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Episode #52 Transcript: How to Start an Online Business with Travis Sherry of Extra Pack of Peanuts - How To Quit Working
Episode #52 Transcript: How to Start an Online Business with Travis Sherry of Extra Pack of Peanuts

Episode #52 Transcript: How to Start an Online Business with Travis Sherry of Extra Pack of Peanuts




Jeff Steinmann:  Hello, and welcome to the How To Quit Working show. This is episode number 52 and if you’ve been paying attention, we do one episode a week and since there’s 52 weeks in a year, that means this is the 52nd episode of the How To Quit Working show.

Now, a lot of folks have been with us the entire year and I thank you for tuning in and I get your emails, I get your comments and I’m so glad that you’re enjoying the show and you’re getting lots of great stuff out of the show and keep tuning in. And if you like the show, please leave a review, leave a rating on iTunes. That’s a way it’ll help us get up in the charts so that more people can get this great information. And so that more people can quit working and launch the life of their dreams.

Now, I wanted to do something special for the show and I am definitely doing something special here. But we’re going to get to that in a second because I want to read a review that I got on How To Quit Working. What I think is so cool about this book is that people who have already created successful lifestyle businesses are getting stuff out of the book and they’re giving me great comments about the book. They’re saying, Jeff, I’ve already done this but I still learn a ton and get a great deal of information from your book. And Bob Baker is one of those people.

Bob has been making a living full time with what he does, teaching people how to do music marketing for over 10 years, and he’s an amazing guy. And he had this to say about How To Quit Working. Bob says, “I love the idea of designing a life and making a living based on what you know. That’s exactly how I created my own DIY career. In How To Quit Working, Jeff expertly shows you how to take the valuable assets that sit between your ears and turn them into a profitable livelihood. Bravo!”

And that’s from Bob Baker who is the author of the DIY Career Manifesto and the Guerrilla Music Marketing handbook. Bob, thank you for that awesome, awesome comment. And if you want to get a copy of How To Quit Working, go to howtoquitworking.com/book and for a limited time, I’m offering a $150 worth of bonuses just for buying that book. It doesn’t matter what format you buy, you get all the instructions there. So head over to howtoquitworking.com/book and learn how to create an amazing life of freedom.

And speaking of creating an amazing life of freedom, I have on the show today returning after 52 weeks, plugging away at his career, Travis Sherry is the founder of Extra Pack of Peanuts. That’s an awesome website where he teaches people how to travel inexpensively using frequent flyer miles and other kind of travel hacks. And he was making great progress. He had an awesome business when we talked to him a year ago. But what we’re going to find out today is, what happens when you start an awesome business like this and then you stay with it for a year and keep plugging away and plugging away and plugging away at it.

And Travis is going to tell us about all of the awesome stuff, not only the travel that he’s done this year but the awesome growth his business has seen in this past year. Travis, welcome to the show.

Travis Sherry:  Thanks. I’m glad to be here again. It’s nice to be on the other side of the mic.

Jeff:  Yeah, this is the one year anniversary of the How To Quit Working show and Travis, you were the very first guest ever on the How To Quit Working show. It was one of my favorite episodes and it still is. And I thought, how much fun would it be for the one year anniversary to bring back the first guest and talk about what has happened in the past 12 months. Where have you gone in the last 12 months? What have you done in the last 12 months? How has your business and your life moved forward in the past 12 months? And because we stayed in touch outside of the show, I know that you’ve got a lot of really awesome stuff to share with our listeners. And I’ll just start with an anecdote.

So if you don’t know Travis, he teaches people how to travel less expensively using cheap frequent flyer miles and other kind of cool travel hacks. This guy, he definitely practices what he preaches because I reached out back in January and I asked if he’d be willing to come back and do the show. And I got this long list of dates of all the crazy, fun, exotic places that you’re going to be at. So we had to slot this in in a two-week period while you’re going to be at your home. But anyway, Travis, tell us a little bit about what’s been going on the past year?

Travis:  Yes. So I wear the badge of being the first guest proudly by the way, and I hope your listeners have a little bit of time because yeah, there has been a lot going on in the last year. Jeff, when I was on one year ago, we talked a lot about the business and everything was kind of been the formative stage. I was trying to figure out what to do. I’d actually, that January, so about a year and three months before that, had to have my income go from about $6,000 to zero dollars in one day when I was cut from my one affiliate sales company. And I had to kind of recreate the wheel and that’s what I’ve been doing the last year.

I take in what I had and I’ve said, all right, this is good. The website is good but how can I now monetize it? And I have learned, in one year more than I did in the other 29 years of my life. So it has been a wild, crazy ride. You’re right. I have done it while travelling to a bunch of awesome places and a lot of the community members of Extra Pack of Peanuts have been going to a lot of cool places, too. So overall, it’s been an amazing year but definitely it was some peaks and valleys as everyone who’s an entrepreneur knows.

Jeff:  That’s awesome. Well, tell us a little bit about… because we want to learn some of the stuff that you’ve learned. We want to learn more about all that. But I think really what we want to know is tell us about some of the cool places you’ve been in the past year.

Travis:  Yes. So where to start? I’m trying to think of where in the last year. My most recent trip, I just got back from a three-week trip in China. That was the first time I’ve been to China. I was able to get there because there’s a very cheap airfare that I found. It was $550 roundtrip from my home in Philly to go to Shanghai.

Jeff:  What would that normally cost?

Travis:  Normally, you’re looking at 1200. Probably around there, 1200 to 1300 dollars. It was more than half off. Really cheap ticket. I decided, hey, I’ve never been to China. Even when I lived in Japan, I didn’t make it to China. Let’s go to China. And it was this idea of, hey, we’re going to go for a few days. Me and my wife. Then it turned into, whoa, here are some really cool places we didn’t know existed in China. Now, let’s extend the vacation. It ended up being a three-week trip through China with my wife and my best friend who hadn’t been out of the country for a while.

So we just did that. We’ll be going to Europe for two months now here in a couple of weeks. So that’s on the horizon there.  In January, two months ago, we did Italy for 10 days. Yeah, a lot of domestic travel in the U.S. the past year: New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle, a road trip to Canada for three weeks. Just a lot of really, really fun, awesome experiences.

