Artisan Blog

Goal Setting: 10 Best Practices for Setting Goals

Katty Douraghy - Wednesday, December 03, 2014


Around this time of year, people start reflecting on the previous months and begin setting goals (and resolutions) for the coming year.

I’ve also always done this until a recent event changed my perspective completely.  It happened by chance on my birthday at the 180th Meridian, the international date line.  In a split second I was simultaneously standing in today and yesterday.  Quite amazing, however, it made me realize that a date is just an arbitrary number -- a line literally drawn on a map.

As I reflected on a new “birth year”, it made me realize that “start dates” can be counter-productive when it comes to setting goals and resolutions. Why wait until an arbitrary date in the future like Jan 1, or next week, or even tomorrow to make a change that will be impactful in your life or in your career?

Why wait to plan that once-in a-lifetime trip, why wait to plan your financial future, why wait to get healthy and fit?  All goals will require time and action steps to accomplish, so why delay the start until sometime in the future?

As human beings, we fall into a second trap of mistaking our daily to-do lists with our goals.  We often set too many goals and try to change too many things at once—and then we get busy with life and only accomplish a few of them.   Once we get busy, it’s easy to lose focus, and have the day-to-day to-dos of work, kids, school etc. take over the goals we want to accomplish.  How many times have we all said, “ I don’t have time to go to the gym”, or “I don’t have time to go on vacation!”

“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly and unapologetically— to say “no” to other things.” -Stephen Covey

Here are 10 Best Practices for setting goals that I have learned:

1)     Set only one or two (maximum) Key Goals you want to accomplish in a certain period of time
2)     Write down your goal and WHY is it important for you to accomplish this goal
3)     What do you need to STOP doing in order to accomplish this goal?
4)     Set a specific timeframe & metrics needed to accomplish the goal
5)     Work backwards from the date above and calendar the steps below
6)     Set the specific, actionable and controllable steps needed to reach that goal
7)     Ask yourself, am I in control of these action steps, or are they dependent on someone else? If so, change your action steps because you can’t let someone else control your goal, or plan an accountability metric and share it with that person
8)     Set check points along the way to track your progress
9)     Share your goals and action items with someone else and engage them as your accountability partner
Don’t wait…Start today!

Without specific mini steps along the way, the goal has the danger of becoming just a wish.

 Katty Douraghy - President at Artisan Creative



Laura Pell - Wednesday, November 26, 2014


“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold rather a large amount of gratitude.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

With the hustle and bustle of the Holidays right around the corner, we’d like to take a moment and express our gratitude to those around us.
We spoke with some of our talent and the Artisan team to see what they are grateful for in 2014.

To me gratitude means to be appreciative of things on a daily basis. I write down three gratitudes every day. In the rush of daily to-dos, this allows me to focus on the important things in life. Today I’m grateful that my family, friends and Artisan team are healthy, of Artisan’s virtual office setting that allows me to work yet be close to loved ones, and grateful for the beautiful weather in LA.

I’m grateful for a job that allows a lot of flexibility, for a husband who I love very much and so lucky to have and a supportive Family who is there for me no matter what.

I thank God every day for my family and friends.  I am thankful that my children are growing up surrounded by a loving community and I am thankful to share my life with some really kind and wonderful people.  For me gratitude is recognizing even the smallest blessing or gesture and not taking anything for granted, especially my health and well-being.

I'm thankful for good health, strong friendships, and a happy family. Grateful to work in the creative space where I get to connect with and be inspired by brilliant, passionate, and talented individuals and so lucky that it's through an agency that values people, trust, and respect.

I’m grateful to have such a supportive, kind family with a devoted husband. I’m grateful to be in a position to have saved two rescue dogs and work for a company who has integrity and respect.

Gratitude is that deeper feeling one is left with after having been a part of contributing to, or being the recipient of, someone’s contribution to a greater good.

I am thankful my family is healthy this year. Both my husband and I have some advancement in our career. And I met a great agent, Jen at Artisan around Thanksgiving time!

