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[E4C42] Podcasting Profits & The Power of Your Single Motivating Purpose – Internet Business Mastery – Jason Van Orden

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I am so excited to have Jason Van Orden on this week’s episode because he has taught me so much about podcasting, and it’s a real thrill to be here in conversation with one of my earliest mentors!

Jason has a passion for helping people use online media to attract attention, make an impact, and get paid to do what they love. To date, he’s helped over 5,000 entrepreneurs live their dream. He’s a co-host of Internet Business Mastery, the first-ever, longest-running Internet marketing podcast. Jason is also the author of the bestselling book, Promoting Your Podcast.

In this interview, Jason shares his ‘aha!’ moment – the moment when things seemed to click into place, and he knew that he was going to quit his office job to live his dream business lifestyle. He also reveals the life-changing moment when he realized that he was never going to go back to the 9-5, that there was a niche that he could actually fill, and how long it took him to become a success. It wasn’t overnight!

In this episode you will discover:
• The 1 important thing you need to do if you are going to succeed as an entrepreneur
• The secret of attracting your ideal customers, and where to find your prospects
• How to generate a 6-figure income from your podcast – and it isn’t from sponsorships
• The 1 crucial thing every podcaster needs to know about their audience
• The secret of iTunes’ search rankings, and the key things you should be doing in order to be highly visible in iTunes
• Why staying true to your vision and yourself is vital for success, how not doing so can harm your business

Mentioned in this interview

Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Natalie Sisson – The Suitcase Entrepreneur
John Lee Dumas – Entrepreneur on Fire
The Joe Rogan Show
Pat Flynn – Smart Passive Income

Where to Find Jason

InternetBusinessMastery.com
The Internet Business Mastery Audio Blogs
Concise Best Tips in Under 15 minutes
Internet Business Mastery on iTunes
Internet Business Mastery on Stitcher

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Lorna: Hello there, Jason. I want to say what an honor it is to have you here with me on the show because I first started learning about podcasting from you. And I consider you to be one of my early mentors in my internet business journey so I’d love for you to introduce yourself to the audience, who are you and how did you get started with your business.

Jason: Yes. So, as you said, my name is Jason Van Orden. I am a co-hosting co-founder of InternetBusinessMastery.com. That’s what most people know me from today, which is the longest running Internet marketing podcasts started in 2005 and we help people to launch their business online and get out of that job that they hate. We help them discover what their strengths are, what they want to offer most to the world and then start a profitable business that’s both fulfilling for them and also get some lifestyle that they want to live, and that’s something we’ve now done for over 5,000 entrepreneurs through our academy training. But it wasn’t always what I thought I would be end up doing but it certainly what I love doing most today, is to help people live lives of increasing freedom, fulfillment, and purpose.

Lorna: Yeah. I do remember the days when I was listening to your podcast from my corporate cube just thinking about how you guys really gave me the will to live. And so, your show really inspired me to be an entrepreneur. I’d love to ask you what inspired you to be in business for yourself, was there an “aha” moment that led you to start the company that you have now?

Jason: Yeah. If you were to ask me even 10-15 years ago when I was in college and coming out of college, I had to idea that that’s what I would end up being as an entrepreneur. It’s not like I was selling lemonade when I was 5 years old or going door to door selling little crust or something. I’m just doing the traditional thing the society had taught me to do. But it didn’t take long after a couple of years of being a cubicle worker to realize that that just I wasn’t happy. I’d hit the snooze button five times in the morning. I’d have that Sunday dread feeling of “Oh, no. It’s time to go bed, get up in the morning, and go to work.” I felt like my time wasn’t my own and that just gave me a lot of anxiety and frankly drained all my energy and left me little depressed about life. I can see it’s really it. And I thought that maybe I just needed to grow up and become more of an adult and go numb like everybody else.

But thankfully I ended up reading a book that somebody gave me called Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which is very popular at that time. And I’m sure many people listen to this, have either read that or maybe they have read Four-Hour Work Week or $100 Start-up, or one of these books that opened their eyes to other possibilities. And for me, that was Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It wasn’t really heavy on action ability. It wasn’t actionable content, but it did give me a vision of the fact that I needed to be a business owner in order to be able to create the life that I really wanted.

So, that was the “Aha” moment as far as I’m unemployable. But then, I’d say it was a two or three-year process of learning and seeking and finding mentors and trying different things and dabbling in real estate investing for a while and then discovering that I was good at marketing and discovering I was good at consulting and doing consulting for a while and you know, every step was a new “Aha” moment about myself, about the strengths that I had, about the kind of life I really wanted to live. I learned real estate investing did not make me happy.

But teaching other people did, and so I started gearing myself towards businesses that allowed me to do that. And my consulting and seminar working around marketing is what led me to eventually discover marketing on the Internet to reach more people. So, this would have been around 2004. And then, in early 2005, podcasting came up on my radar and the “aha” moment there was that this was going to be a significant technology that would give people a voice and have a huge impact in terms of branding, marketing, teaching, communications, and I wanted to be the world’s foremost expert on business podcasting and that’s exactly what I did for the next three or four years.

One of the few podcasts that I started during that time, Internet Business Mastery took off and became incredibly popular and that is now where is my fulltime pursuit because I enjoy it so much. And it was a new channel and a new approach that wasn’t the usual guru on the mountain approach to teaching Internet business and it seemed to really resonate with people. And so, we realized eventually we had a business on our hands.

