David Donaldson

Robert has a casual conversation with author and creator David Donaldson. David has taken his experience in working in a hospital with patients on the spectrum both verbal and non verbal and saw a need for affordable comfort and stimulation type toys. He created a line of dragons that not only meet this need but are the main characters in stories that represent how children and adults can deal with real life situations.

A little bit about David...

In 2022, shortly after David finished his degree in Applied Linguistics and Anthropology, while working full-time for a local hospital, he developed a connection to some of his patients. He witnessed their struggles and listened to the stigma they faced outside the hospital, from society.

Today’s guest developed a reputation as a Patient Safety Attendant for working well with both verbal and non-verbal autistic patients. David's passion for language, specifically sign language, became an asset in facilitating communication with non-verbal patients and led him to speak out for his patients' needs when no one else understood them. During the COVID-19 pandemic, David Donaldson noticed an increase in mental health crisis cases entering the emergency rooms and saw an increasing need for stress relief and fidget toys for both children and adults. This problem inspired David to offer a solution in the form of affordable comfort and stress toys. Thus, Tiny Dragon's Treasure Trove was born. Inspired by David's passion for dragons, Tiny Dragon's Treasure Trove sought to represent items people can treasure.

Check out more of David

Website: tinydragonstreasuretrove.com

Facebook: /TinyDragonsTreasureTrove/

Instagram: /tinydragonstreasuretrove/

Tiktok: /@tinydragonstreasuretrove

Pinterest: /tinydragonstreasuretrove/

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David Donaldson
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Show Notes

Robert Peterson 0:21
Welcome to the Add valued entrepreneurs podcast, where we're on a mission to end entrepreneurial unhappiness. If you're an entrepreneur with a burning desire to change the world, this podcast is for you. We're here to help you transform your life and business so that you can achieve the freedom and fulfillment you crave. This show is dedicated to entrepreneurs who want more of their life, more meaning more purpose and ultimately, more happiness. You deserve it all. And it's possible. I'm your host, Robert Peterson, Pastor turned life coach for business owners. I believe that success without happiness is not true success at all. But there's always hope for those who are willing to take action. Join us every week as we bring you inspiring leaders and messages that will help you on your journey towards success. Thank you for investing your time with us today. Let's get started. Today's guest developed a reputation as a patient safety attendant for working well with both verbal and nonverbal autistic patients. David's passion for language specifically sign language became an asset in facilitating communication with nonverbal patients and led him to speak out for his patients needs when no one else understood them. During the COVID 19 pandemic, David Donaldson noticed an increase in mental health crisis cases entering the emergency rooms and saw an increasing need for stress relief, and fidget toys for both children and adults. This problem inspired David to offer a solution in the form of affordable comfort and stress toys. Thus, tiny dragons treasure trove was born. Inspired by David's passion for dragons. Tiny dragons treasure trove sought to represent items people can treasure. Robert has a casual conversation with author and creator David Donaldson, David has taken his experience in working in a hospital with patients on the spectrum, both verbal and nonverbal, and saw a need for affordable comfort and stimulation type toys. He created a line of dragons that not only met this need, but are the main characters and stories that represent how children and adults can deal with real life situations. Well, David, thank you for joining us today, I'm excited to have this conversation and just look forward to man sharing, sharing some of the things that you're doing. Thanks for having me. Absolutely. So I typically just have each guest share their journey, share their entrepreneurial journey, what's led them to doing the thing that they're doing and the impact that they're trying to make. And so I guess that'll be our jumping off point.

Unknown Speaker 3:03
So I started working with individuals who are suffering from mental health issues at the local hospital where I work. And I got the reputation at the hospital for being really well with autism patients. So autistic individuals just seem to gravitate towards me and feel very calm around me and respond to me very well. And I also studied linguistics, so I used ASL to kind of facilitate communication with nonverbal autistic patients. And so I have that reputation. Now, whenever a patient's having a hard time that comes in with autism, they immediately say, you know, David's great for this person, we need to put him with David, or her with David or somebody with David. And I'll sit with them all night, and they'll be calm and cooperative. But as soon as I leave, they don't like the next person. And I have to kind of prepare them and I'm like, hey, you know, such and such is gonna be sitting with you tonight, or today, and then they're going to be talking to you and trying to keep you calm. Just be respectful, please, you know. But from there, I felt inspired to kind of reach out because I had other people in my life who I didn't know had autism. But I later discovered have autism, like my cousin was recently diagnosed with autism and a couple of my best friends growing up, they're like, oh, yeah, I'm autistic. And I'm like, really? And so it touches your life and you don't realize it. And so I thought maybe some kind of awareness would be good. So people who don't know can kind of look at the symptoms or look at the characteristics and be like, you know, maybe this explains why I am the way I am or maybe this explains how I can improve my life. Because once you understand yourself, you can explore better options.

