We’re big fans of using items around the house to make an image pop or adding accessories to a simple set up. It shouldn’t be surprising that before we take an image for the blog or our social media that we walk around our houses picking up little items to make the shot unique. However, there are some go to items that we keep in a drawer (or scattered all over our desks) in our office that we can always rely on.
Try to think outside the box when shooting your next image and get creative! Some of the most random items around our house can make it into our next shot. Here are 10 Photo Props (that you probably already own) Under $10 that you can use to spruce up your imagery.
- Foam Board
- Contact Paper, Wallpaper, Flooring Samples
- Glitter or Confetti
- Office Supplies (paper clips, pencils, thumbtacks, etc)
- Washi tapes
- Notepads, journals, memo pads
- Succulents or small plants
- Pencil pouches
- Calligraphy prints or greeting cards
- Cup of coffee
We always start with our base. We rotate with white foam board, on-brand painted wooden boards and contact paper. I’ve also been known to snag some discounted scented drawer liners (yes, I meant scented) because the pattern is just too pretty. Having a rotation of backdrops really helps break up your feed or blog posts image and helps bring a fresh look. Try heading over to the hardware store and checking out their Laminate countertop samples - they have some great ones!
Shout Out to the Accessory
Depending on your commentary it might make sense for you to throw in a name brand, store bought or local favorite item. We’re fans of adding Kate Spade pencil pouches, Target Dollar Spot finds or a favorite shop’s print. This not only helps make up most of your image but lets you start a conversation about the item or where you got it. Don’t forget to tag the shop on social media - retailers love that!
The Little Things
Once we lay out what we want to snap we always throw in some little accessories. Think tiny like confetti, glitter or paper clips. These little details help fill in visual white space in your image and keep it interesting. Try layering your paper clips on top of each other or placing them in 3’s. Trust us, to achieve the look of casually strewn takes a lot of patience.
Put a Succulent on It
That’s what I always say. But in all seriousness these little guys bring so much life (literally) to your image. A pop of green foliage goes a long way in making your image stand out and look put together. Try picking up some artificial succulents from your Hobby Lobby or Target or if you feel brave you can try to keep your own alive. Either way, think small. You don’t need a large plant to get in the way of what you’re really trying to showcase.
The Easy Go To
If I ever feel like an image is missing something or I just want to add in a little more of my own personality, I’ll go pick one of my favorite coffee mugs and plop it in. Remember to actually put coffee in the mug, because an overhead shot of an empty cup isn’t the prettiest. We’ve been know to whip up a quick cappuccino at home to get it just right.
The bottom line is we want you to remember that you don’t have to have closets full of photo-ready accessories to add fun to your images. They don’t even have to break the bank. Try browsing in your own home to see what you could use and play with the layout.
If you need help with your image taking skills or editing then make sure you check out The Easiest Photo Editing App for On-The-Go. If you still need convincing that paying attention to quality photography is right for your business then make sure you catch up on How to Use Photography to Sell More, Connect Better and Impress Your Clients (Bonus: DIY Lightbox setup).
SEE HOW WE STYLE OUR IMAGES ON INSTAGRAM
If you're the kind that has lots of 'almost-ready-but-not-quite' products on your launching back burner, this get shit done post is for you. Here's what we know for sure: launched is better than perfect, and there are people out there who need what you have to offer. Here's how to know if it's time to get it off the shelf and into the hands of your dream customers.
Creating a business plan is one of the best fundamental things you can do to promote success in your business. A business plan will help you stick to, well, your plan for your business. It also helps you think about things you haven’t thought about before and things you should know for your business.
I’ve started several businesses and they’ve all failed because I didn’t have a business plan in place. Once I decided to take this latest business seriously, I filled out a free business plan sheet and it’s been one of the best fundamental things I could do for myself and my business.
It’ll help you hone in on your ideal client and get you thinking about the products, verbiage and places to market. Which, in turn, means more revenue in your pocket. It also helps you think about places you’ve never thought to market to before.
Instagrammers. Influencers. Tastemakers. These are a lot of the buzzwords that have been circling the marketing realm in the past few years. It may seem super daunting and corporate but influencer marketing is something that can be scaled back to work for your small business. But how?
Getting your brand out of the shadows and reaching out to Instagram influencers can be terrifying. You’re putting yourself out there and you're getting visible. The idea of this makes a lot of us recoil and want to get back into bed. (Try to resist that temptation and hear me out. I know it’s hard!)
But, it can also bring invaluable results to your business. By creating meaningful collaborations with Instagrammers, you can increase your brand exposure, grow a community and build trust in your brand. Let’s get started!
Starting a new business means introducing a whole new set of tasks to your plate, and the crazy part is, you don’t even know what half of them are yet.
