See Why Work-Life Balance is the Unicorn of the Working World

See Why Work-Life Balance is the Unicorn of the Working World

See Why Work-Life Balance is the Unicorn of the Working World

Work-life balance is one of those phrases that people with way too much time on their hands talk about. Usually they have their own yoga studios, grow all their own food, and can afford really swell vacations on Martha’s Vineyard. And that’s not even a generalization!

 

When Is There Ever Balance?

When Is There Ever Balance?

When Is There Ever Balance?

Never, that’s when! This is the week of Easter and tax returns. Many people with businesses are filing at the last minute instead of being involved in an Easter egg hunt. Unless, of course, you call looking for business deductions in a huge pile of receipts an Easter egg hunt. Then, yes, there’s an Easter egg hunt.

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We Strive for Balance

We dream of balance during those nights when we don’t sleep enough because we were up late worrying about whether everything for that upcoming conference got finished. Was there one last person to call, or a piece of paper that didn’t make it to the right place?

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Finding Time

By the way, if you need to find a little more time, here’s my article on Social Media: Time Management for Busy Entrepreneurs that you might like. Finding a bit of time here and there in your day can be cause for celebration!

Vacations Are for Sissies

If you’re involved in a startup, do you ever really go on vacation? Or is your idea of time off working a couple of hours less on the days you’re strolling on the beach? And speaking of strolling on the beach, here’s a brilliant idea from Forbes: Want a Brilliant Idea for a Startup? Go on Vacation!

“…ideas emerge when someone frees their mind up to wander – this often doesn’t happen in day to day life,”
~ Jessica Livingston, founding partner Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s best known incubator

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You Can Sleep When You’re Dead

Who among us has not heard this pithy bumpersticker-sized statement? Startups have a reputation for fueling sleep deprivation. Startups have also begun to fuel new ideas about sleep, as outlined in this nifty article: How Tech Startups Are Waking Up the Sleep Industry. In fact, new startup Cereve has a Sleep System to cool the forehead and soothe “a racing mind.” Something many in the startup world suffer from.

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Is Balance Possible?

How have you created balance? While I’d love to believe in unicorns, maybe we are better off believing they don’t exist. Or are we all resigned to being comfortable being uncomfortable? Tell me in the comments! And thank you.

Startups: The Five Cs of Success You Need to Know

Startups: The Five Cs of Success

Startups: The Five Cs of Success

 

You’ve just joined a new startup. The world is an exciting place and you’re right in the middle of all that innovation and newness. Your friends are envious, and your mom has no idea what you do during the day. How do you know that your startup is heading in the right direction, though? After all, according to Forbes, 90% of all startups fail. Will you be among the 10%?

Here’s a playlist of social media articles for startups:

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Customers

Real customers use your services. At first, it’s the warm leads, the friends and family, who sign up. Later, you reach out to the companies who need the services you provide. At first, the sales team is anyone who has free time to make a phone call. Later, there’s a concerted effort for everyone to pitch in. Next, there’s a real-live sales person. And eventually, an entire team, all coordinated. After all, you can’t legitimize your business without real customers.

Here’s a great article about landing your first customers on a shoe-string budget. Hint: Follow-up is key.

Confidence

Confidence can be anything from a fearlessness about asking questions to the ability to tackle changes in direction. At first, being ambitious might feel uncomfortable. But after awhile, confidence has its own momentum. Getting an entire team into the habit of being involved and committed also creates its own momentum.

As Jacqueline Whitmore outlines in her article in Entrepreneur, there are Six Actions You Can Take to Build Your Self Confidence. I particularly like: “Positive energy leads to positive outcomes…”.

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Commitment

When everyone who works at your startup is excited to get to work, that’s a sign that you’ve got a good thing. During the first couple of years, that pre-launch drive translates to overwork and insomnia. Sometimes, sending an email or text at midnight and getting an answer back within minutes, is thrilling. When you’re committed, and prepped for success, the orders come in. Having “skin in the game” is a common pathway to that commitment.

