Blog, Infographic

Super Saucy Blog Post Anatomy (BONUS: Blog Planning & Analysis Printable)

We know that you're probably hearing every single day how important it is to have a blog. The numbers don't lie, the interaction with you audience is incredible and the value of what you can give can be a game changer. We also know that sometimes you put off something simply because you don't know the best way to go about getting it done. We want to make sure that you're using each and every post to its full advantage - it takes way to much time to prep those posts for them to not be working for you!

Today we're breaking down a blog post piece by piece. We'll tell you exactly what how your post should be laid out, what to include in it and how to wrap it all up. 


Your Free Blog Boost Weekly Worksheet

At Think Creative Collective we want to continue to help you grow and reach your potential. We want to see you succeed and be proud of how far you have come. We want you to go after a life and a business that you love.

And because we just love our readers and want to encourage them (that's you) we have created a printable perfect for keeping your blog on track. You can use it as your planning tool to title new content. Keep it around to check off your engagement across social media platforms. And assess the results every week - "hearting" your favorites and seeing the real traffic numbers. We would suggest printing one a week and using it to track for the next month. See if it helps you stay on task. See if there is new growth. Use it to see what is and isn’t working. Keep it in a binder so you can come back and look at it later. 

Get instant access to your free printable worksheet and many more in our all free backstage resource library for bloggers and creative entrepreneurs!


Keep Up to Date on Our Recent Blog Posts & Ways to see Your Blog Explode


Business, Entrepreneur

5 Ways You Should Legally Protect Your Business

You pour hours and hours of hard work into your latest content, course, product or service only to wonder, “what if someone steals this and sells it as their own? Can you contact them and ask them to remove it? What if they don’t take it down? Or what if they’ve been selling it as their own and making money off it?”

You pour hours and hours of hard work into your latest content, course, product or service only to wonder, “what if someone steals this and sells it as their own? Can you contact them and ask them to remove it? What if they don’t take it down? Or what if they’ve been selling it as their own and making money off it?”  Or you’re 3 months into a 6-month service contract with a client when they suddenly change their credit card number and bails. Now what?  |  Think Creative Collective

Or you’re 3 months into a 6-month service contract with a client when they suddenly change their credit card number and bails. Now what? You were relying on that money coming in and can’t afford to just let it go. But you didn’t have them sign anything, so how can you hold them accountable?

What’s a girl to do?!

No worries, I got you. First, let me introduce myself: I’m Sam, a corporate-attorney-turned entrepreneur who empowers women with the legal info and education they need to confidently run their own businesses and create content they really love. I don’t want you to hold back anymore. Create that course, write that post or offer that new product.

My goal is to make legal easy, accessible and yes - even fun! Or at least more fun than it normally is.

So today we’ll take a look at the most important ways you can legally protect your business online. There’s no “right” time for you to get #LegallyLegit (as I call it!). If you’re in business, then legal is one piece of the puzzle you have to take care of.

And it’s not just about being worried about getting sued either. I’m all for empowering you to be proactive, not just reactive. You also need to protect your content, get paid and establish boundaries with your clients.

Here are 5 ways you should legally protect your business:

Start With Your Website

Start by protecting yourself, your business and its content through your website. Each website should ideally have a privacy policy, terms and conditions and website disclaimer.

A privacy policy is more than likely legally required if you collect email addresses or have a “contact me” form on your site. In a nutshell, a privacy policy tells people when you collect information, why and what you do with it. A website disclaimer is a very clear statement to your readers about who you are, what you do and how you’re qualified. Finally, your terms and conditions page/contract is the place to set the rules and regulations of using your site.

On the one hand, it’s amazing we can reach people all around the world through our websites. But on the flip side, we really have no idea who’s reading our content or what they’re doing with it.

In the health/wellness/fitness/business world, this can seriously be a problem and the best way to address it is by having our website covered with these essential legal documents.

Client Contracts

As tempting as it is to text, email or Facebook message prospective clients, this is one area where old school pen and paper (or digital paper) still rules. Any agreement to enter into working together for services or products should be done in writing and via a client agreement (contract).

