Behind The Curtain With A Graphic Designer

It goes without saying that within every industry can be found hidden secrets. Read insights and tips to consider when you find yourself working with creatives.

It goes without saying that within every industry can be found hidden secrets. For me I’ve always found that you can uncover these secrets by asking questions, keeping up with industry groups and through reflection on my personal experiences.

Today’s Urban Guide comes from my experience working as a professional marketing director and graphic design coordinator. As I work with many start-up organizations or business leaders I often share some insights and tips to consider when you find yourself working with creatives. Read some ‘behind the curtain’ insights when working with a graphic designer/creative.

Download the PDF Urban Guide Below


It is easier and cheaper to work with a creative than you think. Check out freelance sites

Know what you want out of the connection

Review the contract and scope of work in detail, don’t be afraid to ask and ensure you get what you want

Styles change but make sure the work you pay for will last for a longer time

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Money is that you?

A short article on financial intelligence for my fellow galaxy navigators. True wealth is created not by working for money but by having money work for you. Changing my outlook from “money is that you, come aboard” to “Great, everyones on board, let’s all recruit some more” I feel is just the beginning of a shift in my financial intelligence and I can’t wait to learn and share more.

A short article on financial intelligence for my fellow galaxy navigators.

The wealthiest people aren’t those who work hard, go to school and secure awesome jobs. True wealth is created not by working for money but by having money work for you. In the next 2 minutes you’ll read why I think everyone should start changing their common ideals about money to an alternative mindset. Consider: how can I grow my asset and investment columns to incrementally more than my expenses and credits.

Growing up I knew that I had to work if I wanted money, so I did. I knew I had to save money to create more money, ideally at the time i focused on interest and TFSAs. I was bad for consumer spending and whatever was leftover after taxes went to my school expenses. I only realized halfway through school, thanks to the helpful teachings of my then boyfriend, now fiancee, that I should know where my money coming from and where it’s going at all times. Sadly many young Canadians still don’t know how to do that or where to even start?

I wanted to know more so he gave me his copy of Robert Kiyosaki’s Personal Finance Book “Rich Dad Poor Dad”. This book is great if you want to increase your understanding of how to create the financial lifestyle of a millionaire+ and starting young is an advantage.

  1. Traditional education teaches kids how to grow up to be a functioning role in society. 
  2. The rich teach their kids about money from an earlier age than middle and low-income families.
  3. The rich don’t work for money, they make money work for them (i.e. income generating assets, investments, real estate)
  4. Start small and mind your OWN business 
  5. Your job is a profession, your business is what you do
  6. The rich don’t necessarily pay taxes (Idea: put money into corporations, more favourable tax rates, locations my vary)
  7. Don’t quit your job yet, use positive momentum from assets to push you to excel at work
  8. Many people miss the golden opportunity right in front of them, sometimes it hurts to play it safe

Changing my outlook from “money is that you, come aboard” to “Great, everyones on board, let’s all recruit some more” I feel is just the beginning of a shift in my financial intelligence and I can’t wait to learn and share more.
Try not to be consumed in what you don’t have and focus on what you got that can get you further. You’ll be surprised how fast you grow.

Read more solid tips like this in ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’

Thanks for Reading this Urban Guide

Reflecting On 2018: 10 Insights into Full-Time Work from an Ontario Recent Grad & Tips for Companies Hiring

As of January 2018, I had never spent 40 hours per week in one location ever. I thought it was going to be hard to show up at the same place day after day and be useful in one role. That’s because like many of new graduates I had always considered myself a student first, working for grades and only the occasional part time job. I looked at full-time work as unsatisfying, unmotivating, and just a means to and end. Safe to say some of my pre-employment opinions have changed.

Full-time hours are not like school. Rather than having a scheduled timetable you do day-to-day tasks that help push the department or company objectives. Depending on the size of the organization you may feel like your role is of great importance or that you are just a number.  A large responsibility of every organization is to create an environment for their staff that encourages a sense of belonging – especially now, in 2019 and certainly for the future. Times are changing, employers must adapt to what the new generation is demanding otherwise they’ll miss out on the best talent.

Obviously, responsibilities are different across every role, industry, company, department, etc. but unlike school you are expected to do your best every time. At work you cannot justify cutting corners simply because something is only worth 2% of a final grade. Every task will reflect on your abilities, knowledge of the work, drive, and over time the success in your career. Nothing goes unnoticed in the work world, and someone is always watching.  

