5 Ways to Get People Talking About your Creative Business

5-ways-to-get-people-talking We can’t be the only people out there that find ourselves in a rut when the buzz surrounding our hard work goes silent. The truth is, putting the product together is the easiest part. Keeping people talking about your work once the initial “hype” that surrounds it dies off is much, much harder. In this week’s Youtube series from Carlee she’s giving you 5 steps that will help your word of mouth grow, and keep buzzing.

  1. CREATE. Create something that provides value to your community, that really stays current to your brand (ie. your art and what it’s all about). If you know that you’re community is filled with 22 year old women  in the throws of navigating adulthood, that is perfect. Play to that demographic and develop a freemium, a free tool (often a PDF) that reflects your brand and their wants/needs. Do they want funky art like yours, but have no idea how to incorporate it into their living room? Give them 5 tips for doing so! Do they want a work of art that reflects their personal style? Walk them through how to find it! Make sure that this is information and advice  that you are willing to pass along for free. Remember, we want to start the conversation about your business and what you have to offer.Having something that reflects exactly what you are offering, and being able to put it directly into the hands of your target audience is something that is immeasurable to your success. This is going to cause a chain reaction. Word of mouth will start to spread, and your reach will start to expand organically.
  1. BUILD A VEHICLE FOR DISTRIBUTION. Draft the template or email that you will use to distribute your new freemium that you have worked created. You are going to want to round up your list of friends in the industry, bloggers, vloggers, peers with any type of social media following, and those who resemble your brand’s target demographic. Having a template to use and in place makes it so much easier to send yourself out into the cyber land when you receive a new contact or connection. We use MailChimp for exactly this service. You can check them out, here. Be careful not to sound too salesy or pushy, people detest sales pitches!Make sure to leave the line of communication open in your template, so that you are always able to have feedback from these people.
  2. PRESS SEND - OR NOT. MailChimp takes care of the automation aspect of correspondence. With the automated system in place you can make sure that you are getting your freemium to the right people at the right time. What’s even better than the automation, is having the analytic feedback that MailChimp breaks down for you. Get your content into the hands of the people who you want to start talking about your work.
  1. KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING. Check back in after they have had your brand’s product in their life for a few days. ...and keep checking in and providing value whenever you can. What you are doing is building a email list--and this list is going to help you succeed. You reaching out and following up keeps that line of communication open, and of course after a little cultivation...ask them to buy something. Remember, for all intensive purposes your business is closed unless you asked for money that day. .
  1. REPEAT. Repeat steps one through four every so often, and with no hesitation! This should all become a part of your Hustling Repertoire. You’ve got this.

We want to hear what you have been doing to get people talking about your art and business!

Happy Hustler S.E. Tyler

Happy Hustler.png

img_6104Tell us a little bit about your hustle and your happiness journey.

Right now I am working as a social media designer and outreach coordinator for AIDS Fund Philly by day. It's meaningful work being able to help the 19,500+ people living with HIV in the Philly region improve their quality of life. I consider myself as an advocate for the LGBTQ community and it is a blessing to be able to carry this passion into my professional work.  By night you can find me howling at a full moon and teaching painting classes at Painting With a Twist in Haddonfield, New Jersey. My work can feel like a heavy burden, but when I stop to think of all that I have accomplished it makes me excited to the next chapter of my journey.
When I think of how this all began, my mind is taken back to the 3rd grade when I first started to write stories that were accompanied by my drawings. By the time I reached 12, I would be staying up past hours to draw on printer paper in my bed, eraser shavings falling in between my bed sheets. The next day I would walk into the lunchroom excited to share my comics and cartoon strips with my friends. At 13 I vowed that I would attend an art college, admittedly I was torn between a career in visual arts and a life as a musical theater performer.
tumblr_o54kl1ggwe1vnsl06o5_1280Fast forward 8 years to my Sophomore year of art school and you would have found me still awake past the strike of midnight, furiously working on my next piece for critiques. This became a common practice, working all night and then finding 2 hours to nap before it was time to make the commute into the city. Art school was my childhood dream. I kept pushing myself harder and harder until the very end. After I graduated, I spent a good half hour staring at the honor cords I had earned from my four years as an Emerging Leader of the Arts Scholar. In that moment I finally released all the feelings from the stress and anxiety of the past four years with tears streaming down my face.
Up until that point I had viewed my life as a series of hurdles I had to jump in order to reach happiness. I will be happy once I am a great painter, I will be happy once I complete my thesis, I will be happy once I land that art job.  These are the thoughts that went through my mind until that point. Now I am trying to be present, keeping in mind that I am the only person responsible for my happiness. Choosing to be happy and to live in the moment, I can enjoy life so much more than before when I was always looking towards the next milestone.

