Liz Griffin, of Griffin Creative is passionate about people, growth and making change happen. She has a strategic mind for creating solutions, and big vision concepts. Liz and I have gotten to work together a bit this year on some dynamic client projects, and when two creatives (graphic designer & writer) get together and bring their insight and expertise to the table it's a win, win. Partnering together with other professionals in the same industry, or similar industries, often elevates the work created and the customer experience you are able to offer.
Among the many creative avenues Liz finds herself involved with, one of those avenues is her newsletter "Baller Status". Once a month she will interview one of her followers, so I thought it was time to turn the mic around and interview the interviewer. Liz was kind enough to let me ask her a few questions, so lets see what the Baller herself has to say...
Let's start with ... your 3 second commercial - tell us who is The Liz Griffin?
I am a writer, pep talk giver, creative and justice seeker. I believe that people's imaginations are meant to change the world for good. I work with an anti-trafficking organization called UnBound and have a creative agency called The Griffin Creative. In addition to that I write over at thelizgriffin.com. Coffee is my drug of choice, London is my favorite city and unicorns are one of my favorite things. Not cats though. I really don't like cats very much.
How would you describe "abolitionist" and "ideation strategist" to second graders?
I would describe an abolitionist as someone who works for the rights and freedoms of others. And I'd have to explain an ideation strategist as a person who comes up with ideas and ways to make them happen.
In your field, what 2 or 3 things would you consider to be your expertise?
Oh gosh. Well I guess it would be brand strategy and messaging. I love working with people to create a clear identity and path of growth for their business or project. Messaging would probably be my main area of expertise. Words are my jam and stringing them together to create the right message for the target audience is my favorite thing I do.
What is your favorite meal to cook for your family?
My favorite meal to cook for my family has to be maple roasted chicken, sweet potatoes and fruit salad. Hands down.
Being out in the creative work force as a self-employed entrepreneur, what is your strategy for making the "thing you do" an actual business and not just a hobby or a good idea?
Over time my strategy has shifted as I really narrowed what the "thing I do" is. Growth is a very important thing to leave room for. Each time I decide to take a step forward in my career I try it out for awhile as a hobby and see if I am actually good at it. Plus getting experience doing it gives me time to clarify exactly what it is I am wanting to build. Having like-minded people around me that are also entrepreneurs is really valuable too. A community of people who are aiming for the same things have been a constant source of help. I tend to "soft launch" my idea and then get that community's feedback. It has saved me lots of time and money getting as much clarity on the front end as possible. I think that is the reason most people stay stuck in the "dreaming" stage. They have ideas but not enough clarity to act. Trouble is usually you don't get that needed clarity until you kind of test drive the idea for a while.
What are 3 of your favorite books?
At the end of the day what 5 things matter to you?
Oh gosh. Thats hard to narrow down. Guess it would be :
- growing closer to God
- loving my family well
- influencing my generation
- living bravely
- helping people in a profound way
Most of us gleam from the wisdom and advice from those who have gone ahead. Among many things, YOU HAVE :
• lived in a couple different cultures
• had to pioneer hard ground to start different ventures out of nothing
• children of your own, and are in the process of adopting
• started your own business and still make time for rich community
• you have stayed on top of and in-tune to the global, technical, and
relational world around you...
What gives? What bit of wisdom or advice can you share?
What gives? I guess I am a bit insane! I started traveling the world in kindergarten and have been blessed to hear the stories of people in over twenty nations. I think when you engage the "bigger picture" in that way it allows you to see what really matters to you. I aim to accomplish a lot in my life and that means that I say "no" to a lot of things. I don't go to every social event or participate in every professional opportunity. I am very focused on who I want to become as a person and as a business. Plus, I don't believe in being insanely busy. If I don't have time to enjoy the life I am living, then I need to cut things out. So my advice would be to decide what really matters and not give in the the pressure to do or be more than that. Fight for clarity in your relationships and goals both. But always say "yes" to impromptu road trips. Those are the best.