Career – a word that could have so many meanings. Have you thought about your career? Is a career different than a job? How does education factor into your desired career and does it really matter? I’m not here to answer these questions today but here’s a summary of some insights based on my first year working full-time

10. Your time is not yours

Even though you think that you’ll only be there for 8-9 hours and there’s plenty of time left in the day, your “personal time” is limited. Preparing for work, getting adequate sleep, meal prepping, and commuting take time away from your day

9. What do I really know about my co-workers?

The office is a mixed bag of people – depending on where you work you may end up meeting individuals whom you’d never think to even talk to before.  It’s not like class where you’ll be placed with new peers next semester. Take the time and be friendly to everyone and you’ll be surprised who you meet.

8. Online frenemies

Corporate email writing style is a learning curve – experience may vary but always double check what you’re sending, the relevance to the subject matter, and who it’s going to before you press send. Make sure your correct attachments are loaded and try not to send an email in haste or anger. After a relationship is weakened it gets harder and harder to re-build. You’ll end up avoiding them altogether (like i sometimes do now).

7. “Don’t you get tired of eating the same thing?”

Meal Prepping is a way of life – to stay organized I’ve found than meal prepping every Sunday works for me. I rarely buy lunches and have started to enjoy creating various meals that are enjoyable and healthy. If you tend to get bored of the same meal, cook in smaller portions and create 2 or 3 different variations. Meal prep blog post coming 2019.

6. Connection takes effort

Get to know management – It may seem intimidating at first, but they want you to succeed. Spend some time taking to the leaders in your department, office, and your direct supervisors. If you can relate on a personal level, the work part may not seem so disconnecting. Stand out if there is an opportunity to, they will remember you if you try.

5. Look alive it’s the 9-5

They day is long – 40 Hours is a lot especially when you don’t have a lot of work or just finished a project. Staring at the clock will drain you. So, if you can and time will allow it, complete your tasks at a reasonable speed. Unless otherwise stated, nothing is always urgent, and excellence takes time.

4. “Have you heard?”

Office gossip and politics are real – You’ve seen it portrayed on TV and in movies but if you listen closely and connect with others in the office there are many versions of reality at play, even at work. Try not to feed into it or get caught spreading it – maintain a positive character in the workplace is important because, I repeat, someone is always watching.

3. This hurts in a motivating type of way

You may get spoken to in a way that you’re not 100% comfortable with – Everyone makes mistakes and that’s expected especially as new graduates. Bosses know it’s your first full-time position and that you’re bound to have some error while you’re learning. Never take disrespect but one thing to remind yourself is that you are these to show how you succeed. If something makes you feel bummed out for a couple of hours, just bounce it off your back, treat is as an opportunity to show more success now, and promise yourself to do better next time.

2. Demonstrate Attention to Detail

A common theme in all my posts is maintaining strong focus on your goals this requires attention to details. Your bosses are not always right – At times you may wonder how they even got their jobs. Everyone makes mistakes and that includes supervisors too. Don’t be afraid to help them realize their errors and use it as an opportunity to show your purpose and understanding. If it goes unnoticed it may lead to a bigger mistake down the line and you just saved them. Your only loyalty is to yourself.

1. Evaluate on your own scale

Look ahead and think about what’s on the horizon – This is something that we are fortunate to have coming out of school. Evaluations are present in our lives and we use them to navigate our personal guides.

Students are thinking about planning for the next semester, or the following year. Many full-time workers do not because they leave evaluations up to our employers and get comfortable in where they are and stop looking ahead find themselves stuck in the same place for years. Always search for the next opportunity or role you want and put active steps in place to achieve it.

Provide constructive feedback on your own valued criteria. A new Ubran Guide on creating your own person and professional goals analysis chart coming soon.

Thanks for reading this Urban Guide

You Are What You Post – 5 Lessons for Online Security

Technology is a unique landscape that is constantly changing by way of faster programs, smarter intelligence, and the human drive to improve. What was once thought of as strong in 2014 is now considered weak. So evolving and adapting to the landscape is of great importance for all users.  

The old saying – you are the company you keep, has forced many to keenly monitor their actions in the universe.  The activities & choices of friends and associates can reflect back on your reputation.

Those you associate with are inherently a reflection of what you like, enjoy, or otherwise subscribe to.  Likewise the acquaintances you choose to avoid and distance yourself from are representations of what you don’t particularly follow in the tangible sense of the word. This is true in the online digital space as much as it is in real life.


