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Guides

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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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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Guides
August 20, 2017

How to make a DIY marketing plan

You know what creative people are really good at? Making stuff. And you know what they are usually really, really shitty at? Selling it! I get it - for most people making stuff is fun, selling stuff isn't (I love it, but that's why I do marketing for a living). But good products don't sell themselves, so if you want to get any kind of traction for your work - your art, book, blog, band, t-shirts, whatever - you're gonna have to get good at marketing. And that's exactly why I'm writing this long-ass article-- it's a complete blueprint for non-marketers to make a simple but super effective marketing plan that works for any kind of product or service - it's a simplified version of the same approach I've used to sell a shitload of digital products like Nail The Mix and Getgood Drums, physical products like Horizon Devices' Precision Drive or A…
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Guides
August 14, 2017

How to NOT eff up your education

Let's be real: college is a big deal. Not only is it usually expensive as shit, in many ways it sets the tone for the rest of your life. The stakes are high and it can definitely seem overwhelming, but the keys to successfully navigating college are the same simple things that you hear me repeat a lot on this site: stay focused, grind hard, and work on building authentic relationships with cool people who will help you level up (aka networking). And yes, I get it - most of this is probably stuff you’ve already heard from parents and teachers and you might not want to hear it. Maybe you think it doesn't apply to you, but I assure you that it does - you are not special. And I didn’t listen to my parents or teachers and you probably don’t either, so I’m going to say it again…
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Guides
August 7, 2017

Real talk about starting a clothing company

I know a few things to be true: That many of you are interested in starting a clothing company, that the apparel business is hard as fuck, and that there is very, very little information out there on the actual tactics of building a brand or the day-to-day operations of running the business. There's plenty of fluffy interviews with vague advice like "follow your passion," but almost nothing about how to actually DO the shit it takes to get there: design the right product, build a brand, and convince people to actually give you their money. I don't have any experience working for a cool streetwear company, but I did spend about four years doing design and marketing for Abercrombie/Hollister a few years back when they were crushing it (I designed a few hundred Hollister girls shirts and spent months in Asian factories getting shit made), and I learned a…
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Guides
July 23, 2017

Why you should go to college (with a few exceptions)

If I have one regret in life, it's that I didn't go to college until I was 25. I'm very happy with my life today, so I guess it's all good - but I always wonder what would have happened if I didn't drop out of college when I was 18, after one quarter. How many years of frustration and failure would I have avoided? Because the next 5 or so years were NOT fun for me. I spent most of them working shitty dead-end jobs at print shops (if you've ever worked in one, you know it's fucking soul-crushing), trying desperately to get a job that didn't make me want to put a bullet in my head - and getting almost zero traction. I wanted to be a graphic designer, and I spent every waking moment on nights and weekends teaching myself. I kept telling myself that I didn't…
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Guides
April 13, 2016

How to deal with being a Smart Kid

If you're reading this, chances are that you are quite a bit smarter than the average bear. Your first reaction to this headline was probably "What do you mean 'deal with'? Being smart is a good thing, why would I have to 'deal with' it??"  But as I realized a while ago-- after alienating and pissing off a lot of people with my lack of self-awareness-- being smart is a double-edged sword. Yes, being smart is a gift. But if you're not careful it can also end up being a shitty curse. On one hand, solutions to tricky problems likely come easier to you than they do to 99% of the population. On the other hand, dealing with people is probably not so easy for you and you may have already shot yourself in the foot a few times by being a little too smart for your own good (god knows I have,…
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