In addition to that, I am bringing back the thing I started about this time last year, I’m going to bring back the very short format podcast, The Late Night Internet Marketing Minute. That will also be published once a week.
That’s the plan. For those of you that have followed me for a long time, you know this is a very aggressive plan for me. This will represent sort of a stretch goal for me, something that I’ve never actually been able to successfully do. That is simply to create content consistently. I’ve not been able to do that well because I’m a part-time internet marketer, I have a big day job, as a lot of you know, and it’s just hard for me to get everything in balance. I coach my son’s basketball team – actually, I’m the assistant coach because I know so little about basketball it’s kind of embarrassing – and baseball team, and of course I’m involved in a lot of things that my daughter does. It’s busy around here. Because of that I just haven’t been able to get this done, but I’m committed to do it.
One of the things that has really fired me up and gotten me to the point where I feel like I can do this is this book called The Miracle Morning. I don’t know if you guys have heard about this book. A lot of people are talking about it. In fact, the first time I heard about it was on a recent episode of The Smart Passive Income Podcast. It’s a really cool book by this guy named Hal Elrod. He has a very interesting personal story. The book is all about how your expectations for how the day goes can be set by what you do in the morning and the routines that you have in the morning.
Morning is flexible. For me, morning has to be pretty early in the morning because I’m up and running and going to my day job pretty early. But, the idea is that you can set these routines in your morning, some very specific things that can really help you get done the things that need to be done, and stay focused on the things that are important. It’s a really excellent book.
Maybe we’ll be able to get Hal on the show. If you want to hear an excellent interview with Hal, I encourage you to go over and check out The Smart Passive Income Podcast and you can find that, it was just a couple weeks ago that Pat interviewed Hal.
That is my plan for 2015. What are your plans for 2015? Let’s hear about those in the comments and on Facebook. Specifically, if there is something I can do to help you with your plans for 2015, let me know about it. Maybe you want to do a guest post on LateNightIM.com, or maybe I can help you by bringing you on and telling your story on the podcast. If there is something I can do to help you and it makes sense for my listeners, it’s a win-win, let’s do it. Let me know.
Balancing Day Job and Internet Marketing
You guys know that the bigger priority in my life other than this show, which is incredibly important to me, is my day job. That’s how I pay my light bills and all that kind of exciting stuff that I need to do.
Imagine my surprise when I get called into my HR manager’s office. Well, not really called into, we have a standing meeting and I’m planning to talk to my HR manager sort of about my current role in the company, I work for a large Fortune 500 company here in Dallas. I never talk about the actual name of the company on the show because I don’t want anyone to ever be confused. It’s kind of the Scott Adams thing – Scott Adams was the Dilbert guy, he was also working for a very large company, and he tried to keep those two things separate. Although, in Scott’s case he was actually writing about his company in many cases. My stuff is completely separate and I try to keep it that way. It’s like not crossing the beams in Ghost Busters.
So I walk into the HR manager’s office and she is kind of a consummate HR professional, I have a lot of respect for her. I’ve worked with her for a long time and we’ve accomplished good things together. I was going in there to talk to her about me, so I sit down and the first thing she says to me is, “I know a secret about you.” I thought, “What in the world could that be?” She said, “You have a podcast,” which she immediately followed up with, “I’m cool with that, don’t worry about it.”
It was the funniest thing. Apparently she was cruising around on iTunes and she saw my face on the cover art because it said, “People who listen to this podcast might also like this….” and I was one of those podcasts that she might also like. I have no idea if she ever listened to an episode or if she will ever hear this episode, but I was relieved that she was super cool. Of course, it’s a hobby like any other hobby. It’s not something in my particular case that would cause any trouble with my employer.
One of the reasons that I’m not worried about that is because of the parameters that I’ve set up. I wanted to talk to you guys about this, that if you’re doing an internet business as a side job, I think there are a couple of really simple rules that you should follow to make sure that you don’t cross the beams and give your employer a reason to be upset that you have this thing going on to the side.
