Category Archives: Career

These Brews are on fire. (Sung with the same vocal prowess as Alicia Keys.)

In the spirit of this post, you should probably listen to this while reading. The title of the song is deceiving but I would never think to steer you wrong.

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My dreams didn’t come true to the sound of Natasha Bedingfield playing in the background.

Sadly no, though you best believe I thought that was exactly how everything would go down as I loaded up my iPhone with songs about being “one in a million” and a “firework” and boarded a southbound train for New York City.

There’s often the “how I think things happen” and “how they really happen” dueling in my mind. I thought this whole journey to starting my own company, becoming a speaker, writing a book, would be more seamless than it was. I at least thought I would know when I had “arrived.” But the truth is that I looked up one morning and realized it was all happening. I wasn’t waiting for life to begin anymore. I was in love with the piles of work heaping on my desk. I wasn’t sitting in a desk, doing a job I loathed, waiting for some toothy fairy-esque character to show up and grant me my  heart’s deepest desires.

There were no ruby red slippers. No clicking of the heels. I just started.

And I kept going. And it when it gets hard, I hustle. And when it eases up, I still hustle. And when the world gets quiet, and there seems to be crickets, I panic. And when you come along, the only, only, only thing I want to do is word vomit every little thing I’ve ever learned onto your lap. Because I am a sharer. A giver by nature. And someone who naturally wants the same success for the people around her that she’s experienced herself.

This is why, this is why, this is why, I first put my Brew Sessions out there. I believe fully that nothing would have burst or exploded, no dreams would have come true, without people in my life who sat with me, mentored me, brainstormed with me, and developed things with me. It is a lonely, lonely world when you don’t have people surrounding you to share dreams with and hash out realities with.

I am a creature of creativity. I am not a fluffy, juju “you can change the world” kind of girl. I am nitty gritty. I am “let’s look at the practicality” in this. I am “let’s get down to WHY you are doing this.” But I kick fear in the face. And I am determined to show you how. And I am a relentless, relentless cheerleader for anyone who wakes up knowing they cannot wait a second longer to start closing the gap between their life and their dreams.

After a Pay What You Can month of March, I revamped and fine tuned the sessions and I am happy to offer even more new selections. Take a look, book your Brew, consider working with me for a 3-month term (we can work out a payment plan if need be!) and know, without a doubt, that I am already on your side and I’ve been your shoes before.

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Brew Sessions are one-hour long private specialized creative brainstorming sessions. You apply for the Brew Sessions and I pick out the individuals who I think I can help get to another level. Upon acceptance, I do some back-brewing & brainstorming before meeting with you. THEN… You and I meet together over Skype or phone and we lay ideas, goals, and hopes square in the center of the table. It’s a solid 60 minutes of sifting & sorting & plotting action steps for the road ahead. Read more on the Brew Sessions here.

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Payment plans are available (please email Hannah.Brencher@gmail.com to set one up).

Each Brew Session comes with notes from the session + the Brew Print Booklet– Increased Productivity + Time Management in One, Sweet Space.

MEET THE BREWS:

THE CLASSIC BREW

Classic Brew Sessions are for the lovely souls who have a passion, idea or project they dream of turning into a reality. One problem: you’re craving an action plan and need the tools it takes to create an initiative from start to finish. If we’re being honest, this dream keeps you from sleeping at night and so it’s time to turn it into a big, bright reality.

In this brew for two: we’ll meet. we’ll hash out dreams for a solid hour. we will laugh. we will flesh out the core “why” in what you are doing. we will fill your brain with know-how. we’ll go step by step over what it takes to start something that matters.

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THE BOLD BREW

Bold Brew Sessions are for the brave ones who need to reshape their personal brand–online & offline. You’re needing some digital footprint 101 to help you clean up your digital space and really emerge into the world with a fresh, new brand. This is all about what it takes to rescript the story you’re telling through your online identity.

In this brew for two: we’ll meet. we’ll sink our heels deep into personal branding. we’ll figure out your social media streams (heaven, bless them). we’ll talk messaging and deeper vision. we’ll wear bright red lipstick together and shout off the rooftops a bit. hollaaaaaa.

