Category Archives: Side Hustles

Opportunities: Income, Work from Home, Freelancing, Contracting, Consulting, etc.

SPI 257: The Incredible Story Behind Kelsey Baldwin’s Business, Paper and Oats

Sometimes, when life throws us a curveball, taking a risk on a brand new entrepreneurial journey is the last thing on our minds. That wasn’t the case for Kelsey Baldwin of Paper & Oats, who rebounded from a major setback by selling digital products and courses online.

Kelsey made the leap into entrepreneurship after learning she was going to be a single mom. It was a shocking turn of events for Kelsey, but thanks to some expert planning, drive, and skill as a graphic designer, she transitioned from her nine-to-five job at a design agency to freelancing and selling her designs online. Today, she continues to run a thriving business educating fellow designers through her online courses and selling digital products through Etsy and PaperandOats.com.

Kelsey’s resourcefulness and resilience is so inspirational to online entrepreneurs like me. Listen in to hear her advice for recovering from life’s setbacks, and how she’s built a thriving online empire one piece at a time.

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes or download our mobile app.

Special thanks to Kelsey for joining me this week. Until next time!



You’ll Learn

  • How Kelsey built her successful business selling digital products and courses online.
  • How Kelsey transitioned from her full-time job into full-time entrepreneurship.
  • Project management and productivity tips for solo entrepreneurs.
  • The ins and outs of selling digital products on Etsy.
  • Why and how Kelsey transitioned from digital products to online courses.
  • What Kelsey made from the first launch of her first online course.
  • How Kelsey’s online business impacted her life as a new parent.
  • Kelsey’s advice for embracing entrepreneurship in the wake of setbacks.
  • A free resource for digital product sellers, and more!

Resources

Sponsors

  • 99Designs

    $99 Power Pack of services, free!


March 15, 2017 at 11:00AM
http://ift.tt/2msGCfj

SPI 257: The Incredible Story Behind Kelsey Baldwin’s Business, Paper and Oats

Sometimes, when life throws us a curveball, taking a risk on a brand new entrepreneurial journey is the last thing on our minds. That wasn’t the case for Kelsey Baldwin of Paper & Oats, who rebounded from a major setback by selling digital products and courses online.

Kelsey made the leap into entrepreneurship after learning she was going to be a single mom. It was a shocking turn of events for Kelsey, but thanks to some expert planning, drive, and skill as a graphic designer, she transitioned from her nine-to-five job at a design agency to freelancing and selling her designs online. Today, she continues to run a thriving business educating fellow designers through her online courses and selling digital products through Etsy and PaperandOats.com.

Kelsey’s resourcefulness and resilience is so inspirational to online entrepreneurs like me. Listen in to hear her advice for recovering from life’s setbacks, and how she’s built a thriving online empire one piece at a time.

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes or download our mobile app.

Special thanks to Kelsey for joining me this week. Until next time!



You’ll Learn

  • How Kelsey built her successful business selling digital products and courses online.
  • How Kelsey transitioned from her full-time job into full-time entrepreneurship.
  • Project management and productivity tips for solo entrepreneurs.
  • The ins and outs of selling digital products on Etsy.
  • Why and how Kelsey transitioned from digital products to online courses.
  • What Kelsey made from the first launch of her first online course.
  • How Kelsey’s online business impacted her life as a new parent.
  • Kelsey’s advice for embracing entrepreneurship in the wake of setbacks.
  • A free resource for digital product sellers, and more!

Resources

Sponsors

  • 99Designs

    $99 Power Pack of services, free!


March 15, 2017 at 11:00AM
http://ift.tt/2msGCfj

My February 2017 Monthly Income Report

Welcome to my second Income Report for 2017! It seems like this year is one of those years that’s going to fly by, because I felt like it was just yesterday that my January 2017 income report was published.

I’m always happy to share my progress with you. Sometimes things go well and the numbers climb higher, and other months the numbers decrease. Either way, it’s really not about the numbers at all, but about what made those numbers happen. It’s about the lessons I learned, and both the wins and failures I experience, shared to help you as you grow and scale your own online business.

February was an intense month for a number of reasons: a new course launch, some amazing speaking opportunities coming up in March, new features on the SPI blog, and more.

So, without further delay, let’s dive right in!


Income Summary

  • Last month: $157,131.95
  • This month: $148,006.60
  • Last 12 months: $1,719,193.06

Expenses Summary

  • Last month: $36,636.00
  • This month: $44,293.78
  • Last 12 months: $466,873.99

Net Profit Summary

  • Last month: $120,495.95
  • This month: $103,712.82
  • Last 12 months: $1,252,319.07

For the complete breakdown of income and expenses, visit the full report here »

Important Lesson Learned in February

During the launch, when the whole Amazon thing was going down (literally), I was a little sick to my stomach. After all of that planning, and all the time since the beta launch last year to get it right, I just couldn’t believe that it happened.

