Podcasts are started for a multitude of reasons…from adding to an existing business to wanting to share a message and everything in between. Listen to this episode with Kelly Ann Gorman from the Happy Workaholics Podcast as she and Rachel share tips for starting and monetizing your own show.
What you will learn:
Mentioned in this episode:
Hey, Kelly Ann. Thanks for coming on to talk about podcasts and entrepreneurship. You’re one of my favorite podcasters so I greatly appreciate your time.
Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here.
I mean, I know your background and your path into entrepreneurship and podcasting, but can you share with the listeners just a little bit about how you got here and then we’ll dig into the big tips?
Sure thing. Okay. So I’ve just been a creative person, honestly, my whole life. I went to art school half my life. I’ve always wanted to create things that didn’t exist, needed to exist, and I’ve just always been like that. And I grew up in a family-owned business, so I think it was in my blood. I just always wanted to have something of my own. So my family owned a bagel shop. I would always be adding new things to the menu, doing artwork. I created the logo on the coffee cups… Oh my God, when was it? I think I was at like in fifth grade. I don’t even know. Just, it started at a young age. And-
I can understand that, because growing up, I always knew I wouldn’t fit into the nine to five and to the point that I always looking, how do I increase efficiency? I would tell my teachers how they should redo the organization in their classrooms. They didn’t appreciate that very much.
I’m surprised I didn’t do that either because I’m the queen bee of organization now. So I’m surprised, that’s one thing I don’t think I remember I did. But I should have right alongside you. But yeah, I’ve just always wanted to create things. I’ve always wanted to venture out and I’ve always wanted to help people. So whether it was in the restaurant industry or luxury travel or creating high-end service, luxury brand opportunities, things like that, it’s just in my blood. I’ve always wanted to do something on my own to help other people. So honestly it just started at a young age.
And how I got into podcasting was… This is a whole long story, but really, really short. I was sick and I had a disease. I was supposed to be blind and paralyzed and I was running a really high-end luxury travel company, dealing with private jets and their owners in Las Vegas. And when that all happened, I had to close the doors and figure out how I can bring my business to the internet. When I did that is when I thought I only just had MS. Then when I was diagnosed with another disease called NMO, which stands for neuromyelitis optica, then I was going to be blind and paralyzed. So I’m thinking to myself, “Okay, well, I’m going to have to create something else again. And the only thing left I’m going to have if that happens is my voice.”
So I figured out how to launch a podcast. That was three years ago this month, my anniversary is next month because it’s on my birthday. And when I launched my show three years ago… did I just say three months? Three years ago, a massive amount of people have contacted me. Different coaches online. When I had to close the doors on my businesses, I just brought on… I just created coaching programs, because that’s all I knew that I could do. I could still talk to people.
So after three years, that’s turned into a full blown podcast production company where I have almost 20 shows under my belt, where all I do is create, design, record, produce, and do everything for all of my clients that have their own shows now. Besides my own, which I have over 200 episodes. And after a year and a half of podcasting, I found out I was misdiagnosed. So the best thing about podcasting and the best thing about entrepreneurship and being creative is that there’s no rules. You can pivot, you can create something else, you’re going to fail and that’s what’s going to make you stronger. And that’s what I had to do with my show.
In the beginning, the Happy Workaholic Podcast was all about business, LinkedIn, and my life with an autoimmune disease because I needed to share business and LinkedIn tips, because that’s what I knew best. I needed to share my life with an autoimmune disease because I felt like… I had a really rare disease and nobody was sharing. I needed a platform. I needed to help other people. And I needed my voice to be heard. So I just started off with that. And then after I found out I was misdiagnosed, my whole entire brand had a pivot and my show.
So now I have different series that involves other people that have been misdiagnosed or holistic healers, medical experts. Now I bring in a lot of the legal aspect because I’m representing… Well, I was representing myself in six malpractice cases. So I share all of that. That’s not normal. So being an entrepreneur, nothing will be normal.
And that’s up to you, like how normal do you really want to be? What level do you really want to take in? I’m telling you, when you bring in and implement certain things into your business that no one’s ever heard of, or you have this genius idea in the shower, because I feel like that’s usually where it happens, those are the ones that work the best. Those are the ones that fly. Those are the ones that skyrocket, because you have to be creative to be in this type of industry, to always think of something and bring it to the next level.
