Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 0:16
Once upon a time, there were 10s of 1000s of makers struggling every day they built for hours and hours but didn't ship and didn't earn enough income. One day, the no Caldwells podcast came to help them find a way because of this, makers became founders and live the lives they deserve. Because of this, founders live lives of abundance, freedom, and creativity. That's what I'm really all about. Hello, my name is Aziz and from being a poor boy born to a single mother in North Africa, to failing multiple startups, yet learning a lot to barely escaping alive the war in Ukraine, even living as an illegal immigrant. I've lost everything twice. And now, I'm rebuilding my life one more time. 1% a day, sharing the wisdom of luminaries have interviewed on this podcast from Google executives to Amazon, Microsoft, Forbes, Technology Council, Harvard University, Financial Times, and even if priests from the Vatican church, everyone is welcome, here. So let's begin. My guest today is Janis Ozolins. Janis visualizes ideas for ambitious creators. He simplifies ideas on creativity, and personal development, his visuals have been seen by millions of people, and led him to work with ulian Shapiro, Shaan Puri, Matt D’Avella, and many others. Yanis How are you today?
Janis Ozolins 2:05
Hey, I'm very happy to be here. And actually very happy to talk to you. It's it's quite a story you have there. I'm glad we have this opportunity to talk here and now. And I'm glad you're safe at the moment and so on. So yeah, I guess, very, very, very unexpected things happens around the world. And yeah, just happy happy to talk to you today.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 2:29
Thank you. And actually war made me realize and knowing or feeling or understanding that at any moment, you can get bombed and shelled and die and all that. That is only a reminder of the reality that in life, we don't know what will happen next. So we should both fall in love with the process, as well as value and appreciate every moment because it will never repeat again. So to me, it makes me not chase outcomes, because considering them, like miracles, but fall in love with the process, which is what we can control. What are your thoughts about this?
Janis Ozolins 3:10
Absolutely. Well, thoughts exactly about What about just in general, the like the war and the perspective that about?
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 3:19
Yes, being process oriented rather than outcome focused.
Janis Ozolins 3:25
process oriented versus outcome focused? Yeah, I definitely think it's a good, it's a very good mindset to have to really focus on the process, I think it's very healthy, to have goals, to have ambitions to have things to aim for. But really, if you like, if you manage to do all of that kind of while enjoying the process, and kind of shake off this mindset, you know, if I'll, if I will not achieve X, you know, then I will be unhappy or whatever, or stuff like that. So I think it's a balance to balance those two things, but definitely all up for process. I'm all up for like having goals and so on as well. But as long as you are not miserable, until you kind of don't achieve them and so on. So yeah, definitely focus focus on the process more
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 4:14
than you love. I love what you're saying every word and to explore your mind a bit more. What these days and this period have you been thinking about? Some topic that demands your thoughts, or insight something about your life or about life in general that you keep on thinking about or something you'd like to change? Do you have such a thing?
Janis Ozolins 4:41
Oh, yeah, of course, thoughts. Thoughts are all the time in my mind about various topics. I guess these days, I can say I am quite blessed, career wise where I am because I'm kind of for almost a year now. I'm doing this whole visual thing So I'm doing like on the internet and so on, I'm doing it full time. So I'm pretty much doing, doing what I love for a living, and I'm not working that much, I pretty much have a completely free schedule and so on. So that's a very nice thing to have. And at the same time, like I'm young parent, with the two kids, and so on, so kinda trying to balance that as well. So I guess the main thing is, I'm trying to keep in my mind that just kinda to craft to craft the lifestyle I really would like to have, and I feel that a lot of the things are currently already in place. So it's quite important not to, not to lose them, and kinda to remind myself what I really value, and so on. So just, yeah, I kinda live live live a good life, try to be a good parent, do my creative work that what I love, don't, don't go back to some crazy rat race and unlike work, work your ass off for for just the sake of working or whatever. So. So that's kind of I don't know, all the time, I'm changing my mind and then learning that and, yeah,
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 6:06
I like that. And learning is very, very important. How do you feel that? Do you feel that everybody is open to learning? Or are we within like, an echo chamber of people who love learning and congregate together because of the internet? While there are people who have the possibility to learn, but they refuse to learn? Or they're not so interested?