As now, there was one “aha” moment, I was like, “Oh, I’m an entrepreneur today.” But it’s like definitely, it’s serious of probably a dozen different “aha” moments that have led to where I am today. And just like I said earlier, increasing freedom, fulfillment, and happiness in my life and my business and that’s exactly what I tried to bring to others now too.

Lorna: So, in the beginning of your journey, did you experience what a lot of early stage entrepreneurs experience, which is a bit of a roller coaster journey before you settle down to the business idea that you really found yourself passionate about that actually took off? I mean I know, I speak to a lot of entrepreneurs and it seems like lot of folks out there who are in business for themselves like even some of the people that I really admire like Natalie Sisson of the suitcase entrepreneur, for example. She’s talked about her entrepreneurial journey as being a wild roller coaster ride. And a lot of folks in the Internet marketing world that I have met have said similar things. Was it like that for you? Did you have a lot of ebb and flow of income and things that totally bond, companies that you failed at?

Jason: Yes, absolutely. And any entrepreneur tells you that it’s otherwise is either lying or I was just conveniently living out the truth basically.

Lorna: Really, really lucky.

Jason: Right. Yeah, you know, there are some people get lucky and have an early success and maybe seem extremely like everything they touch is golden but eventually, they’re going to have their downturn as well. It’s just the way that it comes with the territory.

So, what I tell people is that if you’re going to be an entrepreneur, one of the most important things you can do is become comfortable with discomfort and uncertainty. And the more that you can do that, the more you’re going to thrive. The more you can learn to trusty your own instincts, your own creativity, and your own ability to rise to the occasion no matter what comes and figure it out and overcome the fear, the doubt, the overwhelm that naturally comes with that, the better you’re going to do. And I’ve absolutely had those moments, where I thought, I quit my job cold turkey in 2003, which kind of a crazy thing and not many people do that. But I knew that I was willing to do whatever it took, cash out my 401k, live with my parents, get some credit cards, get rid of cable and eat out less or whatever. And that was all stuff that I did because I knew I had to figure it out.

Now, that said, three years later, I was still trying to pay my bills and make ends meet. I guess that was 2003-2005 maybe. So, the first couple of years definitely where I was still wondering whether or not I have to go back and get a job. I actually cut out for this. And thankfully, if I had a moment when I got this email that it was for a marketing product that I had created, I’d held the seminar, made money off if I had 25 students sign up at $200/piece, and then I had the foresight to record that and turned that into a product because I learned about information marketing and I was now trying to sell it on the Internet. And at that time, there’s no podcast, no social media, with the Facebook wasn’t even conceived in anyone’s minds yet. So, like forums, forums were where people talked and had community. And so, I posted articles to forums.

And one person found one of my articles with the little sales invite call to action at the bottom click through. It was somebody I didn’t know. It wasn’t my mom. It wasn’t my dad. It wasn’t my best friend. Somebody I didn’t know that it bought this program and I got this email from PayPal saying, “You’ve got money.” And that was a life changing moment. It’s what I call my money milestone. And in that moment, I knew that I was never going to have to go back and get a job. I knew that if I done it once, I get to a five times, ten times or hundred times and that I would figure it out. I’d figured out how to identify an audience, create value for them, and have somebody be willing to pay for that value, and that’s all that entrepreneurs do.

And it hasn’t been all smooth sailing since then, but I know that whatever happens, if something tanks, I’ll just find another audience. I’ll find another value or I’ll figure out what I did wrong and I’ll just keep going.

Lorna: Okay. So, that’s really fascinating. So, what year was this when you hit your money milestone?

Jason: So, the money milestone would have happened, that would have been in 2005. And so, 2005 was kind of a pivotal year. I had that money milestone. I discovered podcasting and started some new stuff in podcasting. A lot happened in that year.

Lorna: So, between the time that you quit your job cold turkey, and when your business started to actually generate a sustainable like a profit that you are happy with, how long was that time period?

Jason: Yeah, it was somewhere between, I would say it’s about 3 or 4 years.

Lorna: Okay, folks. Do you hear that? This is one of the most successful Internet Business Marketers that I know. And it took him 3 to 4 years, so don’t feel bad and don’t give up. [Laughs]
Jason: Right.

Lorna: All right. So, now that your business is like taking off and thriving, I’d love to know what your typical day looks like.

Jason: Well, now, my typical day currently I live in Paris, France. And a lot of mornings, I’ll wake up, first thing in the morning, I was fortunate for many years there not to have an alarm clock. Now, my alarm clock is named Sissy and this two-year old daughter that I love dearly and around 6:37, she gets me up. But I love the fact that I can spend some time with her in the morning and then we have the means to have a live-in nanny to help take care of her. And so, when her nanny gets up, then I get to sit down and I either look at my list of things to do and I typically try to start hitting some content creation right away, start doing some writing or some outlining of content first thing. I find that creative power first thing in the morning is a good time to tap into things and not get distracted by email or by brushfires that can come by all the typical things we might do like “Oh, let’s bring up Facebook,” or, “Let’s bring up my Gmail,” or whatever.

I’ll typically spend the morning doing some content creation of some sort and getting a lot of things outlined because I’m about 8 hours ahead of my business partner, who’s in the United States mountain-time. By the time he showing up his desk, it’s about 2 or 3 o’clock in the afternoon my time. And so he’s starting to look over stuff that I’ve outlined or put together and put his input and his take on those things as well. And usually, mid-afternoon like I might go for a bike rider on Paris is one of my favorite things to do and my wife and I will go grab when they use city bikes that’s basically you get a membership and you grab a bike from a station, ride it across Paris, and drop it off at another station, then come back. Have dinner with my family and then I typically will do a little bit more work in the evening, another hour or maybe two just because of the time zone shift. So, I just put my schedule around that, but around dinner time, and then after dinner, I am spending time with my family and then wrapping up a few things and deciding what I’m going to do the next day. That’s my typical day right now.

