Listen to our full episode on Avoiding Burnout During Big Projects below (with full transcript) or find our podcast by searching What is it all for? in your favorite podcast player.
Five Key Takeaways for Avoiding Burnout During Big Projects
1. The push and pull of finding “good enough”
In any project with limited time and focus resources, you HAVE to pay attention to the upper limit of finding what “good enough” means for you because that’s when burnout will get you.
If we’ve learned anything in 10+ years of working for ourselves, getting (imperfect) things out the door will get you so far in business! You might put all this self-criticism and fear on the next thing you publish, but someone’s going to see that for such a short period of time. Ask yourself, “What is imperative to include in my content if I want it to live on?”
2. Breaking bigger tasks into more accomplishable things.
While Caroline has been working on all the scripts, I (Jason) have been taking the scripts and creating the first version of the articles. We have this metaphor about clay, like in pottery, where you have a hunk of clay and you are throwing it on the wheel. That is the first step of creating the article–the raw materials, so to speak.
The next part would then be to shape the clay. This could mean reformatting the article to have headings and defining the main points. That’s the molding and shaping part. The final part of the clay metaphor for the articles will be the glazing, or the finishing formatting, images, and SEO keyword’ing.
3. Managing “busy seasons”
Our approach to managing busy seasons is to make sure that we’re balanced in all the other areas. This means prioritizing healthy habits like exercise and eating well. When it comes to social activities, you may also have to be willing to say no to things.
4. How are you making it DIFFERENT?
Just content these days isn’t enough. We think one of the differentiators of our YouTube channel is the fact that we’re giving business advice as a couple and you don’t always see that. So even just visually, that adds contrast. In this part of the podcast, we discuss about ways to make our videos different and also to make the process smoother as we record.
5. Calm Business Confidential
Calm Business Confidential is a segment where each of us brings a business to the podcast that the other person doesn’t know about. We want to highlight the story of a business that isn’t your billion-dollar growth story business. It’s just a person who decided that they wanted to earn money online, live a good life in the process, and not try to build the next 100 million-dollar business.
If you have a calm business you think we should talk about, send us an email and share it!
Show Notes for Episode 174: Avoiding Burnout During Big Projects
This week, we talk about everything we’re doing to steer clear of our old friend burnout. Our 26 new articles and accompanying YouTube videos are a daunting task and we’re FULLY in the thick of the project at this point.
One of the most helpful things we do during a big project like this is to focus on “good enough.” Now, that’s not easy, because we’re both recovering perfectionists (who haven’t fully recovered – LOL). However, we are implementing a few guardrails to help with this go-round.
Tune in to future episodes for updates and on September 18, our 26 days 😉 of content will start being published!
Full Transcript of Episode 174: Avoiding Burnout During Big Projects
⬇️ You can also download the .TXT file of the transcript
Caroline: Welcome to What Is It All For? A podcast designed to help you grow your online business and pursue a spacious, satisfying life at the same time. We’re your hosts, Jason and Caroline Zook, and we run Wandering Aimfully, an unboring business coaching program. Every week, we bring you advice and conversations to return you to your most intentional self and to help you examine every aspect of your life and business by asking, What is it all for? Thanks for listening. And now let’s get into the show.
Jason: And I’m here too. Hi. Hello, and welcome to the podcast.
Caroline: Oh, my gosh. The energy.
Jason: I brought it.
Caroline: I thought you were going to sing.
Jason: No, I brought it.
Caroline: Because that’s usually your first go to.
Caroline: Let’s bring them in with the song.
Jason: I listened to our last episode. There was no song.
Jason: There was no song.
Caroline: If you would have asked me, I would have been, like, 50% of the time Jason intros with a, Welcome to the…
Jason: Well, okay, 50%. Go ahead.
Caroline: You embarrassed me.
Jason: Welcome to the podcast.
Jason: So does that count now?
Caroline: Now… Do you think you missed your career path as a musician?
Caroline: Me either.
Jason: No. That is one thing the Zook family does not have. Musical talent.
Caroline: Talent. Do you think that our children will just be, like, musical prodigies? That’d be cool. Don’t you love those stories where it’s like, Oh, does anyone in your family…? And they’re like, No.
Jason: Yeah. My mom can sing, though.
Caroline: Your mom can sing. Maybe it skips a generation.
Jason: Yeah. Oh, cool.
Caroline: Can anyone in my family sing? No.
Jason: Do you want to move into the honesty corner?
Caroline: Sure. I’ll join you over there in the honesty corner.
Caroline: This is the second time that we have started this particular episode.
Caroline: Do you want to tell everybody what happened when we tried the first time?
Jason: I don’t because I could possibly get in trouble based on what I say.
Caroline: You could get in trouble.
Jason: I will sit quietly in the honesty corner with you.
Caroline: Yeah. But thank you for the invitation.
Caroline: You’re the one who invited us here.
Caroline: So yesterday afternoon, we started this podcast episode recording, and we started it at about 4:00 p.m.
Jason: Sorry, can I interrupt you for just one second?
Caroline: Sure. I would love for you to interrupt me.
Jason: Man, it smells like sheep poop.
Caroline: It does smell just like the most intense sheep poop right now. We have the doors cracked.
Caroline: And there’s just this… Okay. I think it’s a combination of it’s hotter than usual.
Caroline: Mixed with, like, the time of year.
Jason: There’s got to be some type of one rogue pooping sheep around here.
Caroline: You think it’s one sheep?
Jason: I think it’s one just doing work.
Caroline: Doing work. And then it’s like I think the direction of the wind.
Jason: It just is hitting us perfect.
Caroline: It’s a perfect poop storm.
Jason: All right. Sorry. Because it really hit me.
Caroline: That’s what’s happening for us.
Jason: Sorry, go ahead.
Caroline: But yesterday, we started recording the podcast at about 4:00 p.m.
Caroline: And as we will discuss in this episode, I have been every day in the morning doing a lot of very focused, creative work to get this Content Blitz going, which we’ll talk about in the episode. And we had already pushed back the podcast recording by two days. We normally record on Tuesdays. This was going to be a Thursday. It’s Friday as we’re recording this. And so I was sort of of the mindset of like, Yeah, we just got to get this done, and that doesn’t mean I wasn’t looking forward to it. I love recording the podcast.
Jason: Sure, yeah.
Caroline: But just in my mind, I was like, we’ll just push it to the afternoon. I’ll get my most creative energy in the morning and then I’ll just sit it down and chitchat in the afternoon. Won’t that be great?
Jason: How’d it go?
Caroline: Turns out it’s not just about sitting down and chitchatting. You have to actually be able to formulate thoughts and sentences. And so we’re recording and we’re about 15 minutes in and I am just struggling to even put words together.
Jason: I asked you a question and it looked like you just went into a different space.
Caroline: You know that meme that’s like, Hello, darkness, my old friend.
Jason: Your face just, like, glazed like, all of your face glazed over. And it was like…
Caroline: And you know why? Because I was mentally deciding whether I thought my faculties were compromised enough that I needed to stop the recording and say, Hey, Jason, I don’t think we should do this.
Caroline: Because you had already invested time, you had set everything up. And so I was mentally fighting this battle of like, it’s fine. Not every episode needs to be so great. But then I was like, I actually haven’t been able to say sentences.
Caroline: I feel like that’s my line. We’re going to talk about in this episode, where do you know the line is of good enough versus perfectionism? We’ve talked about this in previous episodes. And I was playing that game in my head where I was like, maybe this is just like a good enough thing where I can just be okay with it not being great and just get it done. And then my mind was just like, yeah, but I don’t think we’ve reached the threshold of good enough when you can’t say words.
Jason: Yeah. Normally when we record these episodes, it’s basically like one sit down recording and we’re done. There’s no edits, there’s no nothing. Yesterday I had three times when I had, no, that’s wrong. I’m going to have to cut that out and have to cut that out. It was like a minute and a half where I asked you a question, I didn’t get a response back, and I didn’t know what to do.
Caroline: So I finally was like, Hey, man, I don’t think this is good. And he was like, Yeah, no, it’s not.
Jason: Probably not. I would guess probably not.
Caroline: So the honesty corner, the result of that is sometimes you just got to scrap it and start over and make a decision and be like, I actually, for my own quality standards, can’t put that out. And I told Jason the lesson learned is when I’m in the middle of a project that requires a lot of creative focus, you know, I can’t do it at the end of the day. I have to make… If I want to be able to have coherent thoughts, we need to record first thing, and that’s my bad. So we woke up, and this is the first thing we’re doing today.
Jason: Yeah, absolutely. And as the person who didn’t have those feelings, I’m just over here. I’m along for the ride.
Jason: I’m just like, you want to keep going? No. Okay.
Caroline: I do want to…
Jason: You want to stop? Okay.
Caroline: I do… Maybe this is off script, but I do want to share because I think…
Jason: We’re still in the honesty corner?
Caroline: We’re in the honesty corner.
Jason: We have not moved on to the tree of lies? Where we’re going after this. Okay, go ahead.
