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The Leader's Mindset Podcast EP 1 – Jennifer Hart, Hart House Creative

I'm Jason LeDuc, the mind behind Evil Genius Leadership Consultants, and the voice guiding you through the Leaders' Mindset Podcast. Join me as we revisit an episode predating our re brand, a gem of timeless wisdom shared by an exceptional guest - an episode we couldn't wait to share with you. Your support during our transformation is immensely appreciated. In this podcast journey, I embody my aspiration of a late-night talk show host, albeit in the daylight of Cooperate on Black Fire, where a corner has morphed into an interview studio. It's within these walls that I connect with old friends, captivating personalities, and intriguing strangers alike. Our inaugural guest is none other than my dear friend, Jennifer Hart.



Jennifer Hart - @HartHouseCreative (Instagram)


Below is the transcript from Episode 1


Jason LeDuc (00:05):

I am Jason LeDuc, founder of Jason LeDuc, leadership Consultants and host of the Leaders Mindset Podcast. What you're about to experience is an episode of the show that we recorded before we went through our rebrand, but he still wanted to share it with you because we loved what the guest had to say so much so thank you for sticking with us through the changes. Enjoy the episode.


Jason LeDuc (00:24):

Welcome. I'm Jason LeDuc, founder of Evil Genius Leadership Consultants, and I am living out my fantasy of being a late night talk show host, although it's not that late here today at Cooperate on Black Fire, where I am a member of the co-working space. But they have been gracious enough to let us turn a small part of cooperate into an interview studio where I'm gonna interview some of my friends, some people I consider good friends, people who I think are interesting and people I may not know at all. And the first person we're gonna interview is my good friend Jennifer Hart.


Jennifer Hart (00:59):

Hello.


Jason LeDuc (01:00):

Who's the owner of Heart House Creative. Yeah. How do you like our little studio?


Jennifer Hart (01:05):

It's so cute. I love it. Yeah, thanks for having me on. It's fun. I'm happy to be here and...


Jason LeDuc (01:10):

Thank you.


Jennifer Hart (01:10):

...get to do this with you.


Jason LeDuc (01:11):

It has been a long time since I've seen you.


Jennifer Hart (01:13):

Yeah and just sat down for a chat. I think last time there weren't as many cameras, so.


Jason LeDuc (01:17):

There were zero cameras, I hope the last time we sat down and had a chat because we were at a coffee shop, so...


Jennifer Hart (01:23):

Yeah.


Jason LeDuc (01:23):

Although you never know in Las Vegas, so.


Jennifer Hart (01:25):

True.


Jason LeDuc (01:25):

So you and I met probably five or six years ago.


Jennifer Hart (01:31):

It's been that long. Yeah.


Jason LeDuc (01:32):

And we met because of a little guy named Baxter The dog


Jennifer Hart (01:36):

Brings a lot of people together.


Jason LeDuc (01:38):

So tell us about Baxter the dog. Tell us about what you were doing back then and tell us about what's going on with Baxter now.


Jennifer Hart (01:44):

Um, yeah, so in 2017 I just decided it was the year I was gonna write a book and it was something I'd always wanted to do. And, uh, so Baxter is my dog and he was really the inspiration for the character, as you know. And I, you know, I just wanted to do something really fun that would help me learn about the publishing world. It was an aspiration I've always had. Um, you know, I've always been a creative and wanted to be in different facets of art. So, um, you know, being a designer and, you know, an illustrator and you know, a writer, all those things. App applied to doing a self-published book. So I created the series and I did two books, a coloring book and a recipe book.


Jason LeDuc (02:32):

I remember that


Jennifer Hart (02:33):

<laugh>, They were a lot of work,


Jason LeDuc (02:35):

I remember when we first started working together that you were some of the ideas we generated Yeah. The recipe book.


Jason LeDuc (02:42):

...and the activity book. We talked a lot about what's something parents can do with their kids.


Jennifer Hart (02:45):

Yeah, for sure. And you were really part of a lot of those, like beginning kind of conversations where we were figuring out, you know, I, I understood a lot of the creative, um, just the creative needs that were going be important to make that series, uh, successful and make it something that would be fun for kids to get into. Um, but there's a whole other side to being a creative professional, um, especially when you decide to do it as a business that you have to learn how to do the business part <laugh>.


Jennifer Hart (03:17):

Unfortunately for most creatives, we, we prefer to just, you know, do the art. But it's actually been really fun to learn. And, you know, it's, um, as I've learned about the different areas of, you know, business and how to like, run my business and time management and all those things that, you know, you really have to kind of just take a deep breath and go one at a time, um, and learn. It's been fun. It's been fun for me. It's a lot of work, but it's been fun. So


Jason LeDuc (03:42):

It is. It's great. And I, I'm, I'm a big fan of the Baxter book, so...


