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podcast discovery center

Scott Doucet: The Podcast Discovery Center – A Safe Haven for Podcasters to Master Their Craft (AoL 080)

As we heard in the AoL session with Chris Ripka, podcasting has been around for quite awhile – just not the form that we’re all used to.

However, it seems that only recently it’s been catching on as a popular medium. I mean, for me, it’s still hard to believe that 36% of all people 18 years old or older have listened to a podcast sometime in their life. I still find myself explaining what it is to most people who don’t know what AoL is.

But once I do describe it, they’re blown away by it’s potential and many even ask “how do I get started?”.

Currently I’m working on a solution for that question, but in the meantime, I often tell them to check out Facebook groups – especially the Podcast Discovery Center (PDC).

As co-founder of the PDC, today’s guest is dedicated in making the members of the PDC feel like they’re part of the family. As you’ll find out, Scott Doucet has had plenty of experience in other larger podcast groups, and what he and his co-founder Anthony found out is that many times those groups like to push an agenda.

The only thing that the PDC wants to push is the success of your show.

In this conversation, I ask him more about how he got started as a podcaster, more about that foundation of the group, and we also find out more about his own business and how he can help you if you’re looking to create a podcast for your business.

As always, thanks for listening, and enjoy the show!

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • How did Scott get into podcasting? 6:00
  • What was behind starting the Podcast Discovery Center (PDC)? 9:35
  • What kind of creative influences did he have growing up? 11:34
  • How did Scott and Anthony hook up to create the PDC? 12:24
  • How exactly is the PDC setup to be different than other podcast groups? 14:47
  • Has the themed format that the PDC utilizes day to day worked in creating engagement? 16:17
  • What is Scott’s recommendation for starting a group with a similar spirit to the PDC? 19:50
  • How did he build enough business as a podcast consultant in a matter of months that he now has a waiting list. 21:48
  • What worries Scott about the future of podcasting? 32:58
  • How would he recommend to a podcast purist to monetize their show? 38:49
  • How to find out who’s listening to your show? 43:31
  • What’s coming up for Scott in the rest of 2017? 46:41
  • Scott’s top 3 favorite influences? 49:42
  • Hardest thing he’s had to say no to? 50:53
  • Something he believed when he was 25 but no longer believes today? 51:30
  • What are three truths he’s learned over time? 53:06
  • What does it mean to live a life of abundance? 54:45
  • … and MUCH more!

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Editing Guru Cody Boyce on using an iPhone as a pretty good mic:

Carey Green giving a few tips in how to make your shows easier to find:

Arne Giske’s promo of the Millennial Entrepreneur Podcast Session 8:

Scott does some admin work:

scott doucet
podcast discovery center
scott doucet
podcast discovery center

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

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

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

business knowledge

Freebies to Use For Your Business: Latest Online Business Knowledge

This month we’ve been looking at free resources to build your business with. The past two weeks, we’ve looked at ways that you can spruce up your content for free.

First we discussed stock photos and where you can get free ones. Of course, stock photos can be used to add flair to your blog posts and other media.

Next, we looked at non copyright music and how you can use that in your media as well.

This week, we’re changing things up a bit. We’re going mental. I’m giving you some of my favorite places to get “basically free” business wisdom.

I say it’s “basically free” because even if they have premium courses or memberships, they’re relatively inexpensive compared to what’s out there. I’m not including anyone that thas content that is specifically meant for as entries to their course or events. Those all tend to get a bit more expensive that a lot of people can afford. (So, no, I won’t be including Tony Robbins, Brendon Burchard, or John Maxwell in this specific list!)

 

Top 5 Favorite Online Business Figures:

This is a list of individuals who I listen to on a regular basis to keep up with trends, knowledge, and general awareness of the online entrepreneurial space. Sure, there might be plenty of names out there that do this as well, but these were the folks that had significant influence in my own entrepreneurial education.

Without them, I wouldn’t know or know about half the stuff that I do today.

 

  1. Pat Flynn

    I had to put Pat up first because he was the first one who introduced me to making real money online. Up until I found him, I knew of Google Ads, banners, and MLM’s. But as he started exploring this world, I followed along on his journey. I just wish that I had started on my own sooner!

