Business Cards for #BlogHer’11 are on their way!

biz cards sample

Ordered from Zazzle.com

Countdown to BlogHer’11: My to-do list, roommate and thoughts on leaving my family.

Thanks to Calley, the Eco-Chic, for pressuring me…ahem…encouraging me to write a to-do list.  BlogHer ’11 is fast approaching and I am a little scared, a little nervous and a LOT excited!  I haven’t flown on a plane since before 9-11 and that alone has me a bit freaked out.  Oh and I’ve never left my kids or husband before for more than a night…let alone to go across the country!

One exciting tidbit is this, my roommate at BlogHer will be….Kim of Dirty Diaper Laundry!  I’m looking forward to getting to know Kim a little better.

So what crazy last minute things do I have in the works? (I do work better under pressure, and at the last minute, so I’ve learned to cope with the fact that there’s always a lot to be done in practically no time at all.)

  • Advocacy! Get my super cute advocacy buttons that I’ve custom ordered from FunkyLindsay on Etsy!  She makes the cutest buttons and I’ve ordered a ton of them to take with me and hand out!  Maybe if there are some left then I’ll give them away on my blog after BlogHer!  There will be Knickernappies buttons, Cloth Diaper Geek Buttons and more!
  • Shop for clothes! Yes I work at home, this means I wear the same pair of jeans virtually every day, and a couple random tank tops, and flip flops…So. I definitely need to beef up my wardrobe and quick.  However, I am cheap and always on a budget, but that’s ok because I love shopping at Thrift Stores.  So between now and then I need to get some new, err…new-to-me clothes.
  • Order business cards! I’ve been hearing a lot about zazzle.com, or if you all have any good, quick and inexpensive places were I can order last minute business cards please let me know!  That’s definitely on my to-do list.
  • Print tickets! With all this electronic fanciness I have no paper copies of anything.  I need to print plane tickets?  Can I do that?  Do I do that?  It’s been so long that I have no clue.  I also need to print my ticket to get in to BlogHer, my Hotel reservations, etc.
  • What do I do with my hair!? About a month ago I went pink, but first I bleached it all out.  Now it’s faded pink, I have roots, I need a haircut.  I need to decide, do I whether I want to re-do the pink, re-bleach my roots….Ah, the decisions.
  • My elevator pitch? Apparently I need a pitch, a brief description of myself, my job, my blog(s), what I do and why.  I am assuming I wouldn’t need this if I wasn’t going to get asked, possibly in front of a room of people…which the thought of makes me break out in a cold sweat.  At BlogHer though networking with other bloggers is the name of the game so I better come up with something good, and fast.
  • Map out some Geocaches! Yes, I love Geocaching and truth be told, I don’t have a whole lot of opportunities to geocache out of state and so I am not going to leave San Diego until I find at least one.  Geocaching in the different places you visit and on different trips is kind of like taking or leaving a souvenir and a great way to remember all the places you’ve been.
  • Netbook! Check!  I got a great deal on an Acer One Aspire, let’s just hope my kids don’t break it before my trip!
  • Personal goals! My personal blogging goals are to be able to continue to grow my FaceBook Fans and Twitter Followers between now and my trip.  With the help of my new netbook I hope to continue to blog while on my trip.  I’m really looking forward to meeting some fellow cloth diapering and mommy bloggers while at BlogHer and I can’t wait to report back to you all and perhaps turn you all on to some great new blogs and the moms behind them.

I know I have to be leaving some things out, not sure what, but so far, my above checklist should serve as an idea of where I’m at and what’s left on my things to accomplish.

For the last few years I have longed for the opportunity to go to BlogHer but I never tried or even let myself entertain the idea of it being a possibility.  This year I decided I was going to do it and make it happen.  I hope it inspires some of you who hope to attend in the future, set your sites and never stop believing that you can make it happen if you really want to.

Thanks for reading!  Love ya!

Julie, Cloth Diaper Geek

Auto-Tweets, Are they bad for business?

