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My reflections on 2022

Matthew Gira
6 min read

One of the many nicknames that I’ve given to my dog, Parker, is the name cuckoo-pup. Parker, like any dog can be a little crazy and quite the character. He can definitely get the "zoomies".

I mention this because about a year ago, I realized that I was the dog running back and forth between different ideas to work on.

OH! I want to work on this mentor matching tool! Oh! I want to start a podcast! Oh! I want to do this virtual incubator type thing!

When it comes to my own venture ideas, I’ve been running back and forth between ideas. This led me to not really going anywhere with any of these ideas even if some of them were solid ideas that I could do later on.

This year, I came in with the mindset that I was not going to be a cuckoo-pup. I was going to have a direction and stick with something. I can iterate, but I cannot be jumping back and forth every few months. Thankfully, I can confidently say that I did stick with something and feel better than ever about this direction. Before I tell you about the direction and why I’m feeling better than ever, let’s jump into how I got here.

Narrowing ideas down

I started 2022 with the mindset that I would be focused on YouTube in some capacity. How much of a priority it would be was a different question. I wasn’t entirely sure if YouTube videos, podcasting, or writing, would be the main priority. I knew it would be one of the three, but it took me a few months before I knew that YouTube would be the main priority.

Writing was eliminated pretty quickly in the year since I felt like I would be too driven by SEO and I honestly just didn’t feel excited about it. Yes, writing can definitely be challenging and there’s absolutely an art to it, but writing has never been a strong suit of mine and I’ve never felt this drive to be great at it. So buh bye to that option.

Podcasting was hard to eliminate. Podcasting was fun because I get to meet a lot of great people and it’s a really intimate experience. I don’t think I ever realized how intimate it is to be in someone’s ear for 30 minutes on a weekly basis until I produced some podcast episodes myself. It’s a cool experience and something I want to get into eventually, but podcasting is hard in this season of life for one main reason: booking guests. Meeting new people is great, but scheduling guests when having a full time day job is really challenging. Podcasting didn’t give me the flexibility that I needed in this season of life.

So, enter YouTube. YouTube videos rely on me, myself, and I. I have so much flexibility because I don’t have to schedule guests. However, for me, YouTube is the hardest of these three options to become elite at. There’s script writing, lighting, cameras, lenses, microphones, and so many different things you have to learn to even produce a decent video. Oh, and there’s YouTube itself and these things called shorts that no one really understands.

It’s the most challenging option, but this challenge has been the most rewarding one and the one that I feel best fits what I’m called to do.

For someone that barely knew how to produce a good YouTube video at the beginning of the year, this has been a lot of learning. I’ve created new content creation workflows and been able to be consistent with content creation. I’ve stuck with it.

This week marks my 36th long form video of the year. I didn’t take YouTube fully seriously until the beginning of March. So, it’ll be about 36 videos in 42 weeks. For someone that has been a cuckoo-pup, 36 videos in 42 weeks is a big deal.

Sure, this took self-discipline but there’s been a few key moments in the past year.

Part Time YouTuber Academy

The first key moment of the year was signing up for Part-Time YouTuber Academy, aka PTYA, in March. It was a $2,000 commitment, so I naturally didn’t take it lightly and even though I didn’t love all of the content all the time, this felt like a really good thing to have done. Since I had put the money in, I felt like I owed it to myself to stick with YouTube. Kind of tricked myself a little bit, but I’m glad I did.

If you don’t know Part-Time YouTuber Academy, it’s an online academy by Ali Abdaal and it’s meant to help you be a better YouTuber. I honestly don’t feel like I learned a lot from Ali himself, but definitely feel like I learned a lot from guests they brought in and in particular, Elizabeth Filips who has worked with Ali for a while.

If you’re looking to join PTYA, check out this link.

ConvertKit Craft & Commerce

PTYA finished in April and I just kept producing videos with a goal of posting a weekly video. I was on a good pace, had COVID which stopped me for a couple weeks, and was back at it. I was on a good pace, but still felt like I need to meet other creators, particularly in person.

That’s when I learned more about ConvertKit and their conference, Craft & Commerce. In a cool turn of events, I was able to attend in June and this might be the most crucial thing I did all year.

I’ve never met so many good people at a conference and walked away with relationships that I’ve continued on after the conference. I learned so much over the long weekend in Boise, Idaho from the people I met, the speakers they brought in, and even through the vendors that were there.

One conversation at Craft & Commerce stood out though.

At this point in the year, I knew YouTube was what I needed to stay focused on. However, I realized through a conversation that I needed to iterate. Most of the year, I stayed focused on helping non-technical people build ventures. Rachel Jimenez, a big thank you, who I met at Craft & Commerce, asked me a question that pretty much made me iterate on the spot: “Do you really want to work with people that can’t even open a PDF?”.

The answer to that question was absolutely, no freaking way.

So, in a magical moment at Craft & Commerce, I asked myself, “How do we build more ConvertKits?”. I was that impressed by ConvertKit and their team.

If you don’t know ConvertKit, ConvertKit’s mission is to help creators make a living. ConvertKit is similar to MailChimp, an email marketing tool, except it’s built specifically for creators. If you’re on my email newsletter, you’ve seen what an email looks like from ConvertKit. I use ConvertKit all over my creator business.

That’s not the best part of ConvertKit though. The best part about ConvertKit is that it’s a scalable, non-VC backed venture that is having a significant positive impact on communities. Since they don’t have investors, they can do things that a lot of VC backed ventures cannot do.

They pay their team incredibly well with high salaries, benefits, and profit sharing twice a year aka money stays in their team and not helping others get rich. They don’t have to have a hockey stick growth which I’ve always felt is way healthier. Exponential growth almost always leads to destruction of its host in nature. ConvertKit can also stay incredibly focused on its mission in ways that a VC backed venture just can’t because it has to grow to a certain size or grow enough to have the ability to exit successfully in a certain time period.

So, how do we create more ConvertKits?

What’s Next

That’s been the question I’ve been wrestling with these past several months while creating content here on YouTube. I’m excited to say that the direction that I’m going is incredibly focused on helping others build scalable, non-VC backed ventures.

These types of ventures I believe are going to be how entrepreneurship becomes more accessible, healthier, and more impactful. There are probably a million reasons why VC backed ventures aren’t always great, but that’s for a different post.

How I approach supporting others to build scalable, non-VC backed ventures could look a million different ways. The cuckoo-pup in me could go crazy right now. Since I’ve been consistent in creating content though, I feel like I have a really great foundation moving into next year. Does it show up in these crazy growth numbers just yet? Absolutely not. Does it show up for me personally though? Absolutely yes and in this season of life, that’s the more important metric.

If you’re interested in being part of the next part of the journey, sign up for the email newsletter down below.

Thanks for being a part of the journey this year.