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Adam Baruh: [00:01:00] Welcome to Beyond the Microphone, a podcast about podcasters and the stories of how their shows came together grew, and what they’ve discovered along the way. I’m your host, Adam Baru. So before we get into our interview today, I want to talk a little bit about systemization, which is something that is very critical to, you know, I mean, for me, I’m a little bit unique because I’m a podcast producer and I have numerous podcasts that myself and my team are working in every single day.
But even when I was just doing my own, I mean, it was pretty critical. I mean, I. Yeah, again, a little bit different. I do run three companies, so like, you know, my time demands are pretty crazy. Plus I have four kids and I have an austral uh, cattle dog, which even if I just had the cattle dog, that’s pretty crazy in and of itself.
But systemization absolutely saves my life every single day because I really do [00:02:00] need. As much as I can have on autopilot, beyond autopilot. Um, obviously it all comes down to prioritization. Like if there are tasks or things that, that is the best use of my time. Like that use of my time is the best strategic use of my time.
Those are the things that I’m gonna continue to do and have my, you know, my fingerprint on. But whatever I can automate. And by all means, I want to have that stuff automated and I want to have things automated for my team. Um, I want them, I want, you know, all of us to be kind of knowing day in and day out.
What do we have going on, not just this week, you know, because with four podcasts that we produce, I mean, everybody’s got a role to play and everybody’s got stuff to do every day. So, you know, we do a lot on the marketing side. We do YouTube, we do all the podcast channels, um, we do teaser posts with Audiograms and TikTok.
So there’s a lot of content that we’re creating every single day. [00:03:00] So, You know, systemization is a way for us to keep on track with going on autopilot as much as we can. We have a lot of scheduled automated emails that go out to our podcast guests. Like for example, Alex, who’s my guest here today, received an email right after I booked him to be a guest, um, from our system that said, Hey, You know, we have a questionnaire so that we can gather information about, you know, you to prepare for your episode.
And he was able to use that to upload his headshot, his bio, and all that stuff. And then, you know, the day before the interview, he got an email with the link and just some readiness and so on and so forth. So that’s where Systemization can really, really save the day for you. And just again, you know where you’re spending your time.
That is just. A very non-strategic use of your time. Look to systemize that and automate that as much as you can. And there’s plenty of tools out there that will help [00:04:00] you. So thank you for listening to me talk about systemization. I’m happy to introduce Alex Sanfilippo. Um, he’s a podcast host, a technology founder, and a passionate podcast educator.
And it’s the last part that he and I. I think have a lot of alignment around. Um, we met a couple of weeks ago just talking about this interview and, and that was the thing that, you know, Alex, that really rang true to me just from that conversation, um, because I know how busy you are and you’ve got a large following and you’re doing a lot.
But what really, really like came through for me was how passionate you are about educating podcasters. And that’s something that. You know, it is very near and dear to my heart as well. So, you know, it’s just very inspiring to have you know you on as a guest today. So with that, welcome to be on the microphone, Alex.
Alex Sanfilippo: And thank you so much for having me. I’m, I’m really excited to be here and I, I agree. You and I [00:05:00] we’re kind of from the same vein. I believe when it comes to the, the passion for educating, and we’re both, just so everyone knows, little disclaimer here to start off, we’re both systems guys, and what I do doesn’t work without that.
So if you’re wondering what the secret sauce or the superpower behind Alex is, it’s a whole backlog. Like all these systems happening in the background. And, uh, so I’m a firm believer in that. Adam, you’re, you’re kind of a, a pioneer in the space when it comes to podcasting and systematization, like working those two things together.
So again, absolutely honored to be here and excited for our conversation today.
Adam Baruh: Yeah, uh, me as well. And you know, right now, like here in mid 2023, like the name of the game is AI and, you know, chat g p t really, um, it was a game changer when, you know, it first came out and just even, you know, a short time later how much it’s evolved that can, you know, as content creators how much it really, really.
Can help out. Um, but I want to definitely have that conversation. Let’s put that on hold and let’s start at the beginning. Let’s do this. Right. So, [00:06:00] you know, tell us a little bit about yourself. You know, where do you live, um, you know, where did you grow up, that sort of thing. A little bit about your education and your early career before you got into podcasting.
’cause I think that story is gonna be re very relevant to like, you know, how you’re entering into this podcasting space, you know, came to be.
Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah, so I’m actually born and raised Jacksonville, Florida. Still live there today. Uh, if you’re watching this, which you might be listening, but if you’re watching this, you can tell I’m not very tan. Uh, we haven’t had a lot of sun yet this summer ’cause. Florida’s living up to its name with, uh, a lot of rain.
So the sunshine state, we get a lot of rain here. Um, I digress, but I, I absolutely love it here, live close to the ocean, and I, I love being outside. I work indoors. I podcast indoors by any chance I get. I love to be outside, so, uh, that’s always been fun for me. And growing up here, uh, just kind of giving you some of that context of the space that I live in.
Uh, I, I got really big into real estate at a young age because I thought it looked so interesting. [00:07:00] So the day I could, I was like, I’m gonna invest in real estate, do all that. This was prior to 2000 7, 0 8, 0 9, and uh, so you can imagine as a young guy with some real estates, but not a lot of brains at that point, um,
Adam Baruh: all in the bubble. Like, yeah, you, you weren’t alone in that.
Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah, so part-time, uh, part-time school at that point, uh, just going to community college and full-time investing was kinda the way I describe myself at that point. And I focus here in Jacksonville, Florida, and a couple things happened. We had some bad storms, but then we had a bad economy wreck.
And, um, because of that, I. Business fell apart, but also I couldn’t afford to go to school anymore. It just wasn’t feasible. Like, because I, I went from like doing well for my age to being super in debt. Uh, I share all that because that’s what got me into corporate is I always thought I’d be an entrepreneur.
But I realized at that point, I think maybe I just got gun shy outta, I don’t know, I got like a little scared from it. I just looked around for an industry that wasn’t doing terribly, and ultimately I ended up in the aerospace industry. Now, before listeners think I was an astronaut, skydiver or fighter pilot, I was none of those [00:08:00] things.
I worked behind a computer toward the end of the career, but initially I got in part-time and was just. Breaking down boxes and taking out people’s trash. They called it a receiving clerk position. And, uh, so humble beginnings with it, but over a 15 year period, and that’s, it’s corporate, so it’s not like super sexy story along the way.
Right. But over 15 years, I ended up at the executive level of that company, ended up helping take the company public. And, uh, it was a very cool experience for me. But that’s kind of, if you will, like my professional background from, from early twenties and in into my thirties before I got into podcasting.
Adam Baruh: Okay. Um, so keep going. So you’re, and I, I love that, that you kind of started out, um, at the taking people’s trash out level and ending up, um, at the executive level. That’s, that story is pretty remarkable in and of itself. So, you know, How long were you doing that for? You said you took the company public, you know, talk about how you exited that space and you know, what was your next step?
What was your next journey [00:09:00] after working for the aerospace company?
Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah, I’ll kind of summarize more of that because it led straight into podcasting more or less. But the, by the way, going back to the receiving clerk thing, yeah, I started off there. I got full-time pretty quick, but it was because I was really operating as an entrepreneur within an organization, which Adam, I don’t know if you’ve heard the latest I.
The latest terms the kids are using these days, I’ll just call it that. But that an intrapreneur is what people have coined that as. So you’re an
Adam Baruh: Respect.
Alex Sanfilippo: right, an entrepreneur working in an organization that’s called an intrapreneur. So if that’s a real thing, don’t make, if it’s not, don’t make fun of me. If it is, then I’m pretty trendy and cool, by the way, everybody.
Um, but I was operating Is that because even when I was just doing that part-time job, the way my brain worked said, Hey, this trash can is always full. Let’s put a bigger one there. This one’s always empty. Let’s put a smaller one there. And we have multiple stations of people breaking down boxes all day.
Let’s. Get carts and put ’em all into one central place and do it right there so it’s outta the way, and things like that just go noticed. And that’s a very small example of what I did over my entire career there, and that’s what caused me continuously. Get promoted and grow. And again, it [00:10:00] was over a 15 year period, so it wasn’t like overnight super sexy.
These guys getting working his way at the top. It took a long time and took a lot of work. When that changed is the day the company went public and I’ll, I’ll share this quick story, Adam. It was actually year 13 at the company. And at this point, we had just recently gone public and I, I, this, I was at now C-Suite level.
So I oversaw five divisions of the company and one of my divisions saved a full 10% profit margin, uh, or made an extra 10% profit. And like, this is a multi-billion dollar organization. So like, that’s a, that’s a huge deal. And so I walked down, I reported directly to the C E o. I’ll never forget, I walked down to his office, opened the door, sat down.
I was like, Hey man, did you, did you see what happened? And obviously he gave him context and stuff. He goes, yeah, man, I saw it. I could hear in his voice, like he wasn’t excited about it. I was like, I, I kinda like leaned in, like, you know, we, we saved that 10%, right? We didn’t spend extra 10%. He’s like, no, I, I know I saw it and I could hear like he wasn’t a guy to get frustrated with me.
Had a really good working relationship and I just kinda sat back. I’m like, Some something wrong. He goes, yeah, man. He goes, we didn’t tell the shareholders about that. We [00:11:00] didn’t tell the board about that. You just did it. He goes, we can’t do big things like that without telling people that’s gonna happen.
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Alex Sanfilippo: And um, he’s like, just don’t do that again. Let’s just kind of keep things going the way that they’re supposed to be going on our current projections. And, um, I’ll never forget, Adam, I, I walked outta the office that day, closed the door behind me, and was walking back to my office, which wasn’t far down the hall.
It was the first time in that entire career that I felt like it was an hour walk.
Adam Baruh: Hmm.
Alex Sanfilippo: mind had changed, realizing I could no longer be that entrepreneur. But now I was just, for lack of better term, this is mean to say, but like I felt like a cog in the system. Like I [00:13:00] was just not challenging the status quo anymore.
Just maintain, keep things the way they are. And I’ll never forget that. Walk back, I was like, I think it’s time for me to go and something I have to share real quick about this. So I wanna make this really clear. ’cause that was year 13. I left it year 15. I’ll fill in that gap. But my last day there was my best day there.
And what I mean by saying that is I believe you end one season on the same foot, you start the next one on. So I, I can’t leave there and burn the bridge and then expect my next venture to start. Well, uh, I’ve been invited back multiple times to speak when senior leaders have left since I’ve been gone. I left on good terms.
I gave it my all till the last day. I. With that said, I started working on some side hustles and the weird thing, Adam, I was like, okay, I took a company public, like I’m gonna be great at this, this, this thing. So I started doing some web design stuff, which I know you’ve, you’ve got some experience and probably you and I are really similar, so I just try all these little things, man.
