Colin Gray Interview Transcription
Jennifer Briney Interview Transcription

Harry Duran:

Podcast Junkies episode number 41. If you heard last week, I interviewed Colin Gray from Scotland. He's a podcaster, he's been doing it for quite a bit of time, since 2007, and this week I get to interview John Dennis of the Smart Time Online Podcast. John and I have been friends virtually speaking and in real life meeting a couple of times since probably late 2014. We actually started our podcasts around the same time. He started in February and I started in April and he's just been one of the guys I've been meaning to have on for a long time and the recent NMX conference was an occasion for us to catch up and reaffirm that we wanted to chat and obviously we made it happen and the result is the podcast you're about to listen to.

So, 40 of episodes is a lot to reflex on and I apologize ahead of time if this intro seems a bit longer than usual, because I've been listening to a lot of show. I've been listening to Rainmaker FM and I really recommend that podcast. I think it's got me thinking a lot about how I organize my show and the type of commitment that I need to put into it in order to see the results I am looking for. I know I've said in the past that I should have it free willing and record when I want to, it's my podcast, and I'll cry if I want to, etc, etc, probably showing my age with that reference.

But what I'm trying to say is that trying something different can also mean putting discipline around your process in away that's uncomfortable and it's something that I would make an excuse for in the past and say well, it's my show and it's free willing, I'm not going to say I'm going to record an episode every week, because, in the back of my mind, what I was really afraid to do is commit to my listeners that I would have something out every week and I know people really appreciate consistently and they look forward to episodes, and I know I do it myself.

And I think what I'm trying right now is an experiment and with all things with an adventure that is entirely your own, you're more than welcome to do many crazy things as you want, because you're just testing things out and you're going to see if they work. So, that's the absolutely longest way possible for me to let you guys know that from now on as far as I can see into the future, I'm going to commit to you one thing and that thing is to have this podcast available for you every Monday.

Now, I won't tell you what time, because pushing it. Let's not crazy now, but if you're in North America, let's put it that way, the podcast will be available for you morningish and it's just something else I am trying, something new. So, I almost didn't record this intro, because I pushed it off like I did so many others in the past and then I realized, well, I said I was going to kick this off and in order for me to get this done in time with my editing team then I need to do this tonight, which is Wednesday night in the East Coast.

So, this episode, which is 41, for me, will kick off a brand new era in Podcast Junkies where I'm dedicating to have a new episode to you up fresh and clean every week for you, Monday morning. So, when you get up Monday morning, you can look forward to an episode of Podcast Junkies. So, let me know if you have any feedback on that topic. If you struggled with anything along those lines, because I would definitely love to hear some feedback. I have to double check, but I think my speak pipe is still working. PodcastJunkies.com, there should be a speak pipe icon for you to leave a message or if not just shoot me a message at the feedback at PodcastJunkies.com.

So, sorry for that long winded intro. I'll keep the intro piece on John Dennis short, because this episode is chalk full of good info and stuff you may not have known about John Dennis. In a nutshell, he was really, really into online marketing and just technology in general. Going years back, his background is in technology and in computers and the other thing that's important to understand how this makes John well rounded is the fact that he had experience in restaurant management. He was also and still is a pilot if you can believe that and I think he just had a lot of different jobs when he was younger.

When he was 16 he sold his first video game account profile for $4800. I didn't even know you could do that and you'll hear me ask a clarifying question on that, but that's pretty cool, because in 2001 or when I was 16 years old, I was definitely not selling shit online for $4800. So, props to John. So, he's a huge, huge fan of some of the early online marketing folks like Rich Schefren and Frank Kern and a couple of others that he mentions and he tell an interesting story of how he was able to provide value for those folks and without looking for something in return, it actually ended up being a total bonus for him. So, lots of other fantastic nuggets in this conversation, which I think you will definitely enjoy. So, without further adieu, my interview with the host of Smart Time Online, Mr. John Dennis.

So, John Dennis from what I'm hoping is sunny Florida.

John Dennis:

Yes, it is today.

Harry:

Thanks for coming on Podcast Junkies.

John:

Thanks for having me man. It's a real pleasure to be here.

Harry:

I think this is a bit overdue considering we met a while ago through Podcast Academy courtesy of our friend Jeff Brown.

John:

Yes, yes, we did. I think that was the very first, I guess, communication point for us, but it's been long overdue.

Harry:

Yeah and the great thing about the conferences, especially NMX and upcoming Podcast Movement. It's almost becomes a podcaster family reunion of sorts, because you get to see some old faces and that's almost one of the reasons why I've always planned on going because as much as you can chat with people online and in the Facebook groups, there's nothing like having the face to face.

John:

Yeah, that's exactly right. I always look forward to meeting people in person and a lot of times I look even more forward to seeing them again and that's why because it is, it's like a reunion and such a tight nit community. I've been in other communities before and there's nothing like the podcast community. There really isn't.

Harry:

I think we all have a tendency to try to lift each other up and that's sort of the raise and tide, lifting all books and we all want to see each other succeed, because probably started relatively around the same time. It's not like there's four or five year gaps between one person's success and another. You know, you probably take with the exception of a couple of standouts, you know what I mean, maybe a two or three year window and that's about the time folks in our circle of friends started with their podcast.

John:

Yeah, that's exactly right and some of the old schoolers that did start long ago, they kind of have their own little click, almost. You know? But, sort of the mentors of the trade, almost, but yeah, I would have to agree. I think you started your podcast right around the same time I started mine, which was earlier 2014, right?

Harry:

Yes, I started in April o 2014.

John:

April, I was in March. So, we were right there, yeah.

Harry:

So, listeners are familiar with my story. I was inspired by NMX, speaking of conferences, to start my show having seen Cliff Ravenscraft at NMX in January of 2014. You started yours around February. What was your motivation to start?

