German Ceballos

Fei Wu and German Ceballos: Sharing what we’ve learned in 6 years of running Feisworld Media (#325)

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Our guest today: Fei Wu and German Ceballos

German Ceballos, a podcast producer, and me are having a rare opportunity to share what we’ve learned as collaborators and a small production team in the past 6 years of running Feisworld – first as a podcast, then a documentary on Amazon Prime, a monetized YouTube channel, an online academy and much more. We are here to answer long-waited questions as well! Please drop us a comment. We love to hear from creative entrepreneurs!

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Transcript

Fei Wu and German Ceballos: Sharing what we’ve learned in 6 years of running Feisworld Media – powered by Happy Scribe

Rare opportunity now on a Sunday for us to go live. And I know that I haven’t really done those in the past, which is to have someone actually sit here with me to go live on my channels.

In person interviewing in real life.

Exactly. I feel like we can, like, interview each other. I wish her mom lives here in with me because we could do like, one of those. Ali Abdolin and his brother constantly sitting.

Down with a little camera. Well produced.

Absolutely. So I think the reason why we decided to go live after Harmon’s visiting for a very short period of time, but we’ve been together, working together for over six years now. We’re reflecting. You know, I found Herman in 2016. We’ve never since then never parted ways. So I’m here to please say hi. First of all, I’m here to answer any questions for creative entrepreneurs about the journey we have taken on. For most people, they know that I’ve been an entrepreneur since 2016. And precisely. Do we need 2015?

I think maybe like July or August.

Wonderful. So there’s a lot to reflect on, as you can see in the description. When I first met Herman, I just had my podcast called Phase World. And then after that, more like episode.

40 or 50 already? Yes. Herman, like, one year into podcasting already.

Yeah, episode 40. That’s crazy. And then after that, we’re getting so excited. After that, the next journey was Herman came to visit me in Boston from Sweden for a couple of days.

Yeah, I’m originally from Argentina, but I’ve been living in Sweden for like, ten years. So yeah, that’s where I met through, like, up work.

Up work, of all places. Guys, question. Sure. I have not met my second Herman on Upwork. In fact, ever since we started working together, you have been able to help me so much. I know we’re going to get into details. Originally, her mom was hired as a podcast editor, and later on, I remember sending that email to you, like, less than a year later and said, hey, I won’t be offended, but would it be okay if I ask you to also be my marketing strategy and help you with social media? And your answer was?

Let’s say so. It was very interesting how our relationship started growing. And like, we started strategizing together from the early days. So in the beginning was just podcasting because I think we’re both very creative and we love creating content, especially when you have the kind of podcast you have, which is like, more interviewing, getting to know the others story, learning from what can you do to from someone else’s story. So we started thinking, what are the interesting topics we could cover? And then started to strategize on the podcast level. And then we said, okay, how can we take it further? So a lot of the things we did later over the years, like YouTube documentary and more had to do with, like, how can we take the next step? And what are some of the other platforms we can explore for your content? Those kinds of, like, questions?

Yeah, absolutely. Somebody asked Amir. Absolutely. If you have questions, please ask us. I really want to take this opportunity. We want to be so transparent and open about so much to celebrate of being creative entrepreneurs. And then this morning, I was even thinking that’s such a, like, a poorly defined thing, like, career path these days that you would think that we should all know, oh, how to be a creator, how to be a YouTuber, have a website. But Herman and I have been doing this for nearly seven years.

Is that true? We redefine it every day. It’s like we take it one day at a time, and we plan. I think 99% of what we plan, we throw away. That’s something very valuable. There’s a value in planning, but also there’s a value in knowing when to throw away your plan. And then we take it one day at a time most often. And then we are very happy to learn learn on people. And then it’s like, I think with the years, we have learned to not hold so hard to our ideas, and maybe we are convinced about something for a little while, then we push to explore. We’re happy to let it go. That has been the key. Our relationship. Whatever we do, we are always happy to move forward and not, like, hold on to something or, like, whatever we thought of. Right.

That’s so true. It’s so funny. You’re distilling things that I’m just, like, thinking about right now. That makes so much sense. That’s exactly what we’ve been doing. So I know you guys want to have questions. Just feel free to drop that. Drop us a note, you know, wherever you are, LinkedIn, YouTube, or we’ll just see them come in. We’ll just pause and answer those questions, and you can share your little questions on screen if you choose to. Yeah, it’s so fun, guys. I think you’re right. One of the things her mom said is, we have all these ideas. In fact, we try to talk to each other on Zoom twice every two or three weeks, and then meanwhile, sometimes an idea will burst, like, in our minds. And no matter where we are in the world, we’re not even together in the same zip code most of the time, and we just share those ideas via WhatsApp and see how it resonates. So question back, and we can ask each other questions. So, Herman, like, how do you decide if something is worth for us to explore? Knowing that we both have a pretty growth mindset.

Like, we trust each other enough to say, oh, maybe not right now. That’s a good idea.

Yeah, that’s a very good point. I think what I try to balance a lot is, like, how much time it takes to explore something and what’s the potential. I wouldn’t say reward. It’s necessarily rewarding, like what you can get out of it, but what you can learn from this particular experience or doing this or that. So I think usually one common thing is that we most often want to do more things that we can handle. So a big issue for us, like prioritizing, how can we do the things that matter first? And we never know for sure what is what matters. But at least one thing, one strategy, or for me, something that has really helped me a lot is to think a little bit about how much time it takes and what are the potential things or what do I want to learn from doing this particular thing. So some things are sometimes we niche down so much to a particular thing. It’s like, okay, I want to polish this particular thing I’m doing, or I want to do this project that takes me like three months, three months work, given that we want to do so much other stuff.

Right. So it’s a little bit about thinking how much time it takes and balancing with the rest of the stuff we want to do in the context, sort of.

Yeah, for sure. I mean, one of the most extreme things I think we did was the documentary itself. But that was also, like you mentioned the other day, obviously, we spend many evenings now since you’re here to talk about lessons learned. And the documentary was so hectic, yet it was so liberating to do because I had to be traveling on the road. So as a result, had to say no a lot. And I naturally want to say yes to a lot of things, but the documentary can force me to be on the road traveling. And with a team we assembled. And a big shout out to Ed Gregory. Rosie White. Rosie Gregory and also Dan Cooper. We’re a small team traveling. It was crazy. And then I had to say no. And then I think for some reason, as a result of saying yes to that project just helped me kind of clear my mind a lot about instead of like, all these small projects. And that was the only thing I could focus on. Frankly, I think in my adult life, that was one of the very few moments that I actually got to do that, whereas now we have to be focusing on so much more.

