Simplify

Why I Use Canva for Creating Graphics Instead of Photoshop

use canva to create social media graphics instead of photoshop

Confession: I didn’t really like Canva the first time I used it.

I thought that I had a lot more flexibility in Photoshop and could create more professional graphics there. I thought my graphics wouldn’t look as good in Canva as they could in Photoshop.

I learned how to use Photoshop, created a few templates for my images, and used that for all my graphic creation for about a year. I completely dreaded creating graphics whenever I needed a new one. I have a lot fun designing, but Photoshop really took the fun out of creating graphics for me.

I decided to give Canva another shot a few months ago, and I’m so glad I did!

It’s really fast for me to create graphics in Canva and it’s so much easier to use. There’s also a LOT of flexibility with Canva that I wasn’t originally aware of.

For me, Photoshop was adding unnecessary steps to my graphic creation process.

Here’s why I use Canva for creating graphics instead of Photoshop.

It’s simple to use

Not tech savvy? Struggle with design? Canva is perfect for you. It’s simple to use with its drag and drop features and it has pre-made designs to get you started and give you some inspiration. Canva doesn’t overwhelm you with features and options. They do have a lot of features, but it’s just enough to allow you to create the stunning designs you want, without having option overwhelm. I like to think of myself as pretty Photoshop savvy, but I probably still don’t know what half the buttons do.

Everything is one place

When I used Photoshop, anytime I needed to add a stock photo or logo to a design, I had to search for it on my laptop. With Canva, I can keep all of my photos in the sidebar and just drag and drop them into the template I’m creating. This has really cut down the time it takes me to create new graphics.

It’s way faster + more fun!

Switching to Canva has made creating graphics fun for me again! I love creating graphics, but Photoshop made it feel more like a hassle and eventually made me dread having to create graphics. I love going into Canva to update my graphics and play around creating new ones!

I think part of the reason creating graphics is more fun in Canva is because you can create graphics in seconds. You just open up your template, update the text, pop in a new image, and in less than 30 seconds, you have a new graphic.

You can access your designs from anywhere

Since Canva is web-based, you can access your designs anywhere you have internet. They also have a mobile app, but I haven’t tested it out. I personally love having a big screen to design.

Since it’s web-based, you can also share your designs with people. If you want to get an opinion on a design, or collaborate on a design with someone, you can share the link and both have access.

Decide what social media posts you need graphics for by getting clear on your social media strategy with the FREE Social Media Quickstart guide!

Use Later to Plan and Strategize Your Instagram Feed

 

Use later to plan and strategize your Instagam feed

I’ve gone all out on Instagram this year and I’ve been having a blast. It’s such a fun place to hang out, meet new biz people, and connect with your audience. Not to mention, I love finding a new person and scrolling back to 2013 because their feed is so gorg to look at. JK – was Instagram even a thing in 2013?!
But you get the picture, Instagram is super addictive and when you have a well thought out strategy, it’ll be attracting new clients + customers in no time.

Why use an Instagram scheduler

Before I automated my Instagram posts, I’d save a few stock photos to my phone and wait for inspiration to strike. That led to me posting about 1x a week – if that. Let’s just say my feed was pretty lame. Then I found my new fav tool – Later!
Later is my fav platform to schedule Insta posts and plan out my Instagram feed. It’s a free online tool and app that lets you pre-schedule, preview, and automate posts. It’s saved me tons of time scheduling content! Now that Instagram lets you auto-publish you can set your account to automatically publish your posts and you don’t have to worry about getting the notification on your phone. You just open Insta and have all the hearts and comments waiting for you!

Upload and preview images

Later’s preview feature is by far my fav feature. You can schedule posts and then preview how they’ll look on your Instagram feed. Hello aesthetic! I love getting to glance at what my feed will look like and see if one picture is sticking out or totally off brand. I suggest not getting too hung up on the aesthetic though. Planning to make a pattern of one quote graphic, one stock image may sound like a great idea at the time, but it can add a lot of extra time when scheduling your content. While creating a cohesive brand is important, strategy should be your main focus.