Lorna: Wow! You’re giving me such nostalgia for Paris! I was an exchange student in Paris in ’93.

Jason: Oh, nice!

Lorna: And I used to just love to take a bus to one end of the city and walk along to the other end of the city and that would take me got like two and a half hours and it would be so beautiful and I just really enjoyed that.

Jason: Yeah.

Lorna: Such a special place.

Jason: Absolutely.

Lorna: Help me understand how your business may or may not have evolved since I knew you because I remember the program that I invested in was Traffic Attraction Formula.

Jason: Yeah.

Lorna: Is your business still primarily online courses or what other training programs do you sell?

Jason: Yes. So, our main training program, and we focus on our audience, is mostly people just getting started in Internet business. And we sell training to them, that’s an A to Z how to get started online. It starts write upfront with let’s design your lifestyle. Let’s figure out what is it you really want so you create a business that will provide for that. Because the worst thing you can do is start a business and neither find out you hate it or even worse it’s successful and you hate it. So, we make sure the people start a business that they love so they actually keep going until it succeeds. And then we teach it’s everything from what’s your niche in creating a brand and getting online at social media and a website and all the way up to selling your first product.

And that’s the bread and butter of what we do. The program that you invested in is very similar though it was focused specifically on how to launch a podcast to create that brand. Whereas most people will teach something like blogging just because there’s less logistics with it though podcasting is definitely having a big resurgence these days in terms of popularity of people starting them, but it’s always been around that idea, “Let’s help people just like the same where we were in the early 2000s. 2002 – 2003, both, my business partner and I who didn’t know each other yet, we’re stuck in a job that we hated and we knew what it was like to go through that and have that journey of figuring it out. And so, we speak to an audience that’s a past version of ourselves and share with them our journey and everything that we’ve learned along the way to help them achieve a similar lifestyle and freedom for themselves. And so, that’s everything from digital courses that go up to then full blown coaching, group coaching experiences where they get increase to access to us through email and maybe even live masterminds and things like that.

But the big part of what we sell is digital products because it’s scalable. We can help more people and it allows us more flexibility in our lifestyle as well.

Lorna: How do you attract your target customers? How do you find and get in front of people who are early-stage entrepreneurs? I can imagine there’s a bunch of people that are still in cubes, dreaming of the day that they can kick down their cubicle walls and claim their freedom. And there’s other folks that might have already left or they’re just trying to do all the Internet marketing on the side. Where do you find these folks?

Jason: Well, the biggest source of prospects and traffic for us since the very beginning of Internet Business Mastery has been content marketing, which is all the big buzz word now. All we need is we were just creating a show that was fun for us and that we were hoping some people would listen to it, but like I said the end of taking off even more than we ever expected. But it’s always been the podcast. It’s been the podcast that we’ve put out every week now for 9 years.

Lorna: Oh, God! That’s dedication. Wow!

Jason: We’ve been doing it a long time and it goes into iTunes and it goes on our blog. It shows up in Google. We’ve been around long enough. I think we get a lot of word of mouth now. But it’s all about our content that is geared to attract that specific prospect and the people who find and listen to our show by the time they decide, “Wow! I got to do this,” “I really want to do this,” “I’m getting to know like I can trust these guys,” “I think I can do it,” “I want to start an Internet business,” “I want that freedom that they’re talking about.” From our podcast, we get them on the email list. And then from the email list, we can move them towards being a buyer. But it’s been the content from the very beginning.

We do some blogging as well, but it’s always been primarily podcast. We actually have two podcast shows now and then we do a bit of blogging. But it’s just creating great content for a very specific audience. It solves their pain and their problem and then proposes a solution to them.

Lorna: What’s your other podcast?

Jason: We just recently started a podcast called The Internet Business Mastery Audio Blogs. The main show comes out every Wednesday and that’s like an in depth discussion on various topics. But we noticed in the statistics – we did an experiment last year just to repurpose content to get more traction out of there. Whenever we do a blog post, we would do an audio version of one us reading whoever wrote the post and we put a few of those into iTunes and they extend to be sure just because this blog post or 500 to 1000 words and so these posts, these audio blogs were 10 or 15 minutes instead of like 45 minutes like our main show.

And we noticed that there was a big increase in the numbers for the downloads of those shows, and it was actually quite surprising. We didn’t expect that. It’s hard to know exactly why there was such an increase. In some cases, it was double the downloads of the main show. And in some cases, it was maybe 30% more but significant nonetheless. Our best theory is just that the way that everyone’s attention is fractured these days because we’re all carrying smartphones and we all have broadband connections in our pocket all day long and we have so many things fighting for our attention. Shorter is becoming better and more in demand, more efficient for people’s time.

And so, we decided, “Let’s start a full on, separate feed called the Audio Blogs every week in addition to our main show. Then on Friday, we’ll have a separate feed where we have what we call our Concise Best Tips in Under 15 minutes and people have really been enjoying it.

Lorna: Why did you decide to split it off into a separate podcast? Why not just blend it into your main show?

Jason: Yeah. There are arguments for going both ways. And if you’d ask me, maybe 5 years ago, I would have said just keep it all in one feed and don’t split up your statistics and make it more convenient for people. Well, you know a part of it isn’t an experiment, honestly. When we first started and even for the first several years, we were one of the handful of people talking Internet business. Since 2009, that has changed significantly.

