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.

Job Hunting Best Practices

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019|

When attempting to move up in creative careers, especially when switching fields, job seekers are haunted by one perennial frustration: it can be hard to get experience when you don’t already have experience.

Hiring managers and creative recruiters gravitate toward candidates who already have proven track records and know how to navigate the responsibilities that come with new opportunities. If you’re angling for a job or a career in an area in which your prior work history is not applicable or sufficient there are steps you can take to compensate for a lack of relevant professional experience. Career coach Martin McGovern suggests three moves that can open new opportunities that you may not be able to get with your CV alone.

Side Hustles

“Let’s say you want to be a copywriter at a food publication,” says McGovern. “Don’t wait for them to hire you before you start writing about food. Create your own food blog and get to work. I have a close friend who was able to break into the highest reaches of the culinary world through strategic use of Instagram, blogging, email marketing, and outreach. Give yourself permission to do the work and others will be clamoring to work with you.”

Developing a side hustle in your field of choice is a great way to choose yourself, explore your passions, and show potential future employers and colleagues what you can do. If you properly manage your schedule, you can usually pursue some freelance work without sacrificing your day job.

Meetups

“Recently, I had a student who really wanted to work in sportstech as a web developer,” McGovern says. “So he started a sportstech meetup. Instantly, 35 people joined the group. He was able to leverage this to reach out to CEOs from his favorite companies and ask them to speak at the first event. After the event, they came up to him and asked if he was looking for an internship, which allowed him to completely circumvent the whole job search process.”

Meetup groups are an excellent way to engage with your professional community, broaden your own horizons, and unearth the sorts of opportunities that may not readily present themselves through Google searches. Spending time with successful peers can also help you become fluent in the language of your chosen industry, which can be an enormous help in tailoring your resume and maximizing your social media presence.

You can look for interesting communities in your area on Meetup.com, or attend a lecture from Creative Mornings. If you can’t find the right group, start your own. You may be surprised at how many like minds you find.

Professional Organizations

“Most cities have professional organizations for your line of work and they are always in need of help,” McGovern says. “Sign up, go to their events, volunteer, and join the board! This will show you are ambitious, forward thinking, part of the community, and knowledgeable in your desired field.”

Local creative communities tend to be particularly well served by professional organizations. For designers, there’s AIGA. Marketing professionals have the AMA with many other local alternatives. For those on the creative side of the technology world, exciting organizations such as World IA Day can always use volunteer help, providing ample opportunities in return to tap into your skills and make life-changing professional connections.

Whatever your current level of experience, you can always find creative ways to improve yourself and build a career you love. At Artisan Creative, we help creative professionals make the most of their many opportunities. Contact Artisan today to get started.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 537th issue of the a.blog

Storytelling and Interviewing

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019|

If you’ve spent any slice of time searching for a job, you’ve probably experienced this. At some point in a typical job interview, often right at the top, your interviewer will say, “tell me about yourself.”

Technically, this isn’t a question, it’s a prompt. It puts you on the spot. It can be intimidating!

However, with the right preparation – along with dashes of confidence, enthusiasm, and self-awareness – “tell me about yourself” can be your opportunity to shine.

In preparation for this inevitable inquiry, here are a few ideas to keep in mind.

Tell Your Story

Intrigue your interviewer, engage their interest, and make them want to learn more about you – make use of your storytelling skills. Go on a journey, from the moment you realized your professional passion, through the experiences that honed your skills, to the conversation at hand and the opportunity currently in front of you. Explain how you’ve grown and evolved, and share anecdotes that support your big idea (e.g., “I’m curious,” “I’m an enthusiastic collaborator,” or “I’m a shameless data geek.”). Some classic storytelling structures used by great writers can serve as outlines for your own tale of inspiration, perseverance, and success.

Show Some Personality

Refer to your hobbies and the unique life experiences you’ve had. If it seems appropriate, you can even sprinkle in a bit of self-effacing humor. With the human element in play, the “tell me about yourself” portion of your interview can help you stand out and determine whether you’ll be a match for this team and its culture.

Specificity Kills Ambiguity

When you can, talk about your experience in terms of quantifiable accomplishments. “I had a job in digital marketing” makes less of an impression than “I led a Facebook ad campaign that grew my company’s email list by 300% in Q1 of 2019.” Similarly, when you talk about your personal qualities, use pictures, sounds, and feelings – this will give you an edge over competing candidates who lean on vague generalities, superlatives, and played-out jargon.

