Well it’s a party today because we’ve just hit the second century mark on the podcast.

For this special 200th episode, I’m so excited to bring on CEO of Smart Passive Income, Matt Gartland!

SPI is the brand founded by Pat Flynn and a few years back, he brought Matt in officially as the CEO and now I know why because let me tell ya, Matt is one smart business cookie!

And that’s exactly what we dive into in this episode. He shares about what he sees is working well in their business right now and where online business is heading from 2022 and beyond.

I thought it fitting too since the podcast title just recently officially changed to “The Web Design Business Podcast” 🙂

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this one. Leave me a comment at joshhall.co/200.

P.S. This podcast has been an amazing ride to 200 episodes and we’re not slowing down 🙂 Here’s to 200 more (and likely many more than that!)

In this episode:

00:00 – Introduction
03:24 – Greeting to Matt
05:17 – Glimpse of past/present
08:45 – Collaboration
12:27 – New York Times
13:55 – Business side focus
16:23 – Prioritizing content
17:43 – Retention
20:04 – Subscription model
23:06 – Hybrid subscription
25:02 – Services as an add-on
28:04 – New business constructs
32:08 – Platforms that work
35:16 – Investment intention
37:34 – Showing up
42:12 – In-person networking
46:53 – Partnerships for benefit
51:07 – Becoming an advisor
55:25 – Being a consultant
58:39 – Who’s the perfect ICA
1:02:39 – Future of SPI & online


Connect with Matt:

Featured links mentioned:

Episode #200 Full Transcription

[00:00:00] Josh: Hey friends, and welcome into episode 200 of the podcast. Very, very cool to hit the second sensory mark. And I’m so excited for this special numbered episode to bring in a very special.

[00:00:14] Josh: We just recently revamped the title for this podcast to be the web design business podcast. And we’re gonna talk all about business in this episode with the CEO of smart, passive income, Matt Gartland. Now on our first century episode, we had my very great. Mentor pat Flyn on the podcast and smart, passive income is pat flyn’s brand.

[00:00:40] Josh: That is what he created and built his online baring through. And then you’ll hear in this, in this episode, how Matt actually got to know pat, and then they ended up teaming up and then pat eventually brought Matt Gartland here into smart, passive income as the CEO. And what I found out in getting to know Matt is Matt is one smart dude, especially in the realm of online business.

[00:01:03] Josh: So I recently found out and discovered that Matt actually lives in Columbus, Ohio, where I live. So I invited him out to coffee recently. We had a really good chat. And then I asked if he’d be interested in, in coming on the podcast to share with you about where online business is now. Where it’s heading.

[00:01:19] Josh: And we also talk a lot about a lot of trends that are happening in both online services, online communities, and even social media and where things are headed and what he’s seen with their brand, a huge brand with smart, passive income. And how pat is kind of being the, the face of the brand and where his attention is.

[00:01:40] Josh: And then also what Matt is seeing as far as actually running the business and growing the team. So this was really cool. What an honor, to be able to pick the brain of somebody who was at a very high level in online business. And I think the beauty about having a podcast is being able to sit down with somebody like Matt for over an hour.

[00:01:56] Josh: And. Talk about this kind of stuff. That’s one thing I’ve learned about podcasting is you’ll likely never get these type of opportunities until you have some sort of platform to, for them to be able to share it. And then to be able to share it with you and to pass everything that Matt and, and the team at SPI has learned to share it and filter it down with you is just super cool.

[00:02:15] Josh: So I’m excited to see what you take away from this episode. And before we dive in. After this episode, if you want some help in your online business and building your web design business, to make sure that it really becomes the, the tool for you to build freedom and a lifestyle you love, I would love to help you with that.

[00:02:32] Josh: If you would like me to coach you directly, you can go to Josh hall.co/coaching. There’s a special little offer there for you and you can join my web design club where I do coaching. It is an amazing online community. So you do not have to do this alone. So go to Josh hall, doco slash coaching for that.

[00:02:48] Josh: And here is Matt Garland, CEO of smart, passive income. Let’s talk online business trends where things are, where things are heading buckle up. Cause this is a fun one,

[00:03:01] Josh: Matt. Welcome on to the podcast, man. Great to see you again. This time digitally, not in person.

[00:03:07] Matt: That’s right. I am thrilled to be here. Thanks for having me, buddy.

[00:03:10] Josh: I was really pumped to have you on initially I was gonna have you on just the podcast, but I found out you lived here in town with me in Columbus, Ohio. So I was like, we gotta meet up. You took me to a great coffee shop. We had a good conversation and I wanted to officially have you on the show. I thought it’d be just really interesting to, to just dive into trends right now in online marketing. And then specifically what you guys at smart pass of income have done with community.

[00:03:35] Josh: The community aspect is obviously something I’m really, really getting into and taking very seriously. So really excited to have you on man. Do you wanna let everyone know first off? Well obviously we know where you’re based out of, but I I’d be really curious when somebody who doesn’t know you, when they ask you what you do, what do you tell them?

[00:03:52] Matt: I still don’t have a good crisp answer to this question after all this time.

[00:03:56] Josh: Ask all my guests this cuz no one does, no one seems to have a really great quick answer.

[00:04:01] Matt: It’s it’s some combination of like, Hey, I’m the guy that makes it all work. Right. So I’ve, I’ve been running businesses, leading businesses for at least startup based businesses for, you know a decade now after my leadership career coming out of like enterprise.

[00:04:14] Matt: So the quick story if it’s relevant is that, you know, I got my start kind of in, you know, it and that kind of side of the industry right outta school, right outta college and had a, a really great enterprise career and learned a lot. I was in the leadership development program, but I think like a lot of us, for a lot of us creators and entrepreneurs, you know, I, I had that in me for so long and I got to a point in my enterprise career where it’s like, man, I need to, I need to commit to like.

[00:04:40] Matt: Leaving and trying to start my own thing, or like I’m on this, on this track, you know, in corporate America, probably for a while. So I left and got into startups and I’m so grateful that I did, you know, and that, that journey has led me to meeting pad and getting involved with SPI and creator economy and all of that.

[00:04:55] Matt: So through all of that, you know, I was a guy building teams, leading teams a lot of times, you know, websites, data systems and different solutions that were helpful to, to people using the internet to gather and connect and, and do something. Right. So I got into digital agencies e-commerce a collection of different startups and experiences.

[00:05:14] Matt: And along the way, Met pat got just really engaged with his work and, you know, kind of fast forwarding to today. You know, I, I lead the business side of what we do at SPI. So building the team, leading the team, figuring out our strategic business plan obviously working a ton with pat on just like, okay, what are we trying to grow up still to be even after all this time with SPI and has an amazing brand and a great audience and a great following, we’re still learning.

[00:05:37] Matt: We’re still evolving. And that’s really exciting, especially with everything that’s happening in the industry right now. And I think that kind of, kind of har harkens back Josh to the question, right, which is like, what are the trends and the things that are happening right now. And, you know, my role in trying to like, figure all of this out because the landscape really has evolved and changed since, you know, pat and I started working together, you know, around, you know, 20 10, 20 11 timeframe.

[00:05:59] Josh: Okay.

[00:05:59] Matt: So, you know, it’s not just online courses anymore. It’s not just, you know I would, I dare say like a more simplified approach to. You know, funnel design, right? In getting people off of, you know, public social networks, Twitter, Facebook, whatever, you know, into an email sequence that’s highly, highly automated, et cetera.

[00:06:17] Matt: There’s a lot I think more nuance and more I would say discernment and analysis and even skepticism on the part of like the audience, like people, people are being more selective these days. And I actually think that’s an advantage to us as creators as we try to think about how we’re building our brand and positioning our brand and the offerings that we’re bringing to them, you know, and in.

[00:06:40] Matt: Yeah. I, I see there being a lot of symmetry, at least in my, I guess, thinking of that with how community has become such a, like this really big thing now, why it’s so important, why there’s a lot of interest, a lot of demand, new, new capabilities are being built, you know, new technologies. So I, I don’t think it’s just community kind of popping outta nowhere again, like I think there’s so many, so many consumer interests and trends and behavior patterns that are evolving and kind of building up for the last few years, especially yes.