Caroline: Because I made a revelation yesterday that I think is going to serve me going forward that was a result of all of this. So I’m in the moment, I’m just feeling very frustrated because I can’t put my thoughts into words, and I’m so exhausted, it feels like I am just, like, slogging through the mud to even sit down and do the podcast episode. And finally I make the decision that I’m going to say, We got to stop this. Basically, I have to admit that I can’t do it. And in that moment, it sort of spiraled for me into a bigger deal. Right. Because this is what I told you later on. Jason had the great idea to go in the pool afterwards. He was like, we need to cleanse ourselves of this. And he was right. But I was sort of looking back and going, my emotions escalated from like a, Oh, I’m tired, to, like, I’m overwhelmed. Everything’s crumbling around me, blah, blah, blah. It wasn’t that dramatic, but I’m trying to share with you the emotional escalation that happened. And whenever that happens, thanks to all the therapy that I’ve done, I always go, what happened there? Because whenever I know that my emotional reaction is disproportionate to the events that transpired, it’s important to look back and go, Why? What was that trigger? And for me, I made the distinction that, in that moment, it made me feel like I didn’t have the capacity to do something that I wanted to do because I was tired. And what happened was my brain started making connections to all these different things that are happening in my life right now. Some stuff going on with family, some stuff going on with just various things, right. And the project. But I’m staring down the barrel of this big project, and I’m worried that I’m not going to have what it takes to actually get through it in a healthy way, all these things. And so my brain made this correlation that my inability to show up and push through in this podcast episode means that I’m incapable of having what it takes in my family life. Having what it takes in this other project. It really extrapolates. And when we were in the pool, I had a moment where I was like, okay, I just need to give it a little bit of a break and recognize this is not a bigger narrative. I literally was just tired. I was just tired.
Jason: It’s so interesting the different ways that our two brains work. It’s like your brain… It ends up going down, like in Tears of the Kingdom. For those of you who aren’t playing, there’s caves in this one. And in the caves, there’s always a bubble gem. There’s always a little bubble frog in a cave. And sometimes you have to just keep going down in the cave. You got to find more places, keep going. And so I think for you, it’s like every time you go in a cave or something like this happens, you your brain has to go, like, deeper and deeper, deeper until you find the bubble, the bubble frog and the bubble gem. The way my brain works is like, I go in, I don’t immediately see the bubble frog. I’m out. I just got other stuff I got to do. It’s not that important to me.
Caroline: So are you saying in this metaphor that my brain’s desire to go into the bubble cave and find the frog is my…?
Jason: It’s not called a bubble cave. First of all, let’s just get it right for everybody.
Caroline: It is a bubble cave. My brain’s desire to go into the bubble cave and find the frog is my need to find the root of the thing.
Jason: Exactly. So it’s like every time something like this happens, I’m like a dumb animal. I’m just like, Okay, we stopped recording the podcast. Let’s move on to the next thing. Your brain is like, Hold on a second. Wait a minute. What is going on here? We have to assess the whole situation. And I’m not saying it’s a good and bad. I’m just saying it’s so interesting how different our brains work because all my brain… And it’s probably a protective mechanism for me.
Caroline: It absolutely is. That’s what I was going to say.
Jason: Do not get to the root of this issue because there’s more things we’re going to uncover.
Caroline: Let me go down this bubble cave. Wow. You just invited me right into a new bubble cave.
Jason: Not called a bubble cave. We’re going to keep going. Just a cave. It’s just a cave.
Caroline: Okay, but can I ask you a quick question? What’s more fun, a cave or a bubble cave?
Jason: I guess a bubble cave.
Caroline: That’s right. So now we have to call it a bubble cave.
Jason: But it’s not true in the game.
Caroline: I understand and that hurts your heart. But here we are.
Jason: So now we’re in the tree of lies. Okay, that’s fine.
Caroline: Yeah. In the tree of lies, there are bubble caves.
Jason: Okay, great. People are like, What did I tune into here?
Caroline: What I think is so interesting is you hit the nail on the head, which is… because I think a lot of it just all comes back to what were the ways that our brains adapted to be able to protect ourselves as kids? Right? That is all our subconscious is these neural pathways that have developed in order to keep us safe. And so for me, as a kid, I think being able to understand the connections between all these various social interactions that were happening in my family to be able to… My way of keeping myself safe was to assess the situation and go, what just happened there? Let me make sure I don’t do that again so that I don’t get this result, basically. And a lot of it is wrapped up in because I’ve done therapy I know this as well. A lot of that bubble cave always comes back to how do I need to change my behavior in order to not cause X, Y, and Z to happen again?
Caroline: It’s this oversized sense of self responsibility that I have to work on all the time. I’m getting so much better at being able to separate when something is not my responsibility.
Jason: Nothing to fix.
Caroline: But my brain is always going to go to that place. So when I have that emotional reaction in the podcast, my brain wants to figure out, why did that escalate? How can I understand myself better so that I don’t have that type of reaction in the future? Your brain, it’s still a protective mechanism, but your brain’s way of keeping you safe is always compartmentalized.
Jason: Move on.
Caroline: Move on.
Jason: Put it in the black box.
Caroline: Don’t even ask a question. Hey, no bubble caves for me.
Jason: Does anybody need cinnamon rolls? I could go bake those right now.
Caroline: So I think you’re right. It is fascinating the way that different people have different brains, and especially when you’re in a relationship, I think the more that you can, though, understand those things and articulate them because then it goes, you don’t feel resentful of me for always needing to go understand. I’m sure it’s exhausting sometimes, but you understand that that’s what I need. And sometimes it is frustrating that you don’t want to find those answers and that you just move on and you don’t want to uncover things. That can be frustrating for me. But I also know and have compassion for the inner child within you that that’s just your inner child trying to keep you safe. And so it allows me to have empathy and compassion for you.
Jason: I want you to know that I will go back and get all the bubble gems.
Caroline: I know you do.
Jason: Because 100% completionist.
Caroline: You just need somebody to invite you into the bubble cave and you’re like, Oh, I don’t want to, but I know there’s a gem in here.
Jason: I was on another mission.
Caroline: You’re always on another mission.
Jason: This is true. I have lots of missions I can accomplish.
Caroline: That’s actually your protective mechanism. It’s like next mission.
Jason: Yeah, 100%. Okay, great. Want to get into the actual topic of this episode?
Caroline: We sort of touched on it.
Jason: Yeah. Well, we are working on this 26-Day Content Blitz. So if you have not listened to the past two episodes, this might be new to you. Very quick recap. Leading up to our Fall enrollment of WAIM Unlimited, our unboring coaching program, we wanted to do an external marketing project because we don’t do a lot of external marketing and we haven’t in a while. And so we were like, this is our last launch at our $2,000 price point because, in 2024, we’re going to raise the price for the first time in five years because we’ve invested so much into the program. It is definitely worth it. And we want to do something that kind of gives like a little bit of a nudge on this launch. So it’s a three pronged kind of goal for this 26-Day Content Blitz. So we’re going to make 26 YouTube videos, 26 articles, and then we’re going to have a landing page on our site that kind of pulls all this together in a very fun way, which will be revealed once it’s live. And if you want real time, kind of… I guess it’s real time on the podcast. But every Monday we’re giving kind of in depth details of building this project. You can sign up at wanderingaimfully.com/newsletter to get our Monday newsletter.
Caroline: It’s the pre-marketing for the pre-marketing.
Jason: It’s the pre-marketing for pre-marketing. Just if you like watching people build stuff, you’re going to love it this week. Or every week leading up to the launch. So anyway, the three pronged approach is we’re creating these 26 videos and articles to have the short term marketing…
Caroline: Just awareness.
Caroline: Let’s call it…
Caroline: Awareness before the launch.
Jason: It is an awareness of like, oh, wow, there’s a lot of content I can consume that’s in a very organized place that I can see if WAIM Unlimited is right for me as the customer, as someone.
Caroline: And a lot of those people are probably going to be people who already are in our ecosystem who are just maybe didn’t know necessarily that we were going to launch. And so they watch a couple of videos. They read a couple of articles. And they go, oh, okay, that’s coming up.
Jason: And like, oh, these are business coaches. Let me watch a couple of videos or read a couple of articles.
Caroline: See if I like their style.
Jason: Oh, yeah, okay. I would like to learn from these people. Great. Or I don’t like those people. They’re not serious enough for me.
Caroline: That’s prong number one.
Jason: Yeah, that’s prong number one. Prong number two is kind of a long term SEO play, if you will. So we have not had a good group of new articles on our site that really hit home our ethos. And so what I said in last week’s episode know, we basically cobbled together our content as far as articles go on the WAIM website from previous two businesses that we ran. We tried to tweak them a little, but we really have not created like, signature content. And what we’ve learned over the past five years running WAIM is we now know what our signature content is. So it’s important to pull it out of all of our coaching sessions that only our members have access to. Put it on the front facing part of our website so anyone can get access to that information.
Jason: So that’s kind of the longer term play. And then we hope that we’re going to get some discovery via search in Google or via search in YouTube. So that’s where we’re getting at.
Jason: And then the third thing is just having a place to send people on our site moving forward, that’s like, if you want to know what we’re about, this is our ethos. These are 26 topics that we believe are kind of the most important for online business and the way that we look at running calm businesses and the idea of enough. Go watch this content.
Caroline: It’s creating a rabbit hole for people to go in down.
Jason: Is it a rabbit hole or is it a bubble cave?
