Welcome aboard! We are thrilled to have you.
Uh oh, something went wrong. Try submitting the form again.
The Futur Logo
Cart Icon

Dustin Lee

Dustin Lee is the founder of RetroSupply Co, a marketplace for retro brushes, textures, fonts, and more. Over the years, he’s carved out a unique position in the creative tool market.

Passive income for designers
Passive income for designers

Passive income for designers

Ep
120
Feb
10
With
Dustin Lee
Or Listen On:

Passive income for designers

Dustin Lee is the founder of RetroSupply Co, a marketplace for retro brushes, textures, fonts, and more. Over the years, he’s carved out a unique position in the creative tool market.

When you search for retro or vintage brushes for Illustrator, Photoshop, and Procreate you’re going to bump into his website. It's a great example of finding your niche.

Dustin’s conversation with Chris centers around how creatives can start to think about passive income. But unlike a lot of other talks you have heard or read on the subject, Dustin gets into tactics. Like how to choose the right product, building something that stands out, and overcoming the aversion to marketing.

If you're interested in using your creative skills to generate passive income, then this episode will make you happy. Grab your notebook (or laptop) and get ready to take notes.

Thank you to Gusto for sponsoring this episode.

Episode Links
Hosted By
special guest
produced by
edited by
music by
Appearances

Episode Transcript

Greg:
Welcome to The Future Podcast. The show that explores the interesting overlap between creativity, business and personal development. I'm Greg Gunn. It's been a minute but we have a new batch of deep dive episodes in the queue for you to listen to and learn from. And if you're new here, these deep dive episodes use audio pulled from live streams on our YouTube channel. And today's is one of my favorites. It's from early 2019, where we had Dustin Lee who's the founder of RetroSupply Co live on the channel. Over the years, Dustin has built a unique product-based business that creates useful tools for creatives, specifically, illustrators looking for a retro or vintage look really great example of niching down. They make things like custom brushes for Illustrator, Photoshop and Procreate, high quality texture collections and even a handful of original fonts.

Greg:
Coincidentally, I use their brushes in my illustration work all the time and I can tell you that they put a lot of care into that product. Now, the conversation centers around how creatives can start to think about passive income but unlike a lot of other talks I've listened to on the subject, Dustin gets into tactics like how to choose the right product, building something that stands out and how to overcome the aversion to then marketing it, which is something I know we all love to do. So if you're interested in using your creative skills to generate some passive income, then this episode will make you very happy and you'll probably want to take some notes. Please enjoy our conversation with Dustin Lee.

Chris:
I don't know if you've noticed but in last couple of episodes, we've been talking a lot about passive income or knowledge products. Well, in keeping with this theme, we're going to be talking to Dustin Lee today. So talk all about passive income for designers. Let's go to my slide. I'm going to introduce you in case you don't know who he is, I'm pretty sure you've seen his work and I'll tell you where you're going to see it in a second. His name is Dustin Lee. He runs two companies. One is called the RetroSupply Company. He's the founder of it and it was started in 2013 when he was $30,000 in debt. He's created now over 100 products and made over a million dollars in sales. Whew, that's a lot of moolah. That's a lot of dough, man. That is.

Dustin:
Pocket full dough.

Chris:
It's more than a pocket full of dough. That's a wheelbarrow of dough man and he's also one part of The Honest Designers Podcast, like the way that sounds we are the dishonest Future Podcast but The Honest Designers Podcast is where you want to get legitimate information from honest designers. He also runs the passive income for designers website. That's a massive mouthful, passiveincomefordesigners.com.

Chris:
Here's some of the work where I first saw your work was on Creative Market and once I'd found Creative Market, I was thinking, Oh my God, how are people making a living off selling 5, 20, $45 products? And I was just scratching my head thinking, I've spent too much time making these things. My time is better spent buying this. And when I introduced it to my wife, she was coming to the same conclusion. How do people make money making these things? It's incredible. Well, it turns out somebody we're going to talk to you today is making a ton of money doing this. Brushes, patterns, textures, fonts, anything, drawings, I don't know anything and everything he can make, he's making right now. He's in talking about how to do that. Check this out. This is pretty cool. So if you want to go from a generic EPS like vector file and you want to add some cool texture to it, look at this. And it amazes me a lot of the tools that you make Dustin are in or for Illustrator and they're really cool effects, right?

Dustin:
Yes. Illustrator's very popular category for us.

Chris:
Yeah. And so Greg, I think when we were looking for halftone patterns and trying to make something look retro, he's like, Oh, check this out. And there we are. So here's the second point of contact with you Dustin which was I had Diane Gibbs on my podcast and she's part of our pro group pro community and she was like, you need to get them on your show, Dustin Lee. I'm like Dustin Lee and brother from another mother. And then I looked you up. I'm like, wait a minute. He's white. And his name is Dustin Lee. I got to talk to this guy. So I'm glad that Greg actually was the one who wrangled you in on the show. So it's just kind of crazy that here we are talking to you, looking at your work. This is pretty dope. I mean, it's cool that he's sharing his work but it's even cooler he's giving you his tools.

Chris:
Well, not quite giving it to you but he's giving access to his tools to you. It's got a really cool style and a vibe. I love this style. I really do. It's something else I know about you is you're hanging out in Vancouver, Washington just right. Kind of next door to Portland, Oregon. So when I was out there, people refer to it as upper left USA. So here we go. Today's show he promises to share some secrets to selling more products on Creative Market. How did he do it? And how did choose a niche? This is some of the hardest things or decisions you're going to have to make as a creator. Where do you begin? What areas should you go down? Isn't everything already covered and we're hopefully going to dive a little deeper into seven ways to make a passive income product fast. That's a mouthful for me. You guys, please help me welcome Dustin Lee to the show. Okay. Welcome to the show, man. How are you doing today?

Dustin:
I'm doing fantastic. Just got done with a run feeling good and I'm I'm seriously so excited to be on. Like I was telling you, I've heard your voice so much, seen you. It's so fun to actually talk to you.

Chris:
And here we are in 2019, talk to each other. Dustin warned us before today is trash day so we might hear the garbage truck out back but I guarantee you it's all gold today. There's no garbage on the show at all. So why don't we do this? I hear that you have a presentation of take about 15 or 20 minutes or so take as much time as you want. Why don't you go ahead and share your screen and tell us a little bit and enlightened us if you will and you guys that are tuning in, live on YouTube, start sending us your comments and questions. Greg Gunn and Jonah and I are going to be monitoring that and we'll pick up this questions when it makes sense. So the mic is yours.

Dustin:
Okay, cool. Well, because I'm horrible at time I can be a talker. I have this fantastic thing. It's from a site called Time Timer. I believe it's called. Anyways, it's visual for my kids but I'm a kid myself kind of. So I'm going to put the timer for that long so I keep myself on schedule.

Chris:
There's no real schedule. You can take as long as you want, man. We're here to soak up the knowledge?

Dustin:
Okay, cool. I'll keep it just in case you never know.

Chris:
Okay. Yeah.

Dustin:
But, okay. So right now, can you guys see my presentation?

Chris:
Yes. It's a little cropped on my screen. Is it cropped for you guys? [crosstalk 00:06:49]. Can you unzoom. Yeah.

Jonah:
Yeah.

Chris:
You zoomed in because you thought he was going to not go full screen.

Jonah:
Yes. Now he's given us the full Monty. I also want to say hello to the 460 people that are watching. Welcome you guys. You have a lot of fans.

Dustin:
That's amazing. Thank you so much for showing up everybody. Yeah. Well, what I'm going to start with is I'm just going to talk to you about how to build a passive income with your creative skills. I've done this for myself before that I worked in graphic design and online marketing. I've done conferences, workshops and over the course of doing that, you start to hear the same questions over and over again, those questions being, how do you know what product to make? How do you get traffic to your product and how do you maximize the amount of money you make off of it? Are essentially the questions you hear over and over again. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to tell you a little bit about my story because I really believe that a new one who's telling you how to do anything should have done it themselves.

Dustin:
So I want to kind of establish some authority or credibility and get you guys excited about the idea and then we'll go into each of those things and then I'm looking forward to chatting with everybody. So to get started throughout my twenties, I struggled to create a business that let me be creative and make good money. I originally went to an art school and then I became a banker because I figured I need to learn business to make money as an artist and I just tried a lot of stuff and failed. I could tell you a lot of just like nightmarish stories about places I worked but when I was around like 27, 28, I had a unique combination of circumstances that presented themselves and what that was I'm guessing a lot of you guys listening are familiar with Tim Ferris. You guys familiar?

Jonah:
Yeah.

Chris:
Yeah.

Dustin:
Okay. Yeah. So like a lot of people, I had read that book. I had read books by Jonathan Fields and a variety of other people and I was really into the idea of blogging and making money online and I was awesome. The idea of design and I was doing design work and I had randomly written to one of my heroes, who owned a site called Paid to Exist and the guy that owned it was named Jonathan Mead. And I said, "I'll do work for free for you. I would just love to work for you." And a year after I had written him that email, he responded to me and said, "Hey, do you still want to do that?" And I said, "Absolutely." And I did a project and I ended up being hired to work for him full time and it was a big decision.

Dustin:
I couldn't decide if I should do it or not and it ended up being the best decision I ever made and the reason was because I was completely upside down on how to make money online, selling your creative skills. And I think that's something that a lot of creatives struggle with is, you know how to make great looking stuff, you know how to make stuff for clients but you just don't know how to stop trading time for money and actually convert your creative skills into cash. And when I worked with him for 18 months, I learned all of those tricks, all about marketing and all about sales funnels, all about how to build trust with an audience when you're trying to sell them something.

Dustin:
And that was perfect timing because a point came when my wife and I were expecting or I guess more accurate should say we were not expecting our first child and we were totally broke and I just panicked. I was in panic mode. And if I'm honest with you guys, I was drinking too much. I was scared to death. I was in $30,000 and some change debt. I didn't know what to do and I was working on a startup and I was living down. We were just saying that we were both from the San Jose area. I was living down in Mountain View and I realized I needed to make some money but I was already working for this startup and I was making next to nothing trying to get the start going.

