Transcript: How to Start and Build a Profitable Podcast with John Lee Dumas

January 1, 2014

AMY PORTERFIELD: Well, hello there. Amy Porterfield here and welcome to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. As always, I am so honored that you’re here. I know you have many, many options for business podcast. The fact that you’ve chosen mine and you’re sitting here and you’re listening means the world to me. So I promise to make it worth every second of your time. 

So today, we are talking all about creating a brand new podcast. Now my special guest is a recent best of 2013 iTunes award winner John Dumas of Entrepreneur on Fire. 

Now I decided to create this episode at a very specific time. At the time of this recording, I have been podcasting for almost a full year and it has been an amazing experience. I love podcasting. It has opened so many doors for me, introduced me to an entirely new audience and has allowed me to expand my brand beyond Facebook trainings. It has also given me more confidence in my business and it has created opportunities for me that I would never have had if I hadn’t created this show. 

I highly recommend podcasting to anyone that’s looking to expand their brand and take things beyond their blog or website. But don’t just take that advice from me. I’ve brought in an expert to talk all about podcasting. We’re going to make this episode extremely actionable and there’s something here for those just thinking about podcasting or those just starting out and there are some great ideas in here for those that have been podcasting for a while and they want to take their show to the next level. 

So we have something for everyone here. One of the most important pieces of this interview is when John talks about how to achieve a top ranked podcast on iTunes. Really good stuff here. You don’t want to miss a word. 

So let me tell you a little bit about John Lee Dumas. I love to say his full name because it sounds so official. So John is the host of a top ranked business podcast called Entrepreneur on Fire. 

Now Entrepreneur on Fire is a unique show because he broadcasts seven days a week. To me, that takes crazy commitment and John is  going  to  talk  about  that commitment and focus when he gives you a little snapshot of his podcasting journey. 

Now before creating what I call his podcast empire, John graduated from college and then became an officer in the US army which is so bizarre to me because every time I talk to John, I always think of him as this big teddy bear, like the sweetest guy you’ve ever met. So seeing him in the army is just the weirdest thing to me, bit it’s the truth. 

So after the army, he took a series of different corporate jobs and he was good at what he did. He was very successful but he knew he just hadn’t yet found his thing. Well, that thing of his soon became Entrepreneur on Fire and he has created something really special and unique with the show. John has interviewed over 400 people to date and his interviews tell the stories of entrepreneurs who have made it in their niche. The stories of his guests are inspiring to say the least and they truly help others out there who are looking to take their entrepreneurial leap as well. So inspiring, really interesting, entertaining, great stuff. 

Now when he started this podcast in late 2012, he was a complete newbie meaning he had never been behind the mic and knew nothing about podcasting. He learned as he went along. Now I love stories that are relatable and they inspire and that’s John’s story for sure. 

In the show notes, I will link to a great video John created where he tells his own story in a bit more detail and it’s really worth watching because it takes you behind the scenes of where he was and what he has created. 

Now as always, we are going to cover a lot of ground. I don’t want to waste one more minute. Let’s go ahead and get started. 

John, thanks so much for being here today. I truly appreciate it. 

John: Amy, I am so excited to be here. Thanks for having me. 

Amy: Yeah, for sure. It’s always fun to talk to you because every single time we chat, I get a new idea for podcasting and the last time we got to talk, you were pretty much 

blowing my mind with how much I can do with my own podcast. Meaning I already have a podcast and I can take it to the next level. So that got me thinking. Let’s back up a little bit. I know a lot of people listening are thinking about starting their podcast or maybe they started but it’s not really full force just yet. So I thought let’s start at the beginning and talk about getting started with the podcast. You’re cool with that? 

John: I love it. It’s my favorite topic, Amy. 

Amy: OK, perfect. You are the perfect person for this. Now before we get into all the action items, let’s just talk a little bit about Entrepreneur on Fire. Tell me the mission of your show. Give me some details about it. 

John: So Entrepreneur on Fire, Amy, was launched literally off an “aha” moment that I had while I was in traffic one day. I was literally stuck in traffic in a car and I ran on a podcast. I’m like, “Why is there not a podcast that comes out seven days a week that interviews inspiring and successful entrepreneurs?” 

I knew that I wished there was one. There must be other people like me. So I decided to take that step out and follow my passion, follow that light bulb moment that I had and created. The mission from day one was literally to inspire millions of people through the stories of these successful entrepreneurs, like yourself Amy, like Tim Ferriss, Gary Vaynerchuk, Michael Hyatt. I’ve had amazing entrepreneurs on Entrepreneur on Fire not just telling people what their success with right now but sharing their entire journeys, which is so valuable. 

We’ve all had failures. We’ve all had the “aha” moments along this journey and you can really relate to entrepreneurs like that. That’s powerful. So that was really  my inspiration was to share your story Amy and just hundreds of others like you that are successful right now with listeners to really inspire them to take their leap. 

Amy: When you decided to create this podcast, did you decide that this was going to be your main business? This truly is what you do as your business, right? 

John: This is 100 percent it and I was really one of the fortunate ones, Amy, where I had had a lot of “business success” leading up to launching Entrepreneur on Fire. So I had some kind of a runway where I could really take that full leap and it’s  not something you have to do and I see a lot of people who kind of do the side hustle for a while and ease their way into it. That’s a great way to go about it. 

