Listen to our full episode on Introducing… Calm Business Encyclopedia! below (with full transcript) or find our podcast by searching What is it all for? in your favorite podcast player.
Five Key Takeaways for our Calm Business Encyclopedia podcast announcement episode!
1. Unveiling the Calm Business Encyclopedia
We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our 26-day Content Blitz project, the Calm Business Encyclopedia! From September 16 to October 14th, we’ll be rolling out fresh content daily on both our articles and YouTube channel. Covering 26 diverse topics, our encyclopedia focuses on the art of building an online business that’s not just predictable and profitable but also deeply peaceful.
2. Introducing the Calm Business Score
The Calm Business Score is our newest quiz that helps you figure out how predictable, profitable, and peaceful your business currently is. Our un-boring coaching program, Wandering Aimfully Unlimited, caters to anyone with an online business and an intentional mindset, but that covers a wide range of businesses and individuals. The new quiz we’ve created, where you can get your Calm Business Score here, categorizes you into one of four groups based on various questions. From a strategic standpoint, the Calm Business Score is a blend of survey and lead magnet, offering tailored insights via a quiz.
3. Fulfilling our vision
For those seeking an escape from the social media grind, it’s crucial to publish content that resonates on long-form platforms. We’ve distilled five years of refined frameworks and mental models into one accessible hub. Throughout our 5-year journey, we’ve prioritized progress over perfectionism, making sure that the process still remains fun for us. Even during our busiest periods, the relative calmness of our work is something we deeply appreciate.
4. Embracing experimentation
It’s important to remember that the Calm Business Encyclopedia project is an experiment. We’re unsure of how people will respond to it or the impact it will have on growing our email list, especially for our upcoming WAIM Unlimited Fall Enrollment. However, in the world of business, uncertainty is the norm, and we’re excited to embark on this journey of discovery and growth to see what happens!
5. Calm Business Confidential
Each of us bring a business to the podcast that the other person does not know we’re bringing. The only real criteria is the business has to be making some money, but it needs to be making less than a million and a half dollars a year. We just picked that number so it would give us a full range of things, and then we just want there to be something really interesting about it.
Carol’s pick: Khe Hy of RadReads (productivity guy/mentor)
If you have a calm business you think we should talk about, send us an email and share it!
Show Notes for Episode 177: Introducing… Calm Business Encyclopedia!
After 5 weeks of hard work, we’re excited to announce our big content project! While it might not look like much in the first few days as we’re releasing content daily, after 26 days it will be a rich library (heyo!) of information to help you build a more predictable, profitable, and peaceful business.
In this episode, we talk about getting to the first finish line of the Calm Business Encyclopedia. But, that first checkered flag is only one of many and we still have a ways to go.
How have our emotions changed throughout this project? And what are we hoping this project does for us? We talk about these things and much more!
Full Transcript of Episode 177: Introducing… Calm Business Encyclopedia!
⬇️ You can also download the .TXT file of the transcript
Caroline: Just a quick pop in here before the episode begins.
Jason: Our sponsor’s back.
Caroline: We have a sponsor again of this podcast.
Jason: And it’s? Us. We’re talking about our Wandering Aimfully, unlimited, unboring coaching program. Carol, hit ’em with the deets.
Caroline: That’s right. We are opening for our Fall enrollment period on October 2, and that is a few short weeks away. So this is our program, where we offer you monthly unboring coaching. We offer you a community of like minded people trying to build their calm businesses. We offer you a subscription to our course platform, Teachery, included. You get all kinds of fun things like our accountability game, WAIM of Stones.
Jason: One of the things that I wanted to bring to this ad read, because obviously I take this very seriously.
Jason: So I consulted our assistant, whose name is Tobor, and Tobor looked through sorry, our sponsor, not us.
Caroline: Right. Of course.
Jason: 600 survey responses of people who have joined the program. Not our program. The program. And these are the top ten reasons why they joined.
Caroline: Love that. Go ahead.
Jason: Clarity and focus, launching courses and digital products, getting help with marketing and sales, transitioning to an online business, the community and the support, rebranding and business development, time management and productivity, earning income and finding financial stability, platform and tool setups, like using Teachery, and then just overall health and well being.
Jason: So thank you so much to our assistant for doing that hard hitting research of our survey of over 600 members whenever the survey was conducted, and we just hope you’ll join. And those are ten reasons you might want to join our program. You can learn more at wanderingaimfully.com/join.
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 are 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.
Caroline: Hello and welcome to our podcast.
Caroline: What Is It All For?
Caroline: You normally are the first voice they hear, and that’s not appropriate.
Jason: Bring it. I have a poll for everybody. I’m not…
Caroline: Go ahead.
Jason: Maybe I’ll remember to put this in Spotify.
Caroline: Doubt it.
Jason: For Spotify users, if you listen to this in the app, you’ll get like the little poll pop up for…
Caroline: I’m so afraid of what this poll is going to be.
Jason: This is just if you want to email us with the answer, you can. You don’t have to be afraid. This is a non-fearful poll.
Caroline: Go ahead.
Jason: If you have your own podcast, what percentage of every episode do you listen to? I can tell you guys, listening to this, you all, I know the answer for our podcast with Caroline.
Caroline: That’s not true. Sometimes I listen to the beginning.
Caroline: I do.
Jason: Let me ask you this.
Caroline: What’s up?
Jason: We’ve recorded 179 episodes of our podcast. 177 episodes. Just call them an hour each.
Caroline: But like, I was there.
Jason: I know. It’s not to judge you. It’s just a question.
Caroline: Okay. But…
Jason: Out of the 177 hours of podcast content we’ve created, what total time do you think you’ve listened to?
Caroline: 2 hours.
Jason: You think you’ve listened to a full 2 hours?
Caroline: Yeah, because I’ve listened to a full episode before.
Jason: Oh, wow. So you got one full episode, which is probably the one where I interviewed you.
Caroline: Sometimes… Can I be honest? The only reason I like listening back is just the jokes. Because I laugh… Because that’s how cheesy I am.
Jason: Like our own jokes?
Caroline: Yeah, exactly. I live with you full time, and you make me laugh all the time. So then I listen to it recorded, and you still make me laugh.
Jason: What about you? Are you laughing at yourself, too?
