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Interview: Ryan O’Connor on The Product Revolution

Ryan O’Connor One Tribe Apparel

Ryan O’Conner knew from day one he didn’t want a typical job or lifestyle. Instead of being herded into a corporate job after college he went into something that would lead him to the location independent lifestyle – SEO (Search Engine Optimimization) consulting.

He was happy, but striking it out on his own was the only thing that could give him the fulfillment and upside he was looking for.

After a fateful trip to Chiang Mai he met his future business partners and weeks later One Tribe Apparel was founded.

One Tribe Apparel is a boho fashion & accessories company that focuses on vibrant patterned haremm pants. We sat down with Ryan O’Connor to learn more about his lifestyle and find out why he thinks physical products are underrated for location independent entrepreneurs.

Interview

“As logistics improve and global transport continues to become easier it will leave more room for people to develop awesome products and have a lifestyle business that supports them through it.”

Life Nomading: How did you know that the standard 9-5 wasn’t enough for you?

Ryan O’Connor: I knew from a pretty young age that I didn’t want the standard path. From 16 – 24 I was in a band and playing guitar was all I wanted to do even though I went through with college & internships, etc. After the band ended I knew I had to figure out another way.

LN: What was your job before launching your business?

RO: Before I launched my business I was already traveling and doing freelance SEO consulting. Before that, I worked at an SEO agency because it was a good path to building my own business and being location independent.

Ryan (far right) back in his rock band days. You don’t need to be a fashionista to work in fashion.

LN: What did your friends think when you told them you were quitting your job to sell boho pants?

RO: My friends were a bit surprised because I am definitely not a fashionista. Most of my life it’s been jeans & a rock band t-shirt.

“I gave up a lot of potential money in consulting to focus on One Tribe Apparel. To date we’ve invested almost everything back in the business.”

LN: Where do you currently live?

RO: Medellin, Colombia for the past few weeks but before that I spent a year and a half in Saigon, Vietnam. I consider Saigon my home away from home.

Ryan doing a little site seeing around Medellin, Colombia

LN: Where are Onetribe apparel products manufactured?

RO: Chiang Mai, Thailand

LN: So you live in Colombia right now but your clothes are manufactured in Thailand? How far is that?

RO: It’s pretty far away and it’s a 12 hour time zone difference. From 2014-16 I would go to Thailand a few months a year to work on the business in person, but now I have it setup so I don’t have to.

“You want to be able to meet with the manufacturer, having that personal experience with them makes the relationship tangible and will lead to things working better down the road.”

LN: How did you establish a relationship with a clothing manufacturer in Thailand?

RO: We have two major sections to our business, the first one with the harem pants came from the group I originally started One Tribe with, they already had found the manufacturer. Later on I met Suzette who is now a partner and she was already making handbags and other items we now sell. She’s also helped coordinate and put together the manufacturing in Chiang Mai for our new line of yoga products.

LN: Did you ever have the feeling you were going to get ripped off or taken advantage of?

RO: There have been a few times I feel like we’re getting the run around when we get a quote from someone we thought we trusted that was 4x higher than the next person for the same exact product.

LN: What are some of the common pitfalls of working with a manufacturer overseas?

RO: You want to be able to meet with the manufacturer, having that personal experience with them makes the relationship tangible and will lead to things working better down the road. For us that meant deciding to stay in Chiang Mai.

We started talking to other manufacturers in Bangkok & India and other places and for the time being we don’t have the size & bandwidth to deal with the issues that could arise.

LN: How does a piece of clothing get from the factory to my doorstep?

RO: Our model is pretty simple. Our products get made in one of two facilities in Chiang Mai depending on what it is. From there it gets packaged up, labeled and sent to a warehouse outside of the Detroit airport. Inventory is logged and shipped within 1 to 2 business days of purchasing an order.

LN: Have you ever faced any problems shipping or moving your clothes through customs?

RO: Customs has been straightforward for us and we haven’t had major issues. This is because most of our products are lightweight so we air ship them vs. container ship.

LN:  What have you had to give up to make this dream a reality?

RO: I gave up a lot of potential money in consulting to focus on One Tribe Apparel. To date we’ve invested almost everything back in the business. The sacrifice is starting to pay off and this year is looking to be a breakthrough year for us!

“The digital nomad idea can be quite enticing and intoxicating but eventually that will wear off and you’ll be left with the work.”

LN: How do you approach launching new products within the One Tribe Apparel brand?

RO: For us it works in one of two ways….

1.) A few times a year we sit down in person and brainstorm. We also go over photo’s the styles available from our local manufacturer.

We pick what styles we want, get samples, test them, and do measurements, photos, etc.

2) We have an idea and we get a sample made ourselves. The two things that stick out here are our line of yoga mat straps & embroidered denim shorts.

After laying out the ideas,  my business partner begins getting the samples drawn up and refined. The concept behind extensions for us is simple. We did not invent the Thai harem pants but we can take what makes them popular, brilliant traditional Thai artwork, and apply them to other product lines

LN: What are some of the pros and cons of running a location independent physical product business versus a service business or an info-product?

RO:

Pros – Physical products aren’t going anywhere, they are tangible and so people still assign value. The person who steals a movie or an album still likely spends money on beer, clothes, gadgets, etc. In that way I think it’s a very secure market.

Cons – Inventory is the big one. I have a background in online marketing and not in inventory management, operations or logistics.

