Business Inspires Podcast

Stephanie Evans and Michelle Wilson are my guest on this episode. After Michelle left the her executive director position at the TriVillage Chamber Partnership and hosting duties of their podcast, Business Inspires, Stephanie has stepped in as the new executive director and host of the podcast. We talk about that transition, and what the effects will be.

Business Inspires (transcribed by Sonix)

Brett Johnson: Well, before we get into the heavy of the podcast, talking about Business Inspires' podcast, I want to ask each of you, Michelle, and Stephanie, about nonprofits that you support, that you give time, talent, or treasure to. I'll start with Michele.

Michelle Wilson: Sure. I think that the one nearest and dearest to my heart, right now, is the new Nationwide Children's Hospital On Our Sleeves. It's a mental health awareness program. I just think that it's something that's so important, and needed. The conversation, while it seems like it's out there a lot, I think it's really just beginning. I think it's an amazing program, I definitely … I'm trying to become more involved with it. I've supported it financially, and I'm just figuring out ways that I can support it otherwise.

Brett Johnson: And Stephanie?

Stephanie Evans: I would say the one that I probably spend the most of my time with is Best Buddies, Best Buddies Ohio. It's part of a national organization to assist folks with developmental disabilities, to engage them in one-on-one friendships, and then to help find them work in the workplace. My husband's on the board there for Best Buddies Ohio, and I help out when I can. Really, my whole family's involved, because there are high school, and college-age groups, as well, to help the students make lifelong friendships. It's a really great organization. That's where we spend our time.

Brett Johnson: Great, thanks. Let's talk a little bit about each of your professional backgrounds, and, as the podcast develops, we'll figure out, and the listener will figure out, "Oh, this is where the two come together, and why this is a podcast about the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership's Business Inspires podcast. Let's start with Michelle, because your history with the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership is longer. Let's talk a little bit about your background, and how you became a part of the TVCP.

Michelle Wilson: I have always been in the nonprofit or not-for-profit world. I started out at Experience Columbus, when it was the Greater Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau, way back when. Moved around a little bit from there in membership departments at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association. Always found that that was where I landed.

Michelle Wilson: Was able to land a amazing position with the Grandview Area Chamber, back in '09, when they were looking for their first full-time director. I landed there; got that job. Grandview was where I grew up, and had my kids, so it was a nice fit. I knew the community; I knew a lot of people there.

Michelle Wilson: We were able to then grow and expand that into a merger between the Upper Arlington Chamber, and the Grandview, and Marble Cliff Chambers. We, in 2016, became the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership. That's my background, and, of course, I have recently left that position after almost 10 years, and landed back at Experience Columbus, so a little bit of a full circle there.

Brett Johnson: Exactly. Stephanie?

Stephanie Evans: For me, I started at the National Kidney Foundation of Ohio in the communications department there, and then moved my way up, ultimately, to executive director position there, and was there for a while. Then left that position, really, to stay home to start a family. Then, in that time, two, what turned out to be three businesses of my own … So, a small-business owner-

Brett Johnson: One just wasn't enough. I've gotta do three.

Stephanie Evans: They weren't all simultaneous. They were kind of-

Michelle Wilson: Not one; not two, but three …

Stephanie Evans: A couple of 'em overlapped. Yeah, a couple of 'em overlapped. Anyway, so I spent that time having my own business, and raising my kids at home. Then, a couple of years ago, just had some changes take place in my personal life, and decided to let my photography business go. That's what my more recent one was.

Stephanie Evans: Really, through a friend of mine, who happened to be related to Michelle, let me know that there was an opening there, and connected with Michelle. That's how I landed at the Chamber. Came in as the membership manager, part-time, and have been there almost two years. It'll be two years in March. Then, when Michelle made her next step, I switched seats, and I went from membership manager to executive director.

Brett Johnson: From the baby pool to the deep end.

Stephanie Evans: That's right.

Michelle Wilson: Quite literally. Yeah.

Brett Johnson: I have you both on because … We were talking about this before recording. I've jumped on this theme, by accident, of the host transitions. The Business Inspires podcast is now going through a host transition. Michelle had hosted the podcast from its inception, up through her leaving recently, and Stephanie's now taking the roam and doing the interviews, and setting up scheduling for guests, and such, for Business Inspires.

Brett Johnson: I wanted to bring both of you together to talk about that. I know Michelle'll have a little bit more knowledge on the beginnings, as I will, too, but I think it's worth the discussion, because this is a Chamber-focused podcast, Business Inspires. Why a podcast for Tri-Village Chamber Partnership, Michelle?

Michelle Wilson: For me, it was having discussions with you, and I hadn't even really considered it, but when you approached me, it seemed like an edgy new different thing to do. I think that's one of the things I like to pride myself, or the Chamber on. At the time, we were going through a merger. That was something that was pretty rare. We had taken a couple of leaps of faith along the way, with the Grandview Area Chamber, and done some really cool projects that others had not yet tried.

Michelle Wilson: I thought this was a really great new edgy way to perhaps reach a new demographic. Chambers, and membership organizations, in general, we're going through a bit of an identity crisis, and I thought this might be a really cool way to reach the younger demographic that didn't necessarily understand why they should be a member of a Chamber of Commerce.

Brett Johnson: I know when we first started, too, I was looking at it as a potential engagement tool. I know Chambers have a difficulty. Yeah, they have … The email database is great, but the open rate, no, and the feedback from members, and getting them involved, and such … I was envisioning the podcast, possibly, as an engagement tool, as well, too.

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: If nothing else, reaching out to members, being part of the podcast, and getting 'em involved in a different way that they hadn't even thought about, it's like, "Oh, wow …" [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: Right, and they didn't understand it.

Brett Johnson: They didn't-.

Michelle Wilson: Any more than I did.

Brett Johnson: Correct. Correct, yes. Trying to go in the back my mind, how the process began, I think we just had coffee to talk about this idea. Luckily, you were very welcoming to the idea, too, because I think I laid it out as you have a lot of content, great content. You refined it even more, talking about, "Okay, let's talk to businesses about how they started, and how they're growing."

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: I kinda wanna go a little bit more on that, why that popped in your mind.

Michelle Wilson: I think we're really lucky in the Tri-Village area that we just had this … We have a really great group of members. One of the things that we never really have to preach is to support one another, and make sure you're using member businesses, and make sure you're looking there first. People just naturally do it.

Michelle Wilson: You may use a vendor, here and there, that you've gotten great service from, but you don't really know why they do what they do, or why they got started. I thought it would be a neat premise to figure out if this was something they really- was their lifelong aspiration, or if they just landed there. I think finding their personal connection to what they do was just a different way to approach it. There are lots of business podcasts out there, and I thought maybe putting a spin on it might be more engaging.

Brett Johnson: I think the guests have done a great job, as well, and they get it, when they're on the podcast.

Michelle Wilson: Yes.

Brett Johnson: They bring it back into why the Chamber is so important to them.

Michelle Wilson: Right, sure.

Brett Johnson: Not a guest that we've talked to that we've had to tell them, "Hey, be sure to incorporate why the Chamber's so important to you."

Michelle Wilson: We've never asked that question.

Brett Johnson: Never have asked it. It's come up organically in every interview. Stephanie, even the couple that we've done, have come up … With your transition, we've never told them to say anything about it.

Stephanie Evans: Right. It did just come up naturally.

Brett Johnson: It's amazing. Again, you can have the leading questions, as we had one … Not leading questions, but to incorporate that maybe one member has done a lot to help with some events, and such. That's gonna come up in conversation, obviously, too. I know we talked initially, too, Michelle, when I brought up the idea … I knew that I had to come up with a way that might be comfortable for you. I knew the question may come up about, "What kind of podcast? Are you talking about me just being the podcast?"

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: That's why I introduced let's do the interview. Makes it a whole lot easier. You still had the nervousness, in regards to, "I'm not an interviewer. I haven't done "radio." How do I do this?"

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: How did you prepare yourself to be, I think, a great interviewer?

Michelle Wilson: Oh, thank you.

Brett Johnson: I think you agree, now, too. I think you've done a great job with it. You actually started have a lot of fun after the first couple-

Michelle Wilson: I did, yeah, right.

Brett Johnson: You did. How did you jump into that, in regards to getting yourself prepared, and getting more comfortable to being an interviewer?

Michelle Wilson: Again, going back to just who we are as … Who our personality is at the Chamber is we're very relationship-driven. While everybody says that, I believe it to be true. I believe that so much of the success of the Tri-Village Chamber has been because Stephanie and I have gotten to know people. We know them on a personal level, generally – not every single person – but I think that's been a big part of the success.

Michelle Wilson: Preparing for the podcast was just figuring out how do I ask somewhat personal questions without getting too personal? Finding out what it is they wanted to be, when they were young, and having them take a step back, and look at why they are where they are. I did basically the same research, every single time.

Michelle Wilson: We did identify … At least initially, we identified members that perhaps I knew a little more on a personal level, so that I could … They were kinda my guinea pigs. I could ask them questions that- and I would be more comfortable asking them questions, because I kinda knew what their answers would be. Although, I think, each time, they surprised me, and that was also fun. It was always a discovery, no matter how much I thought I knew going into the interview. I think that led, each time, to a really great end product.

Brett Johnson: It did, I agree. I was thinking about the time process, when our first discussion, and when we kicked it off … I don't remember actually how many weeks/months it took. I think it went fairly quickly, honestly.

Michelle Wilson: Yeah.

Brett Johnson: I think a lot of the time that it took, and this is part of the interview process, is booking people; getting those businesses in. At that time, we were very lucky to have a great relationship with a local radio station group to utilize their studios. I know the owner was extremely happy to have business owners coming in to the radio station, just to see the Hollywood of it, to be a part of this podcast, but also just a monthly process of seeing new businesses coming in, because of this podcast.

Brett Johnson: That was a nice relationship, at that point in time, to get things going, to legitimize the podcast, as well, working with the radio station group. The sound of the podcast versus just being in front of a computer laptop, and, "Okay, talk as close as you can to the screen …"

Michelle Wilson: Oh, it made a difference. It definitely … Absolutely, it made a difference being in a professional setting.

Brett Johnson: I think it made a little bit easier for you, too, I'm assuming, because you were at a radio station. This is what happens here.

Michelle Wilson: It did. Right.

Brett Johnson: Interviews, and content, that sorta thing, yeah.

Michelle Wilson: I was lucky enough to be a part of a couple of other podcasts, and they were fine. I would never say anything negative about them, other than the sound quality … The difference in sound quality, I felt really lucky that we had what we had with that radio station.

Brett Johnson: Yes, and I think the process of us moving as fast as we did – I'm gonna say probably a couple of months, quite frankly [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: Oh, I think it was, yeah.

Brett Johnson: -it probably was. We didn't really have a lot of people involved.

Michelle Wilson: Right. That's true.

Brett Johnson: We went rogue for the most part [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: If you asked my past board members, they would say that ,"Michelle asks forgiveness, not permission," and that's just how it worked.

Brett Johnson: I don't know if that's the proper way for any Chamber to think about doing something like this, but what is the harm, as long as you have the game plan, and this is the direction you're going with it?

Michelle Wilson: Sure.

Brett Johnson: You focused a couple of the board members as guests, as well, so that made a big difference.

Michelle Wilson: I did. Right. Some of that was strategic, but they also are really good interviews … Perhaps it was for a double reason, but there was good content there.

Brett Johnson: Yeah. How has the podcast been able to showcase the Chamber's expertise? How did you incorporate that, as well as with Stephanie coming in, as well, too, what the Chamber is? I know there's, like you said, an atmosphere; a culture that the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership has, compared to any other chamber – good, bad, whatever. Every Chamber has its culture; its feel. How do you think you incorporated that, in regards to what you were doing with the podcast, as well as what Stephanie will be doing in the future, too?

Michelle Wilson: Steph, do you wanna take that? I can take that. I think I can take that. There's a saying, and I probably said this on past podcasts, that you've seen one Chamber, you've seen one Chamber. We all operate very differently; every community is so different. Partnerships vary.

Michelle Wilson: The Grandview area, Upper Arlington area, and now, of course, Tri-Village, I think have been very lucky to have good relationships with their city governments, with their key players in the area. I think that really played beautifully into the podcast just being an extension of what it was we were already doing. That was finding new ways to engage our members; finding new ways to keep them interested, and on board.

Michelle Wilson: When we started receiving feedback, pretty quickly … It takes a while to build your listenership, of course, but when we started receiving feedback, pretty quickly, from members who were intrigued by the fact that we were doing a podcast, and they were learning about these small businesses on a different level, that was exciting.

Michelle Wilson: Again, I think, going back to some other chances we took as a Chamber: the Chamber Challenge, when we did a business makeover in three days; that was that was a huge undertaking, and a great success story. The podcast was just the next thing we were trying. I joked about asking forgiveness, not permission, but kinda true. We just said, "Sure, that sounds like a good idea. Let's give it a shot." We didn't have a lot to lose. It's turned out to be a really great benefit, I think, to our members. People are asking to be a part of it now. I think it was just natural, that it was something we did that was different, and edgy.

Brett Johnson: I think one great story that came out of … I think we maybe had three or four published at the time, but the first episode that we published, she got an inquiry about her business for new business-.

Michelle Wilson: Yeah, and got the business-.

Brett Johnson: And got the business. When you told me that, I'm going, "Wow, okay, this stuff kinda works, doesn't it?"

Michelle Wilson: Yeah. We thought, "Gosh, if that happens every single time, we've got something …" which, of course, jokingly. We knew that wasn't gonna happen every single time, but-

Brett Johnson: Sure … Being the first episode of the whole podcast-

Michelle Wilson: -but the very first episode did produce business, yeah.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, amazing. That was a difficult episode, because that was your first. That was her first, but it came out great-

Michelle Wilson: We were both so nervous-

Brett Johnson: -and she got to showcase exactly what she wanted to for her business, and it obviously worked.

Michelle Wilson: Yeah, she came off beautifully. She really did.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, she did. Have you seen adding the podcast content to the website improve the site's search component?

Michelle Wilson: That's a great question that I would have to … I don't know that we have done a ton of analytics on it. It's certainly something we can do. You've provided us with numbers that have increased over time. I'm certain that it probably has, I just wish I could give you exact numbers, but I can't-.

Brett Johnson: No, and that's fine, because I can answer a little bit to that, because I know the user agent piece to the back end that I do see. This is not atypical of a business-oriented podcast; it is a lot more desktop listenership than through phone. Therefore, they are listening via your website, or a link through the email.

Michelle Wilson: Yeah, sure.

Stephanie Evans: One of the things we did on the website, too, was we added a tab; specifically, it says Podcast, so you don't have to look for the podcast in the other drop-down menus. It used to be part of the news, or something like that-

Michelle Wilson: It did, yes.

Stephanie Evans: We changed it to add it, so you see it right when you log onto the website.

Michelle Wilson: Right-

Brett Johnson: Which will make a difference over time, of course, too [cross talk].

Michelle Wilson: -much easier to find.

