Winning on Instagram

Winning on Instagram might feel like something you have to hire an entire PR team to achieve. There are loads of great tools and simple wins that you can start right away to win engagement on Instagram.

Now you might be thinking that as a creative you don’t have a need to use Instagram for business, but I wanted to tell you that it can drive traffic to your website, help you to make sales and get people to attend your events. You can even network on it too!

I used to have a different account for Instagram when I worked in the film industry. I have switched to a Creative Women International account now and am in the process of learning all the ‘tricks’ to help build the site into an amazing space where I can chat to you and help you make connections.

It’s tiny at the moment, so I thought this was a fun time to share my knowledge with you so that we can grow together.

  1. The Instagram algorithm– This has been a hot topic since it changed in 2016 and has gone through another change in 2018. There are certain things that it now looks for, which you should be aware of to make sure that your posts are seen.Interest– How much your post has comments & likes/ will be relevant to your audience.Time of day– New content is shown before old content. So posts from the day before won’t appear before posts sent an hour ago.

    Relationship– Are they people you engage with regularly, or are they part of your family/ friends? Instagram will learn this from your previous actions.

    So how would you make this work for you? 

    I would say you need to create content that you are excited about and know that your followers would love as well. Make sure that you are posting at a time that they are likely to be viewing Instagram- so not in the middle of the night if you are talking to the same time zone for example!

    And for relationships- you need to make sure that people want to engage with your content by asking them questions or calls to action (like clicking twice if they agree, or tagging a friend who would love this too).

    Think about how you yourself use the app and what excites you. Borrowing ideas can help you to get started. 

  2. Stories– You might have seen stories appearing in the header of both Instagram and Facebook. These are a great way to engage with your audience and avoid getting lost in the noise of the feed as they appear at the top of the page.You can also have some fun showing them behind the scenes.
    You can also add up to 10 # in your story. (More on Hashtags in a moment).This podcast that I did about Storytelling to engage your audience might help. You can listen to it here. CLICK 
  3. A business account– You might still have a personal Instagram account, but this means that you are missing out on loads of stats that might help you understand your audience better.You can switch your account to a business one easily, and at the moment it is free to do that. You can read more about it here: Business Account
  4. Hashtags #– Love or hate them, they are a valuable tool for growing your audience. You can add them to stories, your photographs but also your bio at the top of your home page. It is the way that people can find you, and you find others like you.You can add 10 to stories and 30 to your post. Hit return and then a fullstop/period 5 times to make them appear after your description. This cleans it up for your viewers.Top tip– you can save your favourite Hashtags in notes on your phone, then copy and paste them into a post to save you time.

    There is loads to learn about Hashtags I have found- so this might take a whole article another time!

  5. Scheduling– You might not want to be on your phone all the time, or are working with an international audience, so don’t want to get up in the small hours of the morning to post.

    I use a software called Later to help me. They have a fantastic blog as well and one of my favourite posts is about hacks to help you with Instagram. You can read it here: GO TO LATER

Finally here are some tools that I like to use.

VSCO- This is a great app that you can use to edit photos from your phone.

Web.stagram Lets you search for Hashtags on Instagram.

Typorama– Lets you add text onto images perfect for Instagram.

Let me know in the comments below what is the one thing you would like to master on Instagram. 

How to set up a jewellery business

Priyanka Kedia Ayva jewlery

If you have ever wondered how to set up your own jewellery business, Priyanka Kedia is a real inspiration! I was honoured to have her as a guest on the lasted podcast. She was so generous with her information and very honest about the journey she has gone on in order to make her business a success.

She is a great advocate of starting before you are ready and fix as you go– This is something that her journey ‘forced’ her to do and great to hear, as it can work for other creative businesses like yours.

You can hear more about it in the podcast below.

Priyanka shares tips around how to make your creative business when you don’t have clients yet, or when you aren’t ready yet, but life is forcing you to get started! She is honest about leaving her job and jumping into the new venture even though she was scared to do so, and how the loss of a relative gave her the idea for her beautiful business.

It was her loss and connection to her heritage that really touched me. Sometimes in life our we discover what we were meant to be doing after a great loss. Those painful emotional journeys can often help us to see what is important and meaningful in our lives. If you are struggling at the moment, please do reach out for help and know that you won’t always feel this way.

We also look back at our heritage (and as Priyanka did), see the amazing blessings it has given us. I love that Priyanka used her own heritage to create her jewellery business. It was the love and passion from that, which helped her to create the amazing career she has today.

You can see her gorgeous jewellery collections here: www.Ayvajewelry.com

Having lost both of my parents (my mother when I was 9) I understand how deep loss can run, but also the amazing transformation that it can have on your own life. Loss can help you to understand the path that you have been on and where you truly want to go.

