PH: A holistic approach

This year Project House is turning four, and we have been getting ready for our next business phase.  After partnering with more than 65 clients, designing and delivering countless projects and solutions, and onboarding over 40 PH team members, we wanted to take stock of what we’ve built so far and where we want to focus next.    

Following our own advice, we enlisted some extra muscle from an energetic and empathetic business coaching team.  Together we have spent the summer diving into our project stories, mining our business data, brainstorming creative ideas, and answering tough questions about what drives our business and inspires us. We have enjoyed highlighting which services give us the best opportunity to thrive and provide value, as well as reminding ourselves what makes PH so unique.   

We are proud of being a part of a business community that acknowledges the considerable impact that happy, motivated, healthy, and comfortable employees have on productivity, retention, achievement, and financial success.  

What we’ve discovered is that we are drawn to ensuring our clients are successfully empowered with effective and practical solutions: 

  • Sustainable and positive management practices and systems to engage people better 
  • Beautiful and practical spaces where individuals and teams can thrive 
  • Tools and facilitation to maximize employee strengths and talents 
  • Strategy to align brand and culture across key business areas. 

This isn’t a wholesale change from what we’ve been doing, but at the same time it feels like a shift into a holistic approach where all of our experience, skills, and values click into place.  What does Project House do?  We help leaders create productive and engaging workplaces. 

We are excited by our ability to combine best practices, tried and true solutions, creative ideas, and industry innovations into achievable and customized solutions. 

You will start to see this focus in our branding, in the work we take on, and in the types of workshops we provide.  And as always we welcome your feedback, questions, encouragement, and referrals!   

Next up?  Crystal and I are heading to Amsterdam, where we will participate in the Smart Workplace Design Summit, a conference that celebrates the powerful combination of HR and Workspace best practices.  This is a perfect fit for Project House, as it aligns exactly with our design and solution-focused business model.  We can’t wait to tour innovative offices and exchange ideas with a range of speakers from across Europe, and come home inspired! 

Stay tuned for more, and as always, THANK YOU for being part of our business journey.   

Embracing Conflict

As a kid, I was very uncomfortable with conflict. I wanted everyone to get along, and when they didn’t, it made me uneasy and anxious. I often tried to solve problems that weren’t really mine, and was eager to build bridges between people in an effort to keep the peace.

Early in my career, as a newly promoted manager in video games, I continued to struggle with conflict, as I interpreted all argument as discord, and I believed it was my responsibility to maintain harmony within the team in order to keep people motivated and moving forward. Once, in a technical team meeting, a discussion about how to approach a challenging new feature turned into a particularly heated argument. As was normal for me, I waded in and tried to diffuse the tension before it got out of hand. A software engineer (who I have since thanked) turned to me and told me that, by trying to make everyone get along, I was in fact blocking creativity and the healthy flow of ideas.

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The Story of The Baker

A story we often tell when we get asked what Project House is all about, is one about a Baker who loves to bake pies.  We’ll call him The Baker.  The Baker made pies all of the time.  His pies were well-loved by his family, who demanded pies for every conceivable occasion.  His pies were delicious and better than anything available in a shop.  Over time,  The Baker started making pies for his kids’ fundraising events, for his friends and their friends, and before he knew it, his pies were in such high demand that he had a business on his hands and he needed to hire some helpers and find a community kitchen space several days a week just to keep up with the orders.

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What Work Life Balance Means to Me

I’ve written about my family a lot over the years and the significance of their role in my goals for setting up our company and creating a flexible workplace for our team and ourselves. A huge part of our dream for Project House has been to create a workplace that allows our team to pursue a balanced life no matter what that means for them. For me, balance means being able to accompany my kids on a class field trip, take my daughter to a ballet recital, hike with my dogs in the forest, and spend time as a family in the evenings and weekends – in combination with work I love doing, clients that appreciate me and my expertise, alongside great team members. Most of the time I can have all these things – and for me, that adds up to my own personal definition of “work-life” balance.

Before starting Project House, I looked around at the employment world and realized there were really very few places I could go where I could get the work-life balance I was craving, despite the fact that I knew I could be highly productive in a shorter work week or work day. I figured if I couldn’t find a job that gave me the flexibility that I needed for myself, then I would have to build one that did. As our little business grew and more and more people wanted to join our team, we realized what an untapped market there was for people just like us, looking for meaningful, flexible opportunities to do great work on their own terms.

