Successful people never get there overnight. Nick's story is no different
Nick Loper is a regular guy, if you’ve ever met him, you know just how true that is. He’s humble, unassuming, and doesn’t immediately strike you as the Dynamo that he really is.
What’s his secret? I’m not sure what he’d say, but I believe it’s this: He’s smart, ambitious, and he knows how to work hard. That’s a combination that makes for great potential.
This episode tells Nick’s story – of side hustling his way through college, trying out things to see what worked, following some very good advice his college room mate gave him, and then pivoting to start this thing called a podcast.
For him, podcasting worked out – tremendously. In just 3 years he replaced the salary he was earning from his corporate job after graduating. And he’s learned a LOT about creating a successful podcast along the way.
This episode is the first of many “storytelling” episodes to come – where I feature podcasters who have experienced tremendous success that is directly tied to their podcasting efforts. I couldn’t think of anyone better to start with than Nick. I hope you enjoy hearing how hard work and persistence paid off for him.
Get in touch with Nick
Founder of The Side Hustle Show
And download Nick’s “BEAST” of a guide to side hustle income here.
Things Nick shared on this episode
- What happens when you step through doorways of opportunity
- Learning eCommerce stuff from a marketing internship
- Pivoting into podcasting: learning stuff the hard way
- How Nick build his initial audience, how he grows it now
- Sponsorships: How they really work and how to structure the deal
- How to know when you should quit podcasting and when to keep going
- How to make the most of The Listener Pyramid
Subscribe to Podcastification In Your Favorite App or Directory
Nick stumbled his way through the launch of his podcast
I’m going to leave it to you to listen to the episode to hear the back story of Nick’s online education. Let’s just say he was smart enough to walk through the doors of opportunity that opened to him and learned all he could while he was there.
When Nick decided to do a podcast, he says it was something he was interested in and believed there would be an audience for. He’d already done his own side hustle by developing a shoe comparison website that produced affiliate income and he knew there had to lots more opportunities like that to make money online.
He didn’t necessarily want to teach people to do do exactly what he did or to teach them how to follow in his footsteps, but he did want to showcase the wide variety of opportunities that were out there. In his words, he wanted his podcast to say.
Look, there are real ways to make extra money and regular people are doing it
So he decided to interview people who were working on the side to generate additional income for themselves. And he was hooked – that’s because as Nick says, the interview is the gateway drug into podcasting. or like the introduction of how to formulate that content.
I love the way Nick described the interview format, “The gateway drug into podcasting.” I get what he’s saying. Interviews are a simple, albeit not necessarily easy way to begin putting out content. You don’t have to be the expert, you don’t have to have something important to say. You just have to be curious and eager to learn yourself. That’s where The Side Hustle Show really began.
So who were Nick’s first guests?
- Somebody who ran a virtual assistant company
- Someone who started a marketing agency
- A service that taught people how to do a cool wedding dance for their wedding.
- And yet another who was an app developer
He tried to stay away from the “I’ll make money online by teaching people how to make money online” approach. That’s because he wanted to demonstrate REAL opportunities that added value to his listeners.
And what were the hurdles he faced getting started? (you’re not the only one)
Like all podcasters who are figuring out how to publish a show on their own, Nick had a handful of technical challenges at the beginning – like figuring out how a podcast worked, how to edit audio using Audacity.
And he made common mistakes as well:
- He exported the first seven or 10 episodes in stereo (So the very few people who were listening could only hear half the conversation if they were rolling down the freeway with one earbud in.)
- He thought iTunes would host his audio files (people STILL believe this). He had no idea you needed your own separate media hosting account – and it was $15 a month.
Here’s what Nick said about that realization…
Had it been $25 or $30, the show probably wouldn’t exist, because I’m like, “Okay, what am I committing myself to? How long am I going to do this? But it’s like “15 bucks? Okay, I can swing that. Let’s make this happen.”
