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Guides
April 5, 2016

Why comparing yourself to others is your worst enemy (and your best friend)

The awesome thing about social media is that it’s super easy to see what all your high school friends, exes and former coworkers are up to. The not-so-awesome thing is that it’s also super easy to make yourself feel like shit by comparing yourself to them! This is because comparative thinking is very powerful. Our brains are hardwired to compare ourselves to others, and for whatever reason it tends to take those comparisons in a negative direction that creates cycles of self-defeating thinking and behavior. But it doesn’t have to be this way! You can train yourself to think the right way (where “right” is the way that will make you happier and more successful), you can turn comparative thinking into a positive force that will help inspire and motivate you. I know this might sound corny/Tony Robbins/Oprah, but trust me-- this shit is SUPER important! It's especially important to…
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Guides
March 27, 2016

The DIY guide to Facebook ads

If you think about it, Facebook is the most punk thing ever, because it gives DIY businesses/bands/etc access to exactly the same advertising platform that Coca-Cola, Microsoft, IBM, etc use. This is a big deal, because Facebook is quite simply the best marketing tool that has ever existed. It can singlehandedly grow your business from two dudes/chicks doing something in their spare time to a fulltime operation where several people are making a good living off of it. I want you to use Facebook to unlock the potential of your awesome DIY project! But in order to do that, you'll need to learn how to use it. So I'm going to show you, using real world examples of how I've used FB ads for my own projects to drive traffic and make hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales. This article won't be short, because Facebook is very powerful and there's a lot to say about it,…
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Guides
March 13, 2016

How to get freelance clients

As anyone who's been a freelancer will tell you, DOING the work isn't the hard part— GETTING the work is the hard part, especially at the beginning of your career. Once you build up a name for yourself, you'll start to get new clients via word of mouth, but until then you need to grind for a while with the specific goal of getting new clients. Like most things in business, the formula really isn't that hard-- you just have to put in the work. This article is specifically geared toward visual artists, but the basic template applies to anyone. Note, this article is only for people who want to be truly excellent. It's for people who are filled with a burning desire to kick ass at what they do and build a name for themselves as a hot up-and-comer in their field. So if you are content being average and just…
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Guides
March 5, 2016

How to get PR for your work

Ever see a company/band/brand’s name pop up in your newsfeed and go, “WTF, why is everybody talking about these guys right now??” Well, that didn't happen by accident (usually). It was almost certainly the product of a carefully planned and well-executed PR campaign. And while most of us kind of intuitively know this,  we often have no idea how to actually put it into action for our own projects. I’ve been on both ends of the PR coin over the years— as a writer for a bunch of music sites and magazines, and as someone trying to get press coverage of things I’ve worked on— and it’s actually pretty simple once you understand how the game is played. Proof that I am not talking out of my ass here: I’ve gotten 100+ media placements for CreativeLive in national outlets like Alternative Press, Guitar Player, Revolver, and tons more. I also got coverage…
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Guides
February 28, 2016

Which is better to work at, small companies or big companies?

I’ve worked at companies ranging from 3 guys in a converted garage to a global, publicly traded company with 65,000 employees and everywhere in between, and the honest truth is that there’s no right or wrong answer to this question. It depends on the company, the individual, and the match between the two. That said, there are some broad patterns that you should be aware of to make sure that you’re picking your moves carefully and don’t end up falling into the Zone Of Pain. What’s the Zone of Pain, you ask?? I’ll tell you in just a minute— but first, let’s get the basics out of the way... THE BIG DIFFERENCE: HOW MANY HATS YOU WILL WEAR In general, the main thing about big companies is that roles are much more rigidly defined. If you’re a graphic designer at a big company, all you will ever do is graphic…
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Guides
February 23, 2016

How to network without being a douchebag

I was in a bad spot about 15 years ago. I was a 22 year-old college dropout with a burning desire to make a living as a creative professional, but working 50-60 hours a week at a job I hated (a print shop). I was stuck because I couldn’t get anyone to take a chance on me: I had pretty good skills as a self-taught graphic designer, but without a degree or any real experience, I was really struggling to get anyone to give me the time of day. I knew that I would rock it if someone would just give me a chance, but I just couldn’t make it happen— I felt trapped in a life that I hated, and was getting increasingly scared that I’d never find a way out. That changed one day when someone I’d never met came in to the print shop. We had printed…
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Guides
February 15, 2016

Why job titles matter more than (almost) anything else

In contrast to the world of mainstream music, where the artists are put up on a pedestal to be worshipped by fans, in hardcore there's no difference between the guys/girls on stage and the people in the crowd-- we're all on equal footing, and if someone tries to act like a rockstar they get put in their place with the quickness. This “flatness” is one of my favorite parts of punk/hardcore culture, but it can also be a bit of a double-edged sword in that it can make us blind to the times when hierarchy DOES exist. Hardcore might be flat, but the rest of the world usually isn't. In the beginning of my career I never really gave a shit about job titles and hierarchy. Who cares? “No gods, no masters,” right?? I just kind of rolled my eyes and wrote that stuff off as meaningless crap, telling myself that…
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