What have I done ( and still do) to stand out and conquer my space in Denmark.

When I started my company Biassa three years ago, like many foreigners who settle in Denmark, I was struggling to find my feet here.

Getting proactive
It all began when I started sharing content from my blog on LinkedIn, and a few companies approached me to ask how much I knew about the Brazilian business environment.

It was then that I realised I could start ‘selling’ my consulting services – a much better option than waiting for the ‘perfect job’ to appear.

The journey hasn’t been easy, but it’s been interesting, as I enjoy talking to all sorts of people from all walks of life. They energise me, give me a different perspective and at times help me with my blind spots.

Getting practical
I get contacted by many foreign students who are either looking for advice or a job. Invariably they’ve just finished their master’s and have spent their time doing a few voluntary jobs and unpaid internships.

I tell them to get practical – to ask themselves: What are you good at? What would you like to accomplish? What is your dream?

And then I ask them whether they have a LinkedIn account.

LinkedIn can be crucial, from sharing short-form posts to articles. Many users, for example, are unaware it has a whole section where you can share slides.

Starting a blog is a good option. That way, when you share content you’ll direct people back there so they can develop a better idea about you.

Getting pragmatic
Maybe I’m being too pragmatic or even conservative, but I’m not sure having a master’s degree means a whole lot nowadays.

We live in a glorious era in which middlemen are vanishing across the globe. For example, have you seen the number of CPG brands that are heading directly to the consumer? Soon we will no longer have a need for headhunters.

This year alone, I’ve received three job offers – in Denmark from Danish companies; no middlemen!

Forget perfect
We live in an age in which we can all be visible. And more importantly, we can be heard.

Remember: the internet is indeed a miracle, but the only way to explore and take advantage of it is by taking action.

So, are you prepared to roll up your sleeves, get practical and start to work, or are you just going to carry on waiting for the ‘perfect job’ to turn up?

Yesterday, 2nd of November of 2018 I was invited to speak for a class of international students in Copenhagen, at the Copenhagen Business College.

These students came from Nepal, India, and Bangladesh

When I asked the teacher/tutor who contacted me for more more information and to brief me a bit about their background, she shared that most of them were enrolled in a programme that serves as a pre-masters degree or as most formally known as Graduate Certificate of International Business.

Speaking to students from such different nationalities and backgrounds was a blessing. These folks are fighters, that decided to come all the way from their countries not only to experience a very different culture as well as to sharpen their skills.

About my speech.

The name of the teacher who found me is Nuria Lopez. She is a very sympathetic woman, formerly from Spain who lived for over 15 years in the U.K with her husband and children, who were born in the U.K. Over the past four years she’d been residing in Denmark.

Nuria found me through an article I wrote for the Copenhagen Post, an English publication mostly directed at foreigners based in Denmark.

In the article I rant about the need for getting practical rather than waiting for the perfect opportunity to start executing something. Anyway, back to my speech yesterday.

The speech was about my journey to Denmark and how Biassa was born, I covered the following points:

  • Marrying A Dane in Brazil
  • What I’ve learned as an Intern at the Danish Consulate and Siemens
  • Why I built Denmark Brazil.com
  • How I landed my first customer because of content ( and Linkedin)
  • Why it is more important to do things rather than wait for the “perfect opportunity.”
  • The importance of generating content in our day and age
  • How being rejected over three hundred times via email as a job seeker fired me up and helped me learn how to use Linkedin more adequately

So after framing my ” big picture”  we started our chat.

I was impressed that they had already read my blog posts and had prepared a list with over 30 questions about entrepreneurship, life in Denmark, work-life balance, dealing with rejection, how to start a business, social media, etc.

I was humbled and genuinely thankful to Nuria to be able to share a bit of my journey with them. Unfortunately, I had not much time after the presentation to sit down with each one of them and learn about their adventures as well.

The respect and curiosity that they have shown towards my history are genuinely humbling.

If I could share one main take away to anyone who’s reading this text I’d say:

Get rid of the negative people in your life. They will take you to some dark places. When living in a foreign country, you will more than ever to be strong and to look for positive vibes. It is quite common to fall on the trap of finding someone from the same country where you come from, then start whining about why you are where you are and how better your country of origin is. Avoid this at any cost. Look for the doers, for the positive ones and for those who are going to lift you up.

You will be doing a huge favor to yourself.

“Time is finite but, unlike money, time is also replenished every second,”

Seth Godin

So as I wish you ‘Happy New Year’, dear readers, here’s hoping you can reach all the goals you’ve set this coming year.

