What does a typical day for you consist of?
As a business owner, I wear many hats and my days can look differently depending on the tasks at hand. In order for me to accomplish my to-do list, I have learned to time-block my days. This allows me to control what I can and make room for the unexpected occurrences that come up as an entrepreneur.
Each Monday morning I check out Asana, the project management tool we use, to determine the week’s task load. Then I spend time creating blocks for client work around my scheduled phone calls meetings, as well as the administrative tasks so that I can stay focused and productive. At the beginning of the week, I focus on deadline driven projects such as designing websites, print materials and such. Later in the week, I focus on recurring projects such as crafting social media content scheduling.
Though I am a business owner, I have to remember that I’m first a creative. I have found that making time for a daily stroll- something that gets me outside – reignites my creativity. Towards the end of the work day, I tie up loose project strings and respond to any outstanding emails. And once the work day is over, I change my phone’s notifications for work related communication to silent. In the evenings, if I’m not networking with friends colleagues, I do my best to give my time attention to my family.
What advice would you give someone considering this career?
Regardless of your career choice, I suggest you find a mentor. A mentor is someone who is further ahead in their career and willing to share their experience expertise with you. I have a few I consider mentors and I’m grateful for each one’s wisdom when I’ve had questions or hesitations.
If you choose a creative career, I would recommend surrounding yourself with other creatives. You can find other creatives at meet-ups, conferences and online. Finding people who have similar career interests will keep you inspired along with a circle of people who understand the hardships of this industry.
Finally, keep learning. Should you choose a career in the tech industry, it is always changing. Stay ahead by educating yourself whether it’s through workshops, certifications, online courses, or conferences. Having a career in tech as a creative keeps you on your toes and you surely don’t have time to fall behind. Find joy in becoming a lifelong learner.
What is a book or movie that has inspired you?
Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull is a book that inspired me as a creative, but also as a leader. First, I loved reading this book because of my love for Pixar. The biggest take away from this book for me personally is learning when a leader allows space to dream, brainstorm, discuss and contribute then the team ultimately wins. Since reading this book, my conversations with clients during our onboarding phase look different. I listen more carefully and allow our clients to dream bigger because each person’s contribution matters and different perspectives can ignite new ideas. Ed Catmull addresses failure, reframing ideas, and embracing change. Those three concepts alone can determine if an entrepreneur will push forward during hard times or crumble under the pressure. I love this book and regardless if you are in the tech field, a creative or business owner, I highly recommend reading Creativity, Inc.
Do you (or your company) offer internships or job shadow opportunities to high school students? If so, how would a student go about applying for one of those?
As a small business owner, we haven’t set up a program to offer internships or job shadowing opportunities. However, if a student is interested in either of those opportunities, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to discuss what that might look like and how you can be our first!
Jenn Slayton is the co-founder & lead designer of Gulf Coast Pixel. After years in a classroom as a teacher, she journeyed back to the (virtual) classroom as a student to make a career shift into User Experience Design. She applies the same creative thinking, effective preparation, and assessments as she did in the classroom to now produce results for clients.
Jenn has had the privilege of designing multiple apps, websites, and digital products for large corporations, small to mid-sized businesses and even start-ups. She’s worked with teams, and other times she’s been the lone freelancer. Jenn collaborated with a team based in Dallas and designed two digital marketing ads that appeared in New York’s Times Square.
In 2017, Jenn & her husband, Alex, launched Gulf Coast Pixel. With her expertise in design & his solid education in full-stack development, it was the perfect opportunity to start their business. Now, they work together on digital projects for clients all over the country. Their passion for seeing others win drives their dedication and determination in providing exceptional products & results.
Jenn Slayton lives in Katy, Texas with her husband, Alex, & their two children, Lexi & Grady. When she’s not designing cool stuff, she ubers her kids to their activities and volunteers as the Captain on the Communications Team of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo’s Souvenir Program Committee.