Matt Ragland is a productivity expert and full-time content creator. He has worked for companies such as AppSumo.com, ConvertKit, and Podia. Matt graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in recreation & tourism management.
Matt was one of the earliest members of the team at ConvertKit, where he was employee number five. Since leaving ConvertKit to start his own company, he now hosts a podcast, publishes a newsletter, has created several courses, and hosts his own YouTube channel.
Matt prides himself on being a skilled manager and enjoys helping his clients and audience grow and develop their agencies. He is also the proud father of two boys and is a fitness enthusiast. Matt and his family live in Nashville, Tennessee.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- Matt’s biggest revenue drivers as a content creator
- How to know when it’s time to take your side hustle full-time
- How to optimize your YouTube channel and content
Links & Resources
- Ryan Delk
- Bryan Harris
- James Clear
- Sean McCabe
- Levi Allen
- Casey Neistat
- Tim Ferriss
- Jeff Goins
- Ali Abdaal
- Marques Brownlee
- Roberto Blake
Matt Ragland’s Links
If you’re not sure if you want to do something, try it 10 times, and really give it a good try. Write 10 newsletters. Make 10 videos on YouTube. Record 10 podcasts. I have found that going from 10 to a hundred is definitely a slog, and there are lots of mini milestones, but once you do something a hundred times, you’re going to build momentum on it.
And you’re also going to build your own country.
In this episode I talk to my long-time friend, Matt Ragland. So Matt joined ConvertKit really in the early days. He was employee number five, and he was here for the crazy ride. Then he started a YouTube channel. He led the customer experience team at another startup called Podia. He’s now as a full-time independent creator earning a living on his own.
We have a really fun conversation reminiscing about the early days talking about crazy rocket ship growth, and how we kept up. We get into earning a living as a creator. How he grew his YouTube channel to 60,000 subscribers. How to choose a niche, and when you should double down on that, and what’s getting traction on YouTube.
The last thing that we talk about is when, as a creator, you should quit your full-time job, and some of the nuances of that, so you can go full-time on your creative endeavor. So it’s a longer episode today because Matt and I just can’t help but tell stories.
With that, let me get out of the way and dive in.
Matt, thanks for joining me.
Oh, it’s such a pleasure. I’m thrilled to be here.
I want to go back to, what year would it even be?
Right around this time. Maybe a couple months later, but it was like late summer.
So, it’s July, like yeah. And then July right now. Yeah, it would have been when we started talking, I’m thinking, what were you doing online around that time? Cause I started to come across you on Twitter.
I think Brian Delk was a mutual friend.
Is that right?
Yeah. Ryan Delk was a mutual friend. Brian Harris was a mutual friend. The way that we got actually directly connected is that I was on Brian’s email list. And I saw that you were doing a webinar with him to promote ConvertKit. And I had just signed up for ConvertKit as a customer, always like a little notch in the cap that I, I feel like I have of having like the three-digit user ID.
Do you remember what your user ID is?
I used to know.
In the three digits is pretty impressive.
Yeah. A three digit. Yeah, definitely.
Now they’re well into the six digits.
Yeah, it’s wild. And so, I was familiar with ConvertKit. Certainly at that time it was like, okay, let me watch Nathan talk about it. What are the things that he thinks are important with it? Like some email building strategies? Because what I was really doing a lot of my online work at that time is I was doing two things.
I was doing some contract work with some other SaaS companies. In terms of an audience building creator standpoint, I was doing two things. One was that I was creating the sketch notes. And so like visual, visual art of like webinars, podcasts. And that’s what I would use to teach people how to take better notes so they could remember more of what they’re doing.
And it was a way to connect with other influencers because it was an attention grabbing thing. And so that was the main thing in terms of audience building and some course creation.
The other thing that I was doing that paid the bills a little bit better at that time was I was also helping people set up WordPress themes and websites.
At the time I would be like, oh yeah, you know, I kind of do some web development and then like, not really knowing like what all that meant. And then as I started to work more and more with actual developers, I would set up a theme online for people. But you also look at it and see that there’s still a pretty interesting intersection between like, how can you just do something relatively simple for people that either: A, they don’t have time to do, or B, they just don’t want to figure out because they just want to focus on their creative work.
And so that’s what I was doing summer 2015 at the time.
Yeah. So then at the time we were, I think four people, five people on the, let me count,
I think it was four if I remember properly,
Myself, mark, David, Dan.
Four. Yeah. and we were at 15,000 a month in revenue. Let’s see now I’m trying to think.
Pat Flynn had just signed up in the month of July. We’d gone from 10,000 a month to 15,000 a month, 50% growth in a single month. And that’s really when the slow grind turned into, like, I started turning the corner into how are we ever going to keep up, which is where you come in with the story.
But, so basically in July, Pat Flynn and then Wellness Mama, and another popular blog all signed up at the same time. And so MRR jumped, you know, we had these bigger customers that were migrating and switching over, but then as it got into August, September, they all started talking about it.
And then when we went from 15,000 a month to 22,000 to maybe 35, then 50, then 80, then a hundred, like it just, in six months it went completely wild.
Yeah. Certainly, you know, obviously remember that. And so I was, I was brought in to help with some support initially, just to help Dan out with some support and use, you were certainly doing a ton of that at the time. And I also, roofer, I think it was the first ended up being for the first two years I was at ConvertKit.
I worked on migrations for the most part. So those, you know, bigger people that were coming in, I was helping them get set up. And the other thing that I did, so I kind of had like three phases. I would do like the migrations and then I would help out out support as much as I could. And then I would also do, because not just like migrations at that point were, you know, for the, for the larger customers that we still had, like so many people signing up every single day.
And so I was doing like a weekly or every other week at the most like here’s how to get started workshop and just like doing that. Really like, here’s how you set up your account. Make sure you do this. Here’s the form. How’s how you get the form on your site. If you don’t want to get the form on your side, you can actually still like, you know, we had a few landing pages at the time, nothing like, you know, the lovely, lovely template library that exists now,
I think by a few, you literally mean for,
I really, yeah. Not just like a few dozen, like literally three or four. Yeah.
So when you came on, right. Cause we brought you on part-time I remember being totally overwhelmed. you and I were talking later, about like starting part-time and then gradually increasing hours. I wonder if you would share like what that was like for you, because I think there was some confusion as to like why we were ramping up your hours gradually or other things like
Yeah, I think, you know, I think I understood it initially. And is there was kind of like this, there was another, SAS company that I was contracting with at the time, and I was just more excited about convert kid. And so I don’t know if it was confusion as much as like, I just wanted to like go all in on what convert kid was doing.
And so like maybe not confusion, but just like, I was really chomping at the bit to just like, totally focus on it and not just like step away and be like, okay, I guess, you know, kind of hit my hourly. There’s still things to do, obviously. But it became pretty clear after like, I think just three or four weeks that was like, okay.
Yeah. It’s it’s time.
Yeah. And we were increasing your hours directly in proportion to the MRR at the company.
