Joey Korenman: From a Single Online Course to a Multi-Million Empire Called School of Motion

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About Our Guest

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Joey Korenman is the CEO & Founder, School of Motion, who wakes up every day “to help thousands of aspiring Motion Designers learn their craft and develop the skills necessary to have a career in this magical field of ours.”

Previously Joey was a Creative-Director at the awesome Toil in Boston, MA, he also taught at the Ringling College of Art & Design, when he first packed up his bags and moved his family from Boston to Florida.

After spending years running his own ad agency, hours each day on his commute and clients who’d surprise him with new deadlines nights and weekends, he decided to pursue a new way of life and left Boston.

As a creative director who was working for top agencies in Boston at the time, things look great on paper.

“I was at the top of the mountain, but then I realized I climbed the wrong mountain.” - Joey Korenman

Instead of waiting for another 10, 20 years, Joey left everything he’d built, an unthinkable decision for most.

Working as a college professor taught Joey quite a few things. He had a steady paycheck until he decided to go solo and pursue his journey as a creative entrepreneur. In this episode, he reveals the secret to how he was able to launch his first successful online course without marketing dollars.

School of Motion wasn’t built overnight, but it’s still considered a quick success story. Joey committed to developing content consistently for 2 years, including a 30-day daily tutorial creation marathon that drove massive attention to his website.

To check out what School of Motion has become today, visit the official website: https://www.schoolofmotion.com/

Transcript

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Feisworld Podcast - 1921 - Joey Korenman.mp3 transcript powered by Sonix—the best audio to text transcription service

Feisworld Podcast - 1921 - Joey Korenman.mp3 was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best way to convert your audio to text in 2019.

Fei:
Feisworld Podcast helps independent creators live their creative and financial freedom. I'm your host, Fei Wu, and I'll be taking you through a series of interviews with creators from around the world who are living life on their own terms. Each episode is packed with tactics, nuggets you can implement origin stories to make listening productive and enjoyable. We're not only focused on the more aspirational stories, but relatable ones as well. We also have none interview based mini series releasing throughout the year to help deep dive into topics such as freelancing, marketing, even indie filmmaking that will benefit creators like you show nodes, links and ways to connect with the guests are available on phase WorldCom. Now onto the show.

Fei:
Hey, guys, it's Fei. And welcome back for another week of our interview episode, and this one's quite special since the start of the freelance mini series. I became obsessed with finding people who have relatable stories and who have succeeded in ways that still allow them to live life on their own terms. This is the essence of a freelancers life or an entrepreneur's life. I'm excited to be introducing the next guests to our show. And his name is Joey Korenman. He's the creator and founder of School of Motion. After spending years living in the Greater Boston area, working for agencies and consulting firms as a creative director, he decided that he no longer wanted to live a life like that, where he commutes three hours a day and barely get to see his kids. On the side, he began his side hustles, which was the very beginning of school of motion, and here's what they said on their website at school's motion, we're trying to reinvent the ways students learn online how by combining the best parts of a traditional brick and mortar school with technology that allows our students to live anywhere in the world and receive the best motion design training on the planet. There are about 50 people that I could see and count on their Web site who are actively involved and working for School of Motion. Plus, additional contractors, which Joey has mentioned, School of Motion is a machine that delivers world class courses to thousands of engaging students from around the world.

Fei:
But the crazy thing is, it hasn't been that long. And Joey hasn't had his business for decades. He didn't have the extra cash when he launched this first course. In fact, he was on his last paycheck as a teacher at a university in Florida. He tells us detailed strategy on how he made it work. It was a thrill for me to hear this firsthand. Self-made success story. Joey is living his dream life now with his wife and three kids in Florida. They homeschool their children and spend weeks traveling to different parts of the world each year. He still loves biking around town, owes an average car and not noticeable by people who don't know the creative empire he built with his bare hands. This perhaps is in the end game. Many people had imagined no fancy car or house. What's the point? While these entrepreneurs are way ahead of where Phase World is right now, I already echo so much of what they've said and shared with us the freedom to enjoy your work and your life without permissions from other people is an incredible feeling, even if it doesn't come with a shiny objects. Because at that point it's not necessary. I hope you enjoy this episode and give us a review and I tunes. Always honest. Better yet, share with other friends and family. These acts may seem insignificant, but they feel me and keep me going. Especially on the holidays. So please keep showing up for your work. Please welcome Joey Korman to the Feisworld Podcast.

Fei:
The moment I found you on LinkedIn, I got complete sucked into the fact that, you know, I know you're a motion designer and you've written this book. Freelancers Manifesto. But I kind of like skipped over your company part. If you could give me like a sense of what you do, how long it's been and all that jazz.

