Content Creation Pathways: An Interview with Rich Ux

Sana Ahmed

Are you thinking about content creation? I’ve been thinking about creating content a lot lately. I'm more of a creative person. I bet you are too. But sometimes balancing a job, being in the corporate world, or owning a business as an entrepreneur, can leave you feeling torn. You have things you need to do. You have responsibilities. You have an image to uphold.

But then sometimes you might have an idea that's kind of big. I know plenty of people who have big ideas that they are struggling to execute on. (Including me!) And it’s weird, you’re a natural self-starter, you’re entrepreneurial, you’re a go-getter, but there’s something holding you back. And you’ve been looking to make a shift for a long time. Like a really long time. Does that feel like you?

My interview with Rich Ux, will reveal to content creators on the fence with their ideas going out and actually follow through that idea to create content.

Hey Rich, so I know you’re a law graduate. When did you start becoming interested in content creation as a means to build your career?

Very early. I was making videos, pictures. When I was 17, my sister was riding horses as her hobby, she ended up becoming quite successful. She's one of the country’s top horseback riders. I don't talk about my sister a lot but she's very successful at what she does. But when I was younger, my family spent so much time into that career of hers that I was tagging along a lot. Either I stayed home alone, I had computer access,  and I got $20 for pizza. I was completely independent, or I had to be dragged along occasionally and go see what my sister was up to.

But one thing I did was I set up a photography business at my sister's horseback tournaments. So when she would go to these jumping tournaments where she would be competing, I sold photographs out of the back of my mom's car's trunk. I brought a printer and I bought a digital camera. It was one of the more expensive digital cameras at the time, I remember my DSLR cost almost $4000. My family helped me get it for a Christmas and birthday gift one year. It was five megapixels. It was before the rebel series, and it was one of the first digital SLRs. It had a really nice resolution, no video at the time. And I would go and I would take pictures of other people riding and I would have a computer and I would show them the pictures and I would sell it to them for $10 or $20.

So I was already monetizing my skill to create visuals for people early on. And I think that just popped in because I was making things early.

I never painted or drew pictures. It was once I had the cameras that I was really getting into it. But then content creation as an idea in a marketing sense, it was way after. It was after 2012, probably.

Once I was in my law school, that's when I had to come to the realization of, “Am I gonna carry on as a lawyer, or am I going to figure out something else?” And by that time, I was starting multiple YouTube channels. I was starting multiple blogs. I wanted to find a way out ever since I was studying the LSAT- I did all 60 prep LSATs. I was a beast at the LSAT. I'm kind of good at those kinds of exams, but I was already burned out. Law school was burning me out before I got there.

The first year was fun, it was exciting meeting new people. But the second and third year was such a drag for me. I just was getting too much into things I was no longer interested in. That's when the veil of what legal work was comes down. The first year is all fun and interesting. You get to do your first case and a mock trial, and then you're just, “Oh. Corporate law. Tax law. This is what we're going towards.”

I was really hustling in the marketing world at the time. I was reading all the blogs, I was hacking law school, I was getting into SEO at the time and learning about what that meant. It was a growing interest and was as well as a growing skillset. The videos I make today, not only are they better than they were years ago, I can make them faster, I can see them easier too.

You get more experienced in developing visual storytelling as time goes by.

That's really great. I think it's a really good distinction to make that quite a few of the people I talk to are not sharing yet, or they're hesitant to share, but it seems like you weren't even hesitant to share.

Oh, no. I was hesitant. I was still in a public way very hesitant. It was very scary, but I think it's toughest for the generation right before me. I think I'm on the cusp at 36-years-old. I think most 36-year-olds will not go on YouTube. I think I'm one of the last, sort of on that cusp. Everyone before me, they’re never gonna do it. Everyone after me, they probably will do it. Anyone around me in a five-year gap they're, “Do I need to do this? I'm only 33, I got 20 more years to go. Shouldn’t I build an audience? Shouldn’t I build an email list?”

Building an email list is a 21st-century concept, it was not around in the 1990s, really. So building an email list is this new understanding of how to take advantage of technology and communicate to mass people. And a YouTube channel is just a newer email list. It's a video email list.

