Artisan Blog

Time: More Than Money

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Time: More Than Money

The old saying goes, “Time is money.” Benjamin Franklin was supposed to have made up this aphorism. The provenance is not clear, but the sentiment has lasted centuries. Is it true?

Let’s look at what time really is.

An Investment--When we put time into learning new things so that we can grow in skill and ability, we make an investment in our future. It could be personal growth or even satisfaction in increased competence. Time is capital.

Productivity--Time spent working could be thought of as money, but that work is also support of relationships with co-workers and clients, creativity and innovation. A client or a company pays you for that time, but money is not all it represents.

Experience--Especially when you are on a job search, how much time you spent in different roles becomes a commodity of its own. You made a salary or were paid an hourly rate, but the time spent performing the tasks and completing the projects in your previous jobs made you the professional you are today and provides the stories you will tell at your next interview.

A Finite Resource--There is a point in our working lives when we realize that we have a limited amount of time left for work, for family, for learning, for growth. We start to think about how we want to spend that resource. Money could run out, but time is sure to.

For me, it comes down to this: Time is time. And it is more valuable than money will ever be. When I invest my time in a client, I am making a choice not just to use their resources, but also my own. When I learn something new, I am investing in my future. When I decide to spend years with a company, I am hoping that those years will lead to more challenging roles. And when I spend time giving back, I know that time has more value to the organizations I volunteer with because their resources can go to the cause which is our shared passion.

Time is more than money. Time is the most valuable, most precious thing we have. How will you spend yours?

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

P.S. If you would like to get a glimpse of where I spent 30+ hours giving back last week, check out jbhsvma.com!


5 Tips for Choosing Freelance Clients

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

As a freelancer, it is tempting to say “Yes!” to every opportunity that comes along, whether it's a graphic design job or a long-term marketing contract. After all, there are dry spells in every career. You don’t want to take the chance of having created one yourself. There are, however, times, when you should resist temptation and wait for the next project to come along. How can you tell what time it is?

  1. Too rushed--If your client doesn’t have time to give you detailed instructions, is too busy to get together to sign a contract or has a deadline that seems unreasonable, this might be a skip.
  2. Not enough money--Don’t sell your skills short. If a client is not willing to pay your usual rate, you will spend the whole project wishing you had said yes to the next one, the one you don’t have time for.
  3. Unpleasant manner--You don’t have to be friends with your clients, but if your impression is that you are not going to get along at all, trust your gut. Having difficult or even rude people around all the time affects your company culture. In a business world where we are all entrepreneurs, you are the company.
  4. Unappealing project--Being too picky could find you eating beans out of a can, but if you can’t think of one interesting or creative quality you can bring to a project, it might be better to wait for the next one.
  5. Big learning curve--Although we are in favor of learning new skills and keeping your current skills up-to-date, getting your education on the job--especially on a deadline--is a sure route to pulling your hair out.
Taking on a project that really isn’t right for you is definitely worse than having some free time between contracts and probably worse than getting a bit tight on funds. Pay attention to your instincts and you will know when to say “Yes, of course!” and when to say “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


Tips on What to Ask Your Interviewer--Or Not

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Tips on What to Ask Your Interviewer--Or Not



Imagine it: you are at the job interview for the perfect role. You have charmed the hiring manager with your stories, remembered all of the quantifiable accomplishments on your resume and answered all of her questions with confidence and style. It’s time to tie this one up with a bow.

Any questions?

You would think that the hard part is over. Here is where you don’t need to know the answers, only have good questions to ask. Do you have good questions? Have you planned them and run them by a trusted friend?

Here are some questions that will pass muster and some you should put aside:

Do:
  • Ask a question based on your research about the company. Choose two qualities of its culture and ask which is the most important. 
  • Ask what changes they would like to see in the role going forward. Maybe something in your skillset will help that change take place.
  • Ask what the first priority will be for the person hired. If that person is you, you will have some training and orientation time, but a chance to think about what your first project could be should help you make the transition successfully.
Don’t:
  • Ask about benefits until you have an offer. I know and they know that benefits are an important part of the package, but in the interview, what you bring to the table is what’s under discussion, not what they bring. Wait.
  • Ask about telecommuting. Again, this is a significant factor for your work/life balance, but unless it is a deal-breaker, wait until you are settled in and know that you could make it work before asking if you can work offsite.
  • Decline to ask anything. Lack of curiosity about the company will turn off any interviewer.
This part of an interview generally comes at the end, so what you do here is the last thing the hiring manager will remember when it’s over. Don’t waste this opportunity to put your own spin on their impression of you. 