John:

Yeah, you know, a friend of mine who I know in person, his name is Desmond Adams from the Mental Mastery Academy. He is a real good friend of mine. We met because we're both pilot and we met on a pilot forum and he was moving to South Florida, we clicked right away and through our friendship, we've always kind of stayed connected and hey, what are you up to, what am I up to, and here's this new cool thing.

One day he came to me and said, hey, you know, my buddy Jeff Brown, who we worked with at a radio station, that they both worked with, or work through. My buddy Jeff Brown has launched this podcast and you gotta give it a listen and you might really enjoy it and I did. I really enjoyed it and so immediately got connected with Jeff through Desmond and then, you know, having two radio guys as friends, it's just a matter of time.

Harry:

Was it the Read to Lead podcast?

John:

It was. It was right when he launched the Read to Lead podcast, Jeff Brown. And, we formed a mastermind and at the time, Jeff was the only one with a podcast. So, Jeff, Desmond, and myself, we formed a mastermind. We'd meet every Monday night to this day. We've been doing it for almost a couple of years now and we met every Monday night and through that mastermind, we, I just kind of opened up how I really loved the podcasting and through some of that discussion, met a few other movers and shakers like Jared Easley, who would, you know, he's the..

Harry:

Connector.

John:

Yeah, he's the connector. He's a huge advocate for podcasting and I was already kind of underway, but he gave me a little nudge as well, but gosh, I started listening to podcasts and I just loved the medium, really loved the medium. I said, you know what, I want to be apart of this. I want to do something in this medium as well. So, I did.

Harry:

So, what were you listening to at the time? Were you familiar with the podcast format and did you have some favorites?

John:

Yes, a favorite of mine then at to this day was I Love Marketing with Joe Polish and Dean Jackson.

Harry:

Yeah.

John:

Very unpolished show, if you will.

Harry:

How ironic.

John:

Yeah, but just tons of value. Those guys really know what they talk about and there's just so many things you can extract from that as it relates to what I do, which is digital marketing advertising, so I really enjoyed that show. Got into Pat Flynn's show. Coincidentally, Desmond was the one who introduced me to Pat Flynn as well and started listened to it. It took him like three times – It's funny, because the first couple of times it was just like, yeah, whatever, you know, just another IM guy and then once you get to know what he's doing, it's like, wow, this guy really is different. He's unique and he stands out and he is everything that you kind of, you know, don't associate with typical IM people and internet marketing people.

So, I listen to Pat Flynn's show, listen to I Love Marketing, and I gotta say too, 48 Days with Dan Miller, Beyond the To Do List. I listen to that a little bit as well and because I …

Harry:

With Erik Fisher.

John:

Yeah, Erik Fisher and because I was in the beginning of my podcasting sort of life, I was listening to a lot of The Audacity to Podcast.

Harry:

Oh yeah. Daniel J. Lewis.

John:

Daniel J. Lewis. Yes, yes, excellent show he puts on over there and every now and then I'll still catch an episode, but those were some of the early podcasts I started listening to.

Harry:

So, did you come from a digital marketing background and that's why you were attracted to those types of podcasts?

John:

Yeah, you know, it's funny. At the time, no. When I really started listening to podcasts, I was working in the restaurant as a general manager, so I was operating out of this big restaurant and I was really drawn to Jeff's podcast, Read to Lead, because of what I did was, it heavily relied on effective leadership and before, so – I'll tell you what, I'll go from the beginning.

Harry:

Take us way back.

John:

Yeah, let's go way back. Like, I think a lot of male podcasters, not the stereotype, I used to be into video games and when I was 16 years old, I sold a video game account for this game I was playing called Asheron's Call and I made $4,800 at the age of 16 selling a video game account.

Harry:

Wow.

John:

It was great for a couple of reasons. Number one, it taught me a very valuable lesson about leadership. On this game, I had people almost 5,000 people underneath me and we had a tight group of people, although it was many, because of that I gained lots of influence and I put my account on eBay and made lots of money, because of it. That bought my first car. It was my ah-ha money. I can make money online.

Harry:

One question about that just for the benefit of the listener is when you sold a $4,000 video game account, what does that entail?

John:

Yeah, so what it entailed at the time, now this was back in 2001 and in kind of eBay's infancy, but when you allowed you to sell digital items like that. What it entailed was just putting whatever you wanted on eBay and for me it was putting lots of screenshots of some of the gear I had and all the in-game money that I had, the level of my character, some of the stats of my character.

Some of the accomplishments of my character that were unique to things that I did or things that my guild did, you know, and just a matter of putting all that information in the form of screenshots and text on eBay and putting that out on auction and it sold for $4,800 and then I did it again and sold another account, because everybody knew that I was the guy with the nice account, the original, it was the MeanStreak account. I was the original MeanStreak and I created this other account, so everybody knew it was me, so when I sold that one, I was able to get another $2,000, but that was my ah-ha moment.

I thought, wow, there's money to be made on the internet and more importantly for me at a young age, I could love what I'm doing and still make income, you know? So, that kind of catapulted me with that mindset. Through out the years, just lead a pretty entrepreneurial focused life, always wanting to soak it in. I've gone into running restaurants, actually, I did that for a total of six years of my life. I was general manager of a couple of restaurant and that gave me some real world experience on how to run and operate a company profitably and parlay that, digital marketing. I've always just loved it. I've always been fascinating by marketing and with everything that's obviously new and upcoming and sort of the world that we live in, relevant these days, digital was where my interest was sort of focused and so Smart to Online was born.

Harry:

Yeah, the testament to that, I think is the fact that you've had your Twitter account since August of 2008. I took a look and I was like, wait a minute, this guy has been online for quite a bit.

John:

Yeah. Well, you know, I was running a restaurant before then. It was higher-end Asian fusion restaurant as a general manager and I left that to focus on starting, you know, my business, doing online marketing and it kind of transgressed into becoming more of an agency. I was doing websites for people. This was back before WordPress really took off. So, there was a lot of Dreamweaver stuff, you know. I really – yeah, it was fun. I discovered that running a business requires a lot of attention, focus, systems, procedures.

