In this Goulet Q&A episode, Brian talks about the hottest new release of 2019, advice to new entrepreneurs, and would he ever sell one of his pens? Enjoy!

This week:

Pens/Writing

1) chosenfriend- Instagram 

What’s the most anticipated new release this year?

  • good question, it’s really early to say!
  • new Lamy stuff is always hot, and there’s a lot of it this year (AL- Star Bronze, Aquamarine Studio)
  • Pilot 100th anniversary inks, any new Pilot inks are hot!
  • there will surely be other things, but it’s too early to know exactly what

2) Dorian E- Facebook

Show and tell…oldest fountain pen you own…

  • I don’t 100% know but I suspect perhaps either my Waterman Ideal #7 Pink, or my Mabie Todd Swan, around the 1920’s
  • Vintage isn’t so much my thing, but it is cool having pens around 100 years old!

Ink

3) kzender- Instagram 

I have three Monteverde inks in my ink collection. I love them but can’t always use them because I can’t open the bottles! The ink seems to clog up the threads and cap, cementing the cap in place. Is there a way to get them unstuck and/or prevent this from happening? Thanks!

  • This can happen with any ink, when it dries on the cap
  • the ink almost turns to a sort of glue that crusts the cap onto the bottle
  • wiping it off the rim after you wipe your nib helps tremendously
  • this is still something I’ll pass up to Monteverde, in case it’s something that’s a trend

Business

4) Christine K- Facebook 

Currently the website lists nib size, nib color, and nib material in the specs for each pen. Is it possible to add a category that would tell us if the nib is a #5, #6, or whatever # it is?

It would also be nice to know if the nib is swappable either within the brand’s own nibs or if a Goulet nib could be used, though I am guessing the mfgrs would not look too kindly on that bit being added due to warranty issues.

  • Okay, this would be nice but it’s not always so clean
  • the fact of the matter is that they aren’t truly universal, definitely not enough for us to broadcast it as such
  • there’s also warranty-related issues around us promoting nibs across brands as being “swappable” or compatible
  • Sometimes the nib is the same but the feed or housing is different
  • Sometimes the thickness or curvature of the nib is slightly different, even though it’s the same size
  • it’s just not always so straightforward, and we struggle a bit with how to display that on our site
  • we have done a couple of blog posts that might help:

5) Jim B- Facebook

Has Goulet considered selling gently used pens — especially those from your (or Rachel’s) personal collection? I would imagine many of your customers would enjoy owning a pen that either of you might have once owned. (Maybe even your staff has pens they’ve tried and decided to move on from?) Is the used pen market feasible from a business stand point?

  • Rachel and I haven’t really considered selling our personal pens at this point, surely we’ll pare it down at some point
  • We haven’t considered selling used pens, not seriously
  • it’s one thing if it’s our team, we sell the products, know them, and can assess them and trust they were used properly
  • selling others’ used pens is more complicated, especially if it’s something we don’t sell/know as well
  • we’d have to determine what type of warranty/return policy to have on it, it’s complicated
  • this is usually best left as private-party sales
  • the only ‘used’ pens I’ve really seen retailers sell is past limited editions, usually of pretty significant value, but even that we’re not really interested in

6) Nolan C- Facebook

What words of motivation would you give to someone that’s thinking of starting their own company?

  • I’m incredibly biased, but I think starting and growing your own company is one of the most thrilling and terrifying things you can do as a career
  • it’s basically like having a kid, in terms of emotional, financial, and time investment
  • it’s an opportunity for you to make your dent in the world, explore who you are, serve others, and even impact the lives of those you hire, it’s an incredible responsibility that can’t easily be replicated in other areas of your life
  • everyone has doubts and fears in the beginning, no one’s born knowing how to start a business
  • if your business succeeds, you’re going to continue to have doubts and fears, they just get bigger and more complex
  • every single entrepreneur you see has fears, fails on the regular, and doubts themselves, the only difference is they don’t let that stop them from making decisions and taking action
  • you have to suffocate the excuses, just cut that crap out
  • “I don’t have enough money”, “the competition’s too good”, “they just won’t give me a chance”, etc, screw all that
  • Excuses are just lies you tell yourself to keep from having to take action
  • If there’s ever anyone that looks like you that’s done it, then you don’t really have that as an excuse
  • QBQ, “what can I do about it?”
  • one this is for darn sure, you will have to work hard, but it doesn’t feel “hard” the way doing a job you hate feels
  • doing work you love and for your own cause is very motivating, and you’ll naturally work harder with momentum
  • Don’t do it because you hate your job and want to “set your own schedule”, I promise you’ll work harder and have more stress in your own business
  • Don’t do it because you want the fruits of it either, like money, independence, etc, because until you’re successful, none of that stuff comes anyway, and to get to the place of success, you have to transcend all that stuff anyway
  • If you really love the work, and don’t love managing or leading, then freelance and DON’T grow a big business, or you’ll be miserable
  • you’ll just have to be comfortable raising higher and higher prices and turning down work as you’ll be a constraint
  • you don’t have to strap yourself with debt, or take some huge risky move, especially in 2019
  • there are more opportunities now than ever to do a side-hustle, try out some of what you love in your off-hours, and if you truly still enjoy it from 7pm-midnight every night after working a full day, then there’s a good chance you’ll still love it when you’re in it full time
  • Gary Vaynerchuk’s first book Crush It was so clarifying for me, I highly recommend it
  • Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits by Greg Crabtree is really practical/financial advice when first starting out
  • Worth Every Penny by Sarah Petty is great for freelancers (especially with pricing your own work)
  • Simon Sinek Start with Why
  • In all of history, there has never been more access to information, more resources, more freedom, and more abundance than right now to do your own thing, so what the heck are you waiting for?

QOTW: If you could start your own business doing anything and you were guaranteed success, what would it be? 

Write On,
Brian Goulet