Employee to Entrepreneur Part II: The Middle

After writing and publishing my last blog post, I was asked to stay on and train my replacement at my job, so my last official day was March 1st. My last paycheck has been deposited, I have deleted my work files off of my laptop, and I removed my company email address from my mail apps. I am officially an entrepreneur. Since my last installment of Employee to Entrepreneur, everything and nothing has changed. To start, my original entrepreneurial venture has changed, not that you guys would know that. I haven’t announced what I am working on, but let me tell you… it’s bigger than me and I find that to be terrifying. I wanted to share my thoughts on this part of my metamorphosis to an entrepreneur, as it’s an important one. The last few times I found myself here, I quit. 

FEARS:

To be quite honest, the harder I work and the closer I get to the “finish line” (launching my new site), the closer I get to throwing in the towel. If I wrote down everything I ever started and crossed out what I quit, 99% of that list would be slashed. It’s a tough realization, but an important one for me to face. The idea of possible failure has been looming over my head, like a suspicious cloud on a sunny day. It’s not easy to think about putting myself out there in such a vulnerable way, knowing my idea might not take off, my website might go unnoticed, and that my venture could be a waste. But all of these maybes and possibles and mights will continue to be acknowledged, and then forced out of my brain. 

"One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat.” -Napoleon Hill

I have not been defeated, nor will I, if I don’t give up.  

TRUTHS:

I have been unemployed for a month now, and I feel like a different person. My constant state of mommy-guilt has been lightened. It’s not completely gone, but I don’t think that feeling ever truly goes away. I will say that trying to include an 8 hour work day on top of making breakfast, getting 3 people dressed (two of which act like they are unfamiliar with clothing), a trip to the gym, making lunch, taking a kid to school, keeping one kid alive and fed and occupied, keeping the house presentable, and trying to launch a business was just too much. Being able to decide how much work I get done in a single day in relation to what is going on in my house is one of life’s simple pleasures. I feel much less pressure to work and work and work. I still work from home with kids, but it’s on my time. And it’s work that I absolutely love. 

JOYS:

My joy this month is making the easy decision to join a co-working space that is filled with other creatives. I know that one of the perks of being an online business owner is the lack of a monthly lease, but working in a noisy home office with 15-30 intervals of peace was not allowing me to get my best work done. And having the option to bounce ideas and thoughts off of other people who think like me (or better yet, think differently than me)? Yes please. Not to mention having fresh eyes on my website, an outside perspective on an idea, and people who just love to be creative. 

This journey was never going to be an easy one. But the good news is that I am walking it to help others who will someday find themselves on this same path. Hint hint 😉  

Employee to Entrepreneur Part I: The Beginning

Employee to Entrepreneur Series Part 1: The Beginning

Today marks one week until my last day as an employee of Evermine. I will be transitioning from a 4 day work week as a Social Media Strategist & Blogger, to an entrepreneur. To be honest, typing the word “entrepreneur” makes me jittery. To pursue something with an unknown outcome, and with a coordinating unknown income? It’s not for the weak. That being said, I decided to start a blog series about my transition, titled "Employee to Entrepreneur." I will litter the posts with fears, truths, and joys. Here is part 1.

Fears:

I used to get a thrill from being able to tell people my company’s name, my job title, and little tidbits about my job description. Social acceptance is my middle name, and for the first four years of my adult life, my job title was “mom”, and that really got to me. Even though I absolutely loved being home with my kids, seeing my friends pursue real jobs with real titles and real educations made me jealous. Being able to say I had a job was like a long-time single gal introducing her new husband. Now that I am leaving the shelter of employment, I am not really sure what to say when asked that now dreaded question, “What do you do?" When I think about telling people that I am an entrepreneur, I replay this conversion from The Social Network in my head: 

Amy: So what do you do?

Sean Parker: I’m an entrepreneur.

Amy: You’re unemployed. 

Yikes, but that truly is how I feel about the term “entrepreneur”. Unless you can stick something more real, more solid behind it, entrepreneur seems like a more attractive way of saying that you are unemployed. Which I guess I technically am, since my new business venture is making absolutely no income at the moment. Yay! Entrepreneurial journey, here I come. 

Truths:

I think the first step of entrepreneurial life is being ok with not having a steady income stream in the beginning of your journey. Most of us don’t quit our day jobs to pursue our dreams, and already have a solid second income available. (Or do we? Have I totally missed the memo? Am I an idiot? Should I go beg for my job back? WTF am I doing?!?!) Creating something from nothing is not an easy task, and I think the majority of us never even get around to the “quitting our day job” part because the unknown is so scary. What if I fail? What if my idea sucks? What if someone else does it better? What if I never make any money ever again? Questions like these keep most employees from pulling the entrepreneurial trigger. But for some of us, the fears and questions and unknown are outweighed by the thrill of doing what we were born to do:  create.

Joys:

When I was reading Mad Genius recently, there was a sentence that leapt off the page and into my soul. It read, “Entrepreneurs are psychologically unemployable.” I had to reread that statement to make sure I was comprehending it correctly, because I could have sworn I said a version of that sentence to my husband. I often felt unemployable, because I couldn’t touch EVERY part of the business, and it drove me nuts. I’m the social media strategist, but I want to change the brand. I’m the marketing coordinator, but I think we should lower prices. I’m the blog editor, but the product needs updated. I never felt successful because I could only touch a few aspects of the entire company. I saw holes, and gaps, and mistakes, but didn’t have the leverage to speak up and change EVERYTHING. Also, telling your boss all of the mistakes he or she is making will definitely not win someone boss points. I spoke up when I could, but it still didn’t change the company into my company, which is apparently what I needed.

