Social Media, Instagram

How to Prepare Your Instagram Feed for the Holidays

When was the last holiday season you spent chilled and calm, with all family gatherings, wardrobe choices, presents, meals, and your business totally under control? Never? Nope, me neither!

I can’t help with family wrangling or what to wear (if you have any tips, please share in the comments below!) but here is a plan to make sure you post to Instagram throughout the holidays without breaking a sweat. Because as much as you love Instagram, being present with your loved ones or simply chilling on your own is the best gift you could give both yourself and them.

When was the last holiday season you spent chilled and calm, with all family gatherings, wardrobe choices, presents, meals, and your business totally under control? Never? Nope, me neither!   I can’t help with family wrangling or what to wear (if you have any tips, please share in the comments below!) but here is a plan to make sure you post to Instagram throughout the holidays without breaking a sweat. Because as much as you love Instagram, being present with your loved ones or simply chilling on your own is the best gift you could give both yourself and them. | Think Creative Collective

So let’s get the heavy lifting done.

PLANNING IS KEY

1. First of all, figure out your busy holiday zone.

What are the dates when you’ll have less time: family staying, being out of town, or late client obligations? Is there anything that happened last year or the year before that threw you off balance? Should you add extra wriggle room to cope with events like that? Write them on a calendar, diary or sheet of paper.

2. Next, choose if you’re going to take a social media break for any of this time.

Some people choose to do this so that they are well rested for the start of the new year. If you are, then it works best to flag your break ahead of time so there are no surprises for your followers.

3. Which days do you have messages you specifically want to post?

These could be posting seasonal greetings for Christmas, Hanukkah or the new year, dates when your business is closed or setting up you and your clients at the start of 2017. Put these on your calendar.

4. Plan your photos to cover your busy holiday zone.

If you have 10 days to cover and intend to post twice a day, you need at least 20 photos. Bearing in mind your messages from Step 3, map out your content.  If you’re stuck for ideas, here are twelve to get you started. You want to shoot as many as possible of those ahead of time - that is, now or this week.

  • A table setting or tablescape with a selection from: your best china, a bowl of seasonal fruit, napkins, ribbons or twine to style your napkins, flatware, table runner, candles, and vases / florals / pots of herbs.
  • Wrapping presents: Rolls of ridiculously beautiful paper, ribbon, gift tags, glitter, kraft paper + twine … whatever you’re wrapping around your gifts this year, get it out and have a play. There could even be a sneak peek of your gifts.
  • Writing thank-you notes: your choice of note cards, note paper, deckle-edged envelopes, and a favourite pen. This is a good choice for the last week of the year when our thoughts often turn from celebration to reflection.
  • Nature on your table: Beautifully coloured leaves, ivy, nuts, winter twigs, and poinsettia if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere and perhaps eucalyptus leaves, shells, and foraged pebbles in the south.
  • Your kitchen and its contents: So often these are the things that make the holidays feel like the holidays. You can use this to convey the atmosphere of your home: gingerbread biscuits, mince pies, satsumas, dried orange slices, mulled wine, panettone, iced fruit cake … you get the idea.
  • Seasonal clothing: Cosy woollen scarves for crisp winter walks or a bathing suit slung over a deckchair - whatever it is in your part of the world, do share!
  • Decorations: Fairy lights, candles, green foliage, mistletoe, vintage baubles, a wreath on your front door (or one in your neighbourhood) and other greenery. How do you decorate your home? Your office?
  • New Year celebrations: What are you going to post on the last day of this year and January 1, 2017? Sparklers and champagne? A new diary? Have you chosen a guiding word for 2017 that describes the feeling and experiences you want to have throughout the year? Share that in your own handwriting or by using a text app over an out of focus photo in seasonal colours.
  • Drinks: Hot, chilled, alcoholic or a combination of all, take your pick of hot chocolate with marshmallows, hot buttered rum, stylish cocktails stirred with a stick of cinnamon, or anything with pomegranate or cranberry.
  • Traditions: What are the traditions in your home? They could include: buying a tree, lighting candles, putting antlers on your dog (can’t believe I just googled ‘dogs in antlers’ images), long winter walks, making a gingerbread house, or writing holiday cards + displaying them around your fireplace.
  • Style up your work: Use pine cones, berries, decorations or whatever is to hand to style up your services and products for the run-up to the holidays.
  • Humor: This might not be for everyone, but if your style or company brand is light-hearted, then think about how this could apply to your holidays. Ugly Christmas jumper? Comedy seasonal socks? Or Elf on the Shelf moments if you have children.

