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Gratitude 2020

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020|

Each Thanksgiving holiday season, we gather and share our collective gratitude and celebrate our clients and talent whom we work with all year.

This year, at a time that requires deeper reflection, has brought about ample opportunities to count our blessings.   To create this list, we gathered together (via zoom), focused on our enthusiasm and communication core values to share what is important to us now and what we are grateful for.

Here are the collected gratitudes from members of our Artisan Creative a.team:

  1. Gratitude for working with the finest talent and clients
  2. Gratitude for 25 years of being Artisan Creative
  3. Gratitude for the opportunity to impact careers and change lives
  4. Gratitude for the awareness of the good fortune and the ability to shift our work to the online world and remain connected
  5. Gratitude for the weekly family zoom gathering with our siblings, their families, and our parents (now in their late 80s). We have done this every Sunday for 1 hour without a miss since late March 2020
  6. Gratitude for time to reflect on what matters most in life and work.
  7. Gratitude for early morning walks & weekend hikes
  8. Gratitude for our a.team of amazing co-workers
  9. Gratitude for 11 years of being a remote company
  10. Gratitude for working
  11. Gratitude for good food
  12. Gratitude for our pets who keep us company all-day
  13. Gratitude for the beauty of nature and America’s great outdoors
  14. Gratitude for the love and support of family and friends
  15. Grateful for new hobbies
  16. Grateful for my donkeys
  17. Grateful for staying connected with friends globally
  18. Grateful for personal growth
  19. Grateful for my vibrant health
  20. Grateful for watching the Santa Monica beach sunset (almost) every evening

This would not be possible without the courage and selflessness of frontline workers and those who support our communities from behind the scenes. We share our deepest gratitude to those who work hard, so we can be safe.

We enter this season in optimistic spirits, and we could never thank you all enough!

We wish you and yours a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.

When Zoom Became A Verb

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020|

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

 

These are indeed interesting times we live in—the best and the worst woven into the fabric of our lives and businesses.

The best, because this is the most family time many of us have had together. The best because we are cooking more, walking more, calling our friends more, playing board games more, enjoying the simple things in life more.

And of course, the worst of times, because our world is in pain. Our friends’ and families’ health and livelihood have been severely impacted.

We live in a time when Zoom has become a verb. I zoomed with my family last weekend and will be zooming with a friend for her birthday next week. We see many loved ones and share their pain and their joy across our digital devices. Birthday parties, weddings, and even funerals are now zoomable.

Our team has been zooming for several years. We went remote as a company in 2009 when the last economic downturn impacted us, and we haven’t looked back since. We believe once many clients and talent experience how well a remote team can function it will shift many perspectives as well as work patterns.

I’d love to share with you a few learnings from my team, as well as from several of our freelance talent about best practices for keeping accountable, organized and motivated while working remotely. Being solo does not mean being in a silo!

 

  1. Maintain your schedule– Keep the same work hours you had when you were in the office, and keep a balanced scheduled at home before and after work. Having a consistent schedule helps set boundaries and creates uniformity.
  2. Designate a specific place for work(not your bed, not the couch)  If you don’t have a designated home office, create a space where you can be working ergonomically. Where possible have a set area to work that can help maintain routine and organization.
  3. Work with a headset– Be good to your neck and have your hands free. You can type and take notes easier for additional productivity.
  4. Be in a work mindset. If you’re not used to working at home, don’t get distracted with home chores. Schedule times for those chores as you would if you were out.
  5. Take breaks & Stretch to stay mentally focused and positive
  6. Stay connected with your team as if you were physically at the office.
  7. Communicate & Collaborate. Use technology to bridge the gap of distance. Check-in with co-workers and clients often.
  8. Work your calendar! Keep productive and stay on task. Make lists, set goals, track your time. Apps like Pomodoro or Toggl can help.
  9. Have fun while you work. Play music, have your pet with you, cook an amazing lunch.
  10. Be Grateful. It’s a unique opportunity to work from home and not have to commute.