I was though able to jump in full board right in the beginning and make it my primary focus. So when I launched on September 22nd back in 2012, it was the only thing I had on my plate. 

Amy: It’s so fantastic or fascinating to me I guess to hear that because obviously I podcast and it’s just one piece of my business model and that’s pretty much typically what most people do in terms of podcasting. But the reason I like to talk to you about podcasting and get your advice as to how to get started is because you sleep, breathe, eat this stuff. I mean this is your business. 

John: Amy, I was one of those people that when I heard that you were coming out with the podcast, I did a little happy dance because I’m like I can’t wait for Amy to have a podcast because I know that she has such great content I know I can listen to on my jogs, when I’m driving to different appointments or wherever I’m going in this world, taking flights to conferences, et cetera. 

That’s why I love podcasting because it allows the listener to really be a captive and engaged audience and people like yourself, like the guest that I have on Entrepreneur on Fire. You’re right. I eat, live, sleep, eat, breathe it. You name it. Like I’m doing the podcasting but it can also just be a great supplement to your business, to add to your demographic like you utilized before. I mean iTunes Amy is an amazing place to showcase yourself. Forty-five million people are going there every single month, searching for something, and when they’re searching for  online  marketing,  that’s pretty easy to do, you’re going to come up pretty high in that search result. 

Some of those people are going to check out your podcast. Why? Because it’s free. They’re going to like you. They’re going to hear about you for the first time through that podcast. Then they’re going to be drawn back to your website and all the great products and services you offer from there. 

So it’s just another way to be seen and to be heard and to be found just like Amazon is a great way for authors to be seen, heard and found in the book category. That’s what iTunes does for podcasters. 

Amy: It really definitely takes your business, in my opinion, to an entirely new level. I mean before I used to do webinars all the time and I still do. They’re free webinars and people can engage with me and get to know me through these webinars. But like you said, now they can listen to me anytime, anywhere and it’s so personal. 

Just as a side note, I recently ran into somebody at a conference and I didn’t know who she was. I walked up and introduced myself. She said to me, “Gosh, your voice sounds so familiar.” I didn’t say anything because I thought – what I wanted to say was, “Do you listen to my podcast?” because I was all excited thinking maybe she did. 

But I just kind of shut my mouth and just had a conversation with her. Then the light bulb went off in her head, like, “I know! I listen to your podcast.” But instantly, we had a better connection. We had a deeper connection because she realized I’ve been listening to you for a while and I know all about your business and who you are and what you do. 

So I love that connection. I personally feel that a blog just doesn’t do that as much as a podcast does. Do you agree or do you have a different take? 

John: One hundred percent, Amy. Actually a friend that you and I both share, Pat Flynn, is really famous for saying that he often pulls his audience and whenever he pulls his massive audience, podcasting always comes back as the number one way that people find him. When he found that out for the first time a couple of years ago, that’s when he decided to really put in more focus on his podcast. 

I actually would be really curious if you did the same thing with your audience, what the results would be, and I think that Facebook would obviously be a huge – would be obviously very high on that list. But I think that podcasting would be quite high as well. 

Amy: Yes. I need to figure that out and pull my audience. I’m going to be doing a big survey for my list soon and that’s one thing I need to make sure that’s really dialed in. How did you first hear about me? If it is podcast, that’s going to change some things for the new year for sure. I’m going to dive in a little bit deeper. 

John: I will help. 

Amy: Perfect. Lovely. I think that’s a great plan. OK. So let’s get to the actionable stuff here. We are going to be talking about how to get started with a podcast. This is a heavy question. I mean there are a lot of pieces involved but it’s completely doable. If you’re a complete newbie or if you’ve been in the online marketing world for a while and you want to try something new, I feel that everybody can get started. But if the big question is, “Where do you start?” 

John: Great question, Amy. One thing I want to say first and foremost to your listeners is that I am a huge Amy Porterfield fan. Because of this, I’ve really decided to go ahead and create a special landing page for your listeners Amy. It’s at Amy. What’s going to be there is my number one selling book on podcasting Podcast Launch and it walks through every single step that we’re going to talk about Amy in detail. It comes with 15 video tutorials. It’s very detailed. 

So for people right now that are running, that are in their cars and traffic or are flying on an airplane, whatever you’re doing right now, don’t worry. You are going to not have to take notes right now if you don’t want to. You can just continue your job or your drive in pure bliss knowing that this resource is going to be there for you. 

One thing Amy that a lot of people think first and foremost when they think podcasting is wow, I could never get behind a mic and speak. Wow, I could never understand the technical aspects of podcasting, of broadcasting my voice over the internet. That seems daunting and I mean I’m raising my hand right now Amy because you put me in that category. 

My past careers, I was an officer in the US Army for eight years, that I was in corporate finance, that I was in commercial real estate. I had zero online presence and I had zero broadcasting experience. Amy, you are so kind to be one of my first guests but I challenge anybody to go back and listen to the first 50 or so Entrepreneur on Fire episodes. They were bad. 