Jeff:  That’s awesome. Well, tell us about some… you mentioned that members of your Extra Pack of Peanuts community have gone to some really cool places. What’s the coolest thing that one of your customers or community members have done?

Travis:  Yeah, there is so many. And one of the cool things I’m doing with the redesigning a site is it’s going to be interactive where people can actually post pictures of places they’ve been.

Jeff:  Oh, wow.

Travis:  Yeah, I’m going to let you know a little secret. We’re going to try to get one EPOP community member to every single country in the world. So we’re looking at now all 193 countries at some point. Just a crazy pie in the sky, hey, we’re going to do it no matter how long it takes, I think. But I did just have someone who I actually helped them book their tickets. It was a family of five.

And when they emailed me, I thought, all right, even I can’t pull this off. This is crazy. They wanted to go around the world and they wanted to basically—they were starting Washington D.C. They wanted to go to Vienna then they wanted to go down to Jordan and see Petra. Then they wanted to go to Bangkok followed by some of the Thai islands and then come home to Washington D.C. And I told them, all right, there’s five of you. This is going to be near impossible to find the dates.

Long story short, I was able to actually work it out. It worked quicker than I thought it would somehow. We booked him—what would cost the same amount of miles for him to go to Washington, to Bangkok and back. Just Point A, Point B back to Point A. We were able to get him Vienna, Jordan and the Thai Islands all included in that for the same amount as it would cost for him to go from Washington to Bangkok. So 65,000 miles a person and $80 out-of-pocket for each person.

Jeff:  $80 out-of-pocket for each person for a family of five.

Travis:  Right. So a total of 400 bucks and what is that? About 320,000 miles which sounds like a lot but you can actually earn—you can earn that amount of miles fairly quickly if you know some tips and tricks.

Jeff:  Wow. Which you can get at extrapackofpeanuts.com. So now, one of the things that the folks listening to this show today, of vast majority of them did not listen to that first episode because I think there may have only been like, five or 10 people who listened to that first episode.

Travis:  Thanks for coming back.

Jeff:  But for the other folks who didn’t hear that first episode, tell us a little bit about what was your transition? Because I mean, you didn’t always have this awesome company and website that helps people travel around the world for really inexpensively. But what did you do before then?

Travis:  Yeah. So I’m very blessed to be able to do this full time now and it has been a struggle but well worth it and we could get in to all the nitty-gritty details there. But before that, I was a high school History teacher. So I taught high school History for about four years. I took a job in Switzerland as part of a graduate program and lived there for five months and that’s what kind of spurred me on to, hey, I don’t just want to travel places but I actually want to try to live abroad for an extended period of time.

That then brought me to live in Japan for two years. I was teaching English there and during that time from June 2010 to June 2012, that’s when I started my website. The last half of that trip—or not trip, the last half of that so in January 2012, I started a website with the idea that I wanted to be location dependent. I wanted to have a company that I ran, that I put my name on, that I could be proud of and then I could make money from. And I wanted to be able to live wherever I wanted to be able to live and we all know the internet allows us to do that.

So, I did about eight months of building my website with the hope that when I moved home in August 2012, it would be big enough that I could do it full time. I hit that point. It wasn’t a lot of money by any stretch. We’re talking entry level job money but I was able to then write my book and go into that and since then I’ve been able to grow it. I told you, it went down to zero dollars. And since then, that was about January 2013. I’ve now been able to grow it into a business that does very well and makes me more than I would had I had a traditional teaching job.

Jeff:  Oh, wow. Okay, so now you’ve surpassed the income that you would have had had you stayed in your teaching job. So it’s been a wild ride over the past year for you. What’s the biggest change since 12 months ago?

Travis:  Yes, so 12 months ago, I didn’t know where I was going to make money, really. I told you I’d done affiliate sales for credit card companies and I promoted credit cards that worked for people who wanted to travel. And that was the gist of what I did. I told people, hey, here’s how you get frequent flyer miles. Here’s how you keep your credit score high and here’s the best credit cards for you to get if you want to travel to Italy, Australia, whatever. And so I was making affiliate commissions off that. It was working off for everyone because I was making money off of it. I was giving advice to people so that they could travel for free and the credit card company was making money or getting new customers.

Jeff:  It was a win, win, win. Everybody was happy.

Travis:  It was a win, win, win until they said, hey, we don’t really like people who write up pieces about our stuff. We just want someone to talk about that is the best and give bullet points. And I was writing more in-depth, lengthy, hey make sure you know this, this, and this. So long story short, I got cut down to zero dollars. And I thought, all right, well, I still have this website. I still have a community. It is growing rapidly. But now, how can I make money off of it? This affiliate stuff isn’t working.

Luckily, before that, I knew it could have fallen off so I wrote my own book. I promoted that a little bit but what I learned was, I’m not such a good promoter really. I enjoyed  writing the book and I thought, hey, I’m going to write the book. It’s going to sell great, that’s it. And like most people, wrote it, put it out there. It did okay but then I didn’t continue on. I think that’s something I learned was that it’s a process. Once you’re done writing, as you well know, it’s not over.

So I started scratching and calling for ways to make money. I did not want to go back to a regular job. I considered it a bunch of times. I interviewed for some jobs I thought were interesting even, but I knew I wanted to work for myself so I said, what can I do? And I started doing private consulting where people would come to me with frequent flyer miles and say, “I want to go to Italy. How can I book this ticket?” or “I’m a family of five. I want to do this.”

So I would start charging for my services there. Very time intensive. Very difficult because if I didn’t book them a ticket, then I was not making any money. I could spend hours and make zero dollars if it didn’t work out. But at that point, that’s what I had to do. So this idea of passive income was not happening at that point. And I was still writing my blog and pumping out content but I wasn’t making much money off of it.

And that’s when I decided, what’s the next thing I can do? And I started running video courses. So, it’s called Frequent Flyer Boot Camp. It’s like the book except the way I described it, it’s more hand holding. It’s a month long. You get videos sent to you every week. You get a batch of videos. You watch them. We have live weekly conference calls with everyone in the group. And there’s a private Facebook group. So I’m literally walking people through here’s how I would book these tickets step by step by step so that they had the knowledge. So after I teach them, they can book themselves their own tickets for life.

