Field Report: How Creators & Publishers Use Patreon to Support Creative Projects

How creatives can use crowdfunding

Every creator needs patronage. It’s an age-old issue, remarked even in the letters of Leonardo da Vinci. The old advertising and filmmaking adage “one for the reel; one for the meal” embodies this idea.

It’s unclear whether this is immediately reassuring or depressing, but it does point to one thing: the problem of getting financial support for our creative projects will always be with us.

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Applesaucing – How to Extract Every Last Morsel from Your Content To Reach New Audiences and Expand Your Influence

Applesaucing, reusing your content for better audience reach

When Fergus Henderson opened his restaurant, St. John, in London in 1995 it adopted the philosophy that when it came to meat, “it would be disingenuous to the animal not to make the most of the whole beast.” And so a new wave of cooking, dining, and eating came into being — one where no part of the animal is wasted. Twenty years after Henderson opened St. John, the way we as creative professionals and content producers view our online projects can borrow a lot from his philosophy.

Applesaucing, a Definition

Your published content as metaphor, if you will. Read more

Using TextExpander and Markdown to Transform Your Writing & Web Publishing

TextExpander + Markdown

Do you find it daunting to compose a blog post or to author some other type of web content? Ugh, all those <div> tags! Formatting HTML, perhaps with in-line CSS, can be a hassle, and can slow us down. Luckily, there’s a solution — a way to reduce time and complexity. TextExpander and Markdown. Let’s get started.

What is TextExpander?

TextExpander is a single-purpose software app for Mac by Smile Software. It lives in your Mac’s menu bar and helps you type by expanding short bits of text — or as they call them, Snippets — into long passages or elements with intricate formatting. Examples tell the story:

Think of how many times a day you type your own name. Filling out forms, writing a letter, etc. etc. I have a Snippet PPFF which expands to Prescott Perez-Fox.

Same goes for email addresses. I type p@tbc and it expands to

Need a date and time? ddate and ttime expand to 20160423 and 2217, respectively.

It’s amazing. Frankly, it’s the sort of thing that really should be built into the operating system. (In a way, it is, if you dig into the Keyboard preferences, but sadly the Mac native features can’t match TextExpander.)

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Can Your Company Design a Business Card? How to Test and Optimise Your Team Workflow

Business Card title image

In his most famous work on capitalism and commerce, The Wealth of Nations, author and economist Adam Smith describes how even something as simple and pedestrian as a farmer’s woolen coat can’t be made by a single person. It requires the collective expertise and effort of many different people — everyone from the shepherd to the tailor has a role play to play, including less obvious jobs like dye-maker, money-lender, cart-driver (and cartwrights before that), and the folks who hand-carve buttons from precise species of wood. […] Full post →

Prepare with Purpose for OS X 10.11 El Capitan

OS X 10.11 El Capitan

The new version of the Mac operating system, clumsily-named OS X 10.11 El Capitan is just around the corner. Many pro users are already running a late beta on their current machines. But before you wipe your system and install the new OS afresh, be organized and prepare. Here’s how to handle the change with minimal drama so you can get back up and running in no time.

What to backup

Many of us have continuous, automated backups in place, but when wiping your system down to zero, I recommend manually backing up a few things extra. […] Full post →

Why Can’t I Concentrate? And what I’m doing about it.

Why Can't I Concentrate?

There’s an undeniable trend lately toward mediation and other mindfulness activities. All the cool kids, aka today’s generation of authors, speakers, consultants, entrepreneurs, etc., have taken up the practice and many are lauding the results.

But meditation can be extremely off-putting in its name only. Vaguely religious, implicitly supernatural, altogether wrapped up in new age, hippy liberalism of decades past.* For addled and neurotic people like me — perhaps the people to whom it would be of greatest impact — it seems a very tall mountain to climb. […] Full post →

Pro Tip for Keeping Your Portfolio Up To Date

If you’re at all like me, you’ve caught yourself sheepishly admitted “wow, my portfolio is a bit out of date.” That goes double for websites, which can look aged and neglected if they’re slightly non-current.

But I have, in recent weeks, developed a system to combat this problem. And like most productivity or studio management systems, it’s dead simple. Allow me to share it with you.

