Brian Jackson on Teaching Writing and Growth Online in Retirement

Teaching and writing online are ideal businesses for retirement given the ability to create courses and books with the security of a regular income and the potential for recurring revenue for a lifetime in royalties.

Brian Jackson has successfully been following this path in his retirement and scheduled a one-on-one call to talk with me about the next steps given he already has a library of Kindle books and Udemy courses published as seen at AuthorBrianJackson.com/ along with now his courses on Uthena where he just uploaded his course bundle and provided us with a load of valuable feedback to help us recruit more instructors.

Where do we go from here? Let’s find out in our interview which we hope is useful for you!

If you will enjoy reading and contributing to the discussion for this post, will you please join us on the YouTube video above and leave a comment there because I read and respond to most comments on YouTube?

Call Transcript

Brian Jackson:
-I’m watching Jewel and Auret made a video on that and I’ve got yours queued up next, so they’re answering a lot of my questions in that area.

-I’m not sure what you want to talk about today? Do you have a topic or maybe you got some more advanced things on setting up a YouTube channel that you could tell me about?

Jerry Banfield:
-Where I tend to give the best help is to plan, look at the big picture and find the actionable work from there.

Brian:
-Oh.

Jerry:
-I imagine I can help you that I’ve got your email up here. Are you okay with us recording this call? And then if there’s anything useful that comes out of that we could put it in the video?

Brian:
-Definitely.

Jerry:
-All right, I will do that then.

-To start and might help me to understand, what’s your highest level goal out of all you’re doing? Once we’ve kind of looked at that, then we can start zooming down on strategies and tactics?

Brian:
-Well, it’s it’s really twofold. One is just entertaining myself and having something to do and doing something fun. I am retired, I’ve been retired for 12 years now. And occupying myself has been a problem.

-You’re laughing at that, because you got too much to do.

-But also, I’ve got this financial base that I live off of which is very comfortable. But, you know, I had depression-era parents, and I’m always nervous about revenue and having a backup revenue thing.

-I’m not used to not having a job. Having a job just makes me feel more comfortable. So, generating a little bit of revenue here and there. And having fun is really what I’m after to.

Jerry:
-Put those into the highest level, you’re looking for security, and you’re looking for fun or entertainment.

Brian:
-Yes.

Jerry:
-The tricky part with fun and entertainment is that uncertainty, which also, a key part of that uncertainty also tends to conflict with comfort and security.

Brian:
-That’s true.

Jerry:
-For me, I’ve noticed that if I get too comfortable, I will stir things up to get more fun going. The goal for me -I have those same two things, I have a family I want some security and at the same same time, I want to have fun-.

-If things go too well, essentially, I often find the desire to kind of either stop doing or sabotage to make things more fun.

Brian:
-Hmm.

Jerry:
-And once being aware of that, I’ll notice I usually do that by I get too far into things, I don’t balance. It’s like I drop everything else I’m doing and focus too much on one particular thing and then I start tend to stir up trouble in that thing and often mess the long term potential of whatever, cryptocurrency or business model I’ve got into, because I put too much into the one thing instead of kind of focusing on the bigger picture.

Brian:
-Good point.

Jerry:
-What I noticed that then I tend to get disgruntled with and unhappy with things, because I’m doing so much of one particular thing. I also noticed all the bad sides and everything that could be better, I get unhappy, I feel like I’m not being treated good enough because I’m putting so much and it feels like other people are working at a different pace than me.

-I finally got what feels like the right balance down with every different thing. I’m not doing too much of anything, and I’m not doing too little of the things that are important to do also, like parenting, taking care of myself and having some hobbies like gaming that’s just kind of for fun and to help people.

-And I imagine you you can identify some of those similar tendencies.

Brian:
-Oh, yes.

-Yes, periodically I’ve got a, start myself as you say, get too deep into things start to getting disgruntled, getting unhappy. And then I realized, what am I doing? I’ve got a great life. I’ve got all of these things that I could be doing, things are going well. I need to back off, chill out, enjoy the ride and, just have fun at what I’m doing.