And in the last two years, they’re like the proliferation of shows, and our specific market has been immense. And we wanted to see what would happen if we launched the brand new feed and from scratch, got a ton of five-star reviews and put in a lot of effort into putting out, if just frequent consistent content right from the start and just do all the things that we taught about how to launch a podcast and see what would happen.

And then, also, just to have a second touch point in iTunes as well. A second show that comes up and maybe have our logo show up in more than one place when people do search as it look at the top lists. So, it’s probably an experiment to see how that goes.

Also, I think sometimes people appreciate being able to have the choice or separate them out, they’ll just turn on a podcast and just listen one show after the other. And if that means it’s a long show followed by a really short show and then another long show, I don’t think they’ll find that as convenient as if they’re like, “Ah, I just want to listen to some short.” I’m going to bring up their audio blog feed right now and listen to that.

Lorna: Great.

Jason: But I can probably make an argument the other way, too, so I don’t have like a definitive answer for you really.

Lorna: Okay. But I just start turning my video series into like audio and pushing that to my main podcast. Yes. So, I have these one-hour interviews and then it’s followed by maybe a couple of 5-minute short audio clips. That’s interesting. So, I might play around with your suggestion.

But I’d love to take you to your early days of podcasting because I remember you just mentioned that you had started several podcasts. Did it take you awhile before you found the one that really stuck?

Jason: Yeah. And like I said, when I discovered the podcasting, I wanted to become the foremost expert on business podcasting. I saw a huge potential there. But nobody was talking about podcasting other than just key bloggers. And blogging hadn’t even hit the same stride that it has today.

Podcasting for sure was like this thing almost like a little underground like ham radio type thing. That’s the best thing I can compare it to. And so, when this word podcasting showed up and I went searching for Google said, “Did you mean,” and suggested a different word because Google didn’t even know a podcasting was yet.

All I could scrape up were just a few of these highly technical blog posts about enclosures and mp3s and sampling rates and RSS feeds. And thankfully, I had an audio in engineering background so I understood that stuff, and it’s like, “Well, look I think this is going to grow and people coming in whether for a hobby or business purposes.” They need something a lot easier to learn how to do this.

So, I started a podcast about how to podcast. And there were a couple of others at the time. Mostly, it’s just interviewing other podcasters and I don’t think anybody, in my opinion, there wasn’t any blogger or podcaster really doing a good job of doing it in layman’s terms. That’s why I started that podcast.

And I had a site with the tutorial that did very well and it’s still at top result. In fact, I could check right now. But I’m pretty sure it’s still the number one result in Google for how to podcast. And these days, it’s a lot easier to find these tutorials and things online.

So in addition to that how to podcast show for fun, I just started one because I just wanted to just figure it out. I didn’t want to just be a podcaster podcasting about podcasting. I wanted to have something else. So, I decided to start when just for fun. At that time, I had just recently moved in New York City and so many of my friends were just fascinated about what is it like to live in Manhattan. So, with that, “Well, I’ll do a show about living in New York City.”

Now, I only ever did 10 or 11 episodes of that show. It’s called Don Cast. I don’t think it exists anymore online. I’ve since let it expire. But that was kind of like, “Hey, I’m just going to get this thing started do something that I just think is fun in order just to figure the process out.”

So t hose are my first two ones: one, totally for fun to figure out the process, and then, a podcast to start positioning me as a podcasting expert. And then, about that same time, I had these two men mastermind with the friend back in Utah we’d get on the phone every once in a while, and that’s Jeremy, who’s my co-host.

Today, we just happened one day to decide, “We should start a podcast together. What do we want to do it about?” Well, let’s do with something that we think is fun.” We talked about anyway Internet business. “Well, how can we to be different in anybody else out there?” They all have Ferraris and big mansions that they’re standing in front of saying, “Come. Learn how I made millions and billions of dollars online.” We’re like, “Well, we won’t say that.” We’ll just say, “We’re making money online and we’re just two normal guys, so listen to our journey if you want. We’re just going to talk about these things,” and they’re really resonated with people.

And now, when I think, Jeremy and I just wanted a project to do together. Again, we didn’t think it was a business. Since then, it’s taking off and becoming immensely popular and become a business. But those are the three different podcasts that I started in. And at some point, Internet Business Mastery took over our schedule so much so that we both made the strategic decision to set other projects aside and to really let this business grow into the potential that it had.

Lorna: So given that there’s been a bit of a podcasting renaissance, and it’s gotten a lot more kind of noisy and competitive in the space, so it’s a little bit harder to stand. There are so many different shows that are now vying for people’s attention. Which is better, to have a show that really talks about a wide range of topics or to have a highly targeted show?

So, an example of a show that talks about a wide range of topics might be the Joe Rogan show. It seems like he just has people on who he is really interested in speaking to. But the subject matter can kind of really range widely. Or, do you think it’s just better to have the one show about this particular niche? What do you think?

Jason: Well, it depends on your goals if you’re doing it for fun, if you’re doing it to supplement a brand you already have or if you’re trying to start a new brand and make money with it. And somebody like Joe Rogan, he was, at least to my knowledge, already a comedian with somewhat of a following. And so, this was a way for him to cut out some of the middlemen in between him and his audience, the places he had to, it’s just an example, like let’s say comedy central and wherever outside the comedian might appear to get in front of his audience. Now, he could talk to them directly about the projects and things that he had going on, the things that matter to him.

