Some gorgeous images to brighten your day + keep your creative content flowing. All these images are 100% copyright free (licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute + use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer). Use them in your digital projects! Nature is super inspiring to me right now. I am on instagram @misstamikajade – let me know what you think! I’m also all about inspiration on my Facebook page.
Found this article over here and really thought it was worth a reblog!
Even though they’re nearing retirement age, a large number of baby boomers are looking for an “encore” career as entrepreneurs.
Adults over the age of 50 comprise one of the fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs in the United States, according to a new Gallup study. Among those people who don’t currently own a business, baby boomers are twice as likely as millennials to say they plan to start a business in the next year.
The majority of those prospective entrepreneurs cite a desire for lifestyle changes as the reason behind their desire to launch a new venture in the later stages of their careers. Specifically, 32 percent of the baby boomers surveyed said they are choosing to start businesses primarily because doing so will allow them to be independent, while 27 percent say it will give them a chance to pursue their interests and passions.
Money is also playing a large role for many. Nearly one-quarter of those surveyed said starting a new business will allow them to increase their income.
“Very few are pursuing an idea for a new product or service that solves a problem or meets an unfulfilled need in the market — the type of business that would typically have immense growth potential,” the study’s authors wrote. “Perhaps for boomer entrepreneurs, these reasons reflect their current stage in life.”
Even though many baby boomers have years of experience working for established organizations, business owners over the age of 50 face many of the same challenges young entrepreneurs face. More than half of those surveyed said information relevant to growing a business and entrepreneurial training and education aren’t readily available in their communities. Additionally, just 44 percent said that the city or area where they reside is a good place to live for entrepreneurs forming new businesses, while just 9 percent said it’s easy for them to obtain a business loan where they live.
The researchers said that communities looking to foster entrepreneurial growth among baby boomers should focus on several key areas, including:
Readiness for the role: It’s critical communities help entrepreneurial-minded baby boomers understand that running a business is very different than working for a company. Unlike working for someone else, business owners have to deal with ambiguity, uncertainty and failure, the study’s authors say.
Local resources: Communities need to help prospective entrepreneurs connect with local resources, like the AARP, Small Business Administration and professional networks, that can help them plan their business.
Good coaching: Despite their years of professional experience, entrepreneurs over the age of 50 can still benefit from working with others who can provide counseling and support, such as coaches, mentors and business advisors. The study’s authors said readily available coaching and mentoring programs should be an essential part of any community trying to develop business leaders.
The researchers said that addressing these challenges and building up the support that is available will not only benefit current baby boomer entrepreneurs, but also help convince those who might be considering starting their own businesses.
“Supporting those over 50 who want to launch and grow businesses is crucial for reversing the trend of American business deaths outnumbering business births, and accelerating sustainable economic development,” the study’s authors wrote.
The study was based on interviews with 1,906 baby boomers, consisting of 229 entrepreneurs and 1,677 nonentrepreneurs.
Those who have Google Analytics installed on their website can use Visually’s Google Analytics Report: an app that creates a custom infographic of your website’s activity and performance. This free report tells your website’s story for the week loud and clear. It highlights where your wins came from, giving you that push to make next week even better! You can opt to have these reports delivered straight to your inbox every week.
This free, easy-to-use Twitter management tool allows you to oversee all aspects of your Twitter account(s) in one interface. TweetDeck gives each user the freedom to customize their display by showing or hiding various columns presenting everything from your home screen to search terms. Considering TweetDeck is specifically tailored for Twitter, it may not be the best tool for those looking to simultaneously manage various social networks in one place. Nevertheless, it gives great deal of control over the intricacies of your Twitter profile without the hassle of navigating across profiles.
Hootsuite takes it a step further and allows you to manage multiple social streams like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare and many more in one place. Working across multiple networks with a social team can be difficult, and Hootsuite makes it possible for you and your team to delegate between responses to fans and followers, eliminating the stress of coordinating responses and potentially overlooking valued fans. While Hootsuite remains one of the most used social media management tools, though, it lacks a basic function: the ability to have images appear as image previews in the Twitter feed as opposed to collapsed links. Still, Hootsuite is a top contender in the space.
