Embracing diversity can transform your business network for positive change. When you make genuine connections and offer practical solutions, you can become a powerful influence that motivates and enables your audience to learn, develop, and achieve success. In this episode, we’re joined by Ben Albert, owner of Balbert Marketing LLC. He is also the curator of The “Real Business Connections Network,” where he hosts five podcasts. Ben shares his journey into the podcasting world and how he’s built a diverse network of shows that cater to a wide range of audiences. He discusses the importance of embracing diversity and how it can positively transform your business network. Ben also shares his tips on podcasting strategies, including multi-feed systems and playlisting. As a local entrepreneur in the Rochester region, Ben brings a unique perspective to the table regarding building genuine connections. Tune in for an inspiring conversation on the power of diversity and networking.
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How Embracing Diversity Can Transform Your Business Network For Positive Change With Ben Albert Of The Real Business Connections Network
Welcome back to the show. I have Ben Albert of the Real Business Connections Network and the host of the Real Business Connections Podcast. This is five-plus podcasts in one. I don’t know how else to explain it. It’s not a network in that network sense that he has different hosts and different shows and it’s a network running advertisements. There are no advertisements here at all. He’s running a network of show types together. That’s why I invited Ben to the show. It’s innovative, different, and a lot of fun.
There are a lot of great ideas here that might inspire you. Maybe one of his show types is perfect for you, but not all of them. There is a unique and interesting concept for us to discuss doing different types for different types of audience members and for different types of purposes and outcomes that you want to achieve. That’s why I invited Ben to the show.
The real reason that Ben caught my eye is because he is from Rochester, New York. This used to be called the Rochester Business Connections show. Rochester, New York, is where Tom and I got married. We got married in a little town outside of it called Pittsburgh, New York. My family lived there while I was away at college.
I have such fond memories of Upstate New York. It’s a small educated city with lots of universities and hospitals. Kodak and Xerox used to be there. They still technically are, but they’re not as big as they used to be in terms of employment. It has this nice intellectual metropolitan feel but with these cute little suburbs all around it. He caught my eye because of that. The more I got to know Ben, the more I thought, “This is a guy who we really want to learn from.”
Ben is the Owner of Balbert Marketing. He’s also the curator of the Real Business Connections Network where he hosts 5 podcasts in 1. He’s an underdog but is a successful entrepreneur. He is passionate about helping other underdogs achieve their dreams. He’s on a mission to move the needle on 1 million lives 1 conversation at a time. I cannot stress enough that you’re not only going to want to know Ben, but you’re going to want to go check out his show. Here are some of these things that we’re going to talk about. Let’s talk to Ben Albert of the Real Business Connections Podcast.
Ben, I’m so glad to talk to you. I’m glad to have someone from the Rochester region, which I have a warm place in my heart for, even though it’s a cold area.
I’m excited we connected. I’m looking forward to this conversation.
What I found so interesting about your show is that you dove deep into the podcasting ecosystem. You have a network. You’ve got all different types of shows in there. You’re using them and playlisting. I want to get to when that first little spark happened and you said, “This podcasting thing sounds cool to me.”
We can tell the life story, but I’ll go straight to that question. I had already hosted a music podcast for some time. COVID hit. It’s cliché, but I was furloughed. I was a sales executive doing video production all across the United States. No travel, no video, no fulfillment, no sales, and no Ben with a job. I had already podcasted in the past and saw the value there.
Ultimately, before I started podcasting, I fell into a dark place. My father was a heavy drinker and drug user. I found myself over-drinking and struggling. I’ve, on and off, had that issue a lot of my life. I took that obsession with partying, music, abusing myself, and a little bit of that ADHD and neurosis that I’ve, for some reason, built with. I took all that energy and transported all of it into starting a podcast or launching a podcast and starting my first official business during COVID.
I took my love of marketing, my love of podcasting, my curiosity, my recording technology background, and my Social Psychology background. I started a business podcast after hosting a music show for quite some time. I took Party Animal Music Ben, rebranded and redefined myself as Business Ben, and started a Rochester, New York-based business show. It happened to expand from Rochester Business Connections to Real Business Connections, which has 5.25 segments all starting from honestly being bored during the pandemic, feeling a lot of shame about the direction I was going, choosing to change a route, and using podcasting to do it.
You had an inkling that podcasting fit you because you’d already been hosting a show already. What was your favorite part about the music show?