Good on you, Nick! You overcame the obstacles, and got the show rolling. Every podcaster faces that very real hurdle at some point.
So just like Nick, figure it out and stick it out. You’ll be glad you did.
Nick stumbled his way through the launch of his podcast
All podcasters are interested in spreading their shows to others who might find it helpful.
But we don’t all get how that happens. While you MAY get some response from plastering social media with everything from desperate appeals to Audiograms, that’s typically going to be a very small return on the investment of time and energy you put into it.
So what DO you do?
Nick’s advice is sterling – and based on the facts, not guesses.
“Podcasts spread by word of mouth… so you try to create someting thats TOO GOOD NOT TO SHARE. That’s the aim. Create helpful content people feel COMPELLED to share.”
That sounds all Cal Newport and everything, but there’s a difficult little pill to swallow tucked inside. What is it?
It is very, very hard work to produce something that good, that helpful, that compelling. But Nick did it.
In his case, it wasn’t hard to get it recorded – he chose to invite others to be his guest and share what they did to build their own side-hustle.
The hard part for Nick came in the…
– Refinement of his interviewing skills
– Building of his brand
Nick says that he was working on The Side Hustle Show for 3 years before his audience growth began to pick up to the levels he was shooting for. But it’s that long, hard, diligent work that paid off.
Once his numbers increased, they began to snowball. From 3000 listeners, to 6000 listeners, to even more.
Don’t miss this. Don’t sell yourself a bill of goods.
If you are going to do what Nick has done, there is NO EASY WAY. As Nick says,
“You’ve gotta’ put in the reps. And at first, nobody’s listening anyway.”
Nick stumbled his way through the launch of his podcast
Nick has a great way of thinking about the process of getting people to be supporters of your show.
It’s important stuff for every podcaster but especially those who are eager to:
- Build a community
- Use Patreon for donations or funding
- Sell products or services
- Do coaching
- Serve as a consultant
- Get traction toward a speaking career
Your AUDIENCE is the thing that will make all of those things happen. It’s the reality of Kevin Kelly’s “1000 true fans” maxim (read about that here).
But not if you don’t do something to get them more engaged with you, your brand, and your show.
Here’s how Nick describes it:
The Listener Pyramid
STEP ONE: Strangers
Do you see the little stick figure person on the right? That represents a person who could be interested in what you have to say. They may or may not become a follower of your show. This person has possibly heard of you, but probably not. You want to change that fact…
- Find out where they hang out – and hang out there too
- Provide consistent value on social and in person (people talk)
- Continue producing great content, both on your podcast and in other mediums
When you do these things effectively, you get on the radar of the stranger – and they take the next jump up the pyramid.
STEP TWO: Listeners
Once that stranger has moved to the second level, they are now a listener. They’ve heard your show. Maybe even a couple of episodes. And they like what they are hearing.
There are so many people who stay at this level – and it’s the podcast creator’s responsibility to move them up the pyramid.
STEP THREE: Subscribers
Once people have listened to your show long enough, the hope is that they become subscribers. This is where you are really able to engage with them because they are going to be receiving your episodes automatically every time you release a new one.
Make them good. Make them helpful. Make them relevant.
Always keep that subscriber in mind. You want to meet their needs, right where they are.
But that’s not the last step – you want to turn them onto the next and top level of that pyramid…
STEP FOUR: Fans
Once a person is at this level you are golden. They are committed to you, your brand, and become an advocate for the things you are doing. THESE are the people Kevin Kelly is talking about in the previous link.
Nick describes this process in this way…
There’s a bunch of shows that I listen to, but don’t necessarily subscribe to. But maybe they offered a content upgrade on the show and I opted in for it at one time. But somehow I got on their email list. Tim Ferriss is an example of this. I don’t listen to every one of his shows, but somehow I’m on Tim’s email list. And occasionally he’ll send me an email promoting his next episode and the subject line of the email, the hook of that email gets me listening to his show again. So he’s ascending me on that pyramid. Every minute, every hour I spend with Tim in my earbuds, I’m becoming more and more of a Tim fan.
