In this episode, Toby Mathis, Esq., of Anderson Business Advisors, is joined by Doug Sandler, CEO of Turnkey Podcast Productions. Doug co-founded Turnkey to help individuals build community, grow influence, and make money using podcasting. Doug is the author of Amazon best seller “Nice Guys Finish First,” and hosts his own podcast “Nice Guys on Business.”
Doug and Toby discuss how Doug went from being a highly paid bar mitzvah DJ to a successful podcast coach, who should and should not be trying to monetize their podcast with Doug’s program, and you’ll hear a few success stories of Doug’s former clients who created huge revenue streams using his methods.
- Promoting his book “Nice Guys Finish First”
- “Podfade” at around episode 10-11, many quit
- Revenue is not going to come from advertising
- The “golden opportunity” is the guest in the guest seat
- Asking questions – interviewer vs. salesperson
- Ideal candidates to create a podcast
- “Lifetime value” of a guest to invite on your podcast
- Monetizing in different time frames and diversifying
- Success stories – Lou Diamond and Stan the Annuity Man
- Working with Doug requires an open mind and blank slate
- Know your “MOM” – Market, Offer, and Message
- 5 Ways to Make Money Podcasting – the call to action on today’s show
Full Episode Transcript:
Toby: Hey guys, this is Toby Mathis with the Anderson Business Advisors podcast. I am joined today with Doug Sandler. Welcome Doug.... Read Full Transcript
Doug: Toby, thanks for having me here.
Toby: We’re going to just get right on into it. Doug is an expert at monetizing podcasts and so if you’re out there and you’re wondering I’ve always wanted to do a podcast. How do you make money out of podcasts? Can I make money on my podcast you might already be doing? What are some tweaks? What are some things you can do? I invited Doug on because he’s an expert in this area and he can actually shed some light onto it. First of, Doug, how did you get into the podcast realm?
Doug: Career reinvention. In 2014, I wrote a book called Nice Guys Finish First and I was looking for an avenue to promote the book. The problem was when I went out to start talking to PR agencies and publicists, I discovered that it would cost me $3000–$5000 a month to promote through a professional agency. I’m like I don’t need a professional agency. I’ll try to do this on my own. I’m going to go onto podcasting and promote my book.
Man, what a struggle at the very beginning. There was no system in place. Nobody had a process. Nobody had a monetization strategy, none of that. We figured a bunch of this stuff at the beginning, but it was because of a book I had written I tried to promote it.
Toby: You wrote a book and then you said I need to get that word out there about the book so you started doing a podcast. How many episodes ago was that?
Doug: Nice Guys on Business, which is our anchored show, that was the show we started it all with. We’re close to 1400 episodes at this point. We started in February of 2015 with the show.
Toby: You’re brand new with this.
Doug: Yeah. I always tell everybody we barely made it past this phase called podfade. Right around episode 10 or 12, the majority of active podcasters say I’m not doing anything with this value. I’m going to quit. We’ve made about 1300 episodes past podfade now.
Toby: When you’re using it, you actually have all the data, this is what you do for a living besides just doing your podcast, you help other people monetize their podcast.
Doug: Exactly. A 100% of my income is derived from us podcasting, producing podcasts, it’s all related. If you think about it, my podcast is the hub of all of my business. It’s not a spoke on the business wheel of mine. It’s the hub. It’s the center. Everything runs through my podcast in order for me to monetize, develop business, marketing, exposure, message generation, content lead gen, all of that through my podcast.
Toby: Somebody is looking at starting a podcast. What are the do’s and the don’ts? What are the tricks of trade? What are the things that you usually start with?
Doug: What I tell everybody first of all is throw out anything they have learned from someone else or from Google about launching a podcast. Because when people think about podcasting, oftentimes they go to guys like Joe Rogan and Tim Ferriss as their model. The challenge is with going to those kinds of guys with the model, not that they have anything—they are ultra successful at podcasting—but they bring to the podcasting space an already built community.
The biggest challenge for normal people like you and me—I’ll put myself in the normal category, with all of your subscribers, you’re definitely well above that—but for most people that are normal, they come to podcasting without any understanding on how do I build my community. How do I grow influence? How do I make money?
The advice I give to people is if you approach this like the Joe Rogans and the Tim Ferriss, you’re going to be unfortunately sadly seeing the results of nothing is going to happen. We really do want to get people to unlearn some of the things they think they know about podcasting before they even get started.
Toby: What’s the big ones? You see people with delusions of grandeur. They have to spend a bunch of money on it. What are the big things where you’re like nope, that’s not how it works.
Doug: The first thing that people come to the table with is the idea that their revenue sources are actually going to come from advertising and sponsorship. We really have to emphasize that while the long game is to build a community of people that will become loyal fans and raving fans of the things that they sell, if their service is connected to their podcast, the reality of it is in the beginning, it’s not going to be all about monetization through advertising and sponsorship.
The vast majority of podcasts get less than 200 downloads per episode. Two hundred downloads per episode in the advertising scheme of things would generate about $10–$15 an episode. I don’t know about you but I don’t think I could survive if I’m doing a weekly podcast on $100 or $200 a month in advertising revenue. It’s just not going to be enough to pay the bills. We got to focus on some other things other than I’m going to make money from advertising and sponsorship rules.
Toby: What are the other things that you commonly see? Is it just hey, I’m bringing on new prospects or it’s getting me out there? You see these folks where they have to be doing it because they want to do it and they love doing it because there’s no way they’re monetizing it from the ad revenue, obviously.
Toby: What are the other ways they make their money?
Doug: We talk about the golden opportunity of podcasting. Golden opportunity is really not in your audience in the beginning, but it really is in that guest seat. Think about the doors that you could open up with people that you’re having them seat in your guest seat and you’re sharing information with your community about that guest. It’s a win for the guest that’s sitting in the guest seat. It’s a win for you if you’re building a relationship with someone that’s sitting in that guest seat that you want to get a little bit closer to.
You avoid what I would call the salesperson prospect dance. As a sales person, trying to put my products or services into a prospect’s hands, the challenge is that any question I ask, my prospect is going to be guarded because they realize that any answer that they give me I will be using “against” them to sell them what I have.
Doug: Instead of the salesperson prospect dance, why don’t we have an interview interviewee dance? That is, I ask you a question and you give me an honest answer. As a sales person asking you hey, what’s the stuff financially that keeps you up at night? The prospect tends to feel like if I give him this answer, he’s going to use this against me to try and sell his book of business.
However, if I ask as an interviewer, hey, John, what keeps you up at night when it comes to your financial future? All of a sudden, the microphone becomes truth serum and they’re sharing the answers. What are some of the stuff that you’re struggling with when it comes to finance? Or even better, what are some of your initiatives in the upcoming 90 days, or next two years, or next 20 years when it comes to your finances? Where do you want to be?
That question is a lot easier to ask as an interviewer than it is as a sales person. The challenge is to be able to walk that tightrope without being salesy, gimmicky, and without feeling there’s a bait and switch going on here that I’m going to ask my prospect then they’re going to give me an answer then I’m going to jump down their throat to try to sell them what I have. That’s not at all.
I would challenge my 250 clients that I have gotten this way to ever say Doug, he just pressured me or it was a bait and switch. If you handle it properly, you will never be accused of someone that is bait and switching or doing something that is not ethical.
Toby: You’re just being who you are in a situation where somebody is listening in. It’s almost like you’re sitting in a restaurant and you hear somebody talking about their favorite stock. You’re listening to them like what’s that? You shouldn’t be listening.
In the case of a podcast, you’re inviting them in. Why don’t you listen to my conversation with this individual? You’re like what he said, what Doug said, that makes sense to me. Let’s talk about the people that should make sense too and then I’m going to pick on you a little bit with the people you don’t like working with because I’m sure there’s a bunch out there too. You don’t want to write them off.
