Artisan Blog

Startups vs. Scaleups: Which is Right for You?

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Startups vs. Scaleups: Which is Right for You?

Is the company you’re interviewing with a "startup," or a "scaleup?" While some business writers may use the terms interchangeably, there are essential differences between startups and scaleups regarding structure, culture, and funding. Understanding these differences can help you decide which sort of company you want to work for, or to run.

Startups: Move Fast, Try New Things, Wear Many Hats

A startup is a young company, typically either bootstrapped or funded by a Seed or Series A Round. In most cases, it is still experimenting with its product-market fit, leaving open its option to iterate or even pivot if its current plans don't pan out as anticipated.

The office culture of startup companies tends to be fast-paced, frenetic, creative and fun if a bit intense and unpredictable. Likewise, their corporate structures can be nebulous and improvisational as an “all hands on deck” mindset takes on shifting arrays of responsibilities to solve problems in real time.

Startups often use growth hacking, guerilla marketing, and other unorthodox tactics to find customers and spread their word. The heroes of the microprocessor revolution, the dot-com boom of the 1990s, and the current wave of Silicon Valley tech billionaires exert a substantial influence on the startup world, and their risk-taking ethos drives its innovative and hearty frontier spirit.

When a startup has established a place in the market, along with its culture and plans, it may be ready to begin the transition into a scaleup.

Scaleups: Responsible Growth and Maturity in Mind

Compared to startups, scaleups have moved beyond a minimum viable product and have established a reliable product-market fit. They can provide more clarity and security, which makes them more appealing to conservative investors.

In general, scaleups more closely reflect the values of the traditional corporate world. Their role models are long-time business and industry leaders with decades of history and persistence through ups and downs. This suits their status as more mature and well-defined entities.

In the world of scaleups, job responsibilities are more defined, corporate hierarchies are more concrete, and onboarding processes are more gradual and deliberate. Since scaleups already have a definite and established sense of their value, they tend to be more risk-averse. Investors, employees, and customers have different expectations of a scaleup - so there's more to lose by playing fast and loose and more to gain by playing it safe.

Which Is Right For You?

If you're a generalist, enjoy working at a fast pace, want to be on the leading, bleeding edge of technology, business, and culture - and you're willing to sacrifice some security and stability - you may consider working with a startup. If you find one aligned with your values, the startup life may give you the satisfaction and stimulation you crave.

If you are more risk-averse and personally conservative, or you have additional responsibilities outside your professional life and want more life/work balance a scaleup may provide you a more calm and structured environment in which to apply and develop your specific skills.

Here at Artisan Creative, we join forces with creative professionals and clients at all stages and know the secrets to building the right team or career to exceed your expectations. Contact us today to learn more.

We hope you've enjoyed the 469th issue of our a.blog.


How to Build a Design Portfolio

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

How to Build a Design Portfolio

"It's easier to get a job when you have a job."

There is some ring of truth to this cliche. If you're a designer starting out - perhaps you're a fresh graduate, or you're changing careers - this can seem frustrating and paradoxical. Most high-status job openings are available only to those with years of experience. If you must have experience to get experience, how does anyone ever get started?

Fortunately, it is easy to build an impressive design portfolio with no professional experience whatsoever. Even if you've never had a paying client, you can do remarkable work and showcase it in a manner that will open doors.

Think Like a Designer

Before you create an online portfolio or get an account on Dribbble or Behance, rethink your entire life story, from the perspective of your identity as a designer.

"If you’ve ever solved a problem, then you have design experience," says Jason Early, a designer, entrepreneur, teacher, mentor, and author of the career guide Getting Hired. "You just need to reframe how you present it. The design process is used to address a challenge. Any challenge. And showing how you worked through the process to address that challenge can be a portfolio piece. Show your work. Just like in grade school math class, showing how you got to a solution shows how you think through a challenge. And that is what a portfolio is. A collection of examples showing how you reached a solution."

Say "Yes"

As you move forward in your career, you will learn to say "no" to opportunities that don’t serve you. However, in your early days as a designer, you must err on the side of taking on more work and saying "yes" to as many different projects as you can. Then, follow the green lights.