Cut to the Chase

You should avoid rambling and be able to comfortably wrap up your answer within 60-90 seconds. For practice, write out your answer, read it aloud, and cut anything that’s awkward or inessential. To get things moving quickly, hook your interviewer with your very first sentence.

Make It Relevant

“Always relate your answer directly to the job in question,” says Coach Tracy of The Career Launcher. “Tie your answer directly to the mission of the role and the challenges that typically are dealt with by job holders, and try to differentiate yourself with evidence of your skills for the job.”

Your interviewers want to be convinced that you’re right, as they need to know you’re the perfect match for this particular job. Whenever you tell your story, include variations each time to align with the details of the job description, the specific needs of the company, and how your skills and experience apply to the opportunity you’re applying for.

Spin the Table

Career coach Liz Ryan introduces “spinning the table,” a sophisticated method for transitioning out of your own story and into the substance of the interview, specifically your interviewer’s pain points, which you can then address. Answer your interviewer’s question, then ask them a question in turn. “You aren’t asking questions just for fun,” says Ryan. “You want to find out what the job is really about… You want to find out where the pain is because once you’ve got the hiring manager talking about their pain, the conversation can go to a completely different place.”

At Artisan Creative, we place creative, marketing and digital talent with the companies and opportunities that will give them a chance to do their best work and live their best lives. Contact us today and let our a.team find your dream team.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 534th issue of the a.blog.

Project Management Software Review

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018|

 

Choosing a new project management software is one of the most significant and impactful management decisions you can make. The right choice can amplify your efforts, help you achieve and exceed your goals, plus give you what you need to work more efficiently, effectively, and fruitfully.

If you’re close to making a decision, or you’re just getting started on your research, here is a quick inventory of five popular project management software systems, with some of their pros and cons. This may help you stay focused on choosing the right project management solution for your particular team and case.

Basecamp

Basecamp was one of the first all-in-one project management solutions to gain wide popularity, and it remains widely used and loved. Created by the team formerly known as 37signals, it’s designed with a deep appreciation for the culture of business.

Pros: Simple, intuitive, easy to use and to master.

Cons: Lacks some of the slicker capabilities associated with newer entries into the market.

Trello

Based on a system of boards, lists, and cards, Trello has quickly become a favorite of designers and visual thinkers and is now a serious contender in the field of user-friendly project management software.

Pros: Fun to use, aesthetically pleasing, popular with visually inclined users.

Cons: Potentially challenging for users more accustomed to more plain and traditional methods of organization.

Asana 

Sleek, colorful, and user-friendly Asana is currently a pace-setter in the realm of project management software. Designed for detailed tracking, its organization encourages collaboration. It has been gaining wider adoption over the last several years.

Pros: Excellent mobile app, well suited for more fluid communication, collaboration, and goal-setting.

Cons: Requires some training and practice to master, which demands participation from the whole team.

Smartsheet

Smartsheet functions as a sort of enhanced version of Excel. Its spreadsheet-based interface is useful for planning and tracking elaborate projects and breaking them down into specific initiatives, tasks, and goals.

Pros: Highly recommended to those who are experienced with spreadsheets and fond of that organizational format.

Cons: Not as colorful or user-friendly as the modern-minded alternatives.

Airtable

Relatively new on the scene, Airtable is popular with publishers and is gaining steam and broader acceptance thanks to its versatility.

Pros: Highly flexible, easy to use and customize, well geared towards communication, file-sharing, and more.

Cons: Still fairly new, complex, requires some patience to understand and to master.

When choosing a project management system for your team, choose mindfully. This decision will fundamentally affect the culture that you work so hard to develop.

You need a system that works with the quirks, practices, and objectives of your team, as individuals and as a group. The right software should empower you, play to your strengths, be geared toward your goals, and bring you closer together.

As you choose, we recommend further research on collaboration tools and apps, project management software, and the broader thought behind project management systems.

At Artisan Creative, we pool our workplace wisdom and dedicate ourselves every day to finding the best creative talent available and to helping your team be as effective as it can be. Contact us today to learn more and explore your full potential.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 493rd issue of our a.blog.