Janis Ozolins 6:33
Yeah, I think it's, I can only guess, here, you know, I know what I, I can only assume, let's say, but I think I think it is a thing that there were some part of, I guess, from like, my friends and and just humans in general, who are kinda, you know, we do we do school, we learn our thing, we just learn our craft or whatever. And then we get get to work or do our thing, whatever it is, and we kind of zone everything out. And I think a lot of people kind of stop growing, and learning new things, because they probably think that, okay, this is, you know, this is, this is what I do. So, and that's it, you just go about your day, you know, you have fun, and not like there is anything wrong with that. But I think a lot of people kind of fall into that camp. But kinda I think when you discover this interesting world of whatever personal development, and just all the wonderful and interesting things that are out there, and that you can, you know, change things and then make different products or create art or whatever, and I don't know, just influence things. It is really eye opening, and I think you can get it's almost like a bit of addictive I would say. So it feels that there are these these two camps, you know, crazy people were just like, always learning, always trying new stuff, create new products, or whatever, and just grind books every day. And the other stuff was kinda laid back, enjoying life doing their thing, and so on. I guess there are a lot of people in the middle as well. But I think it's quite often that there are these two camps, crazy people who never stop learning. And then maybe people who have just kind of do their thing and are not that interested into into whatever personal development and just trying to learn your stuff. I guess that's my assumption.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 8:23
Yes, it reminds me of that. Apple advertisement, I think a quote was, you know, about the crazy ones, the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do
Janis Ozolins 8:38
legendary commercial. Yes.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 8:41
And it makes me also think about you because you do something very special, which is simplifying ideas. There are people who would say that simplicity is the greatest sophistication is that the most difficult thing? It's very useful. Well, there are people who will argue that actually life is too complicated to simplify. And therefore simplification is not really useful. It just makes people feel good, but it takes away the power that comes from complexity. What are your thoughts about this?
Janis Ozolins 9:18
Simplifying ideas? Well, I don't know and just in general, just personally, I'm a huge fan of kind of simple things. I'm a fan of like minimalism, you know, I don't know. Yeah, kinda kind of been been following that trend for quite a while. And one of my I think reasons you know, why I'm actually creating these illustrations and why I like this, this kind of clear, crisp communication where you can consume an idea you know, in a couple of seconds, whether it's, you know, through a written tweet or just an illustration that kind of can explain interesting concepts and couple of seconds why I'm so fascinated fascinated about this is because I kind of when I was young, I never really developed a reading habit. You know, I didn't read books at all, I still to this day, you know, I don't really read books, you know, I mostly now listen to audiobooks. And that kind of changed my life when I discovered that there are such thing, which, which really opened my mind and made me realize that holy like, crap, there are so many interesting things out there, and just, there's so well, I know. And that kind of reminded me not reminded me but but but made me think that there are so many people like me, who you know, who don't read books, you know, don't read long format things or whatever. And they never realized that there is this vast, huge, like world out there with, with with, with a lot of interesting ideas, and all this personal development and all that sort of stuff, and so amazing, etc. And discovering this format of delivering those ideas through visuals was extremely compelling to me, because it was something that I wanted to consume, I love to see such ideas represented like that. So it made me really curious to create something like that, you know, and kind of my belief, you know, my hope is that with these illustrations, maybe similar people like me, you know, back five, six years ago, when I was not into this stuff, they may be can trigger, you know, a little spark of curiosity to dig deeper, you know, and maybe from there kind of get into this world of personal development or whatever, creative economy, whatever we call this thing, you know, so, so yeah, I think there's a lot of a lot of good things about communicating simply and clearly. And I think visuals can be a big part of it, that can kind of very help help this this expression.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 11:49
I love that. And it seems like, you're like a sonar paying gang for people who are similar to you to get like minded people, or community around you, of those who want to consume bite sized ideas that are powerful and life changing. Is this correct?