Joey:
Sure, so. So my company's called School of Motion and it's an online school for motion designers. And so like when I still lived in Boston, I ran a motion design studio and I ended up sort of burning out. You know, all of our clients were ad agencies and I just got completely disgusted by that world and didn't want to be in it anymore. So I moved my family and I would just like blew up everything and moved to Florida. And I taught for one year at an art school. Although Ringling College of Art and Design and I learned a lot from that experience. And then I left and I sort of focused on my blog, which that's what it was at the time. And I ended up developing this online class using it's kind of like a hybrid format, like there's not really other online classes that do it the way we do it. You have like a drip fed kind of class that lasts for 12. We extend you have but you also have homework and we assign teaching assistants to you. So you're getting critique like on your work and there's like private Facebook groups.

Joey:
And so there's this life feeling of it. So we do that and and we run these classes and we teach people how to design an animated and do 3D and stuff like that. And I started it technically like the blog, like when it was just me and my blog was like 2013. And then a couple years later, when I was in Florida, I ended up because I was reading through some of your stuff on your site, like I know you're into this world of mastermind groups and all this. And I fell into that and I got a business coach and that was like rocket fuel. And so then I ended up launching a class and it's grown. And Nesta now there's 14 employees full time and now like 30 part time. And it's turned into this giant thing that I never imagined. So anyway, so that that's the business. It's an online school, but it's actually gotten pretty substantial in the last few years and it's been really fun.

Fei:
Oh, my goodness, what a pleasure. I mean, I I really didn't imagine this, but I love where you're going. If you're so disgusted by the advertising world, I feel like I haven't really dared to use it because no one I did learn things. I mean, a lot of really good friends. Yeah. God, I'm just like you. I woke up feeling headache. I mean, like, literally, I was probably also exhausted from the day before. But just something like. Do you feel in your gut? I actually, you know, I'm like, oh, you know, I don't want to be in this anymore. And, you know, can I start making my shift? But what was it about advertising, marketing and that kind of traditional approach that really bothered you?

Joey:
Yeah. So for me specifically, it was actually just like the ad agency culture that I kept running into. And there's a story that I tell sometimes that this was kind of like the straw that broke the camel's back. I was running a studio on Boylston Street. Like, you know, with a roof deck. And we're working with Arnold and Hill Holiday and all the big agencies, everything I'd ever wanted. Right. It was like on paper, I'd made it. And I've I've actually written an article about this because it was such an eye opening thing. Like I got to the top of the mountain and then I realized, oh, shit, I'm on the wrong mountain. I climbed to the wrong one. And there was this moment where I was a creative director. And so I had a team under me and it was Easter weekend or so. It was like the Friday before Easter. And I'm Jewish, so I don't celebrate Easter. So I wasn't really thinking about it, but I knew everybody else was really excited because, you know, you have this Easter egg hunt and family and stuff like that. And we got a call that day from one of our clients. You know, this is like one of those clients that doesn't do like super cool work, but they always bring us lots of work and they kind of keep the lights on.

Joey:
And so we sort of have to like whenever they say jump, we have to jump. And they had some video that they wanted. And it had to be done Monday. Yeah, it had to be done Monday. It had to be. I'm sorry. I know this sucks to ask you about how you guys we need you to get this done over the weekend. And my business partners asked me to go tell my team that they needed to work over the weekend and it was Easter weekend. And I said, no, tell the client we can't do it. Just turn the work down. And my business partners, like we can't do that. Like we have to. You know, like, if you do that, then they're gonna find someone else to do it and then they'll never come to us again. And I believed them because I'd seen that happen, because that ad agency culture in Boston anyway, maybe it's different other cities is. Take as much as you can, always ask for more. There was no such thing as work life balance that I saw, and it all starts to seem so silly after a few years. And so that was kind of like for me, that was the final straw where I said, I'm getting out when we're in.

Fei:
Yeah, sometimes I think sometimes is a good thing. And I really wasn't either. I started off working in consulting and to be honest, I feel like it was just very similar with the fact that the type of work that you do is different. But I always feel like in some in some ways consulting was even more brutal and cutthroat. And people. Yeah, exactly. Like we have we had something like, you know, whenever you have a workshop to kick off a new client. I remember those days of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. I don't know why they picked those usually those three days. And you literally just go all out. You start the session in like seven thirty eight in the morning and the client leaves around 6:00, 7:00. You have these really unhealthy dinner. Get together with them, get drunk. Then you go. Everybody from your team goes back to the office and work until midnight were 1:00 am. And the second day you start all over again and you watch people getting sick and might not be on our cover. Is you know, I am so glad you got out. I would love to hear like sort of, you know, whenever you talk to someone and I I got really good and not comparing myself with other people. And that's why I feel like I have the guts to talk to you guys. I, too, started off as like with a blog with a podcast. and expected to go anywhere. And that did. What was it like for you to start your blog and when did you see, like the very beginning of some traction? If you still remember those days, you be like, huh? And expect it to work. Like, this is a business,.