Harry:

Imagine that, right?

John:

Yeah, here I thought, you know, the internet was like this magic thing and so I went on to make some pretty good money for about two years, but by the end of that run, I was sitting there looking at my bank account thinking, wow, I'm in trouble. I had this big house and I had maybe enough to live for like a month and nothing promising coming up, so I was in trouble and I actually had to go put my resume out there and look for a job in the restaurant industry again.

So, that was a real wake up call for me, had to sell the house, downgrade into a smaller two/two, but it was, I wouldn't necessarily call it a failure, but in a way I guess it was. You know, you can't handle success without handle discouragement and that was a discouraging time of my life. I bounced back, spent four years in the restaurant industry, again, as a general manager and that was a blessing for me, because I gained skills that I otherwise wouldn't have and when I was ready to get back into the game, I made sure that I was going to be much more well equip with my focus, with my drive, with the systems I needed to implement and part of why I launched my podcast was because, you know, if I could help people sort of skip the pain points that I had to go through and I loved to do that and thus the name, Smart Time Online. It's kind of morphed, but that was the whole purpose of it, and yeah, that's how it happened.

Harry:

Yeah, one of the ways we were introduced was obviously through Jeff and you actually had a webinar on as part of just podcaster academy and I remember that, because it was one of the ones I checked out and I really liked your approach with how you were building your funnels at the time and it really motivated me to really get my into gear, because I think at that point I had one email, so if you sign up you get the one email back and I'm like wow, that's pretty lame. And here you are talking about these five, six part, you know, funnels with a welcome email and then five parts and sort of building up the next one and the one leads into the other.

So, I don't know if anyone else took your advice and actually implemented a funnel, but I actually did. I think I may have even commented to you afterwards, but yeah, that's the funnel that I have now. So, when folks sign up, hint hint, to the Podcast Junkies news letter to get the 8 tools PDF, they get the welcome email and then they get a sequence, a five part sequence, which I've gotten comments on and people really, really like it and it's really engaging and you put it in a conversational style, so thanks for that. Thanks again for that.

John:

Oh yeah, my pleasure. I'm glad you got value out of that and yeah, I got a lot of good feedback from that webinar, it was really humbling for me, but yeah, I think it would be a good idea for people to sign up to your list just to see how that happens, because whether they're podcasting or they want to podcast or if they're just content creators and they just love your show. I mean, it's one of the things that I think everybody should have. They should have that nurture sequence in place so that they're building good will in the market place. They're building trust. They're building rapport. The best way to do that is just to provide value, demonstrate that you can provide value by actually providing value!

Harry:

Imagine that, right?

John:

Imagine that, right? But it's so easy and once that nurture series is created. I mean, you created it like a year ago, over a year ago, whenever it was, and here it is, it's still working for you. It's a machine that constantly runs. So.

Harry:

Yeah, it's fantastic because occasionally I'll get people feedback and some of them say, this is the best email I've ever gotten, because I made them long! I mean, purposely long and it's like, wow, I gotta read this and you’re either going to have one reaction when you see an email o that length. You're like, ah, delete, right away, or you start, if you hooked them in the first couple of lines, then they're hooked for the rest of the email, which is fantastic.

John:

If you're going to right a long email like a novel, you need a culture, you need to hook them.

Harry:

So, where did you pick up that training, because, obviously you're into digital marketing, you were listening to some of the podcasts, but I imagine a lot of advice that you gleaned over the years came as a result of what you learned, so who are some of the folks who you learned from and inspired you to get where you're at with your online marketing.

John:

Good question. So, when I first stated with my own online marketing. It was end of 2007 and by 2008 I had launched a do-it-yourself credit repair guide and I was follow at the time some of the gurus, so I was following a guy named Rich Schefren, who helped a lot of – the people who were in high places now in the industry get there. I was following a guy by the name of Mike Filsaime who is now partners with another guy named Andy Jenkins. They together have created Webinar Jam, which is a brilliant piece of software for creating and hosting webinars. I was following John Reese, who I was just talking to last night, actually, over Facebook and I was following Frank Kern.

So, those were really the main people who I was kind of paying attention to and I actually reached out to Mike Filsaime once and I said, hey Mike, I've got a question for you, probably receive these emails all the time and this was really before I understood like, you know, probably when you're reaching out to somebody, you know, the best way to reach out to somebody is what can I do for them, because ultimately we're all human, you know, but I just reached out with a question.

I said, hey Mike, really quick question, I know you're a busy guy, but if you could reply with the answer to this, it'll be so grateful. If you were starting off, right now, had none of the contacts you have, right now, but had all your information, what would your first move be? And he replied and said, you know what, I would learn affiliate marketing. He said, learn how to promote other people's product, learn the intricacies of their products, and what they're doing, what their sequences are and everything and how they're teaching and then come up with your own idea. I didn't like the answer, obviously, because we're out of the gate, I created my own product.

Harry:

Yeah, sometimes you get the answer that, you don't get the answer you want, you get the answer you need.

John:

I was a do-er, I just wanted to create, you know, I just wanted to do. He's advice though was golden and I didn't ignore it, so he said, you know, these guys, I've heard a lot of good things about this product called Commission Blueprint. I'm note affiliated with them in anyway, but you should check them out. So, I checked them out and bought the product. It's like $200 or something like and went through the whole product, got back to Mike and said, hey, I just want you to know, you're right.

Their product is amazing. I've learned so much. I've actually made a little bit of money by following their directions and everything and I just thought there'd be some really good opportunities for you to join a venture with these guys and I think you'll make some money and so anyway, put these two in touch. They got together, created a joint venture and over night Mike made like $37,000.

Harry:

Wow.

