Chicago v.s California & LVLUP Dojo House | #CoffeeWithCole Episode 3

#CoffeeWithCole, CreativityNicolas ColeComment

Last week, I went back (back) to Cali (Cali) to visit the LVLUP Dojo guys in Hollywood Hills, along with scheduling a quick trip to Irvine to chat with Winnie Sun (contributor to Forbes) on her business show. She asked me some awesome questions, and I streamed our filming together live on Facebook

I'll post the professional video as soon as I have it.

Something that was really apparent to me while I was out in the hills was how different I feel in California versus Chicago. It's not really that one is "better" than the other, but they definitely bring out different aspects of my creativity. 

What I'm Currently Reading


I just started reading Fyodor Dostoyevsky's famed The Gambler

So, fun fact (which I just read in the introduction) is that Dostoyevsky actually really did have a gambling problem. And when he was working on The Gambler, he was also simultaneously working on Crime & Punishment, arguably his most famous work. However, he got a little behind on some of his payments (oh the woes of gambling) and struck a deal with a publisher for an advance on his next novel under the condition that he would have a publishable manuscript ready in 30 days.

Apparently that was the motivation the Russian linguist needed. He wrote The Gambler in less than a month, particularly through the use of a stenographer—a student who helped transcribe the work.

I really like alternating between genres when I read, and particularly enjoy making time to read dense fiction because it is such a great workout for the brain. Balancing plot and character development and description and language all at the same time is a totally different beast than reading a book on entrepreneurship. There is a time and place for both.

What's Next?

I'm back in Chicago for two weeks, and then I am headed to Arizona, Atlanta, and then Europe. We're going to Budapest, Amsterdam, and Paris, specifically to film some scenes for the next big course called, Laptop Lifestyle: How To Live Your Dream From Anywhere In The World.

Big things coming! And yes, plan on there being a whole lot of #CoffeeWithCole episodes in Europe.

Stay tuned...

Writing Isn't Dying, It's Going Digital | #CoffeeWithCole Episode 2

Creativity, #CoffeeWithColeNicolas ColeComment

I knew this year was going to be busy, but it's always a different ball game when you step into the journey itself.

Last week I was in Atlanta with the behind-the-scenes star on the team here, Drew Reggie (he makes a cameo appearance in this episode). Drew and I have been friends since Freshman year of college (so... 9 years) and we create just about everything together. He's the one who takes all the pictures you see on Instagram, who shoots all the videos, and honestly is one of the very few people I think through my ideas with (a process I keep very hidden from most people). As time goes on, you'll get to know him and his work more and more, and the things we put out, just remember, are the result of our creative tag-team. 

I spent the week in my second-home (ATL) working with Drew to shoot an online course around something I have been getting asked constantly about: How I Went From 0 to 20,000,000 Readers Online. 


But before we launch the course, I want to give you some backstory as to how I even started down this path to begin with.

I tell the story in the video, but this knowledge of how to build yourself into a thought leader, specifically a writer, by using digital tools is something I have spent years and years studying and figuring out. There is a huge disconnect between the older generations (especially in the world of formal journalism and writing) who are talented wordsmiths but have no idea how to use the Internet to their advantage, and the younger writers who have many more years of honing their craft to go, but are more digitally savvy. 

And this isn't just valuable to people who want to become professional writers. The vast majority of content online is text. If you want to be a food blogger, or a travel blogger, or write for an online publication as a thought leader in digital marketing, or even if you just want to share your thoughts and your story with the world, then you need to understand a few things about the ecosystem as a whole—specifically how and why content gets shared and viewed.

Nobody in a million years thought that four years out of college I would be traveling the world as a full-time writer (booked tickets to Europe last night for February, and am headed to LA next week record a podcast with a columnist from Forbes). I am still extremely young. And yet, I have figured out how to write content, and where to write it, in a way that attracts an audience.

Course will be launched in the next week or two. I will keep you posted.

As always, if you have a question and would like your question answered, Tweet meInstagram me, or ask the question on Quora by using #CoffeeWithCole, and I will answer your question! 

