3 Tips to Navigate Your Job Search

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020|

The current massive unemployment rates have many talented candidates out of work and searching for new opportunities. Additionally, the impact of stay-at-home measures is clearly exasperating the job search efforts for many.

As we navigate these unchartered waters and contemplate what the next version of what “work” is going to mean, it becomes important to take a moment and reflect. Julio Vincent Gambuto calls this moment “The Great Pause”.

We are indeed in a (prolonged) moment of pause—which is not comfortable.  However, since we are unable to rewind and go back to what once was, we can be more fully present and work on evaluating the future and possibilities that we can create.

To do so, here are three tips on how to evaluate what you really want to do next.

Define your Core Values

Take the needed time to think about what you want to do next and how that may align with your core values and purpose. If you haven’t had a chance to define your core values yet, now is a good time to partake in core values or visioning exercises to discover what is important to you.

Focus on Upskilling

As you re-imagine what that future of work will be for you, now is also a great opportunity to upskill. Many well-known universities around the world are offering free online classes. If you’ve been thinking of pivoting into other fields such as UX or product design, now is your chance. Ideo offers Design Thinking classes, as well as Leadership and Innovation classes. Masterclass is another great resource to try out a new hobby, learn something new, or write the story you’ve always wanted to tell.

Give Back

Volunteering is a great way to keep busy, make new connections in a new field, and help others in need. If you’ve always wanted to help out a non-profit what better time to share your expertise? It also provides a great opportunity to enhance your resume. More importantly, giving back is a great mood enhancer as it boosts oxytocin levels by creating levels of engagement, productivity, and usefulness which leads to gratitude.

We wish you the best as you embark on your job search.  For additional tips on resume writing and interviewing please check our a.blog. We hope you’ve enjoyed our 560th issue.

2020 Vision (Board)

Monday, December 30th, 2019|

This is a special time of the year to reflect on the abundance of the previous year and to plan for the upcoming new year. In this very special case, we have a new decade to celebrate with the perfect 2020 Vision.

What would you like to see, do and be in this new year/decade?

Here at Artisan Creative, each year our a.team members work on their New Year’s goals and create a vision board or dream board. Most create physical boards, although a few opt for a digital version using Trello, Canva, Pinterest or PicMonkey.

We present our boards to one another at our first team meeting in January. The boards are a collection of our short and long term goals and include both personal and professional aspirations.

Presenting to the team creates accountability (one of our a.team core values) and enables the group to learn more about each other’s ambitions, dreams, and commitments. Some set a theme for the year, some have specific action words—others use inspirational quotes. All have in common a shared use of imagery that inspires, tells a story, and conveys a message to create a powerful visualization tool.

In addition to sharing our vision and goals at the start of the new year, we review our boards mid-year in our June meeting and share a recap at our year-end meeting. This helps keep us on track during the course of the year, which can have many twists and turns. This activity is one of our strongest team-building exercises, as it stays “evergreen”.

You can do a variation this year and create a vision board for the decade with a focus on long term goals.  An alternative is to create a gratitude board where you can continually be reminded of all things you are grateful for.

However you choose to proceed, here are some tips to create your vision board and get started on achieving your goals!

  1. Select words and images that inspire and are true to your core values.
  2. Create positivity and inspiration for yourself and others.
  3. Imagine the integrated life/work you want to live.
  4. You can either divide your board into sections for business and personal or mix the elements together throughout. The important point is to create an integrated board where your personal and professional aspirations are represented.
  5. 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 get to see it every time I look up from my computer.
  6. Share with others. Having an accountability partner will help you get closer to achieving your goals.
  7. If you choose to go the digital route, change your desktop to the vision board artwork so you can see it every day for inspiration and setting priorities.

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

What is your goal-setting process?

Happy 2020!  We hope you’ve enjoyed the 550th issue of our weekly a.blog.

Digital Detox

Thursday, December 12th, 2019|

Like most things, screen time is best in mindful moderation.  As the holidays approach, we have a good opportunity to unwind and take a digital break.

As digital technology proliferates through every aspect of our lives, we are becoming more cognizant of its potentially less-savory effects. Taken to an extreme, the use of such technology can hamper our productivity, sociability, and mental health. Indeed, some of the most wealthy and well-connected people are beginning to ensure their children spend less time looking at screens.

