As a Videographer and Entrepreneur what can we learn from Food Youtuber Mark Wiens, based out of Bangkok Thailand? Mark started posting regular food videos about street food mostly in South East Asia in 2011. This is long before the vlogging gained popularity. 7 years later he has well over 1.7 Million subscribers, which has made him very successful in the travel food space and earning a good living. I’ve studied Mark and these are some of the key tips I think we can learn from him:
Get the right gear to produce videos and focus on a niche (In this case food travel videos in Asia)
Post consistently good content. Mark posts videos twice a week
Be interesting and passionate in the videos and smile a lot
Use your large following to monetize on products like merchandise. Mark sells his red pepper logo on his own line of hats and t-shirts
Mark has given me inspiration to create more Youtube videos consistently and trying to incorporate my love of food in my videos. He is also currently living in Bangkok with wife and a kid. I think he is a great role model for travel videographers today.
Check out the Podcast for more of my thoughts on Mark’s success.
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Cebu Phillipines – Gregs Guide for Digital Nomads & Travelers
Since relocating to Asia in 2013 the Philippines has been on my radar. I heard of the beautiful beaches like Boracay and more recently the more unspoiled island of Palawan. However my trip research revealed bad and expensive flights and I had the impression it was an unsafe country.
First a bit about my Digital Nomad background. I’m a Travel Videographerthat has already lived in Taiwan for 2 years before relocating to Thailand for over 3 years. I’ve already traveled deep in to Asia, which you can read about here.
Cebu is the most populated island in the Phillipines and is often the place most visitors want to go instead of overcrowded and dirty Manila. I actually haven’t been to Manila this is just what I heard, and I don’t have a strong desire to go there. I heard many good things from Filipinos from Canada and in Asia, Japanese, and vloggers like Lost Le Blanc.
After traveling here I can tell you that Cebu has a lot to offer and amazing experiences. Highlights include swimming with whale sharks in Oslob, seeing the Tamulog waterfalls, daytrips island hopping, and eating amazing food like chorizo sausages, mexican food, ribs, pulled pork, legit burgers, legit pizzas, italian food, legit phto and even Japanese Wagyu BBQ. The craft beers and wine are often cheaper than Thailand and in most of Asia. As someone that has developed into a foodie I can say that you can really indulge at more reasonable prices compared to Thailand.
Getting into Cebu
In December 2017 I met a french digital nomad in the Hubba cowork space in Bangkok that told me that Phillipine Air had opened up direct flights from Bangkok to Cebu. I decided to give it a try. Roundtrip flights take around 4 hours and go for about $320 us roundtrip. The flight times are not that great so you may be flying late arriving early or flying late and arriving late. On the positive you can can skip going through Manila all together.
How did I like Cebu
I stayed 6 days during the Sinulog festival. Sinulog is one of the largest annual festivals in the country. It meant that accommodation prices and availability were higher than normal.
Overall I enjoyed my stay. There is a lot of natural beauty to see from the paradise islands to the whale sharks. You would need months or longer to really explore Cebu. I really enjoyed the international foods at good value. There are a lot less tourists than Thailand so you may be able to enjoy an island paradise all to yourself.
I wasn’t impressed with the downtown areas in Cebu City as they are dirty and crowded. You do see a lot of poverty and dirty areas. The IT park and Ayala Mall Terrace are the nicer areas to spend your time. I got a couple of chances to get out of Cebu city. We did a whale shark and tumalog waterfall day trip, which was a once in a lifetime experience for me. It gave me a preview of more gems to explore if I were to stay in Cebu longer.
The people in Cebu are nice. Their english was not as strong as I thought it would be, but they can understand you at least. In my opinion there is a lot more poverty outside of the bubbles of IT park and Ayala. Because of this you can feel a bit of desperation from the locals that I don’t feel in Thailand. Generally I feel safe, but not as safe as I do in Thailand. i wouldn’t want to leave my laptop in a cafe and go for lunch like some do in Chiang Mai or Bangkok.
We managed to try out living in IT Park, one of the better areas in CEBU to live. It is an enclosed area with condos, upscale restaurants, shops, and coffee shops. Everything you need to be comfortable and live in a bubble. I also stayed in the island of Mactan, close to the airport. The roads were not as good, and the actual building was old. The entire room was renovated to a modern western standards, and it was interesting to live outside of usual expat bubbles.
I’m just doing a mock monthly budget for myself based on my trip costs and lifestyle. All prices are in US.
