Professional prop-maker Steven Meissner owns and operates SoloRoboto Industries as a full-time business. He makes custom and replica props, weapons, and accessories for cosplayers and collectors, and has occasionally made trophies for other companies, as well as worked on projects for the odd TV commercial.
Steven and I have a great chat about discovering that other people will pay you to make cosplay costumes for them, running the maths on your passion business, teaching yourself your craft with the help of a community, and what it means to live in a city that no one grew up in and where everyone’s pursuing a dream.
Geek collectable company owner Shaun Paulet decided to take a slightly different approach to the collectable market than most vendors. Instead of sourcing all the usual lines of stuff from the producers for the toy and collectable business, Shaun levered his passion for affordable collectibles to create, in conjunction with a collection of top Australian artists, a line of limited edition collectable prints available online or nationwide at Australian conventions for his company COMICS2MOVIES.
But after finding success within the artistic world of prints, Shaun decided to bring his own creativity and passion for comic books to the table, and thus was born XCT, a comic book series about clones of mythical monsters and ancient warriors like Spartacus fighting to the death for an audience of billions in the Xtreme Champion Tournament. XCT was successfully launched in Australia, New Zealand and the US in 2014.
Shaun and I have a great chat about high school sporting achievements, being the most funded Australian comic book crowdfunding project on Kickstarter, letting other people play with your stories, competing with the iconic American comic books for shelf space in Australian stores and ensuring your daughter shares your love of comics!
Podcast coach and host Scott Doucet loves podcasts. He loves listening to them. He loves making them and helping people make them. He loves them so much that he co-founded and continues to administer a huge community of podcasters on Facebook.
And just recently, he’s applied his experience and passion for podcasting to launch an all-new show, Podcast Bay, where he invites podcasters new and veteran to talk about the trash, the treasure and the trickery of the podcasting game!
We have a great chat about Scott’s first job in radio at 14, his discovery that podcasting isn’t just guys sitting around talking movies, finding a mentorship on a budget, and being hockey in the streets but Warhammer 40K in the sheets!
Business Vision Catalyst and founder of Calahan Solutions, Inc. Stephanie L H Calahan works with busy, purpose-driven entrepreneurs at the intersection of heart and head, to leverage their business and get their message out with power, ease and joy; so they can make a powerfully positive difference in the world, exponentially up-level their profits, shift their mindset towards possibility and take a no-excuses approach to boldly creating a highly successful and meaningful business built around who they are. In short, to enjoy a highly-successful and meaningful business… while working less.
After Stephanie chose to leave a successful-on-paper nine-to-five corporate life that was putting her through an emotional and physical wringer, she quickly discovered that if not approached correctly, entrepreneurship could be just as damaging. Ultimately, she stepped back and re-defined everything, and now lives a self-employed working and family life that brings her all the benefits she offers her customers.
Stephanie and I have a great chat about being a consultant from childhood, armchair travel, unlocking the golden handcuffs, a blinding flash of the obvious, giving a child the benefits of a stay-at-home mom without being one and the crippling fear of disappointing your spouse.
Castle Corsetry owner-operator and cat-lover Lauren Matesic has designed and built hundreds of corsets as well as custom costume orders specialising in expertly tailored spandex suits and impeccable cosplay recreations.
As a geeky girl herself, Lauren’s enthusiasm makes her work truly exceptional, and fellow geeks have come to know Lauren as the go-to girl for commission cosplays for conventions across the country every year. Her designs have been worn by geek-culture celebrities like Team Unicorn, Ivy Doomkitty and Adrianne Curry!
On top of all that, Lauren’s latest project is an upcoming web series Pawsplay, which launches on the AWE Me YouTube channel Monday, July 18th!
Lauren and I have a great chat about the challenges of working with spandex, how the makers’ collective that Lauren lucked into sharing office space with inspire and challenge her (and made her the most awesome office space in the world) and about how keeping your child self’s imagination alive after when people say the days of dress-up ought to be over is at the heart of getting paid to play.
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!
Listen to the end of the chat for a special offer on John Williams’ Find Your Money-Maker course!
John Williams has done all sorts of things. Though he’s a writer, blogger and coach at the moment, he’s programmed special effects software for movies and TV, done work for the BBC, and even been a stand-up comedian. The one through-line of his recent efforts is his choice to not work to anyone else’s job description or schedule for a living.
John has taken his experiences in getting out of the rat race and turned them into a blog called “Screw Work Let’s Play” which has since become a book (with a second one due in July 2016). The blog and book feed into the coaching courses he offers to help others find their own thing (or selection of things) in life. Naturally, I had to get him on the show!
John and I have a great chat about what the process of ditching the nine to five is really like, the conflict between experimenting with work for low pay and not settling for less than pro rates and how the current education system still moulds people for factory-era work.