Categories
Branding Entrepreneurial life Freelancing Writing

A Personal Bio: My Game of Life

Let’s talk about your personal bio. I recently read Switchblade Lemonades’ excellent e-book ‘Bio Like Beyoncè’. Those of you who have read this blog long enough knows that I am a sucker for musical analogies. I want to end every article I ever have written with “keep on Rockin in a free world” or something like that. I LOVE that somebody has built an e-book around Beyonce.

However, it made me write a document called ‘My Game of Life‘ – which is a very very personal bio, in addition to my ‘professional’ bio. I think sometimes we need to go a bit deeper than looks and actually explain our traits and where we come from.

What to add in your personal bio

It can be hard to figure out where to cut the personal bio, meaning what you leave out or what you put in. There are some things in my personal bio that makes me cringe a bit – and I don’t know if I will keep it in there (who cares about whether or not I get tipsy at tech conferences?) however, this bit of information I also believe makes me… well, human. And I do believe that it’s something that others would love to know too, because, it’s a part of my personality.

To me, I would rather work with somebody where I know a bit about their history, in addition, to know about their achievements – but how deep should you go? How many of these traits should you be adding, and still not expose yourself completely, but simply giving you some twists and some of that sassy ‘je ne sais quoi’.

So get on with it! Personal bios in addition to your professional bio can teach you a thing or two about how you want the world to see you – it was good considerations for me at least. =)

Categories
Creativity Entrepreneurial life Ideas

Wield Yourself

Sometimes you need to stand back and take a breather. Other times, you need to wield yourself.

I have been obsessed with the word ‘wielding’ and the phrase ‘wield yourself’ since I started on my scary yet rockin’ path of being healthy, as well as doing a whole lot of self-development. I love the words ‘rising, ‘uprising’ as well as ‘creating’, ‘building’, and my favorite word for what I am in the process of: ‘wielding’.

Wielding instead of creating- what’s the difference?

Wielding is the concept of creating/building based on deliberately using previously acquired concepts and skills that you already know brings you joy and happiness. Maybe I would even say that wielding happens from a place of fulfillment? It’s building stuff based on where you are already fulfilled, where you already know that you enjoy doing things like this. Well, what if you mash the things that you like to do, up?

I have thought a lot about why wielding feels like such a strong word for me.

Probably because it lets you see yourself as a tool. It’s in the word, that you will use everything you’ve already learned to create something new. It seems stronger for me and I believe that all rockers should be wielding, not creating. I have the same thing about ‘forging’ instead of creating. Forging is stronger to me- you melt things together.

A femtech entrepreneur; a case for wielding yourself.

I remember talking to one of my old friends at a conference in Copenhagen a while back. Her name is Ida Tin and she’s the founder of a femtech company called Clue, which is an ovulation tracker. Before that, Ida had a motorcycle travel agency together with her dad. And that’s actually where I got to know her – through a danish female entrepreneurship network called ‘morgendagens heltinder’. It was all the rage 15 years back. However, when I asked her how she came up with the idea for Clue she said that she had simply sat in her apartment and had a blank wall where she put post-it’s of all she liked to do in her life – all the things she was passionate about. Then she combined those things and started building because it was the perfect fit between feminism, technology, and reproductive rights.

What’s interesting here to me is that it simply wasn’t an act of creating everything from scratch. It was ‘deliberately’ using the things Ida knew made her feel fulfilled in order to create her next venture, her next dream.

I don’t see ‘wield yourself’ as an either/or from creating. It’s more like ‘upcycling’ (creating new things from old materials’ where creating is ‘DIY’ (creating new things from materials). It’s a layer above or below creativity depending on how you look at it.

Categories
Climate Action corporate activism Entrepreneurial life

My Personal Combination Of Fashion, Revolutions and Sustainability

Are you working within revolutions and sustainability? First off, if you haven’t been introduced to Fashion Revolution you should check out their manifesto. Fashion revolution week is what I would call a ‘fashion industry bashing’ that’s needed. This is where the social good fashion rockers look at the fashion industry and sustainability as a whole and talk greenwashing and where it’s more than allowed to ask ‘who made my clothes’.

Remember to participate on the 24th of April by reversing your clothes and use the #whomademyclothes hashtag. We need more conversation starters and activist statement.

reduce, reuse, recycle, rethink, retweet

Apart from giving a shoutout to the Fashion Revolution Week, which you have to be a part of, I want to dive deeper into fashion and sustainability. So, the fashion industry is one of the heaviest emitters of CO2 in the world. Are you ready for my take on it ? here you go:

Revolutions and Sustainability: Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, Rethink AND Retweet

reduce, recycle, reuse, rethink, retweet

You need to be able to update your skillset. I wrote about how to live like our grandparents a couple of days back. In addition to that I think it’s vital that we all:

Think about what we are purchasing. How are we spending our money?

