Laurie Woolever on Her Career as a Writer and Co-authoring a Cookbook with Anthony Bourdain

Laurie wanted to study English in college but shifted to what she then thought was a more practical choice. Now she's a writer.

In our conversation Laurie shared how she built a career around her ability to communicate and her love of food. She also came up at a time when publishers were rapidly experiencing the effects of technology so she had an interesting perspective on how the industry has changed.

In addition to her work as a writer, Laurie's also Anthony Bourdain's assistant. After years of working together they've written a cookbook–Appetites. You can pre-order it on Amazon now.

Thanks to Laurie Woolever, and our sponsor MailChimp.

A Bridal Dress Designer Might Be Our Toughest Interview Yet

Paula Varsalona has designed and made over 60,000 dresses during her long career in New York City. Originally from Independence, Missouri, Paula arrived in the 70's and started out living with 5 girls in a one-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side and finding work where she could. 

The bridal industry wasn't easy, and she was hired and fired a few times before venturing off on her own. In the 1980's, she opened her own shop with a partner and quickly lit up the NYC bridal scene. In an industry that was surprisingly male-dominated, she became one of the most popular designers in the country. "People threw money at me", she says, somewhat reminiscently. 

In this interview, I was struck by how demanding the design profession is. Paula is in her 60's now. She says she tries to get one day off per month. And design is literally the first step in a very long process to sell something. The outcome of a designers work is affected by so many other variables like seasonality, marketing, cheap imitations. And yet Paula gives the impression that the entire success of that dress is in her craftsmanship. Maybe it is. 

Adding Jobs, Removing None

Marty’s a tough guy to describe in one sentence. The list of professions on his business card literally ends with a comma. At the moment he’s a carpenter, mason, musician, guide on Denali, and host of Discovery’s Homestead Rescue. He’s basically been adding jobs since he started logging in Oregon as a kid and hasn’t stopped any yet.

I heard about Marty through a friend’s mild obsession with Ultimate Survival Alaska, where he infamously dealt with a 200lb fish in a very small boat. After reading his bio and seeing the reverence with which he spoke of his family and work, he seemed like a great guest for the show. We spent an above average amount of time talking about Marty’s family, their pursuits, and how he thinks about it all as a business owner, husband, and father.

As someone who’s jumped into several professions, Marty offers sage advice on starting new jobs, shaping your career, and standing out among all the others who are also just getting started.

Thanks to Marty Raney, Mimi O Chun, and our sponsor MailChimp.

How an Olympic Hopeful Googled Her way to a Gluten-Free Food Business

Stephanie Rothstein Bruce is an inspiration to a lot of athletes because of her real stories of being a mom and a professional athlete. Some of those fans might not even know that she also has a successful organic energy bar business.

Stephanie formed Picky Bars with two other athletes: Jesse Thomas and Lauren Fleshman. In the beginning, the product was created specifically for Jesse, who was gluten intolerant and needed a bar to provide the right energy balance for a triathlete. After a year rolling together “balls of mashed up dates” with some other foods, Stephanie googled how to build that into a business. An industrial kitchen and a chance article in Runners World got them kickstarted, and now they are sold from REI, Trader Joe’s, as well as their unique subscription-based e-commerce store.

As another shot at the Olympic dream passes, Stephanie talks about how she can represent Picky Bars as a pro athlete, knowing that her career as a runner is a short one. It’s a unique episode for a lot of reasons.

Maintaining Financial Discipline

aaron draplin

Aaron Draplin runs the Draplin Design Co. and recently released Pretty Much Everything, a “mid-career survey of work, case studies, inspiration, road stories, lists, maps, how-tos, and advice.”

It took us interviewing a designer to finally dive into the financial component of working for yourself. Aaron’s early years as an employee made him acutely aware that his income wouldn’t scale with his output unless he was on his own so eventually that’s what he did. His financial strategies aren’t complicated but they require discipline. Here are a few:

  • Create a lifestyle where you can live comfortably on a modest salary and treat any extra income wisely, being careful not to blindly increase your expenses.
  • Your 30s are for earning. Buckle down and do it.
  • Save plenty of cash for slow times.
  • Pay your bills immediately.
  • Feeling like you’re ahead of the game on student loan payments and actually being ahead of the game are two different things.

To get the non-listicle version of Aaron’s advice you can listen to the episode. It’s available on iTunes and Libsyn.

Thanks to Aaron Draplin and our sponsor MailChimp.