This week, we’re joined by Stefan Kunz, an incredible hand letterer, educator, and one of our favourite creatives. Stefan has collaborated with brands including Apple, Adobe, Coca-Cola, Hallmark, Microsoft, and many, many more. And much of his success has come from his Instagram community of nearly 400K people.

Today, Stefan has kindly agreed to share some of his best strategies, the honest truth of what happens behind the scenes, and so much more. This is going to be a good one guys – so notepads at the ready! Without further ado, let’s get into the show!


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Show Notes for This Episode:

[1:00] The gang welcomes Stefan to the show!
[2:20] Stefan opens up the show by introducing himself.
[4:20] Stefan left his banking job in 2015 and focused on growing his Instagram.
[5:40] Noticing his Instagram was lacking beauty, Stefan decided to make a change.
[6:00] Fighting for your first 1,000 followers is a battle.
[7:00] Building social media momentum.
[8:00] Seb Lester is a great example of massive growth.
[9:10] Dustin asks why Stefan choose Instagram followers to measure his success.
[10:00] Social media is like working for free.
[11:00] When your following slows it can be a motivation killer.
[12:00] Instagram has fallen flat during this time every year.
[13:20] Stefan shares his Instagram stats with the gang.
[14:00] Figuring out the algorithm.
[15:00] Seb Lester is good at going viral.
[16:00] Knowing your why helps build your audience.
[17:30] Ian and Stefan’s early lettering days.
[18:00] Push limits and be seen or disappear in a sea of conformity.
[19:00] The Sweet Spot.
[20:20] Lisa asks how one goes from Swiss Banker to Designer.
[21:00] Banking was Stefan’s safety net to earn a living.
[22:00] Creatives solve problems creatively.
[23:20] Dustin chose banking because he wanted to learn business.
[24:00] Stefan’s schedule hasn’t changed much from his banking days.
[25:00] Creative block happens to everyone.
[26:00] When overthinking prevents you from sharing.
[27:00] Experimenting during a time of creative block.
[28:20] The pressures with being prolific in your field.
[29:00] The pressure of continually evolving.
[30:00] Reverse engineering creativity.
[31:20] Stefan shares he prefers posting videos over stills due to quality.
[32:00] Stills are easily picked apart and video is very forgiving.
[33:00] Video for entertainment not for realism.
[34:00] People love seeing the process. Share your process.
[35:00] Before and after transformations are really appreciated.
[36:20] Key Instagram growth strategies.
[37:00] Give value to others.
[39:30] Stefan breaks down how unique Paperboyo’s account is and the value.
[40:00] Developing a unique style is so important.
[41:00] Finding your value approach helps send your message.
[42:10] Is entertainment value?
[44:00] In a $15 a month Netflix world, what’s your worth?
[45:00] Content or Volume?
[46:00] Instagram is Stefan’s day job; everything else is a side hustle
[47:00] Everything else after a post is free time.
[48:40] The Insta-grind.
[49:00] Sacrificing to get to the earnings.
[50:30] Tom questions what it looked like in Stefan’s early days.
[51:00] Wedding Photographer? Coffee Shop Owner? Lettering?
[52:00] Investing in a 100 day lettering challenge paid off.
[54:00] Building a brand is a long game.
[55:00] Stefan talks pushing to build his brand.
[58:00] Record your work to maximize your content.
[59:00] Stefan talks about his Game of Thrones post.
[1:00:00] Ask questions to your community to find what they need.
[1:01:30] Study, learn and understand the platforms formula.
[1:02:30] Without strategy you are shooting in the dark.
[1:03:00] Immerse yourself in the area you wish to market in.
[1:04:30] Remind to subscribe.
[1:05:20] No time to reverse engineer? Now what?
[1:06:20] Pay attention to what gets you excited. It will get others excited too.
[1:07:00] Break up your posting into segments.
[1:08:00] Sticking to a content calendar like television helps people remember.
[1:10:00] What’s coming up on the next episode.
[1:11:00] SOS – Soap Opera Sequence.
[1:12:00] Being aware of why you like something is paramount.
[1:13:30] Keeping a subscriber.
[1:14:10] How do you take people along on your journey?
[1:15:00] Sharing the real you.
[1:17:20] Friends are emotional hard work.
[1:19:00] Stefan talks about meeting his first follower IRL.
[1:21:20] Tom asks Stefan to drop some final thoughts.
[1:22:00] Number 1 – you need to be seen.
[1:23:00] Notice and talk to people online.
[1:24:00] Genuinely engage with people.
[1:25:00] Reply to your comments.
[1:26:00] Inject yourself in others’ feeds.
[1:27:00] Stand out by being sincere.
[1:29:20] Small gestures are appreciated so much.
[1:30:10] Pen and Teller’s free meet and greet is a caring gesture for fans.
[1:31:00] Ian shares how appreciative he is of his following.
[1:32:00] Where can you find Stefan online? Visit his website or his Instagram.

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“A must for every creative freelancer (or those aspiring to freelance). Thank you for being so… honest! Such a wealth of information from people I admire who have ‘been there and done that’. Listening to the podcast every week feels like I’m among friends. Can’t wait for more episodes!”AG_GD