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Looking at my calendar, I saw that this podcast actually started in June.
It’s felt like a long time. A lot of things have happened while creating this podcast. I met some incredible people, collaborated with geniuses, and made my connections with my friends unbreakably strong.
Other than that, a total of 15,000 people have downloaded the podcast, averaging 215 listens per episode. For me, I’m happy with this.
So in this episode I just wanted to really flesh out the events that made this podcast for what it was today, and how it slowly transformed. From the independent website, graduate student series, to why I am changing some of my questions, I want to tell you just how fun it was making this thing and where we’re planning to go next.
Have I told this story before? Maybe only to my guests, or with my friends.
When I first moved to Phoenix, I became obsessed with Podcasts, almost about the same time I started hating my job, which you can listen about in episode 60, which was around the time I wanted to find a way out.
I noticed that sure, listening to music was fun, but it wasn’t productive. So I started listening to audio books which I borrowed form the Phoenix library. Soon it evolved into podcasts.
My first podcasts I listened to often were Smart Passive Income and Entrepreneur on Fire. I’d consider these entry-level because they are indeed inspiring stories with a little bit of tactical knowledge. This went on for about a year.
In maybe January 2016, I read an article by Tim Ferriss about how he started his podcast. Through his write up, I found it was pretty easy to do. For example, the equipment was dirt cheap, and the barrier to entry is pretty good.
About a month later, Nicole posted the fated article about how the food industry is hiring people at a declining rate and everything kind of clicked.
The lesson here is really about this simple equation, that opportunity + preparedness = luck is something that resonates with me when I do projects.
If I didn’t listen to podcasts, or read how to do them, I would never had had the opportunity to work with Nicole. There are many other factors in how this started up that made it worked as well.
For example, Foodgrads was a startup, so they were flexible and willing to support me in this venture. Though they didn’t give me initial capital, the power of just getting a thumbs up is more than enough justification to get started with the podcast so I set aside $1000 dollars and went to town. I would provide the episodes, and they would provide the website that I could post on.
I bought equipment recommended by Tim Ferriss including this microphone. I downloaded Audacity, and then I bought a course called Podcaster’s Paradise. This course was created by John Lee Dumas from Entrepreneur on Fire. I subscribed for about 3 months and learned a lot of technical tidbits in not only on how to use Audacity, but how to structure my podcast from getting guests to sending thank you notes. It also gave me some amazing tools such as calendly.com and libsyn.
I also found the facebook group they had extremely supportive and that’s also where I met Kim from Peas On Moss, who started her podcast the same time as I did.
So starting that, I now had to get guests. First up was Nicole and Juliette from Foodgrads as they were the ones hosting it on their website, so it just seemed right. Then I got Trevor Fast, Brian Chau, and Taryn Yee, while on a work trip to California. I literally scheduled time to meet and record. It was really fun!
I remember doing the dumbest thing while doing Trevor’s interview. I thought the room was too noisy so I thought we could do it in the office. We ended up doing the interview in a cramped, noisy room where chocolate was being refined. Editing that was a pain.
So you keep going. Episode 6 was my most valuable guest being Dr. Howard Moskowitz in more ways than one. This one was a stroke of luck I had no idea how I got him on the show. I just connected on linkeidn, he sends me a bunch of stuff and I asked him to be on the podcast. That’s so cool!
I realized then, that the ability to ask someone to be on a podcast is an extremely valuable tool. For one, it gives you a very legitimate excuse on inviting, and talking to people you want to talk to, and
I would say about 70% of my podcasts have guests I personally contacted, 10% are from people who sign up to be interviewed randomly and another 20% are referred to by either previous guests or friends.
My biggest tips for finding great guests is pretty simple, especially for people on linkedin.
For one, if they post a lot, it’s more likely they would like to be on the show. There are only a few exceptions I’ve had with this.
People who are going to launch something, whether it’s a book or new product, are especially willing to talk about it as well. This is how I got Ali Bouzari on the show, for instance.
