On Thanksgiving, I’m Thankful for #GivingTuesday

I’ve posted before about many things I’m thankful for, from trail running to espresso. (Yes, they go together.) On this Thanksgiving Day, I want to mention one more — #GivingTuesday.

Related Reading: 50 Things I’m Grateful For  |  50 (More) Things I’m Grateful For

GivingTuesday is a movement to start a national day of giving to kick off the generous Holiday season. It’s celebrated on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, following popular shopping days Black Friday and Cyber Monday. After you score some crazy deals this year, why not give back?

#GivingTuesday is December 3, 2013

When I heard about this awesome movement last year, I decided to become a social media ambassador to help spread the word. It was a wonderful feeling to be a (very small) part of such an amazing cause. In its debut, GivingTuesday prompted more than 10 million in online donations, a 53% increase over the Tuesday after Thanksgiving of the previous year. More than 50 million people helped spread the word about this new movement, and over 2,500 recognized partners in all 50 states came together to make it happen.

In 2013, GivingTuesday has grown even more, with over 7,800 partners at the time of this publication. Companies, brands and individuals are all coming forward, asking what they can do to make a difference.

The Chucks (and I) at the Red Cross

My #UNselfie — the Chucks and I donating platelets and plasma at the Red Cross.

What can you do?

–> Post an #UNselfie! Selfie may be the word of the year in 2013, but you can stand out by posting a picture of yourself doing good. The point? Let others know why you’re giving or show us your giving in action. Upload your picture of giving to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and tag it #UNselfie and #GivingTuesday to be part of the movement.

–> Spread the word! Head to GivingTuesday.org to get involved and let others know that you’re on board for this growing movement. Share exciting news and tips with your social networks, talk to your family and friends and let your favorite companies and brands know how easy it is to get involved. GivingTuesday partners will enjoy giving back while also reaping the benefits of positive public relations and corporate goodwill.

–> Give! Your time, money, expertise and efforts all add up to a big win. Donate to your favorite charity in honor of GivingTuesday. Help out at the local food pantry or make an appointment to donate blood or platelets at the Red Cross. It’s amazing what happens when we all do our part. Make sure to let others know what you’re doing! We want to capture the world’s attention on this special day, so tag your posts with #GivingTuesday to be part of the worldwide conversation.

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”                                               –Sir Winston Churchill

Now enjoy Thanksgiving with your family and friends while remembering what you’re thankful for. I’m thankful that so many will join us on Tuesday, December 3rd to give back — an effort that unites us all.

Join Us

How will you be joining the GivingTuesday movement?

What’s your #UNselfie look like? Feel free to link to your #UNselfie or #GivingTuesday efforts so we can check them out!

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving day food? 🙂

GivingTuesday banner and statistics courtesy of GivingTuesday.org

Feeling thankful,
Jaime

Connect with CCC on #GivingTuesday and beyond… 
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Shop Small, Support Your Community

It’s Small Business Saturday week, one of our favorite times of the year at CCC.

Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country. Founded by American Express in 2010, it’s celebrated every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which falls on November 30th this year. Think about this: over 50% of the working population (120 million individuals) works in a small business.^

Small Business Saturday logo

Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities. They’re the corner stores that create jobs. The hardware stores that help build our economy. And the mom and pop shops whose very presence makes a neighborhood, your neighborhood.   –American Express

Drop in your neighborhood coffee shop for some hot brew, a homemade scone and the latest happenings. Get your car serviced at a local repair shop. Stop in that corner boutique you’ve been eyeing and pick up a nice gift. Let the small businesses in your community know that you support them.

I know that my neighborhood wouldn’t be the same without Angel Falls Coffee Company, Capri Pizza or Zack’s Fire & Ice. Who are your favorite mom & pop shops?

To maximize participation on this important day, American Express has created the Small Business Saturday map to help you locate where to shop. Are you an AMEX card member? Then register for a $10 credit when you shop small on November 30th. Hurry, registration is limited! Are you a fellow small business owner? Don’t miss out on your chance to participate in this great event.

Take $10 off new business this week at CCC. Support Small Business Saturday!

