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Dave: Hi, Courtney. Welcome to the podcast.
Courtney: Thanks, Dave, and good morning.
Dave: I believe that you are originally from two states north of where I grew up. I grew up in Nebraska, and am I right? Are you from two states north of there?
Courtney: Yeah, I'm up in North Dakota. I grew up in North Dakota, in the northwest corner, about 60 miles from Canada, 20 miles from Montana.
Dave: Oh, wow.
Courtney: Way up there with the arctic troughs, come down to minus 40 below, occasionally 60 below.
Dave: Yep. So from there, what made you decide to relocate to the Rockies? Because I understand that you went to college in Montana, and then you now live in Colorado, so what was it about the mountains that made you want to move out there?
Courtney: Yeah, I did. I went to college for a couple years in the Boseman and I like to say every day in the Rocky Mountains is a spring day in North Dakota in the wintertime, so it just was a heck of a, now, you know, for all the years you've grown up in the cold, and once you've experienced that nicer climate, I was looking for a way to explore the world a little bit. I'd actually left North Dakota with an oilfield service company and ended up being the director of training for that company, and they located me in Colorado at the headquarters, and so that wasn't really intentional, "Hey, I'm moving to Colorado," it was a company I worked for headquarters was here, so I ended up in Colorado, and that was fine with me.
Dave: Yeah. No, I understand, so we moved to Texas when I was a teenager and have been here ever since, but spend a lot of time in Colorado, and I try explaining it to people who are not from the upper Midwest, and it's hard for them to grasp that going effectively straight west from where you are and gaining 5,000, 6,000 feet elevation, that the temperature gets warmer. But it does, doesn't it? Because the mountains are blocking that arctic highway of 50 mile an hour wind in wintertime, is what seems to happen. Is that right?
Courtney: Yeah, I mean, the altitude gives the sun more power. In North Dakota, if it snows in October, it's the same snow blowing around in the spring, and here, you can get a foot of snow, and the sun comes out, and by late afternoon the driveway's dry, and it's 30 degrees outside and you've got your air conditioner on because the sun is hot, so yeah, I think this is the big difference with latitude and the power of the sun.
Well, good. Let's get into your career. You seem like a classic serial entrepreneur to me. When I go to your LinkedIn profile, it seems like you've got all kinds of ventures going on, which I mean in a complimentary fashion. Can you tell me a bit about your current businesses and then maybe we can drill down into the one that we'll be talking about, that you're considering a podcast for?
Courtney: Sure. I mean, yeah, I guess I would be considered a serial entrepreneur. I bought my first business when I was 17, traveled around to Indian celebrations and county fairs, and sold hotdogs, and hamburgers, snow cones, and all that good stuff, then I cut my teeth on a P&L at that age, and learned a lot about hiring friends and not hiring friends.
Courtney: And from there, I grew up on a farm and ranch area, so you know, ranching and farming is pretty entrepreneurial at the end of the day, it's taking a lot of risks.
Courtney: From there, I got into, to try and make some money on the side, I was going to raise pigs one summer and ended up going to an auction sale to buy some pig feeders and I ended up buying emus, and started my emu and ostrich career for about four years, raised emus and ostrich in both the farm and boarding system, then went onto herbs. I had an organic herb farm that had about 30 acres of irrigated herbs that I had contracted out to some pharmaceutical companies, and that's about the time I started to look outside of North Dakota and ended up with a service company business where I ended up being the director of training for that company for a few years.
Opted into active duty for a year and a half during the second Gulf War, as a reservist, and then started a financial consulting company. Ran that for three or four years, until 2009, which was a bad year to be in finance.
Dave: Sure, sure.
Courtney: Yeah, and went back to North Dakota. We sold our family business we had there in 2012, kind of at the peak of the oil boom, and that allowed me to come back to Colorado and really kind of look for interesting ventures to get involved in, which one of them was massage school. A friend of mine that I knew back in Denver from my time living here, I kind of casually knew the guys, and they came up and showed me a plan on how to expand the school and start a massage school in Costa Rica. Let's put it that way, start out with, so there's a big of more context in the school.
It's a unique school. It's in Costa Rica. It's a live-on campus. It's a four month program. Four to six month program, depending on what you sign up for, and the plan, then, was to open up a massage school in Thailand, and so I was like, "Oh, I'm interested in learning about it." And so that's how I got into the massage school business.
Dave: Okay, and then how long ago has that been that you've been I guess more actively involved in the business?
Courtney: You know, actually, I think it was probably, when I first started talking to them, 2013 I think is when I first was entertaining the idea, and then it was at that time that I ended up helping them develop an expense of marketing plan, and a growth plan, and then I put some money into the company and started helping them as a coach and a financier.
Dave: Okay. This wasn't a case that you'd had a life long dream to own a massage school, was it? I guess not.
Courtney: No, no, I mean, my background was farming, ranching, industrial. The business we sold in North Dakota was an industrial waste and oil treatment facility, so no, it wasn't really. I always enjoyed massage, and I'd have a massage here and there, because I've always been an athlete all my life and used massage for different times for different reasons, but no, it wasn't really on my radar.
Dave: Understood, understood. My understanding is that you're thinking about launching a podcast for the massage school because you thought it might be a good marketing tool or a good way to keep in touch with various people who may have indicated some interest in the past. What are kind of some of your thoughts on what made you first think about it, or ... ?
