How Ex Air Traffic Controller Grew from SOLOpreneur to ENTREpreneur!
Hi my name is Karl Trent I own a website called dad's guide to wdw. Calm, I've, been with SBI since. 2008. September. 1st 2008. We, got one page. Yesterday. I had, thirty, thousand, and twenty five pages if, I can do it you can't. So. Karl for somebody that doesn't know you can, you introduce, yourself. A little bit and talk, to us in the context, particularly, of of your website, it's, a pretty. Well. My name is Karl Trent I. Was. I'm. Just a normal, everyday. Average. Guy I was an air traffic controller. For 27, years and. In. That, job I was, going I was going to be forced to retire at age 55, so. Along, the. Way through the years I was, always trying to find a. Retirement. Job and I. Wanted. To center it around, Disney, because I love, Disney especially. Walt Disney World Disney. Has been a. Specific. Walt Disney, himself and, Disney, has been a passion, of mine since I was very very young since my grandmother. Took me to Disneyland, when I was like four years old, god it's. Just been a passion, forever and so. I. Started. Out as I, was gonna be a Disney travel, agent and, I started learning how to be a travel, agent and I did all these courses, and, even. Got to the point where I was, a Disney, travel agent part-time and. Was actually about, to buy a travel, agency, in Texas. Where we were living and. 2001. Well. Something. Came up in August, of 2001. That. Caused. Me, well actually we. Got a new job and we're. Gonna move and it, caused me to back out of the contract and and, the guy was fine with it it was, very amicable no, problems, but then again. Six. Weeks later the. World changed, and the travel agency, the travel agent business died. Really yeah at that time so. Good. Good on good for me and, but. I still had that passion to help people with Disney, World Travel there there's just at that time back then there was just a big. Gulf there. Just wasn't any help for people that wanted to go to Disney World and. This was before the internet got real popular so. 2008. I ran, across SBI, mmm. Build your own web site build. A website that sells the. Website that makes money, but. You. Know yeah you have to put the work into it but the passion into it build, a website around your personality, and around, your. Passion, and so I I. Knew, that, the, Disney, did. Walt Disney World was a very competitive, market, didn't, ever really expect, to get, into a really high place I just wanted to get where I could help some people with. Their, tricks stole Disney World through. The years of the site's grown. There. Was a couple, couple, year period where I kind, of went away from the site and I started, my online magazine. And. Started. Building that, as a product, to sell on, the. Website to, others and and. Just. Has grown and grown and grown to where just. This last month found. Out that we were ranking, on the first page of Google for the phrase, Magic. Kingdom.
Which. Has. Tremendous numbers. And just to get on the first page of Google, for that just. It's. It's been quite a ride it's just been a lot of fun it's really interesting because you you, talked about how you'd sort of started that because you wanted to help a few people but, in actual fact it. Turned into I, almost. Said lifestyle, and I suppose that's true but it really became a life's work. Yeah. It's really become well. It's it's not it's. Not work it's fun I mean it's just what I love to do and, so. I get, to sit around all day and talk about my. Favorite, thing and. Write about my favorite thing and I, love, doing, the. Computer. Part, computer, geek out my website geek, and this, the whole thing is just a dream. Job, it really is it's just if I if. I would, have laid. Out my life I couldn't have laid it out any better than what. It turned out, very. Good so so for somebody that's listening, to this right now you talked, about how important, it was to be you, know oh how great it was to be you know page one for Magic Kingdom can, you outline, for. Somebody who doesn't necessarily know too much about, website. Traffic or building an online business, or. They, think they do but, they don't know much about keywords, what the significance of that is. Well. The. Significance of it is that. Magic. Kingdom is a term. That's searched. Let's. Say a million, times a day, and. To. Get to the first page of Google for that particular. Keyword now, I won't say that just, being on the first page is is, great, cuz we're not getting a lot we got trapped we've got probably, 12 pages to get more traffic than the Magic Kingdom page because, we're ranked number one or. Two in search for those, terms but. Just, to to, get to the Magic Kingdom to, the first page the, first three, slots are Disney. Slots, the. Next slot is a Wikipedia slot, and there's, the next slot is one between me, and another Disney webpage but. We're, beating, TripAdvisor. We're, beating. Just. Cute. Everyone everybody. Yelp. Just. Anybody, you know there are a lot of big players in, the Disney market, and to. Be on the front page for, that keyword is just pretty spectacular. But. You know if. I was in the top three or four then the traffic could be pretty spectacular too. But. That's, just reality. But. But, the traffic is nevertheless spectacular. Because you're able to run a full-time business of this aren't you yes. We, we have loved traffic. Are. Our. Main money comes from our magazine, that's, where that's, where, we, make most of our money. The. Website, is, probably, a little under monetized. But. That's. Not, the goal the goal of the website is. To get people on our email list -. -, to, help people so. You know so we can use our, our. Newsletters. And we. Can get in that interaction that. We. Can use to help people and, so if. We had a goal just to make money be full of had since ads and be full it, should, be plastered, yeah we'd be making more money off of it but. Yeah. It wouldn't be what you want it's exactly right and that's, really the powerful, difference isn't it is that you, know it's interesting listening, to you because you.