I'm thankful for my dog, Pepper! In March, my boyfriend and I adopted an abandoned mini pincher mix from the rescue organization Dogs Without Borders. She's the most delightful, playful little bundle of joy and adopting her was the best decision we've ever made. Not only is it wonderful to have a dog, but by virtue of having a dog, we've ended up getting out and meeting many of our neighbors, making our neighborhood really feel like home

Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude states, “Gratitude makes us appreciate the value of something, and when we appreciate the value of something, we extract more benefits from it; we’re less likely to take it for granted.”

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving? Share your responses with us on Twitter @artisanupdates.

Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative

Agency vs. Client Side

Laura Pell - Wednesday, November 19, 2014


For many people, there comes a time in your career when you start considering what it would be like to work on the other side. There’s no right answer: agency life can often involve long hours and multiple clients, but it can also be very rewarding. Perhaps working for a brand is more suited to you if you like to specialize in one area and take ownership? Many of our candidates talk about their desires to work for the other team so what better way to help you make the decision than by comparing them side by side.

What’s it like to work at an agency?
Agency life can often have a reputation for long days and hard work, but on the upside you get to flex your creativity and have exposure to many different accounts and brands. You can be working on a last minute project one day then quickly switch gears onto a pitch or something entirely different the next. Multitasking is king so you must be switched on and ready to take anything thrown your way.

For designers, an agency is a perfect way to build your portfolio. You can show a breadth of work with multiple brands while proving to future hiring managers you have what it takes to survive in a fast-paced and deadline-driven environment. This rings true for those in marketing, client services or similar verticals.  Being exposed to many different brands also means you will qualify for more jobs in the future so think about where you want to be in 5-10 years and make sure your current responsibilities are in alignment with your future goals.

What’s it like to work client side?
Unlike agency life which can be very seasonal, workflow in-house is often more stable and predictable. Projects are usually repeated (and improved upon) each year so you know what to expect and when. There’s also a sense of brand familiarity. You will live and breathe one brand and their message so you can become specialized in their area, such as CPG or technology. There’s also the added job security -- agencies are reliant upon business from their clients; if one client leaves it can put jobs at risk. We’re not saying that layoffs don’t happen for in-house companies because sadly they do, but it can be less of a concern.

In the end, it comes down to what you want to get out of your career. If you like high energy and a variety of work, perhaps the agency world is where you will thrive, but if you feel you want brand familiarity, it could be time to look at client side.

Have you worked on both sides before? How did the experiences differ? Share your thoughts and experiences with us on Twitter @artisanupdates.

 Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative

Meet & Greet with Artisan

Laura Pell - Wednesday, November 12, 2014


The holiday season is right around the corner but before you start stuffing turkeys and eating pumpkin pie, Artisan has a special event to ease you into the spirit of Thanksgiving.

On Tuesday, November 18th we’ll be at our favorite co-working space, Kleverdog in Chinatown, Los Angeles for a meet & greet with job seekers and a drive to benefit two of our favorite charities.

We’ll be hosting the Meet & Greet with Artisan from 4PM – 7PM which will give people an opportunity to meet with our team and put faces to names. Bring your resume along and we will chat through open jobs, career advice and resumes to help your job search be a successful one.  We’ll have delicious snacks available, too!

Our chosen charities are NKLA and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. As advocates of rescue animals and with some of our team members being parents, we’ve chosen two non-profits close to our hearts.

No Kill Los Angeles
NKLA is a pet adoption center led by Best Friends Animal Society. They’ve been working closely with animal welfare organizations, pet shelters and volunteers to help end the killing of healthy animals. They offer spay/neuter services and hold events across the city to help find forever homes for unwanted animals. They have their own adoption center in Santa Monica so if you’re looking for a furry friend, be sure to check out their available animals or next adoption event.
Donations to bring to the Meet & Greet:  pet food (unopened and unused), pet treats and toys.

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
A non-profit hospital serving over 100,000 children each year through care, education and research. With only 10 children’s hospitals in the US, CHLA are ranked #5 in the nation. The entire hospital is designed for children and families and they depend on donations to help heal the children.
Donations to bring to the Meet & Greet: Books, unused toys, coloring books and more. Check out their wish lists here.

