MISC MUSES

30 years crew connection - PayReel

30 years and 5 lessons

30 years and 5 lessons 800 430 Alicia East

Everyone can see opportunities, but successful people act on them. With a 2-year-old, a newborn, and a home under construction, Heidi McLean had every reason not to fill the need she saw in her world. But instead of making excuses, she went for it—starting a business that connected the film crews she knew from her freelance news work with the companies that needed them. Crew Connection started with just Heidi, incorporated a month later and hired its first employee within a year. When the need for contingent workforce management became clear, PayReel rose to meet it. Together, the sister companies employ about 20 full-time employees and consistently rank among the top Colorado Companies to Watch.

A few decades of experience provide some great tips for anyone looking to grow personally or professionally:

Be persistent

If it seems overwhelming at first and at many points after, that’s because it is. Take small steps. It doesn’t matter if you’re moving slowly, just as long as you’re moving forward.

Be flexible

Sometimes progress is painfully slow, and sometimes growth happens so fast you have to scramble to keep up. Every stage of life and business brings its own challenges (or opportunities). The sooner you accept that there will be endless challenges, the better. Just grow with it.

Be willing to evolve

The minute you settle for what is, you get behind and lose the joy of pursuing what could be. Crew Connection couldn’t get too comfortable operating with the phone lines and fax machines of its inception. With the launch of CrewCloud—which offers customizable online crewing—the business has evolved for the digital age. Being industry pioneers is hard, but a lot of fun.

Surround yourself with the right team

The luxury of being able to shut up is a direct result of being surrounded by advisors and team members who are smarter than you and whose strengths function well together.

Attitude is the ultimate trump card

For team dynamics, attitude trumps everything. If you have to choose between working with someone inexperienced with a positive outlook or one with all the training, but a sour demeanor, the choice is easy. You can develop skills, but a bad attitude is like poison—deadly and difficult to remove. Once it’s in the system, things go downhill fast.

THANK YOU for 30 amazing years.

About PayReel:

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project. Rely on PayReel to assume all of the risks associated with worker classification and get back to the business at hand. We make sure everyone gets paid quickly and easily and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes live event, corporate media, and brand management payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

About Crew Connection

Crew Connection puts a world of international video and production service providers at your fingertips. In just a few clicks you can search, chat with, and book vetted crews local to your shoot—all on your own schedule. Rely on Crew Connection’s team of media experts to organize the crews and gear you need for multi-day and multi-location video projects anywhere in the world. Our professional crew coordinators are on call around the clock if you ever need live assistance. Sign up on CrewConnection.com, call us at 720-531-9000, or shoot us an email at info@crewconnection.com.

food prep - PayReel

How to turn one hour of food prep into a week of good choices

How to turn one hour of food prep into a week of good choices 2428 2428 Alicia East

What’s worse than going to the grocery store hungry? Working all day without opportunity, time, or access to food that’s actually food. That’s when a Big Mac and Biggie fries start to seem like a good idea. These recipes provide an alternative to the “just get something in my belly” options we sometimes have working on location. In about an hour, you’ll get week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. And since many of our readers spend long days working live events without access to microwaves and refrigerators, the snacks, sides, and lunches included here can be kept safely in an insulated lunchbox and don’t need to be heated on-site.

These tips will take your on-the-go meals from ho hum to finger-licking good

Breakfasts:

food prep

These sous vide egg bites (sous vide not required) from My Forking Life are creamy, satisfying, and highly versatile (substitute veggies and meats as you see fit). They take about 10 minutes to prep and will feed you for the whole week. Note that in addition to a blender, you’ll need a silicone food mold and electric pressure cooker.

Don’t have the tools? Try kitchn’s similar option

.made in the oven. It’ll take a little longer, but the bonus is that you can make more at once and freeze them to last even longer than a week or to feed more members of your family.