[00:07:08] Matt: Pandemic era stuff that then like, Bang, like it kind of just unleashes and like now communities like having this really big moment.

[00:07:15] Josh: Yeah. And you just hit on an interesting point with the idea of our messaging and our products being relevant and more personal and kind of expected. It actually brings me back to the very first business book that I read, which was Seth Godin Permission Marketing.

[00:07:31] Josh: That was the very first like book that really resonated with me. And. One that I read early on that kind of helped shape my entrepreneurial mind. I feel like there’s kind of a resurgence of that, particularly in the wake of all the things that are going on with social media. It’s like people want to follow and be connected with a brand that they feel like is personal, real, authentic, but it’s also relevant and consistent and all the things that I’m sure we’re gonna dive into this now, I’m curious.

[00:07:57] Josh: What did the landscape and actually kind of a two part question, how did you actually meet pat and how did you come about, you know, becoming your role in SPI? And I’d be curious, maybe a follow up question will be to see what the landscape looked like then, but yeah. Initially, how did you meet pat and get involved with SPI.

[00:08:13] Matt: Chris Gibo is a great author and creator in the space that folks may know. And years back, he put on a wonderful conference in Portland, Oregon called the world domination, summit, little bit of a weird name, but it like, it was super great. And this like small intimate gathering of, you know, we didn’t have that, this language back then, but what we would call today, like the community kind of, you know, folk.

[00:08:34] Matt: So I met pat out there. We had a lot of common friends I guess in common and, you know, so we kind of bumped shoulders a couple times in WDS year one or year two, I’m forgetting exactly, but ultimately it was a good friend of ours, Adam Baker. Who’s with Steve cam on the nerd fitness team nerd fitness.com.

[00:08:54] Matt: That recommended me to pat. He was trying to write his first book. And this was at a point in my startup career where I had a creative agency that was servicing what again, we’d call today creators. So writers, authors YouTubers, podcasters doing a lot of content strategy and then also all the way through content production.

[00:09:11] Matt: Pat’s first book was his memoir project called let go. So he needed, he needed an editor, something to help develop the, you know, the manuscript, that sort of stuff, you know, and this was at a time you, you know, you mentioned Seth when, you know, Amazon KDP and books and, you know, this was sort of having its heyday moment of like, how can, how can folks with an audience kind of manifest some of their story into yet a new asset to approach sort of a new distribution channel, which was, you know, self-publishing sure.

[00:09:39] Matt: Right. So we did really well as a creative agency in, in that sort of era, you know, in that moment we weren’t just books, but, you know, books was sort of one of our kind like main vectors in like, we we’d work with an author and then sort of. Not in every capacity, but I get an opportunity to work on other things.

[00:09:54] Matt: And that proved true with pat. So, you know, hit it outta the park on, on the project. And then, you know, he just kept saying like, Hey, I could do some more help with this other thing. This other thing that related to his, his content work, you know, just fell in love with what his mission was with SPI started to trade a lot of ideas.

[00:10:10] Matt: We became fast friends. And then again, to kind of fast forward the story, it was just like over time we quickly just kind of became like, you know, the business marriage kind of concept, right. Mm-hmm like, I’d help him. With like business ideas and thoughts. And my view was always kind of like, I kind of became a pseudo business partner for a while and we got to a point where it’s like, why don’t we kind of just make that formal?

[00:10:30] Matt: So at the end of 2018, we, we did kind of tied the nod and merged our companies together. And that’s kind of where, like, since then, you know, we’re kind of the two headed friendly monster of the S P ship, you know, leading that forward.

[00:10:42] Josh: And I saw you in times square recently on a, on a billboard.

[00:10:46] Matt: Oh Gosh

[00:10:46] Josh: I think FA pat said that on Insta, was that you or who, who got that on there?

[00:10:51] Matt: It, it was, we were both up there that was with a great collaboration with a FinTech company. That’s servicing the creator economy called carrot K a R a T. And they’re trying to solve a lot of the, the friction and the pain points for us creators trying to get things like business credit cards and kind of your standard issue financial products. But when you go to traditional. Lending organization, bank or something like that. And I know this from personal experience, it’s like, they don’t understand us.

[00:11:17] Josh: Yeah. Well, going back to back, going back to the question of like, what do you do? I remember when I, when I had my, my business as Josh hall co set up, they were like, what do you do? And I was like uh, okay, hold, hold with me. Lemme try to explain what I do. Like they, I mean, it looked, they were Crossey they were looking at me like, what did you just say? So that’s a great point. The traditional financial institutions, they don’t get it. Yeah.

[00:11:40] Matt: So anywho yeah, carrot’s Eric, their founder has been super generous for us, so he just cuz we use the carrot card for a couple businesses actually. So SPI our company’s SPI media formally and then a couple other ventures that pat and I have in common. Like we have, we have a carrot card, so Eric just pitched us on like, Hey, like we’re doing this kind of fun. It’s just totally like a fun kind of PR campaign. And she guys wanna be on a billboard. It’s like sh. So, yeah, no, it was, it was super great.

[00:12:04] Josh: So you were working with pat essentially as kind of a pseudo partner without it being formal until 2018. Is that right?

[00:12:11] Matt: Yeah. And it was very natural. It evolved into that. It wasn’t like, like that was the vision from day one that I had, or that pat had it just organically developed. And I think that’s quite frankly, like one of the best authentic ways to kind of prove out a relationship is you don’t force it and you just kind of see what happens. And, and I think it, if I can bend it back to, you know, effort thinking about like, what has changed in the internet in like in the last decade, which is a lot, you know, especially in our space, you know, is that.

[00:12:35] Matt: The, the attention economy is getting increasingly fractile right. The noise out there, just because so many more people are producing and contributing to the ecosystem. It’s you know, the barriers to entry are continuing to fall away across every vector, you know, from podcasting to YouTube, to TikTok, to everything else.

[00:12:51] Matt: And people are. Again, more discerning, more selective in their choice. So like to actually then have a thriving business, like we have to give more emphasis to the business side of the equation. You know my sort of view is that, you know, when we look at creators and small media brands and things that are really succeeding and growing, you know, they have a really great respect and balance or parody to the, from the creative and content side.

[00:13:15] Matt: Also with the business side, how do we think about, you know, the business model? How do we think about doing the work, making sure that the work is profitable? How do we make sure that we have good financial practices to a reasonable extent, right. Especially if you’re trying to invest maybe in new thing, you can try to grow new things.

[00:13:29] Matt: So I think it’s that, that balance that is, you know, I look at that very, truly as like a, in advantage for us, right. As like a strength You know, over time, hopefully other creators can, can start to get into either like they learn some of, you know, those more business ropes themselves, or they, they maybe find an opportunity to, to partner someone, you know, there’s different ways to approach that.

[00:13:47] Matt: And I guess I’m not saying that everyone, should you just partner up with someone else, but you know, finding, finding more harmony and more balance between just like the creation side, purely with like thinking strategically about business and business development is a winning combination in my book.

[00:14:01] Josh: It is. And it’s a really, really important thing for my audience of web designers and web entrepreneurs, because I found this as a, as a freelancer, I had to really balance working on the business and getting projects done and actually, you know, growing my business to how I wanted to grow it versus sales and marketing and content and everything.

[00:14:19] Josh: That was actually more outbound in me, you know, getting interest in getting clients. So I do feel like. I, I would kind of lump those together as far as content and business. I mean, sales and marketing is your content strategy in most cases. So it’s a great point, Matt, you do have to, I think this is a good reminder.

[00:14:36] Josh: You have to focus on your business too and make sure you feed it and grow it. And some, would you say that sometimes you almost have to limit how much content and outbound stuff you’re doing and just refocus on the actual business? Cuz I know personally, that’s one thing I do in my coaching. I tell a lot of my students hold.

[00:14:53] Josh: Let’s look at your business and let’s figure this stuff out first. And then once we have this in place solidified services, et cetera, then we can go a little more ham with content and sales. Would you agree with that?