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THE RED BREW

Red Brew Sessions may or may not be inspired by Tay Swifty. You’ve got to admit– the girl is fierce + fun, just like life should be. In the spirit of Red, this Brew is for anyone who seriously needs a battery recharge. You’ve lost sight of your dreams. You don’t even know what direction you’re going in. You need to relight the spark in your eyes and get moving on those passions of yours. Today is a new beginning for you, and a restart.

In this brew for two: we’ll meet. we’ll talk out fears & worries & anxieties. Better yet, we’ll hush em out completely. we’ll come up with some goals + time management plans. we’ll restart ya with a 30-day plan that cannot fail. we’ll uncover the passion you’ve kept on the shelf for far too long. it’s gon’ be RED, baby.

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THE BLOGGER BREW

Blogger Brew Sessions are for both the bloggers & non-bloggers. This Brew was made for you if you’re a) a blogger who needs to step up their game b) you’ve been craving a new direction with your little web space c) you’re struggling all over what you even want to write about d) you lack the savvy to create a blog schedule on your own e) you need some blogger butt kicking f) you’ve wanted to start a blog forever and it’s finally time.

In this brew for two: we’ll meet. you’ll get pearls of wisdom from a professional blogger. we’ll talk readership, stats, schedules, advertising, giveaways, the works. we’ll scrape away at your messaging & “about” page. we’ll brainstorm what it will take to set you apart and get you dedicated readers in the blogging world.

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Click here for more info & testimonies from past Brew Sessions.

 

 

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Remember when we became the Honey Boo Boo children of time management?

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We’re all convinced we are super, uber bad at time management.

I don’t know the myth or mystery behind it but I’ve yet to meet the person who is like, “ME?! HECK YA, I DOMINATE TIME MANAGEMENT… I ROCK THAT THINGS LIMBS OFF! I AM AN ABSOLUTE ANIMAL WHEN IT COMES TO MANAGING MY TIME.”Yea, if that person does exist then I want to meet them… and maybe date them… and then marry them and follow them around drooling while I watch them tackle their day with a productive vengeance.
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Time management seems like one of those weak spots. One of those things we have not quite mastered yet but we really hope to (dot dot dot) someday. But you know what? No more, friends. NO. MORE. Today I am coming at ya’ strong and saying: We are done with being the Debby Downers of Day Planning. You hear me?!?!  If you are too weak for the contents of this post then please exit my blog now. Otherwise, guzzle a 5-hour energy shot and repeat this credo after me:
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“I, ____Insert name here or nickname you’ve always wished people would call you by____, do hereby swear to stop whining and walking around weeping in the organization section of Target. I am going to stop thinking that Etsy shops are my cure-all and that one more set of funky, oval to-do list sheets is going to make my time management skills any bit better. No one needs oval to-do list sheets… not even me.  I am vowing, today and for the rest of my life, to rock the face off time management like Honey Boo Boo child. I am going to be a beast with appointments. I am going to be a tank when it comes to tasks. And I am going to STOP telling people that I am awful at time management and instead tell them that I am the girl/boy on fire before diving into a rendition of notes that Alicia Keys will always hit better than me. And that’s alright… because my talent isn’t singing anymore, it’s time management.”
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No frills, no ruffles- you need a system.

“Buying a new planner, and new dividers, and funky post-it notes, and sweet little stickers and these oddly shaped clip thingers that are an absolute anomaly to me but cute nonetheless are going to make me an organized person! Suddenly I am going to show up to meetings early with a coffee in hand feeling like a million-and-two dollas.”

