Why Canva is a Necessary Tool for Pinterest (Free Templates Included!)

I’ve been obsessed with Pinterest for many years, but about a year ago I started realizing just how powerful this platform is for bringing traffic to my blog and business websites. I’ve spent countless hours combing through tons of studies, articles, blog posts, courses — you name it — and finally, after a lot of experimenting, developed a system that works best for my brands and brings me consistent website traffic on a daily basis.

free templates to create pins in Canva

While there is a lot to talk about when it comes to using Pinterest to increase your website traffic (some of which I talk more about in my free five-day workshop), one of the tools that I simply cannot live without when it comes to using Pinterest is Canva.

Canva is an online tool that I use to create all of my blog and Pinterest graphics. I have a Canva for work subscription, but you can also sign up for a free account if you don’t have one already. Not only does Canva provide canvas sizes that are already perfectly formatted for Pinterest, but they also have pre-made templates to choose from if you’re not feeling super creative, or simply don’t have the time to create your pins from scratch.

I’ve spent a lot of time playing around with different styles, colors, fonts and images to create pins that convert (meaning, pins that get actual clicks through to my website, not just impressions or saves), and have learned a lot about what works well, and what doesn’t work so well.

To help make your life a little easier, I created 10 Pinterest templates for you to use with Canva. All you have to do is click here to grab them for FREE! There’s even a quick tutorial I’ve recorded for you so you can see how to customize the colors, images and text to fit your brand.

free pinterest templates for bloggers and business owners

When creating your pins or using the templates I’ve created for you, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Always include your website URL or logo somewhere on the pin so users know the source of the image

  • Add a soft call to action as a text overlay (the words you see on the image) to entice users click through to your website. You want to include just enough information on the pin that will grab the attention of your audience, but not too much information that they’ll just save it or scroll on by.

  • Experiment with colors and typography styles that suit your brand but also appeal to your audience. Not sure which colors or typography combinations work best? Create a few different options, publish them to Pinterest, and track their analytics over the next couple of weeks to see which pins are performing better than others. Use that information to help you create your future pins! Remember to focus on the number of clicks your pins are getting, not the impressions.

  • Use stock images from Unsplash or the ones in Canva to spruce up your pins. You can do a quick search within Canva or on Unsplash to find your images.

  • Don’t forget to utilize pin descriptions! Please promise me that you’ll never leave the description box blank! This is a great area to really optimize your pins for search. You’ll want to include a couple complete sentences with keywords to target your audience (avoid stringing a bunch of keywords together in random order) and don’t forget that you can utilize up to 20 hashtags in your descriptions.

    Quick tip: If you’re not sure which keywords to include in your descriptions, enter in a couple words in the search bar on Pinterest that are relevant to your brand and see what comes up!

If you want to learn more about how to use Pinterest to drive traffic to your website, you can sign up here for my free five-day Pinterest workshop. In this training, we take a deep dive into your brand and I lay down all the basics you need to know to get started with Pinterest. Plus, I’ve included some free bonus goodies in the training to help you get the most out of the lessons! If you have any questions about your templates or the free workshop, you can join the free virtual community here and get in touch! Happy pinning!

xxElizabeth

My Exact Client On-Boarding Process

I’ve received quite a number of questions regarding how I work with clients. As my web design business has grown, I’ve learned that having specific, organized systems in place is the best way to to ensure my clients are happy, involved and informed about their project. Most of my clients come from referrals, Facebook groups, and Instagram, but I’m starting to explore other avenues of networking to connect with potential clients, which I’ll be sure to post about in the near future. In the meantime, this week I’m laying out the exact blueprint I use when I get ready to work on new projects, and I’ve also created a quick cheatsheet for you too!

Scheduling a Free 1:1 Consultation Call

how to work with clients in service based businesses howshedoesitco

After our initial connection, I have all prospective clients schedule a call with me via Calendly. I simply share my link with them and they choose a time that works best for their schedule based on my availability I set when I created my Calendly account. I typically suggest they choose my 45 minute service consultation where I ask a series of questions to learn more about them, their brand, and what they’re looking for in a web or graphic design. I also thoroughly go over the services I offer, the project timeline/process, and leave time at the end to address any questions they have before we move forward.

If a client isn’t quite sure what type of service they need and require a bit more guidance, I suggest they choose my 1-hour strategy call so we can dive deeper into their brand. Some calls take less than the designated time while others take up the entire slot. It truly varies from person to person; either way, offering these free consultations have made a massive difference in my business, and have freed up a lot of time and extra work on my end. They also allow me to connect with my prospective clients on a much deeper, more personal level, rather than simply chatting over email or social media.

While my consultations are done over the phone, video chatting via Zoom is another option. You can always leave that as an option for your clients, or you can choose whichever method you are most comfortable with.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you sign up or purchase through my link at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

Creating and Sending Contracts

When we decide to move forward with working together, the next step in my on-boarding process is sending over the client contract. When I first started freelancing I didn’t have any contracts in place. Huge mistake on my part! Contracts ensure that you are protecting your work and yourself, while clearly stating the terms and agreements of your services. I now use Bonsai to create all of my contracts. I love Bonasai because it’s super easy to use; you can choose a template and customize it according to your services and all signatures are done electronically. Bonsai does a great job of guiding you through the entire process of setting up your contract before you send it over to a client. Just make sure to read over it carefully before hitting send!

Sending Security Deposit Invoices

When I send over the contract, I also send over the client’s first invoice. I require a non-refundable security deposit of 50% of the total investment before I begin any work on a project. On very rare occasions I offer customized payment plans, but for the most part I structure my invoicing at 50% up front, and 50% after the project is completed, before final files are handed over to the client.

Inviting to Client Project in Asana (with Tutorial)

Using a project management tool not only keeps me organized and on top of all my client projects, but it allows my clients to track the progression of their project and communicate with me quickly. I used to do all communication via email, but this method became confusing, disorganized, and left room for errors or missed files. After a client signs their contract and pays their invoice, I then send them an invite to their project in Asana and provide them with a quick (under 5 minutes) tutorial on how to use this tool. Once they’re signed up with their free Asana account, I assign them any tasks they need to complete throughout their project so they know what I need from them. I also add in deadlines for both of us so we can stay on schedule.

There are a number of project management tools out there, but Asana has been my favorite so far. Not only do I like how easy it is for me to navigate but my clients find it easy and enjoy using it too!

Creating and Sending Out Client Questionnaire

Even though I have a pretty in depth conversation with my clients during our consultation calls, I also have them fill out a questionnaire once they’re set up in Asana. This is one of the first tasks I assign to them, and is required for them to complete before I start designing their project. I set up all my questionnaires in Google Forms, add the link to the task in Asana, and print them out once they’re completed so I can quickly reference them throughout the design process. I also suggest that clients create a Pinterest board for inspiration, but leave this as optional as some clients aren’t comfortable with Pinterest. If a client doesn’t want to use Pinterest, I ask them to upload inspiration images or files to their designated task in Asana so I can get a better understanding of their design preferences.

Beginning the Design Process

Once all preliminary tasks are completed, I look over everything with a fine-tooth comb to make sure I have everything I need to start the project. I remain in close communication with my clients throughout the design process, and update them as the project progresses. My turnaround time varies by project, but I make sure to have specific deadlines for each milestone of the process.

Having these systems in place prior to the start of each project allows me to stay organized and on-time with multiple, on-going client projects. If you are a current or aspiring freelancer or service-based business owner, I highly recommend finding a system that works for you and your clients. You may find that my process is a great fit for your brand, or you may find that a variation of this process provides you with what you need; to help you get started, don’t forget to download the free cheatsheet to set up your on-boarding process for your new clients! If you have your own system that works well for you, I’d love to hear about it!

xxElizabeth


Top Five Podcasts for Female Entrepreneurs

I listen to podcasts every day as a part of my non-negotiable personal development routine. Not only is it an important practice for my mind, but it’s a critical part of growing my business, too. That being said, let’s just jump right in to my top five favorite podcasts, shall we?