Caroline: This is rabbit hole. But thank you for asking because I could see how the listeners could be confused.
Jason: For sure.
Caroline: This is a rabbit hole. So we’re creating a rabbit hole for people to go down in an easy way if they want to, and they would be able to spend a little bit of time and come away with like, wow, this is different than other business content. I learned something. I felt like this was applicable to my business, I’m interested, et cetera.
Jason: Great. So we have been working on this project now for two weeks, fair to say. How are you feeling?
Caroline: Well, I think, as evidenced to in the honesty corner. Yeah. How am I feeling? I am feeling like nervous for the future weeks, but also excited because I am enjoying working on the project. I think that’s important. And I’m excited for the product that will come out of it, but I am nervous because now… This is usually what happens once you get two weeks into a project. You realize how much more work than you even anticipated it is. And we’ll talk about that in a second. Why is that? And it’s because your standard, once you get in the inside of doing a task, you kind of go, oh, here are all these different parts I didn’t anticipate. To make it really good, here’s what I want it to be, et cetera. And so basically, for the past week, I’ve been working on these scripts. And so I’m writing 26 YouTube scripts, and the videos aren’t very long. They’re like four to five minutes long. So thank goodness because it wouldn’t be possible if they were, like, 15 minutes videos. To write 26 of them would be impossible. The part that I really like about it is I love going, like, what is our signature content, and how can I convey that in a way that’s interesting?
Jason: And also just for the listener, the reason why you’re writing all the scripts and we’re not dividing this labor is because two head chefs in a kitchen. So it’s like, if we were both trying to do this, it’s just conflict because it’s like, I see it one way, you see it a different way. And I think this is one of those moments where it’s just better for us if we just go, one person should work on this. You’re better at this than I am, because I just want to sit down, hit record, and be like, let’s just talk about this thing.
Caroline: I’ll tell you a metaphor that I think sums up our content.
Jason: You can put your hand down. We’re not in class.
Caroline: I put my hand up. Excuse me, can you call on me, please? Here’s a metaphor, a visual metaphor, that just came to me that describes our content strengths. Okay? If this is a gourmet meal, I’m better at cooking the meat. It’s like, I know the meat of it. Sort of like what I want to say.
Jason: This doesn’t relate to real life cooking, though, right?
Caroline: No. Just to be clear, I don’t know how to cook meat.
Jason: Okay, we can go forward.
Caroline: What you’re really good at is the sauce, like, the marinade, like, the flavors of that meat. But it’s like, I’m going to choose the meat that is going to be the best for this occasion, and I’m going to cook it well.
Jason: Go ahead and get it.
Caroline: And you’re all the flavor on top. And so if you were writing scripts, they would be funny, they would be engaging, they would be entertaining, and they would be absolutely full of not a thing that you would learn.
Caroline: I’m just kidding. That’s obviously not true, but…
Jason: It’s a good illustration of the difference between the two, right?
Caroline: Exactly. And if I wrote all the scripts without your input, they would be boring. They would be long, and they would be lots of good information. But you’re not sticking around.
Jason: Exactly. And I think that that’s why, again, like, division of labor, so we’ll talk about kind of how we’re adjusting those things because it’s not just you’re writing the script and then we’re going to sit down and just, like, record it.
Jason: It gives us a structure that then we can go from. And we actually learned this a lot last year in our full time travels. When we were making videos from every location, we needed that script, quote unquote. Because if we just sat down and tried to recount the stories, I would go off on tangents. You would want to talk about something else. I would mention something you didn’t know that we were…
Caroline: They would end up being twice as long.
Jason: And it was just derailed.
Caroline: Always derailed.
Jason: The process that got derailed. So I’m very hopeful that this is going to help. So thank you for asking me how I’m feeling. It’s very hard for me to watch you struggle. It’s like one of the hardest things in our relationship. And I know that the script writing process, 26 of these, it’s a lot for anybody, but it’s also a lot for you as someone who we’re also trying to do other things. It’s not just like you’re sitting down for 8 hours a day and just being like, I’m going to write scripts. Now, you have been doing that, but there’s also families that you got to manage the relationships with. There’s our life here where we have to manage those relationships. It’s summer, so we’re also trying not to just sit and look at our laptops while it’s beautiful outside and there’s just other work things that, you know, around too. And so I find myself trying to just be like, I trust Caroline to know her limits.
Jason: And she’s going to be able to tell me when she needs to stop or when she’s whatever. I’m also going to try and remind her, drink some water, come up for air every once in a while, and just to try and be that nudge.
Caroline: Well, that is actually a difference, I feel, in this project. Going back to my whole feeling of being nervous is I feel like you’re having to do those reminders less and less because something that I’m trying this time around is as I was staring down the barrel of what I knew would be a big project, one of our biggest this year, I thought to myself, how can I apply…? Again, I’m taking my gems from my bubble caves and I’m going, how can I take what I’ve learned in the past and apply it to this project so that I don’t get overwhelmed or I don’t get to the point of like, it’s all crashing down on me? And I know I really made it sound dramatic yesterday. That was not like the world is crashing down on me moment. That was more…
Jason: I think it’s relatable.
Caroline: No, I know it’s relatable. I just want to be clear about what… There’s levels to this.
Jason: The thermometer.
Caroline: Exactly. The thermometer was not very high up, but it was like enough to be like what just happened? But what I’m trying to avoid is like, it breaks off the top of the thermometer. Okay. And so what I realized is this time around, I think actually it’s not going to be about how I do the work. It’s going to be about how do I manage everything else around the work? So am I exercising every day? Am I drinking water like you said? Am I taking breaks, like you said? Am I going to sleep at the right time? That has made such a difference in feeling like, when I wake up in the morning, doing such a hard, creatively taxing task. It’s the difference between I’m climbing uphill through molasses versus sand. It’s like, okay, sand is hard, but molasses is just like it feels impossible. Yeah.
Jason: Also, like a mountain of molasses. That’s messy AF.
Caroline: I’m not sure it’s physically, like, with the laws of physics.
Jason: Yeah. I think it would just be a puddle.
Caroline: A puddle.
Jason: But if it was a mountain.
Caroline: Maybe there’s some dense, sticky stuff underneath.
Jason: My resistance to sticky things. That’s disgusting.
Jason: Okay, let’s talk about the push pull of finding good enough in this project. And I think this is one of those that where we talk about this like, I’m the accelerator and you’re the brakes. I’m always willing to just push forward. And I think this is for anybody who’s been around my stuff forever. My previous newsletter was The Action Army, and it was just about this idea of, like, just imperfect action all the time. All the time. All the time. And I have just lived, eat, and breathed that in my entire entrepreneurial career, and it has served me extremely well.
Caroline: Extremely well.
Jason: And I’m not saying that as like, oh, I’m financially so successful. It’s more of just like, I don’t get stuck in comparison traps. I don’t get stuck in any of these things because I’m just like, I’m just going to do it.
Caroline: Well, totally. And I think if we have learned anything, I do think that a focus on just not quantity, but just getting things out the door will get you so far in business.
Jason: And I truly believe that anybody listening to this who is a person who gets stuck in the impostor syndrome and the comparison traps, I would be willing to bet. And this is not to criticize any way. That the amount of stuff you’ve ever published publicly is not that much because you’re not giving yourself enough of a chance to feel the discomfort to then get through the discomfort.
Jason: And I think for me, what I have learned over the years is just like, I just wish everyone could feel the like, just keep publishing, just keep moving forward, just keep doing things because… Especially in the time we live in now. Ten years ago, this was wildly different, but now things don’t last very long.
Jason: So you might put all this self criticism and fear on the next thing you publish, but someone’s going to see that for such a short period of time.
Caroline: Absolutely. So let’s tie this back to how does this relate to this project, what you’re describing right now. And mainly, this came up when I started writing like the first or second script. And I came to you and was like, wow, this is going to take so much longer than I thought. I had written out in tasks, okay, this day, write scripts one through five. And so I thought I could do five in one day. And it turns out, especially the first ones because you need to come up with a process. It was taking so much longer than I thought, right? And so I looked at you and I was like, hey, I… Letting you know I think this is going to take longer than we think. And you were sort of like, no, it can’t take longer than we think. It was sort of like, no, you need to write whatever you can in 1 hour so we can move on. It was very much this, like, gas instead of brakes mentality.
Caroline: Accelerator instead of brakes mentality. And while I appreciate that, we did have a discussion because, when you say stuff like that to me, I’m not mad about it because I think it’s such a good balance that we bring to each other. So I pause and I go, is he right? This might be the only way to get this project done, is to just compromise kind of my quality standards and not spend so much time. I had this moment where I was like, no, I really think, especially going back to our prongs, especially if we want this to be a place where people go to find out about us. Especially if we want it to be for long term SEO. And especially if we want it to be for short term to contribute to purchasing Wandering Aimfully Unlimited. I was like, I really think that if there was one thing to spend more time on, it’s the concepts of the videos themselves. It’s making sure that each topic actually has our foundation information that we would want to share with someone coming into our world that is actually helpful. And that’s how much time it was taking. It was like, so we have 26 different video topics. I needed to really ask myself what is imperative to include in each one of these videos if I want them to live on? And so we had this discussion where we kind of debated back and forth, and I think ultimately, do you remember what our compromise was? I came up with the idea, I said…
Jason: I’ve already compartmentalized.
