Episode 24

Lessons Learned in 2020 and Growing Your Business in 2021

by | Dec 30, 2020 | Podcast

2020 has been a crazy year for everyone. Since starting the podcast, I have learned a lot from the guests that I’ve brought on. In this episode, learn where I’m going to be taking the Nine-Five brand and how you can turn 2021 into your most productive year ever!

Nick (00:00): Testing testing, testing, that's working. Okay.

Nick (00:03): This is the Nine-Five Podcast. And I'm your host, Nick Nalbach. Where we get into the minds of entrepreneurs and people just like you, so you can start, build and grow your own online business.

Nick (00:21): Welcome back to the Nine-Five Podcast. My name is Nick Nalbach, and this is the podcast where we bring on entrepreneurs and business owners to help you grow your own business. This week, we're doing things just a little bit differently instead of bringing on a guest, it is just going to be you and me today. Now I hope you guys had a terrific week off, as you may know, there was no podcast episode last week, this week we are right back on the horse. I hope you had a fantastic time with your families over the holiday. We're now rolling right into the new year. That's coming up in two days here, and that's kind of why I wanted to jump on here and just chat with you a little bit, because we have had a crazy year 2020 has been outrageous, and there's just been a whole lot going on this past year.

Nick (01:06): And I wanted to come on and just talk to you guys about rolling into 2021 and how we can make this year a much better, more productive year. Obviously in 2020, we had the pandemic COVID that has created just an unreal amount of challenges for business owners. But with those challenges, I feel like there was a lot of good that did come out of it. There was a lot of adapting to everything that was going on, and I think that's, I mean, as an entrepreneur, that's something that we all have to be ready to do it, learn how to adapt at any moment. And I think you can really tell through the pandemic that there were entrepreneurs and businesses that really took advantage of that and realized opportunities with the new challenges presented. And they came in and really ended up still having a pretty successful year, despite all of the challenges that the pandemic has laid out now, depending on where you're at, as we wrap up 2020, I know some people may have been laid off or furloughed since the pandemic hit.

Nick (02:08): Others might be working remotely. Now, some might even have started their own business. They maybe got laid off or they just decided now was the perfect opportunity for them to take time, to focus on their own business through all that. That's kind of where I got excited about creating this podcast. As most of you know, I launched this podcast back in July and it was kind of a random deal that happened. Like I didn't, I did not expect this podcast to actually launch. Um, I did not think it would be received as well as it did. And to this point it just continues to grow and grow and grow. And, um, for me, that was a big step out of my comfort zone. If all this stuff wasn't going on in the world right now, I honestly probably would not have started it, but I am very thankful that I did.

Nick (02:54): So as I continue with this podcast, I want to help you grow your own business. We're going to help you overcome these challenges. And if you've listened to the past episodes, you know, that we like to bring on entrepreneurs and people who are really having success and show you how you can implement those same strategies. Now there's two things that I really wanted to get into on this episode with you. This will likely be a shorter episode than the past one, since it is just myself here, but I did want to talk about what you can expect from me and the Nine-Five brand in 2021. And then I also kind of wanted to help give you some motivation in guide you and kind of set the stage for 2021. For starters, let's talk about what you can expect from me in this new year.

Nick (03:37): As you know, this podcast has been very interview based that is not going to change. We're going to keep bringing on awesome guests. I actually have already recorded several of the guests that are going to be featured early 2021. And I'm really excited to share those interviews with you. But one thing that I do want to focus on, and when I had started this podcast, that this was the direction I intended to go, and it kind of shied away from it as I kind of got excited with it and just ran in a certain direction. But something that I'm really going to focus on in 2021 is bringing on people that are just starting in the online business realm, whether that's people who are creating their own side hustles. And they're just making a little bit of extra income here, uh, making a little bit extra income.