Robert Peterson 4:59
Hi Most certainly well, and I think the challenge for for many is just the the not understanding, especially when it comes to communication and touch that this level of hypersensitivity almost and, and it can be very challenging, even for, I mean, especially for family members that are trying to, you know, communicate, my, my nephew is, is autistic and his father struggles greatly. And now that he's in his teen years, he's not a small boy. And, and when he's unhappy, lots of things happen. And so it's, it's very challenging, you know, for his father, to you can't allow him to destroy things. And, and now that he's that large, he's much harder to stop from destroying things. And so it can be challenging to communicate and so, so good on you that your spirit naturally, is calming and naturally gravitates towards these people that are struggling, right with their, their, what their brain is telling them and what their body's wanting to do and can be so challenging. So, so let's talk about how that inspired you and what what that inspired you to do.

Unknown Speaker 6:27
So that inspired me to try and look for a way to support like the autism community, but also offer sort of like products that would help. So I designed some comfort toys, that people can hold and hug that also have different textures, for people that are sensitive to textures. And in order to also connect with them. I wrote stories that feature dragons that have autism, and how they engage with life and different aspects of life that normal people don't think of like how your child reacts when you're moving away from home, or how your child reacts when they get lost. You know, if they have anger issues, or if they have a meltdown, things like that, I try and engage in my books.

Robert Peterson 7:20
Wow. So let's see, let's talk about these, these dragons. And obviously, it's, it's one thing to inspire to write a book. And I know lots of our, our audience inspires, you know, feels inspired, feels inspiration to want to write a book. But now you've written a book and created the characters in real life in it. So that's you've taken it to a whole different a whole different level, obviously want to come back and talk about the books and the stories but but let's talk about this process of designing of plush toy in and having it manufactured.

Unknown Speaker 8:00
Oh, that is a really long and hard process. So I started off trying to find business to business contacts, that could, you know, give me a price on an estimate. But what I started off with first was thinking of how I can make these dragons relatable. And I thought of maybe like Pokemon, or I thought of like, just nature and elements the way that they represent different things and elements. And so I thought maybe like a spirit dragon that has antlers. But the antlers are like tree limbs that have little buds coming off of it. And then I thought maybe like a Shadow Dragon, but it kind of has these purplish stripes to it to kind of look like a geode. And then I thought maybe like a water dragon with like waves on its skin. And I found pictures that were kind of like reference images. And I said to my artist, I said, Hey, this is what I want. And I want to look cute, but I want to look like a tiny dragon. And from there, my artists who had been working with for years now is just, they took off with it. And they're like, this is what I have. And I said this looks great. And I sent it to a factory. And I had the front back and sides drawn. And I said to the factory, this is what I want. This is the size I want. And can you give me a price estimate? And so they gave me an estimate and got back to me and they made samples. So I paid for the samples. The samples were shipped to me and once I approved them they said let's move forward and place an order.

Robert Peterson 9:40
Wow. And I mean, obviously that five minute description doesn't convey Muir this this entire process.

Unknown Speaker 9:51
Oh yeah, I had to filter through different distributors and filter through different factories and try and find something. And finally like I had one that was working out, but the price was too high. And so it's weird because I had a friend and they're like, Hey, I got a guy you might like to talk to. And I said, really why? And they said, Well, he lives abroad. But he works with factories, and these factories, you know, communicate with him, and he can get you a good price on manufacturing, because he helped me and they have a makeup business. And they said, they he helped me find discount, like jars for my makeup. I said, All right, I'll talk to him. And I talked to this guy, he found me that somebody in contact, and they got me a better price than I could imagine. And better quality. It was great.

Robert Peterson 10:42
Nice. So so let's talk about the value of connection in this process. You know, in entrepreneurship, we talked about connections, and it just takes one right the power of one, one right connection. So obviously, that connection helped. How did that connection actually come about?

