Growing your Instagram Doesn’t Have to Cost You

As a marketing professional the number one question I get is how to grow Instagram followers without the cost that’s so often affiliated with gaining followers! I think that growing followers happens over time, but that there are a few key ways to guarantee that your followers will be both interested and willing to continue to be a part of your community – rather than a follower who is inconsistent in participating with you and your feed.

One of the main ways to guarantee followers or more views to your account and feed is so focus on giving high quality content. I think there is so much emphasis that can be placed on this, because people really are looking for something that they’ll want to follow because it’s pretty, or aesthetically pleasing or because they are able to take something from it – which leads me to my next point —

People want content they can share or that they are able to save for themselves to come back to. I can’t tell you the number of accounts I follow just because of a post I saw and saved, and still use, or advice they consistently give that’s beneficial to something I am working on or creating. And that is common amongst almost everyone! Content that encourages people to interact with your account because it’s entertaining, helpful, a good reminder, aesthetic, pretty, will provide a reason to share or save it.

But in order to provide content people want to be sharing or saving, putting content out there is required first. Obviously – you already knew that. The key is that the content is not only quality and interesting, but that it’s being posted frequently and consistently. Staying consistent with your followers shows them the effort and time you put into your content, highlighting the importance of the content and maintaining your relationships with your followers.

Another way to keep your content new and interesting is VIDEO. I have said it before and I will continue to say it – 2020 is the year of video. But specific to Instagram, stories, lives, IG TV, videos are more relevant now than ever. The ability to connect with other people instantly and share it with your followers can be so beneficial for so many reasons. Interviews regarding topics in your industry on IG Live, then saving it to your profile, so followers can go back and take key points or watch it if they missed it at the live time. Using video for new and creative ways to interact, such as Instagram live, invites followers, and those who follow the other person or don’t follow you yet, to participate in your content and marketing your platform to different groups.

Similar to video, an easy way to increase interaction is by using call-to-action in your posts, and on other media platforms or your website, as it can really benefit your following and gaining the specific kind of followers you’re looking for. I just spoke with a friend who has been able to use TikTok as a form of call-to-action, leading people to similar content they enjoy on her TikTok also on her Instagram. Call-to-action is leading individuals to interact with your content and posts in specific ways you want them to – whether it be encouraging followers to share content you believe will be popular in an industry or that people would enjoy or save and like a post they might come back to later, for example. This is a great way to broaden your following and gain new followers similar to people who have and continue to interact with your profile already.

Lastly, one of the earliest and most common forms of finding followers is hashtags. Targeting hashtags that are relatable to the topic you’re posting about, the industry you’re in, local communities or specific groups of people you’d be interested in reaching can help in gaining views from people not yet following you but viewing your posts through the hashtags/recommended followers. It can be beneficial to use similar, if not the same, hashtags in order to hit a specific group more than once.

These are some of the recommended ways I have used for clients and know other individuals use to gain a quality community – because truthfully, community is what it comes down to. Finding the individuals who can contribute, add to and relate to your content and want to be a part of the community you’re building.

Self-Doubt as a Fuel

If there’s one thing I have found the most powerful – both in a positive and negative way – during my journey with entrepreneurship, it’s that of self-doubt. Some days it’s so easy to find my confidence and groove with my work, while others I sit there and stare at a project wondering how to pursue something new.

Recently I read The Upside of Being Down by Jen Gotch, owner of Ban.do. When I say I have never read a book that I’ve connected to more, I am not being dramatic. Besides the point, at one point in her book, she says that “both the news media and social media have glorified the hustle (and the resulting success as if that’s always a guarantee) in ways that make most of us feel like we’re failing, even when we’re not.”

The self-doubt I have experienced throughout my journey is often a result of one of a few things: comparison, lack of background in a very specified area of marketing or branding, or, not seeing the results or success that seemed to be an obvious if I did my business “the right way.”

