Artisan Blog

Bilbo Baggins, Entrepreneur

Wendy Stackhouse - Thursday, November 07, 2013

We recently came across an article about how starting a business is like The Hunger Games. We hope that is not the experience most people have. That book is pretty brutal.

At Artisan Creative, we think a lot about entrepreneurship and we think starting a business is more like The Hobbit. At least when it works. Further in and further up...

You start out on an adventure, on your own at first (don’t forget your pocket handkerchief), but soon forming a team with a single, clear mission. You don’t know each other very well and it takes a while to assess everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. You run into obstacles (trolls) pretty early on and could easily decide to give up and go home right there (the kettle is on the hob). It turns out that having a mentor is incredibly important (Gandalf).

As you progress, your team breaks off into smaller groups with specific tasks to achieve, each of which can make its own discoveries--maybe not a magic ring, but creativity breeds innovation and innovation can be magical indeed. You will need to be clever and brave and take risks.

You will have to do battle with the entrepreneur’s worst enemy: fear of failure (that fire-breathing dragon). Surround yourself with talent who will support and encourage you, as well as have the skills to swoop in and solve problems.

Leadership can come from the most unlikely sources and you never know who will be the hero of your journey, but keep your wits about you and the rewards could last the rest of your life.

Starting a business isn’t quite an Unexpected Journey, but the path you will take is unpredictable. Put the right people on your team, practice active listening with them and your mentors, take the surprising opportunities that come along and you, too, might go There and Back Again and maybe even come home with a little chest of gold.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Forge! 2013 by The Skool

Wendy Stackhouse - Tuesday, October 22, 2013

At Artisan Creative, we love to get involved with local events and network, especially when they’re targeted at women in business, so when we were invited to be on a panel of speakers at Forge! 2013, we jumped at the chance to attend.

Held at WeWork in Hollywood, Forge! is a conference aiming to coach budding female entrepreneurs in business, tech, creative and life skills and how they can apply them to their lives. The 2-day event saw demonstrations, pitches and talks from CEOs, Brand Strategists, Product Developers and our very own President, Katty Douraghy.

Katty spoke about the importance of taking care of yourself when you run a business, how you can implement a process into your schedule and what works for her. Whether you run an agency or you work full-time, setting dedicated time aside to work out or do something for yourself can be difficult. Here are some Artisan-approved tips that can work for you:
  • “Finding the passion and something that moves you is vital to success.” What do you enjoy doing? Katty found her passion in Zumba. See what’s local to you and try something new.

  • If you have a hectic schedule and a jam-packed diary, book a meeting with yourself. You'll never be double-booked!

  • If you’re stuck behind a desk all day, try taking a walk or going for a hike and enjoy the outdoors. A great suggestion from Forge! was Walk Beverly Hills. Instead of having a meeting at the office, they propose you take walking meetings instead.

  • Smoothies! Attendees were treated to a great demonstration by Whole Foods. Combining ingredients such as kale, coconut water, bananas and almond milk will not only save you time, but give you the much needed energy to get you through the day.
The Skool is a really great resource for people in the digital industry and for people who want to learn more about digital projects, sales and running their own business. Not only did we have the chance to meet some incredibly talented people and learn a lot, it was great fun, too. Check out their upcoming events and if you have your own tips for staying healthy, we’d love to hear them.

Laura Pell, Talent Acquisition

Time: More Than Money

Wendy Stackhouse - Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The old saying goes, “Time is money.” Benjamin Franklin was supposed to have made up this aphorism. The provenance is not clear, but the sentiment has lasted centuries. Is it true?

Let’s look at what time really is.

An Investment--When we put time into learning new things so that we can grow in skill and ability, we make an investment in our future. It could be personal growth or even satisfaction in increased competence. Time is capital.

Productivity--Time spent working could be thought of as money, but that work is also support of relationships with co-workers and clients, creativity and innovation. A client or a company pays you for that time, but money is not all it represents.

Experience--Especially when you are on a job search, how much time you spent in different roles becomes a commodity of its own. You made a salary or were paid an hourly rate, but the time spent performing the tasks and completing the projects in your previous jobs made you the professional you are today and provides the stories you will tell at your next interview.