Think about how we can reuse the stuff we have.

Think about how we can recycle goods that have been worn out.

Rethink the way we act around materials

And then share (retweet) the whole bunch to your network and beyond as inspiration for the world to see.

A rocking trick to reuse more:

I am biggest on reusing and sharing. And I want to announce something: I have gotten my first gig as a style ambassador for the startup ‘WISHI’. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. No, I will not become a fashion blogger. But I am looking good even at the end of my ’20s’ and we need more people preaching and practicing fashion revolutions and sustainability. SO I will carry that torch as well.

WISHI is something I have been crazy about for half a year. A couple of weeks back, the founder asked if I would join as an ambassador and I said ‘Yes – if I can focus on sustainability, 2nd hand and vintage’. So that’s what I have been doing. The featured image on this article, is all 2nd hand clothes – apart from the t-shirt.

I have become a real bargain hunter online for the clothes that I want to be a part of my style and WISHI helps me out with that. In addition to WISHI for style advice, I am using Gem which is vintage clothes search engine. So these are two of my favorite tools to elevate my style.

P. S. If you want to join WISHI, let me know – I have a special gift for you then.

Categories
Branding Entrepreneurial life Identity + purpose Writing

Feeling Like An Imposter Too?

I will be trying to write an article a day for the whole of easter. Hope you will enjoy it as much as me.  I am writing from my atelier terrace in great weather today. There’s a ton of stuff that needs to happen in my garden riot. We need to paint the atelier, fix the lawn, and the terrace. But, above all, I want these days off to be like a writing retreat for me – getting to the core of my writing on henrietteweber.com.

It’s so weird that during this Corona Virus isolation, it seems like everything is fucked up outside of the garden and in here everything is sunshine, grounding as well as birds chirping away. Occasionally the cat comes to visit on the little porch I have in the front.

Sometimes even though this is my little personal messy empire, I feel like an imposter. I do that as well here on the blog. Are they still around – meaning the cool cats that used to listen? Do they still want to hear what I say?

My imposter syndrome is something I have been carrying around for a long time, since childhood. And no matter how accomplished or how fucked up I look from the outside, it’s there as a part of me. It’s telling me that I am fucking things up and I should not keep pursuing new ventures or new ideas. It doesn’t begin when I start things ( I am a very good starter), but it’s something that sneaks up on me after a while. “What are you doing?”.”Are you going to go out of our comfort zone again babe?”.”That totally isn’t good enough.”. “Who would want to read THAT?”.

And then after a while, the voice gets calmer, especially if I carry on doing what is that I have never tried before. Especially if I put ‘the new project’ into well-known structures and tools that I have already worked on and through several times.

In my opinion, though, the imposter could also be seen as a friend instead of a necessary evil of putting yourself out there and being exposed. It has since childhood been my biggest driver, ‘proving’ it wrong. I am not an imposter, I belong here. My words are important and so are my ideas and my projects. I hope you occasionally feel like that too. Even though I think the whole population on planet earth feels like imposters sometimes.

Categories
Climate Action Community Entrepreneurial life Social Good

Impact Hub Medellin: Battling His Way Through Coronavirus by Federico Sierra

I decided to talk to some of my contacts who I knew were heavily impacted by the Coronavirus. Why? Because it makes me feel like I am doing a difference. Shedding some light on people experiencing problems that might not be obvious to me or anybody else in the North.

One of the people I decided to interview is truly a brother, Federico Sierra. A man I felt a deep connection with when I was in New York in September 2019 during the UN General Assembly for +Social Good and UN foundation.

First off, tell me a story about you and me. How did we meet? What connected us? What connection do we have now?

It’s a funny story about how I pushed you to eat with me at Chick Fil’A and it ended up being trash. Afterward, I invited you for beer to make up for that. It wasn’t as bad in here but it was hilarious to see your disappointment with the food.

We met because we were both selected as +SocialGood Connectors; local champions of the SDGs for the UN Foundation. I think among the other 12 people, I connected with you the fastest for 2 reasons:

1. Your go-getter attitude which is something the international development community lacks a bit as we get stuck in politics and procedures, leaving impact behind.

2. Your techy approach to things.

Since the beginning, we started bouncing ideas on how to generate more impact. And also, on how to connect the impact ecosystem in Europe and Latam.