Failure after failure, after failure, after failure, nothing seemed to work. And I finally came to this realization. I remember, I’ll never forget, I was talking to my wife, I’m like, I don’t think I’m good at being an entrepreneur, now this is where I’m gonna tied all [00:14:00] the podcasting for everybody. At that point.
My lightning fast idea, and I don’t know if it was brilliance or just, I had no idea what I was doing, but I was like, I’m gonna start a podcast and I’m gonna talk to people who have successfully left a nine to five job to become a full-time entrepreneur to talk to about how they did that. And I’ll do it in a way that I can learn, but also so someone else can learn who listens.
And man, two things happen. One, I learned how to become an entrepreneur, but two, I learned I wanted to be in the podcasting industry. And surprise, surprise, here I am, and now I’m a full-time entrepreneur in podcasting. And that’s really like my whole journey, if you will, from a professional standpoint. I.
Adam Baruh: Yeah. You know, like the. Idea of being an entrepreneur. I mean, you know, there’s a huge attraction to it. I mean, you know, many of us are drawn into that space and you know, there’s a period of time where you’re just, you know, the enthusiasm, the excitement. It’s like, I. Amazing. And then at some point reality’s gonna sink in because Yeah, I mean, it is amazing.
Like, you know, we get [00:15:00] to be builders and creators and work with a lot of, you know, smart people and, and on amazing teams and that’s awesome. But, you know, every entrepreneur is gonna run into, you know, some sort of failure, level of failure, some set of difficulties. And I’ll share with you myself, I mean, I was, you know, mentioning to you before we got on this interview how I was a wedding photographer for 10 years, and while I think I was very successful, just how much we were getting booked, you know, my financial requirements were a little different.
I mean, I had kids, I was divorced, I had, you know, child support and um, At the end of the day, I, it, I ended up going into bankruptcy because of that situation. And you know, that literally just came off my record because those things stick around for 10 years. So that was for me, you know, being an entrepreneur in the wedding photography world.
That was like, um, kind of lesson number one is [00:16:00] being very thoughtful and conservative in terms of, you know, Fiscal budgets and, and forecasting and financial allocations. And then, you know, even just running my other, you know, company, which is an IT consulting company. I mean, I’ve been doing that for seven years.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride and I, I do think right now is, you know, We’re very, you know, mature in a lot of respects. We still act at like a startup in a lot of other respects. You know, I’m going through a lawsuit, um, won’t give too many details, but I terminated somebody four years ago who didn’t believe that they were rightfully terminated.
And so that is still kind of an ongoing situation and it’s, it’s ugly. And kind of what I wanted to bring this back to a little bit to get your perspective on it, is mindset. Because, you know, in regards to the loss lawsuit specifically, it’s been, um, a, a storm of anxiety and negative [00:17:00] emotions for me over the last several years dealing with this, the cost of it, the time it seems like every time I go on vacation, I get hit with discovery requests, um, from the other party’s lawyers.
And so anyway, um, What I realized about six months ago is I got a curiosity just in general about my life and what some, you know, what are some things trying to tell me in my life? Um, like what are some. Events that I’m going through that are, that are reflecting back some things that I should be thinking about maybe and be curious about, instead of having anxiety about, I can’t control the future, I can only control my mindset with it.
And out of this, um, I. Really is a whole new perspective. Um, I’m looking at kind of a chapter in my life. My wife and I are considering a, a long distance move after the coming school year, and that’s all part of it. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and, and that move and some other things that are going [00:18:00] on all came outta this curiosity and this change in mindset.
Um, that I had. And so I want to ask you in regards to mindset, because you know, that could be very, as you described, like very deflating, um, ran counter to your belief system that you were, you know, being an entrepreneur and doing all these great things and making a difference and, and having a slap in the face, so to speak.
How did you keep your mindset. In the right place? Or did it, I mean, what was that journey? What was that mindset journey that you may have experienced? And ultimately, it sounds like you were able to keep a positive mindset and a constructive mindset out of which came your entry into the podcasting space.
Alex Sanfilippo: Uh, you know, I, Adam, I appreciate you being transparent and sharing that. I think that’s one of the, the beauties of podcasting. That’s a side note there, but, uh, man, when I first started these side hustles, I was like failing the, the first thing my mind went back to was failing as a real estate investor, never finishing [00:19:00] school.
Like literally, that’s the first place in my mind when I’m like, man, like is this just more the same? Am I gonna start something and it’s just gonna turn into me going back into another 15 year career. And again, I like that career, but like that this is where my head was at. So at First, man, like I was really. I wasn’t doing well from a mental state, let’s put it that way. And I, I was frustrated and somebody actually recommended, like, Alex, why don’t you get, like, invest in some coaching? And ultimately that’s more or less what led me to decide to do a podcast. ’cause I started looking at the cost of coaching.
I’m like, I. I don’t know if I was being cheap or what, Adam, but I’m like, dang, I can’t, I don’t wanna spend that much money. You know, like, I’m like, my wife and I like to go on vacation. It’s like, what is this? And uh, but then I was like, just doing some research. I’m like, hold on. Coaches will give you their time for free instead of thousands of dollars if you just call it a podcast.
So, and obviously you should release it and be a good human being. So, um, and it was very valuable. It was a win-win, but, uh, that ultimately is what gave me the confidence. To start developing the proper mindsets, like on my own, left, on [00:20:00] my own accord. Without podcasting, I don’t think I would’ve, I may have never left, actually.
