March is officially here! For many of us that means spring is almost here, Mardi Gras is coming up and so is St. Patrick’s Day. For those of us who work in the digital space and love interactive technology, March means SXSW! Last year SXSW Interactive attracted over 30,000 attendees to Austin and I was one of them. I brought my yoga knowledge to SXSW and had the honor of teaching fellow tech-crazed and social media savvy attendees at the conference. It was great to be surrounded by so many like minded people in the technology space and even better to create a deeper connection with those who are also interested in yoga and meditation.
I’m very excited to announce that I’m returning to SXSW Interactive this year and I’m once again hosting a yoga and a mediation session. I also just announced that I’m a SweatGuru expert when I shared 5 yoga lessons that will help you grow your business. Now I’ve partnered with SweatGuru to help you stay fit at the festival. At a conference filled with free BBQ and booze, sometimes it’s hard to keep up your healthy lifestyle, but it’s possible and here are some ways to do it in my SweatGuru Guide to Staying Fit at SXSW Interactive.
1. Practice yoga or try yoga for the very first time- Take my yoga class at SXSW Interactive. Yes you heard right, yoga classes are included with your conference badge! Yoga was developed thousands of years ago as a way to prepare the mind and body for enlightenment. What better way to prepare yourself for all the new ideas, insights, and people you will encounter at SXSW? I’ll emphasize techniques that are easy to replicate at home and at work. This is an all levels class. Whether it’s your first time practicing yoga of you’re a seasoned yogi, you’ll enjoy this fun and relaxing class. No special clothing or equipment needed, just come as you are! My class is Saturday March 8th at 9:30am in room 8A at the Convention Center. You can add it to your schedule here: SXSW Yoga
If you can’t make it to my class or would like to take more than one class, daily yoga classes are offered. Just search “SXSW Yoga” on the schedule to find all the classes.
2. Take a break to sit there and just do nothing aka Meditate!- “Meditation- It’s not what you think” is my favorite meditation quote. I saw it on a bumper sticker once and thought, what a perfect way to describe meditation! Like any powerful tool, the human brain needs a bit of a tune-up now and then. Take a break from the bustle of SXSW and give your mind and body a chance to assimilate all the new ideas and energy at the conference. This will be an all levels class, where I’ll teach a variety of techniques. My meditation class is Sunday March 9th at 11am in Room 8A at the Convention Center. You can add it to your schedule here: SXSW Meditation
If you can’t make it to my class or would like to learn different meditation techniques, daily classes are offered. Just search “SXSW Meditation” on the schedule to find all the classes.
3. Connect with like-minded peopled- Sometimes staying healthy is easier if you meet others who have the same goal in mind. Here is a list of some panels and sessions that are related to fitness and health. Most likely the people interested in these sessions are also the ones who lead an active lifestyle like you. Learn about the role of technology in fitness while networking with other fitness enthusiasts.
- Saturday March 8th, 9:30am- Finding Your Fit at SXSW Meet Up (I’m bummed this meetup is at the same time as my yoga class but I’m happy to see so many options for fitness at SXSW)
- Saturday March 8th, 3:30pm- A Fun, Fit Future: Social Media Takes on Fitness
- Saturday March 8th, 5pm- Connected Fitness 2.0: Shaping Healthy Behaviors
- Monday March 10th, 9:30am- Are We Smarter than the Dinosaurs? (This session isn’t related to fitness, but the main present Jason Kessler from NASA has a passion for also teaching yoga and meditation and I personally love seeing what other yogis are doing)
- Monday March 10th, 5pm- Fitness Wearables & the Quantifiable Self
- Monday March 10th, 5pm- I Sing the Body Digital: The Quantified Self
- Tuesday March 11th, 12:30pm- YogaDotCalm: Streamlining Productivity & Focus
4. Snack smart- So many companies will be luring you to check out their event, booth or attraction with free food. I know it can be tempting to eat every bite of free food that comes across our mouths but do your best to eat the free food in moderation. Here are a few snacks I recommend you pack in your suitcase: small bag of raw almonds, cashews or another favorite nut, apples, clementine oranges (easy to peel!) and maybe some healthy snack bars (be careful with snack bars though, some of them have as much sugar and processed ingredients as a candy bar. Look for ones that are all natural with organic ingredients). If you stay fueled with healthy food throughout the day you’re less likely to overeat when presented with the BBQ buffet and dessert bar.
