Dealing with Toxic Creator Comparison

Dealing with Toxic Creator Comparison
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As a content creator, it’s so easy to compare yourself to the other influencers out there. Dealing with toxic creator comparison is hard when you may be comparing yourself to their followers, engagement, success, sponsorships, photo quality, style, self image, or growth. And that’s okay, because if we’re all really honest with ourselves, we all do it. 

The point of this post isn’t to teach you how to not compare yourself to others, because that’s inevitable. I’m here to teach you how to recognize the comparison and diminish the negative effect that it has on you. 

So, how can we start recognizing the comparison? I’ll give you a few statements to look out for. If you find yourself saying these things while feeling jealous, unworthy, or less than someone else – you’ve entered the realm of toxic comparison. 

“I wish I had ____.”

“My ____ doesn’t look like theirs.”

“I wish that I was feeling or doing ____.”

“That makes me want to upgrade ____.”

“That makes me wish I was at ____ point in life.”

“That makes me wonder if I’m doing ____ right.”

“That makes me feel like I need to be doing ____, but I haven’t yet.” 

“I’m no longer proud of the progress I’ve made after seeing ____.”

Notice how I called it “toxic comparison”. Why? Because like I said before, comparison is inevitable but it doesn’t have to impact you negatively. 

Toxic comparison is looking at a post and thinking, “Wow, her house looks amazing. I wish that I was able to afford what she can. Maybe if my business was more successful, I’d be able to have a home like that. Am I doing this right? Am I doing enough?” 

But comparison doesn’t have to look like that. It could look like, “Wow, her house looks amazing. I’m sure that she’s worked hard for what she has so maybe I can learn from her or allow her to be an inspiration/motivator for me.” 

That feels much better, right? It’s all about creating a positive mindset for yourself. Think about what you can learn/benefit from seeing something, rather than being disappointed and jealous of what you saw.

So now that we’ve gotten the basics down for recognizing toxic comparison, I want to give you some extra food for thought as creators:

Hold onto your true “why”. What do you want to change? How do you want to benefit others? That should be more important than anything else. If your “why” is for personal gain of money or fame, you need to find something stronger and more meaningful than that – because that won’t sustain you.

Know what value you bring to the table and focus on doing what you do best. You spending time thinking about how someone else’s content or life is “better” than yours serves no good purpose. Just put your head down and get your sh*t done.

Remember that it’s a highlight reel. People don’t post their failures. People don’t post to announce that they’ve lost their job, gained 20 pounds, suffer with depression, or got hurt in a relationship. Just because someone has a nice home, doesn’t mean that every single part of their life is as perfect as the filtered photo of one part of their life. 

If you’re a small creator comparing yourself to someone who has thousands upon thousands of followers – don’t assume that they are better. There are so many possibilities as to why someone could have more growth than you on a social media platform. Maybe they’ve spent more time on the app, maybe they created their profile way before you, maybe they had a video go viral, maybe they’ve posted more and had more exposure, maybe they know exactly how to post to please the algorithm.. The list could go on. Just remember, they aren’t better because they have more followers.

If you’re looking at someone else’s content, wishing yours looked like theirs – use that as your inspo! Obviously you shouldn’t be completely copying what they’re doing, but you can make the idea your own and produce something just as great. And if you feel like you don’t have the resources or know-how, shoot the person a DM & ask, or just do some research and find tutorials or learn how to create on a budget!

This is the last one, and possibly most important. If you’re feeling jealous or insecure everytime that a certain person comes up on your feed – freaking unfollow! Quit making yourself feel bad when you can curate your own feed to inspire you in a positive manner. Follow people who encourage you and make you feel confident in yourself and your abilities. 

To wrap this up, I just want to say that social media is a place where we share pictures or videos of a few minutes in our day. What you see isn’t what’s real because it doesn’t include all aspects of people’s lives – only what they want to share. Choose to focus on your work, what you bring to the table, and what you’re grateful for. Xoxo

If you liked this post, you should also check out:

https://thesopblog.com/category/sis-content/

How to Become Time-Efficient & Productive at Work

How to Become Time-Efficient & Productive at Work

“Work smarter, not harder.”

Time management is a huge factor in working smarter. It doesn’t matter how much motivation you have.. If you can’t learn how to optimize your time, you will always be working harder. 

Here are the two scenarios.. 

1. You are super driven and motivated. You want to get a million things done in a day. You have so much on your mind that you can’t decide what to do first. So, you spend a lot of time twiddling your thumbs trying to figure out what’s next. Or, you go back and forth between tasks more than you should, and you get whiplash from running around everywhere. 

2. You aren’t naturally motivated. If you don’t have to do it, you won’t. You prefer to chill and not do much, so when you do decide to give your time to something, you want it to mean something. 