[00:15:05] Matt: Yeah, completely agree with that. I think oftentimes. For those of us that have digital based businesses. Yeah. And not just like creator creators, maybe in the pure sense of definitely freelancers in a lot of different capacities, web design, you know, web development, photography, kind, you know, you know, any maybe digital oriented service offering. We can get over our skis to kinda use that phrase, right.

[00:15:26] Matt: With just trying to create a brand and, and create sort of a persona or whatever, and overinvest in that versus having, you know, more of the, the inside of the house and more, you know, the systems and the workflows and making sure that you know, this on the services side, how are we selling, you know, our contract design, are we selling the right service products or, or building into potentially service products that begin to give us some scalability you know, to the extent that that’s desirable, you know, in your, in your service based business, you know, that sort of stuff. Absolutely agree.

[00:15:56] Josh: Well, and I think if I could kind of pinpoint the biggest difference between myself as a business owner and entrepreneur now, as opposed to when I was early in the journey in like the 2010, 2011, 12 era, the biggest difference for me is I’m so much more focused on my current clients and I wanna keep them coming back rather than just hustling after new ones in a web design, this is one of the best things available to us because you don’t need that many clients as a web designer, if you keep them coming back and they pay a more and more over and over and over again, was that a mindset shift that you had as well?

[00:16:34] Josh: Or is, did you see, did you feel like maybe the landscape has shifted in that regard from, you know, a decade ago to now, to where there’s more emphasis on keeping your current clients subscription style stuff?

[00:16:45] Matt: Yeah, exactly. Yes. Is the short answer. I, and I believe it can manifest in a couple different regards may, maybe with a, a common. Or shared motivation around like retention or, or the notion of like longer term relationships, longer term engagements, longer term contracts, you know, there’s different ways that these things can pop up and even on then the creator side with community, you know, community is in part, not the only reason, but, but a big reason is this idea of recurring revenue.

[00:17:14] Matt: If you have a subscription model attached to your private community, that then like if you invest in the community management aspects with your programming, your experience design other things then yeah. You’re trying to get, you know, LTV right. Lifetime value. Right. So you’re trying to get longer term relationships with the folks that you’re inviting into your community.

[00:17:34] Matt: And, you know, Josh, you’re a community builder also. So like you, you, you get that right. But on the services side, in terms of trying to attract, you know, new clients versus, you know, existing clients, like you’re absolutely gonna perform better. And I dare say like, you’re just gonna enjoy your, like your work more.

[00:17:49] Matt: Right. At least I always found that with my creative agency that again, you know, we, we worked with. Creators authors, writers, bloggers, but then also even with I had a different agency, I was a partner in, in the eCommerce world in my career that was servicing some really fantastic merchants and brands on the Shopify platform.

[00:18:07] Matt: And kind of more on, on the high end top of funnel side of, of, I guess, that ecosystem. And we always enjoyed having like the longer term, more strategic relationships in place, even with, you know, DTC merchant brands here in Columbus, we worked with homage. So anyone from the Columbus crowd, you know, definitely knows homage and we love just being invited to the table, like with them to think critically and think strategically about, okay, cool.

[00:18:30] Matt: Like we’re working on this new web design release and we did a lot of their web design for a period of time, even custom software development that was. Then deployed and integrated into Shopify’s like native capability. Mm. So like I always found it more rewarding again. I kind of have the depth of relationship and not just like, okay, cool.

[00:18:48] Matt: Build me a thing and launch it and then like, okay, thanks. Goodbye. Yeah. But like, yeah. Let’s let’s think. Okay, cool. What’s the next generation and a generation after that. and so there’s a re rewarding aspect. You have more predictable sales and, and revenue coming from those relationships and it forces you to kind of just stay sharp in the industry also. So yeah, that’s, that’s

[00:19:06] Josh: Great point and my view you’re right. It’s very gratifying to be able to do deeper, more meaningful work with people. You already know. Because you don’t have to sell them again. You, they already know you, they’re already probably gonna work with you. You just need to offer better services.

[00:19:20] Josh: And honestly, sometimes it’s nice to be able to just work on your business instead of trying to hustle nonstop to get new client after new client. I definitely have seen the shift, I think in web design in general for that. And it could be because more and more folks are used to subscription services. I mean, I have students who are doing a subscription web design model, which was unheard of when I got started back in 2010.

[00:19:44] Josh: That was, I mean, maybe some people were doing it, but it was, it was not terribly common. So I think there’s a massive difference there for sure, between, you know, a decade ago. And now what other things do you think are different? I mean, obviously community, it looks very different, but are there any other things that are maybe the biggest difference from, from a decade ago to now?

[00:20:03] Matt: Oh gosh, well I do think subscription is something that maybe we should peg for a little bit longer and kinda stick on here. You just mentioned it. Sure. Indeed designer community. I actually just this week was told about design, joy.co I hadn’t come across his work in the past and it’s phenomenal apparently.

[00:20:22] Matt: He’s doing remarkably well. I, I don’t know him directly. So I don’t know his, his inside operations and things like that. But from, you know, I, I would say proximal, you know, storytelling and what I’ve learned, like just crushing it. And it’s a subscription based model with like a lot of templates and a lot of configurable assets and like using a lot of, I would say like cross industry techniques.

[00:20:45] Matt: So like even, and this is a solo operation, I should say, at least led by like, you know, just one designer. Yeah. But he has a, like a little chat bubble, like how many designers on their website have, you know, the, you know, the Intercom oriented, like little chat bubble on their website. So like, I, I think it’s really interesting to think about.

[00:21:02] Matt: Even in, in the designer community, like, you know, this is maybe just one example, but like a subscription based model, scalable extensible assets, whether you’re a Figma designer or, you know, use some other tool and then potentially building some community around that. I don’t think he has here per se have like community community, but you know, other designers I know are, and even just, even beyond designers, just other service professionals are scaling themselves a little bit in terms of then having kind of small group, you know, coaching capability or something kind of tacked onto like the higher end services, you know, that they might do on a, you know, one-to-one basis.

[00:21:37] Matt: Another designer, a good friend of mine and you may know him. Josh’s Al Taal, he’s designed a lot of really impressive websites especially for creators. So his website is simply. Rafa Taal dot com and he’s also approaching or getting into more of this sort of business modeling where you can definitely hire him like one for one.

[00:21:57] Matt: And he is like pretty expensive these days. His work justifies it, but then he he’s moving into like other, like other things, right. That he can sell like small group stuff or again, his own version of, of assets that he can sell off and then like customize or tweak or give feedback on. So it’s an interesting, like chess game thing to kind of think about it’s like as a designer or if you’re, you know, any version of a, of a, just a solo service oriented entrepreneur.

[00:22:22] Matt: Yeah. If you want to, you don’t have to, but if you want to, how do you, how do you scale yourself a little bit with some of these new business concepts, subscriptions based stuff, community, et cetera.

[00:22:31] Josh: Yeah. And I know we talked about this when we met in person, but for me. I felt like my web design club, which is my coaching community filled a really interesting need. And it, it was kind of a hybrid approach between selling courses in my, my case at scale to where I might hear from the students, if they emailed me or we did a Q and a or something, but I wasn’t having too many like personal conversations, but at the same time, I wanted to be leery about one on one coaching, cuz I know time intensive that is, and it’s just not scalable unless I’m doing, you know, really, really high rates.

[00:23:06] Josh: So what I did was the hybrid model, which was my coaching community. So I was able to have this subscription style community for my membership, but it gave me a chance to have deeper relationships with my students and with my members. And I could coach them in more like group coaching ways and I could have a private chat. And I know I, I used circle and I was, I really followed what you guys did with S P I pro. And I joined that and then loved the experience as a, me as a member. So I was like, that’s what I’m gonna use for my membership.

[00:23:35] Josh: And then I’ve done the same thing with my support center for my, for my courses is kind of like the SPI academy like you have. So it is kind of, it’s, it’s super fun. I think nowadays, because you can do a hybrid approach of whatever you want do, whether you wanna go purely at scale or you want to go one on one at a higher price point, or whether you want to have kind of a, a coaching community aspect.

[00:23:56] Josh: And I know SPI is a little bit different, but for me, It’s my personal brand. So my community is, is my coaching community. So that’s where it fit in for, for me, at least as I, as I was thinking about what you kind of, you know, visualize there.