Make sure you RSVP and give us a heads-up if you are planning to attend. We look forward to getting into the holiday spirit with you next week and collecting some wonderful gifts for NKLA and CHLA.

Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative


6 Things You Should Be Doing in Your Next Interview

Laura Pell - Wednesday, November 05, 2014


You’ve landed an interview, now what? Interviews can be a nerve-wrecking experience so in order to help you through your next interview, we’ve compiled a list of things you should be considering to get that job offer. Have you come up against any of these points in interviews before? How did you overcome them?

Being Prepared
Being prepared for an interview is a given, but how well do you really know the position and the company? It’s useful to make notes and bullet point any relevant information before you interview. A job interview isn’t a test so take your notes with you if it makes you feel more confident. Try to learn a few facts about the company such as a recent takeover or a statistic and reference it in your conversation.

Body Language
We can’t stress how important body language is. If you don’t believe us, watch this TED talk on power posing. Now we’re not saying you should walk in to an interview with your hands on hips and head held high, but what we are saying is that subtle language such as posture and hand movements can make all the difference between appearing shy or confident. Sit up straight, make eye contact and use open hand gestures. Avoid body language such as sitting on your hands, playing with your hair or looking around the room as it gives off the impression that you're nervous.

Having Gratitude
Gratitude can go a long way so thanking the interviewer for meeting with you and following up with a thank you note will show how interested you really are. You could be up against several candidates and if you’re the only one to follow up and thank them, you’re already ahead of the rest.

Even if the interviewer has answered everything for you, ask another one! There’s nothing worse than being in an interview and not having any questions prepared or forgetting to ask something. Take in a list of questions and refer back to your notes when they ask you. If they truly have answered everything, at least they can see how prepared you were, but make sure you leave knowing as much as possible about the job and company. Don’t be afraid to ask several questions; just don’t take over the interview!

Standing Out
We attended a NAWBO conference earlier this year and they discussed the importance of standing out. When the speaker would take to the stage, she’d wear a hat or another item of clothing that would make her memorable. After the event, people would spot the hat and know who she was. So wearing a hat is obviously out of the question for your next interview, but how can you stand out – what is your hook? You may have a charming accent or have ran a marathon, whatever you choose as your hook, bring it up as a topic of conversation to help the interviewer remember you.

Avoiding Negativity
People tend to remember the bad points, so how do you avoid using negative language? Stay away from saying “I’m not” or “I can’t” and say phrases such as “I’m strong with” or “I can”. If you’re asked to give an example of managing a team and you’ve only had experience managing an intern, give a solution to the problem by saying “I haven’t had specific team management experience, but I have mentored and trained an intern who became a great designer. “


By Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative

Interview Horror Stories

Laura Pell - Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Don’t let the spooky time of year dampen your interviews this month, because let’s face it, we all have at least one interview horror story to share. Whether it’s running late due to traffic, being under (or over) dressed or something as horrifying as being totally unprepared, we obviously want you to do your best. Take a read through our internal staff's pre-Artisan interview horror stories and advice so you can succeed at your next interview.

Dressed to Depress
“On my very first day of interviews in London to enter the recruitment world, I had 2 back-to-back interviews consisting of a very corporate recruitment firm directly followed by a digital agency. My recruiter only prepared me for the first interview, not the second. The interview took place in private members only bar, so of course I was dressed to impress. I went straight to my second interview wearing a suit, only to arrive at a super edgy agency surrounded by people in casual clothes. There was nothing more humiliating than being marched through the office with everyone staring at my formal attire. The interviewer (wearing jeans) asked why I was dressed in such a way – I did explain myself and felt incredibly uncomfortable.” – Laura Pell – Recruiter at Artisan Creative

It’s important to do your own research on office environments. To get a better sense of a company’s culture and employees, look at their social pages. More often than not, a company will post employee photos across Facebook, Twitter or Instagram so you should be able to gauge what to wear. It’s always better to dress up than dress down so make sure you’re well groomed and presentable. The most important factor to address is “do I feel comfortable in what I’m wearing?”  