Their isn’t a “right” way to figure out how much inventory to keep on hand, how to price products, etc. and you can only do your best to guess them based on data & trends. You also have to deal with product defects, returns, etc.

Unless you have a really really killer product an e-commerce business is going to take time to build up. You’re going to have to reinvest a lot of the money back into it.

Also, as we move to just a few major channels of distribution like Amazon there will be a product revolution.

As logistics improve and global transport continues to become easier it will leave more room for people to develop awesome products within a location independent lifestyle business

I’ll be honest, I’m a bit of a hater on info products. I don’t see myself going down that route unless it was a udemy course for a reasonable price point. I don’t like the market of $2k plus courses that sell the digital nomad dream.

Ryan helped organize a Miami Vice themed party in Saigon, VN.

You’re better off buying a few books, scouring the internet and putting money towards getting started.

Consulting is a great way to get started. I also encourage people to get a job in their digital nomad field of choice (copywriting, SEO, PPC, etc.) for a few years to really gain the right experience. I think it’s a much better route to go then trying to live on $5 a day in Chiang Mai. It’s hard trying to figure it out when you’re desperate.

The first of it’s kind international crowd sourced look book

LN: How can our readers support one tribe apparel?

RO: Aside from picking up any products you like or sharing them with anyone who may fancy them, we are looking for all the PR & media love we can get.

We just launched our International Crowdsourced Lookbook where instead of professional photo shoots we engaged our instagram community across 6 continents & 16 countries. We built it into a traveling map, with information about each location, that showcases our clothes.

We’re always open to collaborating with bloggers or people with social media followings that tie in well with our vibe.

LN: is there anything we missed or any pro tips you would like us to share?

Now that I’ve been working for myself and traveling for 3.5 years I get asked quite a lot for pointers on getting started. The digital nomad idea can be quite enticing and intoxicating but eventually that will wear off and you’ll be left with the work.

My #1 suggestion is before you get started in whatever business you’re planning is to see if you can complete a timed task over a certain period.

“If you can build up a good following around your idea on social media, then when you’re ready to launch your business you already have audience that’s engaged”

For instance, if you want to start a blog (on whatever topic) then try and write for 1 hour per day 5 days a week for a month. The time commitment is much more doable than saying you’ll do one post per day.

After a month if you make it through you’ll know whether this is something you can see yourself truly committing too.

My 2nd suggestion is to build a social media channel around something you’re passionate about before investing in products or inventory.

If you can build up a good following around your idea on social media, then when you’re ready to launch your business you already have audience that’s engaged and trusts you.

Conclusion

The get rich quick on info products scheme is winding down. In it’s place logistics and globalization are increasing the possibility of having a lean global supply chain. As a result, launching a product doesn’t have to something you do in one place.

You can live the location independent lifestyle all the while shipping physical products all over the world.

Ryan built his business in Chiang Mai but lives thousands of miles away in South America. He setup a good system with his team, and as a result he’s not tied down. In the end if you have the talent and the drive, you can make it work.

 

 

5 Incredible Things I Learned While Traveling the Country for a Month

ian hoyt traveling the country

I’ve referenced the movie ‘Up in the Air’ many times in the past here on Life Nomading.

And to be quite frank, I have experienced many of the ups and downs that the movie references in the past three years…

But it wasn’t until this past month when I was living out of airports and other people’s homes, that I got to reflect on these words on a whole new level.

When I first started Life Nomading back in 2014, I was a single, all-in-on-my-pursuits kind of guy. Then things happened, I fell smitten to a girl and quickly without even realizing it I was molding into many things that I used to refute.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad chapter at all. In-fact I learned a hell of a lot about myself in that chapter of my life and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

But, when reality slapped me in the face I was forced to realize I wasn’t living my truth for the long-term me. That’s when I knew things needed to change.

So I decided to travel the country in hopes of figuring it all out on my journey.

Whenever I’m stressed or sad I just need to move, ask any of my friends. In middle school it typically meant running for miles around the football field during a Friday night game, but as an adult it means booking one-way tickets around the country for a month to get away from it all.

united airlines trip

Perhaps that was a fools errand in the first place. My trip around the country as a solo traveler left me with far more questions, even deeper discoveries, and even weirder senses of longing that I never thought I would have going into the trip.

I thought I would be writing this article with some awesome discovery to bestow on to you, but instead I have a plethora of thoughts, ideals, and concepts that culminated into less of an ‘aha moment’ and more of a shift in my own thinking.

 

Take these tid bits for what they’re worth:

1. Have More Faith in People

I’m not talking about religious faith here, but more so just believing that people likely want to do more good to you than harm. Going into my trip, I was sure that trusting others, especially strangers was to lose a sense of security for myself. Our friends and family members always tell us we will get robbed while traveling.

Instead, it was the exact opposite.

Instax shots from my trip around the country

The more vulnerable and open I made myself, were the more opportunities I had special moments where I connected with perfect strangers on the opposite sides of the country. These connections were as small as a waiter wishing me luck on my travels, to a coffee shop patron getting into conversations with me about the meaning of life.

2. Smile When You Feel Like Smiling

It’s contagious.

About a third of the way into my trip I stopped hiding my happiness from the world. When I was exploding with happiness I let the smile emit from my face. I’d look up randomly in the airport and see others smiling too. It’s like the best contagious disease out there. 🙂

3. Don’t Settle, Ever.

This may seem cliche or obvious but it’s all too real.

Settling is the core of all things that will make you unhappy.

