Jason Blumer | The Real Measure of Podcast Success

Jason Blumer, of Blumer CPAs, specializes in helping creative, service-based companies go beyond the founder by putting together a team, one that must grow for the business to grow.

But you can’t hire just anyone. And you can’t manage and lead 20 people like you did five.

Jason has solid strategies for making that transition, creating a strategy for consistent growth…and having the patience to let the process work.

We unpack that in detail and also talk about how Jason has leveraged podcasting to take his own businesses to the next level…

Tune in to learn about…

  • Busting through your growth ceiling
  • Why you should only work with “unfriendly” business coaches
  • The ultimate accountability partner
  • The #1 rule for a successful podcast (how many people listen doesn’t really matter)
  • And more

 

Episode Timeline
:

00:11 Today Steve speaks with Jason Blumer. Jason was an early adopter of the virtual office concept. He works with creative digital industries to break the ceiling and push on to the next level.

01:41 Jason’s rock ‘n’ roll career didn’t quite work out so he did what many failed rock stars do, he became an account instead!

04:19 Jason talks about hitting the growth ceiling and how he can guide you to break through it.

08:35 Steve talks about hitting his own growth ceiling at 15 people.

09:50 Jason explains how he guides business owners through the growth process.

13:43 Steve and Jason talk about the cycle of the continuous breakthrough in business, how difficult that can be, and how it is important to check your progress to see how far you’ve come.

16:26 Jason talks about 3rd party objectivity and how he is definitely not your friend.

19:34 Jason talks about coaching and what makes a good coach.

22:09 Steve and Jason talks about having different coaches and the immediate effect they can have.

25:48 Steve talks about being able to vent to his coach when he can’t with anyone else.

27:46 Jason talks about the difference between group coaching and one-on-one.

32:46 Jason talks about his two podcasts and the benefits podcasting can have for your business.

They both go into detail on the how it is to run a successful podcast.

42:40 Jason tells us how best to get in contact with him.

Mentioned in this Episode:

JasonBlumer.com

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Transcript

Welcome to the Unstoppable CEO Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Gordon. Today I’ve got to tell you I’m excited because I’ve invested a little time with our next guest. He actually had me as a guest on his podcast not long ago, and just really love what he’s doing in business. Today I’m talking with Jason Blumer of Blumer & Associates, CPAs.

He’s built that firm over the last 15 years. One of the first firms in that industry to move from a traditional office to a virtual company. They serve creative businesses, specifically digital creative agencies, and help them grow. He’s very, very familiar with all the ins and outs of growing a service business, and that’s really what we’re going to talk about today.

Also, as I said, he runs a podcast. Actually, he runs two podcasts. He speaks and writes frequently about growing creative agencies, and he’s been honored as one of the top 100 most influential people in accounting by Accounting Today, which is sort of the Bible of accounting. Jason, I’m excited that we’re here. I’m glad you’re here. This is going to be a lot of fun.

Yeah. Steve, thanks for having me, man. Those are some great accolades. I must have fed you an amazing bio for you to read for me.

Absolutely.

This is great, man.

Well, you’re like, “Who is this guy, right?” Help us get beyond the bio. How did you get to this stage of your career? How did you get all these great honors?

Yeah. I guess it started when I was in a rock band in college. That’s where all accountants start, I think.

Right.

No, I am a CPA, and they’re like, “Why are you a CPA? That really doesn’t match.” I have always been this creative individual. I just want to do everything, see everything, know everything, play with everything. Two years into the band, and practices, we figured out we weren’t going to tour the world. We thought we might, but that did not work out, so my dad was an accountant. I chose a major, and my dad was an accountant, so I chose accounting.

Then just went through the rigmarole of being a CPA working in firms, working in private accounting, and now public accounting, like a CPA firm. My dad started a firm in ’97, and so I came and started leading that in 2003, a little over 15 years ago, May 2003, and here we are. That originally turned into almost, about nine years ago, another company, so my partner and I lead two companies.

