Your Criteria to Say Yes
The next thing we're going to dio is a little activity around saying yes and there's going to be some opportunity here for some interaction? Um, so several years ago, I'm gonna tell you my story around this, and I'm not going to share my criteria for saying yes until after you guys have done it because I want you to come up with your own without listening to mine. I reached a pivotal point, my career where I was swimming with opportunity, and I was overwhelmed with how to handle it. So I began working with this coach, and she was really helping me achieve a greater sense of balance in my life, and one of the things we worked on was this list of criteria for saying yes when an opportunity came my way because this was the thing that I ended up talking to her about every single time was okay this past week, this is and this is great, right? And we'd celebrate the fact that somebody wanted to work with me or interview me or pay me for something, but I was so overwhelmed with all of it that...
I didn't know how to navigate it. And so, she said, I have this idea what we're going to do is create some criteria criteria for you so that every time somebody is asking you to spend time on something whether it's an opportunity for promoting your work that's not paid or it's an opportunity for work that is paid anything that requires your time and energy that you have some criteria for whether or not that you want you want to do it um and so she said and I want you to come up with four or five things and then let's say that at least two of those things need to be in place in order for you to say yes okay so I want you to start thinking about that now um and um let's bring up the chart paper I I think I want to use that and then I'm gonna invite one of you up here tio share your list and if you feel ready to sort of brainstorm it on the spot that would be great. Thank you. So this is a great become a great tool for me any volunteers to come up and brainstorm their criteria? Melanie come on. Okay, I'm gonna share mine with you in a minute but before we do that let's let's ask this question what is your criteria for saying yes to an opportunity? What's one thing you can need teo be true are in place for you to say yes um think about all the things that are important to you when somebody comes to you what are you looking for in that email I'm looking for that they know a little bit about my work may already appreciate with okay so there's an alignment between them and you aesthetically right I mean I just call that aesthetic alignment it might be more than aesthetic it might you know, we're talking about style or the kinds of if you work in a really specific manner about specific things it might be more than something aesthetic but that's sort of in general what we're talking about okay um the client is somewhat warm and cordial secretion is okay so it might not be a client it might just be somebody who, um one it's you to donate some artwork to there fundraiser or somebody who wants to interview you for a magazine the client or person is warm and cordial and again this is melanie's criteria. This doesn't have to be you yours what else? Well, this is something I actually have a question on because I have the graphic artist guild book and people often come to me for projects and I asked them what their budget is and it's like maybe twenty percent of what is listed in the graphic artist guild book as like the low end of the average that people are getting paid. So so what you're getting at but there's some question you have around payment but what you're looking for is that they can pay you something you're comfortable with right exactly now again remember in my case I decided that only two or four of these of my criteria had to be in place so don't get too tripped up by saying yourself I will never take a job unless I get paid one hundred percent of what I deserve because there are always going to be exceptions to that that could be your rule and that's fine if it is but they're always going to be opportunities where you might not be making as much money but their other advantages too taking the opportunity so that's why having several criteria is really important so let's just say decent money okay, whatever that means and that's going very depending on, um who the client is what your expectations are with the illustration market is whatever. Okay, anything else that was important to you that I can do the project with some sense of ease like I can actually have have skills all right, I have the skills to do it but also I actually control feli say I can make space to do it. Okay experion let's um separate those out cousins are actually two different things. Okay, you might have the skills and the ability to accomplish the project but you might not have the time or the reverse is true and I think they're both important anything else this is a pretty good list I think that's it okay, so thank you, melanie, I'm gonna allow others of you to share, so keep writing if you if you if you haven't yet, so don't get the idea of what we're talking about here. Another thing that I talked about with my coach was this idea that not all of them had to be in place, but these were just things for me to consider when I was and now they're so ingrained in my brain that I don't pull out the list. I used to pull out the list. I had four I wrote about the minority inc um minor, similar to melanie's, the project is offering good payer potential for good pay. You should always pay attention to the money, especially if it's a job and not you know something that oppress opportunity or something you need to prepare for someone that it might be time consuming but will benefit you in other ways. So product is offering good payer potential for good pay. You don't always know if what they're offering is on par looking at the graphic artists guild. Book is great asking I get emails all the time from friends who don't have representation who are like I got offered this amount of money for this job and I don't know if it's any good on and often times I don't know either, but I have work with an agent of both a literary agent and an illustration agent who help me determine if I'm being offered fair um price for something so they're our resource is out