5 years in, on track to move past the quarter-million dollar mark…that’s the current status of my good friend Jay Clouse’s online business.
And I’m so excited to have him back on the podcast, this time, time to share all the ins and outs of what he’s learned in taking his business to this level.
In this one, we cover everything from his offerings, pricing and mindset with attracting better clients, to how he manages everything from multiple marketing channels, a weekly newsletter, a thriving podcast, a YouTube channel and how he’s maintained all this without burning out.
This is typically a conversation that Jay and I would have in private but I’m so excited that he’s willing to share with you all the nitty gritty so that you can apply these lessons to your business if you’re ready to get to this level.
In this episode:
00:00 – Introduction
01:50 – Greeting to Jay
06:38 – Diversifying thoughts
10:24 – Learning without regrets
12:15 – Evaluate by quarter
13:41 – Pricing mindset
16:22 – How to find sales
22:30 – Selling on Social Media
31:29 – Keeping others in mind
35:13 – One-off courses
38:44 – Creator who offers services
44:08 – Discovery platform strategy
49:47 – Social ads
54:24 – Balance of time & money
1:02:46 – Moments of gratification
1:05:28 – Motivational minute
Connect with Jay:
Featured links mentioned:
Episode #228 Full Transcription
[00:00:00] Josh: All right, friends. Buckle up for this one in this episode, episode 228. I’m thrilled to bring back a fan favorite of this podcast, one of my very close friends for many reasons, apart from him being local to me, but he’s also just one of my absolute favorite minds in the online entrepreneurial game.
[00:00:17] Josh: This is Jay Clouse, who I wanted to bring back on the podcast this time to share some lessons learned and what he’s experienced, and bringing his online business in the creator economy to over a quarter million dollars this year in 2022. I am so proud. Of what I’ve seen that Jay has done with his podcast, his now YouTube channel, his online marketing strategy, his newsletter, his connection and community first mentality, his memberships, his courses, all things that did not start overnight and all at once, but things that he’s built over the last five years to get to this point.
[00:00:58] Josh: To have a stable quarter million dollar business that is only continuing to grow. I’ve seen what he’s done over the past couple years and I asked Jay if he would be willing to just share with you what he’s learned. So that’s exactly what we do in this episode. Everything from his offerings, pricing and money mindset, all the way to what he’s learned about podcasting and ads and adding video and YouTube into the mix, and more importantly, what I find really fascinating, how the heck he’s manag.
[00:01:23] Josh: All of this stuff. I couldn’t be more excited for you to hear from Jay. So on that note, let’s not waste any more time. Here’s Jay, and I’m so excited for you to hear it’s, it’s kind of a behind the scenes like Pete behind the curtain, just casual chat about what he’s done to hit a quarter million dollars in his online business. So way to go, Jay, and I hope you really enjoy this one just like I did. So let’s dive in.
[00:01:50] Josh: Jay, welcome back onto the podcast round three with you, man. How are things? Whoa.
[00:01:55] Jay: Round three. How many round threes do you have?
[00:01:59] Josh: You’re up, you’re, there’s only a couple, only a couple other round threes, so, uh, yes. I mean, it’s, it’s true honor, I would imagine on your side. It
[00:02:06] Jay: truly is. Um, yeah, I’m doing great. I’m doing great. It’s, it’s my kind of weather. I think I’m built for arctic climates, but fall climates are pretty good. Uh, so I’m excited for fall in Ohio.
[00:02:18] Josh: Yes, we’re both in Columbus and, uh, the fall is here At the time of recording this, like we did not have a smooth transition from summer to fall. In fact, like five days ago it was like 90 degrees and now it’s like 50. So, uh, I, I saw a meme that said Ohio, uh, the weather is like, it just saw a state trooper and went from 90 to 55 .
[00:02:39] Josh: That’s hilarious. So I felt like that articulated it. That’s amazing. Uh, so that’s the physical world, but the online world. Jay, man, the reason I wanted to have you on is number one, because you’re just one of my favorite creators and online entrepreneurs, but number two.
[00:02:54] Josh: Just I, sorry, I held it up odd. Usually people do one number or two like that for anyone watching. Uh, number two, you have had an incredible year in your business and it’s been really cool, was just a friend and colleague of yours to see where your business was about a year ago, heading into 2022. And what you’ve done now, um, you’ve kind of tweaked some things, rebranded some things.
[00:03:16] Josh: You have an incredible podcast called the Creative Elements Podcast, which, uh, if anyone has not subscribed to, I highly recommend, but you’ve done some really cool things in the way of memberships courses and just your, your online teaching style. So I just wanted to pick your brain to, to hear about some lessons learned, if that sounds good, man.
[00:03:34] Josh: Yeah, for
[00:03:34] Jay: sure. It’s been, it’s been a wild year. I feel very fortunate. Uh, it still doesn’t feel like real, a lot of it, so a lot of it is me being like, can I trust data? How much data does it do I need for it to feel? real. Um, so yeah, well happy to talk about any of that. But yeah, I feel, I feel like, uh, it’s been a good year for
[00:03:53] Josh: me.
[00:03:54] Josh: Well, the data in the form of numbers in the bank account, that’s where I found it truly matters. And it’s, um, you’ve been really open and transparent about some of, some of your profits and everything. I, I wanna ask about that, particularly from a sense of like how transparency helps. But I have to ask you, Jay, like I’ve been asking a lot of guests recently.
[00:04:12] Josh: When somebody asks you what you do, what do you tell them now? Because you do a lot of things like a lot of other folks listening and a lot of folks in the entrepreneurial world. What do you
[00:04:20] Jay: say? It depends on whether this person I believe, has any sense of what a creator is or not. Um, if, if I feel like they, they don’t quite understand, but kind of get it, I’ll just say I’m a content creator.
[00:04:32] Jay: And they’ll be like, so what does that mean? I’ll be like, well, I write and have a podcast. Uh, for people who are a little bit more in the know and kind of understand the world we swim in, I say that I help creators earn a living and more and more, I’m starting to think of it in terms of helping creators earn a living that is platform resilient.
[00:04:47] Jay: Cuz you know, we see all these, these news headlines about YouTube changing their monetization policies and even Twitch change their monetization policies and then the creator economy, like everybody gets all stirred up. But for, for me and the, the people that I work with, the creators that are clients of.
[00:05:03] Jay: Doesn’t really affect us because most of our business models are resilient to platforms and algorithms. Um, not to say that we don’t make money from platforms like that, but it’s not what we are depending on for our business to operate and for us to really do well.
[00:05:19] Josh: So it’s funny you mentioned that because I just re-listened to the interview that I did on your show, creative Elements, just to, uh, it’s been a while since I heard that. And people love, by the way. Oh, that’s so, man, that’s so awesome to hear. I mean, I just like you, I’m happy to share everything that I’ve learned because it’s such an incredible world, the online world that’s riddled with challenges and struggles by the way. But that’s why we’re here to hopefully help some people navigate this.
[00:05:42] Josh: But what was interesting is I had talked about being a divvy specific web designer and how basically building a brand off of a platform really helped me. But I’ve even so more recently realized the power of, and the importance of being platform agnostic to where if a platform goes by the wayside or gets bought, or get’s compromised in some way, it’s not gonna kill your business.
[00:06:05] Josh: So what a great lesson to. Start off with here, like I think the importance of diversification with different platforms and methods of marketing is so important. Great segue to one of the first things I was curious about, Jay. What is your experience with like diversifying your stuff between, you’re using WordPress website, you’re using Circle like I am for membership and community.
[00:06:29] Josh: You’re getting on YouTube now. You’re heavy on Instagram. Your podcast is big. What, what are your thoughts and what are the lessons learned with diversifying all these different channel? To be
[00:06:38] Jay: honest, I think I went about things kind of backwards, especially for what I would recommend most people today.