When Creative Accounting Is a Good Thing

One of them is called Thriveal, and the other is called Blumer CPAs. Thriveal is the consultancy and community where we care for entrepreneurs, firm owners basically. Every day my partner and I lead a firm, and go through all the things that that takes to run a virtual firm with a team of about 12, serving those creative, digital marketing agencies. Then Thriveal is just a community where we teach CPA firm owners how to lead in creative ways and grow healthy firms. That’s what we do daily.

Fantastic. I didn’t realize that you kind of grew up in a CPA family. We have that in common. My dad’s a CPA as well. Just sold his firm not long ago.

Oh cool.

Finally retired. He couldn’t pass it down to me because I, for a brief moment, like you, had the accounting major, but it just didn’t take.

Okay, it didn’t take. Sometimes accounting doesn’t take, that’s true.

It was not where I was gifted, but yeah, so you’re working with these agencies, and I know you’ve grown your own, now, two businesses. We all know that’s not all roses every day, right?

Oh no, no.

There’s tough stuff along the way. I’m sure in both growing your own business, and with the businesses that you consult with.

Oh yeah.

How do you get them, when they get to a place of being stuck, how do you get them past that?

Yeah. There’s a lot of models to figure out why, and when you get stuck. We particularly use an EOS model, Entrepreneurial Operating System, and they talk about growth ceilings. It’s just true. In service-based businesses, you grow those with team, right? That’s how you grow a service-based business. If you’re selling knowledge, you need more smart brains to sell, basically.

That just means those businesses, service-based businesses, come with complexities, right? Humans are complex. Ultimately, owners run into growth ceilings. A lot of times we see those at various team sizes, a lot of times. There’s no science to it, but probably three to five team members in a service firm is kind of one ceiling people bump into.

Then you get into 12 to 15, and then you get into 20, and 28 kind of you start bumping into these various ceilings. Basically, when people are getting stuck, or they’re hitting a ceiling, a lot of times they’re needing to move to a new level of leadership and management of a bunch of humans. They don’t know how, so there’s some new level of learning that they need, basically.

Then, typically, they have to break through the ceiling. They have to do something, not necessarily disruptive, but there’s something you’ve got to do to break a ceiling. You’ve got to crash it in some way. A lot of times that’s a risk, some risk you need to take. I’ll give you an example.

Sometimes if you’re going from the five team member to 12, you’ll find out that two partners in a service-based company can’t really serve all the team that’s now required to produce all the service to support a firm that’s that size. You need a new level of leadership that’s between you and the team. Two partners serving three people is different with two partners serving 12 people.

You need a new level of leadership that’s going to do additional care. Now, you’re asking … Again, the firm owner doesn’t know, they don’t know this, but they have to institute new leadership, and teach them how to be leaders, teach them how to represent the owners, teach them how to lead teams, and answer those technical questions on a daily basis.

Figuring Out How to Break Through Your Growth Ceiling

That’s an example of a ceiling. They’ve got to break. They may not know, so we’ll teach them, and coach with them to say, “Hey, who in your firm can you lead into this leadership position?” Start training them, and you know that’s a risk, so you’re taking risks to break ceilings. A lot of it has to do, really, with that owner, that service-based owner.

We know that the beliefs of that owner, they come out in their behaviors, and so if we can identify the behaviors and the patterns over time, we can start to learn what they believe. Then, through coaching and consulting, we want to go after those beliefs, and find out, “What are you believing about this new model of business you’re trying to run?”

Sometimes in those new levels, as an example, they’ll bump into, some people may call it a lifestyle firm. Maybe this belief you have around a lifestyle firm, where you’re running your firm on a beach or something like that, doesn’t match now the care that’s required from a team this much larger, and the clients that are much larger. We’ll start attacking the beliefs so that the behaviors can be corrected, to then start running that firm in a healthy way.

Those are just some examples, but you know, a lot of it has to do with psychology. It’s really going after that owner, and picking their brain, and using coaching techniques to try to find out, “What are you believing about the life and world you live in, and what’s not matching up with realities of what you need to lead your firm in the way that it’s required to be led?” Those are just some examples.

You triggered a nerve. You said, “Run a business from a beach.” I’m a lifelong Floridian.

There you go.

That’s personally offensive to us.

Uh oh.

That is not what a beach is for.

Man.

A beach is not a place to take your laptop.

There you go. That’s to relax and not work.

