Episode 63: Jessica Rhodes

Entrepreneur Conundrum Podcast

Episode Summary

Jessica Rhodes helps individuals utilize the power of podcasts. 

EC 01   |    4min

About The Guest

Jessica Rhodes is the leading expert on how to leverage podcast guesting for increased brand awareness, more leads and higher profits. She created the podcast booking industry in 2013 when she founded Interview Connections, the first and leading agency of its kind.

Along with her business partner, Margy Feldhuhn, Jessica has quickly scaled Interview Connections to over $1M in annual revenue with nearly no direct marketing or advertising. Their team of in house Booking Agents are the podcast powerhouses behind many successful entrepreneurs and businesses including Ali Brown, Perry Marshall, Aweber, USA Financial and more.

Jessica has done hundreds of podcast interviews both as a guest, and co-host of Rock the Podcast. She is the acclaimed author of Interview Connections: How to #RockThePodcast From Both Sides of the Mic and has been a featured speaker at Podfest Multimedia Expo and FinCon.

Also an active member of her community, Jessica volunteers at her son’s public school, and mentors a 17-year-old girl in foster care. She lives in Rhode Island with her husband, two kids, Nathan and Lucy, and senior cat, Kitten.



Episode Transcript

VIRGINIA: [00:00:00] Hi everyone today, I’m talking with Jessica Rhodes about how she helps individuals utilize the power of podcasts. Jessica Rhodes is the leading expert on how to leverage podcast guesting for increased brand awareness, more leads and higher profits. She’s created the podcast booking industry in 2013.

[00:00:17] When she founded interview connections, the first and leading agency of its kind Along with her business partner, Margie Falcon, Jessica has quickly scaled interview connections to over 1 million in annual revenue with nearly no direct marketing or advertising. Their team of in-house booking agents are the podcast powerhouses behind many successful entrepreneurs and businesses, including Allie brown.

[00:00:43] Perry Marshall, a Weber USA, financial and more. Jessica has done hundreds of podcast interviews, both as a guest and cohost of rock the podcast. She is the acclaimed author of interview connections. How to rock the podcast from both sides of the mic and has been a featured speaker at pod Fest, multimedia expo ad FinCo.

[00:01:05]Also an active member in her community, Jessica volunteers at her son’s public school and mentors, a 17 year old girl in foster care. She lives in Rhode Island with her husband, two kids, Nathan and Lucy and senior cat kitten. Welcome Jessica. 

[00:01:21] JESSICA: [00:01:21] Thank you so much for having me. 

[00:01:23] VIRGINIA: [00:01:23] Thanks for being here today.

[00:01:26] JESSICA: [00:01:26] Yeah, of course. 

[00:01:28] VIRGINIA: [00:01:28] So. Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey. And I think it’s really cool how you saw a wave and rode it and it worked out really well for you. 

[00:01:36] JESSICA: [00:01:36] Yeah. So I really kind of. Got lucky with timing. Right. And I think that’s so important in business is timing because you can have a great idea at the wrong time, or you can have a great idea at the right time and the results are, can be very different.

[00:01:52] So I became an entrepreneur in. 2013, when I wanted to be home with my baby, who is now eight years old. And my dad who is a business coach told me about the industry of virtual assistants. He says, you can be a VA. You can assist entrepreneurs in their business, work from home, really it’s your own company.

[00:02:14] And I said, that sounds amazing. So. I started my business as a VA. At the time it was called entrepreneur support services. That’s actually our corporate name. And my dad was my first client. So he really introduced me to the world of online entrepreneurship and marketing. And one of the tasks that he had me do for him as a virtual assistant was booking him as a guest expert on podcasts and in.

[00:02:39] The world of podcasting. This was really early on in podcasting. Not many people had their own podcast. I should say, not many entrepreneurs have their own podcast. And it wasn’t really looked at as like a respectable way to get publicity and visibility. I mean, entrepreneurs had it, but there were, you know, really well known experts that wouldn’t even do a podcast because it was like not.

[00:03:04] You know, big enough for them. And now these same people have their own show. It’s an industry that has grown tremendously. So when I was booking my dad as a guest on podcasts and reaching out to hosts and sending pitches and connecting him with hosts and just really being that matchmaker, I saw this opportunity.

