Uncategorized Archives - Tega Diegbe
Open post

My Experiences in Managing a Virtual Team

Thanks to the Rona and the “new normal, businesses and teams are going virtual quicker than you can say “I work from home.” Work will never be the same again, and this new normal has opened the eyes of everyone from across the globe to the possibilities of remote work, remote workforce and the importance of managing a virtual team.

Businesses that used to be in a traditional office setting are now finding ways to adapt and make the virtual space work for them, their teams and their organization. Thankfully, tools like Slack and Teamwork are making the virtual working space much more manageable.

Even after this pandemic is over and the much-awaited vaccine saves the world, it won’t be a surprise if many businesses choose to stick to this remote work arrangement. In my opinion, because this type of arrangement has been working for me, I’m sure other businesses have experienced positive outcomes from this set up as well and will choose to continue it.

Some people are still learning the ropes in this “new normal” working situation, while others like me, have been virtual for a little now. Matter of fact, we are so virtual, that some of us have built virtual businesses and we have been working this way for several years now.

What started out for me as an experiment (more on that later), soon became my “saving grace” ever since the pandemic shook the entire world. Looking back, starting a virtual team was one of the best decisions I have ever made because of how quickly I was able to adapt to this global phenomenon (together with my team as well).

Working remotely

And because managing my own virtual team was a puzzle that I wanted to solve, I had no idea that what I have achieved now was even possible through the people that I have hired. It’s amazing how I have grown my businesses into what they are today all by working with my virtual team members… no, you can’t have them, they are mine (however you can start building your team by following THIS). 

It’s no surprise that managing a virtual team is different from a physical one, but the core principles of leadership and management still stand. And I admit, I am no expert in this field as well, but I am lucky to be with team members who were willing to experiment with me along the way and learn what is the right way to manage the business with members from all around the globe. 

I have been working with my virtual team for about 6 years now, and learning how to manage everyone (including myself) is a never-ending process. One that I am going to share here in the hopes that you gain some nuggets of wisdom from my personal experiences and apply them to building and growing your own virtual team. 

In this blog post, I am going to talk about this experiment that ended up being something that’s changed my business forever. I will be sharing with you everything that I have encountered while growing and managing my own virtual team including the following:

  • The Idea That Started It All
  • My First Attempt at Outsourcing
  • Focusing on the Bigger Picture
  • The Challenges I/we have faced and how we overcame them
  • Lessons Learned Managing a Virtual Team
  • The Rise of the Tide

THE IDEA THAT STARTED IT ALL

I have always wanted to own a business. 

Back when I was a teenager, I remember coming across the Cashflow Quadrant in Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad, and I promised myself that when I “made it”, I would make it as a “Business Owner”.

I want to have leverage and I want to earn money without having to worry about taking a 2-week holiday not earning because I was on a holiday.

Cashflow Quadrant

But it’s interesting how my main reason for starting a business has changed as I grew older (maturity, perhaps?). Initially, I just wanted to earn more money so I could live a good life. But eventually, I realised that owning a business and earning money can mean so much more. It can mean making an impact as well and amplifying that impact through the business and the money it has made. 

So now with my business, along with the team, I am mostly driven by the fact that I want to make an impact on other people’s lives, mine, my team and our clients’.

Anyway, back to pre-Tega before all the making an impact mind shift happened.

Because I was fixated on becoming a business owner, I took it upon myself to learn how to start. I needed to figure out a way to create leverage so I could be an actual business owner.

And that is when I came across the idea of outsourcing. Whilst scrolling through Facebook and hearing about so many people’s experience with it and how it has helped them grow and scale their business, is what spoke to my curiosity and led me to actively seek out material that spoke about outsourcing and scaling, and read a few life-changing books like Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week and Mike Michalowicz’ Clockwork.

I was curious to know what this outsourcing thing and what it could do for me. 

And thus began the experimentation.

MY FIRST ATTEMPTS AT OUTSOURCING

Before I was able to successfully hire my first virtual team member, Mark, I experienced a number of stumbles with less than stellar results.

My very first attempt at hiring a remote worker was for my friend. Let’s call him James (not his real name).

James was a web developer and needed an extra hand to help him with his work so he could add more clients to his business. Naturally, James needed another web developer to do this. And me, being the curious and helpful person that I am, thought that this would be a great way to see how this whole outsourcing thing works.

So, I made a job post on Upwork (formerly Elance-oDesk), received 3 candidates, chose the guy who responded first and immediately hired him. That’s all I did. And yes, if you read my other blog post on how to hire virtual assistants, you will KNOW that “process” sounds rather unlike the more experienced Tega now. 

What happened was because I never actually interviewed this person, I never got to assess whether he would be a good fit for James. And lo and behold, the two indeed weren’t a good fit and the partnership did not last very long. 

To make things worse, I had to refund James AND pay the web developer since James didn’t pay him. Bummer.

As unfortunate as it sounds, it was a reality check for me and had me think long and hard about what went wrong. 

A few months after that attempt, I decided to get back to my laboratory and find out what went wrong and how exactly to make things right. This is when I did even more research on outsourcing which included reading John Jonas’ blog.

I realised that I needed to have a proper system in place when hiring. This involved actually interviewing the candidates and finding out WHO they were to avoid any personality clashes just like with the whole James shenanigan.

Luckily enough, my friend Adil who owns a podcast also needed some help and I brought up the idea of bringing a virtual team member on board. Adil gladly agreed and offered to split the fee of the remote worker with me. 

And because this was such an enticing offer, I took it as a sign to start my outsourcing journey again equipped with all the new things I have learned and the processes I have put in place.

This was when I found Mark. 

I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly he was picking up the tasks I asked him to do (most of which he didn’t have experience with before), tasks included Digital Marketing, working with ClickFunnels, setting up Facebook Ads, and doing some video editing. Mark proved his competency and opened my eyes to how good outsourcing actually is when you get it right.

Here was a guy (living halfway around the world) who didn’t know tons of the things I asked him to do, but learned those things in a relatively short period of time.

VA from the Philippines

He was my first successful hire and this is when the gears in my head started turning.

But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows after my first hire. I still had a lot to learn.

Unfortunately, the gears in my head turned so fast that I got overly excited and immediately sought my 2nd virtual team member a week after I hired Mark…without following the systems I used to hire Mark.

I got too confident in hiring an additional virtual team member that I never even considered if this person would even have enough work, to begin with! To top it all off, I didn’t even provide any training and I wasn’t in a place that I could actually afford to add another team member (I was still operating in the self-employed box during this time). This person didn’t stay very long, and this gave me another reality check that I still wasn’t as competent as I thought I was.

So, going back to the drawing board, I needed to fine-tune my systems, processes, SOPs, training modules and everything else even more before I swam deeper into the ocean of outsourcing and grow my team. 

It took several months and a few failed attempts (or learnings as I’d like to call them), before I was able to have the systems and processes in place I am using now to hire virtual team members for myself and my clients. 

Now that I have built up my experience, I realised that every virtual team member I wasn’t able to keep was just a guide that led me in the right direction to build the awesome team that I have today. And with my current team, I am able to focus on other aspects of the business that will help us scale, grow, and eventually make an impact on the people around me. 

FOCUSING ON THE BIGGER PICTURE

With all these testimonials online of entrepreneurs obtaining more freedom through outsourcing, it’s amusing how I never focused on this benefit when I started my own virtual team. 

I was never really set on experiencing the benefits of this outsourcing “hype” simply because people say they can work 4 hours a week and travel the world while other people did the work for them (though I was initially attracted to starting a business because of these same benefits). Living a life of freedom (the typical “entrepreneur” variety) wasn’t my main mission of starting a virtual team and growing a business. 

In fact, that barely crossed my mind because I was driven more by curiosity about the outsourcing practice than anything else.

Because I stepped up to the plate with the mindset of just “experimenting and seeing where it goes,” I never fully let go of the business so I could have more “me” time (in fact, I am still fully involved in the business and am rather busy myself). 

But this doesn’t mean that managing a virtual team hasn’t helped me significantly. In fact, I am now able to personally focus on bigger leverage tasks in the business such as looking for clients, creating a direction for the team and helping the team grow and change their perspectives. 

I now have more freedom mentally because I have team members that I can rely on to take care of all the nitty-gritty details. My virtual team has helped me get out of situations that would have required me to keep a close eye on because I have learned how to properly delegate everything. 

The systems and processes that I have established have allowed me to arrive at a place where I can trust my team members to do the work without me having to be a taskmaster. This has given me peace of mind and alleviated my “perfectionist disease” to some degree.

Inner control freak

Although I have no doubt that my competent virtual team members would be able to do their job, I doubt everything would go as smoothly as it does, if it wasn’t for the systems and processes in place. I realised how important it is to set up the playground before you can let your virtual team members freely do the things you need them to do and expect the results that you desire.

But even after everything is in place, managing a virtual team isn’t always a bed of roses…

CHALLENGES IN MANAGING A VIRTUAL TEAM

Each and every entrepreneur who is managing a virtual team has their own challenges for sure. 

Definitely one of my challenges during the early stages of this “experiment” was making sure that the person I hired has enough work to do. Not only that, you need to make sure that with the amount of work you are giving, you need to be able to afford the compensation.

I admit that I lost a virtual team member because I wasn’t able to pay her fairly since I couldn’t really afford it yet. Plus, she never communicated this to me so I assumed everything was fine until I realised that she was finding more clients behind my back…

So before you decide to hire someone, you need to be in a place where you can actually afford it and that the tasks you delegate justify the compensation you are giving.

And speaking of tasks, it took me a while to delegate these as well.

Earlier in this blog post, I mentioned that I am a bit of a control freak and have something I call the perfectionist disease. For someone who wants to make sure everything is under control, learning how to let go and delegate tasks to someone else can be quite difficult. 

I have this tendency of taking on most of the tasks instead of passing them on to the team, which kind of defeats the purpose of why I have a team in the first place, right? 

This continues to be a learning process for me and I am slowly fixing this by putting systems and processes in place to help open the lines of communication and automate and standardize the workflow. That way, things are done the way I want them to be done and we all know what comes after each step.

Systems and Processes

Using automation, I can streamline some processes in the business. For example, getting and onboarding a new client becomes much easier to manage because I can pass the baton to the next member of the team, without having to do it physically. The person responsible for a task is automatically made aware of what they have to do it and when they have to have it done. 

Another challenge for me was learning how to manage people and myself better. Having people work for you and knowing how to manage them can get quite challenging, especially if you don’t have the confidence.

One thing I found difficult was making sure that my team members were not taking on too much or too little work, and also communicating which tasks should be prioritized and accomplished first. It becomes especially challenging as the team grows and you start to manage more people.

Eventually, I learned that communication is key and constantly checking in on your team members ensures that everyone is managing the work well.

LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED MANAGING A VIRTUAL TEAM

Delegate, Don’t Abdicate 

I talked about this in my other blog post on How to Find Great Virtual Team Members. When people hire a virtual team member, they think that this person is going to be a mind-reader and know exactly what to do and will just get it done. 

From my experience, this is far from the truth. I used to get frustrated when someone new on the team wouldn’t get a task right after I had explained it the third time. I’d automatically default to thinking “that things would be much quicker if I did everything myself instead”. 

Eventually, I realised that what I was abdicating responsibility instead of delegating. With the former, you’re simply passing responsibility to someone else and expecting that they can instantly submit work that matches your standards.

That is something that you should not expect ESPECIALLY not at the start. Team members have to work to a point where there is enough trust for you to hand over responsibility.

Delegate, don't abdicate

Rather than abdicate, delegate instead. This means that you take the time and effort to manage and train this person so that eventually, he or she will get things done according to how you like them to be done. And yes, it does take time and effort, but in the long run, this will result in quality work and team members who choose to stay and buy in more to the business. 

And because you need to train them properly, you also need to be open to the idea that they will make mistakes along the way until they become proficient. 

Systemize, Systemize, Systemize

I am a firm believer in systems and processes, given the story of Rich Dad Poor Dad and my belief that to “Make it” I  gotta make it as a Business Owner.

When you bring someone else into the business, it’s very tempting to say,“Bob can you please do X?” and then expect Bob to know everything and remember the things he did. 

If you don’t have systems in place and then give them the same task a few weeks later, you can’t expect them to remember every single thing he did the first time. If you don’t document your processes, doing repetitive tasks becomes a headache in itself because you won’t have a standardized workflow and you will have team members constantly asking you how to complete their tasks. 

Learn to Trust Your Team

If you hire someone virtually, there is a very small chance that that person will be able to scam and take advantage of you. But what I find is that a majority of them won’t because they need a job and you have jobs that need to be done.

For those who are new to outsourcing, it can be difficult to pass on your tasks to someone you haven’t met and worked with personally. But you need to start the relationship off on the right foot by learning to trust your team.

And if your virtual team members forget something or makes a mistake, trust as well that there is no malicious intent on their end and it could be a result of the lack of experience or, in some rare cases, them not knowing how to communicate their problems with you.

For control freaks like me, you need to get comfortable with letting go and trusting that someone else will do the tasks for you.

THE RISING TIDE…

All around me, I see my entrepreneurial friends make the decision to start a virtual team when they realise they can’t run their businesses on their own anymore. And this isn’t just with my friends. In fact, according to ScienceDirect, “The emergence of COVID-19 has presented employees and employers new challenges as many employees and managers were forced to work in a remote environment for the first time.”

So it’s no surprise that we have witnessed a growth in the virtual workplace and people hiring virtual team members, and employees looking for online jobs.

But with the rise in popularity of remote teams also comes its challenges. Things like figuring out the process when hiring someone and knowing whether that someone fits the WHO you are looking for can be a challenge especially when you can’t meet that person physically.

Other challenges involve knowing what tools to use to track productivity, output, projects and other things that need to be tracked in order to know whether a team member is doing the work well.

You also have problems with time zone differences since outsourcing mostly involves hiring people from countries in Asia such as China, India or the Philippines. Having team members from all around the world pose a challenge when you need to set up team calls.

I am no exception from encountering these types of problems, but as I mentioned, I have learned a lot in these 6 years and am continuing to learn. 

I’ve had friends ask me how to find, train, and manage the right people for their business because I’ve been doing this for several years already. This was what made me decide to write a complete guide on How to Find Great Virtual Team Members, and this process has helped me, and other entrepreneurs successfully grow their virtual team.

Because at the end of the day, when you hire someone, you don’t hire for skill. Rather, you hire someone for their values because I found that 8 out of 10 times, if you don’t hire someone with the right personality, that person won’t stay long in the business and you’ll end up right back where you started.

Open post

The Best Podcast Equipment: Everything You Need to Know

The arduous phase of planning your podcast doesn’t end with coming up with valuable content. In fact, even if podcasts are purely audio, don’t be deceived by all the hard work that gets done behind the scenes. There’s more to it than meets the eye, such as finding the best podcast equipment.

Sound quality isn’t a huge deal-breaker when it comes to podcasts. But if you truly want to get your message out there in the best way possible, you will want to make sure that your podcast offers a pleasant listening experience. 

A few months ago, I posted about How to Start and Launch a Podcast to Build Your Brand.

So I figured that the next thing I should write is about how to actually execute starting your podcast through finding the best podcast equipment for you.

Now the problem lies in finding which podcast equipment you need. Is it necessary to invest in an expensive microphone or can you just record with your iPhone? Is it important to invest in your recording setup when you’ve already soundproofed your room? Do you need to break the bank when investing in the right hardware and software?

Best Podcast Equipment

There are TONS of sources out there to answer these questions, that it’s impossible to just go through only 5 sites to make an informed decision. 

There is just so much to choose from and so many recommendations. How will you know where to start? Not only that, how will you know if you need let’s say, a boom arm or not? In fact, what even is a boom arm? What is a shock mount? So many terms!

Rest assured that this article will answer all those questions, so you don’t have to keep jumping from one site to another to figure out which podcast equipment is for you.

TEGA’S RESEARCH REVELATIONS

While writing this article in trying to find THE best option for you, I came to realize that there actually is no one best option. These are some of the things that I have discovered and that you should also take note of when deciding on which equipment to get:

  1. There are TONS of options to choose from, and there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation. This will all depend on your budget and the needs of your podcast and recording setup. 
  2. There are brands that offer premium options and others that offer budget options. And remember that just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it’s perfect and worth splurging on. Spend SMARTLY and WISELY, even if you have the budget to go for the most premium option.
  3. Every podcast equipment has their pros and cons, and it will always depend on whether you think this is what YOU need.
  4. Each person has their own recommended product, and there is no PERFECT option for you. I trust that you will be able to make the right decision that fits your needs. 
  5. It’s okay to start small. If you are not sure yet on where this podcast journey will take you, don’t spend so much on equipment. Once your podcast grows and progresses, you can always upgrade gradually and spend more.