You talk about it as you knew that you had to build an audience. It's really interesting that you had that instinct and that drive to know that you needed to create an audience and you knew that was the next step in order to continue on with what you were doing.

Yeah, that sounds right. But at the same time, I feel like only it was only in the last two to four years that have I been, “Oh, this is the only strategy right now in the modern entrepreneurial lens because it's the most cost-effective, it's the lowest barrier to entry, it's the most Ikigai related.”

Don't think I haven't considered dropshipping and FBA and all these other little things that have come along our way. I've been watching that too, but I was like, none of these really fit for me. This isn't really what I'm after. I don't have 10 grand to go buy Amazon stuff and then take a risk.

So, that's what got me into marketing. I had no money because I was in debt from law school. After my mom passed away, we had a lot of financial problems in our family and I was in longtime debt. I had no business to start, that's why I was just doing hustle project work. Everything kinda led out of that because I didn't have the background budget. I didn't want an investor. So I followed a bootstrap methodology. I think more people should bootstrap where you don't need to spend money to build a business in 2020.

It starts with a traffic channel like YouTube or a blog or a Medium account or an Instagram account. You listen to your audience, you see what you're really great at, and then you try and build something for people or you create some sort of a subscription model. And that money you get feeds the business and you're just waiting until that pops. And you realize, “Well, the fastest way to make it pop is more content, and the fastest way to grow the audience is more connection, it's not less.”

You don't need to build and worry. Even lately I've been recommending to make content, but you don't have to sell anything. And if you wanna see if something will sell, put it out there and if it does, either you fulfill, or you say “Oh, we're out of stock. We actually can't fulfill this today for you. I'm sorry. Here's your money back.” But now you validated it.

So all those people who have those big ideas, why aren't they validating them at a smaller MVP level? People need to learn what a Minimally Viable Product truly is. I learned that quite a long time ago, and I've been utilizing that at every step of the way. I never launched completely finished.

I never launched perfect. I never wait for “perfect.” That's the key. There is no such thing as perfect on the Internet.

True. The next thing I wanted to ask is how did you come up with Rich and Niche as an idea? I find that interesting since that’s been monetized. You told me a little bit of the story before about how your wife picked the name, but I'm interested in just that whole story from start to finish.

Well, it's funny that you ask that question because I was just talking with my wife yesterday and we talked about some of our old names. We used to be called Digital Parfait. We believed in offering a wide variety of services to clients about five to six years ago. I was doing a website design subscription model before and I liked the idea at the time, but it quickly became irrelevant as Wix, Squarespace, and some of these other competitors came in. But that was the extent of what I could do at the time. And what I realized over time is I was in this position where I'd figured out how to help any business as long as they had a clear niche.

Because if you have a clear niche, your content will work a lot better and you will be able to find the people who are interested in your niche.

That's what was special about Rich and Niche. It was just this, “I'm gonna help people who are trying to carve a business out of a niche.” I'm not going into the big commodities. I'm not even really going to corporate. I really specialize in niche influencers, niche creators, niche experts, and people who have a very specialized business. If they could just understand how keywords would link them to the people in the world who want their specialty, then they would likely have a lot of success.

Having a niche is great. Knowing why you're differentiated from the market is how you build out your marketing message. It's how you convince people that you're worth listening to. And so Rich and Niche was built on that concept. But then Rich and Niche expanded to become this-“Well, we're servicing niches with marketing, but are we just going to help five clients a year or should we try and help 5000 people a year?”

And so it was natural that the service kind of became productized.

I think at the highest level of service, you can actually productize it because you're so good at it. And I think that's a way to offer it to more people at a more fair rate. Because even in my courses, I could just be giving that same info through consulting to one person. I can teach one person how to do all these things for a much higher rate, or I can teach everyone to do it and they can go do whatever they want. And I'm not really providing service, but I've unlocked the capability for many more to access what I was even consulting and providing service in the beginning.

In the Internet age, things do go to zero eventually. There won't be money to be made in certain niches as times go by because it gets far too saturated. People put out all the content. People solve the game essentially. Marketing is not solved yet because it's an evolving meta. Meaning, what is popular today may not sit right with the cost of the attention. Just because Google Ads is the most effective intention-based marketing tool, it's also one of the most expensive now. So the meta is shifting into Facebook ads, and it will continue.