Thing number one, and I guess this is probably the most obvious thing, is don’t work on your side business while you’re supposed to be working on your real job.
Since all of you have businesses of your own or you’re thinking about having businesses of your own, let me put it this way. How would you feel if you hired someone to do a task for you – put up a website, create some content – and they were billing you for that task, but during some of that time that you paid for they were working on someone else’s project? How would that make you feel? You’d be frustrated. You’d probably fire them, or at the very least never use them again. You’re not going to pay somebody to work on someone else’s stuff. What if you paid $50 a week for your lawn guy to mow your lawn and it was by the hour, but for 20 minutes of that time he was over raking your neighbor’s yard for free? You wouldn’t do that. That’s not how it’s supposed to work.
Even if you can get away with it, which in a lot of big companies you can get away with all kinds of crazy stuff, never ever work on your side business during work hours. It’s easy to make it happen that way with the way you can schedule things in WordPress and schedule social media interactions with the Buffer app. Maybe you decide that during your lunchtime you’re going to take a sack lunch and you’re going to go down to the park where there’s free wi-fi and work on your business. That’s fine, that’s your own time. If your employer lets you out for lunch, that’s great. But don’t sit at your desk or be on your phone during your work shift working on your internet business, I think that’s pretty clear.
The other thing that I think is important is don’t use any of your company’s resources in order to make your business more profitable. I mean don’t go in late at night and use their copy machine, don’t go in and use their internet services, don’t use their computers, don’t use their brand in any way. Don’t use things that you know from your day job in order to make your brand better. Maybe you’re in some related business to what your company does – don’t use that information to give yourself an edge in your side business. All of those things, if you were working for me, would be reason for me to raise an eyebrow. Don’t do those things.
Make sense and try to be able to draw a bright line between what you’re doing in your day job and what you are doing in your side gig. If you can’t do that, I think that’s when you need permission from your management, hopefully in writing, that what you’re doing is okay. If you can’t draw that bright line then you need them to tell you that it’s okay. If you can draw the bright line, then it’s just something that you do at your house and it shouldn’t really be too much of their concern.
If you work in Texas, like I do, you can be fired for any reason. So another thing that you might have to worry about if you have a gay rights podcast where you’re talking about how great it is to be part of the gay community and you work for Chick-fil-A, you might have a problem. That’s another kind of thing that you need to talk about is making sure that if you are doing something that is not well aligned with the values of your employer, that you’re prepared to deal with the consequences of that if that bugs them. I think this is particularly true if you’re in management, but I imagine it would be true for almost anyone, depending on how big the gap was. If you’re in a right to work state, they don’t have to employ you, that’s also right to fire.
That brings me to my last tip. I get this question a lot in affiliate marketing because a lot of times in affiliate marketing you need to have an identity online because it helps build trust. The question is should you use your name. Obviously, I use my name, and it’s my real name. You don’t have to use your real name.
One option that you can use is to use some kind of cartoon name, like Podcast Answer Man. Of course, everyone knows the Podcast Answer Man is Cliff Ravenscraft, but he could just be Cliff the Podcast Answer Man and he would never have to tell anyone who he was.
With a guy like Cliff, he in the past has done a lot of personal consulting, he’s building a brand around who he is, so obscuring his name is not conducive to the kind of transparent brand that he’s trying to build. Same thing with Pat Flynn. There’s no way that Pat Flynn, mister transparency, is going to be able to successfully feel good about not telling people his real name.
If you have a really good reason, like you don’t want your employer to know what you’re doing, make up a name and a picture, and if you’re ever asked tell people, “No, that is not my real name. I have to work anonymously because I have some other things going on in my life that require me to do that,” and go that way if you feel like you need to do that. Or, a compromise would be, “No, that’s not my real name, but anyone who would like to know my real name and has a need to know, I’m happy to tell them.” That’s another way you could go. Just be completely transparent about the fact that you’re not operating under your real name and why. You might even put it under your about page and say, “This is not my real name.”
