Can anybody become known? Let’s ask the janitor.

can anybody become known

Faith McKinney with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence

By Faith McKinney, {grow} Community Member

I have just listened to the audio version of Mark Schaefer’s book KNOWN: The handbook for building and unleashing your personal brand in the digital age. He begins the book by asking this bold question, “Can anybody become known?”

I want to prove to you today, that no matter who you are, where you come from, or how much money you have, the answer is to this question is YES! You can become known.

In my life, I needed to prove myself and overcome objections of every kind:

I am African- American

I am shy and introverted

I am a woman

I work as a janitor for the postal service

I live in the “hood”

I am not a college graduate

I am short (5’2”)

I am overweight

I have been married 3 times

I have filed for bankruptcy twice

I was an average student

I have a special needs child

I don’t have a lot of time or resources to travel

…and yet today, I produce a television show, host a podcast, speak, lead seminars and interview celebrities. How did I get there? Like the people Mark featured in his book, I followed a four-step plan with persistence and patience.

How I became known

I was inspired by Mark’s book because so many of the people he featured started at the bottom. I suppose I did too in many ways. I have worked at the United States Postal Service since 1989. While there,  I’ve worked as a janitor in order to have regular hours to be with my family and take care of my daughter who has profound special needs.

At the same time, I wanted something more. I wanted to take advantage of this amazing time we live in and become known for something.

The first step in Mark’s book is to find your sustainable interest.

My sustainable interest is to be the best at networking and connecting people, especially entrepreneurs in the African-American community in Indianapolis.

can anybody become known

Interviewing Dan Rather

How did I tell my story? What was my “space,” as Mark calls it? This might surprise you, but it came in the form of selfies on Facebook!  What better way to show how I connect with people than show a consistent stream of selfies? And remember, I’m a person without a lot of time and resources, so a quick snapshot of myself with the rich and famous fit my lifestyle perfectly!

As my reputation for selfies grew, I was able to gain access to the mayor, local celebrities and eventually A-list celebrities and world leaders like Colin Powell and many, many more. I was building momentum. People began to look for who I was posing with next, and then sharing my photos with their friends.

Signs of progress

Even though I was still a janitor, I could see little signs of progress that I was becoming known for something more. I was asked to be a contributor to a local online community magazine which gave me access to celebrity interviews. That helped me “up” my selfie game.

People began seeking my advice on how to network and connect with business leaders. I began to get requests for interviews … small publications at first .. but then The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Ebony magazine, and more.

With Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis

As I gave these interviews, a concept began to form. I had my own form of networking I called Schmingling. You see, the longer I kept at it, my sustainable interest evolved and became more defined. I decided to write a book called Schmingling: The Art of Being Well-Connected Through Blatant Self-Promotion.

I started a side business, Connect With Faith, which has helped startups connect with investors, aspiring actors connect with major film studios, and cyber-security experts get covered on CNN in London.

Recently, I was asked to produce a local television show which allows me even more visibility.

My journey isn’t finished. In fact, I’m just starting. I’m not writing to show you that I made it. I’m writing this to show you that you can do it, too. Becoming known has made my life so much more fun and profitable.

You can live it, too. The path in Mark’s book works.

Faith McKinney is an entrepreneur, podcaster, speaker, TV show host, author, and networking expert who is also a janitor. You can connect with her in every way through her website


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