Crushing it on Youtube from Vancouver with RaginNation – GHS 22

Alex Yu is a Vancouver Videographer who is crushing it on Youtube with his interest in nerdy comic book topics. With a combine Youtube following of 83k  subscribers on his Youtube channels, 9000 instagram followers, and 17800 facebook there is sure a lot to learn from Alex.

I asked him some specific questions as a Youtuber myself. I wanted to see what his strategy was to monetize on Youtube as well his production process in 2016. We also dove into what gear he uses for Youtubing and Freelance videos.

On the freelance side I asked him some business questions such as pricing and how he gets new leads for Vancouver video customers.

RaginNation Facebook Page

RaginNation Youtube


Some nuggets from this Interview include:

  • Social media interactivity – Interact with your followers
  • His gear and software setup for Youtubing & wedding videos
  • Even with a large following on Youtube you can’t rely on it for a full-time income in Vancouver

Greg Hung show podcast on itunes

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GHS #18 Earl – Journey from tech support to Vancouver Millionaire

Earl is the first millionaire I had the pleasure of speaking with on the Greg Hung show. We both worked at Crystal Decisions back in 2005 and I was curious to connect with 11 years later to chart his journey from tech support to millionaire. During my trip back to Vancouver we met in downtown Vancouver for a short but interesting chat.

Canadian burger lunch thanks @earlflormata

A photo posted by Greg Hung (@greghungshowdotcom) on


What you will learn

  • Using a technical problem solving approach to breakdown the path to million dollars
  • The importance of building a system and building instructions so others can do the work for this system
  • Why it is essential to focus on a few things to get deeper and differentiate yourself
  • Earl’s most valuable advance to Canadians and others wanting to start a business


Earl’s Linked in

Earl’s Twitter



Where to Live & Work – Vancouver Living Guide for Expats and Digital nomads

So you made the decision to relocate to Vancouver. If you’re an expat, international student, digital nomad or new to the city then keep reading. Vancouver is a beautiful city on sunny days especially when there is still snow on the mountains. There are few cities that can compete with its natural beauty. It offers world-class winter sports, high standard of living, beautiful nature and international foods. Vancouver is also an expensive city to live and cold and wet for most of the year. If you’re looking for a cheap city to live then you’re better off looking at other countries in Asia.

I’ve lived in Vancouver for over 23 years, but have lived abroad in Asia for the past 2 years in Taiwan and Thailand. I’ve visited Vancouver two Holiday seasons for a row during that time. This trip I’ve been here for over two and a half months so I wanted to write this while the experience is fresh in my head. I’m 37 and I’m not a backpacker. I’m an ex corporate guy who is used to certain comforts like a steamroom, leather chaise, a convenient apartment located close to the Canada line and the seawall. Staying at a hostel is not an option for me. My style is value comfort.

Best time to Visit?

Vancouver is often ranked highly on the livability surveys. What is doesn’t measure and is not often talked about is the weather. You can expect long cold grey rainy days with short daylight most of the year. The best time to visit is between April and September when the weather is sunny at a comfortable 23-27 degrees Celsius. During this period Vancouver can be one of the best places to live not factoring in the expensive cost of living. If you want to enjoy beautiful views with snow on the mountain you may want to visit in March. Its still cold and wet, but you can expect a few sunny days where you can get great photos.

Vancouver Living Guide for Expats, Digital nomads,
Science world Vancouver near Olympic Villar


Where to live for long term stay

Vancouver Living Guide for Expats and Digital nomads,
BC place








Even though my family lives here I’m often asked “Why didn’t you stay with your family? Well there is no room so during the last couple of years I’m in a similar boat as you except I have local knowledge. Vancouver real estate is extremely expensive with costs in desirable areas like central Vancouver, Downtown, Burnaby, and Richmond going up since 2005. The rental market is also expensive. The location depends on where you will spend most of your time. Most of Vancouver’s businesses, International school and entertainment centers on Vancouver downtown. Downtown is easy enough to walk to most destinations, and has a decent transit system. Within downtown, waterfront areas like Coal Harbor and Yaletown are highly sought after. I’ve lived most of my time in Vancouver since 2009 living in the Yaletown area of downtown. It is a modern trendy area that is central to the seawall and parks, the Canada line, good restaurants, and the business and shopping district. It is also at the edge of downtown right across from central Vancouver so it isn’t far to commute to the City center or Richmond. Another area I would recommend is Olympic Village. This area has developed nicely since the Olympics and offers similar benefits to Yaletown, but is a newer community and is just outside of downtown. You can also look for rooms or basement suites anywhere that is walking distance to the Canada line. Some convenient Canada line stations include City center station, King Edward, Oakridge, Langara, Marine Drive station, and Richmond center.