The first few days will be busy as you set things up, such as your domain and social media accounts. Maybe you’ll write a business plan. Then comes the hard part, as you settle into a routine.
Email marketing isn't as simple as compiling a list, writing a message and then sending it out. Of course, if it were that easy every company would be doing an effective job with their email marketing campaigns. There is much more that goes into a successful and highly effective email marketing effort, but once you've realized the mistakes you may be making and work towards fixing them, you'll almost certainly see a significant increase in the conversion rates you see and the amount of traffic being driven to your website.
Ready, set, wait! Yep, July as much as it was prepping our signature course content and launching an affiliate program, it was really about working really hard to wait for results later. Not that over $18k is anything to cough at, it was just residual income off our previous launch and evergreen course sales. The BIG surprise doesn’t come until September, in the meantime check out all the details that made July the success that it was.
When you set up a product-based business, you spend a lot of time thinking about the product itself. You’ll devote time to planning how to market and communicate it to potential customers. But often, packaging is last on the to-do list, because it’s seen as a practical way to protect and ship, and nothing more.
Everyone wants to get tailored content. But how can you do that when you just have a huge list of names? How are you supposed to make sure Taylor gets emails about building his brand and that Monisha gets emails about creating systems to streamline her business?
It’s time for you to up your email marketing game and collect more information on your subscribers.
What Do You Really Need to Know?
Raise your hand if launching gives you the heebie jeebies. I get it, boss. There are a million and one moving pieces and it’s hard enough for you to remember all the steps - let alone have some sort of organization that helps you keep it all together. Here's our secret formula for using Trello to go from Idea to 10K launch in just 30 days.
As much as we all want to make a fabulous living while drinking fancy cocktails poolside, as entrepreneurs we don’t always have that luxury! The weeks seem to fly by, and late nights and work overload become common.
What if, instead of spending every waking hour of every day with your nose to the grindstone, you could instead trick yourself into making more money? Spoiler: you can! | Think Creative Collective
You’ve heard it a million times. “I want to work less and make more.” But do you actually know what it takes to make this happen? The entrepreneurs who are making bank are NOT lazy. They are strategic, methodical, and extremely patient.
Do you think Pat Flynn went from being laid off to earning over $100k per month revenue overnight?! Are you kidding?
Do you think Oprah went right from waitress to world-recognized thought leader?! Heck no.
Do you think Marie Forleo rolled out B-School her first year in business?! Absolutely not.
Their careers didn’t fall out of thin air. They spent years perfecting their craft, tweaking their processes and making shifts towards their big dreams.
We’re no different. We absolutely want world domination (for all female creative business owners). But we know the tide won’t shift overnight.
Abagail here. I love paper. The smell of fresh ink on a hot sheet of paper makes me feel giddy. This shouldn’t be such a surprising phenomenon considering my background in design, but I have a confession to make.
I’ve broken up with paper.
Gone are the days of endless stacks of Post-it notes, forgetting which notebook contained what set of notes from which meeting, and constantly worrying that I would forget (or even lose) my to-do list.
Figuring out how to be productive as a small business owner is a job in and of itself. If you’re like us, then you’ve tried ALLL the systems! Some are free (like post-it notes, the notes app on your phone, notebooks and notepads) and some are paid (expensive software or paid apps that you think will do the trick). For some reason, they’ve all failed — and you may feel like you’ve failed all of them. Because for a lot of us (especially us creatives), our brains only work a certain way.
Seriously — for us to be productive, organized and put together we have to have the moon in a certain phase, standing on one foot, in a finger towards the north wind kind of pose. You feel us?
Superhuman productivity is possible. Just like anything else it takes practice, dedication, and hard work. But once you unlock new levels you will not only feel like a total badass, but you are bound to see bigger results in your business, less stress in your everyday life, and the accomplishment of your big scary goals more quickly than you ever thought possible.
Owning and operating your own business generally means that you end up wearing lots of hats. You’re not only the director of pushing out and creating all the content, but the one who markets it, organizes getting paid, communicates with clients, and so much more. It can get really overwhelming, but if you put systems in place you can save time, earn more, and work less. Organization and systems will help you focus on what you love, and also let you take care of the necessities. We’ve gathered our top 15 productivity tools *(HINT: 8 of them are free!) and today we’re letting you in on how we use them and how they could be big influencers in your business too.
We are firm believers in waiting to invest until the time is right. That said, we never imagined how much we could benefit from using a free product. In fact, how much more money we would make — we’re talking over $125k in 9 months.
Holy moly guacamole. Are you ready for this? Now, some of you might have already heard the breakdown of our Strategy Academy launch, but this gives you a good picture of what else happened in the month of June. Also, it’s nice to see what we actually made, even though we had a $97k launch. #Perspective
When it comes to starting a business, there are usually a lot of overhead costs. Let’s be honest, those overhead costs can get overwhelming rather quickly, can’t they? You have people coming from every angle recommending that you use this cool new tool that they use because it got them one billion followers. Well, that’s a slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean!