     

  2. Gary Vaynerchuk

    Pat contributed his early work to a couple of people. Robert Kiyosaki, Tim Ferriss, and Gary.

    Gary’s first book, Crush It!, really helped Pat get started. While it was published in 2009, it still has a lot of very practical info. I actually read it the first week that Pat published his first podcast. Which, at the time, sounded so awesome and cool to me.

    Today Gary is kicking even more butt and has an even wider fan base. Having started Vaynermedia since then, he’s brought on a staff, and has started a few series on his YouTube channel: #AskGaryVee and #DailyVee

     

  3. Lewis Howes

    Probably one of my favorite early guests of Pat and another guy I’ve liked watching as he’s been building his business. When he started his podcast called the School of Greatness, I loved how it had examples of folks who had done their own thing. But he wasn’t focused on the how-to, he was all about the lifestyle aspect.

    Today he interviews folks such as Larry King, Wyclef Jean, and Cesar Millan!

    Amazing that he started his journey from his sister’s couch!

  4. Michael O’Neal

    Michael is someone I learned quite a bit from when he was on Pat’s show, so I figured I had to start paying attention to him as well. While i haven’t been following him as long as everyone else, I would say that his podcast is amazing. He reaches those niches that Pat hasn’t been able to go into via his podcast. He’s had some MLM folks on as well as investors.

    Also, Michael approaches interview as an artform that I really appreciate. His ability to be so natural on the mic is simply incredible.

     

  5. Tim Ferriss

    I didn’t really listen to Tim until recently. Yeah, that’s right… I know, I know!

    But hear me out. The reason I didn’t was because his conversations were so long. However, my guests kept saying that they loved his show, so I started paying attention myself. Now the long conversations that once turned me away are the reasons that I listen.

    From a podcaster’s perspective, like Michael, Tim is gifted on the mic as well. His long conversations get a lot more out of his guests then the more typical 30-45 minute conversations. That’s the one reason why I don’t try and keep my guests short – if they want to go on, they certainly can. If they want to keep to an our chat, there’s that option as well.

 

Top 5 Business Resources on the Web:

Sometimes, there’s more than just one person who runs an online business or organization. Whether I need new inspiration, or have a question that I actually need answered, here’s a list of five of my favorite resources from around the web.

 

  1. Fizzle

    For those of you have heard a few episodes of Angles of Lattitude podcast, you know that I’m a huge fan of Fizzle. There’s two main reasons. The first reason is because of their wide variety of video courses to help you go from point A to B in so many different topics. From as broad a topic as picking your own topic to learning how to book yourself solid with prospects and clients, to niching down even further to something like comparing video hosting services.

    It’s a ton of info that you might have to spend lots of time finding yourself or paying out the nose for elsewhere.

    The other reason is because the forum there, I believe, is full of folks who are actually doing something to move their business forward. Because they have to pay to play, they take things a bit more seriously. This means they actually have real experience you can tap into. I don’t think the same thing can be said about many of the groups you can find on Facebook. Some of them are simply too easy to get into and you have little to no idea if the person who’s giving the advice actually knows what they’re talking about!

    Anyhow, check them out, see what courses might be useful for you and get some of your questions answered in the forum. It’ll definitely be worth your while.

    Oh, and they have a podcast too!

     

  2. Art of Charm

    While Fizzle is good at teaching business skills, we should all realize that isn’t all there is to business. You have to have social skills as well. That’s where AoC picks up. Most people know of this group for their great podcast. And while the podcast is hosted by Jordan Harbinger, there is more to the AoC crew than him.

    Personally, I’ve learned enough through the show and Jordan to give myself some life hacks here and there. But you might consider actually attending their workshop sometime in LA if you really want or need to go deep.

     

  3. Social Media Examiner

    We’re all in the business of getting our story out onto the web to our potential clients, audience, and customers. Problem is, the tools to do that are always changing. What worked last year might not work next year. What started off as a one man show has changed over time to what it is today – the forefront explorer of all things social.

     

  4. TED

    If you’re not familiar with TED, then you should definitely take a look. Just about all major thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and educators have been in a TED or TEDx presentation. My favorite three talks of all time on there are done by Mike Rowe, Tony Robbins, and of course, Simon Sinek.

