me further towards my final destination. While waiting for the elevator, I watched the hand of my wristwatch progressing.

One second went by. Then another.

A total of forty-six seconds until I heard the bling of the elevator arriving. The doors opened up and I lifted my head. I froze and my heart started racing.

The man that stood inside the elevator only looked at me for a second before lowering his gaze. He too wore business clothing.

Black.

Like the leather couch in her room. I inhaled the thin air that engulfed us.

When the bling resounded for the second time, the doors closed.

Though before they closed completely, he lifted his head and I was staring straight into his emerald eyes. Eyes so similar to hers. I swallowed down the spit in my mouth and when I heard another bling after he seemingly pushed a button, the doors opened again.

It was then that I accepted my fate and stepped inside.

I breathed hard. I felt close to fainting but I knew I couldn’t escape, otherwise I would have done it a long time ago.

The bling resounded for the last time before the doors closed. With every passing second the elevator felt more and more like a cave to me.

At one point, I had the illusion that it pushed in on us, trapped us. I gasped and pushed one hand onto the ice cold metal wall.

You can’t.” I heard his familiar voice say.

What?” I barely whispered.

You can’t escape.” Tears burnt like chili paste behind my eyes but I couldn’t let them flow. I wouldn’t.

You never could,” he added. “Not now. Not ever anymore. Just like she couldn’t.

My head felt like it was going to burst. Like a machine that had gotten out of control and cold sweat started running down my spine.

“I didn’t know.”

You knew. People always do.” He turned towards me but I avoided his gaze. I just had to. “They just pretend not to.

You can’t…can’t say that.

And why is that?

“I…I loved her too.

Says who?

I still didn’t lift my gaze. “I…I do.

He let out a desperate laugh, so hollow that it cut my soul in half. “And what does that count for now?

Nothing,’ I thought but didn’t say anything.

Suddenly he lifted his hand. The hand came closer and closer. When he lifted his other hand, I knew what he intended. But I didn’t fight anymore.

I couldn’t.

He let out another one of those soulless laughters. “You wish. That would be too easy of a way to go for someone like you.”

I didn’t lift my hand to brush away one single tear that made its way down my face. My breathing had long changed from normal to barely there. It almost sounded like I was hyperventilating.

Love is something that only shows itself in actions. Words are meaningless to love. The same way you had been too meaningless to save her.”

I…I didn’t know.” I barely stumbled out loud.

People always know. They just pretend not to.” He said it in a trance like state when his hands finally reached my throat. He started to strangle me.

Maybe things would have been different when the bird hadn’t pooped on me and I had been on time.

But the thing is, it didn’t matter anymore.

Somehow – now – with his hands so tightly around my throat, for the first time in months, I felt relief.

I finally felt resurrected. That someone like me could be saved.

And when I gave up my inner struggle with every further breath I was still able to draw, I accepted it.

And accepting, I drew my last breath.

You can’t have a rainbow without a little rain. (A Short Story)

Part One.

The inspiration for this short story came while walking on a grey and gloomy November day during the streets of Vienna…Enjoy ;)!

 

A bleak streak of silver rushed through the clouds like a rare spec of light in a barren sky.

I lifted up my face and fell in line to the rhythm of the rain drops, taking one step after the other.

Dok. Dok.

My high heels clicked on the concrete floor.

Tik Tak.

I could hear the rain fall onto the windshield of my Chevy.

Tip. Tap.

I turned around to make sure that I had locked my car.

Beep. Beep.

I took a deep breath and moved further forward.

And that was when it happened as I lifted my head up towards the gloomy sky, watching the big white pool of… somethingness descend from the heavens.

Pluck.

I turned and looked over my left shoulder. A white spot had now begin to cover the left shoulder of my black blazer. My eyes widened.

Quickly, I gazed away and continued to stare into the rain.

I was late already.

So late.

And I did not even know what this next hour exactly had in store for me. I just knew I could not be late.

Why did this son-of-a-bitch bird just have to take a crap on me now? Right above me? Right now?!

I sighed.

It was one of those days. Those stereotypical days that started out like this or that and were oh-so-hard to turn around.

Of course, I knew very well that it all just had to do with me. I could have turned it around.

Could have.

Long ago.

I could have taken on a different route.

I didn’t understand for the life of me why I had just taken on this one.

Maybe I am a masochist?

Maybe it was fate?

I shrugged.

Why I was lead onto this one faitful road, I would always fail to understand.

That one road that appeared to be just so much rockier and uglier then all the other ones I had ever tried to walk on.

