(So I totally just typed the title in all caps but then realized that my designated font IS in all caps by default)

When @elisadoucette tweeted that OMG THERE’S AN E-CARD FOR US IN 2012 and tagged me and some other girls that grab life by the balls (and have fun doing it *wink*), I knew I had to use the image for my next blog entry.

But before I get into foreplay, lets cut to the chase.

The real reason I’m writing this is that I am ONE OF SIX finalists for the Digital Nomad Academy scholarship and you can vote for me by going to the following link and placing your comment here:


Because you see, 2012 WILL BE MY BITCH. I can feel it.

Now that I have the announcement out of the way, let me expand.


My 2012 Manifestations (Screw Goals)

1. Abundance – I WILL make six figures
That sounds a little silly to me right now and out of this world, but not out of my league. Whether it happens in 2012 or 2015, I’ll get there. I’ll get there because the only way to play big is to make space for it.

2. Thrivability – Sharing the wealth
The reason I want to be a millionaire is because I want to make a big dent in the world by way of social entrepreneurship and philanthropy. I want to spend my money not on stuff, but on meaningful experiences. I will start donating to charity for every project that I close! Whether that’s $25 to Kiva or $1 at philanthroper.com. Everyone who works with me will benefit knowing that a part of their investment goes to a good cause.

3. Making Positive Social Change
What I mean is to impact the world in a positive way, not just through my services or charity, but through my social entrepreneurial efforts. I’m not sure how this looks like yet but I’m pretty sure it will have something to do with poverty/human rights + eco-consciousness: two very interrelated and near and dear issues in my heart.

4. Flying Asia and Beyond
I’d like to visit more of SE Asia, like Bali and Thailand. And I guess somewhere along the way I should probably visit Portland, Oregon since the ‘rents are getting old. Besides, I can meet some of my favorite bloggers like Dusti Arab, Tyler TervoorenEmilie Wapnick, Jonathan Mead and Ev’Yan Nasman. And maybe if I’m lucky, Chris Guillebeau (shit, I should just attend the World Domination Summit while I’m at it).

5. Attend the World Domination Summit
That’s right. I’m going to Dominate. 2012 will be down on her knees! Chris Guillebeau’s shindig makes an introvert like me want to put herself in overwhelm and do awkward things. Like handing out condoms and designing my own pocket packaging with my info on them instead of business cards (no one better steal my idea). Because world domination means spreading the love!

6. Blog with more focus. Or just blog more.
I plan to take a more directional approach to my blog, get clearer on my focus and maybe even start offering some products! Though the sound of an info product kind of just makes me shudder. I will re-launch my blog, too. And guestpost in more places.

7. Rock it at the Digital Nomad Academy
I don’t want to be a disappointment, so I am bringing my A game. Digital Nomad Academy will be excellent portfolio material and, dare I say, resume material if you’re into that. Not only can I redesign webpages, make sale pages and graphics, and blog my journey, I can also use social media and the power of my networks to promote Digital Nomad Academy, and apply online marketing to hopefully drive more students and interest into the course!

8. Build a Team
I want to build an art team, and why not? I’m scouting for creative talent whom I think could fit my client work. I’d love to be a creative director and start managing other people. This is a true test of a freelancer vs. entrepreneur.

I want to be an entrepreneur.

Janet Brent

Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at janet@byjanet.net to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

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Every Mistake is an Opportunity, and My Entry Into the Digital Nomad Academy

[ I saw this TED Talk Video that’s sort of the basis, or at least the inspiration, for this entry but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to embed it, so if you’re really curious, you can watch it. It’s about creativity… and all that jazz. Otherwise, the following blog entry will probably make sense without the video too. ]

Every mistake is an Opportunity.

Realize that now.

Whatever “mistakes” you make can be turned around to something totally different and new and better.

Reframe your mistakes in the context of positivity.

Reframing can change a negative context into something positive. Consider my favorite Zen koan about the farmer who experiences a loss when his horse disappears. People around him tell him how awful it must be and his only reply is “Maybe.” Then the horse comes back with two new horses and people say that he is lucky to have more horses for his farm. His only reply is “Maybe.” Then his son rides one of the new horses and falls off, breaking his leg. People say it’s horrible and his only reply is “Maybe.” Then, the army recruits healthy men for the war and reject the farmer’s son because of his broken leg. People say he has such luck, because he gets to stay safe at home… and so on and so forth. Maybe.

