podcast logo

Designing Your Podcast Logo and Social Media Artwork: A DIY’ers Guide on Giving Your Show a Face

What did you do over the Labor Day weekend? The “last” weekend of summer? Did you manage to get out with friends or family for dinner? Maybe even enjoy a barbeque?

How about your business? Did you do any work on it? Just because it’s a holiday weekend doesn’t mean you can’t work on it! In fact, if you do, you’re just that much more committed to what you’re doing than those who took time off!

Personally, I worked a bit on Saturday and Sunday.

As I mentioned in the podcast from last week, Maria and I took pictures at the AMS MuncieMan Tri on Saturday. Always fun to get those posted and see all the reactions and comments come in afterwards. Personally I like this particular triathlon because it’s the MECTC championship race and has been for several years now. Always cool to see the different college uniforms of the athletes who showed up.

As for Sunday, I managed to do a little update on the podcast’s “general cover art” that’s seen in iTunes. You can see the difference below:


Why an Update?

Well, good question. I mean, I did have the same one on iTunes for over 100 episodes. Why change it? Well, a couple of reasons.

One, after 100 episodes, I have a much more focused picture on what the show is about. When I first started, I can’t say that was the case.

At the beginning, the idea was to have a few co-hosts on regularly to talk about being successful in life in general. What I realized, though, was that we were starting out WAY to broad. Soon after, however, I started using the format that we know today.

Secondly, I noticed that when viewed in iTunes, it didn’t necessarily jump out. So, sticking with the nautical theme, I opted to add a bit more liberty into it by giving it a bit more noticeable red, white, and blue. I mean, Angles of Lattitude does translate directly to Perspectives of Freedom after all!

Here’s a comparison of what I started with compared with the update:

podcast logo

Prepping for the Design Work

There are some things you’ll want to consider before starting on your design. Once you have the following ready to go, then you’re ready to start. That said, if you don’t want to do the work yourself, you might want to check out Fiverr, UpWork, or 99Designs.


Personally, I use Photoshop for most of my work. (Currently running on CS5.) But there’s also free alternatives out there such as GIMP and Canva. If you don’t consider yourself artistic, Canva is a great option as it comes with layouts mostly designed for you. However, if you’re going for a certain theme, like I was, then you’ll probably want to use GIMP.


Image Specifications

When designing your podcast’s cover art, you’ll want to think about where you’re going to place it. For me, I currently have one image for the generic cover art, and then I have another format that I use for each individual episode. Last, but just as important, is a “social media” image that I make that has the same content as each individual, but laid out a little differently so that it fits within the post space in Facebook and Twitter a little easier.


Here are the specs for the canvases of those images:


Canvas Size:

Cover art: 1400×1400 to 3000×3000 pixels – Personally I use 1400×1400. Even with 4k becoming the standard more and more, I simply don’t see a need to make it much larger.

Also, make sure it looks good at a smaller size. Remember when folks are looking for your show, you’ll want it to pop out at them amongst all the others that are on that page.

Social Media: 1200×627 pixels – This is the canvas size for Facebook posts. Since Facebook no longer allows you to change this image manually, you’ll need to add it to the meta information you’re linking Facebook to. In WordPress, you can do this by changing the image used in Yoast SEO Premium. (This is a plugin that just about every WordPress user should have if they want to have good SEO.) If you don’t have this plugin, Facebook will more than likely use the Featured Image you have set for the post or page.


Pixels (Dots) Per Inch: 72 is the minimum. Personally, I use 300 dpi.


Colorspace: Use RGB (not CMYK)



Ok, so you have everything ready to go and you’re looking at a blank canvas. Now is the time to ask yourself, what is this thing going to look like?

Crafting a design for the cover art is really no different than designing a logo. You see what you like out there, and then mimic it.

In this case, you can use the popular list on iTunes and see the covers of popular podcasts there.

Once you get there, you might notice that there’s a ton of shows that have the host on the front. If your brand is about you, or you’re tightly involved with the brand, you’ll probably want to put yourself on the cover.

If that’s not that big of a deal to you, then you can get a bit more creative and use more symbols in your artwork.

Since AoL is all about discovering other’s takes on personal freedom, I opted to stay with the original compass idea. However, I dressed it up a bit by surrounding that compass with the sentence “Not all who wander are lost”. This is one of the trending thoughts that i’ve learned through the first 100 sessions.

