Exciting Announcement- New Job!

Well it’s certainly been a hot minute since I posted. I’ve been sort of in limbo, with things very much up in the air since I stopped writing. Last time I posted I was starting CaptivateQC, my own marketing consulting business and doing some part time work with Eleven Mass Media. Well I ended up spending a lot of time with the guys at Eleven Mass Media and in January they asked me to come on full-time.

Business Card Front

My fancy new Eleven Mass Media business card

Why’d I decide to accept the job?

Eleven Mass Media is a small marketing agency here in Charlotte. Allen has a background in marketing, advertising, graphic design, and web development but his most recent experience has been producing really high quality video work. Mike’s been involved in all things web from website development, PPC campaigns, internet positioning, content management system training, to developing strategic marketing initiatives. While I can tell you a little about their backgrounds, I can’t explain how much I’ve already learned from these guys. Eleven works with some clients on a project by project basis and provides full-service strategic marketing for others. The people at Eleven Mass Media and their approach to customizing their services to each client’s needs make it the perfect place for me.

What am I doing there?

I’m their social media and web marketing strategist. While Mike’s dabbled in social media he’s never had the time to fully immerse himself in the social world. The beautiful thing about joining Eleven Mass Media is that I get most of the benefits of being my own boss- flexible schedule, a large role in the decision-making process, and no micro-managing PLUS the opportunity to learn from Mike and Allen’s vast experiences.

Eleven Mass Media Business Card

Hopefully now that I’ve figured out what I’m doing I’ll be posting on here more-  but in the mean time, connect with me via Eleven Mass Media’s social accounts (I am the one running them afterall):

Twitter
Facebook
Pinterest
Instagram
LinkedIn

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Business start up, job search, recent graduate

Pink Washing- Is Awareness Enough?

Notice the Pink Ribbon engraved on the barrel

Well October has come and gone and Target’s moved many of it’s Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness items to clearance to make room for Christmas merchandise. When October rolls around you can’t escape the sea of pink ribbon products from pink guns to pink Tic Tacs not to mention the plethora of pink themed events. Many of Charlotte’s uptown buildings are even illuminated in a pink glow for October.

Most pink ribbon products donate some of their profits to one breast cancer organization or another, the most popular being Susan G. Komen for the Cure. There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding the idea of “pinkwashing”, companies hopping on the pink ribbon bandwagon with shady motives. These companies are either vague with the percentage of sales that go toward breast cancer prevention/research/victims or slap the pink ribbon on their labels to increase sales but don’t actually donate any of the sales to breast cancer causes. There’re also multiple instances of pinkwashing where the same company that’s “working to end breast cancer” is also selling products containing carcinogenic ingredients, sometimes even the item wearing the pink ribbon contains these carcinogens.

Susan G. Komen’s Promise Me Perfume, which allegedly contains harmful ingredients

As a female it’s easy to get sucked into all the excitement of Pinktober, but after doing just a bit of research it’s clear there is often an ulterior motive behind that pink label. The companies whose products wear the pink ribbon but don’t donate any money to related causes often say that they include the ribbon to raise “increase breast cancer awareness” but at what point do we, as consumers, say ok, enough with the awareness jig, we want action!

When I buy something with a pink ribbon I want it to go to: Research for a cure, specific prevention and detection programs, care for those currently fighting the disease, or support for those who’ve lost loved ones to breast cancer.

The Shiny Pink Brightside

This year, I had the privilege of helping a family friend with a “Pink” fundraiser event at her store Front Door Fabrics. A portion of the night’s sales from the store and all the participants went to the Pretty in Pink Foundation, which helps NC women cover the costs of breast cancer treatment when they have no health insurance. While their website doesn’t have the stats, the costs of treatment are astronomical and the options for women without insurance are slim to none. Instead of pulling salary money from fundraising money when government grants ran out, their staff went months without a paycheck, which demonstrates just how dedicated these folks are to helping women. It was a fun event, but more than that, the spirit of “women helping other women” was apparent, and I was proud to be a part of it.