Like we wanted more time from Matt, but, like needed more MRR. And the nice thing, was that MRR was coming in like week over week in a meaningful way. Whereas the previous years it had been a slow journey.
I know you’ve talked about this, you know, certainly a lot since, and ConvertKits rolled out the free plan over the last 18 months, but, you know, it was a pretty controversial thing, like in terms of building a SAS company and one that was bootstrapped that I, you know, I felt that it was, there was always a paid plan.
Like there is a bit of a free-trial, but it was always paid. And so like,
I think Ben, it was actually just paid from day one.
Yeah, you’re right. we didn’t even do the free trial. And so, like, you just knew that like, you know, certainly people would kind of turn out after 30 days if they didn’t like it, blah, blah, blah. But we knew that there was money coming in more reliably because when people sign up or like, okay, you know, we can kind of project that. Even people that tranquility quickly, like we’re still gonna have like this expected amount of LTV for the person.
And we can, you know, at least forecast a little bit better that way. And so, like I thought that was, again, again, in retrospect, like really nice and probably really helpful, even if you’re like, you know, and again, at the time we, you know, being bootstrapped, like you still are, that there’s a, like you almost, I don’t know.
I wonder how you would think about this. Like, there’s almost like this veil of like, how much can we handle given the people that we have and like, where is that? I remember like, feeling like we were riding that line for, you know, not just months but years.
Right. No, I, I think certainly, yeah, at least a year and a half of, just things moving so quickly and like at the times, so you joined in, I don’t, I don’t even know like an exact date, but call it that like August, July, August timeframe, something like, that.
Yeah, September, I think it was like September, October around that. I always, we were talking about this pre-show but I always remember that it was right around, this is my bin. This is my like timestamp that whenever pat released his I’m switching to ConvertKit. So you can go look at the timestamp on that post.
It was right around that time. So whatever that is, it was like, that’s when I started like, yeah. Yeah. Obviously things started taking off a lot of that.
Yeah. That post was amazing. And the, and the title even, was it like a masterclass in positioning and all of that? Cause it was titled why switched from a Webber to infusion soft to convert it?
Which the reason like you’re like, okay, that’s a long story in a title. but the reason that was so important is because everyone at the time, like a Weber and MailChimp were the most common, but in like the blogger space, people who’ve been around for awhile, a wherever was even like like just as common as, as MailChimp.
Oh Yeah, Yeah, definitely.
Then when you graduated from one of those tools, you went to Infusionsoft, everybody did.
And so if Pat had written the article of why I switched from a Webber to ConvertKit, people would be like, oh, but You never tried Infusionsoft.
Like, and so there’s a third act to this where you go like convert it, you know, you’ve outgrown ConvertKit and now you’ll go to, if you just offer something.
And so by having that in there, it was, you know, it just told the whole story and people
Was like, wait, what
You already tried Infusionsoft. That’s what all the big names use pat, you’re a big name. What are you doing?
When I remember him being on mere cat Periscope, one of the two, like in live streams, like late at night, because pat likes to work at 10 or 11 at night And people would be like, wait, what email service are you using? Cause he’d like drop hints or, you know, something like that. And then there’d be like 50 or a hundred people commenting. like what are you using? I’m thinking about, switching to it or whatever. So it was a remarkable time.
It was his, Yeah,
And I mean, who knows what the future holds, but like, that was definitely like the most like fast paced, interesting like seat of the pants, you know, like ride that I’ve been on.
Yeah, we’ll give a talk about rocket ship.
It was that.
So let’s see. Maybe if we fast forward a little bit, actually maybe talking about that moment, right? Cause we went from, when you joined, we didn’t even have, like an LLC. We didn’t have payroll. We didn’t have anything because that is cause Ashley joined in November. And the first thing that she did was set up like, a company
You were paying me through PayPal.
That’s right. Yeah. And so then she went through and set up like the company and taxes and payroll and health benefits.
What were some other things from the early days? Like, I dunno, favorite memories or, stories of, of, that.
There was, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to remember it, but there’s something that now I, you know, I really wish that I had found it if I do, but there’s something that happened like around. I want to say, like January of that year, there was something with an account That we just all found like unnecessarily hilarious.
And it was like some kind of ponder play on words that I, I, again, it’s a terrible story because I can’t, this is a terrible story right now because I can’t remember it, but there’s something in my heart and in my subconscious that I just hold so dearly, but not like closely enough, apparently there is, there are just so many moments like that and, you know, having that first, well, I kind of cheated a little bit because a bunch of us went to WDS in summer 2016 and that was the first time we all got to hang out together.
And that was like really awesome and special. And then like two or three months after that was when we had our first retreat and those retreats, you know, still like, I saw, you know, Haley Jane a sec, yesterday here in Nashville. And we were talking about like the Oceanside retreats and just being able.
And I always like thought. ConvertKit was like at the forefront of a lot of things, but like really making the retreats meaningful and special. And, also doing them twice a year. The thought was, you know, still think is really cool. Obviously we’re in an odd time for that right now. But to be able to like see the people and like work with them in person, those are all like some of my, some of my best memories from working at the company, like even outside of like the actual rocket ship of like growth that we all went on and just having those, having, I still, like one of the coolest things, like for me is still like having connections and strong relationships with people at the company.
Even now that I haven’t like worked there. Gosh, I guess a little over two years now, like to be on your podcast, to like, have Haley text me and say like, Hey, I’m in Nashville, let’s meet up. Like those, like, it’s, it sounds like kind of trite to say, but it’s like, it’s the people, it’s the zoom calls. It’s the stand-ups that were fun.
And the other thing that like, all kind of ended on is something that I’ve always kind of taken away that I think is so fun is I remember like our Monday stand-ups or Monday meetings and just how out of control the zoom chat would get, like, it would completely derail meetings. you know, it probably still does, you know, you set a high, a high standard, but like, I’ve now been like, I’ve been at podium in it.
Like I’ve been on like other, like companies, zoom calls and, or just like, you know, groups that I’m a part of and all like trying to get the chat start and people are like, what are you doing?
Like you’re ruining The meeting. I’m like,
Yeah. The people
Nope. Yeah. I guess I am ruining the meeting. If you all, aren’t going to play along and like, you know, talk trash inside of the chat.
I guess I’m ruining the meeting, but those, I still like, obviously think about it and just can’t help, but like laugh about it.
There was a meeting.
I’m trying to think who it was. We had Derek on the marketing team. I don’t know if that’s been three years or more ago, had brought in some like growth expert. It might’ve even been like Sean Ellis or someone who like really knows even just like pinnacle of growth marketing. And he’s like talking to the group and I’m there and it’s just like, it’s, it’s our crew, you know?
And so I’m dropping like jokes and random things in the zoom chat.
And of course he didn’t see it in real time, you know? Cause he’s like presenting and, he’s like, just so confused because normal companies don’t do that. So it’s like, the most converted thing that no one on the outside would know
Troll our zoom chats constantly.
And it’s so fun.
