Teaching Transformations Podcast Episode 4: Starting from Zero

Teaching Transformations

Starting from Zero

Using experience to build skill sets that benefit career goals can be challenging. Ryan and Tim discuss how identifying and studying those who have launched a thriving business leads to achieving your own success.

The Teaching Transformations Podcast. Join Tim Desmond Ryan Wooley as they help teachers in their late forties or fifties to design a post-academic life.

Seize the Day!

Transcript:

Tim  0:00  

Let’s get this recording, get it synched up here. Okay, I think whenever you’re ready.

Ryan  0:03  

What’s up, Desmond?

Tim  0:05  

Not much, man. How are you doing?

Ryan  0:12  

Alright. Tech issues. I hate technology sometimes.

Tim  0:17  

Technology sucks, you know? Get back to the good old days of like typewriters and paper and pen.

Ryan  0:23  

Ah, boy. We’re in that northeast Ohio stretch between January and March, and we’re like, right in the middle of it. It’s so cold and dark. The days are short, starting to get a little longer, maybe. How do you deal with this?

Tim  0:46  

Yeah, I don’t do well with this. I think it’s hereditary. I remember my dad, growing up in Pittsburgh, he just hated winter. I mean, he hated it, and it was a combination of two things. It was the decreasing daylight, and then the lack of sunlight. In this part of the country, you get that and then you get like, the cold in the snow, so Joy and I have already, you know, we’ve already decided as soon as our youngest graduates, we are out of here. We’re gone. Far, far away.

Ryan  1:31  

That makes me sad.

Tim  1:32  

It doesn’t bother you?

Ryan  1:36  

No, not really. I mean, I think it’s just because it’s all I’ve known. For me, I feel like I’m always living in this sense of perpetual anticipation of something better coming. I don’t know. Maybe that’s connected to Cleveland sports. It’s just, I don’t know, it doesn’t bother me. I feel like it makes me appreciate the sunny days and the longer days when they get here.

Tim  2:05  

Yeah, I’ll stick to them. It’s great.

Ryan  2:08  

I just talked to my friend, Ben. Last night, he called me out of the blue. He lived here for like five years, and he moved back south. He’s so happy to be back there. He’s like, so is it sixty and sunny there, too? And I’m like, no, not yet.

Tim  2:26  

It matters though, it really does. I will say this is the first year that I’ve been exercising outside. Prior to the pandemic in 2020, I was going to a gym in the mornings to get in my cardio, and when all the gyms shut down, I started running, and I’ve been doing that ever since. I wasn’t sure what was gonna happen in winter because it’s not so much a matter of cold, but we live in a place where we get lake effect snow, and in February, we pretty much get snow every night. You just wake up, there’s another inch or two on the ground. The challenge isn’t running in the cold, it’s running without slipping and breaking your back, but I’ve been doing it, and I have to honestly say I think out of the past ten years or so, I feel like I’m most adjusted to the Cleveland winter this year. It’s because I’m running outside for like thirty minutes every morning, and I think it’s helping my body acclimate to that.

Ryan  3:28  

Interesting. I think it was Tim Ferriss that said that you burn more calories if you’re exercising in the cold. It has to do with heat exchange or something like that.

Tim  3:42  

Yeah, it’s odd because I run before the sun comes up. I get my running really early. I got out of the warm bed, out of the warm house, and it was five degrees this morning. It’s dark, and it’s cold, and it’s wet, and yet I get about ten or fifteen minutes in, and my fingertips are a little cold. Other than that, the cold weather doesn’t really bother me. I guess that’s because like you said, you know, burning so many calories and getting the blood pumping, and it doesn’t bother me the second half of my run.

Ryan  4:20  

Wow. Good for you. You’re a machine. I don’t think I could do that.

Tim  4:28  

Yeah, I know. I didn’t think I could either, but then just get into a system, you get into a habit. You just do it.

Ryan  4:38  

So, I talked about anticipation being related to the seasons for me. Some of my anticipation right now is coming from this project and a couple of other ones that I’m tickling at the moment. I’m not yet immersed. I haven’t jumped into the deep end, but I’m working on it, and I see possibilities, and that’s exciting for me. It’s hard to say whether the plunge is going to happen more sort of after a conventional retirement or if it’ll be accelerated, kind of like yours was, but I’m just excited to be working on some of this finally.

