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Building a dream brand, team, and online course with Joy Cho

Episode 1December 4, 2019

About the episode

Revolutionary products are usually linked to one guy that made one decision to create one product that no one had ever seen before.

One guy decided to slice bread; it spread like wildfire. 

Another decided to test mold growth; it changed antibiotics as we know them. 

Except it’s not that simple. It never has been.

Those singular decisions were the results of a hundred little choices before them. Makers don’t just wake up and produce a finished product by breakfast. 

They tinker. They toil. They create something with a lot of love and a lot of labor.

Take Joy Cho, founder of Oh Joy!, as an example. She didn’t decide to hire an extra set of hands on a whim — she made dozens of decisions along the way, until finally, she decided to grow a dream team.

Episode transcript

Jay: No, no. No. Come on. Let's see. Oh, no. No, no, no. Welcome to... On this show... What does it take to be a great creator of anything, to truly hone and make a living off your craft? No. Making anything people love is just the culmination of lots and lots of tiny decisions. These decisions go unnoticed by others even those who consume the work. But to the creator, these decisions are everything. Even if they lead to just tiny differences in the work, that can make all the difference in the world. So what does that look like? What does that feel like? What really goes on when someone creative creates their best work? Ah, nah. That project that they can point to and proudly say, "Yes. I made it."

Hey, I'm Jay Acunzo. I'm an author, a speaker, and a former marketer in tech for companies like Google. And I'm partnering with Podia to bring you this show. Podia sells tools for creators to turn their passion into income. On this podcast, creators who earn a living on their craft, go deep inside the making of a favorite project to share a detailed look at the technique, the turmoil, and the tiny decisions that went into making something meaningful for their businesses. Today's guest is Joy Cho, and the project we're deconstructing is a course about building your own team as an entrepreneur. Joy is the most followed person on Pinterest. For the last 13 years, she's been running Oh Joy, which began as a design studio and today is a lifestyle brand selling their very own licensed products for home decor, kids, pets and so forth. They also provide daily content with a focus on design, fashion and food. Joy and her business have been featured in "Time," "Fast Company," "Oprah" magazine, and on "Good Morning America." The reason we wanted to talk to her about her course on building a team is building a team is so elusive for so many creators who often start out doing everything in their business. And for Joy, it proved a crucial but difficult tipping point. It happened right when a brand client had signed a deal with her and so things should have been great, but she felt them starting to break. Today, the team at Oh Joy is a staff of six full-timers and a few freelancers all working out of a studio in LA. So you're building this course and first of all, I read that, and this happened before you built the course. You're the most pinned mom on Pinterest. So first of all, when you hear stuff like that or people write stuff like that, like how does that make you feel? Is it a little bit surreal or?

Joy: That was funny the way you said that, "Most pinned mom." So like, yeah, we have, Oh Joy has the most Pinterest followers on any account. I joined Pinterest from the beginning. I was on in 2010 when it was in beta and it was invite only. And so we've been on it for a very long time. I think we might've been one of the first 50 or 100 people on it. And because we started doing social media through a blog in 2005, by that point, we already had had a good social media presence through our blog. And this is back when blogs were like the king of social media universe, whereas now it's shifted for sure. But because of that, we were able to quickly build our audience and our following, and when Pinterest started becoming a bigger tool and more people were using it outside of just designers and bloggers, Oh Joy in our account was getting written up in a ton of different online articles, people to follow and we were getting spotlighted and featured. So, I would say in the first couple of years, the following just grew really fast and it's been consistent since then.

Jay: When somebody says it's the most followed account, what does that do to you? I mean, what goes through your mind?

Joy: I mean, it's fun. I mean, it's a fun sort of title to have, and it's nice because we actually get to use it to our benefit in a sense that Pinterest makes sense for my business and for my life. I use it every single day. My team uses it every single day. We're always pinning. We're always adding to inspiration that either we need or if we wanna share with other people and also pinning our own content. So it's a nice thing to have because we are actually using it. We're like actual users and like very, we're super users if that.

