Friday, June 27, 2014

GUEST BLOG: How A Mom Added Likes & 2256 Views to Her Facebook Page Using a Refer a Friend Contest

Greetings everyone! Today I'm featuring a guest post from Nathan Latka, CEO at He's going to share with us a great product that will help you achieve sustainable social media success on Facebook. Let me know in the comments if you think this is useful information!

Kelly DiNisco is a Heyo customer and the Digital Marketing Manager at Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture.

Kelly was looking for a way to generate additional engagement on the brand's Facebook page without spending money on advertising. She used Heyo’s Refer a Friend campaign to launch a  “Win Luella Bedding” contest.

To win, participants would have to enter in order to get a link. This link is unique to each entrant. Entrants use the link to market the campaign to their networks which drives clicks and engagement back to Shabby Chic.

This is How Kelly Generated 2256 Views With No Ad Spend

Using the Refer a Friend campaign, Kelly began by customizing the campaign to match the Shabby Chic brand.

When participants enter, they are automatically given a custom link and added to the leaderboard. This leaderboard is a critical piece to driving additional views and engagement.

Because humans are naturally competitive, showcasing the leaders in a leaderboard encourages everyone else to continue getting their friends to enter the campaign in an effort to win.

Additionally, the countdown Kelly included encourages participants to enter the campaign immediately as opposed to waiting. If you want to generate action and engagement, you must create urgency with a countdown widget – we’ve seen this prove out across thousands of campaigns. Urgency drives higher conversion rates.

How You Can Copy Kelly’s Genius Campaign

Click here and put in your name, email, and create a new password to use the Refer a Friend campaign just like Kelly did.

Your friends will thank you for sharing a high converting case study with them. Don’t forget to like, share, and tweet this article.

Author Bio
Nathan is CEO and Co-Founder of Heyo. Nathan has worked with over 100,000 business owners looking to start businesses that grow into industry leaders. He's most passionate about empowering business owners with easy to use marketing tools.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

How to Internet with ADHD

Image courtesy iStock
I was Tweeting with a colleague recently while attempting to accomplish working from home. I mentioned that it is often a challenge for me to manage my time and workflow. This is a common challenge for many people, I know. But I have two compounding issues that I bet a lot of other people also share: My work requires me to be on the internet -- specifically social media -- for much of the day, and... I have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Unlike many people with this disorder, I wasn't formally diagnosed until I was 25 years old. It was an "aha" moment for me: So much of my youth finally made sense in light of this challenge that I had been unknowingly battling my entire young life. People got annoyed with me because I 'couldn't control my energy level'. I was often doing something completely unrelated to what the teachers were attempting to convey to me, though I was often an 'A' student and always had an answer to their question, even though I was reading or drawing or distracting some other hapless student who had the misfortune to be seated nearby. The volume and intensity of my speech was another problem, with both teachers and fellow students complaining that they couldn't get a word in edgewise.

Image courtesy Healthline
So when I received the diagnosis, it was a great relief, to discover that my lack of school friends as a youth and my string of exasperated teachers wasn't because I was a bad person or unlikeable, I just had a disorder, and it could be treated. Enter the medications, and a psychiatrist to manage them.

If anything, that became an even unhappier period in my life than the not-knowing. The drugs made me either edgy, angry, sleepy, unfocused, double-hyper or killed my sex drive, by turns. After a year of trying various pharmaceutical solutions, I decided to get off the roller coaster and return to what I had been doing before to cope, but now with extra incentive and knowledge: I created a series of techniques to help me deal with my ADHD, and I use these techniques to this day. 
My colleague on the other end of Twitter remarked that my techniques could be useful to others, and that I should blog about it. Aha!

So here, ladies and gents, are my personal techniques for how to be on the interwebs all day and still Get Stuff Done.

Image courtesy Chicklitplus
Make a list. Before I open my email, before I look at anything at all on the web, I make a list of my action points for the day. What are the things that absolutely MUST get accomplished? What are the things that would be nice to complete but are not deal-breakers? What are things that are just plain fun? I try to put the list in order of importance, but intersperse some of those just-for-fun things throughout, to keep me from going off on tangents or getting frustrated because of needing to fight my high propensity for distraction.