I think it’s important to share every part of the journey, both the good and the bad. And while I might have a seemingly confident spirit, there are still times I experience self-reflection and questioning. I don’t think I would be a true entrepreneur if I didn’t. My self-doubt has in turn fueled my passion and desire for my work and the urge to connect with like-minded individuals and share our experiences. The most important takeaways I have found from self-doubt are seemingly positive – and have helped me grow and evolve in ways I didn’t think possible.

  • It has pushed me out of my comfort zone – if there’s an area I feel less confident in, I have been able to go out and learn more about it. For example, I kept getting asks in graphic design, so I researched courses and got a certificate in graphic design.
  • It has taught me to reach out to other creatives, as well as people in my circle, just to run ideas past, bounce off input and get good feedback. My Mom, truth be told, has been a huge business advisor to me, and has given me loads of ideas and reflective statements that have assisted with my self-confidence. Take advantage of both those close to you with business experience, as well as those weaker ties that can provide fresh insight or connections.
  • It has shown me that success looks different for everyone and every business, and the important factor is that you feel capable and achieved within the boundaries of what you want your success to be – and that those boundaries aren’t always a straight line and can evolve to.
  • I have found that failing has helped develop a stronger sense of the areas I want to push myself or learn more, rather than simply viewing them as a failure. They have motivated me and provided me with skills I hadn’t previously experienced.
  • It has helped me pull in new hobbies, interests and motivation for these activities I hadn’t been participating in before. I have far more interest in reading everything and anything I can get my hands on, I love spending time meditating or reflecting on my days and experiences.
  • It has helped me feel comfortable with feelings of self-doubt and encouraged me to take a moment to reflect on why I am feeling that way – which has helped me to understand areas I can reflect on and spend more time on.

Inspiration Motivation

This is a time where inspiration for many has either spiked or decreased – and for me personally, I have seen highs and lows in my creativity and inspiration over the course of the last month. While there has been far more time to brainstorm and create, there has also been time to feel a little unsettled and questionable about the future, which prevents inspiration to its fullest extent.

I have noticed, and in talking to many, have witnessed that because of the abundance of time, creative motivation ebbs and flows. Some days I can come up with a great deal of ideas: blog posts, content and new opportunities for myself and my business, and other days, kind of like the day I am having today, I feel slightly unmotivated and not at all creatively inspired.

BUT, while there is not a cure-all for lack of inspiration, I have a few ideas or tools I personally use to re-motivate and inspire myself, and I definitely don’t limit myself to these to find inspiration either. I hope you find these ideas helpful and are able to use them in your own way – and share what you use to find inspiration each day! I so often find creative energy from other people and their successes, so sharing what motivates and inspires you might be helpful and motivating for other people too.

  • Read, read, read! Whether it be a fictional book, biography, article or social media post, fill your mind with new ideas, thoughts and concepts you hadn’t given much thought to previously. After finishing a book or an article I often find myself with more motivation to react creatively than before.
  • Watch a documentary. Not only can you clear your head of what’s overwhelming you now (aka a lack of inspiration), but finding a documentary series that provokes thoughtfulness and reflection can be of great assistance to propelling creative thoughts when you need them.
  • Listen to a podcast series. I have said it before and I’ll continue to say it – podcasts are the perfect place to start when looking for inspiration. There are countless podcast series I listen to that leave me feeling rejuvenated and energized to start on a new project or pursue an idea I had.
  • Doodle, draw, journal. Write and write some more. Have a place in which you are putting down any and all of your thoughts and ideas – and that can quite possibly just be a doodle. The spot you can turn to when you wake up at 2am with an idea and just write. When I look back at the notebooks and journals I used previously, I still have all of the ideas and projects I would love to pursue when I have the opportunity, or when it aligns with something I am currently working on. What a great way to find inspiration then finding it in something you wrote down 6 months, a year or a few years ago.
  • Set up a meeting with someone who you look at as a role model or inspiration. Reach out to an individual on IG who you find interesting or would love to connect with and see if they would be interested in connecting over FaceTime. That person to person interaction does not have to end just because of quarantine – use this time to continue to develop relationships with individuals who inspire you.
  • Create a vision board or mood board. Fill it with images and words that spark feelings of joy and excitement for you, or pick a specific topic and fill the board with inspiration that surrounds that topic. A fairly simple way to kickstart creative thoughts when they aren’t flowing so easily.
  • Realize it’s okay to feel uninspired sometimes! It comes and goes in life for so many reasons and that’s okay. An occasional day off or day in sweats relaxing isn’t so bad and might be exactly what you need to find some creative energy.

