Quilty Love » A quilting creative blog

pay yourself-creative business owner Today I’m going to talk to you about a topic I love…. getting paid!

Not to be confused with how to get paid but what to do once you do get paid.

Let’s talk about paying yourself.
How much you should get paid.
Should you pay yourself?
What about taxes?

It’s April and I paid my taxes today.  It didn’t make me want to cry because I think I finally have this stuff figured out!   It’s been a lot of trial and error to get here so maybe I can help you!

I’ve been doing this self employed thing for most of my adult life.   That’s about 15 years if you must know ;)   I collected my first year of self employment income waaay back in 2002.   I knew nothing about well…nothing.

What I found out quickly is that no one else pays your tax for you.

You actually have to be disciplined enough to set it aside!   Ok, so I actually knew this but I didn’t know how much or how to go about doing that.

So I met with an accountant. 

The sad story is he steered me wrong.   So wrong.  The problem is, I met with him at tax time but my previous year’s income only included 2 months.   Somehow this tax professional didn’t understand me or believe me when I projected the next years income and assured me not to worry about tax as my husband’s with-holdings would cover both of us.

He was wrong.

I still remember exactly where I was in my house when I got the phone call from the accountant’s office about my tax returns the following year.   I was expecting a refund.. cuz duh… doesn’t everyone get a refund…;)

Instead I received the news that I owed the IRS more than $5000.  

We were around 22 years old (i.e. not very smart with our money), newlyweds with a new baby and a new house.   We didn’t have $5000 in the bank to pay it.   We had to take out a second mortgage to cover it.

I’ve shared this story with very few people because it’s embarrassing.   But it was 15+ years ago so I should probably let it go ;)

I didn’t mean to start out with doom and gloom especially about something as awesome as GETTING PAID!   By sharing that story though it might stress the importance of figuring this stuff out.   I’ll save you a lot of heart ache and offer some easy things you can do so that is not your story.

The silver lining in that mistake is that I knew I had to learn this stuff and started reading and researching to prevent it from ever happening again.

Clearly I’m not a tax professional, I’m not a business lawyer,  I’m not an accountant so you really need to go see one of those professionals for specific advice.   (Just pick a good one!)

I’ll walk you through some of these topics:

  • When should you start paying yourself
  • How should you pay yourself
  • How much should you pay yourself
  • How often should you pay yourself
  • Checking/ Savings accounts I think everyone should have

Guys, this is all based on what I currently do.   It works for me.   It might not work for you or it might be just the thing you need to finally feel like you are getting paid for the hard work you are doing.

This is all a combination of the many financial books, videos and podcasts I’ve listened to over the years.   It’s an evolving process and something I continue to finesse.

When I started paying myself

There are two schools of thought on getting paid as an entrepreneur.

Immediately or in a few years when your business starts making money.

So one school of thought is that most self employed entrepreneurs don’t pay themselves for the first year or two.   I guess because they don’t expect to earn much or they are reinvesting it back into the business.

The other school of thought is that as soon as you start making money, you should get paid.

I think there can be value in both.   When I started my photography business I didn’t pay myself for the first year or two.   I was profitable on year one so that wasn’t the problem.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t because I didn’t know how!  (Spoiler Alert:   Take a percentage.)   At that point it was a side hustle so I wasn’t depending on the income.  I certainly pulled money out from time to time but not on a regular basis or with intention.

This turned out to be a good thing for me because somewhere between year 2 – 3 I decided to find a small studio space.   I was able to invest in a space, decorate it and pay rent because I had money sitting there to re-invest.   I think the space adds a lot of value to my business and was worth it.   Truthfully, I’m sure I could still have made it happen if I had started paying myself on day one especially because I now account for these things.  It might have taken a little more time though.

Around year 3 is when I systematically started paying myself.   My husband was thankful for that..lol.   He saw how hard I was working so finally our family was benefiting from that hard work.

I think you should pay yourself right away even if it’s just a small percentage.   Start small and then increase as your business grows.

By the time I started my quilting business I knew how to pay myself and started doing so immediately.