Look for pro bono projects for nonprofit and charity organizations you support. (Taproot Foundation, a clearinghouse for pro bono creative work, is one place to start.) If you have acquaintances who perform or promote shows, offer to design graphics and fliers for them in exchange for free admission (or beer and pizza). Seek out any opportunity to show up and create something.

If you're passionate about the early work that goes into your portfolio, you will likely find opportunities to do more work like it, for more generous compensation.

Make All the Things

Keep solving problems, embracing fresh challenges, flexing different muscles, and adding work to your portfolio. At first, you may be frustrated that your own work isn't up to the standards of the successful designers you admire. This means you're right on schedule.

Work through the "taste gap," push through the resistance, and keep showing up. The only way to do great work is to do lots of work. As you consistently generate more new samples, you can continuously update your portfolio to showcase better and better examples of what you're capable of.

Find the Others

You are one of many people building a creative career. It may scare you to think you have millions of skilled and hungry competitors. But you can shift your thinking and instead see the creative people around you as potential collaborators, eager to work and grow together. Being independent doesn’t mean being alone.

Attend networking events and reach out to those who have complementary skills. Then, work together on projects that showcase and challenge you both.

For instance, if you are a designer, join forces with a like-minded copywriter. You may build a fruitful long-term partnership, like copywriter Jeff Gooodby and art director Rich Silverstein, with a joint brand that combines your talents. At the least, you will build your professional network, enrich your thinking through cooperation and mutual respect, and do work together that you wouldn’t and couldn’t do alone.

At Artisan Creative, we have years of experience helping new and experienced designers build their portfolios, their networks, and their careers. Contact us today to learn more and get started.

We hope you've enjoyed the 466th issue of our a.blog.



Job Skills for the Future

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Job Skills for the Future

The World Economic Forum recently released its report on “The Future of Jobs.” The results have important implications for job seekers, hiring managers, and anyone else who wants to build professional skills that will be relevant into the decade ahead.

The section "10 Skills You Will Need to Thrive in 2020" is particularly relevant. People management, emotional intelligence, negotiation, and other "soft skills" deemed essential in previous years still rank high on the list. However, creativity, critical thinking, and keen judgment are now ranked higher than before, suggesting the increasingly utility of mental flexibility, brainstorming, and other related skills. Traits that have been traditionally associated with artists, designers, developers, strategists, and other “intellectuals” or "creative types" are now considered vital for anyone who wants to build a sustainable career and flourish into the future.

Let's look at the WEF's top five skills to cultivate in anticipation of the year 2020.

1. Complex Problem Solving

Automation and artificial intelligence are poised to eliminate many jobs in administration, production, and other areas tasked with solving simple, routine problems. This will leave humans to focus on larger, systemic, global challenges, which will demand higher-level thinking and the ability to adapt, reframe, and psychologically challenge ourselves.

2. Critical Thinking

Rather than placing blind trust in traditional sources of authority, the future demands that we become more open-minded with a certain degree of skepticism, thinking many steps ahead of our current challenges and distractions. We can hone our critical thinking skills by controlling our information diets, taking charge of our mindsets, and learning from experience.

3. Creativity

Creativity has never been the exclusive province of playwrights, classical composers, and aesthetes. Rather, creativity is a muscle that we all need to exercise. Find out how to best defy your fears and make every day a storytelling adventure. Then apply creative thinking to all of your personal and professional decisions, to be ready to pose radical solutions for the serious problems we're tackling as a species.

4. People Management

Just as the inspired artistic genius is no longer a useful model for creativity, so the solitary crank or bully is no longer an effective role model for professional success. Relating to others, practicing compassion, and understanding what makes people tick is increasingly required of us all. The individual is no longer the dominant paradigm for understanding the human experience - it's being replaced by the network. What's more, building strong relationships with others is its own reward.

