S1 EP 1: How 40+ Business Failures Paved the Way for Success

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On today’s episode, we talk with podcaster, blogger, YouTuber, and niche site creator Pete McPherson of Do You Even Blog.

Today, Pete runs a lifestyle business that most people only ever dream of. He wakes up whenever he wants, works about 15-20 hours per week, and takes time off to spend with his family and kids whenever he feels like it.

But it wasn’t always like this for Pete.

In fact, it took him 40+ failed business ideas before he found success in Do You Even Blog.

During our conversation, Pete shared some of his biggest lessons learned in his decade of online business experience.

Links and resources:


Key Takeaways

Pete really delivered in that interview. He had a lot of great thoughts, and I appreciate all the wisdom he shared from his experience in business over the years.

Listening back through the recording, I took a TON of notes. So I’m going to share with you my key takeaways and reflections from our conversation:

Key takeaway #1: Look for the common denominator in the things you enjoy.

Pete gave the example of a professor (was it a professor?) who told him that because he liked music, he might also enjoy accounting. This sounded absurd to me when Pete first said it, but his explanation made a lot of sense.

Understanding not just what you like but why you like it can help you identify commonalities among seemingly unrelated things whether that’s potential business models or career paths.

Pete realized that part of what he enjoyed about music was the structure of it. The rules, the patterns, the formulas. And in that way, accounting is very similar.

When I was studying financial planning in college, I realized that what I liked about the idea of being a financial planner was connecting and having conversations with people. I actually didn’t enjoy crunching and analyzing the numbers all that much, which is like 80% of the job. So I looked for things that allowed me to connect with people more, and that’s how I came up with financial coaching, and now podcasting.

If you’re looking for your first or next business idea, product or service, etc. make a list of the things you enjoy and what specifically you like about them. Then find the common denominators. You might be surprised at what opportunities pop out at you.

Key Takeaway #2: If you’re looking for the perfect business framework or roadmap to follow, I’m sorry to tell you this, but it doesn’t exist.

Because, in entrepreneurship, there really are no rules.

This realization can be both liberating and also a liiiiittle terrifying. Those who thrive as entrepreneurs are often the ones who are more comfortable, or who learn to be comfortable, with the unknown.

They’re the ones who understand that there is no one right way to run a business and therefore are able to design a business that fits their lifestyle, personality, and goals. Of course, in order to do that, you need to know what your goals, personality, and ideal lifestyle are, which involves a bit of self-awareness and also the ability to listen to and trust yourself to make the decisions that are right for you.

If you’re not there right now, then don’t worry. This is an ongoing process. Like many other aspects of entrepreneurship, it’s a skill that comes with practice. Practicing listening to your gut and making small decisions every day that align with the business you want. Not the business someone else has, not the business that coach on Instagram says you should build, but the business you actually want.

Key Takeaway #3: Be yourself.

Be yourself. I know it’s cliche to say that, but it’s so true. And as Pete mentioned, it’s so easy to lose sight of, especially when you see other people on social media seemingly living your dream.

Key Takeaway #4: Don’t follow your “passion.” Find the intersection between what people need, what you’re good at, and what you enjoy doing.

Here’s the blog post Pete mentioned on the show that talks about how to use this exercise to find ideas for digital products.

You can also use it to brainstorm business models, content ideas, etc. etc. The way this exercise works is you ask yourself five questions:

  1. What does your audience need help with?
  2. What helps them DO those things?
  3. What are you good at?
  4. What do you enjoy doing?
  5. Where’s the crossover?

That is the business, content, product, or service you should focus on. Pete’s blog post includes an example of how he used this exercise in his own business. There, you’ll also find the podcast episode Pete recorded with Chelsea Brennan of Smart Money Mamas on how she used this exercise to come up with a product idea that has since made her business hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue. Highly recommend giving that episode a listen.

Key Takeaway #5: Find your product or service first. Then build an audience around that product.

If you focus on building an audience first, then you’re doing a lot of work for no money. By the time you get an audience, what you want to sell might not be what your audience needs or wants to pay for.

I made this mistake very early on in my coaching business. Before I realized I wanted to offer financial coaching, I built an audience of a few thousand email subscribers with blog posts about frugal living and saving money, and I gave out a lot of free printables. Then once I had an audience, I decided I wanted to sell financial coaching.

But the people on my email list weren’t there for financial coaching. They were there for the free printouts and money-saving articles.

Not many of them were willing to pay $1,000+ for coaching. If you figure out your product or service first, then you can create content related to your offer for people who might be or are already interested in what you’re selling. And your offer might change over time. In fact, it probably will.

And that’s okay.

If and when it does, you can adjust your content and marketing as needed. The point is, don’t waste your time building an audience if you don’t have anything to sell them because it puts you in a position of catering to your audience/what they want to buy instead of selling what you enjoy, are good at, and want to sell.

Now, I will say this is one school of thought. There are also people who believe the opposite – that you should create content and build an audience before selling anything. Ultimately, I think it depends on your goals and how settled you are on your niche or topic.

If you’re not sure what topics you even enjoy creating content on and your goal isn’t necessarily to make money (or make money quickly), then sure – explore. Create content until you find the topic or topics you want to stick with. Just remember that an audience alone isn’t enough to make money in business. You have to have something to sell.

Episode Transcript (click to expand)

Note: This transcript was automatically generated and may include typos.

Introduction

Megan: Hey there. Thanks so much for being here. I’m so excited to launch the podcast with today’s episode with Pete McPherson from Do You Even Blog. Pete and I had a great conversation and we covered so many things in this episode, including how Pete went from musician to accountant and what music and accounting have in common.

Pete story of getting laid off from his accounting job and diving headfirst into entrepreneurship, his 40 plus failed business ideas that led him to launch. Do You Even Blog how there’s no roadmap or rule book for entrepreneurs to follow? Despite what some [00:01:00] online marketing. Gurus or coaches want you to believe and why that’s both liberating and terrifying.

And Pete also answers the age-old question of which one comes first, an audience or an offer. And so, so, so much more. I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I enjoyed having this conversation with Pete and creating this podcast episode for you, please welcome Pete McPherson, everybody.

Interview with Pete McPherson of Do You Even Blog

Megan: All right. Hey Pete, thanks for being on the DollarSprout podcast episode. Number one.

Pete: Couldn’t have picked a better person to start. Let me just be frank with you. I’m so excited. I’m so excited. I don’t think you have any other guests lined up that are as excited to help you and DollarSprout launch this bad boy. So thank you so much for having me on the show.

Megan: Yeah. I’m excited about this conversation because I like you [00:02:00] and I met, I think two or three years ago at FinCon, but I don’t know if you know this. I was following you for a while before we met. I’ve been a member of your online impact community, your membership site, I’ve bought some of your stuff you put out yesterday. I think you said your, um, newest product. I forget what it’s called, but your template template jam.

Pete: Template jam,

Megan: And I’m super going to jump on that. If it’s still open, it’s still open. Right?

Pete: It is. Yeah.

Megan: Okay, cool. Yeah. I’m super excited. So very glad to have you on the podcast, Pete. Um, so jumping right in here, um, for those of you who aren’t Do You Even Blog stands like I am us a little bit of background your business where your business currently is today, and then I’m going to hop into kind of where you came from and like talk how it

through.

Pete: I like that style, Megan. I liked that timeline. [00:03:00] Start with where you’re at and then let’s go back. I like that. So fast forward to today. I run. Do You Even Blog, as you mentioned coming up on year five of this specific business, and I also have a few other side projects, small businesses, most of which are, are kind of new.

I’ve been dabbling here and there and and other projects or whatnot. So the bottom line is that it’s a lifestyle business quote, unquote, through and through meaning I don’t have any employees. I don’t have any bosses. I blog, I YouTube. I have my own podcast. I sell digital products. I practice affiliate marketing.

I have lots of websites. Like I just dabble in this online business, online entrepreneurship arena. And I’m very fortunate, hashtag blessed, hashtag I’m very blessed to be able to do it. Full-time and provide for my [00:04:00] family and my secret sauce, which we’ll come back to. Is that I don’t always work like 10 to 20 hour weeks, but most of the time I do

like this week, it’s currently Wednesday when we’re recording this, I’ve worked like four hours today.

So far might put in another one or two and then call it quits. And then the same thing for the past couple of months, right? Like I I’ve figured out how to have a business that supports my lifestyle. I have two kids. I like to ski. I just got the first snow, a couple of days up here in Northern Michigan.

