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Today, I share with you my 10-year long-game plan.

The landscape is changing. Formal education is going the way of traditional media: out.

The playing field is leveling. This is an opportunity for you, but it’s also an uphill battle. Because the barrier to entry is so low, that means anyone and everyone can get in.

It’s just like what happened with video: once everyone had a video camera in their pocket, YouTube exploded. Now it takes a significant effort to stand out.

The world we live in is an on-demand world. More and more, people want on-demand education. This is where things are headed. But where are they going to get it from? Is that going to be you?

You have the potential to be the source of education someone looks to but only if you position yourself right ahead of time. We talk about exactly how to do that in today’s episode.

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins:
  • Direct-to-consumer content and education is the next big thing.
  • As education becomes on-demand, people will be looking for someone to learn from. Is that going to be you?
  • As you put out more value on a topic, people will more strongly associate that topic with you.
  • Focus on one thing and give away everything you know.
  • Creating unique, native content around your subject will position you as an authority.
  • With courses, you have an opportunity to go deeper than you can with other shorter forms of media and give the people who are interested more value.
  • Even if other people have said what you want to say before, you have a unique voice. You’re going to say it differently.
  • Other people doing the same thing already? Pick something and do one thing better: be consistent, post more frequently, provide better quality.
  • You’re going to learn as you teach.
  • Don’t care about competition because the competition is not your audiencelisten to your audience.
  • We’re not talking about faking authority: speak from the experience you already have. If you don’t have experience, go get experience. Put in the time working.
Show Notes
  • 03:54 Sean: Today I want to talk about where things are going and what you need to be preparing for if you care about positioning yourself as a teacher. The landscape is changing. Formal education, like traditional media, is going away. People went to college because their parents said they needed to go to college and their parents went to college because that’s what you did, because that’s what worked then. That’s all going away.

The Future of Media

  • 04:30 People consume media on-demand and more and more they want everything on-demand from shows, to podcasts, to Ubers, and education is going the same way. We’re going to talk about how to prepare yourself for that, but not just how to learn in that kind of world, how to position yourself as a teacher and an authority in that world.
  • 05:04 As people shy away from the formal sources of getting an education, they’re going to be looking for other sources. Now, the internet is the source of everything. People can find what they need to learn online. They’re going to be learning from someone and it’s not going to be the online version of colleges, because that’s not on-demand enough for people. People will be looking for someone to learn from, is that going to be you? Is that what you’re going to be teaching?
  • 05:39 Aaron: One of the biggest things is that those colleges are going to be more traditional education. They put courses online but they’re not niche or specialized. They’re not going to provide the same level of unique content that someone like you, me, or our audience could provide.
  • 06:08 Sean: I think the future of media is direct to consumers—no more third party platforms. They probably won’t go away completely, but:

Learning directly from another person is going to be the next big thing.

  • 06:40 The places that help facilitate that connection are also going to do really well. If you can position yourself either as a teacher or someone with a platform for teaching, you’re going to be in a good spot.

Should I Teach on My Own Platform or Someone Else’s?

  • 06:56 Someone asked, “If I have an opportunity to teach somewhere else, should I take it or should I not and wait until I have my own platform?” I like this question because I’ve personally wrestled with it. The first time I taught a course I did it on someone else’s platform and I regret a lot of things about that, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t able to learn things from it. What I didn’t like about teaching on someone else’s platform is they changed the rules on me. When you’re on someone else’s platform, you give up a certain amount of control. In this case, they wouldn’t let me remove my content. I was no longer happy with the arrangement because they changed the rules and they were discounting.
  • 08:26 They would send out discounts for any excuse they could think of: “It’s the second Friday of the month, here’s 25% off!” That doesn’t align with my values and they shifted from a pay-the-teacher’s-price model to a membership model where everyone pays a certain amount a month, get access to everything, and the teachers get a cut. I wanted to more directly benefit from my material. If my material is helping someone, I don’t want a slice of the pie, I want a sale on the price I had set. It’s not easy to build a platform and this is where a “Build a Platform In a Box” type of model is heading.
  • 09:29 It’s taken me three years to get to the point where I developmentally have my own platform with the course infrastructure, shopping cart, email marketing, accounts, subscriptions, etc. Aaron has a show on the network, the Podcast Dude, where he teaches people how to make a great podcast that people want to listen to. You’re teaching people and putting your content out there, so you’re establishing yourself as an authority on a specific topic by teaching.
  • 11:38 Aaron: I know enough about podcasting and building websites that, if I had wanted to, I could have hosted my own podcast on SimpleCast or my Squarespace site, but I like the synergy that comes along with being on the seanwes network. I feel like I’m fitting into the network in that there are a lot of things people need to learn if they want to establish themselves as an authority and great audio is one of those things. There’s a lot of cross promotion going on that I really like, but at the same time, I’m giving up some things. What if I want to go off on my own some day?