I’ve learned from the past one very important lesson, though. The things you can’t control, you shouldn’t waste time over. Yes, you’re going to get angry, and be frustrated, and get upset, and that’s totally okay. But reacting in a way that makes things even worse, that takes you away from the things you can control. That’s not good.

I decided to hang out with my family during the downtime. Nothing else makes me feel better.

I shot a few videos, which was good to pass some of the time, but I decided to just stop working and hang out with the family. Nothing else helps me remember why I do what I do more than when I’m with my kids.

They were a little surprised to see me come out of my office, actually. I had told them ahead of time that the launch period was going to definitely take up a bunch of my time. Again, another reason I love April. She understands the ebbs and flows of my work as an entrepreneur. Sometimes we’ll be on vacation and I can help take care of the kids, and other times, I’ll be in launch mode and she knows to sort of take massive charge during those times. It’s so helpful.

I also had a conversation with my right-hand man on my team, Matt, just being honest about my feelings, and he sent this back, which really made me feel a lot better:

matt

Thanks, Matt. I needed that. And it confirmed that there was nothing we could really do on some of this stuff, and the team was behind me all the way.

To know that my family was there, and my team too, it was a good reminder for me that it’s the people we surround ourselves with that matter the most. Sometimes that’s not always apparent and we may not always “need” them, but during times when things seem out of control, they are definitely there to help keep us up.

What an incredibly exhilarating month! I’m so thankful for the experiences it provided me, and with the success of the launch (especially after what happened).What an incredible way to top it off!

Cheers, and thanks again for reading these reports!


March 13, 2017 at 11:00AM
http://ift.tt/2nfU4Hj

SPI 256: Productivity and Frameworks with Mike Vardy from Productivityist

Productivity Month is in full swing at Smart Passive Income, and who better to join this episode than Productivityist.com‘s Mike Vardy? Mike’s a master of productivity and frameworks for getting it all done, and he’s here with an awesome collection of tips and strategies for overhauling your efficiency.

For Mike, productivity means “marrying your intentions with the right amount of attention.” It’s an approach that allows him to make serious headway on his business goals while pursuing his own passion projects and spending quality time with his family. If that sounds like your idea of time well spent, you’ll definitely want to hear what Mike has to say!

In this episode, you’ll hear Mike’s most recommended tips for scheduling your time, organizing your commitments, boosting your output, and planning for the future. You’ll also hear his approach to dealing with inevitable distractions and curve balls, plus common efficiency pitfalls and time-wasters.

Optimizing your productivity is an ongoing process for any entrepreneur—myself included! Tune in for some seriously valuable expert advice on getting a hold of your time spent working.

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
  • Ask a question over on AskPat.com.
  • Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes or download our mobile app.

Special thanks to Mike for joining me this week. Until next time!



You’ll Learn

  • A day-by-day walkthrough of Mike’s productive workflow.
  • Mike’s favorite productivity tools, apps, and platforms.
  • The importance of assigning “themes” to your work days.
  • How to theme your days even if you work a nine-to-five job.
  • Tips and strategies for managing your inbox.
  • How to deal with inevitable distractions and surprise opportunities.
  • Why Mike believes the brain is a factory, not a warehouse.
  • Strategies for running more productive meetings.
  • Mike’s journey to becoming a productivity expert.
  • A free resource for getting started with Mike’s favorite productivity system, and more!

Resources

Sponsors

  • GoDaddy

    Use code SMART30 for 30% off new domains!


March 08, 2017 at 11:00AM
http://ift.tt/2n6nyUQ

SPI 256: Productivity and Frameworks with Mike Vardy from Productivityist

Productivity Month is in full swing at Smart Passive Income, and who better to join this episode than Productivityist.com‘s Mike Vardy? Mike’s a master of productivity and frameworks for getting it all done, and he’s here with an awesome collection of tips and strategies for overhauling your efficiency.

For Mike, productivity means “marrying your intentions with the right amount of attention.” It’s an approach that allows him to make serious headway on his business goals while pursuing his own passion projects and spending quality time with his family. If that sounds like your idea of time well spent, you’ll definitely want to hear what Mike has to say!

In this episode, you’ll hear Mike’s most recommended tips for scheduling your time, organizing your commitments, boosting your output, and planning for the future. You’ll also hear his approach to dealing with inevitable distractions and curve balls, plus common efficiency pitfalls and time-wasters.

Optimizing your productivity is an ongoing process for any entrepreneur—myself included! Tune in for some seriously valuable expert advice on getting a hold of your time spent working.

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
  • Ask a question over on AskPat.com.
  • Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes or download our mobile app.