So, yeah, just a lot of figuring out what works. I created that product from scratch. I put it out there. We’re now actually running the fourth session. So we’ve run three other sessions and that has been—it’s been an okay money maker, a decent money maker but really, it’s been more fun than I ever could have imagined and it’s been so rewarding to me. So, the money’s one part of it but obviously, enjoying what you do is the other and I’d been able to find that out and kind of kept that balance over the last year. But like I said, it’s been back and forth for sure.

Jeff:  Yeah, yeah. Well, so you’ve really gone from this kind of affiliate model where you were sort of promoting these other people’s products to having more of your own products. Could you talk a little bit about… because I know we have a lot of folks out there who I get emails from folks and they’re like, well, what do you think about just doing affiliate sales for this company or that company? And I think that there’s… I don’t want to steal your thunder but there’s maybe some pitfalls that I think you can probably speak to better than anybody right now, that come with promoting other people’s stuff versus having your own stuff.

Travis:  Yeah, there are. And luckily now, because my site has grown—I think when we last talked, let’s say we were getting 25,000 visitors a month roughly and now, we’re topping out at around 100,000 visitors a month now. So the community has grown rapidly and that’s because of content. And interestingly enough, those affiliate companies, those credit card companies who before said, “Hey, we don’t want to do this anymore. You’re not big enough. You’re not worth our time,” is in essence is what they’re saying, have come back to me now and said, well, now you—they’ve seen the numbers. They’ve seen the network with other credit card companies and done well with other credit card companies and so they’ve come back and said, “All right. We want to start working together.”

So we have a delicate balance right now. So I wouldn’t tell people not to do affiliate sales. I would just tell them, it’s obviously best to diversify. And the pitfalls are… the biggest one is that you don’t have control over what you’re selling. If you’re selling an affiliate product, for example, if I’m selling a credit card or telling people to get a credit card, well, tomorrow, that credit card could go from having a great sign-up bonus so all of a sudden, they decided not to give a sign-up bonus. Well, I might still get paid to refer people to that credit card but I’m not going to refer them because it’s not worth it anymore. So that same stuff can happen with info products that other people have. Maybe they don’t want to sell it anymore so if you’re making a good living selling someone else’s product and it changes for the worst or they pull it or they just say like they did to me, “You can still promote our products. We’re just not going to pay you for it.”

Jeff:  You’re like, “Let me get right on that.”

Travis:  Right. And I did. That credit card company that dropped me, I still promoted their products because they were the best. It’s a delicate, delicate process. You’re on thin ice. I would say make sure a) that you believe in the product wholeheartedly and that you would promote it if you weren’t getting paid. That’s a big thing and that’s what I did. I still promoted them even though I wasn’t getting paid. Now that they’ve come back to me, obviously, it’s nice to get paid for it. But that’s the first thing and the second is, you want to diversify because you never know when it’s going to get pulled. You don’t have control over the content and stuff like that. So, if you can’t create your own products or figure out enough affiliate marketing where you’re promoting maybe 10, 15, 20 products and all of them are income streams, then you don’t kind of get chopped down with just one fell swoop.

Jeff:  So, diversify is really the key message there.

Travis:  Definitely.

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Jeff:  Awesome, awesome. Well, Travis, tell us a little bit about what are some of the… you talked about the affiliate sales thing but what are some of the other struggles that you faced over the past 12 months?

Travis:  Yeah. I would say other than the affiliate sales and the how am I going to get money which everyone’s going to go through unless they fall into a pot of gold or they’re really smart right off the bat, everyone’s going to try to struggle with that “how am I going to get money”. And what I would say with that is a) figure out the talent that you have. For me, it was frequent flyer miles so I started seeing well, now I can book for people. I can be a travel agent with frequent flyer miles. It made me money. It made me enough to get through. If you’re someone who’s starting a business and you have a full time job, stay with that full time job if you can and do it on the side. You don’t want to hack them in the position where you have to make money like I was in.

The other thing that comes with that is I have had a very, very tough time balancing work and not work, I guess is what you’d call it. I wouldn’t even call it. I mean, I get to live in all these places. I get to travel. It’s really, really great. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But there are days where I wake up in the morning and my mind is just on constantly all day, what’s the next thing? What’s the next thing? What’s the next thing? And it’s 11pm and I can’t shut it off and I think. I can’t sleep because I have something else to do.

So that has been very, very hard and I’ve tried to now build a schedule in of hey, you’re going to wake up early. You’re going to do work. You’re going to almost have what would be a nine-to-five job as a way to shut myself down. I still struggle with it. Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t work. I have a conference call tonight at 11:30pm so do what I say, not what I do. But that has been a struggle and it’s tough especially when you’re travelling. Because if you’re travelling, you’re going to want to see all these places. But you also know, well, I have to keep up with my work, too. So that’s a tough thing to do.

I would say the third biggest challenge then is finding your voice and finding your calling like, I knew I wanted to teach people about frequent flyer miles but I went through, should I post three times a week? Everyday? Short articles, long articles. I’m sure you kind of are used to that. You don’t know what to do. Everyone’s telling you something different. They’re telling you short articles are better for SEO. Long articles are better because it builds your community relationships and they get to know you. Blah, blah, blah, blah. I have literally—it probably for six months now, just gone on an information diet where I’ve said I’ll still read a few, few business entrepreneurs stuff in there but I’ve just cut it out. And I’ve said I have to do what I think is right. You find your voice naturally over time and it takes a lot of time. And I just said, what can I actually do that’s going to keep me sane?

And the biggest advice I can give is write for yourself. Record a podcast for yourself. You want to figure out who your ideal listener is and it’s probably you. That’s probably the person that you can speak to the best. So if you put yourself as the ideal person, write what you enjoy. If you enjoy longer articles and people going more in depth, write that. If you enjoy short articles, write that. Or do a mix. Don’t always think there’s a right answer because you get in to your own business. Because you don’t want to be told there’s a right answer. You want to do it your own way. And that’s what I’ve had to learn is that there’s not always a right answer. Do it to the best I can and be happy with that.

