Falling in Love with the Process with Creative Hustlers Melissa Rautenberg and Steven Picanza-EP032
Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster ride, with extreme highs and lows. So how do you keep yourself motivated during the rough times? Today’s guests are honest in sharing the despair they have faced as well as the successes – and that was just this week! They are prepared to teach you how to be a creative hustler – embracing the process, increasing your bounce back rate, and living at the intersection of creativity and business.
Steven Picanza and Melissa Rautenberg are the husband-wife team behind The Creative Hustler, a lifestyle brand for creative entrepreneurs, as well as the brand strategy firm Latin & Code. Steven brings his talents as a brand architect, business strategist and creative entrepreneur to these endeavors, as he works to connect people, products, and organizations with their core audience.
The yin to his yang, Melissa has the tactical skills to bring Steven’s vision to life. With an expertise in inbound marketing, SEO, and PPC, her no bullshit approach has built meaningful campaigns across a variety of industries. Today they explain the unifying principles of creative hustlers and how they create balance in their lives. Listen and learn how to shift your mindset to accept that ‘the obstacle is the way.’
How ‘The Creative Hustler’ originated
- Steven coined the phrase at a talk in 2011
- Debuted ‘manifesto’ at conference in London last summer
- Brainstormed expansion of idea on plane ride home
- Focus on living at the intersection of creativity and business
The unifying principles of creative hustlers
- There is opportunity everywhere
- We can use each other’s strengths in an ecosystem rather than an ‘egosystem’
- Entrepreneurs have a social responsibility to share the possibilities available in gig economy
The greatest challenges faced by creative hustlers
- Motivation to continue after failure
- Determination to bounce back
How to avoid highlight reel syndrome
- Don’t compare yourself to another’s perfect post
- Remember that everyone is presenting their best selves on social
The importance of mindset
- Necessary component of long-term strategy
- Helps you learn to love the process and see the bad as opportunity
How Melissa and Steven decide if a client is a good fit
- Look for people who ‘get it’
- Core values must match
- Client believes in their own product
- Wants to better themselves and their brand
How Melissa and Steven work together
- Steven plays part of orchestrator
- Melissa’s role is tactical, realizing the vision
- Together, their strengths offer clients a 360° view
How Melissa and Steven stay driven
- ‘Success is the only option’
- Surround selves with inspiring people
How Melissa and Steven create balance
- There is no personal and business life, there’s just life
- Stop and go on a hike or cook dinner
- Enjoy what’s around you in order to recharge
Melissa and Steven’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
- Conquer your tiny corner of the internet
- No one will do it for you, but others will want to help once you start
- Serve others and be of value, without expecting something in return
- Fall in love with the process
Connect with Melissa & Steven
Melissa is a driven, strategic problem-solving entrepreneur. Motivated, personable professional with a successful track record of inbound marketing, social media advertising, content creation, email marketing, SEO, PPC while marketing within a variety of industries. Analytical by nature, Melissa brings tact and resourcefulness back into digital marketing with her no-bullshit approach to building scalable and meaningful campaigns. Find her lighting up rooms from coast to coast with her infectious smile and genuine stance on life.
Steven Picanza is a brand architect, business strategist and creative entrepreneur with a core purpose centered around connecting people, products, and organizations with their core audience. He is the co-founder of the lifestyle brand for the creative entrepreneur, "The CreativeHustler", as well as co-founder of the brand strategy firm Latin & Code with his wife Melissa. Steven is also a partner with The Agency Guy, a business consultancy referring brands of all sizes to the right marketing firm based on capabilities, culture, and strategy.
Steven, being passionate about all things creative, is also an Executive Board member of The San Diego Entertainment & Arts Guild, a non-profit organization he helped found in 2009.