Amy Porterfield — Online Marketing Made Easy

Amy is an online marketing genius. A former member of Tony Robbins’ team, Amy currently runs a successful multi-million dollar online brand, and delivers powerful, binge-worthy content every Thursday on her show. Running an online business is hard freaking work, but Amy’s podcast is incredibly informative, helpful and reassuring. Not only does she provide amazing content on her own, but she brings on guests like Marie Forleo, Rachel Hollis, James Wedmore, and Julie Solomon, (just to name a few), who bring powerful insights and their own expertise to the show. I’ve learned so much from Amy and definitely consider her one of my top business mentors. If you’re a current or aspiring online business owner, this is a must-listen. Here are a few episodes to get you started:

top five podcasts for female entrepreneurs www.howshedoesit.co
  • Episode #249: The Seven Biggest Fears That Stop People From Building an Online Business (with Marie Forleo)

  • Episode #251: How I’d Grow My Business if I Were Starting From Scratch

  • Episode #254: From Crippling Excuses to Empowered Action (with Rachel Hollis)

  • Episode #226: The 5 Key Areas to Focus on When You’re Just Starting Out

  • Episode #243: The #1 Secret to Playing a Bigger Game in Your Business

The Marie Forleo Podcast (MarieTV)

Can’t watch MarieTV? Marie’s podcast gives you the ability to access her content on the go. I love that many of her episodes are short, simple, and straight to the point. Marie tells you like it is and has over 20 years of experience running an online business. She was even named “a thought leader for the next generation” by OPRAH. Freaking Oprah. If that’s not enough to convince you to listen to Marie’s podcast or watch her YouTube videos, you can listen for yourself by starting with a few of my favorites:

  • Episode #226: 6 Reasons Your Customers Aren’t Buying From You

  • Episode #221: Want More Customers? Here’s How to Find Your People

  • Episode #208: Need a Miracle? Here’s a Step-by-Step Guide from Gabby Bernstein

  • Episode #204: How to Stand Out From the Crowd

  • Episode #154: 6 Little Money Mindset Shift That Pay Off Huge

  • Episode #135: How the Founder of Poo-Pourii Went From Business Failure to a $300 Million Company

  • Episode #4: Tony Robbins on What it Takes to Have an Extraordinary Life

Also, if you want to catch one of my favorite MarieTV videos, I highly recommend watching this interview with Tony Robbins.

Melyssa Griffin — Pursuit with Purpose

I’ve been following Melyssa Griffin for months and recently subscribed to her podcast. I’ve loved what I’ve listened to so far, and really enjoy how she blends business and mindset tips together, because the two truly go hand-in-hand. Melyssa is a seven-figure earner who shares her journey as an online business owner to her listeners. Some of my favorite episodes so far:

  • Everything is Figureoutable (with Marie Forleo)

  • Why Your Biggest Roadblock Is Yourself And How to Fix It (with James Wedmore)

  • Being Boss: How to Create a Life and Business on Your Own Terms (with Emily Thompson)

  • A Millionaire’s Advice on How to Remove Your Money Mindset Blocks to Fully Live in Abundance and Wealth

  • The Best Steps to Take When Starting Your Own Business

Kathrin Zenkina — Manifestation Babe

I give Kathrin tons of credit for the massive mindset shift I’ve had in relation to money. I’ve binged her podcast episodes over and over again, read her book, downloaded all of her free content, and follow her closely on social media. Kathrin is a manifestation expert, and her content has quite literally changed my life. If you need to work on your mindset, or just want to up-level your life or business in general, her podcast is the perfect place to start:

  • Episode #81: 5 Unconventional Wealth Tips That Will Bring You More Money in 2019

  • Episode #76: How to ACT RICH Without Going into Debt or Excessively Spending Money

  • Episode #66: How to Change Your Beliefs

  • Episode #59: How to Manifest the REALLY BIG Desires

  • Episode #56: 4 Ways You Are Resisting Money Without Even Realizing It

Being Boss — Mindset, Habits, Tactics

I’m relatively new to Being Boss but I’m such a big fan already! Hosted by Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon, these ladies offer valuable mindset, marketing and business tips for creative and entrepreneurial women. They’ve interviewed a number of highly successful women including Chalene Johnson, Danielle LaPorte, and Melissa Hartwig (of Whole30). Some of my go-to episodes:

  • Episode #209: Rest for Productivity

  • Episode #207: Self-Limiting Beliefs and Goal Setting

  • Episode #180: Being Boss as a Freelancer or Employee

  • Minisode: Using Instagram as a Creative Entrepreneur

  • Episode #177: Stop Feeling Like Shit with Andrea Owen

  • Episode #175: Growing a Creative Business with Tara Street

  • Episode #174: Figure it Out as You Go With Cathy Heller

While I could certainly add more to this list, these podcasts are a great place to start if you need to up your personal development game. I love listening to podcasts while I’m driving, working out, showering or making breakfast.

If you want to check out more helpful resources for bloggers and business owners, don’t forget to sign up for the new freebie library to access all of my free bonus content. I add new material to the library every week, and I don’t want you to miss out! You can also join my virtual community for creative and entrepreneurial women to connect with other like-minded females!

What are some of your favorite podcasts? I’d love to add more to my list!

xxElizabeth

The Top Five Business Tools for Online Entrepreneurs

When I first started my web and graphic design business I spent several months emailing clients back and forth, hand writing long to-do lists, and printing out emails to keep track of tasks for individual client projects. I didn’t offer consultation calls, neglected to create contracts, and certainly didn’t have a proper system in place. I quickly became overwhelmed and certainly lacked a professional presence, which was only hurting my business and putting sales at standstill.

Now that my second business has taken off, there are many things I’ve learned about running a service-based business that I never thought to do in the beginning. Now I use several tools that help keep me organized, hold myself and my clients accountable, and allow my business to run smoothly and efficiently.

If you are also a service-based entrepreneur, there are five essential tools you need to be using in your online business, which are all included in this free list of resources.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you sign up or purchase through my link at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

Asana

This is the best project management tool I’ve ever used. As I mentioned above, early on in my design business I worked with clients via email and would always be stressed over the thought of missing important information. I’d print out endless pages of emails, highlight important information, and make notes to try to stay on top of everything. All that did was waste paper and give me a headache! I now use Asana for all of my client projects, and even goes as far as on-boarding each of my clients into their projects so they can track my progress as I work on their projects. Not only does it hold me accountable, but it looks incredibly professional, and helps my clients keep track of everything they need to give me. I don’t know how I survived all those months without Asana and would feel completely lost without it now.

Asana is also a great tool if you work with a team or have a VA (virtual assistant) helping you run your business. You can create projects, delegate tasks, keep track of important dates, upload files, communicate via the conversation tab and so much more. Even if you’re a solopreneur you can easily create projects and to-do lists for yourself. I like to keep a separate to-do lists for more personal and blog-related tasks, in addition to my whiteboard to-do list. I can easily access all of my projects and check in with my clients on the go from my phone through their app. If you’d like to learn more about Asana and sign up to start managing your business — and your life — better, you can create your account here. Be on the lookout for a full post on Asana in the future -- for now, just know it’s an essential tool, especially for all of you service-based business owners out there.

Calendly

I do a lot of networking online -- in fact, most of my clients come from Facebook and Pinterest. While I found it beneficial to chat with prospective clients via messenger and email in the early stages of my business, I wanted to provide a better way to connect with them so we could determine if we were a good fit to work with each other. I quickly realized I needed to start offering free consultations to bridge that gap and close more sales.

These consultations were a much more efficient way to learn more about my clients and explain the services I offer while being able to easily answer any of their questions before committing to a package. It also allowed me to close quickly and converted to more paying clients than messaging and emailing. Consultations added a nice personal touch to my services, and allowed me to connect with my clients on a deeper, more personal level.

When my client list started to expand, I needed a better way to schedule my 1:1 consultations and virtual meetings. This is where Calendly came in and saved the day.

