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Business Spotlight: Joshua Huisenga of Chalkbox Creative

Featured today is Joshua Huisenga, pronounced (hi • zen • gay), of Chalkbox Creative!
Tell us a little bit about what you do (how could I introduce you at a cocktail party?).
You might introduce me as the owner of a small design firm in Seattle called Chalkbox Creative. We provide design services for good people doing good work, including branding/logo work, print design, web design, and illustration. Personally, I take great satisfaction in a thing well made, which works well in my profession. It also allows me to appreciate Jenny’s stellar work.

When did you start on the path to where you are now?

I found the path before I knew a path was a thing. I have a collection of sketch books that goes back to elementary school, and I was drawing before that. My family of artists, performers, and carpenters nurtured my need to make things. I did get lost in the Engineering department for my first semester of University. That was short-lived—I quickly found my way across campus to the Montana State University School of Art. Definitely the right path for me.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love to make things. It’s a bonus that this enjoyment can lead to our clients’ success and provide for my livelihood. I feel very lucky that I get to do this work. I think back to that Engineering stint. It was awful, and would have led to a bit more misery, I’d guess.
Where would you most likely be found when you are not at work?
When not at work, I am usually on the living room floor with my son. We draw, color, and build things. Kind of like my job, but with a very different kind of client.

Unlike most parents and their chalkboard signs, Josh just sent his son off to school with this hand drawn image for first-day photos.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned through your work?
That’s a big question. One thing I’ve learned is not to get too comfortable. That goes for design—keep pushing things until it’s right, not just good enough. It also goes for the business, though. I did get too comfortable, and while my business was successful, it wasn’t growing or going anywhere. It was easy, and static. A smart fellow has been coaching me and holding me accountable to all sorts of things that are not comfortable, but have really made a huge difference in my business and life. If you can’t push yourself, you have to find someone to push you.

If you had to give one piece of advice to someone starting out in your industry, what would it be?

That’s easy. Hire Jenny so your headshot on LinkedIn helps you shine. Beyond that, I love talking to graduates who are just getting started. I try to tell them the things I wish I had been thinking about as a rookie. The thing I most wish I had done was think strategically about my first jobs. Instead of a “sure I can do that for you… forever,” thinking, “sure I can do that for you, for now, and that will lead to the next step in my career development.” I didn’t think about that, because I got too comfortable. I believe I could have gotten to where I am 5 or 10 years earlier if I’d been a bit wiser on that front.

 

Are you interested in being featured in a Business Spotlight? Need an updated headshot? Why not both? Let’s chat!

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT: LUCINDA O’HALLORAN OF SPIRIT GARDEN DESIGN

Featured today is Lucinda O’Halloran of Spirit Garden Design!
Tell us a little bit about what you do (how could I introduce you at a cocktail party?).
I am a landscape designer and a garden coach.  At Spirit Garden Design our goal is to create beautiful, functional, and magical outdoor places.  Places that are filled with interesting textures, year round interest, and are personalized to bring our clients enjoyment for many years.  Our gardens are also designed with the environment in mind.  By providing food, shelter, and water, birds, bees, and butterflies return again and again.
When did you start on the path to where you are now?
I started on this path over 20 years ago with a career change from being a systems analyst sitting behind a computer all day.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love designing beautiful outdoor places that enhance my clients’ lives and their environments and showing people how to care for them.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned through your work?
People really want to be heard so we listen.  Our goal is to fulfill our clients’ desires, in harmony with their environment.  It’s one of the things that sets us apart from the competition.
If you had to give one piece of advice to someone starting out in your industry, what would it be?
Get a good education, develop your own style, and take time to smell the roses and have fun!