#133: Behind the scenes: How much I earned (and spent) in December 2022

January 17, 2023

#133: Behind the scenes: How much I earned (and spent) in December 2022
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Listen in to a conversation from The Lab – my private membership community

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This week I have a REALLY transparent, audio-only episode of the podcast for you. It’s a peek behind the curtain into The Lab, my private membership community.

The Lab is about 160 creators all experimenting and growing together. It’s genuinely my favorite place on the internet and I’m blown away by the caliber of people who have chosen to join.

Every month in The Lab, I record a 30-minute Retro.This is a solo video where I literally walk through my numbers for the month to show how I’m making money, how I’m spending money, the lessons I’m learning, and the strategy decisions I’m making because of it.

A lot of members tell me it’s one of their favorite parts of membership.

To end the year, I decided to record December’s Retro live with members of The Lab so that they could ask questions as I went along.

So this week on the show, I’m sharing with you the audio of that members-only session. You’ll get to listen in on:

  • How much money I earned in December (spoiler: it's $40K)
  • Where that money comes from
  • How I’m thinking about growth on social media
  • ...and a whole lot more.

I think you’re going to enjoy it. And if you do, I would invite you to consider joining The Lab as a member! I’ve capped the total number of spots at 200 so there are less than 40 spots available right now.

You can join at https://join.creatorscience.com/

You won't regret it! 

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Jay Clouse 00:14

Hello, my friend. Welcome back to another episode of Creative Elements. It's been a minute since I've opened a show that way, publishing on YouTube has led to some changes in our episode intros, as you may have noticed, but they're tighter, they have sound design, my editor, Connor, has been doing some really, really great work. So if you haven't checked out the YouTube channel yet, I really encourage you to give it a look. I'll leave a link in the show notes. This week, I have an audio only episode for you. And it's a fun peek behind the curtain into The Lab, my private membership community. The Lab is at about 160 professional creators now and inside we are all experimenting and growing together. It's genuinely my favorite place on the internet. And I'm blown away by the caliber of people who have chosen to join. Every month inside The Lab, I record a 30 minute retro. This is a solo video where I literally pull up my profit and loss statement from QuickBooks and walk through my numbers for how the month went to show how I'm making money, how I'm spending money, the lessons I'm learning in the decisions that I'm making because of it. A lot of members tell me it's one of their favorite parts of membership. And to end the year, I decided to record December's retro live in front of other members of The Lab so that they could ask questions as I went along. So this week on the show I'm sharing with you the audio of that members only session, you'll get to listen in on how much money I earned in December, where that money comes from, how I'm thinking about growth on social media and a whole lot more, I think you're really going to enjoy it and if you do, I would invite you to consider joining The Lab as a member. I've designed The Lab to stay small because I think small communities are really magical and because I'm putting a lot of time and attention into every member that is in there. So I've kept the total number of spots in The Lab at 200. With about 160 people in there, there are a little less than 40 spots available right now. You can join at creatorscience.com/lab or by visiting the link in the show notes. You will not regret it. We'll get to that retro right after this.


Jay Clouse 02:16

All right, my friends. So excited to have you here to do our first ever live retro for The Lab and to share this with Creative Elements on the feed. Very fun, very fun crossover episode for me, also kind of terrifying to share all of this publicly but we'll see how it goes. So do you guys hear live and to folks listening to this, typically, the retros have a few sections, right? I share my profit and loss then I share how my goals went, some good things that happened, concerns I have based on performance, lessons learned, changes and decisions that I'm making and goals for next month. Typically, retros are like a solo, I record 30 minute video and post to the community. I want to make this much more interactive. So as I go through this, I'm going to share my screen. And I want to get feedback or questions from you guys in real time throughout this. So I will pause after certain sections. But also if you have questions or want to come on and ask something, just put it in the chat here in Riverside. And we'll jump in and do that. So let me go ahead and share my screen. Awesome. You guys see what I'm seeing? Cool. Let me zoom in. So we'll start with the the P&L. This came out to be my second best month ever, which is amazing. Best month historically was I believe September. Yeah, September and that was about 58,000. This month was just over 40,000. And that's actually a special number to me. Something I'll share with you guys. Earlier in the year, I got to know Marie Poulin pretty well. She came on the podcast, we chatted and talked about once a month. And she shared with me that Notion Mastery. She's talked about this in the podcast, too. Notion Mastery was doing about 40,000 per month. And at the time in January of this year, I was doing about 9,000 to 10,000 per month. And I just thought that's insane. That would be amazing if my business was doing $40,000 per month. And when I ran some math, I saw that for the last four months of the year, I averaged more than $40,000 per month. So crazy what happens when you kind of have like a new baseline in your mind of something that you're pursuing and like the goal state, somehow you just kind of operate your way there so grateful for that. Here's the consolidated view of where that income came from and for folks listening, that $40,340 comes from about 2100 in affiliate revenue, 3100 in digital products, about 18,000 in memberships, 2200 in royalties, 2200 in services and almost 13,000 in sponsorship so it's a big month of sponsorship. For anyone curious, here's like the breakdown of the affiliates and different digital products. Most of the digital products this month was core sales in predominantly build a beloved membership. So that's had kind of a slow start, but it's, you know, an asset that continues to give, which is awesome. And expenses, I'll move over to my KPI dashboard here. Expenses were up a little bit over the month before, but net income is about $26,200, which is great. That's the P&L and before I dive any deeper, I want to open it up to you guys. Any questions or curiosities on this front?


