4 Lessons of Gratitude In Action Passion Squared blog hd

5 Lessons of Gratitude in Action

In the month of November, we witnessed gratitude in action, online and off, thanks to all you passionate + courageous humans who joined our #gratefulAF challenge. Our intention with this challenge was to help you see value in beginning a lifelong practice of daily gratitude.

To be honest, I had no idea when we created this challenge how it would go. November is a “busy” month, yet it took off and took on a life of it’s own, which I am in awe of and so grateful for.

For some context, gratitude is a cornerstone of all that we are and do at Passion Squared, because gratitude both saved, and changed, my life, you can read more about that here. I have seen how gratitude can change everything, as when you are grateful, you are empowered, and when you are empowered, there is nothing that can stop you.

What did we learn about gratitude in action?

1. It’s so easy to lose perspective and so simple to get it back

This lesson came from watching your energy shift as the month went on.
Watching you discover how gratitude changes perspective was awesome. So much of our angst at times comes from a loss of perspective. We get so wrapped up in our own shit that we end up with a distorted view of what is real and what is imaginary. Gratitude is a perspective keeper.

2. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is a key to growth

This lesson was apparent from week 1, when we asked you to buy coffee for a stranger and in week 3 when we asked that you buy a meal for someone.
No matter what business you are in, or social circle you keep, some of us are so focused on “playing it safe” that we have stunted our own growth. Nothing in life, or biz, is guaranteed. Failure is inevitable. But if you want to grow, it will be uncomfortable and uncertain. That is where faith + courage come in, and yes, gratitude.

3. When we focus on service to others, we are being a service to ourselves

This lesson was super apparent throughout the month, whether it was when we shouted out our glam squad, or sent a surprise thank you note to a client, to sending flowers to a loved one.
When we give joy, we get joy. When we step out of ourselves, and begin to see the world around us, our hearts expand. We learn about the gifts of compassion & empathy, and realize we are not the center of the universe. This lesson helps us become better leaders, co-workers, companions and humans.

4. Giving is not about getting 

This lesson came from watching you all give of yourselves all month, without asking anything in return. You just gave, and not surprisingly, you got so much back. Getting something from doing the challenge was not your intention. There was no prize, contest, or pot of gold at the end. You simply saw value in making a commitment to doing something different. And that leads us to lesson 5.

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”  John Bunyan

5. Value is in the eye of the beholder

You saw value in challenging yourself. You saw value in being of service to others. There are both biz + life lessons in this one. But the ONE biz lesson I will share is that we must dig deep to understand what our audience and team values. It’s easy to assume they all value the “prize”, but that is not always the case. And if we run and lead our business with prizes, eventually the prizes run dry, and where does that leave you?

Here’s the thing loves. There is always something to be grateful for. We don’t have to wait til November every year to be grateful. And lastly, gratitude changes everything.

From the bottom of my emoAF heart, thank you for stepping up and leading this challenge. Thank you for raising the vibration of your spaces and in turn, touching the hearts, minds and lives of many you will never even realize you did. Thank you for being beacons of light and love. We are #gratefulAF for you.


Love + Awesomeness-
Nina @passionsquared

BTS of This Blog

Total Time: 3 hours
Researching + Writing 2 hours
Editing/SEO/Proofing 30 min
Graphics made with Canva.com 30 min

#gratefulAF challenge Passion Squared blog

The #gratefulAF challenge

In early 2007 I was in the darkest place I have ever been in my life. So much so, that I was planning my suicide. But here it is, 20 fucking 17… I am alive, living my purpose and empowering others to live their’s too. How did this happen? It all began with gratitude.

Of course, there is so much more to the story which I share in my book Follow Your Heart, but it was learning about the power of daily gratitude that made me realize that I had more to do on this planet, and that no matter how dark my head became, there was always something to be grateful for.

From there, I was able to keep perspective, and perspective allows me to get through just about any hardship, sadness or loss. It was this quote that changed it all for me, which is tattooed on my left arm to be sure i never forget that gratitude saved my fucking life.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie

November seems to be the month people remember to be grateful, so I decided to create a simple challenge for you and one I hope you invite your community + teams to join in too. It’s called the #gratefulAF challenge. Each day in the month of November I invite you to practice a little piece of gratitude.

