In this episode Josh and his podcast producer, Chris Laning from NeighborhoodStage.com, discuss each of their favorite 5 (ish) episodes from the first 200 episodes of the Sustainable Business Podcast.
Chris has also been editing spoken word audio for over 20 years and has helped several professionals launch their podcasts. In fact, he is editing and producing several podcasts on a daily basis.
This is an exciting episode for us. Over the past four years we’ve covered almost every topic a private business owner will experience. Some of our favorite episodes covered the following:
- Putting together a customer advisory board with Steve Wershing – This is my secret sauce for how to create new customers regularly and get advice you’ll never hear.
- How to establish an Alexa newsletter with Lindsey Anderson – A technology that just might become as big as podcasting and you can get in on the ground floor.
- Profit first with Mike Michalowicz – This is a must listen not only because of the content but because Mike is such an entertaining guy.
- How to hire effectively with Nancy Slessenger – This is must listen episode if you want to learn how to hire effectively.
Although there are only ten episodes here there are tons of gems hidden in this episode and all 200 episodes. The best advice I have is to think of a topic and use our search tool to see if there is an episode about it. If you then listen, my bet is you’ll come up with some great ideas on how you can make your business personally and economically sustainable.
Thanks and here’s to another 200 episodes.
Narrator: Welcome to The Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. In The Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful. Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable.
Josh: Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick. You’re at The Sustainable Business podcast.
Today, we’re going to have a bit of a different episode. Today, my guest is our podcast editor, Chris Laning. Chris and I are going to talk about our favorite episodes from our podcast. For those of you who’ve been actually looking at what number this is, this is episode 200 which means we’ve been doing this for about four years. Chris was my very first editor and still is the editor for the Sustainable Business Podcast Radio Show. Let’s bring Chris in and we’ll start the conversation. This one might go a little bit longer than our normal 23 minutes but we’ll see.
So, here we are. Hey, Chris. How are you today?
Chris: Hey, Josh. How are you doing? Congratulations on 200. That is a huge milestone in podcasting. Very few podcasts get that far.
Josh: Yeah. It seems to be that people quit after about 10 [laughs].
Chris: Yeah. I think the number I saw was seven so.
Josh: Is that really what it is?
Chris: Yeah. Just that new people fade by seven. I’ve had several over the years. Most of mine have gotten past seven but not usually too much more.
Josh: Wow. That’s really amazing. As an editor, that must be a real pain in the neck because you kind of want to have that recurring revenue that goes for more than seven weeks, or seven episodes, or whatever it is but—
Chris: You do but it just happens [laughs].
Josh: Well, okay. Well [laughs].
Here we are. What we’re going to do is Chris and I are going to trade back and forth about some of our favorite episodes that we’ve had over the last four years of doing this. This was hard for me. I mean, my original list had, I think, something like 18 or 20 podcasts on. I kept going through it every couple of days and cutting ones out, and cutting ones out, and cutting ones out. Frankly, I left a couple of really, really good ones on the floor. I chose my favorite podcast based on the topics that we talked about.
How about you, Chris? How did you go about this?
Chris: For me, it’s the same thing. I mean, the type of business I’m in, a lot of what you do doesn’t always apply to my business but there are certainly topics that you’ve covered that have really made an impact on me. And so, that’s kind of what I used as my criteria as well.
Josh: Oh, cool. Cool.
So, let’s start off. What was your number one? I didn’t do a one through five. I just listed from earliest to latest—
Chris: Ah, okay.
Josh: –so [laughs].
Chris: I don’t know. I always lead off with the big one, right from the top, but I—
Chris: The one that’s had the biggest impact on me actually was episode 181. It was Lindsey Anderson AKA One-Click Lindsey. It was actually her third time on the show. She had been on episode 107, talking about social media marketing for blue-collar businesses. Came back on episode 159 to talk about generating leads through pay-per-click ads.
