Artisan Blog

Managing Your Brand

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Managing Your Brand


Not only are you an entrepreneur, you are a brand. If you are participating in social media, your brand has a logo, a mission statement, and work product that other people might want to buy or invest in. Or it should!

It is important to make sure that your brand is consistent and sending the messages that you want it to send across your entire internet presence so that no matter where a potential client might look, he or she will find the information needed to decide whether they want to start a business relationship with you.

Here are some things to think about when managing your brand online:

On Facebook
Especially important if you are a freelancer, have a Facebook Page for yourself as a Business Person as well as a Profile for your personal friends. This gives people you don’t know a window into your work if Facebook is their favorite social media platform.

This Page is a place you can put links to your blog, your work from your online portfolio or interesting news about you and your business life.

Don’t forget to keep it updated!

Your Logo
The image you use in your profile on any platform is your logo. For some with an actual company or brand name – this should be your designed logo. For others – your photo is the perfect representation of your brand.

If using a photo, it should be close-up enough for someone who’s meeting you at a coffee shop to recognize you when they get there. It shouldn’t be your cat or your baby - cute as they are. Save that for your friends. Use the same photo across all social media platforms. If you want to be creative with it, you can make your photo seasonal, but, again, be consistent and change it everywhere.

Mission Statement
Your Facebook Page Info tab, your LinkedIn profile and your Twitter profile all provide a place for you to put your mission statement.

Don’t think you have a mission statement? What are you passionate about? Why do you do what you do? Why are you so committed to your work? Your mission statement can be found in there. Once established, it’s important to keep your mission statement consistent across platforms.

Be sure to provide links to your pages, profiles, feeds and portfolio wherever you can: email signature, business cards, ecards for holidays, resume, everywhere. Make it easy to find you, find out about you and contact you for work!

I’ve had quite a few potential clients find me through blog posts, Facebook updates and LinkedIn group updates for my current clients. They are comfortable with me even before we meet because they have seen my work, are familiar with my “voice” and can assess my communication skills. Consistent branding has led to a good “Return on Investment” of my time capital and it will for you, too!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Body Language Tips for Creatives

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Body Language Tips for Creatives


Have you ever come out of a meeting with no clue how it went?  You feel like your presentation was clear and effective.  You know you were prepared and your materials were informative.

Maybe you were paying more attention to what you were doing than how your audience was reacting, but if you play it back in your head, you might have more of an idea of how your presentation was received.

You also might be able to make it work better!

If you can put some of your attention on watching your listeners, you can learn a lot about how your pitch is going and maybe even change it up midstream and close the deal.

Is your listener…

  • Leaning his head on his hand?  He is bored.  Change the pace of your presentation or ask a question to re-engage his attention.
  • Leaning forward in her chair?  She is interested.  Keep up what you’re doing.
  • Touching his ears?  You are connecting.  Give him more information.
  • Making a suggestion with her palms down?  This is no suggestion, this is what she wants.  Tell her how you can give her what she has suggested in a definitive way.
  • Making a suggestion with his palms up?  He is looking for a discussion of the issue and is open to your input as well as his own.
  • Putting her hand over her mouth?  She doesn’t believe what you’re saying.  This is a good time to offer some quantitative evidence or examples.

How about you?  What are you revealing with your body language and how can you make sure your messaging is what you want it to be?

Are you…

  • Slouching? Sit with your back touching the chair, but leaning forward a bit.  This projects confidence and engagement without seeming stiff or nervous.
  • Crossing your arms?  This makes you seem defensive or closed off.  Stop as soon as you realize it.
  • Restless? If you know you are a “wiggler,” it is a good idea to practice your interview or meeting with a trusted friend who can help you become more aware of your habits.  Restless behavior like twirling your hair or bouncing your knee can be distracting to your listener when you want them to hear what you have to say.
  • Making eye contact?  Great! Active listening is an important skill and keeps your mind on the question at hand.

Both you and your interviewer are getting more information from each other nonverbally than verbally.  If you are paying attention, you can control the information they are getting from you and understand the information they are giving you back.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Are You an Entrepreneur? Yes, You Are!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Are You an Entrepreneur? Yes, You Are!

No matter what industry or field you work in, whether you work for a multinational corporation, a mom-and-pop storefront or in your home office, you are an entrepreneur. Congratulations!