-I kind of once again had that epiphany. The other night. I’ve also got the green screen behind me because I had been doing some green screen experiments.

Jerry:
-I haven’t seen your video yet.

Brian:
-Oh! Why isn’t the camera?

-Let me see… Start video.

Jerry:
-Now we can see each other.

Brian:
-All right.

Jerry:
-Nice headset.

Brian:
-Yes, so I’ve been doing some experimentation, I finally got rid of the weird alien green glow around myself when doing green screen recordings. I found my lighting finally, been having to deal with that for a long time, anyway.

Jerry:
-I think that the big picture is, you’ve got a really nice life, you’ve got a fixed income or a regular income, you said that essentially pays the bills, you can afford to just do on things online as a side hustler for fun.

-It’s not like me where my income from my business, if I don’t get anything, that’s basically the whole most of the income for the whole family.

-There’s kind of a lot of pressure there. You can afford to take risks, you can afford to do things that don’t work, you can afford to do things that aren’t even for making money just because you love to do them. You don’t even have to make money out of them. You’ve already set up things that make you good money online. And you’ve got a lot of potential. That’s I’m in and for most people is that ideal situation most people love to be in.

Brian:
-Right

Jerry:
-You’ve got freedom you can do so many different things.

-To me, what I try and do is match up what I really want to do with how that will help a lot of other people.

-There are some things that I want to do like I love making music. But it doesn’t seem right now that many other people really are excited about me making music. I love playing video games so that again, the gaming.

The Uthena thing seems to be the thing that I can do that a lot of other people are excited about also. So I’m wondering for you what your thing like that is, what can you do, that you are really excited about what you’d love to do? And at the same time, other people feel the same way.

-Like yes, Brian is filming courses, or writing books or whatever. What’s your thing like that?

Brian:
-Right now I’m filming courses. I also like writing quite a bit.

-About filming courses, I find that that’s easier, it seems to be easier to convey a lot of information via video. But I also love just sitting back and taking my time and writing. So I’d like to somehow get a good balance between the two of those, and help people through my writing.

-I love teaching, I always have, I love helping people out, supporting them and helping them reach their goals, primarily in the areas of self publishing and writing. That’s what I’d really like to focus on, is doing some writing myself and some recording in that area.

Jerry:
-That’s very clear, then, which brings up the next question. When was the last time you did some writing and filmed a video?

Brian:
I always write but I haven’t written a book in quite a while. And was interesting hearing you talk about going through making these calls and the decision to do that and, talking yourself out of it.

-You go into writing and you know this, you’ve written a lot of books. I went out there and looked and you’ve got quite a few books. It is not like “Oh! I’ve got to find a copy editor, that’s going to be expensive, I’ve got a, I’m going to publish these things, and nobody’s going to buy them. I’m wasting my time“. So, I’ve talked myself out of writing so many times. I did some recording yesterday. So that was the last time I did recording. Recording just seems to be much easier. You know this, having written books take a while to write. You can’t just submit a chapter or two on YouTube or something like that. You’ve got to write the entire book and copy-edit it, and get it out there. Writing is hard. I find the recording to be much easier.

Jerry:
-You said you’re writing all the time? What format are you writing? And are you writing on like pen and paper?

Brian:
-I type online constantly sending messages on Facebook or responding to student questions. I write all day. They’re just short little written things. I get a lot of student questions on writing issues and I show them: “Well, let me show you another way to write that” and so on.

Jerry:
-Looks like to me you’re helping a lot of people with that writing you’re doing you’ve helped me a lot with Uthena to think about Okay, well if I get a hundred more people like Brian in here, the enthusiastic that of course is that want to work together. How do I help everybody work together as you, you’ve helped a lot with your writing and your posts about Uthena you’ve posted more than all other partners combined on the rest few months, and that’s in and of itself really helpful, and maybe more helpful than writing a book that no one reads, or might be much more helpful than writing that. So that is really helpful.

Brian:
-That’s good to hear. Because I had a suspicion that I was just becoming a pain in the butt.

