In this episode I talk to Justin Moore. Justin is a Sponsorship Coach & the founder of Creator Wizard, a school & community that teaches you how to find & negotiate your dream brand deals.
In today’s episode Justin reveals how narrowing in on sponsorship coaching was a huge boost for his business. We talk about him growing multiple audiences between different YouTube channels (he and his wife, April, have well over a million combined followers on YouTube).
My favorite part of the episode is when we dive into From Boise, my side project newsletter. Justin breaks down what we’re doing wrong with sponsorships, how we should be selling them, and how there’s quite a bit more to be earned. We also dive into the way he runs his newsletter and how he’s grown it.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- The differences and similarities between sponsorships and newsletters
- Justin’s tips for starting your newsletter and getting traction
- How a simple change in Justin’s Twitter headline led to amazing growth for his brand
- Why you need to charge your sponsors different amounts
Links & Resources
- Deepak Malhotra: Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining Table and Beyond
- Justin’s website
- Justin’s newsletter
- Follow Justin on Twitter
- Join Justin’s group on Facebook
- Justin’s TikTok
- Justin is on Instagram
- Check out Creator Wizard on YouTube
- Trending Family
- AprilJustinTV on YouTube
I can talk about email list strategy, affiliate marketing, physical product businesses, and sponsorships. Sponsorships definitely is my wheelhouse, but I love talking about all these other things.
And yet that was too confusing to people. It was just too complicated. I had a follower DM me and say, “Why are you talking about anything other than sponsorships? Stop talking about anything else.” So I changed my Twitter headline to say “Justin Moore, sponsorship coach.”
Everything changed for me when I did that.
In this episode I talk to Justin Moore. He calls himself The Sponsorship Coach. We get into a bunch of different things. We get into how narrowing in on sponsorships really helped his niche. We get into him growing multiple audiences between a couple different YouTube channels. He and his wife April have well over a million combined followers on YouTube.
My favorite moment of the episode is we dive into From Boise, my side project newsletter, and he breaks down what we’re doing wrong with sponsorships; how we’re selling them, how we should be selling them, and how there’s quite a bit more to be earned. Not necessarily less work, but much more targeted work where it’s better aligned with the brand and the creator.
We also dive into the way he runs his newsletter and how he’s grown it. There’s a bunch of different, fun content in this episode. Justin is very, very tactical and I love that.
Justin, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me, Nathan. Stoked to be here.
I first came across your content when we were both teaching for Li Jin’s Creator Economy. She was teaching a cohort-based course on the creator economy and all of that, and you and I were both guest lecturing for it.
When was that?
That was about a year and a half ago, maybe two years ago. I don’t know. What is time. I don’t know. It’s a continuum. Yeah. I think it was a year and a half ago.
Yeah. How do you eliminate.
Li and I just became friendly on the internet capital I internet. you know, just, I think via Twitter. I think that we. I don’t even know if we got on a call before she invited me to do a guest lecture. I think I, I’ve just been like very online on Twitter for the last like couple of years. and just like become very outspoken about this topic of, of sponsorships.
And, and, I guess I kind of have a, somewhat of a unique perspective because, you know, my wife, April and I have been creators ourselves for about a decade. you know, we started first YouTube channel in 2009. And so have a lot of experience kind of in the trenches being creators. But then I also have this other.
Side of my experience where I’ve run an influencer marketing agency for about six years. and so it’s like totally a different thing to like, have employees run a, I guess, creator it wasn’t called that at the time creator economy, startup agency type thing, but then see the other perspective of like working with brands, big, larger media agencies and so on.
And just convincing them like, Hey, it’s not just me and my wife pay us, you know, some money to talk about your brand notes. Like, Hey, pay me half a million dollars now to work with 50 influencers. it’s just like a totally different perspective. And so that, I think that’s kinda what I, what she wanted me to bring to the, to the guest lecture.
Yeah. And you’ve got such an interesting background. So I want to dive in and talk about like your story on YouTube. Cause also like 2009, creating consistently since then is as a long time. I think I’ve been doing the like publishing content thing since 2011 and I feel like I’ve been doing it forever. and so you got beat by a couple of years there. let’s just dive in there. let’s start. What, what made you in April? get into YouTube, way back in the day.
Well, it definitely wasn’t me. It was definitely, I mean, I was encouraging April at the time. She was my girlfriend. Well, I guess maybe fiance by that time. too, before we got together, she had never watched a YouTube video in her life and I, and then we moved in together and, I was watching YouTube and, and, you know, kind of, I don’t know, it was like Reddit and YouTube back in the early days.
Or maybe he bombs world, like, you know, it was just like very early stuff. And then, and, I was like, honey, like, there’s like lots of cool videos on YouTube. You should like start watching it. And she was like, isn’t it just like cat videos? And I was like, no, there’s like lots of cool stuff on there.
And so, and so she started watching, like beauty guru. You know, like the early, girls who were doing cosmetics and beauty products and things like that. And she was really interested in that stuff, but she didn’t have any friends in her life that wanted to talk about that kind of thing. And so she started binge watching for about, you know, maybe a year or so, I guess this was maybe 2008 at that time.
And she’s just kept watching and watching all the time. And I was like, honey, you should do this. You’re so good with products. Like, you know, your stuff, like you should really like start making videos. And she was like, no, it’s like just kept convincing her. and finally she made her first video using our web cam.
I mean, I think it was like maybe two 40 P or something. It was terrible quality. And I remember helping her edit on windows, movie maker. That was the, that was the editing software that we used at that time. And, and it was like, you could still, it’s still on her channel. Like one of her very first videos.
It’s so funny to go walk back. It’s like, like, letterboxed like, you know, like in the early YouTube videos, it was, it was not like wide frame and everything. and so it was just. She was reviewing this. I remember the video, she was reviewing this product that you, it was like a coil and you bent it and you removed facial hair with it.
It was extremely painful, like so terrible. Like it was like instead of waxing. And I, it was just, I just remember this video so vividly. but like that was the, that was the start of everything. And so, basically she just started making lots of content, getting super excited about it. Brands started offering to send her free products that she was so stoked about that she was a free product.
So are you kidding me? cause like mind you, we were in our early twenties. I mean, 20. 20. I was 21, 22, like early. So like we didn’t have money. Like I was just graduating college. and like, so the free products that was like mind-boggling. And so here I was, working at a medical devices company. I’m an engineer by trade or by background.
And so I was not doing this. I was like, helping her kind of behind the scenes. but really it was her thing. It wasn’t my thing. And so when brands started reaching. really is when they offered to pay her for the first time. That was the inflection, one of the first inflection points where she was just like, whoa, what do I do?
I don’t know what to do. Right. And so I, here I am over here at that, by that point, I think I was in business school, going at night and I was like, oh, I’m in business school. I could help with this. Right. And so I’m like looking at the contracts and like, no, like no one had any idea what a brand deal contract was at that time.
Like, no, like I remember, I remember bringing it to our family lawyer and she was like, What is this, like, what are you doing? I don’t understand, like, this contract makes no sense to me. Right. And so it was just like, bless her heart. She did her best to help us understand, you know, what we were getting ourselves into.
But that, that was the early days is like, you know, the wild west, no one knew how we, you know, no one knew how much to charge, like, yo yeah, the 500 bucks to two, 200 bucks. That sounds good. Right. mind you, when we first started on YouTube, there was no partner program. There was no, literally no way you could make money on YouTube.
It was, it was purely a hobby. It’s very contrast that with today, it’s very different people, a lot of creators get into it being like, I’m gonna monetize, I’m going like make money doing this. But in the early days, like that was not a thing. and so it very much, or, you know, evolve. Organic, love for the craft on her part.
And, you know, figuring out different ways to like monetize that through brands and, and all that stuff, was very much a, an afterthought, in, in the beginning. and so, yeah, so that, that was, and so, yeah, so the, the, the major story that, sorry, arc, I guess, is that, she started her channel 2009. people started getting really interested in our relationship.
