ROADTEST PT.1: Canva
And an update on how I've (finally) figured out my business direction!
It’s another day, another addition of the Frolics
I’m, as always, Ellen “Jelly” McRae, the writer/solopreneur/content creator/whatever you want to call me, with the goods.
By trade, I write ‘💜 1 Lovelock Drive 💜’ and romanceship articles using my experiences.
To my faithful, welcome back. I’ve missed you!
If you’re new to my blogletter, I’m pretty happy you’re here. Stay a while, get to know me, and come with me as I stuff up life, make amazing and dumb-ass career decisions, and share my *cough cough* wisdom.
Let’s Bring You Up To Speed
In the last week, I’ve had a revelation. One of those big ah-ha moments, where all of a sudden, everything I’m doing makes sense. I have direction, a plan that seems to produce itself, and for the first time in my career, I’m not scared anymore.
It’s a big deal to say this. I don’t take this revelation lightly, because I know how hard it is to come by. It has taken me almost a decade to hit this point. It’s the definition of what people think the grind is, but on steroids.
Ok, so what have I figured out?
Well, I want to take a moment and bask in the glory of finally having a goal / plan / idea that I’ve been hunting for. But I won’t leave you hanging, because I’m getting started on my first launch and you’re all along for the ride. In the next addition, I’m going to share what’s to come from me!
This is where I do a shameless plug to subscribe to me here at the Frolics. But in all seriousness, you’ll forget if you don’t and then you won’t find out! So hit subscribe!!
Roadtesting Part 1: Canva
I’m the Queen of Mistakes, the Baroness of Trial and Error, the Princess of Learning-as-you-go. That’s the solopreneur life. There’s no one to hold your hand or figure it out for you. As I’ve embraced my honourary titles, I’ve become the ultimate road-tester. I try out more business programs, marketing tools and social media approaches than I care to admit.
Instead of hoarding my testing results to myself, they are yours for the indulging.
Known for: One-stop shop for marketing and content creation
Testing conditions: Discovered Canva back in 2014 as a recommendation from my boss at the time.
Test 1: The Credibility Test (or the “am I about to scammed?” test)
I know this sounds strange, but before I even enter my details to access a program, I always exercise my trust evaluation. There are many dodgy, unappealing websites that present themselves as scam websites.
You’re convinced if you gave them your details, they would cyber steal from you moments later.
Test 2: The Offering Test - Does it actually solve problems for us?
Here is what Canva offers:
1. Ability to create social media posts
Social media content creation is the bread and butter of Canva’s offering. They offer templates for almost every style of social post you need, and if they don’t have them, you can create your own.
There are two main options for content creation: pre-created templates and blank. Their templates simply need editing to include your content.
And the blank options allow me maximum creativity but within the confines of the ideal image or video size for that platform. These include (but aren’t limited to):
Facebook posts and advertising content
Instagram feed, stories, and reels
Pinterest posts, both short and long styles for infographics
Twitter posts and advertising imagery
Animations for any social media campaign
2. Ability to create branding on social media
They haven’t forgotten all the other important branding essentials on social media. You can design any of the banners, profile pictures, and cover art for most of the social media platforms available now.
For me, it’s the banner size that’s valuable. Most don’t tell you exactly what size image to use, either hiding that information in FAQs or leaving it to you to find. Canva takes out the guesswork. Another tick for any marketing program.
Graphic designers will cringe knowing how easy it is to create a logo on Canva. But for a lot of freelancers and budget-poor businesses (hands up me!), this option is great for those who need something.
A holding logo, if you will.
For the amateurs like me, there is a basic logo design function that allows you to use graphics and text to start an online presence.
4. Flyers, business cards, and print material
Despite our demand for online content, a lot of businesses can’t escape the need for print material. Canva not only lets you design the business cards, but you can have them printed and delivered through the program. Any flyers or posters you need to advertise your business are also available for design.