Unknown Speaker 11:02
So I was friends with them on like, a social media site. And we were talking about business. And I said, Do you want to be like a mentor for me or something? Because you've been in business longer than I have you own like, three businesses. One was makeup one as lecturing, like how to create your own makeup line. And then another business she had was like, I guess making your own soap. And so she taught classes, and then also did all this stuff while working full time. And being a mother, and I'm like, you know, you're you seem to have it all together? Can I mentor under you? Can I learn things from you? And she's like, first thing you got to know, you got to talk to this guy. And I'm like, Okay. And they said that they helped them get started, like, okay, so I talked to them, and the guy helped me out a lot. And I still talked to him.

Robert Peterson 11:55
Nice. Well, obviously, there's a lot of costs involved in in this process that that you've made, and have you bootstrapped this whole process for yourself.

Unknown Speaker 12:09
So I've taken out personal loans to try and pay for it. But some of the money has come from like, you know, fundraising and trying to get people interested, like pre sales.

Robert Peterson 12:24
And how did that go? Like,

Unknown Speaker 12:25
the pre sales didn't go as well as getting a loan, the loan went a lot better. Because the loan, they looked at my credit history, and they were like, Okay, this guy's good for it. And they gave me the loan. But, and I didn't even have to tell them, it was for business. I just said, Hey, I need a loan, I need this much money. And they're like, Okay, you know, so it worked out. I also took a small loan from family a little bit to try and encourage, because they really support me, and they want to encourage me with this business, because my grandfather owned a business. So it kind of runs in the family.

Robert Peterson 12:59
Nice. So now that you have, obviously you have your books, at least the first three, right, I believe.

Unknown Speaker 13:07
So the first one is out. And the second one's coming out. I think our publisher guy owl is still sick, I'm not sure I reached out to Rene to find out. I sent it in, it's gonna be published soon. And then the last two pages are being worked on tonight for the third book. And then I've written the fourth book. And I need to sketch the pages, the way the whole book process works, is I sketch the pages. And I tell the artists, this is what I want in each page. And I put a, like a text description of each page. And then she makes it look a lot better.

Robert Peterson 13:46
So obviously, you're writing the book. And now you're you're creating a storyboard, which, you know, goes to the artist, and then the artist is actually taking your dragon idea creating the dragon, and then creating, obviously, all the pages for the books to match your story. That can be quite a, quite a process. And now you've been working with the same artist throughout this process.

Unknown Speaker 14:12
Yeah. And she's been really great. And I've been working with them for I think, like, it's going on two years now. But it's been great because they keep the price constant. And they also like value their work. So they put the same amount of effort in every book. And they do it really fast. Like I've talked to other artists because I work with other artists. And they're like, I can't believe your main artists does this so quickly. They do 15 pages in 25 days. Wow. And they finish because each of my book is 15 pages, because their children's books and they're like, how did they get these full art done in like 25 days?

Robert Peterson 14:55
Wow. That's yeah, that's pretty cool. So Let's. So let's talk about the first book. And the first story is so exciting.

Unknown Speaker 15:07
Yeah, the first one that I have out right now is the tiny water dragon. And it's the Great move away from home. And so this one talks about, you know, how it's like to have a child that has autism, that you're trying to move away from home, and they don't understand why you're moving, they don't understand what's going on. And in this scenario, a storm comes and washes away where they live, because they live in a symbiotic relationship with the beavers, on the river. And so they share the beaver homes with each other. And so when the beaver homes get knocked away, they are like, we need to move upstream. And so I looked at psychological research on children with autism and how to address when you're moving, and said, make them part of the move, give them color coded, you know, boxes to decorate the room, and let them choose their room, you know, make it how they want. And so I had to translate that into a dragon story. So I'm like, How do I do that? So the way I did that was, I made it so that the dragon, the Elder Dragon, shows a map to the tiny Dragon, and says, You will lead the way, this is where we're going. And you'll lead the way you'll lead us there. And then when they arrive, they get to pick the name too. So and I kind of used play on words a lot. I like to do that with my books. But also you can see, they have color coded little bags for the collection. But the play on words, the word fluvial, which means to be of a river, which is where they live on the river. fluvial is where they live. Oh, nice. And when they finally get home. And it's kind of cute, because the little dragons leading the way. But when they finally get there, they discover a newt on the bank of the river. And so instead of new flooville, they call it Newt flooville. Oh, very little Newt. But I thought it was a cute way to tell the story and also help parents who are like, How do I tell my child that I'm moving? We're moving away. And you know, how can I help them? And so this is a common thing that children have to deal with. And I thought translating into like, oh, fantasy story would help.

