AoL 026: Crushing Graphic Design like a GirlBoss with Sharlotte Bouniol

Many entrepreneurs start out as freelancers. They might call themselves consultants, but they’re really freelancers.

The difference, we learned in session 17 with Frank Forte, was that consultants are contracted for a much longer time. Maybe a year plus. Whereas a freelancer works per the project.

Either way, your services are for sale, and you live and die by each individual project.

Needless to say, you better have a natural gift or passion for what you’re going to be helping with. Otherwise you’re going to grow tired of the hustle to do jobs you don’t like doing really quick.

For me, the time that I spent at AMS you could have considered me a consultant. The IRS labeled me a contractor, but I definitely helped build the business… and continue to do so in different ways. Just today I was asked to take a look at something on the back end of the website and see if I could do something about it!

If you’re a freelancer, I’m sure you understand that feeling.

Today’s guest is someone that has a huge passion in what she does. In her past life, she’s been in various marketing positions including a Chief Marketing Officer. Eventually, though, she realized she liked helping Beach Body coaches with their branding. Word got out about her work, enough so that eventually she left the executive position to pursue her interest in branding and marketing.

In this session’s chat with Sharlotte Bouniol, we talk about a number of things including: how she became an intern for the Nielsen company, how she got a job at the #1 State Farm Agency in the US, why she started GirlBoss Graphix, and what inspires her creatively.

If you’re serious about becoming a freelancer, I think you’ll get a lot of inspiration from this chat. In reality it’s all about leveraging who you know so you can get referrals to do more work. Start in a niche, like Sharlotte, then work your way out!


  • How Sharlotte got into marketing.
  • How she became an intern for the Nielsen Company.
  • Why she sees the world differently after the experience there.
  • How she got a job at the #1 State Farm Agency in the US.
  • The difference between niche marketing and niche product design.
  • Why she finally started GirlBoss Graphix.
  • How she actually gets paid for the work she does.
  • How she was able to say goodbye to her last job and boss.
  • Why she chose to build an online business vs being a “brick and mortar” agency.
  • What inspires her creativity.
  • Why she believes that personal development is important.
  • Where her passion for helping special needs kids came from.
  • …and MUCH more.

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.



How to be a Freelance Artist (Dos and Dont’s)
In the video, Jazza talks about some of the hard learned lessons he’s had over the years

What Successful Freelancers Wish They’d Known from the the Start
(Just because it’s from the UK doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply EVERYWHERE!)

Is web design more your thing? Here’s John Morris on finding your first client on Upwork, Elance, and oDesk.

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcher, and/or Podbean. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!


AoL 025: Exploring the Hidden Truth of Vibrant Health with David Sandstrom

When it comes to our health, Americans are a fickle bunch. Some of us are very into it, and others, like I was, simply don’t even know where to start.

For me personally, health was never a big focus of mine growing up. I only went to a doctor when I was on death’s door. However, my mom, would go all the time. The more she went, however, the more they’d give her meds to deal with whatever issue she was dealing with at the time. I swear, by the time she passed suddenly in 2010, she probably was downing 8 pills daily? I’m sure you know someone like that.

Today, I still don’t go to the doctor regularly. Opting instead to treat myself for any ailments and hoping that I’m eating correctly. For one, I simply don’t want the possibility of them just covering up symptoms of underlying issue. For my mom, they could have simply said, “stop eating sugar” and/or “here are some alternate ideas”. Instead they decided that giving her (and many other Baby Boomers) a pill concoction will be much more welcome.

Secondly, most of the nutrition advice that I see others taking today still says that carbs are ok to eat, sugar is ok in moderation, and that fat is bad. Personally, I don’t subscribe to that info.

Today’s guest is someone that can shine a ton of light on this issue. During the day, David is flying for a major airlines. However, when it’s time to put on his other hat as a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner, you can see him making a major push to get out the knowledge he has in preventing ailments. In this session’s interview with David, we talk about his passion in holistic health,  how he got into it, what his thought are some of the more popular diets out there, and how someone can embrace holistic health into their lifestyle.

If you’re serious about improving your health and not going through the same treatment that many of our parents and grandparents have gone through, then this chat with David should really benefit you. If you get a lot out of it, be sure to share it with others you care about!


  • How a pilot with an MBA got into Holistic Health.
  • Why he has a huge passion for holistic health and teaching others about it.
  • How holistic health differs and compliments traditional western medicine.
  • How cholesterol actually helps in the healing process.
  • What actually causes heart disease.
  • Why people get addicted to carbs.
  • His thoughts on the paleo diet, ketosis, and the book The China Study.
  • How someone can embrace holistic health into their lifestyle.
  • What 3 questions you should ask yourself when seeking to improve your health.
  • What your choice of words on social media says about your future health.
  • …and MUCH more.

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.



Dr. Robert H. Lustig called Sugar: The Bitter Truth. Totally opened up my eyes. He talks about how bad sugar really is for you and how it’s basically in everything. Find it here:

Dr. Mark Hyman on Sugar and the Only Rules you Need to Eat Healthy:

Most of what David and Dr. Hayman say are similar. However they differ on Milk. David said that it’s good, Mark said it’s bad. Here are two videos talking about milk processing and why you might consider Raw Milk:

A farmer’s perspective on Raw Milk:

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcher, and/or Podbean. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!


