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The Big 100
The number 100 can be intimidating. 100 of anything is a lot (100 speeches, 100 workouts, 100 diapers changed, etc.). Kicking out 100 episodes baffles me as I was focused on getting past the 10, 20, and 50 episode barriers.
This milestone is exciting, but I’ve been more stressed about it than anything. I’ve placed a lot of pressure on myself to make this some epic event (hence the art prompts, swag, and giveaway). Most importantly, I needed to make it special so it could be something I could look back on and celebrate that I’ve given you, the listener, as much value as I could.
Without a doubt, this moment is special. After re-listening to hours of previous episodes to create this episode, I realized a few things:
- I’ve been able to open up, share my story, and embrace my past so I can create a killer future.
- It sparked incredible relationships with some of my biggest inspirations in the creative industry, and I’ve been able to soak up and dish out their wisdom.
- It’s allowed me to connect with amazing people like you all around the world—the interactions with you online and in person really motivates me and fulfills my soul.
Elevating Your Creative Hustle
I’ve learned so much from all the guests I’ve had on, but some advice really struck a nerve. These people’s words made a significant impact on my daily mindset and approach and I feel it will hit home with you too.
The following, in no particular order, are the Top 10 Tips from Industry Juggernauts to Elevate Your Creative Hustle.
There’s a bit of overlap in each guest’s message, but that really drives home the importance of applying these principles to your pursuits.
So sit back, open your mind, and let this heavy dose of knowledge vibrate through your body and soul…oh, ya, it’s like that today.
1. Celebrate the Later: Erik Marinovich (PP 085)
Back in episode 85, I had the privilege of having Erik Marinovich, the lettering legend out of San Francisco on the show. There’s a ton of gold in that episode, but there was a segment where he talked about celebrating the later which gave me permission to keep pushing my limits.
Some of the main takeaways I got from this nugget were:
- Celebrate the later—celebrate when you see someone doing something new and exciting, as we often don’t notice these pioneers ’til later in the game
- Stay curious—don’t be afraid to experiment and explore new styles/mediums, as you could unlock a new skill and develop your style
- Don’t tie your self-worth into engagement—when experimenting, smaller engagement compared to your norm could mean you’re onto something new people haven’t seen yet
- Avoid trend bandwagons—it’s hard to stand out when you’re trying to blend in
You can connect and follow Erik’s journey at @erikmarinovich on Instagram.
2. What Makes a Good Passion Project: Lauren Hom (PP 075)
If you need some guidance on making a successful side project, then check out episode 75 with Lauren Hom. She showered us with value about pouring your true self into your work so it can be relatable to others.
Here are a few things that stuck out to me:
- The group text test—make stuff you’d be excited to share in your group text or messaging app
- Make relatable work—
- you know your demographic, as you are the marketer AND target audience
- you already know what your friends want
- whatever you and your friends are geeking out or having deep convos about, create something related to it
- Show your true colors—don’t hold back on injecting your personality and experiences into your work (wave your freak flag)
- Don’t play it safe—if you’re trying to create something everyone loves, your work is too safe; stop trying to appeal to the masses
You can connect and follow Lauren’s journey at @homsweethom on Instagram.
3. Don’t Stop Working When the Work Stops: Austin Dunbar of Durham Brand & Co. (PP 70)
Don’t sleep on episode 70 with Durham Brand & Co., especially if you need a pep talk about putting in the work and handling clients. We covered a ton of topics on this episode, but shit got real when we went through his Official Rulebook of Durham Brand & Co., more specifically, rule 6: “Don’t Stop Working When the Work Stops.”
Here are a few highlights I think you can implement ASAP into your creative hustle:
- Cool doesn’t pay the bills, clients do—often, the “cool” work from people you admire are typically self-initiated projects
- Make the work you wanna make—when things are slow, don’t sit around waiting for work; take initiative and create the work you wish to see
- Law of Attraction—put out the work you want to attract and put your thoughts into the world like they’re your current reality
- ASK—don’t be afraid to ask the universe (or other people) for the things you want; the answer is always no if you never ask
You can connect and follow Austin’s journey at @durhambrandandco on Instagram.
