Alex Sanfilippo is the founder of PodMatch, a fast-growing podcast matching platform, and the host of the Creating a Brand podcast for entrepreneurs. We discuss how business owners can leverage podcasting to grow their business, why documenting processes is critical and productivity tools required to scale a business.
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Automate, Delegate, Educate & Eradicate with Alex Sanfilippo
Our guest is Alex Sanfilippo, who is the founder of the PodMatch platform, which is growing like wildfire. He is also a prolific blogger and he is the host of a top 20 business, which is creating a brand. So great to have you here, Alex.
Steve, it’s an honor to be here with you today. I’m really excited to be having a conversation with you today.
So tell me about your entrepreneur journey. How does one become a podcast entrepreneur, so to say?
I don’t know, in short. No, actually, my journey has kind of led me to where I am today. I actually realized that I kind of had the entrepreneurial bug at a very young age. I was a kid when I started selling used golf balls to golfers in my neighborhood, which was just something I realized I’d love to do. Even at the age of 10 to 12, I was doing that and making some money with the kids in the neighborhood. I just had fun.
It wasn’t the fact that I had money in the day, it was the business side of it that always kind of got me excited, if you will, right? So I did some things that were more entrepreneurial into my late teens and even early 20s, and then I got into a corporate job, which wasn’t always a corporate job. When I got into this company, it was in the aerospace industry, manufacturing, and it was smaller, so it felt like it was a bit of a startup type of thing, but it grew really quick. I mean, just a few years after I was there, it had grown very large.
And not long after that, I got sold and became a publicly traded company, part of a multi-billion dollar organization. So it was huge. And I ended up doing 15 years at this company. And it was really great for me because the entrepreneurial minded individual sometimes tends to be a little bit scatterbrained, Steve, as you might be aware at times, right? Like we kind of see shiny objects, right? It forced me to really get grounded and to understand how business works from a foundational and fundamental level and processes and systems.
So long story short, this company, I ended up doing the last five years of that organization as a senior director. And again, this is a very large company. So I was overseeing five different divisions of the company and my job was just to make sure that we were profitable and that we were running efficiently. And when I ended up leaving that company, I brought some very valuable skills that a lot of people have to just learn over time, right?
Like a lot of entrepreneurs, we have to figure out how to document everything we’re doing and build standard operating procedures and think about profit before we think about selling something. It’s all these different things I learned in that industry. So for me, yeah, I’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time, but I’ve also done my time in corporate America with a standard nine to five job, which I am thankful to have moved on from, but I will never forget the valuable lessons I learned during that time.
So that’s fascinating, because the theme of this podcast is how do you apply frameworks to being a business?
This is for private businesses, for entrepreneurs. You know, we don’t want to hire McKenzie or Boston Consulting. We want something really simple that we can wrap our minds around and we can essentially apply pretty much straight away, hopefully without expensive consulting and software. So I wonder if you could share maybe some of the ideas that you brought over from corporate America into your business, Podmatch.com or your other business, your podcast business, and that helped you actually get it off the ground.
Because I see that your PodMatch is exploding. I mean, you just recently posted that you reached, I don’t know, a thousand subscribers, and then you’re going on to 2,000 subscribers. So, it seems like it is going places, and you cannot do that without some kind of a structure, right?
Oh, 100%, yeah. You know what’s interesting? It’s funny you mentioned that 1,000 person announcement, 2,000 today, just about an hour ago, which you wouldn’t know because you’ve been recording all day, I believe. We just published the 3,000 members we just hit on PodMatch. I was so excited about it. Like, I’m humbled. There’s no way you can necessarily plan for something to take off like this, like you just can’t. And you can do the right things and then pray and hope it comes and follow the right direction, right?
But it doesn’t happen for everybody. So I don’t wanna say that necessarily I have the absolute working formula. I just really have done the things the right way and it’s worked. So there’s a little bit of luck involved and there always will be. Maybe that’s not as popular to mention, but I do know what I can do and what I can control on my end, which is what I do with my time. And that’s part of the reason it’s grown so much. A lot of people were like, Alex, how do you have time to run a podcast? Because that’s a lot of work.
And how do you have time to grow PodMatch? And at one point I had a job in there as well. I was still in that aerospace career when I got started. So it’s like, okay, wait, how do you have basically three full-time jobs? How are you doing this? And it all comes down to documentation is the first thing that I always preach. And there’s a culture within PodMatch. There’s three of us working with PodMatch now as full-time staff, and I repeat this, I actually just said this morning, that documentation needs to be part of our DNA.
It needs to be part of our culture. Which means anything that you’re doing, it needs to be documented somewhere. Not so we can make sure to follow up on somebody, not that type of documentation, I’m talking about how you did it. So in SOP, a standard operating procedure. So it’s, okay, I just did this task, and I want it to be written down in a way that somebody else can come up behind you and do the same thing you just did without having to talk to you about it.Documentation needs to be part of our DNA, part of our culture. Anything that you're doing, it needs to be documented somewhere. Click To Tweet
And that’s always something that has been important in my previous job that I’ve brought into this one is having that standard operating procedure, having the documentation written out. So an example with my podcast, Creating a Brand, we have everything we do from start to finish documented. So what that means is for me finding the guests, I have a certain amount of time allocated for that. And then when I’m recording about how much time we’re going to be spent doing that, how much time I spend on the editing, each step.
It basically, we broke it out, and my wife would be the one to tell you this, because she does a lot of this, she’s the one who manages this, but I believe it’s 28 different sections of this SOP, or operating procedure for doing a podcast that was written down. So we know almost to the minute how long it’s gonna take, who does what, there’s not like, hey, did you do this, and oh, hey, did you do this, oh, I forgot to do this, like that doesn’t happen, it is a checklist that we go through every single time. And we’ve built Podmatch the same way. So anything that I’m doing, or that anyone else who’s working on it is doing, it is documented, it is written down.