Without further ado, let me show you what are the things you need to make your podcasts sound amazing for your listeners.

WHAT YOU NEED

Below is a breakdown of the type of equipment (hardware and software) you will need for your podcast.

For beginners, these are the types of equipment that you already have with you, such as:

  • Cell phone
  • Headsets

For intermediate users, these are slightly more advanced tools that require a bit more expertise. But the time and money it will take to acquire these tools will be offset by the significance in improvement of your audio quality:

For advanced users, these are a whole bunch of other tools that you may need depending on the nature and needs of your podcast:

I know that this is a long list, and I want to tell you beforehand that you do not need EVERYTHING here. Again, it will depend on which ones are suitable to your needs and budget, and even on your podcast format.

So, how was I able to come up with this list?

THIS IS A COMPILATION OF MORE THAN 50 SOURCES

The reason why I titled this article as such is because after doing my own research, I noticed that not all of them gave a complete list of the equipment you need. If you were to do your own personal research, you will end up having to jump through several different resources just like I did.

After scouring through more than 50 sources, I was able to make a list of some of the most highly recommended products and equipment out there as testified by podcasters for fellow podcasters who want to start out.

My goal for this article is for it to be the one-stop-shop for ALL the types of equipment you need to start your podcast. I did my best to make sure I filled in all the blanks so that it saves you time and doesn’t leave you wondering if you’ve missed out on anything else.

Although this list isn’t absolute and super detailed, feel free to do even more research on the products below. Rest assured that this article would make a good basis for you to get started.

I also made it a point to arrange each product from least expensive to most expensive, and even sub-categorized some of them. 

Another point I want to make is that I tried to avoid sounding as technical as possible so that everything is understandable for you. Again, everything listed here is a compilation of many other reliable resources, so these are all excellent recommendations.

Last thing I want to let you know is that I will not be taking ANY profit from any of the recommended products below. These are all based on pure research with no selfish interests in mind.

I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this article and I hope you will enjoy it as informative and useful as I do.

THE COMPLETE LIST OF THE BEST PODCAST EQUIPMENT

Cell Phone and Headset

The best way to get started without being bogged down by all these tools is to start with what you have -- your personal cell phone and earphones. By simply using the recording app on your phone to record your podcast, and going to an editing tool such as Audacity (more on this later) to make simple edits, you will be able to start a podcast literally at the tip of your fingers.

I won’t be getting into any details as to what phone or basic earphones work best because I want you to work with what you have, if you are going for these types of tools to start with.

Microphones 

Investing in a microphone is important because although it is possible to record using earbuds or directly on your phone or laptop, that method will not offer a pleasant listening experience for your audience.

Choosing a microphone doesn’t always mean that the most expensive one is the one that offers the best quality. This will depend on other factors as well such as your environment, podcast structure, and personal preference. 

Before we get started, here are just a few terms that you may want to familiarize yourself with:

  • USB Microphone – this is a type of microphone that lets you directly connect your microphone to your laptop or computer, making it very easy to setup.
  • XLR Microphone – although this microphone requires a more complex setup, you will definitely want to upgrade to one in the future because it offers better quality.
  • Dynamic Microphone – from the term “dynamic,” these provide great recording quality in all sorts of environments. This allows you to record either at home or on the road. 
  • Condenser Microphone – this is for more professional-sounding recordings because it produces a clearer, crisper sound. These are usually more expensive than dynamic microphones and need a professional setup. 

Here are some of the best microphones you can choose from that fall under a wide variety of price ranges:

ENTRY-LEVEL: Samson Q2U (Dynamic)

What makes this microphone a good option is that it is budget-friendly and offers both USB and XLR connections. What this means is that you can connect it both directly to your laptop via the USB port, or invest in an audio interface (we will talk about this in detail later) for the XLR component. Because it is so versatile, this would make a great beginner’s microphone.

Samson Q2U

ENTRY-LEVEL: AUDIO-TECHNICA ATR 2100 (Dynamic) 

The ATR 2100 is very similar to the Samson Q2U in that it also has both USB and XLR connections. Although the Samson Q2U, according to most reviews, is more susceptible to P-pops, it also offers more value-for-money compared to the ATR 2100. They are both similar in terms of design and everything else, but if you are willing to spend more for slightly better sound quality, then the ATR 2100 is the way to go.

MID-RANGE: BLUE YETI (Condenser)

The Blue Yeti is one of the most popular microphones out there because of its great audio quality and recording options. This microphone allows you to set it up so that it can record solo shows, two-person interviews, and group interviews, all with just one mic! Audio quality isn’t excellent compared to more expensive microphones, but it does the job and offers a wide range of features.

Blue Yeti

MID-RANGE: RODE PODCASTER/PROCASTER (Dynamic)

These two are about identical in terms of sound quality and are great choices as well. The Rode Podcaster is a USB microphone while the Rode Procaster is an XLR one. Since they are both dynamic microphones, this means that they don’t pick up a lot of background noise, and so would be great for home use.

Rode Podcaster

HIGH QUALITY: HEIL PR-40 (Dynamic) 

This is another popular microphone testified by many podcasters. Though many reviews say that this is over-hyped and although sound quality is good, it is a bit overpriced for its quality. But for people who have the budget and see what this hype is all about, feel free to give it a go.

Heil Sound PR-40

HIGH QUALITY: RODE NT1-A (Condenser)

Although this microphone is in the higher price range, it comes with a shock mount and pop filter. It offers a super rich sound and is great for someone who is looking to upgrade microphones and sound more professional.

Rode NT1-A

PRO: SHURE SM7B (Dynamic)

Probably one of the reasons why the Shure SM7b is so legendary is because it has been used by Joe Rogan since day one. This microphone is very well-built and the sound quality is superb. But despite this microphone’s amazing quality, this isn’t recommended for beginners due to how sensitive it is to sound. This type of microphone requires a professional studio setup and skilled mic technique. But once you do decide to go pro, this is the way to go.

Shure SM7B

Pop Filter

So, what is a pop filter and what does it do? Simply put, a pop filter prevents any plosives (harsh p’s, t’s and k’s when you speak). You’d definitely want to avoid any plosives in your podcast because it will annoy the ears of your listeners. 

Another unusual benefit of the pop filter is that it lengthens the lifespan of your microphone because it acts as a shield to any saliva that might land on your mic (gross, but true).

Here are some of the most recommended pop filters:

NADY MPF-6 

Nady MP-6 is one of the most popular filters out there because of its affordability and great performance. If you are looking for a basic pop-filter that isn’t expensive, many podcasters recommend this one.

Nady MPF-6

BLUE THE POP 

If you recall, we mentioned Blue Yeti as one of the best microphones out there. Blue made a pop filter to match with that, and that is Blue the Pop. This filter is not exclusive to the Blue Yeti but would be the perfect match if you have decided to get the Blue Yeti.

STEDMAN CORPORATION PROSCREEN XL 

This leads more towards the high-end, professional-level Pop Filters, and would make a great investment. The premium material and design effectively remove any plosives, but if you are on a budget and plosives for you aren’t that much of a problem, you can go for the cheaper options above.

Stedman Proscreen

Headphones 

Using headphones while recording a podcast is crucial because it helps you become more aware of how you sound. Hearing yourself while you speak may seem weird at the beginning, but you will get used to it over time and will learn how to adjust your voice when necessary.

There are some people who do not record with headphones, but for the most part, it is a great practice to do.

Just like microphones, there are tons of headphones out there that you can choose from. There are closed-back headphones, open-back headphones, on-ear headphones, over-ear headphones, and so on. 

It may get overwhelming, but you must always get back to the core purpose of these headphones. Which is to record a podcast, right?

For recording podcasts, you will need to identify which type of headphone works best. 

The best type of headphones for podcasts is closed-back. Because it’s closed-back, it prevents sounds from leaking back into the microphone. This is called audio bleeding and will affect the sound quality of your recordings. 

So here are some of the best closed-back headphones out there...

AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-M50X

This is one of the best budget headphones out there. Not only is it comfortable, but it’s also very portable because it can be folded into a compact design. The balance between price, performance, and comfortability is what makes these headphones one of the most popular in the industry.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

BEYERDYNAMIC DT PRO 80 

The Beyerdynamic DT Pro 80 boasts of its comfort and durability. What makes it ultra-comfortable is its furry padding, which indeed contributes to its comfortability, but may not be hygienic overtime. Best not to share these headphones with anyone else!

BEYERDYNAMIC DT PRO 80

SHURE SRH 1540

If budget isn’t an issue, then the Shure SRH 1540 is something you would definitely want to upgrade to. Because of how comfortable it is, you’ll be able to wear it for hours at a time. This is more of a luxury item rather than something you would want to use as a beginner.

Shure SRH1540

Mixers

A mixer is like an audio input in a sense that it connects multiple inputs together. But the difference with the mixer over the audio input is that the former gives you more control over these various inputs. 

It’s just like being the conductor of an orchestra and your goal is to make sure all instruments harmoniously work together. Mixers are also generally more expensive than audio inputs.  

The main reason why you would want to invest in a mixer is if you are planning on hosting several guests on your show and you need to make more adjustments to ensure consistency of sound quality.

Here are some of the most recommended mixers:

2 PERSON PODCAST: BEHRINGER XENYX Q502 USB 

The Behringer Xenyx Q502 USB is great if you are looking for an affordable, compact, on-the-go mixer. This has all the basics you need to record a solo and 2-person podcast. But because of how basic it is, you will want to find a more complex mixer as your podcast progresses.

Behringer Xenyx Q502

2 PERSON PODCAST: YAMAHA AG03/AG06 

These two are the best mixers for solo and 2 person podcasts because of how easy it is to use. Both beginners and experienced podcasters alike will be able to utilize the features of this mixer. It is also compatible to Apple devices and produces great sound quality.

Yamaha AG03

MULTI-PERSON PODCAST: MACKIE PRO FX8V2 

This is one of the best mixers under $200. It has some distinguishing features such as the ReadyFX effects engine with 16 sound effects, a unique graphic EQ, and USB recording/playback. This would make a great investment.

Mackie ProFXv2

MULTI-PERSON PODCAST: YAMAHA MG10 XU 

Just like the Yamaha AG03/AG06, this model is also a reliable and perfect USB mixer for beginners. It also has built-in sound effects, powerful digital processing, and a durable design.

YAMAHA MG10XU

MULTI-PERSON PODCAST: BEHRINGER XENYX 1204USB

Being the priciest among the three, the Behringer Xenyx 1204USB offers premium sounds in a compact module. What’s great about this compared to the Yamaha MG10 XU is that this one has sliders instead of knobs, which are more precise and easier to adjust. This would make a great choice if you are planning on upgrading.

Behringer Xenyx 1204USB

Boom Arm 

If you’ve never heard of a boom arm, it’s what holds a microphone in place, which is an additional plus. 

Purchasing a boom arm isn’t an absolute necessary requirement, but it offers a lot of convenience and other benefits. Most of the time, holding the microphone by hand isn’t advisable because of the vibrations and the occasional switching of the mic from one hand to another.

A boom arm also saves up a lot of desk space, and since the microphone is already held by the boom arm, whenever it’s time to record, all you need to do is simply pull the boom arm towards you.

Here are some boom arms recommended by many podcasters.

NEEWER NW35

This is one of the cheapest options out there but is a great boom arm for beginners because it does the job. One of the things you need to take note of before purchasing this is that your microphone should not exceed 1 kilogram (Blue Yeti is not suitable) because the boom arm is so lightweight.

Neewer NW-35

RODE PSA1 

The Rode PSA1 is an extremely popular choice among podcasters and although it is on the pricier side, one great feature about this is that it rotates 360 degrees and is highly flexible. Also, since the springs are internal, it doesn’t produce much sound when you adjust.

RODE PSA 1

HEIL PL2T

If you have a heavier microphone like the Blue Yeti, there have been reviews saying that the Heil PL2T is able to support this. It also offers 360-degree rotation and has internal springs.

Heil Sound PL-2T

Shock Mount 

Most microphone brands already offer compatible shock mounts, but it is great to invest in a universal one so you can switch between mics. The purpose of the shock mount is to absorb any additional noise from vibrations caused by accidentally touching the mic or moving the boom arm too much. It removes all unnecessary sounds, contributing to an even better listening experience.

Let’s take a look at two of the most popular and recommended universal shock mounts.

LYXPRO MKS1-B CONDENSER SPIDER 

The LyxPro MKS1-B Condenser Spider is a budget universal shock mount. Because of its spider-like design, it is versatile with most microphones, although it works best with larger ones.

LyxPro MKS1-B

RYCOTE INVISION UNIVERSAL SHOCK MOUNT

This is one of the most regarded universal shock mounts out there because of how durable and sturdy it is. One of its greatest features is its four screws with rubber grips that really keep the mic in place. 

RYCOTE INVISION UNIVERSAL SHOCK MOUNT

Microphone/XLR/USB Cables

Cables can sometimes be overlooked because they seem like such a minor component of the entire setup. But investing in good cables is a wise choice because remember that these are what provide connection between devices. It is also important to take note that high-quality cables will only make sense if you invest in good equipment as well.

Great cables offer better signal and last much longer. And if you are just a beginner and have a small area, you do not need to invest in long cables because it will only take up more space. 

Here are three of the most recommended cables.

LYXPRO

One of the nice features of this cable is that it comes in different colors and is very affordable. If you are someone who wants to color code to keep things organized, then this is one of the go-to budget cables out there.

LyxPro

MOGAMI SILVER

Mogami is a well-known cable manufacturer and they offer a variety of lengths from 2 feet to 100 feet. This is one of their budget-friendly cables because the materials being used are more economical. But Mogami assures that quality is not sacrificed.

Mogami Silver Series

MOGAMI GOLD STUDIO

This is the premium version of the Mogami Silver. This cable is the most expensive one among the three but is a worthwhile investment if you don’t want to keep upgrading down the line.

MOGAMI GOLD STUDIO

Mic Activator

Mic Activators are only needed if you have a microphone that has low sensitivity, which is the case for dynamic microphones. I don't want to get too technical here but investing in a mic activator if you have a dynamic microphone will be worthwhile if you want better sound quality.

CLOUDLIFTER CL-1 

This is the most recommended and most popular mic activator out there. This is great for a home studio where a single microphone needs a signal boost to connect to the rest of the recording setup. 

If you need multiple inputs, you can go for the Cloudlifter CL-4 which allows for four independent input sources.

Cloudlifter CL-1

Audio Interface

Earlier, we talked about XLR Microphones that need to be connected to Audio Interfaces. The purpose of an Audio Interface is to connect the microphone to the computer. In simple terms, an audio interface translates the signal coming from your microphone into a digital one, so it is understood by the computer.

The advantage of passing through an interface first rather than connecting directly to the computer is because the former offers more connectivity options, meaning you have the option to connect more devices to improve the quality of your recordings.

To connect the interface to your computer/laptop, you will simply need to plug it via a USB, Thunderbolt, or Fire-Wire cable. 

Below, we will talk about several types of interfaces with options to connect to more microphones if the need arises, especially for podcasts with more than one host:

SOLO: FOCUSRITE SCARLETT SOLO 

This is the most recommended audio interface for 1 XLR input. Focusrite is an excellent brand altogether and will be mentioned several more times in this section just because of how praised it is by other podcasters.

Focusrite Scarlett Solo

SOLO: STEINBERG UR12 USB AUDIO INTERFACE

The Steinberg UR12 is very similar to the Scarlett Solo, but with a few differences. The Scarlett Solo can work in more frequencies, while the Steinberg only works on 192 kHz frequency. But the benefit of the Steinberg UR12 is that it is compatible with more devices like laptops, desktops and even iPads, so this option would be much better if you are working with more devices.

2 INPUTS: PRESONUS AUDIOBOX iTWO

The PreSonus AudioBox iTwo is a great option if you are on a budget. This audio interface is worth considering because of its wide offer of features given its cheaper price point. PreSonus is also a very reliable brand so you can be sure that their products are reliable and durable.