The contract should be clear about what is/isn’t included, payment terms, your disclaimer and what your company’s policies are. That way, if any issues pop up, you can always point back to your contract. Your clients will also pay on time, abide by your policies and be clearer on what’s included if you have them sign an “official” contract.

Stay Within the Scope

One of the best ways to protect yourself and your business is to always operate within the scope of your practice. This is different for everyone depending on who are you, what you do and what your qualifications are.

If you’re in the health and wellness space, it makes a big difference if you’re a nurse, registered dietitian or health coach. If you’re giving out business advice, it’s important someone knows you’re not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor.

It’s not just enough to cover this in your website disclaimer or a disclaimer included in your 1-on-1 contracts. You actually need to operate your business in accordance with your scope of practice too. If you’re a business coach but not a lawyer, don’t give out legal advice. If you’re a health coach but not a doctor, don’t give out medical advice. You get the idea! Create a reliable network of other professionals you can refer to or reference and you’re all set.

Set a Sharing Policy (and abide by others’ policies)

One of the easiest ways to ensure you get credit where credit’s due is to have a clear “sharing” policy on your site, preferably in your terms and conditions. This is where you should outline what steps someone has to take if they want to share your post, recipe, photos etc. Do they need to email someone at your company? Who? Can they just go ahead and share, as long as they link back and give credit? Can they use your photos? These are all questions that your sharing policy should address.

Have it clearly available and set out on your site so no one visits your site, sees a post they want to use on their site and just copies and takes it because they don’t see a sharing policy on your site. You can also use the fact that you have a sharing policy set out in your terms and conditions for when you need to contact someone who did use your content in a way that contradicts your sharing policy.

Protect Your Online Course

As your business grows, you might create an online course or group program to try to maximize your reach. We want to make sure your business is ready and protected for that kind of growth first.

Online courses and programs bring up a host of new legal issues. What is your policy about sharing login information with people who didn’t pay for the course? What if someone downloads your content and shares it online? And what about installation (monthly) payments? These are all issues you want to address with clients before they sign-up and purchase your course or program. You can do this through a terms of use document that people have to review before they can purchase. Even better, have them check off a box to confirm they’ve reviewed and agreed to your terms of use before they purchase.

There are so many ways we need to protect our businesses and ourselves in business. You might think these things would never happen to you or that you can’t really get “in trouble” for something you’re doing.

Unfortunately, I’ve spent the last 5 years finding out how wrong that is. These things can happen to any of us in business at any time. And I don’t say that to scare you. I say it because we have the option and the opportunity to be proactive and protect ourselves the best we can. I believe that makes us more professional, confident and empower entrepreneurs. And I hope you do too.


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Systems, Entrepreneur

How to Figure Out What You Really Want to Do: 7 Steps to Build Your Dream Business

Hey, you. Yeah, you over there who has this passion that fuels your soul. This passion that you think deep down inside might just be able to turn into a business, but you’re maybe more than a little bit nervous about even thinking that. I mean, who makes money from doing something they actually love? We do. And so can you. We believe in treating your business (what you might be calling a hobby) like a business from day zero. Before we had clients or raving customers. Before it helped pay the bills and allowed us to work from home and make our own schedule. Before we had to pay quarterly taxes and consider an LLC. Before any of that, we decided that this little ole passion was going to be a full blown, soul fulfilling, freaking profitable business.

Hey, you. Yeah, you over there who has this passion that fuels your soul. This passion that you think deep down inside might just be able to turn into a business, but you’re maybe more than a little bit nervous about even thinking that. I mean, who makes money from doing something they actually love? We do. And so can you. We believe in treating your business (what you might be calling a hobby) like a business from day zero. Before we had clients or raving customers. Before it helped pay the bills and allowed us to work from home and make our own schedule. Before we had to pay quarterly taxes and consider an LLC. Before any of that, we decided that this little ole passion was going to be a full blown, soul fulfilling, freaking profitable business.  |  Think Creative Collective

Once you establish that this passion of yours can be a profitable business it’s a lot easier to make crystal clear decisions regarding your business. Should you invest in that program? What about blogging? What social media channel should you be on? Should you focus on list building and email marketing? When you’re clearly able to see where you want your business to take you, you’ll know within seconds how much time you should be spending and in what areas you should be focusing. Until you get to that point mentally, you’re just “trying things”. We know it’s easier to tell people “I’m trying it out and seeing where it’ll lead me.” It’s harder to own what you’re doing and what you want it to become.