Exactly.

There you go.

I’m listening to you, and I can vividly remember as we grew my first company that when we hit 15 people, I thought the world was coming to an end.

Oh yeah, dude. Me too. That’s scary stuff.

Yeah, well I just like … My own mindset, just the systems of how I managed myself in my time, and operated, and interacted with clients, was just woefully …

Wrong.

Just off the mark completely.

Oh, mine was too. Yeah, I had kind of a breakdown at a point when I figured out these two businesses are growing, and I have no clue what’s going on, but whatever life I’m living doesn’t match what I’m trying to do at all.

You talked about recognizing these behaviors, and obviously there’s a big mindset shift to get through any kind of ceiling like that, that the leader, the business owner, needs to take. How do you take them through that process so that … I think somebody has to be willing to go through it. They have to be willing to, and recognize that they need it, but usually that’s not enough. They need a path to follow. How do you take them through it?

Yeah. We lead groups monthly that take people through EOS. Those are specifically these creative CPA firms we’re leading. What we’ve found that any kind of change like that, any kind of ceiling breaking, or any self-realization, or some owner trying to match up the realities of what their business requires to some fake or supposed lifestyle they think they’re allowed to live, it takes time.

I think a lot of people read cool articles online, and they really want growth to be an overnight thing. If you can just get 10 leads a month coming in, or whatever magical pill you can swallow to make growth happen, then it’s going to happen. We know that’s not true, so we believe in some longevity.

We believe like we can’t get into consulting engagements, like we go on-site to try to really unearth some problems without also being in their life for the next eight to 12 months with coaching, or our group where we implement this entrepreneurial operating system, or where we help people implement that in their own firms. That’s got to be a 12-month program.

The Best Way to Bring Accountability to a Coaching Relationship

We found we need to be in the lives of these people for a long period of time because a lot of these changes take accountability. Humans, they fall off the wagon. That’s just what happens, and so some owners realized it. They’ve come to us, and we’re going to put them in some kind of long-term relationship with us because we’ve got to check in on them. That’s what we found is successful is there’s not a fix something. There’s a let’s get into a relationship.

You need to pay us to walk with you, and devote our mental energy to you, and all the knowledge that we have, but you’re going to have to work, and you’re going to fall off the wagon. We’re going to call you back to it, so we need a trusted relationship where we can call people back to these relationships because ultimately, we’re trying to give them what they want, but there’s a reality to it.

The problem is they don’t know the reality of getting what they want. They think it’s something that it’s probably not, so that just takes some time and trust to help them see, “Oh, I think I want something different than what I’m able to have.” It’s going to be time for us. We’ve got to be in the lives of these people for a long period of time, for that accountability, and keeping them on the wagon, keeping them between the ditches kind of thing.

That’s just the way creative entrepreneurs are. These people are crazy, and they’ll just get distracted and drive off the road. In the next meeting, you need to say, “Get back on the road.” I do it. Steve, you probably do it, so we just go drive in the ditches is what we do. That’s what creative entrepreneurs do. Just knowing that, helps you serve them better.

Well, you mentioned the thing that frankly drives me crazy sometimes, hearing it from people. That if I just get into a place where I’m doing this particular thing. Next week I want to start attracting five leads a week or whatever, I’ll magically be there. I’ve never experienced growth that way in a business. There’s always this ramp up.

You’re doing these activities that will lead to growth, but they don’t show the outward results of growth yet, and you sort of have to do those activities, and they build, and build, and build, and then pop. Now you’ve grown to another level. Then you’ve got to do that process again. For me it’s always felt like from an experiential standpoint that instead of this nice, consistent curve, it’s always been breakthroughs.

Yeah, yeah. Oh yeah. That’s for real. You know, that can be frustrating actually. That’s like, it sucks that that’s the way it works. It’s like you want to feel it all the time, but a lot of times, I was just coaching with a firm owner yesterday, and she’s really struggling through this employee just not getting it.

I’m like, “It takes time for that employee to get it.” If you invest three years of your life into that person, you won’t realize it, but one day you’ll realize they’re an amazing asset that you can’t live without. I don’t know, the entrepreneurs don’t get the daily feedback they they’re headed in the right direction, that they really thrive on. People like you and I want to just see magic fairy dust all the time, and that’s just not the way growth works.

