My Secret To Happiness

Okay so maybe that’s a tiny bit dramatic but I really do believe this helps me stay mindful and focused on a world that can feel so heavy at times. So what is it? What’s my secret to happiness? … Practicing gratitude.

Practicing gratitude is overlooked often and it something I think we all should be doing more of in the business and heaviness that this world can feel sometimes. I truly believe it has made a difference in all my relationships from family, friends and business.

When is the last time you told a friend or coworker that you appreciate them? Or like really thanked them. We can so quickly say “thanks!” but this week I’m encouraging you to pause and extend that gratitude in a more specific way like “thank you so much for helping me with xyz, it really made me week having you there!”

If someone said that to you, you know how good would it make you feel so why not make someone feel a little extra love. We spend countless minutes scrolling on our phones, take a few of those and send a text or better yet, call someone to let them know you’re grateful for.. and be specific!

Other ways I like to practice gratitude is send someone a hand written note, buy a friend a coffee during a hard time, or buy a gratitude journal like this one!

Now go show some gratitude today! Tell me below what you’re feeling grateful for.

XX, Anna

Friday Favs

Hey friends! Take a peak into my week with my Friday favorites. Where I share anything from products, experiences, articles, whatever… just for funsies! So let’s get to it!

A few followers suggested this YouTube channel that teaches preschoolers how to draw step by step and OMG it’s been so fun to sit with Henry and learn how to draw different things. It’s made him so into drawing and can’t recommend it enough. They have more advanced levels for older kiddos too! Check it out here!

Now that the weather is warm, that means more outside meals for us! We were realizing that this was hard to do this with a kiddo who needs a highchair, so we found this super easy, collapsible high chair! It’s also amazing to travel with. Plus it’s so easy use and it can also connect to a chair if you want them up higher with you! You can find it here.

If you LOVE fish tacos and live in the Pittsburgh area, you must head over to Kaya! It’s been one of my favorite restaurants for years and I was so happy to get back to it this week. I had the crispy fish tacos, the tuna ceviche and a peach mojito. My taste buds were jumpin with joy! Here are the deets to the restaurant.

Another favorite is Soba! I usually get their Pad Thai but this time we ordered some small plates and omg the crispy tofu was addicting! Also I got the Grapefruit Basil Smash drink and I am still thinking of it. Ironically both restaurants are owned by the same restaurant group, which I sense a theme… they are all amazing!

Have you checked out my course in how to get to collabs as a nano influencer yet? Sign up for your free trail with Beyond Boss or get the cliff notes here.

Our beach trip is coming up! We haven’t been to the beach in 6 years so have been buying all the things. I’ll do a round up on beach stuff next week maybe! But in the mean time, I searched high and low for a large, easy to use beach tent and this one checks off all the boxes and is super affordable. Check it out here!

That’s all I got for this week, I’m a little behind but the devastating news lately has left the creative energy a little low! For the record, I’m heartbroken about the Rade vs Wade overturn and get sick to my stomach anytime there is yet ANOTHER mass shooting. If you aren’t registered to vote in PA, we have a super important election coming up this fall, click here to get set up to vote.

Have an amazing weekend! P.s. some affiliate product links are used within this post.

XX, Anna

How to Get Collaborations as a Nano Influencer/ Blogger

I’m throwing it back to 2021 and talking about how to get collabs as a nano influencer/blogger again! You can find the original post right here, but it got a face lift and I got another year of influencing under my belt to share even more!

To get the fulllllllll scoop, be sure to check out my 25 minute course where I share all the details on video over at Beyond Boss an amazing, not your average, networking group. Use this link to sign to watch and get your first month of their insider’s membership free (and you can cancel anytime if it’s not for you)!  Click here: https://www.beyondbosscourses.com/a/2147509046/6foyFvoe

But if you’re looking for the cliff notes check ’em out….

Commit to the work

  • Build an authentic following, which takes TIME.
    • Started IG 2016, first campaign October 2019 around 800 followers, first paid campaign February 2020 around 1k
  • Listen to podcasts, read articles, find people that know the ins and outs of the platform to learn from and use those skills to help you grow your brand.
    • If you’re not an expert in IG and staying on trends, you’re not going to “make it” as an influencer.
  • Post consistently.
    • Why would a brand chose you if you haven’t posted in 2 weeks?
  • Don’t take short cuts!!!!!
    • This means no loops giveaways, buying followers/like, a lot of companies can now see through this. It’s overall unethical.