Lunches:

Another 10 minutes of prep and you’ll have a versatile chicken or tuna salad you can eat with veggies, crackers, or bread. The Wellness Mama has a great recipe if you want to make the chicken from scratch and have it for dinner the night before (you’re an overachiever and I’m secretly jealous). If you’re already going through the trouble of making dinner, why not make a little extra? That’ll allow you to break up the week and pack leftovers for a hot meal or two. No microwave? No problem. Just heat your meal in the morning and a good quality thermos (here’s a guide) will keep it palatable for 5 hours.

Sides: 

veggies food prep

Take another 10 minutes to slice up some veggies (bell peppers, carrots, and celery are excellent for cutting ahead), peel or chop fruit, and cut cheese cubes for your sides. Nuts or Real Food with Dana’s simple trail mix are other great side options with minimal prep.

Snacks:

food prep larabar

Another 10 minutes of prep will get you these way-better-than-store-bought “Larabars” by 100 Days of Real Food. The ingredients are embarrassingly simple and when I don’t have cashews, I sub any mix of other nuts and the bars have always been delightful.

The process from prep to cleanup

Here’s how to maximize every precious minute.

  1. Get all your ingredients and tools out on the counter.
  2. Blend up those sous vide bites and throw them in the oven or pressure cooker.
  3. Prep Larabars and put in the freezer to set.
  4. Prep your chicken or tuna salad and sides.
  5. Clean all the tools and dishes that aren’t currently in use.
  6. Slice the Larabars.
  7. Remove the sous vide bites.
  8. For super duper overachievers, you can pack up your lunches for the whole week while the bites cool. That means less cleanup and prep during the week, but a little more time up front. It’ll also require you to have enough lunchboxes (these and these are some of my faves) for the job.
  9. Finish cleanup.
  10. Feel like a champ for setting yourself up to eat like a grownup.

Bottom line

Eating nutritious food is hard enough. Doing it on the go or in the middle of a long day and without access to a microwave is practically a miracle. But with a little bit of work up front, you can say goodbye to junky handfuls of nothingness.

*The definition of “real food” is probably about as controversial as politics, so I will include a disclaimer that I am not a nutritionist or doctor and am simply including recipes that contain real food as I understand it. None of these links are affiliate links. I am simply sharing resources I, the queen of making regrettable food choices on the run, have found helpful in my very busy life. 

About PayReel

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project, make sure you get paid quick and easy and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes event payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

The next time you work an event or a production, tell your supervisor you love working with the PayReel team.

vans in desert - PayReel

What a college lineman’s death reveals about worker safety

What a college lineman’s death reveals about worker safety 5184 3456 Heidi McLean

I hate to admit it, but I tune out a bit when I hear that the elderly, very young, and otherwise vulnerable among us are most at risk for something. I may not identify myself among that list, but researching heat-related illnesses has me sipping coconut water and thinking about the whole thing differently.

Simple measures are remarkably effective in ending heat-related illnesses and deaths, which means one of the worst risk factors of all is not taking warning signs seriously. And that quality is one I recognize in myself and nearly everyone I know. We like to think of ourselves as hardworking, tough, and resilient.

I’m sure Jordan McNair, a 19-year-old college lineman who recently died after an organized team workout, thought the same thing. The really heartbreaking part about it is that McNair’s death was 100% preventable. This example and others like it show that even the young and strong are at risk. The same article lists other athlete deaths, including one on a day the high temp reached only 86 degrees.

How outdoor workers can stay safe in extreme heat

  1. Why should you take heat illness seriously? This isn’t about temporary discomfort. Without appropriate treatment, heatstroke can cause permanent brain damage, along with kidney, muscle, and heart issues.
  2. Signs: According to the Mayo Clinic, the signs and symptoms of heatstroke include body temperature at or above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, altered mental state (including confusion, agitation, and slurred speech), nausea/vomiting, muscle cramps, dizziness, flushed skin, headache, racing heart rate, or rapid, shallow, breathing.
  3. Water, rest, and shade: In addition to drinking plenty of water and taking breaks in the shade, some preventative measures include being aware of risk factors. Consuming alcohol, and even caffeine, sugar, and nicotine can increase your risk for problems. Consider setting alarms to remind you to drink water and/or take breaks. Should preventative measures fail and you recognize early signs of heat illness, move to a cooler location, rest, and slowly drink a cool beverage. Seek medical attention immediately if you do not feel better. If you think you may be suffering from heatstroke, call 911. It really is that serious.

