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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.

“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?

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?

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.

My name is Carlos. A Brazilian happily living in Odense, Denmark.

I have a degree in Business Administration from PUC, in Sao Paulo. I have also studied economics for three years, until deciding that the marginal cost of pursuing economics was higher than the marginal happiness derived from it.

(That was a bad economics joke.)

Why Denmark?

In my past life, I worked for the Danish Consulate in Sao Paulo, Brazil. My job was to grow international links by encouraging Danish businesses to tap into the Brazilian market.

Every six months, the Consulate would take on Danish interns to t̶r̶a̶i̶n̶ ̶a̶n̶ ̶a̶r̶m̶y̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶o̶b̶e̶d̶i̶e̶n̶t̶ ̶c̶o̶f̶f̶e̶e̶ ̶m̶a̶k̶e̶r̶s̶ complement their studies with real-world experience. Among one of the groups was Cathrine – my wife. I’m sure you’ve read your share of love stories, so I will spare you mine. Cathrine and I have been together for 4.5 years now. With her around, I eventually decided to give Denmark a shot.

Footballs, Wrists and Tennis Rackets.

I lucked out in the gene lottery and was born into a loving family, who have always given me the best opportunities in life.

I’ve had the privilege of studying in private schools. I’ve had the chance to travel and absorb the world from a very early stage in my life. I am very grateful for all the blessings I’ve enjoyed in my past – most Brazilian youth doesn’t have the chances I had in my childhood.

As a kid, I have always been pretty sporty and active. At 11 years old, my life-goal was a professional career in football, like most kids in Brazil. I actually managed to get pretty good, and got recruited for Brazil’s ‘National Youth Team.’ We played in Chile, the US, Sweden and, as fate would have it, Denmark.

When I hit the age of 14, I shifted my focus to Tennis.

Why?

As the management mantra goes:

“There is no ‘I’ in ‘team.”

But there is an ‘I’ in ‘Tennis.’

Tennis is a solo sport. Which meant that if I do the work, I get the glory. That idea appealed to me. I wanted to be in full control of my successes and failures.

Eventually, I got pretty good at Tennis and was determined to pursue it professionally. All the details were worked out. I knew exactly where my life was going. Total clarity. Total certainty.

Or so it seemed.

Not long before hitting the age of 18, I suffered a wrist injury and had to rehabilitate for a long and arduous 18 months. A wrist is to a tennis player what an ear is to a musician.

So no more tennis for me.

It was devastating at the time. When you lose everything you have spent the past 4 years working on tirelessly, it doesn’t feel too good. Truth be told, it was probably the most painful time in my life.

“What am I supposed to do now?” I thought to myself. I had to find something new.

As painful as that ordeal was, it also taught me life’s most valuable lesson. The lesson that took me from uncertainty and unemployment to running my own business in a foreign country.

Keep reading and I might even share it with you.

DenmarkBrazil.com

In January 2012, my wife and I decided to flip life upside-down.

“We will move to Denmark and start a new life.”

Sounds very certain and bold when I put it like that. But in truth, I had absolutely no idea how exactly we would pull this off. All I knew is that the decision was made, and now we had to do it.

So I got the idea to build www.denmarkbrazil.com. This is a site where I gathered and collated information about Brazil as a market for potential employers in Denmark. I also did several video interviews with people in my network who had valuable information about the Brazil market.

I had no idea how it was going to work. I was not even aware of what content marketing was. I didn’t think about building email lists or using free information to upsell people to my consulting services.

All I knew was that if I can provide extra value to employers, maybe I can stand out. That was the only purpose of the website at the time.

Below, my first interview on denmarkbrazil.com

D-Day

So with a large suitcase of clothes, and a larger suitcase of uncertainty, we landed in Denmark on the 11th of June 2013. If you haven’t moved to another country before, it is an experience like no other. If you ever want to feel the true extent of what it means to be ‘out of your comfort zone’ – give it a shot.

It’s very exciting to look back at in retrospect, but it was scary and somewhat isolating at the time.

We stayed with my wife’s family for 8 months, while waiting for me to receive my work permit from the Danish government. In that time, I gathered all the content I created and launched the Denmark-Brazil website in August.

It was a strange time, living in what’s essentially a buffer-zone. I could not legally look for a job until I got my work permit. So while I was very grateful to stay with my In-Laws, (who are great people I might add) the urge to build something of my own was getting difficult to suppress.

Finally, sweet September came, and with it – my work permit. I immediately enrolled in Laerdansk to learn Danish.  I was determined to find a job fast. With three months’ worth of bottled enthusiasm and website content, I put together a simple system for finding a job.