Jerry:
-What I’ve gotten pretty good with this thing, the help I need is right in front of me. Certainly has crossed my mind a time or two like reading your posts. Like, I got to do all this. That’s like, wait a minute, this is exactly what you need to pay attention to. This is here to help you take the next step like oh, -Brian’s brought some really good points up, I need to really take these to heart integrate these and think about how for the next hundred people that come after Brian, Can I make the process easier for them and more clear and transparent?

-We live in a world often where people are afraid to just get out there and express their opinion for being perceived as a pain in the butt or offending other people. And we need people that are just go in and tell the truth as they see it. So that is really helpful.

Brian:
-Right.

Jerry:
-A lot of people just don’t share right anything out of fear of being a pain in the butt or, fear of not looking good or, fear of asking it dumb question.

-No, I don’t seem to have that issue too much myself.

-But you don’t need this. So that that’s good.

-I felt like a pain in the butt a whole lot of times with the stuff I’ve shared and written about and posted things and then people didn’t only look at it that way.

-I appreciate all your help, it’s made a big difference.

Brian:
-Good. And I’m looking at your questions about Uthena specifically.

-Oh, forget those.

I trust, I just decided, I’m being a backseat driver. All I’m supposed to be is an instructor and provide the videos and I trust you guys that you understand what you’re doing and that this is all going to work out well.

Jerry:
-Well, that’s enlightened approach to thick with it.

I would probably have an Udemy profile If I had taken that approach with Udemy, I tried to be a backseat driver in their administration for years. And I could see why from their point of view, I was just a big pain in the ass. “-Let’s just get rid of him“. Instead of wanting to take to heart the stuff I was saying and say, “How can we improve things?”

-So I appreciate your backseat driving, and at the same time now I imagine you don’t want to just be a backseat driver. And definitely for Uthena, you’ve got your own stuff to do.

Unknown Speaker
-Correct.

Brian:
-Right.

Jerry:
-I think your focus on just get those courses down is great. I imagine you could pretty easily render some long format YouTube videos and put them up on your own YouTube channel like that. Probably be pretty easy with the rest of your schedule.

Brian:
-Yeah, I was looking at what I could do to do promotion, in a way that -I really love the video you put together, by the way, that’s really great. I liked all the sales report.

-My videos were pretty good, actually. But I liked the little sales things that came up constantly. That was that was really neat.

Jerry:
-Yes, those are actually those aren’t on YouTube, we use Final Cut Pro 10 or Final Cut Pro X. And what we do is just put up a little text thing every minute or so to.

Brian:
-So they’re not clickable.

Jerry:
-Correct, they’re not clickable on YouTube, you can put clickable cards on YouTube. But that takes additional time and energy, and then people often don’t click them. Also if anyone steals the video, for example, you’ve got your watermarks, burn, you’ve got your little cards burned into it also.

Brian:
-Right, that’s nice.

Jerry:
-But if you need to change something you screwed it up, then they’re burned into it too.

Brian:
-Apparently, I’ve got to become a partner, before I can do a lot of the fancier advertising things. So I only have 650 or so subscribers and I’m way shorter the 4000 hours per year of viewing. I like to boost my YouTube channel and get up there to the point that I can fully monetize it.

Jerry:
-Yes, and YouTube could be a good place to sell your courses.

Brian:
-Yes.

Jerry:
-If you wanted to sell them with your affiliate on Uthena, you might be able to make some good money doing that, especially with our sales system. You could also use them to sell your Udemy courses, those can have a good conversion rate. The problem is you’re never going to earn more than like $5 or $10 on one course. You can send them to your course and they’ll go buy somebody else’s too and you don’t get anything for that.

-Their sales system tends to convert at a pretty high rate. So when you actually get someone to go to Udemy the number of times they make a sale is pretty good. Other partners have had good success in sending their YouTube to Udemy. That’s what I did, I sent a ton of YouTube to Udemy. But then if anything happens with Udemy like they changed something that can be. The nice thing is though you can use your Udemy to go back to your YouTube also.

-You can help build each other that way.

Brian:
-Right. So is that you were extremely successful on Udemy before the disaster occurred? Was it primarily through YouTube promotion that you became so successful?

