Artisan Blog

Think Like an Entrepreneur

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Think Like an Entrepreneur



Some of us are working for ourselves and some for others, but we are all using our skills to gain independence in our personal lives and striving for the freedom to do what we love, even if it is in support of someone else’s company.

In years past, entrepreneurs were more likely to “live to work.” Their own success was defined by the success of their companies, their profit margins, their organization’s annual growth. Those are valid measures of success, certainly, but today’s entrepreneurs--and entrepreneurial thinkers--are “working to live.” 

How can we think more entrepreneurially in a full time job?
  • Innovate--Tell your manager your ideas about new ways to solve problems. Make an appointment with her and use a professional approach and even a manager who is resistent to change might give your ideas a try.
  • Network--Set a goal to meet a certain number of new people in your field or industry every month or every quarter. Even if you are not looking for new clients, you are definitely looking for new connections.
  • Ask Why--Choose your moment wisely, but do question why things are done the way thy have always been done. And don’t settle for “tradition.” 
  • Be Fearless--Let your enthusiasm show and it will spread to others in your organization, just like it would to freelance clients. If you love what you do, show it.
  • Bounce Back--You will be criticized at times, especially if you are taking chances. Take something positive from every criticism and continue learning. Smile.
  • Take Charge--Once you have been in a role for six months, it’s time to make it into the perfect role for you. Evaluate what you want to do more of and what you would like to discard from your job description. Sit down with your manager and see if you can make any of those changes work for the company. The happier you are, the better you will fit and the longer you will stay--that’s the benefit to the company. Turnover is expensive.
The greatest benefit of entrepreneurial thinking is the feeling of empowerment you get from being more in control of your work and personal life. You can get that feeling no matter where you work.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


LinkedIn Is Watching You

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

LinkedIn Is Watching You


Photo by Ian Westcott via Flickr Creative Commons

We hope that you are using LinkedIn for networking and personal branding every chance you get. But you're not the only one benefiting from your presence there--LinkedIn is, too.

If you are on a job search, LinkedIn is the perfect place for hiring managers to get more details about you and find samples of your work--if you have been adding files and links since LinkedIn’s recent updates--as well as doing research about your target companies and the people with whom you are interviewing.

You should also be using LinkedIn to increase your influence by participating in Group discussions and posting valuable content. You can find an overview of our past LinkedIn tips here. While you are using LinkedIn more to help your career development, however, LinkedIn is using you and your data more to increase its value--both to professionals and to stockholders.

Who’s Viewed Your Updates

LinkedIn.com is now keeping track of and reporting to you who has seen your updates. They are hoping that this feature makes you update more often. It does not require an upgraded account to see this information, unlike who has viewed your profile. If you are planning to take some time to tweak your profile, however, you might want to turn off updates until you are finished so your entire network doesn’t see when you corrected that typo or put in another comma.

You Recently Visited

It might feel more invasive to have LinkedIn so clearly monitoring where you go and what you read, but if you sometimes lose track of what you were looking at last week or the name of that person you were researching, this will definitely be helpful. LinkedIn always knew where you were going--now they are letting you in on your own data.

We find LinkedIn to be a very valuable resource, especially for research, whether you want details about a company you are interested in working with, information about a hiring manager for tomorrow's interview or when you are looking for talent. And remember, as on all social media platforms, a little thought about LinkedIn before you share goes a long way.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


Privacy and Facebook Graph Search

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Privacy and Facebook Graph Search



Everyone is on social media and everyone needs to be. Whether you are on a job search, networking with others in your industry or region, or trying to become more influential in your field, no one can afford to be invisible.

But since we are also using social media as a way to stay connected in a more personal way, we often need to rethink how we are using these platforms--what information we are putting out there and who can access it.

Facebook Graph Search is being rolled out to more of us every day which means we are more searchable than ever before and by more people with whom we have no real-life connection. Here are some things to think about regarding Facebook and privacy:

Past Posts

Limiting the audience of your past posts is a good way to get a clean start with Facebook if you are starting a job search or establishing your personal brand. You can limit the audience for all of your past posts in one click in your Privacy Settings, but keep in mind that if you want to change them again, you will have to do them one at a time.