5. Drink plenty of water- Water is your best friend at SXSW! And no, an alcoholic drink on the rocks doesn’t count as water. “Drink water” is such a simple tip yet it’s one of the top reasons why people may feel light headed or sick during or after the conference. A few tips on doing this:
- I always travel with a small reusable water bottle. This way, if water is available I’m ready to fill up. Instead of ordering a cocktail on the plane I always ask the flight attendant to fill up my bottle with water. I have even seen many airports now with a filtered water fountains.
- If you normally drink a lot of coffee, instead of drinking the extra cup of coffee grab a cold water bottle. The temperature of the water will wake you up and the consumption of the water will provide fuel to refresh your body.
- If you have access to a car, stock up on a few big gallons of water to stash in your room. End your night and start your day drinking it. This way you’ll always avoid those overpriced hotel prices for water and have plenty on hand.
- We all know open bars are readily available at SXSW. To me, water at those open bars is even more valuable than an extra shot. Replace one of your drinks with a bottle of water.
Make sure you find me at the conference and Tweet me to let me know if you can make one of my sessions. I’ll be giving away some fun prizes and swag from SweatGuru that you won’t want to miss. If you have any other tips for staying fit at SXSW Interactive, I would love to hear them.
I’m very happy to announce that I’m officially a SweatGuru expert. I’ll be sharing my knowledge and insight on many topics related to fitness, yoga, health and even marketing and business on their blog. Let me give you a little background on my partnership with SweatGuru. I first connected with their team back in October when I attended the awesome Tech Cocktail Celebrate event in Downtown Las Vegas. I was immediately drawn to their company because it is both tech and fitness related. Since my intention this year is to help fitness professionals authentically grow their business, working together is a perfect marriage.
First of all, what is SweatGuru? SweatGuru is making access to fitness easier for both the fitness consumer and fitness professional. Their online portal provides an easy way for fitness professionals to schedule classes, communicate with students and accept payments. For the fitness consumer who wants to stay active and take classes, it’s a great resource for discovering new classes in the area, tracking your favorite instructor and learning about health and fitness resources.
Sure it just sounds like they are a booking system for the fitness industry. However, that’s not the case. What makes SweatGuru stand out is their focus on building a strong community of fitness leaders and fitness enthusiasts. They have a team of SweatGuru Experts which I’m grateful to be a part of who contribute to their motivational and inspiring blog. Their blog is chock full of resources for anyone interested in health and fitness. My first post on SweatGuru is once again, me being authentic in combining my two passions for marketing and yoga. Without further ado, I present to you 5 Yoga Lessons that will Help you Grow your Business (click on link for full post):
Speaking from firsthand experience, my yoga practice has significantly improved my quality of life, including the success of my business and below is how it’s possible.
1. Setting intentions- Having a clear intention is an important part of any successful business.
2. Build a Strong Foundation- Have you ever tried to do a balancing pose in yoga but find yourself immediately falling over? This often happens because you haven’t set up a strong foundation.
3. Take time to re-energize- Sitting in front of a computer all day can be very straining on your body. Rather than take a shot of caffeine, I use my yoga knowledge I’ve figured out poses I can do right at my desk to regroup.
4. Being flexible- On of my favorite quotes that applies to both my business and my yoga practice is “Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape”. I have learned that in yoga, flexibility doesn’t just come from my body but also my mind.
5. Be authentic- Yoga can be intimidating. Most people think of yoga and what comes to mind is crazy poses that seem nearly impossible for the normal human body. It’s important to practice yoga in a way that’s realistic and comfortable for your own body.
To get the full post and tips on how these yoga lessons translate to helping your business, head over to my SweatGuru post here. If you are a fitness professional or just a fitness enthusiast and you’re interested in learning more about how SweatGuru can help you, please let me know and I’m happy to share my experience with you and get you set up on their system. It’s completely free to sign up!
