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Build in Public & Grow with Twitter: Interview with Kevon Cheung FTH 098
Episode 988th August 2022 • FtheHUSTLE • Kim Doyal
00:00:00 00:58:37

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Kim Doyal 0:01

Welcome to F the hustle. I'm your host, Kim Doyal. You want a life that is meaningful and exciting. In this podcast, we're going to talk about launching and growing an online business that fits your lifestyle. F the hustle is all about doing good work, building real relationships, and most importantly, creating a business that supports how you want to live your life. You don't have to sacrifice the quality of your life today to create something that sets your soul on fire. And yes, that includes making a lot of money. So we'll be talking about selling, charging, what you're worth, and how earning more means helping more people. My goal is to help you find freedom and create a business on your terms. Hey, what's going on everybody? Welcome back to another episode of EFF the hustle with Kim Doyal. I am your host, Kim Doyal. I'm really excited today because I swear to God, come on. I feel like my good friend come on. And we've known each other like two months or something. But this I feel like it's been a long time coming, but it hasn't we met a few months ago. My guest is C'mon Chung. Did I say your name correctly?

Unknown Speaker 1:04

That's correct. Very good.


Kim Doyal 1:06

Okay, I was like, you know, it's funny, I have a tent, I do this. And I'm like, Kim, you need to clarify this before you actually get on the interview. But anyway, Kibana and I connected through Twitter. And I just kind of fell in love with his content and what he was doing. I signed up for his free email course, which he's going to talk about everything he's doing. And one of the best things that I just love this is in his follow up sequence. He said, hit reply, and tell me, he said I reply to every email. And he did. And I just thought, this is friggin brilliant. I shared what he was doing. It was it was just a real fun engagement. And so come on. Thank you for being here today.


Unknown Speaker 1:45

Yeah, thank you, Kim, for having me here. Seriously, I reply to 100% of my email. But sometimes like seven days, late 14 days late, like today, I was replying emails 14 days late. But late is better than never showing up. Right. So that's my, that's my way of doing things.


Kim Doyal 2:04

Oh, absolutely. And you know, it's funny simply, I obviously love email. I do so much with email. I still it's kind of my almost a preferred choice of communication. But I like to get into conversations with people. I think it's, it's fantastic. So all right. We're gonna talk about everything. I love starting with the backstory. And you do this full time now you're a full time creator, and I should we should clarify for people. So our time zones are a little bit off. It's eight o'clock in Costa Rica. Where are you? And what time is it for you right now?


Unknown Speaker 2:33

Well, I am based in Hong Kong is 10pm over here. But if you ask me, I am living in my computer right now. Because most of my friends are actually online, I just feel more connected to people like you, who were doing similar things where we're passionate about what we do, and it's hard to find it locally, honestly.


Kim Doyal 2:56

Oh, you know, it's crazy. I was I'm from Northern California, San Francisco Bay Area, and I was out in the suburbs. So it was very, it felt very difficult for a long time. Like nobody gets what I do. Nobody understands.


Unknown Speaker 3:09

I guess I feel the same way.


Kim Doyal 3:12

Yeah, absolutely. And I'm a big believer online friends are friends. So how long? I'd love to hear your backstory, like I said, what got you into doing this? You know, a lot of people, you know, maybe it's just a desire or quit a job, whatever. But how did you start your online journey? What were you doing before?


Unknown Speaker 3:30

So you know, the kind of life changing point for that is 20 months ago, I felt like a nobody. And I will tell you why. Because I have been in startups all my career for nine years before 2020. So I worked so hard for the startups I work in or the startups i co created. So the last one, I was the CEO and co founder. But then for some reason, like the growth is not there. And I feel like I shouldn't burn more of my investor money. So at the end of 2020, I walked away. And then suddenly, I was like, Oh, my God, what should I do next? I felt like a nobody, because I pour everything into the company. And if you Google volunteering, there's nothing. So I felt pretty bad about that. And then I was like, hmm, this time around. I think I failed enough. And maybe it's time to do something under my name. And then I got to know about creating online writing online. And then my journey started there. So it was pretty wild.


