Reader Survey Results + Q&A

Reader Survey Results + Q&A with The Crafted LifeFirst and foremost, you guys are AMAZING! Thank you so much for taking the time to fill out my reader survey last week. Your input is invaluable and I will certainly take it all to heart. Now on to the results!

projects_boxI am so happy that 10 minute crafts are a hit! I will be incorporating many more of these (perhaps even a mini series) in the future, so stay tuned. Now, you might see a cocktail recipe sneak its way in here from time to time, but for the most part, I totally agree with this list!

other_postThe people have spoken on this one, Crafter’s Toolbox it is! I can’t wait to share some of my favorite tools with you. I loved reading the ‘other’ responses on this question too, you’ve all given me so many new ideas to try!

Let’s dish about sponsored post for a moment here, shall we? Each and everyone of you who filled out the survey had nothing but encouraging and sweet things to say on this topic. I can’t thank you enough for that. I just wanted to let you know that I will only be partnering with brands who I trust and like. If a product sucks, I’m not going to tell you it’s the greatest thing around. I’d like for this blog to be a place of transparency, and I hope that’s okay. Speaking of which, time for the Q&A!

Q&A with The Crafted LifeThe last part of the survey, I gave you a chance to ask me anything. Boy did you guys deliver!

Q: How do you stay motivated to post regularly even when you’re having bad times?

This is a wonderful question and honestly something I’ve struggled with from time to time.  My previous blog (52 Weeks Project) was all about routine. Rain or shine, the goal was to complete and share one new craft project a week. Even though I wasn’t happy with everything I made, I still posted. I think doing that for a two years really helped me establish a routine. Aside from that, I have to say the support I’ve received from you, the readers, really pushes me.

Q: Do you have some advice for blogs just starting out? I’m not sure where I want to focus my content on!

Yay, I’m so excited you’ve decided to start a blog! The main advice I can give is to find the topic(s) you love and can see yourself writing about day after day, and year after year. Start by making a list then sit down and really evaluate what sets your idea apart from every other blog out there. Each person has unique interests, view points, and passions, so I know you’ll find something great!

Q: What’s your one mega seemingly insignificant pet peeve?

Well, I’m sure this one is not shared with many people, but it drives me crazy to see people sitting on fire hydrants. Urine soaked fire hydrants. I never noticed this before moving to San Francisco, but there you go (well aware it’s weird). Also when people chew or make sounds with their fingernails. Bleh!Where I used to craft

Yup that’s right folks, I used to craft on the floor next to the window of our tiny (less than 500 sq. ft.) San Francisco apartment. And yes, there were times when the people who lived across the way thought I was photographing them. Oh well, it happens right?

Each week, I moved all of our furniture to one side of the room so that I had enough space to make and photograph everything. When it was all done, I had to put everything back in place. Now I hope you see why I started sharing cocktail recipes ;)

Q: I hear San Francisco is the most expensive place to live in the US. If you don’t mind me asking, can you make a living with Crafted LIfe? Or do you have to supplement it with other work?

The short answer here is, I can’t. Well at least not in San Francisco at this time.

In March of this year I decided to make this blog my primary focus/job. Given that our rent was $2,500 a month (yikes!), I had to supplement my income with a few freelance photography gigs here and there. My boyfriend Gabe is also self employed (founder of imgfave), so our income is never consistent. We were having to scrape by just to make ends meet which was adding unnecessary stress to our work. As much as I love San Francisco and everyone I met there, the pressure just wasn’t worth it. We moved two weeks ago, and are now back in the Pacific Northwest.

For now, The Crafted Life is my primary source of income. I’m still stressed about paying the bills on a month to month basis, but it may just be the most liberating and exciting risk I’ve ever taken. I’ve also been working on a top secret project that I will be sharing with you soon!

Q: How much time each day (or week) do you give to your blog?

At this time, I am working 6.5 days a week, 10-11+ hours a day. On average, one tutorial takes me an entire work day day to complete.  Aside from that, there’s a lot of behind the scenes work that happens in order to make everything run smoothly.

Q: What do you see as the next big thing in crafting?

