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SPI 635: Hiring a Team, Building to Sell, and YouTube in 2023 with Sean Cannell

Could you sell your business? You might not be interested, but here’s the thing: if your company can be sold, it means you’re running it with the best systems in place. It means that, when life happens, your team won’t just keep the lights on, they’ll grow the brand in your absence!

I’m so excited to have Sean Cannell of Think Media back on the show. He was a guest on episode 328, where he shared the strategies that led to his success on YouTube. A lot has changed since then, so today we get into the updated tactics creators need to be aware of going into 2023. To learn even more, check out the second edition of Sean’s incredible book, YouTube Secrets [Amazon affiliate link].

But the main reason I wanted to have Sean back on the show is that he’s doing something very interesting with Think Media. He has successfully transitioned his personal brand to a team brand, all while scaling his company and freeing up more time to focus on family and health.

Join us for this chat to discover Sean’s three-step methodology for business growth, the seven Cs of YouTube success, how to build a team with a shared vision, and why you should prepare your business for sale (even if that’s not your goal). Enjoy!

Today’s Guest

Sean Cannell

Sean Cannell is the CEO of Think Media and co-host of the Think Media Podcast. He is one of today’s leading online video experts and the world’s most-watched YouTube strategist.

Sean’s YouTube channels have over 2 million subscribers and his videos have been viewed over 150 million times. Sean has been featured in the “20 Must Watch YouTube Channels That Will Change Your Business” by

After growing a six-figure income as a “tech YouTuber,” he built an eight-figure online video education company that he runs today.

You’ll Learn


SPI 635: Hiring a Team, Building to Sell, and YouTube in 2023 with Sean Cannell

Sean Cannell: How long should my YouTube videos be? It’s one of the biggest questions I get. And my answer is, yes, they should absolutely. And people go, what? Like, what? What? Come on. And I’m like, no, you should do seven second shorts, you should do great four minute videos. You know what else works, is eight and a half minute videos that are great. So does 20 minute videos. So what does that all mean? All the formats, if you’re creating it with the viewer in mind and who’s this content for are relevant.

Pat Flynn: You’re listening to Smart Passive Income, and that’s Sean Cannell from Think Media, an amazing YouTube channel to help people who are creators who wanna do more video. And he’s been on the show before and back then he had written a book called The YouTube Secrets. The second version just came out.

So we’re gonna give all of you an update on what’s happening with YouTube and all that kind of stuff. But even beyond that, and probably the more of the in depth part of this conversation really is how Sean has evolved his business, how he’s hired. I mean, his entire business is bootstrapped and he’s building different arms of his business and he, he’s having other players come to lead those sections, and this is such a great, great conversation because whether you have a personal brand or not getting your business to a point where it could sell, not because you want to sell it, but because that’s how you create systems that work, that allow you to get time back.

And Sean has just had another baby recently, so that’s on his mind and he’s wanted to create space and boundaries around that. This is such a key conversation and Sean is just such a, a wealth of information. Not just in the world of video and YouTube, but business building and team building. And this will be an incredibly helpful episode for you.

And here we are. We are just a day after my birthday, my 40th birthday. So thank you to those of you who have reached out to wish me well on my 40th, but this is more important, you know? So what, I turned 40. Great. I’m thinking about my next leg of my business, and you should be thinking about yours too, and this could definitely help you for sure.

So Sean Cannell from Think Media in his book, YouTube Secrets Second Edition out on Amazon. Go ahead and check it out. And here he is, Sean Cannell.

Announcer: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast, where it’s all about working hard now, so you can sit back and reap the benefits later and know your host. He likes to use Google Maps to look at all neighborhoods he used to live in. Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Sean, welcome back to the Smart Passive Income Podcast and it’s for hanging out with me today.

Sean Cannell: Pat Flynn. I am so grateful to be here and, I appreciate you so

Pat Flynn: much. We always keep letting each other on each other’s platforms. You’ve had me on your channel several times. You had me on your stage recently in Vegas, which was a really, really great event.

You seem to attract just such an incredibly smart and generous group of people, not just on your stage but just even your audience. It was the first event I went to after the pandemic and it was really well done and so thank you for that cuz you’ve had me on the stage there. I got to become friends with Vanessa Lao and other people at that event.

It was really well put together and thank you for that. I also know since we last chatted that you’ve had some life things happen, some new additions to the family. How’s, how’s family life? What’s the family like now? Like how many kids? How old are they?

Sean Cannell: My first born boy just turned two, and I have a six week old second boy now, and so I’m just figuring life out.

My wife is a superwoman. She’s, she’s a CFO of our company, and so she’s still holding that down, holding our house down, and baby’s cluster feeding. She’s breastfeeding and so it’s a, that’s a whole season. Why we also have the other boy and, and trying to run a business too, and trying to, you know, juggle all of those things.

And so parenting, parenthood definitely changes you and I was talking about this the other day about, you know, not falling into any kind of negative mindset about, about it. I don’t even really feel tempted to go there, but like my mode is be faithful with the next thing. Like the day gets up, I take the baby front pack, my wife goes to Dutch Brothers and gets her coffee.

