ecourse

4 Photography Tips To Level Up Your Blog

By Gemma Peanut

As creatives, we can love our art so much that we may struggle to think of it as a business. 

It may even seem wrong to promote and sell it for monetary gain - but we all need to make a living and what better way than by doing what you are bonkers passionate about! 

That being said, I do cringe at the thought of bookkeeping and even invoicing clients which are all parts of working for yourself - but one area that I am more comfortable with these days, is marketing.

And the reason for this, is I think I’ve cracked the code...

3 years ago, I was crying myself to sleep, stressing my little heart out over what the heck I was going to do with my life.  A friend suggested that I start blogging as an outlet and a way of deciphering through all the confusion and so begun Gemma Peanut Gallery

As I continued to share my musings and adventures, I realised the power of imagery. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I quickly learnt this first-hand by seeing the response on my blog to different images. It seemed that having great visuals was a easy win on the marketing side! This realisation fed my curiosity about learning how to take better photos and so began my foray into photography… 

Today, I am a professional shutterbug on a mission to help creative creatures become the boss of their cameras once and for all so that they can produce stunning imagery that shows off their art to the masses.

I’m going to share with you the photography tips that helped me level up my blog.

1/ MOVEMENT
The most compelling photos have movement OOZING out of them and because of this, they tell a story instead of just showing a static, frozen moment in time. The viewer is drawn in and invited to daydream about what’s going on in the image. 

My favourite cues to capture a sense of motion in photographs is to take a walk or to do a twirl which instantly injects playfulness and spirit. 

2/ IMAGE BANKING
Ever typed up the final word of your masterpiece, been super eager to hit “publish” and then realised you have no images to jazz it up and to use to share on Facebook? This is where image banking comes in real handy.

To key to creating a plentiful and versatile arsenal of photographs is to shoot for variety. Consider capturing a range of emotions from smiling straight to camera, to side-profiles staring off pensively, to candid and whimsical back shots. Shoot a scene with both portrait and landscape framing and both close-ups and wide-angle shots. 

3/ FLAT LAYS
Flat lays are so visually captivating when everything falls together effortlessly - but trust me, there is a lot of effort involved! You have to select and arrange the items in a way that expresses an idea or a theme and then you have to take the photo from the right angle, with the right framing and the right lighting. 

Never fear! There are some sure-fire ways to make your flat lay ultra-pinnable! Pick a tonal palette and stick to it to create instant harmony in your flat lay and choose a background that allows these colours to shine. Matte cardstock, hardwood floors and granite bench tops work wonders! 

Now for how many objects...I find that the magic number is 3. You can create so many balanced arrangements with just 3 items such as all 3 in a row, or peeking in from 3 of the corners leaving one corner intriguingly blank which leads me to…

4/ NEGATIVE SPACE
As with many things, less is more and photography is no different with the nifty technique of negative space. Negative space is simply the space surrounding the hero of your image - so picture your model against a big, blank wall or a pretty trinket against a patterned rug. Negative space makes your subject or object really pop!

And it’s also handy for blogging because you’ll be able to easily add in some text to form a header image or a quote perfect for Instagram. 

Photography is the ultimate marketing tool and its uses to give your blog that extra edge are endless! 

Gemma Peanut is a professional shutterbug and story teller. Armed with her camera, her untamed heart and a boundlessly messy imagination. If you’d like to keep on learning about photography, check out Photography 101 with Gemma Peanut where manual mode photography is broken down into human-speak across several beautifully presented video tutorials + the super-active and exclusive Shutterbug Club. 

The Marketing Mistake Every New Business Owner Makes

Digital-Bravery-Ecourse

Somehow we all blinked and it's almost the end of October. How that actually happened is beyond me but either way the end of 2016 is looming. It's therefore time for the guilt, shame and panic to set in as we realise all those goals we never did get around to accomplishing (I'm looking at you - learning French, mastering photography or journaling daily).

It's the same for those lofty business goals we proudly boasted about. Yet here's the thing that I've found to be the #1 mistake that new business owners make, again and again. They get caught up in the excitement, in the adrenaline and they dive straight in. They're building websites, designing business cards, agonising over colour palettes, Instagram names and downloading every social media app under the sun.