Know I know with with site sell with site, builder, we. Talked about you. Know your voice and your passion, and things like this and clearly. That's what drives it it it became, from something that you just thought you'd do a little bit to help some people out into. An overwhelming. Opportunity. For you to really live an ideal life and to. Me that's like, you what you're just constantly sharing, your. Love of the subject and your, enthusiasm and, you, know anybody that's even, listening to you now can really get how, engaged, you are in it it's not just like a yeah. Well this is an exciting thing that you really think you should be excited about. So. With that in mind Carl it's not really, just the, website. Itself that's doing the traffic, and you know the keywords, and the content, and all the rest of it you also have an extensive. Presence. With social, activities, and also using. Other things like video and Pinterest. And all the rest of it can, you outline, first, of all what, the other social activities are and and what impact they have on the site. Well. We. I'm. Gonna forget, I'm, sure something great was Facebook. Channel. Facebook. Page we. Have a Facebook. Group which we just started about six, weeks ago we've, got twelve hundred members in it now very. Active. We. Have a YouTube channel for, the website we. Have a, Pinterest. Page. That's, probably, about it those are the ones we kind of focus on we we, do Twitter we, do Auto Twitter from our Facebook page, we've. Never find found, Twitter to be particularly, helpful in our niche but. We've. Tried, to one. Of the the reason you want to do social media one of the reasons I wanted to do shell sweetie because it's social, proof to Google. It. Tells Google, that you, have, a, presence, that's. Not just, your website so we've got a presence, we've got a fairly active. Facebook. Page our Facebook. Group is active, we, started the YouTube channel. Started. Well, we started a long time ago we started getting active. On it in. December. Of 2016. And. Started, really ramping, that up are we. Go back and forth on Pinterest. We're. Active for a little while and then we're not I, do have a full-time person, that works on social, media and. Then, the one. Thing that I mentioned before that a lot of people don't think about is how active, we are with our email. We. Send weekly, emails and then we send emails. Intermittently. Probably. Another, over. A month's, time we'll send probably, not just the four newsletters. But we'll send probably. Six. Or eight more. Reminders. Or offers, or things during the month so it, it's it's, a whole package it's just, as anything. We can think of to, get people, talking to, us talking to people and get, interaction. That's, what we're trying to do. Okay. So let's, talk about some other sources of traffic then and I know I wanted to particularly focus on on video in your use of video. What. Are the things that I'm, really struck, by is your use of the. Live. Question. Answers, or live conversations. And this. To me seems to be probably. I mean I know you do other videos but this seems to be the most, present. Time impactful. Thing that you could be doing with, your. Viewers. If you like those that are engaged in the content can, you talk a little bit, about first. Of all what prompted, you to even start to do that or is it just a no-brainer. When, I, don't, know where I heard this from I've been from you I don't know was, to to. Take to, make. To. Create. Content. Instead. Of writing. It out do, it as a video and then have it transcribed Internet, into to a web. Page too. So I I've, had for years I've had this what, I call ask dad, page. Where, people can ask me questions they send them in and I, type answers, back so. In. December, of 2016, we, decided, to start doing this weekly show, where. We, do a full show with news and ads. And. And the. Main part of it would be I would answer the questions, from the ask dad page and then also the, the, people, watching it could send questions in live and I answer, them right then and there alive. So, every. Week every, Friday at, noon it was called lunch with that every. Friday at noon. We. I would, show up and, I'd. Spend write. About an hour going. Through the news and, all, of the questions. We. Would have on the average of about 20, questions a week and. Eight. To ten of those would would be made into, SBI. Content. 2.0 pages, we've. Made I don't come how many hundred we've we've done since, we started I know, at one point we had over 500 question. Videos, on YouTube we'd also take we, cut asked, we cut the lunch with data to each of the questions when. We turned into a video, and we put that on YouTube your table, had to have the Disney Dining Plan now.
