5 Ways to Make the Summer Count

Summer can be a challenging time to get a lot accomplished. The distraction of warm summer days, long evenings and holiday plans can put a pinch on productivity. What it does do is bring up a lot of new inspiring ideas. Here are a few ways that summer is sparking my creativity...

Left to right: Yoga + meditation; enjoying a Coronado, California sunset; drawing + writing in Sequoia National Forest; road trip to Lake Winnepesaukee, New Hampshire; morning glory in the garden.

Left to right: Yoga + meditation; enjoying a Coronado, California sunset; drawing + writing in Sequoia National Forest; road trip to Lake Winnepesaukee, New Hampshire; morning glory in the garden.

1. Relax.
Taking it easy in the summer can be challenging as a business owner, but this summer I am letting go a bit more, enjoying a few more sunsets and relaxing into some outdoor activities.

2. Explore. 
It’s a good time for a road trip. Whether a short journey or a trip into another state, exploring a new area can bring great inspiration.

3. Connect.
The long summer days and the increased activities surrounding them get people out and connecting. Summer barbeques, family reunions or concerts in the park and other summer social events are great places to reconnect with your community.

4. Read, Write, Draw.
Summer reading lists used to feel like a chore, but now I savor a chance to sit quietly with a good book or find a quiet spot to write and draw.

5. Plant Seeds.
You don’t have to have a green thumb to take advantage of all the sunlight and summer heat. Summer is a good time to plant some seeds and watch them grow. Planting seeds can happen in the garden and also in business. With the right surroundings and a little encouragement you may be surprised what may come to life!

5 Things Travel Taught My Business

Since my business takes me from coast-to-coast, I often extend my trips to include a little something more. Taking this time away gives me the breathing room I need to make me more effective in my business. It also allows me to bring my new perspective back to my clients and fuels my creativity.

Here are a few ways my explorations have shaped my business:

1. Stepping Away from Technology

Since the majority of our work is now in computer form, it is essential to schedule technology breaks. This gives us a reality check and connects us back to "real world" experiences. In our daily business world, we utilize many forms of technology, software, online applications, email and social media. All these tools exist to enhance our business efficiency; unfortunately, it can also separate us from the real world. By stepping away from our digital routines, we can get back to personal and genuine experiences.

2. Changing the View

I think we all find ourselves on autopilot from time to time. When you don’t break out from your normal routine, we miss the stimuli needed to have a new and fresh perspective. Seeing new people, places, and things, shifts the way we look at life. A new viewpoint leads to new ways of addressing challenges. 

3. Expanding Your Palette

Travelling and taking in new textures, colors, smells and new ways of doing business is so inspiring. Exploring new ways to awaken my senses puts a spark in my creativity that funnels back into my clients' work. Returning to work with a refreshed vision for ideas and business perspectives always elevates my work.

4. Connecting with People

Curiosity for new places and connecting with a new community deepens the experience of travel. In turn, understanding other cultures teaches us how to improve our communication skills and the way we relate with our day-to-day business relationships. 

5. Breathing Room

Taking time to breathe and separate from our work is not unproductive time. It helps us to be in the moment and can free us from the routine labors of the 9-to-5 business world that can inhibit our creativity. It is important to allow space within our schedules to expand our learning, cultivate new ideas and to awaken your senses.

 

The Power of Bringing Outside Creatives In

There are plenty of benefits to bringing in outside creative reinforcements for your company. In my experience, here are a few specific instances when it is time to bring in outside support: for a special project, to boost internal ideas, to lighten the load on an overburdened creative team or as a long-term overflow support. Costs can be contained through budgeting and can more often save time and money in the long run.

This Project Calls for an Outside Expert

When an upcoming project is not a natural fit for your team, or the team is overwhelmed with existing work, it is a good time to go outside the team for support. For example, when special projects arise: an event logo, web design or print series, it may require an outside specialist. This way, managers can avoid over-extending their team's existing workload. When it is important for a project to be impactful, or it is outside the internal skill set, bring in an outside source who will give it the special attention it deserves.

Getting an Unbiased Perspective

Do you find your team is re-circulating the same ideas, patterns, photos and headlines from one project to the next? Then it might be time for a fresh perspective with a more objective point of view. A fresh perspective is particularly important if you are about to take on a new campaign that leads into unfamiliar territory for your team.

Building Long-Term Support

When you need to expand your workload or staff, but don’t want to commit financially to a new hire, it's time to go outside the team. A great addition would be to find someone who compliments your current staff with supplemental knowledge or expertise. Whether you need someone to jump in and start new projects, expand a color palette or complete a series of logos, an outside creative can extend your capabilities. Having a long-term creative partner who can easily jump into the workflow of your company is good business.

Balancing Costs with a Retainer

If you still have concerns about the cost, you can negotiate and budget the time. For example you might purchasing a block of time that can be used on a monthly basis or over an extended time period of time This will provide support for your team for those times when you have a special project or campaign arise. Deadlines will be made and you can keep the budget intact. This structure demonstrates how an ongoing relationship can be so beneficial to your company.

Establishing a reliable creative resource to supplement in-house staff is essential to maintaining continuous workflow production as work fluctuates. Outside creative resources have the experience and motivation to share in the workload and are a valuable resource to expand your internal team.