On the surface this sounds great right? Except on major things is missing:

A plan.

We are so busy with tactics that when we launch our new business we skip the most important step of creating a solid marketing strategy that will drive and guide every decision we make moving forward.

Digital Bravery Ecourse

And that is why I'm so excited to relaunch my flagship ecourse, Digital Bravery this week to give new business owners a chance to get their marketing game back on track (and yes this can be done before the end of the year).

It's not too late to learn new skills, get armed with all my actual templates and spreadsheets, and start 2017 marketing your business in a way this is sustainable - and gets results. If you're guilty of not meeting your January resolutions and want to start next year with a fresh clean marketing slate then check out all the details here and know that we have a pretty sweet Early Bird rate running until this Sunday!

Because the end of the year simply signals a new beginning and how you start next year is completely up to you. My advice? Don't make the same marketing mistake twice.

Have questions? Join me for a LIVE workshop Sunday 23 October at 7:30pm AEST and I'll be answering your all your additional questions and getting to share a bit more about me and my journey! Sign up here.

The Most Perfect Example Of How You Just Need To Start...

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By Diana Miller

Sharing beauty with the world through my art is what drives me. I thrive on connecting with others through this medium and to inspire them to live their own life doing the things that bring them a sense of fulfilment.

My name is Diana Miller, and I have joined the creative collective to adorn the world with beautiful paintings and art products that express who I am. But it’s more than just about me. It’s about us. You and me. True happiness is when I am able to give some of my own goodness to others and help them to feel the joy too. My greatest desire? To infuse my work with emotion, passion, movement and energy. The result? A unique artwork that offers every observer their own interpretation and feeling - peace, beauty, exploration, love, joy.

"A picture really is worth a thousand words”

MY STORY
A year ago I was living in Brisbane, I had a small studio where I painted from but no career path and little self belief. Today I am represented by Art Piece Gallery in Mullimbimby and Fenton & Fenton in Melbourne and I am resident artist at the Newrybar Merchants in Newrybar in the Byron Bay hinterland. And I am living my perfect life.

How did I make this shift in the short space of a year? You may have heard the poetic words of Claire Bowditch in her song ‘Amazing Life’. ‘You want an amazing life, but you can’t decide. You don’t have to do just one thing, but you have to start something.’

And start I did. But only after the whirlwind that I call my previous life. Here’s my journey from hobby painter to full time artist. Since immigrating to Australia with my Toowoomba-born builder husband 13 years ago we have ridden the waves of life together – (and my life mirrors the layered tapestry of my paintings) filled with change, upheaval, unexpected twists and turns with 22 house moves and as many property deals. Blessed with the highest of highs – 2 beautiful children, incredible friends, opportunities, and returning to my art practise, and the lowest of lows –homesickness, health challenges, losing our life savings and shortly after that losing our house in the Brisbane floods, my life reflects typical ebbs and flows that have informed all I have created so far.

In December 2014 I found myself in a pretty dark and unhappy place. My husband and I had just been featured on Grand Designs for the container home he created. We were enjoying the fruits of that labour by living in it. For various reasons (not exciting enough to mention here), we sold that property and downscaled to a small, dark and hot little rental home while planning our next move. That was the beginning of a period of unrest for me, personally and with regards to the direction I would take with my art making. Not unlike a squirrel scampering around for forage, I was feeling frantic looking after everyone else in my family, running here, running there but forgetting to look after my own needs. My tank was running on empty.

Painting and creativity had become second priority even though it was always the thing that would give me my lease on life each day. In those moments of feeling empty I would yearn to paint, and even more, make something of my art, perhaps a commercial career, but I felt ill equipped and lacking in the knowledge I felt I needed to “make a go of it”. Funnily enough, I had been told by a clairvoyant 14 months prior that I had a brilliant business brain and that I was going to be a successful business owner. I laughed that off believing my own story that I was not capable of that. Lucky for me though fate stepped in and I was able to undo those unhelpful beliefs that I later realized were keeping me chained.

