Organically Growing a Podcast to 2.5 Million Downloads with Brian Ford

#37: Brian Ford, host of the Self Improvement Daily podcast, shares how he was able to organically grow to 2.5 million downloads through showing up and serving daily.

Brian digs into the key strategies and tactics that helped him gain traction really quickly, why building relationships is more important to him than ROI, and where he’s planning to double down next to take things to the next level.

If you’re looking to grow your own audience so you can make an even bigger impact, you’ll definitely want to listen to this episode.

Podcast Episode Summary

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • about his search for the meaning of what personal branding is and his transformation from a young professional to a successful podcaster;
  • why he never runs out of content and his process of creating daily content;
  • why you need to be intentional with your content; 
  • why he thinks his podcasts are his killer networking vehicle; and
  • the advice that he would give to himself if he were to start over again; plus
  • find out what the most underutilized marketing tool is (and how to leverage it). 

Quotables

I want to make sure that people are intentional with their content. You know, it’s not just throw something at the wall. It is a little more strategic than that. (12:50)

There is so much more to business than finances and that’s something that I really try and appreciate about the podcasts. (14:14)

Podcast, it’s a killer networking vehicle. (14:48)

There is a network effect that goes on when you build credibility, you build relationships, you’re in this space, you identify as a content creator and you’re seen as a thought leader or subject matter expert. (15:38)

I think that thinking of Apple podcast as a search engine is a completely underutilized tool. Like that is like how else are you going to be discovered? So think of it as a search engine. (19:54)

The advice that I give and what I’ve tried to implement a little bit with Self-Improvement Daily is to go deep, not wide. (30:36)

Brian’s Content Heroes

David Meltzer

Darren HardyThe Compound Effect

Mike Sherbakov 

Connect with Brian Ford

Instagram: Self-Improvement Daily 

Ep. 37: Organically Growing a Podcast to 2.5 Million Downloads with Brian Ford

Brian (00:01):

Understanding that this podcast is a business and the strategy there, but not always attributing the podcast through dollars and cents and like, okay, I've produced this and now it's coming into this way. Like there is a network effect that goes on when you build credibility, you build relationships, you're in this space, you identify as a content creator and you're seen as a thought leader or subject matter expert. Then that's when things start to happen because you're recognized, things, spin-off opportunities come through and guess what? Those opportunities bring dollars towards you, which you can then apply and allocate as you see fit. But I think that, you know as we talked about business, everyone's always like dollars and cents, dollars and cents, but I believe in the long game, I very much so believe in the long game and I think podcast is a long game. You need to know what you're getting yourself into upfront.

Josiah (00:43):

That was Brian Ford, host of The Self-improvement Daily podcast and in this episode he shares how he was able to organically grow to 2.5 million downloads through showing up and serving daily. Brian also digs into the key strategies and tactics that helped him gain traction really quickly. Why building relationships is more important to him than ROI and where he's planning to double down next to take things to the next level. If you're looking to grow your own audience so you can make an even bigger impact, you'll definitely want to stick around for the rest of this episode. So let's jump in.

Announcer (01:17):

You're listening to the Content Heroes podcast where entrepreneurs, marketers, and creatives share how they build profitable businesses on their own terms by creating content online. And now your host, Josiah Goff.

Josiah (01:33):

Welcome to Content Heroes, everyone. I'm here with Brian Ford who is the host of the Self-Improvement Daily podcast and I'm really pumped for this conversation. Brian, thanks so much for being on the show today.

Brian (01:43):

Thank you, Josiah. Let's do it.

Josiah (01:44):

Awesome. So let's jump into your origin story. You know, you've built up this podcast called Self-Improvement t, but now has over 2.5 million listens, which is just fantastic. But before all of that, where were you and how did you get into podcasting?