Other elements you can design for your business include:
Books and eBook covers
Best of all is that if you have the dimensions of the graphics you need, you can custom create anything you need. I’ve even created the signage used at my wedding, the table chart used for the seating, for example.
5. One step further — direct posting
Canva’s functionality is where they differentiate from most marketing platforms. Once you have created your content, the program offers you the ability to post directly to your chosen social media. In a paid option, you can even schedule the content for later posting.
With this list of inclusions, marketers and business owners like me don’t need to go elsewhere. I keep wondering what’s left for this program to add to their offering.
Though they aren’t perfect, they are approaching total marketing functionality. And for the competitors, this is concerning.
Test 3: The Better Test - What could be improved?
I gave Canva 4 stars for its offering because it really does allow you to create so much for your marketing. I can’t deny how insanely useful it has been, even keeping up with changes in social media quicker than other programs I’ve used.
But there is no perfect program.
What it seems to be missing for me is:
Editing functionality from the social media apps - When you create a TikTok video, for example, it doesn’t allow you to do everything the TT app allows you to do. It doesn’t have the music, the transitions, the trending filters. What it means is that you still need to use the interface of whatever platform you’re posting to. You can’t solely rely on Canva for everything.
Trending templates - Canva is very much aimed at big, impersonal businesses. Faceless businesses, like chain stores. If you want to create content that is raw and real using Canva, you can, but the templates won’t help you. The templates will likely confuse you, or force you to create highly stylised content when you need the opposite.
Test 4: The Paid Test - Is it worth paying for?
Canva has an amazing free option. I say amazing because compared to other business support platforms, they offer a lot for free. Some shrewd entrepreneurs would say too much.
The free option has only a couple of restrictions that most good business owners can work their way around. The free limitations aren’t enough that you can’t create the content you need. Everything I’ve mentioned in this road test is achievable using the free program.
Is paying up worth it? It all depends on what you need Canva for. I love their paid graphics, so I pay up solely for their use. But if I didn’t need these graphics, Canva wouldn’t get a cent out of me.
Their free program is just too good. (This might change in the future by the way. I can only speak for how Canva is now.)
Paid Option: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ // Free Option: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Test 5: The Usability Test - How easy is it for anyone to use?
Here is how I look at what Canva should offer. It should offer:
A sophisticated interface that graphic designers and marketers want. It needs to offer these professions most of the complexities they need to complete their job at a high level.
A user-friendly interface so that do-it-yourself marketers can learn the program too.
Does Canva do this? It sure does.
Canva uses a drag and drop interface that is user-friendly for everyone. When I say everyone, I genuinely mean this.
I have no graphic design education, and I’m out of the generation who didn’t grow up using computers their whole life. I’m self-taught, so if I can navigate it, anyone can.
It also uses uncomplicated terminology.
The way Canva has named elements of the design is also straightforward. For example, the section where all the background colours for an image live is under the label ‘Backgrounds’.
While you might laugh and think that’s where they should be, a lot of marketing suites don’t make it so easy to find. Or they use industry-specific terms that only graphic designers know.
The Rating - Would I use it?
I use Canva almost every single day. I’ve used it for personal projects, business projects and for extensive social media posting.
For most marketers and business owners undertaking their own marketing endeavours, Canva has 99% of everything you need. It’s a program that caters for all experience levels and offers what every marketer needs.
You can use it when you have zero knowledge and it’s still insanely useful when you know content creation inside and out.
Jelly Recommendation: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I’m happy to test any programs, systems or apps you stumble you’ve been curious about. Drop your requests for road tests here in the comments!
Always Leave On A Song
In honour of my revelation, I thought I would share the song I always think about when someone says “Ah-ha” moment 😂
You’ve freakin’ got this!
This journey isn’t the same without you. And I sure know you can’t find success without support, somewhere to vent, and people just like you. Join me here on The Frolics as we grow our careers together!
Ok, so this isn't enough for you?! Damn, I love your style! You can reach me and get more right here 👇