Quitting Without Regret: A Critical Key to Successful Creativity

If you’re like me and many other creatives that I know, your mind never stops coming up with new ideas that you believe could add value to other people.

Chances are, you probably have some sort of journal or list somewhere that you can write down ideas on as they come to you.

Just last night, I was listening to Michael O’Neal’s (host of the Solopreneur Hour) interview with Pat Flynn about Pat’s new book, Will It Fly?, and a question came up for Pat that I’m not sure I ever truly heard him answer before until he answered it here.

Many successful entrepreneurs talk about 90 day sprints in which they focus on learning and doing one new thing. However, what Pat answered was very interesting. He said that instead of cutting up the year into 90 day sprints, he actually focuses on two new things for the entire year.

That honestly blew me away. That seems like such a small amount.

But if I think about it, that’s what he’s done. Just kinda going back through his income reports, I can think about what he was up to during that time. For example, in 2013 he wrote his first big ebook, Let Go. In 2014, he was all about systematizing and hiring “fuller” time help. He even spoke of it several times that year. That enabled him to start making and releasing more stuff including “Ask Pat” and doing more videos on YouTube in a series called SPI TV. And in 2015, he was all about going big and expanding his brand as a whole – becoming a regular speaker and embracing his “CEO” role (even though he’d say he doesn’t like that title too well!).

I’m sure Pat wanted to do all of these things for several years. If you dig, you can see he started things here and there. (For example, there’s evidence on his YouTube channel… his oldest videos are 6 years old.) He didn’t have the capacity to do all the things on a regular basis until recently. He knew how to quit without regret

Knowing Your Capacity

Let’s face it, unless we have a team, we’re not going to be able to do everything we want to do. Really. And even then, we might not be able to. (That’s why companies continue to grow.)

There’s two reasons for this, one is that you simply have 24 hours in a day. Even if you’re a workaholic like Gary Vee, you’re still only going to be able to do so much. The second is that you come pre-programmed with certain personality traits, and there’s just going to be some things that you’re better at than not.

Even if you’re a workaholic, there’s a good chance you might risk burnout and/or miss out on other aspects of life.

As Angles of Lattitude co-host Laila recently pointed out in a ‘scope of hers, “you have to know what you REALLY want”. While she was able to work herself into working at NASA, a lot of what she did to get there forced her to skip out on other aspects of life. Similarly, while she’s always wanted to be an Professional Engineer and recently had started studying to take the test to be, she realized that it wasn’t for her… at least not right now. She’s currently starting her own brand, working a Fast Track program with Beach Body, helping with the podcast, and on top of that, she’s working part time as well. She simply didn’t have the capacity to add the test on top of all of that.

I think that this was a great choice on her part – even if, for her, it was a really painful decision. She re-realized what her capacity was and she made the decision to not go over that limit.

The Big Misconception

So, at this point, you might be thinking “Ok, that’s great for Pat and Laila, JC. But honestly, I can’t afford for my startup to fail. That’s why I HAVE to try so many things. I need to play it safe. One of these things will work.”.

Will it? Do you think that will help? To me, that sounds like a recipe for failure.

Pat and Laila are simply two recent examples I can think of in the entrepreneurial arena.

Let’s jump into the sports world for a second. This past Sunday was the Super Bowl. Do you think that Peyton Manning ever tried to become a great golfer in the years that he was becoming a legendary football player? No. He was too busy studying game film and working on his own fundamentals to become another kind of athlete. However, that would have never have crossed his mind as he’s been a pedigree quarterback his entire life.

Here’s another example: do you think that anyone that’s running for Presidency of the US in 2016 has the capacity to become president if they were focused on keeping any other kind of job outside of a political one or a business that ran itself? No way!

I’m simply getting at this simple point: There might have been people who were able to burn the candle on both ends. But if you really want something to be hugely successful, you’ll probably need to put all of your effort into that one thing.

When you start to pile up too many commitments on your plate, you have no choice but to start letting other tasks and ideas fall through the cracks.

Taking the Next Step Without Regrets

So now that I might have twisted your arm into realizing that you might have to let off the gas on some of your current efforts and/or ideas, how are you going to do so? For one, you don’t want to be considered a quitter. Secondly, you don’t want to truly give up those ideas.

I believe that there are a few good ways that you can set your mind at ease.