Dustin:
So I said, how am I going to make money with just a few hours a day of extra time? So I started getting up early and making products for Creative Market. It was totally random. There was no particular reason I picked the Creative Market other than it was low hanging fruit to attempt desperately in all honesty to make diaper money, to save face because I was making no money when this baby came. Well, it wasn't a good situation.

Dustin:
And so I started making products and surprisingly, here's me before. This is like literally me in the coffee shop, where I first started this business and I made over $10,000 in three months. I literally could not believe that I had made $10,000 doing this. My first product was a set of logos. Wasn't the most sexy product. And then I went on to just make other things and experiment. And I used the ideas that I have learned from working in the online marketing world and I mixed it with design. And in the first three months I've made $10,000. You can see here, here is way back in the day when that first happened. I can't stress to you how exciting this was to me. I mean, imagine on Friday, going out to Thai Food with your wife and Sunday, wondering if you can pay the car bill because you don't have enough money in your checking account. So have $11,000 come into my account in a month was, I don't know. I felt like I was set for life.

Chris:
Wow. Yeah. I mean, that's a big change.

Dustin:
Yeah. It was drastic and it was exciting and exhilarating and obviously that was positive reinforcement to continue to try to hone this. So this was around four or five years ago when this happened. And then I just kept applying the skills that I have learned from online marketing and that included building an email list, that included learning about copywriting, that included listening to customers and really finding out exactly what they wanted, what they struggled with, what were their trigger points to got them excited about a product and making great products. I mean, even when it comes down to it, I'm sure you guys know you guys make a fantastic podcast.

Dustin:
Nothing succeeds, no matter how well you market it, unless you're just making something really great for a certain group of people. So you can see here, like here, I don't want to show some screenshots now. It's like, here's screenshots. Now these are just off my phone that I had taken just this year. So you can see this is legit. It's not like I had a string of luck for one month, day after day, week after week, month after month, the businesses thrived.

Chris:
Hold on a second. Go back there. My eyesight's not so good because the monitor that I'm looking at is really far away. And I know Jonah's reaction is like, wow. What are the numbers?

Jonah:
Oh, 4,000, 12,061.53-

Chris:
A month. Or what is this?

Jonah:
Is this a month?-

Dustin:
Yeah. So the first screenshot is a day. I had 4,000 this particular day. Not all days are like that [inaudible 00:13:42]. Then a week I had done 12 and then in a month I'd done 61,000 this particular month.

Chris:
Wow. [inaudible 00:13:51]. It's like that [inaudible 00:13:52], song. Wow.

Dustin:
And to be clear, this isn't isn't to brag about it. I mean, I'm proud that I've been able to build a business but the point is this started with seven logos in a pack when I was struggling and the point is that I'm not a genius. I just applied the certain things and mix them and as I went to conferences and I got to meet other designers, I realized how many designers are struggling because they're just not mixing fundamental marketing things with what they're doing. So I put this in for fun because this is really one of the funniest parts of this. You get notifications on your phone telling you that money is coming in.

Chris:
Oh, I love that.

Dustin:
I remember the first day that I went when the business was first starting and it was just starting to pick up steam and I went to Target and my baby had just been born and by the way, we were broke when the baby was on its way, by the time it was born, we paid off all our debt and we were able to really enjoy having [inaudible 00:14:48].

Chris:
Holy smokes. That's good progress, man. You hustle fast.

Dustin:
Yeah. Well, I mean, I had eight months or whatever it was from the time when I found out and I remember going to Target to buy, I like baby formula and I think I bought her a couple of toys and I remember walking out of the Target and I had made more money than I'd spent while I was in Target. [inaudible 00:00:15:12], we've all been in debt, we've all have been in this situation. So to be in a situation where I walked out of Target with more than I walked in with, I mean, just cause a show like an hour in target. I remember five years later. So anyways, here's screenshots of some sales from-

Chris:
Is that in 2013?

Dustin:
... What?

Chris:
Is that 2013 we're talking about here?

Dustin:
These pictures right here?

Chris:
No, this pregnancy, Target, where you spend money and you walk out more with more money than you you spent.

Dustin:
Yeah. And I don't mean like thousands more. I just mean-

Chris:
It doesn't matter. It's $5 more, it's still good.

Jonah:
Hell yeah.

Chris:
Right? [crosstalk 00:15:46]. You spend money and then you still have more money in your pocket afterwards. That's pretty cool. All right. Yeah. Okay. It's 2013. Okay. I'm just trying to timeline this thing in my mind. All right. Keep going.

Dustin:
... Yeah. And so this is just like November, that just happened. And of course there's some stuff on passive and comfort as designers where I've been taking these screenshots. I don't just take them for my own personal enjoyment to look at [inaudible 00:16:07].

Chris:
You should have a wallpaper out of this. What are you talking about?

Jonah:
[inaudible 00:16:09].

Dustin:
So this is after. I mean, we were able to go from being completely broke to there's my little girl, we were able to travel to Italy and rent an apartment for 45 days and just travel around and see things. I mean, I never thought I was going to leave the United States. My mom and dad never left the West Coast, essentially. It was life changing for me and this isn't even really like the amazing part. The amazing part is just, day-to-day doing something you're excited about getting to make things that people love and not worrying about. Am I going to have to pay my bills next month? Basically, I get to do less stuff I hate.

Chris:
That's cool. [crosstalk 00:16:52]. Yes.

Dustin:
So there's three things I want to talk about and these are just like three fundamental high-level things that you can do to get started doing this. Like I said, you don't have to be a designer and celebrity, you don't have to have very special credentials to do this. It's basic things and really more than anything and I would be curious if you agree with me on this. A lot of times, this kind of thing is really just sticking to it, trying new things. So here's the three step process. [inaudible 00:17:25], share out a little bit and turn it into a process.

Chris:
You guys get that reference, right? [inaudible 00:17:32]. All right.

Dustin:
We want to choose the right product. We want to make a product that stands out. Like you said, you made a very good point about Creative Market. How are you going to stand on Creative Market? There's so many different things on there. There's like 20,000 shops. How on earth are you only even capturing that market share and then find something you love about marketing, which I find is something that a lot of people have a hard time actually swallowing. So we'll just dig into this year.

Chris:
Let's do it.

Dustin:
So one is to choose the right product. So there's three questions to find a profitable product. First of all, very obvious. What's popular on Creative Market? What's popular on Instagram? What's popular on design blogs? What do you have the skills to build well and where do you have leverage? So I'll kind of briefly go over these. So like what's popular and Creative Market. In my case, I was thinking more of Dribbble. I remember going on Dribbble. You guys go on Dribbble pretty frequently?

Chris:
I'm more of a B Hands person myself. I don't go on Dribbble much.

Jonah:
Yeah. I spend most time on Instagram, I think.

Chris:
Yeah. Instagram [inaudible 00:18:39]. But I know a lot of designers on Dribbble.

Dustin:
Okay, cool. Yeah. So Instagram is kind of becoming like the Dribbble. I guess they both kind of have their space but I was going on Dribbble and I would keep seeing people doing this great work and then they'd be like Great work. Someone would comment and someone else would say, Thanks, man. I'm like, I appreciate it. And then someone else would say, How did you get that texture, radio silence. What font are you using? Radio silence. And I kind of just decided I'm going to make a business where I'm going to answer all those questions and I'm going to answer them by making a product that answers the question. Does that make sense?

Chris:
Yeah.

Dustin:
And I just figured, well, if people are asking this question then there's probably people that are willing to pay for it because I I'll pay for the answer. So why don't I just find the answer and sell the answer. The second thing is you have to be honest with yourself. What do you have the skills to build well, you really can't just choose a niche in my opinion and decide that that's what you're going to sell. You have to really know what am I good at and what am I not good at? And I think one of my strengths has been that I've been able to realize what I'm not good at and find other people to help me and partner with me as opposed to deciding I need to go study for two years before I can move my business forward.

Dustin:
And finally, where do you have leverage? This is super important because this comes down to traffic. So think about the things where you have leveraged. So for instance, if someone is friends with you, they might have leveraged to a larger audience by both of us knowing Diane Gibbs and you having a story that it's relevant to your audience that had some leverage to be on your show, which is amazing. And that puts me in front of other people that I can share information with. And Hey, either that turns into friendships, that turns into connections, that might turn into some sales, that might turn into invites to different things. So you have to think about where's your leverage. Do you work somewhere where it's high profile and you can use that to your advantage to show credibility. Do you know people in a certain group that can spread the word about what you're making. The whole point here is that people need to be able to find you and you need to use every asset available to you to get people to find you.

Dustin:
It's like, if they build it, [inaudible 00:20:58], is not non-existent, it's not a plan. It's a [inaudible 00:21:01]. And then how can you re reposition an existing product for a new audience? It's not like a little bonus thing. I have one on here. And what do you buy and enjoy? This is an important one because when you buy something and enjoy it, it's easier to understand the psychology of why people buy things in the first place. So as an example of this, here's something that we may call the mid-century Procreate brush pack, it's 15 Procreate brushes. So how did we choose this product? Well, we knew Procreate was popular. We knew that from having retro supply for a while, we know that people are interested in creating retro illustrations and stuff and here's some other images from it.

Dustin:
And we stood out by just like going above and beyond. I'm friends with a illustrator, who's done children's books and children's museums named Brad Woodard and a lot of amazing stuff. And I said, Hey, what if we made this pack of 15 brushes that were the be all and all of brushes that you would need for Procreate if you want to do this kind of illustration. And we spent, I don't know, probably 40, 50, 60 hours where we would just go back and forth on Skype. I'd make brushes. He'd try them out, back and forth, back and forth. Eventually we had like a hundred brushes and then we just chiseled back down to 15, what are the 15 highest leverage brushes that we can make? So I guess the point was we tried to do things that made people go, Whoa, that's crazy.