[00:24:08] Matt: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I, I see a lot of synergy and even melding at least more so today than five years ago, 10 years ago, in terms of interest and even capability across different sectors of the internet. So definitely from the service side, you know, there’s a lot of folks that get their start doing service work. Maybe they even start inside an agency. They get good at a craft like design. They go out on their own, they start their own little solo design practice. Right.

[00:24:35] Matt: But a lot of times that can lead them, especially again, these days into, I think like, like you into like, cool, like I’m crushing it with service work, but I have something to say about the industry. I have something to say and teach about my craft and I wanna help others as a form of yes. Altruism, but also potentially like a, a business driver as well. So cool. I can also kind of step into this mold of being a creator. I can have a podcast, I can create a community, but I’m still, I’m still a designer.

[00:25:02] Matt: I’m still a service person, but you start to move into other territory. Right. But then on the other side, I think it’s equally true in, in my opinion, in my view of what’s happening, where folks that are getting started on the creator side and they sell an online course, or they just get really big on a social platform and then they sell ads or monetize themselves in other ways.

[00:25:22] Matt: They can, and, and lot are moving into services, right? As another form of scale and a way to add value and deliver value on the S P side, we’re not there quite yet, but yes, with S P pro in our community, like that’s sort of a bridge to, like, we could go farther. And in candidly, like we kind of are at least discussing it on the inside of like, cool.

[00:25:43] Matt: Like if, you know, beyond what we have today. And we’re expanding our tiers very, very soon. We just have the one tier today as we’re talking mm-hmm . But in July we’re launching, you know, two new really exciting dimensions. So tiers of our, of our SBA pro community to service different needs to different, you know, points in the, in the journey, so to speak. But even beyond that, Could SPI offer coaching at some point. Gotcha. Conceivably, right.

[00:26:07] Josh: Well, I’ll, I’ll tell you this, Matt, in, in utter transparency, I was recently on with pat for episode 5 63 of thes P podcast. Two people have reached out since then, who are not in web design and asked for coaching. So there’s obviously a big time need right there. I’m sure you guys have seen that a lot.

[00:26:25] Matt: Yeah, there there’s a need. There’s an express need. It’s genuine. We can, we can solve that pain, help add value there. We need to, if, if we go there and I’m not announcing anything, I’m not saying we are, but like if we go there, like we have to make sure that. You know, the team and the business can support it. That again, we don’t get too far over our skis sort of thing. Right?

[00:26:43] Matt: Like it has to make sense cuz the last thing that we wanna do and that you wanna do or anyone that’s really committed to, you know, servicing the great people that we have in our midst, you know, whether it’s, again, you know, service based clients or community members or whatnot, is to get started with like a big promise. And then like something happens on the business side, then we have to like pull back. Right. So yeah, we just wanna get that right .

[00:27:04] Josh: Now I’m curious because when I started my web design club, I assumed that the only people who would join my coaching community would be current students in my courses. And my courses are one off just to kind of fill you in. If you don’t know Matt, my courses are separate. They are one off lifetimes. It’s very similar to what you guys do with SPI and Pat’s courses. And then they can come into my coaching community at any point for coaching. More recently, I have more and more folks coming into my community first and then diving into courses.

[00:27:33] Josh: So there’s definitely, you used the word synergy a little bit ago. That that’s definitely what I’ve seen. What are you guys seeing with that? Are you seeing the same thing or are most people in S P I pro people in courses and then they, you know, go into that. What have you guys seen.

[00:27:48] Matt: I’d say we’ve seen something similar is that we’re, we’re moving into a space where by design, so intentionality as well as I, I guess just, Hey, we’re looking at the data and we’re seeing the trends and it’s maybe proving certain, these, that these new business constructs can and even should be multidimensional and multidirectional.

[00:28:09] Matt: So to your point, like you can have at one direction, cell courses have courses promote and lead into community that works. And, and we do that as well with our courses at SPI, but much like you also, like we have a ton of interest in just a community first. They come in there, but then that enriches an awareness and a trust factor that’s really valuable.

[00:28:30] Matt: So then cool. I’m gonna then go buy a course. Right. Yeah. So there’s different. There’s now different ways into the apparatus, right? There’s different ways like in, into, into your business based on how you’re designing it. It’s not just like, oh, okay. It’s only this direction, right? Like you can come in this way. You can come in this way. You can come in this way.

[00:28:46] Josh: Yeah. Well, and the cool thing about that, I know for me as the, the leader of, you know, my club, the coaching community is it’s fun for me to get a feel for someone. And to hear where they are and then to get a feel for really what they should move forward with and what they should actually do.

[00:29:01] Josh: And then I can say like, Hey, go through my maintenance plan course. And then they are like fired up. They’re engaged. I can even give ’em a deadline. I’ll be like, come back in two weeks when you finish the course and then we’ll wrap this up and then next step. So it is kind of a, a, a bridge to where I, I think you have a lot more control over the relationship when you meet somebody and have ’em in a community where you can nurture that and then send ’em to the courses, as opposed to them just, you know, maybe going through a course, maybe coming back, maybe not.

[00:29:28] Josh: So it, it is really interesting. I love that. I think that’s super exciting that those two things can work really well together now. Now for me, the biggest problem I have with courses and why I created my community is because. People will go through a course and then they would drop off. I’d never hear from ’em again.

[00:29:43] Josh: So have you found that SPI pro has helped that as well? Like for the people who maybe gone through courses years ago, have they come through SPI pro? Has that helped with the, you know, obviously it’s all about retention, I imagine. Is that one of the biggest needs that you guys had for, for SBI pro as well?

[00:29:59] Matt: Yeah. It’s one of the biggest. Pain points that then a community component does help to solve. It doesn’t solve everyone. Like you’re always gonna have it. If you have a course and become a course creator, you’re gonna have that, that factor to some measure. Right? You’re gonna have folks that start your course at least a DIY course, and they’re gonna drop off. You can’t, can’t kind of save everyone to kind of say it that way.

[00:30:21] Matt: What we have done is we actually have two distinct community, like instances like you on the circle platform. So S P pro are our, is our private community. That’s our subscription base. We have another called S P academy. S P academy is where students from. Our courses then, you know, they have an opportunity to kind of land there and no additional charge. It’s actually free. People can come into SPI the SPI academy directly. It’s sort of our substitute, even for like Facebook groups. We de platformed off of Facebook about a year ago and, and migrated to then this S P academy community.

[00:31:00] Matt: So we have, we have student centers and, and student kind of cohorts inside the SPI or academy that relate to our teaching topics. So email marketing and affiliate, marketing, and podcasting. And then we have, you know, our, our courses that, that relate to that subject matter. And it absolutely has then helped I would say yes with the notion of completion.

[00:31:21] Matt: So students can kind of meet each other and like trade ideas and thoughts and that kind of perpetuates yes engagement and ultimately trying to fulfill on like, yeah, like complete the course. And then beyond the course completion, like put it into practice, like, how are you doing? Right. So there there’s a safe space there that we’re proud to provide and facilitate and nurture. For our, for our students.

[00:31:43] Josh: Yeah. Now let’s turn the tables back to new clients then and new customers for SPI. Yeah. I think a lot of people know pat Flyn with just his entrepreneurial brand and I’m sure that segues a lot of people from YouTube and the SPI podcast. Are there any other avenues that you guys are finding that works well for, for getting new people? Are there any different platforms you guys have tried out what’s what’s working for, for new clients for P pro or SPI in general? Yeah.

[00:32:08] Matt: Well, YouTube continues to be just a really rich you know, I would say like kind of top of funnel opportunity just because of how YouTube has changed dramatically over the last several years and the fluidity with which, you know, we’re trying to create and adapt content, you know, for YouTube and increasingly, increasingly YouTube is just one of the biggest search engines, you know, in existence.

[00:32:28] Matt: So, you know, we’ve been testing some things, some things have worked, some things have, have worked less well. But just to kind of, even again, invoke community, because it is one of the really. Popular topics. And we believe it’s not like a fad. We believe this is a trend we believe in the, you know, our observations of what’s happening in the market, in the industry and kind of where things are headed.

