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Last week at the Podcast Movement conference I was sitting with online income experts Michelle Jackson, Miranda Marquit, and Philip Taylor discussing side hustles and online income. Then Kevin Smith, yes, that Kevin Smith, dropped in to join us. Enjoy this live recording with personal finance experts and Silent Bob himself this week on the Personal Profitability Podcast.
- Podcast Movement on Facebook
- Miranda Marquit on The Personal Profitability Podcast
- The D.O.N.E Society
- PT Money
- Kevin Smith on Twitter
Eric Rosenberg: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages, welcome back to the Personal Profitability Podcast. As always I am your amazing host, Eric Rosenberg. And I’m coming to you live from Podcast Movement. It’s a conference taking place today in Chicago, Illinois. I traveled here for it. It’s similar to FinCon, which you’ve heard a lot about in the past. I’m actually sitting at the FinCon table with some FinCon friends who we’re gonna talk to in a minute.
Before we start talking to them I have to tell you a really really quick story. So this morning the opening keynotes took place and I saw two speakers that I was super excited to see almost like a little fanboyish. The first one that I was super excited to see was Anna Sale from the podcast Death, Sex and Money. I’ve been listening to it since the beginning. I was totally excited by what she had to say. But after her we saw in the flesh the real live Silent Bob. Yes, Kevin Smith. So I’m like totally buzzing right now. I just saw Kevin Smith. And I grabbed my friends, Miranda and ..
Miranda Marquit: How do you forget my name?
Eric: I didn’t forget your name.
Eric: And Michelle.
Miranda and Michelle: M & M
Eric: Who’s gonna go, one at a time. Anyway, we’ll just do it all at once. So Miranda and Michelle, M & M’s, with me right now. Miranda you’ve heard before. She was on an earlier episode. And Michelle, I was supposed to be on her podcast. We recorded one of the coolest episodes ever. Totally hungover, in my pajamas in lobby of a hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina and the recorder didn’t work. We didn’t get the episode. We’re gonna do that one again sometime when Michelle has time to have me on her show.
Michelle Jackson: With a hangover, too, right, I hope.
Eric: I will to get a hangover again. So anyway, say hello. Let’s start with Miranda. Just say a quick hello, who you are, what you’re about, what you do.
Miranda: Hi, my name is Miranda Marquit. I am a freelance writer and professional blogger. So I make my money writing online but I also have some podcast, I have three different podcasts. I love listening to Kevin Smith as well because there is nothing I love more in life than profanity-laced wisdom.
Eric: I don’t know how many F-bombs and; it was just like boom!
Michelle: So many F bombs.
Miranda: But there was so many great wisdom drops, right? And this man, I consider myself very good at swearing but he is a master. He’s a master of the craft.
Eric: So Michelle, tell your story, what you’re about, your website, where people can find you.
Michelle: Hi, guys. I’m here at Podcast Movement. My name is Michelle Jackson. I am a personal finance and lifestyle blogger. For purposes of Podcast Movement I’m also sharing my blog and podcast called The D.O.N.E. Society, D-O-N-E, Done onto new experiences, where I speak with people who are embracing digital entrepreneurship, kicking their 9 to 5 lovingly to the curb and just 3:34 to people who are embracing lifestyle flexibility. What do I mean by that? That means like instead of becoming a nomad and floating everywhere, you’re actually reconnecting with the people that you love and know and community that you’re in and hanging out with your kids cause you chose to have them, you know, stuff like that.
Eric: I had my baby girl on purpose.
Miranda: She’s the cutest thing ever and I don’t think all babies are cute. I’m just saying. So that’s okay I’m with you.
Michelle: And I’m in the nation’s stages of growing my business so it’s been a really interesting thing and there is a difference between self-employment and entrepreneurship.
Eric: So I wanna start with a little, I guess we’ve already started, I’m gonna continue with a little story with Michelle. We both used to live in Denver. Michelle still lives in Denver. For a long time I was Denver Eric on Twitter, now I’m Eric Profits. But I when I was still Denver Eric one time Michelle came over to my old condo in Denver and we sat down on the couch…
Michelle: It was Christmas Eve.
Eric: Yeah it was Christmas Eve which me, being Jewish, no big deal. Just like another Thursday or whatever it was or Saturday. So Michelle came, but it was Saturday enough to go to work the next day. So it was a bonus I guess. You never have to work on Christmas. 4:44. But I guess I do know though. But anyway, enough about what day it was. So Michelle came over. Her blog was on Blogger, blogger.com.
Michelle: You know..
Eric: Owned by Google.
Miranda: So embarrassing, right?
Michelle: Whatever, but at least I started. I had to start somewhere.
Eric: I started there, too.
Miranda: We all started on Blogger and are all embarrassed about it.
Eric: And I helped her on that day, you know no charge, Michelle’s a friend, move to WordPress which later became a part of business that’s now my website development business.
Miranda: That’s two shout outs in there.
Eric: So I wanna ask Michelle, you started on Blogger, you moved to WordPress, you moved forward a lot in the years since. How did that change help your online business grow and what have you done in the last few months to really try to make it pop?