Jeff:  You said you’re on an information diet and I think that’s so important to do every once in a while because you have to reach that point where you’re like, okay, I’ve taken in all this information and that’s great and I’ve processed it. And now, I’m just going to go do what the hell I want to do because that’s what I have to do, right? Because that’s what it takes to make a successful business. I think so much of that information comes from people that have one success, right? They do something and it’s successful. And all of a sudden, they go out and—well-meaning, I suppose, they tell everyone how they did it. And then it sort of becomes gospel, right? You have to write short articles or you have to do it this way. You have to do it that way.

So, yeah, I think that’s a really important thing to remember because I think folks, when they’re in the beginning stages of their business, are so incredibly hungry for information that they’re just grabbing on to every, everything and looking for that one secret magic bullet. Have you found that one secret thing that has just been the thing that’s skyrocketed you to success?

Travis:  Well, believe it or not, I don’t think the difference in putting a pop-up on your blog or not putting a pop-up on your blog is going to make you an overnight millionaire or not make you an overnight millionaire. There are definitely things that help and I can relate 100 percent with what you said. I was that person who wanted all the information in the beginning. I kind of took all of that in. It drove me crazy. I changed stuff everyday. I didn’t know what to do and I was literally just mentally ragged. And that’s why I went on an information diet.

And what I found is, I still remember all that stuff that people wrote and I’ll put it in here and there but now, it’s in a way that’s natural. I’m not trying to do it all at once. I’m like, oh I remember that that guy said making your text to different color, something is better. But you don’t have to do it all at once. The magic I think is not doing it all at once. The magic is saying, be happy with what you’ve done. Do it. Get it out. It’s not going to be perfect and especially online like, you can always change.

I could change my website right now if I thought it sucked. And I do and I am changing it as we speak, but be happy. Get something out and just start doing it because so many people get this paralysis by analysis or whatever they call it. I think there’s a cool term for it, where they don’t do anything because they think they have to do it perfect. You’ll find that people a) resonate with you if you’re honest about your struggles and not based on your successes and that you don’t have all the answers.

And also, if you put it out there, they’re going to like you for you. That’s the point of a lot of information practice and a lot of blogs are trying to give everyone the answers. What I found is people resonate with me, not exactly with what I’m teaching although they love the frequent flyer stuff, but they resonate because I’m living the life that I’m teaching them to do and they see that and they want to learn about that.

Jeff:  So just kind of relaxing and being yourself and just falling into it.

Travis:  That is the key in my mind. That’s the best person you can be is yourself. So if you try to be someone else, you’re probably going to fail. And everyone has their own unique skills and abilities and I know it sounds cliché but being the best you is the best you can be. And that doesn’t have to mean outside of the online realm. It can mean on your blog, on your website, in your information product. Be yourself.

Jeff:  You said, just put something out there and it’s not going to be perfect and it’s totally okay if it’s not perfect. And you also said, talk openly about your struggles and all that kind of stuff. It’s interesting, yesterday, in preparation for this show, I listened to that first ever episode of the How To Quit Working show that I did where you were the guest. I went back and I was like, wow, that really sucked.

Travis:  Yeah, and it probably sucked on my end, too. I didn’t have a podcast at that point, right? And I didn’t have any of the equipment. Now, I run a podcast and I’m a host so I feel much more eloquent when I speak. But we did it, right? Or you did it, you got me on and that started the show. And here we are a year later.

Jeff:  And we wouldn’t be here a year later had I not recorded that kind of sucky episode of the How To Quit Working show a year ago. So I think that’s a huge testament to just being able to just roll up your sleeves and just put something out there and be totally okay with it not being perfect.

Travis:  Yeah, I am with you. I started a podcast myself and I didn’t have any clue how to do it much like you probably didn’t have any clue. And I just said I’m going to do it because there are no good travel podcasts out there. They’re just gone.

Jeff:  That is hard to believe.

Travis:  It is, and I shouldn’t say no good ones but they’re all destination based. Hey, you want to go to Rome? Here’s how, what to do in Rome. I wanted to do it where I brought people on much like you do, interview them about why they travel. They’re probably a travel expert in fitness or travel expert in food and how to eat safe in different countries or house sitting or some people on frequent flyer miles.

And I just wanted them to talk about their experiences and we do touch a lot on location dependence and entrepreneurship as well because they kind of mesh there. If you want to travel a lot, you probably won’t be location dependent. But I had no clue, Jeff. I’d no clue how to do it. It sucked. I listened to some of the first steps so I’m like, this is awful. But I did it and now, it’s a success and I love doing it. So, even if it wasn’t a success, I didn’t like doing it so I cancelled after a few episodes, no big deal. You gave it a shot.

Jeff:  Yeah. Everybody who podcasts just really loves it. It really is a lot of fun. And I think one of the things about podcasting in particular is that it gets you into a marketplace. It gets you into the iTunes marketplace. Whenever I encounter somebody, I always try to ask them, where did you hear about How To Quit Working? So many times, it’s, “I Googled how to start a business.” Or not Googled. I hate that Google has taken over the word searched. I searched on iTunes for how to start a business or something like that. And that’s how folks discovered this show. Do you find it a lot of folks discover Extra Pack of Peanuts on iTunes?

Travis:  I actually don’t know. One of the things  I need to get much better and this goes back to just learning as you go and doing it in the beginning. The show, I know how many downloads we get. It’s about 10,000 a month now. But I don’t know where they come from. I know podcasting is a little harder than getting analytics for blogs. I will say though that I do know that a ton of my readers who used—they might still read the blog as well but they’ve come to me and say, we love the podcast because we don’t have to read all the information.

And so, I get a lot of emails saying, we love the podcast. Keep doing it. When I wasn’t consistent with the podcast, I’d record a few and I put them up and then I wouldn’t do one for a month. I would get emails from people who’ll be like, we’re craving your snacks podcast, this and that. And that’s not because it’s the best podcast in the world but because there was none in that niche and they like what I did. I said, I have to start becoming more consistent. Now, we do one a week.