The seanwes Network 10-Year Plan

  • 12:44 Sean: The seanwes team is at seven employees now and Aaron is the most recent addition. As a separate arrangement, he’s also a partner, which means he hosts his show on the seanwes network and will be producing a course. I get a lot of people writing in asking how they can be a part of the seanwes network, but that’s not exactly how it works. There’s something deeper going on here. Right now, we have four shows and will have six or seven by the end of the year, including Cory Miller’s show, Invisible Details, which will be about branding and storytelling.
  • 14:02 Here’s the plan: on the surface we’ve got this podcast network, but the deeper aspect is that these aren’t just people who host shows, they’re partners. This might sound like a contradiction since I just said when you go on someone else’s platform, you’re giving up something. You might be thinking, “You’re telling people to build their own platform, but you’re recruiting people for your platform. Aren’t you going against your own advice?” In a way, yes, but we have to be realistic about what it takes to build your own platform. I’ve spent the past three years building mine, which includes hiring other people to help me and regularly working 17 hour days.
  • 14:58 I have no kids and this is my passion. I’ve poured myself into this for years and we’re just now getting to this point. Ask yourself if you have as much freedom as me. Are you willing to be as driven and consistent as I am? Are you willing to do that for years? That’s what it’s going to take to get here. Not everyone has the ability, freedom, or desire to do that. Teaching is very different from building a platform, and that’s different from doing the thing you’re teaching as a full-time job. It’s a shift in mindset.

Establishing yourself as a teacher is hard enough, but it’s even harder to establish yourself as a teacher while you build a platform.

