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Success Through Relationships with Pro Podcast Solutions’ Darrell Darnell

May 25, 2020

Your Podcast Production Team.

Darrell Darnell is the Founder of Pro Podcast Solutions.

Pro Podcast Solutions has been producing award-winning, professional-quality podcasts since 2008. They consult with you to determine the best equipment, launch strategy, identify your target audience, narrow down your niche, and guide you through every step in launching your podcast.

Learn more about how Pro Podcast Solutions can help you launch or produce your podcast by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on   Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.

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0:00
Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, we're all reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.

And with us right now, we've got Darrell Darnell. Darrell, you are the founder of Pro Podcasts Solutions. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you

0:44
for having me, Josh. I'm excited to be here with you today.

0:47
So again, full disclosure. I'm Darrell, you and I are friends. We've we've been in the podcasting world forever. And did you you were at the first podcast movement in Texas right

0:59
I will I've been at every podcast movement, and we've seen each other at pod fest a few times. I've been in all of those except for the first one.

1:06
Wow. Well, so, Darrell, you've been in the podcasting space for a long time. So you would be considered a pod father. And what, how far does that go back? And how did you transition into this?

1:20
Yeah, I mean, I, I discovered podcasting in 2006. I was a huge fan of the TV show last and just looking for content and fans around that. And that's how I discovered podcasting was was listening to those. I jumped into podcasting in 2008. So this will be my 12th year in podcasting. And then I started doing this full time where we're, you know, providing support for other podcasters in 2013. So, yeah, I don't you sit you say pod father and I feel old, but I mean, it's been around for a while, although I completely acknowledge there are many that had been in the waters much longer than I have.

1:57
Yeah. So from a very, very high level. I talk to me about where podcasting is today. And and you don't necessarily have to give us a history lesson. But maybe just your observations as kind of an industry person. What what are you seeing in the world of podcasting?

2:17
Well, the first thing that came to mind was recognition. Because maybe because we were just talking about the old days, you know, when you had to hand code, RSS feeds, and you go into a room of 100 people and ask them what a podcast was, and maybe 10 of them knew. And they were super geeky and really cool people. And now, it's hard to not find someone who at least knows what a podcast is. Maybe they're not a regular listener, maybe they've listened to a podcast just to see what it was all about. But podcasting has definitely gone mainstream, and there was a time where we weren't sure if that was going to happen. And so when I think of podcasting today, like everybody's getting in on everybody sees the value in it, everybody sees the way how it's able to engage people. And connect with people and as humans, that's what we want most. So, yeah, it's really cool to see how far podcasting has come from when I started to where it is today. It's it's everywhere. It's known by almost everyone. It's harder to find someone if you went to that same room today, you might find 10 people who don't know what a podcast is.

3:17
Yeah. So you are actively podcasting. How did you get your first client? Was it just because there, there was nobody else? And so you were right place right time you jumped on in early, you know, kind of early stage and into a platform technology that it was emerging.

3:36
It was pretty early on, you know, when we're talking about clients and doing back in support, post production support for podcasters. I was one of the first in that space. I wasn't the first but I was I think I was one of the first five maybe the final three, at least that I was aware of. I got into it because I was getting a little disgruntled with my day job. I think a lot of entrepreneurs can identify with that. I was looking for a way out and I thought do i do web development, I can do that. I don't enjoy it. And I realized finally it took me a while, people were coming to me, asking me for help with their podcasts. They're like, you know, you've been in it for a while, we've heard and seen your growth as a podcaster. Can you help me start mine? Or can you help me Give me some tips, whatever. And at the same time, Cliff ravenscraft came to me. And he said, I've got this friend named Stuart, who's starting this podcast network. He's looking for hosts, and I think you would be a good candidate. And so I did some investigations and research. And I was definitely excited about what Stuart was doing. But I was up from a hosting point of view. But I was also I saw an opportunity because I thought Stuart's a podcaster he's an entrepreneur. He's a business guy, and I don't think he has any experience editing podcasts. And so I approached him, and I said, I'd love to host for you here the shows, I think I could host for you, but I'd love to talk to you about the editing side of it as well. And he says, Well, I do Do you need that I've got somebody else I'm already talking to about that, but pitch me, and I pitched in, and I got the job. And that was my first client. Six months later, I was able to quit my day job and go full time into this. So, and my business success every step of the way, as I'm sure yours has always been about relationships, the biggest success that I have found, has come through relationships and that one with cliff, certainly, but then as you develop relationships with your clients, now, most of my leads come from my clients. And so that relationship and having really relationship with your clients where they're like, not only am I happy, I want everybody else to be as happy as I am. So I'm going to tell my friends about you. You know, that's a really good thing to have. Yeah, yeah.

