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IAM674- Owner Helps Others Leverage LinkedIn Effectively

Podcast Interview with Clarene Mitchell

Clarene Mitchell is the owner of TCM Communications LLC, a social media branding firm based in Mequon, Wisconsin that focuses on helping others effectively use LinkedIn to generate results. In addition to her entrepreneurial endeavour, Clarene is an accomplished journalist, community activist and public relations professional. For more than 20 years she has worked to craft the image of community-based organizations and advance issues of importance. She added the title author in September 2019 when she self-published her book, “Shine Online with LinkedIn: LinkedIn Isn’t Just An Online Database of Resumes!” Clarene hopes the book helps more people understand LinkedIn more and empowers them to leverage the platform to advance their digital footprints.

  • CEO Hack: Being self-directed and holding myself accountable
  • CEO Nugget: You have to be your biggest fan
  • CEO Defined: Freedom, being a leader of your own destiny


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[00:00:02.20] – Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

[00:00:31.69] – Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Clarine Mitchell of TCM Communications. Clarine, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:00:41.60] – Clarene Mitchell

Nice to be here. Thanks so much for the invite, Gresh.

[00:00:44.50] – Gresham Harkless

No problem. The pleasure is all mine. And ours, as we, learn a little bit more about you, I wanted to to read your bio so people can hear about all those awesome things that you're doing. Clarene is the owner of CCM Communications, a social media branding firm based in Mequon, Wisconsin that focuses on helping others effectively use LinkedIn to generate results. In addition to her entrepreneurial endeavour, Clarene is an accomplished journalist, community activist, and public relations professional. For more than twenty years, she has worked to craft the image of community-based organizations and advance issues of importance. She added the title author in September twenty nineteen when she published, she self-published her book, Shine Online with LinkedIn. LinkedIn isn't just an online database of resumes. Clarene hopes the book helps more people understand LinkedIn more and empowers them to leverage the platform to advance their digital footprints. Clarene, it's also Maryvale on the show. Clarene, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO Community?

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[00:01:35.90] – Clarene Mitchell

Thank you so much.

[00:01:37.70] – Gresham Harkless

Super excited to have you on. And I guess I wanted to start kind of in the beginning and hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story and what led you to get started with your

[00:01:46.79] – Clarene Mitchell

Wow. So I got started with my business as a last resort, so to speak. So I'm a Gen Xer in the greater Milwaukee area, so suburb of Mequon, Wisconsin. However, I had an unexpected job loss in the fall of twenty sixteen. For me, it rocked my line, so to speak. I was just at the job thirty-three months rather, and to have that unexpected job loss and to go an extended amount of time with my options. And prior to that, I was able to get jobs quickly, and move from one to another, so I will prove it past, employer calls or word-of-mouth. But for whatever reason, none of that was working. Networking, and doing a traditional job searching process wasn't working. So from the fall of twenty-sixteen to late summer of twenty seventeen, I had I know. I did, with no job options. Did Uber for a while and some other things trying to get piece money together, but that wasn't enough.

So started the business as a last resort. It wasn't a process of me ever wanting to be an entrepreneur. It actually always ran from the idea. People would suggest it to me, and I'm like, I liked my two-week paycheck. I like it when I work for universities every thirty days. But, never wanted to be an entrepreneur because I always thought it was too risky, and I needed a consistent income. But, again, didn't have a choice, didn't have any other options, so I created a job for myself, and became my own CEO, my own boss. And, actually, fresh, I'm loving, like, never ever want a real job, so to speak, ever again. I guess I've got the bug now, and I don't wanna cure it. So that's how I got into the process of being my own.

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[00:03:46.30] – Gresham Harkless

I'm definitely, you know, sorry to hear about, obviously, you know, not, you know, having that position. And I've been laid off before, and it's never a great moment. But I think that in life, the biggest thing that I've always learned is that it's not so much if something happens to you. It's kinda like how you respond to those things that happen to you, and, you know, you've been able to kinda make a way out of no way for lack of a better phrase, and I think that's a reminder that sometimes, you know, life doesn't always go and, you know, definitely business and work doesn't always go the way we predicted to go, but I think it shows a lot about your character and who you are and how you respond to those situations.

[00:04:19.10] – Clarene Mitchell

Appreciate that.

[00:04:20.69] – Gresham Harkless

very, very welcome. So I know you touched on this, you know, the venture you have that, started and, launched that entrepreneurial bug. Could you take us through exactly, like, how you're working with your clients and what exactly that looks like?