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


Getting Paid What You’re Worth

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Getting Paid What You’re Worth

 

One of the biggest challenges - whether you are a recent graduate or an experienced creative - is getting paid what you’re worth. There may not be a formula for determining salary, but armed with some research, you will be ready to negotiate pay in either your current job or for a new position.

Take a Balanced Approach
Determining what you’re worth isn’t just about identifying an arbitrary dollar value. Consider key factors like market value, geography and benefits for a more balanced look at what you can expect to earn. Industry trends, company hierarchy and prior experience all play a role in determining your market value. Make a list of A, B and C-level companies you’d like to work for and review their websites and social media pages, paying particular attention to information on current job opportunities. Compare specific job descriptions to benchmark job descriptions and salary data to determine the salary range for your target job. Understand that these figures fluctuate depending on location and cost of living.

No matter where you work, remember that compensation is only part of the equation. Before you have a conversation with a hiring manager or HR, think about the benefits you desire and factor these into the larger compensation package. For example, you may consider a lower salary if it means little to no commute time. Don’t need health benefits? Negotiate the value as part of your base salary or ask for other perks like more vacation time. The goal is to reach a middle ground that is mutually beneficial for you and your prospective employer.

Know the Facts
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers a comprehensive resource library that includes information on wage data, pay and benefits, unemployment and more. Compare your findings with income statistics broken down by demographic for a reality check on what Americans bring home. Assessing the big picture will give your research some context and relevancy. The more informed you are about where you fit within your industry’s job landscape, the better equipped you will be to chart a financially rewarding career path.

Before starting down that path, you’ll want to get a finger on the pulse of industry specific wages by talking to professionals or recruiters in your field. Be a detective. LinkedIn is a great place to begin to build your network and introduce yourself online. Ask for informational interviews where you gather details about job duties, titles and general salary expectations. Do not ask for personal salary figures. It’s important to talk to people at different career stages so that you get an accurate picture of salary milestones and the typical professional trajectory in your industry. Attend professional networking events in your area. Professional organizations, LinkedIn and Meetup groups post event information online, making it easy to plan ahead. Make sure you attend a variety of events including seminars, workshops, social hours and business meetings to discover as many facets of your field as possible.

A little research goes a long way in preparing for salary negotiation. With the right tools and a plan of action in place for building your professional network, you are certain to hit on salary trends that will point you in the right direction. Knowing what you’re worth is only the first step. Next, you’ve got to ask for what you deserve based on the skills and experience you bring to the table. If you’re still stumped, submit an online application with your resume attached. One of our recruiters will reach out if your qualifications match our open jobs.

Good luck!

Jessica Joy Reveles, Business Development Account Manager


Office Etiquette: 5 Things You Should Never Say (or Type)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Office Etiquette: 5 Things You Should Never Say (or Type)



Everyone speaks without thinking on occasion, and we’ve probably all hit “Send” when we wish we hadn’t. However, there are times when what you say (or type) at work can have big repercussions. Unlike our personal relationships, where it can be easier to apologize and move on, office blunders like this could land you out of a job! Here are a few “nevers” to remember:

“I really shouldn’t say this but…” followed by anything at all. You already had second thoughts. When in doubt, shut your mouth, in this case.

“Don’t tell anyone I told you.” If I can’t tell anyone you told me, I don’t want to know. Information is sometimes kept to only a few for quite valid reasons. If someone else says this to you after a juicy tidbit, get the brain bleach because it had better not go any further or it’s your fault.

“How much do you make?” Never discuss salary with your co-workers. Unless you are directly responsible for hiring someone or involved in your own salary negotiations/reviews with your manager or HR, this information should not be shared.

“My boss is the worst.” Or variations on that theme. The only person who should hear complaints about the boss is the boss – and in an appropriate venue. Your human resources department is also a suitable audience. This goes double for social media. Facebook and Twitter are terrible places for complaints about your boss or your job. You can’t control where that information goes after you post it and every Tweet ends up in the Library of Congress if not in your boss’s Inbox.

