Aaron Cox - Guiding The Creative Mind To Merge Art And Business Online

Aaron Cox - Guiding The Creative Mind To Merge Art And Business Online
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Aaron Cox have always loved drawing. He’s the first in his family to have taken on the Arts as a career and made it in life. After living in Cleveland in early 2001 for a short period of time, he made his way back to Los Angeles and started teaching art. His goal to help as many struggling artists to find their niche and make a career out of their passion for the arts. He created ArtWithAaron.com to give his friends and the art community a voice to break away from the stigma of “starving artist”. With his website and YouTube channel, he hopes to shed light on some of the most talented people in the art community and change the lives of as many struggling artists as he can.

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Aaron Cox: [00:00:00] I just think like the progression of just being an artist in general, like there is so much to learn, not just from like the art part of it, but also like the marketing part of it. Like if you really want to be successful as an artist, it really takes a lot of dedication to like self-improvement and learning a tremendous amount of information, especially nowadays with everything going online, you really have to learn how to be competitive online and integrate that, that, that business side of it really. Otherwise it just turns into a hobby and, you know, you can sell pieces here and there, but I think the bigger aspect of it is that you have to really look at it as a business and started focusing more on the business aspect of it. 

Joseph: [00:00:42] You're listening to Ecomonics, a Debutify podcast. Your resource for one of the kind of insights into the world of e-commerce and business in the modern age. This is Joseph. I'll be presenting a wealth of industry knowledge from interviews with successful business people and our own state-of-the-art research. Your time is valuable so let's go.

One thing you may have heard about me, my longtime audience that is, is I consider myself an artist. It's a generalization, I admit, but it's a title I am proud to add to my Rolodex. I am definitely not an illustrator though. If you want me to make a mistake, I have tried. Anyways, my talk today with Aaron Cox is all about art and the work he does is admirable in helping some incredibly talented people make their way into the business world. You'll hear among a lot of insights into the art world. A key reason why having your own platform is essential. A take away I value a great deal as well. 

Aaron Cox, it is good to have you here on Ecomonics. I just  asked you to right by turn on recording. What, what time? Oh, sorry. Like what. Where were you living in say Los Angeles.

So that means it is 10 to nine, nine, eight, eight to seven. It's 7:00 AM for you right now. Isn't it? 

Aaron Cox: [00:01:52] Correct. 

Joseph: [00:01:52] Oh, man. Okay. Well, well, well thank you. I, I dunno if you're like a morning person or an evening person or a night owl, but like, for me, anything before 8:00 AM is completely not a wild card, right?

Aaron Cox: [00:02:04] Yeah. I mean, sometimes it just depends kind of what day of the week, but usually I'm not really a morning person, but, um, you know, I just with, you know, getting more and more heavily into business, it kind of forces you to work those early morning hours anyway. So. 

Joseph: [00:02:20] Yeah, that's true. Yeah. That that's, that's sunlight makes a great deal of difference. Doesn't energize in the person. So yeah, I will. Well, I appreciate it. I'm slowly working my way towards like the 8:00 AM threshold. And yeah, it's a, it's a whole other thing, but that's not where we're here today. So Aaron, tell us what you do. Tell us what you're up to. 

Aaron Cox: [00:02:36] So currently I have a couple of different things going, but, um, I've been focusing kind of heavily more on something that's more passion-based and that is my art channel that I have on YouTube.

And so I've been basically putting a lot of more, you know, just more time and energy into helping artists succeed online and, you know, just offering, um, everything from like how to sell their artwork to, you know, just different tutorials. Um, I was really focusing heavily on just more like how to sell art online, but sort of as I've been progressing with the channel, I've wanted to focus also on, um, you know, just more of the fun aspect of it and some of the background, like my art background and like just different things with Photoshop. And years ago, I think like when YouTube was first starting out, um, I started doing the YouTube tutorials for Photoshop and you know how to do all these different Photoshop techniques and stuff. And so I did that for about a year and a half, and then just kind of got burned out with editing video and things.

And so I kinda let that, uh, that business kind of go away. Um, but I kinda wish I would've stuck with it cause I actually really love doing that type of stuff. But aside from that, I, you know, I also do affiliate marketing as well. Um, and basically do a lot of like online commerce and things. But, um, as of now, right now, currently my two focuses are just the art business.

And then also my affiliate marketing as well. 

Joseph: [00:04:07] One thing I want to ask you about, um, before we, uh, unravel, um, your, your, your different platforms is because you mentioned that you had burnt out on it. And I think some of this might be a stereotypical artist thing, but my guess is, and I didn't like go and like sit and listen or watch, uh, uh, too much of your videos.

I only have so much time to do prep, but I get the feeling that you were very meticulous about it, and you're really wanting each video to pop and to have a great deal of care and nuance to it. Which would probably lead to a more likely burnout then I guess if somebody had a more like methodical, like business approach to it where they just, they knew the formula, they stuck to it and they just, uh, went through a video after video.

Aaron Cox: [00:04:48] Right. Yeah. And I think that's the thing it's like, I think I've always been very detail oriented and I'm always trying to put like the most amount of information. So that's like one thing. It's hard for me to like, just make short videos, you know, there's people out there that just really do videos for entertainment purposes and they just let things flow and maybe they, they do have a formula.

Um, I do try to do a little bit of prep beforehand, but a lot of it is just, you know, inspiration on the fly and, you know, and maybe that's not really the best way to do it. Um, I don't do a lot of planning with my YouTube channel. I literally just, as I come up with inspiration, I'll like, you know, just. Uh, basically just make a video, um, you know, on maybe I'm browsing other videos.

And I see something that inspires me or I come up across a piece of art or a special technique, or, you know, read an email or something like that. And so I'll just hop on, you know, throw my camera on, get everything ready and make a videos. So, um, again, it's just, it's, it's more of a passion thing. So. You know, I just, I just do it as it comes.

Joseph: [00:05:51] Right. So, uh, I'm, I'm deciding of what, what do I want it to take this next? And what I want to ask you next is about your, you know, your, your history. Um, cause I know that you had grown up in your family was supportive of your, your art background and there, I guess there's always that tension between being able to make a living off of it versus pursuing something that really fulfills, uh, uh, fulfills you. So, and, and the reason why I want to ask you about this is because we know we do have a lot of creative minded people on the show, but it being a business podcast, artists are not as represented as, as much as, uh, other mediums or other pillars or other professions.

