September AMA with Ali Aried Accounting

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September AMA with Ali Aried Accounting

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Hello everyone!

This is Yao here, and I wanted to say that our September meet-up was jam packed with valuable information! We invited Ali Aried from Aried Accounting to our 2nd AMA (Ask Me Anything) to come talk to us about all things related to taxes and bookkeeping.

Taxes and handling the financial side of running a business is usually not the first thing we creatives are jumping up and down for.  We all know that it is an essential part of continue to do what we do without getting into trouble with the IRS, but honestly?  After 15 minutes of looking at spreadsheets and numbers, it all feels too overwhelming.  However, knowledge is empowering, which why Ali was at our event to shed more light on this subject that we can all learn more from!

Ali Aried is a local accounting and bookkeeper here in Columbus, Ohio, and he is well-versed in working with small creative businesses.  In fact, he has been a long-time accountant to a few of us, including myself for Yao Cheng Design, Jeremy of Slagle Design, and Dylan of Menges Design!  Because he has experience working with small businesses, he has a better understanding of our common concerns and struggles.  In my own experience in working with him, Ali was a great resource for my many, many questions as I first started my business.  I asked a lot of basic questions about quarterly taxes or what I can write off as a business expense in the beginning.  As my company grew, my relationship with Ali became more involved and we began talking about how/when I needed to start adding payroll, for example.  I even started meeting with him mid-year to review quarterly tax, which I believe this is a general good practice for all business owners, but I also think this is more specific to small business owners.  Our year to year can fluctuate greatly, which makes a mid-year touch base crucial, so that both you and your accountant can project adequately your earnings for the year!  Ali touched on many of these basic questions and topics at this AMA.

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Over the course of an hour, he talked about why it is so important to start with a business account, a federal tax ID, and to register as an LLC from the start.  His advice is that if you build the foundation right from the beginning, then you will save yourself a lot of energy later on when it comes to tax time!  When you start with an LLC, you are able to remove your Social Security Number when you file your taxes or when you are filling out W-9's.  Also, as an LLC, you have the flexibility to grow your company (up to 20 people) in a variety of ways in the future!  You can file as an S-Corp, for example, if you are ready to add other full-time employees to your business.  As an S-Corp, you are no longer filing as an individual and can save you the amount paid to the IRS!  He touched on a few other subjects, such as quarterly tax, when to file as joint income, and how to open a 401K as a small business.  

We hope to have more of these AMA's in the future, and feel free to leave us a comment if you have a suggestion or person that you think would be interesting for us to host!  You can get in touch with Ali here, see you all on October 6th for our next meet-up about how to create new opportunities!

Cheers,

Yao of the Rise & Design Crew

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July Recap - AMA with Ryan Appleton

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July Recap - AMA with Ryan Appleton

This past month, Ryan Appleton from Satellite Office, graciously allowed us to pick his brain regarding the agent/art representative facet of the creative industry in Rise & Design’s first-ever AMA (Ask Me Anything!) session.  

Ryan provided valuable insight on if /when hiring on an agent is the right move for one’s company and the affects doing so will have thereafter, for small businesses all over the spectrum. 

For Satellite Office in particular, they are more than simply an art rep/agent, but rather they work with designers closely on projects and act as an extension of the artists to help them expand in their work.  Approximately only one-third of his job description is finding work for artists, with the remaining two-thirds being assisting artists with what they need to complete projects for clients (whether it’s sketching, photo and video editing, or going to the grocery store and buying all sorts of Mars Candy snacks!) 

From a more traditional aspect, agents are also incredibly helpful not only in helping designers find work, but also negotiating terms, conditions, and pricing for projects.  Often times, artists struggle with quoting a price for their work, typically undervaluing the cost.  However, an art rep can help with this, recognizing what a fair price would be for a particular project and the steps involved throughout the creative process to get to the final work.  Clients are sometimes unaware of everything that is involved in a project, so by creating a detailed invoice that outlines all of the steps and final pieces they are receiving, they are more likely to understand why the quote for a project is what it is. 