Luckily for me, my guests were great like Amy and other people. But me as the host, I was very robotic. I was not comfortable behind the microphone because these are skills that come. Amy has improved an incredible amount over these past years. 

I have improved an incredible amount over the past 450 plus episodes that I’ve done because I’ve done it. So I just wanted to get that out of the way first and just say if you’re listening and you’re questioning whether you can podcast or not, believe me, you can. Listen to my first few episodes and you will already be better than that person was back in September, me, John Lee Dumas. 

Amy: And it’s so funny you think that because I remember the very first time you interviewed me and I thought you were fantastic. I personally thought you were a natural but it’s interesting or it’s important for other people to hear that you felt like those first 50 were terrible. So we all are very hard on ourselves and I want to put that out there. Yeah, they might be terrible in some else’s eyes but I love that you say it only gets better. I mean experience and actually getting out there and doing it is 

everything to me, I think. So just you got to get it out there and you’ve got to do it. So great point. 

John: It was awesome. I mean go back and listen to AmyPorterfield and then  because  I  had  you back on the show Amy for a second time and we did a great podcast where I was about 10 times more comfortable. You were about at least one or two times more because you have been podcasting now for a while. So you were just like rocking and rolling. 

Amy: I really did enjoy the second one. I think both of us were more comfortable and it was a really fun topic. We talked about how to create an online produce. When you get to talk about something you’re so passionate about, like you talking about podcasting, it just makes things so much easier anyway. 

John: So let’s talk about podcasting. Where do you want me to start? 

Amy: OK. So I always think people, when they think podcast, the first thing they think about is equipment. Would you agree? I mean I know that’s something that’s on the top of most people’s minds. 

John: Totally agree. It’s chapter one of the book. 

Amy: Oh, perfect. I didn’t even know that. Fantastic. 

John: Absolutely. That’s one of the things I love breaking down for the first few barriers is the equipment. For equipment for a podcast, if you literally have a computer, you are ready to go on a lot of levels. All the computers have built in mics and I have a lot of my guests – I would say at least 50 percent of the guests that I have on my show just have a Mac Air and they’re just talking at the Mac Air and I’m recording them. We’re having a podcast. 

Now, the audio is not great. But guess what, it’s good enough for that interview. Now as a host, I do believe you should step it up at least one level. By that one level Amy, that’s just a $26 Logitech ClearChat USB headset. It’s what I recommend to all my guests. I send out the email a week before and say, hey guys, if you have the time, just for 26 bucks, grab this because it’s going to take your audio quality from a two to a seven or an eight, literally just that $26 investment. 

There’s another step up from there. It’s called the Blue Yeti and that’s a great microphone that I use on a stand for all of my webinars and such. Then there’s the Heil PR-40 which is the top end, which is the $300 microphone that’s actually XLR that plugs into a mixer. Is that what you use Amy? 

Amy: That’s what I use. But I use the Yeti for my webinars. 

John: Yeah. 

Amy: So I’m definitely on the same page and I’ve used that Yeti for years and it has been fantastic. I’ve always gotten great compliments on the Yeti. So if you’re not ready to go for the $300 mic, the Yeti is just going to do the trick as well. 

John:  There you go. So Amy and I are in the exact same boat. We both use Yetis for our webinars and some of you might be like, “Well, why don’t you just use a Heil PR 40 since you both have them?” One reason, and maybe it’s the same for you Amy, is that a lot of the webinars don’t play well with mixers connecting into your computers. So you need to just connect it directly through the USB, just right into your computer. So that’s really a reason why. 

But literally guys, just that $26 Logitech ClearChat headset is all you need for your audio quality. Then when it comes to actually recording that audio, Amy and I are talking on Skype right now. It’s free. Every single person that I’ve interviewed, the 450 plus, and that ranges from people up to Fran Tarkenton who’s an NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Amy who’s now 80 years old. 

Amy: Wow. 

John: He jumped on Skype. So I mean guys, everybody can get a free Skype account. You can record the calls just like Amy and I are doing right now. You can record them into free software. Audacity works for both PC and Macs and GarageBand, if you’re a Mac person, comes preinstalled on your Mac. 

So those are all you need. Those pieces of equipment are all you need to record a podcast and to literally get it out there. From that step Amy, it’s really just getting behind the mic, practicing, and then taking the next step which is your media host, which we can talk about next. 

Amy: Yeah, let’s do that. So tell us about this media host. 

John: OK. So after you recorded your episode, which again is really easy, you’re just talking to a microphone. You’re recoding software either Audacity or GarageBand is recording it. You’re going to download it as an MP3 and then once you have that MP3 on your computer, it needs to go somewhere. So you can actually host it. 

Now a lot of people might want to just put it on to their WordPress website but the problem with that is if you get a lot of listeners like myself and Amy, and a lot of people start streaming that podcast from your website, that could clog up your bandwidth. So there are great companies out there that host your media. The one that both Amy and I use is called Liberated Syndication. Again guys, this is all on the book, step by step video tutorials. But the website is 

So it’s a simple process of taking that MP3 player, uploading it into your media host and then when you have it there, it’s just hosted on this media host and it has unlimited plays. You no longer have to worry about bandwidth. You no longer have to worry about anything. If anybody is familiar with Amazon S3, it’s very similar to that except you pay one month. 

