Welcome back! This is going to be a fun week, as we have three interviews to do plus a pretty cool something else tomorrow. Before we dive in, I want to let you know that your comments and tweets rocked my weekend. I really burned the candle at both ends to get this site launched, working 10 hour days at the J-O-B and then going home and working 5 or more to get the site ready.
Have I mentioned how supportive my husband is? Because without him, I wouldn’t have managed to eat last week.
It was totally worth it. I hope you know how much your virtual high-fives mean to me.
Ok, onward! As part of this whole re-launch thing, I thought I’d introduce you to the mastermind behind the new site – Elizabeth of Betty Hatchett Design.
I was referred to Elizabeth by Heather — and the work Heather showed me (way back when I went to visit her in Nashville last September) was bananas. Oh! Before I forget, all the images on this post are hers.
But, the thing that most attracted me to Elizabeth was how she was an unknown quantity in blogland. I didn’t want a name-brand designer. You know how you watch a movie with Tom Cruise, and you see him, not his character? I didn’t want that in my design.
Paradoxically, now I want you to get to know Elizabeth. I like her a lot – and I know you will, too!
Let’s say you’re taking on a new graphic design client. What’s the first thing you want to know?
What makes your heart beat faster?
While we were creating the site, you told me time and time again, “I went to art school. I can deal with messy.” (Sidebar: I was a tad neurotic about presenting my ideas the “right” way.) Whenever you said that, I sat there wondering, “How does she get from messy to…something?” And when you submitted the design concept, it pulled all the pieces together perfectly, but I certainly couldn’t have envisioned it on my own. How does that process work?
I think design and relationships share the same route from messy to something: good communication. Under that umbrella, active listening and humility are pretty crucial too.
As a designer, I seek to listen actively by hearing what’s said and not said, what’s emphasized, observing patterns in my client and patterns in the people they’re serving, by asking questions that lead to realizations and greater focus…and then I try to repeat what I’ve heard, first with words and then with images, information organization, fonts, etc. And humility is braided all together with the listening process too. When I haven’t mirrored a client just right, humility helps me see this and jump back into listening so I can provide a more custom fit design for them. So that’s basically my mess to something process.
Well, that plus consulting with a magic elephant :)
What did you study at art school? How does it relate to what you do now? How did you get into this line of work anyway?
I studied graphic design at a liberal arts university (Belmont University) first, worked a year in the field and then supported myself with freelance work while I spent two more years getting a second degree in painting at an art school (Art Academy of Cincinnati).
Honestly, when I first got into graphic design, it was the practical way for me to make things for a living. BUT! through working, I’ve found that it gratifies me on so many levels: I really love the process of getting to know people, businesses, movements, etc…well enough to create a fitting design for them, suiting their needs and their personality.
And the ability to let someone see that they’ve been truly heard and understood with a design that feels like home is priceless.
I get a fair amount of opportunities to incorporate my painting in the form of illustration too, which I really love. And I’m hoping to do more self initiated design that straddles the design/art fence in the future.
That’s awesome! I’m looking forward to seeing what you do when you really let loose.
You work for yourself, and that’s a path I’m headed down myself. Do you ever feel afraid you won’t earn enough to put food on the table? How do you get past it?
Oh sure. It’s a consideration for us specifically during this season, because my husband is in grad school. One of our tactics is to live simply. Things like just owning one car between my husband and myself, buying second hand whenever possible, looking for creative low cost/no cost ways to celebrate and relax. I think that even if we had more income right now, more often than not, I’d opt for the simplicity we live (though I wouldn’t mind a little more travel!)
It really helps that we have so many friends who think out side of the box regarding what a successful life looks like. I don’t feel any kind of “keep up with the Joneses” pressure in the traditional sense. I’m fortunate to have a lot of inspiring people cheering me on to live out my talents and passion and values. I think healthy, encouraging community is huge for entrepreneurs. That’s one reason I love your blog!
Thank you! I wholeheartedly agree that finding a community of like-minded people is essential, and it’s the best part of blogging for me.
Now I’m sure I forgot to ask something, so this is your chance to add anything you’d like.
Thank you, Brigitte, for the opportunity to share some on your new site! But more than anything, thanks for trusting me to be the one to go through this exciting, sometimes scary, totally rewarding process with you. Design is always a collaboration with clients, and I am super fortunate to get to work with such smart and inspiring folks like yourself. I certainly learned a ton in the process from you and look forward to learning even more from your new pr newsletter!
I also wanted to give a shout out to my very smart, dear husband, Sam Hatchett, who programed Brigitte’s site. To me, this is truly where the magic happens, when the design becomes alive. I mean, really, check out how those “archives” and “filed as” tabs move. Pretty sexy, right? My husband did that.
hehe. Husbands can be good like that.
Elizabeth is a formidable 6 feet tall, 100 and somethin. somethin. pounds and believes that love, expressed through design (and many other things) can conquer the world. Visit her online home at www.bettyhatchettdesign.com.
All images in today’s post belong to Elizabeth.
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Writing less frequently is tough stuff.
But! I have a post over on the fabulous When I Grow Up Coach blog today.
You know Michelle’s blog, right?