Yeah, I think many of the things interestingly. It’s funny how sometimes we have these opportunities to focus on something during some time, and they were very spontaneous. I remember the documentary was like, we were sitting down, we were reflecting about the podcast, like all your interviews, the great people you had a chance to interview at the time. I mean, now it’s more like 360 episodes, almost like 400. But at the time, it was close to 200 maybe. And then you have some great guests, super interesting stories. And then we said, how can we put them together in a way that they can relate beyond the podcast itself? So how can we tell a story that is more powerful? And then we started saying, what if we do another round of interviews? And then we said, what if we do another round of interviews in video format? So that’s how the documentary idea sort of came together. And then we said, okay, maybe instead of having 1 hour, two hour kind of long video format, let’s put together not all the interviews and episodes are on the same topic, so how can we cluster them and group them and tell a powerful story?

And that’s how we said, okay, let’s build episodes. Let’s try to interview these people. And I think the whole thing was like strategy in like, one week or two weeks. And then it’s like, okay, let’s do it. Then it took like three, four months. And the editing, post editing and so on, it took longer, of course, but I mean, the whole just sit down and do it. It was like less than a month.

Yeah, it was super fast. I remember at the time, frankly, I was just thinking, okay, from podcast to documentary, even for me, I got this question a lot. I was like, that didn’t really seem like the immediate next step, right? Like, why can’t you just, like, I don’t know, posting videos on YouTube? Why documentary? And I remember something you said to me back in early 2018. We were on the road by the time summer of 2018, I got some funding. I got one sponsor, I self under the rest. It was very nimble, living in a very good airbnb. And Herman, you said to me at the time, you said, you got to do this now. This is your life. You have your health. You have everything. So I remember I was 34 at the time, and I thought to myself, yeah, you know, time really flies and let me do this. But I didn’t really have any particular concern about my own health, frankly. But look at what happened nearly a year and a half later. We’re living in a worldwide pandemic for quite a while.

We couldn’t travel. The whole world was stopped. And then we really reflected on that moment where we said, we got to do it now, because now there’s no excuse. So not do it. We can do it. We can get sponsors. We are healthy, we can travel. And then the whole world stopped for two years. So we were so glad that we did it right.

Timing wise, it was like your attitude has always been like, let’s not wait. And which I love that, because coming from a consulting marketing background, I’m very used to the mentality. I was always very, like an odd ball of we don’t have all the requirements. Let’s just execute. And that’s what I love, the kind of the essence of the world, the trying different things. And I love the fact that you feel the same way about blogging and teaching people as we go along. We’re very honest about the fact that we don’t have all the answers and we don’t really know how this is going to work out. So before I put a ribbon on the documentary side of things, I have to say that being on Amazon, having learned a lot about production, distribution, you name it, video setup, that was number one. What really triggered me to want to start a YouTube channel, something I feel like I have to do, absolutely have to do, there was like, that itch that I need to scratch, I need to satisfy. And secondly, a lot of people, you guys may be wondering, I get this question a lot, which is, well, how much money did you make?

Was really about making money. What kind of positive impact or leverage did it give you as a professional? So every time, whether I show up on an interview or people will find me like, hey, let’s work on some YouTube strategy work, and they were being honest with me, like, oh, we look for so many different profiles. But, you know, you’re the only person with a documentary on Amazon. I think you probably know what you’re doing. You have a team member like Herman, and we want to be working with you. So it has almost been like an Amazon Prime documentary as a business card. So many times people bring it up. I don’t even bring it up, but.

People keep discovering such a great I think you can always think of, okay, this particular thing, if you want to profit from it, a lot of people think of, okay, if you’re doing a podcast, how much money are you making from your podcast? If you have a YouTube channel, how much money? But there’s a value that has nothing to do with money. It’s like what we have learned putting together the documentary. Right? I think, of course, you could have started with your YouTube channel, then go into creating the documentary, but I think it was such a powerful way of kickstarting your YouTube channel, your video content. Like, also trying to go beyond not just putting together this 1 hour to our piece of content, but also, like, how can I teach people more natural? How can I create content in a video format? We have learned so much from the document for creating it, and that value has no price, right?

Yeah, we learned so much. And having a partner like Herman to be along the way of these very difficult projects really is key. People ask me all the time. I really say, I want to do I don’t have the budget. I want to do so much of the stuff on my own. But I got to say that when you work on when you kind of step into the unknown, which as a creator, you face that on a regular basis every day. There are a lot of unknowns when someone there who truly believes in you and support you. And this is the relationship part I’m talking about because you’ve never really made me feel like you have to, oh, we need Herman’s approval. We have all these conflicts of interests. Instead, we’re trying to explore. And when we worked with the documentary team, herman was making it very clear to me to say, you hire the people, you have to trust them, right? You have to give them the power, enable them, empower them to do what they do best. And that just made not only our relationship, but my future relationships with editors, with assistants, with everybody, just so much easier.

I know people have a lot of questions about YouTube, so here’s where it comes in. There are a lot of misconceptions about YouTube being this. Either you need to be super young or you need to have a game channel, or this, you need to be a makeup artist. But instead, I’m really trying to not just the word promote. We’re trying to demystify the fact that YouTube is so powerful for creative entrepreneurs, for entertainers, educators, entertainers, and small business people.

Yeah, of course. I think YouTube is still very powerful. It’s like the number one platform to find video related content. And a lot of people is one of the most powerful search engines as well. So a lot of people coming to YouTube to, of course, entertain themselves. So they want to watch a guitar player or some band or they want to put some comedian right. But there’s also people who want to learn how to fix a door or something on their house, or they want to learn how to cook something. So it’s just infinite opportunities and possibilities. And I think we often we come to this, like, thought where people think that, oh, I need a professional set up. I need to get started the right way. It’s going to take a lot of work, I need editors, or like, it’s going to take a long time until I can actually and also, like, very close to full time. It’s like, I need to do that in full time basis. And it’s finally you think that you need to pause all the rest you’re doing to go full in YouTube, and then there’s going to be a period where you’re not going to see anything coming back from YouTube.