At CCC, we’re celebrating this week by offering you $10 off any new business. Whether you’re looking for a little marketing magic, social media savvy or writing wonder, check out our services. We’d love to help you find your voice and achieve your objectives. Contact us today to discuss your next project!

Enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with your friends and family, and remember to Shop Small this Saturday, November 30th.

What small businesses are you planning to support on Small Business Saturday?

If you’re a small business owner, feel free to leave a link to any special Small Business Saturday offers you’re running.

^Source: Forbes, “16 Surprising Statistics About Small Businesses”
Shop Small logo courtesy of American Express

Remember to Shop Small,
Jaime

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Breaking Through Gender Stereotypes: Are We Making Progress?

I planned on writing a post about social media today, either tips on tackling Twitter or answers to some FAQs from clients, but then I came across this video in Slate.

Watch it. It’s worth two minutes of your time.

It was created by a company called GoldieBlox, a toy company who wants girls to know there’s more to life than dolls and princesses. This ad speaks to girls who are interested in science and exploring, solving problems and getting a little dirty in the process.

What do you think?

Are we making any progress breaking through gender stereotypes? Or are they not a problem?

Does a person’s gender affect how you communicate with him? If you hire her? How much you pay him? How you treat her?

Related reading: Women in the Boardroom: Handshake or Hug?

What can I say? I love to make people think and open up discussions on debatable topics. So let’s discuss. All opinions welcome!

Video courtesy of GoldieBlox

A tomboy at heart,
Jaime

Everyone welcome — let’s get social! 
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Should You Work For Free?

Anyone who’s ever owned a business (or freelanced or done work on the side) has come across this issue. I’m talking about working for free, whether for ‘exposure,’ often vague potential future business promises or for a worthy cause. Should you do it?

Should I work for free?

Screenshot of shouldiworkforfree.com
Site created by Jessica Hische

I’ve run into this issue numerous times since starting my business, Clearly Conveyed Communications, last year. It’s amazing how many people want to help you by asking you to work for free. Of course, they usually don’t come right out and ask you to work for free. They’ll talk about how limited their budget is, or how they wish they could afford this type of marketing project or that social media management program. Then they may even come out and say, “I don’t expect you to do this for free. I’m just trying to figure out how to fit this in the budget.” And then they’ll randomly talk about all of the future potential business this could lead to from themselves, or more often from others, via the tremendous amount of ‘exposure’ your work will receive.

I’m a fan of the Say Yes to the Dress shows where consultants help brides find the wedding dress of their dreams. Why is this relevant? The #1 rule is that you never put a bride in a dress she can’t afford. It only leads to trouble. That’s why I’m willing to work with prospects and clients to find something within their budget that will still help them achieve their objectives. If they absolutely cannot afford anything that will help their business, I would rather walk away than take any amount of money from them for projects that won’t make a difference. That rarely happens.

Work for free or a full price but never work for cheap

Do you follow this mantra?
Pic credit: Nataniel J. Rosa

But I have walked away from situations where I was asked to work for free, either outright or not so directly. I always look at the big picture, but sometimes it’s just not worth it. It seems to me like working for free for people who don’t value what you do only leads to more offers to work for free — not paying work.

I came across a great quote on this subject while reading a post entitled, Giving it away just don’t pay, on one of my favorite blogs, Campari & Sofa.

“[My parents] also put my sister the pulmonologist through medical school, and as far as I know nobody ever asks her to perform a quick lobectomy — doesn’t have to be anything fancy, maybe just in her spare time, whatever she can do would be great — because it’ll help get her name out there.”     –Tim Krieder

Should you work for free? I would love to hear your thoughts and personal experiences on this hot topic.

Have you ever worked for free and benefited from it? Or regretted it?

How do you handle it when people ask you to work for free — either directly or indirectly?

Always affordable but never cheap–
Jaime

Connect  with me on social media (It’s not free but worthwhile when done right!): 
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A Picture’s Worth A Lifetime of Inspiration

crossing the finish line of my first half-marathon


This picture shows me crossing the finish line of my first half-marathon in 2011. It was so much more than just a race though. At this moment, exhausted and hurting, I realized that I could achieve so much more in life. No more just accepting the status quo. Since this picture was taken, I’ve completed two more half-marathons (and dozens of 5ks & 10ks), continued on my healthy journey, started my own business and sat down to think about what I wanted out of life — not just what everyone else wanted from me.