Studio Accommodation with wifi in IT Park 24000 pesos ($471 US)
Fancy Coffee 3600 pesos ($ 71 US)
Daily Western Breakfast 6000 pesos ($117) (Western breakfast obo 200 pesos)
Sim Card 800 pesos (obo $16 US) 1.5 gb data goes for 100 pesos.
Transport 9000 pesos (obo $176) Based on 300 peso transport budget. trips vary from 100-300 pesos
Cowork space hot seat member 4000 pesos ($79) Based on Tide coworkspace
Lunch & Dinner 18000 pesos ($354) Western meals with 600 peso daily budget
1 hour Massage 1200 pesos ($24) weekly 1 hour massage
Weekend Drinks 2000 pesos ($40) 500 peso weekend budget craft beer 240, local beer 80, wine 120
Monthly Projected Budget
$ 1348 US 68,549 pesos. This may seem a bit on the high end. Keep in mind this is just my rough budget. Everyone has a different lifestyle. We could make adjustments to the food, transport, and cowork space and bring this down about $200 US to 1148 US. You can eat local meals, skip alcohol, and take local transport instead of ubers all the time.
Would I recommend CEBU for Digital Nomads?
There are already a few digital nomads, but it is nowhere as popular as chiang mai or bali for community. I would recommend Cebu for a visit or a visa run from other Asian countries. There are some decent airbnb options to stay at short-term from $20-40 US a night for a good private apartment. It is harder to access local pricing unless you do what is considered a short-term lease for cebu (6 months). If you do a 6 month studio lease at the Avida towers with utilities and wifi you are looking at around $500 US a month
The Internet is not as reliable or as fast as Thailand. I suspect that uploading video would be frustrating living here long term unless you work from a cowork space. I did hear there are some areas that have access to Optic fiber.
My friend Kevin has opened a cowork space called Tide in IT Park; however I didn’t have a chance to check it out unfortunately. From my perspective Cebu could be an interesting place for a Stock footage Videographer or Vlogger looking to capture beautiful scenery.
Getting around was pretty easy with uber, grab, local taxi, and motorbike taxi.
The Internet is good enough for nomads not doing a lot of high bandwidth uploading. The Tide cowork space offers high speed Internet of 50mb up and down. I don’t think there is an established community or co-work space scene in CEBU yet, which is why my friend opened his cowork space to fill the gap. Cafes I went to gave me the impression that free wifi and outlets were a lot harder to come by than Thailand. If this is your thing you may want to try Bo Coffee or Starbucks (they have a 1 hr limit though and it’s often crowded).
Surprisingly, there are not a lot of foreigners I saw. It feels like CEBU is a bit more of the wild west compared to Thailand. While there are as many foreigners as Thailand, locals are comfortable and friendly to foreigners.
There is a lot to do and enjoy in CEBU. This is a good lifestyle to be enjoyed and CEBU has a lot to offer. I easily see people wanting to come here for a visit or even stay up to a month. The amazing indulgences, low prices, english friendly, decent accommodation options, whale sharks, and amazing sites make CEBU an amazing draw. My recommendation is to come for a short visit and see if you like it before committing for a month. I’m also writing this from the experience of a visitor so if I lived here for longer I would have more insights.
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In this 4 part video series I’m going to chat with Johnny FD about Chiang Mai and Taipei digital nomad lifestyle. If you read the current blogs on the web in 2015 and recent years there seems to be a consensus that Chiang Mai is the digital nomad capital of the world. Some of the factors include the low cost of living, weather, great food, and large digital nomad community. Taipei offers most of these benefits as well to varying degrees including friendlier visa policies. After my interview I came to the conclusion that the largest difference between the two was the lack of a digital nomad community.
My research about the Chiang Mai lifestyle led to me finding Johnny FD, and American who came to Chiang Mai and built his new life and business.
As March and April are the 2 months to avoid Chiang Mai I managed to connect with him during his visit to Taipei for a 4-part series video interview filmed at the Maker Bar.
I will be traveling to Chiang Mai during April/May 2015 to sample the lifestyle first-hand in Chiang Mai.
In the interview some of what you will learn are:
• Drop-shipping business model
• Cost of living prices of Chiang Mai and Taipei for apartments and foods
• Comparing Taipei and Chiang Mai as ideal destinations for digital nomads
• Where to get cheap flights from Chiang Mai to Taipei
• Food tips in Taipei and Chiang Mai
• Talking about co-working spaces in Taipei and Chiang Mai
• Visa-runs in Chiang Mai and Taipei
Please sign up to receive links to the 3rd and 4th videos as well as great footage and posts on Chiang Mai after my visit.
Resources for Chiang Mai and Taipei Digital Nomad lifestyle
I’ve heard about the value of creating a vision recently from Arnold Schwarzenegger on the Tim Ferris podcast. I thought I would give it a shot and try to have some fun with it. At the beginning of most years I have written something in my journal or evernote, but rarely look at it again. I thought I would put into blog format to share with the world to see if it works out differently this year.
Link to the podcast with Arnold Schwarzenegger & Tim Ferris
Jan – Mar 2015 Scale business for Stock Footage & On-line Teaching $3000US
I plan to work my butt off to continue to build on my Internet foundation putting my time into the Internet activities that are generating revenue: Stock footage and on-line teaching.
I plan to scale the stock footage business by optimizing skills and leveraging my existing collection on more stock footage agencies like Pixta, Dissolve, 123Rf, Videoblocks and Stockgiant. I would like to find the 3rd and 4th stream that pays consistently to compliment Shutterstock and Pond5.
I would like to continue to build the video library. The Pingxi Taiwan festival and Tokyo are 2 major opportunities to introduce fresh footage. I would like to continue teaching courses on-line through the Internet with subjects that I’m familiar with. A new course “How to build a successful IT career” was just launched at the time of writing. There are 2 Mandarin based courses in the pipeline that I plan to get ready to launch. I would also like to look at minor optimizations and new content to existing course to bring more value and hopefully. I plan to introduce possible 1-2 more courses before the end of the quarter. One course I really want to introduce is a quality course on teaching people how to fly drones for aerial video and photography.
I also want to begin doing paid talks around Asia teaching people to inspire them to begin their businesses by teaching them how I do my stories. I would also like to connect with more like-minded entrepreneurs. Although passive income is volatile I would like to reach at least $3000 US in passive income a month by the end of Q1 and keep that as a minimum average going forward.
Audience building, Gear upgrades and outsourcing April – June 2015 $5000 US
I would like to continue to build an audience on both Chicvoyageproductions.com by introducing helpful how-to content on producing videos. I would like to carve a niche for producing courses and aerial videos. On the digital nomad blog I would like to share great content on the Travel lifestyle, passive income, and Entrepreneur interviews. I’ve learned how to set-up products and services that I sell over the Internet. I would like to try build some direct sales through my website. I would also like to work regularly out of creative environment like a co-working space as a space to do day to day work, video recordings, and paid talks.
This is the time for much needed upgrades. I plan to upgrade my drone and camera gear to make the move up to 4k. I may experiment with different camera lenses to get unique looks. I want to upgrade the hard-drive to back-up the library in the cloud.
Trip to Philippines & outsourcing
I would like to take a trip to the Philippine’s for a beach vacation and relaxation and of course a video shoot. I enjoy shooting the videos, but I would to see if I could find some talent while in the Philippine’s to begin building a virtual team to outsource the stock footage process freeing me to travel in Asia more. I may follow up that trip with a filming food trip to Vietnam.
I return to Taiwan to continue to practice my Chinese. I release 3 new courses on making money with video, Gopro 4, and an updated Drone course and plan the next trip to Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. Using the help with outsourcing I’m able to quickly scale the collection to 6000 video clips and become one of the leaders of Asian footage for 4k and aerial footage. By the end of June I plan to average $5000 US a month.
Plan for q2
Team building, South Korea, Drone Academy, and visit home
July – Sep 31 $10,000 US
I launch the Drone Academy and my own podcast to teach people how to fly drones and build their business. I build my team to include travel assistants from Taiwan to help me with filming and possible teach me Chinese on trips. The next trip is to Shenzhen in China to see what the roadmap is for their products and see if there are any partnership opportunities.
The next trip is South Korea for a filming trip to Seoul and do some paid talks. Next stop is a relaxing stay in Okinawa at the Club Med resort. Kobe is nearby so I take the opportunity to sample the beef and find our more about UCC coffee.
The collection is now up to 10,000 and I am selling stock footage directly to agencies. I take a trip back home to Vancouver for the summer for a couple of weeks. I also do paid talks their sharing the experiences of building a business on-line. I go on a wine trip to Kelowna to film the wineries and enjoy the wine. The monthly income is up to $10,000 US at this time.
India trip, Maldives and more paid talks
Oct – Dec 31 $15,000 US
I take a trip to India to film the footage and enjoy the food. I also schedule paid talks to share what I’ve learned over the year. I end the year by celebrating at the Maldive Islands. Stock footage is now up to $15,000 a month.
Okay well there is the 2015 vision. It may not look like it, but it took a long time to put this together on the blog. Let’s see how this year plays out. Have you created a vision and has it helped your business?
Resources and links from this post
I earn a affiliate income for clicking on some of the links. No cost to you but it helps me out. Thanks!
Once you’re ready to start making some passive income with your videos Pond5 is a great start. Their site was easy to use, upload, and their review turn around is pretty fast. I’ve got my largest collection of videos here and I get paid from this site. I’ve created an on-line video course on “Making Money with Travel videos” if you want the complete process on getting started. The link I’ve provided is an Affliate link so you help me out by clicking the link.
Shutterstock was the second site I started using to sell my travel videos. Once you’ve started to share your video collection on-line it doesn’t take much more time and effort to start selling on another site. Because I choose a non-exclusive model I can sell on this site too. Shutterstock is a public company and has a high Internet ranking so I get paid out from this site. The site is easy to use once you figure out the system and they have a great blog for contributors. The link I’ve provided is a referral link, so if you click on it it helps me out a bit. Thank you in advance.
Skillfeed is owned by Shutterstock so you know that it is backed by a large public traded company based in New York. Skilfeed is one of the platforms I use to upload my video courses. They take care of the marketing and how it works is that after you film and upload your course it accumulates viewer minutes over the month. You will then get paid the following month on the 15th.
Udemy is the the other on-line platform I used to upload and sell my courses. They are more established than Skilfeed and generally pay out more. However, because there is a non-exclusive model you can upload the same course to both platforms extending your earnings per course.
Stitcher is an awesome app and website that is the 2015 version of the radio. I use it to tune into business entrepreneurs and MMA shows. You can download the shows to your phone so you don’t have to stream for later. I find myself using it more often than itunes now.
Meditate for business success like Russell Simmons in Taiwan
Do you meditate or have you thought about meditating for business or personal reasons? Is it all wishy washy, foo foo, or fluffy stuff. In this article I’m going to explore how to meditate for business success like Russell Simmons. I’m going to share the experience of my full-day meditation and what tell you what I think meditation can do for you as a digital nomad and entrepreneur.
I’m a strong believer in a balanced life as an entrepreneur. Although my friends may think I enjoy going out socializing for drinks, which I do. I also try to strive for balance in terms of health and spirituality. I believe as an entrepreneur it is important to have a balanced and healthy life, and to try to evolve as a person.
Recently my friend Serena convinced me to attend a one-day meditation retreat in Taipei. She observed that I had too many things on the go (which I do), and I was making poor decisions and mistakes. I think in today’s world with smart-phones, email, instant messaging, multi-tasking, multi-tabs, and multi-social media platforms I think this is normal life. I think we are surrounded by distractions that sadly I surround myself with. Being an entrepreneur that spends a lot of time checking my phone with multiple Firefox sessions with over numerous tabs open I felt that I could use a digital detox and give my mind a vacation.
I’ve flirted with meditation during my days working out in the Steve Nash gym in Vancouver. They had a meditation class that I would attend and even the Yoga classes would dedicate some time to meditation. I enjoyed these classes, but these were shorter sessions. Serena introduced me to the Dharma Drum Mountain group in Taipei. They offered free half-day meditation sessions, which I tried once. It was a good experience, but I found myself falling asleep a lot and didn’t get much out of it.
I decided to skip a Friday night out drinking and get some decent sleep. This retreat was scheduled for 9am on a Saturday in the North of Taipei near Qiyan MRT。A group of 24 of us were led to a large modern temple. As I looked at the schedule I was expecting a 3-hour commitment, but saw this was going to a 9am – 5pm affair. “I don’t do this this often, but I should. I’m here so I might as well make the most of it.” I thought. Besides they offered a free vegetarian lunch.
We went to the grand hall. A large impressive space and what appeared to be a large Buddhist statue with 24 meditation mats facing it. The décor was impressive on each side of the statue. I think there about 2000 mini illuminated Buddhist statues. The meditation mat had a firm round cushion and we were given a towel. We were forbidden to use cell-phones, talk, or wear shoes inside. It was quite a structured day. For example, right side for men and left side for women.
The master was dressed like a monk and she gently spoke on the microphone to instruct us in English. We started the first meditation session. I crossed my legs, closed my eyes, with hands facing upwards resting on my knees. I was ready to reach my blissful state. There was no “ohming” or yoga music. Just silence. At first I was worried I was going to get bored just sitting there for 8 hours. Being in this space with these 23 other people put me in the right mindset to take this seriously. The master told us to get comfortable “not to get attached to the wandering thoughts” to “put them down”. We were here to let go of the garbage in our minds. Sounded purifying to me. It was very quiet and still except for the occasional scooter sounds outside. As I closed my eyes my mind started to wander from thing to thing. Constantly I would just try to blank out my mind. Think nothing. Simple. “Be still” I told myself. I think the session was about an hour. Surprisingly the time passed very fast. I actually got 6 hours of sleep the night before unlike the others so I would only sleep for short periods during the hour meditation.
We had 3 of these sessions throughout the day. The interesting thing was that various thoughts would pop in my mind during the day. Some of them were creative ones or solutions to problems that I had. I didn’t want to loose them. Since the goal was to put the thoughts down I would imagine I had a mental version of Evernote and park these ideas in my mind for later. We ended each session with light self-massage and stretching.
I’ll share one example of a creative idea or solution that I put into action.
Connect laptop to my 32-inch LCD TV.
I have been working from my apartment a lot lately. Since I work on a 15-inch laptop screen I’ve been interested in saving up to purchase a larger LCD screen. Having already window-shopped for monitors I know they start out at 5000nt or $157 US. I just don’t think it’s a priority at this point so I didn’t do it yet. Besides if I were to travel more buying more this wouldn’t be able to go with me. During the meditation I envisioned my work desk with the laptop connected to my 30 inch LCD TV screen. Brilliant I thought. This would be making good use of the resources I already had. When I got home I relocated my work desk in front of the TV and moved the coffee table. My gosh! the desk was the perfect height to use the TV as my external monitor for my laptop. This is going to make reading and working on the laptop so much enjoyable for my eyes. I had a couple of other ideas throughout the day that I’m looking forward to putting into action. It was an AHA moment to get a creative idea from meditation, do it and have it work out!
I thought this excerpt from Successful Hip Hop Entrepreneur Russell Simmons Entrepreneur.com’s article was spot on.
When you sit quietly and let your mind settle, all the innovative, inventive and inspired ideas that have been hiding out in the depths of your mind are going to begin to bubble to the surface.
We did other interesting type of meditations. We did a walking meditation where we walked slowly and in a clockwise direction. We meditated with out eyes open. We were reminded to adopt a feeling of gratefulness. We should be grateful that we are healthy enough to walk. I think gratuity is a great mindset to adopt. Instead of trying to think of things that we don’t have we can be thankful for the things we already have, but take for granted.
The lunch meditation was interesting. Women and men were separated across the dining hall facing each other. Men sat side-by-side as did the women. No talking was allowed and we were instructed to focus on chewing our food 30 times to enjoy it. This was an interesting experience. Usually when eating food I’m talking to someone or if I’m eating on my own I study Chinese or use my phone. This exercise forced me to focus on enjoying the food. “How voluptuous, big, and juicy the mushroom looked” I thought. It tasted great btw. How green and perfectly shaped the green beans were cooked an opened so I could see the beans. I don’t see any business application to this exercise, but I think it is good to be aware of what you are eating.
We also went outside to do what was called a direct contemplation. We stopped at a park area and were asked by the master to look at something in the park. Furthermore, we were asked to ignore distractions such as noise and avoid labeling the first things that would come to mind. For example, when I was staring at a lake I was supposed to stare at it, but not think of it as a thing called “a lake”. I think through practice this exercise could help to train your mind not to make quick judgments on things you see.
We wrapped up by sitting in a circle and sharing our thoughts about the day. Some people re-iterated the importance of getting the body comfortable to allow the mind to settle. One person spoke about how sore his leg was that it distracted him from concentrating on the remaining meditations. My legs would get sore so I would alternate once them once in a while to avoid getting them numb. Many people found the direct contemplation interesting because actually looking at something rather than closing their eyes allowed them to avoid wandering thoughts better.
Overall, with my experience and after reading Russell’s article I believe that there is value of regular meditation. I used to use a nap as my poor excuse for meditation. It is different. In meditation are you still in wakeful state to control your thoughts although you can sometimes drift into a sleep during meditation. The master mentioned that during meditation we learn about ourselves in that we learn what thoughts we might be attached to. She mentioned that we were trying to get to place where we could become unattached. I think there is some parallel if you read Russell’s explaination about how we get caught up in the highs and lows of our professional lives. We try to celebrate the big successes and throw parties and become depressed when we fail. He refers to neither reaction as sustainable as the journey of an entrepreneur will have it’s high and lows. He suggests focusing on the process of work and “not the fruit of our labor.”
I believe that we can learn a lot about ourselves through meditation and in my early experiences of meditation I see it as a way to exercise and control our mind and our mindset. If we can train our mind to be still and reap the ideas that are submerged in the depths of our mind we can unlock great creativity within ourselves.
Personally I don’t think I need an 8-hour 1-day or 1 week retreat, but the goal for myself in 2015 will be to try to make time to do meditation and do it consistently. All the talk of “being still “reminded me of Oprah, arguably the most influential women in the world. Specifically in her Stanford graduation ceremony address I remember Oprah encourages us to take time to “get still” and slow down and listen to our feelings. Could it be that Oprah’s “stillness” prescription and meditation are similar allowing us to literally “tap into our inner power” and reach our business success? Is meditation one of the missing keys I need for business success in 2015?
I’m not sure, but one of the things I am good at is taking action on ideas. The challenge will be to do it consistently. For a digital nomad I’m sure you deal with numerous distractions working on the Internet and your smartphone. You also deal with a lot of change as a result of adapting and living in a new country. I can see how meditation can help you reserve time to help solve your own business problems. It’s also great for learning more about yourself and relaxing your mind. I think the idea of remaining unattached from successful and failures may be something great to strive for; however I do love the thrill of getting a sale from my own products. Perhaps for now this is something for me just to keep in mind.
Stay tuned. What have your experiences being with meditation as it relates to business?
It’s been almost been a month since I left Vancouver and did my first paid talk. I had 10 tickets sold, and I believe 8 people actually attended. I earned 78 US ($99 canadian) in net revenue. In this post I’m going to share how I earned $99 for my first paid talk in Vancouver. There was a friend of mine that attended, but paid me in cash instead of through Eventbrite so this was not reflected in the image. While this is not life changing income this certainly was a small win to earn income doing a talk. I enjoyed the experience and perhaps I could do more talks in different cities and scale it. Let’s look back at how I did it and what you can learn.
While packing for my trip to Vancouver in Taiwan an idea popped into my head. I thought maybe I could do a paid talk about my working holiday experience in Taiwan. I thought as an experiment I would give the Eventbrite platform a try. I remember I had purchased an event ticket here myself for a Phillip Bloom SLR workshop in Vancouver.
Eventbrite – Platform I used to put the event on-line and accept payments
Mailchimp – Used to promote the event to my mail list
Paypal – Used to accept payments
Facebook Page – Used my Facebook page and personal page to promote the event to my social network
Canva.com – Used this for graphic design for my Facebook pages
After I set up the event I decided I would send out an email blast to my Vancouver mailing list. I didn’t yet have a set venue, but I indicated it would in Vancouver and on December 15th. I set up 5 free tickets for friends and I think 10 tickets at $10 US. Within the hour I had an ex-colleague claim the 2 free tickets. After that the remainder of the tickets would trickle in.
I had to jump onto a long flight 20 hour flight from Taiwan to Vancouver and settle in and get set up. I thought I would check on the event when I had a chance. Once I got to Vancouver I had to figure out which venue to hold the event at. There was the meeting room at the condo I was staying at, but that space was too large, had spotty wifi, and required a fee of about $100. I also considered the Wave’s coffee house, but I was lucky the the folks at the Tree Organic Cheesecake coffee shop let me host my event in their coffee shop for free. They even let me use their projector and let me book half of the coffee shop. All they required was a minimum 1 drink fee from each person. Thanks again to the folks at Tree Organic!
Once I had the venue settled I knew I was capped at a maximum of 20 people in the space. We agreed on a date of December 27th, which gave me about 20 days to promote the event. I wasn’t sure if the holiday season would impact the event. My thinking was that it was post Christmas and post-boxing day and a Saturday afternoon should be okay. Click on the picture if you would like to see the original event details.
The event promotion
In the copy of the event I made sure that I listed some bullet points outlining the benefits of the event. I also included some scarcity in there, which was easy as I was only in Vancouver for a limited time and this was the only talk I had planned. I created an event graphic for my Facebook cover page using the awesome tool Canva.com. I put the graphic on my personal and business Facebook page. Eventbrite had a Facebook integration tool that automatically created a Facebook event using my Chicvoyage Facebook page. It created a purchase button that resulted in a sale. I also set the event up on a Meetup page as I already had access to a Meetup membership.
What I thought
Eventbrite did a good job using their promotional tools to help me with the remainder of the sales. It allowed me to change the name of the tickets, price and quantity. I used this to name the regular priced tickets “Early bird tickets” and I sold them for $10. 10 days before the event the early bird tickets were not available, and only “regular” priced tickets at $15 were for sales. Interestingly, I got some good ticket sales for the regular priced tickets. Eventbrite provided some good tools like the Facebook integration, which I used for the event. It provided a WordPress widget tool that allowed me to create a countdown to the event. Eventbrite also provided good analytics that allowed me to see which type of marketing led to sales. It also had an app that had a check in feature that I planned to use to scan their tickets. A great high tech feature, but I had too many other things to deal with in the end so I didn’t end up using it. The actual talk went well. I spoke for about 2 hours, and I was happy with how the Eventbrite platform worked for this event.
There were some no shows from the Facebook page event and the Meetup event. I find that if they can RSVP for free that there is a chance off no shows. I found it confusing for my attendees that RSVP’d on the Facebook page and the Eventbrite. For the people that RSVP’s on the Facebook event they weren’t required to pay a ticket if they didn’t click the buy ticket button. This left me wondering whether people were going to show up at the shop thinking it was a free event.
Other than that this was a good experience. I focused on entertaining and delivering a lot of value and interesting stories. As I mentioned I enjoyed speaking and earning some income doing something new. I hope to do more talks. Thanks to all the people that attended. Do you have experiences with Eventbrite ? I hope that gave you some inspiration into starting your own talk on Eventbrite.
I came for a visit to Vancouver after almost 2 years away. My friend mentioned that our mutual friend Alex had built a full-time business doing video production and a strong social media following using Youtube and Facebook during my time away.
Alex has built a following of 43,000 subscribers on YouTube and 15,1000 likes on Facebook focusing on Transformer videos and reviews. He also owns a local video production company Ragin Ronin productions.
In this video series I will try to unlock some of the keys to success that Alex has had building his video production company and his social media following.
In video 1 of 3 we will talk about some keys to doing well on Youtube, what gear Alex uses, and how he started his video production business. I apologize for the poor sound quality. We ended up meeting at one of the busiest malls during the Christmas holidays so it was super loud background noise that I’ve tried to reduce in post production.
What I found particularly interesting was that Alex said it took 4 years to build his audience. He also stressed consistently with publishing content on a regular schedule, which is an area I could improve on myself. He also shared what gear he uses, but the important thing he stressed was to get started and play with what you have. He also shared how he got started in the video business by volunteering to do videos for free at the beginning. He even managed to get a $200 donation, a $300 donation, and then a $500 donation before deciding to do it full-time. Alex also reviewed that he does the Youtube videos part-time, but the video production also takes the majority of his time. I think this is a good approach doing free-lance video work because the skill of video production is transferable to youtube.
In video 2 we talked about some Social media tactics such as relating social media accounts to post to your Facebook and twitter simultaneously as an example. Alex also talks about whether he uses a script or does he wing it for his Youtube videos. An interesting point Alex makes is that of Social Media etiquette. One example he talks about is not abusing your Facebook friends network by posting content that they didn’t sign up for. That is what your Facebook Page is about.
In video 3 Alex reveals he supports hootsuite twitter as a source of information and supports Youtube cross-collaboration if it is a good fit. Because his Youtube Channel is related to the entertainment industry his posts musts be timely so he has developed a daily routine to gather information. He also impressively posts about 3 videos a week. His number one advice is to be original and do to something you love. What I found interesting is that Alex doesn’t have a blog yet and chooses to focus his efforts on Youtube and the Facebook platforms to build his business. This is evidence that you don’t necessarily need a website or a blog to generate Internet revenue.
I plan to do more of these videos with Entrepreneurs around the world. Please sign up to our newsletter for an update on other videos and for the rest of the videos from Alex.
In my 3.5 years since leaving corporate and returning to corporate I’ve made some mighty failures and had some small wins. It was painful to share my 3 biggest failures as an Entrepreneur, but hopefully you can learn from them and gives me a chance to reflect on what I’ve learned.
What can you learn from my experiences? Outsourcing my website to Odesk – I had heard from my colleagues in my MBA class and the Vancouver startup community about sites like O-desk and E-lance. I decided to shell out $2500 CDN to a company in India to do my website using O-desk. I took my time to carefully research the team and everything. I was even pleasantly surprised by the mockups. After that the project just went downhill. I saw the working prototype and even though I had an assigned project manager there were huge miscommunications. After 4-6 months I saw that I was not going to get my site and I was left my some useless code and files. I eventually decided to get it built locally in Vancouver even thought I knew it would be more expensive. I started by the big names and they eventually referred me to a talented local team called IdeaHack that built me this site.
I could have saved 4-6 months and $2500 CDN by hiring a local team right away. Hire local to where you are.
