Jordan Harbinger tells me how he booked guests like Shaq and other podcasting techniques

There are specific things that Jordan Harbinger did relentlessly that resulted in topping the charts of the podcasting world.
I wanted to bring him on here to talk about how he did it with his previous podcast, Art of Charm.

He’s now growing a second podcast called The Jordan Harbinger Show. His goal with The Jordan Harbinger Show is for every episode to solve a problem for you or make you better in some way.

I listened to it. I didn’t want to just come here and say, “It’s a good show. Go download it,” because he’s a friend. I wanted to make sure it was actually good and it was. It will help you solve a problem, make you better in some way.

Jordan Harbinger

Jordan Harbinger

The Jordan Harbinger Show

Jordan Harbinger is the host of The Jordan Harbinger Show, where every episode solves a problem for you or make you better in some way.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. And I’ve been doing this podcasting thing for almost 10 years now, and this guy, Jordan Harbinger, who you’re about to meet just kept showing up at the top of all the top lists of podcasts every time I freaking look at these goddamn lists. I shouldn’t curse like that right at the beginning of the intro, but it gives you a sense of like how fired up I was about it.

And at first, I didn’t know why. So what is he doing? Maybe it’s like a one-time thing. Every time somebody comes out with a podcast, they seem to make it to the top of a list for five seconds, and then they go celebrate on Facebook and then they go down and I never hear from them again. I thought maybe it was something like that. Like is there some kind of one-hit wonder? No, wasn’t.

And then I thought maybe he just lucked into it. And frankly, I had conversations with other podcasters who looked at Jordan Harbinger’s work and said he was doing it for a long time that’s why he was doing so well. But I watched him behind the scenes and there is no luck, there is no been-doing-it-for-a long-time. There is hustle. There’s hustle that if you are . . . specific hustle, specific actions that we’re going to get into. I’m not just going to spend an hour here directing you guys around saying, “Look, he hustles. He hustles. He hustles.”

But there are specific things that he did over and over relentlessly that as a result of them, I could just not . . . I could understand why he rose up the charts of the podcasting world, and I could understand why he was doing so well and I wanted to bring him on here to talk about how he did it with his previous podcast because he’s about to grow a . . . he’s actually right now growing a second podcast. His previous podcast was called Art of Charm. His new one is called The Jordan Harbinger Show. His goal with The Jordan Harbinger Show is for every episode to solve a problem for you or make you better in some way. He’s probably going to be really happy if I tell you that you should go to the podcast or whatever podcast app you have and go look for The Jordan Harbinger Show.

I listened to it. I didn’t want to just come in here and say, “It’s a good show. Go download it,” because he’s a friend. I wanted to make sure it was actually good and it was. It was. It’s exactly what I just said. It will help you solve a problem, make you better in some way.

All right. This interview is sponsored by two great companies, the first, actually, is a sponsor that Jordan knows. It’s called HostGator and it will host your website right. And the second is a company that will help you hire your next great developer, and frankly, I hired a finance person from them, such a great place to hire top talent, and that’s why it’s called Toptal. I’ll tell you more about both those later. Jordan, welcome.

Jordan: Thanks for having me on, man. I appreciate it, and I mean that. I know people say that when they come on shows, I really do appreciate it because this isn’t something that you had to do. You didn’t have to reach down and pull me up in a time of need, and here we are.

Andrew: You know what? I didn’t do it for you. I love you. I’ll have you here scotch or cheese or what I remember. One time we had you here for a wine and cheese. That’s not why I’m doing it. I said, “This guy’s in trouble. I’m going to have him on Mixergy because now he’s going to be so open because he has to be a good guest. He has to get people to come on to his program.” Where before, he might have said, “Here’s one or two things I did to grow my podcast.” Now he has to like bring it, bring the juice. So you did it and so that’s why I’m here. Completely selfish for me and my audience, you just happen to be benefiting from it.

So let’s get into the numbers here because people are going to want to know like, “Why is this guy on here? What is it that makes him so successful that Andrew’s going to interview him?” And it’s the numbers. I always care about the numbers. How many downloads did you get The Art of Charm to?

Jordan: At the peak of the show, we were at 4.1 million downloads per month.

Andrew: So that actually is a place where older podcasts have an advantage because you get to count all the old episodes where maybe you interviewed someone five years ago who then became a hit and his podcast episode is delivering a lot of downloads. What about an individual episode, a typical episode would get you how many downloads within a week?

Jordan: Sure. A typical episode would get us maybe a hundred thousand downloads in a week, something like that, give or take, yeah.

Andrew: I love how you just keep fussing around with the camera. You’re never satisfied with the camera even when you and I were talking before the interview started, you were like adjusting the camera, telling me how to adjust my audio settings.

Jordan: It’s really strange the camera, though, it keeps making me look really small. So I keep trying to set it bigger so I don’t have this like tiny head in the Mixergy window but it seems not cooperating.

Andrew: You know what? That is something that I spent a lot of time telling guests. If you look really small on a webcam, people don’t take you seriously and that doesn’t just go for podcast episodes like this which we also do the video for, but it goes for group meetings. The person who is slouched in a seat and therefore look small on camera always comes across as less significant in the conversation and has to fight harder to get people to even notice him or take him seriously. It’s just this little mind trick that is so easy to use to your advantage as opposed to get beaten down by. All right. Let’s go into numbers.

Jordan: I agree.

Andrew: Revenue. Art of Charm did how much in revenue?

Jordan: Oh, man. At the time that we were . . . I’m going to stand because this is how I usually do my best work anyway. At the time that I left Art of Charm, this is a multi-seven-figure business, the boot camps and the events, the online products, and the show, all generated quite a healthy amount of revenue for the whole company which is great. It was really profitable.

Andrew: And the way it worked was you do your podcast, you run some ads in it, and that produces revenue and then you also do these boot camps where people come to California and see you and your co-founder in person . . . actually, were you even part of the boot camps?

Jordan: I was not a part of the boot camps for years and years and years, and of course, now, the Art of Charm still runs boot camps as far as I know, I have no idea. But I assume they do.

Andrew: All right, multi seven-figure means it’s millions of dollars, but I’m guessing less than 10 million.

Jordan: Sounds about right.

Andrew: I’ve been listening in preparation for this to what you’ve said on your own podcast, The Jordan Harbinger Show, on other people’s podcast, and there’s a sadness about you not being on Art of Charm, but it’s never been explained. Why aren’t you at the Art of Charm anymore? What’s going on here?

Jordan: Yes. So we actually . . . my co-founders and I had different visions for the company and we were really siloed, I guess you would say. So yeah, I would be working on the show 24/7 and I’d be working on advertisements and generating this and generating that, social media engagement, stuff like that, fan mail. And those guys were really interested, of course, in the workshops, the masterminds, and things like that. And we realized that although we were in this really good symbiotic relationship, there was just . . . we were really starting to row, especially, in different directions and that was not good for the company. So to have two visions in one small business is just not good for the business, and that precipitated the split.

Andrew: I feel like you have an unnatural love for podcasting too, that you wouldn’t . . . it’s true, right?

Jordan: Yeah.

Andrew: You wouldn’t even go to the boot camps, but man, you’d get on calls with random people who’d call you on your phone number which was everywhere because they were podcast listeners.

Jordan: Well, and the phone number also got people to boot camp, of course.

Andrew: Because they’ll call you up and then you’d help close the sale.

Jordan: Sure.

Andrew: I actually remember . . .

Jordan: It wasn’t my cell phone number. It was the office number for the company, and then when people would call, they would get interested in what we do.

Andrew: Wasn’t it at one point your cellphone number?

Jordan: No, I’ve never had my cell phone number online in my entire life.

Andrew: Okay, all right.

Jordan: I know why you think that.

Andrew: I do remember coming to the meeting one time carrying . . . sorry, go ahead.

Jordan: I know why you think that. We had an app that was similar to Google Voice called Line2, I believe. Actually, I don’t even remember. So that would forward to my phone because when I . . . at some point because I would . . . I think back when you saw me at your event, I was also doing sales for the company for years full time in addition to the show.

Andrew: No, there was a meeting here at my conference room that Jeremy Wise [SP] put together as a mastermind. People came in, talked about their issues. I thought it was incredibly helpful. You walk in saying, “I’ve decided I’m going to carry two phones because I can’t have my one phone constantly go off with customers,” and that’s why I thought that it was your cell phone, but you’re saying it didn’t actually go to your cell phone proper main number, it went to an extra app on your phone. The reason I’m bringing that up is you’re constantly on. You constantly would take phone calls and you’re saying, “Yes, I would. It’s not just about the podcast. I did care enough that I was selling and closing sales for the boot camp.” All right. Let’s get into what you did to grow it to that point.

Jordan: Sure.

