Friday, August 26, 2011

Selling Your Influence

So I've been invited to the She's So Connected Conference Sept 29 and 30 in Toronto this year. When I pressed the "apply" button, I wasn't sure what I was signing up for but saw that several friends were going and wanted to check it out. Then I got the tweet saying, "This is your invite!"

Now I'm excited, partly because there are some really amazing local women going, partly because I'll get a night away from my house and partly because I'm hoping to make some new friendships and learn something new. However, as the time to the conference gets closer, I'm also getting a little worried that I've signed myself up to really just pimp myself out to the highest bidder.

I've been watching the tweets become more frequent, "Hey @______, want to sponsor me a new wardrobe for #SCCTO?" and "Wow, I'd really love to drive a @_______ new car to #SCCTO" and another, "The only thing that would make #SCCTO better is if I had a @_______ smartphone to tweet my experience from".

Now, I love a lot of brands. I swear by them, I talk them up to everyone I meet. So am I doing it wrong? Should I have been asking Kitchen Aid for a free mixer before I started talking about mine? Shall I be asking Baby G diapers for a lifetime of free flushable inserts before telling folks how much I love them? What about my Wilton food colours or my Iwata and Master airbrushes? Maybe even Kleenex brand toilet paper because it's just about the nicest thing on earth to put down there?

I don't want people to think that I am getting paid if I say something nice about a company and this is why this whole sponsorship thing bothers me. Now I don't know if someone is recommending me a certain product because it is truly awesome or because they are getting paid to do so. If I say something great about a company, they DESERVE it. They have earned my trust and my brand loyalty, by providing great products, incredible customer service and value for money. I'm not saying that Company A doesn't deserve great reviews as well but frankly, if they've paid you to say it, I probably don't trust the review quite as much.

So why was I invited to #SCCTO? I have no idea! I've never promoted a brand, I've never done a blog giveaway or review and my thoughts on this blog and in my tweets are not very PR worthy. I don't know how the selection was done and I doubt that I'm one of the top digitally connected women in Canada however, I am looking forward to the conference. I am looking forward to connecting with other women, I look forward to learning more about brand promotion and sponsorships. I'd like to see the presenters and brands prove to me why this sort of brand promotion works and why I would want to sell my (very small) influence. #SCCTO will be a learning experience for me and that is really the point of life, to keep growing and learning, then using your knowledge to affect the world.

*This post WAS NOT sponsored in any way by Wilton, Iwata, Master, Kleenex, Baby G or KitchenAid. I've name-dropped these brands because they are great and I love to use them!*

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Free" with Donation

Summer especially, there are a lot of "free" festivals in the city, which is fabulous. However, a lot of event advertise, "Free, with a food bank donation", "Free, with a donation to ______ (insert the charity of choice)".

I love encouraging people to give, especially to our local Food Bank but there's one problem... some of the people who want to go to the "free" events the most are also clients of the food bank. I took someone to an event last week who was almost denied entrance because she didn't have a donation. Had she given one, she would have given up dinner for the night.

Food for thought.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Success Breeds Success

Do you dream of being successful?

There's a saying "Success breeds success." Success breeding success is evident when you look at Ivanka and Donald Trump. What better opportunities could a girl have had then to have a wildly successful businessman for a father? She had the privilege of going to the best schools and being mentored by some of the best brains in the business world. Now, Ivanka is also incredibly smart, talented and driven, but would she have fared as well in this world had her father not been who he is?

The good news is, there is hope for all of us who don't have Donald Trump as a father, who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, who didn't go to college or even finish high school and that is this... the success breeds success expression doesn't apply only to genetic relationships. What I'm saying is, you don't have to have a rich daddy, fancy education or anything else like that to be successful, you only have to surround yourself with successful people.

Think of success building like a pyramid scheme. You have two friends who are successful in what they do. Because of their motivation, you set a goal and achieve it. Because you have achieved a goal, there is now someone else who looks at you as being successful. Because of you motivating them, they achieve their goal and become success mentors to someone else and on and on.

So where do you find successful people? Well, it kinda depends on what kind of success you are looking to achieve. For me, success is being able to wake up in the morning answering only to myself as a boss. It means never having to worry about whether my family will have enough to eat or not. I'm a simple girl. I'm not looking to be the next Food Network Chef or the next Oprah cooking guru, I just want to do well for my family and the people in my community. Where are your success dreams going to take you?

Tonight, my success dreams will be taking me to the #140ConfONT tweet-up at the Galt Country Club in Cambridge. Tonight, I will be surrounded by people who are so successful I would be happy if I only achieved 1/10 of what they have done.

Tonight, I'm going to continue building my part in the success pyramid scheme.

Are you ready to take charge, get inspired, get ahead and get going? Come join us tonight for some energy building and then again on September 15 as the 140 Characters Conference makes its way to Canada for the very first time.

It's time for you to realize your dreams.