In Entrepreneurship on
February 1, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to DIYing Your Brand (As a Non Designer!)

The Ultimate Guide to DIYing Your Brand | Angelic Abbie | Creating a DIY brand doesn't HAVE to be hard. It can be cheap or even free! AND easy!

I truly believe that hiring a designer for your blog or business is the best option. They know what they are doing, and it helps you look so much more professional in the long run. But, sometimes that just isn’t possible, unfortunately. Today I want to share some different ways to create a DIY brand.

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The Less Expensive Way

Okay, so maybe you have a little bit of a budget to spend on branding. The less expensive way is by buying branding kits from any of the amazing designers online. The places I like to search for these are Etsy and Creative Market. Here are some of my current favorites:

Pink & Gold Glitter Branding Kit

$34.54+

Neutral/Green Branding Kit

$33

Rose Gold Branding Kit

$34.95+

I recommend finding a branding kit that, at the minimum, includes the following:

  • Logo
  • Website/Blog Header
  • Branding Style Guide that at the minimum lists colors and logo, but one that includes some free fonts is even better!

These are some fun extras that you can typically find in most kits:

  • Business card/business stationery
  • Social media icons
  • Website tabs
  • Social media tabs
  • Patterns
  • Social media headers

The Free Way: Step By Step

Note: Creating your branding as a non-designer is a long, thought-filled process. If you don’t feel like you have the time to dedicate to really investigating what you want your brand to be, I recommend saving up and purchasing one of the branding kits above!

Step 1: Answer Some Questions

Sit down with a notebook and at least an hour. Spend some time exploring what this business/blog is going to be and answer the following questions:

  • Who is Your Brand? If they were a person, what would their qualities, demeanor, etc be?
  • What Colors Represent Your Brand?
    • Use resources like the psychology of color (check out this post!) and visual platforms like Pinterest to help you with this.
  • Who’s Your Ideal Audience? Where do they hang out? What do they like to do? Does anything fuel their fire?
  • What Are Your Business’ Core Values? 
  • Who is Your Competition? What Sets You Apart?
  • What are Five Adjectives that Sum Up Your Brand?

Once you have answers to these questions, read through your answers. Circle and highlight the things that stand out the most to you.

Step 2: Create a Moodboard

Using a free program like Canva or PicMonkey, create a mood board! A mood board is essentially a collage of photos, like this one I created for my natural health and wellness blog.

I had identified that I wanted a dark, jade green and a copper/rust color incorporated into my blog. I also wanted a sense of calm to overcome readers as they were reading my blog. It’s mostly about mental health and wellness after all! The images I chose included my colors and made me feel calm.

Step 3: Choose Your Colors & Fonts

This is where the fun part begins. Using your mood board as a guide, pick out some of the most prominent colors that you feel like really identify your brand. These are your new branding colors!

Then, since we are on a mission to use completely free programs, identify free commercial use fonts to use for your business/blog. Google Fonts is an excellent resource for free commercial use fonts. Or a simple google search for free commercial use fonts will yield hundreds of thousands of results.

While choosing your colors and fonts, it’s a good idea to ensure you are keeping a record of the Hex # and font names somewhere. I recommend somewhere like Google Docs or Microsoft OneNote. Somewhere with easy access and cloud storage.

Step 4: Your Logo

The logo is probably the most important part of branding. It is the thing that defines your brand. My A with a halo was created for me years and years ago and is still one of my all-time favorite things to this day. If you are truly artistically challenged but don’t want to spend any money, I suggest creating a typographical logo. This is a logo that simply says your business/blog name in one or two fonts.

Or, you could purchase a premade logo that goes along with the branding you created. Or even more fun (for people who like to design things), you could purchase a vector image to use in your logo, like a watercolor circle, or leaf. The possibilities are honestly endless!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

In Entrepreneurship on
January 29, 2018

How I Plan Quarters at a Time – & Why You Should Too

How & Why I Plan Quarters at a Time - & Why You Should Too | Planning ahead in your business is key to it's growth. Learn how to plan by quarters.