What was your aha moment? What’s your picture that’s worth a lifetime of inspiration? Please share! I’m looking forward to being inspired.

Cheers,
Jaime

Inspire me; connect on social media: 
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Brands Rocking Social Media In The Real World

The number one question I receive about social media has always been “But what do I post?” Business professionals and owners want to see the value in utilizing social media but are intimidated by the thought of how to develop a loyal fan base and keep these folks happy. So I thought I would share some cool uses of social media by brands as examples.

Online / Offline Integration — On a Budget

Recently, the local metro park system passed a renewal levy to continue receiving well deserved operating funds. The parks, which are popular in the area, wanted to say thank you to voters for their kindness. Budget is always a concern for an organization that depends at least partially on tax revenue for funds, and users of the Metro Parks range across all ages, income levels, technology abilities, etc. Put another way, some users follow the social media-savvy park system online and via its app while others never turn on a computer. What to do?

The parks printed thank you signs and placed them by their park entrance signs, which are typically in high traffic areas. I actually noticed one a few days after the election on the way to my ‘home’ metro park for a trail run. It caught my eye, and I thought what a cool idea! Then the parks took pictures of a few of these signs and posted them to their social media platforms along with a heartfelt thank you to its fans.

This is just one reason why the Metro Parks, Serving Summit County rock social media, and I’m proud to be a fan.

For more ideas, check out the Metro Parks, Serving Summit County on:
Facebook   |   Instagram   |   Pinterest   |   Twitter   |   YouTube

Looking at the Big Picture (And Dancing to the Beat of Your Own Drum)

More and more brands are flocking to Instagram to take advantage of the popular photo (and now video) platform. So how do you stand out? Check out Virgin Mobile‘s attempt to step back and look at the big picture.

As a Virgin Mobile customer, occasionally I receive alerts on my phone from the company with updates — a new app, news of note or a cool download. One of these alerts led me to check out Virgin on IG. When I clicked on the link, I immediately saw how the creative company used parts of several pictures to form a larger image. How cool is that?

As you’ve probably noticed, the Virgin Group companies like to color outside of the lines (and this author loves it). Need more examples?

The King of Tech Even Fails In Style

If you’re familiar with technology at all, you’ve probably heard of Mashable. Founded in 2005, the self-proclaimed leading source of news, information and resources for the Connected Generation offers insight on social media, technology, business, entertainment and more. I receive emails from this tech giant (which is monumental for me because I generally opt out, not in) and had to laugh at a broken link I found this week. Yes, a broken link. Why? Because Mashable even fails in style. Check out the message below that I received when a story link was invalid. How can you not smile?

Mashable broken link message

The king of tech even fails in style!
(Screen shot from Mashable)

So there you have it… Three companies of all shapes and sizes rocking social media to fit their needs.

Related reading: Tweet Some Love, Gain Some Respect | Super Bowl XLVII: Not A Complete Blackout

What do you think? What other companies are rocking social media or doing something different?

Feel free to share in the comments below, including your own company. If you have any questions or would like help with your social media efforts (on any level), please let me know. CCC would love to help!

Getting social,
Jaime

Rock social media with me… 
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Who’s Your Biggest Fan?

my mom and I

My mom’s always been my biggest fan, but for once I was able to help her. Pinning on her corsage at my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding two years ago.

(Ed. note: It seems like Thursday is a more popular day for reading blogs than Fridays, so I’m changing the CCC blog publishing schedule. Posts will now appear on Tuesdays and Thursdays (instead of Fridays), so please update your calendars – and reading plans – accordingly. 🙂)

After posting a somewhat pessimistic post earlier this week (but ultimately positive, really), I felt like I should balance it with a much more optimistic subject. As I was scrolling through my WordPress Reader, I came across the Daily Post’s Daily Prompt: Cheering Section. This image immediately came to mind.

Why? My mom has always been my #1 fan. (I’m a lucky lady; my brother comes in a close second here. :)) She may not understand why I do something (like starting my business) or wholeheartedly agree with what I do, but she’s always behind me 100%. I hate to say that sometimes I take that for granted, but I think we all do.

