Admittedly, I am grateful for how jam-packed my schedule has been so far this year: better to have a lot of work to complete than sitting around twiddling my thumbs. Still, as predicted, I ended up hitting a figurative wall soon enough, and that was today.
It’s been a challenging week and month: the projections I had for the business have so far not panned out and I’m feeling the pressure from myself (and my Inner Critic) to sign on a new client. I guess I am my own worst boss, although I am working on becoming gentler with myself.
Well, even though I am my worst boss, I went ahead and took the second half of the day off after I found myself sitting and staring at my to-do list for way too long. My brain essentially shut off around noon and I felt that was the signal that I needed to just walk away from the computer and take some time to relax.
I find when I get into moods like this, I just need time to myself. Since I have a dedicated desk at Modworks now, I am always surrounded by other people–which is a good thing for productivity!–and when I am moody/burnt out, I just want to be alone. A phone room won’t cut it–coming home to the apartment with the cats helps me out though (yes, #crazycatlady).
Tonight I am feeling much more refreshed, thankfully. Tomorrow is another packed day with meetings, workshops, etc.–but hopefully this time off today has helped me feel better prepared for the full day.
I’m quite surprised: 2016 is already starting off on a good and busy note. This week has been nonstop that today, I just had to take an afternoon nap to catch up on the sleep I’ve fallen behind on all week. I can’t recall quite a busy January in the last five years, so this is definitely welcomed. My calendar’s filling up for the month, making me tell prospective clients to start booking for February already.
Despite the fact that January IS my birthday month, I have felt in previous years that the month is generally slow and a bit depressing: no big holidays going on and even though most people are in the whole “New Year, New YOU!” mode, people aren’t doing much/fall off that bandwagon soon enough.
This January is already feeling good–and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the month has in store for me, let alone the rest of the YEAR. I have great hopes for this year…up-leveling for sure!
Hope your week has been going well as well, readers!
For the month of December, I’ll be posting weekly about a couple highlights from this year; granted, these highlights may very well leave out what happens this month, but we shall see what happens! Also, I couldn’t decide on only four highlights, so each post I will highlight two moments/topics from the year. Enjoy!
It was a long time coming for me to finally launch Hashtagitude (formerly known as Hashtag Hustler): I had known for some time that I enjoyed the world of digital marketing, especially social media. However, in 2013, after I had shut down TAOpivot (my first business), I wasn’t quite ready to launch right away into another passion project. My baked goods business came into play more as an interim business as I mulled over my thoughts on being known as a social media professional.
My friends and colleagues were already touting me as THE person to go to for social media though, and at the end of 2014, I decided to finally go all in with my new business.
So far so good–despite the rebranding halfway through the year, business has been going strong! Not only have I been working with so many more clients (and making more money than in the previous two businesses), I’ve also been networking with other social media professionals, including meeting the hilarious and wise Jay Vigilione, who is my co-host on our awesome podcast, Spotlight: Social Marketing Gone Bad.
I am also indebted to my great business coach, Kelly Lynn Adams, who has helped me out SO much since the rebranding of Hashtagitude. I appreciate all of the guidance Kelly has provided, because I really needed direction from someone at the midpoint of 2015–and I knew I couldn’t do it with free self-help materials anymore.
Kelly Lynn Adams has made the second half of 2015 even more phenomenal than the first half–and the first half was already pretty amazing! I feel very confident that 2016 will bring a lot of stellar moments for Hashtagitude as we continue to grow, and–not to sound like a broken record–I am so thankful that I have had the chance to work with Kelly during these past several months.
While I am happy to see that this year’s event is bigger with more tracks (Business, Design, Manufacturing, Tech, and then some ), Basecamp (WONDERFUL pop-up coworking/mingling lounge on 16th Street Mall), and a streamlined events calendar/agenda, there is still room for improvement for the next year (and beyond).
