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With the new year comes a renewed impulse to boost your personal and professional lives. If you are looking to create or revamp your brand, or improve your professional performance, we have gathered some interesting resources to guide you and help you get the best results from your creative business or endeavor.
‘Five hats’ technique
Mònica Rodríguez Limia (@rodriguezmon) is a business consultant who teaches the Domestika course, Time Management Techniques for Creators and Creatives. She offers advice for creative professionals looking to fix their time management problems. She teaches all the steps involved in planning a full year of work using technology to your advantage so you can prioritize activities, control distractions, and have a successful business while saving time, money, and energy.
One of the methods used in her strategy is called ‘the five hats technique’ and is based on Dr. Bono’s ‘Thinking Hats,’ a creative tool also used by actors when they need to take on different personalities. When it comes to time management, if followed with discipline, this technique helps you define roles and associated tasks to improve your results and reduce your stress levels. The five hats are:
- CEO: refers to your role as owner or founder of your project, holder of your objectives’ vision.
- Administration: the management role, dealing with money, finance, and paperwork.
- Design and production: your favorite role and the most attractive side of your business. However, this role should not take over, especially during the first three years.
- Sales and business affairs: you may not like this role, but it is essential to your product or service’s commercial survival.
- Communication and marketing: you need to communicate your services and give access to your product.
All five aspects play a key role in developing your creative business and should be approached positively.
What type of diamond are you?
To ensure your business attracts profit and does not become an expensive hobby, Mònica also teaches how to develop and implement a personalized business model in the creative sector in her course, Business Models for Creators and Creatives.
To combat feelings of self-doubt when starting or reviving a creative career, she suggests working on yourself and seeing what you bring to the table before you can fill in your business model. You need to be aware of your qualities, what you do well, and what makes you stand out.
One of the exercises for gathering all your ‘data’ is to create a sheet with three columns where you list:
1 - What you used to be good at and enjoyed doing even when people asked you to do it for free.
2 - What you were good at but you did not enjoy doing.
3 - what you hated doing or you did badly.
Another exercise will be to ask the following people what they consider to be your strengths and weaknesses
1 - Two friends.
2 - Two relatives.
3 - Two current or past colleagues.
Sometimes we have qualities that we do not detect or undervalue because ‘they come easy to us.’
Also, you need to identify industry references and write down the criteria you used to choose them (product, image, values, etc.). You may think you have things in common, or they have something you are missing. Later, you will analyze all this ‘big data’ as if you were looking in a mirror and evaluate your strengths as a foundation for your business and your weaknesses as something you can improve.
Set a standards checklist
In her Domestika course, Freelance: Keys and Tools to Find Success as your Own Boss, lettering artist and designer Martina Flor (@martinaflor) provides concrete tools for starting out as a self-employed creative and useful tips to build your reputation. As well as how and where to find clients, the importance of social media presence, dealing professionally with your future clients, and putting a price on your work, she also emphasizes the importance of setting standards for your work to ensure a successful trajectory.
To build a sustainable career and ensure your business goes from strength to strength, whatever your field, it is essential that you always try to do a brilliant job. To deliver high-quality work to a client, you need to interpret a brief and incorporate customer feedback throughout the process. Always reflect before accepting any order. Once you get the assignment, you will have to give it your all. ‘What you put out there will be saved on the internet, in the street, in a library, and will be an example of your professionalism.’
Martina recommends you set the following standards for your work and intend to meet these standards every time you deliver a job:
- Coherence and consistency: make sure that all the elements in a given design are there for a reason.
- Detail: make sure all the elements you’ve included in a job have been taken care of in their smallest detail, even if you are the only one who will notice them.
- Personality: the work you are delivering must be done specifically for that client and not someone else.
- Good formal quality: everything must be well designed or drawn.
- Let it be new: get inspiration from other times or styles but do not replicate something that has already been done. Bring something new to your creative area.
Turn these standards into a to-do list so that every job you do meets these requirements.