Brett Johnson: Right. I know a lot of businesses, they wanna add content to their website, but it's like, "Okay, where do we put it without junking up the site?" Or maybe the original design of the site was not really set up to incorporate any video, any audio.

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: It's kinda difficult to measure, because it's not in the right place. A tab, obviously, will help tremendously, and such, too. Another unexpected thing that happened, but we were focusing on this, we had a sponsorship for the podcast.

Michelle Wilson: We did.

Brett Johnson: We'd always talked about this, but we just … Had come up with a list of potential sponsors, but knowing that any sponsorship could limit who might even wanna be on the podcast, or it might sound as though, "Okay, they're sponsoring, but what are you giving 'em?" You're a Chamber sort of thing.

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: I think our focus of who did sponsor the podcast made a lot of sense. I'll let you talk a little bit about the story-.

Michelle Wilson: It did-

Brett Johnson: -because you carried the water on this one.

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, well, I approached … Of course, the Tri-Village Chamber Partnership is made up of Grandview Heights, Marble Cliff, and Upper Arlington. We approached the three of them, and said, "These are the businesses that are representative of each of your areas, so, let's get you on board.".

Michelle Wilson: What I really love is that the smallest of those three municipalities stepped up. The Village of Marble Cliff got it really quickly. They went through a few readings, and they listened to some podcasts, and they stepped up with some dollars. One of the things we said was we'll be sure to make sure that we are including businesses in the Village of Marble Cliff. There aren't a ton. It's a very small village. Not a huge ask on their part, but some great businesses there.

Michelle Wilson: The businesses that we already had focused on in Marble Cliff helped sell it. Then, we made a commitment to feature some more, and we did that, and we're still doing that. I was really happy that they stepped up, not just from a dollar perspective, but because it was a great way for a small village to get some awesome exposure. Their logo went on there, and then they got to think of a fun slogan, and tagline. I think it helped them, and is helping them in a different way, as well.

Brett Johnson: It's little bit of moral support, too.

Michelle Wilson: Yeah.

Brett Johnson: I felt really good after you … I know you called me. It wasn't an email. "Hey, we got a sponsor!" and you said who it was. It was a struggle. It was … It will be, working with municipalities, and cities, of course. The process is a bit slower; a lot more people have to sign off on these ideas of money being spent. I totally understand that versus going to a business as a sponsorship.

Michelle Wilson: Yeah.

Brett Johnson: Hearing that feedback, and knowing that they're going to do that meant monumental pushing a big rock-

Michelle Wilson: Right, right …

Brett Johnson: -knowing that it doesn't matter what size of government there is, there had to be a lot of eyeballs seeing this, "Yeah we're gonna do this; we're gonna do this; we're gonna do this," because this money is being spent here, versus here. It was good feedback.

Stephanie Evans: One of the things that their Mayor, Kent, had said about it was that they view it as a professional education opportunity for the businesses in the Marble Cliff area, and felt that, by supporting the podcast, it was encouraging their businesses to listen in, because they can't always make it to a luncheon, or a breakfast, or a coffee, or an event, where we might have a speaker, or some kind of educational program.

Stephanie Evans: It really is educational, when you listen to how someone got their business started, or how they made the next steps to grow, and that kinda stuff. They felt like it was a good option to treat it as professional education, in a way, to give to the business community, and support us, as well.

Brett Johnson: One of your last interviews was with Kent, and-

Michelle Wilson: It was.

Brett Johnson: -probably one of the better podcasts, in regards to understanding the Village of Marble Cliff.

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: He's such a great speaker [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: He is.

Brett Johnson: -understanding this very … What is it? Two square mile, if that? I forget how many square mile it is, but government is government, and it's just a smaller version of it, but it's the same mechanisms, the same "politics" going on, but just on a smaller scale; a microcosm, comparatively, but still important to those that are living in that little community.

Michelle Wilson: Right, and they're very lucky they have somebody who's forward-thinking, and is … Again, I think like the Chamber taking a chance on some doing something a little differently … We're very lucky that he sits on the board, and has a great voice to lend, on behalf of the village.

Brett Johnson: We tried to come up with the most convenient publishing schedule, and we varied that. I know, initially, we went with … Because of scheduling issues, and problems, and fitting in your schedule, obviously, to sit down. and talk with folks, and give yourself some time for research, we are on a once-a-month publishing schedule. It worked really well, I think.

Brett Johnson: Then we started to crank it up to every three weeks, and I think we saw some momentum come from that, as well, too, that it started to take off a little bit more, as well. We could get more people in over a year's time, as well, too. How did that change, in regards to how you set yourself up, and your scheduling, too, that one extra week, or one fewer week to prepare? Did that take some mental strain? How did that change your life?

Michelle Wilson: Not tremendously, because I think it was something that I so enjoyed. It was just one of my favorite parts; truly getting to take a deep dive into one business was so enjoyable for me. Doing the research … I had basically the same list of questions every single time. That would always be my fall backs. Then, depending on who we were talking to, and how well I knew them, or if there had been something in the news recently that I wanted to make sure I touched on, I customized that each time. It was more exciting, quite honestly, to increase it, and get to talk to more people, and beef that up a little bit.

Brett Johnson: I know Stephanie, you can answer this, as well, too, because of being on board as long as you were, installing the social media strategy, and the email strategy. Let's talk a little bit about that, how that's evolved, as well, too, from your standpoint, and moving forward. This podcast is included in every newsletter that goes out for the Chamber, which is a weekly … What other pieces are being implemented that are being done/were being don, as well as looking to the future?

Stephanie Evans: It goes into our weekly newsletter with a link, so it's on our website. It always sits there, and the link sends you to the website. Then, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram … Trying to think of all the social media. Admittedly, we are in a transition there with the social media.

Stephanie Evans: We had contracted out some work; the person that was doing that work for us recently moved to Seattle. In theory, he could do it from there, but it's more practical to have it here, closer to home. We're in transition, getting our head around how to do that social media, and how best to approach that. The podcast link is included in all of that, and we're trying to stay active on that, and keep up to date, and find a new rhythm with our social media.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, it's kind of a double-whammy, with the transition of hosts, also losing the social media person, or [cross talk] choice to keep the social media in-house; let's put it that way.

Stephanie Evans: Right. That's the goal at this point is to keep it in-house, and just, I guess, have a more intimate knowledge of it. I don't know if that's really the right way to phrase that, but we could do things a little more quickly [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: Well, it's certainly more immediate.

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, it's more immediate-

Brett Johnson: That person's desk is five feet away [cross talk]

Stephanie Evans: Right, instead of sending a picture to somebody … It does make it more immediate. We just have to get up to speed with it.

Brett Johnson: Sure, sure. Well, and you can look at it as good timing, or bad timing. It's probably very good timing, because you get to own it – the change of it – and evolve with it, as well. I know, with the transition, we're looking at probably backing up publishing dates, back to a month, probably, just because, again, new role for you [cross talk]

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, just a little … This big microphone looking at.

Brett Johnson: -of looking at, "Okay, I still wanna continue …" Well, "I still wanna continue on with the podcast," but how to incorporate it into my day, as the newly appointed executive director for the Chamber. It's just a week, so not big, but I think that the implementation of a new person with social media, keeping it in-house, may be an easier transition, as well, too.

Stephanie Evans: I think we're still very much in a transition phase. I just officially took this role as executive director in October, so I was still in my learning curve. Then, add to that the change in the social media contractor that we were using, and bringing someone in-house, and me changing roles altogether. There's a lot to learn.

Michelle Wilson: You're welcome [cross talk]

Stephanie Evans: I didn't know as much as I thought I knew. I sat next to Michelle in the office, and I [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: -osmosis works pretty well, too.

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, and I knew a lot about the Chamber activities, but not so much the things that she did. Now, I have literally switched chairs. I took your chair.

Michelle Wilson: That's a great, great chair.

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, it's a great chair. There's a lot to learn, and it's a busy day. I make my to-do list at the end of the day, for my next day, and inevitably, I get to work … Sometimes, I check my email before I get in, and my whole day changes.

Michelle Wilson: That's right.

Brett Johnson: Welcome to life. Yeah, right, exactly.

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, exactly. It's never quite like I planned. Just kinda keeping up with things still has me in a transition.

Brett Johnson: That's a great segue into talking about the transition of hosts. Obviously, you knew you were going to leave, and whether that was being discussed or not … One way or the other, in the mind, you knew, "Okay, I'm moving on, but there are things I have to take care of.".

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: What was the discussion like with Stephanie, when you said, "Hey, I'm outta here. Totally up to you if you wanna keep the podcast going, but let's talk about the podcast …"? What was that conversation like?

Michelle Wilson: Well, I told Steph that it was one of my favorite parts of the job. It had grown into that, and that I would … I just told her the truth. I think that I was very nervous, and that if we kept it going, which I thought we should, that we approach it the same way. Don't put a ton of pressure on yourself, because the conversation really does take over.

Michelle Wilson: We scheduled a couple of podcasts, my last two, and and did those in the office, in a more comfortable setting, and Stephanie sat in on those, and got to see that I wasn't exaggerating. It really is very laid back, and conversational, and the flow should be fairly natural. You have these questions that you can fall back on, if conversation halts for some reason, but that never really happened, thankfully, but they were good conversation starters.

Michelle Wilson: The Chamber is very lucky that Stephanie knocked on our door a couple of years ago, and said, "Hey, I'm interested in coming here." Her background, and personality just lent itself beautifully for the transition. I knew she'd be great, and, of course, she is.

Stephanie Evans: Thanks, Michelle.

Brett Johnson: She said that in the conversation. What did you hear? [cross talk]

Stephanie Evans: -I'm like, "What? Who can I get to do that?"

Michelle Wilson: How do you portray deer in the headlights over a microphone?

Stephanie Evans: I think, from the start, I totally agreed that it needed to continue. I think it's a really great thing for the Chamber, for our members, and for the folks who are listening. There was no doubt that we wanted to keep it going. The struggle for me is overcoming the anxiety of having this big microphone in front of me, and feeling like I don't know how to do this.

Stephanie Evans: My first thoughts were, "Okay, well, we have to keep it going. We have to keep it going. Who can I ask to do it? Who can be the voice?" I went through all kinds of different ideas in my head, and I'm like, "Okay, the fact is it's most natural, probably, for me to do it. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths, and just do it." Your encouragement, Brett, and your encouragement, Michelle-

Brett Johnson: Thank you.

Stephanie Evans: I know-

Brett Johnson: Did you end up going back, and listening to some older episodes to really listen to 'em differently, and how it was done?

Stephanie Evans: That's a good question. I guess I didn't go back very far. I generally listen to them as they come, but I did go [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: Right, right, right … But you can hear it with a different ear, when you have to host it.

Stephanie Evans: Yes, and I did. I did go back and listen to probably three or four … Not the entire podcasts, but parts of the three or four of 'em. You're right. I didn't even remember that I did that, but I did, right before we recorded my first one; to go back and just listen to the flow, and how the conversation went.

Stephanie Evans: That helped, and I had Michelle's list of questions that I just had in front of me. I did use them probably more than Michelle does, or did at the time. It does help provide the backup, like when you are afraid of stalling out; you know you won't, if you have that.

Stephanie Evans: The other thing that you had said, Brett, is that it doesn't really matter how long it is, It can be 10 minutes; it can be half an hour. It's just wherever the conversation just naturally stops. Relieving that pressure of having to fill 20 minutes was helpful, too. I think probably mostly it was in my head, because, you're right, it's pretty natural, but heart races, at first, and your mouth gets dry [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: Even though you know it's not live, you do have this big microphone in front of you, and there's a sense of pressure, when that's not something you do every day, but-

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, even today.

Michelle Wilson: Right, but it's also a sense of relief, when … If you can get out of your head long enough to think, "Okay, we can fix this," because it's not live, and it can come off sounding pretty smooth, if we stumble a little bit along the way.

Stephanie Evans: I think that the biggest thing for me was just the commitment to knowing that it has to go forward; not going to stop doing this. I've gotta figure it out.

Brett Johnson: Mm hmm, yeah. I hadn't thought about the transition you talked about, in regards to bringing it back in the office; getting away from the professional studio. That probably maybe helped you with the transition, as well, too. It's in your office, now-

Stephanie Evans: Probably, yeah.

Brett Johnson: Bring a couple microphones in; it's not the intimidation factor of a studio that you're not comfortable in. You had never been in that studio that we were recording in, and we were taking the podcast on the road for a few episodes, as well, too, for convenience sake, as well … Moving what we thought was gonna be a different direction, but didn't happen. It was an experiment; just didn't happen. Back in your office makes a whole lot of sense, and it may be just as comfortable for your guests, as well, too, because [cross talk]

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, a lot of 'em had been there before, and they're nervous, too, the people that we've interviewed. They were nervous, definitely, so having that comfort level of knowing where they're going, knowing how to get there, and that kinda thing, I do think helps.

Michelle Wilson: For me, I had the benefit of recording promo spots for some of our past events at the studio, so I at least had a little bit of a level of familiarity with going into the studio, and talking into a microphone. That's not the case for everybody, so I do think it's a nice familiar setting to do it in the Chamber offices [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: Moving forward, any new thoughts? Any new ideas that you wanna implement over the next few months? Have you put thought to that, or the different type of people we wanna talk to?

Stephanie Evans: With regard to the podcast?

Brett Johnson: Yeah.

Stephanie Evans: I think one of the things that we had tossed out … I really do love the up close, and personal, and finding out how a business came along. I am a small business owner, myself, still-

Brett Johnson: You've been there.

Stephanie Evans: Yeah, I have. I've owned two businesses by myself, and then my husband, and I currently own a business together. I'm a small business owner, too, and so I do appreciate hearing other people's stories. I think that I learned from it. I think our listeners can learn from it. Everybody's tackled it a little differently.

Stephanie Evans: One of the things that I think has been great about the ones that we've had so far is the variety of businesses that we've invited in for it. I think, for the listeners, if you look at the list, it's this huge variety. I think that shows the breadth of our membership. For folks who aren't members, or just out there listening, they can see the kind of businesses that we have, and that it really covers a whole range of businesses.

Stephanie Evans: I think that the up close, and personal, "How did you get here?" way is great. We've also tossed around, do we start doing more like … I don't know, a specific topic in business, and how do we address that, and kinda come at that from different angles. For right now, I feel like if it's not broke, don't fix it. If this is our niche, and this is what we're known for, then that's the track we should stay on. If we start to feel like we wanna mix it up a little bit, I do think that there are some other avenues we could venture down.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, we talked about other opportunities, as well, too, just expanding the role of the podcast. It gives you the opportunity as a new host to do that, as well as Michelle was always kicking around that idea. We were always kicking around those ideas, so it's always on the table.

Michelle Wilson: Sure, yeah. I think it's really key to mention, too, from the member perspective, besides learning about other members, is that it's a great marketing tool for them. They walk away with this podcast. We walk away learning something; a little bit more about, perhaps, that member, or that industry, but the member walks away with a marketing piece that they can put on their website; that they can pull snippets of. You're great about helping them with pulling out key pieces that would be great for marketing. There's no charge to them for being a guest on our podcast. It's really a benefit to everybody involved.

