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Determining Your Rate - Why You're Worth It!

When I gradated from college a few years ago with a B.A. in Communications, I had no idea where to start in terms of compensation and salary. I have been working hourly jobs since I was 14, so the numbers behind salary range and all those zeros looked attractive no matter what they were! I was inexperienced in negotiations and did not understand my skillset’s value to a company. However, after working with Creatives On Call as a creative candidate in 2017, I was instantly informed of my worth, my value and what a realistic salary expectation for my level of experience was. Creatives On Call helped me see my education, technological experience, and intangible life skills as valuable and empowered me to ask for what I deserved. 

Now as a Creatives On Call Recruiter, I work with creative candidates at all levels every day. The truth is, it’s not just recent graduates or junior marketing professionals that struggle with the question—What is your desired salary range for your next step?—but everyone! Especially women. 

As a woman, I naturally attend a lot of women-centered networking events throughout St. Louis. (Check out my previous blog for some of my favorites here.) Many of these events are focused on empowering women to believe in their abilities and also provide mentorship opportunities for more junior professionals. From these events and hundreds of conversations with candidates, I have noticed a large pay expectation discrepancy among female and male candidates. In fact, according to HoneyBook, the average compensation of female creative professionals is 32% less than male creative professionals. The average national hourly wage for female creatives is $10/hour with the average hourly wage for males being $25/hour. That’s a hefty gap. The average hourly rate of a Creatives On Call candidate is closer to that $25-35/hour range with the average salary being $70k+ depending on experience. As your advocate and Creatives On Call Recruiter, we will always tackle this challenge on your behalf! 

It is incredibly difficult to figure out what salary to ask for, but know that it is up to you to base it entirely on your skills and what you have to offer. Do your research to help your confidence levels. Have numbers and statistics to back yourself when asking for more or knowing your value. There are so many resources including LinkedIn, Glassdoor and your Creatives On Call Recruiter. Plus, we created a Salary Guide just for you! In order to view it, login to your Creatives On Call profile or register as an Artist. We work with clients throughout the nation and are well-informed on the going rates for specific skillsets and jobs so trust us when we say you are worth more.

As a women-owned company, Creatives On Call strives to best inform you of your worth based on your skillset and what you have to offer an organization. Your skills matter. Your hard work matters! Remember that next time you get asked what salary range you are looking for in a job. Reframe the negative thoughts and low expectations. Be confident in yourself and your worth. The power is in your hands when negotiating—so make it work for you!


Who's On Your Team? How to Properly Staff an Internal Creative Team

Who should be on your creative team? The answer isn’t as obvious as you might think. Below, we’ve outlined the core positions that work together to create a strong team for a corporation that handles the bulk of their organization’s creative work and communications in-house. If you’re in the process of validating your in-house team — or creating a new one — read on.

An executive creative director oversees the development of and upholds all creative content for a company and its brands; she also creates and/or refines brand standards for corporate identity and company communications. Materials under her purview may include traditional (broadcast and print), in-store, digital, social and more. She sets the brand direction and directs the team to uphold its execution. 

The art director creates the vision for and sets the standards for all things visual. He works with the executive creative director to create, maintain or update corporate branding, in addition to the design of any sub-brands, company communications or other marketing materials. He oversees the company’s designers and ensures they carry out a top-notch and consistent brand vision. He may also create the company’s visual brand standards, working with the editor to execute them across all communication.

A copywriter, under the guidance of the executive creative director, produces copy for any and all company needs, including email and website marketing, digital, print and more. Depending on your company’s size and needs, you may employ several copywriters, or even several teams, which would each then be led by a creative director of copy. 

A designer, guided by the art director or executive creative director, executes the designs for print and digital marketing materials as needed. As with copywriters, the number of designers scales up easily; you’d then also want to hire more art directors, or parse out managing duties to senior-level designers. 

An editor maintains your house style guide and brand standards; she also proofreads all materials, digital and print, prior to publication, to ensure consistency and accuracy. She also performs quality checks on internal and external work including board presentations and client communication. 

A developer (or team of developers) executes the tactical requirements of any web or email marketing. She also creates banner ads and other digital marketing tactics as needed. She may be managed by either the executive creative director or the art director, who she works with frequently and closely on design. 

A social media manager owns social for your company and any associated brands; it is her job to create and post content for your organization’s social channels and manage the community response to them. Because she is the voice of the brand on social, she works closely with the executive creative director to create messaging that is creative, compelling and consistent. Her role is a combination of creative (content production) and strategy (testing, reporting results for each channel). 

A project manager creates work plans, sets schedules and budgets, and oversees project work to make sure it’s finished on time and well. Importantly, he may also be the one to liaise with freelance or temporary workers when the team needs to scale up their resources for a big project.

Other considerations

Be diverse. Don’t fall prey to the assumption that your designer must be a 25-year-old hipster. Research shows that diverse teams perform better (in measurable financial returns!) than homogenous ones. 

Tailor your team to your company’s needs. An e-commerce company will need a deeper bench of developers; similarly, a company with several sub-brands that all require daily email marketing messaging might need two or three teams of designers, each headed by an art director and/or creative director. 

Be nimble. Don’t be dogmatic about each person’s role on your team. Have a designer who’s interested in UX, even though you’ve previously outsourced that work? Lean into it. Likewise, building a core of available freelancers or permalancers who do quality work allow you to scale up for big projects as needed while remaining agile and efficient year-round. 

Even if you plan to outsource some of your creative and/or marketing work, you’ll be well-served to establish a talented team of people devoted to the creative excellence of your organization. Through the creative work and messaging they put into the world, your internal creative team represents who your organization is and what it stands for. Make it great!