Michelle: Well I would say that when we did that switch from Blogger to WordPress, I was not business-focused at all. I just felt that that would be a better place for my blog to grow. I had no idea what, there was no strategy behind it other than a lot of people said it would probably be better to be on WordPress. And I thought that the WordPress blogs were prettier. I mean, it was that basic. There were no thoughts about business and that kind of thing.
Eric: Did you feel restrained by Blogger?
Michelle: No, because really I was just too new into my journey and so thankfully…
Eric: You just moved to WordPress because all the cool kids were doing it.
Michelle: Yeah basically it was very simple process for me.
Eric: That is actually one thing that is okay to do cause the cool kids are doing it. Now, it was not the case then but now 25% of all websites in the entire internet are powered by WordPress. It’s pretty astounding when you think how many billions of webpages there are.
Michelle: That’s shocking.
Eric: Yeah. It’s like a quarter of the internet.
Michelle: But now as I grow my business I’m really thankful that I’m on WordPress because I own all my content and I think that it’s a huge, huge thing that you know, beginning with Blogger I don’t think that they need to think too deeply other than just to start. Because a lot of people overthink the process. They never start, they don’t get moving in a forward trajectory. How your blog or podcast, whatever you’re doing, grows from there depends on you just starting. And so that was where I was at. I feel like it’s time because this is prettier and that was great. Now, several years in, and now I can do some really business-focused things because I’m on WordPress.
Eric: Awesome. So do you have a favorite plug-in? I know that’s a really dirty word…
Michelle: No, I just don’t really. I used plug ins and they’re great but I do not dig in deep ..
Eric: I’ve got emotional connections for plugins I use.
Michelle: I might shout out one later though.
Eric: Okay. If you think of one don’t hold back.
Eric: So Miranda we’ve had you on before. We’ve talked about how you went from zero to becoming a full time freelancer.
Eric: We’ve seen a lot of success there. So anyone who wants to go back and listen to that episode we’ll have a link back in the show notes so you can listen to our first Miranda appearance on the show. But now we want to talk about something different. We are at the podcast conference and talking about podcast all weekend, or I guess it’s not a weekend it’s a Thursday. It feels like a weekend, I don’t know.
Miranda: It does, it does.
Eric: Once I quit my job I noticed that all of the days just started to blur together.
Miranda: Oh yeah. Like, yeah.
Eric: It’s crazy. I make a point to take Saturdays off but otherwise it’s…
Miranda: I live in a perpetual weekends. And I work every day. So it’s always a weekend working day.
Eric: I know you have a few podcasts. The one that I am most familiar with is Adulting, which sometimes I feel like I need to reference that. I was talking yesterday to somebody I was saying, ‘I feel like (I still stay it with like my air quotes up with my fingers) I have to talk to a real grownup sometimes.” Even though I’m a dad and I’ve had two mortgages and have a Master’s Degree, sometimes I don’t feel like a real grownup.
Eric: What was the genesis of the idea for you and Luke, your co-host, or Harlan, whatever we wanna call him, the man of many names.
Miranda: That’s right. The man of three names.
Eric: How did that come to be? What was the idea like to start your podcast?
Miranda: Yeah. So Harlan and I we we’re talking about how we wanted to do a podcast together or trying to figure out what should we do our podcast about, what should it be about. We we’re looking around and thinking and at the time my husband has recently asked for a divorce, my divorce had just been made final and he was staring and he was a few months away from turning 40. He was staring 40 in the face. And we were sitting here going I’m gonna start over from scratch with my life as an adult because…
Eric: He really screwed up the midlife crisis, I have to say.
Eric: You are a catch.
Miranda: Thanks.That’s so nice. And so, you know I’ve got to start all over again and he’s staring 40 in the face and he’s just like, I don’t know what I wanna do with myself. So we’re like, my God we’re supposed to have this figured out by now.
So how do you be an adult? What does it mean to be an adult? How can we adult effectively? And then we started looking at the people we knew that were younger and people that I swear honest, honest I know somebody who is like I’ve arranged for an apartment but we’re not gonna move in, you know I’ve got my stuff there but I’m not gonna be living there after my wedding and my honeymoon. So yeah it’s great. I’ve got this space. I don’t have to pay a rent.
Michelle: What? I don’t understand that the last time you said that. They didn’t think they have to pay?
Miranda: They didn’t think they have to pay rent if they weren’t like physically living there at that second. So there it was just gonna sit there empty until like they reserved it but it was just gonna sit there empty until they get ready to move in. I’m just like…
Michelle: I’m rolling my eye; you can’t see that on the podcast.
Eric: This is why I feel like there should be like basic financial education to graduate from like middle school.
Miranda: Right. I know.
Eric: This is like basic, basic.
Miranda: It’s like, ‘really guys?” And then I talked to some other people and they’re like, how do you plan meals without just like going in and getting fast food every day? How do you do that without just like… And I’m like, really? Grocery shopping? You don’t know how to make your grocery list?
Eric: They don’t know how to use Google?
Miranda: I know, right?
Eric: That’s like a thing on Google. You’d be like, ‘how do make a grocery list?’
Miranda: I know, it’s like c’mon guys.
