Karen Hollenbach


Karen Hollenbach

Passionate about helping people discover their story and full potential, Karen is one of Australia’s leading independent LinkedIn Consultants. 

She started Think Bespoke in 2010 after her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Making the best of what could be considered a bad situation, she redesigned her life to take care of her mum and boys whilst at the same time trying to change the world, one person at a time.

She teaches a unique perspective of networking via LinkedIn to corporate individuals or organisations. Helping them integrate both the online and offline worlds of networking. Karen is often asked to speak at events, facilitate corporate workshops and now she’s leveraging the online world, sharing her knowledge with even more Australians.

Karen describes herself as somebody with a “playful but serious” approach to business. She’s not afraid to fail. In fact she believes it’s a good thing to be comfortable with the idea of failing. It’s all about the journey. Think Bespoke re-adjusts and morphs itself every six months as needed.

Although LinkedIn isn’t the only service Karen provides, she describes it as an appetiser to her other services.  She firmly believes when entering a conversation with a client, they soon realise where she can add value. Helping her clients navigate their way around LinkedIn often leads Karen to ghost writing, blog writing, auditing websites and generally helping her clients to tell their story.

To Karen, the power of LinkedIn is all about networking. Even though people mistake her as an online sort of gal, Karen describes herself as “quite old-school’’. For her, LinkedIn is a place to continue face-to-face conversations online, or the starting place for a conversation to be had in person. 

Q1. What was your vision of when you first started your venture?

On a very selfish level it was to facilitate participation in my children's lives. My mother had just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and I knew I had to play a caring role. I had to choose something that was predominantly desk bound - I couldn't be onsite training all the time. LinkedIn profiles made heaps of sense. I could provide a phone email service. Now, it's very acceptable to be training by via Skype and delivering webinars.

Q2.  How did you deal with early setbacks?

I found people that would work with me in a way that enhanced what I did. This was difficult when I thought I could do a better job myself. But I realised that I couldn’t do it all myself and had to let go. 

Q3. Was there a time that you wanted to give up?

Never, because I had a really strong purpose around why I started. 

I do have a really powerful exercise for things I've wanted to stop.  I write a list of everything that I'm doing. 

My criteria is:

  • Do I love it?

  • Am I the best person to be doing it?

  • Do I hate it?

And if I hate it, I work out a way to get rid of it.

Q4. Were there any traps that you fell into?

My biggest mistake was getting a marketing person to do my website. A client once commented, “You're so good at what you do and yet your website so under-represents you." That took me on a really different journey. For a great website three skill sets are required. You need a web developer, a graphic designer and a copywriter. Now I also have a website strategist. She doesn't touch my platform, but advises me. My website's a totally different experience now. You need to understand the interplay between where you want to head and where you are. I stripped back my product offering and my website now gives me two corporate enquiries a week. If only I had done that five years ago!

At the start I had several Virtual Assistant’s who I handed my voice over to on social media. Very quickly I realised not to do that. Your voice is your unique selling point. I’m a control freak, so I'm not outsourcing my voice. I'm a hundred percent me. I had to be very disciplined with my blog and wrote once a week for five years. 

Q5. What inspires and motivates you? Can you tell us a favourite resource? 

My family keeps me going. 

I love to travel - I basically structure my whole year around opportunities to travel.  Whether that be in Australia or overseas.  I think we've got this amazing world around us.

I am motivated by the desire to live the life that I imagined.  So to participate in that life, I need to work. To work I need to be challenged. And to be challenged I need to be working with people I enjoy. 

During training, I was always very interested in why the most compelling perspective in the room came from the quietest person. I felt I needed to learn how to tap into that person more.

I saw a book called Quiet by Susan Cain,  'The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking'.  —> http://adbl.co/2F5drJc. In the process of working out how to reach introverts in my training, I discovered that I wasn't an extrovert. That was just a huge and inspiring ‘aha’ moment for me. It explains why I get drained when I'm with a lot of people.

Q6. Can you describe a breakthrough that you're particularly proud of?

I analyse everything. Where my traffic’s coming from and who's engaging. That's how I make a decision about the content I put out. My social media consultant noticed that there was a lot of Facebook traffic that wasn’t converting. After some research we discovered there was a $50 price point for converting sales. I wasn’t and didn’t want to be delivering anything for $50. Then it dawned on me, if I have ten people in one webinar over an hour for $47, that's $470, which was more like my current rate. 

So I created a series of six webinars and I now have this LinkedIn journey that’s streamlined my whole business. I initially thought it was only for my Facebook users, but all my corporate clients now also use it. I'm really proud of that because, I actually created a new channel of how I deliver my training. It was my way of scaling and delivering to many.

Q7. Has your vision always being clear and how is it evolved?

My vision's been really clear, it’s just how I've delivered it that has evolved.

Contact details:

If you have enjoyed this article and want to start a conversation with Karen you can reach her at any of the contact details below:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karenhollenbach
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thinkbespoke
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thinkbespoke
Website: https://thinkbespoke.com.au
Email: hello@thinkbespoke.com.au
Phone: +61 3 8374 7666

Or check out Karen’s  LinkedIn Profile Optimiser for Business & Career Webinar

Please don’t forget to tell Karen I sent you.