I didn’t know this at the time, but my intense longing to change everything was a side effect of being a born and bred entrepreneur. Psychologically, it pained me to be an employee. While I was lucky enough to be employed at creative companies, I still couldn’t shake the feeling of needing more, wanting more, touching more, and creating more. And guess what? I am now capable of doing exactly what I want to do, exactly when I want to do it. Will there be failure? More than likely. Success? Maybe so. But freedom to create, and touch everything? You bet. And I am thrilled and absolutely terrified to see where that takes me. 

Stay tuned for more fears, truths, and joys in my next installment of Employee to Entrepreneur. 

The Best Skillshare Classes for Bloggers + Creatives

The Best Skillshare Classes for Bloggers + Creatives

I discovered Skillshare back in 2014, and I became obsessed with it. I was balancing a household with two young boys, a part time marketing career, and a photography business. But making time to learn was a priority of mine. Before Skillshare, I would fold laundry and get lost in some good ole’ Netflix, but once I discovered the jackpot that is Skillshare, I would look forward to folding laundry because that meant I could learn new skills and brainstorm ideas.

Once I started working more hours (and the laundry was lucky to get folded once every two weeks), I continued to find time to absorb what I could from the endless classes on Skillshare. My most recent discovery was the option to download the audio from my classes so I could listen in the car on my long commutes into work. Now that there are tons of classes on Skillshare, and it’s hard to sift through and find the best content, but these are my tried and true favorite classes for creatives, entrepreneurs, and bloggers.

Skillshare experts: what classes do you love? Do you have a favorite teacher? You already know my love for Seth Godin from my favorite books post. I would love to get more recommendations in the comments!  

3 Books to Spark Your Entrepreneurial Spirit

3 Books to Spark Your Entrepreneurial Spirit

If I have learned anything during the course of my entrepreneurial journey, it’s that I will not, and can not, stop learning. While I love podcasts and classes, I get the most out of a physical book that I can hold, highlight, underline, dog-ear the pages. These three books are my favorite books I have ever read in terms of getting my creative business juices flowing. 

3 Books to Spark Your Entrepreneurial Spirit

Why I Love Purple Cow

I have been a devoted fan of Seth Godin ever since I found him on Skillshare, and have read many of his books and listened to a lot of his talks/workshops. But Purple Cow will always be a true favorite. It teaches a very important lesson that so many huge companies love to ignore-Be Remarkable. It’s a simple idea, yet so many of us strive to be mediocre. We are guilty of copying or imitating what we already see our competition doing, instead of creating new, unique, and remarkable ideas and products. Purple Cow not only talks how to be remarkable, but why you should want to. This is a book that I recommend reading asap! 

3 Books to Spark Your Entrepreneurial Spirit

Why I Love Mad Genius

When I first cracked open Mad Genius, one of the first ideas that popped out of the book was the phrase “Herd Thinking”. It’s so funny to read, but also so very true. We all follow the steps that are already in place for us because we think we have to, but Randy explains why that is a laughable concept. The other thing I loved about Mad Genius was the many examples given with each point that Randy makes. The punch of humor and the constant reminders that entrepreneurs are different and special make Mad Genius a quick, and actionable read. While I am admittedly still reading this one, I am really looking forward to the ideas generated while absorbing it in detail. You’ll want to have your notebook close at hand!

3 Books to Spark Your Entrepreneurial Spirit

Why I Love Content Inc. 

As a blogger, it’s obvious that I am already highly invested in content marketing, but Content Inc. goes above and beyond the simple idea of marketing via content. It provides a systematic and PROVEN approach to creating an audience, utilizing content marketing, and then monetizing by offering products or services. This is a book that I recommend reading at the very beginning of your entrepreneurial journey, but if you are already in it, it’s never too late to dive in and see how you can improve your business. It’s 100% a MUST READ for bloggers.

I am always looking for the next good read. What are your favorite business-related books or authors? I would love to hear your favs in the comments. 

SEO + Squarespace | Tips for Utilizing SEO

SEO and Squarespace | Tips for Utilizing SEO

After publicly making the switch to Squarespace, one of the main questions I received was, “I’ve been thinking about switching, but I heard Squarespace’s SEO is not as good as WordPress. Is this true?”. As a preface to this post, I am not an SEO expert, nor am I an expert on Google or Squarespace. I am just a regular blogger, with average SEO knowledge in relation to blogging, but these are my findings, opinions, and tips when it comes to using Squarespace and maximizing SEO, and the information I've found regarding the great Squarespace vs. WordPress SEO debate.

First off, we should chat a little about what SEO is. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and utilizing it correctly will help your website rank preferably on the first page or two on a search engine when someone searches your intended keywords. For example, I used to be a family photographer in Portland, OR, and I wanted people to find me when they searched “Portland OR Family Photographer”, so I would use those keywords in my image file names, my blog post titles, and in many other places (more examples to come). Squarespace has plenty of ways to utilize SEO best practices, it’s just all about knowing where and how to use them. 