Dustin:
I can't believe they went to the extent of doing that. And if you can't make people feel that way, it's very hard to solve for them. Even at $15, you have to make it feel like a no-brainer and they have to feel like they're probably getting three to five times the value of what you're charging. So step two is to make products for your people. So how do you find your people? And the reason I say this is because if you're making products for people that you don't care about, it's really hard to get excited and get like fall in love with it. So you could start by asking yourself who is most definitely not my people think about the people that you would not be excited to make stuff for. Sometimes it's easier when you define it that way. Who don't I want to make stuff for. And that will tell you who you do want to make this stuff for.

Dustin:
Ask yourself, who do you follow on social media? Who do you always look out for their work? I love Andy J. Pizza. I'm always looking out for his work. He's someone that I make stuff for. I don't think he buys my stuff but I kind of make it thinking, I hope Andy J. Pizza would like this.

Chris:
That's a cool strategy. I like that.

Dustin:
Yeah, for sure. And you know what I mean? Like it narrows it down to a very specific person. So you can kind of imagine, Oh man, I think this person would really big this. And who do you respect in your field? So for me, I'm not the greatest illustrator but I also like, you mentioned something. I think that was a very great point that I don't want to go to the trouble of making this. It's not that you couldn't make the Procreate brushes. It's not that you couldn't make the textures it's that you have better things to do. You have better things to do with your billable hours and spend four hours making textures for the client. So I said, Who do I respect in my field? And how can I do the dirty work for them to save them time? Because I can't-

Dustin:
[inaudible 00:24:00] You work for them to save them time because I can't out draw a lot of my heroes. And if you make stuff for everyone, you're kind of making stuff for no one. That's a bit of a cliche, but it's absolutely true.

Chris:
Right.

Dustin:
So here's an example, this is an amazing artist in Ed Bill. He lives in Mexico City, super talented dude. We've gotten to know each other pretty well and I love his work and it turns out he's just really enthusiastic about the products. Here's some of his work, and this uses our products. It's no surprise that he likes our products because we quite literally built products thinking about people exactly like him. So I think knowing truly who a real living, walking, breathing person is, that's going to use your product is huge.

Chris:
Right.

Dustin:
[Crosstalk 00:24:43]

Chris:
Before you go on, I want to say something about that. Seth Godin was talking about this. He said, "There's no such thing as writer's block or creative block." Because he said, the problem when people say that because they don't know who they're talking to. So that you never get speaker's block because when you're having a conversation with someone, you know how to talk to them. So I think you made several points and the bottom line of it, is get to know someone, or imagine someone that you're making stuff for. And you've got an interesting approach to that. I just wanted to say that.

Dustin:
Yeah, I think you nailed it. That's 100%.

Chris:
All right. Keep going. Sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt you.

Dustin:
Oh no worries. No thank you for mentioning that. Find something you love about marketing. This is, I think, a harder leap for people, because I think as artists... Most people that are designers, I think that Charles Anderson from CSA Images had said this. He had said, "No kids grows up saying, someday I want to track and kern letters." Right?

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dustin:
They draw and then eventually that transfers into creating art. And then eventually that transfers into being a graphic designer. So find something you love about marketing. I guess the point is that most of us as artists feel like, "Well, my work should speak for itself." And that's fine if you want to do that. But if you're interested in making money and not everyone is, but if you're interested in making more money, you really have to find something you love about marketing and become a marketer.

Dustin:
It's very rare that people will just randomly find things and start buying them. So marketing stuff that I love, I love copywriting. For people that aren't familiar, copywriting is essentially the art of writing persuasive text that helps to sell a product.

Dustin:
I love email. Some people hate email. I love email. I subscribe to tons of email lists. I read all the emails. I click through on the emails. I unsubscribe from them to see what happens. When I unsubscribe from them, I see what happens. When I respond to the person that wrote it to me, I take screenshots of emails. I make swipe files. In other words, I copy parts of emails that I love and find ways to readapt it to what I'm doing.

Chris:
You're a student of the game is what you're doing. You take this stuff seriously, right?

Dustin:
Yeah. I love this stuff. I'm a geek for this stuff. And there's so much more. Marketing, as you know, is a huge, vast world. You might hate email, that might not be the thing for you out there listening. Maybe it's something else. But I guarantee if you start digging into marketing, you'll find some things that speak to you, and in just a minute, I'm going to show you a book that has so many ideas of different things you might love, that I encourage you to buy, or check out from the library or do whatever.

Dustin:
Niching down was another thing that was big for me. I create a market at one point, got acquired by Autodesk. And I knew that they were going to get a lot bigger. And I started to notice that there was a lot of brush script fonts and a lot of watercolor illustrations.

Dustin:
Those were becoming big. And like all this RetroSupply stuff I was doing was becoming not as big. And so, I had to make a decision. Am I going to become a different business and start styling brush scripts? Or am I going to double down on making this retro stuff? And I decided, no, I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to compromise what I'm interested in. There's a history behind them.

Dustin:
The reason I do what I do, and I decided I'm going to double down on this and either I'm going to go bankrupt and I have to figure out something else, or I'm going to be really successful because I'm going to be the one that doubled down on everyone else kind of did this mass migration to watercolors and brush scripts. And then customer research. I love customer research. I know something people always ask is what should I make?

Dustin:
The first couple of products you make you might need to take some guesses and just randomly try stuff. But once you have a few customers, you can just ask them, are best-selling products have happened because I've just sent out emails and I've said, "What do you want me to make? Tell me what the [inaudible 00:28:35] I could make anything for you, what would it be?"

Dustin:
And people tell you what they want. And then you look at what the most people are telling you and you make that. It's a super simple recipe for making something successful is to stop guessing and start just listening to what people ask you to make.

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative) It sounds totally obvious, but it's not obvious. It's not as intuitive as you think. You're saying to people, ask a good question and then just listen and then follow up on that. It's a very simple recipe for building rapport with anybody.

Dustin:
Exactly. There's an author and a marketer named Jeff Walker. I believe his name is been... He has a one question survey I'll send out. And he'll say, "If there was one thing that had to be inside of a product for you to buy it, what would it be?" And I've asked that question so many times and people will tell you very specific things. Then you put that in and then you can literally copy and paste their responses into your email, or into however you're selling and send it back to them.

Dustin:
Once you've created the product and say, "I made, insert whatever all these people described." How do you not buy that, when it describes exactly when you reflect back then exactly what they asked for? And of course, the really key component of this, is that we work our butts off to make really, really great products, invest huge amounts of time in it.

Dustin:
And it's not just me. It's like when were showing the different stuff we've made. That's not just me by myself doing that stuff, that's me recruiting people like my heroes. We made a font with let's put design code [crosstalk 00:00:30:06].

Chris:
Oh, yeah, sure.

Dustin:
Yeah. So we made a phone call, Palm Canyon Drive we made that with them because I can't do her style. She's amazing. I said, "Would you make this with us? It would be so amazing to have you do it." And she made that because I thought she might never make something like this on our own, but it's so killer. I can't do it. Designers would love it. And so, we came to an agreement and we made a product together. Brad Woodard, again, with the brushes. I said, "Brad, you make such amazing illustrations. Can I partner with you in some way where we can work together to make a brush set."

Dustin:
That's just amazing for the people buying it. Some of the other stuff you showed was a guy named Lenny Terenzi from North Carolina. He is a friend that I know that has a screen printing shop called, Hey Monkey! Design. He makes all of our shirts for us. Our shirts are something that people love. They're just like this, "I feel like a hug on you." They're so soft and just feel good. They just fit perfect.

Dustin:
So I said, "Why don't we make a product where you're a screen printer? Why don't you make the textures? And that way we know these textures are perfect, if you want a screen print, or if you want to do flat stock printing. And so, he made this pack and I don't want to screenshot screen printing studio, but I know how to market it. I know how to figure out exactly what people want. And then he knows how to translate that into the very best version of itself that it can be.

Chris:
I got a quick question for you.

Dustin:
Yeah.

Chris:
When you say you collaborate with other designers and artists, is there a revenue share model that you do with them? How does that work?

Greg:
Yeah, what are the terms?

Dustin:
Yeah, it depends. So if someone is a... Well, first of all, I give people an option. So a lot of times what I'll say is I'll pay you a flat rate to do this, or I'll give you a profit share. And I'll say, "I'll explain the risks and rewards." You might release to some, you might make nothing.

Chris:
Right.

Dustin:
Maybe no one buys it, or you might make a ton, or I can pay you a flat rate and you're guaranteed the money. It's really your choice. In some cases, someone just has a really big following and I say, "Hey, let's partner up. You have a huge following. And I think we can make a very, very great product, if we partner up." So it depends on the situation. If someone doesn't have a big following, oftentimes they'll be contracted out.

Chris:
Right. You just pay them, whatever they think is fair for what they make.

Dustin:
Right. Yeah.

Chris:
And can you give us some guidelines if I have... I'm an artist I'm watching this right now. Okay. I'm in love with RetroSupply Company. I'm in love with Dustin Lee and I'm like, "I don't have a big following, but I'm a really good artist. I do this thing." How much can I expect to make? And if you were to pay me a flat rate, give me some ranges, I can think about this, Dustin?

Dustin:
Gosh, it varies so much. I guess it's gone anywhere from...

Chris:
Sorry to put you on this spot, dude.

Dustin:
No, no. I'm just thinking about it. I mean, there's been situations where we've done long-term partnerships where it was just next to nothing where it was $500, but we were, and this is for a very minor product, or maybe just doing the illustrations for product, just showing what it can do up to... There's been people I've worked with where I've paid them $20,000.

Chris:
Wow. Damn. That's a big range.

Dustin:
So it depends.

Chris:
Yeah.

Dustin:
Well, yeah. It depends. And everyone's in a different position. Some people are in a position where they have a big following and I'm saying, "Hey, let's make something together and think together. We can make something really successful because I know your thing is creating art, creating design. Mine is running the shop. I'll do the running the shop, I'll do the promoting of this. And I'll make sure that this practice packaged and presented in a way that is exciting to customers. And then guarantee to you, we're going to get good reviews and people are going to be happy with it."

