Perfecting Your Pitch

Tuesday, May 14th, 2019|

Whether you are a freelancer who has to pitch a project to a client, or a seasoned team member who is presenting a new concept to internal and external stakeholders, or you’re interviewing for a new job, it’s important to be able to convey your message in a memorable way that connects with your audience.

Will Greenblatt, the founder of the Outloudnow School, says “speaking is a physical act” and we need to “warm-up before we speak”. Reading your speech out loud several times before your actual presentation can be very helpful.

The first step in any presentation is to make certain you are warmed-up. Just as you need to stretch your muscles and be ready before you go for a run, your face muscles and voice need to be warmed up as well. Articulation exercises are a good way to warm up by working your way through a few tongue twisters.

Additionally, he points out that we need to be aware of our “ speech settings” and adjust as needed depending on the message, and point we are trying to communicate. Our speech settings are our volume, pace, pitch, clarity, inflection and physical expressiveness. Your voice is a powerful tool. As you practice, try adjusting your settings to see the difference.

Your breathing technique is also key to effective message delivery. Before giving a pitch or going in for an interview, nervousness can lead to shortness of breath, so it becomes important to do deep breathing exercises beforehand.

The Institute of Public Speaking suggests deep diaphragmatic breathing as a technique to get more air into your lungs as well as calm you down if your nerves are acting up.

Posture plays an important role in your breathing as well as in the delivery of your message. Ideally, you want to stand or sit straight, make eye contact, keep your hands open down by your side and smile! It impacts your mindset and will make you more approachable once you’re finished speaking.

If you are nervous about speaking in groups or in front of a crowd, practice in front of a mirror and record yourself. Watch your body language, posture, and movements, then make adjustments in your delivery. Ideally, you will invest time in your own self-development and attend public speaking courses like Toastmasters or take online classes.

At Artisan Creative, we look forward to connecting with you and sharing additional tips on interviewing and preparing for your job search.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 521st issue of our a.blog.

Marketing Your Business

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019|

We’re all entrepreneurs now. Whether you’re a creative professional or cultivating a side hustle, your path to consistent and satisfying success is to think of yourself as a business. This means that to get the clients and projects you want, you must master the basics of marketing on a budget.

When you understand the most important principles of marketing, and you’re willing to put in the reasonable amount of effort required, you’ll bring in new business, and you’ll have time to focus on the work you really love.

As you grow your freelancing career, here are a few big marketing ideas to keep in mind.

Build Your Brand

Having a strong personal and professional brand means more than having a concise elevator pitch, although that’s an essential part of it. You must know who you are, what you can do, what values you represent, and how to communicate your identity. When you put your mind and heart into developing your brand, it will pay massive dividends with the people and projects that come into your life.

Work Your Network

As a creative freelancer, some of the most effective marketing you can do is still old-fashioned word-of-mouth. When you provide value to others, attend networking events to engage with your community, and seek out the peers, collaborators, and mentors you wish to cultivate, new resources and opportunities will present themselves in ways you never anticipated.

Prioritize Product-Market Fit

Author Carolyn Tate describes the “four Ps of marketing” – product, pricing, placement, and promotion – and how they’re always interrelated. In the new age of growth hacker marketing, running a business is a constant process of iteration, and great products are built through feedback loops and ongoing processes of community interaction. Remain curious and sensitive to the changing needs of your clients. Let your marketing efforts and your work feed into a constant refinement of improving each other.

Track Your Progress

To better allocate your resources and understand how your marketing is paying off, keep track of your progress and results over time. If you’re not naturally comfortable with numbers, charts, and analytics, you can use one of the many free tools that are available.

Share Your Success

Whether you present your work in an online portfolio, create content to showcase your ideas, or engage with your clients and community through social media, don’t be shy about sharing your best self with the world. It will inspire others, build your own confidence, and bring lots of new opportunities to your doorstep.

Turn Pro

When you start thinking of yourself as a serious professional, something magical happens. If you’re struggling with that transition, or you’re ready to take your creative career or small business to the next level, we can help! Contact Artisan Creative today to take your next step.

We hope you’ve enjoyed issue 518 of our a.blog.

