As the world becomes increasingly digital, the barrier to get one’s ideas out and in front of others becomes lower and lower. In the financial sector, in particular, this has led to an open floodgate of financial tips and advice. Many financial advisors have found that sharing their own expertise and marketing their intellectual property are great ways to establish themselves as dependable, trustworthy sources. But with so much content available and from so many sources, it can be challenging for advisors to decide how to start their own process of sharing information and what to share with their target audience.
In our 95th episode of Kitces & Carl, Michael Kitces and client communication expert Carl Richards discuss why advisors may be their own worst enemy when it comes to content creation, why having a system to notice and track ideas is more important than choosing only the best ideas to share, and how commitment (and a good systematic process) may actually be the key to creating good content consistently.
When it comes to creating content, advisors often face mental roadblocks that keep them from making progress. Examples including expert’s curse (i.e., underestimating how much knowledge and expertise one actually has), familiarity bias (i.e., overestimating the extent that certain topics are understood), and imposter’s syndrome (i.e., experiencing a lack of confidence despite the years of training and work) are all commonly experienced obstacles skewing the judgment that many advisors have about their own ideas and expertise, often leaving them feeling that their (really good) ideas are not unique or interesting enough.
However, the best way to overcome these roadblocks is often to focus less on the critical process of choosing only the best ideas to share, and instead to focus more on developing a consistent process to capture, store, and organize all ideas – even if those ideas consist of just simple phrases or sentences. Because when it comes to content creation, the more important goal is not so much about finding ‘good’ ideas to share (as advisors have plenty of those, even though they may not always acknowledge that they do), but more about creating habits to help them develop their style and confidence, and to engage with their audience on a consistent basis. Which means that having a reliable system to record their ideas to serve as an ‘intellectual property flywheel’ can serve as a valuable source for potential content for whatever the advisor’s preferred content strategy is – whether it be to release a weekly blog post, monthly podcast, book, or something else entirely.
Ultimately, the key point for advisors to create good content is more about developing a sensible process to capture, store, and organize their ideas… and then having the courage to create sharable content based on those ideas regardless of whether they think the ideas are good enough! As the advisor who commits themselves to create again and again will find that their creativity, digital voice, and audience will grow and improve with time. Taking the first step to establish a process that allows advisors to systematically capture all of their ideas, though, is what opens the door for them to eventually make their best, most creative work!
***Editor’s Note: Can’t get enough of Kitces & Carl? Neither can we, which is why we’ve released it as a podcast as well! Check it out on all the usual podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Spotify, and Stitcher.
Kitces & Carl Podcast Transcript
Michael: Good afternoon, Carl.
Carl: Greetings, Michael. How are you?
Michael: I’m doing well. Although I’ll admit, I would be doing a little better if there was a little more blue couch.
Carl: I know. It’s coming back. My wife has decided it doesn’t fit in her home office, so it’s coming back. So, it’ll be here soon. I was going to draw it today. I was going to put a piece of paper up and draw it, but that felt just like too much effort. So, I’ll have the blue couch hanging from the ceiling next time.
Michael: So, why does it keep going back and forth? It’s there, it’s not. It’s there, it’s not. Much appreciation to your wife and her patience with lending the couch out. What does it take for it to just be a permanent fixture in your office that she’s not still trying to reclaim for the house?
Carl: So, it was temporarily…So, the blue couch first made its appearance in our bedroom in London, which was my Zoom studio, during the pandemic, right? So that was our bedroom, that wasn’t my office. Then when we moved, the home was being remodeled and the office wasn’t done. So, the blue couch needed a home, I was like, “Hey, I’ll put it in my office.” So, it was temporarily here. A month ago, the remodel section of the home that’s called the home office got finished. So, I took the blue couch back there. She has now decided, I don’t know if the blue couch fits quite in here. So, I believe I have permission to bring it back here. That’s the full saga of the blue couch. Leaving out the New Zealand, UK, America part.
Michael: See, but now I’m just wondering, does the blue couch really not fit, or is the problem just that, the reputation of the blue couch? It’s bigger than what that room can contain?
Carl: I don’t know. I think there is a little bit of that. The blue couch has its own aura at this point. And my wife’s really into energy in the room. And so maybe she’s a little sensitive that the blue couch, it might have more of an ego…
Michael: We’ve changed its energy. It’s got a financial planning energy unto itself that is not quite part of her energy.