Jennifer Hart (03:45):

<laugh>. Oh, thank you. Yeah.


Jason LeDuc (03:47):

They are super fun.


Jennifer Hart (03:48):

Yeah. So that was kind of where it all started. And, um, you know, when I had started making that book series, I was also simultaneously, um, had begun my own freelancing design business. So we sort of were, you know, figuring out both, um,


Jason LeDuc (04:03):

You had, you had just left working for corporate....


Jason LeDuc (04:05):

...right around that time. Right?


Jennifer Hart (04:06):

Yeah. And I was like, I'm gonna do this. Let's get it <laugh>.


Jennifer Hart (04:10):

So, uh, I did. So I, you know, I published the books. They were a lot of fun. Did a lot of cool things, events. I was on TV a few times.


Jennifer Hart (04:19):

Like, um, you know, just got to go out and like read to the kids and do all that.


Jason LeDuc (04:24):

Yeah, you did, you did a lot of going into schools and reading...


Jennifer Hart (04:25):

Yeah it was fun. Yeah. And it really, like, it was stressful too, because that's not, um, you know, I'm, I've definitely got, I've got like a pseudo extrovert thing happening where like, I'm really introverted, but I've learned how <laugh> to talk to people. I feel like.


Jason LeDuc (04:39):

Pseudo extrovert,


Jason LeDuc (04:42):

...that's, that's your hashtag for this episode?


Jennifer Hart (04:44):

Yeah, I don't know. But um, yeah, so all that was going on and then while I was doing that I was building, uh, Hart House Creative, which is doing great. Um, I am in my sixth year for that business. And, you know, it's been kind of a wild ride. Um, I actually have my second employee starting on Monday, and the client list is still growing, so it's been, it's been really great, but, well,


Jason LeDuc (05:10):

That's perfect 'cause that's what I wanted to get into next. I'm glad, I'm glad Baxter was fun and Baxter's doing well.


Jennifer Hart (05:15):

Yeah, he definitely is.


Jason LeDuc (05:17):

But it wasn't enough for you just to freelance on your own when we first met.


Jason LeDuc (05:21):

You decided "I'm starting an agency..."


Jennifer Hart (05:23):

Yeah and a boutique agency. Because I, you know, I know that we had a lot of conversations about, like, some of it too that I, you know, wanted to be very careful about how, um, how large I grew it and how quickly, because it was important to me that I was setting up the right kind of boundaries and the right kind of, um, foundation so that when I did start bringing people in.


Jennifer Hart (05:51):

I knew, I knew what to, you know, how to bring them into that situation and not feel like, um, we were just running from thing to thing or, you know, having some kind of a culture, you know, ready to, to bring people into. So.


Jason LeDuc (06:06):

Yeah. I remember your pitch deck, so.


Jennifer Hart (06:08):

Yeah. <laugh>.


Jason LeDuc (06:08):

So tell us, tell us a little bit about that foundation and tell us how you arrived at that foundation, you know, for anybody listening.


Jason LeDuc (06:14):

If you're thinking about starting any business or even a boutique creative agency,


Jennifer Hart (06:18):

<laugh>.


Jason LeDuc (06:18):

What was that foundation you thought about before you, even, before you even went out and looked for that first client.


Jason LeDuc (06:25):

What did you think about building that foundation?


Jennifer Hart (06:28):

Well, I mean, I think a lot of it is thought work. So, you know, it's really like taking the time to sit down with yourself and a notebook and thinking through, you know, who do I want to do work for and what do I want? How do I want them to see, see the agency that they're, you know, hiring. So I think for me, since it was me, um, by myself for a long time mm-hmm.


Jennifer Hart (06:54):

Uh, a lot of that was really, you know, my values and things that were, that mattered to me that I wanted to make sure came across. You know, I, I always want integrity to be a big part of what I do. I want people to trust me. And I, I don't think you can be in business with people if they don't trust you, or at least you won't be in business with them very long.


Jennifer Hart (07:13):

So, um, you know, that was a big one for me. I wanted to make sure that, um, I was able to

like, handle the work that was coming into. So like I was allowing it to kind of the agency to grow organically and not, um, you know, not trying to force things in there, you know, that we would be able to, to take on the work and do it well. And I never want to send anything out in the world that I'm not proud of or at least can't stand behind. Um, and so I think, yeah, it's a lot of thought work. It's really like getting into yourself and learning, you know, what's important to you as a person and, and how that can translate into your company. Um, because if you can't stand behind it, you can't ask other people to. So


Jason LeDuc (07:58):

Yeah, that's fantastic because you are going to have a brand, you're going to have a culture.