Jay: So I came out of marketing teams in my career before I started making shows for a living. And one of the things that a brand that I would work with or work for would do that I always thought was a mistake was they would build on kind of rented land. So they would build up their following on a platform they didn't control, and that platform obviously cares about its own business. You know, Facebook is famous for having restricted the access that people have with their brand pages to their own following and kind of forcing you to double dip, to pay for ads to reach your own following. And so there, Facebook is benefiting. So there's, I think there's always a danger when somebody builds influence, notoriety, community, a following on a platform they don't own. Did you ever feel exposed, and if so, did you move people to email? Like, how did you make sure that you were sort of protected? Because, again, it's wonderful that you can build on these third party platforms, but at the end of the day, we're all running our own businesses and we can't be at the whims of a third party and their algorithms, right?

Joy: Absolutely. I mean, having been in the social media space for almost 14 years now, I have seen the ebb and flow of everything. I mean, we started a blog before blogs were really at their peak and we've seen them go to their peak and we've seen them dip down. I have seen Twitter ebb and flow for us. I've seen Facebook ebb and flow, I've seen Instagram and Pinterest, like everything. I remember when I was in Periscope for a little while and Periscope, we were like gaining huge traction on, and then Instagram started doing Instagram stories and Instagram live. And then Periscope wasn't necessarily needed anymore. So I've learned never to put my eggs in one basket. And I've also never been like that with my business. I mean, people know us for social media, but Oh Joy was a design company first and foremost, and it's still a design company. We just have shifted our focus in what we design. So while, yes, our Pinterest following is large, we also have our focus in a lot of different areas. So like, yes, okay, great. We have this great following here, we have this great following here and we are driving X percentage of sales from this site to our main site. But what if that drops? What if that dips? Like, what do we have? What else do we have? Where else can we reach people if that were to change?

Jay: So you made a thing. That thing is a course about teams.

Joy: Yes.

Jay: Describe the experience for somebody who's never been through that course. Like, what would they expect if they signed up for it?

Joy: I've had my company for almost 14 years now and I started just me by myself, organically grew it and eight years in, which sometimes seems way late is when I hired my very first employee. And I'm one of those people where I've learned so much as a business owner and as somebody who had no idea what I was doing that I love to be able to help people once I get to a point of feeling like I know sort of what I am doing in a certain area. And so growing a team at this point now six years after starting to hire employees and building a small team of people who helped me grow my business every day is something that I had been getting a lot of questions and requests about. "How are you doing this? How are you finding great people? How are you keeping them?" All these questions that I was getting from my audience, from our followers. And so therefore I wanted to use all of my, the things I have learned, the things I've both, I've grown from, the things that maybe I failed on to put into a class for people who are either almost ready to start growing a team. Maybe they've already started, but they're having trouble keeping people or finding great people or maybe they have a current team and they just want to make them stronger or they wanna get a better company culture. So it really applies to a few different types of people. But for me, it was a way to be able to share all the things I've learned with people out there who are ready to take their business to the next level.

Jay: Let's get into the course. So the course has six different chapters covering things about building a dream team. So it's stuff like when is the right time to grow your team, how to find the right people, how to keep the right people, day to day stuff ,conflicts, complaints and what you call the not so fun stuff, and then there's a concluding chapter, what's next? And the six chapters are also book ended by an introduction from you and a conclusion from you and there's a roundup of resources to supplement it. And then you also supply the audio version of this stuff. So all this to say there's a lot in there. And so my question is, because courses are inherently like a high surface area type of product to create, how do you begin to scope a project like this? Like, walk me through your actual creation of this course. What's the first thing you'd go through to plan it out?

Joy: That was my first video class ever. And so for me going into it, I thought, "What is it that I would wanna see? How is it that I would want it to be structured and how do I want to be different than other ones that I've ever seen before?" And granted, I have not seen every video class on the earth, so I can't speak for every single one. But I knew for me, I wanted a mix of me talking to camera so that it felt like we were having an intimate conversation, but I also wanted to feel like if people wanted to skip around to different chapters or different sections, they knew where roughly the topics were. I also wanted some bullet points and some graphics. So going into it, I really started almost like an outline of a book. I've written three books prior, two of them being business books. So I very much structured it like chapters of a book in the sense of what is each chapter gonna be about and what are the main points of each chapter. So I pretty much wrote out the main points. I don't write out every single talking point because I tend to try to just go off the cuff a little bit. And so for me, writing out the entire thing is great because then I can look at it, and I spent a couple of months developing that and getting feedback and also not only getting feedback from my audience, but also from other small business owners who maybe need this and just like, "What would you like? What are you looking for?" And trying to basically make sure I covered all of those questions somewhere within all of those chapters.