Carl: It’s a little bit of a celebrity. It gets its own speaking engagement requests. Maybe that’s not comfortable, I don’t know.
Michael: I’m waiting for someone to make a Twitter handle for it. The blue shirt got a Twitter handle at one point. So, I feel the blue couch should eventually as well.
Carl: Hilarious. Yeah. I’m still waiting to start Blue Couch Capital. That’s going to be my venture capital fund once I decide to retire.
Michael: Fantastic. Fantastic. So, aside from future venture capital opportunities with the couch, what did you want to talk about today, Carl?
Why Michael Uses Evernote To “Notice” And Store Ideas [02:51]
Carl: Well, I think it would be fun to do a really hardcore kind of tactical discussion off the heels of the last episode. So, the last episode we talked about thinking of yourself as an intellectual property business instead of a financial planning business and the ramifications of all of that. I think it’d be fun. And you mentioned briefly the use of Evernote. And I think it’d be fun to talk about, so just tactically, if we could just get people…if we could beg people to believe us that you have intellectual property in your head that’s actually valuable. And let me just first mention, it’s not unusual for you to discard its value. That’s one way the imposter syndrome seems to show up a lot among knowledge workers is you’ve been doing the thing for so long that you think it’s easy. And it might even come naturally to you maybe, but then the next step you make is because it comes naturally to you or because it’s easy now, you think it must come naturally to everyone.
So, the way you describe, the way you explain standard deviation, or volatility, or risk, you think because it’s easy for you, it must be easy for everyone. Well, I just want to remind you, it’s not. So, it’s just philosophically, it’s really valuable. So, if you’ll just believe us first, it’s valuable. It’s in your head, you’re using it every day, you’re seeing it every day, you’re learning things every day that are valuable, we want to capture them. I think it’d be useful to go super tactical, I call it the intellectual property flywheel. And I think we could jump off with, okay, what were you using Evernote for? How did you do that? And then I can riff a little bit on how I’ve done it as well.
Michael: Sure. So, although before jumping into the Evernote and uses and tactics, I do just want to highlight that point that you had made of to you, it’s just in your head, and it’s the conversation that you have, and it’s not that special because it’s just the conversation you have and you have it all the time, just conversations with clients tend to get a little repetitive sometimes. There’s a label for that phenomenon and it’s called the expert’s curse. That phenomenon where we’re so familiar with a topic, with an idea, with a thing we do, that we just sort of unwittingly lose all perspective on how much more we know than pretty much anybody else that we ever talk to about the thing that we’re talking about. Because it’s so familiar to you through the repetition that you don’t realize you’re really one of the only people out there that knows it, right?
Even things like your CFP knowledge. I get it, there’s almost a hundred thousand other CFPs out there now. There’s like 300 million people in the country, if you know what merely the average CFP knows, you know more about finances than like 99.9% of people. And when all you do is that all day, and when all you hang out with are other financial advisors who do that as well, we can utterly and completely lose perspective on how much knowledge and wisdom we actually have bouncing around in our head.
Carl: Yep. Totally. Amen to that. And it made me think of, you asked a question in the last episode, like what would it be, the 127 things that I think about? I remember there was an estate planning attorney that I know you would know his name. He was kind of classic on the speaking circuit maybe 15 years ago. And he used to come out with a book every…I think it was every two years called “The Wit and Wisdom Of…” whatever his name was. And it was just short little catchy sayings around estate planning, of all things, right? And that not only became a revenue source, it became his calling card for speaking, but it also drove, I would imagine, ridiculous amounts of business to the firm. So that’s another little example. There’s just simple little things that we think are of no value to anyone else because of the experts curse and a little bit of the imposter syndrome and a little bit of familiarity bias.
Michael: Just a good convo right there. So, let’s get those off. So, expert’s curse.
Carl: Imposter syndrome.
Michael: Imposter syndrome.
Carl: Familiarity bias.
Michael: Familiarity bias. Yep. Okay.
Carl: And there’s got to be more, right?
Michael: I feel like you stacked it pretty well there, but yeah.
Carl: Yeah. So, let’s pretend like we’ve nailed that. You’re just going to believe us because you don’t believe yourself, your own voice is telling you it’s of no value. You’re just going to mark that. You’re going to say, okay, I’m going to try this. So, let’s just walk people through the tools and the tactics that we use because you create a lot of content, I create some content, how do you do it? What do you actually use to do this?