Now – I know it’s not a one size fits all – balance means something different to everyone, and the key to success is discovering that unique ratio that gives you peace and happiness…and…let’s be honest, pays the bills. For some people, that might mean 10-15 hours of consulting work per week, for others it could be a full-time job that starts at 6am, and for others it’s something else entirely. I by no means place any judgement on anyone for the work or family choices they make, and I’m certainly not going to pretend or presume that we all can choose to work less. What I do know, however, is that by encouraging businesses to provide their employees with more flexibility for family, exercise, rest, and fun, they can fuel a more dedicated and productive workforce. Let’s face it, when people are happier, healthier, less stressed, and less guilty around free time, they can be way more productive.

The work environment that Heidi and I have created at Project House will hopefully inspire more conversations around how different companies truly can bring elements of flexibility into their culture. We empower our team to be mature, take the time they need to take care of their health and families, and take responsibility for their deadlines and work commitments. Many of our team members only have a few hours a week to dedicate to work – but we know that they are going to be highly productive during that time. We hope that this concept will continue to gain momentum, and we are excited to be nominated for YWCA’s Outstanding Workplace Award this year – maybe our little workplace evolution (revolution??) will gain a little traction!

We Love Being Part of Your Team

Last year, one of our clients went through a significant leadership change. We had enjoyed a great relationship with this client, and we felt trusted and effective, providing strategic and operational support regularly and easily. When our primary senior contact informed us he was leaving the organization, we wondered if our work with this client would continue, or if the new leader would be looking to make their mark by handling these pieces differently. We focused on ensuring a smooth transition from one leader to another, making ourselves available to bridge processes and systems, and support continuity.

After this initial transition period, once the new leader had an opportunity to assess their own goals and priorities and set their own tone with the team, he reached out to us. Happily we were asked to step even further into the organization, to spend more time 1:1 with employees, and to make ourselves known and trusted members of the team.

Months later, we are still spending regular time in this client’s office, dipping in more often when there’s a big project to deliver.  We are able to support them in a way that is effective and positive for us as well as the team, sharing our expertise and learning from each other.  When a challenge looms, we can head it off at the pass, or lend our extra muscle in the moment, before it gets too big to handle neatly.  We can help support and nurture the team culture as it evolves.

When this client grows to a size where they need to hire full-time employees to take over some of our services, we may shift into a more traditional consulting role where we lend a hand occasionally in areas where we can add value.  It will be great at that stage to already know and understand the business and to have developed trust with the team.  We will be able to provide training and support, and know that we’ve made a positive impact on the business at its various stages.

We love getting calls from clients who have a big challenge that needs tackling.  By giving us an opportunity to work closely with your team early on, we can help you mitigate risk and solve small problems before they escalate.  We can get to know your employees at every level and we can see your culture in action We can share our skills and experience, earn your trust, and become a valuable member of your organization.  All without breaking the bank or working more than you need.

What sets us apart: Combined Creative Services

Illustration by Jeremy Enecio for Fortune

One of the most unique and exciting aspects of our company is that we can combine our services in order to expand our offeringsWe love innovating within our projects to discover creative solutions that integrate HR, Design, and Web.

Many businesses have an ongoing and serious challenge to hire senior staff with hard-to-find skills, as industry competition for candidate attention can be intense.  In tech, this type of employee is often referred to as a unicorn.  “…unicorn: …staff who possess a unique set of qualities that make them extremely rare and valuable. They’re hard to find, but once hired, they offer up enormous benefits in the workplace and can take your business to the next level”. (Ryan Holmes | October 5, 2016, Financial Post)

Traditional HR solutions for this problem can include setting up recruiting programs, sourcing candidates from other companies, advertising for the role, reaching out into employee networks, or hiring recruiters.  Sometimes this just isn’t enough.  What else can you do in order to make your voice heard?  Our clients need our help:  what will make a Unicorn notice them and poke their head in the door to learn more about the job?

Because Project House has HR, Branding, Design, and Web expertise, we are able to seamlessly pull these elements together for our clients, and design a business solution that maximizes our skills.