Eric: There’s apps
Michelle: Just Google words
Miranda: So there’s just, ‘how do I act my first job?’ And people who still had you know, people are emailing me, pitching me and they had names like Party Girl 69 and I’m just like, I’m not listening from Party Girl 69. I’m sorry.
Eric: A quick interjection. If your email address ends with @aol.com or @hotmail.com, it’s time to change it.
Miranda: You’re doing it wrong
Eric: Maybe even @yahoo.com
Michelle: You’re so judge-y.
Eric: I’m so totally judge-y
Miranda: You’re doing the internet wrong.
Miranda: You’re doing the internet wrong.
Eric: Especially aol.com emails. It’s like, c’mon it’s 2016.
Miranda: I feel terrible because I’m in a local community organization and I go down through all of the list and it’s like all these aol.com addresses…
Eric: My heart breaks.
Miranda: Yeah. And my heart breaks but a part of it’s because these people are all over the age of 60. And I’m just like, oh c’mon guys.
Eric: When I do website development work for people on their new websites, one of the first things I notice is where their email came from. And if you have any kind of business, I guess there are a lot of people who use Gmail as their business email and that’s fine as long as you have a professional username and it’s like [email protected] But otherwise you should have your own @you.com. I’m [email protected] And I say that a lot.
Michelle: Do you have a tutorial on how to do that? Cause it’s not easy. I just did it a couple of weeks ago.
Eric: I don’t know if I do but I’ll make one.
Michelle: I think you need to make one.
Eric: At NarrowBridgeMedia.com, that’s my web design and freelance writing site, I’ll make a tutorial on that. Because that’s really important.
Miranda: And I know I really need to actually do that. Full disclosure here, I still use my Gmail address. But at least it’s my full name.
Eric: At least it’s not aol.com.
Miranda: That’s right. It’s [email protected] At least it’s my name for heaven’s sake.
So anyway, we we’re just looking at it. People we were talking to, the things that we saw with these younger people just now knowing how to interact with people and having these life skills. We were like, we should do a podcast about this because it could serve two purposes: how do you transform yourself as an adult, as somebody who’s in their 30s, how do you transform yourself and move forward and a new way to adult. At the same time, how do you be an adult when you’re just starting out and get getting these life skills. We kind of have these mix. I mean we have videos up there, we have articles on the website and then we have the podcast.
It’s been a lot of fun. It’s adulting.tv. Make sure to go to adulting.tv, if you go someplace else you will never see unsee the things that you see.
Eric: There’s nasty stuff out there.
Miranda: There is. So, adulting.tv. But yeah, so that’s kind of our genesis with that. We just kind of looked at it and said you know, let’s talk about how to be an adult. Let’s talk about these things.
Exploring Different Platforms
Eric: So you were, someone who’s out there listening right now thinking I wanna start an online business of some sort, they need their own website. That’s a given. Do you think today going more written content like blogging or more audio content like podcasting is better?
Michelle: So I think for today right now I think a mix is kind of what you need. Because we haven’t made that full switch over. And I think one of the things you have to realize is people consume their content differently. Even though I podcast and I do like listening to some podcasts, I still primarily consume most of my media content by reading. And a lot of people still do that. So I think you have to cater to a variety. So if you can have audio content plus the written content and then if you have your (inaudible 15:02) and you go ahead and draw some video too. But really I think having …
Eric: Commenters on YouTube are really mean
Miranda: Oh my gosh, yes.
Eric: Get a thick skin before you start doing videos
Michelle: Don’t read the comments.
Eric: I respond to the comments.
Miranda: You do?
Michelle: I don’t
Eric: Yes. I did my first video I ever tried was, which I don’t have many videos on the Personal Profitability channel I should do more of that. I did a video showing how to make it where the shower head connects to the pipe was leaking from my shower. So I knew how to fix that myself I’m like I’m gonna make a video of that. I got this (inaudible 15:37) new camera and I made a video. And I got all these people hating like, well you fixed it wrong. I’m like, well it was fine when I fixed it. It stopped leaking so I guess it worked.
Miranda: Yes. So when we started the Money Mastermind Show, right, when we started the Money Mastermind Show and people were sending us feedback or whatever, sending us stuff, I’m the only woman on the panel, like the only permanent panelist who’s a woman. And guess what everybody wanted to comment on?
Michelle: Your looks?
Miranda: How I looked.
Michelle: Oh God!
Eric: They picked out the one, the one comment..
Miranda: ‘Your eye shadow is weird.’ ‘You need different eyeshadow.’ And I’m like, we just did a great episode about money philosophy and I just explained my own personal money philosophy and you don’t have to agree with my money philosophy But for heaven’s sake, I trust my money philosophy and whether or not you agree with it, don’t address my – eye shadow. Do you like how I censored myself there?
Eric: There’s been an f-bomb or two on this show before.
Miranda: Oh okay.
Eric: I do try to keep it mostly PG 13.
Michelle: We just listened to Kevin Smith for an hour so…
Miranda: I know, right?
Michelle: All we can do is making F-Bombs.
Eric: Really hard.
Miranda: That’s right.