So when the day comes we wanna hire a VA or another staff member, we can just say, here is the instruction manual, the guide, the employee handbook for doing this. And yes, it sounds crazy when there’s just a few people doing it, right? But we’re building for the company we want, not necessarily for who we are today. And if we believe at some point we’ll be employing 20 or 30 people, we need to start acting like that today. And I believe positioning yourself for that form of success really enables you to receive a lot more luck, if you will, in the business that you’re starting even today.
This is such a huge point, and it really makes a huge difference. So when I was probably five years into running my own business, which was an M&A advisory, mergers and acquisitions advisory business, and I stumbled upon the email from Michael Gerber, who talks about document processes. And he actually talks about franchise prototype, turn your business into a franchise prototype, which then can be replicated in different geographies and you can replace yourself as the business owner.
And I started doing that documentation. I remember the first time I did that, it took me a long time to think through all the jobs and document it. But then it became part of our DNA, as you say, because then it was part of the process that you document and people were then documenting for me, so I no longer even had to do it myself. It definitely allowed younger people who were coming up the ranks who didn’t have the experience because I had more experience than most people in the business. I had more, maybe a finer intuition because I’ve been around and I was a business owner. And those people that we hired in, they were very smart, but they didn’t have the experience, they didn’t have the intuition. And if you give them this blueprint, then they just run with it and it actually empowers them. And they love it. So business owner often thinks, I hate processes. Yes, because you know it anyway and you don’t need it. That the people below you, they need it. They want to be successful and it helps them be successful.
What you’re saying is so important for people to understand. And I want to make this clear. Yes, I did this in my corporate job. I did not enjoy writing these processes. I still don’t enjoy it. It’s not fun, but it’s a discipline that you have to have in business if you want to succeed. You know, there’s the old saying that success leaves clues, right? Any big business you walk into is going to have some form of documentation, standard operating procedures. That’s there in every single one of them.Success leaves clues. Any big business you walk into is going to have some form of documentation, standard operating procedures. Click To Tweet
And I’m not saying that they’re successful because it’s there, but it certainly is a tell that that’s something that needs to be done. And it takes a lot of self-discipline, because Steve, like you just said, I know how to do it. But the thing is, if I don’t ever document or write it down, no one else does, they’re gonna have to sit with me. And the other interesting thing is, there’s some things that I considered not writing down, because it’s just so simple.
But then when I start writing it down in the sense of, okay, this is gonna be used to explain to somebody, what I thought was just a two-step process is actually like 13 or 14 different steps, because I’m like, oh, well, they actually kind of need to do this too, but I just know that. But again, when you write it down, you document it, you give it to somebody one day, they can follow it. Like you’re saying, they can take ownership of it because they don’t feel like they’re just following you around being annoying. No, you say, here is how it’s done. If you need anything, come to me. If not, I want you to be able to figure out for yourself. And doing that really empowers people. And that’s how you get some buy-in is from employees and a future company that you’re trying to run.
I just saw my clients recently told me that when they started running the business on processes, then they hired new people, they interviewed new people and onboarded them. Those people were really impressed with the onboarding and they said, wow, if this company has such a structured onboarding, then probably it’s a great company. Yeah. It actually encouraged them to join the business and to hit the ground running from day one. So, yeah, so prices are important. Are there anything, is there anything else that is kind of a framework thing that you are bringing from the big corporate background that you can apply in your entrepreneurial businesses?
Yeah, a lot of it’s actually the self-discipline of it. So, day one where I was self-employed, as I’ll say it, right? Like I left the corporate job. I was used to wearing a suit every single day. Like that was just part of the job. So I wore a suit, I was a senior director. Like I showed up there for teams of people that I was checking in on. I wanted to look the part. And it was really funny, Steve, you’ll probably get a kick out of this. But the first day I was completely just doing the startup thing, right? I was working on Podmatch only.
I was wearing sweatpants, a green shirt and orange socks. And I was sitting there in a meeting with my co-founder. And I just looked down and he like noticed me like looking at myself and he’s like, you’re right. I’m like, my, how? I said, oh, how the mighty have fallen. I’m like, I don’t know what happened to me. So I had to quickly recover and get back into, okay, I should still put on a decent shirt.
I should try to match, right? Keep myself in the frame of mind because there’s something about when you dress for the job, right? I know people will say, dress for the job you want. That’s not just so you can impress somebody. It’s because it puts you in a mindset. When I’m wearing a suit on the job, I feel different than if I’m wearing sweatpants and flip-flops or something like that, right? I’m not dogging it all. If that’s the culture that you’re in.
Giving yourself respect.
Yes, exactly. Yeah. And I’m not wearing a suit every day if I’m working out of my home, but I’m still going to throw on a nice polo or button-up or something like that. I’m going to actually get dressed so I can just separate home life from work life and, hey, I’m in a professional mode right now. And I think it’s really important to do. I have a friend who actually took it a step further and he works from home. He has for like 15 years, but he, when he’s working, when he’s at home, he wears a polo that has his company on it.
And most days he’s not even doing a FaceTime or anything like that. He’s not on zoom. It’s just for him. And he sees, okay, when he goes to the bathroom, he looks in the mirror, he’s wearing a shirt that looks like a uniform for his job and he changes as soon as he’s done. And it’s always helped him stay in that mindset. So I think a lot of us, we have to think about how we can make what we’re doing seem more professional, even bigger than it is at times. And that for me has always been really important because it just helps me in the right mindset of I’m somebody who’s going to succeed and I’m taking what I’m doing very seriously. And when you do that, it really helps you out on a day to day basis, I found.
I love that. Putting yourself into sexist mindset and yeah, mindset is huge. It’s absolutely enormous because essentially what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to get to the next level and you first have to do it mentally. It’s like visioning is the same thing. You have to envision where you’re going to be and then you can work yourself there. But if you don’t put yourself in the mindset of getting to that point, you’re never going to make it. It’s not going to happen without the mental work. So I’d like to switch gears here a little bit. And because you are such a prolific blogger and you’ve been for a long time, you’re doing podcasting and you’re doing pod match. Tell me a little bit about the business mechanics and the business building features of a blog. So how can you use a blog to actually grow your business if you’re an entrepreneur?Mindset is huge. You have to envision where you're going to be and then work yourself there mentally. It's not going to happen without the mental work. Click To Tweet
Yeah, so it’s a great question, Steve. I’m glad that you asked this one and I think it’s a good transition here. First off, I think that every company should have a blog or some form of educational, free educational material for people. And the reason I like blogging is for the SEO juice. And I know that’s always changing, that search engine optimization, like a blog helps a lot. It still is gonna rank higher than video and even podcasts and all that. So that’s the reason I really like blogging.