They've Fixed that I don't know why they ever did it that way but now they fixed so we're getting her content, on the website we're getting content, on YouTube. We're. Generating. Traffic. On both channels. Cross. Traffic cross promoting. But. The, thing that happened was people were, just engaged, we. Get to 300, comments, live. As we did it it, was just very engaging, people. Just wanted to be involved with it. Due. To time, constraints. Because it took a lot of time to prepare for that we've two. Weeks ago we quit, doing that but what, we're doing now is I'm, doing one. Or, two a week where I'm going in live and I'm saying hey, what we'll, talk about a particular subject, and then I'll open it up for questions, any questions, you've got so and they know in advance I'm going to be there so, you know. The questions are still coming in we did one last week that. Had. 236. Comments. During. During, the live stream. So. It's, it's really, you. Talk about getting. Facebook. You. Know and, this this we did in the group we've moved it over to the group because, what. I found out with Facebook, and what I found with Facebook if you've got a page good luck getting, Facebook to show that to anybody. Yeah. They just don't show it to anybody but if they're in a group guess. What the first thing, they see is, if. They're active, in a group the first thing they're gonna see is that group, what's going on in that group so, the. Group tends. To get more interaction than, the. Page. That's got 80,000. Likes on it you know so the group with 1200, people gets more interaction, than the page with 80,000, likes, so. It's just we're. Trying to adapt with the chain is that Facebook makes, yeah. It's, a it, is quite an interesting thing and I have. Noticed, how, effective. Groups can be I don't think that there's any particular surprise, as long as you've got the interest there but. Part. Of having a group from my point of view is that you actually have a little bit more control, over Facebook, because as you, say or the newsfeed, it can just disappear, but. With a group people, are committed they're going to the group they're getting notifications, and all the rest of it and you know that they're there and it's also special so. People want to be in there as well yeah. And. You have a little more control or. Not. Only who's in it but, moderation. Well, we've got moderators. In the group and, it just. It's. It's just easier, to handle than the page, right. So so so let's just divide this up then you're. Doing the the live thing now in a different format but into, the group only but.
So To the general Facebook. Stream is that just photos, and maybe, news updates I noticed that you have a calendar. I think that you know like what's on that sort of thing yeah. Every, morning first thing in the morning we put up what's going on today the, weather or the crowds the, special, events the hours that. Comes up first thing in the morning during the day we'll post five to six times, different. Things content. New content, we create new content, every day so. There's new content going up there, are, pictures. If we do alive, we will share, it into the main page so. The main page is still seeing it in real time but. It's, actually. Happening. In the group, but. You. Know anything. That comes up if there's a news item and we'll post it so. It's, just you. Know we used to back when Facebook. Was a lot better we used to post sixteen times a day now we're down to five. And. That's. Just, the reality of, how Facebook works, yeah. That's, right. So, let's focus a little bit on YouTube. And I'll probably come back to Facebook again in a moment. YouTube. You have been, creating, videos, consistently. For a hell of a long time can. You give us an idea I mean you've talked about the the question and answer ones but the the. Custom-made ones if you like how. Long are they generally, taking, you to create. The. Custom-made ones aren't aren't really, the. Ones we're doing I do for the dad's, guide channel don't. Take long I write. A script I set up my iPhone. On a tripod I, talk to my iPhone and I just I just. I'm. Not one shot, but, two or three shots I can usually get through that. Where I've done the whole thing in one one. Take. And. And, and in, your editing, yourself I have. An. Assistant that is, a video, editor and I. Send, it to her she puts on the front in the tail and if. There's anything that needs to be trimmed in the middle she'll do that yes. She, takes care of that not me so. She know she knows well enough you, know what's right and what's wrong and what to fix and what to leave right, right. That's exactly what you need so so, those videos how, long do they tend to be short. 2. 