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The Moment You Stop Lying To Yourself About Selling Your Art

We’ve all been there. You are trying to impress a pretty girl. She knows you are a creative type. You write. Paint. Draw. Create. And it shows. And you’ve been lying to yourself for far too long…..thinking, I’m going to be famous. People love me. And sooner or later, where it matters most, it’s going to show.

And then, the realization that you’ve wasted the last 6 months of your life on finger painting family portraits, when you could have been playing kickball with the other kids. And you’ve made nothing. At first, it didn’t matter. But now it does. You try to keep a brave face…..and keep the faith, because you know in your bones you’re doing the work the world wants you to do.

And then it happens. The lens of life. It sneaks up behind you and says – everyone is watching.

You can keep up the charade, or you can come clean. Cry if you must. It will make you better. And stronger. And want it so much more.

Every artist has this moment. This happened to me when my Mother helped me do my tax return in 2003.

The shame – it stings and has the taste of the type of truth you’ve hid from too many, for far too long. This too shall pass. And the good news is, the good ones, the warriors….we keep crying….and creating, too. ūüôā

The Day You Fell in Love

The Day You Fell in Love

‚ÄúPractice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you‚Äôre already in heaven now.‚ÄĚ

‚Äē Jack Kerouac

I have a friend I call Melvin.

I don’t know his real name, but Melvin seems to fit.

He wears a name tag, but I’ve never got close enough to read it.

Melvin works at the Publix supermarket in West Palm Beach, a few blocks from where I used to live.

I’ve loved Melvin a little bit everyday, for more months than I can count.

I’ve seen him hug grandchildren he may not have.

And love a soulmate he may never have known.

I’ve seen him Happy and Healthy.

Smiling and serene.

Fearless and free

I’ve shared all of these magical moments with Melvin in my minds eye, and yet we’ve never really met. Read More »

The Day You Started Small

The Day You Started Small

Going big is over-rated. Starting small is the key to doing it right.

If you’ve got something to teach, preach, market, mentor, publish or offer up to inspire, I want to challenge you to start small.

A challenge to the creatives and service oriented professionals reading this.

(the authors, artists, the teachers, trainers and those who crave a connection to a community of profesional peers who share your passion)

HERE is the challenge:

Create a small 1-5 page product.

You can do this on a lazy, hazy afternoon.

It can be anything – a checklist (best practices for your profession) a blueprint – a cheatsheet – a FAQ is really effective in an area you have expertise – anything that offers insight, information or inspiration to folks who would be intersted in what you do.

Step 2

Upload to the publishing platform.

Why? ¬†It’s absolutely awesome – always improving – phenomenally free – and will make the next steps infinitely easier.

(and ultimately, much easier to scale when you’re ready to go back to thinking BIG as well ūüôā

Step 3

Invite other people to promote your first product as partners or “affiliates”.

For example Рif you have an existing business or audience, invite your facebook fans, your newsletter subscribers your daily readers…whomever you think appropriate, to particpate in your product launch.

(or to earn an income while helping you build buzz for a new product, program, site or service)

If you are just starting from scratch:

Ask your friends,  reach out to other people you know and like in your industry Рfind lateral or related business and so forth.

For example?

If you are a yoga teacher – a meditation or massage therapist – a nutrition expert, etc – find offers that are complimentary to what you do, but not necessarily directly competitive and invite them to partner up with you.

This gives them an opportunity to earn extra income, and gives their audience a wider window into a related world (your expertise) that they may be unaware of otherwise.

Ask yourself this:

How many life coaches would LOVE to have a Yoga teacher to recommend?

Or –

How many Yoga teachers would love a nutritional or dietary cheat sheet to offer their clients?

This is a great way to not only cultivate a community of clients, but also an amazing way to connect with professional peers in related fields as well)

Or –

Email people who show up in search results for the niche, market or industry you are publishing or competing in.

Ask your favorite bloggers or authority site owners, – be creative and think outside the box a bit – it’s guerilla marketing 101 and it’s a ton of fun

You can do ALL of this with a free book or product – or with a fee based product or service. (or a combination of both)

(both have advantages to your audience)

Step 4 (why this works)

Starting small allows you to boostrap, or “hack” finding new readers, new subscribers and a community of client who would be hard pressed to know you who are otherwise.


