About this episode

In this week's episode, we unpack the power of video content for your business with Sean Cannell of Think Media. Sean is a best selling author, YouTuber, and speaker centered on helping entrepreneurs and creatives build their influence with online video. Sean's YouTube channels have over one million subscribers, his videos have been viewed over 43 million times, and he has been featured as one of the "20 Must Watch YouTube Channels That Will Change Your Business" by Forbes.

On May 14th and 15th of this year, we held the first Startup Story Live event. It featured thirteen incredible founders from various industries. Over the coming weeks, I will be sharing some of these sessions for you to enjoy. Today, you will hear Sean Cannell's session, where he talked about how he pivoted his business from crisis mode to flourishing. Listen to hear how he used the power of video to catapult his company to the next level, and how you can too.

In this episode, you'll hear

  • Some of the principles Sean employed during his recession; the first was to protect your focus
  • If COVID-19 revealed anything to us, it's that you need an online offer.
  • Sean shares his belief that online video, live streaming, the ability to communicate via the internet and do business online is the new normal of skills we have to develop to keep our businesses protected, diversified, and able to weather the storm.
  • Why YouTube? Some of the statistics and reasons why you should be creating videos and posting to YouTube. The biggest: YouTube is a discovery machine.
  • Why it is essential to know what problem or problems you solve.
  • YouTube is a critical place for entrepreneurs and businesses to plant their flag.
  • The different kinds of videos you can make and why you should commit to creating content.
  • Sean answers the questions, "How do you make money with this?," "How do I grow viewership?" and "Where do I draw the line between what I give away for free versus what I sell?"

Resources from this episode

ExpressVPN: Get 3 Months Free → ExpressVPN.com/StartupStory
Sean Cannell on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/seancannell/
Sean Cannell’s Startup Story Interview Episode: https://www.thestartupstory.co/episodes/sean-cannell-founder-of-think-media
The Startup Story Inner Circle: https://www.thestartupstory.co/vip
The Startup Story on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/thestartupstory
The Startup Story is now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/jamesmckinney
The Startup Story on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thestartupstory

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Special Guest: Sean Cannell.

Episode transcript

Startup Story LIVE - Sean Cannell

In this week's episode, we unpack the power of video content for your business.

Every wildfire began with a spark. Every superhero has an origin story. And every single startup has a moment that they point to as their beginning. And every founder has a purpose that drove them in the midst of all obstacles. THAT is The Startup Story.

James McKinney: On May 14th and 15th we held our first ever Startup Story LIVE event which was an epic, two-day livestream event featuring 13 incredible founders from various industries. Throughout those two days, our founder guests shared the various tactics and strategies they've employed in their business as a result of this global pandemic. This event gave you, the listeners, the chance to have your questions answered directly by the founders themselves. Well, Startup Story LIVE was an amazing event and I want to provide more opportunities like that to get you direct access to some incredible entrepreneurs so that youcan get your questions answered directly. So over the coming weeks, I'm going to be sharing the audio recordings from these sessions for you to enjoy. I'm not going to be releasing them in back to back weeks because I have some incredible founder startup stories to share as well, but I'll be sprinkling them in in between founder startup stories.

That said, if you want access to all 13 founder sessions from Startup Story LIVE right now then you need to join Startup Story Inner Circle. When you become a member of the Inner Circle, you get unlimited video access to every live event segment, as well as access to private livestream events just for Startup Story members. And as if that weren't enough, all Startup Story Inner Circle members will also receive a hardcover copy of Jaime Schmidt's upcoming book titled Supermaker: Crafting Business on Your Own Terms absolutely free. That's a $25 value as a bonus for joining Startup Story Inner Circle. Youcan see all the many perks by visiting thestartupstory.co/VIP. Again, that's thestartupstory.co/VIP. This Startup Story LIVE session features Sean Cannell of Think Media and I promise you it will blow your mind.

Forbes has called Sean one of the 20 must watch YouTube channels that will change your business. Sean and his team are on a mission to help 10,000 people leverage video to change their lives and businesses. This passion is derived from his personal journey when in October of 2015 his freelance business lost 80-90% of its revenue. In that season, he was forced to go all in on a business channel that was maintained as a hobby or a side hustle. Within just two months of that pivot, he was able to replace the income he lost. Even more powerful is it was that pivot that has caused Think Media to grow into the brand it is today and impact the lives it has today. Please help me welcome Sean Cannell to Startup Story LIVE.

James McKinney: Sean, thank you for joining us for Startup Story LIVE. I know there's a whole collection of people who are excited to hear from you.

Sean Cannell: So fired up to be here and I know it's crazy times in the world, but I believe we really can pivot and adapt, and do some incredible things in our lives and our businesses.

James McKinney: Oh, I love it. Sean one of the things that I love about your story is just how applicable it is. When we unpacked your entire Startup Story I think it was episode 59 this past February, you shared how in October of 2015 the economy was booming, much like it was going into this year, and within 30 days you lost 80-90% of your revenue. Which again I suspect for tens of thousands of entrepreneurs out there, that's pretty much the experience they're going through right now. But in that same story you talked about how in just a few months you were able to pivot to something that was really just a side hustle for you and a side gig, and you were able to recover the revenue you lost. Again, the reason I'm so excited about you sharing is in that moment, that learning I think a lot of people right now watching can benefit from it. And so in that crisis moment you changed the entire direction of your business and entire trajectory of your life because of the decisions you made. So can you unpack the tactics you employed during that crisis season to help you recover the lost revenue so quickly, and how it changed your business going forward?

Sean Cannell: Absolutely, James, and I'm so fired up to be here. What's up everyone? Let's talk about it, man. I had to burn the ships and losing 80% of my revenue in 30 days meant that I had to really pivot and adapt. That was my personal recession. The whole world wasn't really experiencing what I was experiencing, but even with what we're going through now it was almost like a personal recession that I believe we can learn from and get a few principles out of.

Just to give you some context I have a background in ministry and church. I'd been on staff at a church and I transitioned out of that to be a fulltime entrepreneur, but I was a solo-preneur. I was a freelancer and I was doing a lot of video production work, a lot of social media management, a lot of YouTube content creation. I was based in Irvine, California at the time with my wife. No kids, but now we've got a baby on the way, come on 21 weeks pregnant. And so I was servicing, we actually eventually transitioned back to Las Vegas, which is where we're living now, especially because once we were in a season of bootstrapping we wanted to be in a place of a little bit lower cost of living.

