ApexThis: A behind-the-scenes podcast about creating a narrative podcast production company.
In This Episode
This is the June 2018 monthly report. I catch you up on what I’ve been up to.
Audible (I’m listening to World War Z & Malazan book of the Fallen)
Smart Passive Income
Toggle Time Tracker
Hosted, produced, mixed, edited & music by Mark.
Why Publish A Business Report?
Publishing my business report allows me to reflect back on the month to see what I did or didn’t do so well. Lastly, I have read blog income reports such as SmartPassiveIncome and I like to see what they have tried. It is a form of motivation for me and I hope that this can be one for someone else. Be sure to check out CashFlowDiaries for bloggers that share their blog income reports. Or one that I’ve recently found from publisher Microcosm Publishing.
June 2018 Business Report
Disclaimer: Any income reported will only be reported as “cash” in hand. If it did not deposit into my account, or if I didn’t cash a check, then it does not count as income. Additionally, income will only be reported for ApexThis business and not for personal income. I may discuss side hustles for additional side income, but only income in which I represent ApexThis will be counted.
Investment – $0.00
Speaking – $100
RawVoice (Blubrry) – ($12)
Blubrry is a service I used to host the podcasts for Admins of Atlassian and ApexThis. It has built-in integration with WordPress making it vastly easier to upload and maintain the podcasts.
Google Apps – ($10)
I use Google Apps for email primary, docs and drive. It’s also great to use my Google account as authentication to other services and apps.
Google Domain Renewals – ($12)
Adobe Suite – ($54)
Zero – ($9)
Total Income/Investments – $100.00
Total Expense – ($97)
Total Net – $3
Time Logged – 23hrs per month average the past 6 months.
Where Have I Been?
Working! Just not on the things I expected to work on.
Like many of you, I have a day job and that limits the things I can do on nights and weekends. From a personal perspective, after getting the last podcast episode out, I was working on the next monthly update, but then I went out of town for work. Then I went out of town for family, twice. Then I went on vacation and got really sick. After that, I was knee deep in a few projects and efforts that I will detail shortly. Lastly, came the unexpected trip to Amsterdam for the day job which unexpectedly turned into a vacation.
I say unexpectedly as my intention was to continue my side-hustle schedule but considering I’ve never been out of the country before, the jet lag was particularly vicious, and being in a new country, my co-workers made sure my nights were busy. Weekends, I toured the city and countryside. I visited museums and lovely restaurants and next thing I know, I was back on a plane to the U.S.
So, what exactly have I been doing in the past several months?
Planning & Structure
While the first half of 2018 is over, the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 started off appropriately. I sat down and planned ApexThis. The planning was high-level with an outlook of where I wanted to be in the next five years and what I was going to do this year. I even broke down those plans quarterly!
I also took the time to flesh out the type of work that I wanted to do. This, of course, was updated on my services page but to sum up; I primarily work on self-generated projects with a “script to screen” approach. Want me to produce a weekly podcast series? Not my type of work. Want me to produce a one-time podcast series? Or how about produce one episode out of an anthology series? What about writing an episode or assisting with script development? I’m your guy!
Think of a movie or TV production house, or a movie director; They write, film, edit, and distribute a movie and they are off to the next project. They outline, and produce a TV series, and are off to work on the next project, but may come back for a few episodes. I like the flexibility of that type of work and a lot of the projects I have on the planning board are one-shots; meaning that they will be made and not touched again.
Of course, this makes things very difficult in the world of podcasting as a lot of it is funding by advertising and sponsorship. Sponsors and advertisers would look more favorable to your standard weekly podcast or your serialized shows once they show they have a following which happens in season 2 or season 3.
Does this sound like a smart plan? Probably not, but even if I fail, I have to push forward!
ApexThis is now incorporated! You read that right! Due to many projects, and a failed effort, I decided to incorporate ApexThis as a single member LLC. What does this mean? In short, an LLC is a Limited Liability Company whose main benefits is that it creates a separation between my personal assets and my business assets. In short, I would not be liable for my company. Of course, you can do things to make yourself liable, but that is the shortest non-legal way I can explain it.