An all in or all out mentality can scare most, but if you truly want certain things out of life, settling will be the only reason those things don’t get accomplished.

I’m certainly not perfect at this. It takes effort to refuse the settle culture that our society has just naturally breed into us.

Check yourself on a weekly or monthly basis. Question if what you are doing is working towards your dreams or just feeding your current reality.

ie…

4. Relationships Can Be Temporary, and That’s Okay

I think it’s almost impossible to go through a trip without having feelings toward someone. Romantically, friendships, whatever you want to call it, titles need not apply we’re millennials after all.

Whether you spend a week or just an evening together. When you set your life up in a way that is nomadic in nature, there is a real sense of temporary that drives a heightened sense of connectedness in the moment with others.

It’s not about how long you spend with someone, but how you spend it with them. There were moments on my trip where I spent fewer than a couple hours with someone and I felt a connection stronger than I’ve ever had with some of my closest friends and former partners.

Life is on-going. I’m finding a real humility and a comfort knowing that the stars can align down the road. It’s a long term play, enjoy the now more than ever.

5. No One Honestly Cares What You’re Doing

People have their own lives to care about.

They care far less if you decide to pull out a camera in the middle of the airport terminal to get a cool shot, or if your decide to dance a little to your favorite song on the subway. Whatever you feel moved by, do it and stop caring what others think.

Trust me, I am one to get anxious in social situations (like I sometimes break out in hives kind of bad). Forcing myself to vlog in public on this trip…

…quickly made me realize that when I have a purpose and I am the “me’st” me there is, my anxiety would disappear and now I was just a wannabe filmmaker taking video of myself in public… latty fricken dah right?

So…

my travel the country map

10 flights, 9 states, 7,000 miles and many latte’s later I feel like I learned a lot about myself on this trip. I feel changed because of this experience. I allowed myself to be open to absolutely anything and I believe it paid off for my soul.

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.

It feels weird being in my apartment writing this. I almost wish I was back journaling these thoughts on the side of a Colorado foothill somewhere. But the beauty in a nomadic life is that I can make that choice when the moment is right again for me.

For now, I’m digesting how I take my revitalized passion for wondering the globe, and harness it into something sustainable for my soul. Be you, everyone else is taken!

Now I’m curious, what are some things you’ve learned on your travels? Share them in the comments below my friends.

Insanely Beautiful Icelandic Ice Caves You Will Want to Visit Right Now

Icelandic Ice caves

Iceland has become one of the hottest tourist destinations. New cheap airfare from Wow Air (only a couple hundred round trip!), and insanely beautiful scenery have put Iceland on almost everyone’s travel wish list. One of the most unique and breathtaking sights there are Icelandic Ice Caves.

Icelandic Ice Caves

Jan Erik Waider – Northlandescapes.com

Most ice caves are not simply caves that have frosted over, but are caverns that have formed inside massive glaciers. One of the best spots for seeing ice caves is at the Vatnajökull glacier. The Vatna ice cap is one of the largest in Europe, and also a filming spot for HBO’s famous show Game of Thrones.

Skaftafell Ice Cave

Jan Erik Waider – northlandscapes.com

Most of the tours of Vatna glacier start at the foot of the glacier in Skaftafell, Iceland. That is why many refer to them as the Skaftafell Ice Caves. The most unique thing about an ice cave is that unlike a traditional cave it is not Stagnate.

ice caves in iceland

Glacier Guides – glacierguides.is

The Iceland ice caves are always changing. The visitors that frequent the caves over the years come to recognize the shifts and changes at each visit. It’s cliche to say, but once you see an ice cave you will never see one exactly like it ever again!

 Crystal Cave of Svmnafellsjvkull

Extreme Iceland – extremeiceland.is

The cave pictured above and is called the crystal cave because of its crystal appearance. The crystal cave is at  Svmnafellsjvkull in Vatnajökull National Park. The cave also looks like Mr. Freeze’s layer – my second favorite Batman villain behind The Joker.

The Best Time to Go to Iceland

Extreme Iceland – extremeiceland.is

The glacier is constantly moving; Many visitors report hearing a perpetual snap crackle pop sound as they trek through the caves. Some of the caves even have water falls flowing through them.

Icelandic Ice Cave With Waterfall

bt travel – bt.com

Other areas of the cave have amazing spots where it looks almost like a frozen waterfall.

Iceland

expert vagabond – expervagabond.com

To get through the ice caves you can go through a tourism company. If you are interested in getting great photos we recommend going on an icelandic cave photo tour. The reason we recommend going on a tour and not going rogue is because you need equipment and know-how to get around. We don’t want anyone to die from flying chunks of ice – wear your helmet!

The best time (and safest) time to go to the Icelandic ice caves is between November and March. It can be more dangerous in the summer because the glacier is more active and is always shifting. We hope you are planning a trip to Iceland, because the land of fire and ice is a must see destination!

You Won’t Believe What These 10 Famous Places Looked Like in the 50’s

The Pyramids Circa 1950s

Times Square, New York

Times Square Circa 1955

Times Square 1938

Times Square was a lot cheaper in 1938. Look closely on the left and you can see a dinner deal for 60 cents. Today with 60 cents you can buy maybe a few pieces of chiclet gum.

Yellow Stone National Park, Wyoming

Yellow Stone circa 1950

Yellow Stone circa 1950

Back then there were no signs telling you to not feed the animals. Those bears must love  Werther’s Originals.