Brett Johnson: There's not an episode that I didn't learn something-

Michelle Wilson: Oh, my gosh, yes. Me, too.

Brett Johnson: -or heard something said, going, "That makes sense," especially when you start to change what you're doing in your world-

Michelle Wilson: Right.

Brett Johnson: -and things hit you differently, when you start to think about things differently, whether it's a new business venture, or you're venturing with a new career, whatever; you just hear it differently. I think every episode, all the guests have done a fantastic job of bringing just little nuggets, yeah-

Michelle Wilson: A nugget, right. There have been times that I've walked away thinking, or not thinking, but just having learned something that I just didn't expect. There was a couple of times when I was kind of gobsmacked, for lack of a better word.

Michelle Wilson: In one of those, a piece of advice came out of it. One of my favorite things was to ask, "What advice were you given, or what advice would you now give?" One of the podcasts, there was a piece of advice given to one of our interviewees that I loved, and I have now used in a practical way with my kids, and in my life. I definitely learned a life lesson out of doing an interview that … Gosh, that's not what I expected to get out of it, but it was great.

Brett Johnson: All right. Advice to a business owner, or another Chamber outside of the Columbus area … They would like to start a podcast … Wouldn't want any more competition here, but since the podcast is worldwide-

Michelle Wilson: We've got it covered.

Brett Johnson: We've got it covered, here, but I'll ask both of you, what advice would you give a business owner, or another Chamber that may be considering podcasting as a marketing tool? What would you tell them to keep in mind?

Michelle Wilson: Steph, jump in anytime. I think I would tell them to try to come up with what's unique about them, and capitalize on it, with their podcast, with whatever the theme is, or what it is that they want to accomplish. Find out what's- identify what's unique, and use it.

Michelle Wilson: Also, try to get the supporters on board first, and not necessarily ask permission, but now that there's somebody that's doing this, and it's working, don't recreate the wheel, and definitely get people on board first. Realize that there are resources out there to help you get started, and that it's really a phenomenal tool to engage your members.

Stephanie Evans: They might be able to get sponsorship upfront [cross talk]

Michelle Wilson: Upfront, yes.

Stephanie Evans: -say, "Here's what we wanna do," and model it after this or that, and be able to get some sponsorship upfront. I would say definitely think about that. One of the things that I think our podcast does is, alongside of the information that's shared from the interviewees, is it showcases the personality of the Chamber, just in the conversations that take place.

Stephanie Evans: I do think that the conversations … Michelle's done a really great job of being very natural, and being able to bring out the personality, not only of the person being interviewed, but her personality shows, too. I think that that …

Stephanie Evans: I always tell people who are thinking about joining our Chamber that the personality of our Chamber, I really do feel like, represents the communities that we represent. It's a really warm, sincere group of people who wanna see each other support- sorry, wanna support each other, and see each other be successful. I feel like that comes through in the interviews, just the personalities. I think that's a real nice benefit for our members, and for the Chamber, as a whole.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, I would think, and I agree … I always think this medium is not a fake-it medium. It's raw. It's raw. The emotions are there. You just can't fake it, versus writing a blog, or having a professional blogger write it for you that represents your company. This is it. I think the podcast brings that out of the Chamber, as well as the guests I've seen, overall.

Brett Johnson: Congratulations on your move, Michelle.

Michelle Wilson: Thank you very much.

Brett Johnson: That was a kick in the gut, when you told me you were leaving. a little bit-

Stephanie Evans: I second that-.

Brett Johnson: -because I knew I was going to miss working with you. I knew the podcast would live on, because it had legs, and I knew Stephanie was more than capable of getting this done, but working with you, I knew I was gonna miss [cross talk] because it was a lot of fun.

Brett Johnson: I am looking forward to what Stephanie is gonna do, as well, too, because the focus of this podcast, I think, is extremely important to me, as well as getting it done for the Chamber, as well, too. Congratulations on your move to Experience Columbus-

Michelle Wilson: Thank you.

Brett Johnson: -and congratulations on your new chair, and new role.

Stephanie Evans: Thanks, Brett … Literally a new chair.

Brett Johnson: Exactly.

Stephanie Evans: Literally a new chair. It moves.

Brett Johnson: I do look forward to working, as we continue on with Business Inspires.

Michelle Wilson: Thank you [cross talk].

Stephanie Evans: Thank you, Brett. I look forward to working with you, too.

Michelle Wilson: Thank you for all your support. This is because of you, and your great idea, and that our members are benefiting. Thank you for doing that.

Brett Johnson: Thank you. Thank you.

Sonix is the best online audio transcription software in 2019.

The above audio transcript of “Business Inspires” was transcribed by the best audio transcription service called Sonix. If you have to convert audio to text in 2019, then you should try Sonix. Transcribing audio files is painful. Sonix makes it fast, easy, and affordable. I love using Sonix to transcribe my audio files.

Recorded in Studio C at the 511 Studios, located in the Brewery District in downtown Columbus, OH!

Brett Johnson is the owner and lead consultant at Circle270Media Podcast Consultants. The podcast consultants at Circle270Media have over 30+ years of experience in Marketing, Content Creation, Audio Production/Recording, and Broadcasting. We strategically bring these worlds together with Podcasting.

You can email Brett at to talk more about your new or established business podcast.

Grow Like A Pro Podcast

In this episode, I talk with Jason Fleagle and Adam Bankhurst, co-hosts of Grow Like A Pro Podcast from Jenesis Marketing Group

One great takeaway you’ll get from the podcast is how the two share duties as co-hosts. Ideally, co-hosts should divide the work in half. And these two talk about how they do just that!

Grow Like A Pro (transcribed by Sonix)

Brett Johnson: Let's start off and talk about … We're gonna balance this podcast with business, and nonprofit. I am a true believer that businesses need to give back to the community. I wanna give you guys an opportunity to talk about nonprofits that you work with, whether it's time, treasure, talent … Let's talk about those. Which one do you work with, or maybe it's a multitude of them?

Jason Fleagle: Adam, you wanna go first?

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, sure. I worked at The Basement Doctor for about eight years, and I was the IT manager. The Basement Doctor, and Ron Greenbaum, himself, is very into working with nonprofits, and charitable organizations. We've worked with the Ronald McDonald House, and we've worked with Autism Speaks, and we've worked with all these other groups that really do a lot of good in the community.

Adam Bankhurst: I started doing that. In addition, personally, I am big into gaming, and technology. There's a charity called Extra Life that is basically like a gaming marathon. Instead of running for 24 hours, you're gaming for 24 hours. I started a movement in Columbus back in 2011, and we're raising money for Nationwide Children's Hospital. We work with Ohio State, and BuckeyeThon, their big dance marathon. We've raised over, I think, about $250,000 over the past maybe four or five years, just helping kids, and playing games is kinda what we say.

Adam Bankhurst: Recently, we've gotten involved in Pelatonia, the big bike ride. For the last two years, I've done a hundred miles. We've worked on the board with Kelly … Kelly, and Maria Durant. We are really, really passionate about doing that stuff, because it's just so important, and there's so many good causes. It's nice to just get out there, and meet people, and see people doing amazing stuff in the community. It's a big passion of mine, and of the company's.

Brett Johnson: That's awesome. Jason?

Jason Fleagle: For me, Brett, I've always been passionate about wanting to give back. I love to … Especially being in the world of business development, and coming alongside businesses, and business owners, and helping them solve their challenges, nonprofits, giving back to them has always been something I love to do.

Jason Fleagle: Right now, I'm actually working with two really cool nonprofits. The first one is Autism Power. Tony Iacampo is the founder of that organization. We're actually working on getting that off the ground. It's basically a balance between a nonprofit, and a social enterprise.

Jason Fleagle: There's a lot of businesses, actually, in Columbus, up in the Delaware area, that are getting involved. They're going to donate some space within the company to have children with autism come in, and actually work a real job. The whole idea is to equip individuals with autism to live a normal life, or as normal as they can.

Jason Fleagle: It's really awesome. I'm so excited to be a part of it. We actually have Austin St. John, the original Red Power Ranger on the board. There's a lot of attention coming towards the organization. I just feel honored to help be a part of that, and develop the organization with Tony.

Jason Fleagle: Then, I also give back to an organization called inTeam. JD Bergman was a wrestler at Ohio State; one of the best wrestlers in the world; incredible friend of mine, too … I'm on the advisory board with that organization. They have a for-profit arm, and a non-profit arm. It's a faith-based organization that is all about sharing positive messaging to help people overcome the depression, the anxiety that they're facing.

Jason Fleagle: The whole idea is we're inundated with negative things in our world today, so, JD wanted to create a positive platform that lifts people up, rather than drags people down. Those are my two nonprofits that are taking some of my time. I'm obviously really passionate about them, too, so I love to help them out the best way possible.

Brett Johnson: Excellent. Well, thank you for sharing-

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, of course.

Brett Johnson: -because I think that it also gives spotlight to a lot of nonprofits we don't even know exist.

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, for sure.

Brett Johnson: They're doing great work, great work. Let's talk a little bit about your professional backgrounds to set the stage, and then we can get into Grow Like a Pro podcast. Jason, we'll start with you, in regards to where you started, and how it brings you here today.

Jason Fleagle: Like most people, I have, really, pivot points in life. I actually graduated from college with a biology premed degree. I was accepted early to medical school at LECOM, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. At that time, in college, my junior-senior year, I got involved in doing political consulting work at different organizations.

Jason Fleagle: They wanted to know a little bit more information on social issues, so I did research with them – financial research – and put all of that data in a fun, interactive way to display at different events, and conferences, and that kind of thing. Then, it opened up more into doing … I would create pitch decks for them. I started to do some business development for these organizations, and political think tanks.

Jason Fleagle: I was like, "Wow, man, I don't think that medical school might be a good fit for me," because I loved what I was doing. I was like, "Wow, these people …" It's kind of second nature to me. I can see issues that … I'm like, "If I were in you guys' position, this is what I would be doing, or thinking about."

Jason Fleagle: I respectfully declined my offer to medical school, and stepped out into the dark, I guess. I pursued that; ended up doing an online MBA program, part-time, through MVNU, Mount Vernon Nazarene University, here in the Columbus area. Halfway through the program, I was like … As an entrepreneur, as someone that's in the trenches working with these organizations on a day-to-day basis, I just didn't feel like I was getting the information from that program that I really wanted to know.

Jason Fleagle: I ended up dropping out, and teaching myself web development. I ended up getting a job ,after that, at a digital agency. Short stint there, then worked at Abercrombie & Fitch as one of their web developers. Then, after that, worked as the digital director with a company called StoryBuilders out of Atlanta, Georgia.

Jason Fleagle: That's where I was exposed to working with some incredible people, and brands. Had the opportunity to work with the John Maxwell Company, the Ziglar Corporation, Kevin Harrington from Shark Tank, and so many other people that would be somewhat recognizable. That was awesome.

Jason Fleagle: Then I left that company in January of 2018, and then connected with the guys at The Basement Doctor. I actually applied for a web developer position with them. That's when Mike Stiers, the President of Jenesis Marketing Group, was like, "Man, I need to have a conversation with this guy. Bring him in the office, and see what he's all about. See if he's making up his background."

Jason Fleagle: Thankfully, Mike and I hit it off pretty quick. Jamie, the Web & Digital Manager, I hit it off with him really well. I'm the Business Growth Strategist, now, with that company, and then doing the Grow Like a Pro show with Adam. I just feel really blessed to be in a position to add value to other people who are trying to serve customer, or if it's a nonprofit, serve the people that they're trying to serve. I love that.

Brett Johnson: Great. Adam?

Adam Bankhurst: Hey, how's it going? As I mentioned previously, I was the IT Manager of The Basement Doctor for about eight years, but, it's interesting, because I graduated from Ohio State with a business degree in marketing. I had a big business background. My father, and other people in my family are huge in the business world, and I wanted to get into that world, but, like I said, I also love technology.

Adam Bankhurst: After college, I went down, and actually worked with my father a little bit, because he had a big real estate company. I just learned some of the business, and it was fun just to work with him for a little bit, and get my feet wet. Then, I found the opportunity at The Basement Doctor. Their IT Department was basically a storage closet at that time. They were using cassette tapes for backups, and certain things, and it wasn't a huge importance.

Adam Bankhurst: I just saw a need; I saw something that could really help the company, so I just dove in, learned everything … Got me just running on the ground as soon as I could, and developed that company, over, like I said, eight years.

Adam Bankhurst: Brought all their servers up to the cloud. Got everyone new computers. Upgraded cell phones, and VOIP phone systems, and the internet, and all this stuff, and really made the base. Took The Basement Doctor to a different level, as far as technology has gone.

Adam Bankhurst: As I started growing, it's getting to that point where I was kinda hitting a ceiling. There's only so much more I could do, at this point, and I had a lot of ambitions, and goals, and dreams. I really have a huge creative side, because, as I mentioned, I did have a marketing degree. Alongside my gaming, and technology love, I also write for one of the biggest websites in the world, I'm an editor there- or a news writer there, and I've been working there. That's something that has worked hand-in-hand with my charitable things, with Extra Life, and with Nationwide.

Adam Bankhurst: I wanted to transition into something where I was able to combine both of my loves. So that's when Jenesis happened. Mike came and spoke to me, and was like, "Hey, we're looking for somebody like a chief strategy officer; someone who's able to have a vision of where we wanna go, what technology to use, what venues we need to go to, who's up on some of the new trends, and stuff like that."

Adam Bankhurst: It fell into place, and I knew that that was the best decision for me, because I was able to still use my love of technology, and be able to help people, solve problems, and be that go-to person, but also get more into the creative side, and hopefully merge, like I said, my two loves of technology, and gaming, and business, and marketing, and helping people.

Adam Bankhurst: As far as podcasting goes, we'll get into this a little bit, but I'd been podcasting since about 2012-2013, and I started a gaming-technology podcast, and some other ones that I've done with some other people. It's another thing that I love to do, and Jenesis afforded me the opportunity to make that into something that could really help people, help businesses, and help people trying to achieve their dreams, and goals. It's been a little bit of everything to get me to this point.

Brett Johnson: That's a good transition. How did the process begin about talking about this podcast for Jenesis?

Adam Bankhurst: It really just started because, once again, I did have background in podcasts. One of the podcasts I do, called The Gamer's Advocate, we've been doing it, and since we do have a studio, and stuff, I was able to record there at certain times. It was something that we talked about.

Adam Bankhurst: Podcasting is a huge form of entertainment, and media. There's so many different shows from murder serials, or different business things, or comedy stuff, or politics, and everything. It's such a great way to get information out there. It's such a great way to learn stories, to hear people's successes, and failures, and learn something truly valuable.

Adam Bankhurst: At Jenesis, we really do try to position ourselves as authentic, and transparent, and we really do wanna grow alongside a business. As you know, you're familiar with, there's a million marketing agencies; there's a million advertising agencies. We really are trying to say, "How can we separate ourselves?" Obviously, by being good people, and by really showing that we care, and not just having some cookie-cutter template, and kicking people out the door.