Laura Pennington (Host): Hey everybody, welcome back to the Better Biz Academy Podcast. This is the first time I am doing an episode with two guests, so, double the fun; and I am very excited about who I am talking to. Today, I am talking to Steven and Melissa from Creative Hustler. Steven is a brand architect, business strategist and creative entrepreneur with the core purpose centered around connecting people, products and organizations with their core audience. He is the co-founder of the lifestyle brand for the creative entrepreneur, The Creative Hustler, as well as the co-founder of the brand strategy firm Latin & Code with his wife, Melissa. He is also a partner with the Agency Guy, a business consultancy, referring brands of all sizes to the right marketing firm based on capabilities, culture and strategy. He is passionate about all things creative and he is also an executive board member of the San Diego Entertainment & Arts Guild, a non-profit organization he helped found in 2009. And his other half, perhaps better half, we'll decide in this episode maybe; Melissa is a driven strategic problem solving entrepreneur, motivated, personable, professional, with a successful track record of inbound marketing, social media advertising, content creation, email marketing, SEO, PPC, viral marketing within a variety of industries. Analytical by nature, Melissa brings tact and resourcefulness back into digital marketing with her no bullshit approach to building scalable and meaningful campaigns. Find her lighting up rooms from coast to coast with her infectious smile and genuine stance. Welcome to the show guys.
Melissa Rautenberg (Guest): Hello.
Steven Picanza (Guest): Thanks for having us. That was certainly a mouthful, wasn’t it?
Laura: It was. I was so afraid I was going to trip over my words multiple times but that's just because you guys have so many cool things going on.
Steven: Well, you did great. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Having us on the show. Stoked to be here.
Melissa: Yeah pumped to be here.
Laura: Yeah I am excited to talk to you guys and I kind of want to know like how did this all start? You are working together and you have all these things going on; when did that kind of begin?
Melissa: Basically, immediately.
Steven: I guess so immediately.
Melissa: We met at an entrepreneur seminar.
Steven: We did, we absolutely met at an entrepreneur seminar in 2011 and then after dating on and off for like a year, and going through all those trials and tribulations, I found myself back - I was always an entrepreneur, I always had my own agency, I found myself at this point back working at another agency and Melissa was just getting her feet wet working at United Digital Agency, and the stars aligned one day to where we kind of looked at ourselves and said we are going to do this for real - let's do this for real. Let's make this our lifestyle, let's make this our living.
Melissa: Make our side hustle our main hustle.
Laura: Wow that's awesome. So, were there any challenges you experienced in that transition. It's a big leap of faith to take it from the side hustle to your full-time gig.
Steven: Yeah, I mean. I paid the trial and tribulation in this thing.
Melissa: There is more deep depths of despair than there are highs.
Steven: Certainly, so rewind; I used to have my own shop like five years. I understood the entrepreneur game and I understood that you are going to have these highs, you are going to have these lows and I made a decision after I closed the shop that I founded to work again at corporate America at an agency and I knew, I was - when you are at a job and you start thinking about your exit strategy, that's not a good sign. I mean, I was thinking, the night before Melissa and I both got strategically let go within six weeks of each other from our respective agencies and the day before I'd gotten that - I come to the office, the CEO tells me to come to the office; Melissa and I were at happy hour and I remember looking at Melissa - you remember this?
Steven: So, it was like, I can't be there forever. My time is coming up. I just feel it. I know it's happening and then the next day it was that forced, hey we are going to push you off the bridge, either you build that plane on the way down or you don't. So, I was like, we just do what we got to do and make this happen.
Melissa: So, we found ourselves in the deep depths of despair with both of us being let go from our jobs. Being like, we have some side projects, side hustles. Let's just make it work. Let's do this. Let's find another job or take a huge chance on ourselves and the universe is basically telling us to take a chance on ourselves.
Laura: Yeah it seems like the stars really aligned for that to be able to happen, but I’d imagine - I mean, may be this is just me, you can tell me if I am wrong - but this would be nerve wracking, if it was your relationship too. It's kind of entering this territory together; did you have any nerves about that or did you kind of feel like it was just like a natural progression?
Steven: It was a natural progression
Melissa: It was kind of a natural progression. It was like, we are crazy, we want to build our own lives and do our own things and it's funny because, you have talked to your friends and your family about your hopes and your dreams and they look at you like you are space shot and then your friends and your family, they look at you like you are crazy.
Melissa: But when you and I would talk about our life and what we want and where we want to go and our dreams and our hopes and it was like, yeah let's do it. Let's - how do we make it work.