  1. Declare Victory and Move on. Realize that whatever you were working on was merely a project. If it was merely a project, and you learned something from it, declare it as a victory. Move on. For me, I’ve been pouring some time developing a couple of products since re-launching the site back in May. One was a guide to writing resumes and cover letters. The other was building the ultimate guide to connecting with anyone.After doing some groundwork and some idea bouncing and verifying, I realized that these items weren’t going to be as useful to you guys as I hoped. What I learned is that if I have any future product ideas, I really need to ask you all what would be a good product. (FYI… I do have one in the works now!)
  2. Prioritize Them. You can only do so much. If you need a visual, think of your capacity as being the top of a traditional stove. There are 4 burners. If you cook with a stove, you probably know you use the front two burners the most. They’re the most active. The back two are merely for more passive secondary items.Many times, I think about my efforts like this. I’m going to have two projects that are taking up most of my time. However, there are some things that while I would love to do them now, I’m going to have to make them secondary. Secondary items can not require the focus of a front burner item. If it does, I’m just going to have to remove it all together. (The last thing I need is to burn the house down, right? aka burnout.) Right now, when it comes to building New Inceptions, my front two burners are being used for building weekly content and building real friends and allies in the creative space. The back burners are building the New Inceptions audience and a product for them. I’m not doing anything else that isn’t related to accomplishing these four tasks.
  3. Share the Responsibility. Teams don’t have to be made of employees. You can make a voluntary team of like minded people who are going after the same goals. The main difference is that employees work for an income. Volunteers work for a feeling of purpose and belonging. The co-hosts of the Angles of Lattitude podcast are all volunteers. However, they realize that we’re all going in the same direction: to have our own brand, credibility, etc. As the show continues to gain traction, they’ll be more and more recognized as a contributor. Eventually, the audience will start seeking them as authority figures beyond the show.


This Week’s Challenge:

In today’s world, it might seem like a weakness to give up on something you’ve set out to do. You might have phrases in the back of your mind that are repeating, such as “quitters never win” and “not quitting is half the battle”. But are those things really true? I’d argue that quitters DO win. I believe that the best entrepreneurs – the best professional creators – do know when to quit. In fact, they do it all the time. They know what they should be focusing their time, energy, and money on and they quit the rest.

What should you quit doing? What should you postpone? What should you be spending more time focusing on?

Let us know in the comments below this post.

Distractions: Their Unseen Costs and 4 Ways We Can Overcome Them (For Real This Time!)

You Can’t Do Big Things if You Let the Small Things Distract You

Distractions. Our lives are filled with them. From emails, to texts, to messages on various social media platforms, and even the TV and all that goes with it. Distractions are everywhere. What’s worse, is that many times we feel that we let them run our lives with little power to do anything about it.

The Problem with Distractions…

As Creators, we need to be able to do focused work. Some would even call this hustling.

Cam showed a video yesterday with Richard Kuo where they talked about how Richard actually plays video games in moderation.

That’s where I’m at myself.

For the most part, anything is ok in moderation. However, neither Richard nor myself let videogames keep us from achieving things in our work or business. I think we both survived a stigma that questioned why we were gamers in the first place. Hell, people still ask Maria why I game. But to be honest, I enjoy it. And if any of those people were to ask me directly, I would simply ask them, “Why do you watch TV all the time?”. I’m sure I’d get the same answer.

So the problem isn’t so much the distraction itself. The problem is when the distractions get us off course of what we’re supposed to be doing. Or, even worse, when people think the distraction is what we’re supposed to be doing.

Distractions are Around Us Everyday of Our Lives

The reason that so many of us fall to distractions isn’t because we’re dumb. It’s that it’s what we’ve had in our lives from pretty much birth.

When your parents first sat you down in front of a TV, do you think it was to teach us something or to distract us so that they could get something done? I know for many of us millennials, we grew up with the TV essentially being a parent.

Today kids are growing up with mobile tech, but it’s essentially doing the same thing. Distracting them so they aren’t doing anything meaningful.

One of the reasons I’ve never really watched reality shows is because all it is, is a distraction. Sitting around and watching other people succeed at life? You’ve got to be kidding me! I can be having that success myself if I put my mind to it. Not necessarily singing or dancing, or whatever the current trend is, but doing the thing that I’m good at. I hope you feel the same way about your life. We must realize that when we’re constantly checking into other people’s agendas, we’re actively checking out of our own life.

With all of these distractions around us, it becomes the norm. But does that mean it’s what we’re supposed to do? Well, pop culture would say that’s what we’re supposed to be interested in. But, seriously, it doesn’t have to be.

Distractions as “Busy Work”

Those of us who have jobs still or are lucky enough to have a lot of clients probably get a ton of email. While staying up with email might seem to be a good goal at first, it simply becomes a huge problem as we get more and more.

Back in the summer of 2014, Pat Flynn did a podcast with his new email assistant. They talked about why he hired her and what it was that she exactly did. Answering all of his email was simply getting out of hand. He didn’t have the time to sort his emails, answer them, and then do the real work to build his business.

Even though the email had to do with his business, it was disconnected from his strategy and purpose. How many things can you think in your business besides email that could be labeled as a distraction? Checking Twitter and Facebook all day?

I mean, you might not have a problem with Facebook, but some people do. (And if you’re one of those folks and are trying to get more work done – try this Chrome extension to help you limit the use of particular sites.)

