Social Influencer Series | Dr. Natalia Wiechowski, "Edutainer"
One of my favorite people to follow on social is Dr. Natalia Wiechowski. She inspires. She entertains. She is the Middle East's leading "Edutainer" and has a simple aim:
Helping one million doers challenge the status quo.
When I met the LinkedIn Marketing Unicorn who launched Think Natalia, I asked how did she get here? It was a short and awesome answer - "At the age of 29, at the peak of my corporate career and deep unhappiness, I quit my job and started from scratch."
During a nine-month, self-imposed sabbatical she changed the way that she thought, spoke, worked and lived. She committed to "designing her dream life" and a career of purpose and that is how she came to found - Think Natalia. Books, food, exploring new places, self-improvement and ticking things off her to-do-list are what makes her happy.
She is a global speaker who is German and lives in Dubai. She started as a Social Scientist, turned into a Dr. of Philosophy, a LinkedIn Marketing Unicorn, a Forbes Coaches Council Member and the Middle East's leading Edutainer.
I caught up with Dr. Natalia recently and here is a snapshot of what she had to say:
You have become recognized as the Middle East's leading "Edutainer" with a global audience and brand as an award winning personal brand strategist. I'd like to take it back to where this journey began - you took a sabbatical and made this pivot to lifestyle design and personal branding?
Yes, I was at the peak of my corporate career – winning excellence awards with my team, smiling from the covers of leading industry magazines - and felt like a “wasted resource”, unfulfilled, deeply empty and unhappy.
When the emotional pain (from not listening to my soul/calling) manifested itself in physical pain, I finally understood that nothing is going to change unless I change and that “I need to be the change that I want to see in the world” (Mahatma Gandhi).
So, I quit my job and actively changed in the way I think, speak, eat, work and live during a 9-months sabbatical. I then committed to design my dream life and career of purpose.
Think Natalia is the end result of it. A concept that I have created based on trial and error, many mistakes, tears and failures along the way.
You built a massive and engaged online audience (over 150k). What were some of the keys to your success?
I promised my audience a good story and took people by the hand on my journey to the best version of myself. I also gave my best to be as human as I can, to share my feelings and thoughts authentically, to start conversations and to build meaningful relationships instead of simply broadcasting at people. I saw us all as co-equal, confused beings.
Furthermore, I started from a place of value and making people think and laugh. I ignored the fact that I needed to make money. I knew money would come when the time is right. That being said, I needed to borrow cash to pay my rent and lived from honey toast and green tea for months…
What advice would you give someone who is making a pivot in their life and career? How do the leverage self-marketing to build their brand?
Understand your “one word” (Evan Carmichael). Other people call it your why or your passion. If you already decide to go through the messy and painful process of profound change, make sure that you will design your next life phase based on your true values, goals, strengths, uniqueness and interests in life/business.
How? Either read (a lot) and implement those advice into your second life and business. And/or hire a professional career coach or business coach.
Every great, sustainable thought leadership personal brand starts with a self-inventory and with confronting yourself with questions like: What do I stand for? What am I the expert in? What do I want to be remembered for? Based on that you – respectively we - can then build an exciting story, engaging content, an influential network, get free PR etc.
You just launched your German Podcast - how is that going? What are the keys to launch a new digital channel like that?
Great! I was surprised by all of the positive feedback I got. My podcast reached place 16 of the German itunes Charts (category: business) within less than 9 hours. I was gifted with heaps of reposts and wonderful thank you messages AND many new leads for my one-on-one coachsulting.
First of all, set up a plan, get the right technical tools and a team (a graphic designer, PA and audio engineer). Secondly, pre-produce loads of value-adding, edutaining content. I decided for 20 solo episodes. Thirdly, have patience – especially with itunes...
What is the best advice you were given about personal branding that helped you created your personal brand?
“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” (Oscar Wilde) The “magic” really lies in embracing the inner unicorn in you. That happy, curious child. That person who is here, on this planet, because of a reason: His mission. Once you become this true you, nobody will be able to copy you. Because you are you(nique). People will also fall in love with you, as a human being, your light-heartedness and your “art”.
Yes, others will judge you in the beginning and have opinions. They always did so in the past and will always do so. But guess what? Fitting in and doing what everyone else does it easy. The hard work lies in freeing yourself from social norms and expectations, to find your own answers in life and business and to “be the change you want to see in the world”.
Celebratory Cocktail? – Bellini
Proudest Accomplishment? – Becoming my true self (getting there…)
Go To Social Channel - LinkedIn
Person and/or Company, who's personal branding you admire the most? – George Carlin
Inspirational #hashtag - #ThinkNatalia ;-)
About the Interviewer:
Mark Keaney is a Husband, Dad, Coach, Mentor and Leader. With over 20 years of experience in the media industry and a wild ride in the world of tech start-up & social - Mark is helping brands deliver world class CX at Khoros, where he is the Regional Vice President of Sales for the NA/East and Canada. His mantra is - Brand Globally. Market Locally.
e: firstname.lastname@example.org or t: @markkeaney2pt0