Free – Up to 5 social profiles, up to 2 RSS
$8.99/month – Up to 100 social profiles, up to 9 team members, advanced message scheduling and more
Enterprise (custom pricing) – Unlimited
Like Hootsuite, Sprout Social is a social media dashboard that monitors and manages multiple social networks. It has a clean interface and user-friendly dashboard built around 6 tabs: Home, Messages, Feeds, Publishing, Discovery and Reports. Connecting your Facebook, Google+ (Pages only), LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts, Sprout Social suggests new people to follow or unfollow, and offers many ways to schedule updates in advance. Although Sprout Social still has much to improve on, like offering a wider range of social networks, it is paving the way towards fruitful social media managing.
$39 per user/month – Manage up to 10 profiles, real-time brand monitoring, comprehensive reporting tools, and more
$59 per user/month – Manage up to 20 profiles, Helpdesk and Google Analytics integration, deluxe reporting and more
$99 per user/month – Manage up to 50 profiles, ViralPost time optimization, custom interface, and more
If your main focus is Twitter and Facebook, then this is the tool for you. Crowdbooster helps streamline your social media activity so you pay attention to what matters. Aside from scheduling posts for both Twitter and Facebook, it allows you to easily keep track of new fans and followers by reminding you of followers you have not yet responded to and listing recently acquired influential followers. Although there seems to be a lag time between the syncing of Crowdbooster with Facebook and Twitter API data, it presents a dynamic tool that helps direct growth and engagement metrics.
$9/month – 1 Facebook page, 1 Twitter, 1 User and more
$49/month – 10 social media accounts, 8 users and more
$119/month – 30 social media accounts, 30 users and more
To complement your Twitter tools, in Visually’s app center you will also find Twitter Showdown, which compares any two Twitter accounts head-to-head. The app is meant to be a light-hearted, fun way to see who rules the Twittersphere, but it can actually produce some insightful information on different Twitter accounts in your industry, or when comparing yourself to your competitors. Twitter Showdown gives you insight on follower-to-following ratio, level of tweet engagement, mentions per tweet, tweet timing and, overall, how two accounts compare.
Although Facebook pages comes equipped with Insights and provides significant data on Likes, Reach, People Talking About This, etc., sorting through the data and making sense of it can be a hassle. One must keep in mind the algorithm Facebook uses to determine what posts even make an appearance in newsfeeds. Edgerank Checker helps admins understand how their followers interact with each post by assigning it an Edgerank score and makes recommendations to assist with future posts. With this tool, admins can even monitor each post in real time.
Free – EdgeRank score, EdgeRank score over time graph
$15 per page/month – Real-time analysis, post grades, recommendations, negative feedback analyzer
If you’re already using great Facebook tools and have an understanding of your data, it’s time to take it to the next level. Visually has a great tool for admins to up their social game by visualizing the last 30 days of their Facebook Insights. Facebook Insights is impressive because your page’s performance literally materializes before your eyes. You can also download and print this report and share it with the rest of your team.
Buffer is a simple and effective tool for sharing content through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. It’s particularly useful for small businesses that don’t have the time or resources to update their social media channels regularly, but would still like to maintain a social presence. With Buffer, you can schedule bulk posts ahead of time in a queue. It also offers a number of extensions through Chrome, Firefox and Safari that make sharing what you find on the web that much easier. On the downside, Buffer falls short when it comes to monitoring discussions.
Free service – allows for 2 profiles and 10 updates in the queue for each profile
$10/month – unlimited updates and up to 12 profiles
Specific to Twitter, SocialBro provides insights to your analytics, suggestions for targeting and engagement, and also helps keep tabs on your key influencers and competitors. It works best when coupled with a scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite, because it is geared less towards publishing content and more towards offering reports for marketers. With SocialBro’s integration of both Buffer and Hootsuite, you can import the optimized schedule to sync with your queue and use the results to adjust your engagement.
