#100: My Story and Reflecting on 100 Episodes of Creative Elements

April 26, 2022

#100: My Story and Reflecting on 100 Episodes of Creative Elements
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Why I love podcasting, where the idea for Creative Elements came from, how I’m structuring my business today, and some of the most memorable guests in the first 100 episodes

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This week marks the 100th episode of Creative Elements! That's 100 unique interviews (and 87 unique elements) in just over two years.

In March of this year, 2022, the show crossed 1,000,000 all-time downloads! And it gets about 40,000 downloads each and every month. It’s been featured in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, Castbox, Castro, and more.

The success this show has had and continues to build is all because of YOU. You listening, supporting, and sharing the show. 

We have nearly 250 five-star reviews on Apple Podcasts and nearly 50 five-star reviews on Spotify!

Over the last two years, a lot of listeners have asked to hear more of my story. For 100 episodes, I’ve put the spotlight on othercreators. Those interviews have done a LOT to inform the decisions I’m making for my own creator business! And as a result, the last two years have been hugefor the growth of my business.

So in this episode, we talk about why I love podcasting, where the idea for Creative Elements came from, how I’m structuring my business today, some of the most memorable guests in the first 100 episodes, and a special surprise from YOU at the end.

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Jay Clouse 00:00

I just wanted to prove to myself that I was a creative person. I had this narrative in my head that I was not creative, that I was really good at executing other people's ideas but I didn't have any myself. Sort of forced myself to overcome that. I said, I'm going to publish a newsletter every day for a year and I did that.  Welcome to Creative Elements, a show where we talk to your favorite creators and learn what it takes to make a living from your art and creativity. I'm your host, Jay Clouse. Let's start the show. Hello, my friend, welcome back to another episode of Creative Elements. And not just any episode. This is episode number 100 of the show, 100 episodes and just over two years, it's crazy. It's hard to believe that I've recorded 100 unique interviews. And as a fun fact, there have been 87 unique elements highlighted by those first 100 guests. It's been one hell of a ride so far. Sorry, mom for the curse word. The show launched in March 2020, at the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, going out of the gates with interviews of Seth Godin in episode one and James Clear in episode two. Late last year, I updated the cover art from our original Mad Scientist illustration to this new cleaner, more vibrant cover art focusing on the show title. And in March of this year 2022, the show crossed 1 million downloads all time, the show gets about 40,000 downloads each and every month. It's been featured in Apple podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, Castbox, Castro and more. And most importantly, Creative Elements has continued to be my favorite creative project, week end and week out. The success that the show has had and continues to build is all because of you. You listening, supporting, sharing the show, we have nearly 255 star reviews on Apple podcasts, a perfect score in fact, the nearly 55 star reviews on Spotify, again, a perfect 5.0 score. Every single one of those reviews that means a lot to me, I see everyone, I read every one, it means so much. If you haven't left a review yet, please, please do so, it helps so much more than you know and probably expect. Now for episode number 100, it felt like we needed to do something a little bit more special and a little different. And part of the inspiration came from last week's episode with Amanda Natividad.


Amanda Natividad 02:47

Which this gives me an idea for you. What if you did a podcast episode that was kind of about you like that is sort of the intro to who Jay Clouse is without it being you know, you saying to my here's who I am, but also gathering from your favorite interviews that sort of exemplify your values and the things you care about most. And so it's kind of stitched together from past episodes, past audio, but wrapped up into the newness of this is who I am. And if you're a new listener start here.


Jay Clouse 03:18

Over the last two years, a lot of listeners have asked to hear more of my story. So I'm actually going to air two episodes this week. And at the risk of coming off as a little self absorbed. They're both interviews of me. The first, today's episode is hosted by my good friend, Jay Acunzo.


Jay Acunzo 03:36

While Jay Clouse is known as a creator today, he didn't really always start out that oh, sorry, I was supposed to do the narration on this episode. Okay. I'm sorry, I've snapped into host mode there.


Jay Clouse 03:45

And on Thursday, I'm sharing an episode of The Danny Miranda Podcast where I appeared as a guest just last week. For 100 episodes, I put the spotlight on other creators. Those interviews have done a lot to inform the decisions that I'm making as a professional creator myself. And as a result, the last two years have been huge for the growth of my business. To give you a small taste, the first year my business broke six figures was in 2020. But nearly 75% of my revenue in 2020 was service based revenue. Last year in 2021, I broke $150,000 in revenue. Not only that, but only 2% of my revenue last year came from client services. And this year, I'm on pace to break $200,000 in revenue. If I were to choose my own element that's been core to my growth as a creator, it would be belief, because once I really started believing in myself and then believing that I could achieve my goals as a creator, that's when things really started to change. And that is why if you look at the cover art for the show, the one element you'll see on the cover is in fact, the leaf. So in this episode, we talk about why I love podcasting, where the idea for Creative Elements came from, how I'm structuring my business today, some of the most memorable guests from the first 100 episodes, and a special surprise from you at the end of the episode. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the episode as you listen, you can find me on Twitter @jayclouse or on Instagram @creativeelements.fm, tag me, say hello, let me know that you're listening to this special episode. And now I'll hand over the interviewer reins to Jay Acunzo.


Jay Acunzo 05:32

I've heard you identify yourself as a writer. Among all the things you've said publicly, I think I'm a writer. I've also, of course, heard you identify yourself as a creator. Some might know you as a teacher, or one of those people who post things publicly. That's kind of both of us, I guess, if people have no idea what we do, like I have friends who are doctors and lawyers. Oh, you work for the internet. Jay, we both work for the internet. But on your website, I see this one line that makes me quite happy that is perfectly relevant to this conversation. Podcasting is my favorite thing. Why?


Jay Clouse 06:03

I love podcasting because it gives me a chance to talk to all kinds of people that I otherwise wouldn't have access to. At least that's the way it started. I feel like it is the purest form of my creativity. I feel like it really bridges and pulls together a lot of my unique skills that otherwise I don't get to showcase like listening and asking insightful questions and playing off of the answers that I receive. And then in the editing process, I do a lot of editing. And most of those decisions, nobody has any idea of by design. But I have so much fun making those decisions. Because even if it is increasing, like the space between the end of a question and a new question, when I listen through and I hear how that sounds, and it clicks for me like yes, that is what a professional podcast would sound like. It is so pleasing. And I feel like I can.


Jay Acunzo 06:06

A lot of our work is we're like in a room somewhere working on the stuff and tackling to ourselves, right, when something clicks and I feel like cackles permitted or cackles per project underrated metric for a creator.


Jay Clouse 07:10

Yeah, I feel like when you're when you've studied some form of creation long enough, you may not, I mean, just the Ira Glass thing, right? You may not be able to articulate why something is right. But then when you do it, you can feel like yes, I did at that time. And I have those many moments inside of podcasts editing, and I really enjoy that.


Jay Acunzo 07:30

Were you always a performer and a creative type? Like can you draw a fairly straight line back to your childhood where it shows up or is this a later in life switch or attempt that you made?


Jay Clouse 07:39

I think I've always been interested in attention. And I don't love going around and saying that. But if I really think about me being a kid, I remember there were times when I would walk around the house narrating my life as if there was an audience or pretending as if there was an audience. It's weird, but it's true. And then you know, in middle school I did a musical which I really, really enjoyed but was a very not cool thing to do so I didn't.


Jay Acunzo 08:06

Can you sing, can you sing, Jay Clouse? Are you see, are you for, a 100 episodes and I don't think a single listener understands that about you.