Caroline: I know. You’re like, Next mission. But I told you, I said, I hear you and you’re right. How about if you take a look at the two scripts that I’ve done, you record them and tell me how long the videos are going to be. And then we look at that length. And that’s going to be my constraint moving forward is I can only do videos that are that length. And you did it and you were like, yeah, this is actually a five minute video. It’s not as long as I thought. And so what it takes to make a good five minute video and so we’re going to move forward with that.
Caroline: And so we landed on a compromise.
Jason: Totally. And yeah, the thing I was just really nervous about was that first day when you’re like, okay, it’s taking me like a full day to write the first script. I’m like, okay, well, it can’t take us 26 days to write the script because the videos are coming out in 26 days.
Caroline: And it turns out what took me so long on that first day was not just writing the first script, it was coming up with a process for writing the script.
Jason: Yeah, of course.
Caroline: So it was like figuring out how do I formulate the bullet points? How do I go through? And then by the 5th or 6th, I started going, oh, this is what an intro zook. Like, this is going to be the format. This is how I break down my ideas into… And so it became a lot easier.
Jason: Yeah. And if you’re curious, I think we’re not really paying too much attention to what works on YouTube.
Jason: That’s not really what we’re looking for in this. We’re looking for how can we deliver this information in a way that people consume content on YouTube, but also in a way that just feels like we can get it done? Because I feel like we could go down all the bubble caves of like, well, how does this person…?
Caroline: How do you hook a viewer?
Jason: What is this? And it’s like, that stuff’s good and maybe worth paying attention to, but we’re really not trying to be full time YouTube creators.
Jason: We’re just trying to use YouTube to extend this information that we have come up with.
Caroline: And this goes back to what you were saying in the beginning about just having a bias towards action and moving forward. I started doing a little bit of that research just so that I could use my time.
Jason: If you want to start somewhere.
Caroline: Yeah, and you also want to work smart, not hard, you know what I mean? So I was like, well, what is all this work for if I don’t use a couple of best practices that I know are going to know be beneficial to intriguing someone, making them want to actually consume the information, et cetera. But going back to your whole thing about bias towards action, I knew if I focus on comparison and like, I need… oh, well, I know what a good YouTube video looks like. So I need to create that. People spend all their 100% of their focus for years and years honing their videos, honing their craft, honing their storytelling. I don’t have that skill set built up yet. And if I spend all of this time trying to build up that skill set instead of just creating the content, we’re going to be in a bad spot. And so some of it is acknowledging where you are in the journey of whatever skill you’re trying to build and going, you know what? This isn’t going to be up to my full potential of what I know I could do if I had more time to research all the best practices, but this is going to be good enough.
Caroline: And I know these videos are going to be valuable, and it’s okay if they’re not perfectly poised to hit the algorithm.
Jason: Also goes back to the name of this podcast, which is, What Is It All For? What is this 26-Day Content Blitz for? Awareness in the beginning, a little bit of long term SEO play, and then having a good page for someone to land on that…
Caroline: Definitely not to grow our YouTube channel.
Jason: Exactly. There are enough good things that are going to come of the cumulative effort of this project, hopefully, when it finishes. And we will be able to report back on that.
Caroline: And if not, we’ll tell you that as well.
Jason: Yeah. So one thing I wanted to share, too, was kind of how I’m thinking about breaking bigger tasks of this project into more accomplishable things.
Jason: So while you’ve been working on all the scripts, I have been taking the scripts and creating the first version of the article of them. So we have this metaphor about clay, right? So it’s like in pottery, you have a hunk of clay and you just kind of are throwing it on the wheel. And that, to me, is the first, like, I just created the article, I just did that.
Caroline: The raw materials, like, I pulled together something.
Jason: Yeah. The next part of that is like, starting to shape the clay. So I take your entire YouTube script and I look at it and go, okay, well, this isn’t an article. Like, you can’t read this as an article. So let me kind of reformat this to have headings. What are the main points? Let me reformat this to pull out, like, okay, what are a couple little quick stories that could be throughout this? And then what’s really like the main takeaway, like, what is someone walking away from this with? Great. So that’s kind of like the molding and shaping part. And then the part that we have not done yet is going to be kind of like you’re finishing, you’re glazing, put in the kiln, you get a nice piece of pottery. So that’s the part we haven’t done yet. But I feel really good that I think you’ve finished, what, ten scripts now?
Caroline: Ten scripts.
Jason: I think I’ve done eight articles or seven articles, and they’re ready for you to look at. They’re not ready to be published, but I have chipped away at that process.
Caroline: You shaped them.
Jason: So that…
Caroline: They’re not ready to be glazed.
Jason: We’re not going to glaze those suckers yet, but I just think that’s a really maybe helpful thing for someone listening to this is, whatever content or things you’re creating, is there a way, instead of going from, like, a hunk of clay to glazing in every single time you’re working on that thing, to more so go, well, can I get this to the sculpted phase? And then have a time later on in my schedule when I’m doing all my glazing and finishing?
Caroline: I actually want to spend a little bit more time on this because I really want to emphasize it because I do think I take it for granted now that this is our process. But this was a game changer in terms of our ability to create more content, to create more projects because I used to be that person who wanted to get it from hunk of clay to glazing. And I used to be so worried about what it would take to glaze it and what it would take to fire it before I had even gotten clay on the wheel. And that’s what prevented me from ever getting clay on the wheel because it just felt so overwhelming. And it wasn’t until I trained my brain to go, no, just get something. And this is how we started doing newsletters together, is like, we just get a hunk of clay. And usually it’s you putting clay on the wheel, and then I’m kind of forming it and making it, shaping it, and everything. And then you go back and glaze it and put it into the thing and schedule it. Right. We do this with every single thing in our business, and I think it’s really kind of a hack to actually get more of things out the door than you have, maybe in the past, because perfectionism has stopped you. And also this applies to whenever I have a task that I feel like is I’m procrastinating or I’m avoiding, it’s usually because I don’t realize it, but I’m overwhelmed about how to get started because I’m thinking about the glazing. And so what I do is I set a timer and I set it for, like, five minutes. That timer is basically get clay on the wheel, and it works every single time. It’s like, if it’s writing a thing, it’s like just get the words down. If it’s designing a thing, it’s like, open the program and name the file. Whatever it is, the first step of getting clay on the wheel almost always starts a ripple effect where then I can start kind of molding it.
Jason: Yeah, great. Do you want to talk about managing busy seasons?
Caroline: I think I already touched on that, which was my approach is to make sure that I’m balanced in all the other areas.
Caroline: So all the habits and things like that, and so far, it’s working. I don’t feel like the world is crashing down yet.
Jason: And we also said no to a dinner last night. And so I think in these busy seasons, you do have to be willing to say no to things you might…
Caroline: I wanted to say yes, but I knew that if I went to this social thing, first of all, I would be more tired today just because it’s as an introvert, it’s energy expenditure. I would probably have a glass of wine, which means and I would probably have food that’s like richer than we normally have at home. That would mean I would sleep less. That would mean I would wake up tired. That would mean my brain would be foggy in the morning.
Jason: This podcast would not have gotten recorded.
Caroline: It wouldn’t have gone well. And it really is this cascade effect. So sometimes I do find… And it’s on a case by case basis, I’m not saying you have to restrict yourself and not live a fun life because what is it all for? But with projects like this, I can see the domino effect of some of those choices. And the cost benefit analysis of it is like, this isn’t worth it.
Jason: Yeah. And we have other social things that we’re doing. So it wasn’t like saying no to this one left us with nothing. It was like, well, we have something tonight anyway. So it’s like…
Caroline: Well, we just have so many social things now.
Jason: So social.
Caroline: We have more friends here than we ever had.
Jason: I know. It’s wild. Let’s talk about filming videos together. So as of recording this podcast, you’re going to keep working on scripts pretty much all through…
Caroline: The weekend.
Jason: The weekend. And I guess we’re supposed to start filming next week, right? This is going to be the toughest part of the project.
Jason: Is filming together. This is where we have the most friction.
Jason: And so one of the things we’ve been thinking about is, well, do we film the intro or kind of like a sillier part where we’re together and then the end part? So just think of it as like the intro and the outro. Do we film those together? And then just one person does 13 of the videos. And then one person does 13 of the videos.
Caroline: We have not had this debate yet in discussion.
Jason: Here it is. We are now in the debate daybed. Feels good.
Caroline: I’m still open to that, for sure.
Jason: The separate?
Caroline: I’m open to the separate.
Jason: Separate daybeds.
Caroline: Because I think part of it’s fun too, of like some some topics I do think lend themselves better to my voice versus your voice. But I told you that I think one of the differentiators of our channel is the fact that we’re giving business advice as a couple. And you don’t always see that. So even just visually, that adds some type of contrast, which I think is interesting.
Jason: I think what you’re saying is that I look visually interesting on camera.
Caroline: I’m not saying that, but you do.
Caroline: So that’s weighing in my mind. On the other hand, it is always a challenge to kind of, like, divvy up the script in such a way where it doesn’t feel broken up and it doesn’t feel like, okay, you take this line. Now you take this line. And I do wonder sometimes for the viewer, is that a little jumbly?