Again, we thank Ryan for his time and informative answers from our AMA!  Visit our directory if you'd like to get in touch with him or any of our other talented creatives!  We look forward to having more of these in the future with professionals from different industries.  Our next AMA will be in September, featuring Ali Aried, who will chat with us about small business accounting.  Hope to see you guys then!

Cheers,

The Rise & Design Crew

 

 

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Rise & Design Cocktails

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Rise & Design Cocktails

Let's be honest: mornings are hard. For those who can't drag themselves out of bed or away from the office, Rise & Design hosted its first bad and boozy cocktail hour in June at Curio. From 5 to well past 10pm, new friends came and went in the balmy summer evening.

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The vibe is casual, more relaxed than Friday mornings, some opting to bring spouses or significant others. Located just south of downtown, Curio is a centralized location for end of day hangs, narrow to encourage vulnerable discussion. Unofficial R&D photographer, Christa Kimble, was on hand to capture the skilled hands of barkeeps, Ben and Caed, as they deftly mixed stiff drinks with heavy pours.

Mixing spirits produce complex and vibrant cocktails. We believe the creative spirit also becomes more potent when we mix and mingle. Join us every summer month (June-September) on Wednesdays from 5-7ish, and add a dash of your craft to our community. We think you're top shelf!

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Join Our Directory!

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Join Our Directory!

Stay connected with the Rise & Design community!  

We're proud of the diverse community we foster here in Columbus, from furniture makers to designers, podcasters to florists. Whether you're an entrepreneur or in-house, we want to celebrate your contributions and talents by becoming part of our directory!

We created this page as a resource for referencing and sharing. Focus on the good conversations that are happening during the meet-ups rather than struggling to remember who's who.  Roll in card free to keep the meet-up friendly and chill, catch up virtually later.  

Visit our Directory page, fill out a brief form, and attaching a high res profile photo to join Columbus's brightest doers and makers.

We hope you can help us continue to build this great community of ours!

The Rise & Design Crew

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The Big Table Foundation

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The Big Table Foundation

This past week, The Big Table brought together thousands of creatives across central Ohio to discuss initiatives and successful programs that address ongoing Columbus issues.  Jeremy Slagle, a Rise and Design regular, and Thad De Vassie of the Joy Venture podcast hosted a roundtable at Yao Cheng Design’s studio (one of several hundred simultaneous discussions on in the city that day!), prompting attendees to take a closer look at our community and identify ways we can help.

As creatives, we are busy-body folks.  We take on too many projects and can get a little lost in all of the hustle and bustle. "Bettering society" seems a daunting task. But, what if we are able to focus on something small, specific to our local community that feels achievable?  And not only all of that, but something that we are excited about?

The objective of these city-wide Big Table meetings is to unite people for the common goal of bettering and strengthening the community.  "We started Big Table because creatives can solve problems the way no one else can," said Slagle. "They can look beyond numbers and programs and see people and opportunities."  This is exactly what we did.  Danielle Evans observed an issue in her own neighborhood, watching children from east of Parsons migrating en masse with their families to German Village / Schiller Park on Trick or Treat night. These children come in droves either because their neighborhoods don't participate or are deemed unsafe to walk at night. Conversely, residents of German Village can be resentful and unwilling to participate with trick-or-treaters from other neighborhoods. As a group, we turned our attention to the unspoken, but very present, divide existing between the racial and socio-economic barriers of hard line Columbus neighborhoods.

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How can families traveling outside their neighborhoods for safety or promise of better candy feel dignified in their pursuit? Could creatives blur the line between neighborhoods, fostering a sense of community that bridges Parsons and other dividing elements like this around the city?

From this one question stemmed multiple ideas and perspectives - all different and all brilliant! A more straightforward solution  offered by Dylan Menges would be to set up a central meet-up area between the two neighborhoods (i.e. a church parking lot, community recreation center, or school) where children and their parents can gather and get to know each other and build a level of trust with each other that does not currently exist.  Possible pre-trick-or-treat activities include a bag decorating station and cardboard haunted houses, with refreshments and food for both the children and adults to enjoy!  