Caroline: For sure.
Jason: Right. So that was like that was like a circular way of saying you just wanted to hear your own jokes.
Caroline: No, I like your jokes probably better. Can’t say that was the truth.
Jason: Anyway, the poll here was for those of you who have a podcast…
Caroline: Do you listen to your podcast?
Jason: How much of it do you listen to?
Caroline: Or do you actually hate the sound…? I used to hate the sound of my own voice. I can handle it now. And remember when I went through that phase, like, about three months ago where I was, like, really self-conscious about my vocal fry?
Jason: Don’t bring it up. We don’t say that in this house.
Caroline: I don’t care anymore.
Jason: Fantastic. Let’s go ahead and get into the episode because we are excited and we want to bring that excitement.
Caroline: We’re so excited.
Jason: And as a reminder to everyone, if you’ve not been listening to the previous couple episodes and this is just the one that you bopped into.
Caroline: Just you bopped right on in.
Jason: We’re two people who run two businesses. We have an unboring coaching program, which you already heard our ad read about. Thanks so much for those guys. Did an okay job.
Caroline: Supporting the Pod.
Jason: We also have our online course platform. And what we’ve been talking about the past three episodes is we kind of created this new content series that will be a lead up to our upcoming enrollment of our coaching program. But we haven’t created, like, a big project that’s outward facing marketing in quite a while.
Caroline: Quite a while.
Jason: So we’ve been kind of going through what that’s been like. And what that project is, is 26 videos on YouTube, articles on our website.
Caroline: New articles.
Jason: Brought together in one kind of content package, which…
Caroline: Is called…
Jason: Drum roll. This is the first time we’re announcing the name of although you might already know if you’re on our email list, you’ve been to our website.
Caroline: I faded it out.
Jason: Yeah, go ahead, do it again. Nice. Really good. Okay. The project name is?
Caroline: It’s the Calm Business Encyclopedia. We’ve been dropping hints left and right. You’ve been going, Why 26 articles? That’s such a specific number. And some of you keen-eared listeners figured, 26 letters of the alphabet.
Jason: But then there are also some keen-eared listeners who are like, 26? That’s interesting. Maybe it’s the alphabet. However, back in the 1800s, there was a 27th letter of the alphabet.
Caroline: Which was the ampersand.
Jason: But they got rid of it. So I don’t know if it’s about the alphabet because that would be the true original alphabet, you know. There are some people out there who know these things.
Caroline: So what is the Calm Business Encyclopedia? Jason, let them know. We’ve been alluding to this content blitz, but we haven’t really told you the overarching concept. So you just lay it on them.
Jason: Yeah. So this is what we have kind of… over the past five years, really been honing our own kind of content ethos, if you will. And so what we have tried to create here is an A to Z system to help you create an online business that is predictable, profitable, and most importantly, peaceful.
Jason: So there is a ton of online business content out in the world. And we know this, like, how to build an audience. You could probably find 50 videos right now on YouTube that all kind of say the same thing over and over. But the one twist on all of it is none of it’s really about keeping it calm. Like just keeping your business at a pace that feels good and doesn’t feel like, okay, for the next 30 days, you got to get 100,000 subscribers on your YouTube channel. It’s like, no, you don’t have to do that. There are other ways.
Caroline: The Calm Business Encyclopedia is kind of our answer to the hyper growth focused business advice out there. So if you are a person who wants an online business that helps you earn money doing something that you love but also gives you the freedom and kind of peace to run it in your own terms, this is for you. And actually, as of this episode being out, there are, I think, four volumes out already.
Jason: Yeah, there will be four volumes. So the way we’re doing this is we’re releasing one every day starting September 18 to October 14. So it’s kind of funny because today, as of recording this, is the day that we announced it. And it almost feels kind of weird because it’s like there’s only one video up. So it’s like, Go check all of this thing we’ve spent five weeks building and so much time, and there’s like, all of last week was like 1,000 hours put into this. But there’s just one thing to see.
Caroline: It’s a slow build.
Jason: It’s a slow build. But I’m really, actually excited because I was writing this to our WAIM community. I can’t wait until the 26th one is up, because then I think it will feel just like it’s… Pun intended. It’s the rich library of content where you can go back and they’re four to eight minute long videos. And we tried to be very quick and condensed with the knowledge because we’ve now talked about all these things many different ways, many times over. But this was really our chance with the Calm Business Encyclopedia to condense everything down into a very digestible group of information.
Caroline: Yes. And boy, if you have listened to the podcast the past few weeks, you will know. We went on a journey to get to land on sort of like a format that we felt like was not based on anyone else’s blueprint, but our own. So after you listen to this episode, if you do want to go check it out, you can head wanderingaimfully.com/calm. That’s where you’ll see the couple of volumes that are already up. And you’ll also see a link there to our YouTube channel if you wanted to watch the videos there as well. So that’s where it all is, wanderingaimfully.com/calm. But now let’s just dig into kind of how we feel. Again, you’re listening to this, where there’s a few volumes out, but we’re recording this…
Jason: Only one’s available right now.
Caroline: Only one is available right now. We really wanted to record this episode. Normally we record about a week and a half before, but we really wanted to record this episode real time for you all so that we could capture that energy of how does it feel when it’s the day that something is live, when you’ve put it out into the world?
Jason: Well, I think a big part of this, anybody who’s ever created something like this, where you’ve poured weeks of effort into it, all you can see are the faults.
Jason: So it’s so hard…
Caroline: Where you fell short, right? Yeah.
Jason: If I can just have you all pay attention to two emojis. I would like to do an analogy via emojis.
Jason: How you want to look at your project is the star eyes. No, star eyes.
Caroline: Star eyes.
Jason: Just like, whoa, look at this. Boom, we’re going here. But how you’re actually looking at it is like, the sideways eyes, the sideways mouth, it’s expressionless, like the actual emoji, we’re just like… That’s how I feel about it. Because I’m like, I know there’s so many things we wanted to do or that we are going to do. So I’m just like, that’s kind of how I see it.
Caroline: Okay. My two emojis are, okay, I get star eyes. Mine. But how I actually feel is the swirly eyes.
Jason: I was going to say swirly. That was the other one.
Caroline: The swirly eyes, where it’s like, I feel hypnotized.
