Wanna know one thing that terrifies me? It's looking back a year later and realizing I made no significant growth in my life.
For me, the best way I know how to measure this is by setting goals, reflection and by documenting or journaling it—whatever you want to call it.
2017 was a massive mind fuck yet it provided some of the best highlights of my young creative career. I like to call this shit and sunshine.
One month I'd feel depressed and worthless. The next month I'd feel loved and fulfilled.
There were plenty of times I felt lost and hopeless only to turn around the next week and feel driven and hopeful.
2018 is going to be a massive year, I can feel it but it'll have its challenging times...especially when I turn the big dirty 30.
Something I want to encourage you to is to take the shit in stride so you can appreciate the sunny days when things go right. Take a moment to reflect, celebrate and even document if it helps you see the growth.
Ensuing are 12 lessons I learned in 2017. I know for a fact some of these will benefit you too.
I grew up terrified of sharing my work. However, getting uncomfortable and sharing my work through Instagram at the age of 25 changed my life. From there it challenged me in blogging, speaking, teaching and podcasting.
In 2017 especially, I started intentionally seeking or taking on opportunities that not only challenged me but scared the shit out of me.
If something you want to do scares you, I believe it's your intuition pulling you towards the person you're supposed to become.
They say it's not about what you know, but who you know. This is a hard fact. Yet many people approach this in a skeezy car salesman fashion.
Don't, I repeat don't see people as connections and stepping stones. Pour your full self into a relationship. Find ways you can provide value to them without expecting anything in return.
Be a good listener, encourage others, share others work or provide insight / advice whenever you can.
You have no idea what that relationship or interaction can lead to. You could make a lifelong friend, a customer, a brand ambassador or even get hired by them someday down the road.
Consistency. Consistency. Consistency. You can't whine and complain that people don't notice what you're doing when you're showing up only when it's convenient.
You have to stay in front of people especially on platforms where the attention is at.
Focus on kicking out content, building influence and finding your voice a minimum of once a week.
The catch is to enjoy what you create, pour your most authentic self into it and discover how you can deliver value.
Your goal isn't shit until you write it down. Amplify that goal by attaching a deadline to it.
Writing your goal down adds a new level of accountability and adding a deadline creates urgency.
Make your goal measurable by having milestones along the way so you can track your progress (i.e. 5 speaking gigs by mid-December = 1.25 per quarter).
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is crucial.
I'm extremely good at prioritizing and scheduling my day. Essentially I thrive on chaos—or so I think.
My top weakness is having Superman Syndrome. I feel like I can do everything which results in above average results, unnecessary stress and neglecting people who matter most.
I'm aware of this more than ever now, but acting on it in 2018 is the next step. I'm a constant WIP and Doing Less But Better while focusing on the essentials is my main objective.
When you invest in yourself it'll either be with money or time. Money isn't always available but you can always create more time to invest in yourself and your future.
When money is available, you know I'm all about seeking out conferences, workshops or events whether locally or out of city or state.
Money will also help you pay for online courses, books, new equipment, etc.
When money isn't abundant, you'll need to invest your time. For example, listening to free resources like podcasts, watching tutorials on YouTube or reading articles or blogs on the interwebs.
Investing time into daily practice is really the key to benefiting the most out of your money or other time investments.
This is a big one I'm guilty of in 2017. I've been bitching about the Instagram algorithm all year. My "following" actually decreased pretty significantly even though I was consistent, increased quality and value.
Instead of nutting up, adapting and evolving with the platform, I complained publicly, especially on social media.
Over the last month, I've done my research, changed my strategy and started growing again. However, it took investing time and being open to change.
The only thing certain in life is that things will always change, will you be the person complaining or evolving?
In my first year of lettering on Instagram, I sought out other artists to collaborate with that had similar audience sizes to mine.
It taught me how to be proactive and work with someone on the other side of the globe. Mostly, it showed me the value of tapping into each other's audiences.
In 2017, I had the opportunity to team up with Deneen Pottery in Minnesota. They had a massive coffee mug enthusiast community which I was oblivious to. We had back-to-back mug releases of 200 then 400, all which sold out in 30 minutes and 20 minutes.
Not only have they acquired business and followers from my audience, but I've been able to tap into this coffee community and build some amazing relationships.
They've not only become friends, but many of them have supported my cat and pizza-related products as well.
Keep in mind that collaborations should always share a mutual benefit.
What value is each party providing the other?
Remember that when you reach out to someone for future collabs.
This one ties into self-awareness as I noticed my circle of local friends was getting smaller and smaller in 2017.
When you become laser focused and obsessed with your dream, you tend to forget and neglect those around you. This is something I'm guilty of with my family and my closest friends as I mentioned in Episode 48.
If someone comes to mind you haven't talked to in awhile, reach out and reconnect with them. Ask them to coffee or jump on a FaceTime call.
Don't get so wrapped up in your internet life that you lose sight of your real life.
I've been trying to find my voice for a few years now. Early on, I mimicked the voice of people who had a heavy influence on me.