Now, here's all the content you missed:

Inc Magazine

1. 12 Negative Habits You Should Give Up If You Want To Be Successful

2. Why Millennials Would Rather Make Less Money Working A Job They Love

3. The Ultimate Poker Showdown: Professionals Versus Artificial Intelligence

4. The 1 Thing Today's Aspiring Thought Leaders Aren't Learning From Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss, and More

5. 3 Unconventional Lessons Every Entrepreneur Needs To Hear (To Succeed For The Right Reasons)

6. 5 Signs Someone Has True Emotional Intelligence

7. 7 Ways To Not Fall Back Into Bad Habits In February 2017

8. The 1 Word That Gets Every Single Millennial In Trouble (VIRAL HIT)

9. Your 2017 Instagram Strategy: Let Influencers Tell Your Brand Story

10. 2017 Is The Year Social Media Platforms Become Social Marketplaces (Here's What That Means)

11. 3 Critical Reasons Employees Become Unmotivated In The Workplace

12. What Do You Do Once You've Hit $100M In Sales? This CEO Is Building His Personal Brand

13. 5 Investment Rules Millennials Should Follow (To Build Long-Term Wealth)


1. Do I have to get my book professionally edited?

2. I'm 17 and I'd like to write a book on a serious subject with a long plot. Is this too ambitious?

3. How long will it take for me to get my unique writing style?

4. I have a great concept for a biz book but need some help writing. What's the best way to get a good inexpensive ghost writer?

5. What made you into such a great writer?

6. What life advice would you give to a 17 year old?

7. I think I’m lost. I really don't know how to live the rest of my life. I feel hopeless and depressed, with no goals or dreams. What should I do?


1. The Golden Question Every Great Leader Should Welcome From A Millennial

The Huffington Post

1. 4 Things You Need To Stop Putting Off

2. Are Your Twenties Really The Best Years Of Your Life?

What I'm Currently Reading


Right now, I am reading Why We Write About Ourselves.

It took me a really long time to write my first memoir, Confessions of a Teenage Gamer. Not necessarily because the story was difficult to construct (although I did rewrite the thing in a million different forms) but because writing about yourself, your life, the people in it, and taking time to really understand the emotions behind the story is no easy task. 

This book was a gift to me after I put out my first book. Before I dive into Book II (for those that read COATG and were left hanging off a cliff), I feel like it's important that I take some time to ruminate on the experience and look for what I can improve for the next one.

What's Next?

1. Flying to LA on Wednesday, January 25th to see the guys from LVLUP Dojo. 

2. Recording a podcast with Forbes contributor Winnie Sun in LA on Friday, talking about how I have been able to climb the ladder and write for some of the biggest publications on the Internet.

3. Friday night heading to San Francisco for the weekend (explore the city a bit, maybe say hey to Quora Legend and friend Dushka Zapata).

4. Back in Chicago on Monday.

5. Launching the video course somewhere amidst all that: How I Went From 0 to 20,000,000+ Readers Online.

Stay tuned...


Setting Goals For 2017 & How To Measure Success | #CoffeeWithCole Episode 1

Creativity, #CoffeeWithColeNicolas Cole1 Comment

Every year, I go way up north in Wisconsin to do some much needed relaxing and snowmobiling with my family. But along with this family tradition I have created a tradition of my own: a closing of one journal, and an opening of the next.


I posted this image on my Instagram and Facebook pages on New Year's Eve. On the right is my journal from 2016, and on the left is a fresh journal for 2017. 

I explain my process in detail in the video above, but this practice has become immensely valuable to me over the years. I look forward to NYE specifically for this reason, and consider it a cornerstone practice when it comes to self-development. 

This year, one of the things I really want to focus more on is video content. Reason being: I write a lot online (A LOT), and but at the same time I feel like everything that happens outside of the writing doesn't get seen or shared. This year, I really want to bring you (my readers) into my day to day life, so you can see what actually goes into building yourself, your daily habits, your work, your creative projects, and of course, your personal brand. 

To me, they all go hand in hand, and that's really what I want to teach people. It's not about building a false version of yourself. It's about taking the best parts of who you are and turning up the volume.

Each week, I will be doing a little recap vlog of what's been going on lately, where I am in the world (I'll be doing lots of traveling this upcoming year), what content you missed, and what's coming up next. These weekly vlogs are just the beginning: we (my team and I) have a whole list of other video content we're going to be putting out there, so stay tuned.

This weekly vlog series will be called #CoffeeWithCole. Why? Because I love coffee (and drink a lot of it), but also because coffee is what people share when they want to get to know each other—and I want you to get to know me. So, since we may not be able to have coffee together in person, I encourage you to pour yourself a cup and enjoy the vlogs. 