I love Calendly because it’s free, easy to use, and nearly effortless for prospective and current clients to schedule their appointments. You can also integrate it with your Google Calendar and receive reminders about your upcoming calls so everything is organized and runs seamlessly. Another option for scheduling is Acuity. This tool works similar to Calendly, but I find it comes with a steeper learning curve. You do, however, have the option to integrate payments for calls or meetings that require invoicing. There are also more detailed customization features in Acuity that you won’t find in Calendly, and a variety of payment plans to suit your budget and scheduling needs. If you’re not sure which one is right for you, you can take a look at Acuity here before committing to one or the other.

Bonsai

A massive mistake I made early on in my freelancing business was not having contracts to send over to my clients. Contracts are crucial in service-based businesses because they outline the terms of your services and payments in writing and allow you to have a plan in place should a client choose to break the contract or go beyond the expectations and agreements of the services you offer.

As my client load picked up, I realized I desperately needed to create contracts to send over to my clients before the actual work began. It wasn’t until several months in that I found Bonsai and never looked back. Bonsai helps you craft professional contracts for your business and allows you to customize various areas of the agreement before sending it off to clients to collect their electronic signature. You can also invoice clients through the platform, track time spent on individual projects, and create written proposals. If you need to legitimize your business and create contracts for your current or prospective clients, you can sign up to get started with Bonsai here.

Tailwind

If you’re familiar with my blog, you know I’ve talked about Tailwind many times before. If you’re new here or have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, Tailwind is an incredible scheduling tool you can use to run your Pinterest and Instagram on autopilot and gain access to important insights on the status of your accounts. Most people know Tailwind for it’s amazing features for Pinterest users, but a lot of people don’t realize how effective Tailwind is for Instagram, too. One of my favorite features is their hashtag finder, which helps users identify which hashtags are ‘competitive’, ‘good,’ and ‘best.’ They also recommend certain hashtags based on your captions and any hashtags you enter in on your own. On top of that, Tailwind helps to ensure your pins and posts are published at the times when your audience is most likely to engage with your content. All you need to do is create the content, upload it, schedule it and trust that Tailwind is taking care of the rest. You can see the entire post on why you should use Tailwind for Instagram here. If you want to learn more or create a Tailwind account to schedule your first 100 pins (and/or 30 Instagram posts) for free, you can get started here.

ConvertKit

If you were affected by the temporary social media apocalypse that sent people into a tizzy the other week and panicked when you couldn’t post or get in touch with your audience, then you desperately need to be working on your email marketing. Even if you didn’t freak out during that outage, you still need to be working on your email marketing. In this post I talked about how not establishing a solid email list at the beginning of my first online business was something I really regretted, and I don’t want you to see you make that same mistake.

This is where ConvertKit comes in. Back in the day, I used MailChimp as my email marketing platform, and while it served me well the first couple of years, I longed for something much more user friendly as my email list started to expand. If you’re currently using MailChimp and aren’t sure if ConvertKit is right for you, I highly recommend taking a look at this article. If you’re ready to jump in, you can create your account with ConvertKit and start working on building up your email list now.

Final Thoughts

While there are a handful of other tools I use to run my web design business, these are the five tools I use every day and absolutely cannot live without. I honestly don’t know how I ran my business before them! If you’re a service-based business owner what do you use to automate your business? What tools help you run an efficient business?

xxElizabeth


The 10 Most Important Lessons I've Learned as an Online Business Owner

I left my career as an elementary school teacher in June of 2018 to go full-time in my product-based business. A lot has changed since then (more on this later), and I’ve had quite a bit of time to reflect on the last couple of years of running my first business — I faced a lot of challenges, especially in the beginning, and I see so many women who are currently where I once was not that long ago.

I didn’t have a professional coach or mentor, nor did I have any loans funding my little hobby turned online business; I started my brand in my parents’ kitchen on a random night after work and truly, from that moment, the rest was history. Looking back there are plenty of things I would have done differently, but there were so many important lessons and experiences I wouldn’t have had otherwise. This post is for all the women who are currently working their asses off to turn their online business dreams into reality — and need a little push to keep them going on that journey.



Lesson #1: Marketing is everything

Full disclosure — I was really, really, really awful at marketing. It took a lot of tears, frustrating conversations with my significant other, late nights combing through every resource I could find, and lots of patience to finally get a grip on marketing. The truth is, you can have the most incredible product but if you’re not working on marketing your business and giving people a reason to buy from you, it will be reflected in your sales (or lack thereof). Remember that.

We are often tempted to have this mindset of “build it and they will come” (I know I did at first), but you have to work on bringing people to you. In rare cases, people may randomly stumble across your social media or your website, but 99.9% of the time you have be taking actionable steps to get your future customers to your online store. There are so many facets to marketing an online business — SEO, social media, Pinterest, emails, cold-calling, in person networking — the list seems endless and extremely overwhelming at times.

My best advice: if you go the DIY route with your marketing, find out where your target market is hanging out the most and focus on one or two areas to begin with so you don’t overwhelm yourself. Get really good at marketing your brand in those two areas before you add another method to the mix. If you can afford to outsource your marketing, I highly recommend hiring someone to do a lot of the leg work for you. There are plenty of Virtual Assistants, SEO Experts, and general marketing strategists out there that are more than willing to help you at a variety of different prices. Alexa from Healthy Dash of Social is a digital marketing genius, and I totally suggest you check out her services if you need someone to help you out. Outsourcing takes a lot of the pressure and work off your shoulders, so you can focus on the other important tasks of running your online business. Whichever route you choose to take, know that marketing is absolutely essential to growing your brand.

Lesson #2: Start building your email list ASAP

In the same thread of marketing, you need to establish an email list as early on in your business as possible. I started my email marketing system so late in the game, and that is one of the things I wish I would’ve had in place right from the get go. A lot of people roll their eyes at this piece of advice, but you’ve got to start getting people on your list — even if you haven’t officially launched yet.

Why? Simple: you do not own your social media. If your account is hacked or a glitch happens, you can lose everything, easily. In addition to that, with the way the algorithms work at times, your content is not always being seen by your followers. You want to have a quick, convenient way to get directly in front of your target market — current and future customers alike — at any given moment, and e-mail marketing is the best way to do that.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you sign up or purchase through my link at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

In the beginning I used MailChimp for my email marketing, but switched over to ConvertKit as I found it was much more organized and user-friendly; now, 9 times out of 10 I always recommend starting with ConvertKit. You can sign up for a free trail to start, and then choose a plan according to your preferences (and budget), when it’s time to upgrade. If you want to find out if ConvertKit is right for you, this article is super helpful and can help you decide if it will meet your needs.

  • To provide you with a little email marketing 101: When you are first establishing your email list, you will want to provide your future subscribers with a reason to give you access to their inbox. This happens by offering some sort of incentive in exchange for their email address that you will collect via an opt-in form. The opt-in form for the freebie (an ebook), that goes with this blog post might look something like this:

 

Important Lessons for Entrepreneurs

Download the free ebook for online business owners

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.
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    • For example: The incentive I’m offering you in order to collect your email address is the freebie (an e-book). The opt-in form is where you enter your email address to get access to the freebie. A stand-alone opt in page might look something like this, and can be created even if you don’t have a full website just yet, but want to start collecting subscribers. A stand-alone opt-in page can be created within your email marketing provider, who will then supply you with a unique link to share with your customers.

    Your incentive may vary depending on what type of business you have (or aspire to have). It may come in the form of discount codes, free shipping, e-books, informative articles, exclusive access to a subscribers-only membership portal, etc. If you do some digging around Pinterest or Google, you can find a long list of suggestions for possible incentives that make sense for your industry. Just keep in mind that most of the time, your customers aren’t just going to give you their address without knowing they’ll get something in return. Take some time and really think about what you will offer them.