Worker safety and advocating for yourself

  1. Ask for the time and space care for your health: It’s easy to get into a project and forget about the time or think you can endure a little discomfort to get the job done. Often, work cultures encourage pushing our physical limits, but your body knows what it needs. Do not ignore it and don’t be afraid to ask for a break.
  2. Know your rights: You have the right to a safe workplace. OSHA takes heat related working conditions very seriously and your workplace should, too. Check out OSHA’s guidelines on Occupational Heat Exposure. If your employer doesn’t take your health and safety concerns seriously, you may also file a complaint and request an inspection.

Bottom line

August is historically one of the hottest months in much of the U.S.. People who work outdoors need to take extra steps to protect themselves in extreme weather. Ignoring warning signs isn’t worth risking your health. Just ask Jordan McNair’s family and teammates.

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broken pencil and paper - PayReel

What is the lifetime value of the skill/training you seek?

What is the lifetime value of the skill/training you seek? 5548 3699 Heidi McLean

In today’s ultra-competitive environment, learning skills that are in high demand can up your game and make you ultra-hirable. But what if it’s going to require some sacrifice on your part, like money, time, and energy?

 

It’s easy to think about the short term cost, but without considering long-term effects, you don’t get the full picture.

Here are some considerations to help you decide if investing in learning a new skill is worth it:

Will this skill make you more hirable/profitable?

Consider whether the training complements your line of work and existing skill sets. For example, if you’re a graphic designer and a whiz kid at Photoshop, you might consider learning your way around Adobe Illustrator. Both are great design tools, but the latter is math-based, allowing you to scale your pieces infinitely without losing any quality. Being well-versed in both allows you to solve more client problems.

Along those lines, consider the questions clients ask frequently. If you find they’re asking for the same thing over and over, you know you’re onto something. The equation is simple: solve more of their problems and you’ll get more of their business.

Think beyond the next month or quarter and into the bigger picture and where your industry is going. Can you be on the front end of an upcoming trend or one in increasing demand? Videographers may want to invest in learning drone skills, for example.

In addition to making you able to solve more problems for clients, adding new programs and platforms to your repertoire sometimes directly adds to your hourly value. If you’re a skilled editor who can also tackle basic motion design and Visual FX with After Effects or sound design with Adobe Audition, you may be able to charge more.     

The more skills you have that apply directly to the job you want or are applying for, the more valuable you are to the employer and the more money you are therefore worth.

A note on the intangible  

Being a Jack or Jill of all trades can be useful, but there’s something to be said for mastering your niche and staying in one focused, clear lane. So if you’re thinking about adding a skill that broadens what you can offer but takes a lot of time or energy away from what you do best, you may consider redirecting resources to your core strengths instead.

There are always the intangible benefits to consider, too. In addition to the financial benefits a new skill may bring you, consider the intangible value. Will it make you more knowledgeable and confident or just plain better at your job? Will it keep you mentally stimulated and therefore, head off burnoff? If so, you may want to invest in learning something new even if seemingly doesn’t relate to your core business at all. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll end up pulling some oddball skill or information out of your hat.  

Bottom Line

Learning some of the most marketable skills of 2018 will give you an edge in the marketplace and thinking about training opportunities in terms of lifetime value can make the decision clearer.

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home office solutions - PayReel

Home office solutions for form and function

Home office solutions for form and function 3393 5090 Heidi McLean

The growing number of freelancers and independent contractors in recent years means that more and more people are working from home. While those unable to step away from their desks to do a load of laundry may have a little work-from-home envy, working from home has its challenges, too. A freelancer’s home office that is both inviting and conducive to being able to actually get work done is one of the most important ways to set yourself up for success.

