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I Make a Living

I Make a Living

Author: FreshBooks, Damona Hoffman, Paco Arizmendi

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I Make a Living is a podcast for people who work for themselves. Whether you are a freelancer, small business owner or entrepreneur, our mission is to provide a space for insightful and candid conversations about what “making a living” means to you.

The topics and conversations in each episode revolve around the self-employed community—your community. We talk about what it means to carve your own path, define success on your own terms, and build a business that brings you satisfaction. We also talk about mistakes, struggles, and the unglamorous side of working for yourself.

New episodes air every Monday. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as they become available!
28 Episodes
Everyone knows something: whether it’s mortgage expertise or breastfeeding advice, we all have pockets of knowledge that make us everyday experts. Imagine being able to reach an online audience with that info, and charging them to learn it. Ankur Nagpal has this vision, so he created Teachable to help people earn money from what they can share with others. Nagpal, whose background includes both real-life teaching and tech development, was a Forbes’s 2019 30 Under 30 Education honoree. This week, we talk to him about how to keep a relatively sane work-life balance (no all-nighters is a personal rule for him), how to hire and retain great employees (including an unorthodox stable of engineers), and how he’s come to recognize what Teachable really offers its clients. “We always say, No one wants your course,” he explains. “What they want is the outcome. They want the transformation. Your course is a way for them to get there.” He shares some of his knowledge with us, free of charge.--
On this week's episode, we chat with Michael Kass, the founder of Story and Spirit. Kass has tapped into his deeply varied background—think theatre, financial management, breath work and vision quests—and now uses the power of storytelling to help people and businesses transform.The importance of storytelling as a business tool has been highlighted by Harvard Business Review and Google as a key skill for success. It goes past the “why” of the business and into the “who,” as in how who you are drives what you do. We chat about why, while telling those stories might take a big cultural shift, doing so helps democratize how we know and learn about each other and our work. In childhood, Kass was moved by the realization that fairy tales hardly ever included regular people; as an adult, he's working to change that, and making a successful business along the way.We talk about the power of certification, the 80-20 rule, and defining success when you’re the first one on your path. Kass also walks us through the basics of a breath work exercise designed to help release emotion and get grounded when things seem turbulent.GuestMichael Kass- 
Gritty Birds Podcasting has been developing podcasts since 2014. Owned by producer and artist Jeni Wren Stottrup, Gritty Birds started as a music podcast interviewing label runners, lawyers, magazine owners, booking agents and more in the PNW community sponsored by Vortex Music Magazine. Wren had been deeply active as a singer, journalist, festival producer and in media sponsorship, with a desire to explore how create a successful career in music and audio production.Guest- Jeni Wren StottrupJoin Jeni for a free workshop- 
NOTE: In light of the Covid-19 outbreak and the current landscape for entrepreneurs, and small business owners, we are working hard to bring you more resources and conversations to get you through these difficult times. Stay tuned for some special episodes in the coming days and weeks.  Stay strong, you are not alone! Follow our community at know you like podcasts, but have you ever thought about starting one? On this week's episode, we talk to two women with ample experience in the field. Jeanine Wright is the COO of Simplecast, which helps launch podcasts, and has a special focus on analytics. Fatima Zaidi co-founded Quill, which connects podcasts professionals to folks with a dream in order to get a project off the ground. We get the inside story on what goes into podcasting after the microphone is turned off: podcasts are one of the most powerful marketing tools available to companies, but they also need to find their own path to success. As Zaidi asks, “What kind of brand do you want to be seen as?”We also talk to Wright and Zaidi about their experiences on opposite ends of the investor spectrum. Zaidi weighs on the value of running a bootstrap operation, while Wright shares her three criteria for considering an investment opportunity. Both also offer insight into their experience as women in a male-dominated sector, where there are opportunities to break new ground and create a work-life balance that works for you.Guests-Jeanine Wright- SimplecastFatima Zaidi- Quill  
Lisa Carmen Wang has spent a lot of time falling and even more time getting back up. As a rhythmic gymnast, she took home Pan-Am Games gold and was the US National Champion for three years running. In 2015, she founded SheWorx, a platform devoted to launching and scaling female-headed businesses. In this week's episode, she talks to us about her newest project, The GLOW.“How do you get your foot in the door when you aren’t born in a rich family and you aren’t born into these Silicon Valley circles?” she asks. SheWorx provides part of the answer: networks of mentors, peers and allies who can help guide and amplify women's voices in the entrepreneurial space. But Wang knew that the business side was only part of the answer. The GLOW—which stands for The Global League of Women— takes a holistic approach to female success, training women to love their voice, their bodies, and their spirit. The end result? Boosted confidence and what Wang calls "enoughness." In our chat with Wang, we touch on the importance of resilience, how men can be great allies in business (and in life), and the power of a good self-care ritual.