Jason LeDuc (08:02):

...that your customers in the community and the industry knows about.


Jennifer Hart (08:05):

For sure.


Jason LeDuc (08:06):

And whether it's the one you want or not.


Jason LeDuc (08:09):

If you don't do that upfront thought work.


Jason LeDuc (08:12):

...it becomes whatever it defaults to with either how you, how your customers work with you, your clients work with you, and your employees interact as well. So,


Jason LeDuc (08:20):

So that's great. Um, that's not something you hear about a lot, someone taking the time and care to think all that through and be prepared for that workload and workflow to really give clients all that attention that they really need.


Jennifer Hart (08:31):

Yeah. I don't think a lot of people talk about it, but I do think a lot of people are doing it, so like, um, or at least trying to do it. So, you know, successful companies I think have to have done that at least subconsciously, right? Because they're setting up cultures that people want to work for, that people want to work with. Um,


Jason LeDuc (08:49):

Yeah. I I find that companies hit a point where they go, oh, we need to be really conscious about this now. They, um, we all, and I know it was my experience too, I'm just gonna get out there and do it.


Jason LeDuc (08:57):

And then I hit a point if I need to be really conscious about the brand, I need to be really conscious about the kind of clients I wanna work with.


Jennifer Hart (09:02):

Sure.


Jason LeDuc (09:03):

And then, so that's almost like a new beginning of the company.


Jennifer Hart (09:05):

Yeah, for sure. And I think you learn some of that stuff as you go too. Like, I definitely, you know, I jumped in both feet in like, I wasn't, you know, I didn't know everything. Like I said, like business was not something that I went to school for, you know, I went to an art school for design. So, um, you know, you learn some of that as you go and you, you know, hire people to help you. You know, you and I had a lot of conversations and a lot of, you know, coaching to, to help with some of those things. Um, and I think especially, yeah, like just learning how to even like things like, you know, the time management and figuring out how to, um, just like doing some of the budgeting things, like those weren't things they sound like, I don't wanna say small things, but they, they don't sound like huge things in the grand scope of everything, but they make such a big difference when you're trying to figure out how to run so many things at once. And I had two, I was trying to balance two at the same time. So.


Jason LeDuc (10:01):

You were, And I remember that first conversation of, we talked about this number's good, but to make this worth your while, this number needs to be even bigger.


Jennifer Hart (10:10):

Yeah. Yeah. And all of that was very helpful. And I feel like sometimes I ran in there with like, my hair pulling, <laugh>-pulling my hair out. I was literally like, you kind of served as a life coach sometimes for me, <laugh>,


Jason LeDuc (10:21):

That's why I'm here.


Jennifer Hart (10:22):

I feel like I was like, oh my gosh, Jason. It's crazy right now so yeah.


Jason LeDuc (10:27):

So okay Hart House is doing really well. Yeah. Hart House Creative is doing really well.


Jason LeDuc (10:31):

You are just hiring your second employee,


Jason LeDuc (10:34):

They're starting Monday, right?


Jennifer Hart (10:35):

They start Monday, yeah. <laugh>.


Jason LeDuc (10:37):

So tell me a little bit about how hiring has gone for you. What challenges you've faced in hiring, how you've overcome them. Uh, tell, tell me a little bit about your journey to being an employer who has employees who work for you.


Jennifer Hart (10:52):

Sure. So, um, hiring has been very, uh, challenging. I would say one of the more challenging things that I've had to do with the company so far, because I just only had the insight coming from someone who's applied for a job, right? Like, you know, going and to Indeed or going directly to a company and submitting my application and not understanding how much really goes into finding the right person for the position that you're looking for. So, I mean, um, I have two employees now. So my first employee, um, she's part-time and she came to me actually through a friend. So that one was actually not- the hiring process, I didn't really go through with her.


Jason LeDuc (11:37):

Okay.


Jennifer Hart (11:37):

It was like, okay, great, good, let's do it this time around. Um, I was looking to hire a designer, so there's specific qualifications...


Jennifer Hart (11:45):

..you know, and I really needed certain things to be, um, to really hit the mark for the projects that I have coming and the things that are going on with the company. So I sat down and I wrote an ad and I was like, okay, this sounds good. And I included things like, not just the nuts and bolts of like what I needed, but like the expectations as well of some, some of those cultural things we were just talking about. You know, being an open person, being willing to learn, being flexible.


Jennifer Hart (12:13):

...you know, all the things that are, I think are part of the company that I'm trying to build. And, um, and with that comes, you know, benefits as well, right? Like, I don't, um, necessarily dictate like when they work their eight hours, as long as they work their eight hours.


