Ben Krueger

How Cashflow Podcasting earns $30k/month helping companies launch and grow podcasts

Cashflow Podcasting

We help leaders plan, launch and grow a world-class podcast.

$30,000

Monthly Revenue

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What's your personal background? What motivated you to start your own company? 

I grew up in Ohio working on a dairy farm and working a bunch of different manual labor jobs and just kind of thought there's got to be a better way and so I was always kind of interested in... I had no idea what I wanted to do for a "career," but I knew that I wanted to have a little bit more freedom and flexibility and it would be great if it wasn't manual labor the whole time. So that was kind of where it started.

And then in terms of motivation, I started listening to a podcast called the Tropical MBA, which is still running and it's a podcast all about building location-independent businesses and income streams. And this was just out of college. And I got an internship through that company, through Tropical MBA luckily, I applied for and won the internship out of the Philippines. So I flew out to the Philippines and was working with that company in supporting them. And in getting to know the owner and the host of the show, Dan Andrews, he was telling me how much work the podcast was and how much of his team's time was going into producing the show.

So I made an offer to take over the production of the podcast and handle that for him and his team to free his team up to be working on other things. So he was pretty pumped about it and we kind of talked through how it works, how it would function, the process and what would best support him. And he became my first client, really liked my work and started referring people my direction. And so we kind of grew from there and that was 2013. So that was kind of how it all got kicked off and where I was motivated to even get into podcasting in the first place.


What no-code tools do you use? Along the way, we've used a ton of different things.

Mostly it's in connecting between tools. So one great use case is in our sales process, so when someone books a sales conversation through the form on our website, first off through Zapier, it links the sales form to our Calendly, which puts people into my calendar to book a sales call. The information that they fill out when they book a call through Zapier then gets added to a Streak contact box, Streak is the CRM that we use to track all of our prospects and streak then integrates with Gmail so I can see all of our leads and I can track all of the email communications that we have with leads in Streak.

And so when someone fills out the form on our website, it auto-populates all of that information through Zapier into Streak. So then when I get on my sales call, I already have all the information that I need to start the conversation. And then because we have a simple structure for our sales call, there's a series of questions that we go through, those pre-populate in Streak and I just take notes as I go. So I use that as my sales script and we use Zapier to automatically create that integration. And so I'm taking notes as I go, and then once we get to the point where we're deciding whether this person is qualified as a client and whether they're a fit for our services, we have links in the Streak contact record to our different sales presentations depending on what service they're the best fit for or if they are not a good fit for us and we need to refer them to someone else.

So it really just kind of brings everything into one place. And then as a followup, Zapier also adds new contacts to our Infusionsoft account where we add folks to a autoresponder series that just shares a few case studies, samples of our client work and us working with clients and shares some of our top content, our most helpful content, so that before they even get on the call with us, they are being primed and supported with helpful content but also with stories of podcasters or entrepreneurs just like them who have started and run successful podcasts using our service. So that's probably one of the best ways that we use no-code tools.

Some of the others is we now offer a social media posting service and we use audiograms as part of that, and audiograms and quote cards. And so from each audio episode, we use Headliner to create audiograms and we have it set up through Zapier to auto-import those into our social media scheduling tool. And then all we need to do is go into the social media scheduling tool and schedule that out on the client's behalf to schedule when that needs to publish.

So there's a few tools that kind of streamline some of the process pieces, and the final piece is we very heavily use ClickUp. And so we use an integration of ClickUp and Slack to manage all of the production for our clients shows. So we manage currently, I believe it's about 35 different shows on a weekly basis, and so you can imagine there's a number of moving parts there. And in ClickUp, we have three different individuals involved with the production and delivery for each show. We have the auto audio producer, the show notes writer, our content writer, and then our production manager who reviews work before it then gets sent off to the client.

So in ClickUp, we can set deadlines and timelines and whenever the production manager sees that we have content for us to start working on a show, then ClickUp automatically gets updated and sends out a Slack message to the appropriate team member who is assigned that episode and that next step for that episode, the sub-step for that episode, when that audio editor completes their task and they mark in ClickUp that it's completed, then the show notes writer is alerted through Slack that episode is done, the audio is done and they can start their step. When that is completed, the production manager is then alerted through Slack that the episode is complete and ready for review. So it's this nice alert system. So all of our team members, they don't have to check constantly, they can just get a message and see, "Okay, cool. These three episodes are ready for me to start working on," and they'll get Slack messages thereof.

What were the initial costs?

Variable because the software costs for us have been pretty low. The biggest costs are our labor. So audio producers, show notes writers, production managers and the labor that goes into it. So I think the initial costs have grown over time, but the initial cost of me just doing the process myself was buying an Adobe Audition as an audio editing tool, buying Infusionsoft to start capturing email addresses and some of the super basics of having a website and some of those kinds of things. So I would say, I don't know, maybe $800 to "start". And then as we've grown over time, it's primarily been staffing and labor costs, which has scaled up with growth in volume of clients.

What's the process of building your product from idea to launch? 

So because I worked with Dan as my very first client essentially supporting him in his show, that became the format and the style kind of the packaging of how we offer our service. So he talked through how he wanted his show done and what deliverables best supported him in his process and then we essentially took that and offered that as a service for other business owners and podcasters. So the beauty there was we had an initial client who knew very clearly what he wanted so we kind of worked that out. So he wanted audio editing, he wanted to show notes writing on his website, and he wanted posting both to the website and out to all the podcast production platforms, all the podcast platforms. And he wanted an alert email saying, "Hey, your episode is done and ready to go for two, three days from now." He wanted to be able to review it before it went live. And if he had to make changes, he could send those back and we would make those changes before it released.

And so that format and that flow became the offering package that we then offer to other podcasters and shows or people who don't have shows yet. The service that we then developed was we got people asking and actually one of our very first clients for this service, Andrew Youderian who hosts the e-commerce fuel podcast, he wanted to launch a podcast and essentially he was like, "I know the subject, I want to be the podcast host, I want to be the expert on the topic." I don't know podcasting strategy. I don't know what the technical stuff, I don't want to deal with setting it up. I don't want to deal with the production. Can you help both strategically and also technically where I can just hope show up as the host and you guys help me make this podcast thing work?"

And so that, essentially collaborating with him, figuring out how we can work with him to make that happen, that has evolved and grown into our podcast launch program, which is a six to eight week process with eight very specific steps where we collaborate and partner with entrepreneurs, leaders, educators, who want to host their own show, they want to do it right, they want to do it professionally, but they don't want to get into the weeds of the tech. They don't know the strategies and the best platform tools and capabilities, and they don't know what they don't know. So they partner with us and we bring strategy, we know what's working in podcasting. We help take their vision and what they have in mind, and we integrate best practices and what we know is working, and then our team handles creating and setting up the podcast, the artwork, the intros, outros, the music, the voiceovers, setting everything up in their website, getting them submitted to all the platforms, all the podcast post-production, audio production, show notes, writing all those things.

So really if they show up with an idea and they then record content as the podcast host, and we handle everything else. So each of those came by working with someone who had clarity around what they wanted and then we turned that into a process, turned that into a packaged product essentially, and then sold that service as a process that we could then apply for other clients.


How does Cashflow Podcasting attract customers? 

Mostly referral and Google.So a lot of our current clients and customers refer other folks wanting to launch shows or needing a reliable production team. We also partner and collaborate with a lot of business coaches and different services out there who a lot of their clients need help podcasting and they want to have a reliable quality team that they can refer people to. So we've kind of become that go-to referral option for a lot of people, which is really great. And then Google search, because we've been around since 2013 and all the content we've created for the first many years was around podcast strategy and strategy for starting a new show so we have a lot of SEO content and educational content out there around the strategy around launching a show, not just what hosting should I use and that sort of thing, but how do you plan the show? How do you craft a show? What elements should go into the show? And so a lot of people find us through that content and then are interested in working with us because they see the foundational strategy there.

What are the biggest challenges you've overcome building Cashflow Podcasting?

I would say two, one was I started this company really quickly out of college, and I had never run a company before, didn't know how to manage cashflow for a company. And so we started spending more than I should have based on our revenue, especially on team members and hiring team members. So I learned pretty quick that that was not sustainable. I kept trying to "sell" my way out of problems and that wasn't working. So actually the resource that helped us make the shift was a book called Profit First by Mike Michalowicz, So anybody who's running a small business and they want to manage their cashflow effectively and have a process for that that's an incredible resource. So that was a big challenge and ended up needing to fire, let go of one of our main team members who did an incredible job and through no fault of his own, I needed to let him go because if I didn't, we were going to continue sinking into that and it wasn't pretty. So that was a good lesson learned.

And then the other one was also, for me personally, I'm much more of an introvert than an extrovert. And so I needed to, in order for us to be referred, clients to grow, to be seen as educators in this space, I couldn't hide behind clients, I couldn't be the person behind the scenes, I needed to be okay with being the person up on stage teaching and presenting, being the person who is doing podcasts interviews and out in publicly-facing spaces in the industry, out at conferences and that sort of thing. So that was a growing edge for me personally as a challenge. And I think without that, we wouldn't get a lot of the referrals that we do currently get. And that also held us back for a while in not getting the volume of referrals that we certainly could have because I was not ready for that transition yet.


What's your advice for non-technical people who want to start a company?

 My advice is that the tools and capabilities of individuals are incredible now compared to what they used to be. And instead of starting by thinking, "Okay, what tools should I use? What service should I create? What apps should I create?" Whatever, start by thinking about what industries do you know well? What topics and subjects do you know well? Who do you know in those spaces and what problems do they have? How can you help them right now? Whether that's a service, whether that's, "Hey, we can't get this tool to talk to that tool," or really kind of diving into what their problems and challenges are, because then you're guaranteed an initial user base, an initial customer or client, even if you're doing it for free or you're volunteering, or you're just kind of jumping in to help out because that's going to help you craft what you can then offer.

So that's what I did for our production service, that's what I then did for our lunch service is someone needing a particular support or service, and I was able to jump in and help them out. And then you can kind of figure out the tech pieces along the way, or you can get someone else that help you figure out the tech pieces along the way pretty quickly in this no-code world.

What are your future plans for Cashflow Podcasting? 

We've been growing as a team and the big thing that we want to push into is being able to educate more entrepreneurs, leaders, and businesses about how to use podcasting effectively as a marketing tool, not just saying everybody should start a podcast, but here's what podcasting's natural strengths and weaknesses are, here are some of the best strategies to use to effectively leverage podcasting as a business tool, as a marketing tool. And so being seen more visibly and publicly and creating more educational content around that. So that's podcasts, interviews, workshops, and seminars doing ask me anythings in groups and a lot of those kinds of things.

So we now have a role within Cashflow Podcasting, a podcast educator, our podcasts educator, Valerie Shoopman is incredible. And so we're really leaning into both her and myself being more publicly visible as educators and creating educational content in the space so that even when folks aren't a good fit necessarily to work with us for our service, they can access the information to do it themselves totally free. So those are our big future plans.

How do you think the rise of no-code tools will impact entrepreneurship? 

Massively, they already are, and they're going to continue. It's making the barrier to entry and the difficulty to access and use tools essentially disappear, which does a few things, one, it makes it possible for anybody with a laptop to start a company and anybody with a laptop to at the very least earn an income doing whatever they want to do if they're able to develop skills or capabilities. And they can start very cheaply, they can start very simply and they can have no-code tools doing all of the things that before they would spend 90% of their time doing.

But also existing companies, especially smaller companies, have to continue to ensure that what they're doing solves a problem and supports their customers and clients. Because if it doesn't, the barrier to entry is so low that somebody is going to start a new service or a new company that does it 10 times better at 1/10th of the cost using these types of no-code tools and those companies are going to be out of business pretty darn quick, because they're not keeping up with what matters to the customer and they're not keeping up with the pain point that they're able to solve. So if they get lazy and they're not continuing to evolve what they're able to do and who they're able to do it for, then that shifts pretty quick. And that I think is a really good thing for everybody involved. That's great for customers, it's great for anybody who has a job and wants to get into entrepreneurship and building their own income stream or building their own company and that's also great for small businesses because it forces you to continue to improve as opposed to getting lazy and just kind of trying to rake in income on something that is no longer serving the customer.

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