Uncategorized Archives - Tega Diegbe
Open post

How I Systemised My Content Creation

Content Content Content.

It seems as though EVERYONE and their cat is talking about content. When do I create it? How long does it have to be? What “tone” should I write in? What makes good content? Should it be written, audio or video? And on the questions go till you decide there is no point in doing anything because you can’t get a straight actionable answer when you ask those questions. This was way before I knew about systemising my content creation….

How do I know?

I know because that is exactly what I went through when I wanted to start creating content to highlight the skills and “expertise” I have picked up in my business owner journey thus far.

In this blogpost, I am going to walk you through how my team and I create content for my presence online. One thing that I really struggled with was “what happens AFTER the content is created?” You see, when creating content, depending on what you want to achieve, the creation is only half the battle because after you have created it, you have to figure out how to get it in front of people that will find use from it.

I talk about how we create and how we do light promotion of the content to get people reading and interacting with the content. So, without further ado, let’s get to it…

For me, when it comes to creating content, I view it as creating something that either educates, informs or entertains people. As I mentioned at the start of this blog post, there was a time when creating content was quite the struggle for me (which I’ll be talking about more later on). 

I use the term “creating content” loosely because creating content has become a term primarily used to describe people on YouTube that create videos and do brand deals and they are primarily doing this to become an “influencer.”

I'm not an influencer

Due to the way I am set up, it makes more sense for my content to fall in the aisles of educating and informing with a generous helping of entertainment to encourage consumption and implementation of the points the particular content piece is talking about. 

For me, when it comes to creating content, I look at content in the micro. This can mean a blog post, podcast, or video to show someone or a group of people how to do something. 

For business, especially business today, creating content is the foundation that a lot of first time entrepreneurs build upon. You have to write blog posts, you have to then promote those blog posts so that people can see or read what you’re talking about, and see if it interests them. 

My Battle with Content

You might say that I’m a little bit ashamed to admit this but for the longest time, I would not create any content. This is something that I’ve honestly struggled with.

When I’d try creating written content like blog posts or articles, I would turn on my computer, open Microsoft Word or Google Doc, and I would sit there, staring at the screen. It still happens to me now, but not as often anymore.

The reason it doesn’t happen as often anymore is because I’ve systemised the way that I create content and also leveraged a virtual team member (but this isn’t the point I’m trying to make at the moment).

The point is, for me personally, whenever it comes to creating content, I’ve always, always struggled.

I struggled because I was never sure what to post, when to post, how to post, or even something as simple as how long the copy should be. That’s my confession. Outside of an academic setting, I’ve never been comfortable just creating content for the sake of educating and informing people. 

My Battle with Content

But if you look at my website now, you would not know this because there are over 10 blog posts. And those blog posts are pretty in depth, talking about things that interest me and things that I’ve done. You can read about the things that I’ve tried and the results that I’ve got from trying those things. 

The truth is, I was a little bit scared of creating content and that fear stemmed from a whole raft of different reasons. 

What should I say? 

Who’s gonna read this? 

How do I make sure the person I’m writing it for gets to see it? 

How long does it have to be? 

Why should anybody listen to me? 

After all, I haven’t made a million pounds or dollars, I don’t have a Ferrari, I don’t have a private jet. So why should anybody listen to me? 

Those are the fears that I had. And it wasn’t until someone gave me a chance in holding my first guest expert session that I realised that I really had to get over myself. That meant I had to put aside the fears that I had about the content and just create it. 

To answer the question of who was going to read this, I decided that I want to create content for my past self. 

And in terms of not knowing what to write about, I worked my way around that as well. 

Anytime I’ve ever had a roadblock around a subject matter that I had no theoretical knowledge of, I figured a good way for me to get around that would just be to show myself doing the thing that I was trying to talk about. 

If you look on my website, you’ll see that I wrote some blog posts on how I made $2,000 while running a 5-day challenge. I also wrote a blog post on how to start a podcast, and another on how to hire virtual team members. 

All of those spawned from this idea of creating content for past me, i.e Tega 6 to 12 months ago. That gave me the freedom to explore the things I wanted to explore and actually create something that would be useful to somebody who wrote to me 6 to 12 months ago, struggling with that particular thing I’m writing about. 

Getting Over The Black Screen of Doom

Once I decided I had to get over myself and figured out the steps I would take, the next thing that I had to navigate personally was the fact that I don’t like starting with a blank screen. 

That realisation meant that I would have to come up with a way of creating written content which did not have me starting with a blank screen. Which ultimately led to what I am showing/talking about in this blog post. 

Getting Over The Black Screen of Doom

Once I got over some of my hurdles and accepted the fact that I’ll be creating simple, uncomplicated content for Tega from 6 to 12 months ago, what I needed next was leverage. This leverage should allow me to create content in a way that works for me, and allows it to be created consistently and relatively quickly. 

So the first thing I had to do was hire a content writer. That content writer was Gabbie, and we still work together and we actually just celebrated her 1 year anniversary of working with me. 

What she does is she takes the assets that I create, churns it through a machine that we both collaborated on, and then turns that one asset into another form of content, which inevitably ends up being the blog post (which you’re reading at this very moment).

Second part was after Gabbie was hired, she and I came up with a system for consistently creating the blogs to post on my website.

Now the beauty of this system that we’ve come up with is that should we desire, we can create more types of content from that ONE asset. Currently we’re just creating blog posts, but we can also create other things like short form, easy-to-consume content that drives people to the blog post as a way of promoting the blog post. 

However the current iteration of the system is primarily for blog posts. 

Once we had the idea for the system in place, then we had to build the machine, which I have rather crudely dubbed “The Repurpose engine.” 

The Repurpose Engine

The repurpose engine is relatively straightforward in the sense that we know what we have to create. What we then have to do is figure out a way to create this thing in a way that works for me and the entire team. 

Let me talk you through the repurpose engine.

The Repurpose Engine

Above is the repurpose engine that the team and I designed. The key thing that we have to do is create blog posts or “mega” blog posts as we’ve affectionately come to call them, because these things range in length from 2,500 words all the way up to 5,000 words. 

Because of the way I work and because of the fact that I tend to struggle with the black screen of doom, I had to think of a way for me to actually create the assets and then have the leverage point in place. The goal was to have the asset used by me or somebody else, in this case Gabbie, to create the mega blog. 

To make the process of creating the mega blog much faster, I usually record a video, strip out the audio, and upload it to a transcription service called Otter. This transcription is then converted into a blog post. 

Every single one of my blog posts on the website started out as a video. The mentality that I took with the video is that I was doing a guest expert session, whether actual or “pretend.” This means that I’d have to plan the video and make sure that everything flows and makes sense. 

The reason this is called the repurpose engine is because from the video, audio, or blog post, we can then proceed to create audiograms, image quotes, social media posts, blurbs and so much more. 

So in summary, I was able to create leverage through three things:

  1. Hire Gabbie
  2. Come up with a system for consistently creating mega blog posts
  3. Use the repurpose engine

The point of the repurpose engine is actually twofold.

The Point of the Repurpose Engine

So what is the point of all this? 

The first is to distribute the posts or the mega blog posts that we create. This creates a sort of omnipresence by posting on multiple platforms in various types of media. 

At the moment, we’re posting only on Facebook. That way, we can actually refine our processes and get clear on what we’re doing before we can roll it out. 

As you can see from the repurpose engine, all the content we put out on multiple platforms stems from one point. In my case, that point is the videos I record. Recording the video is just something that works for me but if you feel that you are a good talker and you just want to do audio, you can definitely do audio. 

Just bear in mind that creating audio (as opposed to video) will affect what you can do in terms of repurposing. Basically, you limit yourself in terms of what you can create if your asset is just an audio file.

To recap how this repurpose engine works, we are basically reverse engineering. You start from that one strong point that works for you, and then you break that down so that it’s sequential in what you can do until you arrive at the point where you can create your ultimate end goal. In our case, that ultimate end goal is the mega blog posts. 

To get to the mega blog posts, we need to have a mechanism and our mechanism just happens to be Otter. Otter makes it easy to take this original asset and turn it into the ultimate thing that we are trying to create through transcriptions. 

Tools We Use for Creating and Repurposing Content

There are a few tools that we use to help us identify and organise our repurposed content.

The first one was the Content Creators Planner. This was a tool that appeared to me on a  Facebook ad one day when I was scrolling Facebook. I like it because it allows me to plan my content from the macro view before I have to zoom into the micro view and figure out the things that actually need to be created. 

Then I’ve mentioned Otter, which is a transcription service that we use, where we upload the audio files from the videos that we record. We then take the transcript of those audios and use it to create the mega blog post. 

Google Docs is where we end up writing the article so that everybody on the team can review and make suggestions for changes. We can also see the complete blog post before it goes on the website. 

For basic SEO optimisation of the blog post, we use Yoast SEO. We don’t use advanced SEO methods because this kind of goes back to where I talked about no fancy gimmicks. We don’t do keyword research for articles but we just wanted to optimise enough so that Google knows what the blog post is about. This allows me to come out in the right searches. 

We record the videos using Streamyard which is one of these new video tools that popped up in the last year or two as streaming has grown in popularity. 

And then the final tool that we use is Canva. If you noticed in my blog posts, you’ll see that we have all these different images within the blog post to just break things up. Those images are created in Canva. The way it works is that we have these assets that we upload to Canva to then work with. 

The great thing about Canva is that it’s very easy to use and you don’t need to learn Photoshop. 

Focusing on Improvement

At the end of the day, the question that we have to ask is how can we make this better? 

In the current version of this repurpose engine, the goal is to create the mega blog post and then have it go out to all the different platforms. 

Now in the second version, which is something that we are going to be working on, we will focus on amplifying the blog posts. In simple terms, it means running paid traffic to the blog posts so that we can build a brand off of the hard work that we’ve done in creating these pieces of content. 

Because if you think about it, what good is creating the blog post if nobody sees it?

We actually already have a sort of amplification engine already since we’re posting to Facebook. And what we can do with this is we can increase the number of places that we post to or we can put money behind it to make sure it reaches more people on these platforms. 

At the moment, organic reach on Facebook is really bad. So it only makes sense that the next step is to amplify the work that we’re doing right now

Currently, this is what the blurb looks like. It’s basically a simple post about what the blog post on the website is about, followed by a call to action which sends them to the website.

Facebook Blurb

The power of what I have just shown/explained to you, is now responsible for winning me 2 clients. 

I was talking to a friend about this and how we use the ONE asset to create several bits of content to go on other platforms and drive traffic to my website, and I showed him an example, and he asked “how do I pay you to do that for me?”

The second client we got is actually someone like me who also strigged with the Black Screen of Doom and they had tried to solve this issue themselves SEVEN times but to no avail. I showed them what we do and they also offered to pay me/the team to handle it for them.

The one area where I am going to be shifting my focus over the next few months is to AMPLIFY the results we are getting. With this first iteration of the production and promotion, I am averaging 200 visits to my website every month. Where this is limited is that it is only people who KNOW me due to my privacy setting on Facebook (where we primarily promote). To expand that reach, I am researching how to run low budget campaigns to make the numbers “better”.

Our organic posts are currently driving traffic to the website. And because we have our tracking pixels installed, we have data being gathered to help us when we start doing paid traffic. 

So, to wrap this up and drive the point home…

  1. Figure out where your strength lies when it comes to content creation. Are you good on video, are you a talker or are you a writer?
  2. Plan the content you want to create.
  3. Use your strength. For me it was recording real or “pretend” guest expert sessions.
  4. Repurpose for the platform you are going to be sharing to. For example take the audio from a video and turn it into a podcastv(provided it makes sense).
  5. Promote the main piece of content.

And that ladies and gentlepeeps is how my team and I have systemised our content production and to a VERY basic level our content promotion. Go forth and create all your content with relative ease.

Open post

Tasks That You Can Delegate to Your Virtual Team Members

After reading Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek and Mike Michalowicz’ Clockwork, I became a  believer in the power of delegation. I admit I am nowhere near an expert and I still have much to learn, but from my own research and experience, I have found  that there are a myriad of tasks that you can delegate to your virtual team members, and with easier access to technology and the gig economy the possibilities are almost endless.

Unlike all the other articles you have probably seen online that give a list of these certain tasks, I want to be a little contrarian and talk about my personal experiences with delegating tasks to a virtual team and share  generally what I think about delegation instead. 

I’m not saying that lists are a bad thing and that everyone else is doing it wrong, but what I’m saying is that I figured that it would be better for you to understand the driving factors and the core foundations so that you can learn to delegate effectively on your own terms. 

If you remember the old tale of giving the man the fish or teaching him to fish, this is along the same lines. If you understand the idea of delegation, you will stop looking to posts and listicles on tasks you can hand over to a virtual team.

YOUR FIRST HURDLE

In the online world, you have literally thousands of virtual team members to choose from who possess different skill sets to meet the specific needs of your business. 

So the challenge isn’t really about deciding WHAT to delegate, but in my case, it was more about deciding HOW to delegate. 

Your First Hurdle

When my business reached the point wherein I had to outsource more aspects of my business, I needed to learn how to delegate, and a hurdle that I had to overcome was learning how to relinquish control. 

And it’s been a goal of mine to delegate more of the tasks effectively where I let the team know what needs to happen, and through creating proper documentation, they can just get on with the task with minimum to no supervision from me.

I also needed to know how to draw the line between knowing what to delegate and knowing what not to delegate. I realised that I shouldn’t be too rigid with  control which could result in not giving my team opportunities to get better at their craft. I have had to learn to trust my team to learn on the job, and yes, maybe even make mistakes along the way. 

But before we get into the foundations, let’s cover some other points that you may be curious to know as well.

SHOULD YOU DELEGATE TASKS YOU ENJOY? 

The beauty about delegation is that because every business is different, there is no set rule as to what you should delegate.

Deciding whether you want to delegate the tasks that you enjoy is really a matter of personal preference, and this will depend on where you stand among these 3 types of people:

  1. People who want to outsource everything in their business
  2. People who want to outsource only the things that they’re not good at
  3. People who want to outsource the things they don’t enjoy so that they can personally do the things they enjoy, even if some of these tasks are time consuming

This means that deciding how much you should delegate is completely up to YOU. I believe that outsourcing and delegation give people the freedom to decide what type of business model they want to run and how involved they want to be.

Should you delegate tasks you enjoy?

In other words, if you want to be the business owner that’s always doing stuff, you get people to do the things that you’re not good at and you keep doing the things that you enjoy doing. If you want to build a business that works for you, then you find and hire people to run the business for you, and all you have to do is give your strategic input and guidance and then they go and do everything. 

So, there is no straight yes or no answer to this. People are different and people have different motivations and different drivers as to why they choose to outsource, delegate, and start their business in the first place. 

In my case, there are times when I don’t want to do anything at all and I let the team do everything for me. Other times, there are certain things that I want to do myself so I let the team do the things that I don’t want to do and I go and do the things that I want to do. 

IS THERE SUCH A THING AS TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE DELEGATION?

This may be something that you’re asking yourself as well. 

Is it wrong to delegate E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G?

Is it wrong to delegate just one thing while you handle 90% of the business yourself?

Well, knowing the answer to this is really going to depend, and there are a few variables to take into consideration. 

The first variable is the human element of the person who has to delegate. In my other blog post where I talk about My Experiences in Managing a Virtual Team, I mentioned that I am a bit of a  control freak. 

This vice of mine is causing a little bit of an issue right now, because I am not able to identify whether I’m delegating too much. On the other hand, I recognise the symptoms when I am delegating too little because I become stressed, I feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day, I feel like I can’t take in more clients, and in some extreme cases, I feel like the team is useless (but that is not true because it is just a story I tell myself because I’m not delegating).

Everyone on the team has expressed that they are willing to help me out in whatever task so choosing to delegate isn’t really the issue, but it’s really just more of me relinquishing control over anything else. 

So this variable will vary from person to person and there may be some people who find it easier to delegate tasks than others.

The other variable that determines the degree to which you want to delegate will depend greatly on the confidence that you have in the team  working with you. 

If you don’t have confidence in your team, then you’re not going to feel as confident in giving them tasks to do because you feel like they’re going to make mistakes and you’re better off doing the tasks yourself. 

You need to give the team the opportunity to do better at things that you need them to do. And as the person who is the business owner and the person who is going to be delegating, you need to put those systems in place so that your team doesn’t have to constantly harass you for answers or for things to do.

To recap, being able to identify whether you are delegating too much or too little will depend on how comfortable you are with giving tasks to other people, and whether you are completely confident in those people to carry out the tasks for you. 

SHOULD YOU LEARN HOW TO DO A CERTAIN TASK BEFORE DELEGATING IT?

As a person who wants to make sure that everything is done right (hello, perfectionist Tega), I would much rather prefer to have knowledge over a certain task before delegating it to one of my team members.

And because I am naturally curious, I want to make sure that I know how to solve something, especially when my team needs answers.

Learn how to do a certain task

But don’t get me wrong. This does not mean that I (nor anyone else for that matter) have/has to be a complete master in a certain skill before delegating it. We aren’t Google and we can’t have the solution to every problem. 

There will be times when you will need to leverage other people’s systems — such as courses and templates — and then taking their systems and plugging it into your business so that these solutions get the results you and your team want to get. 

In my case, there are times where I pay people for consultation as well so that they can offer their solutions and help you fix the problem.

Now that we’ve covered some top-of-mind questions, let’s talk about what I feel are the foundations of delegation and get those wheels turning.

THE 3 TYPES OF TASKS YOU CAN DELEGATE

Delegate the Implementation

Whenever it comes to outsourcing tasks, the first thing that I prioritise is the implementation part of my business, whether it’s my own stuff or stuff for a client. 