SEO + Squarespace | Tips for Utilizing SEO

MOBILE RESPONSIVENESS 

In my opinion, Squarespace’s mobile responsiveness dominates WordPress’, especially when comparing with the theme I used (ProPhoto). While ProPhoto is currently working on an updated that is said to have better mobile responsiveness, it’s current version is pitiful. Because Google ranks websites with better mobile optimization on a higher priority, my old website was not getting the traffic I wanted from mobile searches. With mobile browsing being at an all-time high, I personally feel that mobile optimization is the most important aspect in terms of SEO. You don’t have to do anything to optimize your website for mobile as Squarespace has already done the hard work for you.  

SEO + Squarespace

SEARCH ENGINE DESCRIPTION 

You can edit the description of your website, which shows up in search engine results under your site title. If you keep this blank, Google with grab the text that is on your home page. You can see that my site description is my menu links, and a paragraph from my homepage.

SEO + Squarespace

To change or update your site’s description, go to your main dashboard and choose Settings, scroll down to Website and click Marketing. Once open, choose SEO. You can change your description, and your site titles there as well. I opted to keep my title’s the same. 

SEO + Squarespace

I decided to override the menu links and homepage text by writing out my own description, and using my keywords. These changes may take a few days to update. 

SEO + Squarespace

PAGE DESCRIPTIONS 

In addition to being able to edit your site’s description, you can also add descriptions to each individual page on your website. In this example, my goal is to show up in search engine results for “free desktop wallpaper quote” searches. You can see I used each keyword, but created a few sentences from them. You can do this on any page you wish, and personalize it to each page. This is especially useful on product or service pages if you offer them.  

SEO + Squarespace

To edit a page's description, hover over the page and click on the gear icon to open the settings. Scroll down and you will see the area to enter the page's description. 

SEO + Squarespace + Blogging

BLOG POSTS 

Most of us are familiar with the benefits of blogging in terms of SEO. Here are places that you can optimize your SEO keywords within a blog post on Squarespace. A single blog post has so many areas to add keywords. My favorites are the blog post title, the first paragraph of a post (and even better-the first sentence), and the tags & categories.  

SEO + Squarespace + Alt Text

You can also add keywords within an image. When on WordPress, you alter the “alt text”, but within Squarespace, it is called the Filename. I typically put my blog post title there for two reasons. First, it’s the text that is auto-populated in the caption within Pinterest when someone pins that image. And second, the blog post is already filled with my intended keywords for that post. 

Believe it or not, these are only a few of the ways that Squarespace helps it’s user’s get the maximum benefits from SEO. How do you get the most out of Squarespace in terms of SEO? There are tons of other articles out there about Squarespace and SEO. Here are a few of my favorites on the subject: 

How to Set Up a Custom Domain in Squarespace

How to Set Up a Custom Domain in Squarespace

HOW TO ADD A CUSTOM DOMAIN TO SQUARESPACE

Squarespace, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I could write a sonnet about the ease and user-friendly interface that Squarespace has created. I took the time to learn the backend of WordPress and Prophoto, but it was still so backwards and glitchy. And annoying, to be honest. I will be writing up a full post on Squarespace soon, but for now, here isa tutorial on how to add your custom domain to your Squarespace Website. 

How to Set Up a Custom Domain in Squarespace

In your dashboard, go to Settings, then Domains

How to Set Up a Custom Domain in Squarespace

If you already have a domain, click Connect Third Party Domain. If you do not, select Get a Domain. This tutorial is specifically for those who already have a domain name. But follow the Get a Domain prompts to get set up with your own web address. 

After selecting Connect Third Party Domain, type in your custom domain name. 

How-to-set-up-domain-in-squarespace_0004.jpg

Select your domain provider from the Dropdown list. I purchased my domain from Go Daddy, so I selected them, and on the next window, I entered my Go Daddy account information.

Once complete, you will get a “Connection in Progress” message on your Domains page. 

Tada! You are done. One of the many benefits of using Squarespace. I specifically remember crying when trying to set up my domain on WordPress. Has anyone else experienced similar issues? What are your other favorite features in Squarespace?

5 Facebook Tips from a Social Media Strategist

3 Facebook Tips from a Social Media Strategist

5 FACEBOOK TIPS FROM A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIST

After managing Evermine’s several social media accounts, I have become familiar with what content resonates with a community, no matter what industry you are in. I have used these tips to help Evermine’s brand succeed online, and I am starting to implement them on my own Facebook page as well. Here are my top 5 tips for Facebook. 

3 Facebook Tips from a Social Media Strategist

INTERESTING & FUNNY CONTENT WINS OVER PROMOTIONAL CONTENT 

The company that I work for, Evermine, recently sponsored a post on Wedding Chicks blog, and it included a Facebook post about our product. Initially, I sent Wedding Chicks the image on the left to include with a link to our sponsored post. The post highlighted a Wedding Welcome Basket that we put together for their blog, and the image was a photo of the entire basket. You can see that after 9 hours of being posted on Wedding Chicks page, with over 1 million fans, it received 17 likes. My contact at Wedding Chicks wasn’t happy with the engagement, and decided to post the image you see on the right. It’s a close up photo of our mini vodka bottles, with our label that reads “Trust me, you can dance. ~Vodka”. That image highlighted our clever product, and as you can see, people loved it. After 1 hour of being posted, it had over 300 likes, 17 shares, and 22 comments. The first image was pure promotion, but the second image was there to entertain. With so much content online, it’s important to stand out and engage your audience.

