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How To Break Through An 8-Year Income Plateau To FINALLY Hit 6 Figures | With Stephen Helvig

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What do you do when your income hits a plateau?
Do you…
(A). Give up and move on to a new career
(B). Keep going but try something new in your business
(C). Keep doing the exact same thing for 8 years straight and keep getting the same result
If you chose option C, then congrats, you're probably in what we call “zombie land”.
This is the place where your business is earning just enough to survive, but not enough to thrive.
Our guest this week, Steven Helvig, is a music producer who was in “zombie land” for 8 straight years before he found a way out of it.
Eventually, he went from a stagnating 5 figure income to a steady 6 figure income, and in this episode, he gives us the details of what he did to finally get out of zombie land.
If you've been struggling to break through your income plateau as a freelancer, this episode is the perfect dose of practical inspiration and information to help you break the cycle and grow your business ASAP.
In this episode you’ll discover:
  • The transformation from goal-less zombie to 6 figure studio owner
  • Mindset shifts needed to run a healthy business
  • Why charging more is good for your customers
  • Educating yourself so you can work smart, not hard
  • Hobbyist vs. professional mindsets
  • How niching down your messaging can attract your ideal clients
  • Using the 80/20 principle to eliminate pain points in your business
  • The importance of following up

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[00:00:00] Welcome back to another episode of the six figure creative podcast. I'm your host Brian Hood. And I'm here with a very special guest because this is a guest that is from our own community and has been a part of our community for a number of years. I don't know how many years actually, but this is Steven.

Helvig First of all, say hi to everybody, Steven.

Everybody glad to be here.

Yeah. And so I want to start this interview off just straight from the go here. You spent eight years in what I call zombie land. You did just about everything you can possibly do wrong. Just being fully candid based on our pre-interview. You did things you had like no clear goals when you started, you had no ambitions, no mentorship outside help. and what, from what I gathered from our pre-interview, you had tons of low points during that eight year gap of what I call zombie land.

And you were basically just coasting along. And I, I feel like a lot of our listeners are in this phase of their life right now. So before we get into the story of that eight years of zombie land of just cruising along, maybe not loving your, your career in audio, I want you to tell our audience, first of all, what do you do?

And where are you now? As a [00:01:00] business compared to those eight years in zombie,

Well, I'm a music producer, a studio owner. I do everything from engineering composing to the final music, production mixing mastering kind of a one-stop shop. You know, I would say. That at that eight year mark, I was probably doing like 50 K a year. And now I'm over, I'm over the six-figure mark. And I would say even the first few years after I started turning things around, it was kind of a slow growth.

And then it, it really started taking off in the last five years is where it really, you know, the, the efforts that I started to put in started to pay off, I guess

Yeah. And I, I believe, I can't remember exactly where we came across your story, Steven, but I believe it's in our Facebook community. You had posted something about this and I, and I. Everyone can resonate with this. It's like you struggle for so long. And again, 50 K by the way is no, it's no small fee. Like most people would be happy with that.

But at the same time, like 50 K revenue is not the same as 50 K 50 K [00:02:00] income,

that's correct. Especially if you have a studio of my size.

Yeah. So speaking of which, give the audience an idea of what your studio set up is like the size of it and everything associated with just so we have the, kind of the grasp there.

I'm somewhere in between a home studio and a commercial studio. It is in a home. I rent somebody else's home for my home studio. It's a pretty unusual setup. And fact, the whole studio is the live room is completely underground and it's an old, it was built as a squash ball court. And the control room that I'm sitting in now looks down into the squash ball court.

And the other rooms that I have are converted from like an old rec room. So this house was built like in the late sixties, early seventies, and It was a gym, hot tub room, squash ball court, all underneath the house. It's a really unique kind of layout. Really cool. The live room is, is large. It's 28 feet long, 18 feet wide with 13 foot high ceilings, which is pretty high considering it's a basement.[00:03:00]


Yeah. You know, the whole studio probably is around 1500 square feet of space. So you know, when people pull up, they think, oh, this is probably a home studio, but then when they walk in, they're like, wow, I never would've thought this was

It reminds me a lot of the, the studios you have in Nashville here in the neighborhood, specifically called Berry Hills, which is where a lot of the, the studios congregate in the Nashville area. And so you'll, you'll drive up and it'll just look like a old, like a ranch style home. It was like built in the sixties or seventies, like a mid-century style home and you walk in and it's just gutted and it's got a million dollar build out and it's like, beautiful.

And it's like, what? You would not see that from the outside. So that's cool. So really quick before we get into the story there, give us an idea of that 50 K what was the actual take-home pay back then during the Zombieland years? Cause I'm actually curious if you don't have to share this, but I'm just kinda curious what that actually amounted to.

More like 20 K of take home. Yeah. I

mean, pretty brutal.

for anyone that was like 50 K that's great. Let's, this is the reality. Like families can't survive off of 20 K you're married. Do you have any kids, Steven?

No [00:04:00] kids.

Okay. That, that helps, but all right, so let's get into the juicy part here. So let's start with the point where you actually joined forces with another struggling studio, something like eight years ago.

Can you tell us about that point?

I guess I should clarify a few things I think would be helpful for the whole story is that, So, I didn't start, I didn't, you know, just find an empty house or whatever and build out a studio, you know, I did definitely didn't start from scratch. The reason I ended up with this place is that when I was in college, I was an artist.

I started as an artist and wanted to, you know, I was playing in bands and doing that sort of thing. And I was making like my third record in college and I met a producer that had this studio. He did the build-out and it was the first time working with kind of an established. Producer. And I just fell in love with the process.

And we S we spent a lot of money on the record and a lot of time here. And while I was doing that, I was really picking up, you know, the basics of pro tools and stuff. He would like stop to go make a sandwich. And I'm like, I think I can hit record. I'm going to keep, [00:05:00] I'm going to keep tracking. well, we made that record when it was done, we became friends was done.

I kind of talked him into becoming an intern. And then he let me stick around. I kept learning. I helped him on other projects. And then as I was graduating college, he was moving out of the country. so this wasn't a commercial studio at the time. It was just sort of his personal, this was his childhood home.

He built out the studio as a way to like, basically make, earn more rent for his mom who still lives here and owns this house. And. I just thought what an opportunity. It's an empty space I can make. Like there was no website, there was no name for the studio or anything like that. So I, let me start a business while you're gone, you have nothing to lose and I'll just take it from there.

so you just took this over from scratch. You never actually worked in the studio with them. I guess you intern there, you worked under him for awhile, but I guess your suit, you didn't start until you just took over his space. Is that.

Yeah. that was actually the beginning. And he trusted me enough to say, well, sure, if you, you know, if [00:06:00] you want to try, go for it, you know, there wasn't much of a, like a business structure there or like built-in clients or anything like that. So I had a couple of bands that I knew that wanted to record with me.