So to start off with Lib Syn, either $7 or $15 per month. That will be as big a plan as you need to get going. So again, guys, we’re talking – right now we’re at $35 to have a great- sounding audio podcast with your Logitech ClearChat, a free recording software with Audacity or GarageBand and a $7 or $15 per month media host with Lib Syn and at that point, you’re ready to take pretty much the final step and that’s just submitting the RSS feed that Lib Syn gives you to the directories, iTunes, Stitcher Radio, SoundCloud, et cetera. So how are we doing so far, Amy? 

Amy: This is good stuff. I love how you’re making it very step by step and actionable which is how my brain works. So keep going. Let’s go with it. 

John: So again, I like to kind of go back over things, just to show people how easy it is. I mean guys, you just received your Logitech ClearChat headset in the mail. You plug it in. You record some audio. You export the MP3. You upload that MP3 to Lib Syn who gives you your RSS feed which is just like a URL. 

Then you go to iTunes and there’s a button called Submit a Podcast. You paste in that URL Amy. Seventy-two hours or less later, your podcast is in iTunes. 

Amy: OK. That is good stuff. Would you agree you’ve got to get it on iTunes? There are other directories that people could be submitting to but iTunes is definitely the must, right? 

John: iTunes is like the Amazon for authors. If you’re going to write a book, you’re going to publish it on Kindle. You’re going to submit it to the Amazon bookstore because that’s where the audience lives. 

The same thing with iTunes. Again, I can throw out a couple of  more  numbers because 45 million people Amy go to iTunes every single month. But there are over 515 million iTunes subscribers worldwide. Speaking of podcasts specifically, there are over one billion subscriptions to podcasts. 

Amy: Geez, I had no idea. I actually didn’t know those numbers. 

John: Yeah, it was pretty cool. Myself and Lewis Howes about a month and a half ago were invited up to Cupertino in San Francisco, right south of there, to sit down with the head of podcasting in the iTunes headquarters. They basically gave us a presentation of where they were going with podcasting. Amy, 2014 is going to be huge for podcasting. 

Amy: OK, wait a second. Let’s talk about this. This is a little side note we’re taking in the podcast. You sat with the iTunes podcast team and they told you where they’re going with things. 

John: Yeah, they absolutely … 

Amy: Were you dying inside? That had to have been the coolest moment. 

John: It was the coolest moment to be literally ushered on to the Apple campus to be sitting down at the iTunes headquarters. It was an amazing moment. One of the major reasons for myself was actually Entrepreneur on Fire was just awarded best in iTunes for 2013. 

Amy: Wow! 

John: Yeah. I was truly honored, Amy, and my podcast was honored for that reason. So they wanted to sit down with people like myself and like Lewis who they reached out to personally and said, “Listen, we want to bring up some of the individual podcasters who are really in our opinion doing it right and share with you where we’re taking podcasting because we want you to spread the word to your friends, to your audience, that hey, iTunes is here to stay. We’re focusing on podcasting and it’s going to be huge.” 

Amy: OK. That’s just a great message to know and to really trust in iTunes and what they’re doing. But also I just want to point out and I know you’ve mentioned this before, but whoever is listening right now, we’re talking to a guy that back in – early 2012, you were not a podcast expert, right? 

John: In the middle of 2012, I was not. 

Amy: You weren’t comfortable behind the mic. You didn’t have  a  huge  online presence. Of course you were a successful guy. You knew your stuff. I mean let’s be honest. You’re a smart guy and you’re a go-getter. You have that passion in you, that fire in you. So those are all things that to me make a man. But you did not have the experience of podcasting and here now fast forward just a few years, and you’re sitting in the office of Apple and you’re listening to where iTunes is going because one of your – because your show is chosen to be one of the top in 2013. I’ve got to give you a big congrats. That is amazing stuff. 

John: No, thank you Amy. It literally was almost 13 months to the day of when I launched my podcast. I was sitting in the iTunes office and to me what that says and what I love to spread to my audience and now to yours is the power of focus because Amy, there were so many things I could have done as an online entrepreneur. 

But I was like, you know, I’m just going to dominate one niche. I’m going to focus on podcasting and not just podcasting, but seven-day-a-week podcasting to get out an incredible amount of content, to meet a ton of entrepreneurs by having conversations with people like yourself, with Tim Ferriss, with Seth Godin, with Barbara Corcoran seven days a week, not just one day a week. That focus Amy allowed me to dominate that niche and get to where I am now. 

There are so many niches out there that are waiting to be dominated by the listeners right now. 

Amy: Yes. That’s what’s so exciting. Anybody listening now, this could be your story or something very similar with that focus and that drive and just getting really excited about the projects that you’re working on in the new year. To me, that makes a huge difference.

OK, SO I’m kind of taking you off-track. I have some questions that just came up based on what you said but I’m going to shelf them for a moment. So we can move on to really walking through the steps here.

So now that we’ve got the media host providers, the directories, we’ve talked about that. What happens next? 

John: So once your podcast is live, it literally can be found in these directories, in the Stitcher Radios, in the iTunes directory, by people just doing simple searches. Then just like when you post a blog post and it goes out to your RSS feed, to your RSS subscribers. Every time you upload a new podcast to Lib Syn, it automatically gets sent out and disseminated to all of the directories that you’ve subscribed to just one time. 