Paul Graham says in his article What Startups Are Really Like (still as true in 2016 as in 2009, when he wrote it):

“What people wished they’d paid more attention to when choosing cofounders was character and commitment, not ability. This was particularly true with startups that failed. The lesson: don’t pick cofounders who will flake.”

Coworkers who are working at more than one startup will often not have the energy to get a startup off the ground.

Communication

If you have transparency from the founders and your team, you’ll be able to know what’s happening from top to bottom. Often what’s said out in the hallway or between meetings is the really important. But the critical thing is knowing that you can discover what’s happening quickly if you should need to know something.

You might want to consider a Communication Architecture, as Unreasonable did, which dictates the way your team talks. And the standing meeting ensures that meetings stay short.

It’s important to have a structure for your team’s communications. While more meetings are necessarily positive, regular meetings ensure that everyone’s aligned.

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Celebrations

Nearly every day, something good happens that is worthy of celebrating. While there is still a lot of hard work to be done, there are also a lot of high-fives, impromptu bottles of wine and champagne being opened, and smiles. Being supportive of one another, although it might sound corny, goes a long way to making people want to stick with the crazy work hours. There are many ways to celebrate success, from a brag board to a morphing trophy, as recommended by American Express.

Is There a Sixth “C”?

Please leave me a comment and let me know what other signs of success I might have missed! And thank you.

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How Diversity Attracts Valuable People To Your Startup

How Diversity Attracts Valuable People To Your Startup

How Diversity Attracts Valuable People To Your Startup

Recently it was International Women’s Day, and I got to thinking about diversity. Mostly I thought, why isn’t International Women’s Day every day? This has been on my mind more lately because I’ve noticed from being in San Francisco how many of the guys in startups are, well, guys. That is, there are mostly guys, and there really isn’t that much diversity.

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Lack of Women in High-Tech Startups

Much has been written about the lack of women in technology, startups, engineering and Silicon Valley. And San Francisco is no different. If you walk around during lunch on any given day, you’ll notice who isn’t there: women. Recently, I even heard about a dating service that is going to be flying in women from New York because there are so few women in San Francisco. So where are all the women? And why aren’t more of them being hired? As this San Francisco Chronicle article explains, women rarely reach the top in high tech, despite signs that diversity pays.

If you’re a woman in high-tech, you may find yourself having to speak differently, or more loudly, or more often to get your voice heard. Being in the minority can make you feel like an outlier. However, having diversity at a startup goes beyond having female faces.

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Diversity in Language

One thing I loved about going to school at Berkeley was the variety in languages and faces that I saw every day. Sometimes conversations could be difficult because not everyone spoke English as their first language. But having so many different points of view was invigorating; knowing that not everyone would agreed with me made me more carefully weigh what I said and wrote. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful way to run a startup, too? That is, with the idea that not everyone has to agree?

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Mature Voices Attract Others

Another wonderful thing, now that I’m no longer 20-something, is to work alongside people of all ages. Having experienced, mature people working alongside you can be invigorating, too. Having people who “remember back when” without obsessing on it could help maintain a focus on what’s critical. And if your audience consists of baby boomers, then you’d be wise to have a few of them on staff.

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Introverts versus Extroverts

Here’s another group I’d love to see more of: introverts. They’re not all hiding in the back room avoiding people, either. They’re speaking (albeit quietly, at times), listening, and finishing big projects. By the way, you might like this post about introverts: Six Facts About Introverts and Social Media That Will Impress Your Friends. Giving voice to introverts, who often have more to say than they let on, gives your business a better chance at innovation. Here are three steps to attract—and retain—introverted employees, from Forbes.

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Political Diversity

During an election year, it’s natural that people might feel more challenged to agree with the “other side.” This election seems especially rancorous. And how many times have you thought, “the next person who rants about Donald Trump is going to get unfollowed!” I know I’m guilty. But someone is going to win the election, and then what? We’re never going to speak to those Republicans ever again?