I don’t know all his reasons for starting that. Clearly, something like the NPR is just looking to supplement their current brand and make it easier for people. The people already know about NPR. People already NPR for what they’re doing. Somebody that’s more just like you or me that — and we’re maybe just trying to establish our self for take our expertise or our brand or our authority to the new level, I think you’re way better served to be very, very, very, very specific about the audience that you want to reach, which was a mistake that we made early on.

In fact, we talked far too broadly about internet marketing. We thought, “Oh, well, we want everybody to get a little something out of our business or out of our podcast.” So, we talk about eBay, we might have an episode that was targeted toward somebody who was a marketing executive at a company. And then another time, we’d be talking to a beginner, and another time, we have an inner media thing. And eventually, we said, “Okay. Wait a second. This is all over the place.” And it was when we surveyed our audience. We thought about, who do we really want to reach that we decided. Now, this is for beginners. We are going to make a show for beginners, people just starting out.

And so, if the topics are too advanced, where we want somebody who was like us stuck in a job, they want to get out and they just want to get started, and that really, really helped us to be more clear in our content to resonate more with our audience to have them feel like, “Wow! This really is for me.”

And I think Joe Rogan knows specifically who his audience is as well. He just has different goals. And certainly, entertainment type comedy thing, it’s a different thing than say like a non-fiction topic where you’re trying to be an expert.

If you’re going to make money and do something like a podcast like what we do, then that’s you’re going to have to be very, very specific about who you want to reach.

Lorna: Okay. So, that’s really good advice.

Now, as you probably know, and as I’ve discovered, podcasting can be a lot of work. I found, for the amount of work that I’ve been putting into producing these podcasts, I found that I was hoping to get more traffic from the more listeners. But it’s been bit more of a gradual increase in listenership than say, for example, what John Lee Dumas was able to accomplish just massive downloads like hundreds of thousands of downloads like every month. And so, of course, he was kind of like a machine for the first six months of producing daily podcasts.

But I’d say like for everyone else like for the rest of us, how long does it take to really start seeing a strong viable listenership to the point where you can actually start making money from the podcast?

Jason: Here’s the good news, is that when we started making pretty good money like good money, six figures from our podcast, I’d say we only have – what’s that?

Lorna: Just for the podcast alone?

Jason: Yeah, for the podcast alone.

Lorna: From what? From advertising?

Jason: No, no. From selling our own products.

Lorna: Okay, go it.

Jason: John Lee Dumas makes good money from advertising, but he has hundreds of thousands of downloads because he does a show every day, so multiplied by 7, what most people do, which is just a weekly show, right.

So, the point I want to make is that like we only have a list of maybe an email list because that’s where you ultimately make the money as getting people on that email list. We had an email list of around 3,000 people back when we launched our first coaching course and it would have been like 2007 I want to say, early 2007. And we made, I think that thing brought us like $80,000 that launch. Okay.

Lorna: Was that your first launch?

Jason: Well, no, my first launch ever as an entrepreneur. But the first launch for Internet Business Mastery, yes.

Lorna: Okay. So, you’d be podcasting for two years and during that time, you were able to track that you grew your list directly from your podcast to 3,000 people during that time.

Jason: Correct, yeah.

Lorna: Wow!

Jason: Now, a few things have changed since then. I mean, this niche of a business and particularly internet business, like I said, since 2009, it has exponentially grown, the competition. Now, this isn’t the case for every niche in iTunes. It all depends. And there are still plenty of markets out there that even if they have several podcasts, a lot of them aren’t very good or a lot of them haven’t stuck around.

However, as you can imagine, your podcasting and marketing and Internet business like those things all kind of go hand in hand, so our market is one of the ones that’s along with like tech and like geek culture or a couple of ones that have had podcasts for a long time, and so they have grown to the point now where it’s an immense competition.

So in order to standout, you got to do something that everyone else isn’t doing whether that’s targeting a specific audience, whether that’s in your format, something now John is a great example of doing that. He said, “Okay, fine. I’m going to do one every day. Nobody’s doing that. I’m going to do one every day.” And so, that’s why he stood out.

Now, he’s had crazy growth. It’s astonishing, the growth of his [27:51]. I don’t know that anybody could do the same thing and get the exact same results right now.

Lorna: Yeah. Is he for real? Is he human? He’s not.

Jason: Yeah! I met the guy. And sometimes I wonder that, too, myself. And he works hard. By any means, diminishing what he’s done, he’s worked hard. He’s smart. I think he made some very savvy decisions and then I think he’s had a lot of very good fortune along and hit some things just to the right moment as well with what he’s done.

But it’s not like you can just mimic what he has done and get the same exact results per se. The point I’m trying to make there is you have to have reasonable expectations as well, how long can it take. It’s going to depend on which niche you’re in.

If you’re coming into a niche where podcasting is more relatively new, you could actually grow quite quickly. But again, the most important thing is you got to know who specifically your audience is and you got to be doing something to stand out.

Look, like we all have only so much time to listen to podcasts. And I’ve only got one or two. And this could be different for everyone, on my iPhone, I’ve got like 4 podcasts right now, and only one of them is a marketing podcast. And that just happens to be right now, and so, I got to be very judicious about which one am I going to give my attention, and it changes. It changes every once in a while.

You got to have something to stand out in your brand or else you’re going to get drowned out and not found through. And it’s not like you just going to launch a podcast in iTunes and get a following. That was the case maybe five years ago. Now, you’ve got to work a little harder at it.

Lorna: What are some strategies to launch a podcast and maximize your visibility and traffic? One thing that I discovered, which I wish I did differently, is I wish I came out with my podcast with like seven episodes so I can push them out right away.

