Interviews & Profiles
March 29, 2018

Growing up poor is an ADVANTAGE!

Like a lot of the people reading this, I grew up poor. Not dirt poor where I was worried about where my next meal would come from - more like, "drinking powdered milk and everything you own being from Goodwill" level poor. What really sucked wasn't so much BEING poor (the trivial stuff like not having the latest toy or whatever), it was FEELING poor... like I was inferior. Feeling ashamed, like other kids lived in a place where I wasn't allowed to go. And the really insidious thing is that when everybody you know is in the same situation, you accept it. You think this is just the way life is, so there's nothing you can really do but suffer though it -- like the line in "One With The Underdogs," "taught to accept defeat." I know this because it's how I saw the world until I was well…
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Thoughts
March 7, 2018

Don’t hate, congratulate

Let's be honest: putting yourself out there and sharing your work with the world is scary! No matter who you are or how long you've been doing it, you're vulnerable when you put yourself out there - but if you want to get any kind of traction or attention for your work, you've gotta do it. Because if nobody ever sees your work, it's like a tree falling in the woods. But the unfortunate reality is that so many people are scared to share their work because so many people out there are straight up assholes just waiting to tear other people apart on social media, in the comments, or with snide gossipy comments IRL. This SUCKS!!! So if you're that guy or know someone who is, this is for you... https://youtu.be/4lWcwkarjt0 And just to be clear, we are by NO means getting up on our high horse here: we've been…
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Guides
March 1, 2018

How to follow up on proposals, job interviews, and emails

We've ALL been there: someone says they're gonna get back to you by day X, and they don't. Two days later, and still no word from them... what do you do?? On the one hand, you want to follow up, because WTF - they said they'd get back to me, and they didn't! And I'm on pins and needles here waiting to find out if I got the job or not! On the other, you're scared to follow up because you don't want to be annoying... but you worry that if you don't, you'll never hear back from them and the opportunity will pass you by. *anxiety intensifies* The bad news: this happens ALLLLLL the time in business. The good news: We're here to help :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kzw7O4xkYjE First of all, you need to understand that you are NOT being annoying by following up - in fact, you're probably being helpful!…
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Guides
February 26, 2018

My #1 piece of advice for creatives

Growing up in hardcore is a double-edged sword: you learn how to stand up for yourself, speak up, and tell the people standing in your way to fuck off. This is great when it fuels you to believe in yourself and take chances that others are too timid to take, but it's not so great when it makes you think that your opinion is way more important than it actually is. The place where this most often rears its head for creatives is in getting feedback on your work during the creative process-- when your boss, the client, your team members, etc says something you think is dumb and you lose your cool, open your big mouth, and say something you shouldn't. It's kinda like in that movie "Alien" where the little alien worm thing bursts out of their chests, only instead of an alien worm, it's a middle finger.…
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Guides
February 20, 2018

How to introduce yourself to people you want to work with

So after months of hard work, you finally have your chance - you're about to introduce yourself to that person you've always dreamed of working with. "Great to meet you," s/he says, "So what do you do?" That moment is CRUCIAL!! The reality is that you have ONE CHANCE to make a first impression, and careers are made (or destroyed) in those moments. The right answer could open the door to all kinds of opportunities - all it takes is the right words, to the right person at the right time to get that big break that changes everything! Which is why it's SUPER important that you know exactly how to describe yourself and your work in a single sentence - because when we're talking about VIPs, you oftentimes only have a couple seconds of their attention. It sounds pretty simple, but for most of us it isn't! It's surprisingly hard…
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Guides
February 14, 2018

How to advertise a tour on Facebook

Getting people to show up to stuff is HARD!! And nothing is more of a bummer than putting in a ton of effort into planning an event, working yourself halfway to death getting everything set up, only to have 14 people turn out (12 of which are your friends and their roommates who were all on the guest list). I've been there, and I'd love to help you avoid that pain if I can :) Now, I'm not a promoter and don't want to be one, but I have run some ads promoting tours for Periphery, A Day To Remember, Intervals, and Self Help Fest among others, and wanted to share what's worked for me with them. To keep this from being a million words long I'm leaving out some details, but this is the basic approach. And although I titled this article "How to advertise a tour," this applies to…
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Videos
December 2, 2017

Have you actually ASKED for what you want??

My friend Steve Rennie has a great saying: you don't ask, you don't get. It sounds so simple, but be honest: are you REALLY asking for what you want? I mean this in the most straightforward, literal sense - are you actually contacting the people who can give you the opportunities you want (a job, freelance work, influencers you want to partner with, etc) and straight up asking them for what you want? I bet you're not! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mWw4G4vuk8 I get it, because I've been there too - it's not easy for fun to ask for things (especially when they involve money), but you've GOT to make it a habit if you want to hit your goals. Because very simply, if you sit back and wait for things to come to you, you're gonna be waiting a long fucking time! That is just not how the world works - the world…
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Thoughts
November 12, 2017

“Success” is an empty goal

If you want to slam your head in a door when you see the Gary Vee fanboys’ HUSTLE!! GRIND!! #ENTREPRENEUR posts on Instagram — this one’s for you ;) There are currently 10.6 million Instagram posts under #hustle: the “hyper-achiever” trend is out of control. And aside from being a generally annoying internet sub-culture, the truth is that chasing “success” — where “success” is defined as being a larger-than-life, work-23.5-hours-a-day charismatic #entrepreneuer — is dangerous, and it’s just plain dumb to ignore that truth. What nobody seems to want to acknowledge is that achieving “great” things — the kind of things people write Fast Company articles and Medium thinkpieces about — almost always requires some extremely difficult sacrifices. And I don’t mean trivial stuff like waking up a little earlier than you’d like to or foregoing a camping trip with your friends — I mean the truly painful shit like your physical and mental health, family, and relationships. Permanent, irreversible stuff that keeps you up at night and haunts…
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Videos
October 22, 2017

Stop making excuses!

I did a lot of embarrassing, cringey shit when I was younger, but probably the most shameful was my habit of making excuses, shifting the blame and passing the buck. When I came up short in life — didn’t get the job, got dumped, got a bad grade, etc — it was always someone else’s fault. They didn’t get it, they were out to get me, I was doomed from the start because of … you get the idea. And the reason I’m so horrified that I acted like this is because it’s the ultimate in self-defeating, self-limiting thinking — it’s the epitome of a loser’s mindset and I can only begin to imagine how much I held myself back because of my small-time, defeatist attitude. https://youtu.be/m7g6-PYiL0o Why? Because it’s effectively giving up control of your life. When you shift the blame for your failure and cite things beyond your control, what you’re really saying is that you don’t control…
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Guides
September 30, 2017

How to make money from writing

Ironically, I've been struggling to write a catchy intro for this post, probably because I feel like a post about writing should be well-written. But I keep coming up short, so I'm just gonna cut to the chase: If you're one of the many people who have asked me how to make some money off your blog or creative writing, ere's (almost) everything I've learned from 10 or so years of "professional writing." And for those of you who are asking "who the fuck are you and why should I give a shit what you think," here's my best answer: I've been blogging since 2008, written somewhere around 2500 blog posts, written for Metal Sucks, Substream, and Terrorizer among others, and have done a ton of ghost writing for business outlets like Virgin, IBM, and Entrepreneur. With that out of the way, I'm gonna give you some bad news first -…
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