Paco Debonnaire 05:50

Hey, Jay. Sorry, it's a Paco here.


Jay Clouse 05:52

Hey, Paco.


Paco Debonnaire 05:53

Just a question on seasonality, you know that you've showed the revenue streams? Is there, you know, roughly, is there any seasonality on your revenue stream, for example, sponsorship, as opposed to, you know, memberships?


Jay Clouse 06:05

I don't see seasonality yet. But I do see like, sort of cycles, which on the surface, it seems kind of the same, but it has nothing to do with the season. It's more so the payment terms of certain revenue streams. So on the sponsorship side, we'll have big months of filling like multiple months of sponsorship at a time. And so the payments for those big months of bookings will often come in big clumps versus, you know, in real time as a sponsorships happen. So when you when we look at the sponsorship income this month $8,500 of newsletters sponsorship this month, which is up from 3300, the month before and less than 1000, the two months prior to that. That wasn't because those two months had less than $1,000 of sponsorships booked it was just That's how much revenue was recognized. So actually, those months that had lower revenue were probably higher in bookings, and December was just the beneficiary of that time passing. Terry in the chat asked, What are the royalties related to it's actually my courses on LinkedIn learning. I have seven courses on LinkedIn learning, that's a publishing agreement with LinkedIn. And that is where pretty much all of my royalty revenue comes from. There's a couple of things that I've been involved in, but they haven't been significant in terms of revenue. So it's pretty much all LinkedIn learning, sponsorship. All right, continuing on. So one thing that's fun about this being December is now I can actually look at the full year of everything, but looking at like the p&l that gives me gave me a total of $337,000 in revenue for the year, which is like insane to me. That's, that's more than 100% increase from the year before. Didn't in my wildest dreams think I would have that big of a year this year. And that's just, it's just amazing. Like, there's a point at the end of September, that huge month I had of almost $50,000 When I thought man, I'm on pace to break $300,000 This year, if I can just you know, average $25,000 a month for the rest of the year. And then I crushed it and almost got to 350. So that was huge. It's like amazing. Look at this, but also terrifying to think. Okay, the clock just reset. It's January again, it almost feels like now now that's like a goal line that I have to live up to. And that seems really scary and daunting. if I'm completely honest. Jung Soo asked in the chat, do you do newsletter or podcast sponsorship packages, or are they separate? So this is actually something I need to figure out to be honest with you. Right now. They're separate, because my podcast sponsorship is handled by one ads team. And my newsletter sponsorship is handled by the ConvertKit sponsor network. And they both focus predominantly in those arenas, like ConvertKit doesn't sell podcast sponsorship. So I sell those things independently, because they're both managed by different teams, because that removes a lot of effort from my plate. It's a revenue share on both sides. But a lot of advertisers do ask me if there are packages they can purchase to cross the newsletter to cross the podcast across YouTube. So I need to figure that out, because I haven't even really begun selling ads on YouTube. And that opportunity is there too. But I don't want to manage it. So the question is, do I bring on a third team? Do I hand it over to one of those other people? And if so, how do I still get these things to play together? So that's been a challenge for me that I need to figure out early in in this year. All right, we will move right along. I guess I should talk about the cost drivers in the p&l just for people listening who are curious. Total costs for the month, were about 14,000. And I should also note that these costs do not include my own compensation, or taxes or actually processing fees. So there are There are some hidden costs that I haven't wrapped into that number, you know, net income shows about $26,200. But part of that goes taxes. Part of that goes to me. The processing fees the way we're actually handling that, instead of capturing top line revenue from