John:

And I didn't even mean for that to happen. I just, you know, so Mike sent an email to his list and he shouted me out and he was like, you know, the other day, John Dennis, this guy John Dennis reached out to me – he told the whole story and as a result, Mike gave me access to every single product he's ever created, which was really cool of him.

Harry:

Very nice.

John:

Yeah, I was grateful for that and so that was kind of my early on influencers were some of these guys and it's funny because, you know, as the market took a turn, so did their businesses and not just that, but some of these guys made millions of dollars. I think as far as perception goes, as far as my perception goes, they kind of rested on that and some rose to the top and many of them have not been heard of sense.

Harry:

Yeah, because some of those names that you mentioned are essentially considered the online marketing god fathers.

John:

Right, yeah, yeah, absolutely. To this day, I do follow you know, Frank Kern a lot, guys over at Digital Marketer are really smart, but that's really it.

Harry:

So, John, what do you think it is about your personality that had you think that approach is something that would work for you? You say, hey, I don't know this person, but I think that if I come to this person in a sincere manner that they'll provide value to you or at least help me with my question. Is that an approach you've taken in the past that's work with you? Is that something you were taught?

John:

I have. You know, every big opportunity that's ever happened to me in life has been the result of me going in and actually opening the door myself. You know, there have been a couple of doors that have been cracked, but it's always required me to actually step up and let me open this door wide open and walk through. I think you have to do that. I think you have to go out and seek opportunity, create opportunity, or at least create the chase to get the opportunity and I did. I learned that early on. It's a long story I won't get into, but a business mentor of mine at a young age taught me that lesson. I met him at a party. My ex-girlfriend, my girlfriend at the time, it was her best friend's father in law or not father in law, step father rather and instead of partying and drinking, I was out back with him talking about the business that he had and trying to pick his brain at a young age. That was 19 years old. So..

Harry:

I guess you would call that Smart Time Offline.

John:

Yeah. So, you know, he taught me the value of opening doors yourself, so I'm fortunate for meeting some key strategic people in my life who have helped me, but yeah, I think you just have to go for it sometimes and these days especially with how many people reach out to everybody online, I think it is important to kind of go with the mindset of like, what can I do for them, you know, pay to play, either buy their product and then get with them.

You're going to get a lot farther if you either buy their product and then ask them a question or ask them for a favor or feedback or, you know, and if you can't afford the products, say someone is really bootstrapping, then offer them your time. You know, don't ask for something for nothing, offer them your time. Tell them you're willing to put some work in exchange for some advice and you'd be surprised how far that will go with some pretty big names.

Harry:

Yeah, I've used that to good success myself in the past and even for some pricey programs or bootcamps or what have you. I think just showing that you respect their knowledge and you want to be apart of their community and then you go into the community and you contribute and you add value, I think later on down the road when you ask for a favor or for example, in my case, ask them when to be on the show, you know, they 99 times out of a 100 will say yes, I would be more than happy and it feels like a mutual exchange by that pot.

John:

Absolutely. That's exactly right.

Harry:

The other thing I think that's important in this world of like everything happening online and I've been in the restaurant business as well, which is why that career rang a bell with me, but I think there's some value in having face to face interaction. Like, the ability to engage with people, to look people in the eye, to read people's body language, to check out people's mood.

Just this whole dynamic that happens when you're working in an environment with other people that you may or may not like and that you have to get along with and they have different opinions than they do, you may have managers that suck and don't know how to manage people and you may have to manage people that are just horrible employees and you gotta figure out a way to either improve them or manage them out, so I think that whole dynamic is really something that's not talked about a lot online, but I think that's, sort of real life training, I think is really helpful online down the road.

John:

It is. I was going to mention that, but I didn't want to get too long winded, but I think the restaurant did – I'm a people person, you know, I like really enjoy sitting with people and talking with people, greeting guests and really interacting with people who come into the door and you're dealing with hundreds of guests in some cases, thousands of guests a day. You really get used to just being comfortable with talking to people and not necessarily asking them for something, but you know, talking to someone you don't particularly know, you know? I remember the first time I did a – shift me as a manager. Palms sweaty, face read, beads of sweat dripping down my face. It was like my first time I ever did public speaking.

Harry:

yeah.

John:

So, it's just a matter of, you know, grinding it out and putting it to the store and just really getting the practice in and once you're comfortable with it, it'll serve you so well, you know?

Harry:

I noticed on Instagram you posted a lot of fitness pictures.

John:

Yeah.

Harry:

How important is that in terms of keeping – being well rounded and as part of either your daily or weekly regiment. Like, how important is fitness in that whole picture?

John:

It's so important, man. You know, last year I gained 30 pounds because I got so busy. It's an excuse, but it's what happened, so my wife is a fitness trainer, she's a NASM certified fitness trainer, so you know.

Harry:

What's NASM?

John:

National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Harry:

Okay.

John:

Yeah, she – it's one of the most prestigious ways to get certified as a personal trainer. So, she knows her stuff and she's got a large following online of like thousands of people and anyway, so I've got someone like her in my corner, but even with someone like her in my corner, last year I gained 30lb, because I was so busy in my business and my business was taking over my health and so,I committed this year to getting a little bit more fit and I have, I've lost weight.

You know, I went from being at the gym, like five or six times a week for most of those days, I would go twice and you know, I was really fit, I was really in shape, loved it, you know, but business just takes up so much of your time sometimes that it's so easy to get sucked into it and sucked into the thought process of, gosh, I can't afford to go to the gym, because I need to work on my business where it really should be the other way around.

So, I recently started a new regiment, actually, I get up real early in the morning. I've been running for an hour, hour and a half out by the inter coastal down here in South Florida, so I hate running. I hate the stair master. I'm forcing myself to do that early this year and I thought, you know what, I'm going to get out and go somewhere where I know I'm going to enjoy doing this. I think that's key, but it's really important. I have more energy. I have a clear focus. When I'm out there, I get these brilliant ideas and I gotta stop and write them down on my phone that I otherwise just don't get, you know. I think I attribute that to..

Harry:

The endorphins.

John:

Yeah, the endorphins and the actual physiological change that's happen in your body and so, I attribute a lot of success to that, man. Good question.

Harry:

I could, as you've probably figured out, I've been doing a bit of investigation into your social media profile.

John:

Yeah, yeah, no doubt.

Harry:

It's funny, because you mentioned, oh, I put on 30lb and this is not preplanned, but I was going to make a comment on one of the posts you made on Instagram, I think it was a couple of weeks ago, you're like it's 12:56am and I'm hunkered down creating webinar slides for a client and I'm having a wholefoods brownie.

John:

Yeah. Yeah, that was an old miner actually and the first one I've done in years, but yeah, so, you know, you have to indulge, but like anything, it's all about moderation.

Harry:

Yeah, well the other thing that speaks to is, I think, maybe just, sometimes you do have to burn the candle at both ends especially if you're working on a project and you want to get something out the door and speaking of projects, you've got a couple under your belt now that you've been working on. Talk about the ProCast player, the media player that you've created for listening to podcasts.

John:

Yeah, thanks. I didn't plan on saying thing about it, but I appreciate it. So, ProCast player is a media player for a WordPress website and it's – I created it because I was on someone's website one and I just thought how cool it would be if I could play his episode from the side bar and so that's kind of where the idea was born and I just started thinking about how that might make sense for podcasters and how it might make sense for the listeners and how it would benefit them.

So, the idea behind ProCast players to engage visitors. So, it's to engage your website visitors and convert them into engaged podcast listeners, you know. So far I've just had great reviews. I'm actually working on some new features for it pretty soon here, which should release here in the next, I'm hoping four weeks. Working out some kinks, but working on some new features for it. It's a side bar player. It's fully customizable, so it can make brands, colors, whatever it is that you have on your site. You could pretty match almost any design. It's really versatile in terms of how it looks and feels on someone's website.

Harry:

Did you know what you were getting into when you decided to get into software development?

John:

No way. So, I've always had this interest in Software stuff, especially as someone who has done some web development and it's a whole another game when it comes to like plugins and software.

Harry:

Working with developers.

John:

Working with developers. I have a team. This particular team is over at India and my lead developer who I was working very closely with, you know, it's a sacrifice, not just for me, but for him as well and of course that costs money. So, there's a big time investment. There's monetary investments and there's just headaches and a lot of headaches and it's just a matter of getting over it, but you know, once you see it through, one of the most rewarding things for me was just putting it out there and pushing, like, go and at that point, I was like, you know what, it doesn't make any money, like, I saw it through to the end and the thing was, you know, ROI profitable in like a couple of days.

Harry:

That's awesome. What's the website just for the specific player?

John:

Sure, it's www.procastplayer.com

Harry:

Okay. Easy enough.

John:

Yeah.

Harry:

So then the other thing you're working as another project was the Florida Podfest. You participated in it and you had a mastermind with (#35:38?), right?

John:

Yea, Jarred and Lou created Podcast Florida, which is, you know, a regional kind of meet up and Lou invited me to his one day thing that he had this idea, first time he's ever done it and he asked me to attend, so I did. I just walked in there and I thought to myself, you know, I'm going to give this, I'm just going to layout every piece of value I can possibly layout on the table for everybody to go home and I did! And it was so cool man. I

left there with more energy than I went in, you know, in the morning. It was one of those things where I discovered wow, this is fun, this is what I love to do and the feedback was just amazing. It was such a rewarding thing. Everyone of the people in that room that day are now friends and a couple of them have turned into coaching students and it's awesome.

I love it, but yeah, one of the things I love and really enjoy doing is these regional meet ups and get togethers and as we mentioned in the beginning of this, it's such a tight nit community and this is one of the reason why it's so tight nit is because people love to meet up, people love to get together and so, yeah, Jared and I along with Bora, we do a South Flordia podcasters meet up as well and last time we had 40 people.

Harry:

Yeah, I was looking at some of the pictures online. Those are a lot of people packed into that room.

John:

Yeah, yeah. So, yeah. A lot of those regional things and it's just about getting, you know, we don't make any money from it at all, but it's just getting the community together and I think it's important to have that, surround yourself with like minded people who are doing things or who want to do things.

Harry:

It's something you've seem to have jumped in with both feet, because the fact that you're creating products targeted at a podcasting community and you had the podcast itself and then you started doing the local meet ups and then working on masterminds and I think it's a testament to how passionate you are about podcasting and how much you really love this and I think one of the best things that I saw that happened last year was you were on CBS news 12 talking about podcasting.

John:

Yeah, yeah. I was. That was really cool and yeah. We got invited to talk about the benefits, the potential benefits for local business owners to add podcasting to their sort of content creation strategy. I mean, listen man, you know just as well as I do, it's such a great way to stand out and set yourself apart from competition. Local business owners have a huge opportunity with podcasting. I think it's just going, I think we're on the cuff, we haven't even seen the tip of the ice berg. It's really to..

Harry:

Blow up.

John:

Exploded for local business owners, especially.

Harry:

What's interesting is that, like, every other new technology that's come around for local business owners, you know, Twitter and Facebook, it gets overwhelming for them, right? Local business owners and having run a restaurant, I'm sure you can vouch for them, have enough on their plate without having to worry about how to – what microphone do I buy for my podcast? Or how often do I post on Twitter or what pictures should I put on Instagram. I can't imagine a local business owner in this day and age having to worry about all these things, social media and marketing, digital marketing related that 20-30 years ago wasn't even on their map.

John:

Not at all.

