Artisan Blog

Our Top 25 Blogs

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Our Top 25 Blogs

We are thrilled to publish our 500th blog today. As we approach the end of 2018, we’d like to share some of our a.team’s favorite blogs.

These cover a range of topics from self-development and time-management to job search, hiring and much more.

We hope you enjoy this top 25 greatest hits compilation.

We hope you've enjoyed our 500th post.  You can find plenty other tips, inspirations, best practices and advice on our a.blog.

We look forward to connecting.




Define Your Personal Brand

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Define Your Personal Brand

 

As a creative professional, no matter what projects you pursue, you can create a lot more opportunities for yourself when you establish a clear, concrete, and powerful personal brand.

Here are five steps to help you define who you are, what you do, and where you want to go.

Get to Know Yourself

No matter what work you do, you have your own skills, style, and experiences that are unique to you. Together, they make up a professional persona that differentiates you from your competition. The more specific you can be about your persona, the more consistent your brand can be, and the more work it can do on your behalf.

Developing an effective personal brand requires taking an inventory of what you do well, how others see you, and how you can help them. It can be difficult to look at yourself objectively, on the flip side, this process of inquiry will pay enormous dividends throughout your career.

Check Your Humility

To maintain a healthy grounding in reality, it's important to be realistic and think critically about yourself, your strengths, and the areas in which you can improve upon. When you're building your brand set this aside for the moment and begin with an open mind.

Flatter yourself. Emphasize your strengths. Present yourself as a legend, a rock star, larger than life. You can always be humble and approachable after people are intrigued!

If you have trouble getting excited about your own brand, this classic Creative Mornings talk from Richard Sauerman will provide a jolt of encouragement and help you fall in love with yourself a bit.

Go on a Vision Quest

Create a detailed picture of where you want to go in your professional life, and your mind will begin to automatically strategize how to get you there.

Before you begin the detailed work of building your personal brand, try this visioning exercise. It will help you understand why you're doing all this. Imagine the fruits of your success and you'll whet your appetite for the work it requires.

Become You, Inc.

Now it's time to open your toolbox and assemble the nuts and bolts you will use to build your brand. You'll develop your own style guide, visual assets, slogan, elevator pitch, and everything else a business needs to distinguish and differentiate itself.

To do this, you can use the same assignments and techniques that top agencies use on branding projects for multinational corporations. This article on the best practices of in-the-weeds brand-branding lists all the essentials you'll need, with examples from some of the world's best-known corporate brands.

Knowing how to stand out in the crowd is key to defining your personal brand.  Check out Winnie & Lorrie Hart's book on Stand Out for more details.

Get Engaged

Your brand may be born in the studio, and it will come into its own when it learns to survive on the street. As time goes on, you will develop and iterate on your brand based on how it interacts with the outside world at networking events, in pitch meetings, online, in the work you do, and in the content you create.

Whether you're an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in between, you'll ultimately build your brand through active engagement with your professional community. The more you do this, the more opportunities will open for you. It pays to be strategic, mindful, and deliberate about it.

Consider what you’re comfortable with, and then go slightly outside that zone. You’ll bring back some interesting insights.

At Artisan Creative, we pool decades of experience in the world of creative work to help you become your best professional self and hit goals you didn't know you had. Contact us today to find your next invigorating challenge.

We hope you've enjoyed the 499th issue of our a.blog

 



With Gratitude

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

With Gratitude

“Start with gratitude. Then get to work.”

-Beth Lapides

During this Thanksgiving holiday season, we at Artisan Creative celebrate our clients and talent whom we work with all year. By working with the finest people and organizations, we always find ourselves amazed by the skills of our talent and the openness of our clients that facilitate the making of great matches. This gives us pride in the part we play in impacting careers.

This would not be possible without the courage and selflessness of those who hold up our communities from behind the scenes. We share our immense gratitude for the people who do so much to keep our society functioning at the hardest of times.

In the last few weeks, the Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire have posed unprecedented challenges for our home state of California. In response, Californians have come together to rally behind deeply affected families and businesses, and to support charities and emergency workers who are saving lives and helping communities prepare for rebuilding and recovery. We encourage joining these efforts and giving in the ways that are most effective, using wise-giving guidelines to make sure our dollars do the greatest possible good. Volunteering at your local shelter, donating clothes and essentials, supporting our firefighters are all ways we can help.

The people we work with have taught us much about strengthening our networks, bringing out the best in each other, and banding together to accomplish seemingly impossible breakthroughs. We enter this season in optimistic spirits, and we could never thank you all enough!