So, uh, would you be willing to tell us, uh, your, your background and kind of like your development over the years, uh, as an artist. 

Aaron Cox: [00:06:34] Yeah. So, um, I mean, of course I think like when we're all young and starting out, we don't really know what direction we're going to take. Like, you know, I think for, for a lot of years, um, I was just drawing and, and doing different techniques.

Like I got into graphic design pretty early on as well. And so, I mean, I just started doing little side projects here and there. I remember one of my first projects was, uh, you know, my dad was at the time he was working for a large hospital, Kaiser Permanente and, um, they had a couple internal small projects.

And so I was like, you know, he was having me do these little side projects. And that was kind of like the first work that I really did, which, you know, I don't, I don't remember if it was paid or not, but it was just something that, you know, helped give me experience and give me a few, you know, uh, portfolio pieces to start with.

But, uh, you know, as my career progressed, um, I think. As our creative people that we are, we sort of go in different directions. I mean, some people really might love animation and maybe that's the only thing that they'll ever do. But, um, you know, with me, I just, I kind of love all different aspects of art.

So I mean, I, I was an art teacher for about three and a half years for private arts school. Um, and really enjoyed that experience because it involved more painting and drawing and traditional, you know, arts and more Renaissance style art and things. So that was, that was actually a really fun time for me, because I think just personal development of actually working with students one-on-one and helping them and coaching them.

So that's like sort of really the, the basic, um, inspiration for why I created my YouTube channel. Anyway, it's just, I really love helping people. I really have that mentality of like, learn, do teach. So I'm constantly trying to acquire knowledge and then pass it along to somebody else. You know, just with, um, in regards to, I think like most artists, I think what's hard is the world that we live in, generally, people are constantly telling us that like, that, you know, there's that starving artists, stigma that, you know, basically most people get that kind of stuck in their head early on in their career or maybe hear that too often. And you know, it is like it's hard. It's sometimes it can be hard to sell art.

Um, especially now, like with the whole, you know, craziness of 2020, um, you know, in pandemic and stuff. I it's just, it's gotten to the point where. All of these big art shows and all these different events have been shut down. And so I think a lot of people got really scared because that was their main source of income.

So trying to help them transition to an online space, um, and show them how to sell artwork online, which now you're not just competing with your local community, you're competing with the whole world. So, you know, a lot of these people are going onto these marketplace websites and trying to, you know, essentially sell art work online, which is internet marketing and itself.

And a lot of people that have never experienced selling online for the first time or starting an Instagram page or a Facebook page or whatever it is. Um, it can be really overwhelming for a lot of us. You know, there's, I, I just think like the, the progression of just being an artist in general, like there is so much to learn, not just from like the art, um, part of it, but also like the marketing part of it.

Like if you really want to be successful as an artist, that really takes a lot of dedication to like self-improvement and learning a tremendous amount of information, especially nowadays with everything going online, you really have to learn how to be competitive online and. Uh, integrate that, that, that business side of it really, you know, um, otherwise it just turns into a hobby and, you know, you can sell pieces here and there, you might have an Instagram page and maybe you get commissions, you know, here and there.

But I think the bigger aspect of it is that you have to really look at it as a business and start focusing more on the business aspect. 

Joseph: [00:10:25] Well, there's one side of it to it and, and this is, uh, fortunately one of the coroner questions I'm going to ask you, but have you encountered the stereotypical issue of an artist not wanting to delve too much into the business side, feeling that it was a, uh, like a disrespect to their art or they feel like, you know what I mean? Like the, the purism of only doing art for the sake of doing art and not wanting to and make a living off of it. 

Aaron Cox: [00:10:49] Yeah. I mean, I can definitely see that. And, um, I, you know, I definitely respect that. You know, kind of decision. I mean, and there's some people that, you know, literally that's the only thing that they'll ever really, they'll just not look at it from the business side, but in all reality, at some point you do get involved in it because obviously you have to, people do want to pay you for things. And I mean, unless you're like really just only going to do art and nothing else, and you don't care about the money side of it, you know, then, I mean, at the end of the day, you still have to make a living. 

Joseph: [00:11:21] Yeah. I, I, I do think some of it has to do with some more by broad reaching structural issues, which we don't have to delve too much into.

But I do want to make this point about, um, you don't necessarily have to be an artist to say, um, low the financial system. And so whether it's somebody is passionate about taking care of animals or, or, or they are partially passionate about art, or even if they are more technically minded, if they don't believe in the system or if they don't even believe in the concept of, uh, earning a living, then that can be a limiting factor. And so that, that's a difficult thing to overcome is that it's not to say that the system is perfect by, by no means is a perfect, but it is the best that we've come up with so far so that people can, uh, make a living by providing to others. 

Aaron Cox: [00:12:06] Right. Yeah. And I honestly, I like, I think at the end of the day, it's, it's more of just a mindset thing. Um, I think if you, I think with any creative passion or just any passion in general, as, as long as you have those goals in mind, where you are only looking to help others, then at the end of the day, you that's, that's the goal is to help others or to fulfill whatever it is that you have internally that you want to, you know, your own goals and your own life that you want to fulfill, you know, as long as you have that drive and that passion, then the, the business side of it will just kind of happen automatically where it's not like, you know, some people may kind of go the other route, like I'm kind of in between.

So I do see like a business side of it and I do see where, you know, you could take somebody who's a really passionate, amazing artist and then learn all of those other techniques and learn all of the marketing and, and basically turn it into a really big business, uh, versus. No, somebody who just wants to draw every day and they don't want to even think about that stuff.

I mean, they might hire somebody to do all those things. And I mean, that's what really like as a business owner or anybody should really be doing anyway. And that's what, like, even with like e-commerce and some of the other topics of, of what you guys are doing. You have to somehow figure out how to put yourself outside of all those things, because obviously, uh, you really have to focus on your business at the end of the day.