    I promise I will have a full post dedicated to email marketing soon, because it’s a topic that a lot of entrepreneurs (and bloggers) wonder about. For now, just know that you should (1) choose an email marketing platform (2) create your opt-in form or page (3) offer/create an incentive and (4) deliver valuable, consistent content to nurture your list and keep your subscribers happy.

    Lesson #3: Get really, really clear on your ideal customer

    “When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.” – Meredith Hill

    While the context from this quote originally came from an article about attracting clients, it also holds true for product-based business owners: If you think you’re selling to everyone, you are selling to no one. Your products will. not. be. for. everyone. That’s just the reality — and that’s totally okay. You just need to figure out exactly who you are selling to.

    You need to get incredibly clear and incredibly specific when defining your ideal customer avatar. Who are you selling to? Why do they NEED your products? What problem are you solving for them? How old are they? Where do they live? What do they do for a living? (You’ll find a full worksheet in this free e-book to help you discover your ideal customer).

    You have to step outside of yourself, the business owner, and step into the mind of your ideal customer. Your products are for them and they are handing over their money to you. Take care of them, get to know them, and market to them. 

    Lesson #4: Don’t lower your prices as an attempt to generate sales

    One of the most difficult things in the beginning stages of my first business was determining prices. I worried that if my products were too expensive, no one would buy them, and if they were too cheap no one would see the value in them and I wouldn’t make any money. Initially my first instinct when I wasn’t making any sales was to decrease my prices, so I went ahead and cut my prices nearly in half as a desperate attempt to get more customers.

    The result? I barely broke even during that time. In fact, I’m pretty sure I lost money when I slashed my prices. People weren’t flocking to my store like I hoped they would.

    When I finally started charging what the products were actually worth, that’s when I realized I didn’t have to drop prices to bring in customers — people would actually pay the higher price if my marketing was in check. You need to dig really deep into the numbers here — know how much your products cost (whether you make them yourself or purchase wholesale), how much you put into making/packing/shipping your items, factor in any of your overhead costs, and decide how much you want to earn (your profit per item). There are plenty of resources out there to help guide you through determining your cost of production and your prices no matter what industry you’re in; I was lucky enough to have a financial analyst for a significant other to help me work through this process.

    Lesson #5: Create a lifestyle around your products

    A great price of advice I got early on in my first entrepreneurial endeavor was to create a lifestyle around my brand. This is where defining and understanding your ideal customer avatar really comes into play, and how it connects with your marketing strategies. Show your products in action. Curate a social media feed that is appealing to your target market and showcases your brand. Provide your audience with valuable, engaging content and give them a reason to need your products (or services). Sometimes it’s crystal clear on how you can develop your brand’s lifestyle, sometimes it isn’t so easy. Take some time to really sort this out.

    Lesson #6: Don’t be afraid to reach out to influencers

    I recently wrote a blog post about how entrepreneurs can work with influencers based on my experiences with my product-based business and as a micro-influencer myself. Using influencer marketing is a great way to get your brand out there and build a loyal customer base, but there are a few things to consider before you publish a post in a Facebook group asking for volunteers to review your products. When you go into influencer marketing blindly, you end up sending out a ton of free stuff with very little return, so you absolutely need to do your homework first. I highly suggest reading that post before you start collaborating with influencers, or even if you’ve already done some collaborations in the past. Regardless, don’t hesitate to reach out after you do some research on who would be a good fit for your brand!

    Lesson #7: When sales are stagnant (or non-existent) don’t churn out new products

    Keep. it. simple. This was a hard lesson learned for me. Early on I thought if I offered more it would bring in more sales, but all it did was stress me out, put me in the red, and spread me way too thin. I’ll go as far to say that it made me hate my business at times. You need to get really, really good at making and selling what you currently have first; then later on down the road once you’ve built up a loyal customer base and have your feet under you more, you can gradually introduce new products if the time, price, and demand is right.

    Lesson #8: Network, network, network

    My dad has ingrained the importance of networking into my brain for as long as I can remember, and I guarantee you he attributes much of his success to this very principle. Grab yourself some business cards, hit up local events in your area, talk to the stranger at the coffee shop, tell people what you do — it doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing, there are always opportunities to build new, meaningful connections and solidify existing ones. You truly never know what could come from a simple conversation with the person next to you.

    My favorite place to network online is inside Facebook groups. I’ve met so many incredible people within these various groups who have purchased from me, signed on as clients, and even purchased inventory at wholesale rates. I started a community for creative, entrepreneurial women that you can find here, but if you want to search for additional groups to join, I highly recommend browsing Facebook.

    Lesson #9: Your mindset is a crucial factor in the success of your business

    “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford

    I’ve always had a pretty crappy mindset, but towards the end of my teaching career, I slowly started to realize that I could re-wire my self-sabotaging brain to think differently. Running a business will test you emotionally, physically, and mentally, so loading up on personal development is incredibly important. If you don’t think you will succeed in your business, you won’t. Plain and simple. If things get really difficult and you can’t see yourself pushing through those challenging moments, you won’t. If you think you can succeed, however, you will. If you believe in every fiber of your being that you are destined for success and financial abundance, you are. That’s not to say we don’t have moments of self-doubt from time to time, but your resiliency, how you react to challenges, and how you bounce-back says a lot about your state of mind.

    Your mindset is a powerful tool: feed it, nurture it, and treat it gently. You can find my favorite personal development books for entrepreneurs here.

    Lesson #10: Patience is hard, but absolutely necessary

    Ah, my least favorite lesson of them all. I am not a patient person; and in a world where instant-gratification runs rampant and so many things are literally at our finger tips, patience is a difficult virtue to possess. Building a business takes a lot of time, and success just isn’t going to happen overnight. It’s so hard to be patient sometimes but you have to put your head down and keep at it. Keep providing value, building connections, and working on your marketing.

    Final Thoughts

    Starting and running your own business is not for the faint of heart — it will test you, break you, make you cry, and you will absolutely have moments when you ask yourself 'wtf am I doing!?’ but it will also show you how resilient you are. It will teach you important lessons, provide you with new, exciting opportunities, and maybe even uncover new skills and strengths you never would’ve noticed otherwise. If you’ve made the brave, bold decision to start a new business, if you’ve finally committed to transforming your candle-making hobby into a full-blow brand, or if you have taken the leap and left your career to be a full-time entrepreneur — I commend you. In a lot of ways, you’ve already done one of the hardest parts, and I’m proud of you for that.

    My inbox is always open if you want to chat, or just need some positive vibes sent your way. What are some important lessons you’ve learned running your business?

    xxElizabeth

    The Entrepreneur's Guide to Working with Influencers

    Are you a product-based business owner wanting to partner with influencers to grow your brand and gain exposure? If you answered yes to that long-winded question, then this post is for you!

    **PS — there’s a free strategy plan I created for you to help you through this process — if you want to skip to the download before you read, you can find that here.**

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    When I had my product-based business and was trying to figure out how to market my brand online, I went straight to Instagram to search for influencers who could help me promote my products. With such a large market in the online business world, using influencers to promote your product is crucial and necessary way to market your brand and gain exposure. Getting your product into the right hands can make a massive difference in your business, so it’s important you’re getting your name out there.

    I’ve learned a lot during this process, and often see many other creative entrepreneurs asking for advice when it comes to partnering with influencers, so I figured I’d give you the 411 on what I learned:

    Clearly state your expectations

    There can be a lot of grey area when it comes to promoting products on social media, so if you don’t know what you want to receive in exchange for sending out product, you need to make sure you know what you want in return. I can’t tell you how many times I was disappointed to only see a quick story (that disappeared 24 hours later), or a less-than-ideal post on a feed featuring my product. I quickly learned the importance of clearly stating expectations for the influencer. Do you want them to:

    • Post a styled photo to their feed?

    • Provide you with images/content to use on your website and socials?

    • Post a photo or video of them using your product?

    • Promote your product in a story?

    • Feature your product in a blog post?

    • Review your product in a YouTube video or IGTV episode?

    • Promote your brand using a combination of the above?