Nick (04:20): They're like, I really want to focus on the people that are out there grinding, because I think a lot of those stories could be very inspirational for a lot of people, including myself. So up to this point, the podcast has seemed to be very technical and I want to still provide that kind of value. But I also want to start bringing in and sharing other people's stories about how they are able to make this extra income that we're all basically shooting for to kind of free up our time and give us that financial freedom that we're all looking for. So as far as guests coming on the show, I think you're going to be able to see a little bit more of a variety of the guests that actually come on. And I'm really excited to share those stories with you. One thing that I am really going to be focusing hard on in 2021 is monetization to this point, I have not monetized the Nine-Five to Freedom brand really at all.

Nick (05:12): Now with that said, that doesn't mean I'm going to start charging everyone for all of my content and do it all that it's actually, that's definitely not what's going to happen. There's probably actually going to be more free content going out than there has in the past. So in 2021, you will likely see some paid offerings such as online courses. That is something that I'm going to be diving into very hard this year. And obviously I'll be sharing all of that with you guys so that you can see what is working in, what is not working. I'm really excited about this. It's a, it's a big step, but it's one that I need to take at this point. I've spent the last two years really trying to build a brand and build the voice behind the brand and what, what I really want this brand to stand for and be about.

Nick (05:58): And I think I've finally reached that point now where it's time to start creating more and start monetizing this brand. And with that, with the courses that will be coming out in 2021, this is part of the reason why gotten into video content so hard these past couple of weeks and months. If you've been listening in, on the NIFA podcast, you know, that I've been hitting video very hard in the episodes. I brought on a lot of YouTubers and people who are having success in video, and that's partially for me because that video is going to be a big topic for me coming up in these next few weeks and months, but also for you guys. And I'm going to get into this in the next section of this podcast episode, but video is going to be an extremely important part of 2021. In fact, there's one statistic that I saw that said in 2021, people will spend an average of a hundred minutes per day, watching videos online that's average.

Nick (06:58): That is absolutely insane. Not only that, but there was also a statistic that I had saw a report that I had seen that said 80% of marketing professionals are currently using video as their marketing tool of choice. So if you have not thought about getting started in video now is the time it's a new year. It's a new time to really challenge yourself and try to get outside of your comfort zone. This is something I've been really trying to step out of mine with this video thing. And it's been super difficult up to this point. Everybody who's listened to the podcast and has heard my story about trying to get into video and how the podcast started. I mean, you know, that I have struggled to this past year to really put myself out there in video. The podcast has really given me an opportunity to do that.

Nick (07:49): So video is going to be a very big part of my strategy as we get into 2021. And actually, as of right now, the time that you are listening to this episode, there is a YouTube series. It's my first ever YouTube series that is currently on YouTube right now. And it is a series that walks you through the steps of starting a podcast. And in that series, I talk about the equipment and software that you need to get started, how to use that software for recording and editing your podcast, and then how to get your podcasts pushed out to the directories like Apple and Spotify and Google. So if you are interested in seeing that first series, I will put a link to that in the show notes of this podcast episode, but you can just go to my channel on YouTube, search Nine-Five to Freedom or Nick Nalbach, and you'll likely find it there.

Nick (08:38): As we set the stage for 2021, I have three challenges or things that I want you to kind of think about as we're getting ready to bring in the new year here in two days, it's crazy. One is to reach out to your audience. Now, if you have an email list or you have followers on social media, or maybe you're a part of some kind of community online, whatever that is, I want you to reach out to them if you have not already. And what I want you to do, this is a challenge that was presented to me by Pat Flynn. I'm a part of Pat Flynn's SPI pro community. It was a challenge to brand a few months back, and it really got me thinking and I thought it was a great idea. What I want you to do is reach out to your audience, wherever that may be and ask them what their number one challenge is, as it relates to whatever your niche is.

Nick (09:31): Maybe you are in the cooking niche. Maybe you help people with recipes, reach out to your audience and ask them, what is the number one challenge you have as it relates to cooking or baking or whatever your niche is? I actually did this a couple different ways. I reached out to my email list. I reached out to my followers on social media. I put out like a blast on Twitter and tried to get feedback that way. And then I'm also a part of a few different communities online with other entrepreneurs, kind of like mastermind type deal that I had reached out to the people in that mastermind and got their feedback as well. After you get that feedback, this is exactly what you're looking for as a creator. You're looking for that feedback because the audience is telling you exactly what they're looking for. This is your opportunity to take what they're telling you and create a complete strategy around what they're actually wanting from you.