  • 16:12 I realize telling people to build their own platform is a ton of work. It’s true that coming on to my platform is giving up control and putting trust in me as the platform owner. They have to realize there’s rules they have to abide by and there’s things they can’t change. I think the reason people like Matt, Cory, Aaron, Ben, and others in the works want to join is they’ve seen what it takes to build a platform and they would rather do what they’re passionate about.
  • 17:03 They would rather focus on teaching and helping people. Because of the content I’ve put out and the relationship I’ve built, the trust there is enough for them to give up that control. There’s the reality that you’re going to be giving things up when you’re on this platform, but you have to realize I made this platform because I was frustrated with someone else’s platform and the fact they devalued my work. Those are things I’m trying to fix.
  • 17:48 Aaron: You’ve spent so much time writing, talking, and podcasting about your values that I’ve got a very clear understanding of what the future looks for you and what it will look like for me if I’m a part of the platform. I thought long and hard about giving up that control and thankfully, you made it very clear what the expectations were, what you’re going to do, what you’re not going to do, and what your goals are. I looked at those to see if they would align with mine and they did.
  • 18:19 There’s not a lot of companies I wouldn’t be excited to work for, but when you talked to me about working for seanwes, I got excited because our goals and values align. I was previously working more than full-time for clients and I was spending nights, weekends, and all my free time writing and preparing for podcasts, but it takes a lot of time to build a platform, so it’s better for me to work with you and let you handle that stuff so I can focus on doing what I’m good at.
  • 19:06 Sean: Some people don’t know that seanwes is covering all of the expenses. We’re helping people develop their course material, which is huge. In 2014 I wrote nearly a million words—podcast episodes, videos, outlines, scripts, shownotes, email newsletters, blog posts, etc. I’ve refined and repurposed all of that content. I have a lot of experience with presenting information in a cohesive, digestible format so I want to help people with their modules. What are we trying to accomplish with this? What’s the takeaway? How can we condense this? We’ll be flying people out to produce their course with our full-time video guy. I’ve done multiple five and six figure launches and I expect Learn Lettering 2.0 to be close to another six figure launch. How many other people can predict that? I’ve formulaically got it down.
  • 20:42 I want to help people on the seanwes network market their courses too. Right now, we’re preparing to market Learn Lettering 2.0 and we’re paying attention this time to building a system—something we can replicate. We’re distilling it into a formula so it’s easy to replace with future courses. It’s not only the marketing know-how, it’s that we also have Infustionsoft, and a massive infrastructure based on my immersion in marketing and email in the past year or two to build out these systems. We’re offering a ton and this is a huge investment on my part—effort, time, money, resources, etc.—so part of the arrangement is podcasting. Podcasting is Relationship Marketing, where we’re providing a ton of value sponsor-free. My goal is to survive for the next ten years while we provide incessant value.
  • 22:26 The reason for that is there are a ton of 14 to 16 year old kids are listening to this podcast and watching seanwes tv. They don’t have credit cards! They can’t pay me if they wanted to, but because I’m so convinced this is the future of media and on-demand eduction, ten years from now they’re going to be looking for education online from people they trust. They’re going to be looking for authority figures and my goal is to be that source of education, knowledge, and quality content. When I shifted from lettering to business, it was like, “How do you get people to think seanwes equals business when everyone thinks seanwes equals lettering?” It’s not a switch you can flip.
  • 23:45 People don’t notice announcements, they notice consistency. I’m not trying to announce that seanwes equals quality content or people teaching from a standpoint of values, I’m trying to embody that. Part of that is redesigning the website as a network and bringing on people to do podcasts, but eventually when people go to the website, they won’t see my face anymore. It’s fresh content on whatever you want to learn. You want to learn something on business, video, or podcasting? You go to if you care about quality content from people who focus on their values. That will stick with die-hard fans, but the rest of the world isn’t listening to that. It’s going to take years before the vast majority of people get what I’m positioning seanwes to be about.
  • 25:04 The reason I’m having people do podcasts is because I love the medium and it’s Relationship Marketing. I believe podcasts will be one of the big players in the future of media.

As you put out more value on a topic, people will more strongly associate that topic with you.

  • 25:27 For Aaron, when it comes time for people to learn about podcasting and he puts his course out, it’s a no-brainer. They’ll buy his course because they trust him and people buy from those they trust. Right now, we’re trying to build up that trust. The partners on this network came through the Community, where they had been for at least six months, or I’ve been friends with for a while. Those are the people I know are on board with what we’re about. They’re the people that care about our values. I’m not trying to scale it or grow super fast, I’m trying to grow while maintaining the utmost quality because brand perception is what I care about. The podcast is so people will trust you and so you’ll be in the forefront of people’s minds.
  • 27:20 This is a huge investment for seanwes, but you’re also bringing a lot of value as a partner so it’s a balance. After you either release a course or reach 25 podcast episodes of your show, you unlock a certain percentage of the monthly recurring revenue from the Community. This is how your show is supported by the Community. I want to give that money because you’re creating tangible value for the platform and promoting the Community. We don’t have sponsors because of the Community and I wanted that to be a genuine promotion—you promote it because you’re getting money from it.
  • 28:19 Partners will make money directly from courses and we’ve arranged a certain cut for seanwes because we’ve invested in producing it, building the platform, hosting, bandwidth, marketing, etc. That’s the seanwes model and where things are going. We’re slowly bringing on the right type of people. I’m turning everyone else down. I know they’re not what we’re about because they haven’t joined the Community. That’s how I know it’s the right people.
  • 29:11 Aaron: The great thing for us as partners is that Sean is great at teaching how to teach. As he’s figuring it out, he’ll be helping the partners. That’s another great reason for us to give up some of that control and come on the platform.
  • 29:50 Sean: I’m investing so much that people don’t understand. They think we make this podcast and it’s magic, but sometimes six people touch a single episode before it goes out.
  • 30:08 Aaron: It feels so fluid because of the process we have. Sean figures this stuff out and we’re all good at what we do.
  • 30:20 Sean: We’ve become a media company, essentially. I’m being transparent about how much we’re investing here because I need you to understand how much you need to invest. I’m not telling people this because I want them on the seanwes platform, because I’m selective and we’re not looking for people. I’m teaching you this because I want to show by example. I’m showing you what seanwes is doing so you can do that on your own. We pay thousands of dollars a month to make shows and we don’t monetize with sponsors because we’re playing the long-game. Who do you like more: the 24-minute show that has three sponsors, or this show that’s nonstop value, changes your life, makes real money, and has an impact on your business? We get iTunes reviews saying this podcast put a thousand dollars in peoples’ pockets. We’re making a real difference.
  • 31:49 Aaron: The things I learned from the first 20 episodes of this podcast when I was the cohost and as I continue to listen, has been hugely helpful. I don’t think I would have made nearly as much money as I made last year if I hadn’t listened to this podcast. It’s very real value that’s provided for free. It’s good content, good production, and it’s entertaining.