But we have seen so many examples of, like, how powerful YouTube is, just putting pieces of content out there and letting the Internet work for you. Right? And I think we both okay. When we started your channel, it was, how can we create some new content, like new types of content, like pieces of content, like tutorials, helping people. There were a lot of people with questions about the documentary. How can you start creating your own documentary? How can you start doing your own podcast? How can I use my podcast or my documentary as my business card, like you were saying? So a lot of questions were, okay, let’s tackle them in a video, and then we upload them to YouTube. But we have seen so many other examples where I have a small YouTube channel where I would put, like, videos I like when I travel, and then plenty of other people I have friends who like cars, and then they would record something on their car, and then they will put it out there, and they grow to thousands and thousands of subscribers. They start monetizing. It’s really powerful. And I think you can start very small and still have a huge effect in whatever you’re doing, whether that’s a hobby, it’s a side hustle.

It’s your main business, right?

Absolutely.

And that’s what we’re trying to evangelize other people, help other people see. With a small strategy, with a simple strategy and a small effort, you can go a long way.

Yeah, absolutely. So I love your idea. Before I forget, I love Herman’s new idea of seeing every video as a business. But before we go there to answer why that part is important, is that recently, when I say recently, really the past year or so, we’ve gained several key, I would say YouTube strategy clients. And the reason how it works is I’ve acted as a strategist. Herman is on strategy and editing, and we have Anna to kind of help publish. So those are kind of the struggles I see a lot of the more established coaches, entrepreneurs, consultants, speakers are struggling.

With to get the ball rolling.

Get the ball rolling.

Momentum, building momentum and keep rolling.

Right. You’d be like, hey, I’m on the road all the time. I don’t have the time. I need to they want to focus on consulting. And being a speaker is, like, a very much a fulltime job. Right?

Yeah. And also, if you have to think, if you have to do everything yourself, if you have to think which videos to publish, if you have to figure out when to do it, like, which length, edit them, by the time you’re designing a thumbnail, it’s like, screw it. Yeah. You’re exhausted. So for the majority of people, it’s much easier to have, oh, I need to do this like this by Thursday. Most clients we’re working with, they already have content. They already have an audience to some extent. They know maybe they were writing a blog or they have a podcast or they have a book. So we have a look at those, and when we brainstorm on the content, we could create. We could start creating. So then we build a blueprint saying, okay, these are the videos we’re going to record. We are going to publish. We’re going to test the waters. We’re going to see how it resonates in the audience. What are people searching also, we do some research there. What are the content gaps? Right? Some people are searching this, but there’s no good videos about this particular topic.

Yeah.

Right. And then how come, if we were to record, we put a long list of titles. For example, if we were to record this video, how could it impact what you’re doing, your business? How could it help you grow your business, grow your audience, maybe, or take you to a new place? You’re not there yet. For most people, it works really nicely if you build this blueprint, and then you have a clear steps, right.

So much easier.

And it’s so much overhead to build this strategy. Right. If you have to do this strategy on your own, right, then by the time you’re recording your video, you’re exhausted.

Yeah.

So that’s where we’re trying to come in and help in this part so that you can keep all the motivation for when you’re actually creating the content. And this is something we also talk very often, is sometimes we have these conversations saying, now you focus on the content. Right. It’s important for you to focus on creating. This gives the excitement, the motivation. Then we’ll do the rest. We’ll do the rest.

Because I think that’s precisely the reason why I want to kind of share, in a way, share my experience, share my production team. Obviously, we are consultants, so we do charge a fee. We’re not doing this for free or anything, but because I’ve benefited so much from the structure of I used to be a, you know, just like one person band. One. It is not that introduced a lot of work. Now literally all I do is I record content. I have my notion board all planned out. Herman and I are talking every two to three weeks. We prioritize. And guess what, guys? I just batch record everything. I pass all those recordings on to Herman. Hormone knows exactly what to do. It’s done. And literally, there was, like, no revision, so I don’t know how many we know. We kind of just drive so well together. And then Anna knows what to do. And those videos are what we search with the right title, right thumbnail keywords, and it’s published, and it’s so beautiful. This is the reason why a lot of people say people ask me all the time, like, hey, do you ever sleep?

You seem to be creating content all the time.

But also, it’s like we have worked really hard to build these buffers over time. So, like, these runways of content where we will batch produce, batch edit, and then you have suddenly for the pocus as well. In many aspects of what we do, it helps so much in a good way for creativity, right? So it helps so much to have, I don’t know, one or two months of content already produced. It takes time to get there. It takes effort to get there but it’s not like three times the effort, four times effort. It’s a little bit extra effort. Maybe you need to sit down during a week or two saying I’m going to focus, remove the noise, focus on creating this and then we know that we are good for two months and then it’s not that we are going to relax. Right? You have much more flexibility to decide when to, you know, what are the good pieces of content versus the ones I thought they were good, but not so good. And then when do you record? When you edit and then you balance with other work you have to do? Of course.

Yeah, I think it’s a muscle that we’re building because at the beginning, of course, anything new, right? Like you probably remember when you learned to brush your teeth for the first time and now it just it’s not something that you need to ever think about. For us, I feel like we’re building content into our own muscles, brain, spiritually and physically and it’s a system that will work. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs forget about the fact that they’ve got already so many ideas, so many different products that can easily turn into videos. So for instance, you know, we work with a lot of authors and people spend years planning for their book. They don’t realize that they can easily turn certain ideas or certain chapters into YouTube videos or even just like teaser videos and later on some could be turned into courses. That’s one idea. We also work with people who have a lot of blog posts that can easily be turned into videos as well. So it’s there a lot of work.

Has been done and a lot of people would say, okay, I don’t like showing up on camera. Right, so that’s fair. But it doesn’t mean that you can still post on YouTube now, especially these days, there’s a lot of tools that take whatever content you have and help you create a video version of it because people are still searching on YouTube. So if you have a podcast episode, there’s tools that take your audio and then they create a video version of it in a nice background, animation, snippet, whatever. Then there’s even tools, we were covering these tools recently with synthesia, like people who want to create the course but they don’t want to appear on camera, they don’t want to record themselves. There’s tools that are creating like avatars with AI also like moving. So it’s becoming simpler and simpler to produce these videos, right? Especially if you already have content like a blog post. You have a book, you have interviews, you write for some magazine, whatever, right? Whatever you do. And a lot of people like writing write a blog post right here. There it’s very useful to think about what pieces of what I’ve already written could be a good fit for a video, right?