tumblr_o9b5f61oxa1vnsl06o1_540What do you do to de-stress after or during a long, stressful day?

After I'm done work I usually have a long bike ride waiting for me. I channel the big feelings left over from the day into energy for the ride, accompanied by fast punk or metal music to get my blood pumping. When I get home I sometimes listen to more mellow music and sit in the dark with candles or Christmas lights. I also talk to my friends and family. Chances are they have had a stressful day too and we can help each other feel more grounded. And of course I will draw in my sketchbook. When I'm sketching I can slow down the anxious hamster wheels that are spinning nearly 24/7 in my head to focus on making something.

Where do you go for inspiration?

Music has always been a huge inspiration for my work. When I was 14 I once created a graphic novella with a story and characters all based off of Iron Maiden songs. My BFA thesis was a series of illustrations celebrating many of the American music icons that I have come to love. Whether you are tuned into Bone Thugs n' Harmony or Buddy Holly, music can transport you to another world, make you feel the joys and sorrows of someone you may have very little in common with day to day. Music can be a loud voice for the oppressed, it can be a silent confession. Music creates culture, and connects us all.

img_6086I am inspired a lot by my own life's experiences. Some ideas for my comics come from taking difficult feelings I have around navigating the world as a trans masculine non-binary person- and putting in in a light hearted humorous view. These are troubling times for folks who do not identify with their assigned birth gender, with laws being passed to keep us out of bathrooms, and not enough legislature available to protect people's rights to safe housing and employment. My comic Tranpire is an account of a gender nonconforming creature of the night. This vamp is full of spunk and keeps their head & their limp wrist up high, despite being a pariah from the living world, including the LGBT community. Luckily for me I have plenty of people in life that keep me from feeling like a lost soul, I hope my comic can bring a smile to the face of a gender rebel who feels broken down by society. If we can laugh, we can heal.

What are you currently reading or listening to (podcasts, books, blogs, etc.)?

I recently discovered a podcast called Season of the Witch on YouTube and it has a lot of great talk for people interested in spiritual magic practice. To me, magic is the willful manipulation of the energy around you- whatever energy you put into the universe you are bound to get back. This is very important in my pursuit of happiness- I am conscious to avoid negative energy being projected onto my future. If you believe you can't win, then you have already lost.

tumblr_od5hypm8fc1vnsl06o1_540What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone just starting their happy hustle journey?

Sometimes the best opportunities are not going to be served to you on a silver platter. One summer I was tasked with finding an internship position. I applied to many of the big names in the industry, my heart was set on landing a spot with a leading toy company. I was met with rejection from every place I applied, until I opened my mind. I searched for small non profit organizations that were in need of a graphic designer. I got accepted not once, but twice. So I carried out two internships as the sole designer on the staff, and learned alot more of my skills and problem solving than I might have otherwise. I made closer relationships, and was more valued on the team as the only person able to get the job done. One position I held even lead to a job that I currently work today.
Don't be afraid to ride your unicycle down the side avenue to success, rather than waiting on the highway breathing in exhaust from all the other SUV's in front of you.

What are some of your favorite quotes or words to live by?

This quote comes from a woman that I met once while waiting outside of a train station. She was complimenting me on my bright pink hair at the time, saying she was excited to turn her grey hair purple as her first dye job at 74. Why was she suddenly confident to make such a bold style choice?

She told me this: "One thing I have learned in my life is that most people only truly care about themselves. They are too busy worrying about their own lives to be truly concerned with what you are doing or how you look. So you should just do what you like. Live like nobody is watching- do whatever you can to be happy and free, because they aren't watching, and they don't care."

tumblr_o54kl1ggwe1vnsl06o1_540In one word, sum up your life as a Happy Hustler.