Andrew: I get a sense of now why you’re not there. I get a sense of your passion for podcasting. I want to understand what worked and what didn’t. One of the things that I have been doing recently is buying ads on Overcast. Anyone who’s now listening to me on the Overcast app is probably tired of seeing my freaking face on their app because I buy everything I can. Unnaturally, I throw a lot of money at that app. Was that working for you?

Jordan: Yeah, it was. Yeah, it was generating several hundred new subscribers each month which is actually really good for paid acquisition for the price we were getting, but not exactly a massive needle moving game-changer for the show itself at the numbers that we were having. If you have a new show and you want to grow it and you’ve got to get a few thousand extra subscribers, sure. Run a couple thousand bucks through Overcast if you can and grab a couple of show fans there. And over time, if they stay subscribed, they’ll pay for themselves easily.

However, if you have a new show and you really want to get subscribers to your show, you can’t just put water in the container. You can’t basically turn on the faucet and have a leaky bucket. Your content matter is far more than the brilliance of your ads. And we see this in people that screw around with the iTunes rankings and I know you’ve noticed this really like, “Okay, we’ve got this NPR thing and this New York Times thing.” And then you’ve got like Tim Ferriss and Gary Vaynerchuk. And then, wait, what? Superinternetmarketerssecrets.com, what the heck is this? And you see it’s got like 8,000 reviews but it’s only been up for three days. And you’re like, “Okay, this is a person who has sort of figured out how to game the system, but it’s not going to work long-term.”

And so really with podcasting, the reason it’s so lucrative, I think, for advertisers and so interesting for sponsors is because you just can’t fake it. You can’t buy podcast downloads like you can buy Facebook fans or something like that.

Andrew: That is really frustrating actually. So I’m taking a look at . . . here’s how much I paid. I paid Overcast most recently $525 for ads to the business audience. I got 145 subscribers from that. So that comes out to $3.62 per subscriber.

Jordan: That’s expensive.

Andrew: That’s really expensive. Now, is it worth it? I think so because if I look at how much money we make from advertising to that audience, it’s strong, it’s worth it. But that’s not really powerful. What you did though, you and I did a screen share and you said, “Look, here’s how I’m buying ads.” I showed you a few things that were working for me. You showed me a few things that were working for you. What was interesting was you actually had this virtuous cycle where it was getting you to the top of their charts which then helped you get more subscribers which then allowed the ads to more than pay for themselves because each ad subscriber was feeding your charts which then brought in more subscribers.

Jordan: Yeah. That was really fortunate and that was the result of what I think I just mentioned earlier which was, you can’t just have the acquisition and then have holes in the bottom of the bucket. You’ve got to have content where people go, “Whoa, I’m glad I saw this ad for the show. This is really good.” And then they can click Subscribe or they share it with friends. If you’ve got a crappy passive income podcast or whatever sort of fake internet marketer funnel, you’re going to pay a lot for the people who click and subscribe, but if 80%, 90% of them are like, “Oh, this is just one of those dumb basically like an audio landing page. I’m out of here.”

But if half or more say, “Wow, this is surprisingly good. Actually, I’m going to share this with friends,” now you’re getting more than one subscriber. Even though it says you got one paid subscriber, you’re getting word-of-mouth, you’re hitting the top of the charts like you said, and people try to game that by hacking to the top of say the iTunes charts with fake reviews or something like that but it just doesn’t work long term. It just doesn’t.

Andrew: Okay. Any other ads work for you?

Jordan: No, not really. We tried to . . .

Andrew: You know what I’ve seen that’s working for other people as ads where you’re buying people. They end up on your mailing list, go through a sales funnel, and then part of the funnel is also podcast ads where you’re promoting your own podcast to the email list.

Jordan: Sure.

Andrew: But otherwise, there is no way to buy ads. That’s one of the most challenging things about podcasting. You can’t throw money to grow.

Jordan: No, man, you can’t. You cannot do it. And that’s one of the chief frustrations, first of all, but it’s also one of the reasons that really good content stands out because you just can’t fake it. You can try but it doesn’t work long term. So the people who have really good stuff and are able to acquire listeners, that’s why you see some of these . . . I call it the NPR mafia but it’s not really . . . I mean, they’re not even affiliated with NPR, most of these guys. But when there’s a new show about politics and they get an article in Slate, and then an article in Salon, and then the New Yorker mentions it. And then they do a roundup of podcasts in Forbes and it’s in there. And then they do another roundup of podcasts in the New York Times on Sunday and it’s in there. And you just go, “What the hell?”

And then suddenly, that show’s that the top-25 of iTunes and it stays there for three months, and then it gets a feature in the display case and you can’t . . . that’s why I call it the NPR mafia because I feel like those are people that are in news media that are like, “I’m going to do a podcast.” And then they do Pod Save America and it’s got 2, 3, 4 million downloads or whatever per episode because everyone listens to it and it’s got good content but it’s also they have the ability to get everywhere. But they could easily get everywhere and still not build the show in that way. And we see other shows that have had shady ads for some product that they have and they shoot up to the top of iTunes and they’re gone. And then they shoot up to the top of iTunes later and then they’re gone again. And that’s not how you sustain growth.

Yes, like this one, for example. That’s the number one with a bullet thing that worked for me. And it’s one of the reasons why when I go on shows, I’m so keen on saying like, “The Jordan Harbinger Show, every episode solves a problem. Every episode makes you better,” because a lot of people will go on shows and they’ll just talk about funnels or growth hacking or something like that, and then at the end they’re like, “Oh, yeah, buy my book or something,” and it’s just totally ineffective most of the time. But if you’ve got a show . . .

Andrew: Why? Why is that ineffective?

Jordan: Because you’re really not delivering a lot of value. You might be entertaining or something like that, but you’re also not telling people why they should go get your book or subscribe to your podcast. So when I tell people why I want them to subscribe to The Jordan Harbinger Show, it’s not just because it’s my show. It’s because like you over here at Mixergy, I drill down into the practicals. I drill down into getting something that the listener can take away which, as you know, is pretty rare in a podcast. Most podcasters are just talking. There’s no plan. You have a plan. I have a plan.

Andrew: Yeah, we spent 20 minutes before this thing started just outlining the things that we’re going to cover instead of just ripping into the interview even though I’ve known you for a long time. But still, what you’re saying is that it’s being clear about why people should take the action that you’re coming on asking for. So if an author were to start off the interview with a clear description of why someone should get the book and mention at the beginning and the end, that would help. What else?

Jordan: Yeah. I mean, I think an author who really wants to sell books should spend a lot of time delivering amazing content from that book in the interview, not just tell a couple stories or . . . why were you the person to write this book? Well, you know, I grew up on a farm in San Diego. I mean, that’s the kind of stuff that you hear on these interviews. But when people come on my shows, especially The Jordan Harbinger Show, the new one, to sell “a book,” they’re giving a bunch of things from the book and they’re saying, “Step one, you do this. Step two, you do this. Here’s how you deal with a crisis in your life. Here’s how you deal with insecurity and instability, and in the book, I really flesh this out because there’s different steps.” And I’ll go, “Give me the steps.”

So we’ll go through some of the content but we’ll just simply run out of time because the book is so full of good stuff. And if it’s not full of value, I typically don’t have that person on as a guest.

Andrew: I see. All right. So when you go on other people’s shows, you told me before you started, you look at their audience. You understand what they’re trying to achieve and you say, “How can I put together a bullet list of reasons or a bullet list of useful information so that then they see that I’m useful and then want more on my podcast?”

Jordan: Exactly. So I’ll come on a show and I’ll talk about how you can get people to treat you differently or how you can create relationships for business purposes and how you can manage all those relationships. I don’t just say, “Go out there and network.” It’s like, “No, here’s how I create relationships. Here’s software that I use to manage the interactions so I don’t forget people. Here are systems that I use that are . . . ”

Andrew: You know what, though? I don’t think you did that before today. You came on here and I don’t know that you had this outline where you said, “Here’s what I think is going to be really useful for the Mixergy audience.” We did that together.

Jordan: We did that together today here right now, yeah, but most hosts aren’t going to do that so I do that for them. You know what I mean?

Andrew: I heard you with John Corcoran. I kind of noticed that . . . I don’t know whether you had an outline or a specific bullet point, but you do know that John Corcoran podcast is about networking and he’s into networking. And so you talk specifically about how networking has helped you start this podcast and get help.

Jordan: Yes. One caveat though, I’ve known John Corcoran for four or five years now. I’ve known you probably for like six or eight years now. I don’t even know. We’d have to look at our Gmail history or something.

Andrew: I did before, since 2010.

Jordan: Okay, so literally eight years or something like that. So that makes it a lot easier because I know that I could . . . I can show up to your house and have a glass of scotch and we’re not going to go, “So, I don’t know. What’s it like having kids?” We’re going to be fine. We go out to dinner once in a blue moon and we run out of time, not we don’t run out of words.

Andrew: I guess what I mean is that it doesn’t . . . in my mind when I took these notes before we started, it was, “Jordan sits down with the website and makes a bullet point list of what he’s going to cover.” It doesn’t seem like it’s like that. It seems like it’s much more of natural, “I’m going to check out their website. I’m going to get an understanding of it, and then I’m going to go on.”