So, there is always going to be a strategic school of thought where some people would think, “I still believe a webinar is the only way to go, I believe we do just a long-form sales page,” and “I believe we do email series.” Well…Prove it. Let's see, who knows.

And that's what's funny about it because tomorrow the culture can shift. We can have a coronavirus and bam. What works in marketing is shifting. If you don't adjust your message, you will lose. So you need to be up-to-date and that's what the Collective became. A group of people who wanna stay up-to-date together and use that advantage because as consultants we essentially knowledge-transfer as our number one duty. It's like, “Oh you're entering live streaming. Let me download you the quick notes on what it takes to be a great live streamer,” and then your client can go execute that with that knowledge.

So, I'm trying to provide my students and my collective, the most cutting-edge strategic ideas that I can come up with and come across.

There's a lot of digital marketing moves you use specifically to not only push that forward. I see that there is a lot of overlap in marketing and content creation and digital marketing. It's interesting how you came up with the idea. How did you coin full stack marketer from idea to execution?

Hard to remember. It happened so fast. But I knew full stack developers existed and I liked that concept because I could see how that was time. And I've really become sort of more focused on selling time to my clients rather than selling results.

When I heard Gary Vee talk about Uber selling time, and I think of time as the most valuable asset, I think, in the influencer space in the small business space, people just don't wanna do the marketing because it's the owner who ends up having to do it. Whereas in the corporate space, you can hire a three to five-person team to go do what they're good at. But what about that mid-person who just doesn't wanna do it, or doesn't know how to do it? That's more about time. They know they have to be on social media, they know they need emails, they know their website needs updating. They're not worried if it makes them an extra $5000 because they're just gonna have to go do it themselves. They know that. So you're alleviating that pain as a full-stack marketer because you can go help people do anything.

And they love that. Then they call you their right-hand man and can't live without you. And that's a great leverage-able place to be in. That's gonna lead to referrals. That's gonna lead to new opportunities, and maybe even a long relationship with that client hopefully, right? So I liked that concept, but I don't really remember how I came up with it exactly. I just think that's what I did.

I mean I was trying to describe myself and I felt like the consultant didn't describe all of the other work I had accomplished in the last five years. From hero videos to amazing sales pages to email campaigns to Facebook ads. I tried it all. I'm not afraid to try any platform, but I'm not some super graphic design God, I'm not like a Chris Do, I don't have stringent processes. So I felt this whole full stack marketer was almost this rebellious career where it's, “I'm not gonna follow all of the rules but we're certainly gonna make it work for ourselves”.

And once we coined that, it made sense to tell other people how to define yourself because I always tell people, the full stack marketer is like the shiny object syndrome person healed. When you finally put it all into place and you realize, “Oh, that wasn't shiny object syndrome. Digital marketing is just really complex. I do need to know SEO. I do need to know Facebook ads. I do need to know copywriting, I do need to know email and web pages.” It's like, “Oh, that's not shiny object.”

There is a way to package the skillset and it's through designing marketing campaigns. That's a cool thing to develop. “Hey client, I'm gonna build you a campaign that's designed to sell that thing, and it includes a couple of Facebook ads and it includes a little bit of a funnel, some emails. If we insert people to that, I promise you you're gonna get sales because I'm gonna take care of the full system for you. You don't have to worry that I make you amazing Facebook ads, but your web guy messed it up. Don't worry, I'm gonna make sure, the whole thing works.”

And I think that was the first thing I achieved that I went, “Wow, I wonder if other people can do what I do.” I had never said that before. I told myself, “I wonder if other people can make the ads and the pages and the email and talk with the client,” I was like, “Oh, I found something.” And that's what it was called – the full stack marketer.

You could have called it the end-to-end campaign marketer. I know you could call it the pocket CMO. I called it the executive virtual assistant for a while because I thought that's what it was. It was a higher-level VA who could do so much more than just transcribe or basic data entry. And people like that, because influencers and small business owners like the idea that they're ready for an executive virtual assistant.

So I think somewhere in there I was, “Oh, once I got this, this is my unique selling point, I have to focus on this.”

