for the rebels Archives - Kristen Kalp

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How to use your dollars to shape the world.

You have tremendous power. 

You spend money every single day, and where you spend that money matters tremendously.

Your dollars can be spent to make giant corporations even larger, or they can be used to keep currency in circulation locally, to keep people who safeguard our democracy (i.e. journalists) working, and to keep artists, makers, thinkers, and rebels doing their respective jobs each day.  (I suggest the latter.)

Here are quick and effective ways to use your dollars to shape our world for the better.

Subscribe to forms of media that pay journalists.

At a recent political conference I attended, subscribing to a physical newspaper was described as a political act. Pick a paper and get it delivered. If you want to overachieve, get a local and a national paper subscription.

Best of all, newspapers are delivered without a comments section. No angry trolls lurking at the bottom of the page!  No clickbait waiting to draw your attention!  No news about how to lose 15 pounds using that one secret trick!

Subscribe to media forms that are not owned or influenced by major corporations.

There used to be 10,000 franchises and companies that owned and contributed to our radio waves, TV waves, and newspapers. Now there fewer than 10.

I’m completely new to this realm and have to be honest — I only know of The Young Turks in terms of major not-funded-by-a-conglomerate-outlets. (The founder, Cenk Uyger, received a triple standing ovation at Sister Giant.) If you’re like, OOH I KNOW SOME AMAZING ALTERNATE SOURCES OF NEWS, KRISTEN — message k@kristenkalp.com and help me out.

Pick an artist — any artist — and buy their work directly from them right now.

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they’ve enjoyed my work for months/years but have never purchased anything — but THANK YOU!!!!!!!!, they say — I could pay this month’s rent with those dividends. I am grateful for kind words, but they are absolutely useless currency for paying bills, buying food, and keeping coffee in my French press.

Pay your favorite people to keep going.

Further: if you are an artist and you don’t pay artists for their work, you’re unconsciously undermining your own. In a world where art is being driven toward free with a link of attribution for usage, all of our work descends to a far-from-sustainable-for-paying-the-bills place. Photographers, writers, poets, makers, illustrators, designers, tinkerers…pay for every piece of art you enjoy and/or use and your own work can only shine brighter.

Give money to those who inspire you.

When humans make work that inspires you and you pay them, they can keep making work that inspires you, and on and on the cycle goes. Donate to a nonprofit that’s kicking ass at the moment. Pick up a book that will change your life or reframe the way you do business (or both — Calling to the Deep!). Buy a full album from your nearest record store instead of a single from iTunes. Support projects via Patreon. Chip in to pay for intellectual food.

Elevate the voices of those thinkers, talents, speakers, writers, and artists you love.

Share your art purchases with a link and a hearty recommendation via any social media platform you choose.

Spreading the word about what you listen to, what you read, what keeps you sane, and what keeps you laughing is of vital importance. As the media comes under more and more fire — as these uncertain days get longer and darker and heavier — we will need to uplift one another with our words and our dollars more than ever.

Right now: put your money where your heart is. Pick five people who’ve inspired you and find a way to give them money.

If for some crazy reason they’re not taking money and have absolutely nothing for sale, e-mail them to ask to make a donation to charity in their name. (No seriously, do this right now.)

This week, I: bought a tote and pin from Emily McDowell, subscribed to James Victore’s Patreon, purchased 2 books — Men Explain Things to Me and Corruption in America, stopped by The High Point Cafe, which was donating 5% of its proceeds to the ACLU for the day, and went to see a movie at my local nonprofit movie house.

Those aren’t big giant dollar-sucking commitments. Those are everyday purchases totaling less than $60 that I spent to support makers and non-profits and people who make me laugh really hard.

I found that $60 for supporting the arts easily by popping into Sarah Von Bargen’s Put Your Money Where Your Happy Is course — which caused me to renegotiate billing on several fronts and save $650 per month on expenditures.  YUP, that’s a $147 class that paid for itself four times over in the first month of use.  Check it out here.

If I’m one of the people who have inspired you in some way, please pick up one of my books or come to the Brave workshop this April. I can’t keep making without your support — and you can’t keep making without the support of others.