Jerry:
-I worked every single angle you can imagine. I had paid ads running, I had paid search ads on Udemy, if someone searches for something on Udemy, my course would come up and it looked official like “udemy.com/JerryBanfield“. I had remarketing ads, so if you went to my course, I’d send you back with the Udemy affiliate program link.

-And I use Facebook ads. I had youtube. Youtube helped a lot. But I had a massive system set up on Udemy.

Brian:
-Wow. Have you been able to reuse that for Uthena? I guess you’re back on SkillShare. Now

Jerry:
-I am back.

-Yes. An Argentinan football club filed a DMCA.

-They continually try and take down videos that people sharing their football videos. My name just happens to have the same name as one of their teams.

-My SkillShare got caught in like a collateral damage on that.

-Oh no!

-If I would have put all that to my own website, things probably went a lot better. And you might consider doing that making your own Thinkific or Teachable, make your own website and send people directly there.

-If you want to sell services, can do that really easily and you’ve got full control with it. The downside of doing that is it takes significant time and energy to set up. But you might enjoy doing that you like really getting into stuff and learning new things, you might have fun setting up your own teaching website sending people there.

Brian:
-Yeah, I’m just so awful at promotion that I like the fact that Udemy, even though it’s very constraining, they have a lot of rules, and it’s kind of scary as as far as getting banned- They provide the entire environment, they they do a lot for you. And I really like that, having to do it all myself, it’s, it’s kind of a little scary.

Jerry:
-At the same time, you can make some really good money. But you don’t need money that much, which is nice. It might not make sense for you to put a bunch of effort into promoting it since you don’t really need to, it might actually be a big distraction for you to try and put up your own YouTube videos and stuff. Because all that takes a lot of time to render the videos upload them then you get to write descriptions, you get thumbnails form. And you need a computer if you’re going to render a long video that can do a good job with that you need you already know video editing now, but you might need to switch video editors What do you use now for video editing?

Brian:
-Camtasia.

Jerry:
-Final Cut Pro X or 10 is really good to render those long ones. There are other video editors you can use to Camtasia is a bit slow for rendering, like a three-hour for a preview video.

Brian:
-They sped up a rendering in 2018. But yes, maybe it’s not fast enough for the really long ones.

Jerry:
-I guess you still could just throw it on a computer overnight. And you could render it. It’s functional for it. You can use Camtasia without switching to something else. You can make little annotations, I think and that pop up in Camtasia too. You can make that work. On Camtasia, you also can’t record though, if you’re rendering, but if you just run it overnight, that’d be fine.

Brian:
-That’s true.

Jerry:
-We’ve got down into some tactics. I like to really get at the big stuff though. Because, the kind of things when you’ve left your body behind, and you’re, you know, meeting your guide afterlife and you’re reviewing your entire life you’ve lived like you know, the things that you’d like to have to say in that scenario. Like, did you really make the most of your life to help people? I’m wondering if you’ve got any opportunities like that, that you could make something or do something. Are you making time for things that you’re doing just to help people or as video courses and writing? That seems like those are your gifts. Maybe just sharing that on YouTube might be good?

Brian:
Yeah, for a while after I retired. I had a lot of time on my hands and I didn’t have all of this online stuff set up, I actually volunteered at the Humane Society. I spent we ended up going down both my wife and I every day. We spent like four or five hours working at the main society, cleaning out dog pans and walking dogs and stuff. And yeah, it’s really rewarding to get out of yourself get out of doing things for yourself and and to do things for others. I really like the feel of doing that and I think I need to do more volunteer work like that.

Jerry:
I read a study that said a huge increase in income like the difference like somebody could make $20,000 or $30,000 a year and have the same happiness as somebody who makes $70,000 a year with the only difference being the person who makes way less money volunteers or does charitable work on a regular basis, and the $70,000 person does not. And for me, I go to Alcoholics Anonymous every day and that to me it’s both help me and it’s kind of volunteer works and I know there don’t get anything out of it except feeling good myself and helping other people.