But yeah, I think podcasting, if you’re considering doing it, there really aren’t enough good podcast out there. And that sounds crazy because there are a lot of podcast out there. But like I said, there was no podcast out there that interviewed travelers. None. Like, none that talked about their stories. And everyone wants to hear a good travel story and expertise about travel and so I decided to create it.

Fortunately enough for me, I have two listeners/readers who now have created their own podcast, kind of doing the same thing which is great because they said, “Oh would you feel like I’m stepping on your toes if I created my own podcast?” I said like, I need someone to listen to. I don’t want to listen to myself. So yeah, thankfully, they’re doing—one is trying to do one a day and the other is trying to do about one a week as well and I welcome people with open arms because it’s not really competition. There’s not a lot out there, and if you’re interested in doing podcasting, I would 100 percent be an advocate of it.

Jeff:  It’s a lot of lot of fun. We had Jonathan Taylor of the Beginner Internet podcast on the show back over the summer, and one of the things that he said that I thought was so interesting was that consistency is so much more important than quality. He really drew it home, the point of consistency in podcasting. He is one of the top 30 internet marketing podcast which is quite a feat in that very competitive niche. Travis, what’s the biggest mistake that you’d say you’ve made over the past 12 months?

Travis:  The biggest mistake in 12 months, well, I think most people would think that I would say losing the affiliation with the credit card company. But you know what? To me, it really was a blessing in the fact that it forced me to scramble. I didn’t do anything wrong as well. They just came to me and said, “You’re too small. It’s not worth the oversight. You write stuff we have to read to make sure it’s correct and you’re too small, you’re not bringing up sales.” And they were also a little upset that I wasn’t promoting cards that had worse offers. So not that I’m on a more of a high ground here but I just told them, I will tell people about the best offers whether you’re paying me for that card or not because they’ll pay you for a few cards and not for others. And I said, I’m going to tell them the best one and if that doesn’t get me money, that’s fine.

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So a lot of people would say, well, man, that sounds like such a failure. It sucked. Don’t get me wrong. It sucked every way in terms of monetary and I was crushed. It actually happened on my birthday. And so it was like, my wife will tell you, it takes a lot to get me down. I don’t even know if I’ve really technically ever been depressed. That was very close. For a week and a half, I just thought, now I got to get a job. But it forced me to scramble.

So, probably the biggest mistake I made, I would say—that isn’t it. I would say not actively promoting my stuff enough. It feels very sales-y to go on and say, you should buy my book or you should get my Boot Camp and stuff like that. But if you really believe that your product or your service or whatever it is is good and it’s a good value, then you should be telling people about it. And again, it still feels foreign for me to do.

But you get one email out of a 100 that says like, I unsubscribe your newsletter because it sounds too sales-y. And I let that get me down all the time to the point where I wasn’t promoting my stuff. And then I thought, this is one person who emailed me and said that. I have hundreds of people who bought the book. I have hundreds of people who have done the Boot Camp that have written me like, “This is awesome. We love it.” And 95 percent in this stuff that I have is free. So, letting one person, one hater—I wouldn’t even call him my hater. I mean, maybe it was too sales-y for them. But letting one person’s opinion drive your decisions, a negative opinion drive your decisions is the path to failure.

And I learned that the hard way because I wasn’t making sales. I had one of my most loyal readers, a person who’d email me maybe every other week. I knew his name. We talked a lot. I was running my third session of Boot Camp and he said, hey, how come I’d never heard about this before? Well, I’ve already ran some sessions. I’ve put up videos. And he was like, I have never heard about it. I didn’t even know you had a book. And this is a guy who’s on my site every other day.

So when he said that, I thought, listen, he’s not going to be put off by me putting a banner about my book. He’s coming and getting a free information, that’s fine. The fact that he didn’t know it was available was the issue. And that, it’s very hard to kind of get in yourself and say, I have to push this more because most of us aren’t sales and you see people who are good at. And you’re like, wow, they’re so good that they don’t sound sales-y. But you just do it in a natural way.

I tell people, 95 percent of my stuff is free. You can come and learn almost everything you want on my site for free. If you want the convenience, you can get the book. If you want even more convenience and you want direct access to me, join the Boot Camp. You don’t have to. Here’s what other people have said. And you make the call. And I think that’s what people need to… they really, really need to look at themselves and say, if I have a product or a service and I want to go full time, that’s going to be part of it. Selling is going to be a part of it and it’s the worst part in my opinion but it has to be done.

Jeff:  Awesome, awesome advice. I really understand what you’re saying because I’ve done a lot of self discovery over the past year around that and I would say I have learned at the same time you did that very same lesson of my, gosh, you just have to promote stuff, right? There’s always going to be those assholes out there who—and I’m just going to say it, they’re just the types of people who are just—I mean, you could literally cure cancer and they would write you a hate letter.

So I’m now promoting the book not only at the beginning but also at the end of the show and have seen a steady stream of sales come in. I actually have not received any complaints yet. I’m sure I will, but that’s okay, right? That’s okay. And I think it’s such a good point you made, too. It’s like, 95 percent of the stuff is free. Can I just promote a little something here, right? Like, the fun, the 95 percent that I create for free.

Travis:  Right. And it’s good stuff you’re giving… I mean, people don’t go to a store and expect to get bread and milk for free, right? You could go to a food bank, I guess there’s banks now. Go to food bank, get free food, right? But if you want your own, you want the best stuff, go pay for it. That is 100 percent true, Jeff. I think that it’s hard to do but you have to do it and there’s always going to be haters about it like you said, who will send you hate mail for curing cancer and stuff like that.

And I’ve gotten to the point now where I actually… I’m going to be doing a talk shortly on to a group of entrepreneurs and business people and it’s called Why I Jump For Joy When I Get An Unsubscriber. Because when I used to get an unsubscriber, I would see. Sometimes people write the comments and like, one guy just wrote, This is trash.” I was like, okay. But now, I’m thinking those are not the people I want on my website. It’s not all about numbers. It’s not about having 100,000 email subscribers. It’s about having ones that matter, that like you, and that are committed to the goal that you’re committed to which for me is helping people travel around the world for almost free. So why would I care if someone unsubscribed, that they’re going to be a hater? That’s better. Like, get out of my life. Get your negative energy out. Let’s go with the 4,000 people who have subscribed who love it. It’s hard. You need to have some thick skin and I do not naturally, so it’s a learned process for sure.