We need one another.

These words are part of a longer That’s What She Said podcast, too!  Listen in…

P.S. One more for the makers: 5 money mindsets that keep you from making bank.

P.P.S. Again, this class helped me save $650 per month — so put your money where your happy is, please.

Give what you needed to get.

Steer Your Ship registration opens in April 2017, be sure you’re a part of the Fuck Yah Club so you’ve got dibs on the 7 spots available!

Sometimes you make things because they live deep within you and you simply must.

And sometimes, you make things because you are trying to give what at what point, you needed to get. The photographer with no images of her father who creates family portraits for others. The musician who only wants others to feel understood without the need for words, and so he channels everything he has into making dance floors pulse with life. The comedian who makes jokes about misery and suffering and depression because without bearing a torch for others, he would creep back into alcoholism or drugs or despair.

Often — so often — we give what we needed to get.

It’s only recently that I realized I’m giving what I needed to get a few years ago, when I wanted a true, honest-to-God-not-just-Facebook-community about as much as I wanted to breathe, and when I felt crushed by the profound loneliness of owning a business while working from home.

I wanted someone to hear me and say, “I know.
I know you can’t do it the way everyone says you should.
I know how hard your heart pounds against your chest and begs to be felt.
I know how much it hurts to be alive. Just to be breathing, some days. I know.”

I wanted someone to answer my questions about the next step
without just doing quick math
and saying I should do the most profitable thing.

I wanted someone to tell me I wasn’t broken.
I wanted someone to tell me that losing weight wasn’t the answer.
I wanted someone to hold me accountable for doing what I said I was going to do.

I wanted someone to look me in the eyes and love me as I was in that moment
without mentioning my potential or my future or my accomplishments.

I wanted someone to listen deeply
and ask profound questions
without any vested interest in my answers.

I wanted someone to help me see myself.

I wanted to be heard.
I wanted to be heard.
I wanted to be heard.

I was screaming inside and terrified,
and all I wanted
was someone to come and sit beside me and hold me while I cried:

some other human to look me in the eye and understand
without running from it or shrinking it
or trying to make it fit into a more comfortable box of some kind.

I needed someone to feel with me,
and sit in the murk with me,
and face the truth there with me, too.

I needed someone to rub my back
and whisper “it’s okay”
in the way of mothers holding newborns,
with nothing but love.

I needed to be held, just then.

…and all THAT is why I created Steer Your Ship.

Yes, Steer Your Ship includes six months of working with me, and yes, there are coaching calls and two live retreats and swimming with otters and profound realizations and quite often, doubled to tripled income, but those included things are very, very small when compared with the real things you get.

You get a sense of yourself again. (We’ll find you, wherever you went missing.)
You get to put down all the masks and walls you carry, and show yourself to someone who won’t judge you or make you feel less than or push you in any direction except the one you find most interesting.
You get someone who understands about shutting down and then coming to life again.
Hell, you’ll get someone who understands. Period.

It would be my honor and my delight to help you sort through the tangled threads of your own life, to see you fully, and to give you what I so needed to get.

…but it’s expensive, Kristen.

Here’s what I can tell you, from having spent over thirty thousand dollars on coaches of all kinds over the past five years.

It costs more to stay where you are.
To stay stuck or lonely, confused or telling yourself you’ll figure it out on your own costs not only dollars in lost revenue, but YEARS. You say you’ll work on that or do that or figure that shit out next month and next month and next month until you find yourself hiding, stuck, exactly where you were years ago.

Growth takes other humans.

As much as I don’t like to admit that — as part hermit, part empath, part highly sensitive person and supremely shy introvert — growth takes other humans.

You need people to see you so they can reflect yourself back to you in an honest and loving way.

I’m happy to be that human mirror and to help you find wild and lovely, deeply surprising and ultimately delightful new ways of being in the world.

So yes, the cost isn’t cheap. I don’t quibble there. But on the other side of making that investment, you’ll have seen more of yourself than ever before, and you’ll have grown in ways you can’t possibly anticipate right now, and you’ll get to know the joy that comes from being fully YOU in the world.