That's really interesting. I know that “full-stack” is used in the coding community to show that you have a basic knowledge of all the skills that go into software development. So I found that a really great connection when I came across your work. That's really interesting from a high-level overview.

So I guess my next question is, I know you talked a little bit about the course already. You just came out with your course and launched it. Congratulations, I signed up. I'm super excited about that. You’re a course creating machine. But when did you know you had a solid idea that could not only sustain you financially but help out a lot of people as well. How did you make that connection with the course?

Well, I knew that automation is one of the key answers to reaching an elite life. Like, either you're automating it because you hire people and they do it for you without you knowing or you make technology. It's very clear to me that if you don't ever make money when you're sleeping, it's a very key sign that you have to keep working in the daytime. And that's something we all need to look to try and get out, and I'm still doing that. And that's what drives me is the understanding that I need to be able to earn something if I’m sick, I need to earn something if I'm tired, I need to be able to earn something if I'm busy. That is such a great unlock to discover and I think that begins a digital marketing discovery path because, “What does it mean to make money when I sleep?” Well that's probably online, right?

So, automating some element of education makes a lot of sense. Now, I, like many people, was a bit apprehensive about the course world. I think a lot of people are. I think people aren't used to being sold things from individuals and trusting them and I think we're going through that and I think I've made it my priority to build a very trustworthy brand and a high, high-quality course before I put it out so that I don't fall into that trap of over-promising what the course does, and then under-delivering which I think is very common. I think people under-deliver on their courses all the time. They're lazy about them. And then when they get into the marketing phase they're so scared about not selling it, they actually over-sell it. That's a dangerous place to be first of all.

But again, I was like, “Well, I need to automate something” But even still, when I first launched the course as a beta, it was in-person. I taught everything in person, and I charged a lot for it, too. I charged $1200 for it. The number one feedback I got was, “Rich. That's great, but it's very hard for me to find what I need quickly. It's a lot. I wish I could watch it on my own time. I wish I didn't have to attend this time that you selected because I'm living somewhere else.”

I heard a lot of that and I was like, “I didn't do this right.” I thought me being there meant more, but now I realize that's for a different medium. That's for more coaching and interacting. You don't need to be live when you're teaching because it's a one-way communication at that point in the lecture phase. So I've realized, “Lecturize my course. Make it simple, smaller bite-sized, watch it when you have time on your own time.” And that's what started selling.

I didn't know what would happen, but it certainly showed that it was easier and more effective. And I think we are going through this time right now, where education is shifting and we really need great course creators to show up and not damage the industry because that could happen at. And that's when certifications and credentials will start reviving itself in the online education world. But again, all I was doing was packaging my client services, knowledge, and what worked for my clients. I’m merely translating it for others so they could go perform the same thing. So, it's just productizing the service and slightly tweaking who it's for to reach a broader set of people.

That's really awesome. You seem like you were testing the idea, I don't know if you were actually alluding to it, but it seemed like you were testing it to gain validation. I want to talk about buy-in because I think that a huge thing you were talking about, it shows up in a lot of different levels. Did you have a process for testing your idea or do you notice when you have buy-in or was it out of intuitive confidence after being in the game for so long?

Before you can make an offer, you need someone's attention. You can't make an offer to nobody, that's just how life works now.

Most businesses the way they make their offer is they go into a little building and they put a sign on the front and that's the beginning of the experience. If the sign catches your eye- cupcakes, donuts, furniture, maybe you walk in. It's easier in a sense because you know someone's gonna walk by and you know, so many people are somewhat interested in it.

Online, it’s not like that, right? But on the other hand, you don't need lots of people to make an offer.

So what happened to me was, I had found a small group of people that were gathering online and I joined them and I brought the most value out of the whole group. In my opinion, I believe the things I was saying were the most valuable. I was showing up, I was playing role plays with them. I was serving. I took no money from this. It was pure giving. But what I was able to do was establish a decent relationship with other sorts of digital hustlers in a way. And there were about 10 to 20 of us, somewhere in the realm of that. We had a Facebook channel going. We met on Zoom once or twice a week. I was kinda joining them, they kinda had their own thing going on. They were all kind of doing some of these other courses, and somehow I just kinda got involved. It was through Kevin if you know Kevin in the Collective.