5. Put a time in your planner to shoot these photos. 

List out anything you need to buy or gather and any time you need to plan or prepare. Allow space for text if needed. Don’t forget that this is the ideal time for candlelight or fairy lights (and yes, that may mean some untangling).

SHOOT, EDIT, SCHEDULE

6. Shoot your photos.

Edit them and upload to a scheduler like HootSuite or Later, along with captions and up to your allocated 30 hashtags. It may sound like overkill doing this in November, but your future holiday self will thank you, I promise, as you tuck into another warming eggnog or eye up the comfy chair and blanket for a snooze.

7. You’re done!

That was it! Of course, you may be a high achiever who adds more live photos into your feed and puts together daily atmospheric footage for Instagram Stories, which is just great. Your goal here with the preparation is to take the pressure off yourself and be clear with what messages need to go out and when so that you can be present with your loved ones. Have a wonderful holiday break!


Follow our behind the scenes on Instagram!


Profitability, Entrepreneur

Pricing Has Nothing To Do With Numbers (BONUS: FREE Download)

Pricing is our jam. Figuring out our worth so we can pay our bills, grow our business and have happy clients and customers is kind of our favorite. In fact, pricing is what brought this whole thing here at TCC together (meaning it’s how Emylee and Abagail met!). The very first program that we launched together was called “Pricing for Profit” (now known as The Money Making Creative). All that to say we’ve had the conversation about pricing with other creatives many a time, and you want to know a big fat spoiler? When it comes to mindset and “do you think they will pay $X?”, pricing has absolutely nothing to do with numbers.

The number one question that we receive from every small business owner is something along the lines of, “What should I charge for this?” As creatives, we all want there to be a magic number that we can charge for our services or products. A number that we could choose, and then automatically succeed. But by looking at just the numbers of your pricing strategy, you are leaving so much out of the equation.

Pricing is our jam. Figuring out our worth so we can pay our bills, grow our business and have happy clients and customers is kind of our favorite. In fact, pricing is what brought this whole thing here at TCC together (meaning it’s how Emylee and Abagail met!). The very first program that we launched together was called “Pricing for Profit” (now known as The Money Making Creative). All that to say we’ve had the conversation about pricing with other creatives many a time, and you want to know a big fat spoiler? When it comes to mindset and “do you think they will pay $X?”, pricing has absolutely nothing to do with numbers.  |  Think Creative Collective

So, first we’re going to burst your bubble and tell you that you just need to pick A number. You will never pick the right number the first time. There will most likely be price increases, package tweaks, new offerings, and offers taken off the table. The only way to get measurable results is just to just pick a number, any number, at first. However, here are a few guidelines that you should consider when calculating your pricing.

Pick a Number That Feels Right to You But Scares You a Little

If you constantly pick numbers with which you’re totally safe, you’ll probably never see the business results you’re dreaming about. The number you go with needs to make you feel just a little bit crazy-excited about the potential of your business, while also staying true to the authenticity of your biz brand.

Pro tip: If putting some math into it will help you take the emotion out of your pricing, then do that. Figure out how much you need to be making every single month to pay your bills, save for school, pay off your house or just to help with groceries. It doesn’t matter. If you know what number you’re hoping to get to, you can work backwards from there.