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New updates, improvements and automations are announced daily regarding social media networks and their relationships with each other.  Most seem to be a huge blessing, a much needed improvement that has arrived to make your life easier.  Set them up and you’ll be on the fast track to growing your business with a lot less effort on your part, or will you?

The question at hand…Should you rush in to automating tweets?

I think it’s important to truly understand the purpose of Twitter, how it can work for you, and how it can work against you.

The most benefits to be had are gained by making connections, not just spamming as many followers as you possibly can.  Connections are made by actually “connecting” with others.

What do I mean exactly when I say connecting?  I mean being present, reading your followers tweets, commenting back, re-tweeting when they ask, when you see a tweet worthy of sharing with others, or when you want to help another blogger or business owner out by sharing their link, etc.

When I say “present” I don’t mean that you have to be on twitter 24/7 in order to read and respond to everything, I mean checking your twitter acct just as you would your phone’s voicemail or your email.

Why is this important?  Well after FaceBoook gave you the ability to autotweet your facebook status updates or fan page posts, people who had a twitter acct but rarely used it, they just became a whole lot more active on twitter!  The problem…They aren’t actually on twitter.

Imagine this, you ask your facebook fans “I’m bored, what should I do?” or you ask “Do you have any suggestions for my website or ideas for future blog posts?”  You wait, you see comments on your FB Page and you respond.

But what about twitter?  I bet you forgot that those same questions are being asked, pretty much broadcast, to all your twitter followers as well.  They don’t know that you’ve asked it on FaceBook, they think you’ve asked them, on twitter.  So they respond, maybe out of courtesy or perhaps out of genuine interest, they may even be a past, present or future customer of yours.  Sometimes they respond with a question, sometimes just with an idea or comment that you’d normally respond to with a “thank you.”  But you know what?  They’re talking to you and you aren’t listening.

So, wrapping this up…  I am not saying auto-tweets aren’t convenient and can’t work to your advantage, but I am saying that you should realize that you might be “accidentally” engaging customers and followers in a seemingly one-sided conversation on Twitter.  Let this article serve as your friendly reminder, check your twitter account regularly and make sure that you are diligently responding to your replies and messages.

I hope you found this post informative! Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Julie

TweetChat Tutorial: How to participate in a Twitter Chat or Twitter Party.

Each week I have the privilege of getting to participate in weekly #clothdiapers chats on twitter and each week I post reminder’s that “It’s Monday night!  Time for the #clothdiapers chat!”  So many of you are able to participate and so many of you want to but just don’t know how.

Recently I made a Youtube Video/Slideshow explaining how to use TweetChat to participate in a Twitter Party or Twitter Chat but since not everyone can watch videos I figured I’d do a photo tutorial/explanation as well.

First thing you’ll do (assuming you have a Twitter acct) is go to Tweetchat.com.

Next, you will log in to your Twitter Acct through TweetChat.  You do not have to sign up for anything and they do not have access to your password.  You sign in and grant access.

After you’re logged in to your Twitter Acct via TweetChat you will have the chance to enter your #hashtag in the box at the top of the screen.  The Hashtag is going to filter out every other thing on twitter and only show you tweets that have that same attached hashtag.  For the purpose of this tutorial I used the #clothdiapers hashtag.  For Twitter parties you’ll want to use the designated hashtag for that party.
After entering the #clothdiapers Hashtag you’ll see the most recent posts using that hashtag as well as any live tweets using it, in real time.
Now when you type a tweet it, TweetChat will automatically attach the hashtag that you specified to it.  You will then see your Tweets appearing in the list of tweets before you.
If the tweets are moving too fast for you to keep up then you can adjust your refresh speed as seen in the photo above.
Next thing you need to notice is that your tweets and any tweets that are directed to you or in reply to you will be highlighted and will stand out from the rest of the tweets.  (see photo above)
Lastly, you should know that you can “star” important tweets so that you can go back and respond later.  Or in the event someone shared a link that you want to check out, etc you will easily be able to find them.  Next to the “star” you will also see a way to respond/reply to a person’s tweet or to “retweet” a tweet that you like.
These are the basics of participating in a Twitter Chat or Twitter Party.  If you plan on attending a Twitter Party and never have before then I suggest you try a couple Twitter Chats first.  Cloth Diaper Twitter Chats are Monday nights, every week, at 9:00pm eastern.
Have any questions?  Feel free to contact me by commenting here or on my FaceBook Page. I hope to see you on Twitter soon!

