We recently had the chance to talk to Derek Neuts, Software Developer and Founder of IronGlove Studio, a full-service boutique agency specializing in data-driven, holistic design services for websites and applications. He provides a keen review of how AirSend supports collaboration and project fulfillment for his small business

Here’s a transcript of our conversation (edited for clarity):

ME: Can you tell me a little bit about what you do and how you’re using AirSend?

DEREK: I own a small web development software firm. There’s somewhere between, I think 12 or 13 of us here right now. So we’re small, super small. But you know, we take quality over quantity, and we’ve been growing for the past three years.

What I really wanted was a way for everybody to collaborate on each project. My team is distributed. Most of them are offshore, but I have some U.S. contractors, and it works out really well, because now we’re able to get in there. There’s no lag, it’s super smooth. The interface is very simple, and nobody feels like they need to be a network administrator to figure this out.

For the small guys like me, we need a solution that has a degree of affordability or free for a period of time to kind of get into it, to see if you like it without purging a lot of money out. I just feel like a lot of these solutions are geared towards enterprise customers and very few solutions were geared towards small, working agencies.

ME: Which parts are you finding that you use more, and then which ones are you finding that you use less?

DEREK: I set up a group called “agency”. The agencies are set up so I could notify all three of them that something specific to them. It’s really helpful to have groups like that. I have another group just for me, for internal notes and documents. Then I have another tab of groups called client projects. I have seven channels, and that’s kind of helpful because, with a smaller team like ours, certain people are working on certain projects. I assign them to those channels, and I can make them aware of certain tasks, like contacting the client or discussing budgets. Or just general project updates.

We’ve shared files, and maybe once so far I attempted to use the telephone option to have an in-person conference. It was easier than getting a zoom link; It’s like, ‘I need to talk to you and you’re 4,000 miles away, let’s just talk real quick’.

I like the Wiki, by the way, I’m going to start using that to note procedures for certain clients in each one of those channels, to remind them, ‘this is where you go to find this.’

I feel kind of like I found a home for the team; the biggest seller is the interface.

Me: Thank you so much for your time.

If you want to learn more about Derek and the projects IronGlove Studio works on, you can visit his website here: https://www.ironglove.studio/

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for professionals to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you as your business grows here.

John discusses his journey to becoming a guide for those dealing with divorce and single parenthood.
John discusses his journey to becoming a guide for those dealing with divorce and single parenthood.

We recently had the opportunity to talk to John, a personal coach, writer, and founder of the website WholeParenting.Org. During the interview, John discussed his journey to becoming a guide for those dealing with divorce and single parenthood. He also shared his vision for the future and some personal coaching resources he finds helpful.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation (edited for clarity):

ME: Can you tell me a little bit about you and what you do?

JOHN: I am a a blogger with a number of books out that all have to do with being a single parent. And that’s the focus of my coaching as well. A lot of it is relationship-based, too. I’ve had the blog for nine years. It was syndicated on the Huffington post for a while, and it gets around 15,000 views a week.

I’m also in the process of completing an online community that will back the blog and putting a membership site together.

ME: How did you get started with that?

JOHN: My first blog, I started when my wife asked for divorce. It was as much a cathartic place for me as anything else. Whereas the new one, my intention was 100% positive, kid friendly, and mom friendly. It was a different voice and actually transformed my relationship at the time. As I started writing, it started changing my life. I began to realize my responses are 100% up to me, and the more I can put them in the positive column, the more I’m bringing in positivity. It sort of changed my life just to launch it and to write always trying to put the positive spin on stuff that wasn’t always positive.

So anyway, that’s kind of where I’ve come from. I also do digital marketing as a career, but I’ve been in the pivot mode towards the coaching as my sole income for about two years.

ME: What are some of your goals with coaching?

JOHN: I give a free 30 minute coaching call to anybody that wants it, and I get around one to five introductory calls a week right now. I’d like to get five calls a day instead of a week so that I can start looking at different models of coaching. Like group coaching, speaking engagements.

ME: What are some people or websites you follow to keep up with your industry?