membership sales or core sales, we are looking at the revenue that we get after processing. So we're not taking top line revenue minus the expense of processing, we're just looking at revenue at the end of the transaction. So those those costs of 14,000. Mostly it's contract help. 7600 of that was contract labor on the YouTube and audio side, very small amount of it was like meals, I did have an expense on the membership side that I'll talk about here and a little bit. That was pretty high software's about 1200 a month, I bought about $1,200 worth of new equipment for the studio here that we can talk about any questions on the cost side. All right, we will continue on. So if I look at the good things for the month that I could talk about some of the goals, actually, really quickly, I did have a goal of 40,000. In top line, which I hit, I had a goal of opening a solo 401k that I'll talk about here in a minute, I didn't hit my my goal of new members to the lab, I have a goal of 15 new members each month right now, and we landed at 10. On the audience side, most of my goals here were input based posts to Twitter every day, write two threads per week post to LinkedIn every day post to Instagram five times per week, and then spend five to 10 minutes in black magic every day. Black Magic is a plugin, or I guess I should say a Chrome extension for Twitter that helps you to quickly engage with with people accounts that you want to engage with. And stay in good touch with. I haven't built that into a daily part of my workflow yet. So I couldn't honestly say that I did that every day. On the strategy side, I did not book as many interviews for the show as I wanted to. But I did run or start to run a sprint in the lab. And I did start our mastermind planning for the lab as well, which I'm excited to kick off with you guys here in the next couple of weeks. On the life side, I did do my Christmas shopping, which is great. big goal has finished Christmas shopping, we got that done, cooked a couple meals for my wife and I it seems like such a sad low goal to cook two meals for your family in the month. But my wife is like a culinary master. I am a culinary child. So I'm trying to learn a couple of things to take it off her plate every once in a while. did a pretty good job of exercising, did not finish the conscious spending plan from Remi Sati, though. Awesome. Okay, I will run through some more stuff in the dashboard here that I tracked in terms of audience growth, because I think that's interesting. And we also had a question in the chat from Claire about this. So on the audience growth side, Twitter, picked up almost 2000 followers this month, which is a 9% increase, which is the highest absolute number of followers gained ever, which is also really interesting, because when I look at the actual analytics inside of Twitter, most of my metrics on Twitter in December were down like I did not feel as if I was putting more effort into Twitter than before, I actually feel like I was putting less effort into Twitter. And it shows the metrics, if you look at the actual tweets, 566 versus the month before was 710 profile visits, nearly the same 7000 Last total impressions 1.2 million versus 1.6 million the month before, in fewer mentions as well. So higher follower growth with fewer tweets with fewer impressions, fewer profile visits. And what I think that is due to is actually, I just focused on writing fewer tweets that were higher quality, and a really great outcome of that. And I can point to a specific thread from just a couple of days ago, when I write a good thread, usually, the lifespan of that can be 24 hours or more. And it doesn't make sense to post something after a thread that's doing really well, because that thread will continue to pick up steam and pull in new followers. And so if you post something else, you're basically betting that the new thing you post will have a higher velocity of spread and a higher ability to bring in followers. I think it's better just to keep letting that thing do its work until it kind of peters out. We'll keep on rolling here. So that was that was twitter, on the LinkedIn side, picked up 2400 followers, which was a 16% increase A huge pickup on LinkedIn. And that came from taking a couple of high performing threads from Twitter and turning them into carousels, like I would guess that 80% of that was maybe two posts.