Then tell me a bit about what you do in your everyday life?

I am a social entrepreneur so most of my time is focused on my startups. Impact Hub Medellín is an incubator for impact initiatives. It is also a CoWorking space for innovators moving the world forward from an impact and sustainability perspective. We have 4 main focuses:

1. Community:

i. Networking and Connections: We work together with our startups to support them in scaling their impact and solution to more people and other markets.

ii. Space: We host +200 entrepreneurs from +40 impact startups

iii. Events: We host spaces to generate connections and learning. Last year we hosted over 180 events mainly focused on SDGs and entrepreneurship.

2. Incubation:

We created an incubation program for startups with an Impact on the SDGs. Last year we incubated 36 startups. It was amazing to see many different initiatives and work together with them to scale their impact around the world. Here are some examples: 

i. Fokus Green: They produce clothing from plastic bottles. We supported their scaling to the US.

ii. Fruturo: They work with small farmers from the most violent regions in Colombia. They also support them in generating world-class products to export around the world. We supported them in scaling to Europe.

3. Social Innovation:

We lead a program named “Gambetiando”. It is a social innovation program that works with youth in the most affected areas in Medellín, Colombia. It is intended to build socio-emotional skills in them and then generate social initiatives lead by these young leaders.

4. Energía Vectorial:

We focus on decarbonizing mobility by accelerating the adoption of electric mobility in Colombia. We have 3 business lines:

i. Conversion of oil-powered combustion cars to electric vehicles: The cheapest EV in Colombia (Renault Twizy) costs 10.000 USD which makes it a very expensive option for people here. We brought a solution that evolves the current car that people have to an EV for a starting price of 7.000, making it a more affordable solution.

ii. Infrastructure: We set up electric charging stations.

iii. Education: We work with different organizations, training their people on how to manage and repair EVs.

My daily life goes around working in these initiatives. Asides working, I am a big fan of video games; Play Station 4 and Nintendo Switch are my favorite platforms. The rest of my free time is spent by having casual beers with friends.

What made you pursue this?

I had the opportunity to work in international development mainly around youth leadership and social innovation for about 10 years. 55 countries I have traveled to and I saw many different projects, initiatives, and ideas led by young people and entrepreneurs. I decided to come back to Colombia and work to generate an impact in my country.

When I came back, something shocked me right after I stepped out of the plane. It was air quality, and it was awful.

I started researching this issue. I learned that most of the pollution in my city, and many Latam cities, comes from urban mobility. It came up on my research as well that up to 90% of those mobilities could be electric.

I also have a niece, she was almost 2 at the time. She was getting sick very often and we needed to take her out of the city because the main reason was pollution. This was a calling, this what is happening to my niece. Many more children across the country are suffering the from the same problem. Therefore, I thought: “I have to do something about this”. And that is how Energia Vectorial was born.

As I experienced the entrepreneurship and Impact ecosystem in Medellin, I went through the struggles and challenges of a disconnected ecosystem. This is where the Impact Hub was born. I called 2 friends with the idea to work for improving the entrepreneurship ecosystem with a focus on Impact. I presented the Impact Hub global network and we started working for every entrepreneur with an impactful and scalable solution to the world’s more pressing challenges.

Is it still what makes you jump out of bed in the morning?

Definitely.

I get to work every day with people that are changing the world. Implementing new ways of generating more impact.

My job is to support them with knowledge, connections, and tools. For me, it’s a new challenge every day. Learn something new every day and also get to support the implementation of impact projects.

It is not always easy, as there are many challenges

  1. Economical situation
  2. Cashflow issues
  3. Lack of support form the government
  4. Some entrepreneurs don’t speak English, so overcoming that barrier
  5. Leadership and people management inside the startups

It is also amazing to see the collaboration among the entrepreneurs in our space and how they take advantage of every space we open for collaboration and learning. This show us our impact in day to day behavioral changes from our community.

What makes you most excited these days?

It is an opportunity to evolve both as a person and in business. Each one of us decides if we are going to take it and make the most out of it. So I would like to divide my approach to this question in two different ways:

First, it is indeed an opportunity to level up as a person. Learning something new and tackling what we have been postponing. And most importantly, connecting with others.

Concerning the Coronavirus, our message at Impact Hub Medellin is not social distancing but physical distancing. We believe that social strengthening is what we need in order to face the situation. Coming together as a community and generating solutions together.