So that’s kind of how everything happened with my show and how the entrepreneurship has just always been in my blood and I’ve done so many other businesses, but that’s how I got into podcasting, which is so crazy because now I’m not blind and paralyzed. I don’t have a disease and now I can help others and have an even larger scale show because I can integrate all of these other patients and healers and experts and all of that, which is so incredible. Can’t do that [crosstalk 00:05:46]-
I love that. Yeah, no, I love hearing your story. We have a lot of similarities and I mean, obviously I wish you hadn’t gone through all of this. By the way, y’all listening, I’m going to link all of Kelly Ann’s stuff. And I was even on her podcast. So it’s going to be at rachelbrenke.com/epi125. So if you’re a podcast or you need help with production, her stuff will be there as well as LinkedIn, which I need help with. But let me ask, Kelly Ann, do you think if you hadn’t had the auto-immune scares and treatments and misdiagnoses, do you think you would’ve gotten into podcasting?
I think eventually I would have, but not at the time that I did. I would always listen. I was always listening to Gary Vaynerchuk. I’m an East Coast girl, I love his cutthroat personality and I just really can relate to him. And he was my number one. I just started listening to him, and he just put this fire in me. I just got this drive like, “Wow, I need to do this right now because if I go blind tomorrow, I’m screwed. It has to happen now.”
I think I would have added it to an extension of my brand to bring in more business, which is what I do for a lot of my other clients. But I don’t think it would have happened then. So it’s like everything was aligned in some crazy messed up way.
Yeah, I mean it’s interesting that… A common theme when I interview many entrepreneurs that I look up to is a lot of this. There’s something in the background, something in the story… And I always say, everyone has a story. Even if it isn’t this earth shattering thing, your story is more than likely like at least one other person’s story out there.
I mean, recently I interviewed Latasha Haynes. I’m going to link her in the show notes as well as Amanda Hedgepeth. But it’s talking about a lot, what you just said, about pivoting and having to change. And I love that podcasting has such a low barrier to entry now. It can be overwhelming in the beginning. Do I have to have the right mic? Do I have to have this? But really if you are able to get a laptop, and I think you could maybe even do it on an iPhone or an Android these days, there are so many systems available out there now that we didn’t have 10 years ago. There’s so many softwares that makes it so easy.
So if you’re listening and you’re like, “Oh, I have a story I want to share,” or “I need to add on podcasting as an asset to my business,” it is a great way to also repurpose content. Because one thing that I like to do is I take blog posts that I’ve written in the past, I’ll pull them up and I’ll kind of use them as an outline to repurpose into a new show. And so that way I’m not having to repeat content or read your new content all the time.
And so I guess I just share that all to encourage. Don’t feel like if you’re adding on podcasting, there’s this huge barrier to it. It’s available to most everybody, and you don’t necessarily have to create new content all the time, because that was one of my big fears in the beginning was, “Am I going to be on this content treadmill?” Do you feel like that with your podcasting?
No. It’s funny that you said repurposing because I repurpose the opposite. I repurposed my show notes into blog posts. I do the exact opposite. When I started, let me just say, my very first episodes, the intro, we had a smoke alarm battery that we couldn’t reach and it would be that annoying beep. That’s in my intro. And I still leave it there because I like to be humble and refer back to that every now and then.
And I had $0 to spend. I got on my iPhone and I’ve recorded over a hundred episodes on my iPhone, and I just talked. I just shared my story. And the tagline of my show, the Happy Workaholic Podcast is “Work hard, share your story, follow your dreams and never give up,” because that is what I preach. And as far as content, I always… For me, sometimes I get stuck.
But I’m always creating a series. That’s how I organize all of my guests. They go in different pockets. So I create different series. And when it comes to content…. Like last week I shared 10 or 15… I made a list. Sometimes I’ll batch content, but when I’m in my groove [inaudible 00:10:09] recording different guests, when it comes to my solo shows I’ll have a topic I’m sitting on or sometimes every now and then I will get stuck.
But you know, last week was a big legal week for me and I hadn’t shared anything publicly and couldn’t because of legal reasons for my malpractice cases. And I was really reflecting. And I’m like, “This is the first chance I can actually share something.” And when you say content, I have this massive list. And the whole episode was about… I was reading the list and the list was about everything people said I couldn’t do that I achieved and successfully. The whole show.
So if somebody says that you can’t do something, that’ll light your feet on fire and you’ll just take it… You have this like additional drive to prove people wrong and really to prove to yourself. With so many things in my life. And so my last episode, it was all about that. And so that just came out of the week that I had.
