Category Archives: blogging

5 ways to improve instagram

5 Ways to Improve Your Instagram (Business) Game

Around here we love Instagram. It’s our favorite social media platform. (With the Introduction of video and stories, it’s become incredibly entertaining as well.) As the years have gone by, many are trying to navigate how to use Instagram for business. How do you show up consistently, presenting your services to the world? Are you finding creative ways to engage your audience? How do you stay true to your creative voice and raise it into a raving, paying tribe?

Keep reading for our tips after the jump!

1. Show up with your work. Everyday.

For many posting on Instagram feels arbitrary or another thing to do. If this is the way you’re thinking about Instagram, it’s time to develop a strategy. Spend an hour a week developing a content calendar. Focus on the writing first and the imagery second. Then, write and create content for your dream client, rather than yourself. How would you engage your dreamies? Write to inspire and delight. Bring original photography, type, and your work for the table. Ask yourself, do people know what I do? How am I representing this visually? Is there consistency?

2. Have a dedicated account or profile for your business.

If you’re still wanting to post less curated items, think about developing two accounts, one for personal and one for professional use. This will keep your account curated on your offerings, work, and content, rather than having to be filtered through by your audience. Once you have a page dedicated to your Instagram, create a mirroring Facebook page, allowing to utilize an Instagram business account.

3. Know lighting and study photography.

Ditch dark and dingy pictures. Make a commitment to shoot in natural light and avoid harsh shadows. This will work wonders on your photos. Look through your existing feed. If there are images that aren’t amazing, delete them. As you shoot think of a consistent color scheme and editing filter for all of your images. This will bring visual continuity. We love using the VSCO app on our phone for quick edits and using Lightroom on our computers. It’s a game changer.

4. Your Instagram bio and contact information are incredibly important.

Can people tell what you do through your business? Do they know your physical location and hours? What are the services you offer? Are you driving people to your website or email? Spend time crafting your message and a strong call to action in your bio.

5. Get your life back, use a scheduling platform. 

You don’t want to spend hours on social media. Make a commitment to yourself that you will only spend time on social media that is valuable in contribution. This means likes have no value. Choose to write authentic comments instead. Only focus on contributing content that will grow your tribe. This removes pressure that can come from social media and comparison that can occur as you spend time online. If you’re on an adventure you want to photograph or capture, spend 15-30 minutes getting your shoots and then put your camera away. Confession: almost all of our images are latergrams. They are all shot ahead of time, edited, and then scheduled using Later app. This allows us a steady workflow and keeps our mornings freed up for client meetings, emails, and correspondence rather than spending hours on social media indexing.

Ready to take your Instagram to another level?

I will be teaching a half-day workshop in Redding on May 6 talking about Instagram for Business. Find out more information for the event here.

work to live

Monday Words: Work to Live

Work to live. Live to work. One phrase has fullness of meaning, filled with dreams, possibilities, and hope. The other is one that is full of dread, long hours, and lack. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on my workload, sustainability, and building my business. It has come with many hours of thought and deliberation. What I’ve discovered along the way as a freelancer is that while you can work from anywhere, you simultaneously to your work with you everywhere you go… It can be liberating, full of freedom, or it can be crippling.

By nature I’m an achiever. I love to create, get things done, and mark items off my to-do list. I can get more done in a focused afternoon than most people can get done in a whole day. Because of this, I can have laser focus. I plow through work, often times forgetting to eat or sleep. Many have asked over the years if I know how to rest or how to embrace play. It’s something I love, but often gets put to the last item on the list every week. Maybe you can relate. The week is long and full, the things that once took priority, the ways you did self-care, have gotten pushed to the very last thing. How do we work to live? To have resource for what we value, but know when to stop? How do we no longer bow to financial incentives, but instead make the best choices?

This past weekend I decided to make a change. I took a weekend off. I found myself having time to enjoy the gym, having friends over for brunch, working in the garden, catching up on laundry, and as I write this post, I’m refreshed and excited to conquer the pile of work on my desk. It’s a rare feeling for me.

