Artisan Blog

When Bad Habits Creep Back In

Laura Pell - Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How many times have you started a new project or committed to an important change in your life, only to fall back on things you were going to "stop doing", overwhelming those good habits you were developing?

Our brains are sometimes just like that garage above. We simultaneously store a lot of valuable information and junk that we will someday want to use. When we feel stuck, or have too much on our minds, we commit to clearing that garage out. And we've all been to many a garage sale in our lives!

To change any habit it takes a minimum of 90 days. At the 45-day mark, we are halfway to where the opportunity for real change is just starting to take hold. At the same time, this is when many of us feel that transition is just not going to happen, so we slowly let our old road/mental blocks creep back in again.

Here are a few things to work on to become aware of what I call " the slide back 45".

Keep a brief journal. Then take a look back to see where you’ve come from, what progress you’ve made, and look forward to where your commitments still lie.

When the slide back starts to take over, recognize it and squash it!

If need be, go back to the basics and start over.

Some basics:

Decide on what you’re going to stop doing before you start doing anything new.

Find an accountability partner other than yourself.

Develop a flexible blueprint, then commit to a plan and live by it.

Take small steps first, then build momentum.

Be patient with yourself.

Know that you have to want to do this, even more than you need to do it.

Celebrate your successes along the way. Use these moments to raise the platform for your next move, one that will be up and away from where you used to be.

Keep in mind that on average it takes about 90 days for good habits to take hold, (after all, you’ve spent several years building up the bad habits in the first place!)

 What pointers to stop bad habits from creeping back in can you share?

 Jamie is the founder of Life Work Integration, a process that integrates passion with purpose and vision. You can reach him at jamie@lifeworkintegration.com & via Twitter @jdouraghy


Passion Projects: Finding Your Way through Busy Schedules to Do What You Love

Laura Pell - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

 

I recently read a thread where a commenter was aghast at how someone could have so much time to work a full time job, work out and still find the time to pursue passion projects. And what was their response? “I don’t have the time, I make the time.” This really resonated with me. Everyone is always so busy that it’s easy to forget about the things that matter. Some of us are lucky to have careers that exercise both our passions and our skills. Others are in roles that provide financial security yet still yearn to flex their creative muscles outside of their day job.

So what can you do if you fall into the latter category or you’re one of those who just don’t have the time or the energy to pursue a passion project?

If you haven’t found your passion yet, there’s no need to fret. You may not discover what makes you tick right away. It may be as simple as sitting down and thinking about what you’re missing. Are you sociable and outgoing but lately haven’t been getting much interaction? Did you used to volunteer or paint on weekends? By making a few small changes to your routine you can find your passion.

Learn to say no
Perhaps you lack assertiveness or you don’t want to be impolite, but that doesn’t mean you have to agree to everything that is thrown your way. If you’re constantly busy and it’s causing you stress, just say no. Be mindful of what is asked and how you respond but a simple “I’m unable to right now, but I will let you know if anything changes” is a more indirect, yet still polite way to decline. Your time and your life are precious. If you find you’re putting in crazy hours at work or spending your free time doing things you’d rather not be doing, it’s time to take a step back.

Do what you love
It sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? What do you love doing? What’s your favorite way to spend time? A passion project isn’t something you do half-heartedly. We recently placed a blogger in a full time position who had never held a professional job as a blogger, but it was her passion in her spare time. Without fail, come rain or shine, each week she would put out 5 posts on her personal blog because it was what she loved. She spoke with enthusiasm and it was evident to Artisan, and our client, that she truly loved what she did. And now she gets to live out her passion every day as a career. By being persistent and taking the time, it is possible to find your passion and make it work for you.

Prioritize
We’re supposed to do the arduous tasks first and get to the menial stuff later. How many of us whittle away our precious time on tasks that don’t really require our undivided attention? A to-do list doesn’t have to stop at the office. Make a list for everything you need to do that week and figure out what’s most important. It may seem like a lot in your head but on paper things start to make a lot more sense.