 

Resume Refresh Checklist

Thursday, October 4th, 2018|

Are you starting a new job search? Could your ongoing search use an energy boost? Have trends in your industry shifted? Have you accomplished those professional goals you committed to at the start of this year?

If you answered yes to some or all of the above, it could be a good time for you to review your resume to give it a quick update and polish.

For most recruiters, hiring managers, or connectors who find you through a LinkedIn search, your Linkedin Bio and resume will be your best chance to make a first impression. You will approach the job market with more confidence if you’re sure your resume is as strong and polished as it can be.

Have a look now at your resume to make sure it meets all the important criteria.

Is it fresh?

If you haven’t spent any time on it in more than a few months, it pays to give your resume a close read, especially if you’re actively sending it out. You may be able to improve some awkward phrasing, use more modern formatting, or even catch a stray typo. Grammarly and Hemingway are two popular and trusted tools you can use to improve and tighten your writing.

Is it current?

Clearly, if you change jobs or achieve new professional goals, you should update your resume to reflect the new you. You must also be mindful of changing trends and language in your industry. Any expert who reads it should know that you know your stuff. With the rise of applicant tracking software, exceptionally strong SEO is one of your best friends during a job search. You are your own marketing department, so familiarize yourself with the latest SEO tricks and techniques that marketers use to boost visibility. Also, read job descriptions for jobs you want and rework your resume to use similar keywords. Make yourself easy to find.

Is it exciting?

Write in the active voice to present a stronger sense of who you are and what it might be like to work with you. Rather than “responsibilities” or “duties,” focus on your accomplishments and how you provide value and ROI. Rather than your “objective,” be descriptive – every line should be lush with details about what you know, what you can do, and what makes you different. Grab your reader’s attention and lodge in their memory.

Is it on brand?

Your resume works in concert with your social media profiles, your online portfolio, and the rest of your overall digital presentation. Make sure they all present a consistent sense of your personality, your professional values, and your realms of expertise. Create a buyer persona to represent the hiring manager whose attention you want to attract, and redesign all aspects of your digital presence to communicate directly with that person.

Is the design appropriate?

Always emphasize content over form. Every element of your resume should add; none should distract. Unless you are a visual designer with a distinctive aesthetic, stick with common typefaces and simple formatting. Trends in aesthetics and language change rapidly; present yourself in a manner that will have perennial appeal. If you’re in doubt, find a mentor or a peer you respect and ask if you can use that person’s resume as a model for your own.

At Artisan Creative, we know that building your dream career isn’t just about attention to detail – it’s about knowing which details matter.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 491st issue of our a.blog. Get in touch today and continue the conversation.

4 Tips for Being a Better Co-Worker

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018|

 

Whether you’re working on-site or remotely, as part of an agency or in-house team, it is increasingly important to work more respectfully and effectively with others. Good team players are in demand because they get results, are collaborative and easy to work with. Moreover, maintaining a positive attitude toward those around you especially through challenging times will ripple out into all areas of your life.

Here are four easy to be a better coworker in 2018 and beyond.

1. Communication

As interdependent creatures, our lives require a collaborative effort. In order to contribute and do work they can take pride in, your coworkers must be heard, and know that they are heard.

Practice active listening techniques and asking questions to make sure everyone on your team has ample opportunity to shine and to add their secret sauce to the recipe. This will allow you to work more efficiently, more effectively, and will give you a chance to see what the team can accomplish when everyone has a chance to offer their best.

2. Appreciation

Everyone deserves equal respect, and we all bring different skills, talents, and passions to a team. When you praise and encourage coworkers where they excel, as well as share constructive feedback where appropriate, you have the potential to help and discover the unique greatness of each individual you work with.

When you offer appreciation, be specific. It’s nice to be told, “you’re awesome.” It’s more useful and meaningful to know what particular things that have done well. For example, you could say, ” I really appreciate the way you communicate your ideas, as it opens a new perspective on how to approach this particular challenge. What other thoughts do you have on this?”

3. Credit

None of us live in a vacuum. We are each the products of our environments and of the relationships we foster with those around us. Everything we create in life is the result of an endless series of interactions and collaborations.

Therefore, when you achieve a goal or accomplish something remarkable, always share the credit with those who helped you along the way. This will show others that you think in terms of the group, which will inspire them to contribute to more success in the future.