Should I Teach Principally or Practically?

  • 33:05 Sean: Someone asked, “Should I teach things that are more practical or more theory?” I don’t think there’s a black and white answer here—you can teach whatever you want. The term “evergreen” means something is timeless and principle driven. 85% of the stuff on this show is principle driven to where people will get a lot out of it even if they listen in five or ten years. You don’t have to do this, but you’ll probably make a little more money if you do something timely. Realize that you’re getting in the game of having to recreate and keep content updated constantly.
  • 34:30 If you want to play that game—like with WordPress—you’ll have to keep on that, because if you don’t it looks really bad. Whenever I’m on my phone with a retina display and I see graphics that are blurry because they’re not retina, I feel less trust toward the company I’m dealing with. I feel hesitant to do business with them. I thought maybe I feel this way because I’m a designer and I’m weird for even thinking that, but I was talking it through with some other people in the Community and it seems that when you observe the company lacks care in a particular area, you extrapolate and wonder where else they have a lack of care in areas they think are unimportant.
  • 36:01 Aaron: Maybe it’s not even a lack of care as much as it’s a lack of awareness of how technology works. Anyone who’s been trying to keep up with technology is going to see that and know they aren’t on top of things.
  • 36:35 Sean: If you want to go more current, trendy, and what’s hot, realize you’re either going to be a flash in the pan and you move on, or you’re going to be constantly updating it. There’s no right or wrong, but I like more evergreen because it keeps paying me back over and over.

Positioning Yourself as an Authority

  • 37:37 Sean: If you want people to see you as a teacher, someone they would buy a course from, they need to perceive you as an authority. The 4 Keys to Growing an Audience When You Feel Like You’re Not Getting Recognition apply here—curation, consistency, quality, and time. If you want to be a teacher, you have to teach an audience. First, you need to establish what to teach. Matt asks, “Should you focus on teaching just one subject, like lettering, or give away everything you know? Layout, print design, color theory, etc.”

Focus on one thing and give away everything you know.

  • 39:48 Those aren’t mutually exclusive though. Cory’s thing is video and he knows a lot of things that aren’t about video, but if he wants to establish himself as a teacher or an authority on video, should he focus on video or should he focus everything he knows to establish himself as a teacher first?
  • 40:42 Cory: I should teach everything I know about video, not just everything I know.
  • 40:51 Sean: You do want to focus, but you want to take all the other stuff you know, like layout, print design, and color theory, and position those things as being related to lettering. Relate those things to what you’re focused on. I’m launching Learn Lettering 2.0 as a brand new course, fully reproduced with all new videos. Leading up to the launch, I’m doing a new blog post a day for 30 days about lettering, it’s a series I’m calling Thirty Days to Better Hand Lettering. I’m providing value every single day for 30 days, but I’m also letting people know at strategic times when the course is coming out. 30 topics is tough!
  • 43:59 You might be thinking, “How do you come up with 30 topics? There’s not 30 things to talk about when it comes to hand lettering!” This is where you have to relate these things. If the topic is color theory or print design, talk about color theory or print design as it pertains to hand lettering. Cory can talk about audio editing, lighting, actors, contracts, or scheduling as it pertains to filmmaking.

Creating unique, native content around your subject will position you as an authority.