I get that it takes some work if you’re not a great writer. It is something you can pretty easily sub out because there’s a lot of great writers out there. But I think everyone should have it because there’s got to be some educational element because people that are thinking about doing business with you, that’s what we’re looking for these days. We’ll all remember this. If you could just go back 20 years, it wasn’t like you had 10 options to buy one thing. Sometimes there’s one option in town and that was who you’re going to go with.
But now people have options. They go online. Like today, we live in the most online world they ever have, right? So people are not just looking at you, they’re looking at five-year competitors. And when I found that people are picking the one that they want to work with. They look at the person that does the most for them. That doesn’t necessarily mean like, ooh, I’m gonna give you this if you buy this, and this is gonna come with it, and this and this.
No, they’re looking for the person that’s educating them to help them solve the problem that they have. And when you’re able to help people get a little bit smarter about what they’re going to be investing in, it helps so much. You know, you actually had somebody on your podcast recently. It was Dr. Kelly Henry. And he talked about, it was like, Make Them Rockstars, I think is what you titled the episode. Really good episode. I encourage your listeners to go back and listen to that one if they haven’t yet. But that’s what you wanna do. You wanna make your customers, or future customers, feel like they’re rock stars.
Like, you want them to feel great about what they’re doing. So a perfect example of this is, when I was deciding to get into some SMS marketing, I was looking for a company to sign up with. I knew nothing about SMS marketing. And I found three of the big companies that were recommended, and I went to all three of their websites. And one of them, one of the three, had a really great blog that explained how to be successful with SMS messaging. So I started reading some of those posts and then I found they have podcast episodes about it, so I started listening to those. And I felt so empowered by this company that I wanted to work with them.
Like it was no longer of, oh, maybe I’ll go with them. No, it was like, I’m for sure working with them because now I feel like I’m not an expert at it, but I know what I’m doing now. And so I didn’t even look at the price compared to them and the other two companies. I just said, this is who I want to go with because they have the educational element that I’m looking for. So for that reason, I firmly believe in blogging for businesses. I think it’s so important that we have at least some form of educational element. Again, I’m a little biased, I love blogging, but that’s what I recommend for people to get into. I think it’s a really good thing to do.
So you’ve touched upon something in the beginning of this segment that really kind of picked my ear, which was outsourcing, having great writers out there. So do you mean that blogs don’t have, it’s kind of thought, I’ve always thought about it as thought leadership, so they don’t have to come from the business owner, they can be outsourced and it can be equally valuable? Is this really possible?
It definitely depends on the type of business. So if you’re a coach and your website is named after you, like if it was alexanfilippo.com, it should all come from me. If I’m the guy who you’re gonna be talking to or working with, yes. If it’s something like Podmatch, I’ll use it as an example. I’m, yes, I’m Alex Sanfilippo, but Podmatch and Alex Sanfilippo are two different things.
So I’m looking for subject matter experts in the space of podcast interviews who can teach us how to speak better, who can speak as how to answer questions in a better time, right, that type of thing, who can talk about that content. And what I’ve done to find these people, because we’ve got a line of people that are going to start writing for us, is I just went to Google and typed in people that were already searching for that. I looked for blog posts that are similar to what I’m looking for, and I reached out to that person, like, hey, you looking to blog anywhere else? And most of them, a large percentage says, yeah, absolutely, I’d love to.
And so in that case, you can kind of build a diverse bench, and sometimes it’s nice to have a lot of different people because then it’s sharing for a lot of different places. Now, again, if it is a coaching style business where it’s just you or you’re a financial advisor and it’s just you, you have to make sure that you are, like you’re saying, Steve, that subject matter expert that you’re really showing yourself as that person. But if it’s a company that has a bigger vision or some sort of service that’s being provided, I think it’s better to actually diversify a little bit and have it more than just one person because it also adds more value to your company.
If one day you look to sell and it’s just you on the whole thing, but it’s a service of some sort, it kind of is like, okay, well, are you still gonna blog for this company? Because you’ve done all of that for the last five years. Or if you’re like, hey, we’ve got about 30 different people that have contributed, it doesn’t look like, okay, it’s just this one person really running the show in the background. No, you show that, hey, we are a community, we’ve got a group of people that are all in the same area of helping educate other people.
That’s interesting. So I’ll definitely think about how to diversify blogging. It makes a lot of sense. What about podcasting? I mean, how is podcasting different from blogging? And I understand the SEO part, but the way people consume podcasts is different, right? They are out and about, jogging, mowing the lawn, washing the dishes. They can listen to podcasts. Does that make it different? Does it impact people differently? Give me a little bit of a little bit of background on how it’s how it really works.
I’ll mention this that first off blogging and podcasting really attract different people. I’ve got some friends in my life, they have never read a blog post I’ve done. I’ve been blogging for almost 10 years on multiple websites. Never read it once. The first day I released a podcast episode, they’re like, I, they’re like, I listened to it. You’re super smart. And I’m like, thank you. I’ve been blogging for, for years. You know, you could have just read one, but they’re not interested in that. And vice versa.
I know some people that, they’ve told me like, “Oh, I don’t really want to listen to podcasts. Not really into that. I like to go to blogs every morning and I like to read when I’m having my coffee.” So there’s two different types of people that you’re probably going to meet and that’s probably one of the benefits to having both. Now I will say that having a podcast is a lot more work than having a blog, a lot more work. So for me, I’ve been blogging for a long time.