Laura: Oh, I love that. It's so inspirational. It's like double the power, right. You've combined forces and now it's double. I love that. So, tell me more about the creative hustler, like how the idea behind that was born. What that really means to you?
Steven: Funny enough, it was, I think, 3 or 4 or maybe a week ago, I got a Facebook memory on my phone and it was me checking in to University of San Diego. I was about to do a talk and the talk was as it said about the show "The Next Generation: What the Creative Hustler Is." It was the first time I've ever really put that Creative Hustler thing out there and that was in 2011 when I'd done that. And this idea really just spawned from, I was with my old agency and I was doing thought leadership around the local universities about, hey you're going to graduate with a marketing degree, what are you going to do next? You have to hustle your way into whatever job that you want. You don't just graduate and you get a golden like, you know, oh here you go. Here's your ticket for life. Now the real work begins. And I just saw that there was a big gap between what was perceived and what reality was and I just started the initial talk that I put together was how to have creative swagger and it just kind of morphed into this idea of being a creative hustler - and that was in 2011 and it took so many different faces since then and it really took until this past summer; Melissa and I were travelling around Europe and I got the opportunity to speak at a conference in London where I debuted the Creative Hustler manifesto. And it was at that point where we kind of looked at each other - it was actually the plane ride home where Melissa and I strategized a podcast and what this is actually going to be and us just diving in head first. And it was us - it was all about this idea of balance and balancing this creative entrepreneur lifestyle. And it quickly morphed into, once again, everything continuously evolves, living at the intersection of creativity in business because that's where the niche is. So many people are creative but they don't know how to monetize tehri creative side.
Melissa: Also, there is this, a lot of people who understand business that don't have the creative part of it to make it work.
Steven: Or to keep life fun.
Melissa: And then balancing all of that. It's a challenge.
Steven: Difficult. So, in a high-level nutshell, that's - you know, there's obviously a lot of other parts about that that - you know, there's struggles of, oh is this actually going to work? Is this not going to work? What is it? Is this stupid name? I had a boss tell me that the name was horrible. I had so many sides of the coin but ultimately, our conviction and truth to stay on this path is I think what got us to where we are now.
Laura: So, what do you think unites Creative Hustlers now? What is it that they have in common - is it this common set of values and a mission or is it the common challenges that we face in our day to day life? I'm curious as to what you think is kind of bonds it all together?
Steven: It's a great question.
Melissa: That is a great question.
Steven: I firmly believe that the unifying principle of - we all need to know who we are, where we come from and why we do what we do. That coupled with there's opportunity everywhere and that really there are no obstacles, there are only learning lessons and more opportunities. I think that's what makes a creative hustler. So, this idea of celebrating and, hey, we're all in this. We're not creative hustlers, we are all creative hustlers, Laura you're a creative hustler. And everyone involved with your team is a creative hustler and when we think about it, everyone around the world is a creative hustler. It's just like do they know it and do they believe in and do they celebrate that fact.
Melissa: Yeah, and networking with each other and using each other's capabilities. You might be good at one thing, I'm good at another thing; combining those forces, I think, it's something that you say all the time Steven, it's about not being competitive but start being creative -
Melissa: How do you work with each other.
Steven: Right. Because you know, the 1980s approach of silo business and competition over, you know, red white ocean versus blue ocean strategy, you know, you have to work together and another thing I say all the time, it's an ecosystem and these creative hustlers around the world are creating ecosystem as opposed to an ego-system where it's just me against the world.
Melissa: Or you against the ladder and everybody else who wants to climb it.
Steven: Right. Exactly. So, let's build our ladders together congruently and let's go to places that we've never been able to go before whether that's freedom, financial or time or whatever; that is the ultimate goal, that's the gift that hopefully we can be still on people.