Share your credit, and others will share your responsibility.

4. Support

Many of us spend as much time with our coworkers as we do with our friends and families. Therefore, even if you’re not at the center of a colleague’s life, it is important to pay attention to what’s going on with them and to offer emotional support as much as you can.

If a coworker needs to step back or take time off for their physical and emotional health, let them know you respect their decision to care for themselves, and offer to pick up the slack in whatever ways are needed.

Be mindful of the humanity of everyone you work with, whether colleagues, clients, customers, or the people who serve you in any capacity – especially when it’s difficult! By sowing goodwill, and having empathy you’ll accomplish more, get more of what you really want, and experience greater peace of mind.

At Artisan Creative, we strive to help professionals make the most of their careers and lives and help teams thrive. Contact us today to find your dream team.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 462nd issue of our a.blog.

 

CA-The State of Employment

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018|

According to a recent jobs report, the state of employment in California is robust and growing.

California added 52,700 jobs in 2017, representing 36% of national growth. (“We should be, at our size, closer to 11%,” State Employment Department Director Michael S. Bernick told The Los Angeles Times.) Unemployment stands at 4.3%, down from 4.6% in November and 5.2% at the end of 2016.

Professional and business services, travel and leisure, and information services all saw big gains, along with the public sector. All these have the potential to unlock opportunities for freelance creative professionals. Employers, particularly those connected to the “information economy,” are staffing up, hiking pay, and opening new roles for those with the right skills, a penchant for adaptability, and are tech savvy.

Migration patterns show that, after a slump during the Great Recession, the state is once again attracting talent in search of sun, surf, and favorable circumstances. At around 51% move-ins versus move-outs, California is once again a popular destination for the upwardly and geographically mobile.

Like any boom, this one comes with some caveats. Despite an impressive recovery, California remains an expensive and challenging place to live and to work. Optimistic new Californians may encounter some challenges given the state’s severe housing shortage.

To navigate the landscape of employment in California, we recommend consulting experts and taking advantage of the wealth of resources made possible by our rich information economy. Freelancers Union, AIGA or similar organizations have resources, expertise, and camaraderie available for independent contractors or those considering a switch to freelancing.

And, of course, your advocates at Artisan Creative are here to guide and help you understand the current trends to build your career and expand your network as you continue to flourish right here in California.

Contact Artisan Creative today – we’d love to show you around.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 460th issue of our weekly a.blog.

How to Build a Referral Business

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018|

As a freelancer, doing excellent work is only one part of your job – you have to make sure that potential customers know about it. According to survey results, freelance creative professionals rate referrals, (particularly traditional word-of-mouth referrals) as their single most important source of new business. It pays to be deliberate about getting as many referrals as possible.

As you build your freelancing career, developing a strong referral network will ensure you have access to the best opportunities you need to grow, build your skills, and make more money. Here are a few techniques that freelancers use to get more referrals that generate a steady increase in business.

Build Your Personal Brand

As a freelancer, you must think of yourself as a small business that represents a certain attitude and system of values. According to brand-building coach Rajiv Nathan, it requires a deeper process of discovering who you are, what you do, and why it matters to you.

“It’s really about figuring out the core of what you believe in as a person and using that to structure how you think about yourself, talk about yourself, and the lifestyle you want to live,” says Nathan. “What is your definition of success? How do you know when you’ve made it? The pursuit of answering those big questions is what leads to the development of everything that we’re doing.”

Nathan advises thinking of your brand in terms of storytelling and constructing your own “Hero’s Journey” outline to define who you are in a way that resonates with others.

“Look at everything that people gravitate towards – it is the story,” Nathan says. “People want a hero, a villain, and a plot. That’s basically how life is constructed as well. You make yourself out to be the heroes of your own life. There are villains along the way, climaxes, and valleys. We’re telling you to architect your story. You’re playing a character in your own life – where do you want to take the story?”

The more intriguing your story, the easier it is for it to spread. If you have a clear and compelling brand, you can generate positive word of mouth and get much more mileage from social media, where concise and specific stories cut through the clutter.

Refine Your Elevator Pitch

Your elevator pitch is the distilled essence of your personal brand. It is a fifteen-second summation of the value you offer, one you could use if you met your ideal client anywhere and had only a small slice of time in which to make a memorable impression.

