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Live Episode 3: San Fernando Valley Comic Con with Daniel De Sosa, Lenny Romero, Steve Waldinger, Erika Lipkes, and Allen Carter

This past weekend we were at San Fernando Valley Comic Con, and I wanted to do another live edition specifically about small cons. When people think of going to cons, they always think of big cons like San Diego or New York, but we build a lot of our business through smaller cons. These are cons that happen at local rec centers, community centers, or comic shops even.

The reason I love them personally is because they cost is so much less and thus the pressure is off. I don’t have to worry about outlaying $500+ for a table. The table fees are usually well under $100 for a table. Many of them are under $20, and if you do store signing you will probably find tables for free.

And that means you can do what you are there to do, which is build an audience, and talk to fans. Because there are not thousands of people walking through the hall you can have real conversations with your audience, and they build that know, like, trust with you much quicker. Do you get as many people, no. But it’s not always about quantity. It can be about quality too.

Additionally, you don’t have to fight with hundreds of other vendors doing the exact same things as you. At these smaller cons you are usually one of a couple, if not the only person there doing what you do. So people what want your kind of work are more likely to buy from you.

There are also less celebrities and other big name people at these cons, so you don’t have to fight with them for your customer’s precious money. Speaking of money, it’s also much cheaper (if not free) to attend these cons meaning the people there have more money to spend on the vendors.

Small cons are a great way to build your chops and your brand. If you fail at these small cons, there is much less worry than failing at a big one. And you need to fail a lot before you can get good. So the more cons your do on a small level, the better.

First we talked to Daniel De Sosa, who I actually met at San Fernando Valley Comic Con in November. He’s a great guy who’s been conning forever. Super talented too. You can find him at backwardsburd.com and by searching for desosaink on facebook and Instagram.

Then we talked to Lenny Romero, and awesome artist at only his fifth con, so it was great to see how these small cons were helping him. You can find him on instagram @lenzations.

Third, we talked to Steve Waldinger. Steve didn’t have much of his own merch at the table, but he was sharing with the Lady Beaver. They were just getting started too at cons, and this was only their second show. They did Long Beach Comic Expo in February, so it was great to see them compare. There is so much less pressure at these small shows when you don’t have much product too. You can find him on twitter and Instagram @stevewaldinger.

Fourth, we talked to Erika Lipkes, the Lady Beaver herself. She does zines and paintings, stickers and other awesome art. I love seeing zine people at cons because you don’t see them often at bigger cons. Again, the costs are just so high there’s very little chance of making money, especially with the amount of time it takes to make these things by hand from scratch. However, she did Long Beach Comic Expo too, so it was nice to see her compare the two. I loved that one of her students came to see the show too! That’s what you can do when the show costs very little to attend. You can find her online at ladybeaver.com.

Finally we talked to Allen Carter. I see Allen at tons of shows all over the place. Almost every time there is a con he’s be there. He even tells me about lots of cons. So it was great to hear him talk about his books, trades, zines, and other work. You can find him online at the carter comics or the figure of speech mongoose where he does a Mongoose Monday challenge every single week. Check it out.

And that’s it. I really appreciate everybody taking a couple minutes to talk to me. Small cons are so important. The people are nice and gracious, and it’s nice to have sometimes 10 minute conversations with a single fan.

 

Hard Lesson 1: Should You Abandon Your Project: Five Reasons Why I Didn't

So I’ve been working on a project for a long time now, over a year. It’s been a year of developing characters, story, plot, and actually writing an 80,000 word novel. It hasn’t been my only project, but there have been several hundred brain hours devoted to this project.

And the thing is…I’ve never really loved it. I mean I loved it in inception and concept, but it hasn’t been something that I fell in love with like some of my other projects. I’ve always thought about abandoning the project in full and moving on, but the further I got along the more I didn’t want to abandon the project. The more investment I had and the more I need it to work.