I may have just stuck with the career and, and, and at this point I probably wouldn’t be a great employee anymore. Like, I could see myself probably beginning to take it downhill as far as just my mindset. ’cause it was time for me to go, but man, like, yeah, with, with my. Back-to-back to back side hustle failures.
It really, I was more or less, I mean, saved by podcasting because I was listening to these people that were helping me get that confidence, and once I started doing that, it was just a matter of realizing that. One failure, one bad experience….even if it draws out for years on end, doesn’t mean it’s the end.
And if you have the right mindset, it can be the beginning of something. And so I just did my best to learn from the people that I was, that I was learning from, and I was reading their books and going back and listen to my own podcast and just surrounding myself with some right people to, although some negative circumstances, right?
Like failure after failure when it comes to side, also spending a few thousand dollars here and there. I was able to flip that and say, you know what? I found out something else that doesn’t work, which [00:21:00] means I’m one step closer to what does, and so it was just reframing and retraining my mind. But again, having mentorship in my life through my podcast and also just having a good community around me that was able to really help out, man, that went such a long way.
Adam Baruh: Yeah, and I mean, again, like with mindset, when you can get to the perspective that. I mean, as much as it sucks that I’ve gone through the lawsuit and the bankruptcy and a number of other things, like those experiences, like I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Like definitely there were periods of my time that the circumstances sucked badly and I was not in a good space.
Um, but I got to a point where I was like, what can I learn from this? Because it’s truly when we. I mean, life isn’t easy. I don’t think it’s ever meant to be, and I think those are oftentimes can be if you get your mind in the right place where you can draw the greatest education and where you can grow as a person [00:22:00] and a friend and a coworker.
I mean, so many ways that, you know, obviously you just got to. And do the work to get your mindset in the right place. But looking back, like often, you can look back on these things and, and you know, say, yeah, like with hindsight, like I am, as weird as it sounds, I’m grateful for that experience because it taught me so much.
Alex Sanfilippo: Man, you just, you said something so key there. What can I learn from this? That mindset shift alone? I mean, I think that that’s to me, part of the beauty of podcasting. I know I’m always gonna come back to that. I mean, come on, it’s behind the microphone, right? Um, uh, I’m always gonna go back to that, but like, that was the beauty of podcasting.
It was like learning to develop that mindset you just shared. Like, what can I learn from this? And you ever. We’ve all met like newer podcasters in the game that get like stressed about every little thing, right? And that’s okay. That’s some people’s journey. That’s where they’re at today. If you devote yourself to systemization the craft, right, you’ll be able to get there.
Instead say, what can I learn from this? But man, even it was a [00:23:00] stressful day with a podcast, you weren’t stressed because you’ve come through things like a lawsuit. So like your level of like what your capacity is to be able to handle like pressure and stress has been elevated because of a seemingly.
Very negative circumstance in life, but now you’re like, oh, this is small. Like I, I can, trust me, I’ve been through some stuff, right? Versus someone with a different mindset of like, oh my gosh, this is all frantic and stressful. I’ve never dealt with anything like this before. Those are typically people we see fail, like without having some experience, I.
As an entrepreneur, as a business owner, like a lot of that stuff kind of translates into podcasting. And I find guys like you and I that have had some stuff tend to do really well because we’re just like, Hey, it’s we. We know what to do with this pressure. Put it on our shoulders. We’ll find a way to build a system around it.
We’ll get our mindset right and we’ll keep on going. At least that’s my feeling. Maybe we’ll oversimplifying that a little bit, Adam. I don’t know.
Adam Baruh: No, I mean, I think that’s gonna resonate with a lot of people. Certainly. And I, you probably answered my next question, but maybe if you want to kind of dive on, dive in deeper, the podcasting experience, [00:24:00] what makes it unique in your perspective?
Alex Sanfilippo: Oh man. So many things, but like. I think the first is, how I’ll go from a listener standpoint is that okay, like just speaking to the, like the experience as a listener, because I, I, I love to listen to podcasts, but think about. I’m a little bit a d d uh, I was dyslexic when I was a kid. Like had some of those, like, those struggles that are not extremely uncommon in today’s world.
But because of that, even sitting down and listening to someone who’s like on a stage, I struggle to stay focused still to this day. Like I, I, I kind of move around a little bit. My wife is like, sit still, you know, like, calm down. But when I’m listening to a podcast, I’m working out. Maybe cleaning some dishes, going for a walk.
I’m doing something else. And for most human beings, when we’re doing something that doesn’t require our thoughts to be involved, but it’s something we can do automatically. Like walk for most of us, right? Do the dishes. Like you don’t need to give a lot of thought to it. You can just kind of do it. A lot of us actually comprehend and learn a lot better.
I know there’s a lot of science behind that. Uh, so I’m not gonna get all into to that [00:25:00] side of things. But the truth is that makes it such a unique medium that it’s like you can still do the automatic things you need to do every day, like as a human right, but you can also comprehend something that’s so valuable.
Like, going back to my show, it was called Creating a Brand at the time, and I had some of like in my mind the greatest like entrepreneurial coaches you could ever meet. It’s. It was like 30 or 45 minutes of an episode. And man, like think like going back and listening to myself while I’m, again working out man, comprehending and learning that like this is like, there’s nothing else in the world that can compare to like what I just learned.