I’m looking forward to ski

season.

Um,

so, so that’s where I’m at now, right? The lifestyle business. If you look that up in a dictionary, that’s where I’m at. I’m not a billionaire, I’m I don’t make seven figures

a year from this business, but it’s more than

enough to live comfortably can be contributor to retirement and allow me to just do whatever the heck I want

with my time.

Megan: I

Pete: where we’re at now.

Megan: Yeah. I mean, I think that’s what most people, at least in my experience, people that [00:05:00] I’ve spoken to personally, and also, um, like our audience with dollars for out, we’ve done surveys with our email list. And I think that like, that’s the dream for most people. I don’t think most people want to build, like multi-dose six figure seven figure businesses and have employee is like, the dream is to have a small business that you can kind of work on your own time that supports yeah.

The lifestyle that you want. And so you’re living the dream, Pete, but it took a while to get here. Right. So wait, okay. Take me back. Cause I know before, Do You Even Blog, you were an accountant, is that right?

Pete: that is correct,

Megan: So how do you, how do you go from being an accountant to this like lifestyle entrepreneur?

Pete: Yeah.

I never do what I wanted it.

Megan: Yeah.

Pete: I was always super jealous of people who are like, I want to be veterinarians. I want to be a lawyer. I am going into my mother’s [00:06:00] business. I am XYZ. I be super jealous of those people ever since I was a young kid. Right. And I’ll tell you the fun, the fun version of this story.

I, so in like fifth, sixth grade, I discovered music. I joined the band program. I played drums and I was actually pretty good at it. And I enjoyed playing and practicing, and I got really good at it. And from like high school up into like three and a half years of college, I was also a music major in college.

The university of Georgia go dogs. Music was my entire life. I didn’t want to do anything else. I was one of those people. I wanted to be a, something to do with music. Right. It doesn’t even matter. Band director. Sure. Professional performer shirt, like music was my jam. I was finally at that person. I used to be jealous of.

Well, my junior year of college, I dropped my music major. I have one of these like six month periods where I was like, oh [00:07:00] crap, I don’t actually want to do this, but I don’t want to be a veterinarian or a lawyer, or go into my mother’s business or whatever that is.

I had no idea I’m back to square one.

Right. But I was certain that I didn’t want to do music as a career anymore, so I quit. Alright. So here’s the story gets fun.

I was a business major for a semester. I was in a totalitarian major, asked me how many words of Italian. I can speak

Megan: Interesting. I’m going to guess three.

Pete: zilch. don’t, I don’t think that’s Italian nun. I don’t remember the thing. Um, I, I failed almost every class that semester and they kicked me out of school. Right. You’re done P you can’t even pass Italian, bro. So I took a semester off. They let me back in and I came back. Uh, there’s only one class that I enjoyed during that like year where I’m like failing all my classes and that was sociology. I bet you can’t even define really what sociology is. And to be honest with you, I can’t either, [00:08:00] but I stuck with a sociology degree or curriculum and I got a degree. I got my bachelor’s in sociology. Also, you wanna to take a guess at how old I am and what year this happened here in the United States.

I’ll don’t bother, I’ll spoil it for you right at the awesome depression.

2008,

  1. I’m graduating. I’ve been told all my life from my parents and counselors and friends, all you need is a college degree. You can go get a job, just get a degree. what they told me. When I failed at a school, it’s like, Pete, just get a degree and you can get a job.

And then 2008 happened and I’m sitting there with a degree of sociology and people were looking at. Not going to happen anyways. So the next version, the next part of this whole story is I went to a, kind of a lifelong friend slash mentor friend of my parents who happened to be the Dean of the business school at just a little bit.

He private college in my hometown. I was like, what do I do? [00:09:00] His name was dub. What do I do? Dub? And dub said you’re in a music, right? I was like, yeah, he’s like, you should try accounting. This is the same thing. And I’m like, I don’t get how that works. He was like, I promise you. I think you might actually enjoy it.

Try accounting. And in my head, I’m thinking I like money.

Megan: yeah.

Pete: I don’t really know anything about what a business is. I don’t know anything about what a lifestyle businesses, especially, but I know one thing and that’s, I like money and I’m guessing your listeners do too. So I said, sign me up. Let’s try out this accounting thing.

Well, I did enjoy the accounting classes so much so that I got an, a. And accounting. I got my master’s degree in accounting. I took a summer off and went on a road trip with my future wife studying for the CPA exam. And I got my CPA exam. And then 2012, I got my first grown-up job. Right. I can remember exactly where I was holding this offer letter.

In my hand, I was in the middle of the street [00:10:00] in my hometown. No joke, no cars were coming stuck in the middle of the street, holding this offer letter $52,000 a year. And I was like, I’ve made it, does it,

This is the American dream, $52,000 a year. Are you joking more money than I ever heard of in my entire life?

This is ridiculous. I’ve hit the big time. Well, I took the job and I hated it. Spoiler. I worked 70, 80 hour weeks, um, in corporate accounting actually public accounting first and then corporate accounting. I did this for like four years. Right. And I hated it. I was trying to find a way out. I mean, even from that first year, they kept throwing more money at me.

They kept bumping up my salaries. I learned that 52 grand that’s right. About entry level. And they kept promoting me, but I hated it. I hated commuting. I hated having bosses, even though I love the actual people. I love my coworkers and my bosses, but I didn’t like reporting to anybody. I didn’t like spending [00:11:00] 50 hours a week with a job and commuting.

I hated it. Right. So during this time I am starting blogs. I’m starting to figure out online business, not figure it out as in like, figure out how it works, but I’m starting to discover that there are other ways to make money outside of quote unquote real jobs. So I’m starting blogs. I started a podcast with some friends.

It was terrible. By the way, I started a YouTube channel way back in the day, like. 20 13, 20 14. I was terrible by the way, just like complete failures all around, but I was having fun and I loved it. I mean, I really loved it. I did personal finance for a hot minute, about a year and a half. I’d had a bluegrass blog.

Megan: oh,

Pete: that I know, I know I had, I had lots of different, I had a chalkboard company e-commerce company. Don’t ask me how that went. I got one sale and I lost money. And then I said, I’m done a chalkboard e-commerce company. I [00:12:00] tried everything under the sun. Right. And nothing was really working well in 20 15, 20 16, I guess it was late 2016 at about, had enough commuting.

I’m like sleeping in my car in the morning to try and beat Atlanta traffic. And I was crazy stuff. And I found a way out. I found a part-time job in back in my hometown. I was living in Atlanta. This is back in my hometown. And the part-time job was going to give me a salary, but. Like oh, sweet. It’s a pay cut coming from like fancy corporate accounting.

Right. But it was enough and I still get health insurance and oh yeah, that’s great. And it’s only, part-time it’s 20 hours a week. Now I get to look, start other side businesses and I get to grow a blog and a side hustle. I get to try all that stuff. I have time to do that. Now this is the best of both worlds, right?

So it took a hot minute, but I convinced my wife into it. She was teaching lots of music lessons. She [00:13:00] is a professional musician, by the way. Um, she stopped teaching her lessons. This is when our second child was on the way she was pregnant. We sold our house in Atlanta. We moved to Rome, Georgia, which is where I’m from.

It’s my hometown, where the job was and moved into my grandmother’s house, which was vacant. She didn’t live there. It was just sitting there waiting for

  1. Rent-free mortgage-free I started getting. And then one paycheck came by and they laid me off

Megan: oh, no,

Pete: face womp womp. So a solar house moved across the state, took this dude job only to get laid off.

Uh, I didn’t have any money by the way. I didn’t do anything wrong. I just didn’t have any money. Um, I just didn’t really know what to do myself. So we had a couple of options. Number one, I could try to find the county job again. It’s probably meant moving cause it was a small town, not a whole lot of accounting jobs.

I might could have found something. I [00:14:00] know it could have gone back to Atlanta or a bigger city and found a job. I didn’t want to do that. My wife didn’t really want to do that. So the other option was to take what emergency fund we had. We also had a little bit more from selling our house and try to make this full-time entrepreneurship thing work

that was December, 2016 through early 27.

And that’s. When do you even

blog was born

Megan: Mm.

Pete: five years ago?

Megan: Okay. So I want to back up for a second because I’ve one question that is going to hang in my brain until I ask you, how is it that music and accounting or related?