Most recently we were asked to solve the Unicorn Problem for a new client:  after struggling to attract and hire senior, experienced, high calibre engineers, they needed a solution that would target this very specific candidate and get their attention.  This was going to be much more than an HR solution; it would require the creative brains of a Marketing campaign in combination with elements of design, as well some deep-dive discovery – exciting!  We would need to dig into the qualities and common elements of this particular candidate and find out what would most attract them to our client’s business.  We would also need to find out why current star employees had been attracted to the company, then ask why they stay and what matters to them.   We’d have to go into the industry and examine what competitors were doing well, and identify unique unicorn hunting opportunities.

From this discovery phase, we typically move into a design phase, coming up with a few options for look + feel, message + tone, and we make recommendations about where to launch the campaign in order to maximize its impact and reach:  is this a print ad in an industry magazine, a polished conference booth, a unique industry event, or a billboard beside a competitor’s office?

When we meet with clients who are struggling to attract the right candidates, we dive into a number of areas of their business to see what might be going on.  Often we arrive at Employer Brand, which is a way to describe the outside world’s experience and opinion of your company as a place to work – this consists of a combination of your company’s website, social media presence, current and past employee reviews, manager skills, reputation, and more.  Ultimately we try to determine if what your company says matches how it behaves, and identify areas where we can help you bring up your game.  A recruiting campaign could be an ongoing branded effort across all of these platforms, or it could be a special one-off project to fill a critical gap.

Are you struggling to recruit and hire?  Are you hoping to land a unicorn?  We can help!

 

PowHERhouse Winter 2017 Feature | Meet Heidi and Crystal

Crystal and Heidi Project House

On January 25th, we had the honour and pleasure of being event partners at PowHER TV’s Vancouver Launch Party. It was an inspiring night full of engaging speakers and cool + interesting women; we loved being involved and watching a private screening of the documentary Dream, Girl.  Thank you to everyone who came out to join us – it was great to meet new people and see some of our favourite faces!

The week of the event, PowHERhouse released the Winter 2017 issue of their magazine, which features an article about Project House. Our sincere thanks to Charlene SanJenko for interviewing us and sharing our story.

We are happy to share the feature in its entirety on our blog too, below:

 


Project House’s PowHERhouse Winter 2017 feature – 

PowHERhouse recently had an opportunity to chat with Crystal Roche and Heidi Eaves, the Principals of Project House Business Solutions, a growing and energetic Vancouver consulting and outsourcing company that supports companies of all sizes who need “extra muscle” in the areas of HR, graphic design, websites, and workplace design.

Crystal Roche and Heidi Eaves of Project House

 

Ladies, welcome!  What inspired you to start your company?

Heidi:  Thank you; we are very grateful for your time.  Crystal and I both spent many years working in busy, big, competitive, male-driven industries:  my background is in video games and software development, and Crystal’s is in construction and development.  We both have busy family lives and growing children, and we wanted more control, more flexibility, and much more joy.  We knew that if we wanted to work at a company with values that exactly matched our own, we’d have to start it!

Crystal:  One of the things we are most passionate about is creating a company that gives great work opportunities to talented, bright, and energetic women from our community who don’t want to work full time, for any number of personal and professional reasons.  We have team members who decided to come out of retirement, and others who are just getting started in their careers, and we are excited to work with each of them in their own way, and even to help them discover what they’re good at if they aren’t sure.

 

How do you offer so many different services and ensure that they are done well?

Crystal:  Heidi and I come from different backgrounds and we have different skills and experience across our service areas, and in combination with our extended team, we are able to deliver a wide variety of projects at a professional and high-quality level.

Heidi:  We talk a lot about simply wanting to help companies be “better”.  This might mean treating people better, using better and faster systems, showing themselves off more beautifully with a new logo, website, or workspace – we feel it’s all related.  And as we add more employees and team members, we are able to stretch into new areas and deepen our services in others.   Our clients come to us from many different industries, and we are learning all of the time, which we love.

Crystal: If a client is looking for something we haven’t done, we might choose to bring someone onto our team with that skillset and experience, or we might decide to connect the client with someone else we know and trust who can do that work.

 

How do you find clients?

Crystal: We have been so lucky to find most of our work through word of mouth.  We reach out to our network and our contacts, and we keep our eyes open for opportunities, but most of the projects we have done come from people we know and who we’ve worked with.

