Host of The YES Effect podcast, possibility hacker and fire captain Shelli Varela has been blazing trails both figuratively and literally for over 2 decades. As well as a veteran firefighter and podcaster, Shelli is a published author of a children’s book and a public speaker, having presented for TEDx twice.
But Shelli has a particular trick that helped her achieve all these goals, a technique she calls Possibility Hacking. Shelli has used it to coach badass women to say “Yes!” to their greatness and live life on purpose, not autopilot. By the time this episode goes to air, Shelli will have unleashed her signature online program called YES University onto the web, and in March her inner circle membership site will be launching.
Shelli and I have a great chat about going from a 108lb. artist to her city department’s first female fighter, the danger of taking on the labels other people’s place on you, how she discovered possibility hacking through reverse engineering her techniques for learning fire fighting and the power of the question: “Why not me?”
Tonja Davis is an incredible fusion of geek and fitness enthusiast. She’s not only worked in technology and for one of the biggest business names in the geek world, she’s also taken her own struggles with with chronic illness and injuries – in her own words, “If there’s something you can break, I probably broke it!” – and turned them into programmes to help those whom the mainstream fitness industry neglects.
The business born of the fusion of these loves is Action Hero Fitness, a comic book-themed body and health coaching business that aims to help geeks struggling with fitness. Tonja levers web technology and even online-enabled game consoles to run coaching sessions for people whose health issues prevent them from going to gyms or outdoor fitness courses.
It’s interesting how things tuned out: The recording order of my chat with Sharna, owner and operator of and performer in Ever After Parties, comes out twelve months after she started the company!
Ever After Parties specialises in making make-believe a little more real by bringing beloved characters from animated movies to children’s parties. It’s cosplay in one of its purer forms; it’s no coincidence that Sharna was a cosplayer before she got into performing at kids’ parties.
We chat about Sharna’s love of anime and Disney, going from a princess party company employee to staring her own company at just sixteen years of age (while still at high school) and the support you can get from the most unlikely quarters as long as you stand by your paid play!
C. J. Miozzi is the paid player I want to be when I grow up. He’s a writer, graphic artist and voice talent, and he’s built his revenue streams around his love of video games, especially Diablo III. He’s probably best known for his YouTube channel of advice for players of Diablo III, for which he goes by the handle of Rhykker.
We chat about the difference between personalities and content providers on YouTube, the conflict between outsourcing and the desire for complete control, pursuing a career almost completely outside your field of study and planning for the inevitable changes in any modern career, not just freelancing. Oh, and we have a bit of a geek-out about Dungeons & Dragons.
Frank Macri has been grappling with the idea of Work since his late teens. He’s made it his purpose to help those who are educated and passionate but still not sure where how they can take what they have and make their lives about their true selves.
Frank is currently working on a book called Life Orgasm, “a provocative guide to living with passion.” You can currently download his free guide, “How to Climax (On Life)” from his website and catch his weekly YouTube show where he vlogs on his experiences in China, to where, as of this writing, he’s recently returned after teaching there for a year just after finishing university.
We had a great chat about going it on your own in another country, looking at failure in a positive light and how the cliched phrases of positivity and self-help sometimes need a little shaking up!
Nei Ruffino has been working freelance in the comic book industry as a colourist and overall artist for almost a decade. While she’s done work for all the major labels, Nei is probably best known for her work on Zenescope Entertainment’s Grimm Fairy Tales series and her colours for Danger Girl penciller J. Scott Campbell.
Nei is a big believer in not just paying it forward, but the independent scene. She’s been live streaming Photoshop tutorial videos and recently launched a Patreon crowdfunding page to support both her tutorials and her personal projects, including the one shot comic, Azure.
It was a pleasure to chat with Nei about how she got her break in the comics industry, the daily realities of creating art (including deadline pressure and repetitive strain injury) and the comic book convention scene. I’m glad that I could fulfil Mal Semmens (of KerSplatt! Comics and Collectables)‘ request to get Nei on the show!
Paid to Play is going weekly! In between every fortnightly chat show, I want to bring you a separate update on how I’m going with getting Paid to Play, my takeaways from the experience and your feedback and questions!
If Joanna Penn wasn’t an entrepreneur when the novelist bug bit, she was certainly on her way there, with a web log and podcast about self-publishing and a regular speaking gig. Then a chance encounter with NaNoWriMo, an annual writing challenge, resulted in over fifty thousand words of her first novel, the occult action thriller Pentecost.
Joanna levered her existing knowledge of the publishing industry to make Pentecost (now known as Stone of Fire), its sequels in the Arkane series and her second book series, London Psychic, into independent publishing success stories. After having listened to her podacst for years, it was a privilege to chat with Joanna about how she makes sure to keep her noveling, blogging, podcasting and speaking plates all spinning, how Australia helped her discover the Amazon Kindle and just what it means to keep showing up for your dream every day, even when you’re already what most would consider a success.
I record and publish The Paid to Play Podcast because I believe that other people can value the things we enjoy doing, and that if we stand by that value of our play, we can all earn money – whether a little extra on top of our day jobs or enough to support ourselves completely – from them.
But one thing I always want to make sure I do is to practice what I preach. If I reckon others can stand by their play and ask for reward from those who value it, then so can I. And the best way I can do that is to talk about my own endeavours.
The good bit is, there have been some recent and very interesting developments on that front that I’m keen to share with you!