Create your captions

One you have your pics scheduled, you can start adding your captions. I pre-plan mine and just have to pull them from my social media content calendar.
An awesome feature on Later is that you can save captions for use later. This really comes in handy because you can save different sets of hashtags to easily add to posts. It’s also great for when a post idea pops in your head. You can open the app, write your caption, save it, and it’ll be waiting for you the next time you schedule content.

Create Social Media Graphics for Your Biz in Seconds with Canva

Create social media graphics in seconds with Canva

There are 2 things I constantly hear people say they spend way too much time on:
1. Social media
2. Creating graphics
They’re both super important to your business. Social media is how you market your biz and interact with your audience. And you want your social media graphics to catch your follower’s eye so they read – and more importantly, click!

Watch today’s tutorial video where I show you exactly how I create templates in Canva – for free!

 

 

How can you create social media graphics in seconds?

With templates! Having templates for all the graphics in my biz has saved me so much time. Now, I just need to update the copy on the templates and pop in a new stock image – seriously like 20 seconds! Now I have templates for my Instagram posts, Pinterest images, and Twitter and Facebook promo graphics. Once you have your templates set up, you just do a few, quick updates whenever you need a new graphic.

Decide your graphic goals

Decide what the purpose of each graphic template is before you start creating it. If your goal is to use this graphic to promote your latest blog post, you’ll want it to include space for text and possibly a spot to show off your freebie. If your goal is to inspire your social media followers with quotes, you want to leave plenty of space for the quote and use an easy to read font.

Create your templates

Then, you can get to the fun stuff – creating your templates! Make sure you have your goals outlined and then start playing around with some templates. I used to use Photoshop for all my graphics, but it was a little more time consuming than it should be.
For example, for each Pinterest graphic, I use a different stock photo for my background image. In Photoshop I’d have to go search my Google Drive for the perfect photo, open it up in Photoshop, resize it, and then add it to my template. In Canva, I loaded up all my stock photos in one sitting, and then when I’m creating a graphic I just drag over whichever photo I want to use and it resizes it to fit the template perfectly! You can see how little things like that add up when you’re creating graphics all the time in your biz.

Ready to create a social media plan to show off your new graphics? Get my FREE Social Media Quickstart Guide below!

5 Things You Need to Create a Sustainable + Profitable Business

5 things you need to create a sustainable + profitable business without spending tons of moneyIn my work with savvy online biz owners, I’ve found that if you want to have a sustainable, profitable business, you have to do 5 things. Today, I’m filling you in on what they are so you can create a sustainable business model and stop worrying about how you’ll pay next month’s electric bill.

1. Create a daily system

You must have a daily system to focus on your money making tasks and helps you stay on track to reach your goals. Without a daily system in place, you’ll be running your biz on the fly – which leads to tasks getting missed, goals not getting hit, and constantly where the day went when it hits 5:00.

The key to a daily system is having a system that works for you. I used to order a paper planner at the end of every year, get all giddy when it came it, and swear I was going to use this planner everyday to accomplish my goals. And then the planner would sit on my desk, basically empty, and I wouldn’t fill it out. It wasn’t until I started using Trello that I actually created a daily system and began to use it every single day. Now, my daily system lives on Trello and I’m more productive than I’ve been. Once you find the daily system that works for you, you’ll notice such a difference in your productivity and how quickly you reach your goals.

2. Create systems (+ document them)

If you’re like me, you started your business and learned everything as you went along. You taught yourself how to use your email marketing platform, found out your favorite way to format your blog posts, and answer your emails in a specific way. Without really thinking about it, you were building your business systems!

Now the key to making these systems sustainable, and recognizing and bottlenecks in them, is to write them down. Having your systems in your head doesn’t cut it. You want to write down step-by-step instructions for how you get things done in your biz. When you outsource, it’s SO much easier to just share a link to your operations manual instead of getting overwhelmed at the thought of having to teach someone your biz systems.