Adam Bankhurst: We thought of this idea of Grow Like a Pro, because it's such a great way … When we're helping people, we wanna get their message out. We're a marketing agency. What better way than to have a business owner, or entrepreneur come, and tell their story, tell their successes, tell their failures, learn about them, learn what they like to do, what their hobbies are, outside of work?

Adam Bankhurst: It endears you to that person. It makes you have that other thing, instead of just seeing some website, and seeing some company. You're seeing people. You're seeing faces. We think that that's hugely important, because people's stories deserve to be told. There's some incredible knowledge, and things that you can learn from people that you would maybe have never run into in your normal everyday life.

Brett Johnson: How did you two connect to do this, as co-hosts for the podcast?

Jason Fleagle: I think it was, I don't know, a natural progression?

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, it was, because-

Jason Fleagle: -Adam balances me out, and I think I kinda balance Adam [cross talk] because Adam's more, I don't know … You're always more energetic than me.

Adam Bankhurst: I'm like a five-year-old, basically, is how I like to say it [cross talk]

Jason Fleagle: -when I listen to some of our audio playback, I'm like, "Man, Adam is so much more exciting than I am …" or at least … I don't think anyone really likes the sound of their own voice, but I think Adam has a good balance to my voice, and vice versa.

Jason Fleagle: I was talking with Mike, one day, and I was just like, "We need to think about ways to differentiate ourselves, and focus on different niches that really bring people into the door." Exactly like Adam said, it is, not in a negative way, but disarm people from, "Hey, we just wanted to take your money." That's not what we're about.

Jason Fleagle: We're really focused on building relationships with people. Then, through those relationships we can kinda figure out, "Oh, you're facing this issue?" Everyone's facing issues on a daily basis, so why not be, as a community, offering our different services back and forth with each other, because together, it's synergy. It's about by working together, we can have a stronger output, than if we all tried to go, and do our own thing.

Jason Fleagle: Talking with Mike, he was like, "Well …" We had kicked around the idea of this Grow Like a Pro a little while back, and I'm like, "Aw, man, I'm a huge fan of podcasts." I had heard that Adam was doing The Gamer's Advocate. I'm like, "Yeah, let's do a podcast." I think Adam and I talked first, and were like, "Okay …"

Adam Bankhurst: We went out to lunch, actually [cross talk] which I don't know if you're familiar with, in Reynoldsburg. Great Chinese restaurant, I must say.

Jason Fleagle: We shoulda recorded that conversation [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: -we just had that conversation like we were doing a podcast. That was always our goal. We wanted to be conversational. We wanted to be with friends, talking. We wanted to do that. The first step is make sure we're compatible, and friends.

Adam Bankhurst: Jason's background. He's very out there; he's very outgoing. He talks to people; he's talked to a bunch of business owners, and worked closely with some very successful people. As great as our team was … We have so many different people, from so many different avenues, that bring so much value to our team, but, when looking at the potential people for a co-host, Jason's skills aligned with what we were looking for, and what we were trying to accomplish with Grow Like a Pro.

Brett Johnson: From the first discussion, the lunch, to first episode published, how long of a process was that? How many months, weeks?

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, it was a few months..

Jason Fleagle: Well, actually, we did Ron's episode right away, Adam [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: -our latest episode, which is Ron Greenbaum … We had a conversation with him, and it was actually before we upgraded some of our equipment, and stuff. It was actually back in May. We started this conversation back in … It was funny, because I was editing the show, and publishing, and I looked, and I'm like, "That was May? Oh my God …" It didn't feel that long ago, but, like you said, time flies with these kinda things.

Jason Fleagle: We did the episode with Ron, and, like Adam said, our equipment was not where it needed to be, but I think Ron was coming into town-

Brett Johnson: Knowing his schedule, you gotta catch him [cross talk]

Jason Fleagle: -when you can get it.

Brett Johnson: You bet.

Jason Fleagle: -we threw the studio together, and then used that as our kickoff time. We were like, "Let's use this as our momentum to get going." We used that time to start to get more equipment, and start to reach out to potential guests. After Ron's episode, it was probably a few months where we scheduled our first guest to come in, and then record from there, and then it's been really consistent so far.

Brett Johnson: So, two hosts … How do you handle duties? What do you handle? What do you handle, without stepping on each other's toes, and know what each is supposed to do for each episode?

Adam Bankhurst: Obviously, we're co-hosts, and we do things, but I would say that I sometimes take … One of my goals is I do the editing, and the publishing, and making that and Jason does more- some of the back-end stuff; gets it ready to post to the website, and do things.

Adam Bankhurst: Then, depending on who the guest is, we'll do a questionnaire that we'll send to each other, like a Google doc, and depending on who brought in the guest, they'll put together something, and then we'll share it out with them, and with us. Then, while we're recording, we'll be live in that Google doc, adjusting, and changing questions, and saying "Hey, you do this one," or, "We're gonna switch to this topic," or, "We're gonna go …" depending on the conversation, because we believe …

Adam Bankhurst: You could send us a great road map for this podcast, too, but I think it's super-super-important to have an outline, and a road map of where you're going, but not to be so beholden to it, because we like it to be fluid, and be able to go down a side street, or take a different tangent. That's how we started doing that is we got a group of questions together, and we've evolved it as we go, but we jump on the fly, but just have a general idea of where we're going.

Jason Fleagle: I'm sure you know, Brett, every guest is different [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: -which does make it fun. Honestly, yeah, because you know where it's gonna go.

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, exactly. Adam and I, we … Well, Adam's such a … He's a much better speaker, I think, on the spot than I am. Just with my personality, I like to have more of a framework, or a template that I'm working from. For me, it's nice to have that in place, if we're working with a guest who's more similar to me, where they might need to write more things out, or they might need to see the questions, that kind of thing, in front of them. Then, other guests, they might not even need to see any of the somewhat prepared questions at all.

Adam Bankhurst: Like Ron, we could've talked for probably four or five hours with no prompts. He could just go forever, but [cross talk] some people need a little more order, which, there's nothing wrong with that.

Brett Johnson: Exactly. Do you have any other people at Jenesis helping you with the podcast, or input listening each episode, giving you critique a little bit, or with the process itself [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, it's a huge team effort. We have our developers, our designers that created the logo, and create things, and all that stuff. We have our developers, along with Jason, who help get it ready to push on the website, and to do all that stuff. Mike, and other people help getting it out there, with SEO, and helping with all these things.

Adam Bankhurst: Another idea that we're working on, too, with our show is to do a little mini-podcast with each of the employees, to give them … When you go to an About Us page, you can learn about the people that are actually working on your projects, and stuff. Once again, that's what's so awesome about Jenesis is everyone works together for that same goal, and is very excited about everything. Some people are a little more shy than others, and are a little hesitant to being on the show, but besides that, everyone kinda does their part.

Adam Bankhurst: The main help, I think, is getting the message out there, posting on necessary social networks, helping with the development, and any type of logos, or assets, and artwork we need. Listening, too, and giving us feedback of what they liked, what they didn't; maybe what else we should look for; what other types of questions we could ask, and stuff.

Brett Johnson: For sure. With any project up from a business, putting something out there, no matter what it is … What factors were discussed in measuring any ROI that's needed for this podcast to continue on with the project? Because it does take time from your schedule to do what you need to do a Jenesis. Again, this is counted as your work, but, at the same time, there may be other things you can allocate your time to doing. Was there any discussion of ROI, and, if so, what does that look like, and how is it ever-changing?

Jason Fleagle: I can answer first, Adam. One of the things that at least Mike and I have talked about is the ROI for us is probably gonna be a little bit further down the road, just because, again, we're thinking of different ways that people can see our authenticity, and see how we're different, and building a relationship with us is so important.

Jason Fleagle: In terms of the amount of listeners, the audience growth is one big indicator data point that we're looking at. We're starting to do paid advertising, right now, in terms of directing traffic to listen to the podcast, so looking at those numbers, as well. Again, the biggest thing now, since we're still relatively new, is just to continue to get more guests on the platform, and then equip the guests with what they need to share it with their own network, once their episode goes live.

Jason Fleagle: We don't have any very strict plan, I guess, in terms of looking at our ROI. I'm sure, once we start … We're actually growing pretty well, right now, organically, and then, also, with the paid advertising. It's just gonna be looking at that as we go along. I wouldn't say it's something we're constantly thinking about, right now, since we're still relatively new.

Adam Bankhurst: It's a marathon, not a sprint, as I like to say, because we have big visions, like I said. Right now, we set up our studio for audio, but we've started messing around with video. We're ordering some new tables, and some new equipment to be able to upload our videos, and have some Facebook Live streaming.

Adam Bankhurst: We really wanna do some community events, live podcasting; go on the road. We have a few trips planned to the West Coast, and certain things, to get other people around the country involved in all this stuff. There's a lot of things that I think will help build, and just make it a stronger product, but yeah, it's a … Once again, we just released our sixth episode, right?

Jason Fleagle: Yeah-

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, still relatively new with things. You understand how these things go, but it's definitely something we're constantly looking at, and making sure that it is bringing back the business, and value that we put into it.

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, and I would say, to further go on to Adam's point, is we're, at least for me, I'm looking at some of the purchases that we do as an investment, not just for the Grow Like a Pro platform, which I see as standalone to Jenesis, but offering that to other people who come into …

Jason Fleagle: Other business owners who come into the office are like, "Wow, you guys have a studio? Would you be interested in renting that, to do some of our work, too?" That's another avenue that we're thinking about, too, is looking at it from an investment, in a number of the different internal companies that we have, as well. To answer your question, it's a little bit hard to measure the ROI, just specifically for Grow Like a Pro, because it's kinda being used in a number of different ways.

Brett Johnson: Sure. Typically, with an interview format, it's more of a networking opportunity. How is your interview format allowing you to showcase Jenesis Marketing expertise? How are you getting that accomplished?

Adam Bankhurst: There's kind of a twofold way that we look at that. We bring in that conversation. We don't wanna be that selly/pitchy podcast, because that turns people off [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: You're not doing that, for sure. I think there's an art form to this-

Adam Bankhurst: I agree-

Brett Johnson: -and that's why I wanted to dig in [cross talk].

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, I appreciate that.

Brett Johnson: -how you're approaching … Doing that.

Adam Bankhurst: Right. I think it's very important to make sure that it stands alone from Jenesis, but not by itself, or stands aside from it, but not alone. You know what I'm trying to say with that is that we don't want it to say "Hey, this is Jenesis, Hey, this is Jenesis …" The way we do it is, once again, having that authenticity; getting people to like us, because podcasting, in my …

Adam Bankhurst: I've been doing this for a while, and what I've really learned, too, is that the content in the podcast is important. It's very important that you're knowledgeable, you're factual; you say everything right, but, what people come back for a lot are the people, are the actual individuals. They wanna be a part of a community. They wanna be a part of a family.

Adam Bankhurst: When people are in your network, and when they join you, and they say, "You know what? I like this guy. He's very relatable; I trust him; He kind of aligns with my core values, and stuff," that may force you, or not force you, but maybe incline you to look up what does this guy do? What's more of what he is involved in, and how can we see more of Adam, or see more of Jason? How can we get more involved in this?

Adam Bankhurst: As you said, with the networking, and stuff, we have these guests on, but also, what Jason and I do, we do our standalone podcasts, or we do some other fun podcasts, where we'll take a concept … We did a Toys"R"Us episode a few weeks ago, because they've had the issue where they went bankrupt, and they were going away, but now they might be coming back. Jason and I had the idea, let's talk about Toys"R"Us; let's talk about the history; then, let's convert that, or take that conversation, and take it to a more marketing, and branding, and rebranding yourself.

Adam Bankhurst: We're giving our tips, and ideas of marketing, and helping your business grow. Then, at the end, and the beginning, we say, "We're sponsored by Jenesis; this is what we do," and throwing that in there, but it's organically giving people knowledge, and information. and not really trying to preach to them, but just say "Hey, we live in this industry, and we know these people, and we know these ideas. These are the ways that I think can really help you grow, and there's ways to get in touch with us, and lead that into something more, potentially."

Jason Fleagle: Was it Steve Martin who said, "Be so good that they can't ignore you"? [cross talk] I think that's like … Adam can do his skill sets, or things that I don't have, and vice versa. Everyone on the team offers something really, I guess, particular to what they're focused on, and passionate about. That's why I love it.

Jason Fleagle: As people get to know us, they're like, "Wow, I really … How can I work with you?" It ends up almost being like we're never asking them. In some cases, it's just a natural progression that happens, that they're like, "Wow, you're not just this normal salesy kinda person that I'm so used to seeing, or I get that contact form on my website all the time: 'Hey, we can help you improve your SEO,' and all this kinda junk.'" I'm like, "That's not where we're coming from."

Jason Fleagle: By people connecting with us, and building a relationship with us, they're like, "Wow, okay, these guys are really different. They're actually … They're thinking of us as …" We wanna advocate for them. We actually will treat your business like our own. We're not just here to take money. We're here to actually help you grow; achieve success that you wanna achieve.

Brett Johnson: Has the podcast been important in the blogging that you're doing, and vice versa?

Adam Bankhurst: I would say having Jason … Jason does a lot of the content creation, and blogging, so I'd be curious to see what you feel about that.

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, it's gonna be … Not to give too much away, Brett, because that's a really good question, but I actually-

Brett Johnson: No one listens to this podcast [cross talk] you're good; you're good.

Jason Fleagle: -Adam's writing for IGN. I'm a contributor for some of the largest publications on I was just accepted into Hacker Noon, which is the fourth largest publication on Medium, and I think it's in at least a couple thousand placement, in terms of the Alexa rank. It's not quite IGN, Adam, but [cross talk]

Jason Fleagle: That's something that we're very much starting to focus on. I'm actually working on a blog post right now that's gonna be in a publication on My Favorite Podcasts of 2018. I'm gonna put our podcast in there as something that it's a personal project that we're working on, so excited about it. It's an idea that I'm putting value out there, again, at the end of the day.

Jason Fleagle: Adam's the same way. Every article that we wanna put out, it's a focus on … It's delivering some kind of value, or entertainment factor to the end reader, but then, there is a call to action for people who wanna know more … If you follow our website, subscribe to the podcast, even follow Adam or me, personally, on some of the work that we're doing, you're probably gonna see a lot more of the blogging aspect of what we're doing with Grow Like a Pro. It's probably gonna be a important factor for some of the guests, as well, just to share some of their platforms that they're doing, as well.

Brett Johnson: You're early stages of the podcast, obviously, but are you seeing some growth for search for the websites, time spent on the website? Are you seeing some analytic love from the podcast, at this point time?