Pete: he was correct. And the reason it is, is they’re both based on structure and rules. And once you learn structured, And rules of music. There’s only so many [00:15:00] notes you can play.

And in fact, there’s only so many notes you can play at any moment. That actually sound good, like far fewer notes. That actually sound really good and chords are nothing but structures of notes and all sorts of stuff. It’s based on structure and rules. And once you understand the structure and the rules, it’s called music theory, you can compose music.

It’s going to make you a better player, musician, um, all sorts of stuff like that. It’s the same exact thing in accounting. Once you understand the structure of how accounting works, I was going to go super technical. And then I realized, like I haven’t been in an account in like five years and I was like, oh crap, I’m going to get all this wrong because it’s been so long.

Um, but it’s the same thing it’s based on structure and rules. And once you understand that you,

everything just starts to make.

Right. it’s not.

actually hard. The heart person learning the structure and the rules. But after that, you’re, you’re good to go. So it’s actually pretty similar. Believe it or not.

Megan: that’s interesting. Yeah. I [00:16:00] never would have made that connection cause I always think of music as more of like a

creative endeavor, but that does make sense that

you know, it

Pete: limited funny entrepreneurship. This is just my opinion. Some people would completely disagree with me here. Entrepreneurship, in my opinion is the exact polar opposite. It’s about it’s about understanding that there are no rules and there isn’t really that much structure, right? The people who are rewarded and entrepreneurship are the ones who think outside the box, or actually they think about the box before the box is a thing, right?

It’s all about timing and market. And more importantly, in my opinion, figuring things out, quote unquote, there was rarely anything to figure out in music. You learn this, or you don’t, you practice. To improve your muscle memory and your knowledge and that stuff. Accounting, you learn the structure and the rules, and you figure out how things fit into that.

Entrepreneurship is like, here are problems that I don’t have a rule [00:17:00] book to follow. I can do Google searches all day and not actually figure out how to grow my business. I can read

books and it will actually

figure

out how to grow my business. I have to try

things and get feedback and adapt. It’s like the complete opposite of accounting.

Megan: Yeah,

Pete: That was a tangent. That was a rant.

Megan: no, no, you’re fine. Um, do you feel like, has that been liberating for you? Has that been like a liberating part of entrepreneurship for you? Or has has

Pete: No, it’s been

that found

Megan: really? Really, yeah. I, yeah. I agree personally, like you’re so right. Everybody out there has, you know, a

method or a roadmap for like how you can grow your business to six figures, but really there is no one right way.

And there are so many options that it’s almost overwhelming and how to be a pessimist for anybody listening to this. But yeah, there is no

book.

Pete: I’ve found that some people, by the way, but both of us know, we know a lot of the same people. [00:18:00] They fit really comfortably in that state of constantly quote unquote, figuring things out, encountering problems that they don’t have solutions to. They feel comfortable in that space. I don’t, I feel stressed in that space and I wish that I had a rule book to follow.

I think we all kind of wish that like, oh, wish you could actually just tell me what to do and I’ll go do it. I still have a lot of that mindset. Some people might even refer to that as like

Megan: An mindset.

Pete: an entrepreneur. I still have a lot of that employee mindset built in me. I really do.

And that’s part of the reason we can talk about this later. But part of the reason I think I suffer from stress

and burnout more than a lot of my peers. Not more than everybody, but like some of

my peers, I think fall naturally. And.

Megan: Yeah.

Pete: know if that made sense or not.

Megan: Yeah.

no, absolutely. It makes sense. I feel like maybe we have similar personality types or something because I feel the same way. Like, I don’t [00:19:00] want to have a boss necessarily, you know, like most people want to be, self-sufficient not answer to anybody, but at the same time I do really well when I know exactly what I’m supposed to do.

You know? So I guess, yeah. So as an entrepreneur, what, has there been a solution that you’ve found or something that has helped you, um, like creating systems and structure in your business? Uh, that’s kind of like, yeah. Given you that roadmap of what to do. like, I don’t for me, external accountability is really helpful.

So like masterminds, coaches, that sort of thing. Has there been anything that you’ve found that’s. Helpful for that side of you?

Pete: That’s interesting. Yes. Before he get to that, though, I will also say this. It’s funny how, how people are so different. I mean, we get that everybody’s different and we get that. Even [00:20:00] people like us. So we’re into the same sort of things, right? Like lifestyle businesses and online businesses, blogging content, all of a sudden, it’s funny how we are that different for me.

I do not suffer from, I don’t need accountability. I don’t need motivating. I don’t need to coach I that come, that comes extremely naturally to me. I’ve never needed that. Um, but it’s different. I still need things. They’re just different. That answer your question. I have kind of figured out something that works for me. And before I tell you what it is, I will also tease. It happens to be the easiest thing in the world for entrepreneurs to lose sight of. Let me say this again, because I actually think is important. And then I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you what it is. I think what I’m about to say is the easiest thing for entrepreneurs to lose sight of.

And here’s what it is. Be your damn self. We understand this all the time, [00:21:00] right? Just be yourself, say what you want to say, create the business like you want the business to be how you think it should be. Not based on what your friends are doing. Not based on what the Tim Ferriss podcast said. Not based on what this Robert Kiyosaki book said.

Do what you think is best for your customers. And for you say what you wanna say on your blog, on your YouTube channel, whatever it is, or your email list, whatever it is, be yourself. Um, okay, so that’s super lame, right? And the reason it’s super lame is because people have heard it a million times and they lose sight of it They sight of it.

Um, I’m throwing myself under the bus here. I’m the worst at this. When I look back off here were, you were telling me about a YouTube video. I put out a couple of weeks ago. Um, it didn’t blow up or anything. It’s only got like a thousand views, but it has like a hundred. And you said like 175 comments on YouTube, which is a lot for my [00:22:00] channel, right?

Like you can go look at other videos with like three comments and like 20 comments, 175 comments. That video was me. Seriously, just being myself. There was no edits. It was me walking around in the rain for 30 minutes or 20 minutes or whatever. The biggest wins that I’ve seen in five years of Do You Even Blog?

I can trace back to letting Pete be Pete and I use those words very intentionally here. And that’s. I’ll remember that and I’d be like, oh my gosh, yes, I need to fall out of the patterns that I just I’m just doing because everybody else is doing. And I need to do what I want to do. I need to produce the content I want to produce, and I need to sell the products.

Like I want to sell them. And then a week later it’s gone and I’m back to looking at swipe files. I’m back for looking at roadmaps and frameworks and formulas and downloading PDFs and crap. I lose sight of it so easy. It would boggle your mind. And I [00:23:00] have you can’t see it right now. It’s on my computer screen.

I have a sticky note that says two things very important to me. The first one is wise, Pete, and you don’t know what that means, but let me just give you the ten second version. That is a constant reminder for me to close my eyes and try and be objective about what. For any given scenario for any given decision, do I do this product or this product?

Do I launch this week or next week? Do I email my list on this topic or this topic? Why am I struggling with this? Why is my audience not growing? Why does my YouTube video flop this week? Why did this happen? Why did that happen? At any given point? I tried to remind myself to be objective and be myself.

That’s what that means. So

that was a really ranty long-winded

answer to your question, but

Megan: No,

Pete: advice [00:24:00] in the world, but

I think it’s, I think it’s important to be

yourself.

Megan: Yeah. I agree. And I.

I find that so relatable. Um, I have, you know, a personal financial coaching business, um, and it’s not my full-time business, but I love doing it, but I also lose sight of this. And I find myself doing, you know, like Tik TOK videos or Instagram reels where I look back and I’m like, oh, that’s so cringy.

And it’s not cringey because it’s corny. It’s cringy because that doesn’t feel like me at all, you know, but, but it is so easy to lose sight of, and just look at other people online and be like, oh, she’s successful or he’s successful or they’re successful. That’s what I need to do to be successful. You know?

Um, and I think also being your authentic self, being yourself requires a certain level of [00:25:00] self-awareness that, you know, We don’t all have a very deep level of, um, so what do you feel like, okay, first of all, what helps you stay in that zone of being authentic? And then I want to hear about, you mentioned you have, like, the biggest wins that you’ve seen were when you were being yourself.

So can you give some more examples of that?

Pete: Yeah. Anger

answer to your question. No, I made it anger. I think part of the reason that content creators and entrepreneurs lose sight of the, the truth, which is I do need to do things based on first principles. I do need to be myself, quote, unquote, whatever the hell that means, right? Like so hard to understand.