You do get to see it. Sometimes you can stop where you are, and look back, and go, “Oh my gosh. I can’t believe we’ve gotten to this point.” It is really a long-term commitment to a lot of daily good things that just turn out into amazing value, and knowledge, and wisdom. It just takes time, but there’s just … You know, Steve, you’re right, sometimes you see it when you break through the ceiling. You go, “Oh man, we never could have broken through the ceiling had we not done those past five years of those things.” It’s just the way it works.

Yeah, I think the fact that sometimes you don’t see that progress is the number one reason why people stay stuck.

Yep, I agree.

I think that’s true in all areas of life. For the last six months I’ve been going to see a personal trainer, and haven’t missed a session yet over the course of that time.

Come on.

The results, it takes time. It took four and a half months before I really could look in the mirror and go, “Okay, I’m seeing a difference now.”

Yeah, yeah. Pretty cool.

Yeah, and I think it’s the same thing in business, whether it’s marketing, or sales, or developing you people. You’ve got to hunker down and understand that you’re not going to see the results the right way, but that, I think it makes it difficult for people who are unsure of exactly what activities should I be doing to ultimately get that breakthrough?

Sometimes they feel like maybe they’re wandering in the wilderness, and there’s no real direction there, and they could be going in the wrong direction completely. Then they try and jump to a different thing.

Yeah, I think … I mean I know it takes money, but people who pay for the right consultant to help them, or the right business coach, there’s a lot of wisdom in hiring the right person to kind of be your sherpa through some of those things. We tell our clients all the time, “There’s something we have you can never have, and that is third-party objectivity to your life and your world.”

We’re also being paid, so we’re not going to feed you a bunch of fluff, you know? We actually know how to unearth and uncover things we need to see, these insights, these aha moments, and we’re going to see it, and we’re going to tell you. We’re going to tell you things, and where you’re hurting yourself because we’re being paid to do it. We’re not your buddy. We tell people, “We’re not your friend.”

I think there’s a lot of wisdom to hiring a third party, a person that can look into your life and go … and not tell you what to do, because it’s hard to tell somebody how to run their business because you could never really tell them or you couldn’t run their business that way.

Being a trained coach is really unearthing through strong questions, questionnaires, just the way coaches do things, you can help them come to their own moments of aha, and insight that really help them get on their own track, and really believe in some new path that they can now see themselves. That’s what a good coach will do. I think having people in your life is what changes your life for good, and staying in those relationships long-term is what continues to see you transform into the thing you actually want, but you don’t know that’s what you want.

I love it. I want to take a quick break at this stage, and I want to come back. When we come back, I want to talk more about coaching because a lot of people are getting coaching. They’re hiring coaches now, but I’m sure you have a particular perspective on how best to do that, and once you’ve hired one, how to get the best result out of it.

I’ve hired a lot over the years, I think we could have a good conversation about that, and I really want to dive into how you’re using your podcasts, and how you’ve used those to really build a name for yourself in your industry. I think folks will learn a lot from that. We’ll be right back with more from Jason Blumer.

Hey, welcome back, it’s Steve Gordon, and I’m talking with Jason Blumer, and Jason, where we kind of left off, we were talking about coaching. I’m going to guess that you’ve got some opinions on not only how to find a coach and hire a coach, but how to make the most of that.

Yeah. Yeah, I do have probably a lot of opinions on how to do that. There are certified coaches, and that’s good because the certifications do put you through a process. We actually have a certified coach in one of our businesses that leads our community through the coaching that we do. I’m not a certified coach, but I have been coaching for just, I don’t know, almost 10 years. It’s a skill I’ve developed over time.

I think it’s hard to hire a coach because there is no right way to coach. There’s a lot of styles. You’ll run into people that have styles. It’s hard to try out a coach because a coach, you need to commit to some kind of long-term relationship with to really see if you’re getting the benefit from it. We love when people commit eight to 12 months. That’s typically where we see transformation happen.