Laura: Yeah that's awesome. You know, it really reminds me like we're so in this industry and we understand all the jargon and everything but there seems to be this disconnect with traditional work and traditional education in particular. And I know you said you've done some speaking at schools, I did a keynote speech a couple of months ago and my keynote speech was titled like "the art of the side hustle" like what the gig economy means in 2017. First question after I finished was from a teacher, "what is the gig economy?" and I'm like, Oh, I didn't even think like that people don't understand that that's how we're doing business today. So, what do you think kind of like, do we as creative hustlers have this responsibility to help or try to transform - you know, the traditional model is you go to school, you go to college, you graduate with your degree, you get a job, you work there forever, and that doesn't work anymore, right? There are so many people who are breaking out of that mold for whatever reason. So, do you think we have a responsibility at least to make people aware of the options or do you think it's better if people find it on their own?
Melissa: I would say that it's definitely a responsibility of ours to help other people - it's social entrepreneur, it's helping people pick themselves up, it's holding each other up, you know, arm in arm and elbow to elbow and being like here are some tools, here are some tips and tricks, here's the network and everything that you need to help you get along. So, and I don't want to dog on formal education, I have a formal education myself but my formal education was not actually what got me to where I am. I simultaneously did my education while also becoming an entrepreneur and how I did that was connecting with people, networking with people, doing things for free and just getting my feet wet like Steven said earlier, and taking on different projects, and different side projects to learn especially with not profits and things like that. So, I think that your formal education is great and if you're going to go that way, that's amazing but if you are - you have to network, I mean, if you do have a formal education, you have to network and hustle and get out there and meet people anyway. So, you got to use your network.
Laura: Yeah, absolutely. What do you think is the greatest challenge currently facing anyone who would fall under that creative hustler umbrella? We're kind of defining this ecosystem as we go; what do you think the biggest challenge is kind of for the next generation of this?
Steven: I think it's motivation, it's constant motivation and you're in a half week - so Melissa and I had a week of an extreme low and an extreme high. And it's only Thursday.
Melissa: In the same week.
Steven: Literally, within like a couple, within a 48-hour time period. It's at those points that it doesn't matter if you fall down, we're all going to fall but it's how high you could pick yourself up and what is your bounce back rate. And if your bounce back rate - to be a creative hustler and to be in this industry and to really make your own ladder, you have to be determined that - not to fail; you're going to fail; accept that - you have to be determined to have your bounce back rate be a lot greater than what you fail. And if you can just always remember that and just continue going forward, continue pushing. Even when it sucks, and it's going to suck and you're going to want to shove a [Indiscernible 00:14:30] steak knife into your left eye - even when that happens, keep going. I wish I could get paid every time I recommend this book. It's called 'The Obstacle is the Way' and I can't think of any greater little quote or little combination of words. If it's hard, it's supposed to be hard. Like that's it; like stop complaining.
Melissa: A path without obstacles is probably path that doesn’t lead anywhere.
Laura: Yeah, I love that you guys keep it real. That's part of what I love about your message because, I tried to do that with my audience too. Like don’t get me wrong, being an entrepreneur is awesome and the highs are great. And when you have a good day, it's wonderful but because of things like social media and sponsored Facebook ads and we kind of see this constant message of somebody working on a laptop on the beach and it’s like, yes, maybe they do get to do that, but there were nights where they were crying. There were days when they were thinking about getting a traditional job again. There were days when they really thought about throwing in the towel and I feel like that sometimes gets overlooked. But that's a huge part of being an entrepreneur, like just like you guys said that within a week it can be awesome, I am so happy I am doing this and then, ah why did I do this to myself. Is this worth sticking it out? And your ability to negotiate those kind of tight spots is really what helps you adapt and move on.
Steven: That's great. It's that highlight real syndrome and social media is all about everyone highlighting. It's not true. It's not-
Melissa: You can’t compare yourself to somebody who is like one amazing post that took them, like you said, months to get there.
Steven: -because it's going to make your - it's going to put you into a thump and it's going to make you jealous and it's going to bring out a lot of emotional attributes that are going to cloud your strategic vision forward.
Laura: Yeah. I have heard that called, compare and despair. Where it's so easy to look at somebody else's website or their life on social media, or whatever and you just convince yourself like, oh I must be doing this wrong because I am not doing yoga on a mountain top like, I am awake at 3:00am, typing something that I have to turn in to a client or whatever. But it's important I think to acknowledge that there is kind of both sides of that. So, on that note what has kind of been the biggest business fail that you guys have encountered and how did you kind of move through that?
