Welcome to my September 2017 Monthly Income Report!
We had a lot of firsts this month, and I’m excited to share them with you today. Before I go on, if you’re looking for the archive of income reports dating back to October 2008, please visit the income report page here.
As always, I’m excited to share not only my income sources and total income generated from this past month, but also the lessons learned at the same time. I’m pushing hard through the rest of the year, but I’m having a ton of fun at the same time.
Here’s what happened in September.
My First Time in Europe, Ever!
I checked a major item off my bucket list in the beginning of the month: I finally made it to Europe!
I was invited to perform the opening keynote at the DNX Conference for Digital Nomads & Lifehackers in Lisbon, Portugal, and although it was a quick four-day trip, I definitely made the most of it.
To start, I decided to vlog (video blog) the entire journey. From packing, to arrival and even parts of the presentation itself, I had an amazing time figuring out how to best capture this journey of mine to Europe for memory’s sake, and also to share with those who wanted to come along the ride with me.
I edited most of the videos on the airplane on the way back using iMovie, and I have to say, it was so much fun to record and edit these videos! It actually renewed some creative energy in me that I haven’t had in a long time.
The blog and the podcast have been so “machine-like” as far as production for so long now, I didn’t realize I had this craving to get “artsy” with something until I was in the middle of editing these videos and caught myself smiling from ear to ear.
I’ve embedded the first of four videos that were made from my trip, so if you wanted to see what my trip was like, and also check out my experiments with vlogging, click play to watch the video below!
And please make sure you subscribe to the YouTube channel. I have a lot more videos coming in 2018 (more on that later) and I’d be honored if you clicked here to subscribe to my channel.
Beyond the vlogging, I met some amazing new people, and I even ran into Brian Dean from Backlinko.com, who is a fan favorite here on SPI when it comes to SEO and backlinking. He’s written the most popular guest post of all time here on Smart Passive Income, The Backlinking Strategy that Works. It was great to reconnect with Brian and explore Lisbon after midnight one night, which apparently is when a ton of people roam the streets of Lisbon and party.
I also spent a lot of time with my book coach, Azul, who happened to be temporarily living in Lisbon and also attending the same event. He and his partner Steve showed me around town, took me to some amazing restaurants, and we even did a little bit of sight-seeing together, which was amazing.
My only regret with the trip is that I didn’t plan to stay longer, but I knew I didn’t want to be away from the family for too long. The short trip makes me definitely want to come back again, and I’m totally bringing the family next time, too.
Special thanks to Feli and Marcus, the co-founders of the DNX Conference, for inviting me to speak. And also a big thanks to all of the amazing international SPI fans who were there, too. I forget how world-wide this audience is, and I’m thankful for support for my work wherever I go. It means the world to me.
My First Solo Live Workshop
After getting back from Europe, I didn’t have too much time to relax before having another big time first to think about—something that scared me, but also really excited me at the same time:
My first ever solo live workshop.
I had a few weeks to prepare before the September 30 – October 1 event, but time was running out, and I had no idea what I was doing.
This particular workshop was called The Power-Up Podcasting® Fast-Track Workshop, a two-day intensive that speeds people through the content of the digital podcasting course I offer, but with a lot more personal attention and hand-holding along the way.
It was pre-sold as an upsell during the previous launch of the digital course back in June. The idea was originally inspired by a few of my course students, who had hinted that they would fly to San Diego to learn the material from me if such an offering existing. So, I decided to test this out for two reasons:
- To see if this was indeed something people would pay for; and
- To see if this was something I actually enjoyed doing.
Running a live workshop is definitely not passive, but I’ve learned that as my passive income continues to grow, I still find the need, personally, to want to connect and help people more.
If I launched and no one purchased, then it would be easy for me to see that this is something I shouldn’t do. If I launched and people purchased, but I didn’t enjoy the work, then again it would be easy for me to see that this is something I shouldn’t worry about anymore.
There was no way to know for sure except to try, so that’s what I did.
During the launch of both the digital course and the workshop, I had a number of people inquire about the workshop and all that was included with it. That was a good sign. Soon after that, I had eight people sign up within a couple of days, and I knew I needed to slow down a bit because I hadn’t considered a limit on the numbers of students, and how the experience of the event would be based on the number of people who were in attendance. So, I pulled the upsell and just focused on selling the digital course only until the doors were shut on that.
It was at that time I decided to put a limit of fifteen on the event because I wanted to keep it small and intimate, plus I figured if it didn’t go very well, at least it was to a smaller group of people, hehe. If it did go well and I wanted to do it again, I could always scale it up later.
It was at this point I sent an email to two different sets of people:
- Those who were on the waitlist who had yet to purchase the digital course; and
- Those who had already purchased, who I could offer the workshop to as an upsell.