Some of my favorite days each year are the days I sit down to plan the next quarter. I absolutely love to plan quarters by quarters. I usually will look at the upcoming year in January and map out how I want the year to go, but my quarterly planning sessions in December, March, June, and September are when I really sit down and map everything out, from blog posts to tweets to Instagram stories to e-book and course releases.

Why

Planning quarters at a time gives you the ability to actually plan for big projects like courses without flying by the seat of your pants. I used to plan monthly, but I felt like I was still behind and unsure of what the upcoming month held for me. Planning by quarters takes just one or two days in the month before the quarter begins. It allows you to plan around big events in your personal life, like vacations or other needed time off and allows you to focus on just those upcoming months.

How

From beginning to end, here’s what my quarterly planning sessions tend to look like. I really do love to plan quarters.

Step 1

First I gather all of my materials. This usually includes opening up OneNote, Asana & Trello on my computer. I use all three in conjunction with each other, but for different things. I’ll go into more detail about that one day soon. I also gather my paper materials, like pens, highlighters and my various journals and planners.

Step 2

The first thing I input into my various calendar’s are personal things, like trips, big events and social events I already know are happening. Putting these in first helps me avoid planning a launch on the day I leave for a trip to Mexico.

Step 3

The next thing I focus on is big business-related events. I have various courses and e-books I want to release in this upcoming year. I’ve already mapped out their yearly plan when I planned in January, so this focus is the in-depth schedule for the next three months. Other than blog post & video planning, this takes up a majority of the time.

Step 4

Next, I add in blog posts for the next three months. I post twice weekly on Angelic Abbie and once weekly on Naturally Angelic, so that means I need around 24 blog post ideas for Angelic Abbie, and 12 for Naturally Angelic. I simply come up with a title and jot down any relevant information, but I don’t work on outlining those posts until the week or two before I write them.

Step 5

Next, I add my video schedule. I try to post videos on Angelic Abbie twice a week and Angelic Sims three times per week. Angelic Sims videos are easy to plan since they are just episodes of series I’ve already started, but I need 24 different video ideas for Angelic Abbie. Blog post and video planning take up at least a solid four or five hours of brainstorming.

Step 6

Next, I brainstorm email list content. This is something that I’m working on for next quarter since I took a little break from my email list these past few months. All of my various networks need email content, but since it’s shorter and easier to write, this takes less time than blog posts or videos.

Step 7

Lastly, I brainstorm social media ideas. I like to share interesting stuff on my Instagram stories, as well as on Instagram itself, on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. I add in my to-do list for social media stuff and then I have officially planned out my quarter!

These are a lot of steps, but they seem to come naturally to me since I am such a planner-oriented person. I love planners, whether they be online or physical. If you want to learn more about each of the devices/planners I use, let me know and I’d be happy to do some posts on those!

Thanks for reading!

 

 

How & Why I Plan Quarters at a Time - & Why You Should Too | Planning ahead in your business is key to it's growth. Learn how to plan by quarters. How & Why I Plan Quarters at a Time - & Why You Should Too | Planning ahead in your business is key to it's growth. Learn how to plan by quarters.
In Blogging on
January 24, 2018

How to Make Your Blog Audience Obsessed with You

How to Make Your Blog Audience Obsessed with You - Make your audience fall in love with you, your life & what you have to offer

Having a blog audience that comes back for more time after time is key to getting your blog to the next level. You want your blog audience to love you and what you offer. Here are some actionable ways to make your blog audience fall in love with you and your blog.

Know Your Audience

During branding, this is a key step. Depending on if you DIY’d your branding, or used someone who didn’t touch on this, you want to sit down and figure out who your ideal audience is. Who are you writing for? Why? Why should someone care about what you are writing about?

For example, I run a travel blog with my boyfriend. We talk about our travel tips and experiences and our ideal audience is someone who desires to or already does travel like we do. Our ideal audience is people that are interested in all aspects of travel, from the actual transportation to get you to your destination to whatever activities you have planned once you are there.

Once you know your audience, it’ll be easier to create content that your audience needs and loves. If Nate and I started writing about sewing randomly, that’s not something every member of our audience would necessarily be interested in, and the post would most likely flop. We could even lose readers since we strayed so far from what they knew to be what our blog focused on.

