August Review 2017: The Best Month Ever

GreggBlog

It’s been quite a while since I’ve taken the time to sit down and review my month so you might be wondering, why now? Well here’s the thing. I have two main issues that are holding me back in life:

  1. I spend a lot of time comparing myself to others
  2. I forget to celebrate my wins

The effects of these two habits (yes, they are habits) on my happiness and mental health has been immeasurable. As a result, I’ve decided to start doing these reviews more often as a way to accomplish the following:

  1. Force me to admit to my successes
  2. Remind myself of why I’m doing this

I can’t necessarily say that I’ll be able to do this every single month, but I will be aiming to do it as often as possible as a way to break the poor habits I’ve developed over time.

Table of Contents

This post (and all future reviews) is broken up into two parts.

In part one we’ll take a look at what went down in August. Within part one there will be two sections:

In part two we’ll start to plan out September and what I’d like to accomplish. Part two has three sections:

It’s important to note that my purpose here is not to share everything that happened with you, it’s simply to share some of the highlights and lessons learned. I will not be sharing any failures and the reason for this is because I want to train my mind to not engage in the idea of “failure”, instead I’ll share all of the lessons I’ve learned and how they will be applied going forward.

Biggest Wins

August was a HUGE month for me. I mean freaking MASSIVE! A lot of amazing things went down that I frankly still can’t totally wrap my head around. Let’s get into it:

Signed a Book Contract

Back in July, an editor at Hachette Book Group reached out to me about turning the podcast into a book. I have to admit that I was INCREDIBLY skeptical at first. Afterall, who was I to think I could write a book? I decided to squash that fear and I jumped in headfirst. Two weeks later I had put together a book proposal detailing my marketing plan, why the book needed to exist, an outline of the entire book, and a sample chapter. Fast forward a week or two and boom! Contract signed. I can’t even tell you how excited I am about this. I’ve wanted to have my very own book deal since I was 13 so this book represents a literal dream come true for me. Head to your local bookstore in January 2019 to pick up a copy.

Expanded & Organized My Team

This month I added an amazing freelance writer to my team to help take the core philosophy behind my podcast and spread it across the web in text form. I was really impressed with her. She had been a listener of the show for some time now and reached out with very specific ideas about how she could help. Seeing her skills so far and her ability to take an idea and run with it brings me real confidence in the idea that she’ll be a major asset.

Of course, with an expanding team comes a bigger need to organize. That’s why this month I started using Asana to manage my team and projects. Asana houses 4 different “teams” that are relevant. These teams are Content, Marketing, Product, and Executive. The content team deals with the content calendar and any non-calendar initiatives. The Marketing team is broken into two projects, Content Marketing which is focused on promoting individual pieces of content, and Brand Marketing which is focused on promoting the brand as a whole. The Product team is focused on quickly testing and evaluating various revenue opportunities and ideas as they pop up. Finally, the executive team is where I keep track of tasks that I need to handle in order to keep the rest of the team running smoothly.

So far, Asana has been amazing for me and I’ve started onboarding my team and creating systems around how we work. I’m pumped to see how this level of organization affects my bottom line going forward.

Nearly 9,000 Downloads In 24 Hours

Alright, you might be wondering why I’m celebrating a “near” win. I came 24 downloads short of hitting 9,000 total downloads in a 24-hour window. So why am I celebrating? Because that’s amazing! In one single day, my podcast was listened to 8,976 times. The little podcast I started in my living room (and still record in my living room) is affecting so many more people than I ever expected it to and I’m super proud of that. This should inspire you to start something. You never know what could happen or where it could lead.

Hit #15 on Health Charts & Top 10 on Self-Help Charts

I’ve been trying to hit the top 10 on the health charts for months now. No matter what I do though, no matter how engaged my audience is, I just can’t seem to crack it. With that said, I am making progress. This month I hit a high of #15 on the health charts. How awesome is that? Out of every single health podcast in the United States, I was the #15 “best” one. The show has since dropped down and is currently somewhere in the 30s but this leap to #15 gives me hope that the chart is trending upwards. I intend to hit #13 in September.

Started a Consulting Business

Part of the reason I got into entrepreneurship is that I wanted to be in control of my income. Right now my income comes from my full-time contract with Nasdaq and my podcast sponsorships. Between just these two sources I make pretty good money. The problem? Neither are controllable. I can’t control how much I make at Nasdaq because there is a set salary that can only be changed in annual pay negotiations. Additionally, podcast sponsorships aren’t very controllable because I’ve decided to have an agent sell spots for me.

