How to find free images for your blog

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Stock images are expensive (and rather awful mostly!) and as a business owner, you can’t be amazing at everything! So if you are anything like me, I can produce some nice imagery for my Instagram account, but I don’t have any photography training or an SLR to do some really good shots to represent my blog posts.

In this video training, I will show you 2 ways you can find royalty free images that you can use for your social media feeds and blogs.

Firstly, I will show you how to change the search settings on Google Images to find free photos. Then I will show you an amazing website called Unsplash where photographers from around the world upload their photos for you to use for free.

Click the play button below to begin!

How to create cover images on Instagram highlights

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Ever wondered how to create cover images for your Instagram highlights that match your brand, stand out and make people want to watch them?

This article is for you!

What are Instagram Highlights?

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Highlights are when you use the Instagram stories that you have previously published and publicly archive them in your profile for visitors and new followers to view. Stories will only last 24 hours, but highlights are a good way to bring your stories together under 1 or more categories and they will be available forever as long as you have them in your highlights.

Here’s my four top tips for highlights:

1) Use between 1 and 4 categories for your highlights. Any more and they won’t be visible on mobile and users would have to scroll across to see them

2) Don’t cram each category with lots of stories; people won’t want to watch through minutes of stories to see what you do. Three to 8 stories per highlight would be preferable!

3) If you have over 10,000 followers, it’s good to ensure that at least one of your stories in each highlight has a call to action to swipe up to find out more, leading to a landing page or product webpage.

4) When you create a highlight, Instagram chooses an image from your stories that you put into the highlight as the cover image. It looks much more professional to have specific cover images that match your brand, so watch the training below to find out more about how to change the cover image on your highlights.

Want to learn more about how to use Instagram for your business? Join my Facebook Group: Instagram Myths Debunked.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

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I started my journey in marketing when I was 23 and most of my jobs were in business to business marketing (B2B). During my 10 years of marketing before owning my own business, I didn’t come across affiliate marketing much, although I did understand what it was.

To start with, I noticed it happening with Amazon products. Influencers with thousands of hits on their website per month with crazy high social media following were directing people to specific products on Amazon that they recommended. If you brought that product, the blogger would then get a percentage of that sale from Amazon for recommending it.

So this, in essence is affiliate marketing. Recommending products to people so that they purchase them and you get paid a commission.

Here’s 3 reasons why an affiliate marketing business is a great idea for your first business.

1)     Low overheads.

In a physical business, you have all sorts of costs that you have to be aware of, and sometimes it can take a long time to start making any profit because your sales have to exceed those costs. These are things like overheads, inventory, hiring, staff, storage, equipment and office space.

With an affiliate marketing business, you have very low overheads because most people will have access to some kind of laptop and internet to start with so you are set! The other costs involved in an online business are tools that you may wish to use to help you set your business on automation. So things like scheduling tools or email marketing software that sends autoresponders. Depending on the tool, they can cost anything between $7 and $97 a month when you first start out. You website costs can be very minimal too, with domain names starting at around $10 for two years, and when you buy a website builder like Wordpress or Squarespace, you can get hosting for $15 a month! So a very cost-effective start up.

2)     You hate selling.

You may have realised from my description of affiliate marketing, that essentially you are a sales person when you do it. Because earning a commission is all about being in a sales type business. But this is not the case!

To recommend a product is very different from actually selling it. Essentially, if you are an affiliate for a company, they should be selling the product for you, all you have to do if drive traffic to their website using your own affiliate link. I mentioned earlier about my business to business experience in the marketing world. These days, it’s more about human to human - so people selling to people by attracting them to themselves, rather than pushing out sales messages that turn people off. For example, instead of posting “buy my product” in a social media post or Facebook group, attraction marketing or “human to human” marketing is more about imparting your own knowledge in a niche field (mine is Instagram marketing) and building up a relationship with people who want to learn more about Instagram marketing. Once they know, like and trust me, the “sale” is then made but it doesn’t feel like selling.

3)     The earning capacity.

Being an affiliate on Amazon has a very low earning capacity – with a commission of 3 to 10% per product sold, the average product being $40 to $150 each, you would have to sell an awful lot of products to make $5000 per month. This means thousands of

There’s so many affiliate marketing companies out there now though, who give 40% commission on $3000 sales. That way, you earn $1200 per sale, and you only need to make 4 sales a month to make $4800! Imagine that, owning a business where you have to make 4 sales a month by talking to people and getting them to know, like and trust you…

If you reckon affiliate marketing is for you then check out this free 5 day email video course which shows you everything you need to know to make your first affiliate sale.