I knew enough to like, do some really basic stuff. And I actually rented a room behind the studio, like in the house, but just another room behind the, the main areas. And it was basically just a glorified closet and I lived there and just every day I would go into the studio and work on stuff and, you know, figure it out.

And our arrangement when we started was really optimal for me because he said, listen, let's go 50 50% If you don't make any money, if you can't get any bands in, you don't have to pay me anything. And you can use the studio as much as you want. I was living here. I was just keeping it up, keeping it clean and doing anything I could to.

And I helped him like wrap-up projects as he was moving. And then that's how it went for those eight years. But by year seven, year eight, when I did have income coming in, I was paying out 50% of everything I was [00:07:00] making. And it was just brutal. It was a great way to start and a terrible way to, to grow because it just became defeating and unmotivating to, to make more money because I just couldn't keep enough of it to, to make anything.

Yeah. So 50% of like, let's just call it three grand a month. It doesn't feel too bad. It's like, it sucks, but it doesn't feel too bad. It's $1,500. That's a pretty good, like, not a bad rent for a full studio space in a house with like an old squash court as a live room. But once you start earning close to six figures, like 7, 8, 9, 10 grand a month, all of a sudden that becomes really, really restrictive as a business model.

We'll get to, I know you ended up renegotiating your rent. We'll talk about that a little bit, but let's talk about during that period, the eight year span is really what I want to hone in on for this interview, because I feel like there's a lot we can take away from that, that I'm going to come your zombie years, just because I like that term.

There's no, nothing, nothing, no slight against you for that. But that was just kind of like the coasting period that a lot of our audience is going through right now. Can you talk about some of the struggles [00:08:00] that you had during those, those days before you really felt like you had a real business?

I would say that, you struggle on all fronts, really, in some ways, the way that I approached it, you know, my, my only goal getting started was I just want to be in the music industry. So here I was with a great opportunity. I had access to the studio and right away I was doing it. I was making enough.

I mean, Yes. living very much in poverty pretty much during those years, but I was making enough, I was doing it and that's what mattered to me. So I think the number one problem was that I kind of, in some ways, made it right away. I was like, oh yeah, this was all I wanted. This is, this is it. I can call myself a producer.

I'm good to go. Mission accomplished. And just keep doing what you're doing, which was just defeating because I, I didn't set any other, you know, higher standards than then, of course I wanted to make more money. I wanted to do. I wanted to stay busy, things like that, but it wasn't clearly [00:09:00] enough defined. So among other things, I think that was kind of the first thing.

Obviously it just getting enough clients, I built a website and that helped. And because I have a physical site, when it comes to people searching for stuff, it helps that Google maps stuff shows up right away. So I was able to get a good bulk of my clients just from Google searches and that sort of thing.

And then people that I knew in referrals, but it was never enough, you know, When you're building, you guys have done episodes on this. When you're building things, that's largely word of mouth. It's going to take a long time, which is why I'm on your 14. And I can say, Hey, you know, this is working out, but if you want to have it take 14 years, that's, you know, that's the way to do it.

It's one way to go, but I wouldn't suggest it. I didn't have a, you know, I didn't have a real marketing plan outside of create website. Yeah. It's just not enough. And I, I very much firmly believed that if I just worked really hard and I put out really good work [00:10:00] that that would speak for itself. And while there's some truth to that, it's not enough.

You have to have more of a plan for reaching people. And, you know, I used social media, I did things, but nothing that was ever that effective and even still struggle today of like, Making the marketing plans, we do more effective, but I would say the third biggest thing was honestly just wasn't that good at it?

You know, I was, I was self-teaching. I was able to do projects that were good. Sure. But consistency, was a key. And primarily, I feel like I was getting the results. My clients were happy and everything like that, but the amount of work that I was putting in to those projects to get a good result was unsustainable.

I was spending so many unpaid hours beyond the agreement To just make sure my portfolio turned out well, which is what I needed to do, but it was, [00:11:00] it was not something that could just keep going on. I was working myself to death and so I needed to figure out one, how could I just get better at what I'm doing so that the time I put in is more effective to how can I get a more consistent schedule so that I have booked and paid studio time?

Because at that eight year point point, when we switched from going 50 50 to me just paying flat rent, it was like, well, now I have to pay these expenses no matter what, everything's on me. And then, three, I need to be keeping really good records and setting goals and making sure I'm looking at these numbers, I'm actually taking it seriously every month.

And I'm saying, yes, these things are working or no, I need to figure something out. I would wait until the end of the here, you know, filing taxes and then figure out how I'm doing versus. Just actually looking at everything month to month.

Yes. So we, I've got a lot of things to discuss with you. I've just got bullet points as you're talking there. Basically you explained what, what is the hobbyist versus the business [00:12:00] owner? your, your struggles were all based around you being the, like, hobbyist doing this for fun. And I fell into it making money, having no clear ambitions or goals.

Can we, can we talk about just for a minute, not having goals? Like what would you, what would you do differently for going back now? As far as goals you set for yourself? Having ambition, not just being okay with making just enough to squeak by, because I know so much of our audience, their goal, and I've done surveys on this and I've pulled the audience and I've asked questions in the group.

And I know that most people it's just, I just want to make enough to survive. And as, as someone who made enough to quote survive, is that enough? Should we have more goals? Should we be more ambitious? Is it selfish to be ambitious? Like.

It's not, I think it just makes you a better business owner. And, you know, I, I had to make a switch in my head from being artists who just wants to be in the music business to business owner. And, you know, I just sorta had like a more Bohemian viewpoint on things that I just, you know, I just want to [00:13:00] do it for the music and things like that.

And it's all about artists being happy. But honestly, when I did switch to being more concerned about, is this business working, I feel like I also got better at serving artists and being able to provide more value and more quality service because I was taking care of myself more and that's really important.

So in terms of like setting goals, I think the big thing for me was really obvious and it's kind of embarrassing really to, to admit that like, just keep good records. I honestly. You know, I kept, I kept records, but I wouldn't look at anything really until the end of the year and be like, all right, here's my Like.

torturous days of tax preparation.

As I sort through these terrible records, you know, now I have very clear books and every day, if I want, I can go in and see exactly if I'm on track to hit a monthly goal than I might have, whether that's for just revenue coming in, or even just tracking expenses, you know, like, Hey,[00:14:00] enough's enough, you can only buy so many plugins or software or whatever, you know, like trying to keep expenses down, being able to just look over and over again, like where are my subscription costs going?

And if you only review that once a year, I mean, that's still important. It's still helpful, but it was just easier for me to sort of ignore those bigger questions. Whereas if I'm looking at it every week, every month, whatever. I can't put it aside. I have to admit to myself, you know, I can't live in this little delusional world in myself that, Hey, I'm a music producer.