The Cloth Diaper Geek & She Thinks Media are looking for BlogHer Sponsors!

Will work for BlogHer Sponsorships…

Hello! Thank you for reading beyond the first sentence!  Perhaps you’re interested in finding out more about what’s involved in sponsoring the Cloth Diaper Geek and She Thinks Media?  That’s great!

First of all let me explain that this will be my first trip to BlogHer!  BlogHer is 2-day female bloggers conference where bloggers and business owners go to network, share, grow, learn and have fun!  I’m primarily going for the learning part… :)

I’m offering different sponsorship opportunities to suit different businesses needs.  I’m a social media and marketing professional, freelance writer/blog contributor for many blogs, and overall online social butterfly (on behalf of my clients).  I’m not asking that you simply sponsor for fun or just because you can, I’m asking that you sponsor me and let me earn my way to BlogHer by allowing me to work for your company in various ways through the end of the year.

Here’s what I am offering as a marketing/advertising special:

Platinum Sponsorship (You receive the following through Dec 31, 2011) $200.00 *limited number of Platinum Sponsors available.

  • 2 posts per month (which I will write unless you want to provide them) on my blog (www.clothdiapergeek.com) about anything you like.  Posts could promote a specific sale,  your store in general, a giveaway, etc.  These posts will also be cross promoted on my FaceBook Page and Twitter.  If you prefer I could contribute 2 posts per month to you for use on your blog in lieu of posting about you on my blog.
  • Large graphic, (which I will make for you) to use in the rotating banner spot you see on my Cloth Diaper Geek Blog.  Approximate size is 500×300.  Graphic and text will promote whatever you like and can be changed as desired through the end of the year.
  • 125×125 ad space on both my blogs Cloth Diaper Geek and She Thinks Mom through the end of the year.  If you do not have a graphic to use I will make one for you.
  • Shoutouts via FaceBook and Twitter, throughout each month, linking to your FaceBook Page or Twitter Acct.
  • Text link in Cloth Diaper Geek toolbar under “Where to Shop
  • Twitter shoutouts during the popular Twitter Cloth Diaper Chats which occur Monday nights.  (1 shoutout with a link to your store, per week, through the end of the year.)

Silver Sponsorship (You receive the following through Dec 31, 2011) $100.00

  • 1 post per month (which I will write unless you want to provide it to me) on my blog (www.clothdiapergeek.com) about anything you like.  Posts could promote a specific sale,  your store in general, a giveaway, etc.  These posts will also be cross promoted on my FaceBook Page and Twitter.  If you prefer I could contribute 1 post per month to you for use on your blog in lieu of posting about you on my blog.
  • 125×125 ad space on my blog through the end of the year.  If you do not have a graphic to use I will make one for you.
  • Twitter shoutouts, 3-4 per month, referring customers with a link to your store.

Bronze Sponsorship (You receive the following through Dec 31, 2011) $50.00

  • 125×125 as space on my Cloth Diaper Geek Blog through the end of the year. If you do not have a graphic to use I will make one for you.


Don’t see a sponsor package that suits your needs?  Want to hire me for something different or customize a package to suit your needs?  Email me at shethinksmedia(at)gmail.com


Want to snag one of these sponsor opportunities?  Contact me!

Is it better to act like a big fish or a little fish?