Joey:
Right? So will the traction came pretty early, although like what I considered traction back then was like a blip compared to what it is now. So, I mean, we you know, I started School of Motion as my own sort of personal blog. And the reason I started it was because I think I had already had that experience of sort of cracking under the pressure and realizing this is not like that with the way I describe its people is there's this maybe you've heard of this. There's this exercise you can do called the perfect day exercise where you just imagine your perfect day five years from now. It's Tuesday, you wake up, you describe your whole day, and then you just say, doing what I'm doing now, does my path end up there? And it was so clear that it didn't. And so that's when I you know, I read the four hour work week and I discovered Seth Godin and all of that stuff. Pat Flynn, right. Yeah, right. So I so I ended up starting school motion because there was another guy in my industry who had had a similar story and his name was Nick Campbell. He worked at a really great studio in Chicago and kind of decided that that life wasn't for him. And so he ended up leaving and starting a blog and just teaching and just sort of showing people stuff. He picked up stuff he learned, and he was really charismatic and everyone liked it. And I watched as over a few years his website blew up into this full fledged business and he was giving speeches and selling products. And I was that is so cool.

Joey:
I want that. So I just tried to copy it. So I started a blog. And what I did was I just started making video tutorials because that's pretty typical in my niche. You know, like you're using software, Photoshop, after effects, things like that. And so there's lots of video tutorials. And so I just started making them. And, you know, I'm very lucky because what was different about me was most of the people making those tutorials were tutorial artists. And I was actually a working creative director at a studio. So I had a slightly different angle on things. And so pretty quickly, people caught on to it. And I also was lucky that I discovered Pat Flynn, frankly, because I listened to every episode of his podcast and learned and learned basically on the fly how to market. And so I started telling people on Reddit about my blog and I had a Vimeo channel. And I remember waking up one day and a hundred people had watched the tutorial. Like I put out, I put it out. And then the next day, one hundred people had already watched it. A hundred people. That's crazy. And then those numbers kept going up. And I and I ended up once I you know, I like a lot of things happened. In the meantime, my ended up like leaving Boston, moving to Florida and teaching for a year at the school and then leaving Matt.

Joey:
And so basically, I think like two years in, I had this blog, I had an email list, you know, maybe like two or three thousand people on it. But I was doing nothing with it. And I decided I have to kind of like make a run at this. If I'm if I have any hope of this turning into my business like my full time job, I have to, like, try. So I was really lucky in that when I left Ringling. So people may not know this, but like if you're a teacher and this is true for, I think, almost every teacher in the US. You typically get paid like in a normal pay cycle, so you get paid, you know, twice a month for 12 months, but you're not working during the summer. The summer off. So you get this paycheck during the summer when you're doing nothing. That's one of the main reasons people go into teaching, I'm convinced. So I had quit my job. I had left, but I was still going to get paid for three more months and I had nothing to do. So I took advantage of that and I spent the entire summer doing this marketing blitz. Do you know who John Lee Dumas is on fire hydrant? Yeah. So my my business coach. Well, I have a different business coach.

Joey:
My butt like my my first business coach, Jamie Masters was his business coach. And so I listen to her podcast and I listen to his. And I knew that one of the things that got him traction, probably the thing that got him traction was that he did this crazy thing no one else had done, which is he did an everyday podcast.. Right. And his podcast. is good, in my opinion. There's better ones out there. But his is every day. And so that was enough. That was enough. And then it got a ton of traction and blew up. And this giant success now. So I said, I'm gonna do that. So I came up with this like marketing thing. I'm gonna do a tutorial every day for 30 days. Oh, and it was already done. It wasn't literally 30 days because it was actually just week days. So six weeks, but 30 days. And I gave myself like a two week head start. And I started telling everybody I was doing this. And it became kind of surprise me. It became this thing because people were like, oh, my God, this is crazy. There's no way he's gonna be able to do it. Yeah. And I got interviewed on this blog, this huge industry blog interviewed me. And so I did it and I survived it barely. And at the end of it, I had six or seven thousand people on an email list.

