How to Create Handwriting Photo Overlays - Using Apps

Add a special touch to your Pinterest pins or Instagram photos by adding your own handwritten text or doodles. Better yet - do it on your phone! No need to transfer your phone photos to your laptop and no Photoshop required.

How to add your own handwriting as a text overlay on your photos. This technique uses apps - no Photoshop required!

 

Before we get started you'll need to download the following apps to your phone:

The video tutorial will walk you through how to:

  • Photograph your handwritten text
  • Edit the photo of your handwriting
  • Erase the background of your photo
  • Overlay your handwriting over an image

Ready? Let's go!

Did you give this technique a try? If so, leave a link to it in the comments. I'd love to check out what you create.

3 Reasons Taking Your Own Blog Photos is Better than Stock

Visual content is so important these days. Not only are graphics and images used to supplement text within blog posts and websites, they are key to clicks and engagement on platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest.

But if you’re not a professional photographer or graphic designer, just the thought of creating visual content can make you feel queasy.

You’ve just spent all this time writing valuable content for your audience, so you don’t want them to click away due to bad photos.

Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered. Join my upcoming workshop to learn how to take your own photos for blog posts or social media.

Need some additional motivation? Let me share with you 3 reasons why taking your own blog photos is better than using stock images.

As an entrepreneur and blogger, are you spending too much time looking for the perfect stock photos? Learn how to take your own images. Here are 3 reasons you should.

3 Reasons Why Taking Your Own Blog Photos is Better than Using Stock Images

1 | Everyone Gets Images at the Same Place

Pinterest is dripping with pins about the best places to find free stock photos. While many of the sites do indeed offer beautiful images for you to use; the problem is everyone else is using them.

It is so frustrating to search an hour to find the perfect free stock photo to use and then immediately see others using it. Not only is that frustrating, but it is also confusing to your audience.

Wouldn’t you rather stand out as unique?

2 | Photos Fit with Your Brand

Searching through those free stock photo sites can be frustrating if you are trying to achieve a certain look with your brand. Maybe you can find a photo with your brand colors in it, but it contains men and your audience is women. Or perhaps you want a laptop photo for a blog post about your Dell laptop and all the on brand photos you find feature Macs.

Instead of driving yourself crazy trying to find the perfect photo, use what you already have and you are destined to feel authentic.

3 | Save Loads of Time with Batch Processing

Additionally, you can create a makeshift studio in your home and take a bunch of photos at once. By setting aside time once a month, you can take and edit all of your blog and social media photos in one fell swoop.

By batch processing your photo taking, you will eliminate wasting time on blog post day searching through those stock photo sites.

So, now that you are convinced taking your own photos is a good idea for your online brand, let me show you how easy it can be to snap your own pics



3 Ways to Use Squarespace Cover Pages

So, have you created a Squarespace cover page yet? They are pretty cool.

The can serve as mini standalone websites for when you are in the process of developing a new, more complex site. Or they can serve as a one page online resume or portfolio.

However, even if you already have a more robust website, there are still some creative ways to use cover pages.

Here are 3 ideas for how to use cover pages on your Squarespace website.

squarespace cover pages - digital wabi sabi

3 Creative Uses for Squarespace Cover Pages

1 - As an opt in form for an upcoming product or program launch

Before you even launch your new product or service, you will want to collect the emails of prospective customers. 

Use a cover page as a type of sales page, where you can concentrate on the benefits of your offering and share testimonials. 

2 - Landing page from different advertising platforms

Ads that go to your website's home page will cause some users to get distracted by your blog or other options and then never opt-in. 

Create a stand alone cover page to gather the contact information for these folks. When you drive ads and marketing back to the cover page, have just one single and obvious call to action. 

Using this tactic will improve your advertising conversion rates.

In the his episode 'Building an Online Presensce Using Squarespace,' the Squarespace Guru provides detailed information about why landing pages are key to establishing yourself on the internet.

3 - Hub page for your multiple websites

For those folks who have multiple businesses or programs with their own websites, use a cover page as a hub for all of your endeavors.

That way, you can have business cards printed with just one web address. 

Are you ready to make a cover page? Squarespace walks you through the steps

Have you made a Squarespace cover page yet? Can you think of any other uses for them?


5 Tasks for Entrepreneurs on a Rainy Monday

Some Mondays are sunny and bright. I'm filled with optimism and ready to kick the week in the butt. Caffeine is just an added bonus, not a necessity.

Those kinds of Mondays are the best.

But then, sometimes, there are rainy Monday mornings after busy weekends.

When instead of working, I really feel like crawling back under the covers. The coffee doesn't seem to work. No matter how long I stare at a new open document, nothing gets created. 