4. Hire Yourself: Hoodzpah (PP 071)
Back in episode 71, the twin duo of Amy and Jen Hood of Hoodzpah dropped more than a few knowledge bombs on us. During our episode, they were in the final stages of wrapping up their book Freelance and Business and Stuff (FABAS) which you should get. After relistening to it, I realized much of what we talked about with their story set them up to write this successful book to pass on the value to you.
The following gold nuggets are some of the crucial moves they made to find their continued success:
- Hire Yourself = Self-initiated passion projects
- make your own opportunities instead of waiting for things to come to you
- show the work you want to do and that you are capable of doing
- Say YES—say yes to a lot of things and figure out what you’re good at; then you can say no
- Be Shameless—promote yourself to get your work out there; you can’t be ashamed to share
You can connect and follow Amy & Jen’s journey at @hoodzpah on Instagram.
5. Make Your Own Luck by Building Doors – Tony Diaz of Industry Print Shop (PP 056)
Sometimes, you get a chance to cross paths with someone who is genuinely living a life focused on giving. Meeting Tony Diaz and the Industry Print Shop family showed me you could make big waves, have a good ass time, and still make serving people your top priority.
In episode 56, Tony shares his incredible story of how he built Industry from the ground up with blood, sweat, and mostly tears.
The following are the main takeaways from his experience in the door-building business:
- Make your own luck—opportunity knocks, but not if there’s no door there
- Join the door-building business—build your own doors and make your own luck by hiring yourself
- Celebrate W’s—celebrate the victories to make a timestamp of the moment
- Live in the now—living in the what’s next eliminates the moment
- Be a savage—you’re supposed to go after this shit; we’re meant to chase our dreams and pursue our best selves
You can connect and follow Tony and the Industry Crew at @Industryprintshop on Instagram.
6. What is Meaningful Content? – Ben Hagarty of BenRealVsWorld (PP 061)
When my local Iowa homie Ben Hagarty isn’t touring and creating content for the biggest artists in the game like Jay-Z and Beyonce, he’s building community and providing value with his Black With No Cream podcast. Without a doubt, he is the definition of creative hustle.
Back in Winter 2018, on episode 61, Ben shares his insane story of taking risks, persevering through adversity, and obsessively making killer content.
Here are some of the highlights from his episode:
- 3 types of content: educational, inspirational, or entertaining (all 3-in-one is the holy grail especially if you can involve storytelling)
- Storytelling is the key:
- good content tells stories
- everyone has a story and the ability to tell their story
- your story gives other people a permission slip to tell theirs to make an impact
- What’s in it for them?
- before hitting publish, why should anyone care?
- create an experience for someone
You can connect and follow Ben’s journey at @benrealvsworld on Instagram.
7. Hustle & Outreach: Roxy & Phoebe of Pandr Design Co. (PP 065)
Next Ben Hagarty’s name in the definition of creative hustle, you’ll find Roxy & Phoebe of Pandr Design Co. I can’t forget to mention they also host the successful Drunk on Lettering podcast.
They are truly blazing their own paths and setting an example—not only females but for anyone who is hungry to make shit happen for themselves. In episode 65, they dish out some of their secrets and tips for hustling and outreach that I know will light a fire under your ass.
Here are some of the main takeaways I distilled from it:
- Play the numbers —don’t let being told NO phase you; it’s a numbers game
- Stack the deck in your favor—the more you reach out, your odds of getting a YES increase
- Be a nerd and research—research and target potential prospects who align with your needs and can “afford” your services
- Pitch your potential—create presentations to send off to these prospects (murals, podcast sponsors, design, social media marketing, etc.)
8. Be Obsessive About 3 Things: Nick Sambrato of Mama’s Sauce (PP 084)
It’s no wonder why Mama’s Sauce has been so successful in the letterpress, hot foil, and screen printing worlds. The head honcho, Nick Sambrato, showcases his mastery of both the mind and business in episode 84.