Brian:
-Yeah, that was interesting to hear because actually today is Day nine that I haven’t had a drink.

-I made it to the point that I was drinking quite a bit and enjoying it way too much. And just didn’t like where I was going, I’ve also got a weight problem which I’m working on, so I didn’t really need the additional calories from drinking so, I’ve cut that out, this is day nine. I’m finally getting over the habit when five o’clock rolls around I no longer have that. Oh, what is it that I want? There’s something.

Jerry:
-I understand. That’s why quitting drinking is not hard for someone that didn’t really enjoy it. I smoked weed a few times in college The first time I kind of overdid it and got sick, it was really easy to quit because I enjoyed it but not that much. However, drink it was really hard for me to quit because I loved it so much.

Brian:
-Yeah, it’s a blast.

Jerry:
-Yeah, it wasn’t easy to give up something that I love doing so much.

Brian:
-Yes.

Jerry:
-There might be some opportunities for you and both to handle those things for yourself and help others that have similar challenges anywhere across your life where you can relate to, things like the drinking, the weight. For me, that’s what got me to go to AA is I can go help other people stay sober. That sounds good! I couldn’t get any more. I knew I’d lose my motivation if it was just about me staying sober. I changed my mind invariably, I said -Well, I’m not that bad. I’ve been sober for three months, I can drink- I must not be that bad if I could go without a drink for three months. Right?

-Well, when I go help other people, I see the guy that just drank the day before. I’m like, -Oh he looks bad. And I’m like, -I’d be lucky to look that good if I drank it. But I help him and then that helps me.

-For you. It sounds like you’ve really got your money and your professional life together really well.

-You could maybe do some videos on YouTube and just keep filming courses and writing like you’re already doing but you might have some opportunities to be your happiest self help the most people in kind of your personal life and volunteering and charity.

Brian:
-Yeah, I’d love to get all that set up.

Jerry:
-Those things I look forward to my AA meaning every day and I play video games online, I don’t even really care about the games. The reason I play is because I can reach other people who were like me five years ago who you know, are drinking and playing video games all day and watching games streams, like I can reach them and say it’s possible to have a happy, sober life, you know, that gaming context makes the connection.

Brian:
That’s a great thing to be able to do. I also dealt with depression quite a bit in my life. I know it’s really I thought it was really bold of you and good of you to come out and talk about, your AA experience and so on. Because there’s a lot of shame and guilt involved in things like alcoholism and depression, that you know, come out and talk about it. Other people realize it -Oh, hey, it’s not just me. Other people have these problems, too.

Jerry:
-Yes, I appreciate you noticing that. It was tough to open up online at first about these things. And then I got an honesty like, well, honesty is telling the truth about your life, and consideration for others might be not talking about someone else specifically in their life. But for my life, descriptive, exact. If they gave out PhDs on stuff, I might have one on drinking and depression. Nothing like laying in bed with a hangover. Flying back from Vegas with a hangover. If hell is any worse than that, I sure don’t want any part of it.

Brian:
-Yes.

-So anyway, I guess we’re coming to the end, or?

Jerry:
-Yes, 30 minutes went by fast.

-I appreciate you becoming a partner and all that you’ve done now me, you’ve helped me a lot. And that makes a big difference in my life.

Brian:
-That’s great to hear.

Jerry:
You’re helping other people in similar ways, you’re helping me and more people you can help every day. I’m really happy every day, the only time I get into a bit of a funk is when I’m between helping people.

Brian:
-I’ve learned a lot from becoming a partner already and I really appreciate it.

Jerry:
-Well, you’ve contributed a lot too and that’s what makes that partner program so good. All those posts you’ve written. And all the energy you put into things that helps other people, even if they’re just reading it, and they’re not saying anything, it. It’s useful.

Brian:
-I think the posts are going to slow down now. I think I’ve gotten most of my questions answered. I think I understand what’s going on. I know what I’ve got to do now. And not as frenetic.

Jerry:
-The partner program it’s kind of -the new person that walks in usually needs a whole lot of attention has a lot of questions, these lots of help- and then often once they get comfortable kind of settles into the majority who just doesn’t have as many questions on a regular basis mostly just reads but it will jump out and help someone when it’s the time’s right for it.