[00:03:22] For a business because nobody was providing the service. People were really interested in it. They were getting a ton of value from me, bringing them together with other entrepreneurs that, you know, they have a lot of synergy with. So. With my dad’s coaching, I created interview connections and really transitioned from being a 10 99 contractor who supported other entrepreneurs to being a founder of my own company.

[00:03:48] And, you know, we have been innovating the podcasting industry since we started. We’re the leading podcast booking agency in the market. We have a team of 25. Plus full-time employees. So we don’t love, like we don’t use any contractors, which is different from a lot of other online service providers.

[00:04:07] A lot of times, you know, you where you see the kind of the founder and the nice website, and then behind the scenes, it’s like all contractors. So we’ve invested in a full-time team to provide the highest quality possible service for our clients because When you’re being represented by somebody, you have to know that you’re being represented well.

[00:04:23] So that’s a little bit about how I started interview connections and, you know, kind of what our focus has been like over the last few years. 

[00:04:32] VIRGINIA: [00:04:32] That’s awesome. Thank you. And it was when you first started, it was kind of. And using in my mind, it was like, oh, your dad wanted you to do this. You can do work for him.

[00:04:41] JESSICA: [00:04:41] Exactly. It was like, okay. Yeah, I’ll do that. Like, I was just, I was a new mom. I, you know, I didn’t really have huge entrepreneurial aspirations. I definitely have always been a leader and very career driven, but I didn’t start the business thinking, oh, I’m going to grow this like multi seven figure business and grow it, you know, to a hundred million.

[00:05:01] Like I just wanted to be home with my baby. Like I remember. The first time I was just working on my sunny porch with my baby, taken a nap beside me. I was like, not making very much money, but I was like, I have made it. This is the dream to be able to have my own business. It wasn’t even at the time, like really about how much money I was making.

[00:05:19] It was just having the freedom and the ability to create my own income. And. Create something that other people saw enough value and that they would pay me for it. I mean, that was a dream. And so, as we’ve grown and as my vision has gotten greater and have set higher and higher goals, it’s just gotten better and better, 

[00:05:37] VIRGINIA: [00:05:37] which is awesome.

[00:05:38]Do you feel is your ideal client?

[00:05:41]JESSICA: [00:05:41] Ideal client is a high achieving service-based entrepreneur who. Truly values, transformation and visibility, you know, at the core of what we do. We help entrepreneurs get visibility for their work and for their message and for their story. So, and when they get visibility, their lives truly transformed.

[00:06:02] So our ideal client is somebody that really values the opportunity to experience that transformation, to step into the spotlight and come up against. What you come up against when you’re in this spotlight every single week, you know, it’s, you can kind of do one interview here and there and you know, kind of enjoy some of the spotlight.

[00:06:21] But when you say yes, I’m going to get interviewed every single week and you keep showing up, you really grow because you’re confronted with. With what it means to be visible. So our ideal client is it that’s who they are on a psychographic level and kind of their mindset. As far as sort of demographics, you know, we work with coaches and consultants.

[00:06:40] So a lot of our clients are service-based and that they’re coaching, they’re consulting other clients. We have a lot of clients that have their own agency, like a marketing agency or something like that. And then we also have clients that are investors and financial planners and who are working in the financial services industry.

[00:06:57]VIRGINIA: [00:06:57] Do you find that there’s kind of a common mistake that a lot of them are making. 

[00:07:01] JESSICA: [00:07:01] You know, I would say the biggest mistake that I see entrepreneurs make is they don’t stick with it long enough. You know, a lot of entrepreneurs, they try podcasting or guest podcasting for a few months and they say it didn’t work for me, you know?

[00:07:16] And what it comes down to is they didn’t stick with it long enough, you know, no Olympic athlete is going to tell you that they were, you know, perfect just three months in. That’s why they all have coaches. That’s why they continue to practice every day. Single day. It takes work and podcasting and guest podcasting is based in relationships and relationships take nurturing.

[00:07:39] I mean, even our closest relationships, right? If you’re married, you have to nurture your marriage. You have to nurture your friendships. It’s the same in business, right? If you want to grow your network and grow your circle of influence of, you know, people that follow you and that want to work with you, you have to.