The number one reason people lose sight of it is fear, right? Like if I’m my true self and this [00:26:00] flops with an I flop, right. If I sell this product, like I like authentically myself or whatever, and it flops, then I authentically flop, right? Like we tie our self worth to things way more when it is actually us, when we are vulnerable, when we show empathy at the same time we attach ourselves to that.

Um, or at least I do, I can’t speak for everybody, but I definitely do. And so I can put on a face, right? I can follow frameworks. I can follow a DollarSprouts guide to being a successful entrepreneur. And if that DollarSprout guy, I’m just throwing you guys in the bus, if that DollarSprout guide doesn’t work well, then it’s not.

Established brought that sucks. Maybe it’s not me. I don’t take the heat. I don’t take the responsibility, but when I do things my way and it’s fails, then I’m a failure or at least that’s the tendency. So that’s fear. Um, anger though. Let’s talk about anger. I don’t, I’m not, I’m [00:27:00] not a very quick to anger person.

I’ve never yelled at my wife ever.

I’ve never yelled, really other human being

on my kids. That’s kind of sad. Isn’t it? The kid, my kids might actually be the only people I’ve ever yelled at. Um, I’m not like, uh,

Megan: it’s relatable for every

Pete: I I’m

sure. Um, I’m not like a quick to anger person. I’m a very slow to anger person. So when I finally erupt, first of all, it’s always at myself.

I’m always like I so fed up with making excuses or I don’t even know off the top of my head, but I get angry at myself. And whenever that happens, it happens like maybe once every three to six months at this point in my career, I think. Hm. I usually do really well when I’m fired up and angry at myself.

And I’m like, I’m tired of making excuses. I’m tired of being afraid. I’m tired of being afraid of failing and not even that, but I’m tired of being perceived as a failure for my audience and for my peers and all that stuff. I get [00:28:00] angry and I pushed through that. And then I, myself and I make YouTube videos that end up doing better.

I write blog posts to end up doing better. I write sales copy that ends up earning more dollars. Quite literally are. You’re asking about examples. One of my biggest examples of this was relaunching on my impact after shutting it down for an entire year. Like I had a product that made 42 or $43,000 and my first year blogging, just so this product.

And after that year, I shut it down. I killed it. I stopped and we can talk about why later it’s not important. The important part is a year later, I was so angry at myself. I was like, I’m doing this. Like, I, I got to chalk this up to failure. I’m going to relaunch this thing. I’m going to rebrand it online and back to my membership community still going.

And that was like, I’m not going to say it was like the best month financially. Cause I’ve certainly made more money since then. But in terms of like joy and [00:29:00] happiness and entrepreneurship, that was my top month when I relaunched online and backed, it was October,

2019, I believe. I think so. Um, yeah, that’s all I

got.

Megan: Hmm. Yeah. So you mentioned, I think that that’s absolutely true, you know, that

people themselves often online or in their businesses because we do. Fear failure. And we fear like, oh, if I put myself out there and this fails that’s mean something about me. And that means, you know, like you said, I’m a failure or people don’t like me, or I’m a terrible, I don’t know whatever it is that’s going on in our minds, we tie so much meaning to our work, meaning about ourselves.

What have you been able to figure out a way to not do that, to not tie your self work self worth with your work and your success in [00:30:00] your business?

Pete: If you ever find a podcast guests that has that one figured out point them in my direction. Cause I need to listen to that. No, I don’t think so. But you know, what, can I talk on this for a minute?

I’m going to, I’m going to rant. We were talking about entrepreneurship in general and I, I mentioned quote, unquote, figuring things out, like that’s the job of an entrepreneur is to figure things out, solve difficult problems, right?

Um, one thing I’ve gotten better at so no salt imposter syndrome tying my self worth to my work. Now I still struggle from this. Hardcore. Um, I don’t know if everybody does, but I certainly do, but there’s one thing I’ve gotten better at over the past five years. And that is understanding that that’s just part of the job, right?

When you talk about accounting or when you talk about being a music teacher [00:31:00] or a lawyer or working at burger king, I don’t care. All of these jobs have expectations and expectations from a boss, but an expectation on what your life will be like. If you don’t want to work 60 hours a week, don’t become a lawyer. If you don’t want to be around animals, don’t, don’t become a vet. That sounds pretty smart. If you. I don’t like having a 100% completed to do list and no stress and anxiety. Don’t become an entrepreneur. Don’t do it because that is the job. And like I said, some people naturally work with distress and in chaos and anxiety of figuring things out more than others, the self-worth thing, the imposter syndrome, that’s part of the job as a content creator and entrepreneur.

That’s the expectation that your life is now. You will never grow out of it fully. So people have it worse than others, but [00:32:00] not a day goes. So I run my own podcast and I’ve had, I’ve had billionaires on literally the person who created WordPress. I’ve had the number one marketer in the world on Seth Goden.

I’ve had Rosemarie Groner on, who’s a personal friend of mine who just crushes it and her business and have for years, I’ve had hundreds of people on here who are making millions and billions of dollars.

And every single one of them has issues like this. It’s part of the job. It’s not something I think we can figure out and then it’s gone.

It’s not a problem to be solved.

It’s a problem to be managed if that makes any

sense. as somewhere around. 2019 ish, like late 2019, where I began to get more comfortable with, um, I was gonna say business depression, like suffering, like every couple of months, I still go through this to this day.

Um, just kind of thinking like, [00:33:00] is this actually working? Like, am I doing a good enough job? Should I go get a real full-time job? Should I quit? Like I just not sure, like I’m making money, but is this enough money, like, should I be doing something different? I’m not sure if I’m making wise decisions, all this stuff.

It took me a couple of years, but at this point I’ve come to manage it better. I, I use the word manage. I think that’s actually a good analogy now that I think about it, this a business depression, imposter syndrome, never, ever having a complete to-do list ever not. Once I become more. In a day-to-day life and you can ask

my wife, I’m pretty sure she would agree with you there.

For the first couple of years, I

was not comfortable with it. I thought I was doing something wrong. I thought I was a terrible entrepreneur. I thought it was

all me. I’m not doing something right. And it took me that long to figure out, like, it’s not that it’s,

that this is part of the job of an entrepreneur or content creator, which is what I consider myself an [00:34:00] entrepreneur. Um, yeah. So the takeaway there is, I think it gets easier, not easy, not solved, but I think some of these issues that we’ve been talking about, I, I truly believe they do get easier with time and experience. There you go. There’s my motivational positive uptick.

Megan: Yeah, yeah, no, that makes sense. Um, so you feel like you’ve been able to accept a little bit the discomfort and the uncertainty and the feeling like maybe you’re doing it wrong or, you know, um, the imposter syndrome and all the feelings that are, that you’ve just come to accept that that’s part of the territory

and

Pete: You just said that more than I I ever did in the past half hour. So that was it right there. Good job.

Megan: Um, well,

yeah, I, I,

really appreciate you sharing that because that makes me, you know, selfishly feel a little better. [00:35:00] Cause these are all things that I have also felt in my own business and, you know, the, um, Comparison of like looking at other people and thinking they look like they have it so figured out, but really?

Yeah, you’re right. Nobody does even people who very much look like they do

Pete: Yeah.

I think that.

Megan: and who are by

all definitions successful don’t necessarily have it figured out.

Pete: Yeah, totally.

Megan: so I want to talk a little bit more

about. Uh, kind of backing up to before, Do You Even Blog, um, you have a really great blog post that I love that I read years ago and I re-read before this interview because I just love it so much.

And I think it’s so important. It is called my failure resume and it is 40 plus failed blogs and projects that led you to start the business that you have today. [00:36:00] Um, so can, can you talk about what are some of your favorite failed projects that you had? Um, and what lessons did you learn from

them?

Pete: Yeah.

Uh, so you’ll notice if I don’t suggest anybody rewind and go back, but if you did, when I was telling. Origin story a little while ago. You’ll notice that I completely skipped past this this getting laid off from the startup job and then starting, Do You Even Blog like there? That’s all I said.

Right. And I didn’t fill in that gap whatsoever and allow me to do that now, because that hints at this question, I tried a lot of things as that failure resume will showcase. I started my first blog in 2009. I started my first podcast or actually it was a friend of mine’s podcasts that I did all the tech work for in 2009, 2010.

