Pay Matters: Getting What You’re Worth

By Kristen Harris

Everyone wants to be paid what they’re worth. But what exactly is that? What factors determine your worth? How do companies determine the pay for a role and how can you find that out? People generally don’t like to talk about money so anything related to pay tends to be murky and mysterious.

First, it’s important to keep in mind what type of work you’re considering. There is a big difference between pay rates for freelance or project work as opposed to hourly contract roles or full-time salaries. Let’s break it down.

> People who work on a freelance basis are running their own business, even if it’s a business of one. Generally, you’ll be a 1099 contractor with all of the responsibility of finding your own work, running the business, paying the employer’s portion of payroll taxes, and providing your own healthcare and retirement. You have flexibility, but when you don’t work you’re not paid; there’s no holiday pay or paid time off. Whether you’re paid hourly or by the project, generally freelance rates are higher than contract or full-time because you’re taking on all of the financial risk and responsibility.

> With a full-time position, you’re generally paid the same salary every week, or an hourly rate with a guaranteed number of hours per week. The employer probably also offers benefits like paid time off, holiday pay, healthcare benefits, retirement plans, and maybe even an onsite health coach or foosball table! Plus the employer’s share of your payroll taxes is paid by the company. If you divide the annual salary by 2080 hours (the number of work hours in a year), the hourly rate might actually be lowest of the three but add in an additional 30-40% of your salary for those benefits to get a true picture of your total compensation.

> The pay for an hourly staffing or contract role usually falls somewhere between a freelance rate and full-time salary. Depending on the firm you’re working with, you may have a level of benefits similar to a full-time position (that’s us) or little-to-no benefits provided by the firm. If a lot of benefits are provided, the hourly rate will be more similar to a full-time rate; when no benefits are provided some firms pay a slightly higher hourly rate (although many do not).

So, with the context of whether the position is freelance, staffing/contract or full-time, how do you know if the rate being offered is appropriate?

Pay ranges are a bit of art and science. There are some online resources where you can search by title, experience level, location, and other factors. I always like to look at 3-4 different sources, remove any outliers, then find the average. These resources usually gather their information from individuals self-reporting so this gives you a good idea of the going rate for that type of position. That’s the science. From there you have to consider other factors like your particular experience or level of expertise, your reputation, whether you already have a relationship or have worked together before, and even the company itself. Some places simply pay more than others; every business is structured differently.

Even with all of your research, at some point, it might just come down to whether the pay being offered fits within what you’re willing to accept. If there is a gap, consider other ways to bridge it. What else is important to you? Sometimes it’s easier for a company to provide additional time off, flexibility or other benefits rather than additional pay. Just keep in mind that any negotiations need to happen upfront, before taking the job. Once you agree on a rate, that should be the expectation on both sides.

We all want to feel good about ourselves and that we’re being paid “what we’re worth”. However, there really is no magic formula to come up with that number. Only you know what is most important to you, what you’re willing to compromise on, and what’s a deal-breaker.

Getting “what you’re worth” really means that you feel appropriately compensated for the work you’re doing, and that number is different for everyone. It helps to understand the different types of work arrangements, and the market for your skill set. We work with creatives in this area every day, just let us know how we can help!


Your Guide in Deciding What to Wear for an Interview

By Catherine Lang-Cline

Today is the big day, the day of the interview, and you are swaying back and forth in front of your closet wondering what you should wear. There are some definite “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to picking out what you will wear, this is a guide to help you make the best choice.

  1. Pick something out the day before the interview, the week before the interview, just not the day OF the interview. This will make sure that there are no last minute problems with your attire. Everything fits properly, no buttons are missing, no holes and everything is wrinkle-free.

  2. Wear something simple. If you choose to be dramatic or daring in your wardrobe choice, it could backfire. Keep your choices simple. Ideally, no bold patterns, tailored, neutral colors, and simple lines. You don’t want your clothes to overpower you. YOU are the one that deserves the focus. If you wear something too bold or blousy that is the only thing that the interviewer will remember. If you know that everyone in that company wears t-shirts and ripped jeans, great! Wear a nice t-shirt and jeans. Elevate the look they have to be taken seriously.