Michelle: And it’s tricky
Miranda: But yes, so that’s one of the things because I was like, fine if you don’t agree with my money philosophy that’s cool. Let’s talk about my money philosophy. Really? My eyeshadow and how I put on my eye shadow? Meanwhile, right, meanwhile the other guys on this panel we’ve got one guy that’s overweight, I love him but he’s overweight, we’ve got another guy who’s going bald…
Eric: You’ve got a Canadian which kind of opens up a full can of words.
Miranda: We’ve got two Canadians. And so meanwhile you know, it’s not like we’re all supermodels or anything but what are they gonna comment on? They’re gonna comment on the woman and they’re gonna comment on her appearance. And there it was.
Michelle: Actually I wanted to talk about the types of content. You should also mention that video incorporating some types of live streaming video. When you’re creating your marketing formula if one of it just depends on where your actual avatar clients are but Miranda’s right, you have to kind of have your finger in a lot of different pots so to speak in terms of how you get your message out there.
Eric: Totally. So we are totally lucky. One of my very good friends and someone whose last name you might think as money, PT Money.
Eric: The guy who runs the PT Money blog and the man behind all of FinCon, Philip Taylor, just sat down with us at the table. Say hi to everybody, Phil.
Philip Taylor: Hey, Eric! Hi, everyone.
Choosing a Suitable Medium
Eric: So we were talking about the different mediums for new business owners who want to start an online brand if written content’s better or audio content being at a Podcast Conference. One of our friends from FinCon is Pat Flynn, who’s also here this weekend, and his philosophy is ‘be everywhere’. But for those of you trying to do this as a side hustle, Pat, when he started he was all-in he didn’t have any other distractions. This was going to be his new livelihood. If you have to pick just one or two content channels that you should really focus on, Phil what do you think is the best place to start?
Philip: Oh man. I would say the quickest from a technical perspective is obviously text – so any kind of blogging or articles. That’s probably the quickest way to get started. It’s certainly what’s worked for me in the past and I think it’s something that Google knows how to play with easily.
Eric: It’s very true. They haven’t figured out how to listen to podcasts yet.
Philip: So if you’re kind of on the bootstrapping marketing budget like I was when I first started you know I think text is a good way to start because Google can actually figure out what it’s about and then serve it up to the people who wana know about it.
Eric: There’s these lots of new video platforms keep popping up. The one that everyone’s used forever is YouTube. That’s actually the second biggest search engine in the world after Google. It’s bigger than Yahoo. It’s bigger than you know, the big search engines like Yandex in Russia and the Chinese engines, YouTube’s number two. But we have these other new video platforms coming up like Periscope, which I’ve done a few scopes not really my primary focus but something I’ve done a little bit. Now Facebook Live has been rolled out for just about everybody if not everybody. What do you guys think for these new live video platforms? Do you think that’s a better way to connect with an audience or should people lean back on their original websites and really make that the primary ( inaudible 20:23)?
Miranda: I’ve been trying to get into it a little bit and just trying to get my groove on it. I’m not super comfortable with live video but I can see its value and I can see how you can feel like you’re connecting. Your audience could feel like they’re connecting to you in real time. And that is very valuable when people feel like you are right there with them and they are right there with you. And I can see where that’s very valuable and something to kind of move towards although I don’t know how much I would spend really, really making that my main focus. But I can definitely see incorporating it a little more just so that people can have that kind of authentic feel to it.
Michelle: For me I find live streaming to be a very important next step in how I’m gonna grow my brand and just brand visibility. I think the key is that you have to have some kind of strategy behind it. You can’t just pop on to like Facebook Live and be like, ‘Hi, I’m like walking at the park and I have nothing to talk to you about.” You need to really clear and focus about what you’re drawing people away from their day from and provide something of value, answer a question people are dealing with who are in your community that you’re serving.
So you can’t, if you’re blogging about money and you just land on Facebook Live and start talking about my trip to San Diego, there’s a disconnect. But if you’re showing up with a clear strategy over time it can really grow your brand and again, getting people back to your website, to your written word. You just have a clear focus and strategy about how you can get things, connect the dots easily for your listeners and readers. So if they’re finding your website figure out a way to get them into your live streams. Just really make it super easy so that they don’t have to think hard about well, I’m going jogging but really love to hear Michelle’s podcast. How would I do that?’ Make everything easy for people who consume where they’re at already. And that’s actually a phrase that I get from LaTisha Styles. She likes to market to people where they are at.
Eric: LaTisha’s awesome.
Michelle: And it completely makes sense.
Eric: Two of my very favorite Periscopers are my friends Sandy Smith
Michelle: Oh yeah.
Eric: And she does usually pretty late night stuff, which it’s on like 9 o’clock PM West Coast time and she lives in New York. So I’m like, ‘Do you ever sleep Sandy?’
Michelle: She doesn’t sleep.
Eric: I don’t think she sleeps. And Amanda Abella, she does some more like morning and afternoon stuff. And she’s actually taking that content from Periscope, saving it, repurposing it to create a paid course. So there’s lots of cool things you can do with that.
Phil, what do you think about the whole live video movement that’s starting, how people can leverage that?
Philip: Well I like it. Being in the event industry obviously there’s applications for my business to think on but personally with PT Money it’s not something I’ve heavily explored. For me you sort of have to have a certain personality type or you have to be comfortable with that medium, right? Very different from…
Eric: Takes some practice to get used to it. First time I did it I was like I don’t know what to do. I’m just looking at my phone talking.
