Business Cards & Mailing Lists

Just because someone gives you a business card does not mean they want to be on your mailing list. Image courtesy of savit keawtavee from freedigitalphotos.net
Just because someone gives you a business card does not mean they want to be on your mailing list. Image courtesy of savit keawtavee from freedigitalphotos.net

There have been instances in the past week where I received an email newsletter and wondered, “How in the–when did I even sign up for this?” Just yesterday, a Twitter friend also complained about¬†this:

Why is it I am receiving newsletters I never signed up for? …And how in the world did this get perceived as an effective marketing ploy?!

I thought back to how I ended up on the mailing list and realized something that peeved me: I exchanged business cards with these people at networking events before, and they went ahead and added me to their mailing list without my consent.

Exactly when did this become acceptable? When did it become acceptable to assume that exchanging business cards equals a YES to joining your mailing list? This is just poor practice and unethical, if not outright illegal.

From the many networking events/conferences I have attended over the past several years, I can see how some of these connections, these businesses, collect & build their mailing list:

  1. Giveaways/freebies – Enter to win a new iPad: drop your card here! Seems harmless and easy enough for people interested in winning the iPad/what-have-you, right? Still, I think it’d be best if these businesses would put a disclaimer below, saying that even if you don’t win, you’ll be added to their mailing list. Most businesses don’t do this though, which highly irks me. It’s better to make a separate mailing list of people interested in winning your prize and ONLY contacting them regarding the contest results; after that, ask for permission to add others to your main mailing list and then delete the contest mailing list.
  2. Good ol’ networking – I enjoy networking in the sense of connecting with others over like-minded ideas. However, when I give someone my business card, I expect/desire one-on-one follow-up, NOT getting added to a mailing list right away. If you want to add your new connections to your mailing list, flat-out ASK the connections for consent. Recently, I asked my fellow leads group colleagues if it was ok for me to add them to my Hashtag Hustler mailing list: I only received a few responses, but that’s better than adding everyone without asking.

I’m sure there are other ways businesses can collect email addresses in-person, but these two are the most common ways I have observed. As you can see, it all boils down to ASKING FIRST. You know how the saying goes about assumptions: never ever assume that because you’ve connected with someone that they’re interested in being a part of your mailing list. People are increasingly guarded about their email inbox, so don’t become part of the problem: you may be moved to spam and blacklisted as a contact, which will do you no good.

My Voice, My Identity.

My Ignite Denver talk from 2013: you can listen to my voice in this video and see what I’m talking about.

Tonight I went to the First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe Drive in Denver with Ryan: it was his first time going to the art walk, despite the fact that he’s lived in Denver longer than I have. I hadn’t been back to a First Friday since mid-2012: I used to go with my friends from DU¬†when we were still in school.

At the first studio we went to, we were greeted by the proprietor and then she immediately said to me, “My, you have a deep voice.”

Sigh. First off, how is that a way to greet patrons? She might have meant for it to be just an observation, but it offended me and got me thinking about the many other times others have said things about how “unique” my voice is.

It’s as if they can’t fathom the idea that me, a Chinese woman, would have a “deep” voice instead of…what? What kind of voice do they expect for me to have? A shrill, high-pitched voice because that’s what I’m “supposed” to have?!

I just don’t understand why people feel the need to point out this fact about me as if it’s something I can easily fix. I was born with this voice, this body type, this everything–how do you expect for me to change something that is unchangeable?

On the flip side, I have also received comments from others about how wonderfully unique my voice is: a family friend once said that I have a “radio voice” that is very soothing.

I am proud of my voice and how I speak: I would never change it for anybody else. I just wish that people would accept this fact and also keep a filter when it comes to what they say to others.

#SXSW, #FOMO, & Money

Hanging out in Austin last March before SXSW.
Hanging out in Austin last March before SXSW.

I have been feeling a lot of #FOMO (fear of missing out) lately: earlier this week was the LAUNCH Festival, which I had attended two years ago. I followed along on the hashtag though, and felt excited learning about all the new apps and businesses launching in San Francisco.

I was originally planning on going to SXSW Interactive this year, but backed out a couple of months ago due to finances. Since late January, Ryan and I have been attending Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University to get our finances in order. Like most Americans, I am not the best with handling my own money but am improving upon that situation now by being in FPU and thinking really hard about what kind of travel to do this year.

During my 20s, I threw my money around and, although my debt is not as much as some may have, I still know that I have not been very responsible with my money, especially in the past couple of years. Thankfully, my work and income situation has improved a lot in the past couple years, but still, there is the debt; at the start of 2015, I declared to myself that I needed to get my finances in order since I am now 30 years old and need to be more responsible so I may be a good example for my future children.

So, no Southby at all this year: no Austin or Las Vegas. It’s been tough for me to tell my fellow conference friends but they have all respected my decision because of my reasoning. Of course, that still does not stop me from feeling like I’m missing out.

I feel more peace of mind though when I remind myself that this will all be worth it in the end: when I travel to these conferences again, I will be paying for all the extra costs with money that I DO have, not credit cards. I will be debt-free.

Things Are Not As They Seem

Happy outside, sad inside? It's hard to say.
Happy outside, sad inside? It’s hard to say.

I read an article recently talking about the comparison syndrome and how it’s become more prevalent as technology evolves. We all look at our friends’ photos and status updates on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, et. al., and we always see happy, smiling faces. In turn, it makes us jealous or sad when we see how ‘perfect’ everybody else’s lives are.

But really, we don’t see the whole picture: everybody always shows a happy face because, well, who wants to post about sad moments? In the end, we just need to remind ourselves that we need to take care of #1 (ourselves) first; don’t worry about what everybody else is doing!

I know I constantly have to remind myself about this, because I do feel that bit of jealousy and envy when I see how awesome all my friends are doing. I’m happy for them, of course! But I also have to remind myself: I too have a happy yet imperfect life. I appreciate my life as it is and wouldn’t trade it for anybody else’s.

Just a good reminder for all of us.

Pet Peeve: Lack of Follow-Through

Seriously, people. FOLLOW THROUGH. Image courtesy of stockimages at freedigitalphotos.net
Seriously, people. FOLLOW THROUGH. Image courtesy of stockimages at freedigitalphotos.net

This example is in no reference to my previous post regarding the potential connections I made between colleagues; this incident happened several months ago.

An acquaintance had posted on Twitter asking for financial advising, and I was happy to refer her to someone in my leads group at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. However, once I made the introduction, my leads group colleague reached out to her and she never replied.

I find it highly unprofessional and just plain rude when people don’t follow through, ESPECIALLY when they are the ones asking for the help/assistance. Why even ask your network for resources when you’re not going to follow through? Do the work yourself after that; you’re on your own.

Of course, I feel that all of us (to some degree) are guilty of this; hell, there have been several incidents in the past year where I know I dropped the ball on some people.

Still, it’s a pet peeve to me and make me not want to make introductions sometimes.