Kim Doyal 4:35

Well, it is. So let me tell you with the startups. Do you want to talk about that? Was it in like a technology software company? What were you what were your started? The


Unknown Speaker 4:44

last one was the SAS company. Yeah. But I worked on it for about 18 months. But you know, I came back to thing that the biggest problem is that I never understood the customers because I was always in a rush and I'll tell the people who are listening to this, I had a bunch of funding. And I think that really spoiled me because I just have a huge team that I need to manage. And then we also spend on marketing. So we're not really understanding what we're doing, but we just starting to do it. And that was not good. So I decided to put a plug.


Kim Doyal 5:25

Yeah, well, good for you. I mean, that's that had to have been a big decision to after getting funding and hiring people, I can't imagine that that was an easy decision to make.


Unknown Speaker 5:35

It is, it is not easy at all. But I know, as an entrepreneur, right, you just have to do things like that. Because there's opportunity costs, the more you go on, the more money you're burning, and it's not good for anyone. So I don't know, I'm just kind of, I didn't overthink it, I just put a plug, basically.


Kim Doyal 5:59

That's awesome. You know, I that's kind of how I operate too. I tend to be like, just No, I make a decision, and I move forward. And I'm like, let's just do this, and especially when it's time for something to end and something else to begin. It's like, why, why drag that out? And not everyone has a comfort level with making decisions. But I'm definitely like, you know, burn the boats, like, oh, yeah, I'm, you know, I mean, I moved to Costa Rica, I'd never been here, I was like, I'm gonna do it. Let's go.


Unknown Speaker 6:26

You know, you know what, I did that to my relationships, too. If you've, I've sensed that it's not working out, or we don't have a future. She's not gonna be my wife. I just, you know, and it there. And then, you know, I met my wife, like, six months after I ended the last one. And then I fell in love with her right away. And the second, I think it was the second day, I knew she's going to be my wife. So if you don't end stuff, new stuff is not going to happen. That's my belief.


Kim Doyal 6:57

It totally is. And it's trusting that process, right? Okay, so you make this decision, you pull the plug on the SAS? What did you jump right into the sort of creator world? Or did you start? I don't know, you know, maybe digging around and looking at it, and how did you fall into this space?


Unknown Speaker 7:19

Okay, so I didn't know such thing as creator, you know, I was taking a break, I was like, Oh, my daughter is arriving in two months at that point. So it's my first child. So maybe I should take a break and be with my wife a little bit more.


Kim Doyal 7:37

And the way your daughter is Darling,


Unknown Speaker 7:40

thank you. Thank you. I think I talk about her too much online. Now, some people might be turned off by that. But anyway, I was just like, exploring new territory. And I'm the type that when I take breaks, it's not really break. I'm like, learning and figuring things out. So at that point, I knew that people talk about online writing, like I saw some blogs, people say, they write openly about their journey. And then they started creating courses. And then they work on a company, they got funding, like all kinds of stuff started to happen when you start writing and put yourself out there. So I was intrigued by that. And I just told myself, hey, for the next eight weeks, let me just write one article on my personal blog that no one ever visits. But let me also try my best to distribute it. In forums, I have a Twitter account with like, no followers, but let me start making some Twitter friends. And I did that for eight weeks. So it was just an exploration stage. I didn't know I would be going in this full time. But you know, things start to happen, like, people start to get around me, I'm starting to making friends. And I think the biggest turning point was that I decided individual blog posts is not going to cut it, like 30 readers for each blog post is not going to build a business. So at that point, I was like, Come on, start writing individual blog posts about random topics. Let's create a killer piece of content that people love it and they will share it for you. So that was my first project online, which is the building public guide, free nine chapters. And it took me two months to write it. But once I launch it, 2000 people read it in the first three days. And the rest is history. I just basically follow these people who get around me, and I just solve problems for them. So that was this was crazy. I was a little lucky to to have that kind of outcome.


