A brief history of my efforts to be a vaguely businessy person
I've always had this fascination with cards. Any card, really. Ask some of my grade school friends and they might tell you how I handmade my own duel-style trading card game to play during recess as a child. I just really thought the index cards on our required school supply list were meant for better things. Although my cards were no competitor that Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokemon had to worry about, they were the manifestation of an entrepreneurial spirit that I remember fondly. It was around the time I also thought I needed a card of my own.
The hustler (2005)
Enter: the Double J Everyday. My friend Jack and I saw ourselves as a pretty creative and scheming duo back in the 5th grade. This was around the same time I had attended "YES Camp" at Northwest. If I recall correctly, that stood for the Young Entrepreneur Society. Anyway, I got a taste of how the real world worked. And suddenly, I was really into it.
The next thing I knew, Jack and I were typing away at short stories and anecdotes to compile into documents on Microsoft Word and print off. Coincidentally, Microsoft Word was the same program used to design these gorgeous business cards. I'll bet you couldn't even tell!
We fancied ourselves a "news-press business," and began printing the 2-3 page issues with our household printers. Don't let the name fool you, we were definitely not a daily "newspaper." This was also my first chance to get a little hands-on experience with website creation, although I'm a little bummed that our domain at jacobmlnarik.proboards41.com is no longer live :(.
Once we started having a little fun, (and got business cards) we pestered our classmates and their parents to buy subscriptions to our little publication. Truthfully, I think we only made enough money to buy a couple of extra entrees at lunchtime throughout the whole scheme. We would soon find out that, should we have to pay for our own printing supplies, this was a terrible business model which yielded negative returns. Basically, our moms told us to stop using up all of their toner. But hey, I'll give us credit. We were hustling before puberty hustled us.
The balls (Est. Spring, 2015)
My next card came much later, during my junior year studying advertising at NWMSU. It's the product of a student that thought he needed to do something really ballsy to get himself an internship. That ballsy move for me was almost literally putting BALLS on my business card, all over my website and social banner photos. This card was also the product of someone who had no idea what he was doing in Adobe Illustrator. From a design standpoint, it pains me to look at the back of that card now. Just words, everywhere. Blech!
After locking down an awesome internship, I have to admit I think it worked. I worked tenaciously to ensure that my branding reached the right people and I hand delivered it with an embossed, raised-text card that read BOLLOCKS all over it. I also had stickers made and gave them to penpals and regular pals alike because stickers rule.
The typo (Est. February, 2016)
My next card was relatively short-lived. After my internship with Barkley last summer, I worked with a network of mentors to rebrand myself. I didn't feel like some ballsy flash in the pan anymore. I listened to myself, and tried to see myself for the first time from someone else's perspective. What I learned was that nobody knows what the fuck to think of my last name.
I figured if I could get that pesky last name confusion out of the way in a heartbeat, then I was as golden as the swatch I used for the word TYPO right on my new card. I made these cards just for the 2016 ADDYS, AKA crunchtime for finding myself a big boy job and fast.
My rebrand started long before I got these cards though. Before my senior year of classes started, I bought a jaketypo.com domain to redirect to jakemlnarik.com and finally reached some consistency on my social footprint by tying down @JakeTypo on both Twitter and Instagram for myself.
The real deal (May 23, 2016)
This week I was handed something that I have been working toward for half of my entire life. Finally, I found myself with a real business card. Like, my name is on a card that represents a real business. And it's the business I've had a crush on for awhile now. For once, it's not something that came off of my mom's printer or with a huge pricetag and a thousand emails from VistaPrint to boot. If you can't tell, I'm still pretty stoked on this.
To me, business cards are collectibles. They are artifacts of being proud enough to put your breadth of experience into the hands of others. You've got half-a-coaster's worth of cardstock to get someone to call your cell when they need a Johnny on the spot, and that's what happened to me. They're human trading cards, and I don't have to hand-draw them on index cards and guilt-trip my friends into playing my stupid card game at recess anymore.
