Friday, February 13, 2009

Meeting our Challenges

This is the start of a new series that will appear from time to time. I'm asking professionals in various fields what their challenges are on a day basis. I'd love to hear what other questions my readers would like to hear covered.

Meet Anne Bean
Anne Bean is the owner of, which assists retailers, designers, and manufacturers in the NeedleArts industry with their marketing and technology needs. Formerly a public school band and choir director, she has turned her knitting and computer expertise into a profession. She lives in rural Paris, Arkansas, with her husband and an elderly dog. Anne enjoys being with her sons and their families, music, knitting, being on the internet, and traveling with her husband.

What is your greatest daily business challenge?

I challenge myself every day to use my time wisely. When I don't have a clock to punch, it's easy to get sucked into spending too much time on one task at the expense of another. Along with that is the challenge to organize tasks well so that I'm getting each thing done in the most efficient manner possible.

What is your greatest career challenge?
I left behind a previous career due to burnout. Even though I'm loving every moment of this new profession, I'm being careful to pace myself and be very deliberate in my actions, because I really don't want to experience burnout again. I also feel challenged to establish my credibility in an industry where I'm creating my own job description; very few, if any, people are doing what I'm doing in the NeedleArts industry.

Meet Christian Messer
Whiplash Design is the home of Fresh, Succulent, and Organic identity and branding solutions. Created and launched by Christian Messer, Whiplash Design has thrived and succeeded in carving out an identity and branding niche for itself. Working with small to medium sized businesses, Messer has assisted companies strengthen their current branding, or create brand-new identities for them. Whiplash Design has been featured in many publications, including Jeff Fisher’s first book, “The Savvy Designer’s Guide To Success: Ideas and Tactics for a Killer Career.”
What is your greatest daily business challenge?

My greatest daily challenge hands-down, time management! I was fortunate to run across David Allen’s Getting Things Done book and system, but even thought I have it in place and try hard to follow it - I falter somewhere along the way. My weakest link I discovered is the “Weekly Review” where you really look at the upcoming week, and review all that you’ve done etc. It doesn’t help when you have what he calls “Work as it Appears” - which means things that come up and screw up your days timeline and productivity. These can be triggers like a phone call from a client, and unexpected demand from a client or something that happens personally (like falling off your porch while getting the paper. Hasn’t happened to me, but I have colleagues who’ve experienced this!)

What is your greatest career challenge?

Cash flow! It is the one thing that just happens to be part of going out on your own and being an independent business person. My profession is graphic design, both web and print. Like everyone else, I experience the revenue roller-coaster ride when it comes to projects consistently coming in. To combat this, I have scouted out several opportunities for passive income and will implement them soon. This is really the only way to be certain that money is flowing. Passive income works whether you are working, sleeping, or scuba diving!

Meet Todd Chandler

Focused on learning and performance for over 18 years, Todd is passionate about creating the ultimate customer experience. His blog is at

What is your greatest daily business challenge?
The greatest daily business challenge I face is communication. Different departments operate in silos and often communicate only when they need something. I know that sword has two sides in that I don't always share everything I should, not because I don't want to, but because I don't think to. One recent example involved a change I made to a process that I didn't realize impacted another department. It's tough to foresee all the cause and effect relationships of every decision and communicate them properly.

And if that's not enough of a challenge, even though I don't get all the information I need, I do get a ton of it. So I have to weed through it to get to the stuff I need. And, yes, that works both ways too. I push out unneeded information at times as well. Honestly, that's usually just to cover myself, not to truly inform. With those two issues going both ways, I'm sure there is a quadrant model to be created in there some where. I need a Google-like solution that would allow me to get the right information in the right amount at the right time.

What is your greatest career challenge?
My greatest career challenge is figuring out what my career path is. I've reach the top of my specialized pyramid and want to keep growing. There's not an obvious next step to take within my current environment. I love the company and the people I work with, but there is no where to advance to. So the choice becomes to stay put in a place I love and not move up; or risk another environment in search of additional responsibilities. On that issue, I simply procrastinate the fork in the road by taking a Candide approach to my work and remind myself to tend to my garden.

That's a great note to end on and I want to thank all my professionals for their time in answering these questions!

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