Kim Doyal 9:48

Yeah, but at the same time with the amount of work you put into it, I you know, it's funny, a lot of people will say, Well, how long does it take you to do a podcast and like I can spend a whole day writing and recording like a solo show. I'm about to take two plus months to write that type of how many words is your building public post?


Unknown Speaker 10:09

Okay, funny thing is just 10,000 words, it's not even long. But the thing is, is my first time writing, like a long form thing, is my first time thinking about how to distribute or do everything by myself. And I was talking about building in public, right? So I feel like I just had to build this project in public. Otherwise, why would people trust me for that topic? So I took my time, and I, you know, I keep sharing the updates. And in that two months, I get or people around me and say, Oh, this is exciting. I want to follow you for the journey. And I also did two rounds of beta reading, where I asked, Hey, by the way, part one is done is anyone interested in reading, and I was like, expecting nothing, because I only have such a small following. But suddenly, like eight or nine people would raise their hand each round, and they actually read the whole thing, spending like 30 to 60 minutes, and giving me really good feedback. So I, I actually understand to take it slow. It actually create more trust with the people around you. And then when I launch it, guess what, I just reach out to these people who helped me along the way and say, Hey, I launch it, by the way, would you like to help me reshare it? So because they see that I'm very committed and serious, because I keep sharing the process, they are so willing to help. And that was the reason why it blew up. It didn't blow up because I was a genius or anything. It was just like slow and committed work.


Kim Doyal 11:50

Well, and you built, you had sort of this pre launch team, right, essentially, because of how you're building it in public and the trust you established. And I think there's a piece there. Are you familiar with roommates, SETI?


Unknown Speaker 12:04

Not really, you can tell me about it.


Kim Doyal 12:06

Okay, well, I'll be I'll be quick. He's a big blog, he wrote the book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, which is really a finance book, but he's got a huge company, digital marketing products and whatnot. And so I'm on his list, he, he's great. He's worth following. And they had sent out an email once about launches. And I've probably told the story in the podcast before, but it bears repeating. And so they said, What do you like, What do you dislike about the launches in the internet marketing space? And so I replied, and I just sort of said, you know, I said, I'm, they feel tired. I understand that for people who are not in this space. It might seem like a new process, but I can see a launch coming 10 ways sideways now. And so I said, it just feels tired. I think there's got to be a better way to do this. And they emailed me back, and they said, We're building a launch course, would you be interested in giving us feedback, we'll send you a module. And so I did that for like the first module that was Google Doc. And I just, I kind of went through it. But let me say that then a year plus later, when they launched breakthrough launch, I bought it because I knew, Oh, my gosh, they've been working on this for a year and a half. And they've done this, this deep dive and they're talking to customers, and they're really analyzing the content. And they're, they're figuring this out. So and I didn't even need it at the time. But I'm like, I'm gonna buy this right now. And I'll have it when I'm ready, which I did. It's I love he's really big into psychological triggers and stuff behind writing. But that's exactly what you're saying, right? So people see and witness the effort and the energy that goes into what you're creating. And then it's like, they're championing you to win with it.


Unknown Speaker 13:39

Oh, totally. Just Just today, someone said to me, Hey, Yvonne, I bought your book, The e book, my new book, find joy and chaos, which is all about Twitter presence. And then I was like, by the way, do you read physical book, like the paperback is coming? What do you think? And then he was like, I actually only read physical book, and I bought the evil just to support you. I'm like, wow.