JOHN: I’m a big fan of Brené Brown. I’ve written a ton on my blog about braving, and it’s one of the key fundamental skills I use in coaching people in relationships. It’s powerful stuff. The Good Men Project, of course, and various channels in Medium. Each day I get a summary of the top three or four articles in different topics. I kind of keep myself away from the coaching stuff because that’s just not my thing. I’m much more organic. If you read my books or you read my blog, you’ll know I want authenticity and human connection and let’s start there and see where it takes us.

ME: Thank you for sharing! I think what you do is really great and necessary for a lot of people.

JOHN: Yeah, I get so jazzed knowing that this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I get so much joy even with these 30 minute calls. I’m like – I’m honored to be talking to you and I’m sorry you’re going through a tough time, but I can give you hope. That’s all I do. I bring hope to the picture.

If you want to learn more about John and what he does, you can visit his website here: https://wholeparentbook.com/

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for professionals to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you as your business grows here.

Image of a table with a plant and portraits on a wall

We recently had the opportunity to talk to Nacho Molero, freelance and soon to have a masters in Interior Design, and aspiring photographer. During the interview, Molero gave us an insider’s view of what it’s like to be an interior designer and photography. He also shed some light on the magic of it all.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation (edited for clarity):

Me: So why don’t you go ahead and tell me what about interior design and photography appeal to you?

Molero: So, I recently moved to Barcelona because I am doing a master’s program to specialize in interior design. I’ve always been extremely interested in interior design, and I like to think my interests started with architecture.

Most of my Instagram really is architecture. I find that when I walk around the cities I am not able to avoid taking photos after photos of just facade and coldness and beautiful places. 

Interior design has always been sort of on the sidelines and as the years went by, I sort of realized that this is absurd. I mean, clearly I really, really love doing this and everything related to this. Everything.

Especially regarding interior design, I mean it is literally where you live and everything that you feel when you are home. And I’m feeling truly calm and at peace and I’m surrounded by things that you really love. I’m not confused, you know.

I remember, when I lived by myself in Madrid, I had a chance to put my place up really nicely. I remembered that once I finished, I experienced peace, tranquility, and the general positive vibes. Interior design has really been this sort of obsession with the things that I’ve always really loved.

Me: Wonderful. What are some tools and applications you use to get by with your creative works?

Molero: I would say two things are very, very useful. One thing is to find and download a 3D design program. They have become very unique and being able to create the space and see it in 3D before you buy anything really helps so much because you may have an idea.

One thing that I myself have to come to terms with is that I may be good at some things regarding design, but I’m quite terrible at others, such as color matching. So, when it comes to color matching the tools I rely on are libraries, color systems, and things that I can find a line that I know for a fact work.

Design is not just creating from scratch. It’s also sufficiently having an educated eye to identify works and replications. 

Me: How neat. My last question for you is what would you recommend to someone starting out in your profession?

Molero: the first thing you should say to anyone that wants to pursue a creative career, is to consume as much of it as you can.

If you want to become a writer, go read; wish to become a photographer, watch movies and all the exhibitions. If you aspire to become a painter, go to a museum and educate your eyes. Most importantly have a passion for it. More than anything.

That’s the sort of thing you first have to taste to truly be sure that either you love it [design,] or just love to look at beautiful pictures. Which are two different things.

To see Mr. Molero’s portfolio, check out his twitter and Instagram

AirSend helps designers and creatives create a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. To see our latest interview, click here.

We recently had the opportunity to talk to Mark Schultz, CEO and Founder of Word Refiner. Mark started proofreading in 1974. After retiring from a career in construction he went full time with Word Refiner. During the interview, Schultz gave us an insider’s view of what it is like to be a successful proofreader. He also shared some of his words of wisdom on the beauty of proofreading and book promotion.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation (edited for clarity):

Me: So, why don’t we start off by you telling me about your job function and your creative process?

Schultz: I do proofreading and book promoting. Those are my two main functions. It turns out I have a pretty unique talent. I find the invisible spelling errors that computer spellcheckers, editors, and other proofreaders miss.