[00:06:43] Jay: Most people like it’s a competitive marketplace, so to try to do a bunch of things at once is a recipe for having a hard time. I’m not gonna say it’s a recipe for disaster or for failing, but like it’s gonna be harder than if you said, you know what? I wanna master Twitter and just do that for two years and have like a very specific lens that I put on the world and tweet about that and build an audience there and really get a bunch of writing together and then I can branch out.
[00:07:05] Jay: That’s a good way of going about it in my opinion, if you’re trying to grow quickly and build a substantial audience. For me, I was poor and I was like, I need to make money immediately. I can’t do the delayed gratification angle. Right away. So what I did was I kind of diversified outta the gate because I was just trying to claw a little bit of money here and there to just make sure that I could cover my expenses.
[00:07:37] Jay: And in the beginning it looked a lot like services. It was, it was pretty hand hand combat. I had an email list, but, uh, more so than people just clicking a buy link in my emails and purchasing something, they would hit reply and say, I’m kind of interested. Can we have a call? Because I would offer, like, let’s have a call and talk about this.
[00:07:52] Jay: And then I would sell them some 500 to a thousand dollars, uh, program as a product. Then, um, you know, the, the email audience continued to grow. Social media’s continued to grow. I had kind of a moment on Twitter last year where I put out a thread. It was like, Hey, it’s my 30th birthday. Here are 30 lessons in 30 years.
[00:08:12] Jay: And it went crazy. And I was like, oh wow. That can actually like happen here on Twitter. And my following kind of doubled, like overnight there. I broke 10,000 followers on Twitter and I decided, okay, I could probably take this a little bit more seriously. Um, along the way I had opportunities to make courses for LinkedIn learning, and then I decided, well, I could probably make my own courses.
[00:08:30] Jay: So I started just like dabbling in things where I realized, okay, there are opportunities here to make small amounts of money in short periods of time. And I diversified myself, um, by accident, to be honest. And so now, now fast forward five years and I, I’ve figured out, okay, I know how to make and sell digital products.
[00:08:50] Jay: I know how to build an email list. I know how to be active on social media. I even know how to sell things over social media now, which is actually pretty hard. Uh, I know how to, uh, do sponsorship and my newsletter. I know how to put sponsorship in my podcasts. That’s another project I built. And all of these properties, all the infrastructure’s built.
[00:09:07] Jay: So now as the overall audience builds, there’s just higher reach, which means more ad dollars. It means, uh, the same conversion rate equals more sales of products. So, um, Long way of saying I diversified, accidentally turned out to be really good, but it was a longer time horizon than it needs to be.
[00:09:26] Josh: Mm. It’s funny you mentioned that. So timely. I was just having a chat with somebody in my membership, my web design club, who is at a place where they kind of need some stronger cash flow quick, and he’s got a couple different models that are subscription based, but it’s low cost, so it’s like $50, $99. That model, while very nice when it comes to cash flow and sustainability at scale.
[00:09:49] Josh: It takes a while to get there. Yeah. Like, I don’t know too many people who go 99 bucks a month or 50 bucks a month and can generate six figures relatively quickly unless you have a framework that is already built on an audience and a big email list, et cetera. So I think it’s a really important note like it.
[00:10:06] Josh: Looking back at the five year journey so far, Jay, do you regret that in any way, or do you feel like it actually worked out to do some of that, like you said, one on one high touch, probably high time intensive, but $500,000 type deals. Do you regret that or do you feel like that was a pretty smart way to go looking back?
[00:10:23] Josh: Yeah. I
[00:10:24] Jay: mean to, in the beginning, like the, the, the best way to earn a living is to sell services and you have to just do some basic math. Like my price point for that program came out of the basic math of saying, okay, this program is three months long. Uh, I think I can 15 ish people in the program. So at 15 people, what price point do I need that’s gonna cover three months of expenses?
[00:10:46] Jay: like that was the, that was just the math. Uh, and, and you can do that with any type of service. But I think, I think that was the way to go for sure. Uh, should I have started on YouTube as opposed to doing an audio only podcast when I didn’t have much of an audience? Probably that’s something that I’ve realized is, uh, a trade off.
[00:11:04] Jay: I probably should have. Should I have, uh, invested more time and effort into Twitter when I realized how the game was played and how to make the most out of it before everybody was doing threads. Yeah, I should have done that. I should have deprioritized email for a little bit focused on Twitter, especially before I was selling advertising in my newsletter because a decision that.
[00:11:24] Jay: I’ve made over this past year is to monetize my newsletter and my podcast, and soon probably the YouTube channel with advertising. And when you add advertising into a product, you remove the optionality to just not do that for a period of time because you’ve sold, uh, inventory over a certain period of time.
[00:11:43] Jay: And if you don’t deliver on that, then you’re in breach of contract. So before I had contracts that I could have breached in the newsletter, I should have just stopped writing as much on email and done more on Twitter and maybe LinkedIn. So there were, there were things that I would do differently, but starting with services, um, I would not change that. I think that was absolutely necessary.
[00:12:02] Josh: That sound advice, I appreciate hearing that because that’s exactly what I told, uh, my student in this case, I was like, you gotta look at what is your highest profitable service and what’s your money maker? What’s the value? And you hit a really interesting point there, Jay.
[00:12:15] Josh: You looked at what you needed within a three month period, and it’s so easy to do, but it’s also easy not to do. Like the amount of times people ask me, what do I charge it? I always go back to that. What do you wanna make in a year? Ideally, but let’s even, let’s, let’s break down from that. Like, yeah, I love looking at things in quarters.
[00:12:34] Josh: Cause three months is like, you can launch something, you can usually evaluate it and you can usually get a good feel if you’re gonna be able to scale it and double it moving forward. So yeah, look at three months. What do you wanna make at three months? If you need to make, you know, I don’t know, $15,000 to cover all, you know, all your expenses and stuff, then guess what that is per month.
[00:12:54] Josh: You need to take home $5,000 a month. And I’m making this easy on myself cuz I hate, I always get myself in life, public math, public math. Why do I do this to myself? Um, but that’s it. So, okay, $5,000 a month, how many web design projects do you need to get at your price point? Have you charged $2,500? Boom, two a month?
[00:13:11] Josh: That’ll get you there. It’s that easy to do. It’s that quick to do, and then you can implement it from there. So I just, I wanna say that because I, I find so many people make things too complicated. And overthink, just like I’m sure you and I have done many times and probably struggle with, simplify it, make it simple.
[00:13:28] Josh: Figure out what you need and and go from there. Cause it, have you found, like for example, if you needed $5,000 a month, but you launch a $50 a month subscription, that’s a whole different ballgame Yeah. Than offering a service that’s $2,500.
[00:13:41] Jay: Right? Totally. I mean, pricing is such a trip. I’ve, you and I talked about pricing I think twice already on this podcast. But let me just throw one thing out about pricing it. The program that I was selling at the beginning of my business, it was a mastermind program, was a 12 week mastermind. You come in, I surround you with other people like you, and we meet once a week for 12 weeks, and that’s going to help you grow your business.
[00:14:05] Jay: I sold that product at the beginning for $400 for 12 weeks. There are people who sell that exact same product to a different customer and charge $10,000. Same product, same experience, different customer. Uh, and now today I’m able to sell a membership that’s $1,500 and I do that solely via email without having a one-on-one conversation at all.
[00:14:28] Jay: Whereas sometimes I would have to meet in person at a coffee shop with somebody to convince them to pay me $400 for 12 weeks. Pricing is all about can you get this person to want the thing you are selling? And if so, price is inconsequential. If they really want that thing and that’s the obvious solution to their problem and you are the person that they want to work with.
[00:14:50] Jay: Pricing is so secondary, it can be anything. So, um, we get a lot of hangups on pricing, but as you’re just saying about like math, everything is a math problem. Everything is a numbers scheme. If you figure out what the top number needs to be, you can work backwards. And if you think, well, that seems like a higher price than I’m charging.