Second, and most important of course, I do not depend on my daily income to bring food to my family. I do not rely on it to have a roof over my head at night. Or to simply have a place to stay at during quarantine. And note that I am saying this from a position of privilege. This is the reality for about 50% of Colombia’s population. What is exciting about this is seeing how our country has come together through different actions to support those in need. We are not a rich country, but we have gone through very difficult time by helping those in need.

The largest supermarket chain put together a basic set of products that cost 4 euros (rice, lentils, coffee, sugar, salt, chocolate, toilet paper, beans, chickpeas, chicken soup…). As of today, people have bought and donated 150,000 of these packages for the most vulnerable. The goal is to reach 500,000 which amounts to 2 Million Euros and we are on our way. Normal people, with normal salaries, contributing to the wellbeing of the whole. This gets me excited

Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, tell me what it’s like in Medellín, Colombia right now on a daily basis?

When the coronavirus hit the country, the government set a national mandatory quarantine since Tuesday 24th. This has changed everything:

-Streets became empty.

-People started working from home.

-We have IDs that indicate our designated schedule of when we can go outside.

-Coronavirus spread updates are all over the news, ALL the time.

Our healthcare system isn’t highly developed. We need to be extra cautious so the situation doesn’t become worse than it already is.

Sometimes, I go to my local stores or supermarkets in the neighborhood. I appreciate seeing people being considerate and understanding by not hoarding stuff. This only shows that they care about the well-being of others.

How do people feel?

There is a lot of anxiety.

People are afraid of losing their jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak. Their companies are closing due to lack of cash flow and this is generating social unrest, as people need a bit of security to hang on to.

I’ve seen that countries like Denmark and Sweden have put together different policies to protect the economy, on the other hand, a country like Colombia does not have this option.

As I mentioned above, there is a lot of solidarity, but also there is a disconnect between the local and national government, with different messages and measures going around. The ack of clarity generates fear.

What’s the general standpoint towards the virus from the government and society as a whole?

Colombia took swift action once we confirmed the first case of coronavirus. On the 6th day, we closed our schools. On the 9th day, we closed our borders. And on the 13th day, we went into national lockdown.

We understand that our healthcare system is underdeveloped. Thanks to corruption mainly, and politicians stealing money in the past our country is having a hard time dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

I believe there is a national understanding that: 

  1. We have to face this together, let’s do our bit.
  2. Take care of each other
  3. Things will not be the same after this
How does this affect the entrepreneurs that you incubate? 

It’s going to be rough.

I have spoken to each of our entrepreneurs in the last few days to understand how are they facing this situation.

Most of them had to stop operations and are figuring out how to keep people’s jobs and salaries as long as they can.

Anxiety is the main feeling I got from them because of the uncertainty of when the coronavirus pandemic is going to end.

The idea of talking to each startup and entrepreneur in our community is to:

  1. Connect with our people. Understand how everyone is doing and how are they dealing with this situation: emotionally, financially, and with their teams.
  2. Next steps and way forward

We have set up multiple partnerships to support our people with a psychologist to provide a line to express and receive advice, legal and management advisors to understand how they can use different options from banks and other entities to face the situation.

We have been hosting webinars to keep our community active and keep the human connection alive. Some of the topics we have talked about are:

“How can startups contribute to solutions to the current situation?”

“Cashflow management during uncertainty.”

“How to manage stress.”

“Ways to stay productive while working at home.”

Finally, we are generating financial plans for each member to alleviate their future cash flows to support them when society “re-opens” once the coronavirus is contained. This means waiving membership fees in may and discounted prices for a couple of months.

How does it affect the impact hub in Medellin?

The coronavirus pandemic has been a challenging time and has pushed us to step up our game. Our first decision was to keep our whole team in place. We are where we are because of our people, therefore we go through this together. My whole team is working from home and figuring out how to evolve our business model to create value for our market and new revenue streams. Here some impacts we are facing:

1. Space:

As mentioned above, we will see this income halted and reduced for a while as the entrepreneurs we host start regenerating income again.

  1. Solution: Waive the membership (mentioned above) for a couple of months and set longer-term contracts. The idea is to co-operate and work with each other on how to contribute to each other’s business.
2. Programs (Incubation):

Half of this program operates through sponsors (local and global) and right now every partner and organization is focusing their budget to face the coronavirus situation.