Also I’d like to wish you all a year full of good vibes, positive attitude and, yes, opportunities!

Being an admirer of Godin adds value to my life in a profound manner. I try to keep up to date with his writing, but it’s not always possible.

Too much time

Time wasn’t a problem three and a half years ago when I first arrived in Denmark with my wife Catherine and Ines – at the time our only child.

At that time, we were living at my in-laws and time was passing at a tortoise’s pace – like we like to say in Brazil – and my primary concern was how was I going to find a job.

The only email in my inbox was either some sort of spam or a ‘thank you’ for subscribing to a new cloud-based service from the likes of Google Drive.

Yes, not only did we have plenty of time, but those were desperate times!

 

Too little time

But things started looking up in 2014, firstly due to the arrival of Cecilia, our two-year-old ‘rocket-fire’ daughter.

By then a lot was happening with me professionally. Time by then as a resource had started to become less available.

And now here I am in 2017 looking back at was has probably been one of my busiest years and the best year I’ve ever had professionally.

Making better use of my time has now accordingly become my new year resolution.

So how do you perceive your time today and what are your new year resolutions for 2017?

“Through my network and knowledge I will connect, develop & drive high impact companies to contribute to and enable economic development in Brazil.” 

 

Finding Meaning

Recently, during a dinner with my wife,we were talking about the process of finding our true purpose in our work life.

When talking to people, and digging a little deeper than the usual small talk, I have noticed that many have no idea about their purpose in life.

Clarity

The upside of investing time in finding purpose in your life is having clarity about your goals and values. The actions you take on a daily basis start making a lot more sense.

I believe that people with a strong sense of purpose, will thrive, simply because they have a north that won’t easily change due to external factors, i.e: Contrary opinion of friends, family pressure, etc.

Know yourself

Asking myself (and friends) where they’d notice me making a difference and finding out what my real talents are, have been crucial to define my work and life purpose.

Actions to take you even further

Tony Robbins says that whenever you take an action you create an emotion. In this sense, when you don’t take actions, you will lack progress and lack of progress diminish your emotions and ultimately you will end up having a dull and meaningless life.

Finding answers

Finding your mission, purpose and values isn’t an easy task and nobody, except yourself, can help you in doing so. The best way to get started is by giving yourself a small goal, i.e: asking yourself what are your core values and listing them. That is an action.

So, what kind of action are you taking today, that will enable you to build a better tomorrow for yourself and the society you live in?

I have

just finished watching a documentary about a Danish chef who is acclaimed in the title to be the world’s best.

‘Verdens Bedste Chef’ tells the story of Rasmus Kofoed (and his assistant) aspiring to win the biennial Bocuse d’Or – the culinary equivalent of the Olympics, the world championship in cooking.

From a motivational perspective, watching Kofoed’s bid to eventually triumph in 2011 (after finishing runner-up in 2007) was both absorbing and interesting.
His approach lends itself very well to modern business thinking.

Preparation is key
Rafael Berti (my business partner) and I put a lot of effort, into our business presentations. One of the things we have discovered is that if we don’t surprise our clients or show them more than they are expecting to know, we most likely won’t get the job.

Our competition is fierce, so we literally try to give away as much knowledge as we possibly can because if that potential client likes what /he heard, they will be interested in talking again, and we want to keep that conversation going.

As is focus
Kofoed showed an impressive focus – both when he had to lead his team and when he was just working with his assistant. Rasmus is highly skilled, no doubt about it, but whenever he is cooking one dish, he is completely focused on that dish. Once he finishes that one dish, he then moves on to a new one.

When I started Biassa here in Denmark, I initiated my activities as a freelance business consultant. I had no clue whatsoever which sector or key activities I was going to be focusing on. As the company grew over time, I have been obliged to focus my attention on the key activities I believe I’m really good at.

It will pay off
Invest in preparation. Yes, it is worth your while and Focus on what you are very good at.

 

My name is Carlos Monteiro and I’m the CEO and founder of Biassa.

Biassa connects, develops and help groundbreaking companies to grow and to enable economic development in Brazil

I also write a business column on the Copenhagen Post every 6th week. You can find out more texts like this here ” Give yourself a chance “

Recently, a major Danish media vehicle hired a Syrian refugee as an intern and started a discussion about ‘How to make it in Denmark’. My impression was that the goal of its series of articles was to discuss whether Denmark offers enough opportunities for immigrants and refugees, and in general to bring more nuances to the topic. It certainly needs it.