    • Do you want them to complete the promotion by a certain date?

    The clearer and more specific you can be, the better. Even if you’re a smaller company, you could create a contract of some sort so you and the influencer know and understand the process moving forward. Before you start reaching out to anyone, have your expectations clearly defined so you can send them more information when the time is right.

    Do your research

    Make sure you know your brand inside and out prior to getting in touch with influencers. If you haven’t done a deep dive into your brand yet, I highly recommend asking yourself the following questions:

    • Who is your ideal customer? Where do they live? What do they do for a living? What are their likes/dislikes?

    • What age range are you selling to?

    • Why do they need your product?

    • What type of lifestyle are you promoting with your brand?

    • How does your product solve a problem or fill a need in their life?

    • Who would benefit from using your products?

    Make sure you find influencers who align with your ideal customer avatar and would get excited about using and promoting your product. 

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    Download the free strategy plan

     

    Look at engagement, not just follower count

    There are so many incredible influencers out there that have a smaller, yet more engaged audience than someone with thousands — or hundreds of thousands — of followers. That’s not to say larger followings always have low engagement; just know that the number of followers doesn’t always dictate high engagement. When you’re researching potential influencers, take a good, hard look at their profile.

    First of all, make sure they (and some of their followers) align with your ideal customer avatar. Then browse through some of their posts — look at the number of likes and comments on their photos. If they already have photos of featuring promotional products, pay close attention to the likes and comments of those images as well. If those numbers are high and they fit within your target market, then consider reaching out to that influencer. This will take some extra time to dig through various accounts, but it is well worth spending the extra time it takes to analyze their social media.

    When I was running my product-based business, I always kept a running list of potential influencers in a spreadsheet; if they were a good fit, I added their handle, their niche, a possible discount code, and their contact information to this list; I then dedicated some time each week to reaching out to them via email or direct message. If they said yes, I would add their shipping information to the spreadsheet and send them a document that clearly outlined my expectations.

    I also made sure to send their promotional package in a timely manner. As a micro-influencer myself, I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to secure a sponsorship and never receive the actual product, or receive it months down the road. This goes back to what I mentioned when I recommended outlining your expectations above — consider having a time frame for your promotion and ensure each influencer receives your products on time, with plenty of cushion for them to test out the product and create honest, promotional content. After all, these influencers are you doing you and your business a massive favor, so be kind, courteous and punctual.

    **Keep in mind that you will eventually have influencers reaching out to you. Before you even think about sending them promotional items, go back and do your research. It’s okay to say no if you find they aren’t a good fit, just find a way to kindly turn down the offer for partnership. This is your business and it’s your money you are spending to market your products, so choose wisely.

    Decide if you’re willing to pay

    Some influencers are more than happy to promote your brand in exchange for free product, while others will only post if you pay them to promote. If you're not willing to pay, make sure it is clear to them that you are only providing free product/shipping in exchange for the type of promotion you're looking for. Please don’t ever ask an influencer to pay any portion of the product (even if it’s just shipping), or offer a significant discount, requiring them to still spend money. As a micro-influencer myself, this is a huge turn-off! They are doing you a favor by promoting your brand and shouldn’t have to pay to promote you. YOU need to cover those costs. If they insist on purchasing from you, then certainly offer a discount — but otherwise do not require them to pay anything. If the influencer is the right fit for your brand and they have a highly engaged, loyal following, you could easily make back the money you spent to make and ship your product.

    If you are willing to pay for promotion, ask for media kits or rates. Their rates may vary according to their audience size, type of promotion (single post, story, blog post, YouTube video, etc.), so just be aware of that.

    Either way, it’s helpful to come up with a monthly budget for marketing and promotional packages. Maybe you only want to account for five promotional packages a month, or maybe you want to account for ten or more. Once you reach your promotional quota for the month, wait to reach out or send out products until the following month. This is another reason why keeping a running list of influencers is so helpful.

    Consider offering discount codes, giveaways or ambassador/affiliate programs

    When you are finally ready to ship your products to influencers, always provide them with a unique discount code to share with their followers. Not only does this work as an incentive for new potential customers to make a purchase from your shop, but it also allows you to track where your sales are coming from. By offering a unique discount code to the influencers I partnered with, I was able to determine how many customers were coming to my store from their posts.

    You may also want to consider partnering with influencers to host a giveaway with you in addition to offering the discount code. This will help with exposure and ensure the promotion goes beyond just a post on their feed, an Instagram story, or blog content. The two of you can decide on the terms of the giveaway together; you’ll decide what product(s) you want to giveaway and most likely take care of getting the prize to the winner.

    Another option here is creating an ambassador or affiliate program for your brand. An ambassador of your brand typically receives a lifetime discount on your products and promotes your brand often via social media. An affiliate of your brand earns a small commission on all sales that are made from a customer who purchases from your store through a unique link or code. These two options do take a bit of time to organize; I personally never used an ambassador or affiliate program for my business, but know plenty of online business owners who have, and saw it as beneficial for their brands.

    Know that not everyone will follow through

    I learned this one the hard way in the beginning; I sent out countless products to people who said they were seriously interested in trying and promoting my products, and then never received a post in exchange. When I tried to reach out and ask about the content they never posted, they went silent. Everyone gets busy and forgets from time to time, but again — this is your business and your money! Looking back I would've established some terms or a contract much sooner, to ensure I received what I was promised in return. But you know what else I learned? These people didn’t fall within my target market anyway. Had I done more research, I would’ve realized this sooner, and saved myself a lot of time, money and disappointment. It’s not always possible to work around this part — just be aware this may happen from time to time, and try to plan accordingly.

    Final thoughts

    If you run an online business, working with influencers is one of the best ways you can start getting your brand out there. Be prepared, thoughtful, and selective in who you choose to promote your products, and don’t be afraid to contact people who would be a great fit! Don’t simply choose someone just because they volunteered or have a massive following— do your research and make sure you have a designated budget for promotional material. Know your brand inside and out, and make sure whoever you partner with would be excited to share your products with their audience. To map out your promotion plan, don’t forget to grab the free guide I’ve created for you!

    Have more questions about working with influencers? Leave them below or feel free to send me an email at elizabeth@howshedoesit.co

    What to Do When You Have Too Many Ideas

    It can feel really overwhelming when you have a lot of different ideas for your blog or creative business. I’ve been guilty —many times — of coming up with a ton of new ideas and wanting to tackle them all, but not knowing where to direct my time and attention, or how to sift through all the ideas that come to mind. Something that helps me when when I have idea overwhelm is a 5-step strategy that I’m sharing with you below.

    A couple of these recommendations are similar to the strategies I outlined in my content batching breakdown guide, but there are some slight differences. I’m going to make this post as simple and straight to the point as possible, so let’s just dive right in:

    Step 1: Brain Purge

    A lot of people like to call this a ‘brain dump’ but honestly that phrase just makes me cringe. I usually dub this my brainstorm session or my brain purge. Call it whatever you want, your brain purge session consists of taking all those ideas swirling around in your mind and putting them on paper. As I mentioned in this post — you can think of your brain purging session as the Konmari method for clearing out your mind. I always recommend doing this with pen and paper, not your phone or computer.

    In the free strategy guide I’ve created, you have plenty of space for this process. Use that space and fill it up — print out another page if you have to. Let everything flow out onto the paper.

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    Your brain purging session should take you maybe 15-20 minutes, or slightly longer if you have a lot of ideas on your mind. I recommend using a timer and committing to stopping when the alarm goes off. Of course if more ideas come up throughout the day, feel free to add them in later after we’ve gone through some of the other steps in this process.

    While you’re purging your ideas, write down anything and everything you can think of, even if it doesn’t all connect. It doesn’t have to be neat, organized, or anywhere near perfect. Just Get. It. All. Out.

    Step 2: Topic Organization

    Once you’ve completed your brain purging session, take a look at your list. Do you see any patterns? Does anything connect? When you start to see similarities, start organizing your ideas into categories or topics. I often find that this practice leads to even more ideas! If you have some ideas that stand alone, or don’t quite fit with anything else on your list, save them for later — you might find them useful in the future.

