Note: This is a slightly edited version of a talk Austin gave yesterday at Broome Community College in Binghamton, New York. It’s a simple list of 10 things he wished he had heard when he was in college.
"All advice is autobiographical.
It’s one of my theories that when people give you advice, they’re really just talking to themselves in the past. This list is me talking to a previous version of myself.
Your mileage may vary." -Austin Kleon
After reading this succinct little list, I began to think about how true this ideas are in relation to myself.
1.Just this past weekend, I went into a corporate candle store and browsed around for fall and winter inspiration. I window shopped for about twenty minutes and came away with thirty ideas for products. Of those thirty, yeah, maybe half will make to the experiment table and then maybe ten will actually make it to the production stage and half again to the etsy shop and become a proud member of the Lostlemonade family. Yep, stealing.
2. LostLemonade is all about finding moments to just be yourself. If you read my profile, you know that I began this quest a study in self-renewal - finding the things about myself that I had lost or were in a deep, deep comatose like sleep. So far on the journey, I have found (or remembered) that I love my children, I like cooking, I am creative and some other things I won't mention here. Okay so, making before knowing - got that one too.
3. My friend recently invited me to start journal-ing again. It's releasing and refreshing. Kinda like squeezing those lemons and then savoring the sweet taste afterward. Once a week, I go back and re-read the past journal entries. I laugh, I cry, I shake my head just like I'm reading a good Jodi Picoult or Elizabeth Berg or sometimes Stephen King. So I guess I'm guilty on count three as well.
4. Let's see I make soaps, scrubs, salts and soaks. Yep, I use my hands.
5. My co-main career is teaching and choreographing dance. There is such a reward in passing the arts on to others. There is no way for me to describe the peace I feel after a great workout with my adult dancers or the happiness after seeing my 4-6 year olds review their dance steps and laugh with delight at their accomplishment. It's the balancing break I need when that scrub won't scrub or the facial toner's pH is sky high. Austin was right on point here.
6. Three words: Promotional Frenzy Team. A group of artists who value friendship and fun and focus on promoting each other every day. I was nervous when I clicked that final button on Etsy to open my shop. What did I know about marketing on a large scale? In stepped the Frenzy Team leaders and co-Teammies. Major events like our AUGUST PROMO FRENZY SPECIAL bring the whole team together to offer great discounts to our customers and to bring new customers to new shops. Check out one of our artists on the Art Commons page in the Artist of the Week section. Then visit my facebook page and see some of the exciting collections gathered by our team members highlighting some of the beautiful items available. Bottom line: Make a good product and put it where people can see it. Right on, Austin!
7. Etsy is international. I may hang out 335 in Michigan (I travel to shows and to visit my daughter those other 30 days) but on Etsy, I'm in Istanbul, Dunkirk, Japan and California all at the same time. No more geographical limits here!
8./9. Be nice and be boring - well yeah.
10. My products are all about the natural. No man-made chemicals and alcohols in my items. This makes them safe for all ages and all genders. It's exactly what I don't put in my products that makes them MY products.
To add to Austin's last tidbits,
I agree, all advice is autobiographical. I also believe that Hindsight is 20/20 and that we stack the deck when we remember (thanks, Stephen King for that sagery).
As you can see, my mileage didn't vary very much.