August 20, 2020

Paying off $200k Debt and Building a 6 Figure Side Hustle w/ Ryan Helms

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Imagine if you could pay off all of your debt and start a 6-figure side hustle by this time next year. 

Ryan Helms from Legacy podcasting only considered trying this in 2016. 

Just a few years later he has quit his full time job, runs a very successful podcast agency and podcast and managed to pay off $200k in debt during this time.  

We chat about:

  • The best way to pay off debt quickly
  • How to start a profitable side hustle 
  • Hiring people to grow your side hustle
  • And much more

Paying off $200k Debt and Building a 6 Figure Side Hustle

Ryan Helms

From Legacy Podcasting

Make Time Online Podcast on iTunes - Online Entrepreneur Tips

Listen to the full Ryan Helms podcast episode

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Paying off $200k in 27 months

Ways Ryan paid off $200k in 27 months:

Side hustles Ryan started:

  • Fitness website
  • Kickstarter- the side hustle journal 
  • Podcast - Grit and Hustle

How to start a side hustle that could replace your income

Before you even consider quitting your job you must focus on a few things:

  • Focus on reducing debt and expenses
  • What is the worst case scenario- how much could you live off per month? i.e. sell house live with a friend and eat rice and beans etc.
  • Build relationships with people that you could work with 

Finding a gap in the market:

  • Nobody else was doing everything as a podcast agency.
  • Ryan found that if they offer podcasts a way to get show notes, graphics, YouTube clips etc. done then they would stand out. 
  • The podcast host would just need to have the chat and Legacy Podcasting covers everything else. 

Hiring more people:

  • 4 months later Ryan had 3-4 clients and could afford to outsource sections of his podcasting agency. 
  • 9 months in and Ryan had 14 people working in the podcasting agency

Useful tips and links mentioned

There were a ton of useful things mentioned in the chat, but here are some of the main ones...

  • Find where your "target market" hangs out that you want to reach out to. Connect with the people who already have speak to this audience and try to get in front of them. Russell Brunson's book Traffic Secrets explains this better. 
  • Useful online marketers & podcasts to follow- Pat Flynn, Tim Ferriss
  • Just start- trial and error is the best way to learn 
  • Finding flights- Sky scanner & Scott's cheap flights
  • Outsourcing- Upwork 

Full Ryan Helms podcast transcript

Ryan Helms 0:00
went down all those rabbit holes and just consumed a tonne of content on mindset and you know how to do X and Y a lot of it was like a waste of time because now I’m a believer in like, just in time learning, you don’t need to learn everything. You just need to learn what’s going to get you from A to B. And then like, you’ll learn the other things as you need to learn them. Hey guys,

Mike Beatty 0:23
it’s Mike from Make Time Online and today we’re joined by Ryan Helms from grit and hustle podcast, and legacy podcasting.

This actually turned out to be one of my favourite chats. And actually, Brian completely just outreach to me to see if they could come on the podcast. I just thought outreach email was so good it was basically a video so whatever you’re doing any hour reached someone,

Unknown Speaker 1:01
try and make it as

Mike Beatty 1:02
personal as possible. But I mean if you can do a video And ideally, if you can make it a personal, personalised video, it’s just it’s impossible to ignore with the amount of so many times people outreach, and I just completely ignore it. Anyway, Ryan has basically gone from 2016 just in a normal job. And from then he’s paid off over $200,000 worth of debt and created a six figure side hustle, basically, during whilst he was in a full time job, his business now he actually goes on to say, is making over his on to make over a million dollars of revenue this year. It’s incredible what he’s managed to achieve. But if you have any interest, like if you’re in a full time job still or you’ve got any interest of scaling a business or your online business, this is a great chat as he really knows how to network and connect with other people. He’s got some great tips in there for exactly that. We also dig in a bit more about how he’s kind of scaled his side hustle that he had going on real actionable tips on how to see success fast. Anyway, if you just want to get like my main takeaways you can jump to the last few minutes as always, or summarise then if not enjoy this one, guys. So Ryan, can you tell me a bit more about the story of you going on the trip to Kenya, I think was in 2016, wasn’t it?

Ryan Helms 2:31
Yeah, I think it was 2016 somewhere right around there. I remember it was July and I was actually sitting on a couch which is like probably about 15 feet away from you know where I’m sitting at right now chatting with you. And I’d been working like really, really long hours it my job like, you know, 12 1416 hour days like on the regular and I was like, man like it’s been like two years since I’ve had a vacation like I need to do so. Something so I got on like Google flights or something like that. And I was just like, Alright, where’s the cool place in the world? I could go like I was just looking like at the map view, right where it shows like the price tags, like all these different places on the earth. And I was like, oh, Nairobi, Kenya, like, there’s gotta be something pretty cool to do there. And so I found the ticket for like, super cheap, I can’t remember the price. It was like, somewhere between like 500 and 700 bucks, something like that. And I was like, oh man, like, sign me up, like round trip Atlanta to Kenya, like, I’ll do that. So I did it. And you know, we’re there with the goal of like, trying to just like, be a little bit relaxed and free and not like stressed out and had an amazing experience. Like, went on a safari and did all that stuff. But like the magic really happened when I went to this little island called Zanzibar, which is off the coast of Tanzania nice. And I met a bunch of really cool people there and like I realised that like they were living Their life a little bit different than I was living my life. Like they were a lot of them were travelling long term. And they were either long term, like a year, two years, like, like just straight travelling. And I was like, you know, I don’t know if this is what I want, right to travel, like for a year straight or two years straight, but I knew I wanted the ability to make that decision. And I wasn’t in a position at that time to make that decision. So that’s kind of what my big takeaway as I got in a plane and flew back home, you know, it wasn’t a complete, smooth transition back home there was like a plane that crashed on the runway in Nairobi. So we were delayed like 4040 hours leaving Zanzibar and this little like what I call like a puddle jumper plane. So I was like, yeah, it’s not the most comforting feeling when you’re about to board a plane. But, but when I did, get headed back home that kind of really started my journey. Like I had never done anything as it relates to making money outside of like my day job. So this was like my first like real endeavour to say like, hey, like, you can probably do this. Like, I don’t know how like I didn’t even know any of the people in this space at the time like that people that would eventually go on to fine like Pat Flynn and all these people. But yeah, I was just totally new. So that’s kind of what happened with Africa. It was really the catalyst. Taking that adventure, which I was by myself, I went totally alone was like the catalyst for everything that comes next.

