Artisan Blog

How to Find a Mentor

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

How to Find a Mentor

 

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

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

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

Bring Value

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

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

Build Your Community

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

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

Seek Out a Variety of Mentors

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

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

Be Resilient

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

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

Be Humble

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

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

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

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

 

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


7 Impactful TedTalks

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

7 Impactful TedTalks

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

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

Brene Brown - The Power of Vulnerability

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

Andy Puddicombe - All It Takes Is 10 Mindful Minutes

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

Susan Cain - The Power of Introverts

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

Magnus Walker - Go With Your Gut Feeling

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

Rajiv Nathan - How to Become an Expert in Vulnerability

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

Terri Trespicio - Stop Searching for Your Passion

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

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

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

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

 

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

 



5 Free Online Courses for Creatives

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

5 Free Online Courses for Creatives

Another long, hot summer is upon us! If your business takes on a slower pace and you’re planning to take some time off, we’d like to recommend taking this opportunity to build on your professional skills and enrich your creative awareness by taking free online courses.

Coursera is one of several popular online platforms for massive open online classes (MOOCs). It offers engaging college-level courses in partnership with major universities, in a variety of creative disciplines and new technologies, all free of charge. Along with video lectures and reading material, many of these include tests, graded homework, discussion forums and some offer certificates of completion that add more experience to your resume or LinkedIn profile.

Here are five free creative courses that can give you a professional upgrade.

While predicting the future isn’t easy, there are some core thinking skills and mental models that can help leverage change and prepare for whatever comes next. This knowledge is widely applicable to those who do any sort of creative or entrepreneurial work and need to remain relevant to stay successful.

The essence of “design thinking” is “doing more with less.” This course explores how to pull off brilliant innovations under challenging and shifting circumstances, with ideas that are essential in UX or product design and relevant to anyone in business.

This is the first in Professor Scott Klemmer’s series of classes on interaction design, highly acclaimed by those in UX, information design, and computer science. You’ll learn the basic skills of ideation, research, and rapid prototyping that drive the latest trends in human-centered design, which is the art of working with your users and customers.

Content marketing uses the skills of advertising, branding, storytelling, and journalism to hook audiences and drive conversions. While this class is about communication and messaging strategy, its knowledge applies to anyone who wants to do business in the always-on digital age.

This course takes a serious, analytical look at the cutthroat social dynamics of high school that have inspired comedic films such as Mean Girls. By tackling a taboo topic with rigor and compassion, it has become one of the most popular MOOCs of all time. Its lessons have profound implications in design, in marketing, and across the cultural and professional spectrum.

Besides online courses, this is a great time to revamp your design portfolio and resume with updated information.

At Artisan Creative, we believe that the best opportunities are always reserved for those creative professionals who are most eager to learn. Contact us today to see how we can help you enrich your career, and yourself!

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 479th 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.

 


14 Books for Creatives

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

14 Books for Creatives

Whether you listen to audio editions on your commute, use a tablet or e-reader, or relax with a cat on your lap and an old-fashioned paper edition, books are still a great source of information and knowledge for creative pros.

A book allows you to take a deeper dive into a subject and emerge with a broader awareness of how its details fit into context. When it's easier and easier to consume bite-sized bits of information, delving into a book gives you an advantage over those with less experience of focus.

And books make excellent gifts. With countless titles to choose from, they're not easy to shop for. Your favorite creative mentor, peer, or friend will be delighted when a thoughtfully chosen book drops into his or her lap.

Whether you're shopping for a designer, a developer, an artist, or a marketing executive, here are fourteen selections that will spark creative inspiration.

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

This revolutionary writing guide gave rise to a system of thought and a movement that has helped creative people of all types develop greater respect for themselves and their work. Its most influential exercise is probably "the morning pages," a daily three-page handwritten routine that has galvanized authors, actors, musicians, and everyday people around the world.

The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

A favorite among UX designers, this classic takes a thorough and counterintuitive look at the familiar objects around us and wonders how they came to be as they are.

Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day by Todd Henry

You only get one chance to make the most of the creative career you pursue in this lifetime. This urgent and heartfelt challenge will embolden you to “lose yourself,” fully commit to your process, and leave it all on the field.

How To Be Useful by Megan Hustad

Hustad's book is a wry, comprehensive, no-nonsense primer on networking, career-building, doing your job, and preserving your soul. It's perfect for graduates, those mulling a career change, or anyone who sometimes wonders if he or she missed out on some essential knowledge about how to thrive in the workplace.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

A successful novelist with a cult following among creatives in all fields, Pressfield believes that success means showing up, every day, and maintaining a regular practice, and that the only way to self-actualize as a creative is to start treating yourself as a professional.

