How to Create Infographics and Presentations with Visme

How to Create an Infographic and Presentation with Visme

Bloggers are well aware of how important it is to have high-quality resolution photos. We use them on our blogs, social media, videos, etc. When you ask most bloggers what software they use to create their visual content, you will most likely hear Photoshop, Illustrator or Canva.

I’m guilty of this as well. Photoshop and Canva are my go-to software (I also use RelayThat which I discuss in my Brazen Brand and Design course). However, if  I need to quickly create infographics or presentations I’ve been using Visme (especially for the infographics). Visme is incredibly user-friendly an allows you to create infographics, presentations, social media content, etc. in minutes.

Even though I highly recommend Visme, I do feel that there are areas where I feel that they could improve:

1.) I realize that you have the ability to customize your templates, but I would like to see an increase in the number of available templates. I rarely build my templates completely from scratch. I try to look for a template that has the layout I want and make adjustments from there. I wish there were more templates in Visme because having that variety can help spark your imagination.

2.) None of the major online visual content creation software allows you the ability to automatically create additional social media images without having to create only one image. This is one of my favorite features that RelayThat offers and one I hope to see become a standard in other software as well.

These are the only two areas I feel need to be improved and I’m sure you will agree. Check out the video and let me know your thoughts.

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Starengu's Social Share Links and YouTube Code

15 Side Hustles to Help You Make More Money

15-side-hustles-to-help-you-make-more-money

Money doesn’t grow on trees, but the list I’m sharing with you may cause you to feel otherwise (especially if you’re a blogger).  Regardless of where you are in your online journey, bloggers can take comfort in knowing that there are still opportunities to make additional income outside of monetizing your blog.

Even if you’re working a 9 to 5 be sure to check out these sites and side hustles because some of them can even be done at work. Don’t worry, I won’t tell on you. 🙂 

Many of the sites and side hustles that you find on this list are tasks don’t require much effort. Many of these side hustles are also fun. My favorite one is at the end of this post!

Enough rambling from me, it’s time to hustle!

Survey Sites/Search Engine Testing

As someone who worked for a market research company, I already know what lengths companies are willing to go through in order to get data they can use to improve their products.

If the thought of your opinion being used to improve to your product or service excites you, then you definitely need to filling out these surveys. Below are legitimate (emphasis on legitimate) survey sites that you can sign up for in order to get compensated for your opinion.

SurveySavvy

Inbox dollars

User Testing

WhatUsersDo

Get paid for shopping

Get paid for shopping? Yes, please! That’s exactly what will happen when you use these apps. Some of these apps request you to “check in” when your at the store so you can get points or scan certain items so you can get points. These sites allow you the ability to gain points that you can turn in for cash or gift cards.

Ibotta

ShopKick

Ebates

Start a blog

It’s important that if you decide to start a blog, that you do so with the intention that it’s about a topic that excites you. If you’re the type of person that craves instant gratification, then do yourself a favor and skip this side hustle. If you’re just doing it for the money, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

Starting a blog is easy. Don’t don’t let the tech side of setting up your blog scare you. I created a course to help you build and customize your own blog called Slay with WordPress.  but maintaining and promoting it is a whole different story. I’m not stating this to scare you, but just warning you to think of this side hustle as one that is more of a long term investment. You can anticipate the amount of success to expect based on how much time you devote to your blog.

Below are some of the sites and tools that I use to operate Starengu. If you’re interested in seeing my entire list then be sure download our resource list. I wanted to specifically share the below items because they have affiliate programs. Getting paid for using a product that you already know and love is icing on the cake. You might as well get your slice. 😉

Siteground: I have tried different hosts and can hands down state that Siteground is the BEST. You can read more about my experiences right here. In the event that you choose a different hosting company, do yourself a favor and make sure that you steer clear of the the EIG companies.

TryInteract Quizzes: People love taking quizzes just as much as I love creating them. If you love the taking Buzzfeed style of quizzes you’re going to love this tool. You also have the ability to create your own type of “Buzzfeed” style of quiz. I still love Typeform, but if you’re looking for a change you should check out this TryInteract.