Either way, people want to make the most out of their efforts. So this blog post is all about directing those efforts into something useful and productive, so you can be able to move onto the next task or return to the couch as soon as possible. Let’s dive right in.. 

Having to-do lists. These lists are essential for differentiating what’s most important,  remembering all the tasks you need to complete, planning, and staying motivated to cross things off the list. 

Planning ahead of time. Planning is literally the most important factor of being time efficient. Having a plan gives you direction for the day. You aren’t guessing what to do next or doing things out of order because you already know what needs to be done and when. Planning can look different for everyone, but here are most of the things that I like to plan on a very regular basis.. 

  • Goals for the week: What I’d be proud of myself for accomplishing at the end of a week. How am I going to get these done? 
  • Tasks for the week: What I have to do and when.  
  • Daily tasks and schedule: More detailed schedule of what I’m going to do and when.
  • Content calendars: These are the major “projects” that I work with, but you can adapt this to whatever job you have. 

Creating outlines. Especially if you work in the social media world, this is essential. Have outlines written for your blog posts ahead of time. Have a basic format/background to the photos that you post on Instagram.. Again, you can adapt this to whatever you work with. Basically just have a guideline of the components that you want the project to have. 

Eliminating distractions. You hear this all the time, but for a good reason. If you’re playing on Facebook, talking to your co-workers, staring at the wall.. You aren’t getting anything done. Don’t procrastinate, it’s going to have to be done eventually. 

Have time limited tasks. Maybe you don’t have a boss telling you when a project is due, but you should be giving yourself those guidelines. Having a deadline gives you a timeline with a specific amount of effort involved to get it done. If you don’t have any goals, you will most likely take 2 times as long as you could, just because you don’t feel like you have to.  

Do the most important thing first. Doing the most important thing first allows you to have all the time that you need to complete that task without the rush. 

Don’t try to multitask. Like I said, trying to do a million things at once is harder because you have to switch gears and think differently about each small project. Just knock out one at a time, so you don’t have to catch yourself back up.

Do things ahead of time. Rushed = poor quality. That’s all I’ll say about that. 

Frequently assess what’s working and what’s not. Something that may work one day, may not work the next. Be able to learn what works best for you in that moment, and then adapt. It’s not a “one size fits all” situation. 

Figure out how to motivate yourself when you don’t want to work. Even if you are the most motivated person on the planet, you won’t be on your best game every single day. There will be times where you just won’t want to do it – so figure out your game plan for convincing yourself to pull through. I always say “If I finish ___, then I can do ____.”

Take breaks. Taking breaks still improves your productivity. Think of yourself as a battery. It needs to recharge to be able to work efficiently. Have a 5-10 minute break every 2 hours. Take your eyes off the computer, drink some water, grab a snack, take a little walk.. Give yourself a refresher. 

Fuel yourself efficiently. I’ve been the girl who shows up rushed and running in at the last minute with no sleep, the monster I drank that had so much caffeine I was shaking, no breakfast, etc. That’s NOT the way to go. Sleep a good amount, eat before you come to work, wake up early and get some exercise to put your body and brain in motion, etc. You will thank yourself later. The productivity difference is shocking when you are fueled correctly. 

Alright, so there are all my tips for staying super productive in the workplace. These are all habits that I’ve adopted over the years, meaning I did not do them before. I used to be a freaking mess. But being prepared and planning have made the world of a difference! 

Planning is literally the most important factor of being time-efficient. Having a plan gives you direction for the day. You aren’t guessing what to do next or doing things out of order because you already know what needs to be done and when. Planning can look different for everyone, but here are most of the things that I like to plan on a very regular basis.. 

How to Make Money As A Small Blogger With Less than 3k Followers!

How to Make Money As A Small Blogger With Less than 3k Followers!

So, you don’t have a huge following – but you still want to make a business out of something you love? Girl, I got you! Everything on this list can be done, no matter how many followers you have. Let’s get into it!

1. Become a brand ambassador. This is probably the easiest way to make money! When you’re a brand ambassador, you’re most likely going to promote their products on your social media (or personally sell through DM’s, friends/family, etc) for a commission on the products.

For example, I’m a brand ambassador for Plexus, a health and wellness company. I can promote the product however I’d like, but whatever sales I make for the company, I make a commission off of. Additionally, with my company, if you bring other ambassadors onto your team, you make a commission off of that as well! If you have an interest in joining my team, check out this page! 😉

2. Join Amazon Associates. With Amazon associates, you’ll share links of your favorite products to your followers. Those links will be customized for you, and you will make a commission off of every sale that you make.

So, let’s say I made a blog post promoting my 10 essentials for college. As long as those products can be found on Amazon, I’ll add my customized links in the post, and then whoever reads my blog can click on the link and make a purchase. Once they make a purchase, I make a commission.