Implementation is what takes the most time, and if it’s something that someone else can do and do just as well, if not better, with as little guidance from me as possible, it makes sense to outsource that. 

This is the reason why I believe that establishing systems, processes and documentation is so important. Once you have all of this in place, it’s easier for your team members to implement what you need them to do since everything is already in place. 

In the case of my podcast management agency, it took a while to outsource the implementation because I had to figure everything out myself first, but once I was able to outsource the implementation aspect, it became so easy to simply collect the payment from my client, and have my team take care of the next steps to deliver the service we sell/solution we provide — Podcast Management. 

Taking care of the entire process became second nature for my team because everything was documented and standardised.

This goes to show that outsourcing the implementation is a very solid first step, because you know what everyone else has to do, and everyone else knows what they have to do. Which cuts down on the scope of errors and me and that the team can just get on with the work we have to do.

Get to work

And as I mentioned in the previous section, having knowledge in what I needed to delegate mattered to me. I wanted to make sure that I would be able to answer my team members’ questions so that when the team members become stuck or if there was a roadblock, they would come to me to help them solve the problem. 

If they think that I wouldn’t be able to answer their questions, it could mean that they would have to go elsewhere. And it’s risky because the validity of where they get their answers from then comes into question. 

Not knowing where they get their sources from could lead to them developing bad habits or not properly implementing the things they need to do. 

But I do not want to take monopoly over the solving of all problems (however because of how my brain is wired, I more often than not want to figure out the solution myself). So I definitely give my team the freedom to find the solutions themselves and come back to me with some options so that we can choose the best solution together. 

Delegating the Admin

Admin is a great thing to delegate as well because it takes a chunk of your time and mostly consists of repetitive tasks.

Using the podcast management agency as an example again, what happens is that when the client pays, there’s a whole bunch of things that need to be settled before the actual implementation.

Things like:

  • Do they already have a podcast?
  • If they don’t have a podcast, do they have a preferred podcast host?
  • Do they plan on creating a website for their podcast?
  • Have they already started recording?
  • And a whole lot more…

If they do already have a podcast, it makes things a bit easier on your end because you’re just working with what they already have, including the systems that they have put into place.

And if they don’t have any systems yet, this is where having an understanding of the process becomes useful, because all you have to do is transplant your current system into their operations, depending on how malleable your system is.

 

Malleable in the sense that if they have a podcast and they don’t have processes in place yet, your processes can easily fit with what they do because all they need to do is record the episodes and you can handle everything else. 

Because admin tasks are mostly repetitive, it only makes sense to create proper systems and documentation for this. That way, everything from processing payments to handling any necessary “paperworks” is completely standardised and less prone to errors.

Delegating the Creation of Systems and Processes

I don’t know how many times I’ve mentioned “systems and processes” in this blog post, but you probably figured that it’s such an important part of delegation.

It only goes to show that creating these systems and processes should be delegated to your designated team members as well.

As your team members get more proficient in carrying out their tasks, eventually they start to have their own processes. These processes should be documented so that if they’re ill or take a leave, someone else on the team can pick that up because they just need to look at the processes and follow the steps. 

This is exactly what we’re doing for our team, and if there is someone new that comes on board, then that new team member simply has to follow the steps written down by a current team member. 

The creation of these documentations naturally has to be delegated because I myself do not know the ins and outs of the tasks that have been delegated. That’s why whenever I have a new team member onboard carrying out a completely new task, I eventually have that person create a step-by-step flow of how he/she does the work.

documentation

Documentation is so important in fact, that I have a separate folder in our Google Drive that holds all of the processes that we have put into place. 

FOCUSING ON THE WHO

We’ve pretty covered the foundations of delegation, but before you go and start applying this to your business, you need to understand that proper delegation is a two-way street. 

Through my own personal experiences, I realised that in order for me to properly delegate all of the tasks above, I need people who are self-starters. 

This means that my approach when it comes to hiring people is to take a WHO FIRST approach. And what I mean by that is I like to find people who I personally think I would work well with. I try to find people who are persistent, pay attention to detail and people who are also problem solvers like myself. 

Making sure that you work well with your team members and vice-versa is paramount to making sure that you can trust your team and that you can delegate the tasks with relative peace of mind that the delegated task will be completed to a high standard. 

To read more about finding the right virtual team members for your business, check out the full guide HERE.

So when you feel ready, go out there, find the right individuals, trust in yourself, and start delegating!

Open post

How to Promote Your Podcast and Gain More Listeners

As podcasters, most of the time, we dedicate so much of our effort to producing the episodes. What this results in is the lack of preparation for the actual marketing learning how to promote your podcast.

When I started my podcast, my only goal was to share the experiences of fellow human beings with other fellow human beings. And it was through this selfless act that I started my own podcast.

You may have started on the same foot as well. 

But the problem with this is that you soon realize if you do not have a promotional strategy in place, then who you share your knowledge with will be extremely limited. 

I know that many of us don’t really care about the number of listeners, so long as we are happy with what we put out. But wouldn’t it be great if we could spread our message to even more people?

As your podcast grows, you will want to make sure it is worth your time. This means that you will need to grow your audience over time. The more listeners you have, the more chances of having great guests on your show, and the more sponsors who can help you keep the show running.

Once you’ve realized this, then comes the dreaded question…

How do people even discover podcasts? 

So, you then do your research and realize that there is one specific source where people discover podcasts. On your end as a podcaster, this means that there is NO ONE-SIZE-FITS ALL strategy for growing your audience. 

Here is why: People discover podcasts in different ways and podcasters promote in different ways.

The Podcast Discovery Problem

According to the Podcast Discovery Survey conducted by The Podcast Host, most people discover new podcasts through simply browsing across specific categories that they find interesting and choose what to listen to from there. Other people randomly search other unfamiliar categories to discover new shows. 

Because there are thousands of podcasts out there, it will be difficult to solely rely on the hope that people will be attracted to your show over others. There are only so many things you can do to stand out, right?

Not only that. The myriad of options you can choose from to promote your podcast can get overwhelming as well. 

This is why I have written this article. Rather than running around like a headless chicken and figuring out all the ways to promote your podcast, I have outlined them all here to give you a head start.

Will I find the EXACT Solution?

I don’t want you to get your hopes up too much. Unfortunately, I’m not a genie and can’t magically give you followers. 

Every podcast is different, and every audience is different too. This means that you need to discern which methods will work best for your podcast.

Ultimately, the purpose of this article is to guide you into crafting your own strategy without having to worry about the heavy research bit of the process, I’ve gladly done most of the research for you here. 

So, sit back, relax, and let’s take a deep dive into all the tips and tricks on how to promote your podcast.

promoting your podcast

BEFORE YOU START PROMOTING YOUR PODCAST, REMEMBER THESE…

Utilize Your Current Audience

From my own experience, it does help to have an audience beforehand. And by audience, I don’t mean “fans” or “followers.” It doesn’t have to be people who spent money to buy any of your products or services. 

Your audience can fall under the categories of Facebook friends (yes, family counts) or your current email list. Leverage on the people easily within your reach.

I make it a point to let my Facebook friends and email list know that I have a podcast so that if a certain episode piques their interest, they’d listen. So far, this method has been highly effective for me that I was able to get my first 100+ listeners organically. I didn’t spend on paid ads or pressure myself to promote my podcast to the entire world. 

If you have yet to publish your first few episodes, it can get quite discouraging if you don’t have any engagement at the start. So, don’t hesitate to promote your podcast with your current network! It worked wonders for me and I’m sure it will for you too. 

Create valuable content

Before you decide to promote anything, you need to make sure that you create valuable content. 

Why? 

Because marketing a bad product wouldn’t make sense at all. All the marketing effort in the world would not be able to sell a product that is not valuable, simply because no one will need that product.

The same goes for podcasts. Even if you spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on promoting your podcast, if it does not provide valuable content, then no one will want to listen.

Here are some quick tips to ensure that your content is valuable:

  1. Add a unique twist to the topic you have chosen – your podcast should stand out from others in the same industry. Yes, anyone can talk about a certain topic, but you have your own unique take on things. This is something you should capitalize on in your podcast to give people a new understanding of the topic you are talking about.
  2. Your podcast needs to be “sticky” – by sticky I mean that you need to capture the attention of your listeners all throughout the episode. If your listeners consume your content all the way to the end, then you know you’re doing things right. Try to study successful podcasts that are in the same industry as yours and see what you can apply to your own podcast to make it more interesting. 
  3. Be the problem solver – just like any successful business, if you can bridge the gap between the customer and the solution to their problems, then people are sure to listen. Think about what it is that your potential listeners want to know more about and see how you can meet this criterion. 
  4. Observe what’s trending in your niche – don’t focus on what’s trending in general, but rather explore what’s trending in your certain niche. This allows you to start a discussion on something that everyone else is talking about and gain more listeners from there.

So, remember that before you start putting all your resources out there to promote your content, focus first on creating valuable content for your listeners.

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

Rome wasn't built in a day

Once you have created highly valuable content, I want to remind you that it still won’t be an easy journey. Achieving success takes time, and that applies to your podcast as well.

It’s not that I’m purposefully raining on your parade, but you need to understand that it will take months (or years) before you start seeing life-changing results. The important thing is that you trust in the process and believe that you will experience success in your podcast with consistent effort.

All you need is the right content (which we have covered in the previous section) and the right channels to promote your podcast. It takes time to experiment and analyze which platforms and practices gain the best results, so let’s cover each of those next.

TOP TIPS ON HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR PODCAST

Release 3-5 Episodes When You Launch

Assuming you don’t have a podcast yet, one of the best practices to keep those listeners glued to your channel from day one is by uploading 3 or more episodes. 1 or 2 episodes will just keep them hanging, and they wouldn’t want to wait that long for another episode to get to know you more. 

Having more than 3 episodes will give them a good idea on what your podcast is about and whether this is something they would want to invest their time into.

Even online business coach Pat Flynn recommends this. 

According to Pat, “I once launched a podcast with a single episode and actually received negative reviews from people who had listened to the first episode and were upset that there was only one. When people love your stuff, they’re going to want more of it, so give them what they want”

I spoke about more tips before launching your podcast in my other article How to Start and Launch a Podcast to Build Your Brand.

Should You Limit Where You Upload Your Podcast?

With a myriad of podcast directories (or podcatchers if you want to sound cool) like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and a bunch more, you could end up having analysis paralysis.

I highly recommend you start with iTunes because it has the most listeners. But don’t limit yourself to just one podcatcher. 

Why submit to as many as possible when you can just choose iTunes? 

Well, each directory has different types of listeners so the more you submit to, the more exposure you can get. 

Eventually, you will be able to see which podcatchers get you the most followers and know where to focus your efforts from there.

According to Podcast Insights, these are the top 5 best podcatchers to help you get the most exposure:

  1. iTunes / Apple Podcasts
  2. Spotify
  3. Google Podcasts
  4. Stitcher
  5. TuneIn

For my podcast clients, I’ve been using Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Amazon Music. The reason for this is because these platforms have a lot of listeners. If you have a budget for paid ads and these are successful, chances are that you will get more organic exposure in these major podcatchers. The more organic exposure you get, the higher the chances that people will encounter your podcast.

If you want to read more on how to submit your podcast to these directories through your RSS feed, check out my other article where I explain it all in detail.

Making the Most Out of iTunes

As I mentioned earlier, iTunes is the biggest podcatcher out there and so naturally, has the most listeners (70% of total podcast listeners to be exact). This means that you need to take extra care in making sure you get noticed on iTunes. 

The best section to be seen on is the New & Noteworthy section, which is the first thing people see when they access Apple Podcasts.

Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to being featured in this section, but we do know that you have about two months to get there before you aren’t considered “new” anymore. 

But no pressure. Here are some tips and tricks that give you a higher chance of landing a spot in the New & Noteworthy section:

  • Build an audience before you launch – this can be done by building your email list for outreach, focusing your efforts heavily on announcing your launch day, letting your friends and family know about your podcast, and promoting via social media.
  • Use attractive cover art for your podcast – make sure your podcast artwork clearly represents what your podcast is about, and this includes amazing visuals and copy that is understandable and visible even on small screens.
  • Produce high-quality episodes – you don’t need to invest in expensive equipment or edit your podcast until it is absolutely flawless. A minimum viable edit should be good enough for your listeners to have a great experience. I talk more about minimum viable edits here.
  • Focus on getting reviews – once you have built up an audience before and during the first few days of the launch, encourage them to subscribe and leave a review. This builds credibility and convinces other people to listen in as well.
  • Publish consistently– this doesn’t mean that you must publish every single day or every single week. By consistency, I mean that your podcast must have a consistent schedule to keep up with. This can mean daily, weekly, monthly, or even annually! That way, your listeners will know when to expect the next episode.

How Important is a Website in Promoting Your Podcast?

Although having a website for your podcast isn’t an absolute necessity or requirement, it will really help create more exposure for your podcast. The reason why a website is key is because of its benefits in SEO. 

There are some podcast hosts such as Buzzsprout and Podbean that help you build your own basic website, but for SEO purposes, that isn’t always enough. Your website needs to be optimized for better SEO.

The thing with the Google algorithm when detecting sites or content with good SEO is that it can only detect WRITTEN content. Since podcasts are purely audio, these are unfortunately overlooked by Google (though this could change in the near future).

Another good practice is to for your website is to include a trailer of your podcast and that it is updated with the most recent episodes.

It is going to take time and effort to build and maintain a website. In my opinion, if it will end up being a bottleneck for you at the start, this is something you can focus on later as your podcast grows.

If website development isn’t your forte, you can always hire a freelancer to do the work for you. In this article, I reveal my best practices in finding virtual team members to help you in your business.

Build Your Email List

Email marketing will take time and effort, but it allows you to build a personal connection with your audience outside of your podcast. Plus it is a great way to announce the release of new episodes for your avid listeners.

Not many podcasters put in the effort to do email marketing (I’m guilty of this), and so this method will go a long way to make you stand out among the rest.

According to Castos, “49% of consumers say they’re happy to receive promotional emails from the companies they like at least once a week.

To make matters even better, 73% of millennials say email is their preferred business communication platform, and it’s the preferred platform compared to post, social media, texting, or phone calls.”

I currently manage my own email list as well through ActiveCampaign. To be honest, I haven’t been emailing as frequently as I should, but I have experienced results regardless and will continue to utilize my email list as my podcast progresses.

If you want to know how you can build your own email list from scratch, I wrote a detailed guide about it HERE.

Cross-Promote on Different Platforms

The beauty of podcasts is that you can easily repurpose them on different platforms through various forms of content. Here are some examples:

  • Create square audiograms that you can post on Instagram and Facebook (sample below)
  • Create widescreen audiograms for YouTube
  • Select quotes from the podcast and make an image for it (sample below)
  • Transcribe the audio and post snippets of it on social media
  • Post part of the audio in Instagram Story

What’s even better is that if you have the capacity to record your podcast through video first, then you have even more content to repurpose. Check out my video interview with Joshua Koerpel here for a glimpse of podcasts recorded via video.

Creating a variety of content will help you become more active with your social media promotions. Social media is an effective tool for you to build a personal connection with your audience, so the more content you can repurpose, the better. 

Also, when promoting on social media, encourage a discussion among your listeners. Ask them for their opinions on a certain topic, or suggestions on what they want to hear about next in your podcast. This way, you don’t sound too spammy and it shows that you actually care about what your listeners think.

Customize Each Social Media Post

When posting on different platforms, I highly recommend that you customize each post. The reason for this is because each platform calls for a different type of “mood” for example:

  • Facebook is for more casual, long-form content paired off with attractive images
  • Instagram focuses more on the graphics and the captions should be shorter than Facebook
  • Twitter has a character limit and so the content must be even shorter and straight to the point
  • LinkedIn should have a more professional tone for both the copy and the images (I post memes on Facebook, but not on LinkedIn)

Your audience will be looking for different things on each platform, so take the time to create content that is relevant to the right people. 

Promoting Your Podcast on YouTube

There are two ways by which you can post your podcast episode on YouTube. It can either be via an audiogram, or the actual video of you recording the podcast. The latter will require you to video yourself when you record, which some people aren’t really comfortable with. So, this is completely up to you on which route you want to take.

To convert your audio into video, you don’t need any complicated software. Simply choose a stock image or stock video online via Videvo, Unsplash, or Freepik. Once you’ve done that, overlay the audio to the image/video via free tools like iMovie for Mac and Movie Maker for Windows. 

If you want slightly more advanced audiograms that include wavelengths, you can hire someone on Fiverr to create this for you. 

If your episodes exceed 45 minutes, you can even cut the podcast down into short clips to make it easier to consume for your listeners too. That way, you can attract both those who like listening to long-form content and those who prefer short-form content. 

Another reason why YouTube is such an effective platform is because it is virtually easy to share their content across other platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

Publish New Episodes at Strategic Times

It may be difficult at the start to know when the best time is to publish new episodes. One way to identify this is by looking at similar podcasts and when they publish. Is it on a Friday? Over the weekend? Monday?

If you notice a trend, that would be a good gauge for you to follow at the start until you have your own data. Over time, you can experiment and study your podcast analytics to see when people usually listen to your episodes and adjust from there.

Personally, I release a new episode every Friday (though not as consistent as I should). I chose this day of the week because my thinking is that people think of Friday as a day to relax. Since my podcast involves casual conversations rather than formal, objective ones, it would only make sense that people would want to listen when they’re happily unwinding after a long week.

Don’t Forget Your Call to Action

Call to action

Just like any other sales page, a call to action on your podcast is a must as well. Even if you aren’t really selling anything, you want to make sure that your listeners take the necessary actions to support your podcast.

