Bad habits can be hard to break, and for business leaders who have them, they can be deal-breakers. In a survey by Leadership IQ, an online training firm, the primary reasons CEOs were fired - mismanaging change, ignoring customers, tolerating low performers, and not enough action - were often related to unproductive habits.
In business, the adage “it starts at the top” can prompt an uncomfortable question: “Can the boss finish what he or she started?”
Many CEOs and entrepreneurs wrestle with this challenge, with both short- and long-term implications. Meanwhile, a disconnect develops between the CEO’s initial big-picture vision for the company and its seemingly sporadic execution toward those goals.
The recent suicides of iconic fashion designer Kate Spade and internationally renowned chef Anthony Bourdain renewed attention on a disturbing trend in the U.S. Deaths by suicide have been increasing across the country for almost two decades, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC’s recent report showed that suicide rates have jumped over 30 percent in half the states since 1999. Yet many who take their own lives suffer in silence, and often there aren’t warning signs to those close to them. The CDC study reported that 54 percent of people who died by suicide had no known mental health condition, such as depression.
When an employer shows empathy – treating employees as human beings with feelings and not just workers who help produce profit – it can make a significant difference in the workplace, studies show. How much of a difference? A 2018 State of Workplace Empathy Study by Businessolver found that 96 percent of employees surveyed believed it was important for their employers to demonstrate empathy. On the other hand, 92 percent thought empathy remains undervalued.
The shared office space concept has risen steadily in popularity over the past decade, and by 2020 more than 26,000 co-working spaces will be in use globally, according to Small Business Labs, which tracks trends in small businesses. Those co-use office locations will be the work base for 3.8 million people – over double the number in 2017. The rapid growth of shared office space has sparked an evolution in how buildings, work environments and special features are tailored to this relatively new category of worker.
You might not know it but the number of staffing firms representing freelancers in the corporate environment has increased over the past few years, keeping up with the freelance demand and supply in the workplace. Gone are the days when staffing firms were only for permanent or full-time employment. Many staffing firms today, especially freelance staffing firms, are focused on solely project-based, temporary, seasonal and part-time employment opportunities. For freelancers, it not only opens up the avenues for applying for freelance positions but also puts you in the playing field with an agency representing you and promoting your skills actively to their audience. Sometimes this audience does happen to be large clients that a single freelancer might never have been able to approach. So while you might have other channels you actively pursue to attract freelance gigs, do not write off staffing firms, especially those representing the creative fields. A simple search for creative staffing firms or agencies in your area should pull up a few viable results. Reach out with an introduction or complete their talent forms on their websites and rest assured, if what you have to offer meets with some of their client needs, they will get in touch. Some of my best work, by which I mean, both, well-paying jobs as well as challenging roles and those with brands and big name clients, have been because of my agent at a creative firm representing me on the right roles. Some of these staffing firms also offer national presence so no matter where you move to in the country, and if you are lucky, even internationally, they are happy to represent you and send work your way. Of course, the personal rapport you share with your agent also weighs in. Refusing every opportunity they send your way is a surefire sign they won't be thinking of you top of mind when a new client comes through. Be open to exploring opportunities your agent thinks might be a good fit - you never know, you could end up enjoying something you had never considered before! Here are some based in L.A for easy reference:
The Creative Group
(These are not affiliate links and I don't get anything out of mentioning these companies, they came up on my search and I figured it wouldn't hurt to share this information with other freelancers)
I am a freelancer, and if you are reading this, chances are, you are too! Working solo, if that is your gig, can get boring and monotonous most times, lets not joke about that. It’s the truth and much as we might like to make it seem rosy and perfectly worth its while, sometimes it does get to us – this working on my own, being my own boss thing. So you go out to a coffee shop or a restaurant as a default work place but that can easily run you a hefty bill if you look at your monthly accounts. Coffee shops are not cheap – whether you go to a chain or an indie store, they can easily run you $3 upwards and who’s to say you wont be tempted to add a bagel or pastry to your order while you are there?