So cheers to progress. And cheers to following through with decade-old dreams to have a trading card of your very own.
The only thing I love more than leading my university advertising club is watching other members do it themselves. There's an enormous amount of passion for AdInk at Northwest Missouri State and this year, it bled through to more than just our members.
The way brand new projects get done in AdInk is pretty simple. When someone suggests an awesome idea, they automatically (and sometimes unknowingly) volunteer themselves to bring it to life.
This project all started with a simple idea. How cool would it be to bring our passion for advertising off campus and into the halls of high school students preparing for college? The answer is pretty cool. It would be pretty cool to do that. We know that now.
With the advisement and full support of our "club mom," Jacquie Lamer, a team of four members assembled and set out to convince the university our little idea should grow up to be a whole lot bigger. Juniors Lilly Tighe and Sydney Jones along with seniors Kristina Calfee and myself began to meet up whenever we could during the fall semester.
We scoured our schools. We crunched some numbers. We created a flexible budget. We worked with tentative dates half a year away. Finally, we took our fledgling project and we turned it into a pitch that no Northwest-loving faculty could say "no" to. On October 22, our team pitched to Matt Walker and Stephen Ludwig, Communication and Accounting Department chairs, respectively. The following week, our team was hi-fiving over the news that our project would be funded for up to $700, approaching the "luxury" tier of our proposed budgets.
Suddenly our idea was something so much bigger. We got to work scribbling out all of our thoughts and ideas everywhere. We racked our minds for a creative strategy that just worked. After weeks of planning and meeting, the Full Bleed tour was born.
Full Bleed is a printing term. Basically, it refers to a finished print product in which the ink meets the very edge of the paper. It's industry jargon, but we saw it a bit differently.
Full Bleed is all about using the entire page you're given. When these high school students go off to college in a few short months, they will be in a world of enormous opportunity. Especially at Northwest, students have overwhelming access to student clubs and organizations they can belong to. Our Full Bleed tour was all about sharing the difference that getting involved in any specific organization in college can make. We told stories of opportunities we would have never had if we hadn't chose Northwest, or AdInk. We were recruiting for Northwest in a way that had never been done before.
With our presentation dates arriving quickly, we practiced our pitch in the library late into the night, complete with an activity for the students to create a commercial of their own and sell us on it. Since this was indeed our first Full Bleed rodeo, we visited just three schools and presented four times in total. We visited our alma maters, returning to ignite a passion for advertising with students who walk the same halls we once did.
I hope with all my heart that this is a project with legs. We toured three schools this year; what if that doubles next year? What if AdInk is giving TEDTalks by 2020? I couldn't be more proud of what our Full Bleed team accomplished this year.
With all of our tours done, our team is meeting this week to debrief about everything we learned along the way. Every student who attended our presentation (100+) filled out an information card for use with their intentions toward Northwest and future recruitment endeavors. A press release is in the works with testimonials from the counselors who saw our presentation and helped us arrange it during their schooldays. I'll update this post with more of our findings after we debrief this week!
I'd like to thank all of the faculty from Bishop Leblond, West Nodaway and Maryville High Schools for allowing us to spread the news about advertising, AdInk and organizations at Northwest!
I'd also like to thank our awesome team: Lilly Tighe, Sydney Jones and Kristina Calfee. We totally rocked it you guys! Never let a good idea stay an idea!
2015 has been a whirlwind. Recounting all of this stuff made me really wonder if it was truly all packed into the same orbit around the sun. A special thanks goes out to any and all people I may have shared some of these memories with and a hearty cheers to making many more in 2016!
1. Helped lead an amazing advertising club.
This fall semester, I assumed leadership of my university's advertising club, AdInk, along with my trusty Co-President, Hailey Liston. The club meets every Thursday and has a LOT of moving parts. We act as a professional supplement to students who need help with their resumes, networking abilities and portfolios. We hold seminars, keep our members in-the-know with job and internship opportunities, offer professional seminars and take a handful of really cool field trips to see the pros themselves in action. On another level, we also operate as a creative service to other student organizations on campus and even established companies and projects as our "clients." In that respect, we're almost like a student agency, but way more fun. Truthfully, we're just a bunch of advertising geeks that were lucky enough to find each other. I'm seriously so proud of this group I've gotten to know and work with this semester and also for the undying support of our faculty sponsors, Jacquie Lamer and Lisa Bishop.