Jeff:  Well, that’s everything with entrepreneurship. And successful people think that way. It’s like, no I wasn’t born with this but hell, I need it so let’s go figure it out. Let’s go make it happen.

Travis:  Right. I sucked at podcasting when I started. Let’s get better, right?

Jeff:  Yeah. Yeah. I’m actually really happy like, I very rarely edit the podcast anymore. Like, it’s almost all just completely… see now, because I’m thinking about it, I’m stumbling over my words, right? You just got to relax.

Travis:  Right. Completely freeflowing.

Jeff:  Completely freeflowing, that’s the word. That’s the word I’m looking for. So Travis, last year, you said on the podcast, you said… when we talked you said that your biggest regret was not starting sooner.

Travis:  Yeah. And it still is. Now, I’ve started but again, why didn’t I start my podcast sooner? Now, I have. I’ve been wanting to develop an app for a very long time and I’ve had the idea. I’ve storyboarded it out. Why have I not gone through with building the app? Some of that is money based because it’s going to be expensive but a lot of it is because now I’m comfortable, right? I know how to post a blog post. I know how to record a podcast. I know how to run this boot camp. I know all this stuff. So then I just continue to do that. And of course, you have to upkeep the things you are doing.

But I think everyone of us who has an entrepreneurial mindset is always looking for the next thing. I’m not sure that in five years I’m going to be writing Extra Pack of Peanuts. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. But there’s other things I can be doing and that goes back to diversify thing. Not just for income but also for pleasure. Sometimes I get so sick of writing, hence, the podcast. Sometimes I get so sick of writing and the podcast although the podcast hasn’t happened as much yet.

But then, all right, well let’s run a community with conference calls. What’s the thing that you can do to keep it in trolling for you and your audience? Yeah, not starting sooner was my big regret but I think if you continue to say what’s the next thing and go towards it in some degree, that is what’s entrepreneurship is about, right? Finding that next thing or taking that next step even though you don’t know how to do it.

Jeff:  Awesome, awesome advice. You mentioned that you’ve done some work kind of just on yourself, developing your thicker skin and just learning how to cope with things better. Any resources that you’d recommend to our listeners for just becoming a better person who’s better able to be successful?

Travis:  Well, I guess having an email newsletter that’s trash, right? Again, those comments from people.

Jeff:  Just taking the arrows.

Travis:  Right. But seriously, I think that it’s hard to do. But I think recognizing that you have to do it is part of the process. And I didn’t know I had to do it at first. I took every bit of criticism and said, all right, how can I make it better because of this criticism? I think there is constructive criticism and there’s some that’s destructive. And so I think recognizing the difference between that.

I don’t really have a resource for that other than the fact that if someone’s really hating on what you do, that’s probably destructive. If someone’s coming to you and saying, I really like your podcast but maybe it should be edited a little bit more or maybe it should be edited a little bit less. Listen to him and say, well okay, will they like it? So what are the things I can do to get better? So filtering out the destructive stuff and going with the constructive stuff is a big thing. But the resources? I haven’t really used anything. Because I’ve gone on this information diet, I think that is one resource. I am not listening to what other people are telling me anymore except for a select few people. I was fortunate enough to reach out and I guess, now, I’m going to give you some resources. I was fortunate enough to reach out to people that I really enjoyed and whose websites I read and I could feel their personality.

One, I’ll give them a quick plug is Jacob Sokol over at sensophy.com. He was the first person I reached out to. I’m like, your message is so clear of who you are. And when you go to his website, it’s him in your face. And he’s not the same way as I at all but it resonated with me. And I wrote him an email and just said, I love the vibe of your website because I know you instantly from your website.

And I just asked him, how did you come to that? It was just a short three or four sentence email. I didn’t overload him. I didn’t know who he was. He wrote me back and was like, I’d love to talk with you. Why don’t we get on the phone instead of trading emails? And we did. And that was about a year, maybe a little over a year ago. And since then, we have become basically partners in crime. He does a lot. He’s a little bit ahead of me in his business so he’s been helping me with that. I’ve turned around. I’ve helped him go to Japan for free. He’s in Bali now for free. He’s gone to Hawaii.

So, reaching out to people who you really truly admire and just telling them that, not expecting them to get back to you or anything in return and I think building those relationships. So now I have about three or four people like that that I go to when I’m struggling, when those, “Your email newsletter is trash.” People are getting them in. I just say, hey, I want some honest opinion. What do you think I can do? Is this good? Is this bad? And getting, taking their opinions as well as your own.

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So the information diet is huge and then having a few people. And it doesn’t have to be people who are more successful than you. It doesn’t have to be people in the same niche as you. It doesn’t even have to be people who are entrepreneurs. It can be just someone you trust, their opinion, their judgment, and really holding on to their opinions and giving back to them as much as they give to you. That is how my self-development has happened. I mean, let’s be honest here. It is happening as we speak, every single day still.

Jeff:  Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, relationships are key. You talked a lot about, on the last time, how you developed relationships with other bloggers and used that as a very key strategy to build your readership up on your website. How had those relationships help you over the past 12 month?

Travis:  They’re invaluable. I’ll give a few tips on how I’ve got some relationships. This is a strategy I’ve just started using in the last year and it’s been so helpful as a) I’m just really honest when I contact someone for the first time. I don’t know them. I tell them what I like about their site. I always give a specific example, a post or something that’s really resonated me so they know that I am not just someone who wants something from them.

But a really cool thing that I’ve been doing—and I stole this idea from a guy who sent this to me. So Matt Horowitz, all the credit in the world to you. He shot me a video message one day. And it was like, two minutes. And he said, “Hey, love what you’re doing with Extra Pack of Peanuts. Shot you a video message.” Listened to it. Watched it. It was like, holy crap, like, what? What is a video message, right? Why is he shooting this to me? And it was just like him telling me he loved what I did and he was able to get a credit card and travel to a certain place because of me and he just want to say thanks.