Michael Katz at Freelancers Union advises thinking of your elevator pitch, not in terms of being dazzling or unique, and instead in terms of filling a need that others may have. “Stop trying to impress the people you meet with fancy-pants phrases that shine brightly for a minute and then evaporate,” Katz says. “Instead, just help others understand and remember what you do.”

Taking this approach to describing yourself will make it easy for others to recommend your work to people who ask if they know someone who can fill a particular role or niche.

Ask

The easiest way to get referrals from existing customers or connections is to ask for them. When you’ve worked well with a client, you can ask that client directly – it will help their reputation to be associated with a skilled and diligent freelancer. You must be bold about soliciting referrals – when you believe in your work, you cannot be shy about making sure it’s available to anyone who wants it.

However, for such a request to be successful, it is important to pick the right time and the right circumstances in which to pose it.

“Ideal times to ask for referrals is right after they compliment you, or right before a final deal closes,” says freelance blogger Kayla Sloan. “If things are going well, build off of that momentum. Ask if they would refer you, or if they know of anyone who could benefit from your services. Knowing when to ask for referrals is just as important as asking for them.”

It may also make sense to add a referral link to your website, social media, or email signature so that anyone inclined to give you a referral finds it easy to do so.

Be Grateful

In some cases, offer incentives for referrals that result in new business. According to USA Today, more than 50% of people are more likely to give referrals if there is a modest incentive involved, such as a gift card or some branded swag.

Whether or not you offer incentives, you should go out of your way to show your appreciation to those who give you referrals. When a client gives you a referral, give them public kudos on social media or send a private, personal email to give thanks. You may even want to invest in old-fashioned thank-you cards sent through the mail, which can really brighten a client’s day.

“I don’t ever send a thank-you message expecting something in return from a client, prospect, or contact,” says Cherese Cobb, a writer, multimedia artist, and “Thank You Marketing” evangelist. “I do it because it’s polite. It’s like spreading a confetti of kindness that can have a positive impact on others. And I know it works to build relationships, get referrals, and land more freelance writing jobs.”

If you are a freelancer working hard to turn your talent into a business, Artisan Creative has many resources and connections, and we’re here to help you. Contact us today to learn more. 

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 458th issue of our weekly a.blog.

 

 

Staying Creative and Innovative

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017|

“This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.”

― Steven Pressfield

As the holiday season approaches and we look ahead to a new year, it’s important to continue to remain creative and innovative. Often time in nature or away from the screen is exactly what is needed to generate new ideas. Creative professionals can’t afford the luxury of waiting for inspiration to strike. Hobbyists and dabblers can get to work when they have the occasional great idea. For a pro, the challenge isn’t to paint a masterpiece every 20 years, it is to keep working when generating ideas becomes a challenge, insecurity and impostor syndrome set in, and creativity becomes harder to come by.

Here are a few tips to use in 2018 to stay productive and do your best creative work whenever you’re feeling challenged to generate new ideas.

Commit to a Daily Practice

The only way to consistently have good ideas is to consistently have a lot of bad ideas. That’s why it’s vital to have a daily creative practice that serves to clear out the psychological clutter.

The writer and investor James Altucher suggests writing ten ideas a day, every day – these ideas can be about anything, and they can be really out there, as long as you force yourself to keep coming up with them. Comedy legend Jerry Seinfeld sets a daily timer and forces himself to write until it runs out – most of this material doesn’t make it anywhere near his set, it’s the practice that separates him from the amateurs at open mic nights.

750 Words is one of several web portals that’s designed to reward a daily creative practice, regardless of the work quality. If you are an illustrator or designer, take up a similar practice of drawing one new sketch every day. This is the best way to keep your creative muscles limber and strong.

Join a Creative Community

It is important to be an active member of your local community of creative pros. This will give you a chance to share and test ideas, commiserate, and get a positive nudge when you need to keep going.

You can find groups of like-minded creative professionals on Meetup, or attend Creative Mornings talks in your city. If you don’t live near a creative metropolis, there are plenty of supportive social networks online, too.

When you identify as part of a creative tribe, you may feel a lot more secure in your work, knowing that others must overcome the same challenges as you and you can ask for help when you need it.

Respect Your Own Process

It may sound like a dream job to conjure up creative inspiration and play with new ideas every day for a living, however, it can be a real challenge if you aren’t in touch with your own mental, physical, and emotional rhythms.

