Episode 10

Mike McAlister's Liftoff Creator Course

Published on: 7th February, 2023

Mike McAlister wasn’t a creative when he started playing around with early design software on a public library computer as a middle schooler. But he quickly found himself in the medium, and over time developed his own design practice — eventually becoming a full-fledged graphic designer, combining his love of computers with his creative inspiration to build website and templates and design elements for others to do so.  

After selling his successful company, McAlister started a new chapter in his professional life, developing the book and course “Lift Off,” which is a summary of his “trials and tribulations” in learning to market his own skills as a creative entrepreneur, and a distillation of the successful elements which have made up his “special sauce.”  

“Being a creative involves If you want to keep evolving your craft, evolution is part of that.” In the conversation, McAlister reflects on the open-minded and active way that many creatives approach all things— being naturally curious, looking for connections and opporutnities to synthesize information, experiences and relationships to keep a creative practice progressing.  

McAlister discusses how creatives are inherently problem solvers. His book and course are focused on helping creatives identify and hone in on what they are good at, and their audiences and potential audiences.

But the content of the book can also be boiled down to effective marketing tools and practices — things that can help not only help individuals to monetize what they are good at, but could be used as “an idea vehicle” to help generate more altruistic content — like social justice messaging — and help them to be more salient and successful.  

McAlister also reflects on the unique creative community found in Milwaukee — a place he chose as home about 15 years ago. He sees the DIY nature of it evolving into something more forward-looking. In a world where individual artists and makers are becoming more valued and their influence is everywhere, he speculates that Milwaukee may soon become known as a creative hub.

Learn more about Liftoff and about Mike.


A Brief History of Design Software 


Lemon Squeezy 



Beth Eaton Pottery  

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About the Podcast

Creative MKE
Milwaukee is an arts hub. The city's creatives, entrepreneuers, arts and culture organizations, and businesses are part of an interconnected creative economy that is fueling growth and community wellbeing in powerful ways.
Join Elisabeth Gasparka for this conversation show from Imagine MKE, where we hear from creative leaders in Milwaukee and beyond, to highlight all the incredible transformative power of their work in our region. We hope that after listening to the pod you’ll be able to imagine Milwaukee's arts and culture ecosystem—and all the awesome artists, organizations and creative assets within it, in a new way.
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