To take this idea one step further, someone also suggested creating starter kits for people to host these trick-or-treat receptions in their own neighborhoods.  By providing starter kits for folks, it would create a sense of involvement and participation for the parents & kids that could also spark new ideas of their own.

Ben Howes suggested a Pokémon-style city initiative where Columbus neighborhoods are given a monster mascot and a landmark partner - either a park or public building - to encourage trick-or-treaters from all neighborhoods to explore as many pockets of Columbus as possible. Participants collect stamps or stickers from homes in each neighborhood, trying to "catch them all."

There were lots of great ideas put on the table (pun-intended!), but we are still in the early phase of brainstorming. After all, we are a unique group of folks; we have the resources to not only come up with creative solutions but we also have connections to vendors, printers to see this project through.

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Next Big Table meeting will be open to anyone who's interested at our June 2nd meet-up from 11am-noon following our one year party for Rise & Design.

A big thanks to Jeremy and Thad for organizing this year's event and getting local creatives together to talk/think about ways that we can contribute.

Cheers,

The Rise & Design Crew

Photos by Jeremy Slagle.

 

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May Recap- Pricing

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May Recap- Pricing

Photography  //  Winkdesign

Photography  //  Winkdesign

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This month at Rise & Design, Yao and Danielle addressed a topic that all creatives find themselves struggling with at one point or another in their career: pricing.  As small business owners, designers, and students working in a variety of different industries, we heard insights from designers who work primarily in licensing to others who bid for client jobs.  We even gained perspectives from an art management rep, Ryan Appleton of Satellite Office. The range of experience in one room is truly what makes these meet-ups so valuable to us all!

Our experiences in dealing with pricing is made up of so many variables; it's a constant balancing act between years of experience, the industry, scope of work, and so much more.  This makes it all the more challenging to come up with a fair price that is catered to each client.  So it's no wonder that we all find ourselves often wondering...are we charging too much or too little? Are we being fairly compensated for the work that we make, or are we undervaluing ourselves?

Photography  //  Jeremy Slagle

Photography  //  Jeremy Slagle

Photography  //  Jeremy Slagle

Photography  //  Jeremy Slagle

When approached for a project, designers and clients engage in a lot of back and forth before settling on a proposed quote. There are instances where one asks for the budget prior to quoting and other where designers are given the budget and required to work within that range.  Either way, it's important for us to remind ourselves that a quote is just part of the conversation.  Everything is negotiable and creatives should not be afraid to propose what they think their work is worth. Companies are paying for a designer’s ideas, concepts, and expertise – and those are very valuable!  

So… How does one determine a reasonable price point for a project?  One suggestion is to itemize every step of the process (from the conceptual sketches to the final piece). Ryan had great advice regarding how to bill, breaking down quotes into á la carte options to keep from scaring clients away with the "take it or leave it" approach. If one is expected to "do everything," one can also charge for various skills sets, which requires the client to pay a little more for one person than a little less across a crew. Itemization also allows designers to clearly mark extra fees for additional revisions and concepts throughout the process so that there are no surprises.

There are naturally a few exceptions. Allison Black lives a double life, working on retainer with Target while explaining pitching for books and editorials, both of which price differently. Havilland Maxwell, a voice actress and on-camera coach, explained that readings and auditions are part of the voice/acting industry, but her per-project pay is generally better once hired. Naturally every industry is different, but sharing strategy helps us renegotiate what we perceive as rules in our respective practices.

Photography  //  Jeremy Slagle

Photography  //  Jeremy Slagle

As creatives, we are our own toughest critics, that's why this month's conversation proved to be so invaluable. We surprised each other by discussing a baseline pricing (with some exception) of around $1k; some balked, feeling they couldn't ask that much per project. However, democratizing rates allows us to educate our clients and better service our industry. Ben Stafford shared an instance where he priced himself out of a job by coming in too low, proving we sometimes forget our own value. Perceived value can work for or against us. Not only did we all learn a little more about how fellow creatives in other industries price, but we also learned reasonable numbers fortify our industry standards. 