A Finite Resource--There is a point in our working lives when we realize that we have a limited amount of time left for work, for family, for learning, for growth. We start to think about how we want to spend that resource. Money could run out, but time is sure to.

For me, it comes down to this: Time is time. And it is more valuable than money will ever be. When I invest my time in a client, I am making a choice not just to use their resources, but also my own. When I learn something new, I am investing in my future. When I decide to spend years with a company, I am hoping that those years will lead to more challenging roles. And when I spend time giving back, I know that time has more value to the organizations I volunteer with because their resources can go to the cause which is our shared passion.

Time is more than money. Time is the most valuable, most precious thing we have. How will you spend yours?

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

P.S. If you would like to get a glimpse of where I spent 30+ hours giving back last week, check out jbhsvma.com!

The Big Move

Wendy Stackhouse - Thursday, October 10, 2013

Changing careers can be a daunting experience, especially if you are moving to a new city (or country, for that matter). There are many factors to consider. How do you decide if you’re making the right decision? Is it the job for you? Will you enjoy the new city? I recently moved from London, England to Los Angeles, California and decided to put together a few tips to help others making the big move for a new job.

Research: Whether you’ve already accepted a position or you’re hoping to land a job once you arrive, first things first, research. Look up agencies that specialize in whatever it is that you do. Contact them directly, introduce yourself and be honest. Do they have Yelp reviews? Where are they located? Look up employees on LinkedIn. Read their Tweets and Facebook posts. This will familiarize you with the company and if you can begin to visualize yourself working there, you’re off to a good start.

Get to know your company: Interviewing can be pretty scary and an unnatural experience for a lot of people. Suggest to your new boss that you grab a coffee or go for lunch, that way you can get to know one another in a more relaxed, neutral environment. Maybe invite your new team, that way you’ll have several new people just waiting to be your friend.

Explore: This is one of the best things about moving to a new city. Look at sites like MeetUp to see if there are other people who share the same hobbies as you. Los Angeles is a great place to explore! There are so many hikes to choose from (my favorite is the Hollyridge trail which takes you right behind the Hollywood sign) or new restaurants to discover. If you’re in the tech industry, check out groups like LA UX Meetup, UX Book Club of LA and Digital LA and start networking

Be patient: There will be times when you feel homesick and lonely but be persistent and patient. It takes time to settle into a new place, make new friends and see results from a new job. The times that you feel low will be the times that you put in the extra effort to make it work. Be willing to take yourself out of your comfort zone and throw yourself in head first. 

If you’re currently re-locating or have your own suggestions, we’d love to hear what worked for you. Tweet us @ArtisanUpdates and tell us what you think.

Laura Pell, Talent Acquisition

Laura's Report from Website Weekend

Wendy Stackhouse - Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Tucked away in the center of China Town you will find Kleverdog Coworking, a shared office space for LA’s creative industry. This weekend it was home to Website Weekend LA, who were hosting their very first event – a hackathon dedicated to creating websites for non-profit organizations around LA. Always one to give back to the community, Artisan Creative sponsored the weekend and went to see the volunteers in action.

Speaking with one of the non-profits, Jonathan Skurnik, we talked about the importance of needing a website re-designed to increase coverage for such an important topic. “The Youth and Gender Media Project contains five films shown in communities around America aiming to improve inclusivity and train teachers, parents and students about how schools can be more tolerant towards students who are bullied.” Jonathan needed help with getting the message out there, so Website Weekend volunteers worked closely with him and presented ideas to build him the site that he needs to get that message across.



At Artisan, it’s vital to us that we give back to the community in some way. We’re active within the non-profit space, LA’s creative industry and as individuals; we try to do what we can. So how do you decide whether you want to give back and why is it so important

Skills: Not only do you get to help out with local organizations, it’s also a great place to acquire new skills and build upon existing ones. If you’re a designer, a developer or say, a project manager, there’s no better place to learn from new people and have new experiences when you’re choosing to help out. 

Career Advancement: Impress future employees by showcasing volunteer work. If you’re applying for jobs in a competitive market, there’s no better way to stand out than by having additional work experience. It’s also a great way to change career paths – if you’re struggling to get into a particular industry, try volunteering in order to get some relevant experience beforehand.