I had three main freelance clients. So I was doing video production, social media management, helping people with YouTube, that's my background. I was doing that for the church and church communications. I'd done that on the side a little bit, and now I was a fulltime entrepreneur but a solo-preneur. Those three clients were actually paying me $2000, $2000, and $1000 a month so I was making $60,000 a year, just my wife and I, main bread winner. And I was also hustling a little bit just dabbling, trying to get some income flows going but I was focused on those main income strains. I will admit I actually was pretty comfortable. Maybe you can relate to that. I was like hey we're living in Las Vegas, $60K a year with some side flow, let me just keep doing this and being disrupted kind of forced me out of my comfort zone.

I've heard entrepreneurs ultimately at some point we have to jump off the cliff, but I felt like for me God kicked me off the cliff. What happened was in the beginning of October I got a phone call and it was one of those clients, and they said, "Hey, we're hiring some different people, we no longer need your services so we've got to let you go." And I was like shoot, okay, well there's $2000 down the drain, but I've still got $3000 and I can maybe replace that client, fill something else in. Second week of October 2015, bring, phone rings, pick it up, "We've got to let you go Sean, you know it's just not working out," and now I'm like shoot, that's two out of three. I hadn't told my wife yet, and so it was down to the $1000 client unfortunately as well. So now a lot of our income had disappeared but god as my witness man, third week in October 2015 phone rings and that third client is like, "We've got to let you go." And so literally in one month's time, relying on client work, client services, really 90% of our income just disappeared.

There's a few lessons I learned, and this session I want to talk about just a few lessons I learned out of this, talk about why I pivoted into YouTube and why YouTube is a big deal right now, and then actually give you the exact three strategies that I used to build a multiple seven figure business on YouTube. But that third client let me and go and the first thing I did was freak out. I wish I could say I was super courageous, but I was losing my mind. The first thing I kind of learned these four principles, the first one was you've got to protect your focus. When you are kind of losing your mind like I was, overwhelmed, you've got anxiety, you're scared… I mean you think about all these emotions, it's the very things we're going through right now, what's the future going to be like, worry, self doubt too. Major blow to my confidence. I literally got fired by three clients in a row three weeks back to back. Do I have what it takes? Am I going to be able to even do something in the future? What kind of a statement is this about me and you've got to protect your focus. I think that it looks like a couple things.

For me, I'm grateful that I had people in my life that I could reach out to, communities like this that I could actually get my mind right, because my mind was messed up. I'm off in the wrong place, I'm not in a place of confidence, I'm not in a place of self belief. I called kind of a business mentor, David Goldstein, and he got me back on track. I was like, "What's going to happen? What should I do? I'm super worried," and he's like independently wealthy, he's been super wise, and he's like, "Well, I'm not worried." I'm like, "David, I know you're frickin' not worried bro. I'm worried. You don't pay my rent, man. I'm worried. I get you're not worried," but it was so good because I had somebody to say look, chill out bro, focus on what you know to do, you've been working on this YouTube stuff, you've been working on making money online, lean into this. It's going to be okay.

If you're watching this right now, I just want you to know it's going to be okay. Take a deep breath. You might be getting crushed right now, especially because of this pandemic, but you can pivot. Sometimes you just need somebody to talk sense into you. I love this conference, James, because sometimes we just need a community. We need people that will protect our focus. For me, that also meant during that particular crisis for me, I stopped listening to everything. I only wanted to listen to things that were going to keep me on the right track as an entrepreneur. It wasn't really about the news. And of course we need to stay informed, but you can't be binge watching negativity, the news, bad information. You've got to focus on your grind. You've got to focus on your business. You've got to focus on building, right? And so you've got to protect your focus. Think about who you're listening to. Maybe audit your circle and really guide your mindset. I've learned this, that if you don't have confidence, you will always find a way to lose. And so I had to protect my confidence and say man, I've got to keep doing the work, step by step.

But the second thing was I started focusing on IPAs only, IPAs only. Not the beer. That actually probably could have gone that direction, just constant IPAs in response, but IPAs, income producing activities. Back in 2009, I ran a business called Clearvision Media [10:00] before I transitioned to be director of communications at a church. Man, when I started different businesses sometimes I focused on like making my website nice. Sometimes I focused on let me get some business cards printed. Sometimes I focused on maybe I need to go to this networking event or that networking event, and that can be all right. Sometimes I focused on research, I'm going to watch videos, I'm going to research. When you are going through hell and you need to pivot your business, you've got to focus on the income producing activities. There's this thing called the 80/20 rule and that's usually that 20% of what we do gets us 80% of the results. And then 80% of what we do only gets us the remainder 20% of the results. So I had to identify, I'm going to show you in this presentation what I focused on, but I had to identify the things that would make money. All of the sudden, I'm like eventually honey, look, the clients fired us and I don't know what we're going to do, but I think I've got a plan and I just went all in focusing on income producing activities.

Let me give you another A. income producing automation, and I focused on what could build leverage, and YouTube gives us the power to do that. Because I was a solo-preneur, still a solo-preneur for quite some time so I wanted to focus on not just things that I could trade my time for money, but things that I could trade my time for money that would keep producing money, and YouTube gives us that opportunity to do that with some passive income and what not, but number one I had to protect my focus, number two income producing activities.

Number three I started taking massive action, man. I will admit week three, James, in October 2015 was kind of like Ben and Jerry's and Netflix, kind of like woe is me, what am I going to do. I'm calling people and thank God people are speaking life into me, and kind of get my bearings. But once I got clear that I wasn't going to pursue other freelance clients but I was going to go all in on online income, online business, online video I just hit the racetrack and I started to run. There's something about focused intensity, especially in times of crisis. Massive action and I started moving really fast. Again, no kids and I know our seasons are different and whatnot, but I was working 50, 60, 70, 80 hours a week just whatever it takes. I just had this hustle to it because I knew what my IPAs were and I needed to get those IPAs going as quickly as possible. Because we were making probably $300 to $500 of online income, and I will show you how in this talk, but I needed that to be $5K or $6K a month quick, so I started to try to get that trickle into a flow of real revenue, so I was all in man. Again, I just cleared my schedule. Cleared it completely. I wasn't working on anything else. I wasn't trying to burn out so I was still resting a little bit, but I was just hustling because it was this season of this is desperation. There's something about getting a fire and a fight interesting he midst of this. Because again, you're going to get through this.

One of the ways you're going to get out of this is by work. I'm so grateful I was raised by a stepdad named Phil and my mom Susan, but my stepdad and my mom, my mom used to say do the hard thing first, and my stepdad taught me the value of work ethic. At 16 years, I was like I want to get a car, I want to put a system, I want to get those subwoofers, that was me. I wanted to be able to have those subwoofers, bass bumping, you know 16. I got my license the day I turned 16 so I could drive in front of the movie theater in Marysville, Washington with my subwoofers bumping, in front of people who did not care and just thought I was annoying. But you know I thought I was cool. They were like, "Oh, you want a system? Cool. Work for it. Mow lawns. Cut grass. Do landscaping."

And growing up an hour north of Seattle in Arlington, Washington, and when I say mow lawns this was not like some low level lawn mowing. This was I had the normal mower, I had the riding mower, I had the weed whacker, but then I also mowed like 6 acres with a tractor and a mowing deck. I'm like a fricking pro. I should have started a landscaping company with my background in grass cutting. But I learned the value of work ethic so I wasn't afraid to just go all in and just say I might not be able to stay in that is long term, but I can have a season of sacrifice. That might be what you need to do right now is just pound the pavement. The cool thing is I had buy in of course from my wife. I was like, "Honey, this is just the circumstances." She's like, "Cool, let's roll. You know what you're doing, I'm going to support you. Grind. We can go on a date later hopefully. We can go on a vacation later hopefully. Let's hustle." So I started taking massive action, moving fast.

And then the last thing I started focusing online. Now, in this talk like I wrote a book called YouTube Secrets and I love YouTube. I'm going to talk about the power of YouTube, but whether it's YouTube or not you're going to hear so many great speakers on this event, so much great information. You've got to be online. If COVID-19 revealed anything to us, it's that you need an online offer [15:00]. Your income is directly correlated to the amount of buy buttons you have on your website. Well Sean, I don't even have a website. Well, there's step one, I need a website. But you need an offer. It's not that the lockdown is not going to be eased. On Mother's Day I got to take my wife out with our baby on the way. We got to eat at a restaurant. It was pretty crazy, masks on and whatnot, but here in Vegas the lockdown is being softened a little bit. It's not like retail and face to face business is not going to come back, but if this taught us anything is that we need to be diversified. That we need to have an online offer, we need to have an online presence, and it's my belief that we need to be active with online video, live streaming. That just like growing up maybe we learned that you need to learn how to balance a checkbook. You need to know how to use Microsoft Word, basics of just email, you need to know how to do those types of things. I believe that online video, live streaming, the ability to communicate via the internet and actually do business online is the new normal of skills we have to develop to keep our businesses protected, diversified, and able to weather a storm like this.

When I was freelancing, I would go shoot video for people in person and I'm sure of course that will return, but I went 100% online. I realized I can make money from home, I can make money on my own terms. I'm going to focus online and online video. With that I want to dive into specifically why YouTube, why now is the time to go all in with online video and specifically why now is the time to go all in with YouTube. So why YouTube? Look, here's what's happening online. Hootsuite saw this. Basically half the world's population is on social media right now. Let's just take that in for a minute. Half the world's population, 45%. What's crazy is all the recent stats that have shown us which is YouTube subscriber base is growing. Of course people during the lockdown are spending more time online, they're consuming more content online. But one out of two people not even the whole world's connected to the internet, this is the whole world's population. If you're wondering okay, what about my niche, what about what I do, or what about what I want to do. They're there. One out of two people, your customers, your prospects, your leads, they are online. You've got to figure out online.

YouTube has over 2 billion monthly active users. That's over a quarter of the world's population, right? That's continuing to grow and actually accelerate right now. 73% of adults in the US are using YouTube. Guess what, only 9% of small businesses are on YouTube which is kind of true. A lot of small businesses focus on Facebook, and you should, and maybe Facebook Live or Facebook Ads in different ways of growing businesses, but there's massive opportunity to be on YouTube. You know YouTube also, their services are available in more than 100 countries and 80 languages. So YouTube is international and a way to distribute your message around the world.

But one of the reasons I love YouTube is because it's a discovery machine, and I'm going to show you again exactly what I did to get out of the trouble I was in, to pivot my business, and to reach financial freedom.

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Sean Cannell: And so what I love about YouTube when it comes to where you're investing your time online is that when I think about Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, now there's Tik Tok, LinkedIn, these are all great platforms. These are all good platforms for building your influence but the thing is none of these platforms are search engines. None of these platforms really have the same discovery as YouTube, whereas YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world.

So let's get on the same page here. What do entrepreneurs really do? The end of the day, an entrepreneur, a small business owner, solves problems. You've got to know what problem do I solve. You've got to know is there demand for that problem to be solved. The number one problem businesses fail is because lack of market demand. Is that a problem that people know they have, they want solved. And here's the good news, amidst the COVID there's a whole new set of problems. You're like yah I know, I've got 99 and my wife's one of them. Just kidding. And so right now, people they have more problems than ever, that means there's a chance for us to rise up as small business owners and entrepreneurs to solve problems and Google revealed this. 65% of people use YouTube to help them solve a problem.

So when you think about what problem does your business solve, what problem does your coaching or what problem do you want to solve with whatever you're going to launch, people are going to YouTube searching and looking for answers to those problems. That means you should be creating smart, strategic videos that show up on the other side of what people are looking for. What's crazy is that YouTube is free. So when I think about the barrier to entry to get into YouTube, again yes maybe you've got to get a webcam or you've got your laptop already, you get a camera but use your smart phone. You don't really need tech. it's pretty simple on that side of things. It's not the production value, it's the content value. But to get on YouTube, if you have an internet connection there's nobody stopping you. There's no boss above you, there's no manager to get approval from. There's nobody that's actually blocking your calendar.