When you apply this approach, everytime your friends, folowers, fans, or fellow professional peers promote your free or low priced SMALL products (the reports, blueptrings, outlines, cheatsheets, FAQ’s, etc you created in step 1) and you do this on the GUMROAD platform (it’s free – and awesome) they are adding new subscribers (what Gumroad calls followers) who are now part of your newsletter community.

Note/Disclaimer: ¬†I get nothing for recommending Gumroad. No money. ¬†No ¬†little plaque. ¬†No email from the CEO. ¬†I know no one there, and other than a few recommendations I’ve made at 3 am by email after one bottle of wine too many, have no relationship with anyone there at all. ¬†You don’t need to use them – it just makes this process infinitely easier – and other than charging a transaction fee like Etsy or Ebay or “insert your favorite E-commerce publishing platform here” ¬†– they offer all of this completely free.

Remember.  Forget about the big picture for now.

Start small.

  1. Do what you love.
  2. Share your passion.
  3. Cultivate a community.
  4. And offer up your experience and expertise to the betterment of the world.
  5. (i don’t know if you’ve been watching CNN in your PJ’s for the last 3 days like me – but it’s pretty obvious we could use more people who are passionate about building people up, rather than tearing us down)

Also –

There are lots of nuances and wrinkles and fun little innovative appraoches you can use to optimize and improve, tweak and critique this strategy.

For example –

You can add a service to a free product – a coaching session or one on one time with you for example – which gives your affiliates (your partners who participate) the opportunity to earn a great commission while giving something free away.

(traditionally, about 10% of people will pay for a product or service that is bundled with a freebie if positioned properly)

But don’t even think of that stuff yet.

  • Just start small. 1-5 pages.
  • Or record something short.

Or think of something creative to offer I have’nt thought of above. (but will after i stumble to my coffee maker and get some cafeeine in my brain)

Also –

Make sure to include your product in Gumroad discover. (just check the box to allow your products to be “discovered” on email recepits and thank you pages)

This is the full marketplace where you can get “discovered” by people doing searches for the keywords that are related to your product, program, site or service.

They also will include your offer on receipts of the products that other people sell – meaning joe buys x from y – and on the receipt – joe is gently directed to check out related products he may be interested in as well. Including yours. I’ve already sold some of my own stuff this way in just the last week, simply by being “recommended” after someone buys something different, from someone not named me.

(much like Amazon does‚Ķ.or can also be done with Recepitful – a great free product from Woocommerce founder Adi Peinar – something I’ll be covering at length in another discussion)

This stuff is so super simple, and if you are a creative with passion and a sense of purpose and who truly enjoys your work – a ton of fun to boot.

Start small.

And begin above.

And i’m going to give you another incentive.

If you create it, I’ll help you sell it.


You can publish your product on my marketplace or directory site for free. (I’ll be your affiliate) This way, you’ll have a whole new source of free traffic, and exposure, and a audience you won’t have to worry about, or work for on your own.

Plus, selfishly, I want to add people, products, programs, sites, services, and offers to my own mindful marketplace based communities‚Ķ.and if you’ve read this far, you definitely belong.

I’m also going to be sharing a simple strategy you can use to build your OWN “authority” site or marketplace in YOUR niche, market or industry, using the exact same approach, so stay tuned for that as well.

(it’s quick, it’s easy and very exciting as well)

Have questions? Ask me anything in the community comments below.

OR connect with me on Twitter.

Or on Facebook.

OR come over for lunch. Just give me 15 minutes to put on some clothes.

I’m having grilled cheese with Wolf Blizter blathering on in the background, and could use the company.

The Day You Started to Teach

Here is a short article I posted a few months ago….which I re-visited earlier today working with a small group of folks who are hell bent on writing (and publishing) their first Amazon ebook by the end of the year.

Starting anything new is challenging.  Writing, for whatever reason, is particularly so.

But teaching, sharing, emoting, expressing and offering your life lessons up in the spirit of service, to help others… natural, effortless and amazingly inspiring.  (first to oneself, and then to others)

I heard this great quote the other day – the central question one should ask whenever putting their time, and trust, into the world and words of another who aspires to inform.

