Why Entrepreneurs Must Constantly Reevaluate The Risks They’re Willing To Take

the punch card of life

You can only succeed as much as you are willing to fail. Only recently did I fully grasp how much the level of failure I was willing to experience directly related to the size of the game I was playing in business. It all started when I was chatting recently with a friend who has a completely different level of experience with financial failure than I do. As a trader, at one point he lost all of his money—$2 million—while trading. This sounded nuts to me. A $2 million loss is unfathomable—my low point in business was $40k debt. But this […]

Host a Successful Art Event #SELLOUT-Style


Over the years we’ve thrown over a dozen art shows, in multiple cities, with a wide range of attendance, sales, and press and have learned a lot about what works, and what doesn’t. Have we mastered it? Not at all. Every event is a learning experience, and an opportunity to test new ideas. But here are a few key points we’ve learned thus far that can help make your next event a success out of the gate. 1. The Big Idea Art can feel be a daunting form of entertainment for most, and I’m interested in making it more accessible and […]

I Hate That I Hate Volunteering

Michelle Hartney, Jenny

I’ve served thanksgiving dinner at homeless shelters. I’ve wrapped presents for poor kids at Christmas. I spent a summer in Costa Rica building houses. I’ve volunteered at various spots like that over the years here and there, but never consistently. I’ve always wanted to give back, but I’ll admit I’ve never really enjoyed the actual task of doing it, and I’ve always felt pretty crappy about that. Then, over the last five years as I built my business, I’ve felt waves of guilt that I haven’t had time—or haven’t made the time—to volunteer. To me, giving back means spending your […]

Business Pricing: How to Charge Like an Expert

Tra Bouscaren, Projection Theory Slant Rhyme Institute, Solo Installation at Neu Kirche Contemporary Art Center, Pittsburgh

What you charge, and how you charge, says a lot about your level of skill whether you like it or not. I meet so many people that want to be experts, thought leaders, gurus, yet their pricing, and how they handle the situation, tells a different story. Here’s What an Expert Looks Like I met Steve the week he moved to NYC. Through a mutual friend at a bar on Bleecker Street, we were quickly drawn to each other and a first date the following week was scheduled. Now, Steve had just moved here; I was born and raised in […]

Building a Startup With Your Spouse… Successfully

Pia Silva Wasterval and Steve Wasterval

Whenever people hear that I own a business with my husband, the first thing they usually say is “I could never do that!” followed by the question “How do you do that?!” People are so curious about it that Forbes even did a piece on it! How do you do it? The same way you get to Carnegie Hall: practice! You see, I absolutely love working with my husband. I mean, I liked him enough to marry him, didn’t I? Of course I like spending lots of time with him, building something meaningful together, and sharing the glory of success (and the pain of failure) with […]

How to Use Vacations to Increase Sales

Alex Nuñez, Unrequited longing for leisure

Getting out of town can do wonders for your business. There are several key types of trips I use to increase revenue. Though they may seem like just a lot of vacations, we actually seriously plan them and force ourselves to take them on a regular basis because of how much they positively affect our bottom line. Seriously, if we didn’t make it a priority, we would probably never leave town because we love working on our business so much! 1. The Quick Trip This is the most obvious one, a 4-7 day change of scenery that doesn’t necessarily require us […]

How to Raise Prices like a Badass


Want to know if you have a badass brand? Take this short quiz: Do you magnetically attract ideal clients? Can you charge a premium price (in other words, more than your competitors) and still win the business? Being able to charge a premium price for your services is the cornerstone for having a badass brand and business. Not because we want to gouge clients out of money, but because you’re a badass if you’re worth a premium price, and you should be paid appropriately. But raising prices can be scary, another reason raising prices is for badasses only. It means you […]

A Brand Studio Born in Paradise

early retirement

How a soul-searching trip off the grid lead to the formation of our badass branding company… In 2011—before a branding studio was even a figment of my imagination—my then-fiancée Steve and I retired early. Really early: ages 31 and 27, respectively. With $10,000 in our savings account, we sublet our Brooklyn apartment and bought a one-way ticket to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. We found a farm through WWOOF.org that allowed us to live and eat off the land in exchange for working it. It was the simple life—no watch, clock, phone, or computer. No stoves or washing machines. And no […]

Building Community With One Unlikely Word: NO.


  If you own a business, you’ve probably been told that “building a community” should be high on your list of priorities. You probably think that the best way to build community is to  know the best way connect with other people and do things that will get them to like you. Win friends to influence people, right?! Wrong. One of the key steps to building a badass community is one of the hardest to master: saying no. Turn down business. Build Community. Make more money. It seems counterintuitive, but don’t let it deceive you. If you offer a valuable […]