From there, I retouched the main title a bit and moved that up to the middle. I realized I had a ton of empty space in the last version and hopefully the title (now with a subtitle) will grab potential listeners’ attention a bit more!


Social Media Image Notes

If you’re wanting to change the social media image a bit per platform, there’s one thing I want to mention. Make sure that the theme stays the same from platform to platform. Use the same colors, same fonts, and just about anything else you can from one to the other. You want to make them look like they’re connected.

In the AoL Podcast social images, I even go as far as to use the same image of the guest of that session.

The only platform that I drift away from this approach is Instagram. From what I can tell, you get a bit more attention if your posts are visually engaging. So I try to change things around a bit and make the layout of the image reflect the long-form quote and the image that I have of the guest (which goes along with that quote).


Action Steps

So now that you’ve seen my new cover art, what do you think? Hopefully it inspires you to change your old one up a bit if it’s been awhile since you’ve modified it. I know several folks who make it a year to modify their artwork yearly.

If you have a show, I’d love to hear why you designed your cover the way you did.

Also, if you’re thinking about starting a show, you can check out my other podcast related posts here:

retail arbitrage

Escaping the 9 to 5 Through Online and Retail Arbitrage: How Selling on Amazon Can Buy Your Freedom with Tyler Philbrook (AoL 099)

In this session, I wanted to take it back to where my idea of starting a podcast originated from. I’ve been a big fan of the SPI podcast ever since Pat Flynn started it. From that show, I’ve been turned onto several of other business and lifestyle podcasts and influencers.

Pat motivated and inspired me to do more and he continues to do so.

Today’s guest was also motivated by Pat but at a much deeper level.

Unlike me, Tyler Philbrook has experimented with multiple ways of making passive income that Pat has talked about on his show. If Pat is the crash dummy of online business, then Tyler is kinda like the dummy that didn’t turn out so hot after the wreck.

Nothing seemed to work for him. But he kept listening to Pat and eventually stumbled on session 99 with Jessica and Cliff Larrew.

For two years, Tyler has been slowly building his Amazon based business to a point where he could step away from his day job of being a pharmacist.

And now, he’s in a place where he can start helping others do the same. I’m glad to hear I have another TA friend!

In our chat today, we discuss what he learned along the way of working on Amazon, what beginners should know, and what he’s looking forward to working on now that he has more freedom with his time.

Thanks for listening, and enjoy the show!


  • What was life like growing up in Maine for Tyler? 15:56
  • When did he figure it was time to do his own business? 18:09
  • How’d he start with the SPI Podcast and applying what he learned? 21:05
  • Did growing up working with his parents’ restaurant impact his ability to start his own business? 23:31
  • What were Tyler’s first items that he tried to do retail arbitrage with on Amazon? 25:15
  • Is he only doing Amazon sales? 28:13
  • How does he determine which products to source? 30:05
  • If someone is starting from scratch, what are some definite things need to know about retail arbitrage? 34:25
  • What’s it like to be out of his 9 to 5 job? 38:02
  • What is Tyler looking forward to do with his extra time? 40:46
  • Top 3 favorite books he tells others about? 47:04
  • What’s a tool that he uses all the time that a beginner should know about? 49:04
  • Hardest thing he’s ever had to say no to. 50:52
  • What’s a few things that all high school students must know? 52:15
  • What’s the secret to achieving personal freedom? 56:47
  • … and MUCH more!

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.



March 3rd, 2017 of Ask Pat LIVE:

Jessica and Cliff Larrew Interview via Rob Anderson over at Dollar Moves: 

Chase on “How to Be a Newbie and Succeed”:

What the GaryVee School Would Look Like:

retail arbitrage retail arbitrage retail arbitrage

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!


how to make friends online

Finding REAL Relationships in a Digital Age: How to Make Friends Online with Felicia Slattery (AoL 096)

Relationships today are so much different than they used to be.

I can’t exactly put my finger on why, but it seems that so many people rely on social media to interact with other people. Personally, I’d rather have a good conversation with someone – I think these podcasts show proof of that!

The problem is with relying on social media, texting, and whatever else you want to put in the blank… these communications are usually fairly short and from what I can tell, surface level communication.

Meaning, they’re not very deep.

Growing up, I remember that everyone knew everyone in their neighborhood. This was common all over the place.

That said, I’m glad that people like today’s guest exist in helping people create better relationships in their lives.