It was terrible. [00:37:00] I, the chalkboard company, like all those different things in my eyes today, those were all failures, but not failures. As in like regret, we regret it. You know what I mean? Like we all realize that failure can teach us important lessons and give us valuable information about ourselves and. I just kind of clump all them together at this point, just cause it was a long time ago, but there was one thing that all of those failed blogs and online businesses had in common.

And this is, this is by this, this was my ultimate failure for like eight years. They were not what I wanted to do.

Megan: Yeah.

Pete: I knew setting up my very first website in 2009.

I don’t know if you can really call it, setting up a website. Cause it was literally just block spot.com. At that point, I think it was block spot. Maybe it became blogger. It doesn’t matter. The point is I knew right then and [00:38:00] there that I liked the behind the scenes stuff. Way more than anything else I was blogging about.

Uh, we talked about the bluegrass blog. I love listening to bluegrass. I play bluegrass music. I didn’t enjoy blogging. Not once. I don’t really know why I started that site. I, well, I know exactly why I started the site. I like started the site because I like blogging. I like websites. I liked creating content for people.

I like that stuff. I didn’t care about bluegrass. I started a personal finance site. I don’t actually care about personal finance. I’m in, I’m into it because I like money, but I don’t really want to talk about it. I don’t want to start another personal finance blog or podcast or YouTube channel. I just don’t care.

I like the behind the scenes stuff. I like the Meda stuff. I like talking about blogging and podcasting and marketing. Like, that’s why I started the blog. is right there. I would not let myself do that for, we’ll see seven, seven or eight years from the time I started, there was 50 [00:39:00] plus blogs, the failed online businesses, the chalkboard e-commerce company, all this stuff.

Right. I was not letting myself do what I wanted to do. And this was also a little. And we will people we’re just going to have to forgive me for that. But the, the reason I gave myself was there’s already, there’s already the pat Flynn’s and Amy Porterfield’s. And I don’t know, Gary V or Tim Ferris, or

all these people who are talking about blogging and online business and entrepreneurship and so forth. What do I have to add to that? And my, my answer to myself was nothing like, what good am I Papillon already has the podcast already on lockdown, man.

Like they don’t need to do even blog podcasts. And so, I mean, even before that was a thing, right? Like I told them. That space is saturated. I don’t need to do that. There’s enough people talking about this already. That was right by the way, but I shouldn’t have let that stop me. And so we were talking about anger could do [00:40:00] really profound and glorious things for me.

When I got laid off, I was angry and I finally allowed myself to do what I wanted to do, which was talking about blogging. And you know, it’s time before I was going to tell you how that came to be, but it really doesn’t even matter.

It was, it was interviewing people via Skype, personal finance bloggers specifically.

Cause that was my friends at the time that kind of got me to that point. But that was like that was like my overarching

failure with all these blogs and businesses. And when I finally like sat down and gave

myself permission to do what ended up becoming, do you have a blog

kick up? I loved

  1. Made a difference.

It resonated with people, people found it somehow and shared it like right from the get go. I mean, it didn’t like take off or anything, but it was like, this felt different. And the reason it felt different is because it’s actually what I wanted to do. Again, I know that’s a little corny, [00:41:00] but that’s truth.

Megan: Yeah. So I’m curious. I feel like I have such a hard time when I work on something and I put my soul and my energy and so much time and

effort into it. I have a really hard time personally letting go of it and accepting that it’s just a failure.

So how do you know when to accept that? Something’s just not working out and accepted as a

failure?

Pete: I have no idea. So for anybody

listening to this it would just be like, wow, has been the most useless podcast interview ever because Pete knows nothing. I will point you my friends to a great book by Seth Godin called the dip. And it’s been a while back actually, since I’ve listened to it, now I should probably go re listened to it.

I have it on audible.

Uh it’s it’s about the subject. It’s about knowing when to quit and how quitting is actually

a superpower. And I’m with him. [00:42:00] Um, but to be really Frank with you, Megan, like I have no idea.

Oh you know what I thought of a better answer.

Uh, half of this is Pete being Pete and half of this is like advice that other people have given that I’m just regurgitating. I’m being a hundred percent honest with you. A lot of people, when they’re wondering like, Hey, what should I start a blog on?

Like, I’d love to do like a freelance

side hustle. Start my own business. I just don’t know what to do. A lot of common advice given

is to go ahead and start something in an area. Or a topic or an industry or a niche or whatever that even if you don’t make money for like three years, you will be able to persist with, right?

Like you were starting a blog, choose a topic that you can blog for

three years about not make a dime and still be really happy with right. People say this all the time. I actually think that’s really

good advice. And [00:43:00] that an answer to your question of like, how do you, how do you figure out when you’re sick with something or, you know, what’s working and what’s not, but

I will say that the only reason I didn’t quit doing blog a year

ago, two years ago, and three years ago was because I actually

enjoy it. I enjoy what I do. And if that wasn’t the case, I would’ve quit a long

ass time ago. I really would have.

Megan: Yeah.

I think, you know, they say

when you’re starting a business or whatever, do like choose something that you would do for free. And that sounds kind of like, what you’re saying is, Just do something that, you know, you’re going to be able to enjoy or persist with, and that might change over time.

Right? Like you may think you can enjoy something for three years and you get six

months in and it’s like the most miserable thing. And then maybe you look

at like, well, is it the content medium? Do I just hate writing? Do I prefer speaking? I feel like

that’s kind of what has happened with me [00:44:00] personally in my financial coaching business is I start, it started as a personal finance blog and I realized over time, I hate writing so much.

I just want to like sit and talk to people. I just want to do this and have a conversation, you know, or like I talk to myself all the time throughout the day anyway. So podcasting made more sense. It felt more natural, you know, but like, yeah, I think for me digging in and asking. Trying to ask myself more specific questions about like, what is it that’s not

working exactly.

Is it that I

feel inauthentic the way that I’m marketing this?

Is it that I hate the process or how like the medium where I’m producing

content? Or do I just hate the subject area? And again, I think that for me, it required a lot of

self-awareness and kind of digging into, like you

said earlier, what is it that I

Pete: Yeah, so I, [00:45:00] uh, I’ll share this with you. Tip the whole follow your passion,

do what you’re passionate about, or even what we just said.

Try and find things that you can persist with. Even if you don’t make

money. I feel like that advice, follow your

passion. Let’s just call it that right. that is simultaneously the best

advice anybody could ever give you. And the worst advice anybody could ever give you. And that’s

because that is one piece and a jigsaw puzzle. I have this really good blog post. I’m a self promo at this point. Um, I didn’t come up with it, which is the only reason that’s good. Uh, my friend Chelsea, she gave me this. Um, here we go with the frameworks again.

I’m pretty sure I call it a framework too. In my blog posts, not crap. Here we go. Uh, I think, I think I call it like the criss-cross drill or the crisscross framework or something. The point is to take a few of these questions. What are you passionate about and combine them with other questions, which is what am I good at? [00:46:00] That’s another one right there, because those things can be different. What am I passionate about? What am I good at? What can actually

make money? Like what has the potential to. make money? I could do lots of businesses that I’m passionate about Megan, and they be terrible and they would never make any money because I’m passionate about a lot of

stuff that doesn’t make money.

So I think the

important part is to ask a few of these

questions, to help you find an idea, or find a

product, or find the content

channel that you, you really enjoy doing and can make money. And you’re good at it, right? It takes a little bit of trial and error, but I think if we combine the follow your

passion advice with some of these more

practical questions, I think that could help a lot of people. Other than I can say a lot of people, a lot of time and headache,

Megan: yeah, And I think I know the blog posts that you’re referring to. We’ll definitely link to it in the show notes for this episode, for people who want to go

take a look at that.

Slow-Round Questions

Megan: [00:47:00] I know we’re like three minutes from our time. Um, do you mind if I ask you a few, like slow round

questions?

Is that okay?

So my, my favorite comedian ever, Mike Birbiglia, do you know

who he is?

Pete: I do. I don’t know

his work super well, but I’ve definitely seen some of this

stuff.

Megan: He’s so good. He’s so good, Pete. Um, he has like four, three or four specials on Netflix. My favorite one ever is, um, my girlfriend’s boyfriend highly, highly recommend, but the reason I brought them up, um, is because he has a podcast called working it out. And, um, instead of like a lightning round or rapid fire questions, he does a slow round.

