I just finished reading the book: Keynote Mastery by Patrick Schwerdtfeger and was inspired to create a list of my top 20 destinations for paid speaking engagements. Patrick has a Google map on his website with geo-markers on cities where he has spoken before. It’s a brilliant way of showcasing instant credibility. If you have travelled to that many places (over 50 for Patrick) to speak, you must be doing something right.
Let’s get to it. In no particular order, these are cities where I will have paid speaking engagement in the years to come:
Seattle in Washington, USA
New York City in New York, USA
Chicago in Illinois, USA
Washington DC, USA
Dallas, Texas, USA
Miami, Florida, USA
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Hong Kong, China
Mumbai in India
The list started with 20, but I was inspired to add 5 more when composing the list.
Paris in France
Cape Town in South Africa
Lagos in Nigeria
Nairobi in Kenya
Thomas Edison is quoted as saying “Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Let me get to work so I get to meet you one day in one of those cities and countries.
Human beings love to be validated, and yes, shamelessly including my handsome self. Like Anthony Robbins specifies in many of his seminars and audio programs, everything we do is either to seek pleasure or avoid pain. Those are the two main drivers of human behavior. When you stay in your box and do not take action on something that you know you have to do, you avoid the pain of a potential failure if action is taken. Thus, your box provides you with a pleasurable environment where there is no pain, but more often than not no gain as well.
The best way to overcome rejection is to desensitize oneself to rejection. Rejection therapy teaches you to associate pleasure to rejection, rather than pain. One gentleman who went successfully through 100 days of rejection therapy is Jia Jiang. He blogged about his experience at http://www.entresting.com/blog. I have compiled a list of the 100 rejections that Jia experienced, and I will soon start living those experiences. To read more about rejection therapy and how it can help you develop greater self-confidence and possibly annihilate your fear of failure for good, head on to: http://rejectiontherapy.com/
What are your thoughts about the concept of rejection therapy? Have you attempted it? How did it work?
Today more than ever before in human history, it is very easy to start a business. As an entrepreneur (someone who makes things happen) I love coming up with business ideas that could be implemented to solve problems, and make profits. Getting a business started is easy once you have a product or service to sell, and a customer willing to pay for the value derived from using your product or service.
I have come up with a list of action steps I can use every time I want to market a new business. This list is designed for those who have a new business idea and want to get started putting the word out there about their business. A word to the wise, get at least a few paying customers (or promises of purchase) based on your business idea before you start implementing the list below.
Visual Identity: Decide on a company logo, fonts to be used and main colors to represent the business. These can change as your new business grows, but it will be great to give it some thought as you start.
Business Cards: With websites like vistaprint.com it is easy to design and print business cards online with delivery to your doorstep within a few business days. Once you have business cards with your contact details and basic information about the service or product you provide, give it to as many people as you can, but only when appropriate. With permission from owners or managers, drop your business cards at public places where your target customers hangout.
Website: Get a website for free through wix.com or wordpress.com. The WordPress content management system runs on more than 20% of all websites on the web. It is a proven solution that has tons of features and is easily scalable for when your business skyrockets.
Craigslist: Experiment with Craigslist.org post in the area in which you do business. If you sell products or services online, post in cities that you believe have a good number of potential buyers for what you sell. Sometimes you get incredible results by posting regularly (once a day) and posting in different categories.
Backpage: In my experience, much less effective than Craigslist but you can get good results by posting your business on backpage.com.
Facebook: Create a Facebook Page for your business. If you have followed steps 1, 2 and 3 this should be easy. Keep your Facebook page simple but visually attractive. If you have to, outsource the design of your Facebook page to freelancers on odesk.com or fiverr.com
Search Engine Optimization: A good place to start is to register your website with Google Webmasters and Bing Webmasters. If you believe strongly in your idea (which you should) at this stage, consider hiring a professional SEO and Social Media expert who will handle your SEO for you. For your Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Strategy needs, check out Drive Traffic Media run by my friend Michael Brandt.