James Beard award-winning restaurant, Guelaguetza in Los Angeles’s Koreatown, puts Oaxacan cuisine and culture at the forefront of today’s dynamic culinary scene.Bricia Lopez - Bricia Lopez is an entrepreneur, cultural ambassador, and a key figure in Los Angeles’ gastronomic scene. The New Yorker called Bricia the “Queen of Mezcal.” This year she opened Vegas’s first ever mezcal bar – ‘Mama Rabbit” inside The Park MGM. Launched the Super Mamas Podcast with Paulina, that has become a lifestyle media company, complete with annual events, and corporate partnerships with major brands. Bricia Lopez was appointed by the Mayor of Los Angeles to the Board of Convention and Tourism Development on March 2019. Paulina Lopez-Velazquez - CFO and Director of Catering and Special Events. Super Mamas Social, a parenting festival that takes place yearly in Downtown Los Angeles. Paulina currently sits on the Board of Directors of City Charter Schools, a K-12 Los Angeles Based School organization that promotes diversity, culture, and bilingualism. Most recently, Paulina was awarded Women of The Year in the Council District 54, by Assembly Member Ridley-Thomas.
Something we've heard a lot from the female entrepreneurs at our I Make A Living live events, is that so many of you have trouble with sales. Even though we know what we have to offer we sometimes feel uncomfortable asking for what we’re worth.Carmelia Ray is an internationally acclaimed matchmaker for high achieving men and the quality women they’re searching for. She’s also a renowned TV personality from Mom Vs. Matchmaker, The Real Housewives Of Toronto, and A User’s Guide to Cheating Death (Fall 2018).A frequent media contributor, Carmelia’s advice and expertise have been featured in notable outlets including AskMen, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, OK! Magazine, Global News, Cupid’s Pulse, The Marilyn Denis Show, CHCH News, Elle, Playback, and countless others. Her wealth of wisdom and experience has also attracted in-demand partnerships with major dating companies including, Lava Life, Instant Chemistry, and more.Carmelia is a great example of selling confidently and being bold about getting paid for the value she offers others.Here’s a summary of what Carmelia taught us today:Focus your sales pitch on the value proposition for your clients rather than minutia of the product or service and try not to sound desperate even if you areGet organized and plan as much as you canAlways incorporate time with family and loved ones into your schedule, no matter how busy your business getsNetwork like you would make friends - the more relationships you build, the more robust your sales networkCollaborate, Collaborate, CollaborateSee what Carmelia is up to at or on social media @carmeliaray. GuestCarmelia Ray- Website
Jewel Burks Solomon is an Atlanta-based entrepreneur who was recently named Head of Google for Startups in the US. Jewel is no stranger to startups and entrepreneurship; she launched Partpic, a visual recognition technology company in her mid-twenties, and had it sold to Amazon in 2016. She was also named on Forbe’s 30 under 30 list. Jewel is also managing partner at Collab Capital, an investment fund designed to connect black founders to the financial and social capital they need to build profitable businesses.Jewel’s dream is transforming so many realities for new innovators in entrepreneurship, and we can’t wait to see what Google for Startups does under her leadership. Here are a few big takeaways from Jewel’s story:Don’t wait for people to believe in your idea and fund it - if you build it (and it’s good), they will come.Be smart about networking - put your ideas in front of the right people and nurture relationships with themSelling your company is not always the fantasy it’s made out to be, map out what your life would be like after you’re acquired and see if that’s what you really wantSurround yourself with other people who are doing the kind of work you want to be doing and who’ll inspire you to keep goingMost of all - don’t let your story, the place you live, or the color of your skin, define what’s possible for youIn honor of Black history month, we thank Jewel and the many black entrepreneurs who have paved the way for other innovators to be brilliant and brave.GuestJewel Burks Solomon-
Since 2005, A Slice of Brooklyn Bus Tours has been showing people around Brooklyn.The company was started by Tony Muia, a proud native Brooklynite who always loved showing people around his beloved hometown.Tony slowly starting doing informal tours for those same folks when they came to visit NYC, driving them around in his car. Soon, their friends and families would visit NYC and ask Tony to do tours for them so he did them as a side hobby while still working his regular job.In 2004 Tony decided to switch careers after watching NYC tourism increase. However, it mostly focused on Manhattan and Tony felt that Brooklyn had enough amazing foods, neighbourhoods, landmarks and movie locations that it needed its own tour. And that’s when he decided to launch A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour in 2005 with other tours that followed.What started as a hobby turned into a family business and today he has 3 popular tours that run year round and have proudly introduced over 90,000 people to Brooklyn.Some people say don’t make your passion your business, but you’re in a business that is inspired by your passion, you have to dive in with both feet.Tony designed this business around his life, brought in the people who were closest to him and got them invested in his idea, and never looked back.Here are the key takeaways from Tony’s Story:Go to where your audience is - If you want to entice people come to Brooklyn, you might need to pick them up in Manhattan. Which figurative borough are your customers hanging out in right now? Get it? Don’t be afraid to ask questions - your mentors and supporters can help steer you in the right direction.Delegate, delegate,  delegate - you don’t need to do it all!Leverage press to grow your businessMake friends with your customersThat’s what’s kept Tony in business for 15 years.GuestTony Muia and Ronnie from A Slice of Brooklyn - The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are those of the guests and production team and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of '2ndSite.INC dba FreshBooks, its employees or affiliates.'