No more hiding, no more wishing things would just get easier without your putting in any effort to be seen (because TERROR), no more reading and consuming endless information without actually putting any of it into practice. ::waves to fellow learning nerds::

Growth comes from having someone hold your feet to the fire, and from that someone doing it with love and joy and in the spirit of watching you unfurl in whichever direction you choose. Often, the growth others experience with me is financial — oh hey, I doubled my income, I quit my day job, hooray! — but it’s so so so so so so much more important to me that you experience the utterly terrifying soul growth that means you’re being fully YOU in the world. Because that, my friend, has no price tag, can’t be taken away from you, and leads to roads you can’t even glimpse from where you are, let alone imagine. (But they’re gorgeous, and they’ve been waiting far too long for your footsteps already.)

I can’t wait to walk those roads with you, friend.

Steer Your Ship registration opens in April 2017, be sure you’re a part of the Fuck Yah Club so you’ve got dibs on the 7 spots available!

All my love —
Kristen

Indriana Irawan Bravo
Indriana Irawan Bravo

I've never felt more powerful than I do now. And I don't think I've ever accepted myself the way I do now.

You will grow in ways you cannot imagine.

Tina Heinnickel
Tina Heinnickel

I felt a huge shift within myself. I had felt really closed off and numb coming into this experience, and I just felt like I could breathe again after. And feel open. And good about myself. And hopeful.

...it really is crazy amazing and beautiful how close you can feel to a group of women after only knowing them for 72 hours. How in some ways I can feel closer to them than some of my friends I’ve known for years. But we were all open, real, and vulnerable with each other – which can be an extremely magical thing. We were all in a puddle of tears when we had to leave each other at the end of the workshop.

Jackie Hutchinson
Jackie Hutchinson

Before the workshop, I looked at business as this thing that I HAVE to do so we can survive. Now I look at business as this thing that helps us live our lives to the fullest in order for us to enjoy our lives.

Nicole A. Hershey
Nicole A. Hershey

I went from feeling like I sort of kinda of a project thing I'm working on, but it lives in the ether and someday maybe it will come to fruition... to carving out time each day to work on my deepest work, to managing my time and energy in order to make sure that work happens, to finding stillness instead of numbing it, and making a plan so that my business will definitely be a real thing with a real date of starting. When people ask me what I do, I don't feel the need to shift my feet back and forth and look sideways and raise my voice to a question mark at the end of each sentence.

It's nice to feel like my truest work is always right under the surface, rather than like I need to go hunting for it because it's been so long since I've been connected to it.

Meera Mohan-Graham
Meera Mohan-Graham

In just over four weeks since Steer Your Ship, I've more than doubled my wedding bookings for next year.

On the personal end, for the first time in my life I'm making active decisions about when to rest, and using my "off season" to rejuvenate and reflect. For years, I've planned to do that, but always failed - feeling like there was "too much to get done" and never actually resting.

I feel the disjointed parts of me, my life and my business have all finally locked into alignment to become unified and whole and strong.

(as shown, with crazy-ass otter accosting swimsuit)

Alicia Bruce
Alicia Bruce

I was surprised at how much we were able to dive into both personal and business issues and really get some problems solved. As much as each of us struggle with problems in our business and personal lives, we feel like solving them is going to have to be a long, drawn-out experience. But really, all it takes is a person who gets us, who will listen, and who will ask the questions that need to be asked.

Nicki Behm
Nicki Behm

I’ve had more fun in the past 4 days than I have in the past 4 years.

Meera Mohan-Graham
Meera Mohan-Graham

I have literally never felt so open and safe with a group of people in my entire life. Not a "group of strangers." Literally ANY GROUP OF PEOPLE.

Lauren Guilford
Lauren Guilford

With tears in my eyes I say this (happy tears of course), I WOULD NOT BE WHERE I AM WITHOUT THE ADVICE, LOVE AND SUPPORT YOU HAVE GIVEN ME. I am amazed that in a few months time I have gone from being lost, confused and unhappy with my business to confident, excited, and joyful!! I truly am forever grateful! 