Janis Ozolins 12:09
Well, yeah, in general, you know, it's, it's, it's basically, around four years ago, I got this, I saw that there was this thing, you know, being a creator, or, or just I understood, it's a thing, you know, you can blog, you can record podcasts, you can do YouTube videos, and so on. And I really fell in love with that idea, I wanted to be a creator. So I can I tried a bit of writing, I tried a bit of YouTube, and those felt like unsustainable, or I was not really loving them, it was just not something I was able to do. And then stumbling, stumbling into this visual explaining or communicating ideas visually was something that I found extremely, like, not easy to do, but very fun to do. So it was kind of my way of expression that I just really love to do. And it's like, I'm just tapping into my curiosity, you know, I learn new things. And then I figure out, you know, how to break down that concept into visual, which strengthens kinda, for me to learn those lessons. And it's like content content for me and other people enjoy those ideas as well. So it's just kind of a win win. And yeah, I feel super blessed to be doing that kind of for living, where I can basically just learn, and while I digest these lessons, or figure out interesting ideas, just represent them in a way that is fun for me and interesting and appreciated by my audience as well. So, so yeah, that's kind of the story how I would how I would frame it.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 13:46
How do you do that? What is your process of breaking down an idea and turning it into a visual? How do you know, the right simple thing to say or the right way? Or when you think, Ah, yes, I found it. How does that work? What do you try? Is there a lot of failure involved? Is there a lot of intuition or some systematic process? How does it go?
Janis Ozolins 14:13
I think pretty much if anyone is interested in in this type of thing, kind of my my first thing is you really what, what really helped me you know, I'm not really a designer, I'm not a designer, I have not really studied design. That's something I kind of self taught just a couple of tools while playing around you know, with computer and some Photoshop or whatever. So I think really, the first thing is to understand that there is a big difference between you know, fancy art, you know, something is beautiful paintings or whatever, you know, that probably takes decades to learn that craft and that level, which looks like beautiful, and it's super visually aesthetic and so on, so that I call like fancy art. And then there's another camp which is just communicating through visuals and I think It's not something where you need these design skills, you know, it's, it's, a lot of us, you know, have have used like Google Sheets or Excel, you know, when there was a time or you were not able to figure out how to make formulas, and then you did a bit of Googling and you understand a new overtime, you kind of more or less mastered that tool, you know, and it's very similar. If you want to communicate ideas with visuals, you really don't need to be a designer. So that's the first thing just to understand and shake off this, this idea that, Oh, I'm not a designer, I'm not creative, you know, therefore, I'm not able to do it, you know, need to get rid of that feeling, because it's very untrue. And then kind of the next thing I would say, is, it's very important and what helped me a lot is just take, take a lot, a lot of notes. Basically, every day, I'm just going about my day, and I no doubt my feelings, I know down something that I could have listened to a podcast or an audiobook or read somewhere else, or just while I was listening to podcast, you know, what triggered me some interesting feeling or, or back from the day, some interesting thoughts, it was very important to take to take these notes, which kind of helps you to figure out later on those visuals. And then it's just, it's, it's one of one of the things that sometimes some visual ideas pops right into your head, you know, I don't know, the second one of my visuals, which is like this, this cheese visual, which is like slice and start and I have this like, big circle of cheese, and then they have like, I don't know, a little triangle of cheese, and then there's a slice of cheese, you know, and then that's an I call those, like, there's their dream project and task, you know, so and it's kind of slice and start, you know, your slice this big cheese, and then you start eating it. And it's, that's how you approach dreams. And basically, that visual just came to me, in the kitchen, while I was sitting on the floor, you know, playing with my playing with my kids, I was just like, Oh, that's interesting, you know, you have this big thing. And then it gets smaller, you know, maybe something about dreams and tasks, and that kind of, you start to work with that idea. And you end up with a whole concept. And a lot of these things, it is just, first thing, you take this idea. And then you think