A lot of times I hear about women who choose to do this because they feel like they could be targeted by some kind of crime. I think that’s smart. I don’t think there’s a problem with that. But, I think transparency there is a good thing as well.
I thought you would enjoy that story and I hope that helps you if you’re dealing with similar questions in your business.
Lessons From the World of Minecraft and YouTube
The next thing I wanted to talk about was this conversation that I had with my now 8 year old son, who tied for 4th place in the school spelling bee, by the way. I wanted to talk about a conversation that I had with him about his YouTube. Every morning he gets up and watches YouTube. We have a pretty strict policy about what he can watch, and my son is a rule-follower and he does exactly what he’s told most of the time on stuff like that. He watches what he’s allowed to watch, but we monitor it as well.
His favorite game is and has been for a couple of years now, Minecraft. If you haven’t played Minecraft, it’s a very interesting game with kind of throwback graphics. It reminds me a lot of Legos. You build things, so there’s an enormous amount of creativity, but you build it under the stress of having to fight zombies, skeletons, and big spiders and stuff like that. You can create these worlds, so that’s really neat. Resources are finite and you have to go find them, that’s really cool. It also has a creative mode where no one is attacking you and you can just build amazing things.
Then in addition to that, it’s a pretty open platform and it has been extended tremendously. People run these servers with all kinds of different kinds of challenge games that you can play. So there’s this big Minecraft universe out there, it’s very impressive. In fact, it’s so impressive that Microsoft recently bought the company. As a Mac guy that makes me very nervous, but hopefully they won’t mess it up.
When we were learning how to play Minecraft two years ago we ran across this guy, I’ve talked about him a little bit on the show before, Paul Soares Jr.. Paul Soares Jr. is a guy who had a day job and started making videos about how to play Minecraft. He did something that was really amazing; he educated people at the same time he was entertaining them.
He set himself apart from most of the other YouTube videos at the time in two ways. He produced pretty high quality stuff; his audio was good, he had a plan for his videos, they were well thought out. In fact, he had several tutorial type of videos, then he had these drama storyline type of videos where he would pretend to be on some adventure in Minecraft, like a survival adventure. All of these were very interesting. In fact, they’re so interesting that they held my attention as a 40-something year old guy, and my young son was completely mesmerized by this.
He set himself apart from the market by doing something that was uniquely good. It entertained, it educated, and the production quality was very high. And it was safe for kids, it was clean. He was the one, because his competition was a lot of teenagers dropping F-bombs on YouTube, we gravitated to Paul. He is the guy that we allow Zach to watch. And he puts out videos at an amazing rate. He has expanded from Minecraft, he does a lot of video game stuff now. In addition to Minecraft he reviews new games that are coming out.
All of that has led to a situation where Paul’s channel has over one million subscribers. I’m not talking about views, I don’t know what the views are, it’s tens of millions of views by now, maybe even more. One million subscribers on YouTube.
What did Paul do to do that? He found something that he was interested in, he thought about how to do it well, and he just did it. He put himself out there and he did the thing. There’s no other real significant amount of promotion. He has experimented with some websites related to it and some forums and stuff, but from what I can see, it’s not like he’s out there marketing these YouTube videos significantly. He has gotten book deals as a result of this and all other kinds of craziness. He is widely considered the expert in the area of Minecraft, him and three or four other guys.
This guy has established himself as the world’s leading expert by producing amazing content. A couple of videos a day, usually. He’s left his day job, as far as I know, and he has this stuff going full time.
I contacted him one time on Twitter to thank him for putting out family-friendly stuff. One of the most flattering things I have ever heard, he said to me, “I know you, your podcast and Pat’s podcast are one of the things that I listened to when I was getting started on this adventure.” That made me really happy. It’s always flattering to be mentioned with Pat, but to think that there’s at least one guy out there that I helped a little bit to get something like this going, even if he only listened to 35 seconds of one episode, I’m super thrilled for that.