  1. Solution: We are setting up an online incubation program, so geography is no longer a barrier for entrepreneurs. New revenue streams working together with incubated entrepreneurs and getting a % of their sales in the future as they grow (This still future revenue tho)
  2. Keep contacting potential partners in Europe and North America
  3. We have launched an initiative to generate solutions through an online hackathon that is going to take place 3-5 of April, so far we have +250 solutions submitted: https://cadadiacuenta.org/
3. Gambetiando: Activities stop
  1. Solution: Gambetiando Virtual: We have produced a series of short videos we shared with our youth through WhatsApp to keep them engaged with activities and workshops to perform at home
  2. Weekly calls to keep the connection with the families and youth

Every situation we are facing also is an opportunity to evolve and think of different approaches to our business and initiatives

In Energía Vectorial, the situation is more similar to other startups so we have stopped operations in the 3 business lines: Conversion, Infrastructure, and Education. We are very lean in our startups in terms of costs, but the upward curve of sales we were experiencing, is going to be affected as people are not looking into expending money now and the upcoming months.

We are looking into how to upgrade or services and implement a tech solution connected to our conversions.

How can people in the global impact community help?

Connections!

Investors, sponsors, and corporates were interested in cooperating and working with Impact startups in Colombia. We are fundraising and setting up partnerships to make it even more relevant.

We are setting up a fund to support the entrepreneurs, amidst the coronavirus pandemic, in our space and others that will face financial troubles in the upcoming months, so they can still have a space to work from and a community to connect. Our idea would be to divide the monthly fee this way:

35% covered by the entrepreneur.

35% discount from our side.

30% covered by the fund.

Our monthly rates start at 80 Euros and go up until 200 Euros.

How do they get in touch with you?

Email: Federico.restrepo@impacthub.net

WhatsApp: +57 305 391 2346

Lastly, how will you have changed after this experience?

This is deep.

This experience has strengthened my connections with my team. We are going through a challenging time and we are facing it with a solutions-oriented perspective.

Our main objective is to foster the entrepreneurship ecosystem and my whole team is constantly looking for more and better ways to do so.

Categories
Climate Action Conferences Entrepreneurial life Public Speaking Social Good

“Invest In Women”: Women Entrepreneurship Day 2019

If I put my NGO hat on, it has been proven time and time again that if you invest in a woman or a girl in the global south she will not only use the opportunity for growth for herself but will also elevate the rest of the village.”

I spoke at Women Entrepreneurship Day 2019 conducted by Female Founders of the Future at Klub in Copenhagen back in November.

“Invest In Women”: Summary Of My Speech

I didn’t memorize my full speech as I wrote it, you really never do, but here it is:

Hi there! My name is Henriette Weber. I am an entrepreneur. A seeker. A climate activist. A feminist. A mother of a teenage girl. A leader, and currently the head of brand and engagement at the Climate NGO CARE, as well as being Denmarks first + Social Good Connector under the UN foundation.

I was invited here to talk to you about “Investing in Gender Equality”. This is something I feel very strongly about probably because it’s something I have been working on as an entrepreneur. First, trying to get a maternity fund for entrepreneurs implemented in Denmark, and later as the CEO and founder of Geek Girl Denmark and Geek Girl Magazine.

I almost won an Ivækst Award in the female category on Geek Girl Magazine. This is for teaching tech to women and doing stuff differently. As a “Female Found Media Icon”, I got fed up with being a role media because I really am not. I am chaotic, imperfect, and I didn’t feel I could live up to their expectations.

After Geek Girl Magazine, I decided to change lanes and head towards climate action. Something that has always been close to my heart ever since I was a young teen being told by my teacher that the ozone layer was going to kill the planet. I did a lot of research on sustainability and climate action at the biggest Nordic sustainable think tank where I was employed as a brand director. I found my bridge between sustainability and gender equality.

Did you know that the Project Drawdown by Paul Hawken is the leading organization that finds solutions for climate change?

Invest in Women and Girls

“If I put my NGO hat on, it has been proven time and time again that if you invest in a woman or a girl in the global south she will not only use the opportunity for growth for herself but will also elevate the rest of the village.”

The return on investment in investing in women and girls is so much higher than if you invest traditionally.

The same goes for teams with a female co-founder in startups. You’d notice that their startups perform exponentially.

As the old saying goes, we can’t keep doing the same thing, expecting a different outcome. Right now, not one single country in the world is on track to meet SDG 5: Gender equality. Even though gender equality has been agreed upon as a human right.

Denmark is leading on a number of factors under SDG 5, but we can ALL do something to save the world, and yes. I do mean save the world. When you help a girl, you help a village. When you help a woman, you are constructively doing climate action. 

If you, whether as a Dane or as an entrepreneur, want to do social good then you can start by helping another woman. Look at the first woman you see and SMILE at her =) You can do something life-altering for this woman. You can believe in her strength which would help her connect her to other people. Help her see her own “badassness”. Help her see her “Mad Skills”. Give her chances she normally wouldn’t be getting. 