Jordan: It depends. It depends on if there . . . if I think that they’re a skilled host, I will relax a little bit more. If I think that they’re an unskilled host, I will come prepared with sound bites which are actually not great. I don’t like sound bites on my own shows. I like authenticity. But I do know that if somebody is sort of new and I’m going on their show, they’re going to say, “What’s something you recommend everyone do that most people don’t know about?” Or something like that, and I’m like, “Oh, God.” I have to think of like a bumper sticker now?

And so that’s not a question that I would ever ask a guest on an episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show. I would never do that. I would say something like, “So you went blind in your 20s. What were you thinking as you were slowly losing your sight? Were you panicked or were you resigned to it?” And a lot of people go, “Crap, nobody’s ever really asked me that.” It’s not a genius question or anything but it sure beats, “So you went blind as an adult, what was that like?” “Well, it was crappy. I went blind as an adult. It was hard. I didn’t like it.” I mean, that’s not the kind of answer you want. You want the insight from that.

Andrew: I feel like I would like to have somebody on my team if I were to do more podcast interview somewhere else, put together a bullet point list of who the person is, what do they like, what’s their top podcast? And just really prep me well so that I’m going in with an understanding of what’s going to work with the audience. The other thing that I found helps me is I find that a lot of podcasters are pretty amateur at this stuff and they’re a little shaken.

Jordan: Of course.

Andrew: So they don’t know that the first question of the intro is going to be the most helpful for setting the stage. And so I feed them the first question, and I do it by saying, “You know what? I think what would be helpful for your audience is to ask how did I get into this? And then I’ve got the story that I can tell,” or something like that, and they’re always appreciative of that.

Jordan: Yeah. It depends on the skill level of the host. When I laughed when you said amateurish, it’s yes, the medium is by definition an amateur’s medium which is great, and I think it’s important to note that. I don’t want to seem like I’m laughing at new podcasters. I think I spent, man, six-plus years doing the show and not really taking it that seriously. And then I interviewed this author named Robert Greene. Have you heard of Robert Green “48 Laws of Power?”

Andrew: Yeah.

Jordan: I interviewed him and I went, “You know, that was really fun but I felt really nervous.” And I told him that. And he said, “Actually, this is one of the best interviews I’ve done recently. Why did this take so long?” And I remember thinking, “Because I didn’t think I was worthy of having you on the show and I didn’t know how to prepare for it and so I read the book and duh, duh, duh.” And he was like, “Let’s do this again. This is really good.” And I was just shocked, and I thought, “If I take this more seriously, then I can have fun like this all the time, and I can really build up to this.”

And so then I started thinking, “How does a real interviewer prepare?” Whereas before that, it was like, “I got to get something up on the podcast. Who do I know who’s probably not doing anything right now? Oh, cool, yeah. Hey, Ben, will you come on my show?” “Yeah.” “Here, just get on Skype and you can use your keyboard mic. Just don’t answer too many instant messages while you’re on it.” I was just really amateurish whereas like you now, it’s something that we treat as a profession. Broadcasting, making sure that we’re ready for an interview.

Any guest from The Jordan Harbinger Show, I’ve already read their book. I’ve already read their website. I’ve already read their Wikipedia. I’ve read their media coverage. I’ve read reviews of the book. I’ll spend 10 plus hours prepping each guest.

Andrew: All right, I’m not covering enough ground here. I have a lot here about what you did to market. I’m going to do the ad, and I’m going to come back here and I want to do a little bit more about what you do about going on other people’s podcasts. I’m curious about like, “Do you have a list of questions that you give podcasters?” I’ve noticed some people give that to me. You don’t?

Jordan: No.

Andrew: I feel like I should do that.

Jordan: No, I do not do anything you can’t.

Andrew: I think I need to give them a clear bio which we do, and then a list of suggested questions with answers. And I found that people like Gary Vaynerchuk, years ago, would do that. Some authors would do that. I find that that actually takes a little bit of time, but it’s helpful for them, and you’re saying you don’t do that.

Jordan: I don’t. And the reason that I don’t do that is because I feel like then you end up doing the same interview. I understand why Gary Vaynerchuk does that because he does hundreds of interviews. I think he basically will do any . . .

Andrew: There was a period where he was going to do one a day for a year.

Jordan: Yeah. I mean, that’s where I’m at now. So I understand that. And so maybe I’ll have to end up doing that. However, I’m trying to filter so that I’m actually talking with skilled hosts who are interested in what I have to say. The reason that people might need canned questions is because frankly, they’re just not interested enough in you to actually prepare for the conversation.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s true. And then I might as well take it over. And then I do like taking it over.

Jordan: I will do that too, yeah. I will just talk over the host if they want me to.

Andrew: All right. The first sponsor is a company called HostGator. I use them, you like them. What is it about HostGator that you like?

Jordan: What I like about HostGator, first of all, the people that work there actually really care about the company and the customer service which . . . because when companies say, “Oh, customer service 24/7 365,” it’s like, “Okay, I can reach someone maybe then.” But the people who work behind the scenes are all really cool and really nice. And that to me shows a company that takes pride in their service. So it’s easier to forgive a company that might have some warts because the people there are really nice and really care and they’re really responsive. And I find that unusual unfortunately these days.

Andrew: I’m finding that their . . . I don’t mean to like disagree with you on this, I’m finding their tech support was really good when we were starting out, and now it takes a little while to get somebody on tech support. It’s still not as bad as their competitors, but it used to be 90 seconds I get. Boom, on with tech support for HostGator. Now, it takes a little while.

Jordan: Yeah, they’ve got a lot of new customers from you and I.

Andrew: They do. They used to be . . . so HostGator is owned by this company that owns a bunch of other hosting companies. It used to be that they were the quieter, smaller, slower growing one, but I’ve got to know the people there, and like you, I really like them. They love their jobs. They’re into the company. But now, they’re getting competitive with everyone else at the . . . what’s the company called? Endurance. Everyone else at Endurance. And so they’re bringing in as many new subscribers as possible, and as a result, I think that they’re overwhelming their support people.

Jordan: I think that’s probably true, yeah. They probably hired one out of the every three to five necessary support people because it’s hard for companies especially tech companies to go, “Okay, we’re known for our support. So let’s keep investing in it because it’s kind of like, “Well, we have good support 24/7 365. Our wait time went from 90 seconds to 5 minutes. Is that costing us money? We don’t really know. It’s still better than the other guy who really, really sucks. So we’re fine. Let’s spend that money.”

Andrew: Please have a freaking phone number. There’s one host I work with, everything is with the ticketing system. My site is down, I got to ticket you? And then in the drop-down menu where they ask me, “How do I feel about this?” I could say, “Angry, frustrated, happy.” That’s not enough. It’s not enough. At least with HostGator, I actually have a real phone number. So here’s the reason why I love HostGator. I feel like hosting is a solved problem right now. We’ve been doing web hosting now for decades. So you don’t need the fancy hosting company that’s going to charge you an arm and a leg to host your website because you just pay a low price, get WordPress hosting. Frankly, in most cases, WordPress is enough. If you want something else, HostGator will host it for you, just about anything, they’ll host for you. But WordPress is powering what? Twenty-eight percent of the websites are powered by WordPress?

Jordan: Something like that.

Andrew: Yeah. And with HostGator, it’s easy to get started and you’re up and running. So The Jordan Harbinger Show, you have an idea for a podcast? Even though the majority of your people are going to come in from the iTunes Store or the podcast app, I should say, and other . . . the podcast app on the iPhone or other podcast app, you still a website. You just go to HostGator. Anyone who’s out there who needs a website for anything, just go to hostgator.com, hit the one button that installs WordPress. Get one of their billion, jillion, themes that are available for free from HostGator. Put your photo on it, a couple of other things, and boom, you’re up and running to go. And then you can keep improving it over time, but you just need a basic website and that’s what I like about HostGator. They start off really basic, inexpensive, and if you want to, they’ll scale up.

If you want managed WordPress hosting where they’re going to do just about everything for you, they got that too. You could upgrade to that. You can keep growing with them. We’ve upgraded to a plan that lets us do any freaking thing we want on their freaking servers. I think we’re paying them $185 a month because I wanted the best plan that we could possibly get. This is for this new business. I said, “You know what? I’ve got this new business called Bot Academy. I need to get traffic to it. Where do we go to get host?” That’s easy. Just go to HostGator. One-click install, we’re up and running. We liked it. And then I said, “I’m going to pump in thousands of people at a time through the site because we’re buying a ton of ads. My friends cannot get away from my ads on Facebook.” They complain to me.