How I pay myself

I’m a huge fan of systematically paying yourself.   That means paying yourself a percentage on a regular basis.

And not just paying yourself, but also setting aside a percentage of the income for other things such as:

  • taxes
  • savings
  • operations

I pay myself once or twice a month.   Either the last day of the month or the 15th and the last day of the month.

What does this look like…?

All money I take in goes directly into my business checking account.   Everything is filtered through that account.

When it’s time to pay myself I use an excel spreadsheet to distribute my income for the month.   I do alter percentages from year to year when my goals change.   Here is what it might look like:

5% – Business Savings Account
20% – Tax Account
40% – Paycheck (transfer to personal accounts)
35% – stays in account for operations

The idea is that whatever your accounts of choice are the percentage equals 100%.

You might change the percentages around a bit and add a charity percentage.  Or you might have more overhead and need more than 35% to operate your business… or less if you are lucky!

A good rule of thumb for most people will be setting aside at least 20% for taxes.   If you can’t stomach a tax bill, I urge you to meet with a professional now so they can give you a more accurate withholding percentage.   The idea is that you are saving 20% of your gross income so it gets most people pretty close to what they are actually taxed on.  Obviously, this can vary wildly from business to business.   If you have very little expenses or are in a higher tax bracket 20% may not be enough.

Click on the image below to download this excel spreadsheet!   Customize it to your needs and start taking a paycheck!

I’ve never shared an excel document before so please let me know if there are any errors in it.   I did test it out and it appears to be good to go :)

Whats with all the accounts?

So yep, I have like a million accounts.   Ha.  Not quite but I do have quite a few!   It’s so easy to open multiple accounts these days and with online banking I can easily transfer between these accounts.

I have a business checking account.  All income is deposited into this account.   I pay all business related bills and expenses from this account.

I have a business savings account.   Imagine that your business actually has a savings account!   How awesome would that feel!?   I use this account as an emergency fund for my business but mostly its a rainy day fund.   I pull from it for things like houseboat rentals on Airbnb ;)   It’s just another way to save and make sure I’m getting paid for the work I put in.

I have a tax account.   This is another checking account I call my tax account.   Every month 20% off my gross income goes into this account.   Sales tax also goes into this account on a monthly basis.  I pay my quarterly taxes from this account and pay the end of the year tax bill from this account.   If you do nothing else, set up this account!!   Paying taxes is not stressful at all when it’s been set aside all year long.  And if at the end of the year there’s something left, consider it your bonus!

I have a charity account.   I systemically put money into this account for the purpose of charitable giving.

And those are just accounts for my business!   Just today I set up another personal savings account because my boy and I have big dreams and we are determined to make them happen :)

Why I think you should have consistency

Setting up this system has given me so much freedom!   Seriously!

I get paid.

Like an actual paycheck, paid.   Every. Single. Month.   Some months it’s much bigger than others.   If you prefer your monthly paycheck be the same every month I would still follow a similar system.   Just add another checking or savings account to dump your paycheck percentage into and then pull your paycheck from that.

I don’t overspend on expenses.

There is a myth I want to dispel right now.   Having so many expenses that you don’t have to pay tax is NOT a good thing.   I’m proud of my tax bill (weird, right!?) because it means I made a PROFIT.   I don’t spend every single dime I take in on my business.   By paying myself monthly, I know my spending is under control because of the limited funds left in my business checking account.   Remember, at the end of every month only operations money is still there.

Paying taxes is painless

I think that says it all right there ;)   Trust me when I say I know the pain of scary tax bills.   I’ve had plenty of them.

I have a purposeful amount to spend on my business every month.

Knowing that every month there is something there to spend on the business is very freeing.   Some months are a little tighter than others but basic monthly expenses can be paid.

It makes my husband happy.

Ha.   Your family needs to benefit from your hustle!   When my business actually gives me a paycheck the husband is happy to let me continue on my crazy entrepreneurial journey ;)   He will support you when you want to quit a long term steady job because he knows you have it together enough to continue helping to support the family ;)

Man, I tend to get long winded with these topics.   I guess I have so much to say about it all!

