Growth. Everyone wants it…

Growth. Everyone wants it, mentally, in knowledge, spiritually, financially, growing a garden and also in personal growth. Yes, growth is greatly desired though to get real growth- you must have a basic curiosity about life and what others are doing to achieve these wonderful things.  In terms of business growth, especially now that business demands a virtual presence. So, whether it’s growing a blog or social media accounts, you must understand this:. Real growth isn’t all about your site. It’s about building a community. Finding out what folks need, where they’re willing to spend their time or money- that definitely means knowing what you are able to offer others. So! What I see is lots of folks trying almost desperately to build an email list, growing social media accounts to massive numbers- so that they can be considered ‘influencers’.  Still. You must know this- Growing just for the sake of numbers should never be the main goal.

On the other hand, just putting your beautiful writing, recipes, advice, gardening tips or photography out there and expecting folks to find you is as unrealistic as opening up a shop on the far side of nowhere and expecting the crowds to just walk in! It’s unrealistic. You must grow..

Last year, using the same principles I’ve used to grow this blog, I tried using them on other forms of social media and the effort produced an increase of almost 1000 followers on just one platform. Before I began, I sat down and made a list of how much time and how much I was willing to do on a regular basis. Not only did I see growth, I found some amazing folks in the process.  So, here’s what I try to do, I call this my Rule of Four for Growth:

  1. Leave a ‘like’ and comment on at least 4 accounts I already follow. I no longer think that just leaving a ‘like’ is quite enough to qualify as ‘engagement’ which is what social media platforms keep data on, and it must be said- those platforms ‘like’ engagement!
  2. Follow no more than 4 hashtags at a time. (Change these up every few months) Hashtags are wonderful places to find folks with common interests or even those who may need your services. I try to leave comments on ‘recent’ posts in the hashtags- not the Top Posts because those are generally very large accounts who probably won’t engage with you or follow you back. And.. I tell the folks I comment on their posts which hashtag I found them on- because we all want to know if the hashtag is working, right?
  3. On Instagram there is a place for Stories- these are a fascinating look into the accounts I already follow. This is a chance to engage by direct message- much like on the ‘comment section’ on a blog post. I leave an emoji or a comment in 4 Stories. *If someone messages you – for heaven’s sake! Respond in kind! This is true engagement, again- that’s what social media platforms like!
  4. Find 4 small accounts you like and aren’t currently following- hashtags are a great place for this! And remember everyone starts somewhere . Like and leave a nice comment- gently introduce yourself and let them know where you found them. *Please don’t confine yourself to one age, type or category.

Diversity is far more fun- you will learn about other cultures, other possibilities and believe me it’s fun to get messages from around your country or around the world. I personally think that a problem with social media is that we spend too much time in our ‘tribe’ and not enough time having curiosity about other folks- and I mean that in the nicest way possible! I’ve learned about seafood on Vancouver Island, skincare from Singapore, fashion design in Australia and aren’t those British gardeners amazing? Yes..

Do the first 3 daily – more than if you have time. Do all 4 if time permits- after I post I try to spend about 15 minutes doing my Four Rules for Growth. Go ahead and make yourself sociable- and watch your account grow! And if you’re concerned… here’s my safety rule- Set controls- you know who the kooks are- my settings are on PG only.

Now, I have a little announcement to make- I currently am accepting a few  folks for my new Mentoring Program! The first ‘Let’s See if We’re a Good Fit’ session is Free! More details to follow- we’re excited that even though our launch date was March 1, we already have all the slots full this week. So, if you’re interested- leave me a message and I’ll tell you how it works. In the meantime…

Love y’all, Brenda

And a big PS- The March Planning Guide for retail  or content posts is ready and it’s Free again this month. Send an email to: brenda@camelliascottage.com  We’ll be happy to send it to you!

Unusual…

Unusual, that’s what snow is in my part of the world. Tornadoes aren’t. We take pictures of the aftermath of tornadoes, we take pictures of snow when we get it. Most of the ones I have were from 2017. And, I’ll admit- I just love to look at images of snow. Why? Because snow is unusual.