  • 44:59 People will think, “This guy talks about all kinds of stuff but I think of him as an authority on this one thing.” Kyle Adams gets what it’s about. He’s been showing up. I told him to put the words “icon design,” into everything he does. I told him not to talk about motivation unless it’s motivation as it pertains to designing icons.
  • 45:51 Aaron: You have to have your topic first.
  • 46:17 Sean: If you don’t know what your thing is yet, pick one. If you don’t know which one out of two, flip a coin. If you flip a coin and it lands on the one you don’t want, then you obviously wanted the other one so pick that one and start doing it. Start doing it and figure out that you don’t like doing, then do the next thing. That’s progress compared to being paralyzed and not doing anything. Failing is progress.

How to Attract People to Your Content

  • 48:21 You attract people to your content by reading minds (Related: e99 How to Read Minds). You read minds by listening to what people are struggling with, look at the most common struggles, turn that into content that you put out, and repeat. See what’s resonating with people and what’s getting shared the most. Looking at your top performing posts is the only reason you should check your analytics once a month and then do more of that. Repurpose that content by taking a blog post and turning it into an outline for a YouTube video. Don’t talk about all these unrelated things, relate them!
  • 49:33 Aaron: Then see what questions people have. Be involved in that conversation.

Courses & Education

  • 51:44 Someone asked, “What’s working for you right now—podcasts, ebooks, etc.?” What’s working right now is courses. We all have that folder of ebooks on our Dropbox with 85% of them left unread, let’s be honest. You never “read it later.” You’re lucky if your readers check out your free ebook. I don’t want to say ebooks don’t work at all because they can still attract people. It functions well as a lead magnet, most people just won’t read it. It still works to a degree, but courses and education work better than that. That’s the future!
  • 53:35 The big thing that people are struggling with is teaching and building an audience so I’m giving away a free Audience Building Course. There’s too much information on it to put into an hour and a half long video. Some people want more and you can go into greater depth by making a course. There’s a different kind of attention you give to a course vs. a TV show or YouTube video. You invest in courses and you dive deep to learn.

With courses, you have an opportunity to give the people who are interested more value.

  • 54:56 I’m giving this course away for free because that’s the way I do it—full price or free (Related: e164 Full Price or Free). If I were to sell this course, I would price it at $199, but I’m not going to make it cheaper, I’m giving it away for free. Full price or free are the only two prices that acknowledge full value. I’m making this epic because I want people to associate quality content with the seanwes platform. I’m giving it away so they learn to take courses from me and they learn to learn from me, so when they want to learn something, they’ll think, “I’m going to seanwes to learn it.”
  • 56:44 People in the chat room are wondering, “When trying to attract an audience, should I use ebooks as lead magnets or give away a free course?” a course is awesome but most of you aren’t there yet (Related: e159 Getting Started With Email Marketing & e160 Nailing Your Product Launch the First Time). It’s a ridiculous amount of work. Don’t get caught up in that, do what you can with what you have.

What if People in My Niche Are Better Than Me?

  • 57:50 Dane asks, “How am I supposed to be known as an authority in my niche, if there are so many people who are better and have a more complete knowledge to teach from than I do? How can I break through the noise and attract people to my content when there are much better versions out there?” First of all, be consistent, be prolific, and find your angle. Find your people and find what they’re struggling with. Find your sub-niche.

Even if other people have said what you want to say before, you say it differently.

