All posts by Andrea Wood Schmitz

Pinterest Communities for Creatives

Pinterest Communities For Creatives

Pinterest is a powerhouse for creative business owners, it’s a fact.

There’s plenty to say about optimizing your website, creating a pinterest business profile and cranking out some quality pins to grow your brand.

And as creatives we’re all over the concept of boards, making them attractive and filling them with goodies to help spread the word about our businesses.

Of course, as a business owner we know that it’s about the customer and not our personal preferences, this is why we strive for excellence in pin selection and don’t shy away from other people’s amazing content.  All in the effort to build a solid, stunning and satisfying experience for our ideal pinners.

And then there are Group or Collaborative Boards

I bet you’ve seen them.  This is where mulitple pinners can pin to a designated, themed board and all profit from the collective creativity.  It’s a win-win-win across the board.

Creative Business owners benefit from reaching niche audiences, for example.  Take Inkovator:  we create books which compliment teaching in grade school, books like “Create Your Own Comics” – so finding a collaboration board with teachers or teaching supplies or education ideas is bound to help me do TWO things:

  1.  Reach more like-minded pinners who are searching for educational themed pins
  2.  Fill my own profile with an attractive complimentary topic which is populated by a collaboration of pinners

Needless to say, I think Group/Collaborative Boards are amazing and I’m not alone!

But have you heard about Pinterest Communities?

Recently and on the sly, Pinterest has opened up a NEW option for pinners to get active.  And it’s the first real steps towards adding true social media elements to the platform.

I can’t tell you how excited this gets me!

Why?

  • New ways to connect directly with your ideal audience
  • That means new ways to share your blog posts and product pages
  • You can create a community around virtually any niche audience which allows you to be hyper specific in your marketing message
  • You can comment, have conversations and you can post links
  • Right NOW is the time to get in because once a name for a community is taken, no one else can have that name (I can’t believe I’m telling you this!)
  • That means you can dominate the social aspect of Pinterest for your main topic/niche/keyword

The Pinterest Communities Catch

There’s always a catch, right?

The catch is that it’s so new and the only way you can create a community is by first joining a community.  Sounds like a drag?  I think it’s reasonable.

So what’s a Creative Business owner to do?

Join a relevant Community and if you like it and see the potential, go ahead and create your own community.

Here’s a sample of communities to join:

 

*note: If these links redirect you to the Pinterest homepage, you will need to access it via the Pinterest app (and not a laptop/desktop computer) at least for the first time you go to unlock the communities feature.

Using the Pinterest app on your phone, you should get full access. After you have unlocked the communities feature, it may take up to an hour for your app to update before you can search for communities and create your own.

If you are active on pinterest, why not join the community – communities are new and these are NOT pins, but more similar to FB groups.

The advantage to joining this community will be

1) early adopter advantage
2) quickly find others in similiar niche as you to collaborate and re-pin mutually
3) discover how creative people are exploding their results from using pinterest

Interested?

Join here if you create low content books:  https://www.pinterest.com/community/low-content-book-masters/

Join here if you are a creative business owner:  https://www.pinterest.com/community/market-a-creative/

Once you join a community, your desktop will show you a “community” tab which will allow you to search for more communities to join or give the option to create your own community.

Are you ready to be an early adopter?

Truly these are so new the implications and potential are huge.

Starting your own community gives you an unfair advantage in naming, collecting community members and being the one to call the shots because you are the admin!

If you were to tap into the power of Pinterest Communities, what would be the niche  you want to reign over?

Mom’s Back-to-school with Kawaii Primer

There’s nothing like a crisp, fresh start to a new school year.

New clothes!  New notebooks!  New pens!  New friends!

It’s not always new, and not always good, though.  Like grumpy old teachers, bullies and stale smelling rooms.

That’s why I’ve taken great care to stock my kids’ school bags with items they’ll love and are useful to boot.

Moms do that ;).

Now I’m not gonna go all Bento on you, that’s for ubermamas.  I’m just your average mom-of-six down the road.

I have a tight budget and no sense of malarky, so it’s great value for great articles and a few DIY to boot.  I’m not too proud to wing it to make it fun!

Fair warning, though.

Back when my oldest started school, I was on the CHEAP trip.

Yes, penny pinching was very much a thing back then, but what I did not realize is how CHEAP actually made some things really hard for my first grader.

What can I say?

Six year olds can be brutal.  Peer pressure starts early, Mom!  I learned that being strategic and splurging in the right places helps the overall budget while keeping melt-downs a minimum.

And who knew?  That Melt-Down-Minimum effect meant less stress binging on my part which also saved money in the end (and my hips from taking on elephant proportions!)