Moulin Rouge, Paris

Moulin Rouge Circa 1950

Moulin Rouge 1954

If you look closely you can see the advertisement for the 1954 Cannes film Festival. This photo also gave me terrifying thoughts of what they might sell in a 1950’s sex shop.

Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt

The Pyramids Circa 1950s

Giza by Camelback in the good old days

A reddit user found this picture in his grandpa’s photos from World War II.

Trevi Fountain, Italy

Trevi Fountain Circa 1950

Picture of the late actress Anita Ekberg

This photo of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy was from the filming of Alfred Hitchcocks film La Dolce Vita. I have never seen this movie, but I can guarantee you it’s at least a thousand times better than The Lizzie McGuire movie they filmed here. Gordo was the OG friend zone.

Taj Mahal, India

Taj Mahal Circa 1950

Taj Mahal, 1950. ELCA Archives image. http://www.elca.org/archives

An amazing photo of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. Okay the photo is a bit crooked, but cut this guy a break; Tripods in the 1950’s were hard to come by. He was clearly distracted by this damsel on the left wearing a risqué just below the knee plaid skirt.

Ben Thanh Market, VietnamBenh Thanh Circa 1950

Because the clock tower in West Minister is called Big Ben, you can call this Little Ben. This market still stands today, but imagine it surrounded by a sea of motor scooters.

The Roman Colosseum, ItalyThe Colosseum Circa 1950

Riding a vespa through Rome was as romantic then as it is now. This guy is getting huge brownie points for this first date.

The Great Wall of China, ChinaGreat Wall of China Circa 1950

This photo is from the second Sino-Japanese war. The modern weaponry juxtaposed against the ancient architecture is a rare contrast. This is a photo from a violent and sad time in Chinese history, but unfortunately all I can think about is Donald Trump Saying China.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Collection of The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum

Collection of The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum

People dancing during a festival at Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat temple is one of the 7 wonders of the world. It was also where several scenes were shot for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

Time can change everything. For some of the worlds most iconic landmarks it’s not as much the landmark itself that changes, but its the patrons. Context paints a location with a different colored brush.

Do you have any questions, or comments? please comment below or tweet me @marekjmichalski.

 

Interview: Tom Burden on Launching the Grypmat and How to Launch a Product

Tom Burdon On Launching the Grypmat

UPDATE: The Grypmat Kickstarter was a success. They raised over $100,000 and made it into the top 1.5% of all Kickstarter campaigns

These days the average American home has 30,000 to 300,000 items in it (La Times) – and almost all of them are products (Unless you hoard raw materials??).

“There will be many sacrifices to make, as with any independent venture, but the opportunity could be large.”

We buy tons of products and launching a product could be your key to success – or failure (more on this later)! We wanted to learn more about launching a product so we talked with some pro inventors – no not Al Gore!

Al Gore Invented the Internet

Don’t be Al Gore! Launch a product for REAL like Tom Burden Did.

Tom Burden and Lucas Williamson have been inventing products for years and have successfully run numerous Kickstarter launches.

Tom works as an F-16 mechanic in the Airforce and invents crazy things like red dot scopes for rifles with the rest of his time.

Lucas is an experienced inventor and kickstarter expert. He has the design savvy to solve any problem and marketing know-how to sell ice to an eskimo.

It's called the Grypmat for a reason

It’s not called the Grypmat for nothin’

Q & A With Tom Burden and Lucas Wiliamson

Tom Burden Pictured far right and Lucas Williamson one to his left.

Tom Burden Pictured far right and Lucas Williamson one to his left.

LN: What were the biggest objections you faced while trying to strike it on your own with your products? How did you overcome the doubters?

“I talked to over 10,000 people about the product at that point, if we have to use the word “Luck” I would say that sounds like bad luck.”

Tom: Biggest obstacle has been getting the chemistry and manufacturing. I have a mentor that has been in the manufacturing world for the past 30 years and has 15 products in Walmart. A lot of ppl say, “Wow! you got so lucky meeting him!” Honestly I hate it when people say that.

It was two years before I met him and I talked to over 10,000 people about the product at that point, if we have to use the word “Luck” I would say that sounds like bad luck.

Life Nomading: How many products have you Launched? What did they do?

Tom Burden:

  1. The Hitch Pad –  At the base we have a hitch that is spring loaded that hit a guy in the face and put him in the hospital for 2 days, so I made a pad for the hitch (fail)
  2. The Grab Cain – a Cain plus a grabber, someone patented it 6 months beore I finished my prototype (fail)
  3. Custom cellphone cases with greek letter cut outs for fraternities and sororities (fail)
  4. RSAC – Red dot Scope Ammo Counter, a red dot scope for a gun that changes from green to red to notify the shooter they are low on ammo (still in progress)
  5. The Grypmat – the first Grypmat sold was the 11th generation, the ones for the kickstarter are the 12-14th designs (Selling now)

LN: How have you found time to develop, and now launch a product – all while working a full time job as an Air Force mechanic?

TB: I am in the Air National Guard which is a department within the AIr Force. I would work at the base one weekend a month while a full time student.

I get excited off of developing a product, any extra time I had I would spend time in making the product better.

A lot of times my college studies would suffer due to working on my products. Once I skipped a college exam to attend a meeting with a potential distributor.

LN: What is the perception of entrepreneurship in the military? How have your colleagues reacted?

Tom: Some support, some criticize. Always going to have fans and haters.