The point is, context changes everything. So in the moment of a mistake, simply change the context. Roll with it. Flow. Let it be. Move on.

This is creativity.

It’s messy.

It’s chaotic.

It’s never perfect.

It’s malleable; able to change. Thrives on change.

It’s improv.

I always seem to find crazy opportunities so effortlessly. Crazy finds crazy, I guess.

Crazy Opportunity #1

I randomly found this “dream job” and was thinking of applying. It had all the enticing apple candy. Opportunities to travel. Designer office. Alternative work environment. Unconventional approaches. Living on a tropical island. Meditation.

Then, I told my friend and he told me he works there and could totally get me in and that they were hiring designers like crazy.

Mouthwater. Enticing. Want want want.

But wait a minute. Didn’t I just quit a job, and swear I wasn’t going down that path again and that I was completely unemployable and I just need to pursue my own path because that’s the ONLY way that makes sense to me?? Not so fast.

I have come to the realization that my lesser self still lets fear hold me back, and still thinks that I need the security of a company that I can be OK with to help me “learn skills” to build my business. Because… because… I’m not ready yet!

Being Ready

Being ready means giving up those lazy days, and being disciplined enough to work on your own.

Being ready means stepping up to your responsibilities and executing your own path by making the decisions that support it.

Being ready means entering chaos. Change. And lots of uncomfortable creativity.

Being ready means bypassing fear and forging on. Making mistakes.

I’ve come to the realization that I’ve let fear stall my path, and that my coping mechanism is to stay in this limbo of Not Doing, Not Creating (or doing a half-assed job at it) and saying I’m Not Ready.

But I am ready. And it’s time to change my mindset. I’ve done enough research. Read enough e-books and blogs. And networked through the blogosphere enough that people at least know who I am. I’ve dangled my toes in the water long enough. It’s time to jump in.

Crazy Opportunity #2

So I got this private message tweet from Cody of Digital Nomad Academy giving me the heads up that he was offering a 100% SCHOLARSHIP (said in bold italicized underlined CAPS to be more obnoxious) to the program (see what I mean about the networking!? I got internet rockstars telling me about their offers before they officially announce to the public!) and thought I might be interested.

Completely flattered to get a personal heads up. And HECK YES.

(More bragging rights: I’ve been featured twice on Untemplater, the blog that Cody co-founded. One was an interview on my entrepreneur journey so far, where Sydney, the writer who took over Untemplater, called me a “Digital Nomad” and the other was a guest blog on How Buddhism Taught Me Lifestyle Design.)

And I came to the realization that dream jobs don’t exist because the only dream job is the one that YOU CREATE. I don’t need some fancy office to do it. I just need me, my laptop, and my ideas EXECUTED.

As scary as it is, forging my own path is the only way I roll. Why? Because it’s messy. It’s chaotic. And it’s uncomfortable creativity at its best. It’s improv! DIY style. This former riot grrl with punk rock ethos isn’t going to fit “company culture” and mold to anyone but me.

I had no idea when I was writing the first paragraph that this would morph into my submission for Digital Nomad Academy. And that’s how I like it. Writing, creativity, life is a flow. I don’t like formulas. I see pieces and then I see how they can fit together. That’s my philosophy on life. And that’s how I roll!

2012 Will Be My Bitch

And that is all.

Janet Brent

Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at janet@byjanet.net to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

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The Reluctant Blogger: A Reflective

I go through this. I get into waves and fits of blogging and non-blogging. It gets to a point where I almost “forget” how to blog.

I miss the daily reading of other sites and commenting when I have something good to say.

I miss the networking and getting 30+ comments.

I miss the tons of ideas filling my brain and spilling out onto the pixel page. The blogging every night. The inspiration.

I miss having an interesting story that is my life.

Or, maybe my life is interesting, but I just haven’t thought of a way to capture that? Because after awhile, life seems ordinary, no matter how “interesting” it is.

I need to find a way to capture my experiences in ways that are relevant to other people. As this year draws to an end, I’m left with a reflective.