2 INPUTS: FOCUSRITE SCARLETT 2i2 (3RD GEN)

Just like the Scarlett Solo, the Scarlett 2i2 is equally as popular. What makes it so popular is its easy setup, portability, and compatibility with iOS, Mac, and Windows. Many users also commend the Scarlett for its ultra-crisp sound compared to other brands. Most people would go directly for this option over the Scarlett Solo because of the small price difference with the fact that it can connect more microphones.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

4 INPUTS: PRESONUS STUDIO 68 

The PreSonus Studio 68 is a high-quality interface with easy usability, amazing sound, and versatility. Because of its versatile interface, it is great for home-use, especially because it’s not that expensive considering that it has 4 inputs.

PreSonus Studio 68

4 INPUTS: TASCAM US 4X4 

If you are looking for another solid option, then Tascam would make a great choice. It is one of the simplest and most comfortable interfaces to use because of how it is designed.

TASCAM US-4x4

8+ INPUTS: BEHRINGER U-PHORIA 1820 

The Behringer U-Phoria 1820 would make a good choice if you are on a budget. It is compatible with most DAWs (we will cover this more later) and iPad/Android Devices. It doesn’t have as many features as the next option, the PreSonus Studio 1824C, but is enough for the price you pay.

BEHRINGER U-PHORIA

8+ INPUTS: PRESONUS STUDIO 1824C 

PreSonus yet again delivers another great product with its Studio 1824C which allows for multiple inputs and outputs and a whole ton of other features. It is also compatible with most DAWs (we will cover this more later) and iPad/Android Devices

PreSonus Studio 1824c

Headphone Amplifier 

You will only need a headphone amplifier if you will be interviewing guests in the same space. The purpose of a headphone amp is so that each person can control the volume of their headphones. Each person has their own preference when it comes to the volume level, so you want to make sure everyone is comfortable when recording.

BEHRINGER MICROAMP HA400

This is said to be the cheapest and most reliable option in the market. Because it uses a dedicated power supply, you don’t lose that much level when you split the signal 4-ways.

Behringer Microamp HA400

ART HEADAMP4 

The Art HeadAmp5 is slightly more expensive than the Behringer MicroAMP HA400 but has clearer signal and even comes with headphone jacks for both consumer and pro headphones without an adapter.

ART HeadAMP4

PRESONUS HP4 

The great thing about this headphone amplifier is that it offers more functionality compared to the other two, but it is also the most expensive. This also has balanced stereo outputs, meaning better signal and better audio quality. If you had the budget, this would be the best option since it is the most reliable.

PreSonus HP4 4-Channel

Portable Recorder 

A portable recorder will make a good investment if you foresee yourself to be on the road when recording your podcasts. This is a suitable device for personal interviews outside of your studio. And because of its portability, you will need to consider things such as battery and storage since most of the time, it won’t be connected to anything while you’re using it. 

TASCAM DR-05 

The Tascam DR-05 is a great budget portable recorder. This is great for beginners because it's easy to use and has all the basics. If you’re still at the beginning stages of your podcast, then this would make a good first portable recorder.

TASCAM DR-05

ZOOM H4N PRO

Many podcasters swear by this portable recorder because of its great audio quality in any environment. It can also record up to 4 channels and comes with 2 professional X/Y microphones making it very easy to capture sound. It may take some effort to learn how to use this device because of all its features, but it is one of the best portable recorders out there.

Zoom H4n

 

Room Soundproofing

Investing in good equipment means that you also need to take extra measures to soundproof your area as well. You can’t solely rely on your recording equipment because any unnecessary external sounds could be included in the recording if you do not record in a quiet environment.

Choosing a room is the first step in setting up your studio. You’ll want to make sure that it is far from any noises such as traffic and any other noises from outside. Also, the smaller the room, the better, that way sound doesn’t have to travel too far and lessens the echo.

Soundproofing the room includes the following measures:

  • blocking any openings in the walls and ceiling
  • adding acoustic treatment with acoustic foam
  • treating the floor, especially if there is another room under your main recording room
  • placing furniture (if your room is big enough) and paintings to absorb any sound

These are just some tips to help make your room more conducive to recording. There are no specific brands to recommend but be sure to check out specialty items like acoustic foam for the ceiling and walls, and sealant if the floor needs extra treating.

And we’ve covered all the hardware needed to complete your studio. Let’s cover some of the software and other tools you will need.

Recording Software/DAW

Once you’ve recorded your podcast, you will need a digital audio workstation or DAW to edit. There are plenty of DAWs to choose from and come in a myriad of prices. Here are the top 5 recommended by most podcasters.

AUDACITY

Audacity is a free DAW and is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It doesn’t have the best interface and will take some getting used to, but it has all the basic features needed to edit a podcast.

Audacity

GARAGE BAND (FOR MAC)

For Mac users, this is a free tool that you can use to edit your podcasts. It is also very easy to learn and has all the basic features needed to edit. 

Garage Band

REAPER

Reaper is a paid DAW but is very affordable. It has more features compared to Audacity and loads quickly. The interface is also more user-friendly and is great value for your money.

HINDENBERG JOURNALIST

The thing with most editing software is that they are made specifically for music production; but Hindenberg is designed for podcasts, interviews and radio because the designs and features are tailored for spoken word. Once you’ve edited your podcast, you can upload your file directly to SoundCloud and Libsyn. 

Hindenberg

ADOBE AUDITION

Adobe Audition is one of the most expensive, but also the most recommended software for editing your podcasts. It has plenty of great features such as batch processing, multitrack function, and a very clean user face. But due to the myriad of functions, it may not be suitable for beginners who are just trying things out.

Adobe Audition

Recording Tools for Long-Distance Interviews  

Sometimes it can be difficult to get you and your guest together in one area to record a podcast. That shouldn’t be a problem since there are plenty tools out there that allow you to record your interviews virtually. 

ZOOM

Zoom is a widely used conference calling tool which can also be used for you to record your long-distance interviews. The quality isn’t as great as other tools that are purely dedicated to remote recording, but it does the job. Compared to Skype, Zoom has better quality so if you have both tools, many people suggest going for Zoom over Skype.

Zoom

ZENCASTR

With Zencastr, you don’t need to download any software since it works right within your browser. They have a free plan that’s sufficient for basic needs since it allows 8 hours of recording hours per month for up to 2 guests. It also saves both sides of the recording as separate files so that it’s easier for you to edit the final product. 

Zencastr

SQUADCAST

Squadcast is on the pricier side and has all the features Zencastr has and more. Some features include a “green room” where you can chat with your guests and video recording so you and your guest can see each other.

SquadCast

Audio Hosting

The reason why you will be needing an audio host is to act as “storage” for all your files. There are many great audio hosts out there, and we will be listing some of the best ones.

BUZZSPROUT

Buzzsprout is one of the most recommended out there because of its well-designed dashboard that is easy to understand even for beginners. They also have a cool feature where you can embed a podcast player on your website.

You can start off with a free plan with limited storage, but if you plan on growing your podcast, you will definitely need to invest in a paid membership which will be well worth-it. One downside of the paid plans is that those too have a limit to bandwidth and storage.

Buzzsprout

PODBEAN

Another highly recommended audio host is Podbean. Podbean has plenty affordable plans that are great for beginners. And if you are planning on upgrading, they have paid plans with unlimited hosting. It also has video features that automatically upload new episodes to Youtube after publishing.

PodBean

BLUBRRY

If you’re planning on having a website for your podcast through WordPress, then Blubrry has a plugin called PowerPress which makes it easy for you to manage your podcast directly on your website. It is also very easy to learn since they provide a podcasting manual to guide you.

Blubrry

TRANSISTOR 

What makes Transistor standout is their analytics tools and even allows you to have multiple users per account. They have hosted some popular podcasts like Cards Against Humanity, Drift, and Honeybadger. Transistor also provides you with an embed code for you to upload your episode on your WordPress site.

Transistor

LIBSYN

Libsyn is also highly popular and has been around since the early days of audio hosting. Because of how long they’ve been in the industry, many podcasters have grown accustomed to this audio host. Although they don’t offer free plans, their cheapest one at $5 per month is a good start.

Libsyn

Website Hosting 

This tool isn’t directly related to podcasting, but for those who want to create a website for their podcasts (which will help get your podcast more exposure), then you will need to sign up fora web hosting platform.

We will talk about some of the most popular hosting platforms.

HOSTINGER

This is the most affordable hosting out there in fact, their cheapest plan starts at $0.99 per month. They also have a great interface so it doesn’t feel like a budget hosting and even have excellent customer service. If you are on a budget and just want to start with a cheap but reliable host, then Hostinger is the way to go.

Hostinger

BLUEHOST

Bluehost is one of the most recommended hosts out there for beginners because of its affordability and features. It also lets you easily install WordPress and covers all the basic needs, and if you eventually want to upgrade plans from let’s say shared hosting to dedicated hosting, they have that too. If you decide on Bluehost, then you will most likely stick with this platform because it has everything you need down the line.

BlueHost

WP ENGINE 

If you are planning on creating your website on WordPress, which is the most popular option, then WP Engine would make a great choice. WP Engine makes managing your WordPress website easy because they do all the updates, offer WordPress-centric customer service, and because this host is specifically for WordPress users, your website will load very fast. All these great features come at a price though, with their cheapest plan starting at $30 a month.

WPEngine

THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU NEED AND ALL ELSE WILL FOLLOW

And we’ve made it till the end of this complete list of the best podcast equipment for any budget.

It may seem like a very long list with loads of choices, but don’t stress yourself out too much. Think about what you need right now at this moment, but also think long term on whether podcasting is really something you want to pursue and see which items you need to invest in at the beginning. 

There is absolutely no shame in investing in more affordable equipment, and this will not be a deal breaker. Make sure you don’t break the bank, and place more of your effort on creating valuable content over everything else. 

I have no doubt you will make the right choice in the end. I hope that you will find this article useful as a guide for you to get started on your podcast journey in choosing the right podcast equipment.

Open post

How To Build Your Email List Starting From Nothing

As a small business owner, I feel that my focus should be on creating assets, and having the ability to leverage those assets at a later date. More specifically, you should be building and controlling how you distribute the info/content you create. Learning how to build your email list helps you do just that.

I know people who built their businesses on Facebook when things were easy and all you needed was a Facebook page, only to wake up one day, and have Facebook say “You now have to pay to reach the audience you have built on your Facebook Page.”

I know people who set up affiliate businesses using Google Adwords (back in the day) making an excess of $5,000-7,000 per month, only to wake up one day to find their Google Adwords account shut down, because Google did not want to work with those businesses anymore.

Google Adwords

The above events are cyclical, and business owners have been talking about it for as long as I can remember. The thing is though, we get sucked into this new “Platform” or method and at the start, things are ALWAYS easy because the platforms/methods are new and they need to attract as many people as possible to use it. The easiest way for them to do that is to make it SUPER EASY for you to get results using the platform or method.

Then because things are easy, people get sucked in and don’t think about some of the fundamental things they should be thinking about to secure their business or income for the long term.

If you want to truly grow your business and make the most out of your content, you need to find the best solution that allows you to have full control of your relationship with your audience. This is where we talk about why it is important to build your email list, because not only will you own the racetrack (more on that later), but you will also be able to build a strong foundation of know, like and trust. 

Recently, I held an email list accountability program for a small group of business owners on Facebook to help people grow and start their email lists. The goal was for the participants to get their first 100 subscribers if they didn’t have an email list yet. And for those who already have a list, to get additional 100 subscribers. 

I also wanted them to start building the habit of consistently emailing their list. Being consistent doesn’t necessarily mean 20 times a week or 5 times a week. What I mean by consistently is that there has to be a set schedule and you stick to that so that you stay consistent. 

Another point I covered was tips on how to easily come up with ideas for your emails so you don’t stare at the “black screen of death” because you didn’t know what to write about.

Blank Screen of Death

43 people took part in this accountability challenge, and 25 successfully started their email lists. Currently, someone was able to build a list of 2,000 people at an open rate of 20% and CTR of 1%. 

And because these people started an email list, they were able to own the racetrack and grow their following.

Unfortunately, I don’t plan on hosting this challenge again anytime soon, but the good news is that you can find all the juicy bits in this blog post to help you start your own email list.

But before that, let’s talk about how important an email list is and what do I mean exactly by owning the racetrack?

WHY DO YOU NEED TO BUILD YOUR EMAIL LIST?

Building your email list will definitely take some effort on your end, but the benefits to your business make your efforts all worthwhile. Here are the top 3 reasons why you should focus on building your email list:

  1. You Own the Racetrack. Personally, the biggest benefit of building a list is that you get to own the race track. This concept is something I got from James Schramko. If you like horse racing or if you are into horse racing, you can be the person who pays money to bet on horses. If you want to make money from horse racing, you can either own a horse or own a jockey. But if you want to be paid by everyone I just mentioned, you can own the race track. And because you own the race track (or your audience in this matter), no one can take that away from you. 
  2. It’s Easier to Build Relationships. Everyone is talking about the importance of Social Media, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But what I want you to realise is that you are beholden to whatever platform you are posting on. So that means that your account and all your information is never really secure. Through your list, you are able to build better relationships with your subscribers through more personalised emails depending on their journey. 
  3. Ultimately Make the Cheddar. The thing with email lists is that whenever you build your list, you build your audience. And when you build your audience and strengthen your relationships with them, you are ultimately going to make money whenever you make an offer because of their trust in you. 

SOME THINGS WE WILL BE COVERING…

In this blog post, we will be covering the following:

  1. The tools that you need 
  2. How to build your email list
    1. Free Methods
    2. Paid Methods
  3. How to start emailing 
    1. What are you going to be emailing about? 
    2. Who are you going to email?
  4. How to manage your email list

Let’s get down to business…

THE TOOLS THAT YOU NEED

The tools and the features of these tools are important if you want to effectively grow and manage your email list. But if finance is a limitation, you can always resort to free tools at the start and McGyver stuff together so that everything works. 

But if you truly want to grow an email list that is going to support your business, you will really need to invest in the right tools eventually. It doesn’t mean that you have to start with paid tools, but in the long run, you have to invest so that you won’t have any headaches from maintaining your list from all the “McGvyver-ing.”

Here are the following tools you will need:

  • Email Service Provider – there are plenty of options in the marketplace. The one that you will choose will depend on where you are at the minute in your journey and to how complicated what you are doing is. Here are some of the options that you can choose from:
    1. If you are just starting out:
      • Mailchimp
      • Aweber
      • Getresponse
    2. If you want more advanced options:
      • ActiveCampaign
      • Drip
      • ConvertKit
      • Clickfunnels
      • Infusionsoft
  • Landing Page Builder – choosing this will depend on where you are and what your technical skills are. For my business, I use ClickFunnels, which can be a bit pricey, but it is what I found fits with my business needs. I’ve used ClickFunnels on several occasions, especially when I ran a 5-Day Ads to Leads Challenge for my audience. Here is how part of my landing page looked for the challenge:

Landing Page

  • Website/Web Host – this is one of the things that people are debating about. Whether you actually need one or not, because most landing page builders negate the need for you to have one. But my point of view is, if you truly want to own the racetrack, why should you beholden yourself to a landing page service or builder? Let’s take ClickFunnels for example, which is the page builder I use. In 2019, it went down 5 times so people could not send traffic to those pages. So can you imagine people who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on paid traffic and if they don’t have a backup page if ClickFunnels goes down, that’s money down the drain. Owning your own website gives you full control and security. 
  • File Storage – depending on what you’re doing and how big you are, you can use services like DropBox and Google Drive without needing the paid plan. It all comes down to personal preference. 
  • Lead Magnet – most people think of lead magnets as a PDF, free email course or anything that you give away in exchange for someone’s email address. Although this is true, something most people don’t talk about is that you can be your own lead magnet. This means that you can share your own personal experiences with other people. and those who are interested to know about it can sign up to your email list. Don’t constrain yourself to thinking of it as a deliverable and think of it a bit more creatively. Here is a sample of one of my Lead Magnets:

Lead Magnet

Although I did mention some of the tools that I personally use, I highly discourage you to use these if ever your reason is just because I use them. Remember that we all have different needs and so the tools relevant for your business will be different from mine.

And once you’ve decided on your tools, know that you can always decide to switch if you find that the ones you’ve chosen don’t seem to fit. It’s all about trial, error, and experimentation.

HOW TO BUILD YOUR EMAIL LIST

There are primarily 2 ways by which you can build your email list. It’s either through paid or free ways. In an ideal world, you should use a mix of both because each option, to some degree, helps you leverage for list growth. 

For both methods, I just want to point out that I haven’t used ALL of these options, so this will all just be a brief overview of everything.