Robert Peterson 17:42
Absolutely. All right. So now introduce us to the water dragon.

Unknown Speaker 17:47
Okay, well, this is the tiny water dragon. And so you can actually get the little dragon with the book if you buy the bundle. And if you just want the dragon, after you've already bought the book, you can scan the back of the book, and it takes you to where the dragon is, oh, nice on the website. And I also try to use different quotes that are inspirational, but also have to do with the story. And I went out of my way to pick people who don't have controversy surrounding them. So like I was gonna do Benjamin Franklin, but I can't do him. I can't do certain ones. So I chose for this one, Fred Rogers. Very nice. And then another one, I think I chose Maya Angelou and then I chose Eleanor Roosevelt for another one. Nice. But yeah, this is the tiny water dragon. And right now they're $35. But then if you get them on sale for Christmas or holidays, they go down to 27.

Robert Peterson 18:48
Nice. So to share the features of this water dragon and how you created him.

Unknown Speaker 18:55
So are it I actually keep it gender neutral so that the kid can assign the gender to the dragon court. And also I keep it so that the parents in the story don't have to be like they can be guardians or they can be you know, grandparents. So I just call them the elders and I keep it open and nice. But there's these the frills are like a soft blanket kind of feature. And so it gives a different texture to the dragon. And then the ears are kind of crinkling a little bit. And then the entire thing is just a plush fabric material. And what's also kind of funny is the characters in the story. The softness of the Dragon reflects their character in the story. So this one's like a medium softness. And then the leaf Dragon is the Kinder one and vote more soft and so that plush is actually softer than the rest and then the top f1, which is the Shadow Dragon is a little bit tougher feeling than the rest of them. So it's kind of cute how they work out.

Robert Peterson 20:08
Well, and so much of this is related to, to touch, and, and feel. So you want to introduce the other two dragons.

Unknown Speaker 20:19
Sure. So the next book that's coming out, is going to be this one, I just put the cover on one of my other books, but it is the tiny leaf dragon. And this one's about making new friends and overcoming shyness, but also considering other people's perspectives. And this is the tiny leaf dragon. And this is what I was talking about, like the horns kind of remind you of like a four spirit from Japanese mythology. And the ears like the on the horns, the leaves are kind of like a rough texture. And then you have the ears that kind of flop. But then the whole body is still a plush material. And then there's this little curly tail, that kind of springs. And so it gives them more than just a toy like they can do other things with it. You know, they can play with the tail, and spring it back. And it has little fairy wings. So it can get someone interested that likes fairies or you know different things about it. Just the texture is really cool.

Robert Peterson 21:21
Nice. And so the leaf dragon story is making new friends and considering their perspectives. Yes. We will be right back after this short break. Are you an entrepreneur who started their business with purpose and passion, only to lose sight of it amidst the daily grind, we understand how frustrating that can be. That's why we're offering free strategy calls to help you gain clarity on the barriers holding you back from achieving your dreams. In just 30 minutes, our experienced coaches will work with you to identify obstacles and develop strategies for overcoming them. There's no commitment or pressure, just a chance to get some assistance and clarity, human scheduling is easy, simply visit smiling call.com and select a time that works for you. Let's jump on a call and build your business together. It's time for you to add value and achieve your full potential as an entrepreneur. Welcome back. Let's get back to more great.

Unknown Speaker 22:21
And then the next one is The Shadow Dragon. And this one, I also sell in stores. Because it turns out when we were talking about connections that I was going to ship these to factory to be copied, but to the factory, the samples. And the guy next door at the UPS store. He's like, why don't you go across the street, there's a card store and those look like Pokemon be great place to sell them. I go in there, and the guy that owns the place. Turns out I worked with him. Oh, funny. And so he's like, hey, you know, I said they said you might want feature my dragon. So these actually are more popular at the card store the Shadow Dragon. So that's been a great thing because I get a portion of the sales when they sell the dragons. And this one gets lost in the caves because they live in caves. And it gets lost because it wanders off. I actually give them each different psychological disorders too. So like this one has oppositional defiance disorder. So when they tell it to do something, they're like, No, I'm going this way.

