Second Chair Leadership is excited to consult with Ben Smith in the development of the Ben Smith on Purpose platform and to help grow the platform’s social media credibility.
Ben is a licensed minister who is gifted at counseling. He has a passion to develop healthier families and individuals through blogging, speaking and counseling. Ben is an experienced communicator, but turning his communication into online content has been intimidating.
I sat down with Ben this week and asked him some questions about what motivated him to develop a platform and how the experience has gone thus far. Ben’s answers are in italics.
Q: What motivated you to take the dive into platform development?
Not long ago I watched and walked with a colleague who embraced platform development as the primary means to redirect his career. I watched him learn from Second Chair Leadership the different online media tools, establish a website, develop his identity, and brand that identity. I was privileged to interact and converse with him during this journey.
A short time later I learned that my own employment had an end date, which was only months away. This was the first time I had not initiated my departure from a job. The impending threat of unemployment coupled with the reinforced reality that a master’s degree was not magically opening doors for me was disheartening. So, I decided that I wanted to be able to move forward on my own merits, and not just the merits of my employment references. I concluded that an online platform was the best way to do that.
Q: How did you decide where to get started?
At the risk of sounding arrogant; I’m a fairly competent person. I have remodeled my current residence, I’ve worked with two churches through new building and remodel projects, I’ve counseled couples and marriages with a fair success rate, I am a creative problem solver, and I am a better-than-average public speaker. Unfortunately, few employers are looking for a counseling construction worker with great communication skills. So, I needed a way to emphasize the strengths I wanted emphasized. Finally, through the urging of my colleague at Second Chair Leadership, I decided to embrace what social media had to offer. My colleague recommended some social tools like tweeting, blogging, and joining LinkedIn. He also guided my understanding of these social tools in order to get started.
Q: How did you decide what strengths to emphasize?
What happened next I was not prepared for. Once I learned how to use social media I was overwhelmed by deciding what I wanted to put out there for the world to see – ok, for my 31 twitter followers to see. I realized that for many people this was going to be their first impression of me, maybe their only impression of me. This realization lead to a rather in-depth soul searching process in which I was forced to answer questions that I had been able to avoid while I was busy simply being employed.
What I discovered is that I’m passionate about helping individuals and families heal, but I also have ideas concerning leadership. I’m a licensed minister, so my faith greatly influences every thought that comes out my mouth or across my keyboard. I wanted to know which subject area do I embrace as my voice? That is when I learned my first lesson in platform building, “I have to create content before I can hone content.”
As of this writing I am creating weekly content for my blog, and I don’t think I have completely settled the core parts that will make up my voice. In fact based on a recent session with Second Chair Leadership, I am considering a rebranding of my blog. My journey into platform development has been an ever-evolving process of self-defining and content critiquing as I wrestle with what I want my online voice to be. Thankfully, it’s still evolving and the journey continues. I would greatly enjoy developing my voice through interaction with more readers.
Check out Ben’s current voice at his blog where he invites you to include your voice by leaving a comment. You can also follow Ben on Twitter and LinkedIn.