Staying on top of work with the HP 360

This past week was one of the busiest week of the year. It started with a two-day trip New York City to check out a few markets and meet with a few brands for Montrose. Then, it was back home in New Orleans for the day for a campagin photoshoot (so excited to share when I can!) and finally, a day trip to Houston to run through press meetings for the store. I'm pretty sure I slept about ten hours in total! On top of that, I've been stressing out about not being able to successfully execute. Oy. There was one embarrassing incident that I'm still reeling from and will share once I calm my nerves. But basically, life's been moving a 10,000 MPH and I've been struggling to stay on top of work, relationships, my health, and life in general. Naturally, this stress just means I need to figure out how to be more efficient with my time.

When HP reached out to introduce their newest gadget, I was instantly intrigued. I'm a sucker for innovation, especially  tools that can increase my efficiency and productivity. The HP 360 is a slick laptop with four modes - laptop, tablet, tent, and stand - that will adjust with whatever task you have at hand. Since I got this new tool, it's made appearances in different aspects of my busy work days. It served as a recipe holder in the kitchen while I shot images for the new Upperlyne & Co. aprons, as a tablet in my bed while I read up on the latest news (with coffee, of course!), helped tackle my inbox at one of my favorite new coffee shops, and even served as a drawing board so I could sketch new designs. Talk about an all-in-one deal! And, it's stylish. You guys know how I love form and function.

You can see more of the HP 360's capabilities by scrolling through the #bendtherules hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. HP is going on the road with Meghan Trainer during her "That Bass Tour", which is traveling from Vancouver to Nashville (woo!). They will be sharing behind-the-scenes footage and capabilities of the HP 360, so be sure to check it out!

Sponsorship Disclosure: This post was brought to you in partnership with HP, but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Upperlyne & Co. going!

Q&A: How to Monetize Instagram

When I graduated, I never thought I'd be doing business anywhere near the creative field, and I certainly never thought social media would be one of the most valuable tools in my own business. Thankfully it is, and it's one of the platforms that I use on a daily basis! There's no textbook on how to best use social media, but that just means there are no standards or limitations. You get to learn by doing, by failing, or by asking. 

A reader did just that and emailed to let me know her Instagram is growing and that brands are starting to reach out for collaborations. Sure, she was happy about being gifted products, but she wanted insight on how to convert those emails into an actual brand partnership. My lightbulbs started going off. I'm fortunate to get asked for my advice so I thought it would be helpful to share it here since so many of us are utilizing Instagram to build businesses.

Q&A: "I've noticed you've done brand collaborations. Could you shed some light on how I should charge or if there's a scale you use to monetize Instagram?"

Because we've been following each other for several years, I was already familiar with this reader's Instagram. Her beautiful photography and consistently authentic aesthetic was sure to garner a huge following in no time. After analyzing her profile, what I noticed was her reader engagement. For one picture, she was receiving close to 1,000 likes and 50 comments from her 5,000 followers. It's no wonder brands were eager to work with her. Here's how I replied:

I'm so glad you're gaining some much-deserved traction and brand interest! You've got a solid following and notable reader engagement. I personally didn't start charging for Instagram posts until I reached 10,000 followers. While there's no standard around this I just thought it was worth a business's investment, whether they were a small company or large. Since you do have significant reader engagement rate, I'd definitely include your average comments and likes per posts. I've also started to analyze how many followers my shout-outs convert into new followers for a brand. For instance, after my Follow Friyay for you I noticed about 300 new followers. So, if you have any additional metrics like that for the previous brands you've worked with, that'll definitely help.

I don't have a scale though that could be useful, but in my reply, I included a sample reply email I've sent to companies that I felt were a good brand fit for Upperlyne & Co.

Hi _____________,
Thank you for introducing me to your company! I'd love to brainstorm ways to work together. I'm currently open to Instagram collaborations as well as blog posts. My personal Instagram account is on track to reaching 10,000 followers by October 2014. This is generally where most of my brand partnerships have most impact. My rate for one styled and plugged (tagged with description) is $_____. We can also discuss more fun ideas for blog posts which will have different rates depending on the breath of the campaign. 

I hope this helps you as you continue to build your personal brands into businesses! And, please share your strategies. I'd love to repost it for everyone to read. xo, Juley