Philip: I started blogging because I was comfortable behind the laptop, you know. I could take time to articulate my thoughts and with video you have to be a little more, obviously. You have to be more real time. So there’s a lot more preparation I find that I have to put into it. And so it really puts up a barrier for me to be involve with it but I love the platform in general. I think there’s more than the talking heads sort of version of doing it that can be applicable it can be interesting. And so I’m kind of always on the lookout for is there a way for me to use this without me just looking at the camera and talking, you know. What would be an interesting way for me to share something or create some type of content with this platform and this medium cause they’re powerful, right? Facebook is making their live program there; very powerful. So if you can figure out ways to do that I applaud that. I think it’s great.
Eric: My biggest complain about the live video platform is there’s not Wifi on my entire walk from my apartment to where I go to working every day. So it’s a lot of data streaming all that video out there.
But I think it’s really fun, really cool. If you’re looking at trying to grow your brands one of the first places that you should probably go, which a lot of people are nervous to do this, is your family and your friends. Cause who are the first people that should be by your side anyway? Don’t be a secret blogger. That used to be a thing. I didn’t actually tell my parents about my blogging until I was in it a couple of years. Because I thought they’d think it’s stupid. And they probably still don’t even really get how it works. I asked my mom if she’d ever listen to my podcast and she said she didn’t know how.
Family and friends – they should be the first people you go and if you want to connect with those family and friends with a really genuine message you can use those things like Facebook Live where your family and friends already are and tell them, ‘hey I got this new website. I’ve got this new brand. I’ve got this new service I’m offering.’ Maybe you’re starting a new handy man business. You wanna earn that first dollar on the side. You’re good around the house. Start your website methehandyman.com, I don’t know if that’s a real website. Make your website yourname.com. On Facebook Live tell everyone about it. Say, ‘go to my website. That’s the place to find me and connect with me.’ And then use that website as a place that you can funnel people other directions into your other channels. So if Twitter is your thing, or Facebook or Instagram or there’s so many of them out there now. You can make it a two-way conversation with those.
Remember with every single social media platform you don’t really own that content or that relationship. You can get burned there pretty easily. Facebook just announced last week that they’re changing their algorithm on Facebook feed and they’re going to give pages who don’t pay money even lower organic reach than they have now. So you never know what’s gonna happen with things like Facebook and Twitter but you know with your own website you can funnel people in there and build up an email list. You can always connect to people that way.
I wanna segue and ask how are you guys finding the best connections with your audience right now? Is it email, a specific social channel? Where are people that you connect to, where if someone is listening wants to start their side hustle, where should they go based on your experience?
Michelle: Close Facebook groups.
Eric: Post Facebook groups.
Michelle: So I currently, I’ve actually started a closed Facebook group for my project The D.O.N.E. Society. However, I have participated in other post Facebook groups that are actually quite large. So groups like Kimra Luna’s Freedom Hackers for the 9-to-5 and it’s amazing because all of these people are people that you can serve. And this is tricky so the group leaders will say ‘drop value’ which basically means ‘answer questions’. It doesn’t mean you know, share your website, all that kind of stuff because that will make them mad, but with good reason. But go in there, you know…
Eric: I hate it when they’re like over-the-top.
Michelle: Yeah. Don’t be over-the-top. Don’t leave a blog post. It’s really annoying. Just go in there and answer people’s questions and optimize your actual profile so people can go back to you.
Eric: I often see. I’m in a lot of these Facebook groups, too. I have my own. It’s called the Personal Profitability group. If you’re on the email list or signed up for the email list at PersonalProfitability.com, the first email you’ll get from me has a link to that group so you can join that. But something I’ve noticed, I like to let people show what they’re doing, ask for feedback, get help. If someone asks a question and they’ve already written an answer on their blog, put the link there. I don’t reinvent the wheel. And I see some groups the leaders are like so, I don’t want to use ashes as the word, but they’re so controlling and they’re so afraid of people trying to use their group to spam people which I get is a bigger problem with the groups of five, ten thousand people. My group’s a lot smaller. But that’s other group administrators out there listening, don’t take it too far. Remember to let people have a conversation.
Michelle: (Inaudible 28:44) to share on Sundays, like Sunday is the day, drop your links in but every day like drop your value. That’s it.
Eric: Totally get that. Phil what do you think? What’s your favorite medium for reaching and connecting with audience?
Phil: So plus one for groups. I love them. But also I found that the first email I sent in auto responder series from PT Money, I asked a question and that gets tons of response from the folks who are kind of wanting to engage with me. So they’ve reached out and said, ‘I’m signing up for this.’ And so my first thing is then to ask them a question. So I like that tool. I know that’s necessarily social media but it’s…
Email marketing has been around forever but you know, I really like the engagement I get from that. It’s like a real quality to it that I enjoy.
Miranda: Yeah so interestingly enough I still get more interaction when I post something on Facebook and just a link on my regular profile and people go and just leave comments about it. So I get that and then I still have people leaving comments on my blog. It baffles me because I know blog comments are dying. They’re just dying this huge death but I still get comments on my blog.