I had a bunch of episodes ready but I still like drip them out like twice a week. And so, if I were going to do all over again, I would send back like maybe ten podcast episodes and the week that I launch just push all ten out like one after another and get all the guests so like start promoting that launch week just to optimize my possibility of showing up in the new and noteworthy section of iTunes.
So I’d love to hear with some of the strategies that work for you in growing your podcast traffic.

Jason: Yes. So, back in 2007, I figured out that iTunes basically works like a search engine, like Google. And search engines want two things. They have one primary goal, and that is to give the people who are using that search engine the best stuff.

Now, the definition of best stuff I think can be broken down into two categories. The most relevant stuff and then the highest quality stuff. So if I search on Google about how to move to France, like for me to keep using Google, I want to feel like Google has up at the top of the results giving me something that’s very specifically targeted to moving to France and something that is high quality related to those topics that I can go on and look at, and it’s the same thing inside of iTunes.

Now, Google has been a search engine for a very long time, very successful search engine has gotten quite sophisticated in the way that they do their algorithm. iTunes, as it turns out, is still quite simple in the day to day look at. And now, I think they are improving that all the time. But it’s pretty simple what they look at to determine what’s the most relevant and what’s the most authoritative or highest quality content. And as far as becoming the most relevant is it’s choosing which category that you’re in.

Now, there’s only limited number of those that you can place yourself in but you can put more than one category inside of your feed that you want to be listed in. it’s choosing very carefully the keywords that you put for your title, for your author, field, and for the description for your podcast so that if people search, if you have those keywords in your podcast, that’s how iTunes is going to know that you’re relevant to those keywords. And so, you have a higher chance of coming up onto those categories or for those searches or as being indicated as being related to or relevant to a particular topic.

And then, as far as being seen as high quality content, it’s pretty simple there, too. Its ratings and its reviews and it’s to how many people have clicked on the subscribe button within iTunes because iTunes has no idea of how many people total are subscribed to your podcast because people could be subscribing to your website or other Stitcher or other players.

But what it does know is how many people have clicked on that subscribe button on your listing page within iTunes, in the last, well, all time. But I think they’re looking specifically in the last several days how many people. So, it’s kind of a rolling ongoing thing as far as popularity.

So one of the best things you can do when you are launching a new show is to get people in there, anybody you know. And if you certainly, if you already have a following on social media or email, you got to get people in there, click in that subscribe button and leaving you a five-star rating and review.

With this brand new show that we just did, we set a goal for April. We said we want to get 50 ratings and reviews and we did. We hit that and that’s because we invited our audience. We told them, “Hey, this is why we launched a new show for you. You told us this is what you wanted. We’d love to get this out just many people as possible.” We gave them a bit of an incentive. We said, “Look, if we hit 50 reviews in April, then we’ll release free training about how to launch a show successfully online specifically a podcast.” And so, we got that. And so, that’s helping us start to pop-up in the new and noteworthy and what’s hot lists and things like that.

I like your idea of having multiple shows episodes already in the feed because it’s one thing to show up in iTunes. And iTunes probably does look at the fact of like how consistent you are. But, it’s one thing to have people see you in the new, noteworthy, or into what’s hot lists. But if they click through and all they see is one episode, I know to some people, that’s going to kind of say, “Maybe, these people aren’t really dedicated at this.”

But if you have like four or five, I think you’re much more likely for people to go, “Oh, this looks cool and looks like they got a bunch of content here and they’re doing it consistently.” And so even if back date some of those episodes, so it’s like you have five weekly episodes showing up through your blog feed, that’s going to look a lot better and encourage more people to subscribe to your show.

Lorna: Great! I’m kind of curious since you work with so many inspiring entrepreneurs and basically, walk them to the process of starting an internet business. I’d love to ask you, what is the fastest type of Internet business that an aspiring entrepreneur can start?

Jason: The fastest to make money?

Lorna: Yes!

Jason: Well essentially, entrepreneurship and making money in any kind of venture is getting the right offer in front of the right people. So, picking a specific audience, finding what their pain is, creating a solution for that pain and getting that offer in front of them such that they believe that your offer will solve the pain for them. You know I talk about how we launch Internet Business Mastery with content marketing. And the truth is like content marketing, very, very, very effective for converting people and overtime, is very effective for building a brand. But it’s not going to be fast. It’s not like you’re going to start a blog or a podcast or a video show today and have sales. In most cases, you’re not going to like have sales this month.

So if you want to make money fast, it’s got to be paid traffic or you have two choices, paid traffic or joint venture traffic, meaning that you’re partnering with somebody who already has an audience and he’s willing to let you piggy back essentially off to the relationship that they have with that audience and promote you to that audience and that’s typically going to mean you’re giving them a percentage of the money from the buy up.

You got to be out there buying traffic through something like Facebook and then you’ve got to have a good product to sell to them. Now, the fastest way to have a product to sell to them is going to be to pick up an affiliate product that somebody else has already made. Meaning that you don’t have to take the time yourself to go out and make the product and decide whether or not it’s going to work or not.

Now, that said, it can be tricky. I know a lot of people or I don’t know a lot of people. I do know of people who have done that, basically, sent paid traffic to affiliate products and they make money at that. Because they keep on top of what affiliate products convert and they are good at highly targeting people through paid ads. Stuff like Google AdWords has gone harder because it’s more expensive and so it’s harder to recoup your money and then make money. Something like Facebook ads or maybe even ads on Twitter is going to be little more reasonable like doing that.

