Taking a step back & a step forward

Speaking at Ignite Denver 20 on June 11, 2015. Thanks to @b_wleung for the photo!
Speaking at Ignite Denver 20 on June 11, 2015. Thanks to @b_wleung for the photo!

Last month, I spent a lot of time reflecting on my business, Hashtag Hustler, and what direction I want to take it. I also spent some time thinking about what exactly I want out of my life–do I want to go back and work for someone else? Do I want to actually succeed as an entrepreneur?

The first half of June, I spent running around getting stuff done for a couple organizations I’m a part of here in Denver: I gave my third Ignite Denver talk on June 11, talking about the lessons I learned from working at a hot dog stand in San Francisco. Hopefully the video will be up shortly so I can share it with you all!

Ryan and I in Times Square after watching Les Miserables on Broadway.
Ryan and I in Times Square after watching Les Miserables on Broadway.

After that, though, I spent the rest of the month with my love, Ryan, and went to New York City for vacation. It was Ryan’s first time to visit the Big Apple, so we visited many tourist attractions, such as the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Chinatown, and so forth. We went to see Les Miserables on Broadway and walked the Brooklyn Bridge as well. All in all, it was a great respite from life in Denver, and gave me space to really think about what I want out of my career and business.

Unfortunately, after we got back from New York City, I got sick with a terrible stomach virus. I’m feeling better now, but that sickness forced me to take off several more days and think about what direction I want the rest of the year to go in. On Monday, I received a rejection letter from a job I really wanted, and that was when I knew I had my answer: it’s time to go full-force with Hashtag Hustler.

It’s not that I haven’t been going at it with Hashtag Hustler since the official launch at the start of the year: it’s that I have been getting rejections from prospects the past several months, and I want to fix that. So I’ve hired a business coach to work with me over these next six months to revitalize the business.

Since the beginning of June, I’ve been hearing others talk about how we as professionals need to seek out other professionals to help us in our careers and lives. Why would a real estate agent act as his or her own expert in financial management if he or she doesn’t even have the background in that field? Why do so many businesses insist on doing their own marketing when that is NOT their speciality?

If you don’t invest in your own career or your life, you will receive that energy back from your clients or your friends. I realized this when I kept receiving rejection after rejection: I haven’t invested in my own business since my first business! Why would others want to hire me as their social media coach/manager if I don’t myself seek out a coach for my business?

So, onward I go. I have high hopes for this new adventure.


Speaking of adventures…

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you may know that I spoke at the inaugural Denver Startup Week in 2012. I would love to speak at this year’s Denver Startup Week about social media, but I need your help: please click on over to vote for my two sessions before Friday, July 10th. Much appreciated!

What Businesses Do Wrong On Social Media (& What To Do Instead)

Make Your Event Social Media Sparkle!

Pick up the phone!

When was the last time you made a phone call to your loved ones?
When was the last time you made a phone call to your loved ones?

This post has been incubating in my mind the past month: lately I’ve found myself seeking to reconnect with some friends I had lost touch with over the past year. Messages via text or social media can only go so far: I’ve decided to pick up the phone and call these friends to catch up on how their lives are. I met up with a few of them last month and I thought to myself, Gee, why don’t I do this more often?

In this day and age of technology, we feel like we’re so much better connected yet it also pushes us further apart. This cultural shift has been around for the past several years, but of course, people are also noticing the effects technology has on the whole human experience (as you can see in the video above). We think that it’s just *so* easy to just text someone, email someone, send them a tweet or post on their Facebook profile these days.

Have we forgotten how to pick up the phone and call that friend? That loved one? Just hearing a human voice…then we start connecting again. We realize how much we miss out on when we reconnect: I know that with most of my friends, they’re not avid social media users. Heck, some of my family members aren’t even ON social media. So what can I do to be more connected with them?

Just pick up the phone and call.

Building Confidence in Networking (Again)

The start of #HashtagHustler in August 2013, at SXSW V2V
The start of #HashtagHustler in August 2013, at SXSW V2V

Starting this month, I’m getting back into the networking game.

I realized last weekend (while planning out networking events to attend for this month and June), that in general, I hadn’t been as social the past couple of years. I had written about this in a previous blog post thinking that I had actually just burnt myself out in mid-2013 from committing to too many events.

I realize now that that was only part of the story.

In mid-2013, I closed down my first business, TAOpivot. During that summer, I was in flux about what my purpose in my life, my career was. Although I hit up the first annual SXSW V2V anyway, I realized that I no longer had much to talk about in terms of what I did for work. I was embarrassed.