Who should be looking at doing a podcast? Are there types of businesses where this is silly or this is something like you know what? If you’re doing xyz or you have a presence, this is something that can really bolster up your revenue because that’s what we ultimately care about, or your following, or your communication. Who are those people?
Doug: This would be as it pertains to my business and who ideally is situated to run my strategy the way that I feel like would best involve and benefit their business. I don’t look for anybody that is an early stage entrepreneur that has a $2 – $100 widget. That’s not necessarily going to be the winner because you have to do a lot of interviews and a lot of relationships to sell $2 widgets to make it profitable for you.
Those in your community, like those in my client lists, that have a lifetime value of a client for $50,000 – $1 million. Man, what an ideal target to have as a guest. I can sit them down in the guest seat, have great relationships, build opportunities working closer with them, asking questions that help determine whether they are going to share any of the buying signals that I think would be appropriate for them to go into my services. At the same time, my audience is learning from their experience and acumen.
The beauty of it is my guests are winning because they share my business with my community. My community is winning because they are having me have a conversation with this person and uncovering some interesting information. I’m winning for my business because now I’m building a relationship with someone that potentially could either become a client or a referral source or somebody that has a product that is complementing but doesn’t compete with mine. Those few ways, those three ways actually, are ways that people can get into podcasting, become a great host, and make a boatload of money at the same time doing it.
Toby: When you say boatload of money, what is a typical podcaster that you see? What kind of revenue model? What’s reasonable?
Doug: In the financial world, it’s very hard to determine based upon not knowing like a case study, but let’s just take somebody that is a financial adviser in the ordinary world of what book of business people bring in. Let’s say they work with moderate to high network individuals. A lifetime value of a client could be $100,000. It could even be more. I don’t even know.
Part of it is if I don’t know exactly what the lifetime value of a client is, it makes it a little bit more challenging. But let’s say somebody has a weekly podcast and let’s say that they’re doing four a month and they’re working with highly qualified people that are sitting in a guest seat based upon a strategy that we will put into play, and they were able to put one of those four people into their book of business or on their client list a month which is not an uncommon goal, 25% of leads that you generate through this.
The way I look at it is 50% of the leads I generate turn into business. If somebody has a lifetime value of a client of $50,000 and they put one or two people into their services every month, they can make $500,000 – $1 million a year in revenue just from putting the right people in the seat.
This is just one opportunity. They don’t only have to do one episode a week, they can do multiple. They can have other opportunities, other funnels, other activities they’re doing through their podcast call to action that would actually help them generate revenue as well.
Toby: Do you have to advertise your podcast? Are you spending money driving traffic to your podcast? Or is this something where you’re just putting it out and trying to get it out. The more content you create, maybe they’re putting more of it out there naturally. What’s the mechanism?
Doug: The mechanism for promoting and I try to get everybody’s ego metric out of the way. The ego metric is the more downloads you have, the more listeners you have, the more profitable your show could be. That’s actually far from the truth it can possibly be.
I’d much rather have 50 people listening to my show that are taking action than 50,000 people that aren’t doing anything. For me, my goal is to teach them how to find those 50, how to find the right 50, and that is just really a matter of okay, where do your potential prospects or potential clients congregate? Where do they generally get your business from? And let’s promote within that arena.
We take people that have literally zero social media presence, zero Facebook groups, zero ad dollars that they are spending. I don’t want people to put money into ad spend because you’re not going to create a sticky audience by doing ad spend. By spending $2000, $3000, or $10,000 on a Facebook ad might get people to come to your show once, but that’s not the people I want. I want people that will literally queue up every week to listen to your 20 or 30 minute conversation with your guest.
I don’t care if you have two people that are listening to your show. If they are both buying from you, we’re in good shape. Remember, it’s not about the audience. It’s about the quality person sitting in that guest seat that can actually help generate revenue for you.
