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F the Lines
16 minutes | Aug 27, 2019
#4: Sales Tips — How Working at a Running Store Taught Me to Be a Sales-Savvy Freelancer
Three years into my freelance web design career I started working at a local running store to make some extra cash on the side.But it wasn’t just that. I also needed a break from staring at a computer all day and wanted to meet more people than I normally would as a stay-at-home freelancer (in other words...zero people).That said, I didn’t expect to learn much from a job that paid $10/hr when I was earning more than six times that as a web developer.I was so wrong.
27 minutes | Aug 14, 2019
#3: Dave Folts — B&W Photographer and Fine Woodworker
IntroductionWhat's up, guys!Welcome to another episode of the F the Lines podcast, the show where we talk about creativity, focus, happiness, and how to start a business that doesn't eat you alive.This week, I'm excited to talk with Dave Folts, aka my dad. He's a black & white photographer, woodworker, and also someone who I've taken a ton of inspiration from over the years, because he's always doing things a little differently.He develops his own photos, makes amazing frames and boxes with locally-sourced woods (like fluorescent sumac), and restores antique furniture in his spare time.We talk about the difference between art and craft, why he enjoys using traditional tools and techniques, how sketching cuts down on mistakes, and the best way to get started on a simple DIY woodworking project.So, I hope you guys enjoy this episode with my dad, and I'll see you on the other side.Show Notes1:01 What's the difference between art and craft? Is craft more functional and art abstract? Art is more expensive!3:33 Can someone be a craftsperson without being an artist or an artist without being a craftsperson? When does craft become art? When you start embellishing it.4:30 My dad's work is simple. Can unembellished craft be art? Mechanical vs "pure" art. Using exotic wood that "stands out," etc, is where work starts to be perceived as art. Well-constructed crafts can be more enjoyable longterm.7:25 How is it different making art for yourself vs others? My Dad puts "less effort" into his own work. If you had an infinite amount of time, would you make fancier things for yourself (vs other people) or do you enjoy simplicity?8:40 Dave: I used to make elaborate things for myself, but I don't have the patience now. How he "lost his shirt" on an early dining room set project. Getting older makes you feel like you're "closer to the end than the beginning," so you want to finish things faster.9:49 Dave likes the simpler things now—with more natural, unperfected wood. Just doing a small amount of shaping.10:34 Andrew on developing a simpler aesthetic as a web designer and getting to the solution quicker. Eliminating all the unnecessary parts.11:20 What draws you to the older-style tools and ways of working? Dave: nostalgia. Always liked the old craftsman: Edward Weston and Ansel Adams. First appreciation of photography, seeing the masters. Spending your whole life trying to be "one quarter" as good.12:29 Andrew on how everyone has idols they live up to, but how you can also surpass them by combining two or more skills in a unique way. It's hard to be the best woodworker in the world, but you can more easily become the best woodworker AND black and white photographer.13:55 Andrew: What's an example of an older process that add something valuable to the end product? Is frustration or difficulty (of opting out of modern conveniences) important to making art?14:55 Dave: developing my own pictures and photographs. Enjoying the chemistry and seeing the image coming out. Takes more time and moves more slowly.15:30 Does that give you more time to think and experience the actual process?15:42 Dave: you don't know what you're going to get with film photography—it might be a week before you find out.16:27: Andrew: Does film photography require more faith that the picture will turn out well? Does a picture live in your imagination or do you just forget about it until you develop it?17:08 Dave: I think about the good ones. Enjoys developing negatives as much as doing anything else because it's like getting a surprise Christmas present. Throws away nine out of ten negatives (eventually).18:10 Andrew: Digital provides no time for you to think about what you want the picture to become. The importance of patience.18:30 Andrew: What role does limitation play in your work
51 minutes | Aug 12, 2019
#2: Reinvent the Networking Event — Stop Stressing and Start Connecting