Dustin:
And then in other cases, you have people that are starting out, that say, "I really want to do something like this. I want to create my own passive income." And I'll say, "Okay, well, why don't you make a product for less, but I'm going to show you how to do this. I'm going to put links to your site and I'm going to show you how to leverage the access to the audience and I'm giving you."

Chris:
Yep.

Dustin:
And in many ways, money doesn't just come in cash, transfer from your account. It comes in finding the right customers.

Chris:
Right.

Speaker 1:
Time for a quick break, but we'll be right back with more from Dustin Lee.

Speaker 2:
Hey, there. You're up for getting down with low prices. Well, Fred Meyer goes lower than low on food, that's fresher than fresh. So when you're crushing on clementines seeking a savory salad, or choosy about your chicken, just open the Fred Meyer app, you'll get more ways to save on the fresh, new love with personalized coupons, weekly sales and rewards like fuel points, offer prices that are even lower than the everyday low. So go where you know, it's lower than low. Fred Meyer, fresh for everyone.

Speaker 1:
Welcome back to our conversation with Dustin Lee.

Chris:
I just want to say something here because we have a global audience and there's people in developing countries. So even as you're listening to this, there's some of you that might think, well, $500 is not a lot, and $20,000 seems like a lot. But there are some people who live in developing countries where making $4,000 a year, that's like a good living.

Chris:
So just think about that as you guys are trying to sling it. And because we get this question asked of us all the time, "Chris, clients here don't value design and get paid $50 for a logo." And the automatic response I give to them almost always is this, "Why do you feel compelled only to work in the market that you're in? You're allowed to work anywhere in the world. So when you're selling a product on creative market, either through the RetroSupply Company or on your own, you're working at the international standard now."

Chris:
So if you can bring in 4,000 or $5,000 of passive income and you had all year to make one or two products or bundle, whatever, one of your secret strategies, if you did that, you would make more than most people in a year, and you will be your own boss. And you would kind of have a lot of free time.

Chris:
So if you're in the Philippines, if you're in Cairo, if you're in one of these other countries where just, there's not a lot of money or opportunity, I hear you, but don't be a victim to your circumstance, go ahead and get into the market. That's why I'm so excited to talk to people like you, Dustin, because everything that you do, it's wide open for everybody. It doesn't matter where you are. As long as you have an internet connection and you have some tools to make stuff, and you get smart about the marketing and listening to your customers, you're going to do pretty good.

Dustin:
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, for instance, there's... I can't remember the name of the studio, but there's like a tight boundary. I think it's in Thailand, or maybe I think it's [inaudible 00:36:29] Anyways, you see these guys, they love what they're doing and they rented out their own little office and they're making a killing. I mean, I'm like, wow, these, these guys are making the same amount on this kind of product as I am. And I know that the exchange rate is crazy.

Chris:
Right. Cause it's pretty inexpensive to live in Thailand.

Dustin:
Yeah. From what I understand, I don't know a ton about it, but yeah, I think that they're making a really great living doing it. I'll wrap up this because this is just about the end of the presentation.

Chris:
Okay.

Dustin:
I just want to share this book.

Chris:
Cool.

Dustin:
So I found out about this book. It's a hidden gem at the back for our wick wick. He mentions different books you should read. And it's at the very back and it's kind of just briefly mentioning. And I bought it and it's called How to make millions with your ideas, and then it's by Dan Kennedy. Dan Kennedy is like this old school, direct mail marketer, big master. Looks like a, I don't know, like a cowboy, or something like that from Buster Scruggs, or something like that. And the book is just page after page, after page of unconventional ways of making money.

Dustin:
And the cool thing is that you can read it, you can open it to any page and didn't say, "Oh, I can see how I could apply that idea to what I do." So for instance, a big part of what's helped us grow is that we've done a lot of unconventional things, or name a couple for you.

Dustin:
We tried doing a product where buy today, and then every week for the next four weeks, we're going to send you another episode essentially, of the product, right?

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dustin:
And each one had a different theme. We did webinars where they were free. We did webinars where we charged $100. We did do a webinar that went so horrible that I got kicked off the call. And I was gone for 30 minutes, which were the most longest 30 minutes of my life that people had paid for.

Dustin:
And a lot of people want to return and a lot of people were angry, but we tried different stuff. We tried selling shirts, we looked into making action figures of our mascot. We made something called, I Want It All Box, which is essentially, we said, what if we got all of our products that are digital and made them into a physical object, made a box out of them and saw the box for $600. That ended up being one of the smartest things we ever did.

Chris:
Wow.

Dustin:
It's a really big thing to do. Very few people like, I don't know anyone actually that's done that, but I guess the point is that, by reading books like this, you come up with all sorts of interesting ways to do things. And when you do that, that's how you stand out. That's how people remember you.

Dustin:
They say, "This crazy person like made a box of this stuff. It's so ridiculous." In fact, every time I put it up for sale, someone says, "This is the stupidest idea I've ever heard. Why do you keep sending me emails about this stupid box?" But other people tell me, "This is so amazing." And they'll send you, Instagram shots of it and tell you how much they love it. So I highly recommend this book. I think it's like 12 bucks, something like that in Amazon. I'm not getting any affiliate, or something for it [crosstalk 00:39:27]

Chris:
I'm so hold on guys, hold on.

Greg:
[crosstalk 00:39:30] description.

Chris:
Yeah, we'll do that in a second. We are busy people after all. I mean, Let's be honest. Keep going.

Dustin:
And then finally just like start now and be prepared to fail. Something I heard the other day. And I feel like it's a very common theme as well. I did this and then it didn't work. So I guess that doesn't work. And the reality is... I remember hearing... Gosh, I don't know who it was. It was some famous songwriter. He said, "It takes around 100 songs to write a good song.

Dustin:
So just remember, if something doesn't work the first time, it might take a lot of times before it works. And you can tell the people that are going to succeed, not by their talent or, something like that. You can tell they're going to succeed because they're consistent. They release things. They try different things. They become predictable.

Dustin:
In fact, I remember when I first started, my only goal was to release something every week. And I had people write to me and say, "I know every Tuesday at three o'clock, something comes out from you. So I look forward to it."

Chris:
Nice.

Dustin:
So just be prepared to fail a lot and put stuff out there and be embarrassed and make mistakes. That is the price of entrance into most things. So that's it.

Chris:
Okay, cool. I'm going to show you guys the, I Want It All Box image in a little bit, but before I do that, I just want to make sure that you guys got our Amazon link. And there was a question that was asked on a Super Chat. "Do we make money off Amazon affiliates?" Yes we do. It's not a lot of money. I think it's only three or 4% because not enough people are buying things on Amazon part to make a difference, but we do.

Chris:
It's like putting out a lot of little buckets to collect the rain that's coming down. I also want to say thank you to let's talk branding for their super chat. Their comment was great collab. Thanks for all the amazing content in 2018 guys looking forward to 2019. Well, we appreciate you for doing the super chat with us.

Chris:
Now I'm going to switch over my screen here. So you guys start formulating your well thought out and intentional questions while I share my screen, come on, baby. You can do this. I spend a lot of money on this laptop. Come on. And here we go. And then here it is the, I Want It All Box.

Dustin:
Can I stop sharing my screen, is that okay?

Chris:
Yeah. You can stop sharing. Yeah. So here it is. You guys can see it literally is a box with tons of stuff in it. It's called the, I Want It All. I'm making zero affiliate deals on this maybe later. So some stickers, pins, there's a USB. I assume the USB jump drive has all the digital assets in it.

Dustin:
Yeah. Okay. So this is a $600 box.

Chris:
Yeah.

Dustin:
It would be completely insane if it was $600 for a t-shirt and some stickers. Thing that makes it to $600 is that it has a hand sanded, stained wooden USB inside of it that has every product we've ever made on it. So essentially you're just getting a physical version of everything we've ever made. And some people like that. I talked to a guy that was a funnily enough. He was a, I think he was, he had a master's degree in poetry and he had all these letter presses because he loved to print poetry and his letter press.

Chris:
Wow.

Dustin:
And he kept it right in front of his computer, the little wooden USB drive. And he was like, "I just love this. It's just like a little experimentation box for me." When I'm trying to come up with a fresh idea, I load it up and doesn't take a lot space in my computer because it's on USB and it's for him.

Chris:
Very cool. I'm glad you kind of explained that you actually work with other people because first, when you were saying, we do this, I was like, "Oh, he's going kind on me right now, just talking about himself in the plural." We do this [inaudible 00:43:18] You said that you collaborate with other artist, so cut to my screen for a second. You see this illustration here? The atomic age. Well, can you see that, Dustin?

Dustin:
I did see it.

Chris:
You can see it right there?

Dustin:
Yes.

Chris:
So was that somebody else who was at you illustrating this kid with a wink?

Dustin:
That is neither that say... Okay, so this is a whole different [crosstalk 00:43:41]

Chris:
It's a secret. Here comes.

Dustin:
So I had collected a bunch of old 1940s. Back in the 1940s, I used to sell catalogs of retro clip art. Well, it wasn't retro. It was clip art that they would use in advertisements. I bought a bunch of that. I didn't know if it was legit to use. So I ended up sending this musty box to these intellectual property attorneys that funnily enough, turned into marijuana attorneys now.

Dustin:
But I sent it to them in California and they went through everything and told me what was okay to use. They grade it. They don't say it's 100% occupant. They graded essentially on risk. And they said, "This is very, very likely okay to use, this is not." And then I digitized all that. And so I have this huge library stuff that I had bought and had attorneys look at it.

Chris:
That's one of your seven tips, which is to resell stuff in the public domain, right? Is that one your tips or no?

Dustin:
Gosh, I don't know. I've made a lot of content. I mean that definitely could be a tip. I mean, we have some clip art that we sell. We don't make a ton of money off of it.

Chris:
Yeah.

Dustin:
But one thing that we do, here's a perfect example of stuff in the public domain. So my friend, Jason Karn, he's an amazing lettering artist, he spent over, I think now, you spend now over $12,000 buying rare vintage lettering books, from like, I don't know, like 100, 120 years ago. It's crazy. And he meticulously photographed every one. And then one day it occurred to him. "Well, why don't I just like Southeast and other people, I spent $12,000 buying all these." And so, you can check it out, by the way. I think it's just called Lettering Library. And so, we started selling a bundle of these together that was public domain.