Fellow travellers, this post is meant to remind us all that you are what you post and offer 5 simple techniques to improve online security.

I remember begging my parents to let me have Facebook back in grade 5 because I was moving to a new middle school and needed to be able to stay in contact with my old friends. After some serious grovelling to my ‘traditionally minded yet modern’ mother, she agreed to let me create my first online profile. What I remember most of course was the lengthy lecture I got about digital permanency and that whatever I post is out there forever.

Lessons like these can really make or break a juvenile kid, especially when cyber-bulling, online violence, and hacking are within the capabilities of the users fingertips.


You are what you post

Technology is a unique landscape that is constantly changing by way of faster programs, smarter intelligence, and the human drive to improve. What was once thought of as strong in 2014 is now considered weak. So evolving and adapting to the landscape is of great importance for all users.

Here are 5 techniques for Online Security brought to you by ZD Net:

5) Be Mindful of the Apps that you Install

Each time you install an app, it will ask you for permissions to use your phone’s features or data, like your contacts, photos, camera, or even the phone dialer itself.

Remember: if an app is free, you’re paying for it in some other way — and usually it’s with your data.

4) Set Stronger Passcodes

Don’t rely on your trusted favourite four digit sequence to stop threats from reaching your device. A common mistake users make is simply using easy to remember dates as their first line of defence.

Whether you’re signing up for a weekly newsletter, or changing the password for your primary inbox, consider U@!NG $TR0nG3R P@$$w0rD$.

3) Public Wi-Fi Networks Are A Big ‘No’

Remember: If you ever use a public network, like a Wi-Fi hotspot in a coffee shop or anywhere else, be extremely careful. Treat this network as though every page you visit will be monitored — which may expose your personal information, including your usernames and passwords.

2) Consider Deleting Accounts You No Longer User

If you know you have an account that you never use, delete it. Holding onto these old accounts may expose you to greater hacks or intrusions down the line, even if they’ve been inactive for a while.

Log in and shut down the account.  

If that account is still linked to other sites and services — like your social networking account or two-factor authentication — an attacker could log into those accounts by resetting your passwords sent to your old email address.

1)  Beware the Hard Part

There’s a lot you can do to ensure your personal security and data privacy, but all too often it takes two to tango — in that you should ask your friends, colleagues, and others you communicate with to also jump in.

When it comes to messaging and communication, you put your privacy in their hands as they do yours. It’s a collective effort that everyone can — and should — support. 

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more Urban Guides.

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The 3 things every intern should know – Somewhere between school and work is a unique opportunity to be a “working-student.”

Use the opportunity as a chance to reflect on how you’ve grown and the skills you’ve learned. While it’s fresh in your mind, update your resume and practice speaking out loud about your learning for future interviews.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy this Urban Guide.

Internships and co-op experiences allow students and/or recent grads to gain work experience in industries that interest them. So keep reading to find out the 3 things every intern should know. 

I recently started my position as a business technical analyst intern in the corporate office of a non-profit organization. Now, this is not my first rodeo in a ‘trial employment’ situation. Back when I was interested in pursuing a career in broadcast journalism I worked closely with a local producer at Rogers TV and found that working with adults that were already established is a great learning experience for any student. The following are great ways to make the most out of any internship: 

1. Guide your experience with learning goals 

Entering the position a normal student may feel a mixture of excitement, nervousness, and well, confusion about what it is they will be asked to do. This is why you should start your internship with 3 or 4 learning goals that can better structure how you approach the position. Goals do not have to be permanent – they can be modified each week or month to better guide and organize your work.

Share the learning goals with your supervisor and make it a priority to communicate why you are there (because after all, you may or may not be getting paid here). Using outcomes that are meaningful that can be used to develop your resume/portfolio are just as good as a salary. 

Some examples of learning goals:

  • Enrich my knowledge of broadcast journalism by participating in live and taped productions.
  • Develop my professional network by stepping out of my comfort zone and introducing myself to 6 new people.
  • Enhance my design skills by creating a poster for the new business campaign.

2. Take Initiative 

Want to be a memorable intern? Standing out amongst the other co-op students by focusing on how you can excel at tasks that are within your capabilities is a great way to do that. (It may sound harsh but it’s what a leader would do).