Free 15-day trial
$13.95/month – Up to 20,000 social contacts across 5 Twitter accounts and more
$39/month – Up to 50,000 social contacts across 15 Twitter accounts and more
$149/month – Up to 200,000 social contacts across 40 Twitter accounts and more
Enterprise – On demand
Postling is perfect for businesses looking to expand their reach across social networks. Keeping track of responses, brands and people, this tool sends a daily digest of your recent activity across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, Yelp, YouTube and Flickr. One cool feature is tracking news every time your business or brand is mentioned on the web. With a click, you’ll be able to share that tweet or review.
$1 first 30 days – unlimited usage
$10/month after 30 days – manage up to 5 social media accounts/ additional accounts cost $3/month each
Previously known as Pinreach, Tailwind tracks activity across Pinterest about your company, products and competitors. Pinterest is often overlooked when discussing tools for social media management, but depending on your business, it might be the driving force in traffic, branding and revenue. In addition to the general reporting of growth and engagement, you can connect Google Analytics to track conversions and see which activity is most profitable.
Free – Limited profile and domain trends
$29/month – 90-day history archive, track 2 competitors, invite 2 collaborators, basic audience IQ and more
$99/month – 1-year history archive, track 5 competitors, invite 5 collaborators, advanced audience IQ and more
Enterprise (custom pricing) – Unlimited history archive, track unlimited competitors and more
13. Social Mention
Social Mention is a real-time social media search and analysis tool that scrapes user generated content across the internet for any given company, product, or search term. In a single stream, this tool will give you the most recent relevant results, metrics on unique authors, reach, frequency of mentions, sentiment and top keywords. This tool should be on every social media manager’s shortlist.
BuzzSumo is a tool that gives you social data on top performing content and influencers based on your search queries. By entering a topic, domain or specific keyword, your results will be nothing short of relevant. Filtering your search by time frame will show you the most shared content over time, which can give you insight to trends or help with generating ideas for your own content! With this tool, you can view who has shared a specific piece of content and create a list of influencers based on your interest. The pro plans allow you to closely monitor keywords, domains or authors by setting up alerts when new content is published. With great data readily available, this tool is one you’ll want to use frequently to stay on top of the latest buzz in your field.
$99/month – Ideal for small teams and content campaigns
$299/month – Designed for Agency teams to support multiple SEO and content marketing campaigns
$499+/month – Bespoke plans for brands and large agencies
Shoutlet is enterprise-level social marketing software that aims to help companies understand their market, grow their social database and drive their business by creating a seamless platform that guides targeted campaigns through analytics. In addition to publishing and scheduling content, the streamlined community management platform makes it easy to create custom workflows to make sure the needs of all customers and fans are being addressed. The advance features in this social management tool are every marketer’s dream come true.
Pricing: Request a demo
Oktopost focuses on building your brand’s online presence by delivering your content to targeted audiences. It helps you establish and manage your most valuable content, making sure your efforts add value to your marketing strategy. Used by B2B businesses, Oktopost places emphasis on tracking conversions and identifying which channels and messaging drive results. With the recent shutdown of Argyle Social, many of its B2B clients have flocked to Oktopost. Underscoring their focus on B2B engagement, Oktopost integrates with Marketo, Salesforce, Act-On and others, directly linking social media actions to the impact on sales. One thing that places Oktopost above other tools is its ability to monitor LinkedIn Groups as well as company pages. As a whole package, Oktopost qualifies and quantifies better leads for you and your business.
$9/month – Getting started with social marketing
$49/month – All the basics for social media marketing
$119/month – A comprehensive tool for social media marketers
$249/month – The definitive tool for social businesses
Who knew there was a hashtag for every day of the week? Grow your reach + build your community on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook by using them when you upload your next pic. As long as your profile is public, you’re sure to get discovered + make new friends across the world (not to mention some serious cash if big brands get their paws on you).