Share Personal Information

And no, I’m not talking about your address or something weird like that. Allow your readers to see who you are as a person and not just words behind a screen. That’s part of why blogging became so popular. Blogs are written by real, seemingly normal people who share information on a website that could potentially help people.

Let people see who you are. Share personal information and anecdotes throughout your posts. Ensure you have an ‘About’ page that really allows people to get to know who you are. Depending on your blog’s niche and personal comfort level, it can vary just how much personal information you want to share, but typically the more the better.

Be Present on Social Media

If you are only using Twitter and Facebook to promote your latest blogpost, you’re doing it wrong. Interact with people, post status updates relating to what you’ve been up to lately and use those platforms to make valuable connections with people who will come read your blog.

Two platforms that are newer in the social media world that can be really helpful for making those personal connections are Instagram Stories and Snapchat. Both platforms allow you to post seconds long videos and pictures of whatever’s going on around you. See a pretty sunset? Post it. Eating a breakfast that looks good? Share it! In today’s social media obsessed world, sharing what you’re up to can help bring people to your blog and keep them coming back.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

How to Make Your Blog Audience Obsessed with You - Make your audience fall in love with you, your life & what you have to offer How to Make Your Blog Audience Obsessed with You - Make your audience fall in love with you, your life & what you have to offer
In Entrepreneurship on
November 2, 2017

How & Why You Should Have a Contract in Online Business

How and Why You Should Have a Contract in Your Online Business - Why Your Clients Need to be signing a contract every time & how you can easily create and send contracts online

Having a contract in online business is essential. You and your client need to be signing a contract every time you perform services or do work for any client. Today I want to share with you why you should have one and also how you can create one.

Why

Essentially, having a contract helps avoid any issues and helps prevent you from getting screwed, put simply. We’ve all heard the horror stories. “I didn’t have a contract and my client refused to pay.” “I didn’t have it in my contract and I ended up doing hundreds of dollars of work for free.” It amazes me that in today’s day and age, people don’t have contracts that go into extreme detail about everything in order to protect themselves. Having a contract in online business is essential.

In addition to making sure that you’re getting paid for the correct services and are making sure the client is aware of all moving parts, it also makes you look so much more professional. A client should know that signing a contract is protecting them just as much as it’s protecting you. A client should see a professional with a contract as much more trustworthy and professional than one without.

A contract ensures that not only is the client doing what they are supposed to do (paying you), but you’re doing what you’re supposed to do. A contract should outline everything you’re doing and everything the client is doing. This way there is absolutely no confusion, and things can’t get said or did later on.

How

The first way to create a contract is to write it yourself. There are tons and tons and tons of articles online that can be of help in writing a contract. This is the most budget friendly option, and honestly, when you’re first starting out, it may not be essential to have a lawyer look over your contract. If you can afford it and that seems like an option, it is a great one.

The second way to create a contract is to hire a lawyer. Hiring a lawyer to write a contract can be expensive, so it’s a good idea to do your research and find one that’s going to be extremely helpful and one that is knowledgeable in your area of business. Something that is less expensive than a lawyer, and usually less personalized, but will get the contract writing done and done correctly, is a website such as LegalZoom. In addition to contract writing services, they offer a ton of different types of legal assistance and is a great tool for growing and maintaining your business.

Favorite Tools

Lastly, I wanted to talk about my favorite ways to get a contract in online business signed. The best way is to do it in person, but for much of online business that just isn’t possible. I’ve experimented with a bunch of different signing tools, and here are some of my favorites.

The first tool that I’ve played around with is DocuSign. It starts at just $5 a month for 5 monthly contracts and goes up from there. They have a mobile app, making it easy for people to sign with their finger on their phone.

The second tool that I’ve experimented with is HelloSign. I think HelloSign might be my favorite, only because I’m a huge aesthetics person and their layout is fantastic. Their plans start at just $0, for only 3 documents a month. If you only have a couple clients a month, this is an awesome deal. For unlimited, it’s just $13 per month. It’s insanely easy to use, and also links with Google Drive, meaning people can literally sign right from their Gmail. I love integrations with products I constantly use, so this is a big advantage for me.