And then, I think, she actually approached you to get on episode 181 because she had a new project she was launching and a real passion for flash briefings. Those are primarily on Amazon (Alexa). They’re basically short audio presentations. Generally, people do them on a daily basis. She really was selling on how it could really be useful for getting out there because you’re basically in somebody’s life every single day.
I actually had been working on a podcast at one point and I just kind of put it on the shelf because it just wasn’t going anywhere. Just hearing that, I’m like, “Wait. I could make that shorter and make it into a flash briefing.” Within three days, I had a flash briefing up. It ran for a month because it was related to Christmas. And then, since then, I’ve actually started another flash briefing and I am just loving it.
I’m actually even launching a whole new service to my business today, believe it or not, on doing flash briefings for busy entrepreneurs where they just record, send it to me. Boom. I’ll take care of the rest. So, that’s awesome.
Josh: Oh, cool. Cool.
Chris: It’s a big impact for me.
Josh: Oh, great. Well, we may be talking about that because I’m actually thinking about starting a six-minute podcast.
Chris: There you go, absolutely.
Josh: Which will be a solo thing instead of the usual interviews I’ve been doing for the last four years.
Josh: We’ll see how that goes.
For me, my first one we’re going to talk about is the one with Steve Wershing which was episode 14. That was really early in the game. I’ve known Steve for years. We were talking about customer advisory boards.
In my opinion, a customer advisory board is one of the most powerful things you can use in a business to get great feedback about what you’re doing well and what you’re not doing well. One of the things that Steve and I talked about on this episode, which was sort of a secret reason you need to do a customer advisory board, is most people on your customer advisory boards now become your biggest supporters. If you have the right people on your board, they will send you a ton – and I mean a ton of business. If you haven’t listened to this episode, I highly recommend you go back and listen to it again.
So, there is the first one I came across. You went best to worst. I went from earliest to latest. What was number two on your list?
Chris: Number two, for me, and I know, I believe this one is on your list as well, with Mike Michalowicz. Now, I had down episode 47 because he came on to talk about his book Profit First. Just hearing the idea of the multiple accounts and making sure you’re paying yourself first, it really changed how I was thinking things. I was just busy trying to handle expenses and not thinking about all that. I was like, “Wow, that actually makes a lot of sense because you need to keep that going, otherwise kind of what’s the point?” You know?
Josh: Yeah. I absolutely know that.
Oh, by the way, going back to your number one which is the one with One-Click Lindsey. Lindsey is also doing marketing work for our company so [laughs].
Chris: Oh, okay.
Josh: Yeah. As a result of her being on my podcast, I actually ended up hiring her. I’ve had this really terrible luck with Facebook people. It appears she’s actually going to work out well so I’m kind of excited about that.
As far as Profit First goes, I am a huge fan of Mike Michalowicz. Mike was part of this writer’s workshop I went to to get my first book out. He was a big help with that. I actually did a two-day workshop for his top people on some of the stuff that we do that supports Profit First. I’m a huge fan of the concept. It fits in really well with what we call the Four Buckets of Profit which is lifestyle, an emergency fund, a fully-funded growth program in your company, and a fully-funded retirement plan so you can afford to leave your company someday. I think that focusing on Profit First makes a ton of sense. In fact, we’re out looking for a new bookkeeper right now. We’re going to get ourselves a Profit First-bookkeeper.
Josh: There we are.
I’ll be talking to Mike a little bit later on today and I’m going to tell him, “Hey, Mike. You made both lists” [laughs].
Chris: And the cool thing about Mike is you talk about having repeat offenders. He has been on quite a bit because he was on episode 47, like I mentioned. He came back on episode 63 to talk about surging. Episode 96 which is where you had marked him in. We came back to talk about updates to Profit First. And then, recently, you had him— actually, no. Not recently. It does seem that recently but episode 160, when he came out with his new book on Clockwork about how to design your business to run itself so. He’s definitely a favorite on the show.
Josh: He’s a favorite of mine. He’s actually one of my favorite people also. So, Mike calls me and says, “I want to be in your show.” My question is “when?” and not if.
