How Attracted 1,000 Customers in Its First 2 Years


You probably wouldn’t know just to look at him but Paul – at least according to his friends – is an intimidating card shark.

What’s also not obvious at first glance is how this savvy entrepreneur created and funded his company, attracting an impressive 1,000 customers in the first two years. Paul shares with us the details on cirlceci‘s beginning and  rapid growth, including key pricing, marketing, and investor strategies.

He shares what they did that endeared them to their customers (and what he thinks all software companies need do in order to maintain customers).

If you’re interested in software startups, I suggest you take a listen to this podcast. (And check out all our software posts and interviews.)

Listen now and you’ll hear Paul and I talk about:

  • (02:55) Introductions
  • (03:55) What did you do before this?
  • (06:00) How did you get started?
  • (09:50) How did you create a competitive advantage?
  • (12:10) How did you achieve product/market fit?
  • (16:20) How does pricing play a role in product validation?
  • (19:50) Tell us about how your assumptions have gone wrong
  • (25:50) How did you start to generate sales?
  • (27:00) How did Twitter play a role in marketing?
  • (27:20) How did you fund it in the beginning?
  • (28:50) How did you endear your early customers?
  • (29:50) How did you go out and raise money from investors?
  • (32:20) What did you learn from pitching investors?
  • (33:45) What is the most fun part of your job?

Resources Mentioned

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Listen Now

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:


About Paul Biggar

Paul BiggarPaul Biggar is the co-founder of circleci, a state of the art automated testing and continuous integration and deployment tool. An expert in his field, Paul has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and has been featured on multiple HuffPost Live panels. His presentation at Google on compilers and programming languages was published as part of Google’s lauded Google Tech Talk Series, where it has been seen by over 20,000 people.
Prior to designing and developing circleci, Paul wrote phc, an open source PHP compiler, while doing his PhD on compilers and static analysis in Dublin. After moving to the Bay Area, Paul worked on the Firefox Javascript engine. He’s graduated from YCombinator, and now spends his time focused on developer productivity. He is an active speaker at tech conferences worldwide and spends his free time advising slightly younger companies on how to get started.

Additional Resources


Paul Clifford_0

Digital Marketing Strategy: How Paul Clifford and I Launched Our Software Company

Paul Clifford_0

Meet the man who helped me launch my new software, KontentFlow. Paul and I have been working on KontentFlow for a while, and I can happily say it’s now going beta. Paul and I are thrilled.

Unlike myself, Paul has developed multiple successful software applications including many enterprise-level systems. He’s also a savvy business person. So when I had the idea for KontentFlow, I knew he would make an excellent partner.

Listen to this podcast as we peel back the curtain and give insight into the process of software development. We discuss how we got started, how we outsourced our project (effectively or not), when we began marketing (well before the software was completed), and much more. I am excited to see things coming together and I’m sure the experience Paul and I had will provide you with some excellent food for thought.

Listen now and you’ll hear Paul and I talk about:

  • (03:45) Introductions
  • (04:45) What is disruptware?
  • (08:05) How should an entrepreneur get started in software?
  • (11:25) How should you interview a target market to find problems to solve?
  • (16:45) Why do some startups succeed and so many fail?
  • (19:45) After the interviews are complete, what is the next step to take?
  • (24:45) How can you raise some early money?
  • (26:45) How did we find our developers for our app?
  • (28:45) What did we outsource first?
  • (30:00) How should you manage ownership of code during the project?
  • (32:00) How should you manage the relationships with your developer?
  • (34:45) How should you handle QA (testing and bugs)?
  • (39:45) What should you do when you are ready to show customers?
  • (41:45) When should you start the marketing?
  • (49:45) Where can people go to learn more about the software business?
  • (51:45) What is an easier way to get started that involves less risk?
  • (55:45) How does open source play a role in this business?

Resources Mentioned

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business. It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.  

Listen Now


Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:

About Paul Clifford

paulcliffordPaul Clifford is the founder of Disruptware and has 25 years experience as a Chief Technology Officer and a Chief Customer Officer (responsible for customer success) for many large software startups – all of which have been sold successfully.

Paul’s first software tool was a desktop software app (Colleague) in the recruitment industry.  He scaled this and sold it with the founder to a large public company in the UK.  Its since be re-purchased and is still highly successful and a market leader after 20 years.

Paul then built several SaaS applications in contract management, HR and recruitment selling to enterprise customers across 45 countries.  Each business was successfully sold for between $1.6 and $38million.  While doing this Paul was managing large teams of engineers across multiple countries.

Related Posts

SEAN 4in X 6in X 300dpi X FC

Digital Marketing Strategy: Sean Malarkey on How to Employ Smart Online Marketing to Create a Money Pillow

On this episode of the BrightIdeas podcast, we’re joined by Sean Malarkey, creator of a digital publishing and marketing company, and author of the blog and podcast The Money Pillow. Sean relies heavily on his team to help him run his digital publishing company so that he has plenty of time left to do important things such as surf daily from his home in Santa Barbara.

Do you think that his business might suffer without him spending much time running it each day? Not true. The company continues to return year over year growth of around 30%, and is set to gross approximately $2 million this year.

In other words, Sean has a great business that prospers without requiring much of his presence. You could almost say, it works while he sleeps! And yes, that’s what he was going for in this business, and also the concept he talks about with his guests on The Money Pillow podcast.

In this interview, you’ll hear Sean and I talk about:

  • (2:00) How his team helps him out
  • (4:00) An overview of his audience
  • (5:45) The Money Pillow
  • (12:20) His podcast launch
  • (17:00) An explanation of how he’s going to extract the Golden Nuggets from his past episodes
  • (20:30) How to monetize a podcast
  • (25:50) How he’s promoting his podcast
  • (29:00) How to decide if you should have a show
  • (31:00) How he finds his guests
  • (36:17) What his team looks like
  • (44:30) How he’s building his team
  • (49:20) Team-building advice
  • (1:00:00) An overview of the publishing company, and how he launched it
  • (1:08:00) How they are generating traffic and sales

Resources Mentioned

VA task manager2

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Listen Now

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:


Trent: Hey there, bright idea hunters. It’s Trent Dyrsmid here. I am
the host of the Bright Ideas Podcast, and this is the podcast
for really whip-smart entrepreneurs who want to know how to use
online marketing and marketing automation to massively boost
their business.On the show with me today is a guy who is definitely a whip-
smart entrepreneur. His name is Sean Malarkey. He’s the guy
behind the Money Pillow, which is a new podcast. He’s also got a
book for it. The Money Pillow is definitely not Sean’s first
rodeo. He actually runs a very successful online digital
publishing business that works with content experts, and takes
their knowledge, and makes it available to business owners like
yourself who want to get better in a specific area of their
business.Now, I am super stoked to have Sean on the show because he is
doing some really cool things with the Money Pillow podcasts and
the guests that he’s unearthing. In particular, we’re going to
talk about how he launched the podcast and made it so incredibly
successful so very quickly. With that said, please join me in
welcoming Sean to the show. Hey, Sean. Welcome to the show.

Sean: Thanks for having me, man. It’s an honor to be here.

Trent: Absolutely. It’s an honor to have you on here. For the folks
who have not had the privilege of speaking with you off the air
for the last 45 minutes, maybe you would be so kind as to
introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about what you’re

Sean: Sure. My name is Sean Malarkey and GQ just voted me one of the
top 50 most handsome men in the world. No, I’m just kidding. I
have a really boring story, I guess. I don’t where to even
begin, but what I do now is I have a publishing company and a
marketing company. We publish and market digital trainings, so
we find experts that are good with particular things, and we
have them create the content, and then we take that content,
package it up in a pretty UI/UX, and then we push it out to our
audience, and market it, and sell it. We’ve got a handful of
people that we publish. Then we also have a marketing side where
we have our own audience that we market these products to, and
other ones as well.

It’s an all-in marketing or digital publishing business that
I’ve had now, I guess, Trent, for just past four years. I think,
this year, we should cross just over $2 million in sales, and
we’ve been growing at about 30% year over year pretty

Trent: That’s not a bad little business to have that you can run from
anywhere in the world and spend quite a bit of time surfing
every day.

Sean: Yeah. It’s funny. I used to live in Columbus, Ohio, and a year
ago we moved out to California, and prior to moving out here,
the move was going to cost me $50,000 to $60,000, I think, in
total, all things considered. I just thought, “I’m going to
hustle, work hard, earn some extra money.” In about 75 days I
worked really hard in the business and did that, but what
happened was I had to rely on my team in ways that I never had
to do a lot of the things that I was doing on a daily basis.

When I got out here, I was busy unpacking and just getting
settled, and doing this, and doing that, and my team would say,
“Well, why don’t you let me do this for you? Why don’t you let
me do that for you?” I was holding them up on the tasks that I
always do. I would say, “Oh, yeah. You did do that once or twice
in the last month. Go ahead and then, when you’re done, let me
know and I’ll review it.”

What I ended up finding within like a month of being here was
that 95% of the things that I was doing on a day to day basis in
my business, I had basically by default trained somebody on my
team how to do during that phase of hustle. I just started
delegating more and more to them and letting them take ownership
more and more. For a good eight months, I just worked about an
hour a day, and some days I didn’t even work at all. Many days I
didn’t work at all, and then some days I’d work for three or
four hours, and then just crushed it. I realized after being out
here and being surrounded by…

Trent: Opulence.

Sean: Opulence is a great word, yes. That I kind of wanted a little
bit more out of life, and wanted to kind of also create more
freedom. For me, money represents freedom, and I wanted more
freedom. I really enjoyed having the ability to do what I want
when I want, and wanted to kind of indulge myself in the finer
things in life, a little bit finer than what I have now, so I
got back to work back in May. I’ve been working about eight to
ten hours a day since then.

One of the big things that got, Trent, is I’ve got a really good
audience, and I feel like I’ve got several different businesses
that I really want to launch and kind of capitalize on that
audience before that audience ages, if you will, and their
attention goes somewhere else. I know I have this window of time
that I really have to sit down and hustle if I want to take
advantage of the opportunity, or later I’m going to have to work
much harder to achieve the same results.

Trent: There are a lot of things, dear audience, that I want to cover
for you guys in this episode with Sean. Just so that you know
what’s coming, because I know that everybody’s time is at a
premium and you’re listening to this going, “What am I going to
get out of this?” Sean has launched a podcast recently called
The Money Pillow, which has been going very well. He’s getting a
ton of downloads, and he’s doing some really interesting things
to promote it. We’re going to talk about that a bunch.

I also want to talk a bit more about the outsourcing. You
referenced your team a lot, Sean, in what you just said, and I
think a lot of people, self included, would love to be able to
have a team that can do more for them, but the stumbling block,
especially for people who don’t yet have a surplus of cash flow,
is how I pay for that. How do I actually make that happen? I
want to come back to talk about that, so I’m going to put that
on my list.

Then, if we have time, for the end, I’d like to actually come
back to your publishing business because it is such a compelling
model that I think anyone who is a reasonably bright internet
marketer… Sorry. I want to erase that. Online marketer. I hate
the term internet marketer because it suggests that you’re
selling snake oil and getting rich quick, and I don’t believe in
any of that crap.

Sean: It has a stigma attached to it, huh?

Trent: It does, so let’s talk about an online marketer, or maybe we
should coin a new term. Let’s call it New Age Marketer. That’s
not going to stick.

Sean: New Media Marketer.

Trent: I like that. That’s much better. New Media Marketer.

Sean: It’s good, isn’t it?

Trent: It is. It doesn’t have any of that negative connotation.

Sean: You heard it here first, folks.

Trent: Absolutely. On the Bright Ideas Podcast. I’m making notes and
then we’re going to talk about the publishing business. I think
that is more than enough conversation to talk us well past the
deadline that I’m sure we both have for this. With all that
said, that’s what you’re going to get in this episode, so stay
tuned because here we go. Sean, what is The Money Pillow, first
of all? People need to know what that is.

Sean: It’s a concept, I guess. It started for me, in my brain, many
years ago, but essentially, it’s just a concept of creating a
great business that prospers without you having to be present at
the time.

I had this idea when I was 18 years old. I worked at a
skateboard shop, and the owner lived in Hawaii and came twice a
year. He drew a salary of $10,000 a month, had an AmEx card that
my managers were always making payments on, and this guy, for
years, would just kind of come and go a couple times a year.
Sometimes he wouldn’t even show up. I just thought, “Man, this
guy is living the dream. He built it, got a couple of post-
college guys to manage it, and he’s gone.” I was really, at an
early age, kind of fascinated by that.

Then I started a real estate company several years ago. Left
that to kind of pursue the business I’m in now and get a little
bit more freedom. Along the way, I’ve just met so many amazing
entrepreneurs who just have these businesses. With the
technology and the way the world is today, it’s a whole lot
easier to build a business with automation and tools and things
that, 10 years ago, it wasn’t possible. Five years ago it wasn’t

With The Money Pillow, it’s a book that I’m actually going to
write. Starting back in December 2012 I started interviewing a
lot of people that had these kinds of businesses. In fact, the
first interview I did was with Melanie and Devin Duncan. They
own a company called Custom Greek Threads. They live in New York
City. The business is in San Diego. I think they have close to
30 employees. It’s probably 40 by now. They’re growing. They’ve
not been in their office in over a year. Devin, by himself,
manages that company in four to five hours a month in work, and
the company has grown year over year at like 25% to 30%. I think
this year they’ll do $2.5 to $3 million in revenue.

Anyway, I’ve just met all these amazing entrepreneurs and it’s
not people in the new media marketing space, for the most part.
It’s all over the place. People that manufacture products,
people that have services, people that… I interviewed somebody
that has a chain of spas that she lives in Colorado, and her
spas are in Portland. Another guy who had a software company.
You just name it. The business models. Anything you can think of
people have applied The Money Pillow principle to so that
they’re able to kind of live life on their terms, and their
business runs and makes money while they do what they want.

Trent: That’s a nice way to live.

Sean: Yeah, it really is.

Trent: I think, especially for the younger generation who haven’t
grown up with the… I’m going to use the term “brainwashing.”
I’m sure someone will be upset by this, but go to college, get a
good job, work there for a long time mentality. I think that’s
just not part of the psyche of a lot of the younger generation.
I think this opportunity that’s there for us as a result of the
internet, and tools, and automation is absolutely wonderful.

Sean: Yeah. I think, in fact, that mentality is probably a minority.
I don’t know, but it would be interesting to see some high
school exit studies. How many of them feel like their careers
are going to be based on what they learn in college or how many
of them are just going kind of to appease their parents. It’s
definitely a different world that we live in.

Trent: It is indeed. The Money Pillow podcast, you’ve had a lot of
success fairly quickly. Do you want to talk about the results
first so people can know what we’re talking about?

Sean: Sure. These aren’t typical…

Trent: The results that you are about to hear are not typical.