5:42
So what do you think you did that helped you win that deal from the other person that they had in mind?

5:51
I mean, I don't know what the how the other person was pitching. Obviously, I know who the other person was. And they are fantastic. The sub The, the idea That I was chosen over them. It's always been a feather in my cap and giving me a little boost on those down days. Yeah. But I think I was just able to provide my level of experience. By that time I had been podcasting for over five years and editing all of our shows that we were doing on our own network of shows. And so I had a lot of experience and I was able to meet the the demands of the job, these were going to be coming into us between 9pm and midnight, and they needed to be published by 3am. And so the turnaround time for those needed to be fast and need to be good. And so he was looking for someone who could who could meet those terms and I was able to like when I was doing my my site and it was a side hustle for those six. Yeah, I was like staying up till three in the morning then yeah, 7am and going

6:55
to pay me money I could potentially walk away from my job. I'll do it. I'll stay up till 3am to do stuff. That's right. It was

7:01
get out. Right. So Casey, you've got a book into three vital steps to increase profitability in your business. And so someone is so someone's just listening to us, you can go to three, it's the number three steps to profit.com. And you can download, download this for free what what's included in that book,

7:07
Wow. So, Darryl, you know, you talk about staying up till three in the morning, what were the other, more difficult aspects to your earlier days in business?

7:21
Well, when TV talk went out of business, when they they had to come a point where they were investing a certain amount of money into the project, and needed to see a return within a certain point in time, and when that didn't happen, they had to make a hard decision, put more money into it, or just go and pull the plug. And so they decided to pull the plug. That was I kind of saw it coming. We because we had regular meetings, and it was and the metrics weren't being achieved that and so it wasn't really a surprise. And but they were like, at one point they were 90% of my income. Oh, and you can't like live off of that. You can't Lose 90% that's not healthy, it's not healthy to have 90% of your income wrapped up into a single client. And I always recognize that. So working to try to get other clients, so the last time they went out of ceased operations, they were 75% of my income, which is still not healthy, but it's better. It's better. So then next eight months was brutal, just trying to find clients. And again, it went back to relationship. I reached out to cliff and I said, you know, how do I become a part of your referral network? Would you consider me for that? And in it, you know, I'm a man of faith, I believe in God, and I believe that he has, he has, He will bless me, you know, and and, and you too, you know, I mean, is that I don't own the blessings. You know, I just feel like God has had his hand on my life. And I could go on and on about that at some purposes.

8:52
But in this one,

8:55
so I reached out to cliff and I said, I'd love to be part of your referral network. Do you have a need for Someone like me. And he says, As a matter of fact, I have an email that came into my inbox yesterday, if someone's looking for a podcast editing, and I didn't know who I was going to send it to, oh my gosh. And so they didn't just pour in, like, you know, like rainwater, but it was a steady drip. And that certainly helped get me through those those lean months.