Our Artisan a.team is grateful for so much this year, our collective thanks are outlined below:

We are thankful for our health, loving spouse/partners, our children, our fur babies, our families, our A.team co-workers, our home, our company, our personal freedom, our friends and support system, our breath, our opportunity to travel, our ability to have life/work integration, the opportunity to work remotely, and our California.

We wish you and yours a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.


Create a Creative Workspace

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Create a Creative Workspace

Living things don't exist in isolation - we are who we are through complex interactions with our environments. This means building strong relationships with colleagues and coworkers. We can also pay more mindful attention to the details of our physical surroundings. This can help us bring our workspaces into harmony with our projects, our values, and our personalities.

Whether you work from home or have a desk/cubicle in a larger office, these tips can help you spruce up your space, which can help you become happier, more productive, and more creative.

Shed a Little Light

The light you work under sets the tone for what you think and what you accomplish. It can have a powerful effect on your psychological and ocular health. If you can, invest in a stylish lamp you love. If you love to work with your hands and you know a bit about electronics, you can even try making your own.

Know Your Ergonomics

We did not evolve to sit at desks all day. But with a basic understanding of the principles of ergonomics, you can make your work much easier on your health, and feel better as well. Understand what you need from a chair, how to place your equipment, and how to sit. You'll feel better, accomplish more, and preserve your long-term health.

Keep Your Vision in Sight

Keeping your vision board prominently placed in your workspace can help you stay cognizant of your larger goals and mission. When you're in danger of getting lost in the details, your vision board can realign your mind with a larger perspective. Whatever you're working on, the big picture is only a glance away.

Add a Splash of Color

In every culture, colors have deep symbolic significance. According to color theory, the right combinations of colors can inspire new ideas and perspectives. In your space, experiment with colors to find your ideal aesthetic and psychological balance. You don't need to turn your office screaming neon pink; minor accents can be enough to alter your brain chemistry and enhance your insights.

Go Green

When we strengthen our relationships with nature, we put ourselves in touch with the rhythms of the earth and the essence of life. Bringing plants into your workspace (even just a modest succulent) can freshen your perspective. Taking care of a plant also provides a sense of responsibility and accomplishment, a valuable reminder that what you pay attention to always matters in this complex web of existence.

Work Within the Code

When we innovate within the rules, we become, as Proust writes, "like good poets whom the tyranny of rhyme forces into the discovery of their finest lines." If your employer has rules governing how you can decorate your space, this can drive you to be more creative, not less. Go through the rulebook in detail, and figure out fresh ways to let your personality shine within the structure. This can inspire you and those around you to look at established guidelines with a fresh perspective.

At Artisan Creative, we support all aspects of your career, because we believe the best work can only be done in the right environment. Contact us today to learn more.

 

We hope you've enjoyed the 490th issue of our blog.


 

 




Employee Ghosting and the Value of Respect

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Employee Ghosting and the Value of Respect

Which one of these do you feel is harder: to be rejected outright, or to be simply ignored? Today, many employers are facing this question almost on a daily basis.
 
In dating and romantic relationships, the practice of one partner ignoring another - not responding to texts and treating all attempts at communication with radio silence - is known as "ghosting." Similar practices are steadily creeping into the business world, with a wave of talent and prospective employees not showing up for scheduled interviews and agreed-upon start dates, or even for jobs they've already committed themselves to. Ghosting is giving hiring managers and employers a scare.
 
How We Got Here
The United States is in an era of low unemployment and sustained economic growth. As the demand for new talent outpaces supply, employers have struggled to find the right people for all of their open opportunities. Talent and employees thus have much more power than they did during the Great Recession when many lost their jobs with little fanfare and interviewers often ignored candidates they didn't want to hire. The new reverse imbalance manifests in cavalier employee behavior such as unannounced absenteeism and a failure to communicate.
 
According to USA Today, as many as 20% of workers in some industries now engage in ghosting practices. This trend is negatively impacting large and small businesses, along with their customers. On the other hand, it's inspiring conversations about how workers and employers can treat each other better, to foster more healthy and successful relationships down the line.
 
In order to facilitate mutual growth, the culture of work requires trust, respect, and core values to be shared between employers and employees. As any discerning politician can tell you, it is foolish to pin one's fate to shifting, unpredictable trends in economics. We advocate that employers, employees, clients, and talent use the advent of ghosting as an opportunity to get reacquainted with the core values that can sustain them through booms and busts.
 
