Facebook Groups That Every Creative Should Be A Part Of

Facebook groups that every creative should be a part of 

When you’re working on your creative side hustle or full-time business, it’s easy to fall into believing the lie that you’re in this all alone. And on paper, it may seem that way: long hours spent at your desk brainstorming strategy; answering loads of email; and of course, keeping up with invoices and crunching those numbers!

I’ve recently pushed myself to be more intentional in building stronger personal relationships, both on and offline. Just when I was feeling like no one would understand the crazy ideas and creative concepts that drift through my mind on any given day, I stumbled upon a few Facebook groups that turned that all around.

Because who says you have to do it alone just because you’re a solopreneur? Keep reading for the creative Facebook groups that have completely transformed the way I engage with other creatives and share my services in the digital space!

Being Boss

One of the first creative Facebook groups that I found during my hunt was Being Boss - and it’s a winner! If you’re familiar with the namesake podcast, then you know that Being Boss isn’t for the faint of heart when it comes to rocking a creative business. I’ve found that the leaders and ladies of this group are incredibly diverse and insightful, and are incredibly quick and helping in doling out invaluable business advice. From Etsy sellers to web designers, every type of creative is represented in this group.

The Gram Gang

Growing your Instagram takes great content and a sound strategy - there’s so much more to it than posting filtered images! I joined The Gram Gang when I knew that I was ready to hone in on Instagram and build up my community on the platform, and this group has been so helpful in sharing advice on everything from the elements of a great Instagram profile to industry-specific hashtags to improve engagement. Did I mention that the group’s leader, Stephanie, is a total boss?

The Rising Tide Society

The largest of all of the Facebook groups I joined, The Rising Tide Society is another great creative resource that is full of diverse business owners. Count of daily updates from photographers, graphic designers, creative vendors and more. What’s even better? There might even be a local Rising Tide Society group that you can join - I’m also a member of the St. Louis local chapter Facebook group! Stay plugged into this group for local #TuesdaysTogether events that happen across the country once a month, where creatives gather to connect with their local community and chat about specific marketing topics as a team.

What creative Facebook groups are you a part of that I should know about? Leave your favorites in the comments below and tell me why!

How to Get Over Your Fear of Public Speaking (Like a Boss)

How to get over a fear of public speaking 

Last May, I received a totally unexpected, awesome opportunity: I was invited to speak on behalf of my company on an influencer marketing panel at the region’s largest marketing conference. Did I mention I was three months new at my job? What!

Just as readily as I accepted the invite, my panic sunk in: How many people were actually going to be there, again? When would I start to prepare for the big day? Was I truly qualified to even be speaking in front of an audience?

Needless to say, I was a bundle of nerves at the prospect of public speaking, and felt anything but calm, cool and collected.

I had a month to prepare for the panel and had to face a lot of doubts and uncomfortable truths about my confidence and abilities in the process. Needless to say, public speaking is a fear that you’ve got to get over if you want to succeed - whether you’re rocking it in the corporate world or building your creative business from the ground up.

I learned so much about self-esteem, commanding a crowd and leaning into your intuition during that hour on stage, and I can’t help but share it with you. Friend: if you’re scared of public speaking, trust me when I say that you’re not alone. Below are a few ways that I forced myself to overcome the anxieties that often come with speaking to a crowd - I hope that these truths bring you comfort and confidence.

Prepare, but don’t over-prepare.

I’m a person who doesn’t like surprises. I keep my to-do list with me constantly, and I always try to have the right words in place for meetings and presentations. So naturally, I wanted to prepare like crazy for this speaking engagement. I prepped a notesheet and went over it nightly. I had my talking points bulleted and my i’s dotted and t’s crossed. But when it came down to it, I came off more like a robot than a real person in my practice sessions.

A week before the panel, I stopped practicing and focused on running, yoga and self-care instead. When the big day came I was still nervous, but my responses while speaking were more authentic and reflective of my personality than they’d ever been while practicing. Sometimes, speaking on the fly is a good thing. Go with your gut and keep things conversational, all reminding yourself this honest-to-goodness truth: we’re all just people.

Slow and steady wins the race.

When I’m speaking in public, more often than not Ihavethesuddenurgetotalklikethis. My nerves instantaneously speed me up, and I pretty much sound like a sped-up, over-caffeinated version of myself - ha! Chances are, you can totally relate.

The next time you’re addressing a crowd, intentionally remind yourself to slooow down. Words that feel as if they’re super slow coming out of your mouth will likely sound perfect to your crowd, plus, you’ll have more time to collect your thoughts in the process.

Smile, laugh and let your personality shine.

