Shawn Coss grew up loving cartoons, but never dreamed it could become his full-time job. He grew up in a time and place where art wasn’t considered a viable career.
His dad told him he should get a “real job” instead of pursuing his dreams. The thought was, you could only be a professional artist if you went to an art institute, or learned at Disney. Like most people who grow up in difficult financial situations, Shawn’s dad didn’t want Shawn to grow up with the same hardships he had to go through.
Shawn hit his first break when he met Kris Wilson of Cyanhide and Happiness through MySpace. Kris liked Shawn’s work so much, that he invited him to work on the C&H team.
Cyanide and Happiness provided Shawn enough financial stability to start his own clothing company, Any Means Necessary. One of the clothing company’s campaigns, Inktober, brought an influx of fans and attention.
This brings Shawn to a an exciting but difficult crossroads. Should he go all-in on his company or keep it as a side hustle.
In this episode, Shawn talks about why there’s no formula for becoming a popular artist, defining success on your own terms, and why running an art business is such hard work, among many other things.
Derek Miller has always had a creative side to his life. As a kid he wanted to be a cartoonist, and little did he know, he would become deeply entrenched in that world as an adult through the web comic Cyanide and Happiness.
While he was in college, and a few years afterward, Derek was part of a small metal band and also ran a small music blog. He was also a part of a non-profit to help artists turn their passion into full-time jobs.
All that experience in the art world helped Derek run three successful Kickstarter campaigns at Cyanide and Happiness. Instead of treating Kickstarter like another crowdfunding tool, he treated each campaign like its own event.
After three successful Kicstarter campaigns and constantly being approached by creatives about crowdfunding, Derek decided to write a book on the topic. This led to the creation of his book Six Figure Crowdfunding.
In this episode, Derek talks about why you need to keep your creative momentum, the power of a positive mindset, and not getting down on yourself, among many other things.
Katie Hornor knew from a young age that wanted to serve God. She also realized that she had a teacher’s heart, so she majored in education.
After finishing school with a degree in education and a minor in Spanish, Katie and her husband moved to Mexico as missionaries. While in Mexico she worked at a Bible college and local mission college.
But one of the most pivotal decisions in her life was deciding to home school her children. This was the moment she realized that other parents in Mexico had no resources for home schooling their children.
So, to supplement her income and help out parents who wanted to home school their children, Katie and her husband started a home school blog. Katie realized their was a massive whole in the market for home schooling in Spanish, so she filled that gap.
Her home schooling blog became so successful that bloggers started approaching her asking how she grew her business. Katie now helps teach bloggers from all over the world how to grow their blogs and businesses.
In this episode Katie talks about sharing your gifts with the world, respecting everyone even if they don’t deserve it, and defining what success means to you.
Ron Dawson‘s earliest experience with film came through a time traveling caper film he created when he was a kid. Unfortunately, like many creatives, “real life” aspirations took over.
Instead of following his passion for film, he followed his interest in business. Ron’s first endeavor in business was attempting to buy and sell businesses with his cousin. Although this idea did not work out, it gave him a taste of the business world.
After failing to launch his business buying venture, and graduating with a business degree from UC Berkley, Ron got a job at Screen Play Systems. After some time there, he later moved up to become a business manager at Intuit.
While working for these different businesses, Ron was also working as a wedding videographer on the side. This was a pivotal crossroads for him. He could either continue with his six-figure salary, or he could venture out on his own. Instead of continuing to work at a high paying job he didn’t love, he chose to do a job he did love, making films.
In this episode Ron talks about the power of storytelling, putting in the work, and learning on the fly among many other things.
Brett Michael Innes didn’t know if he would ever fulfill his dream of becoming a film maker. As a teenager, he knew he wanted to make movies but there were a few things that stood in the way of him accomplishing his dream.
During that time, his family went into debt, so he couldn’t afford to go to film school. He also had to work at a call center just to support himself.
After some introspective thinking, Brett decided he wanted to pursue his dream of film making. So he worked a year at the call center so he could afford to go to film school. With the help of his parents and a scholarship, he was able to finish with a degree in film production.
Although Brett wanted to major in directing, he was forced to get his degree in film production. This ended up being a stroke of luck because this experience with production helped him land a contract with M-Net, the HBO of South Africa.
With the help of M-Net, Brett was able to work on his novel, Rachel Weeping, and his movie Sink, at the same time. Both the novel and movie were met with critical acclaim, which has allowed him to continue work doing the thing he loves, making films
In this episode Brett talks about adapting to your situation, why mentorship is powerful, and not letting fear get the best of you.
