Happy Valley Hustle

Happy Valley Hustle

The Happy Valley Hustle podcast tells the stories of those who run their own businesses, launch side-hustles and make the digital age work for them. It’s a celebration of challenging the old ways of doing things and sharing insights gained from success and failure. It's available the first and third Wednesday of each month on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify.

Episodes

December 15, 2021 17 min

After four years, host Bill Zimmerman is calling it quits on "Happy Valley Hustle." He reflects on telling stories of entrepreneurship and innovation in Central PA, and the factors that influenced his decision to stop. Bill also breaks down advice from "The Dip" by Seth Godin on how to quit strategically in order to spark new opportunities.

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They say competitive eating is the battleground upon which God and Lucifer wage war for men's souls ... and George Shea is on the front lines. George is the boater hat-wearing hype man behind events like the Nathan's Famous Hotdog Eating Contest every July 4. He's also a founder of Major League Eating and runs his own PR firm, Shea Communications in New York. Hear him discuss entrepreneurship, publicity and the greatnes...

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Nick Gilson's eponymous company is a testament to persistently adapting and tirelessly committing to a vision. Gilson Snow Inc. makes products from locally sourced wood and does it in the U S of A. Hear him discuss the importance of learning from failure, contributing to your community and building a team of people who are smarter and cooler than you.

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Presented by the Penn State Small Business Development Center, host Bill Zimmerman explains the various ways that podcasts can help businesses share messages to key audiences. Hear a discussion on brand storytelling, media outreach and the nuts-and-bolts of publishing a podcast. The talk is moderated by SBDC business consultant Elizabeth Hay

A video of the presentation is available here.

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For 20 years, Cindy Kolarik has led a nonprofit that brightens the day for young hospital patients. Inspired by the selflessness of one child cancer patient, The Jared Box Project has distributed more than 900K care packages nationwide. Cindy discusses the inspiring story of the organization's namesake, the skills needed to run a nonprofit and the kindness all around that keeps her going. 


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Communications professor Anne Hoag is driving an initiative to connect community and community news called Centre News Digest. She discusses the challenges facing local media, the need for reliable community coverage and the entrepreneurial thinking that may bring solutions.  Connect with Centre News Digest on Twitter and Instagram, and sign up for the newsletter here


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Chris Creamer launched his online museum of logos (Sportslogos.net) as a teenager -- now it's a full-time job that often puts him at the center of conversations around design in sports. His recent book, written with designer Todd Radom, "Fabric of the Game: The Stories Behind the NHL's Names, Logos, and Uniforms" reflects the deep love and historical knowledge he brings to his work. Hear him discuss the origins of h...

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News coverage raises awareness and builds credibility for your business, however some ignore these golden opportunities. In this solocast, Bill discusses how news can travel in unexpected ways, including how coverage in a small publication can attract the eyes of big decision makers. You may be surprised the impact that can be made when someone shares a link or a clipping with a friend of loved one. READ the blog post that inspired...

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Zack Rackovan eye for design and love of the outdoors inspired Ardor & Forge, his micro-brand watch company that's gearing up for the sale of its first line. With resolve as tough as his watches, Zack breaks down how passion and hard work fueled his idea. This episode first published in November 2019. Zack has since pivoted in the space of everyday carry (EDC) goods with his new Hevel Supply Co. and the Arche multitool. 

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Fresh off her first victory in professional mixed martial arts, Elise Pone displayed her grit to a national television audience. She's new to the all-female Invicta Fighting Championship league, but she's not a rookie when it comes to fighting or entrepreneurship. As co-owner of the Central PA MMA, she built her business on excelling in both the physical and the mental aspects of owning a gym. Hear her discuss the disciplin...

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Recorded during a presentation and workshop with businesses supported by venture fund 1855 Capital, host Bill advocates for a mix of strategy and experimentation when it comes to social media. He also advises on why businesses should look for communication alternatives to social media and maintain more control over the way they share content.  
 
Two founders in 1855's portfolio have been past guests on the podcast. Listen here: 

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    Alex Nepa is the owner of Mint DJ Events, offering a "boutique approach to event design, lighting and modern DJ talent, without the cheese." As a DJ, he's cultivated a strong personal brand that shows his talent along with the human side of the DJ/entrepreneur lifestyle. He also excels at generating social media content with a heavy dose of humanity as well as presenting and organizing professional development for DJs. ...

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    Luke Cimbala  created The Band Junkies to build up a thriving music scene in State College, Pa. He's helping local musicians land gigs and promote themselves all while using those same skills to boost his day job in sales. Hear Luke's insights on building a brand, producing video and adapting to change. 

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    Matt Maris is a history teacher with a side hustle celebrating local history. As co-founder of Local Historia, he's giving tours, organizing immersive experiences and consulting with businesses on the attention-grabbing power of history.  Maris shares curious facts about the region, talks about boosting his brand on YouTube and discusses how he's grown by having a side hustle.   

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    Nick Bayer is the founder and CEO of Saxbys, the coffee chain with a mission to "Make Life Better." The Philadelphia-based business boasts 30 locations and 500+ team of employees, including college students running cafes on campuses such as Penn State, Georgetown and Penn. Nick discusses unifying employees on a shared mission, branding and getting excited every day to tackle work and life. This episode was originally re...

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    Maddy Pryor is immersed in social media, at work and in various side projects. Being ambitious and digitally plugged means having lots of avenues to explore -- but assessing all those ideas takes a lot of energy. In this episode, Bill and Maddy share business ideas and seek clarity when it comes to reigning in your curiosity. As social media specialist at Princeton University, Maddy also shares insights on social media that can be ...

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    Cookie bakers and eaters are sweet on Anne Yorks' business, The Flour Box. She took a knack for baking and stirred up a Facebook following that's 1.5 million followers strong. Hear her story of turning passion into profit, tapping into vibrant online communities, and pivoting from baking to suppling materials and knowledge.  Anne is also set to publish "The Crafted Cookie," a book featuring step-by-step guides for 5...

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    Scott Walker and Joe Putnam wear a lot of hats -- or ball caps -- in their roles with the State College Spikes minor league baseball team. That’s especially true now that the respective general manager and director of communications are fighting to keep their team alive. With one of 42 teams in danger of losing major league affiliation, they’re in the midst of a campaign to save the ball club as their 15th season in town nears. Hea...

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    The rise of electronic sports leagues and gaming content creators, has created opportunities for enterprising gamers as well as investors. Seth Mason, founder and chief marketing officer of The Esport Company, and John Comonitski, creator “JohnyJ25” on YouTube, share their experiences of turning a passion into profit in this emerging industry. This event was recorded in March as part of Startup Week.

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    Guest No. 1, Matt Swayne, returns for the 100th episode of "Happy Valley Hustle"! Matt Swayne's day job is science writer but following his curiosity has lead to some exciting side projects. He's published several books on the paranormal, and is currently a writer for The Quantum Daily, diving deep into the emerging field of quantum computing. Matt discusses how quantum computing could change lives, his own approach...

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