Posts tagged entrepreneur
Joy vs. Happiness

"You will find happiness within your joy. It’s hard to convert your lack of happiness into something meaningful."

— two guys on Joy Venture  

This is a recurring theme in the pursuit of any joy venture. It’s also a stumbling block for those who find that the journey becomes difficult.

But the joy/happiness dilemma isn’t a zero sum game. In fact, it’s not an either/or proposition. It can be a both/and reality.

We have some pretty strong opinions, convictions and examples that begin to outline the difference between joy and happiness as it relates to the joy venture. We won’t spoil it here, instead have a listen and let us know what you think.

You might also want to check out the blog post we wrote on this same topic.

Learning as you go — with John Zappin

"I remember I got on the mic and I was terrified, just terrified. I did it, and I didn’t get booed. People seemed to think that I was okay. I survived. So I went back and started getting more involved in the scene."

JOHN ZAPPIN, writer, rapper, recording artist and content creator 

What does a teenage farm kid growing up in Pataskala, Ohio know about launching a career in hip-hop music and becoming a rapper — in the no-internet era of the mid-1990s? Arguably very little, but that didn’t stop a young “John Reuben” Zappin from pursuing his joy anyway.

Always using humor as his safety shield, John embraced the uncomfortable moments of dropping his rhymes in front of audiences at summer camp, the church hall, and open mic nights to build his confidence and find his voice. That voice would eventually ink a deal with Gotee Records where he would go on to record six albums.

In a pre-file sharing, pre-American Idol world, John put in the work to carve out his niche in an unlikely genre of rap. John shares his story and drops some wisdom for anyone pursuing their dream. But now on the cusp of 40 and having already achieved a level of success that any recording artists would envy, John is like that teenage kid all over again: back in Ohio and asking “what if” and wondering “what’s next.”  

John Reuben

Why the world needs your weirdness — with CJ Casciotta

“I was waiting for it (the big idea) to go away. A year went by and it didn’t go away. I sat on it for two years, which is not my nature… and when I found the name, I knew things were lining up and it was time to act.”

CJ Casciotta, Author of GET WEIRD and Lead Misfit of RINGBELLER

Have you ever felt like you were the weird one who just didn’t fit in with the crowd? If so CJ has an important message for you: weird wins.

CJ is a writer and author, creator, filmmaker, mover and shaker, and all around disrupter — and he’s doing all this with one goal in mind — and that’s to help misfits like you and me embrace our weirdness. Because in a sea of same, those of us who think a bit differently are needed more than ever before.

CJ recounts the long journey he’s been on, why he’s written a book to help others get weird, and where all this weirdness is leading. For CJ, it’s back to the classroom where the idea of fitting in has misguided generations of people. By building a media-based curriculum for schools that is rooted creativity, empathy and kindness — the soft skills that leading companies say will be needed in the automated workforce of the future — he wants to redefine what it means to be sweetly, uniquely and powerfully weird.

CJ Casciotta

Ringbeller

Moving from maker to mentor — with Jessica Barry

“A VP at SAA said they had a recruiting position available and wanted me to interview. I remember my first inclination was —absolutely not. I'm a designer, not a recruiter. This is what I went to school for.  

I went back after the interview (that I thought did not go well) and talked with my friends and said if I take this, this is the end of my design career... my design skills are going to die... but my friends kept saying 'just try it.'"

 

JESSICA BARRY, President & Owner, The Modern College of Design  

Jessica wanted to be a designer — a really good designer. And, like anyone with the talent and tenacity to fulfill that kind of dream, she went to art school, learned from great mentors, honed her craft, and eventually became that really good designer.

But what if there's more than that... more than just being a good designer? What if the dream was merely a stepping stone to something else despite the design skills she worked so hard to cultivate?  

Jessica recounts her journey from attending the small upstart School of Advertising Art in Kettering, Ohio, to the unheard of act of buying — fully purchasing — the same school she once attended. The move from maker to mentor wasn't easy and it certainly wasn't her expected career path. Jessica talks about weighing her new opportunities and rethinking what a career can look like if you take it one step at a time.