What I realized during that time where I lost my clients and I was freaked out and my family was worried, was I was like man I can just invest my sweat equity, my hustle into this to get results and change my reality. I actually looked up recently how much it would cost to buy an empty lot in New York downtown in Manhattan right now. So I was like all right, how much, and you could see if we want to buy an empty lot, this is a real lot that's available in new York City, Manhattan, downtown, it's only $17.9 million, and James is actually going to be emailing out my phone number if anybody wants to buy this, I'd be happy to broker this deal. Just kidding, wouldn't that be pretty amazing right now? I wouldn't mind getting the commission for that.

But why do I bring this up? Because when I look at YouTube, and the fact that when you want to be answering specific questions, solving problems, establishing your authority, your business, your influence there just like real estate goes up in value over time, YouTube is like digital real estate and it goes up in value over time. When you have videos and when you're known, and when you have content there and people are finding you and seeing, "Oh, that's the person that solves that particular problem." Whatever you do in your industry, that doesn't just have equity and value today. That's going up year over year because let's think about this same piece of property in New York 100 years ago. It wasn't $17 million but New York City now as the kind of most influential city in the most influential country in the world, you think about this piece of land it gets more value. YouTube is the number one video site on the internet, the #2 most visited website on the internet, and second largest searching engine in the world.

So this idea of establishing your business, your presence is so critical. I think that's why some of the most consistently known and influential entrepreneurs are consistent in their YouTube content. People that have different businesses and do different types of things, whether Grant Cardone, Gary Vaynerchuk, Brenner Bouchard, or like people that are in network marketing or personal development or software as a service, or insurance, or SEO, or health, entertainment, whatever it is. The most consistently and known entrepreneurs have established their presence on YouTube, and they invest time there, they invest money there, they invest hustle there. What I'm not trying to say is this is some magic pill, and I'm not trying to say this is some overnight thing that just solves every problem, but what I am trying to say is that YouTube is a critical place I believe for entrepreneurs and businesses to plant their flag. And so I wanted to share with you in the final part of this presentation the three irrefutable laws of YouTube success, and exactly how I used YouTube [25:00] to get to financial freedom, the actions I took, and what you can apply no matter what industry you're in or what you do to establish your present there as well.

And so here's one of the primary reasons I see people fail on YouTube. Random acts of content. This is one of the reasons, although this is true across social media, and you might be in that situation where I get it man, what else am I going to do? I'm locked down. I've got to create content from home, but how do I even start creating content and what content do I create? The reason why a lot of people don't get known, don't get noticed is because they're all over the place. They're either inconsistent or they're just even if they're consistent, they're inconsistent with their message and with their content. There's just kind of I don't know, do I upload some customer testimonials? Do I make an about me video? What kind of video? What should I make or what kind of content should I put out? This is true whether you're posting content on LinkedIn or Facebook, this will apply anywhere.

The powerful thing is imagine if we could actually discover the exact video ideas our target audience is searching and watching, how powerful that would be. This is why I love YouTube the most because it brings us to our first law, which is you've got to research before you press record. Research before you press record. A huge mistake people make when they're approaching YouTube is they go okay, well let me shoot a video, let me upload. And then they're like all right, what kind of title should I put on there? Before you even grab your smart phone, hit the record button and start answering client questions or whatever, you want to figure what they're even asking out and what's amazing is there's a powerful way we can do that by just using the YouTube search bar.

Now, you've probably seen this before. If you're typing in YouTube or you're typing in Google, what Google does is it finishes your sentence for you. It's called auto complete. You start typing in something like, "Why does my back hurt," and then it like finishes the sentence. Then all the sudden you're on WebMD and you go down a death spiral of all this negative information that's probably not true. But nevertheless, YouTube, Google it finishes your sentence for you. So let's imagine you're in the fitness space, just for example. You're like helping people gain muscle, lose weight, health supplements, or whatever. So if you were to type in "How to lose weight" this is what happens in YouTube. You type in "how to lose weight" and it starts to predict auto complete all these phrases for you, and this is showing you what humans on earth are searching in what order of popularity on earth humans are searching for these things. So "how to lose weight fast," of course who doesn't want to have that happen right? You go further down, "How to lose weight without exercise" which would be different than with exercise. So now we're getting these greater clarity and great distinctions, but if anything you want to be like 99 out of 100 of your competitors, just research before you press record. Just get clear, because you can use these things as the videos you make, how you title your videos so you're not just kind of shooting in the dark, but you have clarity of how to create content that can lead to a business result.

Now, the powerful thing though is to keep going deeper in what you're searching. So if you type in "how to lose weight fast" and you put another space after this, and again if you're watching this on mobile stick with me. Maybe if you've got a couple monitors wherever you're watching this content, you can pull up YouTube and see this. You can type in your industry, your niche and you can start seeing these predictions. But notice after fast, "how to lose weight fast without exercise" that is now stacking both, or "how to lose weight fast exercise at home," wow even more specific and it makes me think. I just was watching my wife who is in her second trimester, using our smart TV to watch YouTube videos. We talk about how to make money with this, and she's looking for second trimester pregnancy workouts from home. Super specific stuff, and that's like the unlock. The way to get discovered, you go what about all the competition, what about all these videos, what about all the people that already beat me to the platform? Well you want to be answering specific questions with the level of detail. Look, "how to lose weight fast for wrestling." That's an entirely different video with an entirely different opening, an entirely different presentation but here's the thing, if you didn't research first you wouldn't even really know what video to make, how to title it, and how to position the content or the answer to the question. So repeat it after me, law number one research before you press record.

So here's something to journal and write down. What is your target audience typing in the YouTube search bar and the Google search bar? When it comes to creating content, and I'm sure you'll hear from others, you've got to pivot right now. One of the things you've got to commit to is creating content. One of the mindsets you have to adopt is creating free content [30:00] that can introduce you to people, because business works in a way that we do business with people we know, like and trust. So how are people going to know you? How are people going to find you? They're going to find you because you put out content. You put it out on YouTube, the best content to put out is what people are searching for, the problems you solve. Top 10 maybe first videos to make what are frequently asked questions that relate to your business. Make those one question, one video, 10 videos. Well Sean, what about lighting? Get in front of a window, use your smart phone, put it on some shoe boxes and shoot some videos, answer the questions. Don't over think the tech, just think about the content and helping people. But what are people searching and that becomes a gateway to people getting to know you.