Knowing that my art was essential to my emotional and mental wellbeing and that not making art was not an option, I began to ask myself how I could rekindle my painting habit AND turn my hobby into a business. A real business.

Enter the Universe…. I saw an ad on facebook for the Conquer Club (an online international business course for female entrepreneurs), and it immediately appealed to me. Before I knew it I was chatting on a webinar with Kylie Patchett and Natalie McNeil (the founder of She Takes on the World and the Conquer Club) and before I could say no to myself, I had signed up to both the Inner Circle of the Conquer Club and the Mind Money Mojo course with Kylie.

It was a big financial commitment, but I KNEW I had to do something extraordinary for ME. It was time. Despite the fear of the unknown and the even bigger fear of having to put myself out there I knew I had committed myself to the thing that gave me purpose – my art.

I can wholeheartedly say that without those 2 courses there is no way I would have achieved everything I did in 2015 or seen the growth and opportunities arising so far in 2016.

THE UNEXPECTED
You would think that partaking in a business course would only enlighten you to the pragmatics of the business world – financials, systems, marketing. What I didn’t bargain for was that I was also getting the foundational learning that ultimately determines your success in anything you do. Mindset. Through the mindset work of Kylie Patchett, I was taken on a confronting AND freeing journey to unravel and release emotional blockages that were impacting on my beliefs and thinking patterns. I went from self-limiting beliefs of not being good enough as an artist or business person to transformative patterns of not just thinking, but knowing ‘I can do this.’

With all things good, it was not easy. It took commitment on my part to be honest with myself, to acknowledge my hurts, apply the tools taught to me to move through them and then create what it was that I did want in my life. One statement really stood out for me during the course work and it was this: “The success of a business is directly linked to the emotional wellbeing of it’s owner.”

Akin to a magic spell, things started to fall into place as I experienced these positive shifts in my mindset. I created a vision board with my hopes and dreams for the year, got clear on my goals and wrote them up big and bold for the universe to see. Within 3 months of doing that, the “move to Bangalow” became a step closer as we secured a block of land there. My work started selling more, even though I’d put my prices up, I got invited and accepted into art shows, held my solo show and almost sold out. Opportunities came knocking on my door as I ventured into an activewear and swimwear collaboration and my first range of art cushions. And then the greatest thing of all happened… my husband and another business owner from the area facilitated the creation of the “Newrybar Merchants” in Newrybar, 5 minutes from Bangalow. This was to be my new work space complete with my own studio and gallery space to display my work. Early December saw us make the sea change to the idylic location of Bangalow and I soon got representation with Art Piece Gallery in Mullumbimby. To add to the magic happening all around me, Fenton & Fenton approached me to be one of their artists and I am now represented by them! And all of those opportunities came to me just by me doing what I love to do… paint!

To say I’m stoked is an understatement. I always thought it was a load of nonsense when mentors made it all sound so simple – that all you had to do was do that thing that you were so intensely passionate about. Yet, I am experiencing now the truth of that concept. It is a subtle but powerful shift from thinking you can do it to BELIEVING with utter resolve that what you are doing is worth it. I think the confusion comes when people think you think good thoughts and then sit and wait for good things to happen. No you don’t. You get up each and every morning and work on that thing you love without fail. Just like you feed your body each day. And it’s the work you put in because of the love of what you do that brings more of what you want to you.

In summary, I’d like to share a few key things that I have learnt in my journey from hobby to professional artist, in the hope that it might inspire someone out there to go and grab the life they deserve.

