The Struggle Cup

struggle cup

Launching A New Business: Step One

Hey guys. It’s-a me, Kirby.

So, as many of you know, I have been the manager of LAX Coworking for about 4 years. The perks (?) of this job are many; from additional work to an extensive schedule plus extreme human interaction, it’s sometimes a lot to take in. But there is one crucial benefit (!) that I have been able to enjoy that no one else can claim: I have been to more Lunch N Learns than I can count.

Seriously. From making your own terrarium to goal setting to growth hacking, I have been there and attempted-to-do that. I have seen speakers of all ages, of all company sizes, of all experiences simply because I’m the one in charge of the schedule. Do I take notes at all of them? Not always. But I always listen. And I always learn something.

That means that when a Tony Robbins strategist graced the walls of my coworking space last week, I was there. I was sketching the logo for our 20th anniversary of the LAX Coastal Fourth of July Parade at the same time, but I was like 66% listening… And I heard enough to come to a conclusion: I am going to try.

I know you know what I mean. All of that stuff you are half-assing right now. The projects you’re trying to make work but not really giving your all. You’re just making excuses that you don’t have enough time, or you’re not in the right financial state, or maybe you’re like me and just too damn tired. Well, that stuff. I’m actually going to try and make it work.


I have “officially” launched my company multiple times now. In the early 2000s when people started hiring me as an artist, in 2013 when I graduated from Otis College of Art and Design and swore I would never work for myself, in 2016 when I finally built a professional website… But each time I never really put in the time, or the effort, to actually succeed. I lucked out with awesome talent and word-of-mouth advertising, and things just kind of… Worked out. I got the occasional client, I made a little bit of money, and all without really trying.

But the problem with that strategy is that luck will eventually wear out. And that “little bit of money” I’ve made really doesn’t pay the bills, let alone leave room for growth. Letting the universe take over sounds great and all–especially the part where you get to sit back and let it all happen–but if you want something out of life there is one theme to every single self-help and professional-development Lunch N Learn that I have attended: you have got to work for it.

So this is my goal for January 2019: I will work an extra 2 hours each day (weekdays only, I’m still damn tired, after all) on making Just Kirby a success. From finishing client projects to writing a business plan and updating my website, I will spend at least 10 hours a week on me (and keeping all of you updated with how it’s going along the way).

And by the end of this month… Who knows? Endless success? Complete and utter failure? Absolutely no change and I did all of this extra work for nothing?

Let’s find out.


Nice to Meet You

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My name is Kirby. And you are?

Awhile ago, I wrote a blog for the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce entitled “I am a Constant Student.” In this blog, I touted my zealous following of the philosophy behind learning something new every day. “I am a constant student,” I said. “A student of books, technology, life, everything. I am always searching for the next piece of information that will make my life better (or, at the very least, teach me something interesting).” Well, I learned something new today.

Writing your first blog is hard.


I started blogging for the Chamber in 2015, covering topics from beach clean-ups to Pokémon. I write posts for our coworking space, LAX Coworking. Articles for our annual magazine. Social media posts and annual reports. I have written a 200+ page book, for Christ’s sake (nor for the Chamber). And yet I have been attempting for an entire month to write the inaugural blog for my own website as I officially launch the business I have been not-so-secretly running since 2013… To no avail.

I can guarantee it isn’t due to an excess of shyness—anyone who has ever met me in person can tell within a twenty-second time frame that introversion has never been my issue—rather, it’s almost as if facing the sudden freedom granted by doing something for myself, instead of a client, left me shell-shocked. I was given no parameters, no synopsis, no rough draft, nothing. It was a blank canvas, ready for me to paint whatever I wanted, and I realized: I have no idea what I want to do.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I know I want to introduce you to me (Hello, by the way. My name is Kirby.) and give you a little bit of my resumé (to help convince you to hire me, of course), but I couldn’t think of a clever way to do it. Uploading my actual resume is pretty boring—and let’s be honest I haven’t updated it in a few years anyway—and I didn’t want to do the whole, “My name is Kirby Israelson. I graduated summa cum laude from Otis College of Art and Design in 2013 with a BA in Illustration and Creative Writing…”

That’s all true, yes, but it’s also very bland. And if there’s one thing you’re going to learn about me it’s that I’m anything but bland. So instead, let’s talk about something a little more interesting.

Kirby Fun Facts:

  • No, Kirby was not named after the video game character. The video game character was named after her. (sources not confirmed)
  • There are very few things on this planet that Kirby loves more than donuts, and she is easily bribed by food.
  • Kirby is always down for a little hand-to-hand combat; she loves Krav Maga almost as much as donuts and teaches it at Systems Training Center.
  • She hates waking up before noon (but she’ll do it if she has to).
  • One of her dream jobs—for she has many—would be to design kid’s coloring menus at restaurants (because yes, she still asks for crayons at her meals).
  • Kirby is skilled in a variety of artistic mediums. From stone sculptures to papel picados, watercolor to face painting, graphic design to stained glass, websites to chalk art… She loves to learn new things (remember?) so she is always acquiring new skills. One thing she really wants to learn? Glass blowing.
  • To date, Kirby has written one interactive adventure novel (the first book of the future seven book series, Lucky Charms), one coloring book (Unsung Horrors), and one graphic novel (Sacrifice). Her novel is the project she is most proud of.
  • When Kirby graduated college, she swore she would never be self-employed. Currently, she is both self-employed and over-employed (but loving it).
  • She has managed to combine a strong work ethic, competitive streak, perfectionistic tendencies, endless amounts of creativity, and a splash of OCD into an efficient, butter coffee-fueled working machine.
  • Kirby is a firm believer in the oxford comma.

This list could continue forever, of course, but then it would ruin the element of surprise. And isn’t that one of the most fun parts of meeting someone new? Learning about their eccentricities? So instead, let’s end on a note of tentative friendship. By now, you can tell that I’m an awesome person (did I forget to mention how humble I am?) and you are interested in seeing exactly how I make things pretty (and how that will ultimately help your business succeed). As for me, you’re reading this, so I already think you’re swell.

Next steps? Just add “Email Kirby” on your to-do list and we will get this conversation started.

(In the meantime, I might go take a nap.)