And so I started doing cameos. we started a cooking channel. We started a family vlog channel. This is before we had kids. And then things really exploded for us when my wife got pregnant and people were just so excited about the pregnancy journey and that whole thing. And so, you know, we’ve shared both of our birth vlogs on YouTube, PG versions of them.
You know, we, we daily vlogged for over three years without missing an upload over a thousand. And these are like 15, 20 minute videos without missing an upload. So, we did, we did that whole thing, which I, by the way, I do not recommend to anyone that that was brutal. and, but that really did contribute to a lot of our growth is like that regularity and the cadence and, and that whole thing.
And then, about six years ago, I started. An influencer, this influencer marketing agency called trending family, where basically we, we F we saw this opening where it was, like, there’s all these brands that want to work with creators, but they’re terrified. They are concerned that the creators are going to do something crazy and say, you know, like swear a bunch, posts, something risky on Instagram, whatever. And then their brand will be plunged into, you know, disrepute or. And so, our thought was, okay, well, let’s create an agency all around. Family-friendly creators, everyone. Who’s in our roster, everyone that you, you know, we’ll work with, they’re family friendly, they’re wholesome. They have a well established history of great brand partnerships and so on.
And so that was the wedge and yeah, it, it, it proved, it was just like perfect timing. and so, you know, have brought, millions of dollars worth of brand partnerships to other creators, through the agency as well. And so, yeah, so those are the kind of the two sides of, of my experience. And we can get into the creator wizard stuff later, but like, that really is kind of the, the Jacqueline height of my, of my professional experience.
I would say.
I like it. So what made you go from figuring out brand sponsorships and everything for, you know, your own channels for April’s channel or channels? Right? Cause she has, there’s a few of them now.
To like saying, I want to make an agency that does this for a bunch more creators, because a lot of people are like, no, I figured this out. Like, let me keep it to myself. or like, or they would have the approach of, these other, like it’s a zero sum game. And so these other creators, like if I help them get sponsorships, that’s fewer sponsorships for me, you know, any, any of that world, what made you go the opposite direction?
I’m so glad you brought that up. well the first, the first, reason that we went down this path is that, we saw it as a way to diversify our personal family income because we, you know, we, we basically thought like, okay, the likelihood of us being able to maintain our current level of influence and viewership and revenue streams and all that stuff.
For 50 years or 10 years, even we thought was quite low. Right. And so, get, especially given that our notoriety or our like, you know, influence on social media in this particular space around family is very much driven by life milestones, you know, your pregnancy journey and you’re buying a new house and you’re, you know, yada yada there’s like these major tent pole moments in a lot of family, creators, family vloggers, their lives.
And once those times are over everything basically wanes. And so our perspective when we were kind of in the thick of it, I kind of the height of our viewership, I guess you could say was like, let’s do this now. so. When that bell curve, when we, kind of start riding down the lower end of that bell curve, that we’ll be in, in a good place. And so, and that’s exactly what happened is, you know, we built out this very robust, you know, footprint as basically how it started as we, all the brands that were coming to us, we basically did the deal and then said, Hey, by the way, did you know that we have this like roster and agency? It’s like, do you want more creators to partner with and things like that.
And so It was very much kind of, that’s how everything got started. It was like, we, we, I emailed like, 30 of our friends who are other family vloggers at the time. And It was like, Hey, Can I pitch on your behalf? Like if I go out and find you a deal, like, can I like say that you’re like part of trending family or whatever, and they’re like, sure, you want to bring me deals.
She sounds good. And like, that was how it started in the early days. It was like, you know, you didn’t, all you needed was a landing page to say you had an influencer marketing agency right now. It’s like super sophisticated and you have a $20 million venture back SAS platform with AI, you’re using Watson to like, you know, find influencers and all this stuff.
And it was just like, like in the early days it was like, no, yeah, yeah. I’m not, I’m not sub tweeting or sub commenting anyone, or maybe I am. but like, it, it very much was very easy to just like say you had an influencer agency back in again. Now it’s like way more saturated.
It’s interesting. One thing that stands out in that story is the there’s a lot that goes into an influencer agency, right? There’s potential contracts a second ago, you know, how you find, people, a partner with how you find the brands, you know, influence it. Like everything else, you know, you probably need an office space, you need an assistant, like all of these things.
But every business kind of has this one thing where it’s like, if this part works, we can figure out the rest. And if this one part doesn’t work, then like none of this is going to work. Is there, like, we were just like going to brands and saying, can I bring this deal to the creator? You know, but like both directions.
Cause if that works, that’s the whole business, you know, everything else is not to trivialize it, but everything else is implementation details. if you have this amazing pipeline of. I can talk to all of these different brands and go to creators. and like, I’m just imagining the, those creators. If you you bring them three or four deals and then you’re like, Hey, do you want more of this?
They’re like yes. And that’s a totally different thing. Then you going to them cold and saying, Hey, join our influencer marketing agency. You just have to sign this contract. You just have to like, do all this stuff.
I it’s just like cut through the core of the business, which is bringing them brand deals. And if you can do that well then like the rest will work itself out.
It w you know, the thing that was interesting about it is that, we really had a leg up because we. It was like instant credibility. Like when we came to people like first it was our core core group of friends and they were like, of course sounds good. But like, anytime we, we went outside that and we had to like find other creators, you know, for these new opportunities that the, that the brands were asking us for, we would basically just say, hi, I am Justin from April Justin TV.
Right. I would link the channel. And so like immediately they would click on it and be like, This person knows what they’re doing like that like clearly, like this is not just some random person who wants me to like, you know, cause that, that happens. Like you, you know, we get reached out to even today, all the time being like, Hey, join this new platform, all this stuff.
And it’s like random person we’d never met. And so it was like that stamp of credibility in the beginning, when we were able to say, Hey, we know exactly this pain point, it’s hard to find, you know, great brand partners. We, you know, we’ve, we’ve done, we’ve worked with them, this type of thing. So that was like a, that drove a lot of the early traction and a lot of people kind of, to like agree to work with us.
The other thing that I would mention here is that, One of the messiest parts of, of running the agency over the years has been the fact that we do not exclusively manage anyone. We are not talent managers. We, our customer is the brand or the agency. It’s a very different model than having a talent management firm, right.
With a talent management firm. you know, the creator is exclusively managed by this one person. And so no matter where the deal flow comes from their bio on Instagram or YouTube or whatever, or through, you know, their press email on their, or their, you know, their management email on their website or whatever, everything is routed through this one person.
But with creator. The vast majority of which don’t have managers, by the way, it’s, it’s so different because they could have opportunities coming at them from a million different directions, the infinite number of brand deal platforms out there, or people just DM-ing them on Instagram or whatever. And so my thought process was like, I’m not going to even go there.
Right. I don’t want to manage people because that’s just, then it’s like, you’re talking out of both sides of your mouth. You have to like serve your, you know, your exclusive clients And bring them enough business to feel like you’re getting deserving of your paycheck or whatever, depending on how they’re compensating you. and then you also have to like get them business and like, do good work for the brands and the agencies who are also your customers. It’s like, I don’t know, like that whole thing has always been very complicated and, and, you know, I there’s some like companies that try and do both, and I just think that that’s very, a very difficult time.
Yeah. Yeah. That makes sense. So the way that you’re structuring it then is the brand is your, I guess your primary customer are you, you’re still in the middle of a marketplace, Right.
Got to serve both. but are you working with more brands or like long-term brands and placing them more with influencers or is it more that you’re working closely with the influencer and finding brands for.
It’s the former, yeah, it’s, it’s much more like the brand reaches out and says, Hey, we want to work with moms who live in Florida, between the, have kids between the, ages of eight and 13. Can you go find us 10 people just like that? And we’re like, ah, okay. Right. So it’s very much like a brand driven because so many campaigns have these very specific requirements.
Right. Okay. That’s interesting. So then you’d be in that list, you might be like, okay, I need to find 10 creators. Three that I’ve worked with before for this other brand are issuing that’s easy. I already know them. and, these seven, I still have to go and, and find to match the, the brand project.
