Tag Archives: creative

Nov09

Tips for Perfecting a Portfolio

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Arguably the most important part of getting a job in any creative field is having a solid body of work. Creating and maintaining this ever-changing resource is of paramount importance for career advancement. Although it seems like a daunting task, it can be kept simple by consistently following a few steps.

 Consume as much quality content as you can

There is a good chance that whatever idea you have has already been thought of before. There are simply too many people in the world to have completely original ideas all the time; it’s just a numbers game. But no one who wants a job in a creative field got into this to think about numbers. The trick to keeping ideas fresh is to stop worrying about how similar your ideas are to others, and start thinking of ways to do the same thing differently. The only way to achieve this type of thinking is to see what’s out there. Make consuming content your hobby, and coming up with fresh ideas will become easy.

Start simple when working on a project

Get small details right when starting a project. The creative process is long and unforgiving, and what you start out with will rarely be included in the finished project. Getting a good groundwork right away will be sure to prevent frustration later. If you can keep focus on perfecting one aspect in the short term, it will help to keep the project from getting convoluted in the long term.

Perfect a finished project through excessive editing

You need to have your best work possible if you want to succeed in a very competitive field. Once you think you’re done with a project, start the creative process again. Look at every word or image and evaluate it. Every single aspect of your project must have the same focus and correct context in order for it to be portfolio-ready.

Know when to kill a project

This is by far the most difficult thing to master when creating content. You need to be willing and able to see when a project just won’t work out. There is no easy way to do this as it forces you to be objective about your own work. Finding someone whom you trust to be honest with you can be a huge asset, and if you can manage to have thick skin you will have a notable advantage over your competition.

Position your Portfolio effectively

This includes both the place employers can find your portfolio, and the content in it. The preferred format for a portfolio is online, and it is important to have your website reflect your work. As for the work itself, you are going to want to frame it so that any potential employers see your best work first. Even after all of the editing and perfecting of work, you are still going to have projects that are simply better than others. If you can promote these first, you will have a much better shot at getting hired.

May02

How Can Young Creatives Thrive?

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Young creatives always ask this one question, “how can I succeed within my industry?” As a young creative we are constantly on the grind creating products and working with top startups, in order to reach plateaus of success. In doing so, we pursue money and power – two variables that inevitably come with success. However, we often miss the mark because we forget about the, important, third variable.

Just recently Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post, published her book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder. Her book focuses on going pass those two metrics, which lead to burnout and stress-related illnesses. Arianna wants us to focus more on thriving and living a life of wellness.

So, how can young creatives thrive?

  • Pay it forward: We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded by societal problems that one individual can not solve. Don’t allow your bank account or your pursuit of the corner office, measure how successful you are. Rather, allow the change you create in another life to define your success.
  • Travel: “The best education is taking two worlds and comparing it. ” You truly reach plateaus of success, once you understand and embrace different cultures. Move past your comfort zone and see the world and what it can offer you.
  • Stay Fit: Your brain needs the right fuel to function properly in order to keep your creative mind spinning. This means eating the right foods and being active. You can’t succeed in your respective industry, if your health is falling apart.
  • Unplug: We live in an always on, always connected world. Take it from a public relations and digital marketing professional… it is great to unplug! Close your laptop, turn off your cell for a few hours and go out and create lasting memories with family, friends and co-workers. 
  • Just live: Simply live life and be thankful that everyday you have the chance to do it all over again.

As Arianna Huffington said, “we have shrunk a good life down to two metrics of success: money and power, and this is like trying to sit on a two-legged stool; sooner or later you fall off.” Young creatives, do the work but never forget to thrive!

Feb17

Seven Degrees of Stacy Hanas: Social Media Intern Spotlight

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Social Media Week 2014 is upon us. “The Future of Now” theme focuses on the paradigm shift of communications, how we currently interact with technology and the impact of this “always on, always connected” world. We wanted to kick off our efforts for social media week by highlighting Stacy Hanas, a stellar social media intern at Seven Degrees Communications.

Creative Interns: What are the steps you took to secure your internship at Seven Degrees Communications?