Brian (01:59):

Yeah, great question. Before that I was a young professional. I was recently out of college, I was a student athlete and I was kind of grabbing, looking for something to own. You know, when you're a student athlete your entire life, you're kind of told, Oh my gosh, you're so great, you know, you're athletic. And that's kind of the measurement a lot of people use to evaluate and compare themselves to. So the fact that I was successful in that one area means that I was able to have that identity and really be confident in myself moving forward. But the second that that was stripped and I kind of entered the real world, so to speak, and you know, entered my profession and tried to find a job, etc, that's when I kind of had a big kind of come to life with the world being like, okay, what is Brian Ford really made of? And that's kind of when I started really getting into the research and the learnings of it. So I learned kind of backhandedly about this idea of personal branding, right? What is that like? I know a brand, but what's personal branding? And I realized that it was something I wanted to prioritize in my young professional career and I wanted to create content that could relate to young professionals and the challenges that I was experiencing, entering environments where superiors were questioning myself as a millennial, my decision making, the way I operate, stuff like that. So I thought that was a really relatable concept when to start creating some content around it. So I started on LinkedIn and you know, developed a decent following. At one point it kind of went up, went down, tapered, etc. And then I kind of found myself in the spot. I was like, okay, I want to take it to the next level and kind of what is that platform going to be? And I figured that next step for me was the next step in my career as well because I was transitioning from more of a sales role in medical device to a marketing role where now I'm, you know, the marketer in a medical device company and I figured if I'm entering this space, if I'm becoming a marketer, what can I learn right now that is going to serve me in the future and that I'm going to be the best at in just a few years. And I'm a big Gary V. guy, you know, with the personal branding world, a lot of people have podcasts. I was like, dang, like this, this audio thing is really popping off. Like I think I should. I think that's where I'm going to niche down. That's what I really want to understand. And I actually, you know, and that's kind of when I started the podcast, but it actually started as an Amazon Alexa flash briefing, which is just the, Hey Alexa, play my news. And you can actually change your settings to have people, your customized settings to have the content that you want. It doesn't have to be a default NPR setting. So when I did that, you know, I just focus, I was like, all right, what topic do I want to focus on? Like what's going to serve me here? If I'm creating content in a daily flash briefing fashion, like what can it be? And I was like, okay, well, personal development is something that's been near and dear to my heart. That's something that I can continue to pursue and there's always something new to learn, so sure, let me choose that. And I was like, all right, what's the most obvious name? And this is a huge factor in the growth, but what's the most obvious name for something like that? And I was like, well, a lot of people waste their time picking names. Let me just pick something simple. Self-improvement daily, you know, it's daily content, it's about self-improvement, let's roll with it. So for the first three months of the content creation journey, when it's come to audio, it was actually an Amazon Alexa flash briefing and the audience didn't grow. But that wasn't the reason anyway because I entered it with the intent to learn the audio space so that I can prepare myself as a marketer when it came of age and when I was actually able to apply that skillset. And then with true Gary V fashion, I was like, all right, let me just put this on multiple platforms just to see how it does. And that's what I transitioned it to Anchor FM, which is a great podcasting software. They create profiles for you across all major platforms and boom, it started growing and I was like, wow, there's something to this. I have no idea why, but this is motivating. It's serving me like this is awesome. And then just kind of, it's been a snowball and a cycle from there of me being able to bring on, you know, credible and qualified guests, being able to speak to a lot of the things that I've developed and implemented in my life that people can relate to and just kind of climb my way one rung at a time up to a place where you know, now I have an audience and I have, you know, an impressive download count. And it's been a really interesting purpose because I never thought I'd be a podcaster and here I am, you know, speaking to a mic every single day and you know, sharing what I've learned. So it's totally a privilege that people listen, but I never thought I would be here in the first place. It's a really interesting transition and transformation that I kind of went through.

Josiah (05:52):

I love that brand. And one of the things that I love there is you, in the beginning you didn't sit and spin your wheels. You didn't get into like, Oh, you know, what am I gonna, what am I going to be about? What? You know what? I got to go through this branding process and I got to, you know, spend six months picking a name. You just jumped in and made it really obvious. And then like you said, that that, that right there has been a contributor, a big contributor to your growth. Now I'm really interested to kind of get a glimpse into your head behind why you went to the, just straight to the daily podcasting, because that, that seems like, I mean to me, even as someone who does roughly two shows a week, like that's a lot. So how did you, how did you get to ramp up so quickly to do the daily and like what was going through your head and do you ever, you know, how did you kind of overcome that fear of I'm going to run out of content?