And how I failed, walking it with my head held high.

How utterly I failed.

Though I couldn’t fail anymore. I already did. And my fate had been decided on that one rainy afternoon.

Once I’d thought that walking was similar to breathing.

Easy and automatic.

But I’d never wanted to accept that while I was walking along my path, so many other things could happen to me… like a bird shitting on my shoulder when I was already late for something.

Something so important… I just couldn’t be late to.

I’m almost there!

Barely registering the shapes the clouds in the sky were taking on.

One by one they were forming into an ant and a bird and oh! “There was an elephant as well,” I thought.

I should go back to my car to open up the new box of leather seat cleaners that I’d bought a couple of months ago or at least dug around in my old bag for tissues.

But who am I kidding?

I much rather watched the clouds with the rain sprinkling on my face that gave me some sort of resembling feeling of being alive, then cleaning off dirty bird poop from my shoulder.

A thought shot through my mind. I dropped my shoulder bag and let it fall to the ground.

The black of the bag mixed kinda nicely with the grey of the street.

I unbuttoned my blazer.

One button after the next, until I had managed to free all three buttons.

One arm out of the blazer, then the other and the blazer glided to the floor. I didn’t care that it got wet. It had been too tight anyways. I hadn’t wanted to wear such a tight one but I didn’t have another one for the hearing.

When wearing the blazer, you were able to determine the exact curviness of my breasts and that was not always a good thing.

I sighed and bent down to pick up my purse. The leather felt wet now and somehow not as comforting as when I let my fingers glide over a smooth dry handle.

But nevertheless, it felt good to hold on to something. It always did.

Maybe that was one of the reasons why women wore handbags and guys put their wallets in their pockets?

To not feel so alone.

To know that they had some worth, depending on the dollar amount in their bank account.

Suddenly I could feel my nipples rising underneath the grey schoolgirl sweater and the blouse I was wearing underneath it. I started frowning. That could only mean one of two things.

I decisively walked back towards my car to grab my brand-new khaki anorak from the backseat. The cognac colored synthetic leather seats of the car were ripped at parts.

Molly had done that when she had been a puppy.

Suddenly I hoped she was alright, there where I left her. She knew the drill and I could always count on her.

Well, most of the time,” I thought when I looked at the disheveled fake leather.

I had liked this car once.

Lots of memories. Quite pleasant ones.

But now I didn’t like it anymore.

Like so many other things.

Life’s irony. Sometimes you didn’t know why you stopped doing things or seeing people or other stuff, because you just remembered the good things and forgot the bad ones.

The good times. The good memories.

Not that bad stuff. At least not the really bad stuff.

I guess people’s brains just erased things that were unimportant, that they could live without ever remembering again. Like part of some survival instinct.

Not me.

I always remembered the bad things. The things that I could have changed.

And then it hit me. And it hurt.

I lifted my chin after selecting the green ball of fabric out of the mess of all the things that were randomly thrown together in the back of my car. I put it on the way I always put on a jacket. Organized.

One arm after the other went were it belonged and after I was done, I pulled the jacket together and dared to take a look at my watch.

My heart didn’t even stop, even when I realized that I was already two minutes too late to the place where I had to be. I would have felt anxious a few years ago but not anymore.

I just didn’t care as much anymore even though it was the kind of thing you just couldn’t be late to.

I shrugged and walked towards the spot I had dropped my blazer at. I looked down and pondered about it for just a minute before I decided to move on.

It hadn’t been good enough anymore and in some way I should thank the bird.

I walked across the parking lot roof until I couldn’t go any further. I stopped right in front of the grey concrete wall. It only went up to my knees which seemed odd to me.

I bent a little further forward and looked down at the hustle and bustle of the street that seemed so far away. It was somehow quiet up here. You couldn’t smell the odor of the running engines or hear the honking of some driver who couldn’t control his emotions and got pissed off.

I put my hand over the place where my heart was and counted the beats.

Dadum. Dadum.

I felt it beating. Sometimes I forgot to feel it. Forgot, that I was the one who was still alive.

I took it for granted, that my heart beat and I was still able to inhale oxygen every single day in order to keep going.

Was that what gratitude felt like?

I doubted it because I didn’t feel grateful. Just astonished. When my ravished and torn body was the one that should be underneath the ground.

I pondered for a quick second if I should step up onto the wall that was about ten inches wide. I bent down even more to feel it. The cold concrete felt so seductively smooth underneath the palms of my hands and I started petting it the way I would pet my sister’s cocker spaniel.