I like to get into places for free. It’s that simple.
It’s the connections that it makes. It makes sense that you would then have Real Business Connections because you’re still trying to get in good.
The show is called Rochester Groovecast. It’s groovy music and it’s a podcast. I started it because, honestly, I felt like I was a consumer and not a producer. The entertainment industry is built on consumption. No judgment, but I was going to music 3, 4, or 5 times a week. As we’re doing this, I’m going to New Orleans. I’m going on a road trip.
I am a huge music advocate, but I wasn’t adding any value to the existing landscape of Rochester, New York music. I was a consumer but not a producer. I knew I could get into places for free if I was a publicist and journalist. That’s something I did on the side for many years before I ever started my firm. It was one tiny way to niche down on something I’m passionate about, add value, and meet great people while doing it.
This happened to me. When I first started my very first show, which was a geeky show on 3D printing that the audience has heard of that one before, I was constantly invited to events for free and getting in. I was like, “This is cool. I don’t have to pay for any trade shows or anything anymore.” I went to one in the blockchain community in LA and paid for the ticket. I walked in and saw someone there who was running the event. He happened to be somebody who had been on my show before. He was like, “Why did you pay for a ticket? I would’ve gotten you in for your press pass.” I was like, “I wasn’t covering your event so I felt weird applying for it.” He’s like, “You earned it.” He refunded me. I thought, “That’s pretty cool.” It still applies.
You’re a celebrity. That’s pretty cool. I like it.
You cover enough things. That’s exactly what you’re doing. You’re covering so many things. You have Learn Speak Teach, Rochester Business Connections, Fifteen Minute Fridays, Ben’s Bites, and Real Hits. I love that you’ve expanded into so many different segments. You’ve given away for your audience to find something that fits them that they want to consume.
Do you want me to go through all of them? The one that isn’t even on that list that’s new is the AB²C Lunch Break Live. It’s me and three of my friends. We have a panel discussion live on LinkedIn. We’re going through the ABCs of business and personal growth where I put out a poll and the audience chooses the topic. E is Energy, F is fear, and things like that. We talk on a panel. That’s the inaugural 5.25 to the list there.
The super short version of why I started Rochester Business Connections is because I was in Rochester, New York, and I wanted business connections. We can go deeper into that, but that’s Rochester and Western New York business people. That’s where I began. I kept adding things. I don’t even know why. I like doing things. I knew that my audience consumed content in different ways, and I knew that I wanted to go more national and international after I built that local following.
Skipping the order of things and getting to the description, Fifteen Minute Fridays is easy-to-implement business tips for busy people. That’s something quick and actionable that you can consume in approximately fifteen minutes. Ben’s Bites are solo episodes. It has more thought leadership monologues where I talk about whatever I want. Learn Speak Teach is my international show. It is the exact same show as Rochester Business Connections, but instead of local long-form conversations, it is international long-form conversations.
Real Hits is something I don’t see anybody doing. It’s where I re-broadcast other podcasts on my feed. I’m one human. I have great guests, but I want more voices. I want more formats. I want more personalities. I want more insights and guests. That’s a way where I can take other podcasters and maybe one of your audience if they make the cut and they want to submit. I take other podcasts for no fee. There’s no fine print. I replay it as any TV network replays re-runs. I replay re-runs of other shows so I can bring more voices to my community. It’s holistic. I know that’s a buzz term, but I try to tackle it.
I want to say right there to my audience that this is not a real re-run by my definition. I always yell at you all when you try to re-run the same episode you’ve already played before. This is not a re-run because Ben’s running it in his feed. It never ran in his feed before. It’s new to his subscriber. It’s not a re-run to his subscriber. This is perfectly acceptable. In fact, it’s much preferred. This is a great way to get cross-promotion on shows.
It’s huge. I’ll be transparent. There are two reasons I started doing it. One, I wanted more content because I wanted more coming out to my audience. That was the main reason. The side reason was I decided I wanted to guest on more shows. I wanted to connect with more podcasters. On the back end, I’d be like, “Can I replay your amazing show on my podcast?” I’d possibly do a swap and then I’d have a guest slot on their show, so I replayed them on my show and guested on their show. Our audience intermingles. We both benefit from the process.
That’s so wonderful. I’m so glad you hit on that strategy. It’s a great strategy for you, especially because you are great at bringing this connection and exposure. It fits the model of your show already. I’m coming to you because I want these business connections. You’re providing me real solutions, real people, and real outside.