  3. Keep jewelry to a minimum. Again, a statement piece could have its place, but you don’t want to be remembered for some giant pink earrings. Really determine if it looks good or if it looks distracting.

  4. Speaking of distracting, piercings, gauges, and tattoos can also be distracting. Use your best judgment. Sorry to say, it is ideal to remove piercings and to cover tattoos. You would be surprised how quickly a person can make a judgment call about you. I understand it is you. Loud and proud. But you can be you once they love you and you get the job. The last thing you want is to be completely qualified and you were immediately taken from consideration because of something that doesn’t even matter. It’s like when your mom finds out you got a tattoo. Chances are, she was already in love with you already.

  5. Wear something that makes you feel good about you. If you don’t have the clothes, go out and get them. Simple clothes in neutral colors are easy to find and they can be found at any price point. It may be worth just investing in that one power outfit and keeping it on hand for anytime you want to make a great first impression.

You are now ready for that interview. Go get that job!


Setting and Keeping Goals

By Catherine Lang-Cline

It can be a New Year’s Resolution or maybe you heard someone talk and it completely inspired you to make a change. Either way, goals are always made with good intentions, but how do you keep them? Start by figuring out what you want to accomplish, dig deep because it might not be what you think it is on the surface. For example, are you always feeling exhausted? Maybe the answer is not to sleep more. Maybe it’s the food you eat and your goal is to eat better or maybe you just really need a vacation? Do you hate going into work? Is the goal to get a better job or just to resolve some issues? Do you have some achy joints? Maybe it is time to figure out what is going on there?

You have determined the real issue, now let’s discuss keeping your goal on track. These are some things that have worked for me:

  1. The most effective thing that you can do is to tell someone your goal. What is even better, telling many people your goal. Create a group that all share their goals and hold each other accountable. Once it gets out of your head and into a conversation the greater the chance you will have to complete it. You may find that your group can help you with your goal and you can help with theirs.

  2. Find an image of your goal and put it in a place where you can look at it every day. Looking at your goal every day will not only help you visualize the goal, but it makes it feel more comfortable for you, especially if it is a lofty goal. It will be a constant reminder of what you are wanting to achieve. Create an entire dream board of goals! More goals create a better chance of you completing at least one.

  3. Take time out of your week to strategize how you will achieve this goal. Find some quiet time and start to write and research what it will take to make this goal happen. Treat it with the respect it deserves because we all deserve to make great changes.

  4. Add this goal to your calendar. If you are working out, mark out some time for exercise. Block out time for a vacation and plan it. Put into your calendar the time that you are going to call that doctor, purge that closet, or rewrite that resume. Don’t schedule anything for this week or maybe this month. Plan it 2 months out. Why? If you plan it too early, it is easier to make excuses. If you know that it is coming for weeks, you can plan around it and keep your promise to yourself.

Your goals can be personal, professional, lofty, or simple. (Sometimes those simple ones are fun to just check off so we can get addicted to accomplishment.) Whatever you chose to do, take it seriously, come up with a plan, and ask for help if you get stuck. For me, the feeling of getting this done is fantastic and sometimes it can change your life. True story.



2018 Portfolio Creative Holiday Drive

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This year Portfolio Creative is doing a holiday drive for LSS CHOICES.

Choices is a safe haven for victims of domestic violence. Victims and their children who are living with an abuser need a safe place to go to break the cycle of violence and begin the healing process. Choices has been the sole resource for victims to seek shelter from domestic violence in Franklin County for four decades.

This holiday when victims arrive not only do they need toys/art/craft supplies, but they also need:

NEW twin sheets, pillow cases and light blankets

NEW pillows

NEW bath towels and washcloths

NEW toiletries

NEW Toys for boys; especially ages 9-13 yrs. old

NEW Barbie dolls, baby dolls and super hero dolls of all shapes, sizes, and colors

NEW Games (for all ages groups)

NEW Craft and science activity packets

NEW Project type kits (9-13yr old children)

NEW Craft supplies – colored pencils, markers, art projects, paint brushes

NEW Legos

We all know domestic violence is increasing.