YouTube Video(s): Create a short video explaining how your product or service will help the customers. The video should be as short as possible, but provide enough information to the viewers for them to quickly understand your unique selling proposition. For help with your YouTube video, read this VentureBeat.com article on “How to make a viral video.”
Online Directories: Publish your website address in as many online directories as you can. Even though online directories are not as important as they were a decade ago, they still hold massive amount of information and search engines love to locate and index their content. A few online directories to list in are: dmoz.org, dir.yahoo.com, botw.org, business.com and whatuseek.com
Register with the Better Business Bureau. If you care about creating a good reputation for your business from the start, register with the Better Business Bureau and publish your rating on your website. The more trustworthy and reputable your business, the more the people would want to do business with you, especially prospective clients.
Based on your personal experience what would you suggest is a good action step to be taken by someone starting a new business venture?
How would you introduce yourself to someone who has never heard of you and you have never heard of? Who is William Lee?
First and foremost I am distinctly different, I am unique, I am a bonafide business man. William Lee is a person who has come a long way in life. Right now I am 27 and there are so many things the Lord brought me from and right now he is taking me to the next level.
What are the three most memorable events that have altered your life to lead you on the path you are walking today?
One of them is being saved. The second thing is seeing my mom cry. After I saw her cry, that changed my life and I just wanted things to be different. The third thing would be to have have mentors who could see the potential that I have. They loved me so much to allow me not the remain the person I used to be. Those are the three things that changed my life.
When did you decide to write the book “Breaking the Mold” and how did it all start? Tell us about that journey.
I have been thinking about writing a book for years and then I told myself I was going to get it done and decided to eliminate all distractions. And that is something important I did. It took me four months to get it done. That was my goal and I am very very proud. The book writing process was a bit stressing, but I was willing to through the struggle.
Wow, that’s very impressive. Did you have any help in the process? Who are some of the people who helped you put the book together?
It was mostly just me and my editor. I did my research, my due diligence, what I needed to do. Then I submitted it to my editor and that’s how we got it accomplished. But before starting that process I made sure that I removed all distractions. It took a whole lot of focus.
You did a very good job marketing yourself and generating anticipated expectations of your book on social media before its release date. Who did you learn from? Who influenced you to produced such good results?
That’s a good question, I have been learning from others who have a strong following. I have been learning from how they motivate people, how they inspire to change lives and that’s basically how I did it. I learned from what they were doing and did it a little different.
Giving a clue to young adults on how to spend their time, how does a youth leader like yourself spend his weekends?
My weekends I can honestly say I never get distracted. I still work and I do the same things that I do during the week. I might take a little break here and there but mostly the things I do during the weekend are the same things I do during the week.
How do you entertain yourself, if you do?
Sometimes I might go take a long ride on the highway. I might visit my mother, my family members, I might go to the gym. I just enjoy working, that’s how I entertain myself.
What are you expanding into, what are some of the projects you are currently working on, and why?
Right now I am working on another book and we are working on a YouTube channel. Everything I do is geared toward helping other who would hear about me.
Last, but not least, if you would make a recommendation to the American youth on how NOT to waste their talent, what would you tell them?
Eliminate all distractions. Talent can get you where you want to go, however you need to have personal development. You need to have the skills, knowledge and abilities, and also have mentors. Mentors are very important.
The interview was conducted via a recorded phone call on July 11, 2013.
I am always on the lookout for people who have stories to tell and I had the opportunity to interview the founder of the information hub and open forum www.Cokoye.com, Christian Okoye.
Here are the interview question and his answers.
1. How old is the platform Cokoye.com and what was the idea that lead to its creation?
Cokoye.com was created on 5th July 2009 i.e. it will be 4 years old on 5th July, 2013. Many things led to the creation of Cokoye.com such as ability for Africans to discuss their issues the way they want it, how they want and when they want it. The primary reason Cokoye was created is to serve as central online community for all Africans both within and outside Africa and those interested in Africa.
