2 Must Haves For DIY Design

When it comes to running a business, you never really think of design as being a part of it. Well, let me you now that design is essentially in everything that you will do. Everything that you put out or put on your website will essentially have your brand aesthetic on it and will most likely need to have a bit of design planning before creating. If you are a DIY designer like me, check out these 2 must haves!  

Canva

If you are not an expert designer, I highly recommend using Canva! It is such a great tool to utilize just not for Instagram but basically everything! From creating postcards and posters to social media posts, it will make your life so much easier! It’s an easy platform to use and much easier than Photoshop or Illustrator! You can use already designed templates or start from scratch and create your own.

A Color Story

There are so many amazing editing apps out there but A Color Story is one of my favorites. Most apps let you apply different filters but A Color Story allows you to enhance the colors that are in your photo. There are so many effects to try out and it will even let you save your customizations so that you can use it over and over again. (Cough cough, hello consistent feed!)

What are your must haves when it comes to design? 

Feature Friday

Ever since I started freelancing full time this past January, I have come across so many amazing businesses in the Boston area and even across the country. I have met so many amazing boss ladies (and men!) who are absolutely killing it in their businesses. As a newer small business, seeing how successful they are and how much they love what they do, just pushes me to strive that much harder for my own goals. To say they are inspiring is just the beginning. They make me want to learn as much as I can about everything and it motivates me to keep going after my dreams. They are the reason why I know that it's possible to follow your dreams and be sucessfull at them. They're doing it each and every day. 

I wanted to be able to showcase them somehow and show others how amazing they are too. They've put countless hours, tears and beads of sweat into their business and it shows. The companies range from wedding planners, to boudoir photographers, to even crossfit gyms. They all have one thing in common. They LOVE what they do and they love their clients. Their businesses are all so different in so many ways, but as business owners, they have so much in common. Talent and knowledge is basically oozing out of them.

My Friday blog posts are dedicated to them. To the go-getters, to the hard-workers, to the motivators - they deserve to acknowledged and talked about it. Not only because they are some of my favorite people but they truly are talented at what they do. So starting next Friday, expect a new business to be showcased every week! 

An Instagram Don't

I've heard a few people comment over the last few weeks that the only way to get ahead on Instagram is to play the buying followers technique. I know it may seem tempting to take the easy way out but I promise it will just hurt you in the end. 

I recently had a friend that felt that buying followers was necessary and no matter what I said, there was no charging his mind. He got to his goal number of 10 thousand followers fast and we started to chat about his engagement rate. He was upset with it because he was only getting between 100 and 300 likes. That's only about 1-3% of his followers. With that number of followers, your engagement rate should be higher, at least from my perspective. 

Unfortunately, when you take part in any of those spammy ideas for getting followers, you are not getting TRUE followers that truly love your brand. Your getting people who may be fake accounts, may only be following you to get your company to follow them back, etc. Whatever their motive is, it's most likely not because they love your company. 

My number one tip would be to grow organically. Stay true to your brand - you don't want anyone thinking you are that desperate or question your intentions. Spend some time getting to know your target audience. Think about what they like to see, what they need to know and what they react well to. Come up with a content plan and stick to it! You may want to fall off the first few days just because you aren't growing fast enough, but I promise - sticking with the plan is well worth it! 

Client Story: One of my clients that I have been working with for about a year and a half now, went from randomly posting here and there to posting on Instagram twice a day. Just from posting consistently, her following is now 5 times what it was when we started! Consistency works, I promise!

Coffee Shop Chronicles: The Unexpected

When you are your own boss, there’s a pretty good chance that you are working from home. Whether you are working from your coach or maybe a home office, it can be distracting with all the “home” things staring you in the face. My biggest distraction has f our legs, loves to play and whines consistently if you don’t pat her chest. It can be so easy to close my laptop and get on the floor and start playing. But, let’s be real, playing with dog toys just doesn’t pay the bills.  (If only!) Don’t get me wrong, me and my pup have our walk time during the day but sometimes I Just need to get outside of my own space to get productive. With no laundry, no cute puppy staring me down, dishes to do, snacks to eat, etc.

I started going to Starbucks consistently and it was THE best. I was amazed at how much work I could get done in the little time that I was there. Compared to being home, it was just incredible. I was starting to get a little tired of their coffee and busy atmosphere after awhile.  So I decided to switch it up but couldn’t decide on where to go. My final decision was to travel around the Boston area and try out the different coffee shops.

So today I am at my first coffee shop, The Boston Common Café. It wasn’t my first choice to be honest but that’s okay! My first choice was a coffee shop that is so teeny tiny with no seats but there coffee looks absolutely unbelievable.  I will totally be stopping there on my way home.