Today’s workforce will have a completely different career experience from their parents and grandparents. Gone are the days of getting an entry-level job out of college, moving up, and retiring, all in the same company. Also gone are the days of having one career your entire working life, even if you change employers.

Today’s workforce is will change jobs every 3-5 years. Today’s workforce will have between three and seven entirely different careers. Whether you work for yourself or for others, if you think of yourself as an entrepreneur, you will succeed at life as well as work.

Entrepreneurs start new ventures despite the risks. Are you an Entrepreneur?

I work in an office. How am I an Entrepreneur?

You are a person with skills, providing a product. You take risks by spending your time on someone else’s projects in the hope that they will give you more business and eventually give you the opportunity to start something new. You are an entrepreneur.

I work in retail. How am I an Entrepreneur?

Working in a retail business doesn’t feel like entrepreneurship, but you can think of it as an internship by immersion. If retail is where you want to be, you can use this experience to learn the business from the bottom up and pick up lessons you could never learn any other way. You take the risk that the time you spend training will be valuable when you start your own new venture. You are an entrepreneur.

I am an artist. How am I an Entrepreneur?

If an artist does not think like an entrepreneur, no one will ever see their work. Artists are not traditionally comfortable with the business aspects of their careers, but without sales, all you have is living room full of paintings. Without auditions and demo tapes, you’re just singing in the shower.

Artists are familiar with risk and being accountable only to themselves. All they need is to put some of their drive into making art a business. If you are not thinking about marketing, you are missing out on a big part of your career. You are an entrepreneur!

I am a freelancer. How am I an Entrepreneur?

This one is easy! Your business is yourself. You develop a brand, a list of customers and a marketing strategy. You are out there scratching for more business and making connections to broaden your customer base. You are taking a risk every day that you might not have a steady income stream. You are clearly an entrepreneur.

I read an article on the Entrepreneurs’ Organization website called “What’s Your Personal Culture?” It really spoke to me about how to achieve an entrepreneurial mindset. If you have a clear mission, make smart business decisions about where to spend your time, and develop and implement a marketing strategy for yourself, you are indeed an Entrepreneur.

Wendy Stackhouse, Entrepreneur and Consultant for Artisan Creative

LinkedIn for Creatives

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

LinkedIn for Creatives

We’ve written quite a few articles on how to use LinkedIn for your creative job search and thought it would be helpful to put them all in one place.

LinkedIn is a necessary social media platform for anyone in today's workforce, whether working, looking for work or freelancing. It is where businesspeople are looking to get details about our lives and interests before they interview (or decide whom to interview) and where we can find commonalities with those who might be looking to hire us.

It also provides opportunities for us to help one another by introducing people we trust to other trusted professionals who would never have had the chance to meet without our assistance. We have all heard of a friend who is looking for work and would like to be able to help them but don’t know what to do. LinkedIn is a place to do something tangible for the people we care about.

Maximizing Your LinkedIn Profile: Getting Started

This post discusses why to join LinkedIn if you are in a creative field and gave tips for the initial sign-up process as well as pitfalls to avoid. We also talk about the importance of telling your story and how to adapt the information on your resume to make it work for you on this platform.

Maximizing LinkedIn: Connections

In this article, we help you decide with whom you want to connect. There are some simple questions you want to ask about each person you are considering and those who invite you to be in their network. I also tell a personal story about how LinkedIn provided me with amazing opportunity!

Maximizing LinkedIn: Groups

Here we talk about why you should join LinkedIn Groups, how to find Groups that are valuable to you and what to do once you are a member. The interaction that happens in groups is very important to using LinkedIn to promote your brand and your expertise.

Maximizing LinkedIn: Job Search

Finally, we brought it all together to highlight how LinkedIn can help creatives in particular in their job search process. We offer many ways LinkedIn can give you an advantage, help you do better in your interviews and feel empowered.

Being a member of LinkedIn has definitely been an advantage in my job search journey. I am grateful to my coaches and colleagues for pushing me to use it often and well. I hope our articles can help make LinkedIn a valuable part of your job search process!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

7 Twitter Tips for Creative Job Search

Thursday, November 03, 2011

7 Twitter Tips for Creative Job Search

If you’re on a job search, you’re already probably spending a lot of time on the internet.

We’ve already talked about how LinkedIn can help your search. But there is a less formal social media platform that can have just as significant an impact—Twitter.