Jay Clouse 15:15

So it's kind of crazy the the opportunity on LinkedIn right now, that being said, I've had some posts that got relatively similar amounts of views impressions, but did not return as many followers. And from what I can tell, I'm still collecting data on this, but from what I can tell, the stuff that does really well on LinkedIn right now, in terms of converting to followers, are really actionable pieces. Which makes sense, like you should, you should want to follow somebody who shares actionable advice, but stuff that just like gets likes and comments, that doesn't tell someone else how to do something or give them some path forward for improving doesn't convert as well to followers, which actually gives me like, a better feeling about LinkedIn, to be honest. Like, I think it's, I think it's a good thing that the people want to see actionable, sort of content. So I'm trying to prioritize more. carousels still like those documents, style uploads, but carousels of threads that give more step by step or direct, you know, actionable advice, because that seems to convert very well. Just a quick break for our sponsors. And we'll be right back to the show. And now, back to the show, Claire inspired me to continue to give Instagram a shot, and it's better, but I still write basically like static image posts. And I know that's not the best winning formula. But at least by sharing those once a day, I have seen a pickup in followers but you know, it's a 2.5% increase about 100 new followers in December. Not great. So tick tock is abysmal, because I didn't publish anything there. On YouTube, we had 20% growth in subscribers about 400 new subscribers, views picked up watch time was up quite a bit. average view duration was about steady. Enough email subscribers picked up about 700, which is a four and a half percent increase. And I'm flying through some of these things. So if you have questions, put them in the chat, and we'll spend some time looking at them after this. And downloads total were down. But we released fewer episodes. In November, we had 40,000 downloads for six episodes. In December, we had 35,000 downloads for four episodes. So the downloads per episode, which is the metric that I look at the most, I think that's the most true metric was up 32%. And that's pretty good. All right. We're gonna get to the chat now with some questions. Claire asked downloads are 30 day Yes, yes, that's that's the downloads total across December December 1 through December 31. Paco, as has a strategy convert tweets into LinkedIn and Instagram posts paid off. Yes. But again, like the best performing threads are the more actionable ones. So as of recording this, I posted a carousel on LinkedIn today from a tweet thread about how to turn an idea into a product I service really quickly. And that is super actionable. And it's doing really well. Let's just jump over there and see what what that's looking like right now. So I posted this around 830 This morning, and we're at about 16,500 impressions on it. 87 Comments 109 reactions to it. So usually what I go for is I'm trying to gun for a minimum of 100 reactions that will be like an outperforming LinkedIn posts for me right now. And if I get above 10,000 impressions, it continues to grow for a period of time, I think the highest I've had is about 100,000 impressions. But usually my carousels get 10 to 30,000. And so it's just just really clear that if you're going to put time into LinkedIn, or if I guess I should say if I'm going to put time into LinkedIn, it makes the most sense for me to continue posting these. All right, one of the questions we got here in the chat and I want to make sure that if you want to come on live and ask something, we get some we get some voices in here. And they ask have some types of step by step topics performed better than others? I don't know that I have enough data to answer that yet on a one thing that I have been consciously trying to do is stay in my lane of creators. I don't know how big the overlap between the general LinkedIn audience and creators is, you know, a good example of somebody doing really well and similar niche is Justin Well, she crushes on LinkedIn, on the surface, he, you know, makes similar content for similar people, but he is specifically targeting waco solopreneurs. And I feel like that is a little bit better fit to the LinkedIn audience. I don't know that the people who self identify as creators have yet really moved over to LinkedIn. And so all of my posts typically have the word creator or creators in them, because I'm trying to target that group of people. And I'm optimistic that that segment will continue to pick up on LinkedIn. But I don't think it's as strong as other segments right now. Alright, pausing for any voices, anybody want to jump in here and ask something or share an observation? I see you almost speaking Paco.


Paco Debonnaire 20:46

I would just wanted to step back and ask, you know, and when you do these monthly retros, or you know, and again, going back to the comment earlier about seasonality also about, you know, revenue or costs, whether or not, you know, you basically planned and monitor the events on a month by month basis, but that you plan on a yearly basis so that you don't have those bumps in, you know, highs and lows so that you can really pilot better in terms of cash flow as well. Is it, sorry, it's just general questions, but just to understand, how you construct those monthly reports?


Jay Clouse 21:22

It's a good question. I don't, because if I look over the last 12 months, revenue had like this stair step approach, where like I said, in January is about $10,000. And then February was 18,000. And then march was 28,000. And then I kind of stayed around the 20 to 25. Mark until September, at which point I was averaging about 40,000 for the rest of the year. So it's hard for me to like really project because growth happened like so quickly. And I could see it happening quickly again, but I don't want to count on that. So I've kind of, in my own mind, normalized this 40,000 Mark as the new baseline until I prove otherwise, there's also something powerful about setting a new revenue target. It's hard to like directly move the needle on this and a content business. But there's, there's something about like setting a target line that just moves you in that direction. I can't really describe it. And maybe it's a me thing, maybe it's how I'm incentivized. But, you know, I had, I had a coach, tell me one time, he said, you will perform to the level of your comfort. So having a goal that you keep missing, because it's a little bit higher than what you're hitting, creates discomfort. So you start moving towards that, because you set goals, and you try to set higher goals, but you kind of need a reason for why you're hitting that higher goal. And I've also heard it put as when your vision outpaces your resources, you will be incentivized to gather more resources, you know, so as as I've grown my vision of what I want to do, typically that increases my my expenses, you know, like, YouTube's going to be a huge priority for me in 2023. And that takes a much higher amount of resources to fund the team and the time to do that. Well. So it's pushed me to try to grow top line revenue. And that's not exactly the answer your question. The short answer to Question Paco is I haven't been able to project super far out, I'm actually trying to save more of the income that comes into the business. In case of like, some need, because I've always been kind of like close to between between the expenses of the business and paying myself. Most months I like, earn and then deplete. There hasn't been a whole lot of saving within the business. month to month. I'm trying to do some more of that right now. All right, we'll continue on the retro. Would you guys rather hear good things, concerns, lesson learned or changes in decisions? Where would you like to start?