Jennifer Hart (12:27):

Like there, you know, there are advantages to, to viewing the virtual thing, which is how my company runs. Um, but you know, I think the,just writing the ad was like really challenging. It took me <laugh> a couple of weeks just to write the ad and then I, um, I posted up on Indeed and I put it on LinkedIn and I had no knowledge of how that worked at all.


Jennifer Hart (12:54):

So like, uh, <laugh> tip, if you do indeed you get 48 hours. So make sure you're going through those resumes. 'cause they charge you for every single one. It is like you, you have to be on top of it. And so, like, I had almost 400 people apply, like within the, like the first three days.


Jennifer Hart (13:13):

It was a ton of people. And so I was shocked. I expected four <laugh>, so I was like blown away. And I was like going through the mall and I, I was trying to like figure out, um, you know, how to filter them...


Jason LeDuc (13:28):

That's my question. That's what I wanna dig into is how did you, how did you triage that? How did you, how did you go through 400 in probably something more than 48 hours. But I mean, that was the goal, right?


Jennifer Hart (13:40):

It was intense. Like, and I was like on that time clock, because if you don't, you know, go through them, they're charging you. So, and you know, boutique design firm, I'm not trying to like.


Jennifer Hart (13:51):

...spend all my money on <laugh> on applicants that I'm not even hiring know at that point.


Jason LeDuc (13:56):

Yeah. We're gonna, we're gonna work on that ad together next time....


Jennifer Hart (13:58):

Yeah. So, well, apparently it was a good ad because I had a lot of applicants. So anyways, I filtered first was, um, you know, just if they had a portfolio. Um, that's one thing, honestly, that kind of drives me crazy when, because I've been in a role before working for companies where I've had to help hire a designer should know to put the portfolio on their resume. Like, that's like the number one thing. Like, if you don't have work that you can show, no, you, you're not gonna be hired. Like you might be the greatest artist in the world, but if you can't show the work, like we, there's no way for me to, to know how great you are. So...


Jason LeDuc (14:37):

And, and that goes, even if you are not a creative type who provides that kind of work. 'cause that may come up in a job interview...


Jason LeDuc (14:44):

...hey may ask you, tell me about a time.


Jason LeDuc (14:47):

...they may be looking for specific examples 'cause they wanna understand how you work, the quality of work you provide, what your, what your beliefs are about providing quality of work.


Jennifer Hart (14:57):

Yeah. And it's not like, you know, um, I'm a big believer in, um, people too. Like, I wanna know, I wanna talk to the person. So like the first step is seeing if they have the required kind of skill set and the portfolios, how you get there. And then, you know, interviewing them, talking to them, making, you know, having, making sure there's some kind of a, a synergy. You know, finding out how they interact with, you know, past jobs, things like that. So, um, I feel like I did a pretty thorough, like, interviewing process.


Jennifer Hart (15:27):

Um, I really took my time and tried to like, do all the steps. I didn't cut any corners. I even tried to do the references part, which that was kind of my, that was my least favorite part because I had a hard time getting people to get back to me. Um, I feel like maybe that's a part that I could get better at. Um, just, I emailed to like, set up a time, you know, like I would with a client or anyone else.


Jennifer Hart (15:54):

And it took a really long time for some of them to get back to me. And it was like too long for me to wait really for the hire. At that point, I needed to like pick someone.


Jennifer Hart (16:03):

So I think next time I'm just gonna blindside them and pick up the phone and call them..


Jason LeDuc (16:08):

"Hey, we're gonna do an interview now. You got time?"


Jennifer Hart (16:11):

Yeah. Yeah. So maybe not the candidate, like the interview for the candidate. Yeah. I would schedule that, but like, the reference.


Jason LeDuc (16:17):

The reference for sure. Yeah.


Jennifer Hart (16:18):

Know, just be like, "Hey"!


Jason LeDuc (16:19):

So you've got your first two employees.


Jennifer Hart (16:22):

I do.


Jason LeDuc (16:22):

You're doing well. Where do you want to take Hart House Creative? How big do you want to get this?


Jennifer Hart (16:29):

Well, <laugh>, that's a, I feel like that's a loaded question a little bit.


Jason LeDuc (16:33):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.


Jennifer Hart (16:33):

Like, I don't know. Yeah. I'm not, I'm open to what comes next. So I'm definitely not putting any limitations.


Jennifer Hart (16:40):

..you know, on, on where the company goes. But, um, you know, my, I always saw it as a boutique design agency, so, you know, I, I like being able to work directly with companies and I feel like when you get too big sometimes there's too many layers between, there's be too many layers between me and the work that's getting done. So like, I still wanna be involved. Um, and I still, you know, it's my name literally on the company. So, um, I'm very protective of that. You know, uh, my reputation I think is, is very important to me. And, um, so I'm not sure how to answer that question other than to say that I would love to get into more, um, working with more charitable organizations.