A lot of times we clam up and are only caricatures of ourselves when we’re asked (or forced to!) address a crowd of more than a few people. We worry about what they’ll think of us, how they’ll judge us, and if we come across as likeable. This is normal, but the feel the fear and push toward being the most authentic version of yourself anyway. Inject personality into your speeches and presentations when you can, and it’s sure to leave a lasting impression on your audience.

Continually remind yourself that you're just human – and so is your audience. We all get butterflies and nervous feelings; you've got everything you need in you to channel that nervous energy into a stand-out, memorable speech.

Overcoming your fears and apprehensions with public speaking is doable. It takes time, a lot of thought and getting yourself into the right mindset, and not to mention practice - but in the end, being more comfortable with presenting yourself to others is worth it.

What are your fears when it comes to public speaking, and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

My Top Resources for (Pretty!) Stock Photos

Free Styled Stock Photography Resources

 

For the sake of being real, I’m going to say it: shooting photos for social media and blog posts takes time, and at this point I’m pretty sure my husband is ready to call it quits on being my go-to photographer (ahem, Instagram husband), especially since I’m incredibly particular when it comes to angles and lighting. There - I admitted it!

Thankfully, stock photos have come to my rescue recently. If you’re anything like me, the words “stock photo” conjure up images of stark white backgrounds, staged office settings and a lot of fake smiling during so-called team meetings in a boring boardroom - no?

Gone are the days are boring stock photos, thanks to a few gems that I’ve found online over the last few years. Not only have these resources cut down the time that it takes me to write, edit and post a blog entry, but they’ve also gone easy on my wallet, as all of the great resources that I’m sharing today are my favorite word: free.

Learn more about each of my favorite free stock photography go-tos below - a few images may even look familiar to you, since they’re living on my homepage, in the blog and more!

Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/

Unsplash is the first free stock photography resource that I ever stumbled upon (thanks, Pinterest!) and I’ve been hooked ever since. What I love most about Unsplash is that it’s constantly updated with fresh, seasonal imagery and also allows its users to do whatever they’d like with all images without requiring attribution. I’ve used Unsplash images on my own website, in blog posts (including this post’s header!) and in social media content for clients and have been nothing but impressed.

The best part? You can search image by keyword, which will then pull up curated collections of images for your use. A few of my favorite free stock photography collections for creatives include: Flatlays, Digital Marketing, Perfectly Feminine and Styled.

Raw Pixel: https://www.rawpixel.com/

Raw Pixel is another great resource for free stock photography that also encompasses free graphic designs, typography and patterns for digital use. All of Raw Pixel’s images are bright, colorful and eye-catching, which make them perfect content to use in attention-grabbing emails or Instagram posts.

Unlike Unsplash, Raw Pixel doesn’t yet offer curated collections, but fear not! I did the work for you and dug up a few of my favorite search results, like: Flatlay, Creative and Social Media.

Pexels: http://www.pexels.com

Pexels is yet another great resource for free stock photography that won’t be boring. Pexels serves as a search engine for all things free photos, and frequently pulls in images that are also available from Unsplash and Raw Pixel - talk about a one-stop spot!

A few of my favorite Pexels search results that I’ve revisited time and time again are: Design, Minimal, and Workspace.

I hope these resources for free stock photography serve you, your website and your brand well! To get you started, I've put together a handpicked collection of 10 of my favorited styled images that you can grab below.

Tell me in the comments below: what kind of imagery do you like sharing, and why?

How to Look Stylish While Working From Home

This post is in collaboration with Naturalizer – one of my favorite shoe brands! 

For side hustlers and freelancers like myself, you likely have two outfits that you rock each day: your office work ensemble, and your post-work work uniform. Because why not choose to be comfortable and in your element while working from home after-hours?

Personally, I do my best work from home when I'm feeling put-together and ready to run off to a meeting or community event at a moment's notice. No working in my pajamas allowed here!

Thankfully, I've been able to perfect my work-from-home style that suits me, and I can't wait to share it with you. If you work from home and have been struggling to find the motivation or creativity to feel great in what you're wearing, now's the time to dress for success. Keep reading for a few pieces in my closet that have found their way into my work-from-home look!

Yoga pants? Yes, please.

Confession: I used to be anti-yoga pants. I didn't believe in wearing athletic wear for anything other than working out, but recently, chic yoga pants have slipped their way into my freelancer's uniform. I like to pair my fitted, black pants with just about anything – a sweater and statement necklace on a chilly day, and with a blazer, tee and booties if I need to run to a creative event. My favorite pair of these comfy pants come from The North Face, and I swear I need two more pairs.

