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March 2016

Favorite iPhone Photography Apps For Instagram

This is a follow up to my previous post about Promoting Your Jewelry Business On Instagram.  Since writing that blog post, I have created a separate Instagram for personal non-jewelry stuff which you can check out @marilyn_coffeeink.

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I use Frametastic when I want to show more than one item in a photo but I also like "Layout" which Instagram released in 2015.  It's sorta kinda built in to IG to collage your images which you can do quick and dirty.  

A pet peeve I have on Instagram is when someone uploads several images at once (like from a concert) so I'm scrolling through nothing but what they're sharing, it can get annoying. Break that shit up!  This might change with with their algorithm updates so we'll see. That's why I like to use frames, like when I go to see wrestling live: 

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 11.09.07 AMSee? There's my whole night in one shot for you to double-tap and move along.  I love this feature.

I knew I was going to be all over the A Beautiful Mess app once it was released.  I like to use it write text on my images for promotional stuff.  Plus they have a lot of neat doodles and pretty things you can add to your pictures.   It came in really handy when I changed my Instagram name. 

Boo

The Repost app is pretty awesome. It lets you share or "regram" a photo from another Instagram account. For example, it's great for giveaways when you're asked to regram the image. It saves time taking screenshots and then adjusting the size.  There is a similar app on Google Play called PhotoRepost.

The latest app I started using is Snapseed (iTunes and Android).  Like VSCO, it has cool filters, editing, and adjustment tools to bring out the best in your images. I still use VSCO Cam because I like to have options -  it's available on iTunes and Google Play.  

Seed

I really try to limit how much I adjust my images.  I use these apps to make them look their best, not to turn them into a completely different image.  In the beginning of my Instagram days, I went nuts with filters and tones and aaaaahhh look at all this cool shit!!! Now I'm over it and a bit smarter about it.  I got this thing where I don't want to lie to people but sometimes the phone can't quite capture what I'm trying to show off (like a Full Moon, I've given up taking pictures of Full Moons).

Not exactly a photo editing app but I gotta mention IFTTT.  When I found the recipe on IFTTT to share your IG images on Twitter as an IMAGE and not a link, I was all over it. IFTTT is the best, I use IFTTT for automated EVERYTHING.  

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What are your favorite photo editing apps? 

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Not Cake But Doughnuts - A Visit To The Doughnut Project

When The Doughnut Project first opened, I thought "Great! Another trendy foodie place with off-the-wall, unorthodox flavors." Didn't think too much about it but their images kept showing up in my Instagram searches. I'm a cake person not doughnuts. Don't get me wrong, I love doughnuts AND donuts (what's the difference?).  They quickly peaked my curiosity after seeing photos from happy customers, the doughnuts were BIG!  If I'm gonna pay extra for a doughnut, I better get my damn money's worth! 

Not Cake But Doughnuts

I was first drawn to their "Those Beetz Are Dope" doughnuts - not just because of the color, because wow! Look at that color! But the name reminds me of Public Enemy (turn it up!!).  It's filled with Ricotta Cheese, whaaaat?? The glaze has such a delicious nutty flavor - I was quite surprised but if you eat beets (I don't) then you might know that already.  "The Everything Doughnut" is their newest and holy moly, it's got cream cheese glaze!  I don't even eat Everything Bagels. But combine this glaze with the roasted seeds, garlic, sea salt, and this doughnut is quite the bomb!  

After a failed first visit where I showed up later in the day (they sold out of just about everything), I went for a second visit yesterday and got there early - plenty to choose from! So I got the Everything and Beetz.  They're messy but good, messy=good.  I wasn't sure what I was in for but I am a believer now!

Not Cake But Doughnuts

As a bonus, both founders of The Doughnut Project - Troy and Leslie, were there and so super friendly and welcoming.  They have been getting A LOT of press and media exposure lately over their Everything Doughnut (everyone loves it), I was surprised I was able to walk in and just pull up a stool and chill for a few minutes while I indulged myself.  Friendly people not letting success get to their heads goes a long way. Plus, how fun does this place look??

