Organize Your Small Business With Dubsado

Running a small business, especially if you are a solopreneur, is no simple job. There are so many tasks that need to be done within a small business and if you do not have any organization systems in place, you’ll become overwhelmed and burnt out very quickly.

If you provide services, you need to be very organized with your customer-relationship management (CRM). You do not want to miss out on leads just because of disorganization! And once you capture a new lead, there are steps to take to onboard a new client - the time you save by automating your on-boarding is incredible.

If you are looking for a CRM tool, look no further than Dubsado. Dubsado is a vital tool for running an organized, efficient business. With all of the tasks that small business owners have to do every single day, it’s important to create workflows and automations within the business. For the first year and a half after starting my business, I worked by myself. I work with web design and social media clients, so I knew I needed to get my client management system as automated as possible!

I chose Dubsado because it was very affordable and also had everything I needed in a CRM - plus it has a free, no-time-limit trial. The investment in Dubsado is $35/mo or $350/yr (2 months free)! But you don’t have to start paying until you are making money. You do not need to pay a dime until you have reached THREE clients or leads!

I love that Dubsado is a CRM made for small business owners, by small business owners. They were able to recognize what would improve client management systems and that’s what they created.

How Dubsado Organized My Life

The features and automations within Dubsado allow me to automate nearly everything in my business, especially when it comes to managing clients. I am so thankful for all the time that Dubsado saves me as it allows me to spend more time and energy working in my zones of genius (social media and design).

Workflows

In Dubsado, you create workflows. They are your customized, automated processes that help you and your client move along your business’s systems efficiently. Events such as a form being submitted or a contract signed will trigger your custom workflow for that job. Imagine how much time is wasted when you manually try to keep up with your client workflows!

Forms

Instead of embedding a form on your website that is sent to your email inbox, you can capture a client lead and have it entered automatically into a workflow.

Canned Emails

Canned emails are a major time saver! Keep things moving quickly and efficiently by sending out canned emails throughout your processes.

Client Portals

For each client, you can create a client portal. This is a hub for your client to be able to access all of their forms, contracts, and invoices! It makes it much easier for clients to find their resources and to view all email messages between the two of you.

Accounting

If you run a small, creative business, I am going to take a wild guess and say that you do not like dealing with accounting. Dubsado allows you to keep your accounting very simple and organized! Set goals, sort transactions, and view invoices all right in one place.

Invoices

Create and send invoices in Dubsado and view all current and past invoices in one place. Dubsado connects to Stripe, Square, and Paypal, which allows users to get paid quickly and easily. (You can even enable tips, giving your clients the ability to add a tip to your invoice)!

Calendar Integration

Keep your business calendar in sync with your regular calendar. Sync your Dubsado with your iCalendar, Google Calendar, or Outlook Calendar! Never miss another meeting or deadline because you forgot to put it in your calendar.

Time Tracker

If you provide any services for which you charge per hour, the time tracker feature is major. Keep track (down to the second) of how much time you spend on each job. Enter your hourly rate and Dubsado will automatically multiply that by your exact time. Then with the click of a button, you can add it to that project’s invoice!

Custom Branding

Keep your business looking nice and professional with your business’s branding on all of your forms, questionnaires, and invoices. Upload your logo and select your colors and your branding will automatically apply to all of your forms!

If you want to start organizing your small business’s client management system, create a Dubsado account here.

Do you have organization systems in place for your small business? We’d love to hear them!

Xx,
Katie

 
 

pin now, read later!

organize and automate your small business with dubsado
organize and automate your small business with dubsado
organize and automate your small business with dubsado

The Essential Guide to Branding Your Blog

essential guide to branding your blog

There are millions of blogs floating around the world wide web. Millions! Without strong branding, you are destined to be lost amongst the sea of blogs. In this blog post, we are going to cover what exactly makes a brand, what the benefits of having a strong brand, and how to create your own brand for your blog!

What exactly is branding?

Branding is the distinctive design and experience of a given business. It goes way beyond just colors and fonts - it includes design style, tag lines/slogans, website, marketing, philosophy, customer service, social media presence, and more.

A brand is literally what people say about your business when you’re not in the room.

— Jeff Bezos

 

Why should i brand my blog?

If you want to create a successful blog, you need to think of it as a business. It is not uncommon for a blog to turn into a huge business - take Betches for example. Betches was created in 2011 by three college seniors for college-aged women. The three women each invested $1,500 in the beginning and now the brand is worth millions!

Why was Betches able to scale their blog so quickly? Their branding was clear from the start and it evolved over time as their audience, mainly female millennials, grew. Their voice is unique, authentic, and humorous, and it has remained consistent since their initial launch. As their blog posts began to go viral, they were approached by a book agent and began writing their first New York Times bestseller, Nice Is Just a Place in France..