Jay: One of the things I've noticed from creators is a course, any kind of larger project really, especially when tied to revenue, when you're trying to monetize it, it can feel so open-ended to create, right? It's like maybe the topic seems clear, let's say, but then, you know, you can make it long or short videos, catch all of multiple types of videos, you can segment one video. Like, there's all these ways to go about it because it's like totally like a blank canvas type project, and that can be really daunting and it just feels so open-ended. So how did you manage that? Like, once you understood, you know you have a laundry list of stuff like, "This is what I'd like to see. These are the topics, the questions, the stuff I'm hearing from my audience." How do you actually like put it to some kind of construct that it doesn't just feel overwhelming, I guess?

Joy: I think that in some ways because I had never done one before, and maybe I didn't overthink it as much, because the funny thing is now that I'm working on new ones, I find myself thinking through it a little bit more.

Jay: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Joy: But there was something kind of exciting about this first one because I wasn't following any sort of guideline. I was just sort of going off of my gut. And so I thought about, "Okay. I'm talking about some serious stuff. I'm talking about money, I'm talking about legal stuff, I'm talking about HR. I need to get some people in here who know those topics." I can speak to what I do, but I am not a lawyer or an accountant or anything official like that. I get the advice of those people. And so I got three experts who each specialize in different topics to kind of have a special Q&A in some of the first few chapters to book end what I'm talking to camera about. I also interjected with some random Q&A sort of questions that I had fielded from my audience that I could address specifically that fit within the context of that, of each chapter. And then, because this was about my team, I had them talk. I thought that it would, and I'd gotten some feedback from them as well. I think that it's nice to see and hear from people who are working in the setting, in the environment which I'm telling you to create or I'm telling you how to create it. Well, let's hear from some people who are actually living that life.

Jay: That was my favorite part by the way, is I felt like I was learning from you, absolutely, but I was also learning from the people, you know, kind of on the ''receiving end'' of how you approach your team building and retention and happiness. Like, it was not just you saying, "Oh, this worked for me." It was actually showing us, not just telling us, which I think is what video's good for, right? Video is a show medium. It's not just a tell medium. So, I guess, summarizing all that, like you created an experience. That to me was what I was struck by. When I went through the course personally, it was experiential. It wasn't just I happened to be doing a video because that feels like a course, but really this could just be blog posts that you read. It was, this is unique to video. It was you speaking to us. You know, if I explode the video just for a moment, like let's say I looked at chapter one which was, "When is the right time to grow your team?"And I tried to explode it into its component pieces and like, I mean probably some of this stuff just felt natural that you Joy, but like I don't know if you realize just how many micro pieces went into one videos. So that you have the brand identity, which is similar throughout the course, like all the graphic design, the color scheme and so forth. You had pre-roll tax of animation, you have your set obviously and the set design, audio, video and I'm sure lighting,the video scripts because obviously you're saying a lot. I can't imagine it all came off the top of your head just in the moment, right, so the talk track. Then you had interstitials and overlays, like you mentioned the little graphic design that would help clarify what you were talking about in that moment. The video by the way being 34 minutes, I thought that was a great choice because it was like broken up. Then you had talent, and talent is you, but it was also people you featured. So you mentioned you'd cut away from a monologue to an interview with an expert to Q&A at the end. And I wanna go into like how you came at that. You mentioned gut feel for the first video. At any point, had you written down like, "Okay, this is the structure of the video," almost in a way like a TV show would have, like, blocks to it heading into the production. How much of that was prescriptive heading into the shoot?

Joy: We definitely did a outline prior. So I mentioned sort of my written outline of what I was gonna say, but then we also did an outline of, "Okay. Now I know what I'm gonna say and this is where the other people or the other scenes or the B-roll are going to cut into that." Because, trying to think about when you need a break, either visually or through what you're listening to, how can we make sure that people are getting that break and just when they feel comfortable we're gonna give them something new and we're gonna switch it up? And so that was all planned out. And I think that most of it was pre-planned out before we shot. So it was all pretty outlined. I mean, I think that the production value of this was definitely, I think, high for your typical online class and thank you for noting all those things. I'm so glad that you could notice that and appreciated that. And also coming from a design background and me being a designer, I knew that I couldn't let the graphics just be okay. I knew that we needed to spend some time on that. And so really the planning out made it so much easier.

Jay: I just wanna make sure people are aware like that pre-production is so instrumental in the production and the post production. Like, let's fix it in post is largely a myth for a lot of stuff, certainly courses like this. And the ability to actually have a plan, have a strategy behind, you know, you mentioned, I think one of the things that it sounded like you kept in mind the whole time, which was when they're about to get bored or tune out or it's too much me, we need to then switch to something else. Like, you broke up something bigger into chapters, six of them, but then within a given chapter you also broke that up. And I think that's a big missing thing in a lot of online experiences. I think people just kind of, they don't segment enough, right? And you kind of, you spoke to exactly what caused you to segment, I think, which is the audience, what they're going through, having empathy for their experience and moving from, you know what, almost like you're anticipating questions on their mind. It's like, "Okay, well, what would a lawyer say about this topic? I trust you Joy, but what would a lawyer do? Oh, we're gonna talk to a lawyer. Oh great." It's like you have this implicit dialogue with the audience almost even though they're not giving you anything in the moment. Does that make sense at all?

Joy: Yeah. And one thing I forgot to mention to you that I actually did is, so when I went through this outline and I had it pretty much thinking this is good to go and this is what I'm gonna say, I actually had an in-person version of this class at my office here in Los Angeles. So I had collected, I had previously done a survey through my Instagram stories, just saying, "Hey, I'm working on this class on how to grow a team." I asked a whole bunch of questions. I just did like a Google drive, a Google form kind of a thing and had people answer. And I would say maybe, I got maybe like 180 responses. Of those responses, I said, "If you happen to live in LA and if I was gonna have an in-person version and you would wanna come, leave me your email." And so what I did was we planned that, we planned an afternoon here in LA with a specific date. We emailed people from that list who were local and we said, "We're having this class. If you can make it at this exact time, let us know and you're in." And so it was about 15 people, all whom are small business owners struggling with this topic in some way. And I basically did it in person version. There was no screens, there was no slides, there was no video, so it was definitely much more bare bones. But I basically talked through all six chapters very much in a more keynote type of fashion. And so that was hugely instrumental, because while everybody loved what I talked about and I got great feedback, and I wasn't exactly able to go through all of it because it was a much shorter period of time and it was in person, but it was a good kind of briefer version of it.

I also got great feedback from that and I did that on purpose because I said, "You know what? I know I'm gonna spend a ton of time and I'm gonna spend money on producing this video the way that I wanna do it, that I don't wanna finish it and feel like, Oh, these 10 things were missing." Or, have people say, "Oh, I wish you covered this. I wish you covered this." And so by just having 15 people here and for me to present that information, that was actually the thing that gave me the feedback to get some of those experts in. We had been thinking about it, like we had been talking about it prior, but there was a reinforcement where people said, "Oh my gosh. I love all this information, but I would love it if you talk more about accounting or I would love it if you talked about the legal stuff." And that's where I was like, "Okay. That's great to know because I know that I need somebody who can speak to that specifically."

Jay: Oh, I love that. I mean you're talking like when it's my craft making a show that it's a pilot, right? I think a lot of people want to go from zero to a full season or from zero to a full course right away. It's like taking the mountain in one stride somehow. But really you can like take little steps up the mountain to gather feedback to figure out what course you should take up there. You know, like I think about if you were to create even just like one video, just shooting a video for 20 minutes to teach somebody something and putting it on YouTube or your website, send out a few tweets, see the response, right? Like, it's so easy today to access, especially as creators, people you aim to serve in a small number. And I'm gonna guess and make an assumption here, Joy, but I'm guessing what you weren't looking for was a thousand people beating down your door, showing up for this course. it was probably like the passion, you know, a small number of people reacting in a big way, a signal that this could be something bigger, right?

Joy: Exactly. I mean, I knew it wasn't going to be thousands and thousands of people, but at the same time I, based on the answers that they gave to my questions, I also hand-selected a variety of different people to even offer the ability to come to that day because I wanted there to be a mix of people who had no employees, some people who had some, some people who had business for a year, some people who've been in business for 10 years, and some people who even work at companies that are not their own, but have to lead a team. And so that way, even if I could get a diverse mix within 15, that just helped me to cover the gamut of the types of people that I want to be able to watch this and benefit from it.