Connectors, whether self-proclaimed are not have their perks too. Rochelle Boucher, for example, knew a ton of people and supported me in huge amounts getting guests that came to her Miele location. I returned the favor with my own resources.
After my recent talk with Alex Oesterle from Food Marketing Nerds, I found that he has a very different way of contacting. A bit more professional, which I might want to dive in the future.
He goes through PR firms or PR departments to get amazing guests from the marketing department. I’ve only had a couple of guests been blocked by denying permission, which I actually find kind of, a strange and outdated practice, but I understand.
But the method I use works, I have absolutely no problem finding guests and I actually realized that I don’t need big shots on my podcasts. I actually really enjoy interviewing fresh, inspiring graduates. Some recent examples like Jon Weber and Louis Edmond, who both just got their jobs, were extremely satisfying to talk to just because of their passionate outlook in life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So this brings me to another topic about what you want your podcast to represent. This means knowing your audience, and catering to that audience.
Overall, the message and structure for My Food Job Rocks is a pretty simple one: explore different food jobs, dive in a little bit of their history, and explore their viewpoints on current events such as technology or current events. At the end, we cool down and talk about books, quotes, and favorite foods.
The questions we’ve designed for our show is pretty standard, but testing certain questions has made the process a lot of fun.
One of the questions I’ve changed was “what is a standard day like?”
I used this question in the beginning, but all I got was “every day is different!” So I changed this question and worded it in multiple different ways. Sometimes I say “what’s the most exciting part of your job?” or “what’s the worst?” some of my personal favorites include asking the process of how to make a certain food such as with Jocelyn Ngo or Haley Richardson. By diving into a subject filled with enigma versus a standard routine, in usually generates more excitement.
One of the other questions I’ve had a good time playing around with is “what do you think are the important skills you need in your job?”.
My favorite answer to this question is from Tiffany Tong from Canada’s Smartest Kitchen, where she said adaptability. After she did a beautiful explanation of the word, I dug deeper. “How do you become more adaptable?”
I guess the trend and evolution of the questions I ask is more about “how can I make this podcast more exciting/unique, and what type of tactical and actionable advice can I give to my audience?”
Next topic is in regards to why we split off from Foodgrads initially, around episode 16:
Well, I wanted more control and a certain person who was there at the time didn’t want that. Eventually, they had to approach to let me go.
I’m bad at assuming things, so I’ll leave it as: I grew too big for their nest so I had to leave. With a mix of disappointment, support from my friends, and admittedly, utter rage, I decided to make my own website to host my podcast.
I still had a weekly podcast so I had to make a website fast.
Luckily, this wasn’t just a start-from-scratch bang my head against the wall. Ever since I started hating my job, I dabbled into website design. I made my first “successful” website called Az Asian Food Review. Where I reviewed Asian food in phoenix.
I had to pay for a theme dedicated to podcasting (which in hindsight, I never used that feature) and a pretty good front page function.
Building the website was actually one of the most exhilarating I’ve done for this project and I am really proud of the website I made.
Using my skills from Canva, and my website experience, I made a website for maybe under $150 dollars that I could use as my playground.
And looking back, I used it as a playground very well.
Evolving the shownotes, making a blogging section for my own personal use, and recently, hosting another person’s content made this website a proud accomplishment.
Eventually, I made a deal with Foodgrads to work with them. Yes, it was awkward at first, but both Nicole and I supported each other. I actually had a huge internal debate not to do it because of an ego issue on my end, but that was a dumb, childish reason. The main reason is really, we can’t do this alone. If we’re split now, there is no way to conquer the industry. I need Nicole to be a powerhouse distribution force in the future, and she needs my high quality content to satisfy her readers.
Two lessons appear from this: don’t burn bridges, and don’t give up. I could have easily been extremely hot headed and aggressive in this scenario, and let my ego do the talking, but I had to bite my tongue. It’s paid off.