Engage, engage, engage!

  • The perk of companies using Nano influencers is their highly engaged audience.
  • If you don’t like sharing on IG, this isn’t for you. You have to LIKE sharing on social media to be successful in this industry.
  • Comment on your friends posts, engage in your favorite jewelry company’s IG stories, whatever it is just engage with people and businesses you love on the platform! If you’re thinking it, extend the thought and just type it out in a comment/message!
  • RESPOND to everything.
    • Nobody wants to talk to a digital wall, they want to talk to you.
  • Build relationships with your audience one like/comment/message at a time.
    • We all connect with people differently, don’t be disengouious, let it happen organically.

Start Locally

  • Don’t be shy about being an influencer when people ask you what you do!
    • Tell that boutique owner that you’re always supporting about your IG!
    • Haters gonna hate. Most don’t realize the work it takes until they try it for themselves.
  • Get involved with in person networking in a digital world
    • Groups like Beyond Boss, attend various local events, connect on and offline!
  • Become friends with other influencers.
    • I’ve passed on campaigns that weren’t right for me and recommended friends , vise versa, how I got FridaBaby!
    • I’m always happy to answer questions.
  • Get comfortable and learn the process of working on brand campaigns and build your portfolio for trade work.

Stay true to yourself

  • It can be easy to fall into a trap of doing what everyone else is doing because it seems to be working for them, but it may not work or feel authentic to you!
  • Be honest and vulnerable to your comfort level
  • This overall builds trust.
  • Your followers follow you, for you! We all resonate with people differently.
  • Don’t take collaborations that aren’t actually passionate or proud to stand behind.
    • If you’ve never talked about beauty products, don’t take a beauty product collab. People will and can see through it, then the analytics will show.

Treat your brand like a business

  • Make sure brands see you’re open for business by having your profile set up to do so, for example: “let’s collab!” on your profile
  • Think of yourself as a brand. Keep visuals consistent by using the same colors/fonts/graphics, etc.
  • Take it seriously. Every campaign post should be truly thought out in a marketing mindset, for instance neutral clothing with no brandnames, or coordinating with your kiddos.
  • Create a separate email address from your personal
  • Be prompt in your responses and deliverables
  • Manage expectations of any campaigns
  • Know when/how to ask to get paid versus doing free work

Pitch to brands

  • Love a brand? Tell them! Tag ’em! Use their hashtags! This also can be just a quick DM. Will show in next slide!
  • Don’t sit there and wait for brands to come to you… they probably won’t especially at first.
  • A lot will say “no”, switch your mindset to “not yet” and it will help.
  • Have a media kit prepared because there is a good chance you need it.
    • It’s basically a resume for your online presence
    • So many free templates on Canva to follow!

To conclude, I just want to encourage you to keep going. Keep trying and keep working toward those goals in this process of growing your brand. Like everything it takes time! As long as you are being true to yourself, these platforms need your voice and nobody can do it like you.I can’t wait to see you getting those collabs, gf!

Friday Favs

Hey friends! Take a peak into my week with my Friday favorites. Where I share anything from products, experiences, articles, whatever… just for funsies! So let’s get to it!

Okay, these New Balance sneakers are seriously the best. I absolutely love how they are super cute, yet super comfy! It looks like the specific colors are out of stock but there are def some other great options to shop here.

Have you heard of Toniebox’s? OMG. My boys are obsessed! They are basically super duper kid friendly music/story boxes. You put on the character “the tonie” and it plays the coordinating songs and stories with it!! Like, it’s so easy to use I never need to even help them and the tonie’s are the cost of a children’s books anyway. We took it on a recent road trip and it was the hit of the car… and no screen time! I could go on and on, but like my one year old can work these and drop it constantly with no issues! Click here to shop!

It’s Thermacell season! If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know I love these things so much! It’s mosquito replant that coves up to a 15 ft zone! No smells, no sprays, just turn this sucker on and you’re covered. It’s literally a dream. Here is where to shop the lantern. Here is if you’re an OG and need some refills for summer!