    Step 3: Analysis

    After you’ve organized your ideas from your brain purge, take a look at the categories you’ve created. This is where you’ll start to eliminate the ideas that aren’t going to best serve your target audience or target market, or rework certain ideas so they can provide something of value. No matter what you end up doing with these ideas, you always want to have your audience or market in mind. Some questions I typically ask myself are:

    • What is my goal with each idea?

    • How will this serve my audience? Is it valuable?

    • Will my audience benefit from these ideas? Which ones?

    • Which ideas do I love but won’t serve my audience?

    • Are there any ideas that are off-brand? Can I rework them so they fit within my niche?

    We are often tempted to create content or offer products/services that we want to create — but you should be putting yourself in the shoes of your readers, clients, or customers and asking yourself if you they will want it or find it valuable. There is a balance between what we want and what they want. Always have your audience in mind — I can’t stress this point enough!

    Step 4: Prioritize

    This part can take some time. Once you have a clear picture of which ideas align with your goals and will be most beneficial to your readers, clients or customers, you need to start prioritizing these ideas before taking action. These can be prioritized according to season, demand, theme — whatever works for you and your brand. Listing them and actually numbering them in order of importance is a helpful way to get organized and see what you need to tackle first. If need be, add a completion date to help you prioritize a bit more. I typically keep this running list handy for quick reference, but I’ll also pick a handful of ideas and write them on my whiteboard so I know what I need to work on first.

    Step 5: Take Action

    Now that your list is prioritized, you’ll want to start thinking about how you can bring these ideas to life. I will often choose three solid ideas to work with first, and then develop my plan of action. Everyone’s plan of action will look different, but I have a few questions I ask myself that help guide me during this process:

    • How long do I have to make this happen? How much time is it going to take me? What is my deadline?

    • How much time will I designate to working on this idea each day?

    • Do I have a budget to consider?

    • What are the materials or resources I need to bring this idea to life?

    • How will I market or promote this idea?

    • What is the first actionable step I can take today to make this happen?

    From here, I start drafting an outline for each of the first three projects so I can get a clear idea of what I need to do to make it happen. I usually like to start taking action as soon as this outline is completed and while things are still fresh in my mind. As I complete these projects, I check them off my priority list and move on to the next three ideas. Of course sometimes things come up (life happens!), but keeping your goals in mind and sticking to your timelines as much as possible will help you keep moving forward. Use the guide I’ve created to help you and always feel free to send me a message if you need further support in sifting through all your ideas!

    How to you combat idea overwhelm?

    xxElizabeth

    How to Run Your Brand on Autopilot with Content Batching

    If you’re a content creator, chances are you’ve experienced moments of overwhelm, stress, and frustration — I know I certainly have. As creators, it can seem that our to-do list is never ending, and just as we reach that glorifying moment of crossing off one task, another one appears in its place.

    How to run your brand on autopilot with content batching

    How to run your brand on autopilot with content batching

    I spent months dealing with a roller coaster of emotions when it came to creating content for my blog, email list, and other aspects of running my online brand, until I finally hit my breaking point — I decided to search for a better way to deliver valuable and consistent content without (or at least less of) the headaches, tears, and sleepless nights.

    I like to believe that I work better under the pressure of a deadline, and while that may be true, it doesn’t make my life any easier. Trying to keep up with blog posts and running a business means my schedule is jam packed nearly every day, and it can be difficult to find time for well, anything else.

    So my solution? Content batching.

    Content batching involves planning and creating significant amounts of content over a couple of days that are then scheduled to publish or post at a later date, so you can get back to enjoying other things outside of your online brand. Designating one or two days a week, for just a few hours, can open up so much more time and take a lot of pressure off your shoulders in the long run.

    I’ll go over my exact method to content batching, but I wanted to let you know there’s a free content batching guide I created for you to help you get started. You can find the free guide here or click on the the button below. Use this guide to help you through each step.

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    Download the Guide Here

    Before you get started, think about what you want to content batch for and focus on one area at a time. You might want to content batch for your:

    • Blog

    • YouTube Channel

    • Podcast

    • Social Media Content

    • Email List or another area that you spend a lot of time working on

    You might find that some of these things flow into one another, but try focusing on one area to avoid becoming overwhelmed. You can content batch for different areas on different days but just make one area your central focus for right now. When you’re clear on your area of focus, you’re ready to start batching out your content.

    Brainstorm Session

    Think of this as the Konmari method for clearing out your mind. This happens on the first day of your new content-batching routine before you begin creating any type of content. Find a quiet space, print out your free guide, grab your favorite beverage and get ready to write. I’m going to recommend doing this with pen and paper, not on your phone or computer.

    A lot of people like to call this a ‘brain dump’ but honestly that phrase just makes me cringe. I usually dub this my brainstorm session or my brain purge. Call it whatever you want, your brainstorm session consists of taking all those thoughts swirling around in your mind and putting them on paper. In the free guide I’ve created, you have plenty of space for this process. Use that space and fill it up — print out another page if you have to. Let everything flow out onto the paper.

    Your brainstorm session should take you maybe 15-20 minutes, or slightly longer if you have a lot on your mind. I recommend using a timer and committing to stopping when the alarm goes off. Of course if thoughts come up throughout the day, feel free to add them in later after we’ve gone through some of the other steps to this process.

    While you’re brainstorming, write down anything and everything you can think of, even if it doesn’t directly relate to the content area you’re going to be focusing on. It doesn’t have to be neat, organized, or anywhere near perfect. Just Get. It. All. Out.

    Topic Dissection + Organization

    Once you’ve completed your brainstorming session, take a look at your list. Do you see any patterns? Does anything connect? When you start to see similarities, start organizing your ideas into categories or topics. Group similar thoughts together wherever you can. This is going to help you determine the type of content you will create, and this practice often leads to even more ideas. Make sure these categories are topics that will be valuable to your target audience — no matter what you create, you always want to have your audience in mind. If you have some ideas that stand alone, or don’t quite fit with anything else on your list, save them for later — you might find them useful in the future.

    Plan + Outline

    Once you have your ideas organized into categories or topics, you’ll need to start the planning process. Is there a certain order you need, or would like, to present each item? Does it make sense to create a series around any of your ideas? Is there any further organization that needs to take place? Take a good, hard look at your new list and see if there’s any room for adjustment.

    The next step to our planning process is actually getting this content on the calendar. Will you be adding a new piece of content every week? Twice a week? You always want to make sure you’re providing your audience with valuable, consistent content, and content batching is the perfect way to ensure that happens. It’s up to you how often you want to reach out to your audience — just make sure you do it consistently. I keep a separate planner exclusively for my blog and freelance business, so it’s easy for me to plan out my content and keep everything organized. I don’t just write ‘blog post’ on every Wednesday block of my calendar, I write the title or topic of the post so I know exactly what to plan for, and what will be live each week once it’s scheduled.

    I like to plan about six weeks (six blog posts, for me) ahead of time. That might work for you too, or maybe you want to start with only four weeks at first. Find out what feels right to you — you can always adjust down the road to determine how much content you want to prepare in advance. Use the guide to help you map out which topics you will cover over the next several weeks.

    Content Creation

    Now that you’ve brainstormed and planned out your content, I want you to take a look at your calendar and find one or two days that you can sit down for a few hours to create your content. I know we are all busy, but one or two days — or one or two evenings — of content creation will save you days worth of work, stress, and frustration. Just trust me on this one.

    Once you have the day(s) picked out, put it on your calendar and stick to it. When that day arrives, know that you have an appointment with yourself to create your content — write your blog posts, record your Youtube videos or podcast episodes, put together your social media posts, write up your e-mails — whatever it is, it’s important that you stick to this creative appointment. Use these days to focus solely on creating content for your area of focus, and don’t worry about any of the ‘extra’ stuff just yet. If you’re batching blog content, I wrote this article about what to do after you publish a blog post, and while those are necessary steps to take after a new post goes live on your site, on this day you are focusing purely on the content. Save all that extra stuff for another day, or after you’re done creating your new pieces of content.