This year it’s all gonna be better because of Kawaii.

Kawaii means “lovable”, “cute”, or “adorable” is the culture of cuteness in Japan.

It can refer to items, humans and nonhumans that are charming, vulnerable, shy and childlike. Examples include cute handwriting, certain genres of manga, and Hello Kitty.

The cuteness culture, or kawaii aesthetic, has become a prominent aspect of Japanese popular culture, entertainment, clothingfood, toys, personal appearance and mannerisms.

So let’s go straight for the WIN with a sneaky DIY that’s bound to give your kids a boost on the popularity scale without breaking the bank:

Composition Books

If you’re like me, you’ll love this easy way to SCORE.  Rachel shows how she created some cute mock-ups of your everyday composition book.

She’s gone all Kawaii on these:  Pusheen, Hello Kitty – you get the drift!

Now she’s doing this for college, but honestly?

My first grader is gonna love this and my sixth grader will be lucky I put her name on the front because these are gonna be HOT!

If you need inspiration, flip through this well laid out resource – you’ll be pumping out professional styled composition book covers in no time!

 

Kawaii Pens

My gosh, I remember the boys taking ball point pens apart so that they could fill the cylinders with spit balls and shoot them at the girls.

I think this is a WAY better way to have fun with ball point pens!

Grab some modeling clay and start creating super cute Kawaii-inspired writing utensils, voila!

What do you think?

Oh, and the ear buds?  Adorable.

Not too sure about the chips bag, though.  Even if I know my boys would LOVE them, too.

Wait!

Before you think that Kawaii is only for girls, let me inspire you with guy themes!

Kawaii For The Guys

Imagine my delight to find a bunch of guy themed kawaii tutorials?

My boys are all lightsabers and storm troopers.  So these video did not disappoint!

A post shared by Rhio Jones (@rhiobujo) on

A post shared by Rhio Jones (@rhiobujo) on

A post shared by Rhio Jones (@rhiobujo) on

A post shared by Rhio Jones (@rhiobujo) on

A post shared by Rhio Jones (@rhiobujo) on

Pencil Case & Pencils

How about some swagger with the writing utensils?

I had no idea you can actually create your own erasers, how cool is that?  Rachel has another great tutorial ready to go.

All you need is a bunch of pencils, washi tape, plastic container for the pencil case and some cardboard, modge podge and acrylics.  Oh, and the eraser stuff.

Let this inspire you!

I love her attention to detail even though the designs are super simple.  It’s details like having your full name on the box which make these crafts over the top and actually kill two birds with one stone as I don’t have to take my Sharpie to all those back-to-school supplies to write down my kid’s name on them!

Get your plush on!

One of my personal fav, adorable sewing sites?

Choly Knight’s fantastic sewing site – so thankful she discovered the need in the anime market and absolutely adore her Kawaii themed projects!

Go grab this free pattern from Choly and be sure to share the results on our FB page!

Grab the pattern here:  https://cholyknight.com/2017/11/10/kitty-bean-plush/

Adorable printable bookmarks

YES!

Find the details to these super cute Kawaii bookmarks – perfect for back-to-school!  Thanks to Ayelet <3

Cute table top pencil holders

Over at Red Ted Art there’s a great and surprisingly detailed post on how to make these easy table top Kawaii pencil holders.

I bet you’re done and dusted before your back-to-schooler even knows what’s happened.

What I simply LOVE about these is that it really helps my kids to keep order in their rooms.

How?

Simply the theme which now permeates the room makes everything less random and it’s like their wee brains want the order sometime despite themselves.  I call that a Mom-Wins moment 🙂

Go get the details here:  Kawaii Pencil Holder

 

What did I miss?  What ideas do you have to add?

Don’t forget, if you make anything from here – take a snapshot and let us know over on FB!

 

 

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How To Market A Creative Business Part 1

Transparency is bloggers gold.  At least that’s how I see it.  Let’s face it, if you are more afraid to let the competition peak in your playbook than you are of some public accountability, then you’re not likely going to go far with this blogging thing.  That’s why I’ve decided to expose my back-side and be accountable to myself and to you as I embark on re-launching this blog.

I’ll be full on sharing what’s working and what’s not working as 2018 progresses.

I started the prep in mid March, dusted off the digital display of the front page and blog pages, re-visited social media (twitter, IG and Pinterest) to assess which one would be my initial focus.

I decided for IG and have shared some of the details along the way inside the Market A Creative group (more on this group later).

Meanwhile my SEO continues to be the strongest pull towards my blog and I’m keenly looking forward to Pinterest launch in the summer.  Why?  Because colleagues in the creative realm are getting off-the-hook record results from their Pinterest efforts.  The only reason I’m not going with Pinterest out the gate is that I need time to get all previous posts pin-ready.  Rest assured, going forward, each blog post will come ready to go, though.

