Artisan Blog

3 Benefits of Working Remotely

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

3 Benefits of Working Remotely

Although some work challenges may seem best tackled by teams coming together in person, with each leap forward in virtual networking technology, colleagues in far-flung locations can come together just as productively in a virtual setting. The continuous rapid pace of improvement in this area, makes it more efficient and more rewarding for creative professionals to do their work remotely.

According to The New York Times, 43% of employed Americans do at least some of their work off-site. Those who have embraced remote work, and the lifestyle that comes with it, have discovered significant benefits.

The Artisan Creative a.team has been working remotely since 2009 and we'd like to share some of those benefits with you:

More Productivity

To work remotely is to relinquish stressful and time-consuming rush-hour commutes and eliminate workplace distractions. Remote workers can create routines, schedules, and environments that are best suited to their own preferences and patterns, which often result in getting more done, in less time, with less hassle than would be required to complete the same tasks in an office.

To work well without constant oversight requires some discipline and responsibility, and for those who excel at it, remote work can be an enormous boon to their careers, improve their results, and stimulate a new work ethic.

More Freedom

For those with the discipline and independence to live a remote work based lifestyle, traditional borders and living restrictions have disappeared.

By being adept at working off-site, building their networks, and collaborating well virtually, professionals no longer need to relocate to prohibitively expensive cities to advance their careers. Some even choose to become "digital nomads" and travel as they work, seeing the world while pursuing creative careers on their laptops and mobile devices.

Even if the corporate headquarters is across town, having the liberty to work from home, a co-working space, or a coffee shop can open new lifestyle options for those who wish to spend more time with their friends and families or simply have the space to create.

More Ease

Off-site work used to be much more of a challenge and a commitment for all parties involved. Now, with so many effective options, much of the past friction has been eliminated.

As mentioned earlier, the technology that drives document-sharing, teleconferences, virtual meetings, and location-independent digital collaboration has advanced tremendously, and it gets better every day.

There may come a time in the not-so-distant future when the majority of teams do most of their work and collaboration remotely. Already, the increase of remote work is popular with the rising Millennial Generation and represents a wider range of lifestyle choices in a highly networked global society.

Contact Artisan Creative to prepare for the future of work and learn how to thrive in a changing creative economy.

We hope you've enjoyed the 460th issue of our weekly a.blog.


Dos and Don'ts of Job Applications

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Dos and Don'ts of Job Applications

An on-line job application is your first impression with potential employers. Being conscious and deliberate about this crucial first step can help target your job search process.  As you strive to learn and make each application a bit better than the last, you may find that applying for jobs can be an exciting chance to move your life and work to another level.

As talent advocates in the creative business, we have observed some consistent patterns as to which job applications are more likely to open doors. Here are a few best practices, as well as common mistakes to avoid - knowing these can save you a lot of time in your job search.

DO: Apply For Jobs You Want, and Tailor Each Application

If you must choose between quantity and quality of applications, go with quality every time. It's easy to apply for jobs online - every hiring manager who posts an ad is likely to get deluged with applications. To get noticed in this flood, it is essential that you pay attention to the text and subtext of the ad.

Craft your profile so it aligns with the hiring manager's expectations and present yourself in a way that communicates that you want not just any job, you want this job. If you are mindful about your application, it will stand out from the vast majority of those who simply apply for as many jobs as possible, as quickly as possible.

DON'T: Spray and Pray

New job-hunting interfaces with one-click "Easy Apply" features make it possible to apply for dozens of jobs per hour, but that doesn't necessarily make this a constructive practice. Make sure you exclusively apply for jobs that you understand and that you know are a good match for your goals, skills, and expectations. Always show enough consideration for the time of hiring managers and recruiters. Target the companies that you are really interested in. Your thoughtfulness will pay dividends over the course of your job search.

DO: Present Yourself Well

When creating your resume, cover letter, and other application materials, maintain a positive mindset and present yourself, your skills, and your accomplishments in the most appropriate light. You've worked hard to get where you are, and you're looking for the best opportunity to contribute and to take your career to the next level.

DON'T: Fib or Exaggerate

If you tell the truth, it's easy to remember! Duplicity isn't worth the mental energy, and it is easy enough to find the truth in our super-connected electronic age. If you mislead about your capabilities, you may find yourself in an interview for which you are not qualified, which is scary and embarrassing. Be realistic and honest, and you will make more progress in your career over time.

