Welcome to my May 2017 Monthly Income Report!
There are lots of things happening in SPI land these days. Lots of investments back into the business, to be precise, but I’ll report on those in just a moment. First, for those of you who are seeing this income report for the first time, these reports are something I’ve been creating every month since October 2008.
Initially, the income report was supposed to be done only once to show what had happened when I began to monetize my very first online business, Green Exam Academy. I mean, who reveals their income each month so openly? At the time, it was something I saw only one other person do, and I thought it was really cool. The reaction was so strong and positive from my readers, that I had to keep it going. In case you’re interested, you can visit the income report page to see the entire archive of reports since 2008.
More than the income and where it all comes from, these reports serve two other purposes. First, to hold myself accountable each and every month. Seeing the numbers in a public space encourages me to keep trying new things, experiment, and report on what I learn. Second, and most important, are those lessons that I learn along the way. I’m here to teach and to serve you, the business owner (or future business owner) who wants to know what the path is like ahead.
A lot of what I do works, and a lot of what I do doesn’t work. Either way, those experiences can be turned into great lessons for all of you who follow along. But lessons are one thing. Taking action based on what you read, listen, and watch is another. That’s what separates those who win and those who lose. Can you take action, push forward through the failures, and actually create something that matters to a bunch of people. Your business doesn’t have to change the entire world, but it should help change somebody’s world.
Let’s get to what’s been happening, and let me share what’s been happening in my world.
Important Goings-On in May
Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve been investing quite heavily in the future of SPI.
Team building is one aspect of that. Since 2013 I’ve been growing my team to become a group of masters of their craft, and amazing supportive people who share my vision and put their expert fingerprints on the world of SPI and its projects. It’s something I wish I had done earlier, but at the same time I look at the line item for the team, and it’s been going up quite a bit. This past month was a record month in payments toward the team, and a part of me cringes when I see that number because I realize I’m paying more for my team this month than I used to make in an entire year when I was in the world of architecture.
That’s old Pat thinking though. A scrappy, bootstrappy entrepreneur he was.
New Pat has the CEO mindset when it comes to his business. He understands the value of having a great team behind the business, making things happen, and getting things done.
I don’t know how I got into third person there, so let me bring it back.
I’m happy to pay that money because I am definitely seeing a return from it. Projects are getting done, bold moves are being made, and I wouldn’t want it done any other way at this point.
Beyond the team (and this is the big news . . . and investment), in late April I signed the lease to a new office space, outside of my home, that will be used primarily as a video studio. There is also room for a meeting space and storage. Here’s what the 968-square-foot plan looks like:
My goal was to have a space set up properly so that I could walk in, press a couple of buttons, and immediately go live, or record a video without having to set up and tear down equipment each time I wanted to shoot. I tried to create something similar—a permanent video studio—in my garage, but there wasn’t enough room for the shots I wanted. And the video equipment just took up too much space. True, you don’t need much to get started with video. All you need is your smartphone, and really that’s it. But, like I said, I’m investing in the future of SPI, which will rely heavily on video.
You’ll definitely see more YouTube videos soon. I have 75,000 subscribers on my YouTube Channel who haven’t been getting much from me lately, mostly because of the setup problem. And online courses. I’ll be creating more courses, for sure. And the easier they are to create, the more likely they’ll happen.
Let me walk you through the space really quick.
I don’t plan on having any employees based at the office. It’s mainly for me to come in and shoot when I want, and I may ask my videographer, Caleb Wojcik, to come by from time to time to help with some of the more robust video shoots.
The reception area will simply be a welcoming space that will incorporate some chairs and couches, and some meaningful decor on the wall. That space looks into the first office on the right, which I’m calling the War Room, a space for a table and chairs, white boards, and other “battle planning” stuff. It’ll mainly be used for planning what goes down in the video shoots.
The middle office is going to be used as the control room for the main studio. It’ll have all of the equipment, computers, and cabling, plus there’s enough extra room in there for filing paperwork, and storage.
R/R = rest room, hehe.
The breakroom. In it, probably just a mini-fridge, maybe a coffee machine. We’ll see. The most important thing in here is where the internet lives. I was able to jack up the speed to 50/50 (50mbps download and 50mbps upload) using a local provider, which is important because when I go live, I’ll usually be simulcasting to Facebook, YouTube, and Periscope at the same time.
This requires a lot of upload speed. Thankfully, it’s possible in this space.
The large conference room on the plan, the largest room in the space, is the studio. A truss system across the entire ceiling allows for the permanent hanging of lights, cameras (action!), and even microphones, so they are off the floor, yay! And there are also multiple angles and sets that can be created in the space.
Here’s a video of it part-way through the build out:
Just last week during Ask Pat Live, a weekly show that I host on Fridays at 1:30 p.m. Pacific, I was able to test the streaming software for the first time. It was so much fun, and I loved having the ability to add text on the screen, full size cards, and use my computer to manage the various comments coming in.
