A simple thank you...

It’s no secret that sometimes the smallest gestures can have the biggest impact. It’s important to relay to your clients, and even your partners, that they matter. Because they do. Your business wouldn’t exist without them. The simplest way to show them that you care, is to send them a thank you note. For the last year, I’ve been using using a service called Paperless Post.

It’s an online service that helps you create and send beautiful thank you cards, flyers and more, without having to print or physically mail them, saving on both time and gas. My favourites are often the ones designed by Rifle Paper Co. They are so, so pretty!

paperless post

Paperless Post cards are an easy way to ask for feedback from your clients (I love when I receive their testimonials!!) while sending them a genuine note straight to their inbox. You’re able to track when they’ve viewed it or send it to multiple recipients.

In today’s fast-paced world, a simple thank you goes a long way.

Should you do art (or work) for free?

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What do you say to a company or individual that wants you to provide a service, talent or product to them for free?

We artists, freelancers and creative professionals get this all the time. And I mean ALL the time. Do x work for free, for exposure, or for your portfolio.

My number one advice is:

No matter how new you are to the industry, if a business or individual will profit from your work, you should always be compensated. Basically, if you know they are using your product, service or talent to market themselves, their store, their business - you should get compensated. They are using you so they can make money, doesn't it make sense that you should get paid too? 

Of course, there are exceptions to this such as:

1) Bartering for a good/service 

If someone approaches you, particularly a friend or a family that wants you to help them out for a project, you can suggest a trade. I do this all the time with my closest friends. For example, my girl Sabrina Jade Designs - if she needs photos of her kickass clothing line, she'll offer to alter my clothes for free or custom design me a new outfit. It doesn't necessarily have to be of equal value, but it helps to put the trade in perspective, especially when it comes to how much time it will take both of you. 

2) Helping out a local non-profit/charity 

If you want to build good karma, network, build a portfolio or add to your resume, there are many non-profits that would appreciate free help. It doesn't hurt to ask them if they have a budget, as there are many larger non-profits that do have the funds to be able to compensate you, but the little ones often don't. If you have the time and want to help for free, do it. Heck, I do it as part of my business model, always with boundaries though. Don't say yes to doing something for free if you're already busy or you really don't want to. Remember, clients, paid work, and your mental health, should always come first.

Unless you have a child.

Then your child should come first.

And that work is always unpaid. Sanity is not guaranteed. 

Anyway. There are many people who may disagree with me, and many who do agree (like this article on Huffington Post), but I have been working and getting paid as an artist for over 15 years because I believe it is right. My time has value. It may not have started out as much in the beginning, but growth starts with your first paid job.

As creative professionals, we often are expected to do work or create art for free, which adds to the culture that our talent, skills and time aren't as important as others. If we don't value what we do, then others won't either. If we continue to say yes to working for free, then we add to that culture. 

But remember, we are professionals. We want to earn a living from our vocation. We do great work and our work is worth the investment. 

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A FREE online resource for youth entrepreneurs seeking mentorship and funding!

free resource for youth seeking mentorship and funding ottawa

It has been a busy start of the year working on various projects, including helping with the development of YENGO (Youth Entrepreneurship Networking Group of Ottawa). Working beside the Project Coordinator, Brandi Chaffey, we took photographs, created a video, designed their logo as well as a website, which we called version 1.0.

But like all projects in the works, obstacles can happen and we later discovered that the website host couldn't handle the requirements that YENGO needed to meet, which was a referrals tool and database.
 

So, YENGO, with the help of the amazing CAPRA DESIGN, created the latest website now, which is easy to navigate with it's clean and simple design. It's AMAZING! And we are happy to announce it is now live! 

free online resource for youth seeking mentorship ottawa

While the funding for YENGO has ended, the steering committee and all YENGO members (including us) are still working to continue to expand YENGO and it's database so that the resources continue to be updated and youth can find the help they need. 

What is incredible about this site is youth and service providers can now go to one website and search based on age range, what you're seeking help with and more. It's super easy to navigate. 

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To find out a little bit more about YENGO, check out the video we produced below: 

YENGO ottawa