Make A Choice. Make A Difference.

We need to make different choices. The world calls for our responsibility, on a personal level, and to all of us as humans. As Jonathan Safran Foer wrote in his latest book, “We are all the weather“. A personal climate plan or a family climate plan is what we need. A personal gender equality plan is just as important as well. We need to find out HOW we will act around climate, gender, and every other of the SDGs. We should also ask how are we going to make ourselves accountable?

How are we going to make the global goals our personal goals? By making different choices. It seems super obvious but for every different choice we make for sustainability, we are tipping the boat towards a healthier planet.

For a long time, first in tech, women, and then in sustainability, I’ve heard people saying “Enough talking, it’s time for action!”. And we’re fucking still talking about how much time for action there is. But we are doing the safe things. Men in suits are becoming “chief innovation officers” all around the world and I can’t stand it. Where are the wildcards, the misfits, the women, the ones needed to make a powerful change?

Investing In Women = Implementing Social Good

If you decide to make a woman a partner of your VC firm, you are doing social good. If you’re making a woman the co-founder of your startup. Social good. You are showing the world that you are innovative and that you are choosing differently, even though it doesn’t seem like a big deal. It’s EXACTLY these choices we need. As is eating less meat. Driving electric cars. And you know what, probably your whole team spirit will be elevated because of something new happening.

Better yet, see if you can make half the partners or founders of your company female. Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Those women will be role models for other women who want to work in a startup. Those who want to vet and invest in startups as VC’s. Those women will be visible beacons in a field where women are normally invisible. They don’t exist. This is especially if you ask the business conference organizers who are (still) creating all-male panels.

Look at us, as a group. Take me as an example. When I started in the tech industry back in 2001, I was one of 3 women out of a team of 100, men obviously being the latter. I was a developer and the other 2 women, one was a secretary and the other was an HR.

Change Starts With You

Now we’re at a sold-out event celebrating female founders. At my first web conference (reboot 2005) we weren’t that many women either. But it made us talk, network, and think that more women should be at these tech conferences. Some of us decided to do something about it.

We can all make a difference. Be social good activists. We can all work to change this fucked up world and we have to. 

What I came here to say is not just “invest in gender equality”. It’s more to “invest in different choices”. Invest in your own actions making these badass women visible.

Thank you.

Categories
Entrepreneurial life

My Pain And Gain From A Life-Threatening Illness

You see that bit in the tagline on the blog header where it says “odes to life?” I want to tell you about my pain and gain. A brand new aspect of me that I have been in doubt about sharing with you all. I need to though. A new layer to me, one might say, that I have developed in 2014 which has been my worst/most evolving year ever.

Before the illness

I have been really sick and I wrote a bit about it in my “meet Henriette” section of the blog. I don’t want my illness to define me more than it already has. The reason for that is because it caused life-altering changes in my life. Before the illness, I had a tendency to over-analyze people. I also tend to turn my work life into a living hell because I was so insecure about myself. I didn’t like myself at all. The mental drag that I was keeping in my head reflected on the people around me. I had clients not signing, and pushing prices incredibly low, etc. It was just so much to take.

So I decided not to deal with it anymore because it was a huge stress factor for me. I would lie awake in the middle of the night trying to figure out what to do. I wasn’t happy, I was miserable.

Changes that the illness brought into my life

When the illness came into my life, I was forced to look at everything that didn’t seem to work. I decided if it was something I would keep or something I would change for the better so it would fit the “new” me. The one that is here now. I changed everything from business and friends. The stuff I have in my house. Who I choose to meet up with and how I spend my time with them. How much I read, paint, and write. The important stuff. And I found something in all of these changes. I found a woman in my mirror that I adored. A woman that wasn’t scared of dying because she had done the best she could, and she was pretty bad-ass.

My ultimate low

At that point when I started to change things around and looked at them differently, that was when the ultimate low hit me. Even though I was convinced I was going to get through this, the doctors at the first hospital started to doubt it. They didn’t say it directly to me, but after half a year on really heavy drugs, nothing had changed. My lungs weren’t getting better and every day was a challenge. Picture yourself not being able to walk up a flight of stairs without being completely out of breath. Picture yourself not being able to do any kind of activities and actually making a cup of coffee for yourself would be the victory of the day. That was me around 8 months ago.