[00:32:47] Matt: So we’re increasingly focusing a lot of content creation for YouTube, you know, around community building and keywords related to community building. And being able to help other folks approach that topic through YouTube. So YouTube is definitely like a place where we’re putting more attention, more resources and trying to, you know, yeah. Discover new people and have, you know, other folks discover us for the first time and kind of use that as a conduit in beyond, oh, go ahead.

[00:33:13] Josh: I was just one, I was wondering what the difference was between the potential customer types between YouTube and the podcast for you guys. Have you seen cuz I see a pretty big difference with the type of people who are watching my YouTube videos. For me, it’s mainly people learning web design or more web design tips and tricks, some entrepreneurs, some business owners, but most of the entrepreneurial business owners that come to me come from my podcast. What have you guys seen any differences between the two for you?

[00:33:39] Matt: We’re beginning to, so I would say this is sort of like, you know, the jury’s out and we don’t completely know yet, but in terms of, again, for YouTube and putting more content out there for community builders, you know, we’re starting to see some aligned, expressed interest. That into then like S P pro first into this notion of like, how, how are people kind of entering your, your business from different directions? You know, YouTube is increasingly a place where we’re seeing interest in the community first versus say courses, right? At least in terms of our business model the podcast has always been an effective way to promote courses either just because we’re interviewing another course creator or we do have ads, you know, on our podcast, especially Pat’s flagship show.

[00:34:20] Matt: We have, we have a couple other podcasts at this point. So, so we can see a lot of lift on just course sales through, through the podcast. So again, yeah, like a different entry point, a different business metric to kind of look at social, I would say is not our strong suit in an interesting way.

[00:34:34] Matt: Like pat does well personally and most of. Our social, so to speak is like just Pat’s personal feed, you know? So we, we don’t track too much, at least not yet, like from, from social network, we are still trying to figure out like, how do we wanna show up as a brand, as SPI with maybe me and maybe Mindy and maybe Jill, like other folks on the team and have a more like Avengers sort of an approach to like how we wanna show up on, on social as like team S P I.

[00:35:00] Matt: Right. So that’s sort of still in the workshop. We haven’t, we haven’t completely kind of figured that out yet. So, but you know, to your, your core point. Yeah. I think there’s absolutely truth. And therefore, like let’s, you know, advocacy here, but like, yeah. Think critically about, okay. If I wanna show up on YouTube and I also wanna make investments and show up on TikTok or have a podcast.

[00:35:21] Matt: What is that strategically pointing to? Like, is there a central thing that like, okay, if I do this well, I’m gonna promote, you know, client you know, expressed interest client you know, inquiries or submissions or application, whatever the mechanic is, right? Like where are you leading people out of these channels to hopefully take some action with you on your website or. Do something else that kind of then promotes yeah. New client opportunities.

[00:35:44] Josh: Well, in regarding socials, that’s why I pulled my support groups from, from Facebook as well. Similar, actually I did it like right after you guys did just cuz I, again, I like the model it worked and I knew a lot of my students were saying I’m not on Facebook, so I’m bummed.

[00:35:59] Josh: I can’t get the, this student support center. So that’s the beauty about having a tool like circle to be able to have that and embed anywhere you can embed it in your website or have it standalone? That’s definitely one of the main reasons I wanted to have a, an agnostic program that way, if someone’s just on Insta or LinkedIn or Facebook, whatever, you can still be here. For you guys, are you doing any other, like, are you doing Google ads or anything like that or is it pretty much just YouTube and, and the podcast.

[00:36:26] Matt: It’s the podcast. It’s YouTube. Again, it’s, Pat’s like personal social channels and we dabble in a couple of other areas, but concerning Google ads specifically, no, we, we don’t, we don’t do that. We, we try to be very, I would say light in our approach regarding ads. We have tried ads. We have tried Facebook ads in the past. It’s not something that I have found empirically to really move the needle for us, you know, effectively, you know, different reasons. You know, I’m not saying that Facebook ads don’t work for certain brands in a certain market with a certain offering.

[00:36:57] Matt: For us, we have just not found that a worthwhile endeavor and also quite frankly, the void of even just the empirical side with numbers is pat. I. Don’t really believe in it as much. Right. Mm-hmm just like, sort of like how we, how we want to have the S P brand manifest and the sort of, you know, customer journey that we’re trying to build.

[00:37:14] Matt: Will we get back into testing some ads? Sure. But if anything, we’ll probably more lean into just podcast ads and try to do more honestly like the native advertising notion where we can like tell a story, you know, and be able to like, say something through audio and maybe have more of that kind of pop up on other shows. Like we feel like that’s a little more congruent with just our ethos as a brand and, and how we wanna show up.

[00:37:34] Josh: So, so show up that term. It’s kind of interesting. Now I feel like more and more of my students have asked about how to show up, particularly those who are a little more introvert. At heart and they don’t feel comfortable being on all the socials and stuff.

[00:37:48] Josh: What are your thoughts on that for people who like I tell everybody, if you are gonna be the only person in your business, you have to put your sales hat on whatever that looks like, whether it is more organic, like the strategies we’ve talked about or whether it’s intentional ads or whatever it is like you have to be the salesperson.

[00:38:04] Josh: What are your thoughts on that for people on how to get out there? I mean, it’s kind of an open ended question, but it’s really important now because a lot of people wanna grow their own business, have their own online business, but they’re like, I don’t want to be an influencer. I don’t wanna be pat Flyn necessarily. And maybe I do want to be somebody, you know, just work with people, but they, you gotta get out there at some point. What, what are your thoughts on that?

[00:38:24] Matt: Several thoughts and, and the, the way that I look at it is it’s a lot of like yes, and yes. And sort of thinking here. So as a starting point, yeah if you run your show, if you’re a solo entrepreneur and you do, you know freelance design, and then you even wanna maybe again, hybridize, like you have Josh and to grow into a couple different areas, you gotta show up. So like first, first level, like first wrong on the ladder, it’s like, yeah, you need to choose one place and start to show up there.

[00:38:51] Matt: And there’s no, at least for me, like I guess moral judgment or any dogmatic choice of like, you must show up here first, like, like choose for you. If that’s YouTube, if that’s podcasting, if that’s social, if it’s Instagram versus TikTok versus Twitter, you know, I don’t care. I, I, I think it, you know, that should be very much like as, as much as possible, like, listen to yourself, you need to show up, you need to overcome that, but like overcome that in a place where you feel the most willing to kind of make the effort and learn the ropes and try to build some consistency.

[00:39:22] Matt: And it’s very okay if you never go to YouTube, but you need to show up somewhere and start to kind of build some momentum there. So that kinda steps into, in my brain anyway, kind of like the first, yes, an to, to the second point, which is. Just yeah. Build momentum somewhere once like find one channel, right.

[00:39:39] Matt: And kind of start to get some traction, have some success. That’ll build confidence. It’ll build a rhythm. You start to build an audience in some capacity, right. That then should you choose to, and go to a second or a third channel, then you can start to seed those channels with the success you’ve had on the first.

[00:39:54] Matt: But always throughout this be listening, cheer sub you don’t have to show up in every dimension. Always. Yeah. You need a story, you gotta improve your, you know, storytelling skills again, whether that’s in writing or audio or YouTube. I personally don’t overly enjoy showing up on video personally, and I have no interest in being an influencer.

[00:40:11] Matt: I mean, that’s, that’s pat, you know, I run the company, I lead the company and I’m trying to do business to business deals and, you know, and other things, you know, that’s my responsibility set as the CEO. And Pat’s more like full-time creator again, that’s intentional, that’s by design. So pat needs to show up and he loves it though.

[00:40:26] Matt: Like he loves being on video. He excels at it. He’s in my opinion, one of the best at it. So that’s where we need to focus his energies. There’s alignment there. I need to be showing up in other capacities. I love podcasting. So I’m trying to do Josh, like honestly, more of this, like I need to show up on other people’s shows more frequently to kind of bring some balance, even like pat showing up.