FREE METHODS

Here are some of the free methods you can use to build your email list:

  • Content. This is something that I believe everyone should do. This can include written, audio, video, and content upgrades (aka bonus material to amplify or enhance the experience of the reader/viewer after going through your content). So whenever you create content, you always have to focus on the objective of growing your email list. 
  • The 3F Formula. The 3 F’s consist of your friends, fans, and followers. The idea is to make a list of each of these people, roll up your sleeves, and make the time to get these people into your email list. What I did is that I sent a personalized email to the people in my 3F’s and asked them if they are interested in XYZ with the goal of receiving XYZ benefit. If yes, they sign up for my email list. And the worst thing that can happen is that they say no. And if no, simply say thank you and move on. You really have nothing to lose! 

These two organic methods are all about leveraging on what you have, especially if you have a following on any of the social media platforms. Work on creating great content, add a few content upgrades, and encourage people from your 3F’s to sign up for your email list. 

USING PAID TRAFFIC

Let’s cover the super basics of using paid traffic to start building your email list (since I don’t consider myself an expert on the subject).

The beauty of using paid traffic is that when you see that you have good conversion rates for any of the organic content you put out there, you can use paid traffic to promote your content and get more exposure and subscribers from there. 

To get started, there are a couple of things you need to have in place:

  • Basic funnel. The goal here is to keep this as simple as possible. There’s no point in making it complicated because based on my personal experience, this leads to procrastination. You need to have your opt-in page, thank you page, and download page for a start. Here is a sample of a thank you page I created:

Thank You Page

  • Your indoctrination emails. When people opt-in to your list, the first email you should send is an indoctrination email. This should be prepared beforehand so that when people signup, you know what email they are going to get. The main goal here is to build KLT (know, like and trust) and further encourage them to use the thing that you’ve given them. 
  • Your platform of choice. You need to choose your platform such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. to manage and promote your content. This will depend on what you’re comfortable with and whether you already have a following in any of these platforms.

The key thing to note is that whenever you use paid traffic, you need to have your pixel, whether it’s a Google remarketing pixel or Facebook pixel, installed funnel-wide. This means that it should be installed in every page that people are going to visit. 

The reason for this is that when you run cold traffic, a number of people won’t opt-in on the first go, so you need to go back to them with ads called retargeting ads, which reminds people about the ads that they didn’t click on the last time. 

Utilizing pixels answers your question on knowing whether someone has opted in or not. To go even more granular, if you want to separate those who have opted in and downloaded, and those who have opted in but not downloaded, you can set up something called Conversion Events which can be setup via Facebook or Google.

So when you are doing retargeting, someone who opts in and downloads is more likely to become a customer as opposed to someone who opts in and doesn’t download. 

It’s all about knowing how to read your data and doing all the necessary adjustments to make the most out of the funds you spent on these paid methods.

Another great practice when you have access to paid tools is that you can segment your audience, so that you can send the right email to the right person at the right time. 

TYPES OF SEGMENTATION

What is segmentation? Basically the idea of segmentation is dividing up people on your list or creating a way to identify the people on your list so that you know where they are on their journey. 

Segmentation is something that you can implement for paid email service providers such as ActiveCampaign so it is a little bit more advanced, but I wanted to give you a quick overview on this topic. 

Segmentation

To give you some context, let’s talk about segmentation for a fitness coach who specializes in weight loss for women. 

So possible segments for this coach’s list can be professional women, stay-at-home moms, and brand new moms. These three belong to different segments because they are from different stages of their weight-loss journey. 

The brand new mom for example will be trying to shed some baby weight, the professional woman is not going to have enough time to dedicate to working out, and the stay-at-home mom may only be able to work out at home. So the message to each of these women should be different, right? 

That is how segmentation goes. Knowing where your customers are allows you to send them the right messages that are relevant to their needs.

When it comes to how you decide to segment, there are three types that you can do:

  • Pre segmentation – this is when you identify people before they get on your list. This means that the messages you put out should ideally pre-segment your audience. So if a certain call-to-action or content upgrade is relevant to them, they decide to sign up for your email list and receive KLT messages related to what it is they are looking for. 
  • Post segmentation – this happens when you segment them AFTER they are already on your list. I’ve done this with ActiveCampaign through the tagging function and asking people some questions to help them identify which bracket they fall under through letting them click on specific links. In other words, for every email you are sending out, there is an automation working in the background to segment people based on the types of emails or messages they are interacting with. You can do this with simpler email service providers but it’s a bit more finicky. 
  • Campaign-based segmentation – this type of segmentation is relevant if you plan on launching a campaign and you can ask your audience if they are interested in it or not. If they indicate that they are interested, they will be getting all the emails for that campaign and all the promotions. On the other hand, for those who aren’t interested don’t get anything related to the campaign but will still be on your email list. Campaign-based segmentation allows you to get to know where people are on their journey.

HOW TO START EMAILING

When it comes to starting your email list, there are a number of things I believe that you need to ask yourselves and know the answers to:

  1. What are you going to be emailing about? 
  2. Who are you going to email?

Let’s cover each of the points.

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO BE EMAILING ABOUT?

When it comes to the content of your emails, here are a few things you can write about to help you get started:

  1. Results – this is all about sharing your results or achievements and talking about what action plans you took to achieve them.
  2. Day in the life – you can talk about the stuff that you’ve learned from your own personal experiences or even any books, movies, or insights you’ve recently encountered.
  3. Challenges, “failures” & triumphs – my friend Dan Meredith has a knack of sharing these types of experiences on Social Media and his email lists wherein he takes a “failure” and turns it into something funny and memorable. You can then talk about how you overcame these challenges and turned it into triumphs.

What to Email About

When sharing to your email list subscribers, the key thing is really to just live your life and from the mere act of living, “failing” and trying things, you are going to have an endless amount of content you can revert back to. Being natural also means that you don’t sound too pushy or sales-y when it’s the time to make an offer. 

WHO ARE YOU GOING TO EMAIL? 

As we covered a while ago, knowing who to email to is important because you need to tailor your messages for each of your readers/groups. I segmented the readers three different groups:

  1. Leads
  2. Buyers
  3. Repeat Buyers

Everyone who is one of these groups will respond differently to the different kinds of emails that you send. So going back to the previous example, theoretically, leads would be more interested in you sharing a story about your results rather than a day in the life email. 

Buyers would be more interested in you sharing the challenges and trials you’ve experienced in your weight loss journey (as with the example of the weight-loss coach) and would far more likely convert them into repeat buyers. 

This is where segmentation comes in. To help you identify who to send what specific email to. You need to also know where you will be starting and who you will be targeting from the three groups above. That way, it’ll be easier for you to craft your emails.

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR EMAIL LIST

Gaining an audience is only the start of the journey, and the work doesn’t end there. 

The main goal of list management is to maintain the quality of the people on your list. So this includes people who open your emails, engage, click through your emails, and those who are buying.

Manage Your Email List

Here are some of the things you can do to maintain a quality email list:

  1. Remove the deadwood. Some examples of deadwood are people who simply subscribe to your email list just to get their hands on the lead magnet. Some people even go to the extremes of creating fake email addresses so you don’t have access to their real ones. Other examples are emails that bounce back, people who don’t open your emails, and people who unsubscribe. For a service where you are paying per contact on your email list, you want to pay particular attention to deadwood to save on costs. Personally, I remove deadwood every 6 months. 
  2. Create segments of active readers and clickers. If you’re using simpler autoresponders, this is something you might have to put more steps into. But for tools like ActiveCampaign, Infusionsoft, Drip, and ConvertKit, you can actually mark the people who are most engaged and what you can do is that when you send out your emails and you want to boost deliverability, you can choose to send to them first. 
  3. The Tags vs List Debate. (This step is a little bit more advanced) So in this debate, it’s all about setting up your email marketing system so that you’re sending the right message to the right person at the right time, rather than sending a general blanket message. You could argue that it is a matter of preference because some people still do it the old way, but what you tend to find is that whenever you have your list and the contacts on your list are tagged properly, you are better able to send relevant messages to the different segments (tags) because you know what they are interested in as they are tagged whenever they engage in emails. In my opinion, the perfect scenario would be for you to have between 3-5 lists and in those lists, you’re tagging people so that you know what they’re interested in and you can tailor your emails properly.
  4. Using automation where it makes sense. Automation is only available in the more advanced email service providers. Automation saves you from having to create the same emails over and over again. This is something that you set up only once and everytime that automation is triggered, a particular set of conditions or workflow happens. You can also do something called lead scoring, which means that when someone opens up an email, they are given points and for example, if they have three points, you can tag them as an active reader (tying back to the second point).
  5. Integrate with your website where it makes sense. How this works is that you can place a pixel on your website so that when someone from your email list goes to your website, you can segment this person further to refine the message.

IT’S TIME TO OWN THE RACETRACK

Although my goal for the original accountability challenge was to grow your email list to 100 subscribers, I hope that this article helps you grow your list twofold. 

Email lists tend to be overlooked at this day and age, especially with the rise of Social Media Marketing and an increase in the number of platforms available. And although these avenues are GREAT ways to create a connection with your audience, ultimately you still want to own the racetrack and have full control of your audience.

I hope that this quick guide gives you a good idea on how to start and manage your email list so that you can create better relations with your audience and grow your business to its full potential. 

Good luck!

Open post

Why You Should Start Being Your Own Client

When we talk about Being Your Own Client, the thought seems counterintuitive because when we think of clients, we always think of someone other than ourselves, right? 

As a result, most of us have never really entertained the thought of becoming our own clients. More often than not, our main focus is on getting more and more clients to increase our profits that we end up forgetting about creating systems for our own business (Tega loves his systems).

Just like you, I also had the same mindset back then. I too felt stuck. 

We all start out as beginners, and being a new freelancer or entrepreneur in the industry is a tough place to start. But this is why I wanted to write this blog post. I want to demonstrate to you that you don’t need to feel stuck. All you need to do is switch your brains and know where to start. 

And where is the best place to start? You.

This blog post as a whole is actually more about self-confidence and awareness of where you stand in your business more than anything else. And in relation to this, I can speak from experience that as an introverted entrepreneur, I’m slowly learning about self-confidence myself. 

In another blog post on my website, I share about how I overcome introversion when it comes to promoting myself and my business, and I cover a bit more about this experience here.

So how does being your own client relate to becoming a better entrepreneur and individual in general?

Well, because when you value your own business and skills, it shows how confident you are as a person. If you don’t value these, who else will? You need to believe in yourself first if you want your clients to believe in you as well.

When I realised this, I was able to get clients for my Facebook Ads Agency and Podcast Management Agency.

WHY DO YOU NEED TO BE YOUR OWN CLIENT?

Being your own client means that the things you do for your client — all the systems and processes — should be done for yourself. The drive you have to generate results for your clients should be the same drive you have to generate results for your business.

WHY DO YOU NEED TO BE YOUR OWN CLIENT

A few years ago, when I just started out, my main focus was on getting clients to avail of my video editing services. I’ve experienced the frustrations of not being able to convince anyone because I didn’t have a portfolio to show. And because no one wanted to get me, I couldn’t build my portfolio. 

It was a vicious cycle and it needed to stop. 

Then the idea of being my own client came to me. I thought, “heck, why not make videos for myself first?” And once I started making videos for my own personal projects, I would post these on different groups and people started to notice. 

I made people aware that this is what I do. But more importantly, I proved to them that I know how to do it. People started referring me to their friends and I eventually found my first few clients there. 

And this all started from making videos for myself and being my own client. 

The main point here is that when you do things for yourself, and put in the same effort as if you were an actual client of the business, you generate results. And when you generate results, you have actual proof that you are capable and skilled. 

Even the fact that you are generating results for your business is a success in itself already. Your results will attract the right clients to you, when you put in the work. 

When you do the work, you let the work become a testimonial of the fact that you can do the job. 

Even if you technically don’t have anyone else to impress other than yourself, the long-term benefits are profound. Here are a few other reasons why being your own client should be of utmost priority:

  1. You can serve your clients better. Treating yourself like a client means you’ll know how your clients think. This means you’ll be able to resonate with them more. Getting into the minds of your clients can make you one step ahead of them. 
  2. You become more organized. When you are able to break down your own deliverables into small steps, it becomes easier for you to come up with systems and processes to make your processes more efficient and organized. You find ways to “serve” your business better through best practices, which will be carried on to when you serve your clients. 
  3. You become more accountable. Because you treat yourself like a client, you have a stronger sense of responsibility to get the job done. This can also mean that you set deadlines for yourself and create a detailed timeline so that you are able to complete your tasks on time. 
  4. You market yourself better. When you start to speak from personal experience after becoming your own client, it becomes easier for you to convince your audience that you are competent in what you do. You are your own testimonial and this allows you to know exactly what to say to your clients if they have any questions or reservations about your product or service.

Now that we’ve covered the reasons why you should be your own client, let me share how I became my own client and how this has benefited my business.

HOW TO BE YOUR OWN CLIENT

From my own experience, when I start planning the tasks for myself and the business, I take note of the same details as if I were asking a client. I ask myself the same questions and structure everything the same way. As a result, I can come up with a detailed task list of everything that has to happen.

HOW TO BE YOUR OWN CLIENT

For example, when I start planning a new episode for the Intent Podcast, I think about all the elements such as the editing, shownotes, artwork, uploading, and marketing of the podcast. This is the exact same thing I do for my podcast management agency clients as well. 

When I get a new client for the agency, I need to know what assets they have first and how I can package my services in a way that is valuable to them. 

I also make sure to cover all the itty bitty details like how many episodes they plan to release weekly, if they already have a podcast host, if they need a website, and if they already have marketing assets to begin with.

These questions are all important in making sure we provide invaluable services to our clients.

And because I have my own podcast and know what a typical podcaster needs to make his/her podcast happen, I know exactly what my clients need and I can fill in the blanks in all the right places. 

Learning from your own experience means that you know what questions to ask.

One thing that I am slowly working on is setting deadlines for myself. But because I have the right systems and processes in place, once I have the assets I need, my team and I can work immediately without having to worry about any deadlines. 

Also, this may sound pretty obvious already, but when you are your own client, really treat yourself like a client. This means that you have to separate yourself emotionally from the thing that you are doing and think more logically. 

That way, you have a full grasp of why you are doing the things that you do, and when the time comes that you need to explain all the details to your client, you know what to say.

Becoming your own client also means that you need to know how to package yourself and your services in such a manner that it truly shows that you know what you are doing and that you speak from experience. 

Because that’s the entire point of being your own client, right?

HOW TO MARKET YOURSELF EFFECTIVELY

If you’re like me and don’t like talking about yourself, what I do is I talk about what I DO instead. 

I speak about personal experiences from my own businesses (aka “experiments”) and I share how I was able to help my clients with the services I provide. Speaking from experience is one of the best ways to demonstrate competency and credibility without actually talking about myself per se.

MARKET YOURSELF EFFECTIVELY

It’s really all about telling stories and talking about what you do.

Another thing to remember is that everything is content. That means that everything you do, everything you experiment on, IS content. No matter how much you think your experiences aren’t worth sharing, they are. 

Share your mistakes, share your challenges, share all your obstacles. Embrace the suck. The goal is to make sure that people see that you are actually doing something and they know what you do. 

Another thing that is big in the industry right now is content repurposing, which allows you to create “micro-content” from your main content and post it on different platforms. And content repurposing will definitely need you to be innovative sometimes. 

Entrepreneurs don’t think outside the box. There is no box. 

Now that I am slowly getting out of my comfort zone and putting more content out there, it dawned on me that I’m slowly getting better as an introvert and learning how to relay my ideas more clearly.

BE PROUD OF WHAT YOU DO

As you slowly learn to market yourself, you begin to create your own personal brand. And because you speak from actual experience, it speaks about who you are as a professional and how much you value your business.

BE PROUD OF WHAT YOU DO

You need to start treating your business like an actual business owner rather than just someone who is self-employed. 

And what is the difference, you may ask? 

Well, for the former, you basically still work a job. Working a job means that if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Your income is purely active and solely relies on you showing up. 

As a business owner, you develop systems that are working whether you’re there or not so that your income is not tied to you alone. 

This has greatly helped me during the pandemic because I am able to set myself apart from everyone else because I offer valuable services in a systemised way. 

These systems have allowed me to scale my business and hire people from abroad, the Philippines in particular , to help me work on multiple projects and clients at the same time. 

