Artisan Blog

How to Say “Yes” Without Driving Yourself Crazy

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to Say “Yes” Without Driving Yourself Crazy


Creatives, your skills are in high demand by many organizations, businesses and individuals. Sometimes even by friends—if they need a website, advertising copy, graphics or other creative work produced.

Last Sunday a dear friend asked me if I could design a website for his new business. He doesn’t have a lot of money to spend and thinks of me as someone who could provide a good product. I’m very glad he has confidence in my abilities, and as much as I would like to help him, I don’t have time to do his project unless I take time away from something else that pays better.

When I do have time to add a project, however, sometimes I go ahead and say “Yes!” - even if there’s little or no monetary reward. What are the factors that help me decide?

  1. Passion—If the project is for a cause in which I believe strongly, I will carve out the time. Volunteering our skills (or offering them for much less than market rate) for worthy causes is personally fulfilling and adds value to any project.
  2. Career Development—I will probably say "yes" if I think that I will learn something new from the project, meet or work with someone in my field who could be a good contact, gain a skill or client that could improve my resume or add to the strength of my portfolio. This type of work experience is also a great way to fill in gaps in your work history or get great references!
  3. Respect—It is always surprising to me how often volunteers are treated disrespectfully, as if they are only worth what they are being paid. Having worked as a professional with volunteers and as a volunteer with professionals, volunteers deserve more respect, not less. If you treat me respectfully, I am likely to help you out over and over again. Amazing how something that simple can create such loyalty.

Yes.  It is hard to say “no” to a friend without feeling guilty, I know. But if you have the time, don’t need the money and can think of some way that investment of time capital pays off for you, everyone can benefit from your talent!

Wendy Stackhouse, Artisan Creative

Artisan Holidays: Past and Present

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Artisan Holidays:  Past and Present


As work finally winds down for most of our clients (and for us!), we thought it would be fun to ask our team for their favorite Winter Holiday memories as well as where they’d be celebrating this year.

Their responses were a lot of fun… 

“The Best Holiday Gift I ever received…”

My parents made me go with them on a ride. I threw a fit. Didn't want to go. As I cried my way to the car, they said that I'd like where we were going, and if I don't like where we were going, I’d NEVER have to go with them anywhere again! About a half hour later, I was standing face-to-face with our first and only great dane, Babar. Needless to say, my parents and I have traveled together since.
Kevin Kahn
, Talent Manager

Seriously, I loved them all. I am easy person to get things for, so keep them coming!
Katty Douraghy, Managing Director

The gift that still stands out the most was my first "big kid" bike. It was blue and had a blue and white floral banana seat. It didn't have training wheels and my dad spent the next few days teaching me how to ride it. This was essentially him running alongside me while I pedaled and after a bit he'd let go. I think I was about 6 or 7 years old. Honestly the bike was cool, but I think fondly back at my dad running along side me quite a few times before I was able to balance alone and what a gift that was. As a parent now it's always a good reminder that the gift of time, teaching and interacting with your kids or any child for that matter, is worth more than any material item.
Jamie Grossman, Creative Recruiting Manager

The best holiday gift I've ever received was the year my in-laws got together and bought me a spinning wheel. Yes, I really have a spinning wheel and I use it all the time! They were skeptical, of course, but they know me and my passion for all things fibery. Every time I sit down at my wheel, especially to make gifts for others, I thank them again!
Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant

Going back to my childhood, I will never forget when I got Barbies Dream had an elevator and all. I am a real girly I never had enough Barbies.
Laura Burns, Talent Manager

My Grandma bought me EMU boots for Christmas one year. These are sheep-skin, similar to UGGS. I was vegan at the time. This created a huge conflict for me or rather was a huge eye opener. As I thought about what to do with these boots and how distraught I was about the whole thing and how excited my Grandma was to have bought them for me and how very cold my feet were, I realized that I almost all of my tennis shoes, loafers & heals were leather or suede and that I was in fact not as "vegan" as I thought. It caused me to stop and look at all the aspects of my life that fall into "being vegan" and "not being vegan" and one by one I made individual choices for myself, based on what I wanted to do, not decisions based on the technical definitions of "vegan". It was a surprisingly life changing gift.
Stephanie Jacobs, Accounting

The best gift for me has always been the gift of sharing time with family.

Jamie Douraghy, President

It’s funny. Thinking back I know I was always blessed with a number of wonderful gifts at Christmas. My brother and I always seemed to get everything we wanted and more.  But when I try to remember the “best gift”, all I can recall are all the fun (and crazy!) family traditions that made the holiday so special. Now that I have passed many of them onto my own family – they mean even more.
Jess Bedford, Marketing & Project Manager

I have not exchanged gifts with friends or family in many years. It is now our family tradition to make a donation to any deserving group or individual, rather than spend $$ on each other when we truly are blessed and NEED nothing more.
Ana Rubio, Accounting

Staycation or Getting away?