Ramli John 24:13

I have a question on your content?


Jay Clouse 24:15

Okay, sure. Go ahead. And you guys leave your votes in the chat. And I'll go off with that. Go ahead, Ramli.


Ramli John 24:20

My question are all like a backlog. I know you had an episode where you talked about like having a backlog of content. Do you have that for like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and then eventually YouTube likes so that you have the five or six posts or videos ready to go?


Jay Clouse 24:36

I would love to get to that point. The best backlog I have right now is recorded interviews. And they aren't fully edited. It's just I have the resources necessary to create an episode because I have the interview recorded, something that I did over Christmas and I posted a video overview of this in the lab if you guys want to see it, is I rebuilt. My notion of little bit to create what I call my content factory. Every student should show on that page, how to edit that other video. Every piece of content I make lives in one single database. And it's categorized by platform. And by doing that, I now can effectively create hubs and spokes, and a content calendar. So when I look at my content calendar in the content dashboard, here, you'll see I am starting to plan each piece of content for each platform in a calendar view. So I can start getting ahead, because to this point, to be honest with you, I've been like on a week by week, even day by day basis for a lot of content creation, it's like, okay, episodes going out on Tuesday, gotta get it done this week, or, you know, writing a newsletter, that's still my newsletter for this Sunday, we're recording this on a Friday, not completed yet. Going to complete that this afternoon. So by having this calendar, now, it at least allows me to plan ahead. So that, like what I found is, ideation and production are distinctly different phases of creation for me. And it's hard to try to blend both at the same time, it's much easier to have a creation session where it's all ideation and planning, so that later I can have a creation session. It's all about production. So this calendar in this new database, and notion allows me to plan better so that I can produce better and even get ahead on, you know, what does this look like. So this calendar looks full, because I plan this out on Sunday, I now have a weekly task on my to do list to do content planning on Sundays. And so now I'm at least getting like a week at a time instead of a day at a time. But the next step is multiple weeks at a time and trying to get even further ahead. But this this visualization really helps to because what I'm realizing is, a lot of my social media content should be built off of the larger pieces that I'm producing for audio, video and email. So if I plan out the email topics in a smart order and or the podcast topics in a smart order that can inform what I'm going to put on social media that week, because they should be related so that they start driving towards that. And that's a system that intuitively intuitively I knew. But because I wasn't visualizing it or putting it anywhere explicitly, I wasn't really following. And now it's getting a lot easier. You can see here on like Tuesday on my content calendar. We had an episode with Natalie Ellis of boss, babe. So my newsletter that day was Natalie Ellis and I posted a trailer for that episode on LinkedIn, I posted the artwork on Instagram. I could branch that out even further and take like specific quotes or exchanges that I had with Natalie in that episode and make those into written posts on LinkedIn or a thread on Twitter. That's the future I'm trying to get towards. Awesome. All my ass. No consistency is really important. But at what point do you decide a topic or content point your posting about isn't getting traction or just needs more time? Woof? Whoa, big question from amay. Yeah, it's tough, especially depending on your sample size, you know, how long do you publish into the void before you decide that the Void is either strategy versus like, lack of audience entrance interest? I think you have to be kind of aspirational on it. Like I think you should have some reason for believing that this is a need for an audience like you should have some evidence that the thing you're talking about is important or is a problem or is a challenge for some particular audience avatar, whether you see that existing in some other community or some other corner of the internet. If you believe that there is proof or evidence that this is a problem for this type of person, then aspirationally The question is, do you want to be the person that is known for solving that problem? Because if the answer is yes, I want to be the person who is known for being the solution provider for this problem. You got a shout into the void for a while and slowly and slowly build it up. There's my opinion. And it's actually good. If there aren't a lot of people competing in that arena. And it takes