CSAT Podcast: 005- Is Creativity Undervalued?

Is Creativity Undervalued? In many cases it is by the general public as well as clients/employers. Most of this has to do with not being educated about what Creative professionals do. Its very hard to value something you don’t understand. And in an age where people feel that tools and technology are more responsible for the results than the human beings behind the gadget, it is an uphill battle. But Creatives also have a responsibility to educated people appropriately.

On the other side of this, sometimes as creators we prioritize creativity and the expense of consistency or context. Sometimes a designer or photographer will worry more about getting something cool for the book, than what the client actually really needs from them. This can be a problem. I feel there is a way to balance your needs as a Creative, with doing what is best for the relationship and the project. I explore these ideas in today’s episode of the Create Something Awesome Today Podcast!

If you are looking to get new clients, then you need to really think about your search and discovery strategy. While a lot of this comes down to having a Website there are some other options available to you as well.

How many of you have portfolio on Behance? Does anyone have a blog? You really should be using these things to your advantage. Every platform is an opportunity to network with potential clients.

Also don’t underestimate getting out from behind the computer and putting yourself out there.

Something that has helped me personally as been my blog, and my YouTube channel and now the new Podcast. But I also go to events and network with people on a regular basis.

I turn every interaction into an opportunity. This doesn’t mean always pitching people, it means being interesting, not being afraid to generate a relationship out of thin air, and then giving them my business card.

When they can’t give me one back, have a micro conversation on how important they are and the fact they should really get one and use it to get people to their website after they meet them….

“But I don’t have a website…” You absolutely need one. Let’s meet up for coffee in a week, but give me a call tomorrow they are so much more affordable than people imagine and I’ll help you figure it out..

Do you see what happened there? Potential print work, possible logo design on the table and branding…. website pitch… all by being able to talk to a stranger.

Over the course of the year, helping someone build a visual brand from scratch can be a $2000-$5000 relationship.

That means generating 20-50 strong relationships a year puts you at being a 6 Figure designer…. something most people can’t imagine.

It boils down to empathy, hustle, guts and MATH.

You can’t always find those 20-50 relationships locally. That is why networking well online, traveling a bit, setting up not only on online presence but an infrastructure and strategy are so important.

I get 10+ projects a month. I don’t think I’m supremely talented as a designer, so that is not the reason. It’s that I’m very visible, and the funny thing about it is that is cost me next to $0.

I want everyone who reads this to comment below and tell me and the group how you plan to execute on this information over the next 30-90 days. If you’re struggling with clients and you actually do execute on this within that time frame, the struggle shouldn’t be as real anymore.

You would think someone who graduated 8 years ago with a Bachelor’s in Visual Communications (Graphic Design) would be well on their way to being an accomplished graphic designer working for a big agency, in-house designer for a Fortune 500 company or even running a successful freelance business. Well that is not the case for me and many others like me that came out of design school ready to make the world a more attractive place.

 

 Reality quickly set in for me when I discovered how darn competitive and saturated the graphic design industry was. I had no clue coming out of school it would be like this and from talking to my fellow school mates neither did they. To add salt to the wound the globalization and the emergence of crowdsourcing, contest sites and other online sweatshops, things are harder than ever.

 

 Like many graduates I felt overwhelmed with such limited opportunities and because the economy was going through a recession these jobs were really hard to come by. With no success I decided to explore other avenues outside of graphic design. I can’t blame everything on the economy or the job market I also lacked confidence needed to compete with the rest of these job seekers. I always told myself I would jump back on the horse as soon as the right opportunity came by but the only thing that came by was the years and the student loan bills.

 

 I continued to take on a few side projects a month to soothe my creative and artistic itch but the older I got the more uneasy I felt about the fact that I am was not doing what I love and that is what my graphic design mentor Roberto Blake coined “Create Awesome”.  Although my dream is to some day run my own design practice the important thing right now is to do what I love. It’s either continue to work towards my dream or possibly live a life of regret. I have children and I always tell them to follow their dreams and I no longer want to feel like a hypocrite so it is important that I lead by example. My advice to anyone pursuing a career in graphic design is only do it if you love it because this is no place for someone who just want’s to make a living doing pretty things.

 

 To be a successful graphic designer in this day in age means being a sales oriented creative and business-minded which are many of the things traditional graphic designers dread and why they decided to pursue a creative career in the first place.

 

It is important to keep working on your craft and don’t expect a degree to move you towards the front of the line because in this field those hiring graphic designers only care about your ability to produce results but there are many that can produce results as well so you have to differentiate yourself even further.

 

 If you want to stand out from other job seekers you better be dynamic and bring more to the table than just good design. With so many applying for these few graphic design openings it is only natural they’re going to hire the most versatile applicants.

 

 Graphic designers need to learn marketing not just to add this to their resume of skills and impress potential employers but to market themselves. Marketing for graphic designers is no longer just for freelancers and those that run their own practice but a way to stand out from the rest of the applicants. It shows employers that you are knowledgeable, enthusiastic and a go getter along with confidence and leadership.