Courtney: Well, you know, really, I think of myself as an early adopter, and I was looking for something new or different to get ahead of the curve, and I'm a Jay Abrahams fan, who is always looking at other industries for marketing ideas that aren't going on in their industry, and crushes it all the time. I was thinking, I've met the guy a few times, and he's crazy interesting. In that respect, I'm looking at how to differentiate us as a company, but also in the we market and collect people. We're a pretty competitive environment. We can market nationwide because we're in one location in Costa Rica, so we compete with local schools competing for local students, and our students can basically come from anywhere in the world, and so it gives a unique problem for marketing spend because SEO's really tough when you're trying to do a national SEO campaign on a small scale.
Dave: Oh, sure.
Courtney: And then, by research, I saw that a podcast can really boost all of your SEO because it gives you all these powerful back links, and so I said, "Hey, this is something we've got to do." Then I started my research, I found you, and I got the team working on other avenues, so really it's just the genesis of get the word out, and increase SEO, and spread the word about what we do.
Dave: Okay. Well, yeah, that makes perfect sense, and you may recall that when we first started talking I suggested that you go complete our score card to help you, and we designed this score card, by the way, for the listeners, the website is www.yourpodcastscore.com, and what the purpose of it really is to help people kind of do a first assessment on whether they're a very good fit, and I was just going to add up your score here really quick. You had a pretty high score. 17, 28, 37, 47, 49, 59, 61, seven, so you had a 72 out of 96, which is really a high score.
What I'd like to do is just to kind of drill in on a few of those eight questions, and what we find is just talking about the score card. In many ways, what we're doing here just live on the podcast would be a conversation that we typically have with somebody who's considering a podcast, so please consider this an opportunity to ask me any questions or brainstorm, and I think our listeners who are considering a podcast will find the exercise to be interesting. For the first question, we have a question on podcast listening, because I've discovered that people who really don't listen to podcasts, it's hard for them to even grasp having a podcast.
I say it's like somebody who's never watched a TV show or seen a TV to do TV advertising. It just wouldn't click with them. Out of a score of 12, you were a nine in the statement that you're sort of right on the cusp between, "I occasionally listen to podcasts when something triggers me," or, "I regularly listen to podcasts." Could you just talk a bit more about that? Do you listen very much of podcasts, or is it just more of just when something particular strikes you?
Courtney: Yeah, you know, I do a lot of audio books, so it's always a tug of war.
Dave: Oh, sure.
Courtney: Because the podcasts are always relative, and I get friends that send me, "Hey, this is a good podcast." And my wife is probably a much more avid podcast listener. She has her folks that she likes to listen to, so I get the Cliff Notes, if it's a good podcast that she listens to. And also, I mean, I'm kind of obsessive, too, so if I get into a podcast, and it's like, "Oh, I've got to listen to another one." So I'm a little careful with getting too immersed with it, but I do find that if I really want to learn, deep dive into a subject, then I'll go look for a podcast of someone I respect or is well known because I know I'm going to get so much more information in an hour and a half podcast of a deep interview than I am from a 15 minute, two minute news clip on TV.
I mean, I've got a lot of respect for the podcast genre, and when I'm really looking for up to date, accurate information, I'll go find a podcast from a national podcaster.
Dave: Okay. Yeah, I think that makes perfect sense, and so even though you're not maybe as avid as your wife, you certainly have a familiarity with the platform and appreciation for the platform, and it sounds like really the only reason that you might not listen to more is just because you're also a big fan of audiobooks and they kind of fill the same sort of space, right?
Dave: Because you don't need to be in front of your computer, you don't need to be visually attentive, so that sounds like kind of the summary of where you are as a podcast listener.
Courtney: Yep, yep. For sure.
Dave: The next question that we have talks about lifetime value, and we basically have kind of four quadrants where we talk about the value of a client, and those are basically blow 1,000, as far as, again, the lifetime of an individual client, 1,000 to 10,000, 10,000 to 20,000, and then over 20,000 dollars, and you'd answered that one on a 12, so at the high end, and so I'm guessing that means that because your school, I'm guessing that tuition is not like 12 dollars or something. I'm guessing it's a more substantial amount. Is that a fair assumption?
Courtney: Yeah, when I took over the school in 2012 or '14, I think our tuition was around 11,500, and we had pretty much only one program, and so I went to work and developed some new program, or I should say I tasked my director of education to come up with some new programming, expanded the program from 500 hours to 700 hours, added another 100 hour course, started the teacher training school, and so if someone wants to do what we call our ultimate package, they can do the massage school, they can do an Asian modalities class where they learn some Asian modalities, and they can also take the teacher training, and that whole package would run around 21, 22,000 dollars.
Courtney: I would say about 40, 60% won't do that full package, so our average dollar sale is around 20,000 dollars, all in, and then we have continuing education classes that also bring in some revenue, keep the campus busy, so yeah, I would say if they do the course it's 20, and then they can come back and do additional training, so we try to bring in top level massage trainers and facilitators to do additional trainings for the students, so yeah, we have a big ticket item and our sales cycle runs from two weeks to two years. Some people sign up, find it, and, "I'm in." And some people find it and watch it for two years and then finally decide to jump in, so it's a high ticket item.
Dave: Yeah, and the reason that question matters is to just give people an idea that we find it typically costs around 10,000 dollars a year to have a monthly podcast, and so what we find is that if you're selling T-shirts, let's say, on the internet, then you have to really sell a lot of T-shirts to be able to financially justify the podcast, but in your case that if you did this for two years and found one new client from it, that you basically broke even on it, so that's why that question is there. We find that people who the lifetime value of a client is pretty substantial, that the podcast tends to make more economic sense for.