Brian (06:50):

Yeah. Well listen, like I got so lucky in a bunch of different areas of this. So I mean, the answer to that question is I was doing an Amazon Alexa flash briefing and people are expecting new news every single day. So it wasn't even a decision. It was like, Oh, if I'm going to start this, then it has to be every single day. So it's like I never had even toiled with that it would just, it was inherent to the platform that I was creating for, you know, so I mean, that's, that's how I got into that flow. And I think the reason I was okay committing to something like that was because of my history and student athletics and you know, my personal development background and you know, I pride myself for being a very disciplined person, very organized, very proactive, you know, so understanding what this beast look like, you know, this daily content, what that was upfront and knowing that that was going to be the task, I knew that I had the skill set to back it up. So I didn't shy away from it like a lot of people because I had those personality traits that could support it. And also on LinkedIn I was creating daily, you know, so I kind of had that mindset already of like, okay, you know, consistency, daily content, just pump it out, let's see what people respond to and then move forward from there and create the next best version of it, you know? So I mean it was almost a decision that was made before I even had to make a decision just based on the platform I was creating for. So got super lucky and it's been something that has differentiated me for sure. So I've totally benefited from it.

Josiah (08:03):

Yeah. That, and I think that another great advantage of just putting out that sheer volume of content every single day is that you continue to not really have a chance to overthink. Right? Cause you've got to put stuff out. And so I'm curious, how do you go about, like, what's your process for actually creating this content? Do you, you know, do you brainstorm like a big list of ideas and batch it upfront? Or do you just kind of, you know, turn on the mic every day and see what comes out? Like what, how do you go about it?

Brian (08:31):

Yeah, good question. Yeah. So there are a few different angles to approach that. So when it comes to the actual production of it every single day, you know, talk about routines and systems. So every single day I write a script for a new tip. So everything that I record is read off of the script. You know, I read it conversationally, but I do want to make sure since it's two minutes that I can pack 40 minutes of content in that two minutes. And I can do that just by being really strategic and intentional with what I include. And the only way I can do that without the umms, without the ohs, without the tangents, is by writing a script and sticking to it. So I do that every single morning from 6:30 to 7:30 is I, you know, I have an Instagram account as well as associated with it. So I do the Instagram creative work and then I also do the scripting and then I do batch the recordings all at once just because that's the most efficient way to do it. So I do that on the weekends, but then when it comes to my inspiration, that's the most interesting thing because you become inspired in the times when you're at least prepared to be inspired. Right? So it's like you're in the shower, in the car, you're on a run. Like there are so many different times when that happens. And kind of my primary way that I record it is I just have a note in my phone that probably has 300 concepts that are half-developed, just enough for me to kind of like use them as a trigger to be like, Oh yeah, let me think about this. And then what I do is in the mornings when I start my scripting is I just kind of look at that list and I'm like, okay, what do I feel like reflecting on today? So then I do have that kind of spontaneous reflection that I then script around and then I can kind of plan out my content schedule around what theme am I trying to create around. And you know, I usually have about 10 tips done in advance just to make sure I'm being proactive. But that's kind of the process around it at least. And that's the cadence that I seem to work best with. But you know, it could change tomorrow and I'd be open to it. Just kind of whatever is the flavor of the week almost.

Josiah (10:09):

Yeah, I love that because a lot of people feel like they, at least the conversations that I have with content creators when they're first starting out is, you know, they say, you know, Gary V does it this way, so I've got to do it this way, or you know, so and so does it this way, so I've got to do it that way. And they get this idea of like there's this one way to create, but it's such a personal thing. Like you've got to figure out what works for you and your routine. And like just like you said, you have those traits of commitment and self-discipline kind of already. You've built up those muscles. And so you can take those and leverage those. And I'm an engineer and so we like to do things with the least amount of effort possible. So I've created like systems so that, you know, I can just kind of show up and not have to really think about it that much because I don't have those same, some of those same traits that you do. And so it all just kind of, you know, I love that you brought this up because it's very important to realize that as a content creator that you've got to figure out what works for you. And the only way to do that is exactly what you've talked about, where you just jump in and you're taking action and you're testing things and you're trying it, but you're showing up consistently. So that's fantastic.