Change your habits and make it happen!

Don’t know where to start?   I’ll sum it up for you here if this is something you feel your business needs.

Open your accounts
  • Open a business checking
  • Open a business savings
  • Open a checking or savings account to hold taxes
  • Open any other accounts you want to distribute your income into
Set up an excel spreadsheet (download one here!) or use some fancy software and commit to distributing your income monthly every single month.
  • Add up all gross income for the month
  • Distribute to your other accounts by the percentages you choose

And now smile because you are well on your way to rocking your creative business.

I now know not just how much money I make each year, but how much I need to make each year to reach my salary goals.

Let me know if you found any of this helpful or if you have any tips to include!

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  • Nicole - Awesome post!!ReplyCancel

  • Trinia - Thank you so much for sharing your experience. You are right….money talk is usually vague and generalized. Your tips are so appreciated!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay - It was so helpful to read even though I don’t have a business of my own yet. We have similar thoughts when it comes to finances and taxes!. It was very good to read this. My question is, what bank do you bank with that allows you to set up so many accounts? My bank charges us for everything unless we have a direct deposit or some obscenely large amount In there at all times!ReplyCancel

    • Emily@QuiltyLove - I use a small local bank so fees aren’t really a problem. Maybe check into a credit union or maybe you have a similar small town bank..? Also, a lot of online banks are pretty competitive these days as far as fees. I just opened a new account with ally.com. No fees and highest interest rate on a savings account.ReplyCancel

  • marisa - Emily thank you so much! Very helpful tips, something we need to start thinking about for sure!!ReplyCancel

  • Susan - Thank you for all of your tips – great advise and I appreciate you taking the time to do all of this!ReplyCancel

Welcome to Week 8!

Just a few more weeks left of this colorful quilt along!

This week we will be making 5 blocks.   And just 5 more to go next week!

All of the colorful quilts showing up on instagram make me smile!   Here are a few that caught my eye:



Starbursts! 🍬 #ombregemsquiltalong #progress #quiltinprogress #quilting #ombregems #quiltalong #QAL

A post shared by stitchstitchhooray (@stitchstitchhooray) on

Long Arm Quilting

Also, don’t forget that Katie Garret is offering a 20% discount on long arm quilting for all of these Ombre Gems quilt tops!   Contact her on instagram:   @katiegarrettquilts

Week 8 / 10

This week we will:

  • Make 5 blocks

These can be either all full size blocks some full blocks and some full blocks and some half blocks.


Be sure to browse through the hashtag and show some love :)


Grab a copy of the Ombre Gems Quilt pattern and join along!

Ombre Gems Official Post
Ombre Gems Week One
Ombre Gems Week Two
Ombre Gems Week Three
Ombre Gems Week Four
Ombre Gems Week Five
Ombre Gems Week Six
Ombre Gems Week Seven
Ombre Gems Week Eight
Ombre Gems Week Nine
Ombre Gems Week Ten


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Somehow my hand pieced hexie quilt hasn’t made it up on the blog yet!   This quilt took just over a year to complete so it needs it’s day in spotlight ;)

I started this quilt way back in January 2015.   I had never tried English paper piecing and I was loving all of the hexies I saw popping up on Pinterest and Instagram.   So I started without a plan and just started making hexies.   I used only scraps and sewed them together randomly.   The progress of this quilt is down below.

If you would like to make your own hexie quilt I recommend having a tiny bit of plan at least.   I ended up with a bunch of blobby pieces that were difficult to join.   So make flowers or squares all the same and then join those.

Measures:  55in x 65in
Total 1in hexies:  About 875

epp hexie quilt epp hexie quilt epp hexie quilt This quilt is the first and only quilt I’ve added borders to.   I added borders because I was soooo ready to be done with it so they are there to make the quilt bigger ;)  I had some yardage of this Riley Blake Gold swiss dots and thought it would make for the perfect border and backing :) epp hexie quilt epp hexie quilt I have a few regrets with this quilt.   One is I used Warm and Plush batting which I’m not a big fan on.   I bought a roll of it though and since I had it on hand, I went ahead and used it.   It’s just a higher loft than I like.   I am a big fan of Warm and White however.