You can't be working in your business all the time. And it's the same thing that goes with art. Like you have to focus on the things you're good at, which is developing your art and developing your style and, you know, crafting your, your, your, your, your, um, your skills and, um, And so, you know, you can always outsource the business stuff and let that happen because then they really that's what you should be doing.

Joseph: [00:14:02] Yeah. Well, I'd love to ask you, um, uh, more about that. So let's, uh, come up with a hypothetical character. We have somebody who is, uh, and I'm not going to come up. I don't want to try and come up with a medium, just to deliberately challenge you. I was thinking of asking you about sculptors, but we'll just go with, you know, a, a contemporary painter.

So they really do just want to focus on, uh, on their craft and they're encouraged by the idea that they can make this and they can make money off of it. So there's one of two ways we can have, what would they do if they took the initiative themselves and they had the time they had the energy and they could handle it versus what would they do if they didn't want to focus on it.

And the, and the concept of like looking at a spreadsheet made them dizzy.

Aaron Cox: [00:14:40] Right. So, uh, the, the main thing is again, like separating yourself from the business aspect of it. And if you want to basically hire somebody else to do it, then outsourcing it is a great way to do it. Um, I mean, obviously with the internet, there's a million ways to connect with people online.

So, um, you know, with all these different gig sites and, you know, whether it's, um, you know, Upwork or Fiverr or, you know, Craigslist or whatever it happens to be. Uh, there's, there's a million different platforms out there, uh, that you can look up on Google and find somebody to do marketing work. Um, you know, that's one of the things that I sort of offer with my own business is I try to at least encourage people to try it themselves first.

Um, and then if they feel like, okay, like this is not something that I want to do. Then, you know, I try to offer that service for them. Um, because I do have a background in is in that as well. Like that's one of my passions I'm actually, um, in the middle of, of, um, actually probably going back to school to do more, more techniques and marketing and learning more marketing, just because I have such a passionate about it.

And I want to learn more about it. Anyway, I have a, I have a podcast I can say I can recommend to you. Oh, okay. But yeah, so it's, you know, it's just super fun and, um, and, and if somebody wants to tackle it themselves, um, yeah, again, there's, there's going to be a learning curve. There are going to be things that are, uh, are going to be a hurdle for a period of time. Um, there's a lot of things that I've learned that I've come to realize that yeah. It's like, yeah, this can be like super overwhelming, but again, if you want to turn it into a business and you want to do it yourself, then you are going to have to do the work, you know, just like with anything.

I mean, just with even artists, um, whether it's painting, drawing, sculpting, whatever. You have to do the work. I mean, some people are, are talented. Some people can learn faster than others and some people can, you know, I mean, I know like myself early on, I was just really good at drawing. I just, I really love drawing.

Um, but I wasn't a professional. I wasn't, you know, I mean, I just loved doing it and I was good at it. But again, I had to put in the work I had to put in the practice and that just, you know, it goes with anything you really have to just, um, learn those new skills. And I mean, thankfully again, you know, we're, we're in a, in a digital age where you can hop on YouTube, you can hop on Twitch, you can hop on, you know, whatever video platform there is.

And you could pretty much learn just about anything you need and a majority of what I've been doing with my own business. You know, it has been a lot from that, but I, I read a lot, I buy a lot of books and, you know, I'm just constantly soaking up information. I, and that's been like, my that's been a harder thing for me is, cause I, I spend more times probably soaking up information than I do putting out content.

So, you know, and, and again, it's, that's all for the goal of like trying to create better content and better information for anybody that I'm working with as well as, especially if I do. Help them with marketing. I want to make sure that I give them accurate and up-to-date information. 

Joseph: [00:17:53] I, I can't express enough, um, fortune for being able to host this content. And so I kind of feel we are coming from is that like, uh, so much information comes in and I'm absorbing so much of it that like, you know, there's only so much fluid that I can fill into the bucket before it overflows, and then I need to get them up and. 

Aaron Cox: [00:18:10] Well, and that's, I think that's what sort of happens a lot too with artists in general, like for us.

And I know it was really hard for me in the beginning too, is like making that transition into like more of like a business side of it. I know when, I mean that honestly, like for, if you go on any, um, Facebook group or any discussion board where there's artists hanging out, like the biggest question is like, how much do I charge my clients?

Um, how much is my painting worth? It's, it's, it's always this struggle because it's like, how do you, you know, how do you put a value on your own work? It's like, yeah, I think this is worth a million dollars because I spent, you know, 800 hours doing this painting. But you know, at the end of the day, like what's realistic, you know?

And, and it's, it's sad in a way, because you can go. And buy digital artwork for really cheap. I mean, you can go down the store like you go to like, you know, Marshall's or, or, um, you know, Walmart or wherever, you know, and they, you know, you can buy like framed canvases with all kinds of artwork for super cheap.

And, um, it's, you know, the art, the world is competitive, but, um, I think it's, it's really just about finding the right channels to is getting exposed on the right channels. 

Joseph: [00:19:24] Yeah. Um, so there's, uh, I just want to lay it out real quick. So there's a couple of points I want to make there in response. And I, and I do want to, uh, get back to the, uh, art towards, uh, the, the final act of this episode, but I also want to make sure that we explore your other, uh, pillars as well.

So the, the points that I want to make is that like, when I, when I hear of say somebody going to a, a, a winners or Marshall's or a walmart and if it got framed art, it doesn't drive me crazy. And the reason why is because I would rather them have something to begin developing their taste, kind of like if somebody is really into burgers, McDonald's is a great place to start.

People might say, well, you know what, I'm going to try other burgers. This is really good. So like, you do need some sort of funneling system to get people to be open to the idea of like having art on their wall. And then if they had the proclivity to develop a taste, at least then they, some the seed has been planted.

So that's, that's just, that just helps me sleep at night when I, well, when I think about kind of like the mainstream appeal versus the, uh, the, the, the more specific niches. 

Aaron Cox: [00:20:24] And yeah, I mean, I think that's like the, the crossover between when artists, they're struggling to sell art work online and they don't realize why.

And there's a big marketing aspect behind it. You know, there's, there's a lot of programs out there online right now that help people learn how to sell art. And that's the main thing that they preach is like, it's all about the marketing. It's not about how good it is or how, I mean, there there's people that, you know, they can do a few brush strokes or a, or a, um, more of a abstract type of piece and, and sell it for a lot of money.

