April 2016: Big Successes, Lessons Learned, and What I Worked On

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7 months ago I sat at my desk, which was placed in a very dark corner next to the office supplies, at my full-time job. I can’t remember what exactly I was doing or what project we were working on but I can tell you exactly what I felt in that moment.

Dread.
Anxiety.
Frustration.

I wasn’t happy. I hadn’t been happy in months.

The problem wasn’t necessarily the job. Honestly as much as it wasn’t a good fit for me there are a lot of people who would probably count their blessings if they had it. The problem was that I felt stuck. I felt like I had no options and no opportunity to make a change.

Fast forward to today and I’m still alive. I left my job 6 months ago and since then have been able to stay alive and keep a roof over my head through a combination of web design, media production, sponsorship, and odd freelance jobs.

This is my first monthly review but it’s something I want to make a habit of.

As I wrote this article it helped me to realize something, I’m still very far away from where I want to be, but I’m still alive, and that means there’s still time to get there.

April was an interesting month and frankly I probably overloaded myself a bit. There were numerous frustrations and countless doubts but somehow things came together and I stayed alive. So without further adieu, here’s what happened.

BIG WINS

1. Tiny Leaps Crosses 200,000 Downloads
Many of you know the story, but for those of you who don’t…
Last December I was on a train heading to dinner with my girlfriend. I had just been reading a personal development book and frankly I just couldn’t take it. The overall message was false, the examples used were people of privilege, and the effect it could have on people’s lives by leading them to make bad decisions was downright dangerous. It was in that moment of sheer frustration that I developed the philosophy that I now live by.

“All Big Changes Come from the Tiny Leaps You Take Every Day.”

3 weeks later on January 1st my podcast Tiny Leaps, Big Changes was born. Fast forward 4 months and the show now has over 200,000 downloads, is consistently ranked in the top 100 of all health podcasts, is producing 7 episodes per week, and is continuing to grow at an unimaginable rate.

The success of this show is nothing short of humbling, the messages and emails I receive from all of my listeners is beyond anything I can describe. I’m proud to have crossed this big milestone so soon and I’m excited for what it means going forward.

WORK I GOT DONE

1. Finished BAF Website Redesign
This was an interesting project. I landed the client last October and then for whatever reason things completely fell off the map.
At the beginning of March we were able to reconnect and get things moving and I’m proud to say that over the course of a weekend in April we were able to pull down the old design, rebuild the site, and push it live

2. Launched Landscape Podcast
At the beginning of March I landed two new podcast launch clients. Devin (the host of Landscape Podcast) wanted to create a show that helps landscape professionals with both their professional and personal development. Over the course of March and the first half of April we designed and launched a show that does just that through the interviews and stories that his guests share.

As we transition into ongoing production I’ll continue to work with him to refine the show, and our process, to create something world class for his industry.

3. Launched Copy That Pops Podcast
The second podcast launch client I landed in March was Laura. She wanted to create a podcast that combined her background as a teacher, her love of connecting with others, and her passion for business and psychology. Together we crafted and launched a show that does just that while simultaneously helping entrepreneurs create better copy for their email marketing, landing pages, and other digital assets.

Going forward we’ll refine our process, communication, and the overall quality of the show to create something that entrepreneurs can really benefit from.

4. Planned 3 Months of Tiny Leaps Content
I’ll be honest in saying that I didn’t have much of a plan in place for Tiny Leaps when I launched it. I’m very much an “experiment first, plan it out last” kind of guy.
So it should come as no surprise that at the beginning of April I was starting to run out of episode ideas and burn out on the show. That’s what happens when you rely on having “brilliant” ideas the day you need to push it out. So this month I stopped releasing the show for a week and took that time to plan the next 3 months worth of content. Doing that has resulted in an enormous amount of renewed energy and focus going forward.

5. Finished the Last Month of my Sticky Quotes Contract
Back in February I started working with Michael Russo and his company Sticky Quotes. April represents the last month of a 3 month contract to help him define his digital marketing and advertising strategy around his product. Overall I would call this experiment a success, all that’s left on my end is to provide him with a detailed write up of my findings so that he and his team can make decisions moving forward.

Honestly this was the first time I’ve offered this kind of consulting service but it was a lot of fun to be able to utilize such a broad array of the digital marketing skills I’ve developed over the years. Will be looking into the possibility of doing this kind of thing more regularly.

6. Closed a New Web Design Client
Well “new” is maybe not the right word. Joe Stampone of ASotREG reached out to me mid April in order to take his website and blog through another round of redesigns.
I’m honored to be offered the opportunity to work with him on 3 different occasions now and in April we were able to get a good chunk of the redesign completed.
This should be wrapped up mid May.

7. Enrolled in Seven Figure Courses with Derek Halpern
Derek is a marketer and blogger I’ve been following now for years and I’m happy that I’m finally in a position to enroll in one of his courses.
As many of you have heard by now, I’m really starting to get into the idea of monetizing my brand and my abilities by offering online courses.

Frankly it just makes sense for what I’m doing.

As you’ll see below, my job is to solve problems for people and the biggest problem I can see for my audience is a willingness to move forward in their life but a lack of knowledge and resources to do so.

Creating online courses to address these issues is the perfect way to guide people through to their end result. Enrolling in this course was a big investment but it’s one that I think will be well worth it in the long run.

8. Helped Launch Inspired by IMUA podcast
A few months ago a friend of mine and client pitched me on this idea to use podcasting as a basis for a company’s entire content platform. The resulting service, Podtent Marketing, is doing just that.
I’m proud to see Dominick and Laura turning this idea into something tangible and in April they launched the show for their first client. Thankfully, they’ve chosen me as the supplier of production services to help them fuel  their business in the early days and I am incredibly pumped to play that role. In April we put our noses to the grindstone and got the first episodes of this new podcast published and in iTunes.