Jay Clouse 08:17

No, I mean, why would they? I don't, I don't sing well, but when I sing, people don't say, please don't do that. They say, that's pretty good.


Jay Acunzo 08:29

I can't do my job at the same time as I let you off the hook at that. So I have to put you on the hook. Can you sing us a few bars of something?


Jay Clouse 08:37

Oh my gosh.


Jay Acunzo 08:37

Happy birthday, Twinkle Twinkle, I don't know.


Jay Clouse 08:41

Oh my goodness.


Jay Acunzo 08:41

Your fave, your favorite song from Kendrick Lamar. Whatever you want.


Jay Clouse  08:44

I kind of like country music.


Jay Acunzo 08:46

Oh, nevermind. Let's move on to the next question. All right, fine, fine, fine. What is your favorite song right now? Let's hear some.


Jay Clouse 08:53

Oh, I don't know about favorite song. Man, really put me on the spot. I like the song Colder Weather by Zac Brown Band.


Jay Acunzo 08:59

Never really ever heard of it because I listen to good music, but


Jay Clouse 09:01

You don't listen to Zac Brown Band?


Jay Acunzo 09:02

I'm kidding. I know Zac Brown Band. I don't know how the song goes that. Will you indulge us for a moment?


Jay Clouse 09:08

She said I want to see you again. But I'm stuck in colder weather. Maybe tomorrow will be better. Can I call you then? That's what you're getting at me.


Jay Acunzo 09:21

I, okay, I could see how when the pipes warm up and the confidence increases.


Jay Clouse 09:25

When you warm up and you go on a karaoke stage, you have a beer and you say you know what? Scratch Zac Brown Band. We're doing Metallica instead. Yeah, ooh, I should have done Garth Brooks' Thunder Rolls, but that's for episode 200.


Jay Acunzo 09:58

All right, I'll be back, I'm coming for you on that episode. All right, so you walk around narrating your childhood and you know, where you, were you're creating things. That's the performance side. Were you making little things tinkering all the while or did that happen later?


Jay Clouse 10:11

I did some drawing. And it was never great. I was even drawing up through college, like illustrations comic things. When I was in college, I tried to get into the improv group, which I was really excited about, I really wanted to do and I did not make it through the audition like three separate times. But the same guys who were doing the improv team ended up resurrecting an old satirical newspaper and magazine, and my writing was good enough that I was able to get on the writing staff for the comedy magazine. So I got to hang out with those guys by proxy, which is really what I wanted to do anyway. And that required some, some doodling, some drawing. But yeah, there's always a little bit of doodling and drawing, but that was never great, you know. And I never felt like, this is what I really want to do. But I always did like making things.


Jay Acunzo 11:00

It's not part of the nicely neatly packaged story, we're sold of a performer, whether it's a business related performer, like maybe we are or in the entertainment world, but it's not part of this nice story to say. I started out in the writers room, but that's so often how so many people in Hollywood, John Mulaney, right? Starts as writer, all these people. Conan O'Brien starts as a writer. So you know, what I'm learning from that Jay is to get into the room or get near or adjacent to the folks that you are trying to do their craft is profoundly useful. How about with podcasting? You know, if you're a writer by trade, and you identify as a writer, I think we accept this, we hear yeah, if you learn to write, you can do so many other things and I feel proud. And I'm like, yeah, and then I think the next question has to become booked up, how does that actually translate? So how does being a writer translate into being a podcaster in your experience?


Jay Clouse 11:47

I think writing is all about communication. I think good writers are able to step back from why communication is effective, and then kind of construct it. Because even if you're a YouTuber, chances are your scripting. And your scripting is probably following some story arc or storytelling framework that you've learned either explicitly or intuitively. So I think writers are just people who take the extra step of not only understanding effective communication, but then trying to like use those tools and gather those tools to understand those tools to put it onto paper, which is hard, like some people are really intuitively good at conversation and communication, because they're empathic or because they are an extrovert. And they've seen what works. But writers, I think, take the extra step of saying, I want to codify some of these experiences that I've had.


Jay Acunzo 12:38

You didn't start out immediately post college as an independent creator. And I think you've become so associated with or known for this theme of creators, that it's easy to assume that you did. But what was your first job out of school?


Jay Clouse 12:50

Well, first, I tried to get a job as a management consultant, because when I finally got into the business school, which is what I graduated with a degree in, and I had some like pitstops along the way with journalism. But when I finally graduated, business school, really implanted in your mind that you either got to go into a fortune 500 company and be on the management path, or you have to be an investment banking, or a management consultant. And I was like, well, it sounds like the win if I want to, like win the college game, I need to be one of those things. And investment banking sounded terrible or red monkey business. And it was like, I'd never want that life for myself. And the numbers are hard. So I tried management consulting, but numbers were hard. And I couldn't do case interviews.


Jay Acunzo 13:34

So do you actually get a job as a management consultant or in a management consulting firm?


Jay Clouse 13:37

No, I never made it past a second interview, interviewed like Deloitte and McKinsey, and I think I might have even applied to BCG, but didn't go well. And everyone along the way was like, hey, you're the startup guy, why don't you just starting a company or getting a job at a startup? So I kind of took that path instead. At the time by necessity, there was a guy in Cincinnati that was starting a company, startup company, it was a ticketing company, kind of like StubHub. And he was looking for a co-founder first employee and so I took that role, and it was kind of like a COO product management type role. And we did that for a couple of years. We did like the accelerator, angel funding, sold the company in 2015. But it was so painful. It was such a challenging experience that I didn't want to do that again.


Jay Acunzo 14:24

And is that when you switch into creating content or did you end up in house elsewhere?


Jay Clouse 14:28

I started in house elsewhere. I started with a product management role inside of a bigger venture backed startup in the healthcare industry, which was just also really challenging and frustrating, because our healthcare system is terrible. I like product management though, because I would talk to customers, I would kind of scope out what a product would be. And then weeks or months later I would see that thing be real, which was awesome. You know, it was like this like maker part of me that I knew was there, but thought that starting a company and entrepreneurship meant software. And the only way I could do that, because I'm not an engineer myself, was working through other engineers and designers.


Jay Acunzo 15:12

I want to go from sort of broad and exploratory to focus and specific fairly quickly here. So, you know, I understand some of the early movement or movement before the podcast that you had, where you straddled a bunch of things. You've mentioned the analogy before, are you building a skyscraper or a strip mall? And there's pros and cons of both of those. And at first, you built a strip mall, part of my understanding of your strip mall is you did things like upside, which was about entrepreneurship in basically cities outside of Silicon Valley.


Jay Clouse 15:41

The startup investment landscape is changing. And world class companies are being built outside of Silicon Valley. We find them, talk with them and discuss the upside of investing in them. Welcome to Upside.


Jay Acunzo 15:55

You did unreal collective which I believe focused on freelancers, correct?


Jay Clouse 16:14



Jay Acunzo 16:15

Yeah, yeah. What, can you just sort of put down a couple of dots on the map, like what were a bunch of the projects early on that you pruned and route to doing this much more focused sort of creative companion theme stuff that you do now?