Have you heard of Lark Adventurewear? If not, RUNNNN! They are having a liquidation sale due to some growing pains, and everything is on super sale right now. Their products have this amazing temperature regulating fabrication that is truly magic. I stocked up on some pajamas for the boys to grow into, some things for myself (you gotta get their womens tee) and I’m trying out the crib sheet for my sweaty little man. They have some of their pieces on in this pic below! Shop the sale here!

That’s all I got for this week! Have an amazing weekend!

XX, Anna

8 Tools You Need to Take Your Own Content Photos

You’re scrolling Instagram and you’re sitting there like WTF, do all these people really hire photography out all the time? The answer is no! Many are surprised to find out that I take about 75% of my content photos by myself. Crazy right? Not so much if you know my husband’s photography skills, haha! I’ve been in the blogging game since 2016, so it’s gotten alot easier. It’s taken some practice over the years, but if you’re building a brand you need photos… like all the time. So let’s run down what you need to get started.

  1. Camera
    • I used to have a digital camera that I used, but phone cameras keep improving and they get the job done just fine!
  2. Tripod
    • A sturdy tripod can make or break you (and your phone). I’ve had two, and this one has been my favorite!
  3. Space/Background
    • Finding cool spots within your city that have a relatively plain background are perfect! The less distraction surrounding you, the better. Why? Mainly so there are no distractions in the background and it keeps the sole focus on your brand. There are also photo studios that you can rent for a few hours that will have tons of scenes and props if you’d prefer!
  4. Clicker
    • Self timers work, but OMG a clicker is 100% worth it so you can just take a ton of photos at once and not be running back and forth to your camera like crazy!
  5. Presets
    • To give your images that extra pop, consider presets. I’ve tried a few, but my favorite is Light and Airy Photographer Lifestyle presets. Use: ANNA20 for 20% off the lifestyle mobile image and video presets! (I get nothing for this, they just agreed to help you out with some $$ off!)
  6. Ring Light
    • I lived without one of these for a long time, so you can get by without one, but it’s a nice tool to have when doing videos, etc. There’s so many options on Amazon depending on the size you need!
  7. Poses
    • There’s actually a lot of different accounts on Instagram and TikTok that help you learn how to pose in flattering ways. Or just head over to Pinterest and get inspo!
  8. Confidence
    • Seriously! Even the influencers and bloggers who have been doing this for years still get shy taking photos especially in a public place. Like all things, you get used to it! Most importantly, have fun!!!

Bonus quick tip: If your business is product base, there may be additional tools that you will need for lighting, but consider making a photography set up with a backdrop using temporary wall paper/tile on cardboard!

I can’t wait to see your pics, gf! Need a social media mentor? Let’s chat!

*affiliate links are used within this post

Friday Favs

Hey friends! Take a peak into my week with my Friday favorites. Where I share anything from products, experiences, articles, whatever… just for funsies! I took the week off last week for a moment of silence for Uvalde, Texas and the nineteen students and two teachers who were tragically murdered at their school. It’s been weighing so heavy on my heart and if it’s weight heavy on yours too, I encourage you to reach out for senators to demand change.

But anyway, let’s get back to it!

School is out and it’s officially summertime here! I found these zip up SPF 50 rash guards at Target and OMG we love them! So easy to just throw on during the sunny days to keep the kiddos arms protected from the sun and you don’t have to put it of their heads which is also a pain in the butt! Click here to shop.

Speaking of, this year I opted for brighter colors for swim shirts for the boys. I love blue, so I always gravitated for that. But we went orange! Why? Because I saw this article that was really alarming for if a kiddo is drowning in a pool, the blues often blend into the water and makes it hard to see them if they need help. Bright colors will stand out making them more noticeable. So safety over fashion this year. I recommend you check out this article.

So many of you have the same play house as we do (click here to shop it)! We got ours in the fall when it was on sale, so this was this was the first year decorating it. Little man wanted American theme so we went all out at the Dollar Tree. I had a heck of time finding pots that fit the house, but finally found a winner! Click here to find them.

Have you tried Threadbare cider yet? OMG, it’s SO GOOD. I honestly don’t drink much anymore, but I am such a sucker for a good cider on a hot day. The Perry the Pear is my fav. They are Pittsburgh based and DELISH. You can find it at Ross Park Mall or their cider house!

