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The FREE tools I used to build my business

What a week! And it’s only Wednesday…

Mailchimp pretty much flipped the bird to entrepreneurs and small businesses everywhere by downgrading their functionality on the free plan and no longer giving users the capability to build campaigns with multiple emails in them.

Goodbye nurture sequences 👋🏼

The good news is that if you already had those campaigns set up, you can keep them! just don’t go making edits that you’re going to regret.

ALAS

It made me realise how much I rely on free platforms to help support my business and thought what a better time to write about my #rideordie tools! In no particular order:

1. Shannon Mattern’s #5DayWebsiteChallenge – https://www.wp-bff.com/
This challenge was how I built my website from scratch! Let me tell you, WordPress aint an easy beast to tame!
The challenge is free and you get emailed a link to a video each day to complete.
It took me waaay longer than 5 days though 😅

2. Planoly – https://www.planoly.com/ and in the Appstore
The selling point for this platform was the desktop version that allows you to drag and drop and plan out your feed. It also stores all your hashtags in little sets that you can edit, copy or insert directly into the caption of a scheduled post. 
Sign up for a free account and you get pretty much all the fancy features, they just cap your monthly uploads at 30.

3. Mailchimp – https://mailchimp.com/
This might be a relationship that is coming to an end after the recent backstabbing. There aren’t many other free email marketing tools around that provide the features and reporting that Mailchimp does.
So for now, we remain amicable.

4. Zapier – https://zapier.com/
My introduction to Zapier genuinely changed my life. Zapier is the relationship councillor between to two apps/tools/websites that normally wouldn’t speak to each other. For a simple example: You select WordPress and Mailchimp, you tell Zapier ‘When this happens in WP’ ‘Then this happens in MC’. That easy!

5. Canva – https://www.canva.com/
The final piece of the puzzle. What would I do without Canva?
It is by far the easiest way to make graphics for your socials. They have HUNDREDS of cute templates if you’re lacking creativity and their stock photos are a bit better than:

I hope this guide introduces you to some new tools or inspires you to go and make something great with the ones you’re already using.

I would love to hear if there are any platforms that changed the game for you!

💖Zoë

 

Instagram Stories are the New Feed

Hey! Happy New Year!

If you’ve had a break from the blue light/screen addiction, good on you!

You may have returned to the world of hearts and hashtags to find your feed full of crickets (in the metaphorical sense, unless you’re a serious BBL enthusiast).

*queue eerie music*

What’s going on here? Has everyone just had enough? Editing photos and crafting captions becoming too much work in 2019?

Convenience has always been one of the biggest human values but this year we’re getting serious. You know that first row of circles conveniently placed at the very top of the page when you open Instagram? This is your new home.

Instagram stories are the new feed. You don’t need to source any content, edit any pictures, come up with captions. Simply, open the camera and start talking.

AND guess what?

You get mega brownie points for being ‘raw and real’. WIN WIN. Less work and more reward.

My biggest goal for 2019 is getting on camera and actually connecting with my audience.
I LOVE watching everyone else’s faces, I’ve just never been game enough to reveal my 5-head live on my own account.

 

TLDR;

Open your camera on Instagram. Start talking. Share your wins and struggles. 2019 is the year of ‘BTS’.

✨ Bonus tip: Try not to look at yourself too much, you know what I’m talking about.

 

💖 Zoë

>> UPDATE <<

I created my Instagram account to document the process of starting a side-hustle.

I thought it was about time I did an update… 6 months later.

Where I am at now:

I have stopped posting every day (because LIFE)

I have quit my job and started a new one.

I have started to focus more on building relationships.

I have FINALLY nailed my offer – This took a looong time to get clear on and make sure it fit well/felt right. I’m going to do a whole separate post about that.

I haven’t had any leads from Instagram, I’m still getting all of my interest through word of mouth and referrals.

The process:

There have been some serious UPS and some serious DOWNS.