In about two hours I can write a good post. In about 10 hours I can produce a good podcast interview. So it’s much, much different, right? It’s a lot more work. Now if you’re subbing it all out and you have the budget for that, go for it. I think it’s a great thing to do. But if you’re just getting started and you’re newer or you wanna really own the process, I’d really consider whether it’s the right move or not. Now with that said, on the flip side, being a guest on podcast is awesome.
I mean, if you can get your voice to the right place and you can jump on podcasts as a guest, that is a great way to one, add value to somebody else’s audience and help them grow, but also it gets your name out there. It helps you as well. Like, Steve, when we’re done recording this and you post this episode, I’m gonna share it with my entire audience because I don’t get to talk about this type of thing often. So I want them all to hear it because they’re always asking me about these topics. So I just helped you grow your audience. And for me, it helped people learn more about what I’m doing. That is extremely powerful.
So I encourage people, whether you have a podcast or not, I do recommend getting on podcasts as a guest. And here’s a nice little bonus. If you are a blogger, you can actually jump on and talk about something that you wrote about. A perfect example of that is two days ago, I jumped on a podcast as a guest where they were specifically asking me about one of my blog posts. I talked for 30 minutes about one blog post I had already written, and I was just going through the content again, basically.
I wasn’t reading it to them or anything like that, but they were asking me, hey, what did you mean by this? Can you explain this more? So again, it helped more people to go to my blog post and it helped them out by getting some great content. So yeah, I don’t think everyone should have one because it’s a lot of work, but I think everyone should be a guest on there if you have a service or product or you’re even trying to market yourself and brand yourself a little bit more.
It’s so interesting that the way you explain how a podcast is a more time intensive medium. I actually feel the opposite. I feel like the podcast is really easy because I just record it and then I outsource the editing and the design and all that stuff. It’s not my time, but when I write the blog, it’s all my time.
Right, yeah, that makes sense.
So, it’s a different way to look at it, but definitely I agree with you that to make the podcast really shine, it’s a lot of technical work that goes into it.
Yeah, you referenced subbing out though. If you are subbing out, it’s great. But again, I was more so speaking to maybe somebody who’s a little bit newer and they don’t have the budget for it yet. If you’re gonna do it all alone, just know that it’s a lot of work. But that makes sense, Steve. It depends on your strength zone as well, right? Like I think that the audience who’s listening today, they need to kind of evaluate this for themselves and ask themselves, how can I better serve my customers or my future customers with some sort of educational element, which is better for me? Is it better for me to write or better for me to speak? And really think about it that way. So, because yeah, you’re right, it could be easier for somebody or not as easy. So I’m glad you brought that up. I think that’s a good kind of a good thing for people to start thinking about themselves.
So think about launching a podcast. I understand that there are a hundred things to watch out for when you launch a podcast. But let’s say if you are an entrepreneur, you run, you know, 20, 50% business and you are generating a few million dollars and you feel like you have the budget to outsource it, how would you go about launching a podcast and making a splash? Because there are so many podcasts out there. How do you even make a splash with it? What should a business owner who wants to use it as a promotional medium, how should they think about launching a podcast?
Yeah, I think they need to think about their ideal customer, not their brand in this sense. So what I mean by that is, I’ll take a big company, let’s take the company Home Depot. I don’t know if they have a podcast, but they have a podcast about Home Depot and what you’re gonna find inside of a Home Depot. I’m never gonna listen to that. Maybe some people would, but if they talk about how to do DIY projects better and quicker and easier, and how to quickly find things that you’re looking for, that would be interesting to me.
So whatever your business is, think about it that way. Not like, can I just call it the water bottle podcast where I talk about my water bottle and how great it is and how we built it? No, you want to talk about ways that people can keep hydrated, how they can carry a water bottle that’s trendy, right? Like you want to find things that’s going to cover that again, attracts that audience, not necessarily talks to the people who are already there.
So if you are thinking, okay, I’m going to start one, make sure you find that very narrow niche, if you will, that, that little space that you say, okay, this is who I believe will come here if they hear me talk about this. And you really want to solve that problem. And right there with it, be consistent. If you are going to start a podcast, the number one trick in the podcasting game for success is consistency.The number one trick in the podcasting game for success is consistency. Whoever shows up the most consistently is the one who wins the most. Click To Tweet
I actually had the opportunity to talk to somebody who’s now a friend of mine, but he’s one of the biggest podcasters in all of podcasting, I mean, massive. I was on a call with him one day, and he’s like, hey Alex, I listen to your podcast. I was like, uh oh. He’s like, “I’m a regular listener.” He goes, “It’s super good.” I was like, “Oh, thank you.” Then he goes, yeah, you wanted the only difference between you and me? And I was like, yes. I grab a piece of paper and I’m ready to write it down. Tell me what I need to do to get where you are with your millions of downloads every episode. How do I get there? And he’s like, consistency. I was like, okay.
He goes, “I know you haven’t missed an episode in a year, but I haven’t missed an episode in eight years.” He goes, “By the time you’re at eight years, you’ll be just as big as I am if you continue to not miss anything that you say you’re gonna do.” And I’ve seen that to be true, because at that point when he told me, I was like, I don’t really believe it. But I’m watching my numbers climb, and I’m not really doing a lot of things differently. I’m just being consistent and showing up for my audience. So if you are going to blog or podcast, the name of the game is consistency, and whoever shows up the most consistently is the one who wins the most.
Yeah, and it’s easier said than done, as you know.
It is. Yeah.
Especially for an entrepreneur, consistency is actually one of the hardest nuts to crack because there’s always something urgent to do. There’s always a new idea and consistency requires a kind of cadence, it’s a kind of monotony even. You have to do the same thing. Essentially, it means that you give up your freedom of doing what you would like to do in the moment and force yourself to do the exercise regularly.
And actually, I would be interested in your take. But one of the mental challenges I have about this is that the more I do, the more consistent I have to be and the more my life narrows down and the less time I have to be spontaneous and do the fun stuff, which which caused me to start entrepreneurship in the first place. I didn’t want to be a robot, that’s why I’m not working for a big corporation. But it actually works, actually the more you grow your own company, you become a big corporation in some ways. So what’s the, how do you solve that quantum drum?