On that, I just wanted to ask you about the school. Other than being in Costa Rica, what are some of the other kind of differentiators that you find that students are attracted to your school as opposed to others? I understand that some of it is that your process start to finish may be more efficient than some other schools. Is my understanding correct on that?
Courtney: Yeah, I think our philosophy is an immersive, high intensity program. We try to do our best to make sure that the students understand that you're not taking a four month vacation in Costa Rica, and so you're in the classroom for seven hours a day, and then you do massages at night, so it's really an immersive training, so if you're in the military and they want to teach you a language, they don't send you to school on the weekends. They send you for a month for an intensive training, immersive program, and in a month you can be fluent in a language, and so we feel that translates well into massage because for four months you live, breathe, massage, and just don't really have those distractions that you have in a year long program where you're working a second job and doing the-
Courtney: The thing is, there, you're just doing massage, so when our students graduate, and I think we still have a record of we haven't had one of our students ever fail their exam to get their license.
Dave: Oh, wow.
Courtney: And I don't know, it's 14 years now I think the school's been active, and no one's ever not passed the first go on the test, so we know-
Dave: Yeah. Go ahead.
Courtney: Yeah, so we know that when we train, then we teach them, that they leave with the knowledge, and we get feedback from others. I get spas calling me quite regularly, "Hey, do you have any graduates coming up? Because we love so-and-so." And we think we produce a mature, ready to go to work massage therapist when we graduate them, and to be honest we have about a 10% fail rate.
Dave: Okay. And so what does that translate to? It sounds like you've got about 60 students and some of them are career changers, some are coming from corporate America looking for better quality of life, some are maybe underemployed where they're maybe working a minimum wage job, and then some of them, surprisingly enough, just view it as kind of a life experience kind of thing, and that sounds like about 15% or so. Does that kind of summarize the situation with your typical classes each year?
Courtney: Yeah, absolutely, and then the ages range from 19 to 60, so it's a really diverse round.
Dave: Okay, so hey, I'm just curious. Say you have somebody who's 19 years old and they're working a minimum wage job, and they go to their parents and they say, "Hey, mom, dad, if you send me to Costa Rica for four months, this'll be way better than sending me to four years of college and then me working at Starbucks." What are kind of the economics of that? Does it tend to pay back pretty quickly if somebody's in a minimum wage job? What are kind of the stats around that?
Courtney: You know, I mean, if you look at the stats online I think it's kind of an average between 38,000 to 50 or 60,000, so if different areas have different rates, I mean smaller, rural areas are 60 bucks an hour, and some places in Colorado are over 100 to 100 and a quarter an hour. There's some really interesting, they have this app that you can order a massage kind of like an Uber, and if you wanted a massage in two hours, you just go on the app, push the button, and someone shows up in Colorado, someone shows up in a couple of hours for a massage, so a lot of students go to that route.
And so yeah, I think the economics are pretty good. I mean, compared to ... and flexibility, and time, and so they do a couple massages a day, it's a couple hundred bucks a day. They get serious and open up their space, and build their clientele, and it's not hard to really have a decent 50,000 dollar year career, job, in the massage world.
Dave: Yeah, no, I could see where, if I'm just doing the math, I mean, if somebody's making, say, 10 dollars an hour, that'd be 20,000 dollars a year, and so here, in 4 months time, their earning ability can roughly double or triple and four months, so that's a pretty transformative experience economically, isn't it?
Courtney: Yeah, and I would say when we talk to our students after, they get the education and they get the skills and the tools to be very effective massage therapists, but everybody always has some transformational growth through the process of living away for four months in a foreign country, adapting to culture, the struggles of keeping up with the pace of the curriculum, and people, anytime you go into some type of personal, any type of, it's going to make you go, you often get things you weren't planning on getting, and a lot of our students come out saying that they've changed their life.
Dave: That's awesome. Yeah, that is awesome. Well, let's continue through with the score card, if we may. We have another question on here where we kind of try to get a sense of how many names somebody has in a contact relationship management or a CRM system, and our question's basically, at the low end, or the low end of the scale, it's somebody who really doesn't have any email addresses, all the way up to people who have an actual CRM and have more than 500 names in there, so your answer to that was a 12 out of 12, so I'm guessing you've got more than 500 people in your database. Is that a safe assumption?
Courtney: Yeah, I would say we're usually in the 25,000 range of, over the years, databases age out, that ideally generate about 3,000 to 4,000 leads a year people into the massage school, and so just say five years we're active, we're still receiving emails. So I mean, 15,000 would be a fair amount that we can actually email.
Dave: That's great. And some people ask me, they'll say, "Why does the email list matter? Because we use purely organic traffic and pay per click ads. Why would the size of my email list matter?" And we tell them that, and we've seen this firsthand ourself, when you're on a platform like LinkedIn, or Facebook, or Google, you don't really own your future. And when you're relying on those third parties to assist you in growth, it's always, I shouldn't say always, it can be a tenuous situation, whereas we've found that we have a solid email list of people who genuinely are interested in your topic, and they don't mind hearing from you periodically with useful information, we find that the ability to own that list can be really powerful.
And so the idea is that if somebody's doing one podcast a month, and it's on a subject that your audience would find interesting, and you send a short email to them just letting them know that that podcast episode's available, and then with just maybe a PS that says, "Hey, if you're ever interested in getting started, here's kind of the next step or here's a guide or another resource for you," and so that's why we find that the size of the email list is so important. How does that philosophy kind of mesh with sort of your marketing? Do you see value in being able to email the database periodically in a kind of non-annoying fashion?