And so I think about that as a different touch point to turn that listener into subscriber, then into a fan. And turning subscribers into fans is probably going to happen when you’ve really helped somebody. They’re taking action based on what you or your guest said and they’re seeing some results from that, so they become a fan of what you’re doing. If you can get people to that milestone, you’re probably going to have a fan. That’s where the magic happens in terms of them sharing about your show as well.
I think this pyramid is a great way to look at it.
Each step is clear, it makes sense, and there are very practical things you can do at each one.
Transcript of the Episode
As children, we all dream of big things – being the superhero, being the one to make a difference in a big way. That’s probably why so many superhero movies are popular today. There’s still something inside us, something we’re born with, it drives us to be and do more.
But few of us have clarity from the beginning as to how exactly that’s going to happen. “What is it that I will do? How will I change the world?”
In my experience more of a stumble on it by what seems like accident, than receive it in a flash of revelation – and it’s that process, that journey of hustle and sweat, and hard work that bring clarity as we go along. That brings us to podcasting.
It’s a pretty safe bet to say that everyone who’s starting the podcast, hopes it will turn into something big, something that both makes their mark on the world and helps other people in life-changing ways. For those who take it seriously, the ones who dedicate themselves to learning what it takes and then implementing what they learn with patient persistence, it all pays off. For some, it pays off in ways bigger than they could have imagined.
Oh my gosh, it’s been a completely life changing little experiment. Like I said, it started as this is little side project, something I was going to do. Within a year and a half, it was really my main focus. You know, been doing it for 14 months. 60 something episodes, went from 1000 subscribers to 3000 on the email list within three months. Within six months, it was 6000, so it’s a big turning point little over a year into it. Last year sponsorships pretty much matched my old corporate salary, which was really, really cool to do – but that wasn’t the picture in the early days. It’s incredible the reach from a $50 mic in your living room. It’s an amazing, amazing broadcast medium, it’s really been life changing for me.
That’s Nick Loper. The guy behind the incredible success of “The Side Hustle Show.” He’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about. A guy who learned as he went along, applied what he learned to the next logical thing, and it’s become a resource and a friend, not to mention a life changing inspiration, to many as a result.
The biggest benefit of doing the show like the biggest unexpected benefit, I don’t know why I say unexpected because like, you know, you see the dots on the chart and you realize those are people, and if you want to build an audience, like you need people to tune in. What’s been the most rewarding thing is being able to meet those people everywhere we travel domestically, internationally, we have friends like all over the world.
Nick Loper is a regular guy, if you’ve ever met him, you know just how true that is. He’s humble, unassuming, and doesn’t immediately strike you as the Dynamo that he really is. What’s the secret? I’m not sure what he’d say, but I believe it’s this: He’s smart, ambitious, and he knows how to work hard. That’s a combination that makes for great potential.
The people who I was following online, were doing some interesting things with establishing their own personal brands and that path kind of appealed to me, because at that point, like I had the shoe business, it was reasonably successful, but – I don’t know – like it sounds selfish to be like “I wanted, you know, I wanted more.”
Did he say a shoe business?
(audio rewind) Like I had the shoe business and it was reasonably successful.
Yep. That’s what he said. So how in the world did Nick start out with a shoe business? And how did he wind up where he is now? It’s an example of what I described at the beginning, being smart enough to step through the doors that present themselves and learning all you can while you’re there. That’s the attitude that has served Nick amazingly well. And it opens the door to everything we now know, as the Side Hustle Nation.
This was a totally lucky series of events. So my roommate in college, I owe a lot to this guy because he was he was the first guy who introduced me to “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,”
“Rich Dad, Poor Dad” as a book written by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lecter.