It’s a really interesting conversation to start. Because I agree with you, like the reasons I wanted to get into this, I can already see them disappearing just less than a year into it. They start going away because now I, like you, I’ve got to be productive. I’ve got to do the right thing, right? And I’ve got to be consistent in doing that right thing. And some of the fun stuff, I’m now like, oh, I wish I could still do that. That would be fun. But it doesn’t necessarily drive the result. It’s a really strange thing. It’s like, I don’t know what to call it.
It seems like a vicious cycle, right? We see what we want and we start to get it and then it disappears. But I think for me, something that’s really helped out is living by kind of these four things I’m gonna mention. That everything I can do, if I can, I’m gonna automate it, or I’m gonna delegate it, or I’m gonna educate others to do it, or I’m gonna find a way to eradicate it. So that’s automate, delegate, educate, or eradicate. I’ll quickly go through those.
The first thing is, is there a way that I can automate what I’m doing here? You don’t have to pay for it. Can I outsource this in some way to be automated? Steve, like you said, with the podcast editing, it sounds like you have somebody who’s doing that. You’ve automated that process for you now, right? Or I’m sorry, you’ve delegated that process now. So an automation would be something that’s just like a buffer of the world. I don’t know if you’ve heard of buffer, which automatically schedules your post or your social media posts.
You load it up and then it automatically spits them out on the time and day that you’ve said. That’s a true automation, right? And then the delegation is where you have somebody who’s actually editing your podcast for you, where you’ve said, okay, I’m not going to do this. I’m going to delegate it. And then the next one is to educate. And that’s where the documentation comes in play. So it’s when it’s time for someone else to do it or can a team of people work on it, you have the documentation.
So it’s not constantly coming back to you where you just turn into more of a middle manager than an entrepreneur, right? Because that’s how we get stuck is by being the person with all the knowledge in our head, but not written down. And the last thing is to eradicate. And this is kind of the most difficult. It’s one of those things that we have to get real with what we’re doing. Does it make sense that we’re doing it or can we actually just get rid of it?
And there’s been a few things, Steve, that I got really consistent with and really good at that I look, I sat back to evaluate it and I realized that I didn’t actually need to be doing it at all. When I took it out of my business, nothing changed. We were still growing at the same pace. We’re still doing just as well. And a perfect example of that, I’ll give a real life example, was posting on Instagram. Turns out none of my customers were coming from Instagram. And I was spending a lot of time creating content for it.
So yes, it was automated as far as it was scheduled to post, but I was still creating the content, doing the videos and things like that. But it was bringing no reward. And it took a lot for me to just say, okay, I’m gonna eradicate that and remove it. But when I did, I had more of that time for the creativity that I wanted to do. I was being consistent in the wrong place. So that four-part system is something that I did in the corporate world, and I’m doing now in my entrepreneurial role as well.
Yeah, that’s very interesting. So I don’t know Buffer, but I used it in different software. I can’t remember which one, which actually my editor suggested, the podcast editor that we use, that we post on Twitter and Instagram and like five different places.
Right, yeah, there’s a lot of them that do that, yeah.
And it actually, I don’t think it actually works because when you do that kind of stuff, then it becomes routine and it becomes cookie cutter. And people, when they read their social media, they are kind of filtering out everything that is cookie cutter because it’s advertised and they want the real information. So again, it kind of, maybe it becomes counterproductive. So maybe it’s the educate piece, which is more useful here and finding the right person. So one thing that I recently realized, I use a lot of Upwork resource, people are Upwork freelancers there. And I used to look for kind of the bargain providers who I thought would do it on the cheap. But what I recently realized was that actually the best deal is to go for the most expensive or close to most expensive person because they are the real master. So they don’t just actually bring execution into your business. They bring in ideas, they will bring in new approaches, they will become a strategic partner for you. So they will actually allow you to take some of the thinking stuff off you and they have a different perspective and they bring it in. So they become a leverage in your business and that’s kind of the, maybe that’s delegate or maybe that’s partner, maybe that is the fifth leg of the stool.
You actually mentioned something that, there’s a guy, Ken Billingsley, and he’s one of Mark Cuban’s really close friends. He wrote a book that was really great book that I just actually finished reading, and it’s called Entrepreneur to Millionaire. And one of the things he talks about is how, when we’re delegating things, when we’re educating others on them, and we’re bringing them into business, we need to find people that are also micro entrepreneurs.
So micro entrepreneurs, just meaning that they also have a mind where they can not just perform a task that you’ve asked them to do, but also think about it. And so I like that you’ve began using that strategy when you’re hiring even VAs. Find somebody that can think for themselves and have that mind as well. I think it’s a really healthy thing to do. And yeah, that brings in somebody who feels more like a partner, more like another entrepreneur just coming alongside you doing what you’re doing.
So I admire the fact that you’ve been able to identify those people and get them into your business because that’s gonna do a lot better for you than just another person who can take orders. And not there’s anything wrong with that that’s needed, but it’s not always the right thing for our business. We have to really decide which role is this. Is it somebody who can be another entrepreneur alongside me or is it somebody who really can just execute 10 different things I tell them to do?
Yeah, you know, as you’re talking about this, there’s a guy Ben Feferman who runs an e-sport business in Canada and he’s on your platform. He was one of my first guests on this podcast and he used the terms equity hire. So he actually acquires small companies. Instead of hiring people, he acquires entrepreneurial businesses. He brings them under his umbrella and he basically uses them as partners in the thinking process. So he is not building an army of micro-entrepreneurs, as you say it, and then they just work together and it helps him keep his freedom. He doesn’t have to manage those people, and it also creates a much more creative work environment. So that’s pretty cool.
That’s really cool. Yeah, that’s really… I’m going to have to look up that episode. That sounds really interesting. I’d like to learn more like that.
Yeah, check him out or invite him. He’s a great guy.
Very cool. Thank you.