Steven: Which one!?
Laura: Hard to choose a favorite, right?
Steven: So, like, I kind of consider this my 2.0. I guess you could say my 1.0 was about a decade ago. About 2008 I started my first company and it was an agency and we worked with some really cool things and my biggest failure was the fact that we just mismanaged our whole life. I did not know how to run a business, my business partner did not know how to run a business; we knew what we wanted to do and we knew like we can, you know, we were dressing the part but we weren’t like playing the part and so, to me that was my biggest failure. Because after that had happened, literally within six months so much shit had happened, but after that, I had to suck it up and I had to go get a job. And to me, going to get a job where I was on top of the food chain at an agency was a giant failure because I had joined an agency that I wish I had built. And I was inside those walls with animosity and with feelings of like, f**k you bro, I can do what you're doing; I can make better decisions than you. So, that was my biggest failure. So, this is Melissa's version 1.0, doing this, I guess you could say-
Melissa: Yeah, I mean I have side jobs and things like that. If we are going to talk about failures, it was failure to prepare when I moved here to San Diego for anything to happen. I thought I had all my ducks in row when I moved and when I got here, it was like taking a sledgehammer to a glass table and just not being prepared for whatever came my way and that bounced back right through like we were talking about, it was really low back then. So, it was like kind of sitting in my shit for a little while, for like a good year; six months to a year and not realizing that you know, it was until I realized that I needed to change my mindset to be able to pick myself up for positive things to happen in my life.
Laura: Yeah. That's important and I think that's something that not a lot of people talk about enough is this idea of mindset. I mean, I really blew it off when I started my business. I was like that's way too woo woo, like a law of attraction, manifestation, all that stuff. It was so easy to blow it off and then once you have a corner that you turn with your mindset, and you realize just how much has changed in your business, it's so powerful. Do you guys have any advice for somebody who, you know, may be isn't buying into this whole idea that mindset really does matter in business?
Steven: Business is a process and every day is a process. You got to trust and love that process and there is this idea of like the short-term tactics versus the long-term strategy and your mindset is going to help you with your long-term strategy, which is a life strategy. You want an awesome life, you have to build a strategy around it and it's not just so focused on your little day to day minor tactical executions that might move the needle a millimeter every day, but like, how is that impacting your longer vision. So, I don’t know, it's one of those that - I think we could talk about mindset all we want, we could try to drill it in with someone but unless they make up their mind and they actually make up this decision themselves, we can talk about it until the cows some home, but they need to make that decision themselves.
Melissa: Yeah, and I think the least barrier for entry for people who don’t think that mindset is the key to success is just going back to what you said about loving the process and taking the good with the bad and looking at the bad as an opportunity. So, how is this low in opportunity? We had to do it the other day, we were like how is this different? How is this going to teach us about how to be responsible in this area. How to be responsible in that area or be more conscious of it going forward. So, maybe there was a little bit of a failure, but you got to take the good with the bad because within the next two days it's like we hit possibly having a couple of new clients and the projects are really cool; and don't sit in the good and the bad for too long.
Laura: Yeah. Exactly. So, talking about clients; how do you decide who do you want to work with in your business? I mean, that's obviously a major benefit of working for yourself is getting to say yes or no. So, how do you know when somebody is the right fit?
Melissa: I'll start and you take it from there.
Steven: Yeah. I am going to do that.
Melissa: So, I think it's kind of plastered all over a lot if you go to our website. We want to work with people who get it. We just want to work whatever it is, that's who we want to work with. People that just understand progression and steady steps make giant leaps overtime. And what we are telling them isn't selling them just shit, it's looking at their bigger picture and taking them down a whole process that is going to work long term.