Such an interesting question! It’s so hard to choose because I think a lot of wonderful things are being done right now, but if I had to pick one, I would say 3-D printing. The possibilities are astounding and I can’t wait to see it become more mainstream.

Whew, thanks for holding in there!

I know there are several questions I didn’t get to answer here, but I have longer, more in depth posts coming soon that will hopefully wrap everything up. And if you missed the survey, feel free to leave your thoughts/questions in the comments below! You can also email me at hello@thecraftedlife.com. I’m always happy to chat!

How to Grow your Brand on Instagram

How to Grow your Brand on InstagramAfter receiving one of the kindest shout outs ever in Lisa and Sarah‘s Alt Summit presentation, I thought it’d be fun to share some of my own personal tips with you about how to grow your brand on Instagram!

Since rebranding my blog back in March, I’ve seen a 167% increase in Instagram followers (holy crap, right?!). It’s by far one of my favorite social media platforms because it gives me the freedom to be creative all while allowing me to be personable and connect with others. If you aren’t on it already, or perhaps you’re not that active, I urge you to give it a try! Here are five easy things you can do to grow your brand:

1. Hashtags. I’m not saying you should tag your image with 100 different adjectives, but rather find the hashtag that members of your community use and get involved. If you go to an event, check the specified hashtag and interact with others. Are you a blogger? See what tags other bloggers are using on a regular basis. Don’t just tag your photos with it and be done; take the time to check out what others are posting and engage (comment/like/follow, etc).  Which leads me to my next tip..

2. Be Active. As with all communities, the more you put in, the more you will get back. If you don’t like or engage with others, there’s really no incentive for them to interact with your photos. This also means be active in your posting. I may not hit it all the time, but I at least have a goal to post an image once a day. Since moving to this approach, I’ve noticed an increase in engagement all around.

3. Find the Right Time. Think about your ideal reader/customer and when they are most likely to be on their phones. If you take a really great picture at 2am, that doesn’t mean you have to post it then. Of course this is personal preference (perhaps you like to live in the moment), but I tend to stagger out my images to ensure as many people see them as possible.

4. Use the Explore Section. Now, you might be saying to yourself, whaaat? This feature used to really stink in my opinion, but Instagram has made a few changes recently that I really like. It’s now so much easier to find images you’ll like because the photos are based on likes from other people you already follow. Interacting with new people, especially those you wouldn’t have otherwise known about, is always a great way to grow.

5. Take the Time to Edit & Write a Caption. Of course you’re going to capture that beautiful sunset and hashtag it #nofilter every now and then, but for the most part, your iPhone images will need a little editing. VSCO CAM is hands down my favorite photo editing app as it allows me to adjust basic things like exposure and contrast without it appearing too filtered/edited. I tend to edit my photos the same way each time, which really help build a constancy in how my images appear (great for brand recognition). Captions are a great way to connect with your followers. If you take a picture of paint, don’t just title it “Paint”. Maybe talk about the project you’re working on, or prompt a question about their favorite color or type of paint. Get creative and get people talking!

So that’s it! If you have any more questions, feel free to leave a comment below. It took me almost a year before I took a photo I was really proud of, so if you’re new to it, don’t worry, you will improve! And if you don’t believe me, just head on over to my profile and scroll down a bit :)

Reader Survey!

Reader Survey- The Crafted LifeTake reader survey now!

A lot of changes have taken place around this ole blog over the past few months and I’d love to hear what you think! It’s six quick questions, then bam, you’re done. There’s also a section to ask me anything, craft related or not, and I’ll be publishing those results sometime next week. Many thanks in advanced for taking the time to fill out the survey and for all of your support! 

A Much Needed Reminder

Love From Ginger Inspiration(image by Love from Ginger; download for your phone’s wallpaper here!)

What a week! My dear friend Rachael (Love From Ginger) created the above image as part of her new series Wise Words Wallpaper and I absolutely love it. This year has been a year of risk taking for me, so it’s nice to be reminded that I am in fact on the right path. In the upcoming weeks I’ll have some big news to share with you, but for now, let’s just relax and remember, we are exactly where we need to be.