February 2016

5 Signs You Need To Stop Consuming So Much Content

Let’s talk about a disease that can be hard to avoid in this world of online business. It’s called overconsumption and it can wreak havoc on all aspects of your psyche and your business. Reading, research, and supporting others is necessary and beneficial – but at what point is it too much?


YOU USE IT AS A WAY TO AVOID WORK

The first sign that you are beginning to consume too much content is that your actual work output starts to dwindle. This is dangerous territory because at the end of the day you are trying to run a business. If you spend all your time reading how other people run their businesses, you aren’t actually putting money in the bank.

When I first started TheCrownFox I was guilty of this. I researched and read so many articles about business, because I knew my design skills were solid but my business acumen was not. This was mostly useful information, but it hardly ever got put into practice and just filed away in the back of my mind. I get it, I really do. You have to brush up on skills and knowledge where you might not be as confident – and the Internet is a great tool for that – but you also have to put things into the world and create and just go for it. I’ve had more success “figuring it out” than reading post after post telling me “what to do.”

Chances are what you really are doing is holding yourself back from those initial steps because you are scared of taking them. Completely understandable! I don’t know a single other business owner that hasn’t been terrified at some point along the way. Do you know what the trick to overcoming this fear is? Just going for it. Figuring it out. Saying “yes” more. Don’t let over consuming stand in the way of you starting your dreams. It’ll make you feel like you’re “working” but in reality it’s not translating into dollar dollar bills, y’all.


YOU CRAVE A REBRAND

Another sign that you are over consuming is that you constantly find yourself craving a rebrand. This should be a red flag. If you find yourself viewing peers websites and social media and wanting to emulate their brand – turn away from the computer screen. I’m serious! I know it’s so easy to see someone’s success and want that for your business. I know it’s easy to see their beautiful images, their lovely client work, their amazing Instagram feed and think “I can do that.”

But, the thing is, you can’t. That business developed all of those pieces and parts for a reason – to attract their target client. For you to take that for yourself isn’t fair or right. Instead, turn off the consuming, and take time to figure out your target client. Figure out how you can serve them and who they are. Develop your own unique branding and strategy that caters to your target client, instead. That is better time spent and overall puts you in a position for success (in my opinion, copycats never see much long-term success, because they can’t maintain someone else’s vision and voice).


YOU CHANGE YOUR SERVICES / OFFERINGS

This piggybacks off the previous point, but another sign of over consuming is becoming “obsessed” with a new idea every day. Maybe one day you want to be a branding strategist, and the next day a designer, and the next day a brand photographer, etc., etc. I get it, you might be good at all of those things – and other people might make them look really glamorous and appealing – but time would be better spent for you getting introspective and really seeing how your skills could benefit your target client.

When you’re busy being too influenced or too consumed with other people’s work and businesses and offerings it begins to cast a shade over you that makes you unsure if you’re on the right path (and more likely to waver, shift, or change your ideas). I get that. That happens in everything: the clothes we wear, how we style our hair, our beliefs, our values, etc. But I promise you this, when you start running your business in a way that feels comfortable to you and good for you, success starts flowing in.


YOUR VOICE SHIFTS

This is one that I see happen very often. Similar to your visuals, it’s easy to become over-influenced with how someone presents their information. Maybe it’s the words they use, the idiosyncrasies they have, they way they structure their sentences, etc. Maybe it’s the examples they usually use (hi, I always talk about Chipotle. #basic), the stories they tell, or the way they insert their personality. Whatever it is – the reason you like it so much on them is because it’s natural and real and authentic to them.

Luckily for you, you have a unique voice already built in. You’ve developed it your whole life. You have stories, phrases, and ways of presenting information that is special and personal to you. That’s what people value and want to hear. No one wants to read my blog, head to your blog and read the same content, and then head to another blog and read the same content, and have all of them be exactly the same in voice. We can talk about similar ideas very differently because our perspectives, experiences, and journeys are different.