Nick (10:25): But I really want you to do is pay attention to the words that these people are using. If your audience is telling you that if we continue on with the cooking theme or the baking theme, and they tell you, I'm having a really hard time finding cost-effective ingredients to create this recipe, I really don't know anything about cooking. So I don't know why I picked this top, but you want to pay attention to the words that they're using. So if cost-effective ingredients is something that they are struggling with finding, make sure in your content, your videos or your blog posts, your podcasts, whatever it is, you use the terms like cost-effective ingredients, something that is not only shows the audience that you're paying attention, but they're probably not even going to really realize that you're using the same words that they were just using. And now they kind of think that you're inside their head.

Nick (11:15): Like this is exactly what I'm thinking about. Now you're putting it on paper and you're putting it right in front of me. This is a huge opportunity for you with that feedback, to be able to create something that can vibe with your entire audience. Now, once you've actually done that, there's a specific word that I used as we were just talking about reaching out to the audience, and that was coming up with a strategy. This is something that was talked about quite a bit with the guests that we've had on the podcast this past year. And something that a lot of the guests say, people struggle with the most. And that is coming up with an actual strategy. I know I'm guilty of this as well. I'll kind of come up with some ideas of things that I'd like to post, and I just kind of shoot from the hip and I'll just throw stuff online and just, it is what it is.

Nick (11:59): I don't really come into it with any kind of specific strategy in mind other than just to create content. Although I think that might be a good approach when you're just starting out. Once you kind of really honed in on the content and the niche that you're trying to target, that's when you need to start focusing on the strategy around the content you're creating. So that's why I want you to reach out to your audience if you have not already, because that'll help us build that content strategy. Now, something that I recently just did actually, by the time you're listening to this, it's only been about a week, week and a half, but I recently started using air table. And this came as a recommendation from Jay Klaus, who, if you remember, he was the guest on back in episode number six. And he was talking about using an air table to create his content strategy and to plan out his content.

Nick (12:49): So I actually started taking a look at it and ever used an Excel spreadsheet or Google sheets. It has a very similar format to that, but you're able to plug all of your content and all of the information, attachments, everything you need right into this spreadsheet, looking grid. If you haven't heard of air table, I may do a quick little video just to kind of show everybody what air table was about. I'll put a link in the show notes to air table, and then if I'm able to create a quick video for you guys before this episode goes live, I'll throw the link in that as well. But it's, it's definitely allowed me to lay out and plan out my content and build more of a strategy around the content. So now I'm not just focusing on a blog post that I want to put out or a podcast episode that I want to put out.

Nick (13:35): I am thinking about a blog post, but then what social media channels can I reach out to? What content should it be putting on social media as it relates to that blog post. And it's kind of allowing me to build more of an ecosystem around the content I'm creating, which is something that I'm really am focusing on moving into 2021 next, as it relates to that content strategy. But I want you to do is to think about diversifying your reach and what I mean by that. It is, I want you to really think about how can you reach a bigger market or how can you reach more people in your audience? One of the, to me, one of the easiest ways to do that is to think about extending your reach to other platforms. And that is again where I was just talking about using video content.

Nick (14:19): That might be a great way to extend your reach out to the YouTube audiences or the tic-tac audiences, and really start bringing other people into your brand, through use of other media. So think about what, what could you be doing this year, or what could you start doing this year that could expand your audience and bring more people into your brand? Is that video? It could be podcasting if you want to try to get on more social media platforms this year, if you've been focusing on one, maybe you've only been focusing on Instagram, maybe now time to think about posting more on tic-tac or Twitter or one of these other social media platforms really think about ways that you can reach your audience that may be living elsewhere. To me, podcasting and video are two of the biggest opportunities for people out there. Video is obviously as big as it is.