Michael: So, I mentioned briefly in the last episode, but for me, it’s Evernote, and the why of Evernote is really simple. I could have it on my desktop. I could have it on my phone and whichever device I pulled out, it was the same note and it’s saved in one central place. Now, granted, that’s a little bit more standard now, I started doing this 10-ish years ago in Evernote, maybe even longer than that. So, if you dial back to the early days of smartphones, a thing you could mark on your smartphone that actually saved in the same place you looked at in your desktop was not as common of a thing. I’m not even sure we had Dropbox then. It wasn’t easy to have crossed-device shared documents. And so, Evernote was particularly good for that. So, I built my habit in Evernote. Now I’m still there because don’t want to change it. It’s comfortable and it works.
But the essence of it, look, there was a note in Evernote, it was called “Ideas.” It’s still there, it’s called “Ideas.” And anytime I was in a conversation with clients or prospects or advisors, and just there was a moment of an interesting thing that came up, I would just grab that in the moment and say like, “Hey, give me one moment. I just got to jot this down,” and would pull out my smartphone, just pop-up in the Evernote and write the one sentence, the thing that was relevant that was bouncing around in my head. And so, just scribbling those down as the moments came, I’ve still got what’s now just a monstrous list of them. I’m literally pulling it up on this screen here.
I had this note, “Long-term care insurance for affluent clients, it should always lose.” Because that was an interesting thing that occurred to me, right? I was having a conversation with a client that was digging into this whole discussion of like, “Well, the premiums cost a lot and I don’t know if I’m really going to get that much back in claims.” And then we’re having the discussion, “Well, if you have a really serious long-term care event, this can add to hundreds of thousands of dollars.” And I realized it’s basically trying to talk clients into this idea of like, “Well, you should gap the long-term care insurance because ultimately, it can pay off well for you.”
And so, had this moment of like, but that’s actually not how it should work because if insurance companies always paid out more than they took into premiums, that’s an insurance company going bankrupt. That’s not actually a good deal. It should lose. On average, you should always pay more for your insurance than you get back, otherwise, you’re not working with a solvent insurance company. So, it’s like, hey, this is a cool thing. I might want to come back to this at some point. So, I jotted it down and that became a thing. And so there’s now like…
Carl: Wait, stop, stop, stop, stop, stop. So, Evernote. I just want to make sure we help people understand that exact process. Because the claim I made in the last episode was that happens every day. If you’re doing your job every day that you’re at work, and I would imagine even when you’re not at work because you think about these things while you’re sitting on the beach or while you’re running, you just can’t stop, that happens. They’re not all profound and witty. Most of them are not worth anything, but you don’t know, you actually don’t get to…you’re fired from the job of deciding which ones are worth anything. Your job is only to capture them. In this system, your job is only to capture them.
So, Michael’s sitting in a meeting, has a thought, a thought occurs to him, you have to train yourself to be an idea hunter, to notice that. That’s the only reason I do a daily podcast. Seth Godin taught me this. That’s a muscle that you train so that you notice when you have an idea. You don’t get to notice whether they’re good or not, that’s not your job. You’re not allowed to do it. We’re going to talk in a minute about who gets to do that if this system starts to show up. But, you know what, a couple years down the road, you build this thing, we can talk about the end goal. But you had to train yourself to notice that idea. Partially, maybe because you had an obligation called a copy hole to fill later on. The reason I did the podcast, I mean not back then, but now you’re looking for things.
Michael: Oh yeah. For years, I would just get the questions of, how do you come up with so much stuff, so many content ideas to put out? I think Evernote’s got like 800 lines. I will never get to all the ideas that I’ve already jotted down. And by the time I got remotely close, I would have hundreds more because I’m still adding to the darn list with the conversations that are happening. To me, the only way I run out of ideas is when I stop talking to people, right? It’s like as long as you’re having conversations, we’re interacting with other people, and human beings are wonderfully varied in all the ways that they are wonderfully varied. Just if you keep having conversations with people, they have interesting challenges, they ask interesting questions or interesting problems come up. And the conversation of how are you going to work through that every now and then sparks an idea. It’s not a ton.