Courtney: Yeah, that's always the struggle, the whole weekly newsletter thing, that doesn't mean everything, and eventually gets canceled. I thought that what really motivates, I think, our students to take that leap, because it's quite a big thing to do, to pack up your house and everything, find someplace for your dog, and do that for four months, is not a small decision, is not a small purchase. But when people, one of the ideas we have for guests, and I'm jumping ahead, but to interview our past students, and their experience their, their experience afterwards, and their career now, I think could be really compelling for someone that's interested or someone that has a friend or relative that's been talking about it. I think that's where that outreach can be more impactful.
Dave: I would agree, and I even wonder if even maybe the parent of a past student might even be an interesting interview, because I'm sure you've got at least one example of someone who's 19, 20 years old, and maybe not on the ideal career path. You know, living with their parents, and the parents take this shot to send them down there, and it really transforms the kid's life, and they kind of get their act together, if you will. Do you think that you would have some success stories like that and maybe even some parents who might be interested?
Courtney: Yeah, I mean, I hadn't thought about that, but that's a really great idea to get the perspective from the parents who typically are the ones investing in this education for a lot of our younger students, and finding their satisfaction levels. That could be a whole nother audience to market to, is parents with kids who are a bit adrift, and looking for something to bite into, and a meaningful career. That's a brilliant idea. I'll make sure we add that to our list of potential interviews.
Dave: Okay, well good, I'm glad that's helpful. And that's kind of the idea of these sort of brainstorming sessions. And it also struck me that you even could have potentially an employer on there, because you mentioned that you've got some high end spas that you get calls from periodically looking for one of your students because they really like them. It strikes me that if you had somebody from one of those spas on, talking about why they like your students so much, that might be a useful episode to have as well.
Courtney: Yeah. I think that's great. I could think of some people right now that I talk to occasionally about, would be happy to have a conversation about that.
Dave: Yeah, and what I find is that it's a little bit of a, I call it kind of a superpower of having a podcast. I've had a podcast for a couple years on a specialty tax subject that one of my other businesses is involved in, and then this new podcast, Podcasting Stories, that this interview is for, is really just focused on people who have a podcast or are thinking about a podcast, and I just completely lost my train of thought. That's what I get for digressing, but it will come back, so we were talking about the spa owner interviews. Oh, what I was going to say.
The superpower is that when you invite somebody to be a guest on your podcast, because podcasts are still pretty rare all in all compared to the number of YouTube videos, and blogs, and other things, that it's so interesting, because when you invite somebody, they act a little bit like you said, "Hey, I don't know if you know, Courtney, but I'm guest hosting the Tonight Show next week. Would you like to swing by and hang out for a few minutes?" It's kind of like in their brain it goes in the same spot, and so it's really surprising how excited people are to be on your podcast. It's like they're getting their 15 minutes of fame, all the sudden, via your podcast.
And the other thing it does that'll be really helpful for you is when you're talking to any type of a spa owner or somebody who's hiring, and you tell them, "Oh, by the way, our email list is over 20,000 names, and that's 20,000 people who don't know anything about your company who you'll be getting some exposure to," we find that with a email list that large people will be almost salivating to come on your show, and you even could have other vendors to the industry. Like a company that makes massage tables, or other accessories. Oils, or what other items.
You might find with an audience like that, you may find that somebody like that might be very excited about being on the show. You might even be able to actually charge them if you wanted to, kind of like an appearance fee, because think about it. If somebody sells massage tables and they have a chance to come on your show for an hour, and for a few hundred dollars they have access to 20,000 people, they might find that to be a very compelling value proposition and with a list as large as yours, you might even be able to create some revenue from it.
Courtney: Yeah, that's a great avenue to explore. I think that given the number of massage therapists out there, and we did a partnership with RockTape a couple of years ago where we basically supplied a RockTape to us and we od a certified RockTape training. Kinetic tape, if you're not familiar with it, is a tape you see on athletes in the-
Dave: Oh yeah. The KT tape.
Courtney: Yeah. KT tape. RockTape came out as a competitor to KT tape.
Dave: I see.
Courtney: And one of the gyms, a gym I used to go to, one of the key executives was a member there, and we go to be friends, and it ended up being to where adding RockTape training into our program, so our students also come out certified RockTapers.
Dave: Oh wow. And you know, and I was going to just say, and I could even imagine, we've had some clients that they've asked us to help them launch multiple podcasts, shows, and so if this thing kind of took off, you could even have a show, one geared toward people considering going to massage school or the parents of them. You could then have another podcast focused on current masseuses and a show like that would lend itself to, I think, advertising, and some of these other guests. You know, basically everything that could make a current masseuse's life better. I guess the problem with that would be the benefit to you all from a monetization.
How many students have you ever had come who did not get their original massage training from you all? Is that pretty rare when that happens, or are those follow on classes typically just from your alumni?
Courtney: Most of our classes we do, or continuing education classes, are not alumni.
Dave: Oh, okay.
Courtney: Some are, but I'd say the majority are not, and so that's a whole nother market of existing massage therapists, and believe it or not we have licensed massage therapists that come back and take our whole course because they've heard about, they've run into one of our students and they go, "Well, I didn't learn that, and I didn't know that." So they see a gap in their education and they come back and are willing to invest in a whole nother curriculum just because of the way that we do our training, and the depth of our training, so that's not uncommon. This probably happens three or four times a year, we have massage therapists repeating their education to just up their game.