about, okay, what type of emotion or feeling I want to evoke from my audience, it should be quite simple, you know, the, if you try to communicate too much ideas too much cram into one visual, it probably will be just confusing. So think about, you know, one interesting concept that you would like to that you would that you would like to deliver, and then you work backwards from that emotion, you know, okay, I want to evoke this, I don't know, feeling of rater relatability, about this, whatever it is, you know how hard maybe sometimes it is to wake up, you know, and start your day. And then you kind of can figure out a lot of interesting ideas, you could trigger from that. And then you can illustrate that idea. Now with various things, you can illustrate it with timelines, you can illustrate that with some metaphors, you can illustrate that by like creating the scene, maybe of you know, representing a colander and creating some, some time blocks in there, and just naming them in some weird ways, you know, that people will find like, relatable or whatever. So there's just the various different, like, small techniques you can use, and you just get better with them over time. But yeah, it's, it's not like, it's super easy. You know, it still takes time to work with this. But what I love about this craft is that I can take an idea, I have a vague concept that I want to kind of communicate, and then I can, you know, go for a walk, or just go for a walk and, and maybe sketch, sketch some ideas, or think about how I could represent this interestingly, and so on. And that's very, what's super fulfilling about Discraft. As you know, I can, it's not like I need to sit at the computer all the time, like 80% of the visuals usually come while you do random things, or just go on a walk or so on. So it's very flexible, I would say. And yeah, then you're just kind of when you're when you have your concept more or less in place, go to computer open up just, there are hundreds of different programs where you can illustrate these things, you know, master one, go for it. And then they'll
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 19:02
think that's actually fascinating, peering into your mind and your creative process. And how do you explain your success? Not in the marketplace, but connecting with big creators who have shared your visuals or have been interested in your work? Is it that you're a networker and you're always connecting with people? Was there some luck involved in the process? How what was the tipping point or like, the time or the thing that changed everything for you?
Janis Ozolins 19:38
I would say I would say I would say there's still things you're not one thing was was like, I discovered that I could communicate visually one day when I was reading a James clears blog. If you have read his blog, you know, sometimes in his blog, he creates some sort of just simple diagrams to kind of illustrate couple of concepts he had And that was the first time it kind of clicked to me, Wow, you can, like deliver an idea through a simple visual, you know, that was that was the first first my engagement and like understanding that this could be a thing. And then probably, you know, a guy, which is like the jack butcher who was behind visualize value. I discovered him, I don't know, it was almost two years ago, probably. And he was kind of already, let's say, you know, made it in terms of internet business and so on, he was making a living from it, and so on. And he was he was the first guy who proved that there is a market for it. And, and later on, I was just the I was starting to experiment with some visuals and thinking how to do it. And later on, I kinda discovered this work by losing Molly, they're like amazing, amazing artists on Instagram, quite big. And those ladies they illustrate things around like feelings at work, and they kind of Spark Spark the idea of talk about, you know, creative struggles, and just not only illustrate, you know, this value and ideas, but but illustrate a lot of try to tap into feelings, you know, try to acknowledge people's feelings, with visuals, you know, just just, you know, when you see my visual, it might be some idea that does not provide any, like, significant value in terms of ideas, but it just, you know, gives you this feeling, oh, Yan has gets me now he gets me, I'm struggling as well, you know, and then he's struggling, and he can clearly illustrate that, and he understands and I'm not alone. So I think that was a very powerful pivoting point. For me, when I started to tap into these, like creative struggles and thought, thought talk more about emotions. And the next big pivoting point for me was when I when I joined, actually Jack butchers, visualise value community, it was just a Slack community with like minded people who just tried to make things you know, and like, do things on the internet. And previously, like, all the all the years, when I was trying to do like you to blogging or whatever I was, I didn't have any community, I was just, you