     

  5. Khan Academy

     Most people would initially think that Khan Academy is for students between middle school and college. For the most, they’d be right. However, they actually have lessons for entrepreneurs as well! One of stories on there is from Elon Musk – do definitely something to check out if you like founder stories.

 

Action Steps:

So these are the basically free resources that I get a lot of my “business awareness” from these days.

If you ever need inspiration, more surface level knowledge on a certain business subject, or simply want some good words of wisdom, then these folks are all good ones to know.

Let me know below some of your favorite general business knowledge people!

Freebies to Use For Your Business: Non Copyright Music Sources

Last week we saw how relatively easy it is to get stock images for free. I mean, with the abundance of resources that are out there, why pay for one again? Unless you’re very specific in your search, I really can’t think of a good reason.

In this week’s post, I’ll share with you the places I’ve found free stock music. If you’re wondering what stock music is useful for, then my quickest response is “what medium isn’t it useful for?”.

To this day, even on national TV, I see commercials that are using stock music.

Whether it’s in the background of a short clip of a speech, to being used in a podcast, to even being used behind GTA and Halo montages on YouTube, stock music can be useful in adding a bit more flare to the medium you’re using to convey your message.

What is Stock Music (aka Non Copyright Music)?

Like I did in last week’s post, I want give a short description of stock music is and isn’t.

Stock music, known by many names including non copyright music or production music, is the name given to recorded music that can be licensed to customers for use in TV, video (movies or online), radio and other media. Traditionally, the music is produced and owned by production music libraries.

If it is owned by a music library, then the user will have to pay a license fee to use that music with their media.

However, with the advent of the internet, stock music artists, like independent artists, can create and release their own music.

This was the main reason that SoundCloud became so popular and why MySpace is even still around. Both of these mediums have been used significantly to get music out into the world.

So that’s what it is.

However, the difference of the two is that stock music is specifically released to be the background of media, whereas other music, while it might be used as background music, is designed to stand alone. Many times, you’ll hear traditional music altered to be background music – especially in commercials with a lot of production value on TV.

Stock Music Examples

Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about if you’re still a little fuzzy.

Here’s a few examples of stock music in a YouTube video:

Here’s something you might hear on the radio – but you won’t because it’s copyright free:

And here’s a sample of stock music that’s not only used for a commercial for Plus Benefits, but it’s also used at the beginning of Ryan Moran’s podcast:

Plus Benefit’s Commercial:

Freedom Fast Lane Podcast w/ Ryan Daniel Moran:

If you ever find the name of this piece, I’d love to know what it’s called!

Using Stock Music

Ok, so like last week with the images, it’s relatively easy to tell if something is stock music. In fact, many pieces of stock music that you can sample will have the name of the library that you’re sampling it from right in the middle of the sample. Obviously, like watermarking images, it’s there to detour you from using it.

In the following piece you’ll hear a slight whisper of “Audio Jungle” repeated over and over. That’s what I call an audio watermark.

Just like I said about images…

DON’T USE ‘WATERMARKED’ MUSIC!

For one, it’ll make whatever you’re doing sound ridiculous, and two, you’ll probably get a cease and desist letter if not a potential lawsuit.

Another way to realize if you need to pay a license to use music is whether or not it can easily be downloaded. If you have to pay something to download it, then it probably has specific details in when it can be used as well.

If you want to read more about the different types of licensing and usage methods – here you go.

It’s not really relative to the next part though! 🙂

Where to Find Free Stock Music

So here’s the part you’ve been waiting for. Where can you find free stock music to use with your media? Well, my top 3 places are…

  1. FreeMusicArchive.org
  2. YouTube
  3. Reddit

The Free Music Archive has just about anything you want. So that’s generally where I get most of my stock music. Like images, you want to make sure that you give credit when it’s asked for and when it’s due. I make it common to acknowledge the artist in all of my work.

If for some reason, you can’t find what you’re looking for in the Archive, then YouTube has a decent source. The Verge did a decent review about what you can expect in there when their library was launched in 2013.