[00:15:07] Jay: You need to work on your story, you need to work on, you know, yes, of course there needs to be alignment of the value to this thing that you’re selling. But so much of pricing is customer selection. You know, the, uh, there’s this great Andy Warhol docu-series on Netflix right now, and, uh, they took his written diaries and used AI to construct a voice of him reading his written diaries in a lot of these places.
[00:15:31] Jay: And you hear Aaron Warhol saying his diary, the, the secret to making a living as an artist is to, uh, find someone rich. Get your work in their house and let them sell for you. And I was like, yeah, it really is that simple. In a way, it can be that simple. It’s client selection.
[00:15:49] Josh: How have you found sales? How, how does it differ now the way you’re selling through like I said, you’re not doing one on one calls to sell, you’re doing it by authority, building content. Um, you surrounded yourself with an incredible network, that kind of thing. Like how have you found the way you sell now to be different than how you did five years ago, which is a lot of my web design students are doing and building their businesses. It’s like one on one networking, boots on the ground type sales, but they can sell online. It just takes a whole different set of skills and challenges, doesn’t it?
[00:16:22] Jay: Well, I still only aspire to work with a relatively small number of people for most of my products that involve my time whatsoever. My biggest product right now is a membership community. Not dissimilar to your membership community. Uh, it’s an annual commitment and I only. Availability for 200 people to join that membership. I cap it at 200 because I just don’t think I can provide the same level of service that I want to provide and am currently providing beyond 200 people.
[00:16:51] Jay: Maybe I figure some things out and that expands someday. Probably not. So, um, for me, I don’t need to, my audience is big enough that I don’t have to be super pushy. Like I can have, um, a pretty high number of leads relatively easily because of just the number of people I reach on a weekly basis. So every lead conversation I have is so much lower stakes because I don’t need this one person to get convert to a sale.
[00:17:23] Jay: There are a bunch of people that might convert, and I know that some of them will now. It’s a privileged position to be in now. Um, but the takeaway that I wanna give to people who are just starting out is, if you like, the more you are thirsty for the sale it’s felt, it’s understood. It’s, it’s hard to mask that, where it feels like you’re coming from a place of scarcity and your stakes are really high. That’s a lot of pressure on the customer, and somehow they just sense it. And so now that’s
[00:17:53] Josh: true. They, they can sense it from a mile
[00:17:56] Jay: away. I’m not like super far on the woo woo end of the spectrum, but there’s some stuff, there’s something there. And so I, I just don’t put a lot of pressure on sales or anything, any literally any sales email that I send and I do send dedicated sales email.
[00:18:09] Jay: I’ll end every one of those emails with no pressure, no expectation. If this is for you, I hope you join us, and since I don’t necessarily need any of these things to directly convert to a sale, to provide for my livelihood, because the portfolio of products and services I offer cover my needs just fine.
[00:18:26] Jay: Um, I think it’s inviting to people because they, they, they feel the calmness that I have and they aspire to that, and that’s what I’m promising to provide. So, um, it’s, it’s hard to just put on like a jacket of confidence, but that’s kind of my
[00:18:40] Josh: advice. Yeah. I don’t know how quote unquote, desperate you were in the, in the first couple years of this, but when do you feel like the paradigm shifted for you to where you went from like maybe a little salesy, a little hustling to like, I have a decent size audience now. I don’t have to come across like that. When did that switch for you? It probably
[00:19:00] Jay: took at least three, maybe four years. Like the, the big year, I mean, this is so weird because in the middle of five year journey was covid. So when, when Covid hit, um, and there was a lot of uncertainty. I just started taking on any project that was coming in my door because I’m like, Let me make hay why the sun is shining. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Uh, and I worked really hard and, uh, I was able to put away a fair amount of like client service money, uh, that I was earning in case of emergency.
[00:19:32] Jay: And so I realized like, oh, if I just push harder, I could actually, my capacity’s higher than I thought, and I can, I can pull these things in. But it removed some level of, uh, pressure from me. And then one of those projects was the consulting project with, uh, Matt and Pat at spi. And that led to part of my business being acquired by SPI and the opportunity to go lead community at spi.
[00:19:55] Jay: And so when I did that, I got, um, you know, the, the, the buyout of the business. I got a salary from SPI and I still had like my content business that I was able to grow on my own, the, uh, growing an audience selling digital products. So in that year, I had no financial pressure on the business whatsoever because not only was it still earning, uh, almost as much as the previous year on its own, pretty much on autopilot without services, I had a salary and like I was good.
[00:20:32] Jay: So all the decisions I could make for my business for a year had no real financial implications. And that’s when I realized like, wow, when I don’t put financial pressure on the business, I make better decisions for it and people wanna work with me even more. And it’s, it’s counterintuitive and it’s frustrating to hear, but when you don’t need clients, more clients want to work with you, it’s just right the way it is.
[00:20:54] Josh: It’s like dating too, isn’t it? Like when you’re just so desperate for a relationship, you know, they’re gonna sense that. Whereas if you’re like, Hey, you know, I’d like to go out, but if it’s a, you know, no big deal, then they’re like, oh wow, I like this person.
[00:21:06] Jay: And you hear this advice in negotiation all the time too. They’re like the highest leverage part of negotiation, or the highest leverage point is when you’re willing to walk away. And so for any clients that kind of knocked on my door cause I didn’t do any outbound cause I didn’t have time for it really. Anyway, came to my door and said, Hey, can I hire you? I would start from a place of, again, this pricing question, what would make this worthwhile to me to do it?
[00:21:28] Jay: And I usually aired on the side of being high . And uh, a lot of them said no. A few of them said yes, but anyone who said no and trying to negotiate, I just said, no. Uh, it’s, it’s, it’s not worth it. I don’t have time and this is what the price is. You know? Uh, similar to going into any type of shop that just sells a widget of some sort and they say, this is the price.
[00:21:50] Jay: You don’t go to Walmart and try to ha all the price of a light bulb. That’s the price. And for me for a year, it’s the same with my client services that I offered. And I was like, this is the price and you can pay it or you can not. And there’s no hard feeling, this is not personal. It’s okay. I just don’t need it. And if you’re not gonna pay the price, then it’s not gonna happen. Yeah.
[00:22:05] Josh: Now I feel like that’s, Not, I don’t wanna say easy, but like it’s very practical to be able to do that in person or at small scale, but at, at, at larger scale, particularly online, like social media for example. You mentioned earlier, something you said I want to swing back around to was that you learn how to sell via social media. Uh, if you would, Jay, enlighten me and enlighten everyone listening, what have you learned with selling on social?
[00:22:30] Jay: I don’t have perfect data for this, but anecdotally I would say that I have earned as much from Twitter this year as I have from my email list. Mm. Which is crazy and frustrating and also exciting.
[00:22:42] Jay: Um, but it really just comes from a place of one. I think the audience I’ve curated on Twitter are people who value investing in products and services and improving themselves. I think that’s like a true thing about Twitter’s audience. And I think they also are generally, at least my audience, more affluent than, uh, people who are on, uh, Instagram.
[00:23:04] Jay: Maybe YouTube. So for me, When I have something that I want to sell, I will test out the idea of what the solution is as a tweet or a thread without a link just to say, here’s, here’s a great example. About a month ago, I made somewhere in the ballpark of, I think $7,000 on this productized service that I called brutally honest audits.
[00:23:27] Jay: And it came from like a conversation I was having inside my membership where I just told ’em like, Hey, listen, you’re paying for me to help you improve your business. I’m going to be increasingly brutally honest with my feedback because that doesn’t serve you for me to sugar coat it or pull, pull punches.
[00:23:44] Jay: You need to know what is holding you back. And I think a lot of people are in that space where they don’t ask for feedback. When they do ask for feedback, they ask for feedback from people who are close to them so they don’t get the full story. And so I just put it on Twitter. I’m like, I think I’m gonna offer a product, uh, called Brutally Honest Audits, where I spend an hour looking at your website, your products, your social media.