Networking: Volunteering is a great place to meet new people from all industries. Take the time to get to know people you’re working with – not only will you make great friends; you’ll also make some great connections.

Rewarding: The impact that volunteering has on your community is a positive and worthwhile cause. Find a cause that utilizes your existing skills and is also fun for you; see how rewarding you find it.

Website Weekend was founded by Natalie MacLees who is involved with multiple UX and tech meet-ups around the city. Thanks to Natalie, non-profit organizations that previously had no online presence can now have a whole team dedicated to building, designing and then teaching how to update and navigate their new site. 

Laura Pell, Talent Acquisition for Artisan Creative

Networking After Networking Events

Wendy Stackhouse - Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Going to networking events--or industry events where networking is appropriate--can make all of us nervous at times. We feel like we need to have the perfect elevator pitch, the perfect outfit. We need to be outgoing but not overwhelming, interesting but not self-involved. Passionate but not too intense.

If you have managed to put all of that together and meet some people, the next steps may not be clear. Here are our tips for making that ten minute conversation the beginning of a real relationship:

  • Use your database--Whether you collected paper business cards or QR codes in your smartphone, add that information to your contacts and don’t forget to note where and when you met and a word or two about what you discussed.
  • Sort for follow up--Put each person you met into a category for a particular level of future contact. Do they need a simple “It was nice to meet you at…” or do they warrant an invitation for coffee or a request for an informational interview? 
  • Follow through--Did you offer someone assistance? Get in touch with them first thing the next business day so they know you were serious. And then follow through. It's very easy to let offers like this fall through the cracks, but those are missed opportunities. Think like an entrepreneur.
  • Send invitations--Invite your new contacts to connect with you on social media. Be sure to personalize invitations and remind them where you met and what you talked about. On Facebook, you can add them to a business-oriented list if you don't want them to see all of your personal posts, and then make sure you customize your posting status groups. Don't neglect LinkedIn!

Showing up at networking events seems like the hard part--and in many ways it is. But it can be a waste of time and energy to do all that if you don’t keep the real goal in mind--building relationships. 

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Just Busy Enough

Wendy Stackhouse - Thursday, September 26, 2013

“How is everything?” friends and colleagues ask. If your answer is--like mine is often--”I’m super busy!” we hope it is for the right reasons. Perhaps we should be aiming for “Just busy enough, thanks!”

Lots of projects

It’s nice to be wanted and appreciated for your skills and innovative ideas. Having a lot of projects to choose from is a great reason to be busy, as long as all of those projects are ones you want to do for clients who are professional and trustworthy. Choose your clients wisely.

Balancing work and life

When you’re working, you’re working hard and working efficiently, but you are also spending time on your hobbies, doing things that you are passionate about, and with friends and family. Busy during working hours is definitely the right kind of busy--as long as working hours aren’t 24/7.

Focus

Goal-oriented, once you have started a project, you work at it until it’s finished and then take a break. You probably experience a high degree of job satisfaction because you can check things off your list and relax when you’re done. And then you have time to relax, reflect and recharge.

There are times when we all get too busy, though, and it seems like a never-ending cycle. How can you get out of that loop?

Set a schedule--Separate working hours and personal hours and stick to your plan. You will soon teach yourself to work more efficiently within those limitations.

Be honest with yourself and your clients about how much you can take on--More work is great for the pocketbook, but if you are reaching your effective limit, negotiate for a start date a couple of weeks away. If your client really wants you, they can probably wait a reasonable time.

Turn off your notifications--Often overwhelming levels of busyness are a factor of how many times we are interrupted. We all need to remember we don’t need to check our email every 3 minutes or even answer the phone right away. Get to the end of that block of time and then check and see if anything was urgent.

"Just busy enough" is much better than not busy enough, but if you hear yourself complaining about how busy you are, it might be time to evaluate the reasons why. I really am “super busy” but it’s all with projects and clients I am passionate about, as well as volunteer responsibilities. I take regularly scheduled breaks and never work on Saturdays, no matter what. And I carry my hobby with me so I can relax when I find I finished something earlier than I expected. Just busy enough, thanks!