Finally, the third option I find as a potential place to find pieces, but I haven’t quite used anything from here yet, is Soundcloud. As mentioned, this type of work is what helped its popularity. If you want to see what’s available on Soundcloud (or other places around the web), there’s a great resource via reddit that might be able to help you find good stuff: No Copyright Music Subreddit.

Like last time with the images, if you want even more free music, I have a couple of links for you:

20+ Websites to Download Creative Commons Music For Free

And it’s sequel:

20 (More) Websites To Download Creative Commons Music For Free

Also, if you happen to be a DJ and want more specifics in finding music for your work, check out this post from Robert Calabrese over at Home DJ Studio.

Action Steps:

So there you go. Plenty of sources to get free music to ramp up your videos or podcast sessions with. Now you have no excuse to not add a bit of atmosphere to your next project.

If you find anything great via these resources, let me know below! I’d love to hear about your discoveries and even a little show and tell about what adding this music has done for your work!

successful site

Getting Started on the Web (Part 3): 6 Characteristics of a Successful Site

Back in early summer, I wrote a couple of introductory pieces discussing the process of getting a website up.

In part 1, we looked at some of the different types of ways that you could easily get something up. We also discussed that it’s going to take some time to get your website up and a little bit of ingenuity and technical prowess.

In part 2, we dug a bit deeper into the process. We looked at hosting types as well as a free way to get a professional website up once you had your domain paid for. We also dug a bit deeper into discovering what WordPress is and more of its in’s and out’s.

 

What’s Vital to Your Site’s Success:

In this third part of the series, we’ll be looking more into the vital functions that your site has to provide people who access it if you’re looking to do business through it. This information holds true whether your site reflects simply you as an expert or thought leader all the way up to a new tech startup.

One thing to note about this list: start with the top and work your way down. You don’t have to do it all at once, but it will pay off to eventually have all 6 components in your site.

Let’s get started.

 

Provides Valuable Content

In a world where there’s so much information on the web, you have to let people know what you’re about. Having free content through the form of a blog, through a podcast series, or through videos are the three main ways people deliver that content.

A huge benefit to you for providing free regular content is recognition by Google. It will rank you higher than a site that is static and isn’t adding material.

 

Blogging:

The blog is the easiest of the three to provide. For one, it’s built into your site if you’re using WordPress. Secondly, you really don’t have to do much to get it going other than knowing how to write. Preferably,  in a way that reaches your audience on a base level – much I do here with you.

If it’s the first time you’ve ever written in length on a regular basis and you’re simply not used to it, try and copy the writing style of your favorite blogs.

For example, if you have very detailed writing and want to use a lot of step by step instructions in your writing, then check out videofruit.com and emulate how Bryan Harris writes his posts.

If you’re more casual than that, then another one of favorites, of course, was and continues to be the SPI Blog.

 

Podcasting and Videos:

Getting a podcasting or video feed started on your site is similar to getting a blog started. However, unlike the blog, you’re going to have to create your content through other means than simply typing it up and posting it.

If you want to know how to get a podcast going, I’ve posted a basic tutorial of how to do that starting here.

Unfortunately, I haven’t started in the video world yet – so I can’t help you on the basis of that yet!

Looks Great on Mobile:

Half of all traffic on the web today is done through mobile devices – if not more. That means, if you’re site looks like junk on a phone or tablet, then those users aren’t going to be too thrilled about coming back.

Also, make your content easy to get to. If you’re using awkward dropdown navbars or other outdated means of getting to content quickly in just a couple of clicks or presses, then you’re not doing yourself any favors.

 

Simple for You to Manage:

Back in part one of this series I mentioned that you’ll need to have some sort of technical know how to have a website and post to it regularly. When using WordPress, especially, you’ll need to know when it’s time to update plugins, how to write a new post, and upload pictures and other media to those posts.

Learning how to do this takes a bit of time. But if you’re one of the types of people who forgets technical details as soon as you learn them, you might need another option. Perhaps using Squarespace or Kajabi would be more your style.

Remember you normally have to pay for simplicity though!

 

Allows for People to Subscribe to a Newsletter or other Notification System:

People like being reminded about things, because let’s face it, we all get busy. Newsletters are beneficial to all of us. It’s really how I keep track of what people are doing.