Some of you would probably think that asking your listeners to like, subscribe and review is selfish, but it’s not. It’s all about how you approach them about it. 

Be sincere in your call to action and let them know that the more support you get, the better your episodes can be. And as you grow your podcast, the more sponsors you get and the higher your chances of getting great guests to appear on your show — better guests mean even better content for your listeners!

Here are some other things you can do to encourage them to take action:

  • Shoutouts – Encourage your listeners to mention your podcast on social media and mention their name in your next episode. People would absolutely LOVE to hear their name mentioned!
  • Q&A on Social Media – Asking your listeners on what they want to know more about on your podcast shows that you care about them and makes your content even more valuable. 
  • Giveaways – You can encourage your audience to recommend your podcast to their friends by doing giveaways. They can enter the giveaways by recommending your podcast to their friends and having them follow you. Your giveaway should not give away too much but must be valuable and connected to your topic. Consultations or freebies from your brand are great examples.

By leveraging on your current audience, you will create a snowball effect through word-of-mouth, which is a very effective way to promote your podcast.

Mention Your Previous Episodes

Once you have plenty of podcast episodes under your roster, always take the opportunity to mention your previous episodes when you can. This shouldn’t feel forced and you don’t have to do it all the time. 

You can mention something along the lines of “I spoke about [topic] in further detail in my other episode on [episode title] so be sure to check it out.” If the listener enjoys your podcast, they’d be even more drawn to check out your other relevant episodes.

Be sure to link them to that episode in your show notes as well for easier navigation. 

Build Your Network

Finding your audience should not be limited to social media and YouTube posts. Find out where your audience is hanging out and add value there. This can either be done through actual, physical places or virtual places online. 

Checkout conferences, meetups, or local events in your area so you can meet people who may want to listen to your podcast. Be active in the community and spread the word about your podcast!

Virtually, there are several ways by which you can meet great connections online:

  • Forums – search for forums on websites like Quora or Reddit where people actively talk about your topic and create a discussion there. If your podcast can answer some of their questions, then that would be a great way to subtly promote your podcast. But be mindful that you don’t want to sound too spammy or no one will notice you. Add value and show that you care about their concerns more than promoting yourself.
  • Join interest groups – Take part in Facebook and Slack groups related to your topic. Your approach here must be the same as the previous point. You need to add value and be an active member of the group before you can promote your podcast. If you aren’t careful, you could be disbanded from these groups. 

Network with Other Podcasters

Not only is networking a great way to build your audience. If you really want to immerse yourself in the podcasting world, meet other podcasters.

Networking

Put in the effort to find forums and interest groups for podcasters. This is a great way to stay on top of new trends, ideas and techniques. 

Becoming friends with people in the industry can help you in so many ways. Building connections with other podcasters allows you to do cross-promotion (they mention you and you mention them) and exchange valuable ideas and tips you can’t get anywhere else.

And who knows? You may even find your next podcast guest here or even become a guest on other shows.

Become a Guest or Invite a Guest

By becoming a guest on other shows, not only does this build credibility but creates exposure for you as well. Focus on podcasts that are within your niche or complement your topic. 

To further add value to your podcast, you can invite guests so they can give a unique perspective to the topic hand. Another great benefit of having a guest on your show is that this person can also promote this episode on his/her channels.

It could be a challenge at the start to book guests for your show especially if you don’t have a big audience yet. Just make sure your podcast resonates with them and is something that they would love to expound on.

My podcast is full of amazing guests living interesting lives. And how was I able to find them? 

Believe it or not, I simply browsed through my Facebook friends list and looked for anyone I found interesting and invited them to have a conversation with me! It worked so well because the main purpose of my podcast was to have interesting conversations with interesting people and starting with my network was the perfect avenue to find these guests.

Don’t be pressured to invite well-known, famous experts. Most of the time, it’s the quality of the conversations that matter over the quality of the guests.

I recommend you schedule your recording session in advance because it involves both your time and theirs. And it also helps to establish a relationship with them beforehand to break the ice and make the conversation during the podcast more fluid and natural.

Contact People or Brands You Mentioned on Your Show

As you expound more on a certain topic, you may have to mention external sources like people or brands to support your claims. To make the most out of this, you can reach out to them to let them know that you highly recommended their brand (or product) to your listeners. 

More often than not, they’d be thrilled to know that they were mentioned on your show.

You can pull out that certain quote about their product and ask them to share it on social media. If they agree, you get more exposure through their audience.

Take note however, that this does not work all the time, and will only work if whatever you said was positive. 

Recommend them and they might just recommend you back!

Conduct an Audience Survey

For those who already have an established audience, conducting a survey is one of the best ways to get valuable insights to help grow your podcast.

Asking your listeners questions like where they found out about you or which podcatcher do they use the most will help you identify where to place your efforts moving forward.

You can also ask for suggestions on what topics you should discuss moving forward based on what they want to know. It wouldn’t hurt to get some guest recommendations as well.

There is so much you can take away from an audience survey.

Utilize Influencer Marketing 

Do your own research on relevant influencers who are within your reach and ask if they can promote your podcast in exchange for things like a shoutout, free products, or monetary compensation. 

When influencers recommend something, their audience usually trusts their judgment because of an established relationship these influencers have created through their content. So, if you find the right influencer that has the audience you need, then this type of marketing is going to help you grow your audience significantly. 

Paid ads

Paid ads

If you have the budget, paid ads are a fool-proof way to grow your audience. Through utilizing channels like Facebook Ads and Google Ads, you will be able to target your ads to those who are interested in your niche. 

You can either direct the ads to your podcast landing page, or to an individual episode. I recommend the latter because targeting is more specific, and thus, cheaper. 

As I mentioned earlier, I grew my audience organically, so I never found the need to use paid ads. However, based on what I have observed with podcasters using paid ads is that they focus more on their budget and reach to promote episodes starring prominent guests.

By leveraging well-known guests, people are more likely to click and listen to your episode. It’s a great way to attract new listeners to your show, who might end up checking out your other episodes from there. 

It’s all about being strategic with your paid ads and knowing where to allocate your budget. 

CONCLUSION

Finding the perfect system to promote your podcast takes patience and a good foundation. There really is no perfect solution to this because each podcast has its own unique needs. It will take some experimentation and good judgment from your end, but once you do it right, it will all be worth it.

So, to recall, remember that it all starts with creating valuable content that people will WANT to listen to. It is highly crucial that you track and measure your results so that you will know how to adjust accordingly. 

Once you have identified the methods that work for you, focus your energy there to gain maximum results.

All the tips that I have mentioned do not fall under a checklist wherein you have to do each and everything. It’s up to you to identify which approaches you are most comfortable with and build from there.

Don’t pressure yourself too much and if you feel like one method isn’t effective, then move on to the next! 

Best of luck.

Open post
4 Business Books

The 4 Business Books That Have Left a Lasting Impact

For some unknown reason, I’ve always been attracted to reading business books. Even at a young age, I wasn’t really keen on reading fiction books, to be honest.

But when I picked up my first business book, I found that I couldn’t put it down because of how drawn I was to it. In fact, my current bookshelf is packed with business books and self-development books. 

And if you’re an avid reader like myself, whether it be with non-fiction or fiction books, have you ever come across a book that is so life-changing that it has impacted the way you carry yourself and lived your life after reading it? 

For me, the answer is yes. I’ve read heaps of books throughout the years, but there are 4 books to be exact that have impacted me greatly. 

The reason why they are so memorable is because the way I do things now can be traced back to all the learnings I have taken from these books.  

These books are: 

  1. The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg 
  2. Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert Kiyosaki 
  3. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferris 
  4. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber 

If you have not yet heard of any of these books, one thing I will tell you is that despite all the lessons I will outline here, your takeaways will still be different from mine. And so, these books could definitely leave a different level of impact on you. 

Why?  

Well, because we are all different people and the way we see and perceive things are different. 

Nevertheless, I hope the way I talk about these books will help shed some light on how they can help you in your own life. 

THE GO-GIVER

I heard about the Go-Giver in a Facebook Group, and this is the most recent one I have read about the 4 in this blog post. I read this book around 2015 or 2016 and it immediately caught my attention when I came across it.

Go Giver

And for a book, as small as it was, and as easy to digest as it was, it’s profoundness is what made it stick in my mind. 

Because unlike most business books that talk about earning profits and developing yourself, The Go-Giver stands out because it talks about the power of giving.  

And the key takeaway of this book for me was to give freely to the point where it doesn’t inconvenience you to give. So although it does encourage you to give without expecting anything in return, you need to make sure that you take care of yourself first above all else. 

This lesson really stuck with me because I’ve always been an helper, but I was more of a “selfish helper” more than a selfless one. Being a selfish helper meant that although I did love to help people, a toxic trait of mine was that I’d expect this person to do something for me as well when I have a favor to ask.

So because helping was already ingrained in my system, the Go-Giver completely changed my perspective of helping people and it all just made sense. I have learned to help people without expectation of a reward, because the mere act of helping them is a great way to build your network.

And you may be asking “But Tegs, how is giving related to business?”

Well, I understand that the idea to give with no expectation of reciprocity is really challenging when you try to apply it, especially in business. It took me a little while to get it and apply it too, however once I got it, things changed for my personal life and business.

If you have read my other articles, you are aware that I manage Coffee with Dan and Espresso with Dan, together with Dan Meredith. And it was through the lessons from the Go-Giver that I was able to land a partnership with him.

It was not an easy deal though. But that is a story I will save for another day. 

There is one other story that I want to share in this blog post…

Just recently, I got tagged in a Facebook post where someone was looking for a “video guy” to help with some video edits. 

I was tagged along with a bunch of other people who were more skilled and qualified than me. 

So I thought to myself ” ahh those guys have it covered” and I left a comment saying something along the lines “plenty of capable peeps tagged above but happy to help if still needed.” 

Around 20 or 30 minutes went by and the thread was getting a lot of traction. Thinking that my comment would not stand out in the post, I decided to slide into the dude’s DMs explaining that I believed I understood what he was looking for and if he gave me a video I would do it. 

He did give me the video and 24 hours later, I completed the task and sent the final video back to him. 

It was exactly what he was looking for! 

The simple act of sending him a DM (with no expectations) and offering to do the job for him allowed me to have a happy new client. I wasn’t really trying to hard-sell myself, and it was through that mindset that I stood out from the rest. 

With The Go-Giver, I valued the act of giving without holding any expectations or returns. My core takeaway after reading this book was to give give give and when I wasn’t quite sure to give some more. 

The idea of giving led to starting a business which ultimately led to “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” So let us tackle that book next… 

RICH DAD POOR DAD

You probably have heard of Rich Dad Poor Dad before and this book is famous for good reason.

Personally, this book has entirely changed the way I think about business and how I manage my cashflow. 

Rich Dad Poor Dad

I was lucky enough to have discovered this book at a young age — 18-years old to be exact on a rainy afternoon in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. It was a book my dad owned and it was lying around.

So I picked it up, and the story enticed and sucked me in. I loved learning about assets and liabilities and the excellent idea to use your assets to pay for your liabilities. It completely changed how I used to base my financial education, which was originally on trial and error. 

I had so many ideas spinning around my head while reading this, and just when I thought this book could not get any better, it did… 

The ultimate nugget revealed itself, and that nugget was 

The Cashflow Quadrant 

A square divided into equal quarters with the letters ESBI, where:

E = Employed 

S= Self Employed 

B= Business owner 

I= Investor 

Each element of the quadrant had different implications and effects on your wealth.

Cashflow Quadrant

Having the different financial stages you go through — explained and visualized so clearly — was an eye-opener and a thought transformer. 

The years that followed saw me using the quadrant as a compass to navigate and recognize where or what stage I was/am at in business. 

And it was through this book that I wanted to belong to the Business Owner or Investor box, so that I can operate at the highest point of leverage. This meant that as a business owner, you can have systems and people working for you to generate income. Whereas as an investor, you have money working for you to generate income. 

I also realised as I get older that while you can shoot to operate in a certain box (as a Business Owner, for example), there’s nothing stopping you from working in the Employee box or the Self-Employed box. This is especially enticing if you’re someone like me who likes to learn and do things. 

So yes, you can optimize all your systems up to the point whereby they don’t need you, but what do you do with all of your free time (if free time is the ultimate goal)?

Once I had the Cashflow Quadrant as a foundation, and I moved from E to S, I realized that I need to do more to make the jump to B.

That is when I found the next book on my list of 4… 

THE 4 HOUR WORK WEEK

If you tried working double shifts, running around like a headless chicken in a busy restaurant waiting tables, then a book titled The 4 Hour Workweek can seem like mana from the heavens… 

Alas, this is the situation I was in when I picked up the book. 

Rich Dad Poor Dad made me realize that I did not want to have a traditional job. I wanted to own a business, and yes, just work 4 hours a week. So when I saw a book that says you can work only 4 hours a week, you bet your extra hot Nando’s chicken that I picked it up. 

It wasn’t until I started reading the book that I learned I was looking at things the “wrong” way. 

The biggest lesson I picked up from the 4-Hour Workweek was that to grow a successful business, you cannot do it on your own. Even if you work all the hours under the sun, you will still not be able to get everything done. 

4 hour Workweek

And as much as I would like to think that I can do everything myself, I really can’t. 

It opened my mind to the wonders of outsourcing and the benefits of delegating the things you were not good at to someone who loved doing those things. This means that there will be tasks that will take me around 2-3 hours, but if I hire a specialist, it will only take that person 30 minutes. 

This is where the seed was planted that I could have freelancers or contractors who are skilled and experienced doing my work for me.  

My journey learning how to hire the right contractors and freelancers did pose some challenges and risks. You can read about my experience in managing a virtual team HERE.

And one thing I have learned that in order to effectively manage a virtual team, or any team for that matter, I needed to have the proper systems and documentation in place. This is where my next and final book comes in.

THE E-MYTH

This one I have read and reread a few times. 

The reason for this is because the first couple reads were quite difficult to digest. Primarily because try as I might, I just couldn’t see how to apply/implement what was being talked about. 

I persisted however and as my experience grew, so too did my capacity to understand what the book was talking about.

The old adage, “when the student is ready, the master appears” seems apt. 

At its core, in my opinion, the E-myth is about how to build a business and put systems in place, so that you do not become a prisoner of the business. 

Like most books, it is written with a view of getting you to explore how Michael Gerber and his company can help you implement what the book is talking about. And this consisted mostly of broad strokes and some general explanations of the concept of systems. 

Emyth 

What did I take away from the E-myth? 

I learned that the key to freedom, regardless of what that means for you my dear reader, is creating systems and establishing proper documentation of those systems. 

And before I read this book at the young age of 25, I was already into systems and processes, but what I was missing was documentation. It was through E-myth that I learned how important it is to document my systems, and was especially helpful when I started bringing on people to the team. 

This book was such a game-changer for me because it served as a bridge which connected the lessons I learned from Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and the 4-Hour Work Week.

The reason for this is because E-myth is the middle ground that people don’t really think about when it comes to growing a business and outsourcing. Everyone talks about outsourcing, but they rarely talk about the idea of abdication versus delegation, which I talk about HERE.

Typically, outsourcing is sold in a way that when you hire someone, you can just put them in, give them the tasks that they have to do, and then you don’t have to worry about them. 

But through my experience in outsourcing, I think a little bit differently from most people and my business is a bit different. It’s not unique, but it’s a bit different overall to how other people run their businesses. 

When I hire someone to run Facebook Ads, for example, I don’t simply hire that person and expect him/her to run the ads without any system in place. Because I know the importance of systems and proper documentation, I know that these need to be established so that when I bring someone in, they are aware of the things that they need to be aware of.

Some things that they need to be aware of (in my experience, at least) include market knowledge and customer knowledge. Anyone can train to be a FB Ads specialist, but knowing things specifically related to your business can only be taught by people experienced in the business. 

So, if you bring a specialist into the business without any proper documentation, they will still be able to do the job no doubt, but there are always going to be holes in what they do due to their lack of knowledge.

And that is why E-myth was the bridge that connected the Cashflow Quadrant in Rich Dad Poor Dad to how you find freedom through the 4-Hour Workweek. E-myth became the manual on how to build systems and document processes so that whenever I decide to outsource, I am able to outsource effectively.

But one thing that I found was missing in E-myth is the simplicity to explain things. Because I personally did find E-myth to be quite dense and overwhelming. 

I’d like to give an honorable mention to a book called Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz because it simplified a lot of the things that were covered in E-myth.

Clockwork enhanced my knowledge in creating systems and allowed me to give the right amount of freedom to my team to do the tasks their own way without stifling their creativity, but still following the general framework that I outlined for them.  

And because I value the creative freedom of my team, I was able to properly document the things that need to be documented so that they have a general framework and desired outcome to work towards without being too restricted or controlled.

CONCLUSION 

And there you have it. The 4 books that have left a lasting impact on my life. 

All of the lessons that I have learned in these 4 books can be seen all throughout the other blog posts I have written as well. The lessons here are what have created a strong foundation for me and my team, and we are still learning as we grow and scale.

If you decide to read any of these books, or have already read them, you will most likely have different key takeaways from me and have also applied these to your own life and business.

How about you? What impactful books have you read?

Open post
Start an Online Business

How to Start an Online Business

Picture this…

It’s 2020, the world is being RAVAGED by the Coronavirus.

Businesses are being classed as “essential” and “Non-Essential.” Non essential businesses are told to shut up shop in order to control the spread of the virus.

Employees are being put on government support furlow schemes, the UK government is printing money and making promises of support to the nation. All was well with the world.

Until october 2020 when The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, stated that “Re-skilling and re-training are key parts of our Covid recovery programme and digital skills will form a crucial part of that.” 