Yeah, it was definitely Sean, because we had just signed up for the growth hacker software and we’re using it to run our growth tests. And when you sign up for an annual plan, we had done like some little extra special thing and, or like, you can have an hour with Sean. We’re like, yes.
Like if you want, we’re like, yes, we’ll put it, you know, put it on our tab. We’ll grab an hour with Sean. And I do remember that. He was like, oh, it looks like there’s a question. Oh, there’s not a question in the chat. What is going on? Do you, do you want to say something? We’re all like, Nope, sorry, wait, nevermind. We’ll do it anymore. I just, you know, of course couldn’t help ourselves. Then he was like, oh, you’re doing that in the chat again. Like, Okay.
Yeah. That’s just, That’s just, how we are. there was another time that I’m curious for your take on. So, cause we, like, if we fast forward a little bit, we were, you know, trying to keep up with the crazy growth. so w like go to January and we’re like a hundred K MRR. I mean, at this point we’ve expanded the team quite a bit.
Right. Nicole, Ashley,
Yeah. Darryl Blake, Danny.
Danny and, and others were, were a bit
I get, yeah, those
But like Brad Knoll, you know, more on the engineering side, just across the board. So the team’s gone from like, you know, four to 11, like really quickly, and just, we’re trying to keep up, like, keep the servers on, keep the support ticket it’s going and all of that.
But we made this move to try to get profit. from, I think it was probably February until like that February til July, I think. And we went from 3% profit margins to 50% profit margins, all through growth. like, we didn’t cut expenses.
Be growing 15 to 25% a month, you know, but I’m curious what that was like from your side of what, you know, like, when I came in and said like Hey, we’re gonna, we’re going to do this and we’re gonna try to pull it off.
Is it like, oh, this is going to be a death March? Or is this like, oh, we’re all in it together. like we’ll see how it goes.
I think, that at that point, and I felt like me, especially, but at that point, like we were all like that kind of classic start-up line of like, we were all like young and dumb enough to think that we could pull it off. And because like I had had a front row seat of going from like 500 to 3000 users in a few months and like all that, all of that growth, cause especially like initially for me and part of this actually.
A bigger interest in like understanding more of the financials behind like startups. And because like, when you first said that, I was like, okay, well, I don’t really know how we’re going to, how that all works, but that’s not my job, you know, that’s Ashley’s job. And I trust her and, you know, Nathan will figure it out too.
So, but cause I tended for a long time to think of our growth. It’s funny, you know, you obviously keep mentioning the revenue growth. Like I would just think of it as like month over month user growth as well. Cause like I just saw them like in the chat forever. And so I remember like just that all of us had either op he said, we wouldn’t, you went from four to 11 or 12 really quickly.
And so all of us were like so fresh and Fired Up that we’re like, great. I mean, look what just happened in the last three months. Of course, you know, we can do this in the next, in the next six. So. I remember being like, fired up about it because like, it was that kind of classic. I didn’t know any better at the
Right. Yeah. If we were all, we were also, you know, I was looking back at like salaries from those days and like the 40, 50, $60,000 a year salary is that like, we can not like no one would take that today. but then it was just like, we’re all doing this thing. And you know, it’s pretty amazing to seesomeone who was like, started at Ken Birkin on to $40,000 a year salary, like five, five years ago is now making like one 20 plus a bunch of profit sharing or other things it’s like, okay, there we go.
Like the bet that they made did actually pay
It was tough going for awhile.
Yeah, And it’s been a really cool thing, like even, and this comes like from the transparency, like I’ve consulted with some other. Companies over the last six months and I’ve used ConvertKit as a, reference point so many times because of the transparency, I was like, well, I mean, you can go look at what, you know, they’re like, what do you think the like, numbers are for somebody?
This is like, I don’t have to wonder you just go look at what, you know, ConvertKit’s numbers.
I can tell you that it’s this, this, this, like, how do you know that it’s like, just go to convert, get.parametric.com. So it’s all right there. You can find your numbers. It’s all right.
And so, like, I, you know, remember thinking that like, again, like this is where, like my dormant, like love of again, statistics and financials and all of that.
Can I came, came back to life for, for me. And it was just a, it was just amazing to see like that first. And it wasn’t, it was more than just the first year also. Like it just kind of kept going and again, it’s just a really, it’s a really unique experience. Yeah. I’ll obviously never forget.
Yeah. Well, you mentioned retreats earlier, and I have a favorite moment at a retreat. I think it was, probably would have been our third retreat cause we were up in, up in McCall, outside of Boise.
And it was you starting like making a first YouTube video with Charlie or did you do that
That was an ocean side, actually. That was an ocean side.
What was it that you were doing in McCall? When were you entirely just talking about YouTube?
Yeah, we were doing a collab at that point as the YouTubers say. Yeah, just talking about like productivity and planning. How she plans her day, how I plan mine. Cause she’s, you know, Charlie, just as a quick aside, like just an amazing person, greater friend, like she helped me so much. They get my YouTube channel started. Like I, again, she’s wonderful. But to like sit down the day that we’re supposed to, this is an ocean side we’re supposed to like leave and two hours, everybody’s like trying to pack. I don’t know how ready she was to leave. Maybe she was already, but she was like, Hey, you know, Matt let’s do a video for your YouTube channel.
I was like the one that I haven’t started yet. And she’s like, yes, we’re doing a video. And it was just, you know, it was six, seven minutes. And for her to sit down, I think she was around like 70 K subscribers at that time to like, kind of, I was like, I had known Charlie for a while at that time. And we were pretty close, but I was like still nervous.
And then like Mark’s walking through the back of the frame. Picking stuff up gathering like, you know, paraphernalia it’s I don’t know if that’s the right word to use. Just stuff was a terrible word, terrible word, choice thing. Trash we’re good people we’re picking up. Yeah. After ourselves. And so it was just like this really funny moment.
And I try not to talk too much about YouTube cause I know we’re going to get into it. But like that video still only has like maybe 500 views is people think that when your YouTube channel gets big, like all of your videos take off. And the majority of my first 50 videos are still like, well, under a thousand views. And it’s it is this like kind of it’s like compounding interest. It’s like, you know, compounding, like, you know, user growth that it just kinda builds on top of itself. It creates this like self, you know, like when people come to your channel, even if it hasn’t taken off yet and people see. Okay. This person is serious.
He has 30 videos. It’s not like he threw a couple up there, like people know that you’re in it. And so I can tell you what I thought you were going to say.
I think it was the second McCall retreat. And so we go up to this lodge and it’s right by, you know, beautiful lake in, even in August, quite chilly and so swimming around.
And, our coworker, Nicole has these like prescription sunglasses, fancy, expensive, nice. Just like Nicole. And they fell off in the lake, not super deep, but like, we swam around trying to find these things for like 20 minutes at the end of the day, we’re like, okay, we got to go back.
It’s dinner time. It’s getting. And so the next morning I’ll say like, I like cold water, which is a whole nother like conversation, but I like cold water. I also like particularly cold mountain water in the morning, like so brisk, so nice. And so I was like, okay, well, am I do this anyway, I’m going to find those damn glasses. And so over there I swim around because my other theory was like, okay, we kicked up a lot of like gunk at the bottom.