Add Value For Your Clients Instead of Slashing Prices

We understand that you want to create hype around your products or services, and the usual way of doing this is by having sales. But, depending on what you’re offering, a sale could actually hurt a client’s perception of value. So when you want to have a “sale”, think about keeping the price exactly the same, but add value. (Think: How can you add in more of your time? Can you create a quick and easy printable or download, can you add additional products if clients spend X amount, can you add in a bonus hour of your time, et cetera.) However, you definitely don’t want clients waiting around for your next sale before buying from you, so make sure you implement this strategically.

Showcase Your Offerings in Packages

There’s a specific psychology behind combining your offers inside packages. Your clients are able to see the value of a simple upgrade to the next package at a quick glance. Usually, the package you want clients to gravitate towards is your “middle of the road” package — it’s neither your cheapest, nor your most expensive. To your clients, it becomes the no-brainer package. Design your lowest and highest packages to highlight your middle package, and your clients will feel super confident in their decision. Your lowest package should cover the bare minimum of what you need to make from a client to make sure you’re making ends meet. Any upgrade from there is just icing on the cake!


As you can see in the strategies above, pricing involves far more than just picking the “right” number. It’s all about providing great value, charging what you’re worth and staying true to your brand.

We want you to be able to dive further into making your biz profitable. We want you to shake off the overwhelming thoughts that it’s “always about the numbers” and understand that there are distinct strategies that you can use to get there. But before you get there, you need a plan. Yes, an actual written down plan. Some might call it a business plan. We like to call it “Party in my Biz Pants, Because Now I Know What the Heck is Going On Plan”. Rolls right off the tongue, yeah?

We wouldn’t want you to head out to make this plan without some guidance. Heck, we don’t just want to give you guidance, we want to give you the freaking worksheet to make the plan. Oh, and it’s free. Happy day! We created The Easiest Business Plan Ever and you can grab your free copy by heading here.

Pop in your first name and email and we’ll send it right over. Here’s what we DON’T want you to do: please do not go download it and love it but let it die a slow death in your “Downloads” folder. It serves you no purpose there.

 

Instead, go download it and PRINT it off immediately. Even if you can’t fill it out right this second, at least have it sitting on your desk. Or taped to your fridge. Or the wine rack. Wherever you’ll see it the most and be reminded to do it.

Then just spend a half hour (seriously, don’t overthink this) and fill it out.

And then we want you to call us when shit starts to go down in your business, because we told you so. Really. If you don’t call us, at least email us. Heck, email us to call you and we will.

So stop reading this and get to printing. Right now. Tag us on Instagram (@ThinkCreativeCollective) in a shot of your blank piece of paper so we at least know you’ve printed it. Then we can hold you accountable.


SHOW US YOUR PLAN ON INSTAGRAM


Launching, Entrepreneur

The Quick Start Guide to Launching Your Next Big Thing

For someone with an extensive marketing background, launching something, anything, may feel like a walk in the park. But for others, regardless of what it is you want to put out into the world, you become frozen. You have awesome ideas, and perhaps have even developed an amazing product, and yet you are still sitting on it, scared it won’t go well. 

Today I am debunking the process by hand holding you through your first or next launch and cause I super love you am throwing in a launch guide freebie that you can find more about at the end of the post.

For someone with an extensive marketing background, launching something, anything, may feel like a walk in the park. But for others, regardless of what it is you want to put out into the world, you become frozen. You have awesome ideas, and perhaps have even developed an amazing product, and yet you are still sitting on it, scared it won’t go well.   Today I am debunking the process by hand holding you through your first or next launch and cause I super love you am throwing in a launch guide freebie that you can find more about at the end of the post.  |  Think Creative Collective

Decide on Your BLANK

So I could have said product instead of “BLANK”, but I feel like that could be misleading. See launching isn’t just for things you put up for sale. Launching is the process you should go through for every part of your business that is public facing. Some launches may be miniature - like every time you write a new blog post. And others may last for months - like when your high-end product hits the virtual shelves. Either way, the steps are the same. The speed you execute and the amount of time you prep for the launch may be different.