3 Facebook Tips from a Social Media Strategist

GIVE VALUABLE CONTENT

Typically, the main reason someone chooses to follow you on social media is because they enjoy the content that you are sharing. Whether they are a fan of the photographs you post, the articles you share, or the products you promote, your fans are interested in what you have to offer. Exceed their expectations by giving content that your fans not only expect, but also helps them in one way or another. Creating and sharing valuable content helps you position yourself as a leader in your field, and results in more engaging content. 

3 Facebook Tips from a Social Media Strategist

Ask questions to get engagement 

Do you want to hear from your audience, or boost engagement on your page? It’s no secret that more engaged Facebook posts get more traction in newsfeed, so instead of boosting your post, just ask a question. Let your fans know that you want to hear from them. It can be simple, like asking for recommendations for a favorite show, or it can be related to your brand. Get them involved in what you are doing, and they will likely be a lifelong and engaged audience. 

3 Facebook Tips from a Social Media Strategist

Put personality into your posts 

Whether you are a fortune 500 company, or a small business of 1, your audience wants to know there is a person behind the computer screen. Not only should you put some personality into your Facebook books, but you should also be relatable to your community. Be human, and others will respond with enthusiasm since it’s such a rarity with online businesses. Remember to keep it somewhat relevant though. As much as your fans may love you, most probably don't want to hear about your breakfast, unless of course you are a food or nutrition blogger ;) 

3 Facebook Tips from a Social Media Strategist

Schedule posts directly on FACEBOOK 

We all know the saying “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” And we can all relate. I literally ain’t got time for posting to Facebook and other social media multiple times a day, but I do have time to schedule a handful of Facebook posts for the upcoming week. Just hit the dropdown menu next to Publish, and choose Schedule. Bam, you are all set. 

What are your tips for managing your Facebook Page? How do you stay on top of it all?

3 Must Have Products for Bloggers & Creatives

3 Must Have Products for Bloggers & Creatives.

Running a blog or business is not an easy task, but there are certain apps, products, websites, and people that make my job so much easier. This post is dedicated to the 3 (technically 4) physical products that I couldn’t blog without.

My Day Designer

Seriously, I love this planner more than I could put into words. Because my brain short circuits on the reg, the Day Designer is my back up brain. Due dates, daily to-do lists, meal planning, hour tracking. It’s all there, and in one place! If you have a job, buy this planner. If you have kids, buy this planner. If you have a home and leave it from time to time, buy this planner.

My Beats

I work from home. Let me rephrase that-I work from home with kids. Those are two very different things in my experience. The only way to block out their earth-shattering shrieks, and in turn finish a thought, is to crank up my jam list in my beats. They were all I asked for for Christmas, and Santa delivered.

Note: If you are a WAHM, and the only one home, maybe keep the volume down in case someone peed on their brother. I'm just saying.

My Moleskins

I am a paper kind of gal, hence the physical planner and not the critically acclaimed Google Calendar app.  Writing my ideas down on something physical makes it real, or something. I love having a piece of paper to scribble notes on, but having a notebook dedicated to specific projects makes my type a personality sing. I prefer the small Moleskin notebooks, so they fit perfectly in the inside pocket of my Kate Spade, aka the only purse I own that isn’t from Target. 

BONUS: COFFEE

Yep, I am 107% sure I could never blog without coffee. Like I mentioned before, my brain rarely works for long periods of time, but coffee gives it that little kick that it needs to complete a task.

Tell me, what is your must have product for blogging or running a business?

XOXO

Setting Up an Opt In Freebie on Squarespace & Mailchimp

Setting Up an Opt In Freebie on Squarespace & Mailchimp

Building an email list can be beneficial to your blog or business for many reasons. Depending on what your goal for your email list is, it can be a great idea to grow your list, and to include all of your regular blog visitors. My favorite, and personally most effective way to grow an email list is by using an opt in freebie. This is basically some kind of download that new blog subscribers have access to once they sign up. Here is a step-by-step tutorial for how I set up my own Mailchimp opt in on my Squarespace website. 

Setting up an opt in freebie on mail chimp & squarespace

Create a dropbox folder with your download items

Name it something relevant and appropriate, as your fans and followers will be able to see what you name it. I went with “Brit Chandler Desktop Wallpaper” because I wanted to include my blog name and what the download was (in case someone is searching for it on their computer). I copied and pasted my freebie, a quote graphic that is optimized for desktop background, and my terms of use. I always include my terms of use to let people know it’s not ok to share or sell my product. 

Set Up Your List in Mailchimp

If you do not already have a Mailchimp account, you will first need to sign up at mailchimp.com. Once your account is set up, within your dashboard, click on Lists. If you already have a list set up, click on it, and move on to the next step. If you need to create a list, click Create List, and name it something relevant. 

Create a Thank You Confirmation Redirect:

Within your list, click on Sign Up Forms. Choose General Forms. This is where you will either create a confirmation email, or redirect to a page on your website. 

In the dropdown, choose Confirmation “thank you” page. You have two options in this step. You may either build out the thank you page and link the download in an email on this page in mailchimp, or you can create a page on your website to link to within this form. I chose to redirect my subscribers to a page on my website. 

Creating a Sign Up Page

If you already have a list, this could be your first step. Within Squarespace > Pages, and click the + button to add a new page. Include all of the information pertaining to your newsletter and free download. I added a picture of the desktop wallpaper, and a quick little phrase about the sign up process. Then, I added a newsletter form block for Mailchimp, and chose my specific list to add the new sign ups to. You can learn more about newsletter sign up blocks here. Squarespace makes this process as easy as possible, with no need to pasting code. 

squarespace-mailchimp-opt-in-freebie_0007.jpg

Creating a Thank You/Welcome Page: This is where subscribers have access to your download. On this page, I have a thank you graphic, and a link to download their wallpaper. This link directs them to my Dropbox folder that contains the wallpaper and terms of use. Make sure your page URL is the same as the one you entered into Mailchimp for the Confirmation page redirect.