Take a break
A break from your desk or a break from your routine, whatever it is, take a break. Go for a walk around your neighborhood, grab a coffee and relax. Think about where you want to be and how you can get there. Do you just want one day a week dedicated to you? If so, what needs to change in order for you to achieve it? Calendar yourself an hour each day to step away from work and do something for you.

What is your passion project? Do you have any advice to share based on your personal experiences?

 

Knowing Where You're Going

Laura Pell - Wednesday, May 06, 2015

 

On a trip to Washington DC, I noticed this group of sailors walking up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with a sense of purpose. I could see this with the pace they were walking at and they way they were speaking to one another. Clearly their destination had lot to do with it, as did their proximity to their goal for the morning. 

Once inside, what had started as animated conversations quickly turned to hushed voices, combined with thoughtful reflection. Their short journey up the stairs was complete and they could now fully take in and appreciate the moment in front of them.

 

 A few thoughts on the importance of knowing your way every day:

     Know your purpose, you'll know what direction to head in and WHY
    When you know your WHY, you'll know your WAY
    A plan will put you on the right path
    You'll spend less time waiting and more time doing

As the baseball sage Yogi Berra once said:

"If you don't know where  you're going, you'll end up somewhere else!"

Do you know where you are going  and how you're going to get there?

 Jamie Douraghy - Artisan Founder

20 Years in the Making: Why Stay With a Company for 20 Years?

Laura Pell - Wednesday, April 29, 2015

 

Why stay with a company for 20 years?


Last month we celebrated a rare milestone with one of our employees: 20 years!   I asked Margaret Jung (on the far left of the picture) why she's stayed with Artisan Creative for 2 decades, through growth and success, as well as through trying times and cutbacks. We thought it would be interesting to share some of her thoughts, as this one question brought forth so many answers:

Artisan fosters a rewarding environment where I feel appreciated, recognized and supported. The people you work with must have chemistry and each other's backs. Over time, this builds friendships & relationships that last even as people move on.

The versatility of my business development role offers flexibility, autonomy and no bureaucracy. Plus, I have the opportunity to create success, for our clients and talent, our team and my family.

I believe in being consistent  and loving what you do.

I do not watch the clock.

I believe in relationships based on trust, and that honesty and integrity are essential within a company.

I enjoy working with strong personalities that come with being in the creative field. I find the dynamics of the creative mindset engaging as we are always learning and growing from this ever evolving field we work in.

I am driven by the search to find the best solution for my clients and talent.

We share and believe in common values, that set the foundation for a good business model.  Compensation is in alignment with results delivered.

The president has ability to listen and make change for the better. I'm kept in the loop and frequently communicated with. I feel valued and understood, with a lot of trust in my abilities to deliver.

The entrepreneurial environment at Artisan suits my personality. An open door is truly open to share the good and the bad, in a genuine environment that cares.

I hold  myself accountable to my commitments.

I have a passion for selling and a desire to perform.

I enjoy the constant learning from being in a dynamic industry and working with really smart people.

I have mentorship from the president along with a leadership responsibility to create success for the team.

I've learned how to manage growing pains and make tough choices.

In a lifetime you only really find a few leaders that you truly trust and respect, and know that they are there for you.

The tougher periods are handled by not listening  to the negative for too long and by focusing on the positive. Always believing that more good than bad is around the corner, and never, ever, giving up!

 For me, this is the difference between a career and a job. And over the past 20 years everything I gave the company, I got back and more.

How long have you been at your career, and what keeps you engaged and coming back for more year over year? 

 Jamie Douraghy - Artisan Founder

Earth Day: How Are You Celebrating Today?

Laura Pell - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

 

Earth Day is a celebration and a recognition to show support for environmental protection. Celebrated in more that 190 countries, the aim is to educate and activate an environmental movement through campaigns. 

Whether you want to save the bees or take note on climate change, there are a number of ways to get involved. Here in LA the Arts District is having an Earth Day Community Clean Up beginning at 5.30PM today.

Will you be participating in Earth Day today? If so, how to you celebrate?

