I’ve found that it is really easy to get SO focused on the walking out of my “plan” for business and life that I seldom share all the cool things that have happened and continue to happen in my business and personal life. If you follow Kristen and me on Facebook, you get to see bits and pieces but, trust me, there is a LOT more happening that you don’t hear about.
Because I highly value YOU, my friends, customers and followers, I thought I would take some time to share some behind-the-scenes of what’s been going on with me apart from what you read in the normal promo e-mails I send out. It is both powerful and exciting to see what can happen when you commit to living life as the best possible version of yourself with a “nothing is impossible” attitude! Please know that what I’m sharing here isn’t meant to brag…it’s to demonstrate what can happen when you align with your purpose and passion!
As many of you know, Kristen Joy and I married just over a year ago and it’s been quite the ride. Since then we’ve been discovering what it means to live life as a couple with our own businesses and dreams and, more importantly, what we can accomplish TOGETHER! Over the past year, we have seen our vision and dreams expand in ways we never imagined! While we are still committed to teaching and training online, we are also embracing MUCH more on a crazy fun scale! More on that in a moment…
First…my training this year. Most of 2016 found me struggling for direction and clarity. I felt like I was all over the place training-wise…and I was. Once I realized that I was trying to be all things to all people (never smart), I made some huge changes! I ended the popular Expert Media Show. Ended my Inner Circle trainings and shifted the focus of my business. I realized that, out of all the courses I taught, the ones that excited me and energized me the most were the CREATIVE ones! So I made a decision that, moving forward, if there was ANYTHING in my online business that was NOT based on the creative process, I wasn’t teaching it…period. I’m a creator…it’s who I am…so the idea of teaching anything else just seemed like a waste of my energy. And honestly, you deserve my best, not my compromise!
So with new-found vision, I hit the ground running in the New Year. I began work on Expert Media Hub, my new site to house ALL my trainings. That meant starting off with new hosting, a new platform, new membership software and a new shopping cart. Not exactly exciting but necessary to do what I wanted done. The biggest benefit of the new site to YOU is that, with just one login, you can access ALL your purchases in one place. Work is ongoing with EMH but nearly all the training materials and courses created this year are ONLY accessible there.
Speaking of new courses and materials, here is a list of my trainings taught so far this year:
- Creative Publishing Academy: 40+ Weekly Sessions
- Children’s Book Strategies
- Scene Builders Master Bundle
- Creative Mug Design
- Easy Book Tutorials
- Miniature Set Builder
- Make Doodle Books
- Profit Booster Workshop
- Public Domain Education Hacks
- Easy Book Trailers, 2.0
- Photo Profit Challenge
- Maker Shop Success
- Card Deck Creator
- Hybrid Illustration Styles
- Illustration Kickstart
So what’s next, training-wise? The biggest news is that I’m revisiting the Public Domain with a brand-new course series called, Public Domain Reboot. PDR will consist of six 4-Module courses that will focus on the primary media types of content available in the Public Domain:
- Books (Textbooks, Reference, etc.)
- Periodicals (Magazines, Comics, Newspapers, etc.)
- Video/Audio (Movies, Music, Stock Footage, etc.)
- Images (Photos, Illustrations, Clipart, etc.)
- Government (Including Patents, etc.)
- Miscellaneous Content (Uncopyrightables, Ephemera, blog content, etc.)
These new courses begin in October and will be taught live 2-weeks apart, which will take us into mid-December. More details to come in the next few days! I am also working on a new, advanced training with my son-in-law, Charles Perkins on Game Design. This will build off of our popular Card Deck Creator training. More details coming soon. There will also be courses related to creating different types of physical products as well and possibly new training on creating cartoons and 2D character animation. This year is going to end with a fun BANG!
Kristen and I have also been very active with creating a larger dream and vision. I’m a firm believer that we can accomplish anything if we’re passionate about it and take action!
Creating our PlaySpace was the first part of that bigger dream. For those of you not familiar with our PlaySpace, it is a 1,000 sq.ft. creativity space here at our house that includes art workstations, a huge meeting area, a 3D printer and 3D Laser printer, a stained glass and pottery room with all the tools, a soon-to-be completed video set area and a miniatures workspace for building sets for book illustration. Our plan is to offer local training, masterminds and coaching in a number of business and creative disciplines in this space, as well as it being a fully functioning art co-op.