I have classified four categories of spelling errors: misspelled words, misplaced words, multiple words, and missing words. The latter is the hardest because the words on the page are not there when they should be.

Sometimes people ask me about misplaced words. I explained that they are correctly spelled words, but in the wrong context, the exact thing that a spell checker can miss and that can happen by homophone error and typographical mistakes. Think about those homophones that we know so well, to, too, and two and they’re, their, and there. Those are only two examples out of thousands that are there to trip up our writing.

I have blogged quite a bit about these sources of errors. As part of my book promoting, I put up a new book review every week.

Me: I think it’s awesome that we still have proofreaders in the book industry and that we’re not entirely relying on the technological industry of trying to completely edit a book.

Schultz: Yes, I am too. When computers first came out I thought maybe I was going to be out of a job. It didn’t take long for me to realize I had nothing to worry about.

Me: *chuckles Indeed. So from your perspective, what is the beauty of proofreading?

Schultz: That’s a great question, Mela. I love it. I also love taking a well-written book and giving it a final polish, removing the smallest flaws, so the prose shines in the reader’s mind without encountering a spelling error that can ruin the smooth flow of their reading pleasure.

Me: That’s beautiful. Like I said before, I’m glad there are proofreaders who make reading enjoyable. What are some news outlets or resources do you trust that pertain to your field?

Schultz: Well, I subscribe to a number of bloggers and the list is too long to use here. But my top two favorite bloggers are Joanna Penn and Ann R. Allen. They consistently bring information-packed topics to light that are very applicable to authors of all kinds.

Me: Wonderful. My last question for you is what would you tell people to look for when choosing a proofreader?

Schultz: I would say look for someone with a broad range of experience. I believe it is just as important for a proofreader to read as well as an author; recommendations and testimonials, which are also worth quite a bit, especially if the person giving that recommendation can be contacted for verification.

To visit Mark Schultz’s work, visit him at Wordrefiner.com.

AirSend helps book promoters and proofreaders create a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you.

We recently had the opportunity to talk to Rajiv Fernandez, owner of Lil’ Icon and Freelance Architect. During the interview, Fernandez gave us an insider’s view of what it’s like to be a successful image designer and architect. He also shed some light on what the design industry is all about.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation (edited for clarity):

Me: So why don’t you tell me about your job function or like what you do with your creative side, with your imagery and how you create the images?

Fernandez: So Lil’Icom kind of started out as a passion project. Basically it started out as a children’s company cause I came out with a few children’s books. And then, you know, probably a year into it I realized that I don’t really know anything about children.

I did enjoy what I was doing you know, drawing these images that could be perceived from different perspectives. So basically it was a conversation. I want my images to be conversation starters.

Whether it was between like a millennial and a newborn baby I started getting more involved with political discourse. So I wanted to create images where it would spread positive messaging.

It really started off with an image of the Statue of Liberty and dressing her up with different characteristics to speak to different policy issues and everything. But trying to keep the messaging positive out there, you know, and there’s enough negative artwork out there. 

Me: Definitely. So, how do you determine how to perceive your drawings through different perspectives? Are you making images for millennials and also for like newborn babies? How do you decide or make an image based on that perspective?

Fernandez: A lot of it usually starts with a pun. I like to throw in jokes somehow. And if there’s like some big thing happening, in the world where, you know, I can make a pun out of it. Like I’m really like a dad at heart and drawing is my medium.

So, basically I’m creating art from millennials by millennials, so using the millennial lexicon so that I would understand or stuff that I would, you know, want to read.

Basically. It’s like if everyone’s going to have an opinion on some sort of issue in an article and you know, we can spend that time reading a long article but not really remember everything that’s [inaudible] or, and then create a dialogue with someone saying like, “Oh, what was your opinion? Like I saw this Statue of Liberty with the Hijab. Like what do you think about, you know, immigration rights?”

So it’s supposed to be kind of like a gateway to a larger, deeper discussion. That’s my intention. I’ve been lucky to have those conversations start many times.

Me:  Where and what kind of news do you use to catch up with your industries? Like design and architecture?