That said, you’ll be doing the same thing. You’re going to need some sort of freemium (or opt-in) that will allow people to submit their email (or phone number) to you. In return, you’ll get some sort of product or service that gives an example of how you can help them.

 

Easy for People to Share and Follow:

Social media is what people are focused on these days for their news around the world. Like you and me, they probably want to share what they find online in a given day.

Your site needs to make that process easy-peasy. Make sure that you have social media buttons scattered throughout your site. This will allow people to share content with a few clicks.

If you use a sidebar on your site, have one of your social media feeds in it. It can be a feed of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – you name it! Just have it over there for social proof.

 

Accept Online Payments:

If you have products for sale, you’ll want to be able to sell them through your site. Being able to accept online payments is important in having a successful site to most online entrepreneurs.

However, you might notice that some sites don’t have have options to pay online. More than likely they’re utilizing a process called affiliate marketing where the transaction happens behind the scenes.

Most podcast centric sites work through this process – unless there’s a membership involved with the site like Fizzle.

 

Action Steps:

If you’ve started a website using the previous two segments of this series, great job! You’ve taken important steps to get recognized as the creator you are.

Your next step, is to implement these 6 characteristics into your site. It’s a new year, so there’s really no better time! Get it done as soon as possible.

Again, don’t think you have to do it all at once. If you haven’t started adding content regularly to your site, start doing that first. Then work your way down to the bottom.

find your niche

Emily Kelly on Finding Your Niche, Working Remotely, and Mastering Empathetic Writing (AoL 069)

Many of us have problems with being an entrepreneur in one way or another. That’s why we hire out for help.

Over at Fizzle, for example, Chase and Corbett hired in Steph Crowder to help with customer support back in 2015.

Steph, having worked at a few startups by that point, knew how to interact with clients on a one to one basis. It was something that Chase, who’s the main creative at Fizzle, and Corbett, the business brain, didn’t have the resources to do themselves.

In our interview with Steph in 2016, we learned that she was expecting soon.

They had to get a fill-in for her while she was on maternity leave.

Today’s guest, Emily Kelly, was the hero for Fizzle during that time.

But, just because she was with them temporarily, doesn’t mean she was bad at the position.

In fact, it was part of her new role as as a virtual customer support specialist.

In this interview, we find out about her journey to become a virtual assistant, what she recommends to folks coming right out of college to keep them from getting burnt out at work, and some pointers in putting emotion into writing.

If you’re thinking about about starting your own business, perhaps being a virtual assistant first might just be in the future for you as well.

SPECIFICALLY, YOU’LL FIND OUT MORE ABOUT:

  • What kind of career did she envision as she was going to school? 8:02
  • What creative influences did she have in her life growing up? 10:52
  • What is like to have her dad working remotely growing up. 13:15
  • When was the first time Emily had experience with entrepreneurship herself? 14:47
  • What was it like to work at a startup vs where she previously worked? 18:13
  • What advice would she give someone who’s coming out of college so they don’t get burnt out. 21:37
  • Which mindset did Emily utilize while working for a startup? 27:15
  • What is some advice that she’d give someone to get more emotion into their writing? 37:04
  • What are some things to look for when hiring remote help? 39:28
  • 3 Influencers or teachers that have helped Emily get to where she is today. 44:38
  • One gift that she likes giving others. 45:17
  • Something she believed as a 21 year old but doesn’t now and why? 45:46
  • If she could place an ad anywhere in the world cost free, what would it be and where? 46:19
  • Who does Emily think of as a success and why? 48:29
  • What are some ways that someone can improve their customer support? 49:53
  • … and MUCH more!

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

ITEMS and PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

SHOW NOTE EXTRAS:

Broke with Billy Corben:

Intro to Deep Work by Cal Newport:

How to Become a Virtual Assistant:

Simon Sinek on the Millennial Question:

Bonus: Simon Sinek followup:

Thank You For Sharing Some Time With Us!

Thanks so much for joining us 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 top of the post.

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

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!

Cheers!

Why I Started Using Email Marketing in 2016 (and Why It Still Works)

Today, more than ever, we’re pressed for time and energy. Each day we start with so many minutes and energy to pay attention to all of the things that we need to deal with.