So it’s just literally subscribing or submitting that podcast feed, that RSS feed once to the directories and then you can just focus on creating content, uploading to your media host and it gets automatically sent out to all of these directories to be consumed by your growing audience. 

Amy: OK, perfect. So I have questions about intros and outros and show notes. So should I hold on to those? Are you going to talk about them next? 

John: No, let’s do it right now because those are great questions. So there are a lot of reasons why a seven-day-a-week podcast hadn’t yet been done when I launched it. There was just a focus on interviewing entrepreneurs and really sharing their journey. The reason for that Amy was because people were so scared, that you couldn’t build a brand. You couldn’t build an audience with just a podcast. 

The actual answer to that is that you can but you really do have to work on it. You have to work on it by building that platform. So you bring up show notes. You want to have a headquarters in place. For you it’s For me it’s You have a lot easier time getting people back to your website because you have so much out there as far as blog posts and you’re on Facebook. They can just click and be on your website. 

With podcasts, people are in the car. They’re running. So there has always been more of a challenge to get people to interact with your actual headquarters, your home base, your website. 

So you have to try harder as a podcaster and for me and for you Amy because you have amazing show notes, it really can come down to show notes and that’s during the show when people are bringing up great resources and great talking voice and maybe books that they recommend. I know you love rework Amy. You do a great job 

of really pushing people back to your website and say, “Hey, I had the links reworked right here. Come check it out at” 

That’s what I do with Entrepreneur on Fire. So it’s so important to  have  a headquarters. It’s so important to – for each episode you release, to have a legitimate show notes page that has all those resources, all those books, a summation of the episode there. So I can just say, “Hey guys, is where you’re going to get all this great stuff. Amy’s contact information, her Facebook link, everything on that page.” 

Then you can direct people back. You have now on your website and you can be offering them other things, email capture which you and I both know the importance of that Amy, and other resources for entrepreneurs. I have a sidebar that talks about Podcasters’ Paradise which is the community that I created for podcasters to create, grow and monetize their podcast. So that’s right there. So now the people on the website, they can see the other things that I offer. 

That’s why show notes are so important and why as the host you have to reference them throughout the show. 

Amy: Great. For those of you who are totally brand new to this, I just want to admit that when I first started podcasting, like literally I had the equipment. I was already ready to record my very first one. I had to look to my assistant who knew more about podcasting than I did at the time. I had to ask her. I don’t understand what show notes are. Are these PDFs people are going to download? I was very confused about the term “show notes”. 

But really what I found out is just a really great blog post that accompanies your audio. Would you agree? 

John: A hundred percent. That’s exactly what it is. 

Amy: OK, because that word just kind of is a little confusing to people. So you’ve got your show notes. Really, really important. Another great thing about show notes is that if you are promoting something, let’s just say that you wanted to promote a program that you were working on and you mentioned it in the podcast, you can put a link to that program in the show notes and it can be an affiliate link. 

You could actually make money off your podcast but in a really subtle way. It’s not a big promotion or push. It’s just hey, I’ve got this great resource. You want to go check 

it out. So there’s definitely a monetary tied to those show notes when you do them right. 

John: That’s a phenomenal point Amy, and for those people that are listening right now that are saying, “Well, I don’t even have a program or a product or a service,” let me give you a quick rundown of how I first started monetizing almost on day one. 

Now mind you, this was not in a major way at all. But it was monetizing and it has grown every single week since then and that is on my podcast and I know on your podcast, you mentioned a lot of books as well. 

But Amy, I always mentioned I have my guest talk about their favorite book. So I went up and I signed up for the Amazon Associates account which is free to do. Then every single time my guest mentions a book on the link on the show notes page, that’s an affiliate code to where that book is on Amazon. 

So back when I had 50 episodes, I had 50 books that were linked up on those 50 show notes pages and it has only grown since then. I’ve seen my dollars roll in exponentially as this continued to snowball down where now I have 450 of those books on 450 show notes pages going all the way back to September of 2012 in Entrepreneur on Fire. 

We’re going to break $400 for the month of – what is it now? December, yeah, the month of December which is not a lot of money but that’s just off of one – one at a time book sales, which is really crazy to think of. 

Amy: That’s fantastic. You’re saying 400 bucks a month? 

John: Yeah, this month. 

Amy: Fantastic. I mean that’s money that you – to me, I always see that as icing on the cake. In the beginning it was money that was needed when you were just starting things out. But now because you’ve got so much, other things going on, bringing in those affiliate deals just through even books, to me is a no-brainer. I think everybody should be doing that. 

So good stuff for sure. Now you mentioned something that I think we should dive in a little bit deeper – monetizing your podcast. You do this in a very specific way and I know we’ve talked in the past, you and I just in conversation, the pros and cons of having sponsorship for you podcast. 

So can you talk to us a little bit about how your situation is set up and some pros and cons of that? 

John: Absolutely. I will say first and foremost that that was the major question that I was getting when I launched my podcast is – OK, John, we get it. You’re just going to be a podcast-focused business and you’re going to really focus on seven days a week. How are you going to monetize? That was a question that I had to really try to answer at least almost every single day when I was interacting with  people  about  my business, et cetera. 