Jason: Yeah. In my belief, if we were to film these separately and just be together in the intro and the outro, I think that adds enough of us together that it’s okay. And I think it might make the overall process a little bit better, where it’s like… because what happens when we sit down to film is like, I just want to entertain. And this is ingrained in me from 1,600 live video shows that I recorded in my previous work life. And I just had to entertain people. So it’s, like, hardwired in my brain, like, when I’m looking at a camera, got to entertain.
Caroline: Can I be honest?
Jason: Yeah, sure.
Caroline: I think it also scares me because that means that 13 of these scripts that I’ve written…
Jason: Give me the crappy ones.
Caroline: Are going to be in your… It is going to be your responsibility to convey that information. And I don’t expect you to go line by line because this is not how you do it. You’re not going to read a line and then tell the line exactly. You’re going to sort of ad lib it and try to get the point across. But from even doing our coaching sessions, where I do the slides for our coaching sessions, but we divvy them up so that every time you take slides… And by the way, I’m saying this not as like, you’re doing this wrong, Jason. I’m saying this as like, I’m a control freak when it comes to my own content. So even the slides that I give you that you do a perfectly great job of. But secretly, in my head, I’m like, I would have said, I’m like, he left that out.
Jason: Well, and the funny part is it’s not…
Caroline: He put the wrong emphasis on the wrong syllable.
Jason: Yeah. And it’s not like I’m reading a slide of something I don’t know. It’s like we’re both teaching the same exact thing that we know. It’s just you would say it in a different way than I do.
Caroline: Yes. And I would give different supporting points.
Jason: So I think if you can, again, give me 13 of the crappy scripts that you don’t mind if I mess up.
Caroline: There are no crappy scripts.
Jason: There’s no crappy scripts around here. But I don’t know. We’re going to figure this out.
Caroline: I just am being honest with you about that is something that…
Jason: Because here’s… Can I just real quick? I think what’s going to happen…
Caroline: Could I stand behind the camera and yell at you and be like, do another take?
Jason: I think in the history of us filming videos together, the better process is you giving feedback but being okay with me just doing a couple of takes as opposed to us sitting next to each other, and then it disrupting what you’re going to have to say next.
Caroline: Oh, that is a good point.
Jason: I think it’s two hills of molasses, but one has, like, a couple of rocks in it. So let’s go up the one with a couple of rocks because we’re actually going to get up that one, which would be us doing it separately.
Caroline: Yeah. What you’re saying is part of the friction comes from me trying to direct you as the person on camera, and then I get flustered because then it’s like, okay, I directed you and then maybe you tried it again or whatever, but then I have to be responsible then for delivering the next portion of the video. And it’s like wearing two hats, basically. So you’re saying it would go better if I was just wearing one hat and some of those. Okay, that’s a good point.
Caroline: I also am just interested in maybe researching and finding another… because I can’t visualize how it’s going to make sense to the viewer. Watching an intro with us, then suddenly… Then like a little trailer or whatever, the actual little intro graphics, and then into the meat of the episode, but then suddenly there’s just one person on camera. I just visually can’t picture in my head how that feels cohesive. And what I don’t want to do, which I shared with you, is every single video for 26 videos, somehow in the first couple of lines say like, and now, bye, Caroline. You know what I mean?
Jason: To me, this is not meant as a criticism, it’s just an easy way to explain it. I think this is an overthinking thing. I think it’s just we’re there for the intro together. We don’t have to mention it. You’re then on camera teaching the thing. Everyone’s going to be like, Where’d Jason go? Oh, he’s not here, that’s fine. And now I’m learning from Caroline. It’s just go, you know what I mean? Again, I think this is a perfect example of…
Caroline: And I don’t disagree with you. I don’t doubt that. It’s just I would feel so much more confident if as a viewer, I could see that and go, oh, yeah, it didn’t bother me at all.
Caroline: That’s all I’m saying.
Jason: I think it’s going to be fine. I don’t think…
Caroline: You’ve mentioned a few times that you think it’s going to be fine, and I would just like to counter with I don’t think it’s going to be fine. So I would love to find an example.
Jason: Great. I think it’s going to be fine. All right, last point on here. I think let’s save this for next week because we’ve already chatted quite a bunch.
Caroline: And we have to get to our segment.
Jason: We do. So we’re going to save this last bullet point here for next week’s episode.
Caroline: What is the bullet point? Come back to find out.
Jason: Plenty to talk about, cliffhanger, which is a good movie, by the way.
Jason: All right, we are going to get into our Calm Business Confidential segment. We don’t have a sting. We don’t have a celebrity endorsement of any kind.
Caroline: Not yet.
Jason: Maybe we’ll get there. Calm Business Confidential. Carol, lay it on the folks. What is this?
Caroline: Calm Business Confidential is a little segment where each of us brings a business to the pod that the other person doesn’t know, like what we’re going to say. And we want to highlight the story of a business that isn’t your billion dollar growth story business. It’s not your startup unicorn this and that. It’s like no, just a person who decided that they wanted to earn money online, live a good life in the process, and not try to build the next 100 million dollar business. Exactly. So it’s really highlighting these small businesses with people who want to live a good life and use online business as a tool to do that.
Jason: Yeah, and small is definitely subjective here.
Caroline: Small is subjective.
Jason: Did you mention what our parameters were? Our parameters are basically like, this business has to be making under $1.5 million per year, but it does have to be making something so, like, over $50,000 per year. And that’s not to say that you have to do that. We’re just saying it gave us parameters for what to find as we’re looking for things.
Jason: Do you want to start, or do you like me to start?
Caroline: You can start.
Jason: All right. My Calm Business Confidential this week is something we’ve talked about before on this podcast, and it is an app created by Adam Pietrasiak. I think that’s how you say his name because his Twitter handle is pie6k, so I think it’s Pietrasiak. We’ll call him Adam from here moving Forward. Adam created Screen Studio. So Screen Studio is the video editing app that I talked about a couple of episodes ago. I absolutely love it. It is a Mac only app, but it’s really good for, like, screen recordings, demos. It follows your mouse around. It does automatic zooms. It is just an incredible piece of software. But I wanted to talk about how Screen Studio came to life.
Jason: So I found a couple of interviews of Adam. He hasn’t done very many interviews. I went back through a ton of his tweets because he basically tweets, like, eight times a day about this project. So I really had to scroll back and get back there. And then also Twitter/ X. Now you have to pay to have tweets longer than a certain period of time, which I did not do, but I just was, like, putting some things together.
Caroline: So I know the story of this business going back to last week.
Jason: Yeah. So Adam started with a productivity app back in 2020, which is where almost…
Caroline: In 2020?
Jason: Almost our… So almost all software developers start is a productivity app.
Jason: So 2020…
Caroline: Wait, did I hear that right? He started?
Jason: A productivity app.
Jason: Back in 2020.
Caroline: This is what I told you the other day, which is, like, when I hear people talk now about businesses they started in 2020, and now they’re, like, hyper successful because it’s been literally three years since 2020. And in my mind, I’m like, wait a second, you did anything during the pandemic? Anyway.
Caroline: It blows my mind.
Jason: With that app, he was just a developer for, like, a company before that. So this is a side project. He had no business plan, but he quit his job. He had some savings and was just like, I want to build a better productivity app than I’ve seen. He basically did not get any success with it, couldn’t get any traction for it. It was the classic creation cave. He just made this thing and didn’t talk about it and then released it and no one used it. And then around that time, as many people started to feel, he had some mental health and anxiety issues.
Jason: And so I think the pandemic took a toll on him, and he started doing therapy, which was extremely helpful. And the reason I bring this up is, I’ll share kind of at the end how this comes back around, but his work schedule, he really had to change. And so he actually took a two year break after that.
Caroline: I have a mental health break in mine as well. That’s the theme.
Jason: Took a two year break and stopped working on the productivity app. Decided to close the app down because no one was downloading it anyway, and realized that an app like that has just so much to it. Like a productivity app is just like, open ended forever.
Jason: And he was like, I want to build a new project, but I want it to be very constraining on what it does.
Caroline: Solve a very hyper specific.
Jason: Very specific problem. And really what he thought about this was how many people would release an app on like, Product Hunt or whatever. And the demo screenshot that they did was always crappy. There was no zoom to it. There was no, like, wait, what are you pointing at? Where’s the mouse? I don’t know what I’m like, what’s happening? And he was like, Well, I wonder if I could do that. And he looked at his inspiration was Stripe’s Twitter profile, and he noticed they had these beautiful product videos, and he looked at them frame by frame, thinking like, could I make an app that does exactly how they’ve edited this? Because they’re doing it all in editing. So he was like… you know, and not compromise the quality.
Caroline: So can I ask a question?
Caroline: So, for example…
Jason: I’m not Adam, but I’ll do my best.
Caroline: If Stripe is manually editing their demo video where their clicker is zooming into a specific part of their app, Adam’s looking at it frame by frame and going, oh, I can write some type of software code that basically says for these frames, zoom in 0.025% at a time to basically create this smooth zoom?
Caroline: That is so smart.