3. Set up a tool for managing your projects + team

It doesn’t matter what type of business you have, you need a project management tool to manage your business tasks and team. If you’re your only team member, you need to keep yourself on track.

Use a free tool like Asana or Trello to keep track of everything in your biz – from launches, to blog posts, to collaborations. Use this is your virtual to-do list and map out any projects from start to finish. I can’t tell you how much more productive I’ve been since using Trello to manage my biz and how easy it is to manage my content, to-do list and projects.

4. Implement automations that save you time + money

There’s way too much to keep up with in your biz to do it all manually. Not to mention, by automating tasks, you’re freeing up your time (+ team member’s time) to focus on important tasks and create new content and services for your audience.

There’s so many free, or affordable tools, to automate and simplify your processes to allow you to focus on things that need your time and attention. By making it a priority to spend time in your week to implement these automations, you’re saving yourself a lot more time in the long run. And that’s why you’re here. Because you want to build a sustainable business model that doesn’t leave you overworked and overwhelmed.

5. Outsource tasks you don’t have time for so you focus on growing your biz

Outsourcing scares a lot of people and it’s totally understandable. You’ve built this baby from the ground up and you’ve put every ounce of love and dedication into it. And now you’re going to let a stranger in. How can they possibly do as good of a job as you can?! The truth is, when you find the right team member for your biz, that person is going to make your life so much easier and you’ll finally be able to take a deep breath. Start by outsourcing smaller tasks and then work your way up. For example, all the client’s who have me manage their inbox, have had me work with them for a few months beforehand so that when I jumped in their inbox, they were completely confident in having me represent their biz via email.

What’s a Sales Funnel + How It Can Bring in Consistent Income

What's a Sales Funnel + How It Can Bring in Consistent IncomeIt’s no secret that I looove using tools and strategies to streamline and simplify my business.
One of the best ways to interact with your audience is through email. It’s not like social media where your post gets lost and they might miss it. If you send an email, it’s going to their inbox.
Which is why an email sales funnel is the perfect way to market your biz on autopilot.
You can set it up and it turns new faces into loyal subscribers and ultimately into paying customers.
Sounds dreamy right?
Today, I’m going to share what a sales funnel is and how it can bring in consistent income for your biz.

What is a sales funnel?

It’s a series of emails you send to a subscriber that builds the know, like, trust factor and ultimately leads to pitching your product or service. You create your series of emails once, and your funnel keeps working for you to bring in income.

How does it work?

Someone signs up for your free content upgrade on your site by giving you their email. This will trigger an automated email sequence to go start going out to them. The key is to create content upgrades that tie in with your paid products or services. This way you already know they’re interested in your product.

What information goes in my sales funnel?

The goal of your sales funnel is to build the know, like, trust factor and THEN sell your product. Imaging that every person signing up for this funnel has never heard of you or your business. Signing up for that free content upgrade was there first interaction with you.
You have to show off a little and show them that you’re an expert at what you do. Give them valuable information and educate them on your expertise. Teach them why they need what you’re selling by giving them such valuable information that it’s a no brainer for them to buy.
Now that they know you, have gotten to like the way you provide information, and trust you (because you sure as heck know what you’re talking about!) you tell them about your product and why they need it.

Is it really on auto-pilot?

Yes! The only thing you have to do is maintain your email funnel. Check in with the open rates and make sure your headlines are grabbing the attention of your subscribers. I also like to read through my email funnels every 6 months or so to make sure all the links are working and see if there’s any other value I’d like to add in there.

The most important thing to remember when creating your sales funnel is don’t overcomplicate it! You don’t even need to start this from scratch. You can pull content from past blog posts or emails to get started. As long as the value is there, your audience will thank you for it.