 

If you need additional best practices on managing a remote team, check out our brief video  ” A Remote Team Needs TLC”

“I typically get to work at 10 am, so while at home I start working at 10 am too. Keeping my morning routine (for me that’s meditating, moving my body, and making coffee) helps. The days when I start working right when I wake up are the days when I feel more anxious and restless.”

~ UI/UX designer Joni

Know that your employer trusts you enough to let you work remotely and that is something that should not be taken lightly.

~ Artisan Creative Account Manager, Margaret

When you prepare dinner, make extra. It’s nice to have something prepared for lunch.

~ Presentation Designer, Karen

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 558th issue of our a.blog.

Margaret Jung’s 25th year with Artisan Creative

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020|

This month marks a momentous occasion at Artisan Creative where we celebrate our senior account manager, Margaret Jung’s 25th year with our company. 

In this day and age, it’s extremely rare to find such continued loyalty and passion; a quarter of a century is quite the feat. 

For those of you who have been fortunate to meet Margaret, know that she enters every room with the biggest smile, the loudest hello, and usually with a handful of cupcakes (every time, without fail, they are always from Dots Cupcakes).

Working for a company whose values are aligned with hers, the opportunity to create a difference in people’s lives and to build long-lasting relationships is what motivates her. Her energy, enthusiasm, and drive come down to one phrase: creating relationships based on trust.

She is a consummate business development professional, highly knowledgeable in the world of creative and marketing recruitment, and has a first-rate understanding of the design marketplace.

We had an opportunity to sit down with Margaret and have a conversation about the past 25 years and the lessons learned to stay strong all these years. 

Margaret believes we must:

  1. Stay positive 
  2. Be open to change
  3. Be realistic
  4. Work with and hire the right people–it goes a long way
  5. Know you have a team to back you up
  6. Support your team
  7. Believe in the core values of your company and share the same philosophy with your team
  8. Be accountable to yourself and the team
  9. Be self-aware
  10. Know your capabilities
  11. Keep yourself motivated
  12. Have a boss who gives you constant encouragement and advice
  13. Lead by example
  14. Have the mindset of being your own boss (especially in a remote business model like Artisan Creative’s)
  15. Have good communication skills with both internal and external stakeholders
  16. Understand that things aren’t always black and white
  17. Compromise when needed
  18. Don’t be afraid of having difficult conversations 
  19. Sometimes you need to just pick up the phone to get your point across (emails and/or text can get lost in translation)
  20. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up…
  21. Control what you can control and what you can’t–move on
  22. First impressions are lasting impressions
  23. Stress can be managed. It’s not the end of the world 
  24. Be true to yourself, know your limitations and stick with it
  25. Finally, life is so much better when you are laughing.

If you need help with recruitment to hire a position on your team, reach out to Margaret. You’ll see what we mean.

Thank you, Margaret, for an amazing 25 years. Here’s to creating even more impact and new relationships in 2020 and beyond.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 557th issue of our a.blog.

Giving Thanks 2019

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019|

We give thanks to our clients and talent, and to our a.team for 23 years of building a more creative world together.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Here at Artisan Creative, we have a #gratitude Slack channel where throughout the year our a.team shares what they are grateful for daily. Everything from bike rides and nature walks to home remodels and healthy families, we recognize every day how very fortunate we are in so many ways.