Jay Clouse 16:28

Well, after I left that healthcare company, I basically said, I don't know what I want to do but I don't want to have a boss anymore. I miss not having a boss, I missed having a lot more control over my time. And we had like an all hands meeting at that company, and we're making a big change in my role, it's going to change pretty drastically. So I told them, I said, I'm not really interested in this new product, this new version of my role, I'm gonna go out on my own, since I'm going out on my own, I'll give you like up to six weeks of my time. And they said, well, your role is changing pretty drastically, you can clean out your desk and leave tomorrow. And we'll pay you about for two weeks. So I went from like having a job and considering quitting at some point to having no job and no plans, like within 48 hours. So I started like thinking about what do I want to do, and I just had some faith that people will pay me for something, you know, and it doesn't have to be a full time role. I will figure that out. And to start off doing, like some side projects, like websites, building websites in WordPress, doing some email copywriting, I helped a guy produced podcast, I helped another guy name his startup. And I was like, this is cool, like, people are paying me directly. And I'm not doing anything but this doesn't feel like a company yet.


Jay Acunzo 17:44

Yeah, you're kind of gathering up lots of little contracts, lots of little projects in your arms. And of course, it's going to spill out eventually and be unsustainable.


Jay Clouse 17:51

Yeah. But it was, it was at least reassuring that, oh, I can gather money from somebody directly without creating a piece of software or without, you know, signing a contract for a full year. So


Jay Acunzo 18:04

Your first foray was revenue first.


Jay Clouse 18:07



Jay Acunzo 18:07

The most creators when they get an inkling that they're going to create for a living, it's audience first, right? It's a side project blog, or newsletter, or podcasts like people pay attention to this, and I have no idea how to make money on it. But I'll keep building and building and building and hopefully someday turn a switch. And here comes the money. Whereas you started with paid projects.


Jay Clouse 18:22

Yeah, I don't think the content or creator world was really on my radar at the time. I was, I was reading people's work. And I was probably watching some stuff on YouTube. But I hadn't conceptualized that this was a path for people yet. And look, I think I'm inherently lazy. And that's one of my biggest drivers. Like, the reason that I want so much control is because there are days when I just don't want to do anything, and I don't want to feel guilty about it. That's like literally why I have built a business in general. So I'm trying to figure out like, what is this? What does it look like? And revenue first was filling the need for you know, paying my bills. My, my reason for existing and for working and for building a business early on was I need to pay my bills. And I don't want to have a boss. And that was like, that was the puzzle that I was putting together to figure out how does this all work. And it's just through me endearing through projects, like the podcast Upside that you mentioned. And through creating courses for LinkedIn learning. I started to identify, oh, I can create content. Content can make money. I can also create digital projects, digital products, without working through other people. Those can create money. The margins on those are amazing. You know, it's just like discovery, discovery, discovery and


Jay Acunzo 19:33



Jay Clouse 19:33

building a little bit all the time. But the one thing that was constant was I had begun writing an email newsletter in 2017, right when I quit the job, about three months before, because I just wanted to prove to myself that I was a creative person. I had this narrative in my head that I was not creative, that I was really good at executing other people's ideas, but I didn't have any myself. Sort of forced myself to overcome that. I said, I'm going to public have a newsletter every day for a year. And I did that in 2017.  After a quick break, we talked about why and how I started this show. And later, we walked through some of the most memorable guest moments from the first 100 episodes. So stick around and we'll be right back.


Jay Acunzo 20:19

Let's jump ahead quickly. So in March 2020, you started to create developments. If memory serves, that is the single biggest thing that changed in March 2020 in all of our lives.


Jay Clouse 20:30

If memory serves, yeah.


Jay Acunzo 20:31

Yeah, I have two kids under the age of four, my memory is very sharp. So March 2020, the only thing of note that happened in on planet Earth was Creative Elements started, worthy of the headlines. What were you doing immediately before launching that show?


Jay Clouse 20:45

I was still writing, I had published my first set of online courses, the freelancing school courses that I have. I was doing my other podcast Upside, which was focused on startup companies that were not based in San Francisco. And I could feel my brain in my world splitting a little bit, because I was moving more and more towards writing about creativity and building a business online. But the startup stuff felt different. They didn't feel totally aligned. But I really enjoyed the audio medium. So I thought to myself, I want to have a show that is more aligned with where my business is headed, which is creativity and building a business online, I need to figure out what that looks like. And that was probably like a six month process, actually, of scoping out that show and beginning to interview and putting together what the format would be. And we scheduled the release of it. Three months in advance. Like I probably could have started the show two or three months earlier, I had some recorded episodes. But we were doing a concerted marketing effort also. So by the time that March 2020 did roll around, and all this is happening is kind of like, ah, is this just gonna be good? Like I was, I was working with a couple of groups through the unreal collective accelerator program, this mastermind program I was working on. So I was like, in flight with that. But I was becoming like a little burned out on that product. Yeah, so it was a weird time already. And then for the pandemic to basically say, okay, everything you know, is changing. And you've been working on this thing for four or five months. Let's see how that goes. It was, it was a weird time.


Jay Acunzo 22:27

That's what happened in March of Okay. So you said an interesting word there, which maybe some folks may have picked up on, which was we, we could have launched it earlier, we could have launched it later, who's we? I thought it's just your show, Jay?


Jay Clouse 22:39

Creative Elements as part of the Podglomerate Podcast Network. And it was important to me to launch the show with a partner, because I thought they could help me take it farther than I could do on my own. I didn't have much of an audience at the time, I know that I switched from MailChimp to ConvertKit in August of 2020. And when I switched from MailChimp to ConvertKit, I had about 1800 subscribers. So we're talking several months before that I was probably around 1400, 1500 subscribers. And so that's kind of like my launch list, right? If I'm going to launch this podcast, I can have a maximum of that many people I can get in front of. I wanted to work with a partner who knew the industry veteran could maybe help me make the podcast, a new audience acquisition channel, as opposed to just launching it into my existing audience. So I sought out Jeff Umbro at the Podglomerate. And he was gracious enough and brave enough, frankly, to take me on and helped me launch the show. Let's dive into that phrase there. I saw it out, Jeff Umbro. So did you cold pitch him? Did you have a deck? Did you have a pilot? What did you bring to podcast networks? You know, aside from if you're a celebrity, and people go, oh, yeah, of course. I don't have the time to do all that stuff. And of course, the network would want me on their network. Yeah, sure. Celebrity shows go to networks. How did you get on the network? When I was doing Upside, we were frustrated that we weren't reaching as large of an audience as we wanted. So I was trying to figure out, how do we reach more people? Like how do you grow a podcast? Still trying to figure that out by the way, along with


Jay Acunzo 24:06

You and I could talk for ages about that.


Jay Clouse 24:07

But I was, I was asked myself, how do I grow a podcast? And I got introduced to Michael Sacca, who's the co-host of a podcast called Rocketship.fm, very good show. And he told me that he was on a network and that it was a wonderful, awesome experience. And I should talk to Jeff at the network. So I did. And I told him about Upside that we're trying to grow. And Jeff was basically like, pretty cool show. But the way our model works, since you're already in progress, we would only take you on if you had a significant audience that we could pull into the network and then leverage to sell ad inventory, and also cross promote other shows. But you don't really have that, you're not bringing much to the table, aka I had basically no leverage. You said if you ever think about doing another show, though, you know, follow up with me, let me know. So I just filed that away for months. And then when I was conceptualizing Creative Elements, I had in my mind, I want this to be on the Podglomerate. I don't want this to be something Jeff is interested in. So I didn't actually pitch him on it until I had like some recorded guests, I had artwork done, I had custom music done to make it feel more like a thing to show him that I was serious about this. And by the way, you know, my first two guests were Seth Godin and James Clear. So like, all this was intentional to get Jeff to bite, because it was a risk for them, they would have to put in work to make the show, you know, marketable and get some traction upfront, so that it built enough of an audience that we could sell ads, because that's their model.