I was lucky to stay at an Airbnb for $30 canadian a night. I managed to find a private room with shared kitchen and shared bathroom in a new house near the newly developed Marine drive Canada line station for $30 Canadian a night. I ended up paying $365 Canadian for 12 nights, which is incredibly cheap. A good option if you were staying a week or 2 in Vancouver. I could have booked longer, but there weren’t many reviews and it ended up getting booked up for months after I booked my room. I consider myself lucky.

If you needed a longer term more comfortable option to stay you can search on craigslist. You can find a basement suite in a Vancouver suburb for about $1300 Canadian. The problem is that the majority of landlords want 6 month to a year leases. These places are unfurnished and you’ll end up spending hundreds more to get set up with your essentials.

If you are living here for 1-3 months most likely you’re going to need something fully furnished, wifi, and central. There are not many options here in Vancouver. If you google short-term accommodation your top results will be the Standard, The Lex, and Rentwithconcert. Those apartments cater to corporate executives that have afford to have their companies footage a 3-5k a month bill.


I was fortunate to find the new GEC Student hotel. Don’t let the name fool you this used to be the best Western Plus hotel converted into short-term hotel accommodation.

The suite is located at Granville and Drake at the foot of the Granville bridge on the downtown side. This area used to be a bit seedy, but I can see it has gentrified. Downtown Vancouver is small, but the funny thing is you can be in shady area one minute, and a nice condo residential area the next. Try to avoid Granville street at night especially on the weekends. I recommend taking Seymour or Horny for a more pleasant walk.

The suite is a fully furnished studio with wifi. It has a 40 inch lcd, private bathroom with a shower and hot tub. The desk is solid with a nice view looking up the entertainment district of Granville with a view of the mountains. In my second month I upgraded to a studio with a kitchen and king sized bed. It is also a downgrade in terms of the view and a lower floor.

A so so gym area with hot tub is on the rooftop. The seawall is a 3-4 minute walk away, and the Canada line is 8 minutes walk away. There are bus stops right outside that can take me anywhere in downtown or even to my parents. This is a good lifestyle for a month or 2. It doesn’t come cheap.

The cost

Studio $1450 cdn

Studio with kitchen $1580

I had a good stay here. The staff and service have been great the past 2 months. The wifi has been up and down, but more than good enough. They have just recently opened up a business center which offers computers and printers. They have a decent fitness center, parking, sauna, and laundry. In short everything you need in a convenient location.

Where to work from?

This section is for the Digital nomads and location independent workers that work from a laptop.

If you’re looking to find work in Vancouver I can offer deep knowledge as someone who built a 13 year career in Vancouver. For 5 of those years I worked as a manager where I was hiring people for a company. I’ll share knowledge about that in the Vancouver living guide.

Vancouver offers a lot of coffee shops, cafe/restaurants, and public areas with free wifi.

I recommend trying to use your apartment or room as a home base. This is where you can do the majority of your work and have access to everything you need. This means somewhere with a desk, solid wifi, and power. I also look for a large screen tv with HDMI access for video work or playing movies from my laptop.

The room at the GEC hotel served as a good base, but I needed to get out once in a while and find high speed Internet for uploading.

I’ve worked out of coffee shops like Starbucks Marine drive station. Although it ticks all the boxes it’s got too much in and out traffic for me to relax. This is good for a couple of hours. I’ve also worked at the Starbucks across from the downtown Library. There are 2. I worked at the one further west on Robson.

The downtown Vancouver library offers workspace and free fast wifi. In late 2015 it made a major upgrade by introducing the Inspiration Labs on the 3rd Floor. This facility offers rooms, computers, and equipment you can use to content. This means sound proofed recording rooms for podcasters, musicians, online teachers, and even computers with software to video edit. They even offer a green screen recording room where they offer a camera and lighting to create a professional production.

