I am constantly reading and conducting research about being successful in business and in life and about how to generate abundance and wealth. One common message runs through all the authors I respect (I base that respect on a proven track record)– they all say you have to GIVE to GET.
If you want something then start giving –give of your time and your talents in return for experience and knowledge. Give to a charity you are passionate about and it will come back to you. Work for free when you have the opportunity to learn from someone who is very successful at what you wish to do (again look at the track record). That is not to say that there won't be people out to exploit you, but those are typically unsuccessful people who don't have much to offer, so they think that have to use others in order to survive or get ahead. Do your due diligence before you get involved with them. Find out what they have accomplished. I believe you will know in your gut when someone is out to take advantage of you. Listen to that voice in your head — if it tells you to back away — listen.
So how can you give and get? Here is one project that I have implemented in my Advanced Design class. These students are about to enter the job market and are looking to make contacts in creative agencies in our area. The project's objective is to convince creative professionals to donate their unused art supplies to local public schools. Instead of throwing them away and polluting the environment, they can donate them to public schools. It's a win for everyone involved– the schools receive desperately needed art supplies. Note: We discovered through research that a public school teacher's average budget for each student for art supplies is $1.00. Sad but true! It appears that arts come last in public education, even though creative problem solving is a fundamental skill needed in every profession and business.
How do my students benefit – aside from the obvious warm feeling one gets from doing a good deed? If their work stands out and the agency responds to the campaign, they get the opportunity to showcase their work to local agencies in a non-spamming way that gets them noticed by the agency.
We develop a campaign that consists of a brand identity for the campaign: a logo, a promotional poster, a brochure and a website. These all go out to the agencies and then when the agencies respond to donate; the students stop by the agency to pick up the supplies and make that needed connection. They get a foot in the door and an opportunity to be remembered as a giving person with creative talent. If they keep that relationship going chances are it will lead to work. The other benefit is a real-world project in their portfolio.
The agencies benefit from good PR, a way to help out the community, a possible tax write off and the opportunity to meet young creative talent – a needed resource to continue to grow their businesses.
I will be posting the work from this campaign in an upcoming post. I will also post about a global organization which offers high profile recognition opportunities to promote social change. Design Ignites Change, is an organization that partners with Adobe Foundation and World Studio that I have recently become involved with. I will be working closely with these sponsors, students, other professors and creative professionals to help promote positive changes in the world. Why not join in too? Check out their site by clicking on the links provided.
I will also be posting Tip # 2 about how creative pros can self promote and be a good guy too, in a few days so stop back soon.