Tentatively I lifted up my left leg…

– TO BE CONTINUED –

How do you think the story will go on?

What will happen next?

The Second Part is following shortly, so stay tuned ;)!

P.s.: In the meantime, you might also enjoy: https://corneliapauline.com/2017/11/20/1000-times-goodbye-the-sacrifices-of-an-expat/

More to Life.

I was sitting in my school’s church and the song textbook slipped out of my fingers.

It fell to the ground with a loud bang in a moment where everything else was silent.

And that’s when it happened.

My heart started racing.

I couldn’t breath.

All the blood felt like it was first rushing to my head.

Then, drained out of my body.

My body felt wobbly.

Above all else, I had this urgent powerful desperate need to get out.

To leave.

Though it seemed as if I could not escape.

I mean, how can you escape day-to-day life?

 

Most of my life I felt numb inside.

It was as if I was living and having all these experiences but I never felt them.

I tried to analyze my feelings to their core and it was never enough.

Joy, didn’t feel like real joy.

Happiness was not there either.

And also sadness and pain didn’t feel real.

After all, what was I supposed to be sad about?

I had quite the normal life.

Sure my parents divorced but that is not out of the ordinary in our day and age.

Still, I started having panic attacks when I was ten years old.

I remember them so well.

 

I learned how to deal with them.

Without any type of medication or drugs.

I learned how to control them.

How to push through and thrive.

How to utilize the power of my mind.

Another thing that was like an escape to me, was to play the violin.

I could loose myself in one of Shostakovich’s melodies; while painting a copy of Monet’s Water Lilies; reading Agatha Christie or writing the next international bestseller (okay, this one has yet to happen 😉 ).

 

From all those things though, it was writing which offered me a resemblance of sanity.

Particularly writing about things I knew there was no immediate answer for.

Or maybe there was but I would not find it.

Not in a million years.

 

It took me a few more years – seven to be precise – to accept this.

To tell myself that it was okay to not know.

To instead, have faith in whatever was out there that determines our lives.

 

It took me a few more years to realize that that was not enough.

That you had to have faith in yourself.

Sometimes – and because I want to be honest here – I still struggle with that.

I struggle to not feel dull inside – to feel alive instead.

I still long to experience and explore life to its fullest – whatever that means.

I don’t want my life to be mediocre.

 

That is one of the reason the entrepreneurial heart beats so strongly inside my chest.

And I don’t believe what most people say that life is supposed to be.

I mean, how do they know?

No one knows me better than I do myself.

I know what I need and want.

Most of the time at least :).

 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always easy to go for that.

You have to go against social stigmas, deal with the occasional troll and feelings of feeling like an outsider.

People are always scared of things or people they don’t understand.

People that are different.

I guess it makes them question their own lives.

But I can’t stop and probably never can in my search for ‘there has to be more to life than we know‘.

Who knows what kind of answers I will find on my journey?

But no worries :).

I’ll keep you posted.

And who knows, one day you might decide to follow my journey of discovery?

The 10 Golden Rules For Creating Ridiculously Good Content Online.

The art and science of creating ridiculously good content.

Do you dream of having people line up online and hunger for your next post to go live?

Do you wonder how some online creators simply manage to get SO much engagement when every time you post something, all you hear are crickets chirping?

If you answered,

Yes!”

To both questions, than this article will be super helpful to you.

Here are my 10 Golden Rules:

Read your content out loud. 

I learned this trick in theater class.

Our acting teacher, Mrs. Hirsch, always stressed,

To read each and every single scene, monologue or sketch

Out loud.

That way, we were able to capture and understand

The true meaning of that, what is written.

I have noticed throughout the years,

That reading every single content piece out loud

Before publishing it,

Gave me an advantage.

Because it allowed me,

To improve said content piece’s FLOW.

And flow is flow.

Make sure your post is mobile-optimized.

According to an article from Techrunch back in March, U.S. consumers alone spend an average of 5 hours per day consuming content from their phones!

“It’s not longer a case of asking whether mobile marketing is important, we know it is!”

(Quote: SmartInsights)

How do you break up your content piece to make it mobile friendly?

You do it.

Just like this.

And at the same time,

You speed up your reader’s reading time.

Because content that is written this way,

Is a real joy to read through.

It is easily digestible.

And oh-so-deliciously-value-packed ;).

Repurpose your content.

Be lazy.

Yes, you’ve heard me say this right.

I give you hereby permission,

To be lazy.

Why on earth would you not,

Repurpose your content?

