“Community has always mattered to me. It is the best part of my job, and it keeps me up at night. It’s just in my DNA. I want to inspire people. I want to connect people. I want to equip people. I want to help creative entrepreneurs build an honest brand.”
I also mentioned that I was going to be updating the design (shocker there, right?) of Authentik from the ground up. More than likely this will happen with small, incremental changes—which, by the way, have already started.
It’s no secret that I am a champion of minimalist design—after all, I designed the Monochrome Pro Theme (aff.) which is precisely that.
In my opinion, every good minimalist design has some color—even if there’s just a hint of it throughout the site. So I chose to update the accent color.
With the rebranding of Authentik, I want to be intentional every step of the way and for there to be stories woven throughout every decision I make.
I am pleased to introduce a subtle use of yellow—the color of friendship.
As an advocate of camaraderie, the decision was quite simple. Authentik is going to be a community-driven resource for creative entrepreneurs, so naturally using a color that represents friendship made sense.
According to my friend Jennifer Bourn:
“Studies show that the meaning of the color yellow can be warmth, cheerfulness, increased mental activity, increased muscle energy. The color yellow helps activate the memory, encourage communication, enhance vision, and build confidence.”
The Color of Friendship
As a creative, my journey has felt like a roller-coaster—with many peaks and valleys that have ultimately brought me here. There have been lessons learned, evenings filled with tears, and days filled with joy.
And the one thing that has remained consistent in my life has been a small group of people who have been there with me every step of the way.
Not only do I think they are people who I encourage you to follow, but I also want them to know just how important they have been and how much their friendship has meant to me.
Additionally, I hope this pushes you to do the same—to look inward and identify the “difference makers” in your life. When you do, let them know.
I would love to share my list with you. Here they are, in no particular order:
Rafal Tomal—The “Designer” Friend
Every creative needs a source of inspiration in their life, and Rafal fills this role in many different ways. I discovered him on a CSS gallery more than a decade ago, and I have no doubt it was serendipitous as we have worked together ever since. His website is a work of art, and the amount he’s learned about design, conversion, and marketing is nothing short of amazing. (Be sure to check out his Design Class.)
We share links to designs we like practically every day, and we have the luxury of frequently meeting up at Starbucks. (No doubt a benefit of living 20 minutes from each other.) You may notice the use of yellow on his website, suggested by yours truly. He’s a class act.
Follow Rafal on Twitter @rafaltomal.
Joshua Becker—The “Minimalist” Friend
When I offered back in 2014 to redesign Joshua’s website, Becoming Minimalist, I had no idea that he would become one of my best friends. My primary motivation for doing this was for the exposure and to move him onto our Genesis Framework. A year later, I started No Sidebar, which was heavily influenced by his message of “less”—most notably this:
“The first step in crafting a life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.”
Our friendship has strengthened over the years, and last summer we launched Simplify Magazine: a quarterly, digital publication that pulls together experts in various fields to address some of the most pressing needs of the modern family.
Follow Joshua on Twitter @joshua_becker.
Tony Clark—The “Operations” Friend
When I first met Tony (virtually, that is) I knew that we’d get along—not just as business partners, but also as friends. He is the COO of our company, and for as long as I have known him, he’s been a supportive sounding board. Not only has he kept things running well within our organization, but he has done the same with me as well.
We are cut from the same cloth in many ways, but his practical, systematic way of approaching things has proven right time and time again. We have vacationed together and have spent countless hours talking about the realities and struggles of being an online entrepreneur. He’s grounded me and kept me from jumping off the proverbial cliff on many occasions.
Follow Tony on Twitter @nestguy.
Jason Schuller—The “Entrepreneur” Friend
In 2007, I created the premium WordPress theme (aff.) movement by launching one called Revolution. Shortly after that, a few competitors surfaced, and one of them was Jason. I was a huge fan of his designs, so a year into this I reached out to see if he would be interested in collaborating. We did for some time, but ultimately decided we wanted to do our own thing. The “breakup” was painless, and we stayed friends.
A few years later, he sold his theme company, but we kept in touch. After all, there was a lot of entrepreneurial genius I saw in him—which to this day is quite evident. His latest project, Leeflets, is a platform that enables folks to build minimalist landing pages. I’ll be using it for my personal website. After the sale of StudioPress, our “brainstorming” calls have become more frequent, and we continue to encourage each other on our journeys.
Follow Jason on Twitter @jasonpatricksc.
Darrell Vesterfelt—The “Special” Friend
The first time Darrell and I met (at a local Starbucks, of course) I knew that he was going to be a friend for life. I told him at that first encounter that “there was a reason our paths crossed,” which no doubt is true to this day. Darrell is the brother I never had—a one-of-a-kind friend—and someone who supports me unconditionally. (Of course, I return the favor.)
He’s also the kind of friend you can say “I love you” to with #allthefeels. Every year a small group of entrepreneur friends heads to the mountains of Colorado for what we call Brocation. He’s a founder member (along with Joshua) and a savvy business person to boot. I look up to him for all of the things he has already done, and also all of the things I know he will do.
Follow Darrell on Twitter @dvest.
. . .
I believe that our entrepreneurial journeys are unique and require special encouragement and resources along the way. It’s a journey I certainly don’t want to do alone, and I guess that many of you feel the same way.
Over the last ten years, I have built a multi-million dollar software company with nearly 250,000 customers and also a lifestyle brand/community that is more than 200,000 strong.
In both instances, I had a support group that helped me through the ups and downs. I had folks in my life that listened to my ideas, gave me feedback on what I was doing, and encouraged me when I wanted to throw in the towel. (Which has happened many times.)
As I embark on my third journey with Authentik, I have enlisted a few people, and additionally joined a mastermind group to help me as well.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Authentik will not only be a place where I document my experiences, but it will also host and facilitate the journey of countless others who are on the same road as I am.
In addition to the general community, I will be opening up an Authentik Mastermind group that will be limited in size and available for those who want to expedite their journey and build an honest brand.
I invite you to come along and start the journey. Come as you are. Bring your talents, your brilliance, your frustrations, your struggles—and let’s turn them into something awesome.
I believe with all of my heart that we are all “better together.”
. . .