It’s been a long time actually since I’ve paid ads and sent it directly to affiliate products. But it’s just on the basic principles of you have to get traffic fast and you have to have something an offer fast to put in front of them in order to make money fast. Well, that’s the direction you’re likely going to need to go if you want to attempt to make money fast. However, chasing money fast isn’t always in the long-term the best route to go through what I have been.

Lorna: What do you think is better? I always get this chicken and egg question, is it better to build an audience first, and then, build the product, so you, let’s say, figure out like what audience you want to hang out with and then start creating content and then eventually, figure out what product that they would be interested in buying and you offer that to them?

Or, do you think it’s possible to build a product first like, let’s say, a high end online course that you want to sell for about $1,000? Do you think it’s possible to build that and sell it without the audience first?

Jason: Well, you can sell it without the audience, but you have to have traffic. I think that’s an excellent question. That’s a really, really good question because it gets to the fundamental of how to make money online. And again, it goes back to creating value that solves the pain of a specific audience.

Typically, for most people, the answer I would give is to start with the audience. And the reason for that is it saves you from a lot of pitfalls. Particularly, if you’re a less experienced entrepreneur, it’s very easy to fall in love with your own ideas, to fall in love with your own product. It’s very easy to come up with the product idea and then spend months and months and months working on it without even really having a clue as to whether anybody actually wants it.

And so, I find that typically when people start by thinking about the audience and at least spending a minimal amount of time engaging with the audience either online or in real life through conferences, meet-ups, clubs, whatever, that they’re going to do a better job but then picking a product that that audience is actually going to want to buy. That said it’s important.

I talked about that money milestone and it’s something we encourage our students to get you as quick as possible because we’ve seen it. It changes their entire perspective even if they only make $5. It completely changes their perspective to have made that money online. So, I do think it’s best to start with the product but then try to get to a sale as quickly as possible.

Now, if I were to amend to just a little bit the answer I gave earlier, you know, another way to make money quickly is consulting or coaching because that’s something you can sell now without having to put a lot of time in the creating a product. And basically, somebody has to believe that you over the next given amount of time through a weekly phone calls one-on-one or group calls or whatever can then help them and guide them to a specific result. And I think that one-on-one work while not scalable is incredibly valuable for learning what your audience wants and then you can leverage all that knowledge and the testimonial of that person or people into selling a product versus your coaching services later in the future. So, that would be another fast way to make money would be with coaching or consulting of some sort.

Lorna: Yeah, definitely that I would say like going the dollars for hours route is certainly like the quickest way and you don’t even need a fancy website to do that. You can do that on a free Weebly site or wordpress.com and then boom! You get your services up and running.

Jason: Right.

Lorna: But I find it like the whole value of actually building that audience first is there is a certain amount of credibility that you develop for yourself if you we’re hanging out with the group of people or market niche and they know you. And if you’re producing content that they see and they value and they appreciate, I think in the long run, they have a relationship with you. And it really kind of builds the trust. So, I think it’s kind of more challenging to, let’s say, come out with a high-end course, for example, without an audience, and then try to go to leverage paid traffic and then go from a hello to a $1,000.

But I’m really curious about like if you know of any entrepreneurs that might have done that successfully, or if you have done that successfully, and what worked for you?

Jason: Yeah, everything you just said I agree with and there were certainly a bit of that with our first product. But like I said, it was about 18 months or so into having a product, has only launched their first product and we did to have a list of 3000 people definitely built at that point.

Now, the conventional wisdom [Indiscernible] [40:37] to sell first like what we find entry level product. We never asked them to buy before, it had been free information for 18 months and it’s one thing to have a bunch of adoring fans and an audience that appreciates everything you do and it’s another thing to actually get them to buy from you and to train them to expect to buy from you and that there’s a value in what you have to offer. We came up with the $2,000 coaching course, and most people would have thought that was kind of easy as the first 4A and the selling to an audience that had been getting free information for over 18 months.

But like I said, it’s sold out. And it made us almost $80,000 in that first launch. So, if it’s the right offer in front of the right audience, it certainly can work and earlier this year, we had an incredibly successful launch where we had people from our podcasts buying coaching for $6,000 from us.

So it’s certainly possible to sell that high-end stuff. You need to have the empathy for what your audience really, really wants and hit dead on the value that they’re looking for and then obviously, have that credibility that the value is there. And all that audience building is what brings you that insight into your audience and brings you that credibility and relationship such as it’s much easier to get them to want to buy from you.

Lorna: Yeah I think a critical component of this picture to you, which I wish I did much better in my previous endeavor, which is really cultivating that subscriber list. So, you have regular communications with them so that they know you’re real person and you’re available so that like in marketing industry terms, you have “responsive list.” So, I’m curious to 3,000 email subscriber list that you had, did you consider them to be highly responsive like do you have any idea of like what that means in terms of open and click-through rates?

Jason: That was a long ago, I’d have to go back and look. I know we were getting open rates of over 50% at the time, which is incredibly high really.

Lorna: That’s really, really good.

Jason: Yeah. And a lot of people, they get depressed when they see 30%, and I tell them, “Look, like 30 is not unheard of in most industries. It’s when you start getting the 15% or 10% or lower, you got to start wondering what are you doing to…?”

And so, that is to say, like I don’t know the specific numbers but they were highly engaged and here’s why. This was warm, warm, warm leads. If you think about what it took for them to get on that list, they had the desire or something in it that said, “I want to go and see what I can listen to about starting a business or probably even specifically the same. It might be cool to start an Internet business, but I want something different. I hate my job.” And for whatever reason, somebody got them an iPod or iPhone for Christmas or they already use the iTunes or whatever, like they have said, “Let’s look and see what podcast there are,” and so they search and they find a bunch of podcast on the topic. And for every reason, ours sticks out and they go, “I’m going to listen to these guys.” And then, they listened to an episode or two or three and then often, if they like it, they start devouring them over a good amount of time.