Chris: One last interesting thing about him is that I do several different podcasts. A lot of times, similar veins, so I’m always expecting there to be a crossover guest. Believe it or not, I never had a guest show up on two of my podcasts until a few weeks ago when Mike was on another one of the podcasts to edit. I’m like, “How could it be that long?” But I guess, there’s a lot of guests out there.
Josh: Yeah. There’s a ton of people. I might get approached probably five to ten times a week for guests. I think it’s only because I’ve been doing this so long and I used to write for The Times. For some reason, people are thinking I’m still writing for The Times but was like five years ago so.
Chris: So, if you’re waiting for Times article to come out, okay [laughs].
Josh: Yeah, it’s not coming. Not coming.
So, what was number three for you?
Chris: Number three was actually another repeat offender. That was Rob Slee on episode 23 where you talked about working for $5000 an hour.
Josh: Great episode, by the way.
Chris: It was.
For me, it opened my eyes because, as a sole entrepreneur, I’m doing everything. For the longest time, I couldn’t even imagine, “Wait. How am I ever going to get to that point?” But at least now, hearing that has made me start thinking, as I’m looking toward the future. You know, at some point, you’re going to need to step out. You’re going to need to have others do some of the daily work and kind of take more of the quality control, and marketing, and stuff like that, so it put that idea in my head. I haven’t got there yet but at least, it changed my thinking that day so that’s why I have that down as an impactful episode.
Josh: I write about the $5000 per hour – actually, the $25,000 or $100,000-per-hour job because we all have that. There are times, in our business life, where we work on one thing for one hour and it’s worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to us. Most of the time, we’re working on stuff that we can hire somebody else for $15 an hour to do.
Josh: It’s not so much a $5000-per-hour job I want people focusing on first. You know, although that was on my original list, I didn’t make my final cut of five is that the reason that I want to focus on the $5000 per hour job because of that. I really want you focusing on the $15-per-hour job and asking yourself, “If I was to hire somebody to do that for me, would I be able to make more than $15 an hour with that time?”
Josh: And that’s the question.
By the way, if you’re building a business, you get to 20 or 25 employees and you’re not getting rid of that $15-hour work period, your business is going to get stuck and you’re never going to grow. So, there’s a whole bunch of peripheral issues that fit into the $5000-per-hour job that Rob and I never got around to talking about.
Having said that, Rob is probably the smartest human being I’ve ever met. He is an incredibly smart guy. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to sort of get my arms around what he’s talking about, but in this particular case, it wasn’t. If you really want to learn about private capital and the private business marketplace, Rob wrote a 700-page textbook called Private Capital Markets. I highly recommend people read that book if you’re interested in either buying a business, or selling a business in the private market, or give it to your controller to read, or give it to somebody that can explain to you what the reality is in your business as far as valuations and how you sell it, and value worlds and all that kind of stuff so. Anything Rob does is interesting because he thinks about the world in a very, very different way than most people.
My third one was something which I really like a lot. The episode was 143. It was stakeholder center coaching with a guy named Frank Wagner. I met Frank through a mastermind group I was involved with. He works with Marshall Goldsmith. Marshall is like the number one corporate coach in the world. He gets an obscene amount of money for the work that he does.
Essentially, what he does is that he’s a coaching coach. He teaches you, basically, how to become better at what you’re doing. The way that which I really like is that you want to be better based on what your stakeholders are bringing to your party and how can you help the stakeholders be better at helping you.
One of my core beliefs in business is that we don’t ever do anything by ourselves. In fact, I’m getting ready to write my newsletter for the week. The newsletter is going to be about a video idea which is what we call the Stage 2 Decision Process. Part of that decision process is, “Who’s going to help me get this thing done?” because I can promise you, any major project that you’re going to do is not going to be done by yourself. It’s going to be done with other people. So, if you know who those other people are and how to do that, so I would highly recommend that episode.
By the way, all these episodes are between 20 and 23 minutes long, so it’s not like if you decide to sit down and listen to Chris’ five and then my six, you’re going to invest a total of two hours and ten minutes. It’s not a huge amount of time we’re talking about here to go listen to all of these things.