The problem, though, has been that the further I got on with the project, the more I disliked it. So my desire to monetarily finish the book was diametrically opposed to my desire to finish the book.

I should mention that nearly everything that I do comes with certain amount of hatred in the actually writing phase. I have always hated almost everything I’ve written until it got a lot further along. However, the hatred for this project has been stronger than most.

And I thought it would be interesting in this episode to talk about the reasons I didn’t abandon the project, which might inform whether you should abandon yours.

1.       This is a very different format than I’m used to, and I’m trying to train myself to write some more commercial books.

So the first reason I didn’t abandon the project is because I knew it was my most commercial project in the novel space. Katrina is very commercial in many ways, but this is even more commercial. Since it was commercial, and not an intimate character study, it was a very different thing for me to right, and I really wanted to get through it to see whether I hated it because it was a bad book, or because I just don’t normally write things like this.

So this one is really a business reason. I want to get more readers to read my more intimate books, and I have to pull them in with a more commercial book. Actors and other creatives do this all the time. They will do a studio movie, then go and make a random art house movie nobody watches.

I’m all about modeling what works, and if this is a functional model I need to make sure I’m writing a commercial work in order to fuel my other work.

2.       I saw a viable place for it in the marketplace, where I could put my own spin on some common tropes, and I thought that could be fun.

Another business reason. I found there were some common tropes being used in popular genre sci-fi, specifically YA, that I wanted to play with and enjoy. I generally like reading things like The Hunger Games and Harry Potter and Ender’s Game, and I thought it might be fun to play in that space and put my own take on it.

This goes back to point one, as well, where I was looking at trends in the marketplace and seeing what I could do that would also be successful. I’m not saying this book will be successful, but I wanted to try this new thing. If I didn’t like it, there was no need to write more…but I had to finish one.

3.       I want to test out a new delivery format for my books.

On Amazon I’ve been seeing a lot of books that are a series, but really they are just one book broken down into four 20,000 word sections, and then bound as a full book for print. Since that’s EXACTLY how comics work, and pretty much my exact business model for Wannabe Press, I wanted to see if I could write something that was really good, was broken up into 20,000 word segments for Amazon, and then bound in a print edition for the whole book.

Again, this is a business call. This wasn’t anything to do with content. And that’s really why I went about finishing this book. If it had just been creative, I would have probably abandoned it 20,000 words in. However, this book is doing several things for me on the business side, and because of that at every step I wanted to see if it was going to succeed as a proof of concept.

4.       After a time I passed the point of no return

When you are on a flight, there is a thing called the point of no return. That is the moment where fuel-wise you must continue to your final destination. This is the same thing that happens in creation. I had sunk so many hundreds of hours into this book over the course of a year that my sunk operational costs were more to abandon the book then they would be to continue. I value my time at a specific hourly rate, and I knew that if I didn’t finish I would be out a specific amount of dollars, and if I kept going I would be out a smaller amount. So I kept going. This is the same reason many projects come into being, because the cost to finish them outweighs the cost of abandoning them.

5.       If I finish the book, it can make money for me forever.

If I abandon the book, it would sit on my computer making no return on my investment. However, if I finish the book it can make money for me in perpetuity. This book is supposed to be the intro to the rest of my library. A tiny cost to get people buying my work and enjoying it, so they buy more. And the thing about books is, you make money off the back catalog. The more robust it is, the more ability for me to monetize it. So not only does this book (or 5 books really) generate income for me itself, it also helps get people to buy more of my work over time.

 

So those are some strictly business reasons why I didn’t abandon this project. I could have. I probably should have, early on, but now that I’m in it there is no business reason why I should abandon it…especially now that I’m 2-3k words from finishing the first draft. If you are interested in the artistic reasons why to abandon your project, it’s simple:

                It doesn’t feel right.

I’ve abandoned dozens of projects because they don’t feel right, I got bored, or I lost the passion. Those are all super valid reasons as well, but I wanted to bring business reasons into the light today.