Client Feature: KLIK USA Blogs

My first client, KLIK USA, is a small architectural lighting company based out of Milwaukee, WI and distributing sustainable and environmentally focused lighting fixtures from Australia. Not only do they have a large focus on the benefits of their fixtures to the environment, but how these fixtures provide an aesthetic look that is very unique and difficult to attain with many other fixtures in the market. 

One of the many projects APHable has taken on in the marketing and communications territories for KLIK is building their monthly blog posts. The reason that I find this critical to the work I have done for KLIK is because it was the perfect example of going into content, with a brand or company, not having a wide range or knowledge of it, but being able to develop your skillsets to grow an understanding and develop content to interest the current audience, and grow that audience even further. 

Architectural lighting is a pretty niche area, and the language and knowledge of it can be confusing or challenging at first to understand, particularly in the LED sector, which is largely what lighting will continue to be. I remember sitting down for the first time and staring at a blank computer screen while thinking, “how can I create content when I don’t have any experience in this?” and here we are, almost a year into my work with KLIK and numbers continuing to grow. 

The key piece here is that while you might not fully comprehend a brand or industry prior to really getting into it while building their content, there are so many ways for you to go all in and still do the job you need to be doing, if not better. It starts with believing in yourself and your capabilities, and it continues with additional time put in (and Google…), and more time after that. 

When I first connect with clients, I commonly get asked how I can create content if I’m not limited to one industry. Being transparent, it is not an easy thing, but it’s a path I wanted to choose because while it requires those extra hours to research an industry, I really develop an understanding of a brand and a brand’s competitors and what I learn and gain from the experience is critical to my development as a successful marketer and successful business owner. 

Putting in those extra hours to develop a knowledge and understanding of a client and their industry in the beginning is what will continue to set you apart later. Specifically, if you can challenge yourself to research industries and have a top-tier knowledge of what trends and fads will grow while you continue your work with your client, you will have the ability to build content for them even if it’s not your direct industry.

To stay on top of research I put in at the beginning, when I sit down to plan, create and schedule content for a client, I put in a little additional research time to make sure I am still current in my knowledge of the industry and client competitors. I find that this gives me the ability to curate content personal to the brand and its audience, even if I am not specialized in the topic or industry. 

While additional time and research is something I plan and schedule as a necessity to the success and personal connection to each client and their audience, I often come across other tips and tricks that help professionals grow their knowledge in industries they aren’t always familiar with. If you have any tools you use, reach out and let’s connect! This is definitely an area I am always looking to improve on and grow in any way I can and would love to compare notes. 

Social Media Trends: Video Takeover

When researching 2020 marketing, branding and social media trends, the use of video was mentioned in every article, blog post or social media post I read. While these predictions were indeed correct the further we get into 2020, they ring even more true with the spike in COVID-19. For businesses large and small the use of video has become extremely prominent, whether it be to manage a team or market a product in a new way, there are an abundance of ways that video can be used to stay connected. 

Personally, the focus on APHable and really growing the business has been put on the back-burner with my priorities shifting to staying positive and connected, growing a community and taking a step back to evaluate my goals and refocus on the areas I do want to work on within the business. That being said, video can play into all of these goals in a large variety of ways. 

Using Instagram live or Instagram stories is a great way to stay proactive with your audience and event present ideas or activities in a new way. I know plenty of individuals and brands who previously did not have much experience using these video IG options, but with limited in-person options, these have become instant connectors – and they don’t even have to be directly related to your product or brand. Use Instagram live to interview a key player in your brand’s industry, a positivity coach or an employee that has gone above and beyond to draw attention to positivity in your community and for your audience as well. 