BluChic  / Creative Market / StudioPress / Restored 316 / Thrive Themes: If I’m building a website, these are my go to places to purchase my themes.

NameCheap: I know a lot of people use GoDaddy (I used to as well), but I stopped once I found NameCheap or Siteground.  Both offer the ability to have domain privacy for free for the first year.

Adobe -I get it. Photoshop can be a bit intimidating (I used to feel that way). However, after several tutorials later I definitely feel a lot more comfortable with Photoshop and use it to create my T-shirts. Photoshop offers a lot more flexibility than Canva, Visme and PicMonkey.

Tailwind: If you are trying to build your email list, you really need to be on Pinterest. I’ve known about Pinterest for a while, but always put it on the backburner because I thought it was too cumbersome. It does involve some work up front, but once you get your system down you will start seeing results in a short period of time.

Camtasia: If you’re developing a course or doing YouTube tutorials, you should check out Camtasia. It’s a little pricey, but it’s definitely worth it because allows you a lot of premium capabilities and its user-friendly.

Freshbooks: Great accounting software for small businesses (the invoicing feature is my favorite).

Grammarly: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. You want to make sure people focus on your content and not your typos.  Grammarly is the BEST online grammar checker.

Sign up for affiliate networks

Affiliate networks can help you gain additional income from the products and services that you already love. Being compensated to share products that you love is icing on the cake. Regardless of what your niche may be can be found on one of these networks.

Share your talent by teaching or selling your content

Dabble: I LOVE Dabble! I’ve actually attended several classes via Dabble. Side note: My favorite was the soap making class. 🙂 After I finish working on my latest course, I plan on teaching a workshop via Dabble.

 

Thinkific: I am a firm believer that everyone has a talent. The best way to showcase your talent is to create your own course. If you would like to learn more about why I chose Thinkific, check out this post.

Teachers Pay Teachers: Educators seeking to make extra cash should consider selling their content to this site.  

Sell Digital Product

If you’re selling digital products like ebooks, templates, bundles, etc. then you should choose to sell your products through one of these companies. You’re able to

Offer your services

The below sites offer you the opportunity to find all types of work in a variety of industries. I love using the below sites to look for work voice over, social media management and course creation service type of work.

  • Upwork / Freelancer /  People per hour: Honestly, if you’re looking for higher pay (especially when it comes to design) Upwork tends to be the best.
  • TaskRabbit: This site is great for hiring people to run errands, everyday chores and can even put together your furniture (they were recently bought by Ikea). If you’re willing to put together furniture, you’re the REAL MVP in my book.
  • Fiverr: Don’t let the name fool you. If you have been toying with the idea of freelancing but not quite sure if it’s for you, check out Fiverr. You can list a variety of services that you’re willing to do for $5. However,  freelancers on Fiverr tend to make more money because they upsell additional services to the original $5 service they offer.
  • Textbroker: Great site for article and content writers.

Sell your makeup/ Share your favorite clothing items

  • Glambot: You can use this site to sell your new or pre-owned makeup products.
  • Maven: Create a board with your favorite products, share the board and receive a commission when someone makes a purchase. It’s like a monetized version of Pinterest solely for the healthy and beauty industry.

Starengu's Slay with WordPress

Become a local tour guide

My friends always tease me because I know and love Chicago. I’ve lived here all of my life because there’s so much to see and do. My friends have often told me that I need to be a tour guide. I’m always taking people to new places, restaurants, etc. and I can even tell you some history about the buildings, neighborhoods, etc.

Needless to say, I was thrilled when I found out about the below sites. They allow locals to create their own itineraries and tourists have the ability to hire you to be their guide. I’ve known about these sites for awhile, but I’m definitely going to be doing this next year (I was too busy working on my courses this year).

Make deliveries for Amazon

Amazon Flex: Make deliveries for Amazon.

Rent your sports equipment

Spinlister: You can use this site to rent your bike, surf or snow equipment.

Lose weight

Healthywage: You make a bet on how much weight you will lose. You will get paid if you have achieved and maintained your goal at the end of the challenge.  

Create T-Shirts

Print on demand is an awesome and fun way to make additional income. Even if you feel like you aren’t creative, you should seriously consider getting into the print on demand industry (especially T-shirts). You would be surprised at how many text based T-shirts are making a killing on Amazon. If you’re a designer, you seriously need to take a look at incorporating this into your side hustle game.