Tim  5:19  

Yeah, there is. There’s definitely a sort of cheesy hope. I guess that’s kind of baked into that whenever you’re starting something new, and it’s just full of all kinds of possibilities. I think I’ve discovered too, and you can probably back this up, I love starting and building stuff. I hate managing things. As soon as something’s built, I start to lose interest, and I’ve changed positions and/or jobs about every five to seven years, so that starting energy for me is very attractive.

Ryan  5:57  

Yeah, and I think some people are the opposite. Some people don’t enjoy that and maybe aren’t good at it, so I think it’s important to know what speaks to you.

Tim  6:10  

Yes.

Ryan  6:12  

I have kind of a big question for you today, but I want to draw a little bit of context. First, I know we’ve talked about your accelerated retirement story or your independent story quite a bit. We’ve identified it as an important focal point of this project for a variety of reasons, and I’m sure there are multiple chapters that we’re going to delve into, but if this story were captured in book form, one of the early chapters might be called Side Hustle. Another might be called Independence, and somewhere in one of those chapters, you became aware that you were building something. I want you to try to identify the moment when that light bulb went off for you.

Tim  6:59  

Yeah, I don’t know how much we’ve gotten into what I did. My plan was to write and publish fiction full time, right? I think we’ve established that. As life does, that’s not exactly what happened, and that’s okay. Alright, so we talked about the conversation I had with the headmaster and how I didn’t renew my contract. I basically had two months of salary coming to me, and then I was kind of on my own. In the spring of 2017, at the same time, Zach and I had released the Final Awakening trilogy, which was a post-apocalyptic sci-fi trilogy set in New Orleans, and that book and series did extremely well. In fact, it did better than anything else we did before, since it outsold any book that I did by myself. Just to kind of give folks some idea, I mean, at one point, we were probably splitting seven to $8,000 a month, just from that series. It wasn’t exactly matching my salary, but it was going in the right direction, and I had this feeling in the summer of 2017, like, alright, this is gonna work, this is what I was thinking about. When that sales tail kind of dipped, and as they do, when you publish books on Amazon, they call it the 30-day Cliff where you get most of your sales in the first 30 days, and then they kind of tail off, and that’s just a natural thing for anything that you’re selling. As we got further into 2017, both Zach and I realized, okay, this is still making money, but it’s not like Twilight money or it’s not like JK Rowling money. It was enough, and we were going to have to replicate this, and I started getting a little bit worried because we had published a couple of other co-written titles, and they didn’t come anywhere close to the launch that Final Awakening did. This was my heart’s introduction to the 8020 rule, the credo principle, this idea that 80% of your benefits are coming from 20% of your efforts. If you look at that, in terms of books, what it means is one or two of your books is going to sell 80 to 90% of your total royalties for all your books, and this idea that you can’t engineer a bestseller. If they could, every filmmaker, every writer, would publish a bestseller every time out, but that’s just not how it works. There’s some fate, kismet, lock, chance–whatever you want to call it, there’s some element of that. I started having, I won’t call it panic attacks, but I was starting to think as we’re getting into 2017, the school year starting. It’s the first one that I’m not part of in decades. I know you and I had a few messages, I was kind of asking you how the opening faculty meetings were going.

Ryan  10:28  

I think you were rubbing it in that I had to go to them.

