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June, 2013:

Excited for Independents Week 2013

Independents Week is coming up June 30 – July 7, 2013. I’m really excited for this week of celebrating independently owned business by getting awesome discounts. Since I joined Local First Arizona last year, I’ve learned a lot about the benefits of supporting local businesses. When you shop locally, not only are you supporting “the little guy,” you’re keeping more money in the local economy. I was amazed when I learned that for every $100 you spend at a big box store, only $43 stays in the local economy. When you spend $100 at a local business, $73 stays in the local economy.

LFA Infographic

To celebrate Independents Week, Local First Arizona created the Golden Coupon program where dozens of Local First members are offering a 20% discount if you shop with the Golden Coupon.  The list is pretty extensive and diverse.

Here are some of the places I’m most excited about using my Golden Coupon:

The Dhada: This little Indian restaurant in Tempe will blow you away. Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with Indian food; everything here is fantastic. This was the first place I made sure was on my calendar for Independents Week. Some of the other great restaurants that are accepting Golden Coupons include Fez, Coronado Café, House of Tricks, Tryst Café, and Duck and Decanter.

Urban Cookies: I’ve been looking for an excuse to indulge my sweet tooth. This is an award-winning bakery and they make gluten-free cookies and cupcakes.

golden-couponAZ on the Rocks: I really like this rock climbing center in Scottsdale. The staff is friendly and they have auto-belays so you can climb by yourself if you are so inclined. I’m really happy that this place is on the Golden Coupon list.

Zia Records: Independents Week will hopefully be my first of many trips to Zia Records. They are known for being a great place to buy and sell CDs and DVDs and for finding obscure items that aren’t available in other stores or hellaciously expensive if you buy them online.

Write On’s: This charming stationary and gift shop in Phoenix is part of my family. This is my go-to place when I need a greeting card or a classy gift. The women who work here are like a set of aunts. I love shopping here.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Check out the full list of Arizona businesses that are accepting the Golden Coupon for Independents Week. It’s a great excuse to try someplace new and explore what’s available your community. Yes, even Carter Law Firm is participating in this year’s event.

For those of you who don’t live in the Phoenix area or are looking to get out of dodge, a lot of businesses in the Cottonwood, Flagstaff, and Tucson areas are also accepting the Golden Coupon.

Update: Be sure to check out these last minute additions that are accepting Golden Coupons – Jamburritos, Brand X T-shirts, and Changing Hands.

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Every Time You Suck At Social Media, A Kitten Dies

I am not a social media expert, guru, or whatever those people are calling themselves this week. I’m just a person who loves social media. I’ve learned how to use it mostly by watching others and attending my fair share of social media seminars for individuals and business owners. I’m lucky that many of my friends are well-regarded for their work in social media marketing and I know shut up and listen when they’re talking about what works.

#SaveTheKittens; Photo by dougwoods from Flickr

#SaveTheKittens; Photo by dougwoods from Flickr

It’s frustrating to see companies and organizations suck at using social media. They clutter the feed with garbage which damages their reputations. I had it crammed down my throat that social media is a communications tool to facilitate interactions with others; it’s not a digital billboard. There are times I want to tweet at people, “Every time you suck at Twitter, a kitten dies,” but I know it’s a waste of time because they don’t pay attention to what anyone else says about or to them.

Here are some of the most common and annoying offenses people are committing with their social media accounts and putting kittens in fear all over the world that they might not survive your next post:

  1. Having social accounts and never posting anything or abandoning your accounts for long periods without explanation.
  2. Having social media accounts but never responding when anyone tries to interact with you, especially customers.
  3. Talking only about yourself. This is especially true if you exclusively post “sales-y stuff.”
  4.  Thanking every person who likes or follows you. (This looks like bragging or that you have nothing useful to say.)
  5.  Bombing the feed by posting several times in a row.
  6.  Deleting posts to correct or clarify statements. (It’s better to post an update instead.)
  7.  Starting a blog and stop adding posts after two weeks (sometimes less). Blogging takes a commitment.
  8.  Connecting your Facebook and Twitter accounts so your tweets make no sense because they cut off after the 140th character.
  9.  Asking for retweets (aka digital panty throwing) or indulging digital panty throwers.
  10.  Tweeting that you posted something new on your Facebook page or another social media account. (If your fans cared what you put on your other profiles, they would connect with you there.)
  11.  Posting dead links or bad links.
  12.  Getting defensive with critics.
Don't let this kitten die because you suck at social media; Photo by kennymatic from Flickr

Don’t let this kitten die because you suck at social media; Photo by kennymatic from Flickr

Facebook has a “like” button, but I think they need to add buttons for “dislike” and “dead kitten.” Most of us cringe, grumble, and unfollow when someone sucks at social media. Perhaps adding these buttons would help companies understand when they suck and inspire them to seek out professional assistance.