Now that we’ve debunked that crazy nothing, let’s picture this together. What do you want to launch next? A social media channel, a new product in your shop, a blog post, a book, the best thing you’ve ever done ever? 

Got it in your head? Awesome. Hold onto that picture as you keep reading. 

Who’s It For?

Who needs what you got to offer? Who do you want to be singing your praises when this hits the airwaves? Who would die to have this waiting for them under the Christmas tree? Got them in your mind?

Perfect. Now for the rest of the launch, whether this is your normal audience or a subset super specific niche of your normal audience, every time you go to write, talk, yell, whatever, picture this person (or group of people). Talk to them like they're your BFF. Touch on their pain points. Show them why your s*** is the best thing ever.

No more excuses, you know who you need to chat it up with. 

Visualize Your Success

You need to leave doubt at the door, babe. You got this. No matter how scared, nervous, or vomit-worthy you may feel, you have got to leave it behind. Confidence sells. You have to walk in the room (literally or otherwise) like you just got your hair done, your makeup is one point and those shoes, man they make you look boss. 

You have to go into this launch knowing you are going to do awesomely. Set expectations. Write down your actual goals - sales, views, engagement, whatever.

What do you want as a result of this launch? Where do you want to be because of it? What other opportunities would you like to have because you put in the work?

If confidence isn’t your strong suit, then let’s practice. Walk away from your computer for a minute. Stand in front of mirror and stand like Superwoman with your eyes to the sky for 2 whole minutes - yes, I’m counting! Psychologists have done numerous studies around open postures - babe this works - still don’t believe me, read this

Generate EPIC Buzz

It’s time. You know what you are launching, who it’s for and you’ve seen the chocolate-covered donuts falling from the sky. It’s time to put this thing that you’ve worked so hard to create out into the world. 

The number #1 reason we see launches fail is because people don’t tell anyone else that they’re launching. 

If you are launching - anything - you need to tell someone about it at least 7 times before they remember. So no, you aren’t a broken record. No, you aren’t being annoying. No, you won’t lose all your people.

Everyday people are served hundreds if not thousands of ads (the jury is still out on exactly how many, but you can read about it here). This all just adds to the confusion, and the sea of messaging. People do not remember how many times you told them something. And they definitely don’t see EVERYTHING you put out there. Even your mom does not see everything you do online.

So stop worrying about it. Put yourself out there again and again.

And then ask for help! I cannot express enough the power of asking for cheerleaders. Tell people to spread the word. Email your friends and ask them to share. Ask people to tag their besties. This alone will do amazing things for you, but if you read more on the freebie below we got even more BUZZ ideas. 

Analyze Your Results - Tweak & Repeat

You just launched!! How awesome was that? Now before you hang up your coat and pour yourself a glass of wine, I want you to do a little reflecting. What part of your launch went off like sriracha sauce and what fell a little flat?

Can you pull up actual numbers? Can you analyze analytics? Did a certain part of your campaign work better than another part? Whatever your results may be, you need to reflect. 

See what needs tweaking and keep track of all the things worth repeating.

Ok, now, we both need a glass of wine. I’ll take a Moscato. Thanks, boss! 


Still need more help? We feel ya. We’ve put together a handy dandy launch checklist and it’s waiting right here for you. You’re going to figure out how to generate some hefty buzz so you can freaking launch baby!


We're happy to chat strategy over on instagram!


Our Big Secret to an Organized and Balanced Workday in Our Small Business

Let me paint you a picture of our lives before Trello! Endless piles of paper, three journals working simultaneously (supposedly with different subject matter in each), scratched out to-do lists (and when they got too messy we would spend time rewriting them). I was in a constant state of panic, like I was going to forget a meeting or a deadline. I worried (even more than normal) that our whole business would fall apart over one missed task.

In the past we used Wunderlist as our project management system. It worked for a time but as our business grew and became more complicated, it ended up like the notepads, one hot mess.

We knew there had to be a better way!