So the first step is done. You’re ready and willing to go head on into this whole creative small business owner thing and totally rock it. What comes next?

You’re armed with passion, now let’s get you the tools to make it all happen. While there are loads of tools (softwares, apps, products, and systems) that we use every day to make our jobs easier, there are a select few that we absolutely couldn’t live without. Swipe them, use them, love them and watch them help you save time and knock some major things off the ole to-do list. We’re all about working smarter, not harder.

  • ConvertKit: Our favorite and handiest email service provider. We’re all about investing in things that make the most sense for your business. Email marketing makes sense and shows about a $44 return for every $1 spent, so it’s clearly worth your time and money.

  • Pic-Tap-Go: The easiest, fastest and most powerful iPhone editor available. For just $1.99 you’ll be able to edit your smartphone pics in a way that mimics the quality of DSLR images. This is the only editing app we use to edit on the go. It’s the key factor in how we’ve been able to create a consistent and professional looking Instagram feed across the board.

  • WebinarJam: This is how we run our webinars and it’s been one of the biggest game changers in our business. When we were running webinars every month the first 5 months of our business, we doubled our list every single time. This has been a huge factor in the growth and engagement of “our people” on our list.

  • Teachable: The simplest and quickest way to get your course online. We host all of our programs over on Teachable and love the ease in which we can go from idea to money making course super fast. Their drag and drop functionality mean you don’t need to learn code before you can sell online. Teachable has been a huge factor in our growth here at TCC.

Want to know what else we use to make our business run smoothly? We’ve got a bag of virtual goodies ready and waiting for you right over here.

Now that you know you’re gonna make this happen and you know the tools that are gonna help get you there, when does it all happen? Well, now we have to take a long hard look at our day and week. We know you’re probably still at that full time job (outside the home), or chasing the kids and the laundry, which is a (sometimes additional) full time job in and of itself. You’ve got to make concise decisions in a timely manner in order for you to see the most movement. Well, before we can actually start penciling stuff in, you first need to plan out and write down how you want your week to look different. What would it look like if you actually gave your business your all? What would happen if you took a Tuesday off?

Are you going to be building a business that’s going to need your attention 24/7/365, or will you set up systems that can work behind the scenes when you aren’t there?

This is where it’s going to be super easy to look at what everyone else is able to do in their business. You’ll look at their Instagram feeds or read their newsletter thinking that they have bigger budgets, more time, better results and richer clients. This comparison corner is not a fun place to be, and you’ll start to feel bad if it doesn’t seem like you’re catching up. This is when we urge you to think about what’s going to work for you and your family or situation, not what works for others.

If you can only give 30 minutes a day, make it a damn good 30 minutes.

In order to make it a damn good 30 minutes, you need to be eliminating as many steps as possible for each and every task. It may not make sense for you to outsource someone else to do certain tasks, but you could automate it. We’ve been able to find so many steps in our everyday (some big, some tiny) to automate, and that has in turn found us so much time in our day.

If you’re interested in automating #AllTheThings then let’s get your biz on autopilot with our free course.

Now, you’ve got things automated and running in the background. You’ve gotten some things off your plate so you can focus on moving your business forward. But there are still everyday tasks that need your attention. You still need a place for brainstorming, big dreaming, planning and doing. Where to do all that?

We personally use (and recommend) Trello. This is our go-to powerhouse that enables us to not only dream big, but get our everyday to-do’s done. It’s how we function as a two CEO business, communicate with our team, plan our launches, blog posts and podcasts episodes and check in our growth as things progress.

Ready for your final step? This one is pivotal. It’s dramatic. It’s huge. It’s the hardest.

You just need to do the damn thing. And then do it again.

Make a plan then follow through. Dream the dreams then turn them into action steps. Don’t just say you want to have a dream business, build it. Establish your hobby like a business from day one and reap the benefits.