Statistically, only 5% of your follower-ship,

Sees a new post of yours.

The chances that they see your content on a different social media platform,

Are therefore pretty low.

You want to create a true spider-web of ‘you’ that your audience can fall into.

Cover your tracks.

Break down your content,

Re-structure and perfect it for different platforms.

Then, re-post it.

TIP:

Do not post the same content on all of your social media and/or blogging platforms on the same day (unless you ‘share’ a content piece).

Leave some time in-between,

At least a couple of weeks.

This way your content always appears as fresh,

AND it is seen and enjoyed by more people.

Be yourself.

Do not try to sound like anybody else.

Stay true to who you are.

Are you naturally a pretty sarcastic person?

Show us some of that smart sarcasm throughout your writing.

Are you naturally a pretty logical person?

I want to see that logic reflected in how you choose particular words,

As well as craft sentences and structure them.

Do not try and imitate.

Stay original.

And the hearts of your readers will belong to you <3.

Write in a conversational tone.

Did you know that when a reader has to think about the meaning of the word for longer than two seconds, you have already lost them?

Don’t try to sound smart.

Maintain a conversational tone with your reader and your reader will thank you a thousand-fold.

Some examples of words I continuously see being used but that could be simplified are:

Inception -> Start

Optimize -> Perfect

Numerous -> Many

Poignant -> Touching

Proficient -> Skilled

Implement -> Carry Out

Advantageous -> Helpful

Consolidate -> Combine

Regarding -> About

Emanate -> Come From

Include Imagery. Always. EXCEPT when creating content for Linkedin.

Using the right imagery for your content piece,

Can be a direct way into your reader’s heart.

Images can convey just as much,

If not more at times,

Than words can.

Especially, if your reader is a more visual person.

You want to be able to stimulate as many of your reader’s senses,

As you possibly can with one content piece.

Here is an example of how I did this in a recent post I posted in my Facebook Group,

Social Media Funnel Hacks.

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I could have chosen one single image from my professional modeling days,

I realized though,

That an entire collage would seem even more impressive and visually appealing ;).

 

Linkedin is a different game.

It is the only platform where I have realized that imagery,

In combination with a written post,

Do not work,

In terms of contributing to added engagement.

Just something to keep in mind.

You never know what will work until you have tried it.

This is one of my philosophies,

And I live by it.

Whenever I get inspiration,

For a post on any social media platform,

I go for it.

And see what happens.

The interesting thing that I have come to realize,

Over the past 7 years of creating continuous content online,

For myself as well as clients,

Is that you truly never know at times what works,

And what does not.

Yes, you have to stick to a basic formula,

And yes,

You can architect a post to be viral to a certain extent,

But sometimes a post truly just takes on a life on its own.

For example, I truly did not expect this post on my Facebook Profile to achieve that many likes.

In fact, I thought it might even fail in terms of engagement.

People liked it though.

I can’t complain ;).

Lesson learned?

Trust your instincts.

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Make your content piece look like a poem.

Forget everything you have learned in school.

Stay away from writing in traditional paragraph structures.

Instead, break your writing down into single liners.

Make your content piece look like a beautiful poem.

Also, it will be super easy to read that way.

Plus, your engagement and retention rate will go up.

Here is an example of a recent blog article I wrote.

You could merge the sentences together and make it one or two full paragraphs.

However, it would not be as interesting to read.

Show results.

Showcasing any form of results you have achieved in your business throughout your content always drives engagement.

It is almost as if it is a scientific law.

Here’s how I weaved one of our client’s results into a post and posted it in the official Clickfunnels Facebook group.

Screen Shot 2017-11-25 at 1.26.44 PM

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Word to the wise.

You want to show numbers like this in limitation.

It’s like with everything.

Too much ice cream can lead to belly-ache.

Showing off results too often can lead to a sense of unbelievability from your audience.

Find the right balance.

One clear direction.

Confusing your audience is never good.

Therefore, you want to focus on one main takeaway.

For example, throughout this blog post my main focus,

Is to assist with how you can improve your content.

With that being said, I am not adding into this blog post:

What makes a great content imagery;

Or, specific ways to stir up emotions throughout your writing in your reader;

Or, how many times a day to post and on what platforms.

There are many aspects that contribute to creating kickass content for your business,

Many of which I do not focus on throughout this piece.

Simply, because my main takeaway is to give you an overall improvement strategy.

BONUS RULES:

Always close your content piece.

The infamous call to action,

At the end of each content piece,

Regardless of social media platform,

Should never be forgotten.