Sean: Just throw a disclaimer out there. That’s so dumb. No,
literally, I launched it back in July. I launched it in, I’m
thinking, late June and then iTunes screwed up my feed. It was
saying the interviews were an hour and a half long. They were
actually only 30 minutes, and all these weird things were
happening. Descriptions weren’t showing, so we ended up having
to delete the feed and resubmit it. I can’t even remember when
that was. I think it was mid-July.

I launched it, and it was generating a couple hundred downloads
a day. I just told some friends, basically, about it on
Facebook, which I’ve got a fairly large Facebook audience, so
that helped a lot, but I have a lot of other assets I didn’t
really tap into. Told some friends about it on Facebook. It was
generating 200, 300, 400 downloads a day. Probably about 250 to
300, somewhere in there.

Then once I kind of felt like I had enough episodes in there…
I launched, I think, with six episodes, and once I got to the 10
episode mark, I decided it was a good time to email my list. I
emailed my list, and that jumped it up, that day, to like 2,100
downloads that day. From that point on, it pretty much has
stayed over 1,000 downloads. I think it was July 11 that I
launched, and we are what? August 19 today, or the 18?

Trent: Nineteenth.

Sean: August 19. I think I’m at 38,000 downloads now with probably
30,000 of those coming in August. Actually, I can tell you.
Thirty-seven thousand five hundred, with 26,878 in August. I had
some good fortune along the way. Stitcher featured me on their
front page, and just some random interesting things happening,
but it’s been growing really well. I feel like I hit number two
in business which was a big boost that day. Introduced me to a
lot of people who had no idea who I was, and created a lot of
new fans.

My goal is to get it to, by the end of September, 100,000
downloads a month, or 3,000 a day. I think I can hit that. It’s
just a matter of figuring this whole game out. For me, I was
doing all these interviews already for the book, and I had this
content. With my marketing business, I brought somebody on who
was a podcasting expert because I thought it was a cool idea.
She had a great presentation, and a good product, so I brought
her on. As I was listening to her thing I was like, “Man, this
is stupid. I’ve got all this content I can repurpose, and with
doing so, I can build an audience for the book that’s focused
exactly on the topic of the book.” Again, I thought I’ll just
give the podcast the same exact name of the book, and blah,
blah, blah. That’s what I did, and that’s what I’m doing.

My hope is that by doing this, I can build a really large
audience that’s interested in the topic. You’ll see, going
forward, I’m going to start structuring the content. Instead of
just doing interviews, now I’m going to start bringing in a lot
of content that will be featured in the book. I’m going to be
taking the past 15 interviews, and I’m going to be doing
highlight moments where the most important, or most valuable
lessons that people need to learn, or more than I think have
been shared so far when it comes to running an automated or
hands-off business, I’ll be highlighting those and talking some
theoretical talk behind what the person shared. Kind of
structuring it a little bit better and prepping the audience for
the book. My hope with doing that is that it will result in a
big push on the book, and I hope to hit the bestseller list when
it launches.

Trent: That’s a good idea that you just mentioned, and it’s something
that I’ve thought of doing because I’m like 65 or 70 episodes
deep now, and there’s so much good stuff in that. When you do
like you and I do, and you have really top-notch entrepreneurs
on your show, there’s what I call golden nuggets. There’s a
bunch of them in every interview. I’ve forgotten more of those
golden nuggets than probably anybody, and I’ve been on every
show. I’ve heard every one of my shows, and I’m still not using
everything that I should have learned. I’ve been thinking about
doing the same thing you have.

How are you going to do that? Are you going to have a person on
your team sort of sit down and listen to them all, or did you
make really incredible show notes? How are you going to go back
through? I guess you probably don’t have 70 episodes yet, but
you’re what? At 16, 17, something like that. Can you talk a
little bit about the process of how you’re going to unearth
those gems, and then how you’re going to repurpose that?

Sean: Yeah. I’m sitting here chuckling because I can’t wait to tell
you. It’s not that I’m lazy, I’m just really busy and I don’t
have time to go back and listen to all of them, and I did not
take good notes. There are key moments for me that I really

For example, I interviewed this one guy and he talked about a
product idea that he had, but in order to sell this product, he
had to manufacture it. In order to manufacture it, there was a
large investment into manufacturing. Not large, but $2,000,
$3,000, or $4,000 into getting his first batch of products to
sell. The way he decided to test this to see if this was even
going to be a good idea was he spent three, four hours, or paid
somebody to build a simple little sales page and then ran Google
Ads to that sales page. When people clicked the Buy Now button,
people went to a page that just said, “We’re sorry. This product
is actually not available right now. We’ll let you know when it
is.” All he was doing was trying to measure if this was a
successful business. Does that make sense?

Trent: Yeah.

Sean: There are like three or four moments that really stand out like
that for me, but I need more than three or four. Yesterday I
just emailed my email list. It’s a small email list, but what
I’ve built from the website that’s coming there, and just said,
“What was your biggest aha moment?” It said, “I’m putting
together…” I literally am getting responses. I got one after
we started talking.

The email said, and this is all totally true and transparent,
“Yesterday I was at the beach hanging out with some friends. One
of them brought up how you’ve been listening to my podcast. We
started talking about different episodes. He began telling me a
few aha moments that he had while he was listening, things he
could implement into his business right away, and this got me
thinking maybe I should do a highlight episode.” I told, in the
email, the story of Daniel, and his little manufacturing
validation test. I said, “My question to you is what has been
your biggest aha moment? Reply back and let me know, and I will
also give you credit in that episode.”

I thought this was kind of a way to get my audience involved and
do some work for me, and then I can give them credit on the
episode, so 2,000 or 3,000 people will hear me say, “This next
part came from Trent. Trent replied back to the email and said
his biggest aha moment was this. Here you go.” That’s how I did
it. I’ve gotten about 40 emails. Now I have to decipher which
ones to actually feature and use.

Trent: That was a very good idea. That will be what we call one of the
golden nuggets of this episode.

Sean: There you go.

Trent: From yours truly. I have to say that word good and clear,
golden nuggets, so that when it gets transcribed and a person on
my team is searching for golden nuggets in episodes to do our
compilation post, they’ll find it.

Sean: There you go.

Trent: All right. I want to take a quick sidebar because some people
who are listening to this, there may be many, don’t really
understand the business model of a podcast. There are a number
of reasons why you could do it. In your case, you’re doing it,
it sounds like, to promote your book, maybe build your audience.
Some people do it because they want to get advertiser income,
and then other people do it because they want to build
authority. I’m interested in your take. If there’s either
nuances that I’ve missed, details that I’ve missed, or what have
you, but what is the business model of the podcast?

Sean: You just hit on, really, all the big ones. They’re all
possible, and they’re all totally achievable. I know people that
have hit all those things. For me, I honestly, Trent, didn’t
realize you could monetize it. It was just a way for me… I was
going to monetize this, but not directly. When I say monetize, a
lot of people earn good revenue from show sponsors, and once you
get to 2,000 or 4,000 downloads per episode, it’s pretty easy to
start earning a decent living from sponsors. That’s a lot of
eyeballs, or ears if you will, that these sponsors will get
depending on what you’re talking about. There are probably
people that have products or services that want people to hear
that. I had no idea you could do that.

It was just literally for me just to build an audience for the
book, which I knew I could monetize in the sense that if I could
go to a publisher… When you get a book published, most of the
time you get an advance or often you’ll get an advance. I’ve got
a fairly large social reach. I’ve got a big email list, and I’ve
got a business that sells $100 products and up, so all that
stuff has a lot of value to the publisher. I may be able to
generate $50,000 to $200,000 in advance, $300,000 with good
agents, somewhere in there. I have no idea. This is just what
agents are telling me that I’ve interviewed and talked to.

I thought to myself, “Well, if I had the number one or number
two podcast out there with the exact name and content that’s
going to be in the book, and I build a big audience, I could
show lots of downloads, and subscribers, and build an email list
off that, that would probably be worth as much as everything
else I just mentioned that I have as an asset to the publisher.”
With that said, I thought I could probably double my advance.

For me, getting a big advance represents the fact that the
publisher… Not only will it be great money, it will be cool to
put a big check in the bank, but the publisher will really put
their weight behind the book to make sure they see a return on
their money, which means prominent placement in all the book
shelves in all the airports, and all the book stores that still
remain, and any other kind of marketing you can think of.
They’re going to throw their weight behind it because they want
it to generate a return on their investment.

Which then means it makes it, in my opinion, that much easier to
get to the New York Times bestseller list, which means it makes
it easier to sell more books, and at the end of the day, I
really feel like this topic is going to change people’s lives in
a major way and have a huge impact. It’s something that’s kind
of a personal project for me that I really kind of want to leave
my mark on the world, and this is one way, I think, that I’ll do

Trent: Now, do you thing that you’re actually going to make really
good money from the book, or is the book a means to yet another

Sean: I don’t know. Originally, it was a means to an end. I’ve got an
iPhone app that I’m working on and I thought, “I need about
$100,000 to get this app complete, and if I can get my book, get
an advance, I can get that covered.” I’m fairly confident I can
get $50,000 to $100,000 worth of current asset that I’ve got in
the book topic, and in a number of things. Then, I just started
seeing the potential in this.

I’m not in a hurry to write the book. I’m in a hurry to get the
podcast to find 10,000 downloads an episode because then, at
that point, I will then approach the publishers about signing a
deal. I got the iPhone app part figured out, so I’m not as
motivated by that, but I don’t know.

Trent, it’s one of those things that could totally flop or it
could be the next big book that leads into a whole other line of

Trent: That’s the interesting thing about succeeding in public, or
even demonstrating your expertise in public, by way of a book, a
blog, or a podcast, is the people that you don’t even know exist
know you exist, and some of them will come to you with
opportunities as a result of the exposure you create for

Sean: Absolutely. Who knows, man? It could be a total failure, and
hell, I may never even get it done. If the iPhone app gets
completed before the book thing and that takes off, great. Or if
my business takes… You never know, but it will get done at
some point, I’m sure. I feel fairly confident I can get it to
bestseller status. If not, I’ll just have to put my tail between
my legs and walk away from it.

Trent: I have several chapters of my book done, and they’ve been
collecting dust for a while.

Sean: Yeah, I hear you.

Trent: It’s tough to stay focused.

Sean: It’s amazing, too, when somebody gives you a big check of money
and how motivating that can be.

Trent: Well, yeah. Suddenly then you’ve got skin in the game and
you’re also being held accountable times 10.

Back to my first bullet point, then, of this interview is
talking about the podcast. Now, I know that you’ve done some
pretty interesting things to promote it, so not everybody has a
big list. Not everybody has the social reach, so that’s all
great and good for you. For the folks that don’t have that, but
they do have a desire, and anyone can interview people just like
you and I do, so I don’t think that you have to be a rocket
scientist to do that. You just have to have the desire to do it,
but promoting it. You’re doing some cool stuff on Facebook, so
do you want to talk a little bit about what you’re doing there?

Sean: Yeah. I wanted to know that this podcast had kind of reached
every corner of the earth, and I noticed one day that the first
time I looked at the stats, I saw that I had hit like 88 or 95
of the world’s 195 countries. I just thought, “Man, that would
be kind of cool to say that somebody in every country in the
world is listening to my podcast.” I just started running ads. I
just started targeting every country that I hadn’t gotten
downloads from, and that’s been a big boost in subscriptions and
likes on Facebook, on the page.

In just two weeks, I think it’s… Not organically because I’ve
been paying for the traffic, but for 50 bucks a day, I have
gotten… Well, I can just tell you. I’m looking at it right
now. I’ve spent $600 and have 1,227 fans right now, and it’s
probably sent over 3,000 clicks to iTunes, which I don’t know
how many of those become subscribers and download. It’s a
nominal cost. I think I’m paying, on average, including the
United States, I do marketing to the United States, Canada,
U.K., and Australia, which are the big markets for me, including
those and with all the other countries I’m marketing to, I’m
probably at 10 to 15 cents a click right now. I think that’s
been a big push to it.

Then, also, just leveraging my personal network on Facebook has
been really big as well. I haven’t done this yet. I have this
game plan. We talked about it earlier, that we don’t have to get
into now, but as soon as I am ready to kind of just go all out,
I will then go back and ask everybody that I’ve interviewed to
share it. I’m also connected to a lot of influencers over the
last few years. I’ve been earning a lot of reciprocity, or I
hope that I have, by constantly promoting and sharing their

I will then, when I’m ready, I want to make an all-out assault
on Dave Ramsey and that number one spot in business. It’s going
to be very coordinated, and I’m going to be bringing in every
weapon that I’ve got, but I’ll be reaching out to all the
influencers, I’ll crank up the ads that day, I’ll email my list,
and basically just abuse all my friends in social media and real
life, and ask them to help with that mission, and we’ll see what

Trent: This is kind of a piggyback on my question about the business
model. I have a lot of people in my audience who are marketing
consultants, run a marketing agency, or a small business of some
kind, that it may not have occurred to them that they should
have a podcast. Do you think they should?

Sean: I guess it just depends. For me, it’s so easy to generate this
kind of content. I can do two episodes or three episodes a week
in a couple hours a week. Trent, this conversation we’re having
is not like work, if you will. It’s not like traditional work?
For me, this is educational for me to do podcasts. When I
interview these people and they’re sharing with me how they
built their entire business, and their exact model, and what led
to this major increase here, and this and that, I’m getting like
a free education from somebody who has been there and done that,
and at the same time, I’m taking that content and using it for
the podcast.

For me, it’s easy, so if you have the time, and the energy, and
access, or have places you can find people to interview, to
feature, if you want to do interviews, I would say absolutely. I
don’t see any reason why not.

I think iTunes features just about every new podcast that comes
out in new and noteworthy. You got there. I got there. That just
exposes you to an audience that you don’t have currently. I
think with a simple game plan, you can do it, and build a good
audience. I think the audience always equates to value, so
there’s nothing wrong with building an audience. You’re
basically just building your own personal value further, so I
would say yeah. I don’t see any reason why not.

Trent: It really doesn’t take a whole lot of time to do these
interviews, folks. If you think that there’s like a ton of prep
work… I’m going to go on record here. Sean, do you know how
much prep I did for this interview? Zero.

Sean: I can tell from your questions, zero. No, I’m kidding.

Trent: Normally, I do actually put about a half hour into prep, but as
I mentioned to you off-air, my wife and I are moving at the end
of this week up to Boise, and I’ve had no time. I am so far
behind between packing boxes…

Sean: You don’t even need to. That’s the thing, though. We chatted
for 10, 15 minutes. You probably had everything you needed to
know, and we got rolling, and here we are. It’s not difficult.

Trent: Yeah, I agree. Where do you find your guests?