This month, we're celebrating Valentine's Day by speaking to couples who inspire us by building strong partnerships - partners in life, partners in business, and partners in their community.We sat down with Angie Myung and Ted Vadakan, a husband-and-wife team who have artfully mastered the feat of finding their tribe through their brand Poketo.The name Poketo (pronounced "poh-keh-toe") stems from the mispronunciation of "pocket" by Angie's grandmother. It tied in perfectly with the first product ever created under Poketo: a series of artist wallets that fit right in your pocket—and Ted and Angie just loved the way it sounded.Poketo has worked with brands and companies like Nike, MTV, Disney, Target, Nordstrom and MailChimp, museums like MOCA, the Guggenheim, the de Young, and SFMOMA, and has collaborated with over 200 international artists, creating exclusive products that reflect its philosophy of "Art for Your Every day."Ted and Angie are a great example of two partners who set the tone for their business. Poketo is all about collaboration, community, and partnership - something that is ingrained in their personal lives and amazing love story.They gave us a lot to keep in mind:Find your community and keep them closePlay to the strengths of your partnershipStop worrying so much about your business’ competition and instead, focus your energy on collaboration and staying ahead of the gameGuestsTed Vadakan and Angie Myung from Poketo-'s Hierarchy of Needs- 
"I steal my kid's vitamins" isn't something that would normally lead to an a-ha moment, but the Goulds aren't your usual entrepreneurs. A couple for ten years, the Goulds are practiced business leaders who are part of the vanguard of the wellness industry: Gordon Gould crunches the numbers, and Courtney Nichol Gould focuses on the human side. Together, they're the power couple behind SmartyPants, the vitamin gummy brand launched in 2011 that now includes products for children, adults, and even pets.The Goulds practice holistic wellness in their work and their home life: we talk to them about their exercise regimes, why they used a coach to launch their business (and to get on the same page about parenting), and how the lines of communication stay fresh when, as Gordon says, "there’s no leaving it at the office, because the office comes home with you a lot of the times." They also give us valuable info on the world of venture capital, where big visions can lead to big payoffs.Guests:Courtney Nichols and Gordon Gould- Smarty PantsResources:INC Magazine on hiring a business coach- 
In our special Masterclass episodes, we collect questions from real-life entrepreneurs at our live #imakealiving shows around the world, and ask our favourite experts to weigh in. From social media to scaling, from advertising to work-life balance, we get insights and guidance from folks in the know.In our first Masterclass episode of the season, we are delighted to talk with Peter Shankman. He has been a vocal advocate for neurodiversity in the workplace, he is the founder of the journalism tool HARO, and is a successful writer, speaker, podcast host, and entrepreneur.In our conversation, we cover a wide ground - not surprising, given that Shankman has leveraged his own ADHD into a better understanding of his complex body chemistry and physical needs. (He tells us how to write a book in 34 hours - it involves booking a flight to Tokyo!) He also answers questions from our #imadealiving live events about why authentic social media is best, why listening to your audience will help grow your business, and why you - yes, you - should charge more in 2020. We take our advice from a man who says that jumping out of a plane gets him into work mode, don't you?Guest:Peter Shankman- WebsiteDisclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are those of the guests and production team and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of '2ndSite.INC dba FreshBooks, its employees or affiliates.' 