Communication
As a talent, it’s ok to reject opportunities that aren't right for you, however, do it in a manner that respects the offer and lets any relevant stakeholders know. Honest compassionate communication always makes the truth easier to convey, and with an appropriate heads-up, everyone should be able to move on more smoothly. When leaving your current job, give two weeks' notice when possible, and offer to tie up any loose ends in your work to facilitate an easy transition.
 
As a hiring manager, when you decide not to hire a candidate after an interview, let the candidate know. If you can, provide some constructive feedback, even if it may not be what the candidate wants to hear. It can be difficult to deliver bad news, however, it's worth it if it means supporting a culture of openness and mutual respect. It is also important to acknowledge that it's a candidate driven market, and many candidates are experiencing multiple interviews. Providing timely feedback is key, especially if you are interested in the next steps with a candidate.
 
Transparency
When we give accurate information to others, we empower them to make better-informed decisions in the future. We also invest in the strength of our own reputations, because everyone appreciates those who deliver the truth with respect and understanding.
 
As your circumstances change, make sure everyone around you knows what they need to know to prepare for any impact this may have. As a talent, this means letting your employers or recruiters know if you are available. As an employer, it means keeping your team informed about the state of the company and letting them know you're all on the same side.
 
The world is small, and life is long. As technology makes us all more closely interconnected, our reputations, previous actions, and patterns of behavior are more likely to open or close new opportunities for us. If you must exit a difficult situation, and you do so with grace and full disclosure, you will more likely find support from your former colleagues when circumstances change and may be less in your favor.
 
At Artisan Creative, we believe a culture of respect is paramount in all human endeavors. We give our talent and clients the tools and support they need to succeed when they lead with their values. Contact us today to learn more.
We hope you've enjoyed the 488th issue of our a.blog.


The Design History of The Flag

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

The Design History of The Flag

Wishing you a happy 4th of July!

The contemporary "stars and stripes" design has its origins in the early days of the republic. The original version of the design was officially adopted by the Second Continental Congress in 1777. Francis Hopkinson took credit for its design, contradicting the legend propagated by the descendants of seamstress Betsy Ross that she created the first flag from a sketch by George Washington. Most specifics of its origin are lost to history, though its symbolism has been fairly consistent.

The official flag design has gone through 26 variations since 1777. The current version, with 50 stars and thirteen stripes, has been in use since July 4, 1960, when it was adopted to honor the addition of Hawaii. It will likely change again if Puerto Rico or the District of Columbia achieve statehood.

The number of stars and stripes has represented the number of colonies and states in the union, although sometimes not exactly (to avoid clutter, among other reasons). Traditionally, the red represents valor and strength, the white represents innocence and purity, and the blue represents perseverance and justice. Although mass-market reproductions use different shades, any flag produced by the government must use pure white (#FFFFFF), Old Glory Blue (#002868), and Old Glory Red (#BF0A30).

Numerous artists - Norman Rockwell, Jasper Johns, Barbara Kreuger, Robert Longo, and thousands of lesser-known pop artists and graphic designers - have taken their liberties with the flag, incorporating it into their work to convey a spectrum of emotion and meaning. Among many other ideas, the flag represents an expressive and creative freedom that has generated a bounty of design work, from the reverent and patriotic to the humorous and subversive.

Outside of a few Scandinavian countries, few nations have the reverence for their flags that many Americans do, particularly those within and adjacent to the US Armed Forces. Conversely, the desecration and abuse of the flag, as a form of protest, has been widely practiced and consistently deemed protected by the First Amendment.

One of its most powerful messages is a celebration of the ability to rearrange traditional symbols to honor history, to question tradition, or to communicate something new. The work of artists, graphic designers, and artrepreneurs affects how we think, how we live, and how we consider the world around us. In any context, it is an urgently important discipline and pursuit.

Celebrate taking charge of your creative career. Contact Artisan Creative today to learn more.

Wishing you a Happy Independence Day.

We hope you've enjoyed the 478th issue of our a.blog.


Using Video to Impact Your Brand

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Using Video to Impact Your Brand

Whether you're a small business or an enterprise-level company, there's one thing you can do that's just as important as attracting new clients and customers, and that's attracting top talent. Just as you can use the tools of the internet and social media to communicate your value proposition to potential buyers, you can use them just as well to showcase your brand's culture and story for potential new hires, the people whose skills and hustle you need to succeed into the future.

A full 82% of Fortune 500 executives don't believe their companies recruit highly talented people. Attracting top talent gives you a serious competitive advantage. To make an unforgettable first impression, make full use of online video.