15259781_1288316474523261_3230009421969407730_o
LN: You have been developing products for years now – what started this passion?

TB: So this is a weird question that I think about a lot. Why do I do what I do? Why do I wake up at 4am to start my day working?

If you had a superpower that no one else could do, would you use that power? Let’s say fly, would you fly (answer: Duh of course I would fly)? What if you had a friend that could fly but they said that it’s really hard to fly so they don’t do it, how would that make you feel? It would make me resent them and mad that they don’t use their unique gift.

My gift is to be an inventor. The thoughts I have, have never been thought before, and my power is that I can bring ideas/inventions into existence that no one has ever thought of, and If I don’t then they may never exist. Inventors and startups create the future, they are the cutting edge of the future, my job is to create the future.

“Inventors and startups create the future, they are the cutting edge of the future, my job is to create the future.”

14720487_564117840455370_6694052826127656821_n

 

LN: What have you had to give up to make this dream a reality [Launching your own product]?

TB: Two biggest things: finances and confidence through trials. There has been a lot of hard times financially to get the product where it’s at. Finances are much better but still not out of the woods.

There have been a lot of times that I have wanted to quit, once when I was going to stop everything I called my cousin and she said, “is this something that you need to stop? Are you to the point that you’re not paying bills or feeding yourself? Or is this something that you’re going to look back on and regret not seeing what was around the corner?”

That is something that has kept me going, not wanting to regret quitting.

“There is a lot of leg work that can be done on your own for free instead of paying a professional.”

14568210_564117850455369_912578829595483245_n

LN: What’s your methodology for innovation and how do you come up with your ideas?

TB:

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Think of the most simplistic way to fix it, think of ease of prototyping/manufacturing.
  3. How many people have this problem and how big of a problem it is? Think of the market size and how big of a pain point it is.
  4. Prototype & test with users, with this info figure out how to make your product better for the end user.

Tom Burden with Grypmat

LN: How has bringing on veteran product designer/marketer and kickstarter expert, Lucas Williamson, helped you shape this product launch?

Tom: Working with Lucas has been very complimentary to my skill set. We are have very similar visions but are skilled in different areas of bringing a product to life, I feel we are a very balanced duo.

LN: How many successful kickstarter campaigns have you a been a part of and have you been a part of any that failed?

Lucas: I have been vital part of 2 successful campaigns, and 1 one that failed. I have consulted high level on a handful of other campaigns some failed some succeeded.

Here is a list of the products I have worked on:

  1. Juiceboxx, a case for your macbook charger to keep it from breaking/fraying – Save Your Macbook Charger – Get A Juiceboxx (Selling Now)
  2. Spoolee – An awesome solution to store your earbuds and keep them from tangling- Spoolee – Have fun managing your earbuds! (Selling Now)
  3. Nikola Labs – Nikola Labs: Leading the Charge in Wireless Power (Failed)

juiceboxx

LN: Lucas – Could you share one of your Kickstarter secrets with us –  or would you have to kill us?

Lucas: Employ thy GOOGLE. When I started out I knew nothing about crowdfunding. I dug in and began researching to educate and collect the resources and skills to be successful. Mostly from the world wide web. Hustle and perseverance goes a long way.

LN: What is one of the biggest mistakes you see first timers on kickstarter make?

Lucas:  The Kickstarter community has evolved into it’s own animal. A realm different from that of e-commerce or big box retail. It’s much harder to get a consumer to loan you cash upfront, and wait months to receive it, rather than just ordering something on Amazon Prime and getting it 2 days later.

Newbies need to really nail down their target customer and have a solid plan of action to market to them.

“It’s much harder to get a consumer to loan you cash upfront, and wait months to receive it, rather than just ordering something on Amazon Prime and getting it 2 days later.”

Grypshon Grypmat

LN: Lucas and Tom – A lot of our enterprising readers have product ideas of their own. What is the first step they should take?

Lucas: Get the product in front of customers. Confirm there is a pain point and a demand for said product. Make sure you can make it with the proper margins to run a viable business. Then, come talk to me to help you launch it.

Tom: First step is make a prototype, an MVP. Minimum Viable Product, make it yourself, do not pay someone to make it, not the first one, maybe not the first 10.

So what happens is that when people do not have experience and want to pay someone else to do everything they waste a ton of money paying people to make mistakes.

There is a lot of leg work that can be done on your own for free instead of paying a professional.

LN: How can our readers support your kickstart campaign? When is it launching?

Tom:  Our campaign is running for 30 days from January 3rd – February 3rd. on Kickstarter.com

Here are 3 ways you can help support our campaign:

  1. Share this link: PRESS.FND.TO/GRYPMAT on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
  2. Check out our Kickstarter campaign and support by backing
  3. Know of a mechanic, trade professional or anyone that loves tools? Tell them about the Grypmat Kickstarter!

Grypshon Grypmap

LN: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?

A Few Pro tips from Tom and Lucas:

  • If it helps to explain your idea with a picture make that picture the wallpaper on your phone so you can quickly access the picture when talking to people.Thing is people will always try to zoom in but it is well worth the sacrifice to hook the attention of that person within the initial 10 seconds.
  • Something that helps me is listening to motivational speeches on youtube. Find one that gets your blood boiling and makes you feel like you can rule the world. You can convert Youtube URLs into MP3, putting that into your Itunes will allow you to set that as your alarm clock.What you listen to in the first 20 min of being awake is very important, this will kickstart your day every time.
  • Need someone to help you? Before asking them for a favor make sure you help them in some way. I’ve done this to get really good mentors.
  • Need an intro? Who ever you want to give you an intro, type out an email of how you want introduced so they can copy and paste it and will save the introducer a ton of time.