Anyways, one day and not too similar as I did last night, one day about 18 months ago, I said, “Hey guys, I'd love it if you could just join me on Tuesday night. I'm gonna be teaching something.” And I was teaching mindset shifting in a changing digital world. And I said, “Listen, don't you think it's a good idea if you develop some of these skills?

So guess what? I actually have an offer for you guys. And it's normally $1800, but if you buy it for me this week I'll do it for $900.” It was just an offer the exact same way. And it's like, “Can you really refuse what I'm offering you? I'm gonna sit with you 10 or 12 times, you're gonna hear almost everything I know. You don't know that much about digital marketing, and this could really change your life.” And it did, it really impacted a lot of people, but like I said, I was still teaching it live, but the offer was essentially validated, I was able to make between $5000 and $10000 from that moment, but all I had to do was tell 12 people about it. Six or seven people joined. That's like a 50% conversion rate, right? But the fact is, that should be good enough to move forward.

So ultimately, when I re-released the product, I cut the price again in half because I wasn't gonna be there in-person anymore. I was gonna get the automated course, so it was a validation. I had known, “I have something, but let me get the feedback.” So I spent time with all the students. I let them fill out deep surveys. That was part of the deal. We knew each other, they said, “Hey, we'll give you what you want.” They gave me video testimonials too! If you go to Full Stack Marketing Funnels, you can see a lot of my older students there, and that was awesome. And most of them are still with me. They're still getting value to this day because a lot of people who join your tribe early on, you're gonna give them crazy discounts in all sorts of ways for supporting you.

It works really well with course development because you're constantly providing that additional upskilling and then they can support you for all the content and work you do around that. Because to continually promote any sort of online education, it takes some form of advertising. And for me, I used YouTube, primarily, to build my email list and then I focused on communicating with my email list when I have value-based products for them that I think will be good.

And once you know who you're validated with, now you're really trying to carve that audience and draw in the right people who you think are ideal.

Yeah, wow there's so many different nuggets there.

Just call me Mr. Nugget. Twenty nuggets, right here.

Alright, we're not putting a cheap price on you, though.

Vegan nuggets!

There you go. So, Ikigai. I had known about Ikigai before, but when you had introduced it to me through the concept of marketing and full stack marketing by learning all these different skills and remote life and content creation. I think that this is one of the best ways to find what kind of content you should make. Is there any content that you wish you could be making that would get you closer to the center of your Ikigai?

Well, I would say there are some things I think about creating, but when you put it in about the Ikigai, I'm not sure I would get paid for doing that content. That's why I probably haven't because it would be more of a passion-driven thing.

I put financial stability as number one, and I think I am doing what's driving my Ikigai because I think I have a lot of energy right now. I haven't had this much energy for most of my life. So I think you know you're on the right track when you have a lot of energy. Ikigai is an energy strategy at the heart of it because you get really tired of doing things for free, you get really tired of doing things that people don't want or care about, and that you're not passionate about. Ikigai is a great center.

But I would say, if I could sort of swap lives with anyone and do something that's out there and get paid, it would probably be a StarCraft professional gaming commentary. I would love to live in Korea and give my commentary for English speakers on the professional matches. I believe StarCraft II is the chess of our generation. I think it's the most difficult game in the world. I play it to enhance my decision-making skills. I think it actually strengthens the areas of your brain where you have to make fast decisions.

I currently ranked somewhere maybe in the top 5% in the world of this game, which is nothing that great. But I do take it seriously. And I think it's one of the few eSports that actually translates the business skill development because, in the game, you have to manage the economy, you have to manage an army, you have to manage territory. And it's all happening in real-time, so you also need incredible hand dexterity. We're talking, some of these professional gamers can have APM which is “Action Per Minute” which is up to 300 to 400 actions per minute. That's five to six keystrokes or most clicks per second playing a 20-minute match. You have incredible stamina. Some of these eSports professionals, they actually get physical injuries because they're at the computer because they’re locked into these games.