I'm doing this just behind. Everything's going great. so whether your goal is a certain number of, for, for income or if it's output, if it's going to be like, I did this many songs or I took this many gigs or whatever, I just think you have to clearly define them. You need to write them down and then you need to review them often.

It's so easy to do, but it, for me, it was that, that what is the old adage, like what gets measured gets managed.

Yes. I was literally just trying to think of that quote and I'm like, I cannot think of this freaking quote, but I'm glad you remember it.

[00:15:00] And it it's so true. At least it was for me, like, I didn't feel like, you know, It would, it's surprising to me looking back how much of a difference it did. The more that I just had to look at it that I just had to open my eyes and look at it. I was like, oh, it.

just way more inspired me to actually make a difference.

Yeah, and I I've just noticed this in my own life as I've, I've been big on drop my a late I'm trying to get back, done my wedding weight. And I have a YouTube video that was like how to actually set goals. It was launched like probably the first video of the new year in January. And one of the things that I've been doing every day is I have to hit 10,000 steps.

I have to weigh myself every day. So I have to see those numbers so that I can actually affect them. And then I have to go to the gym a few times a week on average and oh, and I have to eat around 2000 calories a day. And since then, like in three months I have dropped. 15 pounds, something like that.

So I'm, I'm on the, on the way to getting to my original wedding weight. But it's the same in business. When we let, going back to that quote, what gets measured, what gets measured gets managed. And part of measuring is also [00:16:00] looking at the measurement itself. So like you, you said something that I want to touch on.

I don't want to, I don't want to stay in the lane of numbers and measuring and recordkeeping. Cause like, this is, this is the land of boredom, but it's also the land of being a real business owner, which is why Steven makes six figures. And if you're bored by this conversation is probably because you don't make six figures and you never will.

As long as this bores, you, you need to actually pick, pay attention to stuff. But I do want, I do want to talk on this because it can be really easy to track those things and then never look at it. So what, what is like your, your method around tracking, measuring, and actually paying attention to some of these things that you are tracking so that, you know, the numbers, you can grow the numbers and you can actually affect change and not just look at them once.

You know, for me, it's just pick an accounting service. I use QuickBooks and most mornings waking up, have coffee, I'll open it up and I'll just clear out my books. You know, whatever money came in sorted with the invoices, there's nice little graphs and reports that are easy to generate. See, I can see, like, this is how much money is in this month.

This is how much money I've spent. I need to do better or [00:17:00] Hey, things are on track, you know, whatever. And, and then there's obviously so many things underneath that though, like, well, okay. What does that mean? Do I need to send more emails because you can measure so many more things inside your CRM or whatever, or it might be, you know, for me on the measuring thing, in terms of like, once.

I started looking at it, I was going, yeah, but I'm working all the time.

Like, I am busy, I have clients in, but I still don't, I'm not hitting these numbers. And he was like, well, it's because you're not charging enough. You have to raise rates as much as I don't want to. You just have to do it. And I had to start looking at for a time. I don't need more, but for a time I measured things that I was really struggling with.

And one of those was doing too many free hours, you know, of like, what, what was I billing for? And how long did it actually take? And that was just for self discipline of like, you can't do that anymore. You have to charge what it takes. And I measured that until I broke that habit and was able to get more efficient with my time, but [00:18:00] also get more disciplined with feeling good about charging, what, what I was worth.

And once I got past that, I just stopped measuring it. Move on to the next thing.

Yes. I think there was one, there's a couple of key things to dissect there. One is the fact that you have a daily habit around coffee, which I always love habits around coffee, because what you do when you're drinking your coffee, dictates how the day will go. But when you're drinking your coffee, you'd have a daily habit of checking your QuickBooks account, which is just your expenses and your incomes.

And, and it's, it's similar to like when I'm logging food, after every meal, I see how many calories I just consumed because I weigh my food and I'm a nerd like that. And you know, not everyone does that, but I can see like, oh my God, that was 400 calories for that one thing, Mike, God, I'm never eating that again, But if I only looked back like once a month at all my food in one go, like, I can't do anything at that point. So checking me daily is an important part, but that's what I'm talking about. Pricing with you. I'm this is not anything to you. This is for our audience. If you are. And you never have free time.

The answer is to always raise your rates. Period. Always raise your rates. There's no, there's no, there's nothing you can say to argue that fact back to me. If you're too [00:19:00] busy, raise your rates a hundred percent of the time. Raise your rates. I don't know. When's the last time you raise your rates even.

I started to raise them again earlier this year and I hesitate because a lot of this is not just even.

for rates, but a lot of changes that I've implemented over these years. It's kind of like a rolling upgrade. It's never like, boom. Now there's this new system in place. It's usually like, okay, I just raised rates, but it's only on new clients, right?

Like the old clients that I see that have been around for a while, like they still have a certain rate. New rates are being tested on the new clients coming in and seeing what reaction I get essentially. And so far, so good people are fine with them and it's like, ah, should have done this years ago. You know?

So I've, I've tried to speed that up a little bit more in terms of raising rates. because I, I have different ways of charging for things I do. I do a lot of things hourly, but I also do have project rates. So from project to project. Those rates can change. And so I can raise those in different ways.

And then I have my hourly rates, which are harder to raise, [00:20:00] but I have raised for those earlier this year as well.

Yeah. So there's, there's a, a trick that's worked really well for me when it comes to raising my rates as a freelancer. And this goes back to what I learned from running an air six figure Airbnb. So Airbnb and hotels in general have something called dynamic pricing. And that just means how, how in demand the date is that's where your price.

It goes up. And so in Nashville, when we have cm CMT Fest or whatever country music festival, they have, we would Jack up rates to like three or four times the nightly average. So as a freelancer, what I started doing was when I had someone booking something like 3, 4, 5 months in advance, they're going to get my highest rate possible because that far in advance, that's where I have the most freedom and flexibility test out new rates on these projects.

But as it gets closer to the actual date, I start dropping it down to just fill in the gaps and, and that has worked out so well because I don't mean drop to like super low numbers, but on average, like my rates skyrocketed when I started doing this dynamic pricing type thing. And so if you, if you don't [00:21:00] have your rates publicly displayed on your website, you can do this.

If you have them displayed somewhere, it's really hard to implement anything like this, but that's just something that's really worked well for me. And. Better if, I mean, it works, whether you're doing flat rate or hourly pricing, because that was, I started that when I was doing day rates as a, as a music producer and I was charging a day rate, so something to experiment with So the next thing is you talked about unpaid hours and improving your skills. And, and I feel like this is another area that our, not everyone, but a lot of people struggle with is they are taking for damn ever to do something. And why they're trying to figure these things out is because they suck at what they do.