Tim Desmond  10:31  

I was kind of being a jerk about it. I was also getting a bit concerned because I was like, okay, Final Awakening was great, but we can’t necessarily, not that we can’t replicate it, but we can’t plan on replicating it, and the few efforts we made weren’t really going anywhere. At the same time, I had been following Shawn Coyne at Storygrid. Shawn Coyne was a big, trad publishing, acquiring editor for decades in New York, and he acquired and edited numerous New York Times number-one bestsellers we’d all recognize, but he’s developed this methodology called Storygrid. In the fall of 2017, he was starting a certification program, and what that meant was, you go down, they were holding this in Nashville, so get out of Nashville for five days of intensive training, and you walk out of there with a Storygrid certification. Not that that meant anything at the time, but what it meant was I felt like I was upping my game as a novelist. I primarily went because I wanted to write better stories, and I wanted to sell more. I thought, well, if the stories are better, they’re going to sell more, therefore the Storygrid certification made sense. Also, it would give me an easier on-ramp to getting clients, so if I wanted to edit other work or do book coaching or author services, having the stamp of Shawn Coyne’s approval would really mean a lot in the industry, and you had to apply for it. There were only nineteen of us in that first group. They’ve since certified other cohorts, but there were only nineteen, so figure one of nineteen people in the world that have this certification for whatever it’s worth. Again, a terrible decision–I didn’t have the money. I think it was $6,000 for the training, and then it was travel expenses, so you know, seven grand, and here I am, cashing my last school paycheck.

Tim Desmond  12:45  

I kind of felt like I had to do it, and I talked to my wife about it, and she was like, well, if that’s what you think you need to do, then go ahead and do it. What I didn’t really tell her at the time, although I think she probably assumed it, was that I put that on the credit card, and it was a gamble that I knew would pay off. I didn’t know when. I knew it would pay off, but in the short term, it was not something I was proud of, but I had to do it, I just felt like I had to do it, so I’m in that training. It’s intense, man. I mean, we would start at eight in the morning, and we were going all day. We were analyzing movies and short stories at night. It was wonderful. It was everything I thought it would be, and I realized when I was there that out of the nineteen, there were only maybe one or two other people who were also writing novels. Most of the people who attended were professional editors or wanted to be professional editors, and they were there to learn how to edit and how to get clients and that sort of thing. When I came back from that, I kind of realized that I was sitting at this, this nexus of a skill stack that just not many people had–I had a Storygrid certification. I had a bestselling book on Amazon, and at that time, I had written and published dozens of my own novels, and there just weren’t many people in the world who had that combination. There are many more now, but even four years ago, there weren’t a lot. That was when the light bulb went off, and I thought, okay, I can still continue to write books. If I’m going to be an editor, I want to be a practitioner. I don’t want to be an editor who doesn’t write books because I feel like I don’t understand the client as well. I’m going to keep writing the books, and I’m going to keep co-writing, but I’m going to start dabbling in author services and see where that goes. I knew with my experience in teaching that I kind of knew how to move students through a particular process or a curriculum, for lack of a better word, so that’s when the light bulb came off. I won’t give the exact figure, but one of the reasons that Shawn said he started the certification program was that he was getting offers from people to edit their work, and he didn’t want to do that anymore. He had spent decades doing that, so he wanted to certify editors who could do this, and he’s like, most people can’t afford me. When I sent him the bill, which was, you know, tens of thousands of dollars, he had very, very few clients who could pay that. When I heard that, I was like, okay, I don’t need tens of thousands, but thousands would be nice. That would pay the bill. I think that is when the light bulb went off, where I thought, okay, I can leverage my skills and experience as a teacher. I can continue writing fiction which is what I really love doing, and I can help other people in the same industry, and make additional revenue that way, so that’s when the light bulb went off. It was the fall of 2017.

Ryan  16:03  

So you kind of just looked around and said, wow. When you stepped back and looked at your skill set, you realized it was really unique, and it enabled you to offer these services to people.

Tim Desmond  16:16  

Yeah, and I think that the turning point was, I’d either read his book, or I heard him on a podcast, but I was really into Scott Adams, who is the Dilbert cartoonist. I think he wrote a book called Skill Stack, and it’s this exact idea. This was where I first heard it, he said, you don’t need to be the best at everything, you only need to be pretty good at a few things that a lot of people don’t have. He’s like, I’m not the funniest guy, I’m not the best cartoonist, and I’m not the best business person, but he’s like, I’m pretty good at all three. There are very few people in the world who do all three of those things in one person, so that’s the idea–tapping into your skills, your experience, your passions, your interests, and sort of stacking those in a way that makes you unique, as opposed to trying to be the best in the world at something, which is almost impossible to do.

