As most of you know I spend the better part of my life on a plane or traveling in a car with my boyfriend a.k.a. my suitcase. He is great but I just wish he would carry his own stuff because I am tired of pushing him around. What’s the fun in that?
While working in the music business I always thought I would be on tour with a rock band but find myself 10 years later touring cities I have never been to while representing Cox Business and Inc. Magazine at stellar events around the country.
I support and help create a social media buzz to share with people and make them aware of the opportunities Cox Business has awarded to entrepreneurs for the last few years. They have awarded over 100K of cash and prizes to a wide range of companies in various stages of development. I have heard pitches for everything from cake pops to sunscreen for dog’s noses to faucet/fountains called Nasoni (the winner of the most recent Get Started #getstarted757).
NASONI Wins GetStarted757 Judges Favorite, AND Audience Favorite! Took home the big $10,250 in cash and prizes! pic.twitter.com/GGRtouFOn2
— NASONI (@NASONIFF) June 18, 2015
All of these companies are startups and small businesses looking to grow but I have to be honest, some of the pitches are better than others and some people are more talented at selling their idea. But, all of these aspiring entrepreneurs have one thing in common and that is the passion behind their product or idea. Most startups start from a personal need for something and more time than not is representative of the person pitching the idea. What I mean is that each and every one of them have a story and the best pitches come from those that have a real personal relationship with the product and who can express the personal connection and passion for their product to the judges. Without passion, the pitch falls flat.
The entrepreneurs are given 2 minutes to get up and explain their idea cohesively to a panel of judges in a forum similar to the Shark Tank. Could you pitch your life’s work to a panel of strangers in two minutes and beat the buzzer? I have to hand it to all of the people that get up and attempt to pitch to the expert panel. It isn’t easy!
— MelanysGuydlines ® (@Melanyb12) June 17, 2015
While the pitches are taking place, I along with other influencers will be tweeting about the product, pitch and questions for the presenters. It moves fast, just like me and I never realized until recently that I tweet a lot. Like a lot. But, I love it and it keeps me on my toes. This opportunity is second to none and I feel honored to be invited time and time again to share in creating and promoting a vibrant start up community that is alive and very healthy in all areas of our country.
I also tweet prior, during and following the event on all social with the appropriate hashtag and images. Writing blog posts and any other way I can get the word out that Cox Business supports small businesses is what I do as an Influencer on tour! Everyone should know that Cox supports startup and small business and I can get the word out because I have a large mouth(piece) ha! Each of the influencers are hand picked by Martin Jones who has done a phenomenal job of blending people with similar and not so similar interests and backgrounds.
We all love social but I am the only snarky lifestyle blogger and bring my snarky entrepreneurial passion and personality with me to these events. I am still representing myself, Cox and Inc. So, if you find yourself in this position, bring your “A Game” and always represent yourself and these companies in a way that would make your mom and dad proud. I do! You never know who you are going to meet and who you are talking to so don’t ever judge a book by its cover. That person could end up being your boss tomorrow. These events challenge and inspire me to be at the top of my game all the time. Plus, Martin knows that compiling a group of influencers with varied audiences, achieves a much better reach than if we all had the same followers. This is fantastic for a much broader reach as small businesses come in all shapes and sizes.
I wrote this post on a plane returning to Arizona (home or where some of my furniture lives sometimes) returning for another successful Get Started event. It just keeps getting better and the pitches stronger and more inspiring with each stop we make. The ability to be at the forefront of influencer marketing and help these businesses get the word out while in their infancy is cool. But, the people I work with while networking, pitching and learning on behalf of Cox is awesome.
These people are not just my work acquaintances. They are my real friends. We travel and we know each other’s families. We talk to each other without devices in the middle of us (sometimes). We truly care about one another. I love being part of this social media family and hope that the people that speak about relationships and being social need to take one minute and actually practice what they preach.
But, can we please stop preaching so much and actually do? Be present. Be engaging. When you can eat dinner with someone in person, do it! Take time and ask about more than work. I do and have met and consider the people I have worked with on this tour like family. We don’t all do things the same, have different points of view but at the end of the day we compliment and care for one another just like a family should. Building relationships is more than just meeting someone and following them on twitter. It is maintaining and nurturing the relationship from now and on and on, not only when you need something from that person.
The fact that I have been chosen to do this work is beyond awesome! I guess I am finally the rockstar I wanted to be on tour with a group of other rockstars.
Now, who plays an instrument?
BTW – I can’t sing but they all know that already.
**Stay snarky my friends!**