5. Coordinating with Others

Interdependence and interconnectedness are the important values of the future. As a new array of stimuli distracts us, making it harder to coordinate efforts and to meaningfully connect, much power will accrue to those who appreciate the practical challenges of team and relationship-building, and devise ever better ways to do it.

At Artisan Creative, we know that today's future is tomorrow's present, and we pride ourselves on thinking ahead. Be prepared - contact us today.  We hope you've enjoyed our 466th blog.


Body Language Speaks Volumes In An Interview

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Body Language Speaks Volumes In An Interview

Body language plays a big part in our daily interactions—from interacting with clients and vendors to public speaking to conducting interviews—whether you are the interviewee OR the interviewer.

I once interviewed a brilliant candidate, who was extremely skilled in his craft and (on paper), had all the qualifications our client was looking to hire.

However, during our pre-qualification interview, the candidate never made eye contact and looked down for the better part of our conversation. And, when he did look up, he would look a few inches above my head.

There were three of us conducting this group interview, so perhaps his nerves took over or he didn’t know which one of us to look at.

He was very smart—however, the role was asking for more than smarts—our client was looking for someone with strong interpersonal skills to interface with their clients and vendors. And, they were looking for a leader, who could command attention and the respect of his peers and team.

It is a fact that first impressions are made within 7 seconds.This means initially body language speaks much louder than words and often sets the tone of whether someone decides to take you seriously or not!

In an interview, this could be the difference between getting that desired job or not getting it!

In today’s digital age, video interviews have become commonplace and often take place over Skype, Zoom, Facetime or Google Hangouts as a first interview.

Body language in a digital interview is just an important as in person — maybe even more since the goal is to do well enough to get to the ‘in person’ stage.

In an ‘in person’ interview, your body language is critical the moment you enter the building—from the time you greet the receptionist, to waiting in the lobby, to finally meeting your prospective boss. Imagine you are on stage the entire time—you never know who else will be called upon to join the interview!

In a group interview setting, greet and shake everyone’s hands and make the essential eye contact.When answering a question, share equal time looking at the interviewers. Start with the person who has asked a question, then pace yourself and look at the others as you share the specifics of your background. Do not make the mistake of only looking at and addressing the big boss.

If asked a difficult question, or a question that requires you to think before answering—do not start staring around the room or the ceiling as if the answer is magically written on the walls!

Hopefully, you’ve prepared for this moment. Take a moment, breathe and speak to a specific or parallel experience you have, in a confident articulate manner.

As a candidate, you must research the industry, the company and the role in advance to be fully prepared for the tough questions!

Pay attention to your ‘sitting’ body language: are your arms crossed, could you possibly be seen as reserved or distant? This can sometimes portray insecurity. Or are you leaning in to demonstrate paying attention?

Your gestures and facial expressions are windows into your personality during an interview. As much as you are being interviewed for your skills, you are also being interviewed for fit within the team. Are you friendly, confident, outgoing, articulate? Eye contact and smiling are a quick assessment of these traits.

Be aware of your gestures and how much is too much—in an interview you want to demonstrate excitement and passion for the role. However, since you are on a much smaller stage, scale everything back to fit the environment.

Body language speaks volumes—Let it speak loud and clear!

At Artisan Creative we will share our 20+ years of experience to help prepare you for your interview. Contact us today.

We hope you've enjoyed the 465th issue of our a.blog.

 


Project Management Triangle

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Project Management Triangle

 

"Fast. Cheap. Good. Pick two."

This is a summation of the Project Management Triangle, a framework for project scoping and resource allocation that has been in use since the 1950s, and has long been embraced by freelance software developers in particular.

The basic idea is that an emphasis on any one or two corners of the triangle requires constraints in the third. What we emphasize shows the world who we are and what we value. Project managers, hiring managers, and creative professionals must determine what areas are most important, and realize the value of compromise in some areas to achieve excellence in others.

If you are filling a role or scoping a project, or you want to make sure your clients understand your constraints and give you appropriate support, the Project Management Triangle is a useful model for negotiating fairly and setting appropriate expectations.