And so, at some point though, they’ve listened to that and every episode, we invite them to go and sign up for our list. And so, that means they went from walking their dog and listening to an episode to write there either on their phone or when they got home going to our landing page that we put in the call to action for every show signing up for the email list, getting those emails over time, or opening those emails, reading those emails, clicking then through to the offer.

So, by the time they get to the offer, these people, they know us. They like us. They trust us. It’s not like we just sent them from an ad and this is the first they’ve ever heard from us. The people on that list were highly targeted prospects.

Lorna: So hey, we’re about coming to the end of our episode. And I could continue talking to you for a long time. But you got to wrap it up. So, I’d love to leave with you, so my last questions, can you tell me, Jason, what the biggest mistake you’ve made in your entrepreneurial journey was that you do differently if you had another chance?

Jason: Yeah. It’s a very interesting question because, on the one hand, it kind of reminds me of the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” where the character gets to a point where he’s all like depressed and feeling like he’s messed it all up and then he goes back and see it’s kind of look how that some of his life has actually led to a lot of interesting things and impacted people’s lives.

You know you asked me about the Aha moment early on that I had, and that really was a series of Aha moments and I continue to have them and it happens over years. And many times, as Aha moments come because I ended up in a situation that I hated, that wasn’t working well that some might call a failure or something that I really messed up.

While there are some things that I could go back and go, “Well, that wouldn’t have been really nice to avoid some of that pain or some of that lost money or some of that.” At the same time, it’d be a weird thing if we had like some simulator that day, we could say, “Hey, what if I erase this event from my life, what would my life look like?” And we might be surprised to know. It’s like, “Oh, there’s a huge lesson I learned from that that I didn’t even realize then. How I not learned that lesson and all these other good things would not happen,”

That’s why I actually have a hard time wanting to go and say, “Oh, I wish I had just like done this completely differently because I think that where I’m at now is the sum of many, many things.”

But let me give you one answer just to satisfy the question. That’s a really good one, and that is I would say, we had huge growth between like 2005 – 2009, around 2009, I think we had a good amount of success and we wanted to enjoy our hard work over the last four years, and we stopped innovating. We stopped trying as hard with our show. We kept doing the show but definitely we stopped being as true to our voice and we started comparing ourselves to other marketers who are doing things in other ways.

Making more money than us, and we thought we needed to do it the way that they wanted to do it. In fact, we talked to a lot about this since Smart Passive Income episode 100 with Pat we go really into depth on it if people want to hear more about that.

But I’d say it was a good two years where we weren’t true to our self, we weren’t true to our voice, we weren’t true to our audience, and tried to do things in a different way and we fell into a number of traps that set our business back. And I wish I could go back and not have allowed that complacency to happen for those couple of years because that happens to be those two years also where a lot of people were coming up on our heels and starting new blogs and new podcasts. And so these days like the growth is not as big as it was in the first few years when podcasting was brand, brand new. And 100 times less people doing what we’re doing than now.

So, I think that would be the one thing I’d say. You got to be true to yourself and not get distracted from that.

Lorna: Here, I completely and totally 100% agree with you. It’s so important, and especially if you’re an entrepreneur, to be true to yourself. You will save so much time energy and money just by doing that one thing.

Jason: Agreed.

Lorna: So, what is the most effective way to change the world?

Jason: The most effective way to change the world is to first figure out what it is that you have to give to the world. Now, we all have, it’s a concept, we call the Single Motivating Purpose and it’s essentially a statement. And in fact, we have whole process in our course about this. It’s a process you go through that the statement that sums up in one phrase, in one statement what it is that you love to do most, the strengths that you bring to the world and how you can make your biggest impact in the world.

And for me, my phrase is I get up in the morning in order to share knowledge and resources that help others to live lives of increasing freedom, fulfillment and purpose. And my business allows me to do that.

Now, my business is only one place I manifest that. But by now, you using that as a compass in my parenting, in my volunteer work, in my business and everything that I do, I find that not only am I happier and more fulfilled but I also make a bigger impact in everything I do because I have taken the time to appreciate and discover my strengths and let go of the things that I’m not good at and amplify in everything that I do the stuff that I’m really meant to do, if you want to say it that way. So, find that purpose and then use it as a compass and just manifest it in everything you do unabashedly, boldly, full self-expression, and that’s the way to change the world.

Lorna: I love that. Thank you so much for sharing that with us, Jason. How can we best stay in touch with you?

Jason: Well, if you need the stuff, we’ve been talking about resonate, so it’s certainly the kind of thing we talked about a lot on our shows. So, search in iTunes or Sticher for Internet Business Mastery or go to InternetBusinessMastery.com.

Lorna: Fantastic. Thank you. Enjoy a beautiful Parisian Day.

Jason: I will. Thank you, Lorna.
[END OF RECORDING]

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Lorna Li

Chief Evolutionary Officer at Entrepreneurs for a Change
Lorna Li is a business coach, entrepreneur and Amazon rainforest crusader, with a passion for green business, social enterprise, and indigenous wisdom. She helps changemaking entrepreneurs harness the power of the Internet to reach more people and make a bigger impact, while designing the lifestyle of their dreams. She is an Internet marketing consultant to changemakers, and works with innovative tech startups, sustainable brands, social enterprises & B-Corporations on SEO, SEM & Social Media marketing.
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