2010: Taking the Plunge

You know how it is. Crazy kids quitting their nine to fives, taking the plunge, the “leap of faith”, and traveling to different countries becoming kick ass “soloproneurs” in the process. It’s hardly new anymore. But its just as exhilarating when its YOUR turn to take the plunge. I still remember how it felt. That rush of adrenaline. Stepping on that plane. Forging a new life. The happiness and excitement. The dose of hope and faith. That stubborn knowing that whatever un-plans I have, it WILL work out. Someway, somehow.

I traveled India for three weeks. I saw slum kids and taught them English. I saw the aliveness in their eyes. The child-like wonder and happy smiles all around, despite their poor conditions, they were so full of life. I’ll never forget that. I’ll never forget looking in their eyes and feeling my goddamn heart strings pull and think that someday, I’d like to raise a child, no matter how awkward I am around kids, and no matter how weird this realization felt. Because I was 26, my biological clock is ticking, and fuck is this really me or is it my biological clock, because this is so unlike me!! It freaked me out. But there it was. And there I was, in the midst of all these kids, wondering who the hell was this humanitarian chick.

Eat, Pray, Love

I look like a turtle

Next, I took that one way ticket to the Philippines with no plans, but a general idea that I wanted to be a “location independent entrepreneur” one of these days. Having no plans sets you up for a crazy year of new experiences, because you become open to the opportunities.

First, four months in a Zen Buddhist monastery where I shaved my head and learned how to meditate. Then, a short three week vegetarian foodie trip to Taiwan, temple hopping and attending an International Youth Buddhist Conference, being around ivy leaguers from all across the world trying to wax philosophical about Buddhism, while everything seemed like a review from what I had learned from my retreat.

It was like Eat, Pray, Love… Only I hadn’t gotten to the love part yet.

The next opportunity lead me on a 660 km trek along Palawan, a tropical island in the Philippines known for being a popular tourist destination. Lead by a Filipino martial artist, the two of us walked together, practicing our spiritual walkabout like the “road to zen” and “walking the way”. Meeting locals, learning the language, and taking interludes in mountains and private beaches… The ‘Love’ chapter had just begun. Everything about the journey of life was represented from the walk. The up and down struggles walking uphill and gravel roads in thin flip-flops that tested my determination, especially.

Deeper into my spiritual sabbatical, I spent two months at a raw foods detox retreat, living a simplistic life pumping wells for bath water, among other things.

2011: Vipassana and the Hustle

The sabbatical was topped off with another meditation retreat. A 10 day silent Vipassana meditation that was possibly one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. Lots of emotional detox. Your body actually responds by physically getting sick, while mentally, you feel like you’re going crazy.

This ‘inner work’ was the ground work from which the hustle was about to begin. Despite traveling with very little money, and less than $1,000 to my name, I made the year+ work without any income to sustain me. But money was running dry and I knew that the hustle had to begin. That “become a location independent entrepreneur” goal had to start sooner or later, and I started in the most ill prepared way.

Back to Zero

I rented the cheapest studio that I could find… which happened to be in the slums of Manila. The degradation I felt going from first world amenities to complete third world experience was a deep culture shock, but the preliminary nomadic walk was a good enough buffer. On some nights, we’d sleep in abandoned shacks, or even under the jungle canopy with just a blanket covering the dirt.

My year in sabbatical was necessary for the foundation that I needed to start a heart-based solopreneur business. All those days of meditation were preparation for the hustle. The patience and flow I had to learn. The calm and emotional control when things were tough and uncomfortable.

The first six months were tough. I learned everything backwards, without going in any sort of “right” order. I didn’t know how to network or market myself and business was bad. Did I even have enough there to call it a business? I mean, it was pathetic. And my parents helped out. A lot. And I felt like a loser. A lot.

But I kept on going.

Feast or Famine

I kept on going until I could barely afford my $50 rent. For two months straight, I couldn’t pay rent on time. And it sucked. And I realized something had to change.

In a weird series of “client meetings” turned full time position offer and an all expense paid trip back to the U.S. in tropical Florida for a business trip, I prematurely took the bait for a chance to travel and finally secure my rent again.

Premature, in the fact that at $2/hr. and 10 hour days, I quickly found that my freelance gigs were doing a whole lot better than this full time gig after all. The Famine was over and the Feast had just begun. I wanted my hours back on my terms. I quit within a month. Just enough time to get a free travel trip out of the way and a chance to see my best friend again, who happened to live exactly where they were taking me.