Here are some snippets of shares on Slack from the past year:

Grateful for health.
Grateful for family.
Grateful for laughter.
Grateful for loving relationships with friends and family.
Grateful for enriching experiences.
Grateful for launching our artisan podcast on creativity, inspiration, and determination.
Grateful for our virtual office and not commuting—celebrating 10 years of working remotely.
Grateful for a strong body and mind.
Grateful for learning to wake up to life at a deeper level.
Grateful for new friendships.
Grateful for old friendships.
Grateful for sunrises and sunsets.
Grateful for being able to give back and helping others.
Grateful for our 4-legged furry friends.
Grateful for air travel that makes it possible to see family and friends who are far away.
Grateful for babies sleeping through the night.
Grateful for positive attitudes.
Grateful for the bathroom remodel being done.
Grateful for “Find My Phone”!
Grateful for self-care.
Grateful for new beginnings.
Grateful for the amazing a.team!
Grateful for 23 years of Artisan Creative.
Grateful for our clients and talents.
Grateful for new additions to our team this year.
Grateful for our focus on life-work integration.
Grateful for living and being true to our core values.
Grateful for continual learning and growth.
Grateful for knowing and understanding our strengths.
Grateful for mindfulness.
Grateful for the entrepreneurial journey.
Grateful for a happy life!

Wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving.
The artisan a.team

Lessons From A Digital Nomad

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019|

Living on the road full time isn’t easy, but it is a lot of fun. For the last three months, I’ve been doing just that. I got rid of most of my worldly possessions, threw what I had left into a 30-foot travel trailer and set off to see the great American countryside. So far, I’ve set up camp in seven states from Illinois to Montana. While the experience has been a challenging one, it has also been highly rewarding. 

This lifestyle is surprisingly more common than you might think. According to a 2018 article in the Washington Post, over one million Americans are living in RVs, camper vans, travel trailers, and fifth wheels all across the country. And digital, remote work is driving the trend. 

In years past, such lifestyles were impossible for professionals. Sure, the Woodstock generation could take off in their VW vans and earn work along the way, but for anyone with a 9-to-5, a steady life, and a family, a nomadic life just wasn’t going to work. Vacations, sure, but as a lifestyle? How would you support yourself?

Now people can make money anywhere there’s an Internet connection. There are even handy devices such as the weBoost Drive (I’ve got one!) that help you to pick up a signal where mere mortals are in a dead zone. Where you can work is now extending to some of the most remote parts of the United States and even around the globe. 

I travel about once every other week, though I have stayed in some places longer. Still, I find when I stay in one place for too long I start getting the itch. Moving days were incredibly stressful at first — I couldn’t even get the trailer unhitched from the truck without a little help from friendly passers-by. Now? It’s routine. There’s a short checklist of things to be done. They get done. The trailer moves. I’m in a new place, with all kinds of new sights to see and explore. 

You’ll meet a lot of people on the road. Almost all of them are friendly, personable and willing to help. One time my truck got stuck on the road in a very bad spot. A random farmer was happy to provide assistance as I turned the truck around what could have been a very dangerous obstacle. When my trailer had a wasp problem, some neighbors brought me a can of insecticide and refused reimbursement for it. Virtually all of my experiences with my neighbors and strangers on the road have been very positive.

There’s also so much to see out there. I hadn’t seen much of America before I set off on this trip and what I had seen was confined to a few large cities. I’m writing this from a town of 2,000 people. The town doesn’t have a Starbucks or a Trader Joe’s, but it’s still a great place to stay. The local gym is filled with friendlies who are willing to point out the best spots this small town has to offer. 

You also miss a lot sticking just to big cities. There’s simply no competition for the wide-open spaces of the countryside. Mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes are all right outside my door at virtually every stop along the way. 

In over three months on the road, I haven’t stayed in an RV park once. My trailer has made its home in people’s backyards, state parks, local parks and even a couple of Wal-Mart parking lots. Not only is this cheaper but it gives me the kind of breathing room I’d like to have. The population density of an RV park isn’t that much different from Los Angeles or San Francisco. 

In part, this is possible because my trailer is outfitted with a number of amenities that make living on the road, away from everything for long periods of time, very easy. I’m going on one month in the same place with no connection to the power grid and I’ve never wanted for electricity thanks to new efficiencies in solar technology. My composting toilet smells a lot nicer than most people’s bathrooms and certainly nicer than the chemical toilets that are basically an airplane bathroom in a trailer. Yuck.