Special thanks to Mike for joining me this week. Until next time!



You’ll Learn

  • A day-by-day walkthrough of Mike’s productive workflow.
  • Mike’s favorite productivity tools, apps, and platforms.
  • The importance of assigning “themes” to your work days.
  • How to theme your days even if you work a nine-to-five job.
  • Tips and strategies for managing your inbox.
  • How to deal with inevitable distractions and surprise opportunities.
  • Why Mike believes the brain is a factory, not a warehouse.
  • Strategies for running more productive meetings.
  • Mike’s journey to becoming a productivity expert.
  • A free resource for getting started with Mike’s favorite productivity system, and more!

Resources

Sponsors

  • GoDaddy

    Use code SMART30 for 30% off new domains!


March 08, 2017 at 11:00AM
http://ift.tt/2n6nyUQ

A Post about Post-Vacation Blues: How to Quickly Get Back into Work Mode

A Post About Vacation How to Quickly Get Back into Work Mode image of palm trees and hammock

Before I get into this post, I’d like to make it clear that this is a re-published post. The first part of the post will be new content about my recent vacation in 2016, and the second part will about my post-vacation blues in 2013.

The reason I am pitting the two up against each other is this:

I want you to get a sense of the type of business owner I was then, back in 2013, and the type of business owner I am now. It’s pretty fascinating to see the change and growth I’ve made in my business and life, from my organizational skills to my personal discipline.

And, I think you can get a lot out of comparing the two experiences. A sort of what to do, and what not to do for your own post-vacation self!

In 2013, after my vacation, I experienced a bout of post-vacation blues. In 2016, after my vacation, I didn’t.

Here’s why.

My 2016 Australia Vacation

As many people know, I recently came back from an amazing family vacation in Australia. And, you know what?

I came back more fired up than ever.

When I was in Australia, it was almost the new year, and I couldn’t stop thinking about 2017 and the projects I had already started to plan, from Smart from Scratch, to my second book, and even my fitness and health goals.

Knowing those tasks and goals were already laid out on the other side of my vacation was a huge help. It inspired me to, after a day of jet lag, get right into things. I also knew what my first steps were going to be, which was really important.

The last thing you want to do is start a new block of time (i.e. after a vacation), and say to yourself, “Okay, now what do I do?”

My goal this year has been to get rid of those moments, from the big moments, like after a vacation, to the small moments, like when I go into Monday knowing it’s my writing day. On those Mondays, as an example, the Google Doc is there and open, ready for me to start writing, sometimes with information or relevant comments in there from my team to help me get started.

Beautiful day from our AirBnB in Brisbane, Australia! Happy Summer Holiday! ? #familytime?

A video posted by Pat Flynn (@patflynn) on Dec 19, 2016 at 9:36pm PST

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

IMG_7092

Our family and cousins at the Brisbane train station.

IMG_7069

Christmas day in our Airbnb! We brought stockings and small gifts from home to hang to make it feel more like home :)

IMG_7026

A cool exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art!

As you can see, we had fun in Australia! But not only was I able to have fun, I was able to feel good about taking that time off from work because I had planned ahead to make sure everything was in order when I returned.

That’s the big difference between my 2016 Australia post-vacation experience and my 2013 Disney Cruise post-vacation experience. In 2013, I wasn’t prepared for what was to come.

Here’s my post after I returned from vacation in 2013.

My 2013 Disney Cruise Vacation

I just got back from an AMAZING vacation with my family that we’ve been planning for over a year: a 7-Day Disney Cruise to the Caribbean preceded by a day exploring Universal Islands of Adventures, where the new attraction, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter lives.

My wife and I are both Disney freaks and fans of Harry Potter, so it was definitely a vacation we could all enjoy!

Here are some pictures:

Disney Cruise 1

Disney Cruise 2

Disney Cruise 3

Disney Cruise 4

As I was planning this trip and making sure all of the details were taken care of—from passports to having the iPad charged for the long plane ride—there was one thing that was worrying me the most.

No, it wasn’t pirates taking over the ship (although Captain Hook did take over the ship for ten minutes during one of the deck shows). What worried me was wondering if the same thing would happen after this trip that happens after almost all of the vacations I’ve taken in the past: Read the rest of this entry

SPI 255: Deep Work with Cal Newport

March is Productivity Month here at Smart Passive Income, and I’m kicking it off with a very special interview with Cal Newport, author of the game-changing productivity book, Deep Work.

Cal caught on to the radical applications of “deep work” when he noticed how a particular approach to focus was transforming his productivity. Deep work, as Cal defines it, involves focusing intensely on cognitively demanding tasks. It’s transformed both his workday output and his life at home, and he’s joined me today to explain how.

