Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Paperless and paper, yes: How social media has changed my ways

My consulting and coaching business is 10 years old this year, and almost immediately after I launched it in 2004, I found myself looking for ways to go paperless in the office. Blogging was just the start, serving as my primary marketing vehicle then and now; all my social media presences drive users back to the blogs. Today, my file cabinet's empty and much of my storage is in the cloud. But this year, I went back to paper--for just a few uses, all of them designed to leave my office rather than stay there. Here's what has changed, and how you can get discounts on the services that help me use, and lose, paper:

To get paperless:
  1. I gave up scanning receipts and business cards and got Shoeboxed, which gets an envelope of my receipts and business cards from contacts every month, scans them, recycles them, and makes it easy for me to download them in a variety of useful formats. Get 10 percent off Shoeboxed with my link. For anything else that needs scanning, I use a portable Doxie scanner. It mostly lives on my desk, but is small enough to pop into a suitcase if I need it on the road.
  2. My reading's electronic, whether I'm listening to audiobooks from Audible or reading ebooks on my Kindle and scanning RSS feeds in Feedly Pro. Several years ago, I donated hundreds of books to a local charity and kept just a few hard-to-find references and art books. 
  3. I stopped signing paper contracts (with the exception of one slow-to-modernize client) and sign everything with DocuSign, which has helped me process and sign contracts all over the world with ease. Use my link to get 30 days free and 10 percent off DocuSign.
  4. I gave up my file cabinet and transferred the contents and most of my brain to Evernote Premium, and now I create new documents in Evernote and clip articles from the web right into my notebooks. I've integrated my email, Feedly Pro, IFTTT, DocuSign, and a host of other programs with Evernote, making it easy for me to capture what I want to save. Use my link to get a free month of Evernote Premium once you register, install, and sign into your first free Evernote account.
I go paper-yes these days when I want to market on a personal level. The catch: Everything I order is designed to leave the office eventually! For this, I use MOO's ever-expanding range of products, and recently ordered the following for 2015:
  • Revised letterhead and envelopes, primarily used to send handwritten, personal notes to clients, particularly clients I've coached 1:1. It's a more intimate form of outreach that suits the business relationship, and makes a major impact. Inc. magazine offers tips for writing standout thank-you notes, in case you've forgotten how to do it.
  • Updated business cards. With more and more international contacts and clients, my cards now include ways to reach me on Skype as well as by phone and email. I include a photo of me on both cards and letterhead so the new contacts I meet can remember me better, and I chose a MOO design that coordinates my card and letterhead visually. I've even ordered a rush set of MOO cards when I ran out right before a conference in Amsterdam, and had them delivered to my hotel via MOO's European site.
  • Customized holiday cards for my clients, collaborators, and suppliers. MOO lets me print a custom message with room for a handwritten one, and adjust the back of the card to remind recipients I'd like to work with them in 2015, how to refer me on LinkedIn, and what my core business offerings are, briefly and attractively. You can add logos or pictures, too. The cards come with envelopes.
  • A two-sided postcard flyer about my coaching services. It's the briefest of summaries to let clients know that I coach speakers 1:1, in training groups, and backstage or in advance for conferences, as well as my credentials and contact info. Again, envelopes are included, although these also may be used as handouts at workshops.
  • Invitations for a series of client parties I'll be hosting in 2015. The design allowed me to customize a standing set of contact information, leaving plenty of room for a handwritten invitation.
  • For my houseguests, a series of cards they can tuck in their wallets with my home address so they can find their way back, landline and cell phone numbers, and most important, the codes for my secure wifi. These stay in the guest room for easy access--no need to wonder when to ask for the info!
Right now, my office looks like a paper processing plant, but not for long. Those letters, notes and invitations are headed out into the world! Use my link with MOO to get 10 percent off your first order, or more if you choose MOO for 10+ employees across your business.

If you work with scientists, physicians, policy wonks and other subject-matter experts, you'll find useful my popular workshop, Be an Expert on Working with Experts. The next session is February 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. Register at the link by January 9 to get the best rate; all registration closes January 29 or when all seats are filled. Don't miss the workshop communicators call "informative and eye-opening."

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