At the time that statement was aimed towards the Arts & Entertainment industry. Cue the anger of the people who felt they were being singled out by a government that didn’t care about them and the choices they made in their lives…

Personally, I don’t entirely agree with this because I believe that people who have skills that took them a lifetime to learn shouldn’t just discard these skills in order to appease someone else’s idea of how they should live their lives and contribute to society. 

Regardless, there is no point in arguing about whether Rishi was right or wrong about this (primarily because my opinion on if Rishi was right or not doesn’t offer a solution to the problem people are facing).

I believe however that learning a new skill is definitely a great way to pursue something new and with the right in demand skill, you can change your life and the life of your family.

I am writing this blog post to break down what it takes to start a business. I am writing this for those who want financial freedom, or have already started but are struggling. As almost everyone is working or studying from home nowadays, there hasn’t been a better time for you to start a side business or side hustle online.

And online, there are opportunities, they are almost endless, provided you are ready to roll your sleeves up and apply some elbow grease.

Endless Opportunities

 

There is A LOT of information online, most of them incomplete telling you WHAT you can do to “make money online” there’s things like Amazon FBA, Dropshipping, “Dropservicing”, being a Youtuber, starting a podcast… the list goes on 

I say “incomplete information” because they tell you WHAT is working right now, and then they sell you the HOW. The HOW is where things get interesting as there are SO MANY variables that affect the results you get.

Some examples of the HOW:

How do you set yourself apart?

How do you get your first client?

How do you know how much to charge?

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (you get the gist).

I am putting this blog post together to answer all these questions and everything else. What you’re reading right now is the ultimate guide to walk you through the steps you need to take to start a business and achieve financial agility.

I am going set the bar for “financial agility” at £5000 per month

WHY £5,000 PER MONTH? 

My take on this is that if you successfully arrive at the point where your business is making that amount of money per month, I believe you will be doing better than 70-80% of those who are trying to start a business online. 

If you follow all the steps that I reveal later on in this article, you put yourself in a very good position that opens up possibilities that will allow you to achieve more and it gives you room to maneuver and achieve greater results let’s say, £10,000 per month. 

And why should you listen to me in this regard?

Why Me?

See, recently, I had a conversation with one of my friends Dan, and while we were talking he broke down the steps on how to start a business that makes money. Funnily enough, as we spoke, I thought to myself, “Yo, these steps are almost identical to what I did to build my businesses.”

In short, I’m saying that the steps that I will share in this article are the steps that I have done to earn £5,000 per month (and more) for myself. Which means that everything here has been tried and tested by yours truly. 

One LAST thing though before you I tell you what these steps are, I want you to know that everything here is just an OUTLINE, and you do not need to follow everything that I did EXACTLY the way I did, because your needs are going to be different from mine, and your business is different from my business. 

Also, even though I have already successfully implemented the steps for myself, I am still a student in this process as well so do not think of me as Master Tega who can magically take you from A to Z through the steps down below. I am sure you will have your own way of implementing everything, and I trust that you will figure everything out along the way.

To prepare you for the long journey ahead (and for easy navigation), here is an outline of the steps you need to take in order to earn £5,000 per month through an online business, dear reader:

  • Learn a Skill
  • Do Outreach
  • Get Leads
  • Charge £1,000
  • Get 5 Clients
  • Learn to Play the Guitar
  • Hire and Train People
  • Scale to the Moon Like Doge
  • Repeat Ad Infinitum!

Let’s get to it…

LEARN A SKILL 

Earlier, I spoke about the fact that there are so many opportunities out there to earn money online and that a lot of people from various industries try to sell you on a certain business idea or opportunity. 

And because there are just so many options to choose from, you can get sucked into the analysis paralysis phase and never move forward.

Analysis Paralysis

In this section, I won’t be telling you exactly what business you should start or what skill you should learn. These are mere principles to help you decide based on what I will be sharing. And this I believe is more valuable over trying to convince you to follow a certain path when I know that your interests are different from mine. 

Here is my advice on what to focus on when choosing a skill:

Choose a skill that is in demand and that people will pay for.

Read that again.

Why? Because you need to make sure that the skill you’re learning is actually valuable and can help you earn money for your business.

“But Tega, shouldn’t I learn a skill that I have a natural inclination towards? Shouldn’t it be something that I think I will enjoy?”

That’s a great question dear reader.

But let me tell you something. 

I believe that there is no skill that you are going to learn that you will enjoy learning about. As a naturally curious person, you might think that I enjoyed learning about Facebook Ads, podcast management, recruitment and whatnot. But honestly, I DID NOT enjoy learning about these (though I do enjoy doing them now that I passed the learning stage). 

The reason why I believe the learning process is never really an enjoyable one is because when you are learning something new, you are making yourself vulnerable and putting yourself in a situation where you don’t really know what’s going on. Everything is alien to you and you have so much you have to take in.

Even if let’s say you pick a skill that you have a natural inclination towards, it would be unrealistic to think that learning it would be a walk in a park. Learning will always be challenging, but more often than not, rewarding in the end.

Learning is Hard

The key takeaway here is that when you learn a new skill, you need to take into account that there is a high chance you won’t enjoy learning about it, but you have to give yourself the chance to actually go through the learning process and see if it is something that you would grow to enjoy along the way. 

You will never know until you try. 

And we’re lucky to be born in this day and age where the internet has so many resources for us to learn almost anything. You have free options like YouTube to pocket-friendly ones like Udemy to teach you the skill that you wish to learn about. 

DO OUTREACH

Once you learn your skill, you will reach a place where you need to implement the HOW. In this case, the how is knowing how to sell your skill and make money.

This means finding people who have problems that you can solve with the skill that you learned, and then converting those people into leads. 

Outreach can mean different things from sending out emails, directly messaging people, or even running Facebook Ads. 

Personally, one of the best forms of outreach for me is leveraging what you have experienced when implementing the skill you have learned and sharing it in the right places. And when I mean sharing, don’t just share your successes. Share your failures as well and how you learned to overcome these. 

I believe that people look up to those who share not just the happy side of a story, but the struggles and the ugly bits as well. 

This doesn’t just involve sharing your results, but the journey you went through to get those results. The bottomline here is to document EVERYTHING.

And when you start sharing and people become aware of your skill, they will start asking you questions about it.

From all the people who are curious about your skill, 20% will want to hire you to do it for them, and 80% will want to do it themselves (maybe because they think they can’t afford you, or they want to learn how to do it before they outsource, or they genuinely want to learn how to do it).

Outreach

All you need to focus on is the 20% that want you to do it for them because these are the people that become your leads. 

And where to find this 20%? 

Figure out where your market is at. Fish where the fish are, not where the fisherman are.

This means you shouldn’t post your experiences on Facebook when your potential clients reside in, let’s say, Twitter. Do some research so you can find out where to share your experiences so that you get discovered by the right people.

You may then be wondering what experiences you can talk about, especially when you don’t even have paying clients in the first place. Here are 2 types of experiences that you can focus on and leverage from there:

  1. Your own experiences (this ties back to my other blog post on Being Your Own Client)
  2. Experiences from pro bono clients

Let’s cover each of these experiences.

Using Your Own Experiences

By implementing the skills you have learned to your own business, you gain so much. One benefit is that by becoming your own client, you gain valuable experiences and lessons which you can share with others.

Because let’s face it, why would people want to buy your products or skills when you haven’t even used it on yourself? Why would they trust you to take care of their businesses when you haven’t even tried and tested it on your own business? 

So let’s say if you decide to run Facebook Ads for other businesses, why would people choose you to run ads for them if you don’t even run ads for yourself? 

Which boils down to the second benefit of being your own client: you set yourself apart from others.

Experiencing firsthand what your skills can do for a business allows you to step into the shoes of other businesses and know exactly what they want. And knowing exactly what they want means knowing how you can help them succeed.

That is the most important aspect that you should possess in order to set yourself apart from others. It’s not all about the uniqueness of a skill, or how you package your business. 

Experiences from pro bono clients

I am a firm believer in the power of pro bono clients because even if you don’t benefit financially, there are so many other reasons why you should offer your services for free (to the select few).

In fact, the main reason why 2 of my businesses came into fruition is because I simply wanted to help a friend and I was curious to learn the skill that would solve my friend’s problem. 

If you want to read the stories on how I started both of my businesses, you may check them out here:

Or if you don’t want to go full pro bono, you can offer your services for a minimum fee for your first few clients and then take their results from there to share with other people (with the permission of your clients of course).

GET LEADS

Fortunately for me, getting leads wasn’t such a challenge because I am an admin of a 17,000-member Facebook group full of business owners. But don’t be deceived. 

Although it is now easy for me, it wasn’t always this way. In fact, it took me 5-6 years to get to where I am now. And the reason why it took that long is because I am an introvert and I wasn’t really comfortable sharing my experiences and actively getting leads. In fact, I share more about my introversion in another blog post.

So being able to reach the point where the leads come to you rather than the other way around, it will take time, and you can’t cheat the time that is required. 

And what does it take to plant the seeds so that leads will come naturally to you? 

It’s really all about leveraging the assets that you have, which includes all your experiences and the people that you personally know around you. Your personal network can be a great start for you to get leads or pro bono clients, and in my other article on Building Your Email List from Nothing, I talk about the 3Fs that you can outreach to:

  • Friends
  • Fans
  • Followers

The gist here is that when you’re building your network, you’re naturally going to connect with people that are doing the things that you want to do or the people that you look up to.

Make Friends, Get Leads

These people eventually become your friends, and as you continue to do good stuff and post about it, you start to gain fans and followers who look up to you as an authority and a go-to person for that thing. 

Gaining fans and followers takes time (and it especially took quite long for an introvert like me), but all you need is to consistently and shamelessly talk about what you do and how you do it. 

CHARGE £1,000

Let’s be real, charging £1,000 for your skill is not cheap. But it’s not impossible as well. The reason I stuck with this amount is because £1,000 is not too high that you restrict yourself from working with people, and it’s not too low that people have the wrong opinion of you and what you do.

But when I started, I didn’t charge £1,000 initially, because I needed to gain experience first and leverage from there. In fact, the first thing I sold online was for $7 (do note that this was YEARS ago), and slowly my prices increased.

Definitely you can start charging just a small amount for a start, but you will want to reach that point where you are comfortable with charging £1,000 for your services. You need to be sure that the value you deliver is worth that amount.

£1,000 does not have to be your price immediately after you launch your business. You can start small like me, or go pro bono. Earlier, I spoke about the benefits of pro bono clients and how these can provide long-term value for your business.

Charge £1,000

But there is a limit to pro bono clients.

I believe in doing stuff for free but only up to a point where you have enough assets that you can leverage and build your business from. You can’t offer your services for free indefinitely (because it defeats the purpose of why you’re reading this post, right?).

If the above point is not clear, if you offer your service for free indefinitely, you don’t have a business, you have a very expensive hobby.

And when you offer your services for free, don’t think that just because your client isn’t paying you, that you can take this partnership lightly. This means that whenever you make a mistake, don’t consider stopping and finding another pro bono client until you get the process right and deliver results. This is a mistake I made before and I don’t want you to do the same.

If you ever do make mistakes with a pro bono client, don’t quit. Find out what went wrong, stick with this client, and keep trying until you succeed. That way, when you share about this long and challenging experience, it would be an even more worthwhile read for your potential clients because it shows perseverance and ingenuity. 

Another thing you need to consider is the people that you sell your services to. Earlier, I mentioned that you need to sell your skills to the right people, and the right people are those that can actually afford your service. 

The amount you are charging must give them a positive return. For example, it makes no sense to charge £1,000 for a product that only sells at £500 because your client will be paying more than they are going to make, and as a result won’t get decent returns.

Once you are confident to charge £1,000 and you do better than the 70-80% of people who start an online business, you can then assess whether this amount is enough to make you reach the goals you have set for yourself.

So let’s say that your goal is to earn £10,000 per month, it is up to you whether you want to stick to charging £1,000 and getting 10 clients, or increasing your rate to £2,000 for just 5 clients. 

Determining the “math” side of your goals helps you figure out how much you want to charge down the line so that you don’t have to end up working for too many clients just to reach how much you want to earn monthly.

GET 5 CLIENTS

Naturally, if you decide to price your services at £1,000 per client and want to earn £5,000 monthly, you will need 5 clients to reach that goal.

This section is pretty straightforward, but it’s important for you to decide exactly how many clients you can work with monthly. Are you willing to work with more than 10 clients because you believe your services are worth less than £1,000? Or do you think that you can eventually grow a team so that you can get more clients? 

You need to determine how much freedom you want to do the things you want to do. That way, you are aware of how much bandwidth you have so that you will know how many clients you can take in at a time.

5 clients is just a number I set here, but I want to leave that decision up to you on whether you want to charge more and get less clients, or charge less and get more clients.

LEARN TO PLAY A GUITAR/LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE (OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO WITH YOUR TIME)

This step is obviously not required (unless you really do want to learn the guitar or study a new language). 

But the essence of this step is that because you have reached a point in your business where you are earning enough to not have to worry about any financial burdens, you have the time to focus on other things in life. 

Just like Abraham Maslowe’s Hierarchy of Needs, because you have your basic needs covered, you don’t need to worry about things such as paying your mortgage, debts or whatnot.

Hierarchy of Needs

The point I am trying to make here is that you shouldn’t forget to live your life because life is meant to be lived. 

And this ties back to deciding what your financial goals are for yourself so that you will know how much you should charge and how many clients you should work with. Do the math for yourself and figure out how much you need to be making per month so that you have your basic needs taken cared of.

So again, you don’t actually need to learn to play the guitar (which is something that I’m doing right now), but I highly recommend that live your life and don’t work for money…let money work for you.

HIRE AND TRAIN PEOPLE

If this isn’t your first time reading my blog posts, you may be wondering why I haven’t mentioned anything about systems and processes yet.

Tada, hello systems and processes!

In this step of hiring and training people, it is crucial that before you do so, you need to have systems and processes in place so that when you do decide to hire people, you know that they can do the job the same way you would.

Documentation is also very important because as you get good at your skill, you’re going to develop your own processes based on the way you think and do stuff. 

Just remember that when you hire someone new, you can’t expect this person to learn the ropes right away. There will be an input delay at the start meaning that whenever you get a client, there will be a lag from your end because you still need to train that new person before he/she can get the desired results for your client.

Hiring and training someone will need time and effort from your end, but once you get past that point, you can have that person managing your clients without you.

Luckily, there are a bunch of project management tools right now such as Trello, Teamwork, Asana, or Monday.com that can help you train your new team member smoothly. And if you want to find awesome virtual team members, you can go to places such as Upwork, Fiverr, or Onlinejobs.ph.

For more details on how you can hire and train virtual team members to grow your business, check out the full guide here.

SCALE TO THE MOON LIKE DOGE 

Just like the Dogecoin, once you establish a strong financial foundation, you can get your money working for you and you have the option to scale and increase your value even more.

Doge Coin

Scaling can mean different things for different people. It can mean setting up an agency, raising your prices, or adding more people and it all depends on your personal goals.

And once you have reached the point that you can scale (assuming this means you grow your team and increase the price of your services), you have even more time to do the things you want to do or focus on more important aspects of the business. 

Personally, scaling is charging a premium for my services and putting a guarantee on the work that we do. By scaling, I can afford to work with fewer clients and focus on doing the things that I want to do.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about the money. In fact, for me, it never was. I focus more on the experiences I provide for myself, my team, and my clients. Because for me, it’s more about the experience of doing the thing over making money doing the thing.

Yes, money is nice. But the reason why I want to earn more and have more personal time is because my goal is to make an impact through focus on more quality services to business owners. That way, I can really focus on helping my clients run profitable businesses.

And on the flipside, I can use the money that I earned to lift people up, such as the members of my team. 

But to reach that point, I’m focusing on creating even more systems and processes. That way, when I do focus on outreaching to more people and scaling my business, I am confident that I provide the right value at the right price.

JUST DO IT

If you have reached the end of this blog post, congratulations.

You have now reached the point where you are sure you want to start an online business, or already have an online business but want to scale to the moon (like doge), take the core ideas that I have shared here and implement them patiently and consistently.

Don’t worry about choosing the right tool to use, the right message to craft, or the right skill to learn. According to Shia Labeouf…

Just Do It

Just go out there and do stuff and the very act of doing stuff gets you moving. 

It doesn’t benefit you to sit and procrastinate to think about making everything perfect. Too much planning and overthinking will get you nowhere until you take the first step. 

Take that first step without worrying too much about the things that come down the road. And when you get down the road and do the actual steps, then you can start worrying about the next big thing from there. 

As quoted by Zig Ziglar, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

So let that sit, digest it, and then go take action and help other people get what they want.  

See you at the moon…with doge.

Open post

My Experiences in Managing a Virtual Team

Thanks to the Rona and the “new normal, businesses and teams are going virtual quicker than you can say “I work from home.” Work will never be the same again, and this new normal has opened the eyes of everyone from across the globe to the possibilities of remote work, remote workforce and the importance of managing a virtual team.

Businesses that used to be in a traditional office setting are now finding ways to adapt and make the virtual space work for them, their teams and their organization. Thankfully, tools like Slack and Teamwork are making the virtual working space much more manageable.

Even after this pandemic is over and the much-awaited vaccine saves the world, it won’t be a surprise if many businesses choose to stick to this remote work arrangement. In my opinion, because this type of arrangement has been working for me, I’m sure other businesses have experienced positive outcomes from this set up as well and will choose to continue it.

Some people are still learning the ropes in this “new normal” working situation, while others like me, have been virtual for a little now. Matter of fact, we are so virtual, that some of us have built virtual businesses and we have been working this way for several years now.