Like there's, I guess I'm trying to beat around the Bush just because they suck at what they do. So it's, it's the lack of confidence, lack of ability. And so they dabble trying all these sorts of things out like an automations and new plugins and they overdo everything. Can you talk about like, what your experiences around that struggle?

Cause it sounded like you've had struggles like that, that has eaten up your time and dragged out projects longer than they should be and made you underpaid for what you're doing and how many hours you've put into the work. Especially during the zombie days.

[00:22:00] Yeah. You know, as I got to that sort of quitting point, I just had to take some time off and like self reflect and say, you know, all right, well, what's, you know, what's the biggest problem. And one of the things was like just working too much, you know? And okay, well, how do I do less? It's like, I realized that for me, mixing was really, really difficult.

It would take me so long to get a mix to sound good. I was, you know, going out to the car to check in a million times. I So I just started doing research. You know, I think that the number one thing is you just have to decide. You have to somehow figure out what you think your problem is.

I mean, if you don't know that you aren't good, then that's going to be a problem. You have to try to be honest Self-awareness.

Yeah. And for me, I thought it wasn't, I felt like, okay, I'm getting good results. But what I could admit to myself awareness was like, they could still be better and they need to go faster.

I cannot put this much time into it. And So then it was just about doing research on, on mixing. Like why, why is this taking me so long? And honestly, like within a couple of days of just like looking [00:23:00] into it, I realized, well, I have a problem. I am I'm trying to swim up stream right now. Cause my room and you can see it, Brian I've got treatment now, but when I, there was no treatment in this room, I was just mixing in an untreated room basically.

And it was a nightmare and I just was oblivious. I had no idea that that was a real problem. And. I, you know, I learned, I got educated about it. It took me a while still to, you know, improve from there. And it wasn't just acoustic treatment. I also signed up for, you know, your basic like educational stuff and started learning from other engineers and reading more and just like seeking out educational stuff at that point.

And that was the first time that I did that. Everything else was just like, I'm just going to be in the studio and keep working at it,

Yeah. So what, what made you change? Cause I know that when we, when we talked earlier, there was, it sounded like in, in the zombie years that there were no books consume no courses that you've gone through. No, self-education no podcasts. And now know you [00:24:00] were a student of the profitable producer course.

I know that you're a listener. You said you've listened to pretty much every one of these episodes of the podcast, all a hundred and you'll be at the 190 fifth episode. And so there's a lot of episodes in the backlog. So what changed to make you actually be a self-education first type person, like.

I think just part of it was waking up to the fact that the way I'm doing things, doesn't work. It's a little bit about my background. I grew up on a farm actually in Southern Minnesota. My parents are, are still farmers and I, a big part of, of my youth was working. I worked in barns. I worked in fields. So hard work has never been an issue for me.

And I, I enjoy work. I work a lot still to this day, but mostly because I want to, and I realized that I could work harder and harder and harder, but I wasn't necessarily getting any better. I needed to work smarter. I needed to learn things. And it was really, I think, honestly, probably around that mixing time that I said, you know, I need to [00:25:00] figure out how to mix faster.

I need to, I need to improve this process when I took even just a couple of courses, wash them. And it was just, it made such a big difference right away. I was like, what am I doing? There's all this information. I just, I kind of, you know, a little bit of an introvert in terms of, I was totally happy living in my studio, 24 7, doing nothing else, besides that, just an island, not meeting anybody, not talking to anybody, just dedicated to my projects.

It was great, but it was just hard work that wasn't necessarily, it's like being on the hamster wheel, you know, you just have to step off sometimes and assess. And once I figured out that, oh, there's a lot, I don't know about this. You know, part of that's that, you know, the guy that I started with my mentor.

had the studio. We did work together for a number of years, once he moved back and I modeled so much after him. And I did learn a ton about producing music and how to work with the artists and, you know, being in the trenches, stuff like that. But it was [00:26:00] one source of information. And if I would have been looking harder at more sources, I would have probably a light bulb might've turned on earlier of like, oh, there might be some things that are missing from this source of information, you know?

And that's not to take away from him at all the way he did things, worked for him and, you know, super grateful for what I have learned, but I, I needed so much more, I needed to learn so much more and I was just sort of modeling everything after what he was doing. And that's not a healthy approach. You should always be questioning.

Like, even if you have a mentor that's working well, you should still be seeking out more sources of information and, you know, because it might challenge something that you thought was the way to go. And there's that for me, that was, that was the key. Once I finally challenged something about how I've done this always and realized, oh, this is better.

And actually I've been doing it quite wrong for a long time that just opened up the doors. And then I really started seeking out more and more information from there.

you said when you got married, how long ago did you get married by.

Coming [00:27:00] up on three years now.

Okay. You said that your wife basically pushed you to become more ambitious. She's you said that she said, she told you this, you should just quit audio and do something that actually makes money or start taking it more seriously. Something like something to that effect. What about that interaction helped you kind of make this transition from a hobbyist who's making money to an actual person.

As you get older and you, you know, grow up more and start looking at your life and what you want to be doing with it. You have those kinds of conversations more often. And quite honestly it should have had them earlier, but you know, between her and I, I think she just mostly saw how much I was working and how difficult it was and wanted me to, just to do better, you know, to, to be happier.

It wasn't that I was completely unhappy, but I was unsatisfied, I guess, because I, I am very passionate about what I do. And I think if it weren't for her, I'd still just be doing that. And probably just be [00:28:00] like, yeah, no, it is what it is, you know, and just continue on. And I'm glad that, you know, I think she kind of challenged me of like, are you sure that this is the best that it's going to be?

Don't you think it could be better? And. I think just her, the pressure, that little bit of pressure and the push was, was really important. Then you need people like that in your life to, to challenge your assumptions, you know, and take a new look at things.

we keep talking about going from like a hobbyist business, like a hobbyist who's making money to a full on business owner and hopefully everyone who's listening right now has listened back to episode 1 93 where I interviewed Lydia Kerr. And in that episode, she talked about leveling up from a freelancer to a business owner and the whole episodes basically about that.

But she went from like charging two to $500 for projects as a designer to now where she's charging 10 to 20 K per project making like 20 K a month. So it's a fascinating story if you haven't already heard that episode, but there's something else you said that I wanted to discuss that was kind of leading to this, this stagnation or.

It's just been stagnation. It was just being okay with not being [00:29:00] okay. And that is something called the blue collar mindset. We talked about it on episode 96 called how you're sabotaging your business with these five toxic mindsets. Actually we replayed it episode 1 74. So it's a recent, recent replay as well.

Good one to go back to listen to, but he's talking about how you grew up on a farm. You were okay with hard work. You're okay. With just like putting your head down, getting work done, sitting in the studio every day or eventually that transition to sitting in the studio every day with your head down doing work and not working smart.

