Episode 23: Finding Happiness in SaaS Customer Education with Tony DiBernardo of Privy

Maia Wells:
Today, we've got a super inspiring episode for you. I'm your host Maia Wells. And right now on The Marketing Hero podcast, we have Tony DiBernardo. He's an expert at content and education programs for SaaS companies, who absolutely fell in love with teaching on video. Formerly the VP of customer experience at Kajabi, Tony is now the customer education manager at e-commerce marketing platform, Privy. And today on The Marketing Hero, Tony tells us all about the journey to his sweet spot professionally, and taking the leap toward happiness even when it's scary. Tony DiBernardo, welcome to the show.

Tony DiBernardo:
Hey Maia, thanks so much for having me. I'm so happy to be here. Not only because what we're going to talk about, but just to catch up with you.

Maia Wells:
I know. It's been a while, right? We were both at Kajabi at the same time at one point. And so it is nice to continue that relationship, and now have you coming onto The Marketing Hero to share some of your best knowledge. But you now what, I've seen you go through a couple little stages in your career, even since we've met a few years ago. And I wanted to ask you the question we actually start off with for all of our guests, which is what is your favorite part of your career and how did you figure that out?

Tony DiBernardo:
That's a really good question. So where my career is at now is much different than where I thought it would be. I didn't even want to join this industry, which is a really funny story in and of itself. I was waiting tables and stuff like that, and I needed a big boy job because I got engaged and my wife was like, "Oh maybe you maybe not work till 1:00 Am every night." So I got a job doing customer support, and it was fine. We were answering emails, but I really liked helping people out with their issues. I sat down, I got 50 emails in my inbox. I would help them out and then I'd never see them again probably. I'd never hear from them again.

Now, I ended up being at Kajabi for like six years or five years or something like that. So I did get a lot of repeat, but through that experience of answering these emails, the coolest part was, well, we've got this technology now. We can just turn on our recorder, record our face. We can just give them a mini-lesson instead of typing out every single response. Let's just teach them how to do it. And instead of fix their problem for them, let's just teach them how to do it. So me and a couple of the guys in the department would just do that instead. And that led to saying, "Hey, we've been teaching people how to do this stuff. Why don't we create some more formal trainings to offer some self-service?" And obviously self-service is huge now.

And it was big then, but we weren't experienced in the industry. We were very new. And so we were figuring these things out as we were going. And so once we offered this self-service, it's like what they do. So in the SaaS world, people make money when they sleep. That's the thing. You start a business and you make money while you sleep. Now, we were answering emails while we slept. So we would make these videos, we would publish them and then we'd wake up to people being like, "Oh, thanks for the great tip." And I'm like, "Oh, I didn't have to send an email, and I helped somebody."

So I think that there was this gradual progression from customer support to customer education. And where I'm at now, I make these educational videos, we'll send them through HubSpot or whatever we use, and it'll be from me so that I actually get the responses in my inbox. So when I publish a video, I'll get like 10 responses in the morning like, "Oh this was awesome. Thank you so much." And instead of me emailing them, it's just words on a page. I know that they've interacted with me and their messages back to me are way more expressive, way more thankful. And I think I was making a difference before, but I just feel it a little more now. I love education. When done right there's so much benefit for the end user.

Maia Wells:
So it sounds like you figured out pretty early on that you enjoyed that positive feedback from helping people. Would you say that's a fair assessment of your favorite part of what you do?

Tony DiBernardo:
Absolutely. That goes back before Kajabi. I grew yup in a church. I did youth programs and volunteered a lot. And I enjoyed helping people. And I was a server, and that's all you're doing is serving people. And I think I was initially bummed that I had to go sit at a desk. So when I found out that there was an opportunity to help people while making my chiropractor bill a little higher, then I was pumped for that.

Maia Wells:
So one thing that you said was when it's done well. So you were talking about customer education programs and just the huge impact that they can make for people, whatever technology they're using when they can self-serve and learn on their own and succeed with some of those technologies. So when you say when done well, can you break that down a little bit for us and talk about what does it mean to do customer education well?

Tony DiBernardo:
Really, really good question. And I think that at Kajabi, when we were there, Kajabi is a great company and they are investing a lot in customer education. But one thing that we hadn't quite cracked the code on yet is leading with customer education. When I was there, we took a very reactive approach, which was the marketing team is the proactive team. They are going to reach out and get leads and showcase this brand. And the support team, which I was functioning on at Kajabi, was very much like let's create this foundations course, let's create these help videos, let's have all this available.

Now, when I left Kajabi, which we'll probably get to, they started making it proactive. So they recorded a Facebook ads training. They recorded an email newsletter training that they were going to actually promote. And that's when it gets good. So now I'm at a company called Privy, and now I'm serving on a more marketing team. So what it means to do it well is I create content. We publish at least three videos a week. We keep them very high quality. We can keep them very direct. We keep them pretty short, but we are marketing that. So we are leading with knowledge. We are leading with education. And instead of people being direct marketed to, which everyone's over that.

We all know all of us consumers are actually running businesses and doing direct marketing ourselves. So it doesn't work on us anymore.

We are just shouting from the rooftops that, "Hey, we're not asking for your money first. We are teaching you first." And that builds a lot of trust in consumers or even small business owners when they're looking for a platform for their needs.

So we all know that people want our money. We all know that our goal is to raise our MRR, but when you actually care and when your company's budget shows that you care about education being first, the customers really see that and we hear that a lot.

Maia Wells:
So tell me more about the results of that. So I don't know if you have any metrics in your back pocket that you can talk about. I would love to know a little bit more about that, of how it's affecting the customers and how it's affecting the bottom line at Privy for you guys.

Tony DiBernardo:
Absolutely. So I do not have hard numbers because I have been there now for a month. Is it November? I think I've been there for like two and a half months. So just starting off with all these new initiatives. But as soon as I have data, I'll give it to you because we are collecting, we are measuring, we are doing all of that. But basically here's what we did. They asked me as I was brought on, what do you think is needed for an effective style of communication? What's the budget? I gave them the budget. They said, "Yep, that's within our means. So let's get this equipment. Let's look at a content calendar. Let's look at what we need to create, when we want to create it. And basically we'll give you everything you need within this budget." And I said, "Okay, that works great."

We created these videos. We are answering questions simultaneously. So for instance, something that we really like to do ... And this is something that's normal in content creation. So you'll find anywhere from movie producers to TikTok stars or whatever, they have a content calendar. They plan out their videos, they make them ahead of time, they edit them and they set them to release. And what we'll do is we'll make a bunch of them. So I'll come in here with ... I've got two Privy sweaters over there, two Privy shirts, I've got two normal collared shirts, and I've got a normal casual shirt. I have eight outfits in here because I'll film eight different videos and publish them Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

And I wrote all the scripts last week, we film them all this week, and then they'll publish for the next two weeks. So it's very methodical, but what that allows us to do is push out everything we want to say. And it gives us time to respond to people's questions. So when you ask like, what's coming from this, is because I'm not just in the annex, in the back room creating videos furiously every day, because the company decided to invest in customer education, I have a team that is there to help me. I can organize and publish early. And that gives us time for the marketing team to function as its own support role in all of our efforts.

So on a Tuesday and Thursday, or on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday when videos are being pushed out, we get questions like, "Hey, this was a really good point. Thank you for sharing this, but I don't understand this small aspect of your video." And it's like, "Well, great. We've got a full studio ready to go. I can answer that question. I can script it in five minutes. We can record it in 15. I can edit it in 30. And here's your response for the next, the following day." So I think that when you ask what is the impact, I don't have numbers, but it allows us to be so nimble and reactive to anything that comes our way.

Maia Wells:
Maybe we should back up also and tell a little bit about what Privy is and what it does. And I think that'll provide us a little context for the types of content that you plan. I'd love to know a little bit more about how you actually sit down and plan that content calendar.

Tony DiBernardo:
Sure. So real quick, Privy is a e-commerce marketing solution for small businesses. So I'll use Shopify as an example. You can use it through Wix and some other sites as well, but let's say you're a Shopify business owner and you want the ability to grow your list and save abandoned carts and send newsletters to your customers. It allows you to create popups on your website. So all these, "Wait, don't go. Save 10% off if you give us your email," or, "Hey, welcome. Here's a 15% off coupon just for joining our list." We've got these popups that help you to grow your list. We also give Shopify store owners the ability to email all of their customers and now text all of their customers.

So it's like this marketing solution for Shopify store owners and other sites as well. And so what we do is we curate content all about how to ... Some of it is how to use Privy to do this, but a lot of it is just general small business knowledge. So we are looking at Ahrefs and Semrush and all these tools to see what questions are being asked in the industry right now. I didn't have to do that this last month because it's Black Friday season, which is hell week for small business owners. So basically what we did is me being new to this company, I'll be just transparent and say, I looked at all of the content they made for last year's Black Friday, Cyber Monday, a lot of them were webinars and interviews and things that were an hour plus.

So what I did was I watched them all, I took notes, I scripted five to 10 minute scripts for each of these hour long interviews. And there we go. We have repurposed content all of a sudden. People heard about it last year. It was relevant last year, and it's still going to be relevant this year. We repurposed that into a bite size, no fluff, just all quality content. So that was one of the things we did. Another thing we did was, like I said before, using these online services, like Semrush and things like that. And I think AnswerThePublic is another one, where you can go on and you can type in a keyword and it'll tell you all the questions that are being searched on Google using that keyword.

And so I'll do that. I'll type in the keyword to YouTube to see what's being asked. So if I type it into Google or YouTube, it'll suggest a bunch of different options for me to look up. And that means that those are the questions that are being asked right now. So that's another thing I like to do. So for instance, I would go to Google and I would type in Black Friday, how, and it would fill in the rest of that question with, how do I grow my list? How do I grow my sales? How do I kill it this Black Friday? It's like, great. Those are our three titles this week. So there are a lot of different avenues that you can pull from. But that being said, last year, something that the team did that was really great was they compiled ... And I wasn't there, but they compiled all the questions that their customers asked support during Black Friday.

They put them into a bit of a matrix or whatever, and they found the most common ones. And this year, that's where we started. A big one was how do I grow my list? Of course, that's a huge, huge question. How do I save more abandoned carts was a huge one. So we made a couple of videos on that one. And so that's where we get our ideas. And then when it comes to planning the ideas and the content calendar and things like that, it's actually really important to start backwards. So we do everything in terms of events. So when it comes to marketing, we're going to be marketing for Black Friday right now. Then we're going to be marketing for Christmas. Then we're going to be marketing for maybe New Year's, but Valentine's Day, then we're going to be marketing towards St. Patrick's Day.

So all these themes that these stores can get on, what we want to do is we want to start at the holiday and work backwards. So it's like, what content is best for the week of that holiday? What's best for them to have two weeks before the holiday? And that's how we'll plan what they need. And that's a rough idea of how we get planning. Now, I've only been here two months, so it's been just a fire hose of information in a new industry, but that's the approach we're taking.

Maia Wells:
And are these people that are watching it mostly customers, mostly not customers? What's the mix of the audience that are accessing these videos?

Tony DiBernardo:
We didn't even prepare these questions and you're hitting the points. Let's see.

Maia Wells:
I'm a professional, buddy. Come on now.

Tony DiBernardo:
I know you are, but it's like you were in our meeting yesterday because that's a huge part of my point earlier, where it was like being reactive or proactive. The audience is different. So you have to throw this content in many different places for many different audience members. So for instance, we have something called Privy Masterclass, which is privy.com/masterclass, where basically it's just this curation of videos that is educational content. It's just where all of our educational content lives. And nobody knows about that, unless they're our customers. We don't throw ads and funnel people to their ... We tell our customers, go to Privy Masterclass. That's where you're going to learn everything.

And so that content is for customers. Now, that content, some of it also can be for new customers, but we're not going to reach new customers there. So we're heavily utilizing things like LinkedIn and especially YouTube and Instagram, maybe even ... Well, I'll talk about that later. But for YouTube, that's very top of funnel. So that means that we either need to use some of it or change it to change the language so that people that are not our customers understand what we're saying. And it's not like big words and vocabulary. It's more like, if I'm making a video for Privy customers, I'm just going to come out and start using Privy terms.

But if I'm making videos for people that are not customers, so this is what I'll do. I'll come in, I'll have a script, I'll record an intro for our customers, and then I'll record an intro for YouTube. So I'll say, "Hey, welcome back to Privy Masterclass. This is Tony. Today, we're going to dive into the countdown timer that was released. You're going to see it in your inbox," blah, blah, blah, blah. That's for our customers. Then I'll say, "Welcome to the Privy Masterclass YouTube channel. If you haven't done this before, welcome," blah, blah, blah. "We are a company that does this and we just released this awesome tool. Here's why it's so impactful." Those are not that different, but it's vital, because you can't just spray one message and hope it hits everyone. It's just like marketing it normal.

So I'll record both of those, I'll record the episode and then I'll record it ending. And then I'll just edit two different versions to put in two different places, because the content needs to go to different people, but it can't always be delivered the same way.

Maia Wells:
One of the thoughts that's coming up for me is about those non-customers, and where they're at and where they're coming to you and how that affects your content planning. What I have in mind is are these people who have been maybe using other tools for email and SMS marketing? Are they people that have never considered that before, or maybe they have a spreadsheet and they're using Gmail, or what kind of combination? Are these really newbies that are just thinking about getting into e-commerce for the very first time? Are they people that are maybe using other tools that you're trying to take business away from? And how do you know that, and how does that affect the content that you make for the elites, for the non-customers?

Tony DiBernardo:
This is a really good question too. So this knowledge for people that are considering having an educational content hub on YouTube or something, this content comes with running that channel for a while. So that's the data points that we are collecting right now. But as far as we can tell, it's a mix of everything. So this comes back to how we title and use verbiage and messaging in these. So we have an idea of what type of customer will find this video based on how we title it.

For instance, if we want to talk about how to grow your list, we will probably target it towards people who are on a competitor by using the title. So here's why Privy can help you grow your list faster than X, or we'll say, "Grow your list fast as a new business owner." It's going to be the same video, but we can leverage them differently. So currently we don't quite have explicit data on what we have most. We know that we get a lot of engagement on each types of those, but it's not super clear yet. But YouTube analytics has a lot of great tools to decipher that, which is nice.

Maia Wells:
So let's talk about gated versus ungated, because as we're talking about YouTube ... This is a conversation that's come up a lot recently for me, at least just around creating all this beautiful content. It seems to me that you are very focused on ungated, primarily. Do you do any gated content? Do you get leads from gated content? Talk a little bit about that dynamic and why it's so important to have ungated content on YouTube.

Tony DiBernardo:
So I'll start with the ungated piece. Gated, it's very, very important, but we need to start with the ungated. So for people that don't know ... You probably do if you're on this podcast. Ungated means there's no barrier to entry. So you can access it without having a password, without buying anything. And YouTube is a perfect example of that. The reason why ungated is so important is because you have to throw all of your fishing hooks out there for people to bite. You have to be visible, you have to get exposure, and people have to know you're there. And so if you're throwing up really low quality walkthroughs on your site, it is absolutely better than nothing.

I guarantee you, the person that wants help with their site is going to get it from a slightly blurry 720P video of you clicking through the app. Make those videos. Those are so vital. If you look back in Privy's backlog years ago, that's all it is. So this quality, it doesn't really matter in the beginning, but if you start using this top of funnel, this YouTube, for instance, as a true top of funnel instead of a support system, that's when it's like, we want to raise the quality because we want to know both that we're helping people. And we want people to know that we are investing in education.

It sounds silly, but shoot something with a webcam, that means that you're really passionate about educating people. Shoot something in a video studio with a 4k camera, that's like, "Oh, what else do they have?" If this is what they're giving out for free, then they must be really packing something behind the scenes. It's not the only reason, but that's a huge reason. It's a perceived value that we want to back up with actual valuable content. Now, this is the thing that I'm angry at when it comes to the industry of people offering high quality free content is they'll do that to rope people in and then they have this gated content where it's like, sign up for our a masterclass or sign up for our community and we'll give you just the most. Pay $150 a month and we'll get you in and you'll get stuff from experts, this, that, and the other. And it's just more of the same content.

And so I think gated content is really great only if you can make it better than what you're giving for free. So for us, gated content in the future, stuff that we're working on will be ... And I can't say much, but what I will say is that the content will be so valuable. People will want to pay more for it, because we invested so much in this experience. I get to make videos for a living. I get to teach people how to do things. I get to write episodes. I get to record them. I'm on camera. I'm behind camera. I get to edit them and I get to publish them. That's my job. That's a dream for a lot of people. Hats great. And so clearly, a company is investing in this.

What the big thing is with gated content is if you're not backing it up with just insane value, then I'm not interested. So it really is a double edged sword. If you give away high quality ungated content, you have to back it up with even higher quality gated content.

Maia Wells:
So it sounds like you have really found a sweet spot with what you're doing right now. You're great on camera. You do a great job with it, I have to say. How different is that from the executive level role that you actually just had at Kajabi? Looking at your LinkedIn, you can see this interesting career progression. It does sound like you've found a sweet spot. So obviously it ended up in a really good place for you. Can you walk us through that journey a bit and that decision making process on going from that executive level to what you're doing now?

Tony DiBernardo:
Absolutely. And this is something that I really wish. Gosh, it was a great experience, but I wish more people knew this starting in the industry. When you're young and you're starting, you see all these peers around you. Maybe you hear an inkling of what they make, how much money they make. And you're like, "Well, they don't do a lot of work. They're managing people. But how much work do they actually do? I could do that. And I need to pay bills and do this, that and the other." Now that wasn't the reason why. I'm an Enneagram Type 3. I'm like alpha and I need to achieve all the time.

So that's like that wasn't the reason. However, when I started there at Kajabi, I was customer support agent. Then we came to this heading where we were all support, but Jonathan Cronstedt, or JCron came into the company and said, "Okay, I think it'd be a great idea if we started offering more as a support team." So instead of just support, let's have a sales division, let's have a support division and then let's do services. So let's offer services. So I want you guys to tell me what you're most passionate about." Half of the guys went to sales. Half of the guys went to services. And I was the only one who wanted to do support. And they were like, "So here we are. You're the only one here." I was like, "Yeah."

And so they asked me, "Do you feel comfortable building a team, or do you want us to bring in someone to build on top of your team?" And for me, I loved Kajabi for one and I loved what I did. So I thought that management was the next logical step in just growing. I was going to make a little more money. This is a funny conversation, but when they asked me how much I thought that I should be making, I think I gave myself a $2,000 raise from an entry level support manager. And they laughed. They were like, "I'm going to give you another shot at that." And I was like, "Okay." We make all these funny mistakes.

But anyway, Kenny and JCron held my hand through becoming a manager. And that was great. I started, we hired six people. Really, really great CSMs. And we started offering customer success to people. And then one thing led to another. JCron and Kenny really liked what we were seeing with all the customers we were serving. And they said, "Let's ramp it up. Let's get the team to 30." I was like, "Okay, you guys know that I've never done this before, right?" And they were like, "You know what, so far you're doing a great job. Just keep it up and reach out to us for help." And so there was basically this year where we grew the department from six people to 55 people or something like that.

Tony DiBernardo:
Now, being a manager, people are laughing that are hearing this, that are successful managers. It's more than just hiring people and teaching them what to do and letting them loose. I think that for me, I didn't have enough experience to be able to manage Kajabi support team on the brink of their parabolic shift. Kajabi it was at this breaking point where it was like they didn't take any funding yet. They were bootstrapped, and they were doing really well, and they were about to just go off like a fricking nuclear bomb. And so they needed someone in that role who had 10 to 15 years, the actual experience managing a team and there I was. And so they figured it out at the same time I did where they said, "Okay, we have needs. And are you feeling up for this?"

And I kept saying, "Yes, I'm up for it. Yes, I'm up for it. Yes, I'm up for it." And I kept falling short. I couldn't figure out what was going on. And I would come home and I was really stressed. And I had a couple kids in that time and I was even more stressed. And so managing all these people when I wasn't naturally inclined to do it, A. And B, I wasn't trained to do it. Of course, Kenny and JCron were able to train me in everything that they had to offer for that role, but I didn't have someone with me who had been managing for 10 to 15 years who was able to train me every single day.

Figuring it out on your own at a small company, I think is perfectly fine, but figuring it out on your own at a company that went parabolic like Kajabi did was a different story.

 

So basically I decided to leave the company because I wasn't sure if it was the company or the role, but I was no longer feeling passionate about the work that I was doing. And so I left, I went to a software company in the construction space, which I was actually really excited about. It was a small startup, seven people. I thought that, "Hey, I've built from Kajabi, I can build from this." And once again, the same thing happened, the company started making a lot of money. They started getting a lot of clients and I realized it wasn't Kajabi that was the problem. It was the work. It was, I was having a really hard time being passionate about growing an infrastructure or growing a department.

I cared about the customers, but I didn't care about the work. It's this really weird thing. I loved Buildr, the company I was at. I loved Kajabi and I loved the customers, but waking up every day, I was like, "What am I going to do today?" Just ask people how they're doing, making sure people have their tools. I didn't know what it took to be a good manager and I didn't really want to learn.

Maia Wells:
Real quick because I don't want you to gloss over this too much. Everybody, Tony was not just a manager at Kajabi. He worked all the way up to being a VP of customer experience. And that is partly because Tony's just awesome. And it's partly, I think because the leadership at Kajabi is really open towards people growing and things like that. But I just don't want to gloss over that because I feel like if we say, "Hey, I was just managing a few people," it's a lot different than being a VP. And then it seems like you went from that role and came back down to earth a bit and were more of a manager again before you really made that leap, right, Tony?

Tony DiBernardo:
That's right. So it was a VP role. I think the thing that I struggle with is because I did not fill in the role ultimately, I find a hard time saying that I was VP of customer experience at Kajabi. Because we had a great colleague come in, Jared Loman. And that dude is a VP of customer experience. That dude, he's the lifeline that I wish I had when I started, because what an expert. And so he came in and I taught him the org and he took it and he just made such an amazing department out of it. So I appreciate you saying that, but that's also to say someone who wasn't experienced got into a VP role and that's why it was pretty clear that, okay, this isn't really not something I'm ready for.

So when I went down, I was the only customer support/success agent in this startup, and I was building the organization at the same time. And once again, it was like me and the company at the same time were learning that I wasn't really a great fit for the role. And I don't want to keep this all on professional talk here. I know this happens to a lot of people. I know this happened with you, Maia. I was starting a young family at the time and going through two professional career moves and realizing that the last six years of my life, which in the grand scheme of things is not long, but I was engaged when I started this job. And now I have two kids and I'm finding out I'm not a good fit for the role. It's terrifying. It's really not fun.

Maia Wells:
It's a little bit scary.

Tony DiBernardo:
So that's why it was really not ... It was like a come to Jesus moment or however you want to call it. Whatever you call. I really had to think about, what's my next move? Because I was able to leave that company. I had maybe a month to figure things out. And it wasn't really hard for me when I thought about it, because I sat down with my wife, we got a sitter for the kids. We went out to dinner and we just hung out for three hours and I talked to her about it and was like, "Here's everything on the table." And she's like, "Well, it seems to me ..." She's not in the industry, but she's like, "It seems to me that you love teaching people. You have a podcast where you teach people about science. You have a YouTube channel where you teach people. You love teaching the kids, like my daughters too."

Tony DiBernardo:
And I'm trying to teach her math and apparently that's not good for her, but I don't care. And so I love teaching. And she goes, "And you're really good at making videos. You make really fun videos for your fantasy football league, and you made great videos for Kajabi. Maybe you should look into education." And I was like, "I just don't think this whole thing. I can't make money as a teacher." It's not all about money, but I'm currently a single earner. My wife doesn't work and we love it that way. And props to you, Maia, because you're the superhero here when it comes to that.

I'm sure your listeners know, but we had the blessing of my wife not having to work and here we are. And I didn't think I had the luxury to go into education. And so we were thinking about it and I was like, "You know what, I love my old company, Kajabi. Why don't I see if they have anything?" I look and boom, they had a video producer for educational content and it was within our means. And I said, "You know what, I think I need to go back. I think that Kajabi was the right company, but I think the work was not." So I went back to Kajabi, and I loved it. I learned so much about filmmaking and how to use all this equipment and really stepped up with video quality game a lot.

And then we were working and I loved the team, and I had a limited role. I was a video producer so I wasn't on camera, which is not a big deal. I don't need to be on camera, but I like it. I'm good at it. I can write scripts and I can edit. And so at Kajabi, I was really only behind the camera, which once again, I liked it but within the year, I probably would've asked them to be involved in more. Then I worked there for only two months, and I am not one to leave a company after that long. Not at all. But as you know, Maia, my son was born with a bunch of medical issues. And so he needed a lot of attention and our medical bills last year were like $25,000 out of pocket.

So it got to be a lot. And we did the math and I was really, really a bummer because it turned out that what I was making at Kajabi, even though they paid really well for the role, we needed something crazy. So I won't divulge too much, but basically my friend who I made at Kajabi, he said, "Hey, I know this guy. He's hiring. He's a really great guy. And I think these roles might be a really good fit for you." I looked into the roles and it was everything I was doing at Kajabi plus everything I wanted to do, podcasting, YouTube, on camera, scripting, editing, ownership. And it paid basically the exact number we needed to pay those bills.

And so after a hard conversation with my wife and a hard conversation with my bosses at Kajabi, because I do not advocate for committing yourself to a company and then leaving two months after, we made the decision that was best for our family and I'm so glad I did. I do what I love. I love going to work. If I didn't have a family, somebody would have to pull me away from my work because I love it.

And so I think that from that, I learned that while I was glad I went through that management era of learning that that wasn't the best fit for me, it's never a bad time to really think about what you want to do, why you're doing it, and if what you're currently doing is serving that in any way. 

 

People say it all the time, like do what you want. It's not that simple. And I think that I just got really, really fortunate that I get to do what I love and I get to provide for the family. So I feel very fortunate to say the least.

Maia Wells:
And it sounds like you went through a process of discovery in your work that led you there, that in other words led you to discover what it is that you really love to do. And I think unfortunately, a lot of people don't get that opportunity. Or maybe they do, but it's outside of work. Like, "Oh, I'm writing a novel in my spare time and that's what I really wish I could do for work or something like that," right?

Tony DiBernardo:
Oh, I have to interrupt you. That is so, so key. Check this out. Oh my gosh, this is so important. So yes, if you have a family, your family is your priority. Of course. However, there's this whole thing about parenting, about what is it called? It's called we're revenge procrastination or something like that, where your kids take up all your time during the day. And so you stay up super late at night to make sure that you do what you want to do. I was a culprit of that. And what I was doing was doing things I loved doing, and that was making YouTube videos.

So I'm getting my master's in astronomy, because I love science. I've been in school for a long time and I don't plan on leaving. And I teach people about space and astronomy on YouTube. And so through all of this, through all of my management, through all of my different roles, I kept pushing out content and I kept teaching people about space. I kept interacting with people on social media. And when I applied for this role and I reached out to Privy, they said, "Okay, well, show us some of your work." And I was like, "Shoot. I need to send him something. Is it appropriate to send him Kajabi stuff?"

So I sent him my most recent space video, which I put a lot of work into. It was really high quality. And he goes, "Can you replicate that daily?" I was like, "Yeah." He goes, "Okay. Let's jump in an interview tomorrow." Boom, got the job like a week later. The fact that I kept doing what I was passionate about on the side of all the things I wasn't passionate about is the reason why Privy was so passionate about hiring me. So if you've got that thing on the side that you want to be doing, you keep doing it until you're good enough at it to charge people for it. And that's what I did unintentionally. So absolutely. If you're writing that book, keep writing that darn book.

Maia Wells:
It's so inspiring. And so for those of you out there listening who are thinking, "Man, maybe I do need to spend a little bit more time on that thing," this is your permission to do so. This is your inspiration and your directive to go and do that. Because look at Tony, he's finally found the spot for himself where he is providing for his family and also doing something that he loves every single day. And before we go, I want to actually tell everyone about your YouTube and your podcast. It's called Space, But Messier! Correct? And are you still making videos and content for that? Because I'm going to do my internet sleuthing before we talk. So of course, I watched a bunch of videos about Space yes today. And if you want to see Tony with longer hair, go on there and check out some of those videos.

Tony DiBernardo:
I'm still making those videos. Now I'm teaching everyone what I learn in my master's program as I learn it. And that's how I learn the program better is I teach people all of what I learned.

Maia Wells:
Very fun. Well, thank you, Tony DiBernardo so much for coming on to The Marketing Hero podcast today. If people would like to learn more about what Privy has going on, where can they access some of this stuff? Do you just go on YouTube and search Privy, or where can people find what you're making?

Tony DiBernardo:
That's a great question. Privy.com/masterclass is our hub for all of our educational content. So if you want to see what we're doing to see if it's something that maybe you want to do or get to, that's where all of our stuff lives. Otherwise, we have a YouTube channel as well where we're pushing out more top of funnel content. So thank you for asking. And Maia, thanks so much for having me. This was honestly a blast. So thanks. I was going to have coffee, I was going to bring the wine, but it's virtual.

Maia Wells:
Well, cheers anyway. Thanks for coming on the show.

Tony DiBernardo:
Thanks for having me, Maia.

 

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