Mike Beatty 5:34
I’ve got so many questions from what you’ve just said. But first of all, we my wife and I went to Zanzibar a couple of years ago, we did our scuba dive in like Paddy there as well. Did you do any dynamometer? Yeah, yep. Did acumen for you in What’s that? Can you remember whereabouts in Zanzibar un or is just like, whether it will be cheaper.

Ryan Helms 5:54
Yeah, so we actually was in two different places. We stayed on the South East Coast. And then we stayed in the very north. I forget the different names of the areas, but I stayed in both of those places.

Mike Beatty 6:09
Unless Yeah, we were in the north column. It was like bamboo hills. I can’t remember the exact name. But yeah, yeah, it was. The same thing happened, though, you know, one of one of the actual scuba diving rep people that was like, teaching us how to do it. He was like, from Spain or something. And he was literally just like, had a backpack. He was like, this is all I’ve got. And he’s been doing this for like, the last 15 years. The same thing was I just don’t need that much to kind of live you know, and he’s living there all the time. He’s been to the Philippines and he’s worked in like, Tyler, it was just like, man, ya know, it’s a it’s a totally different world. But second thing related to this as well. Have you ever heard of Skyscanner?

Ryan Helms 6:49
Yes, it’s that it’s an app right?

Mike Beatty 6:52
Yeah, it’s just it’s just a good way to get flights but I’ve I’ve kind of noticed that before. Like, it seems like a lot of a lot of Americans People I speak to don’t seem to be aware of it and it’s like it’s such a good way to get like good flights I don’t know if it maybe doesn’t do it as much in America or something.

Ryan Helms 7:09
Yeah, I there’s a actually interviewed a guy on my podcast, he has a company called Scott’s cheap flights. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that. And theirs is less um, less like algorithm based and more like he literally has a team of 40 people that monitor flights and look for like mistakes and they you pay to be on this email list where they blast out these mistakes and you can hurry up and buy the tickets that are like super cheap.

Mike Beatty 7:36
Well let me write that down. Scott’s

Ryan Helms 7:39
cheap flights cheap flights cool. Yeah, he grew his email list like over a million people in like, less than three years I think

Mike Beatty 7:47
amazing. So cool. And um, what was it that you were doing for work at the time?

Ryan Helms 7:52
a supply chain manager for a like big multinational chemical company?

Mike Beatty 7:57
Cool. Yeah. So obviously, you What you’ve managed to achieve over the next few years as of 2016, and we’re running 2020 now, so I guess this is in the space of three, maybe four years, you’ve gone from clear and I think 200 k in debt in 27 months. Obviously, that’s no easy feat. So like, what did you actually do? Two, what was your side hustle that actually helps you do that?

Ryan Helms 8:23
Yeah, so I mean, to be clear, it wasn’t all side hustle like what I tell people in the beginning is like you almost need to put as much or more emphasis on your day job as you do your side hustle because that’s what’s that’s what is producing revenue at the moment right so why would you Why would you neglect what is making you money now for what might not ever become anything right in the future? So I always say like, focus on what is generating that revenue now and that’s kind of what I did. So I I almost went between like When this happened and like when I went on this trip to Africa to when I ended up quitting my job, almost doubled my salary at the company I was at, like, during this process while trying to learn this stuff on the side. And it’s not that I’m anything special. It’s just like, I kind of realised like, what it took to like, climb the ladder in the corporate world is like, you know, raise your hand when people need stuff done and scientists, you know, be nice to your boss and like over deliver and like things just get handed to you. So I did a lot of that in those few years. And yeah, and that was kind of like the thing that really helped it boosted my my income up for my salary. And then I started doing things on the side. So basically all of 2017 I was just learning. Like, I was like, I tried a fitness business that never worked. I never even made $1 on it. Although I spent like probably god 80 hours building a website for it. So yum Petros bag but so I did that. That never made any money just lost a bunch of time. Then I started doing all these other things, and then blockchain Kickstarter at the end of 2017, I think in November of 2017. And I raised like 13, somewhere around 13,000 on that Kickstarter project, and then that’s really what like, I was like, oh, like here, here’s an avenue that I can go down like, because I created a product called the side hustle journal. It’s like a physical hard journal, but built towards people that were working a day job and had a thing on the side. So that’s kind of how it was laid out. And then that led into the podcast and a bunch of other stuff. So when I started making this revenue, everything that wasn’t investing back into the ventures, right was going into like I was just saving up, and eventually that that’s long story short, that’s not the revenue side. That’s the income side of, you know, that journey of paying off all that debt. And then there’s the side of the minimalizing right like scaling back the life like I was living in a studio condo which we’re actually still in right now we actually closed on a house on Friday. So that’s we got boxes everywhere right now. But so I like I bought a well within my means as far as like the condo that was living in and like a high rise nice part of the city but I just didn’t spend a lot of money. So I had a sports car I had like a 2000 I think it was a 2017 Nissan 370 z like a nice little two door sports car. Got rid of that because that alone was like when you look at the car payment gas and insurance It was like 850 bucks a month or something like that. So I got rid of that bought a used Honda Civic cash. So I just started doing all these things just to get rid of like got rid of cable and all these little things just to cut expenses. So like that, combined with increasing my income, like really helped me like expedite that process. Yeah, it was, it was like, over $200,000 in like 27 months. So yeah, no,