Yeah. Okay. That’s interesting.
Maybe bringing this to newsletters, I want to jump around a whole bunch, but bringing this newsletters, what are the similarities and differences that you see between sponsorships in newsletters? cause you’re doing, you’re playing in that space and then also sponsorships in, you know, in the YouTube space.
That’s a great question. one of the biggest, things that I think a lot of brands and advertisers don’t consider when choosing anyone to work with, whether it’s a social media creator, or if it’s a newsletter author, is that they become very fixated on the originator of the content medium. So the creator, the creator themselves.
So it’s like, oh, we want to, you know, our let’s say, it’s, let’s just pick a random example. Let’s say it’s like a kid’s food brand or something like their ideal customer persona is like a mom with, you know, with kids between the ages of four and 12. Let’s just like, make that up. Right. And so they go out and find influencers.
If they decide to work with influencers as one of their tactics, right. It fit that mold. Exactly. Right. however, there may be other creators out there who don’t fit that mold, but have a lot of people in their audience who fit that mold. Right. And so a lot of brands and advertisers miss a huge opportunity, you know, by not trying to like double click on the demographics and psychographics of people’s audiences.
Even if the creator themselves don’t fit the mold. And so I think the same can hold true with a lot of new. you know, creators. So like they may have a lot of, you know, one type of, of prospective customer in their audience, but that person who runs in newsletter doesn’t fit the mold. And so the brand just immediately, or, you know, says I’ll pass like that.
That’s not a good fit. And so that’s actually something that I’ve been, you know, thinking about a lot more when I look at people to partner with, for my newsletter and things like that is like, yeah, maybe it’s not like the audience isn’t like social media creators, but like who can I find where the audience is like maybe solo preneurs or freelancers or people who do have, or, or authority driven businesses,
You know, who, who would resonate with this message of like trying to hone their sponsorship, expertise and strategy, you know,
Yeah. Yeah. That makes sense. Cause I think about brands, like for ConvertKit as we, you know, we do affiliate marketing, we do, you know, some influencer like sponsored content and that kind of thing. And then of course all around, like we produce a huge amount of content. Just thinking about how we go about deciding who to partner with, because we might have.
You know, most wanting to sponsor someone like a PatFlynn or, or someone like you, right. Where they’re talking to creators. And we’re like, okay, we know that’s a really good fit, but then you also run into someone like a James Clear or a Tim Ferris or someone else they’re not talking to creators directly, but you know, there’s a ton of creators who follow their work and who look up to them. and so there’s just different angles of like, how direct do you want to be like, oh, you only talk to creators versus, you know, the broader marketing. I don’t know that I have a follow up question there.
Yeah, just real quickly, the, the other thing that’s really critical about. Picking a lane there is that your KPIs and your metrics have to change, right? If you’re going to go after a James clear or something, or a pat Flynn, or let’s say James clear, like your success metrics are going to be pretty different than if you partner with someone like me or something.
Right. and, and that’s okay. That’s just a different strategy. Right. And I think that that’s just from an advertiser’s perspective, sometimes they, they have these like universal KPIs where it’s like, oh, our cost per acquisition has to be, you know, $1 a lead or whatever it is like. And it’s just like, no, like if it’s more of a brand awareness play where, you know, the concentration of your ideal customer is going to be less than this, you know, with this particular partnership, I don’t know a lot of brands.
Aren’t, aren’t that savvy I found.
Right. Yeah. That’s interesting. We. Take it very differently. Like if you’re going for someone who’s in that direct space, right. They’re making recommendations and I want you to email provider, you should use, then you might take it all the way to like, okay, well, how many exact customers did you drive?
Whereas if you’re going the other way and say, you know, I want a broad market play from this creator. then, then we might be looking at, okay, how much traffic did we generate brand impressions? You know, that kind of thing. So it’s a, it’s a different angle. And I guess it’s top of the funnel versus lower down in the funnel, right?
Where, you’re gonna get less top of the funnel from a creator who has a smaller audience. Who’s more, more focused.
Okay. Question for you on. You talk a lot about sponsorships. but, and so people might think of you only from the sponsor side, but you have a lot of road just from following you on Twitter and read your newsletter. you think a lot about monetizing authority. And so if someone was jumping in and there’s like, great, Justin, help, I want to start sponsorships, like help me, earn a living as a creator. How would you approach that? How would you help them unpack, you know, what directions to take? And, if diving right into small ship, small, I can’t even talk.
Sponsorships is the right way to go.
So, you know, honestly, I, this is a good opportunity to talk about my evolution of educating creators because, when I first got into about two years ago, creating content under the kind of creator wizard, moniker, I was not a sponsorship coach. I was not talking about sponsorships. Initially. I was like, my tagline was the business of being a creator.
That was like, that was like what it said on my YouTube banner. and so like, I thought that that was enough. I was like, okay, well, if I do this, like all y’all can talk about email list strategy. I can talk about affiliate marketing. I could talk about product, you know, physical product businesses and sponsors, sponsorships.
Yeah. Sponsorships definitely is like my wheelhouse, but I love talking about all these other things because like my wife and I have, have done all of these things throughout our decade of, of being creators and kind of diversifying our entire business. And yet that was too confusing to people. People didn’t understand, like, what does that mean?
The business of being a creator? Like how, how do you like monetizing? Like, it’s just like too, it was just too complicated. and so I had a, a follower DME about six months ago. This is very recent, and say, Why are you talking about anything other than sponsorships? Like clearly this is your expertise, stop talking about anything else.
And I was like, Hey, that’s a good idea. And so, six months ago I changed my Twitter headline to say, Justin Moore sponsorship, coach, and everything changed for me when I did that, I had been running a cohort-based course all around the topic of sponsorships. you know, my cohorts have exploded since doing this.
You know, it’s just like, I look at this idea of being a sponsorship coach as a Trojan horse, because I love talking about all these other things. And in fact, when people get into my courses and they get into the Q and a sessions and the office hours, and when people hire me for one-on-one consulting and things like that, we ultimately do talk about a lot of these other subjects, you know, in terms of other avenues to monetize as a creator.
But it it’s all about sponsorships is the number one way in which the vast majority of creators. There the, you know, their income. And so that is at the forefront of pretty much everyone’s minds. It doesn’t matter if you have 500 subscribers on YouTube or, you know, a hundred thousand on, on YouTube or on Instagram or TikTok or we’re at Twitter or wherever.
Sponsorships is like the most obvious thing. Like, Hey, this brand will pay me to talk about them on my platform. And so like, I have found an old, like, it wasn’t strategic. It was very much kind of like accidentally that leading with sponsorships is like, Hey, I will help you do this. Very easy to understand thing that, that has allowed me to, talk about all these other things that I also enjoy.
Right. I mean, it’s the idea of having a wedge that you’re trying to drive in. So it’s like, I guess the difference I grew up in the mountains, right. And so we, we split lots of firewood. and so like imagine trying to split wood with an ax, with like a, you know, nice wedge shape versus splitting wood with like a, you know, a mallet that’s like, you know, if you’re trying to hit everyone with all of this at once, you’re like, look, I can help you with, you know, how to build an authority, how to, how to monetize.
We can talk about courses. We can talk about sponsorships. We can talk about all of these other things. And people are like, I don’t know. The guy just talks about. Everything, you know, and then you’re narrowing it and just saying, okay, fine. Forget all that. I’m here for sponsorships. And then that’s the wedge that you drive in.
And that’s what attracts people knows what they’re about, you know? And we can adjust in more sponsorship coach, you know? So like Justin Moore, the guy, you know, if you’re a creator, he helps you make more money. Which of course, will you come up with a better pitch? I’m just joking. But, and then when you get in there and have the conversation, then you could figure out sponsorships, which brought them in and then figure out like, oh, and Hey, you should actually do a course as well.
You should do some of these other things in addition. So I love that. I mean, That’s what we did with ConvertKit of narrowing in, on, you know, professional bloggers as our first initial niche to build traction.