At the time of this recording, Jessica and her staff were preparing to officially open their doors to the new Modern College of Design — expanded and rebranded in time for the 2018-19 class. She talks about the risk and reward of these ambitious changes and the big, hairy, audacious goals she has for the school in the not-so-distant future.   

 

The Modern College of Design

 

Being patient & the gift of the unexpected — with Beth Stafford & Jeremy Slagle
 

“We (Ben and I) had this dream that we could be this couple team and do this, but we just kept hitting a wall. I would try to draw something and it wasn't quite right and Ben would draw something and it just wasn't clicking. We kept trying and stopping, and it was really discouraging because I knew there was potential.”

BETH STAFFORD, Author of Chin Up, Chinchilla    

“I've always wanted to write a children's book...”

Beth had a tiny, heartwarming story written on a single sheet of paper — and she had a vision of what it could become. It also would seem natural that her husband Ben, with all of his artistic capabilities, could bring her story to life visually. But here's the thing: sometimes you’re just too close to something. And sometimes you feel that there’s a different path that needs to be taken instead of the obvious one.

“I’ve always wanted to illustrate a children’s book...”

Jeremy has designed a lot of things in his career, but one opportunity in particular, a children’s book, just hadn't presented itself. After two years and no meaningful traction on the book design for Beth and Ben, a chance encounter on this podcast led to surprising collaboration. After all, the last thing Jeremy expected to do was illustrate a story written by the spouse of an already great illustrator.  

Chin Up, Chinchilla is proof that the amazing and unexpected really do happen when you least expect it, and when you're willing to be patient and open to inviting others into your joy. 

How to discover your joy

“If we could mute that inner voice telling us we're not good enough or smart enough, and instead listen to that person to the left or right of us that says, 'oh my gosh, you can totally do this' we'd find a lot more people discovering their joy.” 

—Thad DeVassie

“If you're feeling called to do something, don't put the pressure on yourself to make it your career. Just do it, make that thing.” 

—Jeremy Slagle

So you think you're ready to embark on a joy venture, but there’s still something nagging at you. You’re not sure if you’ve truly discovered your joy. And before you dive in, you want to be certain that THIS. IS. IT.  

Spoiler alert: it doesn't work that way. 

In this episode, we get practical about discovering joy — and how you might figure out what your joy venture looks like through the process of discovery.  

If you're looking for five foolproof steps to discovering your joy or three hacks to launching the perfect Joy Venture — this isn't it. There isn’t a right way or a wrong way. But there is one definitive way — and it requires that you take action.

 

PODCASTS & BLOG POSTS REFERENCED IN THIS EPISODE:

Converting inspiration to action

Brittany Baum: Believing in and living out your authentic self

John McCollum: Designed to advocate for the world's most vulnerable children

Daniel McKewen: Life at the seams of product innovation and personal purpose

Brad & Krystal Woodard on what it means to "Brave the Woods" 

Bill Lilly: It's never too late to pen a new script

John Robinson on shifting gears

What is a Joy Venture?

“What you can't get back is lost time. If you're sitting on an idea or if you're sitting on capability that's not being used, and if you have the wherewithal to say I WANT TO DO THIS and I want to surround myself with people who are going to push me forward — that's what this is all about.” 

— Thad DeVassie

“But what this isn't is a call for people to recklessly abandon the jobs they have right now and start out on their own... before you realize you have something.” 

— Jeremy Slagle

A year before starting Joy Venture — and two years into it — we are still asking questions. The questioning isn't solely reserved for our guests who appear on the JOY VENTURE podcast, but of ourselves, our motivations, what we believed or intended going into this endeavor, and what we've learned along the way. 

Listen in on the discussions that we are constantly having even when the guest interviews aren’t rolling.

  • What is a joy venture?

  • How do you discover your joy?

  • How do you develop it?

This series of shorter podcasts are meant to supplement the interview series as we wrestle with the bigger questions about discovering and developing joy — and leading a life with intention and purpose.