This phrase from Sean Wes has been on my mind all week…
Yes, in context this phrase is more in vein of work - creating work, taking advantage of other's work, not creating because we are too busy consuming... and so on. As a graphic designer, that is enough to chew on for a while. However, this morning I was spending time in the Word, reading some in Romans and thinking about this phrase at the same time. The gist of the passage was, you are saved because you have heard about Jesus through someone sharing with you, and you have believed. But there are people who don't believe because no one has shared with them, so they haven't heard. It made me think about how when we are good and comfortable (we have what we want and need, whatever that looks like), we can easily take advantage of that. In this case, I have believed, and I know Jesus as my savior. I "consume" His word. I "consume" His presence. I "consume" the gifts He provides through blessings and the body of Christ. But do I share that? Do I create a place for others to have that?
When I got up to head into work, the thought ran across my mind, "You just "consumed" this passage, but will it stick? Will it change you? Will you remember what you "consumed" in this moment tomorrow? Will you utilize this for the better, or will it be wasted?
Think about it. Every day, all day, we consume whatever we want - good or bad. Will the objects, experiences, and resources that are in front of us and at our finger tips each day be simply depleted, or ingested? Will we remember tomorrow what we created, read, made, felt, or gave today?
Thinking about the time I spend consuming rather than "creating", or "sharing", or "giving", or "reading" or "dreaming" ...what will that look like one day? Will what I have to contribute be full, or empty? Maybe today I will challenge my self to sketch for a hour instead of viewing all the beautiful work someone else has created.
Who inspiring and challenging you these days?
If you are a creative entrepreneur, and you’re not listening to Sean Wes on his weekly podcast, you should check it out! Not only does his creative and business experience cause me to think about work differently, but it also bleeds over into other areas.
— Surround yourself with people that make you want to be better —
I am so blessed to get to work with clients like mine! When companies (large and small) trust me and my experience in the graphic design world to create, collaborate and brainstorm with them, it's the best compliment. I try to look for ways to offer and build trusting relationships through my business, and with the people I get to work with and serve daily. Having new clients inquire because past clients have recommended them is both humbling and weighty (in the best way). We all have a responsibility to build loyalty, value and trust with the people we interact with the most, and with the service and work we put forward.
— Surround yourself with people that make you want to be better —
Jordan and I loved celebrating National Small Business Week in Austin, Texas with The UPS Store.
As a very NEW small biz owner myself, I thrive on receiving the advice from others that have gone before me and from those who are in the same boat. Learning and growing from each other and with each other is (in my opinion) how we keep going, stay creative and innovative. We all are "experts" in our own way and experiences with something to share and contribute.
Check out my bits of my story from the post "A Honest Truth About Running a Small Business". I would enjoy hearing what your journey has been like as well!
My husband and I took a short trip to Nashville recently and I came back refreshed and inspired. It was a great mix of work, rest, and play.
It was my first time experiencing Nashville and I fell in love with the city. It was full of art, culinary innovation, culture and charm—oh and, of course, music!
If you ever find yourself in the lovely city of Nashville, here are a few spots we really dug:
1 // Driving through the West End, Hillsboro and Bellmead to take it all in.
3 // If you love letterpress, walk through the Onmi downtown and visit Hatch Show Print.
5 // We also hiked for three hours through Edwin Warner Park. The trails were breathtaking!
As a graphic designer, I find it really inspiring to observe design in other places, spaces and cities. Some of the things I like to look for (and you can, too!) are classic design that has been there forever, what is hip and trendy right now, and how different businesses are really capitalizing on the value of a good design to market and carry their brand. Because of my love and intrigue for typography, I had a field day with some of the branding I saw in Nashville at The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden, The Gaylord Opryland Hotel, and over at Hattie B.
Are there any other Nashville treasures I should add to the list for next time? I would love to hear about them!
... As this busy week comes to an end, I am grateful for so many wonderful clients I get to partner with daily. Thank you for your business.