Kevin – Celebrating the holidays at home

Katty – In Vegas with family for Christmas Eve and then up to SF on Christmas Day to see her inlaws and brother.

Jamie G – Spending the holidays at home, seeing some family and friends and relaxing

Wendy – Spending their family’s second Christmas at home, instead of heading back East to see extended family.

Laura – Will be doing a lot of travelling - New York City, Long Island, New Orleans and Baton Rouge!

• Stephanie – Early Christmas in CA with family and then going to West Virginia with her boyfriend to celebrate with his family.

Jamie D – Will be with his parents and brother’s family in San Francisco

Jess – Off to Arizona to see family and enjoy some R&R

• Ana – Spending the holidays with her mom and siblings in Escondido


Whatever you plan to do this holiday - we wish you and your loved ones a very joyous season and a peaceful and prosperous new year!


To Work or Not to Work, That is the Question: Freelancing over the Holidays

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

To Work or Not to Work, That is the Question: Freelancing over the Holidays

Photo by hartlandmartin via Flickr Creative Commons

If you are like me, you are busy with holiday preparations while still maintaining a busy freelance work routine. There are a lot of extra things to do this time of year: shopping, baking, social events, writing cards.

Even volunteer opportunities abound at this time of year, with everyone holding holiday fundraisers and toy drives.

It’s easy to look forward to some quiet time when everything closes down for a few days of family celebration, but for a freelancer, there’s no such thing as a paid holiday. It can be hard to relax when you know your income will be affected by your time off.

Here are some ways to handle taking time off without worry:
Plan Ahead
It might be too late for this year, but next year you can be mindful about putting some money aside so that you can take a couple of weeks off for the holidays.

Reach Out

If you want to take on some extra work or try to keep busy, get in touch with your clients and make sure they know you’re available to do last minute projects or pick up projects that have stalled because their regular staff is on vacation.

For creatives, now is a great time to come up with a new graphic design or image to put on a holiday ecard and send it out to your network!

Schedule Your Free Time

Everyone deserves a break this time of year, so carve out some specific time for yourself and quality time with your family and friends. If you look at your calendar and it says “Christmas Party, 7-11pm” you won’t feel guilty when you walk out the door!

Post-Date Some Blog Posts

If a holiday falls on a day when you would normally publish a blog post for yourself or a client, write a holiday-themed post in the days leading up to your day off and schedule it to post on the day you plan to be roasting chestnuts.

Here’s the most difficult task, though.

Don’t feel guilty!

If work slows down, try to think of it as a gift. Appreciate the precious time you have with your loved ones. Use it to play board games, cook together, spend time at home doing that you don’t normally have time for, but that don’t cost a lot. Walk around and see the holiday lights in your neighborhood. Think up projects for the new year. Watch old movies and drink lots of tea.

Everyone at Artisan Creative wishes you and yours a wonderful, relaxing and guilt-free holiday season!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Giving Back Gives Back to You, Too

Friday, October 28, 2011

Giving Back Gives Back to You, Too

We’ve all heard politicians on both sides of the aisle talk about the importance of Volunteerism in America. Part of America’s “exceptionalism” is Americans’ willingness to help one another, in times of crisis and on ordinary days. The personal fulfillment that comes from investing time in a cause that you are passionate about or helping an underserved population cannot be overestimated. The same goes for the tangible benefits brought to the organizations and people one serves. But volunteering can bring you benefits that you may not have considered, especially if you are in the midst of a job search process.

Volunteerism and the Job Hunt

When you are looking for work, volunteerism can sound a lot like working for free. Not ideal when you need some income. But try to think about what your volunteer experience might bring you even if it is not monetary rewards. 

  • Keep your skills up-to-date—when you haven’t worked in a while, it’s easy to let your skills lax or creative energy die. Use those skills to help a nonprofit and stay on top of the latest trends and technology. Organizations like the Taproot Foundation tap into the Creative industries, specifically, for Design and Marketing talent. Projects there can make a great addition to any portfolio.

  • Network—you will probably have a chance to meet some of the movers and shakers at your volunteer organization and start a relationship that could lead to a job when an opening occurs. You immediately rise to the top of the resume pile without even having an interview!

  • Get recommendations—if you do a good job, you can ask your manager to write you a letter of recommendation or an endorsement on LinkedIn.

  • Transition into a new role—your transferable skills can be very useful to a non-profit, even if it is not in a field you have worked in before. Get your foot in the door in a new industry – who knows where it could lead you.

  • Eliminate gaps in your resume’s timeline—a potential employer likes to see that you have been working steadily before you interview. A volunteer position can be listed as Work Experience. LinkedIn also has a new category for Volunteer Experience which is another way to get that information out to hiring managers.
I am a member of a group of experienced professionals called the LA Fellows, a career development program which brings together highly-skilled workers with meaningful volunteer opportunities which will help them in their job search process. I asked my colleagues, “What has your volunteer experience done for you?” Here are some of their answers:

Robert Kanter: “It helped me reassess my value to an organization as a leader, teacher and communicator.”