Dustin:
But the thing is, it would literally cost him $12,000. It would cost $12,000 to acquire these. So to build and buy this bundle for right now, for very brief time, it's on sale for just 50 regularly. He sells it around 200, is a great deal. Yeah. It's public domain, but you can't just find anywhere, not to mention you have a guy who's a true kind of sewer of this kind of lettering who has collected these books out of love long before he ever thought about trying to make money from them.

Chris:
Yeah. So I don't know if you guys know this and I'm not, I don't pretend to be an attorney on TV or anything, but when the copyright expires on things, anybody can use it. Anybody can reproduce it. And certain things can't be copyrighted, like functional objects as we found out when we had an attorney on the show. But just to refresh your memory, you guys. If you guys want to know more about what's going on and what we're talking about with Dustin, go to passiveincomefordesigners.com. I know it's a mouthful, lots of letters in there, passiveincomefordesigners with an s.com. And he wrote this article, dated May 27th, 2017.

Chris:
Seven ways to make a passive income product fast and all the way at the bottom, because I did do a little research. It says here, number six, "Sell public domain work." This is the low hanging fruit. So you can take things that are out of copyright protection that are in the public domain and you can do something to it. You can literally just scan it in an auto trace, vectorize it, or you can do what Charles Anderson does, which he hires illustrators to redraw it and clean everything up and make it super nice. Then that becomes their property.

Dustin:
But the only funny thing is that there's always objections to this type of thing. So we did a webinar.

Chris:
What's the objection?

Dustin:
Well, for instance, we did a webinar and we posted it on YouTube and someone had said, WTF seriously are making money off other people's work. And YouTube comments, this sounds amazing, but they can be the worst.

Chris:
Yes they can be.

Dustin:
Yeah. But the thing is that think about it. I mean, so 2019 was a big year copywriting legislation that had been going up 50 years, opened up all sorts of things. The really noted example, being that the words by Robert Frost became public domain. It can now be on, I don't know, Oven Mitts.

Chris:
Right.

Dustin:
And people do that. When you go to Barnes and Noble or Amazon and you buy, I don't know the works of Montana, or something like that, those are public domain, no one owns those anymore. So this person is saying, "Well, I can't believe you're doing that. But these books we were assigned were over a hundred-

Dustin:
Well, I can't believe you're doing that, but these books we were selling were over a hundred years old, way past public domain date. Why wouldn't you do it? And if you're not going to do that, then you really shouldn't be watching Disney movies. They're made off of public domain folktales. You shouldn't be buying any books, any of the great literature, you shouldn't be buying Shakespeare. You shouldn't be... You get what I'm saying with this?

Chris:
I 100% get what you're saying with this. Let me just say this so that we're very clear on the record for all 773 people that are watching us right now, okay? The future and what we're saying is not for everybody. We're kind of like a dog whistle. If you're an entrepreneur, if you're a creative person you think, you know what, we're here to live a creative life and profit from our ideas. And in the rules that says, "You can do this." And if you choose not to do it, that's your right to do that.

Chris:
And it's also your right to go ahead and do it like what we're talking about and to ignore those people. And that's okay too. So if it doesn't work for you, don't worry about it. More for us. And you're right, Dustin, because you're already buying all these things all the time and you're just not aware of it. So the idea of it sounds grating to you. It feels like it's wrong, it's unethical. But you need to get over it or not. Don't worry about it. The rest of us who want to do it will make money and you can go and be miserable. That's fine. That's your choice.

Dustin:
Well, and I think I should be clear here too. The RetroSupply was not built... In fact, the revenue that comes from public domain things is a negligible. Talking 5% or less. We're making stuff off of... I buy a lot of stuff from, say, mid-century American artwork. We'll make brush packs where we'll refer to those brushes to come up with ideas and to see what they look like, but then we're working with new artists who are being paid very good amounts of money, or they're getting partnerships. I have partners who have made probably over $100,000 partnered with me over the years from doing this. So most of the stuff we create is original stuff based on historical artwork. We're not just digging through the public domain and taking everything out of the public domain and making money. That is 5% of the business. If that. I just want to make that clear.

Chris:
I want to make one other point here before we beat a dead horse here. I know a lot of people love and respect and cherish Aaron Draplin as we do. I don't know if you guys know this, but correct me if I'm wrong people that are watching here, he made a font. And you know what his font was based on? He photographed a bunch of letters on a building and he converted that into his vector font that you can use. That you can load on your computer. And his philosophy is he's rescued that from the dustbin, from history. He's rescued that so that you guys can use that. It didn't take a ton of effort to make that, but he did that. If you have a problem with that, then you have a problem with all of this and don't support anybody. Don't worry about it, but you guys just got to get over it. Get over it.

Dustin:
I can't see the comments. So I can't see what people-

Chris:
No, I can. So who knows what's going to happen.

Dustin:
[crosstalk 00:51:06] A lot of people don't like that, but I'll give you another very similar example. So there's someone else that we've done a pack with and it's called Wood Type Revival. This is a talented designer and he had went to a type foundry, that did wood type, and there was just piles of what type in this garage area. And he's like, "What happens to this?" And they're like, "Well, we throw it away." He's like, "Sometimes the guys just put it in the back of their truck and they bring it, and they just literally go camping and light it on fire as firewood." No joke. So this guy said, "Well, can I just take it or can I pay you and take it with me?" And he took it and he converted it into fonts that he sold. I don't know. He literally saved it from the fire in some cases. I don't know, does he deserve to be rewarded?

Chris:
Condemned?

Dustin:
I don't know if he does, but [inaudible 00:52:01] money for it and a have to make money to have that stuff all dumped into a fire.

Chris:
That's right. So here's how you guys can do this. You can vote with your pocket book. You can say, "I don't like that idea. Don't buy it." And you're like, "This is cool. Thank you for saving that. I had no other access to it." Then you can buy it. But you're right. There's a ton of books out there, which you guys buy and are happy to buy. Clip art books, books that document different artifacts, like monograms and symbols, things that have been lost to history. They've gone through and painstakingly photographed them, reassembled them in a book, got it all cleared so that you can buy it. You don't have an issue with that. So let's just make sure that there's symmetry of logic here. Okay. I want to ask this question on behalf of Jermaine Chase, who's super chatted, as they said. What are your best marketing tactics that you use?

Dustin:
Well, by far, my best marketing tactic is email. So something I learned when I worked for Paid to Exist, before I started RetroSupply, was the importance of an email list. Email lists are just highly responsive. You're not competing against a bunch of other messages on Instagram or whatever. So for instance, as soon as my Creative Market shop started to do well, I immediately in the bio put a link to my own site and said, "Hey, come to my site and I'll give you some free products if you'll give me your email address." Which turned out to be a very good move because Creative Market got a lot more saturated. I don't know if I'd be in business if I hadn't built my own site. So I use that email list now and originally 100% of the money I made was coming from Creative Market. Today... Gosh. 15%, maybe, comes from Creative Market. The rest comes from my own site.

Dustin:
So the biggest thing I would say is build an email list. Don't wait until everything's perfect to build it. Start building it and send content to it on a regular basis. A lot of people are intimidated by that, but it's the best thing you can do by far. Another great thing to do is to leverage other people's audiences. So if you don't have traffic, which none of us do when we start, you need to find people that do have traffic. You need to find some sort of value you can give to them. And in that sense, get traffic from them. So I'll give you an example. You might be familiar with a Spoon Graphics.

Chris:
No, but sounds interesting.

Greg:
Yeah.

Dustin:
Okay, yes. So Spoon Graphics, it's a really, really great guy named Chris Spooner. He lives in the UK and he has a retro aesthetic to the stuff that he does. And when I made my one of my first products, I sent it to him and I just said, "Here, I want to give this to you as a gift because I just appreciate all the tutorials and all the stuff you made." And he wrote me back and he said, "Man, this is great. Would you mind if we gave this away to people that are in this group that I have?" And I said, "Sure." And Chris Spooner has a big email list. I think he probably gets over a million views a month.

Dustin:
I don't know. He gets a ton and has an email list of at least 100,000. These are guesses, but I can get a decent sense from doing this for a while. And by doing that, I got tons of traffic. That is another huge thing you can do. Don't just rely on yourself to get traffic. You need partners and other people to share your work, and that means typically catering to what they want. What will help them in order to do that.

Chris:
Okay. You know what? Because at the top of the show I promised some hot tips and secrets and I want to give this a little structure and I also want to be able to hit... There's so many questions that I'm looking on YouTube, the chat, that are really good. I want to be able to ask you. So Greg, I'm going to prime you right now to get those questions ready for us. We want to get into lightening round when we're ready. So get those ready, Greg. So I think you can see my screen now, right? Passive income product. Yeah, you can see that, Dustin?

Dustin:
Yes.

Chris:
So seven ways to passive income product fast. So I would just like for you to speak about these talking points here. So when you say package rejected work, what does that mean?

Dustin:
Oh, right. Okay. So a lot of people have hard drives that are just graveyards full of stuff that got rejected or not used by clients. In other cases... For example, my friend, [Rocky Rourke 00:08:34], he has all these color palettes in Illustrator. People are constantly in his Instagram being like, "Where can I get your color palettes?" These are all things that are just things sitting on your hard drive that aren't doing anything for you, so why not look at those rejected or byproducts of your work and think about selling them? If you're creating an illustration, why not record your screen while you're doing it and then notate it later and sell that? These are all things you're doing anyways, or that you've made and that have been rejected. So in what ways can you get those things and repackage and repurpose them [crosstalk 00:57:02] to use for other people.

Chris:
Perfect. In the book Rework I think they talk about having a garage sale of your digital assets. Go through and clean out whatever it is that you're not using and package it up and sell it. It doesn't have to be sold for a lot, but when people buy this in volume it can add up to be quite a bit. Because we have so many points to go through, Dustin, I just want you to just give us the goods. Scan textures, what do you mean? That seems pretty obvious.