He’s like, “Hey, check out this book, I read it over the summer, I think you really like it,” which influenced me on the idea of buying or building assets instead of stuff. You know, investing for cash flow – really influential. He also pointed me to this little classified ad in a are a student newspaper, who was like, “Hey, these guys are looking for a marketing intern, why don’t you go apply?” I was like, “All right, I’ll go check it out.”
That company was a brick and mortar shoe store in Seattle where we grew up. And in the early days of the internet, they had this wild and crazy idea to put some of their inventory online. And by the time I came on board, the online portion of their business was growing way, way faster. And so that was an opportunity to work directly for the marketing manager on SEO, on pay per click advertising, on their affiliate program.
SEO, pay per click, and affiliate programs are all internet search and marketing terms. If you don’t know what they are, there is a great resource called “Google.” You should try it,
…you know, all this ecommerce stuff – and that was really my first exposure to it. They were paying me to come in a few days a week can be their marketing intern, but it was really, you know, hands on experience that was really, really cool.
Nick calls it a lucky series of events. Some would call it Providence. Whatever you want to call it. None of it would have happened if Nick hadn’t checked out the opportunity. It did you hear what he learned while he was there? Marketing, SEO, pay per click advertising, affiliate programs, ecommerce stuff. It was the hands on experience that set Nick up for his next opportunity. His first side hustle.
So after the internship ended, I started out, “Well, I already know how to do this stuff. I already know the footwear market a little bit, let’s see if I can be an affiliate of theirs and some other companies.” So I started out with direct link text ads on Google, which I don’t know if it’s still a thing, but back in the day, you can bid on specific – In my case, specific models of shoes, like the Nike Model X, Y, Z, or the New Balance Model X, Y, Z. New Balance was really good for it because they have like really specific model names like model number model name, I bid on those really, really long tail keywords.
A long tail keyword is a longer specific phrases of text used to search for things on the internet
And then put your affiliate link in the destination URL, “Look, I’ve done the research, here’s where you can find the best price.” And that was able to start really, really affordably. I didn’t have to build a website, it costs $5 at the time to start an AdWords account, which I think now it’s free – and you can set a budget, and I was still in college. So my budget was like $1 a day like, ” don’t know if this is going to, you know, blow up like I just want to like test the waters here.”
Notice something incredibly important here. Nick didn’t allow obstacles and difficulty to stand in his way. He started with what he had available. I mean, come on, he was a college student at the time. How much more of a cash poor situation could have been in? But he didn’t let it deter him. He did what he could to the tune of $1 per day.
I was able to validate the business that way. And then after graduation, after getting a corporate job, like that was still running, it became really tedious to constantly be checking prices and stuff would go out of stock, and you’d be advertising for something that was no longer competitive. So my theory was if I could build a database that would bring all these different retailer’s catalogs into one place and spit back out the best price, that would be less maintenance.
And that didn’t necessarily turn out to be true, because there’s still a lot of inventory turnover, you know, in this very seasonal product. But that’s what ended up having built. I remember I contracted a guy on Guru.com. It’s like a precursor to eLance and UpWork and all these freelancing sites. I got a few bids back, but one of the guys was half an hour away from me. I was living in Northern Virginia at the time. So I went over to his apartment and we were hashing out this deal. I think he kept me a discount once he realized it was just like one 23, 24 year old dude. He was like, “Okay, it’s just you? This isn’t a big company? Okay.”
So we had that thing built and from there, it was just a hustle. It was three years of nights and weekends to try and build it up to where I felt comfortable quitting that job.
Three years of nights and weekends. Did you catch that? Building something successful online, takes endurance, and lots of it. You have to be committed to doing what it takes to build whatever it is you’re building. Nick modified, iterated, changed his approach, and kept at it until it started to pay off. At the time, that meant being able to quit his full time job. And he hadn’t even gotten to the point of starting a podcast yet.
I thought, you know, trying to figure out how to enter this market, how to help more people, you know, not necessarily do what I did or follow in my footsteps, but just like showcase – “Look, there are real ways to make extra money and regular people are doing i,.” And you know, maybe the interview format was the gateway drug or like the introduction of how to formulate that content.