Jay Acunzo 25:36

So people are, people are now wondering, the question on everyone's mind is okay, you didn't have a show, it wasn't real yet. But your first two guests were really, really big names. So I want to continue down that trajectory of getting out of the Podglomerate. But first, we have to take this tangent. How did you book Seth Godin and James Clear, before launching?


Jay Clouse 25:52

Well, those are the first two episodes I aired, but they were not the first two interviews I did, which is like something that seems like an obvious thing you can do, but most people don't think about.


Jay Acunzo 25:52



Jay Clouse 25:52

You can release episodes of whatever already that you want. So I did record some other episodes, to use a social proof to early guests to say I've already recorded episodes that these people wish they had to take on face value. But for those two guys, in particular, one, James lives in Columbus where I live, and we met, and we were getting regular lunches together while he was writing the book. And so I reached out to him, he was about a year out from publishing the book. I think the timing was good for him. And I said, hey, I'm doing the show, I would love to interview you for it. You're a perfect guest. And he was gracious enough to also recognize this as a favor he was doing for me and that he was willing to do it.


Jay Acunzo 26:40

I don't want to make assumptions here. So the book is Atomic Habits, several million copies sold worldwide. I know, it's a phenomenon. But I and he's been on the show, but I just want to make sure folks know.


Jay Clouse 26:49



Jay Acunzo 26:49

Incredibly popular writer and an incredibly popular book.


Jay Clouse 26:52

Yes. And also one of the kindest guys that I've ever met. So he allowed me to come out to his house. It's like one of two interviews all time that we have recorded in person for Creative Elements. Very fun time. Then I used that to follow up with a pre-existing email thread to Seth, because Upside that other podcasts I've alluded to a couple of times, went through the podcasting fellowship, one of his early cohort based courses. Because of that, we were able to get some press for Upside. And I had an email chain with him that said, hey, because of the podcasting fellowship, we have the show and the show was featured in Fortune. And then he used that as like a testimonial for the bond casting fellowship for a while, I followed up on that same thread and said, new show your perfect guest, already interviewed people like James clear. Are you open to it? And he replied, within literally three minutes. So thing he does, it's wild. And we schedule it and we recorded it. So I would say those are probably the third or fourth interviews that I did for the show.


Jay Acunzo 27:12

Sure, sure. So you okay, so make sense. Thank you for the explanation. When you got in front of Jeff. And Jeff said, this is great, I see the material, I have some episodes, some artwork, this is a real thing, even though it's pre-launch. And he says, why don't you come on to the Podglomerate as a member of our network, again, a bit of a black box, what do you receive by being on this network and what is required of you?


Jay Clouse 28:09

It's changed over time. But for me, it's it's a revenue share with basically they're tasked with selling ad inventory. And we share, we split the revenue on ads that are sold. So they do a lot of the legwork in finding advertisers that are good fit, dealing with the terms and actually getting payment collected. They send me the script or like the talking points, I record that, I send the audio grade back to them, they put it in, I do have like a handshake agreement to help cross promote other shows on the network, which I'm happy to do, because if I do that, other shows will do that for me as well. And that's one of the few ways that we know works to grow podcasts. So it's, that's pretty much it. It's pretty lightweight on expectations, a lot of the stuff that I do to represent the network, they suggest, they request but I'm happy to do because I want to be a good member, like putting the logo on the artwork or having the audio signature at the end of all the episodes of creative elements.


Jay Acunzo 29:10

You do a lot of things. I'm going to attempt to name those things right now. And you're going to fill in the gaps because there will be gaps. Because again, see before you do a lot of things. You have a newsletter, you have a community group. You have courses previously created on the website for creative people, guest appearances and other shows, blogs, newsletters and such. You're part of mastermind groups who advance your own education. What am I missing, anything else?


Jay Clouse 29:36

I mean, there's a lot of stuff. And this is actually something I've learned the hard way over the last 6 months, 12 months. And I've really intentionally tried to step in the other direction of because you don't look at the New York Times and say they do a lot of stuff. You say they're the New York Times. They are a company that gives you the news and forms you, educates you. And you understand that from the name they've built that brand affinity, because I'm an individual, all these projects feel like stuff, right? But I don't have more projects than other media companies have. So more and more I'm trying to step into, hey, I'm the founder of Creative Companion, I help people become professional creators. That's the stuff that I do. And maybe I have some sort of treasure map you can follow to find some of those different projects within the brand. But more and more, you know, I'm just trying to say I help people become professional creators. And whether that's through the newsletter, through this podcast, through my courses, through my membership, you'll find whichever one is most relevant and helpful to you in the moment. But I'm trying to call the belief that I do a lot of stuff because, while true, not helpful for me as a creator, to try to lead with all those things.


Jay Acunzo 30:48

Right. Well, we talked briefly before about the idea that there's IP on the show, let me pitch you some IP here. There's Song Exploder, you've had the host of Song Exploder on your show, very famous Hrishikesh Hirway. And he explodes songs, right? He has an artist break apart a song and piece it back together. And I feel like there's, you know, creator exploder, which is like you take one creator, and you're like, how do you handle this little part of the business, which is specialized at a large organization, but you the creator, have to own it yourself. How do you handle this part of the business? So when you mentioned the New York Times, I think, great analogy, however, there are people who just have to think about the newsletter, there are people who just have to think about the podcast, or people who just think about this part, this part, this part. And then there's folks over the top of it all thinking about how it all holds together and makes sense and harmonizes and grows, right? Now you smush all that down, you almost hear the sucking sound as like, right into your brain as one individual. And you Jay Clouse have to hold it all together. So a, I'm tired just leading up to this question. But let me ask him even more exhausting question, which is, how does the podcast harmonize with all those other projects? How does it feed into or off of everything? Like, how do you explain it to yourself, and therefore right now to us?


Jay Clouse 32:01

I'm trying to draw this closer all the time, I can tell you, when I reflect on the decisions that I've made from my own business as a creator, and why I made them, I can trace pretty much every decision back to a conversation or multiple conversations coming to the same conclusion on the show. So I know that this show as a product is informing my decisions as a creator. And that's great news, assuming that other creators listening to the show. So that's how it impacts me internally, but externally, it also serves as inspiration for the newsletter. And more and more, I'm trying to draw that close together. So instead of wondering, every week, what am I going to write about my newsletter this week, I'll say, what was an insight from the podcast episode this week that I can expand into an essay? And then that leads into by the way, if you will listen the full episode, here it is, because I want more and more, the newsletter to be a discovery engine for the podcast. And hopefully, the podcast can also be a discovery engine for the newsletter.


Jay Acunzo 32:56

And what you just described there, by the way, just to jump in quickly, is what's called an IP extension. Most people take their show and they take a transcript or a soundbite or a social graphic quote, or audio grammar video, and they, they merchandise the IP, they merchandise the show, I'm taking a piece of this thing and putting it elsewhere. I'm taking iron man's face and putting it on a lunchbox, right? But what you did is an IP extension, which is there's a discrete different exploration or use of this IP in a different way with different discrete value over here, right? It's the second movie with Iron Man as an example or that's the video game featuring. So it's not a piece of the original thing you can get quickly. It's not merchandising it, you're exploring that insight and expanding on it. To me, that's profound return on investment from the show.


