September 4, 2016
DragonCon Panel | Part II

Today we’re going to focus on you as a creative body of work and the three areas you need to be aware of when presenting your work: self-marketing, interviewing techniques, and design business best practices.

Self-Marketing Skills

Everything we’re about to cover applies to any creative person pursuing their career goals. This rules of engagement can be used in person, in social media / communications, interviews, and in the work environment. So pretty much always keep these things in mind:

Be you

  • Embrace your unique style. You’re fabulous!
  • Be your professional self at all times. This is the clean, posed version of you.
  • Take pride in your work, yet stay humble. It’s a balance.


  • No one gets to beat you. Never give someone the stick to beat you with. You are allowed to be in this space, you are allowed to pursue your goals.
  • Let them point out the path. Letting them use the stick to point out opportunities for you to grow is acceptable. This kind of feedback is very valuable. You may gather some really important information to make you more successful.
  • Understand the truth vs perception. Things will happen and people will have a perception of you. This perception may or may not be the whole truth. However the perception can really have a big impact on your reputation.


Wolves smell weakness. Present yourself in a manner that is kind, strong, and confident.

  • Be kind, which means not defensive. The conversation will stop if you’re fighting every step of the way. NO ONE wants to work with a jerk or a little brat.
  • Be strong, like a tree in the wind. Things will not go as planned and the wind will blow. You got this, stand strong like a tree with your roots firmly in the ground.
  • Be confident. True confidence is calm. Cocky confidence is aggressive and loud. Understand the difference? If you haven’t found your calm confidence yet, please take time to do so. It may be a journey, so pack a snack.

Interviewing Techniques

The interview started before you even walked in the door of the office. We’ve gone straight to your LinkedIn page, to your Facebook, to your website, and anything else we can find out about you.

  • Be prepared. Be prepared. Be prepared. Have your social media cleaned up, your portfolio up-to-date, your resume up-to-date, your stories prepared, and know that being prepared will help you survive whatever may come.
  • The portfolio addresses the target audience. Whatever work you bring in needs to address the target audience / needs. Again, be prepared and have this together before hand.
  • Craftsmanship. The details of your craftsmanship speak for you. Have your work together and flawless.
  • Your appearance matters. The way you physically represent yourself is part of your brand. You do need to look put together, healthy, and clean. Can we put you out there to represent us?
  • Ask questions. When you ask questions you’re showing interest and that you’ve been paying attention. Even if you’re not getting this gig, you still have a great opportunity to learn something new.
  • Work for knowledge, not money. This is a big one. If you want more money, go get a job. If you want to be a successful creative career driven person, work for knowledge. Trust that the money WILL show up.

Design Industry Business Practices

The creative and design industry today is deep in the digital revelation. The one thing we know for sure is it will keep changing. With that said, you too will need to keep changing in order to keep up.

  • Take ownership. Don’t just stand there, do something or get out of the way. You are the professional being hired because you are the expert. Really take ownership in knowing your craft deeply.
  • Learn, take chances, and learn some more. Don’t say or THINK anything close to “oh, I don’t know that software . . “Oh, I only do ____________.” Google it! Pick up a tutorial and figure it out. You got this.
  • You’re not lost, you’re just finding your way. No one creative person knows everything in your space. It’s okay to have to keep finding new things, information, and ways of doing things.
  • Follow through with your commitments. A big complaint from clients is that creative types don’t follow through. This is an epic fail when it comes to business. Make it a good practice to follow-up with your clients.
  • Be a good partner. This is not just about making money. You are a partner with clients and colleagues. Be a good partner and someone who they all want to work with again. What does that look like?