Class Preview: Cool As a Cucumber

from Holley Murchison…

I grew up incredibly shy. In third grade, I’d scribble my answers down on paper and hand it to Ms. Smith when she’d call on me. Most times I had the right answer but the idea of standing up and publicly addressing a group paralyzed me.

Sometimes, as adults, we feel the same way.

We know we have ideas, stories and content worth spreading but sometimes struggle to articulate them clearly or even worse – we opt out of sharing altogether.

Ironically enough, some years after Ms. Smith’s class, I fell in love with public speaking and ended up building a career around it. Having figured out a way to own my voice, I wanted to help others grow into better speakers and communicators as well. I designed Cool As a Cucumber so that you can better champion all those amazing ideas you’re working on. And it’s nothing like that freshman year Intro to Public Speaking class, promise.

This workshop is for makers, doers and creatives looking to improve on one of life’s most vital skills -whether you’re pitching to new clients, preparing to speak up in the meetings you’ve been dodging, or readying yourself for the big toast at your best friend’s wedding.

Taking a hands-on approach to the art of speaking, Cool As a Cucumber is 1 part lecture, 1 part Q&A and 3 parts participation. It’s a fun, encouraging, small group experience where you’ll learn how to navigate your feelings of speaking angst, craft engaging content and become a more authentic, confident speaker in the moments where it counts most. Plus – my favorite chef whipped up an awesome menu of comfort food goodies for you to snack on while we work.

So, now’s your chance to board the Oratory Glory train and get a step closer to owning your voice. I’m looking forward to working with you on the 20th!

Cheers to the cool in you,

Holley M.


Kickstarter Success – Notes from our Playbook!

from Maksehift Society member Nicole Delger

Rena Tom and Bryan Boyer and a team of collaborators just celebrated reaching $31,905 on Kickstarter for Makeshift Society’s recent crowdfunding campaign for their expansion into Brooklyn.

Congrats all around!

Looking to launch your own campaign? Here is some of my favorite advice lifted right from Makeshift’s playbook!

When Rena asked for some help as they mapped out their plan of attack for conquering Kickstarter, I was happy to oblige. I was in the final stages of writing my book, Get Funded, and was excited to share it in its early form.

The best way to ensure success is smart planning. So here is a little peek behind the curtain of some of my favorite aspects of the campaign:

1. Get testimonials from your customers.

As we planned, we asked some very specific questions to the Makeshift community and how co-working from the San Francisco space had benefit them. The responses were fantastic, and we peppered it in throughout the campaign write up. This help get potential Brooklynites excited about what MSS could do for them.

2. We created some invaluable rewards.

We created some experiential rewards, such as dinner with Makeshift Founders and strategic advisors. For those who might be keen on meeting a blogger or influencer for a full hour of advice, conversation, and face time, this was a great way to support a wonderful initiative and have a great session with someone you admire.

3. Invest in a great video.

Rena brought in Wild Combination to create a top-notch video. They did an amazing job of having it be creative, but also being clear about what Makeshift was building, why they needed the funds, and where they were going to be used. The cost of entry into the crowdfunding world is getting tougher as more and more people launch campaigns. Invest in video if you want to ensure success.

4. Collaborate!

Rena and the Makeshift crew did everything from pulling in guest artists and friends for rewards, to getting folks at the clubhouse to be online ambassadors, to collaborating late at night via-google docs to map out the communications for the campaign. If you have a grand vision, bring in a team to help you bring it to life. A successful campaign can have someone at the helm, but needs a supportive team there helping make it happen. Ask yourself: who’s on your team?

If you’re looking for more advice, check out my step-by-step guide called, Get Funded: A kick-ass plan for running a successful crowdfunding campaign. In it, I map out from start to finish how to plan and manage the promotion of your crowdfunding campaign.

For a limited time, I am offering it up at half price for Makeshifters and their friends (that’s just $5) with this link, and you can get my full downloaded plan (include docs, scripts, and additional resources) for $90 here—saving you hours of prep and planning.

Want more advice to build your brand? Check out


Makeshift Brooklyn Week 007

Tuesday afternoon at 12 minutes to 5pm our Kickstarter silently pushed past its target of $30,000. We sent ’round congratulatory emails and texts and I even hooted out loud, scaring the cat. Then the total dropped below $30k as someone adjusted their contribution. Time stopped, I freaked out, and just a few seconds later it jumped up above $30k again. So, actually, we got to celebrate twice!

Hitting the goal was great; surpassing it by more than one thousand dollars was as awesome as it was unexpected. Thanks again to everyone who backed us, posted about our project, and helped carry this across the finish line. There’s a lot left to do, and we’ll continue to write about it here.

I spent most of the week standing in the bare shell of our new space on Hope street interviewing five contractors, being interviewed by one journalist, introducing Makeshift to one Cultural Attaché from a Nordic nation, and unlocking the door for our asbestos inspector. What I learned is that we need to get a construction site chair ASAP. Feet: tired.

Screen Shot 2013-10-30 at 10.35.49 PM

55 Hope street as seen by 3d maps without the 3d. Nice, right?

Estimates will come in from the contractors over the next week or so and then we’ll pick one to move forward with. In the meantime Rena and I have been giving the website project a bit of attention.

When not on site I spent a good amount of time at Oslo Coffee and Atlas Cafe, shops that are both a couple blocks from Makeshift. It was good ambient research. Part of that was spent reading this essay and then sending notes back and forth with Rena.

On friday I had the pleasure of meeting Nikos from The Man Room, a coworking space in Melbourne with a couple of locations. Talking shop was good.

Speaking of, we had a chance to catch up with the person who skipped our call last week. It was a friendly chat. Glad it eventually worked out.

And now I’m off for a bit of time away on a vacation. Being out of the country the next ten days is terrible timing but this trip was booked 11 months ago, before Makeshift Brooklyn had a concrete timeline. The rest of the team can handle things ably without me. Rena is doing all the things that Rena does (10,371 at last count); Gloria is booting up production on the Kickstarer rewards; Dash Marshall is chipping away at the mountain of tasks that is our renovation work; and that’s just part of it. This is a long way of saying that there may not be updates for the next two weeks.

From ANA flight 1077 somewhere near the international dateline, thanks for all the exhilaration and the foot pain, Week 007. You were a good one.