3 5 minutes, at. The most. The. Problem with the livestream, is I tend to ramble when I'm on the livestream I'll. Do a review of a restaurant it'll be 14, minutes long because I'm. Off on tangents and, thinking about everything and but. When I'm doing, it to camera and have. A script, I'm thinking, about and it's in it's shorter, because I'm much, more focused when. When I'm just doing that when I'm just doing the thing to the camera I'm. Much more focused so they. Tend to be 3, to 5 minutes. What. You almost wanted response from these. Four. People to watch. But. It's a new audience isn't. It watch it isn't audience its we're, building, audience over on YouTube that's kind of what we're doing in, fact our YouTube strategy, its pull, it out of the Hat we really, talked. Over. There we're just starting to really think, about what we're doing on YouTube and. How to do it better. It's, been kind of we've. Started this as a content building for, SBI, strategy. And now. It's kind of morphing into okay we've gotta start getting getting. A little smarter about this and get a little more, so. We've started creating. A list of things we want to do with. Our YouTube now we've got people into expecting. To. Videos. Every day so, it's. Going to be hard to match. That appetite, and to, create good videos every day. So. It's. Gonna be a challenge, so. Let's go back to Facebook because, that's really probably, the the, area of great interest, for me here now you're. Doing a lot of live broadcasting. For. Many. People, they don't really have the wherewithal. To do it all the knowledge about how to do it can, you just walk us through what. You use and how you use it and how effective, it is sure. Start. With you, know I don't, have a, camera. I when, when we're doing our lives on Facebook I use, my my MacBook, Pro I'm a maverick Pro I use my camera right on my macbook pro I. Use a program called II can, I think it was, $35. That I paid for II can't it's not a it's not a subscription. It's a one-time, one-time. Cost. And. I use that that, post to Facebook, that. Post directly to Facebook, automatically. Automatically, I see you set up a time you schedule, it or you can do it live I mean you can post I want to go now and you, can post a group sort of pages, like we've got 10 pages and 15, groups I can. Pick which one I've, got some dead groups when I want to test something I'll go into a dead group and I'll test it and. You. Can do interviews it's.
Getting More robust all the time. And. We. Use that I. Have. A Yeti microphone but, I use but, it's, it right here I made. It I got a black one so you can't see it. But. We, better tell people what a Yeti microphone is, it's. By a company called blue, would you believe so it's a blue Yeti oh yeah. It, was always a literary good this. This, one they did special and it was black so I thought black look cool so I had to have a black yet, but. We. Use the ECAM I I'll, schedule something you can put at you can put like. Pictures, like I have a, sponsor, I have their little ad up here I set, my groom up I said I. Said, everything, all up and I, talked. To the camera and I. When. It time comes it says goal I'm I punched the go-live button, and here we go Ron. I also do some sound usually, I like. I'm. Into, classic. Rock you, know. Eighties. I'm an 80 70 to 80 67. Is a nice rock, by. Significance, and. I got to be careful about how long of, those I'd play you play too long and YouTube, says you've got copyright, infringement. So. While I'll keep the snippets, pretty short but. I've got an. External, mic that I use that boosts. The sound up for. The. Snippets. But. It's. It's pretty simple pretty, simple setup it's, cheap, the. Yeti was a hundred and twenty nine dollars the external. Speakers like 50, bucks and. I'll for 200, bucks you got everything ready. To go so. You really are your own little production, house. So so, you've, talked a little bit about. You've. Talked a little bit about the assistance, you have and I think. For somebody watching, this right now they're, going well, I'm just me you know how on earth am I going to have a site that's got obviously thousands. And thousands, and thousands, of visitors a day you know it's it's funding, all of this I can't, do it all by myself so. Tell me about your your team your hidden elves I was. I was right there for four. Years I had, no no, help no paid help in, fact until I started, the online magazine, I did not have any page l the. Online magazine has, driven most, of my page help because it's it is. A, multiple. Full time jobs and. As. As. Things. Grew, you, know I could probably do everything. For the, website. Of, the dad's guide website by myself but, adding that online magazine. And. We're. We're, we're. Running two big, businesses. You know content. Creation. Magazine. The online magazines, moving to print this year I mean it's it's it's. A, major undertaking. And. So, when. I started, back in 2013. I started the. Online magazine, and then early, 2014. Well. I had this lady that was helping me write content, I wasn't. Paying her much back then you, know but she was writing some of the ass bad pages, I was, still working full time so, I'm running this this website, starting, this online magazine, working full-time