I hope it helps. If it does please subscribe on itunes, rate and review us, and keep listening! Thanks so much.

Russell 

Miniseason 1 - Ep 11 - Launching a Kickstarter: Wrap-up

It's over! The My Father Didn't Kill Himself campaign is over and I'm back to do a wrap-up of the things I learned throughout the campaign. If you listen to all 11 episodes you'll already know most of this, but some people just like the wrap up, so I'm going to try to oblige them, while giving new information. 

First, we ended up raising $3431 from 155 backer with an average back of just over $22.00. This is way down from our previous campaigns, where we raised $30+ per backer on average. That is mostly attributable to the fact that 88 people (56%) chose the digial only rewards, which dragged down the total backing of each backer. However, this was to be expected because novels are not a visual medium. While there are many people that like the touch and feel of books, it's not a necessity like it is with comics. I believe that comics must be felt in your hands. Even though there is research to support print books over ebooks, the ebook market is enormous. So I'm not surprised at the lower amount raised. With Ichabod, we raised almost $2000 more from almost the same amount of backers. 
The most important thing is that this is the most fun I've had running a Kickstarter campaign...ever. There was no pressure. It was all fun. I was doing humiliating videos, and posting things to vine and youtube. It was a blast, unlike all my other campaigns which were more ulcers than anything. 

-          People still donated even though we hit our goal. I’m not sure if that’s because we wanted 1,000,000% funded or because people just wanted to see this project succeed. Perhaps we’ve gotten to the place where people are preordering my work because they want it and not because of the goal, though I think the goal is still important.

-          Facebook and Twitter ads didn’t work this time. Nothing really worked this time except for social and mailing list. 

-          With this third campaign, we finally felt like a publishing company, utilizing our mailing list, auto responder sequences, retargeting ads, and more. It felt finally like we had a community.

-          We did no stretch goals this time, and didn’t see any adverse reaction. I think stretch goals are only good if you are adding content to the book.

-          I can’t stress enough how important it is to get a distribution chain in place and stress test it before a campaign.

-          I don’t recommend doing a $1 campaign as your first campaign, because you actually do need lots of money to start up, whereas with MFDKH we already sunk all the cost in before the Kickstarter launched. I would never do a $1 campaign until you have a few under your belt.

-          Because we knew the book was coming out anyway, we didn’t have to push people. We could get them on the mailing list and knew that eventually they could buy the book on our website and on Kindle.

I will say that Kickstarter is a visual medium, so the novels didn't seem to stand out as much, even though we did a lot of visuals inside the campaign. People seem to use Kickstarter for comics, children's books, and other visual mediums more effectively than for straight novels. 
Also, book sites didn't care or even know about Kickstarter. While comic book sites are very welcoming to the idea, in the publishing space it's not common. 
Additionally, while almost all creators in the comic space are gearing up for a Kickstarter, nobody in publishing is doing the same. They are all gearing up for an amazon launch. 
I mention the comixlaunch episode a couple of times in this podcast. Here is the link to the episode I reference about $1 campaigns. 

-          We’re going to go more into doing extra episodes on Fridays about business. Email us with what you want to see @ russell@wannabepress.com.

A

Episode 9: Every Day is a Fist Fight with Erik Lervold

Today we talked to Erik Lervold, who is one of my favorite creators and happens to also create the Red Calaveras, which can be found on Wannabe Press. This dude is the real deal though. Honestly. He has the business stuff down. He has the art stuff down. He is the whole package and I loved talking to him about the business of his art and how he makes stuff while getting paid.


You can find his book on Wannabe Press, at www.theredcalaveras.com, and at www.monkeymanlabs.com

Why Live Events are Great for Your Career

Look, I love online.

I’m an online presence nut.

I know that the best way to keep in touch with your audience on the regular is through blogging, podcasting, Instagram, and Twitter. You don’t have to convince me of that.