One of the good things about that is that really makes you think as a business owner. How can I monetize my audience? How can I monetize my podcast? For me, it does always come back to that word “audience” and podcasting is an amazing way to monetize your audience. It’s just an amazing way to build an audience that you can then monetize. 

So with Entrepreneur on Fire, Amy, I really am a huge believer in that Pat Flynn model, that transparency model, and he set the bar incredibly high by posting his income report on a monthly basis. 

So when we had our one-year anniversary for Entrepreneur on Fire, we were like, “You know what? We are going to follow that model because we’re huge believers in it.” So starting in September of 2013 and every month going forward, we’re posting  our income reports for Entrepreneur on Fire to show how much we’re making from sponsorships Amy, product, services, everything combined, all of our successes because we want these listeners and we want our readers to be able to emulate those successes. 

Just as important, Amy, and as you know from the podcast, we want people to avoid our mistakes and avoid our failures and we are making a ton of those on a monthly basis. We’re proud of that because that means we’re really challenging ourselves. So that’s really a couple of ways that we’re really looking to be transparent moving forward. Anyway, just to share with your audience because it’s out there posted online and we do that on a monthly basis. 

But Entrepreneur on Fire for the last three months has been at six figures per month for October, November and December. 

Amy: Unreal. 

John: So there is real money to be made via podcasting, via building a brand, via building an audience by really providing value first. That’s what Entrepreneur on Fire is. It’s providing value first for free and that’s what it’s all about. 

So to really drill down about sponsorships and Amy I wrote an incredibly long post and I want to call it epic but that wouldn’t be right. So I’m just going to call it a long post about podcast sponsorships. I will share that link with you so you can put it in the show notes page. 

Amy: Great. 

John: But it’s just It really gets into my philosophies behind it and with Entrepreneur on Fire, we generate $40,000 every single month on sponsorship revenue alone. Now that’s obviously a massive number and we’re really happy that Entrepreneur on Fire generates that amount but what we’re really frank and upfront about Amy is that podcast sponsorships is not for everybody and it shouldn’t be for everybody especially at first. 

You need to really decide what it’s worth to you, the podcast host, to dilute your podcast with a sponsorship because all those sponsorships can add value in some areas if it’s really relevant to entrepreneurs; in my case, for Entrepreneur on Fire. It is taking people away from your site. It is detracting from the main focus of  your message. 

So I didn’t bring on sponsors until the sixth month point because that was the day that I was able to start generating $500 per episode. When you multiply that by 30, that meant that was bringing in about $15,000 per month sponsorships  alone. Obviously as my downloads have increased, Amy, my sponsorship revenue has also increased and that’s why we’re at $40,000 per month now. 

So those numbers really can add up when you do a lot of shows and you have a large audience. But I don’t recommend them for people right off the bat until those audience numbers really do make sense. 

Amy: Now give me an example of a sponsorship. Who’s one of your sponsors? 

John: OK. So one of our sponsors is Audiobooks and I bring them up as an example Amy because they’re great for any podcaster because if you’re listening to a podcast by Amy Porterfield, that means you like consuming audio. 

So you probably like consuming audio books and like Amy – Rework is an amazing audiobook by the way. That could be an example for you to say, “Hey guys, Audiobooks is actually a sponsor of this show. I love this book. If you want to go check it out, go to,” or whatever your personal link would be. That would be your sponsorship for the show because a full sponsorship is 15 seconds at the top of the show, and then 60 seconds at some point in the middle. You will splice it in. 

So I don’t do any of my sponsorships live reads. I actually go in after the fact and splice in recorded reads. I make them sound as natural as possible but I go in after the fact. So for you Amy, it would be right before we started this interview. For 15 seconds, you would be talking about Audiobooks. Then for 60 seconds in the middle, which is obviously a lot longer, so for a full minute, you would have a sponsorship lined up for say Audiobooks. We might get into a little more depth about why you like listening to Audiobooks and where you listened to one recently and why Rework was awesome and a couple of takeaways you had to really kind of spice it up. 

Then Audiobooks, on their side, has that special link for you. So they know how much their return on investment is, their ROI, which is another reason I really, really recommend, hey, you need to wait until that audience is big enough because if your sponsor is not seeing your return on investment, they’re not going to keep sponsoring with you. 

So build that audience first and then when the numbers make sense, go forward. 

Amy: Perfect. OK. I will definitely link to that epic article that you’ve written about sponsorship because there are people listening now. They’re very curious about that topic. So we will definitely link there. 

I wanted to talk about two more things and then we will wrap it up. We have to jump back a little bit. I pushed you forward and skipped the whole intro-outro thing. Can you talk about why that’s important and how people can get that done? 

John: So intros and outros are a critical part to every podcast. I mean anybody that has listened to this podcast heard a great example of an intro. Amy has a great intro and a great outro. It’s a way that allows her to make it sound like a professional show. You know, not somebody that’s just pushing the record button, talking  at  their computer for 30 minutes and then pressing Stop. 

Amy took the time and the effort to hire a professional voice, to get some great music, to get people kind of fired up for that. That’s what the intro is all about. 