Kim Doyal 14:07

Well, I have to tell you, I saw because I think I saw a tweet where you file for your ISBN number. Yeah. For the book. Yeah. Okay. And so I was like, Well, I gotta get the physical book, which it'll get shipped to like my daughter's house in the States. But because I want to support you, same thing, right. And that way, I'm a verified purchase on Amazon and can leave you a review. So that that's how this works. And that's, that's what I love about it. So you know, okay, so you're


Unknown Speaker 14:30

thinking, I want to share one like, funny story. Yeah, the first six months in my creative journey, I didn't make $1 Because I was quite intentional about my approach. I knew the internet is about credibility. And it's about, you know, just just get more and more and then monetize. So I didn't even cross my mind until six months later. But when I launched my first pay community, it was just five bucks per month. And then people would sign up and pay me five bucks just to support me? I feel really bad. I feel like a robber or something taking money for no reason, because I have this value exchange in my mind that I'm an entrepreneur, like, if you pay me five bucks, I need to deliver something. And that didn't feel good. But now, like 20 months in, I'm like, totally okay, people supporting me.


Kim Doyal 15:27

Well, but that's, don't you think that is sort of? I mean, obviously, Eastern culture is a little different than Western culture. But there is still, I mean, across the board, when you have a job, you have to do work to get money. You know, it's it's such a different mentality to shift into, although as a startup founder entrepreneurial mode, where there's a lot of reframing of thoughts and behaviors that have to happen in order to grow and succeed online, don't you think?


Unknown Speaker 15:54

I think so. And I think the supportive culture is especially obvious in creators economy. I don't know why maybe because the price point of the products are lower. And also because you know, we need each other to grow together. So it's just more obvious. But in reality, you don't see someone buying a banana for the person lining up behind them. Right. So yeah, let's just leave it that way.


Kim Doyal 16:23

Well know what I just I just think it is my point was in getting comfortable with people supporting and buying it's, it's a different level of exchange of the value exchange and versus doing work and getting a paycheck.


Unknown Speaker 16:40

I think we all have to take time to learn that.


Kim Doyal 16:44

We have to unlearn that, too. Yeah. Okay. So your first your post, I love that. I love that your actual because now you've got a cohort, which we'll talk about the building public cohort. But I love that it all stemmed from an original blog post. And you know, a lot of marketers that I really like and follow, they always talk about that, you know, so you got massive validation for this idea. You demonstrated it, and then you can go deeper with it as you go on. But what you're so what brought me into your world was your lead magnet, and why don't I have the name in front of me, but so it's your free? Make Twitter friends? That's right, and Twitter friends, I was like, Wow, way to be a good interview. Okay. So making Twitter friends, when did that come along for you in this process? So


Unknown Speaker 17:29

that was my second project. So you know, my first project was a nine chapter guide, on the website. So it was good for SEO, I want to make it public, no, no email that you need to put in, because it's my first piece of work, I don't want to block people from getting it. So but that was assessed, and I started thinking, okay, now I really need to get some emails, because that that's the only way to keep the communication going with these people. So I was just looking around me about my own Twitter approach. And it's quite different from other gurus out there who's like, do this and do that. I just don't like it. So it was a pretty simple concept. I just want to summarize what I know. And put it together as a free email course. And also give it to people for free. But this time, take their emails. And that was a huge success as well, like, people keep recommending it to their friends. And then I got 2000 students in the first year without doing active marketing. But yeah, these two products really helped me kind of put myself out there, get my name hurt a little bit more than just a nobody. But yeah.


Kim Doyal 18:49

Well, I love that you did that. And there was, I'm going to point something out here. So I'm glad you had probably, I'm guessing, a little bit of a cushion. So you had the space to financially give yourself and say I'm gonna give myself time to do this and figure out right, what would you recommend maybe to somebody who is still in the nine to five, or doesn't have a runway necessarily, to and I'm just guessing because you when you left the startup, you didn't go get a job in between or anything right. You know, and so, but any advice or recommendations to somebody who is hearing this because I'll tell you come on, like I've been doing this like 14 and a half years. It was a very different space...