Eric: Every time I get a comment that’s like an actual legitimate comment, I get way more spam than actual comments now, but I get a real legit comment, sometimes it makes my day.
Michelle: I get comments. Are they dying?
Eric: A lot of blogs, even big sites like Studio Press, they get to remove comments totally. And I’ve seen a lot of sites did that but I’ve heard a recent wave that they’re kind of coming back a little bit but it’s good if you keep that two-way conversation going on an existing piece of content. If someone leaves a really good thoughtful comments, and that sometimes that’s better than the blog post itself. I’ve actually taken comments and used that to start a new blog post. I have this post on this topic, here’s what this guy said let’s expand on it.
Philip: Anecdotally from a SEO perspective they add to the depth and information weight of the post itself. I’ve heard friends who have removed comments and that adds negative aspects toward their SEO so they put them back on the site.
Eric: It makes sense thinking about that. I haven’t thought about that. It’s totally cool.
So what do you guys think, now my big theme on this podcast on the site right now is earn your first dollar on the side. Start a side hustle, whatever it is. I have an epic post of over a hundred ideas to earn your first dollar on the side. It’s coming down the pipeline in the next few weeks. Knock on wood, my graphic designer’ computer, my graphic designer is my sister-in-law and my nephew poured a bottle of Gatorade on her MacBook; which is a very expensive lesson learned on keeping two-year olds with Gatorade away from computers. So if you have kids keep them away from your computers if they’re holding liquids. But I think the stuff will all make it.
So back to the original question. If someone wants to earn their first dollar on the side and use the internet as a way to get their business out there; so I think any business whether it’s a restaurant or a service or just you helping` people mow their lawns to have a website. What is your number one way you think you’re seeing new people come in to earn their first dollar on the side online?
Philip: Miss Freelancer?
Miranda: Oh good Lord!
Philip I would say freelancing.
Miranda: Right. For reals, yeah.
Philip: Act like a platform owner by creating some content on someone else’s platform initially. And you know, pay good money. Freelance writing it’s really good money right now.
Miranda: It is.
Philip: Strong demand for content creators out there. So if you’re willing to create on someone else’s platform I think that’s a easy way to start. Maybe you can see sort of you know, what works best or what kind of angle you want to take especially if you’re not dead set on how you wanna go about you doing your thing. It’s a good way just to test out the space, test the market.
Eric: Totally cool. We mention at the beginning we just saw Kevin Smith speak. And he kept talking about doing your thing, following your passion and making that an outlet, a creative outlet which is why he loves podcasting so much. I don’t think Kevin Smith sits there typing all day. He’s a big talker. And we just witnessed he really could probably, he said he could talk 24 hours straight.
Miranda: I believe him.
Eric: I think he could. So for you guys what was your big motivator that started this outlet? I know we all came from the personal finance realm. Do you have a story or an anecdote or something that happened to you that click? You know like, I’m starting a blog and starting a podcast, I’m starting to get out there either help people or get my name out there. What was your genesis, your thing that clicked when you started? Whether it was your new project that you’ve been working on or your original project that got you started online.
Miranda: So mine was straight up necessity. Because my then husband was starting his page Deprogram and I knew that I wanted to stay home with my son. And so he had some student loans to help whatever but it wasn’t enough to pay for living expenses. And I just had this fancy Journalism degree and so I said, it has to be done.
So I did crappy work for a couple of years because that was my motivation. It was: do I want to try and make this work with a real job? Or am I gonna make this work in an online context where I can stay home and take care of my son and support my family while my husband does his PhD. So that was that.
I didn’t start a blog until I went to FinCon. And everybody said, ‘what’s your blog?’
Eric: You gotta have your place.
Miranda: Well I don’t have one. Everybody’s like, ‘well we know who you are but what’s your blog?’
Eric: Miranda has…she has definitely been prolific in her freelancing. She’s written for everybody at some point.
Miranda: I can write for you.
Eric: I’m sure (inaudible 35:34) for me. I didn’t pay enough. I couldn’t afford her. You’re too good.
Michelle: For me, when I first tried blogging I just was blogging because I needed an outlet. Actually PT had told us before, I won’t weep this time I tell the story, where I randomly discovered FinCon in Denver two weeks before it was gonna happen. I had never heard of it. It was totally like, ‘what is this thing?’ And I totally took the risk. I spent the money to go and I was geeked out because personal finance bloggers that I’ve been reading as a fan were gonna be there.
Eric: “Oh my God, Eric Rosenberg! You’re my hero!’
Michelle: I’m an extrovert but in situations like that I tend to stand back and observe. So it was really like, ‘Oh my God! This is crazy.’
Move forward five years from now and for me, it’s interesting. Family actually plays a huge part of why I wanna work online and work digitally. For me, I wanna create money online because we have the opportunity to do that. We are at the forefront of a huge change how business is done. You can scale it. My future kids, I wanna have time with them. I wanna be able to play with them and do things that as a latchkey kid, my poor mom, my parents’ divorced, she worked three jobs. I mean literally, three jobs. And luckily we lived in a really rich town, don’t feel sorry for me. I lived in Boulder as a kid so it was great. But like a lot of kids, a lot of Gen-Xer kids I was just out by myself doing stuff. Everyone was surprised I survived.