Fernandez: Yeah. So yeah, with the design world, you know, I, I really like this blog called Dezeen architecture side. And then, you know, I, I read a lot of the probably the more liberal news sources like Washington Post, New York Times and since I’m a millennial, Buzzfeed.

Me: [Vivacious Laughter] Oof, that kills me as an English major. 

Fernandez: I know, I know. I really, I really enjoy reading like a good, like an in-depth article, and then see like 27 pictures of dogs.

Me: Yeah. I got to say, well Rajid you’re very hip. So how hard is it managing your client files and communications today? Like with all the resources?

Fernandez: I like to keep my business organized. Whenever I get a new client, I like to create shared folders, that way the client and I are in the same loop.

I also like to have an agenda and meeting minutes. My clients are always impressed by that and I have something that can put my methods in a former office of mine. And that actually just really helps me stay on track.

And I have like a big whiteboard in my office where I write down like my daily tasks, like, you know, physically.

Me: Yeah. Kind of like a Scrum Board or Kanban.

Fernandez: Yeah, basically. If I didn’t have that, it’d be a difficult thing. So like to be honest, I use a Google calendar to schedule all my meetings and you know, it’s good, it’s convenient, but it’s still for me, lacking.

I’m a very visual person, so having something set up in front of me, helps. Physically, tactile things and all that, that really helps. I’m kind of also aware that maybe I’m a boomer. I need to see everything.

To visit Rajiv Fernandez’s work, visit him at Lil’ Icon.

AirSend helps architects and image designers create a versatile digital workspace to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you.

Bradford gives us an insider’s view of what it’s like to be a successful music business owner and festival producer.
Bradford gives us an insider’s view of what it’s like to be a successful music business owner and festival producer.

We recently had the opportunity to talk to Bradford Kinney, owner of Warm Star Electronics and founder of Southwest Synth Fest. During the interview, Bradford gave us an insider’s view of what it’s like to be a successful music business owner and festival producer. He also shed some light on one of the coolest industries around.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation (edited for clarity):

ME: Can you tell me about your business and what you do?

BRADFORD: Sure. Five years ago, I started my own company making electronic music gear. I make synthesizer modules for a format called Eurorack modular. It’s basically very advanced-use electronic music creation equipment marketed to hardcore users.

Last year, I founded a gear festival called the Southwest Synth Fest. It’s an industry festival that has a gear expo portion, educational portion with classes and workshops, and also a live music portion.

And I perform, write, and record electronic music as well. So I’m pretty much involved in all aspects of electronic music.

ME: That’s so cool! What are your daily communications like to run your business and get the festival up and running?

BRADFORD: On the business end, it’s larger sales to retailers that are really my bread and butter. So those communications are relatively few and far between. I do talk to customers via social media, but the most important business communication is to a small handful of retailers, and that happens when I sell to them every couple of weeks.

As far as the festival, it’s the exact opposite. I’m very actively communicating with large numbers of people. Booking talent, booking brands, talking to people about being educators, giving talks and stuff.

So it’s difficult for me to even guess how many people I’ve been talking to each day. Probably at least 10. And that’s going to happen in June, so it’s going to continue to be a pretty large amount of communication all the way from now until then.

ME: Sounds like a lot! What what would you say are your current challenges and priorities for everything that’s going on?

BRADFORD: That’s a big question. Current challenges for the festival: last year, it was a little, relatively DIY thing with a handful of brands represented. I’m trying to, in a single year, go from that to being a stop on the professional gear festival circuit.

There are a few other electronic music gear events, but none in this area of the country or that time of year. So I’m trying to claim my spot on that rotation by significantly stepping up the size of brands, working on the amount of press attention that I’m getting, making promotional materials, press releases. That kind of thing.

My current challenges for my modular company are two-fold. Moving units and finishing developing a new product. So, you know, I’m keeping my products moving out to retailers, and I’m working with Alright Devices to put the finishing touches on some things for the new product we’re making.

People who like this format of gear are people who like to see new things all the time. It’s very much the home of the cutting edge, so keeping products, even a couple of years old, present in people’s minds and moving off shelves is always a challenge. But I manage.

To see Bradford’s work or contact him, visit his website at http://warmstarelectronics.com.