And I really liked that idea more than like, you know, quickly there. What’s your first answer. Um, so I’m going to ask you a few solo round

questions

Pete: Yeah, I like that.

Megan: Okay. [00:48:00] Um, so.

First off for somebody who

is just getting started or maybe toying

with the idea of starting a lifestyle business or an online business, what are some really practical pieces of advice you would give to them?

Other than maybe what we’ve talked

about in the show

so far?

Pete: let me see here. Slow round version, huh?

That I like that it gives me a

second.

So I have a two-pronged approach

and this was like,

oh, screw it. Let’s just call it a framework. Here’s my two step

framework for those people. No, I’m kidding.

Now. Um, another piece of advice that is simultaneously amazing and terrible is to just do it. Just start right where this whole time, just start, like you’re interested in starting the lifestyle business. [00:49:00] Just start something, man. Today, get some out there. Girl boss, babe. This week hustle, do it, launch it, get it out. Just start, just do it simultaneously. Amazing and terrible advice. I think it needs to be paired with a second item.

And my second item would be.

Uh, do those things start today, try something today, make a phone call. I’m trying to make a sale on a product that doesn’t even exist yet today. Do all those things, but keep an active eye out for what’s working. I’m going to say this one more time, because this is my, this is my answer to your question.

I think you should try and sort of business next week, right? I think you should launch that blog today. You’ll figure out the tech stuff. You’ll figure out like, what is copywriting and who cares? Like, why do I need to know this? Right. Um, what does an email list, like how do I do email marketing? How do I actually need social accounts and [00:50:00] tech doc, like all the crazy stuff that you have no idea how to do yet.

You need to get past this barrier of learning, all that stuff. And the only way to get there is to publish a hundred blog posts to make 20 sales calls, to fail at 50 plus online blogs and businesses and chalkboard e-commerce com.

But, but that’s a very important, but keep an eye out for what is working.

If you have to fail at something, fail at something. If you have to move quickly, please do, but try and keep a very active eye on what’s working. And what’s not because that I think is the fastest way to get to a successful lifestyle business. You’re gonna have to try, you’re gonna have to do a

lot.

You’re gonna have to write a

lot to understand that you hate writing. You’re going to have to try and launch a podcast only to discover this sucks. You’re going to have to do a lot of that stuff,

but it’s all going to be wasted time. If you can’t

look back at the end of every single day, week, month, and year and ask yourself like, what did I enjoy?

What was I good at? [00:51:00] What made money?

What did I enjoy? What was I good at? And what made money and how can I lean into that more? Now I can focus and double down and turn what was a failure

or a mediocre success into. Actually rolls downhill that actually starts to grow it gains traction faster and faster.

So there’s my slow answer to your

question.

Megan: yeah. Thank you. I have those a great answer. Um, kind of going off that, I don’t know what it was that you said exactly that reminded me of this topic. Um, but what do

you think.

Comes first. Uh, so a lot of people get into,

I want to start an online business and they’re like, well, I need

an audience first.

So they don’t even think about how they’re going to make money in their business. Right. They, they go on social media and they start posting videos and content and working really hard on that to gain an

audience

and then eventually, you know, figure out what they’re going to sell. So

do you think, [00:52:00] like which comes first audience building or having a

product to sell.

Pete: So let’s say sir, changed from five years ago, especially like 10 years ago, right? In the two thousands early two thousands, 2000 tens. Even up to like 20 14, 20 15, 20 16, the sensors completely flip-flopped. So if you’d asked me that question back in 20 15, 20 16, even though I

had no idea what I was doing back then, I would have told

you, you need an audience

and you should do everything in your power to get an audience with an audience who knows you and likes you and trust you and respects you and follows you.

You can do damn near anything you want. You want to reach the moon for the seven figure business. You could probably figure out a way to do you just do a little lifestyle business. You probably do it now.

I’m going to this is the first

podcast for the dollar spot podcast episode. So, [00:53:00] um, I’m excited to get to go out with this. I’m going to kill my career right here, audiences or audiences.

Sorry followers of

DUI and blog. I

really say Megan, how many of my emails have you opened

in the past year? Every one of

them.

Megan: I mean, I personally opened a

lot of your emails, but

Pete: crap. Well, this is a terrible

Megan: talking to the wrong person.

Pete: the point is,

um,

mega is like a super loyal Pete super fan. Apparently. No.

Uh, the

point is audiences are overrated. I spent a long time. I’ve gained over 15, 17,000 email subscribers over the past five years. I’ve whittled them down to

6,000 over and over again.

I had to ween people because they don’t open any of my emails right now. I’ve been emailing people this week for a brand

new product. My open rates are

like 20%, 25%. I think I got one that was like 27%. One quarter of the people don’t open any of my emails, like almost ever. Right. It’s rare that I get above this and I have a social following that I really [00:54:00] don’t really see any benefits from anymore.

I get traffic. I have a. I don’t know where my YouTube views are at right now, but it’s several thousand. It’s like 20,000, 25,000 views a month on YouTube. I don’t get a whole lot out of that. I don’t get a whole lot on my email subscribers. If I’m being honest. I remember people launching things in 2010 with like 1000 people email list with their open rates are like 60, 70, 80%.

And just making like $30,000 and like this little late launch, I’m sure that’s still possible today. I’m sure it is. I’m sure people will do it. There’s going to be somebody out there that disagrees with me. I think it’s harder than ever before. There’s one thing that doesn’t go out of style, learning how to sell things.

My friend, Liz Wilcox, I’ll give her some praise. I’ll give her some credit where credit is due. Liz sold a blog that she had done for several years in a traveler. I started over, starting from scratch and she didn’t go out there and start a blog. [00:55:00] She’s talking about email marketing, like that’s kind of her jam.

She’s kind, she’s like an email marketer. She loves her marketing. She didn’t go out there and start a blog. She didn’t start a podcast. She didn’t start a YouTube channel. She didn’t produce any content of any kind. All she did was try and go get freelance clients. I should go start off with freelancing.

Okay, cool. Now she has an audience of several thousand people that buy her courses in digital products. It’s less than two years later. The point is she started with a service. Now you don’t have to freelance per se. You can do this with a product too, but she got on the phone with people. She emailed people.

She hustled in the real sense of the word, not forever shouldn’t hustle. Now she sits on the beach for 20 hours a week. She did to start with, to build up a resume, to build up a portfolio, to make them enough. Be able to do this longer, right? It’s the opposite approach. It should start with the audience.

The audience came naturally. Now she knows what the hell she’s talking about. And so for anybody to listen to this, I’m sorry. Megan’s really good at getting me to [00:56:00] rent. I would say this starting a blog, sorry, podcasts getting on Tik TOK. If you’re not already on Tik TOK, starting up that Twitter account, I’m not even on Twitter doing all these things to build an audience, quote, unquote, not the be all end, all advice.

I’m not saying it’s wrong. I think there are incredible benefits from blogging and, and YouTube and podcasting. I, I, there are credible benefits. That’s my job. Of course. I think this, I love this, stuff, but no, you don’t need an audience to make money. You don’t need an audience to make a full-time gig at all.

Right. And I

think that’s, what’s the good news and bad news. Bad news is. Well, okay. Now I’ve got to figure things up. I got to figure something else out. I got to figure out how to make money in a different way. But the good

news is there’s freedom there. Right? You really do get to do what you want to do.

You don’t want to write like Megan, you don’t have to, you have to book, you don’t have to YouTube, you have podcasts. [00:57:00] You don’t have to send a bunch of emails and cold call people to do freelance work. You kind of do what you want. That’s the good news and the bad news as well. You still have to figure it out.

Quote unquote.

Megan: Yeah.

You still have to figure out what you’re going to sell, whether it’s a product or a service. Yeah. Yeah, no, I completely agree. And I think that my

mindset on that has also changed over the last

few years. Um, cause you hear about more and

more people, especially on social media, but even

with. Giant email lists who,

um, have an audience,

but their audience doesn’t buy. And I agree that I think if you have something to sell first and you’re kind of testing it and putting it out there and focusing on, you know, what transformation you can give people through that product or

service. Um, yeah, I think that the audience can come leader and some people will say that you do it.

Like you can do it at the same time, you know, build an audience while you’re figuring out what you’re selling. [00:58:00] And I mean,

as you mentioned earlier, Pete, there is not necessarily a right answer. Um, but I do, I do tend to agree with you. There is no one

roadmap for entrepreneurship, but yeah, I

agree. I think that first you have to figure out how you’re going to make

money because that’s, that’s the reason you’re starting a business.

