women entrepreneurs

How to Use Instagram Stories (for business)


Recently I came across a fabulous episode of the Social Media Marketing Podcast with Michael Stelzner that covered Instagram Stories for business. Their guest was Alex Beadon a Instagram Stories EXPERT who gave a TON of great insider tips on how to utilize Instagram Stories to drive business. I want to dive in and cover a couple of things that I learned that are novel and useful. Let’s get started!

how to use instagram

Master the art of storytelling — There is a reason why they’re called Instagram Stories and the most successful use of the platform utilizes the key elements of any great story. A set-up, inciting event or introduction, great characters, a middle and most importantly and ending! So many Instagram story users forget to post an ending making viewers feel dissatisfied for following on your journey. Don’t leave your viewers hanging, make sure you sign off at the end of your series of stories so that viewers know the journey is complete.

Weekly series’ are an easy way to get started — If you’re wondering where to start with stories, try creating a weekly series. For example “Work with me Wednesdays” and you bring people along and show them a behind-the-scenes of what you work day looks like. Try to think about what you brand, service and product is and think about something that you get a lot of questions about and start there with your weekly series. Audiences will be FASCINATED!

how to use instagram stories

Sometimes what seems the most mundane is the most engaging — For example, just posting a picture of coffee vs tea and asking what you should have this morning? This or that questions.. yes or no questions.. all perform REALLY well on Instagram Stories. You don’t have to be the most creative or live the most fab life for people to want to watch — it’s actually the opposite. People are curious about your every day life.

Start conversations - One of the best ways to drive engagement on Instagram is to use the Stickers button to start conversations, chat rooms, or receive FAQs from your audience. If people DM you based on your story and ask you a question — send back your answer to them, screenshot it, block off their name or handle and then post THAT as a story - because likely other people have the same question! Use FAQs to fuel your content. Let your audience become part of the conversation. They feel included and this builds community.

Be authentic - On Instagram stories the name of the game is authenticity. Instagram posts are for you most polished photos, but Stories is a peak behind the curtain. Use this as an opportunity to try out new content, test new public speaking topics, test new jokes — whatever! As long as you’re being yourself you will be engaging and you will shine.

That’s it for how to utilize Instagram Stories! If you want to learn more, I highly recommend Alex Beaden’s program GRAM SLAM! It looks amazing and is definitely something I’ll be enrolling in, in the near future.

5 Things I Wish I'd Known (When Starting My Business)

5 Things to Do when Starting a  Business

There are so many things as a business owner I wish I had known and implemented from Day 1. But instead, I’ve been learning as I go and making a TON of mistakes along the way. Mistakes that have cost me $20k in credit card debt and left me struggling regularly to pay my day to day bills and expenses. I often feel more like a #strugglepreneur more than an #entrepreneur. Most days there is absolutely nothing I can do about it either - except keep my head up and keep going. Knowing that I now have systems in place moving forward that will pay out dividends later. But just in case you’re reading this and about to start a business, here are a few things I wish I’d done from day one to make this business venture more profitable and systematized (code for FUN) from the get-go.

1. Systematize Your Money

If you’re an entrepreneur and you haven’t read Profit First yet PLEASE stop what you’re doing now and order it on amazon. If you’re about to start a business and you haven’t read Profit First yet PLEASE stop what you’re doing now and order it on amazon. Have I made myself clear? Good. Moving on.

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Profit First was developed by Mike Michaelowicz as a way to systemize your business funds. Essentially it works like this - certain percentages of your income get divided into categories, namely Profit, Taxes, Operating Expenses and Owner’s Comp. You should be setting aside Profit from day one to ensure that your expenses aren’t eating all your profit. Too often our “profit” is mixed in with our expense account and while on an accounting balance sheet it may exist, the cash isn’t there to prove it. By opening MULTIPLE BANK ACCOUNTS and separating the cash you will ensure that your business is profitable from day one.

This system will ensure you save the right amount of money for taxes, your business is frugal, and that you always have money stashed away somewhere for a rainy day.

On this topic also start working with a bookkeeper and CPA from Day one. DAY ONE!! Ok, I think I’ve made my point. Finances are the BIGGEST cash-eating-monster that is out to get entrepreneurs. Don’t let it get YOU.

2. Content Creation is Part of Your Business Plan

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Content is king in this day and age - so instead of getting two years into your business and THEN trying to figure out how to make content on top of client work - build your content into your business plan from Day one. Whether it’s a podcast, or a youtube channel or a blog - pick your thing and work on it CONSISTENTLY (consistency is key to everything in business) for 1-2 years before re-evaluating. I highly recommend Youtube because as Forbes tells us “With 3 billion searches per month, YouTube’s search volume is larger than that of Bing, Yahoo, AOL, and Ask.com combined. If YouTube’s user base were a country, it would be the third-largest in the world.”

Yeah. Wow is right.

Set aside 1 day a week to work on your Youtube Content and then structure your client work and admin work around that. Content should be a top priority as it works as a marketing strategy, sales funnel, SEO magnet and elevates your status as an expert.

3. Have an Entry Level Offering That Makes you Money By Itself

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Here I am pretty much referring to an online course or webinar. Create an offering that can meet people wherever they’re at by keeping it at a relatively affordable price point. Depending on who you talk to, this might be $30 and it might be $700 so I’m not here to tell you exactly how much but create an online course with value by using your Culture Add (Thanks Danielle Leslie) to determine exactly what you can teach the world. Price your services at a price point that feels right and matches what else is on the market. Use this offering as a sales funnel on your website (collect e-mails when they sign up) and recommend it when someone can’t afford your signature package. This will help ensure that you always have some passive revenue, even if it’s just a leetle.