To those who were on the waitlist (again, after the digital course was closed), my positioning went something like this:
Since you’re on the waitlist, I wanted to share something exciting with you since the digital course I offered last week just didn’t seem to be a good fit for you. I get it—it’s not easy to go through a digital course on your own! There are a ton of videos, and unless you have a lot of extra time, it can be nearly impossible to find consistent time each day to go through the course material and get any value from it.
With that said, I have a solution that could work. For two days only, starting on September 30, I’m conducting a fast-track workshop here in San Diego, CA, that will walk you through the entire course curriculum within two days so that by the end of the workshop, you’ll have everything you need to go home and record and launch your new podcast with confidence . . .
To those who had already purchased Power-Up Podcasting®, this is how I framed that offer:
Thank you again for purchasing Power-Up Podcasting! As you can see, the course outlines everything you need to not only launch your new podcast, but also market it so it can be found. I’m excited to see your show live, soon!
Some students, including alumni, have shared with me that they wish they could find a way to absorb all of the course material in a quicker way, and I’m excited to mention that I’ve come up with a solution to make that happen. Whether it’s because you’re impatient (like I am, hehe!) or because you literally just do not have the time to go through the video content within the course, I’d love to offer you a seat at my upcoming two-day Power-Up Podcasting fast-track workshop, which will be held in San Diego, CA for the first time on September 30. We’ll run through all of the material in the course in just two days, and we’ll even have a chance to do some fun and helpful things that cannot be done within a digital course, like live interview training and voice coaching . . .
After sending an email out, the seats filled up rather quickly, and I’m excited to have had a number of people tell me they wish they could make it but they just couldn’t line up their schedules to make it work.
After that, we were on.
I had booked a room at a local country club I’m a member of, which came free with the membership. We just had to book the room in advance, which thankfully I did a number of months ago, in case we did actually sell seats to this thing. What was nice was that the food for the event was catered by the country club, so we just had one point of contact, and no outside contractors to work with to make this happen, and make it awesome.
Although the material was mostly the same as is covered in the digital course, obviously because it’s a live event, the content was going to be delivered in a different way. It was my job to convert that digital material into something that could be taught in person in an engaging and fun way. I also created worksheets and templates to help people through some of the parts of the journey that I felt would require some writing and reflection time.
In addition to the workshop content, we also had plans for an on-site designer to come in and work with each individual student on their podcast artwork.
And then came September 30 . . .
So How Did the Workshop Go?
Honestly, it couldn’t have gone better. We couldn’t have hand-picked a better group of amazing future podcasters who worked hard absorbing a ton of information and putting pen to paper all weekend to craft their show concept, content, and launch execution plan. It was a weekend filled with major breakthroughs, and we all came away with fifteen new friends as a result.
My favorite part was having time to individually go around the room and help people on those little things that they seemed to get stuck on. From their show description, to figuring out who to interview, and how to market their podcast, having the time to give people my time was so fulfilling, and people loved having that time to ask questions directly.
It was actually a really good thing we capped it at fifteen, because if there had been more participants it would have been hard for me to give each person individual attention within the two-day period.
The testimonials that came from the event made me cry, and I’m excited to come back and do it again. I’m not quite sure when it’ll happen, but I’m looking to run at least one fast-track workshop per quarter starting in 2018.
If you’re interested in Power-Up Podcasting, either the digital course, or the workshop, please sign-up to the waitlist at PowerUpPodcasting.com and I’ll let you know when things happen.
Big thanks to Jessica and Mindy from Team Flynn who flew down to support me during the weekend, and a HUGE thanks once again to the attendees of the event for trusting me to guide you. I had massive amounts of fun, and I cannot wait to see your podcasts soar!
Here’s a picture of all of us in a private room in one of my favorite restaurants in San Diego.
Matt and Caleb Visited San Diego
Mid-month, while I was putting together the materials for the podcasting workshop, Matt Gartland, who is a top-level team member on Team Flynn, flew into town to talk strategy with me for all things SPI 2018.
For two days, he and Caleb Wojcik (my videographer, who has also been contributing a lot of strategy into the SPI brand lately) locked ourselves in my studio with two giant whiteboards and planned out the entire year for 2018 from a high-level strategy perspective.
We looked at our business plan for 2017 and compared it to where we were at now, and determined what was working, what wasn’t, and how we should shape our goals for 2018.
A LOT of new things are happening in 2018 based on this meeting, and although I’m not quite ready to lay down the exact plan for next year, I am going to tell you that the one big theme for everything we’re doing for next year can be summed up into two words:
This means higher value in the free offerings that we have, including the blog, podcast, and on video, and higher value in the premium offerings that we have as well.
2017 was about laying the foundation for the courses, which has panned out very well so far. In fact, we’re above our estimates for 2017 already, and we still have a few months left in the year. Next year, the course creation will slow down, and it’ll be about optimizing those marketing funnels, and offering more value on top of those existing courses.