Dave: Wow. That is really, really interesting. I would not have guessed that. And that actually takes us to our next question, which is on the score card, which is a guest list, and to give you an example, so at the one extreme the statement is, "I don't know who I would invite to be a guest on a podcast," and at the other end the statement is, "I can't think of at least 12 people who I'd immediately say yes to being a guest." And your answer was 11 out of 12, and I'm guessing based on our conversation today, you might even call that 12 out of 12 as you are thinking about even additional guests. Is that about right?
Courtney: Yeah, maybe a 13, I guess.
Dave: Okay, okay. 13 is good. And this matters because we find that there's really a number of factors that really need to line up in order for a podcast to make sense, and that's another one of them. Right? Thinking of a big database of people to send it to that could be an avid podcast listener. They could be selling a high ticket item. But if, for whatever reason, they're just kind of maybe very introverted, or they've just always kind of been behind the scenes to where they really wouldn't have anybody to invite, we find that's really kind of a big obstacle to having a podcast, so it's really important that you've got a personality such that you know folks and don't seem to have any qualms about reaching out to people to be on the podcast.
And I'm just curious. Would your plan be for you to be the host, or would you kind of have somebody else on the team be the host, or would it be kind of a rotating thing? Have you given that any thought?
Courtney: Yeah, I have given it thought, and I've talked to my staff about it, and I've got good staff. Something we could talk about, being my background is not in massage, I'm in business, and massage, although I do enjoy talking to people, and so I think there'd be a combination. I think there'd be, depending on the guest, if it's more about, I would use my director of education to talk to another massage therapist about a technique, or if they're talking technical massage, obviously she'd be the one for that. If I'm talking to the RockTape guy, that may be more up my ally, so I think it'd be a combination.
I think I would identify the guest. If it was an alumni, I'd use the person that was on the ground while they were there so they could share stories and memories of what they encountered while they were at the school. I think, I mean, which really makes it much broader, because then if we have four people that can actually conduct the interview or go on someone else's show, then it just gives us so many more opportunities to get our message out.
Dave: Yeah, and that's a really good point, and I'll be honest, this isn't something that we have really thought much about, but if you have ... because one of the benefits of having a podcast is you now can become a guest on other people's podcasts, and so we've discovered if there's a podcast you'd really like to be a guest on, then the best way would be to invite that host to be a guest on your podcast host, and then some portion of the time, they'll reciprocate. But if you have four different interviewers, in theory, that increases 4X the number of podcasts that you guys could be on. Right?
Because all of you, the whole four, would be able to reach out to people independently and say, "Hey, I'm one of the hosts on this podcast, and would you be interested in being on? Or would you be interested in having me as a guest?" That's an angle that might be helpful as well, and one of the benefits of having the multiple hosts.
Courtney: Yeah, I imagine you would have to have two hosts and one guest, or two guests and one host, too. I imagine.
Dave: You're right, you're right. You sure could do that as well. The other way we find the podcast can be used is if you have a key hire or key promotion, it's kind of a great way to announce it to the world, and you wouldn't believe what that does for kind of the goodwill. Imagine if you had a former student who came back and decided to start teaching, and you could use that as a way to kind of announce that, and it does several things. One is it really, that employee, really appreciates the public recognition and your appreciation, and then it also is just kind of a different angle, so that's another idea to think about when you have a key promotion or hire to kind of spotlight them. Is that something that you'd thought about before?
Courtney: No, but as you say that, we're just in the process of expanding or maybe more formalizing our relationships with our guest teachers, and typically, another thing about our school is most schools have an owner who is the teacher, and that's what you get for the whole course, and so we're able to search out the top talented teachers to come down and teach a specific, two week section of our courses, so they get multiple teachers that are experts and well known in their field to come in and really give them the best education, and we're looking to expand into possibly a second campus.
We're kind of maxed out on our campus right now, so we're looking for opportunities to grow, and to do that we need more talent, and so that's a beautiful way to entice them, to get them more interested, because they would be a guest on the show, and we can talk about what they're trying to create, and their histories, so I think that's really a great idea, and we do have some students that do come back and teach as assistant teachers or that are assistants in the classroom that love the school, and love the experience, and are successful in their careers, so that opens up a whole nother group of people. I don't think on a month's going to do it today. I think we're going to have more than one a month.
Dave: It kind of sounds like it, and in fact that comes to a great question that people have. Our service, so for my original podcast I was doing about two episodes a month, one to two, but for this new podcast, podcasting stories, we're on a weekly cadence, and so people have asked me, "Hey, what cadence do we want?" And usually our recommendation is err to the side of starting with once a month and then as you get the hang of it, if you want to increase it, feel free to do so, and here's why we recommend it. I don't know if you've ever listened to ... there's an interesting podcast stat that really surprises a lot of people.
There's roughly 50 billion YouTube videos. There's two billion websites. There's 600,000 blogs. But there's only 1.7 million podcasts. But of that 1.7 million, 1.1 million of them have not released a new episode in the last 90 days, and of the remaining 600,000, only half of them have broken the 10 episode barrier, so we tell people that literally if you release a podcast a month for 10 months, you're in the top 25% of the rarest form of online content, and so if you've ever come ... anyway, that term, when companies stop releasing or podcasts stop releasing new episodes, the term is called podcast fade.
I don't know if you've ever seen this with a podcast that you discover and then you're like, "Hey, this is pretty good. I want to go back and start at the beginning." And you go back and you're looking under podcast player, and you see, "Oh, yeah, they launched back in 2016, and they were doing an episode every two weeks, and then it went to an episode a month, and then it went to an episode a quarter, and then it went to two a year, and then it was one and that was in 2018, and there haven't been any since." Whereas, and it just creates kind of a vibe that has a negative connotation, so to me it's much better if someone's looking at kind of your history and you're like, "Okay, so they're doing one a month. Okay, that's good, pretty consistent."
And then, "Wow, then they started doing them every three weeks, and then every two weeks, so wow, they must have really kind of gotten in the swing of this." Just, that's a whole different vibe, but the good news is it's not like you have to announce to the world your podcast frequency, so it's something you can just easily vary. And that's the nice thing about a podcast as opposed to, like, a radio show, is you don't have to get anyone's permission. Your podcast can be on any subject. It can be as short or as long as you want. Your release schedule can be as frequent, as long, as you want. But that's why we generally recommend starting with one a month.
But I've got to tell you, probably 20% of our clients start right off with two per month, and we certainly don't mind that because it's a higher monthly fee, so we never mind collecting more money than less, but the last thing we want is somebody to start with two a month and then they kind of lose their momentum, and then they start to have this kind of negative association with the whole podcast. Does that make sense?
Courtney: Yeah, it does, and when I did some research in the massage genre for podcasts, I did see that a lot. There'd be like two or three podcasts, then I'd look at the date, and it's like, "Oh, that was in 2019."
Courtney: The last podcast, so you wonder what happened to the person. Are they still in business, or what happened? And so as we're thinking about all these different topics and different ways to talk about these things, it makes me wonder, should it all go under one channel? If that's the right term. Or what do you call this? Because Costa Rica School of Massage seems too narrow for what's possible, or do you come on up with the right name, or did you do one multiple channels under the same name?
Not knowing much about the structure, that's the question for you. How would you structure something that has as many things?
Dave: Yeah, that's a great question. There's a few ways you can approach it. The technical term is a show, so you have a podcast show that has episodes underneath it. For my podcast show, it's called Podcasting Stories and then we release episodes, so there's a few things you could do. One is you could just start with just calling it the Costa Rica Massage School Podcast. Is that the technical name of the business? Is it Costa Rica Massage School?
Courtney: Yeah, yeah.
Dave: Yeah, so you could just start with that, and then just have it be kind of a generic sort of subject, and then you could always evolve it. You could always, if you then decide, "you know what? We need something that's more specific." It's real simple. Let's say you want one that's focused more on current masseuses, people that already have their license, and you're focused on trying to attract them to come teach or take continuing education. You could, in essence, just have a spinoff show called something like, "The Ultimate Masseuses Podcast Resource," or something like that, and then you could just kind of shift that focus, and then you could also, if you ended up with the massage or the podcast related to the school, that you just decide, "You know, that doesn't really work that well and we don't necessarily want the podcast to necessarily be tied to the school. We'd rather have the school kind of being like the advertiser on it."
You could always just cease that podcast and what you would do is, like the last episode you would do, you would just point them to the new show that kind of replaces it, or finally you could even go back and just rebrand the show. That's a little trickier to do, but the short answer is what we find is like a lot of new experiences, just start somewhere and then iterate. Because, and I know as a serial entrepreneur you know this concept, the business you start with oftentimes isn't the business you end up with a year later, and I think you may find the same thing with a podcast. Does that make sense? I didn't mean to give such a long answer.
Courtney: No, I think that makes sense. I guess the podcast that's done is 100 times better than the podcast you're thinking about.
Dave: That's a great way to put it, and the other way we put it is the podcast that's good enough that's done is way better than the ultimate that's not done, so just for example, we do our interviews on a recorded call in phone line, just because it's simple, it's straightforward, you don't have technological challenges with it, and that's what we do. But there's some people, like if they came from a sound engineer background, or they had done voiceover acting for decades, they would say, "Well, no, that's an insufficient platform." You know, "We would want it to be like what we would call NPR quality where you're recording in a sound studio with thousand dollar microphones and that's what we consider acceptable."
And so it's kind of the same thing there that that's what I think throws off a lot of people from podcasting, is when you start researching it, you get overwhelmed with, "What kind of microphone do I need, and do I need to be in a studio? Do I need to build a studio?" And so you end up never launching, and so like you'd said, a good enough podcast that launches is better than a theoretically perfect podcast that never launches.
Courtney: Yeah, I agree 100%. This is a personal question for you, but do you ever get used to the sound of your own voice?
Courtney: I don't want to listen to this because I'm going to hear myself, going like, oh-
Dave: Yeah, you know, everybody, I've discovered that everybody is like that, and I've learned that there's a physiological reason for it. It's just the way you hear the sound inside your own head. It sounds different than it does to the rest of the world, and we've heard our voice inside our own head all these years, and then we're oftentimes shocked by what it sounds like, so I've yet to meet anyone who loves the sound of their own voice. Perhaps there's somebody who's been an actor from a young age or somebody like that who is more familiar with their voice, and maybe they're so self-absorbed that they fall in love with their own voice, but aside from that, no, I've never found that.
I think what happens over time is you just kind of come to peace with your voice, that you're like, "Hey, this is my voice. It's a reflection of my age, the part of the world I grew up in, other genetic and biological things, and this is just it, and I'm going to just embrace it. This is just like my appearance or my height or my age. It's just inherent to who I am." And so I've found that I'm more accepting of it, maybe is a better way to put it.