Enter Trello - A free business tool that changed our lives and improved our business. But don't Google anything yet! Trello on its own is a little confusing, but don't worry - we've fixed it.

Let me paint you a picture of our lives before Trello! Endless piles of paper, three journals working simultaneously (supposedly with different subject matter in each), scratched out to-do lists (and when they got too messy we would spend time rewriting them). I was in a constant state of panic, like I was going to forget a meeting or a deadline. I worried (even more than normal) that our whole business would fall apart over one missed task. | Think Creative Collective

 

Trello has radically transformed how we do business and how we run day-to-day operations. It has not only streamlined our workflows and processes, but finally answered the seemingly most important question.

How the heck do we get it all done?!

 

We started using Trello to intentionally create a schedule and workload that was not only doable, but pushed us towards our big dreams.

Get organized. Get shit done. Grow your business with Trello.

We’re taking you inside Trello and walking you, step-by-step, through our workflow to show you how we manage our own small business. Not only are you getting a peek into exactly how we run things every single day, but we’re also giving you the exact templates (with instructions) so that you can do the same thing. We’re getting you to a better place so you can spend less time being a frazzled mess and more time checking things off your list like you're freakin' Santa Claus.

Get your week organized.

This is how you’re going to zero in on your focus so you’re not totally spazzing about everything that needs your attention. We’ll show you how having a weekly view of your schedule will be an absolute game changer for productivity. We’re talking time blocking baby.

Get it all and more at TrelloForBusiness.com.


Are you following us on Instagram?


Organization & Productivity, Entrepreneur

The 5 Myths about Productivity that are Wasting Your Time, Energy & Money

We’ve all done it. We’ve all fallen into the trap of implementing productivity “hacks” we learn from others, but realize that it actually harmed our results instead of helped them. We like to think that if we lean into the “buzz words” that get tossed around about trying to be more productive, that it will somehow be different for us.

Well, babe. These productivity myths are all BS. Whether we hear them from the latest book, magazine article or “that one guy” at the office, they are all old and outdated and they don’t work. Period.

We’ve all done it. We’ve all fallen into the trap of implementing productivity “hacks” we learn from others, but realize that it actually harmed our results instead of helped them. We like to think that if we lean into the “buzz words” that get tossed around about trying to be more productive, that it will somehow be different for us.  Well, babe. These productivity myths are all BS. Whether we hear them from the latest book, magazine article or “that one guy” at the office, they are all old and outdated and they don’t work. Period. | Think Creative Collective

Today, we’re going to break down the five myths we think are the most detrimental to your productivity and give you steps for you to turn them around. First, let’s lay out all the myths.

  1. Multi-tasking
  2. Tackling the biggest item first
  3. Trying to power through
  4. Being “busy”
  5. Learning, but not taking action

Now, let’s break them down one-by-one as to why they suck and what we can do to change them.

MULTI-TASKING

We think this is our favorite. And by “favorite” we mean we roll our eyes the hardest when this one gets suggested as an actual viable option to being more productive. Listen, most of us are ladies here. And as ladies we are the Queens of multi-tasking. We can keep up with a group text conversation, watch the latest episode of Empire, and steam our blazers all at the same time. So we think that we can take that multitasking behavior and use it in our business.

The problem is when it comes to multitasking in our personal life we don’t really need to give 100% of our attention to the tasks. Some things will not get computed in our brain, some things won’t be remembered the next day and we may end up steaming the same side of our favorite blazer a few extra times. Nothing is going to go to shit because of that divided attention.

But it will in your business. You literally cannot (it’s math y’all) give 100% of your attention to more than one thing. If you are multitasking in your business then at least more than one thing (depending on how many tasks you’re trying to get done at the same time) is going to suffer.

Try this instead. We recommend batching if you truly want to “multitask”. You still aren’t really multitasking, but when you group like tasks together you can work on more than one “project” at the same time. For instance, batch taking photos for your blog, writing subject lines for your emails, or emailing back clients.