I said, “Great. I want the best of the best hosting. I want to be able to do anything I want on it. Go Michael, our developer. Pay as much as you can to HostGator.” He said, “All right, the much I can pay 185 bucks. Is that too much?” One hundred and eighty-five bucks? Go for it. But we started out like everyone else with a cheap plan. If you want to get started with HostGator, go to their URL which I’m about to give you where you can get started for as low as $2.64 a month. I actually don’t recommend you take that plan even though I get credit for you signing up with that plan. I think you’re better off taking what they call The Baby Plan. It’s $3.98 a month. Go pay a little extra. And as a result of that, what you’re going to get is unlimited domains, one-click installs of all the themes that you want, and all the hosting packages that you want.

Sorry, wait. One-click install of software like WordPress, unlimited domains which is really important. If you have an idea for something brand new like an event that you’re doing, you just go get a domain for it and they have unmetered disk space. If you’re not happy with it, they have a 45-day money-back guarantee. If you are happy with it, stay with them, they’re even going to give you $100 AdWords offer. So basically, they’re going to give you money to go promote your site. Go to hostgator.com/Mixergy.

All right. Let me just continue here with this story, with one more technique that you used to grow . . . let’s go into booking guests because the quality of guests, I find, has a disproportionate power over your downloads.

Jordan: Sorry, can you reframe . . . ?

Andrew: Yeah, what happened? What came on your screen right now? Something just took your attention, and it feels like something bad came up.

Jordan: Oh, no. Actually, I’m super tired and my eyes did something where I would . . . you know when you’re staring into space and you have to go, “Oh, no, I’m here.” And you focus.

Andrew: Why are you super tired? I told you before we started you do not look like the Jordan Harbinger I’ve known.

Jordan: No, I look like crap and that’s another reason why I keep adjusting the camera. I actually . . . thankfully, I got up and I went for a walk this morning outside, got a little bit of sun, drank some coffee, a little bit of like . . . I guess you would call it self-care which I’ve been sorely lacking. I didn’t sleep very well last night because . . . this is weird because I’m not a nervous or anxious person at all, but looking at the “top of the mountain” where I was a few months ago or a few weeks ago with my other show, it’s really intimidating. And it’s a little bit like kind of crushing or suffocating and I know those sound like dramatic words, but it’s really hard to look and go, “Wow, I built The Art of Charm podcast over 11 years and now I have to start over.” It’s like, “Do I have it in me? Yes, I think I do. I’m 37 but I got to grind like I’m 27. Good thing I’m not 57.”

And just worrying a lot about . . . it’s not even worrying. It’s mostly looking at the mountain of work that I have to do and going, “Shoot, I thought I already did all this,” but it’s a good lesson and it’s breaking the entitlement. It’s burning it out of me if I had any. It’s burning it out. And also there’s excitement involved with us because it’s like, “Wow, I’ve got to start this new brand. I can do anything that I want.” And looking how fast everything is growing is also really encouraging. So the excitement plus the uncertainty plus the overwhelm, if you will, with the amount of work, that’s contributing to some nights I sleep like a freaking rock and other nights I don’t sleep at all, or I’d sleep very little. And that’s not good for you.

Andrew: So last night, how many hours did you sleep?

Jordan: Probably like two and a half or three hours. I don’t know.

Andrew: And your head was spinning with all the things you need to get done and how are you back here and that whole thing?

Jordan: Yeah.

Andrew: All right. Let’s continue then. I feel so bad. Like you’re telling me about how tired you are and I go, “All right, screw that. Let’s continue with the points here.”

Jordan: Let’s do it.

Andrew: All right. How did you get guests like Shaquille O’Neal? How did you get Shaq? Let’s talk about him specifically and then draw bigger conclusions from it.

Jordan: Yeah, sure. So I wanted to get big-name guests because once you get a couple, you can get more in theory. You can go, “Well, this person is willing to come on so this other person’s publicist has an easier time green-lighting the appearance.” And I went for people that I knew I had mutual connections with, and I have a friend who is a guy who runs a network and is well connected in LA, and he’s friends with Shaq, and I had him bug Shaq for like two years literally.

Andrew: What do you mean he’s well connected with Shaq? What’s his connection to him?

Jordan: This guy has four courtside Lakers seats. He’s had season tickets in courtside seats for, I don’t know, at least a decade, probably longer. So he knows all the players and he was in the entertainment industry.

Andrew: Because he has courtside seats he knows Shaquille O’Neal?

Jordan: Yeah. I mean, I think at some point when you have those . . . look, Lakers courtside seats, man, those are dynastic . . .

Andrew: I’ve had you basically sitting on the ward right next to them.

Jordan: Absolutely. And that means you go to every game, I would assume, and there’s probably a ton of mixers and season ticket stuff and fundraisers, I don’t even know.

Andrew: And so through that, he got to know Shaquille O’Neal and you said, “I want you to use this connection with him to get me on.”

Jordan: Yes. And it took forever but he delivered eventually, and I ended up interviewing Shaq, and it was awesome. It was amazing.

Andrew: And it was how many months, how many years did it take to get that?

Jordan: At least two years.

Andrew: Of you pinging the person. What was your process for remembering to ping him and so on?

Jordan: Okay. So first of all, I wanted to get Shaq on, and I asked, and then I asked, and then I asked, and then I asked again, and again, and again. And that was crucial because I think a lot of people, when they know that you know . . . I mean, I deal with this and I don’t even know that many “celebrities,” but I have people bugging me for introductions all the time. And if somebody is really persistent and they’re a good friend of mine and I know they’re not going to embarrass me, then I’ll do it. But if somebody just goes . . . I’ll give you an example of an intro I would never make. I went to a law school reunion because I went to law school a million years ago and had a past life as an attorney.

I went to a reunion then someone goes, “Oh, man, I saw that you were hanging out with like . . . ” I don’t even remember who it was. It was like Tim Ferriss or Russell Brand or some well-known person.” And he goes, “Man, I don’t want to be annoying but next time you guys are hanging out, just give me a call.” And I was like, “This is the most annoying thing that you could possibly do.” He was like, “Actually, you know what? Just send me an email, BCC me on an email so I have his email address.” And I was like, “This is terrible.” And this is an extreme example. Most people are not going to do anything like this, but I also know that when you ask somebody in a media network, “Hey, can I interview Shaquille O’Neal?” They’re going to be like, “Get in line.”

But if you ask and then you’re doing really good shows and you ask again and doing really good shows and they say, “All right, I’ll work on this for you,” that doesn’t mean you can have it next week. It means it’s going to be up to circumstance and hustle. And so I used Boomerang. You know that tool for Gmail? I used Boomerang for Gmail and I emailed this person about this particular thing at least once a month for two years or so.

Andrew: Because Boomerang keeps reminding you to follow up and you would just check in and say, “Hey, did you get a chance to do this or how are you . . . ” Was it always asking or was it sometimes just checking in?

Jordan: A lot of it was checking in. So it was like, “Hey, I wanted to know if we could get Shaq on the calendar for this year.” And it’s like, “All right, I’ll look into this.” “Cool.” A month later, “Hi, I just wanted to see if this was moving any further. Do you need anything from me? Is there any way I can make this easier for you? Do you need my shows numbers? Do you need something to show his manager or publicist?” “No, no, no, it’s fine. I’ve got your numbers from before. I will ask next time I see him.” Then a month later, “Hey, I was wondering if you had a chance to ask the publicist or manager this.” “No, but I’m going to see him in two weeks. I’ll ask then.” Then a month later, “Hey, did you ever end up seeing so-and-so? Did this ever go anywhere?” “Oh, he didn’t show up, but I’ll do it again.”

And it was just one of those things over and over. Or, “Yes, I spoke with him. They’re going to do it but it has to be convenient so we’re waiting for that.” And you get these little tiny bits of movement like that, but most of it is, “Oh, sorry, maybe later. No, not sure yet. Okay maybe. Well, I talked to him and he didn’t say no.”

Andrew: And the reason you’re using Boomerang is Boomerang brings the previous email that you got back from them into your inbox so you see what the conversation was before and you could follow up on that conversation.

Jordan: Exactly, yeah. And you can use any sort of sales CRM for this if you’d rather. So if you have Salesforce which I wouldn’t use for this but you could even use something like . . . I mean, any CRM, Zoho.

Andrew: FollowUp.cc, and I like the idea of it being in the inbox, but you’re right. Any CRM will allow you to . . . not any. A lot of them will allow you to set reminders. So how many people like Shaquille O’Neal did you have like that?

Jordan: Let me see.

Andrew: You kept the spreadsheet of people who are your ideal people.

Jordan: Yeah, I did. I kept a spreadsheet of ideal people and . . . I mean, not even just ideal but would you say obtainable? I don’t know. If there’s no point in having a wish list that says, “Oprah, Barack Obama, etc., etc., etc.,” it doesn’t make any . . .

Andrew: So stretch goals, not fantasies.