It seems like that's the blue collar, like mindset at its peak where we're busy, busy, busy, but we're not getting results. We're not getting progress. We're not growing, nothing's happening, nothing's changing. And I'm glad your wife kind of helps snap you out of that. But can you talk about some of the things that you did to start working smarter?

I know we've already talked about some of them, but I feel like that's the big, the biggest change is when entrepreneurs make that, that trip, that snap in their head. And I'm hoping some people are listening right now that have that kind of, that aha moment. That is like, I need to, there's [00:30:00] ways to work smarter.

Like I don't have to work harder and I'll tell you right now, like the years I've made the most money are not the years I worked the hardest is the years that I worked the smartest. So talk about some of those work, smart, not hard moments that you had as a music person.

Let's see. I think that one of the, one of the things that I finally came around to was that. I took a look at that. It was like a year-end thing. I was reviewing my books, looking at my clients, and I wa I wanted to see if, how the 80 20 principle applied to my income and clients.

Hey, can you just really quick give everyone that the rundown of what the 80 20 principle is for those who have not heard that episode in the pilot?

I don't know if I could even give like a, a great version of it, but essentially it's this principle that you can find a ratio of 80, 20, and Brian, maybe you'll correct this later, but, in a lot of things, even in nature and can find it in business and things. But basically what I was looking for was to see if the top 20% of my clients spent earned 80% of my revenue and I did the [00:31:00] measurement And it was close.

It wasn't perfectly 80 20, but it was like, I think even still to this day, like the top 25% of spending clients. Bring in 80% of the revenue

I just realized that, you know, if I just got like two more clients in that, in the, in the upper tier, I could drop like 400 hours of work.

And so, but there was a thing for, for me personally, because I, I, I do really care about, about my clients and you know, a lot of these people have kept me afloat and I, it's not, you know, the business is important to me, but it's not just about business. I didn't want to just cut those clients out.

So what I did was I'd hired an assistant and I figured out a way to just kind of systemize a big chunk of these clients, because a lot of this stuff was smaller budgets, easier sessions and. I hired him, which I was super nervous about, but it was life-changing just to have somebody else do that work.

It ended up being kind of a win-win cause I, I could stop doing that work and [00:32:00] focus on the bigger stuff that I needed to focus on, but I didn't have to cut those clients out. I just ended up creating another position for somebody else that was fresh out of college and wanted that kind of work and one of that experience.

And So that was a great way of like, this is just a better way to do things. And then while he was using the studio, I had more time off. I could focus on other things. So that was probably one of the most critical, like work smarter, not harder things instead of just doing all of those clients myself.

So most of our audience are a big chunk of our audience. Are music producers or have an audio background just because we used to be the six figure home studio, pre episode one 50. So get into the specifics, man. What did you hire the person to do? What were those smaller projects that were taking up a ton of your time that you needed to get rid of?

And what were the projects that were the 25% that were doing really, really.

So I, I work in all genres and I kind of always have, but, you know, per your guys' advice about niching down I started realizing, well, at the very least, I need to niche down my messaging. I need to, even if I'm going to, I can still say yes to whatever I want to say [00:33:00] things come in the door all the time that, Yeah. sure.

That sounds fun. Let's do that. But my messaging needs to be specific so that I'm at least attracting the right kind of people. And then if I get something else that I'm not asking for, it's just up to me. If we have space, then sure. Let's fill the calendar. so as I was thinking about what I wanted to niche down to, I was also looking at these bigger projects, like albums that were, I specialized in doing vocal production.

So things that are heavy in vocals and. A lot of the projects that we're paying more money were we're doing that. They were like very singer oriented, you know, either a pop record or folk or something, but in any case, but I had a ton of hip hop clients and I don't advertise for them. I don't, I don't do anything.

They just come in and they fill the calendar and I don't mind doing it. But pretty much all of that process was like just a vocal recording over a beat. That's already been done by somebody else mix and master all happens in like two or three hours done. But what I realized [00:34:00] was that it was just an underserved community and there was a ton of demand and it was a way to just, it kept my doors open, you know, people were willing to do it and we're really grateful and, you know, We were doing, you know, kicking out a, maybe above average product for what they were getting elsewhere.

Or they were just getting turned away. Other studios weren't even taking it in and it grew on its own without me trying to do. And it just became like, well, now I'm all of a sudden, like known in my town is doing all this hip hop stuff, which I don't want to do. And it's really hard to scale because it's just all these short sessions.

They don't need full days ever. And when you own a studio, you want to fill up the whole day. And so anytime somebody books like a two-hour session in the middle of the day, you mess that up. And so I, I was like, I need to, somehow I don't want to stop doing this because there are clients that I enjoy and I think it's an important thing to still provide.

So that's what I did. I hired the assistant to take on pretty much all the hip hop stuff. And [00:35:00] what I did is I just created a template. ' cause I really, I had done like probably a thousand songs or something like that, at least. And I started realizing like, this is so repeatable and this would be the easiest thing to teach because I have this template up, that's ready to go.

And we can get a really high quality production out in two to three hours. And that people love enough to tell everyone else about and come in where I haven't even been advertising this and it's, and it's taken off it's whole thing. So, yeah, just template taught him, had him sit and watch a bunch of sessions and, and gave him a checklist of like, this is how this is how it gets tracked.

We even filmed like a session. So he could watch that this is how it's tracked. Then these are the steps that you'd do for editing. And then these are the steps you can take for mixing. So, cause it mixing is more of like an art where it's kind of hard to teach and systemize, but again, because we're. And this is the benefit of initiating, you know, if this was our specialty and we were just doing hip hop, we could really, you know, really [00:36:00] dial it in where it's like, we pretty much always do it the same way and get really good results.

And so it was just easy to teach. Whereas a lot of the other stuff I'm doing is, is less specific and because the genres do change and you know, you go from a band to a solo artist with session musicians, there's different processes. That I realized I could just hand it off and it made it, basically possible to create a job for my assistant, with that could self perpetuate.

You know, I don't have to do anything. It's just handing over a segment of the business that he can keep running and it makes money and it pays his salary.

Yeah. I feel like in the, in the recording world, an assistant that does something like that with a well systemized well-oiled machine type process driven service is the closest we can get to passive income as a freelancers. And so that, that was discovered by the 80 20 principle. And I just want to talk on that really quick, just to anyone who's still not a hundred percent sure what that means.

It is a principle that just states 80% of the [00:37:00] results come from 20% of the efforts. And so what Stephen realized was that 80% of his income was coming from about 20, 25% of his customer base, which also meant the inverse was true. That also. 80% of his time was probably taken up from 20% of the projects that were maybe some of the hip-hop projects, maybe some of these smaller nickel and dime type projects.