Heidi: We were given some excellent advice early on, and it’s simple:  When you have your own business, your company goes wherever you go – in other words, if you’re curious, you will discover clients, ideas, and opportunities everywhere.  Crystal and I are always excited to meet people and hear about what they do.  That often leads to discovering what they need, or what they’ve heard someone else might need.

 

You are both busy parents.  What is your schedule like?

Heidi: We have three set Project House office days per week when we are all in the office together to synchronize deadlines, move projects forward, and share ideas.  Crystal and I spend the rest of the week in client meetings, working from coffee shops, or taking phone calls.  Plus, our goal is to spend a big chunk of time in parenting mode, and that’s different for each of us.  Between us, Crystal and I have 5 kids between the ages of 4 and 15.  Mine are older, so I have more freedom on weekends to work if I want to, and Crystal has to be more in tune with 3 pm and the busy after-school schedule that her family enjoys.

Crystal:  We have a number of systems in place that help us manage everything smoothly, like calendars and task-managing software.  And sometimes it all falls to pieces and we have to improvise.  Heidi and I are friends, and we can help each other with dogs and kids if necessary.  Plus we have supportive and wonderful extended families, and some weeks everyone pitches in to keep the trains running on time!  We also have great clients who know that every so often, a phone call from a child is going to win out for 5 minutes, or we’re going to show up to a meeting in flip-flops.

Heidi:  And in those moments when everything seems out of control, a sense of humour definitely helps!

Crystal:  Because we work out of a home office, it’s very easy to go between work and home whenever necessary.  I can take a phone call, pull together a proposal, wipe a nose, do laundry, and solve a design challenge all in the same place.

What is one of your most memorable moments or funniest memories in your business thus far?

Heidi:  One of my favourite memories happened on a leadership retreat weekend with Crystal and a group of other entrepreneurs and business women.  We were in a beautiful setting and during an early morning group nature walk, Crystal twisted her ankle.  We were at the very end of the line of hikers, and we got left behind in the woods.  It took us ages to get out, and Crystal was in considerable pain, but we laughed all the way back to the main lodge, because we were together and the situation was ridiculous.  We know we can rely on each other, and we can see the funny in almost anything, which is a great partnership.

Crystal:  One of my most memorable meetings was one where I had coffee with a potential service provider, and I was blown away by how little interest he had in me or my business.   It inspired me to write a blog called “How to Blow a Potential Client Meeting” and it reminded us of some key ways to always be better prepared for meetings and behave in the most respectful, humble, and collaborative way with all clients and partners.

 

When you hear the phrase ‘playing at the top of your game’, what does that mean to you and how you like to perform in your business life, and what do you use (tools, techniques, strategies) that entrepreneurs may find helpful?

Heidi:  To me, playing at the top of my game means using all of my experience, excellence, values, and instincts, as well as summoning confidence and courage as I walk through the world.  This can be with clients, our team, with volunteer work, at events, or helping friends and family with whatever they need.  I wrote a blog about something dear to my heart, “managerial courage,” which means being speaking up and willing to risk being unpopular, for the right reasons.  I feel like I’m playing to all of my strengths when I can behave in that way and encourage it in others.

Crystal:  In our business we manage multiple projects, clients, tasks, and team members who work in different styles.  In order to do this, we rely on different tools to keep us all on track, and we’re always testing out new ones.  We use Fresh Books for our invoicing and time management, Asana for task and project tracking, and a host of others for communication, payroll, and other functions.  It excites me to learn about new systems, bring them to the team for testing, and, for the rare ones that make the grade, master them and dig into how they work, as well as get to know the companies who create and support them.

 

What’s your favourite way to unwind?

Crystal:  I unwind in little ways all of the time – with my girls watching a tv show, going for dinner with friends, riding my bike, reading a great book, cooking a new recipe.  In bigger ways, I love travelling and experiencing something new.

Heidi:  I love to read, sing, and swim.  I watch TV, go on long walks, hang out with my family, make jewelry, do happy hour with friends, or cook something new.  A glass of wine in the sun is a great home remedy.

 

At PowHERhouse, we have a mantra that we’re putting front and centre this fall, “PREPARATION:  You get what you are ready for!”  When you think of this mantra, what would you say that you are both personally and professionally ready for this Fall?