It is possible to take advantage of the profound benefits that digital connectivity has brought to our life and work while mitigating the harm it can do when overused. Here are a few ways to do this.

Become More Aware of How You Use Your Screen Time

If you think you may not be using digital technology as wisely or productively as you could be, start by keeping track of how you actually spend your screen time.

There are numerous apps designed to help you measure or limit your screen time. Try one, and get a more accurate idea of your use and how your time is being spent. You can also follow these few tips to keep yourself from common indulgences that are likely to be counterproductive or to make you unhappy.

  • Turn off unnecessary notifications and get updates at certain times (rather than all the time). This will eliminate some of the digital distractions that can prevent you from doing deep, focused work.
  • No scrolling in the morning. Start your day with exercise, mindfulness practice, or a productive morning routine instead.
  • Read a book, practice meditation, and engage in other activities that might be more enjoyable and less stress-inducing than looking at social media or the internet.

Try a Digital Detox

If you think digital technology is really cramping your style, it may be time for a digital detox.

Take a mandatory day of rest, or even a week, and see what it’s like to go without electronic devices, apps, and the internet altogether. Let everyone know you’ll be off the grid for a while, and spend your time resting, working with your hands, or bonding with friends and family.

You may find that those notifications weren’t nearly as important as they may have seemed and that you didn’t miss anything you couldn’t just as easily handle later.

Don’t Overdo It

Unplugging is becoming a fad in its own right, with some of the excesses that entail. You can moderate your screen time without doing anything too extreme.

You don’t need to subscribe to highly demanding regimens of dopamine fasting or do anything else that could compromise your career, your relationships, or your happiness.

Again, the key here is awareness and moderation. Take stock of how you spend your time. Regulate your digital intake as much as you can. Make sure you have all the time you need for the pleasures and challenges of “real life,” and you should be able to keep your digital technology working for you, rather than against you.

At Artisan Creative, we help creative professionals, businesses, and teams make the most of all aspects of their lives and careers. Contact Artisan today to start the conversation.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 549th issue of the a.blog.

Overcoming Procrastination

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019|

Procrastination is one of the greatest enemies of creativity. There’s an inherent paradox in procrastination – when we habitually procrastinate, we can often use more of our energy than it would take to simply do the work. And yet, even some of the most successful creatives struggle with procrastination.

In order to thrive in the digital age, creative professionals, as well as entrepreneurs and managers, must be able to work independently. Fortunately, we can all cultivate our inner self-motivated self-starters when we learn tools and techniques for conquering procrastination. When we learn to “get in the flow,” we can overcome our own procrastinator tendencies and bring our best, most inspired thinking to the fore.

Supplement Your Will Power

“If you imagine that motivation is like the fuel that gets you to your outcome, some fuels are very good, but others are lower quality,” says sports psychologist Ian Taylor. The sheer force of will can sometimes get you to the finish line, but in order to score consistent wins and improve your habits, you may need higher-octane support.

Visualize Positive Outcomes

When it comes to transcending these counterproductive tendencies, a winning mindset is key. In practice, this can take the form of imagining, in detail, the way your experience will change when you’ve completed the tasks in front of you. If the stress and guilt of procrastination only makes things worse, try giving yourself some positive motivation, and use your imaginative abilities to make your sense of impending reward as clear and vivid as you can.

Reduce Friction

To make things easier on yourself, eliminate any obvious impediments and distractions to doing your work. You can set aside less pressing obligations to deal with later. You can shut off phone notifications, or even try a full digital detox. You can find new collaboration tools or project management software that plays to your strengths. When you start by creating the right environment to encourage your most inspired deep work, you can beat procrastination before it starts.

Reward Yourself

You can always look forward to the relief of completing your work and the satisfaction of achieving your goals. Research indicates that immediate short-term rewards can be more powerful motivators. If you need some help staying on track, try taking periodic breaks, or find imaginative ways to make your process more pleasant as you go.

Keep It Positive

To stay motivated, focus on the benefits of following through on your work, the rewards of a job well done, the interest and passion that motivated you to undertake this work in the first place. Override your brain’s negativity bias, and you’ll find that procrastination is nothing to fear, just another challenge you can overcome with mindful behavior and an empowered mindset.

At Artisan Creative, we love to see our talent and clients get more from their projects, lives, and careers. Contact Artisan today to start the conversation!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 544th a.blog.