Benefits to Attract the Culturally Diverse

Allowing more flexibility so that your employees are happy is key to having an innovative workplace. “Offer benefits such as onsite daycare, childcare subsidies and flexible schedules, and let new hires know that you are willing to accommodate cultural and religious holidays and diversity-friendly (but office appropriate) apparel choices,” as is outlined in How to Increase WorkPlace Diversity.

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How’s Your Workplace Diversity?

If your workplace isn’t culturally diverse, how does that feel? What groups of people would you like to add to the mix where you work? And if it is culturally diverse, how does it affect how you work? I’d like to know, so leave me a comment, s’il vous plait!

How to: Business Analytics Tricks You Need to Know For Twitter

How to: Business Analytics Tricks You Need to Know For Twitter

How to: Business Analytics Tricks You Need to Know For Twitter

Recently I’ve been using analytics for Twitter more and thought I’d share some of what I’ve been learning. Here’s a look behind the curtain at some of my favorite stats. These might strike you as a little nerdy, but they’re really quite fun! First, take a look at your overview in Twitter. To check your own analytics, choose home, then click the pull-down menu and choose Analytics.

Twitter Analytics Overview for 28 Days

Twitter Analytics Overview for 28 Days

Twitter Analytics Overview

From your overview, you can see at a glance whether the account is moving up, down, or flat. From my 28-day summary, you can see that Tweets, impressions, followers, and tweets linked to me are all up. Areas for improvement: Profile visits and mentions.

Monthly Twitter Summary

Monthly Summary

Another quick overview is the monthly summary. Above is mine from February of 2016. Tweet impressions are one item I like tracking. Don’t be fooled into thinking that vanity metrics, such as new followers, are important. As Eric Ries says, Vanity Metrics Are Dangerous (yes, it’s from 2009, but still holds true).

Top Ten Interests of a Twitter Audience

Top Ten Interests of a Twitter Audience

Audience Interests

You might be surprised to know what your audience is interested in. My top three are technology, entrepreneurship, and tech news. Of course, your audience is attracted to you by what you tweet. If you tweeted jokes and cartoons all day long, you’d see your followers’ top interest as comedy. The top interests (in particular the top three) can guide the content you provide.

Overall Impressions Show Heaviest Days

Overall Impressions Show Heaviest Days

Overall Impressions

In the above bar graph, you can see day by day and week by week where my biggest impressions are. Because I have a Twitter chat on Tuesdays, those days get the most impressions. (More about measuring a Twitter chat, below, under Tweetreach.)

Impressions Can Tell You What to Share Again

Impressions Can Tell You What to Share Again

Impressions

Here’s something that you can easily replicate. Take a look at the tweet with the highest impressions. Mine had 8 retweets and 8 favorites. There is something about your highest tweet that resonates with your audience. There are several ways to optimize this tweet (in this case a blog post).

  • Wait a few days, weeks, or even a month and share it again.
  • Change the headline and share it.
  • Use a different image and retweet it.
  • Share at different times of the day, still within business hours.
  • Pin it to the top of your Twitter feed.
  • Thank those who shared.
  • Ask for retweets!
Gender and Household Income

Gender and Household Income

Gender and Household Income

If you look at my analytics for gender and household income, you’d see that the majority make $175-250K+.

What does that tell me? Many of my followers could afford my services. I’ve taken over accounts before where the income has been much lower, although the product or service is an expensive one.

Country Analytics Can Help You Decide When to Tweet

Country Analytics Can Help You Decide When to Tweet

Country

You can see from my analytics that most of my followers are in the United States. How does that help, though? It helps with when you time your tweets. I try to time mine between 9-5. If you’d like to know more about whether to schedule, how much to schedule, or how to balance, I talk about that in a previous post, Automation and Social Media: You Need to Know How to Balance.