The meaning for you is if you are trying to do something, Paul is doing the thing that I always tell you that you need to do, he’s adding value. In this case, he adds entertainment value and he educates people. One of his most popular videos is How to Survive Your First Night in Minecraft, which is targeted at people who just downloaded Minecraft and they need to know how to make it through the first 24 hours of the game, which lasts 20 or 30 minutes. If you don’t know what to do, you get eaten by zombies, which is not good, very painful, they eat your brain and all that.
That’s Paul and that’s what you can do in your business. You can do what Paul did, you can look for a place to add value. Maybe you pick YouTube, maybe you blog, maybe you have a podcast, maybe you create an amazing website. Whatever it is that you do, you want to add value to people that they come back to. In Paul’s case, most of his direct monetization, to my knowledge, is through the ads on YouTube. But, as I mentioned, this is leading to all kinds of other side stuff for Paul as well. Who knows what will happen now that the deep pockets of Microsoft are in the loop.
We love Paul. Hopefully we’ll get him on the show someday to talk about this. He’s a little bit hard to pin down. Understand what you can learn from a guy like Paul that could get you to some equivalent of one million YouTube subscribers.
Chatting with Zach About Minecraft Videos
With all this discussion about Paul, I asked my son about why he watches the videos, what he thinks. We had a little discussion around Christmas and New Year’s Day about all of this. I thought I’d put some pieces of that in here because it’s very revealing. Like I said, he just turned 8 years old. He’s going to tell you the truth about what he’s thinking when he watches these videos on YouTube.
Mark: Good morning. Happy New Year.
Zach: Happy New Year.
Mark: How’s it going?
Mark: Today is the first day of the year. That’s kind of cool, right?
Mark: What are we going to do, are we going to do anything special for the new year? Sometimes we eat black-eyed peas. Do you like black-eyed peas?
Mark: Why not?
Zach: I don’t know.
Mark: But they bring us luck.
Zach: No they don’t.
Mark: You don’t believe in luck?
Zach: I don’t believe in black peas bringing the luck, but I believe in other luck.
Mark: You know what? I don’t believe black-eyed peas bring you luck either, but I eat them just in case.
Zach: I don’t even think I like them.
Mark: I don’t think you like them either.
We got up early this morning. I got up at 5:00. What time did you get up?
Mark: Was it that late? It seemed earlier. What was the very first thing you did when you got up?
Zach: This morning was kind of different. The laptop was unplugged, I found that out, so I tried to find a plug. I couldn’t find it, but then I realized it was right behind the couch. I just plugged it in there and then started watching videos.
Mark: So you watch YouTube every morning?
Mark: What do you watch?
Zach: Videos from Paul Soares Jr. mostly.
Mark: Who is this Paul Soares Jr. guy, what does he talk about?
Zach: Minecraft and a bunch of other games. One of my favorite ones of the ones he’s doing a lot right now is Starbound and Escapists.
Mark: So you watch his videos pretty much every day?
Mark: How many videos does he come out with?
Zach: I don’t know, but he has over 1,000 viewers.
Mark: I think way over 1,000 viewers, maybe like way over one million viewers.
Zach: That’s right.
Mark: So he does Minecraft, but not just Minecraft, is that right?
Zach: That’s right.
Mark: Why do you watch him? What do you like about him? What makes you like to watch him?
Zach: He does really cool videos. He can be really funny.
Mark: He makes videos about games that you’re interested in. What do you get out of it?
Zach: It’s entertaining, I learn things.
Mark: I’m looking at his channel now. That’s 1,000,000 subscribers to Paul’s YouTube channel.
Zach: I’m looking at all his series. Madpack, he hasn’t been doing that in awhile.
Mark: What is Madpack?
Zach: Madpack is like a mad version of Minecraft. Everything is mad. If you punch a cow, it will come attack you.