Joey:
I had all this attention on me. The site had blown up. Our traffic had quadrupled in six weeks. And so that's when I hired a business coach. And then I ended up developing this class that I wanted to teach. And the I guess the interesting story there. And you can actually, you know, Pat Flynn is so he has a book out there called Will It Fly? So School Emotion is a case study in that book. Why? Yes. Says here is the harm that because what what what I did and this was like something my coach really pushed me to do was I had this idea for our class and we were talking a little bit before about how our classes are different. They're very big and complicated and there's light elements to it. So I wanted to add, not to mention the fact that like they're generally between 20 and 30 hours of video lessons. Among other things. So they take an insane amount of work to do. And I was thinking this is going to take me at least three months to put together and I need to charge hundreds of dollars for this to make any sense. Seems like a crazy risk. And meanwhile, my Ringling paychecks stopped. So I was freelancing like to pay the bills while I built this.

Joey:
And it was really hard. And so my coach said, well, what you need to do is pre sell that class. So like have a webinar or something and describe it and try to get people to buy it based on your description of it. And then if enough people buy it, take that money to support yourself while you build it. Wow. That day. Yeah. And so that's the whole concept of will it fly is how can you validate business ideas? That's what I did. I had a webinar and I gave this whole kind of pitch. This is the class I want to make. This is how it's going to work. This is why you should take it. And at the end of it, I posted this buy now button and I had 20 spots open. I think I think at the time I was charging two hundred and fifty bucks or something. So 20 spots, 30 bucks. And they went right into that. It was like three minutes gone. And then right as soon as that happened, my inbox just filled up with all these people saying, oh, my God, you have to open more spots. I need this class, please. So I did another webinar and I had another 20 spots. And at the end, I opened up 20 spots and it was like less than a minute gone.

Fei:
I was hoping that you say you open a five hundred spots. Well, why was I?

Joey:
I mean, it's funny because now, you know, we we have the scale of it's gotten crazy now because we have this class that we launched, I think six or nine months ago, we launched the new class, super popular. The guy who teaches it is like this rock star motion designer that everybody knows. And the first time it went on sale, we I think we had 200 spots open and it sold out in like a minute. So this LED lighting that I like eight hundred bucks a pop or something like that. So like it. So anyways so but that first experience of that happening was like, oh my god I was five thousand dollars in like a minute. Like this is crazy. Yeah. And now of course that 5000 had to sustain me to make the class and all of that and supporting it. But then like once I had built the class and I had run. 40 students through it, and I learned so much and so much work and then I rearrange the class and change things and rerecorded. And then the class was done and I had testimonials and everything and I released it. And I think the next the first time we launched it, I think it made like 30 grand or something like that. And then it made 50 and then it made 70. And it just like so it was like once the formula was kind of figured out, it was like this hockey stick. Yeah. Well, there was like a few, you know, fears of this. And then.

Fei:
Hey, it's Fei from Feisworld. Today, I'm joined by Joey Korenman. Previously, as a creative director working in Boston, moved his family to Florida and became a university teacher there. He continued his side hustle and created School of Motion, an incredibly successful online learning platform for motion designers. But most importantly, he's living an incredibly free and joyful life with his family. If freedom is what you're aiming for, this is the episode for you. See you at the end of the show.

Fei:
You know, I guess it's to break down the formula is, you know, a lot of people. It's a different type of question that people challenge. Oh, it's your formula doesn't necessarily work for me. But I also now that I'm developing my God like two courses at the same time, one is on basically marketing to overseas Chinese people.

Fei:
You know, I feel like that. But there is a formula that actually work. It's like, what are you selling? How do you address the pain points? Do you acknowledge the pain points? How do you tackle it? Yes. So what it was like, what is the formula? I mean, at a high level, before people buy your course to learn how to develop profitable course, would you say on own formula?

Joey:
So I guess it is kind of two questions I'll kind of point out. So one is how do you develop a profitable course or a course that's worthy, I guess, of being sold? The other question is how do you sell that course? So I'll start with the first one. So my philosophy is very much. Seth Godin all the way. So, you know, so there is you know, he he was on the Tim Ferriss podcast awhile back and I think they just rereleased that episode.

Fei:
I heard that again. Yes.

Joey:
And towards the end of the episode, I think like an hour and a half in, Tim asked Seth about his philosophy of making classes. And he said something that like when I listened to back and I heard it like I could not stop smiling because it just described perfectly my whole philosophy about stuff. He said, you know, he did a class on skill share and it was very successful. But what that means is 80 percent of the people who take his class don't finish it. That's success, right? And so he flipped everything on its head instead of an easy class. It's a hard class. Very hard instead of inexpensive. It's very expensive. Instead of requiring only an hour to week, it requires more time than you have. You have to, like sacrifice for it. And instead of letting thousands of people in, you cap it. And it's it's small class sizes. And that's exactly our model. I mean, look, some people get totally blown out by the workload and what we expect and stuff like that. And personally, I'm OK with that because the ones that suck it up and accept the pain that we give them and deliver have ridiculous results. Right. So ridiculous results. And at a price point that is so much less than northeastern, for example, where you went, our Boston University where I went or Ringling where I taught. So I think that to make it today in today's Internet. The thing I don't really think is you can still make the traditional video class that you then put on Gum Road or just charge PayPal or whatever you do or put it on, you know, teachable or something.