The idea of a central African forum came into my mind one day (early 2009) when I got tired of visiting Africa countries forum one by one having explored All Nigeria forums I know and Ghana and other countries in Africa and decided to join a general forum where I can meet all Africans in one place, not just Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, etc but to my surprise I found none. Some forums that attempted it were foreign forums as a result they put Africa as subdirectory (Example of subdirectory is something like this: thewebaddress.com/Africa) meaning Africa is not their real reason of their site as such no serious attention is given to Africa’s community, not only that they write all kinds of their opinions about Africa without facts.
Having seen this I decided to install SMF forum to address the need for Africans forum for Africa’s families and friends of Africans and those interested in Africa.
This is how africatopforum.com was born, which was later branded to Cokoye.com on 2011.
2. For other entrepreneurs with similar ideas back in Africa and beyond, what does it take to start such an ambitious project? What are some of the resources you needed when starting? Did you outsource development? Do you outsource daily operations?
What it takes is, identify the need, be passionate about the solution, determination (as many people will tend to discourage you), and willingness to serve the society, discipline and constantly focus on why you started it.
I do not outsource development as I’m a professional webmaster, Cokoye was installed as smf (Simple machine forum, is a software that is found in many web hosting service) and also know how to get whatever that will keep Cokoye serving it’s needs for Africans, friends and those interested in Africa.
Concerning outsourcing operation as you asked: Cokoye is free open forum for all, Admin, moderators and writers run Cokoye. Moderators and writers are given the right to place their adverts in Cokoye in return which enable them to reach thousands of members and members of public that visit Cokoye. This arrangement create win win for Cokoye, moderators and writers, this means as they write about their respective African subjects/issues mostly their countries eg Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda etc and posting in the Cokoye, their signatures promote who they are, their ideals, establishing themselves in the African community, at the same time making impact in the lives of people and Cokoye in return put their designated adverts linking to their desire websites or products.
Cokoye always welcome Africans writers that will join Cokoye writers’ team, as there are more stories than we have time and money to tell about Africa, all positive and uplifting of Africa.
3. Since its inception and initial launch, what are some of the key milestones that have been reached, and how were they significant?
Cokoye has moved from one member (Which is me) to over 260,000 members worldwide and still counting. This means people are identifying the need of Cokoye in Africans community. Cokoye has been seen Africans (Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Liberia etc) both in and outside Africa joining Cokoye on daily basis and joining discussion like one family. This means Cokoye brings all Africans under one umbrella, thus fostering the objective it was created for.
Foreigners come to Cokoye to ask questions on any issue or subject about Africa. This means Non Africans are gradually relying on cokoye to know more about Africa being a discussion community where they meet African people. This is really a welcome development as many members of Cokoye are delighted in this.
When you type: Africans forum or Africa Top Forum, etc in Google Cokoye appears at the no 1 position. This means that Cokoye has beaten foreign websites and given it rightful position as Africa’s no 1 platform.
4. As its founder, what is the grand vision you have for the community created at Cokoye.com? Are you looking to sell in the future, where are you taking it?
I never thought of selling Cokoye in the future rather I think about it impact and fulfillment of its purpose to the world’s society. Grand vision for community created at Cokoye.com is Cokoye will be a source and hub of all piece of information in Africa’s land, a place where hundred of millions of Africans, foreigners within and outside Africa discuss issues on daily basis, able to pay and employ thousands of staffs across 53 African countries mostly writers and moderators.
5. Would you please tell our readers a little about who you are, where they can find information about you (website) and how to contact you?
My name is Christian Okoye from South east Nigeria, professional webmaster, founder and administrator of Cokoye. I’m always at www.cokoye.com itself, you see me active there and always joining discussions and constantly trying my best to be the first to reply to any post made by members.
The interview was conducted over email communications during the week of July 3, 2013.