Here's an example of somebody again that maybe teaches social media. So how to use Instagram. But if you think about how broad that is, a 13 year old kid and a 64 year old grandma are coming probably from two different perspectives on the kind of information they want to see in relationship to how to use Instagram. You go a little bit more specific, how to use Instagram for business, great well that's an entirely different mentality, an entirely different perspective. So these are three tools that you can use to come up with the titles. And what this is called is keyword research. We're not going to go deep into this, but you've got the YouTube auto predict, so you can use the YouTube auto predict. But if you're curious if it's worth your time to create this content or not, you do what's called keyword research and you can actually see how many people per month are searching for something. So I use Google auto predict.

There's a tool called vidIQ, keyword research tool, and then Ubersuggest is a free tool. In fact, we could just go there just to kind of prove how you can do t his. You can come over here to YouTube. So on Ubersuggest if you use just the predict, "how to use Instagram for business" and you see all these different predictions, these give you ideas of what videos to make. But you don't know how many people are searching for those. So if you go to Ubersuggest you are actually being told by Google search volume. And there's a paid program of this. You don't need that, you can use the free version and you can actually see okay, 1300 humans a month are actually looking for this search term. You can go super deep in here and start finding other ideas. We're not going to go into that, but these are some tools for you to play around with even wording it as questions and propositions. We're pretty deep now. We're getting crazy in the rabbit hole, but you kind of get the idea. You see how powerful these are. These are tools for your toolbox kind of evolving into creating content.

But it brings us to law number two. You then want to rank your videos. You want to rank your videos. What does that mean? Well, if you type in eventually "how to use Instagram for business" we know that's our target. Because we know that's our target, it's absolutely influencing the video we create because we did our research before we pressed record. Think about it, even in the beginning, you open your video. "Hey, are you wondering about how to use Instagram for business? There's a lot of information out there from these kids talking about how to use Instagram to pick up chicks, but that's not what this video is about. This video…" and you let the viewer know they're in the exact right place, what you're going to teach them, what kind of value you're going to deliver. So when you type in "how to use Instagram for business" at the time of putting this deck together, this is Shalim Johnson and she's got this rank video on the first page. You think about how of a holy grail that would be to be on the first page of YouTube. It's the second largest search engine in the world, massive viewership. What kind of leads and awareness that could lead to in your business.

Now, she was one of the clients actually that fired me ironically no less. But nevertheless, when we were working together, we were doing these videos for her so I helped her shoot the video, helped her craft the script, and this video is literally five years old. It's over 1007 days old, yet it still gets 3.5 views every single hours. Now think about that. This is a little software we'll talk about in a bit that just lets us k now the velocity of a video, like how many people are watching it every hour. That's actually 30,000 new views a year. And one of the things she does is she has like a course that teaches people Instagram. So you think about cold calling or going door to door. Imagine if you had to go knock on 3 doors an hour, or call on three people an hour. First of all that's interruptive, it's disruptive, and you've probably I know some of you have done cold calling. You're like yeah, kind of sucks because people get mad or they just don't answer.

Think about it in reverse. Search based content on YouTube, your target audience, target prospect is actually coming to you. They're finding you and you're like, "Hey, I'm here to help. I'm going to talk about how to use Instagram for business." And like the reverse in the mentality, the psychology of having content [35:00] If you're getting your blogs or your website or your videos discovered, it's like when the student is ready the teacher appears. You're just there to help. You're not knocking on their door. You're not spamming them in their phone. They're coming to you and you're helping them solve a problem, and then that can lead to results by growing your email list or getting leads, or getting people to call you. So to see all this data on the side, there's actually again you can use the keyword research tool. It's a free tool called vidIQ, and if you go to vidiq.com/think you can get access to that, for those that want to lean in on YouTube and get some of these tools as well.

So what exactly is ranked videos? So someone types in something in search and your ranked video shows up in the top search or the suggested results from YouTube. What's powerful is Google actually owns YouTube, so I have all these videos that actually rank on the first page of Google. In fact, in 2019 we got 1.1 million organic views from Google, and I actually don't even really have a website. I have a website for my business, but I don't do it at a high level of a blog or anything else. So there's nothing about blog SEO or website SEO that's influenced this, just YouTube videos rank on Google because the likelihood of them surfacing video content for specific questions is huge because people love video. So I get all this traffic on YouTube from Google. It's crazy. So here's examples of ranked videos, like talking about what camera should you use.

This just comes out of my background. I started video in 2003, volunteering at my local church and in 2010 I started to review cameras because I was seven years in, and I found out ways to monetize which we'll talk about in a second. But again, these are a couple ranked videos. I talk about tech, that's the main thing I do on my channel. What kind of microphones or cameras, or how do you use a camera, what do you do, and those types of things. These are just examples of ranked videos. But there's other channels where I do experiments. I'll do stuff in the health supplements space or personal development, so this is like the best personal improvement books and it's a ranked video. Two years old, still getting views, still getting traffic. And then we'll talk about how to monetize in just a second. So like five people view this video every hour and it creates passive awareness. Again, people getting to know you, people discovering you, people discovering your products, services, or whatever path you want to monetize.

What I love about this is again using YouTube properly creates leverage and freedom. Because remember we talked about IPAs, income producing activities. But there's also income producing automation. YouTube is automation. So on Think Media, my main YouTube channel. It didn't start this way. When I was going in we just hit 1 million subscribers, which is crazy. But in 2015 when I lost all my clients we were around 10,000 subscribers. And so it's been massive by just going all in, compounding the growth. Actually in the last couple months this has gone up. Every 60 minutes Think Media gets around 6,000 views. 6,000 humans, every hour, 24 hours a day, 6,000 people watch my content.

Now am I saying that is going to happen in every niche? No, it doesn't need to. We've got students that are in real estate, they get like two views a day, but that's emails and phone calls of people that want to buy houses or sell houses so it's all they need. It's kind of relative to your business model and whatever you want to do. I'm in a niche where a lot of people are looking for cameras. There's niches that are bigger, there's niches that are smaller. Doesn't matter, it's about your business model, it's about your strategy, and it's about the fact that YouTube is automation. It creates freedom, it creates leverage. This is what I love. This is my wife Sonya and I think about we've been able to now build a business around our lifestyle because YouTube gives us views while you snooze.