Crystal:   Now that we’ve been in business for three years, we are evolving our services and getting involved in work that excites us.  We have a small team of employees and a larger team of subcontractors, and I really feel ready to take on some challenging projects that excite me personally – large construction and design projects, beautiful graphic and website projects, as well as some of the community-focused projects where we volunteer our time are very rewarding.  On a personal level, I feel confident in the value that we bring and in the quality of our work, and so I’m ready to keep growing my skills and checking in with myself to make sure that I am always balancing my home life and getting what I need to recharge and enjoy my family.

Heidi:  We did a graphic image for the Benjamin Franklin’s “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” It’s nerdy, but we really feel like everything we do is helping to better prepare us for what’s coming down the road. I am so proud of what we’ve built so far, and excited about the journey forward.  I like to think that each of us is stronger than we think and readier than we can imagine for what’s next.

What’s next for Project House?

Heidi: We are continuing to evolve our business, and we are always looking for ways to improve our processes, offer great value, and build on what’s working.  We don’t always get it right, but we always learn, and we always do better the next time.  I’d like to be recognized as a great place to work, not just as a great company to work with.  We are also expanding our services in the Fall to include strength assessment workshops to add to our training programs, and I think we’ll get as much out of that process as our clients will.

Crystal:   As we grow our business and meet new people, we discover work that really excites us, so the trick is to make sure we have great people who are focused on what they do best across all of our services, so Heidi and I can work in areas we’re each really passionate about.  And a nice office one day would be amazing!

 

What do you want to leave us with? 

Heidi: At the end of the day, we are so proud to provide opportunities for women in our community to do excellent work on exciting and rewarding projects. We partner with a lot of talented and experienced men too, but our focus is creating something flexible and supportive for women who want to balance their individual combinations of work, home, family, skills development, adventure, and career.  We know that we can do a huge amount of great work for our clients and provide a business framework for our employees and subcontractors who prefer to focus on projects and not worry about day-to-day business concerns like finding clients, or invoicing and bookkeeping.

Crystal:   And for ourselves, we are so excited to be a growing part of the local business fabric of our city, and to have the opportunity to partner with, learn from, and cheer on so many other women who drive their companies forward and who share our values of integrity, creativity, and passion.

 

 

Making Every Day ‘Take Your Dog to Work Day’

bring-dog-to-work-instagram3-01

In honour of Take Your Dog to Work Day on June 24, we thought we’d mention some of the benefits of introducing pets to the work place, and some things to think about.

For some companies, every day is ‘Take Your Dog to Work’ day. Studies have shown that having pets in the workplace reduce work-related stress, improve morale, increase job satisfaction and enable employees to collaborate more effectively.

Vancouver companies like Hootsuite, Electronic Arts Canada, Softchoice, and Native Shoes allow pets at work. Amazon in Seattle sees at least 2000 dogs a week! With so many office cultures embracing pets, it is important to keep a few things in mind for the sake of all two- and four-legged team members.

  1. Talk to your team

Not everyone is comfortable around animals, even cute ones. Some people suffer from allergies and others really don’t enjoy being around dogs. If you are introducing a new pet policy to an existing team, it is important to let everyone know in advance.  You might not want to take it to a vote, but it’s great to let everyone be heard, and to address any concerns.

  1. Set up your office right

Be sure to set up your office to suit the needs of your employees, clients and pet policy. If you have a more corporate  business environment with many clients coming into the office, perhaps you don’t want 10 dogs greeting them. We have seen baby gates placed at office doors so that dogs can still hang with their owners but can’t run all over the office. Containing dogs to one area also helps when you have people who have allergies.  If your office is more open concept, we have seen spaces with dog beds scattered around the space or under desks. If you have the flexibility, you could create separate work zones within the office that are “dog friendly” as well as “dog free”. If you have the space, you could even create a fenced-off dog zone. We recommend meeting with your team to brainstorm on what will work best for your staff and your clients.

  1. Create a policy

Creating a written policy lets everyone know the rules, and sets up consistent expectations for everyone.  Having an official policy also helps protect you from potential issues down the road. This is the time to decide on rules for both pets and owners; for example, many offices have a ‘3 strikes’ rule, where pets are given three chances to behave (with things like barking, pooping, eating computer equipment, etc) before being asked to stay home. Other offices create a schedule for pet visitors and have different departments bring in their pets on different days of the week.   There are also rules about property damage and cleaning up after your pet, etc.