Me and my Mom (a breast cancer survivor herself) at Front Door Fabric’s Pretty in Pink event

In no way do I think that all pink ribbon items/events are conniving marketing ploys attempting to trick you into buying things under the guise of helping stop breast cancer, but do think before you buy something just because it’s pink. Read the label, Google the product, and then decide if you want 3-25% of your money to go to the specified organization or if you’d rather donate the same amount to an organization whose purpose and spending habits you’re educated on.

Find out more from people who know more than me!

Buying Pink? Know Where Your Green Is Going

Breast Cancer Awareness:Why Does My Cancer Have A Logo

Trailer for Pink Ribbons, Inc.

Questions to consider before buying a pink product

The History of the Pink Ribbon

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Marketing Thoughts

Business start-up update: Moving ahead, slowly but somewhat surely

If I had it my way I’d already have my marketing tools (website, business cards, etc) and I’d be out working with clients. Unfortunately I’m learning that starting a business requires plenty of patience or lots of money to expedite the process. Because I don’t have lots of money, I’m currently attempting to be patient.

If only learning patience was as easy as getting a tattoo…

On top of the email address and Twitter account I registered last week I registered a website domain and started a Facebook page. Working on the website (which I’m doing through WordPress) has demonstrated exactly how little I know about coding so I’ve adding that to my list of things to learn. While I’ve registered these accounts, they have pretty much nothing on them. I’m struggling to start populating them with content because:

a)      I don’t have a logo or a color scheme

b)      I have a website but I don’t have it set-up enough that I want people looking at it so I don’t want to list it anywhere yet.

I’m working on getting a logo designed, my friend sketched some great concept starting points that I know a graphic designer could build off of to make it into a digital image. I’m at the same place with the website, I have an idea of how I want it to look but I’m struggling to translate that onto the webpage itself. I know a good number of talented graphic and web designers capable of doing a phenomenal job but I have pretty much no budget to pay someone $25-$100 an hour to do it.

So I’m stuck:

- I can depend on the kindness of my friends who are all employed full-time and have busy lives of their own to help when they have the time. Which I’m incredibly thankful for but when I’m asking for a favor from someone I don’t feel ok putting them on a deadline or rushing them, it’s just not right in my mind.

- I can pay someone to do it but that would increase the likelihood that somewhere down the road I’ll need to take a job I don’t particularly want because my savings are gone. It would decrease the time I have to get CaptivateQC off the ground while I know I have savings to pay for the cost of living.

- I can focus my time now on improving my graphic design skills and knowledge of coding/web design so I can do it myself. I love the idea of getting good at both graphic and web design but that will take lots of time. If I’m going to depend on CaptivateQC to generate enough cash for me to at least get by on then I need to get it up and running sooner rather than later.

It’s the classic “time vs money” dilemma.

Is it better for me to:

-Get it done well and quickly by paying someone to do the logo and the website

-Get it done slower but for free and maybe have a lower quality result (especially if I do it) by either learning and doing it myself or depending on my friends’ generosity and infringing on their free time

I don’t know the answer yet.

Working on it ok?

I’m contemplating my paid vs free dilemma but in the meantime I’m:

- Reading articles and tutorials on WordPress design and graphic design while playing around with both a bit

- Working on a campaign for my newspaper client in Edinburgh

- Working on more details of my business model

- Friday I have an exciting meeting with a family friend who has been in the same sort of business for 12 years and is willing to share his wisdom and experience

- Approaching some potential clients I already have a relationship with to see if we can work together, hopefully early next week

Advice is greatly appreciated.
Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Business start up, job search

Introducing: CaptivateQC

I finally landed on a name for my business.

I went through a magazine and wrote down all the words that appealed to me, cut them out, and arranged them on a piece of paper then went through narrowing it down. Started with 58 and ended up finally with one (well two words I guess).

Started with 58

Narrowed it down to 30, then 9

Ta-da! We have a winner!

CaptivateQC

cap·ti·vate (k p t -v t ). 1. To attract and hold by charm, beauty, or excellence.

OR  2. to hold the attention of by fascinating; enchant

QC is short for Queen City, a nickname for Charlotte. I added it because Captivate.com along with username “Captivate” is already taken on Twitter and other social media platforms. I’m from Charlotte and I’m starting my business here, so it makes sense.

