Business Tips

My First Travel Vlog

Hi everyone, 

For some reason, I am not crazy over videos, but I have been talking myself into making some videos especially for some of the unique destinations that I was fortunate to visit such as Iran

Making a travel video was the hardest thing I have done in my blogging career. Some might laugh, but I am serious. It was weeks and weeks of agony. The process started from the trip. I had to be conscious during my trip and take more videos because I usually just take photos and write about the places. I had to discard a lot of videos I took because they were shaky, unclear and some were even taken with a dirty lens! :O

Then came editing!

Here are some of the challenges I faced while making the video and some of my solutions: 

  • Choosing the right footage. I had to choose from four devices. 
  • Writing a voice over to match. 
  • Picking a mic to record my voice over because the built in mic was too weak and caused an echo. I ended up buying the snowball mic from Blue Microphones because it had over 600 positive reviews.  
  • Choosing Music that I am allowed to use. That was really stressful and just settled for a track from the free Youtube Audio Library.    
  • Editing! This dilemma took the longest. I started with making the movie on iMovies and the audio on GarageBand. I worked them both, but then bringing the movie and the audio together was painful, so I followed Super Kat's advice and I switched to Adobe Premier Pro and that just saved my life and made the process much quicker. (I spent an extra 5 hours, but they were good 5 hours).  
Adobe Premiere Pro

I was very excited when I finally finished the editing. I know the video still needs to be better, but that's my first one and I am hoping it will get easier the more I do it. Now, I leave you with it! 

Feel free to share any vlogging making tips in the comments below! 

Blogging 101

Hi everyone, 

On Monday, I blogged about Life as a blogger, so today, I thought it's only right to give you all some advice about starting your own especially if I tempted you with the perks of being your own boss! ;)

I started blogging few years back, but this year, I turned it into my full time job and completely committed to it. I started with reading a very useful book called Blog INC. written by the amazing blogger Joy Cho from Oh Joy. I highly recommend it if you are interested in blogging and turning it into a business. 

Blogging Summarised in five points: (Supported by my favourite quotes from the Blog INC Book). 

1- Choose a platform. The easiest and free ones are blogger and wordpress. I started with blogger, but after a while I found it to be limiting to what I wanted to so I moved over to squarespace. I pay an annual fee, but to what I do and want I think it's totally worth it. You can also choose a social app to blog from. If you are starting out, then apps as blogs is a great start. I know few ladies who are only on instagram (I reviewed it and included a quick how-to-guide) and consider it to be their blog. The newest app that could be the prefect blogging outlet is Storehouse (I reviewed it and included a quick how-to-guide)

"blog can be whatever you want it to be—a diary, a visual essay, an editorial space, a place for discussion and debate, or a scrapbook of inspiration." 
"but blogging full-time really is a full-time job (and then some)!"

2- Pick few interest areas and blog about them daily or weekly. 

"Bloggers serve as tour guides of their specific interests, passions, or skills, taking their readers on a journey through images, text, video, and interactive conversation."

3- Keep posting new content and getting your posts out there. You have to really believe in yourself and your written/spoken word. At the start, only a handful will read your blog, but then the number will grow and opportunities will present themselves.  

"Had I not started my blog, all of these amazing things wouldn’t have happened." 

4- Be supportive of other blogs, read them and collaborate with them. You can have all the blogs you like in one place on apps such as Bloglovin and Feedly

"you should also read other blogs, especially those you think would enjoy your blog as well. Leave constructive and fun comments on these blogs and follow them on Twitter or Facebook. Soon their readers (as well as the blogs’ editors) may begin to take notice and click over to your site." 

5- Blogging could be turned into a business with some work. It is not straightforward, but once it grows and makes you a profit, it can only get better. 

"three main sources: sponsored ads on my blog, affiliate links to clothing I’m wearing (where I earn a portion of the click-through sales), and earnings from my book."
"Typically, it’s a good idea to wait to offer ads until your traffic is at a level that is worth your time and enticing to a sponsor. I recommend a minimum of 1,000 visitors a day or 100,000 page views a month before launching an ad program."

Hope these pointers were helpful. If you want more tips, read Joy's book because it has been a great resource to me and join supportive blogging communities such as Blogtacular and Blog Society. They have a lot of great advice. 

