Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Authenticity and Professionalism

Last week I did an Explore Enterprise Course with The Prince's Trust. One of the points they tried to make was on branding, marketing and professional image.

The lady held up two signs, each made of A4 paper in a poly-pocket, that said:

" Eggs for sale.
    fresh eggs   "

One was handwritten, legibly, in blue felt pen. One was printed out in a bold Arial font. She asked us all which sign we liked best.

She was surprised to find that at least four of us preferred the hand-written sign, instead of the "more professional, printed out one."

It was quite funny, but very interesting. I'm sure in the past I might have thought the one printed off the computer was more professional (like say, when I was a seven year old), but there is a large section of society that demands a more authentic version of "professional".

I think she made her point, but not quite in the way she intended.

Those of us who preferred the handwritten sign said the computer printed sign made us wonder whether these eggs were as fresh as they say. Why does someone with fresh eggs have time to faff around with printers? Their eggs did not seem free-range, even though they possibly were.

And here's another point I felt but didn't quite find the right words for at the time: Why on earth did they pick Arial? It could just be that the person in question doesn't really understand fonts the way most people involved in graphics do. Which is fine. You don't have to know anything about fonts and graphics to use a printer. But I want to buy eggs from someone cooler. My boyfriend said later, it would be even better if the sign were made of blackboard and chalk.

Alright guys, that's all for now. Here's your reward for making it through the text. Thanks to 5ifty2wo for showing me this.

Follow this blog for more pearls of apparently not obvious wisdom, or follow me on Twitter @CharGyse if that's more your thing.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Being a graduate with no job feels like being a salmon.

This morning I woke up bright and early. I needed to give myself enough time to walk south towards the Magic Roundabout. There I was to attend a meeting of great importance, and I needed to get there early. Just over a dozen young people, between the ages of 16 and 30, had congregated here for the introductory Enterprise Start-up Information Session.

Yesterday I made a similar trip, walking from my boyfriend's flat in Canton towards my own place in Roath, and then on to the Cafe Nero to meet up with a business advisor from A4enterprise. He seemed nice and fairly chatty, admitting that usually he wouldn't be wearing a suit for the first meeting. He went over the programme and what would happen when, and then we agreed some deadlines for some business plans. I felt very good after this meeting, what with the sun shining away and my belly full of free hot chocolate and a feeling that I would succeed at becoming self-employed and self supporting through my idea to sell both art and art supplies via a website I would create.

Later that evening, the feeling disappeared completely. In its place lay a wriggling worm of doubt.

After finding numerous sellers of art supplies AND people on forums asking questions about selling art supplies, I started to feel like this wasn't my game. It seemed like such a good idea - sell art supplies because you can think like an artist who hates to spend money. But this is where the problem lies. If I were to really be the best art supply seller I could ever imagine, I would be giving the supplies to the artists for free, and giving them money for the work they produce! This is clearly not a realistically self-sustaining business plan.

The business would fail miserably.

After the information sessions today, I decided that I can't make this enterprise my plan for primary employment. This painty, creative, fun kind of art will be something I do, but it will be something I do on the side. I will have to find a different primary career for income.

I googled the definition of entrepreneur. They don't mind risk at all. I, on the other hand, can barely stand it.

So, I'm going to continue getting this entrepreneurship advice if only to set this art thing up on the side, but I will simultaneously be looking hard for an admin or office job of some kind. I've always considered office jobs as "not an option" because of the thought of being trapped in a box. I've realised now though, that I'm not really the claustrophobic type, especially when the choice is between hiding in the box or being devoured screaming and kicking by cold existence.

Follow this blog to follow the tale of how I eventually die.
Will it be warm, happy and loved in a snug bed at the age of 120 years?
Or penniless and deranged at the age of 23?*
I also occasionally use Twitter, so if you really like using Twitter, you can follow me at @CharGyse.

*(I hope not. I'm 23 now)