Fear of the Unknown

“In San Francisco circa 1999 I was trying to land a new job in tech recruiting and interviewed at a start-up. The interview itself wasn’t bad but I had failed to ask any questions about the company and their plans. I was so set on finding a new job so I went along with it and accepted. Three weeks after being hired, they downsized and cut my position along with several others. The company was lackadaisical and had no vetting or on-boarding process.” – Jamie Grossman – Recruiter at Artisan Creative

Many people in Jamie’s situation would do the same thing, but if you’re looking for a long-term commitment with a company, make sure you know they are invested in you, too. Do you know their three to five year plan? Have you asked the interviewer why they personally joined the company? Are they prepared with onboarding and what are their expectations? It’s important to cover as much as possible, so write your questions beforehand and leave with the knowledge and security that you’re making the right choice.

Ridiculous Requests

I once interviewed for a company specializing in hypoallergenic products. The job description clearly stated no strong perfumes so I made sure to skip my usual spritz that day.  When I arrived, they had me sit face to face with the main interviewer while an associate sat in the chair right next to me and proceeded to lean in and take a few deep breaths. She continued to do that for the next few minutes and then asked if I was wearing deodorant.  I said yes and apparently, the deodorant scent was too strong for their liking.  I guess for this role, it wasn't enough to look the part, you have to smell the part as well!” – Jen Huynh – Talent Sourcer at Artisan Creative

This request is uncommon and while we hope you won’t have to endure being sniffed at by interviewers, do heed any requests client’s make. They may ask you to fill in application forms, present portfolios or take a skills test. If you come unprepared, first impressions of your organizational skills will be duly noted!

We’d love to hear your interview horror stories. Do you have your own frightful story to share? Tweet us or share on our Facebook page.

Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative

A Guide to Relocating to Los Angeles

Laura Pell - Wednesday, October 22, 2014


So you want to move to Los Angeles, but now what? LA is a place unlike any other. There’s the entertainment industry, the growing start-up area of Silicon Beach, the emerging creative world of downtown – it’s hard to know where to begin. As American poet and critic Dorothy Parker so eloquently put it, “LA is 72 suburbs in search of a city”. If you’ve yet to visit LA, it will all make sense when you arrive.

First of all, you will need to plan. Are you able to move without landing a job first? Do you need to find an apartment? If you’re outside of the US, can you legally work here? Careful planning and research will allow you to figure out budgets, timelines and scope. LA is an exciting city to live in and opportunities can be plentiful if you work at it.

Finding Work
Identify a few recruitment agencies you’re interested in working with.  If you plan to make the move to LA after you find a job, be clear and concise with your timeline. Outline your availability for in-person interviews and communicate your travel arrangements. If you’re clear on these factors, it makes working together more seamless and cohesive.
If you’re planning to move here first, keep in mind that LA’s industry is very different to that of say, New York or London. It can take many people a few months to find work so be financially and mentally prepared.

Living in LA without a car is not impossible, but it is tough. LA is basically a series of towns connected by freeways. There’s a Metro system which can take you through Hollywood and as far as Long Beach and downtown but if you want to work on the westside, your options are buses or a ridesharing service such as SideCar or Uber. If you plan on using public transport, be clear to recruiters and companies you’re working with that you are without a car. That way they can look at their client base in your local area.

LA comes at a price. LA Times recently warned Angelenos to prepare for rent hikes over the next two years. Rent prices in areas such as Newport Beach where they’ve experienced a tech-boom average 2.5k per month. Renting rooms, sharing houses or renting studios are commonplace. Decide what will work for you with your budget but remember; LA salaries aren’t quite in line with New York or San Francisco. Use places like Glassdoor to find out salaries of companies and positions you’re interested in and ask your recruiter to guide you on average market rates.

Making Friends
Rest assured that your friends and family will always want to visit the City of Angels. With the constant sunny weather and palm trees, it’s an inspiring city to explore. Use to find local events (and if you’re in the UX space, be sure to check out our friends over at LAUX MeetUp) and peruse our recent blog about co-working spaces which is a great place to start networking and making friends.