I now have the ability with online…just the scalability of business online to connect with a lot of people, do a lot of good, make a lot of money and I’m like, I’m all in. I’m a hundred percent in. And it’s with that vision of my future family that I’m crafting this business. This weekend or this week it’s not the weekend, I’m here at Podcast Movement with you guys and then tag teaming Nat to visit my grandma in central Illinois and before i would have had to ask a lot of permission to do the things that are right for my family and for me. I could manage my health. Like PT’s looking svelte over here. My God! And I’m trying lose weight.
Oh my God, I’m geeking out. Geeking out! Kevin Smith!
Eric: So I have to interrupt you. So Kevin Smith just walked over. He’s picking up the microphone. He is here on the Personal Profitability Podcast.
Kevin: Oh my God! Is that what this is about?
Eric: We talk about making money.
Kevin: I was told it was about anti-semitism. I said, ‘I don’t know if can have anything to say.’
Eric: Well I’m not Jewish, so..
Kevin: What is, wait..it’s about money?
Eric: Yeah. Personal profitability. So we talk about how people can earn their first dollar on the side. They have their jobs they go to, they slave away, it’s not always their favorite place to be and earning money on the side is a huge way people can totally change their life. And you’re someone who…when you started out with your career in entertainment, what was your first step? The number one thing you did to start earning money and make it happen?
Kevin: We got lucky with the first flick we made, Clerks got picked up by Miramax. That helped a big deal. Suddenly, they’ve just been bought by Disney so they had lots of money. And when they got (inaudible 38:53) by Disney a lot of people start bagging on them going like, ‘they’re gonna soft, they’re not gonna do edgy movies anymore.’
And because of that Harvey Weinstein was like, ‘oh I’ll show you edgy. I’m gonna buy the worst black and white American independent film there is. And Disney’s gonna put it out.’ And they did so…
Eric: ’37 Dicks!’
Kevin: Oh, yes! That was a Disney movie at the time. So for me it was I got very very lucky but with podcasting, I was just telling (inaudible 39:16) cause I did the keynote earlier this morning, like it started..
Miranda: It was great
Kevin: Thank you. It started figuring how to make money became a necessity because as much as I love doing it, it cost me to do with all the people down on the podcast storage and stuff. So we gradually like figured like, ‘oh well I guess we could do what they used to do back in the days of old television. Find a sponsor like Geritol would sponsor Twenty-One the game show. Maybe we could find somebody to sponsor our show.’ This is like going back about almost 10 years ago.
So we reached out to, I’d gotten a letter at one point from a company, when we made this movie Zack and Miri Make a Porno, email that I received is from this company. They were like, ‘We love the movie. Thanks for the shout out in the movie. If you ever want to do a branded product with us get in touch. Love, Fleshlight.’ So I was like, I filed it away cause I was like it’s rare that you get a letter from guys that manufacture male mastubatory devices. That’s huge!
Eric: That’s an important industry.
Kevin: It’s a big industry, it’s growing as we all know. One that you just wanna push yourself into. (Thank you very much) So I kept that letter for like two years and then I was like, ‘Oh my God, we need somebody to pay for these podcasts and storage and stuff.’ I remember those cats. So I reached out to Fleshlight and I was like, ‘Hey, we do a podcast. This is kind of relatively new thing.’ This was going back like a decade. I was like, ‘Would you guys be
interested in paying for it. It’s only like $2000 a month to cover our storage fees and stuff?’ And so they jumped on and suddenly we created this little business and it was more out of necessity. It was not like, ‘Let’s live off this.’ It was like, “I don’t wanna pay for this out of my own pocket.’
But then it kept growing bit by bit. Rather than just sit around the house talking to each other, I was like, ‘Let’s try to do this out in the world.’ And then suddenly you could sell tickets to that sort of thing.
Bit by bit we were able to kind of turn it into a business that I was literally able to walk away from movies for 3 years. And when they pay you to make movies for a living that’s like heroin. It’s like being a junkie. It’s tough to walk away from. Free money to make pretend. Something I would have done otherwise. But I was making enough money from just podcasting that I was like, I’ll do this because in podcasting I’d be sitting around doing whatever I wanted.
Self-expression is a wonderful medium but there’s all different ways to do it and unfortunately I chose film at one point. And film is the stupidest way to do it. If I was a painter you could give me a blank canvas, I could just put a bunch of colors on it you’d know how I was feeling inside. That would be my self-expression. If I was a singer I could open up my mouth and bam you’d understand by the intonations coming out of me what I felt. But unfortunately I chose film making. It’s the stupidest art form in the world. Because it leads you to say shit like this: I wanna self-express. Give me $20 million dollars and Ben Affleck.’ You know?
So podcasting was a way to eliminate all the (inaudible 41:58), literally just break it down storytelling essence and sit there and talk. So I like that way more than filming. You don’t have to find money for that. You don’t have to find anything. You just have to find time not dimes.