Jason: That’s how you want to feel, or that’s how you feel?
Caroline: No, that’s how I feel. But then also when I get to that place of swirly eyes where I’m like it’s all a mixture. Then I just go… and it’s the winky face with the tongue sticking out. Just like, that’s fine. The main feeling that I feel right now is I feel relief at being able to have at least brought this vision to life in the way… because it was a lot of work. It’s not just the making of the videos. It’s the coming up with the concept of the videos. It’s the coming up with the concept of the whole thing. It’s the creating the landing page. We also just whipped up a new lead magnet, which is a quiz, which maybe we’ll talk about later. So it was a lot of work, but I will say, after a full year, our whole goal this year with our businesses was to really pour back into them. So we’ve done so much this year on the inside of our businesses, of a lot of the projects we’ve done are things that are for our members only. Redoing the dashboard, creating an affiliate hub, like really pouring into the coaching sessions, like so much internal stuff. Same with Teachery, all these new features. And my main feeling is just so much excitement at now being able to apply all of that into an external facing thing.
Jason: Yeah, I really like… we’ve talked about this in the previous podcast episodes. Three reasons why we created the Calm Business Encyclopedia.
Jason: One, the short term is leading up to this next enrollment period for Wandering Aimfully Unlimited, having a marketing thing that gets people excited. So that’s number one. Number two is having just some long tail content that might be able to be searchable on YouTube or on Google. And number three is when someone lands at wanderingaimfully.com, once this is done, we want this to kind of be the core focus and thing that you go to. So almost like a Start Here page, if you will, type of thing. And so I’m so excited. I’m going to have like triple star eyes when we get to all the volumes are up. Everything has been polished. We found all the little bugs and tweaks and things and we’ve fixed all the stuff. And we can just kind of like present this on a platter and just go, this is ready for the Internet, essentially.
Caroline: This is where you should go to learn about what we teach and what we care about, for sure. And yeah, it makes me feel proud of us for doing a project and also, honestly, a big reason for wrapping it up in this encyclopedia container because it’s silly, right? Why did it need to be that? It certainly didn’t, but it was two reasons. It was number one, it was a just, A, marketing strategy to create a story around. We could have just easily been like, we’re publishing 30 articles in 30 days.
Jason: And that’s what, originally, at the beginning of the year…
Caroline: And originally, that’s the idea, 30 articles in 30 days. Okay. But is there a bigger narrative that you can make it more compelling? Is there a concept? Is there a creative wrapper that you can put around it? That’s what I love to do. So it’s a little bit of sort of story building, storytelling. But the other thing was we just went, okay, we know that in order to create a marketing bridge to our offer, this is something we teach and something that you will learn in the J volume of Customer Journey.
Jason: Oh, very nice plug.
Caroline: But if you haven’t heard about our Marketing Bridge concept, this is how we think about marketing, right? And so we know that in order to fuel our business, yes, we need to create some type of content, but we’re always thinking of, if we feel like that’s necessary to fuel our business, how can we do it in a way that feels fun to us?
Caroline: And the thing that makes us feel… like the thing that we love the most in business is coming up with ideas and being creative. And so we sat down and brainstormed and said, okay, if the idea is 30 articles in 30 days, how does that become fun for us?
Jason: And I think the other big part of this is we keep coming back to this discussion of how are we promoting Wandering Aimfully moving forward? Because we really don’t want to use social media. We haven’t been using it for two years now. And it has felt really good to not have that be in our daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly content planning. But there is a reality to what got us here won’t get us there. And so all of the articles that we had at the beginning of Wandering Aimfully that brought in organic traffic from our previous two websites, they’re starting to kind of dwindle and they’re also just not in alignment to where we are five years now forward. So my hope is that this type of thing basically gives us like five more years of content life. And that’s an assumption we can only test by putting it out there and then just watching and seeing what happens.
Caroline: Exactly. And you know, we talk about this so often on this podcast, but when it comes to marketing and when it comes to business, we always have an experimenter’s mindset. And so you go with the tactic or the campaign or the idea that feels fun and the one that you feel like could do something, but you’re going to wait to see if the data tells you that, and if not, then you could pivot. But I want to change gears just a bit because I want to give people listening just a dose of reality, which is…
Jason: A dose of our reality or dose of their reality? Like you want to hit them with some hard truths or you want to share some of our hard truths?
Caroline: I want to share some of our hard truths, which is whenever we do a project like this, and I think we even said it on this podcast, we were like we knew when we were getting into this that there was going to come several points where we were going to feel overwhelmed or we were going to feel like it’s a lot. And it’s just because the way that we run our business, most of the time, it’s extremely flexible, it’s extremely calm, but there are probably three to four times per year where we’re doing a bigger project up against a deadline that we have created. And so there’s some artificial stress there, right? And so yesterday, it was one of those days where I have this long well, we both do have this long list of things that need to happen in order for us to wake up this morning and have it viewable for us. But I was reflecting on it last night. So anyway, the long and short of that is, yes, it was a busy day of work on a Sunday. That’s not my favorite thing to do. But we were telling our members this morning in our members-only vlog, that I think I’ve made peace with the fact that I’m just going to be the type of person who for the rest of my life, the day before a deadline, I’m going to be working. There’s just never going to be a moment where I can create an artificial pre deadline because of the way that I hold myself to a high standard of quality. And that’s okay. I’m finally to the place where I can just stop wishing that I was a different version of myself and instead be like, okay, now my goal is to accept that about myself because deadlines help me prioritize and do the work that needs to be done. But now my goal is on top of that is how can I still retain balance within that framework? And so as I was reflecting on yesterday, which was a busy day for us, and we had a couple of tense conversations where I was stressed and you were like, it’s okay. As I was reflecting, I realized though, okay, but my version of stress, the 2023 version of stress for me is so much lower than years before, right? And I think it’s really important for us when we recognize that moment of personal growth within ourselves, whether it’s business related or just life related, we have to take a step back and really have gratitude for that and have appreciation for that and recognize how far we’ve come. Because I look back and I’m like, man, it’s been a hectic five weeks because we’ve been working on this project for five weeks. And I’m like, okay, but hectic these days is still only working…
Jason: 30 hours a week.
Caroline: 30 hours a week and being able to still exercise and being able to still see friends.