The list here I think is literally hundreds and hundreds of line items long because I collected over the years. It’s maybe an idea a day, it’s probably a couple a week of just, okay, today I was in a conversation, this one thing cropped up. I’m looking at another one now, must have been talking to an advisor about risk talks, and I had this note of risk tolerance. “Is it the client’s risk tolerance or are we projecting our own as the advisor?” Because I think I was in a conversation with an advisor who was talking about how he gets all clients comfortable to be fully in the market. It was like, is that really because every client wants to be in the market, or is that just because you are super comfortable and risk-tolerant about being in the market and you’re just trying to talk every client into doing the thing that you like doing? So, not to go down that whole rabbit hole, but that was bouncing around in my head as I was having this conversation. I was like, “Huh. We do risk tolerance for clients. Like, is that theirs or are we mostly projecting ours?”
Michael: And then they start accumulating.
How To Catalog New Ideas [15:06]
Carl: Yeah. So, idea hunting, notice it. So, we’ve got to train ourselves to notice it. Then we record it. Your system for recording it has been and continues to be Evernote. And let me ask you a question. Would it be interesting to the people who watch this to have a screen share or no?
Michael: Sure. If you want to turn on a screen share.
Carl: Yeah, we’ll do this in a minute. So, my version of that is…and believe me, you don’t have to have a fancy thing. I, for years I got a whole stack of them over there, notebook that just sat next to the desk. Crazy. But what I use now is Apple Notes because it’s cross-platform, right? It will show up on my computer. It will show up on my iPad. It will show up everywhere.
Michael: Shoutout for cross-platform, it does help. No matter where you are, you can make the note, it all lives in the same place.
Carl: I’ve almost always got my…well, I don’t almost always, but I have my phone with me often or at least I know where it is. I have…
Michael: Wait, wait. Not always? That’s our conversation for another day.
Carl: As little as possible, to be honest. But so, in Apple Notes, there’s literally a folder, I’m looking at it right now, called “podcast ideas.” It actually is “.podcastideas,” so it’s right at the top of the folders and it’s “podcast_ideas,” and right below it is “.podcast_used.” So, when I need to sit down in the morning to record an episode of the podcast, I go to “podcast_ideas.” How many there are…I just recorded episode 587 or something. There are 119 notes inside “podcast_ideas.” I will never run out because I’m adding new ones every day. And then when I record that idea…yeah, here’s an idea.
This is literally just a note in Apple. I was thinking about this. “You can sell a formula for success, but you have to keep finding new people to sell it to because your formula will not work for someone else. The only formula for success that works is the one you discover on your own.” Okay. That’s an idea I had, I typed it in Apple. I actually spoke it, dictated it into Apple Notes. I will record a podcast on that sometime in the next week or two. When I’m done, I will simply take the card from “podcast_ideas” and I will move it to “podcast_used.” So that’s how I’ve used it, just simple Apple Notes, right? You could use a folder. You will be shocked…
Michael: It’s like each thing gets its own little note so that you can move them around when you use them and do something with it?
Carl: Yeah. A lot of people love Trello for this because of the card system. You could just move it from…we used Trello for a long time where it had “raw idea tweet.” Because we formulized this whole thing. The first place we test ideas is Twitter. So, I’m sure that that formula for success thing is a tweet.
Michael: That’s why I always get your wonderfully provocative tweets because I literally am being guinea-pigged.
Carl: That’s exactly right. I have a friend who told me that at a bar he used to go to, the old fellas that played music, they called it…if the music was good at this particular bar, if the song was good, they would whistle. And so, these old fellas used to call it the whistle test. And so, somebody who worked for me told me about that. And I was like, okay, what’s our whistle test? Well, our whistle test used to be “The New York Times.” Our whistle test now is Twitter. Right? So, it shows up and then it gets turned into…So the ideas that are good out of “podcast_ideas” get made into a podcast episode. And then those are 5 to 12 minutes long. So, if you’re not doing a podcast, you could think of those as like, oh, that’s…you could have a folder named “newsletter ideas.”
Michael: I was going to say, help bring this…I get it. You do a podcast. And you did this podcast, the Behavior Gap podcast. You do a podcast content thing. How do I apply this as an advisor doing this in…I’m not building a content business, I’m building a client business.
Carl: Well, now let’s remember, if you think of yourself as an intellectual property business that just happens to fuel your client business.
Michael. Okay. That’s fair.