“I will send out 4-7 applications per day, every day, until I have a job.”

Here is the email I would send to potential employers:

COMPANY NAME on Carlos Monteiro i Brasilien”

Kære Mr/Ms.Ice T

My name is Carlos Monteiro; I’m a Brazilian citizen, married to a Danish girl. Recently I had my case approved by the Danish government, and now I’m allowed to work in DK.

I have worked for the Danish Consulate in Brazil supporting Danish SME’s in tapping into the Brazilian Market.

I came across your contact through a good friend who was working as a recruiter for a Human Resources Company X until a few months ago.

The reason of my contact is to express my willingness in supporting your organization in case you are looking at Brazil as a potential market. I’m certain that there are great opportunities for your company in Brazil

If you are interested, I’d like arrange a meeting at your office to discuss it further.

Enclosed follows my CV

I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Please, Feel Free to visit my website: WWW.DENMARKBRAZIL.COM also check this article about your industry:http://www.denmarkbrazil.com/what-danes-should-know-about-the-ecommerce-and-digital-sector-in-brazil/

Carlos Monteiro

Tel: (45 )60 22 40 18

Wishing you all the best

With such a stellar portfolio, relentless routine and enticing email, there was no way that I wouldn’t find a job. This was going to be a piece of cake, right?

Well, three months, 300+ companies and 300+ applications later – not a single concrete offer.

Ouch.

Most applications were ignored, but I did notice a common trend with the responses I was getting. The replies were always along the lines of:

“We are not currently looking to expand into Brazil, but we like your profile and will keep you in mind if we choose to go into that market.”

So now I had two choices:

  1. Give up. Go back to Brazil and settle for less. Blame it on racism and discrimination. Blame it on my lack of Proficiency in the Danish Language.
  1. Listen to my market and adjust. They were not looking for EMPLOYEES to help them with moving to Brazil. But they DID like who I was, and what I offered.

This is where I’m supposed to say something heroic like ‘giving up wasn’t an option.’

But when you spend three months not getting anywhere despite giving it your best, giving up is the most readily available option on the table.

And it took a lot of guts and support from people around me not to take this option, but to keep pushing in the direction of my dreams.

Pivot

When we started talking, the company of the photo was still called Remove The Background. Today, WE are known as Pixelz

As I spent days and nights thinking about how I can adapt to this situation to finally start moving forward, I realized something. This feeling of uncertainty. Of losing purpose and faith. It wasn’t new. It was familiar.

Remember that juicy life lesson I promised to share with you earlier? The one learned from the wrist injury that led to the end of my Tennis dreams? Well, just as I had to find a new way to do things after I couldn’t play tennis. I had to find a new way to do things after my job hunt failed.

We cannot control the circumstances life gives us, but we CAN control how we respond to them.

We can adjust. We can adapt. We can reinvent ourselves.

Life goes on.

So I gained some clarity and my ‘eureka moment’ came.

“If people are interested in me, and the service I provide – but not interested in hiring me as an employee, in what other way can I provide value?”

Enter Biassa.com

In November 2013, I traveled back to Brazil to see my family and recharge my batteries. My determination and clarity returned. Once I came back to Denmark, I would start my business supporting Danish SMEs in going to the Brazil market. The plan was put into motion, and thus began the creation of www.biassa.com

One day that winter, I was pecking away at the keyboard, working on a new article when I received a message on LinkedIn.

“We are interested in your offer and we would like to meet with you.”

Boom! Or maybe ‘phew.’

Probably both.

Nevertheless, my efforts finally started to pay off.

One kind soul (who I later found out was a famous Danish business figure) had been following my posts on LinkedIn. He told a certain Danish company about me, and from his recommendation – they became my first client! No rush in this world compares to the rush of getting your first client.

And as they say, ‘the rest is history.’

Interview with the CEO for the Logistics Danish Gigant in Brazil, Mikael Thomsen.

Lessons Learned

Through this journey, I have learned several things that may help those on a path similar to mine.

To Get Value, First Give Value 

Denmark has a strong volunteering culture. Danes will always look for your experiences and ability to provide value first. Help out wherever you can. Gain a reputation for solving problems wherever you go. Danes are collectivist people – therefore contribution is both valued, and rewarded.

How do you benefit from doing this? Referrals from happy clients. Contacts and networks of equally helpful people, as well as the chance to pick up new, and marketable skills.

Be Consistent 

Whether you are running a blog, posting job applications, or working on your business. Be consistent. Success is a process. Everybody and their mother will tell you to be consistent, it’s not an exciting life-hack or shortcut. But the reason everyone repeats it, is because it works.