Ryan  17:22  

I like that image, and I’ve never heard that term before. That’s intriguing. I’m gonna have to think about this now because I’m sure we all have that. We all can take our unique skills and stack them in a way that sets us apart from the crowd.

Tim Desmond  17:36  

I’ll give you another example. One of my friends, Jeff, one of my author buddies, was listening to my podcast for years. Wonderful guy, and he came to me and said it was kind of my situation. He’s like, I’m kind of stalling. My fiction is not going anywhere. My day job is fine, it’s good, but I want to start building something for the future. He’s a little bit younger than us. He’s in probably his mid 40s, but he’s like, I just want to be looking ahead. I want to be forward thinking. We got to talking, and as it turns out, he works for a company that simulates conversations in four different addiction programs and social workers and training where they write scripts, that’s not AI. They write scripts, and then those scripts are put into a computer program, so if someone is trying to learn how to talk to someone who’s abusing drugs, based on their response, the program will give them this sort of pre-recorded, pre-written dialogue, right? He’s like, yeah, that’s kind of what I do during the day, and I said, Jeff, do you realize how important dialogue is to novelists? Jeff had been spending the past ten years, day in and day out, writing realistic dialogue. I’m like, dude, that’s your skill stack. Take that skill that you do in your day job, this idea of realistic dialogue, and offer that as a service. Start a podcast or a newsletter, write a book. How many writers in the world can say that they are writing and publishing their own novels, and also working on dialogue for their day job all day long? You’re probably the only one in the world, and then, you know, as it turns out, there are only a handful of companies in the world that do this. He basically knows all the companies and all the people, so he literally is the only person in the world that has this particular skill set.

Ryan  19:38  

Yeah. Well, all the teachers in academics I know are not just a teacher. I mean, every single one of them. I know people that are into writing. I know people who do a little bit of that on the side. I know people who do home improvement stuff on the side. I know people who are into investing and the stock market, and they happen to do these things alongside just being a teacher, and those two things can be stacked over top of one another.

Tim Desmond  20:14  

Yes. There’s a guy that you and I both knew who brands a garlic business, like grew and sold his own garlic. You could teach people how to grow garlic in their backyard, you know, I think that’s one of the great things about being a teacher or being an educator or a coach is you have a universal skill set you like. If you’re a bricklayer, and you’re really good at laying bricks, that’s awesome, but that’s about all you can use that skill for is brickwork, right, masonry, but if you’re a teacher, you can teach just about anything. We know from being in the classroom, I know my own experience, you don’t have to be that far ahead of your students, you only need to be a step or two ahead, and you can teach. There’s a built-in advantage for people who have any sort of experience in any type of educational environment.

Ryan  21:14  

Yeah, well, I mean, we’ve talked about this, too. Part of being a teacher is being a learner, and we were good at that. Part of that is making connections, and that allows us to do a lot of different things. So, are you still doing this Storygrid work?

Tim Desmond  21:36  

Well, that’s really evolved. That was the start of my client-based business. I started by doing one-on-one weekly consultations, so someone would hire me to be their book coach, or whatever you want to call it, and every week, I would get on a call with them like this. We would go over a chapter or two together, I would read, make some comments, we come together to talk about it, they would either revise it or do it the next week, and there would be this ongoing thing. That’s where it started. Where I am now, four years later, is I’ve built the Author Success Mastermind community. I’ve sort of phased out of the one-to-one stuff because it’s really time intensive, and I think that’s a pretty common evolution for a lot of people who do client work. You start one-on-one, and then you scale to sort of either one-to-few or one-to-many, just because of the nature of the work. I do some manuscript diagnostics and reviews, I’ve phased things in and out, but essentially, I’ve grown that to become one of my really strong revenue streams. It’s continuing to grow and change and evolve, and the mastermind group is part of that, so I’m not doing exactly what I did in 2017. I’m not necessarily doing Storygrid certification work. I think that’s more name recognition for me now. I’m not really as plugged into that community as I was four years ago, which is no judgment on them. It just, you know, we talked on one of our other episodes about sort of outgrowing communities or moving in different directions, and I’ve just sort of personally gone in a different direction from them, but I still have that credential, and that still means something to people in this industry. It’s really grown and evolved, and it’s sort of kind of influenced all the decisions I’ve made since then.