After all, you do not want to leave your reader hanging.

Particularly, if they are hungry for more.

Give them a clear direction of where to go,

After they have devoured your content piece.

This can be in the form of a call-to-action:

To your latest freebie, related to your content piece.

Or, an invitation to join your Facebook Group.

Or, it could be me telling you that if you want to improve,

Your Facebook Content Marketing Game and learn how to sell yourself effectively,

You’ve got to check out my signature program, CONNECT ;).

Link to it here: https://connectforentrepreneurs.com/home-10

Do you see what I did there?

Give 9/10 value (at least!) and allow 1/10 for promotional purposes with a CTA (Call-To-Action).

Be Daring.

Don’t be afraid to try different topics for your content creation.

This goes for ALL social media platforms.

Have fun with the creative process.

If an idea gets a hold of you,

Go with it.

The important thing with writing, just like with any other artform, is to experiment.

To be daring.

To push the boundaries of what is possible.

To see how far you can push them at times.

Stir up your audience!

Make them think.

Make them feel.

Inspire them.

 

Let’s do this!

CPsmall

P.s.:

If you feel like you still need help during your content creation attempts, I would strongly recommend the HEMINGWAY EDITOR.

I have been using it for a while now and don’t know what I would do without it.

Your can get the app here: http://www.hemingwayapp.com/

Disclaimer: This is not an affiliate link.

Oh and if you have enjoyed this article, you might also like this one.

 

38.

38.

38 times we’ve moved over the course of the past 10 years together.

38 times of packing our lives up into rather small and constrained boxes.

38 times of lifting and heaving those boxes from an old home to a new home.

38 times of starting fresh.

38 times of spreading our love again in that new home.

I remember in year 8 when I lost my wedding ring during one of those moves,

I was SO devastated.

It was the ring you had bought me when we were still 2 young poor college students.

It was the ring you gave to me on that summer night,

A nervous smile on your face, teeth showing a little and a vein popping on the left side of your neck.

It was the first ring I ever accepted from you, from anyone.

And I had lost it.

Unexpectedly.

Surprisingly.

Than again.

That is when loss often happens.

It’s like an unwelcome guest that is forcing his way into your life.

All you can do, is accept its presence.

Deal with it.

And move on.

That’s what I did.

We did not have any money to replace it.

And for almost an entire year – 365 days – I was a wife without a ring.

My hand felt naked every time my gaze fell onto my ring finger.

Oh, how I’ve missed the soft weight of my ring!

Funny what you get used to at times and what you miss.

2 years later, almost for our 10 year anniversary, you presented me with another ring.

A ring SO beautiful and SO rare…just like you.

I remember how I fell in love with it from the first moment I saw it.

IMG-20171124-WA0000

How I was drawn to its boldness – a deep red ruby as its centerpiece, surrounded by diamonds.

A ruby as rare as you.

This is my love letter to you, honey.

To a love as old as time itself.

Thank you for coming into my life.

Thank you for staying.

Thank you for being you.

I love you.

cornelia and ben

 

 

1000 Times Goodbye – The sacrifices of an expat

I’m just about to hug my dad for the second time after he dropped my husband and myself off at the airport together with our two little dogs.

The final farewell is fast approaching.

That bittersweet time when we hug each other for the last time and have to say goodbye to each other…until the next time we are going to see each other again – if everything goes well.

1000 times I have said bittersweet goodbyes already to my family and friends throughout the past 9 years while living abroad.

That’s 10000 or so tears we have shared together.

And, furthermore, 1000000 or so social media messages and/or emails we have exchanged with each other.

Everyone talks about how awesome it is to live abroad. What an adventure it is supposed to be!

It is true.

I would not want my life to be any other way and am even planning on living in even further countries and places around the world as I dearly love to explore new cultures and meet new people.

Though, rarely, it is talked about the ‘dark side’ of being an expat, the bittersweet farewells you have to go through on a regular basis.

Each farewell breaking your heart just a little bit, one goodbye at a time whenever you visit your family and friends in your home country.

Furthermore, you start becoming different when living in a new country as you adapt to it and most likely, start changing some of your habits and characteristics.

Though I urge you to see this as an advantage as you can bring new perspectives to occurrences – like political, economical, personal, or otherwise – in your home country.

There are more and more expats due to globalization and a more diverse work force nowadays than ever before.

Social media and the internet has luckily made it easier and easier to stay in touch with your loved ones and to stay connected through various medias on an even daily basis.