Jason: Yeah, it is different because it’s like everybody kind of changes to their routines and to their habits. And so five years ago, we were working 60, 80 hours weeks, and that felt stressful. But nowadays we’re working 30 hours a week, and that feels stressful because we’re just not used to that.
Jason: Adapted. One phrase that came to my mind. Let me see if I can say this correctly to see if it resonates with you.
Caroline: Okay. Would love that for you.
Jason: Is I think the tension in a project comes when your expectation doesn’t match the reality of your abilities.
Jason: And I think this is something that if everybody maybe just acknowledged a little bit more and we’re guilty of this too, with every single project, you just have to acknowledge, like, I’m not going to be able to work ten hour days. I’m not going to be able two hour days, like, whatever it is for you. And also, I’m not a CSS wizard. I’m not a designer, whatever those things are. And I think for us, what gets us in trouble is we actually do have a lot of abilities, but they’re kind of scattered across the spectrum of, like, my video lever is all the way up. I can do all the video things we want. Your design lever is all the way up. We can do all the things, but neither of us can do parts of those things well enough to help the other person. And so I think that’s where we get into trouble, right. Is like, you have this huge pile of design work that we’ve put on this project, but it’s not even you. It’s like, no human is able to do the amount of design that we wanted to do in, like, a week, right?
Jason: And I think that’s just like… and what happens is you start to get into something, and you’re like, but I know it could be better because I have the ability. But the reality is I’m expecting more from what I actually have the ability to do.
Caroline: Do I have the ability? Is one question. Do I have the ability, the time, the energy? That’s a different question. And yeah, I think we’ve mentioned it before, probably in a couple of weeks past about… glasses, the gap. But that’s the creator’s dilemma that will happen till the end of time, which is you have an idea in your head, and you have a taste level, and then you have what you can execute realistically. And so don’t be surprised when those two things aren’t exactly going to meet every time. And that’s okay. Honestly even despite some of the more stressful moments of oh, that didn’t turn out the way I wanted to or whatever. Something that has brought me a lot of joy throughout this project is and that was part of our, I think, reason in doing it was it reminded me of some of the earlier years of WAIM or even the earlier years of, you know, Jason Does Stuff and Made Vibrant, which were our individual personal brands before Wandering Aimfully, that sort of scrappy creators mindset. It’s been a long time since we’ve really been able to create something like that and, you know, candidly, we’ve had conversations about potentially trying to get back to that maybe next year and doing more things like this. Why do we put ourselves through this? I don’t know. And it’s because we love it. We are creatives at heart, and we love having a vision and having an idea and trying to execute on it, even if it means you’re always going to come up against that gap every time.
Jason: I think about the visual spectrum of a project and so you have this horizontal line of the project and then you have your happiness is like how high up you kind of drag the dot on the spectrum. So it’s like at the beginning of a project, I think for us is like absolute peak happiness is when we’re in the ideation, the planning, just ideas. We’re throwing spaghetti at the wall. It’s like, oh, this is so much fun. And that is as high as the happiness will ever be. And then we start to get into the planning, the process, and the happiness kind of comes down. Then you get into the doing of the project and the happiness dips below the project and it’s like at a valley of just torture, right? And it’s not that bad. But then you get to the project is about to launch and you come back up and then you’re at the launch and it’s even up. And that’s what I think for this project, is like, you’re going to get to the October 14 and I think our happiness level is going to be all the way near back where it was when we started this project. And I think that’s the thing we have to remember when we’re thinking about doing things like this in the future is it’s almost always going to have this trough in the middle, this dip, as everyone talks about in any part of work, especially Seth Godin’s book, The Dip, is that that’s just a natural part of this. And so as long as we understand that and kind of know it’s coming, then we can be okay with it.
Caroline: Exactly. I was just trying to go back and find… Don’t you remember either in our first newsletter or second newsletter, I shared that image from Austin Kleon’s book?
Jason: Oh, yeah.
Caroline: Which is adapted from someone else. But literally you plotted that exact…
Jason: Is that what it is?
Caroline: Yeah, that’s exactly what it is. So… but yeah, I think that’s just accepting that that’s forever going to be the story of creative projects and you’re not doing it wrong, if that is your experience. And you just have to enjoy the journey and going back to what is it all for?
Jason: Yeah. And I think the other part of this too, is, again, as we’ve been sharing, a big part of why we’re creating the Calm Business Encyclopedia is an antithesis to social media. So it’s like something that is aside from that, that can help us do marketing. And we really want to test the assumption for ourselves of, are people going to share this? Are people going to care about this? Are they going to find it? Just putting it up on our website would not be enough, which is why we’re also doing the YouTube videos because that is a discovery platform and to me that is an absolutely necessary evil of doing this because it’s not necessarily shareworthy enough in its groundbreakingness, its uniqueness, its cleverness, the fun, et cetera, just by itself. So the YouTube videos are a way that we can get some organic reach. But I think it’s also helpful just we said this before, but just to quantify that, if we get 300 to 500 views per video, which is a total of what did I say I think before? Like 10,000 plus views over the whole course of the project, that’s a win. And 10,000 views on 26 videos might sound like a loss to a lot of people, especially people who are like full time YouTubers, but YouTube isn’t our business. Like getting views on YouTube is not our business. Getting people on our email list, giving them helpful content every single week for years is our business model. And eventually them joining WAIM because they feel like, oh, I’ve heard from you all enough. And this is just what we’ve known. This is the pattern we’ve seen for five years now. So it’s like a project for us needs to get people to our email list from something and then we’ll eventually be the right person to buy from at a certain time in their journey.
Caroline: For sure.
Jason: And so I feel like that’s a good thing for us to figure out. And for anybody listening to this who might be thinking about a project like this, it’s just important to know, like, oh, if I’m going to go on TikTok and post for 30 days straight or whatever. The goal is not to build your TikTok account to a certain number. The goal is to get people to where your business actually makes movement towards making money. That’s what actually matters.
Jason: And so for us, I think we’re really going to see how that goes with the Calm Business Quiz, if you want to transition to that.
Caroline: Yeah, exactly. To Jason’s point.
Jason: That’s me.
Caroline: That’s you.
Jason: Yeah. Thank you.