That’s cool. Very cool guy. So give me a handful of things when someone is launching a podcast, what are the things that they should consider other than obviously niching it, talking to the audience? Are there other things that kind of big picture things that someone should consider before doing this?
So the big thing for me that you should consider is your time. Is it going to be worth the demand of your time? Is there going to be a return on investment in it? And so with that comes, what is your call to action? Like what is the reason for the podcast? So some people, I know they’ve started them just so they can meet people. And if you have a desire to do networking and meet cool people, like Steve, you just shared a really cool guest with me that I’m probably going to search for for myself now too.
And I at least want to hear him on your show. And if that’s the reason that somebody wants to have a podcast, that is great. I think it’s one of the best ways to network with people now and get a real conversation with them. For me personally, I’ve actually talked with people on my podcast. I never thought I’d ever talked to you. And like Steve, other than you having a podcast, having me on, we would have never met. And it’s really cool for people like you and I that are really high level individuals to be able to meet and kind of collaborate in the future.
Hopefully we’ll find things to do together now, which I love that. I think that that’s a really cool thing. Now, if you’re saying, well, it’s to bring in coaching clients, you have to make sure that you determine a really strong call to action in your podcast. How is it actually going to bring that? I think that’s one of the most important things because here’s the deal. You can have a thousand people listening to your podcast, but first off, if they’re wrong, a thousand people, that’s not good.
But if they are the right thousand people, do they know what to do? Have you given them some direction past just your podcast? And here’s the thing, people listen to you on a podcast, they read your blog, they go to your website, whatever it is, if they’re there already, they want you to tell them what to do next. So it’s really important that you find that one or two, I always say just one thing, one or two things though that you say, okay, this is what you can do next, your two options are or your one option is, and really help people find that, that’s really important. So before you even start, I always tell people, really determine what that’s going to be before you start.
And then again, evaluate the whole thing, does that fit? Okay, I’m doing educational element on this niche, and my call to action is gonna be this. Does that really work? Is that gonna connect with the people I’m thinking about who are gonna be listening to this podcast? And really consider that before you get started. I think that’s another thing that just, we don’t do before we start. We kind of just throw it out there and see what sticks. But again, it’s a lot of work. And I think that doing this up front is really going to help you a lot.
That’s a great point. And I just made a note because I don’t think I have a call to action at the end of this. I definitely will add one. So you talk a lot about productivity and documentation and stuff like that. So what are some of your other tricks in the bag, so to say, that makes you more productive? And three people, and you have 3,000 people on this platform, and I’m thinking about all the technological background, the logistics, and you’re doing, at the same time, you’re writing your blog, you’re recording your podcast, you’re being a guest on other podcasts. The three employees, seriously? Two employees and you? How is it even possible?
Yeah, that’s a good question. I wish I knew. No, I’m just kidding. No, I’ve got a real answer for you here. The main thing I always call it is I do more by doing less. So I get more done by doing less. I think it’s a really important thing for me to mention. Like productivity for the sake of productivity isn’t going to benefit you, your business, or anything like that. There’s a lot of productive things that I could be doing right now. Like I could respond to emails, that’s productive, right? I could go post on social media, that’s technically productive as well.
But what it comes down to is what is the most important thing? I love the book, The One Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. I happen to be a friend of mine, he’s incredible. And he talks about the focusing question, which is just what’s the one thing that I could do today that as by doing that one thing, everything else becomes irrelevant or not as important? And for me, it’s starting my day with that question. It’s not necessarily the first thing I do. I do have a morning routine, I think it’s really important.
So I wake up to an alarm, even though I could technically work whenever I want, because I’m self-employed, right? I still wake up to an alarm, I have a start time, and the first thing I sit down to, the first question I’m asking in my daily journaling is, okay, what is the one thing that I have to do today that is important that will move the needle forward? And by asking that and making sure that I prioritize that time, it gets put in my calendar right away in the morning, and when that’s done, then yes, I can do a second and third thing.
I write down three things every day, and if I get to the second and third one, that’s huge, that’s a bonus. If not, one of those two things becomes number one the next day. And as long as I’m doing that, I make a lot of progress. And yes, as a self-employed entrepreneur, I’ve got to answer my email right now. I’ve got to do some of my bookkeeping right now. Like, there’s things that I do have to do, but I just make sure that when I’m, I get the most important thing done first so that my energy isn’t spent on the small tasks.
So later in the day, a perfect example is email. I set a timer. I’m only going to spend 30 minutes today in my email. And if I don’t, I could be there all day. You kind of just draw it out. Maybe I want to get something to eat real quick because I just responded to an email, go do that real quick. Or maybe I got guitars in my wall right here. I want to play guitar for five minutes and then I’ll answer the next email.
If you have a 30 minute timer, you’d be shocked at how quick you can get certain productive tasks done if you have something just reminding you that, okay, I’m almost done with this. So that’s been a big tip for me, starting with the most important thing and then right after that, making sure that the smaller tasks that are productive but not as important have a time, they’re time limited, so I can’t just do them freely throughout the day.
That’s great, that’s kind of a forcing function. It forces you not to spend more time than the task actually deserves. So that’s a great one. So the way I do this, I have an app which is called Tomorrow, and I actually do it the night before. So the night before I go to bed, I set six items for myself, which is kind of the maximum. In most cases, I’m not able to execute all six. I can only do four or five.
But it’s kind of difficult to limit myself to six actions that I’m going to do that day and then put them in the right order. I tried to get through the list and yesterday I got through five and I couldn’t do the sixth. I felt totally depressed about it, even though I had some urgent things that kind of crowded things out. But when I get all six, this is awesome. And Dan Sullivan, who runs Strategic Coach, which is a big coaching organization, he actually limits himself to three things and he says if he gets those three things done by midday, then he finishes working.
He stops working and he rewards himself in the afternoon off. Now he’s 76, he probably can afford to do that. So I don’t know if that’s necessarily a good thing, but definitely not trying to be overambitious. When I work with my clients, one of the things we do is we call them ROCKs, major priorities for the next quarter, and we limit them to seven, maximum seven, three to seven actually. So the less, the better. And you cannot imagine how hard it is to actually force them to limit things down to three to seven.