Here’s a YouTube video replay for that stream, which again was simulcasted on multiple platforms:
I’d like to give a special shout out to David and Luria from LiveStreamingPros.com. They are the ones responsible for helping me get set up in the new studio.
I have two other special people I have to mention related to the new office as well. First, Pete Sveen from DIY Pete. Pete had been a fan of SPI since 2012 (I think), and he often credits me for helping him get his start online, which I’m super thankful for. Pete now has an incredible YouTube channel with over 130,000 subscribers, and he gets paid to do what he loves—build amazing DIY projects, and share them with the world. His most popular video, How to build a Farmhouse Table, has nearly 1.3 million views!
When I learned about my new office space, I contacted Pete to see if he’d be interested in helping me with a little decoration piece that would be placed behind me during Ask Pat Live. The timing was perfect because he was already doing a nationwide build tour, and he was going to make his way to San Diego! Long story short, he actually gifted me this beautiful piece below: a steel, hand-cut (with a plasma cutter) logo!
And yep, it lights up too.
Got to hang out, install a sign I made, and get a sneak peak of the new AskPatLive / SPI studio! This was a gift for my buddy @patflynn who inspired me to start my first online business back in 2011. Subscribe to the Smart Passive Income Podcast and AskPat Live show if ya haven't already. He is the best internet business teacher out there. Thanks @calebwojcik for filming and great to see ya'll David, Caleb, Haley, and Christy!! @homedepot @ryobipowertools
Amazing, Pete. Thank you so much for this gift!
And finally, Haley Badenhop, an artist from Wyoming who was also inspired by SPI (primarily the podcast). She reached out to me a week after I signed the lease to my new office space. Without even knowing that, she offered to paint a mural if I ever needed one, so I asked her if she’d be down to paint one in my office, and she totally did! Here’s a timelapse of her working on it, which took her all day! Thank you, Haley, for your talent, and for leaving this amazing artwork in a space where I can come and be immediately inspired!
How cool is that?! It’s the “serve first” mantra I always use, wrapped around a number of meaningful symbols. Can you spot them?
I’m super thankful to have amazing people in the SPI community who want to give back. Thank you, Pete, Haley, and everyone else who has shown support for the brand over the years!
Make sure to check out my Facebook Page, Periscope, or YouTube Channel for Ask Pat Live on Fridays. Also, if you aren’t a part of the SPI Community Facebook Group, I’ll be going live there from time to time too.
Let’s get into this month’s income breakdown.
Full Disclosure: Some of the items in the list below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase through that link, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
Note: Items with an empty difference percentage were not present on the previous month's income report.
Lesson Learned in May
Beyond getting the studio set up, a good portion of May was used to gear up and get ready for the relaunch of Smart From Scratch. The interesting thing was that all of the work we completed was either technology or website-related. Content-wise, nothing was touched, because the course was already created and fine-tuned from previous launches.
This was the first time I’ve experienced this with an online course, because I actually haven’t had a course before this one. Smart From Scratch first launched to a founders group in October 2016. For that beta launch, a lot of work was done related to the content, although a lot of it was also created with the group as well.
For the first public launch in February 2017, there was still a lot of content work to do. Based on the feedback from the founders group, a number of content-related upgrades were made to prepare for that launch:
- Every lesson was re-written with more information leading into the lesson’s video.
- All of the videos were updated to include graphics, such as lower-thirds, full-screen cards, and call-outs for action items.
- And the sales page was also tweaked a bit.
Last week, however, when Smart From Scratch reopened, none of that content was touched, and it was amazing. That’s the awesome thing about working hard now so you can reap the benefits later. Specifically, with an online course, once you make it and fine-tune it, it’s ready to be shared with the world—not just once, but many times over.
With that said, it’s important to keep an eye out for ways to improve what you’ve created. Always be collecting feedback, and take that into consideration as you continue to iterate, launch, improve, and serve.
With some courses, the content may be less evergreen (e.g., if you have a social media course, especially one related to Facebook). You may need to include certain updates over time so the content doesn’t feel out of date. I remember buying a course recently and immediately it became obvious that the course creator didn’t seem to keep things up-to-date. The software that was being demonstrated didn’t look anything like the updated version, so I found myself struggling a bit.
Smart From Scratch is currently closed until September and I’m working with the new students to help them through the content via office hours each week and participating in discussions within the Student Center. If you’d like to sign up for the waitlist to be notified of the next launch, all you have to do is click here and put your name on the list.
Next month is another big month for SPI, because I’m using what I learned from Smart From Scratch to promote a brand new course coming out—a podcasting course for those looking to streamline the setup of their own show. It’s called Power-Up Podcasting, and it’s coming soon. It’ll be a little different because I’ll also include an upsell to a two-day intensive workshop in Southern California. I’m nervous, but excited at the same time. Let’s do this! If you’d like to put your name on the waitlist for Power-Up Podcasting, click here!
Thanks again for your support, and all the best to you and your projects.