You know, kind of do morning routine with baby on a front pack, make some coffee, pass the baby off, start the work day, and, and it’s always, you know, and then it might be water spilled, clean it up, diaper to change, clean it up, you know. It’s just a matter of get up, stay positive, and press through the day.

You know? And then, and then we’re gonna bed at like eight. Like as soon as the kids go down, we’re like, okay, let’s, let’s, you know, we’re maximizing this sleep so we feel fresh. Man, it’s, it’s, it’s a blessing. So grateful. Never want to take for granted the things that I previously prayed for, but it’s Parenthood man, so we’re, we’re up to our ears in, in diapers and the whole thing.

Pat Flynn: Well, I remember what that was like. I got kids that are a little bit older, but it is definitely a lot to juggle, especially when you’re trying to run a business. And so tell me about how the business has been. I’m not gonna go into the origin story at this point, which is an amazing story. You should all listen to the other episode, which I’ll link to in the show notes.

But you know, I know the business is changing along with the family and there’s other decisions that have been made recently, like what is at Think media? The business model in its current state.

Sean Cannell: Yeah, it has changed a lot and you know, we feel just blessed in terms of the timing of things. I’m about to turn 39 and we’re on year six of Think Media.

There was Think Media as a started in 2010. The first five years was very much a side hustle at a day job, working at a church. I got really serious and more focused in 2015, and then it really started to grow as a business in 2016. Really, the business itself is six years old. We didn’t even have an S corp until 2019.

So you could even argue there was like the really messy years and then like we were more official only for the last three years and saying all that now with the two year old, the nice thing about the season we’re in family and business is we do have a team. We had some momentum, some team, some established roles and some established systems and processes as we entered into the chaos of that.

So the nice thing is I do have freedom and flexibility, and I’m not in that absolutely chaotic startup season anymore, but I would say we’re still very much a startup. We’re 22 W-2 employees now. Some contractors, young leaders, farm team in a lot of ways, like we’ve hired and developed just like ourselves, have had to hire and grow and learn new skills and.

We’re actually about to kind of shift into splitting our business up. It’s all one S corp right now, but we’re gonna split up the YouTube channel, which is now under Nolan, took over as our creative director, and I’m trying to kind of push leadership and decision making authority down. So Nolan and Kyle co-lead.

He’s the content team director and the creative director there. The YouTube channel, including the video podcast channel, is YouTube ad revenue affiliate market. And brand deals, and that’s gonna be like its own llc. Then we have our education company, that’d be our online course, our YouTube bootcamp, that’s gonna be like its own llc.

We want to develop that out more and, and think about leadership in regards to that. And then there’d be the event company, which even though we’ve done our event for five years, that has taxed us majorly because our team doing the first two things has just then, like, let’s also try to do an event which is pushing us over the, the limits.

And we’ve always rallied and done it, but now it’s kind of, trying to hire an events person to own that or allocate who on the team is gonna own that. And then there’s even aspirations for this fourth vertical, which we wanna buy a commercial building in Vegas and build out some studios and a hybrid virtual event space we’d use ourselves, but we recognize we wouldn’t actually be, we probably only need it 30% of the year, 20% of the year. So it, it would be something that would very much serve people and because we’re Think Media and we would make this thing so rad, like it would just be perfect for educators, business owners that want to throw their own events and, and we even have brands we could tie into it.

It makes a lot of sense. And what I’m looking for as an operator, so we’re kind of trying to figure out how to scale director of ops, you know event coordinator, and then different people in the content team, and we’re all bootstrapped, so trying to figure out the pacing of all the above, but that’s really where we’ve been at and it’s been a fun journey and really excited about where we are today and where we’re going.

Pat Flynn: That’s crazy. In that journey to get to where you’re at today in these different legs of the brand, which now involve other players, other faces that are becoming sort of the face of that particular segment. How has that transition been? Because it really, for a long time, was Sean Cannell face of Think Media and you were doing the reviews, you were on the videos.

Was that difficult for you to begin to hand some of that off and, and what is it like to now have somebody else essentially step forward and get on the camera and, and be like, who people know or, or come to know when they come across the channel, for example, and, and, and other parts?

Sean Cannell: There’s a couple in that went into the cocktail of shifting from being a personal brand to being like a media brand or a team brand, and it was very intentional, but I’ll speak to just sort of how that developed. I think the first one was, I read the title of a book. I didn’t even read the book, but I read the title of a book called Built to Sell.

I have no idea what the book says. You probably do and many listeners do, but I. It’s a good question. You know, as many books are like, like the title sometimes reveals The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything. You’re like, yeah, we should probably be healthy and not, you know, I’m sure there’s a lot of stuff in there, but you’re like, let’s get healthy.

We’re not healthy. Ultimately, I was like, is a personal brand built to sell? You know, is where would this all be leading? And ultimately, if you’re not Zig Ziglar or like Tony Robbins and just the IP of your body of work is just maybe has so much legacy on it. I was like, where I’m headed? What am I steering towards?

And that made me think, oh, should I be building a personal brand or more of a company brand? Another ingredient was my background in ministry and I was exposed to a lot of senior pastors who are 60, 65, and they started saying, okay, who’s my successor? And if you’re 65, it’s too late to ask that question, honestly.