Caroline: My husband. What we didn’t want to do is spend so much time focused on all this content and not enough time focused on how do we want people to take action on this content? You know what I mean? We don’t want to want people to watch the videos and then just disappear forever and never get into our ecosystem because what we teach, going back to the idea of marketing bridges… so we thought to ourselves, what is the marketing bridge? What is the guidepost that we can put up to say, hey, did you like this video? Are you in need of advice on how to run a business that is more calm? And how we define that, again, is predictable, profitable, and peaceful. What are we going to have them do? So we needed to come up with a lead magnet. And what we decided was we had a meeting where we thought about all different ideas, right?
Jason: Some more spaghetti being thrown at the wall.
Caroline: What problem does it solve and what package is it? Is it a free coaching session? Is it a video? Is it a checklist? Is it an ebook? I mean, a million different delivery methods. And what we ultimately came to was the lead magnet that we’ve had the highest conversion in our past is doing a quiz. And the reason why you see a lot of quizzes is because they work. The reason why I feel like people don’t do them more is because it’s actually a deceiving amount of work that goes into them.
Jason: Can I give just an anecdote that I think is very helpful?
Jason: We have been able to… and actually, I only know this as of a year ago, so it’s probably more, but we can directly say that $300,000 in revenue to our business has come from people entering our email list through the quiz. So the quiz is not necessarily the thing that got them to buy, but it’s the thing that got them onto our email list, which is what I was just saying a couple of minutes ago that led to them being a customer. So any vehicle that you have figured out that leads to a customer, however long it takes for that to happen, I think is a really good thing to know. And so for us, we know a quiz works. Well, let’s go ahead and repeat in a different way.
Caroline: I also think a quiz is a really good fit for a business that has a little bit more of a general audience. We run into this issue a lot, which is Wandering Aimfully Unlimited can help pretty much anyone who has an online business and who has an intentional mindset. That’s who we go after. But that could be a lot of different types of businesses and types of people. And I think a quiz is really helpful because it kind of puts people into buckets and then it serves up tips and helpful information based on who they are. So it’s a little bit of like it’s like part survey, part lead magnet. So it’s almost like you have four different solutions that you’re offering people. And so we came up with this idea of the Calm Business Quiz, your Calm Business Score, really. So if you take this quiz, which you can find on the wanderingaimfully.com/calm.
Jason: It’s right there at the bottom.
Caroline: It’s right there at the bottom and you can take the quiz and it’ll give you a score and it’ll basically put you into four different categories based on different questions that are going to rate the peacefulness, the predictability and the profitability of your business. And we put that together over the course of the past week. And yeah, that was the most important thing was let’s not go… We often refer to this idea of the last five yards. Let’s not go 95 yards towards the end zone of this project and then fall short of the last five yards, which matter the most, which is where are you going to direct this traffic that you’re hoping to get? And that’s why we decided to create the Calm Business Score, Quiz.
Jason: Yeah, I’m excited to see how people, as they start to take that quiz, get the results because we do get not a ton, but a decent amount of replies. And we definitely did earlier on with the Business Bottleneck Quiz, which that was our first quiz, where people would reply and say, like, oh, I’m an Invisible Innovator. I kind of knew this about myself, but now I kind of have a phrase that sums up who I am and it kind of helps, right? This is why people love quizzes. But I think the Calm Business Score is going to be interesting because it’s a number and it is a phrase as well. But I think the number is kind of interesting because someone can say like, oh, I’m a 20 out of 100 on the Calm Business Score. I’ve got room to… And you probably already know that. But just even having that made up number that we came up with based on a bunch of criteria and stupid math, I think is going to be interesting for people and I look forward to see how they respond to it.
Caroline: Me too. Either way, very excited to have this project out in the world. We are excited to continue publishing the videos and the articles every day and we’re just looking forward to when it’s all complete. The final set is complete, A to Z, and then the sky’s limit on what do we want to do from there. How do we want to continue, do we want to make it the home page of the website? What do we want to do with it, do we want to try to connect other places to it? But we are just glad to have done the project and I’m really excited even for our members, to be able to point them to individual videos and topics is really exciting too.
Jason: Yeah, because it can be like, hey, do you want to go watch the coaching session on building an audience? That’s 2 hours of your time. Or the seven minute video? It just can get your juices flowing in your brain of what to do next.
Jason: All right, let’s move into the Calm Business Confidential. Now you’re noticing a lot of Calm Business things here recently. The Calm Business Encyclopedia, the Calm Business Confidential. So when we came up with the Calm Business Confidential, it was funny because we had already named the Calm Business Encyclopedia and we were like, it’s going to be fun when we get to tell everybody we have the Calm Business Encyclopedia, we have the Calm Business Confidential in the podcast. So a lot of Calm Business stuff going on around.
Caroline: A lot of brand messaging.
Jason: That’s what we’re trying to…
Caroline: Differentiator. Wow. Differentiator is today’s video, actually, if you go to our YouTube channel.
Jason: Oh, that’s very exciting.
Caroline: That is exciting.
Jason: Okay, you went first last week, so I’m going to go first.
Jason: I do have a side quest that I’m going to end up going on during my Calm Business Confidential, but I think you’ll also enjoy it.
Jason: So just a reminder for those of you who don’t know what the Calm Business Confidential is, each of us bring a business to the podcast that the other person does not know we’re bringing. The only real criteria is it has to be making some money, but it needs to be making less than like a million and a half dollars a year. We just kind of picked that number so it would give us a full range of things, and then we just want there to be something really interesting about it. We love people who are building Squarespace template websites, but we’ve all seen those. They’re not super interesting. So unless there’s like a really compelling story, it’s got to be something that’s like fun and like, oh wow, that’s inspiring, right?
Jason: So my Calm Business Confidential is one Holger Sindbaek is the creator’s name and he owns now WorldofCardGames.com and, previously, and this was where he got started, was Online-Solitaire.com. So Online-Solitaire.com. Let’s talk about Holger’s backstory here. So he got his start in 2016 creating an online Solitaire Mac app. So it was just an app for the Mac. 2016.
Caroline: Hold on. Okay.
Jason: Yeah. You know, like the Solitaire app that you have on your computer?
Caroline: I really had to go into the crevices of my mind. So when we had a Windows machine…
Caroline: There was a Solitaire app.
