Hi everyone! Check back here for articles I've written about freelancing life, design for businesses, or anything else that sparks my interest. 

  • Ashley Lentz

Are you creating a new website for your business? Or branching out on social media? Start with these 5 ways to begin showcasing your brand;

Note - if you are taking your own photos, it is tempting to want to just use your phone. However, it is more worthwhile to invest in a few large, high quality images that you can rely on to work across different platforms. Hire a photographer to help you get started!

1. General Photo

This is sort of the bare minimum photo you could pop into all of your accounts on Day 1, from your site to social media handles. Maybe if you're a jewelry designer, start off with a large photo of one of your best creations, on an interesting background. If you're a fitness trainer, maybe it's a photo of you helping a client. Think of this like a great photo you would use as a backdrop banner on your website, or use as the cover photo of your Facebook page. Try to choose an image that encompasses what your brand is all about, especially your brand colors, subjects, etc.

2. Your Logo

Do you have one? While the cost of a logo design can vary between designers, the price difference generally comes down to the kind of detail you are looking for in a logo. If you want it to look more like an illustration/cartoon than a symbol, it'll cost more. It's no big deal to get a simple logo for your business for around $100. If you're hesitant to invest in a logo, think about how often you'll use your logo on all your branding, it is really important. A simple but well-designed logo can help your customers remember your brand, and distinguish it from others. Plus, if you don't like your logo at the start, you can always redesign it later, nothing is set in stone forever.

3. Photo Of You, The Business Owner

This is a feature for your "about me" page, or, "why work with me" callout, it helps your customer get an idea of who is behind the brand. It shows that there is a real person working there, especially if people are only finding your business for the first time through a Google search, or via social media. Most people will Google a business before engaging with them, they'd certainly rather put a human face to the name, instead of just reading some text. This can also be your "logo" or icon on your social media pages or website, depending on your design.

4. Photo Of Your Business Space

A lot of businesses will take a photo of the exterior of their brick and mortar business, you could also grab a photo of the lobby, checkout area, or service areas. This is great for your Google presence, it can give the customer an idea of what to expect in the environment. By having this photo done yourself, you can control how people perceive the space on first (online) impression. If you don't operate in a physical location, maybe think about showing a photo of you working someplace else, like, you and your laptop at a cafe, or at home.

5. Images For Categories Of Your Products Or Services

When you're setting up your website, you may have sections for different categories of what you do or offer. Try starting with three or four categories, and a photo for each of those categories to start. For example, if you are a makeup artist, maybe you have a section for wedding makeup, a section for prom makeup, and a section for tanning services. Grab a few generic photos for those sections, just to differentiate their meaning and catch the eye of the visitor to your site. Another option is to create text graphics that have the title of the category, if you're short on time and want to get the site up fast.

Use any and all of these types of images on your social media sites as well, they don't have to be just for your website!

If you are interested in learning more about images for your business, send me an email at ashleylentzdesign@gmail.com!

There's no denying it, more and more people are looking to Instagram to check out the representation and reputation of a brand. If you're not already promoting your brand on Instagram, I suggest you think about trying it, it is free promotion after all. You may even find that once you start posting, you have more to share than you thought! Here are 10 ideas for service-based businesses to get started;

1. Who Are You?

Post a photo of your staff and/or management, so that the world can get an authentic look at who works at your business. It's even more fun and relatable if you have some candid shots, like at a work party or event.

2. What Are You Proud Of?

Think about your best service that you offer to your customers, the pride and joy of your business. Is it a certain style of hair-dyeing, a detailing job on a car? Show it off, so others can get excited about what you do.

3. What Can You Show Me?

Video content is only growing bigger and bigger, but it doesn't mean you have to create a super long, extensively edited production. Short and sweet is best, how about a 1 minute video that tours your workspace? Or if you can, try recording a client giving you an authentic video review of your work. Or take some service that you might normally take a photo of, and simply do a 10 second video instead, like a customer showing off her fresh nails.

4. What Products Do You Use?

This could also be products that you sell along with your services, and this is actually a pretty quick and easy photo to take. Maybe you got a new type of oil for your massage business, simply grab a close-up photo of the product on a shelf, or in someone's hand. Maybe you got a new set of markers for your lettering business, show those off!

5. What Does The Place Look Like?

This sort of goes along with the idea of giving a tour, but, take advantage of the photography aspect, and take several photos of different spaces, which can add up to more posts on your Instagram. If you work from home, get a shot of your workspace, so clients can get an idea of where you're coming from, and your personality.