In addition to that, we looked at a severely underserved segment of my audience, also known as “Bucket #3”, as segmented on my email list, which are those who are generating a generous amount of income online who have specific needs that are much different than Bucket #0 (those who have yet to start an online business), and Bucket #1 (those who have started and are generating a little bit of income, but not enough to go full time).
I’m excited to launch something fun next year for those a further along in the business journey. I know that’s kind of vague, but we’re still hashing out the details of exactly what this offering will look like, and you’ll definitely hear more about that later. Especially if you’re in Bucket #3 🙂
Here’s Matt writing on one of our white boards in my studio, and Caleb paying close attention 🙂
I’m excited for the future of SPI. It’s going to feel a bit different next year, but in a better way—I promise.
And don’t worry, the podcast isn’t going anywhere. In fact, there are changes being made to the podcast to give you even more value in what’s already being served to you.
Excited to share more as 2018 approaches, so stay tuned, and make sure you follow me on Facebook since I often make a lot of major announcements on live video on the SPI Facebook Page.
Speaking of video, one more things to share before we get into the income report . . .
Check Out the New Look!
Although I’ve had my video studio (a 900 SF space I’m leasing that’s setup for live and recorded video) since June, it still hasn’t been used to it’s top capacity yet. Part of the reason is because it’s not quite yet “walk in and record” ready. In other words, there are still a lot of steps required to get to the point of entering the space, and starting to record or broadcast on live video.
That’s going to change though. With a newfound energy for video, thanks to those vlogs, video is actually going to be a large component of the content strategy next year for Smart Passive Income.
Caleb and I have been putting the missing pieces into place within the studio to have it walk-in ready, and we’ve been going deep during the last month figuring out out content plan related to video.
I’ve also been in learning mode again, picking up Brian Dean’s First-Page Videos course, and learning from YouTube content creators such as Tim Schmoyer and Roberto Blake. Although I’ve had a YouTube channel since 2009 with 75,000 subscribers, I know I’m completely under serving my audience over there, hence the low numbers on my most recent uploads.
The YouTube algorithm is a beast, and there are a lot of tips and tricks I’m learning to hopefully make some sort of impact there next year. It’s very experimental in the approach, but I’m definitely investing some time and money into figuring things out.
One investment that was made recently, which is fun, was upgrading the background in my video studio for the main camera view. Instead of a white wall behind me, which you may have seen on some AskPat LIVE videos on Facebook, I hired a contractor to build this backdrop instead:
Isn’t that great? I can’t wait to share this live on camera, and within recorded tutorial-style videos that will be coming out next year too.
Ahh, there’s so much to look forward to, I can’t wait!
We’re in for a strong finish here in 2017, but planning ahead, I’ve learned, is so important to do. It’s the difference between an entrepreneur who is constantly scrambling to figure things out, and an CEO who knows what’s up and what’s coming next.
For now, here’s the income breakdown from last month, which includes the second public launch of Power-Up Podcasting.
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Lessons Learned in September
September was definitely an experience for me. From my trip to Europe to my first podcasting workshop, to massive changes in the approach for content on SPI next year—there were a ton of lessons learned, and lots of exciting moments, for sure.
The biggest thing I learned, however, was while I was in Lisbon self-filming my vlog related material.
I used a Sony RX-100 Mark V to record, and I had it mounted on a small tripod with flexible legs that could bend and wrap around things. It wasn’t a huge thing to carry with me, but it was definitely noticeable—especially if I was filming myself in selfie mode and talking to it . . . which was totally awkward.
Here I am, in Europe, holding this “thing” in front of me and speaking to it—I almost didn’t go through with it because I was worried about what people would think of me—but then I realized: why would they think of me in a way that matters anyway?
I’m in another country, so I’m likely to never ever see these people again, and more than that, do I really think I’m that important that someone would care so much about what I’m doing while recording myself that it would bother them?
Over the course of the four days I spent in Lisbon, I became more and more comfortable with the idea of talking on the camera while in public. On the final day, at the event, it was almost a natural thing to do, especially while at the DNX Conference when I was able to capture moments with other attendees and speakers.
There’s nothing to worry about, and although when I pull out my camera, or even my phone and I still have those reservations about speaking at the device while in public, I realized that there’s nothing to worry about, because no one cares.
Keep that in mind as you begin to create behind the scenes content of your own, perhaps small snippets of your day that you share on Instagram or Snapchat, or Facebook or maybe in a more drawn-out video. Whatever it is, your audience will appreciate getting an insider look at something you’re up to, and you’ll be able to build an even stronger relationship with them as a result, and become more confident at the same time.
Thanks again for following my journey, and I look forward to what happens over the course of the next thirty-one days!