Brian:
-I really like the people that I’ve encountered in the partner program, Auret and Jewel and I picked up the Android Development course. It got good reviews.

Jerry:
-Congratulations and thank you, too.

Brian:
-Yeah. So Android Development. Wow. I didn’t think I was going to get into that. But I thought, well, let’s jump into that.

Jerry:
-Brian, is there anything else I can help you with here today?

Brian:
-I think I got it all figured out. I’m gonna go watch some YouTube videos now.

Jerry:
-You got it all figured out. Well, that sounds good. Get it to help me figure it all out too?

Brian:
(Laughs)
-Yeah.

Jerry:
-Well, I’ve loved what we’ve talked about here. Would this be an okay thing for me to share on my channel? Or is there anything sure you’d like edited or?

Brian:
-No, you can share anything you like.

Jerry:
-Excellent. I’m so excited about doing these calls. Because all the things we talked about work on might be helpful to other people also.

Brian:
-Correct.

Jerry:
-Well, thank you for doing this free call with me here, Brian, and for being a partner and all the help you’ve given me.

Brian:
-Okay, thank you for what you’ve done.

Jerry:
-My first thought you said that was what I haven’t done anything.

Brian:
-And what you’re going to do?

Jerry:
-Yeah, the bundle sales. I think you’re gonna be really good on Uthena.

Brian:
That’d be nice.

Jerry:
-Yes, and it might not seem like much to make like a few dollars for 25 courses in the bundle, you know, per sale, but we sell thousands of those. They all really add up.

Brian:
-That’s the same as my experience with StackCommerce. They do bundles and you don’t get a lot, per course. But they sell thousands. They’re up there. I had one course in a writing bundle and one month, I think they sold 2000 copies of the thing. I was only making a $1.50 per course but that’s $3,000 suddenly you’ve made. So yeah, it can add up quickly.

Jerry:
-Yeah, I’ve got a bundle. They’re selling like 50 of my courses in one bundle and it’s making about $5 to $7 a sale for me. Someone else is happy to be making 40 bucks to sell the bundle. Hey, then I’ve got the students too. I imagine if I’m thinking as a student, if I could go buy like 1000+ courses in once bought with the bundle, I’d grab that.

Brian:
-Yeah, I don’t know how that’s gonna work. I’ll see. Uthena University.

-Once it gets really big. Either you’re selling the courses for pennies, a course or you’re charging way more than anybody’s probably going to be? Well, I’ll just see. We’ll see what’s happening.

Jerry:
-We’re going to raise the price on the bundle a little bit, because the more courses that get, the easier it is to sell and the more we sell it that we can just bump the price up a little bit at a time.

Brian:
-Yeah, it can’t go too high, though.

Jerry:
-Yeah, because if you get it up to… even if it has 10,000 courses is it get it up to like, several thousand dollars then that might be. I don’t know. Maybe we could still sell them 1000 courses in a bundle

-Like a whole college education. Maybe that’d be worth paying $1000 for.

Brian:
-There you go.

Jerry:
-Thank you for all your help today, Brian, see you at the next partner call. I’ve enjoyed getting to see you face to face today.

Brian:
-Yeah, it’s different. Well, I’ve seen you actually.

Jerry:
-If people are reading and they don’t know anything about you are listening. Where would you like people to go find and get a hold of you?

Brian:
That’s a good question. My website is falling into disrepair. So there’s always AuthorBrianJackson.com. But get out of it while you can.

Jerry:
-All right, if you really want to get to know Brian you can come to hang out with Brian and the partner group and calls, Or you can go to AuthorBrianJackson.com

Brian:
-That’s right.

Jerry:
Alright, well thank you very much, Brian, I appreciate you scheduling this free 30-minute call with me.

Brian:
Okay, thank you. It’s been fun.

If you find anything helpful in this video or funny, will you please leave a like because you will feel great helping other people find it?

Thank you very much for reading, you’re awesome!

Jerry Banfield