  • 58:26 People need to hear something seven times for it to resonate (Related: e157 The Magic of 7). Those other people are your buddies because they’re getting your people to the fifth or sixth time, so that you get to be number seven and close the deal. If you’re going somewhere there’s no market or competition, you have to put in all seven of those credits to make a sale or hear what you’re saying. I repeat things on this show because people need to hear them and a lot of people can regurgitate the things I’m saying but they haven’t internalized it yet.
  • 59:07 I was talking to Laci yesterday about finding her passion. She works at seanwes right now doing shownotes and now helping train someone else to do them so she can focus on more administrative and accounting stuff. Eventually, she’ll probably phase out of working at seanwes as an employee. This isn’t her dream job, it just helped her get out of her old job when she didn’t know what else she wanted to do. She’s interested in cooking and teaching cooking, but she struggles with feeling like other people know more than her or she doesn’t know enough to teach. All you need to teach is more than any one other people—that’s your audience.
  • 1:00:41 If you know anything, you can teach people how to start and you’re going to learn as you teach. If you’re a responsible teacher, you have to do your research. If you want to teach technical stuff about audio, you probably feel like you know it, but once you have to actually say it, you realize how hard it is to articulate that you have a thorough understanding and knowledge about this thing.
  • 1:01:08 Aaron: Knowing how to do something is far different from knowing how to explain to do something.
  • 1:01:15 Sean: Going through the process of explaining things will help you know how to do it a lot better. You might think you know, but you’ll find out whether you know or not when you teach. I know a lot of other people are struggling with wondering what the big shot guys will think if they saw you teaching.
  • 1:01:46 Aaron: That’s a real feeling! Every week I feel like I’m going to get an email from a professional audio engineer saying the advice I gave in an episode was total crap.
  • 1:02:01 Sean: Here’s the good news and the bad news: it doesn’t matter. They don’t care about you. You don’t exist to them. That kind of sucks, but it’s also why you don’t have to worry. The top chef people don’t care about your food blog. They’re out there working, they’re not critiquing you and that’s why it doesn’t matter.
  • 1:03:06 Aaron: Another thing people struggle with is feeling like there are already too many people teaching what they’re interested in teaching.
  • 1:03:19 Sean: When you’re in that world, you’re in a bubble of awesomeness. You see all the awesome people because the cream rises to the top. You follow and subscribe to them, so it’s all in your face. You feel like there’s so many people teaching podcasting, while someone in the street doesn’t even know what a podcast is. You have to win at something—be more consistent, have better quality audio, prepare your shows, don’t do sponsors, get interesting guests, help people out, etc. Pick one thing and do really well at it, and you’re going to stand out. Are the other people in your niche doing a show once a month or whenever they want? Do a show a week or a show a day. Do better.
  • 1:04:25 Aaron: Also, just do! So many people stop at the point where they think, “There’s too many people doing what I’m interested in doing.” They use it as a wall and give up right there, but that’s an excuse.

Am I Too Young to Teach?

  • 1:04:46 Sean: Felippe asks, “How do you make people trust you in teaching if you are considered ‘too young?'” Daniela echoes this with, “How do you establish yourself as an authority on your given subject when it’s so early on in your journey? I’m a musician with one EP out and only a few gigs under my sleeve. Am I irrelevant?” Think long-game here. Let’s just say for someone who’s 19 or 20, they think they would trust someone who’s 30.

If you wait until you’re “old enough” to be trusted, you’re too late.

  • 1:05:55 Don’t wait until you’re “old enough” to start because then you’ll be 31 and only have a year of experience. Start now, when you think nobody trusts you at 20, then when you’re 30 you’ll have ten years of experience! Nobody is going to wonder, “Would I have trusted you when you were 20?” The ten years of experience is all that matters. Also, people trust young people now more than they ever have because there’s all these startups and young kids making it big. There’s just no excuses.
  • 1:07:04 Aaron: It’s about sharing who you are and what you’ve learned so far. I learn a ton of things from you, Sean, but also see you as a friend. More so now than ever people want to feel like they know the person who’s teaching them. You have to be transparent—talk about what your struggles are and what you’re successful at. That’s how you build a relationship with your audience.

Should I Focus on Competition?

  • 1:07:47 Sean: Cory Miller asks, “How much should I focus on what my ‘competition’ is doing? I’m definitely not the first to be teaching what I know, and most certainly not alone in my expertise. Do I just press out on my own and do what I want to do, or should I also evaluate what others in my realm are doing and use that to my advantage?” Every ounce of energy you spend thinking about competition is a pound of effectiveness lost in your own business.
  • 1:08:25 Aaron: You’re using your competition as an excuse not to teach.
  • 1:08:33 Sean: Don’t look up, put your head down and work. Don’t think, “Well, I need to know what others in my industry are doing.”

Don’t care about the competition because the competition is not your audience.

Listen to your audience.