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, actually Mike and I just talked about it yesterday. It's a little bit difficult to track, because he just started doing some of the paid advertising to get traffic to the site, but yeah, looking at our … Adam chose SoundCloud for where we host to the audio episodes to go out. We've been seeing a … I don't know, how many listeners, in terms of growth, would you say? We're up to at least 10 every 24 hours. 10 new listeners every 24 hours …

Jason Fleagle: Again, it depends on … Because we haven't done too much paid … We just started the paid advertising, so it's gonna take a little bit of time to see that return. Most of it, all the data now that we're looking at has been like guests in their network, like social media, they're sharing it out. Some of the next upcoming episodes, actually, we're expecting to be pretty big, because it's gonna go out to a large network [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: That's another brilliant thing about the Grow Like a Pro show/broadcast is that it's got that … Having these guests on, it's marketing itself. You're having that whole extra arm of people, where you don't have to do anything. Something Ron always used to say is, "Have people carry your water. Have people help carry the load," and stuff [inaudible] people wanna share their story, and share that, so that's just another venue that helps get more eyes, or, in this case, ears on it.

Jason Fleagle: One thing that Adam always says, too, is that rising tides raise all ships.

Adam Bankhurst: Exactly.

Jason Fleagle: That's like where we're coming from, too. "Sure, we'll help you promote your platform, and I would hope that you would do the same with us, too." Helps everybody.

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, exactly. The synergistic partnerships.

Jason Fleagle: Win-win.

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, Win-win-win, in some cases.

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, right.

Brett Johnson: That's a good transition into marketing. How did you decide on your publishing schedule? You could do weekly; you could do biweekly; you could do monthly. How did you come to this decision?

Adam Bankhurst: I listen to a lot of podcasts, and we've talked about this, and we were saying, "Will we have enough content? Will we be able to have enough guests?" We came to the idea, where, you know what? We should do a weekly show. We should do it that even if we can't get guests for a while, we have enough … There's enough topics in the world to talk about, and make a show about it [cross talk] speak for 45 minutes to an hour. It's not like we're gonna be hurting for content.

Adam Bankhurst: Another thing that I learned, and that I really truly believe, and appreciate, as far as podcasting goes, and even in business, and life, in general, is consistency. We've decided on the schedule of doing Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m.; every Thursday, 6:00 a.m.. No matter what happens, we're always gonna have a show going live, because once again, when people start listening to your show, and listening to your podcast, there's an expectation … I listen to some shows, especially some in the gaming universe, where, if a show's an hour too late, you'll have people saying, "Where's the show? What's going on? I don't know what to do with my life!".

Brett Johnson: Isn't that amazing?

Adam Bankhurst: It is.

Brett Johnson: It really is-

Adam Bankhurst: -because … It's true; it's like part of your routine.

Jason Fleagle: That's right.

Adam Bankhurst: I like the 6:00 a.m., because it's something where you can wake up, and a lot of people listen to podcasting in the car. On their way to work, every Thursday, they'll know, "I have a new episode to listen to." They have that because it's not a, "When is this going live? Oh, there's another episode? I forgot." It becomes part of a routine that, "Every week, Grow Like a Pro, 6:00 a.m., on Thursday, when I'm driving to work, I know I'll have a new … I'll be able to hang out with Adam and Jason for an hour, and do that stuff.".

Adam Bankhurst: That's something that I really … We went back and forth with how we wanted to do it, but something that I really preached was consistency, never missing an episode, and making sure it goes live at the same time. Just doing that all the time, and making it like a comfort, like people know it's gonna be there for them.

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, for sure.

Brett Johnson: You had a little bit of that training, though, writing blogs, correct?

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, of course, definitely.

Brett Johnson: When you're writing for one of the largest in the universe, they expect content from you at X amount of time [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah. You need to get content going, or what's the point? When things are missing, then views drop, subscribers drop, things drop, and it's [cross talk] You gotta keep it going. You've gotta keep that train rolling, as they say.

Brett Johnson: What are you offering your guests to help them share your podcast in the episodes?

Adam Bankhurst: $500 [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: You're the folks doing that … Yeah, okay.

Adam Bankhurst: Obviously, we share the links. We always love to take a picture at the end, and we are gonna put it on our wall, like part of our studio; we're gonna have a wall of guests, and things. We had this idea of doing things. Having just a shared … Letting people know that "Hey, we're gonna be posting it at this time; we're gonna start posting it … It'd be nice to share." Tagging each other back and forth, giving people the knowledge of the right social networks to share, the right things to make sure people aren't …

Adam Bankhurst: We actually had an issue with the company, last week, a different company, where they were tagging the wrong company in all their social posts. Communication, I think, is one of the biggest gifts you can give somebody, in my opinion, because if you're not sharing the right message, or you're screaming it at a wall over there, when people are looking at that wall, it doesn't do anybody any good.

Brett Johnson: That's right.

Adam Bankhurst: Just making sure we give people the tools. We know when it's going live; we know when they can share it; what they can talk about. We like to ask the guests, too, "What do you want us to highlight? Is there anything that you want us to really – in our posts, and even in our conversations – that you really are passionate about, and really like to do?" It's kind of a group effort, making sure that we're hitting all the targets from both parties.

Jason Fleagle: Before every recording, we love to just sit there, and talk with the guest. I think Adam's the same way, too; I don't wanna speak for you, Adam, but I'm a huge experiential person, so creating an experience for someone is very important. The first moment that they walk up to the door is like that has to begin with a good experience. Giving them a good tour of the building, and the grounds, and then the studio; making sure they get water, coffee, anything that they need to make them feel more comfortable, because the last thing we want is the guests to feel a little anxiety, or nervousness. Everyone has that, to a certain extent, but try to make them feel as comfortable as possible.

Jason Fleagle: Again, like you said, Brett, we wanna have a conversation style, and that's what … It's a conversation with friends, and that's the best, because that's so authentic. People can tell when you're not … When you're faking [cross talk] so having that experience is so important.

Jason Fleagle: After that, we usually talk for a good amount of time, too, because I don't know about you, Brett, or … I know Adam gets the same way, at least for the shows that we've done. You get so pumped up.

Adam Bankhurst: I do. It's like an ice-breaker. it really is [cross talk].

Brett Johnson: -you can't just shut the recorder off, and then say, "See you later." It doesn't happen, no. You spend another half hour just defragging after that, and you kinda go, "Why aren't we recording this, too?" [cross talk] It always happens.

Adam Bankhurst: -we had a conversation, I think, a few weeks ago, where it's like you gotta just … I started learning this, too, is when you end the show, don't actually hit end; keep it going, or before you record. Just record the testing of the levels, because-

Brett Johnson: Preamble stuff.

Adam Bankhurst: Preamble, because sometimes, the best things come from those moments, when you're not actually recording, and you're like, "Man, I wish I had that …"

Brett Johnson: I know.

Adam Bankhurst: We actually started … We'll release this probably maybe for our year anniversary, or something, but we started compiling a blooper reel of [cross talk] They're the best. I have this whole folder of all of Jason and I's things, where [cross talk]

Jason Fleagle: It's great. I don't wanna give too much away, but Adam recorded me doing something really stupid, like what, last week?

Adam Bankhurst: Yep, like the Batman theme song [cross talk]

Jason Fleagle: Oh, yeah, yeah. He was playing it on looping, and I'm like, "Aww, this is so embarrassing."

Brett Johnson: It's amazing, microphones are like lubricants.

Adam Bankhurst: Oh, my God, for sure.

Brett Johnson: Just see how much you can get away with, and just having fun, which is good though, because it can be intoxicating, as well-

Adam Bankhurst: It is, it is.

Brett Johnson: -but you want to be a part of it.

Adam Bankhurst: Exactly [cross talk] that's the whole thing. You wanna be a part of the party; you wanna be a part of the … You wanna be our friends, which that's what we like to say. We wanna be your friends; we wanna be part of your everyday, and your network, and things.

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, for sure.

Brett Johnson: Social media strategy. What did you decide upon for the podcast, to get the word out?

Adam Bankhurst: I know, Jason, and he can go into this little more, we talked about we started doing some paid advertising, and we started doing things … One of the biggest issues that we had was coming up with a name, because we wanted all the same name for all of our networks. We went back and forth with certain things. We came up with … Grow Like a Pro Show is one thing that we really like to do, but, on Twitter, the W doesn't fit, or, the O, the last O doesn't fit. We're one character short from Grow Like a Pro, so that kinda screws everything else. That's one of the most challenging things, especially with trying to get those handles, because it's easier to find.

Adam Bankhurst: Just trying to make sure you have a consistent message across all platforms. You're not leaving one platform behind, because there may be some people that really focus on those platforms. You wanna make sure all the cross-posting, and cross-promotion is in place. Once again, getting that post live, right as the episode goes, so people know it's ready to go.

Adam Bankhurst: If there's an issue, communicating issues, because when you set an expectation, and you don't hit it, that's when huge problems happen. If you say "Hey, we're having some technical issues, or something happened; we're not gonna be able to release our episode til noon on Thursday, or maybe we can't do it til Friday," or something, it's a lot better than someone opening up their phone, and have this whole idea of, "Oh, man, I got my long commute. At least we have Grow Like a Pro, and this podcast. Where is it? What's going on?" I think communication … Once again, transparency, authenticity is hugely important.

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, for sure. In terms of when it goes live, like when an episode goes live, I usually share a little bit of information; tag Adam in it, from my personal platforms, and then I will … It's usually one of our social media team members that handle scheduling a post from the Jenesis social media accounts. Then they'll tag us in that, as well. We try to hit it at a number of different angles, and usually from that, by that point, the guest is tagged. They're usually sharing it with their own network. Again, it depends on the guest, because every guest is going to be different, in terms of their network.

Jason Fleagle: We're getting to the point where we're going to be asking them "Hey, what's the best strategy, or way that you will want to be tagged, or to share this out with your own network, as well?" We're talking about equipping people possibly with sending it to their email lists, because that's very important. Having an email list, today, is huge, in terms of building an audience, a tribe, so, talking about that.

Jason Fleagle: Again, we want it to be authentic to that guest. We don't wanna have that cookie-cutter approach. Adam has been really good at balancing me out in that way, and that's another really good benefit for having two co-hosts, two hosts, is that Adam is a good lens, like if I'm thinking of an idea, I'll talk with him, and he's like, "Nah, well, maybe we should do this," and vice versa; we have that rapport back and forth [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: -soundboard; just going back and forth [cross talk] an idea, see what sticks. It's nice to have someone else hear your idea, and perfect it, or do those kinda things. It's always helpful.

Brett Johnson: You mentioned earlier, your artwork is done by somebody in-house.

Adam Bankhurst: Correct.

Brett Johnson: How did that come about? Did the person volunteer? Did you say, "Hey, we gotta have somebody do artwork. Can you do this, please, for us?" I'm looking at this as don't allow the artwork to be a stumbling block. It's important, but, at the same time, there's got to be somebody on staff at a business that would be willing to put the artwork together [cross talk]

Jason Fleagle: For sure.

Brett Johnson: How was that process? Was it point a finger, "Would you do this for us?" [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: We have, and we have people on our team that have incredible eyes for design, and for artwork, and have all that stuff. It's kind of a no-brainer. When we started this, that was part of the conversation was, "Are you guys okay with designing up some logos, and ideas, and artwork, and things? It was a pretty easy conversation.

Adam Bankhurst: That's the benefit of working at a company like Jenesis is we got … You have those people that, if someone is starting a podcast on their own, needs to maybe outsource, or look for other things, but it's nice to be able to have a lot of these things in our office.

Adam Bankhurst: Another thing that we really tried to stress is we wanted to have a logo, or a type of thing where people could identify with; fits well on a mug, or on a T-shirt, or on a hat, because when people are out in the community, and they see that logo, it should be a feeling. That's what we talked about with, once again, with our Toys“R”Us ad, and even with Ron Greenbaum, with The Basement Doctor. When you see Ron's face, or when you see Toys“R”Us … When you see these things, you have an intrinsic feeling; you have a actual reaction to what you're seeing. There's memories that come up, or your history with the brand, or good, or bad feelings [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: Sure, it can go either way.

Adam Bankhurst: -that's what we tried to really do. We wanna obviously say that we're a podcast, and we're a radio thing, but also have a cool logo that's catchy, and does stuff like that and also make it so we don't sound like a landscaping company, with Grow Like a Pro [cross talk]

Jason Fleagle: In terms of getting the design of the current logo, I know … I think you and I, Adam, were just sketching out the different ideas [cross talk] and we gave it to the designer. Then, she worked up a number of different concepts. Then, I think, from there, Adam gave a few other, I guess, points to revise it, and then, we've settled on the final logo. It wasn't too long ago [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: -another thing I do like … My stylistic choice is very minimalist. I like having that nothing too complicated, or flashy, or things; just something that gets the message across. We kinda had the idea of, yeah, with the microphone, and the growing- the symbol, too. It makes sense. It's something that … It's not too in your face; it's not too crazy, but you get it, when you look at it-

Brett Johnson: Well, and you're dealing with a thumbnail artwork, so you can't put a ton of stuff in there-

Adam Bankhurst: Right. Exactly. You can't have all this [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: -it has to look pretty clean in all the different podcast players; namely, iTunes, and Apple Podcasts.

Adam Bankhurst: Of course.

Brett Johnson: You don't wanna stick too much into that, knowing it's gotta be applicable, where most people are gonna see this, as well.

Adam Bankhurst: That's right. Definitely, definitely.

Brett Johnson: A lot of different hosting platforms available … I'm sure you did the research. Why did you choose SoundCloud to go with?

Adam Bankhurst: We went back and forth. It was actually interesting, when I started doing podcasting in, man, 2012, I think it was, I used this platform called BlogTalkRadio. I don't know if you're familiar with it?

Brett Johnson: Sure. Oh, yeah, still exists.

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, it does-

Brett Johnson: Under a bigger umbrella company [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: It's a really interesting company, because they really try to position themselves as having those live radio stations, where you can have people call in, and do stuff. When I started doing that, it was nice to be able to do this, but it seemed like there were a few limitations, and things that didn't really give us quite what we wanted.

Adam Bankhurst: One of my friends who actually designed some of my theme songs for other podcasts, he's used SoundCloud a lot. It's a very popular name, and it's an easy way that integrates well with all the other platforms, and things, and doesn't really give me too much pushback, and things. It was just an easy way to host, and get things rolling, and get things …

Adam Bankhurst: It wasn't too crazy of a conversation; just something that I've been using for a while, and has been just a point of comfort, because, like I said, I'd been working on it, since we switched from BlogTalk in maybe 2013, or something. When we started Grow Like a Pro, it was just an easy switch.

Jason Fleagle: One of the ones I was used to working with was Libsyn [cross talk] That was one that we went back and forth, but I relied on Adam's experience, just because I was like "Hey, I've never done this myself." I've worked with putting the content out there from a Libsyn account, but … That's why having the team … again, kind of have a really good flow to get the content out there was really important. SoundCloud has been awesome, so far.

Brett Johnson: I think a lot of podcasters use that as a stumbling block. "Which one should I go with? Which one should I go with?" First of all, you can switch at any time [cross talk] It's easy to transport … Most of them make it easy to go from … For example, you start on Podbean, and you don't like Podbean; you'd rather good with Spreaker, or go to Blubrry. They work with you, as long as you're doing a bigger brand name of a hosting platform. Just do a little research.