Will they come overnight? Absolutely not. But will they come at all if you don’t treat every single day as if they will? Absolutely not.

If following through isn’t your forte (hey, we see you creative) then let us help you. We know that sometimes our right brained friends can stay in the clouds and convince themselves that their big scary dreams can’t happen. But we know that they can.

Here’s the bottom line: we believe in you, your passion and your success. We want to be your biggest (and loudest) cheerleaders in everything you do. We want this world to be filled to the brim with people loving their jobs instead of hating them. We want to help form new generations of people working creatively and with so freaking much passion that it runs out their eyeballs. We think you’re ready to be a part of that.

If you’re ready to see some movement in your business and be proud of what you get to do every single day we want you inside our brand new (FREE) course Spark Your Creativity: 7 Steps to Ignite Your Business. Here’s what we’re breaking down:

  • Why your passion needs a purpose
  • More tools to be more productive and badass apps to help you cut the crap
  • The mistakes we’ve made and the things that can totally kill your vibe
  • How to plan your dream week and how it can totally shift how your business runs
  • The secret sauce behind our success (and how you can totally copy it)
  • The best way to make goals that get done

Hundreds of creatives have already chosen to take these steps and are ready to see big changes in their creative business. Will you be the next one?


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Social Media, Marketing, Holiday

5 Ways to Rock Your Holiday Social Media Strategy

If you’re thinking “Oh no, I can hardly rock my social media strategy during the rest of the year, nevermind during the holidays”, then don’t worry. I promise this post will leave you a better social media manager or business owner. Really, you’ll thank me later when holiday planning isn’t so daunting and, to be honest, all of these tips can be applied to any other type of social media campaign. It’s important to remember that if you spend some time now you can put your systems in place so the next time you need to put together a social media strategy around a particular product, launch, or holiday it will be second nature.

The holidays are a particularly important time for every business, as whether you are a B2C or B2B business this is a busy time of year. If your target is other businesses then this is a great time to showcase your value, how you can make the holiday season that much easier or more profitable for them. If you’re a B2C business, well then, you most likely know the drill - sell, sell, sell!

The holidays are a particularly important time for every business, as whether you are a B2C or B2B business this is a busy time of year. If your target is other businesses then this is a great time to showcase your value, how you can make the holiday season that much easier or more profitable for them. If you’re a B2C business, well then, you most likely know the drill - sell, sell, sell! | Think Creative Collective

This season is also a last push to help reach your yearly goals and it’s a great time to start thinking about the new year and the ways you want to grow your business. Again, if you are a B2C business then use some of your New Year promotions to focus on helping your clients make the most of their next year in business with fresh starts, better systems, and more tools.

Let’s get started with your holiday social media marketing plan and dive into these 5 key things to jumpstart your social media strategy for the holidays!

1. Analyze - What Worked & What Didn’t?

Taking a look at last year or any recent campaigns you’ve launched can help you to better understand what worked, what didn’t, and what your personal pain points were during that time. Set aside some time to really look at this data. Make note of any posts that did particularly well with engagement, ones that saw high click throughs. You should be able to grab a lot of this data from the native analytics available in Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Once you have those posts rounded up try to narrow down why they were successful and use that during your planning. You don’t want to recreate the same campaigns exactly, but instead identify the elements that seemed to be successful. This could be the type of contest it was, the theme you chose for your giveaway, the specific types of products, the platform it was hosted on, etc. If this is your first year in business, scope out what your competition did for the holidays to see what worked and didn’t.

2. Goals - What Do I Want to Happen?

Of course we all want sales, but set some goals for yourself. Not only is this important to focus your efforts in social media during the holidays, it’s an important tool for you as a business owner to start to see an ROI on your time as well as give you something to strive for! Set weekly engagement, sales, or anything other goals. Maybe you’re launching a big product and you want to create a viral video. Set that as a goal. Don’t set yourself up for failure either, set realistic goals and then once you reach them set bonus goals! Setting goals that require work but are attainable is a huge boost for your confidence. This helps creative a positive attitude, which goes farther than you might think!