The last tool I have not experimented with but thought I’d mention it anyway. It’s called Agree, and also has a great interface and a mobile app where people can sign documents with their finger. Agree also features online payments, which is perfect if you wanted to combine contract signing and payments all in one app. They have a free plan which enables you to have 3 active contracts and a processing fee for payments of $0.30 + 2.9%. Their plans then go up from there, beginning at $13 per month.

Thanks for reading why you need a contract in online business!

 

 

 

In Blogging on
August 16, 2017

How to Use Google Analytics to Grow Your Blog

Google Analytics is probably the most popular analytics software out there. It’s free, easy to use and owned by a company we all know. When I first started blogging, I loved looking at analytics to see my page views growing. Now, I’ve learned some different tips and tricks on growing my blog by using google analytics!

Check Out Your Aquisition

Take a look where your audience is coming from. Are they coming from google searches? What are they searching most often? What social media networks are they clicking through from? Use this information to pour your valuable time into the right platforms. If you’re spending hours a week on StumbleUpon and only 1% of your traffic is coming from there, maybe it’s time to look at some other ways you could be spending your time.

Set Up a Goal

I’ll go through the exact steps in a separate post of how to set up an exact goal in google analytics, but for now, let me tell you why you should. Set up a goal to track your conversions. Say you track someone all the way through from your blog page to your opt in. What steps do they take? What percentage of people end up signing up for the opt in from your blog page? Do some opt ins work better than others?

Top Posts

Check out your top posts. What category are they in? What are they about? Start to think about ways to branch off from these top posts. Can you go back through and add in an email opt-in? Can you write a mini guide or e-book and put it up for sale on that blogpost? Using a page that’s already gaining traction is a fantastic way to get more readers & more money.

Track Behavior

This is something (I think) is new, because I’ve never messed around with it before. From behavior on the left hand side, you can click track or follow behavior, and it will show you the common paths that people take through your website. If you’re a blogger, it’s the unfortunate truth that most people won’t bounce to another page on your blog. But,  if they do, where are they going? What pages tend to appeal to your audience? Condense unnecessary pages, as they are just taking up precious viewing area.

Thanks for reading!

 

In Blogging on
July 27, 2017

How to Rock Your About Page

Your about page should and will be one of your most viewed pages on your website. Visitors will go there first when trying to figure out what you are all about, and what your blog can offer them. Here are my tips for rocking your about page.

Keep it Conversational

You want your about page to be light, fun and interesting for people to read. Write in the first person, so people can connect with you. Give them an insight into what your life looks like, why you created this blog or website, and what you have to offer them.

Highlight the Benefits

Many times, people head to your about page because they want to see how you can help them, and what benefits your website or blog will provide for them. Use this opportunity to make them see exactly what you’ll provide for them. What services does your blog offer? What do you write about on your blog? More specifically, what do you provide for free? You have to provide evergreen content before people will buy anything from you.

Tell Your Story

How did you get into blogging? How did you come to create your business? Creating a personal connection with your readers and future customers is a great way to rock your about page. Tell them your personal story, and reveal important details about yourself. Make your readers feel like friends.

Extras

Have an email opt in? Have it on your about page. Show your readers where they can find you outside your website, like on social media. Also, include images. As always, you want these to be high quality, beautiful images that fit your blog’s aesthetic.

Thanks for reading!

 

In Entrepreneurship on
April 14, 2017

My Favorite Apps & Websites for Entrepreneurs

Today I thought I’d give you all a peek into the resources I use as an entrepreneur. These are all the websites and apps I use to keep track of my freelance load as well as earn money. Let’s take a look at my resources for entrepreneurs!

Apps

Expensify

Expensify is a website as well as an app. This site allows you to categorize all of your receipts and expenses for your business, and send them to someone (like a boss) or just keep them for yourself. I have been using this app for three years and I love using it to keep track of my expenses.

Hours

I use hours to keep track of all of my client work. Most of my work is unbillable, meaning I sell package deals that essentially come with ‘unlimited’ hours. But, sometimes I run support or certain hourly projects and this really helps to keep track of what everyone owes me.

MileIQ

MileIQ automatically detects when you’re driving and you are able to classify those trips as business or pleasure. I love this because it tracks it without me having to do anything, which makes my life that much easier. You can get 20% off a plan here.