Steven: So, we are pretty unique if you haven’t gotten that already. Pretty unique in the sense that we have the Creative Hustler, which is our side hustle, I guess you can call it, at the moment. We also have our consultancy, which is Latin & Code and we don't promote it, we don't publicize it a lot, but this is how we make a lot of our money. We are consulting with some really awesome clients, who have had us on for years at this point and taken them to rebranding, and just running all of their marketing. And it really comes - this idea of their core values and our core values matching; like they have to match. We are not going to work with assholes, we are not going to work with people that - if you don’t believe in your product, I mean, that's one of the first questions that we'll ask you. Hey, so and so, do you believe in your product? And if you answered anything but "damn right I do" then I don’t want to work with because if you can’t believe in your product, why am I going to believe in you or your product. It just doesn’t make any sense. So, I think Melissa and I really have found our position in our ownable space in this sense. Like we want to work with people who get it. And if you have to ask what it is, then keep walking because either you know or you don’t. But that idea of, you know, it's an entrepreneur or just small business or just individuals who want to better themselves, better their brand, better their marketing because Melissa and I bring uniqueness to the fact where - I am a brand and marketing guy, that's where my career has been based and that's what I know and what I do; and Melissa brings a digital marketing inbound methodology - digital systems, I guess you could say, into the mix, so we are really bringing these two forces together. That's what I think makes us valuable to the people that are coming to work with you. We are not just one part of the pie; we are bringing kind of the 360-view point.
Laura: Yeah, that's awesome and that’s got to benefit your clients tremendously. Sounds like you guys have a streamlined system down for identifying ideal clients and then also divvying up the work. So, how do you decide within the other parts of your business; so, the parts that maybe the clients don’t see, your Creative Hustler work and the podcast; how do you decide which one of you is going to do what? Is that just you guys kind of naturally go towards certain tasks or do you talk that out?
Steven: We slather ourselves in olive oil and then we mud wrestle, then whoever wins gets to choose what part of the project they want to work on.
Laura: Best decision making process ever.
Steven: I think naturally we know where we fit and naturally we know our strengths and weaknesses and I am not going to try to - I could talk a big game on social and all these other things, but when it comes down to it I am standing 50,000 feet in the air as an orchestrator, as a big thinker, like a brand guy, this idea of brand is so esoteric and cerebral at times - but what the hell does that really mean? But it means something and it impacts everything. So-
Melissa: And then, for me, I am more tactical. So, like he is a big thinker, as this would be an amazing idea, and my brain starts going, how the hell we are going to make this work.
Steven: So, I think there is that balance. And we have our team and we are in the process of starting to look at automating parts of our life and we are looking at ways that we can just be more efficient with the way we work, but also that we still have our team. We still have designers everywhere that we work with and we have writers that we work with, and people who are just helping us along the way, just-
Melissa: -just as we are helping them. It's that social entrepreneurship thing-
Laura: So, you guys have a lot going on. A lot of things that you are responsible for in creating all the time. How on earth do you keep all of that straight?
Melissa: Constant communication. It's constant communication. So, understanding, patience-
Steven: I think even more so than that, there is a drive and there is a - not to sound like Eminem - but I cannot, like success is my only option. Like there is no other way about it and with everything that we are touching, and I think the people that we are surrounding ourselves - we joke around. Last time when we were recording a podcast in our living room, where we were going to, but then we had another friend or ours, John with the Agency guy, we are partners with him. We had him on facetime for like an hour and it was like this is our mastermind, this is our crew, we are all-
Melissa: He is the producer of the show.
Steven: -right, and our producer of the show and we are all there; it was like this is that inspiration to keep it going, to keep it motivating, to keep it pushing because there is no other - we are un-hirable. Who the hell is going to hire me at this point? I have gone on the record so much saying, make your own ladders, screw everyone else's ladder, like no one is ever going to hire me. But they're going to want me to hopefully inspire them to say, hey, I want to quit my job, how do I do it? Or, I have a side hustle but how do I make my side hustle my main hustle? Now we could talk. So, that's - I don't remember what the question was but that's exactly---
Laura: You anyway answered it, so no problem. Good good. So, I want to know, this is a problem for me so I'm wondering if it's twice the problem for you all. Turning your brain off of thinking about business. I mean, if you all have figured it out, you must be the experts because I really struggle with this. So how do you, especially in your home when you're doing some of these projects from your home, how do you make a difference or try to make this line between life and business? Or does it all just blend together?
Melissa: I'd definitely say everything blends together.
