Artisan Blog

Our Top 25 Blogs

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Our Top 25 Blogs

We are thrilled to publish our 500th blog today. As we approach the end of 2018, we’d like to share some of our a.team’s favorite blogs.

These cover a range of topics from self-development and time-management to job search, hiring and much more.

We hope you enjoy this top 25 greatest hits compilation.

We hope you've enjoyed our 500th post.  You can find plenty other tips, inspirations, best practices and advice on our a.blog.

We look forward to connecting.




Define Your Personal Brand

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Define Your Personal Brand

 

As a creative professional, no matter what projects you pursue, you can create a lot more opportunities for yourself when you establish a clear, concrete, and powerful personal brand.

Here are five steps to help you define who you are, what you do, and where you want to go.

Get to Know Yourself

No matter what work you do, you have your own skills, style, and experiences that are unique to you. Together, they make up a professional persona that differentiates you from your competition. The more specific you can be about your persona, the more consistent your brand can be, and the more work it can do on your behalf.

Developing an effective personal brand requires taking an inventory of what you do well, how others see you, and how you can help them. It can be difficult to look at yourself objectively, on the flip side, this process of inquiry will pay enormous dividends throughout your career.

Check Your Humility

To maintain a healthy grounding in reality, it's important to be realistic and think critically about yourself, your strengths, and the areas in which you can improve upon. When you're building your brand set this aside for the moment and begin with an open mind.

Flatter yourself. Emphasize your strengths. Present yourself as a legend, a rock star, larger than life. You can always be humble and approachable after people are intrigued!

If you have trouble getting excited about your own brand, this classic Creative Mornings talk from Richard Sauerman will provide a jolt of encouragement and help you fall in love with yourself a bit.

Go on a Vision Quest

Create a detailed picture of where you want to go in your professional life, and your mind will begin to automatically strategize how to get you there.

Before you begin the detailed work of building your personal brand, try this visioning exercise. It will help you understand why you're doing all this. Imagine the fruits of your success and you'll whet your appetite for the work it requires.

Become You, Inc.

Now it's time to open your toolbox and assemble the nuts and bolts you will use to build your brand. You'll develop your own style guide, visual assets, slogan, elevator pitch, and everything else a business needs to distinguish and differentiate itself.

To do this, you can use the same assignments and techniques that top agencies use on branding projects for multinational corporations. This article on the best practices of in-the-weeds brand-branding lists all the essentials you'll need, with examples from some of the world's best-known corporate brands.

Knowing how to stand out in the crowd is key to defining your personal brand.  Check out Winnie & Lorrie Hart's book on Stand Out for more details.

Get Engaged

Your brand may be born in the studio, and it will come into its own when it learns to survive on the street. As time goes on, you will develop and iterate on your brand based on how it interacts with the outside world at networking events, in pitch meetings, online, in the work you do, and in the content you create.

Whether you're an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in between, you'll ultimately build your brand through active engagement with your professional community. The more you do this, the more opportunities will open for you. It pays to be strategic, mindful, and deliberate about it.

Consider what you’re comfortable with, and then go slightly outside that zone. You’ll bring back some interesting insights.

At Artisan Creative, we pool decades of experience in the world of creative work to help you become your best professional self and hit goals you didn't know you had. Contact us today to find your next invigorating challenge.

We hope you've enjoyed the 499th issue of our a.blog

 



Practicing Design Thinking

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Practicing Design Thinking

Whenever dealing with difficult challenges, applying design thinking concepts can achieve interesting results.

The ideas, strategies, and methods associated with design thinking are not exclusive to the field of design. They're continuously being used to tackle crucial issues throughout society, from urban planning, to voter turnout, to climate change. Engineers, educators, and activists all make use of design thinking concepts and principles in their work, especially when they encounter problems for which older modes of thought have proven inadequate.

Here is a quick guide to some key concepts that foster design thinking. This should give your team what it needs to get started using design thinking to gain fresh perspectives on new or established challenges.

Observe the Core Principles

As laid out by Christoph Meinel and Larry Leifer of the HPI-Stanford Design Thinking Program, the driving principles are:

The Human Rule: All meaningful activity is a social activity. Always center on the humans.