Want to know the hardest part about opening your business? Simply getting started. That’s the only thing you need to focus on. You need the bare minimum to get the ball rolling on this cool new idea that you’re ready to show the world, but you’re overwhelmed by starting and worrying about how to afford to launch without putting it all on your credit card or taking out a loan.
Alright, friends, gather round. It's time for a story and it's one you absolutely want to hear today.
When I was a younger woman, I thought to myself, "Gee Golly. Wouldn't it be nice to turn my hobby into a business?" Wearing rose tinted glasses, I spent many days and nights planning out what I wanted to do, eager to create this business that would leave me feeling productive and satisfied. In fact, I had this crazy vision of what working for myself would look like. You know you want to hear about it.
Raise your hand if selling to your favorite store tops your business bucket list? But as exciting as it is to see your products on the shelf of a store, there’s a whole new set of challenges that come with developing wholesale and retail partnerships. One of the not-so-sexy sides of developing a wholesale/retailer business? You have to get comfortable with having some awkward and, at times, unpleasant conversations.
All good things take time. And time we took. May was not only profitable, but it was a time for us to prepare for our largest launch to date in June. We spent weeks behind the scenes working with our current students, preparing bonuses and other awesome new materials and even working on some alternative ways to bring in more cash. See how May shaped up today.
Ever feel like you need to hide that your business is small?
Early on in my handbag business when I had no one working for me, I would use phrases like, "Thank you for calling us. A customer service representative will contact you within one business day."
I used my first and middle names as my business name to give the company a big "designer" image. And I'd do everything I could to hide that I was 18 years old for fear that I wouldn't be taken seriously.
A couple of years in, I had a big realization.
Launching can be very stressful. You know it and I know it (and I actually loooooove launching). You may have learned the secrets to writing a great sales page or even emails that can help you persuade like a boss, but what I don’t often see is people crafting a holistic launch plan.
A good launch is done from “open cart” to “close cart” alone, but a great launch is started weeks or months before you even give people the chance to buy. The best part is that if you take the time to be intentional before your launch, you take some stress out of the launch itself while also boosting your conversion rates. (Hallelujah!)
Crap. It's that time again. You have to send out another newsletter. (Didn't you just do one of those? Oh yeah. That was a month ago. *face-palm*)
You sit down at your computer, staring at the blank screen. Suddenly, you find yourself going down a Google rabbit hole, frantically researching what happened to all the characters from Saved by the Bell.
With little time left in your day, you whip together a fast, frenzied newsletter and hit SEND. And then... nothing. Your open rate is dismal. No one is responding/sharing/clicking. And, for sure, no one is BUYING.
So why is this happening?
Well, there could be several things going on. Often, it’s not just “one thing”, but rather a combination of several issues. Let’s dig into those issues and some quick fixes, shall we?
"I LOVE my business but… keeping up with the financials makes me feel all sorts of icky!"
That statement right there, is exactly what I hear from almost every creative I work with, time and time again! It feels like they have mastered all areas of their business but one. Managing finances correctly is a highly dreaded task for most creative entrepreneurs. I feel their pain, I really do! That’s why I want to provide you with a few simple but valuable steps to help you get started and begin to conquer this “left field” task. After reading this post, my hope is that you feel better and more capable of tackling this head on. Let’s get started!
You've watched your friends, colleagues and competitors land guest blog posts, podcast and television interviews and features in your favorite magazines. (You know, places like The Huffington Post, Being Boss and, ahem, this here blog.) They’re getting featured and getting the chance to grow their audience, boost their revenue and earn the kind of credibility you crave.
You want to have that experience – and that success – too. So you jump straight to working on some pitches of your own and end up missing a crucial step in the process of getting featured. (Don’t worry – almost everyone does.)
Do you know how many online businesses there are today? About 1.2 bazillion* (*extreme hyperbole). Or at least, it feels that way, doesn’t it? There’s no doubt that the online business world is full to the brim, and more new businesses keep popping up every day.
With the glut of online businesses out there, you need a way to stand out and to connect with your potential clients and customers. You can’t simply say, “I’m a graphic designer” and have clients flock to you, because there are about 3.4 million* (*yep, hyperbole again) graphic designers out there.
So, what can you do about that? You can humanize your business through the very thing that you share all the time: your copywriting and content.
I totally believe in the power of a positive mental attitude, but I know that listening to a random recording is not going to cure the self-doubt and insecurity that can plague my own creative nature, or anyone else’s.
There is one thing that I’ve found to make a massive difference in how much I can do, and the quality of my work, though. It’s called confidence.