Here are five tips for making your home office a place you want to spend your time:

1. Light up your life

The importance of good lighting cannot be overemphasized. Light your workspace appropriately for your task and also to limit eye strain. These tips, from eye care professionals, are more about function than fashion, but there is no end to lighting options that meet the needs while also allowing you to express your style.

2. Organize and de-clutter

When home offices become collecting places for clutter, you’ll end up resorting to a coffee shop or your dining room table. To combat this, you’ll need some organization techniques to keep everything in order, but don’t neglect the power of organizing’s less glamorous cousin: de-owning. De-own what you don’t need and you’ll free up your mind and creativity for the things that matter.

3. Invest in ergonomics

Sitting all day and staring at a screen is tougher on the body than it seems like it would be, but your body has a way of telling you (usually through pain and strain) that you need to do something differently. Consider ergonomic desks and monitors that allow you to look straight ahead. Here are some quick tips and OSHA provides a thorough checklist for safety in the office. Invest in your body’s future with exactly what you’ll need to be comfortable and position your body for success.

4. Accommodate your unique needs

If your space will never host a client or an overnight guest, feel free to make it a place just for you — even if that means including a spot for productivity-boosting naps. If, on the other hand, you’re going to have client meetings or use the space for multiple purposes, be sure you include the elements you’ll need to keep it from feeling like your clients are stepping into your bedroom.

5. And finally, add your style

The possibilities here are endless, but if you’re going to spend most of your awake time in your space, you should totally love it. Part of the benefit of working from home is being able to make it your own personalized home office. Here are some design tips/ideas and inspirational visual galleries for making your home office truly yours.

The bottom line

In her early days, J.K. Rowling wrote anonymously at a cafe and Stephen King set up a makeshift workspace in his laundry room. You don’t have to have a home office to get work done. Still, if you’re going to go to the trouble and expense of having a home office, make it worth it. Invest in lighting, workspace tools, and decor that make it functional and inviting. Because what’s the point of having a home office if you’re always escaping to work elsewhere?

 

About PayReel

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project, make sure you get paid quick and easy and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes event payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

The next time you work an event or a production, tell your supervisor you love working with the PayReel team.

How have “work relationships” changed as offices become obsolete?

How have “work relationships” changed as offices become obsolete? 150 150 Heidi McLean

Gone are the days when “work relationships” are made up of people we see on a regular basis. We can literally have an entire functioning relationship without ever seeing a person or even hearing their voice. Talk about an evolution from the days when sharing an office building was a prerequisite. Here are some of the biggest ways work relationships have changed with the evolving workplace.

From office space to any space: Working in the same vicinity as people used to be a necessity. If you couldn’t walk down the hall to knock on someone’s door or get together in a conference room to discuss the next initiative, you couldn’t get much done. Now, you can work from anywhere. That means you can have meetings across time zones and without even leaving your home. You may still see your co-workers virtually, but you’re less likely to have spontaneous conversations at the proverbial water cooler.

Blurred lines in the work/life balance: There used to be a somewhat forced separation of work and home. While you could take your work home with you, it was a lot harder to reach people with a random thought or question late at night or on the weekend. You were unlikely to call someone’s home and risk waking their kids at 9 PM. But shooting off an email or a text at 9 PM is socially acceptable and reading work communication as you’re going to bed or first thing in the morning is expected. Getting responses in a few minutes is so much the norm that a “delayed” response of even 10 minutes can cause concern. Now, it almost seems like you literally have to go underground (on the subway) or take a flight in order to get a break from electronic communications.

Communication is easier and harder: With this level of access, it’s incredibly easy to communicate in a moment. It’s incredibly easy to reach people and get a response. But we arguably have just as many communication errors since we can’t truly read people over email or text and emojis don’t quite replace seeing a live human face. Replacing live communication almost completely has its own challenges.

The bottom line

Work relationships have changed massively in the digital age. FaceTime often substitutes for face time, emojis often substitute for actual facial expressions, and all our “time savers” eat away at more and more of our time. It will be interested to see if the pendulum swings back to more personal interaction or if we will lean more and more on technology to replace the live interactions that used to be necessary.