Well, the other thing. too, is that I think a lot of, you know, you’ve, you’ve heard the cliche, like, oh, don’t you double down on a niche. Like everyone says it. Right. But the thing, the reason that I think most people do not do this, it’s a very important thing to understand, which is that they believe that they will, all of a sudden constrict their amount of opportunities and the types of content that they could make. And they will feel like they’re just like this one trick pony Everett. That’s all they’re ever going to be able to talk about is like this one thing. And they just feel like there’ll be pigeonholed. And actually when I read. Double down on this sponsorship niche. All of a sudden I was like, I can think of a thousand videos to talk about on this topic now that I know this is my only focus before I was like, oh, I’m going to talk about email list.
I’m going to talk about this and that. And like, I don’t know, where do I like focus? And then I was like, oh, I’m going to look at my YouTube analytics to see like, which ones people are looking at the more, and then I’ll make more of that content. And it’s just like, I get it because people feel like, oh, I just want to be able to, you know, like the other thing too, is that they’re concerned that they’ll limit their amount of partnership opportunities, especially with respect to brands.
Right. Because it’s like, oh, like I should be a lifestyle influencer. Cause I could talk about travel and I can talk about food and I can talk about fashion and all this stuff. And like, okay, congratulations. You are now one of a million other lifestyle influencers who are talking about the exact same thing.
But like, no, when you say that, like I am a food blogger that only talks about, you know, celiac disease. Or something, right? Like you are going to get opportunities way more opportunities than random food blogger X, because now yeah. You may be, you know, working with mainly gluten-free brands now. And that, that’s probably a good thing, but like, everyone’s going to want to come to you then, because you’re the person for that.
Right. And so I look at it the same way for my business at like now every week. Like any time anyone on Twitter basically says like, oh, I’m having issues with sponsorships. I get like 10 people tagging me. Talk to Justin, talk to Justin, talk to Justin. Right. Because it’s like, now everyone puts me in this box and I’m cool with it.
Like, I’m the sponsorship guy. So yeah. Tag me, I love it.
Right. But then if someone is like, oh, how do I make money as an entrepreneur? You know, people are. There’s just a bunch of answers, right? It’s a generic thing. You can’t tag in one person. whereas like, imagine what you’re doing is pretty great for both, you know, coaching opportunities, newsletter growth, follow follower, growth, and, and all of that.
It is pretty great when you click into threats and was like, Hey, who should I talk to her? What products should I use? And like, eight of the recommendations are the same, which is pretty awesome. And you’re like, yes, the brand is working. This effort has been well.
You know what the funny thing is is that, I also feel like I’ve like dialed into kind of a white space because I have never seen anyone call themself a sponsorship coach. Like I’ve seen people who are talent managers or people who run agencies or people who do other types of coaching, life, coaching, career coaching.
But I’ve never heard someone call themselves a sponsorship coach. And so like there’s also a novel. Aspect to it too, where someone reads that in my, like, let’s say Twitter headline. And they’re like, what does that even, I don’t understand what that is. I’m not a manager. Like, I’m very clear, like I don’t, you can’t retain me.
I’m not going to like negotiate all your current deal flow. No I’m going to teach you. Right. I’m going to teach you how to do this. I’m gonna teach you how to fish. And that was the one element that was always missing from my agency. Whereas like, I was basically a killing fish and like putting it into people’s doorstep.
And I felt like for a while I was like, oh, that’s cool. You know, like I’m helping people with their livelihood and all that stuff. But like, it’s really when I like, realized that how much more I enjoy teaching people, how to do it. that that’s, that’s when things changed.
I like that. Okay. Well, let’s dive into a teaching example. we could do a. Okay. I guess, whatever makes a tactical, like if there’s an example you want to share of, you know, walking through a brand, we can anonymize it in some way of what, some of the principles that you’ve used. we can also, if you want, I have a newsletter called from Boise 10,000 subscribers.
We could dive in and use that as an, as an example, whatever sounds good.
I love, let’s say I love tactical stuff. So let’s, let’s go with your newsletter. Gimme, gimme, gimme the business case and let’s workshop it.
Yeah. Okay. So from Boise, it’s a year old now, it is a local newsletter about the city of Boise. There’s about. 500,000 people that live in the, you know, the area served by the newsletter. So not huge, but not tiny. we’ve grown probably about 3000, 4,000 subscribers are organic. And then, the remaining six or 7,000 is from paid ads, you know, with like a local focus on Instagram, Instagram and Facebook, for the most part, we send emails twice a week.
So every Tuesday is a like deep dive into, you know, the history or the, a story of a business or something else, like a, a profile on something. And then every Thursday is like, here’s what you should do for the weekend. here’s, what’s happening, the shows that are going on, you know, the new, a great cocktail place that opened up all of that.
So 10,000 subscribers total, we also have an Instagram with 11,000 followers on it. What else? So on sponsorships, we’ve been charging $400 per sponsorship slot, like in the newsletter. And then we’ve given people free shout outs on Instagram. And I think we’ve made five grand total in sponsorships.
So not a lot. it’s a side project for two of us, and then Marissa, my partner in it, she’s gonna make it much more of a full-time thing, over the next couple of months. So that’s the high level context. we to probably start making like eight grand a month total, not five grand total forever, but eight grand a month, know, every month, for it to like turn into a meaningful business that like pays its bills.
What, how have the initial sponsorships that you’ve gotten? How have, they come in? Was it inbound, Was it outbound? Like you pitching them.
Most of the inbound, little bit of outbound, but basically we’ve gotten enough traction in the space where people are, You know, we’ll have like ballet, Idaho, which is doing, you know, their latest performance of whatever show. Right. They won’t sponsor that or the downtown Boise association. so some of those, but yeah, not, not a lot, not much outbound yet.
Okay. So, of the sponsors that have, you know, come inbound, how much have you ask them about what their goals were for the collaborative.
That’s a good question. I don’t know. I haven’t been that involved, so, I probably spend an hour a week on this
And Marissa’s probably more like 10
A week, you know, writing the content, putting that together.
Do you, know if you’ve standardized, are you charging the same amount to every sponsor?
Yes. Is that a red flag for
Is that a.
It is a red flag. It is a red flag. Yeah. I mean, this is a, this is a great teaching moment, I think.
Yeah. So, this is something that a lot, not enough creators consider, which is that you have to be charging different amounts based on the goal of the sponsor.
So for example, just like what we were talking about earlier, you know, a brand who’s who’s sponsoring James clear has very different success metrics than. You know, ConvertKit, if you’re, if you’re higher, you know, partnering with Justin Moore, who’s going to tell creators to go sign up for ConvertKit.
Right. And so, for example, in the scenario of the Boise ballet or the idol ballet or whatever, and they’re say they come to you and you ask them, what does success look like for this partnership? And they say, oh, well, we want to drive ticket sales. So we’re going to look at our success metrics is that, you know, if we’re, you have 10,000 people on your list, you know, we’re assuming 2% of people will purchase a ticket, average, you know, you know, ticket.
I don’t know, I’m making numbers up, but let’s say it’s a hundred bucks for the ticket. then you know, that amount of money that we’re going to drive from the sponsorship of one single email blast from, from your newsletter, that’s the max we can pay you because that’s the ROI that we’re looking for.
This is a conversion focus campaign. Contrast that with, if they said, Hey, Nathan, Like, we’re not really like, you know, w we just want to get the word out there that the ballet’s back open, you know, you know, the mass mandate is lift or whatever they say, you know, we just want to get people starting to think about coming into the ballet again.
And we’re not really looking at ticket sales as like our primary KPI here. Then your pricing should be very different. That is a brand awareness campaign. And that, you know, person who is working at the Boise ballet does not have their boss breathing down their neck and being like, how much sales, how many tickets did you bring in from this like newsletter sponsorship?
Right? And so this is like one of the core things that I teach in my course is that the number one thing that you have to be asking brands when they either it’s inbound inquiry or you’re reaching out and pitching them cold, that you have to understand what their success metrics are, because you cannot provide to them a compelling proposal.