time to develop unique insight unique point of views, unique frameworks, Terry, to be known for being that problem solver. There's there's something about intuition here. You know, you got to follow your gut on some of this. Follow your gut that there's a problem here, following your gut that you're moving in the right direction, even though you're not seeing as many signals as you would like. But if it's something that you care about, and you know that you can consistently talk about and you've seen evidence that this is a problem for people with you got to keep going. Claire asked, How do you decide how much focus you spend on moving a new direction It's like YouTube versus making what you're currently doing better. This is one of my Achilles heel to be honest, Claire, because I've written an essay called shiny platform syndrome. It's like shiny. It's like shiny object syndrome, but for like joining new platforms and trying new things, and you want to avoid it, most of the time, being a creator who helps other creators and those other creators operate on a bunch of different platforms, I feel painted into a corner that I've got to do the hardest thing of being active in a lot of places, so I can have a working knowledge of all these different platforms. That's challenging. As far as how do you, how do you decide how to focus on spending time in which direction? Right now I'm following my energy a little bit, something I was going to share with you guys in the retro here is that I have had some friction with getting myself to schedule new interviews for the podcast. Because right now in the season, they aren't giving me as much energy as other things. And I really want to play with some new formats for the podcast and probably produce more solo episodes. So for two months, if you look at my retros, for last two months, I've had lineup for interviews for creative elements, I haven't hit that goal for last couple of months. And that's like one of the easiest things on my list what's going on there. It's, it's a dissonance between my interests, and the goal. So we already have, you know, like eight recorded interviews that haven't aired plenty of material to continue publishing the interviews. But right now, this month, Connor and I are working to produce like a purely YouTube style video, that will also work in audio. And that's really interesting to me, because it's something new, something different is a new challenge. But it's for the same audience, it's still and maybe even better, helping them become a professional creator. And so right now I'm pulling my energy because ultimately, we can only do what we're interested in, in doing, that's what makes it sustainable is doing what we're interested in doing. Because if you're not interested, it's going to show through in the work the energy is going to come through, it's not going to be as good. I got to follow that a little bit. But also, I'm asking myself some really hard questions like, How will I continue to compete? And, you know, who am I for? Because there there are a lot of people that helped business owners at the early stages. And a lot of my content defaults to helping somebody who's new to being a creator, do this thing? Should I really be helping new creators do a thing? Or should I actually start helping people who are a little bit more advanced along the path people that are in the lab, for example, I think I'm more interested in that direction in helping people who are a little bit more advanced, because I think some of my strengths are actually on the revenue model side of things. There's a lot of audience building advice out there. I don't think there's as much revenue model advice out there. And I think I've done a really good job of monetizing what I've built. And I see people who have built much larger audiences who are not as effective at monetizing. So I think I'm looking to move upstream a little bit in the the individual that I'm serving. And I'm also realizing, you know, as I get a little bit older, and we're getting a second puppy, and we want to have kids eventually, like there's going to be people who are just willing to outwork me. I'm just not going to be willing to work all the same hours that it used to. So what are the unique advantages that I have that I can not only utilize to out leverage people who are willing to outwork me. But by utilizing those unique advantages, I'm also compounding those advantages, so that I continue to stay ahead, even though I'm not putting as much intensity into the system. So those are how those are the questions I'm asking to decide where do I spend my time? You know, what is my unique advantage? What am I interested in in the season? Does it serve the audience I'm trying to serve? And what's the upside? There's there's so much more upside on YouTube than there is in audio podcasting, and email newsletters. So I'm dedicating more time there. Just a quick break for our sponsors, and we'll be right back to the show.