Mike Beatty 12:06
that is that is impressive. Yeah, I definitely want to dig in a little bit more about like the side hustles and all that sort of stuff. But didn’t you actually? Didn’t you co found an app? Was that right? And, you know, obviously don’t even know about any coding or anything like that from your data. That’s,

Ryan Helms 12:22
that’s in the process right now. So yeah, so we’re actually working on an app right now. And interesting enough. So like, I think one of the best things about getting started is just the fact that you get started and you don’t know what’s going to come with anything. So like, after I launched this Kickstarter project, I was like, oh, man, I realised that the reason that it was so difficult to raise $13,000 for this project, when I knew it could have been bigger. It’s because I didn’t know anybody. I didn’t know any entrepreneurs. I didn’t know anybody in the space. And I was like, Well, if I ever want to do anything else, like I know It’ll be helped a lot easier if I can just like, meet some people that are there that I can leverage either from knowledge or for influence, or whatever it is. So I started a podcast, you know, that’s really the reason why I did that. I was like, Okay, I figured out how to raise 13,000 I still don’t know how to make any money after this. Let me just like meet a bunch of cool people and also ask them questions about like, how they’re making money on the internet. sounds really cool and fascinating. I just haven’t cracked the code yet. So started the whole podcast, one of the guys that I interviewed, he was like Episode Number 14 or something was this guy named Mark kept in contact with Mark about a year after I interviewed him, I went to Washington DC where he lives, had lunch with him. We just stayed in contact. He was a cool guy, and I knew he knew coding and he was like, super smart, dude. So yeah, I would always pitching these ideas and he’s always shoot them down and tell them they’re dumb for whatever reason. And then I pitching an idea. And he was he couldn’t find any holes in it. So we’ve been working on that as like a side hustle. I guess you could call it now for release. It’s January. So it’s what, June or July? Yeah, July now. So for past few months, we’ve been kind of like, mocking things up and starting to build out the technology around it.

Mike Beatty 14:21
Yeah, that’s so cool. And I definitely want to like dig into more of like what you are doing now. But just going back a step if you know, someone’s listening to this, and they’re in a full time job, and I’m thinking, Okay, yeah, I could try and maybe make more money from my job. And, you know, like you said, putting your hand off and going above and beyond and actually, like, really helping people helps you to do that. But what were some other steps in that process to actually have you quit your full time job? I believe you have.

Ryan Helms 14:49
Yep, yeah, about so last August. So coming up on a year like 11 months ago. It’s crazy Time flies man as well, months ago.

Mike Beatty 14:57
So what were the steps like what were some of the things You got in place before jumping ship? Yeah.

Ryan Helms 15:04
Um, so for me, I’m very risk adverse. So maybe if you’re listening to this, you feel the same way. Like, you don’t want to take any big risk because the what ifs that go through your head. I was the same way, in a lot of ways, still that way. But so for me a big piece of it was that debt, right? I didn’t want the finances to control the decisions I made. So when I looked at leaving my job, like I had no bills at all, like everything well, besides like, electricity and internet that came on a monthly basis, but like, the cars were paid off, the condo was paid off. Like, I just had to figure out how to like cover internet and electricity and buy rice and beans. That was like worst case scenario. I just have to figure out how to make this much money. But in that process, starting in January 2019, so I help put this on a timescale for people. I quit my job August 1 2019 so the eight months leading up to that, so January of that year, I started a content marketing agency with a guy who you’re gonna see a theme here. I’ve met on a podcast. So we started a content marketing agency, we saw kind of a little gap in the market. So we decided to try to feel that neither one of us he had worked in agency before and had some experience in that in so we’re in the podcast space our agency is, so he had worked in like audio editing and stuff like that. And then I had my own podcast that was doing really well by this point. So we kind of combined those skill sets, launch this creative agency. And, you know, during we probably did, by the time I left, we had already done six figures before before I’ve been like, quit my job. We had probably done, I don’t know, 150,000 or so in that first eight months, which was very good. Good for like side money, right? That that helped expedite the process of like paying off the condo that was the last 40 k that I had left, I was able to just take from my side hustle and pay that thing off. So the steps to get there was I just got rid of all my debt reduced all my risk to taking the leap because I didn’t need the money at that point. I could, I could screw up and everything would fall apart and it would be okay. Luckily it didn’t things have progressed since you know, in the past 11 months since I quit my job and we’re continuing to grow continuing to do well. Now, you know, even with all the stuff going on in the world right now. So that was my steps. I was like, how do I just reduce all my exposure and all my risk and able to go on this venture and not be stressed out about money.

