The Biggest Barrier to Creating Anything

Perhaps the biggest barrier to creating anything is the idea that what you want to create must be "good" or "useful" or "purposeful"—and this fucks with us quite a bit. I imagine it fucks with us in the same way that Americans (compared to Europeans) often stop playing music after a certain age because they're not going to "do anything with it." As if that was the point of playing music.

If every kid in an orchestra had missed their plans on making the New York Symphony or being Jimi Hendrix, the education and learning and development that came from playing that instrument wouldn't go to waste. The same goes for adults: drawing, playing the drums, kicking a ball, learning how to cook, developing your crochet skills–none of it is wasteful, and I feel like many adults need reminders of this.

Your life isn't split into two extremes: work hard or do nothing (in order to recover from working hard). There’s so much to do in the middle. Lately I've seen, heard or used the word "spectrum" an unusually large amount of times, and I believe it's coming up for a reason. Many things live on a sliding scale, and I recognize that while polar extremes or absolutes might be easier for our head to wrap around, most of the time, it’s not where the truth lives. So what lives on the spectrum between work and doing nothing? Play. And get this, it doesn’t always include beer (wild, I know). Don’t let our current culture bully you into believing that you need alcohol to fill the space between nothing and work. That’s a cop out for people who are afraid of making things that won’t be “good enough”—an arbitrary measure they’ve mustered in their scared brains. Believe me, I’m familiar. Quit it.

The measure you’re using for ROI is bullshit.

So you might be afraid to fill that gap because what you produce might not be "good." But what measure are you using? Because whatever it is, it’s keeping us as a whole from trying a lot of things. And frankly, that's not okay. Kids are not the only ones who should be encouraged to develop their curiosity. This is a life long thing, my friends. If money is your only measure, you’re fucking it up. Joy is a thing that’s valuable.

I'm proud of those who play with makeup because they want to experiment, or those who budget for classes and lectures just-because. There are many of us exploring things, but many still who might need a reminder that what we want to do is okay whether it’s make a set of greeting cards without being a writer, recording and releasing a song without being a singer, or roasting your own coffee beans without owning a shop. You don't have to be a master; the process is the point.

If that's really tough for you to understand, think about Life. You don't go through it to die. That isn’t the real “aim.” The process is the whole point. Hence, your fucking Life (the part between being born and dying).

Get it? Now make something you want. Bring people in to help you hone your skills, collaborate, or do it on your own. But do it. Your wanting and your joy and your experience-gained is more than enough.

What Good is Your Voice?

It only stops injustices. Calls out corruption. Praises the Good. Gratifies the helpful. Acknowledges the change. Speaks your truth. Shares the experience. Communicates vulnerabilities. Creates connection. Damns the cruel. Saves the victims. Reiterates care. Reassures the lonely. Inspires the soft. Supports the strong. Sings the joy. Stifles the lies. Finds a tribe. Joins the people. Lifts the burden. Carries the weight. Sends the message. Saves a life.

But you can pretend it means nothing, if you want.

I’m not going to tell you to vote. I’m not going to try and convince you that your voice means something. Believe me, if you don’t figure that out on your own, it won’t make a difference.

You’re the one who gets to decide.

November 6, 2018 is the election date here in America. For all of those who have for some reason — cultural, religious or otherwise— kept themselves quiet and timid and ignorant on purpose, you could, if you want, make a different choice. I hope — I won’t demand–– that You decide that you matter.

My Favorite Tools for Entrepreneurs, Side-Hustlers and Small Businesses

Note: I have no monetary affiliations with any of the following organizations. Although I am a proud Squarespace Specialist and Authorized Trainer, they don't pay me for that designation–that's earned. As for the tools, I've used all of these with great success:


We use Typeform for all things that require data gathering, from preparing a quote to sending out surveys. We also use Zapier to integrate our requests for quotes into Streak, a CRM that lives in your inbox (see more below).


Website Building Platform and excellent tool for Business Prototyping (if you want a code for signing up, sign up for a build session). $

Google Suite

This is not as obvious to some people as I thought, but the Google Suite is standard in my opinion. This includes a custom email address (, Google Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides among other things.* $


Scheduling tool that integrates with Google Calendar and makes meetings incredibly easy.


Another scheduling tool which is a little more complex; I use them for scheduling paid classes or trainings.*


I actually use this as my main conference line and include my dedicated line information inside my calendly account.