Tweriod

Tweriod

Tweriod

For more detailed analytics, try out Tweriod. I know that my tweets early in the morning always get the most engagement. If you look at Tweriod, you can see when your followers are online.

TweepsMap World View

TweepsMap World View

TweepsMap

Another way, besides Twitter’s own analytics, to see where your followers are is through an excellent and fun tool: Tweepsmap. Like the name suggests, you can get a map of your followers. So you can see which countries they’re in, or zero in on a state or city. Above is my worldmap.

State-by-State TweepsMap

State-by-State TweepsMap

Above is a screenshot of my state-by-state Tweepsmap. It’s interesting that Twitter analytics shows that 56% of my followers are U.S.-based and TweepsMap shows that 62% of my followers are in the U.S. At any rate, the majority are in the United States.

How does TweepsMap Help Me?

Suppose you are a purely local brick-and-mortar store. If you had above map, you might decide to focus more on gaining followers locally. Or, if you sell widgets overseas, maybe you don’t have enough followers in a particular country. So you can change your focus to attract more of the followers you’d like. Since the majority of my clients are in the U.S., this map is fine. That is, I wouldn’t change when I tweet.

Measure Your Hashtag or That of Your Twitter Chat with TweetReach

Measure Your Hashtag or That of Your Twitter Chat with TweetReach

TweetReach

With Twitter, there are tools that can assist you in finding out how far a tweet or hashtag reached. For my chat, #DigiBlogChat, I use TweetReach, which gives you a snapshot report to show you potential reach, impressions and Tweet volumes. Login through Twitter.

Other Things to Measure

I like to measure influential followers, especially for local accounts. I track these over the course of a month in a spreadsheet or document. Also: a good one to track is conversations with people interested in your services. Sometimes those conversations take place in direct messages.

What One Thing Would You Measure?

If you could measure one thing, what would it be? Leave me a comment! Thank you.

 

 

The Magic of Media: Joy in the New Year

The Magic of Media: Joy in the New Year

The Magic of Media: Joy in the New Year

When the clock hits midnight on the last day of the year, enthusiasm is at its highest. Hope is in the air. Anticipation and excitement fill the streets and the champagne glasses overflow. This hope and enthusiasm fuel social media resolutions.

Happy Happy, Joy Joy

Happy Happy, Joy Joy

Happy Happy, Joy Joy

Everyone will tell you how easy it is to master social media. You can learn Pinterest in a weekend, take a seminar on Twitter, or watch YouTube videos on Facebook until the cows come home. And it’s that time of year when everyone wants to start their resolutions. Heck, you can certainly do your Social Media in 60 Minutes a Day if you really try. There are lots of reasons to be excited about this new year, with a few caveats.

RockStar Expectations

RockStar Expectations

RockStar Expectations

I’m not going to be a Debbie Downer and tell you that you’ll never be a rockstar, but be a little easy on yourself and set your expectations accordingly. Getting 1,000 followers a month sounds good on January 1, but by March you might give up and do nothing at all.

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Startup Mentality and S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Having lofty goals is often a by-product of startups. Having S.M.A.R.T. goals, which equals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Responsible and Time (completion date) enables you to reach those goals. As Allan Hirsch explains “we need to set goals using strategic planning” in his article As New Year approaches, don’t just set goals, set ‘SMART’ goals.

Out of the Ballpark

Out of the Ballpark

Out of the Ballpark

If you’re an entrepreneur, you want to hit grand slams. And the way to achieve that is to set yourself up for success by overdelivering. Test the waters with your social media before committing to something so huge that you’ll feel overwhelmed.

Stretch Goals

Stretch goals are demotivating. To my mind, they are more about reaching a monetary goal than about reaching smaller goals while having fun and being creative. In his excellent article, The Folly of Stretch Goals, Daniel Markovitch outlines how stretch goals sap intrinsic motivation.