Mike Beatty 17:47
Now, I think that’s something huge and something that’s been I’ve spoken about a lot in the podcast before is that getting your finances in check is always step one, and there’s just something times where I think some people kind of overlook that step or there’s other people as well that I feel like they only focus on that step. And it’s kind of it’s really step one in my eyes like you have to, it’s like you have to get that done before you can think of anything else. And like, yeah, I think the way that you’ve done it is really cool. But yeah, I wouldn’t really want to dig into the content marketing agency then. So obviously, you found that having your podcast is the way that you’ve really been able to create these relationships and connect with people much, much quicker than what you would be able to do anything else. But how did that happen? How did you go from you have a chat with some guy? And then all of a sudden you’re like thinking about business ideas together. What were some of the things that you did to do that?

Ryan Helms 18:44
It was really kind of happened chance. But again, you have to put yourself in position for stuff to happen, whether it’s fluke or not. I’m here in Atlanta, Georgia, where I live, there is a guy who he was thrown in a like mastermind for the weekend, right? It’s a bunch of like, marketers that were going there to hang out. Several of them were actually presenting and just like being around like minded people granted at the time, like, I didn’t have an agency, I was just like, you know, I’ve talked to a lot of, I’ve interviewed a bunch of people that have this seems like an interesting business model. Let me go and learn from these people that are like crushing it. And so I went there. And then this guy who is now my, my business partner, the agency, he messaged her, I was like, did a story or something on Instagram, and then he messaged me on Instagram, I was like, Oh, you’re starting an agency. I was like, Well, I’m kind of thinking about it. Like, I don’t really know what I’m gonna do yet. And he was like, I’ve been thinking about it as well. And then like one thing led to another, and we ended up probably about two months later, getting our first client for our agency.

Mike Beatty 19:51
Amazing. Was that just like, was it like a blogger? Or is it an actual website that is already kind of producing content? How did you find these clients? The software willing to pay people for content basically.

Ryan Helms 20:03
Yeah, so we, we were very popular or I shouldn’t say we were very popular. We were active and engaged in a community that this company clickfunnels has on online. So there’s a big SAS company called Click Funnels, they’ve got a Facebook group now with like, 250,000 people in it. So I was in my partner even more so very active in that space, like doing Facebook lives every day. Like literally that’s how it started, like just doing Facebook Lives to, to let people know what his expertise was like he was just going on and talking about podcasting every day. And from a more of a marketing standpoint, not like here’s how you edit a podcast. And people found out about it. And then once we actually had our agency formed, we were ready to take on a client we just start like reaching out to people. And so our first client paid us like, I think 3500 bucks and At the time, I was like, Whoa, man, this is insane. Like this dude, trust us that much like what idiot. So but I mean, in reality, like we’d never done it at this point. We were just like, we were confident that we could do it. Like we could figure it out. Like, I’m like, Man, this isn’t rocket science, like, we’re gonna figure this out. If he gives us money, we’re gonna make it happen. So, we did, and we launched his podcast. And you know, our businesses really scaled up from there like now 30 we, we would never do all this stuff we did for him for 3500 bucks, like never in a million years. Like our prices, like more than probably two and a half three times that now for what we did for him, but that’s kind of how it started. Like, my partner was putting out content. Facebook Lives going live every day. And I was sitting there like, Hey, man, like I can do so my partner could do audio editing, I could do everything else. Not great. But good enough, I could write the show notes, do the graphics, create the video clips, edit the video schedule it all like I was doing all that. So I was going to Starbucks at like 530 in the morning before work, right when they open and I was like doing graphics and writing show notes and doing all this stuff in the beginning. All like it was just me and him for like the first three and a half months.

Mike Beatty 22:20
Amazing. So you were you’re basically just helping people produce a podcast like from scratch. I didn’t have one that already existed. I’m guessing now you probably work with some people that already have podcasts and you just take over and do do that. Like the whole show no editing and all of that stuff.

Ryan Helms 22:37
Yeah, we do a lot of like the repurposing that’s kind of like our differentiating factor we write like, like long form blog posts like 800 to 1000 words. We do all the graphics, all the video content for social media, YouTube, like social media scheduling, like it’s Yeah, we approached that in when I was talking about like the gap we saw in the market. That was a gap we saw we saw like a lot Have podcast agencies that they would like edit your audio and write your show notes. But like, what, like, there’s so much more you can do with it. But if you wanted to do that you had to do it yourself or go hire a different agency. And when you work with an agency, like 30% of the cost that you pay is just for them to like, turn on this switch, right on a monthly basis to like work with you. So like you were wasting a bunch of money by working with multiple agencies. So that was like our approach like, hey, let’s like build a team. And let’s try to do it all. Like, maybe we can’t maybe this is a horrible idea. But that’s, that’s the approach that we went with. And it’s really been a good differentiating factor for us. Like there’s there’s not really anybody that I’ve seen that does everything, like we do,

Mike Beatty 23:46
so. That’s seriously cool. It just I was kind of laughing because I was just thinking, oh man, yeah, that would save so much time. Those things definitely want to go into like the team and stuff like that, but yeah. So you You say you even do like, obviously, because right now we’re on video as well. So you could just then edit this put this on YouTube as well, I’m guessing.