Jennifer Hart (17:29):

Um, I've recently done been working with, um, partnering with a few different agencies and that's been really a really great way to collaborate and, um, to get some new different kinds of clients. And, um, we've been looking at potentially going after some business in, in that area. And I think that that would be really fun and something I could, I could really get behind. Um, and I think that there's a lot of new companies, you know, trying to start up really cool things that, you know, could use the branding experience that I have, the, you know, the experience that some of the partners I work with have. Um, and, you know, I really see like my, my background in brand development is always at the core of everything that I do. And I think that we'll continue to take jobs that live in that arena.


Jennifer Hart (18:18):

So whether it's building identities for, for different companies or, um, you know, creating, uh, packaging that, you know, reflects the brand that's already set up, or if they need us to do both, I think there's a lot of opportunity. And, um, you know, in the 15 years I've been doing this, I have a pretty wide spectrum of experience. So as I bring more people into the company, um, 'cause I do imagine that it'll get a little larger. I would like to, you know, I would like to maybe get, get a little bit larger than we are now just to, you know, be able to really service the clients that we want to be able to do, um, in-house. But, uh, I know I didn't really answer your question <laugh> at all.


Jason LeDuc (19:03):

That's okay.


Jennifer Hart (19:04):

I'm not dancing around it. I just don't have an answer, <laugh>.


Jason LeDuc (19:06):

That's okay. Nobody has to answer the questions. I'm just here to ask them.


Jason LeDuc (19:09):

Well, I do, I I understand that and not, not every company is right for rapid growth. And I, I wish there were a lot more companies that understood that.


Jennifer Hart (19:17):

Yeah. I mean, of course I would love, you know, no one, no one wants to stunt their own growth. Um, and that's, like I said, I'm open to what comes next, but I'm also, I haven't, I'm not someone that rushes into those types of things. So I wanna make sure that, you know, I'm taking on clients that I wanna work with, I'm working with partners I wanna work with, and, um, that it's all kind of aligning. Um, and I'm okay with the, the steady growth. I think that's been a good thing for me.


Jason LeDuc (19:45):

Sounds like you're being very deliberate and trying to be deliberate is a really important word to me because deliberate doesn't necessarily mean slow. Yeah. It means we have a plan, we have a goal, we're sticking to.

**SOUND EFFECT** (19:55):

*Bell Sound*.


Jason LeDuc (19:55):

Okay. So that sound means we're gonna take a little pause from the interview and we're gonna play a little game.


Jason LeDuc (20:05):

..and I call this game "Rapid Response" So what I'm gonna give you...


Jennifer Hart (20:08):

How rapid though? 'Cause we just talked about how deliberately I moved with my company, so.


Jason LeDuc (20:12):

Yeah, no, this is rapid though. This is, okay, so the way this game works, today's gonna be "This or That"


Jennifer Hart (20:17):

Okay.


Jason LeDuc (20:18):

Okay. I'm gonna give you a "This or a That".


Jason LeDuc (20:21):

Now I want you to answer with the first thing that pops into your head.


Jason LeDuc (20:24):

So it's okay if it's not "This or That"-it's whatever pops into your head.


Jennifer Hart (20:29):

Okay.


Jason LeDuc (20:30):

Got it?


Jennifer Hart (20:30):

I get it. Yeah.


Jason LeDuc (20:31):

Okay. You ready?


Jennifer Hart (20:32):

<laugh> I guess so yeah...


Jason LeDuc (20:32):

"Rapid Response" Round 1. Jennifer Hart...


Jason LeDuc (20:40):

Digital or analog ?


Jennifer Hart (20:42):

Digital.


Jason LeDuc (20:44):

New York or LA ?


Jennifer Hart (20:45):

New York. Hands down. <laugh>


Jason LeDuc (20:47):

Ocean or Lake?


Jennifer Hart (20:49):

Ocean.


Jason LeDuc (20:51):

Art or Science?


Jennifer Hart (20:52):

Art.


Jason LeDuc (20:53):

I knew how that was gonna go.


Jason LeDuc (20:55):

Dogs or cats?


Jennifer Hart (20:56):

Dogs. But I also love cats. <laugh>.


Jason LeDuc (20:58):

I knew that too.


Jennifer Hart (20:59):

All animals.


Jason LeDuc (21:01):

Sweet or spicy?


Jennifer Hart (21:02):

Sweet. A hundred percent. Or unless I can get sweet and spicy. I like them both, I don't know. Okay.