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This is a really interesting topic that I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time.  When you’re a small business there are many types of customers whom you’d like to attract, and some you end up wishing you hadn’t…None the less, you need customers in order to succeed, unless you’re independently wealthy and your business is more of a hobby.

Since there are different types of customers you need to decide whether you want to specifically target one group and risk turning away another, or if you can figure out a common denominator that will allow you to attract them all.  Here’s my breakdown on the different types of customers out there.

Customer A: These are customers who take pride in supporting small businesses and actually seek them out.  They don’t mind spending an extra couple of bucks and usually they can afford to.  Once they find a business they like then you can expect them to become repeat customers.

Customer B: Customers who fall into this group also like to support small businesses but only really when they feel it works out, the price is right, etc.  The majority of the time they end up shopping elsewhere because for them it’s all about the end price, no matter how small the savings.

Customer C: Hmmm… Customer C is more of a hybrid customer, or maybe I should say they’re a High-Maintenance customer! lol  They want to support small businesses and they prefer to, but they also want you to act like you’re a big business and uphold the same sorts of policies and practices as the big businesses.

If Customer C were to shop online at big box retailer’s website for example, they’d just pay the advertised price, shipping, research the product themselves before they checkout and voila!

However, if Customer C were to shop at a small business for the same product they’d likely compare your price to the big box retailer’s price, check out your shipping prices and policies, and then email you with all their questions.  I think they might like to do this to ensure that you’re really there and because they like to make you work for their money.

Customer C isn’t really a problem customer and personally I prefer them over Customer B’s but they really make you work for your sale.  At least they give you an opportunity to earn their sale, that’s how I always looked at it.

Now I wonder, if you were to act like a big retailer or business, put up a facade implying that you’re a little bigger than you really are, would they question you as much?  This is the question to be examined.  How do you attract customers A, B and C while not turning one or the other away?

Well, if you’re still reading this then I hope I have you intrigued enough to look for my follow up post in the next couple of days.  For now it appears my inspiration has led me to end this question with another question!

Do you all wonder these same things?  Do you feel pressure to act larger than you are?  Do you ever feel like it’s better to appear smaller?  What are your thoughts?

Saturday Mom Blog Hop! Add your blog!

Blog Hop hosted by

Here’s how it works…

In order to join the hop and add your link you have to first

  • First, follow the first (2) Blogs on the list AND the last (2) Blogs on the list.  Why the first and last?  Well normally I see blog hops where you must just follow people at the top, but that doesn’t seem all that fun when those never change and there’s no guarantee anyone else will get new followers.  So I decided to play by my own rules and ask that you follow the top two and bottom two.
  • Second, grab the code for the linky and create a new Blog post on your blog.  Please also use the Cloth Diaper Geek Blog Hop graphic and copy/paste these instructions if you can so that others will know the rules and how to play along.
  • Optional, it is not “required” but if you’d like other bloggers to follow you back through this Hop then it’s suggested that you leave them a comment saying so on their blog so that they know you stopped by.

*To grab the code and place this Blog Hop on your blog you must click the link below that says “Get the code here…” or copy/paste the code from the iframe box below.

 

 

Don’t let the fact that you’re self-taught dictate your self-worth.

This is something I struggle with daily in my new field.  Over the last 4-5 years I have learned a lot and taught myself a lot whether through watching tutorials, googling solutions to problems, a few college courses, trial and error and a TON of hands on experience.  However, with no paper to prove my qualifications I struggle with finding the confidence to stand behind my services and prices.   I am forever doubting myself.

What if I say I can do something and then it turns out I can’t?  What if they don’t like what I do? What if…Seriously the list of “what ifs” I can come up with are seriously crazy.

Do you struggle with confidence in your line of work?  Whether your a blogger unsure of your writing skills, a crafter who’s taught herself how to sew, a consultant or something else completely.  I’d love to know I’m not the only one feeling this way.