[00:07:57] Really deposit into those emotional bank accounts, you have to keep showing up. So yeah, the biggest mistake people make is they quit before they’re able to kind of see the fruits of their labor. 

[00:08:07] VIRGINIA: [00:08:07] Yeah. I don’t know if that’s like, well, it’s obviously the shiny object syndrome, but I don’t think well anyway, sorry, something.

[00:08:18] JESSICA: [00:08:18] Yeah. I think it’s people get they get impatient you know, business growth. It takes consistency. I’ve been podcasting since 2014. I’ve been guest podcasting since 2013. It’s just not been ever something. I. I will give up on, I’ve been doing videos for my whole entrepreneurial career. And typically what I’ll see is as in an entrepreneur, that’s, it’s not, they’re not quite mature.

[00:08:43]They try something out for a couple months. They want to see it work so fast. And the entrepreneurs that I learned from, you know, I always look up to people that have more experience than me. They’re like, yeah, you can never expect something to work overnight. Like you really have to stick with it and be committed to excellence, be committed to getting better and really always do something with the focus of like, what can I do better?

[00:09:03] Right. Not like, what am I going to get from this? You know, in a short amount of time. 

[00:09:08] VIRGINIA: [00:09:08] Yeah. A little bit more than what’s in it for me, or type of idea, right? 

[00:09:13] JESSICA: [00:09:13] Yes, exactly. You have to have a mindset to serve. You have to go into each interview there to provide value, not to get something in return. People can feel the energy.

[00:09:25] If you show up thinking, I’m just, I’m trying to get visibility. I’m trying to, you know, get new clients. You have to show up just with the mindset of I’m here to provide value. I’m here to. Leave everyone feeling better and more enlightened and smarter than they did, you know, at the beginning of the show.

[00:09:40] VIRGINIA: [00:09:41] So true. So what do you guys do to get in front of your guys’s ideal clients? 

[00:09:45]JESSICA: [00:09:45] So we definitely do podcasts.  As I mentioned, we do a lot of podcasting, my business partner, and I are each on, you know, at least four shows a month each. So we use our own strategy. Podcasting is at the center piece of our whole marketing and visibility strategy.

[00:10:00] So we have our own podcasts that we put out shows every, you know, we put on an episode every week or on each on four shows a month as a guest We also do videos every single week in our free Facebook group, guest expert profit lab. We run Facebook ads every single month, driving traffic into our free master classes, where we teach about how to get started as a gas strategies for monetizing.

[00:10:24]So, those are just some of the ways we definitely are building our email list and emailing our community and we have a referral program in place with our clients. So we’re always actively asking for and getting referrals from the people that are working with us.

[00:10:37] VIRGINIA: [00:10:39] Well, referrals can work, especially if you have the app. 

[00:10:43] JESSICA: [00:10:43] Definitely. And you know, there’s different types of leads that you get, right? There’s the cold leads that just find you from searching for what you do. People that find you from an ad, and then there’s warm leads. People that are referred to you and the warm leads close at a higher percentage than the cold leads.

[00:10:57] So it’s important not just to rely on cold leads.

[00:11:01] VIRGINIA: [00:11:01] Yeah. It might be quote unquote easier. 

[00:11:05] JESSICA: [00:11:05] Yeah. Yeah, you definitely, if you ask for a referral that person’s going to be just, so they’re going to be trusting you at a much higher rate. 

[00:11:15] VIRGINIA: [00:11:15] So do you guys have any big goals that you’re wanting to achieve at the next one to two years?

[00:11:21] JESSICA: [00:11:21] Yes. So we are our goal for the next one to two years is 10 million and annual revenues. So eight figures is our big goal. We we did 2.5 million in 2020. So, adding 8 million to that is a pretty, pretty significant goal that we’re very excited about. And we’ve done all the math, so we know we can, but that’s what we’re going for next backside.

[00:11:41] VIRGINIA: [00:11:41] Does that go scare you at all? It

[00:11:43]JESSICA: [00:11:43] doesn’t it definitely the journey of going for a goal that big is really exciting because it’s not easy. So I guess, does it scare me? No, but are there, is there fear that we come up against, on that journey? Yes, because you have to, like, when you’re stretching yourself and you’re going for something that.