Ryan  23:30  

Well, it sounds like your community is a way of leveraging your time differently. I mean, it would be hard to keep up with you. You would just have appointments all day long if you just kept building on the one to one model.

Tim Desmond  23:47  

And there are people who do that, and people who enjoy that. I know my own personality enough to know that I’ve got one or two, maybe three calls a day in me before I’m toast, but there are other people like my sister in law, who’s a therapist. That’s all she does all day. It’s just one client after another. She really enjoys that, and that’s all she does. I think if you enjoy that, you don’t necessarily need to evolve out of it. You don’t even need to scale it, you just raise your rates because you can’t add more hours. There’s only so many clients you can work with, but as you raise your rates, you get higher quality clients or clients who are a better match for you, and you tend to make more money. So, you don’t have to transition out of a one-to-one, but I knew the way I’m wired.

Ryan  24:43  

So, we’ve talked about different paces working for different people. You had to go the crazy route and jump into the deep end in 2017, and some people might be intrigued by that and might be inspired by that story and want to try to do the same. Other people might take a more conservative approach. We know some people out there are just starting to think about what they’re going to do after their conventional retirement, but I think regardless of pace, there’s some patterns. There are some lessons that people like you have learned that are useful for all of us to learn about and talk about. I mentioned in an earlier episode that one of the benefits of your story is we get to see somebody going through some predictable stages before the rest of us get there. Keeping that in mind, I mean, you’ve worked your way through this without a playbook. I’m guessing early on, you didn’t know what your biggest challenges would be or what your most powerful levers would be. Knowing what you know now, what would you recommend to people who are at the beginning of a similar journey? I mean, like, what are priorities one, two, and three?

Tim Desmond  26:09  

Yeah, that’s a great question because I think it’s what everyone wants to know, like, okay, what do I do now, tell me tell me what to do now. I’m always very careful about giving advice, and maybe this is semantics because I like to share my experience as opposed to giving advice because just because it worked for me, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you, but if you can learn from my experience, then you’re going to find the path that suits you. Again, maybe it’s semantics, but I’ll couch it that way. I would say the first thing you need to do right now, the first one of the things that I did, is I identified the people who are where I want it to be. These names won’t mean much to people outside of the publishing and internet marketing world, but I was studying, you know, Joanna Penn, and I became friends with her, Chris Brogan, Jim Kukral, Brian Clark, Matt Stone, and Shawn Coyne. There are a number of people who I studied, paid attention to. What are they doing? How are they doing it? There’s a difference between buying an online course from someone who’s going to tell you how to start a successful business versus studying someone who has launched a successful business, so I studied these people. I became friends with many of them, or clients of them, I took notes, I deconstructed. They call it funnel hacking, and in the internet marketing world net that sounds, you know, very sort of blackhat, but that’s the idea is that you just study what’s working. Joanna Penn took the affiliate route, and she makes really good money through affiliates in her podcasting. I didn’t go that route. Chris Brogan has corporate clients. I didn’t go that route, but I learned a ton from them, so I would say what we’re doing now and what I think is our value proposition for our listeners is we are teachers. We are career educators and follow this. This is my next chapter, this is your next chapter. You and I are in different places, but this is both a new venture for us, so pay attention to what we’re doing. Look at what works, what doesn’t work. What do we do that resonates with you? What do we do that annoys you? Take notes, pay attention to that. I think that’s the most important thing is identifying that person in the position where you want to be and then studying what they’re doing.

Ryan  28:50  

Yeah, that’s good advice, and I have seen you do so much of that. Gosh, the list of names you just rattled off, like, all these people, you know, I just studied them. It seems simple. I heard in there you had to sort of decide what parts of their story you wanted to make your own. You were like, I didn’t want to do this the way that this guy did. I think part of it is also knowing who you are, right, and having clarity about that.