DO: Make Your Application User-Friendly

Keep it short - resumes of one or two pages, and cover letters of no more than five succinct paragraphs, are more likely to be read in full. For resumes, use lists with bullets, clear headings, and easy-to-read typography. Be mindful of applicant tracking software, and use common industry terms and keywords that are likely to capture the attention of robots as well as humans.

DON'T: Go Overboard With Style

Unless you're a graphic designer showing off a particular aesthetic sensibility, stick with a simple, minimalist resume that is easy on the eyes. Don't include pictures, colors, flourishes, competing typefaces, or other distractions. Your resume should be functional first. Focus on communicating your value for maximum efficiency and impact.

Contact Artisan Creative today to learn more about how you can make your application stand out. And read our advice on how to perfect your portfolio and how to have a great interview to help land your dream job.

We hope you've enjoyed the 459th issue of our weekly a.blog.


How to Build a Referral Business

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

How to Build a Referral Business

As a freelancer, doing excellent work is only one part of your job - you have to make sure that potential customers know about it. According to survey results, freelance creative professionals rate referrals, (particularly traditional word-of-mouth referrals) as their single most important source of new business. It pays to be deliberate about getting as many referrals as possible.

As you build your freelancing career, developing a strong referral network will ensure you have access to the best opportunities you need to grow, build your skills, and make more money. Here are a few techniques that freelancers use to get more referrals that generate a steady increase in business.

Build Your Personal Brand

As a freelancer, you must think of yourself as a small business that represents a certain attitude and system of values. According to brand-building coach Rajiv Nathan, it requires a deeper process of discovering who you are, what you do, and why it matters to you.

"It’s really about figuring out the core of what you believe in as a person and using that to structure how you think about yourself, talk about yourself, and the lifestyle you want to live," says Nathan. "What is your definition of success? How do you know when you’ve made it? The pursuit of answering those big questions is what leads to the development of everything that we’re doing."

Nathan advises thinking of your brand in terms of storytelling and constructing your own "Hero's Journey" outline to define who you are in a way that resonates with others.

“Look at everything that people gravitate towards – it is the story," Nathan says. "People want a hero, a villain, and a plot. That’s basically how life is constructed as well. You make yourself out to be the heroes of your own life. There are villains along the way, climaxes, and valleys. We’re telling you to architect your story. You’re playing a character in your own life – where do you want to take the story?"

The more intriguing your story, the easier it is for it to spread. If you have a clear and compelling brand, you can generate positive word of mouth and get much more mileage from social media, where concise and specific stories cut through the clutter.

Refine Your Elevator Pitch

Your elevator pitch is the distilled essence of your personal brand. It is a fifteen-second summation of the value you offer, one you could use if you met your ideal client anywhere and had only a small slice of time in which to make a memorable impression.

Michael Katz at Freelancers Union advises thinking of your elevator pitch, not in terms of being dazzling or unique, and instead in terms of filling a need that others may have. "Stop trying to impress the people you meet with fancy-pants phrases that shine brightly for a minute and then evaporate," Katz says. "Instead, just help others understand and remember what you do."

Taking this approach to describing yourself will make it easy for others to recommend your work to people who ask if they know someone who can fill a particular role or niche.

Ask

The easiest way to get referrals from existing customers or connections is to ask for them. When you've worked well with a client, you can ask that client directly - it will help their reputation to be associated with a skilled and diligent freelancer. You must be bold about soliciting referrals - when you believe in your work, you cannot be shy about making sure it's available to anyone who wants it.

However, for such a request to be successful, it is important to pick the right time and the right circumstances in which to pose it.

"Ideal times to ask for referrals is right after they compliment you, or right before a final deal closes," says freelance blogger Kayla Sloan. "If things are going well, build off of that momentum. Ask if they would refer you, or if they know of anyone who could benefit from your services. Knowing when to ask for referrals is just as important as asking for them."

It may also make sense to add a referral link to your website, social media, or email signature so that anyone inclined to give you a referral finds it easy to do so.

Be Grateful

In some cases, offer incentives for referrals that result in new business. According to USA Today, more than 50% of people are more likely to give referrals if there is a modest incentive involved, such as a gift card or some branded swag.

Whether or not you offer incentives, you should go out of your way to show your appreciation to those who give you referrals. When a client gives you a referral, give them public kudos on social media or send a private, personal email to give thanks. You may even want to invest in old-fashioned thank-you cards sent through the mail, which can really brighten a client's day.

"I don’t ever send a thank-you message expecting something in return from a client, prospect, or contact," says Cherese Cobb, a writer, multimedia artist, and "Thank You Marketing" evangelist. "I do it because it’s polite. It’s like spreading a confetti of kindness that can have a positive impact on others. And I know it works to build relationships, get referrals, and land more freelance writing jobs."