Amy, you have a great voiceover artist that does your intros and your outros and it’s really cool to hear. I take a little bit of a different tact. I have a good friend of mine Tim Paige who does my intro but then I actually do my outro and it’s kind of a little longer and rambling, because people that are sticking around to that point, I found, want to hear a little more about me and what I have going on; maybe the products and the services and the latest and greatest from Entrepreneur on Fire. 

So I give that to them in the outro. But with the intros, it’s really important to be short, sweet, professional and with one call to action. For my call to action, I always say make it be back to your webpage. Make it be back to your headquarters, It’s where that one call to action should be because again, this is people that are hearing your podcast for the first time. You want to use that opportunity to brand yourself and to get people to really be thinking about all the resources back at your headquarters,, which is so important. 

But you want to be into the main content at the one-minute mark or earlier. My goal is at the 50-second mark, I’m starting my podcast and that’s with two 15-second sponsorships Amy. So I really focus at the beginning. I go, “Entrepreneur on Fire episode 400.” Twelve- second intro, two 15-second sponsors, and into the interview because I want people to get that content right away. 

Amy: Yeah. I think that’s so important just to go right into it as quickly as possible, but still adding a little interest in the very beginning. So I’m so glad you brought that up in terms of timeframe. 

John: I will give two quick resources to intros. 

Amy: Oh, good. 

John: You can go to and that’s just like a 99Designs for intros. You can literally – you put a task out there and you get people that come back and bid on that task. They will do test voices, test music, doing everything for you. It’s a really cool process. 

Also is a guy that does great intros. He did my intros. I mean he just does a great job. He has it all together. So those are two different ways you can go forward in getting intros and outros for your shows. 

Amy: I’m so glad you brought that up. Resources are important here. So I’m going to try to load the show notes with as many resources as possible especially a lot coming from John. One of my very, very favorite intros of a podcast of all time is Pat Flynn’s. 

John: Right. 

Amy: Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income, you guys have got to go listen. If you haven’t listened to Pat already, literally go and listen to just the first seconds of like 10 of his podcasts and they’re amazing. They’re all different. They’re all really fun. Now he has got an extremely creative like music and singing and all that good stuff. 

John: Quick little story Amy. When I was on his podcast on episode 77, he started by going, “That guy is on fire!” 

Amy: No, he did not. 

John: Yes, he did. 

Amy: I must have missed that one because I probably would have loved that one. 

John: Oh, go check it out. 

Amy: It’s like he has no – he’s never embarrassed, no shame. The guy just goes for it. I appreciate that. I love that. So you guys, if you want to listen to a really good intro that’s different every single time, Pat Flynn the first few seconds basically. 

John: It’s the best out there. 

Amy: It is. He’s really good. OK. So my last question then I want to ask you about is – well, I lied. Two questions and I promise we will go fast. But one is that, “Do you believe that you can outsource some of this?” 

John: Absolutely. You can definitely outsource a lot of the different processes and I do it myself. I have a virtual assistant that works 40 hours every single week for me, 160 hours per month. I outsource a ton of stuff to her. 

I have really close friends that outsource the editing, the splicing in the intros and outros. I think that you do that as well Amy. I think you have other people that actually put the intros and the outros on your shows. You can outsource all of these different things. It’s just a matter of finding the right virtual assistants to do so. 

When it comes to the actual podcast itself – and again, I’m in the minority rightfully so because there’s no need to do this. I do all the editing and adding of the intros and outros and sponsors myself just because that’s the way that I do things. I need to at some point outsource and I recommend anybody doing it and I will probably – this would probably be a New Year’s resolution for me. But there are some great virtual assistants out there. You can outsource literally everything, the transcripts, the show notes, X, Y, Z. 

Always keep your main core, what you’re doing, yourself because Amy, you are your brand. I am Entrepreneur on Fire. I never will let go of that site. That will always be a focus. But all we have is time Amy. All we have is time. 

We need to be using out time in the best way to build our brands. That’s not always editing “uhms” out and that’s not always slapping on the intro or an outro. We just need to realize that as entrepreneurs. 

Amy: Yes, for sure. So I outsource my show notes, the tagging, the uploading, submitting, the MP3. So much of what I do I outsource. So I believe in just what you said. Your brand is your brand. You’ve got to stick with what’s true to you in terms of the content and creation of all of that but those things that you don’t necessarily need to be doing, it’s hard to let go of, but it’s worth – your time is worth so much that you’ve got to think about outsourcing when it comes to your podcast. 

Now one thing that we talked about a lot throughout this entire episode is that you are podcasting seven days a week and that makes me very nervous when I hear that because you know, I only do two times a month. 

Now I do believe that I want to eventually increase that because what I’ve seen across the board is those people that are more consistent and do more podcasts throughout the month, I feel that they are higher in the iTunes charts. Is there a correlation there? 

I mean of course it comes down to content. But do I have to podcast more to get out there more? 

John: So content is far and away the most important thing. If it would dilute your content at all, Amy, I would say whatever scheduled you’re on right now, two times a month is wonderful because it is enough and again, your content is what’s going to drive people to listen, to re-listen, to recommend it, to share, all of the above. 