Have you made the move to LA and had similar experiences? Share your thoughts with us over on Twitter @ArtisanUpdates.


Artisan Creative’s 5 Favorite Co-Working Spaces in San Francisco

Laura Pell - Wednesday, October 15, 2014


We’re well aware that San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the US for cost of living, so starting out on your own or freelancing can be tough. With inflated rent and property prices, renting your own office space is out of the question for many. With that in mind, we’re featuring five of our favorite co-working spaces in San Francisco. Ranging from tech communities to shared living spaces, there’s something for everyone.

What we love about StartupHouse is that they have so many resources available for budding entrepreneurs or contactors. Finding accountants, legal advice or even sorting benefits can be time consuming and tricky but they have experts on-hand to give guidance and essentially free up your time. With 50 workspaces available, StartupHouse aims to be the home of builders, bootstrappers and disruptors. Located on Howard Street, they’re central to just about everything.

With two co-working options, Parisoma offers an open desk package which entitles you to attend their wide array of events (including delicious breakfasts) or a dedicated desk which includes 6 hours of conference room time per month. With 24/7 access, monthly and weekly events and workshops including hackathons, their modern open space is perfect for co-working. Parisoma has been home to many startups including QuickPay and Scoop.It. If you want your startup to have optimal resources available and intend on having client meetings, Parisoma is worth checking out.

Citizen Space
Citizen Space is a wonderful option if you just want to test the waters and try co-working. They have packages ranging from hourly drop-ins to full monthly dedicated desks. If that’s not enough, they have unlimited conference room time and perks such as snacks and coffee but best of all, a pet policy! You can bring your furfriends with you while you work. With a central location and a host of creative types renting office space, it’s a great atmosphere to meet new people, hang out and work.

This friendly, open-plan environment is great for designers, developers and entrepreneurs alike who want to live and work in a creative community. With co-working desks as well as bedrooms to rent as living spaces, there’s a real community feel to the company. 20Mission hold regular events aimed at their members which includes video game nights, art gallery showings and parties held on their patio.  Their memberships are great value for money and also have half-day passes available.

NextSpace has an array of locations across California including San Francisco, Union Square and San Jose. They act as more of a trendy, established agency who understand the needs of their members. As a member, you get benefits such as free ZipCar membership, 24/7 access and reduced gym rates. With tons of natural light and central locations (accessible by BART) plus a care facility for parents who need childcare, their vibrant community couldn’t be better. 

Laura Pell - Recruiter at Artisan Creative

8 Tips to Help Your Resume and Portfolio Stand Out

Katty Douraghy - Wednesday, October 08, 2014


As agency recruiters and sourcers, our goal is to find amazing talent for the open positions our clients have and help make an impact for both.  In order to successfully do so, we review 50+ resumes a day before we get to the interview phase.  That makes over 250 a week, and more than 1,000 a month, conservatively guessing!

Below are 8 tips to help your resume and portfolio stand out.


Every new search begins with the required elements of a position. We're here to help by working with you to see how and why your background may be fit for a role.  Here are a few things we take into consideration at the beginning of a search.

  1. Job Title & Responsibilities.  Your current job title & what your current responsibilities are.  For example, if you are looking for a graphic designer role but have not held that position in a while, we'll need your help to clarify why.
  2. Industry/Vertical Experience. If you looking to change verticals or have an industry preference but haven't been able to work professionally in it, consider taking on some freelance projects to gain exposure and industry experience.
  3. Years of Experience. Let us know why you are open to a more junior position, or why you may be qualified for a more senior one.
  4. Job Location.  An important factor is commute-time. If you are open to a position outside your local area, please be specific in your submission letter.


Once we have identified a pool of candidates for a specific role, the fun begins! When looking for creative roles, we like to browse the portfolio first.  We begin every search with a good understanding of the aesthetic and design style a talent has and whether it's a match for what a client is looking for.