9:19
You know, I think that as founders as as owners, as CEOs, you know, the one thing that I think a smart CEO does is constantly updates their SWOT analysis, right. They're constantly looking at what are the threats, you know, I am involved kind of in the Tony Robbins business mastery community, and that's one thing that he talks about a lot is, you know, build your business for winter because it's an inevitability. It's not a question of, are we ever going to have a winter again? Well, of course, we're going to have a winter and we're always every year you're going to have a winter. And so you know, what can you do in your Your business today so that if you lose, you know, 50 70% of your income that year, we're going to be okay. You know, and I and I gotta tell you that as an agency, in the, you know, we're not real kind of in the PR world, not you know, as big part of what we do, but I don't really see ourselves as a PR agency, but I see a lot of PR agencies that salivate over big clients. And to me, that's, it's taught, like, I'm, that scares me, you know, big clients are really not. That's not what I want to do. It's too risky, you know, because you think of the operations that involved like, if you're a big, big company, cool, go do it. But, you know, if you're the, you know, SMB size, or you're, you know, kind of trying to just keep a streamlined operations, and, you know, you got to have like, you know, five people on staff just to support that big client, and you don't, they don't up with you or, you know, you lose that it's like, Okay, well, now we have five employees. Yeah, that is kind of a bummer situation. I'd hate to have to let them go. And it's, it's just a big shock to the system when you have those major major disruption. So I think your model, Darrell, is now you have a lot of clients. Do you mind talking about like, what you've built up to this day now?

11:24
Yeah. Now, so in that time, when we lost the big client, I think we had about four clients, I four remaining when they left. And the next eight months, you know, we had prepared for winter thankfully, we had a bunch of money in savings. And there's another faith story there. But now we're at a point where we are serving 150 different podcasts on a monthly basis a little higher. So it you know, it doesn't come all at once, but it's like a snowball, you know, it starts with the floor. And then the four become six and then the six become 12. And then 12 become 20, you know, and just kind of snowballs. And now, you know where it took me. I don't know, a year, maybe eight months to land the next dozen clients. Mm hmm. We added a dozen in the last month. More than that, actually. So, you know, there's a snowball effect that happens, you know, if we just keep grinding and not every month do I add 12 to 15 clients that is not normal. It's the first of the year a lot of people start podcasts at the beginning of the year it's you know, knowledge that sort of the grind you know, just keep keep building relationships, keep doing quality work. Put your business out there when I when I popped a booth up, but the first part the the second podcast, the first podcast, I was there, I was a speaker teaching audio production, but I didn't have a booth the second time I did and that was big, you know, so putting yourself out there making yourself known those are big for us.

13:00
What else do you do to put yourself out there? Like, where do you get clients from today?

13:05
Most of my clients come from referrals. We have a great relationship with Amy Porterfield. And she mentioned to us when she thinks it's relevant, you know, we don't ever ask her to. And a lot of people when we she's just, I mean, she's a godsend because she's literally the type of person I've had this happen multiple times. I don't know anything about you other than Amy Porterfield uses you, then that's all I need to know. You know, yeah. Right. But, but we, we want to build our business in a way that every client recommends us whether they're the level of any Porterfield or they're brand new and no one knows who they are yet, you know, we want to establish that type of relationship with every one of our clients. And that is key. So we focus mostly on that, and then we show up at events, podcast centric events. I went to an event last weekend that was dentists. But it was a podcast event for dental podcasters. Wow. Crazy, like, Who knew that there were that many dental podcasters? I did, because we serve half a dozen of them. And so I went to this event to try to make relationships with more dentists. So it's always about relationship with me. Yeah, sometimes I'll get into Facebook groups and do stuff like that. But those can be so crazy, you know, so fast, especially someone says, I'm looking for an editor, you get 50 editors just in a moment's time, and I avoid those, if someone, you know, points me out and recommends me, then I'll jump in on those things because the relationship is then established. So to me, I focus on building relationships, and then getting my brand out there, right? Yes, related because that's where my customers that's where my potential clients are, or at podcast related events. And so that's where I go.

14:51
So that's my next question is how do you keep from getting commoditized because I think it could be easy to look at something like popcorn Yeah, standing and say, Oh, well, you know, I could just teach someone the basics and pay them 12 bucks an hour and call it good. How do you compete? Or, you know, and of course, there's always like, you know, overseas, you know, cheap labor overseas. And and how do you compete with that?