 

 Resumes and even portfolios only give you a small look into what a person can do and who they are so companies, agencies and clients are looking for that edge and filter the mass amount of applicants. Naturally those that are more active in the field by using platforms like social media, youtube videos, blogs, podcasts, etc. will stand out more than the mysterious applicant on a piece of paper. This is the way the world is moving whether we like it or not, or whether we think it’s right or wrong. In a saturated field like graphic design you better stand out or be left behind.

 

 

 

CSAT Podcast: 003- Staying Motivated as a Creative

 

Finding and maintaining your motivation as a creative person can be challenging. It’s one of the more difficult things that designers, and other creatives had to deal with in their life and work. It’s important to take responsibility for this and position yourself to have the outcomes that you want. Start your day with things that will inspire and motivate you. Set goals that will allow you to create the great experiences you want to have that day. Intentions do matter. You have to set your intentions towards having an awesome day, and this could mean any number of things: It could be that you will consider the day a good day if you accomplish a specific thing, or you could promise yourself a rewarding experience later in the day if you meet certain conditions.

 

You have give yourself an incentive for being positive. It doesn’t matter whether you are the type of person that sees the glass half full or half empty, take the opportunity think of how you can fill up the glass. Fill that void, create that value for yourself and other people.

 

While it is great if you have people that motivate and inspire you, it is not their responsibility to do so, it’s yours. Granted they should want to do that, since it would be a way they could “Create Awesome” and there is the obvious upside of them getting more value from you as a result, but you can’t rely on or expect this to be the norm. You have to schedule time to consume inspiration and motivation for yourself and make it a priority and part of your process and habits.

CSAT Pocast 002: Finding a Mentor

Finding a mentor can be extremely important. Having someone to help you set goals and to represent what is possible can give you motivation and direction in your life and career. Mentoring is something that is unfortunately very rare within Creative Services, even within companies. Often a Creative will find themselves without someone in the company that represents their next step or their end game, particularly In-house Creatives who may not have an Art Director or Senior person supervising them, but instead some general mid-level manager.

 

But don’t despair, there is hope! Technology has made mentoring a scalable and virtual experience. By shadowing successful mentors online you have choice instead of just being limited to the best person you have physical access to. You can learn from the most successful people in your industry, or someone with a similar background or lifestyle. While this means you may not have direct access to them, it is no less valuable to be able to consume their content and adopt their mentality and approach to your own process.

 

Whether you want to be an entrepreneur, a photographer, filmmaker, writer or graphic designer; there are mentors putting out content that will be helpful to you and sharing their life journey. Many of them do interact with their followers through social media, such as Twitter and YouTube specifically.

 

Also, many Creatives fail to realize they have the opportunity to be a mentor to someone else. Whatever you feel you are lacking in experience, there is likely someone out there who can benefit from the knowledge you do have, so I would encourage you to share as much as possible and to pass on the value of what you have learned.

 

Who knows if that one piece of advice or content might change someone’s entire life?

Episode 001: Create Something Awesome Today!

Welcome the first every episode of the Create Something Awesome Today Podcast! Yes I know that title is a mouthful!

But I didn’t want to cheat you by not giving you that message as often and as clearly as possible. Creating Something Awesome Today, each and every single day can change your life sooner rather than later. Here is short list of the benefits of Creating Something of Value that you’re proud of each day:

 

Benefits of Creating Awesome Each Day

  • You can easily measure the value of your time via a meaningful result each day.
  • It makes breaking down large goals easier and can even help you achieve them more quickly.
  • If you are creating products this could mean that you are building up your inventory and revenue.
  • If you are creating content this can dramatically help you grow and audience or build a reputation.
  • When taking on large scale creative projects they can become less daunting.
  • It can encourage you in terms of feeling like the day wasn’t a total waste if you created something you care about.
  • When creating awesome experiences and relationships, this can have a deep and lasting impact on your life.
  • In terms of your skills, creating something each day could help you get faster at producing meaningful results.

 

Part of how I Create Awesome each and every day currently is through the content I put out on YouTube and also via social media platforms.

This allows me to Create Value for other people but also a meaningful result I care about, builds my reputation and body of work and allows me to become faster and more savvy across multiple skills such as SEO, Video Editing, Social Media and Content Marketing. Obviously there is also the benefit of passive income from the advertising associated with the content.

Creating Something Awesome can ultimately mean what you want it to mean. It could be creating great content, it could be creating great experiences for everyone you encounter or it could even be creating new relationships. The important thing here is to spend every day creating the value that you want to bring to the world and being satisfied with something you’ve done at the end of each day. This will help you stay encouraged and also allow you to quantify your progress, something that can really help your self esteem and sense of worth. It also will potentially build positive habits that will make you more productive and accountable.

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