Not Cake But Doughnuts

Ok so we love Star Wars, right on! But the mix of street art, kitschy portraits, Frank Sinatra tunes playing, I was so feeling the vibe of this place.  I didn't even notice what movie was on the TV because I was too busy stuffing my fat face and trying to tweet with messy fingers.   This might have to be a new regular pit stop every time I come down to the city.  Check out their deliciousness on Instagram at @thedoughnutproject

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Social Media: Making That Connection

The following was previously published at Pulp Sushi in 2015 as part of my Social Media Coffee Buzz series

Building your Social Media following does not happen overnight. While businesses use social media to promote their products or the launch of a promotion, it has also become more than just that. I must admit, it is easier for me to connect to people online than in person. It's like that for many people, it's the Introvert in me. That is just the world we live in now.

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Get your brand message out there and grab people quickly! With a quick skim through a Twitter or Pinterest feed, you don't want to missed.  Once you grab your audience, you want to keep them. You keep them by getting them to connect with you, when they connect with you, they will follow you.

This is also a two way street where interaction is important.  Interaction with your followers keeps them engaged.  Don't just announce what's new in your Etsy shop, ask questions, follow back, leave comments, be topical, share some love!

It is more than “promoting” and saying “Look what I got!!” Building your brand is about telling your story, the message you want to convey to the world. Some people use words, other use images, or you can do a bit of both. It is why I felt comfortable using different platforms when I was actively promoting my Etsy business but at times, some apps may mesh better with you than others. 

Some of the most popular blog posts to read are when an artist, designer, or maker shares a “behind the scenes” of their studio.  They show what their workspace looks like, their desk, their tools, perhaps some inspiration art prints displayed on their walls.  

When you share more of yourself, it actually gives your customer an idea of how professional you are and how serious you take your craft, blog or business.  Once they relate to that, they can appreciate what your selling more.  When you invite customers in to your world beyond what you are selling, a connection is made. Let your true voice be heard! 

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Planning With A Purpose: My Passion Planner Review

You guys, I think I finally found the planner that will keep me in check!  It's easy to be tempted by pretty book covers, colorful tabs, and cute inserts but I don't need all those things. I just need a book that puts everything right in front of me, and I remember to to LOOK at it every day - meet my Passion Planner!

Passplan

There are no apps or electronic devices that keep it all my tasks in order for me.  My planner and I got together by fate.  I saw a message in a Facebook group and my friend Kimberley from Smashfire Designs posted something along the lines of "Hey guys! I got an extra planner! Who wants it?" and with the quickness I jumped in with "MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!" Now it is my favorite thing and I've been so committed to it, I'm proud of myself! 

I get emails from Indie Shopography and a recent email was about slowing down and focusing.  When I try to keep everything in my  head, I will miss something and realize it too late.  My problem is sometimes I need to get everything done NOW!  Having a planner like this not only lets me organize and map out my tasks, but it really makes me think about what needs to be done and by when and in turn, helps me to pace myself and slow down ah ha!

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Not only is Passion Planner a calendar, it gives you personal prompts and nuggets to reflect on weekly and monthly.  Passion Planners are meant to inspire, challenge yourself, declutter, and stay organized all in one place.  It's a nice way to think about how far you've come and what lies ahead.  Plus it's got a nice space for doodling. 

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Besides, where do you think I get some of my Instagram quotes from? 

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You can check out Passion Planners on their website.  Their Instagram is pretty neat too!  I'm pretty sure I'll be ordering one for 2017. 

Do you still a planner to manage your life?  Or is it all in your phone or tablet?

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Make Way For Awesome

Find a way, or make a way

Yeah, I'm doing the Instagram inspiration quotes again. What can I say? They're fun to do, nice to look at, and they give you something to think about, even if for a few seconds before going about your day.  This quote is from Sir Philip Sidney, the English Poet.