A pivot can be a powerful thing. Tina Essmaker started as a social worker with a side project, a Kickstarted magazine she founded with her husband. But when her marriage ended, she had to re-evaluate: stay with the magazine, or start something new? She decided to tap into her skills as a social worker and her connection to the creative community to re-launch as a creative coach. In this week's episode, Damona talks with Essmaker about how she transitioned from publishing into a self-created role where she helps creative workers identify and stick with their goals.Essmaker offers concrete tips for people considering a shift from one path to another, and encourages listeners to consider the "emotional balance sheet" of their lives. (And Damona gets a gold star for her ability to describe her work concisely - would you get the same?) "It’s just a continual act of faith, that knowing what I’m doing is valuable and it’s needed, and then trusting that clients will come to me," says Essman, who now works as a coach, a speaker, and a writer.ResourcesTo learn more about Tina and her services go to:https://tinaessmaker.comWord of Mouth Marketing- Article Report you like our show, please let us know by rating and reviewing it on whatever platform you listen to it. 5* reviews help us grow our audience and reach!To learn more about FreshBooks and receive an exclusive offer go
Welcome to Season 2 of the I Make a Living Podcast. We are excited to kick off 2020 with a brand new season and incredible conversations with some of the most influential and successful entrepreneurs in North America and the world.As a television producer, Brant Pinvidic has pitched a lot. Like, a lot. In his 15 years in the entertainment industry, Pinvidic has had the chance to get his pitching practice down to a science. In his new book, The 3-Minute Rule, he lays out the basics of what makes a great pitch, and where folks fail. His challenge to readers is to get their pitches down to a crystal-clear three minutes, and on this week's episode, we get the inside scoop on how to nail that process."They don’t want to hear any of the fluff and pageantry. They just want to get to the point," Pinvidic says. He gives us some simple ground rules for pitching, including how to avoid too much promotional energy, how to separate opinions from facts, and how to come back from 99 rejections to nail that 100th pitch. His approach has allowed him to become a pitching guru outside the entertainment industry, and he now provides support to a broad range of businesses. "Simple is the new sexy," he says; sounds like three minutes in heaven to us.Guest: Brant PinvidicBook: 3 Min RuleReferences:FreshBooks exclusive offer: Hoffman: www.damonahoffman.comTony Robbins Cold Plunge-
Season 2 Trailer

Season 2 Trailer


Season 2 of the I Make a Living Podcast launches on Monday, January 13th. Follow us as we continue to explore what it takes to be a business owner in today's world. Our host, Damona Hoffman, will take you on her journey as she sits down with some of North America's most interesting and successful entrepreneurs.
The idea of success has many faces and iterations, most of us relate success to financial freedom or fame, but when you are an entrepreneur, success can mean much more than that. Who knew that waiting in line for hours on end could turn into full fledge operation, that someone could find joy in dressing up as Batman just to bring joy to tourists or that selling finger-painting art on Facebook for $50 could turn into a million dollar business or that anyone would pay for literally garbage picked up from the streets? The entrepreneurs that we talk to on this episode have all something in common; their business ideas broke the paradigms of conventionalism and defied the odds of 'success'. Robert Samuel from Same Ol' Line Dudes found inspiration while waiting in line for a new iPhone; Iris Scott had a dream of being a full-time artist, so she dropped everything and moved to Thailand where she could sell her art online while solely focusing on her craft. Justin Gignac felt challenged by a former colleague on the importance of packaging when selling any product. He took that challenge by literally selling 'nicely packed garbage' to people over 140 countries. We also talk to several NYC street performers, from subway musicians like Leonel Lorador to the very popular street troupes that stop pedestrians in Times Square to a journalist by trade but Batman impersonator by passion. Throughout this season we have learned that being an entrepreneur is not an easy job, it can be an isolating and life-consuming journey for many, but we also met incredible people that have found a way to make it work. To achieve success, whatever success means to you, you must understand the ins and outs of being self-employed and the very particular sets of challenges that will arise when you are your boss. We hope that throughout these episodes, we have left something valuable and meaningful to you by sharing the stories of real-life entrepreneurs who have figured out how to balance life and work, be a little more productive or dealt with very particular issues that many of you shared with us as we traveled the country with the live event. Stay tuned as we gear up for a new season. We will be back soon with more stories, more inspiration, and useful tips from real-life entrepreneurs. Happy Summer! Guest Speakers (in order of appearance) Robert Samuel- Same Ol Line Dudes (also Jeff and Jerry who waiting in line for us, thanks!) Iris Scott- Finger-Paint Artist Leonel Lorador- Subway Musician Batman of the People- Instagram Joshua Reyes- Times Square Acrobat Troupes Justin Gignac- Working x Working & The Garbage Project Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are those of the guests and production team and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of '2ndSite.INC dba FreshBooks, its employees or affiliates.'