Anything you wouldn’t want your Grandma to see. I know, that’s a tough one, but a good rule of thumb, especially for employees looking for jobs. No social media platform is perfectly private and even snail mail can get passed around. Keep those steamy stories for in-person encounters with trusted friends.

There’s a meme going around with an acronym we like: T.H.I.N.K. Before you say something, ask yourself:

Is it True?
Is it Helpful?
Is it Inspiring?
Is it Necessary?
Is it Kind?

Not everything we say will be all of these, but applying this test is a good way to make a conscious decision about what we say and send.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


Freelancing: What Do You Charge?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Freelancing: What Do You Charge?



Conversations with potential clients often begin with the bottom line: what do you charge for your services? It may feel odd, but by putting off the cost issue until you’ve established your value, you can actually put yourself in a better place to negotiate.   

Your potential client, of course, is trying to rule out vendors who charge more than their budget can bear. However, they may not understand what your services include or what you think they really need. When clients ask the money question - be sure to tell them that you will answer the question, but that you need more information to provide the right answer. 
  • Find out why they are calling you. Then sit back and listen actively. Express empathy with their frustration and understanding of their issues. Empathy and understanding will help build a relationship with you and not someone else. 
  • Ask questions to clarify what they require, find out where they are in the process and what kind of timing and resources would be needed. Answers to these questions help you determine the value of this opportunity overall. Remember, what you charge isn’t always about the numbers. Sometimes growth potential, client partnerships, new technology or timing could play a factor in what you are willing to charge. 
  • Tell them about a similar problem you solved for another client. Establishing your experience with a story will build your credibility. This is also a great way to sell the client on other benefits you can provide without sounding “sales-y."
  • Tell them what you would do to solve their problem. At a certain point in the conversation, you should have a pretty good idea what the client needs and what you would do to solve their problem. 
Now it’s time to talk rates and negotiate. 

If you have done your job correctly, the client has seen that you understand their plight and have the experience to deal with it. This puts you in a great position to ask for the fees that you deserve with confidence. 
 
Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


The Do’s and Don’ts of Asking for a Raise

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Do’s and Don’ts of Asking for a Raise

 

We could all use more money. And if you have been earning the same salary for a long period of time, you might be thinking about asking for a bump. Here are some tips on what to do - and what not to do - when you decide it's time for a raise:

Do:
  • Research the current salary range for your role. Glassdoor or PayScale are great resources for this information. They will give you a better idea of where you are in comparison to your peers in the field and where you can expect to be now (and in future).
  • Think about the timing.  If your employer is currently downsizing or doing a reorganization, they might not have the ability to give anyone a raise right now. Bide your time.
  • Make an appointment. Talking about a raise shouldn’t be done on the fly.
  • Prepare. This meeting is a lot like a final job interview. Make a list of your accomplishments, starting with the most recent and going back. This is an opportunity to sell yourself when they already know what you can do.
  • Plan for a “No" Figure out what you will do if they turn you down before you go in. Think about other alternatives to a raise that could make you happier - like more vacation or personal time.
Don’ts
  • Send an email asking for a raise. Face-to-face is the only way to go.
  • Maintain a sense of entitlement. Be sure of yourself, not of the outcome.
  • Talk about personal reasons for needing a raise. Keep the reasons in your meeting to why you deserve a raise and how much value you bring to the table.
  • Get angry, yell or cry if you hear "No" First, it won’t work.  And second, they might decide you’re not worth keeping at all.
  • Use another employee's salary as part of your argument for a raise.  Of course, if you feel you are being discriminated against because of age, gender or are in another protected class, you might want to get some professional advice - as you might have an actual case.
  • Threaten to quit if you don’t get a raise. You could very well find yourself without any pay at all. If you decide or have already decided that you will leave if they turn you down, start the job search process calmly following this meeting.
  • Over-do-it on the presentation. Keep it simple.

Money is definitely a part of the work/life balance equation, but it’s not the only one. Make sure you consider how much you want to keep your job and how happy you are with your colleagues and manager. And if you think you deserve a raise, go for it!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative



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