One of the best things about living on the road is that I’ve learned just how little I need to live my life. I collect things. Clothes, books, records, bric-a-brac. Getting rid of it was a very daunting task at first. But now, anytime I buy something new I have to carefully consider if I really need it. After all, any new addition to my life means less space in my trailer and more weight my truck has to pull. 

This isn’t just about owning things or not owning things. If having lots of stuff makes you happy, by all means, have lots of stuff. But in my time on the road, I’ve come to get a deeper appreciation for the experiences that are to be had over the things that can be bought. The old me would have needed to get a mug and a t-shirt from every burg and hamlet I stopped in. The new me is happy to take in the sights, the smells, and the local cuisine. 

If this kind of life appeals to you, the transition is a lot easier than you think. Most of the stress occurs in the first three weeks or so. Once you’re past that, it becomes just like any other lifestyle — routine.  That said, I’m looking out my window at some of the biggest mountains in the United States and I can’t believe they’re real. Some things, no matter how routine they are, will always be amazing to me.

At Artisan Creative, we believe in life-work integration and have been a virtual business for over 10 years. Our team works remotely, and this is our team member Laura Pell’s adventures from the road.  Contact Artisan Creative today to connect.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 543rd issue of the a.blog.

Cool Job Perks

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019|

Whatever you do for a living, you’ll be spending a good amount of time on it. Thus, it’s important to choose jobs, gigs, and careers that are aligned with your values, your strengths, your goals, as well as with your sense of adventure and fun.

When you’re job hunting or looking for a new creative career, simply picking an opportunity with the largest salary attached may not lead to as much happiness as you might be expecting. Take some time to look at the whole picture, including job perks that will make your job and the workplace you’ll be spending 8+ hours a day in uniquely welcoming and rewarding. And, if you run a business and you’re hiring talent, consider offering enticing and unusual job perks to help attract the right team that can take your entity to the next level.

Here are a few job perks to consider, from the common to the quirky, to the cool.

Flextime: The ritual of working regular shifts Monday through Friday, 9:00 to 5:00, is based on an old industrial model of workplace efficiency that is not necessarily applicable or useful for all modern businesses. Flextime gives workers and their managers the opportunity to collaborate and create slightly offbeat schedules that may better accommodate the circumstances and needs of everyone involved.

Remote Work: As the capabilities of workplace technology improve exponentially, entirely remote teams will become more and more common. It’s how we’ve been working at Artisan Creative since 2009, and for us (and a lot of our clients), it’s working quite well.

Unlimited Vacations: American workers are notorious for their relative lack of long vacations, but things may be changing. Some top companies are no longer doling out small allotments of PTO and sick time and are switching to something more like an honor system, granting their employees full freedom to vacation as they will and trusting them to do so responsibly.

Fitness & Health Perks: Many employers are becoming more focused on the overall health and wellness of their talent, providing yoga sessions, bikes and other perks that help them feel good and develop good habits, inside and outside of work.

Dry Cleaning: Hate doing laundry? Need to be spotless and wrinkle-free for client meetings and presentations? Consider a job that will steam your pants and tumble-dry your whites, on the house.

Nap Rooms: Naptime may have felt like punishment in kindergarten. Now as a hardworking adult, you could probably use some R&R on the clock. More companies are providing small sanctuaries for meditation, contemplation, or simply catching a few Zs.

Life Coaching: At Artisan, we believe creating the right career is about aligning all aspects of life to orient yourself toward your true values. So we’re entirely in favor of getting a gentle push from a qualified life coach, especially when it’s part of your job.

Ax-Throwing Lessons: Then again, some people need more aggressive catharsis than others. If you want to release some tension and be prepared to kill your own food if necessary, there are job perks out there for you, as well.

Together with our top talent and world-class clients, we’re helping to shape the workplace of the future. Contact Artisan Creative today and discover better ways to work.

We hope you enjoy the 522nd issue of our a.blog.