Joey:
You can still do that. It's just way harder. There's so much competition. You have to be really good at marketing to make that work. However, if you take the time and you spend six to nine months and build something really, really special, you know, that isn't easy to build and it's painful and hard, then it's a lot easier to sell it. And the students who take it are going to get results. And it becomes a self-sustaining thing much, much more easily. So that's the part one. The second part, how do you sell it? I mean, the way that I've always kind of approached it is just tell the truth, like, you know. I think that's one of the things. And, you know, when you asked me to come on and talk about freelancing, that that's kind of the main point of my book, too, is that sales is not what people think it is. People think sales is like Glengarry Glen Ross. You know, Alec Baldwin getting up and put the coffee down, coffees for closers and all that. And that's not how I see it. And that's not how Seth Godin sees it. It's about like telling the truth to your tribe. And if and if you're if you understand your tribe, you'll know what they are asking for and what they want. And so when I sold that first course and this is in Pat's book, there's I actually gave him the original email I sent to my list and he reprinted it in the book. And there's almost a formula to it. It's I used to suck at animation, OK, which I did.

Joey:
And because I know that my audience, a lot of them feel that way. I'm not good at this. I got better by doing this. Oh, you got better and I did get better and I proved that by showing my work and all that kind of stuff. I want you to get better, too. Here's my plan, right. And there's a lot of nuance. There's a little like things you do to kind of come off the right way. Right. Like a good tip is start by disqualifying people. This is not for you. If you already know this stuff. So just quit reading. I'll save you five minutes. Right. It's just having like that open honesty about what it is you're trying to do. Don't try to pretend you're not selling something, but also don't. Don't pretend that like you're not proud of it. You know, like don't don't feel gross selling. The thing you just worked for nine months on.

Fei:
This is incredible. I said, do you have your own podcast.? You say you do, right? I haven't.

Joey:
Yeah, we have the school motion podcast.. Right. I interview artists and business studio owners, stuff like that.

Fei:
Oh, wow. Wonderful. I'm going to have to check it out because, you know, I was wondering, like, how how has that really changed your perspective, your the trajectory of your life right now, sitting where you are six years after 2013 when you started that blog, you know, how you how do you enjoy your lifestyle right now? Have you reached that Tuesday? You know, five years from now? I will describe it then how you did. How would you describe it now?

Joey:
So it's really funny. I wish. I don't know where it is. It's around here somewhere. When I when I hired my business coach, Jamie, for the first time, one of the things she had us do, which at the time I thought was so stupid, was a vision board. Right. You know what that is? Oh, yeah. Yeah. I haven't done one yet. So. So I had to do a vision board. And in case you use this and someone doesn't know a vision board is just I mean, there's a lot of ways to make one, but it's essentially like a piece of paper or a poster board. And you put pictures of things that you'd that represent things you want your life. And so I you know, I'm a designer. So I got into Photoshop and I made this collage and it had and it had a nice house on it. It had a hot tub on it because I'm like this weird obsession with hot dogs. And I've always wanted one and a family at the beach because like I have three children there. They're young, they're like 8, 7 and 4. And we love going to the beach and a glass of wine. And I feel tower, which represents travel to me and a marathon runner because I'm a runner and I and I wanted to be in better shape and running more. And it was like and I would keep it on the wall and look at it.

Joey:
And two years later, I had all of that. It took two years. It was that fast. It was crazy. Well, I had the kids already.

Fei:
Oh, OK. OK.

Joey:
I had the kids already? Yeah. No. So put it putting like the picture of the happy family on their. The reason I put that on there is just to clarify for everybody. When I was in Boston and I was running the studio, I had two kids at that point. I've three now. But I had to then my wife had just stopped working because she was a social worker and social workers, despite the fact that she has an advanced degree. And I don't. Social workers make no money and living in New England is expensive enough as it is. And then you throw in like two kids in daycare and all that. And it's just makes no sense for her to go to work financially. So she's at home all day. We've got two young kids. I am commuting on the commuter rail from Westborough, which is near Worcester, in the middle of the state, you know, an hour and a half each way, every day.