This is tens of thousands of dollars of coaching. This guy just poured into me and I’m comprehending it because I’m using my hands at the same time. Right? Like, that’s me right there. Makes podcasting so unique and so valuable. And from the host perspective, I’ll share this really fast. It’s not apples to apples with.
With social media and a lot of people wanna compare the two, right? But social media, you can be laying down and scrolling and double tap and that counts as some form of engagement, right? And I’m not dogging social media has has its place, but [00:26:00] podcasting is like me and you. If we’re listening, sitting in a seat, listening to someone on a stage, it’s got that same level of power you’re developing that know, like, and trust.
So if you’re the host, If you’re developing that with an audience, if there’s 10 people listening, that’s a powerful room that you’d want to be in every week, I imagine. So. Uh, we can’t get so fed up with the, like, caught up with the numbers of it sometimes. It’s just the actual power of that connection we have with our listeners.
Adam Baruh: I totally agree with that and um, I’ve said this before, but I think, you know, I look at the pandemic where we all kind of went into these silos for a couple of years, um, and we lost the face-to-face human connection. One thing I really love about podcasting is I feel as a listener when I’m listening to like The Moth, one of my favorite podcasts, right?
The storytelling, how vulnerable, you know, some of these storytellers are as a listener. I could still [00:27:00] experience a profound human connection by just being a witness to a story being told. And you know, in this day and age where I feel like there’s so many variables at play that are breaking away our ability to connect with each other, that podcasting is such a beautiful format that offers that connect.
I mean, even though. I’m not engaged in, in the story. I’m not like having a conversation. I still feel connected. I’ve, I, I get emotionally moved by the story. It changes me. Right. And you know, for me that’s so powerful. So I wanted to, you know, I wanted to ask you, going back to, you know, what I said at the beginning about your passion for educating podcasters.
Tell us a little bit about that and where that passion comes from. Within Yale.
Alex Sanfilippo: Man, [00:28:00] so it, it started around the same time as my podcast and coming from the aerospace industry, the person sitting, especially, I was in sales for a time, a period of that few years of my, my journey there. And the person sitting next to me is your friend, but they’ll also cut you if you try to take a sale from them, right?
So like it was hyper competitive even among organizations. And so I came from this. Again, hyper competitive industry where it’s like, man, you’ve gotta innovate, or tomorrow you’re all fired, type of thing. Right? And then I got into podcasting. I’ll never forget Adam, ’em, as soon as I launched entrepreneurship, podcasters started reaching out.
Like, Hey, let me share your show. Like it’s great that you have one. Let me see if I can promote it. Why don’t you come on my show and talk about yours. And at first I was like, Huh? I was like, you have an entrepreneurship show too. They’re like, yeah, there’s tons of people listening to podcasts. Come on. And still to this day, we, we, you and I live and work in a very collaborative and abundance mindset driven industry, and I, I fell in love with that.
So again, going back to my, my show, the two things I learned from is how to become an entrepreneur and that I wanted be in [00:29:00] podcasting. What, what I learned, uh, was again, how to actually start a business that people wanted to. To, to be part of like, and it actually solved a problem for people, right? And so I got into it and then immediately realized, like from day one, I wouldn’t say day one, month one.
Let’s say that I’m not gonna give myself more credit than I deserve. Month one, I realized people were leaving the software that I had created, and it is just something that supports podcasters. We don’t need to get into that today. Um, not relevant to the story, but, uh, the point being people were leaving and I, I told my co-founder is the technical guy.
He is a coder. I’m like, dude, something’s wrong. He’s like, what? He’s, I was like, something’s broken. People are leaving. And he’s like, well figure it out. I was like, all right. So I started getting on calls with people and of course there’s the 1% that says, this doesn’t work. You suck, get lost. Right? Of course, there, there’s that.
But I was like, it’s not really helpful. Um, but the 99% that I was talking to were saying, oh, I’m not just stopping working with your software. I’m actually stopping my podcast altogether. Come to find out, Adam, there’s a huge problem and still to this day, it’s the biggest problem in podcasts and we call it pod fade [00:30:00] in the biz, right?
Like people just started show and they don’t stick with it. And I looked at the numbers just before you’re doing this, and right now you have a 12.5% of chance of making it to your first year as a podcaster. 12.5% chance it’s all, that’s all you got. And so for me, when I saw that, and again we just talked about like the listening to a podcast, the impact podcasts have had on my life as a listener, I was like, man, if people were stopping, they’re not impacting lives in that way.
And I think you and I are in the same vein, man. I’m like, we both agree this is one of the last true mediums to impact people to build that human connection, unlike any other form of media as you just said. And I was like, we’ve gotta help keep this happening. And so for me, it wasn’t really even driven by like, oh, but I want my software to do better.
Like, that’s great and all that’s a byproduct. Yeah. But at the end of the day, I am super passionate to help creators continue to create so they can impact the lives of their listeners because that ultimately makes the world a better place of one listener at a time. And that is absolutely my entire agenda, if you will, in podcasting.
And it’s my passion.
Adam Baruh: Yeah, I totally know that pod fade. I mean, I, I’ll be honest, like [00:31:00] I experienced that too with, uh, my, my podcast. The change. I mean, I was very passionate about the subject, but you know, for me, and I, I don’t think this is a unique story to me. I saw that over time I started to get pulled into kind of the business aspect of it.