Many things in our lives distract us from what we want to actually get done. Email checking is one of the biggest pet peeves to most of us – me included. It feels like such a drag.

After swearing to myself that I’d never use email to reach people on a regular basis because of how unresponsive I personally am to it and how overused it seems, I realized that I was leaving a legitimate way to engage and connect with people on the table. Some people actually want to hear from me. 🙂

In fact, there’s some people (again me not being one of them) that actually pay more attention to their email than they do social media. So much so that in the past couple of weeks that I’ve been sending emails, I’ve already had a couple of unsubscribes! Personally I hardly ever unsubscribe from people unless they send too much – (usually those are daily senders and my junk mail tends to grab those after a while anyway).

So what made me realize that this was a good way for me to engage with folks if I’m not the most receptive of it myself? Well, I’m glad you asked. Here’s why:

There are some people who really only get their notifications from the web via emails.

Seriously. They don’t have Facebook, Twitter, or another social media constantly open. Nope, instead, they go to their online email web portal, check to see if anything is going on and if it’s not, then it’s not anything they need to worry about. Larry King recently put it this way on his interview with Lewis Howes when it came to having a phone that can text – “There’s a reason I don’t text. If I need to know it, I’m sure you or someone else will tell me.”

The same is true with social media. My dad is this kind of person as well.

Every cell phone, even flip phones, has email capability.

Unless you know someone that’s carrying a Zack Morris brick or something from the late 90’s or early 2000’s, all phones have email capability. (I don’t even know if those phones can actually use today’s signals or not though, so…)

While there are some people like Larry King who use their flip phone only as a phone, most cell phone users opt to use it for as much as possible. More than 50% (56% of this writing) of all traffic on the web is from mobile devices. People are connected, true, but not everyone has the same apps or use the same social media platforms. Email is “universal”.

People rely on emails for digests of what’s going on from their favorite brands.

When you’re looking to check and see if there’s a sale at a favorite store, are you going to do that via social media, their website, or check for an email if you subscribed to them?

You’ll probably check their website.

However… you probably wouldn’t even think to check their website if it wasn’t the fact that you had been notified by an email of theirs in the past about a sale.

Personally, I know for me that I bought two new Colts hats in the last couple of years because I saw them featured in emails. Had I not gotten those emails, I probably would not have gotten the hats that I wear pretty regularly.

It’s easier for the one doing the marketing to integrate emailing into other marketing systems making them seem more personalized.

Truth be told, I tend to pay attention to emails that start with this: “Hey, Jc!”

Why is that? Because it makes my subconscious feel important. Even though I know that I had to have had put my name in a form somewhere for it come out that way (I go by JC not Jc), I still have more of an interest in that particular email – because I obviously actively signed up for it.

On that same point, 31.5% of US online retailers use the customer’s name and/or a unique welcome message. However, nearly half of US online retailers use personalized product recommendations (44.9% – read marketing funnels) and a quarter of them report adding shopping cart reminders (27.6%) to cover all of their personalization bases.

It’s inexpensive.

Currently, right now with MailChimp, I’m not paying anything to email my email list. I think that this is a great option for anyone that might not have a huge budget to spend on tools when they’re first getting started.

Also, I’ve used other tools like Constant Contact and aWeber, and frankly, I wasn’t too impressed with their functionality. MailChimp has gotten way better over the last couple of years.

However, there’s one cavot that I’m pretty sure using MailChimp has – it has issues getting through spam filters. Not sure why that is.

If you’re using MailChimp and you start hearing about your subscribers ending up with your email in their spam folders a bit much, you might want to consider other options.

The least expensive one that I can think of is ActiveCampaign which seems to have a reasonable price point.

That said, if you already have a course or two and you’re bringing some money in to cover your expenditures, you might want to take a look at ConvertKit – which seems it’s quickly becoming the best platform for online business folks.

Love it or hate it, it’s still effective.

So there you have it. Even though I’m not the first one to use the medium by far (I went a whole year without using it), I’ve realized that even within the few weeks that I have used it that I get more engagement. In the end, if we’re trying to get our message out there as people who want to change lives, then I’ll concede that email is a tool that you might want to reconsider using in the foreseeable future.