Zoom, as many individuals are already aware, is a GREAT tool for conferencing, meetings, and any sort of team collaboration. Another use of this platform could be a small conference or industry-based virtual gathering, happy hour or meeting! Whether it be inviting your audience to participate in a conference to learn a new skill or to hear you talk on a focal point of your expertise, to connecting with other industry leaders for brainstorming, networking or to experience other people, using Zoom is an easy way to build a community in whatever way you see fit.

TikTok takeover! Because what else is there really to do…just kidding. On a serious note, TikTok not only has plenty of ways to stay entertained (and get some cardio in by learning an abundance of dances) but to market your brand in a unique and modern way. Many brands are struggling to find the balance between recognizing the significance of COVID-19 and being respectful of the situation, while still trying to run a business, a challenge seen especially by the small businesses. TikTok can offset this a little bit by providing marketing in a fun and upbeat way. If it is a platform that you know your brand’s audience uses, TikTok is a great way to connect to your audience in a way very different than simply selling the product or continuing on with content as though everything is normal. 

Lastly, use video to share content in a helpful way – and one that creates a community. If you are a social media marketer, or your product is beneficial in some way to a process, sharing a video series or insight to how companies could manage the processes on their own through COVID-19 would be extremely beneficial to share at this point in time. Even sharing a video series on something not related to your brand, but just to build a sense of community or connection, is something worth your time and worth it to your audience. 

Staying Busy When Busy Isn’t an Option

We are in a situation that is now impossible to ignore. Social distancing, quarantine, isolation are all now a reality and there is a high likelihood that like me, working from home has become sensible. I am the type of person that loves to stay as busy as possible, whether it be work, classes, social outings, workouts, etc. – which makes it a little challenging for me to think about being in the house limited to so little of what my usual routine looks like. 

This being said, I am trying to find any possible way to productively fill my time both professionally and personally! I have come up with a variety of activities and areas that I plan on doing to keep busy and keep my mind off of things – check some of them out below and feel free to share what you’re doing to *positively* fill your time. I think the most important thing you can do for yourself is find ways to keep busy in a way that’s benefitting you, build a community in an online setting and find joy and positivity in everything big and small. 

Some professional areas you could work on might be…

  • Finding an online course to get a certificate in. I am currently working on getting my certificate in graphic design, but I had already worked through my certificates in social media marketing and advertising! There are so many websites and avenues out there that provide courses and certificates to take up something new! Udemy is a great resource, but Hootsuite, Canva and even Adobe offer courses or online classes to develop certain marketing skillsets.
  • Check in on contacts you’ve met while networking. Obviously a breakfast meeting or a coffee date is not exactly appropriate at the moment but reaching out via text or email is completely reasonable in order to fill your time productively, grow your community and make sure to continue those relationships even when you can’t in person.
  •  If you work a lot online, get ahead with content, scheduling, social media post ideas, you name it! Use this time to really get your planning and creating to an all-time high, prepping ideas and new content that you usually did last minute and making it something you get ahead on instead. 

Some personal activities to stay busy could be…

  • Podcasts, Books, TV Shows are all there for a reason! I have an extensive list of podcasts and books I absolutely love – but absolutely could use some ideas for TV shows that you find interesting or funny! I am always looking for shows to keep on in the background while I am working from home. Some podcasts I love to listen to are Girlboss Radio, Business Casual, Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations and Lady Startup. Be sure to check them out and let me know what you think. 
  • Perfect time for spring cleaning! I cleaned out my closet once again and got piles ready for Goodwill/items of mine I just needed to get rid of. When spring comes around and the weather gets nice again it can actually be challenging to find the time to truly clean out and refresh your home – use this time and use it wisely! 
  • Start a new workout routine. There is an insane amount out there for at-home, personal workouts that can be not only a good burn, but a good way to get into a routine maybe you haven’t created or settled into. I am using this time to strengthen my core to a level that has been lacking (and is noticeable in my runs and yoga) and focus on some areas that I really don’t have a set routine in (arms, chest, etc.). It really is just as easy, while it might not be as enjoyable, to get a good workout at home.
  • Meditate. This is NOT something that comes easily, and trust me, as someone who is/has read books on this, watched videos, worked on it daily for a long time, spending time on training your mind can be so incredibly beneficial – especially in a time with such heightened negativity and constant anxiety. I think that being able to find your positivity, the areas of thought that truly matter, that is what can be of critical importance during a time when what surrounds us can be so overwhelming. 

