The Undeniable Tour Update – First Sponsors Announced

Redwood Dawn by Rob Shenk from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I can’t wait to see these trees! Redwood Dawn by Rob Shenk from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I have been working on The Undeniable Tour since July 2014, shortly after I finished reading Jason Zook’s book Creativity for Sale. It’s hard to believe that it’s happening in only a few weeks!

Total Networks LogoI’m happy to announce two of my “Fan” Level Sponsors for the Tour: Total Networks and Attorney at Work. I’ve known both of these companies for a long time and I’m so excited that they were among the first to jump on AAW Logoboard to support the tour. Total Networks provides IT services to businesses (including many Arizona law firms) and they are the “only business in Arizona to have achieved the CompTIA Security Trustmark, a respected industry accreditation certifying that the business meets or exceeds the best practices in critical areas such as data protection, personnel security, and access management.” Attorney at Work is a law practice management website that releases new content every weekday by leaders in the legal industry and they have awesome downloadable bonus material. I write a monthly column for them where they encourage me to rant way too much.

In other tour news, I’m building out my travel schedule. I booked all my lodging except for one night – there aren’t any hostels at the California/Oregon border and there aren’t that many people on so I may actually have to by a hotel room for one night of this adventure. I finally booked my rental car and I was shocked that the fees were twice as much as the rental itself. Why did they do that? I hope some of the fees are for optional bells and whistles that I can decline. There are quite a few legal and social media movers and shakers on the west coast that I want to see so I’m trying to get as many of them on my calendar as I can and fill the remaining time with random fun adventures and seeing my friends. It’s going to be a busy trip. (I’m working on a post for The Undeniable Ruth comparing what it’s like to stay in a hostel versus a hotel – at least in my limited experience.)

I need to make a correction from last week’s blog post where I talked about the tour stop I will be doing via webinar for the Washington State Bar Association. We had a miscommunication about the date of my talk so I will not be doing it until the end of May. That got me thinking – I can only bring The Undeniable Tour talk to places in-person if somebody is footing the bill, but I can do a webinar from any place with and internet connection. So if you are interested in having The Undeniable Tour talk presented to your bar association or legal group via webinar once I’m back from my speaking tour, let me know. I won’t charge you as long as you don’t charge your members to attend.

If you’re interested in connecting with me while I’m traveling please follow me on Twitter. If you have any questions or comments about The Undeniable Tour, please shoot me an email.

The Undeniable Tour Update – Everything’s Coming Together

This was the view from my hotel in San Francisco last weekend. I'm so glad it overlooked the water.

This was the view from my hotel in San Francisco last weekend. I’m so glad it overlooked the water.

It’s hard to believe that The Undeniable Tour is less than a month away. At this point I feel like all the pieces are starting to lock into place. I booked my flights and most of my lodging. I’m going to be staying in hostels and couchsurfing for most of my trip. I’m really excited to meet so many new people – law students, lawyers, other social media movers and shakers, and fellow travelers. I’m also looking forward to spending a lot of time near the ocean, which is something I only get to see and pictures since I live in the desert.

This tour will give me the chance to connect and share ideas with others in the legal industry about what it means to be a lawyer and how we can better use social media to create professional opportunities for ourselves. I feel like I got a good primer in both of these areas this week by being a guest on the Human Social podcast hosted by fellow lawyer Mitch Jackson and at networking event for lawyers who work in eat-what-you-kill environments. The internet has provided the opportunity for the legal industry to break out of the stuffy ambulance-chaser stereotype and show prospective clients that there’s more than one way to be an effective lawyer.

I feel lucky to be a lawyer who gets to travel and attend non-legal conferences as part of their job. I spent last weekend in San Francisco at the Dad 2.0 Summit – a conference for men who blog about fatherhood. (I was on hand to answer their legal questions related to their blogs.) Being out of the office for a few days and getting away from my everyday routine was refreshing. Meeting a new group of people and listening to some of the topics that were important to them (how men are depicted in the media, gender roles, and what it means to be a man and a father) got the wheels in my head turning in new and different ways. And these guys were the masters of fun. I’d never attended a conference before where I got to shoot Nerf guns and take a field trip to LucasFilm. It so important to periodically take a break from the norm to prevent falling into a rut. I got all that out of a 3-day trip. We’ll see what a difference of 14-day trip will make.

I’m very excited to announce that I’ve added another speaking gig to the tour yesterday (just after I filmed this week’s video update. I will be speaking to the Solo and Small Practice Section of Washington (State) Bar Association via webinar on March 27th from Los Angeles. I think this will be the first time that I do a webinar that is strictly audio which will be a new challenge for me not to use visuals and to not have immediate feedback from the audience.

Recently, I sent out the contracts to my sponsors and as soon as I have their commitments I will be announcing them on the site – hopefully next week!