Toby: It generates revenue for me if you have a guest in there. What are the various ways besides hey, maybe I’ll get some prospects. I know that you actually monetize. There’s got to be, maybe products or services that are linked to this, maybe you are getting paid. What are the ways somebody actually does this?
Doug: Keep in mind that there are multiple ways other than that guest seat that you can monetize. I like to look at it in terms of what is the goal of my client in the very beginning? If you come to me and say hey Doug, I want to build this podcast but I want to make money in the first 90 days. I’m only going to focus on the guest to client strategy.
But if you say I’m good with let’s take our time, let’s build this right, and let’s look at diversification. Diversification could be I’m going to put somebody in the guest seat or find somebody in my audience that has a product that compliments what I do and they’re going to become an affiliate so that when I’m actually talking about a subject, I can mention a product or service of somebody and my audience clicks and buys that product or service, I’ll receive a portion of that sale without having any deliverable. That’s an affiliate relationship.
Advertising and sponsorship, certainly that’s a way you can generate revenue. You don’t have to stick with industry standards, but it’s not going to turn you into a money magnet because in the beginning you have relatively few listeners to your show. Of course selling your product or services to your audience that’s listening is another great way for you to make money.
Joint venture partnership. Somebody sitting on the guest seat said that you’re not 100% sure on where the opportunity lies. Look, this is one of those. You and I, you were on my show The Nice Guys on Business and we clicked. I felt like look, this was a great conversation. I think I may have said to you at the end of the interview, I have no idea where there is opportunity here, but would you be open to having an additional conversation? Which is when you said why don’t we get you on my show and we’ll talk about what you do on the show.
All of those, when you add them all up together, the diversification of the opportunity, which is really all podcasting provides, when you start to look at that diversification, you’re like okay, advertising and sponsorship. There’s $10,000 or $15,000 a year. Affiliate relationships, there’s $20,000 or $40,000 a year. Turning my audience into customers, there’s another $100,000 a year because that’s a big one. Turning my guests into clients last year made us $400,000.
I start to look at this and say when I add all of these things up, collectively, these make a very nice sizable income. If you want a million dollar income, we just have to reverse engineer it. What is it going to take to create a million dollar revenue stream for your business?
Toby: What are the success stories? Do you have one or two where you’re just like wow, they blew the doors of these things. Holy [inaudible 00:16:37], what a great thing that there is [inaudible 00:16:41] a little bit of jealousy going on.
Doug: Maybe jealousy isn’t the right word, maybe it’s more like man, they really took what I thought of them and they ran. One of our clients’ names is Lou Diamond. He has a show called Thrive LouD and Lou has generated—and he always attributes this to his podcast—he has generated over seven figures of income from his podcast which is more than we have generated from our podcast in the last 12 months. I keep thinking what am I doing wrong? Maybe he can teach me a thing or two. He just has a higher lifetime value of a client than I do so when he sells something, it’s not a $10,000 sale. It’s a $100,000 sale. That’s one.
Another in your industry, there is a guy named Stan The Annuity Man. Stan has a podcast and a YouTube channel and he attributes millions of dollars of business to his podcast. For me to hear those stories, it’s not jelousy.It’s more like man, I wish I could just bottle up their energy and teach every single person on my client list how to do what they have done.
They just approached it like we’re going to give this a try and we’re going to see how it works. So many people are so focused on a specific way they’re going to build their business and their podcast that they lose opportunity. You can’t see the forest for the trees. They go and sell on Apples and miss on all the oranges that are potentially on the tree at the same time. We teach people to really look for that word, that opportunity in the podcasting space.
Toby: Let’s shift gears a little bit and let’s talk about the people that shouldn’t be doing podcasts or they just drove you crazy and you’re like oh, man. Do you ever get that where you’re just saying to somebody this isn’t going to be what you think.
Doug: Let me tell you the ideal person who should not become a podcaster, with me at least, is somebody who thinks they know it all when it comes to podcasting. They’ve already created their model. They already have their strategy. They just need it tweaked. They’re coming to me because they think hey, he’s a pro. We’ve done over 300 shows, we’ve launched so he’s got to know what he’s talking about.
They come to me with their preconceived idea of how they’re going to make money and I try to teach them my way and they’re like yeah but, yeah but, yeah but. Very challenging. I always tell everybody if you’re going to work with me in the beginning, it’s X amount of dollars. If you want to work with me, it’s X times five if you already had a podcast because I had to untrain all the things you have already done before. That’s the challenge.
Toby: I could see it. It’s hey, I already know what I’m doing. I’m not just having any success at it. I’m dialed in. I know what I’m doing, but I just can’t make any money at it. I don’t know why. Can you fix it?
Doug: It’s the dialed in individual. The other challenging type of person we call it you got to know your MOM. If you don’t know your MOM, your MOM stands for, you got to know your Market, you got to understand what your Offer is, and you got it at least have a beginning stage of what your Message is all about.
The people that try to work out their message, the market they’re offering their message while they’re doing their podcast, generally will have a much longer success curve than someone that comes already to the podcasting table with understanding their market, their offer, and their message.
Toby: What’s your MOM?
Doug: My market tends to be finance, medical, and legal communities because they are great communities that understand exactly what their message is all about. They already have an offer in place that they just want to get to a larger audience and they already know where their people already play. For me, those three sectors are extremely good.
Toby: Medical, that just kind of blows my mind. Doctors are coming in doing this?
Doug: Administrators in the world of healthcare are notorious for not knowing where to get more business from, how to connect with the right people within their community. It’s not necessarily a doctor looking for more patients to get their tummy tucked, but it is for the people in the healthcare community trying to get a message out to a broader audience because we’ve all gotten a little bit tainted by the medical community after COVID. It’s like they’re all trying to get back in the good graces of the communities that are out there.
Toby: Are there a couple of people you can think of where you say these are just great information sources? How the heck are they monetizing it? Or do you think there are people out there that are great information sources that don’t monetize it?
Doug: As far as podcasting goes?
Toby: Yeah, just a general podcast integrating.
Doug: Let me think about that. Let me ask you a couple of questions. Is there a particular environment that you think is more right for podcasting? Is that what you are asking? Or is there another angle?
Toby: I’m thinking of it as, I’m trying to think of a good example, but somebody who is just going out and giving good information. You look at them and say they’re just giving everything, but there’s no offer that they have.
Doug: That’s the challenge. What you need to do and that’s part of that, the agenda that most people miss when it comes to podcasting is they’re going by the field of dreams, build it, and they will come with philosophy. The challenge with that is you actually have to ask people.
Nothing happens until we sell something so we need to create this call to action that will help people in your community understand what it is the next step that you want us to take. People will do what you tell them to do, but if you don’t tell them to do anything, they will do exactly that. They’ll do nothing.
If you give them too many things to do, they’ll do absolutely nothing also because they’ll be like you just told me seven things to do. What we want to do was to create a call of action through podcasting regardless of the field that you’re in. It’s called the ethical bribe. How do I get you from anonymous to known. If you’re not known to me, if you’re anonymous, there’s no way I can sell something to an anonymous person.
We have something called 5 Ways to Make Money Podcasting. It’s a pretty easy document. It’s even in a video series and if somebody in your audience wanted to take advantage of that, that’s going to be our call to action for the day. All they need to do is go to turnkeypodcast.com/toby and you’ll be able to get 5 Ways to Make Money Podcasting. That’s the only thing that I want anybody in your audience to do. Outside of that, just continue getting great content from Toby. That’s terrific.
Toby: 5 Ways to Make Money in Podcast. If you want to know how to make money in a podcast, go to the link, download it, read it, keep feeding your brain, and keep learning more. I’ve done a ton of podcasts. I’ve been a guest. They always ask me something weird like if you could fight your younger self, what would you say? They always start off by telling me about your childhood.