Jason LeDuc (21:07):

All right.


Jennifer Hart (21:07):

-Salty?


Jason LeDuc (21:08):

Don't, don't get this next one wrong...Yankees or Red Sox?


Jennifer Hart (21:12):

Nah, <laugh>. I kind of hate them both. <laugh>.


Jason LeDuc (21:17):

It's not the worst answer. You could give.


Jennifer Hart (21:19):

<laugh>.


Jason LeDuc (21:20):

Dress up or casual?


Jennifer Hart (21:22):

Uh, casual.


Jason LeDuc (21:23):

Sunrise or Sunset?


Jennifer Hart (21:27):

Uh, sunrise.


Jason LeDuc (21:29):

Downtown or the Strip?


Jennifer Hart (21:30):

Downtown.


Jason LeDuc (21:32):

Alright, I agree. Downtown


Jennifer Hart (21:34):

<laugh>. Downtown (Sings) <laugh>.


Jason LeDuc (21:36):

That was our very first "Rapid Response- This or That". Thank you for playing Jennifer.


Jennifer Hart (21:41):

Yeah, no problem. So let's play again. That was fun.


Jason LeDuc (21:44):

Well, nobody...


Jennifer Hart (21:45):

I'm not as scared now, so...


Jason LeDuc (21:46):

There, there are no winners here. So...


Jennifer Hart (21:48):

<laugh> No prize?


Jason LeDuc (21:49):

No, there's no prize.


Jennifer Hart (21:50):

Oh man, I thought we were playing for a prize.


Jason LeDuc (21:52):

No. There, there's no prize. But we were talking about you've just, you have had an employee for a quite a bit of time now, eand you just hired your second, and I know you're just bringing the second employee on, but what, what are your employees great at?


Jennifer Hart (22:05):

What are my employees great at?


Jason LeDuc (22:06):

Yeah.


Jennifer Hart (22:08):

You know, I think, honestly, so, um, Kate was my first employee and she's just been really great at like, rolling with it, you know, um, it's, my company's a startup. It's, you know, we're rolling, rolling with it, building it as we go. And I think it requires, uh, an even temper and, you know, to be flexible. Um, we're both very supportive with each other's roles and, um, you know, I think she's been just really great at, at being that-embodying that. Um, she's, she's a multitasker in her own home. Like she has three kids, so she, you know, it's, it's very aligned. Um, and I think, you know, bringing in a third, you know, our, our completing our triangle as you'd say for now.


Jennifer Hart (22:59):

Um, I, I hope that, you know, what comes with this next round is really like inspiring each other too. Um, I'm excited to bring on another designer because it's been a while since I've been in a studio and working with another designer. And, um, I think, you know, Kate has a great point of view. She's actually gonna be doing some writing for ""The Squeeze" which is our, um, our blog that where we talk about creatives and inspiration. And...


Jason LeDuc (23:28):

Where do they find that blog?


Jennifer Hart (23:29):

Oh, "The Squeeze" is on, uh, HartHouseCreative.com.


Jennifer Hart (23:33):

Sorry, I didn't even mean to plug that, but <laugh>


Jason LeDuc (23:36):

That's why I brought you in...


Jennifer Hart (23:37):

<laugh> Always new things, so yeah. But she might be doing some writing for that and talking about from her perspective as a mom, what it's like to be a creative and also be a mom and how to juggle those things. And, um, I think that's a, something that's important to me is, you know, being a creative or being a creative person, I don't think you have to be necessarily like a traditional painter artist. Like everyone is creative. Um, her role in the company is a coordinator. She helps communicate with clients and, um, control our production schedule and, um, set up jobs and things like that. But, you know, she has to be creative on a daily basis on how she, you know, not only manages our work, but you know, how she's multitasking with all the other things she has going on. And I don't know, I think there's a lot, um, a lot of creativity in like, every, every job, but I'm hoping with this next kind of phase that, um, it'll be just a new kind of breath of fresh air that we're able to like, push each other and kind of inspire some new and different things for the next phase. <laugh>.


Jason LeDuc (24:39):

That's awesome. Well, I do want to get into leading creatives and working with creatives for some of the next few questions.


Jason LeDuc (24:46):

And so you have worked in corporate as a creative...


Jason LeDuc (24:50):

You have your own boutique agency as a creative, you've done freelancing, you are now leading a team of creatives,


Jason LeDuc (24:57):

What is it that you want people to know, whether they are in corporate, whether they are clients, what should people know about leading and working with creatives?