And then you can do the reverse exercise, saying, if I were to search for this particular thing on YouTube, how would I search for it? So it’s like, oh, I would put these keywords, right? I would phrase this sentence. And most often, I mean, there’s content gaps. So we find that it’s like every day there’s thousands and thousands of opportunities of gaps of content that you can cover.

So I’m going to use a specific example. Since Herman has gotten here, I didn’t do this on purpose, but recently I build a swimming pool in my backyard. And as a result, as you guys know, when the machine is going to go through your backyard and it’s recessed. And I had no idea that my backyard looked like Mars for quite a number of weeks. And now there’s time, for instance, at the end of fall before the ground freezes, I’m using all these terms I really knew nothing about that I need to start the germination process now, and I still have to patch later on. So literally, last night when everybody went to sleep, I was looking for how to seed my backyard. And I see a lot of videos on here’s how you do patchwork, like patchwork. And I’m thinking, that’s not what I’m looking for. I need literally just start from scratch, start from zero. And I saw so many different videos about, oh, if you live in the northeast of the United States, which is where we are, you would think about and plan it this way. So speaking niching down, right? Like, there’s so much that you could do, like, you know that’s when we say, like, strategically, you don’t want to be the king, the queen on this something that’s super broad.

Like, I want to even pivot to WordPress. Like, can you be the best at WordPress? Can you be the best at working on your backyard? There’s a lot of competition, but that’s.

A recurring yeah, I think that’s a recurring problem. We try it really hard to avoid, like, remind ourselves because our mind our minds tend to go in that direction. It’s like whenever we want to do something, the first thing that comes to mind is, oh, that’s done. Or it’s so hard to compete, or we need to do we need to be the best. Right? That’s our mind. You Google something or you go on YouTube and then you search something, and then all these great YouTubers are already covering the topic, or these blogs are already covering what I want to read. These books are already written, so it seems like everything has been done right. That’s the first thing that comes to mind. And then the second is, like, how much if I, let’s say I forget that it’s done, and then I ignore the part, and then I want to compete or be competitive, then we test, we. Tend to think about the work. It’s like, it’s so much work to be at that level, but then it’s like, I don’t even want to get started, right? So that’s natural. I think it’s intuitive and it’s our natural reaction.

We cannot really hold ourselves, so we try to help each other, reminding us, you know what, there’s always a new angle we can cover. And like Sarah Cooper says, it’s been done, but not by you, so it still can be done by you. And then on the negative side, we always have this, oh, there’s a lot of competition. It’s really hard to fill in the gap. Right. It’s really hard to grow your business doing this or talking about that, or it’s really hard to publish documentary on Amazon Prime. Whatever you want to say, you can prepopulate. It’s really hard. But on the positive side, we are living the best time ever to do these things because first of all, there’s opportunities. Every day, more and more every day, more people come to the internet. There’s more people with more devices. There’s more people searching for stuff. Right. And I was reading recently 20% to 25% of what search on Google. Every year it’s on new stuff, on things that were never published before, on new content. Right. So if you just focus on like 20% to 25%, that’s new stuff. So next year there’s going to be people searching about things we don’t even know about.

Yeah, exactly. And that is so revealing. I think we live in such a I don’t know why that is. Because with all the smart devices, information is now being disseminated at whatever 1020 times speed compared to how many years ago. And the fact that I think our brain is just wired differently now that we’re so curious all the time. And information is being good and bad. Information is being shared at the same time. So as a result so maybe that is why in this very highly accelerated world of information, why not own a place? Why not try a few things you will never know? Like, you really will never know how your content may be picked up. Speaking of which, we have really done some serious migration lately. Like, if you guys visit phaseworld.com, how I spell my name is in my signature phaseworld.com. Herman and I made a very drastic decision, I’m going to be honest. You guys know that I’ve been like, really advocating for Squarespace. If you’re still getting started today, I might still ask you to go to Squarespace. Just because all the templates are there. It is like all in one.

It’s great.

Even there’s other players. Squarespace is great. There’s like wigs. There’s another couple of builders. They’re great. I mean, they do their job. You can go pretty far and they help you remove I think the gap they have covered is really valuable for someone who has no interest in becoming so technical in the details of how do you set up a website? Before, it was like, I need to get a hosting, I need to get my pages, so I need to build from scratch. And then if you want to set up a store, for example, if you want to set up a blog, those were like things on top, things were difficult on top of the order, right? And these platforms did a great job saying, okay, I’m going to fix all of that for you. You just drag and drop. Do you want store enable disable? They charge more. Do you want to build an email list? Right? Do you want a popup? Do you want a title? Do you want so those were great. Now if you are someone who’s like just starting and you want to get the website up and running in less than a day, that’s the way to go.

It’s still the way to go.

Yep, absolutely.

Now, we have been running websites for like years for ourselves and others. And then there has been some changes in especially when you’re serious about content, you reach a point where you need to look at what especially search engines and what orders are looking at, and then we struggle with some things. We reach a point where Squarespace was.

Limiting us and it’s super slow.

Right? So performance is one issue. So no matter how much you try to optimize your website, they do a lot of work to optimize their own researches because they provide blogs that you can use to build your website. But even if you just put a blank website, you are still limited by their basic code, right? That’s what you signed up for, the layers of code. So just a blank website and then you can measure this. So you can go to there’s a few websites like Google Page Speed Index or some GT metrics or other pingdom, you can measure based on the hosting plus layer of code, how much time takes. Load this. And now these days, Google is paying a lot of attention. They crawl all the websites on the internet and then they say they evaluate these websites based on the user experience. So if you have a website that is slow, the user experience is no good and then it will rank you lower, right?

Yeah. You never make it to the first page and never make it to the first three to four search results.

So on a good day, ranking in the first three positions makes a huge difference. Especially if you’re trying to build your business or grow your business. If you’re selling a product and your first result, second result on Google, which is like 96% of people use around the world, then being first matters. And then how do you go there? Either you pay an ad, right? You pay an ad and then you need to pay more to reverse, or you try to rank organically. And for ranking organically. One aspect is your website needs to be fast. So that’s one reason why we migrated to Squarespace after WordPress from Squarespace. Sorry.