I mean, you’re starting a business maybe to help people also very important,

but you can’t stay in.

Unless you make money and to make

money, you have to sell something.

Pete: no, I I actually, while you were talking just then I pulled open my like software here, right. Track my sales, because I was just curious. I I’ve made I don’t mind sharing. I be $245 today. Yesterday. I made. Uh, 1300. And the reason is it’s because I sold

stuff.

I sent emails with a product and links for people to buy, and I don’t do them.

Don’t do that every single day. I do have some sources

of [00:59:00] passive income. You talking about and part two of this podcast episode and a to come back.

But the point is you got to put yourself out there, you gotta find a product, you gotta try different products or services or whatever that

  1. And you got to yeah, you have to,

sell it.

You gotta

find something to sell and you

gotta sell it. That’s the only way to make money period.

Now

Megan: last slow round question I have for you. then we’ll wrap up and I’ll let you go

now. um,

what is a common myth

or misconception about running an online business or a lifestyle business

that you want to clear up

once and for all, or you can name

multiple myths, but

at least one

of you have

Pete: one many. Oh my gosh. So many,

um,

well I think the biggest two people already know, but they don’t believe, and that is it’ll be easy or

quick, right? If, if you were to [01:00:00] stop random person on the street who wants to start a business and be like, do you think it’ll be easy? They’re like, oh no, no, no. I know it’s, it’s going to be a

long road ahead. Right? You think it’s going to be quick? Nah, no. I’m fully prepared. I know it’s not going to be an overnight success, but yet here we are starting things and then falling back into the traps of like, why isn’t this working? Why am I not good enough? Am I good enough? I don’t know. I don’t

know. I don’t know.

And it’s because we let these expectations come back to us, right. That, and then we follow people on Instagram

and be like, crap. Like million-DollarSprout made $137,000 last month. Well, what am

I doing wrong with my business? Right? It’s not fast. It’s not easy. And.

I think

people should tattoo that on there.

Uh, I feel like the popular place to tattoo it would be like on your forearm, maybe, you know, so it’s not super publicly visible, but put it right there. Like this is not easy and it’s not fast and it never will be. And as long as [01:01:00] you can be comfortable with that go forward. Right. So that’s my meth.

Megan: Nice. Well, Pete, where can

people find out more about you? I know that you said you’re launching online impact the Monday

after we are

recording this, but unfortunately this probably

isn’t going to air until January of

20, 22. So people still get into online

impact?

Okay, cool.

Pete: It’s evergreen. People can join any time of year. So here’s, here’s my self promo I’ll point. Anybody who’s interested in any of this stuff probably to my YouTube channel, but I won’t give you that URL because who knows what that. Actually I do. It’s youtube.com/do even block, but I’ll just point you to my homepage, do blog.com.

That’s where you can find everything to do with Pete. If you want to reach out through email or Twitter, I look at all that stuff that anybody sends me. You’re welcome to do that. Follow the YouTube channel. That’s mostly where I produce content. These days, [01:02:00] all and impact is our private community, which is not for beginners.

It’s not, I don’t want anybody to pay me for that right now, because if you’re a beginner and you, you don’t have anything, you don’t have a platform. You don’t have an audience and you don’t have a product. You don’t need to pay me for that yet. So just go follow my YouTube channel and my free stuff. If you are a

current content, prenuer content creator, entrepreneur, and and you’re looking for

community mastermind groups, group coaching.

Uh, we do quarterly workshops where I bring people in to teach different things. Like our last one was on sales page copywriting. And I had a friend of mine come in and lead a workshop on that. We do that like

a couple of times. If you’re into that, um, it’s $9 a month, but there is a, an entry fee. There’s a thousand

dollars to join. And I have payment plans for that as well. You can learn all about that stuff and more at, do you blog.com

and specifically Do even blog.com/oh,

I as interested two letters doing [01:03:00] blog.com/ojai

Megan: Nice. Do you have anything currently, any resources? Um, any like blog posts or YouTube videos that are more

geared toward beginners?

Pete: a ton. And in fact that I believe is what my website and podcast accomplish

the first couple of years. Do You Even Blog? I was focused on the

podcast as my main thing and almost every single guest I had. We’re geared towards, um, not necessarily all geared towards beginners, but a lot of it was. And so what I would tell people to Do and I still get emails to this day.

I’m very proud of this. I get emails to this day.

It’d be like, Hey,

you’re a recent podcast.

Episodes are kind of like hit or miss, but I went back through your archives and there’s blown me away.

I’m like, well, thanks for the backhanded compliment. But for anybody beginning, I would say go to the blog.com and look at the podcasts because the first three years of that are

chefs guests. Well towards beginning online entrepreneurs. [01:04:00] I really do believe that

Megan: nice. All right. Awesome. Well, thank you again so much for being here, Pete. I really enjoyed this conversation. Um, yeah. And we’ll have to bring you back for part two if you’re up for

  1. What

do you think?

Pete: I’m always down. Just let me know Megan. Yeah. Thank you

so much for having

Cool. lot of fun.

Key Takeaways

Megan: Hey there it’s Meghan from the beyond post interview with Pete personally, I think Pete really delivered in that interview. He had a lot of great things to say, and I appreciate all the wisdom that he shared from his experience in business. Over the years, listening back through the recording, I took a ton of notes.

So I’m going to share with you my key takeaways and reflections from our conversation.

Key Takeaway #1

Megan: Key take away number one.

 Look for the common denominator in the things you enjoy. Pete gave the example of a professor. I think it was a professor who told him that because he [01:05:00] liked music. He might also enjoy accounting.

That sounded absurd to me when Pete first said it, but his explanation made a lot of sense.

Pete: I went to a, kind of a lifelong friend slash mentor friend of my parents who happened to be the Dean of the business school at just a little bit.

He private college in my hometown. I was like, what do I do? His name was dub. What do I do? Dub? And dub said you’re in a music, right? I was like, yeah, he’s like, you should try accounting. This is the same thing. And I’m like, I don’t get how that works. He was like, I promise you. I think you might actually enjoy it.

Try accounting.

he was correct. And the reason it is, is they’re both based on structure and rules. And once you learn structured, And rules of music. There’s only so many notes you can play.

And in fact, there’s only so many notes you can play at any moment. That actually sound good, like far fewer notes. That actually sound [01:06:00] really good and chords are nothing but structures of notes and all sorts of stuff. It’s based on structure and rules. And once you understand the structure and the rules, it’s called music theory, you can compose music.

It’s going to make you a better player, musician, um, all sorts of stuff like that. It’s the same exact thing in accounting. Once you understand the structure of how accounting works, everything just starts to make.

Megan: Understanding, not just what you like, but also why you like it can help you identify commonalities among seemingly unrelated things, whether that’s a potential business model or a career path. A new product or service.

Pete realized that part of what he enjoyed about music was the structure of it, the rules, the patterns, the formulas, and in that way, accounting is very similar.[01:07:00]

If you’re looking for your next or your first business idea, your product or your service or whatever, make a list of the things that you enjoy and what specifically you like about them, then find the common denominators.

You might be surprised at what opportunities pop up.

Key Takeaway #2

Megan: Key, take away. Number two.

 If you’re looking for the perfect business framework or roadmap to follow, I’m sorry to tell you this, but. It doesn’t exist because in entrepreneurship there really are no rules.

Pete: Entrepreneurship, in my opinion is the exact polar opposite. It’s about it’s about understanding that there are no rules and there isn’t really that much structure, right? The people who are rewarded and entrepreneurship are the ones who think outside the box, or actually they think about the box before the box is a thing, right?

It’s all about timing and market. And more importantly, in my [01:08:00] opinion, figuring things out, quote unquote, there was rarely anything to figure out in music. You learn this, or you don’t, you practice. To improve your muscle memory and your knowledge and that stuff. Accounting, you learn the structure and the rules, and you figure out how things fit into that.

Entrepreneurship is like, here are problems that I don’t have a rule book to follow. I can do Google searches all day and not actually figure out how to grow my business. I can read

books and it will actually

figure

out how to grow my business. I have to try

things and get feedback and adapt. It’s like the complete opposite of accounting.

Megan: This realization can be both liberating and also a little terrifying.

