James Martin - Effort is Free: How To Become a Creative Solopreneur

Today’s podcast guest believes that there’s no shortcut to creative freedom and having a life of working for yourself. It’s not enough to just be good at what you do. His advice? Gain experience by working with a team first, then when you have gained some experience prospecting, pricing, and presenting, head off on your own.

James Martin developed his skills in illustration, became a self-described “bad” teacher, and then a less-than-dedicated tattoo apprentice. Eventually, he worked in design agencies where he honed his craft and gained experience to build his own brand and business. 

Shout-out to my former podcast guest and good friend Michael Janda who introduced James and I over Instagram!

We talk about:
  • Our common beginnings as educators and how he quickly figured out that it wasn’t the right time to put his passion for teaching into practice
  • Learning by doing and failing and then being able to apply that as you move forward
  • Why he’s not afraid to fail and instead has always been a big fan of trying things out so he never has any regrets or what-ifs
  • What the tattoo industry is like and his experiences as a tattoo apprentice
  • Working for an agency called Irish Media and how he was introduced to the design world
  • The problem with creatives today who think that there’s a shortcut to creative freedom
  • His advice for creatives to gain experience working with an agency in order to learn how to market, price, and pitch to clients
  • Why he’s grateful that he grew up as a creative without social media
  • The beginnings of BabyGiant Design Co. and how grit, determination, and the right timing played into its success
  • Introducing his brand on social media and the content marketing best practices he lives by
  • Humanizing his brand through the way he shows up on social media
  • How he separates his YouTube marketing from Instagram and what he means when he says every single thing he does follows a plan he designed
  • Building a career collateral of trust and how he stays true to his brand ethos by only promoting tools and products he genuinely believes in
  • Being a one-man content marketing team
  • How he developed his email list and what his newsletter looked like at the start
  • His Rapid Fire 10 answers including a secret talent that surprises people
  • Why he lives his life by the mantra “Effort is free”

Mentioned in this episode:

For more of James’ work, head on over to his channels:

Thanks for listening! If you enjoyed this episode of the podcast, head on over to the following links for more of my work and some valuable resources to get you started on your own branding initiatives. Until the next episode!

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The Brand Design Masters Podcast is targeted to entrepreneurs, designers, creative professionals and anyone interested in brand strategy, business planning, graphic design, personal branding, trends and marketing.

Philip VanDusen is the owner of Verhaal Brand Design, a brand strategy and design agency based in New Jersey. Philip is a highly accomplished creative executive and expert in brand strategy, graphic design, marketing and creative management. Philip provides design, branding, marketing, career and business advice to creative professionals, entrepreneurs and companies on how to build successful brands for themselves and for the clients and customers they serve.
James Martin - Effort is Free: How To  Become a Creative Solopreneur
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