Future Posts

If you are using Facebook for marketing as well as personal reasons, use Custom privacy settings as your default. If you want a particular post to be more public, you can change it after posting without having to set up your Custom list again every time you post a blog or a baby picture.

Photos

We’ve all seen photos on Facebook that make us wince. Remember that other people can tag you in their photos but you have to give them permission. Be as thoughtful with others’ photos as you are with your own.

Likes

Facebook recently started asking me more about what I like--books, movies, TV shows. But there may be things we like that we don’t really want Facebook Graph Search to know we like. Don’t answer those questions from Facebook unless you have time to think them through, unless you’ve never picked up a book and regretted it later.

It’s a good idea to check your Facebook Privacy settings often. When Facebook adds a feature, they often opt everyone in without making an announcement. Privacy and Facebook don't go together automatically, but social media can be a great tool in our personal and professional lives. We always--always--have to think about the impression we are making and to whom we are making it. 

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


Where Are You Going?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Where Are You Going?



When you land a new role, you want to tell everyone what it is and where. After all, it is exciting! It could be your dream job and, these days, if you are on a job search, you might have been looking for quite a while.

Although you will give proper notice at your current job, however, you probably should keep the details about your new job opportunity limited to to yourself and your family until your first day.

Why?

Especially before all of the tiny details are arranged, you don’t really have a deal. If you have received an offer but the paperwork is still processing, you have not truly landed. Let your colleagues know you are leaving, but keep the specifics to yourself for the moment.

Even after all of the logistics have been worked out, you are still not in the chair and your name isn’t yet on the office door. While you are in limbo, resist the urge to make an announcement. Your new company might want to do it first and you don’t know their policy. Better safe than sorry.

Be extra careful about talking on social media about your new job. Careers have been made or broken right here. In one story we wrote about last year, a candidate’s offer was rescinded because they started posting about it too soon. Don’t list your new role on LinkedIn until you have started onboarding.

On your first day of work, you can make your excitement about your future public knowledge. Be thoughtful about thanking your colleagues for their support and write professionally about your new position. It’s easy to gush, but everyone is going to see your news--including your new manager.

And enjoy it! It's not every day you get to start something entirely new!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


Top 10 Must Dos for Creative Freelancers

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Top 10 Must Dos for Creative Freelancers

 

As part of Artisan’s presentation at the recent SoCal UX Camp, we addressed the best ways Creative Freelancers should position themselves successfully in their field and how to best market their services to maintain a consistent pipeline of work.

  1. Design your Brand. Let your personal style guide the color palette, font treatments & images used to create your brand/logo. Utilize the same design, mission statement, service offerings & profile pictures across all print collateral & the web - including Business Cards, Portfolios, Social Media Platforms and Directory Listings/Ads.

  2. Perfect Your Portfolio. Be sure to keep work relevant & up to date, presenting your best pieces first. Work should also be well-organized with simple navigation and include a description of the project and your role.

  3. Be Specific. Focus your expertise on 1 – 2 areas only. These skills should be complimentary and stated clearing in both your resume and portfolio. Do not include irrelevant or outdated work.

  4. Become an Expert in your field. Join an online discussion, share articles, blogs or tweets, start your own blog or podcast, guest blog or write articles to industry publications – anything that will help establish your credibility and brand in your area of expertise.

  5. Fill the Downtime. Between projects is the perfect time to work on exploratory pieces for your portfolio, take a class, attend a conference, complete tutorials on new software or volunteer for an organization that can benefit from your services. All will help improve your portfolio/skillset and offer built in opportunities to network as well.

  6. Network – both in person and via social media. Create personal and/or business pages across social platforms, join social media groups and discussions, attend local business or industry events, take classes in your field and find co-working spaces

  7. Get Listed. Find Directories, Portfolio & Resume Portals as well as Local Organization Websites where you can list your work and advertise your services (often times for free!)