All of this is to say that I may make decent money but without being able to control it I would also feel a bit lost. That’s why I decided in August to take the knowledge I’ve gained about podcasting and turn it into a consulting business called Podsimply. The ultimate goal is to build an enterprise level podcasting platform that makes it as simple as possible to create a podcast, creative derivative content, publish that content, and track results based on your specific metrics.

With this new business unit as a part of my company, the only limit to my revenue is how much I am able to sell.

New Fb Community

A friend of mine recently gave me ownership of her 5,000 person Facebook community. I don’t know what role this community will play in my business but for now, the goal is simply to start engaging with them regularly and create some super fans that I can always count on.

Lessons Learned

Working More != Making More

Like most people, I grew up with the idea that in order to make more money, you needed to work harder. This is how I’ve lived my entire life, this is how my parents lived their life. In fact, I work incredibly hard. In addition to working my full-time job, I work at least 5-6 hours every night, plus multiple hours on the weekend. So then why was I struggling to make money? Well this month, one of my good friends, Matt Kohn, introduced me to a really simple idea that disrupted this approach for me. Here’s the thought:

If making more money required you to work harder, there would be a physiological limit to how much you could make. The truth is you can only work so hard before your body gives out. So if it was just about working hard, there would be no rich people because we all have more or less the same physiological limit.

So if it’s not about working harder, how do you make more money? Well, my buddy Matt recently reached out to me with a crazy challenge. He said he was going to make $25,000/month working less than 20 hours per week. Insane right?

Well in August he accomplished that goal. How? Systems.

That’s the key. It’s not about working harder, it’s about working on the correct things and creating systems to make sure everything else gets taken care of. This lesson hit me right in the face because I had spent quite a bit of time making excuses about how working full time was limiting the amount of time I had to put into my business. Turns out I was the limitation. Going forward I’ll be embracing the systems approach to running my business and taking the time to find the absolute high leverage tasks I should focus on in order to create the results I’m looking for with the freedom I crave.

Impact > Vanity

Over the last 18 months, I’ve taken a podcast from 0 to 1.8 million downloads, built a community of 2,000+ people on FB, inherited a community of 5,000+, landed a book deal, and started my speaking career. All while paying off credit card debt, running out of money to the point of not being able to pay rent, starting two different full-time jobs, and dealing with the emotional stress of a loved one getting sick.

In that time I’ve developed an unhealthy obsession with the vanity metrics. The podcast rankings that I check every single day, the Instagram followers, the nice emails and messages people send about how I “changed their life”, it’s all an exercise in ego boosting that quite frankly is kind of addicting.

This came out the most when I started putting pressure on myself to write and sell a NY Times Bestseller.

Here’s the punchline. It’s unhealthy! Obsessing over nonsense titles, follower counts, and status metrics has done nothing for me besides making it easier to get down on myself. Going forward I’ll be making a real effort to prioritize the impact metrics rather than the vanity metrics. Instead of how many new followers did I gain, it’ll be how many new conversations did I start or receive. Doing this will allow me to refocus my efforts on the things that actually help people rather than the things that make me feel good.

Goals for September

In September I have two primary goals:

  1. Collect $25,000 in new revenue
  2. Finish Chapter 4 of my book

In order to accomplish these goals, I’ll need to spend what little time I have on the absolute most valuable areas.

For the first goal, this will mean focusing on tasks that generate revenue or that give me time in order to focus on tasks that generate revenue. More specifically:

  • Pitching/Selling
  • Systems Design/Team Management

The second goal is pretty straightforward because all it requires is for me to take the time to write each day.

One Focus

If I had to have a single focus for this month it would be sales.

If only a single goal could be accomplished it would be to generate $25,000 in new revenue.

I’m choosing these because the influx of cash would give me more freedom in October which would allow me to make up for lost time working on the book. Since revenue creates the most leverage I will prioritize it over book writing and since sales lead to revenue I will be spending the bulk of my time there.

My Theme

Finally, my theme for the month of September is to have an obsessive focus on the value I bring. Whether it be through podcasts, videos, Instagram posts, emails, or client work my only goal should be to bring as much value as I can. This means my only question should be “does this add anything to someone’s life?”.

I think if I can stick to this theme it will put me in a position to end the month strong.

That’s it for this months review. Now that this is done, it’s time to take the plan I’ve laid out and focus on execution. Let me know what you think and I hope that you’ll follow me on this journey.