What started out for me as an experiment (more on that later), soon became my “saving grace” ever since the pandemic shook the entire world. Looking back, starting a virtual team was one of the best decisions I have ever made because of how quickly I was able to adapt to this global phenomenon (together with my team as well).

Working remotely

And because managing my own virtual team was a puzzle that I wanted to solve, I had no idea that what I have achieved now was even possible through the people that I have hired. It’s amazing how I have grown my businesses into what they are today all by working with my virtual team members… no, you can’t have them, they are mine (however you can start building your team by following THIS). 

It’s no surprise that managing a virtual team is different from a physical one, but the core principles of leadership and management still stand. And I admit, I am no expert in this field as well, but I am lucky to be with team members who were willing to experiment with me along the way and learn what is the right way to manage the business with members from all around the globe. 

I have been working with my virtual team for about 6 years now, and learning how to manage everyone (including myself) is a never-ending process. One that I am going to share here in the hopes that you gain some nuggets of wisdom from my personal experiences and apply them to building and growing your own virtual team. 

In this blog post, I am going to talk about this experiment that ended up being something that’s changed my business forever. I will be sharing with you everything that I have encountered while growing and managing my own virtual team including the following:

  • The Idea That Started It All
  • My First Attempt at Outsourcing
  • Focusing on the Bigger Picture
  • The Challenges I/we have faced and how we overcame them
  • Lessons Learned Managing a Virtual Team
  • The Rise of the Tide

THE IDEA THAT STARTED IT ALL

I have always wanted to own a business. 

Back when I was a teenager, I remember coming across the Cashflow Quadrant in Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad, and I promised myself that when I “made it”, I would make it as a “Business Owner”.

I want to have leverage and I want to earn money without having to worry about taking a 2-week holiday not earning because I was on a holiday.

Cashflow Quadrant

But it’s interesting how my main reason for starting a business has changed as I grew older (maturity, perhaps?). Initially, I just wanted to earn more money so I could live a good life. But eventually, I realised that owning a business and earning money can mean so much more. It can mean making an impact as well and amplifying that impact through the business and the money it has made. 

So now with my business, along with the team, I am mostly driven by the fact that I want to make an impact on other people’s lives, mine, my team and our clients’.

Anyway, back to pre-Tega before all the making an impact mind shift happened.

Because I was fixated on becoming a business owner, I took it upon myself to learn how to start. I needed to figure out a way to create leverage so I could be an actual business owner.

And that is when I came across the idea of outsourcing. Whilst scrolling through Facebook and hearing about so many people’s experience with it and how it has helped them grow and scale their business, is what spoke to my curiosity and led me to actively seek out material that spoke about outsourcing and scaling, and read a few life-changing books like Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week and Mike Michalowicz’ Clockwork.

I was curious to know what this outsourcing thing and what it could do for me. 

And thus began the experimentation.

MY FIRST ATTEMPTS AT OUTSOURCING

Before I was able to successfully hire my first virtual team member, Mark, I experienced a number of stumbles with less than stellar results.

My very first attempt at hiring a remote worker was for my friend. Let’s call him James (not his real name).

James was a web developer and needed an extra hand to help him with his work so he could add more clients to his business. Naturally, James needed another web developer to do this. And me, being the curious and helpful person that I am, thought that this would be a great way to see how this whole outsourcing thing works.

So, I made a job post on Upwork (formerly Elance-oDesk), received 3 candidates, chose the guy who responded first and immediately hired him. That’s all I did. And yes, if you read my other blog post on how to hire virtual assistants, you will KNOW that “process” sounds rather unlike the more experienced Tega now. 

What happened was because I never actually interviewed this person, I never got to assess whether he would be a good fit for James. And lo and behold, the two indeed weren’t a good fit and the partnership did not last very long. 

To make things worse, I had to refund James AND pay the web developer since James didn’t pay him. Bummer.

As unfortunate as it sounds, it was a reality check for me and had me think long and hard about what went wrong. 

A few months after that attempt, I decided to get back to my laboratory and find out what went wrong and how exactly to make things right. This is when I did even more research on outsourcing which included reading John Jonas’ blog.

I realised that I needed to have a proper system in place when hiring. This involved actually interviewing the candidates and finding out WHO they were to avoid any personality clashes just like with the whole James shenanigan.

Luckily enough, my friend Adil who owns a podcast also needed some help and I brought up the idea of bringing a virtual team member on board. Adil gladly agreed and offered to split the fee of the remote worker with me. 

And because this was such an enticing offer, I took it as a sign to start my outsourcing journey again equipped with all the new things I have learned and the processes I have put in place.

This was when I found Mark. 

I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly he was picking up the tasks I asked him to do (most of which he didn’t have experience with before), tasks included Digital Marketing, working with ClickFunnels, setting up Facebook Ads, and doing some video editing. Mark proved his competency and opened my eyes to how good outsourcing actually is when you get it right.

Here was a guy (living halfway around the world) who didn’t know tons of the things I asked him to do, but learned those things in a relatively short period of time.

VA from the Philippines

He was my first successful hire and this is when the gears in my head started turning.

But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows after my first hire. I still had a lot to learn.

Unfortunately, the gears in my head turned so fast that I got overly excited and immediately sought my 2nd virtual team member a week after I hired Mark…without following the systems I used to hire Mark.

I got too confident in hiring an additional virtual team member that I never even considered if this person would even have enough work, to begin with! To top it all off, I didn’t even provide any training and I wasn’t in a place that I could actually afford to add another team member (I was still operating in the self-employed box during this time). This person didn’t stay very long, and this gave me another reality check that I still wasn’t as competent as I thought I was.

So, going back to the drawing board, I needed to fine-tune my systems, processes, SOPs, training modules and everything else even more before I swam deeper into the ocean of outsourcing and grow my team. 

It took several months and a few failed attempts (or learnings as I’d like to call them), before I was able to have the systems and processes in place I am using now to hire virtual team members for myself and my clients. 

Now that I have built up my experience, I realised that every virtual team member I wasn’t able to keep was just a guide that led me in the right direction to build the awesome team that I have today. And with my current team, I am able to focus on other aspects of the business that will help us scale, grow, and eventually make an impact on the people around me. 

FOCUSING ON THE BIGGER PICTURE

With all these testimonials online of entrepreneurs obtaining more freedom through outsourcing, it’s amusing how I never focused on this benefit when I started my own virtual team. 

I was never really set on experiencing the benefits of this outsourcing “hype” simply because people say they can work 4 hours a week and travel the world while other people did the work for them (though I was initially attracted to starting a business because of these same benefits). Living a life of freedom (the typical “entrepreneur” variety) wasn’t my main mission of starting a virtual team and growing a business. 

In fact, that barely crossed my mind because I was driven more by curiosity about the outsourcing practice than anything else.

Because I stepped up to the plate with the mindset of just “experimenting and seeing where it goes,” I never fully let go of the business so I could have more “me” time (in fact, I am still fully involved in the business and am rather busy myself). 

But this doesn’t mean that managing a virtual team hasn’t helped me significantly. In fact, I am now able to personally focus on bigger leverage tasks in the business such as looking for clients, creating a direction for the team and helping the team grow and change their perspectives. 

I now have more freedom mentally because I have team members that I can rely on to take care of all the nitty-gritty details. My virtual team has helped me get out of situations that would have required me to keep a close eye on because I have learned how to properly delegate everything. 

The systems and processes that I have established have allowed me to arrive at a place where I can trust my team members to do the work without me having to be a taskmaster. This has given me peace of mind and alleviated my “perfectionist disease” to some degree.

Inner control freak

Although I have no doubt that my competent virtual team members would be able to do their job, I doubt everything would go as smoothly as it does, if it wasn’t for the systems and processes in place. I realised how important it is to set up the playground before you can let your virtual team members freely do the things you need them to do and expect the results that you desire.

But even after everything is in place, managing a virtual team isn’t always a bed of roses…

CHALLENGES IN MANAGING A VIRTUAL TEAM

Each and every entrepreneur who is managing a virtual team has their own challenges for sure. 

Definitely one of my challenges during the early stages of this “experiment” was making sure that the person I hired has enough work to do. Not only that, you need to make sure that with the amount of work you are giving, you need to be able to afford the compensation.

I admit that I lost a virtual team member because I wasn’t able to pay her fairly since I couldn’t really afford it yet. Plus, she never communicated this to me so I assumed everything was fine until I realised that she was finding more clients behind my back…

So before you decide to hire someone, you need to be in a place where you can actually afford it and that the tasks you delegate justify the compensation you are giving.

And speaking of tasks, it took me a while to delegate these as well.

Earlier in this blog post, I mentioned that I am a bit of a control freak and have something I call the perfectionist disease. For someone who wants to make sure everything is under control, learning how to let go and delegate tasks to someone else can be quite difficult. 

I have this tendency of taking on most of the tasks instead of passing them on to the team, which kind of defeats the purpose of why I have a team in the first place, right? 

This continues to be a learning process for me and I am slowly fixing this by putting systems and processes in place to help open the lines of communication and automate and standardize the workflow. That way, things are done the way I want them to be done and we all know what comes after each step.

Systems and Processes

Using automation, I can streamline some processes in the business. For example, getting and onboarding a new client becomes much easier to manage because I can pass the baton to the next member of the team, without having to do it physically. The person responsible for a task is automatically made aware of what they have to do it and when they have to have it done. 

Another challenge for me was learning how to manage people and myself better. Having people work for you and knowing how to manage them can get quite challenging, especially if you don’t have the confidence.

One thing I found difficult was making sure that my team members were not taking on too much or too little work, and also communicating which tasks should be prioritized and accomplished first. It becomes especially challenging as the team grows and you start to manage more people.

Eventually, I learned that communication is key and constantly checking in on your team members ensures that everyone is managing the work well.

LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED MANAGING A VIRTUAL TEAM

Delegate, Don’t Abdicate 

I talked about this in my other blog post on How to Find Great Virtual Team Members. When people hire a virtual team member, they think that this person is going to be a mind-reader and know exactly what to do and will just get it done. 

From my experience, this is far from the truth. I used to get frustrated when someone new on the team wouldn’t get a task right after I had explained it the third time. I’d automatically default to thinking “that things would be much quicker if I did everything myself instead”. 

Eventually, I realised that what I was abdicating responsibility instead of delegating. With the former, you’re simply passing responsibility to someone else and expecting that they can instantly submit work that matches your standards.

That is something that you should not expect ESPECIALLY not at the start. Team members have to work to a point where there is enough trust for you to hand over responsibility.

Delegate, don't abdicate

Rather than abdicate, delegate instead. This means that you take the time and effort to manage and train this person so that eventually, he or she will get things done according to how you like them to be done. And yes, it does take time and effort, but in the long run, this will result in quality work and team members who choose to stay and buy in more to the business. 

And because you need to train them properly, you also need to be open to the idea that they will make mistakes along the way until they become proficient. 

Systemize, Systemize, Systemize

I am a firm believer in systems and processes, given the story of Rich Dad Poor Dad and my belief that to “Make it” I  gotta make it as a Business Owner.

When you bring someone else into the business, it’s very tempting to say,“Bob can you please do X?” and then expect Bob to know everything and remember the things he did. 

If you don’t have systems in place and then give them the same task a few weeks later, you can’t expect them to remember every single thing he did the first time. If you don’t document your processes, doing repetitive tasks becomes a headache in itself because you won’t have a standardized workflow and you will have team members constantly asking you how to complete their tasks. 

Learn to Trust Your Team

If you hire someone virtually, there is a very small chance that that person will be able to scam and take advantage of you. But what I find is that a majority of them won’t because they need a job and you have jobs that need to be done.

For those who are new to outsourcing, it can be difficult to pass on your tasks to someone you haven’t met and worked with personally. But you need to start the relationship off on the right foot by learning to trust your team.

And if your virtual team members forget something or makes a mistake, trust as well that there is no malicious intent on their end and it could be a result of the lack of experience or, in some rare cases, them not knowing how to communicate their problems with you.

For control freaks like me, you need to get comfortable with letting go and trusting that someone else will do the tasks for you.

THE RISING TIDE…

All around me, I see my entrepreneurial friends make the decision to start a virtual team when they realise they can’t run their businesses on their own anymore. And this isn’t just with my friends. In fact, according to ScienceDirect, “The emergence of COVID-19 has presented employees and employers new challenges as many employees and managers were forced to work in a remote environment for the first time.”

So it’s no surprise that we have witnessed a growth in the virtual workplace and people hiring virtual team members, and employees looking for online jobs.

But with the rise in popularity of remote teams also comes its challenges. Things like figuring out the process when hiring someone and knowing whether that someone fits the WHO you are looking for can be a challenge especially when you can’t meet that person physically.

Other challenges involve knowing what tools to use to track productivity, output, projects and other things that need to be tracked in order to know whether a team member is doing the work well.

You also have problems with time zone differences since outsourcing mostly involves hiring people from countries in Asia such as China, India or the Philippines. Having team members from all around the world pose a challenge when you need to set up team calls.

I am no exception from encountering these types of problems, but as I mentioned, I have learned a lot in these 6 years and am continuing to learn. 

I’ve had friends ask me how to find, train, and manage the right people for their business because I’ve been doing this for several years already. This was what made me decide to write a complete guide on How to Find Great Virtual Team Members, and this process has helped me, and other entrepreneurs successfully grow their virtual team.

Because at the end of the day, when you hire someone, you don’t hire for skill. Rather, you hire someone for their values because I found that 8 out of 10 times, if you don’t hire someone with the right personality, that person won’t stay long in the business and you’ll end up right back where you started.

Open post

The Best Podcast Equipment: Everything You Need to Know

The arduous phase of planning your podcast doesn’t end with coming up with valuable content. In fact, even if podcasts are purely audio, don’t be deceived by all the hard work that gets done behind the scenes. There’s more to it than meets the eye, such as finding the best podcast equipment.

Sound quality isn’t a huge deal-breaker when it comes to podcasts. But if you truly want to get your message out there in the best way possible, you will want to make sure that your podcast offers a pleasant listening experience. 

A few months ago, I posted about How to Start and Launch a Podcast to Build Your Brand.

So I figured that the next thing I should write is about how to actually execute starting your podcast through finding the best podcast equipment for you.

Now the problem lies in finding which podcast equipment you need. Is it necessary to invest in an expensive microphone or can you just record with your iPhone? Is it important to invest in your recording setup when you’ve already soundproofed your room? Do you need to break the bank when investing in the right hardware and software?

Best Podcast Equipment

There are TONS of sources out there to answer these questions, that it’s impossible to just go through only 5 sites to make an informed decision. 

There is just so much to choose from and so many recommendations. How will you know where to start? Not only that, how will you know if you need let’s say, a boom arm or not? In fact, what even is a boom arm? What is a shock mount? So many terms!

Rest assured that this article will answer all those questions, so you don’t have to keep jumping from one site to another to figure out which podcast equipment is for you.

TEGA’S RESEARCH REVELATIONS

While writing this article in trying to find THE best option for you, I came to realize that there actually is no one best option. These are some of the things that I have discovered and that you should also take note of when deciding on which equipment to get:

  1. There are TONS of options to choose from, and there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation. This will all depend on your budget and the needs of your podcast and recording setup. 
  2. There are brands that offer premium options and others that offer budget options. And remember that just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it’s perfect and worth splurging on. Spend SMARTLY and WISELY, even if you have the budget to go for the most premium option.
  3. Every podcast equipment has their pros and cons, and it will always depend on whether you think this is what YOU need.
  4. Each person has their own recommended product, and there is no PERFECT option for you. I trust that you will be able to make the right decision that fits your needs. 
  5. It’s okay to start small. If you are not sure yet on where this podcast journey will take you, don’t spend so much on equipment. Once your podcast grows and progresses, you can always upgrade gradually and spend more.

Without further ado, let me show you what are the things you need to make your podcasts sound amazing for your listeners.

WHAT YOU NEED

Below is a breakdown of the type of equipment (hardware and software) you will need for your podcast.

For beginners, these are the types of equipment that you already have with you, such as:

  • Cell phone
  • Headsets

For intermediate users, these are slightly more advanced tools that require a bit more expertise. But the time and money it will take to acquire these tools will be offset by the significance in improvement of your audio quality:

For advanced users, these are a whole bunch of other tools that you may need depending on the nature and needs of your podcast:

I know that this is a long list, and I want to tell you beforehand that you do not need EVERYTHING here. Again, it will depend on which ones are suitable to your needs and budget, and even on your podcast format.

So, how was I able to come up with this list?

THIS IS A COMPILATION OF MORE THAN 50 SOURCES

The reason why I titled this article as such is because after doing my own research, I noticed that not all of them gave a complete list of the equipment you need. If you were to do your own personal research, you will end up having to jump through several different resources just like I did.

After scouring through more than 50 sources, I was able to make a list of some of the most highly recommended products and equipment out there as testified by podcasters for fellow podcasters who want to start out.

My goal for this article is for it to be the one-stop-shop for ALL the types of equipment you need to start your podcast. I did my best to make sure I filled in all the blanks so that it saves you time and doesn’t leave you wondering if you’ve missed out on anything else.

Although this list isn’t absolute and super detailed, feel free to do even more research on the products below. Rest assured that this article would make a good basis for you to get started.

I also made it a point to arrange each product from least expensive to most expensive, and even sub-categorized some of them. 

Another point I want to make is that I tried to avoid sounding as technical as possible so that everything is understandable for you. Again, everything listed here is a compilation of many other reliable resources, so these are all excellent recommendations.

Last thing I want to let you know is that I will not be taking ANY profit from any of the recommended products below. These are all based on pure research with no selfish interests in mind.

I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this article and I hope you will enjoy it as informative and useful as I do.