there if you don't have an agent um another one of mine was I have time in the schedule to complete the work so that's similar to melanie's something that melanie didn't put on hers but I put on mind the job could provide good exposure this is less important to me now then it wass when I developed this list four years ago because I have good exposure now I have a client list that's over fifty clients is it still sometimes important to me? You bet you know if there's an opportunity that I've never had before but I don't necessarily have a ton of time for um but it's with an organization um that might be on my dream client list or our company that might be because I work for a lot of non profits that's why I say it's not always a company sometimes is an organization wants to hire you um someone on my dream client list or some way in which I know that this job will be great exposure for me usually high profile jobs pay well so there should be a correlation between exposure and pay keep that in mind is a lot of times people say to you, I can't pay you very much money, but this is going to be great exposure and a lot of times that's b s so you gotta know when to wade through the b s and whether or not you you believe that that's true you should not be doing jobs just for exposure I would say other things need to be in place also, um I think that's also true, I just took a nonprofit job um, that I actually think is going to be good exposure for me and doesn't pay as well as I would normally it's not is a similar job to what I might do for a corporate client and in that case I would be paid a lot more money. But I really want to work for this client because I believe in what they do and actually think the nature of the thing that I'm designing is going to get a scene a lot by a lot of people um, my aesthetic and values align with out of the clan or gallery so that's similar to melanie's too like there's an aesthetic alignment I really actually I think that to the two on melanie's list that I didn't put on my list initially are things that I actually think about now, but they're not officially on this on my on my list, and that is this skills one we all get jobs that are going to feel way out of our comfort zone, and if you've ever heard me give my embrace the abyss, talk, one of the things that I talk about in that in that talk is this idea of working outside your comfort zone and saying yes, even when you don't know how to do something, uh, and figuring it out, um, but that doesn't always work right it's a high stakes job or a job being paid money, and the expectation is that you can turn the job around, you don't want to be in learning mode. Um, so I say that, but you also want to be, you know, pretty sure you can't even though it's something you have never done before, that you have the skills to execute it, and I've been getting opportunities over the last few years, I've had to say no, because it just didn't feel like something I could do, especially if the turnaround time was tight, so so assessing whether you could do something and is important some amount of risk taking is also important. So again, trust your judgment about that, and then I also like this one the client or person is warm and cordial, like, obviously for melanie, having relatable clients or people, she feels like she can talk to her, and I'm going to treat her with respect is really important, and I also feel like that's important, I get red flags all the time with people who seem tto want something from me, but then their email communication is darlene was pointing out earlier might be a little funky or there form of communication feels very sort of abrupt and rude that might be a red flag. Okay, sometimes you don't know those things until two in the process, but but it's helpful if you if you learn them right away, anybody else want to share? Um, anything else that they wrote down is criteria that I want to have a sense of excitement then ah, job or an opportunity comes to me if I get excited about it, so so it resonates for you, it's like how that sounds like fun? Chris, I'm wondering if there's anything out on the people are saying, yeah, there are a lot of people who are chai ming in a wild blue dream says that I'm saying no to an opportunity their bread and butter is web design, but lately they've been getting projects that are very non creative and they don't believe that the product they don't believe in the projects that much, but their projects are paying better and what they've been typical getting and they're struggling decide what to do in this situation, she says. I feel like I'm losing my soul a little bit by taking on these projects. How should I approach these? Well, you know, in the beginning of my career said a lot of yeses to things that I probably wouldn't say yes to now, and there is this way in which it may feel important to you to build your portfolio of clients or gallery shows even when it feels a little it doesn't resonate, or it isn't the kind of work that you would normally want to dio it's the sort of careful because you don't wanna fill your portfolio and resume with too many things that are either it don't sound like fun or or boring or out of your comfort zone, but I do think there is value in experimenting in the beginning at least and saying yes to things that atleast will add a client to your list or a check. In your bank account there's value in that and you get to decide what you say yes to what you say no to when you get in this track record of taking a lot of the same kind of work that you don't like just for the money um I feel like you shut yourself off from the opportunities both sort of like for lack of a better word spiritually and practically you are shutting yourself off from the opportunities that you could have that are enjoyable. Andi I think in order to open up room uh for more work that is aligned, you have toe at some point start saying no to the stuff that you're not enjoying yeah, a follow up question that's how much damage is done when you take an opportunity that you should have said no to is there any way to sort of well, I always feel like these air learning opportunities I prefer not to think of situations is damaging I've had a few illustration jobs that if I could do it all over again, what I have