This is what I think your binge factor is. It’s being this connecting point. You say this exactly in your intro. You’re like, “I’m not your guru.” You’re not coming from that guru point of view. You’re learning along with your audience, which means that you ask the questions at their level and find the resources they need next. You’re really in it with them. That’s the power of why I’m going to tune into the next episode. I want to follow the path that you do.
Thank you. I see it personally in that way. It’s a legacy piece for me. It’s now Real Business Connection.
It’s expanded. It’s bigger.
I wanted business connections. My one goal is simple. It’s to get the wisdom from the people who have it to the people who need it. Guess who’s in that need-it category? Me.Get the wisdom from the people who have it to the people who need it. Click To Tweet
That’s right. You are, too.
I don’t have all the answers. Getting the wisdom from the people who have it to the people who need it, oftentimes, it’s me, and then it’s my listener that’s oftentimes one step behind me in a category or two. We’re all learning together. That’s badass.
I always love to highlight when somebody deviates from Tracy’s rules of podcasting, which are meant to protect people from making dumb mistakes. When you’re going to break a rule and you break it for the right reasons, I also want to point that out. You do a couple of things that are rule-breaking but in great ways.
You have this show that has so many different segments. You’re recognizing that your listener may only want the Friday. “Fifteen-minute Fridays, I’m a busy person, so I want it.” You need to label the episodes in a way that makes it easy for me to find those fifteen-minute Fridays. It’s so that I can quickly scroll through and go, “I’ll listen to this one,” as I’m binging it. I normally tell people not to label at the beginning with acronyms or other things like that, but that’s important in your show. If you didn’t do it, you’re not being listener-friendly.
I didn’t do it at the start. I get it because it’s real estate. I shrink it where it is number FMF. One thing I did that maybe people don’t know about but it’s on my website and you can subscribe to the playlist is there’s a Spotify playlist of each of them. If you want to binge a specific segment without having to scroll, there’s a playlist built for each different show. A better practice would be to start an RSS feed for every single show. I haven’t made the time and capital investment to do that, but that is an option as well.
I’m going to give you a little tip if you would like. I don’t recommend creating separate feeds unless you’ve got enough value. Unless you have twenty episodes or more, it’s not worth spinning off into a feed. You’ve got plenty of episodes. It’s the perfect timing to do something like that. As you get over 100 episodes, it gets overwhelming for your audience anyway to search and sort through it. If you start that new feed and you are only to put your Fifteen Minute Fridays in that new feed, your existing listeners would miss out on it. You still want to make sure you air the episode in your regular feed and then move it to the other feed later.
At my company, Podetize, we made a multi-feed system so that you could treat your feeds like playlists. You could move episodes after the fact to one playlist or the other but you air it in the one that has all your subscribers. Otherwise, you have to work hard to get Fifteen Minute Fridays to get its own subscribers, which then they miss out on your Learn Speak Teach. When they might randomly stop and listen to one, they wouldn’t even see it if you only aired and only had subscribers.
It’s smart the way that you’ve started it, and then doing playlisting and moving out feeds. You treat them like archives so that I can go back, subscribe to your main feed, and listen to everything you have that comes out new. I’ll go back and only listen to the ones that I want and maybe subscribe to that one as well and go back and binge that. This is the time before it wouldn’t happen.
It’s smart. To give a little nuance, and this was eye-opening for me, when I was rebranding from Rochester Business Connections to Real Business Connections and bringing on all these random people that had nothing to do with Rochester, I plateaued. A lot of my business comes through the podcast. I was doing Rochester episodes. I was bringing a lot of local business.
My revenue and sales plateaued for some time because I had my niche, a Rochester, New York business podcast, and I stopped serving those people when I started to try to do other things. Maybe it’s a projection of where I wanted to go in my life. I saw it as a stepping stone into something bigger. You’re bringing up a good point that, in theory, I don’t want six different streams, but I could set up a Rochester Stream specific for my Rochesterians and have anyone across the globe go to my international stream. I lost Rochester listeners when I decided to change things up.
It gives you the ability to have some of that branding. Honestly, Apple doesn’t care. Nobody cares about the system. If you air the episode in two feeds at the same time, no one cares. You can do that and then remove it from the other one. You probably don’t want to do that because you want to have one file that’s tracking all your statistics at any given time.