  • 1:09:03 The competition is irrelevant and I don’t give them an ounce of my energy. I’m listening to my audience, which guarantees that I will resonate and they’ll write back saying I’ve read their mind. It guarantees that I’ll attract people to my content because they’re thinking, “This was made for me.” You don’t even have to look at the market to see where it’s going, because you’re following the source of revenue for the whole market—the people. What are they struggling with? If you’re tuned into that, when and if that changes, you’re going with it. You might end up in a totally different industry or market, but that’s why you’re going to win.
  • 1:10:05 Aaron: What do you think about using your competition as a source of learning? Say there’s something you’re curious to learn about, would you suggest following some of the other people in your market who are teaching similar things as a source of inspiration?
  • 1:10:24 Sean: You certainly can. You can straight up steal ideas because ideas don’t matter, execution does. If someone else is talking about something, you can talk about it to because it’s going to come out different when it’s coming from you. Don’t get caught up in what your competition is doing and don’t make them an excuse. If you’re busy looking at the guy next to you, the guy who wins the race will fly past you because he was looking straight ahead.

Should I Act Authoritatively or Share as I Learn?

  • 1:11:08 Terence asks, “Do you have to actively position yourself as a teacher—that is, adapt the persona of an authority—from the beginning, or will people identify with you better if you share while learning as you go, like, ‘I really have no idea what I’m doing, but here’s what worked for me?'” It’s ok if you don’t have a lot of experience, but speak from the experience you have. Don’t act authoritative on things you don’t really know.
  • 1:11:41 Aaron: Be honest about it and tell people from the get-go, “I don’t know everything about this thing, but I’m going to find out and I’ll teach you.”
  • 1:11:55 Sean: Don’t be an imposter, but share what you know. If you don’t have experience, go get it and learn, then share what you learn as you go. That doesn’t mean you have to be self-deprecating. Be genuine, speak from the experience you have, and it will come across as someone who knows what they’re talking about because you’re actually speaking from real experience. If you don’t have it, don’t pretend.

Can I Develop Courses While Growing My Passion?

  • 1:12:38 Colleen asks, “As we grow in our passion, how do we balance continuing to grow and practice that with the steep learning curve many of us may face as we look into developing online courses?” I’m saying to share what you learn and teach everything you know, but in order to teach everything you know, you need to know something. I’m speaking to the people who have some expertise. They’ve spent some time learning, practicing, and doing.
  • 1:13:34 Aaron: If you’re interested in getting started in client work, maybe that’s not the best time to be teaching how to deal with clients. You need to focus all your time on getting better at the thing. Once you’ve been doing something for a while, like working with clients for a year and you’ve made some mistakes, that’s when you start teaching.
  • 1:14:14 Sean: The Trifecta is the three ways you can make money doing what you love—client work, products, and teaching (Related: e80 Making A Living With The Trifecta Part 1 of 3: Client Work, e81 Part 2 of 3: Products, & e82 Part 3 of 3: Teaching). It doesn’t have to be in that order but I prefer that order. Client work is the easiest entrance point and the quickest way to make cash. Products require more of a long-term financial investment, which you probably don’t have without client work. After you’ve been in client work long enough to invest in products, you have a lot of experience with a lot of things that you can then turn around and teach.
  • 1:15:11 When you’re trying to make your business grow, in the early stages you might use a little of each to fund the other. Eventually, you can go all in on one area. Right now, I have courses, products, and I’m teaching, but I’ve phased out of client work. You don’t necessary have to do all three. I spent six to eight hours a day every night for years practicing hand lettering after my day job. By the time I launched Learn Lettering early last year, I had invested well over 8,000 hours into lettering. When I started the podcast in 2013, I had eight years of experience working with clients doing web design. I’m speaking from experience and that’s the people I’m talking to. I want you to prepare yourself because this is the direction media is going to go, but if you’re not there yet, you don’t need to worry about teaching yet.
  • 1:16:39 Aaron: I’ve worked with clients editing podcasts for almost two years now and if Javascript was going to be my secondary focus, I should be worried about learning, not teaching. Regarding the Trifecta, client work should be first because you’re learning how to solve a problem and then you’re going out and solving it for other people, then you can teach how you solved that problem. That will bring more clients because they’ll see you know how to do it. They’re going to see you as an expert and they’ll hire you.