Dustin:
Yeah. This is super obvious. So scan texture. So I, for instance, was in Alabama. I went to a gigantic flea market. They had so many old books and different old paper textures. I bought, I don't know, maybe $50 worth of them and brought them home with me. I have a really high resolution scanner and I just scan them, package them really nicely, showed examples of how they could be used with tutorial videos and sold them. It doesn't sell all the time because it's low hanging fruit. A lot of people can make textures like that pretty quickly, but...

Chris:
But when you're in a pinch, it's at midnight, and you don't have that texture and you need it for a project you're working on. $4, I'm buying that texture, it's done. Okay, next one. You want to say something, Greg?

Greg:
Just agreeing.

Chris:
Oh, Greg's like, "That's me."

Greg:
Been there. Done that.

Chris:
All right, let's go back to my slide here. So here's the third one you say, "Make your own resources for a client project." What does that mean?

Dustin:
Make your own resources for a client project...

Chris:
It's almost like you didn't write this blog or something.

Dustin:
I did, but I wrote this [crosstalk 00:58:26] about a year ago.

Chris:
2017, yeah. You want me to read it for you?

Dustin:
Yeah, please. Jog my memory on this one.

Chris:
Let me refresh your memory here. Okay. What you're saying is when you make your own resources for our client project, do you have something that you always have to do when you're setting up a client project? Instead of redoing it every single time, create an action template or checklist. Chances are somebody else is going to do the same thing, and they're going to save time with your product as well.

Dustin:
Yeah, okay. Absolutely. I don't need to repeat that. Lots of people do that. It's effective, yeah.

Chris:
Okay, here we go. We're going to get to point number four. Here we go. Point number four, try Fontself Maker. I've never even heard of that. Fontself Maker.

Dustin:
Yeah. So it's called Fontself... And maybe it's called Fontself Maker still. It was originally a Kickstarter project. Essentially what they did is they made it so you can make fonts in Photoshop or Illustrator. You don't have to go into, say, Glyphs to do it. It's very, very easy to use. Most people, even when they start with Glyphs, build on [inaudible 00:59:30] and Illustrator, then move them to Glyphs. And then they eventually graduate to just building things and Glyphs. Fontself Maker, is I don't think the best way to make fonts. I don't think anyone would agree that it's the most professional way to make fonts. But we're talking about the hardest part of getting anything going, and I know this from seeing this hundreds and hundreds of times, is getting something out the door. So Fontself Maker makes the process of creating a font smooth.

Dustin:
So at least you can get that font out the door and say, "I made a font." So make one. You can do it in an evening. You can do it in a couple evenings, in a week, and have your first font out. And you've just shifted your mindset. Now you're someone that makes fonts. And I've seen people like, I think, [Maddock Schoeller 00:01:00:12], he's a fantastic font maker. He started by making a very simple font. And now he's a profound font maker. You've got to start somewhere and that's a very easy way to start.

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). You can buy an old book of type specimens that there's a typeface that was drawn the old way. You can scan it in, you can redraw it, and you can get on Fontself Maker and make something. The whole point of it is don't let the tools, the technology, or all the hurdles that you got to jump through, to be the thing that holds you back from making something. Here we go. Number five... Because you have nine. Even though it's at seven. You're an overachiever. Create a product machine. What does that mean?

Dustin:
Yeah. So, okay. When you start making products, you'll start to notice that the same things happen over and over again. So for instance, in my business, a lot of people are grateful that we have really, really good instructions. We've invested a lot of time in making instructions with clear images and step-by-step instructions, but we keep doing that. And eventually we realized why don't we have a template for this? If we're giving them some people procreate brushes, why would we make the instructions 10 times? Just use the same instructions. Or if we're making instructions for Illustrator brushes, why change the way you do it? So in other words think of it like an assembly line. There's a lot of things that can be repurposed.

Dustin:
Another example is, let's say, you're making procreate brush packs. If you have a certain shape, for instance, they're shaped sources and grain sources when you're making procreate packs. If you're making a variety of different brushes, save the shape sources and the grain sources. There's nothing wrong with the same one being used again, if that's the one that makes sense.

Chris:
Perfect. We've already talked about number six here. Can I go backwards? No, I can't. Is to sell public domain work. We're not going to go over that. See that. We'll timestamp it for you guys. Number seven, here we go. Record, transcribe, edit. What does that mean?

Dustin:
Yeah. So, okay. So great example of this. We have a pack called the [Weather in Wonderland 00:01:02:15] brush back. This is a collaboration again with my friend, Brad Woodard. If you haven't checked out his stuff, you can check out Brave the Woods. Just amazing illustrations. He's also one of the top teachers on Skillshare. So when we were making a pack, I said, "You're making illustrations for the pack anyways." And this goes back to repurposing work as well. So he said, "Why don't you..." We bought some software which is called Camtasia.

Dustin:
We bought the software and he said, "Why don't you record yourself making this illustration? And then we can go back. We can edit out the chunks where you're stopping and you're looking at references or you're going and getting coffee or eating cereal. And we can edit all those pieces out. We can put texts that explains what's happening. And we can do overdubs on what you're saying. And we can turn this from a time-lapse of you working into a very succinct video of how to achieve a result that a lot of people are wondering, how did you do that?"

Dustin:
So if you're about to start an illustration, whether it be in Photoshop, Illustrator, procreate, whatever, think about recording that and having it available to edit for the future. There's a lot of people that would pay good money to see how you make something, because it saves them hours and hours, weeks, of trying to figure it out themselves.

Chris:
Right. That's a super hot tip. It's something that I believe in as well because to buy a drive from Western Digital or one of those companies. The four terabyte drive, it's like $100. It's nothing. You can just buy the software, which I believe is also inexpensive. Is it like $100, Camtasia?

Dustin:
It's $100 and you get like a 14-day free trial.

Chris:
Okay, there you go. So for an investment of $200, $200 right now, which almost everybody that's watching this can afford, you can just start screen recording your work. You don't have to do anything with it until later. Just start screen recording while you work. If you're a graphic designer and illustrator, if you're a retoucher or whatever it is you're doing, or a 3D modeler, just record. Right now. Because it's just money in the bank and you can cash that in later. Just out of curiosity, how much did you wind up selling that course for?

Dustin:
In that case, we did... This was another thing where we experimented. We made one where we just sold the brushes. That was $19. We've made one where we gave a core video on how to do an illustration. That was $29. And then we did another one with multiple videos and I believe that was $39.

Chris:
And did it sell well?

Dustin:
Yeah, it sells to this day. I'm sending him checks every month to this day, so yeah. It sold pretty good.

Chris:
Can you guesstimate how much revenue that it's earned from its lifetime thus far? Ballpark.

Dustin:
Oh, gosh. It would be really hard to guess. It's definitely tens of thousands of dollars. For sure.

Chris:
Okay, so you guys can see that? So even something that starts as little as $19 and on up to $39 can earn you tens of thousands of dollars.

Greg:
It adds up.

Chris:
It does add up. It adds up. Okay, so the next one. Eight and nine. Eight is something that we've already talked about. Thank you, [John 00:17:12], for missing my slide there. Fine partnerships, which we've already talked about. You talked about that pretty extensively. So we won't go into that. And lastly is make something that you need. And you've also talked about that, right? Make something you need. So why don't we do this? Let's get into the lightning round and let's get as many questions as we can. So I'm going to ask you to keep your answers under 15 seconds because there are so many good questions I'm seeing in the chat window and we want to get to them for everybody that's tuning in live. And our audience has grown a little bit, I think. Right, Greg? Yeah, there are over 800 people watching right now.

Greg:
812.

Chris:
Let's do it. Let's do it, Greg.

Greg:
Okay, all right. Dustin, you ready?

Chris:
Greg, you look good today, man. I just want to say, well... Clean-shaven, just the hair's right and everything's good.

Greg:
Oh, hey. Thanks, Chris. Okay. So Lisa asks, how do you market your products? Do you use social or is it purely email? So I think do you take out ads on social media like Facebook and Instagram?

Dustin:
I'm dabbling in ads in social media, but it's primarily email, Instagram and that's it.

Chris:
Okay. [Andrada 01:06:18] has asked, what inspires you to create these things? I think I know, but I'm just curious.

Dustin:
I was raised a lot when I was really young by my grandmother and they lived in a house that they inherited that the only rule of them having it was that they could not change it. So it looked like it was from right out of the 1950s. So I grew up around all this mid-century, modern type stuff and that stuff is just very nostalgic to me. So this business is an extension of that.

Chris:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Greg:
That's super cool. Dang.

Chris:
Next question, Greg. Good. We're doing well, you guys. All right, we're going to burn through these. Let's go.

Greg:
This was a burning question from a lot of people. What is the best way to find public domain art?

Dustin:
Oh gosh. Once place to started to look at... I don't know if I should even say this. One place to start is to look at Dover. Dover has made an entire business out of public domain artwork. They try to put all these threats in the beginning that you can't use their stuff. And you can't take stuff from a Dover art book, but if Dover is making it, there's a good chance that it's public domain. They are typically talking about having a copyright to the order or the way they've organized the work. But if Dover has it and you can find the original source material, that's a good starting point to bring that to an [IEP 01:07:28] attorney and see if it's legit to use. But I highly recommend using an attorney.

Chris:
Okay. [Chung Yi 00:24:03] is asking, is it dangerous to market your side gig when working full-time as a designer? I worried my boss thinks I'm not invested in my day job.

Dustin:
I can't really answer that. I was working in an online marketing business related to doing work you love. So there was no competition when I had a child and was going through this, my boss was super cool. And he said, "I just want you to be happy and do what's best for your family." So I can't answer that.

Chris:
Well, you know what? So here's the thing. I say this to everybody that works for me. I want you to show up and give me an honest eight hours worth of work every day. What you do on your own time, if you want to, I don't know, finger knit or juggle or work on your side hustle, I actually encourage you. I'm motivated and inspired by people who are ambitious and inner driven. And I liked that. One of our core values is to have this never ending curiosity. And I can't expect that only to be turned on from 10:00 to 7:00. I just can't expect that. It's not realistic. If somebody has a problem with that and your work is not compromised at work, it's time to move on. Next question, Greg.