Yeah, it was such a literally, we’ve been talking about it. I was thinking like an email in my head.

I think we have been avoiding it. We have this conversation, there’s something serious you need to talk about and then you always find the next year to push it off.

Let’s explain. We just talk about how motivated we are. The reason is right now, I don’t know, how many blog posts do we have before the WordPress migration? Over a thousand.

Over a thousand? I think it’s 1000. And also Squarespace is something really stinky which like they released a new version, but it’s not easy to upgrade right from they released another seven to one version and then we never know if they’re going to come up with even newer version. Seven, eight, whatever you name it.

Yeah, I was waiting for that. I would have got migration within Squarespace from 7.0 to 7.1, waited for a year and a half actually, since end of 2020 that they have no plan of doing that. So we are just shifting completely to a WordPress.

Yeah.

I’m really, really happy about the migration, which we started at the very beginning of September, and you guys will still see some kind of broken links or whatever on the site, but it’s ongoing.

Yeah, it’s a work package. We’re aiming to wrap it up by the end of the year. Of course, we try to go as fast as possible and it’s something that was on our to do list for quite some time.

Yeah.

And now we’re still trying to be upfront about when you use Squarespace. Squarespace is still great and you need to know that you’re delegating. You’re getting back a simple way to build a website. And what you’re delegating or what you’re giving away is the control you have on your website. So if you are someone who just needs like a landing page, a CV website, professional website, squarespace, simple payments you pay for the whole year or monthly, you build a website if you ever need an extra feature for whatever. So that’s still valuable. Yet we are trying to be upfront there’s going to be cases where there’s going to be a bunch of people who also will be limited by the same stuff. We were limited and now we’re trying to document all the stuff saying, okay, today, this is the easiest way to migrate from square space to WordPress and this is a minimum set of things you need. We’re trying to help others also from our experience.

Quick question, since we can only see like four or five people right now, but I know that we don’t see the number of people watching on LinkedIn on a Sunday afternoon. If you guys could let us know in the comments if you’re watching live whether number one, do you have a website number two, are you running on Squarespace or WordPress or something completely different? I would love to know. And so you’re right. So Herman is now talking about like plugins can be such a pain sometimes with WordPress. Frankly, phase world before Herman in 2014 was running in WordPress. And I remember just the struggle of something breaks. You’re in charge. You’re going to call up the hosting company, oh, this plugin needs updated. And it’s always finally out of sync. Now it’s in conflicting with one another.

But it has improved so much. Right. The scene in 20, 13, 14 was very different from what it is today. In that sense, Squarespace was revolutionary very much. And then you could do great stuff without dealing with all the WordPress kind of nasty things. But there’s also ways of building a website without WordPress. Right? So there’s other website builders that are not even Squarespace. You get your own hosting, but if you are a creator, you want to run a blog you have or maybe your YouTube channel. Now we are trying to have a very minimalistic approach. So it’s like what is the bare minimum, the minimum we need to do? We want it to be blazing fast so that people can have a really good side experience. We’re trying to get there. Right. So it’s an everyday effort to do a little bit every day. But also you’re often overwhelmed. Okay, I’m going to set up WordPress and then I’m going to install this 50 most like top 50 plugins. So it’s like installing, install, you get everything. You don’t know how to set the map, you don’t know the impact on performance. So we are coming from the other end.

It’s like what’s the base, the most basic set up? So what is our do we need this? Right? In our case, I think it’s like WordPress. Then we have the theme. We are using Cadence, which is like a super fast theme. There’s orders, they have other benefits. I think we have had a few rollbacks. We decided, okay, let’s use this plugin, these order plugins. And then we took it back saying, okay, we actually don’t need this, let’s do it again. So we’re using Cadence, which is just a theme, how it looks. And then we are using not too many more. Maybe we have one plugin to handle forms, how we capture forms and leads. Like if someone wants to contact or reach out. We are using another plug in a couple of plugins for SEO, like Rank Math.

I love Rank Math every single day.

So Rank Math is basically analyzing on page SEO. So whatever you have written, all the text keywords, what is this page about? And it’s suggesting you how you should structure your page to have better chances in ranking. And then you have rank math. Then we have like affiliate search affiliate, which is to handle links and affiliate links all in one place. And then I think we have pretty much it.

I think that’s it.

That’s pretty much it. Okay, we have doublely pre rocket, which is an optimizer. So there is applying so that it improves your site performance, so it minimizes like CSS and then it differs loading images so that you don’t load the image right away and then the whole site is loading in like under a second. So you go from a slow Squarespace website, someone is trying to find your article and then now to under a second, loading your entire page, relating your posts, loading your nice team. So we’re really happy with the transition even though we still have a lot of work to do in there for sure.

We painfully had to pay for Rank math over there. Fantastic. By the way, I probably should have this is a thing, right? As we’re talking, I realized, oh, I should have just stood up a page where I get to share all the plugins specific to WordPress, which that is coming. So hopefully I’m going to put together like a really quick blog post and I’m just going to add it to the description as well as one of the first comments coming up, pin. So Mia, let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be back with some articles that’s by the way, like, I’m just going to show you our sneaking process because these questions come up so often and we as content creators, we’re not just here to talk about WordPress, to just be affiliates and talk about fancy plugins. This is part of our business, so essential to us. And most people don’t realize until you use it, you’re living in it, you understand exactly how important it is and why you need to, you know, they prioritize some options, eliminate some of the others and that’s kind of the content we’re creating.

So Taylor content where we talk about all the different essential, like very, very essential plugins. And I’m going to create individual blog posts where we dive in like specific, how we use Rank math, how we use Cadence themes, what we like, what we don’t like about it. And that feeds into these type of bigger pillar content.

Yeah, and I think you don’t move a thousand posts if it wasn’t important, right? So the work we are doing is like moving from square space, 1000 posts. Of course you got the pages as well, right? The landing page and the pages itself. But also there’s so much content we have already. But given the nature of Squarespace and how it’s structured, we were slow and the performance of the site was low, but also all those pieces of content were isolated. So it was really hard to relate them to cross reference. It was really hard to put links. So with this new setup, we are going to be able to hopefully rank higher because Google is going to like our site because it’s fast and then it’s going to be much easier also to put those pieces of content in a context. So if we have a podcast episode, if we have this article about zoom or webinar or restaurant, we can relate it pretty easily to all the other pieces of content we have been writing and then it’s much tighter model of your internal linking and structure of your site in general.