Planning this tour has been an exciting, stressful, and to be honest an exhausting endeavor. I’m so glad I’m doing it because it’s teaching me so much about myself and giving me the opportunity to connect with so many people. If you have any questions about the tour or if you live along the west coast and you want to meet with me during this trip, please connect with me via Twitter, Facebook, or send me an email.

The Undeniable Tour Update – Building my Schedule

Fort Point by Tom Hilton from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Fort Point by Tom Hilton from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I’m starting to get really excited about The Undeniable Tour. I booked my flights and I’ve locked in five main speaking gigs, and talking with two groups about organizing two more. Now that I’ve locked in those speaking dates, I’m shifting my focus to what I want to do on the other days of the tour – I’m going to be on the road for two weeks total.

Because my brain works in a very systematic way, I’m building my calendar day by day starting with my first day in San Diego and the last day I will plan will be my last day in Seattle. This trip is giving me the incredible opportunity to reach out to so many people I admire and either want to meet again or meet in person for the first time. I have a short list of people I really really want to meet and I’m wondering how many times I have to tweeted them or message them before they respond – if only to tell me to shut up. And when it comes to this trip, I’m going big. I’m trying not to be so intimidated by anyone that it causes me to not attempt to contact them. As my friend Jason Zook says, “You don’t get what you don’t ask for.” (If you haven’t read his book Creativity for Sale, go buy it immediately. It was because of his book and his course on How To Get Sponsorship For Anything that I was inspired to do The Undeniable Tour.)

I’m getting close to solidifying my lodging for each night. When I said I was handpicking where I wanted to stay each night, I meant it and I only reached out to places where I really really wanted to stay. (What is with me and “really really” today?) I know a lot of these awesome hotels and B&Bs probably get a lot of solicitations like the ones I sent asking for a free or reduced fee night in exchange for giving them exposure. I know I get plenty of opportunities to speak and write for free and I generally turn most of them down because I just don’t have the time, so I’m not offended that a lot of the places have declined the opportunity to give me a free night as part of The Undeniable Tour. There are a few places that I like so much that I may pay full price and stay with them depending on my final budget, and for the other nights, I’m looking into more economical options like couchsurfing and hostels.

I’ve never couchsurfed with strangers before and I’ve never stayed in a hostel. I’m using my upcoming trip to San Francisco to experience hostel life for the first time. I’m really curious to see what it’s like to stay in a dorm room with strangers with the communal bathroom down the hall. It may be the closest I get to camping, and if I like it, I can absolutely see myself traveling more often and using hostels instead of hotels. When I go on an adventure, I don’t really care about where I sleep as long as it’s warm, dry, and safe. Why pay $100-200/night plus a fee for Wi-Fi when you can stay in a hostel for $25/night or couchsurf for free?


The Undeniable Tour Update – Working on Logistics

Redwood Dawn by Rob Shenk from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Redwood Dawn by Rob Shenk from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

There is so much that needs to be done before the beginning of The Undeniable Tour. It seems like my to-do list is getting longer every day as I think of more things that need to get done. Even though I’m uber busy right now, I am enjoying the process.

Last weekend I planned out the basic structure of my trip, figuring out which city I need to be in or want to be in on each day and researching where I want to spend each night. I initially thought that I was going to have to go old school and put different colored push pins through my map of California to help me visualize my plans, but I was able to figure it out with a little help from Google Maps.

One of the most enjoyable things I’ve had to do in the last week is a research hotels and bed and breakfasts where I might want to stay. I purposely looked for independently owned places that had a rich history or something particularly unique about them. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to find places that weren’t your run-of-the-mill hotels.

I spent most of yesterday crafting emails to each hotel where I hope to stay, explaining who I am and why I’m doing The Undeniable Tour, and inquire if they would be interested in hosting me for a night in exchange for the exposure they would get from me on this blog, my YouTube channel, social media, and I would post reviews on Yelp and Trip Advisor. So far I’ve had one place accept – Casa Bella Sera (so excited to stay with you!), two places declined, and one asked whether I would need a room with one bed or two. I was a little bummed when the hotel that is made out of converted railway cars declined to be part of the tour, but that just means I get to stay with someone else that night.

If there is a city where I can’t find a hotel or B&B to host me, I’ll look at my options for a cheap hotel, a hostel, and I might consider trying My friend Liesl couchsurfed across Australia, staying with strangers, and didn’t die. It would definitely make my adventure more colorful.

If you have any suggestions for things I should see, people I should meet, or places I should stay during The Undeniable Tour, please let me know!

The Undeniable Tour Update – Getting Excited

California One by Thibault Martin-Lagardette from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

California One by Thibault Martin-Lagardette from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

It is about 6 weeks before The Undeniable Tour starts – and I’m starting to get really giddy-excited about it! There is so much to do, so little time, and so much to schedule.

The Undeniable Tour will be a two-week road trip from San Diego to Seattle that includes at least 5 large speaking engagements at law schools and bar associations, and I plan to use my so-called “down time” to meet with fellow awesome lawyers and hopefully some of the people and organizations that I admire professionally. The list of people I want to meet with is growing every day.