Today, the Betches founders (Aleen Kuperman, Samantha Fishbein and Jordana Abraham) are running a multi-million dollar media company, headquartered in Manhattan. Betches Media’s about page describes themselves as, “We’re the website, Instagram, podcasts, store, books – everywhere that young females go to experience the thoughts that run through their heads, but are too afraid or uncomfortable, to say out loud.” Their office is branded so well, that if you walked around the office without knowing who’s it was, you could probably guess that it’s Betches (see office pics below)!

Betches Headquarters - strong branding
Betches Headquarters - strong branding

Of course, we totally understand that starting a blog is a lot of work and sitting down and putting together an entire business plan right off the bat is probably unrealistic. And that’s okay! There was little-to-no plan when starting Girlcrush Collective, but as we started posting, the brand developed. Plus, your branding is never set in stone, you can always re-brand.

To make branding your blog simple from the start, we recommend focusing on these three aspects: your site’s look/design (logo, theme, typography, color palette, etc.), your mission, and your voice.

For Girlcrush Collective, we created a consistent color palette (predominantly pink), fonts, and logo. We use the illustrated women as a major element of our brand. Our mission has been the same from the start: to create a community and source of resources and inspiration for female bloggers, business owners, and influencers. Our voice is friendly and feminine, we want our audience to feel as though they’re reading posts that are written specifically for them, from a friend.

Download Elite Blog Academy’s Free Beginner’s Guide to Branding Your Blog!

 

Creating Your Blog’s Look & Feel

Your blog’s appearance is the first aspect of your brand that your audience will see, so it’s important to put some thought into this one. When I (Katie) started my social media marketing business, I chose a purple and green color palette. Anyone who knows me (and even probably people who don’t know me) know that I am all about pink. But when I was starting my business, I thought that because there were so many pink brands out there already, I should go with something different.

It was just a matter of months before I decided that my branding was holding me back from being my authentic self. I ended up merging my social media business and Girlcrush Collective, and went with pink, pink, pink. When you create your brand around your personality, it makes things much easier!

branding your blog

If you’re not sure where to start with your brand, try asking a few friends and family members to describe you in 3 words! That’ll give you an idea of how others perceive you. If people are describing you as fun, bubbly, and friendly, you’re probably not going to want to go with a dark or black and white theme.

 

Your Blog’s Logo

When creating your logo, there are several options. If you’re a creative person with design background, you could design your own logo! If you’re not too creative, but you are slightly tech-savvy, you could find a logo template and customize it. There are lots of great logo templates on Creative Market, as well as Canva, the free design website! But if design is not your zone of genius, you can always hire a designer to create a logo for you.

 

Branding with Fonts

Fonts are my favorite. And a great font is memorable and will make your blog more recognizable, especially if you use the same fonts across all media platforms. There are lots of free fonts as well as premium fonts. If you’re not absolutely in love with a font, it’s best to start with free fonts as you may decide to change your typography in the future.

I invested in these fonts for Girlcrush Collective because I fell absolutely in love with them! Font Squirrel is a great resource for free fonts, and Creative Market is my favorite place for purchasing premium fonts! They even sell fonts in pairs that were created to compliment each other.

Nothing breaks my designer heart more than seeing two terribly paired fonts. Check out our post, Font Pairings to Boost Your Branding (for less than $20) for some inspiration!

 
 
 

Color Palettes

Color palettes are essential - consistent colors in your blog and associated platforms helps create a memorable brand. As we touched on earlier in this article, colors say a lot about your brand. A blog about unsolved murders probably should not have a bright, rainbow template, just like a vegan blog with lots of fruit and veggie recipes should probably not be black and brown.

Text placeholder (1).png

Pinterest is a great place to go to start finding color inspiration! Just search color palettes or color schemes, and you’ll find thousands of beautifully put together palettes. Another inspiring resource for creating color palettes is Coolors.co. Coolors is a random color palette generator, and it’s kind of addicting!

branding+color+palette

Creating Your Blog’s Mission

Why are you starting a blog? What inspired you to get started? Is it as a creative outlet for yourself? Maybe it’s a book blog where you share your personal book reviews and recommendations to your audience. What’s the purpose of your blog - is it to inspire your readers? Or maybe it’s a source of entertainment for your audience, or even an educational blog that teaches your audience about a particular subject. Answering these questions before getting started on your blog will help you focus your content and identify your target audience and ideal readers.