It’s going to settle. No, one’s out there yet. I’m going to find them.
The other thing is you had this this time,
I did have goggles this
Because I remember I was like first thing in the morning or, or maybe it was at night. I can’t remember, but like,
In the morning.
Like all of this, stuff on the table randomly, can you come in And you’re like, and see a pair of goggles sitting there. You’re like did we have these Ulta?
And was like, know,
We had goggles the whole time.
You find those. And then, I don’t know, like minutes later, you’re in the lake. Yeah.
And so pull, pull those out and was a great, was a great moment. Like the, to return those.
Nicole wakes up late hours later, you know? Cause you’re up early swimming, like, and then
she has her like hundreds of dollars prescription sunglasses back. That was actually the very first retreat That was
Oh man. Good times.
Like getting, I mean, we were 20 people at the time getting that group together for the first time was those are just special moments in a company.
Okay. So would it be the next retreat then? That was Oceanside. When you did the YouTube video with Charlie or was it a year? Four year.
Yeah. That would have been the next, that would have been the Oceanside retreat. That would have been probably the first ocean side retreat, because it was February, 2017 that I started my YouTube channel and DV a little background. Like I had done blogging for a little while. I had like tried some service work, like I already mentioned. I had done 30 interviews on a podcast back in like 2014 when we first moved to Nashville. And that was actually one of the ways that I met Ryan Delk because Brenda elk was on the podcast.
Crazy looking back the, the two, the other person that I got on the show, I don’t even know how, even then was James clear, a mutual friend, James clear was on the show and now he’s like James clear in 2014. No big deal is like, he was still talking about passive Panda. That’s right. Matt Ragland interview that now even Matt can’t find anywhere. And so you’re welcome James, if you’re listening to this.
And so I’d done a bunch of different things online, and I would say that while I did build my creative chops and confidence through all those things, I hadn’t really stuck with one thing long enough to see. Like again, that compounding growth that comes from just being consistent and showing up. and again, mutual friend, Sean McCabe talks about showing up every day for two years. And, so what I did is I decided in February I was going to post a video every day. I was gonna do 28 videos and in February, so a little, little fun, cheating them,
I liked that
Yeah, that’s right. That’s right.
That’s right. And so I did that and I just, I got more used to it and I didn’t take off, like, I’ve talked with Darryl, we’ve mentioned derelict at times, like Darryl and I have talked about this, but like the channel did not take off. And I ended up making after Daily is, is quite the grind.
I just, you know, I couldn’t keep that up, but I was doing still weekly videos through the rest of the year. Yeah. Then, it was the other thing that is just wonderful about creating a body of work is that then you have a, you know, a much clearer data set to look at, to understand the, these are the topics.
These are the type of videos that took off more for me, you know, if you just make a handful of videos and you see one is a little bit better than another, that’s not a good enough sample size, but at the end of the year in December, I’m looking back and I’ve created like 50, 60 videos at this point. And I pinpoint like, what is the most popular, like as I’m going into new year?
What, how can I kind of maybe narrow down my niche a little bit more and be more focused? And I saw that my most popular video of the year is one that I had released in August where I talked about how I planned my week with the bullet journal. And I’d been using the bullet journal method for a couple of years at this point.
And. So I was like, well, you know, new year’s coming up, I’m going to like create this video. Here’s how I’m playing my year and a bullet journal. And at the time, like, I felt good about it actually like, Levi Allen, who’s great. You know, YouTube and creator, graphing commerce speaker, Casey Neistat friend.
He helped me with the thumbnail. I like sent him a bunch of, and so we really dialed in the thumbnail and that video is like, I think it was at like 600 ish subscribers at the time. And I hadn’t had a single video go over a thousand views as like, I hope this video is the one that goes over a thousand views and it would also be cool if eventually it helped me get to a thousand subscribers because you got to remember, I’ve been doing this 11 months and had 600 subscribers.
So I’m like, you know, maybe in like another six months I can get there and I released the video and it started to take off. Like, especially for me, but then I was really like, oh, this is like taking off for like any kind of YouTube video.
It has a thousand views in the first day.
And then you’re definitely within the first two days. And then I had a thousand subscribers by the end of the first week, I was like, oh, okay. Interesting. But again, I was able to see that like big picture data to like pinpoint that particular type of video too. And again, it was a good time time of the year, literally to be talking about productivity and planning.
I’ve seen that like over and over again in the year, since, as I’ve narrowed down on this niche. and then the way that I create and I tell creators this all the time now, is that when you see something that hits like find the, like, especially if it’s like a bigger video, like I had, this was like 20 minutes.
It kind of like didn’t fit the normal, like YouTube things. But I talked about a lot of different elements. Of productivity in that video. And so my next four videos were basically like taking these different, like components that I had crammed into a big overview video and said, like, here’s how I blocked my time.
Here’s how I manage my tasks. Here’s how I like plan out my week. So we take like something that’s big on the macro side of saying like, here’s how I plan a year. You start to plan a quarter here, the months they go into that. And then like the weeks they go into the months. So I spent like my next six videos, just basically breaking down the individual aspects of that first video.
And then it was just like off to the races at that point.
Yeah, that’s fascinating to me. What have you found about LinkedIn videos Cause I’d be like, oh, it needs to be a shorter video. And
The truth of the matter is yeah, just get into an online.
For me, I have found that my, with one exception. My longer videos traditionally have performed better because there is this interesting, like there is this interesting dichotomy of like statistics on YouTube is that they want a high retention time. But if you can kind of like overrule that with a long view time, then it like still works the same way.
So like a video that I create that’s 20 minutes. If someone was like, you want to be over 50% video, like time retention. But if you’re talking about it’s a 20 minute video and someone watches for nine minutes, well, like I’ve seen and you do has been changing a lot, I think. But I’ve seen that if you keep someone on YouTube for nine minutes, they’d almost kind of rather you have.
A lower like overall retention, if you can keep them on there longer than normal. So like for example, you know, the difference would be like, if I have a five minute video with 60% of it, you know, 60% view retention, but then that’s only like three minutes watched versus 40% view retention, but it’s eight or nine minutes watched.
Like those, those have tended to perform better for me. However, I have been working on lately, like more this year, trying to be more concise with my video and with my takeaway and my talking points. And so I’ve been trying to be like under 10 minutes for most videos at this point, that’s where I’ve kind of found a sweet spot and even experimenting with some sub five minute videos that is just like, literally.
Here is one tip. I’m not stacking like additional concepts on top of each other. It’s kind of the equivalent of like, just doing like that 500 words a day, like maybe a thousand words a day. You’re just trying to get that. Like, you’re trying to get that five minute, like blitz out without like trying to expend a bunch of time, like trying to like get the perfect 12 minute video or 3000 word blog post.