Today is one of those rainy Monday mornings for me. 

But instead of letting the day slip away, and hoping I wake up rested and rearing to go on Tuesday, I still get things accomplished. I just shift my strategy for the week a bit.

Here are some ideas for being productive on rainy Mondays. Or really any morning you can't seem to get motivated. 

tasks for entrepreneurs on rainy Mondays - digital wabi sabi

Productive Tasks for Rainy Mondays

1 - Clean your desk

Yes, I can sometimes resort to desk cleaning as a form of procrastination. But the truth is, working on a clean surface really helps me concentrate. I'm a firm believer that junk in my peripheral vision clutters my mind and pulls down my energy levels. 

So, take a few minutes to tidy your work space.  Make nice neat stacks of papers, wipe down the surface and water any desk plants.

Now, isn't that better?

2- Back up/Delete/Organize your laptop files

Just like a clean physical desktop, a clean virtual desktop can make you feel in control. Get rid of home screen overwhelm by organizing files in folders. Save as many files to Dropbox as make sense and then delete them from your view. 

Another place to clean out is your Downloads folder (or wherever your laptop automatically downloads file). I tend to download files and then save copies in other folders. There's no need to keep 2 copies.

3- Make a To Do List

Knowing what needs to be done can give you a sense of control over your week and work tasks. Write those tasks down so when you feel moved to start getting things accomplished you'll know right where to start.

4 -Do Some Competitive Research

Browse the websites of competitors in your field. Take note of what they are doing. What do you like (and how can you integrate it into your business)? Where do you see opportunities to do something better - is there a gap in the information they provide? 

The key here is to not fall into the trap of feeling down on your own business or website because it is at a different level. Use this time for brainstorming and dreaming, not wallowing in self pity.

5 - Make Sure all Expenses are Categorized in Your Financial Software

Personally, I use Freshbooks. But it does't matter what financial tracking tools you use; it seems like there are always some expenses that end up being 'Uncategorized.'

Common categories include supplies, utilities, advertising, meals and entertainment, education and training. 

While on the surface, it seems like a no-brainier task (just look at a transaction and change the entry in a dropdown box), you'll probably find deeper work going on here. 

For example, if you are categorizing lots of expenses as postage, you may decide it is time to find a better way to ship your goods. Too many supply expenses? How can you reduce your spending? 

These 5 tasks are easy to tackle, yet will have you feeling accomplished. 

Hopefully, handling these tasks will motivate you to continue getting things done on your rainy Monday. 

 

 

 

Canva or PicMonkey? How to Make the Most of Both

Beautiful images can make a huge difference in how your website or social media posts are perceived. The good news is, there are great free desktop tools you can use for creating lovely graphics and images to use.

Canva and PicMonkey are my two favorites. 

If you've heard about these tools, you've probably seen users of each platform can be devotees who tell you how wonderful one service is over the other. However, I'm here to tell you both are great tools for different tasks.

Have you ever tried to hammer a nail into a board with a shoe? Yes, it can work, but with it comes frustration and a loss of time.

Here are my recommendations about how to make the best of both of the platforms so your graphics and images really shine.

canva or picmonkey


When to Use Canva

The best feature of Canva is it's layouts. Whether you need to create a PDF cover, a Facebook cover photo, a marketing brochure or advertisement, Canva has beautiful templates for you to use. 

I often use Canva to get design ideas for placement and font combinations, as they have already done that work for you.

Canva includes some photo editing capabilities, but I find them awkward and not intuitive to use. 

Overall, I enjoy Canva, but can sometimes get frustrated with it's slow speed. I also get frustrated with the interface. It is simple and streamlined, which in most cases is a plus - but it can sometimes feel like Canva assumes you know what all the tools are and how they work. I don't want to have to search Help every time I want to figure out how to do something that I could have figured out if there was a bit more guidance within the platform.

Take Away: Canva's strong point is layout and design.

When to Use PicMonkey

PicMonkey is a terrific tool for photo editing. Easily tweak aspects of photos such as the exposure, brightness, colors, and other basic functions. Additionally, PicMonkey includes some pretty slick filters and more advanced editing options, such as the ability to adjust color curves and clone parts of a picture.

And whenever I have a new profile pic for social media or my website, I always use PicMonkey's Touch Up capabilities. You can smooth skin and brighten eyes without ending up looking like a cartoon version of yourself. (These two tools are in the paid version.)

PicMonkey includes some basic collage tools take work for creating things such as basic Pinterest graphics, but the overall selection of layouts is somewhat limited. 

In addition, compared to Canva, the pre-made graphic elements feel less professional to me. 