  1. Handle the legal

If you are renting office space, it is imperative to get a landlord’s or building owner’s approval before bringing pets into a space. Insurance is an important step as well. Making sure that your office is fully equipped to handle animal guests will protect your company from potential legal issues. Asking employees to sign a pledge that their pets are quiet, well-behaved, healthy, vaccinated, and flea-free will protect everyone.

  1. Let everyone know

Being up front about your pet policy will prevent any surprises when you are onboarding new staff or inviting visitors to your space.

  1. Celebrate your pets!

If pets are an important element to your company culture, show them off! Many companies showcase their pets on their team page (like us!) and share snaps of them on social media.  Some offices have a pet mascot like a dog or turtle, and this can make it clear that your culture is more playful and fun.

A study in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that access to dogs was a calming influence and reduced stress levels, whether people had access to their own pets or other people’s.  Maximize this by ensuring your work environment is also safe and healthy for everyone, and it can be a win-win!

 

Cassi-keegan

Do you need help designing a pet-friendly space or defining a pet policy for your office? We can help! Email us at hello(at)projecthouse.ca for more info.

 

The Story of Project House

Crystal and Heidi Project House

Crystal and I started Project House Business Solutions almost three years ago, after years of being friends and next-door neighbours.

Our purpose when we launched our business was to create a flexible way to do what we love and excel at, and to help women who looking for meaningful and challenging work.  There are so many women who, for a variety of reasons, want fulfilling part-time work.  Perhaps they are striving to return to the workforce after having kids, or they don’t know what they’re good at, and hope to increase their experience and skillset. We want to create opportunities, confidence and a network for these ladies (while some of our talented team members and partners aren’t ladies, most are), and we meet them everywhere we go.

Between us, Crystal and I have 5 kids between the ages of 3 and 15.  We both gave up a lot of time with our families in order to build up our careers, and together we decided we didn’t want to compromise any more – we wanted flexibility, autonomy, joy, and control.  We wanted less ego, less judgment against passion, emotion, and empathy, and less unhealthy bullshit overall.  We want our kids to understand that working, striving, learning, trying your best, and adding value to your community can be an ongoing and joyful endeavour.

When we first started our company, Crystal and I took an assessment that told us how we might be as partners.  One hint it provided was that Crystal would have to give me room to talk through things, and I would have to keep myself from being overly sensitive to Crystal’s straight shooting.  We got a lot of information and insight that has helped guide us as we make decisions and face obstacles.  We have done this type of assessment with some of our team members as well, and this helps us to communicate better with different personalities.

We have since taken more tests and assessments, and each time we are blown away by how opposite and complementary we are. While I have learned to be more cautious, I like people and their challenges, teaching and coaching, thinking out loud, and working with people to solve a problem.  Crystal likes to analyze and synthesize a huge amount of detail quickly and well, diving into a budget and numbers, and she is always in action and accomplishing.

I am a hugger, she is not.  I am all about relationships, optimism and “who’s going to be there” and she is adventurous, fearless and independent.  We both flex in each other’s direction, but we are also getting better and better at articulating what we don’t like doing, or even what we like doing but aren’t great at. I LOVE building a barn and putting on a show.  I don’t really care how big a barn, how many seats, or even what show, which is where Crystal with her significant eye for detail and data becomes invaluable.  Also sometimes I don’t really want to put on a show OR build a barn, I just want to sing in the show and say hi to everyone once it’s built…  I don’t score as high in stress tolerance or independence and she doesn’t score as high as I do in empathy or flexibility.  She’s way more fun and much more likely to take risks, and I’m much braver when she’s in the room.  In combination, we are stronger, smarter and faster, and we are constantly evolving and sharpening our purpose and our message.

Project House clients are diverse, and their needs span all of our services and drive new ones.  In the past months, we have worked on employee policies with Earnest Ice Cream, done space planning and furniture procurement at the head offices for Lush Cosmetics, trained managers in performance and feedback at Capcom Vancouver Game Studios, and designed a brand new logo and website for an architect, a beauty salon, and a family law firm.   Our clients come to us from many different industries, and nearly all of them find us through referrals and recommendations from our network.