Given that you are new to the organization wont know everything. However initiative can be as simple as finishing work efficiently, before deadlines, and/or volunteering to take additional work. 

Speaking up and asking questions to upper management.

Introverts: We live in a communicating world. Just take a deep breath, prepare your thoughts, and speak. 9 times out of 10 the person will be more focused on answering your question/statement than how it was asked/said.

Working with the learning goals you set for yourself can be used as a way to show initiative. Ask for feedback about your performance and align the constructive criticism with those goals, modify if necessary.

Just get involved! 

3. Leave on a positive note 

It is important to remember that this internship may or may not be paid. Nonetheless, considering the references and letter of recommendations you may receive can be extremely helpful in securing your next ‘real’ position.

Many jobs nowadays ask for 3 to 5 years of experience which is ridiculous because how do they expect us students to manage working that much while we’re in school. A benefit that internships have is they allow your ‘working-student’ experiences to count as relevant work experience.

So again, focus on building a positive relationship by putting your best foot forward and leaving the position on a positive note , it can make all the difference further down your chosen path.


Use the opportunity as a chance to reflect on how you’ve grown and the skills you’ve learned. While it’s fresh in your mind, update your resume and practice speaking out loud about your learning. Most likely it will come up in a future interview so practice practice practice!

Consider situational interview questions such as:

“Tell me a time where your displayed initiative?”

“Describe a challenge you overcame, and how you did that?”

“How do you work in a team? Provide an example of a time you worked collaboratively.” 

The Expert in anything was once a Beginner. – Unknown

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Guest Blog: Overcome Procrastination

Devise smaller manageable tasks to ensure a more attainable vision. Learn to enjoy the process without wasting time fearing for the outcome.

Hey there, galaxy navigators!

My name is Renée. I run a lifestyle and wellness blog called In Control & Caffeinated, but today, I am excited to be steering you through the galaxy with my very own urban guide — Let’s kick procrastination to the curb, once and for all!


None of us asked to be born and yet here we are, endowed with responsibilities to boot – Bizarre, right? “Be a productive member of society”, they say, and it’s more of an expectation than a suggestion. Pfft.
If I know one thing for sure, it’s that The Amanda Show was an early 2000’s Nickelodeon gem. I identified with a character called, “The Procrastinator”, a spoofy superhero whose catchphrase was, “EEE-VENTUALLY”. Revisit this sketch. It’s a classic. I’ll wait…

I knew that I tended to procrastinate, but I have since learned that procrastination is not a sign of a Netflix obsession, laziness or disinterest. Procrastination is rather a manifestation of perfectionism, and a means to avoid challenging feelings like frustration and rejection.

Ironically, I have rewritten the first part of this post over 10 times and am still not happy with it. If you are anything like me, fear of failure or not meeting your own expectations gets in the way of productivity all too often. While you are certainly being told by others to “be a productive member of society”, more often than not, your voice is the loudest of them all.

Being a perfectionist means you are a high-aiming visionary. Overcoming procrastination then, is a matter of dialling your perfectionism back and leveraging those good qualities to develop strategies toward a “healthy pursuit of excellence”.

Stop, Start, Continue: 


Equating self worth with your performance:

The term “off day” is here to remind us that a little failure every now and then is no reflection of our character, but is actually quite normal. Work hard, strive for attainable excellence and be proud!

Waiting for the perfect moment:

Something is always holding you back from just diving in; the time never feels entirely right, and it never will. Choose to dive in and to enjoy the process, because you are totally capable.


Understanding the root of your procrastination:

I’m officially calling you out on avoiding your feelings. Feeling all the feels builds resilience; let it happen. Remember that you are your toughest critic; take it easy on yourself by setting yourself up for success (check out my previous post to learn how to do this).

Prioritizing your tasks and optimizing your time:

Devise smaller manageable tasks to ensure a more attainable vision. Learn to enjoy the process (consider employing the pomodoro technique) without wasting time fearing for the outcome.


Striving high (but not too high)!

Dial it back like three notches. No need to settle for satisfactory, but in the wise words of Hannah Montana, “nobody’s perfect”.

Generating copious, imaginative ideas. You are a visionary!

It’s what you do best so keep those ideas flowing. Just be sure to back them up with manageable tasks so that you don’t drown in your own creative brilliance.

Be patient. As with any new undertaking, these techniques will take practice, but bringing them to mind is the first step.

Now, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and take control!