So, having said that, back to Chris for number four.
Chris: If they want to listen to them all, let’s see, it’s a little under a hundred, I would say, you could sit down and listen to it four days straight and you’ll be all caught up so it’s great.
Josh: Basically [laughs].
Chris: Anyway, so the next one I picked is, this one was actually a little outside of the normal realm of topics that you cover but it had an impact on me. I was really surprised when I first started editing, I’m like, “Uh. Yeah, okay”–
Chris: –but she really spoke to me. Weird. It was Heather Dominick. She is a believer in the highly sensitive entrepreneur. These are people who are very empathetic, who take to heart things, are very highly sensitive just in general, but they’re also trying to be entrepreneurs. It’s her assertion that you really have to approach the world in a much different way as an entrepreneur when you’re dealing with being a highly sensitive person.
I never thought of myself, necessarily, as highly sensitive but the more I listened to her, things started to resonate with me. Ultimately, I ended up following her podcast, learning a lot more. I don’t know that I’m 100% in her category but there’s things that I have gotten out of that that helped me understand better some of the things that I’m probably doing wrong as an entrepreneur especially when it comes to asking for money and stuff like that. So, that one really was something that impacted me and that’s why I added it to the list.
Josh: Yeah. I tell it’s a good episode. And then, I went and took her instrument to find out where I stood on the highly sensitive thing and it put me like way out as a highly sensitive entrepreneur. I can tell you one thing. I don’t know anybody in the world who would ever say, “I’m highly sensitive” [laughter]. Most people would say I’m a bowl of china shop.
Chris: Yeah, I don’t see you fitting in that category. No.
Josh: Yeah. I’m not really. I’m sort of pretty direct about how I talk and how I like to listen to stuff. We all have our shell and there’s a sensitive person living under that shell. I found it an interesting thing. And then, I went and did her instrument. And then, I said, “Well, it doesn’t really apply to me so I’m not sure that—”
It was an interesting episode, for sure. One thing I tried to get her go down the road on and I wasn’t successful in the podcast was I was trying to talk to her about Susan Cain’s book Quiet which is about introverts. I think that there’s a little bit. She has a little bit of— or she’s putting introverts and highly-sensitive people together.
Chris: Yeah. I would say that. That might be why I seem to be falling a little bit into there.
Josh: Yeah. Now, I am highly introverted so I could see where that falls in but I’m not highly sensitive at the same time. I’m sort of like this, say whatever you want to me and I’m fine with it and don’t worry. It was an interesting episode, for sure.
My fourth one was 158 which was Stephanie Olexa around board of directors. The reason I chose Stephanie was, before she came on my show, I was absolutely convinced that private businesses should never have a board of directors.
Now, I’ve had people come on my show and sort of changed my opinion and helped me think about things in different ways. I mean, Rob certainly did that with the $5000-per-hour job. Stephanie really turned my head around. I mean, I was absolutely, “You should never have a board of directors” to saying, “I don’t understand, if you have a business, that can afford a full board of directors, why you wouldn’t do it.” Now, the truth is having a full board is sort of expensive. It’s probably going to cost you $20,000 to $40,000 a year at the minimum to have a real statutory board doing the right things but, if your business does $5 million to $10 million a year, that could be some of the best money you’re ever going to spend because the board is now going to hold your feet to the fire and they have to, by law.
Now, I would probably think about becoming a board of directors but also becoming a benefit corporation at the same time. I’ve had a bunch of shows on benefit corporations and I was going to – again, one of the episodes was on my list, didn’t make it to the top 5 but it’s something I think is a really kind of cool idea. If you’re interested in episode 12, with Ted Castle, my good buddy over at Rhino Foods, is a benefit corporation. He talked about the advantages of that.
So, I want to take a benefit corporation and I combine it with board of directors. To me, it sounds like a pretty darn good thing to do.
Chris: So, you’re going to hold both feet to the fire then?
Josh: Both feet to the fire.