Project House offers a lot of services, and we feel they are very inter-related.  We help companies find their voice and put their best foot forward, whether it’s a well designed and constructed website, handbook or onboarding program, support and training, a kind approach to terminating, an efficient way to manage clients, a beautiful office space, or a gorgeous new logo.  We combine our team’s skills and experience to help companies be better, treat people better, use better systems, present themselves more clearly and beautifully, and add value to their employees, clients, and workspace. 

I have to pinch myself sometimes – Crystal and I are entrepreneurs, business owners, and employers.  We feel both the joy and the weight of responsibility, and we are definitely at our best (in our “flow”) when we are working together with clients who are action-focused, community-minded, and in need of our varying skills and strengths.  This doesn’t always work out, but we getting wiser and more understanding when the relationship comes to an end, either because we’ve done our job to get them to the next level and they don’t need us anymore, or because we recognize we are not the best fit for each other.

Crystal and I love to learn new things and discover a new approach to our work.  Next month is exciting for us, because we are taking a 4-day intensive training program to be certified in Emergenetics, which is a neuro/strength/ preference assessment that we will then be able to offer to our clients, with an eye toward improved communication, understanding, and productivity.

We continue to be supported and inspired by successful, strong, funny, vulnerable, kickass, powerful, kind, generous, smart, and talented women, and we are filled up by providing even a fraction of this to others.

Some of what we need from our “village” we get already: support, ideas, wine, friendship, partnership, services, referrals, and wine.

Our “asks” this year continue to evolve:

  1. We want help getting great clients and exciting work: the juicy stuff! (Like companies who need high quality websites, teams who need training and coaching, clients who are fun to work with and open to our business model);
  2. We want opportunities to share our story – we want to tell people about our company and what are creating for women who want to work in a flexible way, enhance their skills, make money, learn about business, grow their resumes, or meet other professionals – whatever they need to get where they want to go;
  3. We want to hear your stories! We learn by doing, but we also know that many people have already solved some big problems and developed best practices – we’d love to speed things up by getting some advice and by learning from your experience.  We enjoy getting tips and tricks and discovering what you have learned, what mistakes you have made, and what makes you tick;
  4. We want to help you. The speed of trust is amazing – so if there are things you need from us, people we can connect you with, or ways we can cheer you on, please let us know.

And that’s our story – – – so far!  We want to do all of the things – this isn’t so much a balancing act as it is a mad dash while juggling plates – sometimes everything is spinning beautifully and we are dazzled by our own skills and grace, and sometimes it is a f–king disaster with a little bit of crying…  And every day we learn a little bit more about what we want, who we are, and what we’re capable of.

 

Supplier Spotlight: Docuplex Graphic & Print Centre

Matthew Javadi Docuplex

I don’t know about you, but when I’m running a mile a minute and have deadlines rushing at me, it is so helpful to know that I have some amazing people on my team, both internally and externally, that I can rely on to get the job done.

I think the key to this is strong relationships built on mutual respect and a mutual desire to work hard for our clients.  At Project House, it’s important to us that we do what we say we will do, and that we always strive for high quality work delivered on time. It’s important that we surround ourselves with people that believe in this too so that collectively we can continue to deliver a high standard of work product.

Because of this, we want to take a moment to highlight one of our key external suppliers:  Matthew Javadi at Docuplex Graphic & Print Centre is someone that we rely on to help us meet our deadlines every day, and we would be seriously lost without him!

While we have a fleet of amazing suppliers that help us look good, Matthew at Docuplex is certainly a shining star and deserves a shout out!  No matter what the time of day, no matter what the print order size, I can rely on him to get the job done when we need it.  We often get rushed or last minute jobs and we want to be able to pull through for our clients during their time of need. I know without hesitation that Matthew and his team will be there for us, every time, without fail.  He has never let me down, turned down our work, or produced less than top quality work. He is happy, easy to deal with, and affordable for our clients. I really couldn’t ask for a better relationship. 

It can be challenging these days to find, develop, and maintain amazing relationships with people – relationships built on honesty, hard work, and trust – and I am so grateful for the relationship that we have with Matthew and Docuplex. There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not thankful for all of Matthew’s hard work.  I know that I can often be a demanding client, but no matter what kind of dog’s breakfast I have thrown at him at 4pm with a deadline of “NOW!!!” he always responds with enthusiasm and a willingness to help.  THANK YOU, Matthew! We look forward to a long and continued relationship between Docuplex and Project House.