    When I write, I need my work space to be clean, organized, and free of major distractions. Sometimes I like silence, sometimes I like something on in the background. I make sure I take breaks after long periods of sitting at the computer, and try to avoid disruptions that might make it more difficult for me to return to my work. If you’re podcasting or filming YouTube videos, I’m sure you know the importance of a quiet, distraction-free zone! I also make sure there is hardly anything on the calendar that day that might interfere with my creation session.

    Of course, life does happen and sometimes things get in the way — just try your best; but make sure you have at least a couple hours to sit down and focus on your content. If this is your first time content batching, be mindful of the clock and see how long it takes you to create your first four or six pieces of content, so you know for future reference. If you can’t get all six pieces of content completed in one day, spread them out over two days. You’ll get a feel for how much you can produce as you practice these strategies.

    Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you sign up or purchase through my link at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

    Schedule Finished Content

    I blog and run my freelance business on Squarespace, and this platform makes it super easy to schedule out blog content. I’ll often write my content in a Google Doc, then copy and paste it into Squarespace so I can format it and schedule it to publish over the next six weeks. If you’re recording videos for your YouTube channel, you can also easily schedule your videos to go live at a future date. If you’re planning out social media content, I recommend using Tailwind to schedule your posts. You can sign up and schedule your first 30 posts for free here! It’s my favorite scheduling tool for Instagram; if you want to learn more about why I think it’s a necessary tool for social media, you can read more about it in this blog post.

    Whatever you’re scheduling, just make sure it aligns with your posting frequency. Again, I like to publish new blog posts and send out emails once each week, so I make sure to schedule that content to go live every Wednesday.

    The Final Touches

    This goes without saying, but if you’re creating any written material, go over and proofread your work. Make sure you’ve added any necessary links, photos, and have formatted your content accordingly. If you’re recording videos or podcast episodes, make sure you have your files ready for editing. You can choose to edit your audio or video files on the same day you content batch, or reserve that for another day during that same week. Either way, have your show notes or video descriptions ready with necessary links and graphics.

    Since I publish posts and send emails on the same day every week, I also like to prepare my emails ahead of time. I usually wait to content batch my emails until the following day, but if I can, I’ll work on them later in the day of my content batching date if I have time. I also create my pins for my blog posts and schedule them in advance with Tailwind, too so they go live when my blog posts are published. If you have multiple areas to content batch, designate different days of the week to create your content, but get the main portion of your content created first before you work on the ‘less’ important areas.

    Once all the necessary content elements are set to publish, you can sit back and breathe. You have six weeks of content created and ready to go live, meaning you have some time until you have to get ready for another round of content batching. I know it sounds like a lot of work up front, and it is, but it will save you so much time in the long run. You won’t have to worry about rushing to get a post, video, or episode up every week — you’ll already have done the hard work. If you get stuck or confused, always feel free to send me an email. Your guide is there to help you stay organized and get in the routine of batching out content every few weeks.

    If you found this article helpful, please feel free to share on Pinterest, with other content creators, or let me know in the comments below.

    Have you tried content batching yet? Was it helpful?

    xxElizabeth

    What You Need to Know Before You Start a New Instagram Account

    Whether you plan on blogging or running a business, the beginning stages can be filled with so many mixed emotions. It’s exciting but overwhelming, for sure! Many people are eager to dig right in and line up their social media accounts to start connecting and sharing with their audience, but are unsure if they should use their current profiles for their brands, or start a fresh new account.

    Last week on Instagram I asked my audience to send in questions they had related to running an online brand. One of the questions I got — and one I see a lot within Facebook groups — was about creating a new Instagram account.

    If you’re weighing the pros and cons of creating a new profile, here are some things to think about:

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    Who is your target?

    I talked a little bit about defining your target audience (or target market), in this postwhen you’re starting an online brand it is so important to get clear on who you are speaking or selling to because it dictates nearly every aspect of your brand. If you don’t know who your target is yet, make sure you ask yourself:

    • Who would benefit from reading my content, purchasing my products, or utilizing my services?

    • What age range am I targeting? What do they do for a living? Where do they live? What are their likes and dislikes?

    • How does my product, service or content solve a problem(s) they are experiencing?

    Get really clear on your audience before you move forward with your social media profiles. It may sound silly, but I highly recommend creating an ideal client or ideal customer profile (also known as an ideal customer avatar), that addresses these questions. I’ll even do this when I need to refresh my brands, or rethink my marketing strategy to ensure I’m reaching my target more effectively.

    Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you sign up or purchase through my link at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

    How will you provide value to your audience?

    Sure, posting beautiful photos is one way to attract attention, but it isn’t necessarily going to convert to traffic, sales or new clients. You might gain a ton of followers and get a lot of likes this way, but are you really contributing thoughtful, meaningful information just by posting images? Are you building a loyal community using this method? You have to serve your audience by providing them with consistent, valuable, and engaging content. Utilize your captions and stories to connect with your audience — share authentic stories, provide educational information, offer advice, engage in their DMs and comments on their own profile — give people something to connect to so you can build up a loyal community.

    On top of providing valuable and engaging content, you want to remain as consistent as possible on social media. We all need breaks from time to time, but one thing that helps me is planning and scheduling content. I love using Tailwind to schedule my Instagram posts — they have an incredible hashtag finder and provide automated scheduling so you can run your content on autopilot. If you want to read more about how Tailwind can help you manage your Instagram, I wrote a detailed post about it here. You can also sign up with Tailwind to schedule your first 30 Instagram posts for free. I’ve tried so many different scheduling apps over the years, but Tailwind blows them all out of the water.

    Really dig deep and think about what you are bringing to the table with your brand. Consistency and value builds trust and trust builds a loyal community that converts.

    Do you mind having strangers see more intimate aspects of your personal life?

    My first experience in building an online brand came with my product-based business, so I knew right away I wanted to create a separate Instagram account for that brand. However, when I became a Beachbody coach, I entertained the idea of integrating my journey on my personal profile, but decided it was best to create a new account. I simply did not want all the Internet strangers out there to see the more personal photos I only wanted to share with my close friends and family. I also didn’t want everyone I knew in my personal life to see everything I was posting on my fitness account. It was just a personal preference of mine. I’m all for sharing authentic moments and getting personal with my audience, but there are some things I just don’t want them to see, and some things I post on my personal page that don’t fall within my niche.

    How much do numbers matter to you?

    When I started a new account I knew that meant starting at zero as far as followers were concerned, but I knew I could provide my target audience with valuable content that would grow into a loyal community.

    A lot of people are worried about starting from zero — they feel that follower count they have on their current profile will help grow their new brand, and sometimes maybe they’re right — but this is where knowing your target is so important. You want to follow and attract followers who are within your niche, and your personal account might not have many people that fall within your target. In fact, you might notice a significant drop in your followers if you re-brand your personal account and take it in a new direction. Those people who hit the unfollow button aren’t within your niche. If you’re starting anew, trust that you will find your people, and they will find you. Of course you can promote your new account on your current profile if you choose to keep them separate. Just don’t focus so much on the numbers or let that keep you from starting a new profile.

    The bottom line

    It’s all about personal preference. If you don’t mind sharing your brand or your journey with your current followers on your personal account, by all means give it a go. However, if you’d like to keep your personal account more private and reserved only for people you know in real life, then keep it that way. I currently run three different brands on Instagram and have a personal account. Each brand falls within a different niche, and I know for a fact there are plenty of people I know in real life that are unaware my brands exist, and I’m totally okay with that.

    What are your thoughts on creating a new profile for your brand? Does your current profile align with your niche?

    xxElizabeth

    How I Increased My Pinterest Views from 0 to 120,000

    Pinterest is the hidden gem of online marketing. I spend a lot of time talking about it here and over on Instagram because I fully believe you can use it to your advantage to grow your blog or online business. People are really starting to catch on and are understanding just how powerful this tool can be.