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for professionals to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you as your business grows here.

Kevin gives us an insider's view of what it is like to be a successful music and video producer.
Kevin gives us an insider’s view of what it is like to be a successful music and video producer.

We recently had the opportunity to talk to Kevin Chin, owner of Northshore Media Productions. The company has been ranked #1 in music and audio production in Austin for four years in a row and has since expanded into photography and video production as well.

During the interview, Kevin gave us an insider’s view of what it is like to be a successful music and video producer. He also provided some helpful tips on entrepreneurship and what to look for when choosing a videographer or producer for your project.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation (edited for clarity):

ME: Can you tell me a little about you and your business?

KEVIN: I am the sole proprietor of a company called Northshore Media Productions, and I consider myself a multimedia producer of all aspects of media production, from audio, music, video, and podcasts to photography. So anything to do with media. I have contractors that I use, but for the most part I can function in all aspects of the job, whether it’s recording or filming or photography and all the editing.

ME: What does it look like for you to go through a week of running your business?

KEVIN: My passion is music actually, so I have a recording studio. I also have an office in Round Rock that does video production and voiceovers for like radio, audio books, and podcasts. So I’m going between those two locations with three or four music recording sessions with artists in a given week. Sometimes there’s a photography session, or I might do a video livestream for a client. And there’s video production.

ME: How do you manage everything?

KEVIN: I used to be in a corporate role as a project engineer and manager and in the oil and gas industry, so when it comes to multitasking and project management, I’m pretty on top of things. I schedule things out with enough time to meet deliverables.

ME: What are some differences between working for someone else and running your own business?

KEVIN: I would say my job now, even though I’m wearing a lot more hats, is a lot more flexible and lax than the nine to five constraints. I can take off a Wednesday if I need to or work on a bunch of stuff, accomplish things, and then just chill out.

ME: Where do you find most of your clients?

KEVIN: There are a lot of meetups that I go to. Also, I was affiliated with this incubator called Media Tech Ventures and became known as the guy to go to or the company to go to for any type of media need in Austin. That helped significantly with building a list of consistent clients since I was dealing with startups receiving funding.

ME: That’s great. How did you get into that?

KEVIN: I met one of their founders at an afterparty. And he saw my capabilities as a music producer and audio producer, as well as someone who works the Austin Film Society. I’m pretty well-versed in all aspects of video production, music production, audio, and photography, and having all these skillsets directly correlated with this. I guess my title would be Chief Media Producer or Chief Media Director within that organization. I kind of molded the role over the last seven years of running Northshore Media. It used to be just music and part-time back when I was in Chicago. But after moving to Austin, I made it my full-time gig and developed my video skills to the point where I can produce TV commercials.

ME: It sounds like networking is where you get most of your clients and also industry information. Is that right?

KEVIN: Yeah, I would say that most of my business is B2B, so this type of structure and networking is probably the best way for me at this point. But I do know that LinkedIn would be a great asset to reach out to marketing directors and companies. But I haven’t really used it. I’m not the type that likes to fish around and spam people.

ME: So, we’re running out of time. I have one last question for you. What would you recommend to someone who’s looking for a videographer or a producer? What would you recommend they look for?

KEVIN: I would recommend them to find someone who’s going to be upfront about costs. Sometimes someone that is new to hiring a videographer or video production company might not know about all the associated post-production costs and all the costs associated with insurance and hiring additional talent or additional labor as needed. And sometimes that’s not communicated.

I also think there are a lot of really creative video producers, but they can’t organize a project and complete it from start to finish. They can lay it out in their heads but they can’t execute within the budget, and they can’t execute the actual production and post-production. You know, they’re more like dreamers than doers.

When I send out a quote or bid, I never deviate from it. I can give an accurate rate based on my past experience. And I think that’s that’s what’s kept me pretty busy. I’m honest and able to get it done.

To see Kevin’s work or contact him, visit his website at https://www.northshoremediaproductions.com/.

AirSend is a versatile digital workspace for professionals to share files, send messages, and complete tasks. See how AirSend can help you as your business grows here.