Harry:

It's crazy. It almost speaks to a whole cottage industry about getting them out to speed, getting them online, and sort of, I keep using Dave Jackson's analogy, flatting the learning curve, but really holding their hand and showing them the power of what can happen with an effective digital marketing strategy and in a way that can add value to them and bring people to the door, because at the end of the day that's what they need, you know, I'm sure they've gotten their money taken from them many times by people who say, oh, you should be doing digital marketing and podcasting and social media. That's $2,000 a month and six months later they've got nothing to show for it.

John:

Right, yeah, and that's a really good point too. Business owners are busy people and a lot of times, they don't even have time to add another thing to their plate and, like you said, they're busy trying to wrap their heads around like, Twitter and Facebook. We're like doing Facebook, how am I suppose to manage – suppose to Tweet everyday? You know. I see a real need for people offering services like that to local business owners, so that's one of the things I started with Jeff Brown actually.

We put together- we started a company called Pod Surf and we help local business owners launch podcasts from start to finish. It's soup to nuts done-for-you services. It's been very successful. Completely 100% inbound. We haven't done any outbound marketing, so it's funny. It's all word of mouth and I think it's just the show, like you were saying, business owners are starting to see and notice that they need to do some of these things, but it's a matter of, you know what, I don't have time, but I'd be willing to have someone do it for me.

Harry:

So, with all the things going on. I imagine at some point there was a lot on your plate and that you had to make a tough decision to stop podcasting for a while. Talk a little about that.

John:

Yeah. I think this is going to be a big takeaway for listeners is I haven't released a podcast episode since November of 2014. I mean, we're here at the end of May at the time of this recording, right about turn into June and it's depressing to think about, honestly, because in the first quarter of this year along, I could attribute over six figures of my business as a result of y podcast and so it's a really tough thing for me to sideline that and say, hey, you know what, I don't have time to record and edit and all these things to keep up with my podcast. Really, it's the recording and then coming up with the content and the reason is because I am just in-dated with business.

So, for me right now, I'm at a crossroad with my business and I think everybody gets here who is at least somewhat successful, it's, what do I do with my team? How do I scale appropriately? What are the things that I am doing that I are just not attributing to the overall big picture of my goals, you know, so I'm at this point right now, like today, where I'm assessing some of those things and I'm assessing some of my goals and my desires of what I really enjoy doing. I have had enough time now to discover things that I really love and I love teaching people. I love live workshops.

I love the coaching aspect of what I do and I want to do more of that and I just can't right now because of some of these other things that are taking my time and part of that, part of the teaching and the things that I love is it involves podcasting, so I'm working on a complete relaunch of everything, of my website, of Smart Time Online won't get relaunched, but new episodes will be coming out and when I think about it, I get giddy, I get excited, I can't wait to do it, because it's truly enjoyable.

Harry:

Because the field keeps changing and growing and evolving and there's always something to talk about.

John:

Right, yeah, and there is and there always will be. I love every bit of it and to this day I get people on average, probably about once a week, people who are messaging me or DMing me or Tweeting me and asking me, hey, when are you going to release new episodes and it's good, because it keeps it in check, you know, it's like, you know what, I can't keep putting it off. So, it's on the plate actually.

Harry:

I have a suggestion. You can take a post-it pad and every time someone asks you a question, you write it on the post-it and then you put it on the wall and one by one, you have to come to your office and look at them and you're like, at some point it starts filling up your wall and it's just like okay, they're literally there talking to you, I get it. I'm doing something.

John:

That's a great idea, actually. I might even do that, man. All these reasons just to start.

Harry:

And then your first episode back is you just start taking them one at the time off the mall and say, hey, mic, I'm here, I'm back. You were there for me back in..

John:

That's brilliant.

Harry:

So, I think what would be interesting is for you to the extent that you can, break down your thought process into what's happened since the time you stopped. You said it's November to now. We're in May, so what thought process do you go through to say, okay, this is what I like, this is what I don't like. Is it just a function of trying a lot of things and then realizing okay, six months later, I don't like this, and I like this and this is where I'm going to focus on. Was there an approach or you just really needed to catch your breathe?

John:

Yeah, you know, for me, I think it was just a matter of catching my breathe. You know, to be honest and completely transparent, a little bit of burn out. I launched my show with three episodes a week and it was too much. It's easy to feel like, you know, I'm just going to do this awesome show and I'm going to spend all this time, like, you know, with doing three episodes a week or whatever it is, but the time investment is so much more than I expected.

Harry:

It's almost exponential.

John:

Yes. It really is and after weeks of being in new and note worthy I kind of was sitting there exhausted, almost, and I was like, wow, what do I do? My business is literally falling by the waist side, because I'm putting too much time into the podcast, so how do I balance these things out? Do I hire VA to handle the whole thing, you know, I experimented with that for a second. It didn't, you know, it was just still a matter of like coming up with the content and recording it, even. You know, it's just a matter of – I don't ever want to be the guy who's just recording stuff to record stuff because it's time to put out a show, you know?

Harry:

And you can hear those episodes when people are just dabbling it in.

John:

Yeah. I rather not release an episode than release an episode and one of the big pieces of advice that I have for anyone is who is a podcasting who might be starting out or existing as a podcaster it's to be consistent. Like, that's a huge lesson for me. Stay consistent, because you will lose your audience, you will lose a great portion of your audience.

I'm lucky, I think I am pretty niched in even though it's digital marketing. I feel like I craved out a little niche that I didn't really intend on carving out of some loyal people and a lot of them ended up being business owners who reached out for help and later became clients, who later became students, and I got pretty fortunate with that, but I wouldn't count on that. So, consistency is really important, but do not sacrifice quality for consistency.

Harry:

Yeah, good point. Yeah, I think that's really important, because a lot of people get so excited about jumping into this arena and I think if they never been podcasting, they will simply copying what someone else is doing. Some people are even brave enough to copy John Lee Dumas's seven day a week schedule thinking, oh, how bad could it be and I think they really, really underestimate the burnout factor and eventually end up podfading.