About PayReel

At PayReel, we minimize the time and effort it takes to get you ready for your project, make sure you get paid quick and easy, and have Client Relationship Managers on call around the clock to answer your questions. All you have to do is call 303-526-4900 or email us. The PayReel team makes event payroll easier, faster, and seamless.

The next time you work an event or a production, tell your supervisor you love working with the PayReel team.

An 11th hour gift guide for your favorite techie

An 11th hour gift guide for your favorite techie 150 150 Heidi McLean

PayReel gift guide

From turntables to everyone’s favorite OG droid: Everything old is new again. We work with techies both inside and outside the office every day and these are some of the gifts causing a buzz in our corner of the world. They’re sure to excite the technophile in your life.

  • The most endearing Star Wars droid of all time is short in stature and words, but not on sass. We can’t tell you if this Droid Inventor Kit is a secret ploy to save money on manufacturing by having you “invent” it, but we can tell you that there will be some PJ-clad Star Wars fans (and maybe their kids) putting together their very own R2-D2s next week about this time. Order today (12/19) on Amazon Prime and select one-day shipping or on the manufacturer’s site here by 12/20 to get in time for Christmas!
  • Coffee lovers have been foiled by one nemesis since the beginning of time: a tepid cup of joe. Now, you can ensure you get the hot beverage experience you’re looking for over and over again—sans the microwave. Some, like this Ember Ceramic mug—deemed best invention of 2017—even let you customize to your own personal temperature liking.
  • Whether you’re going for the sleek and stylish bluetooth bamboo Bongo speakers or a retro turntable with an updated twist, this is the year of smart, stylish speaker systems.
  • Ask any millennial and you’ll hear the same thing: the Bullet Journal will change your life. Just like pen and paper, the journal has been around awhile, but judging by its fans’ enthusiasm, it ain’t going anywhere. The journal itself isn’t the revolution, it’s the system. It is…get this…made of paper. Paired with a favorite pen, this journal promises increase your productivity in no time. It’s enough to convince even a dedicated paperless fan to reconsider.
  • For the spendier than average and super tech-forward home, consider lighting that pretends you’re home when you’re not (compatible with Apple Home), refrigerators that’ll order you a six pack, and thermostats that learn your patterns and adjust accordingly. Get ready for smart everything…and for the conspiracy theories from your friend who can’t stop talking about big brother.
  • And if you just need a laugh and a break from the hectic season, check out Stephen Colbert’s fake, but totally awesome Goop-inspired line of total malarkey.

Whether it’s smart and sustainable technology or inventor kits that are just plain fun, this holiday season is all about going retro, but with a smart twist. Stock up on gifts for your favorite techie or for yourself. Go ahead, put it under the tree and say it’s from Santa. We won’t tell.

 

About PayReel

Producing multimedia content and executing live events is chaotic. At PayReel, we make sure our clients are able to hire who they want, when they want and that everyone is paid properly. Leave the details up to the PayReel team so you can focus on pulling off a flawless production. Contact us anytime at 303-526-4900 or by emailing us here.

Relax. We got it.

 

 

 

 

What we’re thankful for (with GIFs!)

What we’re thankful for (with GIFs!) 150 150 Heidi McLean
  1. YOU, of course!

 

2. Stretchy pants!

 

3. Friendship

 

4. Family

 

5. Pie!

About PayReel

Producing multimedia content and executing live events is chaotic. At PayReel, we make sure our clients are able to hire who they want, when they want and that everyone is paid properly. Leave the details up to the PayReel team so you can focus on pulling off a flawless production. Contact us anytime at 303-526-4900 or by emailing us here.

Relax. We got it.

men and women in leather jackets - PayReel

How you can stay fresh, relevant, and in business

How you can stay fresh, relevant, and in business 730 365 PayReel

The journey is the destination, but *awards and recognition provide nice scenic overlooks along the way. We’ve learned a thing or two over the past 19 years, and thought we’d share some of what’s worked for us and led to our recent success. (We’ll save our mistakes and missteps for another post.)