TACKLING THE BIGGEST ITEM FIRST

We like to think that if we get the biggest thing knocked out for the day then we will feel superpowered to go through the rest of our tasks. Bananas. First of all, the biggest task often takes the most energy and leaves us feeling exhausted and ready for a break once it’s done. But, the biggest task most likely won’t actually get done in one day (probably because it’s the biggest) so we then don’t end up getting anything else done because the big task isn’t complete yet. Ugh, makes no sense, right?

So then we end up working on the biggest task only for multiple days or weeks in a row and we’re flabbergasted when nothing else is getting done. Silly bosses.

Try this instead. We recommend using the snowball effect. Knock out a bunch of tiny tasks right off the bat. If you start your day with 8 things and you’re able to knock off 5 of those at the very beginning or one right after another, you’re going to feel mega powered to keep going. We also recommend breaking that “big task” into smaller chunks if you haven’t already. Chances are you’re trying to tackle too many things already, so break it down. Then snowball those tinier tasks to see progress and pat yourself on the back.

TRYING TO POWER THROUGH

This, we think, is the number one myth that we all do (us included). Whether you’re trying to power through lunch, a sick day, or late at night, or when your creativity has shut off, it sucks. It leads to mediocre results that you most likely have to end up redoing anyways.

We tell ourselves that if we “just get one more thing done” we can stop. That always leads to “one more thing” and “one more thing” to get done. It never, ever ends. You don’t have to be a robot and work through lunch or at 2:00 a.m.

Try this instead. We recommend giving yourself some grace, setting alarms for lunch and when you want to stop for the day. We know that a lot of you are working on your creative passions after your day job, but you need limits too. We know a creative who works a 9-5 and comes home to work in the studio. Once she realized she was staying up until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. in the studio she had to set some limits. She has an alarm on her phone now that goes off around 10:00 p.m. that reminds her to go to bed. It helps her get out of the zone for a bit and take notice of how long she’s been working.

BEING “BUSY”

Oh, this is a good one. The “I’m sooooooo busy” myth. We hear from our neighbor, our co-worker, our barista, and that one girl on Instagram that they are just “so busy!”. So we think we need to be constantly doing something. We think that if someone has 1,000 tasks to do everyday that they must be more productive than we are. It’s a flat out lie.

Yes, there are busy seasons. We’re just wrapping one up now. There will be times when your schedule is more bananas than you’d like. Recognizing that this is temporary is key. Being intentional about getting out of it is important.

We also like to kind of beat ourselves up when we don’t feel busy. Here’s a spoiler alert: the more organized and productive you are the less you will feel “busy”, but the more you will actually be getting done. If you have free time in your schedule because you intentionally organize your day to get a lot done that’s okay. Keep it free. Give yourself some white space.

Try this instead. We recommend checking out our program Trello for Business. If you feel overwhelmed with your to-do’s and you’re not sure how to actually plan your month, week and day-to-day tasks to see progress then you’d love it. It’s been the thing that helps us get more done, but not working more. Win, win.

LEARNING WITHOUT THE ACTION

No matter where you are in your business you feel like there’s something you need to learn that will make your life better. We get it. We’ve fallen victim to course overload too. Here’s the mistake: if you’re buying, buying, buying, but not taking action there’s a problem. We like to look at everything that’s out there as the solution to our current issue. We think that next purchase will be the answer to our problems.

It can only be the answer if you have time to soak it in, babe.

Try this instead. We recommend that with every purchase make sure you have time in your schedule to not only go through the program, but to turn around and actually implement the things it taught you. We also think you should truly gut check yourself and ask if what’s taught inside that thing you want to buy is inline with your end goals. Will it actually help you reach something that’s on your list or is it fluff?


The bottom line of all of this is for you to get out of your head when it comes to how you think you can be more productive. Just because the hype is around one method doesn’t mean it will work for you (and that’s okay). It also doesn’t mean you’re broken. Take these suggestions and rework a few of your day-to-days and see what changes flourish!



Our Party Never Stops on Instagram!