And then sometimes I have certain ones that, depending on the time and if it fits in my schedule, social media-wise, if it makes sense for that week, content I’m pushing out, I’ll kind of piggyback stuff. So it really depends.
But every now and then I’ll get stuck. What do I really want to talk about today? Like what can help people today? But most of the time… I’d say that only happens like 10%.
Mm-hmm (affirmative). And I feel like content… Everyone can come up with something to say. And as I mentioned earlier, we all have a story. So and oftentimes I’ll get stuck. I’m like, “Oh, I’m in this rut. I don’t know what to put out.” I’ll talk about a personal experience of my own. And those are actually the most popular episodes-
I know, right?
… that I have. Content’s only part of the battle. Let’s talk a little bit about using podcasts as your career, whether it is an asset to something you’re already doing, like me. I don’t really identify as a podcaster, per se, because my podcast supplements everything else I’m doing. Then we have podcasters who they make money off of podcasting, whether it’s by having sponsors, they have ads, et cetera. What is your perspective of income off of podcast, making it an actual business? What do you do with that? I mean, what is your personal situation?
So there’s a couple ways, and people ask me this all the time. So first of all, there’s no rules. You can create any kind of moneymaking opportunity, especially with podcasting, with anything else. With podcasting, I always preach this online to my clients. I’m like, “There are no rules.” If you Google “how much money I can make from a podcast,” everything is going to be CPMs based on clicks per minute and all this other audio, and if you’re with an agency and a media company, they’re going to charge you per download.
I have a whole other system because I create the best service that I can to somebody that’s paying me a big dollar amount for commercials. But when it comes to making money with your show, I have a client that started her show off sharing her postpartum depression story. And from there she pivoted the next year and turned it more into business and raising multiple babies. And sponsors came and found her. She didn’t even pitch them.
But when it comes to how do I make money for my show, there’s really three ways. You can drive traffic to your site, your blog. You can be an affiliate and have links in your show notes, like if you have an Amazon store, if you have your own products, if you use Hello Fresh or Uber, I mean anything, that’s a kickback. So that’s paying for your time that you spend on the mic. And then another one is pitching brands, commercials, driving traffic affiliates in commercials. And I have templates that I… I’m a huge researcher. I research everybody and anything under the sun before I talk to them.
And I just make it like a short and sweet, simple process. Usually I just DM them on Instagram and ask them if they want to be a guest or they want to be involved in the show, you always have to be prepared. So you need a media kit, just like a one-page PDF explaining who it is, what you do, and why you can help them. It’s not about… It’s not the opposite. You know, you want to help their brand. I have a platform with a lot of people that have autoimmune diseases. Why is your CBD company important? Because it’s going to help us heal, that’s why. So if you do your research and you make it about the person that’s paying you, it’s a win-win for everybody. You know?
So you have to definitely be strategic in that process. But you know, there’s apps like Anchor, you can get paid right away and record commercial spots. And then you are an affiliate for Anchor. So if people click your link, you’re making money for your episode. You’re getting paid for your time.
So there’s a lot of questions regarding the money that people ask. And I mean, honestly, I charge $300 per commercial spot and that’s because… And that’s a lot more than you’ll see if you’re with an agency, you have to have millions of downloads to make a certain amount of money. I came up with that formula and I came up with that dollar amount based on what I do, because I automate everything and repurpose everything. So not only are you getting a commercial that’s going to live forever, it’s not a one time deal. Our shows live forever. So somebody pays you, you could have downloads that triple that in three months, because people are searching for that content. Right? So that company’s winning either way just with the audio. But then when you’re repurposing it to LinkedIn and to Pinterest and to video and YouTube, that’s a win-win. You know?
So I came up with a formula and I present it and then I usually write the script for the brands that I bring on. They approve it, I record it, they approve it, and then it goes live. I like to make it simple, but again, I’ve created that. Nobody’s saying… Nobody else does that. If you’re with networks or agencies, it’s all based on your numbers. I base it on the service that I’m providing, because I know that they’re going to get clients based off of what I’m doing for them. So it’s for them, not for me. You know?
I liked the way that you phrase it, there’s no rules, you can do what you want. Because when I was first dipping my toe into podcasting, and again, understanding that I wasn’t coming out the gate intending to be a podcaster. This is an asset that’s in my toolbox. I was and still sometimes I’m like, “Oh, sponsorships,” and I don’t judge anybody else that does it. Just my mind was, “Is that really fit my brand? Is that what I want? Do I want to even deal with the administrative oversight of it? Even though I have my own podcast manager now?”
