Hey homeslice. Want some panda pie (well, not literally, because that would be kinda gross and stuff)? Then check out my RSS feed. Fill up.
From one Panda to the next, I’ve been a fan of James Clear and Passive Panda since I first found the site. He offers general career advice to live a more happy panda-filled life and writes such gems like How to Find Your Passion. Within the first week, I contacted him and expressed interest in collaborating, particularly through interview, for my “blog launch”. He was very friendly, quick to respond, and all in! I, on the other hand, was not so on the ball and am finally offering the interview a couple months late(r). And that “official” blog launch? Yeah. Not really happening. Is my blog even that good to declare a blog launch out of it? I mean come on. James has been doing this for a relatively short time with relatively lots of success! In fact, he’s just releasing two excellent e-books. How to Email Important People and How To Win College Scholarships. Read on for some valuable advice, and words from the wise.
1. So what’s up with the panda? Why Passive Panda?
Haha. Well, if I’m being perfectly honest, the name just came to me one night while I was brainstorming ideas for businesses around passive income. Since then, Passive Panda has started to focus on much more than that one topic — but I think the principles have remained the same.
Pandas are relaxed. They’re stress free and they spend their time as they wish. I think that’s a nice metaphor for what we should strive to do as human beings. I’m all for creating value and leaving an impact on the world — and I plan on doing so — but I don’t think that those goals should be achieved at the expense of our own health and sanity. There’s no reason we can earn more money, more time, and more freedom without taking on extra stress. In other words, there’s no reason we all can’t be happy and relaxed Passive Pandas.
2. You have a lot of general work topics that don’t necessarily have to do with internet businesses directly even though there’s a lot of buzz about leveraging technology to create passive income. Do you foresee tackling this more in the future?
Perhaps, but I also think it’s important to realize that most of the principles that really work transcend industries — whether that be the internet or elsewhere. I do my best to provide timeless content that any reader can find useful. It’s not always easy, but it’s worked well so far.
That said, I do forsee Passive Panda becoming a go to resource for people and because of that I may begin to focus on some more how-to topics as well. Time will tell.
3. What advice could you give to new blogs/bloggers like me?
Do something and measure something. Then repeat.
For example, I spent a month guest posting and measured the success that it had on my subscriber base — it was good. Then I spent a month giving webinars and measured the success I had from that — it wasn’t as good.
That’s not to say that webinars are bad — I actually love giving them and I think it will be a better strategy for me down the road — but right now, I know that guest posting is where I should spend my time.
Your circumstances will probably be different, but if you keep taking action and continue to measure your results, then eventually you’ll be able to hone in on what is best for you.
4. You recently released an e-book about how to email important people. Does this apply to pitching an idea or product to people specifically? Or is it just general advice on how to write more effectively?
I would say both. It’s mostly about sharing proven techniques that work for email communication. Sometimes that means selling someone new on your idea. Other times that means reaching out to someone to set up a meeting. And other times it’s something that has nothing to do with business.
Regardless of the task, I’m confident that How To Email Important People is a course that anyone will benefit from. Better communication means better results — no matter what the task.
5. In your site, you feature side hustle stories to help people starting out with a business venture find examples of how other people have done it. What are some of your own personal side hustle stories that you can share?
Good question. I’m often finding myself wrapped up in side projects, but some of the more notable ones have included travel photography, web design, and logo design.
I never received any formal schooling for any of those areas, but I was still able to make money from them by jumping right in. I’d recommend the same approach for most people. If you’re thinking about doing something new, then just try it out. You don’t need to have all the answers to get started.
6. What are some mistakes and failures that you’ve learned from?
Yikes. When don’t I make a mistake that I learn from? When you’re an entrepreneur it often feels like you’re making mistakes every day. I look back on some of the previous work I’ve done and cringe.
That said, I think this is a really important one:
When I was starting out, I would look at the people who had million dollar businesses and massive web sites and I knew that I wanted to be there someday. As a result, I would try to do everything they were doing right from the start.
After a while, I’ve realized that it doesn’t really work that way. Businesses grow and evolve. The best route to success it to take consistent steps forward each day and adjust as necessary. Trying to do it all at once is a recipe for stress and disappointment.
7. How do you march to your own beat? What makes you stand out?
This is an interesting one because I don’t usually make a conscious effort to march to my own beat. I’m not trying to be a part of an exclusive club.
I see a lot of people claiming to be minimalists or maximalists or lean startup entrepreneurs or venture backed entrepreneurs … and that’s all fine, but I don’t really identify with that stuff. I just make the best decisions I can at the time and make adjustments when I need to.
I’m just trying my best to live a life and build a business I can be proud of. If I do that, then I think I’ll stand out just fine.
8. What’s your future plans and goals for Passive Panda?
Eventually, Passive Panda may transition into a software business … but I want to build the information products side of it first.
More immediately, the primary goal is to help as many people as possible. If I can do that, then I think the business will always be moving in the right direction.
9. I believe right brain thinking and creativity is a huge asset for business and also the future of businesses and people that will rule the world. What’s your take on this and how do you use creativity to enhance your business?
I totally agree. I actually gave a speech in Switzerland last year on the importance of creativity in entrepreneurship and business.
My take on creativity is that it’s a skill that can be learned — just like math or reading. And I think that the more we make a concerted effort to be creative, the better off we will be.
In my own business, I find that I become more creative whenever I separate from the normal things I’m doing. For example, just today I was struggling to write an article and so I went to my brother’s baseball game. After a few innings of watching him play, I sat down and typed out the whole thing in 10 minutes.
Sometimes you need a change of scenery, a difference in perspective, or a shift in priorities to solve the problems you’re facing.
10. Would you say you’re a professional blogger or do you have a day job? What are the ways that you currently earn money?
I suppose I fall under the category of a professional blogger — Passive Panda is my full time job.
That said, I’d like to think that I do a lot more than that. I do write blog posts, but I also market and promote the business, build the products, develop relationships with others in the industry, attend conferences and travel the world, and a wide range of other activities.
Outside of Passive Panda, I earn money doing freelance web design and graphic design… but I don’t take clients on very often.
Thanks so much for the opportunity, Janet! I really appreciate it.
Thank you, James for taking the time to do this and bring useful information to my readers. I couldn’t agree more that just jumping into it is the best way to start. Just start. In my business endeavors as a graphic/web design/social media strategist, I’ve had to do a lot of learning and growing on the job. You don’t have to be the top expert in your field to offer useful services to your client… You just have to know more than your client does!
James is launching not one, but TWO e-books today. If you’re interested in any of the two topics, or resonate with any of it, don’t miss this. James is a legit guy who knows a hellavalot and delivers valuable insights and advice. And yep, these are affiliate links, and nope, I don’t expect to get rich out of this. If you want to buy it, buy it. If not, then DON’T.
In any event, I DO want to offer more interviews or feature more write-ups on other successful, interesting people and how they march to their OWN beats, regardless if it has to do with product launches, because this means someone else can write content for me. It’s brilliant! Let me know what you think in the comments.