Again, referring back to the first part of this show, when we talked about the change requires some kind of longevity in a relationship with somebody you trust. You’re going to need eight to 12 months, we think, to see any kind of change, really, in a belief that may change a behavior. I think what you have to do is, I don’t know, you have to do a lot of interviewing. It’s probably like hiring a person. You’ve got to really make sure this coach works well with you.

Sometimes coaches will spend a session with you, and you can spend time with them. I think it’s important that you really click with a coach. You get what they’re doing. You trust what they’re doing, and they tend to be able to pull stuff out of you in the way that you want to have it come out of you. Some are going to be harder, and more focused, and driven, and challenging. Some are going to be kind, and more grandfatherly, mentorish type.

There’s going to be different types of personalities and people that work with you, but I think it is really a fluid relationship you want to test a little bit. Just because they’re certified, certifications are good because they really do put coaches through a lot of training to get those certifications, but they’re not everything. Getting referrals to a coach is helpful, just to know the intimacy and the personality of these people because there is no right way to coach. It just happens to be somebody you need to click well with, I think.

Yeah, and I think at different times in your business you need different coaches.

Yeah, definitely.

Different backgrounds and different expertise.

Yeah.

At least I found that. I started making those investments way back when I was very young, and had just taken over a business, and didn’t know anything about running a business, but there I was. It was right around the time I hit that 15 employee mark, and I just couldn’t really figure out how to get organized to get things moving forward in the way that I wanted to.

One thing I’ve noticed is whenever I made that investment, and I’ve done it fairly consistently since then, that it always is followed by a pretty dramatic jump in performance.

Yep. Yeah, that’s true. A lot of times somebody will take a break from coaching. That’s not uncommon. They’ll spend a year in a relationship with you, and they’re like, “You know, I’ve got to go do this now.” That’s not bad too. Sometimes the coaching has a … That is, I’m talking about mainly one-on-one coaching, can have an end to it, so where you have to go act grown-up a little bit, and do that thing on your own.

You might need to come back in six months and check in with that person because you’re inevitably going to get off. You’re going to go drive in the ditches again. That’s kind of what we do as these creative entrepreneurs, which I believe a lot of those run service-based businesses that are selling very creative knowledge-based things. You need to come back and check in.

You’re right. I think coaching is really transformed, and it can really change people’s lives. I think it’s got to be real trusted, so what we do is we do a lot of work up front to work on trust. A lot of that’s in documents we have them read, like this is what you can expect from coaching, and counseling intake forms that we have them fill out that really challenge them, and grade themselves in certain ways, personality profiles, looking at word clouds online, and letting that jog their minds as to the top four to five issues they want to focus on.

Matching the Right Coach With the Right Client

All of this is kind of pre-homework, pre-coaching type stuff. It can be as intimate or not. For example, we’re business coaches, and we tell people, “We may bump into personal issues, emotional things, and mental distractions, but we’re business coaches, so we always want everything we do to be focused on growing your business because that’s why we tell people to hire us. We’re going to always lean towards that way, and move away from things that may be causing you trouble personally.”

We may say, “Go work on that with somebody else.” It’s not uncommon when we ask people, “Have you ever had any type of coaching, or therapeutic relationship?” People almost always do. They either have a therapist now, or they already have a couple of coaches. People in larger organizations spend money on two or three coaches. Business operations, and then leadership coach, and then personal lifestyle type time management coaches.

There’s a lot of coaching out there, and probably some of it has felt fluffy in the past, but I think it’s coming around, right? I mean maybe you agree, Steve, it’s coming to be seen as a way to gain some path forward that you can’t gain on your own.

I’ll tell you, the value that I’ve always received from it is as the owner of a business, if you’re the CEO, even if you have partners, there are things that you can’t talk with anyone in the firm about. It’s very isolating.

True, yeah.

There are things that you can’t talk with your spouse about sometimes because maybe that’s not at a level yet where … I go through this where I might be worried about something that I don’t really necessarily want to just bring home because tomorrow I may not be worried about it. I may get over it, but now I’ve just dumped this onto my spouse. She doesn’t have all the context that I have.

It can be very isolating. Same thing with partners. Sometimes you’re working through things, and you need to work through them. It’s not that you’re hiding things from your partners, but you need a place, I think, to be able to open up and vet with somebody that … and vet ideas with somebody that really doesn’t have a dog in the hunt.