Though, one thing that I am always reminded of when I visit my family back in Europe is that no social media, no technological communication advancement can ever substitute the kiss of a mother or, the hug of a father or the laughs that you share with your siblings.

This is something that will unfortunately never change and just needs to be accepted when choosing the life of an expat.

If you are like me, already an expat, you are most likely aware of all of this.

To you, I just want to say – be grateful!

Gratitude and love are so important and are the only things that will help sustain your heart throughout all of these 1000s of goodbyes.

Cherish the friends and connections you start making in your new country and stay connected with your friends in your native one.

All of these global relationships form you into who you are and who you will become – an expat: a blend of cultures, mindsets and colors, a product of globalization, a pizza with all sorts of ingredients on it, simply truly unique.

A love letter to traveling…

Our time in Europe has come to an end.

With a somewhat heavy heart,

I start packing all of my things that I’ve acquired these past 4 months while traveling in Europe and South Korea – already planning my next few trips for 2018.


You see, one of the things that has got me totally hooked on traveling (and that has turned into a lifelong love affair) is the fact that every trip must eventually come to an end.

Traveling in itself has a beginning – the ‘planning phase’;

A middle – the ‘I’m enjoying my trip phase and counting the days until I’ll have to leave again’;

And the end phase – ‘we must now be getting ready to leave and start the next adventure in our lives.’

Every trip is final.

In its very nature, it makes you become excruciatingly aware of the countdown to your own life,

Or life in general.


And guess what?


There is a beauty in this.


Almost like a bittersweet beauty because you realize it with every fiber of your being while still desperately enjoying every passing minute.

You live and you are just not stuck in a rut or in a routine but you are truly thirsting to experience and make the most of life.


As such, I’d love to encourage you to plan your next few trips for 2018.

Be sure to dream about many exotic locations and have the power and the follow-through to actually visit them in person.

I promise you, your life will never be the same again ;).

You will truly have extended the horizons of what you thought could be possible while having a whole dang lot of fun doing so.

I dare you <3.

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P.s.: If you’d love to check out more of my travels and get tips on specific locations, hotels and cities, be sure to visit the ‘WANDERLUST‘ tab of this blog. Enjoy ;)!

Digital Sense and Sensibility – All About Digital Customer Relationships

How to form juicy long-lasting social media customer relationships, and deal with a few messy ones along the way?

Imagine sitting at a poker table and not being able to know how to play poker.

You would end up loosing a lot of money, wouldn’t you?

The same goes for when you are a digital business owner, but you do not know how to build up, deal with and nourish social media customer relationships.

Things have changed.

Let’s face it.
The first thing to realize is that when you now start a business, you are not going to deal with your customers only on a physical basis.
You are dealing for the most part with computers, via email or through your social media accounts on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter,…you name it.

According to a recent UPWORK article, “Depending on your specific industry, if your company does business in the U.S., it’s likely that between 70 and 90 percent of your customers are on social media.”
Again, that’s 70-90 percent!

The chance that you have to learn how to play poker is pretty high up there.

The plus side: you can reach thousands and thousands more customers at the same time.
The down-side: you will connect with the majority of your clients through social media.

And the biggest social media platform out there right now?

Facebook.

The word that should also jump out is ‘CONNECTING’, because how do you connect with a person you cannot see, experience, hear or feel?

Here are my five tips that will help you to turn your social customers into loyal fans of your digital community.

1) Be empathetic.

Peggy Uhle was boarding a Southwest flight when one of the flight attendants told her that she needed to get off the plane. Peggy was beyond taken aback by this turn of events.

Once at the gate again, the airline employees told her to call her husband. It turns out that her husband had called Southwest because their 24-year-old son had been in an accident and was now in a coma.

Though before Peggy could make her next decision, Southwest had rerouted her flight, so she was able to get to her son via fastest route.

The company went even above and beyond to pack her lunch for when she got there and rerouted her luggage at no additional cost.

Finally, Southwest called Peggy a few days later to see how she and her family was doing.

Ladies and gents, this is empathetic customer service at its finest. Needless to say, this incident blew up on social media and has turned Southwest customers even more into loyal fans than they already were with this great company to begin with.

Whenever you interact with any social customer on social media, always keep in mind that there is a human being sitting on the other end of the net. Regardless if you can see them or not, you want to practice empathy.

According to ‘Psychology Today,’ empathy is defined as, “[…] the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling.

You have to be able to anticipate what it is that your customer is hoping to experience from doing business with you.
What is it that they want versus, what is it that they need (this will be the value part you add on to later to provide an awesome customer experience).