How To Simplify Your To-Do List

Simplify your to-do list so you can save time and be more productiveIf you struggle with figuring out what to work on, or feel like you haven’t made a dent in your to-do list at the end of the day, you’re not alone.

Managing your time is one of the hardest transitions to make going from a corporate setting to being your own boss. There isn’t someone to tell you what needs to be worked on next or what’s expected of you at next week’s meeting.

The only one holding you accountable, is you.

If you want to stop wasting hours, or days, you need to know what to focus on and be intentional with your time. Today, I’m going to share my method for simplifying my to-do list into manageable chunks.

 

 

List every single task you have to do

Take 10 minutes and write down all your tasks you can think of. Instead of just thinking about everything you have to do, write it down so you can see what needs to be done and so you can track your progress.

Choose your top 3 tasks each day

Choose the 3 most important tasks to get done that day. Instead of looking at your to-do list as never-ending, just focus on the most important tasks at hand. Instead of spending an hour re-creating your blog graphics, you’ll be able to focus on what you should really be spending your time on – like your client proposal due in 3 hours.

Set up your to-do list in Trello

When you get your free Trello template in your inbox, copy the board, and start filling in your week.

The first board is for your to-do’s. All of them. List down everything you can think of that you need to work on. Get it written down instead of keeping it all jumbled in your mind.

You’ll notice each day is broken down into two sections. The first is for your top 3 tasks of the day. These are the most important tasks you’ll work on. If you don’t finish something before the day ends, drag it to the next day’s card.

The second section is your recurring tasks. For example, on Monday’s you might send a weekly report to your clients, you would create a card for this to check off each week.

Having my tasks for the week in Trello has helped my productivity immensely! Not to mention, focusing on my top 3 tasks has helped me stop jumping from task to task as I thought of them.

Every Friday, schedule 10 minutes to go through the list of your to-dos that did not get done. For each task that’s left, ask yourself these questions:

Is it important?

Does it help me make money?

If you answered no to both of those questions, delete the task – for good. There’s no point wasting your precious time on tasks that are not important to your business and aren’t helping you make money. If you answered yes, convert them to a card and schedule them for the next week.

Grow Your Email List + Get to Know Your Audience on Autopilot with a Quiz

Grow your list on autopilot with a quiz!Typically, when someone signs up for your email list, they’re coming through a free lead magnet.

Overtime, as they download more freebies, purchase your products, click certain links, you learn more about them and what they need from you.

Instead of waiting for that entire process to get to know your audience, you can use 1 lead magnet to segment people on your list as soon as they subscribe and get to know them more.

The perfect lead magnet to do it? A quiz!

With a quiz, you’re able to segment them based on their quiz results and get to know them with their answers to each question.

My new quiz, built with Interact (*affiliate link), helps online business owners figure out what they need to focus on to simplify + grow their biz. With this one lead magnet, I know exactly where the person is in their business and what type of content I can share that will help them most.

Benefits of creating a quiz

Getting to know your audience, without having to send out surveys

I’m sure you’ve gotten emails from biz owners asking you to fill out their survey, so they can make sure they’re creating the right content and products for you. This way, they can get to know your needs and start planning their next steps.

Quiz results act as an evergreen survey and you can analyze the results whenever you want, without having to send a survey to your audience and bribe them with a Starbucks gift card to take it.

You’re learning who they are right away

With a quiz, you can segment your audience as soon as they get on your email list. No more guessing about what type of content to send who. This will also help you get higher email open rates, because you can tailor your emails to these individual segments.

Create it once + it keeps working for you

I’m all about focusing your time where it matters and getting the most results for your time + effort. With a quiz, you can create it once, and it will keep bringing in new subscribers to your email list. Instead of creating new lead magnets, you can have your quiz deliver the perfect lead magnet for your subscriber, based on their quiz results.

I partnered with Interact (*affiliate link) to create a quiz to help you figure out what you need to focus on to simplify + grow your biz. They made it incredibly easy to create the quiz and tailor the results to your needs, so you’ll get just the right action steps for where you’re at in your biz! Take the quiz below and get your action steps for simplifying and growing your biz!