I’ve heard that the best way to act is like you can take on the world, surely that’s easier said than done.  Confident people get noticed, I’ve definitely seen them.  They command your attention, come across as knowledgeable and reliable, and are downright admirable.  And I’m not talking about overly confident a.k.a. cocky people.  I’m referring to those who you just know that they know what they’re talking about!

It’s getting a little late for new years resolutions but I’m going to give this a shot regardless.  I’ll consider, whether anyone is actually reading this or not, to be my own little personal pep-talk to myself.

I am confident, I am knowledgeable, my work has value!  Roarrr!

Featured WAHM Interview with Shair of The Knit Wit by Shair!

This interview kicks off my WAHM Interview blog feature.  You might be wondering, do you qualify as a WAHM (work-at-home-mom)?  Well I think we all do!  Whether you are a mommy who works outside the home, runs a business from home, runs a blog or just plain stays home to care for your family, I think we’re all working and motherhood is the most important job of all, therefore we’re all WAHM’s!  If you’re interested in being interviewed please email me at shethinksmedia(at)gmail(dot)com.
No without further delay, let me share with you my first WAHM Interview with Shair!

 

Tell me a little about yourself, your family, where you’re located- I am a happily married mother of 3 young boys aged 4, 2, and will be 1 on March 2nd.  I love knitting, sewing, blogging and Nascar

What is the name of your store or blog and how did you get started- My store name is The Knit Wit by Shair and my blog is the same name http://theknitwitbyshair.blogspot.com I started my blog last June because my friend started one and I loved reading hers, so I thought I would start one.  From there, I decided  to start my shop as I had a lot of products I had made anyways, and having the widget on the side of my blog is good exposure for my shop.

Have you always been a wahm or did you previously work in some other field? When I had my first son I stayed home for the first year for our 1 year of maternity leave, and then I went back to work as a Personal Assistant and Office Administrator.  After having my 2nd, I just stayed home, and then when we had our 3rd I decided I needed to start earning money, and trying to save some money where possible.  So the blogging started.

What’s the most fun part about being a wahm? Getting to stay home and play with my boys, and still have some income!
If you make items or just sell retail, what are your favorite items to make/sell and why? My favourite item to make is my knitted baby blankets, as I can always imagine a Mommy snuggling her little brand new baby in one of my creations.  I also know that the babies I have made them for as gifts have fallen in love with them and drag them around!  That makes me so happy!

Do you have any goals for your wahm business in the future? My first goal would be to get 10 sales on etsy, and I currently have 2.  My long-term goal is to have my shop generate enough income to reach an amount that my DH and I have set as my goal to bring in for the year.

If you could give a mom looking to try and start a new wahm business and/or blog once piece of advice what would it be? For bloggers, be true to who you are and write from your heart.  Make friends with other bloggers, and help promote other blogs, along with your own, and you will see how it comes back to you!
Visit Shair’s shop today and help her reach her goal of 10 sales on etsy!
You can also Follow Shair’s Blog The Knit Wit by Shair, Favorite her etsy shop The Knit Wit by Shair and become her Fan on FaceBook!
Shair is also looking for Sponsors for a HUGE Mothers Day event that she’s hosting.  Check out this link for more details and contact her for more info and/or to sign up as a sponsor!

On a couch in the corner…

Another blog post from my iPhone, yes I am crazy! But it is kind of fun. My kids are driving me crazy right now. Having twin 4 yr old boys is turning out to be a whirlwind of karate moves, constant eating, and a house that’s in a never ending state of disarray, at least until they’re in bed…Ground Hog day every day!

So among the screaming and running in and out of the house, here I sit tucked in a little corner attempting to write a blog post with one finger, again!

Taking a break from an e-book I am reading about social media that is totally blowing my mind. The possibilities are so endless its mind boggling, and just when you think you’ve mastered the art someone comes along and changes it all right in front of your eyes.

Education is the key, the knowledge and skills you need to grow your business and/or your blog are out there waiting for you to discover them. Don’t ever just settle for what you know, grow what you know, you will be so surprised at the renewed sense of inspiration that learning something new brings.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone