Have You Heard of Trypod?

Woman Listening to Headphones

The month of March is all about #trypod. It's a month long campaign between dozens of podcast producers to get people who are podcast fanatics (that's me) to recommend podcasts to others (that's you). Since I find podcasts so valuable I'm helping out.

I'm going to share my favorite podcasts and why they're my favorite. I'll also share some podcasts I used to love and why I no longer listen to them. And then I'll share how I listen to my podcasts efficiently.

My Favorite Podcasts

From top, being my most favorite, to the bottom, the ones I'm probably going to drop soon.

NPR Politics Podcast

NPR Politics Podcast

The NPR Politics Podcast started about 1.5 years ago and talked primarily about the US 2016 election. And now that that's over they cover the current state of politics.

This is the only podcast where when they're late posting episodes I actually notice. They have a weekly recap of everything politics Thursday as well as episodes covering current events.

They do a phenomenal job summarizing the news into digestible bites. I feel like I can skip the day to day news digest and get a really good 40 minute summary with this podcast.

After I listen to this podcast I'll often see articles on Facebook that are missing the nuance of the situation… if only everyone listened to this podcast.

99% Invisible

99% Invisible

99% Invisible talks about the hidden design in everything. They have really well crafted episode that show us how things we use everyday are either poorly or well designed. Often these things are invisible to me until they point them out. And then I see them everywhere!

They just had a phenomenal 2 part series (1 & 2) on where Sanctuary Cities come from. Hint: nothing to do with liberal cities.

Planet Money

Planet Money

Planet Money is an NPR podcast all about economics. They talk about the economic principles behind water shortages in California, what the border adjustment tax could look like, and what effect, if any, refuges have on the economy.

My favorite episode from last year might have been a panel of 22 economists that weighed in on the primary candidates for the 2016 election (Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, & Ted Cruz). In short just about every economic theory they put out there had flaws in it.

eCommerce Fuel LogoeCommerceFuel

eCommerceFuel is both a private community and a podcast. The private community is 6-7 figure store owners who talk about everything e-commerce. And the podcast features that community and other e-commerce experts. There's really great content on here.

And it's higher level content. Very rarely are people asking about the best tool for X. They're talking about higher level strategies.

Unfortunately the host, Andrew, Youderian, has taken a bit of a backseat and now we're only getting monthly episodes instead of weekly episodes. But the content is still good. If you're into e-commerce at all you should listen to this.

Reveal LogoReveal

Reveal is an investigative journalism podcast. They talk about everything. They had a great episode on how the US Navy builds ships (hint: poorly), one on air pollution around schools, and one on current border issues and how that might change.

They tend to focus on one topic, ex. US naval industry, and then approach it from three different angles. For the naval industry they look at how ships are approved from congress, the working conditions on a shipyard, and how one fishery observer went missing. The different angles really help you understand how nuanced these problems are.

Apply Filters LogoApply Filters

Apply Filters is the go-to WordPress podcast for developers. And in this case by developer I mean people who code. They interview interesting people (and some not-so-interesting people 😉 ), discuss recent WordPress developments, and answer Q&As.

And my favorite part might be where Brad & Pippin give their updates. It's pretty amazing to listen to updates like these that go back for multiple years. You can see that things don't just happen. Life is a marathon and then only way you get somewhere is by putting one foot in front of the other over and over.

Unemployable LogoUnemployable

Unemployable is a podcast hosted by Brian Clark, the man behind the Rainmaker platform.

He talks about about marketing & audience building. And interviews a lot of entrepreneurs. My favorite aspect are all of the entrepreneurs he interviews. They aren't just people who have made a lot of money. And they typically aren't VC funded companies. They're usually people who have built a business with profit in mind since day 1.

Nerd Marketing LogoNerd Marketing

Nerd Marketing is a short but very tactical podcast. Drew Sanocki does awesome marketing for e-commerce companies. And he tells (and sometimes shows) how to do the exact campaigns he does for his e-commerce companies.

He goes very deep into e-commerce & newsletter marketing if that's your thing.

Invisible Details LogoInvisible Details

Invisible Details is an interesting podcast. They talk about branding. And all of the tiny things that matter but aren't directly related to business.

I like the podcast but it's a bit long for me. I'm hoping for the same sort of content but boiled down a bit more. I really like the hosts. I think I'd be able to have a cup of coffee with them. And their style is great.

The Independent Characters LogoThe Independent Characters

The Independent Characters is a podcast all about Warhammer 40,000. Yes. A podcast about my hobbies.

For a Warhammer nerd it's pretty great. The host, Carl, is just a phenomenal guy who cares very much about the hobby.

The Long War LogoThe Long War

The Long War is another podcast I really enjoy. They also talk about Warhammer 40k. This is more of a “most recent news” type podcast.

While The Independent Characters is really well thought out. Sometimes you want to hear whats going on every week.

Business Reimagined LogoBusiness Reimagined

Business Reimagined comes out about once a month which I enjoy. I can only listen to so many weekly podcasts.

Danny talks about online education which is something that is very relevant to me.

I enjoy the show but I don't love the format. It seems scripted. Like they write every workd ahead of time and they just read off of a script. I'd like something a little more authentic and a little less polished. Just a personal preference of mine. I'm still listening to this podcast but I might replace it soon.

Business Reimagined LogoShopify Masters

Shopify Masters talks to store owners who use Shopify. The talk about all sorts of things. If you are thinking about starting your own store I highly recommend this podcast. One episode they'll talk about sourcing your products, in another they'll talk about micro-influencers, and in another they'll talk about intellectual property law.

It's neat in that you can learn anything related to e-commerce. The only issue I have is that the velocity is a bit high for me. There are several hour long episodes per week. I have a hard time choosing which ones to skip and which to listen to. So I'll probably replace this podcast soon. But if you're getting into e-commerce definitely give it a listen.

Old Favorites

I also have some old favorites. I've heard them for years and learned just about all I think I can learn from them. But they might be useful for you.

How to Optimize Your Experience

I use Pocket Casts to listen to my podcasts on Android. Using a few features like:

  • 1.1X listening speed
  • Removing long silences

I was able to save 1 day & 1 hour of listening time out of 8 days & 22 hours total listening time since last year.

Try a Podcast

If you don't already listen to podcasts just look at the amount of content I consumed in a year! 8 days + 22 hours. That's 214 hours of content! That's an hour long webinar 4 days a week every week of the year. And I do that without having to be in-front of a screen. I could be walking my dog, washing the dishes, or walking to a coffee shop.

If you aren't already listening to podcasts. Now is a great time to start. And it doesn't have to be one of the above. There's a huge list of podcasts on #TryPod.

Happy podcasting!

What do you do?

mountain peak with flag - mission

It's been more than 6 months since I left my job. And when someone asks me what I do I still don't know how to answer. Because I've done a bunch of things.

  • I helped a WordPress software company market their products.
  • I helped debug a few WooCommerce bugs.
  • I helped a WordPress VIP company with a proposal for an e-commerce project.
  • I'm helping a hosting company create infrastructure made for WooCommerce.
  • I'm helping WooCommerce choose topics & speakers for WooConf.
  • And this whole time I've been making e-commerce courses for Lynda.com.

So it's hard to answer. Do I go with what I'm working on today? Do I go with what I've been doing the longest? Or do I go with what I want to be working on?

Mission

I've found that what I do on a week to week basis varies quite a bit. But my mission has been pretty consistent:

Help people build their own business

And e-commerce is an arena where I have a lot of expertise and can help them succeed.

Plans

Some people obsess over plans. They want to have a 1, 5, & 10 year plan. And they stick to these plans even when they shouldn't. And I think this is because many people don't know how to make an impact in this world without large & complicated plans.

But large and complicated plans don't guarantee you make an impact. They just guarantee you'll accomplish some thing at some point. And this resonates with something that Seth Godin said:

A ten-year plan is absurd. Impossible, not particularly worth wasting time on. On the other hand, a ten-year commitment is precisely what's required if you want to be sure to make an impact.

And this is how I'm approaching my business. I have a mission: to help people build businesses. And anything that falls under that mission is something I would consider working on.

I have a 2-3 month plan and when I finish that plan then I start a new 2-3 month plan.

I'm working on different course ideas, talking to companies, and helping individuals. And my plans keep changing. And for right now that's okay. I'm trying lots of things and figuring out where I can make the most impact.

It's still a tough question when someone asks me what I do. But at least now I answer with:

I help people build online stores.

It covers my mission, provides a hook if they're interested, and it keeps my options open.

So if you have trouble answering the “what do you do question” just think about your mission. It's the most true thing you can say anyway. You can always go into more detail if they express interest.

Habits Over Motivation

Man Running Through Town

Thursday morning was cold. The weather was slightly foggy & overcast, and I foolishly only brought running shorts & a t-shirt. Despite the conditions I ran 3.2 miles and I had an 8:57 minute pace which is the best time I've had in over a year!

This past year I've been hot & cold with running. On average I ran twice a month. But there were months where I didn't run at all. And one month where I ran eight times. There was no consistency. And every time I started running after a break I had to start all over again. Running 12 minute miles which is pretty bad for me.

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2016 Review – My First Year Going Solo

Map & Moleskine Notebook

Over the years I’ve sporadically written up some sort of year end review. Now that I work for myself I think it’s even more important. if I don't do it – no one will. So if I want my next year to be better I need to figure out what worked and what didn't.

Now I keep a ridiculous amount of data. I could share a lot of different numbers like how many movies I watched, how many vacation days I took, how many hours I slept, etc. but I’d like to focus on three core areas.

Money

Let’s start with Money. I absolutely love e-commerce. Creating your own online property to control your financial future is incredibly powerful. Since starting out own my own this year I’ve focused on three areas:

Consulting – I’ve helped WordPress VIP agencies create proposals for big e-commerce sites. I love where this is going. WooCommerce needs a few more high profile sites to put in their showcase.

Product Marketing – I’ve helped Ninja Forms develop a marketing plan – primarily by doing user research to discover their strength’s & weaknesses.

Online Learning – I created a total of 5 courses for Lynda.com (4 this year: 1, 2, 3, & 4). It takes months to plan, a month to write the script, a week to record, and a month of post-processing just for one 2-3 hour course. And I love it. I love crystalizing my knowledge into a 2-3 hour structured course that includes a lot of technical information but also a lot of common sense e-commerce practices (that we as developers sometimes forget).

2016

Since starting my own business in September I made a decent chunk of money. I was really hoping for more recurring revenue but I made some mistakes.

  • One time – $14,068.77
  • Recurring – $3,655.13

And affiliate commissions have been especially disappointing. I have over 65 articles talking about WooCommerce and many more that reference WooCommerce. And between these articles I've earned less than $500 in the last couple months.

Next Year

Next year I want to see my recurring revenue increase to $16,000. I’m continuing to work on courses for Lynda which are slow but reliable money makers. I’m also considering:

  • A virtual summit
  • A tool (micro site?) to help you pick an e-commerce platform
  • A book about e-commerce marketing

I’d like to see how my recurring revenue comes in for the next couple of months and if it’s on track then I’ll keep plugging away on courses. And if not I will look into some other options.

And for my affiliate commissions I'm wondering if it's worth putting in the time & attention. I don't love affiliate marketing. I'm selling my reputation. And it puts into question my recommendations.

It's too soon to call it yet. I've only been working on it 4 moths. I'll go through 2017 writing articles and see what a full year of affiliate marketing can do. One thing is I plan to do at the start of 2016 is cancel all small affiliate deals. It's not worth the overhead. That way I can focus more on other projects.

I'm actually enjoying the consulting. It's a nice break from courses and it keeps my e-commerce skills sharp. Helping a VIP company put together a proposal for e-commerce was intense. I was able to point out several potential problems & several opportunities for up-sells. I just don't want to rely on consulting.

Creativity

I do a lot of things to feel creative. I paint Warhammer 40,000 miniatures, I go to improv workshops, and I read. I'm going to focus on reading. It's easy to quantify and it's I love how I feel after I complete a book.

2016

Some raw numbers to start:

  • I read 27 books
  • that's 8,190 pages
  • and 12 of the 27 were fiction

The book that had the greatest impact on me was Originals. It changed the way I look at learning, group dynamics, risk, idea generation, side projects, and company culture. I spent over 8 hours taking notes for this book and it was totally worth it. I'm constantly quoting the book. And that's because I've improved how I take notes and thus my retention.

I also learned a lot from More Than Two which focused on how you can create healthy communication in your relationship. I started speaking more directly & plainly:

Hey Patrick where do you want to go to dinner?

I'm thinking Torchy's Tacos. Sound good?

There's still room for compromise but no question that I have a preference.

And my business wouldn’t be where it is without Profit First which teaches you the habit of profit. Most business owners hope for profit. I build it into my process.

2017

I'm very happy with 27 books. My goal was 24 so I rocked that. I could increase the number but that's not the goal. The goal is to feel creative, learn, and enjoy the process.

Next year I'm going to set a goal of 24 books again and I'm going to use the recommendations of my peers to make sure I read the best books.

If you're on GoodReads you should add me.

Here are the books I want to read (in order):

  1. The Four Agreements – recommended by John Eckman's talk at WordCamp US
  2. Armada – I loved Ready Player One so I have a good feeling about this book.
  3. Big Magic – recommended by Sara Cannon's talk at WordCamp US.
  4. Scrappy Little Nobody
  5. Platform
  6. Ancillary Justice
  7. Feeling Good Together – recommended by Cory Miller's talk at WordCamp US.
  8. Confessions of an Economic Hitman
  9. Lock-in
  10. Linchpin – I love Seth Godin's writing. Normally it's very short and this book is relatively long. So I'm excited to give it a try.