That is always first and foremost. However, I was sitting down with the head of iTunes and they would not – very much like Google, they would not reveal what their exact algorithms are. But overall downloads, subscribers in the last 24 hours and overall subscribers, downloads in the last 24 hours, those things factor in a lot with ranking. 

So if you pull up the rankings right now, you will see that Lewis Howes is number two. Entrepreneur on Fire, myself, I’m number three. Pat Flynn is number five and the reason for that is because we do produce shows on a weekly or higher basis. So we’re always getting a lot of downloads in the last 24 hours. 

I’m sure with you Amy, if you looked at your stats, you would see you get a lot of downloads when your shows go live. 

Amy: Yeah. 

John: By like the week and a half point, you’ve probably petered out a little bit until that next show goes live. So you’re going to slide in the rankings there because iTunes is looking at you and saying, “She hasn’t been downloaded that much in the last 24 hours. She must be falling out of favor, X, Y, Z.” 

That’s the way some of their algorithms work. Now again, we don’t know 100 percent but this is just like very – by studying and watching, looking at it, it’s very obvious. For instance, right now, Lewis Howes is ranked number two. He has never been ranked that high anytime recently but he’s being featured on the homepage of iTunes right now. 

So he’s getting many more subscribers and downloads than he’s used to and that’s driving his rankings up to this incredibly high heights right now. 

Entrepreneur on Fire, I’m also being featured on the homepage as the top of 2013 in iTunes right there on the iTunes homepage. So that’s driving up my numbers as well, which is putting me ahead of Pat Flynn and Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman and everybody else who has a business podcast because of those reasons. 

So my definite recommendation to someone like you Amy who has a passionate following that would listen to everything that you put out, if you move to a weekly show, there would be no doubt that you would see an increase in your average ranking throughout the week, I mean throughout the month, because you would not see that slippage. That’s really important. 

So I personally believe for most entrepreneurs, 90 percent plus, a weekly show is the way to go because you have other things you need to be focusing on. You have a lot of different eggs in the basket and you shouldn’t be letting those other eggs  crack because you’re focusing too much on podcasting. 

But if you could step it up to just once a week, then I really believe that you would see a huge increase in your average positioning in the iTunes rankings which is massive Amy, because the organic traffic that that drives, the organic traffic that I see to my podcast and to my website when I’m ranked in the top five as opposed to number 15 is pretty significant. 

Amy: That is great to hear. I love that you gave us a solid number. Once a week tends to be that sweet spot and I love that you bring it home. The reason being is that you can drive more traffic to your podcast and to your website in order to increase that traffic overall for your brand. 

That’s truly why I love this opportunity with podcasting because I’m reaching people I would have never reached before with just my blog or just my webinar. So it opened so many doors. I mean the last time we talked – and we’re going to wrap it up here – but the last time we talked, I was saying that one of the reasons that I love to podcast is this whole new audience that I’ve been able to reach and a new peer group. 

I would have never even met John, at least we wouldn’t be as good friends, if we didn’t have this in common. There are so many people I’ve met that are podcasters and we have the same things to talk about. We get excited about the same topics. That makes a huge difference in my business because of the connections and the networking and all of that. So it’s kind of like just a little extra layer I never expected. 

John: A hundred percent. I mean for all the listeners, they can definitely understand, Amy, the organic possibilities that are out there. When somebody is searching for a business podcast and they go to iTunes, they’re going to look at top podcasts. If they see your pretty face and click on that podcast and listen to your great voice and great content, they’re going to be hooked. That’s all it’s going to take to get them in. But you have to be up there for them to find you. 

Amy: Yes. That’s why it’s so important to really think about if you’re going to start a podcast, give it 100 percent, your full focus, like John started this out, with your full focus because it’s an exciting place to be and as you mentioned, it’s only getting bigger and more popular and it’s getting that attention it finally deserves. So to me, in 2014, podcasting is where it’s at. 

John: Absolutely. is where your free book is out listeners. 

Amy: Thank you so much for doing that. We all love free things but this is a really great opportunity for people to dive in. They didn’t have to take notes. They can get all the information right there in the book. So thanks for doing that John. 

John: Amy, it was my pleasure. I love getting the opportunity to chat with you and the icing on the cake is to chat with your audience. 

Amy: Well, thanks again and can’t wait to talk to you again soon. Take care John. So there you have it. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast, make sure to take 

advantage of John’s offer to grab his ebook Podcast Launch for free. 

Now you only have until February 1, 2014 to grab that ebook for free. I will make sure to include a link to it in my show notes. After that, you’re going to have to pay for it on Amazon. 

Now in addition to that, John is also the creator of Podcasters’ Paradise, an ever- evolving community of podcasters looking to create, grow and monetize their podcast. If you’re interested in that program, I will also make sure I link to it in the show notes. 

Now speaking of show notes, you can find all the links I talked about in the show at Also if you like this podcast, I would really appreciate it if you would take just a few minutes and leave a review for me on iTunes. It’s really simple to do. All you need to do is go to and it will take you to the page that you can click to launch iTunes and leave a review. 

It would mean so very much to me if you would take just a few minutes to do so. So thank you in advance. So until next time, make it a great week. Take care! 

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