Priyanka has also generously offered advice by contacting her via email. She was helped on her journey and wants to help others on theirs. info@ayvajewelry.com

What is the one thing that you are struggling with your own business at the moment? Share your story in the comments below and let’s see if we can help you figure it out. 

How to build a successful creative business on Shopify

Shopify

You might be wondering how on earth you build a successful business on Shopify? It can feel like an endless list of jobs-to-be-done. This is why I was so happy to have Arianne Foulks the founder of Aeolidia as a podcast guest.

Aeolidia began  in 2004 setting up online shops for designers, makers, and other creatives. It’s an amazing company that designs custom Shopify ecommerce websites, creates logo and brand identity design, and supports these services with stats analysis, product photography, copywriting, business naming, marketing strategy, and SEO! She certainly knows her stuff!

Arianne shared some of her top tips during the podcast about what you need to do to have a successful Shopify site, and common mistakes that people make. She talked through ways that you can improve your site to drive more traffic, which in turn leads to more sales.

I certainly felt inspired to consider my own Shopify site after this interview!

You can listen to the podcast below.

If one of the things that you are worrying about is how to price your own products or services, you can read about and listen to a previous podcast that I shared about pricing. Click HERE.

You may be considering setting up your own Shopify site, or have one that needs improving, as an extra bonus, Arianne wanted to share a free resource she has made to help you get more traffic for your Shopify account, which helps you make more sales. You can download it here:

https://aeolidia.com/boost/

I’d love to hear about your own Shopify journey, the pains and the success. Share your story in the comments below.

A guide to branding

Branding can seem like the last thing you need as a solo freelancer when you are juggling everything else. Liz Dennery Sanders explains why it is so important to focus on your branding, how it can help your career and your bank balance! Which is why it is worth giving it some focus.

I had such a fun time chatting to Liz about branding. Liz has been in the business for 25 years working in marketing, branding, creative direction and PR. She has worked with iconic brands like Escada, Elyse Walkwe and Serena Williams, and many more.

We recorded a podcast so that you could share the top tips and knowledge Liz has about branding and style.

Liz is the author of ‘Style & Substance: How to Create A Compelling Brand’. It is a fantastic guide and workbook for women who want to build their confidence, their brands and their bank account. It is something that I wish had been around when I was starting out.

If you are quick and buy a copy of the book via Liz’s website www.shebrand.com/book you can also grab $1000 worth of extra goodies.

I’m not affiliated with this book in anyway, I’m sharing the love of a great product that can help you with your creative career.

What I love about Liz’s message is that “women can rise higher using their voices, growing their influence and businesses, and in doing so shatter the glass ceiling and old perceptions about what a women is capable of being and doing”. We can do this!

To listen to the podcast and get those brilliant, branding tips from Liz- click below:

Let us know in the comments what your branding issues or loves are at the moment. 

Remember to sign up to the Creative Women International newsletter to get these podcasts and tips land in your inbox before anyone else. Plus there are some goodies you get for signing up too!

Take away the guilt.

Let’s take away the guilt from freelancing. I’m re-posting this image of my morning coffee on a mini break to Cornwall. You might be wondering what this has to do with guilt?

When I started my career as a freelancer I was on call 24/7, I would jump if the phone rang and I was still checking messages well into the night. All of this made me burn out. I was worried that if I didn’t appear available at all times, that I would never work again. Have you had that feeling?

So jump forward several years and I am pleased to say that I have figured out that no-one is going to black list you if you don’t reply to that email they sent at midnight, or you won’t ever work again if you take the afternoon off to sit in the park or on the beach.

Freelancing is tough. We have no medical care, no paid holiday or sick days. So we need to take the perks as well. If the sun is shining and you are up to date with your work, go on out there and enjoy it.

There is a quote that I read the other day that sums this up perfectly;

“No one wishes that they spent more time at work when they are on their death bed”.

This week’s podcast talks you through how to take the guilt away and how these mini-breaks can help your creative output.

I have a challenge for you….look at the week ahead and book yourself some time, guilt free. Let me know what you plan to do in the comments below. 

How to build an audience

How to build an audience- might be something that you have been thinking about yourself. I’m not talking about an audience in a theatre (although if that is your creative career, these tips can work for that as well), I’m talking about an audience of new customers and clients.

You might have a small audience at the moment, and are worrying about how, and what, you can do to grow it. It isn’t all about numbers…having a small audience can often be all you need. It is all about having the right audience. 

In this podcast I talk through ways to build an audience and what to do with the one that you have. I also talk through ways of engaging with them on social media and through more traditional methods, like leafleting.