And so he hired out somebody to take over that. He made a really good process here, and I had that exact same experience in 2014. The first time I did an 80 20 analysis of my possession was 2015. I looked back at my 2014 earnings and I looked, I had earned 122,000 and some odd change that year in 2014.

And I realized that 60%, this was not a full 80 20, but it was close. 60% of my income had come from mixing and mastering services. And I had only spent about 20% of my time on those services. But then I spent 80% of my time doing full tracking production, mixing that like lodging bands in the studio, dealing with a bunch of And that only equated to like 40% of my [00:38:00] income. So what I ended up doing is I, I couldn't systemize that out. I had bands living at my studio. I was fully producing them everyday, being there in the thick of it, like dealing with her drama or whatever, it wasn't all bad, but I just wiped that service out.

And I stopped recording bands in 2015 and I haven't looked back since. And so it was incredible being able to shift all in, on mixing and mastering in my studio. And from that point on my, my income skyrocketed. So it is a great exercise for anyone to do right now. If you haven't done it in awhile, this is something you should probably do every year is analyze in your business.

What are the things that are taking up a ton of your time that are not giving you a good return on that time. So just to kind of shift gears here, man, I want to talk about marketing just a little bit. I know this is not necessarily your specialty and I can say that because you spent eight years in zombie land and again, zombie land is that, that time in your life, when you're not making enough to, to thrive, you're making just enough to survive.

You're making basically enough to kind of like wonder the earth as a zombie. You know, like you can, your body is animated, but their soul is not, I'm making this really dramatic. It wasn't that bad. I'm sure. But [00:39:00] but you survived what I call the word of mouth death trap. And we've talked about this on an episode recently back in episode 182 just called the word of mouth, death trap and how to avoid it. But just long story short, the word of mouth death trap is people who always hear from everyone that my number one source of clients is word of mouth. And so they just default to that being their client acquisition strategy. And that's kind of what you were doing and you, it took you eight years, but you eventually got to the point now where word of mouth is your main source of clients.

But one of the things you talked about really early on, and if anyone caught, it was like, you had a full, like Google listing up and we were talking off air about how you have like something like 60 something, 70 reviews on there at this point, which I think is really, really good social proof that says like Steven studio is an A-plus great studio compared to all these other like plebs studios who have no reviews or like three reviews.

Can you talk a bit about your process for first getting that Google listing up there? Cause I CA I couldn't even tell you to do that. I guess there's a Google. You can Google that, but second, your process for actually getting review.

Yeah the Google [00:40:00] listing is actually, I mean, it's, it's fairly easy and I don't know exactly how it would work if you don't have a physical location, but when you do have a physical, physical location, it's, it's as simple as just saying, Hey, I have a business at this address and you create an account and he started up and it's actually a really kind of big advantage because a lot of times when people search, if somebody just searched recording studio, Google's gonna prioritize actual physical locations and show you maps results first.

Yeah, and I can attest to that. Cause I was actually looking for I was working with somebody, we were looking up studios in Boston together and all the top results. Were they actual Google listings. And then even like the number one search result in the actual like Google search results, like not the, not the map listings, but the actual like typical top results were buried way down the page because Google really does prioritize the ones that show up on Google maps.

First on, on that type of.

Yeah. And you know, when I, when I started the first company partnered up that when I built that website and got [00:41:00] that Google listing up, that's pretty much how I got most of my business. And then it was also word of mouth, but a lot of it was just Google searches. Now you get a lot of calls of stuff that you don't want with that kind of thing.

Cause you got the whole internet, just Connie ask. And can I come in in like five minutes and record? It's like, no, let's schedule something at a time. But, you know, so creating the listing is pretty much as easy as setting up an account and uploading your information if there's a little verification process, but if you can create an Instagram account, you can create a business Google listing.

And I do I'm quite sure you can still have a listing to, even if you don't have a physical location. I just don't know how it's prioritized with maps, but in any case for getting reviews for it, you know, I always ask at the end of a project, especially when you, you know, they hear their mix. So it's done at the height of excitement.

That's the best time to ask for review. But it usually takes reminders. A lot of people don't do it right away. And so you just have to kind of keep following up. We finally built as part of our, you know, systems improvements over the last couple of years, we, we use an app called twist that we do all of our messaging [00:42:00] with clients.

It just helps us. Can work as a to-do list when people send in a re a revision or, or some question of about their project, but what's cool about every artist has their own channel and inside their channels, then we can just, you know, chat like normal. But I also have threads in each channel that are just default threads that everybody gets.

And one of them is reviews with all the links to everything. So everyone always has that. And every time they're in their channel, checking out a mix or putting things in, they're going to see the reviews thread. Oh yeah, I haven't done that yet. I should probably do that. And it's, it's just convenient.

Right? It's a constant reminder. It's kind of in the background and then I can follow up with them when I send them X, like, Hey, but check out the reviews thread, please leave us a review on one of those platforms. And that does really help.

Yeah. So twist for anyone who's not following along is it's like slack, everyone knows slack. At this point, I feel like, or discord it's like those apps, but it is slightly different. We actually use it for file pass. It's really handy for how we work within file pass. Cause Trevor, my co-founder and I, and our support, like we all work on different schedules at [00:43:00] different times.

So it's, it's a little different than slack, which is like really like super real time chatting back and forth, which I think would be a nightmare for studio owners, because I don't want to get into necessarily a chat conversation with my clients. It turns it into more like a, it feels like slack where it's like beautiful looking and modern software, but it, it acts more like an old school message board where you have threads and.

Then those threads. And so it's, it's what they call it. AC asynchronous, I think is the term that the Silicon valley is latched on to where it's biscuit, not at the same time. It's meant to be you, you reply on your own time. And it has a wonderful threaded response within there. And I just love that you put, I didn't even know you could do default threads.

I use, I've been using it for like two years now. I didn't know. You could put default threads into channel. That's a, that's a great strategy for that.

You, I mean, we have to manually create them. We just have like a copy and paste from a note and then we drop them in. Whenever we create that thread, we just copy paste

Well, it takes like 10 seconds. It's not a big deal, but that's a, that's a smart way of doing it. So I like that. Do you do anything else as far as follow-ups cause I know that when we got married, my wife and I got married in [00:44:00] 2019, March 2nd, and we had an incredible experience with our wedding DJ and, and so he, he had to follow up multiple times for me to actually leave him a review.

Even though he did an incredible job, like a perfectly flawless job at our wedding, not a single bad song, played, nailed every music cue, like awesome dude kept the dance floor going the entire time. It was so fun and this was a dry wedding by the way. So that's a really hard thing to do to have like a really good dance floor when you have a dry wedding.