Felicia Slattery is on a mission to bring people closer together. In her upcoming book, she tackles how people can create REAL relationships in their everyday life.

In today’s conversation, Veronica and I find out from her what REAL relationships are, the dos and don’ts of social media, and what are some ways that creatives can be more engaging with their followers.

Thanks for listening, and enjoy the show!


  • What was it like growing up around Chicago? 12:02
  • How did Felicia get started in speaking? 13:45
  • When did Felecia realize that she wanted to help people build better relationships? 17:02
  • How can people stop talking at each other and build better relationships? 21:12
  • What are REAL relationships? 26:16
  • How can we be more mindful in our lives to get more REAL relationships? 33:47
  • How can someone get more comfortable with doing LIVE videos? 38:06
  • What are things not to do on social media so you’re not being irritating? 44:14
  • What are some of the ways to get more engagement out of different social media platforms? 1:01:07
  • What’s the future hold for Felicia? 1:03:52
  • What are Felicia’s favorite 3 books? 1:06:31
  • Something under $100 that has changed her life? 1:08:32
  • What advice do you hear parents giving advice to children that she says is bs? 1:09:18
  • How can someone be a difference maker in their community? 1:14:15
  • … and MUCH more!

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.



How to Write a Speech in 5 Minutes:

Networking at a Picnic:

Funny Outtakes with Joel Comm:

Felicia on her Success Rituals:


how to make friends online

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!


microphone logo

How to Get a Microphone Logo: My Mic Flag Design Writeup

In observance of the 4th of July, I wanted to keep today’s post relatively short. I know a lot of you are busy and doing fun things today. Hanging out with friends and loved ones.

You might call this an ironic post as well, because on a day where it’s the “in” day to be patriotic here in the states, I’m talking about a flag.

But – it’s not that kind of flag. It’s a mic flag.

What is a mic flag?

Keep reading.


The Story of the Mic Flag

As you guys know, I wrote up a full writeup of all the software and hardware that I use to make my podcast back in three separate posts. My goal with those posts was to give you an “inexpensive” way of starting your own show.

I only spent money where I knew it was important to do so. The biggest purchases I made was the software (Logic Pro X) and my mic – an Audio Technica at875r. For the most part, everything else was done with price in mind.

I also tried to use Pat’s tutorial as supplemental info in my tutorial so that I didn’t have to create the wheel. I figure his is such a great tutorial – and it’s what I started with – why change it?

Here are those posts:

There was one thing that I was missing, however.

And that was a mic flag.


What is a Mic Flag?

If the term mic flag is unfamiliar to you, you’re not the only one. I didn’t know what it was called either.

It’s the little thing that sits either on a mic itself. By itself, it looks like this:

However, you might be more used to it the way that Pat and John Lee Dumas use it:

pat flynn mic flag

Smart Passive Income Podcast Mic Flag

JLD Mic Flag

Entrepreneur on Fire Podcast Mic Flag


Well, considering I don’t have a handheld mic, I figured I’d opt for the “above the mic” location.

But where to get it?


Getting a Mic Flag

So, 80+ episodes into the AoL Podcast, I finally decided to get one. Why? Because I’m tired of not doing Facebook LIVE events because I don’t feel ready. This was just one more thing on that list to do before I felt ready.

So where was I going to secure one similar to what Pat and JLD used?

Well, let’s Ask Pat!.

So on one of his recent Ask Pat! LIVE shows, I asked him who the maker of his mic flag was.

His answer: Impact PBS.


Choosing the Right Size:

Getting a mic flag through Impact PBS is pretty amazing. Their customer service “liaison” (at least that’s what I’d call her), Ellen, is probably one of the main reasons why people recommend them. She was very careful and precise in making sure I got exactly what I wanted.

We emailed a few times back and forth about the sizes of flag I might need. In fact, she even dug into their archive to find out what size Pat had – who he’s had his flag since 2012 – if not earlier!

We ended up opting for the 2.5” x 2.5” after I emailed Pat about how much clearance he has on his “mic mount bolt” and the bottom. Which he ended up sending me this image to actually show me:

pat flynn mic flag

The great thing about asking Pat something is that you don’t have to ask him through his podcast. You can simply just email him. He seems to almost always respond. Maybe because I’ve emailed him off and on throughout the years. Maybe I have my own inbox?? Haha – one can believe, right?


Designing the Flag:

Anyway, once I chose the size of the mic flag, I had to create the design for it. If you’ve ever designed business cards, this is a very similar process. You get a template, work on it in your preferred image editor (mine’s Photoshop) and upload it to the site.

In this case, Ellen emailed me the template which I used to make three different sides. 1 of which would be used twice.

Impact PBS Mic Flag Template

2.5″ x 2.5″ Mic Flag Template

Mic Flag Side 1Mic Flag Side 2 and 4Mic Flag Side 3

Once I was done, I resubmitted the Photoshop file back to Ellen through Dropbox. She removed the black lines and sent me a proof of what it was going to look like.

Impact PBS Mic Flag Proof

Impact PBS Mic Flag Proof


After a few consent forms and paying just under $70 (with shipping), my flag was being made!


Receiving the Mic Flag:

It wasn’t even a week later by the time they were made and I got my package in the mail. I think I ordered on Monday the 26th and got them on the 29th? Pretty amazing turnaround, I have to say!

Anyhow – here’s the final result:

NI Impact PBS Mic Flag Side 1 and 2


Oh, and I also received a thank you letter and some chocolates! How awesome!


Considering it was the last of June, they turned out pretty good! 😉

It all tastes the same, right?


Action Step – Getting a Mic Flag?:

If you want a great product to add brand recognition to your videos (live or otherwise) without you having to mention who you are, mic flags are the way to do it. They just give a more professional effect!

I can’t be any happier than I am with the final product.

Check out Impact PBS if you want a great mic flag (high quality plastic!) that you’ll have for years to come!

P.S. In case you noticed, I have opted to get a Heil PL-2T mic boom since my original podcast posts. I was able to score it for essentially half the price from eBay. If you can find it – go for it. I love mine.

how to get bitcoins

How to Get Bitcoins: A Beginner’s Guide to Cryptocurrency

Naturally, I’m an investor. Going through my 20’s and now my in my 30’s, I’ve always tried to find things to pour money into that over time would yield me a larger income.

I think I started this way back in my teen years when I played video games that allowed me to buy ingame property that would continue to give me money over time after buying it.

Thinking about that, I believe what pulled me into reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad was that I could understand what Robert Kiyosaki was talking about. However, I made a dead stop when he said that you need money to be an investor. And that the smart way to build up that money is through building a business system.

At the time I was a college student, and I didn’t really have spending money as what I earned was going to pay my tuition and rent.

So, I put the idea on hold and continued my formal education – eventually wanting to come back to investing – someday – when I had that spare money!


Someday Happened

Soon after I got out of grad school, some of you might know that I got involved with a series of startups. One thing that you probably don’t know is that I when my mom passed suddenly in 2010, I got a significant inheritance. With that inheritance, I was able to 1.) help get those startups going a bit more and 2.) learn more about and improve myself as a person. One of those startups is America Multisport where Maria and I still contribute to in several forms – including this past weekend where we’re always found at the events taking pics.

I full heartedly believe that it’s been because of this inheritance that I’ve had the luxury of time where I’ve been able to learn about topics that most people don’t get the chance to learn about. I understand what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck because that’s how I lived all throughout my college years – you just don’t have time to really explore.

And, that’s kinda the point of this site; it’s to give you all insights into what I’ve learned along this journey! (Thanks to David Anderson for helping me realize I needed to tell you guys about this part of my past. I haven’t really known what to do with that information.)


Be Prepared…

Anyway, knowing that someday that I would get an inheritance – albeit I didn’t know it would be so soon and as big as it was – I had to be prepared. I knew what I wasn’t going to do with it – blow it all away like some who just won the lottery might. However, I also knew that I wasn’t going to be a miser and just sit on it either.

I was going to invest it into long term, mid term, and short term options.

So, looking back, I ended up with these choices:

  • Long term investments were annuities, index and mutual funds.
  • Midterm investments included the startups and individual publicly traded stocks.
  • And short term investments included CDs and… cryptocurrency.


Yes, I know – I need to get involved in real estate. I’m simply not at that point yet!

Here’s a tip – if you ever find yourself with a large sum of money, the worst thing you can do is let it just stick around as a liquid asset or spend it. Make sure you get it invested correctly so it can continue to grow for you. This is the biggest difference between those that earn a lot and live well for the rest of their lives versus those that earn a lot and end up broke.

So about cryptocurrency…


What the heck is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is simply a form of currency that is purely “internet money”. Wikipedia defines it as a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank.

Ever since I heard about Bitcoin in 2009, I knew I wanted to get started – but I had no idea how. At that time, the best way to get started was to be a miner – but I didn’t know where to look to even begin with that.

That’s where I stood for quite awhile – until I started hearing how much of the world is really starting to pay attention to Bitcoin as a low barrier way to invest – similar to investing in gold or silver.

Remember what Robert said about investing? He said that investing was for people who already had lots of money to invest, right?

Well, while this might be true for most investment situations, it isn’t necessarily the case for cryptocurrency – Bitcoin included. In fact, you can start investing with as little as a few dollars here and there and start a pretty good ball rolling. (In fact, that’s about as much as you’d want to use in one sitting because really – this market is highly volatile – it goes up and down quite regularly. So only spend “Las Vegas” money when you’re getting more.)

Unlike stocks, you can buy fractions of a Bitcoin. So instead of sinking a certain amount on one share of TSLA stock, you can use that same money to invest in different forms of cryptocurrency – and as low of dominations as you like.


Forms of Cryptocurrency

how to get bitcoins

You’ll see in the above image, I’m participating in 3 cryptocurrencies in this portfolio: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. There are of tons of them out there. (Just to note – I started this account back in May and only bought $25 per currency. So not bad performance thus far!)

Here are 6 you should know about. But there are many more.

Here’s Wikipedia’s collection where you can find out more about them including Dogecoin.

Here’s the thing. There are some that are regulated. And there are some that aren’t as much. Stick with the ones that are regulated such as the three above – and you’ll be good to go.


The above image is from a wallet called Coinbase.

I’m currently checking it out as an alternative to where I’m currently keeping mine: bitpay.

Before you buy your first “crypto-coinage”, you’ll need a wallet to keep your stash. Again, just like cryptocurrencies themselves, there’s plenty of options to choose from. And just like anything else, there’s yearly writeups in which is “best”.

So far I like Coinbase and while bitpay is open source, I like Coinbase’s ease of use.


Using Your Funds

So sure, you can save your crypto-coins indefinitely just like you can with traditional stocks. The difference is you’re allowed to use them for payment as well.

In fact, more and more businesses are starting to accept Bitcoin online and offline. SpendBitcoins  & Spendabit has list of places that accept Bitcoin around the world.

Here’s a long list just in case you wanted to see more examples at once. Or if you want a short list of 8 major retailers – here you go.

And for us creative folk, there’s a specific reason we should take interest in cryptocurrencies. We can use them to pay your VA’s around the world. Just make sure that they can get a wallet tied to an account where they can retrieve their payment! 😉


Action Steps: Getting Started Yourself

So now that you know theoretically how these cryptocurrencies work – how do you get started again? Here’s how:

  1. Find a wallet. Perhaps go with Coinbase if you’re in the US. Seems to be pretty straight forward. It reminds me a lot of Paypal.
  2. Setup payment methods. Just like Paypal, you’ll need to connect and verify payment methods. Paypal is an option itself.
  3. Buy any or all of the three options there. (If you want to get more options – you’ll need to find another wallet! Just make sure they’re “on blockchain”.)
  4. Buy low/sell high if you’re in it for prospecting.
  5. Spend as you see fit – knowing that the banks aren’t following your buying habits!

After you’ve gotten started, keep learning about the future of this technology called blockchain. If you’re really into tech, here’s an article I picked up via Wired that dives deeper into that side of things.

If you want to go at a more conceptual level, here’s two great TEDx videos I saw last year:

How the blockchain is changing money and business

How the blockchain will radically transform the economy.

And be sure to keep me posted as you discover more about cryptocurrency and blockchaining. It’s really interesting how it’s developing and changing!

performance coaching

Marc Mawhinney – Performance Coaching for Coaches – Learning How to Make a Living as an Online Coach (AoL 091)

They say that any good professional coach is going to have their own coach. The reasoning why is that iron sharpens iron and it’s good to have that  accountability of growth. This is especially true if you’re working directly with helping other people grow.

I learned of this when I was first getting into the John Maxwell Team back in 2011. As I look back now, we were lucky enough to have a coaching mentorship program.

There’s other large names that provide this service as well. For example, co-host Clay Green is a Certified High Performance Coach through Brendon Burchard. BUT – the thing with with that is that you have to have gone through High Performance Academy to be part of that.

To be frank, I hadn’t actually met anyone that specifically was helping other current coaches get better at just coaching.

That’s where today’s guest, Marc Mawhinney, is really starting to make a name for himself as being a coach’s coach.

Having started his newest business, Natural Born Coaches, he has amassed a heck of a following on Facebook with over 6000 people adding themselves to his group in a short couple of years.

Besides having a great niche to work in himself, Marc is also the host of a podcast where he brings on other folks who can help coaches get better at their craft too.

In our conversation today with Marc, Al and I discover how he ended up doing this work in the first place, what he really helps other coaches with, and some nuts and bolts about how he’s built his business including his Facebook group.

If you’re wanting to be a successful coach in a particular field, then Marc is a great guy to know.

Thanks for listening, and enjoy the show!


  • How’d Marc get started in Real Estate? 8:28
  • How did Marc make the transition from real estate to coaching? 12:50
  • What does Marc help his clients with? 15:51
  • What kind of things does his programs specialize in? 18:51
  • Why does Marc send daily emails to his list and believe it’s ok to do so? 20:46
  • Where does he get the inspiration for the content he shares in his group and his emails on a daily basis? 23:52
  • What’s some keys in starting a good Facebook group? 28:52
  • Did Marc have any influences in how he built his group? 32:27
  • Why did he personally opt to go with a podcast instead of doing videos on YouTube? 34:03
  • What are some of the cornerstones that a successful coach uses to build their business? 39:53
  • Three teachers who have helped Marc get where he’s at. 43:25
  • Hardest thing that he’s ever had to say no to? 44:13
  • What’s something that isn’t as bad as he thought it’d be? 44:51
  • What’s a service which doesn’t exist he’d gladly pay for? 45:28
  • What’s it mean to live a life of abundance? 46:03
  • … and MUCH more!

Right click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.



Lesson from Matthew McConaughey:

Testimonials for Marc’s “Your First 5 Clients” Program:

Marc on Growing a Coaching Business through Online Courses:

Vanessa Talbot’s Q&A session with Marc:

performance coaching performance coaching performance coaching performance coaching

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining us again this week. Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The AoL Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and we read each and every one of them.

If you have any questions feel free to email them over via the email mentioned in the show or by our contact form.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud, and/or Google Play Music. It’s absolutely free to do so.

A huge thank-you to you guys for joining us!


live your dreams

How to Live Your Dreams: A Definitive Guide

Whether you call it living off your passion, living your dreams, or simply working your mission, it’s no secret that if you really want to be successful in life, you’re going to have to do what satisfies you.

Those that find that satisfaction in a traditional job (where they’re working for someone else) are increasingly becoming the minority.

A Forbes article in 2014 showed 52.3% of Americans are unhappy at work. Sure, we’ve been climbing back up since 2010 – but when you look at the entire picture, we’ve been on a slide since 1987.

This said, it’s simple to understand why more and more people are opting to work for themselves. It’s the one way we can control our day to day working lives.

However, there are certain questions that come up time and time again when starting on this path.

In this guide, I’ll be looking at some of the most common concerns folks have when starting out with their first business and everything you need to get over those humps yourself.

Let’s get started.

Chapter 1: Passion is Optional – But it Helps!

There are two people that many people think of when the term passion is discussed. On one side, you have Gary Vaynerchuk, who says that if you want to stick with a business through the thick and thin, then it helps to have found your passion before you get started.

On the other hand, Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame says that many of the folks that he’s talked to over the years have found out that they’re good at doing a certain job. After doing that the job for awhile, the passion follows.

For me, I’ve come to the conclusion that passion is nice to have. BUT – it’s not everything.

Find Your Mission

What is everything is an idea that David Anderson shared in his TEDx talk. He says that we need to have a mission in our life. Figuring out what this mission is for ourselves is truly how we’re going to succeed in whatever we do; we’ll make our career decisions based on that mission.

Now, to to find that mission you’ll have to put some time in and try some things out and see if you like them. You can’t just say “Oh, hey, yeah – I like to do <insert cool thing here>. You’ll really have no idea.

It’s important to go take dumb action, or what I like to call it, perform self-experimentation. You need see what you like to do, and then mold your mission around what you’ve learned from that action.

That’s really what you should be doing in the first 20+ years of your life: testing the waters. I believe that’s why many kids who have guided their own homeschooling properly are set up for success. They get to figure out what they like to do as opposed to formal education telling them.

I found a great guide to help you find your passion/mission. It’s over at Live Your Legend. Back in 2012, Scott Dinsmore (RIP, buddy) wrote about The 3 Simple (& Absolutely Required) Steps to Doing Work You Love: Live Your Legend’s Passionate Work Framework. This was one of many tools that I’ve used to find my own mission.


Chapter 2: How to Start a Business without a Degree?

They say that experience is the best teacher. So I make it a point to pay attention to people who have results that I want.

I’ve been doing this since college because I learned back then that there are definitely folks who teach things that they have no experience at. There were professors who taught business, even though they had never left academia. It was pure speculation or hearsay that’d they use to power their courses.

Likewise, in the rest of the world, there are people who never graduated college who are some of the best business teachers.

Recently I’ve been learning more about Russell Brunson and his Clickfunnels empire. In his new book, Expert Secrets, he wrote about how even he had the imposter syndrome early on. But now, 10 years later, he’s considered by many to be one of the big experts in online business!

Unless you’re going to start working with something that is highly specialized and regulated, then yes, you probably should get training before hand to do it. This would include some doctors, lawyers, dentists, construction, trainers, engineers, etc.

While not all of these require the same amount of education, they all should know what they’re doing before they get started.


Just in Time Learning

just in time learning

As a Creative, it’s important to practice Just-In-Time Learning.

Now, if you’re starting a business on something that doesn’t require previous education to get rolling, then you have the ability to be only one step ahead of the people you’re trying to serve.

In fact, when you’re getting going, that’s probably as far as you want to be. Because if you have much more, you might overload your brain with information you might not be ready for.

The way to do be only one step ahead of the folks you’re trying to serve is called Just in Time Learning. Note: You can also apply this method of learning to anything in life, not just what you’re helping clients with. If you’re looking to build a new skill, then practice it then. If you’re learning how to be more social – that’s a great time as well.

Note: If you’re interested in learning things quicker, then you should check out Jim Kwik.

His most recent interview I heard of his was with Jordan Harbinger. But he’s also been on the School of Greatness and other podcasts. If you like what you hear there, check out his show here.


Chapter 3: Is a Business Plan Needed?

When I was still studying at Purdue’s Burton Morgan Center, one of the things that came up again and again were business plans. In fact, it became so popular that there were business plan competitions. I’m sure there still are.

Truth be told, unless you’re partnering up with some folks, whether as co-founders, investors, or key clients, then you’re not going to need a traditional business plan.

However, what you’ll need to do is make sure you have focus and clarity in what you’re actually helping people do.

A resource I wanted to share with you guys is something our friends over at Fizzle put together.

It’s called the Business Sketch Template.

Fizzle’s Business Sketch Template


Business Mission Formula

Also, for the times when you need to express what you’re doing in a summary format, you can use the Business Mission Formula.

In this post, I shared a formula that goes like this:

I help X (your “niche” audience): _____________

Do/Understand Y (something you’re good at helping people with): _____________

So that they can Z (a benefit your audience would want): _____________


Which then, for me, I turned into:

I help aspiring and veteran entrepreneurs, artists, and experts

Discover, share, and monetize their life’s work

So that they can live a lifestyle they’re truly proud of.

Not only do you get a simple mission, but you also get an elevator pitch that you can share with others about what you actually do.


Wait, There’s More!

One more thing that I want to share with you guys from Fizzle is this awesome post where they shared 10 Steps to Start a Business. It’s a good follow up piece that I think you need to consider when starting your business.

Fizzle’s 10 Steps to Start a Business


Chapter 4: How to Know When It’s the Right Time to Start

Check out Kate Erickson’s Perspective on why you should start NOW

There is no right time. Period.

Ok, so those of you who know me, might realize that this is something that I struggled with for years. It never seemed like it was the right time until… it wasn’t.

I finally started working on New Inceptions full time when I decided to leave my post at AMS as a day to day content director.

Now in my second year of development, I’m almost 100 episodes into the AoL Podcast and have just as many (plus a few more) blog posts.

I feel that I’m finally in the creative groove – that I’m no longer experimenting.

In fact, there’s been some local opportunities that have started to pop up because of my continual focus.

That said, had I moved onto another job right after leaving AMS – or something that took up my creative time (like teaching a ridiculous subject to college kids) – then I wouldn’t be as far as I am.