One of the best social media tips I’ve received is “be useful.” Think about your audience’s needs and look for ways to interact with them. If you see yourself in the list, here are some book recommendations for being better at social media:

For those of you who are visual learners, check out Oatmeal’s take on this topic.

Hat tip to everyone to contributed tips and suggestions for this post.

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Living the Sweaty Life

For anyone who doesn’t know, I sweat . . . a lot. I sweat when it’s hot. I sweat when it’s cold. I have to be careful about my wardrobe choices otherwise it’s painfully obvious how much I sweat. I own almost no white or other light colored shirts because I know I’m going to stain them the first time I wear them. (Thank goodness I look good in jewel tones.) I also don’t own silk shirt or any other fabrics that stain easily. I don’t wear women’s cut shirts because the arm holes are cut too close to my armpits so it makes the sweat transfer even more efficient and obvious.

Sweat is Sexy by Dawn - Pink Chick from Flickr

Sweat is Sexy by Dawn – Pink Chick from Flickr

My situation has a fancy name – hyperhidrosis – and technically it’s a condition but I just accept it as a state of being. It’s something I live with and that I’m mindful of.

I’ve learned to keep my right hand in my pocket or pressed against my leg when I’m at networking events so my hand won’t be wet when I go to shake someone’s hand.  I know to keep the car’s A/C turned up too high to keep my sweating under control when I’m driving to a business meeting or an important event and to turn the vents in the car towards my hands on the steering wheel so my hands don’t get too slick while I’m driving. I often don’t put on my work shirt until right before I leave the house.

Looking back, I’ve had this for as long as I can remember. I sweat just walking between classes at school (and it wasn’t a big school). In gymnastics, one of my nervous habits was blowing on my hands. I never really had an answer when my teammates asked why I did that, but I’m pretty sure I was trying to keep my hands dry.

People with hyperhidrosis can get Botox in their armpits, but this is only a temporary fix. I can think of better ways to spend up to $3000/year. It’s cheaper to use a men’s unscented antiperspirant (it works better) and buy new shirts.

I got one suggestion on how to deal with hyperhidrosis in professional settings that made a lot of sense. Katy Goshtasbi  suggested I invest in some plain dri-fit shirts and wear them under my professional clothes. This is a great suggestion when I wear sweaters and oxford shirts, but it probably won’t work for other fashion tops. I have my eyes peeled for a close fitting men’s dri-fit shirt. Women’s shirts tend to have cap sleeves, which means the sleeves are not long enough to stop all the sweat. I learned that the hard way when I tried layering a simple white shirt under a dress shirt before an important interview. Thank goodness for jackets.

If you sweat like I do, just know that you’re not alone. I know others have it worse than me and I’m lucky that this is only a big deal if I let it be.

Reconciling my Personal & Professional Lives – or Not

A friend recently suggested I write a blog post about how I reconcile my professional life with the fact that I do flash mobs and wear pasties. My initial thought in response to that was “I don’t.”

Ignite Phoenix After Hours #3 - photo by Devon Christopher Adams

Ignite Phoenix After Hours #3 – photo by Devon Christopher Adams

For anyone who doesn’t know, I’m a lawyer by trade, I do flash mobs with Improv AZ for fun, and yes, there are times when I appear in public wearing pasties instead of a shirt. I’m also a runner, a basset hound owner, a Star Trek geek, and a singer. My standard “uniform” is jeans and a t-shirt but my closet has everything from business suits to miniskirts and tank tops to ball gowns.

When I say that I don’t reconcile my professional and personal lives I mean that I’m not a different person in personal and professional settings. Wherever I go, I’m always me. There may be topics I don’t bring up in certain settings, but if they come up, I’m fine with it. There’s nothing I do in public that I wouldn’t own in any situation.

When I was first getting involved in social media professionally, I asked if I should have separate Twitter accounts for my personal and professional lives. The audience responded with an astounding “NO!” They said that people want to know the whole person so there’s no reason to separate the personal from the professional sides of my personality. They said that some people will seek me out because I’m different than others in my field – and that has totally been true! I had one person schedule a consultation with me after his daughter saw me at one of my speaking engagements. She told her dad that he’d like me because I swear.

Have there been repercussions? I wouldn’t call them repercussions as much as natural consequences. There are people who are turned off from me because I’m bold and don’t conform to the traditional lawyer stereotype. And that’s ok. On the flip side there are people who like that I’m different and that my personal and professional lives are integrated. It’s so much easier to be one person instead of trying to maintain separate professional and personal lives.

The only thing I do keep separate is my Facebook page. If you’re not my friend in real life, you don’t get to be my friend on my personal Facebook page. My Facebook page is where I put things that only my friends find interesting, but I’ll still own everything I post if anyone asks. If you’re not my friend in real life, you’re better off liking the law firm’s Facebook page and following me on Twitter.

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