Back to the Boston Common. There ice coffee is pretty regular, similar to your every day ice coffee. There’s a nice area to work in if that is what you are looking for. I however, am STRUGGLING to get on their wifi and stay on their wifi so I’m internet-less. Does that not sound so terrifying? 

This morning I was instantly in a bad mood when I was wondering around the city at 7am trying to find a good coffee shop. I was upset that I had not done more research and I just felt like a nomad with a laptop. It made me start thinking how ridiculous I was for being upset. Isn’t the best part of life the unexpected?  Sometimes when you least expect it, you make a friend, you meet a spouse, or maybe you start a business. I sort of fell into freelancing and I am so unbelievably thankful for it.  When it comes to business, you can plan and plan. You can literally plan out everything and I guarantee something will go not as planned. You just have to go with it, and it is so scary but you totally got this. So go out there and rock your business, do the unexpected, try something new – I promise you won’t regret it. 

My Favorite Pinterest Tool

Pinterest is one of my all time favorite tools nowadays. I literally can get lost on there for HOURS. I mean c'mon, there are so many different categories and millions of pins, it's hard not find something that is totally amazing. I usually get lead down the rabbit hole and find myself still browsing a few hours later. Is it just me?!

When it comes to your business, Pinterest is an amazing, amazing tool. You have to think of Pinterest more as a search engine than your typical social media network. Think of it like a search engine, just like Google! There are many different factors that come into play when you are trying to gain more followers and traction on Pinterest. I wanted to share one of my absolute favorite tools to grow your audience. 

Boardbooster!! Boardbooster is literally amazing. It is such a time saver and allows you to be active on Pinterest every single day without actually being on Pinterest. Pinterest likes to reward the people who are pinning constantly and not only pinning their own content but others too. This is such a great way to utilize that.

Boardbooster allows you to schedule, manage and loop pins! (eeek!) Can you yell my excitement? Not only can you schedule out your pins (others and your own) but you can loop your current pins on your boards, which means new followers will get a chance to see your older content. Serious game changer!

You can automate all of your pinning, you can as active or even no as active as you'd like. It will take care of your pinning while you take care of that to do list. If you haven't check out Boardbooster before, I high encourage you to check it out. I'm also offering new Pinterest services and will even set up Boardbooster for YOU! Feel free to email me at caitydougherty@gmail.com for more info! :)

- C

3 Ways To Beat Your Creativity Block

Get out of your creative block, stat!

Creativity is something that everyone has but e all get into creative ruts at one time or another. It can be stressful when you have work to get done and you literally got nothing! Don't stress, here are a few simple tips to get back on track! 

 

Doodle your heart way

ometimes you just have to draw something. Take some time to de-stress and either color or draw. Let your mind wander and see what comes out. You may be surprised how much you enjoy taking some time to just doodle.

Get Moving

Sometimes you just have to get out of your space and start moving. Get outside for your favorite kind of workout or even just get a walk with your four legged friend. Movement is a great way to get your creative thinking back on track. 

Get a notebook

I usually keep a notebook in bag so when I am out and get random ideas I can jot them down. You can even use the note section on your phone if that is easier. When you are feeling like you have no ideas, just take a look at your note section and see if it sparks anything for you. 

What are your favorite ways to get back into creative thinking?

My 2 Favorite Instagram Schedulers

Oh em gee. It has been WAY too long since I've blogged and I am so sorry. I promise I won't go radio silent again! 

I'm back again to talk to you about my 2 favorite Instagram schedulers. As you probably already know, Instagram is my absolute favorite social media platform. I don't see that changing anytime soon. I've always had a secret dream(shh!) of being a photographer so  getting lost in peoples' feeds is totally me jam.  I love seeing how creative people can get with their photos. Everyone can show off their personality in a different way and even businesses can take part in the Instagram party. Not to mention, it is an amazing marketing tool for businesses. I promise I'll stop gushing about my obsession with Instagram. 

When it comes to posting, it can be SO time consuming. Ever have those days where you forget to post and it takes you what feels like hours to find the perfect photo? And then the dreaded caption! It could take hours to get that perfect post up. No one has time for that. That's why I wanted to talk to you about 2 of my favorite schedulers. I use both consistently, some for clients, some for personal use. It all depends on your personal preference but you can't go wrong with either one of them. 

Later

If you haven't heard of Later  (or latergram), you should definitely check it out. It's perfect for scheduling your content out over days, weeks or even months. It's easy to use and you can use it on the computer and on your phone. My favorite part about Later is you get to preview it as it would appear on your feed. If you are using the free version, you did have a limit on photos you can schedule per month and a file size limit.

Unum

Unum has been a recent discovery for me. It's similar to Later, the layout is a bit different but it is super easy to use.  The editing tools are my absolute favorite. There are more filters to choose from and you can edit the photos exactly how you want them. You also have the ability to see how your photos you upload will look with your current feed.  Thinking about deleting a photo? You can even take photos out to see how your Insta feed would look without it, without actually deleting it. Unum is free to use!