Jason: Yeah. So that was kind of his inspiration. He didn’t do any product research. He just essentially took all of this. Like, I’ve looked at all these videos. I’ve looked at all these things. I know how this could be better. And let me just build a video recording software that does these demo videos, but that’s all it does. And don’t bloat it with tons of extra features. Don’t add in… Like, you can’t add music tracks. You can’t do any of that. All you can do is just create these demo videos. So he basically went into a creation cave again, but then shared the entire process, this time of building it.
Caroline: Learned a little bit from his last thing.
Jason: And started to get some following on Twitter. I can’t remember what his exact followers are. I guess I could have looked at that, but I don’t really care. He’s on Twitter at pie6k. I’ll leave his handle in the show notes if you want to read some of his tweets. And so basically, just like, the entire process of building this thing, went through and shared all of it. And I think he said the way that he thought about it was like, posting on Twitter was like closing down my work day. So it was like, okay, what did I do today? And I would just share the thing, which is, like, a really interesting way to think about. For those of you who post on Instagram or whatever, that’s a way to change your thinking of, well, what do I post on Instagram today? It’s like, well, do your work throughout the day. Then at the end of the day, go, well, what did I work on today? And then share that thing. He said this multiple times recently. He’s still not sure about the pricing structure because the way that Screen Studio is sold is just per license one time.
Jason: So it’s like $89, I think is for the lowest tier.
Caroline: Which, full disclosure, we bought it and we use it and we love it.
Jason: Yeah, for sure.
Caroline: We don’t know Adam, but we just love the software.
Jason: I mentioned this in our episode 171. Talked a little bit more about Screen Studio because that was when I first found it. But essentially, you buy it, you get one year of updates on the app, and then after that, I think you could pay again, or you can just leave the app as it is and not do it. So we actually paid for the two license thing. He’s thinking about switching to a subscription pricing, which I think we would definitely pay for because it’s a great app. It’s only going to continue to get better. Now, there aren’t any public numbers on how much he’s made from this, but I extrapolated out some data as you like to do.
Caroline: I wish I’d done that.
Jason: This is what you got to do in the Calm Business Confidential.
Caroline: Next time, I’ll try to extrapolate since this launched.
Jason: So he basically built it in all of 2022. And he launched it November 2022. And he shared a graph that his traffic from November… You can do this later if you want because I want you to hear these numbers.
Caroline: I’m hearing, I promise.
Jason: From November 2022 until I got these numbers, maybe till up until August or maybe July, 250,000 website visitors to the Screen Studio website.
Jason: So pretty good. That’s a pretty good amount of traffic. It’s like almost all from Twitter, which is kind of crazy.
Caroline: That is crazy.
Jason: Really good. If you do a 1% conversion, so pretty good standard. That’s a fairly good conversion rate. It’s a very focused product. So if you’re going there, you know what you’re looking for.
Jason: 1% conversion at $89. What’s your quick math guess?
Caroline: 1% of 250 is 250, right? I don’t know.
Jason: Okay. $224,000 would be 1% conversion rate at an $89 licensed product because basically it’s like $100 is what it works out.
Caroline: Oh, yeah. That’s how I should have done the math.
Jason: So it’s like .2 back.
Jason: So my guess is that in the whatever that is, nine months, he has made a quarter of a million dollars selling Screen Studio. If he has a 1% conversion. Now, if it’s half a percent conversion, that would be $112,000. So still a six figure business selling this thing. If he has a 2% conversion, he’s made almost half a million dollars in nine months selling Screen Studio.
Jason: Now, again, I don’t know what the numbers are. I don’t have any idea, but…
Caroline: That just gives you a…
Jason: Yeah, I love the just, like, a very clean business, a very simple business. I mean, I know recurring income is good, but this to me is also one of those products where I think there are enough people that would buy this that he would never need to change to subscription revenue and could just do the one time license. And if this is enough money for him to live a good life, it’s making plenty of money.
Caroline: I love that.
Jason: So that is my Calm Business confidential of the week. You can find our affiliate link, actually, to Screen Studio in the description in the show notes of this. We love it. This is an app that I’m super happy to have information on Twitter to be able to talk about this because otherwise I wouldn’t have the story. I wouldn’t know that he tried a failed productivity app before this, wouldn’t know he had to take a two year mental health break. And actually, literally, yesterday I just looked up to see what’s new. He’s taking a week off for just, like, a mental health week.
Caroline: Good for him.
Jason: And not working on the app because he’s been really working on it hard the past couple of months.
Caroline: Do you think it’s just him? Like, no help?
Jason: As far as I can tell, it’s him and then a customer support person or two because I emailed them a feature request and I got an email back from somebody else.
Caroline: Got it.
Jason: And so that’s what I would guess because I’m pretty sure it’s just him coding the app, doing all the design. You would actually love his tweets because he shares a lot of, like, here’s how I’m changing the app icon. And here’s how I thought about it. Here’s, like, the 20 iterations and why I didn’t do a red button for the icon in purple instead. Anyway, that is Adam Pietrasiak. I think that’s how you say it. Screen Studio is the app and links in the show notes for more.
Caroline: Very fun one.
Jason: All right.
Caroline: Also, before I get into mine, does that make you want to build a very hyper focused software app?
Caroline: Because I can tell you and I are in this season right now, where we have the Itch.
Jason: See, here’s the thing.
Caroline: Do you have the itch?
Jason: We are infopreneurs is what we make the bulk of our money. We sell information that we have learned and experienced and can help people get from A to Z quicker than we got to A to Z.
Jason: That’s what we do.
Jason: But I have had two other software products… Actually, I’ve had, like, five. I’ve had five software, a couple that have just been terrible. Just stinkers. Straight up stinkers.
Caroline: I can’t think of five off the top of my head.
Jason: Okay. I love the game of a software product.
Jason: To me…
Caroline: You like the product market fit game.
Jason: I do. An infopreneurship is great, but it’s also a little bit disheartening when you give people as much information as possible, but their life circumstances make it difficult to apply that information, and they can’t always do it.
Caroline: Which you have compassion for.
Caroline: But it’s like you can’t take them that last ten yards.
Jason: Exactly. And where software is different is like, hey, but this thing does the thing for you.
Caroline: I can take you across the end zone.
Caroline: Wow. Sports metaphors.
Jason: Sports metaphors. And so that’s what I like about little small, focused software products. Like, Teachery is a small, focused product, but it’s in a big space where it requires a lot of features, a lot of things.
Caroline: I consider that like the productivity app space.
Jason: I would love to build something like a Screen Studio as one of our next projects. But I think actually what we would do, we’ve talked about this, is potentially buy one that’s much smaller that someone posted on Product Hunt that we… got some traction, but they just don’t have the ability to market it. They’re not good at that. All they did was post on Product Hunt, that’s it. And maybe we’d be interested to buy it, make some improvements, and do whatever. So, anyway, all right, let’s get to your Calm Business Confidential.
Caroline: I just had… Speaking of that, I had another idea the other day because I know we’ve talked about this before, is not just going to the marketplaces where people post that they want to sell their software business, but when I was doing research on that daily deal idea, a lot of these daily deal sites are software daily deals.
Caroline: And so you go there. That’s a good kind of like curated aggregate of places, of apps where you go, oh, that does an interesting thing, but like, oh, they don’t market it much.
Jason: I also think Product Hunt is like a gold mine because it’s just people posting and this is kind of like their shot in the dark to be like, will this be successful? And then when it’s not because there’s too much competition now, then they’re just left with like, well, now I don’t know what to do with this thing.
Caroline: Right. And a lot of people, it’s a side project and they don’t have time to…
Caroline: Which a lot of your software projects were side projects.
Jason: Exactly. Which is why I sold them.
Caroline: Which is why you sold them.
Jason: Well, we sold them. All right, let’s get into your Calm Business Confidential. You’ve been teasing me about this one.
Caroline: Because the second I say it, you’re going to go, oh.
Jason: Okay, let me prepare. Hold on, can I get three practices? Here we go. Oh. Hold on, let me do it. Oh. Okay, let me do one more. I’m really going to be shocked and like, surprised. Oh. Okay, go ahead.
Caroline: The change in tone is really great.
Jason: Thank you.
Caroline: So my Calm Business Confidential is Jen Wagner.
Jason: Ooh. I went, Ooh. Not, Oh.
Caroline: So that one was that one was real. Jen Wagner, who I don’t know, by the way, but after doing a deep dive, have decided we have to be friends. And so, it’s only a matter of time, Jen. So, Jen Wagner, her website is jenwagner.co. And if you are in the design world, you for sure, even if you don’t know Jen Wagner by name, you have come across her fonts. So Jen Wagner is a font designer. So she has like a font foundry, basically. But let me take you on the twisty road in order to get there. And part of the reason I wanted to share Jen’s story at first was I am always interested in sharing different ways that people have monetized. So, yes, we are at play in the entrepreneur, the digital product space, which I know she has done some courses before.
Jason: One of which is on Teachery.