↑ UPS

  • Those moments of inspiration when you know you are on the exact path meant for you
  • That feeling when you open your grid and get warm fuzzies because YOU created that! And don’t it look mighty fine 😉
  • Creating content and sharing your knowledge with people who actually appreciate it and need it
  • The community I have found myself a part of. I never knew a support network like this existed

↓ DOWNS

  • Imposter syndrome, low self-esteem and all the negatives that come with putting yourself on display
  • Feeling guilty if you don’t post something every day (no one notices, so why does this happen???)
  • Comparison… (and this is a big one)
    So many people that I connected with in the beginning who were at the same stage as me, have now gone full time in their business or made themselves a sustainable income or unfollowed me. And GOOD ON THEM! I still support and cheer them on!
    But it takes strength from within to look at those achievements (the ones you so badly want to achieve) and not lose hope.

Alas, the journey goes on!

TLDR;

Everyone’s timelines are different. If it’s something that you really want, then you have to work at it. With those weird blinders on that race horses wear…

Enjoy YOUR journey. ✨

💖 Zoë

How to create Instagram Highlights ✨

Long time, no talk!

🙋🏼‍♀️ My fault.

The subject today is one of those things that everyone has.. but no one talks about 😱

INSTAGRAM HIGHLIGHTS… You know… These things:

I searched the internet to try and find what I needed.
The dimensions of the file, the size the icons need to be so that they’re actually visible when you fit them in those tiny circles.
I couldn’t find a single thing 🙄
SO!
I figured it out myself and I’m sharing it with you! #yourewelcome

Step 1: File size!
– Instagram story images need to be 1080px × 1920px
– Create a file with these custom dimensions in Canva

Step 2: Find your icons!
– Use a website like: https://www.iconfinder.com/free_icons ← Lifesaver
– Make sure you download as a .png so they have a transparent background

Step 3: Choose your background colours!
– Stick to your branding colours, this is a really easy way to keep your grid on brand
– Set this colour as the background of your Canva file

Step 4: Upload your icons!
– Position them right in the centre of the file
– Scale them to be a minimum of 450px × 450px

Step 5: Download your files!
– This one’s pretty straight forward

Step 6: Add them to your ‘Gram
– Upload them to your current Instagram story
– Go to your profile and click on Highlights and then +New
– All of your archived stories will be available to choose from

Voi La! 💃🏽
💖 Zoë

TLDR;

– If you really want to create your own Instagram Highlights go back and read the whole post 🤷🏼‍♀️ Sorry

Instagram Business Profile – should you make the switch?

Hey there social super-star!

Are you still contemplating whether to switch from a personal to business profile on Instagram?

Let me lay out the facts for you (from my experience)…

1.  Engagement seems to be the biggest buzzword when considering the switch to a business profile.
I never really understood why though…
My only concern was ‘I don’t have the followers for this, I’m not even a real business yet’
Of course I heard the horror stories about about losing ORGANIC REACH 😱
But you know what? That was 4 years ago when Instagram was trialling the business profile… Now there is little to no difference.
Do you know what I HAVE noticed? More of my friends are finding my business profile because I had to include my mobile as a contact number. So really? I got more followers 🤷🏼‍♀️

2. ANALYTICS. Why is there not more people talking about these!? ANALYTICS CHANGED MY LIFE.
That is not an exaggeration either.
It is incredible being able to click a button on a post and see things like: How many people have seen it, where those people have come from and if anyone clicked through to your profile from it. AH-MAZING  🙌🏼
It also gives you insights into where your followers are from, their age groups and when they’re most active. So if you’re guessing when your prime-time to post is, those days are over!Avid Insta-story user? Want to know how many people are skipping through your beautifully ‘candid’ photos? Instagram doesn’t sugar coat it for you. You can see how many people clicked through to the next snap or swiped to the next story all together.

And if you’re still unsure about a business profile after reading that, there’s something wrong with you.

Instagram Analytics

 

3. If you have the cash to splash, a business profile gives you the opportunity to promote your posts.
Super chuffed with a picture you took? Think you look banging in your new ‘kini? Wrote some kick-ass copy the world needs to see? You can promote your post for as little as $1/day (although they recommend 10 (of course)).
You can custom pick your audience and where you want to direct them. Plus, It’s all really easy to set up!

 

I don’t know how much more convincing you need, there is literally no cons in switching to an Instagram Business Profile*.

PLUS you get one of those trendy little ‘titles’ under your name.

 

💖Zoë

 

*In my opinion 😂