Sean: That’s a good question. A couple of different places, but I’m
in a couple entrepreneur groups on Facebook that are private
groups, so originally I reached out to those guys. I offered
just to interview any of them because everybody in that group is
an entrepreneur. There are 200 guys I’m in this group with, and
everybody in there is an entrepreneur. Most of them have mid-six
figure to mid-seven figure businesses, and some even eight- and
nine-figure businesses. I got about a dozen interviews out of
those guys.

Then that led here, and there, and there, and then I reached
back out to everybody and said, “Hey, I’m looking for new
guests. If you know, great.” Then I have another friend who runs
a big female entrepreneur association. I had her reach out and
got about 10 different females to interview from that.

I just went to where they hung out, and relied on some friends,
or relied on the audience, I guess, just to help me kind of
source that. For me, it’s pretty easy. I can probably just go to
Inc., Fast Company, or Forbes. I haven’t done this yet because I
haven’t needed to, but I could just dig through their issues
online or in print, and find great people. People’s success
stories are…

Trent: Everywhere.

Sean: Exactly.

Trent: There are not too many people who are successful who don’t want
to talk about it.

Sean: Exactly. These guests, people are always like, “I can’t believe
they revealed this information to you,” and this and that. I’m
going through it, I guess, myself right now, and no one ever
takes the time to care how you got to where you got. When you
take an interest in somebody, you want to know their story. It’s
just unbelievable to me the amount that they vomit out.

Trent: It is the best free education going. A case in point about how
easy it is to get guests. Had you heard of me before I sent you
a tweet?

Sean: No, I hadn’t.

Trent: There you go. I got 140 characters to get Sean on the show, and
I suckered him into it.

Sean: You did a good job. It’s been interesting. I’ve been so behind
the scenes for so long that since I started this podcast, I’ve
been getting three or four a week, and I just thought well,
screw it. I’m just going to use that time to make some new
friends and spread the word a little bit further.

Trent: Absolutely.

Sean: Anybody listening could probably shoot me a message. You have
three listeners that will probably jump on to it.

Trent: All right. Did you talk about geotargeting in the Facebook
thing we just talked about?

Sean: Yeah.

Trent: You did? All right, so we talked about monetizing it, we talked
about how you promoted it to your list. Here’s my show prep for
you. Is there anything that I missed with respect to how you
promoted your podcast to get to where you’re at?

Sean: Probably. There’s probably stuff I’ve forgotten. Can I point
people to that post I wrote?

Trent: Yeah.

Sean: Is that lame to do with your audience, or your show?

Trent: No. Hijack away, man.

Sean: I just wrote a post where I sat down one night and I knew it
would get my friends interested, and my community more
interested in it, so I wrote a post where I just revealed
everything. If you go to it’s there. I think
I’m going to continue doing that. I would recommend Trent, or
even listeners, doing the same. People are really excited about
the transparency and love it, and as long as this thing
continues to succeed, I’ll do it.

Trent: Yeah, I think it’s a great idea, and it’s something that I
think I’ve mentioned in past episodes. My wife, she’s an
entrepreneur as well, and we’ve decided to start the Bright
Ideas Agency, and she’s going to run it, not me. I’m kind of in
the advisory capacity. We’re going to have an online dialogue,
it’s going to be on the blog, and we’re going to write about
stuff that we’re doing to get customers, and stuff we’re doing
to use marketing automation, and all sorts of stuff. I think
that people love to have the ability to look over someone’s
shoulder who has either had the courage to forge ahead and do
something they haven’t done yet, or maybe do something that
they’ve already done. Doing it again, but for the person looking
over their shoulder, it’s a huge value to be able to do that.

Sean: Huge. Yeah, I’ve gotten so much good feedback. Then what ended
up happening, too, is I got a lot of really important
podcasters, like Libsyn, the hosting company, and a couple other
people just shared that blog post, which drove a bunch of new
traffic. Well, not a bunch, but probably 500 to 1,000 hits to my
site. Not that much. Probably 300 to 500, but I got a bunch of
email and comments that I had never seen before, so I’m going to
keep it going. I’m going to keep just being transparent and
sharing that stuff. Like I said, as long as it’s successful. If
it starts failing, I don’t want to admit that I’ve failed.

Trent: That is the double-edged sword of all that transparency.

Sean: I’m kidding. I will, and I’ll probably have all kinds of great
excuses as to why it happened.

Trent: Oh, of course. My computer broke down. My dog ate my homework,
and stuff like that, yeah. Off the podcast. On to what I talked
about in the beginning. I promised that I would ask you about
the team. Of course, I’m very selfishly interested in this as
well. I have a team, but I want to know what does your team look
like? How many people are on it? Are they full time? Are they
all overseas contractors? Can you walk us through it?

Sean: How it looks now, and it was completely different six months
ago, or not completely, but for the most part… Forever, I had
a virtual team. When I lived in Columbus, for a couple of years
we had an office with people and then we moved to virtual, so
for two years I ran it with a team out of Kentucky of six that
did everything from graphics to copywriting to shopping cart
integrations. They did everything you can think of. Literally
everything, and there wasn’t anything they didn’t know. If they
didn’t know it, they’d learn it, and they were really good.

Trent: Were these full-time people, or were they independent

Sean: Everybody I have is independent contractors. Now I have some
employees, but at that point everybody I had was independent
contractors. I had a team of six in Kentucky who did a lot of
stuff, and I’d say out of that six, two worked for me pretty
much full time and four were part time. What I mean by that is
one guy did graphics for 10 to 15 hours a week. Somebody else
did transcription and audio/video stuff for another 10 or 15
hours, etc.

I have a part-time person who has been with me pretty much since
day one. My very first employee, or contractor, and she is in
New York. She does all of our customer support and a lot of kind
of general admin and assistant-type stuff. I have a bookkeeper
that lives in Iowa, and she’s the bookkeeper, but also just does
all of our finances, manages everything.

Trent: I’m sorry. Is she looking for clients? I need a bookkeeper.

Sean: Do you? I might be able to refer you.

Trent: Please do.

Sean: I’d be happy to.

Trent: Thank you.

Sean: We’ll talk off-air about that, but yeah, I would be happy to.
She does everything for me, and then also does a bunch of other
stuff within the business as well. General kind of assistant or
admin stuff as well. Then, outside of that, probably a dozen
contractors that I call on multiple times a year for different
projects. That was it.

Then recently, as I started to get busy again at the end of May,
I got kind of frustrated with some delays that were going on
between customer support, or design, or this or that. The other
thing was I’m in California now and after 2:00 pm, I couldn’t
contact my team on the East Coast, in Kentucky, or in Eastern
Standard Times. That was really frustrating because I would surf
until 11:00 and then get out of the water, have some lunch, and
then I’d have about an hour where I could communicate with them.
An hour or two after I got to work I couldn’t call them anymore,
so I was like this sucks.

Then I started noticing some things. I think I was delegating
too much to them and things were starting to fall by the wayside
here and there. Ninety percent of it got done, and got done
brilliantly, but there was this 10% here or there that just
bothered me. I would be the one clogging the chain, and then
they were so busy they wouldn’t follow up with me on it. They’d
send me an email about something, and I’d never respond. I’d
looked at it and then forgot to mark it as unread, and I had
forgotten about it. A month later I’d be like, “Hey, whatever
happened to this or that?” and they’d be like, “Oh, well we
emailed you and you never responded.” I’m like, “In the past you
would follow up the next day, or the next day, and the next day.
‘Hey, what’s up?'” and they got so busy you stopped doing it.

I got kind of frustrated and said, “I’m going to hire a local
team and I’m going to put a giant white board on the wall where
I can write all these things down and hold them accountable.”
That’s essentially what I did. It’s worked out brilliantly
because, having the same people… I haven’t had this in so
long, where people are in the same room. The customer service
person can complain to the tech guy about a technical issue and
in 10 minutes he can fix something that’s been a frustration for
two years for our customer support staff. It’s been great having
some synergy with the same people in the room.

I think I’ve cut that portion of the employment cost in half,
and I’m probably getting twice the production out of them. I’ve
got people that are more… Literally, the developer and the IT
guy I have are probably five times as skilled as anybody I’ve
ever worked with.

Trent: Oh, that’s nice. Can I give you an idea that I discovered a few
years ago for, I call it, my task management dashboard?

Sean: Sure.

Trent: Everyone I explain this to freaks out, so I’m going to share it
with you because hopefully it will be useful to you. I have a
Google doc I’ve had for years, so it’s shared. Obviously anyone
who is working for me anywhere in the world… I do this for my
wife as well because she runs the business with me. Things fall
through the crack in email. It’s hopeless. It’s color coded, so
every column is…

Like for me, I have episodes. All my shows. Each show is one
column, and then, in the rows on the left are all of the tasks
involved with pre-production, post-production, promotion, blah,
blah, blah, that we have to do over and over with each episode.
Then, it’s divided into whose section, so I’m like the top two
rows, which is like “record episode,” and then my wife has some
stuff, and then our overseas VA has some stuff.

It’s all color coded. Blue square means “hey, there’s a new
thing you’ve got to do.” Yellow means it’s in progress. Red
means there’s a problem, and green means it’s done. Any person
who has access to that visual dashboard can instantly see the
status of kind of everything because the colors really stand

Sean: Wow. That is pretty trippy. You have that in a Google doc, you

Trent: Yeah. Just put it in a Google doc and then what you can do is
get your people to subscribe for updates, so my VA, every time I
do anything, Google doc sends her an email saying something
changed. All she has to do is log on and look for more blue
squares for her because that means more new tasks. Then, I can
see how burdened she is or isn’t by the number of blue squares
relative to the number of green squares, which are tasks that
are done.

If there’s a problem, she changes it to red and puts in the
comments of the cell whatever the issue is, and then I can go
and solve it and change it back to blue or yellow again.

Sean: Did you say it has… Like when you change the doc, it sends an
email notification automatically?

Trent: Yeah, it does. It’s just a built-in notification system that
Google offers.

Sean: Is that something you have to select?

Trent: Yeah.

Sean: We have a bunch of docs that we share, and I never get any

Trent: It’s called “subscribe to changes.”

Sean: Oh, is that in there? Very cool. Yeah, that’s pretty smart. I
like that. It’s very sharp.

Trent: Yeah, because a white board is only good if you’re in the room,
right? This is kind of my digital task management dashboard.

Sean: Exactly, yeah. I love it. You know what you ought to do? You
ought to share that doc with your listeners, or share a dummy

Trent: I have.

Sean: Oh, you have?

Trent: I will do it again in the show notes for this episode, so if
you’re listening to this… What is the URL for this show going
to be? Give me half a second here, and I’ll tell you what number
it is. It’s going to be slash something, and I’ve
just got to see what number I’m on. I’ll put it at the end of
the show as well, but just in case you’re listening right now,
which you are. Nothing like babbling while you’re interviewing.
I’m going to make this one number 71, so, and
that will take you directly to the post. In that, I will put a
link to a screenshot of what I’ve just described.

Sean: Awesome.

Trent: I’ve got to make a note to myself. Link’s mentioned, so…

Sean: Yeah, that’s really smart. I did not know about that subscribe
to changes deal, and I can see how that could be powerful.

Trent: Yeah, it’s pretty cool. When the email goes out, it doesn’t say
what the changes are, it just says something… Or does it? I
can’t remember because I barely ever look at it because I’m not
the one receiving the emails. I’m the one that’s making the
changes that cause the emails to go out.

Sean: Got it.

Trent: The great thing is, do you know how much that costs to do?
Nothing. Thanks, Google.

Sean: Yeah, I love Google docs. Absolutely love it.

Trent: Back to the team. Where do you find the people that work for
you? Are you doing what everyone else does? You go and put a job
description, and you’re like super descriptive in what you want,
and you put it on oDesk, or Freelancer, or wherever, or are you
doing something that’s different than that?

Sean: For the virtual people, I just literally relied on referrals
for people that I had, friends that I had in the business
industry. Actually, the guy that ended up eventually creating
the team that I hired was somebody I’d met in a forum somewhere,
and he was just answering really smart responses to everything,
questions that I had, and other people. Then at one point, he
offered some services, and I hired him. He ended up becoming a
mentor for many years. I think I outgrew him as a mentor. That’s
the wrong choice of words, but I got to a level where that
portion wasn’t as valuable, but he always was just a sound guy,
and good advice.

Anyway, I found him through that forum. Everybody else was
mainly through referrals from friends. I would reach out and
say, “Hey, do you know somebody who can do this or that?” and
they’d refer them.

For the local people that I hired, I ran ads on Craigslist and
had a bitch of a time, excuse my language if there are kids
around, had a hard time getting people to even respond to my ad.
Santa Barbara has about a couple hundred thousand people in the
greater area, and when I ran the ad for a customer service
person, I had 50 responses in two days, and I had to take it
down. It was overwhelming. When I started running developer, and
IT, just specific niche job types of ads, I was getting two or
three responses a month. It started making me really nervous.

Then one day I went to run another ad because I’d gotten three
responses in a month, and none of them panned out. I went to the
section that I was going to be running the ad in, and I looked
at it, and I noticed all the ads looked exactly the same, so in
other words, they were like “web developer for tech company,” or
“front-end developer for whatever,” and blah, blah, blah.

I was like, “God, this is a good opportunity,” so I wrote an ad,
and the subject line of the ad was “Do You Build Great Shit?” In
parentheses, I put “WordPress, PHP, HTML, JAVA, etc.,” or
something like that, so that they knew when they saw “do you
build blah, blah, blah,” the stuff that was in parentheses was
the coding languages that they know.

The ad basically just said something along the lines of if you
build great shit, we want you. I think in my ad copy I wrote, “I
can write this whole long description of what we want, but
basically, we need you to be proficient in WordPress, this, and
that, and the other. We’re a four-year-old company. We do seven
figures in revenue. We’ve had a virtual staff forever. We’re
looking to hire on a local team. This is not a nine-to-five job.
We really are just focused on results. You can come and go as
you want as long as you’re getting the job done and keeping us
happy. If you want to work for a fun, cool company, and build
some great stuff together, hit reply.” That got 30 responses, I
think, in a week.

Trent: Nice.

Sean: Yeah, and I found the most amazing guy from that. What ended up
being the funniest thing, Trent, was I already actually knew
him. He was a good friend of mine’s brother, so I didn’t know
that. When he responded, I’m like, “Oh, my God, I know this
guy,” but he saw the ad and didn’t realize it was me posting it.

Trent: What kind of money are you paying for local talent to do
technical work like that?

Sean: He does development work, so he’s $5,000 a month. He’s worth
every penny. A lot of the activities I put him on generate
revenue, and he’s already done a couple things that are
generating more than his salary on autopilot basis by fixing
things and creating some good stuff.