In a nutshell, being your own client allows you to market yourself more authentically and shows people what you do. As entrepreneurs, we need to stand up, plant our flag, and say “this is what I do.” 

Open post
Lessons I've Learned from Losing Clients

5 Lessons I’ve Learned from Losing Clients

As a person who’s been managing several businesses for a few years now, I’ve had my fair share of challenging clients and even losing some along the way. So I thought I should write this blog post about the lessons I’ve learned from losing clients…

In fact, 5 months ago when I was on the search for more clients who could use my Facebook Ads services, I put out a message, got a client AND then proceeded to lose the client. That experience made me sit back and think about WHY I lost the client, but not just that client, I tried to think back to all the clients I have lost and why I lost them, and think of the lessons I got from that/those experiences. 

When this client and I started working together, things were okay at the initial stages when we both stuck to the original work agreement. As we continued, I kept getting more and more requests from this client, and the helper and experimenter in me wanted to fulfill these requests. These requests soon ventured out of the original scope of our work agreement, and I ended up spreading myself too thin…

Spreading Myself Too Thin

 

The result? That process of doing things out of the initial agreement led me to losing this client because we both ended up making mistakes as the scope of work kept changing and getting bigger. 

Although it was a sad experience, this motivated me to write this blog post for myself and for any one else who struggles with retaining clients because of scope creep or poorly set limits and expectations.

THE LESSONS I’VE LEARNED

Lesson 1: Don’t chase the money

Don’t chase the money

Every business owner wants and needs money, right? You need money to run your business, support your personal goals, and grow the company. This is why finding clients for us is so important, especially during the early stages.

But the caveat to this is that if you pressure yourself too much to make money, you end up making hasty decisions. I’ve learned to stop accepting any ad hoc tasks just for the sake of charging more for the client because I don’t want to end up having too much on my plate.  

Now I only accept tasks that I know I have a documented workflow for. That way, if I can’t do it myself (because I tend to procrastinate), I can pass it on to my team and make sure that everything gets done on time and to a high standard by someone other than me. 

Lesson 2: Be aware of red flags

Be aware of red flags

I believe that people that go far in life are those that learn from the mistakes of other people. 

If you are in the business space, there are a whole bunch of resources out there where you read and learn about the mistakes of other entrepreneurs. It is important to learn from the mistakes of others so that you don’t experience the same challenges.

Naturally, we are all bound to commit our own mistakes and as we move forward. You need to take note of all the red flags you’ve seen to help you identify which clients wouldn’t be good for you to work with.

One red flag I’ve learned is that if a client is very demanding before they have even paid you, chances are once they pay, they will become even more demanding. 

Here are some other things you should be aware of when looking for potential clients:

  • How do they communicate with you? 
  • Do they respect you and your skills?
  • Do they know their boundaries? 
  • Can they meet the expectations you set for the project? 

As you get more clients, you will become more skilled in spotting these red flags. These will become indicators of whether you should move forward with a certain client or not. 

Lesson 3: You Are The Expert, Be The Expert

You Are The Expert, Be The Expert

You have been hired by your clients for a reason, and it is because you are more experienced in what you do than them. You are seen as the expert and the solution to their business problems. 

So if your clients do something that will end up costing you more time, do not hesitate to make suggestions and set your boundaries. Remember that you can always earn wasted money back but you can’t take wasted time back. 

Going back to the client I spoke about at the start of this blog post, even if I didn’t break the first two lessons, I experienced several hurdles because I wasn’t able to set boundaries.

Because this client didn’t know what they wanted and didn’t have a clear structure in place, we ended up having to face several hurdles that resulted in problems that needed to be addressed. I had the need to fulfill all their ad hoc requests which resulted in a lot of issues. 

I learned to be the expert and set boundaries so that I can prevent these types of issues with my future clients. This meant that I let my clients know how I work and how I don’t work which demonstrated my expertise and set my foot down.  

Prevention is always better than cure. 

Lesson 4:  Stay in your zone of genius

Stay in your zone of genius

I know how tempting it can be to do more for your clients, especially because you want to make sure the client has a good experience with you, but 9 out of 10 times, you end up in a place where you’re going to do more than you’re being paid for. As a result, you might start to feel like you are being taken advantage of. 

In my case, I ended up wandering away from my original service of Facebook ads and added a whole bunch of other things that I had no business adding to. If i had just been firm and stated what I can and can’t do, I would have been able to meet the needs of my clients properly. 

You want to make sure that you and your client stick to the agreed contract, and if there are any additional tasks, only accept them if they are within your zone of genius and not something entirely different. 

Lesson 5: Learn From Your Experiences

Learn From Your Experiences

As I stated a while ago, it is important to learn from the mistakes of others. But what’s more valuable is when you learn from your own mistakes. And as you learn from these mistakes, you begin to improve your processes, put filters in place and setup identifiers to know when you’re about to make another mistake (for example, avoiding red flags). 

When it comes to my own experiences, I now know that I should not deal with clients who need to make money yesterday with Facebook Ads. Why? Because in a way, they are chasing money (lesson #1) resulting in them not being in the right place mentally and not having the patience to properly set up the campaign and ads in the right manner.

In terms of learning from my mistakes, this ties back to lesson #2. It’s all about being aware of the red flags. 

These red flags resulted in me creating a client expectation letter to set boundaries. The letter aided in ensuring better communication, being explicit about what I can and can’t do, and setting the expectations for the project. 

One example of boundaries is establishing Slack as our means of communication and setting office hours. 

Don’t hesitate to be firm about this agreement because it encourages respect in the relationship. 

Another thing relating to identifying your red flags is to remember these negative attributes because they aid in separating the good clients from the “bad” ones. In my case, I’ve learned that if a client is not willing to listen to you, you know that things may not work out.

VALUE YOURSELF!

The bottomline of this entire article, and the main lesson I want to impart to you is that you need to become self-aware and learn when to say no. Because I have this constant urge to help people, I admit that saying no can be difficult at times. 

But I’ve learned that saying “no” and establishing certain boundaries is an act of valuing yourself and establishing your worth.

Remember that you and your business come before your clients and I hope the lessons I’ve learned from my own personal experiences can help you find better clients to scale and grow your business.

Open post

How to Use Facebook Lead Ads to Grow Your Business

In an earlier blog post, I wrote about running multiple businesses, one of the businesses from the previous blog post, I mentioned that I run an ads agency. It is through this agency that I have been able to help my clients generate leads for their businesses using Facebook Lead ads and other types of campaigns.

If you’re new here, I wrote an article as well about running a 5-day challenge. And the reason why these 2 articles are interconnected is because through that challenge, I taught absolute beginners how to use Facebook Lead Ads to grow their business, and it has helped them immensely. Everything I taught in that challenge will be explained in detail here. 

My experience of using Facebook Lead Ads for the past 3-4 years is proof enough that I know how effective and beneficial it can be to both big and small businesses alike. And because I have been receiving a lot of good feedback about my previous how to articles (particularly the one on How to Start a Podcast), I figured I’d write even informative articles. 

The goal here is to give people (you, in particular) useful information on growing your business without having a paywall in the way! I want to show you that the world of Facebook Ads though it can get complicated doesn’t have to be so scary as long as you understand the fundamentals and have a sherpa(me) to guide you along the way.

Let me show you the way

This article is loosely structured around the 5-day Ads to Leads challenge I ran earlier in the year, The feedback I got from the people that took part in the challenge was that it was so helpful, I wanted to create this so that for the willing they could take what is here and use it to bring in leads and customers to their business.

And yes, before the naysayers say it, there are a bunch of marketing tools that you can use and choose from to bring leads and customers in, with a myriad of options both digitally and traditionally, there is just something about Facebook Ads and the accessibility it gives you that makes sense for all types of businesses.

WHY SHOULD YOU ADVERTISE ON FACEBOOK?

The million-dollar/pound/yen/sheckles question: Why advertise on Facebook? 

Due to the length of time I have been using FB to advertise for my clients, I have seen first hand the power it has to change the fortunes of different businesses, however I don’t expect you to take my word as gospel, so I have put together a list of reasons why you should advertise on Facebook from other experts and authorities.

Here are a few reasons why you should advertise on Facebook:

You can reach your ideal audience

Facebook is currently at 2.7 billion monthly users according to Statista.com . This data alone shows that your audience IS on Facebook, you just need to know how to find them (which is why you are reading this article right now).

It’s no surprise that most businesses are flocking to Facebook to market their products and services. With Facebook’s enormous number of users, it’s all about finding your audience, putting your message in front of them and standing out from the other advertisers.

Campaigns Are Highly Customizable

Because Facebook has so many users, you can attract the right audience to you if you know who you want to target. The platform can help you design your ads to attract the right leads to your business, whether it be based on demographics, interests, language, location, or a whole bunch of other targeting capabilities. 

With Facebook’s features to make your campaigns highly customizable, you are able to create the perfect ad experience for your target audience. This is especially true with all the data Facebook has of its users.

Facebook Ads are easy to set up

Virtually everyone has Facebook. So it’s not difficult to set up an ad account. And not only that, creating the ads are super easy to make (as I will show you later). Everything is pretty straightforward so you won’t feel so overwhelmed at the start. 

It’s also inexpensive to advertise on Facebook, making accessible to both small, local businesses to huge corporations.

One of the best ways to get leads through Facebook ads is through something called Facebook Lead Ads, which will be the main focus of this article.

WHAT IS FACEBOOK LEAD ADS?

One of the easiest ways to get the right kind of information from your audience is through forms, specifically Facebook Lead Ads. These are promoted forms that are integrated into the ad so that when people click on the ad, they are asked to fill the form out. 

What’s great about Lead Ads is that they are also optimized for mobile, making it much more convenient. This is especially relevant because according to Statista.com, 98% of active Facebook users access their accounts via mobile.

Facebook users access their accounts via mobile

This is a great way to know your audience better while providing value for them. Let’s cover more advantages of using Facebook Lead Ads…

WHY USE FACEBOOK LEAD ADS?

Because Facebook Lead Ads is already integrated into Facebook, users don’t need to go to another site to fill in all the information. This makes things easier and quicker for your potential leads. 

Apart from Facebook Lead Ads being mobile-friendly, here are a few other reasons why you should consider using this for your business:

  • The forms are fully customizable, so you can tailor the questions based on the needs of your business
  • You collect valuable information which you can integrate to your CRM. I currently use Zapier to integrate Facebook Ads to Google Sheets (Spoiler alert… I will show you how later)
  • Those who fill out these forms are considered warm leads because the effort alone in submitting these forms shows their interest

It’s no wonder why Facebook Lead Ads is the go-to if you want to grow your business and generate leads. Let’s get down to the specifics.

HOW TO USE FACEBOOK LEAD ADS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS

The steps outlined below will get you from knowing absolutely nothing, to knowing enough to be dangerous but not an expert (because that’s going to take longer than just one article). The goal here is to get you started and to know what needs to be done. 

Let’s keep things as simple as possible (the last thing I want to do is to scare you off!).

STEP 1: Getting Setup

The best part about setting up Facebook Ads is that it’s so simple and straightforward. In the Facebook advertising ecosystem, you will need the following:

  • Personal profile (good news is that you have this already)
  • A Facebook page that relates to your business entity
  • An ad account to advertise your business
  • Business Manager which acts as a container that holds the advertising side of FB all together and keeps it separate from the personal side of FB

So here is how to set it all up…

  • Go to business.facebook.com
  • Click “Go to Business Settings”

Business Manager Business Settings

 

  • On the left side, click on PAGES where you can see all your pages and who are assigned to them

Business Manager PAGES

  • In the USERS section, this is where you can add people or partners to your business manager (this helps if you hire an agency to run the ads for you)

Business Manager USERS

  • Under USERS, you will see PEOPLE (you can add people and assign them “assets”)

Business Manager ADD ASSETS

  • Going back to ADD ACCOUNTS, you will see 3 options under ADD (assuming you haven’t run any ads yet):

Business Manager ADD ACCOUNTS

    1. Add an ad account
    2. Request access to an ad account
    3. Create a new ad account

Business Manager AD ACCOUNT OPTIONS

  • If you do not have any ad accounts, select the 3rd option (Create a new ad account)
  • Fill in all the necessary details

Business Manager AD ACCOUNT DETAILS

  • If you are running ads for yourself or your own business, give yourself Admin Access

Business Manager ADMIN ACCESS

  • And there you have it. Simple as that! Now we’re good to go and ready to make our audience want to click on our ads.

Business Manager WELL DONE

STEP 2: Create an Offer

Although creating ads on Facebook can be as simple as ABC, it is important to know how to package your offer in a way that piques the interest of your audience. In this section, we are going to cover the following:

  • What is an offer?
  • Why do I need an offer?
  • Do I really need an offer?

What is an offer?

Simply put, imagine that an offer is a nice fancy dress that you put over your product to make it attractive to your ideal customer. Now remember that It is NOT your product or your service, but rather it is how you present your product or service. (example: discounts, BOGO, VIP experience, promos)

Why use offers?

You will see offers everywhere you go. Every business is trying to make you say YES to their offer, and you are no different. Here, we are trying to replicate an offer in the digital world through Facebook Ads. You need something that makes people stop scrolling, and that is through creating an enticing offer.

Where can you find offers that convert? 

Rather than going through the entire trial-and-error phase of finding an offer that works, it’s best to look out for current offers that have already been tried and tested. You just need to know where to find them. 

I personally recommend websites like Groupon.com where there are TONS of offers you can browse. 

Groupon

And guess what? Finding offers that work is pretty straightforward. Just look at which products are trending and whether the ratings are good or not. That would be an excellent gauge for you to see whether this is something that you can apply to your ads. 

Also take note that offers that work greatly on Facebook are ones that you can deliver quickly, at scale, and something that leads people to buy more. 

Once you’ve picked an offer that you think would be most relevant for your business, it’s time to get creative and work on the elements of your ad.

STEP 3: Write Words, Get Paid

Alright, this is where you get your creative hat on and find the right words to get results. 

So…writing words to get paid…sounds too good to be true? Well, once you know how the creative elements to an ad works to get results, you won’t feel so clueless. We will not go into too much detail here because this topic deserves an entire article rather than just a small section, but I will be sharing with you some quick tips and resources that you can utilize to guide you further. 

There are two things that you should work on:

Images / Creative

Personally, I am not a graphic designer and designing images really isn’t my specialty. But I do have friends who are good at this and have given me lots of useful tips that I will be sharing in this article.

When it comes to social media graphics, you need to know how your audience uses social media. You want to create attractive visual/audio visual assets to get people’s attention and click your ads.

Your images need to be eye-catching to get people to stop scrolling and be intrigued by what you have to say. When it comes to inserting copy into your graphics, keep it to a bare minimum. Less is always more. Make sure that the fonts that you use are also readable and that they don’t dominate the graphics (minimalist fonts that aren’t too bold or cartoon-y work best).

Another great tip is to also use templates so that people know that the ads are coming from you, and this also keeps your branding consistent (plus it makes creating images much easier for you!). 

Some websites that provide great and free stock images are Pixabay, Pexels and Unsplash. Though I personally recommend that you avoid images that look too much like stock images. This is why I hired someone to make cartoon versions of me so that all my social media images look more personal and unique.

Regarding creating the actual images, I’ve found Canva to be very useful and versatile.

Words / Copy 

Once you’ve grabbed someone’s attention with a striking image, you need to sustain that through writing enticing words that make them want to continue reading your ad. 

I highly suggest that you read through Copyhackers’ Copywriting Formula and Copywriting Worksheets to help you get started. The articles are pretty lengthy, so if you want to do a quick skim, I suggest you start with AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action) and PAS (problem, agitation, solution).

And once these elements of your ads are good to go, it’s time to show them to the world!

STEP 4: Let’s get your ads turned on

Before we tackle how to activate your campaigns, let’s cover the 3 levels of a campaign:

  • Campaign – where you tell FB what you want to optimize your ad for

Business Manager CAMPAIGNS TAB

  • Ad Set – where you do your targeting, select your audience, set your budget, and determine where your ads go

Business Manager AD SETS CAMPAIGN

  • Ad – where you put in the images and the copy and basically design what your ad looks like on the news feed

Business Manager ADS TAB

    • Start by Creating an ad

Business Manager CREATE AN ABOUT

  • Choose your objective – we will use Lead Generation because this allows us to put our offer out to the world really cheaply. The way it works is that you set up your ad, copy and image, and invite people to take you up on your offer. This is where Lead Ads come in.

Business Manager LEAD GENERATION

  • Give the campaign a name that you would recognize
  • For small advertisers like us, we don’t do A/B testing nor Campaign Budget Optimization

Business Manager A/B TESTING

  • On the next page, name your ad set
  • I usually disregard Dynamic Creative

Business Manager DYNAMIC CREATIVE

  • In the Audience section this is where things get serious. Disregard Custom Audience for now since that is more advanced.

Business Manager AUDIENCE SECTION

  • You first need to create an audience based on their demographics. For the radius in Location, I tend to find that 5 miles around the location is best for local businesses. The more specific, the better.
  • My agency goes with the age 25-55 because anyone below 25 may not be able to afford the product you are offering (this will depend on your business however)
  • Keep detailed targeting off, unless your audience is pretty big (which won’t be the case for most local businesses)

Business Manager DETAILED TARGETING

  • Placements – Automatic Placements means that your ads will show up everywhere (including Instagram stories, newsfeed, Facebook stories, newsfeed, right hand side, and other sites tied to the Facebook Ad Network) which is too much for you to control and your campaign will burn through your cash before you get any valuable results. That is why I recommend Manual Placements more. Make sure you are not showing up in the wrong place. I avoid Facebook Marketplace, Stories, In-Stream, and In-article.

Business Manager MANUAL PLACEMENTS

  • Budget & Schedule – for Cost Control, this is a bit advanced because you need to know your average cost per lead. What we need to set is the Daily Budget, and I suggest around 5-10 USD for a start.
  • If you get the warning of “Ad Set May Get Zero leads”, you can just ignore this if you want to avoid spending more to get results
  • In the next page, at the Ad level, name your Ad.
  • You can choose between Carousel (maximum of 10 images) or Single Image or Video

Business Manager AD SETUP

  • In Media, this is where you add the image/s for your ad

Business Manager AD CREATIVE

  • In Text & Links, this is where you enter your copy. The Headline is your hook. 
  • Display Link is where you enter your website address and then you choose your Call to Action (I’d either go for Get Offer or Learn More)

Business Manager CALL TO ACTION

  • In Question Format, because we selected a Lead Ad, you will be able to see an Instant Form. This is what we call a Native Ad, meaning the audience doesn’t need to leave Facebook for you to get their information.

Business Manager QUESTION FORMAT

  • If you choose to add a form, select Higher Intent as the form type because you don’t want a bunch of unqualified leads with the More volume option. More Volume means that most of the other information is pre-filled out, which may not be accurate information (especially because most Facebook users have a different email address for their Facebook accounts)

Business Manager FORM TYPE

  • I tend to keep the headline and image the same as with the ad for familiarity
  • Edit the form with the information that you need. Here is the information that I asked for, which align with the Higher Intent option

Business Manager HIGHER INTENT OPTION

  • You can also choose to add a custom disclaimer if you have one on your website or if it is necessary for your business

Business Manager CUSTOM DISCLAIMER

  • Once you have all the information, click confirm and your ad gets submitted for review

And once your ad has been approved, congratulations! Your ad is now available for everyone to see…

STEP 5: Ads are Running, Now What?

The journey doesn’t end once your ad gets published. In fact, this is only the beginning to unravelling the beauty of Facebook Ads and how it can make a significant impact to your business.

The next thing that you have to do is to DIAGNOSE then take ACTION so you will know what to adjust to make the ad work better. Sometimes it means adjusting the budget, or changing the copy or creative, or simply leaving your ad to run and promote the business (this is the best-case scenario).

Here are the big 3 metrics that you need to observe:

  • CTR (click through rate) – indication of how many people are seeing your ad and clicking through
  • CPR (cost per result) – how much it’s costing you to get a lead, quick way for you to judge if your ad is costing too much
  • CPM (cost per mille) – price it costs to show your add to a thousand people. This isn’t really something that you can control but there are times when it goes crazy (an example is at the end of Q4 when people have extra left for advertising by the end of the year). When CPM is high, you might want to change the type of campaign you run to change the cost.

Let’s do a quick crash course on how to understand your ads more and make necessary adjustments from there:

  • When you first open business manager, this is what you are going to see

Business Manager FIRST VIEW

  • You can also set the duration of the ads

Business Manager DURATION

  • You will see an option Columns:Performance and what you want to do there is select Performance and Clicks.

Business Manager PERFORMANCE AND CLICKS

  • Here is a quick run through of what each column is:
    1. Results – pretty self explanatory. It’s the results you get from each ad you run. You need to know where you are in the hierarchy. I suggest you look at the Ad Set Campaign tab because we are doing something called ad set-based optimization.
    2. Reach – number of people the ad has gone out to
    3. Frequency – on average, roughly how many times someone sees your ad on their newsfeed
    4. Cost per result – one of the “big boys”, simply put, your cost per lead 
    5. Budget – budget you set for that campaign
    6. Amount spent – how much you’ve spent for that campaign
    7. Ends – when the campaign ends
    8. Schedule –  this is important if you’re running a date-specific campaign (for example a Halloween campaign)
    9. Impressions – how many times the ad has come up
    10. CPM – second big boy 
    11. Link clicks – the number of times the link for your ad was clicked
    12. CPC (cost per link click) – basically cost per click
    13. CTR (link click-through) – click through rate for the links in your ad
    14. Clicks All – the difference between this and CTR is that the latter is the number of people clicking on the actual link whereas the clicks all is the people that click on your ad. It doesn’t matter where they click (for example see more, opens image, shares ad, etc.)
    15. CTR (all) – all interactions with the ad
    16. CPC (all) – the price it costs for people to click your link
    17. Website Purchases & On-Facebook Purchases – you will see that these are blank because these stats are primarily for e-commerce.
  • Now we need to look at the CTR, CPM and CPR
  • If you’re running a lead ad (which is what we are doing in this case), then CTR would be a good place to start. For CTR, generally I try to aim for a 1% on the link click through and for all, twice of that. This is because CTR counts all the clicks and CTR link click through is just for those who click the links.
  • If CTR is low, you may need to change the ad copy or the image because people are not clicking through. This is because people see your ad but choose not to click it. The goal is to grab their attention through great copy/creative to increase your CTR.
  • Also check if your CPM is too high and you’re not getting any results. That means you’re allocating your funds to the wrong ad, especially if CTR is low. 

And that is a very quick, beginner-friendly overview on how you can diagnose your ads. There are lots of other factors that come into play when it comes to diagnosing your ads, but what I have taught you above is the perfect place to start.

BONUS: HOW TO SETUP AUTOMATIC NOTIFICATIONS FOR THE LEADS YOU GET FROM YOUR AD

Earlier in the article, I mentioned that I use Zapier to manage all the information taken from the Lead Ads. Zapier allows the responses to automatically appear on Google Sheets. I also make sure to include the timestamps because the tendency is that most people forget that they actually submitted a form and showing them the timestamps is pretty good proof of their submissions. 

Another great thing about Zapier is that I can set up another trigger for Gmail so that whenever a lead comes in, we receive a notification about it. 

Here’s a quick run through of how I set this up in my business:

  • Go to Zapier.com (https://www.teglikes.com/zapier) and create an account if you don’t have one yet
  • Start by choosing a trigger. In this case, it’s Facebook Lead Ads.

Zapier FB Ads Trigger

  • Select New Lead for the Trigger Event

Zapier FB New Lead

  • Connect your Lead Ads account

Zapier Connect Ads Account

  • In Customize Lead, choose the respective Ad Account and Form

Zapier Customize Leads

  • Test Trigger to have Zapier provide the most recent submission on your Lead Ads

Zapier Test FB Trigger

  • Select Google Sheets as the Action

Zapier Google Sheets Trigger

  • Choose Create Spreadsheet Row as your Action Event

Zapier Google Sheets Action

  • Connect your Google Sheets account

Zapier Connect Google Sheets

  • In Customize Spreadsheet Row, make sure that you have your Google Sheets file (and worksheets) created beforehand because you can’t create it in Zapier. Assign the respective files in this section.
  • You can then customize the sheet more through choosing the respective information that you need to appear on the Google Sheets file

Zapier Customize Spreadsheet Info

  • On the next section, select Test & Continue

Zapier Test Google Sheet

  • You will be notified if the test was successful and you can double check in Google Sheets if the information appears there

Zapier Google Sheet Test Successful

  • Once that’s ready, go ahead and Turn On Zap.
  • To add an email notification, scroll below and select Email by Zapier as an additional action
  • Select Send Outbound Email as the Action Event

Zapier Email by Zapier Action

  • Fill in all the necessary details for the Outbound Email. You can also choose to insert data from the main source (Facebook or Google Sheets)

Zapier Outbound Email Details

  • Select Test & Continue to see if the Zap works

Zapier Email Test Successful

  • Once you successfully receive a test email, go ahead and Turn On Zap (sometimes the email takes a while to appear on your inbox)

And that is how you manage all the information of your leads without having to invest in an expensive CRM system! Zapier is a very useful tool and I use it in multiple other aspects of my business. It has been a very effective tool for me and I hope you found this section useful

IT’S YOUR TURN!

You’ve made it to the end of the article! We have covered a lot of basic points here to get you started and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Getting started is usually the most intimidating part of the process, but once you have your ad setup and learn how to tweak and diagnose along the way, everything will soon become second nature to you. 

Facebook Ads is really one of the best marketing tools out there and I hope that this blog post has encouraged you to start advertising on this platform to grow your business

Open post

How to Run Multiple Businesses

This post is about How I have ended up in a situation where I am running a couple of businesses. It is not a step-by-step guide; it is more a post about how I ended up here and how I manage everything. And it is based on my personal experiences. And after going through much trial-and-error, I believe I can share a few bits of knowledge on how to run multiple businesses.

The reason for the above preface, or pre clarification if you will, is because personally, I don’t feel like I run multiple businesses. It was never in my intention to run all these businesses for profit. Rather, my approach was more of looking to solve a problem and selling my ability to solve that.  

So, if you think about it, my businesses are “productized” solutions to a problem or group of problems that I had at one point. Eventually, it kind of became a business because people saw me solve the problem and wanted me to solve it for them. I talk about this in the “How I accidentally started a Podcast Management Agency” article.  

WHY NOT JUST ONE BUSINESS TO RULE THEM ALL?  

If you know me, you know I LOVE learning and experimenting. And it just so happened that because of all these skills that I’ve required through the years that I couldn’t keep them all in one business entity. I wanted to do so many things that it became difficult to sell these things under one package. 

Technically I run 4 small businesses:  

  • FB ads agency 
  • Podcast management agency 
  • Virtual Talent Recruitment agency 
  • My personal consultation business 

 The first 3 individual businesses above all came about from me wanting to solve a problem: 

  • Ads agency – because I struggle to talk about myself and what I do, I have an aversion to doing anything organically (which is slowly changing as you’re reading a blog post about this right now). I needed to find a way to get my name out there and this was done through paid traffic which I had to learn on my own. I then helped other friends who needed help in this aspect as well. 
  • Podcast management agency – if you haven’t read my other blog post on this, I was trying to solve the problem of doing all the work by myself through outsourcing. After what felt like years of trial and error, I happened upon a system and for me to move forward with that, I made an offer to a friend to split the person’s pay and that person (who had his own podcast) said yes. The person we outsourced then helped in starting the business. 
  • Recruitment agency – I got tagged on a couple of posts on Social Media from people who needed help with their business. This is how I slowly grew my agency and one thing led to another. The agency currently helps freelancers or solopreneurs who want to scale what they’re doing. 

Because I eventually wanted my businesses to run without me, I decided to keep them all independent from myself. This is when I learned the beauty of outsourcing.

SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES TO RUN THE BUSINESSES 

Now that you know what I do, let’s talk about the systems and processes on how to run multiple businesses. 

Since I was managing more than one brand, I realized the importance of having systems and processes in place to keep me sane. Systematizing and process docs allows the team to produce output at a level I would do myself and sometimes what they create is better because it is their focus. 

You need to create systems for every part of managing the business. This includes payments, notifications, updates for the clients, and workflow management. Next step is to establish processes so that everything that needs to be done for all the parts of your business is broken down in such a way that it’s easy to read and implement. 

The easiest service for me to systematize was the podcast management agency. When it comes to producing a podcast, it is easy to break everything down and know EXACTLY what to do in each step of the process.  

We also wanted to identify how we can make this agency so that our clients are as hands off from the podcast as possible. Which is where we came up with the idea of uploading the podcast to the podcast host, uploading on the website, embedding the podcast player on the website, and so on. 

Doing it this way, means that the whole process is output driven and distractions are removed, because team members or you will be guided through the entire process and know what to do moving forward. It will also make it easier identify what tools you need for you and assign responsibility to the right member(s) of the team.  

THE TOOLS WE USE 

To create systems and processes and make sure everything is followed through, you need to use the right tools. 

These are all the core tools I’ve been using to manage the businesses: 

  • Google Docs – to house the documentation of the processes 
  • Teamwork – project management for task checklists (for example we use task templates for everything that needs to be done for every podcast management client) 
  • Slack – for communication with the team 
  • Zapier – to send notifications in Slack whenever something is added to Teamwork  

There is a wide array of tools you can choose from out there, but so far these are the ones that have worked for me and my team. 

HOW WE SELL AND GET CLIENTS?  

In terms of how the services are sold, I’m still working on this as I’m writing this article. The reason for this is because I have an aversion to talking about myself (I know I’ve said this twice now, in case it didn’t sink in for you the first time). I also did write an article about “How to market as an Introvert. 

Yes, these businesses can stand on their own, but there are certain elements of each business that can feed into each other.  

For example, when it comes to the recruitment and podcast management agency, something I’ve done before is help my clients setup their podcast, put my system in place, and train their team (who I helped recruit). This isn’t something that I’m doing currently but I’ve done it before. 

So, on the surface, it looks like I can only sell one thing, however because of the level of systemizing we have done, it creates an opportunity to cross sell the different services. There is the example of the podcast scenario above. 

Another example could be Selling advertising services of the ads agency, but as we work together, the client could conclude that they want to start a podcast but not manage it themselves…and create the opportunity for me to provide the podcast creation/management services of my podcast management agency 

This goes to show that it is possible to cross-sell and is something I will definitely do in the long run. 

WHAT SKILLS DO YOU NEED TO POSSESS? 

In my opinion, the skills you need to manage multiple businesses are the following: 

  • The skill for the service that you’re selling – You don’t have to be an expert, but at least intermediate level so that you can communicate to properly delegate tasks to the person who will do the work for you. On the flip side, you also need to know how to communicate what needs to be done to your clients as well so that it is easily understandable.  
  • You need to be a people manager – Because I have a team backing me up for everything, I had to learn how to manage them. This means that you need to learn how to properly work with and communicate to other people. If you don’t do this, you will be stuck having to do all the work yourself.

It takes patience and effort to be able to handle the balancing act of running multiple businesses. One doesn’t become a master overnight and it certainly took me YEARS to come up with all these systems and processes.  

And that’s how I am currently managing all my businesses. Again, I never really thought about these entities as businesses but more of a way for me to help more people. If you focus on that, everything becomes easier to manage. 

Open post

How to Market as an Introvert

I am an introvert. Not only that, I’m introvert in the balancing act of managing a couple of businesses, running a podcast, and slowly growing my personal brand. You can say that through the years, I’ve learned how to market as an introvert.

If you’re not new to business, you’re aware of the fact that businesses don’t promote themselves. And for me, that means that promoting myself and my brand is up to ME…an introvert (along with my amazing team, of course, but you get the gist). 

I’ve had my fair share of hosting livestreams, managing Facebook groups, and interacting one-on-one with potential clients for all my businesses. I especially had to let myself out there when I ran a 5-day Ads to Leads Challenge.

It may seem that I have it all together and that learning how to market as an introvert all came naturally to me.  

But as an introvert, sometimes my introversion gets in the way and more often than not, I get uncomfortable when the time comes that I have to talk about myself and what I do.  

Slowly, I am getting out of that shell and becoming friends with the inner gremlin in my head reminding me every now and then that I am an introvert. Yes, I am an introvert, but that isn’t a bad thing at all… 

BATTLING MY INNER GREMLIN 

As introverts, most of us have learned to adapt and appear to be extroverts. Most people believe that introverts are always shy, but that isn’t the case. I can easily strike up a conversation with a stranger and make it seem like I am the most talkative person in the world.  

I can act like an extrovert, but sometimes, my inner gremlin gets the best of me in certain situations. 