Another thing is consistency. If you really want to make this not a hobby, you need to be consistent with your episodes. Too many people get burnt out or just lose motivation on doing a weekly podcast.
What actually happened was I liked interviewing so much I ended up having so many episodes, I had to open the flood gates and launch 2 episodes a week. I was so hard to switch to 1 but I realized that two episodes a week really took a toll on my life. Luckily, I had Veronica Hislop save me with her willingness to provide awesome content with her blog posts.
So I want to wrap this whole thing up into a lessons learned scenario.
Both podcasting and website design were once small interests, that later became hobbies and then actually became revenue generating.
Yes, I made my initial investment back 5 times over. Some were direct requests, others were from referrals from guests. Not only that, but certain guests have contacted me for other projects and what’s coming in the next couple of years is really something.
At the end of the day, the biggest lesson I have for you is to just start doing something an hour a day. It can be researching, or reading, or just gathering information.
Eventually, a seed will be planted into your mind. When the opportunity strikes, you’ll be prepared.
As maybe you could tell from this episode, most of the opportunities I was given was
So the best place to invest a minimal amount of skill? I’ll give you two resources where you can find a skill and then have the opportunity to dig deeper.
The SPI podcast by Pat Flynn is probably the best resource to find a collection of people who are making income in unconventional ways. This was actually one of the avenues I’ve used to another area of interest which ended up being a bad investment but that’s another story.
You can probably find things similar to SPI by typing in entrepreneur podcast in your favorite search engine. Other search terms you can use is Bootstrapping, and built.
Recently, Reid Hoffman’s Masters of Scale has been one of the best things I’ve ever listened to so if you’re going for it, you gotta listen to his stuff.
Facebook sponsored webinars
If you’re like me, a bunch of people are now pitching their “free webinar” facebook ad on my feed constantly.
Maybe it’s because I like stuff that attracts those adds to me…
Anyways, you should try it out. You’ll only invest one hour of your time.
But be careful! These types of webinars will always try and sell you something. It’s just their design. Whether you buy or not, is up to you. However, as a disclaimer, I buy maybe 20% of products that I see in webinars.
The point in exploring different avenues is to eventually find something where you can utilize the skill. The demand or timeline will be your bridge from interest to skill.
The power of having your back against the wall, you’ll be surprised in what you could get done.
Have a website to build in a week when someone lets you go? Time to get serious.
This is actually what I’m kind of missing now, the stuff I’m doing is awesome, but I need a sense of urgency to kick me in the butt. Apparently, it’s just my personality.
So where is this podcast heading in the future?
I don’t know. My goal is 100 episodes. Judging by the rate of this, we’ll be there in January.
With more than 50 interviews under my belt, I think it’s time to push a little bit on wrapping up the content in a nice little bow and send it to people who would find value in it such as professors, career consolers, or whatever.
I think I can put a little more oomph in sharing the content to others who might want to take the food industry as a career path.
Overall I have to tell you, I’m in this for the long run. Not just the podcast, but the connections I’ve made with every guest on the show is extremely valuable and every time I see their names or faces, I remember of the pieces of gold within their interview. Every podcast guest has taught me so much about just how passionate people are in their job. Whether it’s young professional’s eagerness to learn or the startup CEOs who hustle and works her butt off 24/7 but are fueled with endless energy, those are the guests that keep me going.
The next set of episodes are absolutely amazing. And there’s a lot more variety too. More food safety guests thanks to Marian Zboraj, editor for a Food Safety magazine. She gave me some absolutely amazing people in that sector.
What else, more sales reps, where I go more into what makes a good salesman, and the best CEO I’ve ever met.
There’s just so much coming up, that I always look forward to trying something new.
Thank you to everyone who’s been with me this past year. Thank you to all of our listeners, to all of our supporters, whether financially or emotionally. I don’t know what’s coming next, but things are building and as long as we’re in this together, we can do anything.