Something I didn’t really think about. I mean, it was one of those pain points where if you’re content creator and it doesn’t matter, yes, we create content like crazy and we have over a thousand pieces of content and not all of them are long form or like highest quality ever. Something I’m improving upon. But even if you have read literally 2030 blog posts, they have some internal relationships linking to them and you are kind of in a way it’s like it’s hurting your SEO or it’s not really fully optimized if you don’t know how they’re connected. If you don’t connect them, your readers are not going to connect them automatically, right?

And Google is there’s no way most people find you. I think if you’re a creator, if you like creating content, if you put things out there, like whether that’s a blog post or YouTube, presumably you’re putting things out there for people to find them. You’re not doing that just because you want to look at that yourself. That’s a journal, right? So either you’re journaling for yourself or you’re creating things for others. So the nice thing on YouTube is you do very little work and YouTube does the rest for you. Now, on a blog, for example, it’s much more work. You need to tell sort of Google, right, or the search engine hints about little things so that Google understands what you’re talking about, whether that’s keywords, JSON, schema, or you can use many other tricks. But if you are putting content out there and your website is in the wrong way or has the wrong structure or it’s loaded low, then you are hurt by other factors. Not because you have bad content, but because you didn’t do a good job of telling Google on the search engine. So that’s why most people think, oh, SEO is like that’s why SEO is so critical.

Search engine optimization. Right? Most people overlook at it, but it’s a really crucial part of what we’re doing. If we are creators, content creators, and if we care about people finding what we have to say, yeah, for sure.

I want to give some specific examples. A lot of the questions that are coming to me these days are like, how do you get started? How do I think about myself as my personal brand? Or I really don’t like, what is pillar content, this and that. So recently we started working with a lovely entrepreneur whose name is Chris Littlefield. Definitely go check out his channel and especially if you’re running a business, small or large. You know, Chris was out there to teach people and people in HR, people in learning and development, how to engage their employees more, how to appreciate them more, not just through compensation. Right? So one of the things when we work with Chris on YouTube strategy is like, okay, we’re new. We are not experts in employee engagement. We say, we ask questions. Things like, how do you know if people are disengaged? How do people actually find out that they’re not as engaged and not as productive or happy as they could be? And he then very quickly recorded a top three ways of identifying that. So our next question is, well, can you break down each one of these?

So that one, that one video could be seven, eight minute long, however you want to make it to be. That’s the pillar content. Now, how do you break it down? Tip number one, first observation that can be its own blog post. Tip number two, observation number two, that has its own content. So it’s really, really interesting. So I see some more of you are hopping on. I really appreciate you being here. Let us know if you’re using Squarespace or WordPress. Let me know if you are trying to create new content and what you’re struggling with in particular. But I’m going to just pivot to ask Herman a really lovely question. I want this to be a blog post, but I want to credit him for thinking of it, which is thinking of your YouTube, not your YouTube channel. I always tell people, think of your YouTube channel as a business. And you said, no, think of your individual YouTube videos. Think of your individual blog post as a business. I was like, wow, that’s really fascinating. That’s absolutely true.

I was reading the article the other day and there was a parallel between, like, if you have a YouTube channel or if you have a blog, you could think of it as having your own apartment building. So you own the entire building and then each apartment, I think I don’t know who was writing like this, but it was a really nice way of thinking about it. So the truth is that whether you’re writing a blog, like a blog article or you put a YouTube video out there, right? Truth is that most if you’re a business or your creator and most businesses or creator want to monetize in some way. So this is important. This is an important aspect, right? So if you’re running a blog, you want to monetize from your blog, whether that’s affiliate or you’re selling something, a nice way of boosting how you monetize is having an article on whether you’re selling or you’re talking about. So you could talk about what are the best equipment for your business, or you could talk about what are the best platform for something, or you could describe or do a step by step tutorial.

I will teach you how to cook this particular thing. So you go and then you can refer, for example, where you should buy the ingredients or the tools to make something or whatever. And that’s a way of monetizing. Right? Or you can sell your own book. These are the hundred recipes. This is a recipe I have in my own book. And then I saw it. Monetization is an important part. Most businesses want to make profit out of their own content. And YouTube is the same, whether you’re getting money from ads Google puts on your video or you have links underneath, and then you say, okay, go buy my course. Go buy my book. Check out my strategy here, whatever. So if you multiply that times 1000, it’s like having an apartment building. You own the entire building, and then each of them is monetizing individually, because you got to have this room permanently rented at some rate. But this order, maybe it’s an airbnb and it’s on and off. So you have six months and it’s busy. Six months and no one is renting it. Right. And then the rates could be different overall. You could have your whole building is making some profit, but each individual apartment is its own business.

I love it.

And that’s the same way you could think about your YouTube channel or Love or even podcast. And the reason is that they behave very differently. So each of those pieces of content has its own personality. So they were ranked differently in Google. Google might like this content more than others that you’re producing, or there might be less competition for this particular keyword. Maybe you’re talking about zoom. Everyone’s talking about zoom. But if you’re talking about Zoom extension while you’re cooking zoom plugins for fitness, for example, then that article might be much more popular or less volume, less people searching for it. But you might rank higher. So your articles, your videos may monetize different amounts, right?

Yeah, I want to give this is something that we brainstorm. I’ve learned so much in the past few years because, for instance, my Zoom videos are getting at this point, well over 2 million views on YouTube. So you may be wondering, number one, zoom as an affiliate doesn’t work really well because even though I have an affiliate link, everybody’s already using, and I already purchased Zoom. So nobody’s going to click on that link because phase video, I’m like somehow purchasing Zoom for the first time and those videos getting a lot of views. Yes, monetization is good on YouTube because they’re technology based. But am I making any affiliate money, any course money? At the beginning, zero. But as a result, people visit my website and say, how much do you charge to moderate this session? For me to train my team, those are big, absolutely big ticket items.