But anyway, I love StarCraft II. I think it's a fascinating game because it's so challenging, and so I would love to be involved. And I think one day Rich and Niche will have sort of a gaming sector of some kind. I think that gaming is a big part of the future, not just for fun, but gamification has really come on in our lives now that we have smartphone devices. Smartphones allow gamification at scale, and I think that is gonna be a big part of our lives.

That's really fascinating. Okay, I'm gonna skip ahead a little bit to maybe an “iffy” question, but just based on what you were talking about right there that wasn't gonna make you money even though it's very interesting and it's close to how you develop yourself as a person. Do you feel like there's content that shouldn't be made?

Do you mean because it's immoral or…?

Well, let's maybe go away from immoral and…

Yeah, I think it's easy. I think, no. I think everything should be made. I think as long as it's not directly hurting someone, it can absolutely be made. And I'd say that that's what innovation is, and I think that creativity is always about doing something that's never been done before.

I think that's one thing I'd like to leave people in this interview is, be careful when you're creative that you don't also seek respect. I think when you see both creativity and respect, you're in a dangerous position because you end up creating what other people want and what you perceive they want rather than being truly creative.

I think real creativity is novel, it's new, it's never been seen. I define creativity as that. And I think it's hard. I don't envy creators because it's hard to be constantly creative and not cater to what other people want. But I do think that we will see a proliferation of nearly every form of content, every style. That's what I love about it. Even if you love, say, MMA, you don't just have to focus on pro matches. You could interview pros, you could do behind-the-scenes lifestyle content. You could do a match evaluation. You could talk about the business of the sport. There are all these different ways to come out.

Any passion, I think is great. And I think that as long as it doesn't directly harm someone, that's a bigger rule. That's how we should run the world. As long as you are not hurting someone, you do you. If you wanna get married and you're gay, whatever. You wanna do that, you go right ahead. No problem. We shouldn't have to go through this legality thing. If you're not hurting anyone, it's totally cool. You wanna own that gun, that's fine, but the second you use it, we're talking about a different thing.

And I think we would be better served to think of things like this because if we get so up in arms about things we don't like or things we don't think should be around… There's so much offensive content out there, but it's not offensive to everyone. And so you are always free to choose what you consume, and what you create. But don't get me wrong. Karma comes from your actions as a creator. Because it's a responsibility when you put something out in the public. So I think there are karmic repercussions if you do take shortcuts, or if you do try to abuse the system in any way.

Yeah, that's a really great answer. You kinda went there anyway even though I said, let’s stay away from it. But I think you're right, there is so much of the morality that gets put into play with just living and it's kind of hard to balance that. It's kind of hard to balance making money or doing the creation you want for yourself and the creation that you know the world kind of needs, possibly. You were talking about how it's hard to be a creative. Maybe we should talk about, how can you protect yourself as a content creator in this world? What should you be most careful of?

Well, what would you think are some of the threats. What comes to your mind?

I would say scapegoating is a big one. I think with just social, and just the society in general, for people who are a little bit softer, who are thoughtful, very sensitive people, I would say that scapegoating is probably one of the biggest ones. I've seen some really creative people go through really rough patches and they would just close themselves off or emotionally shut down in order to just appease to what was going on in life. And I think that just comes from their general desire to possibly make things beautiful, be around a good society, be a part of society. So I think that's probably the biggest one that I've seen. There's also a lot of other stuff too. Very disruptive content.

But I don't know. I was watching We Are Legion the other night. It’s a documentary for the hacktivists and all that 4chan stuff. So I was just really interested to see in general how certain people perceive certain content versus putting out stuff. So yeah, I don't know, what do you think?

Well, I don't think we should have to protect people's egos. I think once you get into the game, it's up to you to do the right thing and that should play out accordingly. I don't know too much about this scapegoating stuff. I think in the political realm and some of the social topics it can certainly get in there. Don't get me wrong, as much as I say anything can be created, I think more people should become hyper-aware that you're entering the public game to gain for yourself. You're looking to gain an audience. So you must pay some price. I think being aware of what that is is important. And if you truly are doing it for a business, not your ego, you should craft some form of a strategy to protect your own self. I'm already thinking of, “Okay, can I talk about this, or should I not? Because at the end of the day, I'm aiming to create a business, not be right 100% about all topics.”