[00:24:03] Jay: And give you the honest truth of what is probably holding you back. What do you think? I had a bunch of people reply to that and it created this public momentum of this thing saying, take my money. I would buy that. So I put up a really basic sales page on converted commerce and I said, here it is. If you’re serious, like go ahead and buy it.
[00:24:22] Jay: And 14 people bought that thing, uh, with like two paragraphs of text. You know, like it had almost no context other than the tweet and other people publicly saying, I’m going to buy this. And some of those people publicly saying I’m gonna buy this. Uh, were legitimate known people. So I think it de-risked the purchase for other people who were a little bit more on the fence.
[00:24:44] Jay: And that’s something that you don’t see in email. Like I could have those same legitimate known people on my email list buying the same product, but that purchase is not seen by other people until I wrap that into a testimonial or a case study or something to put on the website. And then they’re still like, but is this true?
[00:25:02] Jay: Unless like they can see that person saying it. So on, on social media, you can, you can see this came from this person’s actual account that they did this action, they bought this thing, so I’m gonna go ahead and do the same thing. And that’s been true of that, that audit product I did, that’s been true of, uh, $40 workshops that I’ve put together and sold or courses or even the membership. A lot of people have joined the lab, the membership, uh, based on Twitter.
[00:25:25] Josh: That’s a really good point too. Oh gosh. So much. I’d love to unpack there, but one thing that’s really interesting is the social proof on social media versus a standard like testimonial that someone is going to overthink and often like fumble a bunch of words and like fluff it up.
[00:25:41] Josh: Like that’s the danger of asking for testimonials is sometimes somebody’s gonna spend, you know, an hour on it. Yeah. And it’s just going to become something where it’s just real quick. Yeah. Just tell me your thoughts. Tell me where you were and how it helped on social media. You do get to see that. That’s a, I’ve never really thought about that before, but I’ve experienced that both with my business now as a creator and a coach and an online service provider, but also as a web designer for years, is if I would’ve engaged with my clients a little more on socials, they probably would’ve fed into that like public review type thing, as opposed to like a testimony on my website that, you know, it’s real, it’s authentic.
[00:26:18] Josh: There is something about people being like, oh, I just purchased, it was awesome. Like I totally recommend it, or, this has helped me out in just a couple months. I, I mean, this is one thing that I’ve really taken away from what you’ve done on socials is one thing that I’m just completely looking at to apply to my own business is how is Jay showcasing reviews, particularly from Twitter, it looks like, from people just saying, oh my gosh, the, oh my, the creator.
[00:26:42] Josh: What is it called now? Is it the creative lab? It’s creative side. The lab, like the lab has changed my life. It’s the best people online like, but it’s real. It’s quick. It’s bite sized. Yeah. That is so powerful. And it’s over and over and over again with different people all on social media.
[00:26:56] Jay: And when you’re seeing it happen in real time because you’re on Twitter and you saw this tweet and now you’re seeing that replies are being added to it, Jay’s engaging with it.
[00:27:03] Jay: People are buying it. It feels like a party. It feels like something that you want to join. It feels timely. It feels exciting. You don’t get that same experience reading a sales page no matter how much there is in the way of testimonials. Like you wanna know who’s doing this thing right now because. I wanna make the same decisions as these people.
[00:27:18] Jay: I wanna be like, I see myself and these other people who are doing this. I identify with them. I, in some cases, aspire to be like them. And if they’re making this decision, I wanna do that too. And they’re doing it in real time. We’re seeing now a lot of cohort based courses, these like live programs and experiences people are running, that amplifies us even more because it’s, it’s not just, oh, this person bought it, it’s this person bought it and they just enrolled in a program for X number of weeks.
[00:27:43] Jay: Where I can be in that same zoom call with that person that I may also be following on Twitter or Instagram or whatever else. And I can actually interact with that person because I can see they join this thing. You can really build some public momentum on social media that way. The challenge is any social media platform doesn’t want you to post a link to anything.
[00:28:01] Jay: So you kind of have to start in ways that don depending on the link, you know, like when I put out that idea about the audit one, I didn’t even have a link. I didn’t even make the thing yet. I was like, here’s the idea. What do you think? I invited people to weigh in on it. That tweet started performing well because Twitter saw, okay, there replies here, there are likes on this, and by the time it was already rolling and had momentum, then I could put on a link as a second tweet or reply to people.
[00:28:27] Jay: And that’s not hurting the performance of that tweet as much because it already has some momentum.
[00:28:32] Josh: That’s a good point cuz social media by nature, any platform regardless of of what you think about it, they want the eyes and the attention on that post or whatever it is, as much as possible. So for your Twitter thread right there, it’s like that was the end of the funnel.
[00:28:47] Josh: Like you just wanted people to share their thoughts, which is really interesting. It’s like kind of a cool thought experiment for everyone instead of just sending somebody off somewhere. What if you could create something that sends them there? Yeah. I’m definitely gonna apply that to, to something I’ll do here soon to try that out.
[00:29:02] Josh: That makes a whole lot of sense. And then it sounds like commenting with a link, or like I said, second post, but I would imagine commenting would probably be the best approach in that case, right? It’s like, okay, you’re gonna sit, here’s the link.
[00:29:12] Jay: For that audit. That’s what I did because a lot of people said I would buy this. So I said, okay, prove it. basically, you know, um, if it, if it was something like, I had another tweet, I, I started pre-selling this course on building a membership because the lab has done so well. I’m making a course on building a membership, and so the first tweet was, wow, pre-sales of my new course are on fire today.
[00:29:34] Jay: And then I just had an image of the course logo, didn’t have a link in it. That started performing pretty well. And then sometime a couple hours later, I said, here’s where you can roll with pre-sale pricing. And I appended it to it. So when you see it in your feed, it looks like a tiny little thread. Uh, same with all my profile, but uh, I was able to give it some room to breathe and move before append a link onto that tweet.
[00:29:59] Josh: I love this idea of share, sharing quick wins, and sharing results From a community perspective, it’s, I don’t wanna say it’s easier to do you, by all means. They earned where you’re at and earned your audience with every blood, sweat, and fingertip on a keyboard. But I’ve seen the same thing happen in my networking group I’ve shared with you.
[00:30:19] Josh: When I grew my web design business to six figures, it was largely because of my networking group. That was a small group of 20 to 30 people, but it became like this physical community that expanded. And then of course I was their go-to web designer for all their network. So I saw the same thing. I never thought about it like that, but when I would get a result for one person, they would tell somebody else or they would just see it.
[00:30:41] Josh: They’re like, wow, Josh worked with his real estate gal on her website, looks awesome. I want that too. And then when I would work with their friends and colleagues, they would see that. But there is this like other aspect of clients that I experienced where there, there weren’t gonna be connected with other clients.
[00:30:57] Josh: There was no sense of community whatsoever. There was like my networking group, there’s the online community, like both and I, you and I are building right now. But then there’s these people in the middle. The one-offs, the people who are never probably gonna be connected with other clients or an online community.
[00:31:12] Josh: What, what’s your tips and what have you learned about selling to them? Um, when there is no sense of, like, maybe they’re not, maybe they’ll follow on social media, but I don’t know if they’re gonna, you know, maybe they don’t even have the time. Maybe they just got referred to me and it’s gonna be a fairly quick interaction. What have you learned to help kind of bring in those people?
[00:31:29] Jay: Well, I mean, it’s, it’s fundamentally not a different selling process. It’s, you know, you, you want to build your, your process in your assets to be able to sell somebody, whether there was any real time social proof or not. Like you, you want to prepare your sales pipeline to fit the one offs because if it fits the one-offs, it’ll fit everybody else.
[00:31:54] Jay: You know, because like, if you just layer on top of that social proof and, and recommendations from people, it’s gonna do really well. So, to me it doesn’t really make a whole lot of difference. One thing I have been thinking about a lot more lately that’s kind of related to this is there are just. Kinda like what you’re saying, there are different buyer personas within your audience as, as you scale.