I read an interesting article the other day on Social Media Examiner: 17 Twitter Marketing Tips from the Pros. A lot of the tips in that article are terrific, but I thought they missed a very important marketing angle – marketing oneself on a job search. So here’s my take on their tips…and a few of my own.

  1. “Share Valuable Content in Your Own Voice.” I couldn’t agree more! I would add that creatives who are copywriters should craft those 140 characters even more carefully than the general user. Artists and designers should also make sure to include links to their visual work as often as possible.

  2. “Share Links to Useful Content.” Their advice is to share more links than you do @replies. This is a good reminder to be helpful. If you have something insightful to say about something you read, link back. If you offer valuable links often enough, your followers will be happy they followed you. You never know who might be reading your feed and looking to fill a creative role!

  3. “Use Search Features.” The article talks about using search to find out what your customers want. When you are looking for work, you can use search to your advantage as well. Search ‘“creative” “los angeles”’ or “looking for a designer” and other keywords to get a quick list of potential openings and feeds to follow.

  4. “Improve Your Networking.” In our posts about LinkedIn, we discussed that joining groups to interact with influencers with whom we are not personally connected is a great tip. Twitter is even better for this, since you can follow anyone on the platform. When you find the thought leaders in your industry, follow them, retweet them, reply to them, engage with them. Eventually you will be connected to them, too!

  5. Twitter and Blogs. If you are following interesting people who also write on longer-form blogs, follow their links, read their blogs and comment on them. This deepens the rather shallow relationships of Twitter into real interactions and might get you another Follower yourself. If you are blogging, make sure you Tweet links to your blog as well. Do it often.

  6. Tweet more often. People with large Follow lists will miss you completely if you only Tweet in the morning or once or twice a day. Or they could be in a different time zone and not reading during your workday. Although it is a good idea not to Tweet 10 times in 2 minutes, every half hour or so is a nice pace. You can use a scheduler like HootSuite to set up a whole day of posts in 30 minutes!

  7. Use the limitations of Twitter to hone your message. 140 characters isn’t much but they can be extremely powerful. Eliminate the extraneous. Be clear. Be concise. Twitter is a little bit (only a little) like writing poetry. It doesn’t work until there is nothing left to cut out.
Twitter may be a fun platform for more playful and informal conversation, but it does have some of the social media “etiquette” - write carefully, provide valuable original content and engage with others. If you put some thought into Twitter, it can work for you in any business context. 

For more tips, news and links, Follow us at @artisanupdates!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Maximizing LinkedIn: Job Search

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Maximizing LinkedIn: Job Search

I didn’t sign up with LinkedIn until I was looking for a job. I hadn’t even really heard of it when I was working in the non-profit sector and busy with the many hats I wore there.

I should have signed up earlier.

I’ve written before about one of my career development coaches, Larry Braman of Global Career Consulting and Placement and beloved instructor at the LA Fellows (not to mention reconnected old friend from singing days in New York—that is a story!). Larry not only taught me most of the things I know about LinkedIn, he gave me homework: 100% Profile in about 5 days. From nothing.

When we came back to class with (some of) our profiles (mostly) finished, we broke up into small groups to make lists of how to use various social media platforms for Job Search. Since I was familiar with Twitter and Facebook already, I went to the LinkedIn group, not so much to offer input as to ask, “What is this good for, anyway?”

Luckily, my friend and colleague Jay Bernard was there to give me the scoop.

There are many aspects of being on a job search which make us feel relatively powerless. I mean, hey, bottom line, you’re waiting for someone else to say “Yes!” and you can’t do anything until they do. That mystery hiring manager seems to hold all the cards.

LinkedIn is a place to feel like you are seizing back the power for yourself. And that empowerment will feed your energy in interviews, your decisions about how you spend your job search time and how much effort you really put into finding that perfect role.


That 100% profile? That’s your brand! It shows what you have done, what you can do, what you want to do and what you love to do, if you’ve gone ahead and told your story.


Make sure you know the name of the hiring manager you are interviewing with before you go and check them out on LinkedIn. You can find out what you have in common and also come up with interesting things to ask based on facts like how long they have been with the company and what roles the have had in the past.

Build Your Credibility

Interacting in Groups can help you show off your expertise. Your Profile will show which Groups you belong to and let a hiring manager see how involved you are in their industry. Take the opportunity to comment and start discussions and show off your expertise.