Stacy Hanas: My journey to Seven Degrees Communications came as a result of a sequence of unique opportunities. As Vice President of Stockton’s Public Relations Student Society (PRSSA), I discovered the importance of professionalism – a skill that transcended to the social media community. My opportunity with John Wiley & Sons as a Public Relations and Branding intern shaped my writing skills. Each stage taught me an exceptional skill set that President and Chief Connector, Jessica Levin, found to be of strength to her company.

CI: Tell us about your experience at Seven Degrees Communications. What is a normal day or week life for a social media intern/coordinator?

SH: Seven Degrees Communications’ ultimate mission is to help clients build relationships in both online and offline communities. My main responsibility is to enhance the company’s online presence as well as the amount of leads for each client. With that said, my day consists of utilizing strategy in preparation, planning and posting for clients’ social media outlets.

The preparation process includes analytical skills to disclose information pertaining to viewership. Planning includes multiple steps in order to secure an influx of followers and leads for clients. For example, I often search Forbes, The UnderCover Recruiter, and The Society of Human Resources for our human resources client. To achieve leads, I search through streams like #SHRM, #HR, #nextchat, #HRCI and #Tchat. From the aforementioned websites, I post intriguing content, and with these streams, I engage and retweet industry professionals.

The posting process includes discovering the most frequent times viewers engage in posts and scheduling posts around those times via Hootsuite. Analytics also shows which posts receives the most engagement so I know what type of content to post and how to concentrate on the wording of the post.

CI: What specifically motivated you to go this direction in your career?

SH: My interest for the field of public relations was piqued while working in my former position as Promotions Director at Blue Colt Radio. The opportunity allowed me to fine tune skills in exceptional patience, detail, and marketing. However, it wasn’t until Jessica Levin trained me in Hootsuite social media-marketing platform that I was able to unlock my true enthusiasm for the marketing sphere. While to most it might seem like light-hearted fun to tweet for a living, to me it is much more. It takes analytic skills to determine the best time to release tweets for optimal viewership, strategic skills to expand small amounts to stronger players in the field, and critical thinking skills to find the most relevant articles for my audience.

Social media strategy is a great marketing tactic that positively enhances a company’s online presence and their amount of leads. Ultimately, I find myself developing creative tweets and following industry professionals in my spare time for fun.

CI: What blogs, websites and feeds do you read to stay up to date on new digital and social trends?

SH: I find mobile applications and Twitter to be my most prominent form of news. My most frequently viewed mobile applications include Newsify, Flipboard, CNN and ABC News. Whereas Forbes and New York Times have been my two most commonly viewed Twitter accounts for news related issues. Newsify is an application designed to inform users on current news from their preferred media outlets. I stay informed on industry and social trends by following Inside Facebook, Hootsuite and CNN.com on Newsify. 

CI: Social Media Week is finally here. What do you hope to learn from this year’s “The Future of Now” theme in order to accelerate your career?

SH: “The Future of Now” strongly represents our society today. Innovations such as Google Glass, the Fitbit and other examples of wearable technology allow consumers to remain persistently connected to data. As an attendee at Social Media Week 2014, I hope to walk away with greater understanding of Big Data and how it impacts a marketer’s decision. I also hope to gain a better understanding of how to utilize big data to develop a stronger social media strategy.

Furthermore, I am hoping to attend The Art & Science of Storytelling presented by the New York Times. This session description states, “brands are publishers and publishers are platforms,” which indicates the importance of publishing creative content to attract consumers. I am interested to discover consumer’s interests and how I can develop ingenious content that would apply to consumers of today.

To stay up-to-date with all that Stacy Hanas is doing, follow her on Twitter!

To stay up-to-date with our live event coverage and post even recaps for Social Media Week, follow us on Twitter and like us Facebook!

Feb06

Intern Spotlight: Jacky Le

1797057_10153791614345725_818946895_nName: Jacky Le

Intern Position Title: Digital Intern

Company: FASHION Magazine

Location: Toronto/Vancouver

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I’m a West Coast boy at heart raised in the yuppie and yogi-filled city of Vancouver. I kind of fell into writing and journalism during high school and eventually I cultivated a love for the fashion publishing industry, which has led me to relocate here in Toronto. I have a huge affinity for Beyonce, London fashion and pop culture, and I never shy away from a dance floor.

Can you tell us the steps you took to land this internship?

For FASHION I was able to land the internship with a good word from an editor at FLARE Magazine where I had interned prior. Honestly it’s all about who you know and leaving a good impression from the get-go, that can really determine what your next job will be. Also, I landed the FLARE internship after spotting a tweet from one of the editors. It truly shows the power that social media has in our generation.

What attracted you to this company?

In my opinion FASHION & FLARE are at the highest echelon in the fashion industry within Canada. I always believe it’s important to learn from the best so that obviously influenced my decision on where I wanted to intern.

What skills are you learning at your internship?

Digital and interactive media plays a huge part in the fashion publishing industry now. People always say digital is where things are heading and I slightly agree. Unlike print, the turnover rate for content is super fast paced so you always have to be on the ball and ready to product content, as well as know what is current and in the news.

What has been a highlight so far?

Getting to be an integral part of the team. And I get a kick out of seeing my name in the magazine masthead as well.

Most challenging part?

Learning that it’s okay to make mistakes. As an intern this is the time in your career where you should be making mistakes. Simply learn from them and make sure you never make those mistakes again in the future when you enter the real work field.

Could you describe what a typical day is like for you as an intern?

If I’m not skimming the internet or looking for pitches and buzz-worthy articles, I’m most likely working on an assigned post. As well, I’m scheduling tweets and Facebook posts for the ongoing days.

Give us one word to describe your workplace environment:

Fast-paced. I think that’s two? Oh well…haha.

What advice do you have for someone who is just starting to look for an internship?

Pick a magazine that you would ideally want to work for. Once you land that internship, chuck your ego and pride at the door and soak up as much information as you can. Be polite and always look as if you’re having the time of your life even when you’re not.

Who do you look up to in the industry?

Katie Grand, Nicola Formichetti , Derek Blasberg. As well as my former teacher Tyler Udall.

What is your dream job?

Senior editor at Vogue UK or W Magazine.  A boy can dream…

 

Oct22

Startup Tips From Techweek NYC

Aspiring entrepreneurs, digital media specialists, investors and all-around tech lovers gathered at 82 Mercer Street on October 17th for Techweek, the first to launch in New York City (it was originally founded in Chicago in 2011). This NYC edition was full of summits, workshops, the LAUNCH startup competition and fashion tech runway show.

It was great to see so many passionate people following their dreams and who are eager to become their own bosses—many of them students or recent graduates. So this was definitely an event to take notes if you’re thinking of starting your own company, not to mention a great opportunity to network like crazy. Here’s a quick list of some of the key points that I learned from spending the day surrounded by such innovative and inspirational people with contagious entrepreneurial spirits.

1. Collaborate.

A great way to get your company out there is to work with other like-minded businesses. Whether that may be through some special cross-promotions or creative partnerships, there are so many different ways to do this. Think outside the box. This is how you can set yourself apart. An awesome example of a company coming up with cool collaborations is  Warby Parker, the affordable and stylish eyewear company that also helps others (for every pair that is sold, a pair is given to someone in need). One of their most popular collaborations was with the Man of Steel movie franchise, bringing the iconic Clark Kent-style frames to life. They’ve also teamed up with Ghostly, The Standard Hotel, and Pencils of Promise just to name a few. Through these projects, they’ve been able to put themselves on the map and are becoming a go-to eyewear destination, both online and off.

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Tim Riley, Director of Online Experience at Warby Parker

2. Be open.

I think the best way to thrive in such an innovative environment is to have an open mind. Sure, you have this fantastic idea, but always remember that things can change quickly. Zack O’Malley Greenburg of Forbes said it best during his panel on making it in New York City, “Don’t get married to your idea, be open to redesign.” He wrote Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Office, a book that takes a look into how the hip hop mogul took the business world by storm. Great ideas take time to develop and sometimes you have to go through quite a journey before reaching the final product—Jay-Z is no exception. Having an open mind makes this process much smoother.

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Kelly Reid (left) interviews Zack O’Malley Greenburg (right)

3. Build up a strong team.

Yes, you want to be independent, but everyone could use a solid support system. When starting up your own company, there’s a lot of planning (and stress) that goes into it, so it’s important to put together a reliable team of people you can depend on to help follow through with your vision. The co-founders of Hukkster, Erica Bell and Katie Finnegan, agree that “when you start your own thing, it’s constant pounding the pavement. When you have a team, it’s nice to have people helping you along the way.” Hukkster is a shopping app that aims to help customers find the best deals. They formed their team from a network they created and got references of people who would be fitting for the company.

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Hukkster co-founders Erica Bell (centre) and Katie Finnegan (right)

For more info on Techweek, be sure to visit www.techweek.com

Oct08

Success Story: Landing The Job

I’m sure all of you have goals of getting hired after completing an internship. For many students in such a competitive industry, it’s hard to do. But this passionate and hardworking graduate managed to go from a Style Guru intern to Social Media Director at CollegeFashionista. Meet Sammy Luterbach and find out how she did it.

 

Sammy1Tell us a bit about yourself.

Growing up, I always knew I wanted to move to New York City and work in fashion. To skip over a lot of blood, sweat and tears and make a long story short, I did just that. Along the way, I discovered my love for cats, leopard print, and legal pads.

How did you first land your internship with CollegeFashionista?

Before I started school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I made a day trip to the city with friends to try to find a job. A boutique I wanted to work at wasn’t hiring, but one of the employees there wrote for CollegeFashionista. She asked to take my friend’s photo for the site, and I was immediately intrigued. I asked her about CollegeFashionista and checked it out the second I was near a computer (pre-iPhone; yikes!).

After finding out this was an online internship I could be a part of, I emailed Amy Levin, founder of CollegeFashionista, directly asking how I could get involved. We set up a phone interview, and the rest is history. I became a Style Guru one month after the site was launched four years ago.

What attracted you to this company?

I love fashion, and I love writing, so the fact that CollegeFashionista combined both initially attracted me to the company. The longer I worked and the more CollegeFashionista expanded though, I loved that I didn’t have to be in New York City to feel connected to the industry. By interning for CollegeFashionista, I could be in college in the middle of Wisconsin, work from my apartment and be a part of a fashion movement with other people like me.

What skills did you learn during your internship?

I always like writing, but CollegeFashionista helped me explore more of a journalistic approach. Although I’m not a strong photographer, I definitely learned more about photography and became better throughout the years. Most importantly for me, I learned all about social media. I specifically remember the conversation years ago where Amy convinced me to sign up for Twitter! On top of that, I improved my leadership skills, developed more of a business mind and even did some event planning. Through everything I did with CollegeFashionista, I gained confidence and a voice.

How long did you intern with CollegeFashionista?

Almost four years! I began in September of 2009 as a Style Guru and worked continuously until I moved to New York and started working for the company this past July.

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What was the most valuable thing you took from your internship experience?

Be genuine. There are so many people who will be catty, competitive and show-offy to fight to the top, but that will only get them so far. Hard work and passion will get you to where you need to be. Also, never expect that you think you know it all. Before CollegeFashionista, I thought I wanted to be a designer! This internship helped me learn otherwise.

How did you turn your internship into a job?

Turning my internship into a job at CollegeFashionista wasn’t something I planned for, although I definitely dreamed about it! I was the first employee to be hired by the Levin family, so I didn’t have anyone to emulate. I just fully dedicated myself to CollegeFashionista and always asked for more work. I tried to go above and beyond what was asked of me. I became an important part of the team through my work and passion for the company.

What role do you have within the company now?

I am the Social Media Director and Editorial Assistant. I manage all of CollegeFashionista’s social media platforms, operate the newsletter, help with special features on the website and work with the Head Style Gurus to spread the word about CollegeFashionista on campuses all over. Plus, there are always extra projects that come up on a daily basis depending on what’s happening in the office and on the site!

Give us one word to describe your workplace environment.

Dynamic. Everyday is different in the office, but it’s always fast-paced and full of energy. We work extremely hard but also manage to find the time for candy breaks and fun music.

What advice do you have for other interns?

Be genuine, work really hard and always say yes – you’ll figure out how to get it all done.

Oct03

Sharing Wisdom: Starting Up Your Startup

Many students have dreams of working for the biggest companies in the world, while others hope to become their own bosses and turn their business ideas into companies of their own. And in today’s society, it’s more doable than ever before with the incredible growth of the innovative startup world. There are tons of great ideas floating around out there and the hardest part is often getting them off the ground and up-and-running.

We asked five startup company founders for some words of advice from their own experiences that will hopefully be that extra push you need to bring your ideas to life.

 

Aime-Designer-Monica-MeiMonica Mei, Founder of Aime Luxury, The Shop Society and WhatImWear.In (@AimeLuxury)

“Entrepreneurs have strong spirits. It’s not only about your educational background or your area of expertise; it’s about having a good idea AND the hustle needed to succeed. It’s also about surrounding yourself with the right people – your team, mentors and collaborators will be your support system to see it through. Starting your own company is a rough yet rewarding road to travel on.”

 

Alex Kolodkin, Founder of Set Scouter c23756

(@AlexKolodkin)

“Find your drive and find a mentor. Let their experiences guide you and your passion propel you.”

 

 

 

julieJulie Smithson, COO of SmithsonMartin (@SmithsonMartin)

“Yes! You have something great but don’t think that someone will drop a cheque on the table right there for you.  If accepted into the community, you have to work for your raise and learn the steps to be a start up company. ”

 

 

 

Brennan McEachran, CEO and Founder of HitSend Inc. (@i_am_brennan)Brennan

“Tip 1: Get a great team – Working at a startup is tough. There are good days and there are bad days. Going through all of that alone isn’t something most people can do. Find a team of people to go through the roller coaster with you. When you’re having a bad day they’ll carry you through it. It’s needed.

Tip 2: Focus on Customers – Get your product in the hands of your customers as early as possible. Learn from them where your app falls short and where it’s doing fine. Focus your efforts on solving pain point for your customers — just remember to take feedback with a smile and a grain of salt. Don’t forget to stick with your vision (sometimes early customers can take you off course).

Tip 3: Revenue – As much as the startup world loves to talk about investing, the truth is revenues are far more important. The companies that are able to grow large without revenue are the exception not the rule. The rule is: cash is king. Keep an eye on your cash and you’ll be able to ride through the bumps… then when investors do show up you don’t have to give them your entire company!”

 

0d20992Noura Sakkijha, Co-Founder of Mejuri (@Mejuri)

“Having a great team and knowledgeable mentors make a big difference. You have to make sure that you are looking at things from different perspectives and having a strong support structure makes it ten times easier. There are so many experienced advisers who are willing to help young entrepreneurs so do not be scared to ask for help.”

 

 

Sep24

Get Blogging

Blogging-TipsIf you’re hoping to break into a creative industry and are constantly trying to get your foot in the door, the first step to gain exposure is to start by branding yourself. I’m sure you’ve heard that a thousand times, but it’s really something that is necessary when you’re trying to establish a career for yourself. One of the most beneficial methods of doing that is to take your online presence to the next level. Sure, you have Facebook and Twitter, but a great way to get noticed is by having your own blog. Blogging can get you published on your own terms and to share your work with the world, whether you are a writer, videographer, photographer, or whatever field you may be in. Take initiative to get a blog up and running as a way to showcase your talent. You can build up your portfolio and direct potential employers to a URL in addition to a standard resume.

Blogging can also bring about tons of unique opportunities. You never know when a company might be looking for someone with your tone of writing and your perspective. It’s a tool that wasn’t accessible to people back in the day, so take advantage of what is available to you now. It’s simple and free, so why not? Here are some tips to help get the blog roll going.

Find your niche.

Decide what type of content your blog will consist of. Are you a sports fanatic? A movie buff? A fashionista? A tech wiz? Or even a combination. There are so many different topics that you can focus on, so find what suits your interests and let your creative juices flow. You could be as specific or as general as you’d like, just be true to yourself. Let your passion show through the content you create and people will take notice.

Choose your platform.

Next, you might be wondering which blogging platform is right for you. From Blogger to WordPress to Tumblr, the list goes on. All of them have their pros and cons, but it really depends on your personal preferences. I’ve used multiple platforms and have found the one that is most comfortable for my style. I chose Blogger, but WordPress and Tumblr are both great options as well. Give them all a test run and it’ll be much easier to find one that works best for you. The great thing about having your own blog is that you have complete creative control and freedom to take it in whatever direction you want—you can play around with layouts, fonts, colors, the works.

Share, share, share.

