The mission of Nerd For A Living (or, “N4AL”) is to assist people of the nerdish persuasion* to discover fulfilling, profitable and sustainable career paths in the industries they love. This includes comics, gaming, anime, film, TV, art, crafting, publishing, and more.
Whether you’re an artist trying to get your work recognized, or an accountant who dreams of using your expertise in the gaming industry, N4AL provides articles and information to help you pursue and achieve those goals.
On the Nerd For A Living Podcast, we talk to industry professionals working in a myriad of geeky fields about their careers, how they broke in, and how they stay relevant. We hope their anecdotes and advice can help you on your journey to a dream job.
Beyond the website, N4AL brings speaker panels and informational presentations to comic conventions, entertainment expos, social meet-ups, and more across the country. We’ve presented our signature “How to be a Nerd for a Living” panel at San Diego Comic-Con International, Emerald City Comic Con (Seattle), C2E2 (Chicago), Wizard World (various cities), Planet Comicon (Kansas City), and more. Whenever possible, we record these discussions with our fantastic professional guests and release them later as podcasts.
Nerd For A Living: Origin Story
N4AL officially launched in July 2013. (Nerdy fact: We actually pushed the site live from our hotel room at San Diego Comic-Con.) Founded by Wendy Buske and Adron Buske, the idea for N4AL originated from conversations with fellow nerds at conventions, coffee shops and workplaces.
Over and over, people would lament that they didn’t do what they loved for a living, instead slogging away at unfulfilling careers. Or, they’d say “I wish I could work in (some nerdy industry), but I’m not a (writer/artist/visionary) – I’m just a (totally valid but more mundane profession).”
The desire to “do what you love” is often viewed as a lofty ambition. It shouldn’t be. Even if you’re not an entrepreneur, or your current skills don’t fall into highly visible industry roles, being a Nerd For A Living is still within your reach.
We provide unique insights and actionable information for a wide variety of career-seekers of differing skills, interests and goals:
For the “career-oriented” nerd plying their trade in the 9-to-5 or odd hours, at the factory or the office, who wants to apply their expertise to a product or service for which they really care.
Many dream of working in a beloved geek industry, yet only perceive the most public or popular of jobs – writers, artists, actors and personalities, creators, etc. But every industry has a hard-working core of professionals doing “traditional” jobs – editors, receptionists, project managers, craftsmen, etc. – that are just as important to the creation of those properties or products. What could be considered a mundane career inside a Dunder Mifflin takes on a whole new level of satisfaction when those skills are applied to something you’re truly passionate about.
For the artist, writer, musician, director, costumer, etc. who desires to put your specific talents to work crafting the images, characters and properties revered by our nerd culture.
These are often the most visible, elite and desirable of jobs, and perhaps the most obviously gratifying. Because of this, they also have the steepest barrier to entry, because of intense competition, limited number of opportunities and personal limitations. N4AL gathers advice and anecdotes – from the established pros and the scrappy up-and-comers actively paying the bills with their art – on how to get working and stay working.
For the self-starters and DIYers, tired of working for the man and ready to carve your own path.
Maybe you’ve suffered under the corporate yoke for too long. Perhaps you’re a stay-at-home who’s passionate and anything but idle. Some combination of “professional” and “creative”, you treat your personal business and craft as an extension of self. You have a product or service you know your fellow geeks want or need. But being your own boss is tricky business. Getting noticed, respected and actually selling stuff is even trickier. N4AL strives to break down the specific pieces of the self-employed puzzle, to help independent-minded nerds wear the many hats of maker, marketer and CEO of your own brand.
Whether you’re 15 or 50, you owe it to yourself to pursue a career based on something you adore, that you find meaningful. To gain from, and give back to, the culture you hold dear. You can be a Nerd for a Living.
*Nerdish persuasion: fanboys, fangirls, gamers, geeks, collectors, creators, cosplayers, otaku, Trekkies, WHOvians, or simply someone who proudly defines themselves as a capital-N “Nerd”. You know who you are.