Mark: Why do you like his videos? What is it about his videos, how come you watch his and not someone else’s? What makes you choose Paul’s videos?
Zach: He doesn’t say a lot of bad words and stuff.
Mark: So that’s the first thing. One reason is simply that I let you watch his videos because he is family-friendly.
Zach: Another reason is because you know him.
Mark: But you like his videos, right?
Zach: They’re really cool and funny sometimes.
Mark: So they entertain you. Do you also learn things from his videos?
Mark: So they educate you.
Zach: Not like math, but like how to download them, how to get good stuff.
Mark: How to play the games. So they’re fun to watch, they’re entertaining, and you learn things.
Mark: Anything else? Are they boring or exciting?
Zach: Usually exciting. I’ve ran into a few Escapists videos and Captive Minecraft that are very boring.
Mark: So you don’t watch those, you skip them?
Zach: I usually watch Escapists, but I never really watched Captive Minecraft.
Mark: I see. Well, there you go. Would you say that what makes Paul’s videos good are that you learn things and they’re fun to watch?
Zach: Yes, pretty much.
Mark: That’s pretty much it, otherwise you wouldn’t watch them. Right?
Zach: Right. Pretty much.
Mark: Awesome. Thanks. Can you tell all my listeners Happy New Year?
Zach: Happy New Year.
Mark: What do you hope for them in the new year? If you could give them a wish, what would you give them? If you were magic and you could say, “I hope that you have a great year,” or “I hope that you have great health during the year,” or, “I hope that you have peace.”
Zach: I hope that you have a great time.
Mark: Okay, awesome.
Zach: Especially today.
Mark: Thank you very much. Thanks for being on the show.
Zach: You’re welcome.
By the way, if you’re wondering about what’s the economic power of an 8 year old; the 8 year old has parents with credit cards and Amazon accounts. We have bought a boatload of Minecraft stuff over the last couple of years. So don’t be afraid. Make sure you understand what market you’re targeting and don’t be afraid to target mom and dad’s money, because that works sometimes too.
I hope you enjoyed that little piece with Zach. He’s a super smart, fun kid, and he makes my life a lot better every day.
Thank You For Your Reviews
The last thing I wanted to talk about today is I want to give a shoutout to all of you who have left reviews on iTunes. Now that I am serious about bringing back the short format podcast, getting 50 or more episodes of this podcast out in 2015, I am definitely looking for iTunes reviews. Go to LateNightIM.com/itunes, leave me a review. Tell your friends who got the brand new iPhone 6 for Christmas to subscribe. My understanding is that 51% of the activations in the 24 hours following Christmas Day here in the United States were iPhones specifically, that means iPhone 6 and 6+s. Of course the podcast app is on the front page. Podcasting is growing like crazy and iTunes results help me tremendously.
Specifically every week I like to pick out someone who has left a review and say thank you. This week I pick Coach Brady, who is actually a friend of mine who lives down the street. He coaches my son’s basketball team. He listens to my show just because he finds it interesting, he doesn’t do anything in the internet marketing space – either that or he’s just being nice, I’m not sure which. Coach Brady, thanks so much for listening. I really appreciate the review and the feedback. Again, if you guys want to help me out and leave a review on iTunes, you can find me at LateNightIM.com/itunes.
By the way, I had many requests, I only had 50 episodes showing in iTunes, I think I fixed that now. I think by the time you hear this or in the next couple of days you’ll be able to see the entire back catalog all the way back to episode one. For those of you that were wanting to go back and hear those very early episodes in 2009, you should be able to do that now.
Wrapping Things Up…
Until next week – and I plan to release these episodes on Thursdays – I hope you have an absolutely fantastic week. I hope you do exciting things. Whatever it is, whatever the reason is that you’re listening to this podcast, I want you get something accomplished between now and when you hear the sound of my voice again, because I am going to ask you about it next week. Talk to you soon.