And it just, at the end of the day, it just has to, it comes down to the marketing aspect of it and the brand and who it is that painted it, how well you're known in the art community. And who's willing to pay that amount of money. 

Joseph: [00:21:09] By the way completely sidebar. But did you ever see art attack? 

Aaron Cox: [00:21:13] I, it sounds familiar. I might've, it's probably been a while, but it, it sounds familiar. 

TV series 

Joseph: [00:21:19] from, uh, from, uh, from a much earlier time. Um, it must have been like 25 years since I've seen it. 

Aaron Cox: [00:21:25] I was going to say, like, it sounds familiar, but I like, I don't recall it off the top of my head. 

Joseph: [00:21:28] Well, he was known for doing these massive images, I guess, where he would get like random objects.

Be had coats or blankets go out to the field and make like a massive picture. So he was a super talented guy, but, uh, yeah. Anyways, it was, it was just great because that was one of those programs that try to get people interested in art from an early age. I was just curious. I'll I'll let that go.

So I had one thing that stuck out to me was just, we were talking about, um, outsourcing. So I'm going to ask that and then, um, We'll we'll shift gears. So what stuck out to me is you, you, you're saying that an artist has the option to outsource, uh, too, so that they can focus on their, on their work, on their craft, uh, as a, as a, as ma many of them should.

But what I'm not clear on is that how exactly they have the income to, uh, for the outsourcing in the first place, like I know like five are, can be pretty cheap, but the golden rule is you do get what you pay for. So what is, what has been like some of the more reasonable ways for, for artists to get some of that income?

Is it as simple as like flipping burgers while they're, while they're working on their craft. 

Aaron Cox: [00:22:37] Yeah, so, I mean, honestly, I it's funny that you asked that because that, that has been a really kind of a big point in my mind too, like even with doing my YouTube channel, um, even when I started it, um, I already knew that going into it.

Um, and in, in reality, I completely understand that probably like 90% of my friends, all of us that are artists were making money. Um, you know, probably initially in other ways, whether we're having full-time jobs or we're teaching at a school. And so like, that's, that's like one of the other points that I've made in a few of my YouTube videos too, is like, you know, hey, if you don't have the money initially to do things, um, or to, you know, even promote your art, if you want to outsource it, Uh, or, you know, a lot of times you can teach, you know, if, if you, if you really have a passion about, um, art and you love, um, you know, specifically topic, I mean, why not hop on YouTube or a podcast or a, you know, a, a Facebook live or YouTube live, whatever it is.

I mean, and nowadays there's so many different channels and ways to make money with video content, um, between, um, you know, like another, uh, like Tiktok is, has been a tremendous influence on the way artists and other people can make money now, because, you know, after a thousand subscribers on a personal profile, or even on a business profile, you can put a link and that can link back to a page.

Um, a lot of people have the Patreon, uh, links on their pages now. And so, um, even if you don't want to teach or you don't want to. Uh, do a side job or whatever. A lot of people have Patreon connected to all of their video content. And they're getting, you know, subscriptions through that. Um, so I mean, there's a lot, there's again, there's, there's a multitude of ways.

It's the information is out there. I mean, a lot of people just need to do the research, go online, figure it out. But I mean, even like twitch is massive and the ironic thing is like that it's become so popular too for artists. And it just gives people a platform to, you know, continue doing their creativity and, and posting their videos and posting.

And you don't even have to put your face on camera. A lot of times, a lot of people are just filming their art or they're talking about stuff, they're sharing their daily thoughts and they're just drawing and people are donating to them, you know, and. It's it's pretty incredible. The, the times that we live in and the possibilities, if people just put their mind to it. 

Joseph: [00:25:10] I forgotten about that.

That people are doing live streaming of a making they're making their art in real time. Uh, which in of itself is just a, it can be a very moving experience to see something unfold before our eyes and  be inspirational too. And this is the thing that I appreciate about streaming platforms is it is it's accessible to the young kids and, you know, needless to say, there's a lot of things, young kids can do many of which would be a waste of time.

But seeing somebody actually create something in real time is definitely one of the better uses of it. 

Aaron Cox: [00:25:38] Right. Well, and, and Adobe, you know, which is obviously one of the biggest platforms, um, for creatives, uh, everything, you know, obviously Photoshop and illustrator and all the video content. Like now they're doing live streaming as well.

So they've got their, you know, Adobe live, which they teamed up with, uh, behance, which was, which was there originally their platform just for hosting portfolios and stuff, but they it's all live content now and it's all live streaming. And so, um, it's, it's pretty awesome. You can go on there pretty much any day of the week.

There's dozens of live streams going I've wanted to actually do it myself. I just haven't gotten into that portion of, you know, my, my business yet. Um, so, but I'm hoping to do that actually pretty soon as I want to get into getting approved for that, that Adobe, um, live streaming. 

Joseph: [00:26:27] Oh, I, I don't know if I want to get started on a Adobe or not.

I have a, I have a love hate relationship with them. Um, I will forever be grateful to the existence of flash because when I was like, I was in, you know, I was in grade eight or grade seven and I would draw comics. Um, and, and the teacher would grab them and turn them up. So it was hard to have an outlet.

Uh, but flash at a very young age gave me an outlet and I was able to post content onto new grounds. And I, and I'm still friends with some of the people that I met through there, uh, to this day. So it means a lot that I was able to legally acquire a copy of, of flash, which was in bought. Macromedia was a company at the time.

Adobe buys them out. Now flash is called animate, but to me it'll always be flash and I'm going to die on that hill. All right. And also too, by the way, um, as I had asked the question about like, you know, uh, Fiverr and Upwork, it clicked in my own mind. Well, I guess they could just use Fiverr and Upwork themselves to like, you know, try to try to find work.

That's this is what I did as a podcaster. You know, my, my, my struggle as a broadcaster is, uh, is right up there as a parallel. The idea of like making money as in podcasting, uh, seemed, uh far-fetched even though people were doing it, cause not everybody's Joe Rogan. And so, you know, over time you stick to it, you develop your skill and then eventually somebody who needs a skill at a certain level will be willing to pay you for it.