Right after they (didn’t) tell me that they didn’t know how to deal with my situation, I had a weekend from hell. I started saying goodbye to everything. Looked back at my husband and daughter and thought to myself: “I think you will be ok, but I will miss you so dearly”. I looked at all the stuff I loved in my life and started to align myself with the thought that I might not get through this. That was the most painful thing I have ever experienced.

The darkest moment of my life

If I would think of the darkest moment of my life, it would be the sight of me sitting on a chair under the summer sun. Seeing my husband working in the garden and thinking to myself: “I love you and I’m going to miss you SO much. Please take care of everything when I am gone”.

A sliver of hope

A couple of days later, I started as a specialist patient under Denmark’s leading doctor in his field which included this incredibly rare lung thingy that had decided to reside in me for the time being. He started to give me some other drugs and I slowly got better. Things started to change. One of the things that I visioned the most at this time was to be able to bike again. A couple of weeks later, I did manage to bike again. I got life, but with a changed core. Mostly because everything had been up for review.

I took my whole life and looked at it at the bigger picture. I wrote about all the things that I loved and hated. And then I started deciding what I need to stay with me and what I need to toss away. The people in my life. How my life is set-up. Where I was living. How I was spending my time, and all of my works.

My realization

After everything that’s happened, I told my rockin’ spiritual advisor Mariakaisa Bruun my whole experience. All of the pain I’ve gone through and the changes it caused in my life. In the beginning, she asked me how I felt. I told her that I knew I was going to get through all that. Part of me just knew. I call it faith. I didn’t give up or gave in and I just took one day at a time.

Now? Life is a complete joy for me. I do stuff I care about. I do stuff I love like writing and connecting with people. Creative things.

I am so looking forward to skydiving on my 100th birthday. And the party I will have when I am off the drugs. The books I will write. The startups and brands I will advise on brand design and PR. And being a style icon as always.

All is good and I’m doing well and I am so happy just to be here. When that is the output of everything, life changes. It’s not so complicated and you don’t fuzz around people or unimportant stuff.

Keep on rockin’ in a free world, rockers!

rock on henriette weber
Categories
Entrepreneurial life

New Beginnings

This is my first article here since May 2014, how I’ve missed it. It is as if I’m back to when I was still embracing new beginnings. I’ve missed the WordPress backend. I’ve missed connecting with you.  Those of you who don’t know it yet, I have been ill for almost a year and I haven’t been able to write anything anywhere with a commercial scope because it could mean business. However, there’s a lot of pictures of my lovely dog on Instagram that I have filled my time with.

Enough about that. I don’t want to talk about the lung thingy/the illness. It’s still really close to me. The good thing is I am still here and I am working again. I have scrapped the previous blog layout and I am starting over with a new design and a new scope.

new web design

Another really big thing is that I’ve decided to sell Toothless Tiger and get a job as a thought leader. Nothing conclusive on that yet but people have been so kind. I have gotten some pretty kickass offers from cool agencies who want a curly-haired, brainy tornado in their office. Geek Girl Magazine stays for now. New constellation coming up there though which I am totally excited about.

I hope to keep henrietteweber.com just as relevant and radical to you rockers! I have learned so much in the past year that I want to share as well, hence the new tagline.

Some people talk about the dark night of the soul. This has been the dark year of my soul and body. I have a whole list of take-aways lingering in my notebooks that are going to be analyzed and written about for your pleasure soon.

So how am I feeling? Where am I?

When everything comes to everything, I am grateful. So grateful. I live in constant amazement over life. I know I can do anything because the universe has got my back. And I am not just saying that to be completely woo-woo (much more on that word later – which I love=) but because… I am alive. I don’t know if this will wear off eventually and if it can. But I know that I have to make things count. I know every breath is important. I get it now.

A lot of you have watched me grow from the “beginning of my 20s”, a girl with bad english into a brand (still with a bit of bad grammar/english). A guru, some would even say. But I feel more grown-up after my year of illness. As I am turning 35 on Monday, I feel.. whole. Like myself. And I can’t wait to get started again. There are so many times I’ve thought: “Oh! That would be great for my website (henrietteweber.com)”, and not be able to share it. Now is the time. Here’s to new beginnings.

Love to you all and keep rockin’ in your free world.

rock on henriette weber

Categories
Entrepreneurial life

On Being Nominated For The Danish Internet Pioneer Award 2014

nominated for the internet pioneer award 2014

The Danish Internet Pioneer Award 2014

Sometimes you go by your daily life and then suddenly, something happens. Something unexpected that sends shivers down your spine and makes you feel humble.

Today was one of those days.

I found out that I was nominated for the Danish Internet Pioneer Award 2014 for the “Rethink” category. It was a tremendous honor, I must say. At the time, I was under my self-proposed “house-arrest” due to my hypersensitive lungs.