Robert Peterson 23:30
So I don't really like anyone like that.

Unknown Speaker 23:34
So they're like, stay close. And they're like, No, I'm going out. So they go wander off. And they have to find their they're going to find a new crystal, the collect for the collection, and they find it but then they're like, where am I? I'm lost. So I had to translate how you deal with a child when they're lost, like what do you teach them to do? Especially if they have autism. And so the thing was, it said, find somebody in authority and ask them Do you know where I live? Or tell them where you live if you teach them where they live or ask them? Do you know where my parents are? Can you help me find my parents? And I translate into a dragon story again. So the way I did that was there's a mythology around salamanders being like secret keeper of secrets. So there's a salamander in the cave. And the salamander sees a little dragon crying wondering why they're crying. And they said I'm lost. Can you help me find my way home? And the salamanders like Yeah, I know where you live. And it's kind of funny because the another play on words borough like neighborhood in New York. borough of Shadows is where they live, but it also works because they live underground. So it's like a burrow underground. downwards.

Robert Peterson 24:51
But yeah, very good. So, obviously now you've gone from With seemed like a simple project to a pretty large undertaking. What's your goal? What's your, what's your hope for your business.

Unknown Speaker 25:11
So I'm hoping, number one to be successful, but also to measure my success by the people I help. And the way I thought about doing that actually kind of funded the business in a way to like for the future. I thought about going for a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to seek like a grant for autism research. And I was gonna use my upcoming project, which is the weighted plush toys, but I was gonna give out surveys and when you give out when I give out the survey, after they buy the dragon, I was gonna offer like a certain discount for when they go to buy again. But they just tell me how has this improved your life? How has this improved your child's sleeping habits has a have, they become more social, how they, you know, has anything affected them positively with the dragon, because the way to dragons are kind of like weighted blankets, and weighted blankets help with reducing anxiety, and the fact that you can carry it around. And then also sleep with it kind of makes it more mobile than an actual way to blanket.

Robert Peterson 26:19
Yeah, my my grandson actually has one that's microwavable. And so Oh, throw it into the microwave for a minute and a half before he goes to bed. And it actually it's not just the weight, it's actually warm when he's cuddling with it. And so it's interesting to how much this the weight and texture and feeling is such an integral part of the connection to this, it's not just a toy.

Unknown Speaker 26:50
Some of them I've seen even have heartbeat, like sounds to them. Wow, heartbeat thing inside of it. And that's really interesting. And so that's why I'm trying to design my own stress toys. Like at one point, I made my own fidget spinners. And I was gonna 3d print them. But the files and then finding artists to work with became too difficult. So I scrapped that project for now. But eventually, I might pick it up again. But the whole thing is really fun for me, because I find a lot of interest in it. And for the weighted plush toys, I feel like it can do a lot more good. Like it's cute to have a dragon, but then to have it the bigger size, it's going to be like that much bigger. And it's going to be able to fit, but it's gonna be heavier, and it's going to be something more tactile, you know, some kind of excited.

Robert Peterson 27:44
So Will these be new characters? Or Will these be a rehash of the existing characters

Unknown Speaker 27:50
so there'll be a rehash of these existing ones but I do have new characters in the works some for my next five books. Nice. So and I have samples made already and so those dragon samples are being sent.

Robert Peterson 28:05
So fun. Like I think you've gotten excited just because of making the characters and sounds to me like the character development is is probably the the part that drives you towards you know, how can I help tell the story but but how can this character represent you know, this particular challenge that children face

Unknown Speaker 28:28
so like in the future upcoming I have the flower dragon, the thunder dragon and the fire dragon and the fire dragon deals with anger issues the flower dragon deals with loss but the loss is open ended so it's not just death it's like anybody like going through a divorce or say they have a relative that has to go away to college things like that.

Robert Peterson 28:50
So when when am I going to get a fire dragon because I need some of that

Unknown Speaker 28:57
and then there's also the thunder dragon the thunder dragon people seem to love a lot more because it's black with like yellow lightning bolt but like on its head Oh, but that one represents joy and also like you know friendship.