[00:12:06] Is pretty significant. I mean, it’s pretty big, only two point. I think it’s like two or 3% of women owned businesses, hit seven figures. I don’t know what the percentage is for eight figures, but I’m guessing it’s a lot smaller than that. When you’re really trailblazing to something that not many people like you have done before.

[00:12:21]It’s crazy. So, you know, it’s an emotional game too. You know, I find that the strategies and tactics to get you to eight figures versus seven figures, aren’t super different, but it’s the mindset and the NRG and, you know, your emotions and mental stuff. State is that’s where the focus has to be to get to that next level.

[00:12:39] So that’s where the fun challenges are. 

[00:12:43] VIRGINIA: [00:12:43] I love how you keep calling it a journey though, because really it is. And then it’s about enjoying the process too. 

[00:12:50] JESSICA: [00:12:50] Totally. It’s there’s no end destination. And I learned that lesson. When I hit my first big goal, which was to grow an in-house team of of employees.

[00:13:00] You know, my first goal was to transition. I mean, I shouldn’t say it was my first goal, but I had a big goal back in 2017. I wanted to move from having like a contractor based labor model to having in-house local employees. And I didn’t have a vision past that. And so when I achieve that vision and when I had this office with employees working locally, I had.

[00:13:22] Moment where I got like really depressed. And I was like, what am I doing with this business? It’s like, w and I’ve heard stories of this before. So I know I’m not alone here. Like when people, you know, I heard Nick Unsworth, Sharon, a podcast years ago, the story stuck with me to this day, you know, I think he like sold a business.

[00:13:37] Anyway, he hit this a huge goal and he had like all this money and he was just miserable and it just. That lesson has stuck with me. That story stuck with me because the lesson is the end destination. The goal is not what makes you happy. You have to focus and work on your happiness on the journey, right?

[00:13:56] So like we go for, we’re going for eight figures, but I’m not expecting that once I hit eight figures, I’ll be happier than I am now. Right. You really have to focus on your state of being and your happiness along the journey. 

[00:14:08] VIRGINIA: [00:14:08] So true. You had touched on kind of like the inner work and stuff like that during this next journey that you’re on.

[00:14:16] Is there any other roadblocks that you kind of feel like are in the way at all? 

[00:14:23] JESSICA: [00:14:23] You know, I think that the inner work is definitely the biggest domino. You know, the other big domino to this next level is. You know, I would say team is a big one. I mean, we have an incredible team, but building an effective sales team, is that the biggest domino?

[00:14:39]In addition to the inner work because. You know, I’ve done our’ve been our primary sales person. You know, since the founding of the company, I still do sales calls. I have a small sales team, but growing a sales team is one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done as an entrepreneur. So that, that is huge because once we can.

[00:14:58] You know, once you can build out an effective sales team, I mean, you’re truly unstoppable because the leads are there, right? The strategies for getting leads is there it’s all in place, but having people that are really effective at closing those sales that’s super key. So that’s our other big focus as we scale.

[00:15:18] VIRGINIA: [00:15:18] And sales is huge. Sometimes we kind of forget that as entrepreneurs. 

[00:15:22] JESSICA: [00:15:22] Yeah, totally. And it’s so like psychological, right? Because we have a high ticket program. So it’s really important that when we’re on a sales consultation call, we’re able to really. Coach our leads through the emotional journey of investing in a high ticket program and not only investing in high ticket program, but investing in a strategy, that’s going to have them get visible because I mean, you’d be surprised at how many people actually are really afraid to get on podcasts.

[00:15:53] Like they’re afraid to be seen they’re much more comfortable behind the scenes. And so it’s not only coaching someone and making that high tech investment, but coaching them in. Really investing in being visible. 

[00:16:04]VIRGINIA: [00:16:04] Yeah, you’re doing a lot more than just finding someone. Places to go have interviews that  it’s yeah.

[00:16:13] JESSICA: [00:16:13] It’s a personal development experience for sure.

[00:16:16]VIRGINIA: [00:16:16] Best advice that you’ve ever received.

[00:16:18] JESSICA: [00:16:18] This is a piece of advice that my dad gave me years and years ago. And. He always taught follow the money. And not like in a slimy way, you just like go to the thing, that’ll make you the most money, but in your business, right in alignment with what you want to be doing, follow the money, where is the demand?