I love the way Nick just described the interview format, “The gateway drug into podcasting.” I get what he’s saying. Interviews are a simple, albeit not necessarily easy way to begin putting out content. You don’t have to be the expert, you don’t have to have something important to say. You just have to be curious and eager to learn yourself. That’s where The Side Hustle Show really began.
Yeah, my first few guests were you know, somebody had a virtual assistant company, kind of like a marketing agency that he was running. Somebody was hosting, “I’ll teach you how to do a cool wedding dance for your wedding.” Start an online magazine was one of them. Somebody was an app developer. You know, everybody was kind of completely outside of the traditional, “I’ll make money online space by teaching people how to make money online.”
Nick embodies one of my favorite three word phrases: FIGURE IT OUT. That’s what every good side hustler does. They get started on the path they believe is going to take them to their goal and they figure things out along the way.
At the very beginning there were some technical challenges, like just figuring out how a podcast worked, how to edit audio, although, I mean, that’s learn-able, you know, free software – Audacity. But I made the mistake of like exporting the first seven or 10 episodes in stereo. So the very few people that I could find to listen to me were like, “We could only hear half the conversation,” if they’re like rolling down the freeway with one earbud in. So stupid mistakes like that. Even just hosting the files. Like, I thought iTunes would host the file. I had no idea you needed your own separate media hos and it was 15 bucks a month Had it been $25 or $30, the show probably wouldn’t exist, because I’m like, “Okay, what am I committing myself to? How long am I going to do this? But it’s like “15 bucks? Okay, I can swing that. Let’s make this happen.”
Good on you, Nick! You overcame the obstacles, and got the show rolling. Every podcaster faces that very real hurdle at some point. And that’s not the most important challenge…
The other big challenges are kind of the awareness challenge and the production challenge. So the awareness challenge is that people don’t know your show exists. So I started, I had an email list of 11 people, which is entirely friends and family at that point. What I did to launch the show was like, literally go through my Gmail contacts history, open up a new compose window, and type a letter, like “A” and then like, “AA” – and just go through the alphabet. LIke, oh, I haven’t emailed Aaron in a while, right? “Hey Aaron, what’s going on, man? Hope everything’s going good with you. Just want to let you know, I’ve started this new project I’m kind of excited about. It’s a weekly podcast about making extra money. “And of course, now I’ve had five years to refine what I actually wrote, so it was probably way more awkward than that. But it was like, “Here’s the link to check it out.” I think I even put, like, “You even have to listen to it. Every download counts. And that’s how, you know, I just went through like A through Z. I probably email the hundred people to try and get that initial boost.
Don’t you just love the naive, ignorant, but bold way, Nick, what about things? Can you imagine emailing every single person you have in your Gmail contact list one at a time? That’s the kind of hustle it takes to make things happen. But at some point, it takes a bit more than hustle. It takes the combination of savvy and great content
And really podcasts spread word of mouth, like how do you discover new shows? Your friend tells you about it. So it’s like creating something that’s too good not to share. And that’s really the aim – Create helpful content that people feel compelled to share with somebody because to reference Pat Flynn…
Pat Flynn is a blogger and podcaster best known for his podcast “Smart Passive Income.”
It was an episode of his show. I want to say it was like on flipping Amazon products like – buy stuff at Walmart and sell it on Amazon. So immediately I get home from dog walk and I send it to five people who are, you know, my friends who are the super thrift shoppers, like they’re always hunting for deals. It’s like, “Oh my gosh, you guys have to listen to this, this will make you money!” That’s what I aim to create with the show. And not to say that I hit that every time out there but like, you know, it was too good not to share,
“Too good not to share.” I love it.
Nick was making income from his online shoe comparison website. He made a pivot by starting a podcast, highlighting real ways people were making money on the side. That’s when he made a discovery about how podcasting works to drive any business forward.