4 Signs You Should Fire Your Boss and Work on Your Own Terms

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I waited until I was 33 to start my own business and become my own boss, but I knew I would be an entrepreneur all the way through my 20s. So whatever doubt or fear you have had about being your own boss and quitting the 9 to 5 grind, don’t worry I’ve been through that too!

Here’s 4 reasons you should work on your own terms, and live the life you truly deserve.

1)You have a passion but you can’t use it in your current role

This is so common when you work in a hierarchy at a 9 to 5 job. Most people will be passionate about various things, be it hobbies, lifestyle choices, or even a dream of what they want to do when they get a new job. Sometimes, they see a colleague in another department doing something and they want to know more.

Some people have passions that are completely unrelated to what they are doing. Perhaps you want to be a coach or a masseuse, but you work as a contracts executive in a publishing house.  Leaving the comfort of your paycheck to completely change your career is daunting but totally do-able! I did it, and so can you.

If you want to find your passion in life, or you know what it is, quitting your day job is probably just about the most empowering thing you can do!

2)Your boss doesn’t listen to you or take in your ideas.

When you are your own boss, you can do what you want. Yes, sometimes you make mistakes, but you pick yourself up and start again and well… you’re stronger now. But a boss in a corporate office stops you from making those mistakes, but that also means that you are confined to never being able to try the ideas in the first place.

I found that I was talked over a lot in meetings when I worked in a large business. It was a male dominated world and I was very happy to say what I thought, but my thoughts didn’t count at all.  Most of my ideas weren’t taken because my colleagues were too confined to the restraints of the sector we worked in.

If you feel this way too, you’ll know it’s draining and hard work trying to impress people to produce better results, but knowing that the ideas wont be taken is just demoralising.

Working for yourself means that you can join other entrepreneurial communities and surround yourself with like-minded people who will push you on and help you develop ideas. And when you have a mentor or business adviser, it’s hard not to flourish with ideas!

3)You live paycheck to paycheck

When you are in a 9-5 job, everything is structured, and that’s great for some people. I was very happy getting out of unemployment at the age of 22 and into some form of structure where I got up at the same time every morning, got home and ate at the same time at night and did the same things at the weekend. But it also meant that I had a limited lifestyle. I couldn’t have random days off because corporates don’t allow it. You couldn’t work at different times, and sometimes you are even made to feel awful that you have a Doctor’s appointment!

It’s also hard to visualise your future, whether that be the short term where you want to go away for the weekend or on your next holiday – you might just be able to afford it but you might have to scrimp and save.

Being an entrepreneur means you are in control of your own destiny. With the right money mindset, you can manifest what you want to with your job; set the right price for your clients or product and get your marketing right and you will find that living from paycheck to paycheck is no longer necessary. You will start to realise you can afford impromptu weekends away in another country, or that you can buy that iWatch you have been eyeing up.

Put your fate in your own hands, not in someone else’s. I always like to say – if you don’t follow your dreams, you will end up working for someone who did.

4)The maximum number of weeks you can take off a year is 5 but that’s just not long enough to travel

In England, the legal minimum amount of holidays is 20 days plus bank holidays, and most corporates offer 25 with extra time offered for length of service. So this is 4 to 5 weeks annual leave per year. If you are looking to go travelling, you need a bit more time than that!  So this is why so many people don’t go travelling once they are out of university and into a job, because of the security of having a paycheck and not having enough time off.

If you work for yourself, you can decide when and where to take holidays. If you are an online entrepreneur, you can put your business on automation whilst you are away so that you can even still earn money whilst you are gone. These are things like scheduling social media posts and using autoresponders on emails. Within the first 2 weeks of setting up my business, I went away on my honeymoon and came back to 12 leads in my inbox!

So what are you waiting for… fire your boss already!

Working online is NOT a quick win, or get rich quick scheme BUT with the effort that you put in, it can happen much quicker than a traditional offline business. You don’t have to have thousands of followers on Instagram to make your first sale. Check out the exact Social Media Blueprint that I used to learn about how to start an online business.

NB the link above is an affiliate link where I will receive 40% commission on the $7 sale if you choose to purchase.