“How can you help me to live?”

On some level, all of our intuitions, all of our aspirations, all of our private seeking and striving and soul searching – whether it’s directed inward at our own moral compass – or outward in the arms or answers or experiences of another – boils down to that one simple all too human and all too hard to find foundation.

If you have that experience or expertise to offer…..which you do, you really ought to write it down.

The truth is, anyone who has a unique life lesson, or valuable experience to share can write a “best selling” book these days, simply due to the way the whole self publishing space has evolved over the last half a decade.

And even if writing a best seller feels a bit audacious to you, the truth is, simply publishing a book at all is an amazing accomplishment that feels great and will do wonders for your professional self esteem and your perceived credibility in your niche, market or industry.

As a marketing tool, it’s magical. But as an authentic way to create, and then convey something powerful to an audience of people who will become better by having heard your message‚Ķ’s really better than cold pizza on a sunny Sunday morning. (which is pretty hard to top)

Anyway, if you are NOT writing your first book out of fear that crafting a magnum opus of literary wonder is not within your current skill set – STOP. The pursuit of perfection, is the enemy of achieving anything at all – and if you think of yourself as a teacher, and the content in your book the imperfect lessons of a life well lived shared with purity of heart and in the spirit of service, you realize it’s the message that matters much more than the perfection of the prose.

This was titled, Teach. Don’t write. I know it’s taken a lot of the proverbial pressure off of me every time i set pencil to paper (or pixel) and hopefully it will do the very same for you.

May 19th.  2 hours of sleep.  Got threatened with a (supremely frivolous) lawsuit on Facebook, by an angry person at 3am.  Woke up. Open email.  Check lost in the mail.  Ian, did you send it?  (I sent it)  Fuck the post office.  Going to be a down day.  Cleaned my house.  Bleary.  Battled to focus.  Lost the battle.

Rain. No motivation.  No food in fridge.  Walked to Publix.  Ate a family sized ziplock of oven roasted turkey, with mustard.  (and 6 low carb Touyfan wraps) after not having a single taste of meat on my tongue for more months than I can count.  (but more wraps than I can count)

Feeling full and foolish and sluggish…..yet grateful for red wine.    These are the things I’m reading, thoughts i’m thinking and time i’m wasting in between.

When Apple Loves You Back

When Apple Loves You Back

This is what you call enthusiastic and exuberant support.

I wish I could give Mohan a hug.

Because he definitely deserves one.

I didn’t realize that buying an app made me a “dedicated supporter of the app store.”

But I feel more dedicated now, than I did this morning.

Thanks, Mohan!

Somewhere Steve Jobs is smiling.



My New Favorite Podcast

I listen to a lot of podcasts.  And audio books.  I love to learn and love being exposed to new people, places and perspectives on the magic, mystery and meaning of life.

Typically I binge listen to one type of podcast for a while, and then I’ll switch genres.¬† There are lots of good podcasts out there.¬† But very few great ones.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History is an example of a great one.¬† (and does a masterful job of combining education, with entertainment)¬† He’s telling stories that many of us already know, but diving deep into the details, and the backstories and with a passion that literally makes the mundane, magic.

As great as it is, I can only listen to so much of Hardcore History though….before my mind begins to wander.¬† (i’m really not a history nerd, and I’m embarrassed to admit it sort of loses my attention after a while)

My NEW favorite podcast is LORE.¬† It’s sort of like Hard Core History, only shorter episodes, and for folklore.

The stories are amazing.¬† And authentically CREEPY.¬† And beautifully done. I find myself looking up the historical records of the real life people behind just about every episode…and it’s just super entertaining, really awesome and if you love scary stuff like me, you will love it as well.

(the guy behind it is brilliant as well in a very under-stated way – just the right touch of tone, tempo and terror to keep us tethered to the story)

If you want to be story teller, stop listening to people like me, and start listening to Lore.

The Day You’re Reminded Who is Boss

The Day You’re Reminded Who is Boss

I’m not one for conspiracy theories.

I don’t think the Moon landing was staged.

I don’t believe that 9/11 was an inside job.