[00:32:15] Jay: Like right now, there are a lot of people who are talking about, Hey, your online courses should live on a community platform like Circle. Because there, uh, not only will they learn from you, but they have the benefit of hearing other people’s questions, uh, learning from other people in that community. And there will be certainly people who want that.
[00:32:35] Jay: And that will be a good model for a lot of people to add into their world. But for me, what I’ve noticed is there are a lot of creators who are clueing into what I’m doing who don’t necessarily wanna be known that they’re clueing into what I’m doing. They want to like remain private
[00:32:54] Josh: holding my kind up.
[00:32:55] Jay: Yeah. They wanna remain kind of private and anonymous because one, they’re creators themselves that are a certain level of scale, uh, which means if you put them in front of other people, um, In a worst case scenario, people change their perception of that person because they’re holding them up and they’re saying, well, if you’re following Jay, maybe I should be following Jay.
[00:33:12] Jay: On the other side of the spectrum, they just don’t wanna open themselves up to more inbound from other people. So like these people don’t necessarily wanna join a cohort based course because not only will they have the pressure of learning this thing in this room, but they feel like they have to be on and perform for the other people that are here because they have a certain public persona.
[00:33:30] Jay: So for those people, I wanna continue to give them ways to interact with and learn from me that are kind of gated and private and shielded. And so as I’m looking at like the the circle courses product, for example, I’m looking to see will that provide privacy and anonymous and anonymity, anonymity people.
[00:33:51] Josh: There it is. To people who I like, I like, I like anonymous more. We’re gonna roll with that though. Sorry. Anonymous
[00:33:59] Jay: anonymity for people who don’t wanna be known to be purchasing this thing or buying this thing. Yeah, so I’m, I’m thinking more and more about like my overall product set. And yes, I want a clear product pipeline for the, the general audience member that I attract. But then I also realize there are opportunities to serve, uh, a more, um, someone who’s further along in their journey that doesn’t necessarily wanna be thrust into a community or, uh, communal.
[00:34:27] Josh: Experience. Yeah. It’s so reminiscent of why I learned the power of tiers, particularly in web design, because there were clients who were very high touch, who maybe actually were interested in talking with other clients of ours to see what was working and see what they learn.
[00:34:43] Josh: But then there’s the clients who, they’re busy, they just want their website and yeah, they wanna stay in touch, but it’s not gonna be nearly as high touch. And having an offer for everyone really, really helped me out. And it made me feel like I didn’t have to custom quote one by one. It was like, here’s the three offers.
[00:35:01] Josh: Look what, let’s look at what bucket you’re in. Yeah. And let’s make sure we have the best option for you. What have you learned with that now? Because you do, I mean your courses, are they one off still Jay, or are your courses wrapped up in any sort of like program? They are
[00:35:13] Jay: one off, but a decision I just made recently was if you join the lab, you get full access to courses and workshops because that’s a, that’s a $1,500 investment minimum.
[00:35:24] Jay: It’s a year long. And the courses are between, uh, $40 for a workshop, $200 for my podcasting course, $400 for my me my membership course. So to me, like I’m happy to price that in and have the lab be this place where it’s like, if you’re really committed to supporting me and leveling up over the course of a year, I’m gonna give you all the resources that I can to succeed in there. But there are people who are gonna wanna buy courses just one off.
[00:35:47] Josh: Yeah. The reason I asked that was with, with your type of suite of products and options, it’s like I was kinda curious about what your tiers were, if somebody wants to go one off or if there’s like a middle range. And then of course, I imagine the ideal customer for you would go into your membership and I mean your ad kind of stuff, that’s a skill, but that’s a totally different type of ball game when it, and I’m curious about that as well.
[00:36:11] Josh: Um, but yeah, I was kind of curious about how that works for you. And actually a quick question. Do you back up that idea of having like an offer for, maybe not everybody, but for your ideal client, depending on where they are, do you think it’s really worthwhile having like a three tier kind of option?
[00:36:28] Josh: Like maybe a high intensive approach, maybe a middle tier where most clients are gonna be Yeah. And having even like a starter type option to get people through the
[00:36:35] Jay: door? Yeah, totally. Um, I, I absolutely do. I think there’s, there’s a, uh, some threshold where you have too many things and too many choices, but as long as it’s very clear and intuitive to people coming into your world what thing is right for them, then it’s good to be able to serve multiple people.
[00:36:55] Jay: So I think in general, if you have like a service based business, having some sort of do it yourself, starting point templates that are extremely low touch for you is a smart idea. I think having some sort. Tier where it’s like that DIY plus some level of one on one support and like consultancy from you is good.
[00:37:16] Jay: And then I think having a full done for you service on top of that, those three tiers make a lot of sense for service providers, um, for courses. I even recommend a lot of the, the folks in the lab that are building courses now have a couple tiers for your courses, have the DIY like self-paced course, and then have self-paced course plus an hour with you.
[00:37:36] Jay: Or some people I’ve talked to, they’re, they’re playing around with this idea of self-paced course plus, uh, unlimited email communication questions on that course. And to me that’s a little scary because it opens you up to like,
[00:37:49] Josh: just gave me, that gave me some level of abuse.
[00:37:51] Jay: Yeah. Yeah. But some people do it and, and they, they, they serve a client who understands that like, trust you’re putting in them to not overuse it, but uh, is a little scary, so I don’t recommend that as much, but some people do it. Yeah,
[00:38:06] Josh: no, that makes a lot of sense. That’s well said. I’m kind of curious because I think a lot of people listening as web design business owners may be inspired by this and feel like, okay, there’s a lot of good nuggets in here, but how does this apply as a service provider?
[00:38:19] Josh: And one thing that’s a little bit different that I’ve learned in my journey from service provider to, I guess I’m a course creator, content creator, whatever you wanna call me, is I am building an audience now. Now it’s very similar to when I was a web designer, but I never called my clients or network an audience. What would you call a service provider’s pool of people? I don’t know what to call that. Would you call that network? I probably like,
[00:38:44] Jay: I probably still say audience. Like, I think it’s, yeah. And listen, I’m, I’m a little biased because my lens is for creators because I’ve made that transition from freelancer to creator. And I think if you’re going to use. Content creation as a lever to be basically your top of funnel for new clients. It’s beneficial to think of yourself as a creator who provides services as opposed to a service provider who, who is a creator, because it’s so much harder to succeed as a creator, in my opinion.
[00:39:19] Jay: Um, and so I think if you want to go that route and make that successful, you need to identify with the harder thing of being a creator. Get really good at that because if you do get that, if you do do that well, clients are not gonna be a problem because numbers just gonna be in your favor. Uh, it’s, it’s gonna be easier to convince people to work with you because you are like a known commodity in their life and they want to work with you specifically.
[00:39:44] Jay: So I think I’d probably still go with audience. Um, that being said, like I don’t, I wish there was a better term than audience. That means audience that, um, Made the relationship feel less one way. You know, like some people will use the word community for their Instagram following, and I don’t necessarily buy that because to me, community is a very peer to peer network of people.
[00:40:10] Jay: But I can understand the appeal to it because I think you do wanna have a more communal vibe to what you’re building alongside your audience. Whereas audience feels a little, it almost feels like you’re preying on them, which I
[00:40:24] Josh: don’t love. Yeah, that it’s a fascinating thing and I really thought about this. Back in my, in like the heyday of my web design agency when things were at multi six figures and I had my really strong networking group, which was much more the community aspect. I did have a YouTube channel. Yes. Even as just a web designer, I started my YouTube channel as in transit studios, and that was gaining people, so that was kind of like the audience part.
[00:40:49] Josh: But then again, there were these like referrals and people who are just in some sort of my network and I didn’t really know what to call them or where they fit in, but it, it does kind of make a lot of sense even in both of our businesses now. We have the people who are like community, they’re engaged, they’re in it.