Conclusion

At the end of the day building a product is a lot of hard work. However, launching a product can create immense value and help you realize the dream of working for yourself.

There will be many sacrifices to make, as with any independent venture, but the opportunity could be large.

When launching a product, remember you need to solve a problem and the more people with the problem you are solving  – the bigger the opportunity for profit. Now go out and turn those ideas into a reality!

 

Do you have any questions, or comments? please comment below or tweet me @marekjmichalski.

Change

changeishappening

Change is hard.

Hear me out.

Figuring out new norms is a difficult task to bestow upon just about anyone, even me. But the truth about life is that change happens and it’s inevitable. You can’t control that even if you desperately want to.

For me change happened this past week. I had a wakeup call and it turned into an opportunity for me to reflect on who I am, what I wanted, and what the point of this whole life thing is (in a healthy way of course). I ended up taking the week off from most work to figure out what this all meant.

Sure, I didn’t discover the meaning of life, but I figured a few smaller things out.

It’s no secret I haven’t written much on this blog lately, hell for the last year and a half Life Nomading practically fell silent. I got deep into my business, slogging along just trying to figure out a way to make it as a business owner at age 23. To be honest, every day is a struggle but that’s not what this post is about. Even more importantly, is that I felt like I was posing to you all. I wasn’t practicing what I preached.

Why I’m writing this today is that this recent change I’m experiencing has been equally painful as it has been eye opening. I’ve preached so many times for you to follow your passion, to take the unconventional path, and to explore the world. Yet I failed to follow some of my own fricken advice.

That’s why I just need to explore.

Not to runaway from my problems, not to mask feelings or delusions, but just for myself.

I need to take some time to work remotely AROUND our nation, I want to meet all you fellow Life Nomading explorers, and I want to take in the beauty of what a well rounded nation has to offer my soul.

But this is where I make an ask to you to help make this possible.

If you enjoy what Life Nomading means to you, and you live somewhere in the U.S. with an extra couch or a few square feet on the floor, I’d love to barter with you. I would love to help with chores (I’m not afraid to clean toilets), buy you a beer or two, or three, go on a photo adventure and get you some epic new photos, or anything else in exchange for a few days of a roof over my head as I experience your wonderful city.

I don’t have a set plan yet. I’m still figuring this all out as we head into the holiday season. Expect to be updated with a general plan once it’s all “sorted” out in my own head first.

With a new camera in hand and no agenda in mind, I just want to explore this nation, work remote (for real), meet remarkable people from all walks of life, and capture the beauty to share with you all. I believe that I will share my adventures on this blog once again, but there’s no commercial intent I have. I just want to see the world more and reflect.

But I could use your help, advice, I could even use your winter travel packing tips for a prolonged wondering session.

Cheers and I hope you follow along… or don’t and go do your own thing,

Ian

Set Yourself Apart From Everyone Else

Set yourself apart from everyone else

Let’s be honest, setting yourself apart from everyone else seems to be increasingly harder and harder to do in this day and age. The more and more social media and our digital world grows the more difficult it is to just merely become yourself. With so many people sharing their ideas and so many people attempting to listen, it sometimes feels impossible to be someone that has a solid platform of ideas.

I’ve struggled with this in my own unconventional life. When I began learning as much as I could about digital marketing, blogging, and remote working back in 2008, I realized the space was already filled with other more established people teaching it and spreading their ideas. I got inundated with the amount of content that was surrounding me. The pressures to consume it all were so intense.  For fear I would miss out (FOMO) on what could potentially be that last article, that last podcast, or that last video I would ever need to succeed in my own digital pursuits, I kept consuming.

It was debilitating.

It was scary. I felt like I could never be anything more than a consumer of other’s dreams.

I feared something, but I couldn’t figure out what.

Personally, it got so bad that I would find that I could spend entire days just being a consumer. Sure, it’s learning to an extent. But you would be surprised how quickly learning turns into reiteration and a diminishing return on your time. Reading, watching, listening, repeat. It was an addiction. An addiction to the machine of fear.

You see fear isn’t merely a mindset, it’s an addiction that needs to be addressed just like any other addiction whether it be drugs, alcohol, or the likes. Fear is an easy vice to succumb to. In fact, I’m writing this article because last night I caved into that addiction that reared it’s head at me like it does every once in a blue moon.

I started delving back into the guilty pleasures of reading, watching, and listening to content that was marginally helpful and instead just left me right back to what I already knew, in return for a few less hours to execute on those teachings. (perhaps this is the impetus on my 1 month No Social Media Challenge –more to come–)

Fear should be addressed in a whole series of articles on here, and I’m sure I’ll get to it. But for now, I’m getting to my purpose of the article so stick with me…

The reason we envy, revere, and even spread the word of other’s teachings is because in-fact they did it their own way and we found value in it. These creators set themselves apart because they decided to pursue their own path towards achieving something in a way that we are delighted in consuming. It may sound basic, or it may sound complicated but know this:

The way you set yourself apart from everyone else is by knowing when to put blinders on to the other creators.

I firmly believe that at some point, when you have the necessary basics to ride the horse, when you have the basics on how to create a blog website and publish posts, or you have the basics to take a leap into whatever your passion or conviction is, then and firmly then should you put blinders on to the other creators so you can focus on YOU.