THE COMPLETE LIST OF THE BEST PODCAST EQUIPMENT

Cell Phone and Headset

The best way to get started without being bogged down by all these tools is to start with what you have -- your personal cell phone and earphones. By simply using the recording app on your phone to record your podcast, and going to an editing tool such as Audacity (more on this later) to make simple edits, you will be able to start a podcast literally at the tip of your fingers.

I won’t be getting into any details as to what phone or basic earphones work best because I want you to work with what you have, if you are going for these types of tools to start with.

Microphones 

Investing in a microphone is important because although it is possible to record using earbuds or directly on your phone or laptop, that method will not offer a pleasant listening experience for your audience.

Choosing a microphone doesn’t always mean that the most expensive one is the one that offers the best quality. This will depend on other factors as well such as your environment, podcast structure, and personal preference. 

Before we get started, here are just a few terms that you may want to familiarize yourself with:

  • USB Microphone – this is a type of microphone that lets you directly connect your microphone to your laptop or computer, making it very easy to setup.
  • XLR Microphone – although this microphone requires a more complex setup, you will definitely want to upgrade to one in the future because it offers better quality.
  • Dynamic Microphone – from the term “dynamic,” these provide great recording quality in all sorts of environments. This allows you to record either at home or on the road. 
  • Condenser Microphone – this is for more professional-sounding recordings because it produces a clearer, crisper sound. These are usually more expensive than dynamic microphones and need a professional setup. 

Here are some of the best microphones you can choose from that fall under a wide variety of price ranges:

ENTRY-LEVEL: Samson Q2U (Dynamic)

What makes this microphone a good option is that it is budget-friendly and offers both USB and XLR connections. What this means is that you can connect it both directly to your laptop via the USB port, or invest in an audio interface (we will talk about this in detail later) for the XLR component. Because it is so versatile, this would make a great beginner’s microphone.

Samson Q2U

ENTRY-LEVEL: AUDIO-TECHNICA ATR 2100 (Dynamic) 

The ATR 2100 is very similar to the Samson Q2U in that it also has both USB and XLR connections. Although the Samson Q2U, according to most reviews, is more susceptible to P-pops, it also offers more value-for-money compared to the ATR 2100. They are both similar in terms of design and everything else, but if you are willing to spend more for slightly better sound quality, then the ATR 2100 is the way to go.

MID-RANGE: BLUE YETI (Condenser)

The Blue Yeti is one of the most popular microphones out there because of its great audio quality and recording options. This microphone allows you to set it up so that it can record solo shows, two-person interviews, and group interviews, all with just one mic! Audio quality isn’t excellent compared to more expensive microphones, but it does the job and offers a wide range of features.

Blue Yeti

MID-RANGE: RODE PODCASTER/PROCASTER (Dynamic)

These two are about identical in terms of sound quality and are great choices as well. The Rode Podcaster is a USB microphone while the Rode Procaster is an XLR one. Since they are both dynamic microphones, this means that they don’t pick up a lot of background noise, and so would be great for home use.

Rode Podcaster

HIGH QUALITY: HEIL PR-40 (Dynamic) 

This is another popular microphone testified by many podcasters. Though many reviews say that this is over-hyped and although sound quality is good, it is a bit overpriced for its quality. But for people who have the budget and see what this hype is all about, feel free to give it a go.

Heil Sound PR-40

HIGH QUALITY: RODE NT1-A (Condenser)

Although this microphone is in the higher price range, it comes with a shock mount and pop filter. It offers a super rich sound and is great for someone who is looking to upgrade microphones and sound more professional.

Rode NT1-A

PRO: SHURE SM7B (Dynamic)

Probably one of the reasons why the Shure SM7b is so legendary is because it has been used by Joe Rogan since day one. This microphone is very well-built and the sound quality is superb. But despite this microphone’s amazing quality, this isn’t recommended for beginners due to how sensitive it is to sound. This type of microphone requires a professional studio setup and skilled mic technique. But once you do decide to go pro, this is the way to go.

Shure SM7B

Pop Filter

So, what is a pop filter and what does it do? Simply put, a pop filter prevents any plosives (harsh p’s, t’s and k’s when you speak). You’d definitely want to avoid any plosives in your podcast because it will annoy the ears of your listeners. 

Another unusual benefit of the pop filter is that it lengthens the lifespan of your microphone because it acts as a shield to any saliva that might land on your mic (gross, but true).

Here are some of the most recommended pop filters:

NADY MPF-6 

Nady MP-6 is one of the most popular filters out there because of its affordability and great performance. If you are looking for a basic pop-filter that isn’t expensive, many podcasters recommend this one.

Nady MPF-6

BLUE THE POP 

If you recall, we mentioned Blue Yeti as one of the best microphones out there. Blue made a pop filter to match with that, and that is Blue the Pop. This filter is not exclusive to the Blue Yeti but would be the perfect match if you have decided to get the Blue Yeti.

STEDMAN CORPORATION PROSCREEN XL 

This leads more towards the high-end, professional-level Pop Filters, and would make a great investment. The premium material and design effectively remove any plosives, but if you are on a budget and plosives for you aren’t that much of a problem, you can go for the cheaper options above.

Stedman Proscreen

Headphones 

Using headphones while recording a podcast is crucial because it helps you become more aware of how you sound. Hearing yourself while you speak may seem weird at the beginning, but you will get used to it over time and will learn how to adjust your voice when necessary.

There are some people who do not record with headphones, but for the most part, it is a great practice to do.

Just like microphones, there are tons of headphones out there that you can choose from. There are closed-back headphones, open-back headphones, on-ear headphones, over-ear headphones, and so on. 

It may get overwhelming, but you must always get back to the core purpose of these headphones. Which is to record a podcast, right?

For recording podcasts, you will need to identify which type of headphone works best. 

The best type of headphones for podcasts is closed-back. Because it’s closed-back, it prevents sounds from leaking back into the microphone. This is called audio bleeding and will affect the sound quality of your recordings. 

So here are some of the best closed-back headphones out there...

AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-M50X

This is one of the best budget headphones out there. Not only is it comfortable, but it’s also very portable because it can be folded into a compact design. The balance between price, performance, and comfortability is what makes these headphones one of the most popular in the industry.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

BEYERDYNAMIC DT PRO 80 

The Beyerdynamic DT Pro 80 boasts of its comfort and durability. What makes it ultra-comfortable is its furry padding, which indeed contributes to its comfortability, but may not be hygienic overtime. Best not to share these headphones with anyone else!

BEYERDYNAMIC DT PRO 80

SHURE SRH 1540

If budget isn’t an issue, then the Shure SRH 1540 is something you would definitely want to upgrade to. Because of how comfortable it is, you’ll be able to wear it for hours at a time. This is more of a luxury item rather than something you would want to use as a beginner.

Shure SRH1540

Mixers

A mixer is like an audio input in a sense that it connects multiple inputs together. But the difference with the mixer over the audio input is that the former gives you more control over these various inputs. 

It’s just like being the conductor of an orchestra and your goal is to make sure all instruments harmoniously work together. Mixers are also generally more expensive than audio inputs.  

The main reason why you would want to invest in a mixer is if you are planning on hosting several guests on your show and you need to make more adjustments to ensure consistency of sound quality.

Here are some of the most recommended mixers:

2 PERSON PODCAST: BEHRINGER XENYX Q502 USB 

The Behringer Xenyx Q502 USB is great if you are looking for an affordable, compact, on-the-go mixer. This has all the basics you need to record a solo and 2-person podcast. But because of how basic it is, you will want to find a more complex mixer as your podcast progresses.

Behringer Xenyx Q502

2 PERSON PODCAST: YAMAHA AG03/AG06 

These two are the best mixers for solo and 2 person podcasts because of how easy it is to use. Both beginners and experienced podcasters alike will be able to utilize the features of this mixer. It is also compatible to Apple devices and produces great sound quality.

Yamaha AG03

MULTI-PERSON PODCAST: MACKIE PRO FX8V2 

This is one of the best mixers under $200. It has some distinguishing features such as the ReadyFX effects engine with 16 sound effects, a unique graphic EQ, and USB recording/playback. This would make a great investment.

Mackie ProFXv2

MULTI-PERSON PODCAST: YAMAHA MG10 XU 

Just like the Yamaha AG03/AG06, this model is also a reliable and perfect USB mixer for beginners. It also has built-in sound effects, powerful digital processing, and a durable design.

YAMAHA MG10XU

MULTI-PERSON PODCAST: BEHRINGER XENYX 1204USB

Being the priciest among the three, the Behringer Xenyx 1204USB offers premium sounds in a compact module. What’s great about this compared to the Yamaha MG10 XU is that this one has sliders instead of knobs, which are more precise and easier to adjust. This would make a great choice if you are planning on upgrading.

Behringer Xenyx 1204USB

Boom Arm 

If you’ve never heard of a boom arm, it’s what holds a microphone in place, which is an additional plus. 

Purchasing a boom arm isn’t an absolute necessary requirement, but it offers a lot of convenience and other benefits. Most of the time, holding the microphone by hand isn’t advisable because of the vibrations and the occasional switching of the mic from one hand to another.

A boom arm also saves up a lot of desk space, and since the microphone is already held by the boom arm, whenever it’s time to record, all you need to do is simply pull the boom arm towards you.

Here are some boom arms recommended by many podcasters.

NEEWER NW35

This is one of the cheapest options out there but is a great boom arm for beginners because it does the job. One of the things you need to take note of before purchasing this is that your microphone should not exceed 1 kilogram (Blue Yeti is not suitable) because the boom arm is so lightweight.

Neewer NW-35

RODE PSA1 

The Rode PSA1 is an extremely popular choice among podcasters and although it is on the pricier side, one great feature about this is that it rotates 360 degrees and is highly flexible. Also, since the springs are internal, it doesn’t produce much sound when you adjust.

RODE PSA 1

HEIL PL2T

If you have a heavier microphone like the Blue Yeti, there have been reviews saying that the Heil PL2T is able to support this. It also offers 360-degree rotation and has internal springs.

Heil Sound PL-2T

Shock Mount 

Most microphone brands already offer compatible shock mounts, but it is great to invest in a universal one so you can switch between mics. The purpose of the shock mount is to absorb any additional noise from vibrations caused by accidentally touching the mic or moving the boom arm too much. It removes all unnecessary sounds, contributing to an even better listening experience.

Let’s take a look at two of the most popular and recommended universal shock mounts.

LYXPRO MKS1-B CONDENSER SPIDER 

The LyxPro MKS1-B Condenser Spider is a budget universal shock mount. Because of its spider-like design, it is versatile with most microphones, although it works best with larger ones.

LyxPro MKS1-B

RYCOTE INVISION UNIVERSAL SHOCK MOUNT

This is one of the most regarded universal shock mounts out there because of how durable and sturdy it is. One of its greatest features is its four screws with rubber grips that really keep the mic in place. 

RYCOTE INVISION UNIVERSAL SHOCK MOUNT

Microphone/XLR/USB Cables

Cables can sometimes be overlooked because they seem like such a minor component of the entire setup. But investing in good cables is a wise choice because remember that these are what provide connection between devices. It is also important to take note that high-quality cables will only make sense if you invest in good equipment as well.

Great cables offer better signal and last much longer. And if you are just a beginner and have a small area, you do not need to invest in long cables because it will only take up more space. 

Here are three of the most recommended cables.

LYXPRO

One of the nice features of this cable is that it comes in different colors and is very affordable. If you are someone who wants to color code to keep things organized, then this is one of the go-to budget cables out there.

LyxPro

MOGAMI SILVER

Mogami is a well-known cable manufacturer and they offer a variety of lengths from 2 feet to 100 feet. This is one of their budget-friendly cables because the materials being used are more economical. But Mogami assures that quality is not sacrificed.

Mogami Silver Series

MOGAMI GOLD STUDIO

This is the premium version of the Mogami Silver. This cable is the most expensive one among the three but is a worthwhile investment if you don’t want to keep upgrading down the line.

MOGAMI GOLD STUDIO

Mic Activator

Mic Activators are only needed if you have a microphone that has low sensitivity, which is the case for dynamic microphones. I don't want to get too technical here but investing in a mic activator if you have a dynamic microphone will be worthwhile if you want better sound quality.

CLOUDLIFTER CL-1 

This is the most recommended and most popular mic activator out there. This is great for a home studio where a single microphone needs a signal boost to connect to the rest of the recording setup. 

If you need multiple inputs, you can go for the Cloudlifter CL-4 which allows for four independent input sources.

Cloudlifter CL-1

Audio Interface

Earlier, we talked about XLR Microphones that need to be connected to Audio Interfaces. The purpose of an Audio Interface is to connect the microphone to the computer. In simple terms, an audio interface translates the signal coming from your microphone into a digital one, so it is understood by the computer.

The advantage of passing through an interface first rather than connecting directly to the computer is because the former offers more connectivity options, meaning you have the option to connect more devices to improve the quality of your recordings.

To connect the interface to your computer/laptop, you will simply need to plug it via a USB, Thunderbolt, or Fire-Wire cable. 

Below, we will talk about several types of interfaces with options to connect to more microphones if the need arises, especially for podcasts with more than one host:

SOLO: FOCUSRITE SCARLETT SOLO 

This is the most recommended audio interface for 1 XLR input. Focusrite is an excellent brand altogether and will be mentioned several more times in this section just because of how praised it is by other podcasters.

Focusrite Scarlett Solo

SOLO: STEINBERG UR12 USB AUDIO INTERFACE

The Steinberg UR12 is very similar to the Scarlett Solo, but with a few differences. The Scarlett Solo can work in more frequencies, while the Steinberg only works on 192 kHz frequency. But the benefit of the Steinberg UR12 is that it is compatible with more devices like laptops, desktops and even iPads, so this option would be much better if you are working with more devices.

2 INPUTS: PRESONUS AUDIOBOX iTWO

The PreSonus AudioBox iTwo is a great option if you are on a budget. This audio interface is worth considering because of its wide offer of features given its cheaper price point. PreSonus is also a very reliable brand so you can be sure that their products are reliable and durable.

2 INPUTS: FOCUSRITE SCARLETT 2i2 (3RD GEN)

Just like the Scarlett Solo, the Scarlett 2i2 is equally as popular. What makes it so popular is its easy setup, portability, and compatibility with iOS, Mac, and Windows. Many users also commend the Scarlett for its ultra-crisp sound compared to other brands. Most people would go directly for this option over the Scarlett Solo because of the small price difference with the fact that it can connect more microphones.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

4 INPUTS: PRESONUS STUDIO 68 

The PreSonus Studio 68 is a high-quality interface with easy usability, amazing sound, and versatility. Because of its versatile interface, it is great for home-use, especially because it’s not that expensive considering that it has 4 inputs.

PreSonus Studio 68

4 INPUTS: TASCAM US 4X4 

If you are looking for another solid option, then Tascam would make a great choice. It is one of the simplest and most comfortable interfaces to use because of how it is designed.

TASCAM US-4x4

8+ INPUTS: BEHRINGER U-PHORIA 1820 

The Behringer U-Phoria 1820 would make a good choice if you are on a budget. It is compatible with most DAWs (we will cover this more later) and iPad/Android Devices. It doesn’t have as many features as the next option, the PreSonus Studio 1824C, but is enough for the price you pay.

BEHRINGER U-PHORIA

8+ INPUTS: PRESONUS STUDIO 1824C 

PreSonus yet again delivers another great product with its Studio 1824C which allows for multiple inputs and outputs and a whole ton of other features. It is also compatible with most DAWs (we will cover this more later) and iPad/Android Devices

PreSonus Studio 1824c

Headphone Amplifier 

You will only need a headphone amplifier if you will be interviewing guests in the same space. The purpose of a headphone amp is so that each person can control the volume of their headphones. Each person has their own preference when it comes to the volume level, so you want to make sure everyone is comfortable when recording.

BEHRINGER MICROAMP HA400

This is said to be the cheapest and most reliable option in the market. Because it uses a dedicated power supply, you don’t lose that much level when you split the signal 4-ways.

Behringer Microamp HA400

ART HEADAMP4 

The Art HeadAmp5 is slightly more expensive than the Behringer MicroAMP HA400 but has clearer signal and even comes with headphone jacks for both consumer and pro headphones without an adapter.

ART HeadAMP4

PRESONUS HP4 

The great thing about this headphone amplifier is that it offers more functionality compared to the other two, but it is also the most expensive. This also has balanced stereo outputs, meaning better signal and better audio quality. If you had the budget, this would be the best option since it is the most reliable.

PreSonus HP4 4-Channel

Portable Recorder 

A portable recorder will make a good investment if you foresee yourself to be on the road when recording your podcasts. This is a suitable device for personal interviews outside of your studio. And because of its portability, you will need to consider things such as battery and storage since most of the time, it won’t be connected to anything while you’re using it. 

TASCAM DR-05 

The Tascam DR-05 is a great budget portable recorder. This is great for beginners because it's easy to use and has all the basics. If you’re still at the beginning stages of your podcast, then this would make a good first portable recorder.

TASCAM DR-05

ZOOM H4N PRO

Many podcasters swear by this portable recorder because of its great audio quality in any environment. It can also record up to 4 channels and comes with 2 professional X/Y microphones making it very easy to capture sound. It may take some effort to learn how to use this device because of all its features, but it is one of the best portable recorders out there.

Zoom H4n

 

Room Soundproofing

Investing in good equipment means that you also need to take extra measures to soundproof your area as well. You can’t solely rely on your recording equipment because any unnecessary external sounds could be included in the recording if you do not record in a quiet environment.

Choosing a room is the first step in setting up your studio. You’ll want to make sure that it is far from any noises such as traffic and any other noises from outside. Also, the smaller the room, the better, that way sound doesn’t have to travel too far and lessens the echo.