What are the three core values of your hustle and how do those values relate to your happiness?

My three core values have to be positivity, faith, and hunger.
Finding a space for positive energy in my hustle has taken me far. People recognize me as a good energy to have around, which has opened the way to many opportunities. If you are dredged with negativity, you are bringing everyone else down around with you. It's an unattractive quality and prevents you from having some appreciation for life- even when life is sad. I would be lying if I said I felt happy all the time. Its normal to be sad. Its not a bad thing. A sad time in life can still be enjoyed with some positive vibrations.
12718121_10207925765815833_8281540123234945618_nNext is faith, and no I don't mean George Michael with a choir of angels. I am not sure what my next career move will be, I might return to a position as a substitute teacher, I may be auditioning for a theatrical production for the first time in 4 years. I might make a book that is a total failure, I could spend a long time hustling before I reach the place of security I am seeking. What keeps me going is my faith in the universal powers that be- whatever road I travel, I will be provided for. The next chapter might result in a lot of money, or I could learn a completely new skill. I might even live on another continent for a few months, just to see what is out there for me. Wisdom is the ability to release control, release yourself from the idea of a prescribed route to happiness and success. I have faith that whatever choices I make for my future, the journey will be all the more colorful for it.
tumblr_o54kl1ggwe1vnsl06o4_250And lastly I am and will forever be stricken with hunger. Hunger for change, hunger for growth, hunger that I use to propel me over seemingly impossible obstacles. Someone once told me that they believed musicians create worse music as soon as they have achieved a stature of fame and fortune. If you have nothing else to work towards, then your intentions become less sincere. This is why I stay hungry. To appreciate all that I have worked hard to gain, and to keep my focus on all there is left for me to conquer. I will never settle for satisfaction, I starve for excellence.

How To Make Your Network Hustle With You

how to Make your.png We’ve all heard, countless times, that it’s all in who you know, not what your work looks like. The importance of networking has been instilled in us for ages, but how many of us can honestly look at one another and say we have a great network established? Using the term network just sounds like work though, doesn’t it? We used to view networking as the cold and distant way that we make connections, for most of us, we need to reprogram our brain into seeing and reading the word “network” as “genuine connection”. Because when we make and build on a genuine connection with our peers or audience, that’s when the magic happens.

But why is a network essential for our hustle? Because if you have a great opportunity, naturally you want to share it. So share away! Tell them about what you have going on and WHY this opportunity popped them into your mind. In turn, they will want to send opportunities YOUR way. Funny how easy networking can be, right? Your network can be anyone from your friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, clients...whomever you know and have cultivated this relationship of mutual support with. This mutual support will not only help to move them onto bigger and better things...but it’s going to help you as well! (Pro Tip: You’re not just doing something for someone in your network with the expectation that they are in turn, going to do something for you.)

In this week’s YouTube video Carlee is sharing how ‘Art for Art’ can be an easy starting point. If you are new to hustling, you likely do not have the funding to invest outright. If you have something that you can offer someone, and they have a product that you need--like Carlee and her graphic design pal--you can organize a great exchange between the two. Carlee traded a piece of her original art in exchange for the APOP logo.

‘Share for Share’ is also a great, no cost way to support the hustle of your network. Are you great at social media? Awesome. Use that to benefit your network, and in turn it can benefit YOU. Sharing via social media and email blasts is an easy way to expand and be seen by an entirely different world of viewers and followers!

Guest Posting/Featurettes is one of our favorite ways to hustle. (Do you know someone you want to see featured on APOP? Click here to nominate someone for us to feature.) If you write a fashion blog, but have a friend who’s blog features mostly lifestyle pieces...swap for a day. You can share a piece with your fashion and art expertise that their readers may not see elsewhere, and they can provide some great lifestyle insights for your readers. Both of you win, with cross traffic being drawn to both of you AND your readers get something out of the ordinary that they have come to expect from you. Featuring someone who is really exceptional at what your readers/followers are interested in is an amazing way to gain networking traffic as well. If I know that a graphic designer in my community is killing it at the game, why wouldn’t I want her to share her tips and tricks with my network to help us all get some much needed insight?