Everything you need to know is at AdInk.org!
2. Met the members of one of my favorite bands.
And So I Watch You From Afar (ASIWYFA) is an instrumental mathrock group from Belfast, Ireland. It doesn't roll off the tongue, but they still gained a huge fan in 2015. Being their first US tour, I was excited beyond belief. I drove down to Lawrence, KS to see them open for Fall of Troy (which I didn't even stay for... oops). I arrived with a fastidious concern to leave with a prize, and I came equipped with a sharpie and their latest album. I managed to meet and greet all of these guys around the venue except for Chris Wee, the drummer. Very talented group of individuals who finally came a long way for me to see them!
3. Won Valentines day.
So some of my close friends know I would gab about Totino's brand pizza snacks and their presence on social media. Well... In February, I finally got senpai to notice me. If you really want to read more, check out this entry in my social media Hall of Fame.
4. Found out I really like Minneapolis.
One perk of my job with the Northwest Missourian newspaper is the opportunity to travel every now and again for professional development. This summer, I took several days off from my internship to attend the Associated Collegiate Press' ACP Summer workshop. I spent five days on the gorgeous University of Minnesota campus to attend a sort of design bootcamp, instructed by the incredible Indiana Daily Student's faculty adviser, Ron Johnson. This trip is what kickstarted my eventual redesign and overhaul of the Northwest Missourian. Shoutout to Ron.
5. Kept Austin weird.
Yet another Northwest Missourian perk was my opportunity to attend the 2015 College Media convention at the Hilton in downtown Austin. The days were filled with workshops and seminars to kick more butt at my publication upon my return, but I also had a chance to sneak away and see my old friend Carlton at and around his agency workplace, McGarrah Jessee. Despite being broke and costumeless, being in Austin for its hallowed Halloween madness was an experience I'll never forget.
6. Interned at one of my favorite companies on earth.
Working at Barkley this summer was just incredible. Enough said. The incredible people I met and worked with are all off doing their own amazing things and it still makes my head spin. Check out my previous blog post to find out more.
7. Volunteered at the American Advertising Awards.
This was the perfect time to see some of the advertising professionals I aspired to be in rare form. The ADDYs is a time for the hardworking industry pros to finally kick back a bit and get some recognition for all of the insane work that they do. I met a lot of really incredible people here and got a behind-the-scenes experience when it came to pulling off a really ritzy awards show. (Spoiler alert, it's a lot of work.) I'm already itching to volunteer in 2016.
**This is where I fell in love with Whiskey Design's work for the Twang Beer Salt client. This becomes very important around #15 in this list.
8. Watched The Bearcats win the NCAA DII National Championship
I like to think that I've found a happy medium between being one of those people who are dismally apathetic toward sports and being someone who gets really into a good game of football. I adopted the latter disposition as I watched the Northwest Bearcats complete their undefeated 2015 season. However, I should mention that this means something entirely different for someone who heads the design section of the student newspaper. Myself and the rest of our staff will be returning to work for the Northwest Missourian especially early to begin work on a special edition to highlight the football program's successful season. Consider it a labor of love, ya filthy Bearcats.
9. Interned from across the country
My first internship experience was far from ordinary. I spent spring 2015 working with the Portland, OR-based startup, Workfrom.co. The company is all about finding great workspaces no matter where you are. It's a really nifty tool for the working nomad; which seemed pretty fitting for an intern over 1,700 miles away. I spent three months assisting in PR outreaches, creating social content, blogging and scouting locations to work from. See what I did there?