And also, to give you a little sneak peek of my upcoming ventures, SXSW Interactive is coming up again next week. I’ll be back at SXSW teaching yoga and meditation. I’ll also be representing SweatGuru and have some fun surprises in store, so please stay tuned!
Oxford Dictionary named “Selfie” the word of the year for 2013. This perfectly captures our social media crazed generation. If you don’t know what a selfie is, Oxford Dictionaries defines it as:
(n.) a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.
I recently posted this selfie to show the magic of photography and that before and after photos can sometimes be misleading.
It’s a before and after photo of me “losing 15 lbs” with both photos taken less than 15 minutes apart. I captioned it with a few “Selfie tips”. The photo generated some buzz and soon Stacey Ross of San Diego Bargain Mama reached out to me to see if she could include me in her article about selfies for TheOnlineMom.com. My photo was one of the ones that inspired her to make sure everyone could usher in the New Year with the perfect selfie. She presents 7 tips for taking sensational selfies. Her first tip is courtesy of me:
1. Shed excess weight almost instantly! Social media educator and founder of Marketing Melodie, Melodie Tao, shared with her colleagues secrets that many marketers might not ever wish to: “Wooohooo! I Lost 15lbs in 15 minutes! It’s that easy! And also proof that ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos are misleading. On the left ‘before’ photo, I zoomed in and was slouching and sticking my stomach out. Fifteen minutes later on the right ‘after’ photo, I zoomed out, stood up straight and threw in the ‘skinny arm on hip trick!’ You can now see how much we actually have control, even before Photoshop is used!” Yes, angles, arm positioning, posture and zoom, made my before and after possible.
Other tips include:
2. Consider the lighting
3. Improve your headshots immediately
4. Take off the phone cover
5. Use your arm to frame the best image
6. Play around with lenses and filters
7. Lastly, if you’re a mom: Sensor your kids!
To read the full post and learn how to ensure you help Oxford’s word of the year live up to its name for the rest of 2013 and into the new year, click here.
Thanks again to Stacey for featuring me in her selfie article. I do hope that you learn at least one or two new tips you can apply to your next potential Facebook profile photo. For a few more laughs, here is my favorite late night comedian, Jimmy Kimmel asking pedistrians on the street if their profile photo is a selfie.
5 Ways to Make Small Business Saturday your Best Shopping Day this Holiday Season #ShopSmall #SmallBizSat
Thanksgiving hasn’t even arrived and I’m already hearing Holiday music every where. I wonder if there have been studies done correlating people’s spending habits to the music they hear? With the amount of emails I get and ads I see about Black Friday and more recently Cyber Monday, it makes me feel like both businesses and consumers have mastered these two designated shopping days. So today, I’d like to give you some insight on yet another day you can shop to get into the Holiday spirit. That day is Small Business Saturday. This year Small Business Saturday is on November 30th, 2013! Taken directly from Wikipedia:
“Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. First observed on November 27, 2010, it is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores respectively. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local”.
Being a small business owner myself, I love the opportunity to support other hard working individuals. Small businesses create jobs and small businesses boost the economy. Let’s show as much support for our small businesses this year as we do to the big box stores. To make this the best Small Business Saturday for you, here are 5 ways for you to make Small Business Saturday your best shopping day.
1. Register your American Express Card- American Express originally coined and promoted Small Business Saturday and they continue to encourage consumers to shop small on this day. To make Small Business Saturday even more successful, American Express will generously give you a $10 statement credit if you spend $10 or more at a small business on this day. You must register your card in advance here. It takes just a few minutes to sign up here. After you’ve registered your card, you can check out American Express’ directory of small businesses that are participating in their promotion.