What I’ve done so far:

-Set up a CaptivateQC email and Twitter account

-Written a rough copy of what I want on the website, including a basic outline of my services

-Enlisted one of my very artistic friends to draw up some logo options, hopefully this week

-Reading everything I can find on starting a marketing consulting business, small business social media success stories, and articles about marketing specifically for small businesses

What’s next:

-I’m meeting with one or two graphic design contacts of mine tomorrow to go over a potential referral partnership where I send heavier graphic design work needed by my clients to them. I’m also going to approach them with possibly designing/launching my website. If nothing else, they can give me an accurate quote for how much that would cost. From there I’ll decide whether I can pay/trade with someone to do it or if I need to take it on myself.

-I’m hoping to have business cards designed, ordered, and some semblance of a website up by this time next week

-Pricing. This is a big one. I have to figure out how I can make my services affordable to my target market of small businesses but also generate enough income for me to live on

-Networking with contacts. I’ve started compiling a list of Charlotte area small business owners to talk to. They may turn out to be potential clients, refer me to potential clients, or just provide some insight into how I can better reach clients and meet their needs

-Legal stuff. My Dad owns a LLC and so I’m hoping to pick his brain about the legal mumbo jumbo that comes along with a small business. Tax concerns and the like

 

So this is it, I’m doing it. I’m excited, scared, and eager to get started. But even being scared is a good thing, it’ll help me think things through thoroughly.

Advice/suggestions are so incredibly welcome.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Business start up, social media

Job Update – I’m Doing That Crazy Thing

I called the marketing agency I’d been waiting to hear back from on Tuesday afternoon and found out that they were “impressed with me but had made a strategic business decision to hold off on hiring for the position”. I was weirdly not upset. The CEO wanted to go ahead and get a meeting on the books for a month or so to “check in” and “see where we both stand” or something along those lines so December 5 I’ll go into their office to chat. So it’s not a definite no, it’s a not now. Which I think is better than a no. I think they were anticipating some new business and it didn’t come through or some of their clients may have scaled back their social media contracts with them so they wouldn’t have the money to afford someone in the position. I’d rather wait and possibly take them up on the offer later than risk starting and then being let go soon because the money wasn’t there to keep me on.

I sort of expected to have another job search freak out at this point but I was calm and only slightly disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I still want the job but I’ve somehow managed to be alright without it for now.

One of the reasons I think I’m ok with this is because I’ve had an idea rattling around in my head for a while and this has motivated me to go for it.

I’m going to start my own marketing consulting business.

I know it’ll be really hard and it’s definitely riskier than just taking a traditional job but I know I’m capable of doing it. I’m still working out the specifics and I’m sure there will be a lot lot more to come on the subject. Right now I’m struggling with finding a name…

Image Courtesy of Lululemon

So that’s where I stand. Still unemployed but excited about the scary road to starting my own small business. As always, any advice or suggestions for names for my business are welcome!

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in job search, recent graduate

How Successful Social Media Marketing and Job Hunting Are Alike

Blogging regularly on the subject of social media and my job search has helped me realize some of their similarities. While they are two very different activities, doing them well can require some of the same principles.

Know how to reach your target audience:

Social Media- As I’ve mentioned before, the social media landscape is vast and constantly evolving. Those hoping to capitalize on social media need to be aware of emerging platforms as well as be informed of how their target or existing customers are using social media. Jumping on the Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Foursquare bandwagon can waste company resources if customers have no interest in those applications or your brand doesn’t find a way to properly engage customers in a manner appropriate for the specific site. Check out these detective tricks to find your customers on social media from Jay Baer.

Job Hunting- Where are the companies you want to work for posting jobs? Solely on their website, LinkedIn, or Indeed? Do they only consider applicants who know someone within the company? You need to find out how to help them find and engage with you. Learn what you can about their company culture, hiring process, and what makes someone their ideal employee. For some companies, sending an unsolicited email requesting an interview may produce results, for others your best bet may be reaching out over LinkedIn or through a mutual contact. Learn the most effective way to reach your target audience aka your desired employer.

Content is king: While I hate this saying because it is greatly overused it is very true.

