Jennifer Corcoran Q and A Interview
Can you share your back story with us, a bit about your childhood?
I grew up in Dublin in the 1970s and was raised as the eldest of 4 by a long line of newspaper men. My father Des, his father (Des senior) and indeed my Great Grandfather all worked for the National Press in Dublin. My mother, Barbara was a Clerical Assistant with the Department of Education and my stepmother June enjoyed a career with the National Union of Journalists.
I was gifted my first typewriter at the age of 10 and it soon became one of my most prized possessions. I spent endless hours typing letters to as many as thirty pen pals dotted around the globe. An early sign of my penchant for LinkedIn, all things social media and my instinctive knack for connecting and nurturing contacts. It made perfect sense for me to study English at University and I’ve always had a love affair with written word.
When I was 3 years old, my mother was diagnosed with manic depression alongside her existing epilepsy. I grew up with the stigma of mental illness and if I’m honest, to some extent I hid in the sidelines and found solace in the online world.
Were you a determined child or has that developed?
I was shy as a child but I guess I’ve always had a quiet determination and resilience. I excelled at school and was frequently top of the class but was introverted and mixed only with a close circle of friends and family.
On graduating from university, I took a background role again helping others to shine in the spotlight as an Executive Assistant and Office Manager.
With age my confidence and voice has grown and I’m now determined to raise awareness of mental health issues and to also help fellow introverts to toot their horn.
I grew up in an extroverted world but the invention of social media and blogging has opened the playing fields and extroverts and introverts nowadays have equal access to success. It’s exciting!
Can you share something about yourself that is not widely known?
I’m an introvert (albeit a very chatty one). Most people think that because I’ve previously won the title of the most networked PA in London that I’m extroverted and that networking is second nature to me. It’s not – it’s a skill which I’ve had to learn to excel in my career and business and as much as I enjoy networking I’m usually drained after every event and need to lie down!
How and when did you know you wanted to become an entrepreneur?
Life often has a way of giving us a gentle or in my case, a painful nudge toward taking action and realising our true purpose. In 2013, I slipped a disc in my back. Four epidurals later eventually lead to me having a successful microdiscectomy in early 2016.
Forced to step away from my successful career in the corporate world, several months of recovery presented me with time to reflect. The defining realisation was that it was time to follow my intuition and true calling.
My resignation soon followed with me swapping the daily commute for the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere in the world.
Tell us about your business…
My Super Connector is a social media consultancy. In a nutshell, I help you to shine online. I specialise in helping introverted professionals and busy business owners to polish up their online profiles and connect with finesse.
I believe that you don’t to be to be the loudest in the room to make an impact, you just need to be effective and that’s where I come in to help others feel comfortable in the online world. My USP is that I help people to do it themselves and I like to think that I talk the talk but I also walk the walk. I’ve recently been awarded the title of ‘Social Media Consultant of the Year – South England’ by CV Magazine which was a great honour and recognition of my social media engagement.
What did you give up to get to where you are today? What did you have to sacrifice?
Firstly, I quit a high paying permanent job of 11 years within Financial Services. I sacrificed financial security to launch My Super Connector and follow my dreams. I’ve always been a big believer in continued personal development so I’ve given up a lot of my time (evenings and weekends) and money to invest in courses and qualifications which have brought me to where I am today.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do?
This is a tough one as there have been a few hurdles. I think the hardest things for me have been to transition from an employee to entrepreneurial mindset and also to embrace the world of sales which is not a natural skillset for me.
I’ve also had to push through my comfort zone and embrace public speaking, podcasts, interviews, videos, photoshoots etc. – as an introverted employee you can bypass this kind of thing but as a business owner you need to push on through in order to get your brand out there.
I keep reminding myself that people like Obama and Richard Branson are introverts so if they can do it, so can I.
What are your goals for 2017 and beyond?
My mission for My Super Connector is focused around the fact that you don’t have to be the loudest person to get noticed, you’ve just got to be the most effective and I hope to help as many introverted professionals and business people as possible to feel comfortable with finding their voice online.
I’ve recently launched a new 121 service (face to face and skype) so hopefully this will allow me to access more people to help.
I’m a massive believer in collaboration and I’ve a few exciting partnerships on the horizon.
I’m currently a partner of SELBN (South East London Business Network) and I look forward to growing and nurturing this relationship.
For those who don’t know SELBN covers Croydon, Bexley, Bromley, Lewisham, Southwark and Woolwich so if you are a business owner working in any of these areas I would encourage you to check out this great network either in person or to join the LinkedIn group which has currently about 3000 members.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time? Do you have any big Goals?
My ultimate goal is to achieve a good work/life balance, be happy and to look after my health. Ideally, I want to be working 3 days a week somewhere sunny and inviting! The fantastic thing about my job is that I can do it from anywhere in the world so I hope to be taking advantage of this in the next few years and spend some more quality time with my lovely husband and biggest champion Mike. True to form we met online via Guardian Soulmates.
Can you share 3 #BizTips for Women in Business
1) Invest in your personal branding online – a professional headshot is a worthwhile investment which can be used on all of your social media profiles, website and blogs etc. It only takes a few seconds to create a first impression, make yours be a lasting one.
2) Network, network, network – whether it’s online or offline networking is a fantastic opportunity to create relationships, partnerships or source potential clients. You can network online in Facebook and LinkedIn groups and also on Twitter Chats. No need to leave the house!
3) My top tip for all social media interaction is to a) Be Social b) Be Consistent c) Follow the 80/20 rule – share engaging content 80% of the time and promotional material (blogs, adverts etc.) only 20%. Always provide value and give people a reason to want to follow and connect with you. I love connecting people and this has become one of my USP’s. If you are not sure what to share on LinkedIn you can connect people and this will help you to stand out for all of the right reasons. People buy people at the end of the day so you want them to buy into you and your personal brand.
How can people best connect with you online?
You can find me here…
You can read more from Jennifer Corcoran – How To Become A Social Media Influencer inside #BizRocks Magazine Issue 57
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