Influence, Transition and Personal Brand – A Chat With Deborah Shane

We all have people who influence us across our career, people we learn from, connect with and who guide our thinking.

As well as my thoughts on social, I’m beginning to publish chats with a number of people who I have connected with and consider influential, to understand their most important lessons and those who influenced them. The first of these chats is with Deborah Shane.

Deborah ShaneDeborah’s career path has taken her from a singer/published songwriter, teacher and award-winning broadcast radio sales professional, to being an author, small business and media consultant, speaker, podcast host and featured published writer.

We first connected about 5 years ago through Twitter when I was working on my first site called Online Business Adviser, which was my first foray into digital publishing for myself.

It was at a time when I was looking at what to do next career wise, and we shared a similar story in coming from a traditional media background, and I greatly admired the platform she had built for her brand. She has won multiple awards, including being named a Top 100 Small Business Champion and Top 100 Small Business Podcast by

I have appeared on her BlogTalk radio show a couple of times, to talk about that project (appearing on the same episode as Chris Brogan – talk about a tough act to follow), and then again after I launched Talking Media Sales with a colleague of mine to talk about the decline of and challenges facing traditional publishing, the emergence of digital media and of course social media.

Her award winning book Career Transition – Make the Shift is an important one that anyone considering or navigating a shift should read.

I asked Deborah about who has influenced her, career transition, personal brand and how she keeps in front of an ever changing industry.

Who would you cite as your biggest influence/s in your career?

There are so many people that have influenced me for different reasons. A few are: Seth Godin, Brian Solis, Jeff Bullas, John Jantsch, Tory Johnson (GMA Contributor, Author, Entrepreneur) and JT O’Donnell (LinkedIn Influencer, Careerealism).

You’re fantastic first book deals with career transition. Do you think its easier for people now, in the age of digital and social, to make dramatic career change? 

I think making a career change or transition at any time it is either self imposed or thrust upon us is the right time. I made one in 2007 out of a 20 year + corporate run, right before the collapse in 2008. I had already launched my current, so I had a head start, but it was very challenging. It made those of us that survived those times much stronger, smarter and well equipped for constant change. Careers do not follow a flat incline. They move in natural up and down cycles. Dramatic changes normally don’t work out. Gradual, thoughtful adaptation to real time circumstances is the way to ensure longevity. The key is to not to fall behind. It can be very hard to catch up, so staying up to date and relevant is essential.

To that point, how do you make sure you’re not falling behind and staying up to date and relevant?

I read, write and research industry blogs, websites, leaders daily and publish articles weekly and monthly on LinkedIn and Small Business Trends. I have also been quoted on Entrepreneur, Forbes, Business Insider and Women for Hire.

You’ve interviewed some amazing influencers on your podcast – who has been your favourite, and what are the big lessons you’ve learned from listening to them?

After 5 years, I have indeed been privileged to interview many amazing entrepreneurs, small business leaders, authors and marketers. I would say one of my favorites was Brian Solis, Social Media and Digital Analyst, author of multiple books including #WTF, What’s the Future of Business. He brings the importance of being real, authentic, human into focus for businesses, content marketing and social media. The days of businesses hiding behind their brand are over. The public and consumers want to know who and what the brands they support are about.

Personal brand has become an important thing in this new age – what would you say are the three most important things to an effective personal brand?

  • Authenticity – be yourself and celebrate your personality, point of view and sense of humour.
  • Consistency – be in the game as consistently as you can. Have a content and social media strategy and plan and follow it.
  • Relevance – talk about and educate people on the most current trends, information and news.

If there was a piece of advice you could give yourself when you first started your career, what would it be?

I am grateful that I had a plan, strategy and focus when I launched in 2007 and it has served me well through much change in the world we live in. I would say, the one piece of advice I would give anyone is trust your instincts more when you see red flags and tweak and change things as they come up. Stay ahead of things and watch for trends.

I highly recommend following and connecting with Deborah, either via her site or socially. Her second book, Trust The Why, is a collection of her writings across various publications designed to inspire. And check out her show on BlogTalkRadio – I guarantee you’ll find something useful.

Big thanks to Deborah for answering a few of my questions!

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