[00:41:05] Josh: We know them by name often, and we, we see the results. There’s the people who are just the outliers, who are just following along. Maybe they’ll step into the world eventually. Maybe they’re just gaining some stuff and gonna piece out at some point. And then there’s the people who are kind of in between all of that.
[00:41:20] Josh: So it’s definitely what I’ve found. As a service provider, I think it’s interesting because what you said earlier where you, like, you start to build an audience and then suddenly it starts magnifying. It’s the same thing as a web designer and as a service provider. Like if you go to a networking group, you don’t have anybody who knows your business.
[00:41:39] Josh: Now you got 20 people who know Yeah. They know 10 people a piece who might use you. Then you got 200 people. Then it, every time you go to a networking group, it expands. Every time you host a webinar or go to a workshop or meet somebody, it just starts to expand. And then I think your, your idea and, and experience of like the three year mark or so to where it really starts to become like, you don’t need every project.
[00:42:00] Josh: It’s because all of these things compound and you may not realize how many people you’re making connections with and how far your name is spreading within about a year or two. Um, I think that’s common in both service, the service end of things and as an online content
[00:42:16] Jay: creator. Totally. Um, I, I started. Very similarly, like my creator business began as being a host of large scale meetups here in Columbus. Uh, my, my network was built in person, and so when I started making things online, enough people I had met in person were connected to me on LinkedIn, friends with me on Facebook. So like, it was an easy transition in that way.
[00:42:43] Jay: But it’s, it’s very much, uh, a, a good way to kickstart your audience, we’ll call it, by doing in person networking events and meeting people, building real relationships with people. That’s who’s going to start following you on your creator journey if you go in that, in that direction. But, you know, overall, like I’m, I’m playing a big numbers game, but as you’re saying, it is, it is all just a number game of different levels of scale.
[00:43:13] Jay: If you want finding clients to be super easy. Play at a bigger scale and do really good work and build out the, the ring of your concentric circles of your audience so that you have more people in the former client ring who are now advocates for you sharing your business. I’m focused on like the outer ring of the audience where it’s like, well, there’s so many of these people, some of these people are gonna continue down the path and wanna work with me.
[00:43:39] Jay: Um, but honestly, I need that so little because of the other discrete assets, digital assets that have created, that. The service route is no longer even really interesting to me.
[00:43:54] Josh: With the idea of social media in particular, do you feel like it is a necessity to have social media for even service providers now? Or what’s, what’s your take on that? I have very conflicting feelings on social media.
[00:44:08] Jay: I, I think of it as a discovery platforms and owned platforms, so, Discovery platforms are platforms where people are going to find you and your work organically by virtue of traffic on that platform. So I’m talking about social media, I’m talking about YouTube, uh, I’m talking about Google even because there’s organic traffic there.
[00:44:34] Jay: I think it is important to consider discovery platforms as part of your overall strategy, and if you’re able to hang your hat on one of them and doing it really well, and again, some of them that’s just search on Google. For some it’s search on YouTube. For others, it’s Instagram reels right now. But I, I think it’s useful to do that because discoverability in email or podcasting, it doesn’t exist.
[00:44:59] Jay: It’s, it’s, it’s all about referrals. So to me, once you build. Infrastructure of having this owned ecosystem where you can communicate reliably with people who have opted in to be, to hear from you. Then you want to kind of turn the dial or open the valve a little bit more and start to leverage these discovery platforms.
[00:45:22] Jay: If you don’t feel energized or interested in making content on any of those platforms or several of those platforms, then don’t, because it’s not gonna work out. Like if you, if you hate video and being on video, forcing yourself to do TikTok is not going to work out for anybody because it’s, it’s not gonna be good content.
[00:45:40] Jay: You have to be a student of that platform and do it for a long time to get good enough at it that it starts to break through. And if you don’t like doing, It’s just, it’s not a winning proposition. So stick to the things that are sustainable that you would enjoy doing, you can do for a period of time, and that’s where I would focus your energy.
[00:45:58] Josh: That’s well said. Something you had you mentioned earlier too, is that you had maybe potentially would’ve done YouTube before going like the audio only podcast route. A lot of my students are considering doing podcasts and some even have done podcasts. And I, I love podcasting. It’s the number one thing for me right now, but it is very different in terms of discoverability.
[00:46:21] Josh: Whereas I built my audience as you know, Jay on YouTube where YouTube did the work for me. Yeah. All I did was make a nice tutorial and YouTube becomes your like salesperson. Yeah. Um, podcasting is different. Podcasting, you need to do much more work and gain that following and earn that trust for people to come back.
[00:46:36] Josh: Now it’s super powerful, but it does tend to take much more work. So I think the lesson here that I’m picking up is that especially early on, if you need some cash flow over, you’re at a point in your business where you’re scaling and you need to do the biggest money makers. You do need to look at what methods are gonna be high reward, but they’re gonna take longer, like podcasting, like intentional stuff like that, like a membership or more like discoverability, larger scale where there’s.
[00:47:04] Josh: Maybe, maybe the return is a little bit different, but you’re likely gonna open that pool of, of audience, like we’re talking about a lot faster. I think it’s a really important thing to consider when it comes to like, how to market your business in the like online world and also not neglecting meetups and networking groups and, and the face to face kind of things.
[00:47:23] Josh: Um, so I think, I think that’s the big struggle. That’s just what I have in my talks with a lot of my students. They wanna know where to market and where the, the best option is. And it’s, it’s a tough thing to say really quickly because it depends, and I hate answers that say it depends, but it really does.
[00:47:37] Josh: It’s like, what are you good at? What are you interested in? What’s your goal here? Like I, I grew my web design business with no social media at all. Um, I used it later on just to showcase some work and stuff. I think I’m living proof and I think you’re living proof that you can do it both ways. It just probably depends on like where your risk tolerance is and what your, your skill is and where you’re at in life.
[00:47:59] Josh: Like I, you know, like you, you got to a point where, like you said, you needed to make money quick, so you had to focus on the, the higher end offers, uh, sounds like at some point. Yeah.
[00:48:08] Jay: And Danny Miranda, how had a good take on this recently. We were on a panel together and he said, if you’re getting started and you’re trying to think of what platform to spend time on, go to the one that you enjoy most as a consumer. Um, and I like that take because the implication is you’re more of a student of that platform. You probably have already built up better taste and intuition over what works on that platform so you can get off to a stronger start.
[00:48:35] Jay: Now, I know plenty of people who love scrolling TikTok, but hate being on videos. That’s tough. If you, if you still hate, uh, the aspect of creation for this platform, it’ll be tough, but, Start on something that you really love consuming, because you do need to learn it. Like if I’m, if I’m honest about, uh, the platforms that I’m on, and if I rank and stack them by how much time I spend consuming on those platforms and how big my audience is on that platform, I think there’s a very high correlation actually that my, my best, my most engaged, highest following platforms, the ones that I actively spend the most time on as a consumer, I don’t think an accident.
[00:49:13] Josh: Yeah, that’s a good point. Well said and a great lesson for folks who are figuring out where to spend their time. Cuz that’s just like the struggle we have now. Where do we spend our time when it comes to marketing and everything we do? Totally. I’m, I have to ask you, I’m really curious, Jay, from the sense of like, ads, I know this isn’t something everyone’s gonna dive into, but for folks who do pick up traction in a certain platform or whatever, what has your experience been with ads sponsors?
[00:49:38] Josh: Um, I don’t wanna derail this completely, but like for service providers, I don’t know if that’s the first that would probably something that’s gonna be later on, but
[00:49:46] Jay: yeah, it’s, it’s definitely a game that, that favors scale because at the highest levels and the, the sponsors that you hear on podcasts and YouTube and see an email list, most of them are deploying a paid acquisition strategy, a paid acquisition of attention, customers, subscribers, whatever.
[00:50:06] Jay: Across a bunch of channels. They’re putting a lot of money into this, and the game they’re playing is a CPM game. Cost per mil means cost per 1000 impressions. So if your podcast gets a thousand downloads per episode, that is one Mila that you can sell. And a lot of these, uh, advertisers pay 20 to $40 per cpm.