As a creative, it’s easy to press in and push through. There’s the deadlines for clients, the massive amounts to do. As you work from home, there’s blurred lines of where work starts and home begins. More than anything, I’ve found that when I have healthy rhythm, my inspiration floods forth and my creative blocks dissolve quickly.

As you face your day, how are you creating sustainably? Are you working at the sacrifice of self continually? What does it look like to have nice things but not fixate on them? What does it look like to work to live rather than live to work?

what's in my bag australia

What’s In My Bag: Melbourne, Australia

The day has come! As we speak I’m flying over the Pacific Ocean to travel to Australia. While it will be a quick trip, around 7 days to be exact, I can’t wait to experience a distant land that I have already come to love. It’s been a battle to get on the plane, but one where the promise of adventure has been worth all the hustle.

Keep reading for the full post after the jump!

what's in my bag australia

Sources: High Waisted Shorts | White Relaxed Tee | Denim Dress | Striped Button Down |
Bomber Jacket | High Waisted Denim | Striped Tee Dress | Black Tee | Black Sandals | White Converse | Zipped Booties | Swimsuit

whats in my bag australia 2

When it comes to being a freelancer, I always get asked what I pack for my mobile office. I try to keep things streamlined with only the essentials. As I choose bags, I pick quality and carry on items that look stylish, but not super tech savvy. When traveling internationally, it’s always best to choose bags that don’t look like they house cameras and laptop gear. It makes hopping on trains, walking from place to place, and airports, less of a target. Anyways, these bags have gone with me to Eastern Europe, all over the states, and are now traveling to Australia.

Sources: 15 inch Macbook ProMagic Mouse | External Hard drive | Canon 6D Body | 50 mm Prime Focal Length Lens | Moleskine Notebook | Modern Commuter Backpack | Twill Weekender

 

 

let it explode

Monday Words: Let it Explode

A few weeks ago I found myself walking across Shasta Dam. Normally this is a common thing to do on a pretty day when you’re wanting to play with water and get a few spring and summertime photos. However, this day was different. It was iconic. The last time I was at the dam it was a rainy day. This winter and spring, we’ve had more rainy days that have followed. Downpours and hailstorms have come. Usually talking about the weather isn’t a great way to begin a conversation (or a blog post for that matter),  but as I crossed the dam underneath the spring sunshine, I realized there was a noise. Where we had a drought for three years, the dam was released and water was rushing through. I heard the rush of water and saw the water levels at an all time high for the first time in three years.

As I drove down the hills and bluffs that day, I found myself wondering and my heart soaring. What does it look like as a creative for it to explode? For the fullness of self, of creative desires and force to be released? No longer held back by obstacles, writer’s block, or fear of vulnerability, what happens when we let it explode? The dreams inside our heart, running after the deepest part of ourselves, and showing up in the fullness of who we are? Looking at the rush of water that day. I marveled. It was stunning and beautiful. The contrast of what we had known, the impossibilities we had heard, and what was set before us. It was juxtaposition and paradox set before me. I loved it.

When I write posts like this, I know it’s easy to say things like “Let it explode. Follow your dreams. Make money with your passion.” But it’s far more difficult actually do it. As I write this post, there are some changes I’m making around this space. After blogging for two years, I’ve been able to hone in on what it is I love to create, but more than anything long to have focus on what I’m creating. There are times where I’ve felt like a explosion of stress, and letting things explode meant giving grace to my heart in seasons, the long hours in the studio, the late nights and the all too early of mornings. There are other days where letting it explode has meant intentionality, giving generously, and finding the back roads, the uncharted trails, and getting lost in cities. Other days, letting it explode has meant the bursts of creative energy, going analog and finding the beauty in long hours, cultivating inspiration, and rediscovering the beauty of my craft and what started the love of design to begin with. As a creative, what does it mean to boldly create, evolve, and dedicate space to my craft? What does it mean to choose vulnerability, daring into the unknown, and surprising even myself when I innovate and change.