In this episode, Cal explains the practice of deep work, reveals strategies for building your deep work skills, and shares more of his favorite tactics for maximizing productivity. His approach builds on the ideas explored in some of my favorite productivity manuals, like The One Thing, and opens up a fascinating new frontier of ideas on how to get the most out of our workdays.

As a parent with big dreams for both my personal life and my career, I’m passionate about optimizing my time spent working. I was blown away by Cal’s approach to staying focused, and I can’t wait for you all to hear and benefit from it, too!

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
  • Ask a question over on AskPat.com.
  • Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes or download our mobile app.

Special thanks to Cal for joining me this week. Until next time!



You’ll Learn

  • The experience that inspired Cal to embrace productivity.
  • How to identify deep work.
  • Why deep work is more like a skill than a habit.
  • Activities that will train your brain to do deep work.
  • Cal’s favorite, game-changing study habit.
  • Tips for leaving work behind at the end of the workday.
  • Advice for identifying a career you can be passionate about.
  • Why Cal believes we need to change the way we use social media, and more!

Resources

Sponsors


March 01, 2017 at 11:00AM
http://ift.tt/2mFeHt4

SPI 255: Deep Work with Cal Newport

March is Productivity Month here at Smart Passive Income, and I’m kicking it off with a very special interview with Cal Newport, author of the game-changing productivity book, Deep Work.

Cal caught on to the radical applications of “deep work” when he noticed how a particular approach to focus was transforming his productivity. Deep work, as Cal defines it, involves focusing intensely on cognitively demanding tasks. It’s transformed both his workday output and his life at home, and he’s joined me today to explain how.

In this episode, Cal explains the practice of deep work, reveals strategies for building your deep work skills, and shares more of his favorite tactics for maximizing productivity. His approach builds on the ideas explored in some of my favorite productivity manuals, like The One Thing, and opens up a fascinating new frontier of ideas on how to get the most out of our workdays.

As a parent with big dreams for both my personal life and my career, I’m passionate about optimizing my time spent working. I was blown away by Cal’s approach to staying focused, and I can’t wait for you all to hear and benefit from it, too!

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
  • Ask a question over on AskPat.com.
  • Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes or download our mobile app.

Special thanks to Cal for joining me this week. Until next time!



You’ll Learn

  • The experience that inspired Cal to embrace productivity.
  • How to identify deep work.
  • Why deep work is more like a skill than a habit.
  • Activities that will train your brain to do deep work.
  • Cal’s favorite, game-changing study habit.
  • Tips for leaving work behind at the end of the workday.
  • Advice for identifying a career you can be passionate about.
  • Why Cal believes we need to change the way we use social media, and more!

Resources

Sponsors


March 01, 2017 at 11:00AM
http://ift.tt/2mFeHt4

Smart From Scratch Now Available!

Smart From Scratch Is Now Available

This announcement has been a long time coming, but I’m happy to share that my first and brand new course, Smart from Scratch, is now available!

Registration for Smart From Scratch opens today, February 27, 2017, and closes on March 5, 2017 at midnight PST!

Register here today!

Smart from Scratch is a detailed, step-by-step course I created to help you find one winning business idea that’s worth your time and energy. Through a series of “litmus tests,” you’ll be able to pick a business idea, have confidence in the decisions you make moving forward, and even work toward earning your first customer.

Have you ever had any of the following thoughts?

  • “I don’t even know where to start.”
  • “I feel like I’m just wasting my time.”
  • “I’m overwhelmed by all of the information out there to help me start a business.”
  • “I’m not sure what kind of business I’d like to create.”
  • “Maybe I should just give up.”

If yes, then Smart from Scratch is the answer. If you already have a business up and running, this course is NOT for you.

The concept of product validation may sound familiar to you. If it does, it’s likely because it aligns perfectly with my book, Will It Fly? The process described in the book has now been converted into a more powerful online course with built in lessons, accountability, and motivation to help you get through the material and achieve the results you want.

Additionally, you’ll have access to a community of other students who will be going through the course material with you, and I’ll be holding regular office hours every other week to answer any questions you might have along the way.

Validating the Course on Validation

The course material in Smart from Scratch has already been tested and improved based on the feedback I received from a set of 100+ founding students who had access to it late last year.

A huge thank you goes out to the initial set of students. I definitely wouldn’t have had the confidence to launch publicly without you and your incredible feedback!

Including this awesome feedback from Nigel at SilentEarning.com:

“Be prepared to have your idea fully validated with the possibility that you might come out of the course with a completely different game plan, because your first idea wasn’t the right one. This will save you a lot of time in the long run.

If you need need to validate your online business niche idea before you invest a lot of time and money, this is the course for you.”