Robert Peterson 29:11
Maybe I'll need I need both the fire and the joy dragon because definitely joy is joy is my my term I My mission is to end entrepreneurial unhappiness and so I want to help people find true joy. Too much pseudo joy. You know, our world has all these pseudo joys that people used to satisfy themselves, you know, social media, poor relationships, but you know, pornography and shopping and alcohol and drugs and all these things that are really just pseudo Joy right? They give you a quick hit of joy. But But nothing long, long term. So love that you have a dragon dedicated to joy like that his name's thunder that's I mean that he is the thunder dragon. That's pretty cool. And then dragon with anger that Could be, there's, there's a lot to be said there, too.

Unknown Speaker 30:03
And then the title is the lightning strike of joy does to our lightning of joy strikes more than once.

Robert Peterson 30:08
Oh, and so when will these, when will these, those dragons be available?

Unknown Speaker 30:14
So those dragons, I have to get the funds to place the order. But I have the samples coming, I ordered 15 samples, and or 15 Total samples, so five of each. And then I'm writing the books. So I finished writing the fire dragon story. And then the rest of the stories are in my head, but I haven't put them to paper. Because every story, I have to keep the entire story within 15 lines or 15 pages, right. And I have to keep it a certain number of lines. And then when I send it to my editor, I have to because I have a children's book editor. And when I send it to my editor, they have to change some of the words to make it more child friendly for my age group.

Robert Peterson 30:59
Right? Yeah, I wrote my first book last year. And I mean, obviously, that's how I met Ken and been involved with perfect publishing. But sending my book to the editor, and my first editor was my wife and I wrote my book in a week and committed to writing 6000 words a day. So I got caught up in the numbers because I was trying to get it finished in wrote 6000 words a day. And the first thing she did in the first 30 minutes is cut 3000 words, like. And, you know, once you realize that, remind yourself, though the editor is trying to make your book better. They're making your book better. You get over the numbers thing, but yeah, it there's the love hate thing for for editors, because they, they they know what's best for you, even though you don't always. So it can be hard. And I imagine you only have 15 pages of words like they cut up stuff and change it you're like, wait, but that was the story, you just thought you change the whole story.

Unknown Speaker 32:07
Yeah, so like, I actually am in constant contact with them. Almost like, monthly, I try and keep up with a minimum, like, Hey, this is how the projects going. This is how this is going. And I sent them the fire dragon story as soon as I finished it. And I said, I don't want you to edit it yet. I said, just read it. Tell me what you think. She got back to me. And she's like, I love it. And keep doing what you're doing.

Robert Peterson 32:34
Nice. Well, that's pretty exciting. So So who's, who's your target audience? You know, for the books, who do they fit the best for in their current iteration. And then who is your target for the weighted versions.

Unknown Speaker 32:50
So at first I was going for people who are like individuals that are ages, like six to nine. And I could expand that a little bit. Because sometimes autistic individuals have the mindset of that age group, but they're not physically that age. So I figure, keeping it constrained to that physical age. Doesn't make sense. So I keep it, you know, made for people and who have autism. But it also connects people who don't have autism. Because, you know, you can read the book and be like, I didn't know this dragon had awesome autism. And it's like, well, you didn't know that your neighbor has autism, things like that. And also to try and make it more, you know, inclusive for everybody. I put a font in here, and the font, I don't know if you can see it. It's for dyslexia, so that children and adults with dyslexia can read it. So the kids like read me a bedtime story. And the parents like I have dyslexia, it's like, there's no excuse now. You can read it,

Robert Peterson 33:57
wow. I didn't even know such a font existed. So it's open

Unknown Speaker 34:01
source, so you can actually find it online. And it's free to use. And it's really great. Because all my books, I'm using this font, and I'm trying to help people, you know, get into reading.

Robert Peterson 34:15
Yeah, I mean, absolutely. That's, that's, uh, I mean, obviously, if you can read, you can educate yourself. And so reading a book is, is one of the most powerful things that we can do in our own personal development. And, and of course, the power of story. You know, you and I both know the power of story, that that story is, story is what we remember stories is how we navigate the world. It's the stories we remember and the stories we share and the stories we tell. And so the fact that you're creating stories, to empower people and to help people better understand themselves, or people to better understand other people, even even as short as 15 beige. is, can be very powerful and very impactful.