What’s the one question that you love the most in a podcast? What’s that one thing that you say here’s what I ask all my guests and say it and answer it. Pretend like I’m saying it to you.
Doug: I always like to know people’s backstory. Tell me something that you would tell your former child. I’ll tell you a little known fact about me because I’m in the podcasting space right now. I’m always interested in what you were doing before you — blank? What were you doing before you were in finance? What were you doing before you were a doctor?
For me, it’s what were you doing before you’re a podcaster? I spent 30 years as a DJ. I was the guy typically that if you would go to a barmitzvah in the Washington DC area, I did 2100 of these barmitzvahs as an MC. I was the guy that was teaching all the dance moves, doing all of that.
At 48 or 49 years old, I just said there’s got to be something better or less challenging for my body. After 2100 of these things, I gotta figure it out. That’s when I started to think about the next career step and I wrote that book Nice Guys Finish First. I always enjoy that question: what were you doing before you —blank?
Toby: See, that’s perfect. You were a DJ. You had a whole other life. You had this whole other persona and then you [inaudible 00:25:17] Nice Guys Finish First and you published it. You did the podcast after that or did you do it in conjunction to promote it?
Doug: Right on the tail end when the book was just about to be released on Amazon, that’s when I came up with the idea of doing the podcast. My book was nothing more than a culmination of all of the business philosophy that I had that I built my business with. I was a $5000 DJ in a $500 DJ market. I got to be successful at that because I realized it was not in how you actually do a party, but how you treat your clients before the party to get them to do xyz or whatever you needed them to do.
For me, it was all about customer service. We bring the same philosophy, no matter whether I am a podcast producer or a DJ that’s trying to get more business, or in finance, or a doctor, or a plumber, the biggest challenge we oftentimes have nowadays with business is getting somebody to return our call, tell the truth, and to be on time. Those are the things that you can take through any business and be successful.
I just brought that philosophy to my production business and we have 75 plus clients. We’re doing great in terms of revenue. We’re building every year. We really feel like this is a great opportunity for us. Can we be bigger, better, and more successful? Yeah, but I kind of like where I am. This is good. I work a fraction of the hours I used to work. I have my own time and I’m podcasting, you can’t see it but I’m in my pajama pants right now.
Toby: Thank God we can’t see that.
Doug: You don’t want to see that. What other business could you be in where you actually could make a living in your pajamas? For me, I really love doing this side of business.
Toby: Doug, at least you’re wearing pants.
Doug: That’s true. Don’t stand up. Say goodbye.
Toby: Anybody who wants to get to know Doug, you can use the link. You can actually download 5 Ways to Make Money Podcasting?
Doug: 5 Ways to Make Money Podcasting. Just go to turnkeypodcast.com/toby.
Toby: See? We make it so easy for you guys to learn how to do this. I thought Doug would be awesome as a guest and I like to pat myself on the back when I’m right. I think you’re a fantastic person and I think what you’re doing is great. I think your philosophy is spot on. I hope that some of my audience says you know what? I can do this too. [inaudible 00:28:00]
You have somebody who is like Lou Diamond. You get one of these Stan The Annuity Man. You want the next one to pop up and say yeah, I’m going to stand up and I’m going to make this thing go to the next level. Thank you for bringing your expertise to my podcast and helping out my audience. Are there any other words you want to offer today? I’ll give you the last word.
Doug: I appreciate you. You may not realize it, but you are preceded by an amazing reputation. The amount of subscribers that you have on your channel is unmatched by pretty much anybody that is out there that I know in your industry. Just keep doing what you’re doing, man. I appreciate the opportunity just to share with your community so thank you very much. Accolades to you. You’re incredible and I appreciate you letting me be on the show.
Toby: True gentleman. Alright, thanks Doug for joining us.
Doug: Thanks, Toby.