 Vancouver Library Inspiration Labs

Vancouver Living Guide for Expats and Digital nomads
Inspiration labs recording room

I’ve also worked from the Inspiration labs at the downtown Library. The recording and sound rooms have been a great resource to create some high quality content. The Wifi is super fast in the work area within the Inspiration Labs. I’ve been able to reach close to 85 mb/s upload speed. The rooms allow you to use equipment like lighting, condensed microphones, greenscreen, and sound mixers. In the hands of someone who has some knowledge like myself you can take full advantage on this free resource. Thanks to the Vancouver Library. This resource was one of the reasons why I decided to extend my stay. I’ve even developed a content schedule to make the most of my studio time. The one drawback is that this library also attracts a lot of bums and the bathroom can be disgusting. You often have to ask someone else you can trust to watch your things while you run to the bathroom. The best workspace is by the tables with the video editing computers. This space serves it’s purpose and is free. If you can obtain a library card the library offers free access to the online learning resource called Lynda. This is an excellent free benefit and I suggest you use it.

Co-work Spaces

In general there are a growing number of co-work spaces located in Gastown area. They don’t generally offer daily or weekly rates, but start with monthly rates start at $300 Canadian. Some of the names I came across included Hive, Suite Genius, Werklab, nd Kickstart (International Village mall).

My freelancer friend had a daypass to the cowork space called HIVE located in gastown

Hive was a decent work environment. The hotdesk area where I was sitting was busy. The wifi was solid and it’s a trendy design with different workspace areas. I worked out of the hot desk area. There were other areas for fixed desk workers. The vibe was fairly quiet and people kept to themselves. There was a mix of solo independent workers and some groups. It’s a comfortable work area with a kitchen if you were to fix yourself a lunch and a lounge area. There are plenty of options around the area such as noodle box or subway.

They had a couple of phone/skype booth areas for private conversations. There is a sustainable theme where they attempt to provide a contribution to the community and the environment. There were plenty of racks for people that commute on bikes. In short I found this to be a solid establish option if you were in need a co-work space in Vancouver.

Cafe’s and Coffee Shops

Urban Fare (Olympic Village)

This grocery store/cafe chain has a modern lounge feel with plenty of desks, food, wifi, and beautiful views. You are footsteps away from the seawall and the popular Craft Beer Market


Vancouver living guide for expats
Working at Allegro Cafe in Wholefoods

This café is centrally located near the city center Canada line location. It offers everything you need and some good priced happy hour wine and beer. My favorite Vancouver beer Four Winds IPA is sold here. It’s also located within the Whole foods store should you wish to do some shopping after. After you’re done work you can find any convenience store you would need from post office, liquor store, restaurant, electronics store, or drug store. It’s fairly busy so it’s not the quietest place to do work.

 BC’s best coffee (Near Granville and Drake)

This hidden gem offers plenty of comfortable seating and marble desks space if you like to stand up and work. It’s not that busy and offers everything you need. I like it because it is spacious, has all the essentials and isn’t too busy.


 Roundhouse Community Center

I actually haven’t worked here,but this is the community center that serves Yaletown residents. If you can find a desk here you can benefit from free wifi and work here for a couple of hours. It’s close to the Yaletown Canada line and is close to the seawall if you want to take a walk.

 Waves Hastings locations

Vancouver Living Guide for Expats and Digital nomads
Waves is modern with all the essentials, but busy with students


Waves is a coffee chain that offers everything you need. The coffee is average, but the location on hastings was a good location to work from. This is close to SFU and international schools so you might find many students studying out of this location.


Gas town and Yaletown remain the trendy district that people like to go to hang out. I enjoyed a drink at the Oxford and even the local chain restaurants like Earls, Milestones, and Cactus are still strong bets for a good night out. Granville Street is the entertainment district and is home to a lot of the clubs and bars that appeal to the younger crowd.

Tarantula spider eating digital nomad in Cambodia – Skype video

Tarantula spider eating digital nomad in Cambodia

Yes that’s right. Traveling, coding, and eating a Tarantula spider in Cambodia. Today we have a special guest Nigel Fish, a Vancouver digital nomad in Asia on “ghunglive”. I met Nigel in Taipei thanks to the introduction from my Taiwanese friend Serena in 2014. I credit Nigel with taking me deeper in the world of the Digital nomad and making me realize that I myself have become a digital nomad. Nigel is the first digital nomad that I’ve met in Asia actually from the same hometown.  While I prefer to use Taiwan as a base and take less frequent trips to nearby countries in Asia, Nigel is more “nomadic” as he travels more frequently than I do. The truth is I would love to more freedom to travel like Nigel.

Why should you watch this video?