There was an inflection point, realizing that the podcast was content marketing.
Content Marketing is the act of providing helpful free content to your ideal customers to build trust, and to gain a following.
It was just like a blog, like, what’s the point of this blog post? To get people to discover your brand, to build a relationship, to hopefully opt in for your email list. When I figured that out, that was a big inflection point for the show. And for The Side Hustle Nation brand as a business, you know, I’d been doing it for 14 months, 60 something episodes, and went from 1000 subscribers to 3000 on the email list, within three months. Within six months, it was 6000. So it’s a big turning point a little over a year into it in just this realization, like, “Okay, this is content marketing, like the numbers, at least at this point, don’t justify a business on its own.” And so that was that was really important for me,
Content Marketing. It’s the act of putting genuinely helpful content out into the world in order to highlight yourself or your brand. But as Nick pointed out, the benefits don’t come overnight. I tell potential podcasters all the time, podcasting is a long game. You’ve got to commit to it, work it, relentlessly plug away at both the craft and the distribution of it, and know that in time, when you’ve built up the credibility that comes from giving generously over the long haul, the payoff will come. For Nick, that not only came through periodic sales of his own resources, including numerous ebooks and paperbacks he has available on Amazon. But also through sponsorships.
Probably around year three, where companies started reaching out to me and saying, “Hey, we’d like to sponsor the show.” So like, okay, let’s figure out something that works. It really is the wild wild west. I mean, you’ll find some guides on, “Here are the industry standard CPMs for…”
CPM or “cost per thousand” is the cost and advertiser pays for 1000 views, clicks, or plays of their advertisement.
“CPMs for pre roll, for midroll…”
Preroll and midroll are terms used to describe the location of an advertisement within a podcast episode,
The companies don’t necessarily care, or at least a lot of the companies that you work with, don’t really care. Just throw out a number, the bigger the brand, likely, the higher the budget. And of course, they’re going to want to track results. So you know, maybe start small and you don’t want to, you don’t want to like rake somebody over the coals because ideally you want somebody to be with you long term., I talked to Jack Spirko from “The Survival Podcast.” Incredible story! He started this podcast in his car, like rolling down the freeway in Texas, he’s 10 years deep into it, couple hundred thousand visitors a day like and he’s got this radio voice like he’s meantt for it. He said his average sponsor has been with him eight years. That’s what you want. That makes life easy for him because he not having to come up with new ad reads and keep rotating the stuff. The same companies want to keep getting in front of this audience because they know he’s reaching that target audience.
Take note, that was three years of publishing consistent, helpful content. Three years of weekends and evenings. Three years of juggling personal time and side hustle time. Three years of honing his craft, building his audience, and waiting for the right doors to open. Pay attention. Don’t miss that little dose of reality. Here’s why it’s important. I receive emails from wanna-be podcasters all the time, who say that they want to be among the top downloaded podcasts in Apple podcasts, six months from now, with big dollar sponsors knocking down their doors.
BIFF TANNIN (clip from the movie “Back To The Future)
“Hello! Hello! Anybody home? Huh? Think McFly, think!”
My friends, unless you already have a large and loyal following it’s not going to happen that way. Podcasting does not work like a microwave, it works more like a crock pot. Slow, steady heat over time, will win the game. Sorry about that soapbox moment – let’s get back to what Nick was saying about how he’s found podcast sponsorships to work.
You’ll find there are companies that are easier to work with and companies that are harder to work with. So naturally, the front can increase for those companies, kind of a “pain in the butt fee.” I used to paint houses in college, and so like if this customer is really, you know, they’re they’re kind of being a pain like while you’re out there doing the estimate, you’re like, “I’m going to tack on a little padding on this one just to just to be safe.” – The same thing with the show sponsorships.