We have a feeling that this topic will be brought up again in the future!  There is truly so much to unpack and share about something as important and crucial as pricing.  No, it's not the primary reason why we started our own businesses, but it is a crucial part of sustaining the work that we believe in and take pride in.  Expect more money sense in Rise & Design.

We hope you can join us next month at our one year anniversary meet-up in June!  A huge thanks for Grace of Winkdesign and Jeremy of Slagle Design for their photo contributions! 

Cheers,

The Rise & Design crew

RESOURCES // 

 

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March Meet-Up Recap

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March Meet-Up Recap

Artists in Columbus are staying active in the community, lending their expertise and many talents to causes and organizations they hold close to their heart.   

This month, we explored the different ways we, as creatives, can give back to the community, by first discussing the endeavors of another influential local, Jeni Britton Bauer (of Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream!), in which she donated 100% of sales made during "Ice Cream for Breakfast Day" between a specific time period to various local nonprofit organizations, varying by city.  

Rise & Design attendee, Jeremy Slagle, talked about his uplifting work with Columbus Foundation's Big Table as a founder of the Camp Click program. Camp Click, partnered with Midwest Photo Exchange, calls for people to donate their old cameras to children in Columbus Public Schools who are then paired with professional photographers to learn how to use the equipment and find and hone their creative skills. 

Igloo Letterpress, a local letterpress printer, also held an event allowing people around the city to come in and write to our senator on one of their beautifully printed postcards.  

In addition, there was discussion regarding social media and how its impact (or lack thereof) truly affects the events happening in the world today.  As creatives with a large social media following, it is often important to think about what type of message we want to send out and what kind of change we would like to create.

Artists and designers have the power to create order out of a world of disorder, and it is always great to use those skills to elicit positive changes on a local (or even larger!) level. 

We would love to hear if any of you have advice or have contributed your creative talents to the community to create a positive impact, please comment below!

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CCAD 20th AOI Show on April 1st

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CCAD 20th AOI Show on April 1st

Courtesy of CCAD

Courtesy of CCAD

Hello everyone!

We would like to give a shout out to CCAD's 20th Art of Illustration Show (AOI), opening at the Sean Christopher Gallery (located in the Short North Arts District here in Columbus, Ohio) on Saturday, April 1st (gallery hop!)!!!

The Art of Illustration Show began in 1997 as a student driven exhibition designed to bring CCAD work out into the community and has been a staple of the Illustration department ever since.  Rebecca Zomchek, an illustration professor at CCAD, and the rest of the AOI team received between 150 and 200 submissions this year, each ranging in style and technique, and branching across all majors. From these entries, a select group of skilled and practicing local judges determined which pieces would get in - this year totaling 44 pieces. 

With artwork that spans the illustrative spectrum, CCAD boasts a selection that proves an inherent desire to produce and be surrounded by quality design, originality, and storytelling. CCAD is working and planning so the show continues to grow in diversity and number, and that AOI will remain a celebrated CCAD and Columbus tradition. This will be their 20th year of celebrating this show!

We hope you will stop by the gallery and see the artwork from these talented students!

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Andy J. Miller at CSCA on February 16th

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Andy J. Miller at CSCA on February 16th

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This Thursday, February 16th, come hear illustrator and host/founder of Creative Pep Talk,  Andy J. Miller speak at the Gateway Film Center from 6:30 - 9 PM for CSCA (Columbus Society of Communicating Arts)!

A fellow Rise & Design attendee and exceptionally talented creative, Andy, will be discussing his experiences in the industry, as well as knowledge he has gained on his journey to getting where he is today! You can learn more about the event here.

We hope this evening will tide you over until next month's Rise & Design and that you'll join us for a wonderful evening with fellow Columbus creatives.