The Ambiguity Rule: Test the limits of your own knowledge. Get out of your comfort zone. Dare to see things differently. Fall in love with the questions.

The Redesign Rule: There is nothing new under the sun, yet the context is ever-shifting. You're always using existing resources to address unchanged human needs in ways that are appropriate for new technologies, capabilities, and situations.

The Tangibility Rule: To facilitate better communication, make your ideas tangible, rendered in pictures, sounds, feelings, and working prototypes.

Respect the Process

Rikke Dam and Teo Siang of the Interaction Design Foundation break down the design thinking process into five steps. The steps often repeat themselves, sometimes overlap, and do not always occur in sequence. What they do, is serve as a rough guide.

Empathize: Design thinking is human-centered thinking, and always starts with the real needs and behaviors of the user.

Define: When you've usefully defined and formatted your problem, you've gone a great distance toward solving it.

Ideate: Generate ideas through collaborative brainstorming. Adopt the attitude that, if you eliminate creative blocks and properly value ideas, you'll never run out of them.

Prototype: Create a working model. Put your idea out in the world where users can interact with it in a tangible form.

Test: Let experts and non-experts evaluate and use your idea. Collect your results, organize them in a useful and actionable way, and use what you've learned to make your idea stronger.

Focus on Solutions

Design thinking frames problems as creative challenges and concerns itself with generating fresh, sometimes novel, always useful and compassionate solutions. It calls for respecting your users, collaborators, and stakeholders, and a willingness to entertain notions that may beckon you outside your comfort zone. It values criticism as long as it's constructive and encourages positive, optimistic engagement with the world as it is, with a vision of how it can enable people to work and live more effectively together.

Whatever you're doing, give design thinking a try, and let us know what you discover through experimenting with this new mindset.

We have decades of experience in helping people work together. Contact Artisan today to share our tools, surpass your goals, and work smarter.

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 498th issue of our a.blog.

 

 


With Gratitude

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

With Gratitude

“Start with gratitude. Then get to work.”

-Beth Lapides

During this Thanksgiving holiday season, we at Artisan Creative celebrate our clients and talent whom we work with all year. By working with the finest people and organizations, we always find ourselves amazed by the skills of our talent and the openness of our clients that facilitate the making of great matches. This gives us pride in the part we play in impacting careers.

This would not be possible without the courage and selflessness of those who hold up our communities from behind the scenes. We share our immense gratitude for the people who do so much to keep our society functioning at the hardest of times.

In the last few weeks, the Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire have posed unprecedented challenges for our home state of California. In response, Californians have come together to rally behind deeply affected families and businesses, and to support charities and emergency workers who are saving lives and helping communities prepare for rebuilding and recovery. We encourage joining these efforts and giving in the ways that are most effective, using wise-giving guidelines to make sure our dollars do the greatest possible good. Volunteering at your local shelter, donating clothes and essentials, supporting our firefighters are all ways we can help.

The people we work with have taught us much about strengthening our networks, bringing out the best in each other, and banding together to accomplish seemingly impossible breakthroughs. We enter this season in optimistic spirits, and we could never thank you all enough!

Our Artisan a.team is grateful for so much this year, our collective thanks are outlined below:

We are thankful for our health, loving spouse/partners, our children, our fur babies, our families, our A.team co-workers, our home, our company, our personal freedom, our friends and support system, our breath, our opportunity to travel, our ability to have life/work integration, the opportunity to work remotely, and our California.

We wish you and yours a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.


The Power of Ambiverts

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Power of Ambiverts

When it comes to styles of socializing, most people aren't fixed at one extreme pole or the other, at least not all the time. Most of us spend our time somewhere on the spectrum between painful introversion or exuberant extroversion. Some of us shift positions based on the situation, whether we're wired or tired, the cold number of strangers in the crowd or the warmth of being surrounded by close friends.

If you identify as neither an extrovert or an introvert and you share key traits with both, you may be an ambivert. Does this sound like you? Here are a few common characteristics of ambiverts - see how many you identify with.

You're All About Context

In high-stress situations, particularly at work, you may prefer to keep a low profile and think before you speak. However, when you're around your friends, you may behave quite differently.

