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.