But there is nothing like being at a show and talking to people in person. Statistically, it takes eight touches with a person online or over the phone before they buy from you.

In person you can cut that down to one sometime, and their desire to get more information from you is exponentially higher when you meet them. I can get 10x more email subscribers in a two day event than I do in a month.

So why live shows? 

It’s the easiest and quickest way to get immediate validation that you are a legit company.

Why?

Because you paid for a booth. You sat down, had wares to show, and just by doing that you are immediately a professional in the eyes of most attendees and, equally important, vendors.

Your biggest ally in this world are the other people doing what you do. They are going to be your biggest fans, and the only people who trying understand what you do. They will shout you out. They will buy your stuff. They will be there for you.

The fans are fantastic and I love them to death, but being legit in the eyes of other vendors is so crucial, and you can only truly do that if you’re behind that booth.

Why don’t people like live shows? 

Where I generally hear this come from are people that go to one show a year and think that is enough.

Newsflash: it’s never enough to go to just one.

Why?

Because people’s minds are fleeting. They need to see you over and over again. They need to keep passing your booth, and if they like your stuff one time, they will eventually buy it.

Additionally, I hear it a lot from people who have no follow-up sequence. So they go to a show, get no emails, build no audience, and go home with nothing, having just blown a few hundred bucks on a booth.

So audience building at shows is important? 

It’s mission critical. It’s more important than selling at shows. If you are not collecting emails, en masse, at a show, then you are wasting a huge opportunity.

Even at a small show we want to collect 50–100 sign-ups…because most of our audience growth is at live shows.

We collect dozens of signatures at shows, then we set up an auto responder sequence to build trust, and a weekly newsletter. We provide value and personality throughout the year through social media, and then at the next show, we have a deeper connection.

You can say what you want about online, there is nothing like shaking somebody’s hand. I can’t tell you how much we’ve sold to people that found us online, liked what we had to say, and bought our products at a show.

Or…

Found us at a show, signed up for our mailing list, listen to our podcast, and come back at the next show and buy products then.

There is no single way to do this. You can’t be a live show guy with no online presence. But you also can’t be all online with no in person. People need to see you. They need to hear you. They need to know you are flesh and blood.

But shows are expensive! 

I don’t care. Business is expensive. Audience growth is expensive. The ROI is massive though, especially when you hit certain benchmarks.

 You don’t have to go to a big show first. You can find a trade show, or a fair, or a local show at your favorite shop. Start there, and grow to the big shows.

But you are only hurting yourself by not getting out there.

It’s also great to test branding. 

Live shows are the best way to test branding, pitches, and marketing strategies in a compact setting.

In a two day show you speak to hundreds of people, and they will tell you exactly what works, what doesn’t work, what they respond to, and where you should focus your attention.

Every time I release a product I spend months going to shows with it, testing pitches, and trying different marketing materials before I settle on something that works.

When I find something that works, I know it’s because it’s been through thousands of tests with customers to hone the messaging.

Long story short: Get out to shows. Don’t wait. Do it now.

Ranterlude 4: I'm Having Success, Why Am I So Depressed?

Today I talk about something that's taboo even for me, and I don't think anything is taboo. I talk about the massive depression I've been feeling recently, even in the face of overwhelming success. 

It's something that entrepreneurs face all the time, and nobody talks about because we're just supposed to talk about the good time. I don't roll like that. I love talking about the bad times, and the weird times, and exactly what I'm feeling right now. That's what these little episodes are all about. 
Because I think that's what helps people. I think that's where real value is, in being straight forward. So yeah, I've been feeling massively depressed recently. A couple of rungs above I can't get out of bed. It only in talking about it that I get out of my own head. I've never been depressed before, not really. I've been thoroughly bummed out a lot in my life, but this is different somehow. 
I trey to understand in on this episode. Why it's happening. Why now that I'm finally having success am I in such a bad head space. 
So I hope this help, even if it's just one of you. 