 

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February Meet-Up Recap

February Meet-Up Recap

This month’s Rise & Design was anything but mundane, jam-packed with creative conversation, laughs, and… a poll of our favorite Pokémon! 

Friday morning began with a bustle of people huddled around coffee and breakfast pastries (as always!) as everyone made their way to the beautiful, white conference table at Yao Cheng Design’s studio to discuss the first topic of the day: passion projects.  Yao, of Yao Cheng Design, and Danielle, of Marmalade Bleue, thought, what better way to kick off the conversation than by seeing what fellow creatives have been up to over the past month.  One of our creatives about her successful daily illustration project that she started back in October and has subsequently led to new clientele projects!  The consensus seems to be that, passion projects are an important way to propel us creatives forward- both in terms of techniques and depth of work.  The question, though, is how and where to start?  Is having constraints and a specific subject matter the way to go?  This then led to the topic of the creative process, one discussed in Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book, Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention.  How do people find that perfect sweet spot of challenge and creativity?  How does one get into that state of “flow”?  Based on the feedback of our meeting’s attendees, this book is a must-read!  

Later in the meeting, we found that approximately half of the people present were not only small business owners/creatives, but also parents!  So, the conversation veered towards each one’s experience and how they manage to balance the lifestyle of being a working parent.  One suggested the "pomodoro" technique, in which a person works diligently with absolutely zero distractions for 25 minutes or so, then takes a break.  This topic can be discussed for hours on end, there’s so much to share and say about how we all continue to balance our small businesses while wearing many hats at once.  Yao shares about her struggles & experiences about this very subject on Yao Cheng Design's blog!

Lastly, before we ran out of time, we were able to sneak in a brief chat regarding responsibility vs. concern.  It led us all to really reflect about what we are responsible for, and what parts of being a creative and business owner must simply be let go.  With this mantra, we are hoping to manage our time wisely and decrease stress.    

There you have it, a brief summary of February’s Rise & Design!  And to think this is just skimming the surface of the deep, thoughtful, and stimulating conversation (yes, this wasn’t even all of it!).  So Columbus peeps, if you are able, be sure to mark your calendars for the first Friday morning of each month,  and we hope to see you in March!  Thank you to the ever-talented Christa Kimble Photography for capturing what this meet-up is all about!

- Mariel

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An Introduction...

This 2017, start off your Fridays right with Rise & Design, the morning meet-up brainchild of local Columbus designers (and hosts of these events), Danielle Evans and Yao Cheng.  Why, you ask?  Because it provides creatives from all over the area with a gorgeous, studio setting to which they can come together and share the success, as well as trials and tribulations, they have encountered from running a small business or taking on freelance gigs over freshly brewed coffee and scrumptious pastries.  Yes, you read that correctly. Breakfast snacks are included!!  

Rise & Design takes place on the first Friday of each month from 9 – 10:30AM from Yao Cheng Design’s downtown studio (you can read more about the beautiful space in her recent feature on The Metropreneur).  Each month, we explore different topics, including (but not limited to) social media strategy and business ethics, in a relaxed, open discussion environment, where everyone is welcome (and encouraged!) to bring questions and topics for conversation regarding what it means to be a creative or the ins and outs of owning a small business. 

With Columbus’ art scene on the rise, we knew the city was filled talented, amazing creatives! Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur, are still figuring out how to make it as an independent artist/designer, or learning the ropes in school, this is a great opportunity to both share your experiences and learn something new from others. Establishing a network of fellow talents who are figuring out & experiencing a lot of the same things as you is something both Danielle & Yao have found to be crucial to their careers.

The nature of these meet-ups does not require attendees to come to every single one of our events, as we understand life as a creative is often times a busy one! So whether you are able to attend one, five, or all of them, please RSVP on our website (which is freshly minted and recently launched!!) You can also sign up for our Rise & Design newsletter, where you can stay up-to-date on upcoming meetings and events.  Shout out to A Carpenter’s Son for the beautiful, white conference table we had custom made for events such as these!

Hope to see and meet you all at our next meet-up!

- Mariel

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