What really stuck with me was our discussion around obsessiveness and balance.
Here’s my break down some of these paradigm-shifting thoughts:
- When to say YES—only say yes to things you can do with excellence and peace
- Be obsessive about 3 things—we have the capacity to truly thrive in 3 things at once; ditch the non-essential to avoid spreading yourself too thin
- Have a decision filter—when facing a decision or opportunity, ask yourself: “Is this something I’m obsessed with during this season, and I can go all out and kill it?”
- You can’t do it all—kill the Superman Syndrome and stop trying to do it all; realize you can’t be everything to everyone; be the best at the essential
You can connect and follow Mama’s Sauce @mamasauce on Instagram.
9. Failure is a Tool in Your Tool Belt: Propaganda (PP 082)
I lucked out and got spoken-word superstar Jason Petty aka Propaganda on the show back in episode 82. For someone on that level of stardom to open up about his stories feeling like a failed artist was inspiring to say the least. It gave me permission to continue to be an open book and to not being afraid to fall flat on my face while chasing my dreams.
I think these takeaways on his mindset on failure will hit home with you too:
- Reframe the L—look at a loss from a different perspective and find the lesson within it
- Story about Daydreamin’, previous jobs or college football
- You’re in control of your story—failure along the way is just a part of your story you can share to inspire others
- Tell yourself you’re and artist and believe it—accept and embrace the adversity that comes with it
- Leave a legacy—your story ends when you’re dead, but you have the ability to make an impact with your story far after it ends
10. Definition of Success: Alicja Colon (PP 045)
If you need a reality check about embracing your identity and finding your voice, then you NEED to listen to episode 45 with expert paper crafting magician, Alicja Colon. She isn’t afraid to be vulnerable and bear the cracks in her armor as she tells her story of reclaiming her identity.
Here are some of the enlightening and heart-tugging takeaways:
- WHO vs. DO—how well does your do align with your who?
- WHO = your identity and your priorities in life are centered around this
- What you DO in life should align with your identity and your vision
- Your identity isn’t defined by what you DO (your DO does not define your WHO)
- Don’t create for the masses—don’t define your self-worth and identity by your work (your work does not define your worth)
- Create value—what type of value are you providing people with your DO?
You can connect and follow Alicja @alicjacolon on Instagram.
What’s in it for You?
Why should you care and listen to the next 100?
Next week, we’re going to dive deeper into this new focused direction I’m taking the show. However, my overall intentions each week are to share with you the best of what I learn to help fuel your creative hustle and grind.
That’s what today’s episode was all about. I have a lot of the same burning questions, desires and struggles as you do. I’ll never bullshit you and act like I have all the answers because I definitely don’t.
I try to be strategic on who I have on the show. I seek out experts of their craft who can articulate things far better than I can to help you and me break through the barriers holding us back
The following patterns we discussed today can help break them at a rapid pace and speed up our timelines:
- the importance of self-initiated projects to unlock opportunity
- sharing your story and showing your true authentic self in your work
- giving yourself permission to experiment and use failure as a tool to learn
- not finding your self-worth and identity in the performance of your work
Unlock the Next Level
No matter where you are in your creative hustle, rookie to seasoned veteran, there’s always a next level we can unlock.
You and I are far more than petty people pursuing popularity with pretty polished posts on Instagram.
We can make an impact on the world not only with our work but more importantly our story and voice.
The next 100 episodes are all about pursuing that best version of ourselves while serving as many people as we can with our gift.
I’m stoked to have you along for the ride.
Thanks for sharing this special milestone with me today. Here’s to the next 100.
Keep showing up. Keep putting in the work. Keep Creating. You got this.
- Episode references:
- Hoodzpah book: Freelance and Business and Stuff (FABAS)
- Dose of Inspiration: @travispietsch
- Podcast Editor: Aine Brennan
- Executive Assistant: Paige Garland
- Podcast theme music: Blookah
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