Carl: Aside from that last run-on sentence. But here’s how you would do it, right? So, what’s your content strategy? So, are you going to use something broad? Are you going to use LinkedIn, or are you going to write a weekly newsletter, or are you going to write…Let’s say you’re going to write a monthly column for the Southern Nevada Dental Association? Whatever the artifact is going to be, then you back down to it and you say, okay, I don’t know really what to say. Okay. Well, let’s start thinking of ideas. Okay. So, I’m going to put all these ideas in a folder. I’m going to write…let’s just say that my content strategy, my niche is architects that have 10 or fewer employees. Own their own practice, have 10 or fewer employees. Oh, you know what? It turns out that there’s this great…I’ve been asking all the architects, they all read this monthly magazine. Well, okay, finally, I got the chance to write something for that monthly magazine.
Whatever your content strategy is, just back into it. Your folder would be named “weekly newsletter.” Your folder would be named “monthly article for local newspaper.” Whatever your content strategy is, name the folder that, just dump ideas in it. Then when it comes time for…and this is the content flywheel I want you to think about, right? Those are the micro ideas. Those are the little building blocks. Then when it comes time to write that monthly article, you’re going to go into that idea folder and be like, “Oh, I thought that was good, that’s kind of not very good. Okay. Oh, there’s one, I like that.” You write that thing out. Well, once you write that thing out, that now becomes a block, right? One of my friends calls it the content onion that you’re just peeling away things. But I like to think of those early pieces as content snacks, and then you’re building a full meal and that meal is that monthly article. Well, that monthly article, guess what, if that monthly article is 1500 words and you do that for 2 or 3 years, you’re going to wake up one day and that monthly article is going to be a pile of 50,000 words, right? And if you…
Michael: Otherwise known as a book.
Carl: Yeah. Otherwise…And that’s exactly how the book happened for me was we literally printed every single New York Times article, we taped them to the wall. I remember where we did this in the basement of my house. We taped them to the wall, we moved them around, right? So, what do you do next, right? You record in Evernote, you record in Apple, you write it down an Apple, you write in your notebook, whatever. You go to make the thing, you go to that source because it’s got all your…and I would suggest one point in here. I would love to see more…and I know we all think nobody needs it, but I would love…We could change the world if more financial advisors were creating regular content in a place that people could find it, even if only a hundred people found it. So, I would love if people started daily or weekly blogging, sub-stack, podcast, choose your artifact. And you just build that into the system. I throw ideas in here. I write something. It’s normally a sentence or two. I write it on a blog. Fine. I podcast it, right? Then from there, we go to a monthly article. What do we do with the monthly articles? Well, make sure you catalog them, right? Keep track of them. So, that’s how that starts to grow.
Michael: So, I’m still stuck though, for so many of us, does my notebook of things that I’ve scribbled down have anything worth saying and talking about? How do I know which one of my line items anybody actually wants to hear more about and wasn’t just my errant scribbling?
Carl: Okay. So, it felt like that was two questions. One was do any of them have any value? That’s our first part of our talk. Yes, yes, yes, yes.
Michael: There’s at least one. I put a bunch of random scribblings. We’ll at least grant maybe there’s one thing somewhere in there that some other human being would want to hear about.
Stop Worrying About Having Good Ideas And Embrace Having Many [24:12]
Carl: Okay. I just would go further than that. Some of that is of value. The second part of your question is how do I decide? And I just…
Michael: How do you figure out what’s good?
Carl: Yeah. I want to formally…and I have my little wand here in the form of a Sharpie, formally…Do you fire people…?
Michael: That would be a good wand for you.
Carl: Do you fire people with wands? I don’t think you do. But I want to formally fire everyone that listens to this from that job. And here’s why I know that you should be fired is because I cannot tell you how many times this happened to me. I would write what I thought was the best column ever. And I would send it in. This is the best thing I’ve ever written. This is the best sketch I’ve ever done. This is the best column I’ve ever done. I would send it in, and it would just be like, no word from the editors, nobody liked it. The social media team wouldn’t do anything, it’s just blah. Then I would have other times just as often, maybe more often, where I would be like, I got nothing, it’s Thursday, deadline’s at 10, it’s 9:30. This thing I’ve written…I actually would tell my wife, like, “I’m going to get fired. I can’t believe it.”
I would send it in, and I would get a note back immediately from my editor saying this is…Like, “Hahaha.” That was the one that I always loved when he was like, he said that made me laugh. And then the editor above him would love it. And the social media team at The Times would share it. That happened often enough for me to realize I was fired. I am not a good…I know no one…and I know a lot of people who do this for a living. I know no one who is a good predictor of the quality of their own work.
Michael: So, what do I do? As an advisor.
Carl: You just release it. Your job is not to decide whether it’s good.
