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In this episode, I talk about what makes a good first italic nib, tips I have for starting an ink collection, and what advice I have for aspiring entrepreneurs!

New/Upcoming Products – (1:48)

Pens/Writing – (6:25)

1) Bethkpontal- Instagram – (6:26)
What do you recommend as a good first italic nib?

2) Rpagenh- Instagram – (11:11)
I like a good bit of feedback when I write. Are there any papers, pens, or combos you can recommend for someone who isn’t into glassy smooth?

3) 24hrs100mi- Instagram – (15:50)
Is my fear that I’ll wear out my pen clips by using a case irrational?

  • A bit, yeah
  • Clips are made to work for the life of the pen, so unless you abuse them you’ll be okay!

Ink – (17:56)

4) @HMills14- Twitter – (17:59)
What is better getting a bunch of different ink samples and that being your main ink supply, or buying bottles of ink?

  • Purely personal preference
  • Samples are better to start, until you know what you like
  • They’re more affordable, less risky, and you can stock up
  • The more you use your pens, especially ones that are harder to clean, the more you’ll move to bottles
  • Most people end up doing both

5) Kim J.- Facebook – (21:53)

As a newbie wanting to start an ink collection. I’m having a hard time deciding what inks to choose first. What are your recommendations of inks to start an ink collection? Do you suggest starting with the basics, black and blue, or just dive into color?

  • Definitely samples are the way to go
  • Get a couple of conservative samples (like the Work Appropriate set)
  • Go nuts on crazy colors
  • You’ll find what you like with some experimentation
  • Then settle down and get bottles
  • My collection has been quite haphazard (just look at last week’s Q&A), borderline “hoarder”
  • Ink should really be about what makes you happy

6) ryanreed38- Instagram – (28:50)
Can you touch on the challenges of pairing the right ink with the right pen/nib? I’ve been frustrated with the flow of a particular ink (for example Noodler’s Mass. 54th) in my Kaweo Brass Sport (the letters bleed out from the lines) but in my Karas Kustom Fountain K with a fine nib, it’s incredible.

  • Interesting you are having issues with these two pens, as they use the exact same Bock German nibs! Must be a different nib size in your Kaweco
  • Every pen, nib, ink (and paper!) combo is different
  • It’s the beauty and frustration of this wonderful hobby of ours
  • This is why I really like samples, so you can test it out

Business – (35:40)

7) Bob K.- Facebook – (35:51)
What advice do you have for an aspiring entrepreneur?

  • “wantrepreneurs”
  • I believe that leaders are made, not born, but entrepreneurs are pretty much wired that way from birth
  • Entrepreneurs are a special breed of crazy, who just don’t think quite like everyone else
  • There are huge risks involved in starting businesses, and you have to love the climb
  • Ideas are everywhere and basically commoditized, it’s execution that matters
  • You have to bet on your own strengths, and be humble enough to get help with your weaknesses
  • Entrepreneurship is not about “not having a boss”, about throwing out your alarm clock, or having a million-dollar-idea. It’s about seeing something differently about the world that others don’t see, and throwing everything you have behind making that vision a reality
  • Starting a business, don’t expect to get paid for several years, it’s dog work
  • Read a ton: E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
  • Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuck
  • Start with Why by Simon Sinek

8) Hank W.- Facebook – (49:10)

What are the biggest hurdles in running your business? Did you have to think of the answer for a while, or did you have one at the ready? To what extent does running a business consist of defining and prioritizing lists of hurdles?

  • At the pace GouletPens has grown, I haven’t had time to make lists of hurdles, they are coming at me and I’m jumping over them as I see them
  • There are different hurdles at different stages
  • Early days it’s all about finding a viable service, something people will actually pay money for you to do or sell
  • Then it’s about creating a process that works
  • Then you have to hire/manage people, which always brings pain
  • Physical space becomes an issue
  • Cash is always tight
  • People leave, you have to hire and retrain
  • The list goes on and on
  • I tackle problems as the come, and try to see the big things coming down the road when I can

9) feliciapark333- Instagram – (1:00:32)

Why is it named ‘Goulet’ Pens?

  • You must be new ;) I love that!
  • My last name is Goulet, and I started out making pens as a craftsman hence the name
  • I discovered fountain pens and started carrying ink and paper to try to sell my handmade pens
  • No one bought them, but they bought paper and ink
  • I went with what worked!

10) amie1la- Instagram – (1:05:22)
What made you first start being interested in fountain pens?

  • Didn’t grow up with them at all, never used one until I was 25
  • Very first discovery was with my hand turned pen kits
  • Never used one until I went to the DC pen show in 2009 and got my first ink bottles
  • It was an epiphany at the show, and I’ve been 100% bought in since that day
  • Rarely a day goes by where I’m not studying, using, or answering questions about fountain pens

QOTW: What made you first interested in fountain pens? – (1:08:28)

Thanks so much for joining me this week! You can catch up on any old Q&A videos you missed here.

Write On,
Brian Goulet