Mini Season 1 -Ep 10 - Launching a Kickstarter: Five Days Left

Five days left until the Kickstarter is over, and we're working toward wrapping up the season. That means after this there's only a wrap-up show left next Friday! Oh no! 

Also Yay, because this Kickstarter has taken a lot out of me, especially in the last few days. There's one thing I know for sure, and it's that the audience we built over the last year has been instrumental in making this book a reality. 
And if you want to make your project a success you need to start building an audience now! 

Miniseason 1 - Ep 9 - Launching a Kickstarter: The Fatigue Sets In

This week, my friends, the fatigue set in. I usually run 30ish day campaigns, but this one was 40 days. I was told by multiple people to do the longest campaign possible, so I tried it. As one person, I do not recommend it. 

I mean we had to do it, because we'll be at LBCE this weekend, as well as at two conventions next weekend, The GLAWs digital conference and Pasadena Comic and Toy Show. We HAD to have the Kickstarter live for both of those. 
However, we have so much going on these days. We have the launch of Katrina Hates the Dead at LBCE, the launch of the Gherkin Boy paperback to plan for Wonder-con, along with Kickstarter University's continued launch (and official launch later this month). We also offically announced our new chidren's book I Can't Stop Tooting: A Love Story, coming to Kickstarter on April 5th. You can head to www.cantstoptooting.com to check it out. 
It's a lot to manage, and I'm only one person, but I know one thing. If I'm fatigued so is the audience. We're going to do one more final week push, push it hard at the live shows, and then we'll be done. I can't wait for the wrap up. 

MY GENERAL PROCESS FOR FUNDING A KICKSTARTER

I'm going to have Kickstarter on the brain for the next two months, because we're launching our Kickstarter for Katrina Hates the Dead (www.wannabepress.com/katrina) on September 8th. People want to know how to properly market a Kickstarter for maximum impact. There are so many pieces to this question that I'll try to disseminate in the following months, but let's just assume you have a kill Kickstarter project put together, it's finished, and you've done a great video. What are the steps to get your project out there and seen by as many eyeballs as possible? But more importantly to be seen by people who will back your project? Let's dive in.

Once your campaign starts, it's very hard to save it. It can be done at a low priced project, but you really want to set it up right.

1. You need 3-6 months to build an audience for a campaign. You build an audience slowly and gradually over time by talking to people, liking their stuff on Facebook, retweet and talking at them on twitter, etc. The most important thing is to actually care about these people, and their lives, not just try to market your stuff. In fact, almost none of it is about marketing you. It's about sharing cool stuff, asking questions, and finding out about them...just like a friendship. Because that's what it is.

2. Put together a Facebook page and invest Facebook ads to build likes to your Facebook page. Is Facebook a perfect science? No. Do people like your page just b/c they are click happy, sure they do. But you're also getting a tailored audience to your product as well. You determine the audience that sees your stuff, so those are actually people that should like what you have to push on them. You can accomplish this for $1-$2 day and build it into your kickstarter budget.

3. Do not just post links to your comic on your Facebook page. Just like any other thing you do on Facebook, you need to build an audience. And that audience doesn't just want to see you. They want to see all the things that you like. So you need to share other stuff, cool links, etc, and then slip in something about your book every now and then.

4. Get a website and put a preview online. Make sure to add a retarget cookie from Google and Facebook so people that go to your site can be fed ads later on.

5. 3 months out, talk to review sites about doing reviews and/or interviews that coincide with your launch date. You need at least 3 months for them to say yes and to get them the material. If they say no, just hit them up on your next KS.

6. About 2 months out, contact all your high influencer friends and ask if they can help tweet out about your project. Don't be pushy, just ask once if they can help. Most won't answer, but a couple will. Again, if you are actually friends with them and not just spamming them, which you should be by now.