This is partly why I have had to stop consuming other branding designers content almost entirely. I fear being too influenced by their clever metaphors or great examples. It’s inevitable we will talk about similar ideas and topics, because branding is a niche, but we can present it in unique ways that relate to different audiences in different ways.


YOU FEEL INADEQUATE

The absolute worst part about over consuming is the doubt, inadequacy, and comparison trap that it lures you into. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about community over competition and I support and love my peers’ success – but regardless of that, it’s still easy to feel a pang of “dang, I’m doing something wrong,” when you see other people moving quicker than you or reaching milestones before you.

That’s human. I get that. It happens. To stay focused on the good, and the community, I focus on building relationships with people in my niche and broader industry. I focus on actual communication and building a friendship versus just reading their blog non-stop. This fosters a real connection and potential for growth and feelings of gratitude and happiness, versus reading their blog and having no idea who the actual person is that wrote the content. If you are feeling filled with doubt over reading other people’s content, the solution is simple: stop reading it. Find other ways to connect and show support. Interact with them on Twitter or chat with them on Periscope, instead. To me, that is actually more supportive and more community-building than reading their blog, getting frustrated, and feeling resentful.


If you want to hear me talk more about a similar idea, I did a Periscope last month that relates. You can click here and watch it! Otherwise, I hope that this helps you to come to some conclusions about what is a healthy amount of consuming for you and for your business. Let me know in the comments below where you struggle with consuming, or if you've felt any of these things before! I'd love to connect with you.



kaitlyn.jpeg

I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!


Five Methods I'm Using To Grow My Social Media Following

I owe most of my business growth to social media. I get new clients, new readers, and new friends through the different platforms and can’t imagine where my blog and business would be if social media didn’t exist. I learn something new about social media every week and am constantly adapting my plan to help my business keep growing. There are five methods, or ideas, that I have found stay consistent across anything I learn, try, or use in my own practice. These ideas are what I use in my own daily social media practice and I thought that today I’d share them with you, so that maybe they could help you and your business, too!


FIGURE OUT THE GOAL FOR EACH CHANNEL

This is, for me, the most important and valuable step. I actually consider this as a part of branding and run through this with my clients. The thing to remember is that Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest… they’re all different. They serve different purposes, reach different people, and generate different feedback/interaction. So posting the same things across all of them won’t necessarily work. Instead, I think about what I want to gain from each platform and plan my posting out accordingly.

So, as a visual business, I can use Instagram and Pinterest to generate clients and send people back to my website. Those are two very visual platforms; they depend wholly on pictures. Pinterest, however, has a really crazy intense algorithm and requires a ton of interaction and posting to ‘be seen.’ So I focus Pinterest on just driving traffic to my website, whether it be readers or potential clients. It’s easier to post A LOT on Pinterest and not feel stuck in only posting client work. On Instagram I vary between posting client work and call-to-action posts that talk about working together. I also link to latest blog posts every week and show some behind-the-scenes type images too. With every post I try to ask for interaction, or direct people to a certain link.

For the other channels, I find that Twitter is best for building peer to peer relationships and community, so I focus on sharing other people’s content and thanking them for sharing mine. I’m very active on Twitter and often tell people that’s a great way to get in contact with me, because it’s so quick and simple. Facebook itself, as far as my TheCrownFox page goes, isn’t something I focus on – however, I do focus heavily on Facebook groups. I’m a member of quite a few groups and all of them have helped me with clients, promoting the blog, and establishing myself as a resource (by answering questions). Facebook groups are the one platform that I don’t have a specific purpose for, but instead just try to be very active in every way on there and utilize the opportunities presented (people asking for branding designers, or daily blog posts, etc.). If you aren’t in any Facebook groups I definitely recommend searching for some that relate to your industry, because they are hugely beneficial.

I use Periscope to really build trust and interaction among my audience. I love hopping on there and just chatting and having a quick lesson, and I think it’s a super useful tool to put a face to your brand. Otherwise, I don’t use YouTube often (Yet, but more on that soon!) and I’m not active on LinkedIn. The reason for that is I haven’t found a purpose for those two that grow my business, yet.