And I instantly wrote back to him—well, I actually shot him a message back because this is the first one I’m doing. I’m stealing this idea as long as it’s cool with you. And he was just like, “Yeah, go for it, man.” Everytime now that I want a podcast guest on or most of the time I want a podcast guest on, I shoot them a video message, one or two minutes and I just say, hey, I really love your stuff. I’d love to have you on the podcast. Here’s why, here’s what I want to talk about.” I do that and then if I want to build a connection with someone or if I just want to tell someone how much I like them because most people online answer emails all day long and that’s what I’ve found out now.

So, I shoot them a video message. A) I don’t have to type and B) they don’t have to type back to me. They’re just getting a message. So that has worked wonders because you’re building a real relationship there, as real as it can be. And I think you could speak to this as well but having the podcast has been amazing for building relationships because when I get off of podcast, I’m basically a friend of that person now. We’re not just emailing. We’re friends. And I always tell them, whatever I can do to help you out, let me know and vice versa.

So, I’ve done 32 episodes now and there’s not a single person that I’ve interviewed that I wouldn’t feel comfortable emailing, asking for advice or just asking them about something because I feel a thick enough, strong enough relationship with them. So really think how you can get ahold like, how you can build a relationship, a real relationship and always offer more value to the person than you’re asking for if you are actually asking and not just saying, hey your stuff rocks.

Jeff:  Indeed. Awesome, awesome advice, Travis. We’ve stayed in touch over the past year, right? We’ve bounced ideas off of each other and all that kind of stuff which is a testament to the great relationships that you can build when you’re doing a podcast.

Travis:  Yeah, and entrepreneurship is a very solo journey a lot of times regardless of the support system you have and how big you are, how big your site is, and the people you know. There’s still that element of, I’m sitting at my computer. I’m writing. These are my thoughts. These are my opinions. And even people I know with massive communities—we’re talking like some of the biggest blogs out there. I’ve had some of them tell me, when people I’ve formed relationships saying like, I just don’t know if I’m doing things right. And I look at them like, what are you talking about? You’re killing it.

So everyone has that doubt and having a support system around you helps and I didn’t have one. And I still am finding my support system so don’t think it’s going to happen overnight, but reach out to people that you truly relate with and that you just think do a good job because everyone wants to hear they do a good job. If you tell them that and then provide a way for them to form a relationship with you, it can go a long way.

I’ll put in one quick too as well. I went to one conference. I’m not big on conferences although I think they are good for networking and maybe making relationships. But if anyone’s interested, I went to the World Domination summit run by a guy who’s been on my podcast and probably most people know him, Chris Guillebeau. Fantastic, amazing guy. Probably the best person I know at making relationships with basically anyone and being genuine.

And the conference blew me away. I knew I was going to go meet cool people. You’d sit in a session. The sessions were decent but a lot of stuff that I didn’t need to know or I didn’t care that much about—I shouldn’t say about all but some of them. But then you’d be sitting next to someone and I was sitting in the session next to a guy Stu and we just started talking travel. And now, it turns out he runs a non-profit in Kenya and I’ve been helping him travel and he’s been helping with a lot of my stuff because he does a lot of software development.

And just, you don’t know who you’re going to run into and the people at that conference are absolutely amazing. It’s 3,000 people who all want the same thing and that’s to live an unconventional life and hope to change the world. So, if anyone’s out there thinking, I am doing this solo and I’m just looking for a jumpstart, World Domination summit. It’s second week of July usually, something like that. It is worth its way in gold.

Jeff:  World Domination summit. We’ll link that up below the show as well. Travis, one last question for you before we wrap it up. How do you define success?

Travis:  For me, success is just being able to do… I guess I’m going to sound selfish, but being able to do what I want to do and getting enjoyment out of it. And of course, if it can help other people, obviously, that’s part of what I want to do is help other people [unclear 00:48:35] built into it. But to me, it’s not the money. It’s not, okay, now you’re making more than you ever have. Obviously, that opens different doors and that is success in some way.

But I am much prouder and happier about the fact that I’ll get emails from people everyday saying, “I was able to take my family of four to Disneyworld for the first time. We didn’t think it was possible. You’ve helped us do it.” “I’ve always wanted to go to Italy and I’d never, ever been able to do it. It was just a dream. Here I am, sipping wine in Tuscany.” Whatever it is, to me, that is what I’ve wanted out of my life. I’ve wanted to create something that is my own thing, that I can be proud about and that can help other people. And it really is a win, win, win for everyone.

And so, that to me is success. And the fact that it allows me to make good money and then travel around the world and stuff like that, all that kind of extraneous stuff that I want or that I think is [unclear 00:49:33] and cool, that’s great. But the success comes in being able to help other people and knowing that I created it myself and that it’s because of my hard work and some luck here and there that I was able to make it.

Jeff:  Amazing, amazing advice. Travis, where can our listeners go to get more information about you, more information about Extra Pack of Peanuts and figure out how the heck to get around the world for like, two bucks.

Travis:  Yeah. Almost two bucks exactly. I’m flying down to Rio for the World Cup for $2.50.

Jeff:  Are you serious?

Travis:  So, you’re going to have to scrounge up 50 cents in your couch because of that. Yeah, I will tell people it’s not because I’m smart and it’s not because I’m super talented that I’m able to travel. It really is open especially to U.S. listeners. People all around the world can do it but U.S. listeners especially, you can travel around the world to wherever you want and you can do it cheap. And a lot of this frequent flyer miles and then a bunch of other tips and tricks.

So, if you are interested in that, definitely you go to extrapackofpeanuts.com. That’s the home page. There is an email newsletter you can subscribe to that you’ll just stay updated and you’re going to get my “Become a Frequent Flyer Millionaire” series which is totally free. And that is basically the best stuff for, hey I know nothing, Travis. How can I start doing it? And everyday, you’ll get a step one. Then the next day, did you follow up on that? If not, do it. Here’s step two.