[00:40:45] Matt: I actually have my podcast again. I had one years, years oh, nice. That guy. I had to show actually during my creative agency days, That did reasonably well back then. But I haven’t like had a show in like five years just like, whoa, Frick. I should do that again. So like, I have a concept Pat’s very supportive of it.

[00:41:01] Matt: He likes it. So, you know, I’m working on that and I gotta get back out there. And because audio for me is like, this is my love. Like if I’m gonna express myself and try to foster communication and, and build, you know, a lot of great relationships, I’m gonna go audio. So that’s me. So, you know, for, for the folks listening that are designers, like my gosh, maybe you wanna show up on, on Instagram, like, or do other things that kind of have a more design orientation to them first. But ultimately yeah, show up once, somewhere, build some traction and momentum, and then you can think about scaling from there.

[00:41:31] Josh: That’s great. Now, before we went live, you and I were talking about doing potentially like a quarterly meet up with other creatives here in Columbus. In person meetups, because I built my business 100% through referrals in my networking group and my chamber of commerce here locally.

[00:41:47] Josh: That’s I was not on any, so I mean, I did have a Facebook and stuff, but I, I did, I was not a content creator video guy until I started teaching web design, but I did build my business 100% in person. What are your thoughts on in person stuff now? Do you feel like they’re, do you feel like COVID is ruined in person things or do you think there’s a resurgence to where in person things are gonna be 10 times more valuable now than they were before?

[00:42:12] Matt: Well, I, I definitely don’t think it’s ruined. And, and if anything, I do think it has just added more magic to the opportunity to get back together in person. I, I don’t know if it’s 10 X in, in value. I don’t, I don’t know what the what the multiplier would be, but I, I do personally have, have a sense myself.

[00:42:28] Matt: I’ve heard this from, from friends, you know, that again, run in circles like ours that are, you know, creators or solo printers in some capacity that it’s it’s irreplaceable. And we miss it desperately. A lot of us I dare say maybe most of us, you know, from the last two years of, of pandemic loving and, you know, you definitely a standard asterisk here is that, you know, we’re not maybe all the way through it.

[00:42:49] Matt: So like your standard precautions. But increasingly like, yeah, I think that we’re hopefully getting close to a time where. We can be thinking about leveraging, you know, in person gatherings, again, in a lot of different ways. And I, I think hopefully, yeah, being able to do something here in Columbus is gonna be super fun and, you know, it, it adds sort of, you know, another variable here that’s critical, which is just like that personal motivation factor.

[00:43:12] Matt: A lot of us are in this yeah. To meet other people and just like meet other people like us. Right. And, and kind of find, find our, our, our little you know, our, our, our group. Right. Yeah. And, and doing that in person. And then just more organically, naturally thinking about. Word of mouth referrals and other things like a lot of that can be born out of that.

[00:43:29] Matt: So I think it’s gonna help a lot of folks again, to, to get back out there in a real life and engage in little mastermind groups or meetups or, or more formal event types, whether you’re hosting them or you just join them in your local communities. I think that’s gonna be really important.

[00:43:45] Josh: Yeah. For me as a WordPress guy, word camps are massive and I definitely have missed having any of those in person. I don’t know if this year in 20, 22, if they’re gonna start back, but I would imagine over the next couple years, it’ll start to, they’ll start to do more in person events cuz they are, there’s just something so powerful about meeting with people in person. And I know I’ve heard talk, pat, talk about this where was it, it was Flycon right.

[00:44:10] Josh: That happened like a year before, maybe the pandemic. And then I know

[00:44:13] Matt: That happened in 2019,

[00:44:14] Josh: The summer 2019. Yeah. And then I had heard him talk about S P I pro being an idea that you wanted to keep that community aspect that was there. Virtually. So I’m curious, do you guys have any aspirations to do like meetups or in person stuff through SPI pro for SPI pro members? Is that something that is in the forefront?

[00:44:34] Matt: Yeah. Through SPI pro. Yes. We, we haven’t, I would say like solidified on a particular event with a lot of structure in a date. Like we, we’re not quite to that extent mm-hmm , but with the exciting new tiers that are gonna be coming here very, very shortly you know, I’ll be driving on one of one of those new tiers, which is a higher end tier that is more on the business side right now.

[00:44:54] Matt: Not exclusively, but you know, a lot of the community programming and engagements that, that we have in S P pro revolve around some aspect of audience building and marketing and rightfully so. But anywho, like the potential, like way in, in vector into in person is through like a more structured like business program that maybe is an extension of what we’ll be launching in terms of the community, more around business concepts, strategic planning, disciplines and other things like that.

[00:45:21] Matt: So we’re very excited for that as like a, as like a proving ground. Right. And then like, okay, cool. If that works we have high hope actually that it probably would. Yeah. How could we begin to scale off of that, into, to other things, and maybe that would lead all the way back to like something about, of a larger sort of like SPI icon sort of an event.

[00:45:39] Josh: Yeah. I’m kind of thinking through that. Cuz so many of my members have asked about getting together in person. I would love that we’re, we’re quite scattered. I mean, it’s, it’s a global community all over the world, so I don’t wanna make people fly to Columbus, Ohio for, you know, drinks for three hours or coffee one morning.

[00:45:54] Josh: Like I wanna make it, if we do it, something that is gonna be a weekend long thing or something that’s gonna be very well worth the time. But yeah, it is kind of interesting. I was just kinda curious where your head head was at with, with in person versus virtual and what that looks like now. Yeah. Obviously options are endless, so cool.

[00:46:11] Matt: Yeah. One more thing in that, in. I guess space is that other conferences are thankfully coming back online. For example in, in the creator space convert kit, email marketing platform that a lot of creators use has an event called crafts plus commerce that they had run for several years based in Boise, Idaho, and that’s where they’re based.

[00:46:32] Matt: And like most everyone like kind of took the last two years off because of the pandemic, but they’re coming back with that this year. So there’s always this opportunity, especially with folks like us that have, you know, distributed audiences and whatnot. Maybe we’re not at a point yet based on our own capacity or finances or, or other factors to like put on our own big event is like, you kind of can think about a bolt onto another event.

[00:46:53] Matt: So like with, with convert kit, we know that a lot of the folks that, you know, maybe are a part of our community or, you know, listen to us and are part of our audience probably know of convert kit might Haven an expressed interest there. So cool. Maybe we could all gather there and then we could put on like a special dinner or some sort of like UN conferencing sort of thing that kind of is in addition to like what, in this case, hype, hype Hypothetically like convert kids doing, we could use use that as just a gathering spot. Right? So like there’s different ways to kind of think about like the, when and the, where we may wanna gather.

[00:47:24] Josh: So the partnerships and that idea of, of working alongside other brands that can be mutually beneficial. One thing I’m really curious and fascinated by is when to like partner up with somebody and when to just refer somebody, what are your thoughts on that?

[00:47:39] Josh: Do you have any like red flag advice for people who cause even as web designers, like you might be able to partner up with an SEO agency if you don’t do SEO, but they could do your SEO, you could do the design, whereas sometimes you might wanna just refer it out completely. I was just curious to see if you’ve any, any lessons or gold nuggets of advice in regards to partnership versus just referrals.

[00:47:59] Matt: Yeah. Also probably a number of things that come to mind and I could, I could share that’s definitely a whole other episode, but yeah, forget. Yeah. Just no, no, no, it’s good. Like partnerships, I, I, I think is honestly an under celebrated and underdeveloped aspect of business still. Especially in our realm of like small business and solo based businesses and service, you know, based pros and even creators.

[00:48:23] Matt: Like we have partnerships on the P side with like tech platform circle is one of them, you know, and there’s like for our business model you know, affiliate income is still or affiliate revenue still. Relevant to some degree. So from circle, from teachable, from convert get, and from other notable platforms that we use ourselves and trust, et cetera, but on the services side, you know, it’s interesting.

[00:48:44] Matt: And based on my service career, you know, with two agencies you know, in the past, and I even advise another, is that there there’s an important line there where build those relationships. But I guess if I’m trying to distill it to any maybe piece of advice, it’s, it’s the, the responsibility factor.