Jason: We’ll get to that.
Jason: So he created a Mac app version so you could download on your Mac and you could play Solitaire.
Caroline: That did not exist before 2016?
Jason: It may have, but again, I’ll talk about it.
Jason: So he got it up to in the first year making $800 a month, and that was just through sales. So it was a paid app.
Caroline: Do we know how much the app was?
Jason: I don’t know.
Caroline: Under $10? Do we think?
Jason: Probably, yeah. But it was just a side gig and so he had a full time job that he actually really liked. I think it was actually in the sneaker industry, which is kind of interesting, and he just kind of, like, let the app, after it got up to, like, $800 a month, his business got… The full time business got busy, and so it just kind of got stale. And after three years, it actually got kicked off the App Store for bad reviews because it just got buggy. He didn’t keep up with updates. As the Mac OS updates, the apps break. And so this is why building on that ecosystem is tough. In 2019, the full time sneaker job went away. He wasn’t selling sneakers. He was working for, like, a company that did weird stuff with it. But anyway, it went away, and he was like, okay, I’m back to doing my own thing. And he wasn’t sure where to start. And so he was like, he’s a developer. He’s like, I’m going to build an app that scrapes the App Annie directory. So App Annie is a directory that finds all Mac apps and ranks them. And so basically, he built an app that scraped the App Annie directory and built a rankings to show what the most popular ones were.
Caroline: What’s the difference between the Annie directory and his?
Jason: I think the App Annie directory doesn’t do the ranking. His app was doing the ranking.
Caroline: Got it. That’s the idea.
Jason: Just the directory. It’s like just like the Yellow Pages.
Jason: So he basically built a system that ranked the Yellow Pages based on popularity.
Jason: However he was doing that? Developers are wizards. Have no idea.
Caroline: Another question. How do we think this is different than when you go to the App Store and they have it ranked right there?
Jason: Well, in 2019, I don’t necessarily know that they had those rankings available.
Caroline: Interesting. I think they did. Go ahead.
Jason: Anyway. But also, you don’t know downloads and things like that and whatever. Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. Stop asking weird questions. The App Annie directory triggered a core memory in my mind, which was do you know what it is,
Caroline: Angie’s List?
Jason: Store Time. Yes. Do you remember this was February of 2014?
Caroline: That seems right.
Jason: I commissioned someone to build an app called Store Time. It was an iPhone app. And the whole idea was it showed the hours that a business was open.
Jason: Now, this may sound like to you listening to this nine years later or ten years later. Duh. Just go on Google. It’s there. Yeah, it wasn’t there in 2014.
Caroline: It wasn’t there.
Jason: There weren’t… there weren’t hours on Facebook pages. There was no place…
Caroline: It was so annoying.
Jason: That you could find someone’s hours.
Caroline: Yeah, you had to go to their website, which by that time, mobile websites, like, nobody was doing.
Jason: So I was actually looking through the emails that I wrote with the developer. And so we built the app. They loved the idea as well. This was my side quest. Okay, so had this app built. I didn’t put any money up the developer. We just ended up splitting it 50-50, and if it ever sells or whatever, we’re just going to be part owners. So they took on the building of it, I took on the marketing of it, and just the idea itself. So we created… I think it took them, like, 60 days to build the app from start to finish, maybe even less. When it launched. I didn’t even remember this. It got to number four in the Food and Drinks category.
Caroline: Look at you.
Jason: Isn’t that fun? On the App Store, the last check in that I saw, we had 3,900 total users of the app.
Caroline: That’s a lot.
Jason: I know. I did a pretty good job. And then I didn’t even remember this. We sold the app on Flippa.
Caroline: I definitely don’t remember that.
Jason: For $3,000.
Caroline: You did?
Jason: Congrats to us.
Caroline: You’ve sold a business.
Jason: During that time, obviously, the ideas were flowing. I have another email to them. This is in March of 2014. I said, hey, I have another idea for an app. I think it could be really big. The idea was an app where you plug in all your credit cards and it pulls out all the recurring subscriptions and tells you which ones you could get rid of and cancels it for you. Do you remember when I told you about this?
Jason: This did not exist at that time.
Caroline: And then what’s the one that?
Jason: A Y Combinator company, which for those of you who know Y Combinator is, those are smart people. Your boy has a couple of good ideas every once in a while.
Caroline: You have great ideas.
Jason: But I remember we were talking about it at the time, and you were like, do you even know how you could build this? And I was like, no, I have no idea. But I know it’s a good idea. I just don’t know. And so I remember looking at the emails I have with the developer, and they’re like, yeah, this is too big for our birches. And then just didn’t…
Caroline: This is the problem. Probably multiple times a week, usually it’s always after working out, we both come back to the house, and we have conversations about business ideas that we have every single week. And we get excited. And then about ten minutes later, we start talking about it, and we’re like, we don’t want to be in that business.
Caroline: And that is a regular occurrence in our household.
Jason: All right, so back to Holger. So 2019, he builds this app to scrape the App Annie directory. Pay attention.
Caroline: I am.
Jason: After scouring the list, he decides online Solitaire seems like a thing that people are still very interested in. He already had the version of the one that he built, so he was like, Let me just go back to something I’ve already built and make it better. So he kind of, like, went through his app. He rebuilt it completely as a Mac app, but now it’s 2019, so let’s build it as a web app too, because it doesn’t just have to be a downloadable app. The key differentiators, this is what you were asking about, is that Holger is a unicorn. And what does a unicorn mean in the developer world?
Caroline: He can develop and design.
Jason: Exactly. So Holger is a very good designer as well. So his Online-Solitaire.com…
Caroline: Was beautiful.
Jason: It’s beautiful. I even went and looked at it now. It’s still beautiful. And it doesn’t look that different because it’s just Solitaire, but it’s different enough that the people who care about a visually beautiful looking game care. And so he got the game back up and running.
Caroline: By the way, most of…
Jason: It looks terrible.
Caroline: Those online Solitaire…
Jason: Free Cells, like those types of things. Anyway, in the first six months, he worked a lot on SEO, and he had the domain Online-Solitaire.com and basically worked on it. So in six months, he was making $1,500 a month in Google Ads. So that’s how many people were coming through the website. He was making him $1,500 a month. So the three years after that.