Yeah, that makes sense. So in that journey from breaking the thousand subscribers to now, you’re about to break 60,000 subscribers. what are some of the things like if you were, if I was like, and you know, Matt, I’m going to start a YouTube channel today, or I have one that has like you know, maybe I’ve shown that I can like show up consistently and
That, that ability. but what are the things like the, the tips and lessons that you’ve learned along the way.
The biggest ones are to just continue being consistent. I think I could have like actually been, have grown even faster than I did if I had been even a little bit more consistent. Like I think two videos a week is really great, even though, you know, full disclosure and you can go look at my YouTube channel.
I have struggled to do like two videos a week consistently, but that is also because like, I have a bunch of other creative interests that all fuel each other. And we’ll talk about those, but if you’re just talking about like growth on YouTube, then it really is the consistency that will help you win the day and grow your channel.
The other thing is that as much as we want to as creators, let the work stand for itself and like be a great overall piece of content.
On, you know, on YouTube, the title and the thumbnail are equivalent, like to your, like, for those of us that like kind of grew up blogging a little bit more like the headline, or like with email newsletter in the subject line, like that is the YouTube equivalent and it is so, so, so important.
And so, you know, YouTube gets kind of a bad rap sometimes for like the clickbaiting this, and that’s definitely a thing, but it’s, again, people have said that about subject lines and blog headlines for years, but that is really, really important. And if you don’t grab someone’s interest in like these three phases of the title, the thumbnail, and then like, literally what is your opening line?
Because YouTube will show that those are the biggest things. And I think that like the amount of time that you should spend on that kind of changes based on what phase of YouTube and just content creation in general.
Because if you’re talking about like, okay, I want to go from five to 10 or 10 to 20, I would still probably argue that you should like focus on.
And depending on, you know, what your time is, like, you should focus more on the consistent output than like really worrying about trying to over-optimize every little piece. And there are good ways about that in there, like tough ways about this. But I would basically say like, I would rather use, I would rather see you put out four video, like a weekly video than just one monthly video that you feel like, oh, this is, this is the one, this is, this is it.
I spent so much time on editing and the sound is perfect and all the transitions are smooth and all, you know, the, the thumbnail just looks so good and I got the title dial.
Because you can believe all that, but like the market ultimately decides like the viewer ultimately decides how much they really care about that as well.
And the other thing that is kind of tough, like I think mentally for creators is, and I’ve, I’ve done this a ton of times is when you feel like, oh, I, I made this as perfect as I can. I feel so good about this. And then it just bombs. And you’re like, what the hell? Now? I feel less confident. I’m less excited about the next one.
Cause if I put so much effort into this video and it didn’t work or this newsletter, this course, and it didn’t work out, what, like, what does that mean? And you get into all these like existential creator questions bouncing around in your head.
I, yes, there’s a lot of that.
So it sounds like you’re saying optimize for like number of shots on goal, rather than like the highest probability shot and optimize it, like yeah.
Quantity over Quantity and continue optimization over like
The clinical of the perfect video
Putting. All of it. I
Analogies never throw an eggs in that basket?
That’s right. yeah. Yeah. But I think it’s a good one. And I would really continue to like play out through, I’m just getting into a point personally, where I want to spend more time editing, like doing All those more optimization things, but it’s not even so much from an audience growth perspective is I just want to get better.
Like I see other YouTubers, other creators that I like, I admire their work so much. And I really am wondering how close can I get to that? But I’m making a choice. I’m making a personal choice to focus more on like the quality and the craft. And I do have like, I’ve built myself to a good benchmark to work on that.
But like for so long, literally for four years is like, I’m going to record my planner. I’m going to record, you know, like notion I’m gonna. I’m basically going to do some type of screencast, whether it’s analog or digital, and then I’m going to do a talking head, like, you know, in and out of everything and that’s all I’m going to do.
And that was really good for me because it was allowing me to be consistent. I didn’t over edit anything. I took a lot of inspiration from Powell. like Tim Ferris would describe his early days with the podcast and even still like, he does it pretty raw. He doesn’t over edit. And like I was like, yeah, okay.
You know, Tim is Tim, but if he’s willing to do that, I can certainly be willing to let go of some of the, you know, the editing, like finer details that especially early on, don’t matter as much as like just actually making the thing.
Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. So maybe let’s go back to your arc of the story, right? So when you pass the thousand subscribers, that was 11 months into the channel, is that that’s right?
And so that would have been a year and a half into working at ConvertKit
Yeah. About that actually. Yeah.
20 15, 20 16, 20 17, they all
Yeah. It’s just a blur. Yeah.
And so then, like where did the channel go from there? You really doubled down on Bullet journal
Bullet journaling productivity. And that’s really like, pretty much all I did. I tried to do a like more bloggy blog kind of
After one of the, after one of the retreats, But I actually ended up, it was from, it was from that ocean side. It was from the 2018
Oceanside country. Yeah,
Confusing me. We’d go to different
That would, be easier. But what she told me back call, it was just like you know,
Is amazing, but also really difficult for our like, mental
That’s right. And so I did like, Hey, you know, I traveled, I did like a travel blog thing and at the time I was doing videos, like my videos would, were pretty commonly like hitting about 5k, you know, on average, if not more. And so it was like, cool, let’s see how this, and then that travel one, just like, didn’t get picked up by the algorithm. People who had joined my channel, where like I joined for productivity and bullet journaling, not like to see you go to the beach. And that was kind of like, okay, well, you know, and it’s an interesting thing as a creator to think about like, well, I like to make this and people are like, so how does it help me?
And, you know, there’s an element of that, that I, I still like very much feel like a creative tension around, but at that time it was like, okay, well, I don’t need to worry about my creative output on this particular thing at a time because the other, the other thing that, I’m only now like getting a little bit more used to controlling my time as like being a full-time creator, because at the time it was like, okay, well, if I only am committing like five to 10 hours a week to this as a side hustle, and as like a thing I’m doing, obviously on the side, am I going to use those five to 10 hours to create a video that not many people are going to watch or what I know at this point, people are interested in and it just became a matter of like prioritization as well.
Right. So how did that feel? Like was, were you disappointed when the, the blog, you know, this is my wife kind of content didn’t resonate with your audience.
Yeah a little bit, because there was this element. And I actually like in, I was talking to a client about this yesterday because he was asking me some of these same questions and I wish that I had protected one video a month, or even at the least like one video every couple of months to just be like, this is me, like just doing something that I’m interested in.
Like, this is a story that I want to tell. This is like a part of me that I want to show to kind of prime the audience to like, just get to know me in that slightly different way, and just being okay with those videos, not doing as well, because I think I would have like worked in more of like a lot of my personality comes through even in just like the regular videos, but just more of my life, more of my interests, more of the things that I was thinking about. As I’ve now started to pivot, like in lean into that a little more than I’m going through that again, of like, oh, this isn’t what really what I thought I was. And now I’m just more, more confident or just more secure most of the time and being like, yeah, well, I think I’ve said pretty much everything that I can say about how to make lists in your bullet journal.