Women Warriors

The above image is two of my amazing sisters following the Marine Corps Marathon, which they ran together. Incredible, right?

International Women’s Day is March 8th each year. I LOVE it. One of my favorite regarded days on the calendar because it provides another reason to highlight the successes of women and how far we continue to push the boundaries of areas where we once were limited (or still are and continue to push). I figured this would be a great time to release a few women who I find a great sense of inspiration and motivation from – and who you might have amazing takeaways from as well.

Sophia Amoruso

Founder of NastyGal and currently of Girlboss media, Sophia is the epitome of a woman who has seen what it is to fail and yet, makes a comeback better than what was before. Girlboss has created motivation, inspiration and a larger community for all the “Girlbosses” out there who are taking charge of their own success.

Kendra Scott

Kendra Scott is another strong female entrepreneur who started with a “failed” business that led her to the path of her now incredibly successful jewelry brand. A huge source of inspiration, Kendra often talks of experience being the most powerful source of knowledge, as well as encouraging individuals to focus on what they’re good at, because the money will always come later.

Hoda Kotb

An anchor on the Today show, broadcast journalist and a woman who changed the perspective of many by becoming a mom in her 50’s, Hoda continues to bring the world, and those who follow her on Instagram, positive and upbeat messages – and a reminder that each day starts the most successful when you don’t hit snooze on your alarm.

Some More Female Inspiration:

  • Katie Austin: A trainer and health coach with a fitness lifestyle that provides motivation for a happy and healthy lifestyle for anyone who is a part of her program. After meeting Katie, I can’t say enough how she confident she is – and how much you can learn from that!
  • Liv Schreiber: This girl is AMAZING! The most motivating insights and advice on a variety of subjects, Liv runs her own mentorship and branding business and serves as a confidence coach to so many individuals. Her IG feed is BOMB – check it out for some motivation.
  • PickARTByLily: Lily has created an incredible Etsy business, providing amazing artwork, while pairing her artistic talents with that of her leadership capabilities, giving inspirational and genuine content to both her social media and artwork.
  • Create & Cultivate: A whole dang platform that provides women the opportunity to have a conversation and learn from others in any way possible to propel their career in the direction they desire.
  • Elizabeth Rees, Chasing Paper: Elizabeth, who absolutely embodies the Midwest work ethic mixed with creative and innovative ideas, started her own removable wallpaper company after growing up surrounded by the printing industry and having a desire to pave her own way in the industry in some form. What she has built of her company, as well as in the Milwaukee, WI community (Third Branch Creative Studio), reminds me how critical my roots are to my growth and the opportunities I can chase.
  • Laura Rae Photography: A photographer who doesn’t just give insight to her everyday life and business on IG, but shows the motivation and hard-work it takes to create a successful business. She is also a part of “Hey, You,” a conference that is curated to both building your business and spending time for yourself.

Self-Care while Self-Employed

So, this is it: you decided to go for it, you’re self-employed, doing freelance, running a side hustle. It’s a huge opportunity. You’re excited, you’re happy and you’re feeling positive about the direction your professional life is heading

And you’re also exhausted. Pretty nervous, a little stressed, don’t feel like you have time or a routine quite yet, but the important part is that you’re up and running and staying positive.

Here’s the reality of the situation – being self-employed while fun, creative, based solely around your ideals and plan is an incredible adventure and opportunity. But it can also be overwhelming. One of the main lessons I have learned so far in my journey is the focus and intention it takes to make time for self-care and the importance of spending time to do the activities you like and that relax you. Making time for yourself is what will provide you the ability to have a successful business. Being well-rested, making time to grab drinks with friends, do a face mask or do yoga in the morning are all moments that will provide you the opportunity to refocus on yourself, therefore, refocus on areas of your career. Personally, when I spend time for myself or the activities I want to be doing, I find that later that day or the next day I have the ability to recreate the goals I have made for myself and my brand. 