My mind came to these thoughts mainly from Andy Vuong’s article, “Could Denver Startup Week eventually rival SXSWi festival?” Sure, Seth Godin gave us some blessings about how DSW is the largest free event of its kind in the world; we have that going for us as compared to SXSWi. However, the quality of DSW sessions are not at the same caliber as SXSWi sessions; we may boast 125 free sessions this year, but how many of them are worth attending? There’s a reason why people pay good money to attend SXSWi. If we want to be competitive with SXSWi, we need to do the following:
If we’re going to have the tagline “Celebrating Everything Entrepreneurial in Denver”, we will have to move past the tech scene. Despite what many attendees may think, the events are not as diverse as they can be: tech is laced in with design & business, oftentimes being the focal point of those sessions. In fact, the most-tweeted/publicized events so far seem to be highlighting only Tech-related events. Unique offerings this year do include a manufacturing track and more food-related sessions (also some spirits-tasting). If we are going to celebrate EVERYTHING entrepreneurial in Denver, it is time for us to also think of the small business community here. Let’s bring in some cafe/coffee shop crawls and sessions on how to start your own local thriving restaurant, bakery, etc. We may have ‘separate’ food events/festivals happening throughout the year in town, but many of our favorite neighborhood eats are also entrepreneurial. Just because their focus is not on tech does not negate them as being entrepreneurial.
Work with the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Mile High Business Alliance, and other organizations in town. This point goes along with above: the problem we have in Denver is that we are all stuck in our silos, our comfort zones. This year, Downtown Denver Partnership, Colorado Technology Association, and Chase are the top sponsors of Startup Week. What about asking the Denver Metro Chamber to sponsor as well? The Mile High Business Alliance? Perhaps these other organizations can provide more resources/sessions for years to come. Also, wouldn’t it be nice to expand our events past downtown and showcase other great neighborhoods for our out-of-town guests to Startup Week? This could encourage them to consider moving to our beautiful city.
Use the #DENStartupWeek hashtag for more conversations and meetups. This may just be a general problem in Denver and not just DSW. I have attended several conferences this year (Launch festival, Inc. Leadership, SXSW V2V) and there I noticed attendees utilized the hashtags to connect in-person, create pop-up parties, etc. Not only that, people were using the hashtag for plain ol’ conversation on Twitter regarding the events. So far, I have seen a lot of retweeting the same tweets and not much conversation going on with the #DENStartupWeek tag. If we’re trying to rival SXSWi and other conferences/events, we should be using our hashtag more effectively.
Where’s the New Tech? Where are the true innovations? We hopeful attendees got to select the proposals for DSW a month ago; not sure if the organizing committee had some input on the final decisions or not. When the final schedule was released, I jumped onto the calendar to see which sessions I could attend. What I saw on the schedule were many hackneyed topics: funding options; how to deal with failure; programming; and the same monthly events that Denver always holds (Denver Founders Network, New Tech, etc.). The monthly events are fine, but the sessions? Most of the lessons from these sessions can be found online through an article, blog post, TED Talk, etc. I had a friend tell me, “It’s much different to hear the advice in-person than via video,” and I do agree with him on that. However, instead of having these tried-and-true sessions, why don’t we mix things up? What about having someone present a new concept in solar technology that can then be made into the next great startup? What about new restaurant concepts? New design thinking, mapping, etc.? Let’s be innovative and have sessions that are quirky, unique to Denver and Colorado. Let’s make DSW worth the time for out-of-towners visiting us.
What about all the other great entrepreneurs/founders out there? Let’s move past the local stars, i.e., Jim Deters, Bart Lorang, and Brad Feld, and get other founders up on stage/leading sessions for inspiration; let lesser-known (yet successful!) entrepreneurs have the spotlight for once. Don’t get me wrong: I admire and respect the aforementioned people. However, if we continue to focus on only these major players, how can we innovate? Also, would be nice to see more female entrepreneurs on the main stage/bigger sessions instead of silo-ed off to a one-night session.
What do you think could be improved upon for next year’s DSW? Do you agree or disagree? Would love to hear your insight.
I feel like I have driven myself into the ground these past two weeks. That old familiar feeling: I am doing too much. I am overcommitted.
The difference this time, though: I have come to the conclusion that TAOpivot is not what I want to be doing for life.
I have not talked much about TAOpivot in the past month; I told friends that I would put the business on hold for about a month. Now, I am not sure if that will even be the case. When telling people what I do for a living, I have found that I end up mumbling my usual pitch about TAOpivot. Or, the spark has disappeared.
What am I to do next? I have kept myself busy ( and earning money!) with a few gigs with local startups in the time being. I realize I have reached my burn-out point with all the gigs floating around my head and around my work hours.
I have an idea of what I want to do next after TAOpivot, but I also am afraid of figuring out how to execute this idea.
Thus, I have been lost all weekend and today. My therapists say I should journal about this turmoil I feel; I have done so, but I have not come to any a-ha moment yet. It is hard for me to completely turn my back on what I have worked on in the past year, especially when there are still outstanding clients and prospects reaching out to me.
I just don’t care though.
That’s it, I suppose. That’s all I want to say for now.