Nick just highlighted another of the wonderful things about podcasting. And it’s one I encourage podcasters to take seriously. After you’ve earned the right to take advertising dollars, follow this advice. It’s your show, you set the rules. Just like the business minds behind Wired magazine or Rolling Stone get to decide how much advertisers pay for a placement within their pages, you get to decide what people or companies will pay to have a spot on your show. Don’t sell yourself short. But more importantly, don’t abuse your audience. My theory is that if you’re truly trying to serve your listeners, the advertisements you allow on your show should serve your listeners as well. Be selective. Keep your audience in mind and you’ll do fine. But how do you know when you’re really ready for sponsors?
Sponsorship like, it’s amplitude and frequency. Like John Lee Dumas…
John Lee Dumas is the creator and host of the podcast “Entrepreneur on Fire.”
…was when he was doing daily could build an amazing business off of sponsors because he had the amplitude – he had the big audience, any he had the frequency – he was doing it every day. So the numbers worked out for him. If you’re doing a weekly show, and you’re getting 1000 listeners, even 5000 listeners, it might not be a significant source of income for you. Now, that’s not to say, “Don’t do it.” I think it adds a sense of legitimacy to your show, especially even at the beginning, like “Oh, this guy’s already got sponsors? He must be doing good.” What I did, probably starting about a year in was just running affiliate ads as sponsors, “Hey, this episode is sponsored by whoever – Airbnb. Use my Airbnb link for $25 off your first stay,” or something like that. And I made a few referrals off of that. But you know, get people used to hearing a little ad read.
So let’s say you’re making your case with a potential sponsor, you’re trying to seal the deal, what’s the best way to go about it? My advice is to look at all the ways you’re going to be able to feature and highlight that sponsor, and make that part of your message. You know, blog posts, social media posts, mailing lists, all that stuff, anything and everything that goes into supporting that podcast episode. And don’t forget about the fact that it’s going to be out there on the internet for as long as you pay your media hosting bill, or until an electromagnetic pulse weapon takes down the electrical grid.I asked Nick, if he took that approach,
I definitely try and sell it that way. Like, “Hey, you know, the show is getting 25,000 downloads today. But hey, this is going to live out there forever. You know, the shows that we did a year ago, two years ago, five years ago, are still getting downloads and so there is kind of this permanence to it. On top of that, I’m going to syndicate your episode to YouTube. In those cases where it’s like free incremental listens. Some of the episodes over there have done really well, 10s of thousands of incremental listens. I’m going to include your link and your banner on the show notes page. I promote almost every episode to my email list that’s however many thousand deep.” There’s different ways to kind of bump the perceived value in the eye of the sponsorship. If you have a community, you could say, “I’m going to plug this in my Facebook community, I’m going to plug you on social media, I’m going to include you in my newsletter.” Like there’s different ways you kind of structure the package to get out of just like this straight CPM, like because that math may not necessarily work in your favor. But there’s other ways to kind of put a package together.
Nick’s story is what I’d call a working man’s fairy tale. No fairy godmothers. No magic lamps or rings, or potions or spells. Just the miracle of what happens when you stay focused, work hard, and don’t give up. It’s an ordinary miracle. But when that’s miraculous nonetheless, it’s the system by which the world works, You reap what you sow. I decided to wrap up my conversation with Nick by asking him for his advice to a couple of different people who may be listening. First, to those who are considering a podcast as their next step forward.
Well think about this, you know, a year from now, you’re gonna wish you started today. And iTunes is only getting more crowded, so the sooner you can get in, the better. That’s my theory. I wish I’d started, you know, several years before I did. But that said, a year from now, the landscape is only going to be harder to crack. So you know, get in now, because you’re gonna need to put in your reps to get better. And so it’s better to do that early. And nobody’s listening at the beginning anyway. So you know, don’t don’t feel too bad about it.
But I also thought that because of the obstacles and difficulties Nick had to overcome along the way, he’d be a great person to give some advice to those who have already started a podcast, but are finding it discouraging, demoralizing, or otherwise difficult. Is there a time to quit? Is there a time to decide to put it on hold? How can you know?