 

Creating Your Brand’s Voice

Blogging involves a whoooole lotta writing, my friend, and it’s important that you nail down your voice. If I were writing this blog for professional men in their 30s - 50s, I’d want to look into changing the way I write. When determining your voice and writing style, I like to think of my target audience as one specific person. How would you speak to that person if you were sitting at Starbucks with them? That’s the voice you’ll want to write in. You want to be relatable and easy to understand.

Download Elite Blog Academy’s Free Beginner’s Guide to Branding Your Blog!

How to Create Pinterest-Worthy Blog Graphics

how to create pinterest worthy blog graphics on canva

Originally posted on katiemander.com

Are you adding all of your content to Pinterest but not getting any traffic?

Although people consider Pinterest to be a social platform, it really is a visual search engine. And like other search engines, there are algorithms in place to show the best content first. Luckily, it is simple to create Pinterest graphics that people will want to repin, and I am going to show you how!

Important things to know about Pinterest:

  • There are over 150 million monthly active users on Pinterest

  • There are more than 50 billion Pinterest pins on 1 billion boards

  • 87% of Pinterest users have purchased a product because of Pinterest

  • Longer half-life than Facebook. This means that it takes 3.5 months for a pin to get 50% of its engagement

    • This is 1,680 times longer than a Facebook post!

  • Call to action pin descriptions can increase engagement by 80%

  • Red and orange images receive 200% more repins than blue images

  • Light images receive 20 times more repins than images that are dark

  • Pinterest images in a feed will only ever display as 238 pixels wide

    • This means that it is much smarter to create portrait graphics, as landscape images or square images will be very small

    • Longer pins will take up more space in a feed and will be more likely to capture the user’s attention

Have you heard of Canva?

It’s about to be your new best friend.

Thanks to Canva, you can create Pinterest graphics even if you have no background in design!

canva tutorial for pinterest

Create a free account using your Facebook, Google account, or email.

To begin, select Pinterest Graphic under Create a Design, as shown below.

canva tutorial for pinterest graphics

Selecting Pinterest Graphic will then bring you to the screen shown below.

The left-hand side of the screen shows Canva’s Pinterest layouts. Scroll through until you find one you want to use!

canva tutorial for pinterest graphics

After you choose a layout, it will display with all of the filler content – as seen below.

canva tutorial for pinterest graphics

Canva provides thousands of options to customize their layouts. On the left-hand side, you’ll see the tabs for Search, Layouts, Elements, Text, Background, and Uploads.

You can choose from a huge selection of free photos, icons, fonts, and backgrounds to alter the graphic in any way you want. You can also upload your own images to Canva. Don’t forget: use warm colors and light/bright images.

Layouts

templates and layouts on canva

elements

element options on canva

text

text options on canva
 

Using Canva’s Templates: Before & After

canva tutorial for pinterest blog graphics
canva tutorial for pinterest blog graphics
canva tutorial pinterest worthy graphics


As you get more familiar with Canva, you can start designing graphics from scratch!

Canva automatically saves all of your designs, making it easy to use the same design for each blog graphic. This will make your pins more recognizable on Pinterest!

 

How to brand your Pinterest graphics

Pinterest is all about visuals, so it only makes sense to make your profile as visually appealing as possible! When designing your Pinterest graphics, you want it to be clear that it’s your brand. By using your brand’s colors and fonts on your graphics, your pins will be easily recognizable!

Canva is a free tool and you can do everything that was mentioned earlier in this post with a free account. However, you can upgrade to Canva for Work. Canva for Work comes with some extra features that can be very beneficial if you’re creating lots of graphics for your blog, business, and/or social media. One of the most useful features for creating Pinterest graphics for your brand is the brand kit.

With Canva for Work, you can upload your brand kit to your account. This includes your color palette, your brand fonts, and your logos. You can upload your own fonts so you’re not limited to Canva’s default fonts. This is great if you have a specific font that you use for everything!

When you create a graphic, your brand’s color palette will always be available. This saves you from the hassle of having to type in your color’s hex code in order to use your exact color. You can set your heading, sub-heading, and body text fonts so you don’t have to change the fonts every time you add new text.

You can also upload all of your logos or brand graphics to easily add them to your Pinterest graphics!

Here’s what the brand kit page looks like on Canva for Work:

canva for work brand kit
 

More Resources for Creating Pinterest-Worthy Graphics

Creative Market

Creative Market is a designer’s dream. It’s full of fonts, graphics, photos, templates, and much more. If you’re not interested in designing your own pins, you can purchase templates from a designer on Creative Market. And the best part is, you can buy templates for Canva! Templates are no longer just available for Photoshop. When using templates from Creative Market, you open the file(s) provided by the seller, then follow the same instructions that were given in the first part of this blog post!