Another regret is that my quilting lines are spaced too far apart.   I prefer these zig zag lines a little closer together.  It looks like I used the hexies as my guide though and went through every other seam line.   Should have run it back through between each line.  But yep, I was soooo ready to be done.   If you have been following along for a while you know I don’t really have WIPs so I was pretty over this one after a year ;) epp hexie quilt epp hexie quilt epp hexie quilt epp hexie quilt epp hexie quilt epp hexie quilt epp hexie quilt epp hexie quilt epp hexie quilt

Favorite EPP Tools

I tried so many different needles and threads for this quilt.   I’ve settled on a few favorites!
My favorite thread is Superior Threads in Silver that I purchased on Amazon.  It’s silky and smooth and doesn’t tangle or break.   I had sooo much trouble with thread breaking using other brands.

My very favorite needles are this teeny tiny little #10 Tulip Needles.   I like small sharp needles because they just work so well.   I use these needles for binding also.   I purchased mine from Amazon.

The ThimblePads are actually a new additional.   I don’t know how I went so long without them!  I hate thimbles and I would often use duct tape in the exact same way these little thimble pads work.

And of course every epp kit needs a nice (and cute) pair of snips.   A friend gave me these ones and I love them!

epp needles and thread

Progress Photos

Below is the progression of this quilt :)

January 18th, 2015

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  • Melanie - I am not an EPP hexie loving girl by definition. But I love your version – because it’s a random layout – no classical hexie flowers. Though I am sorry, it was so hard to put together, I love the “nonlayout”. Enjoy your quilt!ReplyCancel

  • Natalie - I’m so in love with this quilt! I think you’ve inspired me to try hexies! Gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Kay - I have always loved hexies and have made several hexie bags. I have an epp hexagon quilt of my own to finish, the hexagons have been ready since last year but I just haven’t got arrived to sewing them all together yet. I love your random way of stitching them together, it gives a lovely free feel to it. xReplyCancel

  • Julie - I have dreams of making a hexi quilt one day, I’ve done a couple of pillows, and a sew together bag.

    Yours is beautiful, so well done for persevering and actually finishing it.ReplyCancel

This is an impromptu post.   Probably not the smartest way to write a post ;)   But here it goes anyways…  my thoughts and theories on growing your Instagram following to help grow your creative business….

This weekend I hit a milestone on Instagram.

I reached 10k followers.   I have very mixed feelings about this.   I’m going to be really transparent with you all here.   I did set this as a goal for myself.   My goal was to hit 10k by the end of last year.   So it took 4 extra months.

Why..??   I don’t know why!   It’s so silly really.   It’s just a number and I think it’s so easy to get caught up in these social media numbers.

I think there is a danger in letting social media likes and numbers define who we are or who we think we are.   I see this in the younger generation especially.   I’m raising a teenage daughter who follows a lot of Instagram “celebrities” and I constantly hear her talk about the number of followers they have.   Like somehow they are more important, much cooler and much prettier if they have more followers.

As my following has grown I have realized I am the same person I was when there were 100 following along..lol.   I’m not any more important, any cooler or any smarter…but I am older and wiser ;)   But I will say sharing on Instagram has helped me become more comfortable with who I am and to value myself a little more.   Or maybe that’s just something I’ve been gaining with age ;)

So really… why the 10k goal…?

First and foremost I use social media to share and connect.   I love connecting with others who share similar passions to mine.  I work from home and I’m happily introverting most days so sharing on Instagram is fun and rewarding.

It’s no secret that Instagram is a great business tool.  I didn’t set out with a plan and really at first it was kind of a game.   I also always had it in the back of my mind that it may serve a purpose someday.   After all, I’ve already turned one hobby into a business and knew it was possible to do again.

One thing I try not to lose sight of, is connecting and offering value and inspiration.

I have a quote written on a sticky note on my computer that reads:

Be valuable in your marketplace.   Serve others.