Greg:
Okay. So let's see... I'm going to butcher this. But [iseon industries 00:20:46] asks, what are the pros and cons of selling content via online markets? Like VideoHive and Creative Market.

Chris:
Good question.

Dustin:
Yeah. So the pros of selling on places like Creative Market or other places like that is that they are driving all the traffic for you. So they're doing ads through Google and different places. You're getting access to a market that's interested in buying. The downside of it is that the barrier to entry to making a lot of this stuff is very low and very quickly someone can replicate and compete against you and destroy your sales and your efforts.

Greg:
So as a follow-up question to that, how have you managed to stay on top or stay ahead of that curve of people ripping you off, basically?

Chris:
Good follow up.

Dustin:
Yeah, that's a great question. By moving as many people as possible to my own site. I'm happy to sell through Creative Market. I'm happy to give them a percentage of the sales. They're amazing. I've met the whole team and we went down and visited them numerous times over the years. But really the only defense you have is you need to get people onto your own site where you control the conversation, where there's not suggested products all around you, where there's not people driving the price down.

Chris:
Excellent.

Greg:
Makes sense.

Chris:
All right. I got a question and comment here. An internal dialogue happening on the chat here. Tasha is saying back to Chung Yi, he's like, "I'm currently working my full-time designer job while watching this video and taking notes on my own design business." So that may be crossing the line a little bit. Greg, what do you think? Is that crossing a line?

Greg:
That's a very gray area right there to be in.

Chris:
That's not even gray, dude. That's black. [crosstalk 01:10:23] You've already moved into a black area because they're paying you to do your job and you're like, "Oh, excuse me while I work on my side hustle and watch this video." Unless your job is investigate what YouTube creators are telling you on how to creative passive income so you can quit. Unless that's your job title, there may be some issues there. But I thought it was pretty funny. Greg, what else you got?

Greg:
Let's see. I think we've answered most of these already. Oh, okay. This is a great question. How do you tackle piracy?

Chris:
You can't!

Dustin:
How do you defeat piracy?

Greg:
Is there anything you do to try to make it more difficult for people to steal?

Dustin:
So yeah, that's a fantastic question. So companies like Creative Market have entire departments devoted to piracy and they can't even... It's like whack-a-mole. They can't even fight piracy.

Chris:
It's impossible.

Greg:
Right.

Dustin:
Piracy is going to happen. So the way I personally look at it is sometimes we send cease and desist letters, but for the most part we try to do piracy jujitsu. So if they're going to give it away for free, we have experimented with ideas of, well, let's put links in the PDFs. Let's offer free things in the PDFs. These guys are doing free advertising for us. Another thing that we've tried is we tried putting notes into the PDF instructions that say, "Hey, you know what? You don't have to go to them. If you really want this product and you can't afford it, email us." I'd rather give you the product for free than have you taken it from this guy and supporting this person who's stealing from people. But at the end of the day, we can't stop it. You can't live your life that way. I've tried and it's just gut wrenching soul destruct-

Dustin:
And it's just gut-wrenching, soul-destroying.

Chris:
I can't stop piracy. I have a joke I want to share with you guys. There's an Asian comedian that I saw on Facebook, so somebody who recognizes who this person is, you guys can mention in the comment below. Tell me who this person is. He was talking about this and he's on stage he's like, I always wanted to be a superhero. America has the best superheroes. There's Captain America. I want to be captain China, but instead of a shield, I'm going to just throw up pirated DVDs. And isn't their actual real superpower is they actually finance Captain America's operation. Okay, that's enough. All right, let's keep going. What other question we got Greg?

Greg:
Got another multi-part question here, but I think it's a good one. This is from Cam, and Cam asks, what are the different revenue streams from your site? Is it just selling design products or are there affiliate and ad revenue as well?

Dustin:
By far, the main way that we're making money is by selling products. We also sell webinars. Webinars can be profitable. We're considering getting into sign courses, and having a course part of our site. And the other way is through partnerships with external sites. So for instance, Affinity started a small marketplace and we were invited to be one of the first people to spot some Affinity products on there. And that was a fantastic way to establish some credibility and also to sell a good amount of products to Affinity users.

Chris:
I encourage you to sell courses, man. That's how we build our business.

Greg:
I'd totally buy one.

Dustin:
I did the passive income from designers and sold it at one time and it did really well, but you think I should do that Hans? It works well?

Chris:
I think so. If you have any questions you can ask me, I'm happy to share.

Dustin:
Okay, cool.

Chris:
Okay. I'm reading comments here. So what else we got here?

Greg:
I'm trying to make better sense of a couple. There's some good ones that [crosstalk 01:14:19] ...

Chris:
There was a quick question about Dover, like what is Dover? You guys just type in whatever. I tell my son this, he's 12 years old. I said, never asked dad a question you can just find the answer to just by typing it on the internet, what is Dover? Just typing in Dover publishing, I put the link in there for you before I get all crazy on you guys, all right. Just try. There's no penalty for typing in on Google, unless you have, what is that? The safety feature turned off and it turns out to be where it's porn site. Otherwise, there's no punishment for that. Just type it in. It's easy man.

Dustin:
I want to be clear just to double down on the fact that I am not saying to take things from Dover. Dover has made a business out of selling things that are largely in the public domain. They can be some breadcrumbs on a trail to pursuing public domain images. I'm not saying to take things from Dover. Dover is big business, that's not what I mean.

Chris:
He just got [crosstalk 01:15:16] email. That's going to be a funny email to read later today from Dover's attorneys. You guys, if you ever go into a bookstore, you remember what those are, there's things with paper and bound together with glue and sometimes they're hard covers and soft covers. Dover publishing is basically essentially a clip art publishing company. They have everything from patterns to borders, to old Roman drawings. I have a library full of Dover clip art, like animals, beasts, and dragons, and all kinds of things, ornate, filigree, decorative elements. We have all that and it's just sitting in the other room. All right, that's what Dover is. We're not going to get sued by Dover because he was just saying, Dustin was just saying, if you want a clue as to what's in the public domain, just look at what Dover does, because that's going to point you in the right direction. But I think the more practical [crosstalk 01:16:04]... Okay, go ahead.

Dustin:
I was just going to say and two, public domain images, people do make money in a variety of way off of them, but public domain images are very low hanging fruit. Anyone can go Google public domain images, find some and not know for sure if it's legal and start selling them. It's super low-hanging fruit. It's hard to make a lot of money selling public domain images. The only exception that I've experienced is the one where my friend Jason from lettering library was selling these very, very rare, old, old books that you could not find.

Chris:
Other questions, what else we got?

Greg:
We have another one about how did you start building your email list from scratch? And then a follow-up to that is how do you keep it growing at a constant rate and keep people engaged?

Dustin:
That's a good question. So Creative Market, I had a day where my sales just went through the roof. And as soon as that happened, I realized that I needed to get these people that were customers to my own site, where I could market to them without competing against other people. And there was a small biography section where you could, most people would say things like I'm a designer and I love to drink coffee or something like that. And instead I put something to the effect of, visit retrosupply.co and get nine products free or something like that, and then I put a link to my site. So they would go to this page, and then when they entered their email address, they would get nine free products. That was the beginning of my email list. So I do that.

Dustin:
I rank high in a variety of things related to retro design on SEO. So people that come to the site will get a pop-up or a variety of other ways that they see, to get their address. You got to remember the first time someone comes to your site, if you don't get their email address, there's a good chance they're never coming back. So you really want to get that. And people will say, oh my gosh, I hate pop-ups. People say that, but then when you look at the statistics of how well pop-up do in getting email addresses, you see that as much as they say they hate it, they are using it. I think what people hate is, people hate stupid pop-ups that have no relevancy to what they're doing. If you have a well-timed pop-up with something really interesting to offer people, people don't mind that. People are referring to annoying pop-ups when they say they hate popups is my theory.

Greg:
I can vouch for that experience too. If I go to a site I'm genuinely interested in, I sin up right away and then I'm on my way through it. But I don't know how I got there, and I see a pop-up, just get me out of here right now.

Dustin:
Or sometimes when you get to a site before you do anything, a pop-up happens. And you're like, I'm just trying to look at this thing, get out of my way, pop up, I hate you. But if you get through an article about some cool design and then it's like, hey, do you want to get all this stuff we used in this design for free? And a pop-up comes up. You might be like, yeah, I do.

Greg:
Totally.

Dustin:
It's all about relevancy and timing, I think.

Chris:
I think that's most of the questions, right, Greg?

Greg:
I think so.

Chris:
It's the time. Jonah, did you have a burning question on what we've talked about thus far?

Jonah:
I do not. Well, maybe the actual terms of the [inaudible 00:01:19:28]. You said that someone made 100,000 or someone that you collaborated with, 20,000?

Dustin:
Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Chris:
What's your question?

Jonah:
Is it still ongoing or was that a flat fee from the project?

Dustin:
That was both. We had this person do some work where we paid them a negotiated fee, and then we also did a webinar with him where we split sales with him.

Greg:
One more question. And this is from Bertram, at the [inaudible 00:08:09]. Bertram asks, when releasing products online and selling, what made you decide to go with a business or brand name versus your own name? So Dustin Lee.

Dustin:
Well, you've got to remember before I started RetroSupply, I was working for a business that essentially consulted people on making solo preneur businesses, businesses with just one person owning it. And I had seen hundreds, maybe thousands of people had been in these courses that they paid good money to be in these courses. The outcome was you take this course, and when you're done with the course, you end with a business, ideally a solo preneur business. And what we would find time and time again, is that people will get stuck on very, very early. The thing is you would think they get stuck on idea, but they would get stuck on domain names. They would get stuck on the colors for their site. When I started RetroSupply, got to remember my situation here. I had a little girl on the away. I had two hours a day, maybe three hours a day, max, to work on this business.