Start Before You Are Ready

It is common to be held back by limiting beliefs. ‘I don’t speak Danish.’ ‘I’m not a specialist.’ ‘I don’t have experience.’ ‘First I will become an expert – then I will offer my service.’

These beliefs will tempt you. Giving up is easy. Giving up is comforting. Don’t do it. Keep taking action.

Action precedes clarity. Action precedes expertise. The only way you will get good at what you want to do – is by doing it.

Titles Mean Nothing if You Can’t Provide Value

Neither me, nor many of my clients care much about how many letters someone has at the end of their name.

If we liken the human brain to a radio, then there is only one frequency it’s tuned into:

“WII-FM” – Or “What’s In It for Me?”

This is the first question all potential employers, clients, and partners ask in their head. And the difference between succeeding and failing is simply having a good answer to that question.

Now that we’ve addressed some lessons learned, let’s talk about some of the challenges you are likely to meet if you want to move to Denmark, so that you can be more prepared than I was when I got here.

Obstacles to Getting Hired in Denmark

Your Language & Cultural Knowledge is becoming a Commodity

You would not believe how many Danes I met who can actually speak decent Portuguese. Sure, this number is not as high as English speakers, but it is higher than one would think – and growing.

Furthermore, Danes are a very well educated and travelled people. They have a broad horizon of cultural understanding. Therefore the value you bring just by being a foreigner is not that high anymore – and falling.

The Aftershock of the Economic Crisis

Even though it didn’t affect the Nordic states as much as the rest of Europe, employers have tightened their purse-strings.

Domestic Candidates Take Precedence over Foreign Candidates

All things being equal, Danish Employers prefer to hire Danish Candidates over Foreign Candidates. Danes have the advantage of being fluent in their language. So you have to ask yourself ‘what skills can I build to give me an extra edge?’

In Denmark, An Employee is Expensive to Keep. 

Companies in Denmark look after their staff. Both in terms of their salary and fringe benefits.

Here’s a small, non-exclusive list of said benefits: paid holidays, private insurance, free vacation, extra pay for those suffering from illness and 32 weeks of parental leave immediately after birth.

This list is far from exhaustive, there are far too many benefits to name.

So naturally, employers must be careful with whom they choose. They cannot afford to employ a liability. Are you an asset? Or a liability?

To Conclude

So now you know the barriers, and you know the lessons. You have some extra tools and extra knowledge to help you settle in Denmark.

And you certainly don’t have to copy the exact same thing I did.

I am an entrepreneur. I chose entrepreneurship because I believe I can make a difference. I enjoy the thrill of being able to create something out of nothing.

Entrepreneurship is a roller-coaster and I am loving the ride.

But not everybody wants to be an entrepreneur – and that is okay. Several people want to work in a corporate environment and build a career. If that is you – pursue it. There is a multitude of jobs with very diverse roles – if you are willing to look hard enough, you will eventually find what you are looking for.

Regardless of where you are on your journey. Regardless of if you want to pursue a path similar to mine. I hope my story serves as a signpost on your own road.

If there is only one thing I had to leave you with, it would be this:

The only way to get to where you want to be, is to keep on walking.

 Keep on walking.

 

 

 

 

 

I believe we are the creators of our own fate; thereby we have responsibility for our actions our future and ultimately for the results we achieve.

So hopefully what you will be to take away from here are some nuggets of some of the few things I’ve done to create opportunities for me.

 

 

A moment of productive idleness is worth gold! 

During a time of “productive laziness”, I decided to count how many messages I could find on my LinkedIn Inbox related to the question “How to find a job?” or along the lines of “Can you get me a job?”. So far I have come across 105.

 

Carlos, How did you get a job in Denmark?

The last gentleman who asked me this question is a highly qualified professional in the financial services/consulting industry in Holland. As we exchanged ideas over LinkedIn, he told me he had been applying for jobs in DK for nearly a year without any success. I cannot speak for any other country than DK, so I told him I would presume that finding a job in Holland would probably be just as challenging as finding a job in DK for any foreigner. He partially disagreed as his girlfriend from Denmark found a job in Holland quite quickly.

 

Putting a Community Together

Before moving to Denmark, all I knew FOR SURE was one thing. From the moment I would step into this country, it would be quite challenging to find a job.

Enters Denmarkbrazil.com ( A blog I created before moving here)

As time went on, I kept on creating content. I also began to study more about digital marketing. What I learned from this time is that when you create content, people will check it. If it resonates with them, they will “like and eventually share it.”