Jay Clouse 34:23

And now back to the show. All right, I'm gonna move on to lessons learned here on the retro that was the vote that I saw in the chat. So some lessons I learned this month on the profit and loss side. I think I'm still really under utilizing some of my digital courses and assets. I don't do enough promoting them. And everyone who goes through especially the new course builder beloved membership has such a few civilly good feedback. Like there's there's a worldwide just build an entire business around the idea of building a really great membership and It could be out earning what I'm doing now with everything that I'm doing. So I need to figure out a way to elegantly make better use of the digital assets I've created. Newsletter sponsorship, that is kind of seasonal, you know, to your question Paco earlier that seasonal quote, unquote, but it's it's cyclical. It didn't feel like I booked a bunch of new sponsors this month, but I still had my highest month of newsletter sponsorship ever because of recognized revenue versus booked revenue. On the audience growth side of things, share this little bit earlier, actionable carousels on LinkedIn outperform everything I played around with like video, and I'll continue to share a video. Actually, Claire, I shared your testimonial in video on LinkedIn. And that did really well, which was great. So that that told me that, hey, share more testimonials about the thing that you believe it's so powerful, it's a great way to promote your thing. It doesn't have to just live on a sales page, like put it out everywhere that you that you share things, asking for support gets support. When I put together a thread or a carousel that I feel really strongly about sending a text to a friend of mine, who's also doing well on LinkedIn and saying, Hey, I just published this. And I'm really proud of it. Because you, you know, give this a comment or something. People happily do that. And that works out. It's not something that I'd recommend doing like every day, because you don't want people to become unpaid assistance to you. But if there's something you feel really strongly about, give it a good chance by asking for some support. On the strategy side, for a long time, I was a die hard. Only build your own distribution with podcasting and email. And I spent all my time doing email and podcasting. And now that I'm spending more time, more time on Discovery platforms like Twitter, like LinkedIn like YouTube, man, it's paying off, man did that belief hold me back for a long time, not to say that you shouldn't still have those own distribution platforms. But man i over indexed there. And it took up a lot of time that could be really compounding in my my benefit right now. YouTube is a hard game for long form interviews. There's a lot of buzz around video podcasts as like the next big thing in YouTube. And I know they're making some steps there. But I don't see the behavior of the platform, rewarding those videos yet. It seems to me, I look at analytics on all things pretty obsessively. It seems to me that as a lot of people have shared, the YouTube algorithm is pretty much all about, do people watch your video and continue watching your video like YouTube as a platform just wants you to stay on YouTube for as long as possible. So they look at every video that's uploaded to the platform as an opportunity to keep people on the platform. New videos uploaded, they show it to some random sampling of their audience they think would be a good fit for. They're measuring how many the people who saw this video clicked on it. And other people who clicked how long they stay here. And most YouTube videos that are not long form interviews. They seem to be targeting like 10 to 20% click through rate. And really high average view duration, like people will usually watch several minutes of a video. And if your videos 10 minutes long, and you watch eight minutes of it, that's 80% retention. YouTube says this is a great video, and a long form video interview. That's almost 60 minutes. A lot of people are watching my show for 10 minutes. 10 minutes is still a long time to stay on YouTube. But that's Oh gosh, what is it 60 divided by 10 or 10 divided by 60. It's like a 16%. Retention. So YouTube sees that as low and long form interviews are based around conversation not around like some specific singular outcome. So people watch the look for the payoff that they see in the title and thumbnail, once they pay off the offense, stop listening. So all this to say, long form interviews, difficult content modality for YouTube. So one decision that we're making is to double down on some solo videos on YouTube. First video that I'm going to make this month is actually breaking down my December actually my year as a creator to say, hey, this year I earn more than $300,000 As a creator with not the largest audience in the world, and break that down to share it. And I think that'll do really, really well. And if that does do well, that opens up some new really interesting questions about where I'm allocating my time. Right. So we'll we'll monitor that and next month I'm sure I'll share in that retro. What we've learned from that experiment. Paco asked how you measure success on your YouTube goals this year, number of subs views confirmed Isn't into sponsored audio podcasts or else. So right now, I basically look for signals of progress more than anything else Paco. If I see from YouTube that it has relatively higher signals of progress, meaning that the growth percentage on YouTube is outpacing that of Twitter or LinkedIn or even the audio podcast, to me, that's directionally what I want to follow. Now, of course, when you go from like, one subscriber to 10 subscribers, that's a massive percentage increase that in an absolute sense doesn't mean a whole lot. So you have to weigh that a little bit. But I'm looking at does growth on YouTube drive two of my biggest metrics, which is email, subscribers, and revenue, if I can correlate growth on YouTube to a higher than average growth in email, subscribers, and revenue, that to me, tells me this is the driver of that, and continuing to level that up or proportionally level up those two things. All right, I shared a little bit this point of better tweets equals fewer tweets on Twitter, completely believe that to be true. If you make something that's really good, it'll just continue to pick up momentum. Something else that I'm pretty positive about. And this may be just my account, I can't say this will work for everybody on Twitter. But every time I have posted one of these high value threads, in the early evening, it has outperformed posting it in the morning, which blows my mind. And the feedback I hear from most people who are good on Twitter is like post it in the morning, because then it can build momentum all day when people are existing in the world and online. But what I see is my audience seems to be more active in the evenings. There's probably less competition in the evenings, that might be part of it. But also my my audience on Twitter has gotten more international. And it seems like the international audience is even better about engaging with the tweet in meaningful ways like retweets. So when I post it in the early evening, it gets more support more quickly, more high engagement style or high value engagement styles. And then by the time morning hits here in the east coast of the US. Now, my US based audience sees a thread with really high engagement numbers and takes it more seriously. These are my theories. But every time I've done that it seems to work. Every time I've posted a high value thread early in the day I've been disappointed.