Jay Clouse 33:37

Yeah, that's a really good way of thinking about it. And it expands into Twitter also. I've been talking a lot on the show lately about Twitter. And I am putting a lot more chips onto the table to focus more of my energy on Twitter, which means that I need to make some these decisions of, well, where's the tongue coming from? And I can either just say, well, I'm just gonna do that instead of the newsletter or I can say maybe the way that I construct the newsletter is harder than it used to be, you know, maybe I can more naturally find the what that I'm writing about the newsletter because that's usually the biggest point of friction, and say, well, let's just tie it back to this week's episode of the show. What's an insight that I thought was interesting I can expand on? Great, now. I have more time to put elsewhere like Twitter, which may lead to a thread introducing this week's episode also. I'm starting to get the hang of this. I'm getting a lot better at it. It's been tough. But a couple weeks ago, for example, I wrote a thread about Dickie Bush. I didn't start the thread with this week on the show, I'm talking to Dickie Bush, I started thread with a story that evolved out of the show, as if it was natively written for Twitter. And then at the end of the thread, I could say by the way, this came from this episode of the show, check it out if you want to.


Jay Acunzo 34:45

So you're on the network. Just to catch us back up on the story here. We're on, you're on the network, you've launched, you have incredible guests right out of the gate, you have this great back and forth value exchange with the network and with with with Jeff and everything he and his team are doing behind the scenes. What are some things you had to work out in flow of creating the show? I think there's a perception or at least a tendency, temptation, let's say, for creators to try and gather up all the answers they think they need to justify creating, where so many answers are found in the act of creating, right? So what got clear as you started to actually create the podcasts that didn't necessarily come just through theoretical planning?


Jay Clouse  35:23

A lot of credit to Jeff on this point, also, because my thought when I was developing the show was, I want to build deeper relationships with people who are listening, I want them to care about me and what I'm doing. And so I thought about WTF with Marc Maron, and I thought I want to do a 10 minute opener, that is whatever's going on in my head, then lead into the episode. I'm not Marc Maron, and just because it works for Marc doesn't mean that it's a winning formula, you know. So I put together the first episode, and it was with my friend, Jason Zook. So shout out to Jason, thanks for being the earliest guinea pig for the show. And I basically did a 10 minute rambley unscripted monologue about what was going on in my life, then I did pretty much an unedited cut of my interview with Jason. And I did a short outro. I send that to Jeff. And he said, well, there is a show here. This is not a very good one. And he said, you know, this isn't a whole lot different than other shows that interview, awesome people about being awesome. What do you do in here, and he recommended, you know, you should really cut down the intro, the intro is way too long, you should maybe consider scripting that. And I immediately like clenched my teeth and my fist. And it's like, that sounds like immediately more work, which it is. Every episode of Creative Elements starts with basically a 1000 to 1500 word intro that I write every week for the show, which is its own blog posts, you know, like, that's, that's a huge amount of writing that I script. But I said, okay, I'll do that. And he said, and you should maybe consider moving the story along with some voiceover throughout it. And then he told me like, by the way, there are some hard requirements for how you put midroll advertisements into the audio file, you need to have two spots for mid roll and needs to be like this two second bed of dead air within the audio file. And you should maybe voiceover into and out of that. So over time, what I've really figured out how to do is do voiceover within the interviewer both into mid rolls. But also to help move the story along. I've learned how to script an intro. A lot of people who tell me that the show sounds really good and it's really well produced. What they're experiencing is just a very well crafted intro. And that experience in the intro follows through their their experience to the rest of the show. So it's really winning up front and I've started templatized in my head, what makes a Creative Elements intro? And that's where most of the art and editing the show comes in I think.


Jay Acunzo 37:53

Yes, so many storytellers, if you if you don't see a segment listed on the screen, like it's a sports talk show or something, have a plan, have a structure, even if they couldn't explain it to you. It's intuitive. And I think we as creators are really, really well served when we try to rip out the structure, the rundown, the approach, not necessarily just mimic the tone and the things that are obvious. And so I love that you're trying to think through what is the structure of an intro.


Jay Clouse 38:17

When we come back, Jay and I dig into some of the most memorable guests and moments in the show's first 100 episodes. And at the end, Jay surprises me with something that absolutely made my day. Right after this.


Jay Acunzo 38:30

I want to do three things as we get to the back half or back third of this interview, I have some quick questions about the history of the show and your experience over. It's a lot, the parts, 100 episodes. And then I have a few questions for the creators listening. So here are my quick questions, ready? You've done 100 episodes, a 100. What's the most nervous you ever were prior to an interview of Creative Elements?


Jay Clouse 38:55

Oh, wow. Do I do I just let my brain tell me or do I look through the list real quick? I think I was probably most nervous with Seth. It seems like a cop out answer. But I mean, first episode, yeah, I had done interviews for Upside in the past, but nobody is big as Seth. And at the time of interviewing him, I was like, really bought into all of his writing and everything. I was a big, big, big fan at the time. So it was a big one. I think recently Hrishikesh also was one that made me really nervous. Luckily, Hrishikesh was like the easiest interview in the world.


Jay Acunzo 39:29

He's got such a good reputation in the podcast world. It's great. I love it. I love when the public persona matches the private persona.


Jay Clouse 39:35

100% and like, within moments of starting to talk, he made me feel so at ease.


Jay Acunzo 39:40



Jay Clouse 39:41

That was awesome. Cole Cuchna, another music podcast with Dissect that one I was a little nervous about.


Jay Acunzo 39:46

Well, quick, quick question on the Seth thing then if that's you know, how you're feeling and then all of a sudden you're using whatever tool you're using any pops up on video. What's the very first thing on your mouth?


Jay Clouse 39:56

I don't remember.


Jay Acunzo 39:58

Oh, what's up, Godin? Hi, my name is Greg Clouse.


Jay Clouse 40:03

And he showed up he was, I'm in my studio apartment in Columbus, Ohio, which was like 700 square feet. And I'm sitting, staring out a window on this tiny little desk. He shows up in squad cast sitting in a sound booth with professional headphones, a professional microphone and a cup of tea. And I started to go into like my opening spiel, and I was like, well, so glad that you're here. The only thing I remember from the spiel that like stands out as a memory was I said, we'll probably talk for about 45, 60 minutes. And he said, 45 minutes sounds good. I said you're right, 45 minutes sounds good.


Jay Acunzo 40:40

It does sound good, Seth Godin, you're right.


Jay Clouse 40:43

Yeah, he was pretty much just like, yeah, I get it. We're good. Let's just go. And I was like, okay, let's just go. And that was a really challenging interview also, because Seth speaks with such certainty and finality. It's really hard to build off of and ladder off of something, because there's just some way about him that he answers questions that not only is it like, and this is the way it is, you think you're right, that is the way it is.


Seth Godin 41:09

You know, it's interesting to think about our friend Liz Gilbert. Eat, Pray, Love makes enough money to support an author for the rest of her life. So what should she write next? Well, I know what her publisher wants her to write next. And that's the only thing she will do next, because Liz has said, I know how to make more money doing this work, but that's not why I do the work. Whether there's money or not doesn't matter, as long as I get to do this work. So now, if she's not doing it to make the publisher happy and maximize her worth, who is she trying to change? And it is not okay to say, I don't want to change anybody, because that's where we get to the world of Hilma of Klint who painted 10,000 paintings and never showed them to anyone. I don't think she was an artist. I think she was hiding.


Jay Acunzo 42:01

No, it's like a satisfying chord progression that comes to an end, there's nothing open ended about it. How do you then ask the next question?


Jay Clouse 42:09



Jay Acunzo 42:09

 Follow up, etcetera?


Jay Clouse 42:10



Jay Acunzo 42:11

Who, okay, aside for the people you just named, you can't name the same people again, who you most surprised if they said yes to an interview?