Unseen Costs of Being Distracted

Now let’s think about something for a second. In LTD, I learned about what’s called surface cost and unseen cost. One of the things that is discussed is the unseen cost of not talking to people to get started as an IBO. It was said that you’re passing a possible Platinum every day. You just weren’t aware. In unseen cost, passing this Platinum could be costing an IBO upwards to $50 grand a year, possibly more? Knowing this helped me open up and talk to everyone.

Their answer to eliminating distractions was to simply cut them out of your life. Have a TV? Cut your cable. Are you a power gamer? Sell your system.

The problem with this (and I feel many of Cam’s followers have) is that when you do these things, you’re going cold turkey. For some, it might work. For others, it might be the worst thing for them to do. We need to realize that for some, addictions are like drugs. Withdrawal in itself can be a major hurdle… possibly leading to depression if not dealt with properly. (Unless you have a support system in place, or something else to take your mind off of not having this distraction, then there’s a good chance you might seek something else to distract you.) I knew I couldn’t go cold turkey. I enjoyed gaming too much at the time.

In a more relatable life, let’s just think about the unseen cost of being simply distracted. Now, let’s just take a conservative number of four hours a day. Say 2 hours at home and 2 at work of just being engaged in social media, TV, and video games. 4x7x52(weeks)x78.7(average lifetime) = 114,587.2 hours. That’s equivalent to 13.08 years. Now let that sink in there.

If you can’t let that sink in, let’s make it a little more relevant.

It means, that of the writing of this post, since 2003, you would have been doing something on Facebook, or sending texts, or doing something that really means nothing NONSTOP.

In 2003, I was 21. I remember turning 21. The actual night of my 21st birthday, I bought my own alcohol from the supermarket. No bars for me. I wanted to go about it in a mature fashion. That’s also the year that I changed my major to Electrical Engineering Tech at Purdue. Where I met some of my long time friends.

How about you? What were you doing 13 years ago? Can you imagine all that time spent on Facebook including the time you’ve spent sleeping? I sure can’t!

And if that wasn’t enough, let’s just say that you have a annual income from anywhere to $25,000 (yes, in Indiana it’s a thing) to $80,000. Simply doing that math you would have lost $325,000 on the low end and $1.04 million on the high end.

If you’re like me, and you try to rationally explain the next time you’re thinking that 4 hours a day of ::takes a breath:: … TV, playing on your phone, browsing the web, playing with your apps, and gaming… ::gasp:: isn’t that big of a loss, hopefully these numbers will put it into perspective.

How to Overcome Distractions: Being Undistracted and More Purposeful

So how do we alleviate our pull to distractions? Well, that’s a good question. I mean, I struggle with it myself. By no means am I some perfect guru who’s highly achieving. That’s just not me, and I even struggle at times in thinking that I’ll eventually be making New Inceptions a living.

But I’ve chosen this path. And now, I have to focus and make the best of it. And the way I’m going to do that is through what’s called Deep Work

I recently ran across this phrase when I heard of a guy named Cal Newport. Cal is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, and during the interview I heard with Srini via Unmistakable Creative, they talked about two kinds of training that we can do when it comes actually performing Deep Work.

  • Active Training It’s called training for a reason. Just like when you’re working out in the gym or learning any skill type, you want to start small and work your way up to higher and higher levels. In the interview, Cal said that one of the ways that he practices this is by simply holding a thought relative to what we’re creating as we’re walking. Like meditation, if you feel your mind straying on other thoughts, you bring it back into whatever you were thinking. Focus on that one thing. Ideally you want to go deeper and deeper into that thinking by coming to a conclusion on one thought and then moving from there to another. Hold that thought and then go deeper. Repeat as much as you can.
  • Passive Training The key here is to simply keep your attention from jumping from distraction to distraction. Even though you might be simply filling up your car at the gas station, you need to fight the urge to check your Facebook or Twitter feed if you’re notified of an event. He said that this will help you build your executive center’s ability to focus. And just like when it comes with training other muscles, you’ll have a better chance of actually having better focus at a higher level the next day.

Srini also adds in his free download (that’ll you’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out how to get) ways that we can actively setup our day to day life for Deep Work.

There’s two in it that I already do:

  • No email or social media after 7pm until 10am. If this is too big of a time period for you, there are tools to help you not visit certain sites. He mentions Heyfocus, Freedom, and Rescuetime. Another Chrome Extension I’m aware of Momentum that replaces your New Tab screen with a screen that reminds you what you want to get done in a particular day.
  • Eliminate Unneeded steps in accomplishing your goals. Pretty straight forward. The more steps there are to getting something done, the longer it’s going to take and the less likely you are in getting that particular thing done. Even if there’s things you can’t eliminate, perhaps do them the night before you close up so the next day you can quickly start from where you began?

He adds a few more tips in that freebie about your phone that might help if you have struggles there.


This week, I’d say listen to the conversation with Cal if you don’t do Deep Work on a regular basis. Do it as you’re driving somewhere, when you’re at the gym, or whenever you generally listen to music or podcasts. I want you to understand why it’s important to do Deep Work. If you’re wanting to call yourself a Creative, and in particular, a Renegade, you need time to take yourself to that next level. I don’t want you burn yourself out if you’re not used to doing your own work over prolonged periods of time.