Passion Squared #gratefulAF challenge art Insta

Here’s how it works…

1. Capture your gratitude in action
2. Post to Instagram page or stories
3. Use #passionsquared #gratefulAF
4. Tag @passionsquared /@ mention
passionsquared if posting in stories

Invite your community + team to join us!

Click here for the Instagram graphic
Click here for the Insta Story graphic

My intention is that after 30 days you will feel how much gratitude can change your perspective, your energy, your brain, your biz and your LIFE.

With love + a fuck ton of gratitude-
Nina @passionsquared

BTS of this blog + challenge
Total Time: 4 hours

Building the challenge
Developing the idea and daily themes 1 hour
Designing graphics on Canva.com 1 hour
Getting feedback + editing 30 min.

Building the blog
Writing 30 min.
Editing/SEO stuff 30 min.
Proof reading 15 min.
Designing graphics on Canva.com 15 min.

How to take a social media break Passion Squared hd

How To Take A Social Media Break and Why You Need One

As of this writing, I am in day three of an extended social media break. Why? I simply couldn’t breathe. I was losing it, and losing perspective, something I value and require as a creative small biz coach and empowerer.

As a leader, perspective is so incredibly important for you to have. It’s defined as “the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance”. And OMG how easy it is to lose in the era of social media.

“In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” Bertrand Russell

 Let’s begin at the beginning. If you know me, you know I LOVE social media for it’s ability to empower creative humans; to build relationships, deepen understanding, create connections, and grow businesses. But, and this is a big BUT, it can also be exhausting, anxiety producing and one of the best ways to lose perspective if you are too deeply engaged.

The last few months have been heavy, with what seems to be gut wrenching suffering, pain and bad news. For some of you, like me, it’s become too much to process. There plenty of proof on the internet today that show the effects of social media on mental health. Check out this article.

Self awareness is key here. If you feel yourself getting more anxious than normal, angry, resentful or out of fucking control, it may be a sign that it’s time to take a break.

So what do we do? If you have an online business like me, how in the world do you disconnect? If you rely on social to build and grow your business, like most of you do, how can you take a break? Here’s how.

1. Decide on how long your break will be and what it looks like

This past week, I chose to take an extended break (at least 5 days), and with that, came the question… how will I care for my clients and be offline? Well, it’s been quite simple.

With two Facebook groups and hundreds of clients on Instagram, logging in does not mean I have to dwell in the news feeds, if fact, I have not even looked at them. Instead, I just log on and go straight to my A School and Social Beauty Intelligence Facebook groups, and it’s business as usual.

For Instagram, I simply log in and search my hashtag and then am able to engage with those who are choosing to use it, a good reminder of why a branded hashtag matters #passionsquared It’s a listening tool. And on my break I am able to still “listen” a bit and engage with my clients.

So this social media break was not 100% off the internet, this break was about removing myself from public dialogue, news feeds and content creation. Lastly, be sure you post that you are taking a break and how to get in touch during your break. No drama needed, just simple and direct. Here is an example of my post on Instagram, made with the GIFx app. Here is the Facebook post.

2. Create a system for unplugging, unfollowing, unsubscribing

This is what I see as maintenance mode. If we maintain a plan to unplug, we are less likely to be at a breaking point and need an extended break. The last year I have done a weekly “24 hours” off the social media. This is a full 24, sometimes 48 hours, in a row. This has helped immensely with perspective and has allowed me to simply take a rest. Try it. Start with 24, then see how you feel. Next thing to do is remember you have a choice on what and who you listen to and follow. Schedule time to unsubscribe from emails you no longer want, from people who are toxic, or simply from noise that doesn’t serve you.

3. Listen to your body and mind

This is the key and sometimes you are moving so fast, you do not even realize what is causing your agitation. In order to listen to your body and mind, you gotta slow down. And you have to take your power back. Drop the phone and pick up a book, have lunch with a friend, go on a Netflix binge, take a long walk, whatever.

4. Remember why you are on social platforms to begin with

Now this may be one of the most important aspects of maintaining perspective. If you have tapped into the power of social media for business, then your primary purpose for being on any given platform is to build relationships and solve problems with and for your target audience, your “people”. And I know how much time you spend watching and listening to people that are not your audience. This is a big problem as your energy becomes focused on what others are doing, then the comparison game begins, and we know where that leads. Most importantly, it is distracting you from your current and future clients. So STOP it. Just stop. You will find so much more joy and value when you refocus your energy where it belongs, on your tribe.