Jay Clouse 42:18

Maybe Ali Abdaal, I think it was a little early in his progression. So that one was okay. Oh, no, no, no, I take it back. It was Tim Urban.


Jay Acunzo 42:29

Tim Urban, okay.


Jay Clouse 42:29

Tim Urban, 100%.


Jay Acunzo 42:30

Cool, why were you surprised?


Jay Clouse 42:32

I was surprised because the guy is a very sought after speaker, keynote speaker, that charges tens of thousand of dollars for an appearance. And he's going to show up on a podcast with me for free for almost an hour. You know, like that's, that's the case for actually a lot of people on this show. And it never ceases to amaze me, which is why podcasting is my favorite thing, there's just no way I would have those conversations. And if I do a good job, you know, it becomes an asset they're proud of, and as generative to them to some degree, but I could be 5x, 10x the size that I am now. And my shows not moving the needle for some of the people that come on here. You know, it's, it's really something special that they do choose to come on here. I believe strongly that it comes back to the guest list itself. Because this is why I started with Seth and James, I just had this assumption, which I think is proven true for two reasons. When people hear about a show, I think more often than not, they still go to episode one, which is like terrifying if you're a podcaster and you're not proud of your early stuff. But also, if you shoot an email or a message to a potential guest, they're gonna look at your show, and they're gonna look at the guest list and ask themselves, this Seth Godin question, do people like me do something like this? Do people like me go on the show? And thankfully, I've kept that bar pretty high. So that more often than not people at least consider it.


Jay Acunzo 43:52

What is we're talking about guests that you were surprised to book or nervous prior to speaking to them? I believe I know the answer to this, which is why I was excited to ask you this question. He says, raising the stakes of the listener continues to listen, God being a creator and creating stuff. You always have a meta narrative in your head.


Jay Clouse 44:09

It's open loop.


Jay Acunzo 44:10

It's an open loop. Who is your current pipe dream guest, one person?


Jay Clouse 44:15

Bo Burnham.


Jay Acunzo 44:16

Yep. You tell me why, that was your guests. Did you know, did you know that? I guess it yes.


Jay Clouse 44:20

Oh, my gosh. Well, the thing is, there are you know, like actual celebrities, I interview a lot of internet celebrities, but there are actual celebrities that I would love to talk to. But when I think about it, they don't actually fit the criteria for the show. But Bo does, Bo lives in this interesting world where he started as a YouTuber, people weren't calling themselves YouTube person, but he started as a YouTuber. And then he is, you know, not only created this most recent special inside, which was amazing. But he you know, directed his own film. He put together his own TV show. He's like, checked a lot of boxes of different types of creative work for himself and the path that he's taking. I've done a lot of it more or less independently. He also does like almost no interviews. So if I did have Bo on the show, that will be a big deal.


Jay Acunzo 45:08

What is the soundbite or a moment from your show that you most often replay in your head?


Jay Clouse 45:14

I think about a lot of sound bites from my episode James Clear still, he's just such a clear thinker. And he's so good at articulating things.


Jay Acunzo 45:21

Clear, clear thinker.


Jay Clouse 45:22

I know. He believed us not a stage name. Crazy.


Jay Acunzo 45:26



Jay Clouse 45:27

He's such a clear thinker. And he said a couple of things. One that stands out is


James Clear 45:31

Can you create something that is so good that they, the reader or the consumer, the user of your product could actually have a before and after moment with it, right? Like before and after I read this book or before and after I read this blog post, before and after I read this tweet even, before and after I use this product, my life, I can actually delineate and say it's different now, because that experience was so good.


Jay Clouse 45:53

He also talks a lot about A plus work.


James Clear 45:55

It took somewhere between three and five years to write the book. And especially for the first year or two, it was, I don't know, I don't want to say it was like dark, but it felt dark a lot of the time, like I felt like it was in this cave writing or wasn't getting any feedback, I was just, I would show up and work for eight hours on it. And then it would look like just as much of a mess as it did when the day started. And a lot of creative projects are like that. And one thing I'm really glad about now is that I took the time to get it right. Tim Urban and I have talked about this, the difference between doing A plus work and A minus work. And it sounds like a fairly small thing. And it's like hey, and A minus or B plus, like that's pretty good, you know, nice job. But actually in any sort of media, books, podcasts, YouTube, social media, the internet provides infinite leverage. And so all the returns are at the tail end. And so doing a plus work is it's not like 1x, or 2x, or even 5x better, it's like 100x or 1,000x better.


Jay Clouse 46:55

Which is something I just wrestle with constantly. Because it's hard to create A plus work in a culture, in a society that expects just constant work. You know what I mean? You have to be making stuff and publishing constantly. It almost doesn't allow the time and space to create a plus work. But you could just choose to not follow with that expectation. But that's becoming more and more courageous. And now it's a difficult choice to make.


Jay Acunzo 47:23

Last quick question before we move on to section for the creators listening and their careers. What is the relationship that you now have with someone who was a guest that has added the most value to your life? Maybe with someone with a really cool name that sounds similar to yours? No, let's take me out of it actually though, somebody, aside from me, who would have would have been the answer clearly, someone that you have a strong relationship with has added the most value to your life, because they were aghast, it started there.


Jay Clouse 47:54

There are actually a lot of people. And the weird thing is, you know, because I interview creators, even I have parasocial relationships with certain creators. So there were people that I felt a parasocial relationship with who had no idea who I was when we showed up on screen. And I felt like I know you, let's talk and like who's this guy. But because of the show, a lot of those became two sided relationships. But recently, I've actually been spending a lot of time talking with Jack Rhysider, the the host of Darknet Diaries.


Jay Acunzo 48:22



Jay Clouse 48:23

He and I both have like a semi secret interest in web three and NFTs. But we're not yet willing to like jump out in front of our audience to be like, let's talk about this. So we talked about it with each other a lot. And yeah, he's just a really, really good guy. And his show is incredible. I mean, it's really well produced, but also the way that he's been able to build that as an indie podcaster, I still can't totally wrap my head around how he did it. Because it's, it's a ridiculous amount of scale. But I will say one big regret that I have with the show, which is not irreversible, but exists. I don't think I've done enough to continue to nurture those relationships. There's one thing that's just difficult with showing up with the the roles of interviewer and interviewee that makes you almost fight uphill as someone who wants to be a peer to the interviewee. But I also think all the time. So many of these guests I had great interactions with before the show, on the show, after the show, I could be much more helpful to them. But also, I think a lot about putting together like a personal board of directors informally, you know, people who I could go to and say, you're awesome, you've accomplished a lot of what I've done. I would love to, you know, touch base with you once a quarter to tell you what I'm trying to do and have you poke holes in it and redirect me and you know, if you feel so inclined, maybe even helped me get through some hurdles. I think those opportunities are there for a lot of people that I've interviewed on the show, but I haven't made an attempt.


Jay Acunzo 50:01

So you're a big community guy. And you know, you teach it, you run several, you're now running. And people should know about this and join it, The Creative Companion Club, which helps creators turn pro. And you love to say the same thing when people approach you and ask you about the prospect of them starting their own communities, which is, I'd love to talk you out of it. So I have an actual question. Point of clarification, though first. Why do you say I'd love to talk you out of it? And then I'll get to my real question.