Joey:
And that's only if it's not snowing and the train gets the way that, you know, then I give you two hours. And so I'm just not there. I'm not present like I want it to be. The only time I saw my children was really like, right in the morning as I was leaving, I'd get home. They'd be in bed and then on the weekends. But on the weekends, it was like so hard because it's trying to cram so much into those two days. And then my mind was preoccupied so that that really for me meant I want to be able to be present for my family. So moving to Florida was a big part of that. And teaching, you know, at a physical college for a year really enabled that because the lifestyle of an instructor at a private art school is awesome. It's really great gig, you know, and I can't speak for everybody, but I can speak for people who teach at Ringling. I mean, it's a sweet deal. Like you you know, you work, you teach classes three days a week, maybe two days a week, depending on your schedule. Maybe you have a meeting once a week. I mean, really, it was like it at most a 30 hour week kind of deal and you get so many days off and stuff like that. And then what I realized that was kind of like that experience taught me something really important, which was kind of what you were talking about. Everybody else in my life around me at that point, I didn't. Have any friends who are entrepreneurs? Everyone I knew. Everyone I knew had a full time job, and most people I knew had a full time job they really didn't like. Right. Even if it's the thing they wanted to do. Like the classic cases, lawyers, all of my friends, all of my friends who were looking forward to being lawyers and they got into law school and now they're lawyers. One of them is happy,.

Fei:
Like suicidal almost. That's scary. Yeah, it really is.

Joey:
Talk to them. Yes. No, I'm just like one of my best friends like that. I worry about him. And so I feel like all of the sudden I had this glimpse behind the curtain where I was like, ha! I'm actually like when I moved from Boston to Florida to teach at the school, I cut my pay by 70 percent. I took a huge pay cuts to do that. And we got rid of. We downsized everything. We sold our house. We were renting now. We got we had two cars.

Joey:
We got rid of one and had one car. I got a bike like a bike everywhere. So I didn't need another car. It was so awesome. I had never been that happy. And it made me realize it made me realize, like, wow, I've been chasing the wrong things. And really, for me, it's all like just time freedom. And, you know, gosh, I'm happy riding my bike to my office. Coming home, going to the beach, opening a bottle of wine. I'm a simple man. I don't need lights. So. So starting school motion, my goal originally was all I want is that I just want a business that can be kind of passive. Right. That whole like illusory dream of passive income, which is not not totally realistic. But I was try to sell it up passive. I was I was aiming at that. I was like, if I can you know, I had this conversation with a friend of mine right around the time that I started to get serious about it and make classes. And I said, if I can generate 30 grand a year of income with school notion and then I can freelance. I was like I could freelance and I could make 30 k year passive off school motion. And that's all I need. And I aimed at that. And it just blew past that. And so now, you know, there were many years in between that and where I am now and and a lot of coaching and growth and stress and building a team and learning how to be a CEO and all that.

Joey:
But where it is now, my business is very close to the point where, I mean, frankly, it's at the point where last year, for example, my family and I went to Europe for three weeks. We also homeschool our kids. So we have. We've like set our whole lives up to be free. Basically, we went to Europe for three weeks and we just traveled and the company kept going, kept running itself. And this year, we're going to Japan for three weeks and the company will keep running itself. And so my goal is by next year, I want to be able to be gone for three months. Not that I would leave for three months and not touch the company, but just I want to be able to do that. And so, to be honest, that's sort of now my North Star is like, how do I how do I engineer my life so that I'm not required to do work? Right. Like like I love what I'm doing. But I also recognize that I won't always love what I'm doing because I've had that experience. And so I'm trying to build a machine that enables other people to keep the party going. And then that gets into all kinds of tricky things. Well, you can't just build a machine to service you.

Joey:
That's really stupid and selfish. So obviously, if it's not also like helping everyone on the team with their careers and it's fulfilling for them and all of that, the whole thing's pointless. So this is a really long winded answer. But in terms of my lifestyle, everything like there's not one thing about my lifestyle that I would change everything is exactly what we aimed at. And I think that that's kind of the important thing I always try to like. When I talk to people who aren't happy in their position or the job or their life, I find a lot of times it's because they didn't aim themselves there. They ended up there. And it's kind of like this thing. It's like the secret that no one talks about. You can actually aim yourself at things and it may take three years to get there. But if you don't aim yourself there and start going that way, it just won't happen. And so that's what we realize. My wife and I and we've sort of done that. And so now everything about our life is basically engineered. We sat down and said, do we want our kids in public school? Because that creates this set of trade offs in this set of benefits. And we decided to homeschool. We still have one car. You know, we we decided we liked it. So I and I you know, my office, my company is fully remote. By the way, there's no one else in Florida but me. Everyone's remote. That was a decision based on this sort of guiding principle of I don't want to have a building where I'm gonna feel guilty if I'm not there and 14 other people are there.