Brian (11:19):

Yeah, and I think there's a second component to it too, because you know, I talk about like, Oh, here's kind of the creative process and here's what works for me. And that again is kind of optimized and designed for my personality. But there is the business arm to that. And like how do you kind of create this into one package that then is delivered in valuable, in speaking to the result that you actually want to create. And you know, a neglected strategy in any of that, but you know, I am very strategic. You know, sometimes I show up and you know, I've been thinking being like, all right, you know, who do I want to get to? You know, and I use the podcast as a primary vehicle for networking like this my big introduction to be able to serve people that I want to work with in the future. Right? So how do I get strategic about reaching out two or three weeks before I want to ask for an interview, feature them on story, blah blah, blah, get their attention, you know? So there is that part that kind of does feed into the content creation being like, okay, so next week, like great example is I featured Pat Flynn today and that was, you know, like we both know Pat and that was something that, you know, that's someone that I'm trying to get closer with. I really respect what he's working on and I feel like there's a lot of synergies that we can collaborate on. So it's like, you know, kind of starting the process there is being you really intentional and really strategic. But then when it came to Oh about Pat Flynn, you know, what am I going to say? You know, what stands out to me about him today? And then I was like, Oh boom, okay, this is what I'm going to speak to and this is what I'm going to script on. You know? So it's, it is kind of that trade off between the rigidity of strategy and the flow of creative that kind of comes together, you know, in content. That's exactly the game. I mean you understand that as well, but yeah, I mean that's kind of a nice compliment to the creative is that strategy. And I want to make sure that people are intentional with their content. You know, it's not just throw something at the wall. It is a little more strategic than that.

Josiah (12:58):

Yeah, absolutely. I'm really glad that you brought that up because I, yeah, and that actually is another thing that I want to kind of dig into a little bit because like, so for me, I had to just kind of jump in and take action and throw a bunch of stuff up against the wall. I think a lot of people would do that in the beginning, but there is that point where you start, it's always with the intention of okay this is going somewhere. I don't, maybe I have like this loose vision but I don't know how to get there yet but I'm just going to take steps towards it even if I'm stumbling. Right? But all with the intention of I'm going to gain more clarity. I'm going to, you know, continue to pivot until I'm know that I'm on the right path and moving forward and there is, there's definitely has to be exactly what you said. There has to be that kind of overarching strategy in order to make what you do effective. Because if you're going to show up and put that energy in, you want to make sure that you're serving people well. And so I love that you've got both of those kind of legs going of, you know, the creative process but also the, you know, the business side. Cause that's really what, you know, that's a piece that has to be there is that business and marketing side. If you want to grow, if you want to reach more people, you've got to, you've got to strengthen that muscle as well.

Brian (14:09):

Yeah, and let me jump in because you say business, and I even said business too, you know the strategy, but there is so much more to business than finances and that's something that I really try and appreciate about the podcasts. I think podcasts like as a platform, it is a fantastic platform to be on, but it's a little more difficult to monetize. Just kind of the mechanics of it. People have to leave platform, you know, collecting emails is a tough thing, you know, like there's a lot to it. And kind of understanding what the platform does well and what it doesn't do well. Kind of informs your strategy and informs where in your business or project or whatever it is, whatever service it's kind of providing where that fits into the large equation. You can call it a funnel, you can call it something else. But that's kind of like I said with my podcasts, like it is a killer networking vehicle. Like, imagine like I reached out to PatFlynn and I'm like, Hey Pat, I'd love to have you on the podcast. I have this many downloads a week. I, you know, really I read your book, I love your stuff. You know, how effective is that going to be? And that's more like me, me, me, transactional. Whereas like, Hey Pat, like I listened to this one podcast of yours, I want to extend the conversation and I want to loop this back into your book, which I'm going to promote at the end, you know? And is there any other way that I can serve you? Like that is the way to get an intro, right? And then once you do that, then you're in this place where you're building a relationship, it's not transactional, and then you're where you want it to be in the first place, right? So it's like understanding that this podcast is a business and the strategy there, but not always attributing the podcast through dollars and cents being like, okay, I've produced this and now it's coming into this way. Like there is a network effect that goes on when you build credibility, you build relationships, you're in this space, you identify as a content creator and you're seen as a thought leader or subject matter expert. Then that's when things start to happen because you're recognized things spinoff opportunities come through and guess what, those opportunities bring dollars towards you, which you can then apply and allocate as you see fit. But I think that, you know, as we talk about business, everyone's always like dollars and cents, dollars and cents. But you know, I believe in the long game, I very much so believe in the long game and I think podcast is a long game. So kind of you need to know what you're getting yourself into upfront.

Josiah (16:11):

Yeah, absolutely. I thousand percent agree with you about the relationship because I mean that, you know, you're right in that there's this, and I don't know if it's just, you know, in the Western world or what it is, but there's this immediate equation in our brains of like business means, you know, revenue and profit and loss sheets and you know, sleazy sales tactics and stuff like that. But the people who I follow, I'm sure you're the same way, and the people who are really like making an impact, especially online are the ones who are like, your business is about relationships. Like you know, it's a person to person thing. You know, even though it may be online, you may never actually meet them in person, right? They have to come to know, love and trust you. And all we want to do that is to like be a real person and like actually genuinely want to help people and serve people. And that's the only way to do that in a sustainable way. So you're, yeah, we're totally on the same page there. I'd love to dig into like what the podcast has looked like when you started it, you know, how, what the growth has looked like in terms of downloads and kind of where you are now.

Brian (17:12):

Yep, yeah. So again, I got really lucky with this and I can speak to a few of the reasons why it's grown, but first off, just what I see happening a lot is everyone has the brilliant idea and it is a brilliant idea to have a podcast. Like it is such a good tool. It's such a good tool if used correctly as we just talked about. But so many people have that idea and then they put their resources together, they send out their email marketing campaigns, they expect a bunch of downloads to, you know, just a flood to your first episode and then it kind of kicks the can along the road. It's underwhelming. And you kind of find yourself being like, wow, that was a lot of effort. And I don't know if I can speak to the value of this. And the reason I got lucky is because that exact same thing happened to me except without the promotion. I just kind of put the content out. And what I benefited from was I wasn't looking at download numbers early on because that wasn't the reason why it was making it. I was making it to understand the platform, to challenge my own personal development, you know, to hold myself accountable to self development. And then also just to kind of test my entrepreneurial skills. You know what I mean? I had a different intent than downloads, but then I did start watching and you know, it was for the first six months, you know, I was a hundred to 300 downloads an episode and this is daily content, right? So it's, you know, a hundred, three hundred. And then at that point I was like, wow, like 100 to 300 people are listening to me every single day. Like wow, like imagine a room of that. And, and that like motivated me being like, Oh my gosh. And that's when I kind of took a new, you know, that was a mindset shift for me being like, Oh, now I'm responsible to be an educator rather than just like iterating. And that's kind of when I doubled down on the podcast side of it instead of, you know, learning the Amazon Alexa flash briefing in the kind of like the smart home audio technology side. So that's kind of when that mindset shift happened and then, you know, then it just kind of compounded and continues to grow beyond my wildest dreams or first expectations, you know? So currently with daily content, I'm getting between five thousand, seven thousand downloads an episode, which is incredible and I'm pumped on that and I expect it to grow even more. But you know, it, it did kind of start growing fast. I don't think I reached a million downloads and I'm at two and a half now. I don't think I reached a million downloads for the first year and a half. So it really has been in this last year where it's just been kind of exponentially growing. And the reason I believe that's true, there are two primary reasons. The first reason is it's called Self-Improvement Daily. So when someone is looking for a self-improvement podcast, they go to the Apple podcast search bar and they type in self-improvement. Then the podcast title matches their search intent. If they're looking for self-improvement podcast, self-improvement daily is likely something that they're going to consider. You know, as you start kind of flicking through all of the different options. And then that's when quality retains them. And that's when the consistency retains them. You know? So there are different things that you have to be able to retain them once you get