Soundproofing the room includes the following measures:

  • blocking any openings in the walls and ceiling
  • adding acoustic treatment with acoustic foam
  • treating the floor, especially if there is another room under your main recording room
  • placing furniture (if your room is big enough) and paintings to absorb any sound

These are just some tips to help make your room more conducive to recording. There are no specific brands to recommend but be sure to check out specialty items like acoustic foam for the ceiling and walls, and sealant if the floor needs extra treating.

And we’ve covered all the hardware needed to complete your studio. Let’s cover some of the software and other tools you will need.

Recording Software/DAW

Once you’ve recorded your podcast, you will need a digital audio workstation or DAW to edit. There are plenty of DAWs to choose from and come in a myriad of prices. Here are the top 5 recommended by most podcasters.

AUDACITY

Audacity is a free DAW and is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It doesn’t have the best interface and will take some getting used to, but it has all the basic features needed to edit a podcast.

Audacity

GARAGE BAND (FOR MAC)

For Mac users, this is a free tool that you can use to edit your podcasts. It is also very easy to learn and has all the basic features needed to edit. 

Garage Band

REAPER

Reaper is a paid DAW but is very affordable. It has more features compared to Audacity and loads quickly. The interface is also more user-friendly and is great value for your money.

HINDENBERG JOURNALIST

The thing with most editing software is that they are made specifically for music production; but Hindenberg is designed for podcasts, interviews and radio because the designs and features are tailored for spoken word. Once you’ve edited your podcast, you can upload your file directly to SoundCloud and Libsyn. 

Hindenberg

ADOBE AUDITION

Adobe Audition is one of the most expensive, but also the most recommended software for editing your podcasts. It has plenty of great features such as batch processing, multitrack function, and a very clean user face. But due to the myriad of functions, it may not be suitable for beginners who are just trying things out.

Adobe Audition

Recording Tools for Long-Distance Interviews  

Sometimes it can be difficult to get you and your guest together in one area to record a podcast. That shouldn’t be a problem since there are plenty tools out there that allow you to record your interviews virtually. 

ZOOM

Zoom is a widely used conference calling tool which can also be used for you to record your long-distance interviews. The quality isn’t as great as other tools that are purely dedicated to remote recording, but it does the job. Compared to Skype, Zoom has better quality so if you have both tools, many people suggest going for Zoom over Skype.

Zoom

ZENCASTR

With Zencastr, you don’t need to download any software since it works right within your browser. They have a free plan that’s sufficient for basic needs since it allows 8 hours of recording hours per month for up to 2 guests. It also saves both sides of the recording as separate files so that it’s easier for you to edit the final product. 

Zencastr

SQUADCAST

Squadcast is on the pricier side and has all the features Zencastr has and more. Some features include a “green room” where you can chat with your guests and video recording so you and your guest can see each other.

SquadCast

Audio Hosting

The reason why you will be needing an audio host is to act as “storage” for all your files. There are many great audio hosts out there, and we will be listing some of the best ones.

BUZZSPROUT

Buzzsprout is one of the most recommended out there because of its well-designed dashboard that is easy to understand even for beginners. They also have a cool feature where you can embed a podcast player on your website.

You can start off with a free plan with limited storage, but if you plan on growing your podcast, you will definitely need to invest in a paid membership which will be well worth-it. One downside of the paid plans is that those too have a limit to bandwidth and storage.

Buzzsprout

PODBEAN

Another highly recommended audio host is Podbean. Podbean has plenty affordable plans that are great for beginners. And if you are planning on upgrading, they have paid plans with unlimited hosting. It also has video features that automatically upload new episodes to Youtube after publishing.

PodBean

BLUBRRY

If you’re planning on having a website for your podcast through WordPress, then Blubrry has a plugin called PowerPress which makes it easy for you to manage your podcast directly on your website. It is also very easy to learn since they provide a podcasting manual to guide you.

Blubrry

TRANSISTOR 

What makes Transistor standout is their analytics tools and even allows you to have multiple users per account. They have hosted some popular podcasts like Cards Against Humanity, Drift, and Honeybadger. Transistor also provides you with an embed code for you to upload your episode on your WordPress site.

Transistor

LIBSYN

Libsyn is also highly popular and has been around since the early days of audio hosting. Because of how long they’ve been in the industry, many podcasters have grown accustomed to this audio host. Although they don’t offer free plans, their cheapest one at $5 per month is a good start.

Libsyn

Website Hosting 

This tool isn’t directly related to podcasting, but for those who want to create a website for their podcasts (which will help get your podcast more exposure), then you will need to sign up fora web hosting platform.

We will talk about some of the most popular hosting platforms.

HOSTINGER

This is the most affordable hosting out there in fact, their cheapest plan starts at $0.99 per month. They also have a great interface so it doesn’t feel like a budget hosting and even have excellent customer service. If you are on a budget and just want to start with a cheap but reliable host, then Hostinger is the way to go.

Hostinger

BLUEHOST

Bluehost is one of the most recommended hosts out there for beginners because of its affordability and features. It also lets you easily install WordPress and covers all the basic needs, and if you eventually want to upgrade plans from let’s say shared hosting to dedicated hosting, they have that too. If you decide on Bluehost, then you will most likely stick with this platform because it has everything you need down the line.

BlueHost

WP ENGINE 

If you are planning on creating your website on WordPress, which is the most popular option, then WP Engine would make a great choice. WP Engine makes managing your WordPress website easy because they do all the updates, offer WordPress-centric customer service, and because this host is specifically for WordPress users, your website will load very fast. All these great features come at a price though, with their cheapest plan starting at $30 a month.

WPEngine

THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU NEED AND ALL ELSE WILL FOLLOW

And we’ve made it till the end of this complete list of the best podcast equipment for any budget.

It may seem like a very long list with loads of choices, but don’t stress yourself out too much. Think about what you need right now at this moment, but also think long term on whether podcasting is really something you want to pursue and see which items you need to invest in at the beginning. 

There is absolutely no shame in investing in more affordable equipment, and this will not be a deal breaker. Make sure you don’t break the bank, and place more of your effort on creating valuable content over everything else. 

I have no doubt you will make the right choice in the end. I hope that you will find this article useful as a guide for you to get started on your podcast journey in choosing the right podcast equipment.

Open post

How To Build Your Email List Starting From Nothing

As a small business owner, I feel that my focus should be on creating assets, and having the ability to leverage those assets at a later date. More specifically, you should be building and controlling how you distribute the info/content you create. Learning how to build your email list helps you do just that.

I know people who built their businesses on Facebook when things were easy and all you needed was a Facebook page, only to wake up one day, and have Facebook say “You now have to pay to reach the audience you have built on your Facebook Page.”

I know people who set up affiliate businesses using Google Adwords (back in the day) making an excess of $5,000-7,000 per month, only to wake up one day to find their Google Adwords account shut down, because Google did not want to work with those businesses anymore.

Google Adwords

The above events are cyclical, and business owners have been talking about it for as long as I can remember. The thing is though, we get sucked into this new “Platform” or method and at the start, things are ALWAYS easy because the platforms/methods are new and they need to attract as many people as possible to use it. The easiest way for them to do that is to make it SUPER EASY for you to get results using the platform or method.

Then because things are easy, people get sucked in and don’t think about some of the fundamental things they should be thinking about to secure their business or income for the long term.

If you want to truly grow your business and make the most out of your content, you need to find the best solution that allows you to have full control of your relationship with your audience. This is where we talk about why it is important to build your email list, because not only will you own the racetrack (more on that later), but you will also be able to build a strong foundation of know, like and trust. 

Recently, I held an email list accountability program for a small group of business owners on Facebook to help people grow and start their email lists. The goal was for the participants to get their first 100 subscribers if they didn’t have an email list yet. And for those who already have a list, to get additional 100 subscribers. 

I also wanted them to start building the habit of consistently emailing their list. Being consistent doesn’t necessarily mean 20 times a week or 5 times a week. What I mean by consistently is that there has to be a set schedule and you stick to that so that you stay consistent. 

Another point I covered was tips on how to easily come up with ideas for your emails so you don’t stare at the “black screen of death” because you didn’t know what to write about.

Blank Screen of Death

43 people took part in this accountability challenge, and 25 successfully started their email lists. Currently, someone was able to build a list of 2,000 people at an open rate of 20% and CTR of 1%. 

And because these people started an email list, they were able to own the racetrack and grow their following.

Unfortunately, I don’t plan on hosting this challenge again anytime soon, but the good news is that you can find all the juicy bits in this blog post to help you start your own email list.

But before that, let’s talk about how important an email list is and what do I mean exactly by owning the racetrack?

WHY DO YOU NEED TO BUILD YOUR EMAIL LIST?

Building your email list will definitely take some effort on your end, but the benefits to your business make your efforts all worthwhile. Here are the top 3 reasons why you should focus on building your email list:

  1. You Own the Racetrack. Personally, the biggest benefit of building a list is that you get to own the race track. This concept is something I got from James Schramko. If you like horse racing or if you are into horse racing, you can be the person who pays money to bet on horses. If you want to make money from horse racing, you can either own a horse or own a jockey. But if you want to be paid by everyone I just mentioned, you can own the race track. And because you own the race track (or your audience in this matter), no one can take that away from you. 
  2. It’s Easier to Build Relationships. Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But what I want you to realise is that you are beholden to whatever platform you are posting on. So that means that your account and all your information is never really secure. Through your list, you are able to build better relationships with your subscribers through more personalised emails depending on their journey. 
  3. Ultimately Make the Cheddar. The thing with email lists is that whenever you build your list, you build your audience. And when you build your audience and strengthen your relationships with them, you are ultimately going to make money whenever you make an offer because of their trust in you. 

SOME THINGS WE WILL BE COVERING…

In this blog post, we will be covering the following:

  1. The tools that you need 
  2. How to build your email list
    1. Free Methods
    2. Paid Methods
  3. How to start emailing 
    1. What are you going to be emailing about? 
    2. Who are you going to email?
  4. How to manage your email list

Let’s get down to business…

THE TOOLS THAT YOU NEED

The tools and the features of these tools are important if you want to effectively grow and manage your email list. But if finance is a limitation, you can always resort to free tools at the start and McGyver stuff together so that everything works. 

But if you truly want to grow an email list that is going to support your business, you will really need to invest in the right tools eventually. It doesn’t mean that you have to start with paid tools, but in the long run, you have to invest so that you won’t have any headaches from maintaining your list from all the “McGvyver-ing.”

Here are the following tools you will need:

  • Email Service Provider – there are plenty of options in the marketplace. The one that you will choose will depend on where you are at the minute in your journey and to how complicated what you are doing is. Here are some of the options that you can choose from:
    1. If you are just starting out:
      • Mailchimp
      • Aweber
      • Getresponse
    2. If you want more advanced options:
      • ActiveCampaign
      • Drip
      • ConvertKit
      • Clickfunnels
      • Infusionsoft
  • Landing Page Builder – choosing this will depend on where you are and what your technical skills are. For my business, I use ClickFunnels, which can be a bit pricey, but it is what I found fits with my business needs. I’ve used ClickFunnels on several occasions, especially when I ran a 5-Day Ads to Leads Challenge for my audience. Here is how part of my landing page looked for the challenge:

Landing Page

  • Website/Web Host – this is one of the things that people are debating about. Whether you actually need one or not, because most landing page builders negate the need for you to have one. But my point of view is, if you truly want to own the racetrack, why should you beholden yourself to a landing page service or builder? Let’s take ClickFunnels for example, which is the page builder I use. In 2019, it went down 5 times so people could not send traffic to those pages. So can you imagine people who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on paid traffic and if they don’t have a backup page if ClickFunnels goes down, that’s money down the drain. Owning your own website gives you full control and security. 
  • File Storage – depending on what you’re doing and how big you are, you can use services like DropBox and Google Drive without needing the paid plan. It all comes down to personal preference. 
  • Lead Magnet – most people think of lead magnets as a PDF, free email course or anything that you give away in exchange for someone’s email address. Although this is true, something most people don’t talk about is that you can be your own lead magnet. This means that you can share your own personal experiences with other people. and those who are interested to know about it can sign up to your email list. Don’t constrain yourself to thinking of it as a deliverable and think of it a bit more creatively. Here is a sample of one of my Lead Magnets:

Lead Magnet

Although I did mention some of the tools that I personally use, I highly discourage you to use these if ever your reason is just because I use them. Remember that we all have different needs and so the tools relevant for your business will be different from mine.

And once you’ve decided on your tools, know that you can always decide to switch if you find that the ones you’ve chosen don’t seem to fit. It’s all about trial, error, and experimentation.

HOW TO BUILD YOUR EMAIL LIST

There are primarily 2 ways by which you can build your email list. It’s either through paid or free ways. In an ideal world, you should use a mix of both because each option, to some degree, helps you leverage for list growth. 

For both methods, I just want to point out that I haven’t used ALL of these options, so this will all just be a brief overview of everything.

FREE METHODS

Here are some of the free methods you can use to build your email list:

  • Content. This is something that I believe everyone should do. This can include written, audio, video, and content upgrades (aka bonus material to amplify or enhance the experience of the reader/viewer after going through your content). So whenever you create content, you always have to focus on the objective of growing your email list. 
  • The 3F Formula. The 3 F’s consist of your friends, fans, and followers. The idea is to make a list of each of these people, roll up your sleeves, and make the time to get these people into your email list. What I did is that I sent a personalized email to the people in my 3F’s and asked them if they are interested in XYZ with the goal of receiving XYZ benefit. If yes, they sign up for my email list. And the worst thing that can happen is that they say no. And if no, simply say thank you and move on. You really have nothing to lose! 

These two organic methods are all about leveraging on what you have, especially if you have a following on any of the social media platforms. Work on creating great content, add a few content upgrades, and encourage people from your 3F’s to sign up for your email list. 

USING PAID TRAFFIC

Let’s cover the super basics of using paid traffic to start building your email list (since I don’t consider myself an expert on the subject).

The beauty of using paid traffic is that when you see that you have good conversion rates for any of the organic content you put out there, you can use paid traffic to promote your content and get more exposure and subscribers from there. 

To get started, there are a couple of things you need to have in place:

  • Basic funnel. The goal here is to keep this as simple as possible. There’s no point in making it complicated because based on my personal experience, this leads to procrastination. You need to have your opt-in page, thank you page, and download page for a start. Here is a sample of a thank you page I created:

Thank You Page

  • Your indoctrination emails. When people opt-in to your list, the first email you should send is an indoctrination email. This should be prepared beforehand so that when people signup, you know what email they are going to get. The main goal here is to build KLT (know, like and trust) and further encourage them to use the thing that you’ve given them. 
  • Your platform of choice. You need to choose your platform such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. to manage and promote your content. This will depend on what you’re comfortable with and whether you already have a following in any of these platforms.

The key thing to note is that whenever you use paid traffic, you need to have your pixel, whether it’s a Google remarketing pixel or Facebook pixel, installed funnel-wide. This means that it should be installed in every page that people are going to visit. 

The reason for this is that when you run cold traffic, a number of people won’t opt-in on the first go, so you need to go back to them with ads called retargeting ads, which reminds people about the ads that they didn’t click on the last time. 

Utilizing pixels answers your question on knowing whether someone has opted in or not. To go even more granular, if you want to separate those who have opted in and downloaded, and those who have opted in but not downloaded, you can set up something called Conversion Events which can be setup via Facebook or Google.

So when you are doing retargeting, someone who opts in and downloads is more likely to become a customer as opposed to someone who opts in and doesn’t download. 

It’s all about knowing how to read your data and doing all the necessary adjustments to make the most out of the funds you spent on these paid methods.

Another great practice when you have access to paid tools is that you can segment your audience, so that you can send the right email to the right person at the right time. 

TYPES OF SEGMENTATION

What is segmentation? Basically the idea of segmentation is dividing up people on your list or creating a way to identify the people on your list so that you know where they are on their journey. 

Segmentation is something that you can implement for paid email service providers such as ActiveCampaign so it is a little bit more advanced, but I wanted to give you a quick overview on this topic. 

Segmentation

To give you some context, let’s talk about segmentation for a fitness coach who specializes in weight loss for women. 

So possible segments for this coach’s list can be professional women, stay-at-home moms, and brand new moms. These three belong to different segments because they are from different stages of their weight-loss journey. 

The brand new mom for example will be trying to shed some baby weight, the professional woman is not going to have enough time to dedicate to working out, and the stay-at-home mom may only be able to work out at home. So the message to each of these women should be different, right? 

That is how segmentation goes. Knowing where your customers are allows you to send them the right messages that are relevant to their needs.

When it comes to how you decide to segment, there are three types that you can do:

  • Pre segmentation – this is when you identify people before they get on your list. This means that the messages you put out should ideally pre-segment your audience. So if a certain call-to-action or content upgrade is relevant to them, they decide to sign up for your email list and receive KLT messages related to what it is they are looking for. 
  • Post segmentation – this happens when you segment them AFTER they are already on your list. I’ve done this with ActiveCampaign through the tagging function and asking people some questions to help them identify which bracket they fall under through letting them click on specific links. In other words, for every email you are sending out, there is an automation working in the background to segment people based on the types of emails or messages they are interacting with. You can do this with simpler email service providers but it’s a bit more finicky. 
  • Campaign-based segmentation – this type of segmentation is relevant if you plan on launching a campaign and you can ask your audience if they are interested in it or not. If they indicate that they are interested, they will be getting all the emails for that campaign and all the promotions. On the other hand, for those who aren’t interested don’t get anything related to the campaign but will still be on your email list. Campaign-based segmentation allows you to get to know where people are on their journey.