And the other thing we also recommend, when you start a podcast, that for the first four or five episodes, that you are the host on, to force yourself to go back and re-listen to them because there's so much learning you'll discover in terms of things you wish you'd done differently. You talked too long, you didn't give them long enough to answer a question, you interrupted them. And that's about what I did for my first five episodes, and then since then I don't listen that frequently to them because I heard an actor once say when asked if he ever watches his own movies, and he said, "No," he's like, "I spent a year making that movie. I know every scene forward and backwards. I've already been there. There's nothing new for me. I'd rather watch somebody else's."
And so that's what our advice is typically. Force yourself to listen four or five times just to get to improve.
Courtney: Yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense. But I would say I probably haven't really accepted my age or my height either, so it might be a while for the voice.
Dave: Well, you know, maybe you can just kind of leapfrog it. Maybe you can reach voice acceptance first and then you can kind of go back and get retroactive peace with the rest of it. But I should be careful here, I'm not a licensed therapist, so Courtney, what ... ? Do you have any other questions for me? I've kind of covered most of the questions that I had, but you've got me on the phone. There's no time limit, no producers telling me that we need to wrap it up. Do you have any other questions or any other ideas around this you want to just brainstorm with me?
Courtney: Yeah, I mean, I think the last part of this call was really helpful in as far as brainstorming additional guests and ways to, who to talk to that'd be interesting for the audience. And you know, I guess in my mind I'm seeing a big storyboard with who we would want to put on the show and who would be the best person and is there a tool or a system that you have found successful for a company to kind of plan their year out, or plan six months ahead? I can see doing three podcasts in one day and be done for three months.
Dave: Sure, sure. Yeah, so it's a great question. Usually, what we'll offer to do, and not everybody takes us up on it, and at this point we still have this capacity, but I'd be happy to just schedule a brainstorming call, like with you and your team, for like half an hour. Just focused on this specific topic. And because you're only talking about 12 to 24 episodes a year that we can find just some quick brainstorming and a whiteboard or a notepad that you can really make a lot of progress on kind of figuring out the guest list, and then the stretch goal we have for our clients is that if you can do an episode a month for four years, that gets you to 50 episodes, and then you're talking about your really rarefied air.
Because the thing about a podcast, when you look at, because unless you're like one of the top podcasts in the world, nobody knows what your listening stats are. It's not publicly available. You're able to see your own stats, so no one really knows, again outside the top 100, Joe Rogan, Tim Ferris, the big ones, no one really knows the size of the audience, and that means that you have the ability to really kind of do whatever you want, but the one thing though, because nobody knows the size of your audience and you start looking at status, if you will, or kind of the pecking order, it all comes down to number of episodes released and regularity of releasing. Because there are podcasts that have hundreds or thousands of episodes, and we have this intentional belief that this is a successful podcast.
And so we tell our clients that, if you really want to kind of have a stretch goal, and you make kind of a soft four year commitment in 50 episodes, and then just kind of put together a whiteboard and just have 50 rows, and you just kind of start with episode number, and then you just start playing with, you know, you can have columns that are like the different categories of guests, and you just start kind of jotting names in, and you'd be surprised how quickly that can start to fill up.
Because again, like you may not want to have a tape person on more than one time in the 50 episodes. Right? Because you don't want it to feel like just some infomercial. But when you start thinking in those categories, you'd be surprised how quickly. The short answer is we have a process that we're happy to walk you through, just kind of a brainstorming to put that together.
Courtney: Yeah, that sounds great. I mean, there was some trepidation with the team on, "Hey, we're going to do," when I started out I said I want to do four a month or two a week was my initial proposal there, but then I came back with the answer, "Well, I think we can get one out in July." Either I'm not thinking about this right or they're not, so this has been a really interesting journey for me to kind of dive into it and see what the world is, and I was shocked at the stats of how fast these shows fade and how really not that hard it would be to get up into the top 25% and really increase our brand recognition by just being consistent with production and so it's really, really clarified to me the vision is doable. Much more doable than we originally thought when five people are talking about a podcast that don't really know anything about it in the sense of the industry and the stats and things, so it's been a good education and I'm actually a lot more excited now than I was before going on.
Dave: Well, that's great. You know, it's funny, kind of with this business, and I don't know if I told you, this is a relatively new business. I've had a podcast for a couple years, and every time I'd have a guest on they'd say, "Wow, I wish I had my own podcast." And I would just kind of say to them, "Yeah, it's a great thing. I recommend having a podcast." But then nobody ever did anything, and so a few months ago I reached out to some former guests and said, "Hey, if we did everything for you, would that help you have a podcast?" And the answer was a resounding yes, so we just started this a few months ago and the response has been pretty amazing, but what we've discovered is anytime we have, and I'm kind of sharing the trade secrets here, but when we have somebody who's interested in having a podcast, I usually just say, "Hey, don't think too much more about it. Just come be a guest on the podcast. You can kind of see how everything works."
And then that'll give you a better idea, and I really thought that what would happen is maybe one out of 10 people who were a guest would become a client, and that's still good, it still gives me content, but I'm going to probably jinx myself when I say this, but so far most of the people who come on the podcast end up becoming a client, so your response is not ... and of course you haven't definitively made a decision, or at least you haven't shared it with me, but yeah, so the point is you coming on the show has accomplished exactly what we hoped it would. It would give you a taste of it, and I don't know if you've seen, our tagline is, "Where having a podcast is as easy as being a guest on our podcast."
