#306: Dear Jack, Here’s How I Merged All My Trades Into One Business

Andrew Folts
2 min readSep 14, 2020

September 13, 2020 — Creative skills. You’ve got a million of them. But the world is too competitive for you to survive without a focus. Here’s how I brought all of mine under one roof.

Dear Jack-of-All-Trades,

One year ago, I was where you are now.

I was a freelancer, designer, coder, drummer, coach, illustrator, runner, podcaster, and poet…

It was frustrating because while I was working hard on ten things (and hearing crickets), other people were working half as hard on one thing and getting all the attention.

When I read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, the problem finally became clear to me…

  1. To make a living, you must be an EXPERT.
  2. To be an expert, you need 10,000 hours of practice.

I had 20,000 hours of practice in 20 things, but only a few thousand hours in any one thing. Which is to say, I was a master of NONE.

Under One Roof

To realize this is terrifying because practice takes a LONG TIME. How did I ever catch up?

Well…I’m very lazy, you see.

So, instead of spending the next ten years logging MORE hours, I decided to make my existing hours do the work for me — by merging MANY THINGS into ONE THING.

I’m not an expert writer or illustrator or coach, but when I created my company, F the Lines, I became an expert in teaching people how to overcome “creative adhd.”

Which is something I’ve been teaching myself for ten years (through all the skills I mentioned).

Tip: Build Your Roof

If you’re as adhd as I think you are, you’re never going to be able to choose a “creative room.”

But a BUSINESS can bring all your rooms under one roof.

Here’s the formula I used…

  1. Problem: What’s your BIGGEST unsolved problem? What do you spend the most time trying to figure out?
  2. Audience: What KINDS of people have this same problem? Is there a certain demographic that no one’s helping?
  3. Solution: How can you package your journey into a simple, repeatable process?

Once you’ve answered those three questions, write a sentence that brings them all together…

  • Template: “I help [audience] [result] by [process].”
  • My Example: “I help [rebellious creatives] [get focused and launch their first major product] by [doing one thing every day for 365 days].”

Best get building, Jack!


p.s. You can find this article on fthelines.com, along with other stories about #creativity, #minimalism, and #mentalhealth. Thanks for reading! (: 🖖

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Andrew Folts

Author of 365 Comics. Writer, illustrator, and barefoot runner slinging minimalist hacks for creative rebels.