Jordan: Right. Yeah, good distinction. Stretch goals, not fantasy. So it says, “Mike Rowe.” Then it’s like, “Go to this foundation, this, that, and the other thing. Try to reach out this way.” You end up with that but you don’t end up with Oprah and Barack Obama like I said before, these fantasies because otherwise, they get cluttered. And yes, maybe I could have done the same thing for Oprah, Barack Obama, and just work, work, work, work, worked really hard to get there, but it doesn’t . . . there was just not enough payoff if I was like just never going to happen or if I’m spending five years just finding one person who can introduce me to this other person because having a famous guest on the show, Andrew, and I don’t know if this has been your experience. I could have pretty much any A list celebrity on short of . . . of course, if you get Obama, you launch into the stratosphere or if you got Donald Trump, you’d really get a bump. But I had Shaq on the show and that episode probably got in the neighborhood of single-digit percentage downloads higher than an average episode of the show.

Andrew: Oh, really? It wasn’t that much bigger.

Jordan: No, and that’s what’s really interesting and funny is I had Russell Brand on later more recently and Russell Brand . . .

Andrew: The comedian.

Jordan: Yeah. And he was great. He was phenomenal. And we did a really great job with the show. My production team really killed it because I had to drive to NBC and do it in a green room with like zoom recorder.

Andrew: Why? Why didn’t you do it on Skype?

Jordan: Oh, I like to do stuff live, it’s better.

Andrew: Well, I didn’t realize that they were all alive.

Jordan: They’re not all live, but when it’s a celebrity interview, it’s got to be live because . . . here’s a little trick for any podcaster out there. If you decide to do it live, then when a celebrity inevitably cancels, you say, “But I booked a flight, hotel, accommodation, and brought my equipment down from San Jose to do this.” And they go, “Shoot, all right, okay, we’ll figure this out.” But if you say, “Hey, let’s do it on Skype.” And they go, “Gee, this person that we always overbook is overbooked.” Guess what? You get cut.

Andrew: I see.

Jordan: So when I interviewed Russell Brand, I drove down to . . . I’m not even allowed to say where it was, but it was a studio that had a green room where he was doing another TV show. They specifically made me not say where we were because of location and stuff. I did the show in this green room with crap audio and my production team cleaned it up, and it was awesome because they’re so engaged when you’re sitting there. I remember his assistant, Russell Brand’s assistant, who’s lovely, just a doll, she brought him lunch and he goes, “I don’t really want to eat during this because we’re having a really good conversation. Let’s eat in the car.” And she was like, “All right, cool.” If I’m on Skype and you’re hungry and you’re a celebrity and you can’t even see me, or if we’re on a video camera, you’re just going to, “how’s that sandwich, man?'”

And you’re going to be looking around or not paying attention or . . . it’s 45 minutes instead of an hour. You get deprioritized.

Andrew: You were saying that even Russell Brand, even Shaquille O’Neal, aren’t giving a huge bump. Here’s what I found giving me a huge bump, people who email their list, people who go back and help promote the interview. Did you find the same thing?

Jordan: I have not had much success with people going to their list and promoting the interview, a very, very low rate of success.

Andrew: So one of the things that I saw from a past guest that you send out is it’s an infographic, it looks like, where you say, “Here’s what other people have done with episode once it’s done, and it looked nice, and it gave them suggestions for what to do, and have social proof because all these other people do it.” Did that work for you?

Jordan: No, not really.

Andrew: No.

Jordan: No. Nobody . . .

Andrew: So then what works as far as guests? It seems like getting guests is not the powerhouse that I thought it was.

Jordan: It’s not, and I wish every podcaster knew this. Like I said, if you end up interviewing Oprah or somebody who’s just wildly popular in that moment, wildly relevant, and it’s like, “Holy crap, how did you get this? How did you get that?” Then you might get some love especially if you do a press tour about it. But most of the time, me having Shaquille O’Neal in the show, it was great for people who listen to the show and like Shaq, it was great for some of Shaq’s super fans, but most people are just like, “Look, whatever. Another interview with Shaquille O’Neal is fine. Cool. It’s impressive that you did it.” Or, “It’s great that this is going to be available.” Or, “I can’t wait to see how you interview him.”

But nobody’s like, “Okay, now I’m going to listen to this guy because he interviewed Russell Brand.” There’s a few people who do that but it is . . . unless you are buying ads to Russell Brand fans and you’re sending them to the landing page and you’re getting them to listen to that, you are not going to see that much more consumption of a popular guest versus a regular one.

Andrew: What about this, Jordan? Before our interview started, so you took our Interview Heroes course, the one where I was teaching people how to do interviews.

Jordan: I did.

Andrew: I love . . . and you taught us in the group as much as I taught everyone else, things like . . . you said, “Before our podcast episode starts, I say to the guest, ‘Look, I’m going to be promoting the heck out of you. Here all the things that I’m going to do to promote. Will you help me promote,'” before the interview starts. And you got them to commit with a yes. I started doing that afterwards too. That wasn’t working for you?

Jordan: It was so minimal . . . well, let me explain it this way. This sounds a little bit maybe like . . . I don’t mean this to sound as sort of arrogant as it probably will, but I’m going to say it anyway because we’re speaking truth. By the time The Art of Charm, the old show, by the time that had 150,000 downloads per episode which is where hopefully, we’re headed with The Jordan Harbinger Show, by the time you have that much to have somebody tweet it out or mail it out and then get even 500 or a thousand clicks, you won’t even notice that. There would be . . . it’s the difference between, “Is it raining in Chicago or is it sunny?” And you just go, “Oh, it’s raining. So more people are going to the gym or staying home, or it’s a snow day so . . . ”

Andrew: It’s a tiny amount, but doesn’t that add up? Each guest promotes, each guest helps add to the credibility?

Jordan: Maybe but you can’t tell. You can’t tell.

Andrew: I see.

Jordan: So I would say, “Yes, my gut says that it’s great when neuroscientists and then athletes and celebrities tweet something out or when they put it on their website or something like that, or they put it in their social media.” Yeah, that’s great, but did it stick? The data that I have says maybe it worked and I have no data on whether or not people stayed.

Andrew: But you would do it anyway.

Jordan: Yeah, for a while, and then I realized, you know what? A lot of people, they’ll say yes or they’ll say sure, and they’ll put it on . . . they’ll tweet it out and that’s all you got. And it’s better than nothing, but it’s not worth bugging somebody and saying, “Did you mail this out yet? Did you mail this out yet? Did you mail this out yet?”

Andrew: I have an attitude that it ruins . . . you get this great rapport with them for an hour and then you kind of ruin it by asking for something that feels like a quid pro quo instead of saying, “We got this great rapport, we’re friends. Now we can build on the relationship in softer ways than a complete fast ask.” All right. Let me talk about the second sponsor and I’m going to come back in here.

Jordan: All right.

Andrew: Check this out. My second sponsor is a company that I’ve been talking about. It’s called Toptal, top of your head, tal as in talent, for hiring developers. I hired something . . . I know you’ve had great people. I think you need to understand this. I went to Toptal and I said, “Can I hire someone who’s a finance guy to give me feedback on how I’m managing the finances of my business?” So good. Such a good . . . this is a guy who used to work for a big consulting company. He’s advised Toptal. He’s like the best of the best, and he has some free time later in life and so he’s taking on roles at Toptal helping people like me. And what he does is he brings professionalism to my operation for just a few hours a week. I don’t even need that much from him.

So for example, what he did when he went through my income statement, and he said . . . and he started asking questions. What about this? What about that? I said, “Well, this is something that we can’t grow this year because we’re focused on other things.” And he said . . . actually, it was podcast advertising. I said, “We can’t grow podcast advertising. We’re doing okay here. I think we need to focus on other revenue growth.” And he goes, “How about 5%?” I say, “I think a 5% bump is a little too small.” He goes, “Your team needs to understand that they need to keep improving or else things are going to start to . . . ” I forget how he put it. In my mind, I heard him say fall apart. “Tell Sachit that it could be a 5% bump and advertisers aren’t going to care about that.”

And so I said, “Would you tell Sachit?” He goes, “Yeah, I’d actually like to talk to Sachit, the guy who sells ads for you, and understand what’s going on with his part of the business and talk to him about an extra 5% bump.” I go, “All right, great. “And any questions?” “This other stuff.” And he says, “Well, how much are you paying credit card processing fees?” “Here’s how we’re doing it.” He says, “You should negotiate it.” I said, “Could you negotiate it?” He says, “Yeah, I could.”

I couldn’t help myself since he said it. I wanted to understand what are we paying for credit card processing fees? I call up the company and I say, “What are we paying?” I say, “You know I’m going to talk to a competitor of yours,” and goes . . . the guy at the credit card processing company said, “The competitor is probably going to give you this lower deal but you should understand that we can’t go much lower.” I said, “But can you give me that?” He said, “Yeah.” So he lowered the price and then he kept lowering . . . anyway, that is what Jack has done. He kept questioning every part of our income statement until we found reductions in expenses and opportunities to increase revenue.