Tim Desmond  29:30  

Yes, absolutely. Again, I’m generalizing here, but if you are a teacher or a coach, you probably like working directly with other people. That’s probably an assumption, like you wouldn’t last long in the classroom if you didn’t enjoy working directly with people, and I’m talking children and co-workers, faculty, administrators, parents. I mean, I’m a pretty hardcore introvert, but I also need people. I need that interaction, and I really enjoy helping people. Joanna’s model is not based on interaction at all, like, the affiliate model is more about targeted traffic and capturing targeted traffic in a certain place, and that’s not the same, so yeah, absolutely, I think you have to realize what it is that you’re good at, what it is you enjoy. You got to find successful examples of that, and that’s the key. That’s what I’ve done with all the people I mentioned. I found the things that were working for them that I knew I could do or I would like doing.

Ryan  30:45  

Yeah, I think this is one of those invisible threads that ties all academics and educators together in a sense, they already studied people. They have a deep understanding of people, and I think that we can all use that to our advantage.

Tim  31:06  

Definitely.

Ryan  31:08  

Speaking of that, I’m going to pivot us a little bit, and I didn’t prep you for this, but you know, in the spirit of keeping our curtain open for everyone to see, we talked about the people who would be potential consumers of whatever this is we’re doing. We actually spent a bit of time defining that first, and I just thought it’d be useful to open the door a little bit and talk about that because I think it’s sort of a newer way of thinking about starting something is to start by identifying your audience. This ties to that knowing people piece, but I just wondered if we could kind of pull the curtain back a little bit on some of that and talk about that as a trend.

Tim Desmond  32:04  

I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that it’s taken me this long to get that. When I say this long, I mean on the verge of turning fifty and realizing that all the success I’ve had since I’ve started this venture has been, I won’t call it accidental, but it hasn’t been best practices. The traditional entrepreneur, especially in the digital space, when you’re talking about, you know, services as opposed to product, it was always that, well, you come up with the idea. Then, you build the idea, and you find the audience, you find the customer for that idea. I think that era is over, I think it worked. It did work for a certain amount of time, like you look at the rise of Silicon Valley in the 2000s, and the tech bro culture that’s come out of that, the companies looking for the big IPOs or exit strategies. I’m not saying that didn’t work, but I think we’re on the cusp of something new, and I think the pandemic probably accelerated that. I want to give total props to Brian Clark for this. He’s the one preaching this right now, and I don’t know how many people are paying attention, and the reason why it’s not super sexy is because it’s not a hack. It’s not something you can get seed money and just create. The idea is that you’ve got to find that audience first because you don’t necessarily know what they want. When I came to you with this idea, I said, my bias is I just want to build something. I’m gonna build it and then we’ll go find people for it. When I look back over specifically the past ten years, I’ve built so many things that nobody wanted. I thought they were great ideas. Maybe I even had friends tell me they were great ideas, and then I couldn’t sell it. Not because I’m not a good salesperson, it’s just because it wasn’t what people were looking for. After having it drilled home in Brian Clark’s course that I took, I’m finally accepting the fact that at this time, probably for the next five to ten to fifteen years, you’re going to have to start with an audience, not an idea. That’s really hard for creative people because we’ve got all these great ideas, and they’re excellent, and we just build them. You know, Kevin Costner, they will come, and that’s not true. It doesn’t work that way. I think maybe we could probably do a whole episode on our sort of customer archetype and talk about who that person is and why we went that way but spent a lot of time talking to people writing passing ideas back and forth and trying to define who represents the audience that we want to build, and we committed right now. I’ve warned you, I would try pulling us off the rails on this. We committed to doing this podcast, and then a free newsletter, and not build anything until we had enough people in our audience, on our newsletter on our list, that we can ask them what they wanted, or ask them what they needed. Until that point, I’m not allowed to build anything, no courses, no books, you know, nothing. You and I, behind the scenes, we have some ideas about where this could go, and I think we’ll probably go there, but we have to go there because our audience is telling us they want it not because we think it’s a good idea.