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3 Steps to Be Happier at Work!

Want to be happier at work? If so, you’re not alone. According to a recent Gallup poll, 85% of Americans admit to hating their jobs.

If you’re part of the 15% that love their work, awesome! If not, read on for three steps to find more happiness in your career.

#1 Get clear on what you really want from work – and life!

Sometimes we get so used to surviving a less-than-ideal work situation that we forget to stop and actually consider what we actually want. Many of us haven’t given the question much thought since our college days, if we even did so then.

By the time I was in my late twenties with years of Finance experience under my belt, I couldn’t tell you what I wanted from career. All I knew was that I was so unhappy and unfulfilled with my life as a financial consultant. 

Since grade school when I got on the “Straight A Student” train, I was always striving to do what was next and best – get the best grades, graduate early, get multiple degrees, land an impressive job, make more money, get promoted, and so on.

I was chasing the promotion, the raise, the prestige – with little regard to what would actually make me happy. If I was ever going to make a change, I had to get clear on what I wanted, what I liked and didn’t like about my job, and what I wanted from life.

Even if you have no idea what kind of job you’d like, you can start with questions like:

How do I want to feel?

Who do I want to be?

How do I want to spend my days? And with whom?

What are my top values and priorities in life?

Does my current job align with those ideals? If not, am I okay with that?

What is success to me? At work? In life?

Then get more specific about your current role and what you’d like to change:

What do I like (and dislike) about my current role? Why?

What would I like to see more (and less) of in my job?

What steps have I taken to change this for the better?

Is this situation salvageable?

#2 Reflect on how you got here.

One of the most common things I hear from new clients is that while they know how to get a job (they’ve done so many times!), the problem comes about 3 months to a year in to the new job. That’s when they start feeling the familiar sense of boredom, dread, and disillusionment with their work.

The way to avoid this is to reflect on your life path thus far, so you don’t make the same mistakes again. Think about how far you’ve come, what you’ve accomplished, and what got you to this point where you’re not as happy as you’d like at work.

I remember doing this exercise in my late twenties, when by all outside measures, I had a very successful career. I was living in New York City, making well into six figures, traveling every week for work, meeting with C-level executives, and presenting to Boards. It was everything I thought I wanted (plus it looked so good on paper!). And yet, I was so unhappy and unfulfilled.

When I got real with myself, I realized that there were many things that led me to this point – among them: a strong desire to please my parents, the momentum of life, and the biggest one, measuring my worth by others’ ideas of success.

Until we’re honest with ourselves about not just why we’re unhappy, but the beliefs, motivations and actions that got us here, it will be difficult to make substantial, lasting change.

#3 Experiment with small tweaks before making bigger changes.

Once you’ve gained some clarity on where you are, how you got here, and what you really want, it’s time to take action! Even if you’re sure it’s time to quit your job or try your hand at a brand new career, I recommend starting smaller before turning your whole life upside down. 

Experiment with modest tweaks and habit changes first. This will not only make things better in the short-term, but will give help you build the confidence so that you’re even more ready if you do decide to get a new job.

Here are some things to try:

  1. Schedule what’s important. It’s time to walk your talk. If you say your health and relationship with your significant other are important, mark time off to get to the gym three days a week plus plan regular date nights. Treat that time as you would a meeting with your boss – don’t miss it!
  1. Set boundaries and learn to say “No.” When we feel overwhelmed with to-dos and decisions, it often comes down a desire to make everyone else happy, even if it comes at the expense of our well-being, health, and relationships. 

Decide on your top priorities and goals for the month, and every time an opportunity comes up to add something else to your plate, ask yourself if it will bring you closer to your goals and how you want to feel. If not, don’t take it on. Say “No” – no explanation necessary.

  1. Get support. Just because it needs to get done, doesn’t mean it needs to be done now or by you. When looking at your never-ending to-do list, ask yourself if there’s anywhere you can get support. 

That could mean paying for help like a babysitter, cleaning service or meal-delivery plan or it could just mean asking your family to help out (and being okay if the dishwasher isn’t filled to your specifications!), and getting creative with neighborhood carpooling and childcare.

  1. Take care of yourself at least as well as you take care of Rex. Seriously. Self-care gets a bad rap because we all imagine indulgent massages and bubble baths. While all that is great, I’m suggesting something way more basic.

If you have a dog, you know what I’m talking about. I’m sure Rex gets plenty of sleep, good food, time for play, - and forgiveness when he’s made a mistake. Do you offer that same level of basic self-care, patience and compassion for yourself? If not, why not? It’s time for a change. No matter what’s going on at work, everything is a million times worse when we’re tired and hungry.

No matter your situation at work, I encourage you to work through the steps above. You may be pleasantly surprised. 

I’ve had clients begin working with me because they were sure that they needed a new job, only to realize that with a few tweaks, boundaries, and intentional time outside of work, they can be quite happy in their current role. And if after all of this, they still decide it’s time to make a change, now they’re armed with more clarity and confidence to take that next step.

Want more? Whether you’re ready for a new job or just want to step into leadership, a polished LinkedIn profile is a must. Join us for the free Job Joy LinkedIn Challenge where you’ll get one tip every day to update your page. By the end of the challenge, you’ll have a completely revamped and aligned LinkedIn profile to attract perfect-for-you opportunities. There will be lots of support, surprises and giveaways! Sign up here:

Kristen Zavo is a career coach, talent consultant, and the author of Job Joy, an Amazon best-seller. After spending nearly two decades in traditional corporate roles, working for some of the top Fortune 500 companies like Lehman Brothers, NBC and Luxottica, she now helps unfulfilled high achievers to find work and build careers they absolutely love. Learn more about her and her work at 

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