with. Unpaid. Help so. You. Know I've been there so when the online magazine started, we made some money middle. Of 2014, I hired this first, my first assistant full-time, and her job was mainly to work, on the magazine she, she's. The editor, of the magazine she. She. Works as, much, as I do keeping. Track of the magazine, and. She, does the video editing but. I still do most of the dad's guy's stuff myself I. Do. All the content writing I do. I upload. All the pages I, mean I do, pretty, much most of the website. Stuff, myself yeah, I get a little help but. Yes. I don't do they I've, done when we had the sixteen. Posts a day for, Facebook, I was doing notes and. Still, working a full-time job. So, while. It, sounds. Like a lot you can do it as a one-person, shop I don't have to do it as a one-person shop anymore but, that's only because I got 7,000. Other things we're doing we're. Praying. Calendars, were writing. Books I mean right. There you see my book. We're. Trying we're building. A pretty. Large business. So. It takes more, than just what. You would for a website you, know, you. Talk about the. Expanded, team it. Does, seem to me that, you. Reach a tipping point where if you want to grow you have to have, some extra help even. Though it does cost you money was that your expenses. Absolutely. There. Just comes a point where you can't do it all and. And it's a good thing to have help I, I'm. A firm, believer in, team. My. Full-time team I have two full-time. Assistants. I have. Eight. Photographers. That work. On our team we've got 20. Riders we've. Got a team of about 50, people with. And. With. Proofreaders. And, everything. That goes into the, magazine. And. We got a really large team and I. Said. This once in the forum's you don't have a business until, you've had to make payroll. You. Just have a website. When. You have to make a payroll then you got a business. You, know somebody, listening, to that right now is liking oh my god. And. And. It's really important, to make the point that you don't have to build it that big, that's your particular nation, but, but.
I Think what. What I really, wanted to say was the. Beauty of an, online environment like. This, is that, you can really grow it as far north. Or. Status. Quo whatever you want to do as you like it is really up to you you. Know there are some really tight niches, that wouldn't, warrant this. I'm. In a huge me I'm, in a huge niche it really is there's, probably a hundred. New websites, starting today from Walt Disney World, nah. It's, really, yes it's, just everybody thinks they can do it but. It's. Not it's. Not because I did it myself it's because I've. Built. A team I've had. Help. SBI, has been a great help and me I'm I'm just driven to do these kind of things it's just my nature it's, not my nature to to. Relax I just can't, do it so, you. Don't have to be like me. It's. Okay you don't have to be. But. No I mean your site might be about a little Church in an obscure, English village and that's fine too you know they could make a lot of interest in that exactly. And the good thing about SBI is you, have the platform to get. Dominance. In in, English if I can get it in the Disney, World. You. Can get it in any niche. Water. It's. Interesting you you raise the, the you know the impact. That SBI has had for you you, know you've been, with. The. Company we're using it as a platform for a long time since. Then you know WordPress, has come up and lots, of other platforms, have you ever been tempted to move, absolutely, absolutely. In. Fact I think it was last year that I wrote in the forums I'm done, I'm going I. Have, WordPress sites I got probably I got six WordPress sites. And. The. Temptation is always there but then you know, all it takes is. One. Big traffic rush on one, of my sites which, freezes my whole account. And. I'm. Paying a hundred seventy dollars a month for, my WordPress sites and. If I get a big traffic, rush, for. Some reason, then they, all go we're in maintenance mode. For. A few minutes and if, that's when I'm doing a big sale which, is happen multiple, times. Then. I've. Lost a bunch of money so, and. With SBI, if. I get a million, hits a day, it. Doesn't matter it's gonna work it's gonna be there I'm not gonna get dinged or like, I did with my former. Host get, my whole account, shut down because, I had a traffic crush and no no, notification, somebody, just sent me a note said your accounts down I, go. And they find are you the owner we've, shut your account down. Why. We. Think you're getting spammed no. I just wrote a post that everybody, in the world wants to read and the last thing I want is my site being down right now. That's. Really interesting because it is a fundamental difference, between I. Think a lot of platforms and SBI and I've actually never thought about it before but you know when they talk about you, know build, a site that makes you money or a site that works and, or an online business that works what.