Hard all over the world
Before moving to Denmark with my wife (who’s Danish), she chose to be in Brazil – to live, study and find work while I was finishing my studies. There, she faced many of the challenges that I have been facing here. Being a foreigner in Brazil was absolutely not easy for her.

So this discussion about Denmark being particularity ‘closed’ compared to other countries is to me extremely shallow, tedious and perhaps to a certain extent not true.

The safe bet
Foreigners in Denmark shouldn’t expect to make it ‘as easily’ as in their home countries for the simple reason that people in this case, the Danes, will more often go for the ‘safe bet’, or at least with what they are familiar with.

Foreigners have to prove themselves more, or they have to stand out. That’s how it is whether you live in Denmark, Brazil or Australia. I don’t believe this is solemnly a Danish standard.

Drop the victim mentality
It’s always very convenient to become a victim when all the odds seem so challenging.

To me integration means moving forward, day-by-day, knowing and reminding yourself of your real purpose, and getting out of your comfort zone. Actively take part in activities, challenge yourself, and be humble enough to ask for help from other people, whether they are Danes or not.

All of the above reflects my personal opinion, but with this said I’m also curious to know: what are you doing to make it in Denmark?

If still you think LinkedIn is a waste of time, your better think again.

Carlos Monteiro,CEO and founder of Biassa.

Social Selling…

Have you ever heard of the term ‘social selling’? According to its practitioners, it’s a new way of selling that doesn’t need you to work ‘in sales’ or to be a sales expert. Your main focus could be human resources or accounting, but you can still socially sell.

Either way, social selling is here to stay and it’s the best and easiest way to position yourself professionally in Denmark (or whatever country you may live in).

Gateway to the person

So, after sending 300+ job applications once I got my visa in Denmark, I finally came to realise that before sending out any applications, I was checking ALL the companies I theoretically wanted to apply for on LinkedIn. So after striking my head against some hard walls, it was time to change my strategy.

First off, to paraphrase an old saying: It’s not enough to be good, it has to look good. So make sure your profile picture on LinkedIn looks good. I’m not saying you have to look like a top model, but looking professional surely makes a difference.

Put your picture on Photofeeler.com where people will vote anonymously about what they think. It enables you to evaluate how competent, likeable or influential other people find you. I tested it, and the difference in results is amazing.

Connect and engage

Whilst building your personal brand, it’s important to contribute. When I moved here, I had no idea where to start. Perhaps you know better.

Choose a sector you like and start connecting with professionals you would like to work with (either as a work peer, or as a service provider), but don’t be salesy. Start participating in the LinkedIn groups where these professionals participate. Share contributions, insights and comments.

Think outside of the box

Don’t do what hundreds of other people like yourself are doing. Everyone will be applying for the same jobs as you, using the same old traditional tactics.

Building your personal brand on LinkedIn might take some time (and it’s a never-ending task), but if you apply some of the tactics I have just shared, you will be able to become a lot more valuable, regardless of your work field.

Hello,

This is the new article I have written for the Copenhagen Post. A Copenhagen-based newspaper, mostly addressed to foreigners living in Denmark.

If you are the type that likes to blame society for your failures, please don’t bother reading it through. If, however, you like to engage in a constructive discussion, I would love to hear your comments, and also suggest you to check and support Foreignerd.

Foreignerd is a independent initiative that seeks to find and tell  inspiring stories from “real” foreigners living in Denmark.

Asger Aamund, your show could be so much better!

Tired old stereotypes!
I write to you as I have followed a DR TV series in which you partake on a journey to understand some of the reasons why Danish integration programs in this country have failed.

You follow a handful of foreigners who are all finding it difficult to get a job in Denmark. I don’t blame them. But it seems that you are following the same old negative story path and a quite stereotypical image of how foreigners are helpless people.

More success stories
I’m wondering what would happen if you and DR dared to show foreigners who are succeeding in this country. Because they do actually exist. And also non-westerners. Couldn’t it be interesting to see what actions, tactics and type of personality these foreigners have in common?

I am a foreigner from Brazil who has spent almost three years in Denmark, and no, it has never, ever been an easy path here. I was never helped by anyone but my supportive families here in Denmark and in Brazil.

Looking back, I would have loved to know some of these stories: of how other foreigners managed to think outside of the box, and also outside of the Danish integration system.

I believe there is a need to hear and see the stories of all kinds of foreigners. We all need them as role models and an inspiration. What we don’t need is one more lifted finger from a well-respected Dane.