Yea, you know we’ve all eaten that idea up like cake. Like fluffy, white birthday cake. But can I debunk the lie? And tell you it’s simply not true? No amount of cute accessories will make us better managers of our time. A day planner = tool. A rack of highlighters = tool. Babycakes, step. off. the. tools. and. get. yourself. a. system.
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You have to know the inner workings of your productivity and workflow if you ever want tools to help you down this yellow brick road of time management. I may as well sacrifice this entire blog post to the gods of bad Wizard of Oz References by saying that Dorothy’s shoes, as bangin’ they looked, held no power until she knew how to click those rubies together. I don’t care how pretty we can make our organizers look, we need to get into the habit of creating a system that we go back to day after day after day. Without the system, the frills fail us.
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You need to come into the ring already knowing yes, this works for me or no, that has never worked for me. And girl, it if it has never worked for you then, chances are, it’s not going to work this time around either so please spare yourself the trip to Target for a new planner and just step off for a second.

Lock + key your week before it begins.

I schedule everything into my planner on Sundays so that I can walk into my week knowing what is ahead. I sit down, with tea in hand, on a Sunday night and I map out: what are the projects I need to finish this week? Who are the people I need to see? What emails need to be sent? Do not pent this kind of info up in your head and walk into the week overwhelmed. Write it all down and go from there.
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I walk into the week knowing the tasks I want to accomplish and, more importantly, where they are actually fitting into my day-to-day schedule. After Sunday, that calendar is lock + key. I don’t push my limits, I don’t cancel things, I stick to the tasks I know I need to get done.
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Don’t let “Where” dictate your “What.”

Let’s just be clear: most day planners revolve around where you need to be. Martha Stewart will even go so far as to tell you what day to go to the grocery store and cheer on your son at soccer practice (Martha, I don’t have a son… please hop off my swag with your assertive planner tendencies). I know that if my week revolves around the places that I need to be then I will get way less done. To have a productive week, I must accomplish tasks and push projects forward, regardless of where my meetings lie. Therefore, I use a daily planning sheet to make sure I stay focused.

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Get my daily template here.

Printing out these sheets and stacking them in a big ol’ binder has been the key for me, especially with a crazy travel schedule. I know where I need to be (but it does not dominate my whole day), who I need to follow up with, the big tasks and nitty gritty. Gratitude is also a very important chunk of my day so I make sure I keep a running list of thank you’s so I can spread them out after the day winds down.

Know thy peaks + valleys.

Hours vary for everyone. Some of us work a 9-5 day while others are up at all hours of the night cracking away at the workload. Instead of beating your head against a wall when you lose an hour of productivity, key into when you are the most focused in a day, when you get the most things done, when you tend to slump in your chair and hate your life a little. Schedule the daily workflow into those peaks + valleys.

Be realistic. & plan accordingly.

I am a retired member of the “I used to want to do 27 things in one day until I realized it was physically impossible and my limbs were weeping” club. Time management and day planning means nada if you are constantly setting unrealistic expectations. Know your limits. Know how long a task normally would take you and schedule out from there.

I try to enter into each day with at least 4-5 smaller tasks to get done of 1-3 bigger tasks. Some days I will dedicate an entire day to 1 project while other days I am in serious need of having a bunch of mini projects done. Go at your own pace and know it isn’t the end of the world if a task is not completed. You’d rather the work be on par than frazzled but finished at the 5pm hour.

This is just the first of several posts that will trot your way on time management as I learn the crooks and curves of it myself. I would love to hear from you and gather some tips on what works and what doesn’t work in your own time management habits. Let’s chat in the comments below, boo.

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Filed under Career, Passion, Plans, Uncategorized

How to network like a B.O.S.S. (pronounced ‘bauss’)

Nothing to do with networking but you probably needed to read this anyway....

Nothing to do with networking but you probably needed to read this anyway….

“Now, in just a few minutes these doors are going to open and you’ll have the opportunity to put all the things you learned today into action… does everyone have their resumes ready?”

I was standing in the middle of a hotel lobby in Newport, Rhode Island, surrounded by a slew of undergraduates wearing bad khakis and ballet flats and praying for the life of me that I might disappear. That the roof might cave in. That anything would transpire to keep me from heading into the gauntlet to “network.”

I was attending a leadership conference. I was a senior in college and all sorts of antsy about my future and the “real world.” Networking would be the creme brulee of the evening and we’d be unleashed into a room full of professionals who were “supposedly” interested in what we had to say.

