Paul Jarvis is a web-designer, best-selling author, and gentleman of adventure.
He’s worked with Silicon Valley startups, pro sports athletes, Fortune 500 companies, best-selling authors and the world’s biggest entrepreneurs. He also created and runs an online course for fellow freelancers called The Creative Class. It’s 783 freelancers strong, and growing daily.
He writes amazing pieces regularly for Inc., Fast Company, The Huffington Post, Forbes, Lifehacker, ThoughtCatalog, and many other publications. His personal newsletter is his favorite though.
On top of it all, he’s toured North America in the band Mojave, independently published four books, and worked as a freelance designer for over 17 years.
He currently lives in the woods on an island with his gorgeous wife, Lisa, and some little rat friends that we’ll talk about in more detail later.
So now that you know how awesome Paul is let’s dive straight into the interview!
What inspired you to take the leap into entrepreneurship?
I worked at an agency as a designer for about a year and hated it. My boss was a coke-head and overall they didn’t treat their clients well. Which sucked, since I actually wanted to not treat the clients badly (and I never did). So I quit. I was going to find another place to work but the day after I quit all those clients started calling me to ask what agency I’d go work at next so they could bring their work there. After the 3rd or 4th call I realized I could just work with those clients on my own.
I never planned on working for myself, it just kind of turned out that way. That was around 17 years ago.
Why did your typical 9–5 job simply not cut it for you?
I guess I’m just not interested. I probably work longer hours than 9–5 when I am working, but sometimes it’s a few hours in the AM, then I play outside for the day and do the rest of my work when it gets dark. I also like to take a few months off a year, which I don’t think is possible with most 9–5s. I value freedom and doing things my own way. Egotistical? Yes. But I’m good with that. I’ve found a way to work that doesn’t suck the life out of me.
What does an average day in the life of Paul Jarvis look like?
Not a clue, I haven’t had one yet. I start every day with coffee and typically spend an hour or so making a nice meal in the middle of the day. But otherwise, there’s nothing that’s routine or the same. Sometimes I write all day, sometimes I spend the day on the phone (Skype/Google Hangouts), sometimes I’m designing or coding for clients, sometimes I hike for the day. I also run a podcast, teach an online class for freelancers and do a whole bunch of other shit. So really, whatever needs to get done, gets done.
You’re a web designer by trade. What made you decide to begin writing more?
I figured after I had done it for over a decade, that I had something to say.
You have frequently mentioned your love for your adorable rats. Why should everyone get a pet
I think rats are great little animal companions. They’re smarter than most people I know, loyal and affectionate like a dog (but not obedient). They have great little minds and every single one has a different personality. Plus, the boy rats have MASSIVE testicles. Like ridiculously big. It’s hilarious.
They’re also great little vegans, so I don’t have to buy any special food — I just feed them what I eat — plant-based, whole foods. Most of the time while I work, one is sleeping on my lap.
What advice would you give someone who’s feeling stuck in their job or simply in life?
Do something about it or accept being stuck. There are really only two choices there.
What books would you highly recommend anyone reading?
Wind-up Bird Chronicles, or anything by Haruki Murakami.
I also love reading: Chris Brogan, Kris Carr, Ryan Holiday, Danielle LaPorte and James Altucher.
What are the biggest challenges you have found to come with the life of an entrepreneur?
Having to work when the hot tub it at the right temperature. Having to work when it’s 75 and sunny outside. Having to work when the ratties are jumping up and down for my attention.
You have recently done a live masterclass as well as a podcast with Jason Zook. How has that experience been?
Jason’s a total asshole. Just kidding, he’s basically one of my favourite people in the whole world. I love the way he solves problems with creativity and coming up with unique experiments to try out. We’re just different enough to make the podcast interesting, but aligned enough to make products like the masterclass. We joke that he’s my Internet Spouse. Season three of podcast (airing fall 2015) I may be announcing that I’m pregnant with his love-child…
So what’s next for you? What projects are you working on as of late?
Up next? No idea. I have no specific plans to make any products or new things right now. I’m in the middle of a whack of client work and supporting the students of my Creative Class. I don’t like to plan new projects too far in advance, I like to start them when I think of them, and I haven’t thought of any right now.
Want to keep up with Paul? Here’s some handy links for you.
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