Those who thrive as entrepreneurs are often the ones who are more comfortable or who learn to be comfortable with the unknown with uncertainty. They’re the ones who understand that there’s no one right way. [01:09:00] To run a business and therefore they can build and design a business that fits their lifestyle, their personality and their goals.

Of course in order to do that, you need to know what your goals and your personality and your ideal lifestyle are, which involves a bit of self-awareness and reflection, and also the ability to listen to and trust yourself to make the decisions that are right for you. If you’re not there right now, then don’t worry.

This is an ongoing process. And like many other aspects of entrepreneurship. It’s a skill that comes with practice, practicing, listening to your gut and making small decisions every day that aligned with the business that you want, not the business that someone else has, not the business that coaches on Instagram say you should build, but the business that you actually want.

Key Takeaway #3

Megan: Key takeaway number three.

 [01:10:00] Be yourself.

Pete: I think what I’m about to say is the easiest thing for entrepreneurs to lose sight of.

And here’s what it is. Be your damn self. We understand this all the time, right? Just be yourself, say what you want to say, create the business like you want the business to be how you think it should be. Not based on what your friends are doing. Not based on what the Tim Ferriss podcast said. Not based on what this Robert Kiyosaki book said.

Do what you think is best for your customers. And for you say what you wanna say on your blog, on your YouTube channel, whatever it is, or your email list, whatever it is, be yourself. Um, okay, so that’s super lame, right? And the reason it’s super lame is because people have heard it a million times and they lose sight of it

Megan: it’s so true. And as Pete mentioned, it’s [01:11:00] so easy to lose sight of, especially when you see other people on social media. Seemingly living your dream. But one of the most important things I think to keep in mind is to be yourself, to know yourself and to, you know, market your business and create products and services that.

Aligned with you and that fit the business that you want to have. And this applies, if you are the face of your business, like if you have a blog or a coaching business or whatever, and you’re the face of your company, but it also applies if you’re not the face of your business, because it matters that you’re staying true to who you are.

If you’re not, if you’re just doing what you think is going to make you successful, then you could very well end up building a business that is miserable for you to run and that you don’t enjoy doing at all. And that is not the point of having a lifestyle business.

Key Takeaway #4

Megan: Key [01:12:00] takeaway number four.

 Don’t follow your passion.

Find the intersection between what people need, what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing.

Pete: I have this really good blog post. I’m a self promo at this point. Um, I didn’t come up with it, which is the only reason that’s good. Uh, my friend Chelsea, she gave me this uh, I think, I think I call it like the criss-cross drill or the crisscross framework or something. The point is to take a few of these questions. What are you passionate about and combine them with other questions, which is what am I good at? That’s another one right there, because those things can be different. What am I passionate about? What am I good at? What can actually

make money? Like what has the potential to. make money? I could do lots of businesses that I’m passionate about Megan, and they be terrible and they would never make any money because I’m passionate about a lot of

stuff that doesn’t make money.

So I think the

[01:13:00] important part is to ask a few of these

questions, to help you find an idea, or find a

product, or find the content

channel that you, you really enjoy doing and can make money. And you’re good at it, right? It takes a little bit of trial and error, but I think if we combine the follow your

passion advice with some of these more

practical questions, I think that could help a lot of people. Other than I can say a lot of people, a lot of time and headache.

Megan: I looked up the blog posts that Pete mentioned on his website after our call. So I can tell you more about it. And the blog post, which is linked in the show notes for this episode, talks about how to use this exercise, to find ideas for digital products, but you can also use it to brainstorm.

Business models and content ideas and et cetera, et cetera. The way this exercise works is you ask yourself five questions. Number one is what does your audience need help with? Number two, [01:14:00] what helps them do those things? What products or services, what do they need to do those things? What are you good at?

What do you enjoy doing? And then awares the crossover in all of them. And that crossover is the business, the content, the product, or the service that you should focus on. Again, the link to Pete’s blog post is in the show notes. You’ll also find in that blog post of his, um, an example of how Pete used this exercise in his business.

And you’ll find the podcast episode that Pete recorded with Chelsea Brennan of smart money model. On how she used this exercise to come up with this product idea that has since made her business hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue. I think that this is actually maybe Chelsea’s original exercise.

Um, anyway, highly recommend giving that podcast episode Alyson.

Key Takeaway #5

Megan: Key takeaway number five.

 Find your product or service first, [01:15:00] then build an audience around that product or service.

Pete: audiences are overrated. I spent a long time. I’ve gained over 15, 17,000 email subscribers over the past five years. I’ve whittled them down to 6,000 over and over again.

My friend, Liz Wilcox, I’ll give her some praise. I’ll give her some credit where credit is due. Liz sold a blog that she had done for several years in a traveler. I started over, starting from scratch and she didn’t go out there and start a blog. She’s talking about email marketing, like that’s kind of her jam.

She’s kind, she’s like an email marketer. She loves her marketing. She didn’t go out there and start a blog. She didn’t start a podcast. She didn’t start a YouTube channel. She didn’t produce any content of any kind. All she did was try and go get freelance clients. I should go start off with freelancing.

Okay, cool. Now she has an audience of several thousand people that buy her courses in digital products. It’s less than two years later. The point is she started with a [01:16:00] service. Now you don’t have to freelance per se. You can do this with a product too, but she got on the phone with people. She emailed people.

 To build up a portfolio, to make them enough. Be able to do this longer, right? It’s the opposite approach. It should start with the audience.

The audience came naturally. Now she knows what the hell she’s talking about. And so for anybody to listen to this, I would say this starting a blog, sorry, podcasts getting on Tik TOK. If you’re not already on Tik TOK, starting up that Twitter account, I’m not even on Twitter doing all these things to build an audience, quote, unquote, not the be all end, all advice.

You don’t need an audience to make money. You don’t need an audience to make a full-time gig at all.

Megan: If you focus on building an audience first, then you’re doing a lot of work for no money.

And by the time you get an audience, what you want to sell might not be what your audience needs or wants to pay for it. This one really hit home hard for me because I made this [01:17:00] mistake very early on in my coaching business. Before I realized that I wanted to offer financial coaching, I built an audience of a few thousand email subscribers with blog posts about frugal living and saving money.

And I gave out a lot of free printables. Then once I had an audience, I decided I wanted to sell financial coaching. I wanted to be a financial. But the people on my email list, weren’t there for financial coaching. They were there for the free printouts and the money saving articles and not many of them, very few of them were willing to pay a thousand dollars or more for coaching.

If you figure out your product or service first, then you can create content related to your offer for people who might be, or who are already interested in what you’re selling. So if I had done that with my financial coaching, I could have been asking myself questions about like, if somebody is on the fence with financial [01:18:00] coaching, then how do I educate them?

Or if somebody doesn’t know that financial coaching is an option to how do I educate them about financial coaching and help them understand that this is a good choice for them, but I didn’t do that. I gave away a lot of free stuff and collected a bunch of emails of people who just weren’t.

More free stuff and more articles about how to cut back and save money, not how to spend money on financial coaching. And your offer might change over time. Right? In fact, it probably will change and that’s okay. If, and when it does, you can adjust your content and your marketing as needed. But the point is don’t waste your time building an audience. If you don’t have anything to sell, because it puts you in a position of catering to your audience and what they want to buy, which isn’t always a bad thing, right?

As a business owner, you’re filling a need for somebody, but it puts you in the position of doing that first, instead of selling what you enjoy, [01:19:00] what you’re good at and what you actually want to sell. Now I will say this is one school of thought and there are people out there who believe the opposite that you should create content and build an audience before you sell anything.

Ultimately, I think it depends on your goals and how settled you are in your niche, your topic, if you’re not sure what topics you even enjoy, creating content on or what you could help people with and your goal isn’t necessarily to make money or your goal isn’t to make money. Then sure explore, create content until you find the topic or the topics that you want to stick with.

Just remember that an audience alone isn’t enough to make money in business. And just because you build an audience, doesn’t mean that they’re going to want to buy whatever you decide to sell later. So you have to have something to sell, or you have to at least have an idea of what you want to sell before you start bringing people in the.[01:20:00]

All right. Those are my key takeaways.

Notes links to all the resources that are mentioned in this episode are included in the show notes.

If you enjoyed today’s episode, make sure to follow in whatever app you’re using to listen to the show. And if you really enjoyed it, go ahead and leave us a review. Let us know how we’re doing. Um, again, thanks for being here and for being part of the DollarSprout community.

And I will see you in the next episode.