Brett Johnson: It really comes down to the nuts and bolts for the team members. What do you like? Do you like the look of the embed player, if nothing else [cross talk] a lot of variables there. They're all about the same price point, quite frankly.

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, that's true.

Brett Johnson: Answering all those questions ahead of time of how many times are you gonna publish per month? How big are the files, and such? They'll help you. Make a phone call, or the help bubble comes up. Ask the questions-

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, what do you need?

Brett Johnson: Most of them play well together, and, again, the price points are about the same, when it comes down to it, if you are paying for hosting platform.

Adam Bankhurst: Especially, what's nice with SoundCloud, it's a huge company, very reputable, so you know they're not … Their servers aren't gonna go down; you're not gonna have any issues with that. Also, when it comes down to it, as long as it's getting it on iTunes and Google Play, that's a huge thing, too. That's where most people are listening to it anyway. Like I said, some of these other hosting services, people do go there, so I'm not discounting that, or anything, but the majority of listeners obviously come from people using iPhone, or their Google phones.

Jason Fleagle: Brett, you brought up a really important point that some people can use that as a stumbling block. No matter what it is, whether you're talking about marketing, or even science, or … I was talking with a business owner today about a new project that they're thinking about doing. They're like, "Wow, these data analytics are just awesome from this tool." I'm like, "But will that help your customer?" You've always gotta focus on the end-user, the people you're trying to serve at the end of the day, because you've gotta have that as your priority. You can't get caught up in "Hey, does this tool … Is this tool cooler? Does it have more gadgets?" [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: Watch out for the rabbit hole.

Jason Fleagle: -yeah, but what is the best thing that's gonna be the best fit for the team, and then deliver value to the user?

Brett Johnson: We kinda talked a little bit about that, too, with the analytics for the podcast, itself. You can rattle off a few numbers, and such, that SoundCloud tells you what's going on, or any platform, but there is a rabbit hole there that you gotta watch not going down. Let your podcast develop over time. Worry about the content more than about the numbers; the numbers will take care of themselves, and-

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, you get too caught up in that, it's dangerous.

Brett Johnson: It is. That's exactly the way to put it – it's dangerous, because it's a total distraction.

Adam Bankhurst: You focus on the wrong things, your content will suffer; it'll get in your head. You just gotta keep going, and just believe in yourself, and know that what you're doing matters, and you're taking the right steps. It's very important.

Brett Johnson: Your recording space – what's it look like? What are you doing? I know you talked about changing it up, and making it even better, in your eyes, whatever that is. There is no definition to that other than what you want it to be. What space are you using, and what's incorporated in it? What are you doing with it?

Adam Bankhurst: Right now, we took over a room that used to be our photo-editing room, where people … We had some set-ups, where they would take product shots for The Basement Doctor, and things like that. Then, we converted it to the studio. We repainted the walls. We fixed some of the outlets, and all this stuff. We added internet, and then we put up some sound-proofing equipment.

Adam Bankhurst: We're not quite there yet, because we have a big conference-room table that's a little too unwieldy that we have to keep sideways, so it's not great for video. We're in the process, like I said, of ordering new tables. We already bought some GoPros, and some other equipment, and video equipment to start filming, and getting things up there, and kinda do that.

Adam Bankhurst: We got the basic stuff. We got a huge deal from B&H, and we got a whole bunch of nice mics, and soundboards, and all this stuff. We have a lot of the really high-end equipment, and stuff. We're just trying to perfect, and get our studio to the next level, like I said. I think the next step is video, because we're getting audio at a pretty good place, but a lot of money, and value can be had with a video.

Brett Johnson: It's another touch point.

Adam Bankhurst: Exactly, yeah.

Brett Johnson: Why not take advantage of it, when you have a studio that you do wanna put on video?

Adam Bankhurst: Exactly.

Brett Johnson: It's comfortable, and everybody looks good. It works for the viewer, the end-user. Why not do it?

Adam Bankhurst: Why not. Exactly, that's the thing – why not?

Brett Johnson: The editing, and mixing of the audio … Again, I keep mentioning stumbling blocks, but it's all these little pieces that have to come together. How do you get that done? Once you record, it's done … What's the process of editing, mixing it, and getting it uploaded, in publishing?

Adam Bankhurst: I handle a lot of the editing, and mixing, and I do it through GarageBand … It's a nice, easy, simple way to have nice control over it, and things. I've started messing around with Premiere Pro, and some other things, once we get a video rolling, for certain editing, and stuff like that. GarageBand has been pretty much my bread and butter of … It's just very easy to clip things out, trim things; can have multiple tracks; put in the audio; put in the video, certain transitions, and stuff.

Adam Bankhurst: As Jason mentioned earlier, when we started that whole process from May, til … Our first episode was released in what? September, maybe, or something?

Jason Fleagle: Yeah, I think-

Adam Bankhurst: I think September … We had a backlog of about eight shows, or something. Obviously, when we went them live, some of these people were talking about timely things. Even Ron, in his episode, was like, "I'm doing all this stuff in June," and we released it last week. What Jason and I do is, the week of whatever show we're doing, we'll come in, and we'll just have a little banter back and forth, for an intro, and an outro, just saying "Hey, this episode was recorded before … What else is going on? How you doing?" Certain things; just like a little two-, or three-minute thing to say "Hey, this is what's happening."

Adam Bankhurst: Part of that goes into the editing, too, just making sure people understand, when they're listening, and they hear someone talking about, "Oh, next week is Thanksgiving," and they're like, "What? No it's not. What's he talking about?" Once again, it's something that we really value, and try to just make sure people understand what's going on.

Jason Fleagle: It's usually Adam making fun of me [cross talk] .

Brett Johnson: Future plans for the podcast? Any changes, tweaks you're thinking about [cross talk] where to co-host.

Adam Bankhurst: -looking for a new co-host.

Brett Johnson: Well, okay. We just laid it out there in the world. That's news to me, wow. Send resumes to Hello, at …

Jason Fleagle: That's fantastic.

Brett Johnson: Do you also see this podcast as a template for other marketing groups?

Adam Bankhurst: I would say yes. I think it's-

Brett Johnson: Without stealing your ideas, of course-

Adam Bankhurst: No, not at all.

Brett Johnson: -but, at the same time [cross talk] accomplish what you wanna get accomplished.

Adam Bankhurst: Here's what I think is so valuable for other marketing firms, and other businesses that … Take this process that Jason and I have started doing, and are trying to perfect, and things … When you're trying to meet people, and you're trying to network people, and you try to bring people into your office, it's different when I'm walking in, and going into a conference room, and starting to talk business.

Adam Bankhurst: The way we do it is you come in, and you hang out, and you have a conversation with friends, and you do this, so then, when you have the meeting, you already know each other. You already have background; you have some history. I think it's a very valuable tool to really help people get into your business, and get into your network, and let them know who you are, before they decide if they wanna actually do business with you.

Jason Fleagle: One of the biggest things, too, for me, that I pick up on, when we're interviewing a guest, is I identify their pain points, in hearing their story with their platform; whatever it is that they're talking about. Then, in a follow-up meeting afterwards, I can usually speak from those pain points. "Hey, you mentioned this, Is there any ways that we could come alongside you, and help you solve that issue in the best way possible?" It's very important conversation pieces, I think, through the interview.

Adam Bankhurst: Then, as far as future plans, I know we've talked about this a lot, but once again, having it a little like your set-up; getting more video, getting more things like that, and getting … I think that's really the next big step. As I mentioned previously, we wanna do community events. We wanna do live shows at places. We wanna travel, and do on-the-road casts, and do more of vlogging, and things to just make it more of a … We're a whole network of us doing all kinds of fun stuff.

Brett Johnson: What advice would you give a business owner who's looking to get into podcasting? Obviously, you're eating your own dog food, here. You would advocate, "Yeah, podcast is good for your business. We do it. See how easy it is to do," and such. There are a lot of moving parts to this, you know, and now that we've all been a part of it, you kinda go, "Yeah, it's all done," but somebody looking this … We've talked about a lot of different things here. Key people that should be involved, and again, advice to a business that would be looking at this … What would you say to them?

Adam Bankhurst: I would say if you have that idea, I think it's important to take a look at your team, to take a look at who you have there, who would be a good co-host. Do you have the tools necessary to be able to edit, to be able to do this? If you don't, who can you get? What partners do you work with that you think can fill that slack, and make this happen?

Adam Bankhurst: One of the biggest things that … It's the biggest advice that my dad always used to say to me all the time, and it's a famous tagline of a company, but, "Just do it." You learn while you do it. The biggest problem … This is something that I actually learned being an IT manager for eight years. The biggest roadblock for people is the unknown, is the idea that, "I don't know this. I can't do it. This is too complicated."

Adam Bankhurst: Just Google it. I've learned so much of my skills from just googling how to do this. They've made so many tools, especially nowadays. It was a lot harder, maybe 10 years ago, or something, but so many people are doing podcasts, and so many people have ideas. There's a lot of easy ways to start. You can go on B&H, right now, and buy a podcasting starter kit for a few hundred bucks, maybe less, depending on how sales, and deals are going. You just have to get in, and just start talking. You can even start doing it on your iPhone. Just see how it goes. If anybody's listening to this, just take one of your friends at your office, sit in an office, sit in the conference room, and talk about something for an hour, and see how easy it is. You're just hanging out.

Brett Johnson: Give it a trial, and hit delete when you're done, if you don't ever want to keep it, but I would suggest never delete it, because you never know when you might want to pull back on, "This was our beginning 10 years ago …" [cross talk]

Adam Bankhurst: That's a great thing to do is do that. Like I said, that unknown, I think, is the biggest roadblock of people. You just can't be afraid. All these people, these entrepreneurs, especially that we interview, and these people, they found this level of success, because they just did it. They weren't afraid. If you fail, you fail, and you move on, but, if you fail to podcast, what's gonna happen? Nothing. There's not a lotta risk in it, but there's a lot of reward, and a lot of fun to be had.

Adam Bankhurst: If you are overwhelmed, you should not be afraid to reach out to you, or to us, or to friends, or people in your network. Like I said, if people are doing this right, they wanna help you. They wanna help because, in helping you, it's helping them. It's helping everybody grow. It's a very valuable thing that is really not too crazy, if you have certain things, and certain ideas, but it's … I think the biggest roadblock is just that idea of, "I don't know. I've never done it before." You know what? People say that a lot before they do something, and then Mozart happens.

Brett Johnson: Yeah. That's true.

Jason Fleagle: To go on Adam's points, too, I think one of the biggest things that you can see from both of us is that we're very humble, and we're very open in wanting to learn from other people. I know Adam loves to learn new things; I love to learn new things. I think one of the biggest pieces of advice I would give is find a podcast that you really like, and study what they're doing.

Adam Bankhurst: Definitely.

Brett Johnson: Kinda model that after your own platform. Figure out what's working; what's not working. Adam doesn't have a degree in gaming. He doesn't have a degree in writing, not that I'm aware of [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: -but put enough hours in, you're a professional, right?

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah, exactly. That's what it is.

Jason Fleagle: -like Kevin Harrington from Shark Tank, and some of the … I've worked at a few billionaires, and then I've worked with people that are solopreneurs, and one of the most common things I've noticed is if they don't know how to do something, they find a mentor that is in a position that they wanna be in, and they learn, and follow along on that path. That's one of the biggest pieces of advice, I would say, is do that.

Brett Johnson: Where can they find your podcast?

Adam Bankhurst: They can find it on iTunes. They can find it on Google Play Store; on Stitcher; on all these things. Those are the main play … Obviously, SoundCloud, because that's where it's being hosted. Those are the main ones, but we try to get it to as many people as you want, as well as the web page. We have a whole section built out for podcasting, where you can learn more about the guests. You can see pictures. You can see show notes. You can see other things about if you wanna get … If you loved the guests, and you want to get involved with them; you think they may be a good fit for you, or you wanna learn from them, we have a lot of information there, as well.

Brett Johnson: I would suggest go to the, first.

Adam Bankhurst: Yeah.

Jason Fleagle: Yeah.

Brett Johnson: That's the best way to learn more about what you guys, beyond listening this full episode, but, at the same time, you get to see faces to names, and also previous guests. Little easier to navigate [cross talk] big screen to see what's going on. Thank you for being a guest on this podcast.

Adam Bankhurst: Thank you.

Brett Johnson: I appreciate it [cross talk] the focus is to really demystify a lot of what a business can do with podcasting. Your perspective, and your analysis, everything's been … It's been insightful, and worth a million bucks, and hopefully we can help everybody grow like a pro.

Adam Bankhurst: Definitely [cross talk] That's right.

Sonix is the best online audio transcription software in 2019.

The above audio transcript of “Grow Like A Pro” was transcribed by the best audio transcription service called Sonix. If you have to convert audio to text in 2019, then you should try Sonix. Transcribing audio files is painful. Sonix makes it fast, easy, and affordable. I love using Sonix to transcribe my audio files.

Recorded in Studio C at the 511 Studios, located in the Brewery District in downtown Columbus, OH!

Brett Johnson is the owner and lead consultant at Circle270Media Podcast Consultants. The podcast consultants at Circle270Media have over 30+ years of experience in Marketing, Content Creation, Audio Production/Recording, and Broadcasting. We strategically bring these worlds together with Podcasting.

You can email Brett at to talk more about your new or established business podcast.

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unsuitable on Rea Radio (transcribed by Sonix)

Brett Johnson: Before we get into the weeds of business, I wanna talk to you about any, or a nonprofit that you give time, talent, or treasure to.

Dave Cain: We actually have a very large not-for-profit practice in our Dublin office. By that, it’s consulting; it’s auditing; its tax work; it’s serving on boards; it’s consulting. We understand that industry very, very well. In fact, we look for opportunities for our people to participate in not-for-profits.

Brett Johnson: Okay, good.

Dave Cain: The not-for-profit industry means a lot of things for us, like associations. Those are not-for-profit, which sometimes, people don’t think of those as not-for-profit, but they are. Then, basically, your 501(c)(3)s. We try to give back in the form of time; sometimes services. Although lately, it’s been a little bit difficult to do in-kind services, especially if it’s some tax, or auditing services, or just some more ethical things surrounding that than maybe before; especially if you’re auditing somebody’s financial statements. It’s a bit of a challenge to give back some in-kind stuff there, but we find other ways.

Dave Cain: I’d say, out of our … We have 12 offices, and the majority of our auditing practice is here in the Dublin market, or Columbus market. A lot of that is inside 270, so, it’s inside the city. A lotta arts, and a lotta associations. To give you an idea, Farm Bureau is one of our clients. Let me see if I’m pointing right. Where’s the shadow box?

Brett Johnson: Oh, probably back behind you. Yeah, it’s behind you [cross talk]

Dave Cain: -there we go. They’re a client of ours. Gotta give you … There’s different levels in between.