Let me know below what your experience has been with email marketing. Did you hate it at first and eventually give in like me?

personal freedom

5 Obstacles in Achieving True Personal Freedom

No matter who you are or what you’re doing, those of us who are leading (or trying to lead) passion filled lives and businesses are doing so because we feel that we can be ourselves better than what a boss can prescribe for us. We’re trying to gain our Personal Independence, or as most call it, Personal Freedom. Most people don’t like being bossed around, right? (Obviously there’s an exception. But I have yet to meet that person…!)

Until you have personal freedom, you’re always going to have that as a possibility in your life.

In the last post, I spoke of 4 common problems that people have when trying to start a business. These problems are part of a larger list of obstacles that I want to point out in today’s post. Without overcoming these obstacles through actively working on them, or simply through understanding them, a person can never have true Personal Freedom.

Health

The first thing everyone should be able to maintain at an optimum level is their health – both physical and mental. This is the first level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Due to this, many of us who are thinking about building a business take this part for granted. However, ignoring it can have a very negative impact on everything else we do.

In fact, if a person doesn’t have their sanity or the energy to do the activities that need to be done in a certain day, then they won’t get very far.

For many people this is a daily struggle. These people are living a Caged Life. Combined with the potential of not having shelter (the second level of Maslow’s), these folks might not ever think about starting their own business.

That said, one good thing that comes from having to struggle daily is a natural tenacity for “Hustle”. And, ironically, that’s an important ingredient to building a business.

Community

The third level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is Love and Belonging. Once we have ourselves taken care of, we naturally want to start reaching out to others. Our need to engage with others is part of what it means to be human. We want to feel connected to people who are interested in the same things we are. I like to think of this as a need for us to feel that we have social proof. That we’re not alone.

As mentioned in the 6 Cornerstones eBook, a tribe is a very good thing to have when we’re aiming for higher success – it gives us support for when the going gets tough!

If this is done with authenticity, it gives us a feeling of esteem (Maslow’s fourth level) because we know that people appreciate the true us!

Once we have our health and know our role in our community, you could say that we’re experiencing a Comfortable Life. Life is good, but it’s not great. And funny enough, it’s been said numerous times that Good is, in fact, the enemy of Great. It’s really hard to give up Comfortable for what’s coming next…

Knowledge and Skills

On the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is Self Actualization. This is where we start realizing who we are. That we do have passions, particular strengths, and know where we fit in life. It’s when we have this understanding, that we can master our knowledge and build other skills that will supplement what we already know about ourselves and how we interact with the world.

Because we can always keep learning about ourselves and the world around us, this journey never ends. And if you were looking for a label for someone that’s here…  this is called living a Charged Life.

As a side note, our current school system doesn’t work in our favor when it comes to this obstacle. In fact, it makes it worse. Formal education makes us great soldiers who fit like cogs in a larger machine (society) where we don’t question if we’re in the right place.

So to be free in our knowledge and skill building, we typically have to go outside of the formal school system because it isn’t in their best interest to teach us about who we are as individuals.

One way of gaining more knowledge is by actively going out there and seeing it for yourself. That’s why so many millennials would rather have experiences than having things.

Financial

This factor and the next are not necessarily ascending levels like the past three are. But it’s something that I need to discuss in further detail because they’re not discussed hardly at all in formal education in a way that everyone can understand.

As you probably know, the better our finances are, the more options we have in life. What do I mean by this? In our current world, having financial freedom is what gets rid of living a life where you have a boss giving you orders all the time. Obviously, you can buy more expensive things, travel and see the world, but another benefit of having your finances taken care of is that YOU have the ability to help others out in times of need. Have a family member or friend who’s struggling? You don’t have to think twice about helping them out.

What’s interesting is that financial freedom isn’t really as far away as you might think. In fact, it’s  up to you to determine what that means. To me, I think it’s about living the life you want to live while staying within your means. If your cost of living is lower than what your business (or other income) earns you, then you can technically call yourself financially independent.

The whole point of opting for a business versus having a job is becoming financially free. When you’re financially free, you don’t answer for anyone other than yourself and potential clients – but that’s the same even if you have a job.

Just remember, if you don’t tell yourself what to do, the world will gladly put someone next to you will. There’s leaders and followers. Make yourself a leader.