I have like literally a hundred videos. I don’t know what else I can say. And I’ll still say some things, but it’s definitely flipping more for me of like, instead of doing like an occasional non bullet journal video, like every month or two, it’s gonna like switch back, it’s gonna flip the other way. And bullet journal will be like one, one, maybe two videos, every one to two months.
Are you worried about, or like, have you seen trends of what that’s going to do to have you counted
Oh, I’m terrified. terrified. and well, part of the other like tipping point, and this is like bringing it’s like more, where I am on the arc right now and I’ve talked to some other YouTubers about this, you know, results, results may vary, of course, but after January ended and the productivity, you know, the productivity season of December, January was over.
I still stayed on like productivity bullet journal videos, but they just started to fall off a cliff in terms of, in terms of views and the like subscribers were down also, like I had a 30 day straight, I had not a 30 day stretch, a 90 day stretch. So an entire quarter that used to be like that entire quarter used to be like, basically an okay.
In terms of like month over month, like new subscriber growth, new views. I still have, again, like a whole like library of content, especially the bigger videos that generate like plenty of views every month. And in terms of new videos, new views, like new subscriber growth was just like steadily going down and I’m looking at and thinking like, I just started doing this full-time this is not what I signed up for.
I’m doing the thing, which is like this whole other like, weird, like transition of a mindset between like, when you’re more of an employee, I was talking to Jeff Goins about this, but when you’re more, when you are an employee, even at a startup, and I know I can like say this in retrospect now you’re still just kind of looking to either your manager or your founder be like, what would you like me to do that you believe will bring the most growth and like good startup operators, you know?
And I felt like I started to do this more towards the end and we’ll be more proactive and be like, this is the thing, you know, that’s what a manager and director. Yeah. But there’s still like this element of like, yeah, I’m the employee. And like, this is what I need to do. And if I continue to do my job in the way that it is expected, I will get my money.
I will get my career advancement. I will do my thing. I will check the boxes and being an entrepreneur and especially being a full-time creator, none of that, none of that matters anymore because there’ve been multiple instances even in these first six months. And like what in the world? I like, I haven’t really seen these videos.
I’m doing it once a week. Like check, check, check, check, check. It didn’t work. I created this course. It went good so I can make it great. I spend a lot of time on it. Didn’t do the launch that I wanted to, and you’re like, I’m doing things. I’m checking the boxes. Why is this work? What the heck? What am I supposed to do now?
And it’s this whole like new mindset that I’m kind of coming into. Like when you are an entrepreneur, you create opportunity and you, like, you have to like, have this, like to bring a Ted lasso reference in like the mind of a goldfish of like, oh, that didn’t work. And I think about this in like, I’ve started doing jiu-jitsu in the last year as well.
It’s like, okay, well that didn’t move. Didn’t work. Oh, no, I’m on my back. Now all these say this is going terribly, but like, you have to like, forget these failures really quickly and just learn as much as you can. So that, and like have a really thick skin or just like a really forgetful mind to like, okay, well, even though I felt like I did all the right things, this didn’t work because, to put a, put a bow on like this particular like loop last week, I don’t know if you saw this, like I put a tweet up and said, Hey, if you haven’t set up a course before you have an idea, I can help you do this.
It’s a thousand dollars. But if you don’t make a thousand dollars, I’ll just give you your money back and you’ll have your cool. And I just, like, I literally thought of that in the shower and then I tweeted it and now I’ve signed up like seven clients in a week.
Like, okay, if that’s going to be the thing, because it’s like this other thing, I worked really hard on this course and, you know, I spent like a month on it and I did, I’m like, but I, you know, God the shower and send a tweet and made like eight grand.
And it’ll probably be 10 grand by the end of next week, by the end of the month. And so like, okay, well, that’s, you know, just kind of how being an entrepreneur and being a creator is, and then the next stage of it is, you know, what we were talking about, like early on, just swinging at Berkeley, like, okay, you’ve had the central growth, how do you systematize it?
How do you like scale it? And how do you get it to like, be a thing that you can really rely on instead of just like, hoping that you send like a good tweet or the right email or make the right connection. Like it’s creating that opportunity for yourself and then harnessing.
Yeah. For sure. What you touched on it is interesting to me is the being responsible for inputs versus outputs at a lot of jobs. you’re responsible for the inputs. Like you’re talking about check the boxes.
And we like to think that the inputs always result in the output. and often that’s not true. And so as a creator, you’re responsible for both sides of it. And, you know, you can’t be like oh, the AI didn’t get the outputs that I wanted. You know, what that’s okay. Because you’re like, Hey, one of the outputs is money for rent, you know? And, and so there’s a lot more, a lot more pressure there.
Yeah. And it’s interesting is that even in some of these like rough months, and so I haven’t told this story like publicly, because it’s still so fresh, but you know, like when I have like my, Stripe and Stripe payouts come weekly, it’s a nice little nice little thing. Like, okay, we’re doing pretty good.
I was just about to go on this week long backpacking trip, and do like a mentoring backpacking trip, with some high school kids. And I was already like, feeling stressed about as like, I haven’t had a good month. What the, Hey, you know, I shouldn’t be doing this. I can’t just go in the woods for eight days and like not work on the business is not at that point.
I’ve made a huge mistake and I’m like, well, I’m still going to do it. I’m not going to leave these people high and dry. But as I’m like going to the woods, I like miss, you know, stupidly open my email and the Stripe payout thing. As soon as like your payout of $30 is on its way. I’m like, oh no, but because you are, you have that, that feeling of like, yeah, it’s like, you know, the only thing that’s coming in is what you create and what you build in what you, what you promote.
It’s like this idea. That I’ve been talking about a lot and heard a lot of people reference as well. It’s like, you know, being this full stack creator, like it’s not just that you make thing, but you market the thing, you build a team around the thing. And I have seen like more and more creators, like building more teams around like things that like, they either don’t like doing or not as good at.
And so that’s a whole and that’s, but that’s a whole other piece of like building out your like personal stack of skills and responsibilities.
Yeah. I was talking about the front end of the day and just explaining like all the business things and realizing, oh, running a business, being a creator is a uniquely assembled collection of a ton of individual skills, because we were like, God for this competition. And I realized like, oh, you don’t have the, you know, knock on this. It’s just a skill that you need to learn. But the like spreadsheets, forecasting skill, like the, I wonder how this is going to work. And so I opened up Google sheets and I like model it out and it’s probably ridiculous. But it’s better than holding it in my head. And then like you write down your assumptions and then you compare, you know, reality to those assumptions.
And that’s just one of like a thousand skills that you have to learn. and then like years after you’ve learned it, you’re like forgetting that that’s actually a distinct skill that had to
Know, like yeah. I mean, everybody knows how to do that and do that a thousand times over and like, that’s the creator experience,
Yeah. And it goes to this, like, people get really overwhelmed by that and something that I’ve been hammering the last, like several months, especially in fourth graders, is this, like, I think of it like the new 10 X rule of like output and effort of like, if you’re not sure if you want to do something, like try it 10 times.