1. You have one life to give your dreams a crack. What are you waiting for?
2. Failure is always a stepping stone to something greater.
3. I believe you need a clear vision or statement that you live by in the forefront of your mind. I live by the motto on my fridge “Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience in your life” Anthony Robbins.
4. Beliefs are created in childhood and can cause emotional blockages in the body. Find yourself a great kinesiologist or a form of therapy that works for you and go and get help to clear them out. It can take a bit of time but you will feel a whole lot lighter when that work is done!
5. Self care is essential to everything! So meditate, do yoga or whatever it is that makes you happy and keeps you centred and at peace. It’s imperative if you want to create an aligned and healthy business.
6. Its okay to put yourself out there. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Its all part of the learning and the journey.
7. Its okay to put yourself first.
8. Ask yourself what is the worst thing that can happen? More often than not you will laugh at how silly the answer is ☺
9. The stuff your parents told you wasn’t necessarily true. I was told “you will never make a living as an artist”, and so I studied Graphic Design instead of Fine Art. I don’t regret any of it… my path to becoming a full time artist has probably been a lot more interesting than if I had studied art! But that belief that “I won’t make it as an artist” certainly got embedded in me and has taken a long time to shift…
10. Be proud of your achievements and celebrate them. Always celebrate the achievements of others around you. You duplicate the wonderful energy that way.

You can connect with Diana, here or on Facebook or Instagram.

Link Love // The Friday Files

Friday Files

For anyone that has ever launched an ecourse or product you understand the madness that exists the week before you hit 'go'. Well that has been my life this week. A flurry of last minute interviews, podcasts, emails with my web developer, late nights writing emails, gut checks with my mastermind group and the emotional butterflies that come with anything tied to vulnerability.

This Monday I open the doors to our 5th round of Digital Bravery and more than ever I'm excited to welcome our next class into the family of hundreds of past students that have graduated my course. I pour all my marketing know-how and guidance into this course and I can't wait for you guys to join me.

If launch chaos wasn't enough I decided to throw an exciting new job into the mix that I'll be sure to tell you about next week. For now I'm wrapping up some final to-do list items and then hitting the road for a weekend camping trip down the coast and some much needed time away from the screen (for now) - as it's pretty much the calm before the storm until next week hits. Bring it on! Enjoy the link love....x Jaclyn

  • THIS is happening on Monday and I can.not.wait.
  • I'm a bit biased buy this website is going to change the world
  • What you need to know about Snapchat's latest update
  • I'm revealing my must-have marketing tools in this free resource
  • Motherhood & careers...love Megan's honest words here.
  • Searching for the perfect #girlboss gift? I've got you sorted.
  • Calling all bloggers! This Mastermind was created for you...

Are You Joining The Etsy Resolution?

It's already February and the question starts to pop up around those big, bad dreams for yourself that you set in January. Are you on the right path to make those dreams come true? I'm proud to be teaming up with Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, to help promote the launch of Etsy Resolution, a free four week online bootcamp that just kicked off last week.

The good news is they've extended the enrolment so you can still take part and learn from their stellar line up of mentors who are walking the walk and following their creative biz dreams. The comprehensive - and free - four week online program will give participants access to tried and tested tips, tricks and lessons, direct from the people who know best, walking them through the process of starting an Etsy shop and growing it into a thriving online business. 

I sat down with 2 of their mentors, Jess Van Den and Kristy Tull, to ask them 5 quick questions about what inspired them on their creative path..

 

 

Jess Van Den, Epheriell
Jess Van Den is a self­employed silversmith working under the Epheriell label. She's been making jewellery since 2008, when she opened her Etsy shop to sell her jewellery as a hobby, and turned Epheriell into her full­time occupation in 2010 ­ bringing her husband Nick on board soon after. She specialises in eco sterling silver wedding rings, and works out of her solar­powered home studio in the countryside north of Brisbane.

She's also the founder and editor of Create & Thrive, where people learn how to turn their handmade hobby into a full­time business from those who've done just that.

Five quick questions...

Why is Etsy Resolution a valuable program?
Through taking hundreds of fledging creative entrepreneurs through the process of setting up shop online, I've learnt that the biggest stumbling blocks to getting your business up and running are a lack of time, a lack of direction, and a lack of support.