It is why our way is to put it in the main feed and then shift it to the playlist feed 1 or 2 weeks later. Your subscribers get it all at once and they download it right away if they’re going to listen to it. Within two weeks, they listened. You can then move it over to the other feed. It gets it a little bit later, but it’s all branded for Rochester. It makes it easier for the local people to share that and feel like that’s the promotion they wanted.
This is the number one thing I love about podcasting. It is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a journey. I get to learn. Here’s the thing. I don’t have this huge team calibrating everything and moving levers for me. I’m in the mud like you and every listener. I am learning as I go. I have so many ideas that I’d implement if I had a team of 1,000, but I don’t. I’m grateful that we can talk about all these nuanced add-ons. That’s part of the fun, getting in the mud and doing the work and learning as we go.One thing to love about podcasting is it is a marathon, not a sprint. It's a journey. Click To Tweet
That’s my favorite part about it, too. There are so many different ways to achieve the same things, but something right for your podcast isn’t right for someone who started theirs. That’s where I say this idea of having multiple playlists would never have worked for you if you only had three episodes in it. It works more powerfully when you get 10 to 20 and you start having a real playlist.
When you create a webpage for it like you’ve done, that makes it easier for your listeners to say, “There’s real value here. I’m going to consume this.” It’s for the sharing value to happen as well from the guests that were on that. It wasn’t the time before, but this time, it is. I love that about it. At the end of the day, most of us wouldn’t have learned these things if we hadn’t fallen flat on our faces and gone, “This isn’t working. What do we do next?” and tried to figure out what’s next.
How do babies learn how to walk?
I’m a grown man-child learning how to walk. That’s all.
That’s right. We’re all learning how to walk. I love it. It’s interesting that while your shows are all different, the way you ask questions and the way that you interview people is drawing out your own curiosity. That’s very similar. Did you refine that by doing the music podcast?
No. I have no clue, to be honest. To give you a little bit of backstory, I was a quiet kid. I never thought that I’d be a podcaster, entrepreneur, or marketer. I wanted to be a basketball player, but I was the shortest kid in school and I got picked on for it. I’m the shortest boy. The only one shorter is a little girl named Olivia Lee. I wanted to be the next Michael Jordan. I got pushed around. If I were to win an award in school, it would be being invisible or making myself small and hiding. I was a professional hider. I knew how to navigate scenarios and stay out of trouble.
I then got into psychology and communication. Honestly, when I went to college for it, I did it because I was trying to figure myself out. A lot of people that get into professions like that do it because they’re trying to figure themselves out. I was built on curiosity. I was built on being an outsider and asking questions. Honestly, it was like, “Why am I different?” is where it started. It’s like, “How can I own my difference? How can I be better? How can I use this chip on my shoulder of a destructive household? The typical things we go to, how can I not be a victim and learn how to use that as a tool in my tool belt to help more people?” It led me to podcasting.
I don’t know where the questions came from. There are people like Larry King. He’s famous for asking why. He’ll ask a question like, “Why?” Chris Van Vliet, a four-time Emmy award winner who’s been on my show, used to do junket interviews or even situations where he only gets one question. When you have that one question, based on the question you ask, they’ll give you more time. He’s walking celebrities on a red carpet. He’s trying to get some good clips for the news. He has to ask the right questions.
I’ve tailored by learning from these mentors in my life. I don’t know exactly where it came from other than multiple sources leading to who I am. To get to the actual question, if you listen to the music podcast, it was really bad. Some episodes are good. I say all the time that the best part of my show is my guest. It was never me. Through doing it hundreds of times, I’ve refined that a little bit. People ask, “What should I do?” I’m like, “Go practice.”
Do it more.
Do a lot of it. The worst thing you can do is learn exactly how to do something and then not do it, and then wonder why it’s not working. It’s not working because you don’t have reps in. I got a lot of reps is the point of all that.
It’s so true. You also have concierge services in your business where you’re helping people draw their stories out and build their brands. I’m sure some of that comes from your video production background as well. You don’t say it that way, but you have a good experience doing this. You have experience drawing it out of people who maybe are reluctant or feel like they don’t belong in front of a camera or behind the mic.
It’s interesting. With specifically content repurposing, most of my clients can go on a podcast tour and we can repurpose that content into bite-sized nuggets, but they don’t even have to go on a podcast tour. We can do a private interview where it’s me and them. The world’s never going to see it. That’s how we create the content. I like working with people that have scaled businesses and know what they’re doing but they’re the best-kept secret because they never wanted to be an influencer or thought leader. They’re onto the legacy piece.