Going Viral

Going Viral

Going Viral

There are ways to make that post or tweet go viral. That is, you can be poised for the opportunity but it usually happens when you least expect it. What is that saying–success is the intersection of preparation and opportunity. And if you’re successfully poised, that post may spread like a virus in ways that make you look good.

Be Open to Surprises

Be Open to Surprises

Be Open to Surprises

What I’d like for myself for this new year is to be open to the fun and excitement of social media. Every day, it’s possible to talk to real people online, connect with them, and perhaps meet them in real life. And although that’s tough to put into a resolution, being open to surprises is my new year’s resolution.

What’s Your Resolution?

Tell me in the comments!

 

 

Social Media: Ten Reasons to Automate

Social Media: Ten Reasons Why You Should Automate

Social Media: Ten Reasons Why You Should Automate

Many social media consultants feel that automation can hurt your brand. Whenever you mention the “A-word,” people fall on one side of the divide or the other. Hardly anyone is in the middle on this one. And yet, it’s something that can be done gracefully, and without looking like a robot. Of course, I’m not recommending total automation, but a hybrid approach.

Your Mental Health

Even if you’re not a social media consultant, if you must make every post manually, you will surely go insane. And since you’ve carefully been getting enough sleep, why risk your health now?

Time Management

Time Management

Time Management

Creating posts all at once, maybe a week at a time, is a better use of your time than doing them one at a time.

Maintain Consistency

Maintain Consistency

Maintain Consistency

If you have decided upon a certain number of posts per day, automation can help you reach that goal.

Time Zones

It’s simply not possible to be on all day long. Everyone needs some time off. And if your client is on the east coast while you are on the west coast, automation is the way to go.

Automation Can Make You Feel More in Control

Automation Can Make You Feel More in Control

Feel in Control

Social media can be an overwhelming task, especially if you’re trying to run your startup at the same time. Automation can help you get your life back. By the way, here’s a post about how to blog for your startup, in case you missed it.

Post When Fans Are Online

Post When Fans Are Online

Post When Fans Are Online

If you’re up at 2 a.m., you might not want to send out that tweet if your audience isn’t there. Schedule that tweet and go back to bed!

Use a Scheduler

Use a Scheduler

Analytics

When you see a post that you like, use a scheduler such as HootSuite to auto-schedule the retweet for an optimum time. For most of us, that is 9-5. You can use a program like Tweriod to see when your followers are online.

Vacation

Sooner or later you need a few days off. Schedule some stuff, but make sure to have someone check in for you if you do.

Posting Frequency

As more and more people get online, the marketplace is more competitive. It’s possible to post more frequently using automation (as long as the quality still remains high).

Stay Top of Mind

If you’re the most brilliant person in the world, but you don’t show up? No one will remember you.

Scale Your Social Media

With automation, you’ll be able to grow your followers more easily.

A Hybrid Approach

After six years of trying different approaches, I’ve come up with an effective hybrid approach. It’s partly automated (from blog posts), and partly live participation, which includes posting others’ articles and engagement. The hybrid approach has gotten me the most followers and, more importantly, the best relationships. And everyone knows that Relationships are the ROI of social media, as my friend Bridget Willard says.

Where Do You Stand?

Do you automate a little bit? A lot? What tools have helped you? Leave me a comment!

 

 

 

 

The Startup Guide to Sleep

The Startup Guide to Sleep

The Startup Guide to Sleep

During the past few years, public perception about sleep and its importance has started to shift. While some founders and CEOs may still brag about how little sleep they need, many others are waking up to the significance of getting enough sleep. A sleep industry has begun to develop, with apps, mattresses, and devices to assist us in getting enough shut-eye. Here is my post about blogging tips for startups, by the way.

Is Sleep the Secret to 2 World Series Wins in 5 Years?

Is Sleep the Secret to 2 World Series Wins in 5 Years?