*If you sign up for Interact through any links on this page, I may receive a commission. I think quizzes are a great way for getting to know your audience and growing your audience on auto-pilot and wouldn’t share the tool if I didn’t think it could help you.

What Social Media Scheduler Is Right For Your Business?

What Social Media Scheduler Is Right For Your Business?

One of the most time consuming tasks business owners have on their to-do list is social media marketing. That’s why having a social media scheduler to automate your posts is one of the best ways to start lessening your workload.

Since I manage multiple businesses for my clients, I’ve been able to use some of the most popular social media schedulers available. Here’s are the pros and cons of 4 social media schedulers to help you decide which is right for your business.

Buffer

Buffer is a great tool to automate your social media posts. It’s user friendly and there isn’t much of a learning curve if you want something simple. This is a great social media scheduler for people who are just starting out. You can test it out for free so you really have nothing to lose if you want to try it!

I like the calendar view in Buffer because it makes it easier when planning your social media posts. They also have an extension for your web browser so you can easily add any page to your social media queue.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Learn the pros + cons of the most popular social media schedulers” quote=”Learn the pros + cons of the most popular social media schedulers”]

SmarterQueue

SmarterQueue is my favorite social media scheduler. One of my favorite things about SQ that most platforms don’t have is the evergreen content feature. You can load up posts and have them recycled so your queue is always filled. You can also link RSS feeds to your account so you don’t have to go searching for new content to share.

It also has cool features like the Twitter analyzing tool. You can enter any public Twitter account handle and it will show you what hashtags that person uses that get the most likes and retweets, what time slots get the most engagement, and a few other things that are really helpful when creating your social media strategy.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is pretty robust if you’re just looking to schedule content for a few social media accounts. I think Hootsuite is best if you’re a social media manager and are managing multiple people’s accounts.

I do like the Stream views that show you recent engagement on your scheduled posts. It also shows you mentions across all platforms. Something I don’t love about Hootsuite is you can’t duplicate posts or re-post past content. If you have self promotion posts or launch posts, you’ll have to schedule them individually to go out multiple times.

Later

Later is only used for Instagram but I like to use this for my Instagram instead of SmarterQueue. One of Later’s best features is you can preview what your Instagram feed will look like after scheduling posts. This really helps to keep your brand cohesive and make sure all your posts look good in the grid view before publishing.

You can add content on the web version or on the app. It’s easy to upload photos from your phone right into the app and get them scheduled. When a post is ready to published you get a notification on your phone and it’ll open up in Instagram.

Create an Automated Email Sequence with ConvertKit

Create an Automated Email Sequence with ConvertKitIf you want to interact with your email subscribers, build their trust and put your email marketing on auto-pilot, an email sequence is what you need! ConvertKit has made it incredibly easy to set up your email sequence. I’m going to walk you step-by-step how to set it up so you can take advantage of email marketing right away!

 

Create a new sequence

When you log in to ConvertKit, click ‘Sequences’ at the top and then ‘Add Sequence’. You’re going to be brought to this screen when you can name your sequence and get started created! Click the ‘Create Sequence’ button when you’re ready to begin.

Create email content

You’ll notice ConvertKit auto-creates a series of emails to get you started. If you aren’t sure what the format of your email sequence should be, this is a great reference! Below is the screen you’ll be taken to. All of these emails are in draft mode, so no need to worry! You can delete, add or edit all parts of this sequence.

I think ConvertKit does a great job at setting up a format for your sequence. It starts with an intro email, introducing yourself and your business to your new subscriber. Then provides them with a pure value (no pitch in sight!) email and the third email provides more value and introduces your product or service. Your email sequence should build your new subscriber’s trust and show them the value you provide.

Now let’s talk about the top section of each email.

The ‘Status’ section lets you know if the email is just a draft or it’s published and going to be delivered when someone signs up. Make sure once you’re done with all your emails you change them all to published!

