026: Developing Career Bravery (Paul Jarvis)

Paul Jarvis

Have you ever wanted to follow more than one passion of yours? Are you good at a few things and want to find a way to combine them? If you said yes, you’re not alone! Most people have a few things they enjoy doing and would like to pursue, but not everyone does it successfully. If you are passionate about betting, well, the best place for you is techmoran.com, they give you information more than you need.

Here to talk about how he successfully combined two of his passions is Paul Jarvis. Paul is a web designer who works for his clients and is also a self-published author and article writer in the tech world. Join us for episode 26 as we talk about incremental bravery, being an accidental entrepreneur, how to follow your interests and so much more!


As a young boy in Toronto, Paul loved anything creative. But somehow he got the message that creative pursuits were only fit for hobbies, you couldn’t make a real living following a creative dream. So in college, Paul pursued computer science with a specialization in artificial intelligence.

To him, that field sounded like the most fun he could get paid to do! In his first year at university, he spent his free time learning programming. This was in the early 90s when the Internet was just blossoming and primarily only “nerds” (Paul’s word) were playing online.

Then the Internet went visual and Paul saw the possibility of combining his creative design talent with his programming knack. And web sites became his thing. He created them for himself and then for others. One in particular caught people’s attention. It was a dictionary site for non-dictionary words and it became quite popular. In fact, it was featured in Wired and Fast Company.

With attention like that it’s not hard to understand why a Toronto-based advertising agency soon contacted Paul about working for them. They offered him a real building web sites for their clients. He figured he could learn as much on the job as he could while in school, but he could get paid at his job. Naturally he opted to take the job.


  • Why it’s important to try things even when you don’t know what you’re doing.
  • Why being scared actually shows how much you care.
  • How he takes smart, calculated risks.
  • How he follows a particular path.
  • Why the way he approached writing actually held him back.
  • And so much more!

For the next year, Paul learned on the job and got firsthand knowledge of what he enjoyed doing and what he didn’t. He realized he loved helping his clients create their designs and working with them, but he didn’t like the way the agency built their client relationships.

So he left. And having no idea how to land another job, Paul thought he’d go to the library and look up how to write a resume. Remember, this was pre-Google search days so the library was the go-to destination.

Before he could even start crafting his resume, his former clients were calling him. They told him they loved working with him and would follow him wherever he landed next and that he should let them know when he got settled with a new agency.

Paul knew in that moment that he could either figure out how to find a job with another agency, or he could start his own firm. So, even though he knew nothing about running a business, he struck out on his own.

This was now becoming his usual approach: an opportunity presents itself, go after it and figure out the how as he goes along.

He also learned how the art of incremental bravery. Take a few small, calculated risks and see what happens. It doesn’t work out? Ok, change course. It does work out? Great! Continue on and take a few more calculated risky steps, and see what happens next.

And that’s how he became a self-published author as well. He had had a love of writing since he was a kid and had written on his blog for awhile. But when he started posting photos and recipes on his blog, people responded. They wanted to know when his vegan cookbook was coming out. The thought of a cookbook hadn’t occurred to him before but he thought he’d go for it. So he did and his vegan cookbook became an actual, physical book.

Even though he enjoyed creating it, he knew he didn’t want to be “the vegan cookbook guy”. But he definitely wanted to write. With the confidence boost from the cookbook, he started writing for the technology and business publication world. He also authored four more books, meaning he has published 5 books since 2012!

Clearly he’s a prolific writer and he has produced even more work for his clients on the design side. Today he successfully balances both parts of what he does and is also weighing new options and new avenues to explore.

Please join me in thanking Paul for sharing his wisdom and energy on the show! Leave him a comment or send him a Tweet.

Tweetable: Nobody ever told me you could make a living doing fun stuff!” Paul Jarvis


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