Dustin:
If I had just said, Dustin Lee, people wouldn't know what that was. I wanted people to have a really good idea of what I was selling from just seeing the name. So I thought RetroSupply. I think most people can make a pretty educated guess on what the shop is going to be when they see that name. So I named it that. It was a name I came up with maybe in 15 or 20 minutes, while I was drinking coffee, doing other stuff. And then the business grew. And then at some point you've entrenched yourself, so that's what it was called, but that's why I named it that. Also, I don't think of myself as just someone that just loves retro stuff. I do love retro stuff, but I don't know if I want to associate my entire name with that for the rest of my life.

Greg:
It's a big commitment forever.

Dustin:
Yeah, it is.

Chris:
What you've done is, you've intelligently figured out how to do SEO. Because if you're on creative market, there are tens of thousands of products or companies making stuff, and I don't remember Dustin, but I remember I'm looking for that retro or vintage thing and I type that in and it's going to pop up. So people are not typing in, I'm looking for that Dustin thing or that Lee thing, it just doesn't work. I think that's a good thing that you're doing.

Chris:
And it allows people to immediately associate a visual or an idea or a feeling, just by hearing the name. And that works from a brand messaging point of view. I have two questions. They're not easy questions. The first question I want to ask you this before we wrap up today, question number one is, on average, how much are you earning a month? Can you tell me that? Earning, not profit, not revenue. Because I don't know how many thousands of partners you have or payouts that you're doing.

Dustin:
It really varies. I would say anywhere from 20 to $70,000 a month.

Chris:
That's a big range there. So you have crazy sales periods, probably in November black Friday-ish maybe?

Dustin:
Yeah. Well for instance, November was this record breaking month, it was insane. That month we did really good, every year around that time we do really good. There's also slow months, but this past year it's really gone up. I don't know, I guess I'd say on average 30 to 40 grand.

Chris:
If you're doing 40 grand a month, that's $480,000 that he is earning, earning, doing a passive income business, selling creative things that most people would just like, well, who would buy that? Well, he's giving you 480,000 reasons why people do that every single year. That's a pretty nice, healthy profit for you. Good job. And can I ask how old you are now?

Dustin:
37.

Chris:
Wow, look at that you guys. Jonah and Greg have just left the building. They're going to launch their passive income business model right now, making templates and brushes [crosstalk 01:24:23] .

Dustin:
I should clarify a misconception a lot of people have. So again, just like RetroSupply the name was came up with quickly, as you can imagine, because it's such a horribly long name, passive and comfort designers was the name I came up with in five minutes when I was putting down a domain because I was going to start a business. I'm just really a big believer in getting things out the door and moving forward and passive income is not the best word for what this is because yeah, people do make things and then just make money without doing anything for months or years on end. But I love this business, although it brings in money and I don't have to work on each individual product, I spend every day and I'm on it every day, working on this business. I'm engaged in this business. I'm invested in my customers. So I'm not just sitting here watching Netflix or riding my boosted board around. I'm working every day.

Chris:
Wait a minute. Don't shatter the dream, man. Hold on, hold on. Because the last question I was going to ask you is what's a day like for Dustin Lee, a guy who has no clients, who just makes whoever he wants to talk to his audience and, Oh, I'll send you a box of goods today. What's a normal day like? When do you get up, what are you doing? Just give us the highlights.

Dustin:
Do you have kids?

Chris:
I have two.

Dustin:
Okay, cool. What do you have? Boy and a girl?

Chris:
I have two boys. I have a 15 year old, and a 12 year old.

Dustin:
Okay, so you've been through all this. I go to bed, so it's just me and my wife. I wake up with one to three children in my bed. I go downstairs, I make myself some coffee. I run. I go to this computer, and then a lot of it is meeting with partners and contractors to focus on products that we're making, that we're releasing. A lot of it is checking in with people that work for me to find out what are issues that customers are having that we need to correct and make better to improve the products. I spend a lot of time talking to people, talking to partners, is what I spend a lot of time doing it. I know that's not the super exciting answer. I do go ride on my boosted board. This past year, I said if we met a certain revenue goal, I was going to go buy a boosted board, so I do ride my boosted board once or twice a day.

Chris:
That's cool. I think making $40,000 a month, I think you can afford to buy a boosted board. You can live a little man. You can let it go, come on.

Dustin:
It's not just me living here. We got three kids. I've got my wife, and of course even though the business is doing well, taxes eat into a huge amount of that. When you were asking about income I was making, I wasn't counting, it's an LLC and I pay myself, but I still have to pay taxes on that. I wasn't including that.

Chris:
We're talking pre-tax money. It's still [crosstalk 01:27:30] crazy impressive, come on. Don't try to be humble about this, come on. You're doing really well in life. You're doing almost half a million dollars a year and it's growing I assume. And you're doing all right. And you're living in Vancouver, Washington. You're all right, you're doing fine.

Dustin:
I appreciate that. I think I need to hear that more often. [crosstalk 01:27:48]

Chris:
Call me everyday, I will tell you, you're doing great.

Dustin:
Sometime if you got the time, I would love to hear your opinions on some things, because to me it's so funny, I look back on when I didn't have any money when I was really struggling to make things work. And then now I look and by a lot of people's measures, financially they would say, oh, well, this person has been successful financially. But the funny thing is, is that it's two sides of the same coin. When you don't have money, you're constantly stressed about getting money. When your business starts to make money, you're constantly stressed about losing that money. It feels almost the same in a very weird, twisted way.

Chris:
Okay. Can I say something?

Dustin:
Please.

Chris:
Let me say something to you guys. We're looking right down the barrel for all of you guys here. I've been thin, fit and I've been fat. It's much better to be thin. I've been poor and I have money. It's much better to have money than it is to be poor. So whether or not you're looking at the same side of the fence, you got different kinds of problems. The most difficult thing that you're struggling with right now is how to be present in the moment. When you were poor, you're worried about being poor and not having money, and worrying about all the things that is not here yet. And now that you have money, you're like, is it all going to go away? So the difficulty in life is just to be happy, to be content and look at things for what they are.

Chris:
There's a test. People always ask this question, and you've heard this before, it's a cliche. There's a glass and it's filled up halfway and they're like, well, what do you see? Somebody might say, well, it's half empty. That's the pessimist speaking. The optimist looks at the glass and says, well, it's half full. And then the Zen master looks at the glass and the water and says, it's just a glass with water. It has no opinion. It doesn't care what your opinion of it is. It just is. And that's what we have to learn. We have to learn just to see things for what they are and remove the lens in which we'll look at the world because we realize so much of what we feel and experience in life is based on our individual reality and not physical objective reality. So you're doing fine, my friend, and don't worry about it.

Chris:
You come from nothing. You can go back to it and you can rebuild everything again. So just learn to live the life that you have because tomorrow you can get hit by a truck. And you're like, why did I worry about losing all the money? Why did I worry about that? Then you can be happy and fulfilled with whatever it is that you have. It is time now for me to do the show recap before we say goodbye to everybody. I want to do the quick summary here. It's a funny summary today, guys. Here we go, one use birth control if you want to avoid unexpected surprises. Use birth control, the number one thing. [crosstalk 01:30:19]

Dustin:
Who wrote this?

Chris:
Yeah, I wrote is. You want to wake up a little bit earlier every day to squeeze in a few extra hours to work on your side hustle, this is if you have a full-time job, you need to do this. You can cheat life and just squeeze out a little bit more, sleep a little less, mess around a little less and get stuff done. Secret of life, especially if you're making products is the [inaudible 01:30:44] is what do you want? And then you have to do the difficult thing, which is to listen to them and give it to them. There's a lot of what we call confirmation bias that we have? That we already believe something, so we phrase the question wrong and no matter what somebody says, we have our happy ears on, and then we just do what it is that we want. We totally ignore what people tell us to do.

Chris:
Next, profile your favorite designer artists, and make tools that they might use. This is a great thing because now you know who your audience is, and it's a good way to build a relationship with somebody. That leads us to partner and collaborate with people who have a bigger following. At the beginning, it is hard to build an audience, but anything worth having is difficult. It's not easy to do. So what you want to do is find somebody that you can collaborate with and how do you do that? Exchange value for their time, for their audience. You have to give them something that they would appreciate and value. That's it. Develop your own site and audience to avoid cannibalization. It inevitably happens. The market gets flooded. People hear about the success that Dustin Lee's having. They're going to create more products. They're going to like, well, I know how to make that, I'll do that. It becomes harder and harder. You need to move those people over and build your own audience. You do not depend on others to help you make a living. And to realize you can't stop piracy.

Chris:
And the last and most important point is steal from Dover publishing outright, I'm just kidding. All right, so before we say goodbye, I want to thank everybody. Thank you for making it all the way to the end of this really long and informative live stream with us, with myself, Greg, Jonah, and Dustin. Go ahead and reward yourself by hitting like, adding a comment and hitting that bell to get notifications. We love you guys that are sustaining members. Here's how you get in touch with Dustin from RetroSupply company. His name is Dustin Lee. He's the white Dustin Lee, @helloDustinLee, that's how you reach them on Twitter and at RetroSupply on Instagram, I believe. And the super long, crazy complicated URL. If you want to check out more about his courses and how he's built a passive income for designers, well, it's passiveincomefordesigners.com. Also go check out retrosupply.co there's some really cool things, super affordable. And if you have to have it all, get the have it all box. That's it. Dustin, thank you very much for coming on the show. I really appreciate having you here, man. Thank you.

Greg:
Thanks for joining us this time. If you haven't already, subscribe to our show on your favorite podcasting app and get a new insightful episode from us every week. The Future Podcast is hosted by Christo, and produced by me, Greg Gunn. Thank you to Anthony Borrow for editing and mixing this episode, and thank you to Adam Sanborn for our intro music. If you enjoyed this episode, then do us a favor by rating and reviewing our show on Apple Podcasts. It'll help us grow the show and make future episodes that much better. Have a question for Chris or me, head over to the future.com/hey Chris, and ask away. We read every submission and we just might answer yours in a later episode. If you'd like to support the show and invest in yourself while you're at it, visit thefuture.com. You'll find video courses, digital products, and a bunch of helpful resources about design and creative business. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.

More episodes like this