said no, absolutely but in every one of those situations I learned so much about what is important to me the kind of work that I enjoy doing most the kind of client I like to work with and then I just end up never doing those kinds of jobs again, so I don't think they're there's too much damage in that you also get to choose which clients you list, which work you put in your portfolio in his public. So really doing a job doesn't necessarily mean that that you have to you know, where it has a tattoo on your arm for the rest of your life either, so you can just learn from it and move on the other questions or any other people want to share their criteria, especially if it's something that hasn't already been said, yeah, so I realized that I articulated something, it kind of goes along with what you were just saying in a way that basically encompasses all of my other criteria, which air that my experience plus by gut feeling says yes, so it's trusting all the things that I've learned before about where I maybe didn't put my no but no now not that my yes on dh then also just making sure that I don't have a feeling of fear around it. So maybe I don't think I have the skills or I don't think I have the time or like, just, you know that that little voice that says I don't know, I don't know, or even if it's just I don't think I want to do that, the desire isn't there and not compromising myself in that way, so it's like that for me experience of what I've done before plus like what my initial response is I think really tells me everything I need to know about if my guess is they're going inwards really give it your taking the time um my partner always says to me, lisa, don't respond right away because I'll be like, oh my god, I just got this thing and there's no way I'm doing this or oh my god, I don't have time for this, but I totally want to do this and she's always like, wait, wait until the morning don't respond what right away like really go and think about this and process it spend some time I think we often like have got reactions to things, but we don't give them enough time to sit with us to know what they're actually got reactions we should listen to or get reactions that are based on emotion and not thinking through the big picture. Okay, um, I'm gonna have you guys do one last activity um and it may feel like at some points over the last eight segments that I'm telling you to do whatever it takes to be successful, I hope that's not what you're walking away with, I hope that you will do whatever it takes to stay engaged because being a creative entrepreneur can feel very exhausting sometimes um there is a lot of fear that you have to work through a lot of experimentation, a lot of risk taking ah lot of putting your money, investing your money and things you're not sure are going to sell a lot of saying yes to things you're not sure are going to work out or be good opportunities um a lot of exciting things will happen for you, but a lot of things that are also difficult will happen for you and so it's very easy to get to this place where you feel like you might want to quit maybe you're overwhelmed with how much work there is to do tow launch a business maybe you've already launched in our business, but you're feeling overwhelmed by keeping it going. Um and it feels like there are a lot of tedious things involved or maybe you're already launched a business and it's going pretty well, but you're just overwhelms with, um with how much there is to do so at the root of what we do as artists is this idea of engagement, right and inspiration? We get tau wake up as artists, especially if we become a full time artist we had tto wake up and do this thing that we love every day and yes it's also sprinkled with some stuff that you know is not as fun some aspects of her running the business that may feel more difficult, more left brained mohr you know, if we don't like promoting ourselves might feel more scary, but for the most part we get toe make this thing that we love get to create things that other people can enjoy, too, and that that's what drives us so it's really important, no matter how stressed out you get about no matter how overwhelmed you are, to stay engaged and to feel inspired. And whenever I begin to get to that place where I am feeling depressed or burned out, this is always the question I asked myself, what are the things that make me feel energized? And why am I not doing them? And how can I bring those things back into my life if I'm exhausted, depressed, overwhelmed? Why is that happening? Like stepping back and really assessing the situation and what are the things that make me feel more energized? And how can I integrate those back into my schedule and what are the things that make me feel inspired? Because we can't continue to make the art that we love if we don't feel inspired and engaged. All right, okay, so I want you to think for just a couple seconds about the stuff that makes you feel energized in your life. And in your work and maybe they're related but maybe it's totally different maybe the stuff that makes you feel energized is spending enough time with your four year old um maybe the stuff that makes you feel inspired is what you get outside in the world outside of your studio maybe it's the stuff that happens in your studio I'm not sure it's different for everyone and it might be a combination but what are those things? Staying in touch with the answers to these questions on a regular basis is really important because this can all feel big and daunting whether you're the beginning or whether you're at the place of opportunity who wants to start sharing some of the things on their lists telling I was thinking about this this morning on what makes me feel energized is taking like doing new things things I don't normally dio like this morning I was up like five thirty like you gonna walk the dog I'm going to go to the city whereas like when it comes to it I should publish it would be admitting this, but when it comes to my day job I'm like I'm too tired I want to stay in bed all day on dh so that makes me realize that staying in a rut on doing the same thing over and over again is, you know, it's a big energy suck for me and I feel like when what it gets me inspired in terms of artwork is very similar