I, you know, started it with passion and purpose, like real desire to want to change the world, talking about servant leadership and mental health and some stuff that I was going through. And I mean, I’ve had people email me, you know, after listening to an episode where I, I share some really, like, bad stuff that I experience and, you know, getting those emails where it’s like, I’ve literally experienced that same thing.
I’ve never spoken to anybody about it in my lifetime, right? Um, and so that, that’s what propelled me. But I lost my way for a while where I started to get sucked in by the business side of it. You know, how am I gonna make money? At least I wanted to get to baseline so I can, you know, it would pay for [00:32:00] itself.
You know, now I’m looking at my download numbers. How am I gonna monetize? What am I, how am I gonna grow my download numbers? And you get kind of sucked into the rabbit hole of forgetting why you started the podcast in the first place. So what advice would you give? What are some tools that people can, you know, work with so that they can continuously remind themselves?
Why they got into podcasting so that that fire that fed them initially can continue to be rekindled.
Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah, first off, To answer your question indirectly at first, uh, we talked about systemization automation. Listen, if you’re stuck, Just doing the same thing every time. You’re not gonna have any vision for your podcast, so you’ve got to do that. And Adam, I’m just gonna call it your software. Check out podcast.com.
It helps with a lot of that. We don’t need to get into it. If you know Adam, you already know what it, what it is anyway, but check that out to get some of the things that you just don’t need to spend your time doing out of the way so you can focus on what actually matters, which [00:33:00] is this, the conversation, right?
Because no one listened to this, even though they’re podcasters, Adam. None of them care how long it took us to do this, right? Like nobody cares except for the person involved in it. I’m not trying to say everyone’s being rude or not like involved in the process enough, but we are listening because there’s some sort of transformation we wanna have happen in our lives.
Not because, oh yeah, Adam spends 14 hours on each episode. Right? Like that’s just not it. So again, automate system A like to build a system around whenever you possibly can. But now to more directly answer your question, the first thing we gotta do is start with why. And I always say that I know Simon Sinek kind of stole the name for a book, and I’m not talking about the book.
I just mean actually start with your why. Why is it that you’re podcasting in the first place? Then directly connect that with an avatar I. Which simply means a fictitious, ideal listener. Like who is it that once again you believe you serve and the more specific you can get with this person. Like I have an avatar.
His name’s Adam. I can tell you his age, where he lives. Anything about him, he’s fictitious, but I remember him ’cause he ties directly back to my why. So whenever I’m feeling like maybe quitting or [00:34:00] wondering if this is a good topic, I just asked myself, would Adam get value out of this? The quitting thing, it’s always, no, Adam’s not gonna get value from me quitting.
But the second thing is, would this topic be right for Adam? I can very clearly, ’cause I know him, I know his story. I can say, yeah, that’s not why he’s here. Or Yep, yep, this is the right one. This is what I need to do. And just having that together can give us so much clarity. I. On, on how we show up to serve and, and one more thing with that is to always have a list of topics going.
I think a lot of us, we build a list of ideal guests by name, but I find that actually limits us a little bit. It’s better for you to pick topics that resonate with that avatar, that ideal listener, right? And have those topics just bulleted out as many of ’em as you possibly can. And when one goes well, you should bring it back up again later, or find a subtopic that goes well with it.
But by having those things together, That gives you a roadmap of your future, and you can say, you know what? I’m taking Adam with me on this journey, and over the next 12 months, based off these topics, here’s where Adam is today and here’s where Adam will go as a result of hanging out with me. When [00:35:00] you can get this dance of your why, your avatar and your topics, and that journey of your ideal listener, when you can get that right, that’s a frame up for success in podcasting.
If you ask me.
Adam Baruh: Yeah, I totally agree with that and that’s great advice. Thank you for sharing that. So you gave a plug for me. I definitely want to, you know, pay that back and I think it’s important to do so. Um, and it, you know, really quickly, ’cause I think it’s a really interesting. Tie in to everything you’ve been saying.
Um, you and I met at Pod Fest back in January, February, I think that was, um, and
Alex Sanfilippo: jumbles together a little bit, doesn’t it?
Adam Baruh: it’s all, yeah, sometime it was raining, so it could have been yesterday. I don’t know.
Alex Sanfilippo: So back, it was in Florida. Just everyone knows it was Orlando, Florida. It was raining. Back to my original comment, I said,
Adam Baruh: Yeah, exactly. So, you know, one of the, you know, I remember. Vividly in that conversation, because you and I have competitive software, like one of the, one of the packages that you offer, um, with podcast ss o p.
It’s, you know, and it’s, it’s a systemization [00:36:00] tool and, um, that’s what podcast does. And I, you know, brought up this conversation about, so, you know, my main job, it’s in the IT consulting space, and I’ve seen a lot of competitiveness and a lot of, you know, egos and stuff like that. What I, my takeaway from the conversation with you was this guy does not have an ego.
Like he gets that, yeah, we might have some crossover in what we’re offering, but that it’s, it’s why we’re trying to do what we’re doing that you and I found a light alignment on and found that we can come together and collaborate and talk about. The synergy, how we, how we can come together to help others.
And I, I just want to, you know, definitely give you huge kudos to that. It was very inspirational to me. Um, you know, I experienced that when I was a photographer [00:37:00] and I love that just about people that just get it. Like, you know, we don’t, we don’t have to talk about, you know, the ways in which we’re competing.