And I listened to some very big crime podcasts who say that they’re never going to have ads and often they’ll do Patreon so that you can support as a listener, support their podcasts. But I think no matter any of these, and we’ll put this in a checklist at rachelbrenke.com/epi125 with our show notes. Nice little checklist that you can download to kind of give you all these monetization ideas.
I think for myself, and I know Kelly Ann, you’re going to agree with this, is that no matter what product that you want to promote or affiliate link or take as a sponsor, et cetera, it is so important, first of all, to recognize by picking ones that are going to build you as an authority, right? If I pick people that have a good reputation, good products, good quality service, that’s all automatically going to impart their reputation on me.
Which leads me to number two. You want to make sure that you’re picking products and services A, that I think that you’ve used and also B, that you truly believe in. Just because someone throwing money at you… We get this all the time, I mean, I get I don’t even know how many pitches a month to go on the blog and the podcast and social media. And there are people I have never even heard of. Now, yes [crosstalk 00:00:18:11]. Yeah, but you know, here’s the thing. It’s like, I’m willing to build a relationship with you, but you also have to come at me like you want a relationship and not, like you were saying, not just using my platform.
And also not doing research, not respecting your time that you now have to spend answering them where… Say, I always use this as an example, because I used to do really, really high-end luxury events. And I was at the Golden Globes and I was at all these major award shows. And if you don’t do your research and you come to me and you’re pitching me and I have a deal with Coca Cola and you have a Pepsi product, what are you thinking? You didn’t do your research. That’s a conflict of interest. So you need see what other brands has she been involved with? What other types of guests has she had on board?
My show is so different because I started, and I have a lot of patients that listen. then I moved into business. Then I moved into malpractice and then legal. So I have a very different audience. So if I’m bringing on a brand or I’m bringing on a guest that needs to make sense for kind of everybody or that series. That’s why I have them organized in series. So my followers that are in 70 countries now, which is nuts, if they listen to my business shows, they don’t want to hear about a holistic healer sometimes. However, it could help them in their business.
So that’s why I organize it too so that my audience expects from what… They’re going to expect a certain brand for this series or they’re going to expect a certain type of guest, but for this series, not just random. So I always keep it organized. But again, I made up that rule. I didn’t know I was going to do this all this time, through here. It’s like, I just got on a mic. I just wanted to help people and share my story. And now it’s like 24/7 that’s all I do. And it’s crazy. And I love it.
And I love that you share, if you guys have picked up on this from both of us, is that your podcast will evolve. Maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t want to go into all that business stuff. I don’t even know if I’m going to be able to make it. I just want to put the story out.” Great. Start there. You can incrementally evolve over time. My big thing is taking the low hanging fruit. How can you get your content message out there? Don’t even think about monetization upfront if you don’t want to. And the inverse. Maybe you’re sitting there thinking, because we’re recording this during COVID, you may have lost a job, you need money, something. You know, the world… You never know what’s going on in someone’s life right now.
You can monetize today, and Kelly Ann just shared some great resources for that and podcasting’s a perfect way to get into that. You may start with, “Hey, I got monetization ideas. Now I need to think about what are my content ideas.” There’s no right way to approach podcasting. You just have to figure out how you are going to implement it. And I think that, I know for me, like I get tripped up sometimes going, “There has to be a right way. I have to do what all these big podcasters do.” But no, if I was going to do exactly what all the big podcasters do, I’m going to fall into the crowd. I’m not going to stand out. And it’s also not going to fit my resources, right? My time, money, and energy that I have right now, which may end up being that I become so stressed out. I don’t do it at all.
Exactly. And there are so many people now… When COVID happened, this pandemic a couple months ago, so many people were reaching out to me like, “Can I really make money with a show? Because now I’m laid off. I’m getting my severance, I’m using my vacation pay. I have the money. Do I need it? Can I just start? I already know what I want to talk about.”
And then they’re either working full time or mom’s full time and have a part time job or stay at home moms that have this insane Amazon store they’re not sharing. They could be making a ton of money just by providing the link in show notes. So you can be as creative with the money and the content. But when all of this happened, there’s so many things that happened where businesses had to come onto the internet.
And I did another show on this too. I wish I knew what episode number. But when all of this happened, I did an episode about how you have to close the doors and bring everything to the internet and how I already know how that feels because I had to do it three years ago. Everything got ripped away from me. I had to shut the door. There was no other option. I had to come to the internet and figure it out.