Lastly, I just wanted to be upfront with everyone here. This course requires you to get some work done. It’ll challenge you, and it should, because building a business is challenging. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Many of my colleagues have hesitated to create a course specifically for those who are just starting from scratch. They tell me it’s because beginners are the hardest to please and that beginners aren’t used to putting in the hard work to get results. As a result, most will fail or ask for a refund.

I understand where they are coming from, but I’d like to take that challenge myself and be the one to finally create a course that beginners can understand and see results from. It’s hard, yes, but that’s why I chose to do it, and I hope you’ll choose to do this too.

To get access to the course, click here to the sales page and I’ll see you on the inside soon!


February 27, 2017 at 02:42PM
http://ift.tt/2m3AVHn

SPI 254: Lessons Learned While Testing and Launching My First Online Course

Next week is the official launch of Smart from Scratch, my very first online course, and I couldn’t be more excited. It also feels like the perfect time to look back on my previous launch experiences and explore what I’ve learned about creating, testing, launching, and maintaining a product.

Before Smart from Scratch, there was Breakthrough Blogging, my first membership site. I eventually ended that project after realizing the crucial things I’d overlooked when designing and launching it. Those mistakes, however, helped me fine-tune future launches and gave me a deeper understanding of how best to serve this audience.

In this episode, I want to share what I fixed about my launching strategy. You’ll hear what I’ve learned about validating product ideas, pricing a course, building community, and creating a product I can stand behind.

You all have taught me so much about crafting the best resources possible. I’m thrilled to share Smart from Scratch with you next week!

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
  • Ask a question over on AskPat.com.
  • Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes or download our mobile app.

Until next time!



You’ll Learn

  • What one of my early launches taught me about negative feedback.
  • How your investment in a course directly relates to the value you’ll get from it.
  • Why I tested my online course with a founding (beta) group before launching it publicly.
  • How I worked with my founding students, and how they helped improve the course.
  • How I handled shutting down a project that wasn’t working out.
  • Obstacles of maintaing a membership site.
  • A preview of what’s inside Smart from Scratch.
  • A surprise visit from Noah Kagan, and more!

Resources

Sponsors


February 22, 2017 at 11:00AM
http://ift.tt/2m87lkq

SPI 254: Lessons Learned While Testing and Launching My First Online Course

Next week is the official launch of Smart from Scratch, my very first online course, and I couldn’t be more excited. It also feels like the perfect time to look back on my previous launch experiences and explore what I’ve learned about creating, testing, launching, and maintaining a product.

Before Smart from Scratch, there was Breakthrough Blogging, my first membership site. I eventually ended that project after realizing the crucial things I’d overlooked when designing and launching it. Those mistakes, however, helped me fine-tune future launches and gave me a deeper understanding of how best to serve this audience.

In this episode, I want to share what I fixed about my launching strategy. You’ll hear what I’ve learned about validating product ideas, pricing a course, building community, and creating a product I can stand behind.

You all have taught me so much about crafting the best resources possible. I’m thrilled to share Smart from Scratch with you next week!

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

  • Leave a note in the comment section below.
  • Ask a question over on AskPat.com.
  • Share this show on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes or download our mobile app.

Until next time!



You’ll Learn

  • What one of my early launches taught me about negative feedback.
  • How your investment in a course directly relates to the value you’ll get from it.
  • Why I tested my online course with a founding (beta) group before launching it publicly.
  • How I worked with my founding students, and how they helped improve the course.
  • How I handled shutting down a project that wasn’t working out.
  • Obstacles of maintaing a membership site.
  • A preview of what’s inside Smart from Scratch.
  • A surprise visit from Noah Kagan, and more!

Resources

Sponsors


February 22, 2017 at 11:00AM
http://ift.tt/2m87lkq

How to Get the Most Out of an Online Course

How to Get the Most Out of an Online Course image with computer and mortarboard

Whose responsibility is it when it comes to the success rate of an online course?

Put another way: if one of your students fails to see results after buying access to your online course, is it your fault, or their fault?

Responsibility lies with both parties, but the fault of a failing student depends on a number of factors, which I’ll dig into here in this post. Whether you sell (or plan to sell) online courses, or you’re a student who takes online courses, increasing your success rate is a worthy target. Let’s talk about how you can do that.

The Course Creator’s Responsibility

All of this is on top of my mind because on Monday, February 27, my brand new online course, Smart from Scratch, will go live. It was first launched late last year to a limited number of students on a very specific segment of my email list, which is why most of my audience didn’t even know about it. It’s gone through a number of upgrades and tweaks since then, thanks to the amazing feedback from those initial students.

Yay for product validation!

Click here to sign up to learn more about Smart from Scratch and get on the waitlist for the launch.

In terms of success rate, it goes without saying that every successful online course should, at a minimum, have the information needed to help a student achieve a specific result.

Without that base of information, the student is always going to fail.

Duh.