We all hustle for different reasons. We all have different areas of expertise. Why not bring your network along with you for the ride? I guarantee that if you are absolute rubbish at marketing but amazing at writing--there is someone in your network who is crap at writing and great at marketing. Help build up those around you, and your network will only grow stronger.

How have you used your connections during your creative hustle? Share with us what you are doing, and why it’s working for your hustle!  Shoot us an email or comment below!

Happy Hustler Maria Sweeney




Maria Sweeney is a Moldova-born, New Jersey based freelance illustrator. Recent graduate of Moore College of Art and Design, Maria Sweeney has worked extensively in digital, oils, and other traditional mediums which are showcased in her commission works and sketches. Aside from illustrating her current project, In A Rut Comics, recreational time is generally used in some sort of artistic outlet ranging from working on self-published zines to sketching a possible unhealthy amount of portraits.




cover_openedbookTell us a little bit about your hustle and your happiness journey.

I wasn’t always outwardly artistic growing up. I wasn’t a child that drew the moment she could hold a pencil or was entertained in arts and crafts class. But with the start of high school, so came drawing to occupy some of my class time. By junior year, I was teaching myself daily how to draw, using online resources, the library, and anything I could get my hands on to improve. Getting accepted into art school continued much of the discipline I was already applying, but with tenfold the amount of responsibility and workload. Art school is notoriously difficult and as a recent graduate, the need to hustle in order to progress in my field is just as much as it was when I was hustling to get into art school.


inarut-3-bike-1What do you do to de-stress after or during a long, stressful day?

Like most artists, and as ironic as it is, to de-stress myself I usually end up churning out a few sketches in my moleskine or painting a quick piece digitally. Sometimes I don’t need a break from art-making, just from the specific piece of art itself. Drawing something that isn’t for my comic project or for a commission can provide the energy I need to continue these projects. Reading, listening to music, snuggling with my bunny are also great alternatives for me to do if doodling isn’t cutting it!



Where do you go for inspiration?

I take a lot of inspiration from classical painters, particularly those from the Pre-Raphelite Brotherhood period. Some of my favorite painters come from this group: Waterhouse, Rossetti, Millias — the list goes on. Classical and Neo-Classical work will always be a source of inspiration for me.

Other sources of inspiration for me are alternative manga (such as Taiyo Matsumoto and Kyoko Okazaki) and indie comics (the Tamaki cousins, Glyn Dillion — to name a few.)

Often times, I am most inspired after reading work by some of my favorite creators.


whitebirchtrees_websiteWhat are you currently reading or listening to (podcasts, books, blogs, etc.)?

The last book I read was really great, it’s a comic called My Friend Dahmer by John “Derf" Backderf. It tells the story of the notorious serial killer, Jeffery Dahmer but from a very unique perspective. The creator of the comic actually grew up with Dahmer and the combination of thorough research and first-hand experiences interacting with him was really surreal to read about. The art is great and the storytelling feels much like the pacing of a movie — which is cool because it’s actually being made into one now!

As for blogs and anything else, I read MuddyColors blog regularly. The blog has rotating writers, all different artists and art directors in the illustration and fine arts field. Many of the artists that contribute are ones I look up to and it’s very insightful about how the business of illustration functions.


morningroutineWhat is one piece of advice you'd give to someone just starting their happy hustle journey?

My advice is to establish if hustling is something you actually want to do for your career. While often fulfilling and inspiring, hustling isn’t always happy and by definition, it isn’t easy. I wish creating art, getting paid for illustrating, and having consistent commission work wasn’t always a hustle, but it makes me happy in the long run and a sense of accomplishment. Art functions as both an outlet and a source of income, but both are work and require quite a lot of hustling! I would advise others to find what makes them want to hustle and to keep in mind that hustling is hard, but can be very rewarding.


What are some of your favorite quotes or words to live by?

As cliché as it may be, the painter and teacher Bob Ross often says it best, “You do your best work if you do a job that makes you happy.” And while art isn’t always easy, it ultimately makes me happy and happy enough to want to continue to illustrate.



In one word, sum up your life as a Happy Hustler.



What are the three core values of your hustle and how do those values relate to your happiness?