If you don’t understand that. So for example, on the, in the brand awareness side of things, if they came into you and said, Hey, this is a brand awareness campaign. And, and they had just started inquiring about the newsletter. Then your pitch should not just be, Hey, I’m going to do this one newsletter blast.
No, your pitches now, Hey, we have this Instagram with 11,000 followers, we can do Instagram stories. We can actually create some compelling content that you can repurpose on your Instagram or on the ballet website. you know, there’s all these other things that we can do from you because we understand Boise.
We understand what makes them tick. We have 10,000 readers, they respond to us. We have our finger on the pulse of the community. Hey, we hire us for a consulting session because you know, we have some ideas of where else you could advertise, you know, in Boise, yada yada yada. Right? So that’s the proposal.
It’s not, Hey, just one single insertion in our internal.
Right. And that’s such a huge difference. I’m also thinking about, since we don’t know that their goals, right. We could have pitched something for an entire year. Like, Hey, why don’t you become our, our headline, supporter for the whole year? You know? And instead I think we pitched a four or like on the site, there’s a four sponsor package and they just bought that, you know, which was better than one, but
So, so this is the other thing is like, I always joke. I say like, okay, I tell creators, open up your media kit and take that page that has pricing in it and drag it into the trash. That is the very first step that you should when you, when you, because every deal is going to be different, like we just discussed.
So basically what you’re communicating to the brand, when you send them your media kit or drive them to your place on your website, where you have your sponsorship packages is you are saying, Hey, brand, here’s this tiny little box of how you can work with me and I’m going to stuff you in it.
Right. And the brand, does that feel good to the brand?
No, that doesn’t feel good to the brand. The brand is like, oh, okay. I guess I didn’t have that. That’s not really what I wanted, but I guess they’re saying that’s the only way I can work with them. Right. Contrast that with like, Hey, what are your marketing objectives for this year? Wow. This person cares. I want to pay them a lot more money than I was initially expecting.
Yeah, that’s interesting.
Have you found anything in like size of audience or that kind of thing? Where, where things start to change? like, maybe it was with YouTube channel as you crossed a hundred thousand followers or subscribers or more, you know, I’m like kind of wanting to that from the newsletter side.
Cause we just crossed 10,000 subscribers and so it feels like, okay, now we’ve got a bit of a bigger audience. maybe we have more to offer.
Yeah. I mean, for sure. I mean, there’s definitely brands and advertisers out there who still have a very traditional top of funnel mindset is like, oh, you know, even for the agency, they’ll come and say, we want to make sure everyone has at least a hundred thousand followers on Instagram or something like that.
Right. It’s just like this arbitrary milestone. Oh, we want to work with like mid tier influencers. Or if it’s a mega influencer, they have to have a million it’s like completely arbitrary makes no D like, not even talking about the fact that like, to you line up two people with like both have a million followers.
And like one has like a, you know, gets like a hundred likes on their Instagram photo. And the other person gets like 50,000 or something. Right. It’s like that exists. Right. that, that chasm. And so like, that’s not even accounting for that point. but it’s like, I don’t, I don’t think of it as a follower.
Thing. I think of it as a content niche thing. So for example, like that’s why like doubling down on something is so critical because I, again, I only have only 3000 creators on my newsletter right now, but these are 3000 creators who are business-minded. These are not random people who are having fun on TikTok.
These are people who are like making money. What are consciously trying to diversify their revenue streams make more money. It’s like a very different, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a specific psychographic, a type of creator. Right. and so like, I am going to charge a premium for access to that audience. Yeah. I charge, I just sold through a $2,000 sponsorship.
So you have 10,000 people on your newsletter. You just charge them 1600 bucks for what was it? Was it 400 bucks per placement? You said? Yeah. So it’s just like, I. So I just charged, I have a third of the audience and I charged about more about the same. Right. So, I think it really, and so I would suggest to you that, like, there’s not a lot of like Boise focused newsletters that people can advertise to.
So they’re there. The other thing too, is like, you know, we’re getting into like, you know, like maybe something that’s like a little bit too in the weeds here, but like there’s this concept called your BATNA, right. Your best alternative to a negotiated agreement. Right. And so it’s like if the ballet was not going to partner with you, what are their alternatives?
They’re going to go out and do radio spots, or they’re going to partner with the penny saver, you know, the magazines that they’re going to partner with, bill billboards and bus benches. It’s like, right. So it’s like, as a creator, you have to be thinking like, if they are partnered with me, where are they going to go?
Right. And so it’s just like, once you realize, like you have a very prized asset here, Especially from if it’s conversion focused, people are like, it’s attributable, right? People could say, Hey, we partnered with, from Boise. And, you know, we got this many ticket sales or this many signups or this many downloads on our, on our app or whatever.
So it’s just like I, in my unsolicited, well, this was solicited actually in my solicited professional opinion, you are vastly undercharging for the asset that you have. and so like that, that, that’s the most important thing to think about here. It’s not about audience size. It’s about like, like it’s, it’s the type of audience and you know how you’re able to illustrate that to a brand that that’s like a much better investment than their alternatives.
Right. Well, that’s interesting because I think most people would hear the pricing for the newsletter, say at the 400 bucks and be like, oh, you’re under. And then the creator would be like, okay, let me go raise that to $600. And what I hear you saying is like, oh God, no, like that is not at all. You need to relieve the price and then you need to have a conversation about
Like, what’s your goal? What are you doing with this campaign? How can I do it? And then come up with something custom for each one and price it differently, you know, based on, dates act, offer,
Yeah. A hundred percent. I mean like, cause you, cause at that point when you have the conversation, you know yeah. You, maybe your introductory tier, they told you their budget was like $2,000. Okay. Yeah. Like maybe that’s package one, but then package five is like $50,000.
Right. And that’s gonna include consulting and that’s going to include, you know, strategy work.
That’s going to include yada yada. Okay. Assuming you want to do that as a creator, but like it opens up, it just explodes the top end potential for your, for your income streams. When you like, just again, like get out of this mindset of like it being this very transactional thing. and start, I always say like, you’re not just a creator, you’re a consultant.
You can help the brands accomplish these much more ambitious things. because the other thing too, is that like a lot of creators think that like, oh, I just have this like little platform here, you know, and I’ve got this many followers and all that stuff, but like, no, like you have an expertise, you have illustrated to a brand that like 10,000 people, 10,000 engaged Boise residents, like you have, their ear, like, that’s a very valuable thing.
Right? And so it’s, it’s not you have, I, what I’m hoping creators listening to this are hearing is that you have a tremendous amount of expertise. So maybe you don’t think 5,000 followers on Tik TOK is a lot on the grand scheme of things. But if you live in Philadelphia and you go and you pitch the local Philly cheese, steak shop, sorry, if that’s like a stereotype, like if you’d pitch that local shop, Hey, I’m going to help you with your TikTok.
And I’m going to help drive more foot traffic into your five locations, all around Philadelphia using TikTok. Like they’re gonna look at your TikTok. Wow. This person knows what they’re talking about. They have 5,000 followers, like that’s impressive to them and you see how the pitch is different. It’s not, Hey, let me talk about your Philly cheese steak.
Shop on my TikTok for 500 bucks. It’s like, no, like, let me, let me help you grow your presence. Right? So it’s, it’s a, it’s a completely different pitch.
Yeah, I’m thinking of all kinds of things now that we could do. And then the other thing is that just from the effort perspective, because I want to hand, you’re like, oh, it’d be so easy right now. If someone can just go on from boise.com and say sponsor, and they can just buy it. Right. And that’s so easy, But then the other side that
Could be so easy is what if, instead of having to work with, you know, 50 sponsors for the year, you could work with three because, you know, instead of paying four or $500, they’re paying, you know, $20,000 or something to do this big package. So
It’s a complete reframing of how you’re spending your time. and then you get back to focusing on content, right? Because it’s like, okay, I have these three sponsors locked in, they’ve got it all covered. And I’m not scrambling every week to find somebody else.