Highly motivational
I’m not alone in this viewpoint. Foreignerd is a project initiated by a Dane who I know well (my wife), whose mission is to share the stories of Denmark-based ordinary foreigners with spectacular stories.

These stories of successful foreigners can inspire, motivate and, ultimately, contribute to a better and richer society, which I believe is in the interest of both you and I.

For all foreigners looking for some inspiration, I highly recommend you take a look at the Foreignerd Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

 

My name is Carlos Monteiro.

I’m the CEO and founder of Biassa. Biassa is a Business development company focused in Connecting, Developing and Growing High Performing Tech Companies in Brazil & the LATAM markets. Biassa was born out of a small blog, called denmarkbrazil.com where I shared interviews and insights about the Brazilian market.

I’m also a Foreigner in Denmark, and as such, I believe we have to take responsibility for ourselves, and find ways to be independent, entrepreneurial and creative in the society we live in.

You are lost welcome to drop me a line at cm@biassa, to follow my column at the Copenhagen Post or the articles I write about Brazil and the Brazilian market here on Linked In.

I’ve heard so many times people claiming they want to be entrepreneurs. They want to have the ‘car of the year’ and have the freedom to choose where and with whom they spend their time. They want to live life as if it was a constant party every day.

Carlos Monteiro

Comes at a cost
Desiring things can actually be a healthy sign. But these things, however, won’t simply happen because we desire them. No, first it’s necessary to take action, and to be aware that the results of our actions won’t be obvious overnight. They will take quite some time to appear.

And the freedom we aim for, it will cost energy, time, and sometimes even relationships.

Tough decisions
I would like us to consider the choices we make and the consequences one faces when choosing one thing over another.

Whenever I travel to Brazil, I do so on business as an entrepreneur, and that means I’m never off. Rough as it sounds, I have to be very selective with regards to the friends (and even family) I see while I’m there.

As I don’t have much time available, I’m faced with the choice of picking and choosing who I’d like to see. This scarcity of time has forced me to make tough cuts.

Are you ready?
Every choice comes with a price. We need to know if our values and personal goals can synergise, or if they will collide at some point. The art is to find an even balance. With that said, are you ready to let go?

In summary: make a decision and start acting today. Yes, dream big, but remember the consequences and responsibility that comes with it.

 

 

 

 

My name is Carlos Monteiro. I’m a Brazilian entrepreneur living in Denmark. Every 6th week I write for the Copenhagen post. You can find some of my articles here.

I’m the founder of Biassa. We specialize in developing high-performing tech companies in Brazil. You are most welcome to visit biassa.com or drop me a line at cm@biassa.com

Recently I was invited to share my experiences as an entrepreneur with recent grads in Odense, Denmark. I thought it was fair to re-write this story so those who watched my presentation, but couldn’t really interact with me afterward, could have a better grasp on some the things I’ve come across so far on my journey. Please feel free to communicate through this channel. I would love to, somehow, help you on your journey as well, regardless what path you choose to follow.

Some people may already know this story, as last year I shared a post talking about all my frustrated attempts in getting a job in Denmark, and how everything began. If you already know it, perhaps you may want to skip it. In this story, however, I’m being a lot more tactical and trying to share some practical actions you can take TODAY to help you move forward with your career.

Hope you enjoy it!

It all started when I got to Denmark in June 2013.

Before moving to Odense, I was the kind of person who used to receive promotional e-mails and only this kind of e-mails. I had the belief that social media did not work and Ι felt myself like an “alien” when someone would say he was recruited by a headhunter, or when someone told me that he got his position in the market through LinkedIn. This is a time not so far away, but because of all the personal changes that happened to me in the last three years, it feels way longer.

I kept these beliefs for a long time, even when I had to move from my country and started to face challenges.

 

The first step to the world

 

During 2009-2010, I worked as an intern for the Danish Consulate in Sao Paulo. Apart from washing a lot of fruits, making coffee, and becoming an expert on Excel, I gained valuable experience and I learned how to work with Danish companies seeking internationalization and expansion into the Brazilian market.

After finishing my course of  Business Administration at PUC-SP  my wife and I decided it was time to begin a new stage in our lives. She, after having lived 4.5 years in Brazil, and having a daughter (Ines) felt it was a good time to go back to Denmark to play some personal projects that were paused for a while and to be closer to her family. I gladly embraced the challenge.  After all, I had never lived outside of Brazil.

 Work on your blog? You must be crazy …

The above statement was probably the most common one among my Brazilian friends every time I told them I had plans to move to Denmark.

Let me explain things a little bit better.