Yeah. There is some … Again, that’s that objectivity that you need. You need somebody that’s not in the middle of your storm poking at it going, “You know it’s really not the storm you think it is,” or they can look ahead.

Maybe you want to coach just a little bit further along than you are. Like you said, Steve, you’ve had coaches in the past when you were at 15, it would be nice to kind of have a coach that’s run a business with 15 people.

I mean you can’t always find people like that, but you need different levels of coaches at different levels of growing your business.

Absolutely. I know you guys do some group work as well as the one-on-one.

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

As somebody maybe listening to this and saying, “Should I go into a group situation, or one-on-one, or a hybrid?” What would you say to them? How would they think about making that decision?

Yeah. We have to tell people that all the time, the difference between those. Of course one-on-one is going to be a lot more expensive because that coach is solely focused on you, your issues, the things that are bogging you down, your successes, keeping you accountable. They’re mentally focused on one person.

In a group setting, the coach gets to lower the price because that price is just spread among people. The advice and the counsel in the coaching becomes more general at that point. It’s general because it’s got to apply to the whole group. It’s got to be beneficial to the whole group. A lot of times you’re starting to dip into curriculum guided coaching, or some kind of program where everybody’s filling out the same homework.

Everybody’s going through the same five steps, when if you were coaching that individual, you might have them skip the first two, but in the group, you’ve got to go through all five. Everybody’s doing it at the same time. January is the first step. February is the second step. March is the third step. It’s a gradual type walk through it when you’re in a group.

I would say probably the difference between those is how quickly do you need to transform? Are you in an unhealthy situation that really there’s detriment to your business, or your pay, or something like that? You might need somebody to come in there that’s fully focused on you. You can’t have somebody force you to go through some Bozo curriculum that will take you 12 months to get to your problem if your business is going under next month.

It just depends on the level of need you have as to who you need to hire. Also, it’s probably going to depend on the level of money you have too. Typically group coaching will be less. Group coaching will also be, like I said, curriculum or subject focused. Marketing sales program for six months or something like that. Whereas coaching, business coaching for us can be anything.

It’s really walking with that entrepreneur through whatever place they’re at, and we do some assessment as to find out where are they, what place are they in, where do you want to go, and what is the journey from point A to B, and then the accountability is to walk with them through that. I don’t know, does that help, Steve, to kind of describe the two different types of coaching and experiences?

Yeah, no I think that will help folks a tremendous amount because you see a lot of both types of offerings out there. Hard to sometimes know which one is the right one, and of course, the way all these things get sold, there’s lots of hype.

Oh yeah.

All that.

Man, lots of hype.

I come back to something you said earlier. In all the relationships that I’ve had over the years, you want to have someone that you can absolutely trust, that’s going to really begin to understand your business, in particular if you’re looking at one-on-one that has got the guts to come in and question you.

Yeah.

Ask you, “Why are you thinking this way?” Really make you kind of accountable for the way that you’re approaching things. Not in a way to say that, “Oh, you’re doing it wrong,” but because you really don’t need them to pass judgment. You just need them to ask the questions.

That’s right, yeah. It’s nice if they have the experience too. It’s hard, as a coach you can … It’s hard, you can be a coach, or you can flip over into giving advice. Coaches are kind of not supposed to do that, but we’re the kind of coaches that we do run service-based organizations, so sometimes a client will tell us, “Hey, I’m going to ask you to step outside of the coaching world for a minute, and say what would you do?” That’s not coaching.

We go, “Well, okay. I can do that if that’s the value to you. Here’s probably what I wouldn’t do, or I would do this probably if I were running your business.” There’s always caveats too. I don’t have your context, so I can’t fully know, so we try not to give that advice, and we try to actually help them come to their own conclusions through the process of solid and trained coaching.

Very good. I want to change subjects just for a minute. Now, you’ve got two podcasts. You have grown a really successful, and very niche-focused firm. Looking from the outside at what you’re doing, from a marketing perspective, you’re doing many, many things right.

I think it would be valuable for everybody if we just spent a few minutes, if you’d talk through some of the decisions you made because I don’t know what the firm was like when you took it over, but I’m going to just guess that maybe it wasn’t as focused as it is today.