HOW TO START EMAILING

When it comes to starting your email list, there are a number of things I believe that you need to ask yourselves and know the answers to:

  1. What are you going to be emailing about? 
  2. Who are you going to email?

Let’s cover each of the points.

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO BE EMAILING ABOUT?

When it comes to the content of your emails, here are a few things you can write about to help you get started:

  1. Results – this is all about sharing your results or achievements and talking about what action plans you took to achieve them.
  2. Day in the life – you can talk about the stuff that you’ve learned from your own personal experiences or even any books, movies, or insights you’ve recently encountered.
  3. Challenges, “failures” & triumphs – my friend Dan Meredith has a knack of sharing these types of experiences on Social Media and his email lists wherein he takes a “failure” and turns it into something funny and memorable. You can then talk about how you overcame these challenges and turned it into triumphs.

What to Email About

When sharing to your email list subscribers, the key thing is really to just live your life and from the mere act of living, “failing” and trying things, you are going to have an endless amount of content you can revert back to. Being natural also means that you don’t sound too pushy or sales-y when it’s the time to make an offer. 

WHO ARE YOU GOING TO EMAIL? 

As we covered a while ago, knowing who to email to is important because you need to tailor your messages for each of your readers/groups. I segmented the readers three different groups:

  1. Leads
  2. Buyers
  3. Repeat Buyers

Everyone who is one of these groups will respond differently to the different kinds of emails that you send. So going back to the previous example, theoretically, leads would be more interested in you sharing a story about your results rather than a day in the life email. 

Buyers would be more interested in you sharing the challenges and trials you’ve experienced in your weight loss journey (as with the example of the weight-loss coach) and would far more likely convert them into repeat buyers. 

This is where segmentation comes in. To help you identify who to send what specific email to. You need to also know where you will be starting and who you will be targeting from the three groups above. That way, it’ll be easier for you to craft your emails.

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR EMAIL LIST

Gaining an audience is only the start of the journey, and the work doesn’t end there. 

The main goal of list management is to maintain the quality of the people on your list. So this includes people who open your emails, engage, click through your emails, and those who are buying.

Manage Your Email List

Here are some of the things you can do to maintain a quality email list:

  1. Remove the deadwood. Some examples of deadwood are people who simply subscribe to your email list just to get their hands on the lead magnet. Some people even go to the extremes of creating fake email addresses so you don’t have access to their real ones. Other examples are emails that bounce back, people who don’t open your emails, and people who unsubscribe. For a service where you are paying per contact on your email list, you want to pay particular attention to deadwood to save on costs. Personally, I remove deadwood every 6 months. 
  2. Create segments of active readers and clickers. If you’re using simpler autoresponders, this is something you might have to put more steps into. But for tools like ActiveCampaign, Infusionsoft, Drip, and ConvertKit, you can actually mark the people who are most engaged and what you can do is that when you send out your emails and you want to boost deliverability, you can choose to send to them first. 
  3. The Tags vs List Debate. (This step is a little bit more advanced) So in this debate, it’s all about setting up your email marketing system so that you’re sending the right message to the right person at the right time, rather than sending a general blanket message. You could argue that it is a matter of preference because some people still do it the old way, but what you tend to find is that whenever you have your list and the contacts on your list are tagged properly, you are better able to send relevant messages to the different segments (tags) because you know what they are interested in as they are tagged whenever they engage in emails. In my opinion, the perfect scenario would be for you to have between 3-5 lists and in those lists, you’re tagging people so that you know what they’re interested in and you can tailor your emails properly.
  4. Using automation where it makes sense. Automation is only available in the more advanced email service providers. Automation saves you from having to create the same emails over and over again. This is something that you set up only once and everytime that automation is triggered, a particular set of conditions or workflow happens. You can also do something called lead scoring, which means that when someone opens up an email, they are given points and for example, if they have three points, you can tag them as an active reader (tying back to the second point).
  5. Integrate with your website where it makes sense. How this works is that you can place a pixel on your website so that when someone from your email list goes to your website, you can segment this person further to refine the message.

IT’S TIME TO OWN THE RACETRACK

Although my goal for the original accountability challenge was to grow your email list to 100 subscribers, I hope that this article helps you grow your list twofold. 

Email lists tend to be overlooked at this day and age, especially with the rise of Social Media Marketing and an increase in the number of platforms available. And although these avenues are GREAT ways to create a connection with your audience, ultimately you still want to own the racetrack and have full control of your audience.

I hope that this quick guide gives you a good idea on how to start and manage your email list so that you can create better relations with your audience and grow your business to its full potential. 

Good luck!

Open post

Why You Should Start Being Your Own Client

When we talk about Being Your Own Client, the thought seems counterintuitive because when we think of clients, we always think of someone other than ourselves, right? 

As a result, most of us have never really entertained the thought of becoming our own clients. More often than not, our main focus is on getting more and more clients to increase our profits that we end up forgetting about creating systems for our own business (Tega loves his systems).

Just like you, I also had the same mindset back then. I too felt stuck. 

We all start out as beginners, and being a new freelancer or entrepreneur in the industry is a tough place to start. But this is why I wanted to write this blog post. I want to demonstrate to you that you don’t need to feel stuck. All you need to do is switch your brains and know where to start. 

And where is the best place to start? You.

This blog post as a whole is actually more about self-confidence and awareness of where you stand in your business more than anything else. And in relation to this, I can speak from experience that as an introverted entrepreneur, I’m slowly learning about self-confidence myself. 

In another blog post on my website, I share about how I overcome introversion when it comes to promoting myself and my business, and I cover a bit more about this experience here.

So how does being your own client relate to becoming a better entrepreneur and individual in general?

Well, because when you value your own business and skills, it shows how confident you are as a person. If you don’t value these, who else will? You need to believe in yourself first if you want your clients to believe in you as well.

When I realised this, I was able to get clients for my Facebook Ads Agency and Podcast Management Agency.

WHY DO YOU NEED TO BE YOUR OWN CLIENT?

Being your own client means that the things you do for your client — all the systems and processes — should be done for yourself. The drive you have to generate results for your clients should be the same drive you have to generate results for your business.

WHY DO YOU NEED TO BE YOUR OWN CLIENT

A few years ago, when I just started out, my main focus was on getting clients to avail of my video editing services. I’ve experienced the frustrations of not being able to convince anyone because I didn’t have a portfolio to show. And because no one wanted to get me, I couldn’t build my portfolio. 

It was a vicious cycle and it needed to stop. 

Then the idea of being my own client came to me. I thought, “heck, why not make videos for myself first?” And once I started making videos for my own personal projects, I would post these on different groups and people started to notice. 

I made people aware that this is what I do. But more importantly, I proved to them that I know how to do it. People started referring me to their friends and I eventually found my first few clients there. 

And this all started from making videos for myself and being my own client. 

The main point here is that when you do things for yourself, and put in the same effort as if you were an actual client of the business, you generate results. And when you generate results, you have actual proof that you are capable and skilled. 

Even the fact that you are generating results for your business is a success in itself already. Your results will attract the right clients to you, when you put in the work. 

When you do the work, you let the work become a testimonial of the fact that you can do the job. 

Even if you technically don’t have anyone else to impress other than yourself, the long-term benefits are profound. Here are a few other reasons why being your own client should be of utmost priority:

  1. You can serve your clients better. Treating yourself like a client means you’ll know how your clients think. This means you’ll be able to resonate with them more. Getting into the minds of your clients can make you one step ahead of them. 
  2. You become more organized. When you are able to break down your own deliverables into small steps, it becomes easier for you to come up with systems and processes to make your processes more efficient and organized. You find ways to “serve” your business better through best practices, which will be carried on to when you serve your clients. 
  3. You become more accountable. Because you treat yourself like a client, you have a stronger sense of responsibility to get the job done. This can also mean that you set deadlines for yourself and create a detailed timeline so that you are able to complete your tasks on time. 
  4. You market yourself better. When you start to speak from personal experience after becoming your own client, it becomes easier for you to convince your audience that you are competent in what you do. You are your own testimonial and this allows you to know exactly what to say to your clients if they have any questions or reservations about your product or service.

Now that we’ve covered the reasons why you should be your own client, let me share how I became my own client and how this has benefited my business.

HOW TO BE YOUR OWN CLIENT

From my own experience, when I start planning the tasks for myself and the business, I take note of the same details as if I were asking a client. I ask myself the same questions and structure everything the same way. As a result, I can come up with a detailed task list of everything that has to happen.

HOW TO BE YOUR OWN CLIENT

For example, when I start planning a new episode for the Intent Podcast, I think about all the elements such as the editing, shownotes, artwork, uploading, and marketing of the podcast. This is the exact same thing I do for my podcast management agency clients as well. 

When I get a new client for the agency, I need to know what assets they have first and how I can package my services in a way that is valuable to them. 

I also make sure to cover all the itty bitty details like how many episodes they plan to release weekly, if they already have a podcast host, if they need a website, and if they already have marketing assets to begin with.

These questions are all important in making sure we provide invaluable services to our clients.

And because I have my own podcast and know what a typical podcaster needs to make his/her podcast happen, I know exactly what my clients need and I can fill in the blanks in all the right places. 

Learning from your own experience means that you know what questions to ask.

One thing that I am slowly working on is setting deadlines for myself. But because I have the right systems and processes in place, once I have the assets I need, my team and I can work immediately without having to worry about any deadlines. 

Also, this may sound pretty obvious already, but when you are your own client, really treat yourself like a client. This means that you have to separate yourself emotionally from the thing that you are doing and think more logically. 

That way, you have a full grasp of why you are doing the things that you do, and when the time comes that you need to explain all the details to your client, you know what to say.

Becoming your own client also means that you need to know how to package yourself and your services in such a manner that it truly shows that you know what you are doing and that you speak from experience. 

Because that’s the entire point of being your own client, right?

HOW TO MARKET YOURSELF EFFECTIVELY

If you’re like me and don’t like talking about yourself, what I do is I talk about what I DO instead. 

I speak about personal experiences from my own businesses (aka “experiments”) and I share how I was able to help my clients with the services I provide. Speaking from experience is one of the best ways to demonstrate competency and credibility without actually talking about myself per se.

MARKET YOURSELF EFFECTIVELY

It’s really all about telling stories and talking about what you do.

Another thing to remember is that everything is content. That means that everything you do, everything you experiment on, IS content. No matter how much you think your experiences aren’t worth sharing, they are. 

Share your mistakes, share your challenges, share all your obstacles. Embrace the suck. The goal is to make sure that people see that you are actually doing something and they know what you do. 

Another thing that is big in the industry right now is content repurposing, which allows you to create “micro-content” from your main content and post it on different platforms. And content repurposing will definitely need you to be innovative sometimes. 

Entrepreneurs don’t think outside the box. There is no box. 

Now that I am slowly getting out of my comfort zone and putting more content out there, it dawned on me that I’m slowly getting better as an introvert and learning how to relay my ideas more clearly.

BE PROUD OF WHAT YOU DO

As you slowly learn to market yourself, you begin to create your own personal brand. And because you speak from actual experience, it speaks about who you are as a professional and how much you value your business.

BE PROUD OF WHAT YOU DO

You need to start treating your business like an actual business owner rather than just someone who is self-employed. 

And what is the difference, you may ask? 

Well, for the former, you basically still work a job. Working a job means that if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Your income is purely active and solely relies on you showing up. 

As a business owner, you develop systems that are working whether you’re there or not so that your income is not tied to you alone. 

This has greatly helped me during the pandemic because I am able to set myself apart from everyone else because I offer valuable services in a systemised way. 

These systems have allowed me to scale my business and hire people from abroad, the Philippines in particular , to help me work on multiple projects and clients at the same time. 

In a nutshell, being your own client allows you to market yourself more authentically and shows people what you do. As entrepreneurs, we need to stand up, plant our flag, and say “this is what I do.” 

Open post
Lessons I've Learned from Losing Clients

5 Lessons I’ve Learned from Losing Clients

As a person who’s been managing several businesses for a few years now, I’ve had my fair share of challenging clients and even losing some along the way. So I thought I should write this blog post about the lessons I’ve learned from losing clients…

In fact, 5 months ago when I was on the search for more clients who could use my Facebook Ads services, I put out a message, got a client AND then proceeded to lose the client. That experience made me sit back and think about WHY I lost the client, but not just that client, I tried to think back to all the clients I have lost and why I lost them, and think of the lessons I got from that/those experiences. 

When this client and I started working together, things were okay at the initial stages when we both stuck to the original work agreement. As we continued, I kept getting more and more requests from this client, and the helper and experimenter in me wanted to fulfill these requests. These requests soon ventured out of the original scope of our work agreement, and I ended up spreading myself too thin…

Spreading Myself Too Thin

 

The result? That process of doing things out of the initial agreement led me to losing this client because we both ended up making mistakes as the scope of work kept changing and getting bigger. 

Although it was a sad experience, this motivated me to write this blog post for myself and for any one else who struggles with retaining clients because of scope creep or poorly set limits and expectations.

THE LESSONS I’VE LEARNED

Lesson 1: Don’t chase the money

Don’t chase the money

Every business owner wants and needs money, right? You need money to run your business, support your personal goals, and grow the company. This is why finding clients for us is so important, especially during the early stages.

But the caveat to this is that if you pressure yourself too much to make money, you end up making hasty decisions. I’ve learned to stop accepting any ad hoc tasks just for the sake of charging more for the client because I don’t want to end up having too much on my plate.  

Now I only accept tasks that I know I have a documented workflow for. That way, if I can’t do it myself (because I tend to procrastinate), I can pass it on to my team and make sure that everything gets done on time and to a high standard by someone other than me. 

Lesson 2: Be aware of red flags

Be aware of red flags

I believe that people that go far in life are those that learn from the mistakes of other people. 

If you are in the business space, there are a whole bunch of resources out there where you read and learn about the mistakes of other entrepreneurs. It is important to learn from the mistakes of others so that you don’t experience the same challenges.

Naturally, we are all bound to commit our own mistakes and as we move forward. You need to take note of all the red flags you’ve seen to help you identify which clients wouldn’t be good for you to work with.

One red flag I’ve learned is that if a client is very demanding before they have even paid you, chances are once they pay, they will become even more demanding. 

Here are some other things you should be aware of when looking for potential clients:

  • How do they communicate with you? 
  • Do they respect you and your skills?
  • Do they know their boundaries? 
  • Can they meet the expectations you set for the project? 

As you get more clients, you will become more skilled in spotting these red flags. These will become indicators of whether you should move forward with a certain client or not. 

Lesson 3: You Are The Expert, Be The Expert

You Are The Expert, Be The Expert

You have been hired by your clients for a reason, and it is because you are more experienced in what you do than them. You are seen as the expert and the solution to their business problems. 

So if your clients do something that will end up costing you more time, do not hesitate to make suggestions and set your boundaries. Remember that you can always earn wasted money back but you can’t take wasted time back. 

Going back to the client I spoke about at the start of this blog post, even if I didn’t break the first two lessons, I experienced several hurdles because I wasn’t able to set boundaries.

Because this client didn’t know what they wanted and didn’t have a clear structure in place, we ended up having to face several hurdles that resulted in problems that needed to be addressed. I had the need to fulfill all their ad hoc requests which resulted in a lot of issues. 

I learned to be the expert and set boundaries so that I can prevent these types of issues with my future clients. This meant that I let my clients know how I work and how I don’t work which demonstrated my expertise and set my foot down.  

Prevention is always better than cure. 

Lesson 4:  Stay in your zone of genius

Stay in your zone of genius

I know how tempting it can be to do more for your clients, especially because you want to make sure the client has a good experience with you, but 9 out of 10 times, you end up in a place where you’re going to do more than you’re being paid for. As a result, you might start to feel like you are being taken advantage of. 

In my case, I ended up wandering away from my original service of Facebook ads and added a whole bunch of other things that I had no business adding to. If i had just been firm and stated what I can and can’t do, I would have been able to meet the needs of my clients properly. 

You want to make sure that you and your client stick to the agreed contract, and if there are any additional tasks, only accept them if they are within your zone of genius and not something entirely different. 

Lesson 5: Learn From Your Experiences

Learn From Your Experiences

As I stated a while ago, it is important to learn from the mistakes of others. But what’s more valuable is when you learn from your own mistakes. And as you learn from these mistakes, you begin to improve your processes, put filters in place and setup identifiers to know when you’re about to make another mistake (for example, avoiding red flags). 

When it comes to my own experiences, I now know that I should not deal with clients who need to make money yesterday with Facebook Ads. Why? Because in a way, they are chasing money (lesson #1) resulting in them not being in the right place mentally and not having the patience to properly set up the campaign and ads in the right manner.

In terms of learning from my mistakes, this ties back to lesson #2. It’s all about being aware of the red flags. 

These red flags resulted in me creating a client expectation letter to set boundaries. The letter aided in ensuring better communication, being explicit about what I can and can’t do, and setting the expectations for the project. 

One example of boundaries is establishing Slack as our means of communication and setting office hours. 

Don’t hesitate to be firm about this agreement because it encourages respect in the relationship. 

Another thing relating to identifying your red flags is to remember these negative attributes because they aid in separating the good clients from the “bad” ones. In my case, I’ve learned that if a client is not willing to listen to you, you know that things may not work out.

VALUE YOURSELF!

The bottomline of this entire article, and the main lesson I want to impart to you is that you need to become self-aware and learn when to say no. Because I have this constant urge to help people, I admit that saying no can be difficult at times. 

But I’ve learned that saying “no” and establishing certain boundaries is an act of valuing yourself and establishing your worth.

Remember that you and your business come before your clients and I hope the lessons I’ve learned from my own personal experiences can help you find better clients to scale and grow your business.

Posts navigation

1 2
Scroll to top