You have the basics now, you have the tools that give you a minimum viable opportunity at crafting something unique. This is what changes the world.

Take Casey Neistat for example, he knows his shit. I remember watching him way back in 2011 when he posted this…

Now he makes a movie every day and has over 2.2 Million (with an M) subscribers who love his work (me admittedly being one of them). He also knows how to be himself and give zero f#@$’s and does his own style. He does him. You do you. I’m sure he consumed at some point, but I can venture to guess that he consumed just enough to be dangerous. The proof is in the pudding, look at his videos now compared to then… they all hold his own aesthetic and storytelling style.

Wait did someone say pudding!?

…anyway…

So I ask you, have you consumed lately because you are in fear of taking the executional next steps in your journey to what you actually want to dominate? or, are you perhaps still learning those basic toolbox type skills to be dangerous? Whatever your reasoning for reading this article or any article here on after is, always question to yourself: Am I spending this time out of fear for doing the thing I know this article is about to tell me to do, or am I doing it to get the bare bones toolbox of knowledge I need to be just dangerous enough in pursuit towards an unconventionally unique lifestyle.

Whatever your answer may be, know that setting yourself apart from everyone else is knowing that you must become a creator in whatever sense of the word that means for your pursuits. Create, but create your own things by letting go of that FOMO syndrome, putting the blinders on, and just executing on your pursuits. There is no secret to success, it’s through the work and the mindfulness of your individual unique brain that will get you places. But you must be able to harness it first.

Without that truth… we would have no Casey, we would have no Conan, and certainly would have no Trump for president (jk).

I Went Exploring in Cincinnati, Ohio : VLOG (#001)

I’ve vlogged before. It’s a really hard thing to do. I love making videos, I love creating digital “things”. So I decided, why the hell not try it again?

I used to complain about having so many projects and things that needed to get done, or that I wanted to attempt. Recently I have just decided to stop complaining and just buckle down and do the best that I can at all the things that I want to attempt. A vlog being one of them.

Done is better than perfect

That’s my phrase with this vlog. It will get increasingly better I hope as I get into the groove again of shooting and editing on a basic little Canon point and shoot. Yep, not pulling the Wilbur Agency video equipment out for this vlog (at least not yet).

I’d like to say once a week is when you can expect a video to drop, but let’s play it by ear. Plus, if you subscribe to my email or my channel you’ll get notified when the new one drops. I don’t have any agenda for what you will get every week. I know that could be annoying, but I think of it as a fun little weekly surprise for your eyes and ears.

Along the same lines, I’m working on revamping the Life Nomading Podcast and updating many other fun things for you to discover in the coming months.

Stay tuned…

But for now, watch the video above of my Valentines Day weekend spent exploring with my girlfriend (pictured many a times in the vlog) in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is a little testament that for those on a budget, you can find fun within your own city or state. Explore more, your location should not be an excuse.

Cincinnati Highlights Include

cheapside cafe

 

Discovering one of the coolest third wave cafe’s. Cheapside Cafe in Cincinnati looks small from the outside, but surprisingly offered a ton of seating for the space. The vibes were perfect and the food was delicious. I got the Smoked-turkey-something-godly-awesome sandwich and kegged coffee (interesting).

 

IMG_7059

Rachel is starting to get to know me pretty well. She showed me a spot called Alms Park in Cincinnati that gave me the best view of my favorite airport ever, Lunken Municipal Airport (KLUK). It was so cold, or else I would have spent the rest of the day there watching airplanes.

The Rookwood Cincinnati, Ohio
Valentines Day on a budget? Just go to a fancy delicious brunch where they serve awesome pancakes with a wonderful atmosphere (see it in my vlog). Answer: The Rookwood offered up some amazing carrot cake pancakes with cream cheese filling and curried cashews. I can’t wait to go back and get what Rachel got which looked just as amazing… Pork with Donut tasting french toast… yeah.

 

Rachel & Ian take on the world

 

Last but not least, taking on the adventures one more weekend at a time with the partner in crime was the highlight of it all. Mush Mush. Overall donuts, pancakes, museums (oh I forgot to mention that whoops), dogs, and views made it a pretty grand weekend.

 

 

I only ask two things of you if you semi enjoyed the video or article, comment below with what you would like to see more of and subscribe somewhere to this whole thing it would mean the world 🙂

What’s Left Out In The Talk About Aimless Adventure

https://www.lifenomading.com/whats-left-out-in-the-talk-of-aimless-adventure/

We’ve all read the BuzzCatalogue articles about the “27 Places You Need To Drop Everything And Fly To NOW.” We’re all just restless millennial expressions of Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady on an endless adventure. While these listicles provide the distraction necessary to sludge through another day at the office, they rarely discuss what actually happens when you decide to drop everything and embark on an aimless adventure.

The reality is, when you decide that your underlying goal is to be spontaneous and to pursue a path of ambiguous adventure, the ennui and vague anxiety of this path are at times equal to the excitement.

I speak personally about this idea, but I cannot imagine I am alone in thought. Consider the emotions evoked in films such as Lost in Translation, and more intensely in, Into the Wild.

The study abroad student who books a 20 Euro flight to Brussels for the weekend doesn’t normally mention the dilemma of aimlessness that he is confronted with upon arrival. Of course the European Union headquarters is only a photo op away. But he’s likely not a foreign diplomat, so he’ll spend the rest of the weekend hopelessly lost with a Lonely Planet guide – searching for waffle recommendations on the way to see a peeing statue.