PROJECTS I’VE MOVED FORWARD

1. 90% Complete with Mikala Sakai’s Website Design
A friend of mine reached out last winter, he wanted some help creating a new website and brand for his sister. Of course I happily accepted. Since then we’ve redesigned the site and I must say it looks awesome. There are still a few pieces to be finished but I expect this project to be wrapped up in May.

2. Chose a Topic for my First Course and Started Audience Research.
One thing I’ve noticed from my audience is a desire to earn more money from existing skills. A lot of you are freelancers, and as such, you want more clients.
Since this is an area I have intimate knowledge with I’ve decided to make it my first online course. Now, I’m still doing research for this course and if you identify yourself as a freelancer who could use more clients I would love to chat with you briefly, but over the next few months you’ll start to see this project become something truly valuable.

3. Launched the First Version of the Gregg Clunis Website Redesign.
My website has been in need of a new design for quite a while now. Frankly I just haven’t had the time. In April I made it a priority and built out the bones for my new site. You can see that hereNow, this site is far from finished. It likely won’t be until mid-summer but as it stands right now it gives me a place to create and publish posts like this and my podcast.

4. Grew Facebook Community to 55 Members.
This is of course an ongoing project. I want to create a space for you all to communicate with each other, communicate with me, and share your stories.
I’m happy to have made progress on this community but it needs to become even more of a priority for me in May.

PERSONAL LEARNING

1. The Biggest Time Waster is Going Back and Fixing Things.
I can’t tell you how much I hate fixing things. This is made even harder because I’m not naturally detail oriented so I end up missing a lot of small things in an effort to create and deploy new projects for the world’s scrutiny. April was a very hectic month for me with A LOT of moving parts and a lot of promises made to various people so it makes a lot of sense that I learned this lesson during this time. In April I would say the majority of my time was wasted having to go back and fix things.

Maybe they were tiny mistakes I made in production that I wasn’t able to catch.
Maybe they were things the client didn’t like for one reason or another.
Maybe they were mistakes the client made themselves that I then had to go back in and correct.
However they happened, the point is that time was wasted and I hate that. Especially in a month that was as busy as April was. Going forward I need to orchestrate a system that allows me to catch and correct mistakes before things go live.

Or better yet, to make no mistakes at all during production.
Will need to think on this and report back.

2. My Job is to Solve Problems.
Here’s another insight I had this month. I worked on quite a few different projects requiring totally different skill sets and approaches.
From web design clients to my own podcast to producing shows for clients…

What I’ve realized from this is that I’m by no means an expert in any of these skills that I use daily.
Sure, I’m better than the average person.

But I’m not “great” in anything.

With that said, there is one thing I am pretty good at and frankly so believe it’s the only reason I am able to bring I new clients.
I solve problems. That should probably be my job title.

I’m not a web designer.
I’m not a podcaster.
I’m not a blogger.
I’m not a media producer.

These are all skill sets I have a slightly above average level of competence in.
What I think I do well is utilize those slightly above average skills and my relationships with others to solve problems for people who need them solved.
I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing but that’s just want I’m saddled with.

3. I’m Living the Dream.
If you had told me 4 years ago that I’d be living full time in NYC, with my girlfriend, in our apartment, and I’d be able to do it while being 100% self employed, hosting a great podcast, and helping a handful of clients do something that matters to them I would have been ecstatic.

Seriously, this was my dream not too long ago and here I am doing it. 
I’ve been really trying to remember that each day but I’ll be honest with you it’s hard.

I’m living my dream from 4 years ago, but the goal posts have already moved and so it doesn’t always feel like living the dream.

It feels like stress and doubt and frustration and unhappiness and a whole slew of other emotions I can’t really begin to type.
In April I started seeing a therapist regularly to help me deal with these exact feelings.

HEALTH AND FITNESS

1. Bar Brothers 90 day Calisthenics Results
So 3 months ago my best friend Victor introduced me to a workout routine by the Bar Bros.
It was honestly perfect because I had wanted to venture into calisthenics a bit more so I followed the course.
Here are my results:

Day 1
35 Push-Ups in 1 minute
3 Pull-Ups in 30 seconds
30 Squats in 1 minute
36 Sit-Ups in 1 minute
5 Dips in 30 seconds

Day 90
50 Push-Ups in 1 minute
8 Pull-Ups in 30 seconds
36 Squats in 1 minute
39 Sit-Ups in 1 minute
10 Dips in 30 seconds

After finishing the first 90 days I hit the reset button on this program and am currently going back through a second 90 day routine.

2. Meditation
I still haven’t made this a formal practice in my life but lately Rachel and I have been meditating together right before bed.
I can’t say that I’ve felt many real benefits from the meditation yet but it has been a nice practice to do together.

OTHER LIFE EVENTS

1. Trip to Paris Booked
I’m super pumped for this. I’ve always wanted to go to France and so has Rachel so when the opportunity popped up in the form of my best friend Jon working in Paris for the summer with a futon to spare we of course jumped at the opportunity.

This came at a good time too as April was one of my bigger months in revenue so all of that extra cash that should have probably gone to student loans and other “adult” things is now going to be spent on all the croissants Rachel & I can possibly eat.

GOALS FOR MAY

1. Get a Week Ahead on Tiny Leaps Episodes
2. Get Newsletter Email List to 500 Subscribers
3. Land 2 New Sponsors for Tiny Leaps, Big Changes

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