I have decided to build an online community with 100,000 followers (step 1) and then (step 2) 1,000,000 followers. Today I am not even close to that, but join me as I figure out how to do it.

On 1 September I started a new financial year and as part of that process I sat down and decided what I would focus on for the next twelve months. One of the things I decided on was to drastically increase my presence on the Internet and to increase the quality and quantity of content I share online.

My main focus as a speaker is “Business Creativity and Change” but I have (for various reasons) not focused on sharing my content on these topics online. (I have actually been much better at posting regular content on ProfessionalSpeaking.com than on the topic of creativity.

I used to blog on creativity every single from around 2000 to 2005 (yes, I was early) but then I moved to China and told myself I could not blog in Chinese or English. It took a while to convince myself that I was wrong…

Since last year I blog (video or text) almost every week on my blog “The World of Creativity” (www.theworldofcreativity.com) and I have now committed myself to try to post one post there every singe week. (You can see this weeks post here: https://youtu.be/lKteMlgsaUE)

And with that commitment also comes a commitment to try to reach a bigger audience.

I now just passed 20 000 followers on the Facebook page for The World of Creativity (fb.me/TheWorldofCreativityWithFredrikHaren) and the page is now growing with about 1000 people per day since I made a conscious decision to grow my reach on 1 September.

My goal is to reach 100,000 (and then 1,000,000 people) with my creative content every week. Will I succeed? Who knows, and it will not be easy. Actually it is a crazy, big goal.

But I am determined to try.

So why should a speaker try to reach a big audience online?

For me the answer is:

1) By committing to share at least one blog post/video per week on my topic I am forcing myself to collect and package content.
2) By spreading my insights to a bigger audience a speaker gets more RTI (Return on Time Invested) on the time I spend on doing research.
3) It is becoming more and more important for a speaker’s brand to have a big presence online. It used to be that a best selling book gave you credibility as a speaker. Today an online video with channel might build your brand more than a best selling book.

So as a speaker how much time are you spending:

1) collecting and packaging content on the theme you speak on?
2) making sure your content gets spread to a wider audience than just the people you speak on from the stage?
3) building your brand online?

If you want to follow how I grow my list from 20 000 to 100,000 and then 1,000,000 followers join the Facebook group of ProfessionalSpeaking.com (https://www.facebook.com/groups/ProfessionalSpeakingDotComByFredrikHarenMembers/). There if of course no promise at all that I will be able to reach my goal, but regardless if I do or not, I am sure there will be valuable lessons on what to do – or what not to do… 😉

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In this post I want to write about one of the biggest perks of being a professional speaker: That you get to meet so many inspirational and motivational speakers!

Last week I had the privilege to share the stage with some of the world’s heavyweights in inspiration as I was one of the speakers at a big event for AXA in Macau with more than 1000 MDRT-agents from around Asia meeting to celebrate their success.

Some of the other speakers at this event where:

Achmat Hassiem (Sharkboy)

A South African swimmer who was injured in an attack by a great white shark. The lower portion of his leg was subsequently amputated, because of the manner in which he sustained his disability Hassiem is nicknamed “Sharkboy”.

Hassiem began swimming at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa following his accident and was selected to represent South Africa at the 2012 Summer Paralympics held in London.

Jia Jiang

Author of the book “Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection”. His TED-talk is one of the most watched TED-talks ever.

Eric Feng

Eric was awarded “JCI 10 Most Outstanding Young Person of Singapore”, and he is a bundle of positive energy.

and Ramona Pascual

Ramona Pascual is Hong Kong’s first professional mixed martial arts fighter signed to a regional promotion, Road Fighting Championship. She is also the first female ever to headline a fight event and compete for a mixed martial arts championship title in Hong Kong

Finally I got to meet with Jason McAteer, former Liverpool player and now part of “Liverpool Legends”.

My son is a football fanatic and my daughter loves martial art so to be able to show a photo with daddy with a real-life Premier League player to my son and an interview with a real-life fighter woman for my girl made me “daddy of the day”. And of course they all where blown away by finding out that their daddy got to do a video together with a man who had his leg bitten off by a shark and lived to tell the tale.

I usually do not use the word “inspirational speaker” to describe myself – but in this post I will – because I am a speaker who inspired my children today by sharing the inspirational messages that I learnt from the other speakers speaking at the same conference.

When I was a young child my father – who was a musician – would bring me and my brother with him to his gigs so we got to meet with other musicians and see what his life was all about. Today I am doing the same for my children.

