Hi, my name is Scott Allen and I’ve been helping people transform virtual relationships into real business since 2002. I love technology, but not for its own sake — I love to see it transform people’s businesses, lives and communities when used effectively. I’m also a dad, a husband and grandfather of six. I love movies, music, cooking, physics, poetry, economics, politics, entrepreneurship, network marketing, Toastmasters and Austin, Texas, all of which I may occasionally write about.
Entrepreneur, Born AND Made
People ask whether entrepreneurs are born or made, and I say, “Both.” You have to have a certain innate drive and passion to be a successful entrepreneur, as well as a fairly high level of optimism. It’s not that you have to have those things in order to start a business… you just have to have them to keep going after the first (and second, and third, and so on) don’t work out quite like you planned. Plus, I was never very good at taking orders.
I started doing freelance computer consulting at 18. By 21, I was President of my own software company. I’ve spent over 80% of my career either as an entrepreneur, or reporting directly to one, and they were all great mentors to me. I’ve worn a variety of hats — software developer, data architect, marketing, business development, product management, professional services — pretty much done it all… at least enough so that I know my strengths and weaknesses!
I haven’t yet had that legacy-making success, but I haven’t really had any big failures, either. Every business of mine ended gracefully — debt-free — and because I was ready to move on to something else. Such is the nature of entrepreneurship.
In more recent years, I’ve had the pleasure of sharing what I’ve learned with other entrepreneurs. For nearly seven years, I was the Entrepreneurs Guide at About.com, during which time I helped well over a million entrepreneurs in some small way to pursue their dreams of business ownership. I’ve written for American Express OPEN Forum, Fast Company, and several other business publications, and contributed to several books on entrepreneurship, marketing and more. You can see some of my best work here.
Social Media Is My Middle Name
That’s a bold claim, and I’m sure there are some who will doubt me on that. I’m perhaps not the most famous social media expert, but as Will Rogers said, “It ain’t braggin’ if you done it.”
- I taught my first seminar about online networking in December 2002 in Houston, Texas. Since then, I have given dozens of seminars and classes on the topic to several thousand people. Past event sponsors and clients include Microsoft, LinkedIn, Wachovia, ERE Media, Human Capital Institute, Business Development Institute, American Marketing Association, ExecuNet, Electronic Retailing Association and more.
- I’m not 100% sure, but I think I may have been the world’s first social media consultant. I had clients paying me to help them with their “online business networking” by the end of 2002. If you know someone else who was actually getting paid to do that in 2002, please introduce me — I’d love to meet them!
- Launched in March 2003, The Virtual Handshake Blog (formerly OnlineBusinessNetworks.com) is one of the longest-running blogs on the business use of social media and social networking.
- My first article about the topic for a major publication, “Online networking entering flow of mainstream business methods”, was published in Houston Business Journal and syndicated to American City Business Journals in September 2003. LinkedIn was barely two months old. Since then, I’ve been a regular monthly columnist for FastCompany.com and been published or quoted in dozens of other publications, including ABCNews.com, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CFO Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, Sales and Marketing Management, Networking Times, Southwest Airlines Spirit, Worth and more.
- Our e-book, The 5 Keys to Building Business Relationships Online, was published in October 2003 and was the first on the topic of online networking (so far as I know).
- The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online, was published in August 2005, and was the first book on the topic of online business relationships and the business use of what we now call social media. Because it focused on communication skills and business strategies rather than technology, the book remains a timeless guide for virtual networking for professionals.
By day, I’m the Director of Client Solutions for Momentum Factor, a renowned marketing & management consulting firm serving direct selling companies. I love my job, and I’m very, very good at it! In my spare time, I also run Linked Intelligence, the unofficial source for all things LinkedIn.
For my complete professional history, come visit me on LinkedIn. I also invite you to connect with me on: