No harm in generosity —
The creative industry in Melbourne can often feel quite concentrated and connected. Particularly in Collingwood where on any given corner, at any time of the day, you will likely find a designer explaining their strategic approach or the nuances of typography.
Given how many of us there are in this one little pocket, it’s fair to say competition is high. Despite this, we’ve noticed (what we hope is) a positive shift. It feels like there is more and more generosity around us and much less fear and protectiveness.
Recently we attended an excellent workshop by Richie Meldrum where he laid out his entire process, start to finish, giving away what a lot of people hold tight to their chests. As a response, we’re now writing about him and spoke about him at the Home School launch too. Through being open and helping others improve, we’re sure Richie will attract the great new clients and projects he deserves.
Our approach to business has always been one of openness and sharing and in turn this is essentially our marketing strategy. We use ventures like 43 Derby Street to bring together a likeminded community, Home School to share our process and make branding more accessible and our LBB to pass on our learnings/resources and support our suppliers.
These things are not only helping us grow the business, they feel good! Most of us know in our personal lives that it’s good to be generous – we help friends move house, drop people at the airport, all of those nice things – the same goes for business, because businesses are made up of people too. Being generous does absolutely no harm; it’s good for your soul, helpful to others and has the positive side effect of being good for business too.
We’ve loved noticing this shift. It’s exciting to be part of an industry that’s supportive, collaborative and working as one big ecosystem. Regardless of industry or expertise, generosity is easy when you ask yourself one simple question – how can I help?
Boring business books —
For a long time we’ve avoided business books. Using every excuse under the sun – they’re boring, cliché, have ugly covers, are self indulgent – we rejected recommendations and advice from trusted peers and friends.
We now feel pretty stupid.
We’re growing this year in all kinds of ways, from hiring to family. It’s a really exciting time, and also one where we need to be more strategic than ever to avoid unnecessary stress. So, in an effort to empower ourselves with knowledge, we’ve turned to business books and have found them to be, well, not so boring.
The books below were easy to read, informative and full of helpful and actionable strategies. They’ve given us clarity and direction, and also greater empathy for our clients too. With better business knowledge we’re able to help them problem solve challenges and launch or grow in a considered way.
And next on the reading pile:
If you run a business and have shared our disdain for business books (we know you probably won’t take this advice, we didn’t), give them a go! If every book read leads to just one small learning or improvement to your business, you’re doing something great for your future.
Whatever books we find really useful will be added to our Little Black Book. Access that here.
Our Little Black Book —
Over the years, we’ve worked hard to build up and refine our supplier and resource list. Because we like sharing what we learn, and helping people who have helped us, we’re gifting it to you. Everything from suppliers, software and sites we use through to internal documents and spreadsheets.
Find the LBB spinning circle to access it, or just click here.
Creating better working relationships —
Something we take very seriously at JAC& is fit. We only take on projects when it’s right for both parties. Anything less leads to stress and disappointment, two things we don’t need in the studio and definitely don’t want for our clients.
Recently we had a client relationship take a bad turn. We didn’t manage expectations as well as we could have, bringing undue stress into the studio and resulting in an unhappy client. As upsetting as an experience like this can be, it’s also an opportunity to reflect, review and refine. Here’s what we learnt:
Ask simple questions
New processes can be confusing. Questions like ‘what are you expecting of X?’ or ‘are you clear on the next step?’ can save a lot of tension.
When you get the feeling a client is unhappy, they probably are. As soon as that feeling arises, ask the question. Vice versa for clients too. Professional relationships require transparent and open communication to work.
If a project has lost track – maybe the schedule has gone out the window, or communication is proving difficult – it’s okay to speak up. This doesn’t mean getting personal, it means being clear on what you need and why.
Our favourite newsletter (Smarter Living) sums it up really nicely in their article You’ve Made a Huge Mistake. What Now? when they say “the first step to correcting a monumental blunder is to be honest and critical with yourself”. Everybody makes mistakes, it’s what you do next that matters.
Meet our newest addition —
It’s been an eventful few months at JAC&. We’ve loved being a part of Sara’s journey into parenthood and have just been through a thorough and humbling hiring process. We’re now settling into a new pace and are excited to introduce the latest person to join JAC&. Meet Dom Platz!
Dom brings a wonderful new energy to the studio. He has comprehensive print and digital experience across branding, publications, campaigns, illustration, UI and web design. Having worked with small business and global organisations, he is passionate about communication and exploring new ways to tell a brand’s story.
What stood out to us about Dom – apart from his incredible design eye – was his warm, thoughtful and positive character. We know that our clients will enjoy working with him as much as we already do and are looking forward to the diversity and growth ahead.