Fei:
So ten twenty thousand dollars on rent alone.

Joey:
Yeah. Yeah. So. So I don't want that. So I'm not gonna have it. And maybe that means we're growing slower, but I don't care. You know, we don't have any investors or anything, so. So, yeah, I mean, it's really that whole principle is really guided almost everything.

Fei:
Hey, it's Fei from Feisworld. Today, I'm joined by Joey Korenman previously as a creative director working in Boston, moved his family to Florida and became a university teacher there. He continued his side hustle and created School of Motion, an incredibly successful online learning platform for motion designers. But most importantly, he's living an incredibly free and joyful life with his family. If freedom is what you're aiming for. This is the episode for you. See you at the end of the show.

Fei:
This is exactly the type of stories where you want to hear the step and step by step. You want to hear what the truth is because so much so, you'd listen to whatever news outlets and websites and they're trying to just condense the information. And just like 2013, he became a millionaire. And you're like, how exactly did that happen? But also, I think there is an opportunity perhaps. Whether you like or not, in your you and your wife together raising three kids. You moved. You made all the business decisions. You might not notice this. But to me, that's also a a rare thing, because so many couples, like, even if the wife were the husband, don't need to be in the business. Making these decisions together is a real challenge. Because I'll tell you that I already have the freedom, but I don't have three kids. And I pretty much make decisions that I have a partner. But I I make a decision. All the decisions pretty much on my own. You know, more or less. And he's very supportive. So I don't you know, I feel like there's either a cause or something that you can maybe address and teach other people, because I also say this, that I know that when people go to work and I used to really do my one hour and one and a half hour commute and I was completely miserable. But also, like so many other people come home and they face sort of the judgment they face, you know, that just all the misunderstandings that accumulated, oh, the anger, anxiety and stress accumulates at home. And you seem to not just say none of it, but you seem to really get a manager really well.

Joey:
Yeah, it's a tricky thing on a CV because I I haven't I well I've I've gotten better at this, but I used to have a tendency I think like a lot of people who sort of go down this rabbit hole of self discovery and self-improvement and then you start applying these things and it starts working and then it works more and more and more. So you learn more and you read more and you get into Tony Robbins. I mean, you know, the whole thing. And then at the end of it, you're like, you have this life that you're happy with in this business and you love it.

Joey:
You do. And I feel I'm very aware of how fortunate I am. And so then when I see someone like a family member that's not in that position at all and is doing all the things I used to do, chasing more. Like, oh, well, I got to where I you know, I've got a promotion. So now I've got to think about the next thing you like. That whole mindset, I want to just say the right thing so that they snap out of it. But I also know that, like, I don't know that there was something that you could have said to me that would snap me out of it. It literally took years of.

Joey:
And it was all in. And it was driven by me. I became obsessed like I am sure you've gone through this where you just cannot stop listening to podcasts. Yeah. And then you start listening to them on one and a half speed so you can get more and then you start reading every book. I mean, you go, oh, yeah. Binge on this stuff and you start using it and then it works. And it's addictive. There's no shortcut. I don't think. And so when I see. You know, like my friend who is the lawyer who, you know, if you wrote down his life on paper and you showed it to someone, they'd say, wow, OK, super successful and, you know, beautiful wife, beautiful kids, huge house and like, great salary partner in elephants. You know, on paper, everything was great. When you meet this person, you know you're not happy. And I like. So what can I say to cause him to undo his entire life and redo a different way? There's nothing. Right. So I. So so like that the idea of a chorus or something that teaches this. I've thought about that honestly, because I I I feel so true. I don't I'm not religious. I don't like this word about blast. You know, like I don't know of a better word, but to be in the position I mean, and to have the life I have. But I also know that it took seven thousand steps and realizations and stumbles and all of those things.

Joey:
And there is no I think you have to do all that. I don't think I can be a trailblazer or anyone can. And then greased back and just pull everyone else to where you are and say, see it. I've tried that. And it just causes frustration because I think there's a lot of cognitive dissonance where you say things to people and they know what you're saying is, is it feels true. But it's also just it's too painful to acknowledge that. But it's very true. Yeah. You know, my my one of my best friends, he you know, he hates his job. Like he tells me every time I ask him, he hates it. It's awful. Yeah. You know. But he's you know, but he's he's been there a long time and he's he's got, you know, golden handcuffs is the term. Right. So he he it's so much that it's now hard to leave and he's got kids and a wife and stuff. And it's like, OK, so. What I did because I was in that situation exactly. I was making over two hundred thousand dollars a year as a creative director and had a house and a mortgage and we had two cars and my wife wasn't working and we had two small kids. And there in that way. And, you know, what we did was we un schools, everything. We literally just started like on doing our life and then starting a new one. And it was hard and scary and painful and all of that. But. And so it's like so much better on the other side. I can't. So. I don't know how to get other people to see that. So I'm not sure there's like an easy answer to that.