Trent: Very nice. What advice would you give to somebody… I know
there are lots of people that are listening to this show that
are what I call a solo entrepreneur. They go get a client, then
they get immersed in fulfillment of the services that they’re
going to deliver to that client, then they get bogged down in
the bookkeeping because you’ve got to have bookkeeping, and
then, then, then, and then the job’s done, and they’re like,
“Oh, crap, I need another client,” and the cycle starts all over
again. Not a good hamster wheel to be on.

The reason they’re on it, it’s not like they’ve never heard of
this idea of outsourcing or building a team. I think, if I had
to guess, because I used to be that guy like over a decade ago
when I started my first business, you’re limited by this either
perceived or reality of constrained cash flow. “Oh, I can’t
afford it” is generally what the objection is. What advice would
you give to that person? Let’s just say that they’re generating,
I don’t know, $40,000, $50,000, $60,000 a year in billings for
their one-person shop.

Sean: What advice would I give them based on…

Trent: To build a team, yeah.

Sean: Yeah. There are three options, if you will. Number one, you can
keep doing what you’re doing and just hustle your ass off.
Sometimes it’s what you have to do because that’s the only way
you know out, and if that’s all you can do, that’s all you can
do. You can generally make that work. It’s just a pain in the
ass, and then there’s an opportunity cost from all the time and
energy that you’re spending on that, and then all the mental
energy that you’re expending on that as opposed to revenue-
generating tasks.

Two is you can hire somebody cheap. When I first started, I ran
an ad. It’s a long story, but the person I ended up hiring, I
said, “I can’t pay you what you’re worth. I know you’re worth
more. I just don’t make enough now to pay you. If you’re willing
to come on now and work for less, I’ll take care of you later.”
She said, “I like you a lot, and I’d love to work for you even
it’s for less than what I’m worth. That’s fine.”

The reality is she still works for me to this day, four years
later, and she made my life so much easier so that I could start
focusing on growth and growth-producing tasks as opposed to
those kinds of tasks. To this day, she’s still with me, and she
probably makes three times what she’s worth now. I don’t mind
paying her because she’s incredibly loyal. I can call her at
midnight if I have a crisis. She’ll answer the phone and she’ll
help me out. I don’t do that, but she’s just an amazing person.
I overpay her now, but for years, I underpaid her, so I have no
issue with that.

People that are loyal, I don’t mind taking care of them. It’s
not that I overpay her. She works for what she earns, but I
could probably get somebody for half of what I pay her to do the
same work, but I don’t because she’s been incredibly loyal to me
and made some sacrifices to work for me early on, so I view it
as a good exchange.

Trent: Just in the interest of transparency because I’ve been a CEO
and had a staff and so forth, too, so for the folks to
understand this, it’s not that Sean’s super-duper altruistic.
It’s also there’s a massive pain to changing from someone who is
really good at what they do, and you have a relationship with,
and you know that when you assign them something it gets done to
trying to find someone who can do most of the stuff, and they
can do it, I can pay them half, blah, blah, blah. It sucks.

Sean: You never know what you’re going to get, too. You hire somebody
new and six months later they’re gone, and you have to do the
whole cycle over again, so there is a huge pain.

For me, this type of position that she does is fairly simple
stuff. I could, without much pain, replace her, but I never
would because she was so loyal to me early on, and amazing. My
thing now is I probably need to dedicate some time into getting
her to do some other things outside of what she’s doing because
she’s making more than she should, but in the meantime, I don’t
mind paying her what she gets for that reason.

That was the first two. You can do it yourself. You can pay
somebody. Offer to pay them cheap, and you’d be surprised, if
people like you, that they’ll do it.

The third thing is you can get somebody to do it for free. There
are interns that can do it. Interns are good, but you have that
pain point of losing them after a certain period of time, but if
the tasks are not that challenging, you can have an intern do
it. Or, some sort of trade or exchange with somebody else.

Right now, for example, I have somebody that is like begging me
to do coaching with them, and I just don’t like doing consulting
or coaching-type work because I feel like I’m obligated and
blah, blah, blah, but she’s been a great customer. She’s been a
good friend in social media, and all this stuff.

I said, “Look, I’ll give you a 20-minute call on me. I’ve
appreciated all your support over the years, but that’s really
all I’ve got.” We start talking, she shared with me her whole
story, and it kind of pulled on some heartstrings. She had some
hardships. I realized I was in a position to kind of help her,
and I think I really, truly can change her life with some of the
direction that I’ll give her on what to do with her business

I said, “I do need somebody to work on and
format all this… The website right now, in its form, sucks. It
could be a whole lot better because I don’t have the time and
energy, and I haven’t found somebody to hire to do that, but if
you want to do it, I’ll do it, and I’ll give you a half hour
coaching a month, and we can talk here and there, back and
forth.” She’s just like, “I’d love to.” She’s doing it for me
for free and I’m giving her some value and exchanging some
advice or knowledge with her.

What I told her was, too, I said, “If you want to do this for
free, I’ll be happy to coach you and then, after 60 or 90 days,
if the podcasts are generating revenue, and you want to continue
to do it, I’ll be happy to pay you X amount of dollars to
continue doing it, but I won’t be coaching you at that point. I
don’t want to coach you beyond that point regardless.” She’s
just like, “Awesome. I’d love to do it as long as this isn’t
anything crazy, I’d love to do it, and get paid to do it in the
future,” so I’ll probably start paying her. She’s doing an
amazing job, and she’s going above and beyond, in the first few
days of working on it, beyond my expectations.

Those kind of exchanges work really well, and they work well for
me. I don’t want to throw $1,000 to $1,500 a month at somebody
to publish the podcasts and do all this stuff on there. I’m not
doing all the video editing, and the audio editing, and all that
stuff now. I’m not taking the blog content and really filling it
out to the level it should be, so she’s willing to do it for
free, and I’m going to give her a half hour a month of my time,
probably an hour in total, I would assume, which is no big deal
because I like helping people. I just hate feeling obligated to
do it.

Trent: Is she doing the post-production editing and the video editing
for you?

Sean: No, I’ve got somebody else doing that. A guy that kind of owes
me some favors, if you will, so he’s been doing that for awhile,
and he’s happy to do it. We’ll end up working on some projects
in the future together, and he knows that, so he’s doing that.
What I’m going to do is the first 30 days she’s doing all of the
on-the-page content, and the second 30 days I’m going to have
him teach her how to do the actual audio and video editing.

Trent: That’s a fantastic idea. If there’s anybody listening to this
episode right now, I am looking for someone to do my post-
production and some of the website work as well. If you are
interested in being coached by me, get a hold of me. and we’ll make a similar trade.

Sean: Awesome.

Trent: All right.

Sean: Somebody should respond to that, man, because to be able to
work directly with you has a huge value. The person that’s doing
this stuff for me now, I asked her today how it was going, and
she said she’s loving it. She said she never anticipated
enjoying the work, and for her, listening to all the interviews,
and going through all the content has been extremely educational
and fun for her, so she’s just like, “I’m actually loving it.”

Trent: No kidding. That’s kind of another good point. Just the mere
fact that you would have to listen to all the episodes is like
an advanced marketing degree through your ear buds.

Sean: It is, right?

Trent: It’s not like it’s all my great ideas. I’ve had some pretty
darn smart entrepreneurs on this show who are killing it, and
I’m good at getting them to explain step by step exactly what
they’re doing to get that result. Maybe I should take my own
advice and just listen to more of my own episodes.

It’s funny. I actually did re-listen to one of my own episodes.
As people who listen to my show regularly know, we’re launching
this agency for my wife, and I had interviewed a couple people
who are really doing well with their agencies, so I went and re-
listened to my own interviews. I was there the first time
around, but you can’t take as good notes when you’re the host of
the show as you can when you’re just sitting in a chair with
your ear buds.

Sean: Yeah, it’s a different experience listening to it after you’ve
done it, isn’t it?

Trent: Yeah, it is, very much so. Out of my own episode, I did this
one with Graig Presti, I think I got a solid page of notes of
action items that were built into our launch plan, and it was
really good.

Sean: That’s awesome. Yeah, I do the same. I go back and listen to
every episode mainly just because I want the extra download to
my numbers.

Trent: I don’t believe you.

Sean: Yeah, I’m kidding. I find it educational, man. I do. There’s
always stuff when we do the interviews. For example, you’re
interviewing me and there’s probably been a moment or two where
you kind of drift off in La-La Land in your head because you’re
thinking about something I said, so it’s been a lot like
watching a movie twice, or reading a book a second time for me
to go back and listen to it. I’ve heard things that I must have
just unconsciously just blacked out in thought.

Trent: Yeah, that’s true, because a lot of times when you’re talking,
I’m either writing something down, I should video this one day
so people can see what I’m doing, or I’m looking at the next
question, or I’m thinking about where I want to take the
interview. Sometimes I’m going, “Holy crap, what’s the next
question I’m supposed to ask? I don’t have one written down.”

Sean: The other thing is, too, I’ve noticed a lot of things that have
helped me improve my podcast, Trent, and it’s like geez, dude,
just shut up and let your guest talk. It’s just like when I hear
myself, I’m like, “All right. Next time I’m not going to do

Trent: Yeah. I am guilty of that, absolutely. I think I’m getting
better. Hopefully some people who are listening to this show are
laughing their butts off now because they’re like, “Yeah, Trent,
you’re on drugs. You’re not getting any better.”

Sean: Oh, that’s great.

Trent: With that said, another question coming your way. How are you
doing for time, by the way?

Sean: I’m good.

Trent: I had mentioned at the beginning of this episode I wanted to
cover three broad topics. The first one was how you launched
your podcast and got so much traction. The second one was
talking about the team. Then, I want to talk more about this
publishing business that you run because I’m super interested in
that business. It’s something that I probably could, or maybe
even should, be doing as well.

Take two minutes and just kind of give us the quick overview of
what the business is, and then I’ve got my first couple of
questions kind of tucked away in my mind that I want to ask you,
but I want people to have context for what those questions are.

Sean: Sure. I have an online, or digital, publishing company, and we
take digital trainings and sell them. I don’t do any of the
content myself. There’s a little bit here and there I do, but
I’m not like the face or the name or anything behind it. What I
focus on is just finding other experts who are really good with
a certain topic or niche, but don’t have the audience that we
have, so we then take them, publish them, take their content,
package it up in a sexy package, and then sell it. They bring
the content, we bring everything they need. Our deals are they
have to be available for some promotional-type stuff here and
there. That, provide the content, and provide updates to the
content should things change, and then we handle all the rest.

Trent: It’s digital publishing promotion at its finest.

Sean: Exactly. It’s pretty much the same as a book publishing company
publishing somebody’s content just from a book perspective.

Trent: Only probably more profitable.

Sean: You got it.

Trent: Let’s go back to the very beginning when this business had not
done its first dollar of revenue. I didn’t know you back then,
so correct me if I’m wrong here, but I’m assuming that nobody
knew who you were. What did you do before this? I guess I should
ask that question.

Sean: I had owned a real estate company. I had a brokerage, an
investment firm. That company, I was in charge of all the
marketing, and managed all the agents as well.

Trent: By chance, was your very first product of this digital
publishing company a real estate training product?

Sean: No, but when I sold that business I thought that’s what I would
do. Just as a little side project, I started blogging about
Twitter. This was in 2008, and I got a website. It’s now defunct
and you won’t find it, but it was

I just wrote every day for 30 minutes. I’d spend 20 to 30
minutes writing a blog post about things I’d learned that day
with Twitter. I was really into Twitter, so I just though,
“Well, I’ll just write about Twitter, and do this for a couple
of months, and just see what happens. It will be fun, and it
will get my creative juices flowing,” so that’s literally what I

By the end of 30 days, it like really picked up. It was getting
tons of re-tweets on each post. People all of a sudden started
seeing me as an authority. I was getting over 1,000 visits a day
within a month to that website.

Trent: That’s crazy.

Sean: It is crazy, but if you think about it, I was on Twitter
building a huge audience on Twitter, and then writing about
Twitter and how I was building a huge audience on Twitter. It
really was just something that was really easy for them to
share, and at the time, nobody was doing it. Now, everything has
changed, and it’s not as easy as it was back then.

Anyway, that’s what I did and I just took off, so I thought,
“Wow, I should probably create a opt-in so that people can join
a mailing list.” I knew, with real estate, we had a big annual
list of people that were interested in buying or selling
properties. I knew kind of the value in that, so I thought,
“Well, I know there are some different products I can market
that I’ve been touting on the blog and earn affiliate
commissions.” That’s what I started doing, collecting an email
list, was getting an insane amount of opt-ins every day.

By month three, I think I started monetizing it. My first
attempts at monetizing were just sending out offers to products
and services that I used. They could be software, they could be
all different kinds of things, and I was getting, I think, the
first month or two like $1,000 or $2,000, so three months in I
was earning $1,000 to$2,000 a month by sending out a few emails
a month, and then putting a few in the auto-responders.

Then, I wrote a book on Twitter, about 120-page book, started
selling that, and by month three to six, I was probably earning
$3,000 to $4,000 a month in book sales and affiliate promotions,
and it was going up by a hair every month.

Then I met a business partner that I had at the time, Lewis
Howes. I don’t know if you know him, but he was doing the same
thing with LinkedIn. I said, “Dude, my audience can really use
what you’ve got, and your audience can use what I’ve got. We
should partner up and do some stuff,” and we did. That was kind
of the beginning of everything.

Trent: His course was the first product that your publishing company
brought to market?

Sean: Well, we were business partners for a long time and originally
we created some trainings together, and then we did the LinkedIn
training because it was just this simple little training. We
were selling mainly higher-end products like $500 to $1,000, and
sometimes $2,000.

Trent: People were paying $2,000 to get a LinkedIn course?

Sean: No, it was like a six-week live training, and a bunch of other
things, so they were paying that. They were getting consulting,
and some done-for-you-type stuff, and this, and a lot of stuff,
actually, for the money. We had a whole segment of our audience
that couldn’t afford all that, so we said let’s create this $100
LinkedIn training and we started selling that.

As soon as we did that, I realized there was some really good
revenue coming in from that, and I said, “We should publish one
on YouTube.” I had used YouTube a lot with my real estate
business and had tremendous success with it. I was getting,
literally, like five buyer leads a day from YouTube. If you’re a
realtor listening to this, you’re going to probably think I’m
full of shit, but our videos averaged about 5,000 views a video
because we did some pretty smart stuff with SEO for real estate.
It was really easy to get a property video up to the front of
Google at the time. Anyway, so it just crushed it.

I came up with an idea late one night, and I talked to my
business partner about it at the time. He was just like, “Maybe
we should find somebody else to produce it who is really kind of
an active expert in the field. Let them do all the content and
we’ll just focus on selling it.” I’m like, “Yeah, that’s a good
call.” We both knew James Wedmore. We reached out to him. He was
really receptive and open to do it, so that was our next

As soon as we inked that deal, I said, “Well, why don’t we do
Facebook as well if we’re going to do this and that?” We reached
out to Amy Porterfield that same week and got a commitment from
her to do FB Influence. That was how it all really began.