Jay: So I just wanna look reality in the eye for a moment because I think people can listen to podcasts, people can consume media about creators and business owners and it sounds like everything was swell the whole time. What caught you up in this process? Like, where was your team debating? And, you know, it could be anything from a micro moment like the design of it all to something larger. But what really took a lot of emotional energy out of you and a lot of grit to figure out? Because, obviously these things aren't always smooth. That's just reality. So walk me through a moment or two where that was the case for you.

Joy: There's a couple. I would say one is all of the graphics. I mean, I intentionally said I wanna have pop-ups and I wanna have graphics for people to look at so that when I'm talking you can also see a graphic representation of some highlights. But man, that took a long time not only just making sure that once you do it and you put it on the overlay, on the screen, that it was big enough but not too big or it wasn't hitting in a weird spot, but also when there's changes, because sometimes you watch the flow and you see a graphic pop-up and what I'm saying kind of shifted or the timing is different and then you have to change the copy, which gets, someone has to redesign that and then we have to re-put it back in. So that took so much longer than I expected. And it's one of those moments where I was thinking, "Joy, are you overthinking this and are you making this like fancier than you need to, and nobody would even care that you have graphics on the screen?" And so that was one part because literally we probably had four or five rounds of revisions on the graphics. And then honestly, launch. Launch was the hardest thing for me because I had never launched an online class. I've launched a bazillion other products. We have had 15 collections of products at Target. We have done dozens and dozens of collaborations of products with other brands and we know how to sell physical, tangible products. But when you talk about this product that is not physical or tangible, it literally exists on the internet, and you cannot package it up physically and hand it to somebody, it was just such a different thing. How much do we charge for it? What are people willing to pay? How do we launch it? What's a pre-launch look like? What's the marketing behind it? What's the social behind it? So, I learned so much, honestly, after I launched it and all things that were great for me to learn to know for next time because I can't say that I did it perfectly because I had no idea what I was doing. Funny enough, because I feel very on it when I'm launching every single thing else with our company.

Jay: Sure. I mean, you were saying like first of all, there's no shortage of things that you can point to that shows how prolific you and your team are. But this is a new muscle you're exercising so-to speak. So if you look back, you know, what are some of the big things you've learned that you would do it differently the next time?

Joy: I think that I would have teased it more. I am one of those people who I'm conflicted with pre-launches and teases and things like that because I don't like to tell people something's coming unless I know it's coming for sure because you never know. There's always delays when you have certain things happening or you have to push things back. And so I'm just one of those people who likes to tell people something when they can actually get it and buy it. But I've also learned a lot since then about that pre-launch phase that a lot of people do with online classes where you are talking about it, you're getting people excited about it, you're trying to answer questions ahead of time and get all their questions answered so the day that you hit go, they're ready to buy. They're not having to take those first few days or that first week to be able to ask you the questions or think about it and all of that. I also think that I would've, had I done it differently, it would have been great to do some other classes and launch them as well, like some shorter ones or ones that maybe had a slightly more broad appeal. And that's what we're working on now. Like, we now have this Oh Joy Academy that the dream team fits in and as part of on our Podia site. And so right now there's only four things in there, but the goal is to keep adding more things so that we can be hitting different levels of entrepreneurs and people who are looking for my guidance in some way.

Jay: Yeah. But I mean, both of those stand, jump out to me as something important to learn from. The, just a quick comment on the teasing thing, I'm with you. I feel like sometimes it can feel a little bit, I don't know, sleazy to overtly tease something. You know, almost like you're saying like you want this right? And there's only like so many times you can do that too. And so one of the things I've learned from working in the software industry is how a lot of startups, especially those that are community-focused, that have, you know, online forums or blogs or they collect people around them to share knowledge, not just sell product, those companies tend to build in public. So they'd have like a new feature set or new product launch or new event series coming out and they would like basically tell people like, "Hey, we're trying to solve this problem. We think the best solution is this. We're gonna go build it, we're gonna update you constantly in public." And so like doing that with a course, doing that with a show, doing that with like anything, content, anything that adds value really, it seems to me that that's like an authentic way to do it instead of a huckstery marketing, like, not that you or I would necessarily do it that way, but I feel like it's a slippery slope to like being a hype, like a front man for a band or something like that, right? It's like, okay, a little bit too much screaming about how good this will be. Just bring out the main act, you know?