[00:49:02] Matt: So like, if, if you’re, if you’re just yourself, a designer, you know, how, how much, how much additional perceived responsibility might you be taking on in a way that maybe you don’t intend to, if you aren’t just like, to your point, Josh, like referring it out and like, that’s it versus like trying to partner and then like say you’re bringing a web developer, you know, into the mix, right?

[00:49:21] Matt: So it’s your client, you’re, you’re doing the web design. You bring in a web developer to help build out your design. Are you on the hook for that? You know, is that your responsibility? So like where’s, where’s the line and you. If something goes wrong, like, are you, are you on the hook for that? Or is, or is the perception weird?

[00:49:39] Matt: And then like your relationship with that design client gets maybe a little bit, eh, like, you know, it gets a little bit tough. So yeah, I, I think it’s, I think it’s tricky. So I would start slowly, but with like a vision and a mindset of like, yes, partnerships are a good thing and test the waters and maybe do more like referral out and then listen to your client.

[00:49:58] Matt: Right. Listen to like, Hey, like that developer, you just referred me to, like, they did a bang up job. Like, like, love that. Thank you for recommended me. And if you do that a couple times over and there’s a consistency factor there, then maybe, maybe you try to like, take that up a notch, right. With that develop.

[00:50:14] Matt: Say like, Hey, like maybe there, maybe there’s a little bit more we could do here in a partnership capacity that has like different economics involved or, you know, there’s, you know, we could go down that rabbit hole for a whole other episode, but yeah, sure. I would say start solely, but start like with optimism and start with intention because partnerships absolutely in different, in different like molds and capacities can be just an absolute godsend for folks like us.

[00:50:34] Josh: Yeah. Yeah, no, we talked about this in person. I think it’d be worthwhile diving into here as maybe something that I’m looking to in the future. And maybe some of my audience are, but an advising role, like an advisor shift role mm-hmm whatever the correct term is. What does that look like for you guys?

[00:50:49] Josh: Does that come organically? Do people just, are you getting hit left and right to be advisors? Do you say like we’re open to advising a certain amount of clients per quarter? Like what does that look like for, I know your advisors to circle a few others. What, what does that look like for you and what are some tips for if anyone’s curious about that that path.

[00:51:07] Matt: Yeah. So with circle with podcast Hawk in a small little portfolio of others at pat and I co-advised, those are tech companies, right? So the, the approach there, the, you know, the, the deal structure of the economics, that’s all gonna be very different because they’re tech companies as, as a, you know, compared to, if you’re advising say a service based business or an agency, or, you know, someone else kind of in that capacity there is an open source document that, that we leverage for our work called the fast it’s the founder.

[00:51:37] Matt: Let me make sure I get this right. The founder advisor standard template. F a S T from a very reputable organization called the, I think it’s just the founder’s organization. So we leverage that as our sort of starting point when we’re trying to broker and begin to formalize some of these relationships.

[00:51:53] Matt: So you can Google for that and you can find it. We use almost that language verbatim in terms of the stock language in the, in the upfront agreement. And then there’s. There’s modularity in the back end of that agreement that I have customized it to be more consistent with like the approach that pat and I take in our like unique value and kind of surgically where we apply ourselves.

[00:52:14] Matt: So, so we’ve customized the back end of it. But the front end of it is all like pretty much, you know, the stock language. And that’s been very useful again with like tech companies and our ability to bring a lot of our wisdom and experience from building audiences in the creator economy, different forms of content and media to then, you know, for us a very interesting market segment in tech, which is, you know, even the kind of call, call back to the billboard that, that you caught attention of, you know, so carrot, you know, being the company that made that happen, you know, they’re a FinTech company, which FinTech is blown up in general right now, but they’re like, cool, like FinTech for creators, right?

[00:52:48] Matt: There’s a lot of other companies, tech companies in different market segments that are like, cool, like our. Our target audience. So our target customer are creators though. And pat and I just have found ourselves in a really thrilling, kind of, not overly unique, but unique ish position where like we can operate at that intersection of, of tech companies, especially like.

[00:53:10] Matt: In some cases really well funded tech companies. And they’re trying to, you know, get into the market that we know inside and out, so that that’s us gotcha. On on tech companies, but in terms of like other service based pros and designers and trying to get involved, you know, if that’s something that’s of interest, you know, there’s, you can have advisory deals that are more kind of on the, the cash flow side, you know, which I guess I should say that with the fast it’s more rooted in, you know, restricted stock and kind of getting into almost like angel investing and equity place and stuff like that.

[00:53:40] Josh: Okay.

[00:53:41] Matt: But you can, you can have advisory opportunities that are based in just it’s essentially a service model. Right. Mm-hmm so even what pat and I do, like it is services we declare through the fast, like what services we provide. And it’s an interesting way to think about like how even us. At some point, we all are doing services.

[00:53:57] Matt: Yeah. So for, you know, designer pros that are doing service work, you know, and if there’s, I guess if there’s that interest or that vision, you know, are there tech platforms, you know, design that are design oriented, that if you get to a certain size, you could consider trying to build that out or just to each other, you know, advising other design studios or larger design studios you know, can be a just another thing to kind of have like a service offering probably at a higher tier. Yeah. So yeah, it’s interesting. Way to kind of think about scaling yourself.

[00:54:26] Josh: Yeah. And it’s, it’s interesting because I, I find myself as you were talking about all that, I’m essentially an advisor or consultant. I don’t know if those two terms are interchangeable or not to my old web design agency.

[00:54:36] Josh: So I actually sold my agency in 2020 to one of my students. And it wasn’t a sexy cell. My student didn’t Eric. He didn’t have who’s my CEO. Now he didn’t have capital to pay me a lump sum, but I knew I wanted to teach full time and I just had to make that decision. So we essentially just worked out almost like an advisory deal for a certain percentage per quarter.

[00:54:56] Josh: You know, through a certain term or two, I hit a certain amount. So that’s kind of the deal I, I struck with with him and the agency. That way I can still have a pulse on it. I’m still consulting. I still, you know, see all, I can see all the numbers, all the books, but I can refer to him. What’s working, what’s not working.

[00:55:11] Josh: He’s letting me know, you know, some of my old clients, how things are going. So I kind of found myself fumbling into an advisory slash consultant situation. And it just got my interest peak for maybe one day down the road as those opportunities come, like what that looks like, which is kind of cool.

[00:55:25] Matt: Kinda interesting. Yeah. Which is fantastic. I remember you telling me the story privately, so congrats again on that it’s, it’s really rewarding. At least I found and not to speak free you, but I, I think you feel that also right. With just like the ability to still give value back, right? Yeah. You kinda still have that have that relationship structure there, which to me is more consistent with the term advisor than say, like consultant.

[00:55:47] Matt: So I, I do think they’re pretty similar. So much of them again, It is a form of a service offering, but you know how you define that on paper, how you structure that, what the, you know, expectations are on both sides, how you show up in that relationship structure you know, advisory for, for me, Makes more sense to think of it that way.

[00:56:08] Matt: I feel like I have, you know, an opportunity to almost care more, right? Like it’s not, it’s less transactional consulting feels more stiff or it’s more like McKenzie coming in as a, like a, you know, a really big, you know management consulting firm or, you know, something like that. Like that’s, that’s not me, you know, I’m gonna be selective.

[00:56:26] Matt: I’m gonna advise people that I really believe and trust in whether it’s an individual or, you know a tech company that’s targeting creators that I really believe is adding value to the greater economy. You know, whatever it is, you know, if I’m gonna be an advisor like that matters, like I’m, if I’m gonna hang my hat on that.

[00:56:42] Matt: I’m gonna be really selective. And hopefully the other side of the table feels the same way. And if they don’t like, that’s okay too, that’s even a good like barometer test. If they’re like, oh, like we just want you to like, you know, make intros all bloody time. Like that’s a part of it. And you know, this is me being opinionated, but like I’m not in it just to like, make an intro, make an intro, make an intro. Like, I wanna, I wanna give feedback. I wanna like, kind of be more in it, you know? That’s my take on advisory.

[00:57:07] Josh: Yeah. That’s interesting. Cuz I guess advising could almost be like coaching in a, in a way, like if you’re, you know, sharing tips and ideas it’s I guess there could be a lot of overlap there, although it’s very different O on your level, as far as advising circle versus coaching a web design student, but yeah, sure.