We all know someone that could use help.

We all know that art can be healing.

Please help us help others this holiday season with art supplies of some of the basics seen here.

For a full list please visit their website.

You can drop off donations at our office until Thursday, December 20.


Do Perks and Benefits Outweigh Salary?

By Catherine Lang-Cline

What we are seeing more and more often are people looking for jobs that offer them a better quality of life. That quality of life does not always equal who is offering the highest salary. Many individuals in the new workforce are looking for employment that fits with their lifestyle. Work that is enjoyable, reflects their beliefs and allows them to do other things than work.

What are some of the things that people are looking for? To no surprise, healthcare is a must. After that, people are interested in things like flexible work options, working remotely, on-site amenities like gym access or dry cleaning services, unlimited vacation, on-site childcare, and in-office meal options.

Knowing that this is what attracts good candidates, what can you do when some of these things are not in your budget? If you are one of the companies that are still trying to figure out healthcare, see if there are groups in your community that you can join and be a part of a larger group to get more affordable pricing. Chambers of Commerce in your area are one option to look into to get more affordable coverage. Look at other groups you could be already affiliated with or could join that could help offer discounts.

Flexible work options could include part-time workers, 4-day/10-hour work weeks, and allowing employees to work certain days or hours from home if their role allows. Working remotely could also help in cases of emergency childcare needs like last minute school closings or illness. You may not be able to have a lot of amenities on site but can you have free gym memberships? Can you arrange weekly dry cleaning pickup? As far as meals, let’s assume that you do not have a full cafeteria, but is your office located in a place when food options are nearby or walkable? If not, maybe pizza delivery may be in order on occasion.

Unlimited vacation can be tricky. That comes down to trust and trusting the people you have hired are still able to do their job and work will keep moving forward if they are not in the office. Are they people that you know will get the work done regardless of how much time they are actually in the office? Having goals and numbers to be accountable for might be your answer here. “Facetime” doesn’t always mean that someone is being productive. Can you put together a scorecard for them for accountability and check in weekly? Allowing this might get you both what you want.

Employing people becomes more and more challenging as the bar tend to be raised continuously as people fight to get talent. Really think about, or even ask, what your employees think are the most important benefits they need and go from there. What would really make them stay with you? As you are going through your list, it is worth mentioning that no one ever stayed at a place of employment for the bean bag chairs or the foosball table.

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Think we can help you or your organization? Contact us at www.portfoliocreative.com Also check out the Portfolio Creative blog and sign up to receive expert hiring tips from our pros.

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Catherine Lang-Cline is President and co-founder of Portfolio Creative, an Inc. fastest-growing company for six years. Portfolio Creative helps companies connect with creative talent in all areas of marketing, design, advertising, and digital roles for corporations, retailers, and large creative agencies. More information is available at portfoliocreative.com

This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included. ©2018 Catherine Lang-Cline, Portfolio Creative, LLC.

Brand You: Take Time for a Personal Brand Audit

By Kristen Harris

Branding is important in helping a product stand out from the pack. Important enough that clients hire us creatives to help them create, grow, market, and sell brands all day long.

We believe that individual personal brands are just as important. For more on that see our article Brand You: Are You Carefully Crafting Your Personal Brand?

Personal brands are like company cultures–everyone has one, whether it’s something that was purposefully created or evolved when no one was looking. So, are you a brand that people know and trust? How do you appear to others? Do you even know?

When is the last time you took a look at your personal brand? We recommend a personal brand audit every so often, to be sure your brand is intentionally communicating what you want to share with the world.

When doing a personal brand audit, take a look at these four key areas:

What You Do. This isn’t just a list of software you know, years of experience, and tasks you can complete. What do you REALLY do? What problems can you solve? Just like a product, people need a reason to try something new, to try you. What do you provide that others don’t?

