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Michael O’Neal hosts “The Solopreneur Hour” – a Stitcher Award nominated podcast that recently hit the 1 million download mark just 10 months after launching. It also happens to have generated a $250,000 revenue stream in that same 10 month time frame! Michael has been “proudly unemployable” since 2005 and now he helps other solopreneurs follow that same road. Michael shares a ton of great information on today’s show including the steps he followed to build such a $250,000 revenue stream in less than a year!
Blue pill or red pill?
“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.
“You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I’m offering is the truth, nothing more.” — Morpheus
At 1’30” Michael and I get into how being unemployable is a “one way street” and that at a certain point, like Neo in the Matrix, you take the red pill and you can’t go back. We both share the exact moments where we “took the red pill” and realized that was it – we would never work for anyone else again.
The 3 Freedoms:
At 6’05” Michael talks about “the 3 freedoms”:
- Time freedom
- Location freedom
- Financial freedom
The first two are east – it’s the third one, financial freedom, that scares people and makes them stay where they are (or take the blue pill to continue the Matrix analogy).
Find out why Kate was such a stereotype bad manager and how she helped make Michael’s decision easy! (It sounds like a Dilbert cartoon situation!)
When Michael left in 2005 that was the last “job” he ever had.
The theme of being unemployable
Since then “being unemployable” has become a recurring theme of Michael’s life and he certainly never set out with the idea of building show about it.
Michael stresses that there are a million ways to build a business around something that you’re passionate about given all the online tools and opportunities we have today to build a platform – which is what gives us our business.
Massive Imperfect Action
Don’t concern yourself too much with the “how”. Just take action! If it’s important enough for you then you’ll figure out the “how” as you go along. Endlessly researching things and obsessing about getting everything perfect is almost always nothing more than an excuse to avoid getting started…
That keeps them “safe” – if they never start they can never fail. It’s also how to stay exactly where you are in life. Take massive imperfect action and correct course along the way – that is how you will succeed.
Getting your brand right
One important caveat to taking imperfect action is that you must get your brand right – people must know what you stand for and what you sell.
Also, if you’re doing any kind of show or podcast then make sure that your audio quality is good otherwise people won’t listen.
“Hit and run”
On August 10th 2013 – just before he was about to launch his show – Michael was knocked off his bike by an SUV in a hit and run. As well as nineteen spots of road rash and a broken collarbone Michael hit his head hard and things were “a little sketchy for a while.”
Nonetheless he decided to go ahead and launch, which he did on August 23rd. This meant he was eligible for the Stitcher Radio Awards and Solopreneur Hour got nominated for “Best New Show 2013” along with four others.
This propelled the show into the spotlight and wouldn’t have happened if Michael had used the hit and run as an excuse to delay the launch. Plus things turned out okay and Michael was able to keep getting the show out three times a week. A million downloads later Michael’s drive has definitely been rewarded.
The power of momentum
In fact, it’s more than a million. The show hit the 1 million mark after 10 months. That was a month before we did this interview. In the one month since hitting a million the show has done an amazing 302,000 additional downloads! Talk about the power of taking imperfect action and the momentum it gives you!
BTW, did I say that if you want to succeed you need to take MIA – Massive Imperfect Action?!
Monetizing his podcast
As a solopreneur Michael has an “innocent until proven creepy” rule on Facebook. In other words, he accepted lots of friend requests as a way to help build up his platform. What this meant was that when he launched his podcast he had a platform of over 4,000 friends to promote it to.
One of the first ways Michael monetized his podcast was by presenting a free audiobook download offer from Audible.com to his listeners. The listeners would benefit from getting a free audiobook and Michael would get a $15 affiliate commission. It wasn’t big bucks, but it helped to cover the cost of the podcast. (BTW, if you’d like a free no-obligation audiobook from Audible then click here.)
$250,000 a year in income!
- At 25’58” Michael explains how he monetized his podcast to generate a $250,000 income stream
Once the podcast got to 1,500 to 2,000 downloads a day Michael knew he had enough listeners to create a mastermind program, which he called SoloLab.
Michael started talking about it in October and then scheduled forty Skype interviews with interested prospects. SoloLab launched on December 5th for $297 per quarter and made Michael $3,600 in its first few days.
It’s now $497 a quarter and has 71 members. Just in case you’re interested in the math… 😉
- That’s $35,287 per quarter…
- Or $141,148 per year!
On top of this Michael also has a number of private coaching clients at the $500 and $1,000 per month level.
Add to this the podcast sponsorship from two sponsors per show and Michael now has a $250,000 per year (and growing) income stream all on the back of the success of the Solopreneur Hour podcast!
And he’s done this after just 10 months! Sweet 🙂
Michael interviewed his prospective SoloLab members for two reasons:
- To find out exactly what they wanted from a mastermind
- To make sure that he only accepted action takers
The result is that SoloLab has a really high engagement level. Much more so that if Michael had charged a lower price or even if he had charged the same price, but split it out monthly.
To check out SoloLab and watch a short video from Michael about it go to IwantSoloLab.com
Becoming a “celebrity”
I asked Michael how having the podcast had helped position him. Already he is a speaker at the Podcast Movement conference in Dallas. And at Comic-Con in San Diego this year Michael realized that instead of worrying about hard to get tickets he could have gone either as “talent” or as “press” thanks to his podcast.
He’s also been invited to some of the event VIP parties and once there felt “worthy”. Oh, and he’s recently taken his first private plane flight as a guest on a trip to Napa Valley!
Michael uses using Songza.com to provide ambient music really helps him to tune out distractions and increase his productivity. It has a great “concierge” feature that allows you to choose the right kind of music for the activity you’re doing.
Recommended online resources:
- Michael uses RiteTag.com to find the best hashtags to use on Twitter
- He is also a huge Evernote fan
Michael’s “Sexy 6” books:
- “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki
- “The Cashflow Quadrant” by Robert Kiyosaki
- “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss
- “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael Gerber
- “Strengths Finder 2.0” by Tom Rath
- “Crush It!” by Gary Vaynerchuk
“Virtual Freedom” by Chris Ducker
Michael states that if you read these books in order they will change your life. Having read five of them so far I will second that recommendation.
Here’s that Audible link again if you want to get one of them as a free audiobook download and listen to it in your NET time (which stands for “No Extra Time”).
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How to connect with Michael