  • Catch a glimpse of Nigel eating a Tarantula in Cambodia
  • Learn more about the life of a Canadian web developer who makes a living traveling and working from different countries
  • Get useful insight as a digital nomad in countries like Thailand, Cambodia, and Taiwan
  • Learn about the type of digital nomads Nigel has met in Bangkok meetups
  • Hear about Time Zone Freedom – The idea of not being chained to a 9am – 5pm schedule. Nigel is able to do sightseeing in the day and do some work at night
  • Digital nomad essentials and useful resources
  • How regular working people can get started into the Digital Nomad lifestyle
  • Talk about visa allowances for Canadians in Asian countries
  • Payment systems that are used to get paid over the Internet
  • Bitcoin chat
  • Way to meet people on our journey’s using Meetups and tinder
  • The idea of becoming a Digital indefinitely


My takeway

I think it’s great to meet people like Nigel that are not just talking about being a digital nomad, but that are actually living the lifestyle. He is so optimistic about giving it a try that it actually inspires me to push on.  Nigel touched on the lifestyle stuff like green space and going for a run in Cambodia. I think its important for Digital Nomads to take into account the lifestyle that a city offers other than just cafe’s, low cost of living, and the Wifi availability. In Taipei I can go to the local sports center gym for 50nt for ($1.98 cdn, $1.59 US) for an hour or run at an Olympic style track for free. You can take out a U-bike rental with the Easycard to the riverside for an hour or two for less than $1 US without any sign-up or insurances hassles. What is the transportation and convenience like? Do you need to take a taxi to get to space that  you can run? Do you need a car? In Taipei I can take the MRT just outside my apartment for 1 station and be at the track in 7 minutes.  Everyone has a different lifestyle. Perhaps you like having a larger house in the suburbs with a car and commuting to work and back for an hour each day is your lifestyle.

Getting paid over the Internet as a digital nomad in a foreign countries has some issues. For me receiving money through paypal means I get his with a fee from my domestic bank and the local bank here costing me about $25 US for each withdrawal. I also loose some money in the conversion process. I’m not sure what the best solution is yet.

Lastly the idea of being able to get a business visa in Cambodia and being a digital nomad indefinitely was very interesting. Not having to worry about visa issues really does open up new possibilities to setup shop in Asia.

Digital nomads any thoughts or comments on this episode?

This was my first Skype video interview that I setup from Taipei while Nigel was in Cambodia. I hope you enjoyed this format, and if you enjoyed it please sign up for the newsletter and comment below!


Resources and links from this show – follow Nigel and his adventures in Asia on his microblog

(eCamm Call Recorder on the Mac) – I used this trial software for the Skype video interview. I believe it was free for 1 week. It worked out great and was easy to use

DIY Video guy – Caleb did an excellent tutorial on the eCamm software and the idea settings to use – app that you can use for off-line maps when you have not internet on your phone. I can imagine very useful!

Nomadlist – A good general ranking of cities for Digital nomads ranked by city. Take it with a grain of salt as I find the cost of living for Taipei to be highly inflated – I’ve been hearing more about this site for business instant communication. Nigel mentions this as a way connect with the digital nomad communite

How I built an Internet business without a large audience

Greg Hung. SFU MBA  Ex IT manager from Vancouver. Aerial Video producer and Digital Nomad in Taiwan learning Mandarin

How I built an Internet business without a large audience

I studied Chinese until the end of February and then took time to work on my business. I started teaching English in Taiwan during this period to give me more time to figure it out. During this time I discovered Internet Entrepreneurs like Pat Flynn that were providing the motivation and advice that I was looking for as an Internet Entrepreneur. For me this was a huge to realize there were like-minded people that were sharing great advice that I can relate to. The problem was that they encouraged the growth of an email list or an audience. I only began to set up my site to do this last month. I took stock of my audience across platforms.

General Vancouver mail list ~ 1000

Chicvoyage travel Email list: < 50

ghung twitter 110 followers

chicvoyage twitter 67

chicvoyage youtube 136 subscribers

chicvoyage fbook 261 likes

google plus chic 11

pininterest 19 followers

I know these are low numbers, but I still managed to build an Internet business . How did I do it? I used platforms and marketplaces with a built-in audience. Pond 5 is a market place where contributors can license their video clips off the Internet. Graphic design firms or media agencies can come here to purchase video clips for their video projects. Teaching platforms like Udemy are a place for students to come to learn from independent teachers that are teaching anything from IT certifications to yoga. How did I fare on these platforms and marketplaces. Well read on…

One of many video clips I have licensed over the Internet. This one was shot at the Kruger National Park in South Africa

In July 2014 I began to have some success licensing my videos over the Internet. The industry term for this is called Stock Footage. With Stock Footage I consistently reached $500 US (622 CDN) a month. In July I also discovered teaching courses on-line in September and that also become a regular income stream contributing about $100 US (124 CDN) monthly. In Canada this may not seem like that much, but in Taiwan living costs are cheaper, and because of better public transport there is no need for a car. It was motivating to begin to earn my income off the Internet passively and I began to think there may more a lot more potential here.