Merch by Amazon is the BEST option out of all of these. However, please note that there is a long wait list to join, so you might as well join. While you’re waiting to get accepted work on your keyword search capabilities and T-shirt designs so you’re ready to upload as soon as you get accepted into the program.

I’m still new to Merch by Amazon, but I’m definitely starting to accumulate a list of free or low cost resources that will help in your quest to be successful on Amazon Merch. One of my favorite resources is Lisa Irby’s, The Passive Shirts Profit Podcast. This podcast has tons of great info. If you’re interested in receiving the complete list of my favorite Amazon Merch resources then click here.

I’m sure there are a lot more side hustles out there, but these are the main ones that I have been incorporating into my routine. Do you have additional sites that should be added to this list? Let me know in the comments!

Did you enjoy this post? If so, please be sure to spread the love and share it. It would be very much appreciated! 🙂

Starengu15 Side hustles to help you make more  money

Do you know how to choose an online course platform?

Do You Know How to Choose Your Online Course Options?

Passive income. It’s something that everyone wants, but it’s a feat that many aren’t necessarily sure how to achieve. The first suggestion that people offer is to start a blog and join affiliate networks. There’s nothing wrong with this idea, but what if I don’t have aspirations of becoming a blogger? Does this mean that I’m doomed? Absolutely not!

One of the best passive income avenues that you should consider pursuing is creating a course. Now I’m sure you’re probably thinking either “I don’t know enough to create a course” or “Everyone and their mother have probably already created a course about (insert topic).” Before we go any further, I’m going to need you to change the channel on this negative mindset because I guarantee that there is a course buried deep inside of you.

My background is in marketing and communication and I’ve spent the majority of my career training and supporting other company’s  endeavors. I truly love helping people which is why I’m passionate about teaching (in my spare time, I am an online English tutor).

However, last year, if someone would have said to me, “Tosha, you’re going to create 6 online courses,” I would have laughed and immediately assumed that they were a couple fries short of a happy meal! So imagine my surprise that by the end of this year, this is exactly what I will achieve.

Creating an online course has been an amazing journey. It’s definitely one that I don’t want you to miss, so here are six things that you should consider when you’re looking for an online course platform to host your courses.

Do You Know How to Choose Your Online Course Options?

I chose the following course companies based on the ones that I felt would be relevant to most people:

Third Party Sites

Thinkific

Teachable

Udemy

Self-hosted platforms

Memberhouse

WP Courseware

LearnDash

Security

This should go without saying, but you don’t want to go through the hassle of creating an awesome course only to have it hosted on a shady website. You need to make sure that your course platform has an SSL certificate applied to the site in order to ensure that you secure your data. If you don’t feel safe uploading your courses to the course platform, you can only imagine how your student will feel trying to pay for them…

User-friendly

I’m a patient person. Yet, for some reason, all of that seems to fade away when it comes to navigating a website. If you can’t stand slow loading websites, broken links, etc. then don’t place your future student in this situation. Whatever course platform you choose to host your course on should be easy for both you and the student to use. Here’s how to accomplish this feat from both perspectives:

Student perspective

  1. Is the online course platform secure? It should have an SSL certificate applied to the platform. If it does the url will start with https:// indicating that the link is secure.
  2. Is the online course platform cloud-based?
  3. What is the speed of the course landing page (does it load quickly)?
  4. Can I easily see the terms of service on the website?
  5. How do I communicate with the instructor if I have questions?
  6. What options do I have to pay for the course?
  7. How easy is it to go through the payment process?
  8. How quickly can I access the course (immediately or drip feed)?
  9. Can I easily track my progress throughout the course?
  10. Can I download the course material without running into issues?
  11. How great is the audio?
  12. Is there a forum where I can go to ask questions?
  13. Is it difficult to take quizzes?
  14. Do I have an opportunity to provide feedback for the course?

Instructor’s perspective

As an instructor, I share the same concerns as my students, so the below questions are in addition to the aforementioned. Self-hosted course platforms will allow you a lot more freedom, but with that freedom comes A LOT more responsibility. You will need to decide how much responsibility you are willing to bear.