Riding out your dreams — with Jeff Frane

“I like the idea of falling in love and having that object for a very long time, and that's what steel (bike) is for me. If I’m going to have something forever, it needs to be special. I don't like disposal culture. I like being intentional about what I buy and I want people to get value and years of happiness and experience out of each of our products.”

 

JEFF FRANE, Brand Manager, All-City  

Like most kids growing up in middle America, Jeff loved to ride his bike. But unlike some, it’s a love affair that's never waned. When he was old enough to drive a car, he chose to keep riding bicycles instead. Jeff is a bike guy and gearhead through and through, and you could say that his lifelong passion borders on the obsessive — although that would be selling his story short. 

Jeff isn’t an entrepreneur the way they’re often idolized. Rather, he’s the once-plucky kid from the warehouse with an idea and an email, who was given a green light to go build something. That something was his dream job, and it would evolve into All-City — a bicycle brand under the QBP banner and named after the All-City Championship bike race Jeff founded in his bike-friendly city of Minneapolis. 

Jeff takes us on an unvarnished ride that holds nothing back about the steep valleys (getting laid off from his bike shop job, living in van and being flat broke) that sometimes need to be traveled before reaching the peak.  

His story is a street-smart testament to grit and determination, building community and fostering culture, and believing that dreams are meant to be fulfilled if you have the tenacity to power through the trials head-on.  

All-City Bicycles

Bike Jerks

What it means to “Brave the Woods” — with Brad & Krystal Woodard
 

“The one thing weve learned about our business is that no one is going to come to you and say “Oh, you want to do a children's book, here you go” or “Oh, you want to teach or speak more, here you go.” If we want to do it, we've got to make it happen.”

KRYSTAL WOODARD, Brave the Woods

 

 

In order to brave the woods successfully, you’d better walk into them with a plan, some goals and the right tools. It’s not an analogy on how to work with Brad and Krystal Woodard, owners of Brave the Woods, but rather a mindset of how they look to build a family-run business that’s going to fulfill and stretch them in all the right ways. 

Brad is the face and accomplished designer behind their action-oriented moniker while Krystal keeps all things non-design running and mapping out the journey, quick to push Brad out of his comfort zone for the sake of growing. 

This Boise, Idaho duo stopped in Columbus as part of a cross-country workshop tour and talked with us about what motivates them and how they are motivating others. From Kickstarting a children’s book to support victims of Typhoon Haiyan in The Philippines, to crowdsourcing Artists for Education with educational design for teachers to use in the classroom — doing good and building community are part and parcel of their craft. It’s those brave and unselfish acts that are key to their success and opening up opportunities that fuel their business, which also reveal new ways to do meaningful work and have a positive impact on others.  

Brave the Woods

Artists for Education

Taytay's Gift (children’s book)

A master craftsman on the making of his craft brewery — with Kevin Ely

"I brew beer that I like to drink, and I like to share that. Not that we won't have 12 percent alcohol beers that knock you over, but that's not our forte. We're trying to brew delicate beers. I think simple and subtle can be very powerful."

 

KEVIN ELY, Founder & Brewmaster, The Wooly Pig Farm Brewery 

Kevin Ely knows beer. And now he knows how to build a brewery — quite literally by hand.

Kevin's story is a pivot of a different nature. Previously the brewmaster at Uinta Brewing, a nationally recognized craft brewery in Salt Lake City, Kevin and his wife Jael Malenke decided to move back to her hometown in Fresno and purchase a farm.

Fresno, Ohio that is.   

Armed with a degree in brewing science from UC Davis (yes, there is such a degree), Kevin is no hobbyist. Beer is indeed his career and he's a recurring judge at the annual Great American Beer Festival. Kevin shares with us his decision to start his own brewery in Ohio, the importance that family and community played in that decision, and why starting a farm brewery in a rural patch of rolling hills just made sense. Curly haired mangalitsa pigs ("wooly" pigs) that inspired the name actually roam his farmland and are visible from his taproom patio with cold beer in hand. It's both idyllic and intentional; it's also indicative of everything about this brewery. From the quirky name to the German-Bavarian style of beers he chooses to brew, down to his hand-made and hand-planed taproom — all of it is crafted with purpose and a story behind it.  