- #MCM or #ManCrushMonday
- #ManicMonday (your crazy postweekend work/school schedule)
- #TBT or #ThrowbackThursday
- #ThirstyThursday (drinking on Thursday)
- #Thursdate (for midweek dates)
- #FF or #FollowFriday
- #FBF or #FlashbackFriday
- #ShabbatShalom (for the weekly Jewish observance of Shabbat)
- #SaturdaySwag or #SaturdayShenanigans (for shopping)
- #SS or #SelfieSunday
- #SameSexSunday (for recommending people in the LGBT community)
Building a brand is a funny thing. You want people to get the clearest understanding of who you are, but often you over complicate the process. My experience has taught me it’s really not that hard. Keeping things absolutely simple is key. If your business is online, it’s especially important to make your product easy to use for the user. Successful branding hinges on people coming back for more (products, information, entertainment). This means you need to become a habit for them. A habit is defined as: “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” In his book on building habit-forming products, Nir Eyal (a Stanford lecturer + author) shares a perspective on how to think about building products people want to use. It’s called the Fogg Behavioural Model and was created by Stanford computer scientist, B. J. Fogg:
The Fogg Behaviour Model illustrates that the best path to get more people using your product is to make your product easier to use. If you make your product simpler, you increase the probability of your customers crossing the “Activation Threshold” + performing the behaviour.
“Influencing behaviour by reducing the effort required to perform an action is more effective than increasing someone’s desire to do it. Make your product so simple that users already know how to use it, and you’ve got a winner.”
Remember this when you’re working on your next project. Keep it simple + you’re guaranteed to make your product, a habit.
If one of your goals for 2015 is to start an Etsy shop, I’ve got the guide for you. Etsy has specific rules for shops. If you make handmade goods, crafts, raw supplies, materials or sell vintage items, the marketplace is a good fit for you. If you’re not sure if your shop would be a good fit for Etsy, check out their Guidelines here.
A lot of people ask if it’s “too late” to get started selling on Etsy, because there are so many shops. They wonder if the marketplace is just too saturated to break into. If you’re just starting out as a business + would like an easy way to get started, test the waters + get your systems in place, Etsy is fantastic. It gives you an easy way to:
+ create a shop
+ accept payment
+ reach your customers
It’s perfect for beginners. If you’re already an established shop, Etsy can be a nice channel to make extra sales from. Here are just a few things that contribute to whether or not your shop becomes a business or remains a hobby hustle:
Consistency is how you build your brand + shop presence on Etsy. It’s also how you make consistent sales. One thing to remember is that the frequency with which you list new items directly correlate to how often sales were rolling in. If you’re listing a handful of items every day, you’ll make a handful of sales every day consistently. If you take a month off from listing new items, even though your shop is still full of stuff, sales will drop off.
On Etsy, photography is EVERYTHING. Product photography is what sells your items. You cannot underestimate this. Your photography needs to stand out from the rest of the shops on Etsy. In order to do this, you need to use a professional photo backdrop. A popular one is white seamless paper roll + 18% grey, which is considered “neutral.” These backdrops allow your items to really pop. Try not to take photos of your items in your backyard, in front of your garage door, or on your kitchen table.
When you’re selling vintage on Etsy like many are, volume can be a big factor in how successful you are. The most successful vintage shops have 500-600 items of inventory for sale at any given time. The reason being is that for every listing you have up, it’s one more chance that someone searching Etsy will stumble into your shop via that listing that caught their eye. So the more items you have up, the more chances you have for people to find you.
4. Tags + Keywords
Use all 13 available tags. Don’t worry if you’ve run out of ideas, just put something there. It will help you get found. Colour, shape, style, era, theme, texture, related keywords, emotions, seasons – it’s all fair game. Describe your item as you would to a person who can’t see it. How does it smell, feel, look, fit, and how much does it weigh? It’s okay to overshare. Pull out any keywords from your main description to use as tags for your item.Give your listings very descriptive, detailed titles – use all the characters allowed if you can. Although titles like “Amber Moon” sound cool, they don’t tell people anything about what the item is. It’s bad for Etsy search and bad for getting found. So be really clear in your titles.