I'm a complete goofball but that rarely shines through in my writing and speaking. Yet it's all too easy to show in my artwork hence why I draw so much pizza—it's fun and allows me to not take myself too seriously.
Finding what makes you unique and embracing your weird quirks will help you rise above the noise.
Try to not take yourself too seriously all the time and let your freak flag fly.
It's okay to not pigeonhole yourself into one specific set style to work in. Having a perfectly hyper-curated Instagram feed isn't necessary but if it works for you that's great.
I'm consistently inconsistent and over time I realize that's okay and is a style in itself.
Don't be afraid to color outside the lines and switch things up.
This should go without saying but you're gonna get a lot farther in life by being a kind person.
I know dick heads can excel, but that doesn't have to be you.
Choose to be empathetic, encouraging, respectful and appreciative. I feel these are the true ingredients for accomplishing great things while enjoying your life and the people in it.
For me, documenting and journaling my progress helps me see where I was, where I am now and where I'm going.
As you close out 2017, I want to challenge you to look back on the year and see where you made growth. Also, acknowledge areas of where you can improve.
If your year is like mine, it's a mixture of shit and sunshine. I'm pretty sure that's how it supposed to be to keep us humbled and challenged.
Whatever growth you had or wish to see in 2018, focus on putting your best self into your work and get after shit.
Oh ya, and don't be a dick.
How many times in life have you felt that internal urge to pursue something yet you're hesitant because it differs from what you currently do?
Sometimes it's okay to be a jack or jill of all trades instead of a master of one.
Each one of us is a passion weaver and each passion thread we weave has a similar underlying structure to it all?
Maybe it's just our job to connect the dots and see how everything aligns together?
This is a deep concept but it makes so much sense if you think about it.
This week I want to present to you Dominique Falla, HBIC of the Typism Global Lettering Community. It has blossomed into a massive Instagram account, a conference, a book and an online summit which you’ll hear more about in the show.
She’s also a Passion Weaver, Speaker, Author, Typographer and has completed tactile string typography commissions for brands like Google, Bing, Penguin, Random House and Woolworths, among others.
She will have a new book called Creative Fitness coming out in 2018.
Dominique is a straight up rock star and some of the things we cover in today's episode are:
This is just the tip...of the iceberg that is of what we talk about in this episode.
I have no doubt you're going to want to take on the world after listening to this one.
Typism originated from the idea that Dominique went to a conference to see Seb Lester. She found the other speakers all boring and wondered what it'd be like to host a conference of 7-8 Seb Lesters?
Behold the Typism conference which started in 2013. It followed an every other year fashion following in 2015 and 2017.
After speaking and teaching a workshop at Creative South in 2017, she decided she wanted to go all out and make Typism an annual event.
Each Typism accompanies a book that typically is based on worldwide artists submissions. They are then put through the ringer of judges which leads to a curated book full of quality lettering and calligraphy.
Typism 2018 will be held in August at the Gold Coast. You can get your tickets here.
When you catch a big break, it usually means a little bit of luck was sprinkled in the mix. However, sometimes in order for you to have an opportunity to be lucky, you have to build your own door to be knocked on or down.
That's the case today with guest Tony Diaz. Tony is the head honcho of the artist-run, award-winning screen print shop specializing in apparel and flatstock, Industry Print Shop in Austin, TX. They work with some of the biggest names in the industry like Goodtype, Morning Breathe, James Victore and Draplin to name a few.
While it says printshop in their name they do far more than that as they are in the business of creating experiences for creatives like you and me. Tony and his crew are also in the business of building doors as you heard in the intro sound byte which we dive deeper into on this episode.
He’s a punk rocker turned screen printer turned business owner. Not only does he have an incredible story to tell but he has a ton of wisdom and bravado to motivate you to keep pushing your work to the next level.
In this episode we talk about:
Listen to the end of the episode to hear how you can get a fat ass discount on their website which is loaded with some killer merch.
It’s funny how a change of events can spark a radical shift for the better in your life. Dustin Lee went from rock bottom and desperation to kicking out amazing vintage based designer products for creatives under his business Retro Supply Co. His shop specializes in brushes, textures and fonts inspired by historic vintage materials. That's just the tip of the iceberg.
Dustin found a need in the world and invested the extra effort in order for his products to stand out on Creative Market. The rest is history he changed his life with a new source of passive income.
Over the years, he's carved out a niche in this field by giving talks and teaching workshops on building side income with your creative projects. The response was so massive that he eventually created a side brand called Passive Income for Designers which is structured around his newsletter and Facebook Group.
In a competitive world where people tend to keep knowledge to themselves, Dustin goes all out and shares it all. He is also a co-host on the growing Honest Designers Podcast where he and 3 other creative talk about business insights and how they push each other to the next level.
In this episode we talk about:
All listeners of this episode are gifted with a coupon code for 30% OFF your first order on his Retro Supply Co. website. Use PIZZAROLLS30 and take advantage of everything he has in his shop, including bundles!
Keep an eye out for his workshops or speaking gigs in 2018. In the meantime, connect with him via social media, his newsletters, podcast or Facebook Group below in the show notes section.