The Art of Breaking Out with Craig McBreen







February 2016
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In this episode of The Art of Breaking Out, Mars Dorian and I discuss his methods for finding balance in life and work, sparking creativity, and creating better art.

Mars fell in love with comics and visual storytelling at a young age. In fact, his creativity was sparked early in life and he talks about how he discovered his calling as a child. He describes being a fairly introverted kid who could easily escape into his own fantasy world, so he started creating his own comics. His early influences varied, from gaming systems to french comics to Japanese Manga. And his experience grew as he started to travel the world, but he felt lost and confused in his early 20s. We get into a discussion about this period of his life, the fact that the creative path is never easy, and ways to effectively maneuver through it.

We then talk about what transpired to turn things around for him, including his introduction to WordPress and blogging. This included multiple iterations of his online brand and how failure after failure led him to where he is today. We also discuss how his introduction into the world of digital illustration changed his path.

But it's difficult to effectively pursue a successful creative solo practice without rock-solid habits—to boost creativity and maintain momentum. So we delve into mindset, eastern practices, and Mars’s daily routine. We both share a fascination with a Dutch daredevil commonly nicknamed "The Iceman." So the podcast wouldn't be complete without a little discussion of Wim Hof, his antics, and his famous breathing technique.

Then Mars and I discuss how many people have a go at online success but never truly break out, often because they don't do enough and give in too early. Mars details his many online iterations, his many failures (sometimes failing abysmally), and why these experiences were so key to his breaking out. And how every single failure helped him learn, adapt, sharpen his approach, and move on to new opportunities. It turns out all these events crystallized over the years into something quite special. We talk through this evolution and his current foray into the self-publishing world and novel writing.

I think you'll love this discussion on creativity, health, and entrepreneurship.

Questions I ask:

  • When did you turn your own creative soup as true entrepreneur?
  • What does storytelling mean to you?
  • Why did you start writing novels?
  • Who were your greatest creative influences early on?
  • What daily practices started to turn it around for you?

What you will learn:

  • The true impact of mental and physical health on the creative process.
  • A moment early in his life when he discovered his calling (it involves ice cream).
  • How his experiences traveling the globe shaped his signature style.
  • The impact of growing up with creative parents.
  • Great lessons on creativity and self-sufficiency.
  • The importance of a daily practice to keep your mind and body sound.

Links mentioned in the show:

Direct download: Episode_40-_Mars_Dorian_on_Creativity_Health_and_Entrepreneurship.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:34am PDT

My guest, Carol Lynn Rivera, has been in the digital marketing space for over a decade. She and her husband, Ralph run several businesses, including Rahvalor Interactive and Web.Search.Social. She's a writer, podcaster, and marketer.

We start out discussing the weather (I know, how boring). And I ask her if a little New Jersey chutzpah gives her an advantage. Silly question I know, but Carol Lynn has a rapid fire—and very pragmatic—approach to marketing that I think you'll love.

We discuss business first. Basically what type of work is involved with Rahvalor and Web.Search.Social. Carol Lynn explains why they started to blog as a lead generation source, and why it took a full year to find their first lead—it takes time to learn about your audience, how to speak to them, and build an online property that caters to their specific needs. And why any business needs to think about who they want to work with and build content that addresses their questions, hangups, confusions, etc. When Carol Lynn and Ralph started to write about this stuff they truly gained traction.

But it doesn't take long before we dive into a discussion about getting sucked into the social media vortex (a topic I love). Including a detailed discussion around the live streaming craze… Periscope anyone? Which leads to the topic of how many people in the online space undermine themselves because they assume that someone else has the answer; e.g. a "3 things you need to know to get leads and make you rich guy" is not a good "guru" to follow.

Many aspiring entrepreneurs get lost chasing a formula for success—a blueprint that promises fans, customers, and riches. In real life things usually don't work this way, this is not how businesses thrive, and we sometimes forget there is and offline world! So, if you are serving customers it's important to make offline contacts first, then take them  into your online world. So, Carol Lynn and I are in full agreement when it comes to old school practices like sitting down and having a cup of coffee with someone to discuss life and business. We also talk about the networking group she and Ralph belong to, BNI.

This conversation leads to my favorite phrase from the interview. Carol Lynn explains why the internet has become THE MAGICAL UNICORN. You know, the belief that if someone has a sales funnel, their business will thrive. They will grow rich and soon be running their empire from some tropical beach. Well, most of us know that it's never that simple, but we all need a reminder.

Carol Lynn and her husband Ralph have multiple businesses, so we talk about the tools they are using to manage their businesses and their time, and how this has resulted in a software product. Which naturally leads into the topic of blogging, it's effectiveness in this world of content shock. The importance of repurposing content and effectively working with multiple platforms to stand out.

We talk about SEO and what small businesses and solopreneurs should focus on when it comes to the topic of SEO, and some practices that will help them.

Finally we talk about the dreaded F-word, her opinion on not censoring yourself, and  the importance of simply being yourself online. And we of course get back to one of my top questions: "Can you create and ideal life and business?"

Finally, I learn all about Fred. If you want to know who the hell Fred is, you'll have to listen to the show...

Questions I ask:

  • How did you find your first real lead after a year in business?
  • Do you have to niche down to be a successful entrepreneur in the online space?
  • What are the very first steps to help someone find their ideal customer?
  • What is a typical day like for you? How do you eliminate all the physical and mental distractions to get things done?
  • Is blogging dead?
  • How frequently do you post? And how do you measure the effectiveness of your posts?
  • Can you create an ideal life and business?
  • Who is Fred and how did that get started?

What you will learn:

  • Why Carol Lynn and I believe copy is the best way to begin any branding project.
  • The importance of streamlining, delegating, and creating a "not do" list.
  • When people say they want a website, they don't want a website, they want customers.
  • Why the one-stop-shop marketing model doesn't work any more.
  • Why there is no best plan for self promotion and lead generation.
  • Why you should go offline to build client relationships.

Links mentioned in the show: