Jay Clouse is a freelance expert, podcast host and course creator. He helps artists make a living on their terms. He is currently the Community Experience Director at Smart Passive Income.
In April, 2017, he left his job to start his own business. He has shared regular updates of his freelance journey:
- One year into the journey
- 2017 in review, 2018 in preview
- Two years into the journey
- Lessons Learned in 2019
- Reflecting on three years of running a freelance business
In December, 2020, he realized that he earned more from online courses and podcasting this year than he did in his first year freelancing.
In April, 2017, Jay launched the Unreal Collective. The business was a collective of the unreal projects Jay was building that included a learning community and pop up experiences.
In December, 2020, Jay announced that Unreal Collective had been acquired and that he would be joining Pat Flynn as the Community Experience Director at Smart Passive Income.
He shared the motivation behind the decision in a Twitter Thread.
He had previously worked with the Smart Passive Income team online membership community, SPI Pro, using Circle. The experience was so positive that Matt Gartland, the Co-CEO of SPI Media, began talking to Jay about bringing Unreal Collective and SPI Pro together. Jay discusses the entire process at Unreal Collective has been acquired by Smart Passive Income
Creative Elements is a podcast where Jay talks to high-profile creators about the nitty gritty of building their creative career. It’s purpose is to bridge the gap between art and business.
He released the first episode – featuring Seth Godin – in March, 2020. It took over nine months to get the podcast ready to launch. The show hit 17k downloads in its first month. By June 17, he hit 40k downloads. Less than 2 weeks later, he reached 50k downloads. 25’483 of those podcast downloads occured between June 2 and July 2 2020.
Within four months of the podcasts launch, he crossed 100k downloads. He shared some of the lessons learned in this Indie Hackers post. Just one month later, the podcast hit 200k downloads. He reached 300k podcast downloads on November 8.
He shared information about his podcast tech stack.
They did a podcast recapping eight crazy months of upside at the end of 2018.
It took two years to reach 100k downloads.
They also experimented with creating The Update in 2019. This was a quarterly publication of editorials, trends, and stories happening outside of silicon valley. Jay shared a case study of how the second issue wasn’t getting as much traction until one of the articles hit #1 on Hacker News.
Work In Progress
Work In Progress is a weekly email for artists and creatives in the trenches of building a business
Independent Creative is a weekly newsletter that helps creatives make an independent living.
Jay created the newsletter in February, 2020, when he was invited into a beta program for LinkedIn Newsletters. By the end of June, it had crossed 10k subscribers. He had previously reported that he was getting 500 subscribers a week organically.
By the end of 2020, it had grown to 25K+ subscribers.
Freelancing School is an education platform. With three courses, articles, and community support, Freelancing School has the tools to help creatives make a living freelancing.
The platform started off as a group of e-courses. Jay put a lot of effort into creating high quality content. He started outlining the course in February, 2019, and didn’t finish creating the course until July. On July 14, he sent an email to former consulting clients informing them about the course. The conversion rate for purchases from those emails was nearly 10%.
He introduced Freelancing School on his blog in October, 2019.
In June, 2020, he moved the courses to Teachable.
Check out Freelancing School
Podcast Like The Pros
Podcast Like The Pros is a course that teaches you how to produce a high-quality, professional-sounding show with a small team or a small budget.
He built and launched the course in just five weeks. He pre-launched the course on October 22, 2020. He told his subscribers he would only create the course if he got 10 preorders. He reached that goal by October 24. He ended up getting 33 presales of the course. 10 of those were on the final day.
- How to build an online community (and why I’m all in on Circle)
- Behind The Scenes: Interview With TropicalMBA
- 40 lessons for aspiring creators
- When you announce to the world that you’re doing [thing], you see an immediate spike of attention. In this thread, Jay shares why it doesn’t last and why you should keep publishing.
- Talent in startup ecosystems
In 2012, Jay founded MarketOSU. MarketOSU was Ohio State’s largest student-only marketplace for buying and selling used textbooks, sport and event tickets, and more.
He wrote about the experience of missing the websites launch date at Launching and a New Sense of Empathy
In 2014, Jay joined the founding team of Tixers as their Chief Operating Officer. Tixers was a digital ticket exchange that allowed customers to trade tickets to be resold into the site in exchange for site credits. It was acquired by OneUp Sports April, 2015
He published Going to Work With a Startup after accepting the job.
In 2016, Jay joined a venture-backed startup in the healthcare space called CrossChx and led several product teams. The business is now called Olive. He wrote more about the decision at Going back to Startup University.
Jay – would you be able to recommend your favourite interviews here?
TMBA427: Dan and Ian’s Consulting Corner (write good description)