Today, whatever it looks like. Let it explode.

 

working to take time off

Working to Take Time Off

When it comes to taking time off as a creative and entrepreneur, there’s always a hesitation within. Will you miss out on the call? Will your clients survive if you step away from your phone? In the first year if business, it’s easy to think that it will all go downhill if you take a day off or simply shut off your device. As a creative and entrepreneur, you are passionate and leave and breathe what you do. You got into business for yourself, not because you like working from your couch, but because you are excellent and absolutely love you what you do. It burns within you. There are definitely benefits of being an entrepreneur. You get to create your own schedule and can work from spaces that inspire you. You have a few more tax write-offs than the average person. You have the ability to work on the road and travel. Adventure and creativity are probably your love language. However, what happens when the hustle becomes too much? When you’re at capacity and haven’t had a vacation in years? What happens when you become a slave to your device?

Then there’s the benefits of being self-employed. What happens when you don’t take time off and avoid the natural rhythms your body needs?

Over the past year my business has evolved and had numerous faces. I’ve started partnerships and ended partnerships. I’ve brought on employees. There are a million lessons that have come from the past year; however, over the past month I’ve come to some painful realizations. Behind the blog, the curated feed, and creative hustle that fills my days, there’s been a reality. A painful reality of business and the business of business. It’s common where I’ve stayed up until 2 or 3 AM putting in hours of work from the couch, only to have my alarm be voided by earlier text messages, emails, and the immediate requests of clients. I’d roll out of bed, panicked, that I had messed up, and would spend the rest of my day exhausted, concerned I would loose vital clients to my sales projections. More often than not, this would be the norm that will fill my days. I didn’t know how to function without stress, hustle, and grind. It was the nature of the beast and something that I thrived upon. Could it be something I could thrive without?

After months of attempting to navigate this world, I knew something needed to be different. I was at a physical breaking point and I knew it. With every email that came in, I was no longer energized by the prospect of new clients, but rather overwhelmed. I was far past my capacity and desperately needed time off.

Maybe you’ve been there.

What if working served a different purpose? What if past the strategy and meetings, you have longer term goals in mind? How do you work toward time off?

Put it on your calendar.
I live by my Google calendar. If it’s not on the calendar it simply doesn’t happen. It holds everything, gives me reminders, and keeps me incredibly organized. Sometimes you need to schedule things on your calendar to make them a priority. Whether it’s a dinner break, a month off in the summer, or a maternity leave, begin to make days or times off a priority. Know when you’re going to be away and close out projects with this in mind or put in more hours to work ahead for when you’re gone. In the blogging world, this means going on break or prepping posts for months at a time. In March, I’m heading to Australia and working ahead is the name of the game.

Learn to say “No.”
As someone starting out in business, it’s easy to say yes to everything that comes your way. It’s a way to have a huge client base and make sure the bills are covered every month. However, it can quickly lead to difficult clients, feeling under compensated and overworked. Know your non-negotibles and be mindful of what you commit to. If possible during the work week, set office hours. This will give clients an idea of your availability, but help them understand you can’t be on-call for a project 24/7. It protects your time off. Working on a big project? Make sure to spend 8 hours away from your desk a day. (This includes sleep.) Trying to complete a project with minimal sleep and human interaction is a terrible idea.

Know when to ask for help.
There comes a point in every business where you’re at capacity. The financial incentives of hustle have waned and you’ve found yourself maxed out. Know the places where you can delegate to others to keep moving forward. Identify the problem areas in your business and look into hiring someone to complete those tasks for you. Creative assistants are the best and have allowed me to expand my business and increase my capacity.

Work toward taking time off.
The trip you’ve always dreamed of and hitting the open road are always the promises of the freelance and entrepreneur life. Making money and build the life you love was why you started your business. Don’t forget your values in the process. Work toward the road trip, adventures, and globe traveling expeditions you love. It brings vision and purpose to the daily grind.

What about you? How are you working to take time off?

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.