How you made that decision to focus, and then how you’ve used media like your podcasts to go out and grow the business.

Yeah. That’s been a long journey. My dad started the firm in ’97. It was just a generalist type small CPA firm in our town. When I started leading it, we started getting into the creative industry. Started serving one, then two, then three. If you have three, you have a niche basically, or at least you put it on your website like you know what you’re talking about.

As we got into that, podcasting was becoming popular. We’ve had one podcast for the CPA profession for about 7 1/2 years, and then we’ve had the one for the creative marketing agency space for about five years. Probably we didn’t realize what it took to run a podcast.

We heard one, and we thought it was cool, and we said, “Let’s do one.” We figured out some way to record a file over Skype, and then just bumbled our way through sticking it online somehow, back then. You get better at podcasting. It’s like anything. You start hiring an engineer that’s better than you were. Then you start hiring a producer. Somebody who actually starts guiding, and creating some of the content to prep you to go into some podcast.

It just gets better and better over time. I guess what I see people doing now, because podcasting is just the rage now, and it can be so valuable in a lot of different ways. I think it’s not … A podcast is great if you’re niched, I think. There are celebrities who are niched, right? They’re celebrities, so they can talk to the whole world if they want.

Our podcasts are very niche. They focus to a very, very specific audience. The listenership is not going to be millions of people. It’s going to be just the people who want that specific type of education and challenge in the way that we deliver it. We have found consistency is a huge value to podcasting. You get better at it over time, technically. There’s a lot of technicality to it that you need help doing, and you get better at that over time if you do it yourself.

If you can hire that out, I think you should. Then, I think over time, probably the most valuable part of it is not even the listeners. It’s probably the guests we have. Targeting guests in a way is a way for us to get in front of the right people, is kind of how we leverage it. I think it’s really just taken a long time.

It’s taken years for people to see the podcast because podcast listeners, there’s lots of trust involved in that because people know what podcasts are. They know they can listen to one for a couple months. They know that person can stop podcasting after a while. That’s what happens. People start podcasting, and then they stop.

They’ve got to really trust you, and know you’re not going anywhere ever, so they can always listen to you on the 15th. We always choose a specific date to launch our podcasts, to really feed that listener as much consistency as we can. That just continues to develop trust and a foundation with us, knowing that they’re going to give us their earbuds every 25th of the month, and we’re going to be there nonstop all the time.

That trust means then they’ll start listening to you, and then they give you the freedom to mess up, to not do it well, to grow. You need your listeners to give you that freedom to get better over time. Then, you’ve got to always deliver consistent value. You’ve got to be something that is worth listening to. We’ve always gone the low-end route. We do about 30 minutes to an hour show once a month.

That’s what we’ve always done, and I know people launch podcasts, and they do two hours every day, or once a week. We’re running businesses. We just can’t commit the time to that, so you’re only going to get the value through a podcast once a month from us because we are out there running multiple businesses, and that takes a lot of time.

We’ve committed the amount of time we knew we could deliver and commit to basically. Those are some of our thoughts on podcasting.

We’re in such alignment on that. I think for people looking at this, we see this with our clients all the time because as we’re producing podcasts for them, they get all wrapped up in what are my downloads? We’re a month and a half into it. How many millions of people have heard this already?

Yeah, that’s not how it works.

No, no, no. More importantly, who are the five people that you’ve interviewed that might be able to do business with you, or refer you? How are you building a relationship to the guests that can actually move the business forward? I think that’s where all the value is, and I think the vast majority of people aren’t looking at that. That, to me, that’s the huge lever. It’s a giant networking tool. That’s how you and I met.

That’s right.

I’m sure this is just the beginning of our collaboration because we’re in alignment on a lot of things.

You know, the podcast, it can take you to different levels. You can start working on sponsorships for your podcasts. That’s hard to do. That is extremely hard because now you’re taking other companies money, and that money, to them, is marketing money. They want to know downloads, and listenership. They want immediate feedback. We have sponsors say, “Can we be a sponsor for two months and see how it works out?”