Happy Blogging! :) 

Life as a Blogger

Hi everyone,,

Hope you are all having a beautiful day full of productivity. Today, I decided to make a change. To leave the house and blog from another spot. I haven't left the house for three days and I was getting used to the PJ blogging routine, but I had to snap out of it because I simply cannot spend my days indoors when the wether is this beautiful. London + a good weather, that's not easy to come by! 

My usual blogging spot 

My usual blogging spot 

Of course, something had to go wrong at the start of this new change. I locked myself out of the house and left the keys inside! :O of all days! Thankfully, my landlord agreed to meet me and give me a replacement otherwise my beautiful day would have turned to a very sad one. I went to the closest place that I usually enjoy, Greenwich! I love the interior of Jamie's Italian and I was starving, so I didn't have to think twice. Full review about Jamie's coming soon!

Enough of all that, today I want to tell you all about life as a blogger. 

Sunny cafe
Outdoors Office

Blogging, highs & lows 

I recently graduated with a master's degree in Interior Architecture and started yet another research degree about geometry and interior spaces. You can say I have all the creative outlets I needed, but I still had more to say and more to share, so I decided to be a full time blogger as well. My favourite things about blogging is having the flexibility to use my time as I please, the ability to write about what interest me and to bring awareness to different subjects. It all sounds wonderful until you start doing it and see how much hard work it really is. I usually roll out of bed and start right away. It is constantly on my mind. In fact, I cannot just sit still without blogging or planning posts anymore. Not to mention the endless hours I spend editing photos.

Blogging is a real job with lots to do without the immediate benefit of having a typical job with a salary, paid holidays, retirement plan and a heath insurance. It really bothers me when some of my friends think I am just strolling in this life without having to work super hard. Some comments get under my skin like: "so what are you going to do today while I slave at work." I am trying so hard to be understanding of people's perspective and their constant comparison of their work life of 9 to 5 to mine. 

Blogging could be a very lonely business, especially at the start when you are trying to build your blog and content. This is where I am right now. I spend many hours just by myself typing away or editing pictures. While I enjoy it, I miss human interaction. The good thing is once I am known and out there, collaboration could start happening *fingers crossed*. Few months ago I started chatting with a group of blogger on twitter and that really has been valuable and encouraging. The blogging community is definitely a plus.

Although it is hard, but really worth taking the leap of faith. I am fully enjoying being my own boss, sharing my own stories and connecting with many readers from all over the world. I feel like I am helping shape people's opinions about unknown places such as Saudi and other travel spots. It is also great to include everyone in my interior design passion and the other interests I blog about.   

I am really looking forward to more of this blogging life. Feel free to share any tips or ideas to make my blogging life a happier one! :)   

Instagram Fully Explained

Happy Friday world! 

Hope you all have a blessed and a productive day :) I have been promising a ton of my friends that I will post about Instagram and how it could be used correctly to its full potential. So here it goes!

Decide why you want an Instagram account and if you want it to be public or private. If it's private, then it's easy peasy and you won't worry about getting followers or search terms. If it's a public account then this is when you need to put some work into it. I have many artist/designer friends and I always advice them to have online presence otherwise the world won't know about them or their amazing work. 

Have a user name that makes sense and easy to remember. Avoid numbers and hard to pronounce family names. If you have other social media accounts, just use the same exact name. Mine is DesignerEsra on most of them depending on availability.

Have a bio! I hate it when people don't bother write two sentences about themselves. Unless you are Beyonce, you need to tell the world who you are.

Have a profile image that is you or relates to your work no one follows anonymous people.     

Instagram anatomy 

Instagram anatomy 

The buttons in the bottom are useful. first one is home, where you get the feed of everyone you are following. Then comes the search tool. You can search names, places and users. Instagram, automatically shows you suggested photos and people based on your own activities or based on popularity in your country.  

Instagram Search

The heart icon is when you get your own activities and the activities of the people you are following.  

Instagram Activity

If you want to find the photos/videos you liked, you could check the options (the wheel above your page). Or you could use websites like IconOsquare.  

Instagram Options

Another cool thing about Instagram is you can choose to look at the pictures based on where they were taken geographically. 

Instagram Map

Editing images is really cool on instagram. You have adjustment tools, filters and more settings to control brightness and colours. 

Instagram Photo Editing
Instagram Photo Editing
Instagram Photo Editing
Instagram Photo Editing

results! 