To maximize your output, pay attention to your input. Take regular breaks, eat healthy and delicious food, and get plenty of sleep, even when you’re on tight deadlines. It’s worth making sacrifices to keep yourself in good condition.

To maximize your potential, pay attention to your own signals. Do you start strong in the mornings and taper off in the afternoons, or do you hit your stride in midday? Can you do deep, focused work for hours at a time, or do you prefer 55-minute work intervals staggered with five-minute water breaks?

As much as you can, let your work life move to your own inner rhythms. And mind the “taste gap;” sometimes, when you’re disappointed in your own work, it means your taste is improving, and you just have to keep applying yourself to reach new creative heights you never imagined before.

Talk to the Experts

At Artisan, we work with the top creative professionals in the business, and we’ve seen talent handle challenges and still produce brilliant work on a consistent basis.

When you’re inspired to take your career to the next level, contact Artisan Creative, and join some of the most prestigious creative talent around. We hope you enjoy the 455th issue of our weekly a.blog.

Holiday Prep for Freelancers

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017|

Now that the Thanksgiving holiday has passed, everyone is gearing up to bring the final weeks to a close and prepare for the new year. For many, this includes vacations and paid time off. As a freelancer, your year-end to-dos may be a little different and can be just as rewarding.

Here are a few tips to help you celebrate your success as a creative freelancer during the holiday season.

Pick Up Extra Work

If you want to keep working during the holidays, you may still find work that needs doing. When full-time designers, developers, or other creative professionals are out of town, employers may need someone to pick up quick assignments that otherwise wouldn’t be turned around in time.

If you are ready, willing, and able to work during the holidays, make sure to let your important professional contacts know and update your social profile with your availability.

Additionally, this is a good opportunity to work on personal passion projects and expand your portfolio with new pieces.

Tend To Your Infrastructure

A successful freelancing career involves much more than client work. It requires managing and marketing, taking care of financial obligations, and making sure you have the infrastructure in place to get work, get paid, and stay connected.

The holiday slowdown provides an opportunity to take care of professional details that aren’t often a part of your usual assignments.

For freelancers, paying taxes and doing other paperwork is often a challenge; why not tackle it during the slow days?

You can also take online classes to learn new professional skills, to be more marketable during the new year.

Now that your clients are on a break, this is an ideal time to handle all obligations of running your own business. Organizing your paper files, managing digital declutter or achieving inbox zero can be great projects to get ready for 2018.

Prepare for Down Time

Even in our super-connected, always-on culture, the business world tends to slow down during the holiday season. Starting on the week of Thanksgiving and continuing through the first week of January, offices take on a different rhythm and often focus on staff and family celebrations.

It is always wise to have plenty of money socked away for such dry spells. Lots of personal finance and accounting programs will automatically save a certain amount each month, or you may be able to set up automatic savings through your bank.

With a buffer in your bank account, you can spend your holiday season relaxing, not fretting about money.

Take a Break

If you can find regular work and manage your career, freelancing can give you the freedom to travel, spend time with your loved ones, and set your own schedule. If you are able to and have handled all your obligations, why not take off for a week or two? Time to reflect and unplug is a great opportunity to recharge and get the creative juices flowing.

Set an “away” message, letting everyone know you are taking some much-needed R&R. You can go entirely off the grid or put your hours on “emergency mode,” in which you let it be known you are only available for very important matters.

Prepare for Next Year

Set your goals, create a vision board and plan ahead for a successful year ahead.This month leading up to the holidays can be a great opportunity to research companies you want to target.

If you haven’t had time to update your resume, website, or online portfolio, block off some time and make sure you are showcasing all your current work in a manner that does it justice.

Give Thanks

The holiday season is an appropriate time to acknowledge the people who have supported your career.

Send a note to your clients, vendors, and colleagues, letting them know you’ve appreciated the opportunity to work with them and wish them the best in the new year. If you’re a designer, you can send a special holiday card, extending your gratitude and ensuring that clients will keep you in mind.

Here at Artisan, we are grateful for another rich and rewarding year of working with top creative talent and clients. We look forward to celebrating continued success in 2018 and developing new ways to support you and your work.

 

Contact us today to learn more. We hope you enjoy the 452nd issue of our weekly a.blog.