[00:50:30] Jay: So even at a thousand downloads per episode in a CPM game, you’re talking about 40 bucks that you would get there. So you really need to have a level of scale to play that game. Now, you can still do direct sales and price differently. You would just have to work with different sponsors. And what I recommended folks with smaller audiences who aren’t at a level of scale, where CPMs make sense, is to work with service providers because they need fewer conversions to a customer to pay off the investment in an ad.
[00:51:02] Jay: We had a, we had a podcast here locally that Iran, for a while that was about startup founders and all of our sponsors were law firms, accounting firms, staffing firms, because they could easily pay off their sponsorship with one customer, and a lot of times their customers weren’t even just our listeners, they were guests that we had on the show.
[00:51:23] Jay: So we could just be a good advocate for that sponsor even to the guests that we have on the show and easily make that return on investment that makes them want to renew. But it is high pressure. It removes optionality to not publish when you are selling advertising inventory in the thing that you’re making.
[00:51:40] Josh: Yeah, that’s a good point. Um, I’m kind of curious on a personal level here, Jay, like did you start all of your channels? I mean you have YouTube podcast, website, membership, Instagram, Twitter. Did you start all these things when you started your creator journey and just add to them and utilize them as time went on? Or did you from the beginning, space yourself out and spread yourself out on all these platforms? I
[00:52:07] Jay: started with email and then I added podcasting. Cause I was doing that startup podcast and I really liked the medium, but I wanted it to be related to my current business. Um, YouTube has only been active since July of 2022, so a few months as of this recording.
[00:52:22] Jay: So I add, I add commitments slowly, especially commitments that are like perpetual commitments where it’s like, I’m gonna publish this every week for forever until I die. I guess I try to add those things slowly because those are huge commitments. That’s huge. That’s a huge amount of time on a weekly, monthly, yearly basis that you’re putting into things.
[00:52:40] Jay: Um, so I, I, I space those out pretty, pretty well, and even, even once I had those rolling, like I haven’t really put an advertising strategy onto YouTube yet, and part because I don’t actually know how people price these things. It’s d it’s a different model because you can’t dynamically remove ads. Little, little inside baseball on podcasts like my podcast, I have just empty spaces in the audio file so that my hosting platform can put in ads across every episode that’s ever been published at the same time until it hits a certain number of impressions and then it can replace it with a new ad.
[00:53:17] Jay: YouTube doesn’t work that way, so I’m trying to figure out how you even. Price that effectively for something that will live on the channel in the file forever, and maybe your lowest viewed video, maybe your highest viewed video, you don’t really know. Yeah. So I’m still trying
[00:53:32] Josh: to figure that out. Mm, gotcha. Yeah, it’s interesting. The reason I ask that is because when I look at people who are at a place where you’re at now, You’re doing a lot of different things, and I’m wondering personally, how are you staying sustainable? Uh, do you feel overwhelmed frequently with all the different thing, all the different moving parts? Um, or do you feel like because you’ve added slowly and you know how to manage time and manage commitments, which is the, which is the big thing, uh, like I share with you on your, on your show.
[00:54:04] Josh: The reason I started with a three month challenge for myself, one tutorial a week for three months is because I did not want to put myself in a weekly content rat race. Yeah. Uh, which really helped me, and I’m still applying those principles today. But for you, like, how have you stayed staying sane and sustainable through, through all these different things going on?
[00:54:24] Jay: Well, look, I, I am a professional, like I treat this as a job. I show up every day. I work eight-ish hours every day. Um, If I didn’t, would the business continue to run to some degree, but not fully like it, it does depend on me and my time. I could outsource and hire for a lot of that, but I can’t hire a podcast host. Um, that wouldn’t work. I could maybe hire a writer for the newsletter, but I think it would be felt to some degree and, and change the product.
[00:54:58] Jay: I won’t necessarily say make it worse, but it would change the product. So I, I just this weekend put together a list of all the repeatable tasks that I’m doing that I probably don’t need to be doing. And there were 37 things on that list that basically on a weekly basis I’m doing that I shouldn’t be doing that I could hire for.
[00:55:18] Jay: So I am trying to get more in that direction, but I’m starting to think of my business more as a machine where I can input one of two things. Time or money and outcome results. So what I’m trying to do is limit my time input to get the maximum financial return that I can so that I can use that financial return as a new input to the machine to hire people.
[00:55:47] Jay: Um, and that’s a tricky balance to strike because yeah, I could just spend another hour on this today and I wouldn’t necessarily need to hire somebody to do it, but like that really adds up over time. Yeah. But it’s also a risk to say, Nope, I’m just gonna hire this and create a relationship that you’re paying for every week, every month to this person that you need to make sure the business is still outputting enough revenue to pay that person.
[00:56:14] Jay: And even if I do have the revenue to pay that person, is that the most prudent cost? Should I actually just invest that into some of these known growth strategies? So I. generate more ad revenue and have more money to hire a person. And when, when do I make that call? It’s a, it’s a complicated thing that I’m trying to work through at this point.
[00:56:30] Josh: Yeah. I love that. It’s very, it, it, it’s so liken to what I went through and a lot of my students are going through now, when they get to a point where you realize I can’t do everything in my business, or I’m literally gonna work like 90 or a hundred hour weeks. So it, I think the idea of having a list where, yeah, you write out repeatable tasks.
[00:56:51] Josh: I had, uh, Jenny Blake on the podcast recently, who’s the author of a book called Free Time. Such a great read. I’m going through it right now. Um, but her take was to have like a list of like, Uh, flow tasks and flow work and then friction work and just feel like what do you, what gives you energy, what brings you down?
[00:57:10] Josh: And e maybe there are some repeated things but you like doing them. Um, those maybe keep ’em on. I love that for as long as you want. That was so beneficial for me to hear because I actually started outsourcing, um, the descriptions that I personally write for every podcast episode. I thought it’s taken some time.
[00:57:28] Josh: I could outsource this and just have cam my va just write up a description or take it from my audio recorded intro. But we did that for like three weeks and I was like, she did a fine job. It wasn’t on her, but I was like, I kind of miss writing those. I like those because it’s good for me to have a writing practice every week and it also helps me.
[00:57:47] Josh: Get to know the guests better and remember the episode and remember what we talked about and the takeaways. So I was like, for right now, even though it is technically something I could hand off, I’m gonna do this because I enjoy it and it fills me up a little bit. So I hope that, I just hope that’s a good practical example for everyone listening, who you’re wanting to figure out what to delegate, what to get off your plate.
[00:58:07] Josh: But just remember those, those tasks that are good for you, that are gonna fill you up and then gonna bring you down. But either way, I think the most risky thing and you can do in your business is to keep it all on your shoulders because at some point something’s gonna break. It’s gonna lead to burnout.
[00:58:21] Josh: And as we all know, if something happens and you’re laid up in the hospital for three months with broken hands or something, you could be really, really in danger. One of my students right now is actually, uh, she just recently got diagnosed with breast cancer and she’s going through chemo and luckily we had already started to scale her business up to the point she’s actually gonna come onto the podcast once she’s through this experience and kind of share what she’s learned.
[00:58:45] Josh: Um, but she told me, she’s like, thank God we scaled a little bit because now it’s not just me in my business. So anyway, I just think it’s a really, a really good note to, to hit on here, especially as we get ready to wrap this up cuz it’s so easy to fall on that trap where you just, you create a super complex time sucking job for yourself. Yeah. As a solo printer or a content creator.
[00:59:06] Jay: And, and a lot of that, Usually I find when like, it feels like a time sucking thing, it’s also time sucking just to maintain what you’ve already built. It’s not like it’s time sucking and I’m making it better. It’s like it’s time sucking and I’m just treading water.