We also just finished a 1,500 sq.ft. addition plus a sunroom on our house. Why another building project? It’s simple…we wanted to create a space where we could host friends and family locally. Family is extremely important to me, and until recently, it was impossible to have my entire family over for a meal or to just hang out. Now we can. But Kristen and I ALSO wanted to create a space where business associates and coaching partners can come to mastermind and work directly with us here at our offices. We can now do that as well (and have already started).
Kristen and I are also adding local business development to our bigger business vision. In May, we signed the lease on a beautiful building in downtown Chambersburg to be the site for our toy store, Toy Box Gifts & Wonder. Owning a book and toy store was one of Kristen’s childhood dreams and it was important to me to help make that happen. Plus, for me, one of my fondest childhood experiences was the visits to Uptown Sales, the now-gone hobby and toy store that existed downtown when I was a kid. So to have the opportunity to create memories and experiences for a new generation of children and adults is extremely exciting for us! Our Grand Opening was July 14th and it’s been a fun ride so far. We have 4 local employees now and will be hiring more as needed. We still currently have two booths at the local Antique Mall, Black Rose, where we sell vintage Pop Culture toys, but that will be changing in 2018 as well because…we are planning to open a second retail store!
Last Thursday we met with a local building owner and developer to explore making part of one of his buildings the home for our next store, Nerdvana Outpost. Opening in the Spring of 2018, the outpost will be a nerd store featuring Pop Culture collectibles, toys, games and more. We are planning to build a life-size galley from the Millennium Falcon (from Star Wars) that will lead into a Star Wars toy and collectibles room, have a Gotham section complete with life-size characters like Deadpool and Wonder Woman, a dedicated gaming room and more! We are also exploring sponsoring special events like Battlebots competitions, Cosplay events and more. Toy Box Gifts & Wonder will continue to focus on STEAM-related educational and learning toys primarily for the 12-years-old and under children, while Nerdvana Outpost will target high school, college-age and adults.
Our massive focus on toys brings up another huge passion of ours…Toys for Tots. Toys for Tots is an awesome charity that collects toys for local children. The toys you donate locally STAY local! Last year we were able to donate around $10,000 worth of toys to Toys for Tots. This year so far we have nearly 5 skids full of boxes stacked high containing new toys of all types…well over $25,000 worth…that we will be donating this year. Many of the toys we’ve purchased ourselves over the course of the year, but we also recently partnered with our local Target to get all their clearance toys to give as well! Thousands of local kids will benefit and that’s super exciting to us!
Other projects…We started a game company called, Wacky Robot Toys & Games with 4 games currently in development. We are actively creating other types of new physical products, from puzzles and books to buttons and jewelry.
For instance, our first joint kids’ book, “The Last Dinosaur,” was just sent to our illustrator for concept drawings and the first part of Kristen’s newest book, “Asskickonomics,” has been sent out for editing. Two E-Comm stores are in process (mine is called NerdBling) and a home recording studio is planned for 2018 (we want to make our own music). We’ve also started planning other retail ventures. Some of our ideas include opening an ice cream shop, a maker business co-op, a dinosaur museum and more!
We have also gotten involved with a great local project being sponsored by Penn State University called LaunchBox. LaunchBox will open in Downtown Chambersburg as an entrepreneurial incubator that encourages new business development. It will provide office space and tools, meeting rooms, grants, and more, as well as legal and instructional help for new business startups. After meeting with the local university chair for the project, we will be joining others on the steering committee to provide insight and direction to help local businesses and entrepreneurs succeed in business on multiple levels!
And speaking of our local Downtown in Chambersburg, Kristen and I are deeply committed to helping our community grow and become the shopping destination we know it can be. To that end, we have joined the local Design Committee with Downtown Chambersburg to help with development of the Downtown Master Plan. They’ve created an amazing plan and we want to be a part of making it happen. Not only will it benefit local businesses but will also help create a Downtown area that people will want to visit for shopping, food and more!
As I said, it’s been quite a year and there is a LOT more to come! It sounds like a LOT…and it is. But here’s the thing…taking massive action on focused, passionate vision makes accomplishing the impossible possible. Excuses are not a part of our language or thinking. Complacency is not a part of our language or thinking. Our focus is on Gratitude, Giving Back, Expectation, Anticipation, Passion and Play. It makes ALL the difference!
PS: Here are a few more pics from Toy Box Gifts!