Category: Entrepreneurship

Game Changing Social Media Scheduler for Creative Entrepreneurs

As a business owner, time is a thing difficult to come by. One thing you’ll quickly learn is that you don’t have time to post multiple posts on all your business social media accounts every day. There are a lot of other priorities on your to-do list and keeping your audience engaged can be an enormous task.

When I first started trying to manage my business’s social media, I used the popular platform Hootsuite. However, I felt it really lacked the visual representation I was looking for and overall just felt overwhelmed. It’s also a bit pricey for a small business to use a platform that doesn’t even end up working out.

Earlier this year, I discovered a new platform called Planable.io. Because it’s relatively new, they are still in the process of developing features, but the features they currently have were more than enough to win me over.

Visuals

The first feature that caught my attention was the visual representation of what the post will look like. Here is a shot of my DIYvinci workspace. Once you’ve connected your page, it’ll pull in your current profile and timeline cover images, though there is also an option to hide this if you feel it gets in the way.

This is what the feed view looks like. I primarily use this view because it’s closest to how the post will appear when it’s published.

Each post preview allows you to see the image, video, or link view, edit text, and set a date the post is to be published.

Another way to view your post is with the calendar view. It condenses the posts into a thumbnail on the days they have been scheduled. It’s a quick way to verify that you have enough posts for a given day and what is still needed.

The last way to view your posts is in a list view. I personally don’t use this view very often, but it’s another way to quickly locate a post.

Team Members and Approval Process

Another feature that was a huge selling point for me was the ability to add multiple team members with various roles. I’ve added a couple freelancers to help with post creation to my business and it really helps keep everything organized by seeing who created the posts.

You can view and add your team members in the top bar on the right-hand side.

After one of my freelancers creates a post, I can then either edit or approve the post to be scheduled simply by clicking the green arrow on the left side of the post and then hitting the arrow button just below the approval checkmark. There is also an option to add comments on the post that are only visible to you and your team members.

There are many additional features that make this platform worth utilizing such as rich details, duplicate and sync posts, drag and drop media, saving posts as Facebook ads, setting your target audience, labels, filters, version history, and much more.

Not only is it great for a single business, but also is great for those who are social media managers who work for multiple companies. You can have all your workspaces under one account. I personally have two workspaces. One for my company DIYvinci and one for my personal art business.

The last major plus for me is the price. Planable’s plans start out at just $14 a month with other plans to fit your business size and needs. Want to learn more? Check out their website here: Planable.io

What are your must-have features in a social media publishing platform?

The One Stock Resource Every Artist and Designer Needs

I’m an Artist, Designer, and Entrepreneur. If you’re like me, you may have waisted a lot of time and money searching for graphics to help speed up your design process or for something to help complete a project by its deadline. Less than a year ago, I discovered the stock site Envato Elements and it has honestly saved me so much stress and headaches. If you aren’t using Envato Elements as part of your stock resources, then you’re missing out. Here’s why:

More than Stock Photos

Envato Elements doesn’t just contain stock photos. While they do have thousands of professional images on endless topics, they also have WordPress themes, Shopify themes, graphic templates, mockups, fonts, illustrations, Photoshop plugins, 3D objects, stock Video, and much more. It is seriously like walking into a candy store for a Designer. You’ll find yourself wanting to download items before you even know what you’re using it for.

Unlimited Downloads

Really. Unlimited downloads. No monthly limits or extra fees. This was a huge factor for me. You want to focus on great design, not worry about adding credits or managing download limits. With unlimited downloads, you’re free to push your creative boundaries and try new things.

Simple Commercial License

All items come with an easy to understand commercial license. This is a breath of fresh air. There’s nothing worse than spending a ton of money and time on something to find out you can’t actually even use it for it’s intended purpose without buying a more expensive license outside of your budget. With Envato Elements, you can use items with confidence in all your projects. Read more about their license here: https://elements.envato.com/license-terms

Unlimited Creativity

Envato Elements opens up a world of creative possibilities for all your design projects. Powered by a community of talented designers, our subscription puts great
design in reach for everyone. Check out how other designers are using Envato Elements here: https://forums.envato.com/t/made-with-envato-envato-elements/137720 

Resources to start your own business

DBA and Tax IDs

To officially start your business, there are a few legal matters that needed to be taken care of first. I decided to start my business as a sole proprietor. It’s not uncommon for a lot of businesses to start here and then change to an LLC or corporation as they grow. Not sure what business structure is right for your business? Check out this comparison chart: https://www.legalzoom.com/business/compare-business-structures.html

DBA

What exactly is a DBA? DBA stands for Doing Business As. Unless you plan to operate your business under your legal name, then you’ll need to obtain a DBA. The process of registering your DBA varies from state to state. Legal Zoom is a great resource to help you painlessly get your DBA. https://www.legalzoom.com/business/business-formation/dba-overview-b.html