them. But in terms of the discovery of it, I think that thinking of Apple podcast as a search engine is a completely underutilized tool. Like that is like how else are you going to be discovered? Right? So think of it as a search engine. So that was the first thing that I totally benefited from. And that's why without promotion, without anything external, people were finding Self-Improvement Daily because they were typing in self-improvement. They saw something from daily. Perfect. That's what I'm looking for. They consume, they stay, they tell their friends, it grows. So that's kind of the first side of it. Then once all of that's happening, there's something that happened right alongside it that was just the fuel under it, which is the Apple podcast algorithm. And while I don't have a contact at Apple, this is just a theory and kind of my own impression, so don't take this as you know as truth for sure, but this is what I've seen is that the algorithm behaves just like any other algorithm, meaning that it wants to keep people on platform. And the fact that I was having consistent, complete through plays on my episodes because it's only two minutes long, meant that the Apple podcast algorithm saw my content is so valuable that people were finishing it. It didn't recognize that it wasn't an hour long versus it being two minutes long, like it didn't calculate that. It just knew that people were going a hundred percent to completion and not only that, they were bingeing and watching multiple. So the algorithm started freaking out being like, well, we got to serve this content to people. They're loving it. They're watching so many episodes at a time like this is unseen. So then then I start getting filled in other search engine category. So personal development, self-development, you know, I already had self-improvement like that and I start getting discovered by more people with different key terms because the algorithm is feeding it in the different areas. So with the combination of those two, with the discoverability on key key terms, which was a result of the title of the podcast paired with the algorithm supporting that based on the retention and multiple plays I was getting per each user ended up really kind of amplifying the discoverability in general of the podcast. And of course it's gotta be high quality to be able to sustain that. And that's what I'm continuing to benefit from. And now the game has shifted. So it's come, you know, at first that's like hacks, you know, those are tactics, right? And those are really good. And those will always work because you know, the algorithms, it's a consistent whether or not, you know, it does the same thing is to be seen, but it's consistently there and you'll always have a title, you know? So those are the things that you can think about when it comes to the next level and kind of the trajectory and what I'm trying to accomplish. Then it becomes a credibility game. And what I've found with podcast guests is it's a huge flex match of Oh, who you had on already and how can you use that to leverage the next big guest and big guest and big guests. Right? So it's almost like you have to hop from lily pad to lily pad to just increase the quality of the person coming on. And then the really experienced podcasters who want to come on someone, you know, with someone with an audience, they use that as their social proof. So that's a huge element to it, as well as having those highly qualified guests. And fortunately the high download count for myself as well as having some significant high quality guests has put me in a position where I'm having amazing conversations that I have no business being in. And I'm like, holy moly. Like this is incredible and it's something I want to run with. But that's kind of been the progression, so to speak, of the growth of the podcast and some of the reasons why I think it continues to grow to this day.

Josiah (23:01):

Man, that's amazing. So I'm really, I'm really curious to hear about where you think the podcast is going. Cause one of the things that you had mentioned, you know, before we started recording was this still isn't something that you've been trying to monetize. Like this is something you've been doing, you know, because you love it and it's something that you're passionate about. Is this, do you feel like this is something that you want to turn into, you know, a "business", you know, where it's paying all the bills or is it, do you think it's going to continue to be kind of run alongside the other stuff that you're doing?

Brian (23:33):

