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Reflecting on Think Bespoke’s Business Journey

by Thought Starters

Having made some recent updates to Think Bespoke’s website to ensure we’re reflecting our focus on educational leadership, I came across a detailed piece in the About Us section of the website, which I’ve decided to house here on the blog instead.

If you’ve been part of Think Bespoke’s journey, thank you for the role you’ve played and for regularly engaging with our insights here on the blog. If you’re a more recent reader, you can read more here about why I established Think Bespoke and the journey since 2010.

This piece was originally written in the 3rd person, which is the generally accepted protocol for company website About Us pages. As I read through it, and added more recent information, I decided to change it to the 1st person, which means me writing about me. This felt more suitable, and consistent, with how I write the articles on the blog. If we’ve worked with you on your LinkedIn Profile or you’ve accessed the resources from our LinkedIn Education & Training Centre, you’ll know I prefer people writing in the 1st person when it’s their LinkedIn profile summary!

In the Beginning

In December 2010 my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease. As the Founding Director of Think Bespoke, I reflect on this experience as being pivotal in my decision to focus on building my business. While part time businesses and remote or home based consultancies have became much more prevalent, at the time it was a brave step by an ex-corporate career professional and mother of two pre-schoolers to see if I could carve out a more flexible career, enabling me to leverage my skills and be present for my dear Mum and boys.

If you’ve established and grown your own business, you’ll appreciate the personal mountain climbing that comes with this decision. For the first 3 years I continued to work part time for a boutique training organisation, as a business trainer and facilitator with leadership teams across Melbourne, as I developed and refined Think Bespoke’s career and business services.

Formally trained with a Bachelor of Business, Marketing, I’m a Registered Teacher with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT), a Certified Trainer, Independent LinkedIn Training Consultant and have extensive experience training and coaching high performance teams and facilitating formal business training programs with leadership teams.

 From Little Things Big Things Grow

What began as a resume writing service, grew over the next 3 years into LinkedIn Profile writing for job seekers and self discovery workshops for professionals in the mid stage of their career. There is a common saying that people buy from people they know, like and trust. Being somewhat desk bound with the care of my mother and young children, LinkedIn became a critical tool for how I leveraged my networks and generated leads and referrals for Think Bespoke.

With a content marketing strategy in place for Think Bespoke, this began to influence my community and previous colleagues began to reach out to me on LinkedIn, having read my blog posts and engaged with me online and at face to face workshops about LinkedIn and Career Planning. With an international network of connections on LinkedIn, I also have a strong track record working in leadership roles in sales and marketing for global brands. This meant that past colleagues, who’d been watching my business journey from the sidelines, began to refer their friends and family to Think Bespoke’s LinkedIn and career planning services. For this, I am very grateful.

Find Your Voice, Tell Your Story

It was the advice of a wise mentor, Marina Pitisano, who’s since become a close collaborator, who suggested my knowledge of LinkedIn for business growth was deep and my approach for B2B business owners was unique. This encouraged me to focus my LinkedIn insights and training on the B2B market. As a community builder, I also spent time from 2013-2016 attending and speaking at many local business community events.

the linkedin journey for personal branding

Curious by nature, and valued as a social media strategist, I also spent this time exploring the value of social media channels to help attract, acquire and engage our ideal clients. Think Bespoke’s online footprint now extends far beyond just LinkedIn, with a following of over 8000 readers across our social media community.

Attending business networking events helped me learn many of the skills needed to run a small business in the digital age, and also connected me with many talented service providers who I’ve since formed strong collaborations with.

Many of the business relationships I formed during this time endure to this day, and helped Think Bespoke branch out our service offering and provide our best practice LinkedIn Marketing services to our existing and new clients.

Be the Change You Wish to See in the World

My personal mantra is borrowed from Gandhi and is to Be the Change You Wish to See in the World. As a trained teacher and certified trainer, I continue to enjoy facilitating corporate training workshops for LinkedIn, Content Marketing Strategy and Communication. I also ghost write for a handful of individuals on LinkedIn and co-write blogs with a number of leaders in their field.

Since 2015, with two growing boys and a husband with a busy car restoration business, I streamlined Think Bespoke’s service offerings which are now represented in Think Bespoke’s 3 Divisions:

  • Education, Training & Consulting
  • Online Content Solutions
  • Mid-Career Planning

Linkedin Specialist training resources for individuals and organisations

Think Bespoke enjoyed a logo refresh at the start of 2018, with an updated logo and imagery.

I’m now recognised as one of Australia’s leading independent LinkedIn consultants, and in 2018 I was listed in the top 20 LinkedIn experts in Asia.

My team and I continue to take a ‘teach you how to fish approach’, showing our clients how to better leverage LinkedIn and embed content marketing best practice into their businesses. I’m also always available to connect my community with my vast network, or suggest a suitable mentor to help develop your leadership and business skills. If I can help you, please ask!

Karen Hollenbach, LinkedIn Expert Consultant, Educator & Mentor

Karen Hollenbach, LinkedIn Expert Consultant, Educator & Mentor

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