We live in a unique time where "success" is defined in so many different ways and it's awesome.  When I was growing up, "success" was pretty cut and dry - graduate high school, go to college, get a job in the field which you majored in, and/or probably be in Corporate America.  Now there's more acceptance to "do what you love" and do what makes you happy - but it's not that easy.  If you like the steady 9 to 5 office life with sure benefits and income, and that's enough to get you through your day, thumbs up!!

Let's face it, life is short, and there's a lot of bad stuff going on in the world.  Why not make our short time here spent doing what makes us happy? I know we can't ALWAYS be happy, there are times where we need to do things we don't want to do - I don't want to clean my apartment, but I also don't live in a mess nor do I want to hire a cleaning person, so I clean the apartment...eventually.

It seems to be an ongoing theme here where I keep writing about pursuing your passions, it's an issue I strongly believe in now that I feel like I am at the other side of the fence where I am happy with where I am.   This is after years and years and years working a job I didn't care about and building a career I was not that interested in.  You have to go through years of crap and tears and soul searching before you really discover what you want to do with your life.

The job market in Dutchess County SUUUUUCKS! That is why so many people who live here, still commute to NYC every day and 3 hours a day on a train, 15 hours a week, 780 hours a year just sitting on a train and that's if the train is even on schedule and running smooth (which hardly does, especially in the evening).  

What I see happening throughout the mid-Hudson Valley, are people doing it for themselves, real "DIY" and making their own jobs - real jobs, not lazy  bullshit "passive income" jobs, but really getting their hands dirty.  Grant it, some people I know opened businesses a few years ago and have since closed but at least they tried and had good runs.  

Three years ago, I never though I would work in Blogging and Social Media but that is where I am now and soooo different from where I was back then (where I was only dreaming of starting over).  If you're stuck in a rut and feel like you want more, but there doesn't seem to be a way to get there - maybe you need to change your perception.  An opportunity may be in front of you and you're too busy looking in the wrong direction.

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Freshbooks Review For Freelancers - Bookkeeping Made SO Easy!

Freshbooks

Recently I had an epiphany and realized that maybe I shouldn't keep using spreadsheets to track my time for invoices. I'm sorta new to whole Freelance thing so I'm still learning about invoicing and keeping track of EVERYTHING. After some research, I signed up for Freshbooks which I first heard about from Emily & Kathleen's Being Boss podcast. Do you listen to them? They're great!

Freshbooks is designed for the non-accountant, the small business or creative person that hates doing the numbers stuff.  It is so simple to use that I'm kind of obsessed with it now. 

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What sold me on Freshbooks that I did not find with other online bookeeping services is that it allows me to accurately track my time. I no longer have to short change myself nor overcharge my client for the work that I do. I just love that little pop-up timer.   Once you have all your time plugged in, you can generate a swank looking invoice that displays all of your unbilled time and tasks - very professional looking. 

Plus they got a killer app! Not only can I still track time,  create and send invoices, I can also take a picture of a receipt and upload it as an expense, all on my phone, heeeeey!

Freshbooks iPhone App

What about getting paid?  You can accept Credit Card payments through Freshbooks or connect to your PayPal and/or Stripe account.  It's super easy.  You can also connect it to your Bank Account to keep better track of your expenses.   

Last, if you like looking at the big picture, you can quickly run just about any type of report - Profit/Loss, Expenses, Time Tracking, Tax Summary, Tasks Invoiced, and so much more. 

So here's what's up! All Freshbooks links in this post are my referral links.  You can try it out for 30 days free like I did and see if it works for you.   It's especially great if you're a Freelancer and you deal with multiple clients.  It can get crazy keeping track of time worked and expenses made for who.  If you're new to Freelancing, check out this awesome infographic from Freshbooks to show you what you are in for after the jump!

What do you use for tracking your Finances for your business? Are you still using spreadsheets like I was for many years?

 

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