The ‘Delay Sending By’ is when your subscriber will receive this email. This email is set to send 1 day after they sign up. When you want to update this, just click the little pencil icon near the delayed time. You can change this delay to hours, days or even a specific day of the week. For example, you might not want your emails to send on weekends and can choose to only check off the weekdays. If you set the delay to 0 days or 0 hours, it will send immediately after the person signs up.

The icons that look like a filter and a trash bin are exactly that – a filter and a trash bin! You can delete an email from a sequence or add a filter. Let’s say you pitched your e-book in your 3rd email and people bought it. There’s no need for you to pitch your e-book again in email 5 to those same people. You would create a tag for everyone who purchases your e-book so you can add a tag to the filter here. Your filter would look a little something like this:

The preview section lets you preview what your email will look like in a browser or email you a test email of what it will look like.

Now you can start creating your subject lines and writing your emails!

Updating email sequence settings

You’ve already set up most of the top part of the Settings tab. Here you can edit your sequence name and adjust the time of day your emails get sent.

You also have the option to exclude specific people from this sequence. Like I mentioned before, maybe someone already purchased the product or service you’ll be sharing in this sequence and you don’t want to pitch it to them again. You can exclude people who are already subscribed to a form, sequence, tag or segment.

If you make any changes in this section, be sure to click the ‘Update Sequence’ button in the bottom right hand corner.

Link email sequence to form

Your email sequence is ready to go! All you have to do now is link this sequence to the form people will be signing up through. Go to the Settings on your form and in the Main Settings you’ll see this:

Where the drop down menu is, choose your sequence you want linked to the form. You can also choose whether past subscribers to that form will be receiving the sequence and if all new subscribers will receive the sequence.

Save your ConvertKit form settings and your email sequence is ready to start going out to your audience!

3 Ways to Automate Email Marketing With ConvertKit

3 ways to automate email marketing with convertkitIf you’ve been hanging around for a while, you know I’m all about automation in business! Which is why I’m totally in love with my email provider, ConvertKit (affiliate link). ConvertKit automates so many parts of your business and will lessen your workload. Today, I’m sharing 3 different ways you can automate your business using ConvertKit.

Content Upgrade Delivery

I’m sure you’re aware that content upgrades (or lead magnets) are a great way to grow your email list. ConvertKit makes it super easy to set up automatic delivery of your content upgrades. All you have to do is create a signup form that you’ll embed on your website and under the “Incentive Email” section you’ll choose the “Incentive download” and upload your content upgrade. It’s that simple!

Sales Funnel

A sales funnel is a series of emails that builds your audience’s trust, provides valuable content and introduces and pitches your product or service to them. Talk about putting your email marketing on auto-pilot! A sales funnel doesn’t have to be terribly complicated. I’ve heard of people creating a 5 email sales funnel and people who have a 21 email sales funnel. No matter how easy or complicated your sales funnel may be, it’s super easy to create in ConvertKit.

Just pop over to your Sequences tab and create a new sequence. ConvertKit automatically fills in a rough draft of emails to give you some ideas of what each email should include. Just fill in each email with your content and link your sequence to a form. Once someone signs up for your email list or downloads a content upgrade, they’ll automatically start receiving your sales funnel!

Triggers

One awesome feature in ConvertKit is there automation triggers. Pretty much anything you want CK to do, it can! These triggers allow you to be really smart with your email marketing. Take a look at the image below to see what types of automated triggers you can create.

These automated triggers help you to tailor your email content towards what your audience is interested in. For example, let’s say you just sent out this weeks newsletter introducing your new product. You can create an automated trigger that allows you to add a tag to everyone who clicked on the product link. You’d name this tag something like “Interested in product X”. Now, instead of bombarding your entire email list with the sales funnel about your new product, you can have the sequence go out to everyone who was interested enough to click and learn more about your product.

Get started on ConvertKit today and setup your automations!