6. What Are People Saying?

Testimonials go a long way in encouraging business for your brand, why not post them to Instagram as well as your website? This can be just a graphic post, text on a colorful background, which you could make yourself or have a designer create for you. Once you have a template with your brand colors, post this between photos to create an eye-catching grid layout.

7. What Do You Want To Say?

In the same vein as idea #6, take a text graphic and put your own words into it, or a quote you love. Quotes are popular because they connect people emotionally, it also shows a side of your humanity, rather than just being focused on business promotion. Maybe you offer counseling services, and want to share encouraging words with your clients, who will in turn want to follow your content for that support. Share a joke, share a cause, share a feeling!

8. What Else Do You Do?

I would say, don't focus on this one too much in case it gets too off-topic for people, but, if you ran a 5K for a cause you're proud of, that might be fun to share, to show more dimensions of what you care about. By showing how you're interacting and supporting causes in your community, you could also gain more business through those connections.

9. What Can You Teach Us?

This could be a text graphic with a short "advice" phrase and more explanation in the description, or a photo of a scenario you'd like to educate others on. You don't need to go into heavy detail, because, let's face it, people scrolling don't have time for that. Maybe you run an auto body shop, and want to remind people of what can happen if you don't keep up with oil changes. Maybe there's an interesting photo of a "gone wrong" situation or a comparison of what a customer could have after getting your service done. Before and after, live and learn!

10. What Will You Do In The Future?

Are you adding a new space onto your brick and mortar business? It might be interesting for your followers to see how you are expanding, and what you might offer in the future. If you found out about some technology that you will add to your range of services, don't be shy about sharing that. Get people excited about where you're going!

If you want to learn more about Instagram posts for your brand, shoot me an email at ashleylentzdesign@gmail.com!

  • Ashley Lentz

Updated: Jul 23, 2019

So you're thinking about freelancing! It is a big leap, and can be a major lifestyle change. Here are 5 freedoms you can enjoy, for better or worse, when you embrace freelancing. I added in "flipsides" of these freedoms, in case you are wondering if it might not suit your personality or working style.

1. Financial Freedom

You will decide how much money you make, and it's true that there is probably an average income that most freelancers achieve. However, when you're going out on your own, you have the ability to decide how much your services are worth, you can give yourself a raise as your skills grow. You decide your own worth, rather than waiting for someone else to see your worth and compensate you for it.

The Flipside - it can be intimidating to think about working without the same, dutiful payment in your bank account at the same time every week

2. Time Freedom

You now have the flexibility, depending on your service and the structure of your business, to make it to that 3pm yoga class if you want to. You can rearrange your working hours to suit your lifestyle, work later into the day if you like. Taking a few breaks between work, such as pausing every 45 minutes, is now possible if that's how you work best.

The Flipside - if you can't structure your own time responsibly, you might find it hard to be productive during the day

3. Environmental Freedom

Your home office can be as unique as you are, by including your favorite candles, preferred lighting, and favorite music. You have the ability to create a space where you work best, rather than being left to deal with the standards of another office. This is especially helpful for empaths!

The Flipside - if you get too comfortable, you might not get as much work done, or, you might procrastinate on work while you're setting the "perfect mood"

4. Mental Freedom

You're now responsible for calling the shots on your business, which, if you're the type of person looking for this element of control, it's great. You choose where and how you do business, you decide how your business is going to proceed, how it is represented. There's nobody telling you "how the company does things" or making those decisions for you.

The Flipside - if you are afraid of making big decisions and prefer being assigned work, you might not have the motivation to make moves to expand your business

5. Social Freedom

You can choose the clients or businesses that you wish to work with, and network with the communities you are most interested in. Your working peers will be chosen by you, rather than left to whoever you're placed in an office with. With working from home as well, you have the space of choosing when you want to engage in social interactions or not, which is great for introverts.

The Flipside - if you crave social interactions in your workday, you may not love working from home by yourself, however co-working spaces are always an option

Even if you only dip a toe into freelancing on the weekends, just experiencing this different kind of work structure in small amounts can be motivating enough to want to go full time. For me, running my own business is something I always wanted, but for a while wasn't confident enough in myself to see through. Now that I am in my thirties, I feel like I am the best version of myself, and I decide how I want my daily work to be structured.

Want to chat more about freelancing? Send me an email at ashleylentzdesign@gmail.com!

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