In any profession, it is useful to keep these rules in mind:

If you want work done at high quality, with a quick turnaround, it may be expensive.

Time is perhaps the most precious resource of all. The work that goes into completing complex projects on tight turnarounds doesn't begin when you sign the contract - it requires years of study, experience, and preparation on the part of those who complete the assignment. Under such demands, you will need to work with the best, and you can expect them to charge what they're worth.

If you want your work done quickly, and you have a tight budget, it may not be of top quality.

If you make harsh demands and don't pay well, you may run the risk of being "penny wise and pound foolish," or sacrificing big returns in the future for small savings now. You can offset this by shifting from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset. If you don't have a lot of money, what other sorts of value can you offer talent to get them excited about your projects and build strong, ongoing relationships based on collective appreciation? To set the stage for great work, establish realistic expectations based on mutual respect.

If you want to build something of high quality at low cost, it may take a long time.

As Billie Holiday sings, "The difficult, I'll do right now. The impossible may take a little while." If you have high expectations and a low budget, your most crucial virtues are patience and persistence. Your success depends on building long-term relationships with passionate professionals who care about your project and have the expertise to get it done.

Every project is different. That's why we use flexible mental models to determine how we can best accomplish our goals. For instance, under the "lean startup" framework, we would not gauge "fast," "cheap," or "good" in the same way as we would in a typical corporate setting. However, for most projects, the Project Management Triangle provides the most useful values system for determining the scope and setting expectations.

If you're hiring skilled and qualified professionals for your project, or you're an ambitious creative in search of the perfect challenge, contact Artisan Creative today. Leverage our decades of business experience to build relationships that lead to mutual flourishing.

We hope you've enjoyed the 464th issue of our a.blog.

 


Networking Opportunities in March

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Networking Opportunities in March

As a freelancer, you may work independently, but that doesn't mean you have to work alone. There are numerous networks and communities, both online and in real life, that can help you find connection, inspiration, and support.

Despite its reputation for impersonal sprawl, Los Angeles boasts a particularly strong design community. LA designers gather at large, recurring events held by AIGA, Creative Mornings, and others, and they can also be found at smaller meetups around the city.

The organizers of the Los Angeles User Experience Meetup group track design-related gatherings on the west side, downtown, online, and all around greater Los Angeles. They provided us with a curated list of five great events for LA designers to check out in March 2018. If you're looking for designer camaraderie in LA, here are five places to find it.

Breakfast Panel: Diversity

When: Monday, March 5, 8:00 AM

Where: General Assembly, 150 2nd St., Santa Monica

Why: In the worlds of design and tech, issues of race, gender, and fair treatment in the workplace have never been more salient. Over breakfast, a panel of women and an audience of industry insiders will hash things out and chew on the big questions.

Product Management: Live Chat

When: Tuesday, March 6, 11:15 AM

Where: Online - register at the link

Why: This is an open-ended "ask me anything" session with Liliya McLean, lead product manager with the iconic home goods brand Home Depot. If you're curious about product management or the product management community in Los Angeles, this is an ideal, low-pressure opportunity to assuage your curiosity and get involved. Registration includes an invitation to the highly active Product Management Los Angeles Slack community.

Tech Fair LA

When: Thursday, March 8, 10:00 AM

Where: Magic Box, 1933 South Broadway, Los Angeles

Why: Whether or not you're looking for work, attending events geared toward job-seekers gives you an opportunity to see what's out there, hone your networking skills, and get a sense of the market and community around the Los Angeles tech sector. This enormous job fair is more like a party than most, with demos, hack-a-thons, DJs, food trucks, and a fun, festive atmosphere.

Creating Reality AR/VR Hackathon

When: Monday, March 12 - Thursday, March 15

Where: Ronald Tutor Hall, 3710 McClintock Avenue, Los Angeles

Why: In the entertainment capital of the world, from Silicon Beach to the Hollywood Hills, the rise of virtual and augmented reality has been a subject of intense commercial and creative interest. This week-long series of workshops and team projects promises a full immersion in the technology, the community, and the field of VR/AR.