Things you need to think about when you build an audience

  1. Why? You need to be clear about why you want your audience to engage with you on a certain platform, or via a leaflet.
  2. Start with the outcome you desire and work backwards. This can be a useful technique for all the work that you produce. Starting with the end helps you to build a timeline of what you need to do, and when, to achieve the result you desire.
  3. Remember the audience you already have. It can take 7 times more work to attract a new client or customer, than to keep the ones you already have. Think of ways that you can reward them. Is it by offering them special discounts or being the first through the door at your exhibition?
  4. Make yourself useful. If you post of social media, it is important to know why, when and how you are doing it. Make sure that you post things that are of interest to your audience or things that tell them more about you and your business. Make them a fan rather than just a customer.

Summing up!

  • Remember that if you try to talk to everyone, you talk to no-one. 
  • Think strategically about what you are doing and Look, Review and Reflect.

  • Remember the audience you already have.
  • Think of the outcome first and work backwards.

Your challenge for this week is to look at your own social media use. Think of the things that you like or dislike, the articles that interest you or the people that you follow. Why do you do that, and what can you learn from it for your own social media strategy?

Let me know in the comments what you want from your own audience.

How to leave a corporate job for a creative one

Sometimes we have a dream to leave a corporate job for a creative one. But how on earth can we do it? For this podcast I was lucky enough to interview Bree Noble who did exactly that. She left her corporate job as a Director of finance to pursue a career in music.

Bree talks candidly about the journey she took from University, to the corporate world, and then finally leaving to fulfil her dreams of a creative career.

Bree was able to carve out a successful career, not only as a musician, but as a podcaster, and as a supporter of other musicians through online courses, sharing the tools that worked for her.

Listen to the podcast to find out more, and you can follow these links to see more of Bree’s work:

Women of Substance Podcast

Female music academy 

Bree’s own website

Continue reading “How to leave a corporate job for a creative one”

Starting a creative business at any age

Tricia Cusden proves that you can start a creative business at any age. I was so impressed with Tricia’s outlook on life and it was a real pleasure to be able to interview her for this podcast.

Tricia founded the pro-age beauty brand Look Fabulous Forever  when she was 65 years old and already retired. Tricia had become frustrated with beauty products that weren’t suitable for mature skin, so decided to take herself back to school as a make-up artist and then launch her own range of beauty products.

What I loved about Tricia was that she was repeated told that her vision wouldn’t work and that older women wouldn’t buy make-up. Rather than stop Tricia, it only encouraged her to continue.

Starting a creative business at any age can be daunting, but when you haven’t grown up with social media or computers from a young age, it can be hard to know how to connect with your audience through these methods. Tricia’s daughter helped her to upload a video to Youtube showing you how to apply make-up for mature women and it went viral.

This changed how Tricia decide to run her business. Originally she was going to follow the formula of holding selling-parties, where a host helps to sell the products to a group of friends at a small event. With the success of the online video, Tricia realised that she could connect more easily with her audience on-line.

Her business has gone from strength to strength and now turns over nearly £2 million. Not bad for someone who was told that older women wouldn’t buy make-up!

You can listen to her whole story and the advice that she gives the younger generation on starting their own business by listening to the podcast below.

Continue reading “Starting a creative business at any age”

Value your creativity

Successful failing

When we are creating something new we often forget that the failures along the way are as important as the final success. Valuing your creativity in all of its forms is so important. It helps you to keep going when the process is hard and it can help you to negotiate higher fees for your work.

In this podcast I talk through ways of valuing your own creativity and how you can use this to explain to new clients and customers the creative process. This can then help you negotiate higher fees for your work. If you don’t value the creative process yourself, how is anyone else going to value you it and pay you for it?

As creatives we often forget to build reflection time into our work. Because being creative is instinctive to us, we forget how much brain power and energy it takes each day to create.

Listen to the podcast and let me know in the comments below how you value your own creativity. 

There are tips below on how you can value your own creativity….

Continue reading “Value your creativity”

Timelines can help you achieve success

When we are busy focussing on our own career we often forget to look backwards at how far we have come. Timelines can help you achieve success if you use them in the right way.

I am writing this article a couple of days after my birthday (yes that’s crazy eyed me on my first birthday!).

Birthdays are always a good point in the year to reflect on how far you have come, and what you have achieved with your life so far. It isn’t a moment to put undue pressure on yourself! It is a time to appreciate all that you have done, to get where you are right now.

We forget that when we entered this world we didn’t know anything. We had to learn how to blow out that candle on the cake until eventually we were baking our own. It is the same with your career path. We gaze lovingly at the people who are ahead of us and believe that we can never do as well as them.

Not only is this damaging to your self confidence, but you also have no idea whether they have had help to get where they are today, or have grown up with family members to help them into the industry.

It is important to focus on your own path. In this week’s podcast I talk through ways that you can do this, and how to use timelines to plot out- not only where you have been, but where you are heading as well.

Continue reading “Timelines can help you achieve success”