How do you use Mailchimp and Squarespace? I would love to hear your tips! 

XOXO 

5 HELPFUL TIPS FOR GAINING PINTEREST FOLLOWERS

5 helpful tips for gaining pinterest followers by Brit Chandler. #5 is brilliant! britchandler.com

TIPS FOR GAINING NEW PINTEREST FOLLOWERS

We all know by now that Pinterest is where it’s at for bloggers and creative professionals. Getting your content, products or services onto Pinterest could put your offerings in front of millions of viewers. The trick is getting a pin to go viral, which starts with a loyal and active following. Here are my tips for gaining more Pinterest followers. 

5 helpful tips for gaining pinterest followers by Brit Chandler. #5 is brilliant! britchandler.com

CREATE COMPELLING BOARDS

While this may seem like a no-brainer, there are a few aspects that you may not have thought of when it comes to Pinterest board creation. For instance, you want to create boards that you know your audience would be interested in, and actively searching for. Moving these popular board topics to your Top 10 Pinterest boards will get more eyes on your boards, and also let visitors know what you are all about. It’s also very important to have attractive and cohesive board covers, which is on my own to do list.

5 helpful tips for gaining pinterest followers by Brit Chandler. #5 is brilliant! britchandler.com

PIN GREAT CONTENT

This is another no-brainer, but there can be a strategy behind what you are pinning, and why. Not only do you want to be pinning content from your own website, but also pinning from brands or companies that your audience may already be familiar with. When they open up a board and see tons of content, including articles they have already read and found helpful, they will be more likely to follow you to see more valuable content. You should also be pinning content that is often searched for by your audience. This is especially helpful when thinking about what to write about on your own blog. 

5 helpful tips for gaining pinterest followers by Brit Chandler. #5 is brilliant! britchandler.com

Use Keywords Everywhere

Put keywords that you know your audience is searching for all over your Pinterest account. You can put keywords in your profile, in your board titles, in your board descriptions, and within the pin's description/caption. Use words that you know will be highly searched within Pinterest. In this example, I have created a board to fill with social media marketing tips, and I want bloggers to follow it. I have used all of those keywords, with a few other words I think will also be used for a search to find this topic. 

Tips for gaining pinterest followers by brit chandler.

Promote your Pinterest account in other places

If you are new to Pinterest, but have already garnered an audience elsewhere, share your Pinterest account on that platform. Whether it’s social media, or on your own blog, be sure to let your current fans know where they can see more of your content. BONUS TIP: when sharing on social media, ask for their Pinterest links too so you can follow them back. Your audience will love this gesture, and be more likely to follow you. 

5 helpful tips for gaining pinterest followers by Brit Chandler. #5 is brilliant! britchandler.com

join contributor boards

A contributor board is a Pinterest board that has multiple people pinning. The beauty of this type of board is that every pin that goes into it will be seen not only by the other contributors, but by all of their followers as well. This tactic can be a jack pot, and I have seen the companies I work for gain hundreds of followers by pinning fabulous content into these key boards. Find popular contributor boards with similar audiences to yours. Ask to join, and once accepted, pin valuable content to the board, and as a curtsey to other pinners within that board, pin their content to your relevant boards as well. I bet they will return the favor. Here are two of my favorite contributor boards:

Do you have a favorite contributor board? Leave the link in the comments!

XOXO Brit 

My Home Office | Mini Studio Tour

Brit Chandler's home office/product studio tour. britchandler.com

Since my family and I recently moved across the country from Washington to Pennsylvania, we had to sacrifice a lot of things. Luckily, my position as Social Media Strategist and Blog Photographer was secure, and I was offered the opportunity to work remotely. Because I knew I would be spending a lot of time in my office/studio in our new house, I made sure to utilize it as best I could. I had some must haves for this new space. They included:

  • Room for my desk
  • Lots of organization systems
  • A space for my natural light studio
  • A blank wall for a motivational display

When I walked into my house for the first time, I couldn't believe how perfect it was. For one, it was painted the slightest, prettiest hue of pink. I am a pink gal through and through, so that was a nice surprise. Another thing I loved was having double windows. The more light the better when it comes to home studios. The third thing I loved was the chalkboard wall that was between my windows. And finally, the closet with the perfect storage unit built in, as if it were made for me. 

brit chandler's studio tour

Here is my desk space. That antique wooden beauty was a yard sale score, and I couldn't be happier with it. I was planning on painting it (picture white & gold goodness), but once I had it and saw it's rusty, original knobs and water rings, I knew I wanted to keep that character in tack. My office is mostly white, pink, and gold, with hints of wood accents. Above my desk is a metal geometric garland from Target, and my chair is an Amazon find. The desk lamp is also Target, and the turquoise cart is from Ikea. I received the Parris Chic Boutique mug when I attended a Bloom Bash workshop in Seattle last year. The pink envelope folio is from Sugar Paper LA (currently sold out).

brit chandler's home studio tour

Here are some close ups of my desk details. My Day Designer planner is hands-down, the best money I have ever spent. With all of the responsibilities on my plate, I needed a way to organize, plan, and keep track of my life. 

brit chandler's home studio tour

On the left, you can see my product studio space. The table is the unfinished Ikea Ingo, and I have a wooden backdrop sitting on top, which can be switched out easily. I am in here shooting blog photos for Evermine every week, and it's so nice to have a space like this to create in. On the right is my amazing chalkboard wall, and shelf. Eventually that wall will be filled with motivational and inspiring pieces, but for now it represents the blank canvas that is my future. 

brit chandler's home studio tour

I lucked out with this closet organization system. The drawers house my packaging supplies for Evermine, and the shelving unit on top perfectly houses my mugs, glasses, jars and other product photography props and trinkets. On the left, all of my oversized wooden backdrops are propped again the wall. I still can't believe this came with the house. 