know, in my cave, you know, doing my thing completely alone. There was no really friends any that were on a similar path or wanted to do this thing. So I didn't have any, any network or any friends on the internet. And when I joined Jack butcher's community, it was just that feeling to see and to talk with other people who I understood they are just no better than me, or whatever, you know, we were just whatever chatting, you know, and they maybe were a few steps ahead or whatever. And that sense of community was really helpful kind of just to keep going. And that was pretty much it, you know, showing up consistently with decently good visuals, slowly, the the network real? And that was that it took probably, yeah, I don't know, it was it was quite quick, you know, and then this is the thing, you know, currently, I'm teaching the course as well. And a lot of my life students get awesome results as well on Twitter and elsewhere and are growing their networks. And one of those things are because visuals are extremely powerful, you know, because everybody is looking for quick bites. Quick something and visuals are something that you know, even your credibility is super low, if you're not like but you no big deal like Tim Ferriss, you know, if you're Tim Ferriss, he will put out a blog post, everybody will tune in and read your blank page or my page of paper, or your text, whatever. Because you have high credibility, but when it comes maybe to young creators who have not made made any name for themselves, or are not known for any particular idea, it's very powerful when you put out these visuals, but the interesting ideas, you know, it doesn't matter that your credibility is low. If you get some initial engagement, if you are exposed to new people, they can in a couple of seconds, they can like appreciate this and like, Hey, this is cool, you know, whatever, like retweet, follow, and I think it was the visuals in general was just a huge help to grow my network. And a lot of people kind of discovered me like that. But But yeah, that's, that's more or less this story. I think how it happened, it was definitely showing up consistently with those visuals. But like joining a community and understanding that I'm not alone, and then this whole place was very helpful as well. So I don't know, let me know if you have any follow up questions for this?
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 24:29
No, that's actually wonderful. And if people want to check out your course, to learn more about you, what are the best links for them to do that? And I'll make sure to write your bio link in the description as well.
Janis Ozolins 24:45
Thank you. Yeah, well, most of my things I think link links to everything is is in my bio link. So you can just go to bio dot link forward slash Oh is the Oh. And that's basically our where all the links are For my stuff, but But yeah, that's, that's how I would, I would say to you,
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 25:04
and Yanis if you could give yourself advice, you know, years ago, when you started, what would be the thing that you will tell yourself that will make your progress much faster or anything like that?
Janis Ozolins 25:20
Hmm, good question. There's, there's definitely a lot of things I did, I did wrong, you know, it's like, building some thing without an audience and nobody like buys or cares. But, you know, it's, it's part of the journey you need to kinda that kind of prepares you for later later down the line. But I think one, one thing I would probably say to myself is that, understand that you know, people on the internet, people on Twitter or on Instagram or whatever, those are real people, you know, behind real accounts, don't try to treat internet like this weird place where everything is different, you know, you can really send a human direct message to somebody maybe who you admire, maybe it was not like super famous, but just a couple of steps ahead or whatever. And just reach out and have conversations and try to find friends on the internet who are interested in what you want to do, you know, join forums try to develop these relationships. I think that was the biggest mistake for me that I kinda was the lone wolf trying to make things on my own tree to the internet kinda I don't know this, this weird place where maybe people are trying to scam me or something like that. I don't know that. That's kind of the what brings back from the memory, but power and community and just friends who want to do similar things are extremely powerful. So yeah, join communities reach out to people. Just be a nice human on the internet. Share your message, share your journey, and things should should work out.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 26:58
Thank you so much. That was valuable. That was really enriching. And that was really interesting. Janice, I thank you for every moment and I wish you a great day.
Janis Ozolins 27:11
Thank you appreciate. It was very, very happy to have this conversation with you.