  1. Can I figure out how to use the majority of the course platform WITHOUT reading the online course platform manual? I know this sounds crazy, but if I have to go searching through layers and layers of instructions on your site to figure out how to use the site, you are essentially telling me that you don’t want me to use your course platform.
  2. Does the site own my course content and can I export my information?
  3. How responsive is the course platform’s support team?
  4. Can I offer free trials to my students?
  5. Can I bundle my courses?
  6. Can I communicate DIRECTLY with my students?
  7. Do I have COMPLETE control over my terms and service policy?
  8. Do I have the ability to customize the course platform with my brand?
  9. Can you charge your students on a monthly basis (i.e. subscription service model)?
  10. Can I set up an affiliate program for my courses?
  11. Do I have the option to provide the students instant access to my material or drip feed the content?

When you keep all of these questions top of mind, you’re going to save yourself and your students the hassle of having an unpleasant online learning experience. Do You Know How to Choose Your Online Course Options?

Support

At some point in time, regardless of how good you are at technology, you will need to speak to tech support. Before I invest my time and energy into a product I always make sure that I contact support (especially if it’s a big ticket item). The amount of time and how you respond to my questions is a good indicator of the level of support I can expect to receive after I purchase the product.

As a course creator, you definitely want to make sure that you get your questions answered in a timely manner. I’m all about anticipation. I really don’t want to have to learn on the spot.  I always try to make sure that I have the answers to any questions that my students may ask before they ask them.

Terms of Service

It is extremely important that you read through the course platform’s terms of service for a variety of reasons. Many of questions we already addressed above, but the main one is to ensure that you retain the rights to your content.

However, one that many people don’t think about until it is too late is the ability to create their own refund policies. Digital products can be delivered and used immediately after they are purchased, so you may want to consider having an ‘All Sales are Final’ type of refund policy. You worked hard on your course, so it should be up to you to determine what type of refund policy you decide to offer.  

Methods of Payment

Once I have determined that a website is secure, I want to make sure that my payment option is available. You need to be sure that the payment gateway is one that my students are accustomed to using (i.e. Stripe, PayPal, etc.). If applicable, your course platform should offer the ability to make one time payments, monthly subscriptions and offer a payment plan.

Affiliate programs

If you plan on using affiliates to help promote your course, then your course platform should be able to easily generate affiliate links. You will also need to make sure that you have access to user-friendly financial reports so you can keep track of your affiliate sales and payouts.

Do You Know How to Choose Your Online Course Options?

 

My recommendation

So you’re probably wondering, “Ok, what course platform should I use?” I thoroughly research everything that I buy, sometimes to the point where I come down with a case of analysis paralysis.

I definitely knew I was NOT going to self-host my course. That is an awful lot of responsibility that I’m not willing to take. I just want to create my courses. I don’t want to worry about fixing security issues, setting up payment gateways, hosting my videos,  etc. Ain’t nobody got time for that…Needless to say, I went the third party route.

My decision on which course platform I should choose was an extremely easy one. I already knew that I was not going to go the Udemy route. This site is not truly looking out for the course creators best interest. Udemy runs numerous promotions which provide students with deep discounts. If you decide not to participate in these promotions, your courses will often time be subject to further scrutiny for not participating in their promotions.

Imagine working on your course for almost half a year. It’s jam-packed with value providing your students with a shortcut to help them gain a skill that otherwise would have taken them years to learn. How dare you not participate in Udemy’s promotion and sell your $197 course for $10! Shame on you! I truly hope you can sense my sarcasm because quite frankly this is the type of atmosphere you will most likely encounter the majority of your time on Udemy.

Students are conditioned to wait for the deep discount sales so they don’t have to pay full price. To add further insult to injury, they determine the frequency in which you are able to promote to your students. This along with reading all the other negative reviews from other course creators that used Udemy, was enough to immediately cross them off of my list.

So my remaining course platform options are Teachable and Thinkific. Both platforms have a free starter plan, but Thinkific offers a lot more features than Teachable.  I decided to create my courses with Thinkific and can honestly say it was one of the best decisions that I have made.

