Claim Ownership


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We frequently talk about balance on the podcast and the truth is that something has to give when life becomes hectic. But don’t worry, we’ll return to the regularly scheduled programming in January. For now, we’re rebroadcasting some episodes that are hitting especially close to home right now. Enjoy Another Round – Ep. 164: Burnout and Overwhelm! Burnout often comes in waves — so to prepare, we need to have tools ready to counteract the feelings of stress and anxiety when they hit. Being overwhelmed and experiencing burnout is a toxic duo that weighs down all professionals from time to time. To cope, we often go on autopilot hoping we’ll overcome these stressors over a few weeks or months; but this isn’t an adequate long-term solution. These feelings surpass the general sense of busyness, and have the potential to spread into all areas of our lives. So, what can we do about it? Does anyone really know how to get out of a burnout cycle? Is there a solution in sight? We may not have a singular, magical answer, but we have some strategies for addressing general feelings of overwhelm. Join us as we discuss our own experiences with combating burnout.
If you’ve got anxiety about reaching “midlife” or stumbling into the dreaded “midlife crisis,” just know that it’s not an inevitability. “Midlife” is a construct. By taking a proactive approach to life, you can avoid general monotony and the tired cliche of a “midlife rut.” By embracing change and staying curious about new possibilities, you can avoid succumbing to that sense of stagnation many of us fear as we age. The experience and wisdom we’ve gained by reaching midlife means that, when confronting new challenges or considering reinvention, we have hard-won resources to pull from. In this episode, we talk about why we hate the phrase “midlife”, and the ways we try to pursue growth in the name of evolution and reinvention instead.
Hiring people who have skills that differ from your own adds additional challenges to the recruitment process. When a potential new hire’s skill set is outside of your wheelhouse, it’s essential to remember why you are hiring, and that diversifying the skills of your team is necessary for growth. It expands what you can offer your clients, and brings different thought processes to the table, strengthening your team’s ability to problem solve. As for determining the quality of a potential new hire’s skillset, it comes down to establishing a hiring process that confirms the legitimacy of their skills and establishes their dependability as a team member. In this episode, we talk about the processes we’ve developed for hiring employees with skill sets different from our own, and why we’re not afraid to hire people who might just be smarter than us.
When it comes to supporting clients whose mission, if accomplished, would make the world a better place, strategy has shifted over the years. The divisive nature of politics today requires much stricter demands for how we can effectively create tools for clients who do advocacy work. Now more than ever, the tools you create must lay the groundwork for your audience to understand an issue before you start advocating for change. This work demands more transparency and nuance than ever, but that’s not a bad thing. The struggle lies in the strategy needed to help clients walk the tightrope between advocacy and lobbying, and crafting messages that remain true to the client’s mission and spirit without opening them up to a maelstrom of vitriol. In this episode, we talk about the ways the culture surrounding advocacy work has changed over the years, and the ways we've adjusted our work to meet these demands.
When talking about quality and standards in the creative industry, it can be easy to miss the fact that producing work that’s “good enough” is often the result of a capacity issue. When firms have a limited budget or staff for a project, not every product can be made with expert care, so they have to settle for a deliverable that’s “good enough.” This can be a tricky cycle to get out of, as it affects every part of a business, from internal processes to the outward perception of the organization. This is where creative tools like Canva or AI-generated work come in. These tools are intentionally intuitive so beginners can start building the muscles needed for high quality work, but when used as shortcuts to achieve “good enough” work, they stunt creative growth and quality. This week, we discuss breaking the “good enough” cycle, how to wield beginner-friendly tools effectively, and consider how much value is placed on quality in the creative industry.
When thinking about habits that are time wasters, it’s easy to name things like scrolling TikTok or doing superficial “reorganizing” because those feel like conscious time wasters. It’s the unconscious time wasters that are much more insidious and hard to kick. Things like indecision, lack of planning, or even overplanning result in time wasted, whether we mean to or not. Recognizing these things as time wasters allows us to start figuring out how to create new processes that better serve our productivity. By working to create new processes, we also give ourselves the chance to change the way we look at things previously labeled as time wasters that are actually worth our time, like a solid nap or connecting with others. This week, we consider what counts as a time waster, and what it looks like to stop defaulting to unhelpful habits and processes.