The other thing he did was he said, “Look, the stuff that you think is making money actually isn’t,” which was kind of mind-blowing because you’re producing a lot of revenue and it’s not profitable. Sorry.

Jordan: That’s scary because you’ve been focusing on the wrong thing for a while in efforts.

Andrew: And you know what it is? We started this new thing, Bot Academy, and I thought, “This is bringing in a boatload of cash,” and it is, but there are also a lot of expenses in managing something new. He goes, “You should be aware. This seems great because all those revenues coming in, but there are a lot of expenses associated that you’re not paying attention to,” and he laid them all out. And then he also said, “Andrew, you want an understanding of where your expenses and income is going to be this year. I’m going to create projections for the year.” I said, “You could do that?” He goes, “Yeah.”

Put him on our project management software. He started contacting people on the team. He started looking at how much they were getting paid, how much of their work was being spent on what, and then he put together projections. I’m going to get on a call. The reason I’m saying this to you guys is I’ve been telling everybody who’s listening to the sound of my voice that if you want the best of the best developers, you should go to Toptal. What I haven’t been doing a good enough job of is saying if you need the best of the best finance people, they have them at Toptal. There are companies that are going public that need projections, need the right spreadsheets, and the founders think it’s on them to do it, and it shouldn’t be. They could go to Toptal and get it. There are people who say that they need to be persuasive. They need to find ways to put together the right proposals, and they are not good at doing it. Well, Toptal can get you the finance people, the business people to help you do that.

If you’re dealing with any kind of business issue and you feel like because you’re a founder, it has to be on you, I want you to stop thinking that way and go to this special URL where Toptal is going to understand you’ve come as a Mixergy listener and they’re going to give you free time with their people once you pay to get started with them. I’m going to let you go to this URL and read the deal and read the offer because it’s . . . there’s 100% satisfaction guarantee. They’re taking away all kinds of risk. I don’t want you to sign up for the free time. I don’t want you to sign up because of the satisfaction guarantee that they have. I want you to sign up because it’s going to change your business. And the way to do it is to go to toptal.com/mixergy. Look at the very good-looking model that they have on that page, and to the left of the model, you’re going to see one of the best offers that . . . the best offer that they’ve made, one of the best offers you’re ever going to get for hiring great people. That’s top as in top of your head, tal as in talent, toptal.com/mixergy.

All right. I’m telling you, it’s fantastic people. So content. You keep coming back. Content, content, content. What do you do to make your content good?

Jordan: Yeah. This sounds cliché but whenever I tell content creators about this, half the room kind of like tunes out and the other half of the room is, “Oh, maybe I’ll take some notes,” because everybody knows superficially that content has to be good. Everyone knows that. But the problem is it’s the leaky bucket problem. If you think, “Okay, if this is good enough, now I need to go back to marketing. Now I need to go back to this.”

The show started growing when I started going on a lot of other podcasts, but when the show really started growing numbers wise was when the content got a lot better because you can get . . . I sort of went over this earlier, but you can get a thousand new listeners from a really big appearance, but if 900 of them bounce, it’s kind of a wasted opportunity because you got a hundred new listeners only. But if you go on a show that has 500 listeners and you keep 250 of them because your content is really compelling, then you’ve earned those people’s attention. And if you have consistently good content over years, people will really prioritize what you have to say and it builds a lot of trust.

So I don’t just say have good content, you should strive to have the best content that you can compared to everyone else. You should be more entertaining, more in-depth, more practical, than anyone else. And you and I have this . . . well, I’ll speak for both of us. You and I have this healthy respect for one another because we both really strive to do that for our audience, but I probably don’t have to convince you that many other show hosts don’t bother because they set the bar pretty low for themselves as like, “Oh, I’m just talking with my audience.” And I’m like, “I’m talking to everyone. I want people to go, ‘Damn, this is it.'”

Andrew: Well, what do you say to somebody who says, “Look, I’m doing an interview program. The audience doesn’t know the guest. I don’t know the guest’s work. I’m going to ask the kinds of questions that somebody who’s in my audience is asking”?

Jordan: Yeah, but you should ask the kind of questions that someone in your audience is asking if they had done the work, not just some random . . . like, “Yeah. Oh, cool. This person’s a rodeo clown. How did you get to be that?” That’s idle curiosity. But if I say, “Man, I’ve seen rodeo clowns . . . ” I’m totally going off the cuff here. “I’ve seen rodeo clowns pull riders away from lethal animals. So you have to have this weird split personality where you’re willing to ride a tiny motorcycle and fall into cow poop, but then you’ve got to be this like superhero who’s literally out there to control a bull and save someone’s life. How do you balance the silliness with the gravity of your duty?”

That’s the kind of question you would get if you thought about this job for more than five minutes, which is what you should strive to be because you want to educate the audience.

Andrew: Yes. They’re basic questions that somebody would wonder about. The answers aren’t always interesting, especially for the first question. I want to find out what is interesting and be sure that it’s going to be something that’s interesting to the audience. So I will almost tee up an answer or story that I know the guest loves to tell and that they’re good at, or that I’ve tested with them before. And frankly, I have pre-interview notes. Most of my guests, not you, have been interviewed before the podcast starts and I go through it and some of their answers are fucking boring.

And so even though it matters to the guest, I just delete that. I’m not asking that, and I’m going to go to the ones that are interesting. And it’s kind of . . . it’s hard to predict what’s going to be interesting and what’s not. But you say that you also don’t let people off the hook. Isn’t it awkward when you get somebody on and you’re asking them a question and then they give you an answer and you’re not accepting it and you just keep going? Isn’t it awkward for you? Isn’t it awkward for the audience?

Jordan: Probably, yeah. And I’m okay with that. I’m okay with it. I’ve become a . . . basically, my dating life all through college has trained me for the awkwardness that arrives in conversations when you just aren’t accepting something. So basically, yeah, it’s a little awkward, but I also know that if someone won’t answer for a reason, I’ll respect that. But if someone just hasn’t thought clearly about their message or content, then that’s not okay because I don’t want to let someone off the hook. So if I say . . . to give an example from Shaquille O’Neal interview, for example, I said, “You’re a well-known person, and a lot of people are trying to take advantage of you. How do you try to prevent that?”

And he goes, “Well, you know, you got to be careful. And yeah, there’s a lot of opportunity in front of me and a lot of it’s really tempting. You just have to really be careful.” And I go, “Well, wait a minute. How are you careful?” “Well, you know, I don’t just accept everything that comes in front of me. I’ve got a system for vetting opportunity . . . ” “Okay, wait, what’s the system?” “Well, you know, I show it to people.” “What people?” And that’s how we got to Shaq’s idea of what’s called The Panel. He’s got a panel of people that he’s trusted for well over a decade. I think it’s like his uncle, his mom, and I think his uncle like raised him in part or something like that. And then it’s his manager, his accountant, and his lawyer, and I could be wrong . . . and one of his friends or something.

And I could be getting some of this wrong, but that’s the essential idea. And the reason he had this was because he trusted all of these people, but he trusted them for different reasons. His lawyer was really wise and could come up with problems and figure out why something might or might not work. His accountant would figure out whether or not there’s ROI. Manager, similar situation, looking at the whole sort of publicity picture and the image. His mom knowing, “You’re not going to like that, you’re going to hate that.” His friend going, “Man, that’s just not cool. It’s not going to look cool.”

All these people had an opinion, but if you just asked one or two people you trusted, you could be in trouble because Hollywood is full of stories of the actor or athlete whose manager colluded with the accountant to jack a bunch of money or ruined the idea, or they sold him out on so much stuff that he became a joke instead of a great brand. And your mom’s not going to let that happen with your lawyer, your manager, your accountant, and your friend in the same room. And that’s why the panel was so popular and powerful as well. And that was a great takeaway because . . . and many of us, we have the beginnings of a panel. We just don’t think of it that way.

I assume, Andrew, that you ask your wife before you make a big decision, but do you ask your wife and your business partner and your parents or aunts, somebody . . . ?

Andrew: I could use the panel. I don’t ask any of them.

Jordan: Yeah, you can use a panel.

Andrew: My wife would like to be included in these conversations and I don’t. Do you ask your wife, it seems like it?

Jordan: I do, and she’s really savvy with stuff like this because she’ll say . . . I mean, I’ll tell you what she told me recently. She goes, “When you go on Mixergy, don’t do the same thing that you did on John Corcoran show where you just kind of talked about your feelings but there wasn’t a lot of value for the audience. You’ve got to give a lot more value to the audience.” And I was like, “Okay, that’s really good tip.”

And she goes, “You know, also when you interviewed Bill Browder,” who’s this guy in The Jordan Harbinger Show who’s a hedge fund investor who’s being hunted by Vladimir Putin, talk about scary. “She’s like, “You gave a bunch of really cool stories, but I knew what you were researching and the stuff you were researching, in my opinion, was more interesting than what came out on the interview.” And that was a really well-received interview, but she is the person who goes, “Look, I just want you to be even better every time. I’m not going to tell you, ‘Good job, honey, even though there’s two or three things I think you screwed up.'” I need that.