Which brings us back to


Now in my “ordinary” existence.

Now, in this crazy, upside down life, still in the slums but looking for a more “Western” apartment, finally.

Now, forging forwards, and still going strong!

I guess my life isn’t so ordinary after all, but I need to blog more about it, and tell the story that I want to tell.

Because in the end, it’s only YOU who makes the shots in life.

And you can dream big and keep on going, too.

Janet Brent

Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at janet@byjanet.net to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

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FREE Custom Layout Christmas Giveaway

My friend and I are giving away a free custom layout to a lucky reader!

Just go to her site here:
http://www.shoesneverworn.com/custom-layout-christmas-giveaway and follow the simple instructions for a chance to win!

Shoes Never Worn was the first blog I ever designed and K Syrah gave me such rave reviews!

I am still very much in love with the work you’ve done for my site. You took the words “old photography” and “Writer” and created exactly the mood and tone that I would never have done for myself! I can see an up-tick in traffic, and can see the click throughs between various pages which I attribute to how user-friendly it’s all become.
More than that, I feel this change of “e-scenery” has lit a fire in the belly and makes me want to write and create and bring things to life again! Thanks Janet! Best experience I”ve had with a web designer yet!

Contest ends December 24th so hurry for your chance to win.

Janet Brent

Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at janet@byjanet.net to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

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The Art of the Unprofessional Professional

If you’re trying to “make it” with an online service or product, just blog. It doesn’t matter what you blog about, so long as you do it, and do it regularly.

That’s mostly true.

There’s almost no way you can go wrong with blogging. There is no “right” or “wrong” way, no matter how many formulas you read about. Forget about guest blogging, giving people “value”, and just BLOG. That’s the first step.

If The Middle Finger Project can make an entire professional career out of cursing like a sailor, and Leonie Dawson can make an entire professional career being completely weird and bringing out the inner goddess in women everywhere, and Ev’Yan can call herself a professional “sex liberation artist”, then how can YOU contribute your own unique self to your blog? The sky is literally the limit. You can make up a profession right before your very audience! Use your blog to explore. Don’t worry about messing up what you say, or how it might make you look. The important thing is to just get it out there. Somewhere along the way, you’ll start to see your schtick.

Finding Your Schtick

I used to think that I wasn’t an authority on anything. What could I possibly offer anybody that I’m an “expert” in? But now I know better. Your “Schtick” is your very being, your essence, your core that you can contribute to the world. Everyone has a talent to offer, something they’re just inherently good at more than other things. It’s time to own it.

It’s time to become an Unprofessional Professional.

What does that mean? It means you get to call the shots, and you get to be yourself. It means you don’t have to wear office clothes if you don’t want to, and you can still run a business like a pro, because you are. It means your personality is what people will gravitate towards, and why ultimately people will buy your product or service over someone else. Simply because they like you. There’s no need to act any different than who you are. No need to hide behind an unfulfilling cubicle job that’s ultimately not you.

The things I blog about may not always be “professional”. In fact, I can be completely unprofessional. I probably divulge things that scream: don’t hire me, but at the same time, I do so in complete honest vulnerability that somehow people are attracted to. And I swear: it gets me hired. I don’t know how the hell I do it, but my blog gets me hired! It’s absolutely amazing once you tap into leveraging technology, and the best part is I’m just being myself. No fakery. Complete honesty. AND!? I’m still just starting to “find my schtick”. I’m not an accomplished A List blogger, I mostly write nonsense that could still be considered the realms of a “personal blog”, and still, I’m getting projects. And that is A Hustle, my friends!

Get Your A Hustle On

Are you ready for the hustle? It’s absolutely addicting once you get used to the school of hardknocks. Bring your A game and your Ace face. Network like an introvert who has no clue but still manages to network anyway. It’s all good. There is absolutely NO way to mess it up as long as you keep blogging and keep trying!

Janet Brent

Janet is a graphic/web designer for indies in the holistic and creative arts. She is passionate about working with creative world changers and showing people how to march to their own beats. You can email her at janet@byjanet.net to introduce yourself or work with her. If you enjoyed this, sign up for more updates. TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

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