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Pro Tip for Using Google to Compare Software Tools

On The Busy Creator Podcast, we frequently discuss the software that creative pros are using to build websites, edit videos, and manage projects. In fact, the most downloaded episode to date remains our single-topic show about project management tools & collaboration software.

If you’re researching new online software, web or mobile apps, or project management tools, don’t forget about using Google. Here’s how:

Many of us begin our discovery with another software title or company. For example, if you’re out there trying to learn the latest in word processing, you’ll likely have Microsoft Word as the standard by which to compare it. […] Full post →

The Busy Creator’s Quick Guide to Starting a Podcast

The Busy Creator's Quick Guide to Starting a Podcast

I’ve been hosting The Busy Creator Podcast for over a year now, and the endeavor has allowed me to connect to 40+ amazing creative pros across a number of creative sectors. In recent weeks, numerous folks have approached me with the simple question “What do I need to start a podcast?” With growing interest not only in listening, but in hosting a podcast, I think it useful that I share some tips on getting started.

The important thing to note is that I am by no means an expert in creating a world-famous show, earning millions of dollars, building a full-fledged media company, or becoming a speaker/author/entrepreneur on the back of my humble podcast. Those things have indeed happened to Podcasters over the years — for example, Keith and The Girl, Entrepreneur on Fire, Grammar Girl/QD Now, or Chris Hardwick, respectively, but not for me [yet]. I have, however, started two podcasts on my own, without a team of sound engineers or web designers, and those early steps aren’t nearly as intimidating as you might think.

John Lee Dumas, the host and founder of the aforementioned Entrepreneur on Fire, has built a million-dollar business on the strength of his podcasts, including a private membership site, Podcasters’ Paradise. The motto of Paradise is simple: “Create → Grow → Monetize“. To borrow some equally succinct language, let’s dig a bit deeper into the “Create” stage and break it down further into “Plan → Record → Publish.

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Pro Tip for Organization – The Humble Coloured Folder

Pro Tip

One technique can bring massive results with only minimal setup, and it’s simple. Coloured folders.

I mean this in two ways. First, actual tangible folders to keep papers. No, seriously, imagine if you put a system in place where the folders on your desk were colour-coded by project. Black means internal stuff, red means client A, blue means client B, etc. Absolutely worth a try.

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Preparing for End-of-year Taxes or Annual Reviews

Pro Tip

November is the unofficial start to the close of the year. It’s a great time to start preparing for January, including the necessary paperwork and taxes involved.

Examine your system for tracking money. Are you simply reviewing your bank statement when it arrives in the mail? Do you keep an elaborate Excel sheet which takes double the time because you re-enter everything twice? Now is a great time to explore some potential new software solutions to track your business finances.


WaveApps, creates charts as it tracks things

I recently discovered WaveApps. […] Full post →

Level-Up Strategy for Organizing Your Digital Life

Level-Up Strategy

With the gradual takeover of the paperless office, and our personal reluctance to keep physical things in our already-crowded home studios, staying organised often means keeping your digital files in check. The most important strategy you can employ — if you haven’t done so already — is to create for yourself some kind of naming convention. Perhaps we’ll cover this topic in more detail at a future date, but for now assume there is no correct or incorrect way to do this. Anything is always better than nothing.

Once you have that in place, try this strategy: Don’t create versions.

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Pro Tip for Maintaining Fitness & Balance in Business

Pro Tip

Creative professionals across the spectrum will agree that spending time away from your desk is essential for maintaining balance and staying energised. Here’s a tip to help install some good habits.

Set “away from desk” hours in your calendar. Ban yourself from your desk during that time.

Limiting the amount of time you can spend face down in your work will force you to focus on the task at hand, and not just float around the internet waiting for clients to email you back. It will also help you wrap up for the day and get a good night sleep. […] Full post →

Level-Up Strategy for Maintaining Up-To-Date Backups of Your Files

Level-Up Strategy

I have come to embrace the adage of our computer age:

There are two types of people: those who do back up, and those who will back up

After losing hundreds of photos to a hard drive crash way back in high school, I’ve become religious about backing up files ever since. But too many of us still don’t have a seamless, continuous backup system in place.

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