Let’s talk about how we can work together to just, you know, I think the, the takeaway was, You know, let’s talk about systemization because the more and more people that know how, and you just touched on it, how systemization can keep people in the game and prevent that pod fade, it’s gonna help everybody.
So who caress that you have something that you know, may compete with something that I offer. At the end of the day, we both altruistically want to help people and so, you know, again, you know, huge thank you to you for. Not only coming on here today, but for everything you’re doing and just your, your attitude and your approach.
I very much appreciate it. So let’s talk about pod pros. Um, you’ve got pod match, which I just started using, and I really, really like it. It’s, it’s, so far I’ve gotten some good guests that have, that have, uh, booked me to, to come on the, to this [00:38:00] podcast and, and vice versa. And you’ve also got podcast, s o p Pod, lottery Pod Score, a community platform, pod awards, pod talks, and an education series.
Am I missing anything?
Alex Sanfilippo: That’s everything. And I’m done, by the way, just so you know, that’s all I’m ever, everyone’s like, what’s next? People ask me all the time, what’s next? I’m like, nothing. We’re just gonna do really well with this. And, uh, I, I have to go jump back to some though, Adam. ’cause I, I do even appreciate you having me on this.
I know you’re coming on my show as well. Um, just quick, let’s use project management softwares as example. Basecamp monday.com and Asana are all doing extremely well. But they’re all competitors. And that’s because one, people know they exist because they’re helping each other with that. But two, everyone’s brain’s a little bit different.
You might look at what I do and be like, Ooh, my head does not work like this. But you might go to podcast and be like, okay, this makes sense. It’s the idea is we’re neither one of us can serve the whole industry and it’s just we’re collaborating more or less. But, uh, I digress on that point, but, uh, but yeah, so for me, I’m not building anything else, right?
Like I’m just [00:39:00] working on improving that and I’m, I’m diving more and more into the education side. Like I really wanna help serve podcasters, so that’s gonna be my foreseeable future. Um, but pod pros, just so everyone knows, and Adam, I, I think you know this, that’s like my umbrella, if you will, right? Like, that’s the, the, the organization where you can go to the hub where you can see everything and it all kind of, Flows out of that.
And that’s where, like where the podcast is, the education and then all of our, our different things we do. But uh, I used to call it our umbrella corp, but I saw this movie a long time ago called Resident Evil, and that scares me. So I just was like, it’s the, it’s the parent organization, if you will.
Adam Baruh: Yes. Okay. Um, and how, you know, how does, how do those different platforms, like, I mean, you know, tell us a little bit about what each one does and, and how it all ties together in your mission for educating podcasters.
Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah, sure. So the, the three softwares that, that I do, and maybe we did miss one, I have to, I’ll have to, we’ll have to think. But Pod match is basically like a dating app, but it connects podcast guests and host together for interviews instead of for dates. And you can message on the platform works literally just like it.
Podcast. S o [00:40:00] p stands for standard operating procedures. That’s the background I come from. It’s just a way to organize the production of your show and then pod lottery, I don’t know, maybe we didn’t mention, I dunno if we mentioned that one or not.
Adam Baruh: Yeah. And then pod score too. Yeah.
Alex Sanfilippo: Okay. So yeah, pod Lottery is a fun review swap system in a lottery format that, uh, has actually been backed by Apple and they authenticate, uh, an a, what do they call it?
They called it in, um, a review left with integrity is what they call it. And then because it was actually listened to, we can kind of validate those things. So it’s a fun way for podcast hosts to do review swaps in a little bit more of an organized way and possibly win a lot of reviews. And then pod score is the newest thing, which is around education.
It. Podcasters. There’s not a lot of things out there for podcasters, but I thought something would be really fun is if there was a personality test for podcasters, and that’s exactly what it is. So there’s 12 different po podcaster personality types, and this will tell you which those 12 you are based off of what you do, what you don’t do, all that.
And it’s just a, a fun thing, a way to, to again, help us know where we’re at and what we’re really good at. ’cause I think by calling that out in each other helps us really be able to focus and figure out where we want to go.
Adam Baruh: [00:41:00] That’s fascinating. Definitely gonna be checking out the rest of, uh, you know, The, those platforms that you mentioned, um, also wanna mention the book. You’ve got a couple books out, uh, pod Match Guest Mastery, and Host Mastery. You know, what was the process like writing and putting those books together?
Where and where did you find the time to, to write a book
Alex Sanfilippo: This is a super common question, by the way. I didn’t have, I wrote. A page and a half in each of them. Uh, and that’s because people in the, the pod match specifically the community said, Hey, we wanna write a book about our experience with Pod Match. And it was originally an email. There was like six people in it.
And I was like, Hey, listen, I don’t have the capacity. I, I don’t even know where to begin with that. And they said, what if we found someone on Pod Match who could help run the whole thing? I was like, If you all really want to do that, go for it. And they found somebody who reached out to me, he is like, Hey man, let me get together 30 people on Pod Match and, and do these books.
He’s like, I’m not gonna charge you anything, we just want you to write the introduction and the acknowledgements page. And I was like, okay. And sure enough, they sent it to me and there was 15 writers in each of it sharing their experience with Pod match, [00:42:00] or I should say podcasting on either side of the mic.
Right. And it is more so what it was. And so I wrote a page and half in each book and they’re really good. Like the people that they did a better job writing it than I could have. Let’s play that one. ’cause I was like, read ’em like. Dang. I never thought about doing that. So it was like a bunch of those type of situations in it, which was really a cool thing.