Yeah, great question. Yeah, I'm still figuring that out. I mean that's something I'm asking myself often. I don't want to spoil my core intention of it, which was to use it as a vehicle for my own development, my own development, my own skillset when it comes to being a marketer and that networking piece, you know, and the relationship building piece. So that's something that I definitely want to remain intentional about with the content. What's kind of happened in the monetization opportunity that has come about is I have launched a program through it called the Greatness Accelerator Program: Create the change you want to see in 90 days. It's goal setting, you know, from a, you know, create the path and build the infrastructure to implementing habits to accelerating those habits to something that can actually create a massive change in 90 days. So there's this kind of concept that I feel confident speaking on and creating a program around and it's being monetized. But the reason that that even came about is because of a really pivotal partnership that I was seeking. So my podcast has integrated with this group called Greatness Collective, which is a San Diego based purpose driven leader accelerator, basically. It's where a bunch of people who are looking to have a social impact in the world, they meet, they share resources, go out, create change in the world, come back, talk about it, do it again. Right? So that's something that's really near and dear to my heart. So I was able to use my podcast and the kind of reputation I've been able to build on the podcast as a reason to become in a position of leadership at that organization. So now here is my podcast acting as a business development tool for something that I don't even have a business, but it's a business development tool. And I guess that comes back to the original thing of why was I creating content in the first place is my personal brand. So it's a business development tool for my personal brand and that's kind of why this monetization components come in, is to be able to service that community and the relationship that I'm building with that community. Having said that, yes, I am monetizing it and I am profiting from that, but I, at this point don't want to spoil that core intent. So I'm actually donating 50% of the proceeds right off the bat to charity and then I'm reinvesting 50% in the growth of the podcast so I can serve more people. So that's kind of the way that I'm seeing it right now because I'm getting so much out of having the podcast from a relationship and networking side that I don't want it that I don't want first, me to have a different relationship with the content because I think that could be dangerous and it could hurt the product. But then also I don't want to get caught up in the vanity and kind of lose my core reasons for doing it because at the end of the day, I'm a human and you know, I find fulfillment in certain things and that's something I don't want to lose sight of. So that's kind of my relationship with the podcast and its future when it comes to treating it as a business. Having said that, I do want to treat it more like a business for those non-monetized non-financial reasons. I think that's a really good idea. And I'm still trying to figure out exactly what form that takes and how I can use that as a business development platform. And of course at the personal brand and everything picks up and people love me and want me to be on stages and stuff that'd have to re-evaluate. But you know, at this point it's doing so much as it is that I'm not trying to think about tweaking it too much. I just want to really kind of keep it pure and keep it growing because it's something that lights me up every single day and it just, it gives me the energy to do everything else that I need to do. So it's, it's kind of playing that role for my life right now, but it could be different tomorrow.

Josiah (26:37):

That's great. I love that. Cool. So I'm, you know, I'm curious, you talked about you, you talked about Gary Vee and you know, I know a lot of people, a lot of people follow him these days. Who else do you look to, you know, who are some of your content heroes that you look to for inspiration or to teach you about online business?

Brian (26:58):

Yeah, so my number one is David Meltzer. He's based in LA. He's the CEO of Sports 1 Marketing, but he's actually using Gary V's playbook and they're kind of sharing skill sets a little bit. He's helping Gary V on kind of the business and financial side because that's David's strength as a former CEO and current CEO of a marketing agency. And then Gary's giving him kind of the content side of it, which is obviously his expertise. So that's one person I really value his opinion. And you know, I had him on the podcast that built a personal relationship with them. Like, again, that's exactly what the podcast has done for me, is put me in touch with people like him. But the reason that I like him isn't because he's worth multi, you know, hundreds of million dollars. It isn't because he has a million followers. It's because he's doing so while serving people. And his ultimate goal is to empower 1,000 people who will empower 1,000 people who will empower 1,000 people to be happy so that 1 billion people on this planet are happy. And that's something that like that speaks to me. That's what I want to do. That's if I have influence, that's how I want to use it is to create something good. I just have that in my heart. That's, that's just what lights me up. Like that's what I do at four and the fact that I see a template of someone who's using content, who's used experience, who's had success along the way, ups and downs, wins and losses is now applying it in this way and is accelerating in the way that he's able to serve other people and empower others to live a better life and to contribute to the well-being of others. That's something that I can't ignore and that's why he's my number one when it comes to kind of emulating someone that's in the space that you know, I aspire to become more like, he actually says, let me motivate you. You know, don't aspire to me because that's kind of like scarcity thinking. He's like, let me motivate you. So kind of approach it more from abundance. And I featured him all the time on the podcast because I want to continue to support him. I want to continue to serve him, you know? So that's kind of how this cycle kind of like the flow of value cycles around and is disseminated throughout different content creators and people. So that's kind of the first person I'd say. And then Darren Hardy, his book, The Compound Effect was my introduction to personal development and personal development is now central to my life and it's something that's totally opened my eyes. So I'm not in touch with Darren Hardy, but he's someone that I really respect and you know, for the same reasons he came from nothing, was able to build it up for himself and now is doing a lot of good with it. So I think there's kind of that core thread. Of course those are like the macro kind of like you think of the top of the top kind of level of people. You know when it comes to more of the kind of like the second layer and the people who are extremely influential and active but not necessarily a household name. Mike Sherbakov who is the founder of Greatness Collective, he is someone that I've really come to respect and I've tried to buddy up with him as much as possible because he's created this group that is creating purpose-driven leaders and helping them be empowered to impact the community and then come back, you know, like he's created that space and that's something that I want to amplify. That's something I want to learn so I can do it for myself. So I do kind of try and position myself around these people that are going to be major players in my life and pave the path a little bit for me because I don't have to do it alone. If someone has a template, I can easily use that and then grow upon it. And that's kind of my philosophy with it.