San Francisco Giants’ Sleep Coach

Perhaps you’ve heard that the San Francisco Giants have won three titles in the past five years. But did you know that for each year that they won they had a sleep coach? Dr. Chris Winter, whom the Huffington Post calls “the sleep whisperer,” coaches the team on getting the most recuperation so they can play at their best. Although the Giants pay more in hotel bills (to allow the players to rest rather than fly home immediately after a game), their players are well rested and perform better. And by the way, the Giants can improve your game in other ways, too.

Napping is Your New SuperPower

Napping is Your New SuperPower

Your New Super Power: Napping

Napping is your new best friend for more reasons than one. A nap can rejuvenate you so that you can work longer and can also extend your life. If you’re driving while tired, a few minutes napping at a rest stop lets you continue your drive safely. And did you know there’s a perfect time of day to nap? According to Dr. Sara Mednick, you can design your own nap using her nap wheel. Many companies are now allowing employees a place to nap at work.

Hack Your Nap

Hack Your Nap

Hack Your Nap

If you can’t get a solid eight during the night because of early-morning meetings, there is another way: hack your nap. According to this article in Forbes, a quick look at Google trends reveals that search interest in sleep has risen by 50% in the past decade and interest in napping has doubled. Ultimately, what are people looking for? Power nap info, of course! Of the power hacks, choosing between the 20-minute nap or the 70-90-minute nap is the most interesting. Nick Meyer, who is working on A Guide to Optimized Napping, explains this in more detail in his article.

Arianna Huffington's Big Secret is Sleep

Arianna Huffington’s Big Secret is Sleep

Arianna Huffington’s Story

Arianna Huffington, in her TEDx talk, explains that she “learned the hard way” about sleep deprivation. Her “small idea,” one that includes more joy and productivity, is to get enough sleep. She describes sleep as a feminist issue, and jokes that we women are literally going to “sleep our way to the top.” She goes on to say that a high IQ does not mean you’re a good leader. You may be making a lot of stupid mistakes because of sleep deprivation. Sound like any startups you’ve worked for lately?

Perchance to Dream

Perchance to Dream

Perchance to Dream

Founders and startup members may want to use their sleep time to find answers to their problems.  They may not have the time to become lucid dreamers, as outlined by Stephen LaBerge, the father of Lucid Dreaming, but they could use their dream state to solve difficult problems or rethink some issue. For instance, they may decide to “sleep on” a decision to take on a new team member.

Have a Personal Sleep Success Story?

How does sleep help you? I’d love to hear your story! Unless it cuts into your nap time, that is.

 

 

 

Social Media New Year’s Resolution: Do Less!

Social Media New Year's Resolution: Do Less!

Social Media New Year’s Resolution: Do Less!

Everyone is going to tell you to be thinner, to do more, and to mold yourself into a better person for the new year. People will offer up lists of ways that you can organize and prioritize your resolutions. However, from my point of view, this is wrong thinking. This year, for my New Year’s resolution, I am resolving to do less.

Instead of resolutions like eat fewer carbs or stop smoking, here are mine, broken down.

If you need justification for not doing New Year’s Resolutions at all, here are a few:

Change Pinterest Board Covers Seasonally

Change Pinterest Board Covers Seasonally (December’s Are Red)

One. Change Pinterest Board Covers Quarterly

Previously, I was changing my Pinterest board covers every month. Here’s why it’s a good idea to change Pinterest board covers. And the last day of every month, I’d be up half the night looking for perfect board covers. This year, I’m resolving to change them once a quarter. So, for instance, I’ll be doing all white board covers starting in January. To make this even easier, I created a secret board called “White.” It’s already got enough white pins so that I won’t be up all night! For Spring, I’ll create another secret board (maybe green), and so on. Four per year. Not twelve.