[00:04:33.80] – Clarene Mitchell

I work with my clients either for presenting. The whole goal is to work with success-driven professionals and businesses, helping them to effectively use LinkedIn so that they're able to get results. I believe I can't go backwards in time, but I'm almost certain that I wouldn't have gone through the wrong period of unemployment when I was without a job if I had been using LinkedIn effectively. During that process of being unemployed, I was using the platform more, but that was after my profile sat dormant forever. So in that process of using it more, I started getting results after I started learning the different features of the platform and that law of attraction occurring where I was getting results that I hadn't even anticipated or speaking out. That is how I got that light bulb in my hand head to have that as a focus for my business because I was just one person of a vast number of people who just didn't know all that the platform had to offer. So that's my passion now, spending my days. I'm helping other people get into the wonderful world of LinkedIn, I call it, and using the platform to get results.

[00:05:53.89] – Gresham Harkless

That's huge. And I think you're absolutely right when you kinda hit the nail on the head. And, of course, I love the title of your book as well too. It's just not about resumes. It's not just an online resume. It's a very, very powerful, kind of, social media platform that you can use for a lot of, you know, different ways that you wanna reach your goals.

[00:06:13.39] – Clarene Mitchell

true. So as you alluded to in the subtitle of my book, a lot of people offer orientation to LinkedIn, and I was guilty of this myself. It's just for job seekers supposedly or recruiters. The whole job search process, but it's for everyone. No matter where you're at in your professional journey, it's for everyone. And, actually so for me, especially as an entrepreneur, it's my office. It's how I generate my lead. I say, that no entrepreneur should not be on LinkedIn, should not have a company page, and should not be effectively, and aggressively using the platform. If they're not, they're missing out because of the platform it's free. I mean, there's paid versions, but it's free. So why not leverage it? Of all the social media platforms, it's the one that was created for professional business purposes. So why not focus there versus those other platforms that I've got on the name so I don't get in trouble?

But people say to focus all the time and energy on the platforms that are more social for fun and all of that, but it's not helping them on the business side. And not that people need to ignore those other platforms, but the value of LinkedIn, especially for CEOs, bosses, entrepreneurs, and business owners, there's so much that the platform life owns life and the difference it can make. When you use the platform, you have to take advantage of all the different features that it offers, maximize your profile, and have authentic relationships with people. Like, people and I'm sorry. Maybe this doesn't answer your question, but I don't get how people, like, go about it in a way that's very robotic versus being authentic, creating those relationships, and that's when the magic happens, especially when you have that consistent content. But

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[00:08:14.10] – Gresham Harkless

No. You're absolutely right. I think so many times, I don't know if people get sometimes tripped up by the fact that they're on social media. They forget, like, those kinda offline things that we learn on how to build relationships, how to build connections, and they get online, and then as you see, they turn into a robot. So, I think that those things kinda transition, and I think that you're absolutely right. We're I I believe as well that, you know, it's definitely an underutilized platform, especially for, you know, those businesses and entrepreneurs. So, I definitely appreciate you for working on that. So and helping so many people work on that as well. So, I want to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. You might have already touched on this, but this could be for yourself or your business. But what do you feel kinda sets you apart and makes you unique?

[00:08:58.10] – Clarene Mitchell

As a LinkedIn coach, as someone who does what I do, my secret sauce is my background in public relations and journalism. So unlike some others, everyone has their gift, their lane, their secret sauce. But unlike some others who do LinkedIn, because of my background in journalism and public relations and my being a news junkie, self-admitted, I'm good at that allows me to be good at creating content. So it's not just my whole approach with links and it's not just helping people learn the platform, follow-up with the platform like I do, but really using the platform to tell their stories. And so my background as a journalist helps me to tell others to tell their stories using the platform for them to shine a light by telling their stories, being their best, champion, their, biggest fan. And from that process, then others can believe in them and what their superpower is, what their subject matter expert is in, and tap into them for what they offer. So that's my secret sauce.

[00:10:02.79] – Gresham Harkless

No. I love that, and you're preaching to the choir, so to speak. So, I wanted to, switch gears a little bit, and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So that could be an Apple book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:10:17.60] – Clarene Mitchell

Being self-directed. You know, holding myself accountable. That's how I'm able to go forward with my business and having myself, to a certain standard of, yes, I'm doing this and success is waiting for me, so I have to go claim it. And that's my hack as far as me being able to get where I've gotten so far with my business in a relatively short time and being able to move forward to the next step.

[00:10:44.20] – Gresham Harkless

Definitely, would agree with that. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. So that could be like a word of wisdom or a piece of advice, could be around LinkedIn, or it could be something you might tell a client or maybe even your younger business self.

[00:10:58.70] – Clarene Mitchell

So kinda going back to something I said before. So even if what I tell my clients when it comes to LinkedIn, they have to be their biggest fan. The same thing is true for the CEO network. Right? We have to be our biggest fans. We have to believe in ourselves and propel ourselves forward. So believing in ourselves, being our biggest fans, and championing ourselves. No one's gonna believe in us if we don't believe in ourselves. Right? If we're not confident in the core value or mission of our business and the services that we provide, if we're not, you know, just just as excited about what we do every day. You know? No one else should be more excited about the service of our business than we are.

Right? If you're an introvert, you gotta step out of that comfort zone. You gotta step out of being an introvert and walk in wellness to be able to, attract and get the returns that you want for your business. Because otherwise, if if we're not bold and confident, like, when I do my sales call, If I go in there to look in all with, you know, despondent with my head down and, you know, just very you know, have a lot of anxiety about it, it's not gonna come out well nine times out of ten. Right? But if I go in there bold, right, and confident that I'm gonna get that prospect and turn them into a new business partner, a new client, that has a huge makes a huge difference in the often starts within. We're looking at ex externally for things, but if you don't believe in what you're you're selling, you don't believe in what you're doing, you're not your biggest cheerleader, then it's hard for anybody else to be that, whether you're talking about a leader or a potential client. It puts in a bowl really nicely. That's what we try to do.

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[00:12:54.39] – Gresham Harkless

So, now I wanna ask you my absolute favourite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different clinical CEOs on the show. So, Clarene, what does being a CEO mean to you?

[00:13:08.10] – Clarene Mitchell

A CEO to me means being the owner of my own destiny. Never be in a position again where I had the rug pulled from under me professionally, where each day I can focus on what my outcomes are gonna be for that day. I have no limits around me, but I can do it creatively. When I get my ideas, I can run with them. I can, you know, explore any thought, any activity that I wanna do. There are no boundaries. The only boundaries I have with the ones that I give myself. And so being CEO truly means being boss. Being, the the look. My biggest fan and being the one who makes things happen. So it means freedom to me.

[00:13:52.20] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. I love that as well. And I think so many times, as we've been talking about before, you, you don't realize the power that you have within you. And I think when you tap into that and you realize how much, you're able to do to create your destiny and manifest your destiny, then it starts to create an incredible power. And I think when you do that and you also walk in that walk in that boldness as you spoke to, I think it also gives so many people permission to be able to do the same thing too.

[00:14:18.29] – Clarene Mitchell

Right. Yeah.

[00:14:19.70] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Well, Clarene, definitely appreciate that perspective, and I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and listeners know. And then, of course, how best they can get over you, get a copy of the book, and find out about all the awesome things you're working on.

[00:14:35.20] – Clarene Mitchell

Well, thank you so much for this opportunity. I've enjoyed our conversation. I love the CEO Nation blog, my favourite, and even my spin on CEO. And you look my LinkedIn profile is a chief empowerment officer, and so that's what I provide to others. I help empower them to tell their story. But so my biggest thing to my fellow CEOs, my fellow entrepreneurs is, again, take advantage of LinkedIn. Don't dismiss the opportunities or the value of the platform. Maximize it. Optimize your profile. Create content that's, useful to your ideal target population, and you'll see the returns from that.

And so to connect with me, of course, the biggest thing is to connect with me on LinkedIn. So send me a connection invite on LinkedIn. If you send me a connection invite and personalize the, invite with the notes, I'll send you a freebie, a tip that gives you some strategies to shine online with LinkedIn as my business logo is. But connect with me on LinkedIn. You can also purchase my book by going to my website, t c m communications l l c dot com. Right on the homepage of my website, you'll see a special video, about my book, but you can order it as well from the buy now button.

[00:15:57.20] – Gresham Harkless

Thank you so much again, Clarene. And we would definitely have the links and information in the show notes, of course, so people can connect directly with you on LinkedIn and make it even easier and, to get that that freebie that you're offering. But, no. I truly appreciate, you know, everything that you're doing. And I think, for me, I always say that a true definition of leadership is somebody who empowers others. So I appreciate you being that chief empowerment officer and helping so many others shine as well too. And I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

[00:16:23.20] – Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

[fusebox transcript]


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