[00:57:25] Matt: But I, yeah, I, at some point it maybe all becomes marketing. I don’t know. It’s like what, what language do we choose to use, to use, to try to represent ourselves and sell ourselves? But yeah, but it’s also the. The construct. Right. So if you’re trying to build a, a small group thing, you know, with, you know, 5, 6, 7, a dozen designers, you know, in, and you’re facilitating that that’s maybe a little bit more master Mindy or small group cohort oriented. Yeah. I think coaching is a more appropriate sort of description of that than like, say peer advisory, but yeah. Advisories, like you are advising like it’s, it’s kind of baked into the model.

[00:57:57] Josh: Yeah. That’s so interesting, man. Well, this has been really cool, Matt. I mean, I’ve super enjoyed. It’s been a quick hour already. I know. Oh, oh my gosh. Look as we get ready to wrap this up. I’m just curious, cuz I have one final question, but before we get to that, I am curious when you guys at S P look at your customer types, cuz this is something I’m going through right now, I’m finding that my like ideal customer is kind of evolving a little bit.

[00:58:19] Josh: Open ended question again, but what, what have you guys learned with, when you think about your, you know, your, your customer avatar, whatever, you know, or ICA your ideal customer avatar. Yep. When you, when you look at that, has that evolved for SPI and then how, I guess what have you learned on, on how to make sure you’re producing the right content courses? All the things for the right person.

[00:58:39] Matt: Yeah. Fantastic question. Thank you. Great ending spot as well. So two things that point into the same thing. One is a service professional who wants to become a creator, right? Or begin to have as an extension of a service based offering and service based business, whether it project based services or coaching or collection of that stuff. They wanna get into creator and creator, meaning growth of audience, right? Podcasting, YouTube, and more potentially passive income oriented assets like online courses or other forms of again, passive monetization.

[00:59:16] Matt: So service pros into having a creator element to their business is one path that is very clear. This happens a lot. There’s a pattern. So this is more as we were talking about previously, like, you know, going from the CR from service into creator versus creator into services, right? So that’s, that’s one direction and one kind of ideal customer type is to find established service based pros that kind of wanna grow and scale in that way.

[00:59:38] Matt: Mm-hmm . And the second is the more potentially traditional version of someone that’s. Seeking to replace a nine to five career, right. That is doing well and wants more independence of time of, of, you know, financial independence, more freedoms. Right. And they want to go creator first. So don’t necessarily wanna get into the service game, or at least not first, they’re more interested in building out you know, the course side, the audience building funnels into, you know, passive assets, you know, that sort of thing.

[01:00:08] Matt: So both roads kind of leading to the same interest of like, how do I build a part of my business or a business. By itself, that’s more kind of creator oriented. That’s so the common denominator, but two different like customer avatar types.

[01:00:19] Josh: Yeah. That’s really interesting. I always kinda wondered if I was like your perfect ICA, but it sounds like I’m a little bit of an outlier because I’ve taken, which by the way, while I have you, thank you for your, your awesome work with, you know, with pat and with SPI, cuz your resources have been game changing for me from the podcasting course, the webinar course SPI pro like recently I wanted to ask about podcast sponsorships.

[01:00:45] Josh: I don’t know anything about that. So where did I turn? I went to SPI pro because I knew a lot of people in there were taking podcast sponsorships. So, and I didn’t really have any colleagues that knew too much about it. So there’s so many resources that have been, you know, massively impactful for me. So thank you, Matt, for everything you guys did, I’m sure you see the testimonials, but you know, just the chance to say thank you for all your work that has played out, you know, for me and my family.

[01:01:09] Josh: But I always kind of wondered to say, like, I always thought I was the perfect customer avatar, but it sounds like I might be a bit of an outlier because I had this brand and I’m using all the resources to scale it. Take it to the next level.

[01:01:20] Matt: Well, we’re immensely grateful for you. So first and foremost, thank you and believing in us and being just a fantastic member of the community and enriching that like we all, we all benefit and learn something when folks like you show up and ask really great questions. I think you’re less of an outlier maybe than you give yourself credit for very positively. So again, in a sense where you you’ve started as a service guy and you’ve done really well, and you’ve grown an agency you’ve sold an agency, you know, and now you’re becoming and not trying to put, you know, maybe labels in your mouth, but you know, more of like the creator, the teacher, right?

[01:01:50] Matt: You know, you still have services, you, you do coaching and you have a community element, but that’s, that’s close to the mark in terms of that first kind of vector where, you know, is someone that, who already has the independence element or close to a full-time independence element, coming more from a services, but background and wanting to either transition slash transform, or just add to their service offering and getting into the community coaching and more. Like scalable and passive stuff.

[01:02:19] Josh: Gotcha. Yeah. That makes total sense. Well, awesome. Matt, final question for you with SPI pro, where do you see it going? You don’t have to say anything that’s set in stone or anything, but I’m just curious as a member and as a community focused person, just like you, like where do you think things are heading for online community in general and for pro here over the next couple years?

[01:02:39] Matt: Yeah. I am on the record many times over for saying sincerely that communities at the center of our business model. Now it’s not just something we’re gonna teach and it’s gonna inform content. All of that is true. But at the, the, the epicenter of my business model and my strategic plan for the company over the next, you know, two to three years, especially cuz that’s decently built out, you know, we, we care about investing in scaling community.

[01:03:02] Matt: So that is more membership tiers even shared here that, you know, we’re launching two new ones coming up in just like a month or so I think based on when this podcast is dropping we’re very interested in then even going further into potentially while I will loosely call like group coaching, you know, sort of stuff.

[01:03:18] Matt: I know I was riffing on that a little bit earlier. And you, you, you must just be prophetic because basically you already teased out my thoughts getting into something that even either related to the small group coaching stuff, or maybe it’s proximal to it, which is like the. In person, like meet up sort of things, not full scale events, but like something related to our community programming and our cohorts and our members doing something for our higher end members that like really just gives back and has a, has a new feel to it that you can only do in person.

[01:03:47] Matt: So all of that still under the big tent of like community and how we think about growing SPI pro. And then another thing that I think sit adjacent to all of these things that it hasn’t come up yet is this vision that I have around community as an asset to them pursue through partnership. So bringing the partnership factor back in, you know, we do community really well, like. I feel very bullish in saying that. And I think we, we can back that up that statement.

[01:04:11] Josh: So totally, totally.

[01:04:12] Matt: I know a lot of people have interest in community as well, but maybe they don’t have the time, the inclination, the resources, a combination of all that and other things to try to go build their own community. Right. So in our own space, in our own industry, or even our own niche, can we partner with, you know, you already have a community, but like, could we partner with someone else or a collection of other people that are kind of like you that are, Hey, I, I just wanna be more like the, the influencer person, right.

[01:04:38] Matt: I have a big audience and maybe I have a couple online courses and I sell ads and that’s great. And that’s cool, but I also want community, but I don’t wanna build it out. Could we partner partner with them and could SPI pro become. Some version of their community could be, have a carve out for like, you know, their sort of teaching material or something.

[01:04:57] Matt: We provide the services of community design, community management, community operations, right. For them. Right. Mm-hmm so that’s something that is more probably on the outer bound of that, you know, two to three year vision in terms of like, trying to figure out how to build that out and, and launch it.

[01:05:15] Matt: But I do think that our ability to scale community and consistent with our values is to selectively choose partnerships or even advisory sort of stuff, even that is like, okay, we can bring our, our talent to bear in terms of, again, community design and community management to other creators doing great work. In a similar capacity.

[01:05:35] Josh: Gotcha. Gotcha. Wow. Fascinating stuff, man. That is super cool and really exciting. Speaking of community, I got a Q and a for my web design club coming up here, so I’ll bounce here, but man, this was awesome, Matt dude. Thank you so much for your time today. And Sharon, just being really open about sharing what you learned that so super fun, man.

[01:05:53] Matt: Thank you again for the time and having me on.

[01:05:55] Josh: Awesome man. Talk soon. Thanks Matt.


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