I honestly don’t know a lot about this relatively new award. But I feel good having my work, over the years on the internet, recognized. Being recognized for my internet knowledge, social media branding, and digital tendencies is a really nice thing. Being nominated for an award together with these people? That is definitely kick-ass! I am out of words to describe what I was feeling. Kick-ass at a minimum!

As I was deep in my musings on my entrepreneurial life, I asked myself: “What have I done to deserve this nomination?”.

Networking: The “Henriette Weber way”

Hmm. I think my take on the internet has always been to take it offline. Meet people and have people meet each other. Facilitate networking between people. It’s something that’s deeply integrated within me. It has been the core of BarCamp Copenhagen, Social Media Club Copenhagen, Geek Girl Magazine, Toothless Tiger, and myself.

True connections mostly happen past midnight. It could be in a bar when you’re having one too many bottles of champagne. It could also be over excellent coffee and cupcakes. That is networking, the “Henriette Weber way”, for you. I haven’t been wildly successful in having my companies being acquired (had a bunch of clients at Toothless Tiger though). I didn’t necessarily have a large voice in the Danish Internet agenda, at least not deliberately. But I made people meet each other and I met new friends because of it. I think it’s a key thing of mine. It’s something that I always end up doing; getting people together not only through personal interaction but also through my work in my brand studio Toothless Tiger.

give peace a chance

Categories
Entrepreneurial life

Make Your Elevator Pitch An Entrance To Discover The World Of You

the elevator pitch wheel by henriette weber

An elevator pitch is the entrance to show new people who you really are.

Sometimes I think it’s interesting to look at how much “usual” that exists in innovative industries – such as entrepreneurship. So what in particular are really usual perceptions when it comes to entrepreneurship?

Well, some of the perceptions I often run into are these:

– you need to work 60 hours a week to be a successful entrepreneur.

– you need to do cold canvas calling in order to get clients.

– you need to have an elevator pitch, so people can understand how wonderful you and your business are in 10 seconds.

I have different takes on all of these and I see myself as a pretty awesome entrepreneur.

But the thing I really want to discuss today is the elevator pitch. I know how vital it is for people to get to know what you do you. But, more importantly, I think the elevator pitch needs to be the entrance to discover and want more of you.

Elevator pitch: Should you describe your value proposition? Here are some of my elevator pitch examples:

When people ask me what I do, I simply tell them that I do business unusual which is my value proposition. It’s a part of my core and it is what a lot of my work revolves around. Taking companies to the edge and look down and see what can be used to build a bridge to the other side.

Sometimes I say that I rock the business world and I have fun while doing it.

Sometimes it’s that I am the leader of a silent business revolution.

I don’t want to tell people that I do strategies, advice, and implementation – what I really do, because it’s doesn’t sum me up. I don’t want to say talking and typing because that’s also what I really do, and what everybody does.

Another thing I think is really key to elevator pitches, is that they need to evolve all the time and you need to have 4 or 5 different ones on your rooster in order to target it to the people you talk to.

Answer the question “what is your crusade” or “what is your secret mission instead of “who are you?” in your elevator pitch.

Because it will help people remember you more. You tell a story about what you want to do for and with the world. It basically gives some Oomph! to the pitch.  I have helped a lot of cool startups at tech conferences all over Europe, and one of the cool things about that is that I get to present the business idea behind the startup to potential readers/investors/users. One thing I have noticed is that the potential investors don’t ask you “what you do?” they ask you “what is this? and why are you doing it?” and then you start describing what you have built. And why you have built it. And how it will make money. aka: what your startup is. 

You need to have the exact same self-esteem as the startups they have around their mission product. So instead of saying

“I do strategy and implementation”

I often say:

“I do fun stuff. I am a curly grounded Scandinavian business avant-gardist who revolutionizes the business world one company at the time by helping them getting more clear about the substance in their brand and how to create involvement”.

It speaks more of my vision instead of what I actually do. I could also have said, “I type – a lot!”. Which is something I also do.

An elevator pitch is like an entrance to discovery

I make sure that people can go in and discover me and share my vision by giving them some of my “stuff” a business card. My sticker saying “sorry- I don’t do the mainstream” and I ask them to hook up with me online in order to get involved. Either in business rockers or on henrietteweber.com.

Oh and my last piece of advice:

Whatever you do – balance your elevator pitch between how much you stand out, what your mission is, with how you can serve.

Like the elevator pitch wheel, I have drawn in the beginning of this post.