When I was doing my homework, the deciding factors that prompted me to choose Thinkific were the following situations:

1.I already knew that Teachable was not an option for me once I found out that they did not offer telephone support. I’m not saying that if I needed support that I would call versus email, but I at least want to have the option. If I can’t get anywhere by email, then I want to be able to speak to someone about my situation.

The situation that alerted me to the fact that Teachable does not offer phone support was when I had a simple question that I needed to have answered before making my final decision on which course platform I would use.

I emailed Thinkific and Teachable literally on the same day. Thinkific responded to me the very next day. I went searching for a phone number for Teachable. I discovered that they didn’t have one. I was at the mercy of waiting for Teachable to respond, but this also allowed me to test their response time. I had given up on Teachable after not hearing back from them after three days. Teachable eventually responded to my question almost two weeks later, but obviously, I had already moved on to Thinkific.

 

Do You Know How to Choose Your Online Course Options?

2. The other reason why I decided to go with Thinkific is that their course creators receive immediate payment for their course. Teachable pays their course creators 30 days later. Why wouldn’t I get paid right away? What possible excuse could you have for unnecessarily holding my money?

This has never made sense to me. The only other reason I believe Teachable does this is because if you use their platform to accept payments you must agree to Teachable’s terms of service. Therefore, offering an All Sales are Final type of policy is not possible with Teachable. I did not want to give up the right to create my own terms of service, so that pretty much sealed the deal for me and I went with Thinkific.

If you’re looking for an online course platform, now is a great time to check out ThinkificI really like Thinkific’s drag and drop course builder because it’s easy to use. You have the flexibility to brand your course player, create your own landing pages, set the terms of service, etc.

They generally care about their customers and support typically responds in a timely manner. I never thought in a million years, that I would be creating courses.  I’m literally in the process of creating my fifth course using Thinkific. I’m super grateful that the Thinkific platform has enabled me to share my message. Take advantage of the opportunity to share your talent with us.

Be sure to download your Course Creation Game plan by clicking right here.

Do You Know How to Choose Your Online Course Options?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase with the link, I may receive a commission from it. Please note that I would never advocate a product that I don’t love. I’m all about making sure that the products I recommend will benefit my audience. You can learn more here. 🙂

How to Conduct Keyword Research with Ahrefs

Starengu's Ahref Keyword and Content Research Features

If you’re looking to perfect your marketing and SEO skills then look no further than Ahrefs!Ahrefs is an amazing all in one solution that will allow you the opportunity to effectively gain data that will help you produce content and campaigns that will resonate with your audience. Check out the video below and be sure to sign up for their free 14 day trial.

Discover how to improve your keyword and content research efforts with Ahrefs.

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If you would like to learn more about how to market research can help you perfect your ability to connect with your audience, then check out our Master Your Niche course.

Starengu's Master Your Niche

How to Create and Embed Social Share Links within a PDF

Social Share and Embed Codes

One of the best ways to build your email list is to create a lead magnet. A lead magnet is valuable content (i.e. checklist, cheat sheet, etc.) that your audience desires to receive in exchange for providing you with their email address.Getting people to provide their email address is not an easy feat to achieve. Therefore, you have to make the most of your opportunity. One way to do so is by creating social share links that you embed within your lead magnet.Check out the below tutorial and don’t forget to download our Social Share Links Guide.

Starengu's Social Share Links and YouTube Code

How to Create a Mockup with Adobe PhotoShop

Starengu's How to Create a Book Cover Mockup

Starengu's How to Create a 3D Book Cover with Photoshop

I’m obsessed with packaging. I’m going to attribute that to the fact that I’ve worked in the CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) industry. One of my favorite aspects of my job was helping to decide on product package designs. I know how important it is for people to visual themselves using the product. One of the ways you can do this is by making sure that you use 3D book cover mockups, pdfs, tablets,  etc. when you are trying to entice people to purchase or download your content.

In case you don’t know how to create a 3D mockup, you’re going to love this tutorial! It will show you how to create a 3D book cover mockup using Photoshop. In the event that you are looking for a free alternative to Photoshop, check out Pixlr.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Slay with WordPress 101

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