As my space gets more defined, with more pieces and decor, I will update my studio post. Thanks so much for reading, and let me know in the comments what your must have office and studio products are! I would love to add them to my wish list.

XOXO Brit

How to Move Your Blog From ProPhoto (WordPress) to Squarespace

how to move your blog from prophoto/wordpress to squarespace

After recently moving my blog from WordPress & ProPhoto to Squarespace, I realized how easy of a switch it was. I've been thinking about making the switch for a while now, but finally decided to go for it this month. Squarespace makes it easy to add design elements to your website, and all without knowing code. It's also more attractive financially, and I love how responsive it is on mobile devices. 

Squarespace makes it unbelievably easy to move not only your blog posts, but also all of your website's pages from WordPress. This tutorial will show you how to get all of your content onto your new Squarespace account. 

1. To get started, go to your Squarespace dashboard and choose Settings

2. Scroll down and find "Website". Click on Advanced

3. Choose Import/Export. On the next screen, click Import

4. On the pop up, choose WordPress.

5. Type in your website URL, and your WordPress account information. This is the same information you enter when you are signing into your site at www.your-domain.com/wp-admin. Click Begin Import.

6. You will get a progress bar as everything uploads. Depending on the amount of content, it could take a long time. 

7. Once complete, there will be a Success indicator, along with this type of text. 

8. To find all of your imported content, go back out to your original dashboard, and choose Pages. Scroll down to Not Linked, and you should see all of your content. This may take a few minutes for everything to show up. The content that is in light gray is "disabled", which means it is present, but not public on your site. To make is "enabled", simply click on the page and click Enable

Your blog will have a big "a" to the left of it, like pictured above. My blog also had it's original site title from my old site.

9. To rename your blog and add it to your main navigation, click on the settings icon to the right in the sidebar. 

10. Rename your blog to whatever text you want to show up in your main navigation menu. I changed mine to "blog". Super original, I know ;) 

11. To have your blog linked within the main menu, simply drag it up under Main Navigation. If your current blog that is linked under the main nav is empty, you can delete it. If you have blog posts on there, you will have to move them over to the new blog. 

Who has made the switch to Squarespace? For those that haven't, what is holding you back? 

Thanks for reading!

XOXO -B

Not Another Bath Photo Shoot

Bath Images by Brit Chandler Photography
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I know what you're thinking. "This chick takes way too many photos of her kids in the bathtub." You're absolutely right, and yet, I will continue doing it. This room has the best light in the house, hands down. The neutral colors in my bathroom are my favorite, and the ocean-like blue from my rug and towels are the perfect pop of color. This won't be last you'll see of my bathroom ;)

#cantstopwontstop

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*Note: All images are edited with the preset, Luminous, from the Authentic Set available to purchase in the Clickin Moms Store.

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Tutorial: Two Ways to Edit a Backlit Image

Tutorial: Two ways to edit an outdoor, backlit image in Lightroom | Brit Chandler Photography

For me, summertime and backlighting just go hand in hand. I typically use my Sunkissed Presets for quick edits, but I wanted to show two different ways to edit a backlit image. Depending on the haze, I will either choose to do a high contrast edit, and filter out the haze, or I will embrace the haze and enhance it.

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This SOOC (above), has a moderate amount of haze, so the image could really go either way.

First up, is the hazy edit.

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I start with a graduated filter, and use the settings above.

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I applied it horizontally, in the same direction that the light is shining from the trees in the top right corner. The heaviest application of the filter is also in the top right corner, and gets lighter gradually, hence the name of the filter 

I then boost the highlights and the blacks to enhance the haze. I turn the clarity down a bit to give a dreamy look.

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Because of the haze, I decided to go with a matte look as well. I used the curves to give this effect.

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I lightened the red and orange for better skin tones, and lightened the yellow, green, and aqua to keep the light colors for the haze effect.

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Next, I used split toning to add some warmth to my highlights.

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I also added a little bit of pink to my shadows.

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I lightened the vignetting, which lightened the top right corner even more, which is where the haze starts.

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I added a radial filter with these settings, and then inverted the mask so only the inside of the filter was effected.

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I applied the filter in the same direction as the light, just like the graduated filter.

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Here is the before and after :)

Next, the high contrast edit. This is a much quicker edit.

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These are my basic settings when adding a high contrast edit to a backlit image. I boosted the contrast, removed some highlights, took down the blacks, and boosted the clarity and vibrance.

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In the Tone Curve, I added a medium contrast point curve.

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Under luminance, I increased orange for skin tones, and then decreased yellow, green, aqua and blue to add a rich pop to those colors.

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Here is the before and after for the high contrast edit. Which edit do you prefer?

