Behind the Scenes of Profitable Idealism

We’ve worked hard to make Profitable Idealism (the course) be an example of profitable idealism (the principle).

One of the things we teach in the course is transparency.

So we’re practicing what we preach and being transparent about our behind-the-scenes course creation process.

If you have questions that aren’t answered here, feel free to ask.

Why just Pace? What about Kyeli?

Kyeli and I agreed that it would be good for me to have a project to work on without her while she was recovering from her surgery. Profitable Idealism was a good choice because I’m more excited about teaching business-related things than Kyeli is, so she was happy to sit out on this one — no pun intended. (:

At least, that was the original plan. Kyeli’s surgery was in July, and Johnny and I barely got into the planning phase before Kyeli was back in action. It all worked out okay, though.

Why Johnny?

Johnny is the perfect profitable peanut butter complement to my idealism jelly.

He sometimes comes across as a badass, but on the inside he’s a total softie. He’s got a good heart, and I believe in him.

How did you come up with the idea for Profitable Idealism?

That’ll take a whole blog post to answer. (:

And after we came up with the idea, we did a survey and asked you whether you’d be interested in Profitable Idealism, and many of you said yes. So we created it for you.

How did you come up with the name “Profitable Idealism”?

Originally it was called World-Changing Business, but we renamed it because that name only covered the idealist half of the point of the course. Half of the point of the course is to teach world-changers how a profitable business can help them become more effective world-changers (without selling their souls), but the other half is to teach profit-motivated entrepreneurs how focusing on idealism and generosity can actually make their business more profitable. “World-Changing Business” covers the idealist half, but not the business half. Hence, Profitable Idealism. Plus, the domain name was available. (;

Is this a trend toward the Connection Revolution being more focused on helping entrepreneurs?

Nope. Like we said:

We’ve always been adamant that we wouldn’t sell anything related to business until we’d been decently successful in business. It just seems too circular, like those make money online scams that claim to teach you how to make a million dollars, and the answer is “trick a bunch of people into thinking that you can teach them how to make a million dollars.” Blech.

Since the World-Changing Writing Workshop, we have become decently successful in business, so we’ve got two small-business-related projects in the works: one about collaboration, called Business Buddies, and a big one called Profitable Idealism. But don’t worry, we’re not going to become yet another site focused on entrepreneurship. Our focus has been and will continue to be on changing the world through connection.

Entrepreneurship is one way to do that, but it’s not the only way, and it won’t become our only way.

There are plenty of other ways to change the world: writing, communication, motivating others, and connecting with yourself, just to name a few.

How did you choose who to pick for your 6 case studies?

Three factors: (1) people requests, (2) topic requests, (3) diversity.

(1) People requests. In the survey we sent out, we asked, “Who comes to mind when you think of someone who makes money and makes the world a better place?” Johnny and I also asked our Twitter followers. We collated the responses, and considered all the people who were mentioned more than once. Some of them didn’t respond to our attempts to contact them (Tony Hsieh of Zappos, Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes, Tom’s of Maine), or very sweetly declined (Seth Godin). Ray Anderson, one of my personal heroes, agreed to be part of the course, but we weren’t able to schedule his interview around his chemotherapy treatments. Please take a moment to send Ray some healing mojo, if you would.

(2) Topic requests. Another question from the survey was “What would you most want to learn from Profitable Idealism?”, and we also kept that in mind when choosing who to interview for the course. Between me and Johnny, we had most of the topics covered, but for the ones we didn’t, we made sure to pick an expert and ask them the questions we didn’t know the answers to. I think between me, Johnny, and our case studies, we ended up covering every single thing that was in the scope of our vision for Profitable Idealism, so I’m really happy about that.

(3) Diversity. In just about every e-course or information product you bump into online, you see the same dozen people interviewed for it. We wanted Profitable Idealism to be more diverse, so we made sure to journey outside the usual circles. We picked two people from inside the usual circles, Chris Guillebeau and Danielle LaPorte, because they were oft-requested and are great examples of profitable idealism. We chose two from the outskirts of the usual circles, Marie Forleo and Mark Silver. (Awesome tidbit: Mark Silver tied with Bill Gates for most-requested speaker. And Mark actually returns our calls.) And we chose two from completely outside the usual circles, Jared Angaza of KEZA and Niqkita Natosi of Sock Dreams. (Here is more info about each of these spiffy people.)

Why did you change your tagline?

Our original tagline for Profitable Idealism was “Make a profit. Make a difference.” We didn’t realize at the time that this was eerily similar to Mark Silver’s tagline for Heart of Business, “When you want to make a difference, but need to make a profit.” Oops!

We quickly changed our tagline to Kyeli’s suggestion “Make more money. Change the world.” and apologized to Mark for our mistake.

What’s it like to work with Johnny?

I like to plan far ahead and work steadily. (Case in point: I wrote most of this post over a week ago.) Johnny likes to do the lion’s share of the work closer to launch, because that’s when he’s most focused, motivated, and excited.

I like to plan from the bottom up (start from specifics, then group them into themes and categories) and Johnny likes to plan from the top down (first come up with the themes and categories, then fit the specifics into them).