At the Makers Market I attended on Sunday, I was placed next to my friend Summer of Leo and Lynn jewelry. Not only does she make me smile as she is so sweet, she makes hand poured resin jewelry that is just so gorgeous! This is my latest piece from her and it’s so stinkin’ pretty. Check her out here!

Have a great weekend friends!

Friday Favs

Hey friends! Take a peak into my week with my Friday favorites. Where I share anything from products, experiences, articles, whatever… just for funsies! So let’s get to it!

My porch are planted. I absolutely love begonias and buy them every single year! The coral, pinkish, salmon gorgeous color my greenhouse has is my fav.

Have you seen this new discovery on SIDS?! It’s pretty monumental discovery for such a mysterious, devastating issue. Hopefully it leads to more findings in saving babies. Click here to read it.

L&A Crayons gifted us a fun package of chalk letters and a dinosaur. Alaina, the owner, also makes personalized crayons! Such a great gift idea for many occasions. I can’t get over how cute they are!

Short season is here, it’s time to get some color on these legs. Ha! I’m low key obsessed with these Tanologist tanning drops. It’s so easy to use and build upon making it hard to mess up. You just mix it in with your daily lotion and put it on anddddd that’s it. 👏🏼 Click here to try.

We hit up the zoo and renewed on annual membership! It was a great time, but I’ll tell ya what, we are loving the new path away from The Islands to the aquarium. Our tired legs thank you Pittsburgh Zoo, we love ya!

See ya here next Friday with some favorite things of the weeks!

Xx, Anna

Honestly, Mama + Project Sweet Peas

Hi, friends!

May is officially here and it is such an important month to Honestly, Mama. We’ve been breaking the stigma, talking about our stories and with Maternal Mental Health week upon us, it seems like the perfect time to announce the first Honestly, Mama fundraiser!

When I was daydreaming of this community, I had always loved the idea of somehow giving back to help mamas who are in the thick of their struggle. I started exploring local non profits that we could help and Project Sweet Peas seemed like the perfect fit to kick off hopefully a long journey of give back initiatives. Though, I am not personally a NICU mama, I know many who are. Their struggle through those unsettling times always left me wishing I could do more. Project Sweet Peas, gathers care packages and delivers them to our local NICU unit hospitals. Read more about them here.

Want to get involved?

-Buy something off the Amazon Wish List. Shop it here.

-Rather give in person? I’ll be at The Maverick in Gibsonia, PA on May 22 from 11-2 pm collecting any last minute donations.

-Rather give a monetary donation? All money will be used to buy care package supplies. You can Venmo me at Anna-Hinkle-2 …please put Honestly, Mama in note.

-Write an encouraging note to a mama. How? Fill out the form.

-Spread the word! Share on your social profiles, tell your family, friends.

Thank you so much for your participation. It means the world to me! Have any questions, let me know! Now let’s help some mamas!

Xo, Anna

4 Ways to Get Out of Your Instagram Rut

Hey friends! I recently had someone reach out to me telling me they are so discouraged by Instagram. They feel like they are talking to crickets and nobody is engaging in all their content. I’ve been there… we’ve all been there! Is there anything worse than low engagement on your the content that you’re spending hours on? I don’t think so! It’s a quick way to get yourself over it and just plain old burnt out on one of the best platforms to market to yourself on right now. Let’s dive into 4 ways to get out of your Instagram rut so you can come out on the other side and feel better about your content!

1. Take a break. Sometimes we get lost in the hustle and trying to keep up with all the changes on the app. Or everyone is telling you to post reels, all day every day and you’re like WTF, I don’t have time for this!? That’s okay, I believe in setting realistic goals for yourself so you mentally set yourself up for success. The rest will follow!

2. Channel the feelings that made you started your business the first place. Taking a step back and go back to the root of your “why”. This can make such a huge difference in your content! Not only does it bring back the passion, your audience will probably feel your enthusiasm again too.

3. Shake it up and get creative. NOW is the time to try new things! If you feel like nobody is engaging, what do you have to lose? A different approach may just grab their attention again! Haven’t dived into reels yet? Give it a try! Busting your butt on reels and they aren’t landing? Go back to static posts! Just keep on trying and learn what speaks to your audience.