So I think when it comes to who's right and who has the right say, you gotta be careful. I don't think we need to go down those paths and be successful. I didn't promise everyone a full protected pathway where you get your Ikigai and you never get hurt. I'm sorry. I've been slapped in the face physically and metaphysically many times. You have to be able to take a punch or two to be an entrepreneur and any form of digital creator. You'll also realize though, it's a great sign in some space if you're big enough to gain that sort of notoriety, that's gonna help you in some ways. As long as you did have the right intention. If you had the wrong intention, you're gonna get found out. And that's on you. That's not really on anyone. No one promises that the Internet is a safe haven for the evildoers. It's not. And they're gonna get exposed.

I don't know if you're watching some of this YouTube drama right now with doxxing and such- you gotta be a nice person, and if you can't do that, I'm not so sure I'm even rooting for you, right? And I think that's okay, I don't care about all the creators in the world. If you want a novel, creative life, and I know you follow Peterson… Novel is risk. Take a risk in your life. If you've got big ideas, you owe it to yourself to take that risk. It's never as bad as you think, but don't think you're getting through this without zero risks. There are some elements to that. You're putting yourself out there, you're trying to achieve bigger than average, and you deserve a little pressure on the outside. But I think it makes you a powerful person if you can kind of push through what we call trials.

Are you gonna make it or not, or you just gonna go back down? And I think having tough skin is part of it. I've done things in my life to develop the tough skin. You're not really gonna be able to get at me anymore because I figured out some things that I can do personally to develop my own toughness. And that's more of a mental mindset.

Maybe you listen to music before you go online, maybe you have your mantras, maybe you're out doing improv and humiliating yourself for a while. You have to figure out ways to ask, “Why is my ego so sensitive? What is going on here? Why do I think I'm so special that I don't ever get laughed at?” And then learning to laugh with yourself as a tactical move is part of this stuff. That's just kind of the price of it. I know it sounds a little costly, but I would say to people, “It's never as bad as you think”.

So would you say, to maybe sum up that answer, that maybe the best protection is a form of self-love by being able to laugh at yourself?

Totally! Absolutely. What you want is like, “Oh, I just did something really awkward. And that's gonna make this a cool show.” That's not like, “Oh my God, I gotta turn it off right now because that was so horrible.” You gotta roll with the reality of it, and know that people like that. And there are some storytelling elements in there as well. You're not gonna get through this with super dry content.

Having drama isn't the worst thing as long as you can navigate it. It's always a rollercoaster, and it's gonna change. It's gonna be easier for some. It's gonna be harder for some. Technology will shift. Platforms will shift. But what I want people to know about content, is you don't need to use your face or your voice. There are many ways for text-based creators for image-based creators. Don't give me that excuse. I think it's smart to use your face 'cause I think it's more connecting, but don't tell me you're not getting started because of that. I don't think that's a great excuse ultimately.

I think that's really interesting. I know there's a couple of people who are asking about impostor syndrome as a creator. I had one question specifically about the two. And I think that there's something about what you were just talking about. So I know quite a few people who have these great ideas, but they’re probably struggling with perfectionism, impostor syndrome, or balance. So what kind of advice would you have for these people when they're struggling to create content that conveys their influential ideas?

Are they influential though? That's the real question.

I mean, I think we might have ideas and what’s easier to share is to document the actual execution of the idea. I think the growth from seed to blossom is more fascinating than “Couldn't you believe how beautiful this flower might be if I created it?”, versus “Hey, you wanna watch a day-after-day while this seedling kinda grows up?” I think that's a better story, first of all.

I think we need to start sharing the journey, not the end, or my projection of the end. “I'm gonna be a baller” or “I'm gonna have watches.” You're projecting what you like, great. But share with us where you really are today. And I think I found a nice medium of sharing pretty accurately exactly what I do, where I'm going with it. And I think when you're in that, it's more natural because it's the truth.

And I always say, maybe you are an impostor. Maybe you need to go live more. Maybe you need to go develop something. Maybe you need to have a wild experience. A lot of creators are born out of pain, and that's true for so many things. Pain is a catalyst for change. Pain is a catalyst for growth. And I think that too many of us are in our comfort zone waiting. So maybe just sign up for a few more weird things.