Fill in Gaps

If you are between roles but volunteering or interning using any of your transferable skills (I hope you are!), LinkedIn now offers a Volunteer category in your Profile to list those activities. This is a great way to cover any possible gap in your employment history. I will be talking about Volunteerism in an upcoming post, so please come back for that.


As your list of connections grows, monitor it for connections to your target companies. Get your 1st level connections to introduce you to theirs. If you followed my advice about whom to connect with, they should say yes!

One of the hardest things about the job search process is never knowing which iron in the fire is going to be the one that pays off. The iron in the LinkedIn fire has a lot of potential, if you stir the coals and feed the flames!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Maximizing LinkedIn: Groups

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Maximizing LinkedIn: Groups

You’re all set up, your profile is perfect, you’ve found everyone you know in real life that’s on LinkedIn and connected with them.  The next thing you want to do is find some groups to join.

There are different kinds of groups on LinkedIn:

  • Members-only
  • Open

You can join a Members-only group if you are qualified.  A Group Administrator just has to approve your request to join.  Or you can be invited.  One of my groups is just for members of a class that I took last year.  Click on the “Join this Group” button and a Group Administrator will let you know if you can be a member.  Sometimes this takes a little while as the “Admins” are working people just like you who only check LinkedIn once a day or so.  Be patient!

You can join an Open group just by clicking on the “Join this Group” button.  You’re in!

What are Groups good for?

  • Asking questions.  Start a Discussion with an issue or concern you have or ask for advice. 
  • Finding out what people in your industry are talking about in real time.
  • Commenting on Discussions and offering your own expertise.
  • Becoming an influencer in your industry by providing insight and advice to others.
  • Connecting with people you DON’T know personally, but are influencers you would like to interact with.

How do I find a Group to join?

LinkedIn will suggest groups in your Right Sidebar based on the keywords in your Profile.  Check those groups out—some of them will be a good fit, others probably not.

In the Search box at the top right of your page, you can click on different categories: People, Companies, etc.  Click on Groups and search for a keyword you’re interested in.  For purposes of this article, I put in “Creative.” I got over 50 pages of Groups.  Most of those won’t apply to me, so I might refine my search and try “Creative Los Angeles” or “Creative Design” but I still get plenty of Groups to check out.

You can also use the Groups Directory.

You can search for your hobbies, places you volunteer, companies you’re following or interested in, industries you would like to work in but don’t yet, the list goes on and on.  LinkedIn does limit you to 50 groups, so if you get close to your limit and some groups have become more important to your networking you might want to cull.  I’m a member of 25 groups so far.

What happens when I am a member of a Group?

You will need to make some decisions about how you want to be contacted.  You can do all of your communicating on LinkedIn, have every message in the Group sent to your email Inbox or anything in between.  I usually like to have a “Daily Digest” sent to my email in groups I want to follow closely.  That way I get to see the discussions, but I don’t get inundated with emails.  If I were looking for a job, I might want to be notified more often so I could jump on any good opportunities right away.

Because, yes, Groups have job postings.

Your Digest email will have New Discussions, Continuing Discussions, and New Job Listings.  If you’re interested, take a look.

The real benefit of joining Groups is being able to participate and interact with people who are talking about what you want to talk about, whether you know them or not. Be an influencer, be engaged, be interactive.  That’s what Social Media is for!

Next time: Maximizing LinkedIn: Job Seekers

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Maximizing LinkedIn: Connections

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Maximizing LinkedIn: Connections

Last week we talked about what to do first when you sign up with LinkedIn.  I hope your profile is 100% complete, even if you are still making changes and reworking your story.

Now it’s time to connect!

LinkedIn is a place to network with people you know from your work life and your personal life. In other words, people from your real life. Only.   

They don’t have to be in your industry or have any professional connection to you.  The just need to be people you really know and whom you would be happy to introduce to someone else you know.

You will hear from people who are looking for high numbers of connections, not high quality connections.  High numbers are useless if they do not represent real relationships.

So for each person you consider adding to your connections, ask yourself:

  • Do I know them in real life?
  • Would I introduce them to other people I know?

That’s it!

Don’t worry about if they’re in your industry, if you’ve worked with them, if you know what they do or even if they are working at all. You never know what connections will end up being important.

I will finish with a story.  Once upon a time I wanted an informational interview with someone who worked in one of my target companies. I asked my coach, “How do I find someone at X company to talk to?”  My coach’s response was, “Check LinkedIn.” 