    When I started my first business I had such a difficult time coming up with an effective marketing strategy that would convert to more website traffic, new email list subscribers and consistent sales. When I started blogging again I had the same issue. I started reading about Pinterest, combing through research studies, courses, ebooks, blog posts — you name it — and also did some experimenting on my own. Before we get into how I grew my Pinterest views from 0 to 120,000+ let’s touch on some important things you need to know:

    First of all — what is Pinterest anyway?

    Contrary to popular belief, Pinterest isn’t just for finding DIY’s, creating vision boards or saving recipes that you may or may not attempt to recreate. It’s a place to collect information, shop, and get new ideas -- and for us bloggers and business owners, it’s a space to grow our website traffic and increase brand awareness. It also is NOT a social media platform or social networking site. While you can follow other users and comment on their pins, it’s not meant to be social the way that Instagram and Facebook are.

    How can you use Pinterest to grow your brand?

    One of the first things you should do to use Pinterest to grow your brand and increase your website traffic is sign up for or convert your personal profile to a business account. In The Pinterest Project course I’m launching soon, I tell you why this is so important and show you exactly how to do it. You can sign up to get on the wait list for the course here. In the meantime, just know you should have a business account before you do anything else.

    Once you have your business account set up, you’ll want to make sure your business name and profile description are optimized. Optimizing areas of your Pinterest profile just means you’re using relevant, searchable keywords that will (ideally) attract your target audience to your profile, boards, and pins. In the course, I go into detail on how to optimize your content, what works well, and what doesn’t work so well.

    Learn how to drive.png

    The next thing you should be do is create boards that are related to you niche. If you’re a health and wellness blogger, do you really think it makes sense to include boards filled with pins of your dream wedding? You know the right answer to this question.

    From there, you’ll want to start creating pinnable images in something like Canva, so you can upload them to Pinterest, link back to your website, and create an optimized description that will attract your target. Again, I’ll show you exactly how to do this in the course! It’s so much fun to create these images, and doesn’t take a lot of extra time. Ideally, you’ll create 3-5 different images per blog post, freebie, or product/service. Eventually you’ll want to pay close attention to your pins that are performing well, and refresh any pins that aren’t bringing traffic to your website. I’ll get into the specifics of this in another post.

    How I Grew My Pinterest from 0 to 120,000+ Views

    Aside from converting to a business account, here’s what I did to grow my Pinterest views in a very short amount of time:

    1. I got clear on my target audience and my brand’s mission — my target audience primarily consists of other female creatives who want to learn more about creating or growing an online brand. My target audience also wants to know about some general lifestyle topics like time management, living at home in your twenties, and quick makeup routines for busy women. Get to know your audience. Figure out what they’re searching for. Ask yourself what problems they might have and determine how you can help solve those problems. This not only helps dictate your blog content (or the direction of your business), but also helps determine how you will structure your Pinterest profile.

    2. I optimized my business name and profile description — you should be including searchable keywords anywhere that you can, especially in your business name and profile description. A business name that simply states the name of your blog isn’t going to be as effective as saying something like:

      Elizabeth | DIY Your Blog or Online Business

      As far as your profile description is concerned, you want to give your audience a better idea of what your brand is about, while still including those keywords. For example, rather than writing that I’m an “East coast almost thirty-something girl” I would say:

      Former teacher turned Pinterest strategist, blogger and entrepreneur, helping other women grow their online brands.

      See the difference there? Optimize, optimize, optimize.

    3. I created boards related to my niche and optimized their descriptions with searchable keywords — I eliminated any and all boards that didn’t fall within my niche. If I was having serious issues separating myself from certain boards, I simply made them ‘secret’ or archived them so that I could still have access to what I pinned, but they would be hidden from my audience. I then started creating boards that directly related to my niche.

      Every time I talk about Pinterest, I talk about optimization — and that’s because it’s such a crucial factor in setting up proper Pinning practices. Business name? Optimize it. Profile description? Optimize it. Board Description? You guessed it, optimize it. Add complete sentences that include those searchable keywords so users can find your boards, find your pins, and find your website.

     

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      4. I started re-pinning content that related to my niche before I had enough of my own content to pin — There’s some speculation surrounding re-pinning. Should you do it? What happens if you don’t do it? Can you really just solely pin your own content? I’ll answer all these questions in the course, but just know that if you’re new to Pinterest or are a new blogger or business owner that doesn’t have a ton of your own content just yet, you’re going to need to start building up your profile a bit by re-pinning content that falls within your niche. This will help bring users to your profile, and in turn, increase your monthly views and engagement rate.

      5. I created pinnable, branded images in Canva to go with my blog posts — I have a very special place in my heart for Canva. They’ve made it pretty much effortless to create viral-worthy images to upload to Pinterest. They even have dimensions that are already sized appropriately for Pinterest users, and if you’re lacking in the creativity department (or just feeling lazy or a bit lost), they have tons of beautiful templates to help you get started. You’ll want to make sure you’re using appealing colors, easy-to-read fonts, and providing your logo or website somewhere on your pin. You can sign up and get started with Canva for free here.

      6. I optimized descriptions of pins and linked them back to my blog posts — Just as I mentioned before, you’ll want to optimize the description of your pins as well. Use searchable keywords that describe what your pin links to, and leave a soft call to action that will entice users to click on your pin to find out more information. Using a few hashtags at the end of your description is helpful too, but only on new pins. There’s no sense in going back to add hashtags to older pins that have already been floating around for a while.

      Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you sign up or purchase through my link at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

      7. I scheduled content on Tailwind — if you’re familiar with my blog, you know how much I love Tailwind. Seriously, the word love doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about this Pinterest-approved scheduling tool. For me, it’s helped keep me sane because it ensures that I’m scheduling images to go live at the most optimal times. I can literally schedule out weeks worth of content, and don’t have to spend time aimlessly and manually pinning on Pinterest. The thing about Pinterest is they favor consistency over pinning a ton of content all at once at random times. Plus, Tailwind provides you with incredibly helpful insights to better structure your Pinterest strategy. You can test out Tailwind for free up to your first 100 scheduled pins here.

      8. I utilized Tailwind tribes — another perk to using Tailwind is joining tribes. You can join tribes relevant to your niche and find other images to re-share onto your own Pinterest boards. It really is a team effort in these communities — you share an image, and share at least one other image from another user. I noticed my views skyrocket after joining a handful of tribes, and really attribute this practice to a lot of the growth I experienced.

      9. I started sharing more of my own content, and less of others’ — once I had plenty of my own content to pin, I stopped re-pinning a lot of other users’ content. You don’t want your Pinterest audience to leave your profile and go to someone else’s website, right? You want them going to your page! Although this is somewhat unavoidable in the beginning, as you build up content on your website and create fresh pinnable images, you won’t have to rely on other users’ content so much. I’ll talk more about this in great detail in the course, so if you’re a little confused, don’t worry! And please — if you’re seeing somewhere that there is a specific “ratio” to follow when pinning your own content vs. re-pinning other users’ content — don’t listen to it. Tailwind conducted an interview with Sarah Hoople Shere (who is Head of Product Marketing at Pinterest) that debunked this ratio myth!

      10. I kept tabs on which pins were performing well, then refreshed others that weren’t doing as well — Pinterest and Tailwind give you access to important analytics that allow you to better understand your audience and how they’re interacting with your pins. I always recommend studying these analytics to see what is working really well. If you have a pin that is underperforming, see what you can do to change it (by creating a fresh pin in Canva), and upload a new batch of fresh pins linking to that same post, product, service, or freebie.

      Have you started using Pinterest for your brand yet? Do you want a little help? Send me an email at elizabeth@howshedoesit.co with the subject line ‘Pinterest Help’ and we can set up a consultation! If you’d rather wait for the course, you can pre-enroll here!

      xxElizabeth