Caroline: One of which is on Teachery. But I feel like not enough people think of design assets or fonts or things like that as digital products that they can sell. And it’s just like a different way of going about monetizing your skills and talents. So let me take you on the windy journey of Jen becoming literally, like, just a very successful type designer. Okay, so I don’t have all the dates here. But years ago, before 2018, I think this was like 2017 or whatever, her business started out as, I think, either designer or marketer, but basically a client service business for design or marketing. And all of this started when she kind of had a lull in clients. So she actually had only one client for seven months and just couldn’t drum up business. And so I think she was starting to get kind of stressed out about money. She had this big dream of being this biggest female led marketing firm in Denver, and it just wasn’t panning out. And she was just like, a lot of us do. What do I do kind of thing. And the podcast interview that I listened to was really good because she was talking about also how stressful it can be when your self worth is tied so much to your finances. And so she was in kind of like a darker place at that time of like, what do I do? And I think she started dating her husband in high school, maybe. But anyway, they’ve been together a long time and they’re very supportive. He’s a musician. And so I loved hearing her talk about their relationship a little bit. But her husband was really helping her and was just like, hey, for a second, just stop worrying about the money and try to do something fun. And we actually were talking recently about a friend who came to us, and this is the advice that you gave him as well, which is just stop putting so much pressure on yourself for a second and kind of follow your enthusiasm, right?
Jason: Especially let go of sunk cost bias.
Jason: I’ve done X for the past…
Caroline: I’ve done X. I need to…
Jason: Five years. Let go of that. Just, like, be in a place of exploration.
Caroline: And so it’s like, just make something for the sake of making it. What would you want to make? And at the time, she had just come across a plugin called Font Self. Do you remember when I showed you Font self?
Jason: I think I still have it installed.
Caroline: I do, too. So Font Self is basically like a plugin that you can put into Illustrator, Adobe Illustrator, that will help you design your own fonts. And so you design all the characters, and then it puts it together and you can use it as a font. I’ve designed my own fonts. And so I’m sure we kind of discovered this around the same time, probably. But anyway, she really loved the process of making fonts, and she talked a lot about in this podcast episode, about the idea of an MVP, which we talk about a lot, as well as your minimum viable product. And she was like, I wasn’t trying to make it, like, super fancy and this and that. I just wanted to get a font done. And so she really liked the process and started making fonts. And her initial goal was just to make enough to pay for the water bill and Chipotle twice a week, which I thought I really liked.
Jason: Love the extremely specific, small goals.
Caroline: She was like, I just… This is just what I want. And so slowly, she started putting it on Creative Market. So that was really her distribution platform. And they started selling. And it’s really fun for me to go back and look at her Creative Market Store because now, her fonts, I know her as this very specific style, but I went back through her catalog, and the amount of Jen Wagner fonts that I had on my computer without knowing they were Jen Wagner fonts is incredible. Like, I have so many.
Jason: Can I give you my two word description of her fonts and let’s see if it matches yours?
Jason: Elegant, professional.
Caroline: Now, I think that is definitely the case. She definitely… I think there was a time… Like, her previous fonts were much more like playful, but they were like really high quality playful, if that makes sense. But now I think she’s refined her kind of design style even more. They definitely give this professional and kind of professional, but trendy in a good way. She kind of creates the trends. Some would say elegant and professional. Yes. I also love this side story. So she’s on Creative market. She’s posting her fonts. Completely self taught, just using Font Self, basically. She tells this great story, which I feel like is so relatable. In 2018, she realized that she, at the end of the year, forgot to pay taxes, like, forgot to pay quarterly taxes and had this huge tax bill, which definitely we had a year like that. We were like…
Jason: Tell me you’re an online business owner, without telling me you’re an online business owner.
Caroline: Exactly. And she’s like, what am I going to do? This is such a huge bill. It’s probably the year that things kind of, like, took off. And she just was like, what? And so she very much had this mentality, which we often talk about, which is, okay, how can I make money? Like, great, I have this goal. I need to pay this tax bill. Those types of constraints, I think, oftentimes are so motivating. And so she’s like, what can I do? And she realized that she was making like twenty nine cents per visitor to her Creative Market store. This is where the math comes in. And she goes…
Jason: This is the math you didn’t do.
Caroline: I can’t do math.
Caroline: I can’t do quick math.
Jason: This is the math you didn’t do ahead of time.
Caroline: No. Yeah, this could be the category of just math that I didn’t do. This is not like revenue math. This is ad math. So she goes, I make twenty nine cents per visit to my store. If I can use paid advertising to pay per click to get people, more people to my store. Basically, if I do anything under twenty cents per click to get someone there, it’s nine cents a profit. And so she did this math and figured it out how to use paid ads in order to get people to her store and to pay for this tax.
Caroline: And I just think that’s so scrappy and great. And also we talk a lot about using this type of math. We don’t talk about paid advertising, so it’s not our wheelhouse. But we do talk a lot about doing the math to figure out, okay, if I make X amount of sales, I need to get X amount of people to my email newsletter and doing those, like, just what Jason was doing for the Screen Studio and being like…
Jason: Yeah, exactly.
Caroline: 250,000 visitors and traffic translates to what in making revenue. Okay, so then 2020. In 2019, she applies to this program, this grad student program at I think it’s called Type at Cooper in New York City. They only accept like 16 students per year. She doesn’t have a design degree. And they say that the qualifications are you need to have a design degree or similar experience. And I love this story because so many people would go, I’m just a self taught designer. I can’t apply for this grad program. I’m not qualified. And she talks about how she did have those doubts and thoughts, but I love another little highlight from her husband. Her husband is full of great advice.
Jason: Sounds great.
Caroline: She’s fantastic. But he is as well.
Jason: Sounds very similar in this relationship.
Caroline: Yeah, exactly. He told her. The advice he gave her was when she was like, oh, should I apply? Or whatever. And he always has this phrase that he had said since they had met in high school, which was, go with the choice that makes the better story, which I love, which is just basically like, take a risk, do the thing. Even if you don’t make it, it’s all part of your journey that you tried. And so she put together like a portfolio, applied for this program, got one of the 16 spots. This grad program that’s specifically for how to design type. And so I think she said either it got canceled because of COVID or maybe she wasn’t able to finish because of COVID but the point of that is she didn’t even graduate from it. But she said it was like one of the most invaluable things that she did. And you can really see to me the difference of the fonts that she started designing after that program, I think. And at least for me, I was sort of like, loosely in her sphere online and started being like, whoa, she’s just coming out with these incredible fonts. But I liked her advice also was just, you know, when confronted with something where you have imposter syndrome, like, just do it scared. And so now the story of Jen Wagner is she, you know, literally went from teaching herself Font Self to now brands like Bath Body Works and Victoria’s Secret and Papyrus and Minted all use her fonts. And I think this may not be accurate, but I think I did hear her mention on a podcast that something like Victoria’s Secret, I mean, they have like 300 designers on staff, and so they have to buy licenses for every single one of the things. So I can’t do the math there. But if she’s selling licenses for…
Caroline: And I know she’s getting sales every day because she kind of mentioned that. So I think this business now is successful enough that she is getting these sales. So much so that now she did say this is where also it’s a very important part of the story. Oh, at one point, she did move away from Creative Market to do her own Shopify website, which I think was… Or no, she moved to Shopify, then she moved to ShowIt. And I just want to mention that because this is also a pattern from remember when I told you about Turtle Tags and Tim? Starting out on a platform that has distribution like Etsy or Creative Market, but then eventually realizing that, if you don’t ever diversify and bring it to your own website, you’re putting yourself at the mercy of their algorithm and all of those things. So I think that is a smart point. So the stair step method is sort of start out on one of those platforms and then eventually move over to your own site and do your own marketing. But she, at the end of 2022, decided to go all in on this idea of then expanding to this mockup studio. She started a completely different brand like Gimlet Studios to do mockups and everything, and is pretty honest about the fact that she completely burned herself out, like, really deep burnout, anxiety, depression. I could relate so much to a lot of the stuff I went through in 2019, but she was able to take three months off to kind of like her business was sustainable enough that she could take three months off and regroup and not have to… She could do what she needed to do to keep the business running without having to go back to work. And to me, that’s what a calm business is all about. It’s not the fact that you never experience anxiety. It’s not the fact that it’s calm all the time, but it means that you structure your business in such a way that it can support you when you do need to take that time for yourself. And we all have to learn those limits of what that hot stove moment is for us, of what’s pushing too hard.
Jason: Yeah, I think for a business like that too, there’s just so much creative input all the time. And it’s like Adam with the Screen Studio. Like, there’s so much focused input on that type of business that you just have to take breaks.
Caroline: Yeah, and she also said that… So I think she just had her second child but when she had her first child, she was able to basically afford to hire help for three days a week. And so she was working three days a week, and she had her best year yet. And I think any business that allows you to have your first kid, to be able to afford childcare, and to only work three days a week and have your best year in business, you have set yourself up to have a calm business. And I think that’s something to be really inspired by for myself personally.
Jason: Now, is Jen paying her taxes?
Caroline: I think so.
Jason: I think in the past five years, she’s figured it out.
Caroline: She’s probably figured that out.
Jason: We figured it out too.
Caroline: If you want to learn more about her story, a podcast episode that I listened to that I found really encapsulated, like a lot of her story, but also talking about the anxiety and the burnout and all of that. It was on the podcast called Better. So the Better podcast with Jen Davis, if you search that.
Jason: Well, you can just, I’ll put in the show notes.
Caroline: But they did a great job of talking. It was a fun episode to listen to.