Nick (15:09): Everyone knows that podcasting is quickly becoming one of the next big things. And that podcasting is actually going to be one of my main focuses this year and teaching others how to start and grow their own podcasts. Because right now this year, podcasting broke a million podcasts, a million active podcasts, which is amazing. That's so cool that it's catching on that much, but if you think about it, that is not that many podcasters actually, just to throw a few more stats at you. There are currently over 1.7 billion websites. And with that over 31 million active bloggers who are posting at least one time per month, that's blogging. And then you look at YouTube channels and with YouTube, there are over 31 million YouTube channels that are currently active. You compare that to podcasts, which just broke a million active pod-casters podcasting is still very young and it's got a long ways to go.

Nick (16:09): So if you've ever been thinking about possibly starting a podcast, or even if you haven't been thinking about starting a podcast and what you really want to extend your reach and the reach of your brand podcasting might be the thing you want to focus on in 2021. Like I said, I just released that YouTube series, how to start a podcast. So if you are interested, you can hop over on YouTube and watch that podcast series. And I also have a free, quick start guide to podcasts. It's kind of like a blueprint that lays out the steps you need to take till you get your podcasts from zero to launch. So I will also put a link to that in the show notes as well. Now I think that should be three. I think we covered all three points that I wanted to hit there. One reach out to your audience to come up with a content strategy, really be really be conscious of your strategy in three, start getting more serious about podcasting in video.

Nick (17:04): If video is something that you are just really struggling with getting started, come over on Twitter and reach out to me over on Twitter. And I'd be more than happy to help kind of talk you through the process that I took when I started creating video content. One thing that I would really recommend for anybody that's thinking about doing video is to start posting videos on social media first. And this was actually something that Amanda Horvath back on episode 21 had mentioned as well. If you're thinking about getting into video, do not start on YouTube. YouTube is a whole nother beast, and I will be putting more content out about YouTube as I begin to grow my channel as well, but really set your focus on the social media channels like Instagram. I would even say tic-tac would be the best place for you to start.

Nick (17:52): It's still a young platform and it's continuing to grow with. There's still a lot of organic reach. So there is a chance that if you're creating videos on tic-tac, that you could be building a pretty awesome following on that platform. Then once you start creating YouTube videos, you can bring them over to YouTube as well. You'll actually start seeing quite a bit more tic-tac content coming out from me as well. So if you want to make sure you will follow me over on ticktack. I love to engage with you there. I think Tik and LinkedIn are going to be two of my, my big focuses in terms of social media this year. So if you'd like to connect, come over and say, hi, like I said, this is a little bit shorter of an episode this time around. I really, I just wanted to come in here and catch you guys before the new year.

Nick (18:33): Kind of get you motivated, amped up, ready to go get ready to kick 2021 in the, but, um, I'm, I'm super excited for where the Nine-Five brand is going. And I'm really excited to see where you guys take your own brands. Now, if you could do me a favor as we wrap up this new year, if you have not yet rated and reviewed the Nine-Five Podcast, please head over to iTunes right now and leave a review. I would greatly appreciate it. It'll be we'll call it a late Christmas present to me. Now, make sure you go subscribe to the podcast. You're not going to want to miss any of the new episodes, the new interviews coming out. I'm really excited for next week. We're going to be rolling into episode number 25. That means we're a quarter of the way to 100 starting next week. In that episode, I actually reached out to several podcasters and they were kind enough to give me a video clip of why they started podcasting and how it's helped them grow their own business. So you'll get to hear from all these other podcasters, why they think podcasting is so great and why you should start thinking about podcasting as well. So thanks for listening in this long guys. I hope you have a fantastic new year and let's bring in the new year strong, stay safe, and I will catch you guys Next week's episode.

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Show Notes

2020 is coming to a close, which means it’s time to set our sights on crushing 2021.


Where I’m Heading with Nine-Five to Freedom


Until this point, I have not spent much focus on monetizing my brand. My main priority has been building an audience and connecting with other amazing entrepreneurs and business owners.