Ambiverts have the color-changing powers of the chameleon, subtly altering their presentation to what serves them best in the situations they find themselves in. When you cultivate the mindfulness and self-awareness to make these adjustments deliberately, you can dramatically increase your effectiveness, at work and in life.

You Love to Chat But Prefer Valuable Conversation

You combine an extrovert's gift of gab with an introvert's aversion to small talk. Although you're adept at casual banter, you're eager to get to the heart of the matter and address what you really care about.

If you readily understand social cues, yet not always in the mood to follow them, you may be an ambivert.

You Provide Balance

When you're around your boisterous friends, you may calm down a bit, or do less talking and more listening than usual. However, when you're on a corporate retreat, you put yourself in the mix, break the ice, and help others form the connections they need to be themselves and come alive.

Because of your sensitivity and versatility to others with more extreme social styles, you can provide the secret sauce that makes relationships work.

You Respect Your Own Boundaries

You do fine in social situations, as long as you're in your comfort zone. Over time, you've come to know how much socializing you can tolerate without getting tired, how much you can participate in different sorts of meetings without overextending yourself, and what sort of people bring out your best as friends, collaborators, or mentors.

With their appreciation for the best of both worlds, ambiverts are well positioned to help others better define and establish their own needs and preferences. There is power in this versatility - when you understand the inner lives of both extroverts and introverts and can switch gears as appropriate, you are capable of great compassion and empathy.

Ambiverts may be well suited to roles that require thoughtful negotiation (e.g., sales or management), as well as the "helping professions" such as therapy, advocacy, or creative recruiting. Author Dan Pink, in his book "To Sell is Human” has created an assessment to test for yourself. He argues most of us are indeed ambiverts.

At Artisan Creative, we believe in the strength of diversity. We have decades of experience helping all sorts of creative professionals and businesses bring out their best selves and succeed beyond their expectations. Contact us today to discover your capabilities and embrace your excellence.

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 496th issue of our a.blog

 

 


Find Your Passion

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Find Your Passion

#ArtisanAdvice -Find Your Passion 

Joni is a self-taught designer with a natural curiosity and gung-ho attitude toward picking up new hobbies and monetizing passions. In several years she has launched a food blog, a granola company, became a certified holistic health coach, and launched a baked goods and flower collective. We spoke to her to find out how she went from public health and art major to successful designer without any formal design training.

Joni began playing around with the idea of a design career after graduating from Berkeley. She studied design tutorials via CDs (remember those days?) and YouTube. She loved learning and figured she had a good shot of doing design full-time. This is when Craigslist was a hotbed of job postings for kickstarting careers and Joni landed a full-time role at a design studio where she cut her teeth on the whole gamut of the design process. So what should you do if you find yourself in a similar situation? And where should you even begin?

With literally thousands of hobbies out there it can be tough to know where to even begin to find your passion. Try to be curious about everything around you and find things to do outside of work. Joni likes to be active and pack in as many activities as she can. “When you get to a certain point [in your career] there’s always a way to make it more legitimate. I tried to monetize a lot of hobbies and quickly realized some should always stay as exactly that -- just hobbies.” When it comes to design, Adobe is great about providing free tutorials. And remember, you don’t have to be the best but as long as you’re scratching the itch that’s all that matters at the start.

Give Yourself a Creative Outlet

Joni worked hard at giving herself a broad skill-set, “You don’t want to be one dimensional when you work in the creative industry. It’s important to have additional places to be creative outside of your job.” In Joni’s case, she loves interacting with people and learning about new topics and industries-- be it a blog or sketchbook, find a creative avenue and see where it takes you.

Nurture Relationships

So you’ve reached the point where you’ve found your passion, you’ve got the skills so now what? Work won’t find its way to you without you putting yourself out there. “I’ve always been successful with word-of-mouth business. Friends’ businesses or friends of friends are referred to me and as long as your social network knows what you do and what you’re interested in, people will come to you.” No doubt there will be times when you are pushed out of your comfort zone and here’s when you have to fake it until you make it. It’s a cliché term, but when it comes to gaining confidence it truly works. And what if you’re nervous about putting your work out there? Don’t be, Joni reassures, “The moment you get over your shyness about showing work it opens so many doors. Take your ego out of criticism and people will come to you to seek your services."