This course will also help give potential customers experience working with you and build your reputation so that when they’re ready to buy, they come knocking on your door.

4. Branding from Day 1

how to brand your business

One of my biggest regrets is not working with a branding professional from Day 1. While it might be an expensive investment (around $3,000) to get a full package, it is ENTIRELY worth it. How your brand appears in the world MATTERS. How people perceive you and your services MATTERS. It will give you more confidence when selling yourself if you’re clear on who you are and what you’re about and your materials match that mission through color and design. This is also important for your social media - which needs to match the other branded aspects of your business (website, business card) and needs to represent you in the best way. People are SO WILDLY influenced by branding it’s INSANE. They buy something because it sells them a deep desire they have within - even if it’s something subconscious that they can’t pinpoint. Have you ever bought the more expensive candle because of its texture, color, scent, and label? YAH. IT’S STILL JUST A CANDLE. That’s branding for ya. First impressions are everything - make it count.

5. Know Your Worth and the Cost of Your Services

It’s much easier for me to stand behind my pricing when I’m confident in the math behind it. Having never been a “math person” this has been somewhat painful to do but so worth it. Being in a service industry like video production it can be extremely hard to figure out what to charge - especially when your competitors are all over the place with pricing and most people determine their pricing based on their experience. Well, how do you put a value on experience? What kind of experience counts?

how to price your services

I’ve found that doing some exploration around what price points you’re willing and unwilling to work for can be extremely helpful in these situations. Additionally, you’ll need to take into account how much you desire to earn each month, how much your expenses will cost you (personal AND business), and how many clients you’ll be able to handle at once. Play around with the numbers until you figure what is going to work and then STICK TO THOSE NUMBERS relentlessly for at least 6 months before re-evaluating. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made is jumping all around in my pricing constantly. It’s confusing for me, confusing for my clients and unfair to clients who’ve paid more or less for a similar package as someone else. So pick numbers and stick to them. If you find they’re not working, re-adjust and then test again. A bit like a science experiment.

As your confidence and expertise grow your prices naturally will too. Be patient, don’t try to earn too much too quickly. Slow and steady wins the race.

That’s a wrap!

I hope this was helpful for you guys. Feel free to leave comments below with questions or to reach out to me directly for any other business insights! Happy to be of service if it means #nomorestrugglepreneurs.

5 Invaluable Lessons I Learned at the EWomen Network Conference

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This month I attended a 4-day women’s entrepreneurship conference in Dallas, TX and it was the single-most life changing and business-altering experiences I’ve ever had - and not for the reasons I expected. I didn’t meet hundreds of ideal clients (necessarily), I didn’t sell any business (yet), but I met the most inCREDIBLE mentors and women I can look up to and learned some invaluable lessons. For you, I’ve curated my top 5 - and I included a 6th bonus! Check it out.

1. Websites are Dead

websites are dead

Social Media is the name of the game now. The majority of consumers DON’T go to your website first - they go to your social media platforms. From there they make quick assumptions about your brand, your business, and what you can do for them. Do NOT underestimate the power of social media anymore, it’s 2019. I’m not suggesting you ditch your Squarespace subscription (yet) but social media is KING. Did you know Instagram is a billion dollar industry? Yeah. The average Instagram user earns over $100k in annual revenue. They sound like great customers to me!

e women network conference

2. Stop Re-Inventing The Wheel

So often as entrepreneurs we are trying to do things a new and innovative way and ignoring the people that have come before us. Well, it’s time to stop being an idiot and start using the legwork of your competition to succeed faster. If your competition is doing something that works (like getting website traffic, or they have a great sales funnel, or they have a kick-ass social media) then HACK IT and COPY IT like your business depends on it! Because...well.. It DOES! No, I’m not saying plagiarize and I’m not saying copy each word, image and aesthetic. I’m saying hack the TEMPLATE and make it YOUR OWN.

3. Your Mind is Your Most Powerful Business Tool

how to use your mind to fuel your business

I hear it over and over again - the most successful people utilize the power of their MIND to reach success. There is NOTHING more powerful than the thoughts you think, the words that come out of your mouth, and your VISION for SUCCESS. Spend time with that vision DAILY. Speak the truth that you desire into form. If you don’t know how to do this pick up the Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes or Mindful Success by Maggie Cook. Recognize that you are a spiritual being having a human experience and you can use the divine to fuel your business. If it sounds and feels ridiculous, you’re doing it right! Believe in it anyway and the “kingdom” will literally be yours.

4. Micro-influence is the Sweet Spot

how to become an influencer

There are 4 kinds of influence; Mega, Macro, Micro and Nano. Mega-Influencers are you celebrities, actors, musicians they have 1M+ followers on Instagram. While this may seem appealing and you may think that all those people would be great for your web traffic and sales - the reality is Mega influence is actually extremely unfocused because of the diversity of followers. The real sweet spot is actually in Micro-Influence for several reasons A) It’s attainable (1K-100K followers) B) It’s a manageable size and you can develop intimate relationships with your followers and C) you have very high engagement from your followers. So, when you’re aiming for the stars with your IG just remember that there is in fact a sweet spot when it comes to influence.

5.  It’s Not a Vision Board - It’s an Action Board

how to create a vision board

Whoa!! Mind-blowing isn’t it? A-C-T. Action-Changes-Things. Vision-boards mean NOTHING if they sit there and cause you no inspired action. So next time you’re considering making a vision board say “NO”. Instead make an action-board and watch your next steps unfold. Thanks to Maggie Cook for that GREAT quote.

That’s it for my 5 invaluable lessons I learned at the EWomen Network conference! I cannot wait to see what the Icon2020 Conference holds next year! Will I be seeing you there?

For bonus tip #6 join my email list and receive the FULL PDF of these invaluable lessons for future reference!