I will also be doing some interactive vlogs, answering people's questions on video. If you'd like your question answered, Tweet me, Instagram me, or ask the question on Quora by using #CoffeeWithCole, and I will answer your question! 

Now, here's all the content you missed this past week:

Inc Magazine

1. Want To Crush It On Social Media? Here's The Truth You Need To Hear

2. 9 Ways It Hurts To Stay In A Job You Don't Enjoy

3. Starting A Company In 2017? Here Are 7 Tools To Make Your Job A Whole Lot Easier 

4. Your 2017 Plan Is Going To Fail If You Can't Manage Your Time Like This (And It's So Simple)

5. Your 2017 Social Media Strategy: Don't Try To Be Everywhere At Once

6. 5 Easy But Highly Effective Ways To Improve The Emails You Send In 2017

7. 15 Powerful Truths About Life And Business Everyone Should Hear Before 2017 Begins

8. 5 Legendary Lessons To Turn What You Love Into A Business Empire


Q: What are the skills needed to become a successful blogger or content writer?

Q: How can I get the book, "Confessions of a Teenage Gamer," by Nicolas Cole, for free?

Q: What is your book about?

Q: What advice would you give to a 25-year-old man wanting to learn so many things?

Q: How does Nicolas Cole manage his time?

Q: What makes a woman or girl unattractive?


1. 4 Tips From An Uber Successful CEO To Help You Recalibrate For The New Year

What I'm Currently Reading


Right now, I am reading The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety.

I am a few chapters in, and really loving the perspective Watts shares in terms of self-awareness and "purpose." I have known of Alan Watts' work for a while now, but haven't quite taken the time to dive in. This was a Christmas present from my close friend Matthew Jones (who is getting ready to graduate with his doctorate in psychology!), so I'm glad I can finally get a better sense of what Watts is all about.  

What's Next?

This next week, my fellow creative Drew Reggie is coming to Chicago. We've got a whole bunch of things planned:

1. Speaking at MATTER Chicago on Friday, January 6th. If you're in Chicago, come! It's at the Merchandise Mart.

2. Shooting our first big video episode featuring some of Chicago's primary thought leaders within the digital marketing / personal branding / design spaces. (Check my Instagram stories to follow along while we shoot it.)

3. Flying to Atlanta on Sunday, January 8th for the following week. Shooting the next episode there, as well as going to start shooting the first round of video courses: How To Build A Personal Brand & How To Monetize Your Personal Brand.

Here we go!

Your Style Is Everything You Are

Creativity, Must ReadsNicolas ColeComment

Developing your own style isn't an "end."

It's a constant flow. A discovery over time, intended to change. Your style is a reflection of who you are, and it includes everything from your voice to your clothes, your mannerisms and habits to your coping mechanisms and circle of friends. To think "style" only includes what you look like is so limiting. Your style is Everything You Are.

When you begin to intentionally build yourself, this concept of Style begins to take shape. 

The process is usually as follows:

Step 1: Imitation

All learning begins with imitation. You find someone who embodies certain qualities you yourself hope to one day have yourself, and (sometimes without even realizing it) you begin to emulate them. Sometimes you take on their mannerisms. Sometimes you adopt similar habits. Sometimes you simply try to dress the same, and sometimes you begin to speak like them too. But, at its core, it is imitation with the hope of learning.

Step 2: Variation

After imitation has brought you to a place of confidence, you begin to put your own spin on what it is you've "acquired." You take what you have gained and begin to shift certain variables, aligning them with things that resonate more deeply with you as a unique individual. In the beginning, you do not change much (as you fear losing all that imitation has given you), but just enough to awaken to your own unique creativity. 

Step 3: Expression

At some point, variation becomes expression. You are now more of your own self than you are the imitation of someone else, and you can taste the joy that comes with that freedom. You run forward in that direction, knowing that you have unlocked a part of yourself that now feels comfortable enough being naked. And it is from here that your greatest gifts begin to emerge.

Step 4: Reinvention

However, the process is not yet over—in fact, it is never "over." Because with each discovery comes a new depth of self-understanding, leading you to new possibilities within wherein you begin the process all over again: Imitation, Variation, Expression, and then ultimately Reinvention.

Your style, then, is never a stagnant "end."

It is a constantly reflection of where you are right now.