So because we set up automation in terms of revenue streams, automation in terms of videos getting discovered in search, automation in terms of the channel growing whether we post new videos or not, it allows us no matter where we are, it actually moves our business forward. Am I saying it's easy? No. Am I saying it's worth it? You bet. What I'm saying is we've got to move online. We've got to lean into video, lean into live streaming. I've really built a business around my lifestyle, so when I go to Park City to test out the latest GoPro, it's a business trip. I have to go snowboarding to test out the latest GoPro, and it's a tax deduction. So there's something about the wisdom of ethically building out a really intelligent business, not just about making money. It's also about saving money and being super smart about how you set it all up. So this works in any niche. We're talking about law number two, ranked videos.

This is a kids occupational therapist named Nichole. She's doing tummy time for newborns. Again the more specific the better. Look, moms are looking for like five month old tummy time, four month old tummy time. Those are all individual videos you can make. So she put out this video. It ranks in search, and this video actually, this is a little bit older of a screenshot, it actually has 1.5 million views now. [40:00] You don't need every video to blow up. You only need one video . you're like one video away from getting known, from getting your business on the map and then maybe a lot of your other videos are just like adding value to the people that connect with you. That's really what she's done. She's built this profitable business around the fact that she was already a kids occupational therapist. She moved online, started helping people, created a couple like membership site things, couple other income streams, and it's really powerful way of building her income.

This is the Sewing Report, this is Jennifer, and she's doing something called affiliate marketing that we'll close with here now. But she's talking about a sewing machine, monetizing a sewing machine for beginners, and she's made thousands of dollars from affiliate marketing. This is Dr. Eyehealth, one of our students. Again, an optometrist. He now is transitioning completely into YouTube, but he was still seeing patients, still doing his thing, but he moved online, started answering specific questions. Started researching before he pressed record. Started ranking videos, and now he's make $5,000 to $6,000 a month through some of these income strategies. This is Darren Kid, he's in network marketing. This little page right here shows you views per hour on videos. 18 views an hour, 4 views an hour.

So for direct sellers, whether you're in coaching, direct selling, whether it is an actual direct selling product or it's leadership and teaching. He's built a massive email list from building his YouTube channel, and he was actually doing it while he had other stuff going on. His mission was I want to dig my well before I'm thirsty. And so he started to invest in YouTube and he experienced disruption, like all of us, and yet he had people paying attention. He had a community it built, he had an email list by leveraging the power of YouTube. This is Grayscale Gorilla. They do Cinema 4D which is a 3D rendering software, and they've got plugins for that software. These are all the videos that get views per hour, views while you snooze. 24/7 you've got automation. You've got the YouTube machine introducing you to more people, you're meeting new people, new leads, new prospects, and new people to connect with, and it all can lead into your business.

But let's just lay it plain, how do you make money with this? And the goal is number one, research before you press record. Number two, rank your videos. Number three, setup reoccurring revenue. When you're getting the views while you snooze, then it's just a matter of monetizing that. So here's three ways to earn $1,000. You could scale this to $100,000, you can scale this to $1 million, but just kind of using the example of $1,000. The first one is YouTube ads, and maybe you've heard about this before. You see an ad before a video, you can skip it. How do those work? Well, typically people make $2.00 per 1000 views. It's called a CPM and if your goal was $1,000 you would need 500,000 views. This is kind of a good metric because as business owners, we need to start with the end in mind and think what's the game plan, how are we going to get to pay the bills?

And then you might look and say that might not be the best path. Because to get at 5,000 views my friend is pretty tough. That's a lot, and that's per month. Maybe $1,000 a month at a $2 CPM. Now CPMs can be higher, which is simply the amount you get paid per 1,000 views. So on like half a million views here, I made $2,228 because I'm talking about tech, advertisers in tech want to advertise on my videos. But the key strategy here is to get a lot of views and depending on what niche you're in, you can do really, really well. This is James Beedy. He does ecomm so he's drop shipping, Ali Express, Amazon fulfilled by Amazon. So with 162,000 views he made $1,000. Super high CPM because of the industry he's in. Interestingly enough, people who talk about medical treatments, cancer treatments and stuff have like CPMs that are off the charts because of the advertisers that advertise on drugs or medical, different things in that type of industry. So that's just ads, but here's the bottom line. I don't even really recommend thinking too much about this because as James says here, ad revenue only accounts for about 3% of my income on social media. He's doing ecommerce, meaning he's selling something, online store, online product. Ads are like a little tip jar for him.

This is Stone Coat countertops though, they do epoxy countertops. They do installs of epoxy countertops. They sell the products that you can do DIY of countertops and then they also actually do a YouTube channel about how to do the DIY countertops. Look at this, 10 million views in a month. Now we're talking $80-100,000 in revenue in a month with those kind of views. So even, that might be shocking to you. You're like okay, and there could be construction stuff, DIY stuff, just think how could you pivot your business online? How can you pivot your industry online? How can you maybe give away free information? They're monetizing this. [45:00] Mike from Stone Coat is monetizing their business in about 10 different ways. Bottom line though is that ads are my least favorite way to make money on YouTube, because if I look back when I was just getting started figuring this out as side income, I was making $66 a month in YouTube ads, but $259 in affiliate marketing. Remember I mentioned over the years I was making $100 extra up to $500 extra while I was building this stuff on the side before I got fired by all my clients. So making like four times higher income off of affiliate marketing.

So here's way number two. Affiliate marketing. An example of this is like the Amazon Associate store. You can sign up to be an affiliate, these are all the different countries. You don't even have to be in the country to sign up. I've got a friend who's in Australia who makes a fulltime living off the US and Canada affiliate program because that's where his viewers and shoppers are shopping from, and there's affiliate programs for everything. Dicks Sporting Goods, Walmart, Target, software, literally everything. If it's sold online, you can be an affiliate. Here's how it works. You sign up and you get approved. You start getting custom tracking links. You can put that link in your YouTube description. If someone clicks on that link, you make money. My friends, this is how I got to financial freedom.

When I lost my clients in October, that $5000 of revenue, by January 2016, about three months later, remember I was hustling 60, 70, 80 hours a week, but just a few months later I replaced my income entirely. I was making $4,500 a month off of the Amazon affiliate program and I was making about an extra $500 off the YouTube ads, so I was number one and number two of these monetization strategies. By making videos, answering people's questions about tech, what camera should I buy, what lighting, putting a link in the description. People click it, they buy something, I get paid.