I don’t remember who I got it from but it’s there as a daily reminder that my business should be there to serve and not to sell.

Expanding your audience is going to be beneficial for any creative business.

I urge you to think about why you want to expand your audience.   I wrestle with this constantly.   What it comes right down to for me, is being an encourager (how is that not a word..lol) , providing inspiration, and connecting.

So how did I grow my audience?

It’s not completely by accident as it is something I’ve been working towards.   It hardly feels like work though because it’s been pretty organic.   Here is the number one secret to growing your audience:


It’s that simple.   I started my Instagram quilting account a little less than 2 1/2 years ago.   I actually started it as a personal account.  I quickly realized that was not going to happen since all I wanted to post was all quilting, all the time.   I found myself following those who only shared quilting vs. those who mixed it all together.   So I decided to keep it very niche.

This is my very first Instagram post on this account ;)  Way back to November 4th, 2014.


#modernquilting #quilting

A post shared by Emily Dennis (@emily_dennis_) on

Tips to help grow your Instagram Following

I’ll share some tips that I think will help you grow your following if this is something you are looking to do.   Now most of these tips are theory because I’m basing them off of my own behavior and the results I think they brought.

  • Engage
  • Give your audience someone to connect to (YOURSELF!)
  • Use relevant hashtags
  • Spend time connecting with other users in your niche
  • No way around it… GOOD PHOTOS
  • Use brands you wish to connect or collaborate with
  • Be yourself
  • Offer incentives (occasionally) for people to follow along (ex:  giveaways)

I’ll walk through each of these and share some insights and how I think they have personally helped.


I’m sure you have heard this a million times by now but there really is no way around it.   This is probably the easiest thing you can do and it’s fun!   It’s liking those pretty photos.   It’s commenting on other posts.   It’s going into the explore tab and liking and commenting on the things that catch your eye.

Consistently show up and comment on the posts in your feed.   Trust me, that person is reading those comments every single time.   Unless maybe they are getting thousands of responses within minutes ;)

I went into the explore tab daily when I first started and it always always always grew my following.  That was actually a fun side effect and one that surprised me.

Take Action:   Spend 5 minutes every day in the explore tab commenting and liking.   Make a point to comment on posts in your own feed.

Give your audience someone to connect to… that’s YOU!

I’m not talking about sharing your life story.   I’m talking about giving them a face to picture.   I started sharing photos of myself when I realized how much more I connected with others who posted photos of themselves.   It puts a face to a name.  I think this is ESPECIALLY important if your instagram handle is not your actual name.

Instagram handles all blur together for me, so when the people I follow post themselves it really helps my brain remember who is who.

That actually leads me to another point…  Consider using your name as your handle.   I was very intentional about using my name.   I tend to remember actual names better so that is what I went with.

Notice how all the things I do are based off of my own experience using Instagram…ha ;)

So go ahead and post a photo of yourself!   And I don’t mean just once.   On a regular basis.   Maybe monthly.  Maybe every few weeks as a Friday intro.

That’s another thing…  let people know who you are!   And again, I don’t mean sharing your life story.   I’m actually pretty private about my life.   I value my privacy and I don’t share my kids nearly as much as I used to when they were toddlers.

But I’m sure if you have been following along for a while you know I have 3 kids all in school which allows me plenty of quilting time.
You know we like to travel and take road trips.
You might know I’m also a photographer.
You might know that I live the arctic tundra.  Or at least it feels that way up here in Upper Michigan.
You probably know about my super awesome youngest brother Dan who has down syndrome.
Maybe you know I have a ginormous family who I like to give quilts to.

That’s not everything about me but it probably offers enough to connect on something.

Take Action:   Post a photo of yourself.   You can do it!   And on that photo share a few things about yourself.

Use relevant hashtags

Hashtags are the best!   I first fell in love with hashtags because I could use them to search anything I wanted!  Using hashtags is not only good for sharing your work but also helpful for others who are searching for what you have to share.   Seriously.. they are win win!

