Going Big With T-Shirts, Soap and Business with Andreea Ayers


Let me tell you something about running a reasonably popular podcast. I get a lot of requests for people who want to be featured on my show. I mean A LOT of people coming to me saying they would love to be a guest, but rarely do any of come to me with the position of providing value for the listeners, but instead want to tell me how great they are as a business person. The longer I do this, the more I've learned how to separate wheat from chaff, but it's not always easy, and never fun. However, every once in awhile, a complete gem lands in my lap—an individual with such a unique story, it's hard to pass up on, and that is exactly what transpired when Andreea Ayers emailed me to ask about being on the show. She initially told me what she did, focusing her business, Launch Grow Joy, toward helping product based businesses get the exposure and attention they need to go big. At first I didn't think it was going to be a good fit because I was in the middle of changing the format to be … [Read more...]

“Fresh Rag is NOT Your Mother’s Tea Cozy!”


Two years ago, I started on a fresh adventure, and above was my first declaration. The point was to claim that we were going to be doing things a little different, and in retrospect, that seems to be the consistent theme. Since then, the site has taken me on quite the wild ride. Thankfully, that ride is long from over, but I wanted to take a second and reflect on all that has transpired over the past few years. For those who don't know the history, Fresh Rag was started as a way to showcase the work of any artists, designers, and creators who were doing work with paper. I'm a big fan of work on paper, whether that's collage, photography prints, art prints, origami, or whatever, but I felt paper crafters were undervalued and I wanted to change that. Around October/November of 2012, I noticed something happening on the site. Posts about business, marketing, and sales were getting far more interest than the actual art.  Being a smart marketer myself, I didn't want to pass up that … [Read more...]

I Am a Maker!


While riding in my car, listening to a slurry of past episodes of Design Matters with Debbie Millman, I came to a startling revelation. I have failed you. I have failed myself. In the last few weeks, there have been a lot of aha moments for me. The first one being that as much as I liked my show, it wasn't where I wanted it to be, and so I rebranded and started putting out the work that I felt was important for that medium. Now, I'm thinking about the purpose of Fresh Rag, and what it is that I'm doing to actually help you creative wünderkinds take your work to the next level. Before this moment, I fell into the normal online trappings of creating online courses as not only a source of income, but the best way I could help you grow. Truthfully, that's a load of crap. There are literally thousands of people out there all trying to compete for space in the online courses world, and I could probably stand out in that crowd if I wanted, but would it be uniquely me? Sure, I'm … [Read more...]

The Best Video You Will See All Day

"By turn hilarious and haunting, poet Shane Koyczan puts his finger on the pulse of what it's like to be young and … different. "To This Day," his spoken-word poem about bullying, captivated millions as a viral video (created, crowd-source style, by 80 animators). Here, he gives a glorious, live reprise with backstory and violin accompaniment by Hannah Epperson." Via TED Special props to Josh Layhue for sharing with me. … [Read more...]

Julie Astrauckas Sold 26,000 Cards on Etsy and Blames it All on Her Blog


Here we are again, folks, back from our planned hiatus, kicking off a new season of the show with a whole bunch of new hotness in your face. The Steak First and foremost, we're going to be having a lot more conversations with artists, designers, and makers who are the grunts on the front line, sharing their war stories, and letting us all know how they became such kick ass sellers. Todays's episode is no exception with Julie Astrauckas of JulieAnnArt.com. Julie has sold tens of thousands of snarking greeting cards on Etsy, and she did so with hardly more than a will to make people smile, and be true to herself. In this episode, we get down and dirty with her about what she feels is the secret to her success, who are her heroes, and what she feels is the most important factor of selling big on Etsy. "When you're building a connected relationship with your customers, it makes them want to see you succeed" - Julie Astrauckas [TWEET IT] The Potatoes Right up front, I go on about … [Read more...]

Want to be Profitable? Learn How to Give Stuff Away!

Monopoly Money

Recently I had a conversation with a fellow podcaster about profitable niches, and he point blank asked me if I thought serving creatives was a bad niche because they are not normally the type to pay for help. His question gave me pause, and I had to think for a moment on how to respond. I wasn't lost for words, but more lost for coming back with the most eloquent response. The way I saw it, his point of view was based on the same scarcity that so many creative individuals find themselves in because of would-be societal norms. Before I made a rash judgement, I asked him for some clarification. He responded that he had worked with a few small design agencies in the past, and they all seem to believe it's essential to bootstrap their business, or in other words, do all the work themselves because that saves them money they can reserve for other things, like collateral, business machines, etc. I told him that it's true, many creative business people have a tendency to use the … [Read more...]