So, I would urge people if they’re newbies to sign up for the newsletter for sure. I’m on Twitter now. It’s taken me a while to get used to that. It’s @packofpeanuts. I found out that that’s a good way to connect with people so I just started learning what hash tags are. So I’m doing that. And I’ve also started—well, I shouldn’t say I. I’m not taking any credit. My wife started an InstaGram account for me. She is the one who understands how to work that. So that’s a great place because we post travel pictures all the time and it’s just a really quick way for people to see where we are and what we’re doing. So that’s @packofpeanuts as well. And everything else is there.

If you’re interested in the book and the boot camp, we’d love to have you but again, 95 percent of the stuff is free. If you want the convenience, they are there but those are linked up as well on the website. The site will be having a redesign so I don’t know when people will be coming to it but hopefully we’re looking to launch a redesign around April, make it a lot more user-friendly, visually friendly, easier to navigate. So, if you are coming after that, I hope you like it. If you’re coming before that, check us out again. I swear it won’t look as terrible as it does now.

Jeff:  I think it looks awesome now but I’m sure you’re going to make it even, even better. What’s the name of your book so we can put a link to Amazon?

Travis:  The book, so it’s not on Amazon. It’s only sold—this is another… we could go back the mistake thing here. But this is another thing I haven’t done yet, is put it on Amazon. It’s called The Ultimate Guide to Frequent Flyer Miles. There’s a banner, it’s at the top of my site now. You can click on it. You can get all the information there. You can also go to extrapackofpeanuts.com\ultimateguide. That’ll be the book, and you can buy it. It’s a PDF and it’s interactive. It links up to websites and video tutorials and stuff like that. So, put it on your iPad, whatever.

Jeff:  Excellent, excellent. Well, Travis, thank you so much for being on the show. Congratulations on launching this amazing life which is even more amazing a year later. It’s been a pleasure talking to you. I look forward to staying in touch and see what awesome things you do next.

Travis:  Yeah. I appreciate, Jeff. Thanks so much for the opportunity in coming on.

Jeff:  What an awesome episode of the How To Quit Working show with Travis Sherry. The whole show so far has been sort of booked in by Travis and his awesome, awesome journey. He shared some really, really amazing stuff. And I think the really important thing to remember about what Travis has done is he’s built relationships very, very successfully. He has a lot of relationships with influential people and those are the people who helped him to be able to grow his business and to build his business, get more traffic to his website.

I always tell folks if there’s one thing that you can do, if you can only do one thing to build your business, just create some relationships. Build relationships with other people who do things similar to what you aspired to do or similar to what you’re doing and it’s unbelievable how those relationships will pay off in the long run and even in the short run.

The other thing that I think is so cool about this industry is that when you built these relationships, it’s more than just building relationships for business purposes. I mean, Travis and I, over the past year, I would say we’ve become friends, right? We email back and forth occasionally and pass along tips or information or things that we come across that might be helpful or useful to the other one. And we’ve just developed a really great relationship and we do a little bit of work together like this show.

So I think that the thing that’s really important to remember in creating a business is to build relationships, build relationships, build relationships. And then also, like Travis said, you got to quit caring what people think. Because no matter what you do, there’s going to be people out there who aren’t going to like it. And that’s been something that I’ve discovered on my journey, and Travis is also discovering. And the earlier that you can get comfortable with people not liking what you do, the more progress you’re going to make because that fear of what other people might think holds a lot of people back and hold them back in a really big way, unfortunately. So the faster you can get over that and past that, the faster you can make some great progress in your business.

So definitely go check out, if you have any desire to travel whatsoever, go to extrapackofpeanuts.com and look at what Travis has to offer because he’s got some great, great stuff. He can show you how to travel around the world for practically nothing and he’s got great stories and great anecdotes for anybody who’s interested in travelling. Also, listen to his podcast. He’s got great guests on there. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s just fun listening to Travis talk. He’s just such a nice, genuine guy and just really a fun person to have in your life and a fun person to have to be listening to or interacting with in any way.

Now, if you want to create a life of freedom like Travis has created for himself, go over to howtoquitworking.com/book and pick up a copy of How To Quit Working. I don’t care what format, whatever you want it in. Kindle, paperback, PDF, whatever you want, you can get it there. Head over there and get it. And for a limited time, you’ll get a $150 worth of bonuses. All the instructions are there and [unclear 00:56:05] exactly what to do.

Now, this is the 52nd episode and I know that this podcast and this show has helped a lot of people to achieve some really great things in their life. It’s helped to inspire a lot of people. It’s helped show people what is possible. And I want to show more people what’s possible. I want to inspire more people and I want more people to quit working and create an amazing life of freedom like my guests do.

And one of the ways that you could help me to do that is by rating this podcast on iTunes. So if you go down below the show on the site, if you’re in iTunes, you can just click on the stars and give us a rating. If you’re listening on the website, scroll down to the bottom of the page and down there, I have instructions for how to leave a review on iTunes. I don’t care if you buy a copy of my book or not, but if you would do me this one favor, leave a review on iTunes so that we can boost us up in the rankings and so that we can show more people how to quit working and inspire more people to do something different and better with their life than the status quo of getting a job and working for somebody else and all that crap that’s just not working for anybody.

Anyway, thank you for being with me for the last 52 episodes and I hope that we do another like, 75,000 of these shows because I love doing it. I love inspiring you. I love hearing from you. Leave a review. Go buy the book. And I will see you next week with another amazing guest who has quit working and launched a life of freedom.

 

You can get more information about Travis and Extra Pack of Peanuts at:

extrapackofpeanuts.com

Other resources Travis referenced:

Jacob Sensophy

World Domination Summit

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About Jeff Steinmann

Jeff wants to help you Live More. He is the author of How to Quit Working, A Simple Plan to Quit Your Job for a Life of Freedom. He hosts a weekly show called The How to Quit Working Show that features lessons from Freedom Fanatics who quit their soul-sucking 9-5 job and created a business that lets them live a passionate life of freedom. Jeff also writes for several media outlets, including The Huffington Post, Lifehack and Elite Daily. Most of all, Jeff is a Freedom Fanatic, fiercely devoted to finding a better way to “do life”.

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