Battling my inner Gremlin

Situations like when I just started playing American Football and people thought I was a pushover. Or when I get a new client and I feel the pressure of making sure I don’t mess up because I get paid for my services. 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate myself or regret being an introvert. The gremlin in my head isn’t always the bad guy and I have slowly learned to channel my introversion to become the best version of myself when it comes to self-promotion. 

CAN INTROVERTS PROMOTE THEMSELVES EFFECTIVELY? 

So, why don’t I like talking about myself?  

Well…I just DON’T. There’s no grand design or grand why behind why.  

As an introvert, I am uncomfortable with being in the limelight and would rather listen than talk about myself. However, that doesn’t mean that I/we can’t promote ourselves or our businesses. 

In a world full of extroverted marketers, we feel like we need to live up to their standards and appear to be flashy and flamboyant. We’ve been taught that in order to promote ourselves, we need to be extroverted and talkative.  

But remember that both introverts and extroverts have their own strengths and weaknesses.  

As an introvert, I have learned to harness my natural curiosity in order to have interesting conversations with other people. Because of this, I can carry great conversations while seeming like an extrovert (when in fact, most of the time, I’m just nodding my head).  

To answer your question whether introverts can promote themselves, the answer to that is 100% YES. 

It may take a few step backs and a bit of learning from our end, but ANYONE can be a marketer. Anyone can market his/her brand and be authentic about themselves without having the need to appear extroverted. 

So how as an introvert, do you promote yourself? 

Here are some of the lessons I have learned as an introvert marketing himself in a world full of extroverts. 

USE YOUR INTROVERSION TO YOUR ADVANTAGE 

Think Like a Scientist 

You may have noticed cartoon Tega appear every now and then in my articles or my social media posts. Most of the time, cartoon Tega dresses up as a scientist, because I like to consider myself a scientist conducting experiments in business.  

Think like a scientist

This mindset means that every business, every piece of content, and every endeavor I get myself into I look at as an experiment 

Rather than focusing on success and getting results, treating things like a scientist means that I’m more inclined to satisfying my curiosity rather than achieving XYZ. I get so focused on the actual “experiment” that I tend to forget about what people are thinking about it.  

In experiments, whether you win or lose, it’s all still a win at the end. Losing means that you’ve learned valuable lessons and winning means that you know what to continue doing moving forward.  

As introverts, we like to live inside our head. So, let’s make the most out of this and think like a scientist rather than a marketer that’s so focused on impressing our audience.  

Act More, Talk Less 

I find it much easier to talk about my experiences (aka experiments) rather than about myself. And because I feel like talking about myself isn’t really something, I’m keen on, I’d rather spend my time being productive and doing the thing. This thing can vary from my experiments or spending time with myself learning something new.  

Act more, talk less

Once I’ve done something related to the thing, it becomes much easier for me to start talking about it. If you think about it, it doesn’t seem so difficult to be talking about my experiments because it isn’t necessarily about MYSELF per se. 

That way, what I share is useful to other people because I get to talk about my learnings and takeaways. This makes things far more interesting than having small talk (which most of us introverts avoid as well).  

Going back to the earlier point, channel your inner scientist, and talk about that and because you are so focused on the actual doing of the thing, you disregard what everyone else thinks(At least, that works for me).  

Don’t Focus on Making an Impression 

This tip applies for both introverts and extroverts alike. And this goes not just for self-promotion but life in general. If you are constantly worried about what other people think, you will be in this endless cycle of always trying to please everyone.  

Don’t Focus on Making an Impression 

I realize that not everybody thinks the way I think about things. We all have our own unique likes and dislikes. This is especially reflected on Social Media. The ads I am attracted to can be something utterly useless for someone else.  

So, when I reflected on this, I concluded that I cannot please everyone with my content. Some people will enjoy it, and others will not. For those that don’t care about your content?  

Don’t care that they don’t care!  

Everyone is so busy worrying about their own issues, challenges, triumphs & perceived failures rather than your stuff and when you promote yourself, you do not have to be self-conscious at all. Simply focus on your ideas and being the curious introvert that you are.  

Utilize the Power of Words 

Promoting yourself does not always have to be about creating entertaining videos or hosting impromptu livestreams to get attention.  

There are so many ways to promote ourselves and as introverts, we need time to think about what we put out there. We know there is power in choosing the right words to say, and it’s not something that we can come up with on the spot. 

Utilize the Power of Words 

This means that we are more inclined to content that allows us to sit down and reflect before saying what we want to say. 

Written content is much more attractive for most introverts because what we say is carefully curated. Thankfully, because of the internet, we introverts have a myriad of avenues to choose from in order to put our words out there. 

Personally, being “talkative” on Social Media, this website, and to my email lists is something that I have grown accustomed to. I have nurtured most of my business relationships and built my brand through these platforms because I found that I am most comfortable with them.  

Choosing which platforms work best for you will need you think like a scientist again. Each person is comfortable and uncomfortable with different things so if something doesn’t feel right to you, you can always experiment with something else.  

Focus on Helping Over Promoting 

The final tip that I want to share is that whenever I create new content or start a new business, the number one goal for me is to help other people. That’s the main reason why I started all my agencies and created a personal podcast.  

Focus on Helping Over Promoting 

Promoting myself and garnering fame was the LAST thing on my mind.  

Even this article was written with the sole purposes of helping fellow introverts out there get over their shyness or hesitations so that they too can grow their businesses and in return, help more people.  

So, if the inner gremlin in your head stops you in your tracks while composing that next social media post, tell yourself “If I’m not going to help other people, who else will?” 

INTROVERTS UNITE! 

Just because I’ve shared these tips with you doesn’t mean that I’ve mastered them all myself. As I’m slowly growing my brand and getting more clients, I still struggle at times with my introversion.  

Battling my inner gremlin

Sometimes, my inner gremlin can be my best friend or my worst enemy. But hey, that’s life and we must accept all its ups and downs. I am slowly learning to become a better marketer (or should I say, scientist), and I know that getting out of my shell will take time and experience.  

I hope that all these tips made you realize that you as an introvert also have the potential to create wonderful things and be proud to share it with the world.  

Open post
How to Start a Podcast

How to Start and Launch a Podcast to Build Your Brand

Podcasts are HOT right now. At the time of writing this, Joe Rogan has recently signed an exclusive deal with Spotify. The deal is rumoured to be worth over $100 million. I suspect there is an air of opportunity around podcasts because as a medium, they (Podcasts) are still under-utilized. 

The reason for this I am not fully aware of, but I found myself in a position where I accidentally started Podcast management Agency. If you are an entrepreneur and have a brand that you want to grow, you may have questions “how to launch and grow a podcast?”  

You may have even searched for “How to start and launch a Podcast” in good ol’ Google…

I was thinking the same thing, and I consulted Google to find an answer. To my surprise, there were very few in-depth articles that break down the process from start to finish, so I thought I should right write about my experience in starting my own podcast and helping other people both start AND manage their podcast. 

My podcast has allowed me to strengthen my credibility as a content creator. Not only that, I have also been invited to talk in other podcasts like Life Passion and Business by Paul Harvey and The Fitness Business Authority Podcast, as well give training sessions in different entrepreneur communities and groups on Facebook. 

Appearance on Life Passion & Business
Appearance on Fitness Business Authority

I was able to grow my audience, and better yet, I’m able to help more people!  

Once you see how simple and effective it is to start your own podcast, you will be saying to yourself “aha! Why did not I do this sooner?” 

Do you want to experience the same results for your brand but do not know how to get started in the first place? Read on because I am about to show you... 

ARE PODCASTS REALLY BECOMING A THING IN CONTENT MARKETING? 

Just like the rise in popularity of blogs a few years back, podcasts are slowly gaining traction across multiple industries.  

According to Buzzsprout, there are at least 600 million blogs, 23 million YouTube channels, but only 800,000 podcasts in Apple Podcasts! To put things into perspective, there are 750 blogs and 28 YouTube channels for every podcast.  

So many thought leaders are flocking to start their own podcasts because there is still so much uncharted space. 

In the US, there is a steady growth in the number of podcast listeners. According to The Infinite Dial, the number of monthly listeners grew from 32% (out of 104 million) in 2019 to 37% in 2020. 

If the big players in the industry are taking advantage of this opportunity, I suggest you should too. 

HOW CAN PODCASTS BUILD YOUR BRAND? 

If you want to grow in your profession or even promote your business, podcasts are becoming the newest trend in content marketing. 

Need a foot-in-the-door strategy to make yourself known in your industry? Start a podcast. 

Is there a celebrity in your niche that you want to do business with? Invite him or her to your podcast.  

Want to create multi-purpose content that you can post on various platforms? Record a video to post on YouTube, strip out the audio and... 

Turn it into a podcast. 

You can see where I am getting at.  

It is no surprise that podcasts continue to grow in popularity. As they continue to grow, you see people selling different courses such as “how to start your podcast in 28 days” or “how to start your podcast and grow your brand.” 

I am by no means disputing that any of these things can happen, but in my opinion, what it does is it builds a sense of false hope for people who believe in that product or service. They have this vague idea of what a podcast is, but do not have a clear idea of what exactly comprises a great podcast is and what it entails to run a podcast. 

Which is why I am writing this blog post. If you do not know where to start or how to promote podcasts, fear not. It really is not that difficult if you simply know what to do. 

Follow along as I show you step-by-step how SIMPLE it is to start a podcast and thrive during the grueling first few months of running and managing a podcast. 

There are 4 parts to this process, and I will break everything down so all you have to do is follow along... 

  • Part 1: How to Start a Podcast 
  • Part 2: Plan Your Episodes 
  • Part 3: Record and Edit 
  • Part 4: You Have Your Podcast. Now What? 

So, with the introduction out the way, let’s get into how to start a podcast. 

PART 1: GETTING STARTED 

The 4Ws 

When it comes to starting a podcast, there are several things that you need to figure out that make up the essence of your podcast.  

Do not be intimidated. I am not trying to overwhelm you here. I just want to make sure that you do not skip any of the vital details, and I will help you figure everything out. 

Apart from all the usual things you need to worry about such as equipment, software, editing style, effects, artwork, and everything else in between, there is something that most people overlook.  

And that is putting in some research and figuring out exactly what PURPOSE your podcast is going to serve.  

Before we go ahead with anything else, if your sole purpose of creating podcasts is to become rich and famous, then I am sorry to rain on your parade, but you might need to think of a more noble reason! 

However, if your purpose falls under categories such as generating more awareness for you as a professional or for your business, sharing your knowledge and skills, or simply telling a story, then you are done with the first step. 

I have been able to help a couple of people start a podcast, and there are a few questions I let them ask themselves.  

This is what I call the 4Ws, which I have taken from Zachary Babcock: 

  • What – what is your podcast going to be about? 
  • Who – who are ideal listeners? 
  • Where – where are you trying to guide them? 
  • Why – why should they listen to your podcast? 

If you take the time to figure these out before doing anything else, you set yourself up for success with your podcast. Remember to always go back to your answer on those 4Ws whenever you feel lost. 

As an example, when I started my podcast, I got a little bit lost in figuring out what I wanted to talk about.  

(Not that this is a plug for my podcast, but my podcast is called The Intent Podcast) 

Whenever I lost direction, I always got back to the WHAT of my podcast, which is having conversations with interesting people, primarily entrepreneurs. The purpose of this was to get a little bit more of a behind-the-scenes perspective of what the essence of a human is.  

Who are they outside of work? What are their interests? Hobbies? Likes? Dislikes?  

This always helped bring me back to what I wanted to share with my listeners. 

My experience shows why the 4Ws is so crucial in giving clarity and purpose to your podcast. Once you have figured out your 4Ws, you can then work on with your podcast name and theme...  

Your Podcast Name and Theme

When you think of a theme for your podcast, avoid relying solely on what is trendy or popular now. Instead, go for something that you are comfortable with, knowledgeable and passionate about.  

Your podcasts must be about a certain topic or niche, but not too narrowed-down that you will not be able to create several episodes about it. When conceptualizing your theme, try to produce around 10-15 episodes outlining what you are going to share relating to the topic to see if there is enough to talk about. 

Once you have decided what it is you want to share with your audience, it is time to conduct some market research.  

Go through different directories (or podcatchers) like Apple Podcasts or Spotify and see if there are already existing podcasts in the genre you have chosen. Have a look at their popularity and demand as well. You can also get some ideas here to give yourself a head start.  

Also ask yourself, “What can I do that these current podcast creators aren’t doing?”  

That way, you can differentiate yourself from everyone else.  

After you decide on the theme, start working on what you want to name your podcast. It must be catchy, but not too broad.  

You may need to include keywords in the title for SEO purposes but try to avoid being too wordy that it ends up being too lengthy and unattractive.  

If you have an extremely specific and unique topic, one of the most popular formats for podcast names is one or two words about your theme to be followed by a brief description to help improve search results for your podcast.  

One example that I have found is “Get sleepy (two words about your theme): Sleep meditation and stories (brief description of the podcast).” 

Do not worry if you feel like the title of your podcast does not give your readers a full grasp of what your podcast is about. This is where the podcast description comes in. Be compelling with your podcast description, especially the first sentence. If listeners find it interesting, they will read the rest of the description and most importantly, listen to your podcast.  

Remember also that some directories like Apple Podcasts are just like any other search engine -- the more relevant keywords you insert into your description, the more likely that you will rank higher in the search.  

And as much as you want to rank higher and higher by adding more keywords, be sure to not sound too forced.  

The most important thing is that you speak and connect to your listeners.  

Who is Your Audience? 

Some people who start a podcast already have an audience from their current businesses and connections. But do not fret if you are just like everyone else and do not have a current “fanbase.” 

You just need to know who you are speaking to and ask questions such as: 

  • What are their needs? Their pain points 
  • Why should they listen to your podcast? 
  • How can you address their problems? 

From a marketing standpoint, the main reason you want to identify your audience is so that you can work on how you should portray yourself and your message. This includes everything from the language you will be using to the artwork to the background music, and everything in between.  

The good news is, as per Podcast Discovery Survey, many listeners do not care whether you are popular or not to begin with! Just create great content and gain your audience from there. 

Lastly, before worrying about gaining popularity, let us work on the rest of the elements first. 

PART 2: PLAN YOUR EPISODES 

Figuring Out Your Show

What I mean when I say “figuring out the show” is what type of format do you want your podcasts to be? There is no one correct format for a specific topic or genre when it comes to podcasts. You have the freedom to host the show on your own or co-host it with one or several other people.  

You can also go for a “mixed bag” approach and have different formats depending on the mood you want to set per episode. Here are the types of formats that you can go for: 

  • Solo - hosted by you and you alone 
  • Co-Hosted - hosted by you and a co-host 
  • Roundtable - hosted by you and several other guests to talk about and discuss a specific topic 
  • Interview - this involves you interviewing an individual from a specific industry 
  • Other more scripted formats are news recap, educational, and fictional/nonfictional podcasts 

With regards to the first four formats, it is best to avoid creating verbatim scripts while conducting your show. An outline would help but relying too much on a script will make your podcast seem more of a sermon than a conversation. 

If you do decide to run a show wherein you interview guests, one good skill you should hone is knowing how to outreach to the right people.  

You can take steps as early as now to research on other podcasts in a similar niche to you and plan on how you will invite them to your show. 

Going back to the 4W’s I have mentioned earlier, defining these and figuring out your show are the vital foundations in starting your podcast. Once you have these planned out, you will know how to go about the rest of the elements of your podcast. Recording your podcasts will also be done more efficiently and effectively. 

A good friend of mine, Ryan Lee, for a little while did a podcast where he released an episode daily. It does sound a little too labor-intensive, but from how he tells it, he would record an episode every day, go to a coffee shop, pull out his phone, hook up his hands-free kit and then record. These would then get lightly edited before it’s all good to go. 

Talk about getting things done quickly! 

Now these 4W’s have played an important part there because since he understood the answer to those questions, it became much easier for him to record and edit with whatever tool was at his disposal.  

Whether it was simply recording on his iPhone and even uploading directly from there if he had no access to his desktop, he would be much more confident with the type of content he created. 

Recordings free of edit but full of valuable content: Real. Raw. Relevant. 

Now that you have the format figured out, you may now be thinking more about the nitty gritty like how long and how often you should post... 

Frequency and Length of Your Podcasts 

Here is the good news. There is no one-size-fits-all standard for how long your podcasts should be and how frequent you should post them. Some podcasts go for 5 minutes, others 20 minutes and others even at least an hour long. 