EIN and State Tax ID

An EIN (Employer Identification Number) is a federal tax ID. As a sole proprietor you can also just use your social security number, however, I found that I preferred keeping it separate especially when signing up with wholesale vendors. 
Read more at: https://www.legalzoom.com/business/business-operations/ein-federal-tax-identification-overview.html
LegalZoom.com

You’ll also need a State Tax ID. Most of the time obtaining this ID is free and can be done through your states government website. This is where you would pay the sales tax collected on goods purchased from you if applicable. Read more here: https://www.legalzoom.com/business/business-operations/state-tax-id-overview.html

Bookkeeping and Taxes

Unless you’re an accountant or like this sort of thing, bookkeeping and taxes are the least fun part of running a business. Unfortunately, it’s a necessary evil. There are some tools I came across that do help make it less painful.

Expense and Income tracking

I use Quickbooks Self-Employed to keep track of money coming in and expenses for my business. It’s really simple to connect your bank account and credit cards. From there you can set up rules for each transaction to help organize it for the end of the year Schedule C. You can also track mileage, organize receipts, create invoices, and estimate quarterly taxes. See more features here: https://quickbooks.intuit.com/self-employed/

Tax collecting

Selling goods in person or online means you’ll need to collect state sales tax. Since my business only has a physical presence in Illinois, I’m only required by law to collect sales tax from those who also live in Illinois. Sales tax rules change all the time and can become rather complicated. I use a platform called TaxJar. It handles all of the sales tax automatically and even has the option to have them make the payment to your state of nexus as well. TaxJar integrates with the top e-commerce platforms such as Etsy, Woocommerce, eBay, Amazon, Stripe, PayPal, Square, and more. Learn more here: https://www.taxjar.com/

Domain, Hosting, and Web Design

Now that you’ve got your business structure and all the boring tax situations figured out, it’s time to get your business an online precesnse. First, you’re going to need a domain name, which is the URL people will type in to find your website, and hosting. I highly recommend InMotion Hosting for both your domain and hosting. Not only do you get great value for your money, but they have the best customer service. They have hosting geared toward WordPress https://www.inmotionhosting.com/wordpress-hosting or if your in need of more power for your website and have a little technical knowledge you can go for the VPS https://www.inmotionhosting.com/vps-hosting

To make your website easier to manage, you’ll need a CMS (Content Management System). One of the most popular and that I recommend is WordPress. Not only is it open source, it has a large community from which you can seek help if need be. Download WordPress at wordpress.org.

You’ll now need a design! I can help with this part if you’d like or another great option is finding a premium theme that fits your vision for your business. There are a lot of decent free themes out there for WordPress, but trust me when I say you’ll not only want but need the extra features that come with a premium theme. Check out Envato Market’s Theme Forest

Last but not least, I recommend getting a page builder. A lot of premium themes on Theme Forest come with Visual Composer (AKA WP Bakery). While this is a decent page builder, I find that Beaver Builder is a lot more user-friendly and simple to use for those who don’t know how to code. Check it out here: www.beaverbuilder.com

Content

Once you have your site all designed, you’ll need some content. It can be both tedious and time-consuming to try to write everything yourself. I recommend ordering the writing services over at BKA Content. I’ve used them multiple times for other website projects and always receive high-quality writing.

If you’re in need of stock photos to go along with your content try out Envato Elements. This stock site has a plethora of professional images, graphics, templates, and more with a simple to understand commercial license.

E-commerce

As a business, you’ll more than likely have some sort of product or service you’re offering to your customers. If you’d like to sell directly from your website, I’d recommend Woocommerce for WordPress. Not only is Woocommerce widely supported, the core plugin is free. However, there are a lot of add-on options. Here are some of my favorites over at Code Canyon.

Office Equipment

Having your own home office space for your business is essential to keep yourself organized. Find at least a corner of a quiet room to place a desk and a file cabinet. Don’t have a desk? Here are some ideas for you and some accessories: 


You’ll also need a dependable computer. I recommend the Surface Pro. It has the functionality of a laptop with the portability of a tablet. It’s great for any type of business situation. I suggest going for the I7 with at least 16gb of ram especially if you plan to use Adobe programs.

I found these resources to work best for me on my entrepreneurial journey and it’s perfectly okay if it doesn’t work for you. What tools are your favorites?