If you have children, do invite them into your world as a speaker to let them experience the benefits that comes from being able to share the stage – and the green room! – with so many other inspiring people.

At the age of my children I can not bring them around the world to my speaking gigs very often – but I can bring the speaking gigs back to the kids so I make sure I record short messages to my children from the inspiring people that I meet. And I can get messages back to them from the inspiring people that I interview on my travels.

Just in the last few months my kids have gotten short video messages, notes of encouragement or expert advice from:

A glass artist encouraging my kids not to give up
A photographer teaching my kids how to think about pictures
A designer sending inspiration to my children to keep drawing
A chef inspiring my kids to cook
A sculptor sending positive messages to my kids
and many, many more.

And at this event in Macau:
A shark-survivor encouraging my kids to believe in themselves
A female fighter pushing my girls to keep dreaming
and a footballer sending inspiration to my football fanatic son.

Seeing their father meeting with these world experts in different fields and having these experts send personal messages to my kids makes my children feel that worldclass mastery is within reach. That masters of a craft are not “stars far away” – but real people that they are connected to.

That I think is true inspiration.
Being able to give that to my children is one of the most valuable perks of being a professional speaker.

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Today I want to talk about saying “yes” to saying “no”.

In the last 12 months I did 160 (!) free (!) one-on-one meetings with speakers who wanted help to find their Inner Theme, wanted help with developing their speaking business or with becoming better as a speaker.

In the next 12 months I plan to do almost less than one per week.

My financial year starts 1 September and I have decided that beginning 1 September I will drastically reduce the number of one-on-one meetings I have with people who want to meet with me and discuss how to take their speaking career to the next level.

In this post I want to explain why.

It is not about suddenly not wanting to help.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about helping others become better speakers:

1) I wrote a book about how to become a global keynote speaker (called “Spread Your Message, See the World: How to become a global keynote speaker”) to share my insights (and you can get the book on Amazon for just 3:17 $ (https://www.amazon.com/Spread-Message-World-Keynote-Speaker/dp/1642491187/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=how+to+become+a+global+keynote+speaker&qid=1565933348&s=gateway&sr=8-1) or email me at fredrik@fredrikharen.com and I will send you the book for free.

2) I blog on ProfessionalSpeaking.com where I have about 250 blog posts on all kinds of aspects on how to grow a successful speaking business. All the posts are free.

3) And I am very involved in the professional speaking community, right now serving as Immediate Past President of APSS (AsiaSpeakers.org).

4) I just today launched a free membership community connected to the ProfessionalSpeaking.com blog where I will answer question from the community. Join that group and you can ask as many questions as you like and as a bonus you also get to see all the questions and answers from everyone else!

Join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/393306341267169/?source_id=1677915579199975

 

But, last year, apart from spending a lot of time being President of APSS I also spent a lot of time meeting one-on-one with all kinds of people.

In fact I did 160 one-on-one meetings, for free, on top of all the Presidential work of running a speaker association. That is the equivalent of one month of full-time work.

But I realised that the more I gave away for free the more people wanted to meet up and get even more information for free. And in the last 12 months I went all in and said yes to every single request to meet up. I said yes, yes and yes.

But starting today I am saying no. Not for ever, but for one year.

I will now only do one free one-on-one per week (except the weeks I am on vacation). First come, first serve. If you are interested email me at fredrik@fredrikharen.com.

(So even if I drastically reduce the free sessions to 40 this next coming 12 months it still means that on average I will have done 100 (!) free one-on-ones over a two year period which puts me – most likely – in the top 1% or 0.1% of speakers dedicating time to help other speakers. 😉

So why am I suddenly saying “no”.

Because I need the time to write.

I have decided to write not one – but two – new books over the next 24 months, and writing books – or more specifically doing research for books – takes a lot of time.

By temporarily reducing my pro-bono mentoring time I am freeing up loads of time that I will use to make these books great.

By saying “no” to others I am saying “yes” to myself.
My freeing up time I am creating creativity-time.

What do you need to say “no” to in order to say “yes” to the things you want to say yes to?

ps. To clarify:

This is not about me stopping to help speakers.
Helping speakers become better give me so much joy.
But for the next 12 months I will do it through other channels than one-on-one “meet-up-for-coffee meetings”.

(But as mentioned below I have instead created a Facebook group where I will continue to answer your speaking questions: Join the free Facebook group here. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/393306341267169/?source_id=1677915579199975)

 

PPS. Picture of me last week on a beach in Mauritius writing one of my new books. Focus, focus, focus. 😉

 

 

 

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