When this coronavirus thing goes away, go to that weird place. Take photographs, make vlogs while you’re there. Watch how much easier it becomes. And I'm just sorry to tell people that we can't just live in our house and think that we've created something revolutionary anymore. It's probably like going out and hustling about something, doing something cool, and coming back with the elixir of the story, right? I've already been through the problems, now, I can bring you through that.

When you're an idea only, it's not enough to convince, right? You always want this vehicle for your movement. If you got a movement that you wanna start, you need a vehicle for everyone to get on with you. And I just think that it has to be something new. Novel comes once again as a word here. People like what's new.

Why did diets get so popular? Because it's new and people think it's their new vehicle. “It's keto that's gonna get me there!” Right? “It’s fasting that's gonna get me there. Yes!” And just the same, it's full stack marketing. That's the vehicle. And how good the vehicle is will determine the longevity of the brand and the longevity of the success. If it's a shitty vehicle, they're gonna find out real quick, and that's it. But if it's a good one,if it's an iPod, “Oh, this is how we listen to music now?” Right?

It's about what's new and what's gonna take us where we're going. So, go out there, go somewhere for yourself and don't be afraid.

I think here's the problem, people think their audience is someone awesome. Who’d be like, “I did that shit already.” No, no, no, no, no. Your audience is two steps behind you. Go show them where you are today, you'll attract them from two steps behind you because they're looking at you where you are today. The people who are three steps ahead of you, they're not gonna watch you, and that's okay. That's fine.

Not everyone's gonna watch you, but you're always serving the people two steps back to bring them up to your speed, and that's the goal. The master lets the student pass them. That is the real truth. And if you aren't, you're not even a real master. You’re not. Because you're exploiting that. We have to let our students go beyond us. And that is the sign of a great vehicle- that you gave them something, it was your idea, but you actually built it. And now they can ride it, and they believed it, and it's working. That's a big, big thing there.

If people can get their heads around what that really means at this time. Go read Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson. I don't love Russell Brunson. I don't like ClickFunnels. I don't use ClickFunnels, but his book on expert secrets really helps you understand what's at the root of content creation and audiences and movements. Why do people start getting behind something? He really talked into what it is and it's like building a bridge for people to go from A to B. And that's why I've incorporated Escape and Arrival as a theme because I agree with him.

I think that when you can show people transformation, you've got something. And we're so used to education being so non-transformative that when I tell you my $400 course to transform you're like, “Bullshit! I'm not gonna do this.” You go through my course, you tell me you're not transformed, I don’t believe it. I know you will do it but I do and come back transformed because we’re not used to it.

I did the Full-Stack Marketing Funnels Course, and I’m transformed.

You’re not used to transforming off of an online course, but when people realize it's real? Boom. It just takes time. You just gotta be patient. And that goes way back to your question of, “How did you know? Is it validated?” I'm still validating. We're always validating, or always just being patient and optimizing. Build something you can optimize not that you just have to throw in the garbage and start again. Like my business is endlessly optimized. I can make my courses better. I can make my website better. I can make my content better.

There are thousands of people that don't know about me, in fact, millions, and I'll just be patient as we slowly create the awareness level out. And so should other business owners, just be patient. If you've got something good, be patient.

And that's why I love client services as a financial grounding for me. It’s like, “Okay, I'm gonna go serve these businesses. It's not my favorite work, but they need me. But with the rest of my time, I am developing, developing. Assets, assets. Content, content. Emails, audience. I don't care how fast I grow. I care that I put every ounce I can while it still works onto this strategy so it will pay off as time goes on.”

When I launched my very first course, I didn't even have an email list a few years ago, so it's so hard. Now you got 2000, now you got 10,000. and it's like each progressive development in your business life is gonna become easier.

I'm really sorry, I gotta wrap this up. I thought it was a great interview. You did a great job. Do you have any final thoughts on this?

Maybe we can just wrap that up in a few simple words? Maybe, chase the shiny object, document the process, love yourself, and always share your insights with the people who are following you as a content creator.

Absolutely. Very beautiful summary. You got it.

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