I don’t believe Ted Cruz’s dad was in on the Kennedy assasination.

But I do have privacy concerns.  And trust issues.  So when I got this email immediately after getting off the phone with Amazon after yet another no show Amazon prime delivery where I may have forfeited any chance of winning most polite customer of the year, I knew it was a message, message.

We know you are a Lady Gaga fan, Ian. ¬†But in your case, Superfan may be a more apt description. ¬†And we’ve got proof.

Care to see it?

We thought so.

Don’t fuck with Amazon. ¬†They know what you like. ¬†And how much.

And unlike you, they don’t care who knows.





You are Invited!

Launching a brand new, very experimental social network and app community over the next 10 days. ¬†It’s called Bodhisattva, and you can join us here.

I’ve also started a new curated newsletter for my own daily thoughts and ideas using a very cool service called Revue. ¬†(it’s a ton of fun to use, has a beautiful UI and makes curating content a breeze)

Check my first issue out HERE, and try to ignore the fact that I ¬†haven’t gotten a haircut in about a year. ¬† (good grief this is hard to look at – I did shave for the photo which is a step in the right direction :0)

Lots of exciting stuff to share…so stay tuned or say hi!

The Easiest Way to Build an Email List (content curation tools)

I’m often asked about the easiest way to build an email list from scratch. ¬†What is the best way to start collecting subscribers and what tools, or technologies are most effective for beginners, these people will ask?

The truth is, that very rarely comes up in conversation. ¬†I don’t really talk to that many people to be honest, and when I do, it’s usually about stuff I’m not really allowed to discuss on my blog.

But let’s say for arguments sake people really did want to know how to build a list without muss, fuss, mess or stress?

You know what I’d recommend?

Content curation.  It rocks.  And I love it.  And so too will you.

Remember a few years ago I used to write about using Flock to curate content?

Of course you don’t. ¬†Which hurts my feelings.

Sometime later….I described the process of using Tumblr to do something similar, and it still works wonderfully well to this day. ¬†(which is more than I can say for Marissa Mayer)

But for curating content AND building a list at the same time, your options were a bit more limited, especially if you wanted those 2 processes to compliment each other at the same time.

I want to share 2 simple services that not only kick ass, but are great for building an entire business out of thin air, using the content curation model.

The first, is Curated.Co.

The second, is Revue.

Both allow you to curate content quickly and easily around the web, create a community, and build relationships with the very people who published that content in the first place.

(a process I’m using to grow a few communities that is not only a lot of fun, but really amazingly effective for obvious reasons – it allows you to collect, curate and COMPLIMENT the work of other people in a natural and organic way to build buzz for your blog, brand and business)

I pay for both of the services above, both are an awesome value (Revue is much cheaper ($5/month) with smoother and sexier UI. ¬†Curated is a bit pricer…..but far more conversion friendly and allows you to map their landing pages to your own blog/brand or domain) and highly recommend you check them out.

Send me an email if you’d like to know how I’m using each and I’m happy to share.

Or, just send me an email to say hi.  I get lonely and could use the company.






I’m often asked how I’m able to make such beautiful websites in such a short amount of time.

People will say –

“hey…..on top of your ultra busy schedule, and of your other really obvious amazing attributes and accomplishments, how are you able to make such incredible websites as well?”

Okay, no one has ever asked me that.  Even once.  Which hurts my feelings.

But they are going to start asking that of YOU.  (and here is why)

If you’ve ever wanted to create truly world class websites that look like you hired one of those zillion dollar fancy pants online agencies that sip cappucinnos while wearing Warby Parker glasses, Chuck Taylor’s & ¬†“Feel the Bern” t’s……you really ought to check out Persona.Co.

I’ve been playing with their amazing, intuitive and really incredible web design tools for a few months now, and find creating killer cool and creative one page sites at 3am is the perfect antidote for my incessant insomnia.

Also, and I say this not because I am personally, but because I’ve heard this a friend – but i f you smoke a lot of pot (like my friend does) it really will make you feel like a design rock star.

I can’t speak to that personally of course, but I’ve been told.

(hey…….who stole my cheeotos)

As of this writing – it’s still in Beta – and 100% free……and 200% awesome.

Check them out here.