Tools

Buffer

Buffer is a website that I’ve used basically since the start of my blog and YouTube. I love scheduling social media and seriously saves me so much mental energy. I use the $10 a month buffer awesome plan, but they have a free one as well if you’re just starting out.

Asana

Asana is a fantastic tool for project management. I use this for most of my design clients so that we can both see what’s going on. I use this project management tool in conjunction with the next one, and it has created a system for me that makes so much sense that I love.

Trello

Trello is another awesome project program that I love. I use it in conjunction with Asana (post coming soon about how I use both to manage my business). It utilizes a system of boards and cards which is like using post-it notes on my wall which I LOVE. Trello is amazing and I hands down recommend it.

Upwork

Upwork is a great freelancing website when you are just starting out. The jobs don’t pay a ton, but they’re great to gain some online experience. If you have some marketable skills, like a law degree or web design/development skills, you can usually find some more jobs that pay more.

Later

Later is great for scheduling Instagram posts. I currently use buffer for that, but plan on investing in Later as soon as possible. My favorite feature is the link in bio. It essentially allows you to actually link to things in your Instagram captions by having one place that people click in your bio where they can see any link you added to the caption. It’s revolutionary and awesome!

Leadpages

Leadpages is revolutionary for growing your business. Through their program you can create beautiful landing pages, webinar opt ins, email opt ins and more. They really do a great job at growing your audience. It’s definitely one of the better purchases I’ve ever made.

ConvertKit

ConvertKit is an email marketing specifically made for bloggers and entrepreneurs. It’s an easy way to grow your email list and create fantastic emails.

Tailwind

Tailwind is a program I just started using and I’m absolutely loving it right now. It’s really made an impact on my Pinterest account, of which I’ve seen a 100% increase over the past few weeks.

Edgar

Edgar is an amazing platform for scheduling social media. While Buffer does save some time, it also takes time. Edgar pretty much saves that. You simply go in and schedule social media whenever you find interesting content or things you want to share and Edgar will simply cycle it based on categories. Trust me, it’s lifesaving.

WPEngine Hosting

This is a hosting platform dedicated solely to WordPress. It’s an awesome hosting platform and has had numerous fantastic reviews. It’s definitely the best managed wordpress hosting and I highly recommend it.

StudioPress Themes

StudioPress themes are easy to customize for people without even the slightest idea of coding. They have absolutely BEAUTIFUL themes that I highly recommend you check out. I usually use StudioPress themes for my clients.

Thanks for reading and keep this page bookmarked for future recommendations!

In Blogging, Entrepreneurship on
April 4, 2017

How to Become Creative (When You Don’t Feel Creative)

There was a period in my life where I would have classified myself as not being a creative type. I colored maps in US History in seventh grade messily and never stayed within the lines. My drawings as a kid were stick figures that were disproportionate and ugly. I was much better on the computer. I could type faster than anyone else I knew, and I loved creating things online and on other programs. My love for computers and online creativity began. Then, I discovered web development and hit a wall where I told myself I wasn’t creative enough for it. But, these tips helped me so I thought I’d share how to become creative, even if you don’t feel like you are ‘the creative type’.

Read Blogs

Read blogs of other creatives and gain inspiration from their work and posts. Sometimes I’ll find a blogger that I’m obsessed with and I’ll spend hours browsing and reading through all of their posts and gathering as much knowledge and inspiration from them as I can. I also recommend browsing Pinterest to find other great bloggers and posts that you can gather inspiration from.

Follow Creatives on Instagram

My Instagram feed consists of two types of posts. I follow people I know from my personal life, and then I follow bloggers, creatives, YouTubers and anyone else who inspires me. I love browsing my Instagram feed nowadays because it encourages me and forces me to want to do better. I used to compare myself to everyone online, but I’ve tried to change my mindset so that everyone who’s doing ‘better’ than me is inspiring me to be like them and to be better.

Take Classes

Figure out what you want to get better at and then take classes in it. Take classes in drawing, graphic design, color theory or typography. Whatever makes you tick. You’ll soon have the tools you need to feel more creative.