It’s so funny because like, and I know, you know, it’s nice to be able to have them go on your website because they can use ConvertKit commerce clearly. But, but but I get it, I get it. But, it’s funny. I posted on Twitter recently. It’s pure. Like I knew this was going to like elicit a bunch of different opinions.
I said 1 million sponsorship today, or $10,000 sponsorship every month for the next 10 years. That was, that was it. I was like, what do you, what would you want? And it was so interesting because like, just like the points that you were bringing up. a lot of P a lot of people went down this rabbit hole of like, oh, inflation and taxes on them.
So I’m like, come on, you’re missing that. You’re missing the point here. And it’s like, what you were saying is that like how much easier it is? Is it til just like sell one brand sponsor for like a long-term engagement, and, you know, illustrate the value of telling them, Hey, like if I continue to emphasize and talk about.
That I’m I love this product. I’m using it all the time. Cause like, look at any marketing literature, any studies that have been done around this, like, you know, the, the movie studios did so much research, you know, in the 1930s all around, you know, they have, they’ve invented a name for it. It’s the marketing rule of seven.
It takes people seven times hearing about a movie to actually go and get their butts in the seats. Right? So it’s the same conversation that you have with brands. It’s like these one-off like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, whatever, you know, collaborations that you want to do. It’s like, it’s not going to drive the needle for you.
Like, it’s going to take people, hearing me talking about this product over and over. Maybe talking about different features and benefits of the product each time, you know, you can say. Like we can meet once a quarter and reevaluate, see how the last post performed, you know, I’ll look at my audience, like the comments that people left and they said, oh, I wish you would have like, talked more about this aspect of the product or this aspect of the service use that as your next content, you know, idea.
Right. You tell the brand like, Hey, you know, people were saying this like, and then, oh, maybe it’s a seasonal promotion now. So again, like it’s, it’s all about a conversation and, and, and educate not enough creators want to do the work to educate the brand. That’s what it comes down to is like they, oh, it’s like, just pay me, like, I’ll talk, give me the creative brief.
Like, I’ll just talk about it. Right. But it’s like, I don’t the creators quite understand how much money you can make if you just even act like, even a little bit interested in what they’re trying to, you know, what their business objectives are. And like your, your perspective will change entirely.
Well, that’s interesting. I could like switching hats and from like the person running the side project from Boise to the person running ConvertKit who has lots of brand objectives and you know, all of that, right. If, if a creator, if we did a sponsored deal with a creator and then they came back and said, here’s how, how it wins, how we performed against your goals.
And here’s all the feedback. Here’s like the word on the street of what everyone was saying. They’re like, oh, I was thinking about using ConvertKit ones, but, then I decided it’s too much work to switch from MailChimp. So I never did it again.
Just as an example, if so, if the creator comes back and says like, Hey, we did all of this stuff and I learned these 10 things about your market from doing it.
We would be like, this is amazing. Let’s work with You more. Right. You know, even if maybe the ROI wasn’t quite where we wanted it. You know, in our first initial forecast or whatever, if they come back with market insights and real feedback, then it’s like, oh, great. Let’s tweak these things and go out into the market again with another campaign.
There we go like, this is someone of a multimillion dollar company validating any creators, listening to them. I’m validating every, I’m not just making stuff up here. This is someone who, who just green-lighted. So if you’ve ever worked with ConvertKit, you better go like make up a case study real quick.
So, but honestly, like I have an entire week in my course to devoted to this topic of case studies, testimonials putting, you know, putting together post-campaign wrap reports. I have never understood like most creators. I, I joke that I say a lot of creators fire themselves from their nine to five job every single month.
It’s like they work with the brand and then they literally never talked to them again. It’s like, do you have any idea how much easier it is to convince a brand that you just worked with, that you just did this amazing partnership with to hire you again? It’s like, no, now you’re back out there, like hustling again, like, oh, and he wants fair change.
Like anyone want to hire me? It’s like, dude, like, like literally more than 50%, probably 60% now of all of the deals that my wife and I are doing every single month now are from brands agencies that we establish these amazing relationships with. I remember how we were talking about. You know, like the height of our influence was like seven years ago when we were like having our babies and all this stuff.
Right. Like we are literally at the Navy or like, if I look at like, you know, like at the very lowest point of like our quote unquote influence, and yet we were making the most amount of money that we’ve made. Like we made $700,000 last year. Like, I I’m very transparent about it. I share it all all the time.
And so it’s just like, it’s continued to go up. And yet our viewership and influence is at its lowest. And it’s because it’s not about the amount of views we’re getting. It’s not about the likes. It’s about we’ve illustrated to the brand. When you come work with April and Justin, you will get an amazing product.
We will be on time. We will hit every talking point and we will do it with, you know, we will be completely flexible. Anything that comes up, even if it’s not in the contract, we’re going to make you your brand, your client happy we’re going to make, get it done. And so like, again, it’s not, it’s not, it’s not all about the metrics.
Oftentimes it’s about how you have illustrated to a brand that like, when you say you’re going to do something or you do it.
Yeah, that’s good. Is there an example that comes to mind of, either a sponsorship or something for one of your own brands or somebody placed the agency where maybe there were initial goals, right. For.
Click through rate and, you know, sales driven and you, that, that didn’t hit and the brand was disappointed, but the way that the whole rest of the package was handled or the, or the way that you handled the Follow Up meant that there were no follow on deals.
Cause I think most creators would be like, oh, we thought we could hit this. We didn’t get it. We sold 10 tickets to the ballet when we thought we could sell 50, you know? And then they’re like, ah, I can’t even talk to that brand again.
So, I mean, I actually am. I’m just putting the finishing touches on a, on the edit to a new video, it’s called five sponsorships, I regret. and I share stories of five different stories. we’ve done literally hundreds of, of sponsorships over the years now at this point. So I have an unlimited pool of stories to pull from.
But, like one great example is when you work with agencies, like, when something goes wrong, most creators are horrified, they’re embarrassed. They don’t hit the guaranteed amount of views. you know, something like bad happens. and most creators responses to that are to put their head in the sand and like never want to talk to that person again.
And so, for. we were, we got asked to be part of a full production shoot. This was something where it was like a major retail store and they were going to fly our entire family out, to the east coast to do like a, you know, a partnership. and this was all very last minute. The assets had to be done, you know, posted by a certain date.
So everything was happening in parallel. We were negotiating the terms of the agreement. We were sending concepts to the bridge, to the agency who could share with the brand for vision or for feedback and all that stuff. and so like just so many things, how you’re looking at airfare, you know, all this stuff.
Right. and, what ended up happening? I kept asking, can you give me the finalized contract? I mean the finalized contract. So they finally sent it the coordinator from the agency. and we sent back red lines. We said, Hey, you know, th the amount of deliverables that you are asking for is not what we agreed to over email.
And so we red line that struck that from the agreement, and then they just signed that version of the agreement. And so we were like, okay, we’re good. You know, so we’re literally fast forward. We’re literally on the tarmac we’re on, in the airplane about to fly off that we get a frantic call, frantic emails from the director, basically of the agency saying, oh my God, we’re horrified.
We should not have struck those things from the, we should not have agreed to those things that you struck from the deliverables. This was immune miscommunication. Our coordinator should not have signed it. and so like what they were asking for should have cost way more money. Like, you know, like it should have been, you know, they wanted more posts in different platforms and all that stuff.
And like, again, it was like a misalignment of the, of the expectations. And so most creators at that, like, okay, first of all, what are you gonna do? We’re on the fricking airplane about to like boat travel, cross country to this thing. But it’s like, We could have easily been just super pissed, right? Like, oh, this is how dare they, like, you know, they’re trying to screw us, like pull one over on us.
And our perspective is always like, let’s come at it from a, like how can we make this agency win? Even though it was no fault of our own, like clearly they screwed up. And so essentially what we did is we agreed to, you know, Compromised basically where we changed stuff out around a little bit, pulled stuff out, but basically it was like, how can we make your client happy?