like learning new processes and experimenting with with new ways of making and seeing it was talking to julie at the lunch break about or maybe it was this morning about this idea of taking classes um and she's like you do you still take art classes because I teach art classes and you would think that you would reach a certain point where you would stop taking glasses and to me taking our class starlin learning new processes or things that you know recently I took a block printing class and things that I am not necessarily gonna use in my art practice for the work that I sell but the things that keep me feeling inspired or inform my practice or who knows maybe they'll become part of my art practice I think that's so important um so I put I'd like to stop sometimes and dance around turn my computer off and turn some music on that's great I love center when they're synergy happening with my client when ideas they're bouncing that is energizing for me and also when I feel like a week it's so packed that I just don't have time for anything that's really a time that I need to plan something and make time for it like a bike ride with friends is amazing during the middle of a really busy week or even if you don't have time for that bike ride making sure that friday night you got something good to look forward to right where you can really decompress that's gonna be me tonight I know it's not friday I had loved teaching this class but I'm tired so I'm excited about dinner tonight um that's great yeah yes um so touching on dancing around and stepping outside of there are that aren't making in general I'm also a musician and it's a totally different process and my heart making and I think it's really important to just step out completely of this other work that I do is an artist an illustrator and step into the work of writing songs and playing music because it's it's challenging a different side of me yeah, I think this idea when you're an artist of doing something that uses other parts of your brain or uses your body and physically in some different way it is so important and it actually feeds all the parts of your brain like I'm super athletic I love like bike riding and swimming and um like I can't imagine a day where I didn't do those things and they help me to be a better artist but they also get me out of my head and in time you know into a like staying in touch with my body and feeling more grounded so that may not be for you but whatever your thing is that's very different from what you do as an artist I feel like it's sometimes so important um any anybody out on the internet sharing engagement or yeah well we have some people sharing engagement ideas and some other questions that people have asked about more about organizing as we're kind of wrapping up this final segment this is something I'm not sure if you touched on it earlier but we have a user who wants to know if you have any tips or strategies on organizing your physical work, your physical artwork and how you keep all that straight and we talked a little about digital we had google doc set up but for the people out there who have physical artwork any any tips for them do you cover that in art inc and more death? But I can say that actually it kind of relates to are talking about now because when you are more organized especially in your physical environment you have more space to you know to create or to relax and things are chaotic and messy and piled on top of each other it's sometimes more difficult to feel a sense of of inner peace for lack of a better term so for flat unframed work I love flat files I know they're expensive ike sells them pretty cheap although there's like a million pieces to put theirs together of course flat files are great um way to store flat unframed paper artwork um uh I think that the most important thing for any unsold work that you have that is just sitting in your studio waiting to sell or maybe you'll never sell it but you just want to keep it is to make sure that it's protected from the elements from moisture from sunlight on all of those things and so wrapping things in paper and then in plastic is is great, especially if it's going to be exposed to moisture. It really depends on your space, but I have my studio organized in, you know, there's like a area that I have set aside for you larger works that are stacked against each other and all wrapped up there's some bins I buy been sometimes at target and put smaller pieces that are wrapped up in those to protect them and I have flat files for smaller pieces. Some people have studios in their homes where they don't have a lot of space, so it really depends on your space but staying organized and keeping your work protected from damage is really important. So that's a great question. I love this quote and, um and part of the reason I love it is that so much of what we dio feels impossible it feels like there's part of you who's like, can I really do this and yet, there's a part of you that is like, yes, I can, I can do this, and I love being around other people who are really hopeful about what they can accomplish as an artist, and I love being ableto support people in that effort, and many of you may already be in the position where you're helping other people. It feels really good. Um, like I said earlier thie community of artists and illustrators and designers and folks that I've encountered over the last fifteen years have or thirteen years have really influenced me and helped me, and their generosity has gotten me where I am, and you will someday be in the position potentially where, if you're not already doing that where you can help others as well. And and I, I'm inspired by all of the energy that has been coming from everyone about what they've learned, and I really hope that despite all of the the aspects of running and art business and becoming a working artist, that may feel daunting and overwhelming to you that you continue to yearn for this thing even when it feels impossible, because I'm here to say it really is possible, um, you gotta work hard and do a lot of things to make it happen, but if you want it bad enough, you certainly can have it so let's review um well let's have you review check back on your goals and visions have you been revising them and if so how have