My favorite pinterest templates for canva on Creative Market


I hope this post was helpful! Once you have your pins on Pinterest, it’s time to share them! One of the best ways to share your pins and get tons of targeted traffic to your blog is by using Tailwind.

Tailwind is a Pinterest (and Instagram) marketing platform that has everything you need to drive traffic, sales, and leads to your website. The best part of it is that you can just schedule your posts for Pinterest, then Tailwind will post them for you! I like to schedule a month’s worth of pins in advance. Tailwind tribes are similar to Pinterest group boards. You can search for tribes that relate to your blog or business’ niche, then share your pins there!

Check out our blog post all about using Pinterest and Tailwind!

Join the Girlcrush Collective Tailwind tribe!

Join the Girlcrush Collective Pinterest group board!

We’re looking forward to seeing your beautiful pins!

katie mander
 

how to create pinterest worthy blog graphics on canva

2018 Girlcrush Gift Guide

Girlcrush Gift Guide

Guess what time of year it is?!

December is in full swing and the days are already flying by. But…. You don’t have everyone on your gift list accounted for yet. OOPS. Well, never fear, girlfriend, because we’re here to help you find something perfect for that special someone or even own girl gang!

We featured gifts for everyone on your list created by female-owned businesses!

For your man:

Put away those heart eyes for just a second and focus, babe! What has he been hinting at for the last few months? Are they Rangers tickets? What about a new IPA that he’s been telling all his bros about?

What we recommend:

For a boyfriend - a really thoughtful gift that shows you listen to his sports stats (even when you don’t want to.)

For a husband - a really thoughtful gift (ya know, keepin’ the romance alive!) and then a fun or functional present where he can enjoy it over and over again like an outfit that just screams him or his favorite cologne (which honestly is a present for you, too. ;)

Gifts for your man from female owned businesses:

For your girls:

Stacking rings are such a cute trend right now! And what is better than having a sweet memento of your lady crew? You can get a few of these on Esty and even customize them to fit y’alls personalities or a slogan you have!

Your gal gang not into jewelry? That’s fine, too! Keeping their own styles in mind, a monogramed journal or a bottle of her favorite wine (hey, if you’re on the nice list she just might share some with you!) will always be a homerun with your besties.

Gifts for your girls from female owned businesses:

For your boss:

Need any extra push to tell your boss you need that Christmas bonus? Kidding! But if you look at her as more than “just a boss” then she deserves a sweet gift, too.

Coffee and coffee accessories are always a good call. I mean just channel Michael Scott and get a “World’s Best Boss” coffee mug! Some of her favorite freshly ground coffee would be such a #blessing in her busy life, too! Is she more of a function over everything kind of woman? Get her some trendy organizing essentials from Target - a fun gift without having to break the bank!

Gifts for your boss from female owned businesses:

For your roomie:

Roomies are the ladies who have dealt with your messes all year, and sometimes even your dog’s, so she deserves something that’ll give her some relaxation!

Her fav scented candle, a bubble bath set, or even a new cookbook that her Food Network idol wrote would all be great ideas to allow for some down-time for your best, patient roommate.

Gifts for your roomie from female owned businesses:

For your pet:

Ok, so let’s be honest. Any gift for your dog is really just a gift for you to adore them even more.

Getting a matching pajama set with them would be SO adorable - and not to mention hella Insta-worthy. Check out the brand Pajamagram!

Glam up their everyday wardrobe with some sparkles on the collar or jacket, or if he’s too manly for that, man it up with some name brand athletic wear (Adidogs)!

Gifts for your pet from female owned businesses:

We know gift shopping is stressful, especially when you’re shopping for more than just one person. We hope this list helps you ladies out a little bit so that you can stay on track with holiday shopping this year and not be freaked out by what to buy! :)

Happy & safe shopping!
Madison

girlcrush collective holiday gift guide

Where to Find the Best Styled Stock Photos for Fall

fall stock photos

HAPPY FREAKING FALL YALL!

I am SO excited that fall is here. I love the colors and the scents and the weather. It’s fun to make your blog and social media accounts nice and festive! One of the best parts of fall is all of the beautiful stock photos - I live in Las Vegas now so I need to rely on these stock photographers to take great fall photos! And of course, they did not disappoint.

Maybe you also live somewhere without those beautiful fall colors, or maybe you are not great at taking photos. Whatever the reason may be, leaf your worries behind, these stock photos are spectacular.

Below is a compilation of fall/Halloween stock photos that will keep your blog or business in season!

 
 
 
 
 

Fall Stock Photos on Shutterstock

 
 
 

Do you have other stock photo resources that should be added to this list? Let us know below!

Xx,
Katie

 
fall stock photos