I mean, you still gotta go for it. But you should have been thinking about that 20 10, 20 years before. And I learned in leadership, success without a successor is failure. So I started thinking, okay, I wanna think differently. I also, another ingredient was I looked at someone like a Dave Ramsey, who again has been I think 30 years in radio, one of the biggest YouTubers and personal finance.

He started building out Ramsey personalities because he knew eventually he needed to pass the baton off as well as expand the brand. And then I even looked at like, well, how do you do this? And I was looking at Grant Cardone and Jared Glandt and they had a show called Young Hustlers and he, rather like what is anyone gonna accept the new personality?

And what I realized they did was Grant and Jared ran the show for about a year. So you maybe didn’t know who Jared was and you didn’t really trust him yet, but you knew Grant in his world and now Grant could eventually leave stage left. And now people trusted Jared cuz they saw, not only did he probably grow during that year, of course, was he being mentored the entire time, but he also was building trust.

So I was looking at other models as just at least signals and ingredients of what we wanted to build, of course, in our own way. And I, it was very thoughtful, it was very intentional, but it happened very organically. It wasn’t like I didn’t put out a job application for, do you want to be a personality?

It was very relational. It was people internal. In fact, it was me even encouraging Heather, I see this, you know, no one even asked can I start making videos? I asked them, Omar was shooting video. He was editing, and I thought, Hey, you’ve learned and absorbed so much from me, would you be interested in doing this?

And we did videos. First, and Heather and I also did videos together first, and then eventually people wonder in the short term, did it hurt the brand or did you lose subscribers? Maybe. I remember in a couple videos that Heather was solo on and the comments that said, who’s this chick? You know, you get somebody, yeah.

Where’s Sean? Yeah, where’s Sean? But what I also noticed was you gotta think in, especially in a YouTube world, suggested traffic, search traffic. People are meeting your brand for the first time. They don’t know any different, the legacy for sure. Thus the the power of sitting with the person doing a, a podcast with them so people could get to know them.

That definitely matters cuz there’s people been growing with you, but some people are just meeting you for the first time. And so I think maybe Omar and and Heather started dipping their toes and Think Media content. Omar, I think under a hundred thousand subs or maybe right over a hundred thousand.

Heather maybe a little bit later, but now we’re at 2.2 million. So like the majority of people actually know, Think Media much more as the media brand, less than the personal brand and, and then I’m learning as I go. So I think it’s like, could there be risk involved? Of course. Could there be different challenges that could happen?

Will you have to communicate to your audience? Could some people not like it? Sure. But also what’s the alternative? You know, this is more scalable. It’s also a quality of life because we all have an ethic of family, of, of what we’d call At Our Best. Like my friend Carrie Nieuwhof wrote a book. We want to be at our best.

We wanna be in this for the long haul. And so building a media brand, it’s like that quote, if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. And so a lot of those ingredients help me architect what it is we’re building now, and we also are just figuring it out as we go.

Pat Flynn: That was incredible by the way, and inspirational.

And for me, I think people have noticed the parallel between kind of what you’ve created here and what we’re trying to do at SPI where yes, it was me. I was synonymous with Smart Passive Income for so long. But we’ve built this incredible team with players that we almost feel like, kind of like a, like a Marvel crew now, right?

It’s not just Ironman anymore. Hulk and Black Widow and everybody else who could contribute in their own special way with their own special superpowers. And I definitely see it from your crew. Heather and Omar are fantastic. And you know, I remember I was shooting a video for my podcast tutorial, which I do sort of almost every year, and we’ve pretty much owned the top spot or top spots for how to start a podcast on YouTube.

And then recently I was like, oh, there’s Heather there now. Oh, oh, and there’s Omar too. And now you’re owning, even though you teach video, you still have these amazing videos about podcasting. Cuz it’s a, a big part of what your audience has been asking about too, and you’re showing up there. And that’s really fantastic.

And, you know, we’re both able to grow as a result. And I think that, you know, if you ask like, well what happens if Sean was just, if you were just doing it without Omar, without Heather, like where would a channel be? I don’t think it would’ve grown as fast, right? Because you would’ve probably been burnt out and now you can make sure you’re still there, completely able to serve not just the business, but your family and and yourself.

So really big key lessons there and built to sell a wonderful book. And it’s not even about the idea of like purposefully changing your business in a way so that you can sell it. It’s so that you could, if you wanted to. And what that means is you’re building systems and you’re building fallbacks into place.

You’re building contingencies, et cetera, which, which you’ve done. And I, and I love that. And the business can scale and grow even faster as a result. Would it be something that you’d eventually sell? What do you think?

Sean Cannell: I’m glad you came back to that because when I read that, it wasn’t that, that I was like, oh, because I’m trying to sell and I’m not ready to. Your business will be better if you get it ready to sell. Maybe I don’t have any intent at this moment to do that, but I also, and, and even to get a little bit vulnerable, you know, I think that you never know what’s gonna happen.

So if you were to hit a point in life, maybe with health challenges with different things where maybe you needed to sell, like it’s always smart to be smart. It’s always smart to be prepared and you might as well get prepared when times are good or when you are in a place of stability to prepare you for an uncertain future.