4. Don’t lose sight on the interactions that you do have. Not everything you post will be a winner, that is just the reality of it! If you’re passionate about your work, don’t let it get you down. If you reached one person today, it can still make impact!

BONUS TIP: spend 30 minutes a day engaging and connecting with you audience. Send messages, like posts, comment on posts, get your name on peoples screens!

If you still are struggling, I’m here to help. Shoot me an email and let’s see if I can get you and your IG back on track! Keep going, you got this!

Xx, Anna

5 Reasons to Pay an Influencer

Hey, friends!

As I’ve been swimming my way through the murky waters of turning my influencing/blogging endeavors to a profitable business, I have been learning a lot along the way. This field is so brand spanking new, nobody knows how to handle it and everyone does something different (no exaggeration there). I have been picking brains of fellow influencers, talking with small business owners, listening to podcasts and I feel the need to bring this topic to the table.

So let’s run through the process of working with an influencer, let’s say you are a small business owner who has decided to explore the influencer marketing field. You find an influencers to reach out to and they come back with their media kit which has some information about their work, their target audience, analytics, etc. Stop right there, don’t even roll your eyes!

Why am I saying that?? Well what they sent to you is actually amazing. Someone did the leg work for you to look and see if the demographic you’re trying to reach is who theirs is! Then let’s say you scroll to see a price and then think “well I’m giving them my product for free”. Yes, you are, but here is why you should pause and maybe consider paying them or at least keep the conversation going.

  1. Time. Depending on what you are asking for there is a huge time restraint. For example, Instagram posts have a lot of backend work with the creative thought process, taking/editing images, finding the best hashtags, posting and engaging with their audience (the most important part in my opinion)! Blog posts can take upward of 2 hours depending on the creative thought process, literal word count, SEO and taking/editing the imaging to go along with it. This is time away from our personal lives to promote your business.
  2. Engagement. Thousands of followers are nice and everything but have you heard of engagement rate? In the world of bought followers (yes people actually buy them) this is more important than ever. Hopefully, it will be easy to spot on the influencers media kit but if not, websites like this one allow you to look it up! Currently, the average engagement rate is about 5% for accounts less than 5k.
  3. Brand Exposure. Hiring an influencer is a way to get exposure to your brand from potentially thousands of new people. You are paying for a space on their billboard, which if you pick the right partner in this endeavor, it is going to reach a more targeted audience than the one people drive past on the highway. Hopefully then resulting in an actual new paying customers.
  4. Costs. Print ads and billboards can run anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars! So if you’re working with micro-influencers you’re probably going to get wayyyy more bang for your buck. Plus, a true personalized, authentic advertisement. That’s pretty cool if you think about it!
  5. Effort. Truthfully, I always put my best foot forward, but when money is on the line that means someone values my work and what I do, so I, myself and I’d say most would people go the extra mile and do more than what you’re paying them for. Whether it’s something like an extra Instagram story or promoting the blog on their personal Facebook page. These are all just little ways your brand/product is getting out there even more!

Overall, I would at the very least encourage you to keep the conversation going with an influencer, get to know them and see if you can come up with a mutually beneficial collaboration that respects both of your time. Are there risks? Absolutely. In general, advertising can be a gamble, especially to small business owners. So be sure to weigh the pro and cons, ask questions, set expectations and get to know who you’re working with before committing!

Can you find influencers that will do all this for free? Probably so, especially if they are up and coming who want to get experience working with brands or they are simply a friend that is open to helping you out. I do have a feeling that free work in this field will eventually come to an end though. If you’re an influencer reading this, don’t underestimate your time, talents and worth!

Unfortunately, people can have this negative idea of influencers, like all they do is get free stuff and just sit there talking about it, but I will tell you they put in A LOT of work and thought into what they are doing (at least if you pick the right ones). We all know that Instagram isn’t real life, so why are some still looking at influencers work like it’s just that one square image instead of peeling back the curtain and acknowledging all the hard work and time they put behind it. It’s time to start talking about it out loud and think about the influencers perspective.

What do you think? I’d say teamwork is the dream work, and nobody’s skills, talents and time should be undervalued!

Xo, Anna