Use Secret Pinterest Boards to Plan Your Board Covers

Use Secret Pinterest Boards to Plan Your Board Covers

Two. Fewer Scheduled Tweets and More Tweets Without Links

On Twitter, I’ll be posting fewer scheduled tweets, and adding some that are tips without links. As my friend, Bridget Willard says, having a link in every tweet requires a lot from your followers. And I agree. The additional benefit is there is no link to check and recheck if I reuse that same tweet later. Another benefit of linkless tweets is that they tend to foster conversation.

You can search in your stream for tweets without links by adding -http to your search term. For instance, search: “startups -http” to find people talking about startups.

By the way, Bridget has a terrific series of Guru Minutes on YouTube, and you can follow her here:

Bridget Willard’s Guru Minute on YouTube

Three. Get Offline on Sundays

Another social media resolution is to get completely offline on Sundays. Previously, I’d be checking in and pinning, tweeting, or posting on Sundays. This resolution does require getting everything scheduled on Friday, rather than Sunday.

One New Year's Resolution? More sleep!

One New Year’s Resolution? More sleep!

Four. Sleep More

What to do with all this extra time, you may ask? Sleep! Being a social media manager requires a lot of attention to detail. Posting and engaging with people can be exhausting if you’re working on a lot of accounts. Your job is probably the same way. My bestie Amy Donohue (follow her on Twitter at @TheFabSocial) goes to sleep early, and has influenced me to do the same.

Here are some articles about sleep that you may enjoy:

So here’s the part where I ask you about what you think, and whether you have any social media resolutions. I’d love to hear from you. That is, unless it cuts into your nap time!

WordCamp San Francisco: Why A Blogger Should Go

WordCamp San Francisco: Why Bloggers Should Go

WordCamp San Francisco: Why Bloggers Should Go

This isn’t the first WordCamp I’ve attended, and it won’t be my last one, either. There are so many reasons to go, I can’t even begin to list them all. Here are a few highlights. If you haven’t read any of my other  posts about WordCamps, here are a couple of my faves: WordCamp Orange County 2014: Awesome Moments and WordCamp San Francisco: Favorite Things.

The Bill Was Fabutab

Frankly, I was more than a little excited that WordCampSF had so many women speakers this year. You could practically spend the entire two days and not listen to one single man, which is unusual at a technical conference, and even more unusual in San Francisco, where even Pinterest events are filled with men. This is awesome in so many ways. More on the particulars below.

The Bloggess

One of the biggest draws for me at the 2014 WordCamp was getting to see and hear The Bloggess. If you’ve never read her blog, you should. Come back here after two and a half years, when you’re done laughing. Yes, she’s that funny. If you don’t come back, I don’t blame you. Whatever. I was a little bit afraid to hear her speak because she has reached that stage of awesome in my mind, but she did not disappoint. In fact, my favorite moment came from her talk.

She was talking about trolls, which we all get as bloggers, especially on the more successful posts. And she said “It’s my house, so if you’re going to comment, entertain me. And if you don’t, look out!” Since her blog is curated, she can change the comments of trolls, which she does. Simple, but brilliant, right? Then when the troll returns (they always do!), she can again change their comment from the extremely negative to the extremely positive.

WordCamp San Francisco: Buttons Are Everywhere

WordCamp San Francisco: Buttons Are Everywhere

WordCamp San Francisco: MailChimp Cat Apparel

WordCamp San Francisco: MailChimp Cat Apparel

The Freebies

Yes, this might seem trivial, but deep in our hearts we all love the cheesy t-shirts, mugs, and free things we get at conferences. Even the stickers help make a lackluster conference better. This year’s winner was clearly MailChimp’s cute knitted cat hat. They had full-sized hats for people, too. I’m not sure how much my cat loved the hat, but she’s fussy that way. Anyway, she put up with it long enough to get a picture.

Meeting People

Hobnobbing with the other WordPress nerds is always a highlight, and this year’s WordCamp participants were no exception. I got to hang out with my buddy Peter Woolvett, too.