An Email Marketing and Campaign tool for keeping in communication with multiple people who sign on as subscribers.


A great product for sending out estimates, invoices and accepting payment. Making it easy for for people to pay you (while ensuring you can track it all) is a critical thing for budding entrepreneurs. I have some issues with them, but generally speaking they're pretty good. $

A Link shortener great for tracking, so instead of the link to this article being I can make it Boom.


The best for DIY social posts and cover designs, and can also be used for designing presentations (save as png and drag the image into PPT) and simple logos (save as a transparent file)


You won't find a better place for aggregated, high-resolution, license-free images. 


If your business is in need of a payroll service (i.e. putting yourself on payroll to save on taxes), this company makes it seamless. $ 

Streak CRM

A Pipelining tool and CRM great for moving people or things through a funnel. I.e. Contact, Pitched, Proposal Sent, Proposal Accepted. 

I know there's a bunch more so check back later for an update, just wanted to get the critical basics out so that you can get a move on. 

$ Indicates a paid software. The rest have free and paid versions you can use.

Of course, where it makes sense, have a professional help you out with some of these. If you need a custom plan for what to use with and for your specific industry, I'm happy to help. It's a sit-down session (or phone-call) that will save you hell of a lot of time.

How to Build Empathy in 3 Easy Steps

Note: it's not easy.


Step 1: Find the connection

It is incredibly difficult to care about something or someone in an authentic way without relating somehow. How deep that relation is and the significance of it is completely up to you. There are blood relatives that feel disconnected from one another, while two strangers can meaningfully bond over a cigarette on a street corner. For this first part, you decide what’s important.
I have a simple trick for finding something in common with someone: I look at the facts. The most basic fact, that which is the foundation of reason to care, is simple and shared by all (even you, the person or robot reading this):

We exist right now, together, at the same time on earth.
This is not an insignificant thing.

It is the foundation of love, and the way and reason I am able to connect to people so quickly. Being hyperconscious of this fact has compelled me to give a shit more times than not, in ways that have been more fulfilling than most. Connecting to you is connecting to myself, is connecting to God, is connecting to my environment, is connecting to my past and to all my possibilities. It’s like holding hands for the soul. I know it sounds cheesy as hell, but there really isn’t a better way to describe it. “That touched me” is a physical phrase we use to describe a sensation deeper than our physical bodies, although it isn’t necessarily the proper language for it.
Being in the world together is an incredible thing we share. It weaves us onto the same line of existence. It’s also quality enough for me to love you. Of course my love and care is not bound to existence — there are many people for whom I have developed a great love for and have not shared a direct existence with — but you being here with me is reason enough, deserving of a very special kind of respect. Finding this connection is a crucial step one.


Step 2: Be insatiably curious

Not a little curious– no. Fall in love with learning. There isn’t a person on this earth that I cannot learn from. It doesn’t matter if it’s learning how to do something, what to do, what not to do, why or when — I am not so above it all that there is nothing left for me to discover or refine in this world. Coming to people with a deep desire to learn 1) fosters real human connection and 2) promotes never ending progress. The latter can sound discouraging if you let it, but rather than be upset that you will never know it all, try leaning on the side of joy for the unknown. Be excited by it. 

Let that hunger be an opportunity to connect. Learning is the easiest, most flattering way to bridge a bond that gives you an opportunity to grow in ways you could have never imagined. Ask questions, provide tools for communication; eagerly, rigorously learn. 


Step 3: Lose yourself

Allow yourself to be both immersed completely and one tug away from your own reality. You’ll need this skill in order to understand things well and still be removed enough to see them clearly. This kind of immersion requires a sort of break in boundaries. Or as Psychologist John Townsend would say, utilizing the gate. A boundary with a door that opens and closes, rather than a brick wall. Open the gate to let things in and to let things out.

This last step feels more or less like a magic trick. You are in a place, and then you aren’t. You feel everything, and then you step out and observe it. I call it contextual immersion, and if you can’t get there physically, you can get there with the use of intense visualization and imagination. This third step is also the most emotionally taxing. 


It’s often a struggle to feel people so well, but practicing empathy is an enormously valuable tool for problem solving and a method of connecting that provides integrity within bonds. It’s also a very human marker; we can build tools that have empathic components in the use of responsive words, but not ones that share feelings. Not yet at least. And until then, as far as assets go, empathy is a strong one. 

What if you played against no one? 