During the time I worked at the Danish Consulate, I had noticed that many Brazilians who came to us came to complain about the difficulty of finding work in Denmark. Having realized that, the idea of creating a platform that could help connect these worlds so different came up to my mind.

Using my network creatively

The first thing I did to get my idea of the paper where videos/interviews with professionals at “C LEVEL” in my personal network. At first I did not have an exclusive focus in a specific sector. I had the help and the patience of many people who put up with me and gave me support – and a lot of luck too!

For a period of about 3 months I had to wait all the paperwork related to my process of legalization and integration in Denmark. That also meant that I could not work in the meantime. It was during this period that I worked full time on my blog.

While writing new articles for the blog and launched new interviews every 15 days or so, I kept asking myself: how could I be effective with my marketing content? This was a really frustrating issue for me. I did not have any capital to invest in paid campaigns – actually, I had no capital for anything.

After studying about digital marketing on the Internet, I started to realize that LinkedIn was “The tool” and that it would help me to do what I was seeing, and to have a voice in the crowd.

I started to understand how LinkedIn works and to realize that through it, I could participate in specific niche groups within LinkedIn.

I also figured out how to link my LinkedIn account to my blogging platform and I quickly realized how important it is to use this tool frequently.

I also saw how important it is to customize a message and to explain why we want to connect with a potential contact. Here in Northern Europe, people are generally open to connect, but the tool is used in a very professional manner.

After all these insights and learnings (which were happening in practice, believe me), I gradually got out of the dark. My articles were read, the blog had more hits, and the interviews had more engagement. I also started to receive emails from complete “strangers” who were praising the work I was doing.

From blog to startup

The day I discovered that the Danish government had released my paperwork and that I could live legally here, I immediately started looking for work.

I sent over three hundred applications for various companies in different sectors and sizes. I was never called in for an interview… At the same time, I continued to work with the Blog, posting continuously interviews and articles.

One thing I noticed was that whenever I would look for some job positions, I ended up using LinkedIn, and, after reading an article by Neil Patel, An Expert in Digital MKT(strongly recommended to all) I changed my tactic. I began to introduce myself as Carlos, founder of a blog that dealt with business matters in Brazil, which is interested in connecting companies and creating future opportunities.

This tactic changed my connections and leveraged decision makers here in Denmark…

Later in November 2013, I received a message from a manager responsible for the expansion of a Danish company in Latin America. He gathered the articles and interviews that I had published and called me in for an interview. After two interviews, in one of which the CEO of the company in question was present, I was hired to help them in their entry and expansion in the Brazilian market. This was probably when I had my first “A-HA” moment.

Quality content generated often could establish my position in Denmark as the “knowledgeable Brazilian guy” and could bring me more customers. From there on I did not look for more jobs, and focused on expanding my network and generating content.

BIASSA IS BORN

With time, more customers were showing up, and along with these customers the same question kept on coming up:

“What is it exactly that you do Carlos? You have this blog, you are generating interesting content, but what’s your focus?”

I really had no answer to this question. In fact, my only goal was to get a job by using the blog, but all of a sudden I had the chance to open up my own company.

I essentially helped companies in the decorative lighting industry, transport, breweries, e-Commerce, education and maritime.

It was only in Nov 2014 and after many lessons that I had the opportunity to join another Brazilian who is already out of Brazil for at least 10 years. Together, we gave a new face to Biassa which has now become a business development company focused on connecting, developing and helping high-performance technology companies (SAAS, eCommerce, Educacão, Fintechs) to expand and grow their businesses in Brazil and other Latin American countries.

This is a briefing of what has happened to me the past three years. For me, the most important lesson of this whole story is one. Attitude. At no point in life can you have all the tools and knowledge to your disposal, and not without testing anything to practice.

A mistake I did here on LinkedIn: I tried to connect with people without customizing messages; I tried to sell without creating any kind of prior relationship, but I learned my lesson, and I am still learning and evolving. I did not stop halfway.

Today, Biassa is expanding. We have five people working in the company. LinkedIn is our main tool to warm up and build relationships that may eventually become a business. We have created a solution called Get Introduced, fully focused on the concept of Social Selling.

To sum up:

Have attitude. No one is gonna come to you if you don’t show why you deserve it.

Be bold: Try different things. Videos worked great for me, and helped me to stand out of the crowd

Ask for help, be polite and be grateful: Other people will help you, I have no doubts about it. Be humble, ask for help, and help without asking. Contribute, generate content without having to be asked for, and be grateful. The reward always comes back.