Brett Johnson: And so on your website, where could they, a nonprofit, or a not-for-profit, find that information?

Dave Cain: They can just go on, and there’s a Services box drop-down. It should be easily find-able, if you can navigate websites. We’ve tried to make it as user-friendly as possible. We just actually redid a lot of things in the last year to make it easier for you to go in, and search, because if you spend … You know, from being in the business, you go there, you can’t find it, you’re outta there.

Brett Johnson: Doesn’t take a lot of time for you to just drop off. Yeah, exactly.

Dave Cain: Do you happen to know Brad Circone? He has helped us with our branding, and actually is producing our podcast, and our website. That was kinda the glue that helped us put everything together – somebody that had that background. He’s the one that comes in; brings the mics in, produces, and edits … We’re pretty committed to … We’re releasing once a week.

Brett Johnson: That’s good. It helps to have that person directing, and-

Dave Cain: It needs professionally done-

Brett Johnson: I put it in quote marks, because directing can mean a lot of different things, but it’s keeping you to task. Saying that, “We’re going to be in the room here doing this, next Tuesday. Be prepared for four of them.” You walk in, it’s gonna be ready for you.

Dave Cain: I think that’s in your notes, and that’s one piece of advice I certainly would give someone is you have to have it professionally done. This is not something you do it yourself. You probably could, but if you’re not trained in it, it’s just …

Brett Johnson: I don’t think you’re gonna be happy with the end result.

Dave Cain: You’re not, and it would be inconsistent, because then you would say [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: It ultimately will be.

Dave Cain: -something else would get in the way, then, “Oh, we’re not recording the podcast.” It’s on our calendar, and it’s the second Tuesday, or second Thursday of every month, and if you miss it, we will break your leg.

Brett Johnson: Let’s talk about your background. Obviously, you mentioned earlier to me, whether I’ve recorded it, or not, you’re not a broadcaster.

Dave Cain: I am not.

Brett Johnson: Let’s talk about your adventure to this point; how you started with your career moves, and now you’re a podcaster.


Dave Cain: Yeah, how ’bout that? I started with Rea & Associates just about 40 years ago, and my specialty, if you will, is I work with emerging businesses, both on tax consulting, planning, and things of that nature. I really enjoy that aspect of it.

Dave Cain: It just so happened the podcast spot came open after about 50 episodes, and they asked me if I wanted to do it. Went for a try-out, if you will. I won. Of course, I was in pretty good shape doing that. What helps me with being the host of the podcast, which you can, again, relate to it … It’s not the easiest thing in the world to be the host. You gotta figure out the right questions; you gotta study.

Dave Cain: One of the things that helped me is virtually all of the topics that we cover, at least if it’s tax, and consulting, and business, I know a little bit about each of those topics. Sometimes, I gotta do a little bit of studying, but for the most part, I’ve either touched it, felt it, read it, talked to somebody who had a client in that industry. That’s what makes it work for me, as far as being able to ask the questions, and the right questions. Now, we’ve discovered, a little bit by design, there’s some things that we don’t touch. Obviously, the political side of things has been a little bit challenging the last year, especially with the new tax act.

Brett Johnson: I was gonna say, it kind of meshes together. You have to touch a little bit upon it-

Dave Cain: It does, it does-.

Brett Johnson: -but you don’t necessarily have to make a comment on it. Just this is the way it is now, because of …

Dave Cain: We’ll see where our guest wants to go.

Brett Johnson: Right, right. .

Dave Cain: I’ll typically talk about the new tax law, and winners and losers under that, and what do they think about that; if they could change the tax law, had one day to change the tax law, what would they do? We can take ’em up to the edge without making it too political. That’s by design, because you never know, with your listeners, where their platform is, so we steer clear of that.

Dave Cain: Some of the things that really work for us are when you talk about topics that are, “Hey, we’re CPA firm …”but we had one. where we talked about opioid addiction, and that was very well-received. That was a very tough one; very, very challenging one. A fun one is when we talk about millennials versus baby boomers. Always, always, always fun.

Brett Johnson: That could be politically charged, as well, too, yeah.

Dave Cain: It is politically charged. You can get some folks going on that-

Brett Johnson: Oh, yeah, you can.

Dave Cain: HR, Human Resource; it’s always very, very popular. Some of the real technical deep-dive stuff is okay, but not as great as some of the non-technical. Certainly, the recent change in the sales tax rules, some of those with the South Dakota v. Wayfair, that’s … We’ve had a lot of broadcasts on that, and that’s been very, very, very popular, also. We try to change our topics, and we study it. Our marketing team does just a phenomenal job of getting me prepared. “Here’s the notes; the cheat sheets.” Our guests come in, and we try to have fun.

Brett Johnson: How did the process begin? I know this is before your time, but how did it begin to talk about having a podcast-.

Dave Cain: Sure.

Brett Johnson: A CPA firm?

Dave Cain: Sure.

Brett Johnson: That really isn’t usually the business category you think about having a podcast.

Dave Cain: I can tell you how it started, and I was a bit on the ground floor … There were the three of us, Mark Van Benschoten, a fellow partner mine, myself, and Brad Circone … We’re just brainstorming, and we were off-site, having a libation, if you will, and it came up that we should do a podcast, or start thinking about a podcast.

Dave Cain: We started challenging that, and said, “You know what? That’s maybe an avenue to go,” because it may help us with our overall theme of what our culture is, and what we want it to be, and what we wanted to project it to be, plus showing off the incredible talent that we have around the firm. We started thinking about that, and how would that mesh with our overall strategy, and our strategic plan? What we what we found is that, boy, it meshes pretty nicely, but, I’ll tell you, it was a hard sell.

Dave Cain: We went to our marketing team, and they said, “You guys … Just how long were you at happy hour? We’re gonna do a podcast?” We said, “Sure,” and we explained it, and they got on board. Then, we went to firm leadership, and they said, “Uh, you guys are gonna do what? You’re gonna spend what? What’s our rate of return on this? What’s going on?” Must’ve did a pretty good job of selling it, and we sold it, and off we go.

Dave Cain: We’ve had leadership on; we’ve had our marketing team on, and they enjoy it. We have fun with it, and that’s the one thing. I would say, going back, is we tried to tie it into what our culture was, and what our strategic plan would be. With that, we wanted to, like I mentioned earlier, we wanted to highlight the incredible talent we had around the firm..

Dave Cain: We’re a firm that has specialists, and we wanted those guys to, and gals, too, just come on, and that would be part of their personal branding. We used that to our advantage, and also tied it into the content marketing that our marketing team was doing at the same time. It’s all tried to tie it together, and that’s what I think would make it work, versus if we just went in, and said, “Hey, we’re having a podcast; we’re just gonna have fun, and see what happens.” We probably wouldn’t have lasted this long. Tying it together to our strategic plan, and the mission, and all that, and never lose sight of that, that really helped solidify where we wanna go with it.

Brett Johnson: How long from first discussion to first episode published did it take?

Dave Cain: I would say, I’m just gonna guess on that, but just the time frame, probably six months, so it didn’t take long. I was actually our first guest, unofficial guest. I was not the first host. We experimented a little bit, and said, “Wow, that sounds pretty good.” Second one, it sounded pretty good. Third one, not so good. Fourth one, not so good. First of all, we were batting 50 percent, and then it started getting a lot better, just as everybody got comfortable with what it is.

Dave Cain: I would say, our message, we try to keep it consistent, meaning we’re gonna release every week, and I think we release on maybe Monday evening, Tuesday morning, somewhere in there. I don’t know what the total schedule is. We have one being released every week, different topic. We haven’t run out of topics. You think you’d run out of topics to talk about, but in the accounting, the tax, the consulting, healthcare, you never run out.

Dave Cain: Then, we also invite our clients in, and do a webcast with them to help them, maybe, as part of their marketing, but, again, we’ll talk them, “Does that fit with what you guys wanna do?” A lot of times, it does. Or they come in, and they have a cause they wanna talk about, and we build in- try to build in the message in there.

Brett Johnson: You are in deep with scheduling, obviously-.

Dave Cain: Really deep.

Brett Johnson: What is the process? How are you doing this? Technically, is it just a Google calendar set-up? How are you nailing these interviews that they know exactly when they need to be there, what’s being covered? This is a weekly interview podcast you’re putting out here [cross talk]

Dave Cain: It is, it is.

Brett Johnson: -a lot of machinations going on in the background to make it work, especially when your batch-recording four, or five at a time.

Dave Cain: Right, right. Our hats off to our marketing team at Rea & Associates. I’m not involved with the scheduling, thank goodness. I’m being scheduled just like everyone else, but, let’s say, Brett, that we wanted to schedule you as … You would get you get a phone call from Abby, from our marketing team, to see if you were interested, and then tell you a little bit about the podcast, and the points that you wanna emphasize – what do you wanna talk about, not what we wanna talk about.

Dave Cain: Then, those are shared, and then you get a Google invite on your calendar, and I get one, and boom, it goes on. Our team knows that it’s every other … Every month, every second Thursday, and you can’t cancel, because when you’re scheduled that tight, and you have one release a week, if you cancel, we’ve got a hole in the schedule.

Dave Cain: We always try to stay one ahead. Some weeks, we’ll do five instead of four, but that is a challenge, if someone schedules … You gotta have something in your back pocket that … Maybe there’s a staff member that you can call in, and just get ’em off guard. You’ve gotta be ready for those things, because it is a little bit disheartening, when someone is scheduled. Of course, we’re paying for production time, so we’re gonna produce. I don’t think we can turn in a bill for that, but …

Brett Johnson: Right.

Dave Cain: The scheduling is a challenge. We don’t do telephone interviews.

Brett Johnson: I was gonna ask about that, in regards to logistics, because they have to travel to your office, but, obviously, if you’re getting the reverse – that people want to be on your podcast – they have no issue of traveling. I still think that is a … Businesses need to get over that. Don’t worry about … Unless, again, it’s somebody from California, or something. Again, your focus is different than [cross talk]

Dave Cain: -we would do it, if the topic was right, and the person, the guest, was awesome; we would do that. We’ve just found better success doing it in person. Even-

Brett Johnson: I think it’s difficult to do an interview that’s not face to face. It’s hard.

Dave Cain: That’s right.

Brett Johnson: There’s an art form to that, especially with video. Even though you think it’ll bridge the gap, it doesn’t do it.

Dave Cain: There’s something missing. We’ve experimented. There’s just something missing with it-.

Brett Johnson: It’s hard.

Dave Cain: It’s okay-

Brett Johnson: Yeah, yeah.

Dave Cain: -but there is something missing – the stuff going around, the outside, and everything. Of course, we get … We use our team, and some of them are extroverts, some are introverts; some love doing it, some are scared out of this world. We try to loosen ’em up a little bit, when they get in there; once they get loose, then, they go-.

Brett Johnson: Biggest compliment you could probably have is they walk out going, “Wow, that was fast. That was easy.”

Dave Cain: Yeah, that’s what they said [cross talk] 20 minutes..

Brett Johnson: That’s the best compliment an interviewer can have.

Dave Cain: We’ve tried to keep it 20 to 25 minutes, dependent on the topic. Then, we try to break it in two. Somebody comes in that’s really uncomfortable, we know that going in. We bring in a little portable bar into the room. “Hey, you wanna have a beer while you’re doing this?” Some yes, some no, but after they’re done, they’re drinking the beer; they wanna stay around for the next podcast. You can’t make ’em leave. “Get outta here! It’s time to …”.

Brett Johnson: “But I have a beer!” [cross talk]

Dave Cain: “Take it with ya …” We do it in a fun way to try to get it going, and trying to keep the topics fresh … By the time we record, and release, there might be three weeks to a month, so we pay close attention to what the calendar is. Right around the election, or right around the time the tax law changed, we were ready to go, right after they released it. Now, our information wasn’t the freshest, because we had been studying it, and we didn’t know the final results, and we had to go back, and work through that. We try to stay ahead of that; keep it topical.

Brett Johnson: How has the podcast been coexisting with the blogs that you do, or newsletters, and such?

Dave Cain: What we do is we try to have those interact. In other words, if you were to go on to our website, and you would look at your bio, for example, in your bio would be any blogs that you’ve written, any podcasts that you have done. They’re tied together. If you would receive an email communication, or email newsletter, or blog from us, there may be a short blurb of what this week’s podcast is all about. We try to make sure that those interact. That’s been very successful for us, and I would say our marketing team has done a great job of doing that.

Brett Johnson: There’re some nuances to those touch points, without being too much in your face, but reminding the recipient that the podcast exists.

Dave Cain: Oh, yeah.

Brett Johnson: That a new episode’s coming up; that this might be one you want to listen to.

Dave Cain: Sure. We will push it out to our clients. Our marketing team will say, “Well, hey, Dave, why don’t you send this podcast out to all your manufacturing clients, or all your professional clients?” There was one that we did, a podcast that we did by the head of our tax team, Chris Axene. He dissected the deduction for meals and entertainment, and the tax impact, and the tax changes, and it was … He was really good. What we did is we sent that out to a lot of our clients, and said, “Here’s what you have to do to deduct those type of expenses.” That one was kinda charged up, so we had fun with that one.

Brett Johnson: Are you using the podcast, then, to focus on new clients; sending them your expertise as an audio format that we know how to do … It’s kind of a [cross talk].

Dave Cain: It’s part of the process, yes. I would say we use it for that; not primarily. It’s-

Brett Johnson: It’s a tool at your disposal, obviously.

Dave Cain: It’s a tool at the disposal. Let’s say we were in a proposal for a manufacturer, we may send them a couple podcasts on manufacturing, or invite them in for a podcast to present their business, or present a topic. For example, manufacturing, we may call you in, and … ‘Call you in’ is not the right … Invite you to come over, have a good time, talk to us maybe about tariffs. We’ve heard a lot in the news about tariffs, especially with the auto industry, now. In the course of our discussion of tariffs, we’ll talk about your business as a manufacturer. You may be invited to come in, and talk about a very sensitive issue to you, or one that has passion, but we’ll try to tie it back to your business.

Brett Johnson: You’ve made, and I’m glad you have, made mention of your schedule, of how demanding it is, but rewarding. How did you decide to do a weekly schedule, or continue to do a weekly publishing schedule?

Dave Cain: First of all, it became a challenge to get people’s schedules coordinated, and you being in the business can appreciate that. We decided we were gonna stick to it, and stay with one day a month, and that was it. The marketing team knew that was gonna be it; our production team knew that was gonna be it. I knew it was gonna be … I tried to sneak out a couple times to play golf, or vacation, and they wouldn’t let me. I had forgotten that it was that day, but they send those calendar invites out, it’s on my calendar for the next year.

Brett Johnson: Sure.

Dave Cain: I would say scheduling would be one of the challenges that’s way up there. You better have a game plan of how you’re gonna do that, because, if not, you get stuck a little bit. That’s one. The second one we talked about earlier is tied into what you’re doing around the company, or the firm, as far as your blogs, or your newsletters, or your marketing. I don’t know that we would have been successful, if we wouldn’t have done that.