Thanks for reading! xoxo

Brit

How to Edit Videos in Lightroom

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I have been teaching myself the in's and out's of videography lately, but I was struggling with editing. I have a very streamlined workflow for editing my photos with my presets in Lightroom, so it was hard to edit videos in Photoshop with no presets or actions. After getting backed up with editing personal photos and videos, I knew I needed to find a solution. And sure enough, I found it! You can edit videos in LIGHTROOM!

I can now use all of my presets on my images AND my videos, which allows everything to be streamlined and cohesive. This is fantastic news if you ask me. So here is the quick tutorial for easily editing videos in Lightroom using any presets. These videos were editing with my new Sunkissed Presets, available today in the Clickin Moms Store. Use code: SUNKISSED to save $15 off the set. The presets used in the video below are Pool Side and Roadtrippin.

How to edit videos in Lightroom using presets | Lightroom Editing Tutorial by Brit Chandler

Step 1: Open up your folder in the "Library" module in Lightroom. (Note: You will get an error notification if you are trying to edit videos in the "Develop" Module.

How to edit videos in Lightroom using presets | Lightroom Editing Tutorial by Brit Chandler

Step 2: In the "Quick Develop" panel on the right hand side of the "Library" module, click on "Saved Preset".

How to edit videos in Lightroom using presets | Lightroom Editing Tutorial by Brit Chandler

Step 3: Navigate to the correct presets folder. The presets do not need to be purchased. You can create your own, or use the ones included in Lightroom as well.

How to edit videos in Lightroom using presets | Lightroom Editing Tutorial by Brit Chandler

Step 4: Choose a preset, and click it! And that's it, your video is now completely edited! You can also play with the contrast, color and temperature, exposure, and more within the "Quick Develop" panel! Enjoy :)

And here is the final video with all of my images and videos edited with the same two presets.

Check out the presets used in the videos here. They are my new Sunkissed Presets, which are available in the Clickin Moms store!  Use code: SUNKISSED to save $15 off the set.

A Special Surprise! | Portland, OR Family Photographer

Video Fusion: Pregnancy reveal to dad

I was so excited when Lindsey emailed me a few days before our session to let me know she was expecting, and wanted to tell her husband while I was there to capture it! How perfect was that opportunity? I was so excited to be able to film this surprise, and I can now cross a pregnancy reveal to a dad off of my photography bucket list. Congrats again Mitchell Family!!

How to Create a Film Effect in Lightroom | Photography Tutorials

Tutorial: How to Create a Film Effect in Lightroom

It's no secret that I am loving the look of film processing right now.  Because there are so many different ways to edit your images to achieve a film look, I wanted to share my quick workflow to create a film edit.

If you like this look, check out my new Film Inspired Presets, available for both Lightroom & ACR.

10 Ways to Overcome a Creative Rut (for Photographers)

10 Ways to Overcome a Creative Rut (for Photographers) by Brit Chandler | Portland, OR Lifestyle Photographer

As artists, we go through stages of extreme inspiration, and stages of no creative drive. I’ve had my fair share of highs and lows, and I wanted to share my no fail tips for getting out of a creative rut.

The first step is to define the problem. With the many aspects of life happening, we often find ourselves in a creative rut for various reasons. Once you clarify your specific issue, you can work towards solving it.

Reasons You are in a Creative Rut:

1. You are overwhelmed.  This often happens in the beginning stages of your photography journey. The road ahead looks long, and sometimes impossible, when you think about what you want to learn. Not only do you need to learn the basics of shooting in manual, but you also need to improve your composition, figure out posing, and learn the in’s and out’s of an editing software (or two).

2. You have no time to shoot for yourself. Whether you have kids, a job, a booming business, or a million other events happening in your life, there will be phases in your hectic schedule that you realize you haven’t picked up your camera for fun in weeks (months?!) If you haven’t had this happen to you personally, be patient, it’s inevitable.

3. You are simply uninspired. For me, this has most recently been the case. I have cycled in and out of the overwhelmed and busy stages, and find myself in the uninspired phase now and again. I have mastered what I wanted to master in photography, I have free time, but I just don’t have the same drive to pick up my camera like I used too. Sound familiar?

Once you have determined the issue(s), you can move on and find your solution. Some solutions will make your problem worse, so be sure to think through what is going to truly help you out of this rut. For example, if you are overwhelmed by the amount of photography skills you want to learn, DON’T try to learn another new skill.

10 Ways to Overcome a Creative Rut (for Photographers) by Brit Chandler | Portland, OR Lifestyle Photographer

1. Start a Creative Project. This can be as easy or difficult as you want to make it. It can be short term, long term, or have no time limit what-so-ever. The key is to pick a project with guidelines, and stick to them, whether you feel like it or not. Here are a few examples to get your wheels turning:

  • Let the Kids
  • 30 Days of Black & White Images
  • A Day in the Life
  • A Week of Faceless Images
  • 365 Project
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2. A Personal Challenge. This solution can fall into a number of the other categories, but I thought it deserved it’s own point. Think of your personal work and where you would like to improve. Do you need to get better with your flash? Challenge yourself to use it everyday for 14 days. Are your black and white conversions lacking depth? Tell yourself that you are going to edit 20 different images with varying black and white edits. I recently did a last minute project where

I photographed our stay in a hotel room

. My only rule was to push myself creatively. I love the way the images turned out. Pick a weakness and make it a strength.

