I don’t have a lot of musical talent. In fact, I can’t play any instrument at all, short of Chopsticks on the piano. Standing on a stage and performing a piece of music is the last place you’ll find me, and it may be a long shot for you, too. The spotlight is a stressful place even when we’re just talking about what we do. But you need to get comfortable talking about the work you do and what you’ve accomplished. You need to “toot your own horn” regularly.
I’m glad I was sitting down, or I’m not sure I would have been able to mask the surprise. It’s possible that I didn’t hide it well at all. Because the truth is I was thrilled. My year-long client had just told me that she was moving on and really wouldn’t need my services anymore. We were done. Over. Kaput. Fin. And we were both positively giddy about it.
A week at the HOW Design Live Conference is a great way to learn new things, and relearn what you should have remembered. Here are a few of the most memorable lessons, in no particular order:
- Practice, practice, practice. Then practice some more.
- A digital business action plan will help your creative business maintain momentum.
- I want to spend next Tuesday on my patio having breakfast. This was an answer to the question, “If you didn’t have to earn a living, what would you do next Tuesday?”
- I still have a hard time appreciating the value that younger people bring to the conversation when I know I have so much to learn.
- Keep your room key with you all the time, even when you step out into the hall for some ice. Yes, I was fully dressed, but felt like a loser riding down the elevator to the front desk.
- If you own a business, you will sell your business to others more often than work in your business.
I went to Boston to be a panelist at the How Design Live Creative Freelancer Conference. The panel addressed the joys and challenges of virtual teams to an audience of my peers; creative business owners like me and a smattering of really talented soloprenuers. As if it weren’t enough to “just be invited”, my name shows up on the same page as Malcolm Gladwell and Seth Godin. I will never be this famous again.
Aside from seeing friendly familiar faces and rubbing elbows with design elites, I’ll have a chance to do what I love to do — find better ways to work creatively. It’s no secret that I’m a Geek with a capital G. At the HOW Conference, I am among my people. It’s not quite ComicCon, but I blend in. And there is little that compares to the creative rush I get when I’m in a room with nearly 3,000 other incredibly talented and motivated creatives. I cannot wait!
Wanna take advantage of that post-HOW creative spark on my return? Give me a call (214-217-4299) or send me an email.
It started innocently enough. My favorite gourmet kitchen supply store sent me an email with a very effective subject line —“Happy First Anniversary!” Aww, how swee — wait a minute. They missed my first anniversary by a dozen years or so. Oops!
About four hours later, I got another email from the same retailer. Gutsy, right? Nope, it was perfect. The subject line read, “What? You mean it isn’t your anniversary?” With a quick turn of the phrase, they had righted all that had gone wrong earlier in the day. And it worked beautifully — I’m empathetic, entertained, engaged, and ready to spend some money in their store.
I spent about 20 minutes total in the shopping madness that is Black Friday. Merchants anxious for my discretionary spending employed all sorts of lights and sounds to get attention, each one louder and brighter than the next. Digital impulses are gone in a flash, pushed out of our sight by more and more messages that demand our attention. The jumbled noise makes me long for a more sophisticated and lasting esthetic.