Spread the content that you’ve worked so hard on producing! Share on all your social networks and get it out there. You can always use your different accounts to connect your work. Write a blog post, tweet about it, post it on Facebook, the more the merrier. You’ll gain more exposure and bring in a wider audience. Although, you must keep in mind that people like unique content, not spam. Show your readers the value of your content.

Collaborate and connect.

With so many people now online, it’s so easy to find others with similar interests and connect with them over the web. Having a blog instantly makes you a part of a blogging community, which is great for meeting new people and engaging in interesting conversations, all while building up your own brand. Join different groups and take part in Twitter chats to find other bloggers who you could potentially collaborate with in the future. You really never know who you might meet and where these connections could lead.

Be consistent.

Once you’ve got your blog up and running, stay committed. You’re building up an audience now, who want to follow what you have to say, so be actively posting. You have this awesome voice and perspective, so put in the effort to make your blog as great as it can possibly be. Keep it up-to-date and always post fresh content to keep your readers coming back. Soon enough, you’ll gain an audience that is eager to see what you post next.

I hope this has inspired you to start up your own blog. Don’t worry if it’s just your friends and family reading in the beginning—you’ve got to start somewhere! It’s definitely worth it, so get on it. Happy blogging!

Aug20

Sharing Wisdom: Finding Career Inspiration

As students who are on your journey towards finding a long-lasting career and landing the jobs of your dreams, it’s always reassuring to see others who are doing exactly what you hope to accomplish someday—or at least something similar. Having something or someone to keep you motivated and driven is beneficial in the long run because you’ll always strive for more and it’s that extra push that can help set yourself apart from the rest. We wanted to see where some students find their own career inspiration and get insight into what keeps them going in the right direction.

 

ErikaGrahamErika Graham, Asbury University

“This is kind of weird, but I find career inspiration through my social media accounts (Instagram especially). I use social media to get a glimpse into the lives of people whose jobs I want to have, and what they do on a day-to-day business. Since I want to get into the magazine industry, I follow all the editors at all of my favorite magazines—not just the famous ones like Nina Garcia or Joe Zee, but the closet assistants and editorial assistants as well. You’d be surprised at how many tips you can pick up from Instagrammed shots of an associate market editor’s visual inspiration board or seeing what news catches their eye on Twitter.”

 

Tere Cortes, University of Texas Pan AmericanTereCortes

“I find career inspiration from a lot of different sources. From my friends, to people who I work with. I try to ask as many questions as possible, to learn different perspectives of something. I also try to read interviews and advice from people who have already the job of their dreams.”

 

 

EricZaworskiEric Zaworski, Ryerson University

“The constant flux of the Internet, and the sheer amount of people online who have started careers with it makes it hard for me to concentrate on much else. I follow so many other writers, photographers and musicians who, thanks to the Internet, have made it possible to do what they love, find others who like what they’re doing and build tangible communities, networks and careers there.

The communicative power and reach of the Internet–the ability to share, post, connect and discover, all from a pocket-sized device–makes it an exciting time to be an artist, in any capacity. And we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible! That makes it the most exciting part.

I’m inspired by others online who have shaped their reality with the same tools I have on my desk and in my bedroom. It’s what keeps me motivated to continually push towards what I want to make out of my life.”

 

Jessica Tucker, Memorial University of NewfoundlandJessicaTucker

“I take the industries I have an interest in and learn as much as I can about them, immersing myself if possible. I am particularly inspired by successful people in these fields and read bio pieces about them in newspapers and magazines and follow them on social media platforms to gain a better understanding of what their day-to-day careers are like. I am also inspired by my friends. I think that surrounding yourself with genuine, hardworking individuals is a source of career inspiration in itself.”

 

 

SaraCastillo

Sara Castillo, University of Texas Pan American

“I always find career inspiration by reading the stories of successful people in my field. It is really interesting to hear how those people accomplished their goals by going from having nothing to finding their dream jobs. Makes me feel that I can create my own story as well and gives me motivation to overachieve, to find ways to be more involved in my career and to not settle with little things but to always aim higher. I believe that inspiration comes from your passion and how bad you want it.”