Caroline McElroy: “My volunteer experience filled in a gap in my resume, gave me something exciting to talk about in interviews and inspired me to go back to publishing a newsletter and blogging.”

Joy Pacifici: “Volunteering makes me happy by letting me give back to causes I believe in. And when I am happy, I am a more effective person at work and in life.”

I am also a committed volunteer - at my children’s schools, in the classroom and for booster clubs, with my church and as a Girl Scout Leader. Volunteering is an important part of my life and has become an important element in my career development as well. Perhaps you, too, can discover just how rewarding it can be.

“Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, they send forth a tiny ripple of hope… These ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” Robert F. Kennedy

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Artisan Gives Back

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Artisan Gives Back


Following the generous spirit embodied by Artisan’s President, Jamie Douraghy, many of the Artisan staff find great ways to make a difference in the lives of others.

Here is just a sampling of what we do as individuals to support local, national and international organizations.

Several of our staff participate in annual Susan G Komen Race for the Cure events and make regular contributions in honor of family members who have lost their lives to Breast Cancer and those who are still fighting!

One of our recruiters volunteers his time at Chrysalis to help homeless and low-income individuals get the support and resources they need to find and retain employment

One of our account managers had her wedding at the Keep Memory Alive Event Center where a large part of the rental fee for the hall will go towards Alzheimer and Autism Research. 

In addition to our staff's volunteer work and event participation, our team members also make regular cash donations to the following organizations:

Project Angel Food - Provide daily meals for people in Los Angeles homebound or disabled by HIV/AIDS and other serious illnesses.

AIDS Project Los Angeles -  In support of friends and friends of friends affected by AIDS

Red Cross - Helps communities around the world prepare for emergencies and keep people safe in the wake of disaster

St Jude Children’s Research Hospital - Pioneers in finding cures and saving children with pediatric cancer and other life-threatening diseases

March of Dimes - Helps protect against and lower the risk of birth defects by with education and research

Habitat for Humanity - Non-profit housing organization building simple, decent, affordable housing in partnership with people in need throughout the world.  One of our staff has plans to help build a house in a third world country sometime in the new few years!  We wish her the best with her goal!

Our staff members also make regular non-cash donations (clothes, appliances, books, household items, etc) to several other non-profit organizations:

Salvation Army
San Ferenando Valley Rescue Mission

We are always looking for new non-profit organizations to which we can dedicate our time, experience and resources. 

Tell us about your favorite ways to give back!

Jess Bedford, Marketing Manager

The Benefits of Giving (both personally and professionally)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Benefits of Giving (both personally and professionally)

"Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give. " Eleanor Roosevelt

Giving back isn’t just something we do at Artisan. It’s a core value for both our company and our staff.Over the next few months, we’ll take a look at the way our team members are working to make their local, national and global communities a better place.

This week we start with our President, Jamie Douraghy

“Over the past few years, I've been asked to join several boards to help guide a variety of non-profits to achieve greater success in everything they do.

They range from the industry-related creative organizations (AIGA LA), to alumni groups, to remotely-located entrepreneurs, to helping grant wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses (Make-A-Wish LA).

What I found was that in order for me to give my best, I had to uncover the relevancy for what I was about to undertake. I did not want to enter into a commitment half-heartedly and not deliver to their expectations.

Through my involvement with these organizations and my leadership at Artisan, I was able to facilitate the growth of these groups, help promote their events and assist with their fundraising initiatives.

What surprised me about my work on these boards, however, was that my involvement didn’t stop there. By working with these non-profits myself, I was inspired to motivate others - my friends, employees and extended network – to find their passion and to give back.

Additionally, I wanted Artisan Creative to do more. As a result, we selected Kiva as our charity of choice to make regular contributions. We liked the fact that they are helping build local communities on a global level, supporting entrepreneurs as far as Tanzania and as close as Detroit.

So far, Artisan has already made six loans to aid Agricultural efforts in Ecuador and Rwanda as well as craftsmen & dressmakers in Peru.

You can help Artisan raise more Kiva funds here.

What I learned through giving back:
  1. Make sure the cause resonates with you personally. If you’re not passionate about the initiatives you support, it becomes more difficult to remain motivated and involved.
  2. Find a purpose within the volunteering you do. Remember that giving is a commitment not a convenience.
  3. Be open to change (both within and without) as a result of your engagement. You never know how helping others will help you, too."

Jess Bedford, Marketing Manager

Welcome to the Artisan Blog!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Welcome to the Artisan Blog!

Welcome to the newest version of our Artisan blog.

With so much information flying around these days, we decided to only bring you information and ideas that will focus in the four areas we feel most relevant to the work we do together:

  • creativity
  • staffing / job seekers
  • entrepreneurship
  • giving back

Our goal is to keep it simple and provide something of value each time you log in, read and reach the final sentence.

Thank you!
Jamie Douraghy, President


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