The Comic Toolbox: How to Be Funny Even If You're Not by John Vorhaus

Some of the most useful creative inspiration has always come from jokes and humor, from looking at life sideways and shattering expectations. This is a practical and amusing guide to the functions and structure of humor, with exercises that can help you produce smarter and more entertaining work.

Place Your Thoughts Here: Meditation for the Creative Mind by Steven L. Saitzyk

A Buddhist art teacher explores the connections between creativity and meditation in a warm and compassionate book that will fascinate any creative pro with an interest in mindfulness practice.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

This landmark study on human behavior, and how it relates to thought, is a must-read for anyone who needs to understand incentive structures and why people sometimes act as they do. Kahneman won the Nobel prize for economics and is a highly regarded psychologist.

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

This book examines what happens when we get so absorbed in our work that we lose track of time, and suggests how we might cultivate such a state of pure creative devotion.

Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done by Jocelyn K. Glei

In an always-on world of perpetual distraction, an influential blogger and editor makes a case for shutting out the noise and decluttering your digital life. You don't have to be a hardcore minimalist to get some empowering and actionable insights from this one.

Quartz: The Objects That Power the Global Economy by Quartz Editors

This coffee table book from the business blog Quartz showcases the innovative genius of product design and makes a beautiful companion to The Design of Everyday Things.

How To Get Ideas by Jack Foster

Foster is a fun, funny, avuncular guide to the art of generating fresh ideas. If you know someone who's struggling to stay creative, this book can reignite the joy of the process.

Hey Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads by Luke Sullivan

This irreverent but practical guide to the advertising industry provides a thorough understanding of the creative business and shows how a rebellious attitude can help you do work that gets attention. The classic text has been updated to address new channels and technologies.

The Dip by Seth Godin

Seth Godin is a business and marketing guru to millions through his daily blog. This tiny but crucial book examines what happens when we get stuck in a gap between mediocrity and excellence, how to persist, and how to get out.

When you're inspired and driven 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 454th issue of our weekly a.blog.


How to Improve Your Presentation Skills

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

How to Improve Your Presentation Skills

Great presentations communicate information that audiences can retain and act on. As a presenter, it is crucial that you capture your audience's attention for as long as it takes so your message can resonate.  Many people have to present at some point in their career--whether its for a client pitch, an internal presentation, a job interview or a presentation to your team, it's critital to be engaging, be articulate and memorable.

As you plan your presentation, there are several key steps you can take to make sure that it’s engaging and "sticky" throughout. If you use slides, they should be stylish, eye-catching, and appropriate for your presentation's content and tone. (If you are not an experienced presentation designer, collaborate with one - contact Artisan if you need help in this area.) Here are more tips that professionals use to make their presentations engaging, entertaining, and effective.

Plan Your Presentation in Ten-Minute Chunks

In her essential book 100 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People, Susan M. Weinschenk, Ph.D., claims that the maximum amount of time a presenter can assume their audience will stay engaged is about seven to ten minutes. And, that's if they're interested in the speaker and the subject matter.

"A typical presentation is longer than seven to ten minutes," Weinschenk writes. "Presentations are often an hour long. This means you have to find ways to make changes at least every seven minutes in order to get people to pay attention. It's easy, as the presenter, to forget that your audience's attention may be waning. As the presenter, you are having a very different experience than your audience: You have adrenaline flowing because you are on stage, you are in the throes of a performance, and you are physically moving. The members of your audience, on the other hand, are sitting in chairs, and their minds are easily wandering."

In order to work with this tendency, plan "mini-breaks" into the structure of your presentation, at 7-to-10-minute intervals. These could be pauses for Q&A, stretch breaks, interactive activities, games, or transitions, such as stories or noticeable shifts in tone. If you plan for natural ebbs in attention, work with the nature of your audience's minds, rather than against it.

Be Unusual

People are naturally bored by the expected and routine. Our brains are designed to tune out familiar signals so we can focus on what’s new, relevant, exciting, important, and even potentially dangerous.

When your audience sits down for your presentation, they do so with certain expectations. To get and hold their attention, try to confound those expectations in whatever way is appropriate for the setting and material.