SO, knowing the benefits I have seen, I have come up with a few tips that have helped me to prioritize my own self-care in my everyday life especially as I have moved into a new lifestyle in hopes they’ll benefit someone else too!

  • Create a schedule or have a calendar you’ll actually follow! Sit down on Sunday night before the start of each week and create a schedule or routine that includes all of the important items – carving out time for things like exercise, reading a book before bed or grabbing coffee with someone you’ve been meaning to see for a while. Holding yourself accountable to a schedule you’ve created can be critical to making sure you’re creating time for yourself.
  • Exercise. I think this generally comes with the territory – I exercise so I don’t lose my mind! Making time in your everyday life to go for a run or an hour Pilates class or waking up that much earlier to get to the gym can be the motivation and endorphins you need to accomplish more in your day. 
  • Get inspired. Whatever you might do that gets your creative thoughts flowing or get you feeling motivated for your day: do more of that. Whether it be yoga, meditation, drawing or listening to podcasts, make sure that you include your passions in your everyday routine. 
  • Mornings are HUGE! Getting up that extra 30 minutes before you usually would or making an effort to be up at 5:30 to get the day started can save you so much time for things you WANT to be doing later. I always remind myself of that – if I have a lot to get done, or there’s something I know I am going to want to be doing later (hello, beach), I make the additional effort to make sure I am putting in that morning time to get my work done – or get up and get my workout done. Doing something that starts my day off caring for my well-being and time in some way, because it helps me feel that much better later.
  • Make time for the people who make you happy. This one really shouldn’t be hard – but for those who do have odd schedules or work routines, you know this one can often be challenging. Before the start of a month, pull out a calendar and set days, plans or events you already know of that include the people you love. This will guarantee you have already set the time aside to spend time with those who make you feel the most you.

While these aren’t always easy, and I sometimes fall out of these habits, I have found that if I prioritize the activities and people that are most important to me, I seem to have a way more positive and energetic attitude about what I am doing professionally, too. Work/life balance can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be if you can make sure you’re setting aside the time you NEED to revamp your mind.

I would love to hear your own tips and tricks, please feel free to reach out and share. If you have any questions about how I develop routines or ways I hold myself accountable, don’t be shy! And, as always, I would love to connect.

Sell it for what it is – not short.

There are certain times in life when I would prefer something to be sold short – negotiating for my car would have been an awesome time for the salesperson to sell it short. Needless to say, what I am paying in service fees since purchase, it would have certainly benefitted me for that car to be “sold short.” Or my Mac. Post-spilling an entire lavender, almond milk latte on my laptop one month prior to my college graduation, if Apple could have just taken some pity on my situation and sold it short, I would to this day be extremely grateful.

But alas, here we are and I am having the completely opposite issue of consistently avoiding “selling myself short” when it comes to the services I offer and the rate I am charging for those services. Why is it that companies continue to offer less to those individuals who can in fact offer more?

I have absolutely mulled over this – particularly at 2am when days of being turned down or negotiated for my rate weighed on me – and wonder if I had been searching in the wrong places, if this was a common issue for all freelancers/self-employed or if people underestimate the powers of having two degrees and a boatload of knowledge and ideas to offer (and I would seriously hope it is not the latter).

The more I researched and looked into this, what I would consider a problem, and the more I asked around, it was seemingly evident I was not the only person to deal with this. It appeared that smaller businesses were not outsourcing their marketing hiring as much and were making do internally, and people simply might not have the budget required to hire for marketing and branding. BUT – this poses the question I then had to ask myself – at what point do I “sell myself short?”

I don’t.

Simple as that – I personally, as much as it kept me up at night, negotiated that I was extremely confident in what I have to offer and believe that everything I am doing is absolutely consistent with the rate I am asking. And yes that sometimes meant losing clients or working that much harder to find projects, but I knew at the end of the day that what I was asking for was not an absurd ask – it was in fact, most reasonable to what I know I have to offer a company or brand if they trust me to reach my full potential with them.