So you can sell way less. But the commissioner is like, higher or what you can earn from those. I think if you want to solve this strategy, you need to tackle everything. Like from high volume, low ticket, right, versus like low volume. Because you’ll see that you’ll find all sorts of all sorts of people, they will find you, right? The ones who are like, you know, interested in this big moderation engagement with you, or the ones who are like just clicking on Sum and getting your referral link, like $5, whatever it is.

Exactly $5. It’s so true. And so definitely if you’re already an entrepreneur and or you’re trying to boost your channel, one misconception that unfortunately we don’t talk about enough is I have videos that literally get 50 to 100 views, yet driving the exact type of consulting engagement that I need. Maybe something I talk about hybrid strategies, maybe I talk about how to moderate, right? Like companies will come in to say, I want her to train my team, I want her to directly moderate my session. That’s how we use the example pretty often, but that’s how I ended up interviewing Steve Wozniak and like, Mark Cuban, Arianna Huffington, really magical experience. But those videos may not get a ton of views yet. My most viewed videos may not drive anything. For me, I just want to say that volume is important, but the content itself is also important. Like just having this you own your apartment and you need to know like, what they’re in there for. Like, you can’t just say, I want everything to be cookie cutter the same.

There’s a perfect it’s really hard to predict how it’s going to work. So if you look at expert YouTubers and bloggers and content creators, the same is like on social media, like expert TikTokers, Instagrammers, whatever, they will tell you they have an idea, but where they learn the most is they just do. They just produce. And it’s the same with Google or YouTube, like your blog. So you never know for sure how well it’s going to resonate with people or with the search engines itself. So there’s a technology part that you cannot control and Google even doesn’t control. It’s like just an algorithm, right, learning from what’s out there. And then it decides to rank you. So there’s no control. Not even the company is providing the search engines. So that’s why having a strategy so powerful, because you can plan what you’re going to publish, right, and how often, right? And then consistency, you need to keep publishing, keep going. And over time, the best you could do is like, okay, let’s look back. You start getting traction, you start getting an audience, and then you could start figuring out how to tweak your plan, your strategy, so that then the next piece of content you will produce adjusted, or like say, okay, these pieces of content need a follow up.

So you follow up those because people are resonating with that or you say, okay, people really like this type of videos. You will learn. Right, right.

It won’t lie because people are going to really won’t lie. I’m going to take a moment because I do have this strategy slide that we use. And I’m like, literally just hold it in front of the screen. This is so old.

Based on the search engines, I think the key here is like, okay, you can be on Google, at least for us. There’s many other search engines, right? You can go Bing, you can go Instagram. I mean, there’s lots of places where you can post content. But I think if you look, the majority of people, of course, Google is still ruling, so it’s like 96% to 98%, depending on where of the traffic is going to focus on the big part. And then the same with YouTube, right? There’s all the other video platforms, but YouTube is like the king. So those are the search engines. And then the point of all this other stuff there was, okay, we need like most often you create like a funnel so people will find you because they come into this part here, either Google or YouTube. And then these lines between the two is because if we put together a video, then we also make sure that there’s a blog article covering content most often, right? We rank on both places on Google. And also there’s another interesting thing recently. So if you look at in the past five years, I think more than 50% of the top results on Google have like the top pages.

When people search something, the top results, one to 350 percent or more, have a video on the page embedded in the blog post. In the blog post. So people find your page with a top page. They like having a video there. So that’s why we are publishing a video on, for example, some hybrid meetings. Then we’re also adding a blog article covering that because people can find it either way. And then if you are into this sort of like type of content, creative creation, and especially growing your business out of it, then we have funnels into other platforms, like, for example, affiliate links or like a course platform.

Yeah, digital products.

Digital products. So come check my documentary. Come check or like buy I provide you this timer, for example, right? I sell you this particular thing or a service, right? Or come to my engagement and moderate.

This particular you know, I think one thing that I also want to call out about this metaphor of having you own this apartment building and there are different rooms. And I think it’s so important that there’s never been one time that you said, oh, Faye, this particular room where this particular product is only making $97 a month, your zoom timers are $2 a piece. At the peak of selling our zoom timers, we’re making, I think, like $2,000 a month. And then, of course, and it kind of trended down.

It’s the same with the apartment. It’s like if you own an apartment, you do airbnb on it.

Yeah, true. Seasonal. It’s very seasonal.

It’s very seasonal. Then cobbt comes, and now when it’s renting, so there’s going to be fluctuations. That’s why it’s all about it’s the same as if you were investing. You distribute the risk by having lots of pieces of content.

So true.

It’s like your business if you live from content, right? You put so much work in creating this content.

High on content. That’s our strategy. High on content, guys.

Well, at least for us, it’s been, like, all about creating, but all the valuable pieces. It’s not just creating pages for the sake of creating pages. It’s like we have something to say. There’s value in it. We teach this, we give it. Sometimes it’s giving it away. Like saying, okay, I really learned this. Sometimes it’s, okay, I have this thing. I put together a video. I also have a course, check my course, because that’s much more curated. It’s much more work. So it’s been always about, like, high volume of content that is high value for people, and then a lot of them, a lot of those pieces.

Yeah, for sure. I know. I’m so touched. There’s, like, different people hopping on. And before we go shoe shopping, and I was just, please let us know if you guys have any questions. And I just want to mention a few things. Like, you need to get started somehow. Your first pieces, your first few videos, few blog posts are not going to be the best, and that’s absolutely okay. Number two, tip number two is don’t undermine some of the pieces that may not be performing or doing or generating a lot of revenue. Don’t value yourself or your content based on how much money are you getting from those pieces. And it’s completely unfair. That’s the second thing. And I think the third thing is to know when it’s good enough to ship. I think Seth Godin talks about it in a beautiful way, like, when is good enough to ship? So for us, I want to be really particular. I mean, I’ve gotten emails from people that say, oh, you misspelled something, or I think, you know, it’s kind of condescending, so I don’t really care. I try to proofread all the content by having a thousand pieces of content out there.

Of course, in English is my second language. Is your second language. And certain things we just won’t be able to catch. So when you create content, try not to don’t ever think that needs to be perfect. Don’t proofread it as soon as you write it. Always wait. At least I think the next day is really healthy, and the Herman reminds me to publish something, come back to it later. We can always make it better. One of the reasons why, as I’m going live that I don’t have a blog post focus on. Here are my five, you know, plugins for WordPress is because in my mind, I’m still like thinking about how to make it good. Good enough. I could have just written it. I’m overthinking.