Cebo Campbell grew up with a father and a community only interested in one of his talents: football. When he was a kid, his father was the coach of his football team where he stressed one thing, be the best you can be. Cebo took that advice to heart and became a dynamic football player, but due to his height, only got a football scholarship from one school. So he took it.
This is when Cebo started to shift his focus from athletics to academics. He was always creative, but it wasn’t until his teacher encouraged him to major in writing that he truly started to focus on it. When you’re a football player, your teammates shun you for being smart, so Cebo always tried to hide that part of his life. But after winning a writing competition as a freshman, he realized there was something there, so he ran with it.
After graduating and spending a short stint on the west coast, Cebo moved back to Florida and worked at a hotel. While working at the hotel, he convinced the owner to let him work on the hotel’s website. This would be the second big shift in his life.
Cebo became interested in everything he could accomplish with website design and writing. So much so that he went to a conference centered around it. That’s where he met AJ Leon. Cebo and AJ hit it off immediately. This fateful meeting ended up being the beginning of a great friendship, and eventually a job as the creative director of Misfit Inc.
In this episode, Cebo talks about why you should put your all into your work, why you should take your time, and why you should always strive to be the best.
Erik Kruger is like many of us who became entranced by the idea of lifestyle design. He read Tim Ferriss’s Four Hour Workweek and felt the desire to work as few hours as possible so he could “run around and do other things” with all his extra free time.
So he tried to build businesses that let him live that lifestyle. His first attempt was a local freelance network, which fizzled out. He also tried to create web directories for physical therapists, gyms, and models, but those never gained traction either. He describes all of these unsuccessful projects as his “graveyard of domains” because of all the sites he tried and failed to build.
These failures taught him a valuable lesson. When he started out, his main goal was trying to make a lot of money while working as few hours as possible. But over time, he discovered he was focusing on the wrong thing.
Luckily for Erik, our failures often lead to our greatest success. His success came in the form of Better Man, a site dedicated to helping men change their behaviors to become more productive, habit driven, and successful. This project has grown into a thriving community of like-minded men driven to make the most out of life.
In this episode Erik talks about the lessons we can learn from failure, why you should let your principles guide you, and the importance of creating value for your audience.
Ja-Nae Duane has worn many creative hats in her career. She started off as an opera singer where she performed at places like The Met and the White House, but soon realized it wasn’t a sustainable career.
So she branched out and started working for a social networking company, which was the beginning of her entrepreneurial journey. While working there she realized the major difference between the way men and women approached entrepreneurship. This led her to start a group called Wild Women Entrepreneurs, which grew to 55 chapters in nine months.
After a stint running her own companies, Ja-Nae realized other people probably needed help with their own entrepreneurial journeys too, which is why she wrote The Startup Equation, a book that helps owners throughout their business journeys.
In this episode, Ja-Nae talks about how vulnerability leads to great work, why you need to stay in touch with your creativity, and why your mindset is so important.
Angela Ferrari has always lived a creative life. When she was young she lived in a rural area where she figured out creative ways to play. She would build tree forts, spray paint plants, and turn her mundane environment into stories.
Angela continued that creative streak in college where she studied studio art and painting. After college, she moved to Portland, Maine and started working at a restaurant. While working as a waitress, Angela forged relationships with the restaurant owners and patrons. After a while, Angela was able to quit her job as a waitress to work on her art full-time.
For some, having a successful business as an artist would be enough, but that wasn’t the case for Angela. One day while doing yoga, she had a vision about a dog doing yoga. This would eventually turn into her first children’s book Digger’s Daily Routine. Even with three completed books and a newly released podcast, it still feels like Angela has more creativity to share with the world.
In this episode Angela talks about believing in yourself, having fun, and how struggles can lead to success.
Henry May spent his childhood playing with LEGOs. He loved the outdoors and harmless mischief. He thought his life was pre-ordained. He thought our paths are set for us.
This all changed the summer he joined Teach First. The two years he spent here, changed his thoughts on the education system and his role in the world.
After his time at Teach First, and a short stint at Procter & Gamble, Henry took a trip to Colombia through Teach Colombia and fell in love with the country. But he also heard horrible stories about the public schools there.
These were the driving forces that pulled him to leave everything he knew in London and to start CoSchool in Colombia.
In this episode Henry talks about why well respected jobs aren’t always right for us, why good ideas take time to develop, and why you need to stop waiting and put your ideas into action.