So this was an agency. Remember who represents a lot of other brands? How can we make your client happy? Because at the end of the day, that’s what we care about. And so that’s what we ultimately did. We made their client happy, we made it all happen. And then surprise, surprise that agencies brought us a bunch more business after that.
And so we turned this could, it could have been this chaotic situation where it was like, they completely screwed us. And like, we were mad about it too. Like, honestly, like at the end of the day, it’s not about this. I need a lot of creators here that it’s not just about this, especially when you’re working with an agency, it’s not just about this one deal.
It’s about all of the other opportunities that could come down the line, because what we prove in that one moment, we prove to them that no matter what comes up, no matter what client issue comes up, we got their backs, this agency. And we w within reason, obviously, right? Like they can’t ask for the world, but like, you know, we will make it happen.
Even if it’s like, you know, letter of the law. Yeah. We can take you to court. You signed the agreement, but that that’s not the point. And so was just like, it, it, it can be a little bit difficult to have that perspective. I understand when some agencies and brands can be demanding, but it’s just like, it’s so important to have this longer term mindset.
If you want to have a long-term sustainable career as a creator,
Yeah. Oh, that’s really important. And I think a couple of things in there, one is really knowing. What do they care about? Long-term serving them, right. Keeping them happy. Cause they’re going to bring lots of more deals. And because it’s just something it’s the right thing to do in the sense that like you were morally obligated to do that.
You weren’t. but it’s the right thing to do in the long-term service of your business. I remember hearing a story. I don’t know where I read this maybe in a blog or something someone was talking about early in their legal career, they worked on this massive deal. Like it was tens of millions of dollars related to this deal.
You know, they’re one of the associate lawyers like putting the finishing touches on it. and they made a mistake and sent out the contracts now got signed and they caught this mistake. And it was one of those things where they’re like, oh no, like it was a material that were like a couple million dollars different from what.
The agreed upon deal was. And they had sent it out in this other way and their client was, you know, basically screwed. So they’re like, ah, what do I do? What do I do? And they find that, okay, I have to own up to this and they go and talk to their client. It’s like, we signed the wrong thing. That’s totally on me.
What do we do? And the client just goes, oh, no big deal. He calls him and goes, Hey, we made this mistake off by 2 million bucks. Can we, you know, is it cool if we send over a new one, we signed it all to the original thing that we all expected to know. They’re like, yeah, totally. Because everyone’s working together for, so, you know, like there was nothing of like, oh, I’ve got them, you know, like we just made an extra 2 million on this deal or, or something else, even though it’s huge amounts of money, everyone was just like yeah, we’ve worked together for years.
We’re going to work together for years. And so we’ll notify that agreement, send over the new one and move on. and if you just have that approach of like do right by everyone. BHL think about their longterm goals, then there’s so much good stuff. That’ll come.
I have a good book recommendation. If anyone’s interested in going deeper on the subject, it’s called negotiation genius by Deepak Malhotra. And he’s like a, I think a Harvard business school professor or something. but it’s like really interesting because like, to that point, there’s so many different strategies that you can employ no matter what, like situation you’re in with the negotiation.
I I’ve like done so much research about this. Cause I want to like really make my course, the course all about sponsored negotiations. And, there’s this, this concept that wake, when you are, let’s say you’re in a job, like a salary negotiation for a full-time job or something. And the employer basically says, Hey, we’re going to offer you the, the rate, but I’m just going to tell you right now, like we cannot, I mean, we’re going to offer you the job, but I’m just gonna tell you right now, like we cannot.
You know, we offer everyone this entry level salary entry-level salary, you know, we can’t negotiate, yada yada, yada the example that you shared in the book was that basically you have no leverage at that point. Like, you want the job, you don’t have any like, alternatives, right? So it’s like, what are you going to do?
You can’t like play tougher, whatever. Right. And so it’s just like one tactic is just honesty, right? It’s like, Hey, I want to help you understand, like, I’m super excited about this opportunity. Here’s the transformative change that I think I can bring to your team. I believe that within one year I can, you know, hit you hit yada, yada, yada.
I understand that, you know, you’re not able to like increase the compensation. Here’s why it would mean a lot to me if we were to get to this point, you know, in 10,000 more or whatever. but I understand like, you know, I understand the constraints you’re under with HR and all that stuff. And so. Th, this was an example from one of his students in the book and sure enough, the partner at the law firm or wherever went back, talked to the partners and basically said, you know, we were going to make a one-time exception for you and we’re going to like, meet your salary or whatever.
Right. And so it’s just like, when, like you have nothing to lose when you have no leverage. Right. So it’s just like, there’s all these things that, that you can do. And I just love that book for that reason is because a lot of people think that it’s like, oh, let’s just like split the difference. I’m going to tell them 2000, because I really want 1000.
And it’s like, you know, they’re going to give me 1500. Right. So it’s just like, there’s so it’s so much more complicated than that. And there’s just all these psychological things that you need to think about when you’re, when you’re negotiating with, with partners.
Yep. I like that. Okay. So we’ll definitely subscribe to your newsletter to check in on that more. speaking of your newsletter, you did this great Twitter thread, all of what, two weeks ago, something like that of hitting 3000 subscribers.
And I want to dive into how you grew the newsletter, and all of that, because you have these different worlds Write of, you know, really large YouTube audiences on different topics. and then now going very niche with a newsletter about sponsorships, about like, running a creator business. what were the things, you know, as you drew, as you grew in the last 21 months, what were the things that had the biggest impact on growth for the
Yeah. So, I mean, you know, surprise, surprise talking about doubling down. like before I, when I first started the newsletter, I had like a zillion different lead magnets. It was like a pricing checklist and like a glossary on influencer marketing terminology and like, you know, money management tips and like all this stuff.
Cause that’s what I thought I needed to do. Right. you know, for any, you know, introductory person, who’s kind of getting into this space, growing a newsletter, that’s like the wisdom, right. It’s like, oh, give them some sort of compelling downloadable PDF that they’ll make them want to sign up. Right. And, as I, growth was, was pretty stagnant for a while.
It was just like very slow. It was like every time I would, you know, do YouTube video, I would talk about it. I’ll get click the description box, you know, this type of thing. and, so it was just, you know, I was getting onesy twosies here and there. It was like not, not a meaningful amount of people. but then I started.
Like realizing I was looking at my inbox, like with my wife and I, and we just get so much inbound opportunities, as well as stuff through the agency, my agency that I was just like, we just cannot do it all. And also there’s lots of opportunities that are just like, at a lower threshold of like something that we wouldn’t do for, you know, a couple hundred bucks or whatever.
But like a couple hundred bucks is like meaningful to a lot of people. Right. especially people who are at the outset of their journey. Right. And so it was just like, what if I just like. took these links, these application links, or if I emailed them back and be like, Hey, we’re not interested, but like, are, do you want to like connect with other creators?
Got kind of the same thing I was doing with the agency. Right. Almost, and basically say, Hey, like I’ll include these in my newsletter. And so I started including these as like a little bonus section in the newsletter of like, Hey, these are like actual brand deals you can get. And people just like, went crazy.
They were just like, what? Like you’re sending me brand deals now. Like this is insane. And so, that was, I just made a hard pivot and I was just like, I’m not going to do any lead magnets. I’m not going to do anything. I’m just going to send you spawn sponsorships. Right. And so it was. Ever since I did that, it was like very obvious.
It’s like, what you like really? You don’t want to sign up for my newsletter where I’m like sending you paid sponsorship opportunities. Okay. To find by me, but like, you’re going to want a sponsor. So it’s like, it’s almost like a, like take it or leave it type of thing. Right. And so I have so people all the time say to me, like, I can’t, I cannot believe this is free.
In fact, I just got off a, a live debate that I did with Jay Klaus and Jordan Godbee, about this very topic free versus paid newsletters. I, and we were debating this like very topic is like, you know, people are saying, telling me, like, you should be charging for this. Or like may have a good version of it.
That’s paid or like, whatever. So it’s like, it’s very valuable stuff. and like, that was really the inflection point is I went from, again, like the I’ll make it, make all these ways to make money as a creator, to like no brand deals. I miss any brand deals.