Joy: Yeah. And it's interesting because I've been watching people in different fields, in different areas. You know, there was a time when people were, let's say a musician. People would be like, "It's coming, it's coming. My album's dropping this date, this date, this date," and people still do that. But then there's also like sometimes people pull a Beyonce and it's just like, boom, here it is. And not that we can equate my online class at all to that, but at the same time, both methods I think work for different reasons. And I think it just depends on what your specific topic is, how much you get people involved early on versus just dropping it on them.

Jay: Right, right. And just a reminder to listeners, we're talking to Joy Cho, the self-proclaimed Beyonce of Pinterest. No, I'm just kidding. That'll be too much. But I feel like that's something that people get wrong because what does Beyonce do? She's got a passionate audience that just loves everything that she does, right? So like she can drop a giant rock in the lake and it creates such waves carried by the audience, the community. And a lot of us, you know, we have pieces of that and that's wonderful. So how do you harness your true believers, the super fans that you've created, the friends that you've built out of your community, like turning URL contacts into like IRL relationships? Like, that's kind of what creators do. And I feel like a lot of that is like inviting them along for the journey. Not hiding from the fact that you're building stuff, but like letting them in on it. Like, the musician that's like, "Here's the intro riff that I just recorded for attract that we're considering including in the album." It's like that raises anticipation I think in a really enjoyable way for the audience.

Joy: And people love that. Lik,e even for us, whether it's a design project or content or any of the things that we do, people love seeing a peak into the process. Right now building a house for example, and I'm sharing that process with my audience. And even though they're not seeing exactly the final of what it's gonna be, just to show them like the tile and like how this room is coming together is exciting for people. So I do think that that tease is great and any way that you can show it. And I think as long as this thing is actually happening and it's also you're building towards it and you're not stretching out the tease too, too long for something like an online class, I think that it's very valuable.

Jay: Let's go deep just for a moment into production. So I feel like we talked a little bit about planning. First of all, heading into production, where was the script, the framework, etc housed because you're working with other people? Like, was it Google docs? And then, what other tools were you using to project manage the production of these videos?

Joy: We pretty much used Basecamp for all of it. That's how my team and I work collaboratively. So we had, I would basically start a new Basecamp message for each part of it. So whether it was my own outline that I'm gonna be referring to when we're recording that I'm gonna sit off to the side by my lap or whether it was the video outline that I was then sharing with our videographer and my production assistant or whether it was different feedback that we got from the in-person class, everything was through Basecamp. We might've had a couple of Google docs, but really most of it was all there so that we could easily track the conversations. And yeah, other than that, I mean our freelance videographer is external, so we did have a little bit of communication happening through email that wasn't necessarily on Basecamp, but really Basecamp was kind of our place.

Jay: All right. So day of, I just want people to appreciate what goes into this. So I, you know, when I looked at the chapter one video, just to go back to that same example, you're sitting in what looks like a studio. It's got like white cabinets behind you and I see like the corner of a white table in the shoot with a notebook and a pen. There's some flowers behind you. Like, this looks proactively built. You know what I mean? Like, I think it's, none of this is haphazard in a great way. Was that something your team helped you set up? Were you involved in that? Like, how do you prepare to like sit down and just start?

Joy: So that's actually my office that I'm sitting in right now talking to you and it looks like that all the time. So that helped. We of course had to style it and adjust it for my positioning and for the camera. And we simplified it because you don't wanna have too many knickknacks behind you. So it's a slight tweak on what my actual personal office in my studio looks like. And there are two different locations. So there's the one you just mentioned, which has the desk that I'm sitting at now where I do my work, and then there is an area in front of a couch that is in my office, and there was also an area in front of a bookcase that's also in my office. So honestly, we did that logistically because the Oh Joy office is this big open kind of warehouse space. It's like 4,000 square feet and so it's huge. But my personal office is the only one that has a door that can be closed. So it literally was the only space that we could do it because when you have to film all of this audio, you can't, number one, I can't ask the rest of my team to not talk all day, and also for audio it's so sensitive and you hear airplanes and all this stuff outside. We basically had to lock ourselves in this room. And so we filmed the... The stuff with me to camera we filmed over the course of two different days and then the team footage and the interview footage we filmed also on one of those two days, just all built in. So the majority of the footage I would say was all done within two work days.