3. Create a product! Think about your niche. What could you create that would help others? I’ll give a few examples:

4. Sell a service! What are you good at? Here are a few ideas..

5. Reach out to brands for collaborations. I’ll be honest, you won’t always get a response, let alone a good response. But, it’s always worth a try! I suggest starting with small or local brands. You also need to make sure that you stand out in the crowd. Why should they pick you out of the thousands of people contacting them? There are plenty of templates online for reaching out to brands, so check those out before you send your message!

6. Leave your contact information in your social media bios – brands will sometimes reach out to you! They may gift you a product for a promotion, allow you to make commission, or even sponsor the post!

But hear me out: Making money shouldn’t be the main reason you’re blogging. I promise, from personal experience, money making doesn’t come easily or quickly.. So make sure you’re in it for the right reasons. You also need to make sure that you’re only promoting products that you genuinely believe in and use! You want to build a trusting relationship with your followers, and if people can’t trust you, they’ll unfollow you!

I also advise you to treat building your following like a full time job.. at least until you hit a couple thousand followers. It’s definitely possible to make money before that, but in all honesty, it’s not super easy. Patience is key, friends!!

That’s all I’m gonna share for this post, but shoot me a DM on Instagram @carmenreynolds and let me know if you try any of these methods out!

Apps I Use As A Blogger

Apps I Use As A Blogger

When I first started blogging, I had no clue what to do. I didn’t know what programs bloggers were using, I didn’t know the best apps for editing, content writing, or anything else! I’m still figuring things out along the way, but here are my current favorite apps! You do need to pay for some of these, but I promise that they are 100% worth it!

Google Drive – Google Drive is where I write all of my blog posts, content planning, and notes! Drive automatically saves, so you’ll never lose work. You can use Drive on your phone, tablet, laptop – anywhere! 

Google Calendar – I use Google Calendar to plan all of my content in advance. I usually take a day at the beginning of the month and plan (at least) a few weeks worth of content. It allows me to have multiple “calendars” in one, so I’m able to plan for content SIS, my personal blog, and for any of my social media managing clients. 

Adobe Lightroom – I use this for all of my photo editing. In the past, I primarily used VSCO, but I started using different presets on Lightroom and I’ll never go back! Lightroom allows you to upload your own presets, which you can create or buy from others to upload. Lightroom can be tricky to figure out at first, especially if you’re buying and uploading presets from other people – but it’s super easy once you get the hang of it. Most importantly, the app is free! 

Etsy – You can use Etsy on the app or on the computer, but I use it to buy my presets. I’ve tried presets from a few different brands, but no one even comes close to comparing with Lou Marks Photo. (The picture above is edited with her preset!) You can find the Etsy shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LouMarksPhoto?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=674711085

 

**Update: Sara actually moved her presets to her own website! You can check them out at www.loumarkspresets.com 🙂

Preview – I use this app to plan out my Instagram feed in advance. It’s super helpful to see what colors are working best with each other to create the best aesthetic. The app also allows you to preplan your posts!

Adobe Spark – I’ve been using this app to create a lot of the graphics for the blog (and other pages I manage). Until a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t use my photos in blog posts – I had graphics with the title of the blog post as the photo, and I used Spark to create those! Now, I basically just use it to create the Pinterest graphics and the graphics for SIS content. Unfortunately, you do have to pay for the app ($10 a month) but you get a free month trial. Personally, I have a free account through my school! They have a lot of templates for different types of content – school, lifestyle, travel, food, etc.

Wix – Since I use Wix as my host, I have the app. It allows me to easily edit blog posts, check my analytics, interact with people, and more. 

Pinterest – Most people know this, but if you don’t, Pinterest is essential to having a successful blog! Most people say that it’s important to pin or repin content 25x per day. If you have less than 200k views a month, repin 80% and pin 20%. If you have more, do the opposite. To drive traffic to your blog, you create graphics for Pinterest, and then link them to your blog posts. 

Tailwind – Not everyone knows about this app, but it’s necessary for Pinterest success! (I use it on the computer) Tailwind is confusing to figure out at first, but once you get the hang of it – it’s easy and so helpful! Basically, Tailwind connects to Pinterest. You can schedule pins/repins in advance, and Tailwind will automatically que them up at prime times of the day to maximize exposure. It’s also super important if you don’t have the time to hit your 25 daily pins because you can just take a couple hours in the beginning of the week and you’ll be set!

Secondly, we have Tailwind tribes, the best part of Tailwind. Basically, you find a group within your niche, join the tribe, and then share your Pinterest graphics (linked to the blog posts), which drives traffic to your blog. You’re also able to repin other people’s content that relates to what you want to share with your audience, and that’ll go towards your 25 pins a day! 