What's up, everyone!Andrew Folts here with episode number two of the F the Lines podcast, a show where we talk about creativity, focus, happiness, and how to start a business that doesn't eat you alive.Today, I'm teaming up marketing fire-starter Kathy Palokoff to see what we can do to reinvent something that...honestly sucks:Networking events!We dive into the problems with networking, brainstorm solutions, and talk about some actionable steps you can take to start a networking event or just get more out of the ones you're already going to.It's a fun episode, and I think you're going to enjoy it.So let's get to it!Part 1: Problems With Networking Events1:02 Kathy on why she doesn't enjoy networking events and some basic tactics for survival (food, alcohol, and staying close to the door).1:46 Andrew on introversion and extraversion. People can be your greatest strength AND your greatest weakness. You just need to practice asking interesting questions—having open-ended conversations can be fun. But how do you get over the initial awkwardness of networking events?3:21 Kathy shares some brilliant advice from Executive Career Coach Kathleen Pringle: "Your network is your net worth." Together, they invent H.O.S.T. to take the mystery out of networking. Kathy realized she loved hosting parties, but hated networking events because (A) she didn't have control over it and (B) they brought back the anxiety of high school. How do you insert yourself into a group of people without feeling stupid?5:05 H.O.S.T. is the strategy of becoming the host of the event (even if it's not your event). Your goal is to make people feel comfortable. Networking events are very goal-driven, but parties are about having fun. Which is why parties feel real, while networking events feel forced.6:38 Interactivity is missing from networking events. Speakers talk at people instead of with them.7:47 Kathy on why one of the main problems with networking is with the name: "Net working." Why not change the name?8:14 Generally, you don't know who's going to be at a networking event. That makes it hard to develop a strategy or even know if it's worth your time.9:56 Location sucks. Acoustics are horrible in bars, etc. It's hard to have a conversation.11:19 Networking has potential. Jordan Peterson: you know 1,000 people and most people know 1,000 people, so you can connect a million people by meeting one person.Key TakeawaysFeels awkward and forcedSpeakers would rather be conversing, not presentingDon't know who's going to be at the eventVenue acoustics suckNetworking has potential!Part 2: Ways to Improve Networking Events12:40 Changing yourself vs waiting for networking events to change. Seek out people who are alone and make them feel comfortable. Embrace randomness. Go on an adventure with the people you meet. Listen to cool stories and cool ideas.14:17 How do you reinvent yourself (instead of the networking event)? Don't be afraid of asking boring questions. Any question can lead you somewhere. If you really listen, you can always find something interesting to go off of. Just ask the question and see what happens.16:15 Andrew on being an atheist and still finding faith to be a really important tool. Not everything can be reasoned out. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and see what happens. The good news is that something always happens.16:45 Changing the networking event. Set aside a space for people to retreat to if they need to recharge or get warmed up when they arrive (before interacting with people). Maybe a space to write or draw or work, etc.17:46 Kathy on the power of being "interested" vs "interesting." T-shirts
54 minutes | Aug 12, 2019
#1: Kathy Palokoff — Marketing Guru & Chief Igniter at goFirestarter
Well hello, fellow humans!Welcome to the F the Lines podcast, a show where we talk about creativity, productivity, happiness, and how to start a business that doesn't eat you alive.I'm your host, Andrew Folts, and today we're talking with author and marketing Firestarter Kathy Palokoff.Now, Kathy is a ex-professor of mine and we've been partnering together on all sorts of creative ventures for the past five years, so I am super-exited to finally sit down and record a conversation with her.We talk about whether it's really worth it to go to college, how to bootstrap your way through your first job, why creative entrepreneurs need a war chest, and what it takes to start your own business.A quick note, we had a little snafu with one of the mic cords, so the audio cuts out briefly in a couple spots.Alright, I hope you guys enjoy this episode with Kathy Palokoff.Show Notes2:07 Kathy's college experience.3:23 Kathy's father's life philosophy: "To be happy and not hurt people."4:40 Andrew's view on how college has less ROI.6:05 Kathy's first job, bootstrapping as a newspaper editor.9:25 Kathy's childhood: not a lot of introspection, but the country was more optimistic.11:04 Kathy didn't look at college as skills, wasn't calculating ROI.11:51 Andrew on ROI of connections in college.11:55 The value of learning from people who are different from you.18:00 Kathy on money and tension over bills growing up. Money follows big ideas. The importance of building a strong war chest.20:40 Andrew gets a mouthful of cat fur!20:50 Andrew's first website project, money goes out as fast as it comes in.22:36 Kathy on leaving her first corporate job, charting her own destiny.30:10 Kathy's North Star, needing 80% enjoyment. Crap wears you down.32:27 Most people aren't doing what they love.34:38 Change the world on an individual level. The power of curiosity. Kids don't get stuck.37:00 Andrew on moving home. Opportunity, not embarrassment.39:44 Kathy's creative commune home. Pooling brainpower.44:07 Takeaway #1: Stop letting money be a barrier. Lower your expenses.45:52 Takeaway #2: Find mentors who are different from you. Books can be mentors.48:10 Takeaway #3: Don't seek perfection. Over-planning = stuck.
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