15:21
That's a great question because it's very, very real. In my line of work, I mentioned that when I started, I knew of there were maybe three to five of us that I was aware of. Now, there are literally hundreds, and a lot of those are overseas where the labor is much cheaper. Or they're able to complete the task, because, you know, they don't need as much the income is just completely different, right? It's, it's apples and oranges. Or, you know, hey, I could go on to Upwork or fiber or I could hire a VA or, you know, and all those things are things that we've always competed with.

15:56
The tools have gotten better, too. Oh, absolutely.

15:58
Yes. The tools have gotten better. But I've never really tried to compete with that. Instead. And this is advice I got from cliff, he was very influential with me, and especially early on, but but still When I need help, I love that I can just call him up and he'll spend time with me. But, you know, figure out who you are, who your ideal client is. And that's who I go for, you know, I'm not the cheapest. I've never been the cheapest. And certainly nowadays, I'm not the cheapest. But as I just mentioned earlier, I have no problem landing new clients. I have authority in the space. I've been doing it a long time, I have highly respected clients. And because of that, I priced where I'm at. I don't try to compete with the low guys, because that type of client who's looking for the low guy, right, it's not the type of client that I'm looking for. The type of clients typically are more trouble than they're worth. They demand the most and pay the least. And, you know, that was advice that I got from Cliff early on, and so I I always set my prices on the higher end, not the highest guys are people that are, in fact, much higher than I am. But I'm certainly not going out there for the low fruit because those are just more trouble than they're worth.

17:13
Wow.

17:14
Wow. So I would say identifying who you're going for. Yeah, is really critical. knowing who you are, do you have the skill set, and not just not in my case, not just editing skill set, but the business skill set, the professionalism, the ability to deliver on time consistently, all the things that they're looking for to support, their business, their podcast, if you've got that skill set, then price yourself accordingly if not develop yourself so you get that skill set and you can price accordingly.

17:43
Well, and so you having and your team having so much experience with this. There's something there's something to be said for hiring a plumber that's fresh out of plumbing school, and yeah, they can kind of do the job. hiring somebody that's been a plumber for 2030 years. They've seen everything. Right. And so, you know that I mean, there's just a different expectation in service that you're going to get from someone who's a veteran, and have seen everything and they know the risk factors or hiring a doctor, you know, you know, do you want the doctor that's fresh out of medical school, we could probably get a better rate, or do you want the surgeon who's been doing this for 2030 years, who has a lot of on the job experience, and it's just a different, it's just a different product.

18:38
It is, and you know, that doctor or that plumber, who's been doing it for 20 years, has developed, again, not only their plumbing skills over time, not only have they seen everything, but they've learned how to run their business efficiently. I mean, hopefully, or they wouldn't still be in business and you know, three years ago After podcast movement, Chicago, we picked up so many clients after that event. And Amy mentioned that she did a whole podcast devoted to her process and mentioned us and had a document that talked about our her relationship without. And it was just like, the floodgates opened. And we grew too fast. We lost clients, because we could not. Things were slipping through the cracks. And there was there were bottlenecks. A lot of those bottlenecks were with me, and it helped me learn systems. And so yeah, that that person has been doing it a long time. Again, not only has the skill set that has the systems and the business, you know, polished so that they can they can I'm not saying those new guys aren't worth it. You know, they are for many people, but again, knowing who we are what we bring to the table because people will ask you, how are you different from the other guy, and I need to be able to answer that question with with authority and with confidence

19:59
now Darrell Darnell, you're the founder of pro podcast solutions. You're on the web at pro podcast. solutions.com. You have a podcast, we have many podcasts. But you're one that's connected with pro podcast solutions is just the Pro Podcaster Stories. And that's on the web ProPodcasterStories.com, is that right?

20:21
That's right. We feature our clients that's only featuring our clients and our team on that podcast. And we're giving we're looking at them telling their stories, but also looking behind the scenes to what has helped them become successful podcasters strategies, systems, you know, equipment, things like that. So it's, uh, it's helpful for new podcasters and those who are looking to improve their podcasts.

20:42
Brilliant. Darrell, thank you so much for joining us.

20:45
Thanks for having me, Josh. This is a lot of fun, man.

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