Two minutes later, a lovely woman sitting two rows behind me had a copy of my resume to hand to her friend that night at a basketball game because her friend worked for my target company and my friend knew I was a safe person to introduce to her.  Two minutes.

Two days later, I was having coffee with her.

Next time: Joining Groups

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Maximizing Your LinkedIn Profile: Getting Started

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Maximizing Your LinkedIn Profile: Getting Started

Everybody’s talking about LinkedIn these days. And a lot of them are asking questions.

How many people does it take in your Network to start paying off? 
What’s it really good for?
Did anyone ever get anything out of it?
Who do you connect with? 
Who do you avoid?
Most of all, how can I make LinkedIn work for me?

I will get to all of these questions, but first let’s avoid a few pitfalls. Larry Braman from Global Career Consulting gave me a lot of great advice about getting started with LinkedIn that I would love to pass along!

  1. Get your LinkedIn Profile up to 100% completeness.  Your Profile will take a lot of tweaking, you’re not finished yet, but don’t let it sit there looking unfinished.  The very first people who find you should be able to get an idea of who you are.
  2. Turn off your Activity Broadcasts (temporarily).  While you are doing that tweaking we talked about, you don’t want your connections to see every time you put in a comma.  When you think you’re finished, turn Activity Broadcasts back on, since then it will show when you land a new job, volunteer at a new organization or get a new endorsement!
  3. Enter your Experience manually.  If you let LinkedIn enter the information for you, it will not look the way you want.  Take the time to do this yourself.
  4. When LinkedIn asks if you would like to send invitations to all of your Contacts, say NO.  First of all, you don’t want to send the same generic invitation to everyone.  Second of all, you don’t even want to connect with everyone in your email Contacts (we will get to this later, too).  Third of all, and most important, you can’t ask everyone again later, when you figure out how to do this, without looking like an idiot.

LinkedIn is great for finding people you already know, but you don’t know what they do: other parents from school might work at one of your target companies; people who attend church with you might be looking to hire, you never know. 

Most of all, though, LinkedIn, like your resume, is telling your story. What you do, your job responsibilities, your achievements, your education, what is important to you.  It is a place for people to find things they have in common and ways to help each other.

Next time: What do I do now?

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Dressing for Success: How to dress for an interview with Creatives

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dressing for Success: How to dress for an interview with Creatives


A colleague of mine in Accounting recalls how she arrived at an interview for a large financial corporation wearing black suit pants, a dressy black sweater, silver flats and a matching silver purse.  After a great interview, she was told by HR that her “casual attire” was evidence that she didn’t understand their corporate culture and they would not be hiring her. 

A few weeks later she wore the same outfit when she interviewed with our company – a Creative and Marketing Recruiting agency.  Her outfit (which hinted at her creative personality) paired with her great accounting skills, helped us realize she was the perfect fit for us.  We made the hire and she’s been here for years now! 

Moral of the story:  What you wear to an interview can be a big factor in the impression you leave behind; make sure you leave the right one.

Whether we like it or not, research suggests that more than half of another person’s perception of you is based on how you look.  Therefore, if you don’t fit that “look” a company subconsciously expects of its employees, you will have to work much harder to prove that you are still the best person for the job.

This is why researching the company culture is vital before an interview.  If after conducting your research you are still not sure of the best attire, check with the Hiring Manager, Human Resources Representative or Recruiter who scheduled your interview. 

In the Marketing & Creative world, client environments can run the gamut.  In some organizations suits are still the rule, in others it’s business casual.  And while in most agencies jeans and graphic tees are the uniform of choice, there are still a few shops where board shorts and flips flops prevail. 

With every creative company being so different – is there any way to appease the masses? 

As a general rule, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. A safe bet when interviewing with a creative company is to don a slightly more conservative version of the typical “every day attire” in your target company’s office. 

A few tips:

  • Solid colors are usually better than busy patterns; Same goes with darker colors over lighter ones.
  • Jewelry should be limited to one or two key pieces
  • Make-up, hair and nails should be neat and well-maintained
  • Go easy on the perfume, cologne and aftershave

We also recommend that you find a way to show a bit of your personality – be it with a fabulous fashion accessory (shoes, glasses, purse or jewelry) or stylish haircut.

Jess Bedford, Marketing Manager


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