If you already do Deep Work, what kinds of things do you do to keep yourself from letting distractions get the best of you that I didn’t cover above?

3 Step Process to Being a Successful Beginner Solopreneur

“Do or Do Not. There is No Try.” – Yoda

Often times, as creators who are stepping out to make an income doing our own thing, we wonder if what we’re doing is right. Just like Luke, in the Empire Strikes Back, we have all of these different emotions running through us, we want to make sure that we’re not spinning our wheels. Also like Luke, we must listen to our inner Yoda and not let those emotions keep us from being successful.

For me, personally, having the background in engineering that I do, I just don’t have the personality to simply experiment. I can’t afford to just play. I have to know the actions I’m taking are going to yield some sort of results. I need to know what my constraints are so I can be creative.

Like me, you’ve probably scoured the web looking for any tutorial or eBook you can get your hands on. How many newsletters do you have coming into your inbox because it promised that one extra piece that you thought you needed? Five? Ten?

Me? I’ve strategically signed up for at least 20 newsletters. Each one goes to it’s separate mailbox so that I can keep track of their author’s marketing efforts. That’s on top of the ones which I’ve signed up for just a freebie info piece.

Which leads to the next question: When you entered your email, why did you? Was it truly to get something you thought would make you better at your craft? Was it something that you guessed you would need in the future? Or was it something that you wanted because it was free and you didn’t know the answer to the clickbait copy that was before the form?

For me, it’s been all of the above.

With all of this information out there, how can we put it to use and make ourselves better at our business?

Here’s the 3 top things I’ve realized that have helped me be a better solopreneur.

Find Where You’re Stuck

In a recent survey by Pat Flynn back in July of 2015, he asked what his audience’s biggest struggles were. Yesterday he shared the results with what he was looking to do about it in 2016Below is one of the graphics he used in this awesome write up. (I look forward to him accomplishing some of the things he said he’d do.)


Pat Flynn’s Beginner Audience Struggles

And here were the top responses from his audience members who already had a business:


Top Response’s of Pat Flynn’s audience who already had a business.

I can so relate to all of these issues. I’ve had every single one of these struggles myself. I still have sleepless nights because I question whether or not what I’m doing is real. (I think even Pat has that question from time to time.)

As a true beginner back in March, I had no idea where to start. I had too many ideas going through my head in what I wanted to do. And, as I mentioned above, I wanted to make sure that what I was going to do would leave me feeling successful.

The first part in making yourself a better solopreneur, I believe, is to figure out what is holding you in the position that you find yourself in.

Essentially I want you to just simply realize the issue that you’re having the most. Out of Pat’s responses above, which one (or two or even three) resonates with you the most?

Get Help

Once you realize where you’re stuck (whether you already have a business or not), you need to get help.

Just like with being sick, yes you can possibly get better if you tough it out, but there are ways to expedite the agony you’re going through. Either make the symptoms go away or to cure the illness itself.

So going down the list of Pat’s real quick, here are places where I’d look for answers. (FYI – each one of these problems could warrant a blog post, but I want to help you get going as soon as possible for 2016.)

  1. I don’t know where to start / I can’t pick a business idea / Feel like my ideas aren’t good enough – Honestly, there’s a reason why the pack over at Fizzle have Finding Clarity as a step all by itself in their roadmap. It’s the foundation of your future success. If you don’t start on the right foot, then you’re going to have to come back to fix fundamental issues. Just simply by going through their process of finding a niche to work in will help immensely in finding your starting point. I believe Corbett has come up with a great test to do just that.If you go through Fizzle’s Finding a Topic and Defining Your Audience courses and still don’t know where to start, then perhaps you need to start Asking via what Ryan Levesque teaches or going to Dane Maxwell and his group at The Foundation.Truth be told, the secret to both is simply asking a group of people what they’d be interested in buying to fix a particular problem (that you’ve drilled for through questions) and then coming up with a solution for said problem. If the solution fixes a very big pain for that group of people or businesses (I’d suggest B2B solutions myself – you can make them members of a site), then they might even prepay you for it.
  2. Information Overload (Information Constipation) /  Confused about the next step – Once you have an idea for your topic, it’s time to actually start. So looking at this grouping, I’d think that the best place to get help with this is to find a Mastermind (online or offline), find some supportive social media groups (LinkedIn or Facebook have a ton), and/or start going to nearby Meetups to network.The idea behind all of these is that you want to get feedback from as many people as possible. You want to have a group to bounce ideas off of. Once you have that in place, you can ask them what they believe is the most important part of your business AND how you might be able to improve on those parts. Remember, you can make your strengths better and better, but you can only make your weaknesses so good.If you’re interested in finding a group but you don’t know where to find one, come on over to the New Inceptions Masterminder Group on Facebook (and soon to be LinkedIn… I’ll let you guys know) and we’ll gladly help you bounce ideas. In fact, I run two masterminds a week with members of this group.

    Fizzle might be a good solution here as well, as they have a thriving forum to bounce ideas off of. In fact, the initial members for my masterminds I found through Fizzle. And let’s not forget that roadmap that I mentioned earlier. So that’s a choice as well.