So, uh, meta section over. Now, um, I, I, like I said, I wanted to make sure that we, we got the, uh, the other aspects of what you're up to. So you didn't mention earlier, you know, you're also doing affiliate marketing. So we have talked about affiliate marketing before. Um, I think we've had like two significant episodes.

Um, that delve into a Paul Motley and Hassan Aanbar. So to you, the question that I ask is, you know, what platforms are you using? What's I guess like your, your weekly brokerage team of affiliate marketing, would you say it's a primary focus, a secondary focus, tertiary, quartiary. I made that last one though.

Aaron Cox: [00:28:19] Yeah. It's I mean, for me, it's, it's just more of a secondary type of thing because I. I'm kind of balancing things with my passion plus, you know, my business. So I also do, you know, some, uh, local marketing and I'm just more of like an agency style work. Um, but I also do a lot of graphic design and photography and creative services for people.

So with the affiliate marketing, I mean, I've just tried to tie it into, I've just tried to tie it into my business where I I'm trying to kind of just build up. And again, it's kind of the combination of. Being an artist making money and, you know, having a thriving business, obviously like the reoccurring money is really important because artists like, you know, we might do one job and then it pays the bills for a couple of weeks and then we have to do something else. So with affiliate marketing tied into everything that you're doing is, is super helpful. Just cause it's like patreon where you have those monthly subscriptions.

And I honestly like, I just, because  I do so much studying with marketing and I'm always trying to help people learn how to make money online and other ways I, I, I'm always trying to teach affiliate marketing more than I'm actually doing affiliate marketing. Um, but, um, like I have, for instance, I have a website that's called all-in-one biz.com and that website is essentially just a, a portal that I send people to, to, to have them, um, sign up with a web hosting platform that can enable them to, uh, either do affiliate marketing or they can just host their websites on there.

Again, part of what I do with my, my art YouTube channel is to help artists build websites and they're going to need a platform anyway. And personally, I just love, um, that platform that I promote, which is builder all. Um, it's a great platform that it's pretty much has every single tool you would ever need to like market your business.

I, again, I use it more for, um, helping people and giving them an option that I feel is one of the best tools out there. Um, so, you know, again, builderall is just, it's just a tool. That it has like 40 plus marketing tools and there's, uh, everything from, you know, social media marketing to website builders that are drag and drop.

So everything is just like super user friendly. And it's like one of the first platforms that I've found where it's not like, you know, you go to like a big company, like blue host, which is pretty common in the hosting world. And, you know, then it's like, okay, now I have to set up my website and they, yes, they have like a install for WordPress, but like, then like you install a WordPress template and then you have to try to figure out all these different plugins. And like, at the end of the day, like you still, like, there's a lot of things that you have to learn and then you have to go to other places like, you know, then you have to get your email marketing in a different place.

Like, you know, you might get an auto responder or something to host your, your email marketing. And then you might have to go to get another tool that automates some of your social media and like all of that, like starts to really build up. And it gets expensive, especially for artists who maybe are just starting out or learning how to sell their artwork online.

Like they're not going to go invest in like a, a hundred dollars tool or, you know, $300 worth of marketing tools. That's what I liked about builder all is like, they have these different plans where it's like, you can pay $29 a month or you can pay $69 a month. Like it just really depends. Um, but, uh, it, it's just, it's a really good solution.

Cause again, it's all these drag and drop very easy to use tools. Uh, yes, there's a small learning curve, but it's much smaller than just going and getting traditional hosting and not knowing really what to do and trying to figure out how to connect the domain to your website. So, you know, again, it's just like all those like technical hurdles that I think like any brand new business person or an artist or somebody has to try to figure out.

Uh, so I just like, and then it comes with tons of training. Like there, their whole system is, is supported by thousands of people. They have a massive community. It's not like most of these web hosting platforms, they don't have massive communities built around them. I mean, there might be people. On YouTube, posting videos and stuff, but there's actually a tremendous amount of people that are either in Facebook groups or on YouTube or just across every platform you can imagine, um, that are supporting how to work with builder all and how to do websites and how to do sales funnels and how to sell online or how to do affiliate marketing. And so I do point people that direction because it, to me, it's one of the best tools that I've ever seen.

And it's very affordable. That's the thing. It's, it's the most affordable thing I've seen. Um, and yeah, there are other things out there, but I just feel like they they're just not as robust and they don't have the community around them that this does. 

Joseph: [00:33:09] Now, one thing that I was wondering, uh, as you're, uh, describing this is builderall made specifically for the, uh, art business or is it just you've just, you were just able to successfully like, okay, the word I paid was co-opted, but that word has a history to it, but have you been like you curated it so that you figured out how it could be effective for AR for people in the art community and art business? 

Aaron Cox: [00:33:32] Right. Yeah. It's not natively like designed for artists at all.

It's just, again, it has the drag and drop website builder that makes it easy, especially for non-technical people. Um, and really anybody who just wants to get started for the first time. I think that that's probably why it's one of the easiest tools that I've ever seen to use. And that's why I promote it is just because in my working with so many different artists and friends of mine and, and, you know, just even having discussions with people in Facebook groups, um, there's, I just feel like in general, most of us artists are like, not computer technical. And a lot of the artists that I do work with, or that just tend to, and maybe it's just the ones that are attracted to me and my business. I don't know. But a lot of them tend to be in older demographic that may be not so tech savvy or not. Haven't been using computers their entire life.

Like a lot of the, you know, younger generation has been. So, you know, for somebody that. I would say is 55 and up to like hop on a computer for the first time and start trying to like figure out a website or figure out social media. It. It is hard, you know, and it is challenging. I mean, I'm learning new stuff every day.

I'm discovering new platforms every day. It's if it's hard for me to keep up than somebody who's just jumping on for the first time, I can only imagine how, how challenging that is. 

Joseph: [00:34:56] Yeah. Like I'm, I'm 31 right now and I'm not pathological, but so far I have 17 silver hairs in my head and I do have to like.