So if we can't have you as a guest, it's hard for people to understand how that tagline works.
Courtney: Yeah, it really does make it seem quite easy to call someone you know and say, "We're going to talk about massage for an hour," and they're like, "Okay." And then it's done. You know, so it does simplify it, especially when you're ... our staff is pretty well employed right now, and doing what they're doing, so when I say something like, "Do two a week," they're like, "I can't do two a week. There's no way." You know, but now they could, because it's two hours, or one hour a week, so.
Dave: Yeah, because just for you to know, the process is really not much different than you being a guest. The steps are really you schedule a guest, so you've got to reach out, and invite somebody, and usually they say yes. You get it on the calendar. We have a recorded call in line unique to each client that we have, and so you would call in on that number just like you did today, and then your guest calls in or your employee calls in as the host, and then you record the episode, and as soon as you're done you'll receive an automated email with a link to the recording and then a little followup form that you fill out, and you just literally, I do it on my phone.
You type in the guest name, and then there's a little button to hit record, and you record the intro for the episode, and so for this one as soon as we hang it up I'm going to say, "Today on the podcasting stories, I had Courtney Crems. He's got a great story. He's a serial entrepreneur. He owns a number of businesses, one of which is a massage studio or school in Costa Rica, and he's considering having a podcast, and we had a great conversation on this. And it was really interesting. I've learned some things about the podcasting school world I didn't know about." And I'll just kind of read off some of the notes I made, and then I'll say, "Hey, I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed doing this episode."
And then I hit the button, and then I'm done, and then the team behind the scenes does everything technically, and then the team creates the email that goes out to the database, so they actually take a transcript from that intro, and then that creates the email. They send it over. I do just a quick review to make sure I don't want to change anything, and then that email then gets sent from our CRM, and just so you know, we have the option of we actually have a unique CRM partner that lets us have sub accounts, and so for clients who don't have a real robust CRM, we actually will just do that emailing for them.
But for those who have a more robust system, we'll just draft the email and let them send it out. Because what we don't want to have happen is we get to the finish line, it's time for the email to go out, and somebody says, "Oh yeah, I think we use constant contact for those. I need to check my person, because the person who used to do that doesn't work here anymore. We need to figure out how it is we send an email out." And we get to the last step and it just sits for a month because they can't figure out how to get an email out.
And then there's a website for the podcast, so you'll have, if you want, we can just have it website-specific for the podcast, and then we will handle the publishing and uploading of the shows to that website, and then you could just link to that on your primary website if you want. I know I kind of ... I tell you, when I assess myself on this one, my self-criticism is going to be that I talked too much. Normally, I like the guest to do 80% of the talking, and I know I'm way off balance, so was that helpful?
Did you have any questions on kind of the process from the summary?
Courtney: No, that was great. Great introduction, because I mean, the more I can take off of the staff, learning, and someone has to go figure that all out, on top of the normal duties that pushes it back, and back, and back, to July, which I guess is coming up pretty quick now, so no, it was good information, and it was good to hear that whole process and what happens with what you do for us to get it out there, and makes it really, I mean, I can see my time's involved in two hours, and get that up with doing the call, and that makes it very, very doable.
Dave: Yeah, and then the only other thing that I didn't cover is that before we start recording we have a pre-call that's just offline, and so that's how you and I did it, or we can actually just do it on the recorded call-in line and trim it. I prefer to have it on a separate line just to be 100% certain that it doesn't accidentally get released, and then as soon as we're done, as soon as we hang up, I literally will call you back for the post-call debrief.
Here, people, I'm sharing all the kind of behind the scenes on how this all works, but yeah, that's how it'll work. As soon as we hang up, I'll call you back on your mobile. I'll say, "How'd I do?" Hopefully you won't be too hard on me and hopefully you won't say, "Damn it, you talked the whole time. You never let me answer any questions." But we'll find out. If people want to get ahold of you, Courtney, what's the best way for someone to reach out? Either if they're interested in learning about being a teacher or student at your school, or they just think you're some amazing entrepreneur and they want to invest a bunch of money in you. How should people reach out to you?
Courtney: Yeah, if you're interested in learning about the school directly, the website is crsmt.com, Costa Rica School of Massage, first letter, .com, or if you just Google Costa Rica Massage School, we'll be right there. Me personally, my email address is just my name backwards. Cremscourtney@gmail.com. That's usually the best way to get ahold of me, or a LinkedIn is another place where you can find me.
Dave: Okay. And do you accept friend requests on LinkedIn if they seem like it's worth your time?
Courtney: Sure, sure. If you're not selling insurance, go ahead and friend me.
Dave: Awesome, awesome. Well, hey, with that, we're going to wrap up, and Courtney, I really appreciate you being on the show, and I really appreciate how engaged you were, and all the ideas you came to the episode with, and hopefully it gave you a good sense of what it's like to have your own podcast.
Courtney: Absolutely. It was a pleasure to be on the show, and it was fun, and although I was a bit nervous, but I find it was really quite just like talking to someone across the table having coffee, so great experience, and appreciate the questions you asked, and really the ideas that we came up with that I hadn't even considered yet, that I think are brilliant, so thanks to you, David.
Dave: Well, you're welcome. Well, I hope you have a great day, then, and I will, like I said, I'll call you right back.
Courtney: Great. Sounds good. Thank you.
Dave: All right. Bye.