The #1 Rule for a Successful Podcast (and Number of Listeners Has Nothing to Do With It)

We’re like, “No way,” because it won’t work out. Podcast listeners, that is an investment of your life into those people so that they know that you’re always going to be there. We tell sponsors, “You’ve got to come on for a long period of time, six months to a year at least.” You know, that’s a risk for them. We do have sponsors for some of our podcasts.

We’ve had sponsors for some of the other podcasts for a period of time, and then we don’t. You can’t get into a podcast thinking, “Well, I’m going to get rich with sponsors.” That isn’t going to work. At least it doesn’t for us. That’s a whole other level, so it’s really, I don’t think is the reason to do a podcast. The reason to do a podcast is that you have something valuable to tell a market that happens to be one you want to serve too.

Absolutely. A fantastic way to build trust too.

Oh yeah.

We’ll have clients come to us, and in the sales conversation they’ll tell us, “So and so referred me to your podcast or suggested I listen to it. I’ve listened to it for four or five months.” Occasionally I’ll get one, like I had somebody just in the last week tell me they were referred two weeks ago, and he’s listened to … We’ve got almost 100 episodes out. He said he’s listened to about half of them. I had like 20 hours of this guy’s time.

That’s huge.

How else could I get that? I assume he’s got a commute of some kind, or he’s an exercise nut. I don’t know when else he would have listened to it, but over the course of a couple of weeks he says he’s listened to almost 50 of our podcasts. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know, but where else can you get that kind of time from somebody?

One of the reasons that it works so well where you can get that time is it’s passive. Somebody can listen while they’re driving. They can’t read your blog article while they’re driving. They can’t watch your YouTube video, but they can listen to your podcast, and listen to a couple of guys like us talk into microphones and hopefully share some wisdom.

Yeah, no that’s true. We found that too. If people stumble on your podcast, that’s how you grow a listenership. Boy that’s slow if people are just bumping into your podcast on some podcast app or something like that, or iTunes, and then they go binge all the shows, that’s just wild.

They’ve just devoted themselves to hours and hours of you speaking. Trust comes out of it. Steve, you and I have talked about this before, but it really does create some kind of celebrity position with you. You know, we’re not really celebrities, but people in a sales call will go, “Oh Jason, I already feel like I know you. I mean I know you, man.”

I’m like, “I’ve never met you in my life.” They’re like, “Dude, I’ve been listening to you for years.” A lot of our work’s done, right? That trust-building is done, and now we can enter into a sales call in a way different place than we could had I never met them or heard them.

I’ll tell you, for me, the big shift in that is instead of you having to show up, and feel like you’ve got to somehow prove who you are, and that you’re qualified, and all of that, you’ve taken care of all of that up front, so all you have to do is show up, and actually be present for that person that needs your help.

Yep, that’s it. Yeah. They already know you. They know what you do. They know what you care about. You’re like, “How can I help?” They’re ready to spend money with you. They know you’re an expert.

Absolutely.

Podcasting can be really cool if done really well.

Well, Jason, thank you for sharing that, and thank you for sharing all your thoughts throughout our time together today.

Sure.

We could probably go on for a long time on this. I know you have places to be. I want to make sure everybody can find you. Where’s the best place for folks to go and find out more about what you’re doing?

Yeah. Our businesses are on all the main social platforms, so there’s probably too much to list here. You can go to jasonblumer.com. That’s just a splash page of me, and all the places I’ve invested, the businesses I run, some of the writing I’ve done. You can go to Twitter, @jasonmblumer. Probably a great way to find a lot of the content we do, it could be articles, links. I do videos, ask Jason question series every single week live on Facebook.

We put all those videos on my [LinkedIn profile]( https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonblumer/), so if people want to become friends with me on LinkedIn, just request that, and then I’ll end up in their feed. We’re pumping videos through that feed almost all day every day. There’s plenty of content out there.

All right. We’ll link up all those places in the show notes, so if you’re looking for a real easy way to go find Jason, you can just go to the show notes for this episode, and we’ll have it all there. Jason, thanks for investing some time with me. This has been so much fun, and glad we could connect again.

Yeah, this is great. Steve, thanks for having me, man. I trust what you’re doing, and this is a lot of fun. Thanks again.