I will say, Tailwind is a pricey service, but it truly is worth the investment. Since using Tailwind, Pinterest has driven 40% of my blog traffic.  

Easil – Easil is actually a website, not an app. I just wanted to include it because I discovered it yesterday, and I’m already obsessed! It’s basically like Adobe Spark, but there are more “girly” templates for bloggers. As I’m still figuring out how to use it, it’s harder to work with than Spark, but I’m sure that’s just because I’m a newbie. You do have to pay for it (less than $10 a month I think), but you also get a free trial. Here’s a graphic I created using it!

So, those are the main apps that I use for blogging! I wouldn’t be able to function half as well as I do now without them. They are all super helpful in staying organized and creative. Let me know if you decide to try any yourself! 🙂 xoxo

Best Tips for Beginners to Get 200+ Instagram Followers Every Week

Best Tips for Beginners to Get 200+ Instagram Followers Every Week

Not everyone cares about how many followers they get on Instagram, I know.

But this is helpful for the companies trying to grow on social media, bloggers wanting to bring traffic to their website, and aspiring social media influencers.

I started my blog’s Instagram two months ago. Yet, in the past two days, I’ve gained 150 followers.. because I know the right techniques to have exponential growth.

First, I’m going to be upfront with you guys. You can grow a lot within a certain amount of days when you use these strategies, but you still have to spend a lot of time doing it. I probably put in 4 hours of work to get those 150 followers within 2 days. – Realistically, you won’t spend 2 hours a day, solely on this. Honestly, I probably do it about 2x a week.. if that. You should also keep in mind that these numbers fluctuate.. you aren’t guaranteed a certain amount of followers for the hours you put in.

So, with that said, here’s the best way to invest your time for maximum results.. (I saved the best for last!)

Posts must be aesthetically pleasing, relatable, and relevant to your niche. If your photo doesn’t impress someone in the two seconds that it takes to scroll past it, you’ve failed. People are naturally drawn to content that’s pleasing to the eye. Aside from that, you want to make your photos and captions real and relatable to your followers. Lastly, make sure that your content has aesthetic and (especially) content similarity.

Shameless plugs.. Everywhere. I didn’t want to post about my blog on my personal instagram, but I sucked it up and did it. And if I hadn’t – people wouldn’t have followed it, shared my content, or even supported it.. Because they wouldn’t have known about it! Especially if you’re starting from 0, share it everywhere! If you have a website, Pinterest, Youtube, etc – make sure to link your Instagram somewhere.

Make friends through your account. DM people and brands in your niche. Ask them questions or tell them you like their content! It never hurts to make a connection.

Additionally, if you talk to people with the same goals, you’re bound to learn something from one another. But even more importantly, you can share each other’s content and engage with each other on posts, which will help you get noticed more often.

Be engaged, but don’t post too much. So, what’s too much? There’s no specific answer. I’ll share one (permanent) post a day, around 5x a week. I’ll also throw in some Instagram stories as well, maybe 3x a week. You want to make sure that you’re posting enough to keep your followers interested and engaged, while drawing in new followers. But be careful, because over posting can cause people to get overwhelmed and annoyed, leading them to unfollow you.

Make sure your follower/following counts are pretty even. Most people think that if you have more followers than following, you’ll look more appealing. I don’t believe that! When I look to connect with a fellow influencer, I want to make sure that they are building relationships with their audience and following them back.

Use hashtags. First of all, I know using hashtags looks unprofessional, but there’s a way to hide them, and they are essential to gaining followers. Research hashtags within your niche. The ones you use should be relevant to the niche and the picture.

  • Post the photo with whatever caption you’d like.
  • To hide the hashtags, in a comment: Put 6 · ‘s, all on different lines. Then, when you’re on the last line with a dot, start writing down your 30 hashtags. If you want to see what this looks like, go check out @thesopblog on Instagram and check my comments!

Here we are, best for last.. Do this one as much as possible. Spend most of your time on this. It’s the quickest and easiest way to gain followers!

Engage with people 24/7.

  • Search through hashtags in your niche, and when you find some photos that you like, click on that person’s account and show them some love! Like a few posts, comment on 1, and give them a follow! They’ll most likely return the favor.
  • Remember, when you’re engaging – comments and follows mean a lot more than likes.

Join my Small Influencer Support Facebook group and Instagram community! We do a lot of threads and features to help small influencers get exposure, support one another, and find other people in their niche. You can also sign up for my email blast with extra tips, resources, and printable worksheets, checklists, templates, guides, and more! These printables will help you organize and time manage properly in order to market and grow your platforms like crazy!

Alright, that’s all I have for now! Maybe in the future, I’ll write more about my strategies, scheduling, or time management with social media. Until then, leave a comment below if there’s anything you’d like to see in future posts!