It goes back to the Larry King thing. Why? There are two categories. There’s business, and then there’s personal. There’s the why behind that. If you ask a question like, “Where are you trying to go with your revenue? Why? What does that mean for you personally?” and they give you some rational reason, you go, “How would your life change if you were to accomplish X?” It goes from rational to emotional.
They go, “I’ve always wanted to pay for my daughter’s education. This will help me get that there. I want to impact this amount of people,” or, “I’ve already done so much in business that I have more money than I can spend, but I want to help people.” That’s what you get to. It’s all tackling the business. Let’s talk about strategy and tactics. Let’s talk about the personal of what’s the point in all these strategies and tactics, and then let’s get to the emotional core of why you are doing this. I feel like a lot of things we do is because we want to feel cool. We want to feel accepted.
Also, there’s this like, “Everybody else is doing it, so I feel like I should.” Sometimes, it’s not the real core reason. That’s the pat answer.
That’s the thing. We’ve done what society’s told us to do 99 times out of 100. Sometimes, we travel through a story and try to accomplish something that was never our journey, goal, or purpose. We realize that, and then when we get that clarity, we can move forward somewhere else. I’m rambling. This is what goes on in my head. My question is, “How can I bring that out of someone?”
One of the most profound things a mentor of mine taught me was from Cal Fussman. Cal was best friends with Larry King. He’s interviewed everyone from President Gorbachev to Muhammad Ali to Oprah. He has interviewed everybody. He gave me live coaching on my show. He stopped me because I ramble and say six things at once. First, he told me, “Ask one strong question. I know you’re high in agreeableness, but when you ask one strong question and force them to pause, you’ll get a more profound answer.” What he said to an extension of that is the best questions get the person answering as curious about the answer as the person asking it.
Larry King does that. You’re right. I was on his show. It was such a joy to be on it.
Tell us about that.
It was all about blockchain and cryptocurrency. He does this thing where he goes, “Tracy,” and he throws to you and asks you your question. He sets it up in such a concise, great way that it doesn’t set you up to give him the answer he wants. That’s the interesting part about the way he asks the question. In my particular case, he was like, “We’re hearing all this stuff about cryptocurrency. Is the banking system going to shift? Why?” It’s that more direct question. It doesn’t set you up to say, “Whatever you think is the right answer.” It doesn’t set you up for that. That’s what your coach was saying. He was saying you ask a question in a concise way so that you get them to think about the way they want to give you an answer, not the answer you want to hear.
There’s introspection. We need to flip this. I need to interview you. I’m talking Larry’s best friend mentored me on this and you’re like, “I was on Larry’s show.” I’m like, “My God.”
It was a brief, big highlight of my career.
It was right before the pandemic. It was February 2019. He passed away in 2021. It was the absolute highlight to be interviewed by somebody else because I so rarely get interviewed by other people that are famous. I do podcast swaps all the time, but usually, that’s a different situation. I use it as a teaching point. There are different places where we learn different ways in which we could ask questions.
Studying masters like Larry King is important. Howard Stern is a master at asking questions. Getting people to answer from a deep personal place is an amazing skill. He wasn’t so great at it in the beginning, but he learned. We all have to learn. I love this idea of you having a network. Is the future plan to maybe not be the only host on the network?
I have a million ideas. The short version to answer that question and not tell you 5,000 ideas is I started a business. I called it Balbert Marketing because my name’s Ben Albert and I needed to put something on the paper to get my LLC. That’s what I came up with. In short, the vision is bigger than myself. Real Business Connections, SEO optimization, and the ability to type it in aside is a better brand name than Balbert. What’s a Balbert?
Real Business Connections can and will be bigger than me. I don’t know what the future holds. The vision’s bigger than me. That could be more hosts. That could be live trainings. That could be a whole network, like a production agency. That can be LinkedIn training because that’s honestly where the term Connections came from. Ben Albert wanted more LinkedIn connections, so I put Connections in the title. Let’s be honest. It’s going to be bigger than me but I’m not quite sure what it’s going to look like.