DECIDE BEST POSTING TIMES

There are tons of infographics on Pinterest about this. You could also study analytics, use tools (like Iconosquare), or just study the results yourself. I’ve done a combination of reading through infographics and studying the results for myself. So, as far as my schedule goes:

I post to Twitter very often, sometimes up to 10 times a day, sporadically. My thought process behind this comes from studying the results / how I use Twitter. Basically, I don’t really scroll endlessly on Twitter (like I might on Instagram or Pinterest). I maybe scroll down for a few minutes at the most, and my thought it, most people are probably the same. Therefore, posting every few hours is okay because chances are you won’t scroll far enough to see too much of me. I need to be relevant and recent enough that you would see my post in a quick scroll while you’re eating lunch or waiting in the carpool line.

Pinterest, and its crazy smart algorithms, spreads out your posts anyway, so I don’t focus heavily on what time I post. I've got posts going up all the time thanks to Tailwind* For Facebook, I check the group boards throughout the day, but I post to TheCrownFox page daily, in the morning. I came up with that based completely off of when I saw the most interaction happening and the widest reach. It took a little trial and error, but that’s what I’ve come up with working best for my audience.


SCHEDULE TIMES FOR INTERACTING

This is something that has been a big plus for my time management. Left to my own devices (and willpower – or lack thereof) I could sit on social media all day. This is not exactly conducive to actually running a business. So, I’ve incorporated block scheduling into my routine and blocked off times for social media. On Monday I have a larger block so that I can schedule out tweets for the week on Buffer. Otherwise, I give myself about 30 minutes in the morning to hop on and check Facebook groups, pin for about ten minutes, and check through Instagram and Twitter a bit. I have ten-minute blocks throughout the day where I can hop in Twitter or Instagram or Facebook and just do a quick scroll and check if there’s anything important or urgent that I need to interact with or respond too. Then, again, at the end of my day I have another 30-minute block to repeat the tasks from the morning.

I have to schedule these times and treat them as any other task on my to-do list, or I end up spending way too much time on social media. If you don’t already schedule your time for social media, I recommend doing that ASAP!


USE BUFFER + Tailwind

These are two new additions to my process. I came to the realization that the amount of time it would take me to personally do what these two applications do was not a good “bottom line.” It took some convincing, because even though its total cost is less than my daily coffee habit, I still hate spending money. But – the results don’t lie. In just the few short weeks I’ve been using these two programs, my reach and my interaction level has greatly improved. Pinterest is growing exponentially and has quickly become my top referrer thanks to Tailwind*. I’m seriously regretting not using these tools earlier.


MAKE COHESIVE DECISIONS

This is something that is easy to forget when you are pinning or tweeting in bulk. But – your audience is still YOUR audience and you want to make sure that the content you are putting in front of them is relevant. So, it’s really easy to go through and want to retweet every post you see on Twitter, but, I recommend taking pause and making sure it somehow fits your overall message. Same with things you pin, or share on any other platform. Sharing irrelevant information is detracting from your overall message.

I try to share things that are about branding, business, or blogging – same as the content I would share on my own blog. This is what people have come to expect from me, so I would hate for them to go to my Pinterest and only see stuff about how I want to decorate my living room or the food I want to try and cook. I understand, that stuff is important personally too, but I just use a secret board for things that are really unrelated to my business.


I'd love to hear what you've been working on for your social media plan. Let me know in the comments below! I've found these methods work best for me, but like I mentioned before, I am an open book to learning new methods!

*The links for Tailwind are affiliate links -  but I wouldn't recommend this program if I wasn't personally using + loving it. Let me know if you have any questions about how to use it!



kaitlyn.jpeg

I’m Kaitlyn, your design assistant! I work with successful creative entrepreneurs to create cohesive, clean, and compelling visuals for their businesses. You can keep being the #girlboss you are (but with more time to focus on growing your empire)! Let's set up a time to chat!