Ryan Helms 24:08
Yeah. So there is a big difference between like podcast video and a YouTube video that performs well, at least like yes, you can go put your podcast interview on YouTube, the chances that you get traction with that are very slim, unless you’re like Joe Rogan or something. Somebody big like that. But yeah, so there’s a little bit difference. But yeah, we do have some clients that we repurpose content, we just help them in that content strategy to kind of make it where it will overlap with both of cool so it is possible. You just long form content. just doesn’t work really good on YouTube. No, it’s terrible.

Mike Beatty 24:48
I don’t know if you know. His name is edutainment is the company or the YouTube channel.

Ryan Helms 24:55
value. tainment value tainment.

Mike Beatty 24:57
Yeah. Oh, what’s his name? What’s his What’s his name? He’s got a Both Ahmed Patrick bet, David Yeah, I mean, he, I’ve noticed what he does is he actually puts the whole long thing on there. But then he also obviously has a team that then get snippets and clips, we do the same thing. Nice. Yeah, not such a good idea I’ve been meaning normally, that’s another thing on the list.

Ryan Helms 25:19
In it, I segment. So like, we’ll have a if it’s like an interview, or even a solo episode, if it’s like 40 minutes, we’ll put a long one up, and then we’ll cut up like four to five sections that could be anywhere between two minutes and six minutes long. Create se create SEO around that individual element as its own piece. So it’ll have its own title, its own tags, its own description, going after specific keywords and stuff within that video.

Mike Beatty 25:46
Yeah, yeah. And just even, like you say, long form content, SEO on the blog post itself. I’ve done some podcasts where I’ve deliberately had a podcast chat because I know I want to write something on that and so it’s kind of like ties in really well, and then I link the two together. But I just know from experience, it just takes so long and yeah, you know, creating the graphics and images and all of those sort of things. I was actually just saying to my wife earlier, I was like, I hate doing the podcast show notes. Yes. key words, isn’t it hate when someone says, hey, that’s an opportunity, you know, that.

Ryan Helms 26:18
The interesting thing is, so that’s the software that we’re developing. It automatically does podcast show notes, so that I mean, obviously, just like you hate it, I hated it. And now that I have an agency with like, 30 clients, that hate like, exponentially gets larger, it cost us more money. So I was like, man, there’s gotta be a damn way to not do show notes anymore, or at least like, no, increase the process because I mean, we’ve got people on our team that that’s literally all they do. Like we pay them just to do show notes. So yeah, that’s the software that’s in the works right now.

Mike Beatty 26:52
Amazing. Oh, yeah, that was really cool. Right. So yeah, let’s go into the team a bit more. So you started you’ve got 3500 friends. first client. And by the way, I’ve had chats as well with people before Do you know grants RTA is in the personal finance space but he did a very similar thing but it sounds like you know, he got built a website for one person. I can’t remember what he said he charged him like $500 or something, you know, and he went way above and beyond got it absolutely perfect and and almost like templated it and then went and sold it for more to more people. And it sounds like a similar sort of thing as what you’ve done there. But then so you start getting these little bits of income people that trust you and start saying, Okay, yeah, go and do that for us. When did you decide to like, employ someone else? And when did you realise it was getting too much for you?

Ryan Helms 27:42
Yeah, probably, I think we did. We hired our first guy in March, the end of March, so almost four months. It was kind of like we had like, three or four clients and grant my day job. I was managing a team of 14 people. There, so it wasn’t like I like a super cushy and relaxed. So I was like, trying to do a lot of stuff and like writing show notes and means you have to listen to the whole episode to be able to do that. So like spending a lot of time, just like working nonstop. So got to the point where like, Alright, let’s hire somebody. And, of course, it’s a lot. What I found is like, you can be a manager in a company, and it’s so much different when you do it by yourself. Like what do you don’t have that overall structure and like stability around you and like, here’s how it should be done. Here’s like, what the process is is like, this person is gonna bring this person into a room and you’re gonna interview and like once all that out the door and it’s kind of like you handle everything. It was like a totally different game changer. But yeah, we ended up hiring a guy. We actually got our first guy off of Upwork. That’s where we found him out. And he worked with us for over a year up until actually just recently when he voluntarily stepped away for some personal stuff but yeah, I mean, it’s, that was the that was the first hire and it was kind of it kind of snowballed from there as as we grew, by the time I quit in August, I was managing a team of 14 at my day job and a team of 14 and side business.

Mike Beatty 29:17
That’s incredible. So you went literally from? Do you say you start that in January 19? So in

Ryan Helms 29:23
January, I seen Yep, hired the first one at the end of March. And then by August, we had 14 people.