5. Shop Setup
On Etsy, you have very limited “branding” opportunities. The only places you can really brand your shop is with your shop banner and your avatar. In effect, these are extremely important to your shop’s appearance and brand on Etsy. Your banner and avatar should have the same branding – meaning they use the same font, colour palette, and graphic elements. You can make your own shop banner using Photoshop. Since the shop banner is the first visual that many people will see when visiting your shop, make sure it’s eye-catching, clearly legible + evocative of your brand. It should attract your ideal customer at a glance.
+ Blog / Website
Your headquarters for content. The place you use to establish your reputation, share your expertise or portfolio, answer questions, talk in your natural voice, and wow your readers.
Your place to post text messages the whole world can see. Use it to share useful information, jokes, timely updates, anecdotes, quotes, inspiration, previews of blog posts, and your stunning personality. Engage in real conversations frequently on Twitter. Use Twitter for research, Twitter chats, and the power of lists (organizing connections into useful categories).
Your place to post everything visual that you want your followers to check out. Even if it’s information and not an image, you can make a beautiful image that goes with the information.
Your platform for connecting with people 25 or older. A great place to share visuals, links to useful information, promotions, and inspiration. Facebook has an affordable ad program that can help you target readers with specific interests.
Your place to share compelling, interesting, fun, meaningful, helpful, and inspirational photos and videos. Instagram is a great place to display some of your portfolio items and your behind-the-scenes processes and life. It is best used in a very interactive manner (leaving comments and responses often).
Your place to share longer insights and thoughts (that aren’t quite blog length), visuals, videos, tutorials, tips, and inspiration. Google+ is excellent for communities, deeper discussions, following key influencers, and educating your audience.
Your place to show your professional side, diverse capabilities and skills, and ability to provide useful information. LinkedIn is a great place to make connections for collaborations and to find talented individuals you might hire in the future.
Your place to share tutorials, product reviews, trainings, and your winning personality. If used, YouTube is best used consistently and strategically.
A lot of my time recently has been dedicated to creating contracts, finalizing web content + meeting with future clients. On top of this, I’ve been running around Cape Town for castings + going into studio for voice work. I can’t wait to head home soon for Christmas + relax. In the meantime, here are a few links I’d like to share:
I’m working on a series based on a talk I gave to a school on what to expect after leaving high school + entering the real world (more on this soon!)
I want to serve these at a dinner party.
I’m itching for a vacation. Next stop: here.
This is amazing. Creative people in their creative spaces.
Wouldn’t mind doing a little shopping here.
Wouldn’t mind getting this.
1. Think long & hard about your blog categories
Your categories are the main sections or “magazine columns” that you feature on your blog. Your categories can be a drop down menu on your sidebar. They should be simple and logical. Use hierarchies to organise your ideas better. Try think of a catchy angle for them so you peak your viewer’s interest and stand out from the rest.
2. Design your site as simple as possible
Keep your design simple and appealing. Make it intuitive and well-structured. People should intuitively know how to navigate your space. Make pages along the top for sections you want to highlight. Use a category drop down menu and a follow widget wouldn’t hurt. If there are other platforms you want your viewers to know about, include those widgets also. A direct link to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram invites viewers to connect with you.
3. Operate it like a real magazine
+ Who you want to appeal to (age group, gender, interests)
+ What your content will be (which topics you choose)
+ How involved you’ll get in your articles (short, long, lots of resources)
Plan out each piece well. It’s always a good idea to think about a catchy title and invest time into each piece. Edit and format your posts and add great designs to them. Write in a natural tone and keep it simple. Decide on your intentions with each post. Publish often (weekly is great). If your favourite magazine missed a few issues, you’d eventually find a replacement.
4. Share each post into infinity
You write and publish something once, but who’s to say you can’t share that post once per month on Twitter, a couple times a year on Facebook or every other month on Google+? Pinterest is a lovely fresh platform with a constant stream of ideas. It’s a great way to advertise your blog. Make a board dedicated to your blog and pin your stuff to it! It will make it easier for people to find you and re-pin your stuff. Due to the “timeline” nature of most social media platforms, if you only share something once, it will only be seen by a small percent of your followers. It’s also a good idea to make an advert with your heading and URL on for sharing purposes.