Crafty Chica was a huge and welcome surprise as well. She’s @CraftyChica on Twitter, by the way. You’ll love all her glitter and positivity.

Getting Retweeted. By Matt Mullenweg. Twice.

If you don’t know who Matt Mullenweg is, Google him!

Giants. Fans.

As in the “Orange Tide” was right outside the door. When we wandered outside, we’d see planes with banners, people dressed in orange, tailgating parties, etc. Did I mention dogs wearing orange and black shoes? As thousands poured through SOMA, up King Street and over to the stadium, it was impossible to ignore. Walking out of WordCamp and into the insane orange-and-blackness that engulfed San Francisco was incredible.

Will You Go? Have You Been?

I’d love to hear from you! If you’re planning to go next year, let’s meet up for coffee!

WordCamp San Francisco: Giants Fans

WordCamp San Francisco: Giants Fans

Startups: Why Being Vulnerable Makes You a Better Entrepreneur

 

Startups: Why Being Vulnerable Makes You a Better Entrepreneur

Startups: Why Being Vulnerable Makes You a Better Entrepreneur

Being an entrepreneur, you’ve probably heard that you should be tougher, leaner, and quicker at decision-making. And while all of these traits are important, you might have never heard that being vulnerable could help you as an entrepreneur.

Recently, on Women in Business Today’s (#WIBT) hangout on air, we discussed Brene Brown’s TEDxTalk on vulnerabililty. Brown is a scientist who takes years–and a stint in therapy–to discover how to be vulnerable.

Vulnerability Gives You Courage

As an entrepreneur, you’re investing in the future of your idea or startup. And while you may believe you have the best idea in the world, there are so many things that could go wrong. People and brands think they have the answer to all the prayers of the known world, but people are emotional creatures. CEOs often forget this. We all make decisions based on emotion. Thus, a potential client may love the idea a startup has, but what if that client hates the company for the way it advertises or treats its employees? What if the idea is terrific, but the timing is off? Or what if the funding doesn’t come through for your high-tech widget?

There are so many reasons why people don’t buy. And every company takes a flying leap into the dark when it puts an idea or product out into the world. Realizing your own vulnerability and being honest about it can open doors where none were open before. By the way, Inc. has a terrific article about the Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship, and the “fake it til you make it” attitude that plagues many entrepreneurs.

Vulnerability Gives Your Employees Courage

Why do your employees decide to work with you? Your product may be no different than anyone else’s. But if you’re authentic, and tell people who work for and with you the truth, the chances are that your employees will feel more courageous, too. They’ll want to stick with you during the hard times, they’ll feel motivated when they get up in the morning. and your product or service will have its differentiator.

Vulnerability Makes You Stand Out

Startups: Why Being Vulnerable Makes You a Better Entrepreneur

Startups: Why Being Vulnerable Makes You a Better Entrepreneur

When you’re vulnerable, when you treat your own employees like family, those people will travel miles to do business with you and to work with you. Once I’m a raving fan, I’ll drive past other businesses to do business with those who treated me well. Often, it’s that emotional vulnerability that is the glue that makes me stick with them. Often I’m willing to do nearly anything to buy something from the company that shows its vulnerability–its heart, if you will. And I’m not alone in this, either.

Emotional Quid Pro Quo

Every time I show my vulnerability in my writing, I’m scared. All those thoughts of “I’m not good enough” emerge from their deep closet. And yet, every time I’ve been rewarded by people saying “Me, too! That happened to me!” Or “OMG. Do you need anything?” Or a story from them, in an emotional quid pro quo. In other words, now that you’ve opened up, I feel that I can, too. And they share something with a similar emotional weight to what I’ve shared. That’s the same way it works for a bigger brand; your emotional vulnerability makes you fans both inside and outside the company.

When Has Vulnerability Helped You?

Have you ever been intentionally vulnerable? Or were you forced into a vulnerable position? Please let me know in the comments!

 

 

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