I am in the process of trying to become a benefit corporation myself right now and I’m having a conversation with B Labs about where I should put myself because where I put myself doesn’t make any sense for the questionnaire so. Anyway, we’re in the process of that. We’ll be registered probably within two months.
Josh: Yeah. I’m kind of excited about that.
What was your fifth?
Chris: I actually went all the way back to episode 4, believe it or not. It was Lou Bortone. It was on video marketing. He actually is a repeat offender. We brought him back on episode 142 to also talk about video.
I was in college. I was really into doing video. But then, after college, I kind of got away from it so that part attracted me too, but to see that it really was making a resurgence. Honestly since, I’ve done a few side projects of my own where I’m just turning on the camera and talking and I’m surprising myself because even when I was doing podcast, I used to write out the script word for word, like I can’t get on the camera. And now, I can just throw up a camera, get on there and talk.
You know, it’s something that a lot of entrepreneurs are actually finding out that it really makes it very personal to their customers. They see them. They really feel like that they know them because they’re seeing them. They’re seeing them talk. Usually, they’re kind of doing off-the-cuff things. It’s not always just standard, “Here we are doing this.” It’s like, “Hey, you know, I just had this happen to me and this was just crazy.” So, I think that doing that kind of video marketing really is making a good in road into things even though he was telling us this back in, what 2015, but it still definitely applies today from everything that I’ve been hearing.
Josh: Yeah. No question.
I also work with Lou every once in a while in doing video stuff. He has been a really helpful video coach for me. I’m not sure I’m great on video but I’m better than I was two years ago when I first started doing it. For about a year and a half now, we’ve been doing a weekly video that goes out as a vlog post instead of a written blog post which I had done over 1200 of and I was actually comfortable in doing. And now, after doing a year and a half of video, it’s not nearly as hard as it used to be.
There’s a few things you can learn from Lou which are really worthwhile. When you get on his mailing list, you’re going to get a new offer almost every week because he keeps iterating, and iterating, and iterating. Yeah, I’ve never seen more stuff come out of one person than him.
Now, Lou’s a really good guy. I actually have a good story about Lou, is that we were both in Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid Program. We were at a meeting. He lives in Long Beach. We’re walking down to eat dinner. There was a whole group of us. Lou and I happened to be walking together. He looks at me and says, “You know, you’re not too bad for an old guy” [laughter]. I think I said something very rude back to him but— [laughter]. It’s almost as good as I said it.
This is actually when I was about 49 years old. I was at a String Cheese Incident concert. I was wondering around. This kid comes up to me and says, “Aren’t you kind of old to be here?” [laughs] So, I pointed at the stage. I said, “See those guys up there?” He says, “Yeah.” I says, “Well, they’re about my age. You think I can stay?” [laughter].
So, anyway, I’m at that age now where people are staying to say these age-related sort of idiotic things to me. I have a whole series of good comebacks now for that, so.
Chris: I need to start learning because I hit 49 in June so, I guess, I’ll be getting the comments.
Josh: Well, you’re not— I’m 66, so you’ve got a way to go.
Josh: My fifth favorite was an episode we did on hiring with Nancy Slessenger. Nancy is a headhunter based in Britain – some place. I have talked to dozens and dozens of headhunters over the years. I’ve always asked headhunters the same question. My question is, “Why aren’t you guys considering culture?” They basically have always said to me, “Well, we don’t have time, or we can’t learn it,” or whatever reason – some stupid reason is. I can tell you, from hiring people for 40 years, that if you don’t start with culture or values you’re making a huge mistake.
Now, the difference with Nancy’s firm is (1) she works on a fixed fee basis, not on a percent basis which is unusual in the industry. (2) She spends a lot of time interviewing the job hunter – the person looking for an employee, about what their culture is and what their values are, so when she’s talking to and she’s screening, she’s screening for values first. In my opinion, that just makes two tons of sense. So, when it comes to—
If you really want to learn, I have a good tutorial on hiring. I did a solocast, at some point during the last four years, of hiring which I think is a good system. Nancy also is just— this is a great episode on how to hire effectively and what you need to be thinking about as you’re bringing people into your company.