It was just this funny thing where we created this $100 product
and we did a product launch behind it and anticipated the sales
kind of dying down, and they ended up generating $300 to $400 a
day in revenue. I just thought, “Wow, if we had 10 to 20 legs,
different products generating this kind of revenue, that could
be great.” That was kind of the beginning of it.

Trent: I’m going to guess you’re probably familiar with

Sean: Did you say Early To Rise?

Trent: Yeah.

Sean: Yeah.

Trent: They’re doing $20 million a year in information products from
what I have heard. Obviously I’ve never seen their books. Would
you say that your model is similar? Exactly the same?

Sean: Yeah, it’s similar. We’re not doing that kind of revenue.

Trent: Where I’m going with this is they obviously…

Sean: Oh, this is Craig Valentine, yeah. Here are two things. This
space is fitness. If they’re doing $20 million in revenue,
they’re probably keeping about a million of that. This is a
ClickBank product. I’m just kind of giving you some insight. I
would rather have my business at one-tenth of the revenue and
probably similar profits.

Their business model, they have to give away the majority of
their profit. Actually, I shouldn’t be saying any of this. Never
mind. I won’t even go there. It’s just a high revenue, low
margin business. Craig’s a genius and he’s got this thing fully
automated, I think, for the most part.

Anyway, nothing bad to say about those guys. I don’t mean it
like that, but it’s just I chose to grow my business in a
different way. For me, I would rather have a smaller business
where I get to keep the majority of it versus… I have a friend
that has a company with 1,500 employees. Literally, he started
nine years ago, and now has 1,500 employees, and the revenue
they do is astronomical, but his salary, I think, is close to $2
million a year, and I think I can get there with 10 employees.

Trent: Yeah, I wouldn’t want 1,500.

Sean: Can you imagine?

Trent: Can I imagine…

Sean: Managing 1,500 people?

Trent: Well, no, because you’d manage five people that would manage
1,500 people, would be my guess.

Sean: Yeah, but, you still have… Anyway, go ahead. Sorry to derail

Trent: You damn hijacker, you. The reason I brought ETR up was because
my understanding from the interview that I listened to with CEO,
they’re driving paid traffic into the funnel and they convert it
profitably. I was using that as a segue to ask how are you
driving traffic to your various legs on this e-publishing
company? For you, it’s not one site. It’s a whole bunch of
different sites for the different products. How many products is
interesting to me, and you can throw that number out if you want
to, but what I’m really interested in is have you managed to use
paid media to evergreen the funnel profitably?

Sean: I don’t know if this was while we were on the air or off the
air, but remember when we talked, I was telling you how I was
just sitting in the water waiting for waves and thinking how I
had a lot of holes in my business? That’s one of them. The paid
traffic. We don’t do any paid traffic. All of our sales, and I’m
just looking right now to see if there’s any truth in what I’m
about to say, we do about, outside of promotional periods and
everything, probably in the ball park of $3,000 to $4,000 a day
in revenue, all from referral, word of mouth, repeat customers,
affiliate traffic, you name it. It just comes from everything,
so paid traffic is a big opportunity for us.

One of the problems we have with doing paid traffic is we’ve
never sold our products as this will make you rich. That’s the
kind of stuff that sells really well, and converts really well,
but we didn’t want to go that route. We’re not trying to make
anybody rich. We’re just trying to educate you. It’s a challenge
to pay for traffic and get it to convert when you’re not making
all these great and grand promises that send people over the
edge to buy.

That’s the deal. We are now getting into that, and we’ve done a
lot of paid stuff in the past, but we never stuck with anything
for one reason or another. That is a big focus for me.

In May, we started implementing… I needed to work on upsells
and a funnel after people purchased, offering them additional
things should they need it. We’ve got that dialed in at about 90
days that the revenues on the front-end sale are up about 80%.
If somebody pays me $100, the average customer is now paying
$180 within two weeks of buying our products.

Trent: That’s good.

Sean: Yeah, so I wanted to work on that prior to spending money, so
that if I now have to spend $150 to earn $100 back on day one, I
know that by day 14, I’ll generate $180 in theory. It could be
more, it could be less, because the traffic’s a little bit
different, but that’s the idea.

Trent: You’re working on it?

Sean: We just now, literally like the last couple weeks, started
running some small samples, but that, to me, is a way that I can
increase our revenues that we’re not currently doing.

Trent: Are you using Infusionsoft on the backend of your business, or

Sean: Yeah, Infusionsoft is one of the tools we use. We use that and
then, also, we do a lot of stuff with ClickBank.

Trent: You’re not using the Infusionsoft shopping cart. You use
ClickBank for payment processing and affiliate?

Sean: We do. With the paid stuff, we’re using Infusion, and with a
lot of our in-house stuff we use Infusion, but probably 60% of
our business goes through ClickBank.

Trent: Not that I’m any ClickBank expert at all, but it seems to me
like their business has also gone through a huge change in the
last 12 to 18 months.

Sean: In what fashion?

Trent: A lot less biz-opp, IM products.

Sean: Oh, yeah. They’re kind of moving away from that, which is good
because there are a lot of great products on there, and they
have a certain stigma attached with it. I couldn’t care less
what else is on there. Ninety percent of my customers have no
idea what ClickBank even is.

For me, it just makes my life easy because I don’t have to worry
about tracking sales, paying affiliates, issuing W9s, collecting
W9s, running reports, blah, blah, blah. All I do is just get a
check, and they handle everything for me. I don’t have to worry
about taxes. I don’t have to worry about European VAT taxes. I
don’t have to worry about state taxes. I don’t have to worry
about all these random things that often in Infusion is not
automated or set up for you. If you are successful, you could
have a government agency knocking on your door saying you owe us
a lot of money and you’re going to jail for not paying your
taxes. I love ClickBank for just that alone.

Trent: That’s a good point. We’re going to nerd out here just for a
moment, but Infusionsoft users will be able to appreciate this.
When you’re using Infusionsoft shopping cart and a purchase
happens that’s a goal in a campaign, you can trigger all sorts
of events off the satisfaction of a goal. Can you plug into the
API at ClickBank to be able to accomplish more or less the same
thing? Do you know?

Sean: Yeah, you can. The only thing we literally use Infusionsoft
anymore for is the shopping cart purposes. We have shifted to
our own email software that’s housed on our servers. There’s a
whole long technical story to get into, but essentially our
emails were going into spam. When your emails get over a certain
size, they start getting looked at differently by Gmail, and
Hotmail, and all that stuff. If you’re not getting 50% open
rates, often times a lot of your email will end up in spam.

Again, it’s really technical. I don’t want to get into it, but
we have our own servers now, so we have the APIs from Infusion
and ClickBank tied into our servers so that when a purchase
happens, it goes into an auto-responder within our own email
provider on our servers.

Trent: You said you still are using Infusionsoft’s shopping cart?

Sean: To process stuff, and we’ll probably change that shortly
because it’s way too costly to be using just for a shopping

Trent: Yeah. I’m confused because ClickBank is the shopping cart, so
are you…

Sean: There are two reasons for that. ClickBank, at the end of the
day, if I’m selling something with myself, on $100 product, I
see about $88 of it, or on a $97 product, I see $88. With
Infusionsoft, on our merchant fees, on a $97 product, I’ll see
about $94. It gets deposited into my bank account two days
later. With ClickBank, I think we have it set up to be deposited
every two weeks. Sometimes if you’re spending $3,000, $5,000 or
$10,000 a day, it’s nice to have that right back so you can plow
it back into it and not have to wait two weeks.

Trent: Absolutely. Again, I’m just trying to understand. You’re using
Infusionsoft shopping cart to sell your own products…

Sean: Yeah, when we’re driving the sales.

Trent: When affiliates are driving the sales, then… Got it. Light
bulb just went off.

Sean: There are certain circumstances where if we have an affiliate
that will do 100, 200, 300 sales, we’ll run that through our
cart and then we pay the affiliate immediately. They love it
because they get paid right away. These are our friends, so it’s
just like hey, we don’t want to run it through here and lose 5%.
All of that ongoing business, or that daily business, the
referral and all that stuff, that’s all run through ClickBank.

Trent: Do you have someone on your team that’s tasked with reaching
out to promotional partners on a regular basis, affiliates, and
saying, “Hey, let’s do a webinar, let’s do a promotion, let’s do
this, that, and the other thing”?

Sean: We don’t. A lot of guys I know do. We just don’t have that. For
me, that’s not our business model. We do some product launches
here and there, but that’s an easy thing for me to communicate.
I just call people I know that will promote it to their friends,
and then send emails out to… I think we have close to 10,000
affiliates, so we’ll just shoot an email out to those affiliates
and say, “Hey, we have this coming up. Here are some details
about it. Get involved if you want.”

Trent: All right, my friend, we have been an hour and 15, and I’ve
got, in nine minutes, another call I’ve got to get on, so I just
ran out of time. Actually, if you include our off-air talk,
we’ve been talking for two hours straight.

Sean: Oh, my gosh, yeah. I’ve got to get to work. I’ve got an
interview this morning for my podcast. I’ve really not done much

Trent: Well, you contributed a whole bunch onto the Bright Ideas

Sean: It was an honor to be on again.

Trent: Yeah, dude, it was a lot of fun. I thank you very much for all
the chit-chat. We’ve just got a couple quick things we’ll cover
off-air once I hit the stop button here, so don’t hang up right
away. Thank you very much. If anyone wants to get a hold of you,
what is the best way to do that?

Sean: I’m on Twitter, so that’s @SeanMalarkey. You can go to the blog
if you want to leave a comment there or anything, I see all
that. On Facebook, I’m kind of at my friend max. If you want to
add me there, I’d be happy to have you, and I’ll remove somebody
that I don’t really know or don’t see active. Just shoot me a
message if you would even if it goes to the other box. I’m
getting in the habit of checking that now because a lot of
people have been reaching out, so that’s very cool. Any which
way you want. Just Google me, you’ll find me.

Trent: Well, I sent you a Facebook friend request way at the beginning
of this, so you better add me, man.

Sean: All right, I will. I think I have to remove one person, but
it’s not too difficult.

Trent: That’s going to be a wrap for this episode with Sean. Thank you
so much for being on the show.

Sean: Again, thanks for having me, man. It was a real honor.

Trent: All right, to get the show notes for today’s episode, head over
to Now, if you really enjoyed this episode,
I’ve got to ask you a little favor. Love it if you would go over
to When you do, you will find a pre-
populated tweet. Would love it if you would share that with your
followers. Even more than that, would love it if you would take
a moment to go over to iTunes and give the show a five star
rating. The more five star ratings we get, the better iTunes
ranks us. The better our ranking, the more people get to listen
to the show, and the more Bright Ideas from proven entrepreneurs
just like Sean we get to spread out in the community.

Thank you so much. That’s it for this episode. I am your host,
Trent Dyrsmid, and I look forward to seeing you in the next one.
Take care and have a wonderful day.

About Sean Malarkey

Sean_Malarkey_04Sean is the president of Inspired Marketing, a web based Internet Marketing Education company that helps clients achieve their goals online through digital trainings on all things Social Marketing & Online Marketing.

Sean is passionate about marketing and helping individuals better understand how to market themselves online using social media.

Sean is also the host of The Money Pillow, a blog and podcast dedicated to making money while you sleep (and play).


Digital Marketing Strategy: Cliff Ravenscraft on How to Use a Podcast to Attract New Clients

Would you like to discover a way to more easily attract new clients, expand your professional network, and have a lot of fun in the process?

Sound too good to be true? It’s not.

Podcasting, if done correctly, can be an incredibly powerful tool for business development, networking, and positioning yourself as a thought leader (which is what content marketing is all about).

Consider this: in most any niche, you are competing with millions of other websites for attention. With a podcast, you are competing against only 200,000 podcasts in the entire iTunes store – most of which either suck, or aren’t updated regularly.

For the savvy marketer, this spells opportunity.

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by fellow podcast producer Cliff Ravenscraft, founder of Like me, Cliff is a marketer and avid podcaster. However, in Cliff’s case, his passion for and knowledge of podcasting is far beyond most, and that makes him an ideal guest to talk about a communications medium that we both love.

Listen to this episode to hear Cliff and I talk about:

  • how podcasting can be a very powerful business development tool
  • how to use podcasting to expand your professional network
  • how starting a podcast can help you to massively increase your reach and traffic to your site
  • why he started and how it changed his life
  • how his podcast earns him $20,000 to $50,000 a month
  • his biggest 3 Aha! moments from podcasting

Having now produced over 100 episodes myself, I cannot stress enough how much podcasting plays a role in my business. Thanks to the Bright Ideas podcast, my professional network is the best it has ever been. In just a few months, my show has gained a lot of traction in my niche, to the point where when I meet industry leaders at conferences, they say, “oh yeah, I’ve heard of you”. Trying to get this type of exposure by another means would be far more difficult, I can assure you.

Creating a podcast is incredibly easy and Cliff has put together a totally free guide which you can find at

He also has a coaching program that sells out every quarter and he’s been kind enough to provide my audience with a $100 discount. To take advantage of his offer, just go to and enter ‘Trent’ as the promo code. If you find that this course is more than you need, you may also want to check out two key courses that Cliff offers: WordPress for Podcasters and Inside the Studio: Equipment Setup and Podcast Workflow Tutorial. Both can be found at

Now that Apple has put the podcasting app onto the iPhone, listening to podcasts on the go has never been easier. Best of all, unlike consuming content in front of a computer, when your audience is driving, walking, working out, or training for their next marathon, they can listen to your show totally uninterrupted, and in this day of information overload, that is PRICELESS!

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Listen Now

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:

About Cliff Ravenscraft


In January 2008, after 11 years in the field, Cliff left his career in insurance to pursue his passion for podcasting full-time.

Today, Cliff is proud to work as a podcast producer and as a Podcasting and New Media consultant/coach. He has produced more than 2,800 individual episodes of more than 20 different shows, and is effectively sharing his life and ministering to tens of thousands of people around the world.

Learn more about Cliff at


Digital Marketing Strategy: The Top 3 Proven Strategies for Growing an Agency with Tony Mikes

Are you part of a small agency team with a burning desire to create a larger agency?

Do you wonder about the best strategy to grow your firm?

Would you like to hear from a veteran who’s owned agencies as well as consulted for over 700 others?

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by industry veteran Tony Mikes, founder of Second Wind, a firm dedicated to helping your company be a better agency.