You’re not that early into it in terms of the podcasting space because you’re well over 200 episodes. That’s a pretty good track record. You’re still early on in creating a network because you want to have much bigger than that. Some of the things that you’re doing are really interesting. I want to touch on them and get some tips from you. You have a production background in the video area. Tell us a little bit about what makes better video production. What do you think are some of the best tips that you can give us on that side of the use of video for podcasting?
On the production end, my biggest tip is to hire a genius. You can do it yourself, but you’re not going to do as good of a job as a genius. My specific background was as a consultant for a firm that did video production, but I can’t even hold a camera straight, so that isn’t my sweet spot.
That’s not your strength. I got it.
I do some editing. I’m dangerous, but I hire someone to save time and do a better job than me. When it comes to the content in the production, I’m all about leading with values. I used to say them when I was talking, and it’s embedded. Growth, connection, wisdom, fulfillment, and fun are deep integral values in my life. I can tell 100 stories based on any individual one of those values because I’ve thought about it so much.
If you can lead with values, tell a story based on that value. If you can give valuable insight and/or call-to-action based on what they learned so they can integrate that into their life, you’ve done your job. If there’s a way to hold them accountable so that they take the information and use it, they’ll become a better person.
Brené Brown has a list. Atomic Habits has a list. Google search List of Values, circle anything that stands out to you, any of them, and then start to cross out half of them because we want to get to 3 or 5. From ages 8 to 13, that’s where the neuroplasticity of the brain grows the most. We develop who we are way more than at any time in our life from 8 to 13. What values were significant in my life? What mentor stories, sad boohoo stories, or antagonist stories do I have?
Usually, the values come from 1 of 2 places. It is someone who embodies that value to the core show you what kindness is and someone who shows you what the lack of that value is, an antagonist story. You then build from a place of lack or a chip on your shoulder. You want to be the superhero that ultimately lives life in abundance. You can help people obtain more of that value because you know what it feels like to not have it. Those stories are more compelling, in my opinion.
They leave an impression.
When you have 3 to 5 maximum and you can write down and think about the stories that embody those values, tell those stories with insight. Don’t tell a story that is incomplete because the masterpiece isn’t done yet. Once you have closure, you can tell that story with confidence and gratitude. Give someone an action step so they don’t have to make that mistake and they can go and change their life. That’s more about how to create the content. For producing the content, there are a lot of YouTube tutorials, but I’m not afraid to outsource that to someone better than me because you want that to shine.Don't tell a story that is incomplete because the masterpiece isn't done yet. Click To Tweet
In your particular case, how’s LinkedIn Live working for you? This is my thing. If you don’t have the budget, then go for the live. People are forgiving in the live. I’m willing to give you more grace in a live situation because I’ve been there. It’s a little frightening when tech goes wrong or something happens than if you expect it to be highly produced.
Even though 97% of stats are made up on the spot like that one, 2% to 5% of people re-watch a LinkedIn Live. No one watches the replay. Oftentimes, if you don’t have a large audience, LinkedIn Live is as much you gaining practice as it is reaching a large following. I tell that all the time.
It’s also accountability. That’s the other reason I recommended it to my clients. If I make an appointment for something and I create an event on LinkedIn, I’m going to show up even if there are only three people there listening to me. I would feel bad if I didn’t follow through.
I can post, “I’m starting this podcast. We’re going to do a twenty-episode launch.” I get six in and I get burnt out. The social media buzz is killed, and then I drop out. If you set up a LinkedIn Live, you’re forcing yourself to be accountable. I love that. For people that don’t have a podcast yet or are thinking about closing their show and guesting, get on lives. You don’t have to buy a bunch of equipment, put together cover art and all these things, and figure out what an RSS feed is. Granted, we have people right in front of us that can help you. Get on a live and see if you even want to do this podcast and stuff before you dive so deep into it.
Do you want to do it?
If you do want to do it, Tracy’s the best person on earth to help you. Get your feet wet. There’s no better way to get your feet wet. Even in our lives, we choose a topic and we don’t prep. We talk from the heart. It’s completely off the cuff. It’s low-stress.
Since you’ve done all these different style shows from your original music show, what’s your favorite return on investment? I’m going to say that way as a personal return on investment. What is your personal takeaway that makes you say, “I’m not quitting podcasting?”