Not assuming anything negative is gonna happen. And you know, one of the things that I have been dealing. About the time I hit 32 and I’m about to turn 39. I started to have a really extreme pain in my forearms and my hands and my wrists known as RSI, repetitive stress injury, which can essentially manifest carpal tunnel tendonitis, tendonosis nerve entrapment, and it’s been a crazy journey.

This last year has been incredible with some amazing progress. I went to this place called ReGenX. They did, they drilled. They drilled six holes in my tailbone, sucked out my bone marrow, spun it into my own stem cells, and injected it in 21 spots in my shoulder. Elbows, palms neck, my C6 vertebrae, and I’m taking all these supplements, I’m going to physical therapy, and I’ve been making some incredible progress.

But even over the last seven years that I’ve really been dealing with this at some places, at extreme levels of just pain or just gnawing low grade pain, it’s led me to the verge of just depression. Is this ever gonna end? Is this gonna get worse? How much time do I have left? What’s going on? And by the way, and this was from hustling computer work with bad ergonomics.

Basically from 20 to 32 working 12, 13, 14 hour days or whatever, and not doing strength training and other things. And, and who knows, genetics, whatever. So all that to say, and a lot of computer workers get RSI. A lot of programmers get it. And a lot of eSports gamers, even younger kids are getting it now because it’s so intense to be practicing eSports for 12 to 14 hour days.

My friend Steph, one of our editors of our podcast, Steph, lives in Toronto. He was in a League of Legends eSports team. They had ’em doing nerve flossing, like a good coach has them actually doing. Exercises and preventative exercises for their hands, for their wrists, for their forearms. So any computer workers listening to this, take it seriously.

But all that to say is you wanna talk about burnout, Pat? I would be sidelined. I would’ve hit a wall if I was by myself. I would’ve probably, probably racked with pain, but also stuck because I couldn’t actually keep growing or maybe even maintain, but because of having a, a team, there’s actually a, like a verse in Ecclesiastes that says two are better than one because if one falls down, you have somebody else to pick ’em up.

Even three is better. A court of three strands is not easily broken. It just speaks that to that point, that the solopreneur journey, I was there. That is where you start. You might be there a long time, but I would be thinking in your journey, man, I gotta think about reinvesting. Teaming up, blowing up, growing up because you never know what’s gonna hit your life.

It could be a season relationally, it could be health, and it also could just be scale, and none of that stuff happens. But as I look back and even have had some friends now in, in our niche, in, in, around, in just the creator economy, that have also hit some really, really hard seasons and their business stopped, that’s also fine.

And it’s gonna happen to us. No judgment. But our business never stopped. Think Media has never stopped growing. And that is because Omar could carry it, or Heather could carry it, or we could carry, and I had people around me. So there’s a real reason to turn into the Avengers because you just don’t know what’s gonna happen, kids happen, et cetera.

And if business also slows down, that’s also why it’s good to save. It’s also why it’s good to, maybe if you’re doing really well today, or you have a surplus today, don’t ear that surplus grain, store that away for a rainy day, have that kind of wisdom investments and different things, another way to do it. But, but yeah, I, I really think that that’s been major for me and it’s given me margin even now to continue to focus and my faith and confidence with all the different biohacking things I’m throwing at it.

And physical therapy is that actually I’ve been seeing the amount of time that pain’s happening, reduced physical therapy progress. I’m doing red light therapy. I’m doing all kind of stuff. Even having the margin to do that. I believe that my best days are still ahead of me, that I’m gonna be at peak health at 40 and I, I really actually tanked my health in other ways as well because of just the sheer demands.

Probably a little bit of workaholism, but also just the sheer survival of trying to be an entrepreneur. And so, so much love and respect goes out to your listeners who know what it is to be that entrepreneur and to know what it is to be pushing 45, 60, 70, 80 hour weeks, and to feel like your body’s breaking down at some point.

We wanna be this in the long haul. So you wanna be able to address that stuff and if you could be very intentional with your strategy, hiring, money to think ahead, especially as it relates to health. That’s a big deal, and learn from my mistakes when it comes to that stuff.

Pat Flynn: When it comes to hiring, you know, for the listener out there who has just started their YouTube channel, or they’ve been doing podcasting for a little bit, but all on their own and they’re not quite yet making enough money to be comfortable hiring.

How would you recommend they get started with that? Or is there a particular moment or a dollar amount that it makes sense to now start hiring doing that?

Sean Cannell: So the Sean Cannel methodology is all I could say is the way we did it, and I don’t think we’re good at it. And I will tell you my three steps though, and this is real.

Number one, I prayed about it for real. Like I just literally was like, God, I don’t know how to hire. I also started to study it. I would read a book like How To Delegate by Brian Tracy. I just tried to get my hands to at least think that way, but it felt very overwhelming to me. Like I know how to be E-Myth Revisited.

I know how to be the technician. I know how to be the cup and cake maker. I don’t know how to run the cupcake shop, so forget the money. I didn’t even really know how to do the process. Two, I would speak it out and focus on personal growth. This is my methodology. Two, I’d focus on personal growth. Why? Because I believe you attract who you are.