(Just a note: I watched The Wolf of Wall Street over the weekend. Really interesting movie if you can stomach lots of skin, drug use, and swearing. I found it incredible in how quickly he was able to capitalize on penny stocks and quickly start his own firm. In case you already saw it, here’s a list of other movies you can check out as well if you want to learn more about what being an entrepreneur is all about.)

Government – Know the Rules

We should have a clear understanding of how the rules work in our country so that we can know how we can play the game of life within the rules that are set up.

In other words, I like to think of a government as being the entity that makes the rules for it’s people. Which is true, right?

If you think of great sports players, they know how to use the rules to their advantage when needed.

Take Peyton Manning, for example. One of the best, if not the best player that ever played the quarterback position in football.

Up until the past couple of years when they changed the rule, occasionally, he’d hurry his team up to the ball and take the snap as quickly as possible. Why? Because he wanted to get the other team sleeping with too many people on the field.

The other team would get penalized which would in turn gain him a few additional yards… getting him closer to his goal.

Knowing little ins and outs of how the rules work, can really help your game.

Action Steps

So, that about does it! On that last note, if you do have any feedback you’d love to send my way, please do. I’d love to hear it!

As for this post, I wanted to dedicate some time to open up about what personal freedom is all about and let you in on my brain a little bit. These topics are important to me, and I hope you find that they’re cool with you too. My hope is that maybe what I’ve said here will help you prepare for what’s coming… not just in your business (because again I believe it’s the only way to have Financial Freedom) but also help you navigate the waters of life in general.

Supplemental: My Perspective on the Current Political Scene

If you’re not following me on Facebook, you’re missing out on some good postings recently. Currently, the election cycle is in full swing and as many of you know, I’m what many might call a Conservative Libertarian.

In my mind, the simple description of a Conservative Libertarian who believes that the government is in charge of the basics for everyone. These basics are expressed through the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. These are the rulebooks for our government. They say what the government CAN’T do.

Somehow, people have gotten this perspective that they’re about what the government CAN do, which is why they might also think that the rules are out of date. However, when you change the rulebook and what it can do, you’re changing how the game is played.

People generally don’t understand the rules – and again, it’s at the fault of “Formal Education”.

Where Things Stand Currently

Currently, many people rely on the government for one program or another. Typically these are the same people who are stuck in the first few levels of hierarchy of needs. They don’t see past tomorrow because they can’t. So why should they care about what comes after it?

While these programs seem like they’re doing good, they’re actually weakening us as a country. Why would anyone work for something if they’re going to get it for free? Principle? Sure. But for how long?

The problem is that there’s so many people out there that don’t care that what they rely on to get to the next day is coming off the hard work of others. It’s not even that they don’t care. It’s that they’re indifferent to it. They don’t know how things work.

As more and more people take “advantage” of these programs or rely on the government to make big decisions for the people and make everything easier, the more those who have made working for government a career gain more power. Not just power for themselves, but power over you, the individual. This is called Progressivism.

Currently, we have two people who, in their personal history, have shown that they are Statists. A Statist is someone who believes that the state should control either economic and/or social policy to some degree.

One is from Big Money and the other is from Big Government. Many people don’t realize that Big Money folk pay Government members to make legislation that will help them out. The more that these people make laws together, the more the little guy (you and I) get pushed out.

A Growing Oligarchy

As we continue to ask the government for favors because we “deserve it”, we move closer and closer to what’s called an oligarchy. (Here’s one of most referenced videos that describes what that is and more.) The more favors they provide, the more people that need to be in control of those favors. The larger the government (or ruling class) gets.

If the United States ever becomes an oligarchy, we will have became the opposite of what the country was originally founded on. A place where we can never have the opportunity for Personal Freedom. It won’t matter how much you tried to do what you wanted, at this point you have a society which has a specific purpose for you, and you’re going to do that specific job.

So this is why I harp on politics as much as I do. Right now I realize how much we have to lose if the rules are changed completely. While I’m fairly new to this whole personal freedom chase myself, I want to at least have a shot.

With the government adding more and more rules in how people function together, it gets harder and harder for EVERYONE to be more and achieve more in life.