7. A month out tell your friends about it and ask then to like your post if they will contribute in the first 24 hours. The 24 hour number is critical. The more people you get in a short time, the more impressive it looks to the KS staff and the more likely you are to be a staff pick.

8. Two weeks out start Facebook message your friends telling them a little blurb about the project and ask if they will contribute. You should message them with a link to your preview and what to expect from the campaign. It's important to keep informing them what to do throughout the process.

9. A week out, start a Facebook event and invite your friends list to it. Ask them to invite all their friends. Update the time of the invite every day so they get an indication on their feed.

10. When the KS starts, Facebook message every person who said they would help personally. Ask them to donate, share, tweet, and do everything you can to maximize at least 25% of your campaign funds in the first 24 hours. Add a link to the Kickstarter.

11. Every single time somebody contributes, tweet and facebook out a thank you with a link to the KS so more people can contribute.Remind people continually what to expect from them and your goals. When you tweet, hashtag #crowdfunding #kickstarter and tweet at specific crowdfunding twitter and facebook people.

If you can get 25-50% campaign funds in the first 48 hours, and 100 backers in that time, you have a good shot at being a staff pick, which will rocket you higher.

Other things: Don't set your goal too high. It's better to fund at $1000 and only do 1 issue than not fund at $5000 because you were too ambitious. Your audience should grow over time if you can deliver high quality products.

Make sure to check out freekickstartercourse.com too in order to start your journey on the right foot.

WHY DOESN’T ANYBODY PLEDGING TO MY KICKSTARTER? AND HOW TO FIX IT…FOR FREE!

You’ve got a product. You demo it a couple times. You show it to your friends. You even talk about it on social media sometimes.You set it up on Kickstarter even! That’s supposed to be the magic formula, right? I mean every Kickstarter succeeds! But nobody is pledging! Why?

First, I’m making an assumption you have a great product that’s been product tested thoroughly, and given to people in your community (NOT just your family), and that’s people have told you they want to buy it.

But the truth is, even if you have a mediocre product, you can still sell it!

How?

People have to know about it! It’s the first step in every process. You need to make sure you are driving people to your product, especially people who desperately need it!

I know you’re scared to show off the product. It’s against human nature to be open, vulnerable, and put yourself out there…but it’s the only way your product can succeed.

Even if you don’t have a marketing budget, you can do a few things to drive traffic, which will drive backers, and how to do it all for free!

1. Join all the communities you can related to your product.

Go to conferences, meet-up groups, join Facebook forums, and subreddits. Ask questions, provide relevant content, and learn everything about your potential buyer. Gather as big a mailing list as possible. Then, tell them about your product, get them interested, and send them to your page. If the people who need your product won’t buy it, who will?

2. Create an evite or Facebook event and invite everybody you know.

Let’s be fair, even if your friends and family don’t like your product, hopefully they will at least support you. But they can’t support you if you don’t know what to do. So you have to show them exactly what you need from them. Even though everybody knows the Kickstarter brand, not many people know how it operates. You need to lay it out for people!

3. Once you have some momentum built back up, get the press on your side.

Look, you should be cultivating press contacts all the time, but the press only wants to deal with a winner. If your project is failing there’s not going to be any interest there. However, if you can get the momentum back in your campaign, then the press will be interested again. Heck, you’ll even have a great angle about how your product was failing and now it’s succeeding. The press love stories like that.

So there are three free ways to get interest back in your Kickstarter. Are they are effective as Facebook or Twitter Ads, or other paid features? Sometimes, but not usually. Still, they are way better than having a stagnant campaign. There’s nothing that kills momentum faster than a $0 day.

Hope it helps. Make sure to check out www.freekickstartercourse.com to get your journey started on the right foot.

Never Stop Failing

So, I was on twitter just now (yes I tweet @russellnohelty) and I saw a very interesting trend called #threewordstoliveby.  Almost immediately I knew what I was going to write.  It's an adage I've been saying to myself and everybody for the past few months:  Never Stop Failing. If you've read my latest interview on the Viper site, you get a little insight into why I say that, but for those of you who haves a) why and b) here is my reasoning.