I did six because I never can follow my own instructions.
Chris: That’s all right. It’s your show.
Josh: Yeah. Well, that’s— you know, [laughs] it is my show but sometimes I try to follow my own instructions but—
Chris: And I can always edit it out later so.
Josh: You can. That’s probably true [laughter]. But if you did, I’d be unhappy so [laughs].
Chris: Okay. All right. I’ll keep that in mind. 200 might be my last episode.
Josh: No. I don’t think so. I don’t think so. Even if you edited this one out, you could still be there, so here we are [laughs].
So, my last one was 183 which is a solocast I did on Cracking the Cash Flow Code. Now, Cracking the Cash Flow Code is a program that I put together that essentially helps privately-held business owners learn how to create excess cash from their business because I can tell you one thing about all private business owners, we’re all always – I mean, always worried about having enough cash in the bank, no matter how much cash we have in the bank.
Now, I’ve got a client I’m working with who generally has somewhere between $700,00 and $1.2 million in cash laying around. If you put the receivables in, there’s about $ 1.7 million to $1.8 million. And he is always concerned about running out of cash. I keep saying to him, “I don’t get it” but there you are.
It was true for me and it still is true, is that I think about cash a lot about having positive cash flow. My vending company, we didn’t have positive cash flow for long periods of time. One of my very stupid sayings was, “Happiness is positive cash flow.” So, what I figured out, there’s basically five stages that people go through with Cracking the Cash Flow Code. In the solo episode, I go through all five stages and I talk about one or two roadblocks that you’re going to hit at every stage along the way and some really quick and down and dirty things that you can do to fix that.
So, there you are, Chris gave you his five. I gave you my six. Those are the best we had for the year.
Chris, do you have any final thoughts about what we’ve been working on for the last four years?
Chris: Well, actually, I was just going to follow up on your Cracking the Cash Flow Code because it was one of the things I started listening and I’m like, “Wow, my business is so not at the point to even start thinking about that,” but it really does apply to businesses of all size. I figure I’m probably still somewhere bouncing back and forth between stage 1 and 2. But, at least, again, it’s laying out a roadmap for me and letting me know what I have to look forward to. So, I would say, even if you’re like a solopreneur, or you’re just getting started and like, “This is so way beyond where I am.” Go ahead and listen to it because it really will speak to you today, help you kind of get through those first couple of stages and set you up for knowing what you’re going to be facing in the future, hopefully and be successful.
There’s a couple of other people I need to thank also on this episode. One is Anna Marie Nieri. She’s my transcriber. If you subscribe to the podcast, you actually go look at it on our sustainablebusiness.co website, you’re going to see there’s a transcript of every single episode that we’ve done. Anna has been the person who has transcribed all 200 episodes, or she will have when she gets this one, too. She’s done a great job for it so I thank her for that.
The other one’s our newest member to the team, for our podcast, is Nevena Raden. Nevena also is doing my video editing. She is a great video editor. The quality of my video is much higher now than it used to be. She also goes through where she puts up, every week, the podcast and makes it go public and does all the stuff that I used to do. So, I’m taking Rob’s advice and trying to get rid of some of those low-value things that I’m not specially good at and Nevena’s much better at. So, I really appreciate her.
Most importantly, I appreciate the folks who’ve been listening to this podcast. I was recently at a meeting, the guy came up to me out of the blue and said, “I listen to your podcast every week” and I said, “Wow! Awesome!”
Josh: I didn’t expect anybody that ever heard of my podcast so it was one of those things that was really nice. So, I appreciate it. So, I really appreciate the folks who listen. Even better yet, if you comment, I really appreciate that, so leave a comment below. Let us know what you think.
We’re with Chris Laning. My name is Josh Patrick. This is The Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast. I hope to see you back here really soon.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to The Sustainable Business podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around a hundred years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 ext 2, or visit us on our website at www.askjoshpatrick.com, or you can send Josh an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.