  1. A clean, organized, and easy to navigate portfolio is a breath of fresh air!  Give your portfolio an extra "oomph" by showcasing your most recent and relevant work samples.  When selecting pieces to include, go for the projects that demonstrate your design strengths, add a little bit of diversity, and make sure images are high resolution.  Don't forget to include your favorite projects as well since your passion will shine through when talking about them.   List your involvement on the project—whether it was creative direction, or production….let your online portfolio be clear and concise.

If you are unable to create your own website, there are many online portfolio sites such as Behance, Dribbble and Coroflot to utilize.  A comprehensive list can be found on our resources page.

  1. A chronological resume is the easiest to browse, starting with the most recent work.  If you've worked at agencies, make sure to include a brief list of accounts you've worked on.  Descriptions of your roles and duties are essential, along with time spent in the company.   List your Education, dates, degrees, software proficiencies and expertise levels
  2. Longevity.  Clearly state if a role was freelance for a specific project. Otherwise several short-term assignments at different companies can be considered a red flag.  Help us understand the different career moves you've made and how you can be a stable and loyal addition to the team.  
  3. Typos are the first things to jump out on your resume and portfolio.  Even if you've reviewed it a hundred times, let a friend with a critical eye take a look before you send it out.  As Laszlo Bock, Senior VP of People Operations at Google, said, "Typos are deadly because employers interpret them as a lack of detail-orientation, as a failure to care about quality."  You don't want that to be their first impression of you so take a few extra measures for peace of mind.

Of course, this is a general approach at how the initial process of sourcing goes.  The depth of what we do as an agency and the core of how we take a different approach takes precedence during the interview stage where we dive deeper into your background and work with you on culture fit and career expectations.  

At Artisan Creative, we are in the business of connecting you to the right role so help us understand your strengths, values, and career objectives.  A clear understanding of these on our end, coupled with a well-written resume and beautifully designed portfolio on your end, can be the beginning of a great work relationship.

 By Jen Huynh, Sourcer at Artisan Creative

Artisan Creative’s 5 Favorite Co-Working Spaces in Los Angeles

Katty Douraghy - Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Working from home can be a luxury for many people and let’s face it; spending time at your home office instead of a traffic jam is never a bad thing. Sometimes there are those days when you just need interaction. Whether it comes in the form of friendly conversation with a guy one desk over or soaking up inspiration from beautiful architecture and surroundings, it’s good to have a change of scenery.  With that in mind, we decided to share some of our favorite spots across the city to inspire your creativity and pique your mood.

The Unique Space
Arts District, Downtown
Living up to its name, The Unique Space is a beautiful historic factory turned co-working spot home to innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. We love their library filled with helpful resources and the fact that they even have bikes to borrow along with a rooftop terrace to take a break. Did we mention this spot has everything?

The Hub LA
Arts District, Downtown
The Hub is 7000 square feet of open plan flooring and tall windows allowing plenty of light. What’s great about The Hub is that they have Media Lab which boasts post-production suites, spaces for filming and screening. You’ll also find a host of General Assembly events along with film screenings and workshops.

Kleverdog CoWorking
Kleverdog is an Artisan favorite and a regular place for us to hold company events and meetings. The atmosphere at Kleverdog is relaxed and as such, feels like a home away from home. With 24/7 access and a favorite with developers, designers and writers you’re never short of finding new conversations and even a friendly office dog.

Santa Monica, Downtown, Mid-Wilshire
One of the original co-working spaces opened its doors at Mid-Wilshire and most recently, Santa Monica and Downtown. The architecture of their buildings is beautiful and clearly a lot of time and effort went into the construction and layout of their spaces (owner Jerome is also an architect). We’ve used both Downtown and Mid-Wilshire locations and they’re great for meetings, co-working and events.

Little Tokyo
Opodz blends technology, community and culture into one cohesive space which allows co-working, art events and lectures. This week they’re hosting a UX Strategy lecture and they even feature their resident co-working colleagues on their website which is a thoughtful touch.

Do you have a favorite co-working space of your own that hasn’t been featured? We’re always on the lookout for new places to explore so share your recommendations in the comments.

Laura Pell | Talent Acquisition | Artisan Creative   

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