 

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Christina Dawes, The Ohio State University

“I find career inspiration from a variety of different sources. My instructors and favorite bloggers have helped shape and define my career aspirations. My peers have also inspired me with their fresh, innovative perspective on fashion. With the fashion industry forever growing, there are new job positions being created each day. My career path is inspired by the dynamic people who are using passion and originality to create their dream jobs.”

Jun18

Startup Spotlight: RocketHub

RH-BANNER-LARGE

Anyone can be an entrepreneur these days. All you need is a great idea, motivation, and a strong support system. With companies such as RocketHub, Kickstarter and Indiegogo out there providing a platform for crowdsourced funding, any idea can be made into a reality.

Brian Meece, ukulele player

We chatted with RocketHub CEO Brian Meece, who gave insight into the story behind his company, some exciting projects and advice for budding creative entrepreneurs.

About Brian:

He plays a mean ukulele and is the CEO of RocketHub, one of the world’s top crowdfunding platforms. He has lectured on crowdsourced funding at SXSW, TEDxBrooklyn, Columbia University, Makers Faire, among other colleges, conferences and institutions. His goal? To teach entrepreneurs how to leverage the crowd for funding their endeavors.

Where did the idea for RocketHub come from?

My background before RocketHub was in creative media.  I went to undergrad for film and have been playing in bands since high school.  As a creative, I recognized a pattern that was popping up with many of my colleagues using their communities to fund projects.  In the late 1990’s, I heard about Darren Aronofsky using the crowdfunding model to raise $60,000 from his community to make the movie Pi.  That blew my mind.

Crowdfunding was already starting to happen in the world of art, but I wanted to bring it into the mainstream and to new verticals.  So, in 2009 we launched RocketHub, and in the last 3 years we’ve seen massive growth of the crowdfunding movement.  RocketHub is a world leader in the space – and we’re proud of that.

What are some recent exciting developments at RocketHub?

In conjunction with A&E, RocketHub just launched Project Startup in April.  A&E reached out to us last summer – and right away I enjoyed connecting with their team.  A&E’s perspective was all about adding value to the RocketHub community. They did this by addressing the two key needs our project leaders have: the first one being how to raise more money, and the second being how to get the word out for their ideas.  These two components are at the core of the A&E partnership.  This partnership is historic in scope and elevates the RocketHub platform to a whole new level.

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What will Project Startup offer creative entrepreneurs?

Project Startup takes the stories of our project leaders and dials them into A&E’s wide audience.  Our project leader’s now have a chance to be showcased across A&E’s multitude of platforms – over 100 million TV sets, web access, live events, as well as A&E’s magazine.  In addition to exposing project leaders to a wide audience, A&E is also giving funds to crowdfunding projects on RocketHub.

Is there any particular advice you’d give creative grads who are looking to launch their first ever crowdfunding campaign?

Crowdfunding is an online event that harnesses a community for funding, awareness and feedback. This event has a beginning, a middle and end to it. It’s very different from the standard ecommerce play where you open up a store and sell stuff online. And it’s different from a donation play where there’s an online tip jar. Crowdfunding is very much an event that galvanizes communities to participate within a very specific amount of time.

The way our platform works is that a project leader comes to RocketHub, uploads the title of their project and what they’re looking to do. And they’ll typically have a pitch video talking about themselves, their passion for the project, and a detailed project description. Then, they’ll set a goal amount – what they’re looking to raise along with rewards they can give back to funders.

The three core components we find successful projects have are:

  • An awesome mission spearheaded by awesome people;
  • An audience of core supporters
  • Cool “goods” to offer in exchange for the financial contribution

Those three things together are the “secret sauce” for successful campaigns.

To succeed a project needs to sell the experience. This funding model is about the relationship that these funders have with the person spearheading the project. It’s about the relationship that those fuelers have with this person and that they have with each other – their ability to connect and communicate. It’s really about how communities participate with the funding, how they connect with the campaigner and the other funders and what they get back in exchange for the financial contribution. It’s a very different phenomenon from just going to the store and buying something. It’s very impactful when done correctly. I encourage folks to check out the “Success School” on RocketHub to learn more.

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Have you interned before?

While I have not formally interned, I have made a point early on to be around folks I could learn from – and I’ve benefited from their advice. Coming into any organization with an attitude of “how can I add value?” mindset can generate an offering of opportunities.

So take Brian’s advice: get out there and make it happen!