Make the list time-bound. I try to estimate how long each task should take to accomplish. This is a very difficult step for me, but it's important. Break the tasks into 15-minute increments. Figure out how many 15-minute tasks I can accomplish, reasonably. Set them up so that there are natural breaks in between stages.

Set a timer. I dive into the first task, having set a timer for 15 minutes (or whatever length of time indicated for that task). Work on the task, and then when the timer goes off, stop and assess whether the task is complete or needs an extension. This keeps me from going too far down a rabbit hole, following fascinating blogs or reading about topics that are important but may not necessarily be related to THIS task.

One task at a time. Studies have shown that people who try to multi-task, instead of being more productive, are actually less productive and less able to complete any task to a standard of quality. This is for regular people, not just ADHDers. So imagine how much harder it is to complete tasks when you're already fighting yourself. Don't do it. Stay focused on a single task at a time. If you discover another task that needs doing, add it to your list, then go back to your original task.

Use native online tools. If I can avoid personally going online and searching for content for my clients or myself, that's extra time I can spend on another task. So I set up and enabled LinkedIn, Houzz, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ to send me the content I need, direct to my Inbox. Then all I have to do is scan quickly through a few emails, pick the content that's right for my clients, and insert it into their Buffer streams for easy posting and distribution on the days and times that I've already established. In fact, Buffer has recently rolled out a feature where they deliver suggested content right into my Buffer, and then I pick what's relevant and discard the rest, in just a few minutes. I also have Google Alerts set up on specific keywords and phrases, so anything from around the web related to that topic is automagically in my Inbox when Google finds it.

Take frequent breaks. I also set a timer specifically to remind myself to get up, move around, stretch, look away from the screen, and generally remember that I'm contained inside a body that also needs attention. Don't forget meal and comfort breaks. Ironically many ADHDers also suffer with hyperfocus, a condition that seems like the opposite of ADHD, but is really just another symptom of disordered attention. I become loathe to stop for any reason whatsoever, and will even ignore physical discomfort because I am "getting stuff done for once". While this can be good for your clients, it's bad for your health, and your relationships.

Keep it in perspective. Finally, remember that some times are going to be harder than others. There are days when I have 14 unfinished tasks and not a single one actually gets completed. Or I find myself going around the same circle again and again: "I need to do this before I can do that and in order to do that, this has to be done." I don't beat myself up about it like I used to, before I knew that I had a disorder. Now I just shrug, say, "Well, my list for tomorrow will be easier to make because it looks remarkably like my list for today" and then spend some time in gratitude. If you open your day thinking about your goals, and end your day thinking about what you're grateful for, you create a cycle of positivity. And one thing those of us with ADHD know, it's that structure helps us.

Image courtesy Memorise
Another detail about being diagnosed: When this issue came to light, it was because my employer at the time was unhappy that I wasn't being productive enough. They wanted to figure out how to 'fix' me so that they could work me even harder. Ironically, a diagnosis of ADHD created a legally protected status (in that state, in that company) which meant that once I was diagnosed, they could not legally require me to do more than 3 tasks simultaneously, and they could not fire me for not being able to. The real kicker was that they had been the ones to insist that I see the doctor who diagnosed me, and the company-supplied health insurance paid for it. The good news? Once the number of tasks I was being asked to perform simultaneously went down, my accuracy and productivity did actually go up. So I credit them with starting me on my more sustainable path to success, while living with ADHD.

What was YOUR 'aha' moment about living or working with ADHD? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sustainable Finance

Lately I've been thinking about my personal and business finances, how I'm often living paycheck-to-paycheck, and every time I start to get ahead, a health problem or some other issue will arise and wipe out my meager savings. 

I'm a smart worker, dedicated to my clients and employer, with strong moral values, and amazing initiative (I'm told, see my recommendations on LinkedIn). So why can't I attain a financially comfortable life? Why am I perpetually running just inches ahead of the huge boulder, Indiana Jones-style?