All things going well, on May 1st I start my content plan and May 15th I re-launch the blog.

As you can see, journals are going to be a strong emphasis – and this is why I’m creating my own hybrid bullet/journal (there are no bullets in my journal, lol) for keeping it all together.

It will give me visuals, my OWN visuals to use in my blogging, social media shares etc.

And I’ve specifically designed it to suit my exact needs throughout the year.

I’m a mom of six kids, I’m a co-ordinator of one of the fastest growing refugee integration projects in Germany and international speaker. I say that to emphasise how PLANNING and ACCOUNTABILITY are really big for me.

And yes, I’ll be “reporting” back to my blog monthly throughout the next 12 months because this is where I will document my successes, defeats and lessons learned.

All so that I can come out with a stronger brand in the end.

Key to Marketing & Growth:  Facts & Numbers

I am a firm believer in tracking and knowing what benefits are coming from all my effort.  Numbers allow me to measure speed, results, return on invested time and money.  They also allow me to adjust, learn strengths to exploit and struggles to either avoid or find solid support to improve.

I’ve decided, as a visually-laden producer and creative business owner, to create my own business journal which leans on bullet journal principles.  Only the booklet I am using doesn’t have bullets 😉 .

You’ll notice the trackers, which are key measurement factors – true.  But the momentum I can visualise as I colour in the elements will inspire and motivate me to push forward.  It’s a powerful image that gives testimony to my steadfast dedication to growing inkovator.

I desire and will work to meeting this goal: $2000/month with the blog minimum by year’s end.

I’ll reach that through royalties, affiliate and my own product sales (from the website).

Setting Priorities & Implementation

Each month I focus on THREE big goals. Each of those three big goals will be broken down into A, B, and C activities designed to push me toward reaching those three goals (so nine activities in total). I give myself an incentive monthly if I reach those goals. And I assess the effectiveness of my choice of activity to REACH those goals at the end of the month (not just getting the prize, but also the insights to improve upon in the next month).

That’s about it in a nutshell.

What you don’t see is my weekly and daily break-down sheets.

Those will take the monthly and yearly goals and break them down into weekly and daily tasks.

So: to have royalties to the tune of $500/month coming in, I need books on the market.

I’ve set myself the goal to get 250 more books out by Dec 31st.

Broken down to monthly that’s almost 32 books a month. And that’s just more than one book on the market a day.

But having published books is only half the battle.

You have to market them somehow.

So I’ll have daily social media and or blog tasks to push out to the target audience.

Now:

As you hyperventilate, I’ve got systems which keep me on track.

The Power of Systems

The Market a Creative Business Journal is a system.

  • I’ve got a system for blogging.
  • I’ve got a system for social media posting.
  • I’ve got a system for SEO.
  • I’ve got a system for publishing books.

All in all, on TOP OF ALL I DO on any given day as a mom to 6, heavily involved refugee integration program co-ordinator and international speaker, I will spend up to 2 hours 5 days a week on building my site and assets so that I can reach the $2000/month income level by Dec 31, 2018.

The systems help.

And the journal will help me keep my focus on task.

I hope you might be inspired by one or more aspects of this plan to push your own creative business forward with purpose and intent.

It’s the culmination of the daily small, yet continuous effort that will have us all looking back after a year and saying: DANG, look at that!

Market A Creative Business Journal

Title Page

Because it’s a creative business and I like things pretty 🙂

Social Media Tracker

How can you measure success if you don’t know your numbers? This is my visual tracker to show to myself that my effort is paying off in equity. Ultimately I will see results on my bank statement, yet at the same time, clues are dropped by how the market reacts to the message I send.

Monthly Goals

I focus on THREE big goals each month. Each is broken down in three big tasks or priorities per goal, making my monthly focus NINE things. I make those things measurable and tangible action items to push through no matter what. These take priority over everything else in my business for the month.

Yearly Targets

My monthly goals serve ONE purpose: To get me closer to my year end goals. The whole journal is set up to push activity to reach these targets. Monthly, weekly and even daily spreads all point to growing specific areas of my business.

Systems in Action:  May Spread – Goals

Here‘s my May schedule filled in.

For the month I set three top activities which are designed to push me fastest to my year end goal.

YEAR END GOALS: $2000/month income on autopilot, 10K IG fans, 5 K Pinterest fans and 5 K FB fanpage fans. And 250 new books published.

Month one: 32 books, IG efforts emphasis, pillar posts, lead magnets and guest posts.

From here I break my big three up into weekly tasks and then daily tasks to reach it all.