You might notice that I try to alternate between non-fiction and fiction. I really like that balance. I can focus on learning and then read a biography which is interesting, or read about some space fort under attack. That balance works well for me.

I've planned out the first 10 books for 2017. Every one was recommended by a friend so I'm looking forward to reading each and every one.

I also plan to reread a few books. Probably More Than Two & Originals.

Fitness

This year I was really excited to get into rock climbing. I went a handful of times with my friend Kelly & Emily. I got some gear but it was really hard to sync schedules. Especially since I'm traveling and so is Kelly. I decided I should do rock climbing when & where I can but I want to focus on a solo activity. I've been running for years so it makes to focus on that.

2016

In 2016 I ran:

  • 26 runs
  • for a total of 109.5 miles
  • which took me 20 hours & 22 minutes
  • and burned 13,214 calories
  • The longest run was 13.1 miles (Horse & Dragon Half-Marathon)

That's a run every other week. And actually most of them were in May when I had a big running kick. Most months had 0, 1 or maybe 2 runs.

2017

There is an obvious solution. Make running a habit.

I'm going to try to start running Wednesday mornings. I control my own schedule so I don't have to do any meetings Wednesday mornings and assuming the weather isn't horrible I'll be running.

There will be the occasional weather condition and then I plan to run later that week. That shouldn't be too big of a problem but I may occasionally have to run inside which I hate. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

For now I'm setting a goal of running 52 times in 2017.

Looking forward to 2017

I hope you've done / will do (it's never too late) your own review. It was pretty darn useful for me. I thought I went running ~50 times until I looked it up.

I have my reading game down. I've built a system that fosters tons of reading. Now I'm working on improving my network in GoodReads to read the best books.

I have some pretty firm goals around money & fitness. They're ambitious but not audacious. And I have a rough plan on how to get there.

Now it's time to execute.

The JavaScript for WordPress Master Course

The JavaScript for WordPress Master Course

Today I want to promote a course that's not my own. There's no affiliate deal & no partnership. I just want to promote a project that I think is seriously undervalued.

At last year's WordCamp US Matt Mullenweg said, “Learn JavaScript Deeply”.

It was a powerful call to action for the WordPress community. The WordPress project is moving in that direction, the web in general is moving in that direction, and if you don't want to be left behind you should also move in that direction.

Unfortunately there aren't a lot of resources out there to help you learn JavaScript. At least not within the context of WordPress.

It can be hard to start when you don't know where the starting line is. I've heard about Backbone, Angular and React, but which one do I use? And when?

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How to Add a WooCommerce Announcement Bar

Announcement Banner

Imagine it's the week before Xmas and you realize you forget to get a present for someone. You start looking for the perfect gift and you manage to find it. It's exactly what this special someone would love.

You add it to your cart and as you start looking at the shipping options you realize you don't know if it will arrive in time. There's “free shipping” – who knows how long that will take. And there's “expedited shipping” which will probably get there on time but you don't know if it's worth the extra $20.

You start googling rates, prices, and shipping times and you go down a rabbit hole and might never come back to that site.

It's the holidays and we're approaching the cut off date to get presents on time. As a store owner you want to let your customers know the last day they can order and still get presents. This does two things:

  1. It removes uncertainty. If you're uncertain if the present will get there on time you might not order. Or if you have to do a bunch of work to guess if it comes on time you might just get lost down the rabbit hole and never come back and order.
  2. It creates urgency. When users come to your site and they see a banner that lists the last day to order it creates pressure. They don't want to forget the present and they don't want to miss the cut off date. They will be more likely to buy right now.

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How I Take Notes with Audiobooks

Person Taking Notes

Reading business books is one of the best things I've done for my personal growth & my business. I've avoided countless mistakes having first read about someone else making that mistake. But to get the most out of a business book you can't just read it and understand it perfectly. You have to retain that information before you can do anything with it. I take notes with audiobooks all the time – even while walking the dog. And now my retention is better for audiobooks than physical books.

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How to Be a Better Human – Lessons from WordCamp US

WordCamp US Banner

WordCamps are always educational. You hear about time-saving plugins, you see beautiful themes, and you learn about the latest SEO techniques. WordCamp US was no exception.

I plan to write up some of my favorite SEO techniques from WordCamp US but today I wanted to talk a little bit about the non-technical talks. Knowing the best plugin to promote your latest blog post is great. But if you can't work up the courage to write your first post then what good is the plugin?

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