 (image source: Lucasfilm/Paramount Pictures, 1981)

I may have found the answer, in this fascinating article about our inner wealth set-point by Kathy Caprino. What she says makes sense, that our inner financial set-point is programmed by the people we were raised by and influenced by earlier in life, and if they had or have a negative relationship with money, then we will, too. I can recall my parents having terrible fights about money in my childhood, and how my father suffered when he was unemployed. My parent were also very secretive about money, and to this day, even though I am one of the executors of their wills, I have no idea what my parents' finances are like. My negative childhood experiences with money have been holding me back in adulthood. Kathy goes on to explain, via her interviewee Margaret Lynch, that a tapping activity called EFT can help release these negative beliefs and create a fresh foundation for a positive attitude.
While I'm familiar with the concept of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), I've never worked with it, so this will be a new challenge for me. (If it's new to you as well, check out the video below.) I'll start as I always do, by researching, then trying it out, then making corrections and re-assessing, multiple times if need be. 

Even before I get into that part of the process, however, I can begin by letting go of clients who are not good clients, who don't pay on time, who don't do their homework between meetings, or who repeatedly cancel or reschedule appointments. I want clients who value my time and theirs, who are excited about the work I'm doing with them and what I'm teaching them, and who view my fees as an expression of my valuable offering, rather than desiring to work with me because I'm "on sale".

What does this have to do with sustainability? you ask. Well, if I'm not able to feed, house and clothe myself, provide adequate health and dental care, and have time available to improve myself personally, how can I serve my clients? If my personal financial status is not sustainable, how can my business be?

I'd love to hear your reactions to this post in the comments, if you're willing to share. I'm putting myself out there by revealing this information, with the intent to improve myself and my business, and I'm not waiting for the new year, I'm starting TODAY. What is your inner wealth set-point? What is holding you back from achieving your goals? Let's enter a more financially sustainable new year, together.

(video source: YouTube)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Great Ideas are Sustainable

I used to work as an administrator for a non-profit in the Mission District of San Francisco, up until a few weeks ago. Their main office is located just a few short blocks away from the apartment I've lived in for 5+ years. Once a week for 3 years I walked down 14th Street on my way to work and passed by a little architect's office. I keep meaning to poke my head in there and say hi, because I like that method of networking a lot, dropping by and introducing myself when in the area.

On my last day of work, I was again about to rush past the architect's place when I noticed their window display, and it struck me as a brilliant piece of advertising as well as design. I had to stop and photograph it, though my Android phone lacks a great camera, so I hope you'll excuse the reflections and low lighting.

S/he or they (not sure how many people work there but I see 2 people sometimes) have taken a very simple idea, just rolling out some trace paper and drawing onto it with quick pen & marker hand-sketches, elevations, perspective illustrations that are so lovely and enticing that they are works of approachable art as well as great examples of the architect's process. 

They made multiple rolls of this momentary art as wallpaper strips, hanging as if they could be rolled back up and put into a blueprint tote to run across town for a client meeting on-site. Using multiple types of paper, from yellow to bright white, thicker to thinner, in several widths, creates depth and adds interest, drawing the viewer in, if you'll pardon the pun.

I expect creating this window display was fun, a happy way to spend an hour or two, doodling and imagining the built environment in the way that architects and interior designers such as myself like to do.

Even more than that, this display doesn't take many resources, requires a low investment in time, is endlessly reusable and recreate-able, and costs very little -- all highly prized sustainable values. It delivers a strong message that clearly communicates the skill, passion, vision and knowledge of the designer, while appearing approachable and likeable, all without using any words and never showing a human face - 2 of the most powerful motivators in advertising. I admire the mind that thinks this way.

Maybe after this blog gets a few hits, I'll walk down there again and let them know where to find it. It's always nice to show appreciation for a job well done. And I can finally introduce myself; after all, we're neighbors :^)

Update: I did go introduce myself to Tom McElroy, and we had a lovely conversation at his office. Several months later, at a networking holiday party, I bumped into Tom again, and he was even more conversational with a drink in his hand and a festive hat. I highly recommend Tom if you need any architectural or renovation work done.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Just in Time for Earth Day 2013

This year I'm hosting another green kind of party, just a few days before Earth Day April 22, 2013. But that doesn't mean I get out of doing good works!  I try to focus on green design every day, but Earth Day is a time for me to try extra-hard to share my excitement and commitment about sustainability with people who might not have heard the good word.