Do you really understand the customers request or are you reading something into it that you shouldn’t?
One of the most important things for us entrepreneurs to do is to add value to a person’s life through our products, skills or services.

How can we best do that?
How can we best figure out what a person needs or wants?

Through empathy, ladies and gents.

Should you in any case struggle with that, I would suggest you check out the book ‘Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ‘ by Daniel Goleman. I had to read this book in one of my psychology classes while still at university, and it was one of the best ones I have ever read on why it is so important to understand people.

2) Know that every written word potentially can have a double meaning and can also be interpreted in many different ways.

The difference between the right word and the nearly right word is the same as the difference between lighting and the lighting bug.
~ Mark Twain

I can not recount the countless of social media messages and emails that I have received, and or sent; that could have been interpreted either-or.

You probably have plenty of experiences like this yourself.

Even if you are crystal clear with what you are typing into that Facebook status update, or respond email field on your computer, you never know how the other person is interpreting your message.

Most of the time, people react to any conversation based on how they feel that day.

Are they having a good or bad day?

Well, you don’t know that since you can not go through the computer and look at the person.

However, knowing that as a business owner means that you always have to be careful about the possibility that your message – and intent of it – can be misinterpreted.

In the book ‘The Book on Writing Well‘, Paula LaRocque has an entire chapter on how to use the right words. If you are having troubles with this step, I would suggest you check it out.

3) Don’t be too shy to use emoticons.

Even you, Mr. Male entrepreneur ;)!

Though at the same time, be careful!
You do not want to overuse them either as this could potentially make you and your business look somewhat childish and well…weird.
The right use of the right kind of emoticons has increased the social media customer relationship for my brand by a tenfold.

The wink { 😉 }, as well as the standard smiley face { 🙂 }, has assisted me in establishing more outgoing connections with my clients on social media networks.
Customers want to feel reassured, and they want to feel relaxed about having a hint of what kind of person you are.

You have to give your clients and customers the feeling that they can talk to you about any possible concern that they might have before they go through with the purchase.

This way, you can be sure to set the proper customer expectation so that your social customer is assured to get exactly what he or she is looking for.


Tip: Always take your deeper conversations with a potential customer off of the main social media grid. You do not want other customers to get involved in a private conversation. Instead, you want to get to know that one social consumer as a person, a human being that is.

4) Mirror your social customers’ style of writing and language.

It is surprising to me that many entrepreneurs don’t think about this when I talk to them about their social media customer relationships.

In any customer interaction, what is the most important thing? It is to buildup that connection that we already talked about.

How do you do that the fastest?

You mirror the writing style, use of language and voice of your potential customer/client.

Are they writing in short sentences? Don’t respond to their messages or emails with essays.

Are they writing long and explicit messages? Be sure to include a lot of details in your response as well.

It is absolutely important that you do this because you are automatically increasing the, ‘Know-Like-And-Trust’ Factor of your potential customer/client.

5) Be patient.

Too often, business owners are trying to sell to their prospective clients and customers.

With this, they are ruining their sale.

How come?

Well think about it?

You would not necessarily go up to a woman or a man that you find attractive and that want to date and immediately ask her/him to marry you, correct?

There is process in any type of relationship building.

You have to woo your potential customer and client and not kick their door in.

Be elegant about it.

Be likable.

Be patient.

On average, it takes at least about 8 touch points and connections before a potential client and customer is even considering buying from you.

There is NEVER any shortcut in trying to push the sale onto a cold contact.

 

I hope this helped.

The one takeaway that I hope you are getting from this article as well is to have fun with it.

Put yourself in the shoes of the person sitting on the other end of the receiving connection.

There is a real person sitting there (well, hopefully at least lol).

Treat them as such and you will be rewarded plenty.

Let’s do this!

 

P.s.: If you feel like you could use more training on this type of online sales process, especially for organic Facebook marketing, I’d recommend checking out my FREE PDF GUIDE on Facebook Networking For Entrepreneurs.

Download link right here: https://connectforentrepreneurs.com/hello12352354

A Letter To Aspiring Entrepreneurs

This is for all you aspiring entrepreneurs…

I call bullshit on anyone saying that entrepreneurship or becoming an entrepreneur is easy.

If that would be the case, everyone would do it.

However, in today’s economy, entrepreneurship is the ONLY ‘safe way’.

It is the only way to realize your dreams.

It is the only way to achieve control over your life – financially, spiritually and, most importantly, over your TIME.

Now, this might sound like a paradox to you because why then is not everyone doing it already?

