Out Guest Today: Tom Schwab
Today’s creative entrepreneur on Feisworld is Tom Schwab. Tom is the Cheif Evangelist Officer at Interview Valet, a company he founded since 2014. Interview Valet is the leader in Podcast Interview Marketing (PIM), using targeted podcast interviews to talk directly to your ideal customers.
They are a full-service concierge-level service who takes care of everything but the speaking. Podcast guest appearances are a cost-effective, fast and scalable way to reach your ideal prospects. in just 30 minutes, listeners get to know, like and trust you.
Tom Schwab How to Target Podcast Interviews to Talk Directly to Your Customers.m4a – Powered by Happy Scribe
Feisworld Podcast helps independent creators live their creative and financial freedom. I’m your host, Fei Wu, and I’ll be taking you through a series of interviews with creators from around the world who are living life on their own terms. Each episode is packed with tactics. Nuggets can implement origin stories to make listening productive and enjoyable. We’re not only focused on the more aspirational stories, but relatable ones as well. We also have non-interview based miniseries releasing throughout the year to help deep dive into topics such as freelancing marketing, even indie filmmaking that will benefit creators like you. Show notes, links and ways to connect with the guests are available on Feisworld.com. Now onto the show. Hey there. This is Fei Wu, and you’re listening to the Feisworld podcast. By the way, I have moved beyond podcasting alone and so much of my observations and learnings to a new channel. It’s called YouTube. Okay, YouTube is not new, but for us to be on YouTube, it’s brand new. You can find us there by searching for Phase World Feisworld, and the type of content you can expect overlaps a bit with Phase Feisworld podcast, including our Interview episodes.
Some of those are off video format, and we also repurpose some of our audio episodes on YouTube as well. But there are also lots of new content that are aimed at teaching you the essential and more advanced tools and strategies for running your very own business and eventually building a more lifestyle based business that allows you to explore things you want to do without going to an office, sacrificing family time and canceling clients with friends. If I can do it, so can you. There are more personal stories I’ll be sharing as a growing creative entrepreneur as well. If you’re a new listener here, welcome. Turns out the majority of our listeners each week are brand new. I can’t wait to connect with you, so please find me on social media in most places by searching for Phase World. Today’s creative entrepreneur on phase world is Tom Shroab. Tom is the Chief Evangelist Officer at Interview Valet, a company he founded since 2014, exactly the same year as when Face War got started. And that’s our fate from meeting each other through Podcast Movement event in Orlando, Florida this year. In 2019, Interview Valet is the leader in podcast interview marketing, also known as PIM.
Using targeted podcast interviews to talk directly to your ideal customers. They’re a full service, concierge level service who take care of everything but the speaking. Podcast guest appearances are a cost effective, fast and scalable way to reach your ideal prospects because in just 30 minutes or less, listeners get to know, like, and trust you. By the way, traffic from podcast interviews converts 25 times better than blogs. In this episode, I invite Tom to open up about his origin stories in Michigan and where the idea of Interview Valet came about. His early days of running his own company. And today, operating from his home in Michigan with a sizable team from around the world, tom has been exposed to more podcasts and podcast content in general than I have because he has been interviewed on more than 100 shows himself, and his guests have been interviewed on thousands of shows. I was curious to learn things he has witnessed, and that worked well for podcast hosts as well as guests. This conversation is especially helpful for you if you are a host or a potential podcast guest. On other shows, Interview Valet sends out a survey to both the host and the guests after each interaction to learn what they can improve upon what they liked, didn’t like.
And that’s the kind of data I think it’s worth a lot of our attention. During the podcast Movement event in Orlando, tom really left an impression on me. I was immediately drawn to his energy and authenticity. He came well prepared, and every side he presented gave me insights to improving my own show and my perspective for the evergrowing podcast industry. Thank you so much for listening. I really appreciate that you’re here, and I hope you choose to connect with me through social media or through email. You can reach me at [email protected], but without further ado, please welcome our creative entrepreneur of the day, tom Schwab, to the Phase World Podcast.
Welcome, Tom. I mean, I’m so glad you’re here. And, you know, right before this call, I started reading all the new information on your website. I realized I didn’t even get a chance to read the details. And it’s like some of that to me as a podcaster, it’s painful but true, such as the ROI for podcast guests is much higher than being a podcaster.
I feel guilty when I point that out on a podcast because anybody that says doing a podcast is easy has never done it or never done it well, right? The great ones just make it look easy. It’s like playing football on a Sunday afternoon, and people go, wow, I’d like to get paid millions to work an hour. But you don’t see all the work that goes into it. And here for the interview, you did all the prep. I’ll show up, answer questions for 45 minutes, and then I’ll leave. And then you’ll go ahead and edit it, promote it, put it out there. And I argue that sometimes the guest gets more out of it than the host. So I look at that and my engineering background says, hey, if you want to get better, return on investment, put less in, get more out. And that’s probably the reason I don’t have my podcast up and going yet.