If you’d like more perspective on this topic, Kate Erickson over at EoFire did a great write up of this topic.



Chapter 5: It Takes a Lot of Money to Start.

Live Off Your Passion

LYL’s Article on 6 Money Myths when Starting a Business

Actually, you couldn’t be further from the truth on this one. Some of the wealthiest entrepreneurs I know of started with nothing.

Take Dane Maxwell, known for starting The Foundation (TF), for example. The dude practically taught folks how to start businesses for free – it’s just knowing how to do presales and coming up with a really REALLY good idea for a business.

Of course getting the training from TF wasn’t cheap – but the knowledge that I got from there is practical to just about any idea out there.

There’s a post over at Live Your Legend that I thought would be of benefit to you if you’re struggling with this part as well.

In the post, Leah Hynes and Nazrin Murphie talk about 6 Myths that relate to money being a problem when it comes to living your dreams.


Chapter 6: How to Scale the Manpower of Your Bootstrap Business

Will It Fly book summary

Check out Pat Flynn’s Book, Will It Fly, If You want a Step By Step Procedure of Starting a Business

There are two beliefs which are very predominant in the psyche of new entrepreneurs. Either they feel they need to hire a staff right away to do what they’re doing or they feel that they have to do everything.

Here’s the thing. While you can, you don’t have to raise big money to get that business off the ground.

If you’re just starting out, you can just start out with a bootstrap business – which might be just yourself.

If this is the route you choose, then you really need to start knowing yourself well.

Who you are and what you’re capable of.

If you can make an income from providing value on your own, then scaling is going to be much easier.

So, test your idea.

Is that through being a consultant first? Then be a consultant. Perhaps it’s through being a freelancer in some other way?

Perhaps it’s through being a teacher, or one of the other 9 archetypes.

But find out if your thing, whatever it is, can actually support itself. If not, you can adjust easier as one person than you can as a “startup” with a team of people.
From there, that’s when you can start thinking about getting help as you start to scale your services.

Start Small

At first when you do get help, start small.  Starting with a VA is probably the best choice you have if you do online work.

You might be wondering, how will I know if I need help?

If feel there are two ways to know if you need help.

  • If the work that you’re doing over and over is something you could teach a high schooler to do in a week or two, then it might be time to find that high schooler.
  • If the work you’re doing doesn’t lie in your creative arena. Then that might be a sign as well.

If you answered yes to either one of these, then it might be time to think about getting some assistance.

If for some reason you don’t think that your budget would warrant bringing someone on, even as a VA, that’s ok.

Don’t forget, as someone who is running a lean business, bartering is an option. While it can be somewhat of a headache, it’s totally possible.

Or, perhaps there’s a college near you who has some students who might like to get internship experience.

Don’t overlook these other opportunities.


How to Not Get Superman Syndrome

For years, Pat Flynn would hire random VA’s to help him do some work here and there. But it was pretty sporadic.

After repeatedly being told by his friends that he needed to have a more permanent staff, though, he finally took the plunge and started Team Flynn.

Today, Pat is one of the biggest proponents of getting help as soon as possible. It has taken his business to the next level.


Chapter 7: You Don’t Have to be the Next Gary Vaynerchuk – #Anti-Hustle

Back in 2016, Gary really started making a big name for himself. His videos were everywhere. In fact, they were so well known that to many in the online entrepreneurial space, that mostly everyone thought that if they weren’t living and breathing their business all the time, then they’re not going anywhere.

Eventually, even the Fizzle Squad had to come and answer this issue:

Here’s the gist, though. If you’re not enjoying the rewards of your work, then you better LOVE the work you’re doing. Even so, there’s a thing called burnout. That’s a place you really don’t want to go – believe me.

In Gary’s case, I really believe he gets satisfaction of his 24/5 grind. It’s 24/5 because he doesn’t work on the weekends. In fact, somewhere I heard him say the reason his accounts go dark over the weekend is because that’s when he spends that time with his family.


Action Steps

So, there you have it. 7 different concerns that keep people from pulling the trigger all answered.

I hope that does a good job of answering them for you. If not, I’d love for you to comment below or shoot me an email.

If you don’t have any further questions, let me know which one(s) you had to deal with before you finally decided to get started.

P.S. If you want more info about starting your own business and want to get to it right away without wasting time, check out my FREE eBook, the 6 Cornerstones of a Successful Business.