Jay Clouse 42:33

All right. Oh, on the life side, we got snowed in here in Ohio and Christmas and we didn't get to go see my parents like we were planning and it was sad, because Mallory and I had already opened our gifts to each other on like the 22nd Because we're impatient. So Christmas came around. We had no gifts to open, no gifts to give. We had no food, so I bought frozen DiGiorno pizzas from the CVS down the street. So weird Christmas. Yong Soo asks, could you talk more about your decision on joining a network like HubSpot? Who should consider joining a network? Does it make it easier to find sponsorships consistently? Yeah, so I started with the pod glomeruli Podcast Network. And they really helped me from launch build an initial audience for the show, which is really important. Like there's just very little discovery in audio, really, really tough to have your show discovered in audio only because there isn't really like a search engine people are using for audio, some people go into their podcast player and search for like a guest more than anything else. And they might find your show. Because of that. I would suspect actually, if I go into my analytics, there might be an uptick, in listens to my James clear episode, episode number two, because he just did a very rare interview on the Tim Ferriss podcast. So a lot of people are probably searching for more from him might be finding my show because of that. But because there's no discovery, you're really banking on other methods for audio listeners finding you and what the PA glommer it helped me do was make the launch like an event. That's when you have a lot of leverage at the launch of the show. Because it's a new thing. New things are exciting. So you can find publications, different accounts related to podcasting or to your niche that can be excited about the launch of the thing. It's new. So it's news that really helps. Podcast networks also tend to have relationships with podcast players. The one place where there is some discovery in podcasting is on the Discover pages of podcast listening apps. And a lot of the shows that are featured there are editorial decisions on the part of those apps. They have teams that make editorial decisions is usually not a meritocracy. It's usually again, I mean think about their incentives. They want people to listen on their app spend more time on the app usually. So they're going to promote shows that have proven to hold audience attention for long periods of time. It's tough as a new podcaster to get that opportunity because you're unproven and usually you're outgunned by bigger production teams who have bigger production budgets. Podcast networks, make your show look more legitimate, make it easier to win those pitches. About the HubSpot Podcast Network has a lot of name recognition within my audience. It's a business network. It's a business. It's a network of business shows. And I knew a lot of listeners of creative elements already listened to other HubSpot shows like my first million, like online marketing made easy with Amy Porterfield, like Entrepreneur on Fire with John Lee Dumas. So by joining the network, I got the credibility of the network, I got the ability to run cross promotions with other shows on the network. And that's valuable because the listeners of those other shows are likely to like my show as well. So talking about creative elements in the intro to nudge another show on the HubSpot Podcast Network brings new listeners to the show. As far as does it make it easier find sponsorships consistently, it depends on the network. If the network is built partially on the premise of they will find a book sponsorships, then yeah, Pog, glommer, it helps me book sponsorships, still, I'm still engaging them on the monetization side. So look at the network, ask them if they do ad sales. And if they do could be a big, big win. I'll quickly run through some of the changes and decisions I'm making this month because I know we're getting to the top of the hour. On the profit and loss side, I want to send more sales emails and not like huge blast to the whole of my audience, but segmented directed, dedicated emails to say, hey, this would be a good time to join the lab because x or Hey, did you know I have this course. I think it makes sense to you. Because you've told me why. On the audience growth side, I already showed shared with you guys that I'm planning to do a weekly content planning task on Sundays. I invested in a couple of YouTube specific programs over the last couple of weeks that I'm excited about, one of which is creator. Now. That's kind of a large cohort slash community around YouTube growth. Paddy Galloway, who's a consultant that's worked with some incredible creators and including Mr. Beast, he put together a short cohort beginning this month, as well as a small number of YouTube creators to help them grow. So I invested in both of those things. Because as I shared, I'm taking YouTube really seriously. I created a member guide in the lab, which I shared a couple days ago that I'm really excited about. But for folks listening to this who haven't heard about this, I basically created a short course, within the lab. So when you join, you know how to get the most out of your membership. And I'll continue to add to that, over the next several weeks. I'm sure it's all video based. They're all short, it's really meant to answer the question. I joined this. Now, how do I get the most out of it? And I hope this becomes a really clear answer to that question. doubling down on YouTube this month and moving forward. And here's here's a scoop that I'm just gonna leave hanging there. I'm about 60% committed to writing a book this year. Well, we'll decide if I get to the full 100% been about 60% committed and feeling better about it all the time.


Jay Clouse 48:27

All right, guys, any lingering questions from the audience that you want to share? All right, well, thanks guys for joining me, for the first live retro. Excited to put this out to the people. If you're listening to this and you enjoyed it, this style of sharing is something that I do once a month inside The Lab. You can join the lab by going to creatorscience.com/lab Link is in the show notes. And you can join the fun every month, right? Good to see you guys. I'll see you in The Lab.