  8. Work with Recruiters. This expands your marketing efforts for free by enlisting teams of connected specialists who also benefit from you getting work. Recruiters also have access to opportunities that are not listed on job boards.

  9. Befriend Like-minded Creatives. By having counterparts who understand your industry, they can serve as your “team” when consultation is required, they can be partners for projects that require additional resources and be a great referrals to clients if have to say no to work.

  10. Never Stop Selling. Everyone you meet is a potential client (or knows someone who could be a client). Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with a stranger. Perfect your elevator pitch . And always be professional when conducting business in public places – because you never know who could be listening.

How is your business performing? Could you be doing something better? Do you do something in your business that we’ve forgotten on this list? Let us know!

And, if you missed our full presentation at SoCalUX Camp, check out our Top 10 recommended resources for keeping freelancers efficient, effective & excited about business.

Jessica Bedford, Marketing Manager


Maximizing LinkedIn: Adding Files and Videos

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Maximizing LinkedIn: Adding Files and Videos



LinkedIn has developed into an essential social media platform for anyone in business and especially anyone who is now or will ever be on a job search. Nowhere is it easier to connect with colleagues, share business goals and perfect your personal branding.

Earlier in its life, LinkedIn was pretty simple. It offered a place to put the information on your resume and a way to build a professional network. However, LinkedIn’s features have grown and just recently in a very interesting way: the ability to add files and videos to your profile.

We have talked about the importance of having an online portfolio in previous posts, but the ease of having some work samples available at one central location, easy to find and easy to click on, cannot be overemphasized.

What files you will add to your LinkedIn profile depends on how you are marketing yourself and for what skills. 

What could you add?
  • Blog posts and other writing samples—I was very proud of my recent post about the themes from “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” so I added it to my LinkedIn Profile as a writing sample. 
  • Images—Photographers and Graphic Designers, a few pieces which show your versatility here could attract more attention to a more extensive portfolio.
  • Videos—If you are producing video content for your clients or yourself, choose an example that shows your work well and add it to your Profile. If you are a performer, add a video of yourself in a concert or theatrical setting, or a clip from a film or television episode. Video is much more compelling than just your headshot and clicks from LinkedIn are valuable.
While you are tweaking your Profile, remember to:
  • Add new roles or responsibilities at your current job.
  • List any recent volunteer opportunities.
  • Check the keywords in your Summary to be sure that you will be found in searches that will interest you.
  • Make sure the listings on your Profile are in the order you wish. LinkedIn now lets you reorder items on your Profile by preference rather than just by date. Put more relevant listings higher up.
It’s a good idea to edit your LinkedIn profile every quarter, if only to add a new accomplishment or responsibility. Don’t let your Profile get stale; make it work for you.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


Taking the Summer Off?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

It’s easy to get lackadaisical about your job search in the summer. Hiring managers are on vacation, everyone’s taking casual Fridays and business just seems to move slower. Many feel like September is a better time to start a new project or job – much like we used to start a new grade with new clothes and new teachers.

But to start a new job in September, you have to be out there doing your searching and interviewing in—you guessed it—the summer.

Believe it or not, summer can be the best time to:
  • Network—Find some summer activities that relate to your field and join in. Maybe your target company is sponsoring and you can meet someone new.
  • Freelance—When people go on vacation, it doesn’t mean their work doesn’t need to still be completed. Companies may be looking for temporary or short-term contract talent with your skills. Get your foot in the door for future projects.
  • Volunteer—Many organizations have special events or large-scale projects that they tackle in the summer months. Find a non-profit whose mission you are passionate about and put your skills to work for them.
  • Replenish your energy—Get outside, get more exercise, improve your health and your outlook and you will have more enthusiasm for your job search efforts in the second half of the year.
I have two friends starting new jobs next week, one of them with Artisan! They will spend this summer getting their feet under them in their new adventures.

What do you have planned?