When you put these four steps into practice, there is no doubt you will be able to keep a better perspective on your biz and more importantly, on your life. You will be able to be more present for your clients, team, family and community. You will be able to breathe again.

Before we go, I wanted to share a few others insights from this break;

I miss my community.
Going back to the beginning of this blog, I LOVE social for all the good it brings, and a big part of that is community. And I love mine. And I miss you.

I miss listening.
Social listening is one of the most awesome benefits for an owner and leader. Why? When we listen, really listen, we learn. How do you know how to solve problems if you don’t even know what the problems are? How do you celebrate your clients in between visits when you have no clue what they are up to? This is one of my favorite things about social, listening.

Instagram engagement is WAY down
Over 80% drop in engagement in fact, and that’s the risk we take. But I also know that it will not take long to build it back up when I return. And since social is not my ONLY way of engaging clients (email marketing still matters!) this break has given me some time to be more thoughtful about my overall content strategy and how I engage with current and future clients. During this break I am also running a Facebook ad for a NEW class, and thus, Facebook engagement is actually up as is traffic to my website from Facebook.

As a leader, I have a responsibility, as do you, to maintain perspective, stay present and be the best I can be in order to serve you. And if that means a little social media break, so be it.

Thank you for all your love and support of this break, I see you, I hear you, I feel you and I love you. Now go schedule yours.

Love + Gratitude-
Nina @passionsquared

PS: As of this blog, I will be sharing some BTS info into how this blog was created. I hope you find value in this as you continue to work on content creation.

BTS for this blog post
Total Time: 3 hours

Writing, Editing, Proofing
The idea came to me a few days ago. From idea, I created a simple outline, about 30 min. From that, I began writing which took about an hour. Editing about 30 min. Graphics about 15 min. Final touches (re-reading, previewing, testing, tags, SEO stuff), about 15 min.

All made with Canva.com (my go to for all blog graphics)

Embedded Facebook post in blog (for WordPress)
Click on the (…) bar at the top right of your Facebook post and select the Embed option, then paste the embed code into your post in the “text” option of your blog post.

we are the media passion squared blog nina kovner

We Are The Media

“Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet just because there’s a picture with a quote next to it.” Abraham Lincoln (lol!)

Long before the election, fake news existed. Long before the internet, fake news existed. Long before social media, fake news existed.

Propaganda- One of the only things I remember from history class

One of the few things I remember from my early schooling was a term called propaganda. It is defined as information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view. Do you remember The War of The Worlds? If not, Google it. There is also something called “satire”, like The Onion, while not fake news, for those who do not understand it, it too can become a type of fake news.

Fake news is not news we do not like or agree with, it is actually FAKE, it’s fiction, it’s propaganda, it is simply untrue.

Remember The Infamous Facebook Hoax?

I continue to see many get angry with the media. Blame the media. Finger point at the media. Loves, WE ARE THE MEDIA now. With that, comes great responsibility. And sadly, this is no longer about that lame “Facebook disclaimer” hoax, god, I wish it was as simple as it was back then. But it’s not.

The Responsibility of Research

Doing your research takes but a moment. A moment of Googling, cross checking, and most important, thinking. Thinking of the implications and impact of your voice. Thinking of your sources. Thinking of the bias of those sources. Thinking of the credibility of those sources. Just fucking thinking.

Here are a few steps I take before hitting the share button;
1. Check Twitter for insight on “all sides” and sources
2. Check major publications (Crazy as it sounds, TMZ has proven to be a very reliable source for celebrity news)
3. Google it and again, check the sources behind the story
4. Snopes (I know Snopes is known as a “liberal” site, but whatever, they are usually right on)
5. Wait… This may be a tough one, but particularly with breaking news, I do my best to wait until I can get a more clear picture before commenting or sharing)

Every Action Counts

Every like, comment and share matters. Each time you take an action, you are publishing. You are influencing. You are spreading truth or you are spreading fiction. And as a business, you must remember your content is your marketing. Every action you take on behalf of your business is telling a story about your brand. Every single action.

No matter your views, beliefs, or politics, you can be part of the problem or part of the solution. As long as you are honest about your intentions.

Please, I beg you, take a step back and consider the implications of your actions. They all matter. And so do you.

With love, always- Nina ❤

Influencer Marketing blog Passion Squared (1)

The Price of Influence

The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority. Ken Blanchard

So here we are, another game, changed. As a former VP of Marketing in beauty, I can tell you I never saw this coming, not like this, not back in the early to mid 2000’s. Did you?