[00:59:22] Jay: And that sucks because it’s not gonna get better magically on its own. Like you need to continue improving upon this thing because again, to use like the machine analogy, if you’re thinking about your business as a machine, you have to continue to invest in making a better machine. Because if you don’t, other people are going to be building better machines and now they’re gonna create a better product than yours or a cheaper product than yours.
[00:59:46] Jay: You know, using product loosely here because your machine is out of date, you have to improve the machine over time too. Or you become
[00:59:53] Josh: obsolete. Yeah. Gosh, you gotta, yeah, innovate the business itself. Integrate your, innovate your product offerings. That’s, sometimes I tell my students like, you wanna know the best conversion tip?
[01:00:05] Josh: Would you buy your own service? And if you really don’t, if you really don’t feel like you would buy it over some other people, you know, then you got work to do. Like, that’s where it all starts. It kinda goes back to like, and it’s so easy to fall into this trap of like doing all the out, out, you know, outbound marketing on little things, but like, where does this all lead to?
[01:00:24] Josh: Okay, it’s this thing, this main service website design for example, is your website design packages, are they the best that you can offer right now? Um, because that translates to everything. That translates to sales and, and all of things. So, gosh, it’s such an important point. I wish somebody would’ve told me that years ago for sure.
[01:00:40] Josh: Yeah, because I found myself doing like way more networking and way more outbound things and I just kind of let my services themselves kind of slip, like you mentioned. Kind of got a little outta date. Yeah,
[01:00:50] Jay: that’s.
[01:00:51] Josh: Totally. I have one final question for you, Jay. Before we get to that though, um, we talked about where you are all over the internet.
[01:00:59] Josh: Where would you like people to go after this? I think a lot of my audience probably knows you pretty well. You presented recently in my web design club on, uh, premium pricing mindset. We’ll link your other episodes because you were on in 67. We talked about confidence in sales. We talked about freelancing, uh, for web designers.
[01:01:15] Josh: I really enjoyed this though cuz I just, I’ve been such a fan of what you’ve done over the past year. I kind of feel like I’m starting like, even though I know you pretty well now, I’m like, I know, I know Jay. I knew him before he was the j class of now. Oh my God. . But you’re, it has been impressive and the reason I asked you about sustainability is I feel like you’re, I don’t sense that you’re like burning out and you’re like, oh my God, I can’t do, how long is Jay gonna be able to keep this up?
[01:01:42] Josh: I feel like you have a good hold on it. Anyway, all that to say, where would you like people to go after this?
[01:01:47] Jay: Yeah, well, so as I said at the beginning, I helped creators earn a living. My business is called Creator Science, trying to break down like the predictable, known, controllable things behind being a creator.
[01:01:59] Jay: So creator science.com is the best place to go to get on my mailing list, which I recommend that you do. It’s where I’m sharing everything that I’m learning up to date. Uh, I feel like podcasts, because you’re listening to this creative Elements, is my podcast.
[01:02:11] Josh: There it is. And of course we’ll have is, uh, linked in the show notes. I’m kinda curious. Okay. Two, two final questions actually for you. What is your favorite social platform? Twitter. Okay. So Twitter’s your favorite. I guess I could have probably guessed that.
[01:02:24] Josh: what personally fills you up the most, Jay, like day to day, week to week, what are the moments in when you’re running your business that just excite, is it like, is it a client result? Is it one of your members who tells you how you’re helping change their life? Is it your numbers going up? Is it your bank account being filled up? What, what, what are like the top moments for you week to week? If
[01:02:46] Jay: I’m totally honest, I do get extreme satisfaction over seeing progress. And so progress can mean a lot of things, but, uh, for me and my business is health. Like I have a pretty in-depth KPI dashboard and I wanna see that numbers are trending upwards and green on that dashboard, right? All of those numbers. Um, because that means that I’m doing well and I’m improving the business. I’m not trying to like stay stagnant. So if I’m honest, it’s, it’s progress in that way.
[01:03:14] Jay: But in a more abstract sense, I love doing what I do because so much of this feels like a big puzzle where like I’m looking at the cover of the box and it looks like Ryan Holiday or James Clear’s life. It’s like, that’s what I’m shooting for. How do I solve this puzzle? Looking at, you know, their lifestyle, what they’ve done, and the trajectory that I’ve already built and the business that I’ve built, how do I get to this outcome?
[01:03:41] Jay: So there are just feelings in the day to day, week to week, when. You feel the puzzle pieces click together and like that is the stuff that’s the best part. When I feel like the pieces click together and you’re just like, yes, I didn’t know if these would fit, but I put ’em together, they fit. I see the full picture even more closely.
[01:04:01] Josh: That’s the best. Hmm, that’s awesome. Well, I’m happy for you, man. It sounds like you are self-aware about where you get your satisfaction and, and, uh, I was gonna say gratification. Is that right? Yeah, that works. Yeah. All right. Gratification, we, we love making words up on this podcast. Uh, I think it’s really important because some people focus on just the numbers or just certain things that people tell them to when in fact, like for me, I’m a little bit opposite.
[01:04:25] Josh: I actually don’t love the puzzle aspect to it. I love seeing the client results, but I am very progress minded and I’m personally in a season of life where per like, just things are so wild and busy, I’m not putting the gas pedal on my business. So my numbers are very stagnant and kind of up and down at the point.
[01:04:43] Josh: But I also know what is ahead. And I’m super excited as I launch my web design mastery program, but which I’m working on, um, is gonna be a very different, yeah, I’m going quality over quantity as far as audience and big, you know, big kind of things. Um, but I think I say this to say it’s really good to be self-aware about yourself, your business, what fires you up, what gives you energy.
[01:05:07] Josh: Cause at the end of the day, We’re doing this to enjoy our life. Like, there’s, there’s nothing better than waking up on Monday mornings and being pumped to get things going. Yeah. Uh, so that’s my hope for everybody. Listen. And yeah, Jay, you’re a great example of it, man. Thanks for your time today and for your transparency. Any final note, final words, maybe a motivational minute with Jay Clouse or anything like that? Uh,
[01:05:28] Jay: I had a reflection last night, and this might make me seem like a little bit of an absent husband. So take, take whatever takeaway you want from this. Uh, I went to a concert last night, death Cab concert, bought this shirt there.
[01:05:39] Jay: Oh, nice. Haven’t watched it yet. Um, and there was a point in, uh, summer Skin, great song, love that song where, uh, Omar Zen Home quote, retweeted me because he was on the podcast and he quote, retweeted it, put it out there, said, I enjoyed talking with Jay. I got the notification on my watch. I thought to myself, I need to retweet that because that’s going to help this thing get more juice.
[01:06:06] Jay: It shows that I am supporting Omar as a guest of the show. It makes a good impression. I just need to do that. It’s gonna take me 10 seconds, pull out my phone, do that. My wife looks at me and says, why are you on Twitter right now? And she’s completely right like I should have been at the concert. It’s a special concert for us.
[01:06:22] Jay: But on the other hand, it’s tiny decisions like that that happen all the time, every day that I’ve done for six years that have put me where I am. Um, and I think that’s a difference. You know, like not only the endurance sport of being a creator of like making these small decisions for a long period of time. In small ways
[01:06:46] Josh: constantly. Mm. That’s good. That’s good. Ooh, well that could dive into a whole nother topic with communication with partners and spouses about, uh, uh, that, but I know your wife’s awesome. I know she knows your business well too. And it is an interesting point, like very, if I ever get my laptop out on a Friday night or something, my wife knows it must be important because we’ve talked about if I do this, there’s a good reason behind it.
[01:07:08] Josh: I’m not just, uh, looking at Jay’s, uh, social media to be jealous. This is actually a really important thing. So love it, dude. Thanks for your time, Jay. I absolutely love, uh, senior journey and you always dish out some gold nuggets. So looking already, looking forward to round
[01:07:23] Jay: four month round four. Yes. We’re gonna go, we’re gonna go the full length. Here we go. Thanks for having me.
[01:07:29] Josh: Thanks, dude.
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