Caroline: And I just love that.
Jason: That was a great Calm Business Confidential, yeah. Always love that we can throw a Teachery plug in there, too. You know someone who uses Teachery. It’s great to have Jen on Teachery. Yeah, very fun. Cool. Let’s finish up with our pomble.
Caroline: The pomble.
Jason: The Postugal.
Caroline: What is going on with our lives in Portugal?
Jason: Well, I think what we wanted to share was you had a birthday last week.
Caroline: I did have a birthday. I turned 35 years old.
Jason: Young, whatever.
Jason: 35 years middle.
Caroline: And it was a great day. It was a very… Like, the words that came to my mind were like simple and sweet.
Jason: There you go.
Caroline: Simple and sweet birthday. It was… My husband was very thoughtful. He did a little surprise for me when I woke up. He had little coupons I got to use throughout the day.
Caroline: He made some…
Jason: This is a little birthday life hack. If you all want to steal this, essentially, like things that your partner loves to do or that would be fun to do. Or like a couple of ideas that you come up with. Just write them down on little scrap pieces of paper and just be like, hey, you get to use these throughout the day.
Caroline: Which is funny because I realized about halfway through the day, it was just literally a schedule.
Jason: That’s all it was. But it’s like in a fun way.
Caroline: In a fun way. And so every time we would do something, you would rip up a coupon.
Jason: You want to go, hey, if you’re a more creative person, make a little, like, coin box out of cardboard and then make all them into little tokens and you deposit the tokens into the box. You’re welcome. You’re going to make your partner so happy.
Caroline: So, yeah, we did all kinds of fun little things. You made me gluten free cheddar chive biscuits were just delightful.
Jason: I forgot to put the candles in that I bought, though, for €1 each.
Caroline: It’s okay. We did it the next day.
Jason: Dang it.
Caroline: And we played a little cornhole outside.
Jason: We busted out the cornhole set.
Caroline: I went and got my hair done.
Caroline: You did a slideshow.
Jason: I did. I picked 99 photos on my camera roll of our life together.
Caroline: Now, why 99, out of curiosity?
Jason: Well, it just ended up being that. Yeah.
Caroline: Okay. Interesting.
Jason: I didn’t have, like, a choice.
Jason: Like, oh, it’s got to be 100. But my parameter was I wanted it to be before 2022 because we have so much content for 2022. I wasn’t about to…
Caroline: It was more memory lane.
Jason: Yeah. So it was like our very first photo together all the way up until the end of 2021.
Caroline: Boy, was that a hoot. That was an hour of us just laughing.
Jason: We got some great Plax memories. That was our dog who passed, but just so fun to see him and his chunky stage back when we were in Florida.
Caroline: I think this is also such a good activity for special occasions because we take more photos than we’ve ever taken in the history of time, and we carve out no time to go through them.
Caroline: And so we do this on New Year’s a lot of times, too, is we’ll make a little video for ourselves of things we did that year. But I think carving out time to go through photos is a good life hack.
Jason: Yeah, it’s a game changer. Yeah. So we did that. And then what did we do for dinner? Oh, we went to the new little restaurant burger spot.
Caroline: And we went to a new restaurant, which was fantastic.
Jason: It’s always fun to try a new restaurant.
Caroline: Yeah, it’s one of my favorite activities. So it was a great birthday. And I’m just going to be honest, I don’t know what I think 35 is supposed to be like, but I don’t feel 35.
Jason: Yeah. I think this is a normal human thing where no one feels their age.
Caroline: The age they are.
Jason: I don’t think anybody does.
Caroline: I feel perpetually 27.
Jason: Right when I get up out of bed, I feel 30 years older than I am.
Caroline: Really? Because it’s just like you got to grease those joints.
Jason: Yeah. Everything’s all crackly. And then, like, ten minutes later, while I’m making coffee, I’m like, I feel like 27. That’s how I feel.
Caroline: Well, that’s how old I am. You can’t also be 27.
Jason: Oh, well, then I’m 26 because obviously I look younger of the two of us.
Caroline: Because, cougar.
Jason: Yeah. What? Yeah. So that’s been not a ton to update on in Portugal because we’ve been in work mode. But your birthday, we did have a good day. And then those of you keeping track of my knee saga, I shared last week, I got some bad news from the MRI result. And the first doctor who literally looked like he saw a patient who’d been in a car accident is basically the way he looked at me. I have two appointments scheduled, so I have an appointment in Lisbon at, like, a sports injury specialist clinic. They also do dental work, which I thought was very funny. Their clinic looks fantastic, though. It just looks amazing. It’s like wood and plants. Oh, it just looks beautiful. I got to show it to you.
Caroline: I’ll go with you.
Jason: We are doing a teleconsult because I don’t have to drive into Lisbon, which is nice, but then we are going to the hospital where I got the MRI to have them another doctor review. So I’m going to have three opinions on my knee. And not that I need three opinions, but at this point, I’m just like, the news was so bad from the first one that I just would love to get some other opinions because I would like to know if it’s possible for me to get my knee back to a place where I can play paddle tennis and not have to be scared of that. And if they say like, Nah, man, sorry, you’ve put in the work on this knee, don’t do that. I will listen, but I’d like to get other opinions on that.
Caroline: I hear that, and I think you’ve been handling it really well and you’ve been doing very adult things of making all the appointments and getting the opinions instead of just being like, this will take care of itself.
Jason: Yeah, no, and I’ve been doing a lot of pre rehabilitation on my leg. Just a lot of more leg exercises, a lot more things. Like, if I could give anybody a piece of advice listening to this. Just start doing a lot of simple leg exercises now because our knees are the things that deteriorate the fastest on our bodies, and everyone has degenerative knees at some point because it’s just, like a weak point of our bodies. So I’ve watched enough meniscus tear videos at this point to know…
Jason: Everybody should be working on this. And it’s just simple stuff, but it’s helpful.
Caroline: What’s the knee exercise? What would I do?
Jason: Oh, just like little, like half squats, little step ups. Just making sure that your calves, your hamstrings and your quadriceps are all equal strength because a lot of people just have either strong calves or just strong quadriceps, or they never work their hamstrings. So it’s just trying to equal that out.
Caroline: Hamstrings like deadlifts?
Jason: Hamstrings or deadlifts, yes, but…
Caroline: My deadlifts are…
Jason: It’s also simple exercises. It’s like just leg raises. Like laying on the ground and lifting your leg up 50 times per leg. Standing up on a little elevated step.
Caroline: Like a lower ab exercise?
Jason: Like this. No, just like a leg raise. So, like, I’m sitting on the floor in an L shape with my legs forward. And just one leg. I’m just strengthening or flexing my quad and just raising my foot 50 times.
Jason: Just to fatigue and work the muscle.
Caroline: Okay, cool.
Jason: But anybody could literally go and find a video on simple knee exercises or leg exercises. Honestly, I think this is like something…
Caroline: Do you regret kind of… using your body to its…?
Caroline: You know what I’m trying to say?
Jason: Yeah, for sure. I’m not a person who ever lives with any type of regrets.
Caroline: Right. Maybe regret was the wrong word.
Jason: Yeah, I do. If I could go back, I would love to. This is probably what every person who is athletic says. I wish I had the information now that we now have 20 years ago when I was doing all the things I was doing because I was playing basketball for like, 3 or 4 hours a day, but then I was also then trying to squat, like, 700 pounds. Why am I doing that? Those two sports shouldn’t go together. I should have been doing all of the little simple, like, build up all the muscles to protect. I was doing all the power stuff. That was just stupid. Like, I shouldn’t have been doing that.
Caroline: Yeah, well, we just had so much less information about what does strength mean. But it also makes me think, what is the thing that I’m going to look back 20 years from now and go, I wish I would have?
Jason: Yeah, exactly. And I think you’re watching Hard Knocks with me now on Max.
Caroline: Because I’m good at sports.
Jason: Because you’re good at sports, lady. And when you see any of their workouts, barely any of it is what NFL players were doing 20 years ago. Right. There’s a couple of little lingering things that people still do, but the majority of it is, like, stability, functional, like small movements that are difficult. Anyway, that’s in the update. I’ll have more because I’ll have another appointment next week to relay more information on.
Caroline: Also, we’ve taken off our Portuguese lessons and we are rusty.
Jason: We are rusty.
Caroline: We need to review.
Jason: That kicks back up in two weeks. So we have two weeks. I think this week we need to give ourselves the permission. We don’t need anything else on the plate. But next week we need to carve out 20/ 30 minutes a day and just, like, get back into it.
Caroline: Okay, got it.
Jason: Play some Scrabble, play some apps, do some things.
Jason: All right, that’s our episode. We hope you enjoyed it. Went a little bit longer, but if you listen all the way to this part…
Caroline: We love you so much.
Jason: We love you. You love us. It’s a love tree.
Caroline: We’re together.
Jason: Love nest.
Caroline: It’s the bubble cave.
Jason: It’s a love dress.
Caroline: It’s the daybed of design?
Caroline: No. Daybed did not desire.
Jason: That’s a different…
Caroline: That is a novella.
Jason: That’s a birthday token right there.
Caroline: I’ll see you in the daybed of desire.
Jason: Okay, that sounds nice. Okay, bye.