Michael: I thought you were going to tell me, so I get my significant other…
Michael: …or my team member to tell me which ones…
Carl: No, you just release it and you do it in a form that’s low stakes enough like a blog or newsletter.
Michael: What if they don’t like me? Not good.
Carl: So, we know where all this is coming from, right? That’s a different problem. And that’s a problem just of imposter syndrome and I’m scared and I’m nervous. And please believe me, that’s a normal feeling. And I feel it every day, every single time I release something, I feel that. I’ve gotten to the point where I now translate that feeling into something good where I’m like, “Oh, that means I must be doing something exciting,” but it’s still really scary. And on low energy days, it’s paralyzing, which is at least once a week, it’s paralyzing. Like, “I’m not going to do anything today.”
Michael: Oh, I think that’s powerful. Ten years of putting these things out every week for “The New York Times” and it’s still freaky when you’re putting something out.
Carl: And literally once a week, it’s to the point where I’m like, “Okay, not today.” But mostly I don’t let that happen anymore because it’s just my job. Like Seth says, “Plumbers don’t get plumbers’ block.” You just show up. Now, I’ve said that and I’ve had plumbers write me and say, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” But the point is you show up…
Michael: Apologies to any plumbers listening for our plumbers’ ignorance about the true challenges of plumbing. We don’t mean to belittle them.
Carl: I just simply mean, most plumbers, there’s a job to be done, they show up and they do their job. And they don’t get the benefit of saying, “Sorry, I don’t feel like fixing that pipe right now.” I don’t feel like fixing that pipe, but I’m going to do it anyway. So, and Chuck Close’s, “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just get to work.” But tactically, that’s why I think…Let me just tell you one more interesting story. We all know content is important. We all know cataloging your ideas is important. We all know that packaging up your wisdom is important. It would help you with business, it would help you make a bigger impact in the world. It is important. And we all struggle with the same thing. We don’t feel like we have anything valuable to say, we lack the discipline to do it. We hide behind the technical tools. Like, “I don’t know where to do it,” all those things.
So, one of my friends, his name’s David. David had the same problem. David’s a marketing consultant, had the same problem. “I don’t know what to do.” So, he sold subscriptions to a monthly magazine. He wanted to write a book. So, he sold subscriptions. I think he sold like 100 subscriptions. They weren’t very expensive. Let’s just call them 10 bucks a piece or something. He sold subscriptions to a monthly magazine where he promised that the monthly magazine would be 3 or 4 articles written by him of about 5,000 words apiece. And he sold an annual subscription, 1 year, 12 months.
Michael: They just put it all on your own shoulders upfront. Yep.
Carl: Yep. And so those are the kind of hacks. That’s the only reason I created Behavior Gap radio. It’s a trick for me to force myself to create it. Okay. So, Evernote, Apple Notes. Let me just show you real quickly, screen share. I’ll describe this for those of you who are not watching it.
Michael: For podcast listeners, you didn’t realize we actually put this out as a video on YouTube and embedded on the Kitces website. So, if you’re ever curious, come to kitces.com and check it out or youtube.com/michaelkitces and you can see this.
Carl: So, what I’m sharing here is an Airtable database that somebody on my team built. I’m flipping through the tabs right now of audio. It’s going to take a minute to load. So, we’ll just skip through. These are PowerPoint presentations. So, there’s a tab called audio, that’s every piece of audio I’ve ever recorded. There’s all the presentation decks, and it’s just taking a while to load, but you can see, here’s the DFA European study group, right? Fi360 Nashville, I think you were at that.
Michael: Yeah, we probably were there together. At the Australia masterclass, I think we were there for that together.
Carl: Yeah. So here’s all the sketches. So, I’m just scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through. Where does the number end? There’s 1100 sketches. They’re all tagged, organized, shows where they were, the sketch is a number, which corresponds to the number in Dropbox where they’re stored. All the videos, all the words. So, here’s the words I’m scrolling through. Everything I’ve ever written is cataloged in here. And where are we going to end? I haven’t done this in a long time. Geez Louise.
Michael: Carl, I’m looking at the scroll thing on the right. You’re not even a quarter of the way. You’re like a third of the way through now, maybe.