It's easy to get overwhelmed with all the depressing facts and figures about the state of our planet, especially as a citizen of the United States, the single biggest polluter on the earth, per capita. We're living in a seriously dangerous condition and quickly moving towards a devastating outcome for us as well as the billions of plants, animals, insects and other forms of life that we share this planet with.  But there is reason to celebrate too! LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) has helped to start a national conversation about sustainability between our government and local communities. Green design is moving forward in the ranks of required courses at elementary schools, high schools and higher education facilities. And being 'green' or sustainable is now an important factor in big business as well, though there's still far too much greenwashing going on.

That's where Earth Day comes in. There are still people who have not heard that they have the power to make a difference simply by changing their personal habits and becoming more educated about the choices they make every day. The more of us who join together, the louder our voices become, and our reach goes further. I think the founders of Earth Day hoped that they could incite a paradigm shift, and it's our responsibility to keep that momentum going!

Below is a listing of Earth Day activities taking place in the San Francisco Bay Area, my hometown. I encourage everyone, no matter where you are, to find information about your local Earth Day events, pick a fun activity and get out there, sharing your love for people and planet in whatever way you can. You might just make some new friends at the same time!
And here are some more not on SF FunCheap's list:

California State Parks Foundation's Earth Day Event - Candlestick Point State Recreation Area. April 13, 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. For more information visit

Earth Day Kids Club - Serramonte Center, Daly City. April 16, 5:30 p.m. For more information visit

San Mateo County's School District "Be Seen Keepin' it Clean" Events. April 19, various times and schools. For more information visit

Ocean Beach Clean Up - Ocean Beach, Stairwell 17. April 20, 10 a.m. - Noon. For more information visit

San Mateo County Park Earth Day Events. April 20 & April 21, various times and locations. For more information visit

San Francisco Recreation and Park Department's Earth Day Activities. April 6-27, various times and locations. For more information visit

California Academy of Sciences Earth Day Programs. April 20-27, various times and locations. For more information visit

Distribution of free "BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) San Mateo" reusable bags. April 22, various times and locations. For more information visit

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Greener Business Cards

I wrote this article in 2010 for the now-defunct, one of the first sustainable furnishings websites created by and for interior designers with the intent to educate the general public as well.  I talked a lot about sustainability as one of their guest bloggers, and this article is a pretty good companion piece (it was originally published in the Resources section of the website).  The pricing might be outdated, but the rest of the information is still sound.  I think that's a sign of good methodology, don't you?  I can think of one alternative technique not mentioned here; I wonder if anyone will identify it in the comments below?


Greener Business Cards

by Jennifer Davidson

Networking is a necessary activity in many fields of life, not only business.  It can be helpful in educational environments, creative endeavors and finding friends with similar tastes.  Even in this digital age of PDAs and mobile phones, the most important thing to have when actively networking is a business card.  But what if you’re a sustainable designer or an environmentally conscious consumer?  Here are some tips to help you “green” your business cards.

Local is best.  If you already have a relationship or experience with a local print shop, contact them and ask about more sustainable printing options.  The shorter the distance your business cards travel, the more eco-friendly they are.  You might even pick them up on your way to another errand!

Ask questions about paper content.  Request post-consumer recycled content paper: utilizing recycled materials creates a market for more such materials.  Is any pre-consumer portion from FSC-certified forests or comparable certification programs?  Is the paper coated or matte?  (Many types of coated paper are non-recyclable and non-biodegradable.)  Is the paper chlorine-free?  What weight is the cardstock?  A lighter weight might be fine for your purposes or a heavier weight might avoid the need for coating.

What about ink? Are they vegetable-based or petroleum-based inks?  Does the process require alcohol?  How are the water and sludge treated afterward?  What about the rags used in the process: how are they disposed of?

Consider the final product.  Are the cards recyclable when you’ve changed personal details or job titles?  What is the fewest/most cards you can print in a single run?  What is the optimum amount for your use?  Think about using mini-cards sized at 1.125” x 2.75” or namecards at 1.75” x 3.5” instead of the traditional business card at 2” x 3.5”.  An unusual-sized card might garner more attention in a stack while conserving paper – a win all around!

But the cost!  Sustainable printing makes sense but those dollars add up!  Prices at my local printers in San Francisco start at $159 for 500 standard size “green” business cards, as compared to $109 for the traditional, unsustainable version.  Some printers might be willing to negotiate a sponsored card; one side is your information and the other side is theirs, with a statement about the eco-friendly qualities of the cards, of course. gives 10 full color sample cards for free (including the shipping) if you are willing to have their logo and web address printed across the bottom of the graphic side.