Mike Beatty 29:31
That’s incredible. Yeah, it must be. But just when you were saying I was like, Oh my god, that is such a good idea. is such a good idea for like content marketing agency. So is there anyone else that even does that? But the whole thing, obviously, there’s bits, the

Ryan Helms 29:46
whole thing I haven’t, haven’t seen it. I’ve seen people that do a lot of it. Like they’ll do like the audio, the video and the social stuff, but I mean, you’ll I haven’t found anybody that will also like right now. Social media copy and do the scheduling and write long form content, because they’re all unique skill set. That’s why we have a team of 14 people is because like, you have these people that have like their domain of expertise, like this person is really good at writing long form blog posts, they may suck at everything else. But you need somebody like that, because you’re offering this big scope of work, which presents a lot of challenges. It can make it really hard to scale a business model like this, because you have to hire all these like specialists, right? And it can get expensive, right? Because you’re hiring specialists.

Mike Beatty 30:32
No, no. 100%. So his policy sounds so good. I could keep chatting to you for ages about this, but I’m very aware like, it’s not really I want to go into as well. A little bit more about, you know, back to when you were starting your own podcast. So like, how did you decide like, did you how did you learn how to even get a podcast out there that How did you decide who to interview? Did you have like your audience in mind First of all, was it literally just like you say you wanted to connect with more people?

Ryan Helms 31:05
Ultimately, it was I wanted to connect with more people. But I knew I wanted to have an angle. Because I mean, I’d listen to bazillion podcasts at this point. So I was like, I knew the importance of like having a niche and being like, super focused. So I didn’t really know at the time how that translated into, like, content marketing Exactly. But I was like, okay, like, I know the type of people I want to talk to. I want to talk to people. And I was very specific. And I still am like, if you go to book a time on my podcast, it’s like, you have to fit in one of two categories. If you don’t like, sorry, like, I had a guy yesterday that I’m like, Hey, dude, like, based on how you answered this question. It sure doesn’t sound like you fit the box of the one you checked above. And he’s like, Well, you know, not really I’m like, sorry, dude. Gotta cancel. So I try to be like, very specific, and I talk to people who have day jobs, and have made at least $5,000 with their side hustle or People that have left their day job in the past, think for years to and took their side hustle full time, because I don’t want to talk to people that have been lifelong entrepreneurs. There’s plenty of other podcasts that are doing that. I wanted to talk to people that were more relatable so that people like me, right, because I wanted to find people like me at the time. So those are the people I want to talk to. So yeah, that’s how it kind of how it narrowed down and I kept my focus on that. And then I just went out looking for those people. And like, like with anything, whether it’s you’re selling a product or service or looking for people to be on your podcast, just have to figure out where those people hang out at. And then so that what pond Are you going to fish in so to speak, and I happen to find other podcasts that were talking to similar type of people that I wanted to different angles, and I was taking, but they had the people that I wanted, so I just hired a guy on Fiverr to create a huge database of like 200 leads and I call them leads like potential guests. And then we just started I’ll reach into them. And then that’s how I got like my first like 50 guests.

Mike Beatty 33:05
Nice. And did you do like one a week? Or did you do a little bit more often?

Ryan Helms 33:11
As far as like number of episodes? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I was doing I did two a week until like Episode 100.

Mike Beatty 33:18

Ryan Helms 33:18
So yeah, then I went to one week kind of when the agency really started like to scale up and I was like, Oh crap, man. Like, this is like two episodes a week. day job running this side business like Yeah, let’s go back to one. But yeah, I think I met like Episode 165 or something now, something like that.

Mike Beatty 33:40
That’s pretty cool. So yeah, you still you still doing that podcast as well?

Ryan Helms 33:44
Yep. Yep. Still doing that and have a YouTube channel now as well. Perfect. And I guess you get in your team to repurpose it all. Yeah,

yeah. Actually, I didn’t for a while like with the YouTube channel, like I haven’t been doing it that long. I launched Launched probably about a month and a half ago. And I’m still doing everything the video editing like every piece of it, I’m still doing myself because I want to learn the platform more. Like I want to understand because we’re doing it as a service. So I have a good enough comprehension on it. But I want to learn like the little details I what really moves the needle in the platform. So I’m doing like I’m designing my thumbnails, I got our graphic designer to create like some cool templates for me that I can update and got him to teach me some best practices. But like I’m designing the thumbnails editing, the video scheduling Yeah, writing all the copy like everything just so I can understand the platform better and then eventually out. Yeah, I’ll get our team to do it.

Mike Beatty 34:47
Awesome. Sounds like I think that’s so important as well, isn’t it when you’re outsourcing things that you actually understand it like a it’s totally different when you’re like a manager at work, and when you’re doing it yourself because you need to understand everything. little thing to explain it properly to someone else, I guess.

Ryan Helms 35:05
Yep. Yeah, exactly like, trying to sell a service that you barely understand can be pretty difficult, right? So like, the more knowledge we have on like, what works, the more we can better present it to potential clients. And, you know, the better we can actually execute on it. Mm hmm.

Mike Beatty 35:22
Yeah, hundred percent. Have you got any other like tools or trainings or something that you’ve taken, which you found to be particularly useful?

Ryan Helms 35:33
Um, I would say I listened to a bunch of podcasts. That was for starters, and I never really took any online courses or anything like that. I think the best thing to do to learn is actually just to like start just to like, try something like trial and error is by far like, the fastest thing that you can do. Yeah, if you if you’re very sure of what you want to do, I would say for sure. Like buy a course online from somebody that’s reputable. And take it because it’s going to shortcut your path. Like you’re going to learn all those things that like you might find in trial and error, like, instantly, you’re not gonna have to deal with all that crap. But if you’re unsure, like I was, like, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So I was just kind of like, let’s try some different stuff and see what works and what doesn’t work. And eventually, I’ll stumble into what I want to do. Yeah, that was kind of the approach that I took. And yeah, I mean, even when we started our agency, like I said, like, I didn’t have everything figured out. I was just like, Alright, here’s, we got to go from A to B. Don’t really know how we’re gonna get there. But I’m pretty confident we can figure this out. So let’s just go.