Andrew: I do like that. I always admired my friends who had relationships with people who could say that. My wife can say that. I haven’t been good at accepting that from her partially because there’s a part of me that just wants her to admire everything that I do and I just get past that.

Jordan: Everything. Yes, you do. I had to as well, man. It’s totally understandable.

Andrew: So you know what? I’ve been buying a bunch of ads for this other business, and one of them was like . . . I had this idea that I’m going to burn the MailChimp monkey. I saw the look on your face.

Jordan: Is it toxic?

Andrew: The Facebook ad guy, Ethan, was telling me, “Hey, you know what, Andrew? You need to be a little more shocking to get people’s attention. That way they won’t scroll, and then we’ll reduce our ad price and so on.” So I said to Olivia, I just said it in a team call, and before I knew it, this freaking monkey, the MailChimp monkey here at my house. This is the MailChimp monkey?

Jordan: Like its bare butt?

Andrew: With his bare butt. I’m kind of surprised, but it’s got the M, I guess. It seems like it. Enough for . . . I’m pretty sure it’s the right one, but even if it’s not, it’s going to make a good prop. And so I told my wife about this and she goes, “That is not at all what you are about. What are you doing?” And that was helpful because she’s right. I’m not about burning somebody else’s brand, but I was going to because I just riffed on a call and somebody made it happen. And suddenly, there’s a freaking monkey in my office. So I do take her feedback. I do need to be better at that.

Jordan: You got to. I mean, you and I have all seen brands, and I mean personal brands go into the toilet. All you need to do is watch a little daytime TV and you’ll see Montel Williams or something say, “You don’t want your electricity shut off. Here’s a payday loan company that can help you.” And it’s like, “Whoa, man. You know this is bad for people. What are you doing?” And the answer is, “I don’t know. I just spent too much money and I don’t have a show anymore. So I got to shill.” And it’s like, “Ah.”

Andrew: I’ve got like 10 minutes with you, so let me go on with one more thing about content. One of the things that I noticed that you do well is before the episode start, I don’t know if you always did this, but as I was going back and looking, you would say, “Go to . . . ” You had a crisp description of what the program was about. And then you’d say, “If you want something,” I forget what it was, “Go to the website and get it,” as a way of getting people what? Why were you doing that?

Jordan: So I do . . . we call it a pre-wrap. It doesn’t make any sense, the term. But what it is is I’ll say, “Today on The Jordan Harbinger Show, we’re talking with Bill Browder. Bill Browder is being hunted by Vladimir Putin. The reason is because this, he’s taken down oligarchs by using the media. He’s a very savvy investor, and he spots opportunities where nobody sees them. We’re going to teach you how to do that today.” Otherwise, it’s just, “Hey, I got this interview thing.”

Andrew: It’s not just that. You are also saying, “Go to the website,” and somehow you are getting people subscribe to your email list which I’m sure help get more traffic for your episodes. Am I right?

Jordan: Whether it got more traffic for the episodes is unclear. Whether or not . . . because it was something that we were testing, of course, but sending people to the website, of course, is great because it gets people interested in what you’re doing on the site instead of just passively consuming the interviews themselves. Does that make sense?

Andrew: Okay, all right. I think I might have read too much into it. Let’s continue. I told someone in my audience about how much I liked you. He said, “Yeah, I like him too.” And then I emailed him, and I told him, and he did this thing where he asked me for a review. I thought, “Interesting, no wonder he had so many reviews.” This was part of your process for a while, wasn’t it?

Jordan: It was. And the way that you’re telling that story reminds me of maybe why I stopped doing that because I think a lot of people were like, “Hey, I really love your show.” And I was like, “Thanks so much. Would you mind rating and reviewing?” And they’d be like, “Cool, no problem.” And then it was like I had an automated follow-up reminder and I think a lot of people were like, “Actually, screw you. This is annoying.” And a lot of people did reviews. I mean, it worked, but I also kind of like . . . I was like, “I’m treating these people like maybe a little too transactionally. I’d rather have a review from somebody that’s interested, but I don’t want to bug people for it or think that I just say, ‘Thanks, random internet person. Here’s a scripted review request.'” It’s just not my style. I’d rather not have a review and have a fan be like, “Wow, I had a really positive interaction with Jordan Harbinger.” That’s why I give out my email all the time.

Andrew: You do, and it was a freaking same email address that I had. I couldn’t believe it because you want people to interact with you. All right, add more. You asked me, and this I regretted but I couldn’t keep up with everything that I was doing. At the end of the year, you emailed me and you said, “Andrew, do you want to do a share promo? You promote Art of Charm and my podcast today’s is The Jordan Harbinger Show, I promote yours.” I said yes, and then I didn’t . . . I just didn’t have time to do any of it and I just . . . I didn’t get it before you moved on from The Art of Charm.

That seems like an effective thing to do. At the end of an episode, say, “If you like my show, go check out my friend’s program.”

Jordan: That was effective. I’m glad you brought that up. That was something that made sense and makes sense . . . actually, we should still be doing that for you and I to share audience. I did it with a couple of fitness shows that had overlapping demographics. I did it with a couple of other sort of self-helpy shows. And a lot of people said no actually, and I thought, “Oh, okay, these are the people that view us as competition and they don’t want to like lose listeners,” because I’m promoting . . . but I don’t look at things that way. I try to look at . . . I look at things like, “Look, people can listen to Mixergy and they can listen to The Jordan Harbinger Show. We don’t have to compete over that.” And frankly, if somebody goes, “Oh, I found this podcast called Mixergy and I like it better than The Jordan Harbinger Show,” then fine. It’s okay. It’s okay to have . . .

Andrew: I wouldn’t be fine with that. I would be pissed.

Jordan: You’d be pissed?

Andrew: Yeah. I don’t understand when people feel that way, and I know that some people genuinely feel that way and maybe there’s more confidence that’s expressed in that, but I never feel good about that. I would be pissed.

Jordan: No, here’s the reason why I’m not pissed. My primary goal, I know . . . again, it sounds cliché, but my primary goal is to serve the audience. And if that means introducing them to somebody that they’re getting more value from at that particular time than me, then that’s fine because I also feel that if other people are doing that . . . like if you’re sending people to The Jordan Harbinger Show and somebody goes, “Oh, I’m going to binge listen to this because this is speaking to me a little more,” it doesn’t mean they’re like, “Screw Mixergy. I’m over it.”

Andrew: That’s right. I believe that. There’s so many . . . frankly, NPR is really good at that. They’re really good at saying, “If you like this podcast, you should check out one of our others.” Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, but I don’t leave a podcast because I’ve checked out another one. I like that you are doing that. One of the reasons why I’m bringing this up is this is what I mean by freaking hustling. You did it yourself. I don’t know why your producer didn’t do it. You guys had money. You had a team. Why did you have to do that with me directly? Because then it’s a lot of follow up, and then following up with me because I didn’t get it on time, and then we had to talk about why I couldn’t do it. Why are you doing this?

Jordan: Would you have answered my producer faster than you would have answered me?

Andrew: No, I answer you faster, but can you really keep up with all this? At some point, don’t you need to say, “Look, my producer is going to get it 75% good as I am, but at least we’ll get it done and I could take a little bit . . . ”

Jordan: Seventy-five percent is not good enough for me right now.

Andrew: That is where you are. This is the kind of person that you are.

Jordan: Yes. I’ll tell you this. Neil Strauss who’s a writer and a good friend of mine, he goes, “Look, man, you’re too . . . you’re grinding too much or hustling too much. You’re going to drive yourself crazy.” It’s something he told me a while ago. And I said, “Yeah, maybe, but I enjoy it.” And he goes, “What would you do if you had like 10 weeks to live?” And I said, “Oh my God, I have so much recording to do if I only have 10 weeks to live.” And he goes, “Come on.” And he called my wife into the room and he goes, “Jen, have you heard this guy? Like he’s dying and he doesn’t want to go travel Europe with you. He wants to record a bunch of stuff.” And I was like, “I can do both.” The audience would understand if the audio quality was a little bit subpar because I was traveling with the microphone. And Neil was just blown away because he’s like, “Give me effing break, dude. You’re going to spend your last minute . . . ”

And I’m like, “This is legacy stuff. I’m creating my legacy. This is stuff that helps other people change their lives.”

Andrew: I agree.

Jordan: That’s the goal of The Jordan Harbinger Show. So what? I can go hang out and do a little bit more things and enjoy myself, but I’m building, man. I’m building something that matters in my opinion with The Jordan Harbinger Show and I want everybody to be a part of that. It’s going to outlast me. Yeah, it’s not going to be something that lasts for a thousand years. People are going to be downloading these MP3s. But it’s going to outlast me by at least a little bit, and that matters enough for me to care.