The statistics aren’t too friendly when it comes to the longevity of small businesses. Nearly 50% fail at the five year mark. But, how does knowing this statistic help you? Most people can talk about failure ethereally—hardships builds character, you can’t succeed without failing, you know, those kinds of phrases. But, when it comes to us, you, specifically failing, you don’t want to and often times we do everything in our power to avoid thinking about the possibility of it. But, accepting that failure, on some level, happens, that can actually be one of the best things you can do as an entrepreneur. If you know that failing is a part of the journey you can prepare yourself for it. It’s the unknown that makes even the consideration of failure unfathomable. Sometimes our past failures haunt us and the fear of our future failures paralyzes us. These obstacles that get in the way of moving forward are in our head. This is the reason why metal health really is an important topic and is actually the bulk of this conversation. You have to acknowledge these obstacles are real in order to begin dismantling them and face your fears. Doing this requires vulnerability which brings this conversation full circle. And, in the words of Brene Brown “Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose” Guest Speakers Sam Rosen- Founder and Entrepreneur Michelle Horton- Professional Therapist Center Stage Trained by Trell - Instagram “To be featured on Center Stage, send us a voice message!” Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are those of the guests and production team and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of '2ndSite.INC dba FreshBooks, its employees or affiliates.'
Coming up with problems without immediately trying to fix them is a lot harder than you’d think. Our minds really are trained to find solutions. But, throughout this episode we focus the most on the beginning two steps— Defining the problem Confirming that it actually is a viable problem. The biggest take away from this whole conversation is to start at the beginning, with the problem—and spend a lot of time there. The last thing you want to do is create a solution that no one wants or is willing to buy into. We also discover that starting a startup is not out of reach. The steps that Seth gives us are actionable. While it will take a lot of hard work and diligence, you don’t necessarily need a big budget to start. You really just need a group of people who have a problem. Guests Seth Radman- Co-Founder at Crescendo | Tech Entrepreneur | Startup Advisor Center Stage Charla Ruschelle- CR Clothing Co. “To be featured on Center Stage, send us a voice message!” Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are those of the guests and production team and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of '2ndSite.INC dba FreshBooks, its employees or affiliates.'
Episode Guests Beverley Cheng- Born To Sweat Zoey Masters- Instagram Jeremy Bailey- LinkedIn Center Stage Christopher Jones- SeeJonesWork “To be featured on Center Stage, send us a voice message!” Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are those of the guests and production team and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of '2ndSite.INC dba FreshBooks, its employees or affiliates.'
Every business starts somewhere before it's a well-oiled machine. Sometimes it's at your kitchen counter in-between your part-time jobs. The whole concept of growing your business means it was small at some point. This season, we've seen that it takes a lot to start a business from the ground up. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. It takes a lot of diligence and hard work to get any business off the ground. It's not for the faint of heart. There are a lot of ups, downs, failures, and successes. Sometimes, it's so important to hear what the journey has been like for others, especially, from those who are a little further along on the journey than we are. That's the reason for today's episode. The journey for any entrepreneur can be a complicated one, but, we learn from the growing pains that we encounter. And, hopefully, they make us better business owners. The growing pains of building your business are real. Determination is one of the main themes that we recognize in Kristen's story. She sacrificed a lot to get the company off the ground— time, money, comfort. But, to her, the business was worth it. And, it's paid off so far. Being your own boss takes determination and grit. Kristen is an excellent example of who will make it in this competitive world of entrepreneurship,someone who is smart and eager to learn. If you're willing to learn, sacrifice, and put in the hard work, then that might be you too. Knowing the road is going to be rough can be discouraging. But, try taking a page from Kristen's book. Let the challenge be what fuels your determination to keep moving forward. Episode Guests Kristen Pumphrey- PF Candle CO. Center Stage Torin Regier- Keg Shoe “To be featured on Center Stage, send us a voice message Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are those of the guests and production team and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of '2ndSite.INC dba FreshBooks, its employees or affiliates.'
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