Carl: I don’t think that could be true. Let’s look. So 4,000 pieces of content. Some of these are not…Yeah, here we go. So, like 3,800 pieces of content, all cataloged. Now, why does that matter? And again, it doesn’t matter if it’s ever 3,800. What if it’s 100? Here’s where this gets cool. After doing this for three or four years, there are people…So, this is this content flywheel. You’re creating something every day or every week or every month, whatever you’re doing. It’s getting cataloged, you’re the one cataloging it for now. You just throw it in. You don’t need to create an Airtable database, you certainly can. You can steal ours. Steal with my blessing. You throw them in Dropbox, whatever, you catalog them, you maybe put a little tag, has to do with risk. And so now you could literally hand that…Once you’ve played some number, I don’t know what the right number is, 350 songs, you can hand that whole catalog to somebody and say, “Hey, you know what, will you go in?” You’re not the right one to go in and figure out which one of those songs are good.
This is exactly…Dan Sullivan has a great…We should link to this. There’s a great podcast episode called “How I Write A Book A Quarter.” It’s unbelievable. He’s not the one going into the filing cabinet, flipping through to find out because he is not good at that. You know who’s good at that? An editor. And we have people in our industry that are writers, like ghostwriters. But one of the other jobs they love doing is content editing and management. So then I could envision this arrow easily where every two years you’re handing this pile of stuff to someone and they’re producing a small book. What would that do for your business? And guess what? It’s no more…it’s just a little more work than what you’re doing now because you’re already having the thoughts. So, that’s how I think about that content flywheel.
How Skill And Confidence Scale With Audience [33:17]
Michael: To me, because I’m just remembering back to when I started this path, similarly in cool, amazing business stuff, it’d build over time, it brings in clients, it’s created a lot of businesses. And the fear I had in getting started initially, right, just the whole like, “Is it going to be any good? Oh my God. I’m putting it on the internet. When ElDaC082018!!!$$you put things on the internet, they never die.” And what I realized pretty quickly was the truth is, basically, no one comes and follows what you’re putting out early on. Who would know about it? It’s not like there’s a million people out there who are just sitting around waiting for a random new website to post a random article about a thing so they can just go check it out and then grief the person who made it. Basically, the only people who saw it were my friends and my mom. So, the stakes were low, and basically, the only people that saw it were people I knew and, good news, people you know are usually pretty supportive.
So, one or two things happened. I got an email or a text or something like, “Hey, the one you did today, that was pretty good. I liked that.” Or I heard nothing, which meant it probably wasn’t as good. But no one was sending messages like, “Dude, your stuff sucks.” Although I’m sure some of it sucked. Your friends are nice about the good ones and quiet on the not-so-good ones. And you do more of the things that get positive reward and reinforcement. And if it goes well, some other people start hearing about it, and you get a lot of practice before there’s a lot of people that actually notice it. And by the time they’re noticing it, you’ve often built a pretty good skill out of it. And as you framed it so well, the flywheel is flying. So, to me, just don’t put more on your shoulders than is necessary. I think you used a great phrase for it, Carl, look, it’s pretty low stakes when you’re getting started, not many people are going to see it. Most of the ones who do are people that already know you and like you and trust you, otherwise known as a great supportive group to start practicing the skill.
Carl: It’s really true. I’ve said that for years. The good news is, if you’re worried about people reading your stuff when you are starting, the good news is no one’s going to. But the double-edged sword of that is sometimes, well then, why do it? Well, because you’ve got to get through. All this is…what we just showed you an Airtable, that started with one. We know this concept, it’s called compounding. And the only way to get to the exciting part, which I just showed you, is to go through the boring part when it’s just your mom and your sister. But I hope that’s helpful, just tactically. Literally, for me, it’s almost all audio now or video. It’s not writing, but if you’re writing, it’s the same process. It’s just find an easy capture place. So, I think of it this way, capture, store, organize, create, make things out of it. And then the organize and create thing at some point will no longer be your job, theoretically.
Michael: You can ask someone else to else help you with that.
Carl: Yeah. Somebody else who’s much better at it. I’m the worst in the world at organizing and then going in and deciding what to do with things, but it all starts by getting it out of your head. The reason I care about this is because I know the impact. You’re an example, I’m an example. Everybody we know that’s making an impact beyond…and look, everybody we know that’s making an impact beyond their business, which is a huge impact in and of itself…but everybody I know that’s making, how do they do it? Well, they’re doing something publicly. And what they’re doing is packaging wisdom. That’s what it’s called.
Michael: Packaging wisdom. All right. Thank you, Carl. Packaged wisdom, right there.
Carl: Pleasure. Cheers.