BOSS: Michelle Ngome of Line 25 Consulting on Networking in a Digital Age
Here at pancakesandcider.com we live the struggle of entrepreneurship. We believe in taking advantage of the unique opportunity to choose to live your life building your dream and learning to make a profit simultaneously. We're also inspired by the stories of others living the same struggle and love the opportunity to learn from one another's journey.
Our new section [BOSS] focuses on other people making a life of transforming their vision into reality.
This month we're excited to introduce Michelle Ngome of Line 25 Consulting, a digital marketing firm based in Houston, TX. We're even more exited to add her as our first regular contributor to pancakesandcider.com leading our [BOSS] section to bring you exciting stories of entrepreneurial success, failure, and beautiful struggle.
What is Line 25 Consulting?
Line 25 Consulting is a digital marketing firm based in Houston. We focus on SEO, social media training, marketing strategy, and public relations.
With the recent success of my book, Network, Navigate & Nurture, it has opened doors to speaking opportunities and extending my services to individuals. As a networking strategist I assist professionals and entrepreneurs in creating synergy between their personal and digital presence. This may include 1-1 coaching, LinkedIn profile optimization, resume revision, and workshops. As a marketing strategist the focus remains with business owners on enhancing their marketing efforts.
Why digital marketing?
That’s where marketing is at! Anything digital is a focus right now. It’s Internet, apps, digital advertising, social media reach - it’s everything. From a consumer standpoint, I spend at least 8 hours a day on the computer or on my phone. The audience is online, and you have to figure out a way to capture them where they are.
You recently released a book on Networking - Can you tell us more about it?
Sure, Network Navigate, Nurture: The Equation to Strategic Networking is about creating value through yourself and leading with services. I continuously notice 3 things happening at networking events - * showing up to events to only stand around and not truly interact with the people there * going with a friend and acting as each other’s crutch while not speaking with other attendees * people talking about deals they've recently closed, but nothing in between - For example, “How did you meet Matt before you closed the deal.
The book is about my mistakes, and what I've learned along the way.
It shows how to present yourself. How to find events. How to become a subject matter expert and how to find a mentor to help navigate those transitions in life.
How’s the response been on the book?
Really good. We got our first bulk order last week. People have been saying its too short. But that's great, because I have more books coming this year to get deeper into the subject matter.
From your perspective, what does the business world need more of?
Great question. Trust and business relationships. Our circle is our circle, and we grow with them, but I don’t see enough people giving back once they make it. We're lacking mentorship. The elders are telling you what to do, but not showing you how to do it. The influencers are very vague with the knowledge they're sharing. When you ask a successful person how they got to where they're at, they say something like, “Oh, I did it through online marketing.” Oh, really? That’s nice. Any other details? "Yeah, just stick with it, it's a matter of time". You don't even know what I'm doing today! Mentorship definitely is missing. And so is showing young people how to execute on their plans.
Why is branding so important is today’s world?
Branding is your before and after. It’s the immortality of your company in a sense. We no longer live in a society where people are judging you on your physical appearance. It’s what you’re based off of, and what people can learn about you without talking to you or meeting you in person. People are judging you on so many aspects of your life - both online and off line. These images have to be uniform, because someone is watching you as soon as you put yourself out there.
How important is digital networking vs. face to face networking?
50/50 - the reason being is that if we meet and you say you do X, but your online presence doesn’t back that up, it makes me leery. Consistency is important.
How will social media and networks continue to affect business in the future?
Everything is about monetizing. That’s where everyone is going. If you’re smart, you’re identifying trends and jumping on them earlier. We'll see more digital ads. I would love to advertise more on Instagram, but it's not set up for the small business owner yet. Social media platforms will be bombarded with ads - even Facebook more than they are now. They have been integrating it tastefully so far. Many of the ads are already based on your consumer experience, so it’s more a part of your life.
Do social media networks already have too much consumer info from us?
Absolutely, they have too much of our consumer info already. At the same time, we’re giving a lot to them voluntarily.
Is work/life balance possible for today’s entrepreneur?
Absolutely not. Read The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardon. I guarantee you it will amp you up and get you excited. Society today makes you want everything in abundance, because we don’t want to be boxed in by anything. We want everything in abundance. We want the flexibility to do what we want. That’s why we’re entrepreneurs, for the freedom not the money necessarily. It’s about living life to the fullest. Something will always be sacrificed on the road to balance. If you don’t know what you want to sacrifice, you don’t know what you want to obtain.
Is there a particular industry you’re passionate about utilizing your services?
Not really - I play it by ear and turn down more work than expected. I'm taking on a political client this year, because I believe in him. I try to be selective when choosing a client Chemistry with a client, the industry, and how interested I am in their goals. I had a to turn down a great client last year because we were not the right fit. I felt it wasn’t right. You have to learn how to be able to say no to the wrong jobs from the beginning.
What are some of the most important issues facing the small business owner and emerging entrepreneur today?
As I mentioned earlier, mentorship - but it also depends on the industry. Definitely understanding of politics as well. Specifically local level politics. People underestimate how your tax dollars affect you. Understanding of community affairs can help you position your business in more lucrative positions.
Who are some of the entrepreneurs who influence you and why?
Virtual mentors like Grant Cardone the sales guru, and Gary Vaynerchuk author of Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook and Crush It: Why NOW is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion. A few local people as well which I won’t dive into, but they are important because they’re tangible. It makes you believe you can have it all - the marriage, family, the business - everything when the person is right in front of you.
If you could hand pick your dream client or project, what would that look like?
Oh my god! The first thing that popped in my head is the Jay Z Samsung collaboration. That whole rollout was amazing! A project where I was able to have a tangible product, possibly technology based, and have the resources, team and money - to do whatever needs to be done to get the message out.
And I would have to say Ashlyn Carr! So I already have the perfect dream client.
Other than writing for pancakesandcider.com what other projects do you have in store for 2015?
Planning on launching our podcast in the next few months. I'm going to translate our message via podcast and focus on marketing, branding, and overall professional development. I hope people don’t see networking as only a business thing because it’s in every industry. We all need to learn how to network better.
I'll be hosting networking events, so look for that. Helping Carroll Robinson run for city controller.
In the fall, I’m going to bang out these books - I’m Not Too Young to Network: How to Build Rapport geared toward high schoolers due in April or May - and the second edition to come out in the fall.
follow up with Michelle:
Have questions for Michelle? Just want to network? Want to know how to better network in your industry? Don't like the font we used? Leave a comment and be a part of the conversation.