10. Got a new whip.
This is pretty self explanatory. I went from a 1990 Chevrolet Corsica (which I had promptly dubbed the "Crustica") to a 2004 Mazda 6. The Mazda was a huge migraine at first, (the transmission went out before I could even get 50 miles on the odometer) but it seems to be running fine now. I'm still knocking on wood. I'm just grateful to have a ride that doesn't regularly sprout life from its easily-flooded floorboards. Massive shoutout to my dad for financing this whole thing until I can land a big boy job. I'm knocking on wood again.
11. Won the client.
In the spring semester, I was part of a course at Northwest called KNACKTIVE. In short, the course is a full student agency made up of four teams. Each team was made up of eight students, each with a specific job title and laundry list of responsibilities. I served as a copywriter for my team, the GHOSTHAWKS. That badass team name was a perfect fit for the badass group of individuals I had the pleasure of sharing a winning pitch to our client, EngageMobile, with. Of course, I signed a NDA in order to work with this client, but I can say this: I can now carry on educated conversations with people I never thought possible. The amount of trivial knowledge I acquired about a select few unlikely industries is astounding.
I should mention this: the client actually said our team's copy was far from the best he saw, but he still thought it supplemented the most genuine work and pitch of the teams he saw. My existing team title of "The Copywronger" was only reinforced by this comment.
12. Was awarded an amazing scholarship.
The American Advertising Federation's Kansas City branch extends its Foundation Scholarship to college students who demonstrate a passion for entering and succeeding in the advertising industry. The scholarship awards some tuition aid over two semesters. More importantly though, it allows me free admission to nearly all Ad2KC and AAFKC-sponsored events, which I have tried my very best to take advantage of. The scholarship also pairs me with a lifetime industry mentor-- I was paired with VML's own Group Creative Director, Chris Corley. Psssst, Chris... If you're reading this we should really grab some coffee soon. I was honored and humbled to be chosen as one of the twelve student recipients of the 2015 scholarship. I urge anyone even slightly interested in this field to give it a whirl: apply here!
13. Designed a lot of newspapers.
I could groan at length about the time and effort I spend just trying to make this newspaper look good, but instead I think I'll just show you. We had some good coverage this year that really got a lot of people to read a newspaper for once. I spend a lot of time in the newsroom. A lot of it is steeped in stress and general malaise, but most of what I'll remember is the camaraderie and hilarious Tuesday nights with this staff.
14. Picked up some drumsticks.
I've played guitar for nearly a decade now, but recently I decided that hitting stuff in order to produce sound also seemed right up my alley. My buddy Merritt relocated to New Jersey a while back to attend glassblowing school and his drumset couldn't make the journey with him. He was gracious enough to let me practice on them while he was gone and so I've been sneaking off to a storage shed and making some noise several times a week since then. It's been a massive stress relief between all of the other things on my to-do lists and my progress is enough to keep my smiling for awhile. I'll probably be recording some of my drumming in the future but for now here's a shameless Soundcloud plug with some work of mine mostly on the guitar.
15. Won a grand-prize sweepstakes and a trip to NYC.
**Remember how I mentioned a little company called Beer Salt up in number 7? Well, they held a sweepstakes and I won it. It's really that simple. I entered on their website and forgot all about it. They sent me a free sample in the mail (which I was already ecstatic enough about). I decided I should give their little care package some Twitter love using their branded hashtag. Forgot all about it. I'm sitting in my African studies class one day and get a phone call from San Antonio. I always answer my phone no matter what the number just in case there's an opportunity to get chatty with some telemarketer (I'm weird like that). Turns out it was Twang, the company that makes a product called Beer Salt; the same product whose makeover by Whiskey Design I loved since seeing it at the ADDYs. They told me I won their grand prize right as my professor asked if anyone had any announcements at the start of class.
"I just won an all-expense paid trip to New York City," I said in shock.
A lot of the class turned and stared at me. The professor kind of just pretended he didn't hear it. Doesn't matter. Still won. And I'm taking my homie Jack with me. I love it when a good plan comes together.
TL;DR: I'll be in New York City for New Year's Eve. Always keep your eyes open. Enter sweepstakes. Drink beer. Have a fantastic 2016!