Curating and writing profiles while maintaining the brand voice is one of my favorite projects.
NYT bestselling author Chris Guillebeau features community members travel-hacking around the world, integrating epic quests into their lives and all-around living unconventional lives. I work directly with these adventurers to craft inspiring narratives about how they made their way off the beaten path.
Evo and Sheila were just your average baby boomers until Sheila’s doctor kicked them out of their home state. The dry air of Arizona was killing her, so they took the show on the road and have been traveling the world, on a budget, ever since. After funding their first year of travel by selling their car, these two have now perfected the air of international house-sitting, as well as creating their own location-independent marketing business and podcast.
Stormy’s story begins in the 80’s in Eastern Soviet Europe, with her grandma pocketing food from a buffet to give to a homeless person. Decades later while swimming with sharks off the coast of South Africa, Stormy was awestruck by the marine animals. These two experiences came together to create a young adult novel series that draw on her own international travel experiences and inspire young people with a sense of adventure, empathy and the desire to take action.
A daily podcast hosted by Chris, designed to help listeners create a new side hustle without quitting their current job. I create scripts by working directly with the featured entrepreneur to highlight pertinent details that would benefit the listeners. Here are a couple of my favorite stories!
Mammoth Bars creators weren’t trying to start a food business—they were just hungry. Michael works full-time as a financial analyst and Anthony works full-time as a Crossfit Instructor. Since they’re both mostly paleo, they wanted a bar that was made out of real food, didn’t have any added sugar or weird stuff, and still tasted good. But they couldn’t find that in stores.
They started prototyping bars in their kitchen at home, from organic ingredients they bought at the store, like sprouted nuts, coconut, dates and egg white protein. Their friends and family loved what they were making so much that they had to borrow more and more Cuisinart mixers. By the time they got to five Cuisinarts in their home kitchen, they realized that maybe they had enough demand to consider a larger scale kitchen.
So they rented some space in a shared commercial kitchen so they could produce the bars more easily and keep up with the demand from friends and family. But before they started selling the bars to strangers, they set up a blind taste test with their target market.
Based on feedback from their blind taste testers, they went through close to 100 iterations across their four different flavors, until they got the flavor profile dialed in, and in mid-2014 they introduced the Mammoth Bars in a clear wrapper and a simple white wrap around label. They kept this packaging for over two years as they continued to grow their demand.
As their demand grew, they decided to improve upon their original packaging. So they started approaching investors, seeking a $50k investment so that they could afford a packaging and website redesign and have some money leftover. They found that $50k in the form of an investment from a friend. They used that to get started on their re-design and launch their product to a larger audience via Kickstarter in September of 2016.
Beyond just running a successful Kickstarter campaign, it also boosted their monthly revenue up to an average of $10k. And, even more significantly, they were approached by Peet’s Coffee about carrying their bars in store. More recently their monthly revenue is hovering around $25k, split roughly evenly between Peet’s Coffee sales, direct online sales, and sales at all other independent retailers.
Simon Kuhl was climbing to the top rung of the wine industry in Alberta, Canada. He was working with some amazing people, learning a lot, and drinking amazing wines. For all intents and purposes, he set himself up to have a thriving career in the wine industry.
But a few years in, he was burnt out and disillusioned with the extravagance of the industry. He could no longer find the motivation to move up in an industry that promoted such luxury. He wanted a simpler life, more authenticity in his interactions, and a sense of accomplishment in his work day. So he quit. Simon and his wife, Deborah, moved to British Columbia where he got a low-paying job at a winery. Then, six months after starting his new job, he got fired. Yep, you heard that right, he got fired.
After the shock and disorientation wore off, he discovered that he qualified for an intense 3-week business plan workshop, and this led to the development of his very successful painting service, Sombrio Painting. As Simon put it, “It turns out getting fired was the best thing that could have happened to me.”