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 495th issue of our a.blog.

 



Creepin’ It Real: Scary Job Interviews From Our Recruiters

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Creepin’ It Real: Scary Job Interviews From Our Recruiters

We've all been there. We turn up late to an interview because of that pesky LA traffic. Maybe you meet your interviewer who is looking dashing in a suit and you're wearing jeans, or worse, shorts. Did you fail to do your research and you're horrifyingly unprepared to answer questions on the company?

Job hunting can be terrifying. We get that. And we all have at least one frightening interview we’ve endured. Our recruiters have lived to tell the tale of their early career interviews and they're sharing their horror stories with you this Halloween. Avoid any bone-chilling experiences at your next interview by learning from their mistakes.

Dressed to Depress

“On my first day of interviews to enter recruiting I had two back-to-back interviews: a corporate recruitment firm followed by a digital agency. My recruiter only prepared me for the first interview, not the second. The first interview took place in a private members-only bar, so of course, I was dressed to impress. I went straight to my second interview wearing a suit only to arrive at an edgy agency surrounded by people in casual, trendy clothes. There was nothing more humiliating than being marched through the office with everyone staring at my formal attire. The interviewer (wearing jeans) asked why I was dressed in such a way – I did explain myself and felt incredibly uncomfortable.” – Laura Pell – Recruiter at Artisan Creative

It’s important to do your own research on office environments. To get a better sense of a company’s culture and employees, look at their social pages, read up on their core values and look up their Glassdoor reviews. Look online for company events to gauge what to wear. Remember, in an interview, it’s always better to dress up than dress down -- make sure you’re well-groomed and presentable.

Scary Requests

”I once interviewed for a company specializing in hypoallergenic products. The job description clearly stated no strong perfumes so I made sure to skip my usual spritz that day. When I arrived, they had me sit face to face with the main interviewer while an associate sat in the chair right next to me and proceeded to lean in and take a few deep breaths. She continued to do that for the next few minutes and then asked if I was wearing deodorant. I said yes and apparently, the deodorant scent was too strong for their liking. I guess for this role, it wasn't enough to look the part, you have to smell the part as well!” – Jen Huynh – Recruiter at Artisan Creative

This request is uncommon and while we hope you won’t have to endure being sniffed at by interviewers, do heed any requests client’s make. They may ask you to fill in application forms, present portfolios or take a skills test. If you come unprepared, first impressions of your organizational skills will be duly noted.

We’d love to hear your interview horror stories. Do you have your own frightful story to share?

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 495th issue of our a.blog.  Happy Halloween! 

 


How to Find a Mentor

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

How to Find a Mentor

 

Finding the right coach or mentor can take your creative or business career to the next level. In work and in life, no matter what stage you may find yourself in, you can always gain tremendous value by seeking guidance, wisdom, and aid from masters, teachers, or anyone with a unique perspective on your field.

It’s important to always be seeking the help of mentors and coaches. The biggest question is how do you find them? Lots of people are willing and able to help the right mentee - you just have to locate and approach them in ways that will show them the benefit of mentoring you, and the difference you’re going to make once you are committed to learning from them.

When looking for new coaches and mentors, or strengthening connections with those who have enriched your mind and soul in the past, it pays to keep these key principles in mind.

Bring Value

Before you seek out a mentor or coach, be able to show them what you can accomplish on your own. As much as people may believe in your potential, once you give them solid proof that you're on your way and you're willing to work toward your goals, you make it easier for them to support you.

Build your portfolio and resume. Do projects you love (even if they don’t come with high pay or a high profile). When you encounter a possible mentor, your body of work is your best introduction. Have something you’re proud to show.

Build Your Community

To receive support from others, constantly looking for new ways to support yourself and those around you. Building strong networks and communities is its own reward. The more you put yourself out there as a helpful, collaborative spirit, the more others will want to be part of your cause, including those who can provide valuable coaching and mentorship.