  3. Trying to do too many things at once / I don’t have enough time – Ok, so this was the problem that Pat saw himself having in 2013 and 2014 before he hired people to help him step up his game for 2015. In fact, he had a talk where he and his guest talked about Superman Syndrome and how it can kill your business. I really think that chat made him think quite a bit.If you don’t have the capabilities to hire people (staff members or part timers) outright to do tasks (repeating or not) then perhaps you can get some help from those in your mastermind groups or other groups that you’re a part of. One of the things that I learned in getting America Multi-Sport off the ground yearly was that sometimes our sponsors didn’t give us money. Instead, they offered services and their time to support our events.Likewise, see if you can partner with those that are in your immediate circle of influence once you have a few decent connections. If they don’t stick, don’t be afraid to replace them.
  4. I fear failure / Struggle with Perfectionism – I’ve talked about both of these before. But just in case you haven’t heard it, here’s what you need to know: Failure can really only happen if you quit. Unless it’s in school or in Corporate America, life would tell us that just because something turned out a way that you didn’t expect, doesn’t mean it was a failure. Life is all about learning, and nature has made it so that the best way for us to learn is through things not going as planned. All you can do is pick yourself up, adjust, and try again. No big deal. It’s how we learn how to ride bikes and do anything else in life, right?As far as perfectionism goes, on one hand it’s an extension of the Superman Syndrome mentioned above. On the other hand, it’s an excuse. One that can debilitate you from getting anything done. If you feel that you struggle with being perfect, check out this post to help yourself get over it.

Take Productive Action

Just get started and keep it simple.

One of the things that has held me up for so long in getting New Inceptions started was that as I searched the web, I kept coming up with more and more things that I needed to be doing. The question is not whether or not I needed to do them. The question was in which order? The more I heard or listened to, the more I had on that list and the more confused I got.

While learning is a great thing, Just in time Learning is even better. Just in time learning is when we do a little bit of work, get stuck, find an answer, and then move on with a little bit more work.

When you’re taking action, make sure you’re doing so by utilizing your strengths first. If you don’t see yourself as a great writer, for example, don’t write. If you’re creativity relies on something that you must perform or do, then use another means to get it to others… such as video. And while you might be able to share it on YouTube, you might actually make a little income on using a platform like Monetize on your actions any way you can from the get go – but be smart about it.


Ok gang, that’s the last post of 2015. I hope it gives you some motivation to make some strides in 2016. If you haven’t gotten started on making your hobbies or passions into a business, I’d recommend heading on over to Fizzle right now and get started on the Roadmap. When you go through any of the links on this page, you’ll be using my affiliate link. This is a win-win as you get your first month free (saving you $35 your first month). I don’t care if that’s as long as you stay. I just want you to set off 2016 on the right foot.

Let me know below if you’ve made it over there. I’d love to connect with you over there and possibly even get to know you more so we can do some awesome things together in 2016.


Embrace the Remix: Making Original Work

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. – Steve Jobs

Hardly anything in life is original. How could it be? As civilized people, we’ve been around for thousands of years. Whatever is something that can be done, in one shape or another, it’s been done. As it was said to me one time, “Whatever great idea that you just came up with. Good job. I’m sure it’ll be a success just like the hundreds of other times it’s been thought of before.”

For many of us Creators, especially those of us who consider ourselves artists, we like to believe that we have original work. That out of the BILLIONS of people that are on the planet, that our one idea is unique and original.

But it isn’t.

Even with figuring out what I wanted to do with this site, I knew that I wanted to do something original. I mean, sure, I’ve been seeing people do business related blogs for several years now. And due to that simple fact alone, many people who have been in the industry longer than me said that I might be foolish for doing yet another “online business” website.

They said, “The market is already saturated. You should do something else.”

I figured they were right. I also knew I didn’t want to have the opportunity to plagiarize, so I didn’t want to do something just like them. I didn’t want to create Smart Passive Income 2.0 (or possibly 100.0?).

But here in lies the problem… at least for me.

For several years now, my Life Vision has been to impact creative people who want to make a living with their work through means of technology and passive income. And due to that, I felt that I had to do work somewhere in the internet marketing / self development space.

So there was my catch 22.

I sought originality out quite a bit when I was first starting. I attempted to make the site more original by bringing more ingredients into the recipe. (You can see evidence of that in past posts)

Well, that was a mistake. I soon realized that the more content I talked about, the more complex I made the site. You guys weren’t going to enjoy your experience here (let alone find it) if I couldn’t bring down the complexity.

I learned that if I wanted to start a real audience, that I had to start with laser focus.

And, eventually, I found that originality isn’t so much the work you’re doing. (Because really, as the Bare Naked Ladies say, It’s All Been Done Before.)

In fact, it’s something else…

We All Want to Fit In

I think so many of us creatives want to be known for having original work because from an early age, originality is prized. Originality in our work, at first glance, seems to always get individuals extra credit.