Life can feel like a mess even on good days. The personal responsibilities of life that bring us joy often start to feel overwhelming when the demands for our time and energy surpass what is possible for us to give. For many people, this is where shame and self-judgment kick in, because dealing with every layer of life all at once shouldn’t be that hard, right? Oh, if only it were that simple. Despite our best efforts, sometimes life is a shitshow, but the mess is easier to wade through when you accept it for what it is. This week, we talk about giving ourselves more grace when it comes to our expectations for the balancing of life’s layers.
RFPs, or Requests for Proposals, are a common way of soliciting work in the creative industry — and they can be an equally challenging (and often painful) process for everyone involved. In a written description alone, it can be difficult for a buyer to clearly articulate what service or product they’re looking for in an RFP. This can leave folks in the creative industry pouring hours into a proposal that isn’t actually what the client needs, which is a lose-lose situation for everyone. Personally, we think RFPs work best when treated like a job interview. Injecting a human-centric, communicative approach to the RFP process helps buyers find vendors who will be a good fit for their organization, and takes the hoop-jumping guesswork out of the process for the creatives in the vendor position. This week, we share strategies for making RFPs effective for both clients and vendors, what we think makes certain RFPs “junk,” and our best and worst experiences with responding to RFPs.
Leadership can be as overwhelming as it is rewarding. To view leadership as a ladder to climb ignores the aspects of the job that are far from a reward. Whether it’s a plumbing issue at the office, concerns about this quarter’s budget, or a conflict between staff, when you’re in a leadership position, the tough decisions are yours to make. In our case, we chucked out the idea of leadership being glamorous a long time ago. This podcast is affectionately described as “real talk about leadership and sanity in the creative industry,” so it seemed long overdue to have another episode on the topic of leadership. This week, we talk about how we keep going when wading through the challenges of leading.
Talking about creativity and the creative process can be necessarily abstract, but it doesn't have to be. There is value to looking at creativity as an investment. Creativity takes a willingness to challenge yourself to break down what already exists and start from scratch. This process requires a lot of trust in yourself or your team, and that can feel uncomfortable at first. While creativity can feel like a gamble you don’t have time for, the pursuit of creativity can help you avoid falling into the trap of limiting yourself to the first answer you encounter when trying to problem-solve. As you become more comfortable navigating the creative process, it becomes easier to differentiate where you should be creative and where you should rely on a formula or a pre-existing procedure to help you reach your intended outcome. You won’t always have the capacity to explore beyond the first answer you receive when problem-solving, but you’ll have gained an understanding of what creativity and the creative process needs to look like in order for you and your team to be successful. This week, we talk about creativity and the processes we’ve found success in.
The question of when to hire and when not to isn’t about neglecting your team’s capacity needs. Rather, it’s about taking a more meditative approach to the hiring process. Beyond determining if your business has the budget to hire and what the capacity needs of your team are, it’s important to consider if your organization needs to change and how it needs to change with the addition of a new hire. Instead of immediately focusing on filling a role, waiting to hire allows you to let go of the expectations you had for the previous team member and their process and make space for the development of new relationships and ways of working. It also allows your team to stretch their skills (within reason) and gives them the chance to grow before you determine what skill sets your business is missing. This week, we talk about our thought process behind hiring and how we’ve navigated recent questions of expanding our own teams.
As leaders, we can’t (and shouldn’t) do it all. Bringing your team into the decision-making process is important to the health and wellness of your organization. No part of the organization benefits from being overprotective of decision-making, and being excluded from this process limits a team's growth potential. All that said, putting this delegation into practice can feel overwhelming. Preparing yourself and your team for a shift in the decision-making requires transparency and, overall, trust in your team. Trusting your team can cut down on decision fatigue and burnout, and results in better decision-making throughout the organization. This week, we talk about the strategies we’ve used to find the why and how of handing over decision-making tasks to our own teams.
Going with the Flow

Going with the Flow


Long description: How often does it actually serve us to have our expectations set in stone? Even when the circumstances of a project change, the work still needs to be done. This is where “going with the flow” comes in. Instead of becoming mentally invested in things happening a certain way, it takes a lot less energy to focus on the things that can be controlled. Even when a process is rigid, adaptability still plays a major role in the end result. Sure, this mindset takes bravery and a dash of risk-tolerance, but you might find there’s an opportunity for more creativity when going with the flow. This week, we talk about letting go of strict expectations and seizing the unexpected opportunities that come our way.