Before I risk coming off as cynical, I want to emphasize that I am not attempting to discredit the importance of impulsive travel decisions. I once committed to a 10,000 mile flight over a few drinks and a credit card. I am suggesting that the lack of purpose associated with aimless travel has a place for discussion equal to the incredible thrill of arriving in a strange place, where you are the stranger and you speak the foreign language.

Before I continue, I should clarify an important part of this discussion and where much of this anxiety arises. I have noticed that traveling for the pure sake of traveling is wildly different than that related to organized or business travel. I have wildly more experience with the former.

I think that these potential anxieties are largely neglected in the “throw a dart at the map” style of travel advertised on many click-friendly publications. While the importance of travelling far and wide outside of where you feel traditionally comfortable remains, I rarely hear these aimless frustrations discussed outside of casual conversation.

I have purchased my fair share of cheap weekend flights to Point B, assuming vacancy at a backpacker’s hostel upon arrival, but rarely does anyone talk about the frenzied occupying of time between the hostel check-ins. While guided apps and tourist must-sees occupy the existential void of being someplace where you have no clear reason for being, they do not consider the time spent at cafes or bars with friends contemplating the absurdity of being there in the first place.

Depending on how touristy the destination, traveling for experience is also quite different than vacationing. On vacation you don’t need an explicit reason for being where you end up. The only requirements are that there are things at which to look or that there is a beach. When traveling for adventure, you develop a need to at least personally justify your reasons for ending up in that location. I neglected this aspect for a long time, telling myself, at the end of many trips, “next time you’re here, you’ll have an actual reason for it.”

To most this may be an obvious consideration in the first place, that shouldn’t require multiple aimless adventures across the globe to realize. But to those inclined to nomadic tendencies like myself, I think will relate to the feelings of aimlessness associated with picking a destination, and simply going. Sort out the details along the way. Once again, the benefits of going wherever you feel the urge outweigh any anxieties experienced in the process, but I can’t help but notice that there is an aspect overlooked by most articles entertaining would-be nomads.

I’m also not proposing that each impulse to hit the road should require a meticulously prepared itinerary. I certainly will not be doing so in every future journey, nor would I care to. Some of the most memorable experiences that I have, are a result of this spontaneity.

The point that I am making, is that one of the understated aspects of simply picking up and going, is that there will be a lot of time spent asking yourself what you’re doing there in the first place. I think this is relatively unique to the sort of spontaneous or aimless travel discussed here. I also think it’s important to learn to embrace these thoughts and anxieties, to be present in those moments, and to appreciate each mile of the ride.

Who knows, the seemingly aimless and uncertain time spent between destinations might be the most valuable and reflective part after all, if proper attention is paid to the present and to our surroundings.

Anyway, I need to go buy some bus tickets and continue to over-think everything at the next layover.

What No One Tells You About Living In NYC

NYC skyline

Maybe you hear horror stories of how expensive The Big Apple is, or see photos on Instagram that make this city seem like the best city in the world, but there are some things that are not talked about as much. I moved to New York City about 1 month and a half ago, and here are some thoughts that I have about living in NYC!

It is possible to find an apartment that costs less than $800 per month.

Note that 1. I’m splitting a junior studio (pretty much a one bedroom without a door… if you can picture that) with my friend  2. I knew the girl who lived in the apartment before me, so I knew I wasn’t getting ripped off for anything (I got lucky with that) 3. Personal space is currently not a priority for me, but a lot of people say “Oh, I could never live in a studio with someone. I need my space”. I say it’s what you decide is a priority, and whether or not your financial situation allows you to be picky. 4. I live about a 30-35 minute commute to work.

You can find a plethora of free things in the city.

In terms of physical items, I’ve found a perfectly adequate coffee table, mirror, side table, wine crate, and 2 chairs on the sidewalk, that were going to go to the trash. In terms of things to do in the city, there are tons of free events that you can find on Meetup.com (there weren’t very many in the previous city I lived in), Eventbrite.com, and by signing up for daily emails about events (The Skint, NonsenseNYC, Pulsd).

Waiting in lines is sometimes unavoidable.

Wanna go to a good restaurant for dinner? Expect to wait at least 30 minutes to get seats. Brunch on a weekend? At a poppin’ spot? 20-40min wait time. Shopping for groceries at Trader Joes (the most bang for your buck, with quality in mind)… that line sometimes wraps around the whole store. I actually have never purchased anything from Trader Joes because I would rather not wait in a line to buy groceries. Of course there are other options, but the locals love Trader Joes.

When Living in NYC, Shipping is a b*tch.

Yeah, my roommate’s brother has Amazon Prime but that’s not very helpful for us because we’ve heard that packages get stolen from the ‘lobby’ sometimes (we don’t have a doorman).

You can actually meet people NOT just through online dating apps.

For those that don’t know me, I am one of those few people who use online dating apps more for the reason of making friends, rather than hooking up or dating. I’ve been pretty successful with making friends through Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, and Hinge. In NYC, almost everyone uses online dating apps – there are sooo many (Happn, J Swipe, Ok Cupid, Bumble, and more). However, I forget that by attending random events (like going on Eventbrite to find interesting events) and striking up random conversations… it’s possible to make new connections offline.

And when you get to live here, it’s all totally worth it.