Andrew: All right. Well, we didn’t get to and I know you’ve got a call coming up in three minutes, is this thing for events. I was so proud that I have this whole process set up to do dinner with people at events and you’re saying, “Do not do dinner at events.”

Jordan: We can do it if you want. I don’t have to go in three minutes.

Andrew: Okay, let’s do that because I’m so proud. If I go to an event, I’m not just sitting in the audience listening. I think that’s a waste of time. I could do that by remote. I will go out to people . . . I will go out with people for dinner and you find that most people don’t do that. They go to conferences. They go sit in the conference and then they do what at night?

Jordan: Yeah. Most people go to conferences. They’ll go to dinners. They’ll do one-on-one stuff, or they’ll bring their spouse, and they’re like, “Oh, it’s family time at night, duh, duh, duh.” I get that. But what I like to do is I’ll go to the dinners. I’ll go to the meetups, but I find it to be not as good as me running my own unconferency event. Unconference is a wrong term because it means you didn’t go to the conference, but side event. And the side event, dinners are always fun. They’re always good. John Corcoran organizes some of these. You know him. He’s really good at it. It’s a lot of fun, no keg, and stuff like that. But what we like to do, Jenny and I, my wife and I, we love escape rooms.

And so we’ll find an escape room in the city that we’re in and it’s like, “Okay, this is a room for eight people. We have six spots.” So I’ll pick six friends, new or old, and I’ll say, “Look, this is an escape room. Have you ever done it? If you want to come, great, but you have to commit, yes or no. You can’t say like maybe and then I’m in the lobby by myself. So you got to say yes or no.” And they’re like, “Okay, I understand this because we have to pay in advance.” Then we get in an Uber. We go over there. Everyone has a new fun, challenging, interesting experience that lasts at least an hour, plus the trip there, the trip back. Maybe you get some bubble tea afterwards, whatever. You’ve got this sort of event that people find novel and they remember it. It’s a high point.

Andrew: Yeah, I agree. You know what? I think dinners are minimum, and I need to think about what else can I do in a different town that’s not a dinner that’s designed to get people to talk?

Jordan: I got a couple ideas if you want hear them.

Andrew: Yeah, escape rooms, one, what else is there?

Jordan: Yes. These are my like secret unconference events, and everyone can use them. Miniature golf because it doesn’t matter if you suck at all. Most people haven’t done it . . .

Andrew: And every town has a miniature golf.

Jordan: It’s cheap. Every town has it. It’s not a dangerous thing to do. It doesn’t require athletic talent. I guess it depends on what neighborhood the course is in, but it doesn’t require athletic, talent, and you can grab six or eight people. And most of the time, you’re idling around chit-chatting, and then you do a couple terrible putts. And then you’re chit-chatting again. And then you go out and grab a beer after or some food. It’s really great. It’s a great way to get to know somebody in an environment where you’re not just sitting there going, “So, this chicken’s really dry. Tell me about your internet marketing business.” It’s, “Oh my God, you’ve missed that again. Oh, in the water. Oh, crap. Do you have to go get your ball? So tell me what you do again. Oh, you sell handbags online? Okay, cool, I wonder who I know who does that.”

And then you’re going on with your life. The activity is the center of it. It’s not, “Hi, you’re networking right now, ready, go. Okay, everybody switch seats because you’ve been sitting next to the same person at the dinner.” No, this is a fluid interaction where you can hang . . . it’s you’re hanging out. You’re making [crosstalk 01:07:04].

Andrew: All right, what else do you have? I like that.

Jordan: That’s more important. Miniature golf and escape rooms are kind of the key. Those are the two that I really like being . . .

Andrew: Here’s another one that I’ve seen people do that . . . I think it was Ryan Levesque at the last conference I went to, organized this. Got one of these like stretch, not limo but classic cars, put everyone in it and then had a tour guide give everyone a tour of the town. That seemed like an interesting one.

Jordan: Not bad. That is a good one. Another one that I’ve got some experience with now but I would say is not . . . well, there’s an obvious reason why this isn’t very accessible. Some people will rent boats, large ones, and they’ll have an event on the boat. Now, this is more of an event-event. This is not like, “Oh, I’m going to have six friends go on a boat.” This is like, “I’m going to have a hundred people on a yacht and they’re going to have talks and panels and dinner,” and that’s something that requires an investment from these people.

Andrew: That’s pretty intense too, yeah.

Jordan: I’m going to Social Media Marketing World and these traffic and conversion guys who are down there because these conferences are back to back, these are internet marketers and they’re like, “Yeah, we’re having a yacht party. There’s a hundred invites. You and your wife can come.” And my wife’s like, “No, you go alone.” And I’m like, “Great.” So I’m going to this party . . .

Andrew: I’m going to it too. So I actually first said no to them because I over-scheduled, I’m doing my own events.

Jordan: Same.

Andrew: And then Megan who runs our partnership said, “There’s this thing, I think you should go to it.” I said, “Megan, I’m doing too much. I’m over-committed.” She goes, “Yeah, but this is a good one.” I said, “All right.” So she added me to that and I’m going to that event. Yeah, I get it. I’m curious about what that’s like too. All right, in most cases though, you don’t even have to pay. This is going to be the first time that I’m starting to pay for everyone’s dinner. It usually will come out to like $3,000, $4,000 but I feel bad . . .

Jordan:It’s not cheap.

Andrew:Ezra Firestone at the last dinner where he came to, where usually in the past, people were just kind of throwing their credit cards and pay for it. I was just the person who invites it, [invites everyone 01:08:51]. Ezra said, “I’m picking up the tab for everyone.” I think he paid $3,000 for everyone’s dinner. So I can’t have Ezra or someone else jump in. So now I’m doing these dinners. I’m going to pay for everyone’s dinner. It’s worth it. It’s such a good investment, but it doesn’t even have to cost that much.

All right. If you’re listening to this and you like it and you want to hear more, go to jordanharbinger.com, or frankly, go to whatever podcast app you like and look for Jordan Harbinger. Jordan, is your last name hard to spell?

Jordan: Harbinger, no?

Andrew: Oh, it’s Harbinger. I’ve been pronouncing it Harbinger.

Jordan: No, I say Harbinger too, but a lot of people are like, “Wait, is there a J in there? Harbinger, Harbinger, it’s just like the word. The Jordan Harbinger Show is the name of the show and it should show up readily in iTunes or whatever podcast app you have, and I would love it if people would stick with us for a little bit because again, we’re brand new but I’ve been doing this for 12 years. So the content should be good. There’s just more and more stuff coming up every single week.

Andrew: I’m going to recommend that they listen to the episode with Simon Sinek. I’m sure he’s doing this because he’s a friend or doing it as a favor to you, but he’s delivering the goods and I like it. I like how he talked about what his mission is. I like how you got open about how, “Look, things are kind of changing in my life, and I’m not sure, and I need to figure out what I’m about.” And he said, “Perfect, this is how my work fits in.”

Jordan: Yeah.

Andrew: All right. But whether you listen to that or something else, go check it out and find a way to reach out to Jordan. I think he’s a good guy to know. What’s a good email address for you?

Jordan: Jordan@jordanharbinger.com.

Andrew: You’re still doing that. You’re still giving out your email address.

Jordan: I don’t mind, man. People might have to wait a few weeks or a month, there’s something for a reply depending on what they’re looking for, but I don’t mind. I like interacting with the show’s fans. I like making sure that they feel comfortable sharing it and I’m not like a disembodied voice on their iPhone.

Andrew: Can you just add a term, own term, pickup artist?

Jordan: No.

Andrew: I think it’s on the bottom of the website. I tried to buy the site when I heard you were gone. I said, “I’m going to fucking buy this goddamn site. This is such a killer podcast, such a killer business.” They told me, “No, we don’t want to sell it to you.” Oh, pick a podcast is a registered trademark. Got it, pick a podcast. I misread that. Is a registered trademark of Charm Labs. All right. But the new program is called Jordan Harbinger Show or Jordan Harbinger Show. Go check him out. It’s a really good podcast from a really good guy, and my two sponsors are the company that’s going to do you right when it comes to web hosting. It’s called HostGator. So many people who I’ve interviewed have used and still use HostGator. I urge you to go give them a shot at hostgator.com/mixergy.

And if you want to hire a great developer, you know to go to Toptal. But what you may not know is if you want to hire someone who’s going to do your . . . who’s going to help you with your finances, help you with the business decisions that you make, you do not have to go through it alone. The bigger companies don’t go through it alone. They hire McKinsey. Well, you may not be able to hire McKinsey, but you could hire people who used to work in McKinsey and get the same quality of work for your company. All you have to do is go to toptal.com/mixergy. Top as on top of your head, tal as in talent, .com/mixergy.

Jordan, you spent an extra half hour with me just going over this stuff. I’m going to let you go. Thanks so much for doing this interview.

Jordan:Thank you very much, man. I really appreciate the opportunity.

Andrew: All right, you bet. Bye. Bye everyone.


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