Content stacking aka the year of the ___ is something that Mike Kim and others promote. It’s a way to build your business and your content stockpile without being overwhelmed. No one can do it all at the same time. Fortunately, no one has to. All we have to do is take one step at a time.
I’m a member of Total Life Freedom Mastermind. I have been for years, and as far as I’m concerned, will be for life. There, we have talked about content stacking aka the year of the ___. Late last year, when we were talking about goals for 2021, the owner, Vincent, encouraged me to pick one of my sales offerings to focus on and to pick one form of content to build this year. Both of those decisions were easy for me to make.
Which offering did I choose to promote?
Regarding which offer, one might think that I went for my highest-ticket item, which is ghostwriting a book. I didn’t. While I do ghostwrite some, it’s only for a very select few. Usually, I refer out the people who ask me to ghostwrite for them. I send them to Authority Ghostwriting or another colleague. Because I edit everything AG does, I’m going to help that author with their book anyway, so most are okay with being sent to Nick or another colleague first and then having their book come back to me for the editing phase.
So, if I didn’t go with the highest-priced thing I offer, which did I choose?
I chose my second-highest-ticket item, a full book-development package. It takes an author (or would-be author) from the very beginning of the process, when they’re getting their ideas, all the way to “Congratulations, you’re published!” Because the package is all-inclusive and extensively involved on my end, the price tag is in the $25,000 range. I can only take one of those a month because it is so involved and takes months to walk a client through. But that’s perfectly fine because my family lives frugally and doesn’t need much. That means I don’t need to take on many clients. One of that package per month is enough to cover all of our basics after all of the overhead, including paying each team member for their contribution to the project.
Because I can serve my clients extremely well, accompanying them all the way through the project from beginning to end, and because the income is sufficient, it makes sense to have that be my focus. However, there has been increased interest in my content management and repurposing packages. Several people contacted me this week alone asking about repurposing their podcast episodes into blog posts and social media content. As a result, the “which service” focus may shift.
Content stacking or the year of the __
This year, 2021, is The Year of The Email List. As Mike and others have done, I’m starting with that as a base to build upon. Yes, I already have some books done and a couple hundred blog posts or so. If you wanted to, you could say that previous years were The Year of The Book and The Year of The Blog. And yes, as long as I have the ability, I’ll be writing a lot more books. But not right now. Right now, I’m building my email list to 1,000 amazing members.
Bear with me, and I’ll explain this one, too. It’s about time freedom.
Meaning of time freedom
Time freedom is important to me. I do love to serve my clients, so please understand me. When I say I want time freedom, I don’t mean I want to be one of those “lifestyle entrepreneurs” who posts photos of themselves leaning on Lamborghinis, perched upon mountaintops, or lounging on beaches. The cynic in me says that most of those images are Photoshopped anyway.
No, I’m not looking for a way to be lazy. I’m looking for time to create more for you.
I need downtime or white space in order to be creative. The Idea Generator is one of my nicknames, so how can it be true that I can come up with a ton of ideas and that being creative is hard for me?
Recall is a cinch for me. Scholastic Bowl and College Bowl were my sport, and I actually was awarded a college scholarship to play College Bowl. I got paid to be a nerd and to recall all kinds of facts, literature quotations, and trivia. Mmm! Anyway, if I’ve heard or read about this or that solution, I’m likely to remember it and propose it when appropriate. For almost anything that comes up in conversation, I can recommend a book (or three) for that. I scored at the genius level on aptitude tests for different types of recall. So what? To me, that’s not being creative. That’s recalling information.
Divergent thinking is coming up with different ways to do a given thing. How many ways can you think of to use a paper clip, that have nothing to do with paper? That type of thinking is trained out of us in school, where we are taught that “There is only one right answer” for most things. When I was in school, I scored in the top 1% in the country (at the genius level) when it came to divergent thinking, too. That one is one type of creativity, I guess.
Okay, so then what’s the problem? Synthesis, one of the higher-order thinking skills and another type of creativity, takes my brain more time. I need quiet and time to think. Those are available only between 2 and 6 AM, and as far as “quiet,” that’s only if the dogs aren’t snoring.
Doing more of what is working
My business was built the introvert’s way, by doing excellent work so that people would love it and send me referrals. It was enough. I never needed to run ads of any kind, and it wasn’t long before I had more business than I could handle, so I built a team. For the first several years, I didn’t talk to potential clients on the phone, Skype, or in person. It was email only. An auditory processing disorder makes it difficult for me to understand people on the phone. Living in a small town and not having a travel budget made in-person meetings out of the question, and few people used Skype back then. At some point, a prospective client insisted we meet on a video call, and although I was a nervous wreck before the call, the call itself was fun and energizing.
In the last few years, I’ve grown to love talking with people on Zoom. I start about 10 FB chats every day, and I host group coaching programs and discovery calls on Zoom every day. I just have conversations, check on people to see how they and their families are doing—you know, just being a good person. Business is not the focus, but if I just talk to and help people consistently, enough business does come. Having those chats is wonderful. I love it, and while it energizes me at the time, later, I feel drained.
Though I love conversations, a day full of calls wipes me out and takes a day or two to recover from. I am surrounded by talking from 6AM to midnight, and I need a break sometimes. Rather than doing that all day long, I want to keep spending about an hour doing that. I also want to spend a few hours creating, and a few hours with my family. I need white space.
Passive income a misnomer
People use the term “passive income,” but it’s usually not passive income at all. Passive implies that there’s no work involved, and it’s just not true for most things. Scams, maybe. But none of us has any interest in running scams!
My email series, videos, books, and other things I create are not passive but front-loaded. That means they require the majority of the work to be done up front. Those things are where I want my focus to be. They will allow me to serve my clients well, and to serve more people. They will also give me more time to create a greater number of helpful things for you.
I am going to continue to build front-loaded, residual, recurring and referral-based income. That depends heavily on my email subscribers list. I am happy with the editing work and team (active income trading time for dollars) as they are.
The plan for 2021 as the year of the list
A few months ago, Vincent encouraged me to revamp my email series so that it would sell products and services for me, and to come to the mastermind call every week to report on what I’m doing to build my email list because everything flows from that. Once that’s built, Mike Kim style, I should add another layer to the content stack. I’ve long heard advice to build my subscribers list. We’ve all heard “The money is in the list,” right? Well, I wasn’t thinking so much about the money being in the list, but about the email series being a way for people to get help from me in a way that is convenient and scalable. I can’t meet with 200 people each week, but I can send an email that serves 200 of the people on my subscribers list!
So building my email list is what I have been focusing on. I brought on Jared Odle as an advisor to help me revamp my email series and sell some products and services in my emails. That would free up a little more time for me to make stuff for you.
I’m directing people to my lead magnets to sign up. My email subscribers list has grown 30% in these three months, so what I’m doing is working.
This is the year of the list. Everything I do is focused on that result. I go on podcast interviews, and suggest listeners join my list to get all sorts of goodies. I guest post and suggest readers join my list to receive a stack of resources. I mention it on social media. I have signup forms all over this site. The purpose of of all of that is to grow my email subscribers list because they get tons of value and all it costs them is their time to go get it.
Maybe next year, I’ll focus on something else. Everything can’t be done at once, and for now, I have to stick with the goal of attracting and serving 1,000 subscribers and not let anyone else’s mood of the moment influence me to change my focus.