Author Archives: Gretchen Hartke

Reality Check: The Darker Side of the Independent Life

In my last post, I listed a few of the things I love about being an independent. But, as with most things, there is a darker side. Here are a few things that you give up when you step into the ranks of the independents.

Steady pay check. In academia, they say publish or perish. In the gig economy, it would be safe to say the mantra is produce or perish. If you aren’t working, you aren’t getting paid. Period. And, every client pays on a different timeline. I have some clients who pay within two weeks, others within thirty days, and I have one … » Continue Reading.

Why I LOVE Being an Independent…

I’ve been an independent consultant for ten years and I love it! Here are just a few reasons…

Every day is bring-your-dog-to-work day. My guy’s name is Ocho and I love him—even when he barks while I am on conference calls.

I work based on my energy. As a farm kid, it’s in my DNA to rise early. My most productive hours are 6:00 to 10:00 a.m. When I worked in an office, I spent my most productive time getting ready for work, driving to work, chatting with people on my way to my cube, and often getting caught by people with “fires” to put … » Continue Reading.

First, You’ve Gotta Have An Expertise

I’ve spent a chunk of the last seven months writing a book, So… You Want to Join the Gig Economy. Now what? Tales From a Freelance Veteran–available in January. As such, I’ve been thinking a lot about what has helped to propel me through the last 10 years of my life as an independent consultant and what someone who is pondering making the leap might want to consider.

First and foremost, you need to have an established expertise. It may seem obvious, but there are many people out there who want to start a side hustle who don’t have an expertise, but try it anyway…

I … » Continue Reading.

So tired of shi##y eLearning

Back in my Walgreens days when I was on the buyer’s side of the table, I had the opportunity to talk with many learning companies. I remember clearly, the day that a sales person from one of these companies was demoing a sample course and explained that clicking next or clicking an icon to reveal some more content to read was interaction.

Clicking ain’t interaction

While clicking a button on a screen is an action, it is NOT  interaction. And since that day I have been on a personal crusade to help clients push the envelope on their own thinking about interaction and engagement. I want learners to THINK. … » Continue Reading.

To Err is Human

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about perfection and how, if left unchecked, it can stand in the way of progress and completion.

Thanks to Anna Belyaev, my former boss and mentor-for-life, I include the following risk in every project kickoff’s list of risks and opportunities, “We are humans.”

I go on to explain that “at some point in this project any one of us, and probably each of us, will show up as being human—someone might get sick, we will take vacations, family emergencies might arise, priorities might shift at the last minute requiring a change in schedule, and it’s very possible that … » Continue Reading.

Why I love tax time

Well, Hartke Designs made it through our ninth tax season. And as crazy as this sounds, I love tax time! Here’s why…

I LOVE that Hartke Designs, with many thanks to our treasured clients, generates income for extremely talented instructional designers, project managers, developers, and graphic designers. And, it’s not until I tally up all the totals for our accountant do I really see just how much.

According to MBO Partners, State of Independence in America report, in 2015 36% of independents hired other independents equalling $101B or 2.4 million full-time workers. And if our numbers are any indication, I bet that number has increased in the … » Continue Reading.

The Power of Powerful Beginnings

Anyone who has worked with me will tell you, “Gretchen loves a good, meaty kickoff.” In fact, I love kickoffs so much, I have an internal team kickoff and a client kickoff.

I’ve always known the importance of a clear, powerful start of a project in my gut, but Daniel Pink shares fascinating (yes, I am a geek) research in When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing that explains why. He says, “Beginnings have a far greater impact than most of us understand. Beginnings, in fact, can matter to the end.”

You can read the book to see all the ins and … » Continue Reading.

The Power of Routines

Daniel Pink, in his book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing shares a lot of research about when people perform at their peak throughout a day. It got me thinking about the intentional choices we make about when things happen, and how those choices can help make us more effective. Enter the power of routines…

In my opinion, encouraging your teams to identify rhythms and routines, and then creating a culture that honors them, is one of the greatest acts of leadership you can demonstrate. Here are a couple that have made a difference for me, my clients, … » Continue Reading.

Why ‘when’ matters as much as ‘what’ and ‘how’

I recently read Daniel H. Pink‘s book When:The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing in two sittings and was mesmerized.

In this book, among other things, Pink asks and answers the question, “why does reaching the midpoint–of a project, a game, even a life–sometimes bring us down and other times fire us up?”

In true Daniel Pink fashion, his writing is crisp, clear, and full of accessible and relevant stories. He is masterful in his ability to synthesize tons of research and present a case for why we should care. Each chapter ends with a “Time Hacker’s Handbook” where Pink gives … » Continue Reading.

Hypothes.is: A collaborative web annotation tool

I recently attended the Indiana University IST Conference put on by Graduates in Instructional System Technology and was introduced to this nifty tool by Ph.D. student Christoper Andrews during the Learning Science Symposium.

Tool: Hypothes.is

The skinny: An open source web-based tool that puts a note taking layer on top of, among other things, any web page or PDF.

A little more about it: Annotation in the “olden days:” We’ve all experienced ourselves annotating in the margins of our books. Whether we knew it or not, we did this to aid in our own learning and possibly to help ourselves … » Continue Reading.