Artisan Blog

5 Tips for a Great Office Holiday Party

Wendy Stackhouse - Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The holidays have arrived and office parties are looming on our calendars. Artisan’s annual holiday luncheon is today, as a matter of fact. As much as we want everyone to have a great time at these festive events, we all know someone who has embarrassed themselves by making some unfortunate choices. Instead of sending a wish list to Santa this year, we would like to send you our list of ways to make your holiday office party what it should be--fun and successful.

  • Dress up--A little or a lot, depending on the specific event. Choose a festive accessory and do keep professionalism in mind.
  • Think ahead--Take the time to remind yourself of the names of co-workers’ spouses and children. Ask about activities they or their families like outside of work. Have a brief story ready for when you are asked, “How’s it going?”
  • Ask before you take photos--If you love to post pictures of life events on social media and want to take some here, make sure you have permission first, unless you are the company’s Social Media manager, in which case they’re probably used to you!
  • Keep it positive--The office holiday party is not the place for gossip or badmouthing. Happy holidays is the theme of the day.
  • Say thanks--The person in charge of the party has probably been under a lot of stress about it being perfect. Make sure to thank him or her for a lovely time.
Office parties are an opportunity to get to know the people in your company who may not be in your department, strengthen bonds within your team and make human connections that you don’t have time for during working hours. I know I’m looking forward to getting together with my Artisan colleagues today. Everyone at Artisan hopes that you have as much fun great time at your professional holiday gatherings as your personal ones.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Time Off from a New Job

Wendy Stackhouse - Thursday, November 21, 2013

With the short Thanksgiving work week coming up, we have some advice about what to do when you want to take some time off from your a new job. If you have been on the job less than 3 months, you are still getting settled and might not want to ask for any time off, but you might need a little breather--onboarding is stressful. A holiday is a great excuse. Here are our tips for success:

  • Ask, don’t tell--Your manager is still getting used to you, too, and you can make a good or bad impression here. Request your time off, don’t demand it or sound like you expect it.
  • Research--If your team has a big event or critical project deadline coming up, wait until after it is over to ask for time off. Take a longer view of the work calendar when making your plans.
  • Culture--Your new office might be very flexible or keep tightly to a a routine. Keep that in mind when asking for time off. Find out from a colleague what the typical policy is around holidays. Maybe everyone goes home at lunch on Wednesday and you just haven’t heard yet or maybe they have a tradition of working on a particular day.
  • Keep it short--Unless it was already booked when you took the job (and you told the hiring manager then), don’t plan an actual vacation until you have been in your new job at least 3 months. Even if your company doesn’t have an official “probationary” period, it’s a good idea to institute one of your own. And if you want to take a vacation in the first 6 months, make an appointment to discuss it with your manager before you make your reservations.

Artisan Creative will be closed on Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. We are thankful that you are here and hope you have a very happy one!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Being Your Own Mentor

Wendy Stackhouse - Tuesday, November 19, 2013

At Artisan Creative, we are big fans of mentorship. Artisan Founder Jamie Douraghy is passionate about mentoring and being mentored. There are times, however, when we find ourselves without a mentor for a situation we are trying to navigate. Can you be your own mentor? 


We went back and took a look at our interview with Jamie to see if any of his advice applies to being your own mentor:
  • Mentors help you learn from their mistakes. Make sure you don’t miss any opportunities to learn from your own.

  • Believe in yourself. Use positive language in your self-talk, just like the positive language you would get from a great mentor. You are capable of more than you think.
Some other ways to mentor yourself:

Consciously seek inspiration--Read, go to cultural events, practice activities that inspire you and bring you joy. Inspire yourself.

Explore career options--Your skills and passions may lead you in a different direction than you think. Let them.

Set goals and hold yourself accountable--Develop a system for checking on your own progress. Software that works as a tickler or scheduled email reminders work for us.

Seek out professional development opportunities--Learn new things and meet new people. You don't always need an introduction. Who knows, you might find a real-life mentor!

There are insights and encouragement that can only get from another person with different experience and a unique point-of-view, but even if you find yourself between mentors, you don’t have to give up all of the advantages a mentor brings to your professional life. Give yourself a present this holiday season--be your own mentor!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Revise Your Resume Now

Wendy Stackhouse - Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How long has it been since you read your own resume? A month? Three months? Since you got your current job? Unless you have revised your resume since the end of the summer, you have waited long enough. 

Why revise your resume if you’re not looking for a new job? Here are some of our reasons for spending time tweaking your resume even if you are happy where you are working:

  • Memory is tricky--Right now you have a great handle on the numbers for that big project you just completed. Those numbers will not stay at the front of your mind when you get immersed in the next one. Add bullet points with quantifiable data to your resume before the details get away from you.
  • Resumes are not just for job search--If you want to take on a volunteer opportunity that uses your professional skills, join a professional organization or do some networking (which you should do often), a current resume is a quick summary of your experience for anyone who is interested. 
  • The longer you wait, the longer it takes--Someday you will need or want to have a great--and current--resume. If you keep it up to date every quarter, it won’t take you long to bring it right up to today, but if you have to work back two or three years, it will take many more hours to make it work.
  • You never know--No one likes to think about it, but many layoffs are at short notice. I have a friend who found out on a recent Friday that it was her last day of work. If your resume is always current, you have one less thing to worry about if an unanticipated period of unemployment comes along.

My career coach told us to spend 5 hours on our resumes every quarter and at the time it sounded like a lot. But I know that it will be much harder to remember my accomplishments of this year when next year has begun. Think about spending an hour or two this week on your resume--you’ll be glad you did!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

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!

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

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