This could mean experimenting with your format and structure, explaining your material in a novel way, using personal stories, displaying vulnerability, or working in jokes and humor. (If you don't think you're a comedian, you should know that being funny is a skill you can learn and practice. Books such as The Comic Toolbox: How to Be Funny Even If You're Not by Jon Vorhaus and Step-By-Step to Stand-Up Comedy by Greg Dean can change your professional life, even if you don’t plan to take your act to the Catskills.)

Read the Room

One of the most important skills of a stand-up comedian is the ability to "read the room," or call out situations that are happening in their surroundings. This disarms potential distractions by making them a part of the show, rather than a competing stimulus.

For example, if the room is hot and everyone is hungry, it won't help to pretend these things aren't true. Instead, make a joke out of them, or relate them to your material somehow. Anything that is already on your audience's minds is a source of material. Being explicit about it breaks the tension, goes against expectations, and may even get a laugh.

Keep It Simple

Even if your topic is very complex or abstract, your presentation must be simple. If you overload your audience with information, they won't retain any of it. They will pay more attention when they are confident they will be able to digest the material.

In your slides, use short, simple sentences and lists with numbers or bullet points. Communicate in pictures, sounds, and feelings. If there is too much material to effectively cover, provide a URL for those interested to do more research and get the longer version of the story. (If you use a special "tracking URL," this can also be useful for digital marketing purposes.)

Being a compelling presenter isn't just for politicians, rock stars and TED Talkers - it's an important skill for every creative professional. Fortunately, almost anyone can learn it. If you want to also improve your public speaking skills, you can contact Toastmasters for classes near you.

Contact us to learn more, and find out how enhancing your presentation skills and getting the right people's attention can supercharge your career.  We hope you enjoy the 445th issue of our weekly  a.blog.

 


Continued Education for Creatives

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Continued Education for Creatives

 

As a creative professional, your education never ends. The ever-evolving skills and technologies are one of the exciting facets of the creative and marketing career path.

Opportunities for ongoing learning, enrichment, and personal growth are now more plentiful than at any other time in history. With access to more information than can be absorbed in a lifetime, the challenge is to structure your learning and find the best opportunities for your own advancement.  We've organized some of the content into categories to help with the selection process:

Virtual and Free

There are numerous free courses and lectures available online. Khan Academy, Coursera, and other established sites devoted to virtual learning offer college-level instruction on almost any topic, including plenty of technical and creative subjects that can aid in career advancement.

If you prefer a less structured approach, you can absorb hundreds of hours of TED Talks, alternatives to TED talks, podcasts, and audiobooks, investing only your time and the cost of an internet connection. There are also free, creatively oriented sites and discussion forums that offer a sense of community and require only your time investment.

Virtual, for a Fee

Some online classes charge a fee for their content by offering added value, exclusivity, personal attention, or access to a members-only networking community or content.

Many reputable institutions of higher learning now offer online classes, and many paid online programs are well worth the price. In order to devote themselves fully to their work, some creators of educational content charge membership fees or offer added perks to followers who donate via sites such as Patreon, which can give you the opportunity to foster a more meaningful relationship with a teacher, mentor, or community.

When you seek a paid continuing education course, seek reviews or communicate with others who have taken these programs to make sure it's the right investment for you.

Free and In-Person

In most major cities, creative professionals have easy access to a wide variety of free lectures, networking events, and other opportunities to expand their skillsets and meet potential friends and collaborators.

If you're looking for free events, Meetup.com is the best place to start - it includes groups based on thousands of topics, including many related to design, technology, and other creative fields. Creative Mornings hosts a series of talks in cities around the world, offering top-quality content for free. If you want to attend, register and grab your tickets within the first few minutes they are available, otherwise, they will sell-out very quickly.

In-Person, for a Fee 

If time allows, one of the most reliable ways to master a new discipline or set of skills is to set aside a few months and take an immersive class or "bootcamp." Many bootcamps have sprung up to teach technical skills such as coding and have gained credibility and following.

General Assembly is one example of a private learning institution for those in creative and technical fields. While it is only one of dozens of its kind, it has established a worldwide presence. It offers immersive courses in web development, user experience design, and other fields that offer opportunities for a new or enhanced career. If you're not ready to take that much of a leap, these schools also offer cost-effective classes that you can take in an evening or on a weekend.

At Artisan Creative, continued education is an important aspect of our business.  Contact us today to learn more.

In our 20+ years of connecting creative talent with top clients, we have gained knowledge and built strong networks.

We nurture creative talent at every stage of their careers.  Contact us today to discover how we can help. We hope you enjoy the 443rd issue of our weekly a.blog.



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