ask

“how did I get an interview with kurt cobain? I ASKED.”

nardwuar the human serviette is an eccentric radio personality known for hosting incredible interviews with musicians. he is loved for his quirks, his personality, and in-depth research/preparation for his interviews. his subjects are often surprised at how much he knows.

in his ted talk, nardwuar tells us the secret to how get got as many great interview subjects as he did: he asked.

sahil lavignia is the ceo of gumroad, a kind of commerce platform for the indie creator. his twitter (and gumroad’s twitter) is full of encouragement. you’ll find that both accounts root for the underdog on a daily basis, because it’s the underdog who needs that extra push the most.

me? i’m encouraging you to ask. ask for help, as for your next gig, ask someone you admire for a pointer in the right direction. you don’t necessarily have to go at the entire journey alone.

fundraise with me

as we saw yesterday, writing is fun, but it doesn’t pay very much. it’s a little bit of a slower medium as well, which is generally a good thing unless you are writing a non-fiction book.

but i believe in it, which puts me in the tricky place of trying to find a way to get paid to write. it’s not easy, and the options i have are pretty bleak. my best bet so far is to continue making content for no pay, since i know firsthand how annoying ads are. what is a young writer to do? i’m not entirely sure.

i want to make more podcasts and video, which i think is possible but also a bit difficult when i’m working from a chromebook and a laptop. but dangit i’m going to keep trying.

if you’re digging the vibe, please consider buying me a coffee on ko-fi, or checking out my patreon. i know i mentioned this before, and i’ll be sure to ease up on this soon. but the boost helps, especially when i am figuring out the next direction for getting good information to you.

let’s talk

writing doesn’t pay very much, but we do it anyway. art doesn’t pay very much, but we do it anyway. some people get lucky, some people don’t. it appears to boil down to a combination of skill and chance in terms of who gets to make art for a living. i don’t think this needs to be the case, especially now that each of us with an internet connection has the potential to reach the entire world.

i run a podcast/video series that you may know about, and my goal is to figure out what people are doing right. i want so badly to get paid to do the thing i love – to write and to help creative folks make money. but this means i have to first learn how to make money for myself. that means having my day job. that means doing a lot of unpaid prep work.

it is disheartening and i don’t know when this will end, if it ever does. but i hold on to the hope that it will pay off. and my research suggests it just might. and the best i can do in the meantime is to try my best, and to take care of myself in the process.

invent your job

we are living in a world of accelerating change. technology, careers, and strategies become obsolete at an alarming rate. if you want to be marketable, you have to be creative. the jobs of the future don’t exist yet, and its up to you to figure out what these jobs are.

this week i interviewed moji, a woman who created her own title as a environmental sustainability consultant. she told me that a lot of her job was education – she had to explain to clients what she did and why it was important. it’s an emerging field and more and more companies will experience pressure to become environmentally conscious, and moji saw that she could help.

for you, i’m sure you’ve noticed gaps in the market. if you see an opportunity to try something that might benefit a friend, a business, or a community, it’s possible you might be inventing a career for yourself. test it out, and see if you’re right.

websites – who really needs them?

i have a vendetta against the personal website. i have one (it’s not this one) and i’m ready to get rid of it. i am told, for a business, you need to have a website. my question: do you really?

like, i understand for websites that sell products. you want to go to the site to investigate the brand, the products, and possibly purchase. but for many other folks, you visit the website once and never again. the page i go to the most is the company’s “about” page and then maybe their “pricing”. i rarely read their blogs or any of the body content on the site. maybe i’m alone in this, but i have a hunch i’m not.

considering my squarespace costs $18/mo and it does very little in terms of connecting me with an audience, i am planning to retire it. if anything, i am paying $18/mo for faux credibility. “oh he has a website, he must be legit” says the imaginary voice in my head. this is indeed a fantasy. you don’t need a website to be legit. you do, however, need an internet presence. and this can be done FOR FREE on facebook and instagram. you can even have a low cost blog (like this one) which yields much more engagement than a static site that serves as a $18/mo business card.

maybe one day i’ll hit the scale that i can afford a website. but as i am experimenting and trying to find out my niche, my customer base, and my services, i am not going to pay a recurring fee for a billboard that does nothing for me.

personal can be professional

i believe that being genuine is incredibly important in business. we are all too familiar with the used-car-salesman trope of a person who is very skilled at duping us into buying garbage. however, businesses that succeed are ones that foster trust, and being honest and genuine is a vehicle to getting you there.

i run a weekly podcast/video series called the orbit in which we interview entrepreneurs, freelancers, and assorted creatives. the idea is bringing together folks who have this genuine, personal quality that is hard to come by with larger businesses. much like how we go to the mom & pop coffee shops to get a little bit of neighborhood soul, working with smaller businesses allow us to spend our money closer to where our values lie.

if this sounds like your cup of tea, i invite you to listen to the podcast or watch the video series. but further, if you are already familiar with the show, we are also on patreon. here, you can pledge $5/mo to support our vision and in return get access to bonus q+A sessions, our community on discord, and written highlights from each interview. find out more here.

get sophisticated clients

i was lucky enough to talk to a media consultant this past week. she makes a living studying the impact of social media campaigns for businesses, which is something that i am very interested in. i asked her a ton of questions about her career journey, and in return she asked me a lot of questions about my own business ventures.

today, i’m thinking about one of the things she told me in our meeting: “get sophisticated clients.” “are you interested in doing innovative things?” “yes, of course,” i replied. “well, that means you can’t waste your time with companies that aren’t interested in innovation. you need to find clients who are looking for cutting edge stuff, especially if you are providing cutting edge stuff.”

previously, i had been spending time working with small businesses and teaching them how to run their social media campaigns. this was all fine and dandy, but many of them were uninterested in social media as a whole, along with anything that was different from what they were already doing. “this is not going to help you in the long term, because the kind of work you will be doing will be a little bit basic,” my new friend told me. so, currently, i’m taking this to heart and continuing my search for “my people”, the tech-savvy folks who are looking to become better managers.