A Guide To Creating Mood Boards

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019|

For designers, digital storytellers, project managers, or anyone in the business of creating, mood boards are a useful way to brainstorm, showcase specific design concepts, or communicate the bigger ideas around a project.

Never made a mood board? Give it a go! Even if you don’t consider yourself a designer – you may find that honing your ability to organize images enhances your power as a communicator. If you’ve hit a stuck point at work, or need a jolt of aesthetic inspiration, making a mood board is an inspiring way to drill down to basics, rediscover what matters, and shake out some new ideas.

When creating a mood board, keep this advice in mind.

Think Like a Collector

Whether you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed or taking a walk in your city, take in your environment through the lens of an image curator. Smartphone cameras, bookmarking tools, and screen capturing software make it so easy to create ad hoc scrapbooks of the colors, patterns, and other sights that catch your fancy as you go about your daily travels.

Center One Big Idea

To make your mood board more cohesive, start with one large image, place it near the middle (or in some way that indicates its prominence), and arrange other images around it. Some of the best mood boards also function as visually rich mind maps.

Be Obvious

If your mood board is for your eyes only (such as a vision board to help you set personal goals), it’s not so important that it be easy for others to understand. However, if you’re sharing your mood board with colleagues, collaborators, or especially clients, be ready to answer any questions they might have before they have them. That means it’s okay to use well-known “classic” images, or even use text to drive home important ideas.

Go For Emotional Resonance

Be cognizant of color theory, Gestalt theory, and best practices around typefaces and other design decisions. Make sure your smaller choices are in service to the larger emotional sweep of your mood board. The goal is to create an emotional response to give your ideas the power of strong feelings.

Experiment With Different Sorts of Images

As long as your mood board makes sense as a whole, there’s no reason to limit yourself to photographs, illustrations, and other common images. Experiment with text, maps, diagrams to create striking visual metaphors, and anything else that may help you get your points across.

Experiment With Formats

There is power in the unexpected. Tools such as Pinterest now make it wonderfully easy for almost anyone to generate a mood board. That means that, if you want to go offline, break out your glue sticks, and do some old-fashioned collaging, you can make an even bigger splash at presentation time.

Presentation Is Everything

Whenever possible, always present your mood boards in person. This gives you the opportunity to showcase your work as you want it to be understood, to clear up any confusion, to receive feedback (an opportunity to improve and clarify your work), and to transmit the personality and flavor behind your mood board. Presentation skills are important, so whatever you do, seek as many opportunities as you can get to become a more agile and effective presenter.

For practice, try communicating your personal brand through the medium of a mood board, and then present it to a sympathetic colleague or your creative recruiter.

Mood boards are just one of our favorite techniques for honing ideas and building a brand, a company, or a creative career you will love.

Contact us today to discover many more and see what Artisan Creative’s knowledge, experience, and inspiration can do for you.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 510th 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 of 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.

 

Visualize Your Year

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019|

Our Artisan Creative a.team creates a new vision board every year. What started as a fun team-building project, has grown into a mindset that many of our team members have now introduced to their families and friends to set individual and family goals together.

We each work on visualizing and creating our boards over the holidays, and present at our first team meeting in January. Our boards are as varied and eclectic as we are. They include short and long-term goals, as well as personal and professional aspirations.

We believe that by presenting and sharing we hold true to our values, and create a culture of accountability that enables the team to learn more about each other’s ambitions, dreams, and commitments. Some set a theme for their board or their year—others use inspirational quotes. All have a shared thread of growth, inspiration, and visualization, that tells a story and creates a visual roadmap for achieving our personal and business goals.

In addition to sharing our vision boards with one another to start the year, we revisit the boards mid-year together and also review in our year-end meeting. This way, we help keep one another on track throughout the year.

Here is the process we follow to create our vision boards, so invite co-workers and family members to get your new year off to an amazing start!