Here's Jay, he has a BBQ channel. He did a video on like best BBQ accessories and he's got links in his description below to those. It's actually like best gifts for dad and he put it out around father's day, and he's made thousands of dollars off of his barbecue channel from talking about different BBQ tools. This is Heather, she's done it on books. And so the last one, and this is what's applicable to everybody, is sell something. So we'll just close here. You could sell t-shirts, accessories, music products. Remember Stone Coat, they sell the epoxy kits online so they're monetizing in different ways. Again, if you do real estate, whatever product, you sell insurance, you can connect with people online those are your prospects, your leads, and then sell the product. YouTube is just the middle man. YouTube is just influence, it's just a distribution platform to get in front of your target audience. Coaching and consulting, Ilene Wilder, very small channel, less than 2,000 subscribers but she's got a multiple six figure business. She does a lot of high ticket coaching and consulting stuff and she gets in front of the right people. She also has online course or like a book.

So just different things you can do. Remember James, he does ecommerce. You can see this is an older screenshot but he's making $20,000 revenue and YouTube is his distribution channel. YouTube ads are his little 3% but he's making his big money off of selling a physical product. This is just kind of the tip of the iceberg, but there's lots of different ways to monetize YouTube. Ads, affiliate marketing, crowd funding like Patreon, merch, t-shirts, coffee mugs, brand deals, eventually brands want to work with you. Depending on the niche you're in SAS, software as a service, getting people to sign up for your app or install your software, or monthly subscription software. Book sales, coaching, ecommerce, event ticket sales, membership sites, digital products. There's even more than this, but these are like some of the main ways people are able to work on their own terms, work from home, leverage influence on YouTube and strategically build multiple streams of income.

Remember, YouTube is influence. YouTube is authority. YouTube is that digital real estate downtown New York and it's going up in value every year, but you've got to take action, start messy, and start posting content on YouTube. Is it going to be easy? No. Is it going to be worth it? Yes. I start thinking about just like the chance to have prime real estate for a brick and mortar business, you've got to establish your business on YouTube so you have the prime real estate honestly for the next pandemic. It's not so much about starting this today and seeing everything change in the next month. You probably need some other direct path, short path to income producing activities, but it's about being smart and planting your flag for your family, your community, your future so you're ready for the next thing, so that you're positioned for the next wave. That you have pivoted. You don't want to go the way of Blockbuster, you don't want to go the way of Xerox and not be ready for the next wave. And the current wave is video. The current wave is online. The current wave, we saw stats, ecommerce order volume is up 50%. Nielsen said content consumption is up 60%. Twitter is not sending their employees back to an office [50:00], they're having them all work online. Online is the future and YouTube is the village square that you need to have your business established on.

So leverage these three laws, research before you press record, rank your videos in search, and set up reoccurring revenue streams. Look, I realize like you might feel that this guy, like bro I can tell you drank some coffee today. This is new concepts, I don't know man I feel like I've been drinking out of this water hose. So look, if you've got any questions or you want the slides you can email me at hello@seancannell.com. I'd love to help and I really appreciate the honor of being a part of this great event. I believe in you and I believe in this time that we're living in right now that you can pivot. That inside, hidden inside of obstacles are opportunities. These are a couple YouTube channels that I run with tons of free content to help you related to this, and then of course I'm on social media too if you have any questions. But man, I believe YouTube is a smart move, a smart bet. It's a long play and so I'm in your corner, I'm here to help in anything that you need. Please, invest in YouTube because it's a good investment.

James McKinney: That was awesome, Sean. Thank you so much for all that great content. I have a couple questions. I've really been scanning the questions and we've got listeners in Nairobi, Finland, this is incredible how far this Startup Story LIVE is reaching, and just how applicable your content. Thank you for sharing that countertops example, because I think a lot of entrepreneurs get landlocked that there's only a certain type of content or a certain type of business that can make money on YouTube. By leveraging again a stone installation company is super hyper local, but yet there are products that they can sell and distribute. But again the revenue that comes from the viewership is great, but also too even though they're hyper local there are people in that market that are searching. So the business that can generate from video content.

One of the questions that someone had asked, they asked about a link but you had offered to email out slides to everyone if they go to hello@seancannell.com I think it was, but one of the questions was how do you actually get viewership? Because I think a lot of people are thinking through SEO content. We understand SEO because Google's been around for a long time. Are the strategies to actually get viewership simply just the answering of the questions? How do you start to get visibility of a video?

Sean Cannell: Yeah. So when you're just starting out, you've got to really hustle. We call it generating. One of the opportunities with SEO is long tail keyword phrase, which means when you're answering specific questions. So if you were in fitness and you tried to answer the question "how to lose weight" there's no prayer you don't have a chance. It's too general. But what's amazing is I see it every day, longer tail answers to questions. It could be something for those in personal finance, it could be something about specifically versus is a good strategy. This loan versus that loan, this software versus that software. How to specifically solve one problem in regards to annuities. What that does is it starts bringing in a trickle of awareness. Everybody starts with zero subscribers and zero views, then you start getting one, then you start getting three. But in addition to answering specific questions, in addition to going after longer questions that are very specific, that to this day go unanswered, that's what's amazing. They're unanswered on YouTube because everybody wants to go general, you want to get hyper specific. They say online the riches are in the niches. It's like really niche now, but then you also want to hustle. Some people watching, maybe you already have an email list of 250 customers. Maybe you already have social media following on LinkedIn.