How You Do It. With creative work, everyone approaches it in a slightly different way. What’s different about how you do your work? What are your unique and special talents? How do you approach a problem? Is there a system or process you apply to your work that gets certain results? Can you share an interesting behind-the-scenes view of what you do and how you do it? Share your strengths and unique superpowers (not sure about your strengths? Check out Be Your Best: Using Strengths at Work.

Your Communication Style. This covers everything from the style of your work to how you interact with others; it shows up in how you present yourself in-person, online and on paper. Are you clear, direct and to the point? Do you share lots of details or provide solutions through storytelling? Are you relentlessly positive, or maybe you maintain a healthy level of cynicism that helps you spot problems before they pop up? How do you communicate who you are and what you care about in every situation?

Your Values and Beliefs. What do you care about? What are the values, principles, and beliefs that guide your work? What’s so important that you just can’t and won’t compromise, no matter what? Why does your work matter, what’s important about it? Tell us how you’re making an impact, solving a problem, or making the world a better place.

We live in a world of branding and online presence, it’s inescapable. So do a quick audit to make sure the personal brand you’re projecting is the one you want.

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Kristen Harris is the COO • Co-Creator of Portfolio Creative. A central Ohio firm solely focused on creative roles, Portfolio Creative has been connecting companies with the top creative talent for onsite staffing, full-time direct hire, and project needs since 2005.

#SheMeansBusiness Presents: Women at Work

Recently, Facebook stopped by our office to learn more about our Co-Creators, Kristen and Catherine, for their #shemeansbusiness series.

Watch the full video below!

Brand You: Are You Carefully Crafting Your Personal Brand?

By Kristen Harris

Our world is becoming more and more brand-centric and for good reason. Brands help set one product apart from another, stand out from the pack, and quickly communicate their promise to the customer.

We no longer just have vacuum cleaners, shoes, and sparkling water. We have a Dyson, wear Rothy’s, and drink LaCroix. We talk about brands as if they’re a part of our lives and share them online like they’re our friends.

In this creative space, many of us create, grow, market, and sell brands all day long. When people buy brands they know and trust, they’re buying what the brand stands for not just the product that’s being sold.

Are you crafting your personal brand as carefully as the brands you create for your clients? Do you have a personal brand that people know and trust?

Yes, we are people and not products, but everyone has a personal brand. If you only tell people about your functional skill set, the software you know and your years of experience, you’re promoting the product of you. When you share the unique combination of who you are, what you do, and how and why you do it, that’s the brand of you.

Your personal brand includes what you do, how you do it, your communication style, your values and beliefs, and everything else someone gets when working with you. It tells people who you are, not just what you do.

Personal branding tends to show up three key places: in-person, on paper, and online.

In-person, our individual brand comes across the minute anyone sees us. How we carry ourselves, our posture, confidence, speed, energy, volume, and wardrobe or personal grooming choices all add up to a physical projection of our brand. Whether it’s a choice we’ve made or something we’re born with, our physical presence is a part of our brand. Make sure the brand you’re projecting is the one you want. Some physical attributes can’t be changed but most of what people see and perceive about you can be adjusted to project the brand you want to communicate in-person.

On paper, our personal brand is clear on any physical materials like a resume or cover letter, marketing pieces, printed samples, or portfolio. It’s communicated through word choice, writing style, fonts, colors, graphics, and paper textures–and you get to make all those choices. Select options that project who you are and what you do; a good brand will attract the right people and repel the wrong ones.

Online, you get to create and curate your personal brand. Since you’re making all the choices, choose images and words that project the brand of you. Help people get to know what you’re all about, where your passions lie, and your unique skills or strengths. Caution: sometimes people curate their online presence and social feeds to the point of becoming inauthentic. Project the brand that you want to share but also keep it real–let people see a bit of the real-life messiness, behind-the-scenes steps, or special process of your work.

We live and work with other brands all day long; take a little time to consider your own personal brand and how you’re sharing it with the world.

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Kristen Harris is the COO • Co-Creator of Portfolio Creative. A central Ohio firm solely focused on creative roles, Portfolio Creative has been connecting companies with the top creative talent for onsite staffing, full-time direct hire, and project needs since 2005.

