Selling Yourself: How to build confidence as an expert

It’s been said that public speaking is the biggest fear in America, just edging out death for the number one spot. Elliot Ronen would like to change that, he’s a techie by day and grad student by night who’s passion for public speaking inspired him to recently launch his blog. Face melting is all about knocking an audience dead with the right combination of confidence, speaking skills, and well crafted presentations.

Learn how to sell yourself and melt faces as @ElliotRonen discusses…

Selling yourself (without getting arrested): How to hone your interests into something you can package and deliver.
Giving stuff away without giving yourself away: The knowledge you have is more valuable than the knowledge itself.
Setting the networking tone; your passion is a service: Just because I know and you know that you’re an expert doesn’t mean you can say you’re one.
What a client is really interested in… they just don’t know it yet: Your client wants more than just an information repository. They want a voice behind that information that they can understand.
You’re a (very) local celebrity: Once you get on top, you have to stay on top. Avoiding the ranks of D-list experts by keeping up with A-list information and letting everybody in your circle know you’re doing so.

The format will be very informal and personal– attendees will be called on to participate in the conversation and tell their stories, and Elliot – our discussion leader – will include some lessons from his personal experiences and offer advice.

Freelancer’s Toolbox

Tonight’s presentation, the Freelancer’s Toolbox, was meant to give new (and experienced) freelancers a peek into the tools of the trade that other freelancers use.  I polled a bunch of my freelancing friends to find out what they used, and while I expected (and got) a bunch of fancy new tools, I found two things:

  1. There is no “standard” for doing anything in the freelance world
  2. More people use low-tech methods for their businesses than I’d expected!
In corporations, “they” in their infinite wisdom, tell you what tools to use in your daily work. As a freelancer, you’re free to choose whatever solution works for you, even if that solution is post-it notes and your email’s inbox for project management! As a freelancer myself, starting out in the software world, we were forced to use Microsoft Project for our needs. As a freelancer, that’s like using a bulldozer to crush a bug when a well-placed heel would do. I find that Excel- yes, Microsoft Excel, is fantastic for most of my task-driven project needs. Many other people agree.
Outlook/email is the standard for many people for contact management.
Here is the list of programs we mentioned in our presentation, and others that users contributed during the presentation! (several of which I’m excited to try!) (iPhone only?) sequential todos
HiRise is integrated with iCal?
Gmail contacts
how to deal with non-paying or late-paying clients –
* offer a deal for a discount if they pay up front
* if you get into trouble, be ANNOYING & PERSISTENT to non-paying clients, and you will be the one that gets paid first!
* to account for an inevitable discount, pad your rates a bit at first too
gmail labs – inbox sectioning
google checkouts (used to be cheaper, now on par with paypal)
BetterProjects – Dana’s company – more sharing and confirming
ISOLATOR PROGRAM FOR MAC – makes everythign else fuzzy on your screen

Here is a list of the programs mentioned in tonight’s presentation:

Time Tracking

Project Management

Todo/Task Management



Contact Management


Conference calls/meetings


  • Other Inbox
  • (brainstorming)
  • MixedLink (collaborative writing)
  • (put up presentations)
  • : send the dude your business cards, he scans them in for you
  • : will broadcast your PR
  • nutshell mail: organizes your email
  • (user feedback) (user feedback, often used to gather info from groups, like what seminars people want to see)

Twitter Clients

  • Tweetdeck (has groups, filters, but takes a lot of screen real estate)
  • Twhirl (filters)
  • nambu (has groups, but a little slow)
  • tweetie for Mac (fast, multi-threaded conversations, no groups)
  • Seesmic desktop (like Twhirl + groups)


NYC Offers Business Express: Online Resources For Starting a NY Biz

The City of New York has started Business Express, to assist New Yorkers wanting to start businesses with obtaining general license, permit, tax, incentive, and other useful information online.

It’s got a “Wizard” feature to help you determine which forms, permits or other legal forms you might need. I am thinking of starting a side food business and I used the wizard to tell me the forms I needed. I didn’t know the answers to some questions, but there was a HELP button next to every question with more information.  It also had helpful questions like, “would you like more information on being a minority or women-owned business?” which I’d never think to ask about on my own. Give it a try!

NYC Business Express provides information for businesses in the
following sectors:

  • Administrative and Support Services
  • Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
  • Finance and Insurance
  • Food and Beverage Services
  • Health Care
  • Retail
  • Services
  • Wholesale Trade

NYC Business Express will be adding additional sectors and
functionality over the next year; while it is being developed
information contained on this website may not be comprehensive and
service disruptions may occur. (per nyc Biz Express website)

Charlie: “In this economy, we’re all entrepreneurs”

Charlie O’Donnell, a well-known entrepreneur and community organizer in NYC, wrote a great post about the entrepreneurial mentality can help in a recession:

You have a product–yourself–that you are solely responsible for. You have to discover, target, and pitch your prospects to survive.  It’s like a new market where there aren’t any established sales channels and you’ve got to convince your first customer that spending money with you will bear both immediate and future benefit.

This is something few have ever been taught how to do–how to get someone to fight for you in the budget because they really need you.  Anyone can get a job when there’s an opening, but can you get a company to create a position for you after they just cut 15% of their staff?

Enter the era of sink or swim–with a newfound focus on taking personal responsibility for outcomes. I’m seeing two types of people out on the job market right now.  Some people are sitting by the phone waiting for offers or even interviews and other people are getting out there doing the interviewing themselves–informational interviews–and trying to drum up a sale.  I suggested to a young professional last week that they get a blog with their own domain. Then I saw “learning about nameservers” (part of the technical process of getting a custom URL for your blog) in their Twitter account. That person doesn’t have to do a lot to convince me that they will make an immediate and positive ROI impact at their next job–and that’s the only thing that’s going to matter in his economy.

“How are you going to help us make more money than we’re spending on you?” is an interview question too few of us are prepping for.  It’s not just a matter of having the right answer, but also having the skills to back it up.  Do you know exactly what skills you’d need to have to get fought for in a budget meeting while layoffs are going on?

(emphasis mine)


1. The advent of the Internet is a disruptive force that has only begun to change the way we work and live.

2. Many of the jobs that have been lost in the recession are not coming back.

3. A recession, while unfortunate in the short term, gives us a chance to rethink the way we do things.

4. So long as you are alive and healthy, you are capable of achieving a lot through ingenuity and hard work.

5. Regardless of the state of the economy, if you find a way to create something of value that people will pay for, you cannot lose.

6. Coincidentally, this is also one of the best things individuals can do to help revitalize the economy.

7. If you follow your passion, create something of value, and work, everybody wins.

Wheels Up

Your severance package, if you got one, buys you time to figure out what to do next.

Maybe you want to go back to employed life, but maybe this time you don’t. Maybe this is your chance to strike out on your own.

Your severance package has cut you free. Now you have some runway. By the end of the runway, you need to be flying.

We’re here to help.