Take Away: Photo editing is PicMonkey's strength.

Recommended Workflow for Creating Beautiful Graphics

With these thoughts in mind, my recommendation is to start with PicMonkey to get your photos ready for your design. Get it exactly how you want it to look in the final graphic.

Then, import it into Canva to use it in one of their layouts.

Do you use Canva and PicMonkey? How do you use them?


Tips for Taking Your Own Stock Photos Using Your Phone

Photography is a huge hobby of mine. I spend weekends taking photos for posting on Instagram. I write articles for Mobiography magazine. I love trying out new photo apps on my phone. 

So, recently I was looking for a free stock image to use to go along with a blog post. All of a sudden it dawned on me I could be taking my own photos to use on my blog. 

Have you ever considered creating your own stock images for use on your website?

While sites like Death to the Stock Photo and Unsplash offer free beautiful images, you don't have any control over what images you receive. Sites such as Creative Market offer affordable options for bloggers, but you'll have to be dedicated to searching through lots of images to find one that suits your taste.

Since that day, I have dedicated myself to using only my own images on blog posts going forward. 

Using your own photos gives you full control over your images while also sharing your vision with readers. So, are you ready to start taking your own photos for your website? 

For most instances, you can take post worthy photos on your phone. Unless you already have a fancy camera, there's no need to go out and buy one. I'm a big supporter of use what you have.

Here are some of my top tips.

 
take your own stock photos
 


Tips for Taking Your Own Stock Photos Using Your Phone

  • Keep it simple. One thing that separates professional looking photos from a snapshot is the staging. For instance, if you are taking a picture of your desk, remove unnecessary items from the area. The simplicity not only reduces visual clutter, it provides an area for you to later add text if you want. 
  • Use a shallow depth of field for professional looking images. What is a shallow depth of field, you ask? Take a look at a photo where the primary subject is in focus and the background is blurry. This shallow depth of field elevates your images to looking like they were taken by an expert. On an iPhone, tap then hold down on the screen over the portion of the image you want to be in focus. For other types of phones, do a search online to find out how your phone operates.
  • Use Dropbox's Camera Upload tool to sync all your images from your phone so you don't have to keep all your stock images on your phone forever. Once on Dropbox, you can even sort your photos into categories for better organization. 
  • Using Dropbox will also allow you to access the images from your laptop when you need to add them to blog posts. Additionally, you can get photos from your phone to your laptop using an app such as PhotoSync.
  • Take lots of photos when you are away from your desk. Sure, photos of your work area or studio can be very applicable to your posts and give readers a glipse behind the scenes. But remember there are lots of other ways to tie your images to your posts. For example, if you see a beautiful set of marble steps, your next blog posts can be "10 Steps to...." Or, perhaps you find a great sign - what about "3 Signs it is time to....?" You get the idea. 

Have you considered taking your own images for your website? If so, I'd love to see your examples - leave a link in the comments. If not, what's holding you back?


Why I Recommend Squarespace to Clients

If you are thinking about creating a website for your small business, you may be looking at Wordpress, Squarespace, Wix and other services. It can be difficult to sort through all the advantages to each platform while trying to decide which one would be best for you.

 
why I recommend squarespace to clients - digital wabi sabi
 


Personally, I recommend Squarespace to my clients. There are a variety of reasons why, and I explain more in my Skillshare course "Introduction to Squarespace." 

And guess what? The video series is free.

What to check it out? 

Introduction to Creating Squarespace Websites:

Squarespace Overview

  • Squarespace: Create Your Website Today
  • Why Squarespace
  • Squarespace vs Wordpress
  • Squarespace Limitations

Creating Your Own Squarespace Website

  • Selecting a Template
  • Class Project - Start Your Website
  • Next Steps

Check it out over on Skillshare.

5 Questions to Ask Before Starting Your Squarespace Website

5 Questions to Ask Before Starting Your Squarespace Website

Before you get started creating your Squarespace website, there are a few things to consider. As much as I love Squarespace, I think it is wise for my clients to know possible limitations of the platform before we invest a lot of time (and money) on creating their website. 

Overall, I believe Squarespace is a great selection for solopreneurs or small businesses - but I want you to be prepared when making the decision.

Here are 5 questions to consider before committing to the Squarespace platform.

My Favorite Squarespace Resources

My Favorite Squarespace Resources

It's no secret I have a crush on Squarespace. This tool makes creating beautiful, functional websites a straightforward task. The administration panel is intuitive and easy to navigate. 

But as with anything new, there's always a bit of a learning curve. The good news is as Squarespace becomes more popular, the number of resources are quickly growing.

Here are some of my favorite Squarespace resources.