Crystal Colon
Crystal Colon

…one of the most enlightening experiences I’ve ever had. I came away with an amazing sense of clarity, a new sense of direction to seek in my business, and friendships, not too mention a fantastic marketing road map and a spirit animal. Kristen Kalp, you are a genius who lights up the world of those who know you. So thank you for finding your talent, being you, and sharing with others who you are.

Feeling all OOH I MUST HAVE A SPOT!!!  Send me an e-mail and I’ll personally give you dibs.

Idea/phrasing credit to this truthbomb by Danielle Laporte, photo credit to Love Knot Photo, Steer Your Ship San Diego.  (That’s the whole crew!)

My work: 2005-2016. WTF moments included.

When you’ve done something long enough, you assume everyone knows how you got started or what, exactly, you do, and why you do it. This is the official let’s-get-you-up-to-speed rundown of where I’ve been, what I do, and where I’m going, with some glorious life lessons and witty stories thrown in for good measure.  (Hint: steal this idea for your own website!)

First up: the distant past.

There’s a 17-year-old male Philadelphian hanging from the air conditioner outside the classroom. He’s barely got a grip on the window unit and my guess is that his pants are revealing a shocking amount of the boxers beneath while he’s dangling there, but he’s committed. He’s screaming “Liar! LIIIIIIIARRRRRR!” at me while I teach the afternoon’s computer class.

A smirk flits across my face before I go back to delivering the day’s lesson plan.

I’ve finally won.

You see, Cruz routinely made up lies about all the ways I’d been mean/evil/terrible to him and then told them to the principal. I was called onto the carpet to defend myself a few times a week for the duration of the school year. Nevermind that the lies weren’t particularly creative or remotely true. Nevermind that Cruz was in a problem student in a specially-designed school that provided more therapy than traditional education. Nevermind that I had a four-year degree in education and was super fucking good at my job.

The principal always believed him. I went home dejected most days, crying more often than not, until I finally gave my notice. (It was right after The Afternoon of the Air Conditioner.)

I had two weeks to find a job — any job — or I would take the position I’d lined up at a similar educational facility. (Read: the first thing you learn at orientation is how to restrain a child effectively.)

I applied for a job as a photographer with a person named Haunani. I had about 15 4×6″ glossy prints that I’d picked up from Target the night before in an envelope. I liked taking photos in abandoned buildings and somehow believed that could translate into a job.

Haunani remembers that I showed up early, wearing a suit, and called her “Boss” before she’d given me the job. (She gave me the job.) It would be nine years before I would call myself a teacher again.

I spent 2006 to 2008 working as a photographer in a now-defunct portrait franchise that taught me the basics of taking portraits and then selling them to people. I eventually turned my many-times-a-day-every-day portrait photography selling skills into Sales Without Shame, a no-longer-available program.

When Haunani’s studio closed in 2008, we spent a few years as a children’s photographer and really-cool-Hawaiian-sidekick duo with a brick and mortar studio in Wayne, Pennsylvania. The Essential Imagery website is defunct, the images accidentally deleted (HOORAY TECHNOLOGY!), but the work I’m most proud of was shot for Flying Kites school and orphanage in Kenya during a series of visits.

I started Brand Camp in May 2009, penning twice-weekly articles to help other peeps in business figure out what the eff was going on without boring them to tears. Most business books I read offended my English-degree-having bits, since they were little more than dry lists of steps that weren’t actually realistic. (How to be popular on social media: step one. Get popular. Step two: stay popular. You know, shit like that.)

I didn’t create a product or service or any money-making thingamabobs for over a year, as it never occurred to me that Brand Camp would turn into anything more than a happy little side project that kept me writing and helping other people who were just like me. I liked pushed my own envelope. Sometimes I made wildly inappropriate hooker analogies, and my peeps liked them.

I also took up ghostwriting projects with a number of clients, one of whom I work with to the present day. I was all up in people’s business(es), ghost-marketing and ghost-launching and ghost-editing class after book after course. I learned that helping a person you don’t particularly like to make 7 figures isn’t NEARLY as fun as you’d imagine. 😉

I also learned that I work best with lots of fingers in lots of pies: six-figure photography business, Brand Camp (no revenue stream, just writing, because WRITING), and ghostwriting/marketing/editing/launching, too.

