With an almost 3-year old and a 3 month old in the house together, things can get pretty wild. My wife and I make a decent tag team and surprisingly managing two kids hasn’t been as hard as we thought it was going to be.
(I say that now, but check back with me in a few months.)
Within the office walls I’m balancing multiple projects, as usual, and with the speaking circuit I’m on in the first half of 2013 things are definitely not going to die down.
As the new year approaches I’ve been thinking a lot about The Smart Passive Income brand – how far it has come, where it’s at and where I want it to go. I know I always say this, but this blog wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for you, the fans. I’m humbled, blessed and amp’d to pay you back for all of your support you’ve given me these past 4 years.
Because I know you invest a lot of your time with Smart Passive Income, like a good company would do with its shareholders, I want to give you some details about where I want to take the brand in the future.
I wouldn’t consider this post and what I’m about to outline below a “brand new” direction. It’s not a reaction to anything except the fact that I know I could do even more for you.
The words “fine-tuning” might sum it up best, and being more purposeful.
I’d love to hear what you think about where things are headed…
A New Look
This blog has been through a handful of redesigns in the past, and although I realize that the current design is not necessarily broken (it’s obviously “doing its thing”), there are still aspects of it that can definitely be improved upon.
User experience will play a major role in how it looks. Form follows function (as we used to say back in architecture school) and everything will have its purpose. The current design, unfortunately, incorporates a lot of random “hey this is cool” or “I heard this might work” items, especially in the sidebar.
As much ‘stuff’ as I put on the site (which only adds to the clutter) very little of it actually gets clicked on or used. That’s not good.
For full disclosure, I’m working closely with Chase Reeves who did the amazing redesign for ThinkTraffic.net, along with a Thesis designer too. The new site will be on the incredibly powerful Thesis 2.0 (affiliate link) theme framework.
On Facebook, I asked my fans to share one thing that they liked about the design of my blog and one thing that could be improved. The 60+ responses were absolute gold, but here’s one from Joshua Natella that made me shift forward in my chair:
The most successful series on SPI is the niche site duel, by far. That case study and experiment has helped countless people start their own websites, earn their first dollar online and it has actually helped a number people quit their day jobs and start a new life.
The series started in August of 2010. Although I’ve gone back and updated some of the content so that it’s still current, Joshua is absolutely right – there hasn’t been a “niche site duel” type case study since.
In 2013, you’re going to see a lot more of me starting from scratch and taking you along with me, sharing everything along the way. That’s the kind of stuff you won’t want to miss out on.
I think part of the delay is that I’m still working to improve the security guard training site that came out of the niche site duel. It’s on pace for a record month of earnings in December and there is still so much more potential.
One idea I had was that when the sites and businesses I build become sustainable and are as automated as possible, I could hand them off to someone to manage, we’d share the revenue and the site could continue on it’s path so that I can focus on something new. I could sell them off instead (the latest offer I had on my security guard training site is $38,000), but I’d rather continue to earn that passive income and keep that business as an asset as it continues to grow.
This way, I can help more people by doing more case studies, I’d have a portfolio of businesses that I can test various marketing strategies on to share, and the income I earn outside of the make money online space can continue to grow.
Plus, it would make creating content on the SPI blog incredibly easy and I think that information would be more educational and more memorable than just writing “top 10 tips for” posts all day long.
Every day my inbox welcomes at least 3 or 4 emails from people who ask me to personally coach or mentor them. Some of those people are starting from scratch, some of them already have an existing blog or business.
As much as I would love to help every single person who asks, it is just not humanly possible to do so and I feel terrible when I decline their requests. I put a lot into my blog posts, videos and podcast sessions because I know I can’t help everyone individually. I let my content become the coach or the mentor, but of course everyone’s situation is a little different, as are the skills they have to tap into.
To go along with the idea of regularly starting or exploring something new (i.e. every 2-3 months, more or less), I’d also love to help others do the same with me. Of course, the blog posts and reports that I publish will educate those who decide to consume that content, but I want to actually take in a small group of fired-up, enthusiastic and committed individuals and form a “learning group” so we can all work through our own projects together.
In the “learning group”, we’d all have more motivation to get things done, we can all learn from each other and we can see what works and what doesn’t across the board. I’ll then be able to report more confidently on what works and what doesn’t for everyone. It’ll be fun for you to not just follow my own progress, but the progress of others in the group too.
Lastly, I get a lot of emails from people who think that I’m something special. They think, “I’m no Pat Flynn, I can’t do that”.
The truth is, I am nobody special. And hopefully by showing how others succeed too, we can all gain the confidence to take action together.
I still have to work out the logistics, but there will most likely be an application and interview process to figure out who will be in the groups. When I move onto a new project, that group can choose to continue to meet as a little mastermind group.
I love to teach. I love to take complicated, foreign things and break them down so that you can learn much faster, and therefore get results much faster.
Doing this in the context of actually building a business from scratch or trying something new in an existing business and taking you along the ride would take my teaching to a whole new level, and I know it would help the SPI blog grow even faster and reach more people.
Again, I’ve done this before, but it needs to happen again and more often, and it will.
Do you like where this is headed? Would you prefer more regular, deep case studies like the niche site duel? I write for you, so I’d love to know what you think.
Cheers, and all the best!