Well, it’s because people don’t know any better, they are afraid, they do not believe in themselves, or they are too lazy.

Trust me.

It is one of those things.

I’m guessing that since you guys are reading this letter, you are neither of those things or if you are one or two of them, you’re trying to get better.

You are attempting to get over your fear.

You are attempting to develop discipline.

And that’s good.

You’re right there with us.

But I also have news for you and you might know this already.

There will always be days where you’d rather stay in bed and not work.

The fear will never quite go away.

This feeling of not knowing how certain actions you take today will play out tomorrow.

But this is also the beauty of it!

Because you have complete control over those actions!

Don’t like an outcome?

Change something.

Pivot.

Ask a person you look up to for advice.

Whatever it is, never stop being in motion.

With each new step you take and action you set, you’re one step further on this journey called life.

I truly believe that entrepreneurship in all of its beauty is THE only thing you can do in tomorrow’s economy that will allow you to create and lead a life you WANT TO LEAD.

Something like ‘job security’ doesn’t exist anymore.

Employment is moving towards hiring individual freelancers who have specific skill sets that are needed for a specific job and entrepreneurs creating jobs.

The big corporations with all their ancient bureaucratic processes are moving way too slow.

They can’t keep up with the constant changes that are not only happening in the economy but also from a socio-economic standpoint.

Anyway, if you are or want to be an aspiring entrepreneur, I say you are on the right track.

Not only that, you’re ahead of the pack.

So, don’t give up.

Never give up!

Now, the only thing you need to do is EXECUTE.

Make.

Some.

Progress.

Every.

Single.

Day.

Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy the ride ;).

Under-evaluating yourself can result in never breaking through

It’s truly amazing how much a person can change within three short months.

For me, that change resulted in a brand new sense of who I was.

It resulted in a shift of how I perceived myself to be.

It changed my believe of what all I’m capable of accomplishing.

I feel like my whole life, I’ve spent most of the time in conversations with myself that resulted in criticizing me, putting me down and continuously asking myself why I wasn’t more ‘successful’ yet.

I know, I know…it sounds a bit extreme.

But it’s actually not as morbid as I make it out to be.

There were tons of times when I was grateful for everything I’ve achieved and who I was as a person.

I was – am – grateful because there is no one really like me, like you, like the person sitting next to you in that coffee shop.

However, I do want to focus on one particular aspect here in order to bring this essential point across.

So, stay with me.

Now, let’s continue…

At almost every stage of my life, I felt somewhat stuck.

I felt confused and lost.

I wanted to achieve more, always more.

I also wanted to give more but I wasn’t sure exactly WHAT.

Though, that wasn’t the worst part.

Do you know what was?

Finding out over these past three months and particularly while going on an extended trip through Europe and the U.S., that I was in fact capable of SO much more.

Why deep down have I always been so afraid and timid?

It’s a true miracle to find out that you are capable of achieving so much more once other people open up to you and are honest with you.

That is why I want to encourage you today to stop listening to yourself.

Yes, you read that right.

Stop listening to the voices in your head and their opinions of YOU.

Just once.

And just once, open your eyes and EARS and try to see and listen to how other people around you perceive you.

You will be surprised.

You will be fascinated.

In fact, I’m almost ready to bet with you that the surprise – of how much ‘better, stronger, more capable, smarter, etc.’ other people perceive you than you perceive yourself to be – will shock you even more then finding a secret ghost hiding inside your bedroom closet.

What is it about human nature that makes most of us undervalue ourselves and overvalue what other people are capable of?

That under-evaluation, misperception and complete lack of objectivity and self-awareness in who we actually COULD be if we just shifted the view we had about ourselves, baffles me.

It baffles me even more now that I have seen it hidden deep within myself – despite focusing on self-development for the past ten years and always trying to continue to stretch the confines of my comfort zone.

I want to encourage you to do the same.

I plead you to loose that negative self-image of yourself that you have right now in whatever specific area of your life.

It is THE single most important factor that decides if you become successful in any field – or not.

It really is just all about YOU.

Think about it.

Don’t just give it a fleeting thought but seriously go deep here and ponder on it.

Or, like me, go on an extended trip ;).

How do you really see yourself?

You, yourself.

And who are you really?

Objectively speaking.

The difference will be like a light switch that you flip around and that will turn on the ‘power of objectivity’ inside your mind.

And guess what?

Your heart and your newly found self-awareness will have brought you one significant step closer to everything that you ever wanted to achieve – and be.

Good luck!