We’d spent the afternoon learning how to balance cups and dishes at swanky cocktail parties while keeping a hand free to spit out resumes and business cards like ammo. I’d cringed & cowered, feeling fake and phony as I presented my budding skills to a business professional who already knew I might as well be saying, “I want you to give me a job… a connection… a lead… Give. Me. Give. Me. Give. Me.”

Perhaps I stink at networking.

Perhaps my only craving has ever been to sit Indian-style in the middle of an open room with you and talk about what kinds of things keep you up at night. Perhaps that is my version of connection. Perhaps it has gotten me exactly where I am today. And perhaps the world doesn’t quite agree.

Either way, our culture has done a lot to jack up this concept of Networking. We think of stale suits and girls with their hair all stiffened into buns. Cardboard interactions. Awkward conversations as one fumbles to find a connecting point and we all just agree that there are no job outs there (that’s a lie… there are plenty of jobs out there. Please stop listening to the people who say there isn’t.).

Networking, when you get down to the bones of it, looks a lot like friendship. A lot like actual connections. A lot like dream sharing. A lot like something I would actually do if taught right. And so I’ve dedicated this blog post to the best practices I’ve learned while networking. I’ve appropriately entitled it “How to Network Like a B.O.S.S.”

I might be raw. I might be point blank honest. But folks, I just want to be real with you. You down? Cool!

Quit treating it like it’s a dang game.

We are human beings. We go through similar things. Life is tough. Am I right?

At one point you need something. At another point I need something. Get down to the grit of me, care about how I am doing, get to know me, see how I could really help you. 

Networking is not a game. It’s not a savvy straight line to the job of your dreams.  It’s about conversation. It’s about collaboration. It’s about stepping outside the lines of “do this” and “do that” to just talk to someone openly and honestly. It’s about opening up to someone, “Listen… I’ve got this dream… I’m wondering what you think of it…”

So… um… What do you want?

Be clear on it. Know it better than you know the freckles on your knuckles (maybe I am the only one with freckles on my knuckles?). No one can put the words of what you need into your own mouth so you best get comfortable with speaking on it yourself.

Y’all should meet the young lady (and one of my very best friends) who changed the face of networking for me forever. I believe Tammy Tibbetts is the muse behind Alicia Key’s “Girl on Fire” song. She is on point. She is focused. She is a star connector. And Tammy looks me in the eye every time we meet, and asks, “Ok, how can I help you?” 

I’ve learned this with Tammy: I need to be ready for this question. I need to already know my answers. Because she wants to help. And I should be open to knowing where I need the help. 

She & I jet furiously into a list of what’s been right and what’s been wrong. And who could help. And who could connect. And who could add this or take away this. It might have started out as networking but it has morphed into a solid friendship where she and I are able to swap skills, laugh together, and get down the bones of our deepest dreams.

But it all began with this: What. Do. You. Want? & How. Do. I. Help. Make. This. Happen?

And what can you give?

Know thyself. Know thyself. Know thyself. What are you good at? What kind of expertise can you offer someone else?

Networking is a symbiotic relationship. It is, “I serve you and you serve me.” It is boosting another higher. It is knowing when you can step back in and return the favor. Your mindset going into an email intro or a conversation with someone you’ve long admired should not just be “What do I need?” but rather, “What do I have to offer?” 

And please, don’t sit here whining that you don’t have any skills. You gotz mad skillz and if you don’t then sit down NOW and really ask yourself, “What do I want to be good at?” Focus on that. Get better at that. And then prep yourself to give it back into the world.

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I am noticing there is a gangsta twang to most of my language here but maybe that’s cuzzzzz all of seeing your dreams into reality is about HUSTLING. Always & always, baby. 

Meeting people, connecting with people, finding common ground– none of it ever shuts down. The beauty of this world is that you are constantly apt to meet other interesting souls, whether you crash into them in the grocery store or intentionally meet them for coffee. 