3. Plan Out Media - What Will I Post?

I think for many businesses it’s so important to think about the images and videos you can share ahead of time so you have time to produce quality media. Consider putting together some videos featuring your products, holiday DIY tutorials, or anything that your audience might really enjoy during the holidays as well as promotional videos for ads and timelines. You can do a lot of this yourself but if you can’t, consider teaming up with other businesses for styled photo shoots or videos. This takes time to coordinate so next year, I suggest you begin thinking about this at the end of summer (or earlier!) and get some plans in order so you have quality holiday themed content to share. For this year, there is still plenty of time for you to implement this, just create your goals and action items, then get to work! There are so many creative businesses willing to partner up to get styled photo shoots & videos created as well as offer guest blog content and other quality media that can help you market your products and services.

4. Plan Out Promotions/Giveaways - What Will I Give Away?

The other big thing to consider is any sales, special promotions, or giveaways you want to run during the holidays. Decide which platforms to promote on, if you will be running any social media ads, what your budget for these ads will be, and any graphics you’ll need to promote with. You can also use this as an opportunity to find other business owners to collaborate with, which can be a great opportunity to get in front of a whole new audience.

5. Timeline - When Should I be Planning & Posting?

Normally, I highly recommend sitting down with an umbrella drink in your favorite maxi dress and flip flops sometime in August to begin planning out your holiday marketing plan. This doesn’t mean you need to have it all filled out but creating a timeline for yourself (one that you can use over and over every year, I might add!) will help you stay ahead of the game. However, I said earlier, and I’ll say it again, there is still time to start now. Make some small, realistic goals, and get to work! Carve out a time to plan, a day to execute, and then time to schedule it across your platforms. Don't let another day go by without getting your plan in place.

You can create a simple Word doc or spreadsheet with your timeline planned out, and then you can fill it in as the ideas start to pan out and become finalized. This timeline will eventually serve as a template that you can reuse yearly and for any other holiday or special event.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed I encourage you to chat with some of your business besties and find some ways to tackle this together. You can do it! Happy Holidays!


We're always partying on Instagram! 


Our Big Secret to an Organized and Balanced Workday in Our Small Business

Let me paint you a picture of our lives before Trello! Endless piles of paper, three journals working simultaneously (supposedly with different subject matter in each), scratched out to-do lists (and when they got too messy we would spend time rewriting them). I was in a constant state of panic, like I was going to forget a meeting or a deadline. I worried (even more than normal) that our whole business would fall apart over one missed task.

In the past we used Wunderlist as our project management system. It worked for a time but as our business grew and became more complicated, it ended up like the notepads, one hot mess.

We knew there had to be a better way!

Enter Trello - A free business tool that changed our lives and improved our business. But don't Google anything yet! Trello on its own is a little confusing, but don't worry - we've fixed it.

Let me paint you a picture of our lives before Trello! Endless piles of paper, three journals working simultaneously (supposedly with different subject matter in each), scratched out to-do lists (and when they got too messy we would spend time rewriting them). I was in a constant state of panic, like I was going to forget a meeting or a deadline. I worried (even more than normal) that our whole business would fall apart over one missed task. | Think Creative Collective

 

Trello has radically transformed how we do business and how we run day-to-day operations. It has not only streamlined our workflows and processes, but finally answered the seemingly most important question.

How the heck do we get it all done?!

 

We started using Trello to intentionally create a schedule and workload that was not only doable, but pushed us towards our big dreams.

Get organized. Get shit done. Grow your business with Trello.

We’re taking you inside Trello and walking you, step-by-step, through our workflow to show you how we manage our own small business. Not only are you getting a peek into exactly how we run things every single day, but we’re also giving you the exact templates (with instructions) so that you can do the same thing. We’re getting you to a better place so you can spend less time being a frazzled mess and more time checking things off your list like you're freakin' Santa Claus.

Get your week organized.

This is how you’re going to zero in on your focus so you’re not totally flipping out about everything that needs your attention. We’ll show you how having a weekly view of your schedule will be an absolute game changer for productivity. We’re talking time blocking baby.

Get it all and more at TrelloForBusiness.com.


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