Unknown Speaker 35:05
Yeah, and then I also just like bringing people together with the stories because, you know, they can read the story and then not know that the person has or the individual has autism in the story. But then, you know, they can go out and find out, Oh, hey, did you read this book and share it with somebody else? And they're like, yeah, it's about autism. And they're like, Well, you know, such and such as autism, and then the book, The story gets spread. But it also gives representation to people with autism, individuals with autism, because it's like, you don't see enough books, children's books about it. And they kind of shy away from it, they're like, Well, this is different, we don't want to be talking about something different. And a difference should be embraced. Absolutely. It's what makes us individuals, and it's what helps us on our journey, you know, because I'm different. I thought about books, and I thought about the dragons. So

Robert Peterson 36:02
yeah, are, we don't embrace our differences near near enough. In fact, we use them to, to judge and isolate and exclude rather than embracing differences and trying to, you know, I'm a huge advocate of curiosity, and the ability to ask questions. And if you have a curious mindset, then you want to, you want to explore differences rather than judge them. And so I think our culture could learn a lot from the idea of, you know, different doesn't mean wrong, different doesn't mean broken. And so different is just different. And, and the idea to understand different is so powerful.

Unknown Speaker 36:48
And that's why I also, part of my journey, or part of my mission with the company is also D stigmatizing mental health. Because some people that I've experienced with the hospital, there'll be repeat, you know, patients that come in, and the nurse will be like, Oh, that's just such and such and such, they just have Bipolar, or they just have schizophrenic, just ignore them or ignore this behavior. And it's like, that's not the way we do things. We need to embrace this person and be like, Hey, what's wrong? You know, tell me share how you're feeling? And how can I help? And stuff like that? So I take a really humanistic approach, like I'm very, you know, treat people like individuals, and I treat people like they're human at work. And for example, there was a situation with a guy who was disobeying everything that they said. And they said, Can you change into these clothes for because they emergency petition? They say, can you change into these clothes? And I said, they're like, No. And I said, hey, what can I do to get you to do that for them, for them or for for me, and they said, I'd really like some tea. And I said, I can get you some tea. And we'll have a cup of tea because I had a canteen full of tea that I bring with me. I'm like, we'll both have tea. And he goes, so we're gonna have a tea party. I'm like, Yeah, sure, we're gonna have a tea party. But I got him tea. And he was calm, cooperative, he was just all around a great guy. He just was misunderstood. Nobody understood, Hey, I just want some tea. I want to be treated like a person.

Robert Peterson 38:25
I mean, it's so so powerful. And, and I think the the other level of the stigma to mental health is the people that feel like they're supposed to have it all together, like emergency responders and first responders who, who feel like, I'm not allowed to tell anybody that I'm feeling this way or that I'm struggling with this thing inside my head and this voice in this story. And, and, and a lot of people are in a really dark place. And they don't feel safe to talk about it because they feel like I'm going to be judged, I'm going to lose my job. I'm going to I'm going to face all the, the, you know, rumor mill and gossip of all the, you know, all the people around me. And so I think there's definitely a place in our culture where, where we need to make it okay to not be okay.

Unknown Speaker 39:17
And that's the phrase I use a lot. When I talk to people, I tell them at work. I'm like, Hey, it's okay to not be okay. And the way I try and promote acceptance is I sell stress toys. Also on my website, and the stress toys are things that you wouldn't necessarily think that's a stress toy. But like there's finger stretching tools. There's a couple of like hand rollers, but you just think it's like a massage thing. But it's actually a fidget toy that helps somebody in an office or a cubicle, that's their boss is breathing down their neck, and they're like, I need I need to do something, you know.

Robert Peterson 39:56
Well, absolutely. And, and the challenge is, you know, it's obvious when somebody's got an injury, right, their arms cut off, they're bleeding, there's something broken or or squirting. That's what I say men men won't go to the hospital until it's either falling off or, you know, clearly broken. And, and I think that the mental health challenges, it's not obvious, right? It's, it's happening inside their head and, and most of us have been raised to believe that you should be able to figure it out, like, you know, I'm an adult, I should have figured this out. And, and the truth is, a lot of times, just talking about it would make a huge difference. And yet, most people are afraid to talk about it.

Unknown Speaker 40:43
And that's why I try to encourage in my fire dragon book, in the book, the characters and artists, and they get really frustrated with the questions like what's that supposed to be? What were you trying to go for there, you know, those kind of questions from their friends and family. And they get really frustrated. They're like, nobody understands me, nobody gets this. And they run to a Phoenix and the Phoenix says, you know, if you're upset, tell somebody if you're, if you're angry, you need to talk to somebody, and share how you feel. And if that doesn't work, express it in your heart. And they said, Well, what if people don't like my art? And it's like, it's not for them, it's for you. It's for you to express yourself, and to feel some kind of therapy or, you know, release of that anger, because you don't want to hurt somebody with that anger.