Jay: Is that something where, do you enjoy being on camera? You seem really natural and excited to be on camera and I know you've given talks before and you know, done interviews and stuff. So is that part of the process you really look forward to, and if so, like how do you get in the right head space and deliver something good?

Joy: I used to hate it. I mean it was not something that came natural to me at all. I really only started doing it, I would say probably about six years ago when, what I call Oh Joy 2.0 that's when I got an office and got employees and we built a YouTube channel and we were starting to do more sponsored content through video, and so I just had to get used to it. And in the more recent few years I've been doing more things, TV spots and doing keynotes at conferences and at corporations and stuff. So I've gotten a lot more used to it. I don't hate it, but I'm also not like, "Put me in front of the camera right now." I'm not dying to do that, but I also understand the value of it and I feel comfortable doing at this point for sure. So I think that I got to that place where I knew I wanted to connect with people on the video in that way. Because, I've certainly seen other audio, well, audio only. I thought about that. I was like, "How easy would it be if I could just do audio?"

Jay: Questionable whether or not I wear like real clothes all during the day. Like, I could just roll out of bed and do this right now, right?

Joy: Exactly. And in my mind there was a moment where I was thinking about it being only audio. And I was like, "Oh my God. That's gonna be so much easier." And, and yes, it would have been so much easier, but would it have been as effective? I don't think so in this particular case. But also, I know some people don't like being on camera, that sometimes people will do, they'll record their screen and they'll do almost more like a slide show and they'll show visuals and they'll show graphics and you hear their voice overlaid with that, and that's fine too. Everyone has a different way of doing it because not everybody wants to show their face or they don't think that their audience wants to see their face. And I can't speak for everybody's audience, but I know with mine, there was that conversation that I wanted to happen. So I just let that be and I just knew I had to be okay with it.

Jay: You sounded sort of like you match who you are to the vehicle. So there's like an overlap between what you wanna create or what you feel comfortable creating or what your excited creating and what the audience wants to receive. And if it's a course, I don't think that has to mean, "Okay. Joy did it this way, so I have to do it that way." It just means like, you know, what is it about me that I can bring my full self essentially to the project and do it in such a way that it is uniquely my own version of a course that, you know, on the for surface value, or face value looks like a bunch of videos. That's how people do it, right? So, along those lines, like what can you point to where you're like this is uniquely like an Oh Joy production here? Like this is us, this is my team, this is fully me. It's not just a, you know, a standard shoot you could copy paste. Like, if you changed it, if you white labeled it essentially you would know it was us.

Joy: I think that I intentionally thought through the branding and, like you said, the colors and having a color palette, essentially a style guide for it. And also just thinking even I am wearing a few different outfits in it and intentionally saying, "Okay. I'm wearing one outfit in these scenes. I'm wearing another outfit in these scenes," and making it so that it was not so crazy. It's not like you see me change every single scene, but also there's some consistency. So in the odd number chapters, I'm wearing one outfit and I'm in front of one background, in the even number of chapters, I'm in another outfit in another background. All those things were planned out and were intentional, and that to me is how you know it's an Oh Joy video is because of all of those details.

Jay: There's really an intentionality that you can pick up on that creates the good experience without it being like overly manufactured. What I mean by that is I think a lot of video and even audio too, just a lot of performances, audio, video on stage. I think they get ruined by artifice. It's like clear that the person was trying to be something that they're not, instead of bringing out the best of who they are, who they and their team are.

Joy: Absolutely. And there's even this like one little part at the end, if you make it to the very end, where I'm just like dancing in my office. And if, for those who follow me on Instagram, that's kind of part of my Instagram stories and it's not something that is overtly and in your face and I'm trying to make you watch me dance during a business focused video, but it's kind of just like a slight nod to if you know how I am, then you'll appreciate that.