But because I don't drink and, you know, whatever and conservative parents, families, but he had to remind like multiple times over many months period. And he had like Kimmy with texts and he had, he had a pretty well-oiled process for getting that review. Do you do anything like that or is that, do you feel like that's overkill.

Yeah, I don't, although I probably should, because I don't think there'd be anything.

I never, I never felt overbearing. It was like, it was just every now and again, he would ping me to remind me like maybe a month between, and I would feel bad cause I hadn't done it, but I just wouldn't have been in a spot where I could have done it immediately. And then it slips my mind and then another month would go by and he paid me again about it.

And then eventually I [00:45:00] left one and I put all of our wedding photos in there, which is part of the reason it took so long because I wanted like photos of everyone on the dance floor, just so it made the review look better. And like, so it was just, it was one of those things. Like I try to remind people in our audience, at least that you can follow up for things like this for review requests, for even referral requests or just following up with past clients to see if they need more work done like 6, 8, 12 months later, you can keep following up and then they don't care.

It's not

there. Don't feel like you're bothering.

Yeah, I, I do some follow-up and that was, again, one of those things that I had on like a, on my measuring, you know, as I would look at stuff daily was, this was a weekly thing that I looked at, But one of those things was, well, how many reviews am I getting? And I think I tried to get one per week if I could.

And sometimes that was hard just depending on like a big project, you get one review and it takes a year or something, you know, it's

But then you do like

10 hip hop products projects in a week and all 10 of them leave.

right. So I did stop measuring that one because I felt like I got to a number of reviews where I was okay. But, but since I stopped measuring it, I've they have, I don't follow up as much anymore, but that was, [00:46:00] that would be a reminder for me. Like I haven't gotten one and we would kind of make that between when I say we, my assistant and I, just like a goal where it's like, all right, we're under on reviews. So now we force ourselves to do more follow-ups because we just aren't getting them people aren't doing them naturally enough.

So keeping the, honestly, keeping these numbers top of mind are so important. And it's funny, you said that we, we used to really take our, our podcast review seriously, and our ratings and reviews on iTunes because that's a really good gauge of like how big a podcast is, how successful it is, and that helps get guests on.

And we stopped paying attention to that. And because of that, like our reviews flat lines. So this is a, this is my reminder to myself to remind you that if you are listening on any platform, leave us a rating, not even a review, just, just put the, put the, put the dots on how many stars you like us, whether it's one or five stars do it right now.

If you're on Spotify, they actually have reviews in our ratings and Spotify now. And go do that. If you're on another app, go to go to iTunes and do it anyways. Continue on what you were saying, man. Self-service there.

No it's but it's true. I mean, and even, even follow-ups like for, for clients and [00:47:00] stuff, like it used to be before I implemented a CRM, you know, I'd respond to an email, whatever, and then. I would maybe follow up once, maybe twice at most, if I really wanted that project. And if they weren't hitting me back, I would just stop.

It's like, all right. Onto the next thing. And you know, got encouragement. And you guys, I think you, Brian at one point had said like maybe in a CRM episode about how, like how much your income increased once you did like 10 follow-ups or something like


50% of my income came from like follow-up six or greater.

Yeah. And that blew my mind. I was like, all right, I'm going to try following up at least four or five times now, you know, like baby steps. Right. And, and even that was like, holy crap. I, you know, if people can tell you things and you can believe them, it's like, when you listen to, I listen to the podcast, like a lot of you out there and go, oh yeah.

All right. That's cool. I that's something I can do. But then that laundry list gets so long of like things. So just baby steps are fine. And that's kind of where I got where it's [00:48:00] like, all right, well, let me just try to do a little bit better. Let me just try to do four or five follow-ups because I don't know if I can get to 10 without.

Really feeling cringy about it. And cause I haven't developed that system yet. I don't have like enough of a follow-up process to have 10 original ways of following up. And so let me just try a little bit and even a little bit has been successful. It's like, okay, well now it just helps you get to the next step.

I'll get to six, we'll get to eight and I'll, I'll develop a better way to get there. Like I'm the type of person that wants to do a process really well, if I'm going to do it at all. And so it's really hard to just kind of step into something and be like, eh, I don't know if this is really working, you know, but sometimes you just have to do it that way.

even, you know, just stumble forward or fail forward or whatever, you know?


I'm the same way.

Yeah. those little steps it's like, cause that's what you go, oh, there's there's truth to this. It's not like I doubted it in the first place, but it's almost like you have to see the proof and then it's easier to like [00:49:00] really come up with a full system.

Yeah. So in, in my life on the same way where I feel like I can't get into something, if I'm going to dabble, I have to like go hard at it. And so a lot of our audience is the same way. Some people are like great at dabbling. And honestly, to me, dabbling, isn't really that effective. Like you have to go all in with something or else you get a bunch of little half-built bridges everywhere, which is its own problem.

But there's um, for anyone right now, who is, who is like Steven, where you have like, you listen to this podcast regularly, you have all these like mental thoughts. I'm like, damn, that's cool. I should do that. Or I need you to do that. And you have this long laundry list of things that you need to do, and you don't know how to prioritize.

I would really encourage you to go back and listen to episode 189, it's called the five business bottlenecks holding you back from a hundred K per year. That episode helps you prioritize those things. Cause there's literally only five major parts of your. And only one of those five parts is an actual bottleneck right now in your business.

So you can put everything else on your laundry list aside, except for things that fix that one bottleneck. And once you open up that one bottleneck in your business, something else naturally becomes a bottleneck [00:50:00] and that's where you can go find the next thing on that laundry list of things to do that fixes that next bottleneck.

So it's a really good episodes. One of my favorites I've done in a while. So I've recurred. I really encourage everyone to go back and listen to that. Just to wrap this up, I think it'd be interesting or good to know what other numbers do you track and look at? Because I I'm fascinated by this conversation of just numbers staying top of mind, because what gets measured gets managed.

It's kind of the theme of this episode in some degree, other than the zombie land thing. Do you have like multiple numbers that you look at regularly? You said the reviews is to be weekly, your expenses and incomes. You look at daily when you're drinking coffee, hopefully good coffee and not trash coffee.

I've been on Herald press for like a decade, man.

Ah, good, good, good. You know what I got recently? I just got this in this week. This is a new thing I'm going to now everyone is going to go order this on am. I should have an Amazon affiliate link for this. Um, I'm not, I'm just going to tell you to go order it and just recommend it's called the clever dripper.

It is everything good about a drip coffee with the full immersion of an arrow press. So it's like you fill the chamber of warmer. It actually steeps [00:51:00] in there. And then it has this little mechanism. So when you put it over a cup, then it starts to drip through the filter. Fascinating, really good coffee.