What if the success of your business wasn’t pegged against the best or worst in your industry?

What if you measured fulfillment instead of profit? What would that even look like?

What would it look like if you played *with* people in your industry instead of *against* them?

What if all your “competitors” were “partners”? Who would you be serving? How would you be serving them, together?

You might play until people are happy, and then keep playing. You might play until you’ve delivered the thing you want to deliver. You might play until you’re tired and don’t find it interesting anymore. You might play because it’s a good time to play right now. You might play because the people you respect and admire are playing. You might play so that your children know that they could play someday.

But figuring out what you’re playing and why you’re playing it will help settle whatever weird, nameless, blurry, aimless feeling you get sometimes.

Other kinds of games exist.

What Successful Entrepreneurs Don't Talk About

They don’t talk about the fact that sometimes you may spend hours, days, weeks trying to find or a fill a perfect market niche, and that a fit isn’t always found. And that the truth doesn’t change with your ability to stomach it.

They don’t talk about the FOMO, the anxiety, the constant self doubt, the hours spent working on confidence, self-esteem, experience — all to get the courage to take a risk.

They don’t talk about the fact that things fall through, that people let you down, that your business partner may leave, that you might — to your dismay — have to work in a group setting.

They don’t talk about how you’ll probably pull from your savings, depend on sheer luck and the grace of God at times, and learn to compose creative income strategies when push comes to shove.

They don’t talk about the fact that being a professional requires at least some sort of consistency, even if it’s a consistently messy desk.

They don’t talk about the gratitude for recognition, or the smallest word from a mentor giving them the booster seat they needed to sit at the table.

They don’t talk about the little tests they create to filter ideas or the time spent practicing pitches in the mirror.

They don’t talk about the loneliness and the fear involved with making decisions that affect others, and the consciousness it takes to accept that and not let it paralyze you.

They don’t talk about how you’re doing so much of this because what drives you is an insatiable curiosity or a hard-lined fear or an incredible passion — all of which can ultimately be reduced to *not logic*.

They don’t talk about how you’ll need to be good at psychology or finance or writing or something else that has nothing to do with business in order to be good at Business.

They don’t talk about these things, but they should.

  1. Budding entrepreneurs deserve realistic expectations 
  2. Vulnerability is the root of human connection


....and that last bit is what we’re all going for, isn’t it?

Why Expression is So Important

Art is a process of expression.

Here is a slideshow breakdown to help explain its importance in business and life.

Your input makes a difference

Have you ever wondered if your input makes a difference to the company you gave it to?

It does. 

Sometimes the face of an organization is hard to find, but it still surprises me when I tell people that the Squarespace team actually listens to what you have to say and takes real notes. Since 2008, I've sent a number of messages to the support team and have been consistently responded to with a "thanks for bringing this to our attention" or "we'll pass this on to our developers" or "we'll bring this up in our next meeting," and guess what?

They actually do. 

Everyone I've told this to has had a look of surprise and a high-pitched response of, "Really?" And, I understand that surprise.

Have we really gotten to a place where we're in disbelief that an organization can hear us? Are we so keen on the idea that companies are faceless, soulless organizations that we are numb to the truth that organizations are made up of people? And these people might even care about what we have to say? Even *gasp* listen to us at times? Are we really so shocked that they want to know about improvements or suggestions or errors or opportunities? 

If you're an organization that doesn't listen to people who care enough to say something, then you're failing miserably. And if you're a client or customer on the verge of giving feedback, give it. 

Don't nit pick like an asshole, and don't underestimate your words and waste everybody's time by saying something you wouldn't say in person–just be real with it. Say it like you're saying it to a friend. Give the company that benefit of the doubt, and let them give that benefit to you. 

This year, I've learned a lot about friendship–more than I ever have in my life. And, from an organizational standpoint, it's not just about being there in gratitude of service (an extremely important thing I strongly advocate), but also just existing in the world as a person who gives a damn. Just a little bit. Where it's not ever consuming, but is effective.

Like a real friend.

Find Your Muse

When they say, "Find Your Muse," they mean it. 

Coffee isn't one of those things that I just drink to drink. Coffee holds my muse. It flows through me and creates whatever it wants to create. If you'd like to chalk the caffeine up to a sheer chemical surge, then I suggest you do the same with Love.