You don't need a Hollywood backlot to create video content that engages highly skilled job seekers. Just keep these tips in mind, and to make your brand a star.

Be Transparent, Be Authentic

Honesty and authenticity work wonders on the internet. Take pride in who you are and what you do. Videos that feature members of your company team will strike a more authentic chord than those with actors or special effects. If you can, shoot in your own offices and facilities, and provide a visual sense of what a day at your company is really like. If you present your company culture in a way that's fun, true, and realistic, you will attract talent that will be excited to work with you and appreciate the things that make it special.

Approach Potential Hires as Potential Customers

According to Glassdoor, more and more job-seekers are taking a consumer approach to the job hunt, treating it more like comparison shopping. 70% read company reviews before they apply, and most look at multiple competing opportunities before zooming in on one. Therefore, in order for your video to stand out from the competition, it must address the hopes and ambitions of your ideal candidate with empathy and enthusiasm. When planning your video or writing your script, be specific - not every job-seeker will be right for your team or vice versa. Craft your pitch for the ones who are.

Tell Your Story

In order to communicate your brand value, be clear on your mission, your culture, and what sets you apart. Your core principles set the foundation for any message your video will communicate. When you are clear on these, ask yourself, "how can we present our story in an intriguing and memorable way?" Does your company or its founder have a relatable story of risk or overcoming adversity? How are you changing the world? Determine how to tell your story visually, in a way that will stick, and then familiarize yourself with some of the insider tips and best practices of video storytelling.

Be Creative

Be willing to experiment with a fresh, out-of-the-box approach to your video. Check out some of the innovative, reasonably priced tools that are available, and brainstorm different approaches until you decide on the one that best suits your message.

At Artisan Creative, attracting top talent and matching them with career-making opportunities is our mission. Contact us today and discover new ways to elevate your recruiting and put your brand in the limelight.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 472nd issue of our a.blog.

 

 



Working with Non-Millennials

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Working with Non-Millennials

In the last few decades technology has changed the world of business rapidly and profoundly. This rate of change continues to accelerate. To overcome the widening gap in knowledge and to be able to collaborate more effectively, it is essential for members of different generations to understand each other in a spirit of teamwork, empathy, and mutual respect.

With their range of experiences, Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers, and Millennials can often generate more useful and exciting ideas together. Cross-generational diversity and cross-collaboration can become a great organizational strength and lead to expanded creatvity and new solutions to solving challenges.

We've explored some of the cultural attitudes that make members of the Millennial generation unique and valuable coworkers. Today, we'll share tips for Millennials who strive to work more effectively with seasoned teammates.

Respect Their Independence and Set Expectations

Members of Generation X, in particular, are often distinguished by a rebellious, skeptical, and iconoclastic spirit. They grew up mostly before the advent of smartphone communications and always-on social networking. Compared to Millennials, they tend to be motivated less by community and more by a sense of individuality, as do many Boomers.

"When working with an X-er, don’t be surprised or offended if they choose to work alone," writes Mira Zaslove in Fortune . She adds, "X-ers tend to be hands-off, low face-time managers. So when working for an X-er, ask them to clearly define their expectations. When you do receive a compliment from an X-er, you’ve done a great job."

Help Them Understand New Technologies and Trends

Many Millennial workers are digital natives, having had access to fast paced technologies and the internet their entire lives. Thus, it may be difficult for them to appreciate how wondrous and strange these innovations can seem to those who did not always have them, or who witnessed their rapid proliferation firsthand from the 1980s through today.

When working with colleagues on new technology, "never say, 'This is so easy,'" writes Ann Friedman of The Los Angeles Times . "Recognize that baby boomers have a lot of fear and anger about technology, and tread gently."

It is important to appreciate how glorious our new technological breakthroughs really are. Demonstrating the utility of a new application or device to someone who doesn't regularly use it may even renew your own sense of delight.

It All Comes Down to Communication

When communication is optimized, almost any group of people can come together to pursue shared goals. Working to achieve that understanding is how we mine the greatest value from our work and our lives.

Appreciating and working with our differences requires well-honed active listening skills, along with an appreciation for different learning styles and preferences in communication and collaboration.

When we respect our shared and individual goals and work together to continuously improve our company cultures, our differences make us much stronger through our diverstiy.

At Artisan Creative, our experience has shown us how great teams are built among individuals from all walks of life. Contact us today to take your career or your business to the next level.

We hope you enjoy our 471th a.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.


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.



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