LESSONS FROM ENTREPRENEURSHIP

My entrepreneur journey officially began in 2012 as a freelance photographer, but as most entrepreneurs would say, it’s in my blood. It wasn’t until 2015 that I decided to take the legal steps to form my first company, Penny Jarr Designs. The entrepreneur spark caught fire in 2016 when I officially launched the first version of SuperArtist HQ and DIYvinci. SuperArtist HQ was then overhauled and relaunched this year along with my newest endeavor Charrette Gallery.

Everyone’s experiences with creating their own business are going to differ from mine. However, some of the lessons I’ve learned may just echo a resemblance of what you have been through or may be about to dive head-first into. Here is some of what I’ve learned since 2012:

BE PREPARED TO DO EVERYTHING

When I say everything, I mean everything. You’re going to need all of the skills you’ve learned so far in life as well as figure out how to master the ones you haven’t. You’ll need to know about marketing, customer service, accounting, social networking, your web presence, selling, branding, just to name a few. Feeling dizzy yet? Because I own a retail business I also needed to know the inventory, shipping, packaging, wholesale buying, data entry, web security, payment systems, e-commerce, web development, and more. I think you get the picture.

Starting out by yourself means you can’t depend on anyone else to do it for you for free. Learn as much as you can, because you never know when it may become of use.

YOU CAN START YOUR BUSINESS WITHOUT ANY MONEY

FALSE! Don’t believe this statement. Yes, you can begin to plan it without money, but in order to make money, you have to spend money. To begin with, you’ll need your business license and tax IDs. These aren’t free and if you want to operate your business legally, then you have to have them. You’ll also have to consider paying for website costs, a PO box, office equipment, accounting and tax collecting tools, marketing, and inventory. Startup costs are no joke. They exist and will haunt you throughout your first year of business and possibly longer.

I don’t say all this to kill dreams, but just to show you the reality behind money. If you’re becoming an entrepreneur because you plan on getting rich fast, then I suggest looking elsewhere. It’s going to take blood, sweat, and tears to build your dream before you can reap its benefits. This being said, I highly encourage you to get some amount of money behind you before making the full leap. You never know what you may encounter on your journey and in order to succeed and not fall into bankruptcy, you’ll need to be ready.

PLAN. PLAN. PLAN.

Plan, plan, plan, plan…Getting through your head yet? I know it took some time to get through mine. As an entrepreneur, I understand how ideas can flow so rapidly through your head and that you’ll want to act on all of them. This can be both a blessing and a curse. You may stumble upon an idea that could take off like wildfire, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and can cause you a great deal of time and money. It isn’t always possible to plan for every outcome, but you’ll need to start somewhere. Research everything possible about your idea and then test it. Is the idea flexible and can change with customer needs? Is it unique and useful? How do you plan on implementing this idea? Get your plan together and go make your goals happen!

ASK FOR HELP

Earlier I said to be prepared to do everything yourself. This helps you to learn and also will save you money on startup costs. One thing to consider is growth. Eventually, you will be overwhelmed by the amount of everything that needs to be done. You also may come to realize that you just don’t have the time or desire to learn a particular skill. My advice for this is to hire freelancers. Have a solid understanding of what you want and search for someone who can accomplish your vision. It is completely okay to delegate when need be so you can focus on your main priority.

BE READY TO STAND ALONE

Entrepre-what? Many people do not have a very good concept one what entrepreneurship really is. Some may think it’s boring, that you’re being lazy and don’t want to work in the real world, that you’re money hungry, or really could care less. I have even heard people say that they would love to be an entrepreneur so they could earn 200,000 by doing nothing. In fact, it is more likely you’ll have more comments and likes on a post about food on Facebook than you would on a post about your business. At first, it may seem like you have somewhat of a backing, but not so much as you get into the nitty gritty of it all. It is so easy to become bitter about this. However, you started this business and it’s going to be up to you to carry it through. Everyone else has their own dreams and their own life pulling their attention in various directions. If they truly care about you, they will come around and support you when they are able to.

THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT YOUR FRIEND

A lot of people believe because they start a business the government is going to be overjoyed about this and throw all kind of money and grants at you for your accomplishment. Sadly, this is rarely if ever the case. Especially if you live in a broke state like I do. You’re a lot more likely to win the lottery than having the government support you. They’ll be happy to fine you for operating without a license, for not paying your taxes on time, or for trying to write off your debt on your return though. Be sure to read all of your local laws on running a business and taxes so that you can cross your Ts and dot your Is. Running a business is difficult enough without getting into legal trouble.

LEARN FROM OTHERS

Don’t forget that you aren’t the only entrepreneur in the world! There are others like you trying to achieve their dreams who may have been through exactly what you’re currently going through. Take some time to search out social networking groups dedicated to entrepreneurship. Get involved and ask questions. You never know who you might meet or what you might learn.

 

My entrepreneur journey is far from over and I still have a lot to learn. What have you learned so far as a business owner?