Filing Taxes as a Freelancer: How to Make Your Life Easier

Laura Pell - Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Keeping track of your income and every single expense throughout the year can be tricky unless you stay organized. Financial decisions may be daunting, but they don’t have to be when you follow these handy tips to get you through the next fiscal year.

Keep records of clients and payments - If you work with multiple clients over the course of the year, it’s a good idea to keep a list of each client and how much you made while working for them.  There are a number of invoicing programs out there to assist with this such as Harvest, Freckle and MarketCircle.  NOTE: If you go over $600 for any one client, they should send you a 1099 in January.  This list can help you follow up with any late documentation come February or March.

Know your deductions – Expenses can add up, especially if you drive client meetings or deliver work to your clients, keep a record of trips back and forth. You can’t count commuting miles, but if you work offsite, mileage to and from clients can add up to a hefty sum. Client lunches, parking, healthcare, Internet and entertaining all fall under the deductions category.

Create a dedicated office space - You can only take a home office deduction if your space is used exclusively for work. But it doesn’t take a lot of space to count as a home office. Dedicating a small area of your home to work can help with deductions for part of your rent and utilities expenses.

Keep your receipts - Save your receipts and work with a tax professional to help you determine what can actually be written off as part of your business.

Save some money - Depending on your situation - you may end up owing some tax next spring.  You don’t want it to be a surprise. Therefore, it's always best to put a bit of each paycheck into a separate account - just for tax payments in the following year. If you have nothing to pay - you can always give yourself a refund.


Do you have any helpful advice you adhere to each tax season? Share your thoughts in the comments.

 

Job Interviews: Questions to Ask During an Interview

Laura Pell - Wednesday, April 08, 2015

 

You’ve found the perfect job, sent your resume to the company and you’ve been invited for an interview. Now what?


We recommend that you prepare by reading our blog on the six things you should be doing during your interview and then start thinking about a few questions to ask the interviewer to help you learn more about the company and the role for which you are interviewing.
Sometimes the answers to these questions, and the way in which they are answered, can provide you with vital insight into whether an opportunity is really the right fit.
It’s perfectly acceptable to write down interview questions and refer to your notepad during an interview, in fact we encourage you to do so as it shows you’ve really prepared for your interview and given thought to your questions.

Questions about the Role / Position / Department
•    How would you describe the work environment?
•    Can you describe a typical day?
•    Can you share more about the department and the team I would be working with?
•    How do you envision this department in 6 months / 1 year / long-term?
•    How large is the department (how many designers, marketers, etc.)?
•    What is the hierarchy/org chart when it comes to decision-making in my dept?
•    What have been some of the most exciting projects we’ve worked on?
•    What was your personal favorite project here?
•    What are your expectations for this position?
•    What is the growth potential of this role?

Questions about the Company Culture / History
•    What is your history with this company?
•    Can you share more about the company culture?
•    Can you share more about the company history and/or clients?
•    What is the hierarchy/org chart when it comes to decision-making in the company?
•    How would you define the management philosophy of this company?
•    How do you envision the company in 6 months / 1 year / long-term?

Questions about your Skills / Qualification
•    What is most important for you in this position in terms of skills and personality?
•    What qualities do you feel someone needs to be successful in this role?
•    What metrics for success do you implement?
•    What makes someone a top producer in your eyes?
•    What in particular in my background made you feel I was a good fit for this position?
•    Do you have any concerns about my experience?
•    What do you foresee any challenges for me in this role?
•    Is there anything you feel is missing from my background/resume that I may be able to expand on?

•    How can I grow my skills in this position?

At the end of your interview, don’t forget to ask our favorite question which is “Do you have any reservations about hiring me?” This is your final chance to sell yourself one last time and also iron out any concerns the interviewer may have about your experience.

Do you have any go-to interview questions you like to ask? How do you prepare for your interviews? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or on Twitter @artisanupdates.

 

Cover Letters: Do Hiring Managers Really Read Them?

Laura Pell - Wednesday, April 01, 2015

 

Cover letters: Some job seekers swear by them, others don’t use them at all. Are cover letters really a necessity when applying for a job and are hiring managers even reading them? Opinions are divided. We recently read this article on The Guardian with these handy sample letters and thought we'd offer some handy advice when applying for jobs.