Jay: Yeah. You gotta, if you know, you know. You gotta have a few of those moments, right? It's like this one's for the super fan. You know, this is the inside joke and if you get it, it feels really good, and if not, there's still some face value you can appreciate. A lot of people, in serialized things, whether it's consistently posting to social media or six chapter course or multiple courses. They get rid of that. They kind of like get rid of the idea that like there are some people that are really truly helping my business and also feel like those passionate super fans that we should give something a little extra to them without losing everyone else. We should give a little wink or a nod to them.

Joy: Yeah, absolutely.

Jay: I'll give you an example from my world, but I'm curious. What little creative moment or flourish or thing about this course did you, do you absolutely love and almost like geek out when you see it played back to you that maybe the audience wouldn't be able to single it out specifically, but you're like weirdly obsessed with it and love it? So in my world, that's when I published an episode of my podcast a couple of weeks ago and I found this music track. And I had this final quote play from the guest and it was such a powerful quote and I put like a half second of pause after that quote, and then the music track, like the bass dropped at like the perfect moment. And maybe some people notice like, "Oh, that's great that you use great music in the show," but I really noticed the moment of pause. Like, that got me so excited. And I think that's something that makes this stuff rich for us creators. So what's something in the course that you'd point to that's like, "Oh, I know that this is there and I'm excited about it?"

Joy: One of my favorite parts at the very end is this montage that I asked my team, and the question is, "What does being on a dream team mean to you?" And it's all one-word answers. And I wasn't there when they filmed it intentionally because I didn't want the pressure of me standing over them to affect what they said. So I had no idea until I watched the edit back. But just seeing those one-word answers that were all so varied but also so meaningful, like not only was so meaningful for me as their boss, but also for me imagining a viewer who's watching that and who has just gone through all this information and then kind of ending on that was great. And we use that bit for a marketing video also, but that was my favorite part. I mean, because it's essentially that's the goal of all of this. The goal was to, is to have a team and employees who will say words like that about working at your company. And there's just something too about just like the way it was strung together and the way it was cut and the way it flows and the expressions on their faces where some of them are like kind of nervous and some of them aren't nervous and all that that I just like loved so much.

Jay: Just taking a giant step back from all this. What you say to people who are on the fence about trying to turn their passion into income?

Joy: I think you just have to do it. I mean, I say this to everybody about pretty much anything in your life that you are interested in doing, that you really are interested in doing and you're willing to put the work into it, is that you just have to do it because you can, you know, I told you some of the things I did wrong in the class or how I would do better next time. That's always going to happen. But if you don't even try it to begin with, you will always have that what if moment or you always have that longing in the back of your mind about something that you wanted to do. So you just have to go for it, you know. And I know that I talked about the detail that we put in and all those different things, but it can be much more simple. It doesn't have to be as detail-oriented as mine was. I think as long as you are thinking through it and you are making sure that you're offering something that no one else is doing or in your own way, you can still do something that's beautiful and simple that will help you just get it out there, because I think a lot of times people worry that needs to be so perfect or they think that I can't do it until XYZ, all these things are all buttoned up. But I would rather see somebody try and just experiment and put something out there and test it out than wait and wait and wait and wait until everything's 100% perfect to them, because to you it's probably will never be 100% perfect. You just have to get it to a place where you're proud of it and you're happy with it you can put out to the world.

Jay: To wrap things up today, a quote from E. E. Cummings.

Joy: ''Forget everything but the circus. Forget everything that is grim, dull, motionless, unrisking, inward turning. Forget everything that won't get into the circle, that won't enjoy, that won't throw its heart into the tension, surprise, fear and delight of the circus, the round world, the full existence.''

Jay: Thanks for listening to the first ever episode of "I Made It." To celebrate, Podia and I put together something special just for you. It's a newsletter with some exclusive stuff. You can subscribe using the link in the show notes and we're gonna reply right away with a free copy of a book written by the team at Podia about creating, launching, and selling a course. It's normally 29 bucks on Amazon, but we wanna give it away to all new subscribers for free. Then, once you're on the list, you'll be the first to know when new episodes of "I Made It" launch. You'll get transcripts and write-ups of each episode with key takeaways and links to anything we talk about in the show. And my favorite part, you'll get exclusive invitations for live video calls with me and Len, the CMO of Podia and some very special guests where we talk about turning your creative passion into a business with you. Once again, you can subscribe using the link in the show notes. I am Jay Acunzo, and this is what I made this week. But here's to whatever you're making right now. See you.


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