Dave Cain: Right. With the guests coming in, are you offering any collateral, I guess you could say, or any anything to help them share those episodes, as well, to their people [cross talk]

Dave Cain: Sure.

Brett Johnson: -how are you doing that?

Dave Cain: They can use that. They can use that at their … However they wanna use it. We’ll ship it out to them. If they wanna edit it a little bit different way, or cut up, we can do that, but we do have a little bit of limitations, because you gotta be a little bit careful with that … Let’s say your business came in, and you said, “Hey, can I get a copy of this podcast? Can I put it on my website?” Absolutely. Absolutely.

Dave Cain: Now, what we do … We also, while we’re doing it, do a YouTube release. That’s a lot tougher. Some days, I don’t even know they’re doing the YouTube channel. I thought, “Oh, boy, I wish we wouldn’t have done that,” but it gives us a chance to wear ugly Christmas sweaters, and to dress up for Halloween, and have some, I guess, some visuals that may make some sense.

Brett Johnson: Sure, incorporate it. Yeah, for sure. Now, the artwork for your podcast is great. Who’s putting that together? The visual presence that you have is top notch.

Dave Cain: Thank you.

Brett Johnson: Who’s putting that together for you? How did you [cross talk]

Dave Cain: -our marketing team is involved-

Brett Johnson: They’re doing a great job.

Dave Cain: -in that, and they spent a lot of time doing that. I spent enough time with that group to know just how hard they worked to get it right. They have won awards, especially when we first started producing … They won awards after awards in our industry, in the CPA industry, for the podcast, because we were one of the first to do it on a consistent basis, taking topics … Now, there’s podcasts that are on training – more of a training issue – but these are just general conversations with Main Street type businesses. We love those kind of stories, so we try to mix it up.

Dave Cain: I’m gonna get into the nitty-gritty here, that businesses need to address this, when they walk into looking at a podcast. It’s not the same as putting together a video that you can slap it up to YouTube. That’s universal. That’s kinda where you have to go. There are a lot of hosting platforms; lots of technical pieces to this that, yes, can be overwhelming, and may stop you from doing it, but, at the same time, can be navigated through. Lots of podcasting platform hosts. Do you remember why you chose Libsyn versus other platforms out there?

Dave Cain: I do not, but I did a little investigation, because I saw your question; I knew you would ask that. I think it was some of the diversity that was offered in the different platforms. Again, I don’t get too involved with that, thank goodness, but, our team … The feedback I get is it is good, so I think that’s the right place to be.

Brett Johnson: Gotcha. I think all platforms have their pros and cons, and it’s … My question to that is not designed to promote one over the other, but I think there are choices that need to be made, when you consider, because some will do better than others for your situation, and there’s not a bad decision, necessarily. You can always move [cross talk]

Dave Cain: You can move.

Brett Johnson: -another one; that’s not a big thing.

Dave Cain: I think we have moved, maybe a couple of times, until we got it right. Researched a few things. That’s one of those things that happens behind the scenes, and, as the host of the podcast, I never see, but I hear ’em talking about that – our marketing team – all the time. It’s like they listen to me talk in tax code; they’re talking in marketing code, so we go back and forth with that.

Brett Johnson: Sure. You mentioned earlier, you have a gentleman coming in, Brad coming in, setting up the equipment, doing all the equipment … What’s your setup? I know we can take a look at video, as well, but, in the office space, how are you putting this all together?

Dave Cain: What we do is we can be versatile; we can be on the move. What we do is we set up a conference room; use a small conference room in our office. It’s not a studio, it’s a small conference room, and it works. It’s not the greatest. Of course, we’d love to build a studio to do all this, but that probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to the bottom line. There are some other things we have to do. It works, and the equipment is top notch; similar to your setup, here. It has to be, or it doesn’t work. Occasionally, it doesn’t work [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: Oh, sure, there’s …

Dave Cain: -we’ve gotta go chase somebody down.

Brett Johnson: Always ghosts in the machine.

Dave Cain: Brad, our producer, he’s an old musician; old rock-and-roller. He understands the microphone … Every now and then, we like to rip it out, and do something different with it, or dress it up a little bit. The equipment is critical. I don’t know that I had a podcast where it didn’t go well, so, I kinda take it for granted about the equipment, but this is not like bringing in your microphone from home. It won’t sound the same.

Brett Johnson: Businesses that are taking a look at this, as well, and maybe thinking, “Hey, we do have an office that’s not used very often, or could be situated as such,” what would you suggest as a room to dedicate to one, size-wise, as well as maybe off the beaten path? Any suggestions?

Dave Cain: Yeah, I would say it doesn’t have to be very large. It has to be comfortable, I think; just like here in your studio, very, very comfortable; that way, your audience is comfortable. I think maybe out of the way, and soundproof is important; maybe out of the way, more than soundproof, because if it’s outta the way, it’s soundproof.

Brett Johnson: By default [cross talk]

Dave Cain: By default. Every now and then, we’ll hear the landscape guys cranking up their mower, or the siren going by, or alarms going off, things like that, or shutting the door. Sometimes, we leave it in there as just kinda natural, but it is distracting, when you’re trying to conduct an interview. I would think out of the way, and we’re careful not to use chairs that squeak, by design.

Brett Johnson: Yep, exactly.

Dave Cain: The equipment is … Professionally done; I would say has to be. That would be, again, as the host, and not behind the scenes. It’s way easier when somebody comes in, and says, “Hey, here it is; here’s your timer; go,” and just go in there. Of course, I can always tell when we make a mistake, because they’re all typing, and doing some editing there.

Brett Johnson: I’ll do the same thing. I’ll mark down the time on the recorder [cross talk] but it’s a nice future reference, and hopefully, it’s not distracting to someone I’m talking to. I’m just making notes [cross talk]

Dave Cain: Oh, yeah, and we have bloopers. We have bloopers, and bloopers are fun. We track bloopers. There are things that have … Sometimes, I just … One time, I just lost my voice; couldn’t talk. You know how when you get that cough, and you just can’t say the next word?

Brett Johnson: Right.

I got up, and had to leave the room … I just gave the speaker the motion to keep on talking. She just kept on talking [cross talk] and she … Somebody else came over, jumped in the seat, and she just kept talking, and that was … I got it all squared away, and got back in there. Yeah, we certainly have bloopers.

Brett Johnson: Brad’s taking care of the editing, and mixing, then, as well?

Dave Cain: Yes. We sometimes we’ll kid, and make mistakes on purpose, but we try not to, because editing, as you know, makes your job a little bit tougher.

Brett Johnson: Editing is fun, but you don’t wanna have to do it.

Dave Cain: You don’t wanna have to do a lot.

Brett Johnson: It’s always nice to do a one-and-done. You add the music, and it’s done. That’s just as satisfying. It is. It is.

Dave Cain: You mispronounce words, and you don’t … Okay, as long as it’s not egregious, it’s okay.

Brett Johnson: Right.

Dave Cain: I know there’re some things we can’t do, as far as music, but man, I’d like to take some really good rock tunes, or classic tunes, and put those in. We gotta make up our own music now. I guess we don’t wanna pay the fees to do that [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: -not worth it.

Dave Cain: Not worth it.

Brett Johnson: If you think you can’t find the money for studio space, then you’re not gonna find money for music [cross talk]

Dave Cain: That’s right. That’s right. We totally respect that, and follow that.

Brett Johnson: You tried out for this position. Why did you wanna host a podcast, even though you were, at the very beginning stages, I understand … You had that … You knew where it was going, but that didn’t necessarily mean you wanted to host it [cross talk]

Dave Cain: No, it didn’t, but I had my eye on it, when it came up. I was semi-recruited, because they wanted a host that had business experience in multiple areas, which, I fit that bill. They wanted somebody that maybe wasn’t afraid to get in front of the mic, and speak, and work at it. I was willing to do all of that, but again, the host … You’ve done enough hosting, you know it’s not the easiest thing. Some comes natural; sometimes, your guest just isn’t knocking it out of the park. If you get a good guest, it’s great.

Brett Johnson: It’s easy.

Dave Cain: When your guest is giving you one-word answers, it’s gonna be a long 20 minutes, but yeah, I-

Brett Johnson: Then your skills come into play, going, “Why am I asking them yes or no questions? Stop that …”

Dave Cain: That’s right.

Brett Johnson: “… because they’re taking advantage of it.”

Dave Cain: Yes. Yeah, and they take away … I have a little cheat sheet in front of me. It’s a piece of colored construction paper, and it reminds me to ask what, why, how to get those answers. Then, they’ll take it away. We also try to … This is kinda interesting; we try to do it without notes, sometimes. I’ll have some notes that I have to … Because there are points that I don’t wanna forget, but, as far as the guest, we try to encourage them not to bring notes, because they’ve already given us their talking points. The notes are a distraction, because sometimes, somebody’s looking at the notes. We want it to be just conversation, like we’re sitting at a desk, or office. As long as you can get the microphones out of your mind, that they’re just there, and you have a conversation, it goes pretty easily.

Brett Johnson: Future plans for the podcast?

Dave Cain: We’re gonna change it … We’re gonna change it [cross talk]

Brett Johnson: I think that’s good, because it does bring freshness-

Dave Cain: It does.

Brett Johnson: -for the listeners, as long as it’s not a tremendous amount of change, but for the host, how many times can you do that, other than, of course, all the interviews are fresh, of course-

Dave Cain: Sure.

Brett Johnson: -but it is kind of fun to change it up a little bit.

Dave Cain: We wanna change it up. We wanna change it up, and we’re looking at time of the podcast. We try to stick to 20 minutes, maybe 23 minutes. Some will go a half hour, only if the guest is just hitting on all cylinders, and we can’t get out of the conversation. We think that’s maybe a little long for some of the topics, so, we may take a topic, and divide it into two podcasts; instead of maybe 30 minutes, we divide it into two separate recording sessions – do two 20 – and can dig into it a little bit deeper.

Dave Cain: We try also to keep the topic very narrow. If you and I are talking about the new tax law, that’s a pretty in-depth conversation; we won’t cover anything. If we wanna talk about this deduction, or that, we can have a good conversation in a period of time. Change, you’re gonna have to change it, and we will, and we’re looking at some ways to do that.

Brett Johnson: Do you think your podcast is a template, a good template, for CPA firms?

Dave Cain: I believe it is. To me, the equation, if you will, is our marketing team is phenomenal, and they’re the ones that make it happen. They’re directing traffic, and they’re teaching us how to tie everything together with the content that they have. Even though we look at the topics, we try to keep it into our content marketing scheme, and our strategic plan. We gotta stay focused on that, because when we take a detour on that, it doesn’t work as well. That’s very, very critical for, I think, a podcast is somebody outside of the host – the guys behind the scenes, the gals behind the scenes – make it … They’re the ones that make it happen. They make my job pretty easy, some days. Some days, they make it really hard.

Brett Johnson: Just to make Dave’s day.

Dave Cain: Yeah. When they write the intros, and we change that … We try not to read stuff, but you gotta read things. Reading is way more difficult, certainly for me, but it’s just I gotta practice it … It’s just you can tell when somebody’s reading, and we try to stay away from that. We’re gotta do a few things, but freelance is better, because that’s what … When you and I have a conversation, we’re freelancing the conversation; we’re not looking at notes, or a phone, or a laptop, things like that.

Brett Johnson: Correct. What advice would you give any business of any category, if they’re interested in starting a podcast? How do they begin?

Dave Cain: I would recommend a couple things. One is I think you have to be very consistent with your processes, and your messages. It’s not one of these things you can produce a podcast for three months, take a break, and then get back after it. I think you have to give it a fair amount of time to take its course, see where it goes.

Dave Cain: For me, again, this is as a CPA, and as an owner in the firm, I need the rate of return. I need some kinda feel-good that it’s working, whether it’s my buddies call me, or I go to their house, and they got the podcast playing on the loudspeaker, or something like that; I get an email [inaudible] about it. That way, I know it’s working … Or a competitor talks about it, but you have to do that.

Dave Cain: I would say consistency, and be prepared that, in the beginning, it’s probably not gonna go the way you wanna go. We also talked about scheduling. Stay way ahead of the schedule, and be prepared that that schedule may change. Those are the things that have helped us out tremendously.

Brett Johnson: What key people should be involved?

Brett Johnson: Certainly, the marketing team’ they’re number one. I’m not a marketing person, never have been, and they’ve helped me design how we wanna do that. They can control the strategy for the content … Definitely, your marketing team. Then, as far as producers … [Everybody] needs it professionally produced, I’m convinced. I don’t know how we could … We have microphones; we have the ability to do it, but we decided we don’t wanna do it. It’s not the same. We need that professional taking a look at how we’re doing it, and tying it together, and they can bring the equipment. Our equipment is for having a … Listening to a webcast, not producing a podcast.

Brett Johnson: Unsuitable on Rea Radio, where can our listeners find it?

Dave Cain: They can find it almost anywhere that podcasts are available. I hear our team say they listen to it on iHeartRadio. They listen to it on iTunes; they can go on to our website, at; find it there. If we have an email, if we’ve emailed you, there may be a link in there to that webcast. That are the places it can be found. It can be found pretty easily, if you’re into podcasting.

Dave Cain: What we found: the podcast community is alive and well, and they love it. They just- they love it. Same listeners. They’ll call us back, and say, “Hoo, boy, you blew that one,” or, “You tackled that issue,” or, “You didn’t go far enough with the political debate.” There’s some things there.

Brett Johnson: That’s a big, “Thank you. You’re right. We didn’t …”.

Dave Cain: “We didn’t. Did you want us to?”.

Brett Johnson: Yes, yes, thank you …

Dave Cain: We get the feel for that.

Brett Johnson: Right.

Dave Cain: Mistakes are gonna happen, and sometimes, the mistakes are fun to work with.

Brett Johnson: Yeah, sure, exactly.

Dave Cain: You should get good people involved with it that know what they’re doing. I would say it’s been a lot of fun, as the host, but it is a lot of work. At the end of the day, when I’m done, especially if we did five podcasts, I’m ready … I’m ready for nap.

Brett Johnson: I can believe that …

Dave Cain: I’m ready for a nap, but it is a lot of fun, because you get to talk about stuff – business stuff, and some stuff that’s not business stuff – and try to mesh it together. That’s what made it work for us, because that’s the culture of our firm.

Brett Johnson: Thanks for being a guest. I really appreciate it.

Dave Cain: Sure. A lotta fun.

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Thanks to Dave Cain, CPA, Executive Principal at Rea & Associates, and host of unsuitable on Rea Radio, for being my guest on this episode of Note To Future Me.

Recorded in Studio C at the 511 Studios, located in the Brewery District in downtown Columbus, OH!

Brett Johnson is the owner and lead consultant at Circle270Media Podcast Consultants. The podcast consultants at Circle270Media have over 30+ years of experience in Marketing, Content Creation, Audio Production/Recording, and Broadcasting. We strategically bring these worlds together with Podcasting.

You can email Brett at to talk more about your new or established business podcast.