 

 

Reducing Our Footprint at Work

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019|

We only have one earth, and all professionals and businesses share a responsibility to do what we can to take care of it. When we become more mindful of our environmental impact and make more efficient use of our resources, it’s good for the soul, good for the planet, and often good for the budget. We can take inspiration from some of the world’s largest companies and their efforts to be better global citizens. In celebration of Earth Day, here are a few tips for reducing our ecological footprint at work.

Cut the Commute

Whether it takes the form of encouraging ridesharing and mass transit or going partly or entirely remote, reducing time on the road is great for the environment, as well as for stress and spending levels. If you must commute to work, make responsible and productive use of your commuting time, and seek out the wealth of local transportation apps that provide the best options.

Do an Energy Audit

Account for the ways you use electricity in the workplace. Can you switch to more energy-efficient light bulbs? Do simply switch off lights when they’re not in use or leave it for someone else to take care of? Can you rely less on heating and air conditioning? Slight reductions in energy use make a big difference when we all do our part. And, cultivating a more mindful and responsible attitude toward energy can improve all aspects of your work…… awareness is key.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Promote and participate in a workplace recycling program. Avoid buying new supplies until you’ve made full use of what you already have. Whenever you can, make do with less. Oftentimes the most familiar environmentalist wisdom remains the best.

Know Your Supply Chain

You know your business, and you know it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. How well do you understand the processes that surround it, and the full impacts they have? Sustainable procurement is an often-overlooked opportunity to build more environmental responsibility into the business processes that will impact our future.

Change Your Lunch Habits

It’s getting cooler, and easier, to go vegetarian or vegan. Some workplaces are implementing no-meat policies. With remarkable advances in meat substitutes, low-impact diets offer increasingly nutritious and delicious alternatives to fast food. Pay attention to improving what you eat on the job, and you’ll look better, feel better, and help reduce the burden on our species and our planet.

At Artisan Creative, we believe that great work springs from a holistic approach to building careers and lifestyles that serve our true desires. Contact us today to learn more.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 517th issue of our a.blog.

 

Why We Love What We Do

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019|

This February we celebrate 23 years of being Artisan Creative. Twenty-three fabulous years of creating relationships based on trust and teamwork, collaboration, and support.

Thank you for being on this journey with us. We couldn’t have done it without you.

To celebrate and in recognition of Valentine’s day, we asked our Artisan Creative a.team to share 23 things they love about what they do every day and why they love working at Artisan Creative.

  1. The Artisan a.team
  2. The impact we create every day in people’s lives
  3. Our core values
  4. Our life/work integration mindset
  5. Flexibility – working to live and not living to work
  6. Seeing life-changing opportunities through the work we do
  7. The amazing people we work with
  8. Ability to work from anywhere. Remote/Virtual office
  9. Building impactful relationships
  10. Connecting people to opportunities
  11. Supportive team
  12. Working for a company that finds jobs for artists
  13. Use of relevant and current technologies
  14. Being organized and efficient
  15. Interesting team-building exercises
  16. Employee ideas are heard, considered, and acted upon
  17. Learning from a dynamic and supportive team
  18. Connecting with great people and changing lives
  19. Building long-lasting client & talent relationships
  20. Integrity, respect, and honesty of the team
  21. Making a difference
  22. Focus on personal and professional development
  23. Being a woman-owned business

Our core values were created by the a.team. To learn more about how we create impact, please connect.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 509th a.blog. Happy Valentine’s Day.

 

With Gratitude

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018|

“Start with gratitude. Then get to work.”

Beth Lapides

During this Thanksgiving holiday season, we at Artisan Creative celebrate our clients and talent whom we work with all year. By working with the finest people and organizations, we always find ourselves amazed by the skills of our talent and the openness of our clients that facilitate the making of great matches. This gives us pride in the part we play in impacting careers.

This would not be possible without the courage and selflessness of those who hold up our communities from behind the scenes. We share our immense gratitude for the people who do so much to keep our society functioning at the hardest of times.

