One Cause At a Time – Archive

An Archive of Chicago Now One Cause at a Time Posts

Archive for December 2018

2018 In Review

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Every year, this blog examines 2018 in review,  and determines where and how we proceed. This past year, this blog has focused as much on community-based initiatives as much as more personal glimpses into caregiving and freelancing.

So I’ll be working on a formal content creation calendar to streamline blogging and provide a more consistent voice.

But please consider this a “greatest hits” post, quoting one great post per month and linking directly to it.

January – There’s huge shame around being employed in a job that does not require your full skill set, and nobody wants to talk about it…until now.

February – …it’s no longer about productivity. It’s about survival.

March – Like J. Alfred Prufrock, I am afraid that I am measuring my life in coffee spoons.

April – …but after thirty pages fought off the temptation to write soliciting a job as Gary’s ghostwriter.

May – …they take the ideas of community engagement and community investment to a higher level

June – One of the hardest aspects of handling Anthony Bourdain’s passing is that there will never be closure or an “a-ha” moment that speaks to his motivations

July – “We like to think of evil as a cartoon: We think evil looks like Hitler or a serial killer. We think we’re good people, and we’re nothing like them. But the truth is, evil is banal. Most often, evil is people with privilege looking the other way, people deciding not to make a fuss, to stay silent.”

August – “Community” often gets used in a variety of contexts without understanding the full meaning of the word.

September – “The better you plan, the faster you respond”

October – …networking is not a “quick fix” but requires consistent follow-up

November – Put simply: casual coffees and get-togethers are much easier to schedule than attending paid high-end networking events.

December – The results of that idea were not just the client work they were seeking…but the start of a larger community

As always, you can comment below, join us on Facebook, or contact me directly.

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful New Year!


Written by gordondym

December 18, 2018 at 9:23 am

I Code Hire Me: A Case Study in Guerilla Marketing

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(Special thanks to Sean Crowe and Thomas Gorczynski of Hacksmith Labs for their time and insight)

For many startups, social enterprises, and nonprofits guerilla marketing can be an effective strategy to drive word-of-mouth and engage their wider audience. with minimal marketing resources. Many job seekers and freelancers face the challenge of effectively marketing themselves in gig economy to avoid either total joblessness or potential underemployment.

For Sean Crowe and Thomas Gorczynski of Hacksmith Labs, guerrilla marketing was key in building their presence…and all it took was a sticker with four simple words: I Code Hire Me

I was fortunate enough to talk with Sean and Thomas about their work and gained insight into how some creative thinking can assist in building a reputation and drive business.

Sean Crowe & Thomas Gorczynski of Hacksmith Labs

Sean Crowe & Thomas Gorczynski of Hacksmith Labs

As self-taught web coders, Sean and Thomas had found themselves sitting in a crowded coffeehouse with a desire to find work. A Sitting with others in a crowded coffeehouse, they realized that there were many companies looking for coders. Since both Sean and Thomas were remote workers, they realized that other people were looking for developers…and their efforts came in the form of a sticker that announced I Code Hire Me.

For two years, they acquired work simply through using that sticker and trusting that it would help them gain work. (Of course, in our conversation they noted that having “the right sticker at the right coffee shop at the right time). For Sean and Thomas, that sticker reflects how they prefer to operate: personal, interactive, and establishing a connection with their clients. For Sean and Thomas, this has been a boon in helping them thrive in a field that they describe as “very competitive…but a large market.”

Although their competition consists of the three top web development agencies, Sean and Thomas do not feel that Hacksmith Labs, a remotely-run boutique software agency focused on mobile and web app development. They describe Hacksmith Labs as the “leanest, meanest shop” that has developed over $250,000 in new business for companies such as Campbell’s Soup, RocNation, Budweiser and SoulCycle. Establishing an immediate, personal connection has not only allowed them to develop a client base but also build and foster a reputation for solving problems and building connections.

"The ad on the back of your laptop is awesome. Guerilla marketing at its best! Good luck!"

“The ad on the back of your laptop is awesome. Guerilla marketing at its best! Good luck!”

Part of building those connections has been “giving it back” and reaching out to those looking to shift into careers in web development. To that end, Sean and Thomas launched the I Code Hire Me podcast which focuses on people entering careers in web development. Many individuals teaching themselves coding through bootcamps or resources like Team Treehouse are looking for a job or career change. By highlighting these stories, the I Code Hire Me podcast is not only building a more immediate, personal connection with web development professionals, but also with those looking to make a change in the direction of their career.

Guerilla marketing for nonprofits, social enterprise, and other startups may appear intimidating, but it is really about finding the smallest action that leads to maximum effect. For Sean and Thomas, the realization that they needed to build a connection with their potential clients resulted in the smallest idea. The results of that idea were not just the client work they were seeking…but the start of a larger community.

After our discussion, I found myself thinking, Hey, in order for me to further my freelance work, I should adopt a similar tactic: find where my potential clients will be and place a sticker on my laptop:

I Consult – Hire Me

Have questions or comments? Please feel free to make your remarks in the Comments section below. You can even join the conversation via this blog’s Facebook page or contact me directly

As always, thanks for reading!

Help ChildServ Help Others Through Their Gift Drive!

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As  Chicagoland’s leading human service agency for children and young adults, Childserv has a long history of providing assistance for children and families and young adults. Established in 1894. ChildServ provides early childhood learning, foster care, housing, and counseling services to families in the city of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Under the leadership of CEO Dan Kotowski, Childserv increased corporate donations and attracted partnerships with large corporate entities in Chicago. Right now, Childserv is holding their annual toy drive…and they need your help.

Partnering with UPS and O’Hare Lake Office Park LLC, Childserv is collecting donations until December 16th for their annual Holiday Gift Drive. (You can find their “wish list” and drop off locations on Childserv’s website). Once collected, donations will be delivered to these locations on December 18th

  • Chicago-South office (3753 Cottage Grove Ave, 2nd Floor, Chicago 60653)
  • Chicago-West office (2808 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, 60622)
  • Lake County office (2424 Washington St., Suite 210, Waukegan, IL 60085).

Your donation will have a positive impact on youth who are served by Childserv…and here’s one testimonial via YouTube:

Looking to help? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Donate a new, unwrapped toy
  • Donate winter clothes (such as coats, gloves, scarves)
  • Donate books (in English and Spanish) for kids of all ages
  • Donate items like board books, and lotions, and bedding & towels,
  • Gift cards to Target, Walmart, and Amazon (sent via mail with the heading “Holiday Gift Giving” to 8765 W. Higgins, Suite 450, Chicago, IL 60631)
  • Donate money via their secure site
  • Volunteer to help receive, sort, organize and fill orders at 2200 E. Devon, Suite 351, in Desplaines.
  • Questions or concerns? Contact Zulma Colon at (773) 867-7361 or

Despite the tumultuous times we live in, it is never too late to show compassion. Consider donating to the Childserv Holiday Gift Drive!

Written by gordondym

December 11, 2018 at 11:39 am