Wooly Pig Farm Brewery

Building the Wooly Pig brand

Shifting gears & embracing change — with John Robinson

"There were seeds being planted suggesting 'maybe I'm not living the life I'm supposed to be living.' But I didn't know at that time what it was or how I was going to do it... and so I found myself in that rut again."  

 JOHN ROBINSON, Founder                   Johnny Velo Bikes 

When you're a top performer in your industry, you don't think much about making significant career changes. That is until you find you're spending too much time from home, or realize that your performance alone can't save your job.

John takes us through a bumpy ride from the mountaintop peaks and through deep valleys of his life in corporate banking, revealing just how hard things can get before admitting some sort of change needs to happen. It's a story we believe will resonate with many.  

By the time John fights back the tears at the end of the podcast, hearing his decision to start Johnny Velo Bikes seems obvious and evident. His connection to bikes, cancer (as a survivor himself), community, and the surprise opportunity to finally become an entrepreneur are tailor-made for this story. But to seize it, to fully own it, he had live it out. And that's the hard part.

In retrospect, John just might tell you this was the most challenging ride he's ever been on — but also the one he was meant to travel.  

Johnny Velo Bikes  |  The Purple TuTu Society

Pouring into people & purpose — with Kenny Sipes

"A lot of people think I'm crazy and they're like 'I don't get it, I don't understand why it's working' and I tell them it's because I got out of the way. My favorite saying that an old guy taught me years and years ago is -- if you want to be happy, forget yourself." 

KENNY SIPES, Founder, The Roosevelt Coffeehouse 

Talk to anyone who frequents The Roosevelt Coffeeshop in Columbus, Ohio and they'll tell you what a great guy Kenny Sipes is and how they love the mission of his shop. His nonprofit coffeehouse has become a magnetic hub for people looking for community, good coffee and to do a little good in the process. The Roosevelt is fueled to give back by supporting three human-centered, justice-driven issues: providing clean water, fighting hunger and abolishing human trafficking. 

Kenny's story continues to gain coffee clout and the Roosevelt has become a community darling in the social enterprise space. That reality is a far cry from the 40-day stint he spent in rehab as a teenager, the years growing an urban record store, and his beloved service as a youth pastor to middle school kids. Even as he employed the hard work and discipline he first saw his father model, he also recognized his gift of being a connector of people. For Kenny, an ideal way to be faithful to what he was being called to do was open a communal space centered around coffee so he could pour into people and purpose in life-changing ways.  

Kenny is an open book on this episode, sharing his unconventional road to entrepreneurship as well as his next moves with The Roosevelt -- including one rather lofty aspiration (we hope you're listing Jeremy Cowart).

The Roosevelt Coffeehouse

Adopting new ways to live & work — with Ben & Beth Stafford
 

“There's much to be said about investing more in people than your business; and one may directly influence the other.”

BEN STAFFORD, Foxmeadow Creative

“It's something really important to us that we prioritize, family time and work time, and that's helped us keep our sanity. We don't work all hours of the night and day, we want to make sure we have time to spend as a family outside of work.”

BETH STAFFORD, Foxmeadow Creative

 

A move. A pivot. A layoff.  And a whole lot of pursuit into the unknown.

For many of us, this kind of change, disruption and lack of clarity can be unnerving. For Ben and Beth, they are choosing to see an alternative plan for how best to approach work and the art of living a purposeful life.  

Becoming familiar with their story, one could easily be reminded of the lyrics to Divine Intervention, the opening track to Matthew Sweet's classic 1991 album, Girlfriend.

I don't know where
I'm gonna live
Don't know if I'll find a place
I'd have to think about it some
And that I do not wish to face
I guess that I'm counting on his
Divine intervention.

Hopeful, heartbreaking, funny, honest and real— these are perhaps the best ways in which to illustrate a conversation with two big-hearted creatives that are pursuing a path less traveled with no regrets. 