John:

Yeah, podfading, that's exactly right. A lot of people kind of before they even really, like, the final primary objective for podcasts, what their overarching goal is, they just feel like, I gotta do what everybody else is doing and then there's another imitator on the table. We have enough of those.

Harry:

Yeah, exactly. It's people's inclination is to just copy what other people are doing hence the dash on fires and dash preneurs.

John:

Dash preneurs.

Harry:

Add nausem.

John:

Yes, yes, exactly.

Harry:

So, what's interesting about a podcast that has stopped or podfaded for a while is that people still download the old episodes.

John:

Yeah, I still get hundreds of downloads a day. I don't know, but I do and it's, you know, I'm really grateful for that. I don't know how that's happening. It could be a result of some traffic that I get organically, but I think, it's all evergreen. Most of it is evergreen and I think that really helps.

Harry:

Yeah, that's important.

John:

Yeah, yeah. Not every podcast can be that way, but it can, I think it really should be.

Harry:

So, what's got you excited? I know you do have your hand on the pulse of podcasting, what are you excited about? What's up and coming for podcasters in general?

John:

Yeah, you know, I think, it's becoming more and more easier to become a podcaster.

Harry:

Which is good and bad, right?

John:

Yeah, yeah. Good and bad, yeah right. What excites me the most I think is we're going to see a lot of small businesses getting into podcasting, especially as the podcasting doors get kicked down more and more. Like, with shows like Serial that are really doing a service for sort of putting podcasting out there in a spotlight. When SNL does a spoof on podcasting —

Harry:

Yeah, exactly, that was our moment.

John:

Yeah. I think we're going to see a lot of, what excites me is just businesses understanding that content will drive success, it will drive success and written content is great, it'll always be great. Email, obviously, will always be there, but when you can make content more intimate like in the way of podcasting as a business owner, it's life changing for a business and that's what I've experienced and that's what some of my clients and colleagues and friends have experienced and that continues to excite me, really.

Harry:

Yeah, we've got some definitely interesting times ahead and I'm happy to be apart of it. It's like for the first time we're like in this industry that's, you know, I know people like Rob Walch from Libsyn hate to see – call it a resurgence or a renaissance, but it's definitely with the convergence of the convergence of technology and the equipment and the ability to get one online quick, I think it's excited times for us all right now.

John:

Yeah, it sure is. It sure is, man.

Harry:

So, one of the questions I like to ask to get a bit more insight is if there was one thing about you that's most misunderstood, what would you say that is?

John:

Wow, that's a deep one. Sometimes I can come off as a nice guy and that has hurt me in the past.

Harry:

Huh, that's interesting. Normally it's the other way around. People say assume I'm like a mean a guy and I'm running like a mean guy service. It's interesting, but I think you're coming at it from the perspective of being taken advantage of, right?

John:

Right. Yeah, where there are some people who I've experienced and I'm not going to draw on some of the specifics experiences, but it's easy to get taken advantage of when you want to serve others and so, that perception of well, this guy is a nice guy and I'm going to, you know, whether it's, you know, hop on this call with him and pretend – be interested in hiring him to take up as much time as I – I've had that happen and so, you know, I don't know if that really answers your question, but.

Harry:

I think it's an interesting challenge that people that are online, they've been online for awhile and have something to offer and come across with and the more time you spend online, the more time whatever it is, podcast host, online marketer, you tend to acquire this knowledge of just having been through the trenches and to your point, naturally they're always going to be people that want to come on and, you know, get their three hours of free consulting from you.

John:

Yes. It's true. I think it's going to happen to anybody who is up and coming and another thing I'll say too is a lot of people, I think they get this preconceived notion that I'm like this marketer, you know, who is in serious mode all the time. I'm just a guy who likes to have fun. So, when I get together with people at events and stuff and it's time to go out and grab a drink, you know, it's about having fun and it's about connecting and not being so uptight, you know, a lot of people have been a little surprise with that side of me.

Harry;

Yeah, I can vouch that having seen John in action at a conference and if you' want to experience it yourself, I suggest you get yourself out to Podcast Movement.

John:

That's right. I'll be there.

Harry:

So, thanks John for taking the time to come on the podcast. I'm always glad because I always learn a bit more about friends, you know, people that I've met and talked to and that you think you know and sometimes even through the course of an interview, you learn stuff that you didn't know before and I appreciate you going into a bit of depth around your background about some of the experiences you had that have made you the person you are today.

John:

Yeah, it was a real pleasure man. Thanks for letting me open up about that.

Harry:

I didn't even know you were a pilot as well. So, we have to pick up on that, but just really quickly, like, how did you get involved in piloting?

John:

18th birthday, my mother, she bought me a demo flight.

Harry:

Nice.

John:

I went up and I was hooked. I got the bug as they say. I wasn't able to get my license until 2007. I am 30 now. So, I got my license and it's a dream, man. It's nothing like it. It's, you know, getting up there, getting away from the world. It's truly a passion of mine. I enjoy it a lot, but that's how I got into it.

Harry:

How many hours you logged/

John:

Only a couple hundred.

Harry:

Only!

John:

Yeah, well, that's really low compared to like professional pilots who have logged thousands and thousands, but coincidentally, funny enough, I should say, almost half of those are at night time.

Harry:

Wow.

John:

So, one of the things I love doing is like, you know, if I'm awake at night, sometimes I'll just go down the airport and I'll grab a plane and I'll go fly, you know. I've had a good relationship with one of the schools down here, so I have access to the box and the keys and go where ever I want. I just log in time and pay for it later.

Harry:

It's sort of like your meditation time, right?

John:

It is, yeah, and I'll get ideas up there and everything, just like I do when I'm running in the morning, you know?

Harry:

The only thing I've done in a plane is jumped out of it once.

John:

I've done that too.

Harry:

Maybe if I'm in Florida, I'll see if you've got the keys laying around.