Can I DIY?  Of course!  There are many computer programs out there that will help you print a single page of cardstock and show you where to cut them if you only need 10 cards or want to play around with your design before committing to several hundred.  Having your own paper cutter is helpful but your local print shop or FedEx Kinko’s can probably provide a self-service hand trimmer if you don’t want to invest in one.  They can also help you print on cardstock if your home printer doesn’t support that.

No local printer?  The top three returns of a Google search for ‘green business cards’ reveal: - eco-friendly green printing on recycled paper  Announcing a super eco-friendly new Moo Business Card

Eco-Office Gals helps you choose earth friendly options for your business cards

so there are plenty of options, as long as you’re alert and know what to look for.

If you go for the most sustainable product possible, consider the transport distance and optimize the amount of cards you order, you can concentrate on growing your sustainable business instead of what you’re doing to the environment.  What could be more eco-chic?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sustainable Networking from an Extroverted Introvert

I was chatting with a highly introverted friend the other day about networking, and it occurred to me that I have a fair amount of experience with this, since recreating myself as a sustainable interior design consultant in 2008.  Here are highlights from our conversation:

It's a good idea to come armed with some recent news topics or general conversation starters that are tailored to the event you are attending.  Don't ask people what they do for work, that's boring, especially if you're at an industry networking event and chances are you all do something similar.  Instead, ask them what they are passionate about, and watch their eyes light up as they tell you about it.  Pretty soon you can't stop the conversation from pouring out.

Another good one is to ask if they collect anything. Or, what their favorite childhood memory is. You just gotta tap into the juice that makes people who they are, and they will happily prattle on about it for hours, with little further prompting from you, mostly. However, you should be prepared to share a bit in return. Back and forth is what keeps the conversation flowing. Also, I find the best conversations are often between 3 people rather than 2, so bring a socializing friend or business partner and mingle as a pair to break the ice, then find a nice rhythm and break off into separate small pairings or groups that check in with each other regularly.  This can also help keep you from getting stuck in one conversation or group for too long and not making another connection.

Think of networking as writing your name in the yearbook of a few great friends, rather than spraying a crowd widely with your generic contact details. I spoke to a gentleman who proudly crowed about giving away over 100 business cards at a 2-day conference. I asked him which person was the most memorable, and in what order he intended to contact his favorite new people, and his smile faded a bit. I could tell he could barely remember the last person he spoke to, let alone the first.

Consider this: If you met someone in a hallway and they said, "Hi I'm Joe Escrow and I have a very special offer for you, it's just $19.95 if you buy now", would you want to continue your conversation with this person? Probably not. But if you met someone who said, "Hi, I'm Jerry, I'm passionate about FSC-certified wood being used in San Francisco renovations", you're more likely to not only remember this person, but want to continue the conversation later, when you find you have a question about this topic. Networking is not about gathering as many business cards as possible, but strategically discovering how you can help other people in your network, while helping yourself.

Another great hint: I write the name and date of the event, the reason I attended if it isn't obvious from the event title, and the conversation I had with the person on the back of their business card before I go on to the next person. Then, on the next business day, I drop them a note saying how much I enjoyed meeting them, and continue the conversation with another probing question, or an opportunity for them to display their expertise. I then ask how ~I~ can help them. 90% of the time, I get an answer back, and have cemented a good start to a business relationship. If you have one of those fancy electronic address books in your cell phone or tablet that allows you to enter the person's details and a note, by all means use that, but the key is to actually follow up with a conversation after the event, and I find a physical card with a note on the back prompts me to take action in a way an electronic entry in a database does not. Your mileage may vary.

Also, a note on business cards; next month I will be posting an 'oldie but good-y' blog I wrote about greener business card printing, so check back to learn more about making sustainable printing decisions.

Finally, don't feel like you have to be the first one in the door and the last one to leave. Attend the event, make a few solid contacts, and leave satisfied. But don't forget to stop by the main desk and thank your host, and pick up a business card to send an email thank you if the host is not available in person. Guests with good manners will be invited back, and that's sustainable networking at its best.