On a similar note, a course creator must always make sure incoming students have the right set of expectations. If a student’s expectations differ from what is actually in the course or what the outcome will be, then the student is doomed to fail from the start—and that’s on the course creator.

Expectation starts with what’s promised in the promotional material and sales page. Expectations are also wrapped up in the onboarding process and welcome video. These are things I’ve learned first hand from the dozens of courses I’ve paid for. Many of those courses proved to be extremely useful and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

Other courses I’ve had access to were filled with poor information, and there were a few that weren’t what I had expected at all.

My favorite courses were those that incorporated a lot of the following tactics to help push me forward and inspire me to stay motivated through the content:

  • Easy to login and gain access to.
  • A great welcome video with an overview of what’s coming.
  • Easy navigation through the course and content.
  • A way for me to easily understand where I’m at in the course versus how far I have left to go (i.e. a progression meter).
  • Course content that helps me understand new concepts without making me feel like an idiot.
  • Workbooks or worksheets to help me through some of the action items within the course.
  • Periodic check-ins from the course creator via email to make sure I’m on task, especially if it includes answers to frequent questions.
  • No “fluff” or filler content that just seems like it’s there to take up time.
  • Call-outs and reminders within lessons (especially within videos) to remind me of what’s important and what I need to do.
  • A community to ask questions and connect with other students.

The Student’s Responsibility

As much as it is the responsibility of the course creator to help their students succeed, responsibility lies within the student, too. It’s exactly like taking courses in high school or college: the same material is shared with the entire class, however some students earn As, and some earn Fs.

Without the proper approach, mindset, and work ethic, a student is doomed to fail no matter how great the content is, or how encouraging the course creator may be while going through it.

My most recent course purchase was Michael Hyatt’s 2017 edition of 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever, an online course that he promoted last December to help his students achieve their big goals for the year.

Here’s my certificate of completion:

bestyearever

It was a great course that incorporated almost all of the course creator strategies I mentioned before, and was the perfect way to start the year with all of the giant goals I’ve created for myself.

Read about my goals (and goals set by the SPI community!) here.

Also, as an affiliate for Michael’s course, I setup a special Facebook Group as a bonus for anyone in the SPI community who purchased through my link, which has become a great resource for me and the other students in the class.

While going through the course material, I paid careful attention to the approach that other students were taking to set themselves up for success, and the first thing that was very apparent was that the students who got through the material were the ones who made sure to plan ahead and block out specific days and times to work through the course.

Here’s one student, Carla, sharing her approach when I asked the group:

carla

You’ve got to show up to be successful.

Make sure you always schedule time within your calendar to complete the course. If possible, make it a part of your daily routine until you finish.

Too often I’ve seen people purchase courses only to sit back and let it collect dust.
Maybe they log in once or twice, but it’s not consistent. As a result, the student cannot consume the content needed to achieve the desired result.

Admittedly, when I was first building my business back in 2008, I purchased my fair share of courses that I never completed. A major reason for that was because I didn’t schedule time to take the course. Other times it was because I got distracted with other projects, or I just simply procrastinated and lost the energy to keep going.

The deeper issue here—more than just what’s on the calendar and honoring that time block—is commitment. That means not just purchasing the course and cracking it open because it’s there, but having the true desire and drive to complete the course and its tasks for a reason.

The better you understand your why, and the benefits you will gain after completion, the more likely you are to do all of the things necessary to login consistently, stay on schedule, and ultimately become a successful student.

Here’s Haydee, another student who successfully went through Michael’s course:

haydee

Make it your mission. I love that.

Beyond that, here are a number of other helpful tips you can use as a student to increase the likelihood that you’ll successfully complete your next online course:

Don’t be afraid to start over or rewatch something.

Enjoy the process!

1. Remove as many possible distractions as possible.

Not only is blocking out time in your calendar important, but you should also aim to consume course content in a distraction-free environment.

  • Turning notifications off on your phone (i.e. airplane mode) and on your desktop.
  • Communicate with people who may interrupt you to let them know you’ll be unavailable for a certain period of time.
  • Use tools and apps like Self Control (iOS) or Cold Turkey (Windows), if needed, to stop yourself from going to Facebook, Twitter, or that other website you usually visit when you’re supposed to be working.

2. Print Worksheets and Workbooks

If the course comes with printouts that are meant to help you along the way, print them out beforehand. It’ll be great to have it readily available as you go through each lesson and complete action items, but it’s also a great way to fire yourself up right from the start, like Austin here:

austin

3. Speaking of Action Items . . . Do Them!

Another common mistake students make is going through the content without ever doing any of the action items. Consuming content is just half the fun, but participating in the course and getting involved with the tasks you’re given is where the results come from.

You can’t always predict the outcome of the lessons you learn and the courses that you take, but one thing is always going to be 100 percent true: if you don’t take any action, you’re never going to get any results.