And like really, you know, really give it a good try, but like write 10 newsletters, you know, get 10 subscribers, make 10 videos on YouTube, record 10 podcasts, just to see, like, you don’t have to make this light. We tend to think of things as like making this lifetime commitment to a ship to a pod or whatever, but like do 10 and see how you feel about it like that.
Even though I said I was going to do and did like 28 videos, it was kind of like just a slightly more expanded version of like, how do I feel after 28 YouTube videos, I enjoy it. And I’m getting used to it. I’m going to keep doing it. But I had like that really specific, like benchmark of this is the, this is the number that I’m going to get to.
And then I’m going to see. And I found that like going from 10 to a hundred is definitely a slog and there are lots of mini milestones, but once you do, and this kind of goes even outside of creative output, but like once you do something a hundred times, you’re going to like build momentum on it. And you’re also going to like, build your own confidence and yeah.
Not on ironic. And I’ve seen this across a few different creators. I think maybe Ali doll has like a similar experience, but for me, when I made my hundreds, it was right around my hundredth video on YouTube that I hit 10,000 subscribers and it’s right around like the hundredth, like email newsletter when I started to like, see that, I just felt really comfortable writing those emails.
Like, you know, the growth, the growth was good, but just like my personal confidence in it was like so high. That was like, yeah. I mean, it’s time to read the newsletter. I’m going to read the newsletter. It’s not like this weeping and gnashing of teeth, about like, will this work or not. And then you said like, you do it a thousand times because we look at some of our most prolific creators like MKBHD, you know, Casey Neistat, Roberto Blake, like from the YouTube space, all of those guys, like Amy Landino, all of those people have like over a thousand videos published on YouTube and.
Oh, yeah. And like, yes, they have great audiences and huge numbers, but like, just look at the output, like their masters, because they have published a thousand videos. And when you think of it in that way, it’s like, there’s so many different things that you can do in terms of mastering and optimization.
And like, there are like, you know, I guess you could say there are growth hacks that you could use, but like, look at anyone that you admire and just look at the sheer volume of their work.
Yeah, it’s, it’s substantial. I want to talk about how that volume of work turns into, an income.
And so could you break down, I guess yeah. How you earn an income now, where it comes from? I think people would expect that like a lot of it comes from YouTube ads. yeah. What are the different, like in your creative stack?
What are the things that drive revenue?
Yeah. The two biggest things that drive revenue for me, that for, especially coming from a YouTube space for a main audience, the two biggest things, it’s still driving revenue?
For me are courses and then consulting or coaching that comes alongside or with those courses. And so I don’t even do like a huge, like, you know, tiered course like program in terms of like, yeah, it’s $400 for the course, or you can do like $800 to have like some coaching with me.
A lot of the coaching comes naturally from people who have gone through the course. And then usually I’ll do like a, an email once the course is over, say, Hey, if you want me and I’ll drop hints, like throughout some of the, throughout some of the content, but it’s like, Hey, if you want to work on this directly with me here, some of my like rates and different ways that we can work together.
But I would say probably 60, 70% at least comes through courses and coaching. That can shift. because I, you know, I do, admittedly not have the best evergreen, course sales funnel that I could have. It’s been a big, like focus for me because, and just take a quick aside, one of the reasons I decided to do full-time creators, cause there were so many things that I wanted to optimize and that I wanted to do that I was never going to be able to get around to on like 10 ish hours a week, never going to be able to do it and stay like even remotely consistent with actually it would have been like, Hey, I’m not gonna make any videos or send any emails for three months so that I can create the system.
And then it’s like, I’m back and it’s up. But so from the revenue perspective, the like the percentages between my courses versus coaching kind of shit. But it’s, I would say like pretty even between those, between those two. and then there are all these like smaller things. Like there are, there are affiliates, I would say YouTube revenue on average is a little higher than affiliate revenue.
But I also like,
How much would you be earning? so, someone like I have 60,000 subscribers, what should I expect to be making a month off of YouTube revenue.
I can say that the most I have ever made in one month of YouTube is 800 and around $850.
That’s my best month ever. And, like I mentioned, declining views over the last few months, I will bring it. It’s like 250 this month, which is like, great. You’re like covering software expenses at that point. Which, you know, I do think is like a nice benchmark for people to kind of shoot for is I can, can I cover my costs, but so it’s, it’s pretty low. Like I’ve never made more than $10,000 in a year on YouTube ads and same thing, kind of same thing for affiliates. But because of the jobs that I’ve worked in, like, I haven’t done a whole lot of like software affiliate, promo, and that’s like, I’ve done like other like smaller affiliates, mostly like for books and like smaller things like Amazon affiliate kind of stuff.
And those are all like 10% is good for that. But you like for software, like that’s really bad, like
10%. I’m not promoting your thing for 10%. You’re talking about, but like for hard goods, that’s more, that’s a lot more common. And so like, affiliate revenue, especially from a software side is something that I’m focusing more.
But even still like between affiliates and, YouTube ads, that’s definitely, definitely less than 20 K and probably more around like 12 to 15 K. And so that’s one thing. And then I do some brand deals and sponsorships, but, admittedly not going super hard after those right now, because again, it’s something that it takes up a lot.
Like it takes up a lot of time to like, do a good brand partnership and that there are lots of good reasons behind that, but I’m having to do all of that and it slows down my creative process so much. And it’s such like, like emotionally, it’s not something that I like getting into. Cause it’s like this back and forth and it’s like, well, you know, I’d be like, well, you know, we kind of scoped out this kind of budget.
Like, well, it’d be nice to have known that before we got into this conversation. And of course, and I have. Never made more than 10,000, maybe around 10,000 a year on any kind of brand sponsorship deals. So between those three things, it’s anywhere from 20 to 30 K and a year, depending on how, like how well everything went and the coaching consulting courses, like the, those three CS, those
That bring in like 60 to 70% of the revenue.
And that’s what I spend my time on.
Yeah, that makes sense. So I want to go back to a conversation that you and I had, I guess if we catch people up on the arch, because we don’t have a ton of time left, but, There’s something that happens in startups where first year, like try to figure out what you’re doing. You know, all trying to figure it out at the same time.
And the next round of startups is like, can we just hire the people who have already figured that out and had done it before?
And so through a transition like that, right? Podia comes in like, Matt, you’ve done this whole thing before we’re trying to do it can like, instead of all of us figuring it out, can we just bring you in And so you, you made the jump over to Podio yet. the thing that I want to talk about is a couple of years after that middle of the pandemic And, a conversation that you and I had as you’re thinking about making this leap to a full-time creator, because I think so many people are like, okay, I did the side hustle thing.
This is taking off. And now I’m trying to decide when is it time to quit the day job and go all in.
Maybe take us through that. And, and some of your thoughts on it.
Yeah. It was something that I had been thinking about for a while. And certainly I’ve talked, I’ve talked about this on a couple of YouTube videos, but it had been in the back of my head for years. I mean, even.
Pre ConvertKit that what would it be like to do this, to do this full-time? and so I had started to, again, to bring up Jeff Goins again, like he used kind of coaching me, mentoring me through some of this process.