What difference would it make in your work if you celebrated the success of others? Being happy for someone who has something you want takes practice. It also takes patience with yourself. When we shift away from envying our competition, we abandon a scarcity mindset that brings pressure and negativity into our work and prohibits our own growth. At first, it feels easier to critique somebody else’s win, but it ultimately takes less energy to acknowledge their achievement. By abandoning an “us versus them” mentality, you might find yourself in a healthier headspace. In this episode, we talk about how practicing this mindset makes it much more fun to watch someone thrive than it is to watch them fail.
Cheers to our 150th episode! What better way to celebrate than with a topic we both have challenges with? Bandwidth. There are only so many tasks you can work on at any given time, even for us multitaskers. And when overwhelmed, it takes an emotional toll on how we organize cognitively. In our experience, it’s essential to acknowledge your bandwidth and stick to it. There’s no denying that the to-do lists can often feel never-ending. But we can’t let our stressors affect our quality of work. It takes boundaries to ensure that there is just enough on your plates, both in our personal and work lives. How can we identify our maximum bandwidth, and set boundaries? Join us as we discuss our strategies and goals for keeping it all balanced.
How are we already nearing the back half of the year? This is the time of year when we look back on our goals and resolutions. Achieving your goals can be unpredictable, due to any number of distracting outside factors. However, the key is remembering that you can only change what is in your circle of control. Falling off the goal track is inevitable, but reminding yourself why you set them in the first place can bring you back on track. Similar to adjusting your business and services over time, it will always be necessary to adjust your goals based on your variable needs. Our secret for overcoming roadblocks? Implementing a method to track your progress, and working backward to find a new path. This episode, we revisit our own goals for 2023 and lay plans for carrying them out through the rest of the year. How do we stay on track and manage our aspirations? How do we separate our business goals from personal goals? Join us as we discuss.
Compensation is so much more than pay – it demonstrates that you value your employees as human beings, and acknowledges their lives outside of the workplace. At the bare minimum, of course, we’re required to follow the law; but we’re proud to say that our businesses offer benefits beyond what’s expected. A small business’s benefits will certainly look different compared to what the big guys can offer, but it’s still possible to offer compensation beyond the bare minimum. Benefits such as salary, PTO, and health insurance can differ drastically depending on many factors. How do you know what compensation packages will be the best fit for your organization, considering your market, location, and needs? One secret to solving the compensation puzzle? Ask your workforce what benefits they’re looking for. Join us as we discuss all things compensation: finding counsel experts, remaining flexible, and trusting your decisions when choosing business benefit packages.
A balanced life involves joy: that feeling of shared positivity, satisfaction from a job well done, or just plain giddiness. But how do we lead with it? As we transition into new seasons with our teams, this is a question we’ve been asking ourselves a lot. Joy doesn’t just arrive at your doorstep; the balanced, authentic skill of joy takes practice and requires you to slow down, pause, and reflect. Joy requires living in the moment. And in leadership role, it’s important to remember that your joy (or lack thereof) sets the tone for the workplace. Joy comes in many shapes and sizes, but learning to harness it in a position of leadership can help create a balanced and fulfilled workplace. Join us as we discuss our best practices for how to identify, harness, and lead with joy.
Client feedback is a permanent aspect of the creative industry, due to the endless opinions associated with creative products. For us, client feedback is a daily occurance. It is how we move forward, finish products, and maintain relationships. Although client feedback may not always be positive, we see it as a mindset shift. Think of feedback as a puzzle piece: Once you find where it fits, the overall team output improves. Join us as we discuss the different types of feedback and how we implement it within our own businesses.
Risk is a roller coaster, and we all have different tolerance levels. As entrepreneurs, we believe the more risk you take on, the better the rewards. But the flip side, of course, is the heightened consequences if the risk doesn’t pay off. The roller coaster of risk has many ups and downs, but it is ultimately your decision whether or not to get on the ride. The amount of risk you can take depends on a lot of factors but, if done thoughtfully and with the right amount of due diligence, risk can be a safe and necessary investment. This episode, we discuss what things we’re willing to take risks on, and which shouldn’t involve any risk whatsoever. We talk about how we navigate risk, and share our secrets for remaining willing to take chances and try new ideas. Join us.
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