Additionally, you also do not have to pressure yourself into posting your podcasts daily or weekly if this will compromise the quality of your work.  

There are even some podcasts that are posted only once a year! The freedom is completely yours. The important thing is that you stay consistent. You yourself know what is the best length and frequency that is relevant to the theme of your podcast.  

It would not make sense to sacrifice important topics by cropping your podcast to 5 minutes, when in fact you can discuss and cover everything better in 40 minutes. On the other hand, adding unnecessary points to a podcast just to increase the duration would be futile as well.  

See where I’m getting at? 

Just remember that if you are passionate about your topic and can communicate effectively, people will be willing to listen regardless of the length of your podcast. 

So, you now have your 4W’s, you know what to talk about, you know who to talk to and you know the structure. 

What is next, Tegs? 

Now it is time to buckle up your seatbelts and get ready for the actual work. 

PART 3: RECORD AND EDIT 

Choose the Right Hardware and Software for You 

As I have mentioned earlier, the 4W’s will also help you determine the type of equipment and software you need to record and edit your podcasts.  

Remember that your content is much more important than the quality of your recordings but choosing the right equipment will improve how you relay your message to your audience.  

For your recording equipment, there are many decent quality USB microphones out there that you can simply plugin to your computer and start your recording. Some of the most recommended microphones by other podcast creators are the Samson Q2U and Audio-Technica ATR2100x

Audio-Technica Podcast Mic
Samson Q2U podcast mic

If you are co-hosting with someone else, it is best to get 2 microphones so that you have one each. 

Apart from hardware, you will need to download software as well to help with your recording and editing. These do not have to be pricey and some are free-of-charge. With just a little effort, you can learn how to edit your podcasts on your own. Some great software includes Alitu, Adobe Audition, GarageBand (for Mac), and Adobe Audition.  

Lastly, you can use applications like Skype (least quality), Zoom, and Squadcast (best quality) to record any long-distance interviews. 

Once you are happy with your recording, a few simple edits to the audio will go a long way. 

Edit Your Recording 

When you record, you do not always have to hit the pause button if you make mistakes or stutter. You can always just record everything in one go and just remove the unnecessary parts during the editing process. 

This is also where your 4W’s will come in handy once again. It will determine whether you need to do editing or not, and how much editing needs to be done. 

Just like starting any creative process, begin with the end in mind.  

To avoid staring blankly at a screen when you start to edit your recording, first think about what you want your audience to get out of this podcast episode. That way you will know which points to highlight and which are unnecessary in the original recording.  

Now how do you edit your show without getting lost in the detail?  

In my opinion, you must figure out what a minimum viable edit (MVE) for your show is. In other words, what is the least amount of effects and tinkering that you will have to do to get the show to a decent enough quality that you are happy with. 

Here are some MVE tips for you that you can apply to your podcast editing process: 

  1. Remove most "ahs", "ums", and prolonged periods of silence. They do not all need to be removed. Just clean it up a bit and use your discretion. We have always done very minimal editing on this stuff. 
  2. Add audio effects in Adobe audition. Typically, we only add these two effects: 
    1. Adaptive Noise Reduction on each track to remove any bleed between microphones or any low-decibel background noise. 
    2. Hard Limiter - Set to -3 db - on each spoken track - This levels-out the volumes a bit so that each person is the same volume. It also cuts any clipping that may occur. 
  3. Amplify the volume to make it louder and normalize the audio. 
  4. Render out the audio file: 
    1. Sample rate: 48000 hz 
    2. Bit rate: 192 kbps 
  5. Add all necessary ID3 tags to the audio file (use whatever tool you like) 
    1. Title: Name of episode + Guest name. It should look like this
      "How to Build A Movie Star Brand for Yourself - Marshall Wayne" 
    2. Author: Matt Wolfe & Joe Fier 
    3. Podcast: The Hustle & Flowchart Podcast 
    4. Album Artist: Matt Wolfe & Joe Fier 
    5. Genre: Podcast 
    6. Artwork: Use main podcast image
    7. Media Kind: Podcast 

Another tip when editing your podcasts is to be sure that there are smooth transitions between cuts if ever you crop your recording. Quick fade ins and outs help avoid any unwanted noises.  

Edit your recording one step at a time and try not to be overwhelmed by taking down notes for any noise issues or distractions you want to fix during the process. Don’t pressure yourself into making all the edits in one go. 

On a final note, if you are not comfortable with editing your podcasts on your own, you can always outsource this task to a freelancer. There are many great podcast editors out there in Fiverr and Upwork. 

When editing your podcast, you should also consider how you want to structure your show. 

Structure Your Show 

The structure of your episodes includes elements like intros, outros, and advertisements. 

If you explore other podcasts, you may notice that some of them do have intros and outros while others simply fade in and fade out. In the entrepreneurial space, these are some common types of structures from these podcasts: 

  • Laptop Empires Podcast – typical format with intro, podcast, outro

  • Joe Rogan – (this is how I have observed it on his YouTube channel) when it is scheduled to start, there is a countdown “3, 2, 1" then Joe says, “and we’re live” and that is how his show starts

  • Tim Ferris – wherein other podcasts take 15-20-minute intervals to read any ads from their sponsors, Tim inserts the ads just around 5 minutes after the intro and before the outro. That way, the listener can listen to the entire podcast uninterrupted. Format is intro, advert, podcast, advert, outro

If you are just starting out, you may not have adverts yet (unless you happen to have an audience big enough that you can sponsor your own show, then that is something that you should give serious attention to). 

There are several structures to choose from, that you may get overwhelmed in choosing which one is the right one for you. But just remind yourself that nothing is set to stone and you can always edit the styles of your podcasts whenever you believe fit. 

Another factor that determines the mood of your podcast is the background music.  

There are tons of free music out there. You can choose royalty-free music, but the only concern here is that you could end up having the same music as other podcast creators (though most listeners do not notice this anyway).  

If you do want premium music, you can always go through Audio Jungle or Audio Blocks and pay a small price to have access to lots of tracks and sound effects. 

Other Tips When Recording 

There is always a first time for everything!  

It is completely normal to feel awkward and nervous when you record your first podcast. As mentioned before, creating an outline will dramatically help the flow of your thoughts and avoid any mental blockage.  

To further improve the quality of your podcasts, you will need a conducive area to record.  

Avoid working in cramped spaces with flat surfaces, because your voice will tend to echo. It is best to record in a large room with plenty of space. If that’s not available to you, simply surround your area with materials that absorb sound like egg crates, acoustic foam, carpeting, or furniture.  

Another skill that requires practice is talking to your microphone. You will want to avoid your P’s and S’s from standing out and hurting the ears of your listeners, so try to distance yourself from the mic. Find the sweet spot so that you will know the perfect distance and angle for positioning your mic in respect to you.  

Now that you have your whole episode in place, it is time to prepare to share it with the world. 

PART 4: YOU HAVE YOUR PODCAST. NOW WHAT? 

Your Podcast Artwork

This element of your podcast is so vital because your artwork is the listener’s first impression of your podcast.  

I recommend deciding your artwork once all the previous steps have been completed. Changing the artwork midway is more costly than changing other elements of your podcast, especially if you are outsourcing this particular task.  

Choose artwork that visually represents the subject of your podcast and is attractive.  

Here are podcast artworks from some of the clients I have worked with: 

The Laptop Empires Podcast
Hustle & Flowchart Podcast

Your artwork must contain some words but not more than five, and the size of your words must be visible even to small screens. Less is always more.  

Now not to sound too technical here, but let us cover the file format that your artwork should be in:  

  1. The recommended size for your artwork should be a minimum of 1400 x 1400 pixels and a maximum of 3000 x 3000 pixels.  
  2. Your file should be saved as JPEG or PNG and in the RGB colors space. Apple Podcasts also recommends compressing your image files so that they will be optimized for mobile devices. 
  3. Speaking of mobile devices, since many people listen to podcasts on smaller gadgets, try reducing your artwork to 55 x 55 px and check if all the elements, especially the wordings, are still visible. 

If creating your own artwork seems too intimidating, you can always hire a professional for this or create the artwork yourself using tools like Canva or Photoshop. 

After working on the creative bits of your podcast, let us move into more technical territory. 

Getting Your Podcast Online 

To get your podcast online, you need to have an audio hosting solution.  

It is possible to upload your recording directly on your website, but this option has downsides to it such as the limited bandwidth and a lack of features that only audio hosts provide. Therefore, you need to choose the right podcast host for you. 

There are several solid audio hosts on the internet.  

At the time of writing this, the top 3 are LibsynBuzzsprout, and SpotifyThese websites not only host your audio files, but also have access to huge directories like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. This makes the process much simpler because most of these hosts allow you to upload your podcast to these directories directly from your dashboard. 

I recommend working with one of these to make your lives easier! 

The platform I am the most familiar with is Libsyn. To help make your life easier from my end, I have listed the process on how to setup a Libsyn account below: 

1. Go to Libsyn.com and create your account and enter all your personal information and payment details. This is what you will see after you click SIGN UP in the homepage

 Libsyn podcast host account Setup

2. You will then need to choose from any of the following plans and choose which one is right for you. If you are just starting, you can go for the Libsyn Classic 50, which is their most basic plan. This plan has everything you need to get your podcast started. Libsyn subscription options

3. When you login to your account, this is the dashboard that you will see 

Libsyn Podcast host Dashboard

4. The first thing you will want to do is setup your show settings which can be found in Settings >> Show Settings 

Podcast host Settings

5.  Fill all the necessary details in. In this section, you will need to go back to your 4W’s to help you structure the Show Description.  

6. All the details in the Recommended Information are going to make up the metadata of your podcast, which is what allows people to search for the podcast.

7. For content rating, I have marked my episodes as EXPLICIT because I did have some guests that got carried away with their language. This is just to let your listeners know that there are a few words that they may find inappropriate. 

8. Once all your show details are complete, do not forget to save all changes 

9. Tip: I tend to not mess with the other settings enclosed in the red box below, because when the episodes are being uploaded, the process that I have for my team breaks it down step-by-step. That means there is no need to set anything to be templated.  

10. From there, you will need to setup your RSS Feed which can be seen in DESTINATIONS >> EDIT OR VIEW EXISTING

 

11. Select EDIT on the Libsyn Classic Feed 

12. Then select the relevant categories for your show. 

13. Fill in all the other details for your episode and click SAVE.  

14. From there, your RSS Feed will be generated 

Once you have your Libsyn account setup, I will show you how to upload your audio files into your account: 

1. Go to CONTENT >> +ADD NEW EPISODE 

2. The first thing you then want to do is +ADD NEW MEDIA FILE 

3. Make sure you click “Populate Form with ID3 Data” and then select the proper file destination 

4. Once the file has been successfully uploaded, you will have something that looks like this 

5. Add all the necessary information about the episode 

6. In the iTunes Optimization section, which you can see when you scroll down, simply copy-paste the same data as above. However, since the description in the iTunes section has a character limit, you may need to make a few edits to your original description if it is too lengthy .

7. Once that is setup, I directly went to SCHEDULING since no changes were done to the Artwork. In scheduling, if you need to set a specific date for when your podcast will be published, go to BASIC RELEASE/EXPIRATION >> SET RELEASE DATE and update accordingly 

8. You can then click PUBLISH once everything is good to go! 

You can also manually send your podcasts to these other big directories. Each of these channels have their own steps on how to get your podcast published: 

  • Stitcher 
  • SoundCloud 
  • YouTube 
  • Google Play Store 

If the media host you have chosen does not have a way for you to upload directly to these directories, you can also choose to do it manually on your own. To do this, you need to submit your RSS Feed provided by the media host to the directory and just wait for it to be approved.  

Every time you upload a new podcast into your hosting platform, the feed is automatically updated on the directories that your podcasts are broadcasted on.  

This is not as complicated as it may seem. Here is how to submit your RSS feed to iTunes: 

1. If you do not have one yet, setup your iTunes account on https://itunespartner.apple.com/podcasts/ and login 

2. This should take you right away to this page 

3. Then you go back to your Libsyn account and copy the RSS feed to the URL section in iTunes Connect 

4. Then select VALIDATE  

5. All your podcast information will appear. Be sure to have a look and review everything 

6. Once everything looks good, click SUBMIT and you will receive this message 

Another podcatcher you can consider is Amazon Music, which I use for my podcast and some of my clients. Here is how you upload audio files to this platform (from Libsyn): 

  1. Access this page to submit your podcasts 
  2. Copy your RSS feed on Libsyn (or your host of choice) 
  3. Go back to the Amazon Music page and click next at the bottom-most part of the link 
  4. Fill in all the details including your RSS feed 
  5. Once all the details are complete, you will be able to submit your podcast to Amazon Music. It will take around 2-3 days before your podcast gets approved. 

The steps are also similar in Spotify. You just need to go to their web address and check out more of the details there. 

Submitting your podcasts to these directories are usually straightforward, so I am sure you will figure it out! 

Another thing you need to be aware of is that when you send your podcasts for approval, some directories may take time in reviewing your recordings.  

Therefore, make sure that you submit your podcast for approval at least a week before your official launch date in case you need to do a few more revisions during the process. 

Once you have your host all setup, you need to figure out how to launch your podcast with a bang. 

Launch and Promote Your Podcast 

When it comes to launching your show, the standard practice is to launch with 3 introductory episodes that cover the following: 

  1. Episode 1: Introducing Yourself, WHY you are starting the show, WHO this show is for 
  2. Episode 2 and next episodes: The WHAT of your show, what is the driving force of your show. 

It really pays to make your launch into an event. Do not worry if you do not have a current audience. Share the podcast everywhere, ask your friends to share it as well. Utilize your email list if you have one.  

If you also have your own website or blog, you can promote your podcast there.  

And speaking of websites, although it is not recommended that you create a website for your podcast in the start if you still do not have one, I recommend that you buy the domain name beforehand. That way, if your podcast blows up, you want to avoid anyone else getting that domain name from you. 

Join social media groups and pages, and search for blogs online that are relevant to your topic and ask if you can promote your podcast there. You will be sure to have many new supporters if your content adds value.  

Eventually, you can also contact these group admins and find ways to feature them on your podcast 

Once you do have listeners, encourage them to leave reviews! Testimonials are a great and straightforward way to increase the attractiveness of your podcasts. 

Generating an audience during your launch builds traction for your show and increases the chances of your show being featured in the New & Noteworthy section of Apple Podcasts. 

Growing your podcast and gaining a following can lead you to so many other opportunities for you and your business, such as earning from your podcast. 

Monetize Your Podcast 

Remember when I told you that getting rich should not be the main reason for creating podcasts?  

Well, once you have grown your audience and gained their trust, you can indeed make some money! Monetizing your podcasts is possible through several ways like affiliate marketing and promoting relevant products and services.  

Finding products or brands you can advertise can be rewarding, but difficult in the beginning since these companies will want to make sure that you have the audience. 

At the start, you can work on affiliate marketing by recommending some brands that you love and use such as the equipment that you have used for your podcast or anything related to your podcast theme.  

Sharing affiliate links are not just a great way to earn from your podcasts, but also build credibility as well since people associate you with the brand you partnered with. 

Next up, I will be sharing with you some tips to maximize your time and systemize your processes to give you a stress-free environment.  

Stay Ahead of Yourself 

To give some points on how to make the most out of your podcast, I recommend the following practices: 

  • Create a system on producing your podcast so that everything is more organized, and you don’t get too overwhelmed as your podcast grows 
  • Batch record. Depending on how many you can do in a day and how often you release your podcasts, this allows you to do a month's worth of episodes in a day or two. This frontloads the work that you must do so that when your recording is done, you can take the time to edit your podcasts. That way, you don’t have to rush around on the week of release to record, edit and launch. 

These two tips will help in streamlining your podcast process.  

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? 

In the end, remember that your podcast does not have to be perfect. Everything great must start from humble beginnings. You may be nervous on getting started and getting your name out there. You may feel lost and overwhelmed when you start the process yourself. 

Just keep reminding yourself that it’s only difficult in the beginning.  

I had my own challenges when starting my podcast, and facing hurdles is completely part of the journey. All you need to take is the first step to grow your brand. 

I hope that with this article will give you clearer vision and direction to push you forward. 

If you have made it until the end of this article and followed all the steps that I have showed you, then you are more than ready to record and upload your first podcast. 

Just believe in what you want to share with the world and continuously go back to your 4W’s I outlined in the beginning of this article. 

And that ladies and gents is how to start a podcast, step by step.


 

Scroll to top