And he was like, you just need to get better and more consistent at launching products. You’re going to launch a product or some kind of service or something. You’re going to launch something for sale every month in 2020. And that was, and lo and behold, when you tell people like, you know, I’m not saying it’s gonna like go awesome every month.
Again, like we’ve talked about some of the ups and downs, but it’s amazing what will happen to your sales when you just offer more things for sale.
And so I had been doing that more and more, and it was taking, it was taking off. And what I had really wanted to do just from a mindset perspective is I had a lot of like, like kind of emotional, like money mindset, baggage that I was going to waiting through, at the, at the time.
And. I was like, I need to be matching what my Podia salary is. Not just for one month, but like month over month, I needed to do that for three months. And then I had done that for three months. I was like, oh, well, this is nice. Like, should I do this now? And, you know, we got on, we got on a call and I was talking with you through some of this.
And you’re like, well, you know, it certainly sounds like your, from what I remember is that you, you were saying like, well, it certainly sounds like you could, but if you like, have more of these systems in place, I just hired an assistant at the time to like, do some of the, like my Neushul work, take that off my plate.
He was like, why not just keep basically doubling your income every month for the foreseeable future? And I was like, yeah, that does sound really great too.
And this was the summer. I did want to see like what I could do, like with the assistant and how kind of like, again, I had like some fears and hesitation around like, okay, You kind of build your confidence.
You also can kind of like draw out your anxiety for too long as well. And you’re like, oh great. I did it for, I had my first 10 came off. I had back to back 10 came months. I had three straight 10 K months, but w what about the next three months? But, and so I did want to keep seeing, I wanted to see how much I could optimize and automate, you know, like without me having to do it.
And again, like go into what the rest of that, what the rest of that year was like.
But yeah. What, what do you remember from that conversation?
And, you know, some of the thoughts.
Well, first I love the conversation around money And you know, as a creator, when you go full time and Yeah. I was thrilled that, you like texted me and said, you want to would you be up for talking to you this, the way that I thought about it? I’m trying to think when it was, it w it was relatively early in the pandemic June, maybe.
And there were, it was. And so we were taught, we did, and I didn’t mention that, but we talked a lot about like, Hey, what is the state of the world going to be like, what’s the state of like, you know, the financial systems going to be like, and like three to six months, let’s just, let’s just be cool here,
Yeah. Something that I had done in my career, and you have to remember whatever advice someone gives, it’s going to be based in their own story. And so it’s really important. Like a question, if someone’s giving you advice, I, a question that you can always ask is what in your life has shaped this advice? Because they might be like, oh, you should do this creators. They should always do X, Y, and Z. And you’re like, oh, okay. Like that’s from the Bible of what creators should do. You know? Like, like you’re like, okay, really It’s from their own life experience.
And so you’re getting the advice without a context. And so you can just ask like, oh, what’s the context, what’s the story or example that made you, that shaped this perspective for you. And for me that the advice that I was giving you was spend more time overlapping the creator income with the, full-time job income, even just a few more months.
Because when I was really first making money as a creator, I was selling iPhone apps. And I was getting to the point where I was making $3,000, like two, three, $4,000 a month. And I had a full-time job. And all of that creator income went into a separate bank account. And so that I quit the job. And when I quit, I had $20,000 saved up. Which I was really proud of. Cause they had, you know, was on a $60,000 a year salary.
And it was all from this other income that I didn’t touch at all. And it was basically from months of of overlapping. And so that’s where my advice was coming from was basically like, I don’t know how many more months it is, but like we don’t know what’s going to happen in the world right now. We don’t know if like the market’s going to recover dip.
I mean, market ended up going up like crazy, but you know, overlap four more months and just save up at least a few more months of up salary.
What did you end up
That’s what I ended up doing. Now, there were some other, there were some other circumstances on that.
Like, one of the things was we had a couple of huge projects at Podia, and I was like, I’m going to see these through, these are like things, things that I own. but really, like I remember telling Jeff that I was like, well, if I could quit by the end of 2021, that would be so cool. And he’s like, oh, I bet we could do it before that. I was like, I don’t know if I can do them before that.
I mentioned this earlier, but it got to a point where there were so many things that I wanted to do. Like as a creator, like I wanted to start a podcast. I wanted to try that out. I wanted to write more on my newsletter.
I wanted to build better courses and try a cohort course, and do more coaching. And especially when you’re talking about time-intensive things like trying to smash all of those in created a lot of like internal conflict for me, and a lot of scheduling conflict and like me working every weekend for like a year, because like, that was just when I had time to do it.
And it really came down to okay, I had hit this financial benchmark that I had for myself. It was time to stop making excuses about like, oh, you know, can I still really do? It was like, no, you you’ve actually done it. And also saying like, okay, well, the, the tipping point for me was like making a list of like, here are all the things that I want to do or that I want to try, and realizing that if I was only gonna spend 10 ish hours a week working on this, I would never get to all these things that I want to do because even doing this at like, you know, 40 ish hours a week, like I’ve done now, for this entire year, there’s still things I’m like, oh, I still really want to get this thing done.
But now I hav a clear process. I have a timeline, I have knowledge. They’re like, okay, if that is a true priority, I can make it happen, versus like, I don’t know if I’ll ever get around to this. And that was a big tipping point for me. It was just like, there are so many ideas and there’s so many things that I’m excited about.
I need to like go all in and make the time to see them through.
Yeah, that makes sense. I think having the ability to have the income built up, to have the savings built up to make that leap, that’s really good. we should probably leave it there since we’re, you know, we’ve been talking for over an hour and we could go on for a long time, I think.
Lots of stories.
All the stories. Yeah. We’ll have to have to do a round two, and dive in. because there’s so much on growing startups and like, we haven’t even gotten to the newsletter side of things and…
There, but it’s all full stack creator.
Where should people go to follow your YouTube channel, follow you on social, and subscribe to your newsletter and all the other things?
Yeah, definitely. So there are a few places for me. If you just go to MattRagland.com/daily is where you can find like the most up-to-date or just MattRagland.com. My YouTube channel is just search for Matt Ragland on YouTube or youtube.com/MattRagland. I’m most active on Twitter in terms of social, but you can find me on the socials @MattRagland.
Is it a nice to have one name that you can just get
To do the same thing and you’re like, oh,
Yea. Then from a newsletter perspective, I do write my own email newsletter. And we’ll probably talk about this more at another time, but I’m also co-launching a paid newsletter with my friend, Jeff Goins. It’s called Hey Creator. So it’s a mixed tape for the creative class that we’re going to be launching in the coming weeks.
And if you just go to HeyCreator.com by the time this releases, it’ll all be live and ready to go, and we’re really excited to share it with everybody.
Nice. And that’ll be a paid newsletter on ConvertKit, and ConvertKit commerce.
So I’m excited for that.
Awesome. Well, Matt, it was so fun to catch up. Thanks for hanging out and we’ll chat soon.
Nathan, my pleasure. Thanks so much. It was a lot of fun.