Career Breakout: Art and Local Involvement

Catering to our talented concentration of artistic and creative professionals, Artists Square’s CEO, Racquel Cruz, asked member Dyanne Parker, owner/founder at “Canvas and Cheers, Inc., (where u paint and pARTy) the following question:

Does volunteering and local involvement greatly enhance your art sales for your career goals?

Building relationships is the most important component in building any business. Art is adopted and not just purchased because a client falls in love with the color, subject, style, and mood of the piece. When someone acquires a piece of your art, they buy a piece of you and become extended family. It doesn’t get any more personal than that.

Career tip #1: The art business is personal and involves more emotion than selling a service or a retail product.

Spending almost twenty years in building a community and businesses as CEO of the Seminole County Chamber of Commerce, building relationships, serving on Board of Directors, committees and organizing hundreds of volunteer networks guaranteed not only the success of the Chamber but built a network for business to succeed. As a new business or new business leader, a business plan should spell out a plan for acquiring and building a database of key potential clients and how that network of leads would be reached.

Local involvement can greatly enhance your art business.

Involvement is a commitment and has to be built into your schedule whether weekly or monthly. Track your time spent and always track the leads, sales and contacts you make.  Don’t commit to an organization and not follow through as it can cause more negative perception than positive.

Volunteer and donate to great causes. Some of the greatest exposure is not only volunteering your time but also your creative work. Grab attention while contributing to events where your work is exhibited and displayed. Giving back always come back to you.

Auctions are a great venue to showcase your art as many will see it, several will place bids to attain your work, and someone will become the new owner. Donate brings ripples of positive return!

The more people you touch, the more potential you have. Remember that it’s more than just a numbers game; it’s truly building a network of people that you know.

Career tip #2: The key is identifying organizations to build relationships with potential clients that will also create referrals.

Get out there, contribute time and art. It will come back in great relationships, success in business and friendships.

Thank you Racquel for your question and special thanks goes out to Dyanne for her helpful insight. For those wishing to reach out directly to Dyanne, she is an active Artists-Square member, http://artists-square.com/DyanneParkerArt. For those not part of Artist’s Square, join and let me know your thoughts.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
EducationCareerServices.com
Got Twitter? Follow me @DannyatECS

Career Breakout: Improving your Employment Situation via Mentoring

Dr. Kathryn Broyles, Ph.D., Program Director of General Studies at American Public University/American Military University, details how mentoring will benefit your career:

Maybe you’re on the job market for the first time. You’ve just finished high school or college and you’re ready to make your mark – ready to build a life for yourself and stand on your own two feet. Or maybe you’ve recently lost a job you loved and did well for many years and you’re working to retool your resume. Or perhaps you’ve determined you want more out of life and given the current economic situation you’ve decided to head your career in an entirely new direction.

No matter where you are in your career and no matter what your employment status, there’s a good chance that you could benefit from mentoring. Finding a good mentor is not always easy, but when you find one, their friendship and advice can be invaluable.

Catherine Apitz in a short article for the on-line journal Circles of Seven, lists a number of famous mentors and mentees from all walks of life. An example of note from the world of popular music is Jerry Wexler, music journalist, record producer, chairman of Atlantic Records, who mentored a number of musicians including Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Linda Ronstadt, Ray Charles and Willie Nelson. From the world of classical music, Israeli violinist and conductor, Isaac Stern, mentored the effervescent talents of cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Oprah Winfrey speaks often of the lessons she’s learned from Poet Maya Angelou.

What do mentors do? Mentors can introduce you to new acquaintances and new business contacts you might otherwise never have met. Mentors can help you avoid career mistakes by sharing with you their own stories and the processes and pitfalls they’ve learned from a long the way.

Mentors can challenge you to push yourself to new heights physically or intellectually – point you to the education you’ll need to succeed. Often, mentors are interested in supervising or helping you evaluate a particular project you’re working on or in answering questions and offering suggestions along the way as you work independently on that project.

Career Tip: In all areas of life, mentors can be of benefit to us, but they are an especially wonderful tool and support when we’re looking to improve our employment situation.

Who should serve as a mentor? Your big brother or your former football coach may be wonderful individuals, and great life coaches, but a mentor with experience in a field you’re seeking success within can offer insights and direction you often cannot anticipate needing. If you’re on a job hunt, or seeking to retool for a new career, look for a successful professional from whom you can learn. It’s important that you not only find someone that you enjoy working with but also someone who believes in your potential and has a vested interest in your success. It’s also helpful if your mentor is someone with concrete experience in the field you’re pursuing, though it’s not a necessity.