Yeah. So, I mean, the content makes such a difference of narrowing in, and you really do have to experiment, right? Like if we were in the place, if you jumped into brand deals, as the first thing you were sending out, you might end this moment, be like, okay, that worked to get this level of growth. I wonder if I do a free checklist on whatever random thing, you know, I wonder if that would work.
So you happened to get them in the order, you know, of like thing that didn’t work thing. That didn’t work thing that did.
So I, I have to that point, I have a grand master plan, which is that, I’m a big fan of, of disruption in the sense of like what everyone else is charging for, I’m going to give away for free. So I’ve used that model with the newsletter. I’ve used that just with like free advice in the early days when I was trying to build my credibility, I was helping people with DMS.
I was dropped jumping on zoom calls to help them with negotiations. Like I was going, it was, that was like in the early stages of like proving my credibility and my expertise to people who didn’t know me from April Justin TV. Right. Cause like literally 99% of the people on my newsletter have no idea that like, you know, or like didn’t find me from that.
Right. and so currently I have, I have, I’ve actually have never talked about this ever publicly, but, so you’re, this is an exclusive and exclusive look,
Love it. It’ll be all over the headlines.
Yes, exactly. Which is that, I have. Pricing calculator that I have included with my course. and this is not something I had initially by the way.
But like people kept asking, like, I just don’t get it, you know, all this stuff. And so I was like, okay, let me create a baseline here. and so it’s like, it’s become quite sophisticated. So it’s just like, there’s, you know, the goal types that we talked about, conversion and brand awareness and content repurposing and all this stuff.
And then there’s like the different usage rights and exclusivity and all these like flags and factors that should address it. And so, like, that’s included as part of my course right now, but at some point, I don’t know when yet I am going to make that calculator free and there’s all these platforms and all these things that charge money for like, you know, you know, for getting access to calculators and all this stuff, and I’m gonna make it for free.
And so it’s going to be lead-generation for me. Like that’s the plan is like, Hey, like I’m gonna, you want to like, figure out how much to charge for a sponsorship. Here’s my calculator. And if you really want to like, understand like how to charge way more, take my courses or, you know, take, you know, hire me for consulting or something like that.
So that’s like, like, I’m going to take that principle with everything I do. I’m going to just make it free. I’m going to like, and then if you want like heightened, you know, help with this, then yeah. Take, take my other stuff. So again, like part of this comes from the fact that it’s not my only revenue stream.
Like we go back to this whole idea of diversification, like my wife and I have a very robust business doing this ourselves. Right. And so it’s like, I, I view this creator wizard project, very much kind of like a skunkworks or it’s just like, it’s become this bigger thing. But like in the beginning, I w. You know, didn’t think of it as like, oh, I need to like make money from this.
Like it, like, this is, this could become something, but like a great example is like I hired a content strategists, in a year and a half ago. And I said, your task is, make me known as the sponsorship guy on social media. So this is going to be 10 tweets a day, you know, five Instagram posts a day. I’m going to be doing my YouTube video on it.
So I was just like full court press on content. I’m going to pay you, you know, lots of money. You know, it was like a good amount of a thousands every month. Like helped me with all this stuff. And I was not, I didn’t have courses. I didn’t have any way to monetize it. And yet I was like all this money going out of my pocket.
And so to your point, like the newsletter, I pay someone 2,500 bucks around to help me with the newsletter every month. And I’m not, yeah. Now I’m monetizing it on the backend with courses and consulting and stuff like that. But like, these are all, it’s a freelance free newsletter, right? So you could easily look at that as a, as a creator.
It’s like, oh, I’m losing all this money. But like, if you have a larger strategy in place behind why you’re doing what you’re doing and you have conducted. of like knowing where the business is going to be. I’ll do that. I’ll make that I’ll make that risk. Like I’ll make that investment all day long.
I love that. I think that like the master plan in the longterm of ideas, Yeah, here’s how we’re going to win or whatever else. always think back to Elon, Musk’s like, I can just call it as a master plan for Tesla, you know, basically like, we’re gonna make a super expensive car to like figure out the tech.
Only a few people can buy it, but like it’s small production. We can figure out the tech that we’re going to mass produce this. Then we’re gonna make a really cheap one. And then, you know, like often your business plan can be, I don’t know what his is in that case, like 200 words, 150, you know, it doesn’t have to be a lot.
And so if you break it down, so like, okay, I’m going to take this thing that everyone else is charging for. I’m gonna give it away for free and I’m gonna grow the newsletter to this. And then I’m going to monetize it in this way. And like, just kind of write that out and you can be wrong. That’s that’s totally fine.
Right. We see the master plans where someone’s like, wow, that was perfectly executed. And they were right, it’s better to at least write something down and. report back on it or, or, you know, test your hypothesis. I was wrong about that part, but you know, the other steps were all correct. So I love that, that you have that mapped out.
And it’s, it’s even broader than that, which I haven’t even talked about, which is like, those of you who are watching on YouTube, but like I have this little rectangle black rectangle behind my shoulder here. And it is, it’s an led ticker where I could put like custom messages on it and stuff. And so I have created this new mission for myself that I’m going to be helping creators big and small land, a million sponsorships by 2032.
So in 10 years, and this box is going to be my McDonald’s hamburger counter, where it’s going to be a running total of all of the sponsorships that I’ve helped facilitate. And so now all of a sudden this is a massive north star for me to help figure out my business, right. Because now.
Like when I think about the products in the court, like this can’t just be me.
I can’t like help facilitate a million sponsorships. So this means training, new sponsorship coaches. This means different types of products to help, you know, creators at different stages of their, of their creator journey. this means, you know, the other very interesting thing is, is I made it very intentionally a million sponsorships, not I’m going to help a million creators because if I want to help a million creators, I would make my course 50 bucks probably.
Right. But it’s much more interesting to me to help one creator get a hundred sponsorships because that is how you create a sustainable career. And so it’s just like, it’s very intentional, your words matter. And the mission really matters because it informs everything about your business.
I love that.
If someone is one of those creators who’s like, “Okay, sign me up. I, want to be a part of that. Help me get a hundred sponsorships,” where should people go to subscribe to your newsletter, follow you on Twitter, all of those things, and get your content?
There will be a dedicated landing page for this challenge, the Million Sponsorship Challenge. I can’t share it yet because I don’t yet have it. The best way to stay updated on everything I’m working on is to join my newsletter. It’s CreatorWizard.com/join.
If you want to get sponsorships and you want to stay up to date with all my content I’m pretty much @CreatorWizard everywhere on social media, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, et cetera. I’m very online on Twitter, too.
So, if that’s your thing, definitely join me there, but yeah, man, this has been a blast.
I really appreciate you having me. I’m a big fan. This is definitely a fanboy moment to be on the podcast. So I appreciate everything.
Honestly, you did not pay me to say this and maybe you want to pay me afterwards, but ConvertKit had a very profound impact on this next chapter of my life and my business, and has given me a lot of purpose and excitement around owning my audience.
I’m no longer renting an audience on these platforms. Every time I want to talk to these people who have said they want to hear from me, I can do that.
Even 10 years into it, that’s a profound shift in how we, my wife and I, have thought about our business on social media.
So, thank you, man.
Well, thank you. That’s fantastic. I love seeing the way that you use every aspect of ConvertKit. You’ve got a bunch of different landing pages. A lot of your projects are ConvertKit landing pages that are pretty heavily customized in the end design and all that, but I’m like, “Oh, I recognize that theme.”
The other thing that I think is awesome, and why people should follow you on Twitter in addition to all the brand stuff, is the level of transparency that you have.
For example, your Twitter thread pinned on your Twitter page, is that thread about passing 3000 creators on your newsletter, right? It’s screenshots, and breaking it down, and “I tried this technique and here’s what works,” and all of that.
So, keep it up. The “Work in public” stuff is fantastic.
I appreciate that so much, man.
Sounds good. We’ll leave it there.
Justin, I’ll catch you later.
Yeah, it sounds good, man.