4. Join the Community

Many online courses come with access to a community of some kind, such as a forum or group with other students who are also taking the course.

After surveying a number of people who have taken courses, many commented on just how important the community was for their success. You’ll never feel alone knowing there are other students in the same position as you are, and they’re only a few clicks away.

A lot of helpful information typically comes up within these communities, such as answers to specific questions or clarification on items that may be more confusing than others. Beyond that, and what I personally love most about these groups, is that people are also there to share their wins and motivate you.

5. Find an Accountability Partner

One of the best ways to complete a challenging ongoing task is to find an accountability partner to help you through it. It’s like going to the gym. It’s much easier to stay motivated and complete your workouts when another is there doing it with you.

If someone else you already know is taking this course, ask them. It’s a lot easier when you have a relationship already. That said, if you’re looking for a partner, propose the idea in any communities the course may have, and it’s likely you’ll find others in the group who will want to partner with you.

6. Ask Questions!

If you get stuck or aren’t sure about something, that doesn’t mean it’s time to take a break. It means your next task is to try and find the answer.

If there’s a community, start there. There may be conversations and answers related to your question already there. If not, just ask, and remember: there are no dumb questions!

If there is no course-based community you can tap into, try other communities related in and around that topic instead, and if that’s not possible, don’t hesitate to send an email to the support team or course founder. Personally, I love receiving questions from my students because it shows me what else I could do to improve the course, and it’s always great for starting deeper conversations about the course and how things are progressing.

7. Be Proud of Your Small Wins

Completing a course is not always easy, and depending on the course material, it can be quite a long journey. To keep yourself motivated throughout, and to show yourself that you’re making progress, make sure to celebrate your small wins along the way.

From completing a single lesson, to finishing a page in your workbook, each of those little milestones add up to the much larger sum of success once the course is finished. On a similar note. . .

Make sure to celebrate your small wins along the way.

8. Reward Yourself!

One thing I love to do to help push me through a course is to allow myself to have some kind of reward after I finish. Sometimes it’s a special sweet treat that I’m really craving, or perhaps an hour or two of Rocket League on the PlayStation. It doesn’t matter what it is, but giving yourself something to look forward to can be another thing to stack in your favor to help you through some of the tough moments you’ll find during your course journey.

9. Don’t Be Afraid to Redo Something, Or Even Start Over

Sometimes the first pass through isn’t the one that works for us, and that’s okay. Don’t worry about falling behind if you feel like you need to start over. In many cases, it’s the right thing to do.

In my course, Smart from Scratch, starting over is quite common and actually encouraged! The purpose of the course is to help students validate their business ideas, so when an idea proves to be one that isn’t the right fit (for themselves and/or for their target market), then starting over is the next logical step.

With each go-around, students accelerate through the process with new knowledge and experience and eventually will land on an idea that works.

It’s the same experience through any courses that you may gain access to. If you need to start over, it’s not a fail—it’s another shot with a new perspective in mind.

10. Have Fun With It!

And finally, remember this: we live in an amazing era where we can gain immediate access to the incredible knowledge and experience someone else has to help improve our own lives.

We take for granted just how lucky we are and how amazing our opportunities can be. Sometimes it’s a struggle and yes, it takes a lot of work to make progress, but when it comes down to it, make sure you’re having fun too. Enjoy the process and the learning, because it’s not always about the end result. It’s about the time and the journey it takes to get there.

You got this!

And before I go, real quick, I’d love to hear from you what courses you’ve taken in the past, for any purpose, and what was one thing you loved about that course. Just one. Your comments will eventually become an amazing resource for any course creators and students in the future.


February 20, 2017 at 11:00AM
http://ift.tt/2lnhjeJ

SPI 253: How to Build Relationships with Influencers with Selena Soo

I’ve talked about relationship building a lot on the Smart Passive Income Podcast. It’s an essential—and potentially life-changing—aspect of growing your business and your reputation as an entrepreneur. That’s why I’ve invited a relationship mastermind, Selena Soo, here today to give you her expert perspective on approaching influencers and building your network.

As a coach to countless successful entrepreneurs (some of them coaches themselves), Selena understands the kinds of tactics that win over new contacts and forge meaningful connections. You’ll hear stories from her own encounters with industry legends, the mindset she adopts when making a first impression, and common mistakes she sees other entrepreneurs make.

Selena and I also walk through three fun, hypothetical scenarios where you’ll get to hear her relationship-building strategies in action. We’ll cover everything from marketing a new book to attracting high-level coaching clients—there’s something for every entrepreneur in this episode.

Want to make a stellar impression the next time you run into your favorite entrepreneur? Selena’s here to help. Listen in!