Here’s a few places you can and should be able to work for free without having to spend a pretty penny.
Sitting on it all along...
an idea, that is. Yeah, apparently I have ideas. Good ones, that too. But for some reason I been storing them in the back of my head like a dumbass and not working on them. Then they moved to the front of my head - I guess the stars aligned or something. And it hit me - what on earth was I doing!! Right under my nose, this fantastic idea, and it comes to me now?? And then that completely, totally, absolutely derailed all my work for the next few hours because you know, now I am truly, madly, deeply in love with this idea and have to work on it before, God forbid, it retreats back to the back of my head and I forget all about it all over again. So lesson learned - when the stars align or something your grand ideas will surface and you work on them then...or remember them and act on them now. Ok, back to worker bee mode. So I can soon promote myself to queen bee status.
I did not work all last week...
mainly because I did something very stupid. I let my old laptop die out on me. Well, it wasn't all the laptop's fault. I was to blame too. I saw its performance fade over time but told myself it was okay. I had this small EEE PC for five years and while I had not intended on it becoming my primary companion in my journey as a freelance writer, it eventually did become just that and I just continued to work on it for as long as it would humor me. Well, I guess I stretched it a bit too far on that much goodwill. So I came back the week before from a long ten-day trip to the west coast hoping I would just get cracking on the to-do list like nothing ever happened but laptop decided it was not going to be my partner in crime this time around. The minute I had more than two tabs open, it would hang. This, from a laptop that used to have two or more windows of ten tabs plus active all the time - I multitask in a big way. And much as I had the impression I had backed up all my data, clearly I hadn't and needed to race against time to salvage everything I could from the old guy before he breathed his last! Now, new laptop in tow, I am backing up everywhere - Time Machine, external drive, cloud, wherever! Did not realize how much my life was intertwined with a screen and keyboard until this almost-catastrophe almost struck. For a full-time freelancer like me, technology needs to really work to make it happen. Synced all my gadgets now and everything works in perfect harmony. Today was a good work day too so all in all, a productive Monday. Phew.
Since I spoke quite a bit about networking and connections in the last post, I thought it made sense to follow it up with some networking pointers. I started out not knowing what to do at a networking event but eventually figured out a few things and it is here for you to learn:
The most important thing to take with me to a networking event, apart from myself and my confidence, is my business cards. That’s the one thing I can give folks or receive from folks that will help follow up later and build that business connection. A unique card is even better since it helps people set you part from the rest. The mini cards from moo are always a hit and a great conversation starter. Check them out here.
You don’t have to be at one of these mixers on the dot but do try to be there somewhat on time so you can make the most of connecting with folks, getting to know how you can help and talking to them about where you need help. Have a little introduction ready that you can share should you decide to converse with someone, and maybe a few questions you’d like to ask them that will let you decide if this is a professional relationship you would like to pursue.
Always, always, always be helpful to folks at these mixers. Help others first instead of looking like all you are there for is to fill your own greedy cup. People will remember you for your useful inputs and that kindness will be returned to you on some later date. In fact, people love to connect with folks that are helpful and look forward to working with you when that opportunity arises. Give it a shot.
The first part of these events is usually signing up and getting yourself a name tag. If you can nix the name tag and use a name badge then you have already made an impression. Do I use one? No! So who am I to preach right? I have been thinking of investing in one though and find it a stand out moment when I do notice someone with their own name badge on. Besides there is no guarantee that name tag is going to stick on to whatever you are wearing all event long!
Definitely follow-up with folks after your networking event. You don’t need to follow-up with everyone. Surely there are some prospects that interest you more than others. You can reach out to them by email or phone and try to schedule a coffee meet if possible. For others you could send out a generic yet friendly email thanking them for speaking with you, and offering your assistance where possible.
I am no self-proclaimed queen of networking but I have learned a thing or two in the last few years that I have attended these mixers. I have almost always come away with at least one meaningful business relationship so I sure hope this works for you too.