Robert Peterson 41:29
Nice. All right, David, what's been the biggest challenge on his entrepreneurial journey?

Unknown Speaker 41:35
So I think, finding the funding and then finding connections, but lately, I've been trying to find more connections, and it's been working out. I gotta put myself out there, you know?

Robert Peterson 41:47
Yeah, it's hard to find connections if you're not looking for him. And being intentional about about making them and like we talked earlier, you just never know what one person you might meet, in what situation or willing to ask somebody, you know, Hey, would you introduce me to this person, and Virginia used to be that person because obviously, it was an introduction to somebody that was a breakthrough for you to be able to get these dragons created. And that's, that's a pretty cool connection, that, that you wouldn't have had if you hadn't asked somebody to be your mentor and somebody to help you. Alright, so typically close each episode with the guests sharing their words of wisdom for those entrepreneurial that are that are listening.

Unknown Speaker 42:35
Well, there's a quote that I really love by artists that, like a singing artist, but I guess that's the only quote I can think of. But it's just for everything I understand 1000 More won't comprehend. And that's a really deep quote that I live by. Because it doesn't matter whether someone else understands me, it's whether I understand me in whether I can be able to help other people.

Robert Peterson 43:05
David, that's so powerful. David, thank you so much for joining me today. What a fantastic journey that you're on. And I love it when people find an idea and they're willing to go for it and and make it happen because too many of us let our brain tell us Oh, no, you can't do that. Oh, no, that won't work. And you've pushed through that you've pushed past it. And and made not just a story happen, but actually got the characters produced and, and able to share, you know, physical 3d characters with your audience, not just the book.

Unknown Speaker 43:39
Yeah, and then I've also been working on positive quotes for T shirts too.

Robert Peterson 43:44
I love it. So now you've got a t shirt line coming out. Yep.

Unknown Speaker 43:48
And this one says learn to love by loving yourself and it's a little water dragon hugging a heart.

Robert Peterson 43:56
So those are so you're you're basically taking your characters and spreading them into other other message avenues.

Unknown Speaker 44:05
Yep. And so we're working on that and then also like the leaf dragon and the flower Dragon, if you want to see the flower dragon but this one, I use the kind of pawn for dragons because they have scales. And it says, share or show love on every scale. Very nice. It has a little flower dragon hugging the leaf dragon

Robert Peterson 44:32
it's good that they're nice to each other. Just have to watch when that fire dragon shows up. David, thank you so much for joining me what a wonderful impact that you're you're seeking to make and I hope that you know people listening I'd be willing to go to your website. Where can they where can they find these dragons in the stories?

Unknown Speaker 44:54
Tiny dragons treasure trove.com And we also have a Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And Tiktok

Robert Peterson 45:01
perfect. Yeah. So dragons are actually doing videos now.

Unknown Speaker 45:05
I'm actually working on getting an animated series together. Whoo.

Robert Peterson 45:08
You knew that was the next step. Yep. I

Unknown Speaker 45:10
filed trademarks and animated series and a couple other things. So

Robert Peterson 45:14
that's fantastic. David, thank you so much. This was wonderful.

Unknown Speaker 45:17
Thanks. Thank you for having me.

Robert Peterson 45:20
Absolutely. Thank you for tuning in to this episode brought to you by the power of intentional decisions that lead to massive action. Those aren't just buzzwords. They're qualities that can help you take control of your life and build a successful business. To support you on this journey. We're offering you our most popular survey to help you establish a baseline visit enjoy his life.com to check it out and take the first steps towards changing your life and we often make things more complicated than they need to be losing sight of what's truly important. This tool will help you refocus on what matters most, so that you can start doing the things you've always wanted to do, like spending quality time with loved ones. And if you enjoyed this episode, please show us some love by liking, subscribing, or leaving a review, but most importantly, share it with someone who needs to hear it. In our next episode, Robert has a fantastic conversation with Dr. Sabrina Starling about how business should support your life, not the other way around. Most business owners are sacrificing their life for their business. Dr. Sabrina is committed to changing that and helping business owners reinvent their business to support their life and reduce stress and strain while increasing profits.