And even though I started my second business (Ms. Kwong’s Baked Goods) shortly thereafter, I still didn’t feel like this was in alignment with what I wanted my career to look like. Don’t get me wrong: I loved baking, but it didn’t feel right for me in terms of a long-lasting career.

Therefore, I avoided social or networking events in the Denver area. I was uninterested in doing a 30-second pitch on what my business was about, because I knew I didn’t have the passion for it. So instead of fumbling along with the facade, I just opted out of attending many events. Hence, my absence in the Denver business and startup communities.

Since Hashtag Hustler has been officially established at the beginning of 2015 (I say that HH actually began in mid-2013 as well, but I didn’t have the full-fledged business concept fleshed out until this year), I have felt more encouraged to attend more events in town, to spread the word about my new, better-aligned business. Because I haven’t been so active in the business community the past two years, of course people don’t quite know me nor HH yet.

Luckily, my confidence is building back up from rock-bottom: I am ready to show Denver (and the world!) that Helene and Hashtag Hustler are ready to get back into the groove and build up business relationships again.

The Facade of Social Media

Do you really know me?
Do you really know me?

I go through periods of time where I am highly selective about the people I “friend”/connect with via Facebook and LinkedIn. Sometimes I don’t want to add people whom I only “know” through a Facebook Group or other forum; however, I feel like the worst people to add as Facebook friends are those who are friends of IRL friends.

Because that’s when people begin to feel like, “Oh, I know you because I know your friend.”

Frankly, no, no you don’t. You don’t know me and you shouldn’t act like you know me.

Which brings me to the main point of this post: we think we know these people we are all supposedly friends with on social media, but we really don’t. I know I had talked about this in a previous post of the whole comparison syndrome, and that things are never as they seem on social media. But this post is pointing out another aspect of that thought: when an acquaintance shares a piece of personal news (perhaps on the ‘bad news’ side of the spectrum), you may think you know how to react and how to respond to that person, but do you really think you do?

I am one of those people who just pops in and out of Facebook, not really staying consistent on the types of posts I share, so people who are “friends” with me there don’t get the full picture of what I’m going through (to get more of a full picture, they would also need to follow me on Twitter). Only if they’ve seen me recently in-person do they really know who I am or what’s been happening. If the last time they saw me was awhile ago, well then…they really should not assume they know all that has happened in my life, just like I try not to act knowledgeable on their lives.

This is the downside of technology: in the past, when we knew of friends of friends, they would just stay that way: distant connections. But in this modern age, we suddenly feel like we’re closer to friends of friends than we really are. It’s a delicate balance to maintain, and I feel like, if you’re not going to actively seek a more direct friendship/connection with the “friend of a friend”, then why even add them on Facebook?

I don’t think highly of people who think they can just sit there and lurk on acquaintances’ profiles, just waiting for that moment to pounce in and show “I REALLY KNOW YOU.”

Because really, NO. You really DON’T. 

Digital Fragility of Memories

The last photo from 2011 when I was visiting family in Montana.
The last photo from 2011 when I was visiting family in Montana.

I just made the unfortunate discovery that I now have absolutely no photos from August to December of 2011, which were my first months here in Denver. I am feeling shocked, saddened, angry….whatever other feeling one would have upon this discovery.

This is how this happened: I got a brand new laptop at the start of the year as a gift, and I told my sister Lisa that I would give her my own laptop. So I proceeded to transfer supposedly all my photos, music, and other files from my old computer onto my new computer and my cloud storage. Then, thinking I had transferred absolutely EVERYTHING over to the new computer, I deleted all my personal files on the old computer so there’d be space for my sister to save her files.

Somehow during the transferring process I overlooked the fact that I somehow didn’t get any photos from August to December 2011 transferred over…hence my discovery of this situation today. I was for photos from that time period since it is National Siblings Day and thought of one photo I had taken with a couple of my siblings that Christmas. Well, that photo is no more unless my brother Adam has it.

This whole situation reminds me of how ten years ago, I lost all photos I had taken from January to June 2005 because my computer had crashed that June, wiping all of the memory off of the computer. I hadn’t had a chance to make prints from any photos from that semester in school, so those photos are forever gone as well. I remember I cried so hard when I realized what had happened–none of those memories will ever be seen again!

Just goes to show that sometimes technology isn’t the greatest thing in the world: with a simple little mistake like what I had done, all those precious photos are gone for good. All that’s left is whatever memories I may have from those periods of time, and over time, those memories fade in my mind.

Maybe I should think about getting all my digital photos printed again. I used to do this last decade when it was still “cool” to make physical prints of digital photos.