Bloom Where You Are Planted (and Other Shit)

My childhood friend was feeling sad, so I made her this book of things she could do to feel better. It has helped a few of my awesome friends now, and at minimum put a smile on their face. Hopefully it helps you, too.

Please share this shit with your friends who might need it.


The Most Successful [Free] Business Marketing Secret of Our Time!

Care. Care more. Care more and you win.

That's it.


Thanks to Seth Godin for always reminding me.

Lessons & Other Things (So Far)

The following are Lessons & Other Things (So Far) that I found in an old document while looking for something else. However, I still found them completely relevant. Hopefully some of these serve as reminders to you. Here goes:

  • Too much information can be a bad thing.
  • Hiking is good for you.
  • The sand is beige and the grass is green, and you should have both.
  • Dogs are the best pets on earth.
  • People hide their feelings all the time.
  • Don’t try to save face.
  • Tell the truth and save the hassle.
  • Anything I set up to succeed without me is a good idea.
  • Singing in the car relieves stress.
  • Be kind to people and they’ll be kind to you.
  • Your mom has suffered more than you, because she’s older.
  • Your dad has suffered more than you, because . . . he won’t talk about it.
  • Care more about your unintentional impression than your intentional one.
  • Don’t be sad if they get the wrong impression.
  • Be understanding but pick a side.
  • Things only go gray when you cross a line.
  • Even Tim Ferriss can mess up.
  • Creating patterns out of randomness is overall a good human trait.
  • Eating your feelings can, in fact, be a form of therapy.
  • Kick your own ass.
  • Once you’re passed the point of being tired, keep going. Just kidding, you tried to rationalize something bad for yourself again.
  • OneRepublic is a pretty decent band.
  • If someone you love doesn’t pay attention to you and is by your side, just nudge their leg and fall asleep.
  • Kiss your puppy on the head. It's good for the both of you.
  • Watch movies and feel unproductive in a productive way.
  • Purposely make yourself more creative for your own benefit.
  • Go back on your judgements.
  • Be content or do something else–avoid the middle.
  • Forward useful emails.
  • Make valuable connections for people.
  • Get excited, get disappointed, and refuse to repeat the disappointing part.
  • “Thinkers never sleep, sleepers never think” is not true.
  • Soup still nourishes your soul.

Creating Best-in-Class Service

Great service begins with gratitude.

But what does gratitude begin with?

The ability to see connections.

How does that happen?

By having the proper scope of vision. 

But what gives you the proper scope of vision?

The willingness to See.

And what makes you willing to see?


Good question.


The Opportunity to Care

The Opportunity to Care

It’s normally a burden. We often wish, how can we do less of this. We sometimes even pray for us to stop doing it, to lessen its harshness, to ease its egging obligation stemming from empathy or need or desire. 

The New Business Plan: Love

The New Business Plan: Love

It’s for companies, organizations of all sizes. It’s not cyclical in the way we think about other processes. It works more like a drop of water in a still pond. It shakes things up, and at a time where business seems to be synonymous with cold, hard systems, it gives blood to an organization.

The Fear of Looking Lived

The Fear of Looking Lived

We want things to be pristine, which works great for a model home, but not so much for life.

Does Money Make You?

Does Money Make You?

Everybody knows, I love the personification of business. I love talking about an organizational emotion or feel, its value system, beliefs, culture--all those things that go beyond location but which location also influences. But a lot of businesses (not all) are measured in money. And that got me thinking about measurements. 

February Books of Choice

I'm in the middle of reading some and have yet to begin others. If you've read them, share with me your best take-aways (@tanyamoushi or via email works). If you haven't read them, you can do so now while I'm reading them. If you want notes, highlights, etc. let me know. Sometimes we learn things better by teaching others. That's a fact, actually. Disclaimer: the links below are autoconnected to Amazon Associates. If you live in Phoenix, I recommend a local book store called Changing Hands

The Rain

Someone told me that the greatest thing that ever happened to them was the rain. They said it was the only thing that made them notice the sun. 

The Beginning of Marketing Kindness

To be kind is simply to express the knowledge and conviction of a truth: that among the many varying places which exist, and generations that have come before us; that among the particular, notable time of earth and between the lives that lived before us and those arriving afterwards, it is a significant thing that we exist together, now. And by that virtue, the treatment towards one another, the interactions that naturally abound, will be bearing this fact as the foundation of action. I am compelled to recognize the sameness, and thus can’t help but hold the empathy that dwells mercilessly in me for you.