When we think of those who win cooking contests, it’s the cooks and chefs that have their own secret sauce. It’s definitely not the chain restaurants of the world. However, those chain restaurants over time are the ones that tend to get the most rewarded. Why is that?

Unfortunately, I think it’s because our society has a twisted belief that being different is a negative characteristic. I mean, how much flack have you gotten from family and friends that you wanted to do your own thing?  

Have you ever heard the phrase “It’s fine for others to strike out on their own, but heaven forbid if anyone in our family does it!” or “Stop with that nonsense. Get a real job!”

Even more odd is that once we get good at doing our own thing, in order to be accepted again and go main stream, we have to essentially sell out.

Take, for example, independent music artists. One would argue that they’re independent because they do things their own way. They are, indeed, original. However, whatever the motivator, if they go main stream, many times they’re shunned by their original fans. But, if we take a step back, can we blame them? Even if their motivation is money to go main-stream, aren’t they getting the opportunity to have more fans? And really, isn’t that one of our big motivators as creators? That we want to make a larger impact?

It seems no matter where we are in the creative cycle, we are always being called to do work that’s mainstream.

Seems to me that there’s a certain path that creativity always leads: Start with this big umbrella idea -> get good at doing a few parts of that idea well -> bring on additional help to do more parts -> keep adding on more work with that help that applies to more and more people.

Is Any Creative Work Truly Original?

If that’s the case, it makes me wonder if any work that we do can truly stay original.

As I’m writing this in December of 2015, there’s a good chance that you, the reader, have heard of Tesla. You know, the groundbreaking company that is making AWESOME electric cars which are going to change the automotive industry forever?

Would you believe me if I said that Tesla is not original? Here are a few examples:

  1. The idea of the electric car is as old as cars themselves.
  2. The name Tesla itself isn’t some randomly generated tech name. It came from Nikola Tesla.
  3. The rechargeable battery idea isn’t new, either. How long have we been using them for our tech?

As a Tesla fan, I’d love to be able to tell you that these cars are the first time that anyone has ever tried this. But it simply isn’t the case.

Electric cars have been tried before and failed. But yet I have stock in the company. You might be wondering if electric cars have failed in the past, why would I invest?

Well, it’s because of who runs the company. Elon Musk has a proven track record. He seems to have a Midas touch when it comes to tech startups. I’m investing in Elon’s capacity to finally make this idea work. In fact, I’d say he’s the J. J. Abrams of the tech world.

Speaking of which, if you think about it, I don’t think Mr. Abrams is really all that original either.

I mean, what is he known for?

Lost, Star Trek, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens are just three of the MANY project he’s done under his production company Bad Robot. Two of which are huge franchises that he was entrusted with after his success with the “smaller” projects. I mean, how many times has Science Fiction been done, let alone these two franchises? And yet, it’s these two franchises that continue to set box office records. Would you call him a sell out?

Obviously, with just these two examples we can see that originality in our work isn’t as big a deal as we’d like to believe. Even George Lucas has said that he borrowed pieces from other works when he was making the original Star Wars.

It seems that original work comes very rarely. But is that really so bad? Kirby Ferguson explores that below.

The Intangibles of Original Work

So, after watching those videos and thinking about my previous two examples, what do you think makes an original piece, more often than not, original?

Remember, for those of us who are creators of a business, we don’t want to be too odd in our work or we’ll always have a small following.

With limited needs and wants of clients, and with so many people, there’s going to be an overlap in the market. Originality simply doesn’t usually come from the work itself.

More often than not, originality comes from it’s creator.

We are the ones that make originality possible. The way we think about things. The way we connect the dots. The way we connect people. That’s what makes our work original.


Do you have any stories of a situation where you tried to be original but just made things more complex? Do you agree with my assessment of originality? Let us know below. We’d love to hear from you!

(P.S. I stole the idea for this post from this interview over at Art of Charm with Austin Kleon and gave it my own perspective.)

How to Raise Your Standards

Great standards to strive for, right? Brendon always makes me think about things in a new light.

You know, we’re all trying to strive to higher levels. One of my all time most visited posts is this one I shared about 21 Standards that we can live and work by. However, since then, I’ve talked with a few readers who have thought that a person with all of those standards is someone who is completely unlike them.

They believe that they’re just too different. And those differences will prohibit them from ever reaching that level of success in their lives. They’ll never be like that expert… that ideal or model person. That person is just way too different.

They might even say, “I don’t trust them. They’re fake.” or “It’s easy for them to say, they don’t get where I’m coming from.”

And believe me, I can see where they’re coming from. In fact, I’ve been there. And what I found out is that there’s two parts in how you can raise your standards.

Add New Habits and Standards In (One by One)

This self limiting belief that “I’ll never be able to be successful” is one that I hear too often. Be the ideal person that they’re comparing themselves to is someone like Joe (the original author of those 21 standards) or another “ideal person”, they simply don’t see themselves being able to shed their old self. Again, I can relate. (I mean, as you guys know… I had a HUGE problem with having a positive attitude all the time. But in retrospect, it was a good exercise for me to have gone through.)