As recruiters, we’ve seen it all. We’ve received generic letters where only a company name is changed, or 2 pages of background info on an applicant, or sometimes quirky little notes with funny anecdotes. So what should you be doing when applying for a job?

Keep it short & sweet.
This is the place to list a few highlights from your experience gained across several positions. Don’t rewrite your resume! Read through the key responsibilities of the job you’re applying for and highlight your experience as it relates to the key points. You don’t need to go into too much detail here, just think of it as a summary of your best bits.

Use formatting to emphasize key items.
Bullet points, bold, underline, or italics can help readers very quickly see keywords or sentences that are crucial to the job you’re applying for. Go easy on the formatting, though.

Be specific about your experience. Avoid overused phrases like “team player” or “excellent communication skills". For more information on words to avoid, read our recent blog on buzzwords. Instead, explain that you’ve “managed a team of X”, “collaborated with cross-functional departments” and “led client presentations”.

Go beyond the resume. Let’s face it – you can’t put everything on a resume. An introductory email provides a platform for mentioning relevant projects you might have worked on, hobbies or passions you may have and an opportunity to explain any issues with your resume such as a gap in experience, moving jobs frequently, etc. Make it easy for the hiring manager.

Keep it personal.
Address your email to the actual hiring manager for the position. Avoid “To Whom it May Concern”. Even if you don’t know names of those hiring, ensure you customize the letter with the company name, locations and industry references to show you’ve done your homework.

Check your spelling and grammar. Nothing puts your resume in the “NO” pile faster than innocent spelling or grammar mistakes. Use your Spellcheck – but also have a set of human eyes review it for you.

Now put those skills to the test. See one of our jobs that might be right? Apply today!

 

Personal Branding: How to Rebrand Yourself and Your Career

Laura Pell - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

 

We often hear the phrase “personal brand” being used-- but do each of us need one? And if we do, how do we go about getting one? We recently chatted with Nina who has rebranded herself in order to transition from the corporate world to the creative one and it got us thinking --what are the benefits and what should we be doing to foster our personal brand?

When thinking about your personal brand and how you want to present yourself, both online and offline you need to first think of a broad picture, and then narrow it down to the specifics.  As Nina discussed with us, you need to think about your vision, where do you want to be in the future?

“I took the time to do some deep exploration and to inquire into some important questions.  What made me happy?  What was I passionate about?  What was I good at?  When I was I most inspired in my career?  What was my purpose? What were the common themes, and patterns in the direction of my own career?  What was I known for?  How did I want to be known?  Who was my audience and where did I provide them value?”

Before you embark on your journey of personal branding, here are a few tips to get you started.

Vision

What are your goals and passions in life? What can you do as a brand do to build a future for you and your prospective employers, jobs or clients? If your niche is working for startups and your passion is tech, and you also love vegan food, build your brand around that. Add value for others who share the same passions. You need a hook that will make you memorable, so you can become the tech guy who works for startups and the go-to guy to ask about vegan food.

Marketing

What do you need to market a brand? A website, social pages, advertising, perhaps some copy are usually commonplace.  A personal website is a great way for people to get to know you, especially if you have a portfolio of work to show. How can your business cards stand out at a networking event? We work in the creative space, so it's all in the details.

Consistency is needed across your social media profiles. We suggest using the same profile photo on each platform to be easily distinguished.  Podcasts and blogs can be a fun and smart way to meet thought-leaders in your space as guests or interviewees. Your digital footprint is a hard one to erase so the content you are putting out into the world should be respectful, educational and entertaining. We love sites like Buffer and Feedly to assist with automating content.  

Audience

Who are your audience and what can you do for them? Ask questions, get to know them and invite them to share their thoughts on your niche subjects. This is the fun part of personal branding as you get to know your followers and make friends. Think about how to add value. What do they want to know? What are their interests?

How did you build your own personal brand? Do you think they are a necessity when job searching?