However, I wish I had a guide or a person or something that had previously convinced me of that prior to my weeks of mind-negotiation. Which brings me to the purpose of writing this – for those individuals who have questioned their professional worth or for those companies going back and forth between hiring that freelance employee. I have listed a few ways below to avoid the bottomless sold-short-pit that can occur when building a business:

  • Don’t. give. up. It is as simple as that! Part of the territory comes with cold-calls and rejection. And often, hardcore rejection at that. I found that by focusing on the positive things I had going for me – that one potential client meeting I had that went well, the launch of my website, new business cards – and being grateful to have the opportunity to build exactly what I wanted far outweighed those companies not willing to give me a chance yet.
  • Give them evidence. Create a folder of all the sample work and various documents you can send them to show exactly what you can do and provide. My Mom actually just reminded me today, “people are looking for conversions.” When you do projects and create work for clients, track it. Come up with ways and guidelines for yourself that hold you accountable for tracking conversions and traffic for clients – and putting it into a format that allows you to show other potential clients the exact conversions you can provide for them, if not better.
  • Network NETwork NETWORK. It can be exhausting, and that’s coming from a people-person, but I left any networking event I attended completely rejuvenated from the potential that came from each event. And find something for multiple nights a week when you are starting off. The area I live/work in has little-to-no networking groups, especially for young, female professionals. I worked hard to find groups and events and attended such a variety, but it was through the people I met at those events that I started gaining a larger clientele – and from that, referrals.
  • Stand out. Figure out exactly what it is that is different and sets you apart from the rest and why clients should turn to you and trust you to assist them – and pay what you’re asking for it. This is key, because if you don’t know what sets you apart, how can you confidently tell them you deserve the rate you’re asking? It might take time and that’s okay too – but at the end of the day, you should have an angle that makes you that much different from the next.
  • Be patient. This is where I lack the most. Patient that the hard work, hours, networking, money and energy you’re putting into your business will pay off. Because it will! The companies and brands that align with you will fall into place, it just takes time and experience for that to happen first. Be patient with your process and trust in what you have to offer – and the companies will trust in what you have to offer as well.

This is definitely a topic I feel so strongly about – feel free to connect with me if you have more questions or more interest in this topic, I would love to hear what you think.

Season One, Episode One: Pilot

Hi! Welcome to my website, and if you have made it this far, welcome to my blog. My name is Abigael Hutchinson and I am a recent California transplant from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I am currently self-employed as I have started my own marketing, communications and branding company post-graduation in May of 2019. Life since graduation has absolutely been a whirlwind, but working full-time through college, I knew that my journey has always been unique, and my intentions and dreams have always been the largest I could ever envision possible.

For as long as I can remember communication was critically important to being myself. Whether it be speaking anything that crossed my mind or to meet as many new people as possible, it was part of me. As I grew older and decided to study Communications in college, I developed an even deeper love of what communicating really means and analyzing the ways that communication can be made easier or can be better developed between individuals.

This is where my company name comes from: affable, which is in some sense the ease of communicating with one another, using my initials – APH. I have always envisioned creating my own company or brand in hopes that what I am passionate about will help someone else fulfill what they are passionate about.

Why these areas or topics specifically though – I have asked myself this over and over and believe that there is far more than one answer, but the simplest being that as I mentioned briefly above, my college journey was unique, as I have been pursuing my career since the summer following my freshman year. The experiences, individuals I worked for and with, advice I was given and skillsets I learned shaped me, and continue to shape me, to be a leader in many forms, but truly to be a leader in the marketing, branding and communication strategies of a company or industry.

I wish I had been bold enough to start this blog earlier, as I believe that there are so many individuals and young professionals who continue to strive to be leaders in their company, their industry or their community who could not only find interest in what I am writing, but are able to teach me just as much.

For at the end of the day, my main priority is to connect and build relationships on a variety of levels – whether that be for clients, personally or to build a professional network, I find critical importance in building those face-to-face encounters as much as building those online relationships.

I hope after my lengthy first post you will find yourself acknowledging a passion you have, leadership capabilities you want to tap into further and/or a desire to create relationships right along with me.

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