If you’re not sure something that you can continue? If it’s something that you have come to dread doing? them? Probably not. But if it’s something that is still exciting, and you can kind of see the future of it? Like? I don’t know, if you’re in the session, this was Cliff, Ravenscraft…
Cliff Ravenscraft is a podcaster, businessman and business coach known as The Podcast Answer Man.
…at Podcast Movement in Chicago 2016. He gets up when he does this talk and somebody stands up during the Q&A, and was like pretty much the same question. “I’ve been doing the show six months and I’m only getting 200 downloads. What do you recommend?” And he was like, “First of all, reframe your language. ‘Only’ needs to go. 200 people is incredible! Look around this room, there are probably less than 200 people in this room right now. And that’s a lot of people. Like that’s a crazy amount of people to be talking to. If you had to go stand up and give a speech in front of 200 people like imagine that!” And so what he recommended was trying to encourage that engagement any way you can like, running a contest, comment on this episode, join my Facebook group. Try to get people from being anonymous earbuds to being actual names that you can start conversations with, and then it can snowball from there. Like “Who else do you know, who should I talk to?” To go back to the survival podcast,Jjack did the same thing early on. He ran an iPod giveaway because it was 2008. And he’s like, “If we can get to 1000 listeners, like getting people involved in the show, we get to 1000 listeners, by the end of the year, I’ll give away an iPod, I need your help to spread the word, sign up for this special giveaway email list on the website.” And he said that actually work to his SEO favor as well as people are posting it on forums and Facebook and stuff like that.
And then finally, if you have a show rolling, and you want to grow it even more, what is Nick’s very best advice. He suggests you adopt what he calls “The Listener Pyramid.”
I tried to think of it this way is like climbing The Listener Pyramid. So picture a pyramid and there’s four steps on the pyramid, strangers, listeners, subscribers and fans. You know, everything that you do related to the podcast is to ascend people on that pyramid. And the first step is that discovery problem like, “ow do I turn strangers into listeners? How do I get people to tune in, even if it’s just once? I can get them once? Hopefully it’s good enough. They’re hooked. It helps them. That’s good.” And now they’re listening and you try and ascend the next level. “How do I turn that one time or that infrequent listener into a subscriber?” There’s a bunch of shows that I listened to, but don’t necessarily subscribe to. But there was something that, you know maybe they offered a content upgrade on the show that I opted in for and somehow I got on their email list, like Tim Ferriss is an example of this.
Tim Ferriss, an entrepreneur, podcaster, author, and investor. He’s the creator and host of the podcast, “The Tim Ferriss Show.”
I don’t listen to every one of his shows, but somehow I’m on Tim’s email list. And occasionally he’ll send me an email with his next show. And the subject line, the hook of that email gets me listening to him again. So he’s ascending me on that ladder, every minute, every hour I spend with Tim in my earbuds, like I’m becoming more and more of a Tim fan. And so I think about that as like, you know, different touch point to, you know, turn that listener into subscriber, into a fan. And then really, turning subscribers into fans is probably helping somebody. So they’re taking action based on what you or your guest said, and they’re seeing some results from that. If you can get people to that milestone, you’re probably going to have a fan. And that’s probably where the magic happens in terms of sharing as well.
You know, I have to agree with Nick. When you’re able to build those kinds of relationships, and they are relationships., that’s where the magic happens. I hope Nick’s story has been more than inspiring to you. I hope it moves you to take real action, the kind that can get you results over time. I encourage you to find out more about Nick and The Side Hustle Show.
Of course, I would love to have you tuning into The Side Hustle Show – available in iTunes or your podcast player app of choice. And if you’re looking for a side hustle idea, you can start with www.SideHustleNation.com/ideas. That’s my constantly updated laundry list of part time business ideas that you can start today with no opt in required.
Nick, thanks again for being my first test subject on a new format of podcast. And thank you for all you’ve done for podcasting, and to help newbies and veterans alike side hustle their way to success.