This course ticks all those boxes! It's not super­ time intensive but the lessons cover the absolute fundamentals that every beginner handmade businessperson needs to get a handle on in order to get their shop up and running. With SO much information floating around out there on the internet, it can be super ­overwhelming, and you can be tempted to give up before you even start because you don't know which way to go. Etsy Resolution narrows it down for you to the most important stuff. Finally, Etsy Resolution includes that all­ important element of support. Not only from me, my fellow mentors and the Etsy team, but ­ even more importantly ­ from your peers. Learning alongside other people who are passionate, creative, and in the same boat as you is invaluable. So often, people starting a handmade business struggle to get support from family and friends ­ so having the friendship and help of other creatives is absolute gold.
Why is the new year a good time to start a small creative business?
We're all bursting with energy and enthusiasm when a new year comes around ­ it's naturally a good time to embark on a new ventures and capitalise on all that momentum! The New Year is a fresh start ­ a time to look at what went well in the previous year ­ and what we wanted to do but didn't. Each year rolling around is a reminder that life is short, and if we have a dream, we should dive in and give it a crack ­ because if we never do, we'll never know what might have been! If you've been dreaming of starting a handmade business, but held back because of fear or lack of knowledge or support, Etsy Resolution is the perfect thing to help you kick­ start your biz in 2016.
Why is Etsy is good place to have a small creative business?
I’ve written about this before but here are a few compelling reasons why you should start – and continue – your business on Etsy.

  • It’s the world’s premier online marketplace
  • It’s the first port of call for many people wanting to buy handmade
  • It’s easy to set up and use, and has excellent ‘behind­the­scenes’ tools – stats etc
  • It’s an excellent ‘training’ ground – to compete on Etsy you have to play a stellar game with fantastic photos, good descriptions, excellent customer service, etc
  • It engenders immediate trust – people know that if they buy on Etsy they are protected if something goes wrong
  • There’s transparent feedback – do a good job and people will see that and buy from you
    What inspires your creative business?
    I'm never quite sure where the inspiration for Epheriell comes from. Sometimes ideas grow out of old designs, sometimes I just draw and see what appears on the page, sometimes I am inspired by a customer who asks for something new! When it comes to Create & Thrive, I'm inspired by both my passion to help other people create a business and lifestyle they love ­ because I know how happy that has made me ­and by my readers and students. I learn so much from them, and their questions, enthusiasm, and gratitude spur me on every day to keep going.
    What advice do you have for those who are hesitant to get started?
    Start now, today! Don't wait until things are 'perfect' ­ because things are never, ever perfect.
    One of my favourite quotes, from Arthur Ashe, is: "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you ca." Just start. I'll let you in on a secret ­ no­one is watching you yet! Get started, learn, experiment, grow, and as you do, your audience will grow with you. Businesses take time to become profitable ­ they are a marathon, not a sprint ­ so the sooner you start, the sooner your business will grow and gain momentum. Don't let fear or uncertainty hold you back. You will always be afraid (though a little less as time goes on and you gain confidence!) You will always face uncertainty ­ every day in business is an adventure (that's half the fun!). Just step onto the path ­ and take one step at a time towards that mountain of dreams in the distance.

Kristy Tull, Fox & Ramona
Fox & Ramona is a Melbourne based homewares brand offering hand crafted concrete products. The business started as a creative outlet for maker and mum­of­one Kristy Tull who initially made resin and polymer jewellery before falling in love with concrete as a medium. Tapping into a “a serious love of accessories, interior design, homewares, art and fashion” and a background in the architectural industry, Kristy has grown her creative business into her full time occupation.

Five quick questions...

Why is Etsy Resolution a valuable program?
It’s a great opportunity to learn the ins and outs of Etsy directly from sellers who are making a successful career from their craft.
Why is the new year a good time to start a small creative business?
Any time is a good time to start a creative business if you ask me!
Why is Etsy is good place to have a small creative business?
Etsy has such a large audience, it’s a great platform for global exposure of your small business.
What inspires your creative business?
I’m inspired by artwork, fashion and other designers and makers. I love seeing other small businesses be successful ­ it inspires me to work harder and think outside the box.
What advice do you have for those who are hesitant to get started?
What are you waiting for? One more day that you wait, is another day of online sales missed. You won’t regret opening your shop on Etsy, but you will regret NOT opening it.

Get started on the next creative chapter in your life by joining the Etsy Resolution here.