Become Your Own Influencer

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019|

Social media influencers are changing the way we think about marketing. You don’t need fancy vacations or five-course meals to make use of the concepts behind influencer marketing. As a creative professional, the success of influencers can inspire you to build your personal brand, increase your network and reach, and find better professional opportunities.

Know Your Niche

As a creative professional, the more specifically you define yourself, the more you will stand out. This means honing a concrete elevator pitch and choosing a niche within your industry. “An easy way to select your niche is to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses,” says digital marketing consultant Shane Barker. “Choose a niche that allows you to showcase your strengths and hone your skills further. Deciding on a particular niche will help you streamline your audience and tailor your content to suit their preferences.”

Develop a Content Strategy

Once you’re clear on who you are, you can create content that reflects your skills and values and establishes your presence and authority in your industry and community. Your content strategy can encompass your design portfolio, your social media activity, blogging, video, or anything else that gets your message out and makes others aware of what you do. To become more influential, treat yourself like a small media company, and be thoughtful and deliberate about what sort of content you put out and how it aligns with your brand.

Choose Your Channels

There are many digital channels available, with more emerging all the time. Rather than trying to use them all, it’s better to choose a few you enjoy the most and are best for transmitting your work. If you’re a visual designer, you’ll want to use video or image-based channels to showcase your aesthetic sensibilities. If you’re a copywriter, you can publish articles on LinkedIn or use Twitter to test your concepts, slogans, and taglines. Newer channels can present unusual opportunities for those on the cutting edge.

Keep It Consistent

Your choice of channels is less important than your commitment to show up and stick with them. To build influence, you should be willing to put out a steady stream of content, provide value for your audience, and pursue continuous growth and improvement. With social media, being “always-on” can be a challenge; automation software can help, allowing you to create lots of posts in one sitting and parcel them out over time.

Engage and Grow

If you persist, iterate, and keep putting your best self forward, don’t be surprised to see your influence grow over time. As your work touches people’s lives and new opportunities present themselves, be sure to engage with those who support you. The ability to develop a worldwide professional network and work out your ideas with a supportive audience in real-time is perhaps the most rewarding perk of being an influencer, even if it’s just in your small corner of the world.

At Artisan Creative, we help creative professionals find new ways to enrich their portfolios, networks, and careers. Contact Artisan today to learn more.

Best Practices For Remote Meetings

Thursday, July 18th, 2019|

As digital communications technology becomes ever more efficient, more projects are being done by remote workers and even entire remote teams. This means that digital meetings are becoming the norm. On-site teams are also making the most of the convenience of digital meeting technology.

In some respects, digital meetings are easier to run than their in-person equivalents. However, to be effective, remote meetings require some special planning and organizational considerations that should be kept in mind.

Know Your Goals

Always plan your digital meetings around a clear objective. Each meeting has its own purpose. It could be brainstorming, accomplishing a specific goal, or simply a routine check-in to make sure your remote team is in sync and communicating clearly. When you know what you want to get from a remote meeting, it’s easy to follow up and determine afterward whether or not it was successful and adjust your approach accordingly. Plus, this will help you avoid the dreaded “meeting that could have been an email.”

Know Your Agenda

Take responsibility for structuring your digital meeting in advance. Determine who is going to lead each specific discussion, create a document outlining everything that needs to be discussed, and share your agenda with anyone who plans to attend. This will make it easy for everyone to organize their thoughts and prepare for expectations before the camera light blinks on.

Know Your Software

There is an array of tools and platforms available for running digital meetings. When you choose one, it will likely become the go-to for your team. Make sure your selection has all the necessary features, is compatible with any other relevant software or hardware, and is easy for everyone to use and to explain to any outsiders who join particular meetings. If some relevant parties are not able to attend, you may want to make sure your software has recording capabilities, so you can send them the video to review later.

Know Your Schedule(s)

In the digital age, with many remote teams, clients, and stakeholders are scattered across different time zones and continents, inquire in advance to make sure that everyone can attend and has a quiet, distraction-free area to log on. If some attendees can only use audio, make sure they have any visual presentations beforehand to avoid confusion. Additionally, respecting everyone’s time with – a “hard stop” and some consideration will ensure that the meeting doesn’t cause unnecessary stress for remote team members and clients who may have other obligations you aren’t aware of.