In the last few weeks, the Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire have posed unprecedented challenges for our home state of California. In response, Californians have come together to rally behind deeply affected families and businesses, and to support charities and emergency workers who are saving lives and helping communities prepare for rebuilding and recovery. We encourage joining these efforts and giving in the ways that are most effective, using wise-giving guidelines to make sure our dollars do the greatest possible good. Volunteering at your local shelter, donating clothes and essentials, supporting our firefighters are all ways we can help.

The people we work with have taught us much about strengthening our networks, bringing out the best in each other, and banding together to accomplish seemingly impossible breakthroughs. We enter this season in optimistic spirits, and we could never thank you all enough!

Our Artisan a.team is grateful for so much this year, our collective thanks are outlined below:

We are thankful for our health, loving spouse/partners, our children, our fur babies, our families, our A.team co-workers, our home, our company, our personal freedom, our friends and support system, our breath, our opportunity to travel, our ability to have life/work integration, the opportunity to work remotely, and our California.

We wish you and yours a happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday.

Are you a Digital Nomad?

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018|

As humans and especially as creative professionals, we must learn to maintain a delicate balance between security and adventure, as our minds and hearts deem appropriate. If you are the sort of person who tilts toward adventure, or you crave a lot more risk in your life and career than you have currently, have you ever considered the life of a digital nomad?

Digital nomads take advantage of the wondrous interconnectedness provided by flourishing digital technologies. The consumer internet has only been around for a bit more than two decades, and these digital nomads live to explore new landscapes both virtual and geographical.

To be a digital nomad, one condition is to hone the skills you can do remotely, such as web design and development, copywriting, social media marketing, or any other creative trade that requires only an agile mind and a laptop. You must also cultivate your adaptability, learn to strategize, and develop a whole range of travel and interpersonal skills, some of which are so specific that they don’t have names.

You can start to live a successful life as a digital nomad, with all the romance and adventure that come with it, if you can master these four core principles.

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

Before you travel the world on your own steam, get smart with your money. Eliminate as much debt as possible and cut expenses to the bone. Own only the property you absolutely need – place most of your items in storage, and if you own a home, consider renting it out on AirBnB for extra income. If you don’t own much, don’t owe much, and lead a simple life, you will have an easier transition to becoming a digital nomad.

Plan Ahead – Take Care of the Details

The life of a digital nomad involves lots of improvisation. That’s much easier to manage if you handle as many potential variables as you can before you go. Figure out your communication strategy – how will you stay in touch with clients and creative recruiters on foreign soil? Plan your itinerary – where are you staying, and where can you stay if those plans go awry? Do you need travel insurance, or extra guidance and protection? Use your networking skills to find a community of mentors and peers who have overcome some of the challenges of being digital nomads. Their friendship, camaraderie, and insight will make your travel experience less lonely and more fun and fruitful.

Put Your Assets to Work

As a digital nomad, you won’t have access to the same professional networks you would if you were anchored in one location or community. You can make up for this if you create assets that will work in your favor when you’re traveling or go offline. Make sure your online resume and digital portfolio are attracting new business while you sleep (especially if you’re sleeping in an unusual new time zone). If you have unique skills to share, you might create an online course – this can generate passive income to help you get through any rough patches.

Keep an Open Mind

The most important skill of a digital nomad is adaptability. This bold lifestyle will teach you how to embrace unpredictability, dive into the unknown, and change your mind on the fly.

“Travel has a way revealing that much of what you’ve heard about the world is wrong,” says Rolf Potts, author of the acclaimed travel lifestyle manual Vagabonding. ” Even on a day-to-day level, travel enables you to avoid setting limits on what you can and can’t do. On the road, you naturally ‘play games’ with your day: watching, waiting, listening; allowing things to happen. There’s no better opportunity to break old habits, face latent fears, and test out repressed facets of your personality.”

At Artisan Creative, we can help you conquer the challenges that matter to you as you claim the life and career you want. Contact us today to learn more.