Creating Denmarkbrazil.com not only allowed me to share knowledge on business in Brazil but it also gathered a community of people interested in the Brazilian and the Danish market.

*Nugget 1 Like-minded people = Higher chances of creating business opportunities

“See Me, Like Me, Trust Me, Hire Me”- Simon Gray

I am a big believer and a huge advocate of a sales development “modality” known as Social Selling. In fact, there is much hype in regards to Social Selling nowadays, and I believe that part of it is due to all the publicity LinkedIn has been pulling out.

According to Tim Hughes, a Social Selling expert that I follow, (whom I suggest you follow too), organizations are changing the way they do business. Hughes points out in his book “Social Selling – Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers”  “Companies are now seeking out and rewarding change makers into the organizations that can go out and find ideas, products or services in the greater world that can be brought into the benefit of the business…All this means that most of the buying process is done even before the sales person gets involved with the opportunity”.

Now let’s translate Hughes statement for any company owner ( consultant, startup founders, you name it) looking to validate their ideas and most importantly: Sell their product or service.

The interaction between the readers of my articles and myself initiated conversations. If someone liked an article on LinkedIn, I’d take that as a permission to begin a relationship. I would then send a customized connection request thanking them for liking my article and asking for a feedback and what other topics they’d like to hear about.

Initiating Conversations is without a doubt vital for revenue creation ( or finding jobs). Simon Gray says that to find an opportunity, especially in the so-called ” hidden market” people need to see you, create some sort of empathy with you and then they will hire you. The most efficient way to start conversations for me has been through social media.

*Nugget 2 Producing Content, Connecting With People & Being Active On Social will help you start conversations

Still not convinced? So take a good (hard) look at the example below:

The first deal I landed in Denmark was because of a former CEO and founder of one of the most traditional Danish companies, let’s call it “Gold Mine A/S,” had been reading and following some of my articles.

He referred me, without knowing me personally (and without my acknowledgment) to another Danish company that he was sitting on the board.

Later the CEO and the Business development manager explained me that they heard from one of the board members (the CEO and founder of GoldMine A/S) that a Brazilian guy was generating some interesting content on business in Brazil.

Insight: #: Never underestimate the power of valuable content. People read and value it.

 

Another example of how content can drive conversations and revenue as a consequence of it, is this one: http://bit.ly/2eOulgP.

This article had good engagement, and it brought me two great meetings and from one the meetings one client.

But wait! One client, because of one article?

#Nugget 3: Find out what your audience would like to read about and produce content from your own angle. You will crush it! But hey, be original, be yourself ok?

 

Social Selling & Buying Influence

One recent report from IDC from 2015 shows that social buying is directly correlated with buying influence. Further, research from Forbes indicates that 78% of salespeople using social media outsell their peers. Another study on Hubspot showed that only 1 in 4 sales people understand and know how to use social media to sell.

Influencing buyers. Social Selling. What the ¤#Q¤%#3 are you talking about Carlos?

All the experience I have acquired generating content, interacting with other professionals, initiating conversations, sharing content has helped me to build a foundation and a good understanding on some of the mechanisms of community building and influence creation. Plus, it helped me to build a “personal brand”

The importance of building a community is vital for sales enablement and development. By building a community, you will find like-minded people, share experiences, exchange ideas and eventually be able to earn money as well.

# Nugget 4: Building a personal brand makes the conversation much lighter. People will know more about you than you imagine, and they will be curious!

To Sum Up

Build a Community:

In most markets, there will be competition. So why not stand out from the crowd? Why not build a community around yourself on a subject you believe you are good at? Why not add value to your community by creating authentic content and engaging, connecting and starting conversations?

Create Content

Educate people. Share your thoughts and ideas. Most importantly, add value to whoever is going to consume what you are producing or sharing. An excellent way to build compelling content is by interviewing, for example, other professionals that are authorities in their fields.

Connect

Connect with people. Go to offline events. Establish your presence online, so you can create an “excuse” to connect.

To close it out

If you’re not selling socially, you may not be able to find a job in Denmark. I built a blog and a brand around marketing on LinkedIn, and while I don’t have a job, I have something better – my own business.

Creating a community around the subject # business between Denmark & Brazil was “the real deal”for me. Then nurturing this community with interesting content that they were interested in was what really made the difference.

If you do some of the things I suggested I cannot guarantee you will find a job, but I can guarantee you will start getting noticed.

Believe me; it’s worth a try.

Gabriel and Daniel, founders of Viking Labs, a coding agency, are two successful Brazilian Entrepreneurs. They talk about the challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in Brazil.