This week, we caught up with Australian entrepreneur and YouTuber, James Tew. As someone building his business on the side of his full time job, James Tew shares many insights into what it takes to be successful and fulfilled while balancing his job, his daughters (he’s got four!) and his passion for helping other entrepreneurs.
In our success story with James Tew, here are the topics we cover:
- How he got into the business of helping people & where that passion was ignited
- Why being open to pivoting your business can be good for both you and your customers
- How he balances his large family, business, full-time job and health
- All the tools and tips James Tew uses for productivity
- What his typical day looks like (hint: he wakes up early!)
Enjoy the interview!
First, let’s get to know each other a little bit! We’d love to hear more about you, so tell us a little bit about who you are, what you do and how you got started, and also where you’re based.
Well hey there! I’m James Tew and I’m a YouTuber. I help entrepreneurs grow the strength, courage, and confidence to build their brand with video. This means that we do a lot of internal work as well as tech based. When people think about video, they get so nervous. It’s a big ask, putting yourself out there for the world to judge you and especially on YouTube where there is a certain level of anonymity, it can be hard to take that first step. So basically, I help them get the tech down, understand the basics of editing and then we work on them.
I really found my love for helping people when I was serving in the Australian Navy. I got to mentor and help shape the leaders of the future, so to be able to transfer that experience and expertise from such an important, high stakes role is incredibly rewarding.
I really got started on video when I was about 17. I used to make skate movies with a friend and we would just goof around and make little movies in iMovie. I lost my passion for filmmaking for a long time, but just before my 4th daughter (that’s right, I’ve got four girls) was born, I decided I’d get back into it. Initially, I just saw it as a way to connect with potential clients as I wanted to coach them to achieve ultimately productivity, but then I saw that I was getting more and more questions about how I was making my videos.
I spoke to a good friend of mine, Keith Griffis, about it and I remember the sentence that changed everything:
“Maybe you’re going to be the video guy?”
That was it for me. I went down that path and now I am working with people one-on-one to help them share their message with the world and using Selz to sell courses to solve problems people face when shooting video.
What are some of the ways you make a living doing what you love online and what drew you to selling online?
I knew that if I was going to be spending so much time on the computer and away from my family, I needed a way to justify it. My main goal is to connect with people and help them be better than yesterday. Video is just my method of delivery. So to be able to chat with people every day, hear their story and their struggles and then see that lightbulb moment, that’s why I do what I do. I should probably mention that I still work full time and I just do this on the side. It’s a lot of late nights and early morning Skype calls but it’s all worth it.
[Tweet “”and then see that lightbulb moment, that’s why I do what I do.” – James Tew”]
For people new to creative entrepreneurship, what are some words of advice for when you’re just starting out?
Be prepared to pivot. I started off in blogging, then podcasting, then coaching and now video. The point is, you have to do what you love but you also have to be where the customers are. There is no point standing in an empty room trying to sell something, so just be prepared if your path changes.
Now I’m not talking about complete 180-degree turn here, but it may shift from what you initially thought it would be. That’s okay. And the final thing that I want to say, and it is something that I still struggle with, is acknowledging that this thing doesn’t happen overnight.
Despite the “overnight success” stories you see online, it doesn’t happen like that. It takes lots of work, lots of tears, lots of early mornings and late nights and way more “WHY THE HELL AM I DOING THIS” than you could possibly imagine!
[Tweet “Despite the “overnight success” stories you see online, it doesn’t happen like that.”]
What are some of your favorite tools for staying productive and organized? Do you have a team or do you do everything yourself?
I have a copywriter to edit my writing. Mainly because I still don’t understand commas. I’m sure there is a Selz course for that!
When it comes to staying productive and organized, balancing a big family like mine takes a lot of work. A typical day for me starts at about 4:45 when I dive into emails from overnight and FB comments. Then off to the gym and then back home to get the kids to school before I go to work myself. Then after work, it is where the majority of my magic happens. When it comes to filming, I tend to find a time on the weekend or in the afternoon where everyone is out of the house. I always carry a notebook with me to write down video ideas so that I don’t have to spend too much time coming up with new ones when I get some quiet. I’ll usually film 3 or 4 videos in one hit and then release them throughout the week.
[Tweet “Then after work, it is where the majority of my magic happens. #sidehustle”]
I also use that same notebook to write down my to-do list for the day. It’s a simple check box with the task. I’m actually trying something that Chase Reeves from Fizzle suggested and that is to write “because ….” and the reason why that task is important to my day. It’s really helped prioritise what I do with my limited time. I never outsource my editing and I don’t think I every will. It’s my story, and I want to be able to tell it like I envisioned. It’s just something that I’ve always believed in.
With regards to big projects, I like workflowly. It’s a great little dot point system that let’s you break down your tasks or projects. Once I’ve used it to map out a project, I transfer it into Trello board and then get started on the job. I like Trello because I can share that project and add images or links for things that I need to remember for later in the project.
What does a typical morning look like for you and how does it impact your success as an entrepreneur? Are there any specific things you do to start your day off right?
For a long time, I wasn’t looking after myself. Between work and my business, I was spending 18 hours a day in front of a screen. I now spend 15 minutes checking emails and comments, but I don’t reply. Basically, this is to see if anything urgent has come through. From there, off to the gym. I’ve really embraced going to the gym and it has changed the way my day goes. I like a big breakfast especially after a massive workout and then just lots of water throughout the day to keep hydrated.
I think it is really important for entrepreneurs to get outside and interact with people face-to-face. In this online space, it is easy enough to just stay in and work. I recently stated a networking group with a friend and we hold events every second month focused around digital business and social media. It’s a great avenue to get out there and talk to people, make lasting relationships and of course put on pants! ;-)
Tell us what’s been one of your greatest challenges in getting started online – and how you overcame it.
Staying focused remains my biggest challenge. I have, much like many other entrepreneurs, so many ideas that I would love to execute on. The issue is that when you’re trying to do 10 things, you don’t do 1 thing well, so I’ve made a conscious decision to really focus on doing two things right. For me, this is connecting with people and helping them achieve their goals and producing funny, informative YouTube videos.
To overcome this, I highly recommend getting an accountability partner. I have a couple and my notebook. I also “frame” my goals. So I have them in an A4 photo frame next to my work station so that I can see them at all times. If what I am working on isn’t working towards achieving those, then I need to examine is it really important to my business.
What does a typical day look like for you?
4:45 – wake up
5:20 – leave for the gym
5:45 – 7:15 gym
7:30 – 9 Dad stuff
9 – 5 Work (with some business stuff if its a slow day ;) )
5 – 8 More dad stuff
8 – 11 Business stuff
What does success look like for you?
Not waking up in the morning dreading going to work! Haha, no I think for me it is about my family. I really just want to be able to give my kids the best head start in life and financial freedom. I think that is what most parents are chasing, just the best start for their kids. So for me, I’d love to be at the point where I could log off for a week and I know my (future) team would be able to take care of my business without me.
Look, I don’t really know. I know I’m set on using Selz to promote a lot of my courses and trying to impart my knowledge to as many people as possible. I personally don’t agree with the $15,000 course model. I like to have lots of different solutions to the problems you have, so I like the flexibility that Selz offers on the platform to just create content and get it out there. I also have big plans for my YouTube channel. I want to get back to my core video style which is funny and informative business-related videos. I love productivity and I love a challenge, so I am probably going to get a lot of video content focused around that stuff out there soon.
Any last words for our readers that you’d like to impart?
Don’t force it. Work hard, be genuine and over deliver and it will happen. Just have faith and keep working!
[Tweet “Don’t force it. Work hard, be genuine and over deliver and it will happen.”]
Where can we find out more about you online?
Come and hang out with me on YouTube and obviously check out my Selz store and if you’re looking to get into video, just do it
Also I’m across all the socials:
James Tew is an entrepreneur who helps other entrepreneurs grow the strength, courage and confidence to build their brand with video. A dad of 4 girls, James balances his time between work, clients, kids and looking after himself. He truly believes in the power of video as a way to connect on a deeper level with ones audience. Removing the tech overwhelm and then unleashing an entrepreneurs inner self is his ultimate goal.