Surround yourself with supportive and positive people, fire the negatives.
By Fati Gorezi
Charlotte has guided tens of thousands of people to build their personal brand and find an inspiring and fulfilling work life. She worked in PR and marketing in the USA and Australia as a PR consultant and in 1992 became an entrepreneur, founding Newstart, which pioneered the career industry in Sweden.After being contacted by an American journalist looking for a CV/resume expert and discovering that it was through her LinkedIn profile that was at the top of the search page, Charlotte decided to become a LinkedIn expert.
Charlotte now runs three brands and companies; Charlotte Hagard, Career-, Business and Executive coaching. Active Choice Publishing, where she writes, produces, markets and sells her own books, e-books and her new passion – online courses for career & life planning and personal branding. Her new company, Social Branding Group, is a global digital company, offering online services for personal and employer branding with focus on LinkedIn. In May 2018 she sold her company Newstart after 25 years as a pioneering entrepreneur for outplacement and career coaching in Sweden.
Charlotte is also a bestselling author of eight books in the Career and Personal branding field. Her latest book and e-course ‘Stand out on LinkedIn!’ – Create business and career success” has been a huge hit in Sweden. Charlotte shares her experience and some tips with us.
How do you remember the beginning of your career?
The beginning of my career was a bit of a searchperiod. I was looking for my call in life and had been inspired by travelling, living and working in countries like the USA and Australia. I was lucky to meet an Australian female entrepreneur who took me under her wing, and by having a mentor who was running a few successful companies, I was inspired and educated in the mindset of being your own boss. I tried working for traditional companies for a few years as an employee but found out very early on that this was not my path in life. I just could not stand the office politics and the powergames people play in companies.
What is your life purpose and how did you find it?
My life purpose is supporting people in the search for their potential and talent and aligning this with their ideal career. In my late twenties I was working as a headhunter/recruiter for clients in different industries. While interviewing people for certain jobs I found out that many of them had no idea what they wanted to do, if this was the right job for them, or how to sell themselves and their skills to get the job. A big percentage of all the people I interviewed would have needed career coaching before the interview, to guide them to the right jobfit. People also told me about all the problems they had with their boss and some people even started crying at the interview because they felt lonely and unhappy at work.
One day I decided I was done with putting people into empty jobs and decided to be a career guide instead. No one was doing this in Sweden back in 1992 so I had to start a company, Newstart, to be able to follow my passion. The company grew quickly and evolved into a whole industry of coaches and job and career consultants. But I was the pioneer!
Who has supported you to grow and develop your global career? To whom do you dedicate your success?
I have a number of people who have helped me along the way. My mother Gun was the first one to encourage me to follow my dream. She was an intelligent and talented woman who turned into an unhappy housewife, having had to stop her own education to become a wife and mother. She always supported me and my siblings to do something out of our life.
Denise, the Australian entrepreneur, has been a huge influence as I learnt what running your own company was all about before I turned thirty. She also hired me to do all kinds of projects for her, things I had not done before but she had a lot of faith in me. She made me feel like I was important and capable!
Paul, who started the career industry in Australia, also became my mentor and business partner when I started my first company. I learnt from one of the best in the business and he inspired me to trust my creativity and start developing methodology, tools, write books and build a brand as an expert.
After that I have had different coaches that have inspired me and helped me along the way.
You have a huge experience around the world helping people and companies to find success. How does that make you feel?
I feel very happy about what I have achieved and even more happy for the success my clients have had with their lives, careers and business. As I started in my early thirties as an entrepreneur, I have had a lot of time to work with my passion. I have developed a lot of different services and products for companies and people in career development, personal and employer branding, leadership, change management and been lucky that people have liked what I have offered. My job is like my hobby, it hardly ever feels like work.On the contrary, writing a book, giving a speech or training managers to become better communicators is fun, rewarding and helps my own personal development too.
Tell us more about your latest book ‘Stand out on LinkedIn’?
I have always been interested in how we communicate with each other and first impressions. In my job I have helped tens of thousands of people with their personal marketing and my book ‘The CV-book – the art of marketing your competence’ has sold over one hundred thousand copies. A few years back I was contacted by an American journalist who writes for the Wall Street Journal and BBC, who wanted to interview me about the future of CV´s (Resumes). When I asked her how she found me, she said she had searched for CVexperts on LinkedIn and my profile came up at the top of 350 million profiles. That´s when I realised that anybody can be found today, and I decided to quickly become a LinkedIn-expert.
My book “Stand out on LinkedIn” covers everything you need, to be successful using LinkedIn to either get a new job, get business leads, build a powerful network or build your personal brand through posting interesting content on the LinkedIn-platform. To reach a global audience, I have now converted the book into a very hands on digital e-course which which quickly will help individuals, entrepreneurs and organisations to fast track their success using LinkedIn. I know the secrets to success, having built a seven-figure international LinkedIn-business myself for the last three years.
What are the ways that people need to create a powerful brand on Linkedin? Can you share some tips with us?
Before you get started you need to be clear on two things: Firstly, what is your goal for being on LinkedIn? Secondly,who is your ideal targetgroup? This is the platform for everything you do on LinkedIn. Remember, LinkedIn is a professional social media platform, so act accordingly. This is not Facebook, so don´t share what you ate for breakfast this morning.
The 4 pillars of success on LinkedIn are:
- A professional LinkedIn-profile that is well thought through, optimised with the right search word, and gives the visitors a quick impression of who you are as a professional person, what you know, what you do and what you can do for them. Make sure you update your profile regularly.
- A strategic network which constantly grows, where you add value by interacting. Devote five minutes per day to grow your network through invitation and accepting invites from others.
- Follow companies and people to stay on top of what´s happening in your industry and in the world of work.
- Share interesting content. This will make you stand out by being a resource of knowledge to your network. Most people on LinkedIn are very inactive. It is surprisingly easy to build your brand by sharing, liking and writing blogpost in your area of expertise on LinkedIn.
What are the most important elements of a successful content marketing strategy?
Content marketing is proven to be one of the most cost effective and efficient ways of creating brand awareness, maintaining relationships with your target audience and to get leads and new customers.When planned and executed in a strategic manner, content marketing can actually boost the traffic to your business website, increase your social following and even rule out your market competition, to take the position of you as an industry authority.
My guidelines are easy:
- Write about what you know.
- Write with your target audience in mind.
- Write often.
- Draw readers in with a catchy headline.
- Add images that stands out to your texts.
- Be authentic.
- Share and like other people’s content. By being engaged and generous, you will get it back in return.
What are the key messages that you want to share with our readers?
- Follow your passion. Life is too short to have a boring worklife.
- Be bold, step out of your comfortzone and trust your gut.
- Invest in yourself, get a coach to support and push you and learn from the best. Don´t do average!
- Surround yourself with supportive and positive people, fire the negatives.
- Change always take longer than you expect, so what are you waiting for?
What about your personal life? How much time do you spend with your family? How can you describe your relationship with them?
I have a great relationship with my family. My husband and I have been married for 28 years, we are also best friends and supporters and we have also started working together now. We have two sons, both great guys who follow their own path and passion. One is going to be a doctor and one is in service management. They live on their own these days but we see each other regularly.
I also run companies with my siblings, it is amazing to have your own family as your team. The benefit is that you know they will never let you down!
My goal is to have a more flexible and digital worklife, where I can work from wherever I want in the world. My husband shares my vision, so we are building a new life step by step to make this happen.