Jennifer Hart (25:07):

Um, that's a good question. You know, I actually would say this more of as a general statement. I think, um, just with working with people in general, something that I've experienced on my own and something I appreciate, have appreciated as a, as an employee or even in a meeting where I'm talking to a client or really any situation is just to be listened to. I feel like most, most employees wanna be heard. Um, and I think most people wanna be heard in general. And, you know, designers are artists at heart. You know, we're, we're artists and so we have a point of view. And, you know, when you hire a designer to do a job, they're, they're coming at it with their entire heart in that job because art is our passion and that's why we do what we do. So, um, I think that I would say one of the things I think is important in leading a creative team and just leading people in general is just to listen to their point of view.


Jennifer Hart (26:14):

Because they're, they're trying to, you hire them to do a job for you. And if you don't trust their point of view, or not even willing to listen to what they have to say, why did you hire them in the first place? Because you're hiring them to do this job and to give, to give back to the company. So I think that's a small thing that you can do to, to just make people feel like they're appreciated and that they have a say in building, in building the company with you because they are, you know?


Jason LeDuc (26:45):

I think that's a fantastic point about recognizing that creatives and artistic types.


Jason LeDuc (26:49):

They are bringing their passion every day. And that's what you're hiring them to do.


Jennifer Hart (26:52):

Yeah.


Jason LeDuc (26:52):

That's what you're bringing them in to do. As someone with an engineering background, I could kind of phone it in on a passion every day,


Jason LeDuc (26:58):

Cause the numbers on the spreadsheet are the numbers on the spreadsheet, right?


Jason LeDuc (27:01):

I didn't, I didn't, I didn't have to bring...


Jennifer Hart (27:04):

You make a pretty spreadsheet. <laugh>


Jason LeDuc (27:05):

I do make a pretty spreadsheet. I have some examples for you if you wanna see


Jason LeDuc (27:10):

Um, but uh, yeah, it's, you know, there, there are a lot of jobs where you don't, your passion doesn't have to be up at that level, but if you're an artist, your passion is up at that level.


Jason LeDuc (27:21):

And, and that's, that's, and we want to encourage that, so that's awesome...


Jennifer Hart (27:24):

Yeah, for sure. You get your best work, I think, out of people when they are passionate about what they're working on. Right?


Jennifer Hart (27:29):

So like, you might be not have your passion up to here for the spreadsheet, but whatever the spreadsheet means, you're putting your passion into...


Jennifer Hart (27:35):

..that, right?


Jason LeDuc (27:35):

Finding meaning in your work.


Jennifer Hart (27:37):

Yeah.


Jason LeDuc (27:37):

Which I never had a hard time doing, so...


Jennifer Hart (27:40):

Right. So, yeah. So I guess that's actually a callback to the last question too. Like, I hope, like that's something I'm able to bring to, to the team is to help them find meaning in what we're doing and, you know...


Jason LeDuc (27:51):

Incredible.


Jennifer Hart (27:52):

Yeah. Hopefully...


Jason LeDuc (27:53):

So what are, what are your creative influences?


Jennifer Hart (27:56):

Ooh, that's a hard one too. Um, I'm not great at remembering names, so probably I'm gonna butcher all of these, but I, let's see. So I, an artist that I'm like mildly or fully obsessed with is Christophe Neiman. Um, I, he came to me over a wonderful documentary, <laugh> Plugging "Abstract". It's wonderful. If you haven't watched it, it's really good. Um, they basically like spotlight all these different artists and different fields and, um, get into their brain. And I'm so interested into, in understanding like how other creative people think about their work and how they get inspired. So I loved that series and.


Jennifer Hart (28:45):

Uh Christophe Neiman was on there. He does the illustrations for the New Yorker, a lot of them, not all of them. And he's just like this insanely creative guy that can take anything and make it just like, blow your mind. Like he puts like two lines on a paper and it's something amazing.


Jason LeDuc (29:03):

That's awesome.


Jennifer Hart (29:04):

Yeah, I just think, you know, I don't know how to achieve that yet. Like that just freedom of like, creativity and I'm sure he works at it a lot, you know, but, um, I'm really inspired by him. I thought he was just really cool. Um, and I've just been finding a lot of random inspiration too lately with, um, surface design. I've been really interested in that. Just, uh, different patterns and like pattern makers and there's a lot of that right now, like.


Jennifer Hart (29:31):

Um, you know, there's a lot of cool, great tools out there that have made it really accessible, I

think, for people. So, um, just learning, you know, some different ways to, to create, and that's new things that I can bring hopefully to my clients and like, just, you know, again, like breathing fresh air into, you know, some of the techniques and stuff that I use. So no one's specific in that arena, but <laugh>.


Jason LeDuc (29:55):

That's fantastic. Well, if you can tell us more, if you can get us the information offline about that documentary, we can throw that in the show.. in case anybody's interested.