Jay Clouse 50:26

I would love to talk people out of just about everything related to entrepreneurship, to be honest, but with community in particular, it's just such a giant undertaking that it doesn't have like, with products, you can iterate and make them better over time. And those improvements stick, you know, you're just constantly raising the bar of quality and expectation, community could crumble and fold at any time. Because so much value is built on the people. Sure, a lot of the content that is there will continue to persist. But the value of a community and why people stick around is the people. And if you don't really invest your time and effort into making sure that that bar continues to raise and those people continue to stay happy. It could fold on you any minute. But


Jay Acunzo 51:11



Jay Clouse 51:11

in general, with entrepreneurship, I try to talk people out of stuff all the time, because you need to have the certainty and the ambition to tell me no, I'm going to do it anyway in order to break through the inevitable, wall, like pain that you're running into.


Jay Acunzo 51:28

I love it. So there's a meta test, which is you have to have the conviction to say to someone who doubts you, I'm going to do it anyway. But there's also of course, the right, right setting of people's expectations, because I do think community has now been added to one of those lists of not only just part of the zeitgeist, but perception is not true to reality, that perception is perhaps at it's a lot easier to do. Which brings me to this medium of podcasting. It is easy to create a podcast, it is really friggin hard to create a podcast, if you know what I mean. It's like it's incredibly easy to create content. It's incredibly hard to create great content. So Jay, 100 episodes into the show. You and I get what is probably the exact same statement. You can even keep the name there conveniently, which is hey, Jay, I'm thinking of starting a podcast and I with gusto say now to people what you say, which is, I'd love to talk you out of creating a podcast. So 100 episodes in, Jay, let's do that for a time. Mostly the floor is yours here. Let's talk people out of creating a podcast, why should they not create a podcast? What should they think about, ask themselves, etc, or run screaming from?


Jay Clouse 52:32

Well, look, I've codified this a little bit too, because as I'm on this path of helping people become professional creators, I want to actually have kind of a starting point that I can, a framework, if you will, Jay, if people have listened to episode number 98, with the two of us, to help people think through it, and I think you need two things. You need an owned audience platform, a place that's not a third party that you can reliably connect with your audience. And you need a discovery engine, a platform that is a discovery engine, emails and obvious owned audience platform. But so is podcasting. And people think that podcasting is going to be an audience acquisition, aka an audience Discovery Channel and it's not. Discovery and podcasting just isn't really there. Unless you are willing to do the work to make a remarkable video first podcast and have it live on YouTube. In which case, I think, yes, let's talk about you starting a podcast or if you think that your goal of the podcast is to deepen relationships with your existing audience. That's great, too. Because podcasting is a very intimate experience, you spend a lot of time with somebody there in your ears. And you can really, you know, build deeper relationships at scale with podcasting, but it is not an audience acquisition channel. And most people enter into it thinking that is what it is.


Jay Acunzo 53:48

It's this weird duality of the ones we get to know and are inspired by are ones we discovered at some point as a net new entrance into our lives. And it is a terrible vehicle for that new audience growth, it is, everything seems to be focused on awareness. Podcasts are great for what they're great for, right? Truly great, which is affinity. I no amount of awareness matters unless you get an affinity and a podcast. It's like an affinity, affinity accelerator. It's incredible. But yes, I'd love to talk people out of podcasts as well. I point to the interview technique, and people can appreciate the fact that you have a narrated show, I have a narrated show, you know, we do some sound design, some music, etc. That feels hard. What doesn't feel hard is two people talking in a co hosted fashion. What doesn't feel hard is a straight interview show without the narration, without the sound design and music scoring. Oh, those things are so hard.


Jay Clouse 54:37

Oh, but it is.


Jay Acunzo 54:38

Why is dedicated to the craft of interviews, dedicated to the craft of being public personas? It's so so hard to do it well.


Jay Clouse 54:44

Totally, totally. And I can't unhear poor interviewing anymore, and I can't unhear good interviewing anymore. You know, I think, I think people go on these journeys of kind of graduating out of greeters a lot of times, and I thought that I had graduated out of that Tim Ferriss podcast, the first podcast ever listen to what brought me into this world. More and more I build respect for Tim's ability to interview. And sometimes it's like a little extra, you know, he has this technique where he'll ask a question. And then I'll very quickly say, and the reason I ask is and he'll give this background, which at first, I thought that's really stupid. Let him answer the question. And now I think, actually, it's really smart. You're giving them this graceful period of time to think through a great answer. And you're kind of entertaining the audience in this way. But man, so many interviewers are just a mess. And I don't blame them. No one teaches you interviewing, there's been no real education towards being an interviewer because for the longest time, interviewers lived on network television, and there was like four of them, you know, so it's not your fault you're not a good interviewer. But it is more challenging than you may expect.


Jay Acunzo 55:49

As your platform grows, and I mean, this symbol senses of your, you know, you the listener, creators generally and also you, Jay Clouse, as your platform grows, and more and more people get to know you, I think, you know, something that many creators chase or a desire they harbor, you start to actually taste, which is, you know, moments that represent this fame. Famous objective, certainly, you know, some people feel very famous to this pocket of the world, and nobody outside that pocket understands who the heck they are. But there's a difference between people who know you exist and appreciate you and you have no idea they exist. And then an actual to a relationship where you both know each other exists, and hopefully appreciate or interact with each other. So fame is that sort of one way street. And I think it's one of the most unnatural things a human being can experience. And we see this at grand scale with legitimate celebrities, it can mess with you, when people show up in your inbox or your feed, saying really nice things about you a lot. It can mess with you to have people share your work attached to praise. We want that, of course, sometimes, justifiably, sometimes, because our ego is associated in an unhealthy way. But it can absolutely give you this thing to grapple with. So I'm wondering, Jay, in your journey, building this show, for example, what has been your relationship with or how do you grapple with this idea of to your audience, being famous?


Jay Clouse 57:13

It doesn't feel that way yet, I mean, I do get those things you're talking about, like the praise attached to your work. And to me that just feels at this point, like, this is why I'm doing it, I could see it getting to a level where it's just a lot, and I've become kind of jaded to it. You know, it's kind of like, I still get excited about every single, like sale of a digital product that happens for me. But like an email subscriber, I don't feel that excited. Five years ago, when I was starting every subscriber that happened, I was like, yes, yes, amazing. And you start to, like, temper those feelings. And I'm sure the same thing would happen to a degree with people who enjoy your work. But really, that's, that's why I'm doing it. And I actually more intensely experienced the like, the trolls that will attach, you know, chagrin to your work. And say, like, nope, you're wrong, because X, Y, and Z reason. But I think I have a pretty good ability of separating levels of relationships, you know, which is an ironic thing to say, because planning a wedding, you're putting your guests together, and it's like, do I have 10 friends or 2000 friends. But you know, I think my my inner circle has grown smaller and closer, and my outer circle as it's grown, it still feels semi close, but I have to keep at a distance to some degree. And I think I've done okay at doing that.


Jay Acunzo 58:46

But I have to acknowledge, you know, tens of thousands of people across platforms know your work. There's a profoundly small list of people relative to the total list of human beings, also, relative to the total list of people on any given channel or in a category that create content, let alone the even smaller fraction of a fraction of a fraction that are known by tens of thousands of people as you are. In your tougher moments, which we all have, when you start thinking about the size of your audience, what creeps in?