In today’s thoughtful discussion, you are going to hear Tony and I talk about:

  • His 3 Step plan for growth
  • A process for how to make your agency more interesting (so you’ll get more business)
  • The importance of systems and how to know which ones to focus on
  • How to develop a Management by Objective (MBO) plan to guide your agency in the future
  • The biggest challenge faced by small agencies and how to address it
  • The top 2 services that agencies should be offering to their clients on retainer
  • A blogging strategy that will virtually guarantee your prospects see you in a favorable light
  • The top 3 trends Tony sees for agencies in 2013
  • And so much more…

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Watch Now

Download and Listen Later

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:

About Tony Mikes

tonymikesSecond Wind’s chief guru and managing director Anthony P. Mikes is a former advertising executive who spent twenty-five years managing and owning advertising agencies and graphic design studios. Mr. Mikes came to recognize the value of shared information as it relates to successfully managing an advertising agency. Second Wind (Mr. Mikes’ second life in advertising) was the result.

Eighteen years later, Second Wind continues to help its members succeed and grow by sharing its collective industry wisdom.

Mr. Mikes conducts agency management workshops, serves as a management consultant to individual agencies, and has addressed many advertising associations and trade organizations. He is also a contributing writer to numerous industry trade publications.

Mr. Mikes shares his industry know-how monthly in The Second Wind Newsletter, an overview of the advertising and design industry from the smaller agency principal’s viewpoint. You can read the compiled wisdom of Mr. Mikes in The Small Agency Survival Manual, LifeBlood: A 365-Days-A-Year New Business Plan for Small Agencies and The Account Service Bible.


Digital Marketing Strategy: Mark Cuban Wants You to Call Him

If you have a business problem to solve, wouldn’t you like to talk to another entrepreneur who’s already solved the same problem?

For example, if you’re considering raising capital, wouldn’t it be a huge benefit to talk to other CEOs that have already done it?

What about if you are building a SaaS company. Wouldn’t you like to talk to other SaaS CEOs or CTOs? Of course you would!

In today’s episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by serial entrepreneur Dan Martell, Founder and CEO of, a rapidly growing community of experts who are all willing to take your call to dispense business advice…and yes, you can even call Mark Cuban.

Dan and I had a really interesting conversation and when you listen, you are going to hear us talk about:

  • the two companies he has already built and sold
  • how he got the idea for
  • the first step that he took to discover if there was a market for his idea
  • some of the big mistakes that he made early on
  • how he overcame some of these major challenges
  • advice for other entrepreneurs on dealing with major setbacks
  • how to find and get introductions to the right investors for your company
  • the pros and cons of taking investor money
  • what Dan did when Facebook sent him an email that essentially put his prior company out of business
  • and so much more…

I thoroughly enjoyed my talk with Dan and you will, too!

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Watch Now

Download and Listen Later

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:

About Dan Martell

dan_martellDan is a Canadian entrepreneur living in San Francisco. He’s the CEO/Founder of Clarity. Previously he co-founded Flowtown (Acquired ’11) and Spheric Technologies (Acquired ’08), and he’s a mentor @ 500Startup & GrowLabs. Dan is an angel investor in 15 other companies. Find his full bio here.




How to Build a Million Dollar Advertising Agency with Brandon Borso

Would you like to be your own boss and work from home?

Would you like to run a million dollar company?

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by Brandon Borso, founder of Muscle Marketing Co, a billboard advertising company that sells advertising space to public companies.

In Brandon and I’s conversation, you are going to hear us talk about:

  • how his dad tried to talk him out of launching his own company
  • how he came up with the idea
  • how he landed his first client on the first call, and then spent his first 6 months failing miserably
  • how he made a massive shift in his prospecting that resulted in 95% of the people he contacted getting back to him
  • how he finds the contact information of the decision makers he needs to talk to
  • the steps that he’s taken to hit $1M in total revenue
  • and so much more…

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Watch Now

Download and Listen Later

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:

About Brandon Borso

profile_pictureIn 2008, Brandon Borso started Muscle Marketing as an a way to allow advertisers access to a specific audience, using a specific form of out of home advertising. Over the past 5 years his agency has expanded, giving small regional restaurants and Fortune 500 companies alike the ability to demographically target their core customers and speak to them where they live, work and play. Optimistic as to where the OOH industry is headed, integrating social and mobile with more traditional formats, Brandon looks forward to the future of advertising and plans to be part of it as he pursues a patent for a new OOH media format.



Digital Marketing Strategy: How to Launch a Podcast and Get 100,000 Downloads a Month with John Dumas

Have you ever thought about launching your own podcast but aren’t sure where to start?

Would you like to build a reputation as a thought leader in your niche?

In this episode of the Bright Ideas podcast, I’m joined by John Dumas of and in this interview you are going to hear John and I discuss:

  • why he started his show
  • his monetization plan
  • what he did to achieve 100,000 downloads a month so fast
  • how he got his explainer video produced
  • how he finds and recruits his guests
  • how he hosts his show
  • how he creates feeder podcasts to massively boost his exposure in the iTunes store
  • which parts of his business he outsources
  • his favorite tool for getting options from video
  • which tools he uses to record and edit his show
  • and so much more..

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Watch Now

Download and Listen Later

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:


Trent: Hey there, Bright Idea Hunters, welcome to the Bright Ideas
podcast. I’m your host Trent Dyrsmid, and this is the podcast for business
owners and entrepreneurs who want to know how to use online marketing and
sales automation tactics to massively boost their business. And to make
that happen, I bring interesting, smart, experienced guests on the show.
And on the show with me today is a fellow by the name of John, and I hope I
pronounce this correctly, is is Dumas?John: Dumas.Trent: Dumas, Dumas. All right.John: Right. I want to make sure you got it.Trent: John is the guy behind Entrepreneur on Fire, and he is also an
ex-serviceman, so maybe he’ll tell us a little bit more about that when I
hand it over to him here in a second, so John, welcome to the show.

John: Thanks, Trent, excited to be here.

Trent: So for folks who don’t know who you are yet, maybe you can tell
us a little bit who are you and what you do, what’s all this Entrepreneur
on Fire thing all about.

John: Sure, I’ll give you the quick background. Do you want me to go who I
am, or just Entrepreneur on Fire?

Trent: Oh no, no, no, who you are first.

John: So grew up in Southern Maine for the first 18 years of my life, then
I went to Providence College on an ROTC scholarship, where I spent four
years as a cadet and student. Then I graduated 2002 at 22, and was
immediately commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army, where I
spent the next four years as an active duty officer. Highlighted by a 13
month tour of duty in Iraq as an armor platoon leader, which means I was in
charge of four tanks and sixteen men, in Fallujah, Ar Ramadi, in Habbaniyah
[sounds like 2:03]. And in 2006, my active duty component was over, so I
entered the Reserves, and spent the next four years, a bunch of that time I
was traveling in Guatemala, India, and Nepal.

Then I started to get serious, and I started law school, but that
wasn’t exactly for me, so I jumped ship after one semester and got into
finance, corporate finance with John Hancock in Boston, which was great for
a couple years. Then I moved into an internet startup company in New York
City, which was a very good experience for about six months, until that

So then I decided to take off for the Gold Coast out in California,
San Diego specifically, where I spent a couple years out there as a
residential real estate guy, and then I moved back to Maine, almost two
years ago now, to take a job as a commercial broker with a local firm here
in Maine. So it’s my first return back to Maine after being gone for 13
years after I graduated high school, so it’s kind of a cool homecoming. And
I spent a year as a commercial real estate broker, but then just in June of
2012, I’ve really kind of had my own entrepreneurial aha moment. I was
driving around, realizing there was a niche that needed to be filled, so I
turned in my paperwork in June of that year, and started Entrepreneur on

Trent: Very cool. So I get, the reason that I wanted to have you on
this show is, I get a lot of people that e-mail me to say, you know, like,
‘I want to start my own show? How do I start my own show? What’s involved?
I like this interview model.’ and I thought, rather than explain myself,
I’d bring somebody else on who is doing the same thing as me. So we’re
going to get down and dirty, and I’m going to ask all the tough questions,
because I know there is a whole bunch of people who want answers to, you
know, ‘Is this a viable business? Can you make any money doing this, and
how do you set it up, and how do you get it going?’ So first off, are you
making any money yet?

John: Making some money, it’s not enough to retire early, but there is a
pretty steady stream of income coming in through different areas, such as
affiliate, and different sponsorships I’ve been setting up.

Trent: Okay.

John: So you definitely can make money in this, but not something that you
can just turn on on day one.

Trent: Correct. It does not happen overnight. So anyone who thinks you
can start your own podcast to make money in your first month, probably not.
I mean, you might make some money, of course, but probably not the most
realistic goal. You really need to have kind of a longer term view and a
longer term strategy, and I’m happy to share what mine is, but I’m curious
as to what yours is. Before we talk about, you know, how you create the
episodes and all that stuff. What is your monetization plan? Because you
don’t do this without a monetization plan.

John: You don’t. One reason why I really believe I was able to jump on the
scene with Entrepreneur on Fire, and so quickly gain such a large audience
and a large following is for a number of reasons, but one of those being
that there is a niche that needs to be filled. That niche was, Entrepreneur
on Fire is the only daily podcast that interviews today’s most inspiring
successful entrepreneurs. I knew that there was a lot of people out there
like myself, who are driving to work, who are exercising daily, that who
just really love and enjoy a fresh podcast, waiting for them every morning
when they woke up, so Entrepreneur on Fire was officially launched on
September of 2012, I had 40 episodes backlogged to make sure I was ready
for it. Since then it’s grown to garnering over 100,000 downloads every
single month in over 100 countries, and one reason I believe I was able to
jump into that niche so quickly is getting some monetization aspect of this
is that there’s no real clear path for a podcast to monetize.

It comes from with what you do with that podcast, which is grow an
audience, and actually today an Entrepreneur on Fire, MJ DeMarco of the
Fastlane Millionaire, his interview on my show went live, and his quote
that I really took, back when I interviewed him a couple months ago, it
really adds one of the major driving visions of Entrepreneur on Fire, is
that if you want to make millions, you need to inspire millions. And
literally if you look at my tagline on iTunes or Stitcher Radio for
Entrepreneur on Fire, right at the bottom my tagline is, Inspiring
Millions, because that is the goal of Entrepreneur on Fire, is to inspire
millions, and then everything else as far as monetization, I know, will
fall into place from that. And one reason for me, I was very fortunate with
some of my past business successes, I didn’t need to monetize Entrepreneur
on Fire from day one, and I haven’t really tried to do that. I’ve really
just been trying to build the highest quality, best podcast possible,
knowing that my audience, and the growth of it, will lead to bigger and
better things.

Trent: Very true, very true. So 100,000 a month within a couple of
months, that’s an awful lot of downloads. Was there anything particular
that you, aside from creating really great content that people love to
hear, and aside from producing an episode every single day, we’re going to
talk more about the behind the scene mechanics of that in a bit. Is there
anything else that you did that you think contributed to such a high volume
of downloads in a relatively short period of time?

John: I really subscribe to Michael Hyatt’s philosophy in his book that
came out recently called Platform, and so I really focused back in June
when I was starting. I just wasn’t going to start recording episodes and
then launching them, I really wanted to make sure I had my platform in
place. So I made sure that all of my social media was squared away, my
website was squared away, everything was ready, so that once Entrepreneur
on Fire went live as a podcast, people saw that it just wasn’t an interview
show, but it was an actual viable business, it really had all the blocks

And I actually have three full-time virtual assistants who help run
Entrepreneur on Fire, each of them are working 40 hours a week in different
capacities, one is my social media manager, another girl does all my admin
and designs, and another girl literally works 40 hours a week doing all the
transcribing of the podcast. So I really built this entire platform, so
that once people saw what Entrepreneur on Fire was all about, and they saw
that my pledge was to come with a daily podcast, and they saw the backing
platform behind it, they trusted that. And they began to know like and
trust me and my brand that I was building, and that just keeps them coming
back on a daily basis, which really keeps those download numbers steady and
a snowball effect, as more and more people are learning about it every
single day.

Trent: Now do you give a particular call to action in each one of your
episodes, do you think that causes any type of viralocity, you ask people
to go to the iTunes store and give the show a rating, there must, because I
know I have a certain call to action, and anyone who listens to my show
knows what it is, I don’t need to explain it here again, it will be at the
end, just listen.

John: I have called to actions in every intro and every outro. I have
changed throughout my show. I now have, as of today, 94 episodes have gone
live, and again, that goes up by one every single day, literally, I’ve done
over 150, in total now, that are in the, quote/unquote, queue, and I do
change up my call to actions, because I really have different messages that
I want to get across to my audience as my business grows, and as I develop
different products or different services.

So I’m always changing my intros and outros, but they always do have
that call to action, and a consistent one definitely is a rating and review
in iTtunes, or a favorite and a like in Stitcher, and because of that,
Entrepreneur on Fire has over 200 five star rating in iTunes, which is an
incredibly high number for such a young podcast, especially if you compare
it to some other podcasts that’s been out for years, that haven’t focused
on that, and therefore don’t have nearly as many.

Trent: So you mentioned Stitcher, and I have to confess, this is the
first I have ever heard of Stitcher . . .

John: What?

Trent: . . . so why don’t you tell us what that is, yeah?

John: Stitcher Radio is the savior for all podcasters. They are taking
podcasting to the next level on every single level. I just got back from
New Media Expo by Blogworld in Las Vegas, where I was asked to speak on the
podcasting track, on the state of podcasting, and about Entrepreneur on
Fire specifically. But one area that I did focus on, and they were there
representing themselves, was Stitcher Radio, who have, if you go to
Stitcher, I think it’s, or maybe, they have
. . .


John: . . ., like the best app of 2012, and all they do are
stream podcasts. You don’t need to download, it’s just streaming, but their
sole focus is on podcast, and the podcasting state in general, and the most
exciting thing they’d done, Trent, they’ve actually inked deals with Ford,
with BMW, with Chevrolet. Stitcher Radio is going into the dashboard of
these cars in 2013, so just like SiriusXM Radio, you can just turn to that
dial, you can do this thing now with Stitch Radio and go to Entrepreneur on
Fire, and go to Bright Ideas, and have that streaming in your car radio, no
longer porting your little iPod to your car, tuning your FM station, or
plugging into your outlet.

Trent: Very cool, you can bet I will be signing up for Stitcher very

John: They’re amazing.

Trent: Now to upload to Stitcher, like I use a plugin Blueberry that
automatically, just as soon as I publish a post containing an audiofile,
puts it up to iTunes for me, it’s very painless. Is there a similar plugin
to upload your stuff to Stitcher?

John: You give them your RSS feed, the same one that you have, and it’s

Trent: Nice, okay, easy as pie.

John: Yep.

Trent: All right. So let’s talk a little bit about some more of the
nuts and bolts, some things that I want to know the answers to. So you have
a pretty decent explainer video on your site, and for people who don’t know
what an explainer video is, go to, and you’ll find
the explainer video. It basically explains what the show is all about. I
like your explainer video, where did you get that done?