Both tools are awesome for scheduling out your posts. I highly recommend scheduling your content out not only to save time during the day but it allows you to create the aesthetic and content that fits your audience the best. 

Looking to get more inspired in your business?

Me too. The past few weeks, I feel like have flown by. All the things on my to do list, seem to still be on there. I'm getting my client work completed, but finding the inspiration to do things for myself have been so hard! I've hit a lull when it comes to inspiration and it seems to have made my productivity come to a screeching halt. I think every creative hits this wall at one point or another, and it's important to break through that wall and keep going. Here are a few tips I've found that totally help me get out of my funk. 

Get Creative

I find that I need to do something totally  unrelated to work but something that lets me create. For me, that is painting. But, find something that you love to do. Whether it's writing or painting, knitting, you get the picture! Something that takes your brain off of actual work and lets you create something amazing. Doing this helps me get my creativity back. It's amazing how you can find inspiration in other things that can relate back to your business. 

Coffee Date

Do you have a business bestie? Or someone you love to chat business with? Meet up with them. Whether it's over coffee or drinks, or even Skype, schedule a day to chat. You can tell them what you are struggling with and they may have some ideas that help you with what is going on.Even just asking them what's new in their life can really motivate you to get back to creating! 

Old Content

Go back through all your old content that you have created. You've spent so much time and effort in it. Spend some time updating it and share some of your best work. I find that reading back through ld posts, etc. it sparks my creativity and I get new ideas! 

Goals

Take a day to focus on your future goals and what the big picture really is for you. Think about you want and what you ultimately want to see yourself doing in future. Plan out different goals for yourself. Don't forget to make small goals too, not just huge ones! Looking at the big goals all the time can be overwhelming but when you can achieve the small goals it keeps you going! It can keep you motivated to keep going when you just want to sit on the couch and watch reruns of Friends. 

What do you do to get inspired? Leave some of your favorite tips below! 

Instagram: The Basics

Instagam is on the rage right now and honestly, I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. Instagram is one of my absolute favorite platforms. Not only do I love posting on Instagram but I LOVE scrolling through everyone’s feed. I love seeing delicious food photos (I mean, who doesn’t?) the adorable dog posts, and so much more. That’s the beauty of Instagram. There is so much to look at it. I love seeing everyone really break out of their shell and get creative with their feed. It’s beyond inspiring.

 

Here are some basics that I recommend to everyone.

 

Be Consistent

This may be the most important thing that I tell you. Not only should you be consistent with your posting, but be consistent with your style.  Share away but be sure that even your editing style is similar in your posts. I recommend using the same filters for editing so that when someone sees your feed, they see a brand. Not just a jumble of different colors and random photos. Staying consistent with style and posting will help your grow your following in no time.

 

Quality

If your photo looks like it was taken off a super old cell phone, I would hold off on posting it. Be sure that the quality of your photos is good and that you are using natural light. Having good quality photos will make your feed look that much better. 

 

Be Real & Authentic

Being authentic and true to yourself is so important. Your followers will be able to tell when you are faking it. If a brand reaches out to you and you are not a good fit or you don’t believe in their product, politely pass. Stay true to yourself and stay true to your audience.

 

Engagement!!

I can’t tell you how important this is. If someone comments on your photo, reply! Answer any questions or comments that are left. Don’t be shy, comment on other feeds too! Make sure to be genuine.. don’t be one of those people who just say nice! 

Making Goals for the New Year

Now that it is 2017, everyone is talking about their New Year Resolutions. I seem to always half ass my resolutions every year. Shockingly enough (wah wah) a few weeks into the year my resolutions are a thing of the past and I completely fail. I know I am not the only person out there that this happens to. 

This year, I am taking on some new tactics. For starters, they are no longer being called resolutions. I guess you can now call them goals but really what they are going to be is intentions. Everyone has their own words for them but for this post I will be calling them goals. I'm putting out into the universe what I WILL be accomplishing this year. I took some time to write down everything I want to accomplish this year and I seriously encourage you to do the same. 

Once I had my yearly goals, I broke the down into monthly goals. Sometimes when you look at that final goal, your heart stops a little because it is so much stuff to accomplish! Shit gets real and you know that accomplishing those 17 (or whatever your number may be) things is just totally overwhelming. Don't stress! I promise, you can accomplish your goals. I broke my yearly goals down into simpler steps.

I now have a list of yearly goals but also monthly goals. I thought about the steps I need to take each month to be able to reach that big ass goal. You can even take that a step further and break it down into weekly and even daily accomplishments. Looking at that big picture can be scary but those little steps are not so scary. Just think about how AMAZING you are going to feel next year when you can cross that big goal off of your list. 

What are your upcoming goals for the year?