2. Shop Smart- Just like you strategically plan out your Black Friday shopping trips, plan out your Small Business Saturday shopping. Think about things you may need, people you want to give gifts to, small businesses that may be owned by friends or family and check to see if any businesses you love are offering specials. I’ve made it a tradition each year to spend Small Business Saturday shopping for things that I’ll use to host friends for my birthday in December. (Speaking of birthdays, make sure you check out 13 Happy Birthday Promotions for You). I know I’ll have to spend money anyway, so why not take advantage and Shop Small on this day. Last year I bought party supplies at a Liquor Box, one of the top local markets in La Jolla. The owner was extremely friendly and he proudly had a “Shop Small” sticker on his window. He made to sure remind me to sign up for the American Express promotion (I had already done it but it was great that he was promoting it). The year before that, I bought delicious cupcakes for friends to enjoy from CUPS.
3. Use your social influence- Help everyone enjoy a day dedicated to supporting small businesses. You always hear small business owners saying that “Word of Mouth” is their most successful form of marketing. Well Social Media is the largest form of “Word of Mouth” so make sure to spread the word online! Tweet with the #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat Hashtags, encourage your friends to sign up for their statement credit on American Express. Share this article and others promoting Small Business Saturday.
4. Dine with Friends- If shopping isn’t your thing, then take this opportunity to try a new restaurant or revisit your favorite one. What a great day to make an excuse to catch up with a friend. Thousands of restaurants are considered small businesses so you’ll have plenty of options to satisfy your culinary cravings. If you both have registered American Express Cards, politely ask the waiter to split the bill so you both get savings. Dining with friends always reminds of the time I met Keith Ferrazzi, the author of my favorite business book Never Eat Alone.
5. Take advantage of Small Business Saturday promotions- Aside from the American Express promotion, see if any other small businesses are offering promotions. I was very happy to receive my first email promoting Small Businesses by Uber, a transportation company that makes a mobile application connecting passengers with drivers. They encourage consumers to sign up for the American Express statement credit and use it on an Uber for $10 off. They also have many small business stories on their blog. (Side note: If you’ve never used Uber, you can use my code: UBERSDMEL for an additional $10 off your first ride. ) Yep, beat the Holiday traffic by taking Uber instead. Pay attention to other small businesses who may be offering specials or promotions on this day.
If you have any other tips on how to be a successful shopper on Small Business Saturday please let me know in the comments. Likewise, if you’re a business owner and you’re offering a promotion for Small Business Saturday, please comment below as well. Happy Small Business Saturday!
I’m currently in Downtown Las Vegas at the Tech Cocktail Celebrate conference. It’s been a few years since I’ve been in Vegas for a conference and I’m doing my best to follow my own tips on how to avoid conference fatigue in Las Vegas. I would like to thank Tech Cocktail for inviting me to this innovative event. It’s an honor to be here in the company of so many successful entrepreneurs and leaders in the tech industry. Tech Cocktail has traveled the nation seeking the hottest new startups and brought them all together here at Tech Cocktail Celebrate. The startup competition that’s currently happening reminds me watching the show Shark Tank. Hopeful entrepreneurs are sharing their business to the audience and panel of judges and up for grabs is $10,000 along with other prizes. I’ve talked to over a dozen startups and am amazed at their enthusiasm and ambition for their companies. To contribute to their success I have created a list of tips that I feel will be helpful for startups to continue their quest for success with both consumers, investors and in this case judges of the startup competition.
1. Keep your pitch short, sweet and on point- I walked around the expo/ startup pavilion this morning and there were several companies that just lost me when trying to explain their company. After leaving their booth I still had no idea why I would use their product. These companies all tried to give me a really long pitch with information that was not relevant to me. The companies that really caught my attention were the ones that could explain their product/service to me in just a few sentences and make me immediately feel like they were giving me a solution to a need.
2. Practice and time your presentation- When presenting to investors or in a competition like the one currently being run at Tech Cocktail Celebrate you have a limited amount of time to speak. Here at the competition, when your time ends, there is a corresponding loud “cowbell” ring. Most companies weren’t done with their pitches when the bell rang because they spent too much time on information unrelated to their product/service such as talking too much about their own background. If an investor or judge is interested, they will most likely ask you about your background after your pitch. I do a lot of public speaking and have learned that it’s extremely important to time and practice your speech to ensure you’re within the time constraints so you’re able to get all the important information across.