John: Thank you. I worked very hard on that, because back in June of 2012,
just when I was starting, I was at the prior New Media Expo, which was in
New York City, and there was a speech by Jason Van Houten about coming up
with your avatar, your target audience, who do you really want to be
speaking to with your business, with your brand. So I came back from that
and say, you know, I really want to build who I think I’m speaking to as
Entrepreneur on Fire, as a founder and host, of this podcast. So I went out
and I found a company, and they’re called that’s the name of
the website, and Priscilla, specifically, became my point of contact, and
we developed a script with complete visuals, voice overs, music, it
explained exactly who Entrepreneur on Fire was speaking to, and for me it
was this guy who I call ‘Jimmy’. And Jimmy was a guy that woke up in the
morning, who’s about to drive to work, he hated to drive because the radio
was horrible with Miley Cyrus and talk radio, he just couldn’t figure it
out, there are so many commercials. But then he found Entrepreneur on Fire,
and his commute to work and his daily exercise regimen just took a turn for
the better, because now he is consuming this passionate, motivational,
inspirational content, and it showed kind of his journey, after he found
Entrepreneur on Fire, climbing the mountain of success, and then driving
off into the sunset of inspiration, so to speak, so it was a really fun
video to make. It’s 60 seconds long, and it really helped me nail down who
I wanted to speak to. It was a lot of fun doing it, and I think it’s a big
help for people that kind of land on my site, not really knowing why they
did or what Entrepreneur on Fire really is all about, in 60 seconds it
really sums it up quite well.

Trent: And how much did you have to spend to get it made?

John: It was $3,500.

Trent: Okay. Now I imagine you probably get analytics on the drop-off
rate of that video, and I’m curious because I use a self-recorded, you
know, me in front of the camera video, and I don’t, one of the questions I
don’t have the answer to, because I look at my drop-off rate, and, you
know, it kind of goes down and then tapers off like most every other video
I’ve ever produced, and what I can’t figure out, because I get most of my
opt-ins from the home page, is A, does the video suck so badly that people
don’t want to watch it? or B, or is it so good they’re opting in before
it’s over? So with your . . .

John: You know, it’s probably the prior, but I can tell you what, have you
ever heard of LeadPlayer?

Trent: LeadPlayer? I’ve heard of it, I’ve never used it.

John: So my buddy Clay Collins developed LeadPlayer, which is incredible,
so you can use LeadPlayer on your website, and above, whenever you find
that drop-off rate starting, right before that drop-off rate, you can have
a pop opt-in box, and that will increase your conversions hundreds and
hundreds of percent.

Trent: Does that only work with You-tube videos, or does that work
with any video?

John: So it works with, I’m pretty sure it works with any video, but how it
works is it’s actually a widget on WordPress, as you download into your
Wordpress, and then it streams through YouTube on your site, and you can
customize everything about when that pop in, when that pop up, coming up,
etc, whatever, and what it says, and I think that they do integrate with
Vimeo and some others, I’m not positive, but YouTube for sure.

Trent: Yeah, well, it’s easy enough to change the video place holder
and put a YouTube video instead of my [inaudible 16:26].

John: Well, you should have it on YouTube anyways, because that’s the place
that, you know, people can just, can be searching for Trent, or for Bright
Ideas, and they come across that video, that should be available on YouTube
as well.

Trent: Yeah. Now I notice that you don’t do audio, or at least that I
was able to find, you only do, sorry, you don’t do video of your interviews
like I do, you only do audio, is there a reason for that, production cost?

John: Well, the reason for that really right now is because the focus of
Entrepreneur on Fire is just to produce a daily audio podcast for that
avatar, for that person who is driving to work, or just running along the
boardwalk, or walking their dog. However, I know the power of video, it is
something I absolutely want to integrate into Entrepreneur on Fire, and I’m
still like putting together the pieces, and giving my assistants more
[inaudible 17:16], or if I have the time to be able to set something like
this up, so you are definitely going to be seeing video become a major part
of Entrepreneur on Fire in the future.

Trent: Okay. All right. What’s next on my list, how do you find your

John: That is a very consistent question that I get, because especially
doing a daily podcast, I have people saying, ‘John, you are going to get
burnt out, you are going to run out of guests, you are going to burn out
your audience members’ and I kept getting this over and over again, and
none of this has come to fruition for a number of reasons. For one, when
people like look at me as doing a daily podcast, I literally do, it’s a
very taxing day, and I work really hard, and I’m very exhausted by the end
of it, but I do 8 to 10 interviews every single Monday, and that’s it. I do
nothing else the rest of the week when it comes to recording and editing my
podcast. So yes, it’s one very painful and long day, but I have Tuesday
through Friday, Saturday and Sunday if I’m working on the weekends, to do
all the other aspects of my business, and to rest and to recuperate, so
there’s been anything but burnout on my end.

And as far as finding guests, I literally have such a long list of
guests that I still want to reach out to, in the thousands, literally,
every time I get my Entrepreneur, Inc., or Fast Company Magazine, I’m
overwhelmed by the amount of people that I want to have on my show, every
time I watch Shark Tank, I get multiple e-mails every single day from
entrepreneurs themselves, or from PR firms, promoting their entrepreneur or
their client to be on Entrepreneur on Fire, just because, again, they’re
reaching an incredibly massive audience over, now as of, literally the last
couple of weeks, Entrepreneur on Fire has been downloaded at over 5,000
downloads every single day. So we’re more like a 120,000 clip for the
course of a month, again, in a hundred countries.

So I’m just getting inundated with people reaching out to me, and
just me seeing people out there in the universe, there’s an endless supply,
I just gave a ton of resources that I do currently use on another really
great one that I don’t utilize, because I just don’t YouTube, but I know
it’s there if I ever need to for whatever reason, it’s called Haro, H-A-R-
O, .com, Help a Reporter Out. And that is, I know Trent you said you don’t
what a, that is will be just the listeners that may not, you can literally
post a query. Like a month ago, I launched another podcast called The Great
Business Experiment. Kickstarter, where I interview ten successful
Kickstarter campaigners, and we talked about their kickstart in campaigns,
and what made it successful, and the failures that they had, and what they
would do differently if they could. And it was so easy for me to find these
10 people, they ran Successful Kickstarter Campaigns after I came up with
the idea for The Great Business Experiment Kickstarter, because I just
hosted this query on Haro that said, ‘This is what I’m doing, this is what
I’m looking for, I would love to hear from you.’ And I got 30 e-mails
within an hour of all great candidates, of which I cut it down to ten,
reached out to them, scheduled ten interviews for one day, recorded all ten
interviews, had the podcast up and live two days later, and it ran for,
well it’s now on its sixth or seventh week as a podcast, still number one
in the iTtunes new and noteworthy section, just getting a ton of downloads
and getting a lot of exposure to my brand, and to Entrepreneur on Fire as
well, which is my feeder podcast. So there’s a plethora of ways to get
quality people for any industry, so that’s a great hint for listeners that
are looking for gardeners, or scuba divers, or cat lovers.

Trent: Yeah, in the entrepreneur space, just think about how many
companies are being started every year. You could do ten interviews a day
and never run out of people, it is endless. I am so far behind in the
number of interviews that I’ve recorded versus the number I need to
publish. It’s not a problem, trust me, finding guests is not a difficult
thing to do.

John: But it’s everybody’s biggest fear when they start.

Trent: Yeah. So you mentioned this other podcast, are you planning on
continuing to produce episodes for both of these podcasts on an ongoing

John: No. So Entrepreneur on Fire will continue to be a daily podcast, the
Great Business Experiment Kickstarter was just a series of ten podcasts
that I’ve released, that’s now number one in the iTunes New and Noteworthy
section, which is by far the best real estate in the entire iTunes podcast
store. So that podcast will run for eight weeks, it will remain in that
unbelievable real estate at the top of iTunes New and Noteworthy, where my
intro says, ‘If you like this series of podcasts, absolutely check out
Entrepreneur on Fire, which is my daily show.’ At the end of those eight
weeks, I’m going to come out with another Great Business Experiment, which
is going to be The Dark Side of Groupon, where I’ve interviewed ten
companies that have horrible Groupon experiences, some of which lost their
companies because of it, and then that will run for eight weeks. And again,
eight weeks trend is the time frame that I use, because that’s the longest
you can be in iTunes New and Noteworthy, then you drop off into the abyss
of the thousands and thousands of podcasts that are there, so you can
really take advantage of the eight weeks you launch your podcast, to have
this incredible real estate, boom, people first log into iTunes, there’s
your podcast, and for me, I’m using it as a way for people to get great
content, but also find out about Entrepreneur on Fire.

Trent: Now I got into the New and Noteworthy section with Bright
Ideas, I honestly don’t have a clue what I did to get there. Do you have a
specific, repeatable strategy, because I’d love to hear it.

John: So it’s not difficult at all to get into the iTunes New and
Noteworthy. They allow the top 100 new podcasts, which means for iTunes
less than eight months from the published date, are considered new and
noteworthy, and they publish, or they promote the top 100 for those eight
weeks. There are really, really few podcasts that come out on a daily
basis, and especially there are really few, very serious podcasts that come
out on a very consistent basis, so it’s extremely easy to, A, get into the
New and Noteworthy, and then B, once you get there, you are literally in
the best real estate of the iTunes store. So people are searching, going to
the iTunes store to organically look for content, and they’re finding you,
and they’re subscribing, and that’s just kind of continuing the snowball

So the way to do it, is when you launch your podcast, you want to
launch with a minimum of three podcasts on day one. If you’re going to do a
weekly show, you need to launch with three podcasts, and then explain in
the intro, that you will be coming out with a weekly podcast every Friday,
every Tuesday, whenever it is. But right now you have three to begin, and
then form this point forth, this is going to be your consistency. And then
you need to reach out to everybody to your list, to your friends, to your
family, in the intro of these podcasts, and say, listen, I really need you
guys to take a second and to rate and review this specific podcast, because
the iTunes algorithm is number of downloads, ratings, and reviews, and
subscribers. So when you have three podcasts, someone is much more likely
to, ‘subscribe’, because they’re going to see three, than if they’re just
seeing one, they’re just going to press the play button and listen to that
one, and not become a subscriber. And then there’s also a math equation in
there. If you have a hundred downloaders in the first week of one podcast,
that’s one hundred. But if you have three up there, everybody presses the
‘download all’, just because there’s a button right there, makes it simple,
you’re going to have 300 downloads, and then you’re going to organically
move up in the rankings because of that, with your ratings and reviews,
helping you out as well, and people are going to find you, and your
snowball effect is going to continue to bring you up to the front, and
that’s exactly the methodology I used for the Great Business Experiment,

Trent: So you’re, it sounds like then you’re planning on every eight
weeks to launch another podcast, just to get this piece of real estate to
use it as a feeder podcast for your main show.

John: Absolutely.

Trent: And when you do that, because you need an RSS feed, do you just
do like a new domain and a basic WordPress install as a place to give you a
feed, and you don’t really build out the site because you’re not thinking
people are going to go there, or how much of that periphery do you work on?

John: I use, L-I-B-S-Y-N .com, which is short for short for
Liberated Syndication, as my media host. I host all of my media there for
Entrepreneur on Fire, and for The Great Business Experiment, Kickstarter. I
only copy the download link from Libsyn and post it in Blueberry, the
PowerPress, of my widgets, so I don’t host anything on, it’s all hosted through Libsyn. So when I published
a new podcast, I just start a new RSS feed, a new podcast within the Libsyn
community, and then publish that RSS feed to iTunes, to Stitcher Radio, so
it’s all within Libsyn, it has nothing to do with my website.

Trent: Okay, so the blueberry plugin has really nothing to do with
starting these extra episodes, or the new show, it’s just all within the
confines of Libsyn. Libsyn gives you the RSS feed, and then you publish to
Stitcher and iTunes.

John: Absolutely.

Trent: Saves a lot of work, you don’t have to build a site, you don’t
have to register another domain, branding, logos, all that other stuff.

John: Exactly.

Trent: Well there it is, there’s Trent’s golden nugget right there,
love getting the golden nugget in the show, that is. Fantastic, thank you
for that.

All right, I want to ask you now, so which gets more traffic at this
point, your website or your podcast in terms of downloads in iTunes?

John: So Entrepreneur on Fire is getting between 4,000 to 5,000 downloads
every single day, just from the iTunes Store. Stitcher Radio has their own
set of statistics, which you’ll find very interesting, Trent, because
they’re extremely specific. You can see the average time per listen, what
percentage people are dropping off at, the percentage of people that
actually start and finish pod, they have incredible statistics at Stitcher
Radio. And Entrepreneur on Fire is a really good way to look at exactly
what just a podcast can do for a website, because I have nothing else.
Entrepreneur on Fire is just the headquarters for my podcast, Entrepreneur
on Fire, and my website right now is getting about 600 unique visitors
every single day to it, and that’s solely being driven from Entrepreneur on
Fire, the podcasts.

Trent: Yeah, that’s kind of what I thought, because my downloads are
far, far, far higher in iTunes than they are on the website themselves. All
right, so do you find then that you’re having success in converting, like
how big is your list, your subscriber list so far? Because that’s a key
part of monetization. If you don’t have a list, it’s really difficult to

John: That needs to be everybody’s first step, is when they’re building a
platform, they have right, front, and center, there call to action on their
website, is a great giveaway, or a great reason for somebody to subscribe
to their e-mail list. Entrepreneurs on Fire had a very average one for
about the first three months of my site, just when I got back from New
Media Expo, I was collaborating with some people out there like Pat Flim,
Jaime Tardy of Eventual Millionaires, some other people in that area, and
they gave me a great idea to publish an ebook of the top ten insights from
the top ten Entrepreneur on Fire interviewees. So I created this ebook that
features Barbara Corcoran, Tim Ferriss, Pat Flynn, Chris Grogan, Seth
Goden, Gary Vaynerchuk, people who I’ve had on my show, who have given
great insights to Fire Nation, and I’ve condensed it into ebook, and now
right at the front center of my website, you see that, one of the first
things you see is join Fire Nation and receive my ebook. And so, before
that, I was getting pretty much between 15 to 25 e-mail subscribers every
single day, which was great, because I did have a good giveaway. But since
I’ve done that, and really mean a great giveaway, I’m getting over 30 e-
mail subscribers, and sometimes it’s into the forties and fifties every
single day, which has grown my e-mail subscriber list in just over three
and a half months, to about 1,200 plus subscribers.

Trent: Nice, very nice. All right, now you also have, we’re kind of
going back to monetization here, because these are all just questions that
I want answers to. You’ve got this coaching button, anybody buying those
coaching packages off you?