Career Tip: The traits of leadership and the habits that lead to success in one field will often lead to accomplishment in others.

How do I work with a mentor? When establishing a relationship with a mentor, it’s important to clarify whether he or she truly has time to help you and has the expertise to do so. Being clear about your needs and expectations and being respectful of their time is crucial if your work together is to be successful. You must also be willing to hear criticism, and to communicate clearly even in the midst of challenges in order to maintain a good relationship with another professional who has agreed to mentor you. Whether you meet with your mentor weekly, or Skype monthly, the encouragement and advice such a relationship can provide may be just what you need to get into–or move ahead in–a new career.

Where do I find a mentor? Good mentors are valuable. Be willing to work hard to establish a connection with a potential mentor. Think outside the box as well as look close to home for a professional you respect, from whom you can learn, and by whom you want to be guided or shaped. Ask friends, family, and colleagues if they can put you in touch with someone who might help you in your career.

If you’re just graduating, consider taking an internship (even an unpaid one) in order to gain experience in a field you want to pursue and from that experience you’ll likely gain not only a resume reference but a mentor in the form of a boss or colleague. Former professors can sometimes be great mentors as well. Social media sites like Linked-In can be another way to connect with a potential mentor. Don’t overlook mentoring networks maintained by professional organizations or alumni affairs offices as a source of valuable advice either.

Where can I learn more?

  1. A great interview with Lynn Chambers-Ketchens, published on-line by the Missouri Institute of Mental Health. discusses clearly some very helpful ways to understand a mentoring relationship:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBwSZpjh1yU
  2. Link to two articles on mentoring published by Law PracticeTODAY here: http://apps.americanbar.org/lpm/lpt/articles/mgt08041.html
  3. A lengthy but very readable article by Katherine Hansen, Ph.D. on finding a mentor can itself be found here: http://www.quintcareers.com/mentor_value.html

Thanks Kathryn, your advice is greatly appreciated. For those interested in learning more about American Public University/American Military University, where they are expanding access to higher education with more than 100 affordable degrees and certificates to prepare students for service and leadership in a diverse and global society, visit their website at www.apus.edu.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
EducationCareerServices.com
Got Twitter? Shadow me @DannyatECS

Career Breakout: Invisible, There is a Cure

“I’ve been working in the same position for close to four years and it seems as if I cannot advance in my career. What do you recommend I do to get recognized as an employee in it for the long haul and one wanting to grow?”

No doubt being recognized as a key player nowadays takes more than simply doing your job well. In such a competitive employee market, you must go beyond the call of duty or get lost in the shuffle or worse, become a victim of “right-sizing.”

Now that you’ve been with the same company for several years, NOW is the time to let your voice be heard in a professional and progressive manner. One of the most effective techniques of career recognition lies with you developing and submitting a one to three year plan. I realize this takes a bit of work on your part but the payoffs could be most rewarding.

Career Tip #1: A formal one to three year proposal can lift you well above your peers.

Last year one of my employers surprised me by providing an in-depth plan detailing steps she would be taking to become a more effective and valuable employee. Part of her plan was to complete her career coaching certification and also to introduce a web-based customer response team. Needless to say, her five-page proposal lifted her head and shoulders over other members in the department instantly.

Following up on her story, within three months she gained her coaching certificate and began coaching clients directly, increasing revenue while decreasing client services wait time. The following year she was promoted to department lead.

Developing and producing a formal strategic plan is not for every position and person but creating mini-career/company projections is something all employees can do. These shorter projections can be as simple as becoming more diverse within the company, for example, learning how to perform duties outside of your realm of expertise or department. Such learning show determination and increases the value you offer.

Career Tip #2: Diversifying your work duties beyond job descriptions gains value and career recognition.

Going back to the original question, I recommend you take a long look at the value you currently offer and what you can do to enhance your position. After writing several ideas down, think of the ways you can add value to the company and merge those thoughts into a formal proposal. Once you have your work proofed for errors (nothing like poor grammar to ruin a picnic), arrange for a meeting with your supervisor where you will submit your plan of action.

By submitting action and results, you are making a strong statement that you are a dedicated employee who is in for the long haul. As an employer, I actively search and promote dedicated and innovative employees, especially those going beyond normal operating standards. Unfortunately with large companies, taking a passive approach rarely gains recognition.

Career Tip #3: Actions you propose to take must be met or the career recognition you seek will not be favorable.

If you would like additional information or assistance in any career-related manner, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section or email me directly at dhuffman@edu-cs.com or visit us at Amazon.com (search Huffman at ecs).

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
www.educationcareerservices.com
Got Twitter? Shadow me @dannyatecs