Mark and Joe are the entrepreneurial duo behind The Improvement Artist. Their new product, Cards Beyond Comfort, is a deck of cards with 52 personal development challenges that are split into three categories – physical, mental and social. Each challenge gets slightly harder as you progress through the deck, complete the challenges one at a time and conquer your fears!
The two young entrepreneurs from the North of England are some of the youngest clients I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Only at 22 at the time, they launched a unique product and a successful Amazon campaign. This interview will uncover the mindset secrets behind their success.
Hi Mark and Joe, could you introduce yourselves?
We are two best mates (24 years old) from a small UK seaside town called Blackpool. We grew up together, went to the same school, and always had the same drive and vision in mind of something big in the future. We always had a very unique attitude and work ethic and we knew that at some stage we would create something amazing, and we did just that with The Improvement Artist.
Cards Beyond Comfort is a one-of-a-kind, unique mental health/self-improvement card game with a mix of 52 mental, social and physical challenges all carefully designed to push you outside of your comfort zone. On the back of each card, there are bullet-pointed benefits to completing the challenges, as well as easy-to-follow instructions on how to complete them.
The challenges focus on certain techniques and practices that if completed would improve your life in some aspect either through your mental health, well-being, mindfulness, and confidence.
Personal development was something we had both been very interested in for a long time, with our own mental health struggles in the past we got onto the path of self-improvement mainly through the use of books and video content.
It was here we started to discover techniques such as goal setting, cold showers, meditation, affirmations, journaling, exercising, and eating better food. So many of these small things made a huge change in our day-to-day lives and we wanted to give people a tool to do the same.
Some great books that I remember — are rich dad poor dad, extreme ownership, f*ck it therapy, and how to win friends and influence people — just to name a few.
Where do you get your inspiration as entrepreneurs? You are both in your early twenties – what drove you to start a company and develop such an amazing product at a relatively young age?
We have both always been very business minded even since an early age, our hometown is quite a poorer area of the UK and there are not many opportunities, lots of money struggles, and just an overall poor area to live in.
I think this probably drove us from a young age and pushed us to want to make something of ourselves. There were quite a few failed projects before The Improvement Artist and our original concept idea was basic. But we really put in the hard work and dedication, it actually took us around a month to just agree on the name “The Improvement Artist” and similarly for Cards Beyond Comfort!
For inspiration there are a ton of people, Tyson Fury is a great one, how he came back from depression to reclaim the heavyweight title was just surreal. Rob Dial is another one, he runs a podcast called “the mindset mentor” on Spotify, he offers self-improvement tips on a daily basis and they are a really great way to start your day.
Why did you decide to work with me initially? What made you confident that I would be a good fit as a designer before hiring me?
Not only that, but how friendly and helpful throughout the process you were was outstanding and unmatched, and happy to say we will be long-lasting friends.
The best part about working with you is waiting in anticipation after giving you a concept and then getting our minds blown by what you produce for us! We would get so excited every time you sent something over for review.
To be honest I wouldn’t say there was anything in particular that made us question you. The only thing worth mentioning would be that sometimes there would be slight spelling mistakes on the cards, but these were errors down to both of us at times, very quick easy fixes.
What is next for The Improvement Artist? Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years, what is your ultimate goal for the brand?
The Improvement Artist is expanding very quickly and we hope that soon Cards Beyond Comfort will be a household brand all over the world. People absolutely love our concept and the idea behind it and slowly our audience is building, we are still on our journey right now but we can’t wait for what the future holds for us and the following products that come with it!
And here is a case study of the rebranding project that I did for them.