Even when they do that, they often overcommit and they try to bite off too big chunks. Because otherwise what happens, you have 27 things and you’re going to feel overwhelmed and you’re going to start by doing the easy stuff and then you run out of time and you reverse prioritize. You did the irrelevant stuff and you didn’t do the big stuff. I love you one thing, I read the book, I have to reread it because it’s a great idea to actually not pick six, pick just one, the biggest one and start with that one and just go from there.
Yeah, I think it’s been really good for me because I used to be addicted to productivity, if you will. Like a lot of people are addicted to watching TV or scrolling on social media. I’m literally addicted to getting things done. If you give me a checklist of 20 tasks, I am so excited to work through that task of 20 things. But if they were tasks of 20 things that weren’t important, what’s the point of it, right?
Like I could do those every day for the rest of my life and never make a penny from it. Man, not that everything’s about money, but if you want to eat and you want to grow your business you have to find the right things to do. So for me, having that focus and question has been really helpful. And I like that you have an app that keeps you on track as well. I’m going to have to check that out and take a look at that. I think that that’s just a really powerful way to, again, be intentional with the direction that you’re going and making sure that you’re focusing on the thing that is truly most important.
And so for me, it’s really simple, but that’s what I do. And yes, I used to have a list. I used to keep on these whiteboards behind me. It would be like 20 things a day that I was going to do. And I wasn’t growing a business. Nothing was growing. I was beating myself up. Yes, I was consistent. I was good at being productive. I was getting more and more tired. It was no way for me to keep up. But ever since I’ve decided, okay, I’m now driven by results instead of productivity, it’s helped me a lot to focus on, okay, what brings the maximum result and work my way down from there.
And the truth is that it’s typically the hardest thing that brings the most results. And if you don’t create sufficient focus on that, again, force yourself to deal with it. You’re going to procrastinate on it because it’s intimidating, these things. It’s like I always tell my clients that if they want to have a good hunting sales function in their business, then they have to make sure that the customer, the relationship management, the farming is done by someone else.
Because that salesperson is going to gravitate to the easier task of working with existing clients and kind of make them happy, as opposed to going out and hunting new clients. You have to eliminate everything else. So that’s the only thing they can do. The only thing you measure them on, and then they’re going to do it. So the one thing is a big one. So let’s switch gears here again. And I’m really interested, I mean, you said that Podman’s been growing from 1,000 to 2,000, 3,000 this morning. So how is your vision evolving? What was your vision when you started the business? When was it, two years ago?
No, actually I started on March 10th, 2020, or that’s when I whiteboarded out the idea. So March 10th, 2020.
Oh my God, so nine months ago, less than nine months ago. Yeah. You started this business, and now you’re 3,000. So what was your vision when you started and what is your vision now?
I’m thankful it hasn’t changed much. It’s certainly adapted quite a bit, but when I launched, I had the idea of helping podcast guests and hosts find each other for ideal interviews. So I didn’t want it just to be connecting random people. We wanted to actually create a matchmaking service that could connect the right guests to the right host and vice versa so people would actually just do a great interview and share that with the world, because that’s awesome. So for me personally, I love podcasting.
There’s been so many people that have been so kind to me in this space. I mean, I was a mess when I first got started. It was taking me like 15 hours to do an episode because I had no idea what I was doing. There were so many people who’d just been like, hey, let me help you here. I’ll do it for free. Let me show you this, let me show you that. And it was just such a kind industry that I decided I wanted to give back.
So Podmatch was my way of helping solve a problem that I actually went to a conference and found that people were struggling with the same thing. They couldn’t find their next right guest or they were somebody who just released a book or they just got into coaching and they just didn’t know where to share about it. So it was creating a space that people could do that. And being able to do this has been really fun. So from day one, the vision was how can we put podcast guests and hosts together?
And still today, that is the same vision. Now it’s evolved quite a bit because something that I really believe in is to grow your product, to grow your business, you need feedback from your users. So we call people on Podmatch, we call them our members, and I get constant feedback from members. I set up meetings with them. As a matter of fact, it’s funny, Steve, I have in my phone a reminder next week to email you to ask you to talk to me about Podmatch for 15 minutes.So I can-
You actually already did. I think you already said I already did.
Oh, I did?
I just didn’t respond because I knew that January was gonna be totally slammed January. But yeah, definitely, let’s get together. I’d love to do that.
For sure. So, but you see, I’m actually asking people what’s working, what’s not working. And for me, I don’t get offended or hurt. Like, yes, it’s my baby. I’ve worked really hard for it. But some people have told me, hey, it’s really lacking here. And instead of getting upset by it, I take it as a challenge. Okay, how can we continue to improve that? So our roadmap has not actually been set by me and my business partner or our team.
Our roadmap has been set by the members that are using it the most and seeing success with it, or that aren’t seeing success with that. I go after both people and I ask them, hey, what could be better? What can I do for you to help you continue to solve this problem, this need? So for us, it’s actually just been really honing in exactly what we’re going to do to position ourselves to help the industry. And at the same time, we can’t just go with everybody’s feedback. We’ve had feedback that we should be able to do audiograms for people. We don’t do audiograms.
That’s not what we do and we’re not going to. So I have to just take that feedback and say, okay, does it match the focus, the niche that we have? If not, I got to push that away and get it back to that near focus. But to answer your original question, the vision has not changed much. It’s still to help podcast guests and hosts find each other and to do it as efficiently as possible. We’re always looking for ways to improve that.
So how big is the market? You say you have 3000 members. How many podcasts are there in the market, in the English speaking market, let’s say?
Yeah, so when we first got started, this is one place that actually changed. I’m glad you mentioned that. I thought it’d be only entrepreneurs on here. We’re getting a ton of comedy podcasts now and a ton of sports podcasts where athletes talk to different coaches or different people that have been in the space. Really interesting. I know nothing about coaching from a sports standpoint. I am not very funny. So I don’t know anything about the comedy side either, but we’ve got those people joining as well.