5. Make sure you know what your audience wants and needs
Your readers/clients have specific questions, desires and needs. You can start to figure out these needs by putting yourself in their shoes. What would you want to read about if you were them, visiting your blog? What tools can make things simpler for your viewers? Why do they come to your blog? Read more about figuring this out here.
6. Post frequently + consistently, with quality as your best friend
Remember to keep your material current and up-to-date. Try cater for a blog audience while maintaining your brand goals and sanity. This is, of course, if you are operating your blog like a business.
7. Invest in your blog
The things you spend money on are the things you want to get value out of. The things you spend money on are the important things that you care about. The best things in life are free, but some of the things that help you create your best life cost money. Invest in marketing your blog online or elsewhere if you want the traffic that will get you money in the long run.
8. Format your posts to be read by busy, lazy humans
This means short titles, bullet points and headings. Also, it means blog posts which aren’t too long.
9. Create a content calendar
….One that includes suggested post dates and categories. Editorial Calendar WordPress plugin is great because I like a visual representation of when I should post. Without a calendar and some type of plan, you’ll get around to that one post about that one thing on the 10th of NeverEver.
10. Add in promotion & maintenance tasks
Sponsored blogging (getting paid to publish promotional stuff) must be scheduled into your usual blogging routine. A lot of the time, clients/sponsors need a date for publishing. It’s good to plan ahead so you can give them an exact date.
11. Establish a writing routine that gives you time to think
Creative people are always thinking. Sometimes I have great ideas that pop into my head which I jot down. When I get around to writing a post, I’m always excited to publish it straight away. But I’ve learnt that it’s better to save the draft and give it an ‘incubation’ period in your head. Trust me, you’ll think of different things to add over a period of just 24 hours which will add value to your post.
12. Be you. We won’t like you if you’re being someone else
Enjoy your own space online. Add photos of your life. Write the way you would speak in real life. See how you do this in my post Find Your Voice Online.
13. Get high quality photos of yourself
It’s a good idea to have quality photos of yourself. These will come in handy for your “about” page, as well as any articles you write where you have personal experience. Allow your readers to connect with you! Keep a professional flavour by getting nice photos taken. It’s good for you and will be a plus for the photographer. There’s power in collaboration!
14. Audit your blog regularly
That post you wrote three months ago? It totally needs a link to the post you published earlier this week because they’re heavily related and your readers will be happy to have guided/quick access to both. Always keep in mind that no matter what order you write things in, any post or page on your website has the potential to be the first post a visitor sees. P.S. Blog audits are also a great way to make sure you’ve included your affiliate links and product/service links in all the organic ways possible.
15. Check your grammar
Make sure to double-check your articles.
16. Be available + interactive
No one likes a person who never responds to anything. Granted, you may be so “big time” that you can’t get to every blog comment or tweet, but none of them? I’ll accept that when you become the President of the United States. Even then, you can hire some people to help you out!
17. Pay attention to the questions your readers ask
There may be a new blog post you’ve written, a new eBook you can sell, a problem you can fix or a service you can offer that is lingering in questions from readers. Cultivate community around your blog so people feel they are in a safe space where they are supported and encouraged. Grow a family around your blog. You do this by being attentive to your readers.
18. Guest post like a champ
Once you have a healthy collection of quality content to lead people back to, pitch to some sites that fit your brand (or that are frequented by your ideal readers) to do a guest post. Think about larger online magazines and websites as well. These guest posting opportunities will help you build relationships and will lead new readers back to your site.
19. Accept guest posts like a champ
If someone else is willing to say some valuable and entertaining stuff on your blog, let them. Make sure each post fits your blog, fits your readers, and is the type of quality content you want your blog to be known for. Make sure to promote your guest authors and show them love. They will likely spread the word of their guest post, which can potentially give you lots of new readers.
20. Stay focused
We creatives like shiny new projects and get distracted easily. When you have lots of ideas racing through your head, stop and focus your energy on one thing at a time. Make a list. Lists are great.
Photo: Death To The Stock Photo