3. Make sure your demo works- Nothing is more disappointing than having a demo that doesn’t work. Have a backup plan, have a backup plan to your backup plan and make sure that even if your demo stops working, no one will ever know because you’re so prepared with your back ups.
4. Answer tough questions before they are asked- Investors, judges and even consumers ask the same questions over and over again. Tough questions involve revenue, growth model and safety concerns. Include these answers in your pitch or presentation so that you’re already overcoming objections before they’re asked. This also adds an element of credibility to your company because you’re touching on subjects that really matter. This can even be done on social media. If your startup has a blog (which I highly recommend) utilize your blog and other social media channels to provide answers to commonly asked questions.
5. Know your numbers- This tip is pretty straight forward. When someone asks you a numbers questions, you should know the answer immediately. Know how many people are already in your community, how many users you have, how much revenue you’ve made, how much profit you’re made, etc.
6. Stop saying “we haven’t done any marketing”- As a marketing professional, this phrase makes me cringe! Not doing any marketing is nothing to brag about. I have heard it from at least 3 different start ups already. And after this phrase usually follows a list of publications and blogs the start up has been featured in described as their PR. PR itself is part of your marketing strategy so to say that no marketing has been done, is false. Maybe it’s because I specialize in marketing but if i’m going to invest in a company I want to hear all their strategic marketing plan and how they’re going to reach out to people who are potential customers. Rather than down playing your marketing, show that you really understand how to successfully market your startup by talking about marketing successes.
I am fairly new to the startup scene so as much as I hope that people can learn from this post, I also want to acknowledge that I’ve personally learned so much myself just by being here. I’ve learned about new technologies, marketing strategies and I’ve been inspired to have a more positive mindset about succeeding in anything you set your mind to. Thanks again so much to Tech Cocktail for this amazing opportunity. If you’re at Tech Cocktail Celebrate I look forward to connecting with you.
Hello Marketing Melodie readers! It’s been a busy summer/fall for me. I’ve been teaching social media workshops and classes, creating marketing classes, working with clients to optimize their online presence and I’ve also been traveling. I’m grateful that no matter where I travel to (my most recent trip being to Chicago), I am always happy to return to home sweet San Diego. Now that I’m back I have some time to share things I’m working on. I’ve been hosting Digital Media Now workshops for a few years now. Our Digital Media Now for Yogis workshop this summer at Riffs Yoga Yard was such a success that we’re bringing it back! If you want to learn how to use social media to grow your business, then you’re in luck. The next Digital Media Now for Yogis is coming up on Saturday November 2nd, 2013. Here are all the details:
Workshop Topic: Personal Branding on Social Media- With an abundance of digital technologies available, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when creating your own marketing strategy. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to navigate digital marketing and social media tools such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to attract more clients, grow your business and be a valuable resource in your industry.
- Date: Saturday November 2nd, 2013
- Time: 12-1:30pm
- Cost: $39 Early Bird (Before Oct 25th), $49 Regular Price
- Location: Riffs Acoustic Music and Yoga Yard- 5510 La Jolla Blvd La Jolla, CA 92037
- Register: Click HERE to sign up and reserve your spot
- Actionable content and tips you can implement NOW (No Opportunity Wasted) to start marketing yourself as a yoga/ fitness professional.
- Knowledge on how to serve as a trusted subject matter expert and resource in yoga and fitness.
- Understanding on how to use Social Media tools to create a compelling brand.
It is recommended that attendees bring a laptop. If a laptop isn’t available, please bring a notepad and pen. It’s been almost 6 months since the last Digital Media Now for Yogis workshop. Within that time the social media landscape has completely changed, new tools have surfaced along with new opportunities to market your business. My workshops are different every time and my material is always updated to reflect the continuously changing landscape of social media. If you came last time but want to come again, I guarantee you will learn something new!
If you run a yoga teacher training program and are interested in having this valuable program as part of your training, please let me know and I’m happy to discuss more details with you. I look forward to seeing you at Riffs in a few weeks and remember to reserve your spot by registering in advance HERE.