Unusual is something I was called as a child. I had a great aunt who would exclaim to my mother, ‘Isn’t she unusual?’ Referring to me. Every. Single. Time. She saw me. I didn’t like it then.

I came around to thinking ‘unusual’ isn’t such a bad thing after all. The South is full of unusual eccentric folks – we celebrate them even if they sit on the porch in a bathrobe howling to the moon. We might even join them. Why? Because they’re unusual – Memorable is what they are. Being unusual doesn’t have to mean you’re crazy- it could also mean being as unique as a snowflake.

Perhaps you have a gift or talent rarely seen, certainly unique. My mother told me my aunt was being complimentary. It didn’t feel like it then. Still. If you feel that you are out of the ordinary- do not fret about it. Embrace being unique, unusual – let your special gift shine. Be your own unique, original unusual self.

‘Do not fear being fabulous. Give the full measure of reverent abandon, humility and lavish joy- within your power to offer.’    Brenda Wyatt

That quote says it all. Shine your light.

Love y’all, Brenda

Businesses, Coaches and Creators: You still have time to plan February! Send me an email and I will send you our Free February Planning Guide! And, it will help you plan your content too!

Dare to be Simple…

‘Something to keep our Words afloat’… there’s nothing like a story and more to do just that! See that blue in the opening image? That color is very close to The Brand Color- so easily recognizable that it’s become known as- Tiffany Blue! The jeweler so famous that just a tiny Tiffany Blue box tied with white satin ribbon- portends an engagement ring! I worked for the fragrance division of @tiffanyandco – I often had to wear a suit of that same color with a Tiffany scarf and the rules were strict. Only white ribbon was to be used to adorn their packages with the exception of red ribbon during the holidays! Well, I once had a customer who bought the fragrance, I duly wrapped it per protocol- then he asked me if I would mind wrapping that package with a plain brown wrapper and twine because he wanted it to be a surprise!

Here’s the point, unless you have strong brand colors- famous in fact- natural wraps are your friend. I love natural wraps, they save time and money (you can use them all year round!) Yet, here’s the main reason- Natural wraps create nostalgia and we all know creating good memories of a simpler time is one of the best things you can do!

Think twine, muslin, brown paper bags and tags (stamped with a logo?) that’s a good starting point. I also love crisp cello wrap for almost anything. And honestly old fashioned wax paper uplevels even the simplest fare. That chocolate pecan pie? I wrapped it in parchment tied with natural twine. Somehow the pie seemed more homemade and more delightful!

Newsprint, paper doilies, shredded and tissue paper, butcher’s wrap and rolls of plain brown make a wonderful base or fillers. Spend your money on very nice ribbon- the contrast is often the perfect thing! As is a  well designed logo or label. A garden shop I worked for, very often wrapped plants or used folded down paper bags lined with a plastic bag to wrap everything from Forget Me Not’s to Orchids!

Create nostalgia. In fact, creativity and nostalgia aren’t new tools. Yet now, when having an online presence is a necessity- these tools have become even more important! Remember that creativity has been called the newest and best business hack with nostalgia running a close second!

Natural wraps not only save you money, are sustainable and best of all? They’re something to keep your words, your brand and your products afloat in these uncertain times. Be courageous- Dare to be Simple, instead of overdone.

Love y’all, Brenda

*Some of these suggestions are in my free February planning guide (send me an email at- brenda@camelliascottage.com to get yours! And! So exciting! I’m working on a ‘Supplies List’ coming soon!

It’s Time to Plan February…

I can’t believe that January is more than halfway through, before we know it February will be here. And guess which of the Winter months is the best for selling goods and services? February starts of with Groundhog Day when we’re hoping for an earlier start to Spring…so, anything pertaining to gardening (early bloomers anyone?) or even weather related is a natural and fun sales day. Warm, hot mugs of anything – tea, coffee, hot chocolate and.. maybe some fresh baked cookies? This is the month for you!