[00:16:37] What do people need? Right. You know, for us, one of the ways that we have followed the money is that our clients. They all need and, or are looking for a business coach, someone that can help them continue to scale their business as they’re getting interviewed. So we created a business, a group coaching program and mastermind program for our clients because they want to grow a business to the size that we’re at and they want to learn from us.

[00:17:04] So that was a way that we follow the money because we saw that there was a demand for something that we had the solution for. So, you know, when you’re providing new services and products to your clients, to your industry, look at where is the demand? Because I think a lot of entrepreneurs will create something cause they want to do it, but there was not really a demand for it.

[00:17:25] VIRGINIA: [00:17:25] So true. And it’s good too, because you’re basically, you’re asking your avatar, right? Asking your clients are hearing what they’re saying and what they’re needing. 

[00:17:37] JESSICA: [00:17:37] Yes, exactly. Yeah. And that’s what I did when I started interview connections. Before I launched interview connections, I had conversations with several entrepreneurs and podcasters that I had this idea that I wanted to start a podcast booking agency.

[00:17:50] Is this something they would pay for? How much would they pay for it? Like I did a lot of market research before I invested in starting the business. So that’s definitely something that I would recommend is assess. See if what you want to do is needed.

[00:18:03] VIRGINIA: [00:18:03] So true, so what’s the best advice you’ve ever given 

[00:18:07]JESSICA: [00:18:07] that is a great question. I mean, I like to think that I give that same advice. I think that the best advice I’ve ever given is something that, you know, it’s advice that I have been given as well. Right. I think that’s the best advice needs to be given. It needs to be paid forward.

[00:18:23]And that is with my clients advising them to raise their rates. That is the thing that I see most often with our clients that we coach as they are not charging enough for what they do. They’re not charging based off of the value they provide. They’re setting their prices based off of what the market is at or what they think other people are charging.

[00:18:44] And it’s in this comparison game. So like to think the best advice that I give my clients is to charge for. Charge in a way that accurately reflects the value that they provide through their services. 

[00:18:56]VIRGINIA: [00:18:56] So true. I was just thinking my mom worked in healthy lady the other day and my mom doesn’t want to take any money for it.

[00:19:03] But she’s like, well, you can just donate something if you want to. And she was, and we talked about it after the lady left and she settled on like this low amount, like, do you think people would pay that? I’m like, oh yeah. And then the friend let’s say donated her amount. And it just like flabbergasted my mom.

[00:19:18] It was like over two times more than what she was even thinking. Maybe she could start asking. But it’s all in the value. 

[00:19:25] JESSICA: [00:19:25] Absolutely. 

[00:19:25]VIRGINIA: [00:19:25] Is there anything that you’d like to share with us that we haven’t asked you yet?

[00:19:28]JESSICA: [00:19:28] You know, I would just say, I want to just reiterate what we talked about earlier, which is stay visible. Being visible in front of new audiences is not like it’s not something you can just kind of turn on and off and get visible when you need it. And then step back when you don’t need it, you need a consistent stream of leads to grow your business.

[00:19:47]Typically when entrepreneurs are scaling to six figures and from six to seven, the biggest challenge is lead generation. They just don’t have enough leads and you don’t have enough leads because you’re just not visible enough. You have to be in front of new audiences who don’t know you yet in order to really dominate the market and be the go-to authority.

[00:20:05]So be visible every single week, find an opportunity to be in front of an audience that doesn’t yet know you. 

[00:20:10]VIRGINIA: [00:20:10] So good. I like that advice. Thank you. 

[00:20:14] JESSICA: [00:20:14] You’re welcome. 

[00:20:15]VIRGINIA: [00:20:15] Well, thank you Jessica, for being here with us today, how can people find out more about you and what you do? 

[00:20:21] JESSICA: [00:20:21] Yep. So we do a free live podcast, gusting masterclass just about every month.

[00:20:26] So you can register for the next round@interviewconnections.com slash live masterclass. 

[00:20:35] VIRGINIA: [00:20:35] Awesome,sounds great 

[00:20:36] Well thanks Jessica..

[00:20:36] Have a good day. Talk with you soon. 

[00:20:38] JESSICA: [00:20:38] Thanks so much.





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