I like to check in often, talk on the phone a lot, and share the intermediate steps of what we’re working on. Johnny likes to forge ahead and get a bunch of stuff done in one uninterrupted chunk.

I feel like I now have a much better appreciation for how Kyeli feels about working with me. (:

Reconciling our different working styles was challenging for both of us, but I think we did a great job.

We decided at the beginning to put our friendship first — to prioritize making sure that both of us felt good about the project, and that we each felt like we were each doing our fair share of the work. We promised to bring it up if that changed. It did, a couple of times — and we totally talked it out.

My favorite parts about working with Johnny were the phone conversations where we planned out the idea of the course, decided on who to pick for case studies, and discussed the curriculum. I guess the only thing I would have enjoyed more about working with Johnny would have been to actually interact with Johnny more. (:

Who worked on what parts of the course?

Johnny and I did all the planning together.

We each did 3 of the 6 interviews. Kyeli and I audio edited all 6. (Well, audio edited 5 and video edited 1.)

Johnny and I each did our share of spreading the word during pre-registration; we each wrote our share of guest posts, were interviewed by various people, and that sort of thing.

We’ll do the live calls together.

Johnny handled the backend stuff like web hosting, web design, the affiliate system, the payment processor, and the mailing list.

Johnny wrote most of the pages on the website, and I edited them a bit.

I wrote and designed the Profitable Idealism Manifesto.

Johnny created the logo to the left, and I created a ten-second intro jingle for our recordings. I’m quite fond of it. Yes, that’s Kyeli’s voice you hear, if you can even tell after I technoed the heck out of it. (:

Why bother with audio editing?

Kyeli and I spent a lot of time audio editing the Profitable Idealism case studies, and in my opinion, it was totally worth it.

Here, judge for yourself — listen to this short before-and-after example.

In the first clip, I edited out a lot of stuttering and a few um’s and uh’s. In the second clip, I edited out a lot of background noise such as breathing and throat clearing.

I think the edited version sounds a lot more clear, polished, and professional. I hope you do too!

How did the Twitter Party go?

It was a lot of fun!

If you’re on Twitter, you may have noticed (or been part of) the Profitable Idealism Twitter Party. Twitter Parties are a neat service that our friend Karl Staib offers. It’s a combination of a Twitter chat and a telecall with a party-like attitude and some “door prizes” to give away. The idea sounded like fun, so we thought we’d try it out and see how it went. We enjoyed the heck out of it — what did you think?

Did you pay your speakers?

We chose people for our case studies because we believe that they are making the world a better place with their business. So what better way to compensate our speakers than to purchase products from their business instead of simply giving them money?

We bought $500 worth of products from each of our 6 speakers, and we’re passing them on to the people who sign up for the course.

We were originally going to distribute the bonuses first come first served, but then Kyeli pointed out that that method would make some people (like her) freak out because it would feel like a ticking clock. “If I want to get the coolest prize, I’ve got to click the buy button right this second!”

We don’t want anyone to feel like that, and we don’t want anyone to sign up for this course because they’re hyped-up and overexcited. We only want you to sign up for this course if it feels right to you and if you believe it will help you.

So we changed it. We’ll distribute the bonuses by asking everyone who signs up to list their 1st / 2nd / 3rd / etc. choices, then after pre-registration ends, we’ll take the names of everyone who registered and put them into a hat. We’ll pull a name out of the hat, give them their first choice that’s still available, then pull the next name out of the hat, and repeat until all 114 bonuses are awarded.

I think this method will be way more fair, way less stressful, and I think it’ll also be better for business, because the 115th person will have just as much chance at a bonus as the 1st person. Thanks for the suggestion, Kyeli. (:

How did you decide on the price for the course?

At first, we were planning on making the course cost $997 at regular price and $497 during pre-registration. When we got closer to opening day, we talked about it and that price didn’t feel right anymore. It might have been fine for profit-oriented people, but it felt out of the comfort zone of most idealists. We narrowed it down to two choices:

  1. $597 regular price, $397 during pre-registration
  2. $497 regular price, $297 during pre-registration

We decided on option 2, because we believe that the lower price will allow us to help more people and make us at least as much money. We’re hoping that at least 33% more people will sign up at the lower price than would have signed up at the higher price.

Why pre-register instead of just waiting until later?

Three reasons:

  1. You get the $200 discount
  2. You (probably) get one of the 114 bonuses, many of which are pretty sweet, and
  3. You get to give us your input on what you’d like us to cover in the course. By the late registration deadline, the curriculum will be pretty much fixed, but if you get in by the early bird deadline, we’ll have time to adjust things to accommodate your specific situation and needs.

Early bird registration closes TOMORROW, so if you’ve been waiting to make a decision, now’s the time. You can sign up here.

Any more questions?

Please leave a comment and ask! I’ll be happy to share.

Feel clear and confident about your direction in life!


Do you wish you could follow your heart, but it seems impossible? I can help you find the clarity and courage you need.

In other words, I can help you find your path.