Fei:
And it's it's so true about what you said. And for me to make that shift as of 2017, I was working from my my life in 2017. You know, I started freelancing January 2016, had a fantastic year because it was a little bit wasn't slow both just enough as like I was operating at 50 percent capacity. Again, no kids. I want to claim that I has down to anybody who is raising two or three kids or more. But I had a lot of freedom. I had a client who literally it was like a five minute drive. I couldn't believe it. I don't even go down the pike. It was just right over in Watertown. I live in Newton and there were lovely, tiny little office and there's like a workout room. They do zoom, but they are just perfect. And then I had other kinds of New York. I was working from home. But 2017, it just completely dialed up for me. I was working 60, 70 hours a week for agency. Well, smaller agency. They're lovely. They're nothing like what you had described. But, you know, and then there is like individual guys of love. They're all from Cirque du Soleil. And also, it was like 80, 100 hours a week. I love all my clients. I was wasn't working out, completely burned out. I was making well over two hundred K, which was doubling my fulltime income. Yeah. Then I made a conscious decision to say, really, like you said, money isn't everything. What is the point with all the money I make to give, you know, a third of that back to the government and not being allowed to do any of the things I love working. I'll take one. You're miserable and your body is telling you you're giving all the signs way before then. Then you know it. So 2018. I did the documentary. I traveled to China, came back. And, you know, the kind of like, OK, you know, the work becomes the type of work becomes less. I am more time to connect with more people, start developing courses. And now I go to Zumba twice a day. You know, one once in the morning, once a night. And and it is like nobody you're right. Nobody is able to kind of snap out of it. Only you can. And along the way was hard because for me to people as human nature is so easy to look back to say to undertake is the next year should be 250. The year after should be 300. I'm just me. I don't even need all that much money using. So I love what you said. And it just like resonates with every like every ounce of me. I go right now. It's liberating.

Joey:
And I think that I think that the trick is that, you know, if someone listens to this or like people I talked to, you know, most people are not making two hundred thousand dollars to begin with. And so it's. And they would love to and probably would like eliminate certain financial stress in their life if they were making that much. It's very it's it's impossible to imagine making that much and not being happy is a result of that. It's almost like, you know, like I don't know if you've ever experimented with psychedelics. Like, you can't explain what it feels like to someone who hasn't done it. You just have to do it. That's it. I can't tell you what it feels like when you eat psilocybin, but like I said, I haven't tried it so I can try right when I refuse. It's in fairness, it's like a matter of time. I'm like, yeah, but you know, like that's. That's it. That's again, an analogy. It's like like I have I've tried it and I know what it's like and I can try to describe it to you and I will fail.

Joey:
That's it. So and I think it's the same thing with making two hundred thousand dollars plus. Right. And on paper it's like, oh my God. I'm like I'm freelancing. I'm making more than 200000 hours a year. I have all these clients certs lay like, you know, five years ago, that version of me would be like, so psyched that this is happened. Right. And so but I am so unhappy. And I had that out. That's it. That was me. I was making that. And I was very unhappy, deeply unhappy. As the only time in my life I've ever been on anti-depressants was that period. It was also winter in New England, which is awful, horrible. But I'm so like, that's a thing. It's like you can't like, I wish I could take that experience and bottle it and let people have it so that they don't have to go through it. They could just skip that and get to the good part. But over the years, I've kind of. Come to the conclusion that I think maybe you have to do dirt.

Joey:
You have to do every step. I don't know that there's a shortcut.

Fei:
This episode of the Feisworld Podcast is brought to you by Feisworld LLC, our marketing service agency created for independent creators and businesses. We offer Web site development, video production, marketing, mentorship to people who want to tell better stories, level up and create a profitable brand Feisworld Podcast team. Our chief editor and producer German Ceballos associate producer, Adam Leffert, social media and content manager Rose De Leon. Transcript Editor Elina Akhmedova. And lastly, myself, the creator and host of Feisworld. Thank you so much for listening.

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Hey it’s Fei, I’m so glad you found me! 

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I created Feisworld Podcast in 2014 to help independent creators live their creative and financial freedom. We have over 200 episodes and listeners from 50+ countries. Yeah!

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