You know, I I'm still have enough fluidity that I can observe. What are new things are happening? Like before we started recording, I was asking, asking you if you knew about NFTs, but at a certain point, even if I can still get it, I just have to wash my hands of it and say, I can not get into everything, even, uh, everything that could be beneficial to me.

Uh, I think that's one of the, one of the struggles each generation is that like the, the, the further back the generation is I think the more set in the ways they are. Um, and you know, not, not to delve too much into, into COVID stuff, but I think the pandemic really like was probably the first time in history that a lot of generations had to confront, uh, let us into changes.

I mean, I remember my dad telling me that him and his four siblings were going to, uh, have a, have their first zoom call together. And I said, dad, statistically, one of you is going to have an internet connection. Like what. So, so, so. So builderall is, uh, I got to say, even as, um, uh, one of the things that I'm working on is a, is a print on demand.

Um, uh, function is for me, it's not primary. I would say it's like a very passionate secondary or a supremely passionate tertiary. Haven't worked it out yet. Um, but the fact that it's like an all in one platform does yield a lot of benefits. Now, uh, mind you, this is also Shopify country and I do have the luxury of having, you know, a, uh, a Shopify theme.

Uh, freely accessible. So I did have to kind of like weigh the costs and benefits of it. The other part of it that I wanted to just get, like the distinction between the two is what we're all in one biz, uh, fits into this, uh, relative to builderall as you're builderall, is there like a, a cross-pollination between what both services offer or what exactly is all in one biz, a distinctively for you?

Aaron Cox: [00:36:53] And so, again, it's just the place where I point people to essentially go to, to sign up for a builderall as, as an affiliate. So, you know, again, like it's just another, uh, it's a way that I essentially get people into signing up. So like, even when I'm doing my coaching and stuff, and I say, Hey, you know, if you need a website, if you want to get something going, go to this website and get signed up.

Joseph: [00:37:16] Okay. Okay. Yeah, I was just, I just needed like the click on that, just one last piece in the puzzle. 

Aaron Cox: [00:37:21] Right. It's just my referral link and it's just a way to, um, and I also, I, the only reason I created that too, is because, like I said, I do a lot, a lot of like local marketing as well. Um, I have some other, you know, places where I point people, but at the end of the day, like I just use that mainly because I do work with a lot of like local businesses as well.

And it just gives an opportunity for people to see that. You know, there's a lot of other parts of builder all, rather than just saying, oh, here's a link, you know, and, and they go to a checkout page or something like that. It's just more of a way to introduce them to some of the tools. 

Joseph: [00:37:54] Okay. Okay. Sounds, sounds good. Sounds good to me. I, yeah, just before that, I wasn't putting all the pieces together. I was thinking it was like a different, um, a service in its own right.

By the way, if you're a current user of Debutify or haven't tried us out yet, Debutify version three has been released and now is a good time to upgrade or get started as any.  A streamlined user interface along with an ever increasing array of conversion boosting add ons is waiting for you. So download today for free and start your journey. Who knows, maybe I'll be interviewing you before too long.

Yeah. So one of the things I did, I did check out some of your YouTube content. And so prior to my conversation with you, I spoke to, um, re uh, Raitis Purins, uh, was last week, uh, about cause they do they have, I, I would think. And I'm pretty sure I can say this with confidence. Not that, that sounded like I was saying with confidence where they're like the biggest print on demand company right now.

And what are the things that I asked him was, okay, let's say I want it to not set up a website just yet. And I just wanted to. Um, uh, focused on one of the markets he recommended Etsy. And so when I looked at your YouTube content, one of the things that you talk about is the significance of having a website as an artist and the reasons there was marketing communication.

There's no commission, um, branding, personalized experience. So, um, would you be willing to summarize up in a holistic answer, these, these points and why having a website is really so more, something more significant than working on a market. And I actually would like to hear, by the way, your take on if you've seen or encountered anybody who had like, you know, a positive experience selling say on Etsy or one of the other, uh, art markets. Not that I know any other ones, but maybe you do. 

Aaron Cox: [00:39:38] Yeah. I mean, it, it, it really is just, I guess it's really just a personal preference for a lot of people. Um, One of my main points that I'm always preaching to people, to why they need to have their own websites is because you have complete control over every aspect of it.

Um, you know, Etsy charges, you know, fees, obviously for everything that you upload. So right out of the gate, you are going to be paying money for every upload and then month after month. So like, if you're not making sales right away, you will be paying for that anyway. But in the same regard with web hosting, you do have to pay for the web hosts.

You have to pay for the domain. So there's always going to be a cost. I mean, I, I get that too many times. I have seen people spend a year building something on a marketplace, like Etsy or red bubble and it's happened to me and they do all this marketing work and they're, you know, they pay somebody to optimize all of their titles to get it ranking in the search engines and then they get shut off.

They get shut down. Um, there's times where even with, um, like for instance, I had my credit card stolen and I was, um, I didn't have, you know, the updated payment information on Etsy and I completely forgot to switch it over and they, they turned it off. And so my store was down like, and this was like right after I paid somebody to, uh, basically optimize everything on my Etsy store.

And, uh, my store was down for like two weeks and I kept emailing them and emailing them and saying, hey, like, can you please turn my website back on? I have my updated payment information. I've already put it on there. Um, and I've, I've heard this exact story from multiple people. Um, I have a friend who sells, uh, all kinds of, um, Uh, you know, engraved whether it's glassware or, you know, leather wallets or whatever, they, they do customized engraved pieces and, uh, their, their store.

I don't, I don't remember what it was. There was something in it. I don't know if it was a description. I don't know if it was one of their products that they made, but something got their store flagged. And it shut them down for like, I don't know. I think it was like almost three weeks and it's like, that can be incredibly, you know, I, I, it's going to destroy that could destroy somebody's business overnight, you know, and there's stores that have been turned off permanently, and this can happen on any marketplace website.

And I mean, really that's, that's the primary reason. Um, because when, when, when you spend so much marketing dollars to grow your platform online, to get your voice out there, especially if you, if you're doing like traditional search engine marketing, um, you know, even with like e-commerce, I mean, Shopify could change a policy from one day to the next and say, Hey, we're no longer allowing this type of product on our platform.