And that’s what a lot of business owners have had to do over the last couple of months. So it’s very strange that I know exactly how that feels because with being sick and then ending up being misdiagnosed. But it’s just a crazy feeling. And so I was coaching a lot of my new clients on that. Like, “Okay, what do you want to do?” Now is the time. I’ve asked so many of my friends that were laid off, “What is the one thing you’ve always wanted to do?” And I’m like, “Let’s figure it out.” And that’s it. That’s what I had to do. So let me help you do that.
Let’s peel back the curtain just a tad bit before we wrap up with all of this great checklist items of getting into podcasts and entrepreneurship. It’s not all been easy. What is one of the biggest mistakes that you’ve made in podcasting that you wish you could change?
Oh my God. I don’t think [crosstalk 00:23:37] podcasting.
Nothing… Well, let’s expand it to entrepreneurship, then.
Yeah. Entrepreneurship… Because I’ve shared my whole entire life, I’m trying to think of my legal stuff, and I’m like, “No, I’m glad I shared all that.” With entrepreneurship, probably… So I had a makeup line I launched 12 years ago on my birthday. And I was a pro makeup artist. I traveled the world for over a decade painting celebrity faces. I was on yachts and jets and cruise ships and… Over 60 cruise ships and yachts, I worked on. It was insane. And 17 years doing makeup professionally… Or 14 years? 14… I don’t even know it was so long. I got burnt out. And I was over the sales and I wanted to create my own makeup line.
And I did that. And I got investors and I dumped a ton of money into it. And it kind of… It wasn’t a flop, I had sales, but I went in so hard like, “This is going to be…” This was way before Kylie even existed with makeup on her face, it was so long ago. And I wish I had somebody with me to tell me, “No, don’t do that.” Like, “Don’t use this chunk of cash you just worked so hard for and dump it all into that.” But I learned from that, and if I didn’t go through that, it would have happened some other way, I feel like.
So sometimes it’s nice to have somebody with you that you can bounce ideas off of, or ask for advice, or a different type of investor, if it is a situation like that. I think that… But I learned so much from that situation. And I think that’s my best example of just… I felt like such a failure for so many years. Like, “I can’t believe this.” I thought the world was expecting me to be Kylie Jenner. You’re posting all over the internet.
That’s the thing with having a business online and being all over social media, people are following you and then you feel like they’re expecting this huge thing and it was huge, but then it was just me. I didn’t have a team. And when you have a certain type of business, you need to be prepared and have a team. I thought I could do everything. I mean, I had those $5 postal service priority boxes lined up in my apartment. You know? Like you see Sarah Blakely and her infamous apartment with her red backpack. I wasn’t to that level, obviously, because I don’t own Spanx right now. But I mean, I was ready to take over the world and then it didn’t work out.
So I feel like if that’s going to happen to somebody else, you just take it on and learn from those mistakes. And if you don’t have failures… I feel like any failure I’ve had in my life, it’s brought me to a position that’s made me either a better person, a better business owner, a better podcaster, just overall better human. Period. I think that’s it.
I love it. I always ask that question of everyone on this because I want to make sure that those listening, no matter where you are in your journey… You look at us, it may sound easy, we’ve this, that, and we can share all this advice. We have screwed up, we still screw up, and it is still very difficult sometimes.
So I don’t say that to discourage you, but just to hopefully to have a little understanding that we know what you’ve gone through, what you’re going through, and we still go through a lot of the same things.
Well, Kelly Ann, thank you so much for your time today. This was great. Going through talking about your journey, the content creation process, the monetization. And those of you listening who’re wanting to get a podcast going, please be sure to head over to rachelbrenke.com/epi125. I’m going to link all of Kelly Ann’s stuff.
If you’re already a podcaster, we’re also going to put directly to her podcast production company so that you’re able to reach out and see how she can help you with that. Don’t forget also to download the checklist for today’s episode. We’ll also post that in the Facebook group, Business Bites group on Facebook. And if you guys have any questions at all, please feel free to reach out and I’ll talk to you guys next week.
As a mom, team USA athlete and cancer-survivor, I want a real life while I have a real business. This is why my resources don’t promote hustle-culture, rather tough-love and no-holds-barred tips to achieving both. In addition to this website, I have a top-ranked business podcast, been featured in places like Forbes and work 1:1 with so many of you.
Enough about me though. I am proud of you for pursuing entrepreneurship. It is rewarding and amazing. Keep at it!