February’s also Heart Health Month- tailor made for coaches, mentors – anything that improves health- physical and emotional well being- this is a welcome time for you! (Remember, internationally, Blue Monday is January 18 when moods are said to be low) Its a wonderful time to lift spirits, from now throughout February. Super Bowl Sunday is a fun time to promote Fitness, Food and Fun. 🏈

There are various holidays to celebrate Love, including love for family, friends and even pets! Valentine’s Day is, of course, the big one, isn’t it? Did you know that it’s a multi-billion dollar business retail day? In the US and UK the average shopper spent an average of $200 spanning across those special gifts to children, friends and special loved ones. That includes gifts, cards, special meals and flowers- not just for that special someone. And, it doesn’t have to be flowers and chocolates- though I’ll take both!

Later on in February- don’t forget to ‘let the good times roll’ for Mardi Gras- another fun and food day!

So, what’s all this about? I have a gift for you! My February Planning Guide is ready! Let’s get February started with filling in the calendar, you’ll find the multiple dates will help with content creation and you’ll also find marketing tips- time savers and even suggestions for ordering supplies! ALL are included in my February Planning Guide. And hopefully, help you save time.

The planning guide is *Free* again this month and like January’s ‘it’s chock full of information.’ As those who’ve gotten it have told me time and time again! How to get it? Email me – brenda@camelliascottage.com and we will get it out to you. It’s a 3 page pdf that’s easily printable.

Why? I made a New Year’s resolution to help as many as I could in the first few months of what might be a difficult time financially for cottage industries, small businesses and more. The tips in February’s guide apply to product sales, service providers, mentors, course creators and coaches. You won’t want to miss this one.

February looks like an amazing month! Get a head start planning and creating content. I cannot close without saying Thank You to all who’ve gotten their January Guide, it’s been amazing connecting with you! Ready to get started with February planning…and don’t forget I

Love y’all, Brenda

*don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for even more inspiration @brendawyatt_

Color Trends for Spring/Summer 2021

The range of colors is astounding this season- from a Gray which is reliable, stable and reassuring to Browns as earthy as garden soil or golden sands, a veritable rainbow of vibrant, fragrant and fresh as a palette of hollyhocks, zinnias or marigolds. There’s an astonishing array of Pinks, glamorous and soft, vibrantly alive. A range of Greens which are happy, responsible yet fresh. The Blues are still around, yet project optimism- they blend over into Aqua and Turquoise sea tones. There’s a mix of Pastels as playful as flower sprigged dresses, lavender fields, violets or birthday cakes.

The base notes in the spring/summer season are as pale and soft as Buttercream, a Black which is more like blackberries, the ultimate Grays, Silvers, Bronzes, Rusty patinas I love, bread crusts and shortbread hearts. and what is described as Fortuny gold, a pale rich woven color which Shutterstock described ‘as those happy coincidences found in life.’ Overall, the upcoming season moves from a reassuring stable gray to hard working classics on toward vibrancy and playfulness. The palette I show here is what it looks like going into Spring and becomes more vibrant toward Summer

So why should Color matter? It matters to your brand, to what you stock your shelves with, to how you design your photographs and social media grids. Color speaks before you even speak or write a word of content. The images you project will look up to date, stand out in a literal sea of other folks waiting to be noticed and more important? There’s something for everyone in these color choices so you can ‘stay true to brand’ yet make color combinations which speak volumes to your readers. And don’t forget Color is one of my 9 Principles of Design…ever important and ever inspiring color.

I’m thrilled to offer a free gift- a Tip Sheet for January! it’s a 3 page download, our first! I was so anxious to get out to you- it’s not overly styled! Yet, if you’ll send me a message, I get it to you right away!

I hope this Color Story for Spring and Summer is as uplifting as the New Year, here’s wishing you all your heart has dreamed of and much success attracting the good things of life your way!

Love y’all, Brenda

Here’s the January’s Free Tip Sheet for you ! Watch for February’s tips coming soon!