Your website is your foundation and hub on the Internet. Expect to invest some time and money upfront. It will pay off for you in the long term
Outsource smaller things like a logo not larger things like a website
Putting all my eggs into a MBA Business Plan
Our final MBA project was a super business plan where me and my partner at the time co-wrote a business plan to start a luxury tour company in Vancouver. I left a good job in Vancouver as an IT manager and sold my apartment that was contingent on it being successful. I spent a lot of money on administration and legal costs incorporating and worrying about logo trademarks. The first tour was failure and I realized while doing the first tour there were a lot of things we overlooked as we weren’t in the industry. First, the travel industry in Vancouver is seasonal. Unless you come here to ski the best time to travel here is in the Summer time. The second is that to tie up hotel rooms from a nice hotel like the Fairmont for a tour on a discount you need to pre-pay them and take responsibility for them if they you can’t sell them. This was high risk and not on the business plan we had worked on almost full-time for 3 months.
On the positive side I hired a video production company that ended up inspiring me to combine by existing passion for Travel, which is a huge part of what I do to this day.
Don’t rely solely on a business plan and be prepared to make adjustments if things don’t work out
Have the mind-set of putting our small experiments and investing more time and money into those that work
I would instead try something less risky like try to market and sell and existing tour for another company
Don’t worry about administration costs until you prove you’ve got some sales to prove you have an existing business
I was in a rush to leave the corporate world and start my dream and make big money right away. I was spending lots of money on a website, and camera equipment, rent, and travel. If I could do it again with the wisdom that I have now I would have gone on a working holiday to Taiwan with my camera equipment. Taiwan would give me access to high speed internet and a low cost environment allowing me time to experiment. I would have started listening to podcasts from Internet entrepreneurs like Pat Flynn on smartpassiveincome.com and building up an audience
Don’t be in a rush to change the world so quickly. I spent too much money too quickly and making costly mistakes before learning from others that had already had success
Vancouver wasn’t the right environment for me. It’s expensive, cold, and expensive to travel from. Look at your environment and decide whether it’s right for you. If not access all your options. In my case Taipei, Taiwan is a better environment for me. I’ve got access to low cost living, safe, fast internet, cheap travel, and I can learn Mandarin.
I had an idea to talk about my Taiwan working holiday experience before I returned to Vancouver. I scheduled an event on Eventbrite and was actually surprised once I started getting some ticket sales. After all this was my first paid talk and and an experiment. Once I got to Vancouver I found a great spot at the Tree Organic coffee shop on Pacific and Richards st in Yaletown Vancouver. Thanks for the coffee shop for reserving the space and letting me use the projector. This is a nice quiet coffee shop near the waterfront. After some weeks I started to see more paid tickets and came to the realization that I was actually going to do this talk. I put together some slides on slideshare, but I already knew most of the material I just used it as a reference to keep me on track. I brought out my camera to video record 47 minutes of the talk.
Highlights of the talk
The experience of a Working Holiday in Taiwan and what Taiwan can offer someone in Vancouver
Living in Taiwan
The experience and freedom of leaving a job and go travel the world
Teaching English in Taiwan
Making friends in a new country
Creativity on making your own income through the Internet. Earning a passive income on the Internet writing Amazon kindle books, Teaching on-line travel video courses, freelancing, and selling video footage on the Internet
First this experiment paid off. It feels great that people actually paid to hear me talk. To me that is market validation that I have something of value to share. Second this was the first time using the Eventbrite platform to schedule a paid event and it worked out very well. The third, is that it’s worth it to try and see how it works out. If this talk didn’t workout then it wasn’t the end of the world, but at least I tried. Luckily in this case it did work out, and I already see some things I can improve on for next time.
I really enjoyed doing this paid talk and sharing valuable tips, stories, and experiences with the audience. I would like to do a lot more talks like this around the world as I feel I’ve invested a lot of time especially the last 4 years on experiences that most people will never have the chance to experience. At least they can hear firsthand what is was like to leave the corporate life and have the taste of freedom. I also realize that I don’t really get nervous speaking in front of a crowd anymore. Once upon a time during high school I dreaded speeches. since those days I’ve done so many presentations during the MBA, run many work meetings, and have taught many classes in Taiwan, and talked in front of the camera many times during the past 4 years that I’m just comfortable with it.
If you are looking for another revenue stream and you enjoy public speaking as well and have something of valuable you think others would like to hear then maybe you can try a paid talk like I have.
Video highlights from the event
Here are some highlights of the event. If you wish to purchase the full 47 minute talk in HD just click on red button on the left for the download link.