The saying goes that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but that’s pure malarkey. Businesses and entrepreneurs of any age and experience must keep learning new tricks in order to stay fresh, relevant, and frankly, in business.

Put simply, our forward-thinking culture, ability to strategically gather and implement client feedback, and embrace change have been key to our success.

Don’t take yourself too seriously

Having a team willing to dress up and ham it up in front of a camera (pictured), leadership willing to take a few steps off the beaten path, and partners who were able to transform our website from stale to edgy led to an *award from The Business Marketing Association of Colorado. It’s not just about how people see our website. It’s about how we see ourselves.

We see ourselves as fun and edgy, but our website didn’t reflect it. We see ourselves as cutting edge, but our website – in many cases the first impression people get of our company – was standard. Cohn Marketing  was able to communicate who we are and convey our message in an engaging and creative way that demonstrates our forward-thinking culture–and win a BMA in the process.

Listen

Colorado Companies to Watch selects winners based on revenue growth, exceptional entrepreneurial spirit, unique use of technology, and a highly-sustainable competitive advantage. We could talk about each of those points, but we’ll focus on one piece that contributed to all the rest: We listened.

Three years ago, we took a calculated risk and built PayReel OnLine. Before we invested in the site, we invested in getting feedback from key clients. We knew that we didn’t have all the answers, and wanted to know everything that was and wasn’t working for our customers as well as what would make our system their dream come true (yes, we’re still talking about payroll).

We didn’t settle for a site that just worked well enough. We knew that an investment in PayReel Online was an investment in our existing clients, our target markets, and our company, and that we had to keep an open mind throughout the process.

This unique use of technology paid off. It made for highly-satisfied clients and contributed to the competitive advantage that enabled a significant spike in revenue, leading to our recognition as one of Colorado’s Top 50 Companies to Watch.

Our 19th year in business has been an exciting one. We’re very proud to have expanded and earned awards that showcase our talented, innovative team. Looking forward to what our third decade in the business has in store!

___

*BMA Awards: The Business Marketing Association of Colorado presented  Cohn Marketing with a gold award for their work on our website. The theme was “Your Own Special Ops Team.”

___

PayReel’s clients, who are some of the biggest companies in the world, are constantly immersed in the chaos of producing multimedia content or executing live events. PayReel makes sure they have the right contractors at the right time in the right place, and that everyone gets paid properly. And, most importantly, they handle every last detail perfectly while making sure their clients think nothing of it. Relax we got it. 

world cup - PayReel

Making goals & headlines (business lessons from the world cup)

Making goals & headlines (business lessons from the world cup) 730 548 PayReel

Neymar da Silva Santos Jr., the Brazilian fútbol wonder boy, scored his 100th professional goal on his 20th birthday in 2012. Now 22 and still in his formative years, Neymar has led his team to the World Cup quarterfinals.

But in the days following Brazil’s decisive 4-1 win over Cameroon, the news that reached further than Neymar’s obvious contributions to the victory was the fact that he was under investigation for displaying a line of clothing not sanctioned by the World Cup. While fans know him for his impossible goals and tricks and for his showmanship, the casual observer may remember Neymar most for his non-regulation underwear. Also facing potential fines, Neymar has more than his reputation at stake.

Not unlike the state and federal regulations for businesses, FIFA’s World Cup rules are extensive, complicated, and easy to break. At PayReel, we know the guidelines inside and out so that our clients can spend money on (and get in the news for) the things they want to, rather than for preventable errors.’

Business is a team sport. Together, we can win. GOOOOOOAAAALLLL!

PayReel’s clients, who are some of the biggest companies in the world, are constantly immersed in the chaos of producing multimedia content or executing live events. PayReel makes sure they have the right contractors at the right time in the right place, and that everyone gets paid properly. And, most importantly, they handle every last detail perfectly while making sure their clients think nothing of it, so they can get back to doing what they do best.