Caroline: So it’s free, but the monetization structure was Google Ads. Got it.
Jason: So in three years, he didn’t do much with the website. He ended up, I think, just adding one other version of Solitaire to it, but really not much else. It got up to $15,000 a month. And really what he said was he thinks it was just due to the pandemic. Like more people were home, more people had time on their hands. They were playing games like this. So $15,000 a month with online Solitaire, which is incredible. But that’s not where it ends because I told you, he has two domains. In August of 2022, Holger bought WorldofCardGames.com for an undisclosed amount. My guess is that amount was $50,000.
Caroline: The domain?
Jason: The site. So the site was built ten years ago by a female developer, and it features the games Hearts, Spade, Jimmy Rummy, and a couple of others.
Jason: But here’s the thing. It’s very ugly.
Jason: It only was making about $1,000 a month, which is why I think he sold it for 50K, because that’s basically like three to four years of revenue, essentially. And it’s probably pure profit because it doesn’t take much to run.
Jason: But I think he was really smart because he has known the person who owned WorldofCardGames.com for years, and they’ve always traded emails, but he basically just reached out one day and was like, hey, would you be up for selling this? And it was like the perfect timing because she was like, yeah, I don’t really want to work anymore. We’re going over ten years. And so that’s one of those. It’s like, you don’t know, you don’t get what you don’t ask for. And so they agreed on the sale, went through without much effort, and what he didn’t want to do is just immediately change everything. So he’s very slowly going through and fixing all the technical debt because it’s just ten year old things, doing SEO improvements, but leaving it visually the same so the users don’t get upset. And it was seeing 10,000 monthly visitors, the WorldofCardGames.com, when we bought it in August, and it was making about $1,000 to $2,000 a month since he’s purchased. So since that time. So from August until I think this was, like, a month ago.
Caroline: Wait. August of last year?
Jason: August of last year until, like, a month ago when I read this article. He has got the traffic up to 70,000 monthly visitors. So seven times just with SEO, no paid ads, nothing. And it’s making now $4,000 a month.
Jason: So pretty good. He hasn’t changed anything in the design, hasn’t done anything else. So right now, Holger is sitting on two online card game sites that make $15,000 to $20,000 in revenue. They require almost literally no effort whatsoever. There’s no paid ads. There’s no nothing. It’s just him doing it, and it’s really fun. I also went to his Twitter account because I was, like, doing research on him and his Instagram. He’s now making wooden jewelry boxes.
Caroline: Of course he is.
Jason: So he’s just, like, a savant of making things. He just makes anything he wants.
Caroline: I love stories like that because stories like that, and I guess this is the whole reason behind Calm Business Confidential, too, is just to remind people that opportunities are everywhere.
Caroline: And you just got to keep your eyes out.
Jason: And you and I couldn’t build a web app of beautifully looking online Solitaire, but we could certainly take inspiration from this and be like, I don’t know, maybe we could try and build something.
Caroline: Maybe I’ll build a competitor. You just wait and see.
Jason: Whoa. Watch out. Okay, that’s my Calm Business Confidential. How’d you feel about it?
Caroline: Loved it.
Jason: Yeah, it’s a good one.
Caroline: You’re doing really well with these weird ones. Mine are just, like, straight up online business.
Jason: That’s great.
Caroline: Yeah. But I like people with interesting stories and the ways that they found themselves into online business.
Jason: Who you got for us this week?
Caroline: All right, this week I have for you a gentleman by the name of Khe Hy. Have you heard of Khe Hy?
Jason: I know of Khe Hy. I do, yes.
Caroline: Okay. I had never heard of Khe Hy.
Jason: Spell his name for everybody else. It’ll be in the description.
Caroline: Yeah, we’ll put it in the description. But I had heard of Rad Reads, which is his newsletter, but I’m not a subscriber. Haven’t been on it. And if Khe is, like, a huge person in the online business world…
Jason: He’s pretty well known these days, but maybe not for our audience.
Caroline: Yeah, for sure. And also, if I didn’t hear about him, then certainly there’s other people who haven’t heard about him.
Jason: I mean, listen, we have 30 listeners of this podcast now. Half have not heard of Khe Hy.
Caroline: And even if you have, maybe you don’t know his full backstory. And I think his backstory is what is remarkable and worth telling. Okay, so I am going to share that with you. And I do want to give credit to I found a blog post on ConvertKit’s blog. And so this article was written by Issa Adney from ConvertKit. And so I want to give credit to her because she wrote the article and did the backstory and the research.
Jason: I’m giving credit to no one on my Calm Business Confidentials. I’m just pretending I typed it.
Caroline: Okay, so I’ll try to kind of go faster here because, as you can imagine, someone’s story is very winding road. But Khe started out having what he would call his dream job on Wall Street for 14 years.
Caroline: 14 years on Wall Street. And I think it’s a familiar story that some people find themselves kind of on that trajectory, following the money, only to find out that it doesn’t fulfill them in any way. And I think his backstory, he said that when he turned 35, he had his first kid, and that sort of like, is an existential crisis, I think, for a lot of people. And so, yeah, he just realized that the money was not fixing the holes or the things that are missing in his life. And he had only taken two weeks off in a row. He took two weeks off twice in 14 years?
Jason: Yeah, it’s incredible.
Caroline: Gee. And one was my honeymoon. And so, yeah, I just wrote down, what is it all for? Because you have this moment where you’re just like, I’m working so hard and I’m not even able to enjoy it. And what does that even mean for my life? And you could very quickly find yourself blinking and another 14 years goes by. And so, okay, this is where I think the story is interesting. So he knows that something is missing. He knows he doesn’t want to be doing this for the rest of his life. He doesn’t know what that thing is. Now, the one thing that money can do for you that I know a lot of people will not find themselves in this position, but he’s very honest about the fact that he saved up two years of full time income, which I think the lesson there is, though, if you can’t save up two years of full income, can you save up two months? What’s that time frame where you can give yourself a little bit of a cushion to not have to have it all figured out? Because that’s a lot of pressure, right? But so he ultimately did decide to quit his job without knowing what he was going to do. But because he had two years, he had a little bit of a cushion. And I love that he said he bought a one way ticket to Bali with his wife and his one year old and he says so cliche. We did the family version of Eat, Pray, Love, which I love. But also he started… this is what I love. He started obviously going on this quest to find out like, okay, I don’t know what I want to be doing, but I want to be in this Sponge mode to soak up a bunch of different things. And this is advice we tell people all the time. If you don’t know, you need to test drive a bunch of different things, you need to at least just be in exploration mode, right? And so he started saving all these links and sending it out to his contact list in Gmail. So his first newsletter is an email to 36 of his friends that are BCC’d on this email and said, hey, here’s what I’ve been reading lately. What have you been reading lately? That’s technically not a newsletter, but that’s how it begins, right?