What do you do to make sure you are just busy enough? Give us your tips in the comments!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Don't Let the Fall Catch You Crying

Wendy Stackhouse - Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Autumnal Equinox has come and gone. Our eggs have fallen over once again and--hard to believe after the recent weather in Los Angeles--it’s actually chilly, at least in the mornings.

Fall is here and with it can come a burst of energy reminiscent of the start of a new school year or a bout of anticipatory seasonal depression. Are you sad when summer comes to an end? Let’s take a look at why you might be feeling a bit low now that autumn has arrived and what you might be able to do about it:

Your Accomplishments

Maybe you didn’t write the Great American Novel or find a cure for cancer this summer, but you definitely accomplished something. Pat yourself on the back for what you did, even if it was more along the lines of refreshing and reviving your creativity for the fall.

Your Plans

You might have to give up swimming for the year, but It’s a new season for some great outdoor activities and now that it’s not so hot, they might be even more enjoyable. Take a hike in the mountains, go to the zoo, play in some autumn leaves and take some pictures. Get inspired.

Your Future

If you are on a job search, you might have gotten stuck in a rut over the summer or lost some momentum--many people do. Let the fresh fall air remind you of new school years of the past and try some new job search ideas. Go to some fall networking events and add some new people to your circle of colleagues. Take a class and meet some new people in your field. Find a new mentor or mentor someone else.

Your Goals

Rather than feeling like the end of the year is approaching and you are behind on your list, fall is a great time of year to revamp your goals. Do you still want the same things? What do you think you can get done by the holidays? Break down some of your long-term goals into smaller pieces and start in on those. You can get there.

Even in beautiful Southern California, it can get cool enough for a cozy sweater and a cup of hot chocolate. I’m going to enjoy this fall. How about you?

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative
Check out our curated newsletter, Artisan Creative Weekly

Note: There is some controversy about whether an egg can only be balanced on the Spring and Fall Equinoxes. This blog does not take a position on that point. And you're welcome for the ear worm.

5 Tips for Choosing Freelance Clients

Wendy Stackhouse - Tuesday, September 17, 2013

As a freelancer, it is tempting to say “Yes!” to every opportunity that comes along, whether it's a graphic design job or a long-term marketing contract. After all, there are dry spells in every career. You don’t want to take the chance of having created one yourself. There are, however, times, when you should resist temptation and wait for the next project to come along. How can you tell what time it is?

  1. Too rushed--If your client doesn’t have time to give you detailed instructions, is too busy to get together to sign a contract or has a deadline that seems unreasonable, this might be a skip.
  2. Not enough money--Don’t sell your skills short. If a client is not willing to pay your usual rate, you will spend the whole project wishing you had said yes to the next one, the one you don’t have time for.
  3. Unpleasant manner--You don’t have to be friends with your clients, but if your impression is that you are not going to get along at all, trust your gut. Having difficult or even rude people around all the time affects your company culture. In a business world where we are all entrepreneurs, you are the company.
  4. Unappealing project--Being too picky could find you eating beans out of a can, but if you can’t think of one interesting or creative quality you can bring to a project, it might be better to wait for the next one.
  5. Big learning curve--Although we are in favor of learning new skills and keeping your current skills up-to-date, getting your education on the job--especially on a deadline--is a sure route to pulling your hair out.
Taking on a project that really isn’t right for you is definitely worse than having some free time between contracts and probably worse than getting a bit tight on funds. Pay attention to your instincts and you will know when to say “Yes, of course!” and when to say “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Announcing The Artisan Creative Weekly

Wendy Stackhouse - Tuesday, September 03, 2013

We are publishing a newsletter

Artisan Creative invites you to subscribe to the Artisan Creative Weekly. We will be publishing links to stories about leadership, creativity, talent, job search, time management, design, marketing and entrepreneurship. Once a month, we will publish a newsletter on a particular theme. 

We are finding inspiration all over the internet and we want to share it all with you. We also welcome your feedback. Let us know what you think of the Artisan Creative Weekly and what you would like to see more (or less) of. 

At this time of new beginnings, we have one of our own. Hope you like it!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Recent Posts


Tags


Archive