Josiah (29:58):

Yeah, that's great. Yeah, you've definitely picked some awesome people to follow for sure. So one last question before we kind of start wrapping this up. Yeah, I'm curious what you would tell, I'm like what would be a piece of advice you would have for you starting out, you know, when you just got started, what would you tell yourself now?

Brian (30:19):

This is a great question because I'm doing it for myself right now. You know, as I try and figure out exactly where I'm going to plant my roots and what I'm trying to create and then like how this is all going to come about. It's a fantastic question. And I can relate to it because I'm thinking of creating new things. And the advice that I give and what I've tried to implement a little bit with Self-Improvement daily is to go deep, not wide. And this is again inspired by Pat Flynn and super fans. Like you want to get the people, that are going to show up to your funeral. You know, like you want to build those relationships on an audience level. If people are going to support you, people are going to be your day ones because when it comes to monetizing or having influence, you need to activate people and the people that you can activate aren't going to be the, Oh I'm casually scrolling past you. They're going to be the people that are looking and evaluating every single word that you say. So if you want to truly be influential, you need to have those core people at a deeper level rather than more people at a wider level. And the way that starting to kind of roll out from me, and again going back to it's so interesting, going back to the core intention I have a podcast is to understand the audio space when it comes to being a marketer and something I'm considering doing is creating the voice and audio marketing podcast. So I can be the thought leader, the industry expert that's owning that space and going really niche because then I'm going to be able to attract certain people who are high responders and then might end up hiring me as a consultant. They'll see me as this authority in this space and that's going to create a whole spinoff of opportunities. So it's like I'm almost experiencing this process for myself. Like, okay, if Brian were to start over, which he might be, you know, where does that begin and what are the best practices for that? It's like get really narrow, get really niche and figure out how you can serve just a few people in a really impactful way.

Josiah (32:03):

Man, that is some great advice man. I really enjoyed this conversation. Brian. I love what you're doing with Self-Improvement Daily. Before we hop off here, can you share with everybody where they can connect with you online?

Brian (32:18):

Absolutely. Yeah, so when it comes to Self-Improvement Daily, I am everything and you know, like you said, you build systems. I need to work on that, you know, that's not my skillset. So if you go to Instagram @self.improvement.daily, it's going to be me. I check my DMs every single day. The program, iIf you are interested in creating a 90 day goal and pursuing it and kind of having the resources that often are overlooked to be able to create that, that's greatnesscollective.com/gap, g-a-p. Those are the two places.

Josiah (32:46):

Awesome. Well man, this has been great. Thanks so much for being on the show and to everybody out there listening, go be a hero.

Josiah (32:52):

Hey everyone, thank you for listening to the Content Heroes podcast. I just wanted to take a second and let you know that we have some amazing guests planned for the coming weeks, so if you haven't already, go ahead and hit subscribe so you can make sure to catch every episode. And if you enjoyed today's episode, go ahead and leave a five-star review to help make it easier for other content creators to find and enjoy the show. Lastly, I'd like to invite you to join our Content Heroes Facebook community where you can connect with other online content creators to share, learn, grow, and have fun. To join the group. Just visit contentheroes.com/facebook. Once again, that is contentheroes.com/facebook.

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