Discipline is essential — without discipline, art wouldn’t be made. When I’m disciplined, I can see the rewards through work being done on time, or improvement in a particular area of drawing that I lack in. Another core value would be to remain opened to criticism. Like most, this isn’t always easy for me, but it’s imperative to anyone wanting to improve in anything they do. Thankfully, I am blessed with supportive friends, often artistic ones themselves, that are able to give me constructive input and help me improve. Learning to rest is a final core value that I think is important. I don’t always do it and it seems contradictory to being disciplined, but they actually work together. Just as important as it is to be focused in illustrating, it’s also important to be disciplined in being healthy, getting enough rest, learning to take breaks when you are drawing, and allowing yourself time to go out of the studio and enjoy time with others. Often times, experiences outside of my work end up being reflected in it.

Connect with Maria:

Website // Facebook // Instagram // Tumblr 


First Friday Feature: Andrew Cerami

First Friday Feature: Andrew Cerami

"First Friday Feature, Andrew Cerami, says ,"My biggest hope as an artist is to make things that inspire the viewer to contemplate and search inside themselves so that they too can begin to engage the creative power of Self and bring its healing and transforming power into everyday life." -Andrew Cerami

Creating Mindfully: Philadelphia Artist Julia Fox

Here at APOP we like to recognize people who take the term "moving meditation" to the next level. Philadelphia artist, Julia Fox, is an inspiring example of how art can not only be used to become more mindful of beauty on a daily basis, but also more aware of the importance of community and connectedness. 11224036_10152910831870706_7929759179449673491_o

My artistic practice started as a way to focus. Creative energy allowed me to be content for hours that would have normally been spent getting into trouble or pestering my siblings. Although my art practice has maintained these qualities into adulthood, art-making for me has also become a way to process and understand the society in which I live. My work is meant to capture a moment in the life of an urban structure that epitomizes the state of the neighborhood or city in which it resides. A finished work describes the moment I took an interest in the architecture and slowed down to process my surroundings. My work serves as a connection between myself and the city in which I work, and is meant to take those moments of observation, and share them with a viewer. I intend for them to serve as a reminder of the beauty in the forgotten and overlooked, for that is on my mind during that first moment of observation. In a way the moments of observation themselves can be seen as a meditation and although the physical act of making is what initially drew me to art, the concept and connection to a community or city has become just as important in my mature work. -Julia Fox

Visit Julia Fox's artist website here.

Daily Doodle: A Free Downloadable Coloring Page

Get your creative juices flowing and your brain glowing with one of APOP Studios' free, downloadable adult coloring pages! [shopify product=]


Daily Doodle: Free Adult Coloring Page

We all find it difficult to find some time everyday for our own mental well-being. Use this FREE downloadable adult coloring page to do your daily moving meditation. It's fun and easy to take care of yourself!

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Moving Meditation: Tampon Box Cover

It doesn't sound that meditative, but upon looking at Zazen Creation: An APOP Shop's newest product. You might understand how creating the box and design might encourage it's creator (that's me!) to slow down from my busy life. It was a pleasure making this product. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! il_570xN.889330849_p2bo

PS: I'm pretty excited that I can leave my tampon box out in the open without it messing up my bathroom's color scheme. :P

OMG SNEAK PEAK OF OUR SHOW (Day 55: May 14, 2015)

[embed][/embed] Ya'll should totally come to The Starter Kit tonight. The reception begins and 7pm and goes into the night. It'll be super fun! Art (by Kim Jackson, Julia Lauren Fox, and myself), live music, delicious homemade food by the amazing Amanda Troise,FREE BOOZE, etc, etc. It's going to be a blast so ya'll better come! :) Oh yeah and this is a sneak peak vlog. Check it out. :P

Collector Buys my Artwork--WHAT?!?!

My good friend from college, Jazmin, recently bought my piece "Release". Are you as excited as we are? Probably not, but hey, you can have something just as sweet. Check out my artist website: to "shop" and purchase your own original work of art by emailing me at OR :) Myers_Release

Title: Release, 2015--Artist: Carlee Myers--Medium: Woodburning and Graphite--Dimensions: 11 5/8"h x 7 1/2"w x 5/8"d

The Morning After (Day 37: April 26, 2015)