And they can turn your store off overnight. And we've seen this time and time again, especially with Facebook, you know, I mean, over the last year we have seen so many platforms being completely, uh, just, I mean, I don't even know what to call it at this point, but it's like that, that they have that kind of control over shutting you know, shutting your Facebook page down or are just completely deleting your accounts. I mean, it's, it's, it's scary. Um, you know, and we've seen people, um, you know, during the, during the pandemic and all, you know, all the political nonsense that was going on, we've seen, you know, major celebrities and people that are having millions and millions of followers being just turned off overnight. And so, you know, again, like not, not owning your own platform and not having your own control over your own thing, like at the end of the day, you are putting yourself at risk, you know, and that's, and that's number one is, that's why I preach to people.

Hey, if you're going to spend a bunch of money and you're going to put all your time and effort into marketing something, and you really do want to have it as a business, then you need to completely own it a hundred percent. Um, and like for instance, I had a friend who was doing, um, even her Instagram account got shut down, you know, she was doing all of these, promoting her art.

Um, she had all of these, you know, normal. She was doing like some kind of jewelry or something. But she did this photo shoot. That was a little bit risky. It was, you know, a little bit of nudity involved in it. Um, and just, just that small amount of stuff that you did, somebody flagged it and it got turned off.

So again, I, I just think it's so important to control. If you're going to put any amount of time doing any internet marketing, you have to be very diligent about the rules and the regulations of what that platform allow or don't allow. 

Joseph: [00:44:46] I think it's a, uh, an illuminating point and, you know, I, I was born and raised on the internet and I've seen plenty of, uh, of examples. And I would say that actually, most of the examples I think of off the top of my head, none of which I'm going to say out loud, because they're all cans of exploding worms, but there's some pretty prominent figures that were taken down from either Shopify or they said something inappropriate on YouTube and they were taken down and we're talking like some, some significant figures, both culturally and politically, and like, It don't matter, you know, the, these, these, these platforms they're exceedingly powerful and they, and they, and they can, uh, at a moment's notice, um, completely undo a lot of work somebody has done.

So I think that's a valid point. Now, I would say that in all pure fairness that could potentially happen on a web hosting service, but I think the significant differences platforms are and marketplaces they have a lot more say in what content is on there. And so long as we exercise common sense and we don't do something exceedingly silly or hateful or vile on our websites and get ourselves arrested or whatever it is. We're fine. So that photo shoot, probably wouldn't find on its own website versus say on a marketplace. 

Aaron Cox: [00:46:01] Right. Well, and the, and the other, the other thing, just to kind of speak to one of the other points on your initial question is that, um, I feel like also places like these will these large marketplaces, like when you sign up to Etsy, you're not just seeing that one store content.

I mean, the minute you go on their website, you're getting led away to other things. You start getting newsletters regarding other, you know, maybe other things that you clicked on. If you, if you clicked on or you did a search for you know, cat photos or, or whatever it happens be, um, on Etsy you're, you're going to start getting emails with those searches.

So their algorithms aren't designed to sell that one person's artwork or their product they're designed to sell you, you know, as much stuff as possible. And so again, I feel like those that's one of the other things is like, I feel like for artists. It kind of dilutes the whole idea of like building up a brand and trying to be recognized and trying and trying to get people to follow you because you don't always, and some of the platforms I, especially like Amazon would like print on demand.

Um, you don't necessarily collected that customer's information. You're not getting their email address, not getting those important marketing points of data collection that in order to continue to market to those people, um, and you, and you don't control the algorithms. So you can't say, okay, like here's all my customers that I had from this past year.

Let me see how many. You know, purchase from me X amount of times per month. And you know, like what do they like specifically? And can I just keep like you're with Amazon and all these big platforms, it's more about like, just producing content and putting it on there. Like the more content that you can put on a red bubble or Amazon merge or whatever it is, it's, it's all about just pumping out content and putting out as much as you can, whereas like, having your own platform and selling to a small select group of people, again, having patreon and having, um, your YouTube channel or having a Twitch channel, um, having a podcast, you know, whatever it is, again, you're bringing somebody into your own ecosystem and your own, um, your own brand and you can focus a hundred percent on that.

And it never gets diluted from, you know, having somebody click away to some other thing or, you know, it's like YouTube, but you know, you it's, it's so challenging at times just to build a YouTube channel because again, their algorithm is designed to feed as much content as possible based on what they think that you like and to get, to get those extra clicks.

And so they're going to show you a hundred different videos of, you know, different things that are related content and that's where as an artist, it does get it's, it's hard sometimes to build up that brand and that ecosystem of customers that are just dedicated to you and your, in your craft. 

Joseph: [00:49:03] That's fantastic. I have to say that as a very convincing and compelling case for why it's really important to, uh, both have a home base and have something that we're in full control of. I myself, I still wouldn't rule out markets, but I think the, my main takeaway is like, there are not the central, I, uh, they're not home-based to not HUD.

They're frontiers, they're battlefields. There are places where you can take a chance and, um, you know, if you can do the cost benefit analysis and if the losses aren't too bad and there's more gains and there's losses, then you're, you're in good shape. But like I said, it's not HQ. And that to me is my, the way, like, I'm like, uh, resolving it in my own mind.

Uh, and with that, I'm watching the time like a hog. And I know that I only have you for four more minutes and believe me, there are some questions here that I really wanted to sink my teeth into. So I don't know. We'll, we'll have to bring you back. Definitely have like some more, uh, some more art based conversations.

Cause believe me, there's some stuff here who will anyways. So the last question that I want to ask you is just to like touch a little bit more on the marketing side. Which is like, okay. So let's just say for instance, and I'm, and I'm going to use myself as an example here. Um, the art, the, as the asset that we got between me and my girlfriend was mostly her, in fact, it's all her, so that we got. Now the idea of like, doing that as a live stream or, or, or doing a podcast or like making like supplementary content from marketing, um, is daunting just because of, you know, what else we have going on.

So what would be some of the more, I guess, simple or man, I try, I try so hard to like complete the perfect word. Perfect sentence. I try. I really do. What would be some of the simpler ways to market the content or like minimal effort? I would say would be a better way to ask it. 

Aaron Cox: [00:50:41] Minimal effort? 