Using Instagram For Promotions, Connections & Networking: 

Post 

Post interesting images with interactive captions asking people simple question like their daily plans. Whatever you do, don't post on other people's photos asking them to like you back or follow you or tell them to look at your page. It's considered spam. If someone wants to do that they will. Also post at least once a day. Don't over kill instagram with posts every two minutes. It's not snap chat. My average is about three photos a day.  

Hashtags 

After editing your photos. You add a description/title/place whatever you want. Then HASHTAGS! no one will find you without them. Hashtags are like search words that you use to help people find you when they are searching about something in particular. If you can't think of hashtags go on websites that show you the most common ones such as top hashtags. Ideas for hashtags: the name of the day #Friday, common phrases associated with the day #HappyFriday #TGIF #Weekend #FridayNight, the month #January, the season #winter, the place #Saudi #Dubai #London, the content #hand #nails #henna #macarons #plant. You can have hashtags in any language, but the maximum is THIRTY hashtags.   

Interactions

Instagram and any other social media is a two way street where you have to interact with people. Like people's photos back, comment on things you like, have a conversation about interesting photos. Take part of Instagram weekend project, and just be active.    

Happy Instagramming! 

if you have more tips, feel free to share them in the comments below. 

Karren Brady At Middlesex University: Power Speech

Karren Brady

"Behind every successful man is a surprised mother-in-law." 

This week has been eventful, and tonight's highlight is the empowering and inspiring speech by Karren Brady, or as I call her Mrs. Sugar (since she is on the UK's Apprentice as Lord Sugar's right hand). Although she is way more than that. Her success is amazing. Karren Brady is surly a role model for Business women and entrepreneurs of all genders. Read more about her here. I am dying to read her book now more than ever!

We were very luck to have her tonight at Middlesex University for one of the PG Connect events.  

Karren Brady is even more beautiful in person

She was presented by Katie Bell.

Some Highlights from the evening:

  • Leadership is managing the minds and the hearts.  
  • In life there are three kinds of people:
    • - People who make it happen
    • - People who watch it happen
    • - People who wonder what happened 
    • The most important thing any business mind is define their core values. 
  • Live life with courage
  • When you are starting a business ask yourself the following questions:
    • - What are my core values?
    • - What kind of company do I want to start?
    • - What kind of environment do I want to create/ or work for?
    • - Who are the people you want to work?
  • Opportunities will come to you if you are open to them. 
  • Five things you need to keep in mind to achieve a successful business:
    1. Leadership. It is different from mangement. A true leader can get people together to achieve a goal you can't do alone.
    2. Ambition. Your fire, drive and it what sets you apart. 
    3. Determination. Keep going. How you react at tough situations shows your true determination.
    4. Attitude. Ask yourself "what's the worst that could happen?" 
    5. Direction 
  • Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work.   
  • Toughest thing about being successful is staying successful
  • Good is the barrier of being great

 

  • Three things Karren Brady looks for when she is hiring: 
  1. 1- Determination. Do your research and show your desire
  2. Communication. Don't be nervous and take the chance to sell yourself. Practice.
  3. Enthusiasm (that's the most important one of them all) 
  • Be energetic, and have a "I will" attitude 
  • In life there are three boxes: 
  1. Work
  2. Family
  3. Yourself

Everyone wanted an autograph and pix afterwards, wish she had more time

 

Students Networking

As Karren Brady said: "Without diversity you cannot receive success."

Instagram as a Research Tool

It's finally Friday, which means it's kinda the weekend already :D

Yesterday, I was instagram-ing, but I wasn't posting pictures or liking others. I was researching places, arts, design and cafes all via instagram! I think it's my new favorite research tool. Dare I say it? even better than google images!

I have always been the visual type, and seeing what kinda places are out there is essential. So, now before I go to any place, before I apply at any workplace, before I eat at any cafe, I search via instagram first to see what people have to say about to see if its worth going there myself. I figured, if it's good enough someone has surly instagram-ed it. At least if not by other customers, at least by the shop owner themselves.

I think even businesses have realized the importance of instagram as a research tool that's why you see many giveaways or competitions asking participant to share it on instagram for a chance to win because that gives even more exposure to the company.

Who else research via instagram?

http://www.instagram.com/designeresra

Happy instagraming! :)

Esra

http://www.instagram.com/designeresra