So if you wanna attract good people, you’ve gotta be a good person. If you wanna attract good leaders, you should be a good leader. This is my methodology, so I, I just, this was what I knew I could focus on prayer, personal development, and our first hire, well, the real first hire was a video editor and, and specifically as a creator economy, youTube person that is by far your, you’re gonna get the most time back if that’s what you’re doing, the methodology of your business, which it was for mine, a thing that needed to get done. I’m editing one video for 2, 4, 8 hours, so I get eight hours back if I hire an editor. So what I did was I actually went to and I started to go to local meetups in the city.

I went to a, it’s called Creatives LV, I live in Las Vegas and I met a guy named Jay and we started to talk. He actually knew me from, he had seen Think Media. Now, keep in mind, think media was like 20,000 subscribers, which is nice. It’s established, but it wasn’t massive. And so if you are listening to this, I think there is something about tapping into your audience.

If you have a podcast, talk about wanting help. If you have a YouTube channel talk, like share it, send an email. Also in the early days, and I learned this, John Maxwell, who is a big leadership guy and also has a background in church, he said the hardest organization to lead is a church because you have to motivate with vision, not with money, because you, you have so many volunteers.

So that was also, that’s like number three is like motivate with vision and not with money. Because I was like, Jay, could you help me shoot and edit videos? I’ll pay you, I think like a hundred dollars per video. If we get some momentum in this works, then let’s renegotiate. And so it was also. I had a little bit of momentum.

Like you said, there’s not enough money yet. We’ll negotiate. Can you say, can we start here? Scale up if this works? And so he agreed to that and eventually he started making more. But I realized on a YouTube video, a little bit of money was coming in from YouTube ad revenue and affiliates. Enough to support my family and I, so I started to invest that back into video editing.

These days you could go Vidchops like this, that’s a service. Upload the footage to Dropbox. It’s gonna be very affordable. If it was just say like video editing. Summarizing, I would try to get like one thing delegated, like what could you get delegated? You don’t have to go full-time. That’s the other thing.

People are, they, there’s so many myths that hold people back. I can’t afford a 60 k a year salary. Well, yeah, no, a hundred dollars per video video editor. Like, let’s simplify this thing down. What am I even gonna have ’em do full time? Yeah. Don’t hire somebody full time. Upwork, like what, what is on your schedule that’s taking the most of your time that you could delegate, and even pay per project. In this case, video editing was very clean, so that was very helpful. Now then secondly, in the final one is Heather Torres, who is a major game changer. We met on Twitter, her and her family, so she is, some people now see our content together. They think she’s my wife. She is not.

She’s married to Isaiah Torres. They have three kids. They moved to Vegas. He’s working full time at, at a, like, I think a 24 Hour Fitness as a manager. She’s at home homeschooling and wanting to hustle. She’s got kind of like a blog going and she tweets me and we start talking. She saw video influencers, she saw Think Media, and we eventually decided to meet up, talk to both of our spouses.

This is our ethic. We’re meeting at Starbucks, and her husband’s like, you’re meeting some guy. Like I saw him on YouTube. We meet up at Starbucks, you know, 15 minutes from my house. We sit down, we talk for like three hours. I find out that she dropped outta college to study marketing cuz she realized the way of modern marketing was not being taught in universities.

She took like a John Lee Dumas course, she took like Marie Forleo’s B School, and as soon as she started saying this stuff, I was like, yes, we got some synergy going. And then she was like, I go, I’m doing YouTube, I’m doing affiliate marketing. I wanna create a course though, but I’m overwhelmed. I, I don’t even have time.

I want to teach. I kind of learned this from you, you know, it was like you did the thing and then I want to teach how I did the thing, which was ranking videos and connecting that to, you know, passive views, passive income. And she’s like, I’ve helped people build courses. And I was like, wow, you should join the team.

And she’s like, I go, I can’t pay you. How does that sound? She’s like, that sounds great. And so what we did was we agreed to, she would make, I think at the time, and I’ll share the numbers now, it’s all different, but I think I said, I will give you 20% of any revenue that we sell from this course in the first year if we even sell any.

And so it took six months for us to sit down, record it, plan it, and then she was doing the email marketing, built the pages and so on and so forth. And admittedly, I had these skills. I think you should still delegate, but like I had no time, I had no sanity. And so I bought Kajabi founders way back the new, the new Kajabi, and we started building out the pages.

So she’s doing all that. And then I was even like customer service or whatever. Different pieces of uploading the videos in the members area. So she like took on all of that with that bootstrapping, like sweat equity early days. And the first year was pretty cool. Second year I think we maybe lowered the percentage, but then gave her like a, a base salary still as a contractor.

Third year, I Think Media was like crushing to a point that like then she had like a rad salary. Like performance based on the whole company. As our relationship evolved, as trust built. And then by the way, as trust built, she also became, is now a content creator, et cetera. So all that to say is, I heard Mel Robbins I think had a similar story like her, like operator work for free back when she was starting, and so again, I was praying about it, personal development to even attract to Heather, getting something going. If you’re by yourself, you’re in the season of being like the pioneer that is leading the charge, working the long nights, you’re in the invisible season.

No one sees you. You’re hustling. You’re putting in the work to build something that could attract enough momentum, even if it’s barely a little bit of growth. That seed sprouts and somebody else that has some vision that’s also an entrepreneur. Entrepreneur maybe wants to rally with you, build together. And and, and it’s not right now, it’s not even like private equity or anything.