Steven: It does, I mean, yeah it sure blends together.
Melissa: It's like our pillow talk.
Steven: There's a quote about there is no personal life or business life. It's just life. I'm just living life. I don't - why should I turn off? Why am I clocking out of life so I'm not going to clock out of my job?
Melissa: And that is the thinking that gets me to stop us to go on hikes, to go for walks, talk about other things.
Steven: So, there is that as well. One other thing that I really enjoy doing around like 6 o clock every night is like actually cooking dinner because there's like a - I love cooking and there's a creative aspect to that obviously. And there's an instant gratification unlike building a website or making a piece of music or whatever where it maybe takes days or hours to weeks. If you literally could go from scratch to dinner table in an hour, I really enjoy that process while having Seinfeld on the back - and I don't know whether to us, I think that's how we sort of-
Melissa: Balance our day-
Steven: That's a little bit of a balance, and then also like Melissa said, going on hikes, whether it's an urban hike around the city because we live in the city, or we travel up to the mountains. And I love all of that like more and more has become an escape for us. We have to turn off, as much as you don't want it. It's not like we're not talking about business when we're hiking because I think we so are, but sometimes it's just that different environment, just go out and hug a tree or you know, or-
Melissa: -and just enjoy the things around you. The nature-
Steven: -just stopping to smell the roses.
Laura: Yeah sometimes you even return more refreshed. You actually have more business ideas when you come back because you've finally cleared all - I'd like to think there's a million open browser tabs in my brain and sometimes when you go out in nature, sometimes it's like, oh it's been cleared. Okay now the best ideas are coming through and it's not all this clutter. So, I love that.
Steven: You don't need five Amazon tabs open all at the same time.
Laura: We like to check out all of our options before committing to something. So, to kind of wrap up, if you had to give one piece of advice to my audience, which is mostly those people at the very beginning of starting their business, maybe even still working in that 9 to 5 and thinking about branching out to do some freelancing or some consultant work. What would you say that advice would be?
Steven: I think the piece of advice that had helped me throughout my journey has been if you can dream it, you can do it and it's one of those - every inspirational quote book ever - but it's so true. I mean, we have the opportunity to do it, the internet has just given us a slew of opportunities, the internet has given us more than I think we all have bargained for, which is scratching the surface. So, don't think that you need to conquer the whole internet, conquer your tiny tiny tiny tiny 0.0000001% of the internet that you can call your own, because you're still going to make a crazy positive impact on people and you'll probably make a decent living.
Melissa: And just to kind of touch on this. Just understanding that nobody is going to do this for you. You have to be the one to make this happen and once you start, you're going to be surprised at how many people want to help you. Nobody’s going to do it for you but they're going to - you're going to find help in all the right places.
Steven: And I think just on that part, serve others. I think as simple as that sounds, be a value to other people without expecting - we all live the life of, we expect shit - I do this for you, you do this for me - just do something for somebody else without that - be that quiet silent prideful type and just do it for other people and it's going to come back - maybe not going to come back tomorrow, or it's not going to come back in a week, it's not going to come back one for one or an eye for an eye but it's going to manifest itself into something that is just awesome for you. And believe that because that's the other big part - believing it.
Melissa: Yes. I think that's the - you know, believing the process and fall in love with the process.
Laura: Such great advice for anybody who's thinking about starting their business or is already in business. So, where can people go to learn more about you all. I know you have a podcast and a website and all that so let's share what that is.
Steven: Sure. You can check us all online www.thecreativehustler.com and then we're also on all those popular social media sites, Facebook and Instagram and Twitter.
Melissa: We're more active on social than anything else.
Steven: Well yeah. And then I think for me, personally I love Twitter so @picanza and I'll always respond.
Melissa: And I'm also at Twitter but my handle is not as easy. It's @Rautenbergmj. I'm not going to spell it; you can have it with the show notes.
Laura: That's right. We'll put all of your information in the show notes. Thanks, guys. It was really a lot of fun to get to interview you and hear all about how you built your business and the philosophies you bring to it.
Steven: We had an absolute blast chatting with you too, Laura, and I hope we get to chat again soon in the future.
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