There is a day, and I still do it, when I would fall asleep to podcasts. That’s still the case. I was a traveling sales rep and I would put on podcasts. It was 2015 when I first started getting obsessed. I would drive 12 hours a week and listen to 12 hours of podcasts per week as I was traveling store-to-store. Those same people that I used to listen to for hours a week have been on my show. They charge $5,000, $10,000, or $50,000 for a keynote and I get one-to-one interaction with them and mentorship for free under the guide that I will promote the crap out of it and I have an audience to make it worth their time. That blows my mind.
The episode isn’t out as we’re talking, but I had Jordan Harbinger on my show. Jordan Harbinger’s one of the biggest podcasters of all time. I’ve been listening to him since 2014 and 2015. What’s crazy is I was listening to Jordan Harbinger’s show and he had Sarah and Nippy Ames on. They have a podcast called A Little Bit Culty. They were in a cult that was right down the street from my hometown, which blows my mind.
They had an HBO series called The Vow. It was about the NXIVM Cult. They were whistleblowers. They got out. They have one of the biggest cult podcasts in the world. I sent Sarah a DM and name-dropped Jordan because he’s been on the show. She agreed to have them come on my show. I don’t even care if I’m losing money on the podcast. It allows my dreams to become reality because I get to meet the people that I once idolized, and now they’re friends and peers. That’s super cool as far as I’m concerned.
It’s my favorite part about it, too. I figured with Connections in the title of your show, that was the important part. I’m so glad to hear you articulate it like that. This is the part that I don’t understand why you wouldn’t give it a try. Don’t set up a show, you’re exactly right on that. Try a little guesting. Try a little LinkedIn Live. Make sure that this is something of interest to you. Why not try this?
If I could, every single week, speak to 30 people and that’s all I had as the audience on my show but I could speak to 30 people, why wouldn’t I do that? Why would I do my business sitting behind this camera and not talking to anyone? If I can go connect to one person that I wanted to learn from and I wanted to know, why wouldn’t I do that? This is why Ben is on my show. I wanted to hear what he was doing and what he is working on. My favorite part of the show is getting to know you, how you’re working, what you’re doing, what you’re thinking about, and where your challenges are. That’s my last question for you. What’s your biggest challenge with podcasting that you’re looking for something to overcome?
I got to think about this one. There are lots of challenges. I find that challenges are blessings in disguise. They’re gifts. They’re wrapped a little bit differently. When COVID hit, I launched a podcast and a business. I ended up working double-time. I was making less money for the first year. I ended up replacing my sales executive income in a year, which is pretty badass.
I was working a ton of hours. We talked about it. I was like, “Do I have multiple feeds? How do I label the show?” I was booking the guests, bringing them on, and creating content for the show and follow-up materials. I was blogging. I was like, “Do I automate?” I’m a very human-to-human person. If I automate, is it going to be Ben or is it going to ruin my flow?
Day-to-day, I deal with this kind of stuff. It’s a time challenge. It takes time for me to get the wisdom I need to do it right the next time. There are lots of little challenges. Almost always, they’re process-oriented because I don’t have the perfect guidebook yet. I’m creating it as I go. Those challenges are blessings in disguise because it makes me better at what I do. Realistically, if I was smarter, I would hire someone like Tracy to give me the guidebook, but I’m stubborn and I haven’t done that yet.
You don’t need to. That’s the best part. You don’t need to because all my advice is free on the show.
That’s why I like podcasting. You can listen to Harvard-level keynotes for free and never run out of material. All you need is a podcast player.
I am so grateful that you have come to my show. I’m so grateful that you’ve put out the Real Business Connections Network and have built all these different style shows for all of us to check out. I so appreciate you.
Thanks for the opportunity. This was a lot of fun. I knew it was going to be, but you over-delivered in funness. Thank you.
It’s so inspiring for someone to be straightforward and honest about the idea of, “I’m a podcast host, but I’m not the expert. I’m not the guru.” That’s so valuable to have that perspective. When we live in this place of curiosity and set it up as our mission, our modus operandi, or our operating mode, then we’re going to get where we want to go. That’s what Ben’s doing here. He’s got the best interest of his listeners in place. He’s curious. He wants to learn himself. He’s growing himself along the way. He’s inspiring listeners who have that same kind of mission and model.
It may be a slow burn and a slow growth to your platform, but as Ben talked about, he plateaued at times. This happens to everyone. You make some shifts and it plateaus. These things happen to all of us. It can be that you have to do a shakeup. Try fifteen-minute Fridays and see what happens. If it works, dive deep and do more of it.