Mike Beatty 36:40
Yeah, no, I totally agree with you as well on the other any podcasts that you really recommend?

Ryan Helms 36:46
So the first one that I ever listened to in this space, so this was like, probably a week after I got back from Africa. I remember me and my friend Ivan, we were going like this And no, but I remember it like so vividly we were going to a, like here in the states we call like a farmers market where they sell like local produce and stuff like that. And we were going to do a juice fast. So we were like, We’re going there to buy like a bunch of like apples and carrots and celery and all this stuff. And he turned on Pat Flynn, Smart Passive income. And that was like, honestly, the first time I’d ever heard a podcast or really any content at all about like, there’s opportunity to make money besides like working at a big corporation. And from there, I just kind of went down rabbit holes of like, not only his content going in, like listening to all his episodes, like going all the way back in his catalogue, but uh, also got into other people like, listen to Tim Ferriss and read the four hour workweek and all like the typical like high level type podcasts that you would come across. I kind of went down all those rabbit holes and just consumed a tonne of content. tip on mindset and you know how to do X and why a lot of it was like a waste of time because now I’m a believer in like, just in time learning, you don’t need to learn everything, you just need to learn what’s going to get you from A to B. And then like, you’ll learn the other things as you need to learn them. A lot of people, you spend so much time just consuming, consuming, consuming, and I read so many books and I’m like, they served me no value at that time. Maybe if I reread them now I would get something from it. But it was like it was like just turning pages, like learn I was like, reading books on like, how to launch these products and like, just like how’d you read 180 pages and like, are you have a damn product launch? So like, why the hell am I reading this book? So like, it was like, in hindsight, I wasted so much time just consuming information, when I really just need to be like, learning like what was the next step I needed to take and then actually taking that step, not trying Read more about it

Mike Beatty 39:01
hmm No, that’s huge actually because I people have said very similar thing you know, like just starting getting from getting the ball rolling and things like that. And obviously people always talk about mindset and like improving yourself and learning more and things like that but when you combine it like what you just said, just doing the exact thing that you need at that time, I think that’s way more important than either of those two steps together so if you just put that really well thought

Ryan Helms 39:31
yeah, I thoroughly believe it man. There’s like, if you get down the rabbit holes of like reading all these books, and especially the books that are like super specific, like a book on like, growing a team, like if you don’t have a team, what the hell you read a book on growing a team for like, it doesn’t make any sense. Like so I think getting very specific, like you need to save that content for the time when you need that content. Like if you’re about to hire Your first person, like go read a book on like growing a team, right? It’s gonna, like really help you out. But if like, you’re not gonna hire anybody for six months, like, spend your time doing something that you actually are trying to work towards, not what you’re trying to work towards in six months.

Mike Beatty 40:13
Yeah, totally. And so I always asked this question towards the end of the podcast, if some if you could go back in time to a certain day. So I want to choose probably like 2016. Before you even went on the trip, maybe actually just after let’s go just after because you obviously then had this light bulb, but you’re still in your day job. You still haven’t heard Pat Flynn’s podcast or anything like that. And you go into work on a Monday morning, and it’s not a very good day and you’re getting annoyed at your colleagues and no one’s listening to what you want them to do and things like that. If you could go back to a moment on that day, with everything that you know now, and give yourself you know, one, two or three pieces of advice what would they be?

Ryan Helms 41:00
First one we’ve talked about is just start something, just kind of get the ball rolling. Don’t worry about vanity metrics. I think this is a really big one that a lot of people get caught up on. It’s worrying about like how many subscribers you have worrying about how many downloads you have, how many followers you have, like none of this stuff. In most cases, there are exceptions. And most cases, none of this stuff directly attributes towards the potential success that you could have with whatever business model or idea you want to have. So starting not focusing on vanity metrics, I think are two really important things for people like just starting out and like I could have saved a lot of time trying to build like the perfect website that looked awesome because all these people were gonna find me and I was gonna get like all these like, all this traffic on my website, like, it’s just all really unnecessary. So I guess another thing would be, you know, don’t Don’t focus on things that don’t matter. And that can be really hard to figure out in the beginning but like, you don’t really need a website, like launch a business. We didn’t have, we didn’t create a website. So we were going to a conference and we knew we were going to meet a lot of potential clients that well, one could be potential clients, but two didn’t know who we were. So we were like, what if they want to like look us up or something? What Where the hell are they gonna go? So like literally in like a week, I built a website, which is literally 99% exactly the website that we have right now. I created our logo in about 30 seconds. So like these things that, you know, fast forward, or rewind a year before that, I was spending like, weeks doing like I spent like weeks building this website that serve no purpose. Like I hired a guy to build like this logo and did like eight revisions of it like none of this stuff that actually made like it wasn’t going to move the needle and then for This business that, you know, has, I don’t know, like, we’re hoping to hit like a million dollars in revenue by the end of the year. Like, I did all this stuff, I built the logo, I didn’t like 30 seconds, we still use it. The website built in like a day and a half, we still use it. Like it. None of this stuff is like directly correlated to like how much potential money you could make in your business. So like, I would Yeah, start. Don’t forget, don’t be focused on vanity metrics and don’t waste your time doing stuff that isn’t actually going to generate revenue.