Foxmeadow Creative

Ben Illustrated (illustration website)

Ben Stafford: How to Become an Expert (Making Midwest Fest)

Bringing light into the darkness — with Amber Runyon

“I believe that if we can teach little girls to dream that they'll be the force that changes the world.

But more than that; I believe that if we can teach broken women to dream like little girls again, it will be a force the world is yet to see.” 

AMBER RUNYON, Founder, Legacy, and Eleventh Candle Co. 

Changing the world can be daunting and overwhelming. So how do you do it? How do you seek justice without being crushed by the injustices around you?

According to Amber — one small act at a time. Oh, and start a candle business while you’re at it.

This former hospice nurse will tell you that running a nonprofit organization that owns a for-profit business isn’t easy. She’ll say she never set out to be an entrepreneur. She’ll admit to not even being a fan of scented candles — the kind her company, the Eleventh Candle. Co., makes. But in the next breath she'll tell you she couldn’t sit on the sideline and do nothing as she saw women in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio — and young girls in Ethiopia — being trafficked; bought and sold like a commodity.  It’s exactly how to bring light into darkness — and the powerful metaphor isn’t lost on her either. 

Amber’s story is deeply personal while also being selfless. She’s employing women who desperately want to dream again and believe in life’s possibilities. She’s also giving hope and refuge to little girls a continent away. And she’s doing it with some wax, a wick, and a little redemptive storytelling.

Amber epitomizes what it means to change the world with small steps. In time, they add up to an impact that far exceeds expectations.    

Eleventh Candle Company

Legacy (mission video)

Losing that spark and finding it again — with Mark Henson

“I felt like every conversation with a mentor on another business person came back to ‘I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up’ and I didn’t like that because I knew for the longest time — this is it. I love what I do and want to do it forever... and then I didn’t. And that was weird.”

MARK HENSON, Founder of sparkspace & author of Ordinary Super Powers

Anyone who knows Mark would likely agree that he’s one of the more upbeat and positive people you’ll ever meet — and as the founder and creative force behind sparkspace, he’s running one of the coolest places on the planet for creative inspiration, personal development and team building. 

And that’s all Mark wanted to do. Run a business just like that.

Until he didn’t. 

Mark opens up about what happens when you lose that spark for the thing you love, how depression can still get its grips on the optimist, and how figuring out what you’re good at — and not simply passionate about — is the key to unleashing your ordinary super powers. This is a story of rediscovery and finding that spark again to do your best work — that stuff you were meant to do.

We also discover some interesting back history on Mark as he reveals tidbits about his life as as Top 40 radio disc jockey in middle America, with a not-so-middle-America on-air persona.    

sparkspace

Ordinary Super Powers  

Bikes, brews & the things that move you — with Chris Bishop

“I never worked in a bike shop until I owned one. My first day on the job I was reporting to myself. Sometimes we fear what we don’t know but forget to celebrate or praise what we do know. There's this really awesome saying: we fail at the margins of our experience. When we do, great. We grew. We don’t grow by having a cushy, comfortable life.”

CHRIS BISHOP, Founder, Backroom Coffee Roasters and hop merchant 

Pulling up to Chris’s airplane hangar turned “workshop” — where he roasts beans for Backroom Coffee Roasters today — is a much different setting for his business compared to when he was fueling his coffee fix out of the back room of a bike shop, hence the company name.

Chris is far from being stuck in the same gear. He’s the kind of guy who has multiple interests and a willingness to pursue them as far as they will go. He’s also a guy who avoids getting too comfortable with any venture, knowing that comfort has a way of stunting growth and breeding complacency. 

Chris charts his entrepreneurial path and insatiable desire for discovery, from motor sports to bicycles and from coffee to beer. And he believes in doing the kind of work you’re passionate about and can pour yourself into. It’s how he has turned his passions into paychecks and immensely enjoyable work.

Chris’s story will encourage you to go for it — whatever your “it” might be.   

Backroom Coffee Roasters  |  Crosby Hop Farm  

Running from boredom (part 2) — with Andy Pizza

Until you see someone like you thriving, you don't think you can.”