It could have been, but there is trust building where all of these kind of founding super fascinating is a book called The Star Principle and it talks about, star companies that eventually really experience hyper growth and it, it says that and when they’re figuring out what they’re doing and who they are, eventually there’s like this tipping point and eventually they take off.

But usually in those early days, there’s 20 people, which is exactly how big we are. And I feel like we’re just figuring out what we’re doing right now. But all that to say is, of course this is on they, there’s a level of trust there because we don’t even have this written up, but we’re talking about private equity.

For anybody that was kind of founders and she would be the biggest one in Omar as well, as well as like a fund of brand deals who get equity and other brands and different things and, and there is a trust and a relationship there, not, there’s actually present performance based compensation. So like they’re being treated obviously happy enough for wanting to stay and vision, et cetera at this exact moment.

But even still, I’m like, listen, as we build, let’s keep, let’s stay transparent. Let’s keep talking about this and let’s keep negotiating. So for the person asking about getting hired, it’s. Joey, Dr. Eye Health, 500,000 subscribers, was able to shift from being, I think an optometrist right into like major YouTuber talking about contact lenses and all this stuff, doing all kinds of things.

Same thing, he, I think he had 20 k coming in, plus, but he was still kind of solo canoeing with like a little bit of help. I was like, bro, it’s time to like scale up. And then we, we talked to him though, who’s in your world? Who’s, who’s around? And he kind of had that same Heather, so we would call it like a Heather, who’s your Heather?

Is there somebody that maybe also has a skill set complimentary to yours? You know? And last thing, I know I’ve been talking long, but I think even how I built this, I’ve never really listened to the podcast, but I was listening to the book, which summarizes the podcast and the audio book. There is something about co-founder and, and it doesn’t necessarily, I think thinking it in terms of co-founder or co-owner, it’s not how you have to think, but there’s a lot. For every Steve Jobs, there’s a lot of times a Wosniak, so I think there’s the individual, you might call it the integrator, you call it that operator. For most founders, eventually you’re gonna need that person and you, no, probably no way are you gonna pay them 150 K with healthcare and bonus, you’re like, you don’t even have healthcare. You’re not making 150 K, so of course you can’t hire that person when you’re in startup mode. That’s at fully mature mode. There’s something about building it, so that’s where I go back to that personal development. Growing yourself, knowing what you’re looking for.

Cast that vision in your email list, on your social media. Go to events, shake hands, meet people. One person who’s no longer with us, we met at Shalene Johnson’s event. We were standing in a circle. I articulated a position we needed help with, and someone standing in the circle who I did not know says, I’d love to come work for you.

And we were like, you’re hired. And I guess, I mean, it was a little bit longer conversation than that, but it was, we were just in those bootstrap days and she didn’t like what she was doing and so on and so forth. Speak about it, talk about it, get clear, get crystal clear on who, what you need help with.

Those are some maybe helpful thoughts.

Pat Flynn: Super helpful thoughts. I mean, manifestation does not happen without any sort of awareness or conversation about it. So, Almost like speaking into existence, as weird as that might sound. I mean it is the basis behind like The Secret and you know, Think and Grow Rich and that kind of same sort of situation.

But that was really great to hear about the organic sort of creation of the team and what, what that was like. And I do agree you don’t have to necessarily just pay somebody outright. There’s a lot of complimentary relationships that can be had that. Can help you grow something special together and Think Media’s taken sort of a new direction as a result of the people that you’ve brought along with you, which has been, which has been great.

The last time you were on the show, you had a book that had just come out. It was called YouTube Secrets. I’ve personally had a lot of people thank me for having you on the show because that book has definitely helped them get off on the right foot on YouTube. Since then, of course, a lot of things have changed in the world of YouTube, and so has the book.

You’ve come out with another version of it. This is version 2.0. Of YouTube Secret? What’s like new about it? What’s, what’s different?

Sean Cannell: Appreciate it. You know, the first edition of YouTube Secrets came out in 2018, so now here in 2022, 2023, a lot of stuff been the same. And this was one of the things we set out to do and was to create an unbreakable framework, you know, and that’s the Seven Cs of YouTube success.

And it’s cool to see. You still gotta punch fear in the face and start with courage. You still gotta get clear on your who, your what, who’s your channel for what problem does it solve. You still gotta set up your channel. Start posting content. Love on your community and community C is Superfans, and that would be the recommended resource to go deep in that C.

Cash. How do you monetize? And then consistency. How do you create sustainable team and systems or systems to support the journey and not burn out? And so the Seven Cs of YouTube success are still foundational. But what we did was there’s new case studies, new data, anything outdated, and there was really nothing outdated there.

So the second edition is 90 new pages and a lot of stuff rewritten. What is different though is we rewrote the social media chapter. Cuz I think social media could be a pitfall if you try to chase too many rabbits at once when you’re starting and could be a distraction. So how do you judge and use social media right? And diversify platforms. We rewrote the stuff about ranking because the ranking factors would be much more CTR, ABD right now would be getting your topic right and seasonality could speak and ranking and even the definition of ranking, I think YouTube is still the second largest search engine, but in a 2023 world, it’s a lot less about search based content, and it’s more about intent based content.