In September I had 2 video courses, and released a 3rd in October. In December I released a 4th course before going to Vancouver. Writing on Amazon kindle books also became a new revenue stream as well as a outlet to write about my personal travel journey’s. I released 4 books on New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa with the Taiwan Working Holiday in the works.

How I built an Internet business in without a large audience
I began to teach courses on-line like this one

At the end of the year I spent time to film new footage in Vancouver and make upgrades to my websites with a goal of building an audience. The Chicvoyage Travel will focus on Internet entrepreneurship, travel and the Digital Nomad lifestyle in Asia from a North American perspective. Chicvoyage Productions will focus on showcasing my video portfolio, how-to tutorials, and to showcase the stock footage collection. I also did my first paid talk in Vancouver as well as some Entrepreneur interviews and realized I really enjoy doing this and would like to do more of it.

How I built an Internet business in without a large audience
my old downtown apartment in Vancouver 2011

These years of being an Entrepreneur has been a humbling journey.  I lived a good life by Vancouver standards. I had a good job, downtown apartment, and a nice car. I now live a more simpler life, but still good lifestyle in Taiwan. After returning to Vancouver it was great to see my family and old friends after my longest time away from home. However I felt I must return to Taiwan and Asia to accomplish my goals. I want to learn Mandarin Chinese and build my Internet business.

How I built an Internet business in without a large audience
My simpler convenient apartment in Taipei Taiwan


How I built an Internet business without a large audience
2014 milestones as a digital nomad

Summarizing 2014

Going into 2015 the plan is to scale what I’ve done on a larger scale. I realized that I scrambled and hustled to get things done at the expense of quality. I would like to put more time into fewer things in 2015 and focus on providing better quality products. Here is a snapshot of my passive Internet Income.

Lessons learned in 2014

    • I should start focusing on building my own audience on my blogs
    • Although my Chinese is not fluent conversational yet, I made a large improvement in my Mandarin Chinese in terms of speaking, reading, and typing
    • I reached a new level of confidence and independence from being able to build a new life in a new Chinese speaking country on my own
    • I discovered people I can learn from on the Internet through useful blogs and podcasts from other Entrepreneurs
    • I made an Internet business in 2014 without a large audience that has room to grow!
    • Because Internet business allows you to reach overseas customers from a lower cost country this could allow me to combine with the best of both worlds. Earning American money from a low cost environment.

Resources mentioned in this article

(some of these are referral links where I may make an affiliate fee for clicking on them. Thanks)
Pat Flynn – success Internet Entrepreneur and coaching and teaching many on the Internet
Udemy – learn from instructors on the Internet
Skillfeed – One of the 2 platforms I teach to earn an income on
Shutterstock – one of the sites that earns me an income licensing my video clips on their marketplace
Pond 5- one of the sites that earns me an income licensing my video clips on their marketplace

How I earned $99 for my first paid talk in Vancouver using Eventbrite

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.

How I earned $99 for my first paid talk
Some of the sales from Eventbrite


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.

Tools used

  • 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
  • – 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.

The Venue

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!

The Date

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 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.

How I earned $99 for my first paid talk
The Facebook Cover page I designed in I placed all details in the graphic
How I earned $99 for my first paid talk
The offer for the original event



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.

How I earned $99 for my first paid talk
The Facebook event page created by Eventbrite led to 1 sale and confusion


How I earned $99 for my first paid talk
a sample of the Eventbrite’s analytic’s


This is a slide share of the chat.
If you want to go deeper and want to see the 47 minute high definition video of the talk click the button below. Thanks
Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 11.28.08 PM
Buy the video

How to create, market, and sell organic Granola at Wholefoods

How to create, market, and sell organic Granola in Western Canada
How to create, market, and sell organic Granola in Western Canada
The Granola girl

Today you’re in for a treat . This is an audio interview that I did during the holiday season in Vancouver. April Tioseco Bellia is the Granola Girl. Today she teaches us how to create,market, and sell organic Granola at Wholefoods and other large chains in  Western Canada. She is the creator of an artisan organic granola sold in 250 stores including Whole foods ,Urban fare, and London drugs. I enjoyed hearing from a seasoned Vancouver business owner with a physical product in well-known stores and I’m sure you will lots of value during this episode and get a sense of her passion for her product. Thanks to my sister Candice for the introduction.