Ryan  35:39  

Yeah. It’s a really different way of thinking about it. I’m still adjusting to it to be honest, but it’s kind of like starting with who. I think I would categorize it that way, and it’s reminded me of Simon Sinek’s book, Start with Why, and that’s pretty compelling, too. It’s approaching something from a very different angle, and I think you’re right. I think it is really connected to a lot of trends that are just coming together in the world right now. It’s the way things are organized in entrepreneurship and startups. It has to have the whole concept, and the way you approach things has to evolve, just like anything else in the world. You have to pay attention to what’s happening and adjust your strategy based on what you see.

Tim  36:38  

Yeah, I mean, you can make a decent living with an audience of fifty people. I think when we say audience, a lot of times people imagine, you know, 100,000 Twitter followers or 40,000 likes on Instagram. No, if you get really specific with an audience, and they have a problem, and you have a solution for it, it doesn’t take many people. It’s hard. It’s hard for me to mention specific numbers because there’s so many variables, and I don’t want to give people a false idea around things. For what we’re doing here, once we get a hundred people who have gone to our website, once it’s there, and they have opted in, and they want to hear from us, and they said, yes, here’s my email address, please contact me. When we have one hundred people, I think, then we can ask them what they want, and then I’m going to feel confident in starting to build stuff, but that’s a hundred not 10,000, not 100,000. If you have a hundred people who are the exact type of person, and this is not random people, I’m not talking about friends and relatives and siblings and that sort of thing, I’m talking about one hundred people who we’ve targeted. We get a hundred people, we’re going to know what they want.

Ryan  38:11  

Yeah, and having that audience is useful in a lot of ways. We’re not necessarily looking for audience members to send us checks or hate. I know we’ve talked about paid communities, but having an audience isn’t necessarily about a monetary exchange with those people. I told you about those two guys, the Mythical Morning Show, you know, it’s completely open and free, and nobody’s sending those guys checks, but they have such a big audience, and people recognize that, and there are companies that are willing to leverage their audience by paying them. I think I’m just pointing out what an audience means and what you can do with it and how you can leverage it can mean a whole bunch of different things.

Tim Desmond  39:12  

Exactly. Yeah, it’s not a direct transactional situation. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Podcasting is a great example. No one pays for podcasts, but how are people making money off podcasts if no one’s paying for them? Again, this is a topic of another conversation. There are ways to monetize a podcast, but it doesn’t have to come on the backs of your audience. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. If people find value in what you’re doing, or you’re solving a problem for them, they’re more than happy to pay, and I think you’re doing something good in the world if you can offer a service that solves someone’s problem, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are examples we can get into maybe in later episodes where I’ve made a decent revenue from a creative project like a podcast that money did not come from the listeners.

Ryan  40:07  

Let me just clarify. Are you saying I’m not getting paid for this?

Tim  40:11  

I’m saying the checks.

Ryan  40:13  

Okay. Alright. Well, now that I know the check’s in the mail, I feel okay. I feel like we accomplished something here.

Tim Desmond  40:28  

Good, good. I want to make sure you’re the highest paid co-host on this podcast.

Ryan  40:35  

So, any last words of wisdom?

Tim Desmond  40:40  

Yeah. The last thing I would say, again, this is from my own experience, is don’t assume everyone has the skill set that you do, especially when it comes to teaching and coaching. I mean, you’re still working for a school. Good teachers are hard to find, even bad teachers are hard to find. If you can teach, you have some experience teaching or coaching or leading in some way. You probably take that for granted, you probably think everyone can do that, and everyone can’t do that. I’m not gonna call anyone out specifically, but college professors can tend to be some of the worst teachers because they’re not hired to teach. They’re hired for their expertise, and they’re hired to publish. I’m not saying college professors can’t be good teachers or that they’re not, but my point is, if you have some experience in teaching or coaching or leading people, don’t assume the average person on the street does. You have a very valuable skill set, and you take it for granted because you probably do it every day.

Ryan  41:48  

Well said.

Tim  41:52  

We’ll just leave it at that.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Links:

Transformations – The free weekly email with the best personally curated resources to help teachers in their late forties or fifties to design a post-academic life. – https://teachingtransformations.com/ 

Teaching Transformations Podcast – https://teachingtransformations.com/podcast/ 

Intro and outro music by Penthouses. “Come to Ohio” from The Weatherman album available on most music platforms.

*Full disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links.

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