Social Media- If you just set up a social media account and link to feed automatic content from your website you won’t get results. That’s not social media, it’s one-way broadcasting like TV or print ads. You have to tailor unique social media messages for each specific platform to create value for your followers or fans.

Job Hunting- If you use one standard resume and generic cover letter to apply to every position you’ll have applied a lot and hear from none. Each resume and cover letter should be customized to match the specific job requirements and incorporate the company culture. The SEO of a resume will help you make it past the computer screening process by matching the keywords the computer looks for in order to decide whether or not your resume deserves to be looked at by a real human. Then when your resume makes it to the human screening phase your accomplishments will already be translated into the sort of candidate they’re looking for, instead of leaving it up to their interpretation. See this post to learn more about SEO for resumes. 

Balance is necessary:

Social Media- Consistently updating your social media accounts is vital to providing value to your followers. But balance is key here, Tweet or post too Facebook too much and you’ll annoy them. Keep it up and you’ll also lose followers/fans.

Job Hunting- Job Search 101 tells you to send a thank you note after an interview. This is more than good, it is expected if you want to secure the position. Taking the initiative to contact someone in the company you want to work for is also a smart job search move. But I’ve read some horror stories from recruiters about candidates who have called 17 times in one day to get information on the progress of the hiring process. While taking the initiative is wise, borderline stalking is not. Repeated unwarranted contact will annoy your potential employers and result in you quickly landing on the “Do not consider for future hire” list.

Overall, just doing it isn’t enough.

In order to be successful at either adding value for your customers using social media or landing the job you want, you have to work at it.

Find your target audience, customize content to be relevant for them, and use the appropriate amount of communication to maximize potential results without annoying them.

Check out these articles relevant to successful social media marketing and job hunting:

Social Media-

The Rise of Visual Social Media 

“Checking In” Via Social Media: Make Sure You Know Why Your Target Consumer Does It

Should Brands care about Pinterest? 

Winning Business on the Back of Content Strategy

Job Search-

The Winning Resume, 2012 Style

Best Looking resumes 

10 Cover Letter Don’ts 

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in job search, Marketing Thoughts, social media

Finding your ideal job sometimes isn’t… ideal

For no good reason, I’m a little off today. I’m still waiting to hear back about the interview I had last week for just about my dream job. This should come as no surprise, I was told it would probably be at least two weeks, so I should know by this upcoming Tuesday. After working on a short-term project for a friend for the last week I really tried to get back to the job hunt today. It didn’t go well.

I perused LinkedIn and Indeed listings and found a few openings that I should be excited about. I’m not. Now that I found and interviewed for my pretty much perfect job, everything else I find is less than thrilling to me. I know I should be applying and actively pursuing other jobs because the one I interviewed for is unfortunately in no way a “sure thing”.

Applying for jobs I’m not very interested in and I might not get interviewed for seems silly when I’m still waiting to hear if I’m still in the running for my ideal job.

To put in more pop culture terms, imagine I’m in high school. I need an extracurricular activity to get into college, I’m desperate to get into the Glee club and I have very little interest in being a cheerleader. This feels like I auditioned for Glee club but I signed up to try out for Cheerio’s while I wait to hear back from Glee club in case I don’t get in. I don’t really want to be a Cheerio and signing up to try out doesn’t even mean I’d make the squad (btw I wouldn’t, I’m coordinationally challenged).

Logically I know this is untrue, that I should be searching and applying away. Emotionally, I’m not quite there, applying for other positions makes me feel like I’ve given up on the job I’m waiting to hear about.

So I’m allowing myself bit more time to continue working on the project for my friend’s newspaper and read all the social media/branding/marketing articles and blogs I want. I mean, all the work and reading I’m doing it relevant to whatever future job I get, so basically I’m better preparing myself for interviews and to be the best employee I can be… right?

The benefit of finding the job I really want is that I might get it.The downside is, I’m less interested in any of the other jobs I’m finding while waiting. Hopefully, I’ll get the job (or at least another interview) and won’t have to worry about how to find positions I want.

Fingers crossed!

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in job search

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Notifications of new posts containing attempted brilliance sent straight to your email inbox

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 31 other followers