10 Ways to Overcome a Creative Rut (for Photographers) by Brit Chandler | Portland, OR Lifestyle Photographer

3. Take a Class or Workshop. There is nothing more inspirational than striving to improve yourself with a group of other go-getters. Is there an online class or book that you’ve been meaning to dive into? Just do it. There is no better time than when you are in need of a boost. My go-to resource for classes is

Clickin Moms University

.

10 Ways to Overcome a Creative Rut (for Photographers) by Brit Chandler | Portland, OR Lifestyle Photographer

4. Focus on Improving a Skill. Have you been drooling over a friend’s freelensed images but can’t get the same look? Or have you been meaning to finally get tack sharp images with that macro lens? Picking a single skill to grow and improve may be the ticket to getting yourself out of a funk. If it’s something you’ve tried in the past, but haven’t been successful with, try again. Overcoming an obstacle is the ultimate confidence boost.

10 Ways to Overcome a Creative Rut (for Photographers) by Brit Chandler | Portland, OR Lifestyle Photographer

5. Learn a New Skill. Yes, this is different than improving a skill you already have. Pick something you know nothing about and commit to learning it. This solution really helps those that are in the uninspired age. Us seasoned photographers often get in a funk when we run out of things we want to try or improve. The great news is that we will NEVER be great at everything, so the list of skills to learn is virtually unlimited. Next on my list of new skills is film photography or videography.

10 Ways to Overcome a Creative Rut (for Photographers) by Brit Chandler | Portland, OR Lifestyle Photographer

6. Find Inspiration Outside of the Industry. YES! I cannot tell you how many times I have watched a music video, or paged through a children’s book, only to be completely inspired and ready to pick up my camera and shoot away. Being an artist means we have the skills to find inspiration anywhere. Don’t pigeon hole yourself with the photography industry.

10 Ways to Overcome a Creative Rut (for Photographers) by Brit Chandler | Portland, OR Lifestyle Photographer

7. Ask for Help. Not sure where to go next? Get critique! If I never asked another photographer what I needed to improve, I would still be using Sepia ;) Giving and receiving constructive criticism is one of the best ways to improve your photography. And if you are feeling overwhelmed, a push in the right direction may be exactly what you need to buckle down and focus on your next move.

10 Ways to Overcome a Creative Rut (for Photographers) by Brit Chandler | Portland, OR Lifestyle Photographer

8. Try Out New Gear. Don’t take out your credit card just yet. While I love getting a new, creative lens as much as the next person (anyone else drooling over the Lensbaby Velvet?!), it’s not always financially feasible. Some affordable options include renting a lens or flash, or purchasing something cheap, like a reflector, gray card, or wireless remote. My $75 nifty fifty has been changing the way I feel about focal length! I used to be wide angle only, but now I am really enjoying still life with my 50mm 1.8. Playing with something new is exciting, no matter how much it costs.

10 Ways to Overcome a Creative Rut (for Photographers) by Brit Chandler | Portland, OR Lifestyle Photographer

9. Shoot a New Subject. I highly recommend this exercise for those who photograph children 99% of the time. Oh man, those guys can be challenging. One of my favorite things to do is to pick a flower from my backyard and go to town! When you shoot a moving subject all the time, it quickly becomes frustrating when you are trying to improve skills like composition, or focus! Change it up to give yourself some creative wiggle room (and to keep yourself sane).

10 Ways to Overcome a Creative Rut (for Photographers) by Brit Chandler | Portland, OR Lifestyle Photographer

10. Choose a Goal. Do you ever think to yourself, “Once I do X, I will feel great about my photography”? One of the biggest goals I gave myself was becoming a CM Pro. I spent months shooting, editing, organizing, shooting more, reediting, etc to prepare my CM Pro application. Receiving that acceptance email was one of the most exciting and gratifying moments in my photography career. Giving yourself a huge and long term goal is one of the best ways to keep chugging, all while improving your work.

The great news about being in a funk is that it’s only a phase, and you’ll be out of it in no time. Personally, all of my biggest “ah-ha” moments have come after a rut, which I talk a lot about in my breakout,

Finding Lifestyle

. “There is always darkness before the dawn”. Hang in there and don’t give up. I am confident when I say something great will come out of this.

What is your go-to solution for a creative rut? What was your biggest ah-ha moment after a funk?

Lifestyle Newborn Session: Naomi's First Photos | Portland, OR Family Photographer

Lifestyle Newborn Photography Session

Two things I love: lifestyle newborn sessions and when photographers hire me to take their photos. I love lifestyle newborn photos because I get so much joy out of capturing the little details of a family's first few weeks with their newest addition. They have new traditions, new routines, new roles. I love photographing other photographers (once I get past the nerves) because it is one of the biggest compliments. Someone who has an eye for photography has trusted me with their memories.

This new fam was no exception to my love of newborns rule. Watching parents fall in love with their baby is one of the most sincere moments. Baby Naomi was not in the mood for having her picture taken while I was there, but her parents laughed it off and we had a fun session.

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Isn't this nursery decor amazing? I would say 95% of it was DIYed. And those paintings above the dresser? Mom painted them! Aren't they fantastic. And surprisingly enough, this wasn't my first time a mom painted art for her babe's nursery.

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Baby details make me swoon. I am sure you aren't surprised that my baby fever was spiked the morning of the shoot ;)

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That face! She wasn't a happy camper while mom & dad dressed her.

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I just had to capture some real life moments, like dad doing dishes was mom feeds babe. That's about as honest as it gets with a newborn.

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Thanks for looking!

All of these images were edited with my Lightroom and ACR presets, available here.

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