Jay Clouse 59:16

Comparison, it's always comparison. It's always the moving goalposts of well, but I'm not here, you know, or, well, now that I'm here, the person that I was modeling after is there, and how do I get there now? What was the steps they took to get there? Like it it's, it's really hard, it's really hard to deal with like this question of what is enough, because a lot of ways also this whole internet creator thing feels like a game. sometimes it's a slot machine, sometimes it's like this intense strategy game that's really satisfying when you get a win in that way, too. So I get a lot of enjoyment of moving the puzzle pieces around and checking the boxes and figuring out you know, what moves should I make right now to get to this outcome? That outcome was changes because if it didn't, the game would end. And it's hard to have enough and feel like I'm playing an infinite game with a goal that I'm striving to. So, you know, it's always comparison. It's always looking at somebody else, usually someone that I was already modeling after. And I want to get to the point that I was shooting for they've moved. And so my goalposts has moved and it's just frustrating, or it's somebody who takes a different tact. And I see where they've ended up in the same period of time that I've been working on this other tact and I think to myself, Why am I not on TikTok?


Jay Acunzo 1:00:34

Wow, stuck the landing on that one. I love that. Okay, well, Jay, I gotta say, of course, and I know you understand this, but it can be so hard to kind of hold in your hand and examine and, and appreciate as a creator, because you're playing this infinite game, that a lot of people do really appreciate your work. And so I took a look at the liberty when I realized I was going to host this show of reaching out to a few of those people who very much appreciate your work.


Jay Clouse 1:00:58



Jay Acunzo 1:00:59

And I asked them, yes, I did. Yes, I did. And I asked them, Jay just threw himself back in his chair and he's cackling to himself. I asked them to comment, because you have made an impact. Of course, you're not done. But let's just take a brief moment to hear from what some of these people feel, are the great things that you do for them, and for everybody who appreciate your work.


Sarah Greesonbach 1:01:20

Hey, Jay. It's Sarah Greesonbach. Now, one of the coolest things about podcasting and social media, is that you are putting stuff out there and not always sure who's listening. So you might have no idea about this. But over the past year, you have truly inspired me to look at other people as an amplifier of my dreams and not a threat to them. And that, like it sounds pretty obvious. But that's a big change in my worldview as an Enneagram eight and just a general curmudgeon and negative person. So thank you for putting your positivity out there, for helping other people be willing to trust and contribute to strangers because that is what the internet is about. I can't think of anything I've ever seen 100 episodes of or maybe even 1000. So keep going and keep rocking it.


Jay Acunzo 1:02:15

Sarah Greesonbach, founder of the B2B Writing Institute.


Jay Clouse 1:02:19



Jay Acunzo 1:02:20

We're not done.


Corey Haines 1:02:21

Hey, Jay. It's Corey Haines. Just wanted to let you know that, you know, one thing I've always admired about you is your commitment to the craft. Whether it's podcasting, editing podcasts, producing podcasts, writing, tweeting, doing the newsletter, going into other people's podcasts, running workshops, I've always noticed that you care about the craft, you care about the work that you produce, and you love and enjoy the work that you do. And I think that life is too short to do work that you don't love. That isn't in your zone of genius in your, in your circle of competence. And so I love that exemplify that, that you live it out, and that you do it. And so thanks for doing that. And also, congrats for 100 Creative Elements, always has been and always will be one of my favorite podcasts. Thanks for doing amazing work. Can't wait for the next 100.


Jay Acunzo 1:03:05

Corey Haines, marketer extraordinaire and creator of the community group and education platform Swipe Files, past guest on the show.


Jay Clouse 1:03:13

That was amazing. That was amazing.


Jay Acunzo 1:03:16

I'm glad you liked it. Because just a couple more.


Jay Clouse 1:03:18

Oh shit.


Matt Ragland 1:03:21

Test 123, Test 123, Hey Jay, this is Matt Ragland, the honored guest of episode 36 of creative elements. And the one thing that I admire about you, above all other things, there are many things that I admire about you. But the one thing is your dedication to the craft and to the Creator. And what I mean by that is when I listen to an episode of creative elements when I see you work, but especially when I listened to those episodes of creative elements, the way that you just are dedicated to telling the story, not just of the person that's on the show, but also in a way that makes the listener resonate with, hey, I can hear that part of the guest story in my own story, or I never knew that the guests that I just see as this super successful person also had these struggles and it's really encouraging to me, I know that's something that takes a lot of dedication and attention and intention to do really well. So that's something that I admire about you, and I'm grateful that you do and your work. So congrats on episode number 100. I've always thought that getting to 100 podcast episodes 100 newsletters 100 YouTube videos is a really cool milestone and something that you can really put as a huge milestone for building an audience and reaching a level that very few do so thanks so much for everything that you do as creative elements tweet 100 Creative companion Game Club. It's so cool to be your friend and to watch you work.


Brendan Hufford 1:05:03

Hey, Jay. It's Brendan Hufford. Over the years. I've learned a lot from you and your work. I think your body of work at this point speaks for itself. The most exciting part for me there seems to only be getting better. One thing I'm grateful for about you is how you create space for others. You do this in your podcasts and in creative companion, but also in your friendships and your relationships. In a world where a lot of us, myself included struggle to make space for ourselves to do our best creative work. I'm grateful for you and how you do that for others. Congrats on 100. Episodes. Clouds house rules,


Jay Acunzo 1:05:38

clouds house rules. Last one, best one.


Mallory Beckley  1:05:43

Hey, Jay. It's your fiance Mallory. I just wanted to say how much I admire all the time and effort and the care and the love that you put into each one of your guests in each one of your episodes. Congratulations on 100 episodes of creative elements. I'm so so proud of you.


Jay Clouse 1:05:58

Oh, she hated doing that. How did you get her to do that?


Jay Acunzo 1:06:00

Oh my gosh, lots and lots of technical support. Turns out she has an Android and you were pesky. You were very annoyingly present throughout a lot of attempts that she couldn't get to a microphone or computer but we finally made it work.


Jay Clouse 1:06:14

I'm always here. I'm never not here. Wow, man. Do you thank you for taking that time and that effort to pull this out? That makes me so happy. Wow. Amazing.


Jay Acunzo 1:06:24

I just the smile on your face was was everything to me the through line there is craft and improvement, right like craft is the use of skill on something done by hand. And of course you're creating things through a keyboard no matter what you're doing. Of course, there's other technical things. But when I think of creating things by hand, I think of the thing that only uniquely you can create. So, Jake, my friend, congrats on 100 episodes of creative elements 100 episodes and I know I speak on behalf of everybody in your audience, including your your loving listeners when I say keep going.


Jay Clouse 1:06:57

Thanks, Ben. I will no plans of stopping anytime soon. It's the most fun I'm having if anything, you know, I am adding to the creative elements stack. So stay tuned, dear listener, because you may see some video in the creative elements future well find out the leak. That's the leak. That's the that's the spill the scoop. We'll find out though.


Jay Acunzo 1:07:19

I'll be back for 200 and new ways to make you profoundly uncomfortable that you didn't expect.


Jay Clouse 1:07:32

Thank you so much for continuing to listen to support and share this show. Your support means a lot to me, and it's helped the show become what it is today. Please, if you haven't left a rating on Apple podcasts or Spotify, please do. So. I read every single one and it helps the show more than you know. If we are already connected on social media. You can find me on Twitter or Instagram at Jay Clouse. And if you don't subscribe to my newsletter creative companion. I really recommend you take a minute to do so. Links to all of that are in the show notes and keep an eye on your feed. I'll have another episode on Thursday from the Danny Miranda podcast that I think you'll really enjoy. Thank you to Jay konzo for running this interview. Thank you to Emily Klaus for making the artwork for this episode. Thanks to Macomb town 100 for making this show and Brian Skeel for creating our music. If you liked this episode, tweet at me and Jay Clouse and let me know. Thanks for listening, and I'll talk to you next week. A Sonic universe