It’s not hard to find out what hashtags are relevant to what you are sharing.   Instagram will even give you the number of posts with that hashtag so you know instantly if it’s a good hashtag to use.   A million posts using a hashtag isn’t going to get you far and a hashtag with 3 posts isn’t going to get you far.  So find those happy medium hashtags that are relevant and being used.

I hashtag the makers, the brands and the object.   Here’s a recent example of a post I did with the hashtags I used.


Goooood Morning Instagram! 😃 it has been such a busy few weeks wrapping up projects over here but I see the light at the end of the tunnel so it’s all good. . Today is my turn on the #bountifulblogtour 😊😊😊. @sharonhollanddesigns newest fabric line is a beauty with those blues and greens I love so much. And lately yellow is really growing on me and this line has several great yellow prints. . I made a super fast and simple #trianglepop quilt using fat quarters. Link in profile will take you over to the blog post with a gazillion more photos and links to resources if you want to make your own 😊 . . . . #bountifulfabrics by #sharonhollanddesigns for @artgalleryfabrics #artgallerfabrics #trianglequilt #quiltylove #quiltylovepatterns #quiltsofinstagram #modernquilting http://www.quiltylove.com/triangle-pop-quilt-bountiful-blog-tour/

A post shared by Emily Dennis (@emily_dennis_) on

I like to use my hashtags mixed into my caption and also at the bottom in sentence form if possible.   I think providing hashtags in a helpful way is the best way to use them.

Stick to 5-10 relevant hashtags.   Fewer relevant hashtags will go a lot further than a million non-relevant ones.

Take Action:   Posts 5 relevant hashtags on your posts from now on.

Spend time connecting with users in your niche

So this is another fun one!   I enjoy connecting with other quilters and makers and it’s really not difficult to do when you come from a genuine place as a friend and a peer.   Save the fan girling for Justin Bieber…. hahah… did I really just say that.   I’m pretty sure Justin Bieber could pass me on the street and I wouldn’t know it was him.   laughing out loud here guys.

Anyways… yeah, just connect.

Take Action:   Comment on the posts in your feed and don’t be afraid to send a message when you are watching stories.

Post great photos

Yep, See how I went from good to great ;)   There really is no way around this.   Your feed needs to be full of great photos if you are looking to build your audience.

This means holding off on posting that midnight finish because the lighting is terrible.   It takes a lot of restraint and I’ll be the first to admit that’s not always fun.  I actually resisted this for a long time because I’m a chronic over sharer.   Plus I have no patience and want to share everything RIGHT NOW. ;)

Up until recently 95% of my photos on my feed were taken with my iPhone and edited in the Instagram app.   Just make sure you have nicely lit photos and a somewhat cohesive feed.   I still use my iPhone all the time but lately I have been taking more time to use my DSLR for my Instagram photos.   Obviously it’s a few more steps but worth it in the end for me.  A nice camera is so not necessary though!   The iPhone camera is actually pretty amazing.

Can you tell which post below is iPhone and which is the DSLR? ;)  The moral of the story is, it doesn’t matter because both got great engagement and look good.


Good Instagram photos needs it’s own post and I’ll write one some day but here are some quick tips:

  • Use natural light alone.   Never mix your lights or you will get weird color castes.   Turn off all other lights.
  • Use a reflector.   I use a white foam poster board.
  • Use appealing backgrounds such as a wood floor, white desk…etc..
  • Reduce the clutter in your photo.
  • Spend a sunny day taking the same photo in different areas of your house at different times of the day to find out where the most ideal spot is.    Then use that spot at that time whenever possible.
  • Use basic editing.   I use the IG app and brighten, sharpen, pull up shadows and add a little contrast.

Take Action:   Be more intentional with the next 6 photos you post.

Use brands you want to connect and collaborate with

This is another fun and easy tip to follow.   Most of us are using brands we love so be sure to tag them and hashtag the brand and designers every time!   This prompts your favorite brands to re-post which always leads to new follows and a wider audience.   They might even reach out and want to collaborate on a project!

Consider using brands that might reach a new audience.   As a quilter I love trying a new brand I’ve never used before.   Not only is it fresh and new for me, it’s a new audience I might reach.