If you are a freelancer working hard to turn your talent into a business, Artisan Creative has many resources and connections, and we're here to help you. Contact us today to learn more. 

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 458th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

 


Actioning Your Goals

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Actioning Your Goals

Now that you’ve set your goals for the year and created your vision board, it’s important to devise a plan to stay on track and act on what you’ve set your mind to do.

In his book Triggers, Marshall Goldsmith says; “We are superior planners and inferior doers!” So in order to take action, we have to develop new habits, a razor-sharp focus, and be undeterred.

Below are some tools to help stay organized and focused and apply action to the plan at hand.

  1. Make the commitment! If they are truly important to you, then you owe it to yourself to commit to them. You set these goals for a reason.

  2. Keep to an organized calendar and protect your time. Great tools such as Toggle or Trello can be a huge benefit in managing your to-do list.

  3. Focus on the important matters. Urgent matters have a way of creeping in and taking over if you aren’t focused.

  4. Breakdown your to-do list into bite-size steps that need to happen daily or weekly for the goal to be accomplished.

  5. Add a timeline or date for accomplishing each step.

  6. Broadcast your goals and let your co-workers, friends, and family know so they can be your accountability partners.

  7. Ask for support where you need it. Delegating some tasks can open up your calendar to take care of the goals you have set.

  8. Know what you have to stop doing and be aware of your triggers, so you can adjust your mindset and offset any roadblocks. For example, let's say your plan is to set workout routine 3 times a week. If you already know that you have more energy in the mornings or mid-day than after work, set your routine and go to the gym to work or during lunch. The temptation to skip a workout after a long day may be too easy if you are already tired or hungry.

  9. Celebrate every win. Every small win is a step in the right direction. Don’t wait to accomplish the goal until you celebrate.

  10. Forgive. Every so often, we all stumble. It's ok. Just get back to your routine and the new habits you are trying to create.

Wishing you a great start to the new year.  If you are looking for a new career opportunity this year, or looking to hire your dream team, please get in touch.

We hope you enjoy the 457th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 


Creating Your Vision Board

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Creating Your Vision Board

Based on some great feedback and comments, we've decided to re-post our Vision Boarding blog with a few updates:

Every year, each member of the Artisan Creative a.team works on their New Year’s goals and creates a vision board.They present their boards at our first meeting in January. These boards are a collection of our short and long term goals, that include both personal and professional aspirations.

Presenting to the team develops accountability and enables the group to learn more about eachother’s ambitions, dreams and commitments. Some people set a theme for their board or their year—others use inspirational quotes. They all have in common a shared use of imagery that inspires, tells a story and conveys a message to create a powerful visualization tool.

In addition to sharing our vision and goals at the onset of each new year, we review our boards mid-year, and share a recap at our year-end meeting. This creates a sense of accountability that helps keep us on track during the course of the year, which can have many twists and turns. This activity in one of our strongest team-building exercises, as it stays “evergreen”.

Here are some tips to create your vision board and get your new year off to a good start!

  1. Select words and images that inspire and are true to your core values.
  2. Create positivity and inspiration for yourself and others.
  3. Imagine the integrated life/work you want to live.
  4. You can either divide your board into sections for business and personal or mix the elements together throughout.The important point is to create an integrated board where your personal and professional aspirations are represented.
  5. Hang the board where you can re-visit it daily—read the inspirational messages out loud— and often! Mine is right in front of my desk, so I get to see it every time I look up from my computer.
  6. Share with others. Having an accountability partner will help you get closer to achieving your goals.

Tools needed:

  • A large poster board to give you plenty of space to visualize your year, yet small enough to hang on your wall. We use the 22 x 28 size available from Staples.
  • A good pair of scissors and a strong glue stick so the pictures stay on all year long.
  • Variety of magazines to look through and find those inspiring words and pictures.
  • (Optional) Markers/stickers to write on or embellish your board.
  • Patience and Creativity.
  • Time to reflect. I cut images and words throughout the month of December. Then one day between Christmas and New Years, I create the actual vision board. For some it’s easier to start with a theme and for others, the pictures and words shape the theme of the board. There is no right or wrong method, harness your creativity any way that works best for you.

Although electronic versions such as Pinterest also work, going old-school where you physically search for and cut out imagery and words from a magazine and decide where to place them, is in itself an opportunity to reflect and plan via a very tangible exercise.

What is your goal setting process?

Happy New Year!

We hope you've enjoyed the 456th issue of our weekly a.blog.



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