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The SPI Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions, head on over to AskPat.com. This bite-sized show has more than six million downloads and counting!

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates, or even better, download the new SPI Mobile App, now available for both iOS and Android. It’s free!

Special thanks to Selena for joining me this week. Until next time!



You’ll Learn

  • Advice for approaching people you admire.
  • Common fears that hold entrepreneurs back from relationship building.
  • The introductions that changed Selena’s career.
  • Messaging pitfalls and things to avoid when emailing influential people.
  • Favorite relationship-building experiences from Selena’s own career.
  • Simple ways you can invest in yourself as an entrepreneur, today.
  • Tips and resources for marketing your next book.
  • Strategies for promoting your next online course.
  • Advice for positioning yourself as a high-level coach or mentor.
  • Two free resources for growing your network and your business, and more!

Resources

Sponsors


February 15, 2017 at 11:00AM
http://ift.tt/2lLcP4u

SPI 253: How to Build Relationships with Influencers with Selena Soo

I’ve talked about relationship building a lot on the Smart Passive Income Podcast. It’s an essential—and potentially life-changing—aspect of growing your business and your reputation as an entrepreneur. That’s why I’ve invited a relationship mastermind, Selena Soo, here today to give you her expert perspective on approaching influencers and building your network.

As a coach to countless successful entrepreneurs (some of them coaches themselves), Selena understands the kinds of tactics that win over new contacts and forge meaningful connections. You’ll hear stories from her own encounters with industry legends, the mindset she adopts when making a first impression, and common mistakes she sees other entrepreneurs make.

Selena and I also walk through three fun, hypothetical scenarios where you’ll get to hear her relationship-building strategies in action. We’ll cover everything from marketing a new book to attracting high-level coaching clients—there’s something for every entrepreneur in this episode.

Want to make a stellar impression the next time you run into your favorite entrepreneur? Selena’s here to help. Listen in!

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The SPI Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions, head on over to AskPat.com. This bite-sized show has more than six million downloads and counting!

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates, or even better, download the new SPI Mobile App, now available for both iOS and Android. It’s free!

Special thanks to Selena for joining me this week. Until next time!



You’ll Learn

  • Advice for approaching people you admire.
  • Common fears that hold entrepreneurs back from relationship building.
  • The introductions that changed Selena’s career.
  • Messaging pitfalls and things to avoid when emailing influential people.
  • Favorite relationship-building experiences from Selena’s own career.
  • Simple ways you can invest in yourself as an entrepreneur, today.
  • Tips and resources for marketing your next book.
  • Strategies for promoting your next online course.
  • Advice for positioning yourself as a high-level coach or mentor.
  • Two free resources for growing your network and your business, and more!

Resources

Sponsors


February 15, 2017 at 11:00AM
http://ift.tt/2lLcP4u

My January 2017 Monthly Income Report

Welcome to the first Income Report of 2017!

Here, I’ll be detailing line items from January 2017, including income sources and expenses. As always, I’ll also be sharing what’s been going on internally and what the plans are in the coming months.

If you’d like to get a record of all Monthly Income Reports dating back to October 2008, you can find them right here.

Thanks again, as always, for your support.

Now, let’s get started.


Income Summary

  • Last month: $151,137.88
  • This month: $157,131.95
  • Last 12 months: $1,742,197.06

Expenses Summary

  • Last month: $34,152.45
  • This month: $36,636.00
  • Last 12 months: $463,334.60

Net Profit Summary

  • Last month: $116,985.43
  • This month: $120,495.95
  • Last 12 months: $1,278,862.46

For the complete breakdown of income and expenses, visit the full report here »

Lessons Learned in January

After reading about all the greats that I’ve read in biographies so far this year, I came out of those books inspired, energized, and determined. But, on the other side of things, also very concerned.

I posted about this concern on Facebook the other day and it started a great discussion about what it takes to be one of the greats, and if it’s even worth it, and I wanted to embed that thought here for you as well, as I feel it’s definitely something that needs to be talked about.

Here’s that post below:

http://ift.tt/2koNbgM

At this point in my life, at age thirty-four, with the success I’ve had so far, I know I can go bigger and deeper. There’s so much I want to fight for and so much I want to still do, but I wouldn’t want to do it at the expense of the relationships I have with my children.

I feel I’m doing well so far as far as keeping them involved, loving them every day, and being a great example for them as a present and caring father, but when I think about what would be written in my own biography (if that would be something worth reading), would I be willing to sacrifice my family for that? I hope not, and I hope there’s a way to have both. Maybe that’s what I become known for.

What do you think about this? I would love to hear your thoughts below.

Cheers, and as always, thank you so much for your support! Here’s to an amazing 2017 for all of us. I appreciate you!


February 13, 2017 at 11:00AM
http://ift.tt/2lHlxwI

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