To gain mentorship, be a mentor to others. "Your legacy is not what you do," says writer and investor James Altucher. "It’s what the people you teach do." When you give more than you expect to get, the rewards can be far greater than you ever dared to anticipate.

Seek Out a Variety of Mentors

Intelligence and strength come in a rainbow of flavors. Julia Fawal lists five distinct types of mentors with whom you should cultivate close relationships. It includes not just masters and higher-ups, it also includes friends and coworkers you see every day.

Everyone has a different piece of the puzzle. Your most valuable mentorship may not come from a glamorous boss or a wizened shaman on a mountaintop, it may simply come from someone who sits next to you on mass transit.

Be Resilient

"The best mentorships I’ve had have taken a lot of time to cement," says Altucher. While some of your best coachings may come from a three-hour class, you must also have the patience, and put in the time, to build relationships with mentors that stay strong for years and decades.

This requires staying in touch, providing continuous value, and developing the relationship over time. Be adaptable to change when you want to keep relationships going through challenging times and circumstances and be willing to walk away from those that have run their course.

Be Humble

"A mind is like a parachute," said the musician Frank Zappa. "It doesn't work if it isn't open." Socrates, one of the wisest philosophers who ever lived said, "All I know is that I know nothing."

The most important rule in receiving help from the world is always to make yourself available for it. This requires questioning your judgments and assumptions. Know that wisdom is infinite, and the more you experience, the more you will realize you still have to learn.

Challenge yourself. Live on the outer edges of your comfort zone. Take a Socratic approach to work, life, and your own self-concept. When you make yourself open to new information, you make it easy for those with more wisdom and expertise to guide you into new ways of knowing.

At Artisan Creative, we pride ourselves on the guidance, connections, and stewardship we provide to creative professionals at all stages of their careers and their lives. Contact us today to learn more.

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 494th issue of our a.blog


Project Management Software Review

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Project Management Software Review

 

Choosing a new project management software is one of the most significant and impactful management decisions you can make. The right choice can amplify your efforts, help you achieve and exceed your goals, plus give you what you need to work more efficiently, effectively, and fruitfully.

If you’re close to making a decision, or you’re just getting started on your research, here is a quick inventory of five popular project management software systems, with some of their pros and cons. This may help you stay focused on choosing the right project management solution for your particular team and case.

Basecamp

Basecamp was one of the first all-in-one project management solutions to gain wide popularity, and it remains widely used and loved. Created by the team formerly known as 37signals, it’s designed with a deep appreciation for the culture of business.

Pros: Simple, intuitive, easy to use and to master.

Cons: Lacks some of the slicker capabilities associated with newer entries into the market.

Trello

Based on a system of boards, lists, and cards, Trello has quickly become a favorite of designers and visual thinkers and is now a serious contender in the field of user-friendly project management software.

Pros: Fun to use, aesthetically pleasing, popular with visually inclined users.

Cons: Potentially challenging for users more accustomed to more plain and traditional methods of organization.

Asana 

Sleek, colorful, and user-friendly Asana is currently a pace-setter in the realm of project management software. Designed for detailed tracking, its organization encourages collaboration. It has been gaining wider adoption over the last several years.

Pros: Excellent mobile app, well suited for more fluid communication, collaboration, and goal-setting.

Cons: Requires some training and practice to master, which demands participation from the whole team.

Smartsheet

Smartsheet functions as a sort of enhanced version of Excel. Its spreadsheet-based interface is useful for planning and tracking elaborate projects and breaking them down into specific initiatives, tasks, and goals.

Pros: Highly recommended to those who are experienced with spreadsheets and fond of that organizational format.

Cons: Not as colorful or user-friendly as the modern-minded alternatives.

Airtable

Relatively new on the scene, Airtable is popular with publishers and is gaining steam and broader acceptance thanks to its versatility.

Pros: Highly flexible, easy to use and customize, well geared towards communication, file-sharing, and more.

Cons: Still fairly new, complex, requires some patience to understand and to master.

When choosing a project management system for your team, choose mindfully. This decision will fundamentally affect the culture that you work so hard to develop.

You need a system that works with the quirks, practices, and objectives of your team, as individuals and as a group. The right software should empower you, play to your strengths, be geared toward your goals, and bring you closer together.