DTLA Community Hack Night at Nordstrom Rack/HauteLook

When: Tuesday, March 13, 7:00 PM

Where: The BLOC Office Tower, 700 South Flower Street, Los Angeles

Why: Creative people often bond best when they have something to work on together, preferably a project that's ambitious, immersive, and fun. Girl Develop It Los Angeles hosts this hands-on skill-building session for designers, developers, and passionate makers of all stripes. It's a safe environment for experimentation, and for curious techies and aesthetes of all descriptions.

At Artisan Creative, we believe that the essence of professional success is about more than money - it's about building a strong network, doing interesting things, and leading a fascinating life. We keep our eyes open for all sorts of growth and enrichment opportunities for creative professionals, in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and beyond. Contact us today to learn more.

We hope you've enjoyed the 463rd issue of our a.blog.

 


4 Tips for Being a Better Co-Worker

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

4 Tips for Being a Better Co-Worker

 

Whether you're working on-site or remotely, as part of an agency or in-house team, it is increasingly important to work more respectfully and effectively with others. Good team players are in demand because they get results, are collaborative and easy to work with. Moreover, maintaining a positive attitude toward those around you especially through challenging times will ripple out into all areas of your life.

Here are four easy to be a better coworker in 2018 and beyond.

1. Communication

As interdependent creatures, our lives require a collaborative effort. In order to contribute and do work they can take pride in, your coworkers must be heard, and know that they are heard.

Practice active listening techniques and asking questions to make sure everyone on your team has ample opportunity to shine and to add their secret sauce to the recipe. This will allow you to work more efficiently, more effectively, and will give you a chance to see what the team can accomplish when everyone has a chance to offer their best.

2. Appreciation

Everyone deserves equal respect, and we all bring different skills, talents, and passions to a team. When you praise and encourage coworkers where they excel, as well as share constructive feedback where appropriate, you have the potential to help and discover the unique greatness of each individual you work with.

When you offer appreciation, be specific. It's nice to be told, "you're awesome." It's more useful and meaningful to know what particular things that have done well. For example, you could say, " I really appreciate the way you communicate your ideas, as it opens a new perspective on how to approach this particular challenge. What other thoughts do you have on this?"

3. Credit

None of us live in a vacuum. We are each the products of our environments and of the relationships we foster with those around us. Everything we create in life is the result of an endless series of interactions and collaborations.

Therefore, when you achieve a goal or accomplish something remarkable, always share the credit with those who helped you along the way. This will show others that you think in terms of the group, which will inspire them to contribute to more success in the future.

Share your credit, and others will share your responsibility.

4. Support

Many of us spend as much time with our coworkers as we do with our friends and families. Therefore, even if you're not at the center of a colleague's life, it is important to pay attention to what's going on with them and to offer emotional support as much as you can.

If a coworker needs to step back or take time off for their physical and emotional health, let them know you respect their decision to care for themselves, and offer to pick up the slack in whatever ways are needed.

Be mindful of the humanity of everyone you work with, whether colleagues, clients, customers, or the people who serve you in any capacity - especially when it’s difficult! By sowing goodwill, and having empathy you'll accomplish more, get more of what you really want, and experience greater peace of mind.

At Artisan Creative, we strive to help professionals make the most of their careers and lives and help teams thrive. Contact us today to find your dream team.

We hope you've enjoyed the 462nd issue of our a.blog.

 


CA-The State of Employment

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

CA-The State of Employment

According to a recent jobs report, the state of employment in California is robust and growing.

California added 52,700 jobs in 2017, representing 36% of national growth. ("We should be, at our size, closer to 11%," State Employment Department Director Michael S. Bernick told The Los Angeles Times.) Unemployment stands at 4.3%, down from 4.6% in November and 5.2% at the end of 2016.

Professional and business services, travel and leisure, and information services all saw big gains, along with the public sector. All these have the potential to unlock opportunities for freelance creative professionals. Employers, particularly those connected to the "information economy," are staffing up, hiking pay, and opening new roles for those with the right skills, a penchant for adaptability, and are tech savvy.