John: Yep, so again, when I started Entrepreneur on Fire, it was all about
focusing on building a leverage-able scalable business in a brand,
Entrepreneur on Fire, that was going to reach millions of people. So I’m
not in the business of trading time for dollars, that’s never been
something I’ve wanted to do, and because of my past successes in business,
it’s not something I have to do currently. So I accepted four people to be
coached by myself, and just actually this past January, one spot opened up,
which is why I reopened that coaching slot, but it’s actually already been
filled, so I need to close it back down now. So I have four people who I do
mentor on an ongoing monthly basis, so that is one way that I’m really kind
of engaging with my target audience, and really learning, from my aspect,
exactly what their pains and struggles are, so I can continue to provide
products and services for Fire Nation as a whole. But yeah, coaching is not
a focus, it’s not an area that I’m going into anymore than I already am in,
and just been enjoyable interacting, you know, one on one basis, on a
limited level, where the Fire Nation dance.

Trent: And what type of people are these people who are signing up for
coaching? Are they people who aspire to have a show, or are they business
owners that are looking to gain insight into growing an existing business?

John: Three of the people are looking to produce their own podcasts, I’m
giving them a lot of assistance there. One person is not really
specifically looking for a podcast anytime soon, but they’re going to be
having a blog and things along those lines, and they don’t currently have a
business, but they’re looking to become an entrepreneur, and to start their
first business.

Trent: Okay. So let’s go and talk about your virtual assistants, and
your post production process, because I’m curious as to how yours may be
similar or different than mine. Mine, I’ll explain very quickly, it’s
pretty darn easy. I use GoToMeeting, which we’re in right now, HDFaces,
which is, I think, about a hundred bucks a month for this piece of
software. I record the screen with ScreenFlow, I have a pre-roll and a post-
roll that I got off of Fiverr, so as soon as I’m done the episodes,
ScreenFlow saves the media file, I drop in my pre-roll and my post-roll as
soon as I’m done the interview, I do my little call to action, and I can
literally have the, and so then I save it all, I peel out the Mp3, that
goes into garage brand, because I put a different pre-roll and post-roll
for my audio file than I do for my video file, because video is visual,
audio is obviously for your ears, and I can have all of that stuff done
completely two versions, video and audio, edited and ready for upload in
about 20 minutes. And I was going to have a VA do that, but because I’m on
a Mac platform, most VA overseas don’t use Macs, which was going to
introduce a whole layer of extra complexity. Because they all a .mov file,
and ScreenFlow, you would have to actually export it, and then upload it to
Dropbox, and then they could down . . . by the time I’ve messed around with
all that, it was just quicker to edit it myself. How’s it different for
you, or how is it similar for you?

John: So what I use is Adobe Audition in Skype. So every single Monday
morning, my interview start a 8:00 a.m., and I have between 8:00 to 10:00,
running every 75 minutes. So somebody will call in, or I will call somebody
via Skype, I’m going to have Adobe Audition, which is the recording
software that I use, up and ready to receive. I have my little pre-chat
intro, and then I literally hit the record button, and then we’re talking
for the next 25 to 35 minutes, recording directly into Adobe Audition,
through Skype, and then when it’s done I’m hitting the stop button, and
then I’m actually just exporting that, as what’s called an SESX file, it’s
a session file, and I’m saving that for the future, because again, I’m
actually at a two month buffer right now, so I’m not immediately converting

Then at the end of that Monday, I do have these eight to ten
interviews that are complete, and I do personally go back, because at this
point, I’m just very conscious of releasing only the highest quality audio
and the best possible show that I can, so I do go back, and if there is any
talking over each other, I record on a separate tracks so I can take that
out, any excessive ums and ahs, or background noise, I can silence out, and
I make it a really tight, clean, audio version of it, save it once again as
a final SESX file, and then I just store it Dropbox for when I get to that
point, a week or two out, for when that show is going to go live. Then I
take it back out, whatever my intro and outro was going to be at that time,
whatever call to actions I’ve decided that I want to use at that specific
date, I will implement, convert it into an Mp3, upload it with the artwork
and all these show notes, and the titles, etc, to Libsyn, and schedule its
release. And so right now I have the next ten episodes are scheduled to be
released on Libsyn at 3:00 a.m. every single morning, so I can literally go
to Tahiti for ten days and come back, and each one of those ten episodes
will automatically release, corresponding with Entrepreneur on Fire where I
have show notes up every page, going be published at 3:00 a.m. the exact
same time. So as soon as that podcast is released from Libsyn to go live to
Stitcher and iTunes, and Zune Radio, which is Microsoft, my blog is also
being released and going live on my website.

Trent: And you have to schedule Libsyn, and you have to schedule your
post in WordPress, the two don’t, one does not talk to the other, there is
no sync there, is there?

John: No, they do not talk to each other.

Trent: Okay. It’s interesting that you delay the, it’s a good idea,
actually, that you delay the final editing, so you know what the call to
action is going to be, because you have that buffer, and that’s a good idea
for me, because I’ve been putting them in the can right away, as soon as
I’m done, because I use a fairly standard call to action at the end, and it
doesn’t allow me the flexibility to know what I might want to talk about
at, closer to when that episode is going to publish, so I might have to
switch up my strategy a little bit.

Now with Adobe Audition, that piece of software runs on Mac or PC?

John: Yes.

Trent: Okay, so that helps with the, if you want to outsource, most
outsourcers using PCs, so you wouldn’t have the issue that I have in using
ScreenFlow. There was one other question I wanted to ask you, and now it’s
slipped away into oblivion, so hopefully it will pop back into my mind a
little later on. Oh yeah, when you replay, I mean, you got eight episodes
that you’re doing on a Monday, and you’re going to listen to them all again
to remove ums and ahs? For folks that are only listening to the audio
version of this, and you didn’t see the image of John basically just held
his fingers to his head like a pistol, and more or less metaphorically said
he’s crazy, which I agree. You’re out of your mind, man, that’s way too
much work.

John: I am, although I will have to be honest on one point, is that I
really am a big believer in keeping it as natural and the conversation
flowing as possible. So my Entrepreneur on Fire audio podcasts typically
run about 25% of me talking, and 75% of my guest talking, on average. It
differs, some’s 80/20, some’s 70/30, what have you. I pretty much just keep
whatever my guest is saying, completely normal. Most of my guests are very
well-spoken, they know what they’re doing. What I’m mostly doing is going
through my audio because for one, it really improves me as an interviewer
and as a speaker, to hear myself speak, and to see the little ums, ahs,
ands, so’s that I’m really saying, and these maybe repetitive words like
awesome, or wicked, cool, because I’m from Maine, you know, things along
those lines that, you know, things that just really crop up again, and
again, so that improves my self-speaking, and it’s only about 25% of that
30 minute audio. And another thing that I really just do is sometimes you
ask questions, and I tell my interviewees take as long as they want to
think of an answer, so it’s normally not that long, maybe it’s five, six
seconds. That kind of sounds like a lot of dead air when you’re listening
to it in the car, so I can just very quickly, it’s called a ripple delete,
it just zips those right together so it almost seems like a seamless
answer. So I would say each time I do an interview, and I’m editing that
interview, it probably takes me 20 minutes to do a complete edit, which is
still a significant amount of time, when you’re realizing that I’m doing
eight of these in one day. But it’s not like I’m sitting there listening to
the entire interview, I’m really skipping over those big chunks, of when my
guests are giving these long, great answers, I’m not listening to that at

Trent: You’re the only one that I have talked to in our space that
does that. I don’t think Jaime does that, I know Andrew over at Mixergy, I
know he doesn’t do that, because I’ve been on the show, and he’s like
super, super minimal on what he does, they don’t even put links to their
website’s guest on the actual post, sorry, yeah.

John: Most people are very proud about the fact that they don’t edit, and I
am very proud of the fact that I produce the highest quality podcast on a
daily basis that I can possible do.

Trent: Yeah. Well, good on you, because we all got to have our
differentiators, right?

John: Yeah.

Trent: All right. So last three questions. What are you most excited
about for 2013?

John: Podcasting. Like I said, I went to New Media Expo in June as a, well,
as an attendee, I guess is the best word, and attended all the podcasting
tracks in New York City, and it was good, but there wasn’t really that much
excitement, and I was fortunate enough to be to attend New Media Expo in
Las Vegas this past January of 2013 as a speaker. I don’t know, if you
wave, if you wanted me to . . .

Trent: No, no, there’s a fly flying around my mouth, and I’m trying to
swat the damn thing away.

John: In the podcasting track, see I would have edited that out, incredibly
smoothly, in my podcast, but it’s a kind of a cute little thing (?)

Trent: I won’t bother. I won’t bother.

John: And the podcasting tracks were packed. There were hundreds of people
at my speech, as a new podcaster, whereas is I was going with some of the
bigger podcasters six moths prior, and there was 22 people in the room, so
there is this certain buzz that’s going on about podcasting, people are
just realizing the reach, the accessibility, the passion, the targeted
content, on demands, smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi, they’re really seeing,
that both audio and video podcasting are just reaching an incredible amount
of people. I mean, a show, which is why I’m really excited to get into
video later on this year, is because now people can literally be looking
down at their smartphone on a train, and there’s great Wi-Fi, so they can
be streaming this video, without, you know, having to rely on 3G or 4G,
which probably would be a little choppy. It’s just really exciting where
that’s going, and the expanse that is happening. People are finding out for
the first time ever about podcasting every single day, and they’re falling
in love.

Trent: Yeah, yeah, I agree, I love it, I have no end of fun doing
these shows. I absolutely love having interesting guests on, having these
conversations, and they’re so easy to record and share, I think it’s a
wonderful medium. And now I’ll tell you, in my business life, never ever,
ever ever, did I think I’d be a talk show host.

John: Right, yeah, me neither. I mean, now, I had no experience.

Trent: No, definitely not. What books, or book, are you reading right

John: So I just interviewed Robert Greene, who wrote the books 48 Laws of
Power, and his most recent release is Mastery. I was an American Studies
Major in college, I love history, and this guy goes back and talks about
the most historical figures . . .

Trent: Does he ever.

John: . . . of our world, I’m talking, you know, the Napoleons, the
Edisons, the Benjamin Franklins, you name it, it gives you a different
angle on these people’s lives that you can’t get in biographies or from
history books, and pulls out incredible life and business lessons. I love
his writing, he’s the most in-depth serious writer, I think, of our
generation in a lot of ways, and I can’t get enough of him. I love him.

Trent: I was stunned at what a dick Ben Franklin was. He, nobody liked
that guy, at least not initially.

John: He was just too serious, in like a real quick story, that Robert
tells that Benjamin Franklin went over to London to work in a press, and
they always had this beer fund, because they would take five beer …

Trent: Yeah, that’s what I was referring to.

John: And Ben’s like, ‘I’m not going to pay, I don’t drink, I’m not going
to pay my meager salary for you guys to drink and waste your time, let’s
get some work done.’ And all of a sudden he started seeing all these errors
coming up in his work that he’d already proofed, and he realized a valuable
lesson in life, you need to just accept certain things and become, and join
the herd in certain areas, otherwise you’re going to be sabotaged.

Trent: Yeah, yeah, and that’s, it was an interesting read for sure.
For people that want to get in touch with you, what is the easiest and best
way to do it, Twitter, e-mail, or your website, which one?

John: is definitely my headquarters, that’s where
everything happens, all of my podcasts are aired there, all my social media
platforms are easily linked to there. I know the word entrepreneur is very
difficult to spell, so I actually also own the domain, which
will get you to my website, that’s a nice little short way of doing it. But
yeah, you can go there, check out the podcasts. You can go to iTunes and
just type in entrepreneur on fire, and you can subscribe to the podcast
right there, everything is very accessible, and I have everything linked up
on Entrepreneur on Fire for the home base, so that’s the first place I’d
say to go. And my e-mail is I love getting e-
mails, so go ahead.

Trent: There you go. Well all right, John, thank you so much for being
on the show. I learned some really good things, got to go get myself a
Stitcher account, maybe delay my editing a little bit so I can put in some
more time-sensitive calls to action. And I’m not using Libsyn, but I’m
going to check that out, because the New and Noteworthy, right, if
definitely, when I got new and noteworthy, my downloads really, really took
off . . .

John: Oh yeah.

Trent: . . . and continued to do so, though I don’t think I’m in New
and Noteworthy anymore, maybe I am, I haven’t actually checked.

John: Because you produce good content that people stuck with.

Trent: Yeah, and then that’s another thing too, by the way, if you’re
listening to this, and you’re thinking of starting a show, people will
write you if you do a good show, people will write you all the time to
thank you for doing these shows. I guess they perceive that this must be a
great deal of work, and I guess the dirty little secret is it’s really not
that hard, I actually find it much easier to produce content this way than
I do to sit out and write a blog post, I think for me that’s a lot of work.
So if you’re thinking about doing it, go for it. It’s a lot of fun, you’re
going to meet a lot of interesting people, it’s the best networking tool on
the planet, as I’m sure you know. I mean, we get to have one one one
conversations with all these thought leaders that charge insane amounts of
money for their time, and they do it for us for free, because it gives them
exposure as well, and I think that’s, another one of the reasons why I
think it’s such a fantastic medium to use in your business.

John: I’m having Suze Orman on my show.

Trent: How did you make that happen?

John: I will give you the e-mail of her POC.

Trent: Cool, because I’d like to have her on too.

John: And for your listeners, Trent, they should know that you are going to
be a guest on Entrepreneur on Fire, and we get to hear your journey as an
entrepreneur, your failures, your aha moment, what you’re excited about
right now, your vision for the future, and of course, I’m going to put you
through the lightning round wringer of five, incredible questions that are
going to produce nuggets of invaluable information.

Trent: I will say this, if you want to hear about my failures, you’re
going to need longer than 35 minutes. So you’re going to have to take your

John: Oh, love it.

Trent: All right, thanks so much for being on the show, John. It’s
been a pleasure.

John: Thank you Trent, it’s been great.

Trent: To get access to the show notes for today’s episode, head over
to Another URL that you’ll want to check out is traffic, enter your e-mail address and you’ll be
given free access to the massive traffic toolbox, which is a compilation of
all of the best traffic generation ideas that have been shared with me, by
my guests here on Bright Ideas. If you’re a marketing agency owner, and you
want to get access to the 2013 Marketing Agency Industry Report, head over
to report, that’s 2013 report.

So I’m your host, Trent Dyrsmid, that wraps up another episode of the
podcast. If you really enjoyed today’s podcast, please head over to the
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and the more people that become aware of the Bright Ideas podcast, the more
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very much for tuning in, I’ll see you in a future episode. Take care.

Recording: Thanks very much for listening to the Bright Ideas podcast.
Check us out on the web at

About John Dumas

JohnDumasHeadshotJohn Lee Dumas is the Founder and Host of EntrepreneurOnFire, a daily podcast that interviews today’s most inspiring and successful Entrepreneurs. EntrepreneurOnFire tells the journey of the spotlighted guest, sharing their early failures, AHA! moments, and insight into what is working for them now and why. Every show ends with a 5-question “Lightning Round” that pulls priceless nuggets of information from these incredibly successful Entrepreneurs.