You see, unlike Charlie Sheen I didn't have a famous father or a starring role in a Best Picture winning movie when I was 20.  And I certainly wasn't blessed with good looks.  So, I've had to work and work HARD at everything I've ever done and I've failed about 5,000,000 times for every success I've ever had.  In fact up until this point I've had very minors successes and MASSIVE failures.

However, these failures are what build our character and test our resolve.  When I graduated college I was set to direct my first movie.  I knew the crap that was on TV and in the theaters and I knew that I could do better.  So I bought tons of equipment ($30k worth), wrote a script, worked doing projects for a couple years, and in 2007 I was on the set of my first movie.  Heck, I was 24 and feeling on top of the world.  Well, we wrapped on July 1st, 2007 and the movie still hasn't gotten out of editing.  Overall FAILURE.

I wasn't deterred, though, because I got a job soon after working as an executive producer at an internet start-up.  There I produced a couple spots in animation, live action, and even a full blown TV show pilot.  Then, after a year I was out of a job.  Again, overall FAILURE.

Luckily, during that time I was hired to direct a reality show.  Awesome news, right?  We shot for 2 weeks some great footage with an amazing crew.  4 years later and the project is still in editing.  All I have is a trailer for my efforts.  For a third time, FAILURE.

I could keep going on and on about small victories that led to massive failures, but this isn't about wallowing in self pity.  It's supposed to be encouraging and uplifting.  Because, even after all of those failures... I'm still here trying to break into other mediums, learning from previous mistakes and resolute not to do them again.  I've written and been produced in features, TV, Web Series, Commercials, Animation, Comic Book (soon. knock on wood), and hopefully upcoming with a book.  By all accounts except financially, I've accomplished a lot (even if I never get footage from any of those people I know I did it dagnabit!)

You see, if I stopped the first, second, fifth, of 10,000 time I failed, it means I'd have stopped trying and I wouldn't be here right now.  Because by trying and opening yourself up to opportunities you're probably gonna fail.  If you open 10 businesses 9 are gonna fail and most are gonna fail spectacularly.  But, as long as 1 succeeds you'll be able to keep going and maintain that spirit.

So it's with that I say to you Never Stop Failing because if you keep trying and keep failing, you'll eventually succeed and it'll make the success sweeter.

Where I Started and How I got Here

I feel like a grizzled veteran, talking about how I got started, but I guess it’s been a decade. I’m well past the point where any rational person gives up. I’m as punch drunk as any other veteran in a creative field,

and I kept standing back up until the punches stopped fazing me.

 

Honestly, I think that’s the key to it all: showing up and standing up. I can’t tell you how many friends I

have in this business just because we showed up and lasted long enough to earn each other’s respect.

It’s like a badge of honor, of courage, and of acceptance. Because most people don’t show up, and when

then do the weight of this business crushes them under heel.

 

I’m not saying that you don’t need great product. Great product is a given. Let me write that again:

GREAT. PRODUCT. IS A GIVEN. If you have great product, you are able to be in the conversation. So

many people feel as if their awesome project immediately entitles them to be accepted. It doesn’t.

Everybody in the conversation has great content. Every. Single. One of them.

 

That being said, having great content put me leap years ahead of most other human beings. Creatives

looked at my work and nodded approvingly – which is just about the highest compliment one can

receive. The only one higher is “I hate you a little bit for coming up with this idea before me”.

 

So how did I get started? I worked through the crappy content everybody does for the first 10 projects

or more, then I created better content until I felt it was truly great. After that I showed up, and kept

getting up every time the universe spit me out.

 

Weirdly, one day you’re fighting against the current trying to be accepted, and the next the flood gates

open and the acceptance flows like a river.

 

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