Joseph: [00:50:42] Okay. That's not a better way to ask it, but like, you know, some of the more low. Yeah. Okay. I try my best to ask it as best I can. I'm I am done. Hopefully you get it. 

Aaron Cox: [00:50:50] Yeah. I mean, so at the end of the day, again, we're, we're, we're in an era of technology, you know, we, we have access to the internet. Um, if, if you don't want to go that route and you want to do more traditional marketing, um, then you know, you will have to get more involved in your local community.

I mean, there's, you're going to have to go back to the traditional ways. And a lot of people, you know, prior to the pandemic, everybody, you know, was selling at, um, you know, uh, art, art, like local art shows. Like I know, like in my hometown, we've got, um, you know, there's a, there's a farmer's market every weekend and people sell there.

We, we, we were having like little craft shows. Um, every, you know, it's kinda more seasonally. But they would be like every weekend, like right around the fall time and like closer to Christmas. So there's that, there's also just picking up the phone, you know, and finding, you know, like one of the things that I used to do when I was first starting out was, um, I know I started noticing when I would go to like some of the local restaurants and stuff, they would have artwork hanging up.

And so I would ask them, Hey, can I, you know, hang up my, my artwork, you know, in, in your restaurant for X amount of time, And I would also go to like, there's a lot of local coffee shops too. And they used to host small art galleries. There's a, there's a tea place down the street that, um, they, they dedicate that space to local artists.

And so you can go in there and they swap out new art all the time. So, you know, there's, there's that. Um, there's also picking up the phone and, and finding, you know, local, um, galleries or, um, other places, you know, like even hotels, there's large hotels. Like I know, I know a guy who, you know, sold, um, I can't even remember how many pieces, but it was like several thousand pieces to, you know, some of the hotel chains.

Um, and you know, there's, so there's. Uh, again, the, the information is out there. Um, it's just a matter of being creative and being willing to do the work, whether it's picking up the phone, um, going to some local businesses and showing them your artwork, um, connecting with people online, looking up different galleries online, um, there's a lot of even, um, collective galleries where like for instance, you know, if you go down towards the beaches and I'm like in Ventura, for example, like near where I live, uh, you can go down to Ventura and there's even some small, uh, art stores that have all a collection of different things and they, they sell things from local artists. So, you know, you can, you can call a lot of those stores and maybe get your work in there as well.

They're all, you know, a lot of store owners are constantly looking for, you know, new and fresh work, especially if they're a small local store. Um, and they, they, they're always looking for new product and if they like your work, you know, and it's related to something that they're into, um, They'll be willing to do a deal with you as well, especially if they're going to get a cut of it.

So there's 1,000,001, like I said, I could talk about this all day, cause there's 1,000,001 way, one way is to get your work out there to market, but with the power of the internet, it's, it's, you know, it's, I think it's probably a little bit easier to go that route these days and be able to, you know, shoot out a bunch of emails, you know, get a collection of, uh, you know, whether it's going on.

Um, Uh, like say Instagram or something and finding out a bunch of different, uh, galleries or different bunch of, um, uh, like really high or large, uh, profiles that have like either thousands or millions of views. Um, and basically just doing influencer marketing, you know, essentially, and just basically getting somebody who has a large channel, get your work on their channel. So, you know, and that's another way that you can do it. So if you don't want to spend a lot of time developing extra content, I would say focus on influencer marketing and trying to get your content in front of other people on larger channels.

Just like if somebody has a, a really well YouTube channel, you know, maybe email them until you can get a link on some of their videos or get a link on their newsletter or something. So that's another big technique. 

Joseph: [00:55:02] And like you say, there's, there's, there's plenty more where that came from. So, um, with that usually like the final question is if you have any parting words of wisdom, um, feel free to share them, but you've given us plenty.

So, you know, you get a pass unless you want to. I, uh, I'll give you the option to, I'll give you the choice, but the other side of it too, is to let the audience know where they can find you and they can learn more about this. 

Aaron Cox: [00:55:22] So I have my website, um, artwithaaron.com and I do have a free book on there for download that just gives you the introduction, especially to some of the stuff that we just talked about.

It introduces to selling on the marketplaces and essentially it's just a good starting point if you're brand new and you don't know what to do, um, I would say just download it. It's free. And it was just a way to, you know, get introduced to selling artwork online. And I'm, I'm, I'm trying to make as much content as possible.

I'm actually working on a new project right now to even better help artists, you know, build their websites and build their brands and get everything set up, but that's still in the work. So as soon as I'm done with that, I'm hoping to, you know, give that first to my subscribers. Um, and that's you know, it's, I think it's going to be really powerful cause it's, it basically automates and it takes even more technical, um, uh, you know, hump that we have to get over.

It's going to get rid of that and basically help people really automate their own, uh, our businesses as well. So, um, I'm, I'm really hoping to get that out in the next month or so. 

Joseph: [00:56:31] You'll you'll be happy to know that, uh, our content is usually released two months after we do the recording. So, uh, if you're, if you're all good to go, you can send us the link and we'll be able to put it in the episode.

And yeah, door's always opened by the way. So you're, you're more than welcome to come back, let us know how things are going. And, uh, we'll, we'll definitely talk more art because it's. Certainly worth talking about if you have any final words. So I wanted to make sure we had the chance to it, but if not, it's all good.

We'll we'll get you on out of here. 

Yeah, I think, I think that's pretty much it for the most part, I think. Um, yeah, I feel pretty good about that. 

Okay. Terrific. Well, it's been great to have you, and this has definitely been a good learning experience for me as well. So, uh, I, I extend my gratitude to personally and to our audience, I am also pitfall that all of you are participating in this in your own small ways. So don't think I don't appreciate you. So with that take care and we'll check in soon. 

Thanks for listening. You might've found this show on many number of platforms, apple podcasts, Spotify, Google play, stitcher, or right here on Debutify. Whatever the case, if you enjoy this content and want to help us thrive, please take a few moments to leave a review on apple podcasts or wherever you think is best. 

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Finally, this podcast is created by the passionate team at Debutify. If you're ready to take the plunge into e-commerce or are looking to up your game, head over to debutify.com and see how it can change your life. And the lives of many through what you do next.

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