But what I did see was a shift happening, into the world of social + digital. I saw biz models change, I saw behaviors changing and I knew big changes were coming, in fact, I was so inspired the social + digital revolution and how it empowered creatives that it inspired me to create Passion Squared.

So here we are, in the age of the influencer. Before we dive in deeper, let’s create some context. What does the word influence mean?

Influence (noun)
the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.

Now let’s define social influencer.
A social influencer is a real person who has a loyal following and strong presence on social + digital media platforms who share stories with their followers that can inspire actions such as clicking, booking, buying, subscribing, etc.

Influencer marketing as defined by social@Ogilvy
Influencer marketing identifies those which have the most influence over potential buyers, and orientates marketing activity around these influencers.

Here’s the thing loves, influence has been around for a very long time, it’s nothing new; endorsement deals, celebrity spokespeople, etc have always been a common way to market, as has traditional advertising which is a brand saying “look at our awesome new product, buy it!”… but what is new is this social influencer movement which is still very misunderstood in the professional beauty space.

Why is this even a thing now? It’s been long understood that word of mouth and referrals many times have a greater impact on sales than traditional advertising. With the rise of social, there is an opportunity for brands to tap into their evangelists storytelling and use that as a way of marketing and advertising.

In addition, with the rise of social, comes a big need for content, and it’s no secret that some brands struggle with creating valuable content that resonates with their intended audience, thus the need for influencers to create content for them. Your content is your marketing. Content and storytelling can inspire action, actions create customers.

What Some Brands Are Looking At When Engaging Influencers

Large Followings
Content Creators
Highly engaged on social platforms

What Brands Need To Be Looking At Too

Engagement (# of likes, comments, shares, views compared to total followers)
Reach (#of unique accounts that have seen a post)
Types of Followers (do they align with the brands target audience?)
Relationships with Followers
Content Quality + Creativity
Integrity + Ethics
How their personal brand aligns with brand seeking a relationship

In a very short time, we have already seen a shift begin with the micro influencer(under 50K followers) …
Some people are catching on to the fact that a handful of larger accounts may actually not have the the most qualified audience that the brand is looking for. This could be because of purchased followers, third party comment bots, liking bots, comment pods and more.

How Do Influencers Get Paid?

That depends on the type of relationship with the brand but here are some ways…
Free product
Per Post
Per Piece of Content
Per Hashtag Use
Brand Ambassador contracts
Collabs (NinaXDougThePug) Lol!
(Collabs can be co creating a product with a % royalty paid to the influencer based on sales)
Promo Codes
(this is where a brand issues a promo code and influencer gets a % of sales every time the code is used)

How Much Do Influencers Get Paid?

Well, this may shock you, piss you off, excite you or at least, make you think.
Note: I did not create these numbers but they are consistent with what I have researched over the last couple years.

This is from Bloglovin for bundled content, not a la carte content. For a la carte, Bloglovin’s research shows $100 per 10K followers as a place to begin your pricing. My two cents, for video content, the price goes up, as does the effort, creativity and work.
Bloglovin Influencer pay rates


How Are These Rates Determined?

Here is one way, again, from Bloglovin.

Bloglovin Influencer Rates

What I am seeing in the pro beauty space for the most part is not aligned with what I am seeing in the larger influencer space. Why? The pro beauty influencers may not know how to price themselves and the brands may not know how to value their contributions. But that is no excuse to not educate yourself on how the world of influencers work if you want to be part of this space.

At the end of the day, what matters most, is the integrity and trust influencers have with their audience. Cause if that is hurt, tarnished or destroyed, then there is simply no more influence.

Influencers, know your value and worth and get your money. Brands, invest wisely into your influencer marketing programs and focus on building meaningful relationships with influencers that are aligned with your objectives.

Influencers, only do business with and promote the brands you love, stay true to your values and be honest with your community.

And lastly, disclose, disclose, disclose. Nothing is worth losing the trust of your community and customers. Nothing.
Example: This product was given to me free for my fair and unbiased review. Thank you for the free gifts brand x. #ad #partner #sponsored #unboxing 

To learn more about influencers, and all things social + digital, sign up for my NEW program Social Beauty Intelligence On Demand. To get on the early notification list, click here.

With love, integrity and trust, always-
Nina ❤