If doing something ultra-local works, and then moving out of it doesn’t work as well and that’s what causes your plateau, which is what happened to Ben, you can go ahead and dive back into finding a way to playlist that. Create a landing site that’s for the Rochester community, in his particular case. It is being able to understand what you’re doing, making experiments along the way, and learning from those experiments but also making sure that they’re not anecdotal.
Ben put the time in here. He’s got well over 200 episodes. He’s five days a week. It means that he is 5 episodes a week, or 5.25 as he pointed out. He does six episodes a week, really. He’s diving deep into getting good fast. This is how we learn. When we crash course ourselves into something, we learn quickly what works and what doesn’t work. We can make judgments faster. Otherwise, we have to wait a long time. That’s exactly the key to success here that I see from Ben that I want you to learn from. It’s what I learned.
When Tom and I did our 3D Print Podcast, we did it five days a week in the beginning. We did different styles of episodes. We didn’t name them something different, but we let everybody know, “It’s Back to Business Monday.” They knew what our topics were, so they got used to tuning in to the day of the week that we were airing. For us, doing it quickly taught us some valuable lessons about what we could take forward and what we would move to. That’s what Ben’s got under his belt here.
It’s a significant advantage that he has over another podcaster. Since he’s got that bulk of information and he’s got good data to run from that, he doesn’t have to wait a year to get an analysis on his show that is valuable enough. He did it in the first 50 episodes, which he did in the first 10 weeks. He got his information quicker. That’s not for all of you. That may be a little intense and a little crazy to some of you. There are many of you out there anxious to get results or anxious to get an outcome and understand what it is. If that’s you, you’re going to have to put in the work. There’s no way to sugarcoat that.
I got chastised by one of my investors. He was pointing out a video from Gary Vee on social media. Gary Vee was saying, “You should come out there and you should do ten episodes. Start a podcast, do ten episodes, and see how it is.” I was like, “Don’t waste your time. If you’re not going to give it a year, don’t waste your time going into it and trying it.” However, when I say that to people, it turns a lot of people off.
My answer is if you’re going to only want to do ten episodes, then go guest. Go run a limited series. Go do something different because it’s not worth the time and energy to do the whole podcast startup syndication, like create your cover art and do all of that. It’s not worth the return on investment. You won’t get it in ten episodes. However, a limited series, a playlist, guesting, those things can be achievable. That’s what I prefer you to try. I wanted to be clear on my reasoning behind it.
The people who are out there going, “Dip your toe in the water and see how it is,” have no idea what it feels like when it gets up to your eyeballs. That’s what happens. We drown quickly. We quit quickly. We didn’t give it a chance because we had expectations that this was easier and simpler than it is. I don’t like to go in there with those false expectations. At the same time, maybe there are some people who should have dipped their toe in or should have dove in and would’ve loved it because I didn’t encourage them. I’m going to leave that to the Gary Vees of the world. I’m going to take podcasters who are like Ben that want to dive in, want to get good fast, want to figure out what’s next, want to pivot, want to grow their show, and see the value of podcasting already.
This show is for serious podcasters. I get that. That’s who I talk to. That’s who you are. That’s why you’re reading. You’re serious about your show and you want to take it to the next level or you’re serious about starting a show the right way. Knowing that means that we can dive in and be deep about this.
Sometimes, like Ben, you don’t always know. Who are your listeners? Do they only have fifteen minutes and they need a fast start? Listeners have different needs at different stages. Some of you only have fifteen minutes and you wish, “I know you talk fast, but could you talk even faster so I can consume this in a fast way?” There’s always something that your audience might need that you might want to test out and try.
Go check out Ben Albert’s Real Business Connections Network and get 6 shows in 1 to be able to test out and check out. I know you’re going to enjoy it. Ben was such a great guest. I can’t wait to have him back when I see what he does in the future. He has inspired me. I got to get back to Rochester at some point. Maybe Tom and I should go for an anniversary at some point and check out how Pittsburgh’s doing. We got married in the middle of January, so it’s probably going to be pretty cold. Maybe we’ll hold out on that and try a summer trip instead.
Thank you all for reading. I appreciate you reading. I appreciate it when you suggest guests to me. If you are a podcast host and you haven’t reached out to me to say, “I should be on the show,” do it. Take a lesson from Ben who reached out to me on LinkedIn. He made it super simple. I couldn’t help but have him on my show because he intrigued me. Try for yourself. I would love to have you right here on the show.
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