I did this recently by using Tula Pink.   I had to find out what all the fuss was about and make a quilt with Tula.   Not only was I introduced to a lovely new quilting fabric but I was able to use hashtags I haven’t used before to reach a new audience.


Take Action:   Hashtag and tag the designers and brands in your posts.

Be Yourself

I admit this is easier said than done!   I’m sure you have heard a million times how it’s important to repel and attract.   And the only way to do this is to just be yourself.   You will attract the right people and repel the right people.

But as a recovering people pleaser.. ha..  this is much easier said than done.   Like I mentioned earlier social media has really helped me become more comfortable with who I am.   I have much more of a take it or leave it attitude these days and I think that attitude is helping me be myself.

You know what guys… being your self is the easiest person to be!

It’s actually very freeing when you give yourself permission to be yourself.   Stop worrying about what other people might think.   Stop worrying about how many people will unfollow you if you if you post that photo or share that story.

Take Action:   Write your caption like you are talking to a friend and stop being a people pleaser.

Offer incentives for people to follow along

This is a good tool to use occasionally.   I would caution using it too much and I would also think about how you can use this tool to gain followers who want to be there and who are interested in what you offer (not just your giveaway).

I do this from time to time.   I love giveaways!   And I love giving away stuff to people who are there supporting and following along.   My giveaways are usually tag a friend giveaways for two reasons.

One… I get to giveaway two things!
And two… tagging a friend means you might be introducing that friend to my feed for the first time.

Chances are the friend being tagged is also interested in what I am sharing.   Unfollows after giveaways are almost non-existent for me for those two reasons.

Never use giveaway related hashtags because you will attract accounts made just for the purpose of entering.   I don’t use very many hashtags on my giveaways because it’s for my audience!

Take Action:   Host a giveaway!  Don’t worry about your audience size!  Do a giveaway because you appreciate those who are there supporting and following along.


Well geez louise…

I didn’t set out to write all of this today but maybe you will find it helpful if growing an audience is a goal of yours.

I definitely have very mixed emotions about my following and try to keep a healthy perspective about it.

The most valuable piece of advice I can leave you with is to speak to your current audience regardless of the size!   If 500 people are there following along, that’s 500 people you can connect and share with!  Speak to them as if they are important because THEY ARE!

And hey.. if you have any theories as to how you think your own following has grown, I would love to hear them!


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  • Melanie Collette - I have to say, this was very helpful! Now that IG has their algorithm in place, it has been harder and harder for the slow growers to really catch a break. The engagement tip is the only way around it! I think I’ll practice your tips and see how things go- thank you Emily!ReplyCancel

    • Emily@QuiltyLove - I hear you! I noticed and felt it too! I think that’s why its also even more important to focus on speaking to those that are already there :)ReplyCancel

  • Debbie - What a helpful post – thank you! Thankfully, I already do most of what you suggest, but there’s a couple of areas I can work on. ;-) I’m going to link to your post in my next newsletter.ReplyCancel

  • Susan - Thank you so much for another great post in regard to Instagram and doing a blog. Such good info and truly appreciate you taking the time to do this!ReplyCancel

    • Emily@QuiltyLove - I’m just glad they are being helpful. I love sharing this stuff so if people actually want to read it… yay! hahaReplyCancel

  • Marcia - Ya know, I think you’re doing great! You are obviously very talented and I so hope you grow your business as you want. Personally I have never wanted to grow my followers and usually will not accept more, on instagram or Facebook. But I have no intention to get in the biz so to speak. It does however mean so much to young people, that I find so sad.keep up the great workReplyCancel

  • Debbie Gill - Thank you! This was very relevant and informative. I was just talking to my sister about adding a photo so people could connect the name with a face!ReplyCancel

  • Lydia - Thank you for this post. Its so wonderful to read. Its really special to find like minded people to share and connect with. Instead of obsessing about the number of followers i have ( which is not a lot at all ) i rather am interested in having people who want to be part of my journey, and can connect and relate. I hope to still meet and connect with some of you and look forward to IG friendships second to none!ReplyCancel