Jennifer Hart (30:03):

I will, it's on Netflix, it's like, so good. Yeah.


Jason LeDuc (30:06):

Awesome. Yeah, I look forward to seeing it.


Jason LeDuc (30:08):

So that's on the creative side.


Jason LeDuc (30:10):

Great Influences there. Who is someone you really respect or someone who influences you as a leader or a business person?


Jennifer Hart (30:18):

Oof. Level 10 question. Uh, I honestly, off the top of my head, let me think about it for a second.


Jason LeDuc (30:24):

Okay. Take your time.


Jennifer Hart (30:25):

Maybe, maybe I'll think of someone great...


Jason LeDuc (30:26):

I'm gonna go through these and get ready for my next question.


Jennifer Hart (30:30):

Hmm....


Jason LeDuc (30:30):

Do you wanna pass?


Jennifer Hart (30:31):

I might have to pass on that. I don't know. I don't think I have one.


Jason LeDuc (30:34):

I'm gonna have to make a note of that for the pre-briefing than the rules. You can pass on some of these questions,


Jason LeDuc (30:39):

Alright. So, uh, this may be a harder question.


Jennifer Hart (30:42):

Yeah.


Jason LeDuc (30:43):

But I think, uh, it will be more from the heart.


Jennifer Hart (30:45):

Okay.


Jason LeDuc (30:46):

As a business owner, what are you nervous about? What keeps you up at night with your business?


Jennifer Hart (30:52):

Um, well, I mean, I think any business owner, you know, you're, you're wearing all the hats, right? So like, even when you start bringing on people to help, you know, in your business, you're responsible for the ship sailing all the time.


Jennifer Hart (31:08):

And so, you know, I think something that I continually try to do for myself is one, set some boundaries so that I can try to like, have time that's like not work time, like compartmentalize.


Jennifer Hart (31:25):

Some of that. So that it's a good balance. Um, excuse me. But as far as like being nervous, I think I would just be nervous to, um, I'm always, I, I guess this goes back to me being very deliberate. I'm always nervous about not, not having control over the type of work that I do. So I don't ever wanna be in a position where in order to like, keep my company afloat and to provide, you know, for the employees that I have or, and, and to keep it going, that I would have to accept something I was uncomfortable with.


Jennifer Hart (32:11):

Or that didn't meet my values. Um, so I think that's, you know, always like in the back of my head, just like being very intentional.


Jennifer Hart (32:20):

Um, about where it goes. But sometimes being intentional can, you know, that means having to be a little bit pickier and a little more patient. You know, as you said, you're not taking it, you know, taking on everything. So...


Jason LeDuc (32:34):

Yeah, I think that's a source of tension for almost all business owners...


Jason LeDuc (32:38):

...unless you're selling a product or something like that.


Jennifer Hart (32:40):

Right.


Jason LeDuc (32:40):

You know, in a, in a service related business of making sure that your, your clients are a good fit and you're not doing something to compromise your brand or your, or your values.


Jennifer Hart (32:48):

Yeah. For sure.


Jason LeDuc (32:49):

So, so what do you do when you do get that tension? A little anxiety? What do you do to stay calm, centered and creative?


Jennifer Hart (32:58):

Um, there's a few things. So, uh, if I get really like, really wigged out, I'll go for a run and just like walk, I have to walk away for a bit.


Jennifer Hart (33:08):

um, or, you know, I try to just be, like I said, like intentional about boundaries. So, you know, not allowing myself to like, work into the wee hours every night so that I'm, you know, getting some of that recharge time, which I think is really important for all people. But I would say especially creatives 'cause burnout is like a real thing. Like, you know...


Jennifer Hart (33:33):

...You can get to a point where you're literally like just, you almost become stagnant in your work because you're just like pitching stuff out constantly and it just feels like you're in a factory and not, you know, putting the, the time in to really like, think through projects and that's definitely not where I wanna be. So, uh, yeah. So boundaries and then just, you know, just taking time away, I think from it. Like, if I get too overwhelmed, I just have to take a pause and like, breathe for a second and then come back. So...


Jason LeDuc (34:06):

That's one of the things I've noticed about you over the years and what I really respect about you is your Instagram is showing all the cool places you're going, and you do take that time to recharge.


Jennifer Hart (34:13):

Oh, thank you. Yeah. Travel is a big one for me. Like, I definitely pull inspiration from places that I go and people I meet and different cultures. Um, I wish that's a gift. I wish that I could give that gift to everyone. Um, you know, if you ever get the chance to travel, I just think take it, because once you do one, you'll, you'll always find a way to make that happen. Like, in all the seasons of my life, no matter where I w