I’m finally at the point now where I am looking to start monetizing Nine-Five to Freedom.


To do this, I’ll be focusing very heavily on:


  1. Nine-Five Podcast
  2. Video Content
  3. Paid Courses and Offerings


As you know, I have been talking very strongly about video in the recent episodes. That is because video marketing is going to be a BIG part of my 2021 strategy.

In fact, I just published a video series over on YouTube earlier this week (Dec. 28th, 2020).

Check out my new channel to see how that series went.


This series is about how to start a podcast, and is something that I’ll be focusing on a lot in the beginning of 2021. I want to help others start their own podcast!


Since starting my podcast back in July 2020, I’ve become a huge advocate for the platform. I feel like I’ve not only been able to help more people through podcasting, but I’ve also made some amazing connections through my own show.


If you’re interested in starting your own podcast, you can grab my free quick-start guide here and expect to start seeing some paid courses and opportunities to work with me in getting your very own podcast started.


Social Media


Since starting Nine-Five to Freedom, I have been heavily focused on Twitter when it comes to social media.

I’ve met some amazing people through the platform, and many have become some of my best friends in the online space.

Although I’m not going away from Twitter, I realize that I need to start focusing on platforms that will help me grow my brand even more.


That is why I’ll be setting my sights on TikTok and LinkedIn.


Both platforms still have an amazing organic reach compared to any other social media channel. With my recent interest in video content, TikTok is one of the most logical steps to take when it comes to growing my online presence.


Rolling into 2021 Strong


To make 2021 your most productive year yet, there are three things that I want you to think about:


  1. What does your audience want/expect from you?
  2. Building a content strategy
  3. Expanding your reach online


What Does Your Audience Expect from You?


All too often, we create content we think will go over well.


Why not ask them what they want?


This is exactly what I did.


I reached out to my audience in my email list, on social media, and in some communities that I’m a part of.

I asked them, “What is the #1 challenge you face when it comes to online business?”

In doing this, I received a TON of amazing responses and this has really helped me plan my content out.


Building a Content Strategy


It’s not enought to create a bunch of content.

A common theme on the podcast that I’ve heard from guests is that no one is focusing on the strategy.

If there is no strategy in place, you’ll be aimlessly creating content with nothing to show for it.


In 2021, I want you to focus on developing a real strategy for your content.


What is the purpose of your content?

Does you audience even want this content?this is where implementing the strategy listed above may come in handy for you.


If you create a blog post, video, or podcast episode, sincerely think about how you can create an entire ecosystem around your content.


Expanding Your Reach Online


Lastly, I want you to think about how you can expand your presence online.


There are tons of platforms out there where you audience may live.

Are you reaching them?


This is why I’m setting my sights on TikTok and LinkedIn.


If I’m going to be creating more video content, why not go where video is the hottest and my reach is maximized?


OR if you’re a blogger, maybe it’s time to start thinking about incorporating your own video content or maybe even starting a podcast!


If my opinion means anything to you, I’d HIGHLY recommend thinking about podcasting. The experience has been transformational for me and I only wish I would have started it sooner.

Links & Resources

Note: Some of the links listed below may be affiliate links. This means I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you choose to purchase through them.


Tools for Creating a Strategy

Thinking About Starting a Podcast?


  • If you haven’t done this already, you can leave a review of the Nine-Five Podcast over on iTunes

Thank You!

I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Nine-Five Podcast. Thank you so much for listening!


If you enjoyed this episode, please head over to iTunes and leave a review. Your reviews are what help get this podcast in front of more people!


What is your biggest focus going to be as we roll into 2021?

Let me know in the comments below.



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"The value you provide to others directly correlates to your success. The more value you provide, the more successful you become. Focus on the value!"

- Nick Nalbach

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I am an entrepreneur and adventure enthusiast, looking to break free from the Nine-Five grind. I'll show you what has worked and is currently working for me, as well as what hasn't worked so well.

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