Go for a Walk

Sometimes you generally are creative, but you’re having trouble getting creative on a certain day or at a certain point. A great way to get into your creative groove is to head out for a walk. It’s amazing how being outside, in nature and having a change of scenery can really inspire you and spark your mind.

Meditate

This is something I’ve started to do but it really will help you feel more creative. Concentrating on breathing and just being for even just a few minutes will change your perspective and allow you to get more done and feel more creativity through your veins.

Thanks for reading!

 

In Entrepreneurship on
March 29, 2017

How I Edit & Upload YouTube Videos

If you weren’t aware, I have a YouTube channel here, where I talk about life, makeup, beauty, fashion and self care. I’m definitely more of a lifestyle vlogger, and I love creating and editing videos. My filming style is a whole other story, but I thought I’d share the tools I use to edit and upload my YouTube videos.

Step One: Final Cut Pro X

The first step is editing the video in Final Cut Pro X. This is a program solely for Apple computers and I’m obsessed with it. I started out editing in iMovie, but I soon moved to Final Cut Pro. It’s more advanced and has some really great plugins and abilities. I haven’t really tapped into the full abilities of Final Cut Pro yet, but I love it. My favorite resources for plugins is Pixel Film Studios. They have a TON of different options and they typically have some pretty great sales too.  I got my intro to my YouTube channel from a website called Fiverr. It’s basically a website where you can get some amazing products for only $5. They have pretty much everything, from video editing to photo editing to web design. Once I edit the video, I export it to my desktop.

Step Two: Handbrake

I then run my video through a program called Handbrake. It makes the video easier to upload and optimizes it for the web.

Step Three: Lightroom

I then import the video into Adobe Lightroom. I add a filter that makes the video slightly brighter and more colorful, and I love how it looks after.

Step Four: Handbrake

Then I run it through Handbrake again, for the last time.

Step Five: Thumbnail

I use Photoshop to edit my thumbnail. I take a picture of whatever part of the video I want to use as my thumbnail, export it from FCP and then edit it in photoshop. I usually just add text and then add a white glow around it.

Step Six: Upload

The last step is to upload to my YouTube channel! I head over to YouTube, click upload and then find the video and the thumbnail and voila!

Do my six steps surprise you?

Thanks for reading!

In Blogging, Entrepreneurship on
March 17, 2017

How to Have a Consistent Brand Experience

Branding is essential in today’s over-saturated market. In order for your blog or business to stand out, you have to have a consistent brand experience that persists through all platforms.

Stick With It

It’s important that you stick with the logo and color scheme you’ve created/been given across all platforms. For example, my color evolved from pink to blue recently, to better fit all of the themes I have across all of my social media. Both my angelicabbie Instagram and my castawaycouple Instagram have a blue/mint theme. This matches my blog theme as well as the Castaway Couple blog theme. I have the angelic, with a halo, logo across everything that I do as well. Another thing that’s important is to have the same profile picture, or one taken on the same day in the same outfit, as your profile picture across all platforms, including social media profiles and your blog.

Print Materials

This should go without saying, but every print material you come up with needs to match your blog/business brand. This means business cards, especially, but also things like letterhead, banners, advertisements and anything else that you print out.

Your Messages

As you get more comfortable with blogging and social media, you’ll develop a voice. You want to keep this voice across all platforms. For example, if you write in very professional prose with big words, everything has to match. Or, if you write in a more conversational style (like me) then have that fit across all platforms. This also means your values and what you’re putting out there needs to match. For example, you can’t preach forgiveness and love on your blog, but then tweet about how much you hate the LGBTQ community. It will confuse everyone.

Emotions

What do you want your readers to feel? This is an important question to ask yourself when you are first starting out. If you want readers to feel happy and inspired when they reach your blog, pick bright colors like reds and yellows. If you want your readers to feel calm, pick blues. Do some research into color theory as well as typography and what they mean for emotions. It will help you attract the right kind of customers in the long run.

If you need some extra help creating a great brand, check out my brand workbook, which you can get for FREE below!

[mailmunch-form id=”432617″]

Thanks for reading!

 

Looking to grow your blog? Try branding consistently. Having a consistent brand experience makes all the difference! | AngelicAbbie