The Best Results Come With a Referral

By Catherine Lang-Cline 

Staffing Success recently published an article about how creative people are in high demand. We could not agree more. With every company needing a person with a skill set that addresses the many changes that are going on in technology and how we sell things, the need for web and mobile development, web production, user interface, and interaction design, and creative development has reached new heights.

About half of the companies out there can get a referral from someone else for people with these skills. What about the other half? That is where we hope that companies like ours can help. One of the reasons we started this company is that we thought we knew everyone in town that did creative, but over the last decade, we have met thousands more really, really good creative people. 

How does that help you? Definitely ask around for a referral. If that comes up empty, reach out to a well-respected company that either specializes in the project you want to accomplish or reach out to a service company/recruiting company that can find you the perfect person. What a well-respected company that specializes in what you are looking for can do is really understand your need and be connected with the exact person that will fit your project and your culture. Their reputation should be based on who they can find. Think of it as a group of people that can offer you even more referrals on who the best people in town are. Far better than an online job posting that connects you to people you don’t know.

What are the hardest roles to find?

  • Web and mobile development

  • Creative development

  • User interface and interaction design

  • Information architecture

  • User experience

  • Web production

  • Visual design

  • Marketing strategy

  • Animation

  • User research

Any of those sound familiar?

Again, find a partner that would love to talk to you about the changes in technology and people that can help you get things done. Find people that have done work like this, understand work like this, and understand what a person needs to know to get the work done. This is your company, this is your money, and you want to get the right person for the job the first time.
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Think we can help you or your organization? Contact us at www.portfoliocreative.com Also check out the Portfolio Creative blog and sign up to receive expert hiring tips from our pros.
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Catherine Lang-Cline is President and co-founder of Portfolio Creative, an Inc. fastest-growing company for six years. Portfolio Creative helps companies connect with creative talent in all areas of marketing, design, advertising, and digital roles for corporations, retailers, and large creative agencies. More information is available at portfoliocreative.com
This article may be reprinted when the copyright and author bio are included. ©2018 Catherine Lang-Cline, Portfolio Creative, LLC.

 

Diversity in Creative: The Power of Conversation

By Kristen Harris

Our business is to connect clients with the best creative talent, which means we’re working with candidates and companies in the creative space all day long. 

As we go about our work, we often notice a lack of diversity in race or ethnic background amongst candidates for creative roles. Let’s just say it here–we know that this conversation can be tricky territory. But if a company is focused on change, and it’s coming from the right place for the right reasons, we support that. Our job and the commitment we make to our clients is to find top candidates for the role regardless of how they look, their name, background, physical differences, or any other trait that has nothing to do with how well they can do the job. 

At Portfolio Creative we’re in a unique position because we work with both creative talent and employers, but we don’t have all the answers. Seeking input, ideas, and support from people with different experiences than our own, recently we tapped into the power of community and conversation by hosting a Diversity in Creative roundtable as part of the Columbus Foundation’s Big Table event

We invited creatives, marketers, diversity professionals, employers, hiring managers, and community leaders to discuss this topic. While nearly all of the participants were people of color, we knew each person would bring their own unique experience and perspective. All of the attendees were incredibly generous with their time, ideas and insights. 

They shared challenges and barriers they’ve seen personally and have observed in the workplace and discussed where there is an opportunity for change and how we might go about achieving it. While each individual’s experience is unique, there were common themes about how important contacts, access, sponsorship, preparation, and acceptance are to career success whether it’s within a company or starting your own business. 

How did we have a productive conversation about a complex and potentially awkward topic? We set the stage by asking everyone to be open, honest, and a bit patient with each other. Just by hosting the roundtable, we encouraged people to get involved in a conversation about a topic that is rarely discussed, and made sure everyone around the table was engaged. And we listened. We learned from others, heard their ideas, and asked questions to better understand the issue.

So, where do we go from here? We know one conversation won’t create change so we’ll keep reaching out to the community, inviting conversation, asking questions, and listening to learn. And, as it becomes more clear how and where we can be influential to facilitate change, we’ll take action. Because conversation is great, but action leads to change.