Yeah, I think. And also, these types, this type of content is like they’re sort of breeding things so we can go back, edit, improve, follow up, right? It’s much more valuable to have a thousand pieces of content out there than to have ten that are perfect in recent, because in those thousand, there’s going to be another percentage that are going to be perfect. And you can always go back, say, okay, from this thousand, these are the top ranking. These are the people are most interested in. I’m going to perfect them. Right? It’s about like doing 1% every day, every couple of days, improving them rather than to have 100% perfect article from the beginning and then maybe no one ever reads it, right? So it’s just about getting started and doing something every day, a little bit every day, whether that’s a short article or a short video or recording a podcast episode or even not recording. But if it’s about editing, for example, editing is like a daunting task. So if you want to have a podcast and then it’s like too much work to edit a little bit every day. So you record the episode.

You do like five minutes a day.

Yeah.

Then you’ll have an episode a week, and then whenever you won’t realize. And then it’s going to be 50 episodes, right? That’s the threshold. We say, okay, you’re a podcaster when you have a year, like 50 episodes. That’s a line I always tell you.

When you got 50 episodes in your podcaster. So funny. Like Herman knows I have a black belt in taekwondo. And then literally when I got the black belt, the actress was like, you have just entered the door. You have just begun, like, your students, your learning experience. So I feel like I love going live. Guys, let us know if you have any questions, ideas for what we should talk about next, if you’re interested in even talking about hearing more about WordPress, growing your online business, being content creators. So tomorrow, hopefully even later today, we’ll see the next time I go live, you’re going to be learning more about her mom’s own company, Terik. So Gentonic is his company. So there’s something that Herman is focusing on as a producer, specifically music producer. And we’ll have the lovely rectang singer Tarek joining us as well. And the three of us will be sitting here, and there’s very rare opportunity, and that’s really it. But if you want to learn more about what you do, herman, about Gentonic, please.

Yeah, sure. Gentonic is an independent record label, so we are working with like a dozen artists who are independent, but still it’s like a network. So a lot of independent artists. They’re often doing everything like content creators. But when you go to like, we want to seek larger engagements, whether that’s playing at a festival or we are trying to seek a deal or something, you often need someone to back you up. Otherwise it’s really hard. So we started like a network of artists that said, okay, why don’t we come together and present ourselves as a group of artists? And that’s how Gin Tonic records started. And then we have learned a ton over the past six or seven years. We have more than 100 tongues with millions of streams and views on YouTube. And artists are based in different places. Target is here. And then, yeah, we basically help artists navigate their careers. Not only like saying, okay, I’m seeking to be famous, or like pop star, but also how can you make a business out of your singing career? Everything, including what is involved to record your song, produce it, ship it, doing marketing.

We have learned so much from digital marketing in the last year. So now we are applying knowledge to the music side. And each niche is so interesting. There’s different caveats for each industry and you learn different things, what people want, it’s a different game. But it’s a lot to learn. I mean, a lot of the strategy we have been following works also, but a lot is different. So it’s all about what people want, what people are searching, right? So for going back to the SEO example, it’s like now if you’re creating content like the one we have been creating on YouTube, people search for how can I screw this thing to my wall? Right? And then you pop up. But now on, no artist in the world pops up on a Google search, right? Unless you try to find JLo, for example, she doesn’t pop up on a Google search unless you’re searching for J.

Lo, I never thought about it that way.

So this is a completely different strategy. No one is going to find the artist instead by searching. They don’t go on Google. Instead, people find the artists based on related songs. So if you’re doing this particular genre and then it’s similar to these other artists, then the artist will pop up. So it’s a completely different game. There’s different strategies. Then Squarespace is perfect in that space, right? Because who cares about Rank, Math and SEO? They are not blogging artists and singers. They are not logging. But they want to have their merch store. So you want an easy way to provide like a merch store checkout that’s really smooth, doesn’t care if it takes 5 seconds to go because the fans are going to go to the store anywhere and buy. So you can salvage the same parallels but have very different conclusions and takeaways depending on your industry. And it’s still creative work, but it’s a different strategy if you’re a singer, if you’re a content creator, if you’re a blogger, if you’re a YouTuber.

Yeah, I think it’s just like a lot of us are really multassionate people and I think that can really serve us well because I often hear like, oh, if you’re an artist, that should be the only thing that you do. You should go fulltime. And I know of course, once you reach a certain level, it makes sense. But at the beginning, you know, has really benefited me hugely, like mental health wise as well, to not think about YouTube as a full time job. I love YouTube to be a marketing engine that drives business. I get to work with clients, and right now I sort of feel like in the second season of being a creator, where I do want to shift and I’m being very honest with Herman about I want to devote at least 50% of my time energy to focus on Phase World, nothing else but Phase World 50% on clients. But at the beginning, I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t possibly spend 80, 90% of my energy on Phase World, all of content creation and do 10% of kind work. I’m also a caregiver, so it’s just not going to be feasible.

So give yourself, you know, I think love yourself, take care of yourself, don’t think of it as like all or nothing. Same thing as you mentioned, some of the friends, some of the people that you serve are also singers. You know, they sing part time, perform part time, and the other 50% of their energy, they’re working as producers, working as managers or other musicians. So that’s not shouldn’t be frowned upon, that it should be celebrated.

Yeah, but it’s also about understanding it’s all about a little bit about expectations, of course. Also understanding the business side of things if you want to have a healthy and sustainable career, right?

Yeah, for sure. Thank you so much for joining us today. I know I’m like dragging on. I don’t want to say say goodbye while people are waiting, but please know we’re here. We’re going to be back here tomorrow probably around the same time. And please check out Gentonic Records. Please check out Tarek. T-H-A-Y-R-K. He’s got over half a million followers on TikTok and tens of thousands of followers on Facebook and Instagram and it’s just incredible to see. Targa is one of the examples from Tetanic Records. And together as phase royal. The word just I feel like there’s so much synergy and that’s why I love my house. They’re here with me as it’s kind of this creator hub and we can talk forever for hours and hopefully this journey relationship will continue on for decades to come. And much love to this community and we’ll see you guys tomorrow. Bye.

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