So we kind of had to expand our horizon a little bit to actually cater to them as well, because they just started coming organically. Like I don’t know them, but they started showing up and telling each other about it. And it’s starting to take off in that regard as well. But for me, when it comes to the coaching side of it or the business side of it, if you will, I knew that like that was going to be my focus and could we help more of those people show up? So we use LinkedIn a lot. It’s a lot of organic outreach and asking people to share about it on our behalf.
There’s an affiliate link that’s set up with it that rewards people that are bringing people on the platform both from a monetary perspective, but also from a, we just call it swag. So you can get like t-shirts, hats, you know, all that fun stuff. We’ve seen a lot of success from that. Just asking people, hey, share it with your network if you enjoyed it. And it really helped us out. And people have been really willing to do that. So it’s been a cool thing to be part of just to see how kind people are.
So again, I’m going to ask the question again, and maybe there’s no answer to it, but do you have a sense of how many podcasts are there? So if you have 3,000 people on this platform, I don’t know how many are podcast hosts and how many are guests, but let’s say there are 1,000 podcast hosts, how many other hosts are there that you could capture?And what is the goal?
I’m so sorry, I didn’t even answer your question the first time. I’m sorry.
It’s okay. Yeah, so when we evaluate the market, there are currently, when we’re recording this, there’s 1.6 million podcasts out there. And that’s a big top line number. However, the ones that are active are less than half of that are actually active. And out of the ones that are active, we’ve determined about half of those are actually interviews. So yeah, when people are like, oh, it’s a ripe industry for the taking, which I’m not saying it’s not, it is.
You’re like, there’s 1.6 million podcasts by early 2021, there’s going to be 1.7 million. Yes, that’s true, but they’re not all active. Actually, less than half of them are now active. And then if you were wanting to get, for us, it’s the interview space, less than half of those are doing that. So we’ve determined that there’s probably about 250,000 people that could potentially be customers for us. Getting anything more than 10% of that, I’m just being real here, is probably unlikely, right?
Like they’re not gonna need it, they’re not gonna want it, they may never even find out about it, but 10% of that number is we decide we go after. So about 25,000 podcast hosts. Now on the flip side of guests, I don’t know. I’ve not been able to determine that market because we’re finding tons of authors joining and there’s millions of book books getting published every year. We’ve got coaches doing, uh, joining public speakers that are now interested in being guests on podcasts, who’s not speaking anywhere anymore.
So we’re seeing all these different people that are really coming up from the guest side. Our hope is that that will always be double our podcast hosts because one podcast can have four guests in a month if they’re doing one a week even. So we want to make sure that we have more, at least double the guests than we have the hosts. And we’re on point with that right now. We’re small, but we’re at least heading in the right direction.
And what’s the ideal number of broadcasts? So what’s the goal of a podcast to grow their audience? Is it as many as they can post or is it, can the audience get bored of or get burned out by too many, too many podcasts poppingup?
So for me personally, I think this is like really on a personal level. For me personally, I don’t listen to podcasts every day. It’s like once every other day that I’ll play one and all the podcasts I subscribe to are once a week or even I have a podcast I subscribe to that’s once a month and I like that. That’s good for me. I know other people that love the daily podcast. Like it’s like a 20 minute daily episode and it’s like, you know, I talked about the person who likes to read a blog post when they’re having their coffee.
Some people like to listen to that daily podcast in the morning when they wake up. I’m just not that person. So I’m not really sure exactly like the right formula. I know if you post more content, that’s really good. It’s more likely to get shared and seen if you have guests and they’re sharing it every day. I think you’ll grow faster if you’re doing that every day. But I don’t, I’ll be honest. I don’t know how anybody does a daily podcast. Unless you have like a massive team that’s working on it all the time, I’m not sure how anyone gets that done. But that’s kind of my perspective on it. For me, once a week has been the right time, and my audience seems to really respond well to that time as well.
And you also have to make sure you don’t burn yourself out. I did my first podcast three or four years ago, The Succession Secrets, and I decided to do one a day, and I kept it up for three months.
Okay. And then I totally burned myself out. It was a short one, it was kind of a monologue, not a discussion, so it was easy for me. I just came up with an idea and I talked about it for 10 minutes and it actually grew pretty good, much faster than this one. But I just couldn’t keep up. I just ran out of ideas. I didn’t have versatile ideas and plus I had other stuff going on in my life and I couldn’t sustain it. It’s the consistency, I couldn’t sustain the consistency.
Right. Well, to the listeners today, we all know that Steve has got 90 days of good stuff to share with us, and then he burns out. I’m just kidding.
Exactly. But when I do it weekly, then at least I can run for two years. I have the guests now, so I don’t have to come up with all the information myself. It’s a much more sustainable model.
Well, listen, Alex, it’s been very interesting having you. It was a delight, and really, congratulations. You have a fantastic business on your hand. So if listeners would like to learn more and they like to get on PodMatch and find out about your podcast, creating a brand, where do they find you and how can they access your resources?
Yeah, sure. First off, thanks again for having me on. Everything I do is at creatingabrand.com. That’s where you can find the podcast. You can find what I’m doing with Podmatch as well. Steve I’ll leave the Pod match link, up to you. You can go to podmatch.com, but you should use your affiliate link because it lets people sign up for free, that way they can your team knows you have one, I know that you have a team that’s running this so, they can load that up for your real quick but yeah podmatch.com. you can see it but Steve’s link will you sign up for free, so I encourage you all to go the show notes and grab that but again I’m at creating a brand.com but really what I want to recommend is sticking with this podcast. I’ve been enjoying it myself. You’re doing a great job here. I’m looking forward to even listening to another episode that you referenced today as soon as we get off. So, thanks again for having me. I appreciate it.
Thank you, Alex. Great having you. And for our listeners, stay tuned. Next week, we’re going to come with another exciting interview. Have a great day.
- Pinnacle: Five Principles that Take Your Business to the Top of the Mountain
- Alex Sanfilippo’s LinkedIn Profile
- Alex’s website
- PodMatch.com website
- Steve’s blog