It's Actually talking, about is, saying that we actually think business, we, are actually designed, for you to be incredibly. Successful not. For. A situation where, you, might only get 100, visit today right, yeah. And. The, thing with the page speed in the images, is just for, me, that's incredible. I I. Put, my images, up my pages load. Immediately. And. I, can have 30 images on a page and it loads you go on a WordPress, and the WordPress, site you put. It's. Just and and, that is one of the reasons I can dominate, for, words. Like Magic Kingdom because, my. Image is loaded and you know other pages have to keep images off their site because, they. Don't load fast. So. What. Are the burning questions that I've wanted to ask you on a completely different tack one. Of the burning questions that I've wanted to ask you for a while because I grew, up with, Disneyland. In the 60s black-and-white. Television. Donald, Duck cartoons. Absolutely. Awesome we didn't have television we. I went over to our neighbor's house somebody had ice cream and cake for dessert and watched Disneyland, it was very, special and I've never forgotten it I'm, pretty, curious. What. It is that, got you, really, engaged, in it and how you became dad. Well. I. Think. That's kind of two, different stories, but. You. Know I grew up in the in the wonderful world of Disney era, with Bambi. And Snow. White and, all the Disney movies and, Yama. Guy but I kind of like those things and. My. Mom. Was a Disney, fan and, I, kind, of had a really. Really. Love for Walt and followed. Him very carefully wrote high school papers, about Walt because. He. Was just kind of my hero. Because. Of his technological. Advances. Because. Of what. He had developed how. He had gone from nothing, literally. Nothing, to. Developing. This this. Empire. Not. That I wanted to develop an empire yes, I do but. But. How. I became, dad was, when I started, looking at SBI I, wanted. To build a site where, guys could. Come and get. A love for this. And. So it was going to be a dad's, guide, to Walt Disney World where, I was the dad and I was going to help guys. Into. The, Disney. Lifestyle. As. The. Site, started, growing and, we started getting statistics. Especially to Facebook, I noticed. His first on Facebook, our Facebook. Page started growing I noticed that Facebook, analytics was, showing me that, 65. Percent of our traffic loss from women. And. Only 35, percent us, from men how do you have a sign called dad's guide, to wew, be, 65. Percent when so. We kind of changed our tone. A little bit I kind of changed our tone a little bit and we. Started talking about Disney. In general making, it less. Gender. Specific, and just. Spreading. The my. Passion, for Walt, Disney World and. Apparently. Women, really enjoy that are the. State, at 60 to 70% women, still. Is 65. 70% women just. Everything, we do. Gravitates. To women I guess the Disney neat kind, of gravitates, a little more to women, than the men but. I'd, still, love to do that come on guys I do this everyone, so come on guys. You. Need you, need to fall in love with this, but. The. Dad thing was you know I'm a dad I'm proud of being a dad I love my kids I love, and. I wanted. To kind of give that perspective dad, being trustworthy. Being. The helpful, the. Pat on the back the, kick, in the rear when you need it just that, dad figure. That, Ward. Cleaver, figure. If she's, if.
It's Just that that. That. The. The idea, behind dad is that perfect, dad that you wish you had that, tells, you what, you need to know about Disney, you trusting, that's one of the things I say multiplex. Trust, Trust. Trust me. To build that trust, and and, that and then. I'm open and you. Come to me with a problem I help you solve it so. That's, that's, what the dad brand, is. Well. On that note I think that's a wonderful way to actually, end the conversation except. Is there anything particular that, you wanted to cover or we we, should bring, up that we haven't thought of. Just, to have passion for whatever you're doing just to have passion and get it out there, interact. With people whether it's your your your followers. Whether it's other people, in your niche whether your competitors. Interact. With people build, teams. Build, your, team doesn't have to be people. That work for you your team is who who, you interact with who you're, talking, to your your followers, your other, competitors. They're part of your team build your team build, those relationships. It. Will help you tremendously. As. You go forward and and just, you. Know be. Passionate, about whatever you do. Along. That note thank. You very much dad I've really enjoyed this, little chat and I'm sure it'll help us all thank, you.