 

 

Artisan Spotlight: Amazing Talent - Nina

Laura Pell - Tuesday, March 17, 2015

“To thrive in 21st century business we need to be willing to shed our own skin, think more creatively and strategically, be collaborative and reinvent ourselves to change with the times.”

Artisan Spotlight is a new monthly feature dedicated to the amazing talent we work with. This is an opportunity for you, the talent, to share your career experiences and impart your knowledge and advice to others. Want to be featured here? Get in touch!

This month we spoke to Nina. We met Nina back in late 2013 at a networking event and have worked with her ever since. Nina works in Brand, Digital and Marketing Communications Strategy and specializes in strategically building brands to engage their audiences, start movements and increase their revenue and growth.

Why did you decide to shift from corporate to creative?

I started to observe and experience patterns in the corporate world, both when I was an employee and as a consultant. One being that all of the innovation, strategy and ideas, and creative thinking and design were being outsourced to creative firms and agencies and not coming from inside the organization (nor was it being asked of the internal teams).  There was also a pattern of downsizing the internal teams and those who were left were being tasked to function as project managers vs. strategic thinkers. 

I’m a visionary, strategist and creative thinker and while I was hired into companies for those talents, I found myself being pigeon-holed into being solely a project manager and becoming less valued for what I actually provided. I thrive in creative environments where I can invent and discover new and innovative ways to communicate and reach audiences. I found myself withering on the vine and becoming less engaged and enlivened by my career and utterly uninspired.

Some deep self-exploration had me start to identify these things and create a new vision for my career and the experience I was looking for.  Based on what I identified as important and my own personality and skill set; tech-start ups and creative agencies became the playground I was interested in playing in.  Their approach to business and creative problem solving is more aligned with mine.  I’ve discovered that I’m really a creative who knows business.

What were your biggest challenges during this time?

Shifting my own mindset

I had to stop thinking like a corporate person to create solutions and strategy and start thinking like someone in a small growing business and what their challenges might be and how they might approach creating a Brand/Marketing Communications strategy and execute it with smaller resources.  I also had to set aside what I “already thought I knew” to step into the unknown and be willing to relearn and upgrade my own operating system.   Disrupting one’s belief system and mindset takes something…and is probably the most important step in making a career change.

Saying No to what I didn’t want

The only work that was coming my way at first was corporate work and I knew that to truly make that shift, I had to close the door on my corporate life.  I started saying no to corporate opportunities. Which was very scary because that was the only income I had known and I was turning down work.  For a short time, no work was coming my way. 

Not giving up

I questioned my choices, particularly when I saw the drop in income…or at times no income.  But I knew that I had to follow my heart or I’d continue to live an uninspired life where my career was concerned.

How do the corporate and creative worlds differ?

The biggest difference that I see is that the creative world has the ability to be more agile and nimble.  There is a perspective of “let’s try this and maybe we’ll be wrong and fail, but let’s try and see what we learn, then we can reinvent.”  I’m also finding that in the creative and start-up worlds there is a 21st century approach to doing business that is collaborative, transparent and open to exploring partnership opportunities, even with companies and products that might be considered competitors.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to move into creative?

Be willing to completely reinvent yourself

Start from within. Study, learn, set aside what you know for awhile to learn something new…step outside of your own box…you can then incorporate what you already know into what you are learning.  Learn as much as you can, network and meet as many people as you can in the area you want to move into.

Surrender your ego over to your vision

Be willing to take a lesser position, less income or take a career step back to move into a new direction. Be willing to learn something new and have a beginner’s mind, no matter how experienced you are.  I have a friend who did that in his own career.  He’s now the CEO of the company he “took a step back” to join.

Don’t get discouraged

Keep the faith. Believe in your self. Keep moving forward and you will get there.


What's next for you?

I’m interested in moving away from consulting and creating a full time opportunity with a start-up or creative firm located on the West side.  I’d really like to make the investment and work with one company that is in a growth mode and help them fulfill on their vision. 

"Believe in yourself, keep moving forward and close the door behind you and take consistent action towards you vision, you will get to where you are going."

 

 If you are interested in booking Nina for an assignment, get in touch.

 


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