At Artisan Creative, our years of success operating as an entirely remote team gives us an edge in navigating the new world of digital work. Contact Artisan to prepare for digital creative success, today and tomorrow.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 538th issue of the a.blog

Pet Friendly Work Environments

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019|

The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi

This week is National Pet Week! There are many ways in which you can celebrate and assist our animal friends, companions, and colleagues.

Consider a Pet-friendly Workplace

Over the years, many American corporate environments have become more casual. This has led to more companies, including some of the hottest companies around, to create pet-friendly work environments and extend Take Your Dog to Work Week into a year-round culture of animal inspiration. Pet-friendly offices can be a good incentive for recruiting, as well as providing moments of levity and stress relief when work gets intense.

In most corporate or creative businesses, this trend mainly applies to dogs, although “retail cats” remain fixtures in bookstores and bodegas across the land, and can coax in new business through their online popularity.

If you want to make your workplace pet-friendly, take into account these considerations:

 

  • Will the animals be comfortable and safe? If they need to run around or use the bathroom, will they be able to do so easily enough?
  • What do the humans think? If your team is full of animal lovers, they may be enthusiastic. If some of them have allergies, or don’t want dogs around, a pet-friendly workplace may not be right for you at this time.
  • Do pets fit in with your brand and your company culture?
  • Will their presence make your team more productive and happy? Will their need for companionship be more of a distraction or an inspiration?
  • What are the applicable rules and logistical concerns that apply to your workplace?
  • Should you offer other animal-related perks, such as pet insurance?

 

Other Ways to Help Animals

Whether or not you can accommodate pets in your offices, there are many ways to support animals this week and throughout the year.

Top San Francisco animal charities and top Los Angeles animal charities are always in need of donations (money and items) and volunteer power. These include shelters, rescue groups, and organizations that promote animal welfare. You can use Charity Navigator to determine which animal charities in Los Angeles or San Francisco you most want to support with your money or your time.We love and support NKLA which is working hard to make Los Angeles a no kill city.

You might consider organizing a team volunteer outing to help such an organization. Giving aid to more vulnerable creatures can open our hearts, teach us a lot about ourselves, and help teams come together to better understand each other

At Artisan Creative, our mission is to help build the workplaces, teams, and careers of the future. Contact Artisan Creative today to explore more.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the 520th issue of our a.blog.  Follow us on social and meet the furry friends who keep us company at work.

 

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.

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.

 

Managing a Remote Team

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019|

Remote work is on the rise. Taking advantage of the increasingly robust connective and collaborative capabilities of digital technology has been statistically shown to reduce employee stress, improve employee engagement, and save time and money for companies.

It just requires an ever-so-slightly modified style of management.

Digital nomads will play increasingly important roles in the future of business. If you’re a manager, it’s time to prepare yourself to help foster success for employees and contractors who work mostly or entirely off-site. Here are some key tips for managing a happy and productive remote team.

Start With Onboarding

From your onboarding and training processes onward, make sure your expectations are clear and that remote work best practices are baked into the culture of your business and enthusiastically embraced and understood by your team.

Facilitate Transparency

When employers, managers, and professional collaborators can’t hold regular in-person meetings, clear systems for accountability and transparency are crucial. Make it easy for remote team members to track and report on their work and to reach out to others for help as soon as they need it.

Use Technology and Stay Connected

Even if different members of your team live in different time zones, they need to be able to communicate with each other, as everyone must feel connected. For example, Zoom and slack can help you hold weekly video meetings, even if they’re simply status check-ins. Use the most appropriate project management software to track responsibilities and accomplishments and to enhance off-site collaboration. Build a strong company culture, encourage your team to support each other and take pride in what they do together.

Hire People You Can Trust, and Trust Them

The people who are best suited to remote work are generally highly motivated self-starters. They take responsibility without too much guidance or external discipline. They communicate clearly, sincerely, and consistently.

Take extra care to only bring in those who can contribute their best efforts to your team without peer pressure, micromanagement, and constant attention. Then, let them work. When managing a remote team, instead of being a taskmaster or a disciplinarian, be free to serve as a resource and a positive example of how people can work closely together without the need for geographic proximity, cubicles, or Casual Fridays.

Artisan Creative runs on the efforts of a tightly bonded and highly successful remote team. We have been a remote workforce since 2009 and understand better than most, the unique challenges of managing a remote team and how the right approach can set you up for success. We’d love to share our expertise with you. Contact Artisan Creative today to learn more.

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our 516th a.blog.