Many, typically, do not establish an LLC until they’ve dealt with a high amount of funds and business transactions, but given I was planning a big event, and other things down the road, I wanted to establish that separation up-front. In addition, since I’ve been running as a sole-proprietor for many years, my bank account, and everything else has been completely separate from myself, so it made the setup that much easier.
Pro-tip; If you have a side-hustle and you are seeking to turn that into a profit, or business, I would start separating things out from yourself financially. What I did was get a tax-ID, establish a doing business as or fictitious business certificate with my county, and get a separate bank account as I operated as a sole-proprietor. This allowed me to easily track my spending and other activities because they were separate from my personal income. Disclaimer; I am not a lawyer and this is just my opinion. You should definitely spend thirty minutes or so and research this for yourself.
I’ve been working on creating an online store. This has been primarily for the podcast community, but I’ve been looking to expand it beyond that. It has NOT launched, but I’ve been doing a lot of research, testing, designing, and legally formalizing my business and getting permits. I make it sound more than what it is to just say that I will start t-shirt store (for now), but it really is laying the foundation for me to experiment and expand and do what I find fun.
The big project for ApexThis leading into 2018 was project dollar. This project got shelved due to the focus change on the community. I’m very disappointed but I’m glad at the same time. Resuming this project will mean that I will be focusing on this, heavily. This project will take a lot of creative effort and will be another risk for me but I definitely want to make sure I do this project right. Not only will I be pushing something out to the world in a “big way”, it will be based on the way I defined how I work, and on my production platform. This project will utilize EVERYTHING that I have learned thus far and will be yet another big learning opportunity for me.
Another unannounced project that I am partnering with someone on. Currently in the discovery and planning phase. Nothing to share at this time.
Austin Podcasters (Events division)
For the past six months, all my time has been spent working on the Austin Podcasters community. That averaged to 23hrs per month since January 2018. So, here is what I’ve been doing:
Nov 2017 thru Feb 2018 I was busy giving Austin Podcasters a design update. Before launching the Meetup community, I spent a while designing the initial logo. Despite not being a designer, I got it done. I liked what I could do with it and the “flexibility” I added to it. A year later, I felt it needed some tweaking. After a few weeks of design and iterations of several images, I came to an update that I liked:
Left = Old logo | Right = New logo
No, the “few weeks” weren’t just for that logo. I decided to make a future post about this and will include the overall work I did. I must say, it’s always fun playing with type. It reminds me of my younger days when I dabbled with type, primarily from a web design perspective. Stay tuned for a full-featured post about the design process.
In short, I’ve learned a lot more about branding as I’ve watched, studied, and followed many designers, and design studios. Primary with type (text, lettering). I can see how it can change the perception of what you offer, how you can tell a story, and how you can draw people to you. I would recommend that others hire, or grab a friend, to design their logos, branding, and everything else. I am a bit obsessive, and I like to understand the things I interact with and as such, I have a nasty habit of creating and doing everything myself.
In full disclosure, the new logo wasn’t entirely produced by me. For the update, I got things as far as I could and then hired out to clean things up a big in Illustrator as it would have taken even longer to learn another tool on top of everything else.
After this design, I started to learn Adobe Illustrator.
I continued with planning, organizing, and attending meetups. Nothing changed outside of the normal event planning process.
I tried to plan a conference and failed! Yes, I really did. I was working with one other to do a one-day conference event in Austin. To gain interest, we launched on Kickstarter and started spreading the word. Unfortunately, the word didn’t spread very far, and I effectively failed at running a Kickstarter campaign. There are lots of things that I am ruminating on to fully work out what happened but the number 1 piece of advice I can immediately offer is; Don’t go out of the country for a month when launching a Kickstarter.
More articles, more project dollar. I have drafted a few articles to write but have been overwhelmed with so much that I have not gotten them completed. A few will focus on Trello planning and design. You will see what I did for the Austin Podcasters design and how that informs things I do in the community. You will also see the beginning process for the conference that never came to be. I will also get back to writing and editing Project Dollar so that everything is ready to record. I’m super nervous about this.
Continue learning. Lately, I’ve been learning a lot from designers about branding, and design in general. Don’t be afraid to expand to other fields to learn. There is always something that you can apply to the work that you do. Be a student of everything.
I am going to Podcast Movement again this year! It’s going to be great to meet folks and learn from awesome podcasters as I did last year. I can’t wait. I hope to see you there.
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