So I started doing it and like anything in life you love something you wanna do it all the time you better figure out how you’re gonna pay for that thing. And slowly we just kind of figured out how to do it. Like it’s weird walking around now and being like, ‘there’s a whole industry around this shit. Like there are advertisers and shit.’
Eric: I don’t know that.
Kevin: Yeah, yeah, I’m like you’re doing podcast about this along. So it’s I don’t know it’s been wonderful to watch it grow. And being in the room with those cats I kept trying to remind them like, ‘We’re all at ground zero.’ When they talk about the early days of TV and movies none of us where there. So you just like think about it in black and white all timey terms. We are literally ground floor for the birth of an industry that’s gonna outlive us all. People will be doing this shit a hundred years from now. And we’re all there from the beginning. Like we’re written in the book. Every one of us, man. It’s kind of a cool thing.
Advice on Growing a Brand
Eric: So if someone doesn’t have Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and Miramax behind them, and they wanna really try to grow a brand and get themselves out there, they’re just starting from scratch, what is your best advice for someone today to go out there and try hit the ground running?
Kevin: It’s very common advice, you get it, everyone in life, you probably got as a kid and stuff but I’ll remind you as an adult cause it’s the only reason that got me anywhere including to this moment where we’re talking right now: You be you. That’s it. That’s all you got in this world. Your voice is your currency. That’s all you got, man. If you got good looks enjoy them while you got them cause you age out of those good looks. You got youth, enjoy that shit cause one day you’re old and you die.
Eric: I’m going for the Anderson Cooper look when this goes…
Kevin: It’s good, it’s good. You’re working it. You’re one tie away from being Anderson (inaudible 43:38).
But the thing that never goes away in this life is your self-expression. Your voice is your currency, man. That’s who you are. It’s how you see the world, the prism to which you spit out everything and stuff. That’s valuable. A lot of people want to ship it up and go like,’ well what works? Let me do what works.’ But there’s a little bit of success potentially going that way, doing what others have done.
But what you have to say is something that she can, she can, he can, I can, and stuff. It’s insanely unique which makes it valuable. Because while it’s unique it’s a shared common experience as well. There’s somebody like you out there that feels and thinks the same way. So when they hear your voice in the world of podcasting, you build an audience by people going like, ‘oh that’s the way I think and stuff.’
And when you build and audience it’s very bittersweet in podcasting because you’re just building an audience to send them out to do the same thing. Eventually everybody who listens to you will record their own podcast. So it’s a weird business because it predicated on building an audience that you then encourage to go do the same thing. They get too busy to listen to your stuff. But then you hope to bring in a brand new audience. So you gotta constantly regenerate them. But the best way to do that you don’t need f*ckin’ Matt Damon, you don’t need Ben Affleck and stuff. It helps, don’t get me wrong. But you don’t need those cats to get somewhere in life.
Eric: I know Sarah Silverman’s f*ckin’ Matt Damon.
Kevin: I heard that once in the video, man. I think she won an Emmy for singing that as well. But you don’t need those cats basically. You just need what you have. The idea that you have that you kick around and you’re like, ‘oh man I wish I would do that. I always thought about doing that. It could be cool.’ And you don’t do it. That’s failure right there. Some people don’t wanna do stuff because they’re like, ‘what if it fails?’
Failure is not doing the thing because you’re like, ‘what if it fails?’ What if it succeeds? What if it changed your life? What if it was just the beginning of who you are and stuff? So it’s always kind of worth taking the shot. I like to say, whether or not you have Matt Damon or Ben Affleck.
Eric: Thank you so much I really appreciate.
Kevin: No worries, man.
Eric: That’s really what it’s all about. It’s doing your thing and getting out there.
Kevin: I think so. I think so. And sometimes you do that and wind up running into money. There you go. To bring it full circle.
Eric: That’ll be great. May we all follow in your footsteps.
Kevin: No, I’ll follow in yours, everybody.
Eric: Silent Bob. Kevin Smith. Personal Profitability Podcast.
Kevin: Well done, folks.
Eric: Thank you so much for being here.
Michelle and Miranda: Thank you!
Kevin: Thanks for having me, pleasure.
Miranda: Thank you so much.
Eric: We’re gonna end on that, really awesome note. Kevin Smith, everybody. He was just here. Go check out his movies. They’re awesome. If you’re not a fan…
Miranda: Gen-Xers know.
Eric: Yeah. I’ve watched all of his movies maybe a dozen times. Dogma and Clerks and, that’s why I was making jokes. I don’t normally make dick jokes on this podcast but when the man who wrote the dick joke is here, I do it.
Philip: What a treat.
Eric: So thanks, Kevin for stopping by. Thanks, Phil. Thanks, Michelle. Thanks, Miranda.
Thanks, Miranda for getting up and walking over and asking Kevin Smith to come over here.
Michelle: Proving that you have to take risks and action.
Miranda: My name is Miranda, I have balls. Thank you.
Eric: There we go. And she’s good at adulting.
So everyone, thank you so much for listening to the end. As always it’s been a pleasure having you. Thanks to the guests. Thanks for being a part of the Personal Profitability community. You can always connect with me. Send me any questions, comments, [email protected] or just go to PersonalProfitability.com join the email list, find out what everyone’s up to. And that’s what we have for today. So until next time, stay profitable.