If not, this is a fine time to get acquainted. Michelle is a fellow Blogging Your Way alum — a life coach, who helps creative people that are at a crossroads between their passion & their grown-up career. Oh, and she sings. And is super hilarious. She’s pretty much all-around awesome.
And, if you’re moseying on over from Michelle’s blog….hello! Welcome! Here are some business-y posts to enjoy, all very much in the vein of following your passion.
This weekend was bananas. I met Chris Guillebeau, went to Milwaukee and the husband ran a marathon in 3:24!!
So let’s talk about Chris. If you’re not already familiar with him, Chris writes the widely popular blog The Art of Non-Conformity.
The Art of Non-Conformity (AONC) project chronicles my writing on how to change the world by achieving significant, personal goals while helping others at the same time. In the battle against conventional beliefs, we focus on three areas: Life, Work, and Travel…The site also tracks my own stated goal for world travel. In my journeys so far I have visited more than 140 countries, and over the next five four three years, I plan to visit every country in the world.
Pretty amazing, no?
In August, Chris announced that he was looking for 99 readers to help him launch his first book, also called The Art of Non-Conformity. The only criteria to receive a free copy is that you support the mission. Oh…and leave a comment competing with the other members of Chris’s “small army.”
Yikes! But I’m currently into joining. Signing up for things. So I left a comment – and I was selected. In the intervening months, I read the book, wrote a review on Amazon, signed up for the “unconvetion” and – finally! – met Chris on the unconventional book tour he put together. And I may or may not have acted like a “band aid” (except without the sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll).
Ok…so what’s the book about? Let’s start with the mission of the book:
You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to. You can do good things for yourself and make the world a better place at the same time. Here’s how to do it.
Yes, yes and yes! But it’s not just a rah-rah piece. Oh, no. The book helps you get there, thanks to the following sections:
- The Remarkable Life helps you get past all those demons in your head (as well as the very real barriers you may face).
- Reclaiming Work helps you figure out how to make work better (hint: it is possible).
- The Power of Convergance makes a compelling case for thinking beyond just your own life – now is the time to start thinking about your legacy.
So you want the book, right? Great! Now back to the story.
After we met at the Unconventional Book Tour in Chicago, I sent Chris an e-mail, loaded with questions. And he answered! Right away! Good answers. Let’s get to it.
Brigitte: I had a chance to think about your comments while riding up to Milwaukee. One thing that struck me is that so many people decide they want to live a non-conventional life, but then try to model themselves after people who are already successful doing so (lord knows I’m guilty). Is this a good place to start, or would you recommend a different process?
Chris: I think it’s OK to start with modeling. That’s what most of us do anyway, consciously or not. And hopefully over time, more of our true self emerges, which is composed of some things learned from role models and other things that are fundamentally unique.
Brigitte: When we met, I asked, “How do you ‘get over yourself’ and give people advice?” Your response was intriguing:
- You don’t have to give people advice to make a difference, and
- Share stories from “the middle.“
I took this to mean that if you made the leap, it’s very powerful to talk about the messy process of self-discovery. Am I on the right track with this interpretation? Would you elaborate on this idea a bit?
Chris: That’s the right track, yes. The point is that it’s easy to say “Go for it!” but that is only mildly helpful to most of us.
What is more helpful is to talk about the process. Exactly how did you go for it? What went wrong along the way? How did you resolve it? Those lessons are often useful in two ways: one, because we can learn from other people’s mistakes before making the same ones ourselves, and two, because it gives us the courage to make mistakes of our own and know that everything will probably be okay.
Brigitte: My blog, at its core, is driven by my personal path to happiness and how I sustain and nurture that happiness through a process I call “creative living.” But that’s not the only path. You strike me as a deeply satisfied person. What do you do – actively – to create happiness in your own life?
Chris: I’m not sure I’m deeply satisfied – I feel like I’m constantly striving towards something new – but thankfully that wasn’t your question. As to how I create happiness, I try to do things I enjoy while also working to build something bigger than just me. These days I feel like I’m doing that with 80% of my working hours. I’d like to get to 90%, but overall, I figure 80% is a good start.
Brigitte: Something that sets you – and your book – apart from so many other writers/bloggers is your strong emphasis on creating a legacy project, which you define as something that will provide tremendous value to others. A book that was pivotal in my own transformation, and that you quote in The Art of Non-Conformity, was The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The idea of beginning with the end in mind as defined in this book had a profound effect on me.
What originally prompted you to begin thinking about your legacy work? Do you have any advice for people seeking to identify their legacy project?
Chris: Yes, I like Stephen Covey’s work too. In my case, I was turning 30 years old and had just moved back to the U.S. after four years in West Africa. I was trying to figure out “What’s next?” and “How can I change the world?” Starting AONC was my attempted answer at both.
As for other people, I like to ask questions as well. “What excites you? What bothers you? What would you really love to do?” are good starting points. Sometimes we need to start with self-discovery, as you mentioned, and then continue toward the greater goal of aligning our passions with the needs of others.
Brigitte: There was something that drove you to West Africa to begin with. I know you don’t like to rest on that, but it was pretty amazing. What sparked that drive?
Chris: I always said I would do something like that but never actually did anything about it. Over time if you say one thing and do another, that leads to discontent. So I was discontented myself, in other words, and finally managed to take action on it. And the story goes on from there!