Adam Baruh: Awesome. I love that. Um, definitely gonna check that out. Um, couple, couple final questions here as we wrap up today. And again, thank you for your time today. Um, so it’s kind of a two-parter. It’s like a one question, two-parter, but what discoveries have you made? About podcasting since you started hosting your own show.
Alex Sanfilippo: Yeah, so the, the first thing I realized is that it’s a labor of love, which I laugh when I say ’cause Adam, you know, as well. Like, it, it goes un unbanked for a long time, right? So that’s the first thing I learned is you’re gonna put a lot into it and probably not get a lot out for a little bit. But the, the second thing I won, which there’s probably someone way smarter than me, Adam, that could talk about like, Human psychology, the data behind it.
For some reason, if you stay [00:43:00] consistent and release good episodes, as you say, you’re going to, when you hit the two year mark of your show, something happens and it just starts to take off. And I have heard that same report from podcaster after podcaster, after podcaster, who keeps themselves doing it. It goes like unnoticed, not completely unnoticed, but somewhat unnoticed for a couple years.
And then you hit that mark and it’s like, whoa. Overnight my everything is just taking off. And I don’t know if that tells the internet, if you will, right? Like the, the Googles of the world that, hey, this person’s serious. ’cause they have stuck with it for this long. But that was a real revelation moment for me, and I always like to give the example of consistency is a horizontal line that’s a little bit higher than the line of, uh, of results.
So consistency is above results, but over time. You’ll notice that results surpass and overthrow consistency as long as you can just keep it going. So again, labor of love to start, but really if you can stay consistent, the results kind of just begin happening or organically, which is really interesting.
Adam Baruh: Oh, that’s super encouraging and I, I’m so happy that you actually said that and, and kind [00:44:00] of went back to the topic of it being a labor of love because, um, look for anybody listening, I. It, you are gonna get to a point where, I mean, because like, unless you have listeners that are constantly engaging with you, um, and I, you know, definitely engage as much as you can in your different circles.
Um, but a lot of it I. You know, it’s like you’re, you and I are talking right now, and we’re not connected to that listener. Like, that’s just a kind of a black box, and, and we hope that they’re out there and they’re finding this and they’re getting value from it. But, uh, you kind of have to get to a point where, I mean, I think it’s very common that you, it can be a little deflating because you just don’t know the reaction that’s happening out there in the world, but, You have to trust the universe and you have to trust the process and then just move forward and just don’t even think about it anymore being a labor of love.
So, second question and, and we’ll leave with this. So talking about discoveries, you, you talked about the discoveries that you’ve made in [00:45:00] podcasting, but what discoveries have you made about yourself in this journey within the podcast experience?
Alex Sanfilippo: The first one that I, I didn’t see coming is that I, I, I have influence and I guess anyone could probably say the same, right? We’ve all got influence over somebody, but, uh, I started going on podcasting stages thinking maybe I’d. Just share what I know, not really knowing where it would go. And I’m, I’m not even trying to articulate this, but, uh, when I share on stages, And I meet people later, or I speak on podcasts.
People come up to me sometimes years later at this point and they, they’re like, man, Alex, something you said two years ago changed the course of my podcasting journey. Some people, it’s life, it’s, it’s their entrepreneurship, and I just didn’t expect to have that. And I, it’s weird to even talk about it, say it as humbly as I possibly can.
I don’t mean that I’m something special. I think that all of us. Have the ability to influence and impact people’s lives. But we all kind of downplay it until we start hearing it happen. [00:46:00] And again, I didn’t hear it for the first couple years, but now it’s on a regular basis. I hear people talking, I’m like, It makes me wanna cry when I hear ’em.
I’m like, I, I said something that changed, that changed your life. I’m like, what? And, and just understanding the responsibility that we have with that as, as humans. I mean, you talked about it like we’re all starving for that human connection. Right. And I think that when you’re that human, that impacts another one.
Like, don’t take that for granted. And so the way I always just say things internally, like, now that I’ve, I’ve learned and realize this is. I’m here to do, for one, what I wish I could do for all man, if there’s one person here whose life I can change somehow, or podcast journey, I can change. I’m in for it.
And, and that’s something that I learned that I just didn’t expect to have influence the way I do. And again, I say it as humbly as I possibly can, knowing that I’m not the only one that has that influence. People are listening ’cause they, they’re, they want transformation in their lives, but it’s been a really.
It’s been a cool thing and it’s actually made me level up my own life, uh, just as, as a result, right? Knowing that there’s somebody who’s looking at me in a positive light makes me want to step up even more, which I think is really a beautiful [00:47:00] thing.
Adam Baruh: That’s amazing and. You know, I said this before, and, but I’ll say it again. You’re a true inspiration. The work you’re doing is making an absolute difference. The way you’re going about it is, you’re, you’re setting a great model for, how to do it the right way. So thank you so much for, for everything, for, the, the path that you’re paving for people like me.
Alex Sanfilippo: and thank you for being a guest here today on Beyond the Microphone. Adam, it’s been an honor. Love the conversation, love the questions. I, I believe it’ll be really valuable for everybody, so thanks again.
Adam Baruh: Thank you. Alex Sanfilippo is an entrepreneur who is the c e o and founder of Pod Pros, a software company focused specifically on the podcasting industry. He’s also a podcast host of the top rated podcast called Podcasting Made Simple, and a Lead Educator in Podcasting Beyond. The Microphone is sponsored by podcast.
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