Grab your chic sneaks.

You wouldn't work in your 9-to-5 office without great shoes on, right? Then you definitely shouldn't plan on working without them from your home office, either! I'm a firm believer in being fully dressed and feeling great while working from home – it's a game changer between taking yourself and your work seriously and not. I love wearing my Morrison Sneakers to complete the perfect athleisure look while working. With low-profile sneakers currently making a comeback (I've seen them paired with everything from jeans to maxi dresses!), I like that the Morrison takes it up a notch with silver suede and fun textured details. Did I mention they feel like walking on clouds? It's true! I'm so excited about all of Naturalizer's new sneakers, boots and flats – check out there new look here.

Accessorize like a boss. 

One way that I like to take a home office look from basic to stand-out is my dressing up my sweater, yoga pants and sneakers uniform with fun and unique accessories. As a longtime lover of thrift stores, I can't tell you have many fun and eccentric necklaces I've gathered over the years that I love to throw on to add in a pop of color and texture. And bangles? Don't even get me started! Stepping up your home office look is as easy as a bib necklace or charming stack of bracelets. Don't know where to start? Aside from thrift stores, a few of my favorite places to pick up new accessories are Madewell, H&M and Anthropologie

Whether you're working from home full-time or while building your freelance business after-hours, looking and feeling great while on the job is important. I dare you to ditch the PJs and see how your work and motivation improves – your work-from-home look is just a few pieces in your closet away! 

6 (Free!) Tools That Every Social Media Manager Should Use

6 (Free!) Tools That Every Social Media Manager Should Use

When it comes to managing social media for brands, having your ducks in a row with the right tools and apps will not only streamline your process, but save you tons (TONS!) of time.

Have you found yourself spending your precious minutes logging out and logging into multiple accounts for clients? How about forgetting an Instagram post that was supposed to go out at 7 a.m. stat...and you woke up at 7:30? Or the actual worst: missing an inbound tweet from an angry customer that starts to spiral out of control. -insert ugly crying emoji here-

Lucky for you, help is on the way! In the last few years that I've spent managing social media for brands, I've learned a thing or two about processes and automation that have made the client experience that much better for the lovely brands I've assisted.

Ready to take control of your social strategy and ramp up engagement? Keep reading! 

01. Buffer - your scheduling BFF

If you're still cranking out Facebook posts, tweets and pins in real time, I'm happy to fill you in on the magic of Buffer. Not only is Buffer's interface seamless and pretty, but the free plan also allows you to schedule 10 social posts ahead of time for up to 5 social profiles. If you want to be really fancy and schedule more content, a premium membership costs only $10/month.

02. Trello - content planning made easy

The day I discovered Trello was the day that I said buh-bye to my piles of printed out, scratched out social content plans and hello to a easy-to-use calendar that housed all content for all of my clients. In one place! I love how easy Trello makes it to set up super-visual content calendars for yourself and your clients that you can easily update in just a few clicks.

03. Google Drive - one-stop brainstorming 

The best part about Google Drive is that you probably already have one, but may not be using it to its full potential. One of the best things about Google Drive is that you can edit documents as a team. I like to set up a word document that my clients can access, where we can bounce ideas around and eventually bring them to beautiful, social media fruition. Hashtag brainstorm sessions? Those are the best.

04. VSCO and ColorStory - images, beautified 

Scrolling through a cohesive, well-branded Instagram feed instantly brings me a sigh of happy relief. I can't be the only one, right?! VSCO and ColorStory are both apps that I use interchangeably when editing and prepping content to go live on Instagram, and the end results have been amazing. Does your client want a minimalist, unsaturated feel for their Instagram feed? There's a filter for that. Both apps provide a seamless experience, with images always looking their best.  

05. UNUM - preview your future feed 

Ever been ready to press "post" on an Instagram and have felt instantaneous anxiety about how that image will flow with your existing feed? That's the worst feeling, friends! Thanks to UNUM, my must-look-perfect-always anxiety has been quelled. The free app allows you to upload images into your grid to see exactly what your feed will look like once the image is posted. Pure magic! 

06. ApphiPost - schedule them 'grams 

Ah, Instagram. The last platform to come around to scheduling - and it's about time! As soon as I discovered ApphiPost in the app store I was in love. Not only does ApphiPost allow you to schedule Instagram content, but it also posts on your behalf, completely hands-off. No messy push notifications to deal with here!

And there you have it - six quick and easy tools that will make your life that much easier while creating, curating and managing content for all of those awesome client friends of yours. I hope these tools brings you happiness and productivity as you begin using them!