Once month is done, I rate myself. That’s the review part.

Imp is for implementation – did I do the thing?

Res is for the results – did I do it well, did it arrive well?

10 is full points, 1 is lousy.

If I get 126 or more?

I get the prize (still must decide what that will be).
Then make a resume of the results:. What worked? What needs improvement?

This analysis flows over to the next month.

Do you run a creative business online?

Then consider joining our small insider circle where we share in greater detail what’s working and what we’re testing in our marketing.


Adult Coloring Groups & Clubs

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Sketch Diary from Hahnemühle is Fun and Useful! #hahnemühle_usa #hahnemühle #sketchdiary

Have you ever come back to a project and thought:  Dang, just how did I create this effect or get that look?

Well, this doesn't happen to Alice.

She keeps a sketch diary and we think it's fantastic!

In her diary she notes stuff like paper weight, mediums used such as paints but also brushes.  And of course extras, like salt.

Because the Hahnemühle is ring bound as well as lined left side yet unlined right side paper, she's discovered that it's really a perfect sketch diary.  

I tend to agree.

I invite you to go see how Alice has it all set up –> Read More Here –>

Oxide Lift with Colored Pencils + Brand NEW Gina K Designs!

Here’s a fantastic video tutorial by Gina showing you how to create amazing effects using Oxide Lift with Colored Pencils.

In case you don’t know Gina – she’s the creative brain behind Gina K. Designs and StampTV.  So you are in for a real treat with this tutorial.

Don’t you agree, the colors and effects she teaches are simply divine?

Ready for the video?  Hop over to Simon Says Stamp Oxide Tutorial Video by Gina.

Tim Holtz Distress Oxide Ink January 2018

Like potato chips, these too are addicting!!!

Neat & Tangled Guest: Medallion Flower Builder

Have you ever wondered how to get fantastic illustrations for your bullet journal or home-made cards?

Betsy Veldman (of Paper, Scissors & Superheroes) shows you how over on her guest post for Neat & Tangled blog.  She did a little project using their beautiful Medallion Flower Builder set.  Here’s a peek at Betsy’s project…
Hop over to Betsy’s and grab coupon code before you click on over to the Neat & Tangled Blog for more info on this card.
Read More Here –>

Medallion Flower Builder

Misti Most Incredible Stamp Tool Invented

This is what customers of Misti have to say about this stamping tool:


"This is the BEST TOOL EVER for stamping!! I seriously sucked at stamping until I got this, and believe me, I've tried everything! If you're a beginner crafter, this is one of the first tools you should buy! If you're a seasoned professional, you should already have a Misti! "

How to Bullet Journal: The Absolute Ultimate Guide

One thing I catch myself telling my 17 year old is this:

Dude, you are my people. We‘re both lazy. And it‘s the most glorious way of life. It‘s true!

But beware of being lazy and stupid!  Cause this will be your downfall and cost you more effort than you ever wanted to muster!

That‘s why I love The Lazy Genius Collective.  Because it‘s all about optimizing my lazy so that I avoid the gotchas and dangnabits and coast along in my day-by-day.

Today I have to tell you about the Absolute Ultimate Bullet Journal Guide.  It‘s the perfect planner system for procratinators who ain‘t got no time for couch-potato-annonymous.

Do these sections get you excited?

  • The Bullet Journal is like a potato
  • The Bullet Journal is better than your online system
  • The Bullet Journal can be set up in the next five minutes
  • The Bullet Journal doesn’t have to dress for the Oscars
  • The Bullet Journal is the Meryl Streep of organization; it can take on any role you need it to. But it doesn’t have to
  • The Bullet Journal might change your life; you just have to give it a try

Eh?  Eh?

Each point is laid out in simple detail and I have to say, compelling it is!

I’m Kendra, and I’m here to help you be a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don’t. Welcome to your people. The January air smells like organization. You can’t fight it, so let’s lean into it with lazy genius attitude.

Read full article

Boho Berry Challenge | March 2018

This.  All of this.

Ok, I have a girl crush on Kara.  Can I say that?  I just did!

She calls out her Boho Berry Challenge and I’m getting nothing done at home.  It’s like I’m attached to my cell all. day. long.

In a good way, of course.

What I really appreciate, other than seeing what everyone else makes of it, is the prompts.  I can work ahead, catch up – that’s not a problem.  I always know where I’m going and that satisfies me deeply.

Here are my favorites – you so should follow everything immediately –> #BohoBerryChallenge

Tell me:  which one is your favorite?

And of course, it all started with the list:

Alright.

I just had to show you the lovelies Kara puts out on twitter.

Ammiright?

Dang.  Love me some BohoBerry!

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