I love this picture, because I’m helping her, as opposed to the other way around. It was taken by the excellent photographer at my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding two years ago. The female members of the wedding party were finishing up getting ready and my mom came in to see if we needed anything. I’m pinning her corsage on her (and no, I didn’t stab her). If any of you who know me wonder where my (lack of) height comes from, notice that my mom and I are the same height. 🙂 I have a lot of things to be grateful for, but my mom’s at the top of my list.

So who’s your biggest fan(s)? The person (or people) who always have your back? Your cheering section? The ones who will root for you no matter what?

I’d love to hear your thoughts below. It made me smile to write this post, and I’m sure it will make you smile (if only for a moment) to acknowledge your biggest fan (even if you’re having a bad day).

Always proud to be Dixie’s daughter,
Jaime

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Embrace the Suck (Because What’s the Alternative?)

Life sucks. Not to be a pessimist, but sometimes it seems that everything goes wrong. Sure, there’s always that saying that someone has it worse than you somewhere, but quite frankly, that isn’t always the most comforting thought in the world when you have your own problems.

a cat having a bad hair day

We all have bad hair days;
it’s how we handle them that counts.
Pic credit: Melissa West

Today, I decided to run some errands. I ended up going to three grocery stores (plus Target, Walgreen’s and the mall), buying a few things twice and taking much longer than expected. Then I came home to put a new battery in my alarm clock (which I went to two stores to find), and it didn’t work. The clock itself is dying, which should have been obvious because the battery is only a backup. You think I would have thought about this while holding the alarm clock last night while it was still plugged into the wall. (If anyone needs any CR2032 3 volt batteries…) Wednesday night, I took a nosedive on our beautiful sidewalks during a night run. Last week, I missed Trick-or-Treat. Seriously, I completely missed Halloween this year. (If anyone needs any candy…)

“Accept failure. Enjoy it, even. Embrace the suck, for the suck is part of the process.”  –A.J. Jacobs

So you know what I did? I threw the unneeded batteries in my drawer and went for a 6-mile trail run followed by 100 jumping jacks, 60 squats, a 60-second plank and 30-second high plank (with stretching pre-and post-run). Then I came home, made a green smoothie, had some trail bologna (a specialty in my world), updated the CCC Facebook page and sat down to write this blog post.

kicking toward the finish line

Running (and writing) makes me happy and clears my mind. What’s your medicine when things go wrong?

Life sucks. You’re going to fail, fall down and get beat. You have to deal with it and get up — again and again. Sometimes it’s really hard to do that when it seems like the odds are stacked against you. But I believe that we are all dealt a winning deck, eventually. If you keep working and working, things will work out. They may not be what you had planned, but they will work out. (For a real-life example, listen to Steve Jobs’s inspirational commencement address at Stanford in 2005 below.)

Honestly, this week has just been a microcosm of the past year and a half (and I left a lot out for brevity’s sake). I knew it would be the hardest thing I’ve ever done to start my own business, be my own boss and and build my client base. It’s been even harder than I expected (which somehow I expected, if that makes sense).

A 6-month battle with insurance companies over a mistake in my medical records while setting up personal insurance. People not following through on their word time and time again. Anticipated projects (and the paychecks) never materializing. Working for free. Being asked repeatedly to work for free (subject of an upcoming post). Coming from a background and an area where nobody understands what I’m doing (or why). We all have things that beat us up every day. 

Are you feeling shitty? Down in the dumps? Do what makes you happy — whatever that may be. Don’t worry about what people think of you. If you’re a runner, run. If you’re a shopper, shop. If you’re a film connoisseur, catch a flick. If you’re a talker, call a friend. How long? Until the smile’s back on your face.

Cheer up. Yes, life sucks, but learn to embrace it. The suck is just one small part of this beautiful thing we call living.

What do you do when you need to cheer up?

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

p.s. If you need to vent and a friend’s not available, feel free to vent below or hit me up on a social network. Seriously, I’m listening.

p.s.s. If you’re having a bad day and can’t bring yourself to comment, just throw me a like so I know you’re there. 🙂

Embracing the suck,
Jaime

Embracing the suck or riding a wave, connect with me… 
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