they changed in the last couple of days? Anybody I hear a lot of paper clipping they're flipping and they've written so much about hammers can see how much people have written in this class it's amazing to see all these fine men I'm sure a lot of you and some people actually were posting on instagram photos of their notebooks and the notes they were taking and doodling as they were listening yesterday so hopefully you've got a lot of information would love to know if your goals and vision have changed since you've been sitting here and if you feel more ready I feel like my goals and vision have just expanded and I feel like our more possibilities and I don't have that level of fear anymore I'm letting myself dream really big also and so keep that microphone what are some of the steps you're going to take tomorrow or next week now that you have some new information in tools yeah it's a really specific steps last night I was so motivated is revamping my entire on stayed up way too late and so that was really exciting and I felt that I had the tools to do that um and also planning on taking more classes and staying in touch with everyone here and staying engaged that's great anybody else want to talk about what's changed and what they're going to do differently in the next couple of days? So in a similar vein, I feel like my thoughts of what I what the next steps are, er lock broader on not just like painting in the gallery, but there's so many other possibilities on dh in terms of steps, I am definitely gonna work on a logo and cohesive branding, which I have over the few years, but it's kind of jelling more in terms of what the look and whole packages and just hitting some websites and submitting more stuff. Yeah, you know, as first brandon goes it's really, um, you'll do that, and then you'll do it again in three years and you'll do it again in three more years were always especially as creative people were always growing and changing our practice is growing and changing our logo's our design elements are websites are blog's we're going to change and that's good, right? You want to stay fresh, you want to stay ahead of the curve? Um, so so that's great and it never stops either. Sure, right here I feel like, um I feel a bit more empowered to acknowledge the good things that have come to me, but still pushed towards the really, um the items that seem most exciting for me yeah, so when you said saying no is saying yes like having more space for that, I think it's really it's been like, a luxury to really examine your self and say, okay, this is where I really want to go, so because really, the last few days has been and exercising self examination, right and business examination and all that great anybody online one time? Well, I've got one last thing that I want to read here a question, actually, but this this is the front of one of our using the chat rooms and lisa, how did you know if this gig with creative live was a good one to say yes, too? And I hope you're going to say that it was because we've enjoyed having you here so the's big things like book opportunities, which I have one in my in box right now someone's trying wants me to write a book on a particular topic um, things like this that I know are going to take a lot of my time. The one question I asked myself, which isn't even on my my list of saying yes or no, but it's something that I've come to in the last couple years is if I don't do this, am I going to regret it? And so christina who's, the marketing person here, is a friend of mine and she's, the one who approached me initially about about doing this, and I was like, oh, I'm so, you know, I have a lot going on. Is this something I really want in best time in? And I asked myself that question if I don't do this, am I going to regret it? Is there something about this that feels exciting to me? Is this a way for me to share the things I've learned with other people? And the answer was yes, and so I powered through on that note, I just want to say thank you to everyone who participated thank you want peace day and touch whether you are in the studio audience or you are out there on the internet, I can't always respond waited right away, but I love getting emails. You can engage with me on my facebook fan page and on twitter and on my instagram feed. Also, I love making friends with people, especially other artists, so let's be friends, all right? Absolutely. Yeah, well, we are so happy that you did decide to come here on this. We've enjoyed this so much it's been a great two days with you, we are sadly wrapping up but, you know, there's been so much positive energy coming through the chat room's, lots of great quotes, people thanking you thank you to everybody who's been watching and here's just a little bit a snippet of what they've been sharing, nyla says, I feel like this course has taught me so much. I know I keep saying this, but holy crap, I'm so glad that I watched this class, it was totally worth it. Lisa has been so helpful and clear with how she teaches, I feel motivated to get out there and do something I feel like I watch is at the perfect time and I just recently decided to take up my work, chrissy says. I keep getting pulled into the studio and missing the good stuff. The segment is so great, I know you missed a lot of the good stuff and you know you can always re watch this, I'm going to say it again, joanne liu says. I'm a fresh graduate. This classes taught me away of beginning my career as an illustrator, a graphic artist, all the practical information information, at least a shared is really doable and I feel motivated to work hard and achieve my goals thank you, lisa, thank you, creative live. Finally, this one comes from molly. I had to learn a lot of this back in the nineteen nineties on my own. Where were you back then, and I needed you, lisa, I was trying to figure it out, too. That's. The problem. Believe me, everyone, this is extremely good information. Thank you, lisa, for this gift of knowledge. So thank you so much for tuning in. Lisa it's. Been a great two sessions here with you, thank you so much for being here, and this has been becoming a working artist with lisa kong, and my name is chris jennings. Thanks for tuning in. We're going to see you next time, but that's a wrap for now.