As you choose, we recommend further research on collaboration tools and apps, project management software, and the broader thought behind project management systems.

At Artisan Creative, we pool our workplace wisdom and dedicate ourselves every day to finding the best creative talent available and to helping your team be as effective as it can be. Contact us today to learn more and explore your full potential.

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 493rd issue of our a.blog.

 


7 Impactful TedTalks

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

7 Impactful TedTalks

TED Talks are a rich resource for ideas and inspiration. With countless hours of video and curated playlists on nearly any topic of interest, they present a nearly endless buffet for the mind and heart.

We highly recommend sampling TED Talks whenever in need of fresh perspectives. Here are a few we find particularly relevant to our goals of career advancement as it dovetails with personal, professional, and community enrichment.

Brene Brown - The Power of Vulnerability

In one of the most-watched and best-loved TED Talks of all, Brown expands on the notion of grit, one of the qualities that set Scrappers apart. She shares her research on human connection and finds that, through accepting difficulty and pain and turning them to our advantage, we can find homes in dimensions of the human experience that cannot be accessed through pure brawn alone, but through a lifelong cultivation of sensitivity and compassion.

Andy Puddicombe - All It Takes Is 10 Mindful Minutes

In an age of overstimulation, it can be easy to forget how to simply sit and do nothing, even for just ten minutes at a go. In this wise and friendly talk, Puddicombe offers a broad introduction to the core principles of mindfulness practice. He explores why it can be so difficult to do nothing, and why it's so important. He suggests that we are what we pay attention to, and the best way to get better at using our minds is to sit back and observe them in action.

Susan Cain - The Power of Introverts

Most workplaces and most constructed environments, in general, are designed for the benefit of extroverts. In this acclaimed and influential talk, Cain shares her rocky journey to accepting her own introverted nature. She proposes that, through their powers of calm and skeptical observation, introverts have much to teach about potential new ways of doing and being. And she makes the case for building spaces and teams that can help introverts bring forth their transformative power.

Magnus Walker - Go With Your Gut Feeling

A British metalhead shares snapshots from the ping-ponging odyssey that led him to become a famous clothing entrepreneur in Los Angeles. To lead an interesting life, he suggests, we must cultivate intuition, take dangerous risks and leaps of faith, and go for what we want rather than what we think we’re supposed to want. Anyone who wants to live a bit closer to the edge can find inspiration in his exhilarating escapades and his penchant for charming and galvanizing storytelling.

Rajiv Nathan - How to Become an Expert in Vulnerability

For another expansion on Hartley's key themes, check out career coach Rajiv Nathan's observations on his revelatory Costa Rican vacation. He learns that entrenched knowledge can be an impediment to open-minded, open-hearted investigation, and that true strength comes from accepting how little we know about the world. Along the way, he meets a strange and surprising new friend, riffs on the foundations of Buddhism, and learns to live in a state of perpetual growth through self-critique.

Terri Trespicio - Stop Searching for Your Passion

Life doesn't have to be a mission; it can also be an exploration. The single-minded pursuit of a dream can close doors and make your life less interesting while engaging with opportunities as they arise, and building skills by learning to "solve your favorite problems," can help you become a person you never knew you could be. Trespicio shares her story of being fired from her "dream job," and how she discovered that "success fuels passion more than passion fuels success." If you're fixated on a distant goal, or you're nervous because you don't have one, Trespicio's talk is a rousing wake-up call.

Regina Hartley - Why the Best Hire May Not Have the Perfect Resume

An HR expert draws a distinction between two sorts of candidates, those who have the educational pedigrees and smooth career progressions that are generally made possible by backgrounds of privilege. And those who may hail from public schools and have uneven resumes, often because they have navigated significant hardship and uncertainty. Hartley explores the revolutionary concept of "post-traumatic growth" and makes a case for hiring for grit and humor. In a workplace that is rapidly diversifying and a society that is beginning to seriously reckon with the costs of steep inequality, her message is urgently relevant.

At Artisan Creative, we believe that the right intellectual diet is essential to success and fulfillment at life and work. Contact us today to take your team or your career to places you never knew it could go.

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 492nd issue of our a.blog.

 




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