Jason: Do you know when that was? What year that was?
Caroline: This is… I don’t think I know when that was.
Caroline: But years ago. Years. And so I also think the thing that we can take away from that is also that a lot of advice nowadays is that you have to be an expert. And I get it. We would tell people also the same thing, which is build a skill, right? But there’s also a lot of value, I think, in being the kind of field notes version instead of the expert version. This is what we still do to this day. It’s like, yes, I would consider us like expert level in some aspects of running an online business, but in general we like to just be a little bit being the guinea pigs, putting ourselves out there and then kind of reporting back from the field.
Jason: I think being a tastemaker, this has been talked about a lot before, but there’s a ton of value in the tastemakers of the world. So the people who are consuming the things and then relaying back to the rest of us, hey, this is something fun you should check out because a lot of us don’t have time to go find all those things.
Caroline: Yeah. And so people decided that even his close friends, they really liked the links. And so eventually he does figure out how to make that into a more formal newsletter, right? But he still has no idea how he’s going to monetize this business. A former manager of his from Wall Street is on that list because of course they wanted to keep up with like, what is he doing? And he said, hey, he was writing about a lot of these existential questions about being connected to your purpose and your career and all of that. And he said, hey, can you come and just coach our small team on coaching them through some of these things? And so another lesson from his story is what are people asking you for, right? I know that doesn’t always happen for some people of like, hey, let me pay you money. But the way that you create those opportunities is by showing up. And so if he’s not writing regularly, no one’s going to raise their hand and say, hey, you seem to really have a knack for this. Can you come and let me pay you? And so that is what I think consistency does, is that it creates opportunity. And that’s what I wrote down here. I said the lesson from there is that action creates opportunities. Sometimes we want to think our way to a business model, but at times you have to act your way to it instead. You have to do things without exactly knowing where it will lead and just knowing that if you put yourself out there more, you’re going to create opportunities that didn’t exist. Right. And I wrote down here one of the things that stood out to me from the article was for five years, Khe didn’t sell anything to his email list.
Caroline: Which is wild. And I know that that’s not always the situation.
Jason: It definitely wouldn’t be our choice because also part of what we love about the puzzle of business is selling things.
Caroline: But it’s also… I think what I take away from that also is especially if you’re someone who does have a full time job and you want to get to that freedom of running your own business one day, can you start imperfectly? Can you start now? Can you start putting yourself out there now, creating some type of newsletter or some type of value in a way that’s accessible? Because you’re always going to wish that you had gone back and started earlier. And so in case you were curious, now, these days, eventually he did make a Notion course, which was kind of his more foray into the digital product world. And his first launch made $10,000, his second launch made $15,000, and his third launch made $25,000. And I just think there’s a lesson there in not quitting and just getting better over time and honing your message, honing your marketing. And these aren’t numbers that are unattainable for people. And there’s still a really beautiful life to be had with $10,000 product launches.
Jason: Whole point of this Calm Business Confidential right here.
Caroline: Which is the whole point. And so if you’re curious, I think how his revenue breaks down these days is 40% ends up still being from coaching and consulting gigs, which I think is still through, I don’t know, maybe word of mouth. Like he doesn’t actively market it, but people ask. 34% is course sales of the Notion Course. 16% is Patreon, 7% is speaking, 3% sponsors and affiliates.
Caroline: Yeah. And then to end on it. Oh, I did love that… I thought this was a good bit of brand messaging, but on his website it said, your bucket list matters more than your to do list. We help ambitious professionals connect the pursuit of productivity to life’s larger questions. And I always love when I see people who have figured out a way to concisely kind of take something that’s nebulous and talk about their differentiator in it. So he took his own personal journey of leaving Wall Street and being a high performing, high productive person who was still feeling, like, lost with life’s bigger questions. And now he knows that that’s a need and he’s using that to connect with other people. And then just to end, he wrote his definition of success at the bottom of the article, which I love because we tell people this all the time. Success is defined by you, not by anyone else. So I encourage anyone listening to this to take five minutes and write down, what does success look like for you? So for him, it says, the ability to be present and give my best energy to the people I love, to only spend time with people who inspire me and bring me energy, to use my creative gifts every single day, to never feel rushed. Loved that one. The ability to control my own schedule and the ability to surf every day.
Caroline: Like that’s a life well lived.
Jason: Fantastic. Also, one thing you did not mention in your story of Khe Hy, fantastic, everyday abs.
Caroline: I didn’t see his abs.
Jason: You didn’t see his abs?
Caroline: That’s a missed opportunity.
Jason: Oh, my gosh, Caroline and everybody listening to this.
Caroline: Jason, it’s not about the abs, okay?.
Jason: No, no, I know. That’s why I said at the end, it’s not at the beginning, but, like, Khe is one of those rare few, everyday abs.
Caroline: Well, congratulations.
Jason: That’s what happens when you surf though, you know. You live that Bali life. Like you kind of have to. It’s like a rite of passage. You get there, they give you an acai bowl, a surfboard, and then you get abs. That’s Bali in a nutshell. And you have an online business, but you brought that with you. All right, that’s it for this episode. We hope you enjoyed it. Another call out here to our Wandering Aimfully Unlimited unboring coaching program, which opens the doors October 2. This is our last enrollment at our $2,000 price point. So if you want to get in before we raise the price in 2024, this is the last time to get our monthly coaching, our unboring business roadmap, access to Teachery included. All the goodies that we talk about on the sales page over at wanderingaimfully.com/join.
Caroline: Everything you need to run a calm business.
Jason: Oh, nice.
Caroline: See that tie in?
Jason: Pretty great. All right. WanderingAimfully.com/join. We’ll be back in your ears next week.
Caroline: Thanks for listening.