Migration patterns show that, after a slump during the Great Recession, the state is once again attracting talent in search of sun, surf, and favorable circumstances. At around 51% move-ins versus move-outs, California is once again a popular destination for the upwardly and geographically mobile.

Like any boom, this one comes with some caveats. Despite an impressive recovery, California remains an expensive and challenging place to live and to work. Optimistic new Californians may encounter some challenges given the state's severe housing shortage.

To navigate the landscape of employment in California, we recommend consulting experts and taking advantage of the wealth of resources made possible by our rich information economy. Freelancers Union, AIGA or similar organizations have resources, expertise, and camaraderie available for independent contractors or those considering a switch to freelancing.

And, of course, your advocates at Artisan Creative are here to guide and help you understand the current trends to build your career and expand your network as you continue to flourish right here in California.

Contact Artisan Creative today - we'd love to show you around.

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.


Staying Creative and Innovative

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Staying Creative and Innovative

"This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete."

― Steven Pressfield

As the holiday season approaches and we look ahead to a new year, it’s important to continue to remain creative and innovative. Often time in nature or away from the screen is exactly what is needed to generate new ideas. Creative professionals can't afford the luxury of waiting for inspiration to strike. Hobbyists and dabblers can get to work when they have the occasional great idea. For a pro, the challenge isn’t to paint a masterpiece every 20 years, it is to keep working when generating ideas becomes a challenge, insecurity and impostor syndrome set in, and creativity becomes harder to come by.

Here are a few tips to use in 2018 to stay productive and do your best creative work whenever you're feeling challenged to generate new ideas.

Commit to a Daily Practice

The only way to consistently have good ideas is to consistently have a lot of bad ideas. That's why it's vital to have a daily creative practice that serves to clear out the psychological clutter.

The writer and investor James Altucher suggests writing ten ideas a day, every day - these ideas can be about anything, and they can be really out there, as long as you force yourself to keep coming up with them. Comedy legend Jerry Seinfeld sets a daily timer and forces himself to write until it runs out - most of this material doesn't make it anywhere near his set, it’s the practice that separates him from the amateurs at open mic nights.

750 Words is one of several web portals that's designed to reward a daily creative practice, regardless of the work quality. If you are an illustrator or designer, take up a similar practice of drawing one new sketch every day. This is the best way to keep your creative muscles limber and strong.

Join a Creative Community

It is important to be an active member of your local community of creative pros. This will give you a chance to share and test ideas, commiserate, and get a positive nudge when you need to keep going.

You can find groups of like-minded creative professionals on Meetup, or attend Creative Mornings talks in your city. If you don't live near a creative metropolis, there are plenty of supportive social networks online, too.

When you identify as part of a creative tribe, you may feel a lot more secure in your work, knowing that others must overcome the same challenges as you and you can ask for help when you need it.

Respect Your Own Process

It may sound like a dream job to conjure up creative inspiration and play with new ideas every day for a living, however, it can be a real challenge if you aren't in touch with your own mental, physical, and emotional rhythms.

To maximize your output, pay attention to your input. Take regular breaks, eat healthy and delicious food, and get plenty of sleep, even when you're on tight deadlines. It's worth making sacrifices to keep yourself in good condition.

To maximize your potential, pay attention to your own signals. Do you start strong in the mornings and taper off in the afternoons, or do you hit your stride in midday? Can you do deep, focused work for hours at a time, or do you prefer 55-minute work intervals staggered with five-minute water breaks?

As much as you can, let your work life move to your own inner rhythms. And mind the "taste gap;" sometimes, when you're disappointed in your own work, it means your taste is improving, and you just have to keep applying yourself to reach new creative heights you never imagined before.

Talk to the Experts

At Artisan, we work with the top creative professionals in the business, and we've seen talent handle challenges and still produce brilliant work on a consistent basis.

When you're inspired to take your career to the next level, contact Artisan Creative, and join some of the most prestigious creative talent around. We hope you enjoy the 455th issue of our weekly a.blog.



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