I chose to bring my photography business to a halt in 2010, when I signed a book deal with Jon Canlas. That’s when I decided to dedicate myself to writing and teaching full-time. In 2012, Film is Not Dead: A Digital Photographer’s Guide to Shooting Film was released.

It was the same year that I traveled to India and to Kenya on orphan-hugging projects and released Change the World, Dammit!.

In 2013, I used Go Your Own Way (which is all yours for joining the Fuck Yah Club!) to raise over $10,000 for Flying Kites. I also held the first round of Steer Your Ship, a 6-month program that’s my very very absolute favorite for helping business peeps come alive.

In 2014, I held Brand Camp the camp. There were endless s’mores, a ferris wheel at sunrise, and killer speeches. There was an evening dance party, a whole-camp game of Paint Twister, and skinny dipping after dark. It was killer. It was fantastic. It cost me.

From camp until the present, I’ve continued to explore my own calling more deeply. I’ve released M-School, which is Harry Potter-like Magic School for Entrepreneurs. I’ve also explored a shit-ton of topics about the entrepreneurial life through my podcast, That’s What She Said.

So….what’s the thread that runs through all of this stuff?

Where the fuck do I get off giving any sort of advice, when I’m so clearly a seemingly-scatterbrained writer who takes on endlessly evolving projects? (In other words: why can’t I just make a product, then release that product every year to bigger and bigger audiences, raking in affiliate sales and pretending that’s enough to keep me satsified?)

I help people become more of who they are. That means my projects change as I become more of who I am.

Sometimes I lend them my voice, as in ghostwriting.

Sometimes I help them come to new levels of understanding in person, as in camp and now, in Steer Your Ship.

Sometimes I give them permission to be who they are in the world, as in Go Your Own Way and M-School, too.

Often, that means I’m talking directly to you in my podcast.

Whether we’re talking about business or about life in general, we’re all unfolding.

I help people unfold in the right direction, where the right direction is the one your whole heart wants.

I listen to the impulses within me that say more of this, less of that, then I translate those intuitive whispers into practical steps for you that are neither ‘woo-woo’ nor misleading. (I’ll never teach to “manifest your abundance,” nor will I ask you to “create your 7-figure tribe” or some shit.)

I write about my struggles with losing dollars, with depression, and with perfection porn.

I write about the very difficult realities of living in the modern world, like the time I cried in Hawaii.  And being able to feel other people’s feelings in my own body.

I use my own life as an experimental lab for business and for living a slower, fuller life. (Also here I am in a bikini on the internet at nowhere near my ‘ideal’ weight. STILL easier to show you than talking about depression.)

I’m unfolding. I help other people unfold.

Whether that’s in my one-on-one work, my workshop — Steer Your Ship, in an online business course for Harry Potter lovers, or in book form, I’d love to help you unfold, too.

That might mean stepping away from something you thought you’d be doing forever. (When people asked me about professionally photographing children, I’d say, “I was meant for this” and mean it. What’s right for you at the moment might not be right for you forever.)

That might mean stepping into the thing that scares the shit out of you. It often means taking your business seriously, taking your talent seriously, or taking your self seriously. (Self care is not treating yourself like shit and then getting a pedicure. It’s eating well, sleeping well, hydrating, and relentlessly making space for listening to your inner voice. Pedicures are entirely optional.)

That might mean you click away and never stop back again, because FUCK THIS BULLET POINTS AND 7-STEP SYSTEMS ARE EASIER, and that’s okay, too.

I’m interested in interior work, hard work, and interesting work.

I’m interested in bringing your best work to light.

I’m not interested in your excuses, though I am dedicated to helping you overcome them.

If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to join the Fuck Yah Club and grab a copy of Go Your Own Way: free yourself from business as usual.

Wherever you’ve come from…welcome. I’m so glad you’re here.

May your unfolding be as steady and painless as possible, and may you know the wonder on the other side of becoming what you couldn’t have imagined even a few short months ago.