From the chapter I’m most excited about is the perfect video recipe, which would be from what we’ve learned from videos that go viral, studying others, interviewing hundreds of entrepreneurs and creators using YouTube, and then also the new YouTube feature. So YouTube Shorts rewrote the appendix, so we’re excited.

You know, I think the original book, 80,000 Copies sold. I think it’s the number one best selling YouTube strategy book. But the second edition, we’ve been getting incredible feedback because it’s totally updated for a new decade, and I really believe this next decade will be the best decade on YouTube.

Pat Flynn: 2023, this episode comes out less than a month before that, what should we be thinking about in the world of, of YouTube and, and specifically, there are a lot of things being said, right? There’s a lot of things being said about Shorts. You know, go create shorts. That’s what everybody’s saying now, I love your stance on that, especially.

If you have long form content already, and even more specifically for podcasters, how can we use YouTube? I know video podcasting is starting to sort of shape up on, on YouTube in a, in a specific way. But let’s start with Shorts like. Your thoughts on shorts? I’d love to know.

Sean Cannell: So I’ll kind of machine gun this around the question of how long should my YouTube videos be? It’s one of the biggest questions I get. How long should my YouTube videos be? And my answer is, yes, they should absolutely. And people go, what? Like, what? What? Come on. And I’m like, no, you should do seven second shorts and sixty second Shorts. You should do great four minute videos. You know what else works, is eight and a half minute videos that are great. So does 20 minute videos. There’s something special about getting over 10, longer average duration, but 30 minute trainings or kind of like a webinar or web class or a deep dive or training on a whiteboard at 45 or an hour, those work great.

You know, our mutual friends, Louis Howes and Evan Carmichael, their best performing videos are over two hours, over two and three hours. If you hear my advice, I am suggesting you upload three hour videos in seven second shorts. So what does that all mean? What it means is all the formats, if you’re creating it with the viewer in mind and who’s this content for are relevant, they also can all live on the same channel. And for a while it’s been frustrating cuz Shorts can kind of mark up your channel, but a lot’s happening in 2023. They are continuing to update the app experience and homepage experience and channel experience, which they will forever do, but they are committed to having tabs now, so you don’t, some people go, oh, if there’s all these shorts or I can’t find the long form videos, they’re solving that.

For a while, posting Shorts, some people felt it messed with the algorithm, and Todd, the product manager specifically, said, your Short form content and long form content wasn’t talking. There wasn’t channels of communication between the two formats in the algorithm. And they go, we’re building those bridges, and he’s tweeted multiple times that cross recommendations of short form, leading the long form is something that they are working on as a product team and vice versa. And then what we’re also seeing is, to your point, there’s this major wave on on video podcasts and YouTube being committed to podcasts.

First of all, A lot of people don’t know about it. That’s a page that’s very underdeveloped, but now that’s aggregating podcast content. They hired a podcast exec. There was I think a 85 page leaked slide deck from Google about their intentions for podcasting, and they, I think, are acquiring 20 NPR shows.

They invested like a half a million dollars in audio only podcast creators to get them to come over to YouTube and start doing video. And already, as we speak YouTube is actually the largest, a data firm discovered podcasts are listened to more on YouTube than anywhere else at this moment. It’s something like 25% of podcasts, more than Apple and Spotify, and that might shock people, but, but the reason why is if you look at H3H3 and Impaulsive and even JRE Clips would be considered probably podcast content.

YouTube is such a bigger platform than Apple Podcasts. The total amount of minutes and views consumed listens of video podcasts essentially is off the charts and they’re gonna start ingesting RSS feeds. So will this be messy like, oh, people don’t want RSS feeds there. I don’t know if I want that? Yeah, it, it, it might be messy. And, and will, you know, YouTube Shorts, are they not working perfectly for you right now? Here’s my thought is the sophisticated 2023 content creator, content entrepreneur is taking video podcasting seriously. Is taking shorts serious. And is also taking, pulling at the ends. And this is what we’re doing on Think Media.

In fact, I broke down in a recent video, my top 10 videos of all time. The first most viral was a short 7 million views. But on that list we had an hour and a half video, an eight minute video, a 45 minute video. That’s of our top 10. So if your ultimate goal to summarize is your channel makes a promise to a particular type of viewer, but there is also maybe viewers that want different formats around.

Some people are gonna only listen to the clips. I, for a lot of the people, I love when they cut clips outta their podcast cuz I’m not gonna sit down and go 45 minutes. But whatever they deem to be the highlights or I don’t know what I’m missing, but I pretty much am only watching the highlights because that’s, I go to my smartphone my smart TV at night, I get done, go downstairs, grab a LaCroix, sit on the couch with my two year old. He’s on YouTube Kids app. Bad parent. Actually, my, my, I came home from Miami. My wife goes three days, no screen. I was like, come on baby, let’s go. We’re reading physical books. No screen three days. But if, if it’s dad’s turn, it’s, he’s on kids app. I’m tired and I’m watching YouTube on my TV and I’m actually watching a lot of clips from different podcasters I follow and what the home screen is, is recommending to me and creators.