I think the other opportunity we have is having a client called Livbay Lash is based here in Vegas. They just got shutdown. They have physical lash stores where they install lashes, and they have freelance lash artists or contractor lash artists that work in their physical stores. It's one part of their business. The second part is they sell the glue, the lashes, the tools on their website to anybody, anywhere and they'll ship those out. And then their third part is they actually do coaching to help lash artists make more money and learn their business. They're doing it exactly right. If people want to look them up, they're called Livbay Lash and they do two videos a week. The one video is answering the specific question. The other video is they have a show. It's a video podcast. The power of a video podcast is not only do you get to have it on a podcast, but you also get YouTube as a search engine. They are the go to people helping lash artists, and then think about how beautiful their business is woven together. They've got the physical store so they're doing the stuff. They're selling their clientele or the podcast listener, video podcast listeners the tools to use it, and they're selling their lash artists the tools to use it, and then they're coaching people and helping them make more money through their quarterly coaching events. [55:00]

Their second show is just consistent content that helps and serves their community. So there's two kind of plays to it, it'd be like one answer specific questions, but two start a weekly show. What I mean is if you have 250 people on an email list, show up once a week for them and help. That's maybe less searchable, but it's more like you want to stay top of mind. You want to win in business right now, you want to be top of mind, you want to stand out. You want to be showing up. You have a show that we constantly get value from, we constantly listen to, and so we know you, James, because you're adding value consistently to the marketplace. I think that's the mindset we need to lean into. Then how do you compound that? You connect with people, you network on LinkedIn, and they go, "Oh, he has a show. That'll be valuable to me." She has a show. You email your list, you share it out on Twitter. You get featured in local press and media and they go, "Oh yeah, you have a weekly show that serves real estate agents? You have a weekly show that helps doctors? You have a weekly show that's helping contractors get their permits and make more money?"

Depending on whoever your target audience is, every single one of us if we want to win on YouTube needs to answer the question the who/what question. Who are you trying to reach and what problem do you solve for them? So Livbay Lash is trying to reach lash artists, very niche, and the problem they solve is how to get started, how do you make money, how do you get the stuff, how do you actually do the techniques, how do you do whatever. By the way, that's so niche, that's so crazy. They're the go to authorities on planet earth for really lash education, starting basically a media company, and they've got an eight figure business. What's crazy is you'd think they've barely got time to do this.

At their stage, they've invested in team, structure, infrastructure because they realized YouTube is town square and I need to plant my flag and have a show, but also have the search based content that can bring people in and just to kind of put the icing on the cake of that, I get it. I don't want to overestimate or underestimate the level of work. You will put more work into this upfront and get three views, get two views, and feel it's just not working, I'm not getting discovered. But that's like true for anything. I know this that you don't do pushups one time and then you're like all the sudden I'm just frickin' Brad Pitt Fight Club ripped, that clearly I've not been doing pushups at all. But I know instinctively that I have to not only do pushups every single day, that I need to do them for the next few years if I'm going to be and win Mr. Olympia, which my genetics would probably never let me do. But you get the idea.

You've really got to grind and potentially put in a year or two of not like even seeing "ROI". Here's my question, what's the ROI of being Grant Cardone in real estate in Cardone Capital in products, in coaching and workshops and events? The most consistently influential entrepreneurs have built a brand on YouTube that they've invested in year over year, day over day, and it's compounded, and that's what YouTube build eventually is the snowball effect.

James McKinney: That's incredible. So I have a question but you have to answer it fast for time purposes. In fact there's a couple questions I want to ask you-

Sean Cannell: Lightening round.

James McKinney: … because of time I can't. So real quick, if someone has a flannel pajama or loungewear brand, how do they leverage YouTube? Super quick.

Sean Cannell: Yeah, if you've got a pajama or loungewear brand, I think you go funny videos that you go like five weird things and study videos like that. Five weird things people do in pajamas, and you go for the viral play, and it's awareness of your brand on the back end. Then you also do some keyword research around flannel pajamas versus would be a huge strategy. People do Blendtec versus Ninja as blenders, so you could do that. Then I also think you lean into influencer marketing for sure, and Instagram or get your pajamas on other YouTubers. Let me go deep because this will add value. Micro influencers. Think about the chance of somebody that has 5,000 subscribers, 10,000 subscribers on YouTube and is watched by 2,000 people consistently.

Get your pajamas in their hands, and a lot of those people will just be pumped to get some free pajamas and just like kind of mention you, and work with 560 micro influencers. They're everywhere. Vloggers, people that are kind of your key demo, get your pajamas to them. Even more so than like the dream like if Kim Kardashian shouted out your pajamas, who cares. Go for micro influencers. You probably won't even have to pay them. They've got 2000 devoted fans and your pajamas end up on them or their kids, and you start growing awareness of your brand.

James McKinney: That's awesome. All right, last one because we are out of time. And the question is where do you draw the line between what you give away for free? I guess this question probably comes from somebody in the coaching space or it's more service and consulting, but where do you draw the line in what you give away for free versus what you charge for?

Sean Cannell: I think you should move the free line and not be afraid. People pay for application, not really information because information is a commodity. When you move the free line and you giveaway some of your best stuff, or your best stuff up front, it wows people, it hooks people, but you know so much and you have a whole process. When you giveaway ABCDEFG, when you give away G, people go oh my gosh, that's so powerful, but G is not going to work for them unless they actually work with you for ABC. Because there's no way I can breakdown everything I know about YouTube step by step, but I gave you some powerful nuggets. So I think just don't be afraid.

I also think there's always going to be freebie seekers that would never do business with you, and there's always going to be the wise who understand the value when they invest. It's a shortcut. It's Proverbs, man. It says buy wisdom, it's more powerful than gold. There's people who will pay for a system, they'll want to pay for all the information organized in one place from someone who they can trust. But by going on YouTube and putting out really good, valuable and free information, here's the alternative. Would you rather keep your IP so protected and never meet anyone, or would you rather meet a lot of people and then the smart ones end up doing massive business with you?

I think that's why we've excelled in our industry, because we giveaway really, really good incredible free information,, but people see how much depth we have and so we've got plenty of products and services that actually help people get results. And we serve both in the process and let me lay on the plane. It actually creates a powerful effect. It builds us celebrity which makes you even, you can charge higher fees, you can charge higher. But also it's people who want to hire you because some people will never, ever want to pay for information. You'll get maybe millennial kids or gamers, whatever, it's cool. They're watching, they're liking your content, they're boosting you up. Depends on who your audience is, but that will build you celebrity which will always attract you a clientele. We have more business than we can handle at all times because we giveaway so much free information.

James McKinney: Once you've had a few moments to process all the value Sean brought us in this week's episode, please hit me up on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram and share with me your thoughts on this episode. Remember, entrepreneurs support other entrepreneurs so visit thestartupstory.co/VIP to join other likeminded entrepreneurs that want to see your business succeed. And now for my personal ask.

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June 02 2020
Startup Story LIVE: Sean Cannell

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