Please, if you take anything away from this post then let it be this: You need to pull networking out of the stale, cardboard box your college business department tries to shove it in. Networking is not about resumes on the cuff and recommendations. It is about being an open soul wherever you’re walking and being very aware of what kind of big things you want to do in this world…

Don’t you go all Tin man on me.

I am not your most conventional business person.  I don’t really play by many of the rules because I don’t even really care about the rules. But I do want to know your heart… and that has worked for me just fine.

I went to a networking event in NYC in the summer and I nearly fell out of my skin in humiliation for the whole thing. I felt out of place. I felt so uncomfortable. I hated having business cards ready in my pocket. So I said, “Eh, screw it” and just started to be myself.

Before long, there was a crowd of folks around me and we were talking digital communications & love letters & generosity. And it was real conversation. And one person started weeping. And another grabbed a napkin to wipe up the tears tsunami. DANGG, that. is. my. kind. of. networking.

The point is this: I really don’t need you to size me up. Or place value on my connections. I have no interest in knowing you want to climb a ladder. I want to know if you are passionate. I want to know if you are ready for sleepless nights and a celebration that does not always come when you expect it. I want to know that passing your name on to one of my connections will reflect back on me. I want to know that you will be gracious. I want to know that you are the real deal and I don’t need a resume to confirm that. 

Follow up.

Oh goodness, this one is a doozy. You must be dedicated to following up with people. Even if a connection does not work out or a partnership does not pan, you should always draft an email or a thank you note to the person who first made the initial contact. It’s cordial. It’s sane. It’s quite human of you. 

We want to know that our match up meant something to you. We want to know that we opened the door for potential collaboration. We want to see that our resources were well spread, so come back to me! Tell me what happened! Tell me if I can help a little more!

Find the courage… and then pay it forward.

I left this point for last. It matters most to me. It’s like the fortune in the cookie, baby.

When I was 22 years old, with empty hands and a full heart, I stumbled into a breakfast full of leading ladies at Tammy’s apartment. We sat & laughed & collaborated for two hours and I met a beautiful soul named Selena Soo there.

Selena Soo exudes grace. & know-how. & eloquence in her speech and her work. She is truly a marvel to watch & know.

I scrounged deep in my pockets for the big courage to email Selena and ask her for maybe 10 minutes of her time. I was looking for my first “real person job” and I was seeking guidance on the job hunt. Selena took the time to talk with me one early morning for 30 minutes. She gave me advice. She steered me right. And it was all because of my openness and honesty with her– I told her dreams, desires, hopes and loves.

Selena doubled back with worksheets and exercises to help me nail my dream job. She checked in with me often. We developed a closeness between us. And I always thought, “Wow, all of this– the following my dreams, the going out on a limb– all of it is because Selena gave me 30 minutes of her time.” 

If you admire someone, if you want to know more, if you just have an ache to meet them for coffee and spill your guts then do me a favor and tell them. Don’t cry all over your shirt. Don’t be a hot mess. But be gutsy enough to just send an email and propose a conversation… it might just change your life. 

Selena is the reason behind my first “big girl” job. The reason I quit my full-time job to pursue my dreams. The reason I am now a freelancer at 24 and eating my work like it’s decadent chocolate cake (I lick my fingers and everything). But best of all, Selena and I skype every month now. We formed a remarkable friendship over the simple act of networking. We pour into one another. It’s quite beautiful. And it’s not anything you would pent up into a business brochure.

In my own networking & connecting experiences, I want to be like Selena Soo. I want to be the person who gives someone with little experience and a big heart the advice they truly need to push forward. I think we should all strive to be like that:  genuine givers, with big hearts, and a lot of grace. 

The moral of my little story.

Networking should not be something we all try to “get good” at. If you want to be good in this world then focus on forming relationships, establishing connections, being better to other people and helping where you can. Those are the things that count. Those are the things that build up character as opposed to just a resume.

You ain’t your accomplishments. You ain’t your titles. You are a human being with real dreams & a need for others. People need you. You need others..

Figure out why and just go. 

Can we swap networking tips like play cards now? Please, oh please, share in the comments below.

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