So all that to say is, I think it’s a mix of all the above. It’s serving different avatars within your avatar. Your channel makes a macro promise, never upload videos your subscribers didn’t subscribe for. But for some, they’re gonna watch the video podcast. For some, they just are gonna watch the shorts.

For some, they’re gonna watch the clips. And I know I’ve been talking at length, but I did just get back from Valuetainment Patrick, be David’s offices, talked to Tyler, his YouTube strategist guy, and they have a separate valuetainment Clips channel, that’s going very well. They’re finding that shorts are outperforming the clips, which would be horizontal, three to five minutes typically. Shorts are crushing. They do a lot of political stuff, headline based stuff, kind of influencer based stuff. Such and such person reacts to such and such. What did Joe Biden this, that, and that’s kind of his style. His podcast channel is just the long form podcast, two hours at a time, two times a week, and they stream it.

That’s what Ramsey does too. Two hours of call in show and they stream it and then their clips channel though is the highlights. They call it Ramsey highlights. So all that to say is yes, you might split it up on different channels, but it’s a long answer to say it’s kind of all the above. This sophisticated creator in 2023, I think is thinking about slicing and dicing their content into different formats, and I think video podcasting as you’re the podcast guy is the opportunity, because if that’s the one thing you do that can be turned into clips, shorts, et cetera.

Pat Flynn: It can be overwhelming, but also the opportunities are there and YouTube is definitely gonna continue to grow and continue to mold into the environment that we’re in as far as how people consume content.

This is why Shorts came in and you know, they’re late to the game. Reels came in first after a TikTok came in initially. But similar to Apple, you know, those who come into the game later often have the better versions of things. So it’ll be interesting to see what happens. And if you wanna stay up to date with all things, YouTube, definitely subscribe to Think Media.

Sean’s content is top notch when it comes to creating video, and obviously he talks a lot more than just about video, but about life and mental health and all that kind of stuff. And, and that’s really important too, and I’m so grateful that you talk about those things, especially for the creator economy and people, especially younger kids who are coming into this space as well.

Even my son has wanted to talk about starting a YouTube channel and getting serious about that too, and, and all that stuff’s really important, so thank you for that. And definitely check out YouTube Secrets. Where could they go get the book and where else can they go to follow your work?

Sean Cannell: Thank you so much, Pat. I appreciate you. YouTube Secrets is on Amazon, so whether Audible for the audio book, Kindle on Amazon and physical book on Amazon, different countries you could get the Kindle book and its YouTube Secret second edition, and yeah, probably what I’m most excited about lately is our video podcast and audio podcast called The Think Media Podcast.

And so if you want to talk more about YouTube and YouTube Shorts, and I agree with you, you know you mentioned it, but YouTube Shorts is adding monetization and Mr. Beast on the Full Send podcast recommended or suggested that it might take over everything because we don’t know if TikTok will be that generous to give 45% split.

That’s what has given YouTube the Edge. It’s, it pays insane. It just pays so much better than every other platform. So whether it’s YouTube Shorts, whether it’s short form, long form on the Think Media podcast, we will keep you in the know with everything you need to know regarding YouTube. Pat Flynn, I’m so grateful for you. Thank you for having me on.

Pat Flynn: Grateful for you too. Sean, what about the idea of, this is just a random idea, you know, you have your YouTube Secrets book on Kindle, you have it as an audio book. Is there such thing as a video book? Could you like sit for 10 hours and read that whole thing on camera? I don’t know if that’d be valuable?

Sean Cannell: For anybody who doesn’t want to get the Audible, I think Zach from Scribe already did that. Oh really? So it’s on, it’s on YouTube. There is a video version of, now You may not like his voice or his style, but I’m pretty sure the book is at in its full length read on YouTube. So happy and I actually am truly happy about that. I mean, I do just want the information to get out there.

So I’m grateful that, that he did that and for anybody who shouted it out and videos like that.

Pat Flynn: That’s cool. Sean, thanks so much. Appreciate it man.

Sean Cannell: Appreciate you.

Pat Flynn: Right, that was Sean can be sure to subscribe on to Think Media and the podcast and his YouTube channel, of course. Just a wealth of information, not just from him, but as we talked about Heather and Omar and his other team members too.

There’s also a book that you need to check out called YouTube Secrets, available on Amazon and Kindle and Audible. The Scribed book on YouTube as well from Zach. But anyway, thank you so much for listening in. I appreciate you so much. And Sean, thank you for what you’re doing. Can’t wait to hang out and be part of your events and help you and your audience and, and you’ve done so much to help provide value to SPI directly and indirectly, and I appreciate you for that.

So make sure to check out all the links and resources mentioned over at the show notes page at Again, Here we are. Final month of the year, 2022. And looking forward to 2023. I think it’s gonna be a big one for a lot of us.

Let’s manifest, right. So thank you so much. Take care. I look forward to saerving you in the next episodes here to finish off the year strong. Be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already. See you soon. Cheers. Peace out. Team Flynn for the win. Have a good one.

Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at I’m your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is David Grabowski. Our series producer is Paul Grigoras, and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown. The Smart Passive Income Podcast is a production of SPI Media. We’ll catch you in the next session.

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