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


Reflections: Appreciation

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Reflections: Appreciation



After an odd experience with someone in my network last week, I found myself thinking about appreciation--both as a recipient of the generosity of others and as I try to be helpful myself. 

When we are immersed in a job search, we are always hoping that the next call, the next email, the next job application will be “the one,” the perfect fit. And we also hope that our friends and colleagues will give us a leg up or even a recommendation when the time comes. My question on this day after Administrative Professionals Day: do we appreciate it properly?
  • Do we take the time to say thank you?
  • Do we offer our own help in return?
  • Do we let them know what the result of their help was?
  • Do we offer help to others and pay it forward?
  • Do we remember?
  • Do we treat every offer of assistance in a professional way, even from friends?
  • Do we take the time to feel real gratitude within ourselves?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed on a job search and let things fall through the cracks. But knowing when you are overscheduled will help you decide when to reply to that message saying “Yes, I can!” and when to let an opportunity go. Time spent feeling and expressing gratitude is never wasted.

Hope you had a great day yesterday, Administrative Pros! We appreciate everything you do!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


What Are You Doing for National Volunteer Week?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What Are You Doing for National Volunteer Week?



Having spent more hours volunteering than at work last week, I think I have probably done my bit, but it’s still a great time to talk about the benefits of volunteering—not for the organizations for which you volunteer, but for you.

  • Stay Energized—A long job search can really take its toll on your energy and enthusiasm. Spending some of that unwanted free time doing something you feel passionately about can make a huge difference in your motivation about the rest of your time.
  • Keep Skills Up-to-Date—Many organizations have need of highly skilled help and you can give and receive at the same time. Stay current with software updates and new platforms and make sure you refresh your resume with those skills.
  • Network—The people you meet when doing pro bono work can be important additions to your list of connections. Meet a CEO at a fundraising event, work with another volunteer who is employed at one of your target companies, share a laugh with someone who knows someone who is looking for a web or graphic designer and you never know what it may lead to.
  • Get a JobVolunteer opportunities can and do develop into job offers. Become the “known candidate” and when an opening becomes available, you will be the first in the door.
I am a graduate of a career development program which matches skilled job seekers with meaningful volunteer opportunities and I promise you all of the above are absolutely true benefits of volunteering when you are on a job search. And when you’re not, volunteering for an organization that calls to you is the most fun you will ever have working for free. I highly recommend it.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


Take Charge of Your Luck

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Take Charge of Your Luck


Photo by hussey via stock.xchng

Ever feel like if you didn’t have bad luck, you wouldn’t have any luck at all? Or are you one of those people who always gets the best parking space, always hears their favorite song on Pandora, or manages to snag those rock concert tickets in the 10 minutes they are for sale?

Some things in life truly are luck. We can’t really control when the guy in that perfect parking space is going to leave. But we often relinquish control of things that we can influence and wrongly put them down to luck. Here are some ways to improve your odds of being lucky:

  • Keep learning—When you hear about a freelance gig or job opening that requires experience on the very latest software or platform, you might say to yourself how lucky you are that you know it, but it wouldn’t really be luck.
  • Take chances—Not everything will work out well, but if you are open to the possibilities—a new startup, a chance to partner with an enthusiastic entrepreneur, a volunteer opportunity that could lead somewhere—your luck will improve.
  • Say hello—You never know who you might meet and how you could help each other. But if you don’t start conversations, those lucky encounters will pass you right by.
  • Increase your frequency—We’ve all heard the story of the guy who sent out one resume and got the job. He sure was lucky! I don’t believe in that guy. Send out more applications, approach more people for informational interviews, go to more industry events. Make the luck come to you by being present.
  • Fear not—“Fear is the mindkiller,” as Frank Herbert said many years ago. I think fear is the luck-killer. Approach every day as an opportunity to succeed if you do your very best—at your work, at your relationships, at your planning, at your life.
Luck is an element beyond our control. Take control of what you can and maybe it will sprinkle some of its magic dust on you. Take enough and you won’t need it!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative



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