Part 1 of 2 Cliff notes

  • She had 12 years in the wedding cake business before starting Granola girl
  • Enjoyed creating her own work schedule
  • Student introduced her to Wholefoods. Whole foods supported local business and was the potential first customer
  • Distribution through Overwaitea food
  • London Drugs gave Western Canada and on-line distribution
  • Whole Foods approval process took 3 months and required persistence and relationship building
  • Approached other businesses while waiting for Whole foods to approve product
  • Believes in putting energy into one company. Many things in place before she could start the business
  • Financing – It can be challenging for new companies starting out to raise funding. Line of credit was a low interest rate
  • Banks – Catch 22. Want to see a one year track record. Vancity credit unions might be more lenient to startup’s and females, but high interest rates
  • Marketing strategy – collaboration with community focused on girl empowerment and female self development. Encourage customers to share with their friends
  • Being an Entrepreneur can be lonely so she created her own fun tea group that consisted of her target market
  • Business with a message – not so transactional based. Business referrals are based on people that you get along with. Getting to know people first on a personal level and business is secondary
  • Social media – Facebook was used a quick way to share announcements and events. Not used to hard sell. She’s interested in the quality likes.
  • Facebook business page use in Taiwan – trade free products for likes.
  • Twitter – like a public instant message. April uses it to find similar businesses due to the grouping feature. Businesses more accessible sometimes.
  • A lot of competition – April knows her competitors and clearly knows what makes her product different

Making sense of it all

April’s strategy of using Whole foods as her first customer was an intelligent choice. They are a well-known name that I’m sure helped attract other stores to distribute their product. Whole foods also supported local products so April acted on this information from her student. Her marketing strategy is interesting as she tries to collaborate with the local community and tries to encourage customers that like the product to act as her ambassadors. April mentioned that being an entrepreneur can be a lonely journey. I could really relate to this being an entrepreneur myself. A really creative idea that April had to deal with this was to create her Tea party group with her customer market. She made it a fun event and she used the feedback from her group to help with input into the product. Genius. She also touched on the importance of building relationships before business. This is so different from my early days in Asia at least in networking situations where it seems that relationships are built in a transactional manner. Business cards are often exchanged before even having a discussion for a minute. Her use of Twitter is interesting. Using it to find other people and businesses she can network with in her industry. Her Facebook page she uses mostly for the convenience of announcing events opting instead to build quality likes instead of chasing people.

Part 2 of 2 Cliff notes

  •  What is the message behind your business and what does it stand for. Why?
  • A quick way to think when doing business. SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats, and Opportunities
  • April knows what she is good at and thinks to hire a specialist in her industry rather than take it on herself
  • Has not thought about selling over the Internet yet because she has a physical product and she herself does not shop over the Internet
  • The WP Touch wordpress plug-in is a quick win to mobilize your site
  • Many people are not happy or healthy because they are not happy at their jobs
  • If you don’t try you will have regrets. Follow your heart. If you fail. Fail fast.
  • Starting up do your research, but don’t stall. Try and fail fast.
  • Have your finances in place before you start business. What is your plan B
  • It is difficult and people won’t support you because they don’t understand. The naysayers are the voice of reason. Don’t dismiss them completely especially if they are your spouse

Making sense of it all

It seems that businesses in Vancouver have begun to shift from just doing business as a transaction and evolved to focusing on what does it stand for. What is the why? Why am I working on Chicvoyage Travel. I think to be honest the idea of starting my own business made me feel alive and gave me a sense of purpose. I knew what I was passionate about and I after heading from Steve Jobs, Oprah, and countless successful people that that following your heart is the key. I enjoy travel, sharing, and the freedom.  April talks about being honest with yourself. When you go to the office are you slowly dying inside? Are you affecting your mental or physical well being.  Finally I think some great advice to do some market research, but don’t stall too long from taking action. When y0u realize your idea is not working don’t fail slowly. Fail fast and move on.


WP Touch – A great wordpress mobile friendly plug-in. Used on this site.

The Granola girl website

Urban Fare – a great market/cafe for digital nomads in Vancouver. Free Wifi and great good. Look for the April’s organic granola while you’re there.

Ted X – Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

Taiwan Working Holiday – Event Dec 15th Vancouver

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.

Taiwan working holiday
The talk in Yaletown Vancouver

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




Lessons learned from this experience

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

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full version

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.