John:

Look me up, we'll go fly.

Harry:

Very, very cool. So, let people know where they can track you down online.

John:

Yeah, I'm at SmartTimeOnline.com and for podcasters who want to join a community, I don't know if this is okay to say, but PodcastersHangOut.com. So that's a group I am an admin on. I've got over 2,100 members as of right now and it's just real fun place to hang out and we're going to actually start doing hangouts soon enough here, free, you know, free to everybody who is a member and bring on experts and kind of bring in value to the group as a whole. It's just a Facebook group, just request to join and I'll approve you and come join the family.

Harry:

Guys, I can vouch for that, because I am a member of Podcasters' Hangout and it's in, my mind, I think it's one of the best online communities for podcasters that are out there. It's sort of like an intermediate Facebook group. It's not, you know, who are beginners, like, hey, check out my art.

John:

Right, yes.

Harry:

My iTunes work, you know, what should I podcast about. We get a bit deeper than that, which is really why I like it and I think it's a really solid group of people in there. It's amazing how big it's grown, so kudos to you for that.

John:

Yeah, well, thank you. Appreciate.

Harry:

Alright, thanks again, John. Have a fantastic day.

John:

Yeah, you too. Thank you.

Harry:

So, that was Mr. John Dennis of Smart Time Online and also the founder of Podcasters's Hangout which is a 2,100 person-strong Facebook group for podcasters and what's fantastic is – it's just that it's a great group. I mean, it's not – I'm going to geek out on podcasting, but it's fine, because it's Podcast Junkies and I'm allowed to.

It's not a group where people are in there like, hey, check out my artwork or, I'm thinking of podcasting, what should I do? It's been eight weeks and I haven't podcasted or hey, I recorded my first episode, and there's a place online for people like that and that's not to say those type of questions don't come around every now and again in the forum, but I think what John's been able to cultivate is almost like an intermediate level of podcasters and people that are interested in taking their podcast further and actually helping each other out. He's got a strict policy of no spamming, no promoting, no self-promotion, no promoting links, etc, etc, which I think is a fantastic guideline for any group that wants to be considered legit.

So, kudos to him for growing it to that size. I think he's got some cool things planned for the group and It's fun, because everyone in there is just supporting each other. So, obviously that's just one of the thing that is on his plate, he's doing a lot of interesting stuff with the mastermind forum with Lou Mongello, who is slated to be a guest on Podcast Junkies, just so you know, and we're working to make that happen and he's just trying new things, right. He's got the group in Florida that he meets with. He's got the podcasting service that he's partnered with Jeff Brown of the Read to Lead podcast and I think he is the definition, in my mind, of a podcast junkie.

So, I really enjoyed digging deep on his story, on his background, because it's always fun for me for a guest when I learn more about the guest during the course of an interview than I knew about the person from having spoken to them online or in person.

So, that's really, really a cool experience and it's really one of the reasons why I do this show just to get to know my friends, my fellow podcasters a bit more and to introduce to you another side of their personality and I hope I was successful with this. I believe I was, because I think John revealed some interesting things about himself growing up and learning and being vulnerable and just putting himself out there talking about his failures, his wins, and just having an overall enthusiasm for the medium of podcasting.

So, that being said, please rate and review the show. I've talked about this before. Reviews are the life blood of the podcast for those of you that don't know and I've made it easy, because you can just go to PodcastJunkies.com/iTunes and it'll take you to the iTunes application and then you'll see an option there to subscribe, which is obviously the first thing that you should and then leave five star reviews, which I think that's your first inclination. I'm just saying. I'm not biased or anything, but I think would be your first inclination after listening to the 40+ episodes of Podcast Junkies, but if for any reason you decide to leave a review of less than five stars, then I welcome it all the same, because it's just feedback for my show and it would be criticism or constructive criticism in that case of what I can do better and what I can do earn a better review from you next time around.

So, check that out if you get a chance and as always, if you have any suggestions for guests or if you want to prodive feedback forthe show, head on over to PodcastJunkies.com and leave a comment on Speak Pipe and don't forget to check us out. We're on the social medias, Twitter Podcast_Junkies. Instagram PodcastJunkies and Facebook PodcastJunkies.

So, thank you so much for listening, as always, I truly, truly appreciate every single one of you and I'm going to start to get a little more regular with the newsletter if you haven't signed up for that. Just simple text the word PodcastJunkies, all one word, 233444. That's PodcastJunkies, all one word, 233444.

You can actually do that now, because in the past you were saying, Harry, I want to sign up, but I am not at my computer and I'm not on a cool browser on my phone, you know what, it doesn't matter now. Text message. Everybody has got text messaging. I had text messaging back in the year 200—I don't know. I'm about to state some year when text messaging was invented and quickly realized I didn't know when that was.

So, it's very easy, anyone has got a phone who can text message, next time right before you text message your momma, right before you text message your boo, text message me! 33444. PodcastJunkies one word and that's it, you're signed up. You get all the super, fantastic email onedoreallia. I just made that word up and that is the spoken word, the written word, sorry. This is the spoken word. What you'll receive in a newsletter format is written word. Sorry and it'll have my musing and my fantastic pros not! I do the best I can, I do. Some of that stuff is really just heart to write, because every week I try to figure out what to say, assuming I get it out every week, which I don't.

So, I don't know why I said that. So, I'm going to get better with that too, by the way, since I'm commitment to a Monday episode and I should probably commit to a Monday newsletter, so I will do that as well. So, hopefully I can make that happen. 33444 to PodcastJunkies. Text it now and we only restrike here for you for people that decide to listen in some perverse fashion to the end of every single podcast they listen to, because they are, like, OCD like that and they washed their hands like ten times and even if you're not, you still here then the Easter egg is the city that I'm calling from, I'm visiting my parents. I'm Yonkers, New York. So, #Yonkers and say, you so crazy.

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