Notes from Jeff York

Small business marketing thoughts from a marketing small business owner

Posts Tagged ‘creative

Is where you are working for you?

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This week, instead of tossing you my thoughts on a topic, I wanted to open a conversation about workspaces.

I’m currently working as VP of Creative Services for a small start-up marketing firm.  My workspace is very small and cramped.  The room itself generates more traffic and less ambiance than I would prefer, especially when I am trying to be creative.  I find myself grabbing my laptop and seeking nice environments when I really need to deliver.

What do you do to create a space that works for you?  Is there a particular location or ambience that works best for you?  Do you seek a particular type of place depending on the task at hand?  Have you created an office that excells at delivering the space you need, and if so, what is it like?

Written by Jeff York

September 14, 2008 at 1:59 am

Blocking the Writer’s Block

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Many of us have been there.  We have to write something on deadline.  Sometimes it’s on a topic that just doesn’t excite us.  Sometimes, we like the topic, but for whatever reason, the literary gods of inspiration are denying us.

The deadline’s approaching.  What do you do?  What will you do?

My suggestion is to read, take a walk, and drink.  In that order.  Let me explain.

I like reading.  I love knowing what other people have to say.  Thankfully, today we have one incredible resource at our fingertips in the Internet.  Call up your favorite search engine and type in keywords related to your topic.  Start reading what others have already said about your topic.  Don’t steal their ideas!  Just read about the topic and explore the different angles those authors have taken.  Typically, these Internet articles have links to other topics and ideas.  Follow the links down the rabbit hole.  Explore new topics.  Read the fresh perspectives.  Read read read.

But remember, you’re on deadline.  Once you’re gotten a good base in your head, take a walk.  Think about what you read.  Think about different angles people have taken on your topic.  Think about your own experiences and how they may differ from what you read.  Take mental notes which might only be free form thoughts, but may also serve as jumping off points to help get the creative process started.

And drink.  I’ve found things with sugar and caffeine in them to work the best.  Stay away from alcohol.  You’re no Ernest Hemingway.

What’s worked when you’ve been besieged with Writer’s Block?  Ever been forced under deadline to have to find your way through the Block and still deliver the goods?

Integrity, karma, and business

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According to Wikipedia, integrity is “the basing of one’s actions on an internally consistent framework of principles.”  In the world of freelance media, we often find ourselves in vulnerable positions.  Sometimes we are asked to submit creative work on spec.  Sometimes we work to develop new business with the understanding that commissions would be paid.  I have been in this situation several times recently with entirely different outcomes.

If your business model involves the generation of creative materials or concepts, a substantial amount of your success relies on other people operating with integrity.  You provided logo proofs for approval without full payment, for example.  They, in turn, choose which sample to run with and you executed it, providing the client with full vector, breakouts, etc of their new logo.  They could easily have taken your proof and gone elsewhere with it for execution.  Maybe they have a niece that’s going to art school or a neighbor that knows Photoshop.  But if they operated with integrity, then they knew they entered into an implied agreement with you and you will do the work.  If they don’t like your work, then they return the proofs and seek help elsewhere.

I have been on the wrong end of this scenerio several times.  Creative work has substantial value.  So does operating with integrity.  Your reputation is everything in the small world of creative developers.  Your brand is built on the way you’ve conducted business.  There is no better advertising than word of mouth.  Those mouths can just as easily destroy businesses as it can build them.

Have you been in a situation where someone has operated in a less than honest fashion?  Have you been in a situation where your creative was regarded without value?  What did you do to rectify the situation?  What can be done to protect your greatest product, your creative, in the future?

Written by Jeff York

March 21, 2008 at 11:26 pm