I also plan to use The Undeniable Tour to have some much-needed fun. For years I’ve been fascinated by a website called Roadside America. You can enter any city or state in the U.S. and it will tell you what weird, quirky, or unique things are in that area. I’m really want to see the giant Fork in the Road in Pasadena, California. I’m a big fan of the Yogi Berra quote, “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” Some of the other places I hope to visit during this trip are the Legal Grind coffee shop, the Redwood Forest, the Hat Creek Radio Observatory where they do SETI work, VooDoo Doughnut, and Ballard Locks (fingers cross that at least one of The Deadliest Catch boats will be there).

Since I haven’t gotten a “concierge” sponsor to cover my lodging, I’m beginning to make a list of hotels, B&Bs, and the like where I might want to stay. I want to find independent and unique places that have a good story behind them. My plan is to offer to feature them in a blog and video in exchange for them putting me up. Some of the places on my dream list are the Railway Inn, the Out ‘n’ About Treehouse Treesort, and the Jupiter Hotel. I need to figure out where exactly I’m going to be on each day of the tour to determine where I want to stay each night.

My Hustle Your Face Off Shirts, made by Brand X

My Hustle Your Face Off Shirts, made by Brand X

Did you see the awesome t-shirts that Brand X Custom T-shirts in Tempe made for me? My motto for this tour is “Hustle Your Face Off.” This will be the mantra that drives me every day and also the message I hope to pass along to my audience. I’ll be wearing one of these shirts at each of my large speaking engagements. (Hat tip to Gary Vaynerchuk for coining this phrase and giving his blessing to have these shirts made.”) If you want to have your own Hustle Your Face Off shirt (or anything else) made by Brand X, use the code 4TRV-16VSL-3 to get $5 off your order (expires 4/3/2015).

One of the walls in my office is covered by 4 large sticky notes right now – one for each region I’ll be hitting during the tour with color-coded ideas on each one. These are definitely helping me stay focused and organized. I included them on this week’s video update.

If you have any suggestions for things I should see, people I should meet, or places I should stay, please let me know!

Hitting the Road!

On the Road Again....... by Cheryl VanStane from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

On the Road Again……. by Cheryl VanStane from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

It’s been a crazy year so far for me, and it’s going to get even more crazy because I’m hitting the road this spring! I been invited to speak at three conferences and I have The Undeniable Tour.

I’m really excited to travel so much this year. I hope to use the time to meet incredible people, hopefully meet some of the people I greatly admire and follow online, connect with friends, see interesting places, and talk about some of my favorite topics – social media and social media law.

Here’s a snapshot of some of my plans:

Dad 2.0 Summit – San Francisco, CA

The Undeniable Tour – Southern California

The Undeniable Tour – Northern California; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA
New Media Expo – Las Vegas, NV

Ungagged Conference – London, UK

Plus I’m doing a handful of speaking events in the Phoenix area the spring too! I wish I didn’t have to sleep because there are so many things I want to do during my travels and so much I need to do to prepare for each one. I’m so excited to be invited to be involved in so many amazing conferences. And I’m so lucky that I get to take on a challenge as big as organizing my own speaking tour. (Sponsorship opportunities are still available!)

My plan is to blog, vlog, and post content on my various social media profiles during my travels. I want to share my adventures with you and do a lot of handstands. (It’s a gymnast thing.)

The only downside of all this traveling is I have to be away from my baby girl, not that she would enjoy planes, trains, unfamiliar hotels, or long hours in the car.

The Undeniable Tour Preview Talk at ASU Law

Legal Rebel Photoshoot 2012 by Don McPhee

Legal Rebel Photoshoot 2012 by Don McPhee

I’m so excited that I get to speak at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law on Thursday, October 23rd and present the talk I’ll be taking on the road during The Undeniable Tour.

I’ll be sharing my story about how I went from a middle-of-the-pack nothing special law student to being a lawyer with a successful solo practice, three best-selling books, and the first person ever selected from Arizona to be an ABA Legal Rebel.

What I did wasn’t rocket science, but it did require tenacity, a strong desire to learn and make connections with people, and having a life outside of law school. That’s where I found my passions for flash mobs and social media and developed those into niches that are now the hallmarks of my practice. Along with sharing my story, I’m going to be talking about how to use social media and blogging as networking tools that can be leveraged to make connections and open doors for opportunities that someone wouldn’t have otherwise.  I sincerely hope the audience walks away from my talk inspired to try some of my suggestions and to be motivated to seek out their own professional passions.

It’s always exciting to visit my alma mater. My talk is at lunchtime in Room 114, but I’ll be in the law school starting around 11am and I’ll probably stick around until 3ish to chat with students in the rotunda.

Thank you to the Career Services Office at ASU Law for inviting me to do this. It’s going to be a lot of fun.