  1. Set your intentions & define your priorities for the year
  2. Select words and images that inspire and are true to your core values.
  3. Create positivity and inspiration for yourself and others.
  4. Imagine the integrated life/work that you want to live.
  5. Your board can be divided into sections for career, self, family, and community or be a mix of combined elements throughout. The key is to create the vision where your personal and professional aspirations are represented to help create an integrated life and work.
  6. Hang the board where you can re-visit it daily—read the inspirational messages out loud— and often! Mine is right in front of my desk, so I see it every time I look up from my computer.
  7. Share with others. Having an accountability partner will help you get closer to achieving your goals.

Tools needed:

  • A large poster board to give you plenty of space to visualize your year, yet small enough to hang on your wall. We use the 22 x 28 size available from Staples.
  • A good pair of scissors and a strong glue stick so the pictures stay on all year long.
  • Variety of magazines to look through and find those inspiring words and pictures.
  • (Optional) Markers/stickers to write on or embellish your board.
  • Patience and Creativity.
  • Time to reflect.

I cut images and words throughout the month of December. Then I create the actual vision board in one day. For some, it’s easier to start with a theme and for others, the pictures and words shape the direction of the board. There is no right or wrong method, harness your creativity in any way that works best for you.

Although electronic versions such as Pinterest or Trello also work, going old-school where you physically search for and cut out imagery and words from a magazine and decide where to place them, is in itself an opportunity to reflect and plan via a very tangible exercise.

What is your goal setting process?

Happy New Year!

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 503rd issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

Define Your Personal Brand

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018|

 

As a creative professional, no matter what projects you pursue, you can create a lot more opportunities for yourself when you establish a clear, concrete, and powerful personal brand.

Here are five steps to help you define who you are, what you do, and where you want to go.

Get to Know Yourself

No matter what work you do, you have your own skills, style, and experiences that are unique to you. Together, they make up a professional persona that differentiates you from your competition. The more specific you can be about your persona, the more consistent your brand can be, and the more work it can do on your behalf.

Developing an effective personal brand requires taking an inventory of what you do well, how others see you, and how you can help them. It can be difficult to look at yourself objectively, on the flip side, this process of inquiry will pay enormous dividends throughout your career.

Check Your Humility

To maintain a healthy grounding in reality, it’s important to be realistic and think critically about yourself, your strengths, and the areas in which you can improve upon. When you’re building your brand set this aside for the moment and begin with an open mind.

Flatter yourself. Emphasize your strengths. Present yourself as a legend, a rock star, larger than life. You can always be humble and approachable after people are intrigued!

If you have trouble getting excited about your own brand, this classic Creative Mornings talk from Richard Sauerman will provide a jolt of encouragement and help you fall in love with yourself a bit.

Go on a Vision Quest

Create a detailed picture of where you want to go in your professional life, and your mind will begin to automatically strategize how to get you there.

Before you begin the detailed work of building your personal brand, try this visioning exercise. It will help you understand why you’re doing all this. Imagine the fruits of your success and you’ll whet your appetite for the work it requires.

Become You, Inc.

Now it’s time to open your toolbox and assemble the nuts and bolts you will use to build your brand. You’ll develop your own style guide, visual assets, slogan, elevator pitch, and everything else a business needs to distinguish and differentiate itself.

To do this, you can use the same assignments and techniques that top agencies use on branding projects for multinational corporations. This article on the best practices of in-the-weeds brand-branding lists all the essentials you’ll need, with examples from some of the world’s best-known corporate brands.

Knowing how to stand out in the crowd is key to defining your personal brand.  Check out Winnie & Lorrie Hart’s book on Stand Out for more details.

Get Engaged

Your brand may be born in the studio, and it will come into its own when it learns to survive on the street. As time goes on, you will develop and iterate on your brand based on how it interacts with the outside world at networking events, in pitch meetings, online, in the work you do, and in the content you create.

Whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert, or somewhere in between, you’ll ultimately build your brand through active engagement with your professional community. The more you do this, the more opportunities will open for you. It pays to be strategic, mindful, and deliberate about it.

Consider what you’re comfortable with, and then go slightly outside that zone. You’ll bring back some interesting insights.

At Artisan Creative, we pool decades of experience in the world of creative work to help you become your best professional self and hit goals you didn’t know you had. Contact us today to find your next invigorating challenge.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 499th issue of our a.blog