A person that has a life full of standards is one who has been working on making themselves better day after day. Each standard that they live by, they more than likely developed it separately from the others. They practiced it daily until it became automatic. Then they started working on another personal standard.

For example, when I first was in college, I simply didn’t make good grades. Part of this could have been the fact that my major was one of the hardest on campus. However, I think the problem was mainly the fact that I didn’t know how to study. And because I didn’t know how to study, my test taking was horrible as well. (Why should I know how to study? I was able to cruise through high school by simply fumbling around the test and getting by with B’s and A’s on my report card.)

I knew I was a good student. That I had it in me to get good grades. I just had to figure out how to play the game. I knew I had to raise my standards.

So when I realized that the material wasn’t the problem, but, instead, was the actual practices I used to “study” back then, it was certainly nice to know what the problem was. (My studying habits were “do the ones you know how to do and if you don’t know how to do them, then copy off of someone else.” This practice would soon almost get me kicked out!) Essentially I was looking at the problem as a whole and not breaking the questions down (as I’d later find out in my study group).

As I got better at studying, I got more comfortable with the material that was being taught in class. In fact, by the time I was in my second senior year (of 3), my test taking skills started going up as well. Why? Because I was no longer having anxiety during the test. I realized that most problems that I had were a matter of knowing a process to break them down. Prior to that point, I was constantly second guessing myself as to whether I really knew the answer or not before I even attempted breaking it down.

So when I finally knew the material and what the patterns were to solve the problems, I actually performed fairly well on tests after that. (I hope that relates to some of you who majored in a STEM field. If your major involved a ton of writing… I always did well by just writing down everything I knew and/or thought about a given subject and then linking them together.)

How does this apply here? The same strategy can be applied to other practices in life.

Let’s say you want to have better health. First, you need to start telling yourself that you are a healthy person. Do this regularly. Especially when you have cravings for a snack. Telling yourself this will help you from jumping off the wagon.  You do this because your mind starts believing things the more it hears it. Next, change your diet. Once that becomes natural, then start getting more sleep. Then after that, try to exercise more. Do one for 30 days, then add the next for 30 days, and then add the next. After 90 days, you’ll have three healthy habits you’ll find hard to quit. Spoon feed yourself these new habits or you’ll choke and not accomplish any of it.

Limiting and/or Removing Old Standards and Habits

You probably wondered when this was going to happen. I mean, the last example I gave with being more healthy, you were probably thinking, “Well, if I add more sleep and exercise more, how am I supposed to keep on top of all my TV shows in the evening?” or something similar. There are only so many hours in a day, right?

This is true. However, let’s think about two contrasting thoughts here.

  1.  You don’t have to be an exact replica of that model person you’re aiming to have similar qualities with. Just because you’re trying to be healthier, doesn’t mean you have to cut out all of your unhealthy habits. You can still binge on sweets, TV, video games, etc. (Just not like you used to…)
  2. As you change more and more and come closer to that model person that you want to be similar to (but not exactly like), you’re going to make more and more comparisons (micro-comparisons, even?) in what you do with your time and effort vs what they do with their time and effort. It’s natural as we grow as a human. In fact, you probably won’t notice the transformation as it doesn’t come over night. But if you keep a journal and/or analyze the thoughts you have right now vs the thoughts you had before you started your journey to the new you, they’re going to be crazy different.

Essentially, one side of you wants to remain YOU. The other side wants to change just enough to get their results.

Here’s the deal with those two thoughts. One one side, I think it’s inherent that you’re going to want to keep doing some of the things that you believe make you, you. I mean, after all, you don’t want to be that like that know it all expert, right? They don’t seem real. You want to make the transformation on your own terms. I totally get that.

The other side of you is like “Uh, I really think we need to be better at drinking water. That know it all expert actually does that pretty well. You always see her with a bottle. I wonder how she trained herself to drink water all the time.” Eventually, what you might come to find out is that the reason you might not have trusted or disliked someone at first is because they made you feel highly uncomfortable at the beginning. They were too alien. They were too good to be true.

However, now that you’re closer to them in multiple ways, you see them not only as a teacher, you actually start thinking of them as a person. And you might even start seeing some of their faults. They’re not as perfect as you once thought they were.

When you hit this level. You’ll get a different perspective not only on them and their actions, but on your actions as well. Knowing that this person puts on their pants one leg at a time just like you, you’ll start realizing some of the sacrifices they’ve made to get as far as they have.

This is when you ask yourself, do I want to have the results they have? If the answer is yes, then you’ll make the sacrifices they have. If the answer is no, then you’ll keep those old parts of your life as you see fit.

And just so you know when it’s right to be an “expert” for other people. I personally believe that this is the point. When you have learned all that you can from that previous ideal or model person, have gotten some of your own results, and can understand their actions might contradict what you want your end goal to be… that’s when you’re now in the teacher’s seat.


What’s one subject that you know quite a bit about now that at one point you were clueless about? Maybe you had no idea where to start when you first began? Perhaps you were afraid to start? Do you remember where and from whom you learned the knowledge you have now? Let us know below. You might even gain some new students!