Mike Beatty 43:33
Awesome advice. Thanks so much, Ryan. It’s been an absolute pleasure to chat here and

Ryan Helms 43:38
has helped a lot of people as well. Good, awesome to chat with you as well, Mike.

Mike Beatty 43:46
So what a cool guy and what amazing story he has. It just completely stood out. Like I said, his outreach email with this video and stuff. It just is a hard one to ignore and he is on to some incredible things and Anyway, so here are my five key takeaways from that chat. And hopefully that’ll help summarise everything for you as well. So number one is just start. If you are listening to this right now and you have not started something, stop listening to this please and just go and take some action literally just whether it’s you know, if it’s just creating a website, if you’ve never created a website before, you know, get find out, use some hosting and something like that as cheap hosting as you can put a website together, you can even just start a free blog or something, it’s just getting started with something is so important, which leads on to number two, which is connect with other people who are doing a similar thing as what you like to do. And a podcast is a great way to do this is something that you can actually start today for free. If you’ve got a mobile phone or a laptop. You don’t need to spend a penny to get a podcast out there into the real world. And if no one listens to it, who cares? It really doesn’t matter if it can help you get some chats with people You’re interested in having chats with it’s a huge reason why I started the podcast is huge reason why Ryan started his podcast. And it just, it just works. And over time you end up providing value real value for real people. And you can fit it into whatever you want. Or you just stop the podcast. Once you’ve had some chats with people and learn some things you want to learn. Number three is to mastermind with people. Now, this is something I learned recently, I was in a mastermind group. And I always kind of thought, you know, you have to pay for it or you have to have a name. There’s some special laws on joining a mastermind group. It’s just it can be with anyone. Just find some people that are you can relate to. Again, if you had real chats with them like a podcast. It’s a great way to actually find people that you can connect with and you don’t want a similar level and starts grouped together. Just have two weekly or weekly Skype Cause and share your ideas take it one at a time. One person says what they want to do one week, everyone else gives their feedback. Chances are everyone’s going to have been at a different stage and they can provide value to you. For free, basically, it’s a great idea is what he did. And that’s how he found a lot of his business opportunities. Number four is that you need to learn the work thoroughly yourself before you outsource it. And I see this in different Facebook groups like even the make time online Facebook group and different places. I’ve seen people talking about outsourcing and things like that before. And if you if you’ve got if you don’t know why you are doing something, or there’s not a reason and it’s not leading on to somewhere, whether it is collecting email addresses or you know, building an email list or building rapport with people or getting traffic from SEO or whatever it is that you’re doing. If there’s no point to it, and you haven’t got results from doing it yourself, you probably shouldn’t be outsourcing it. I think sometimes people jump in, I think this is a business, I need to get people and employ people and get them to do stuff. If you can’t tell them what to do. It’s too early to outsource. Number five is only learn what you need to get to your next step. Ignore the vanity metrics. I’m going to say that again, ignore the vanity metrics. Stop looking at Google Analytics, stop looking at how many people are on your email list. start focusing on what you need to do to get to the next step. And when you

it’s, it’s can be hard like he said at the beginning and at every stage that you go through because you don’t always know what the next step is, which is the whole point about just starting. But once you figure out what it is that you want to do next, let’s say you have website out there, and you’ve got some blog post, you’ve got a few people that are coming and seeing your website each week and you realise, okay, my next step I need to build an email list. either use YouTube, use a podcast, and search for how to build an email list. only learn that, learn that only thing. Don’t read all these business books about building a team, like he said, focus on your next step. And once you get to that stage, and you might need to work out what emails do I send my list and only learn about that. And then you might want to create a product and only learn about that. And then once you’ve created a product and you’re making regular sales, you might think I need someone else to do this part for me. And then you need to learn about building it. The steps to everything and only focusing on what you need to do next is so important. Something that I don’t think enough people talk about that is actually and he put really, really well. Anyway, I’m gonna stop rambling now. I hope you enjoyed that one, guys. Thanks for listening in to this episode of Make time online. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast so you don’t miss any future episodes. And please take a moment to write a review for our podcast in the App Store. keep changing for the better guys. Take care

Ryan Helms podcast summary

My top takeaways from the chat were:

  • Just start
  • "Just in time learning"- only learn what you need to learn to get to the next step rather than mindset and growing a team stuff
  • Mastermind with other people
  • Learn the work yourself before outsourcing
  • Ignore vanity metrics- your traffic & email addresses are useless. The whole point of them is to generate revenue. How can you provide more value and help your audience more? 

What were your main takeaways? Any questions? Drop a comment below...

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About the Author

Mike Beatty has built a passive income online whilst working as a full-time PE teacher without any marketing or technical experience. Learn more about how he's done it here.

Mike Beatty

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    Looking forward to listening to your stuff and I’ll be sure to review it on iTunes!

    kind regards, 


    1. Thanks for the kind words Tony! 

      Glad you like the podcast, it’s every Thursday and I’ll be starting an “Ask Mike” section every Tuesday soon. Feel free to ask any questions on it (if I can’t answer it, I’ll find someone that can)

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