And it's the only kind of quote pour-over that I would ever have. So there's my coffee, by the way. If people don't know I'm a big coffee person, I've roast my own beans and I'm a nerd over that stuff. But continue on what numbers do you track? We're off of coffee now.

Um, Let's see most at this point we're kind of shifting right now because I, I was tracking a lot of numbers that I'm not entirely convinced are worth tracking anymore. Some sort of reevaluating, but

Vanity metrics.

yeah. And just, well, you know, I feel like whatever you track needs to lead to something, and there was some numbers that we were tracking that are nice to know.

I didn't necessarily have a way of like, changing anything about it yet. So it's like, well, it's not really worth the time that it takes to track it until I'm prepared to do something about it. the thing I watched the closest is just how much money is coming in and how much I'm spending, because it's really easy to spend money on gear or software or things like that.

And I [00:52:00] try very hard at this point to spend as little as possible on that kind of stuff. And just focus on the

Do you have gas


gear, acquisition syndrome?

No, no, I, I don't like I don't really like gear that much.

Okay. You're one of us. Okay, good. Good, good.

yeah. I mean, I've, I've got some, some decent stuff, but it's for me, the, my, my weaknesses is buying plugins and software. That's where I just had. I have to stop myself and keep a limit on stuff. But yeah, so I watch income and expenses, probably the closest.

And then I watch a lot of like small numbers. One is how many leads do I have per week? Because if they start slowing down naturally, if I'm, then I need to go out and send out more emails. If I'm doing cold outreach or, or even just like, all right, I'll send out a newsletter to all my past clients, just to remind them that I'm here and say hello to people.

And usually somebody will say, oh, you know what? I need a book session, by the way, you know,

um, [00:53:00] top of mind.

Yep. And along that line, the other numbers we track are kind of based on marketing stuff. Like how many reviews have we gotten? Another thing will be how many posts have we done this week? Or month.

From my assistant, just to make sure that we're still because our social media is not big. We have maybe like 800 or 900 followers. It's small, but it doesn't matter because of the people that are following us, then they're spending money with us and we don't need to have a huge reach. It'd be nice, nicer of course, to have a bigger reach.

But, we just want to keep hitting the people that already know us and want to work with us. And they kind of do a lot of the work for us if we keep them interested.

Can I, can I, Can I, push back on something really quick? Cause this is a, this is an area that I think a lot of people need at a reality check on this. Um, What city are you in?

um, Outside the twin cities,

Okay. So you're in like St. Paul, Minneapolis kind of area up there. And so in that area, 900 artists is [00:54:00] a lot of artists like bands and artists in that little area. It's not a huge area. It's a metropolitan area, but it's not huge. So like, there's a couple of things that like, when people say they don't have a ton of followers, you have eight or 900 followers, I'd be like, invite them all over at your studio right now.

And tell me that that's not a lot of people, you know what I mean? Like anyone right now, who feels like they don't have, because they don't have 10,000 followers or 20 or a hundred or whatever. Like you feel like it's not worth posting on social media. If you have like 20 followers, it's worth posting.

Cause you stay top of mind with 20 of your potentially maybe ideal clients that are following you, who will eventually come back to you and hire you again. If they are top of mind, if you're top of mind, whenever it comes time to make the hiring decision. So like social media is important and that is no small feat to get 800 or 900 followers.

If your ideal client, your.

Yeah. you're absolutely right. And the reason we track it is because we know it's effective, even if some of it's hard to measure exactly because you know, for, for us we don't have like a ton of people, you know, commenting or anything, but we are still very careful to stay posting and [00:55:00] keep people knowing that, Hey, we're doing this, this is what's going on in the studio, whether it's through stories or posts.

I know that it works because people use it as just like verification. They might still go to the website and fill out the contact form and hit us up through that. But a lot of them are still at least checking to see, like, does this look like trash? Or does this look legit on our Instagram?

And uh, I think you guys did an episode on this too, where it was like, if you're not going to be super active on social media and. You know, make that your, your, your main marketing scheme at the very least, you need to have your page look good and serve as kind of a landing page or a website that can answer some questions.

And so ours is entirely set up like a website, you know, our highlights it's like, one of our highlights is just reviews. One of our highlights is just like portfolio. One of our highlights would be maybe some different services. So, and then everything, like every post that we have is got music in it. It's, it's basically the whole feed is just a portfolio.

Yeah. So you're referring to episode episode 131 [00:56:00] where we had Brandon Brown back on the podcast on how to set up your Instagram account for success. I believe that was the episode where we talked about the Instagram landing page. And this is for anyone who doesn't want to be on that constant posting cycle.

Just setting up your top, your top posts in, in different ways. But also Lydia Kerr on episode 1 93 that I just referred you to a while back in this interview, she talks about in her Instagram feed, everything in the Instagram is created for. Her her future clients, not for the people who follow her.

It's really interesting how she talked about that. So I go back and listen to episode if that episode, if you haven't already, but people will go and look at your Instagram and make a decision and then maybe contact you through some other means to actually do a court request. So it's, it's an important part of the customer journey.

And you'd be surprised how many people will reach out to me. You know, if I'm catching up with somebody and be like, Hey, it looks like you guys are really busy in the studio and I'm, and it's like, no, the schedule is the exact same as it's always bad. We're just posting it. And that makes a lot of that big difference in people's minds, you know, of what they're going to talk about and [00:57:00] how they, how they view you, how successful you are, what kind of thing you're going to be.

All right, man. So I, this is a good place to wrap this interview up, but I, I just loved that. I love the journey, man. I love, I love that you, I hate that you had to go through the eight years of zombie land to finally get to the six figure point, but I'm glad that you actually stuck it out. And I'm hopefully that this conversation has been encouraging for anyone right now, who is in the thick of, of that sort of struggle.

I hope that people understand that they need to make that transition to a serious business owner and not just stay in the world of a hobbyist. Who's just happy sitting in their cave, not going out in the world, not having outside influence being stuck in that blue collar mindset. Hopefully people got a lot out of this.

So Steven, where do you want people to go to connect more with you? If they want to ask you questions or just say, Hey, or say thanks or say screw you guy for making me look bad. We're where can they go? If they want to connect with you?

healthy productions is on Instagram at pelvic productions. There's also the website, feel free to send us a message, but I'm also part of the community on Facebook. So you can always tag me there and I'll, I'll try to [00:58:00] be less of a lurker and more of a contributor going forward. But, thanks for having me.

It's been great.

And to everybody out there that, that feels like this story was helpful or relatable in any way, just hang in there. It's okay. If you don't, if you're making all the mistakes, I still feel like even today, like there's so much I could talk about what I feel like is not going well or like that I still could do better.

That the advice that I haven't figured out how to, you know, to take yet, but just pick one thing and you make those. Marginal improvements and it will get you there. If you can hang in there.

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