ANDY J. MILLER (aka Andy J. Pizza / Dr. Pizza) illustrator, instructor, speaker, and chief motivator of the Creative Pep Talk podcast.

In this episode, we continue the conversation we started with Andy and explore the importance of transitions and transformations; work vs. play and open vs. closed mode; the brilliance found in side projects; the need for space to actually be creative; and why calling yourself a “commercial artist” is more of a badge of honor and not some misguided notion of selling out.

Andy also talks about why he’s not romantic about the podcast format, and the reasons for that point of view, in spite of hosting his own wildly successful podcast.    

You can check out Andy’s illustration work on his site andy-j-miller.com and listen to his podcast at Creative Pep Talk.

Running from boredom (part 1) — with Andy Pizza

From a young age, I always felt I was doomed... because I thought there’s no way I'm going to have a job that isn't boring.

ANDY J. MILLER (aka Andy J. Pizza / Dr. Pizza) illustrator, instructor, speaker, and chief motivator of the Creative Pep Talk podcast.

It wasn’t that long ago that Andy J. Miller was in need of a pep talk specifically for himself. His so-called “beginners luck” and initial momentum as an illustrator began to evaporate and the need to fill the income void came in the form of other important, albeit less creative, roles. But as they say: once an artist, always an artist. Getting back on the horse wasn’t easy, and Andy learned a lot of things about himself and his craft along the way — things he now imparts on the Creative Pep Talk to thousands of loyal listeners who need a regular dose of creative inspiration.

The “doctor” is in for a two-part podcast where he prescribes practical ways forward for creatives and relays his insights about main gigs vs. side gigs, being entrepreneurial vs. an employee, commercial art, the need to evolve, and on being an artist with ADD. He also ends the debate, once and for all, on which pizza version is superior: thin crust or deep dish.  

You can check out Andy’s illustration work on his site andy-j-miller.com and listen to his podcast at Creative Pep Talk.

Life at the seams of product innovation & personal purpose — with Daniel McKewen
 

“I remember my wife saying to me, ‘if you don't do this, if you don’t see it through, you're going to wonder what would've happened — and it's going to drive you crazy.’ And that was the absolute truth.”

DANIEL McKEWEN, founder,
Seagull Bags & Singing Needle Studio

 

At first glance, Daniel isn’t likely to be pegged as a guy who spends his day sewing or cutting fabric. Yet when presented with a need for a better messenger bag, Daniel picked up his grandmother’s sewing machine and went to work. What started as out as a personal project while in art school was suddenly turning into into a word-of-mouth business with international clients before he graduated. With growth of more than 300 percent for the first five years, his epic rise also came with epic challenges — leading to a need to pause and reassess everything. But as the calloused fingers of any true craftsman will tell you, giving up just wasn't an option.

Hear Daniel’s story and how he’s kick-starting a second chapter for a beloved brand and is embarking on a crowdsourcing project to solve a problem for musicians like himself.

www.seagullbags.com
www.singingneedlestudio.com

Taking a leap of faith for the good of others — with John McCollum
 

“Early on, I acknowledged ‘I don't know what I’m doing’ and that was one of those things that was really helpful. I didn’t get the big picture of what this would become, so I was able to learn piece by piece. 

I didn’t have any illusion that I had anything I could bring to the table that would help these people other than money — and I didn’t have much of that." 

JOHN McCOLLUM, Executive Director, Asia’s Hope

 

John will jokingly refer to his decision to close down his design agency to take on the leadership role for a nonprofit organization that helps orphaned kids in Asia as taking the down escalator in terms of wealth, influence and success in business. Admittedly, it’s not a conscious decision that many of us would choose to make — John included. But what John discovered, first through adoption, and then by recognizing those who would never have that chance, led him on a journey half-way around the world to bring hope to some of the world’s most vulnerable children at risk of sexual and economic exploitation. 

John’s story is about listening, feeling, and acknowledging that call on his life — and then having the faith to step out and actually do something about it.   

www.asiashope.org