But are you going to?
I do. I have a podcast coming out based on the book Podcast Profits. I’ve got about a half dozen episodes loaded right now, and it will probably be out by the time this podcast is out.
I love it. I can’t wait to listen to that. I find you to be interesting because you’re interesting, and your business model is.
Very interesting to me.
After meeting you at Podcast Movement Orlando, and you’re on stage, I actually still have some videos of you on my GoPro. I’d love to kind of send that over as well. And I’m intrigued, like, how did you dream up or kind of assemble this business back in 2014? That’s when we started our show five years ago.
I would say everything has been a evolution, not a revolution. So I live in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Yes, it really exists. The last business I had was brick and mortar, and we built it up from a regional player to a national leader. But everybody was based in Kalamazoo. And so when it snowed, we were close. And I swore, I will never own another brick and mortar business. We should be able to do this virtually. The other thing I learned in that business was inbound marketing, using content to attract engagement alike customers. And at that time inbound marketing and content was blogs. And one of the hacks we used to use 20 07, 20 08 was guest blogs. So instead of me writing a blog, putting it up on my site, well, if I put it on somebody else’s site, I get the traffic, the authority, the no like and trust. So I looked at it and said, could you use the same thing with podcast interviews instead of starting your own podcast? Could I quote, unquote, guest blog on other people’s podcasts? So we started it in testing this in 2014. It worked really well. I wrote a book, I did a course, and never took the course out of beta because people told me, you’ve given me the cookbook, you’ve given me the videos on how to do it.
I don’t want to be the chef. I want to be the guest. You take care of all the rest. So that’s why in 2015, we started to beta test a done for you service. And same way I’m like, no, I don’t want to do an agency based out of Kalamazoo, Michigan. This has got to be a global company. And so now we’ve grown to 18 people, all based in North America, serving over 100 clients throughout the world. We used to say Based in the United States, and then one of our team members moved to Toronto. So now we’re a global workforce.
Well, that’s fantastic.
A lot of people here, these numbers are thinking, oh, wow, that’s sizable.
But like you said earlier, a lot.
Of people can’t even imagine or visualize the hard work that goes into it and the ideas that you bounce around and trying things out, like Sescoton would say, trying things that wouldn’t work. So I’m curious, what worked really well? What didn’t work as well as you thought would be?
So with that, I would say the best piece of fiction that I have ever read is the same one that I wrote. And that was a business plan for a business years ago. Not this one, but the business plan. Everything went up into the right, everything was perfect. And what I realized is that just listen to the customers, they’ll tell you what they love and what they loathe and be smart enough to double down on one and not do the other one. So when we first started out, we were doing social media to promote the episodes also. And as we asked our customers, what brings you the most value? Nobody ranked that high, right? And so it’s like, well, if that’s not our zone of genius, why do we do it? One of the things that we didn’t realize was so important to customers is everybody loved the online dashboard. So every one of our clients has online access to all of their interviews, so they don’t have to go through emails, you know, 10 minutes before an interview, just like I did, go to the portal, here’s the interview you’re doing. And then the other thing is briefsheets, my team used to do them for me, so we started to do them for customers, right?
So if there’s something about the show, please tell me beforehand. I don’t want to be surprised. So each one of our shows based on what the clients have asked for, comes with a brief sheet. So say we know each other, but you know, 10 minutes before this, I went through my checklist, which we give every client. I opened up the dashboard, I clicked on the brief sheet and it says, here’s the podcast, here’s how we’re connecting. Is the video going to be on? Here’s some background on the host, some background on the show. Here’s the social media links. So that five or 10 minutes before I can click on to see what’s new on Facebook, what’s new on LinkedIn, there’s even the phone number there. And so those little things that I thought, well, they’re just normal. And our customers said, oh, these are great, so we make sure that we really focus on those.
To me, me coming from a martial arts background reminds me of the simple things that we often overlook. What makes a punch or a kick just good enough versus great or really dangerous and separates you from the crowd. And those are like the very simple, subtle moves. And that’s kind of what I got also from your talk. And somehow it really resonated with me. And you’re really speaking to the audience, you’re making eye contacts, and I really, really like your wife. I think she’s so lovely. And the way that you work together just somehow reminds me of that. The fact that you were able to work together says a lot about who you are. I mean, I know that’s like a separate podcast in itself to talk about that’s.
The funny part is like some people go, well, I thought it was just you and your wife in the business in your basement. And I’m like, well, first of all, where we live, we don’t have basements. Second of all, there’s 18 people. But from that standpoint, I just look at it as it’s a system, right. Like you said, with martial arts, you just practice it. You don’t figure out each time, how am I going to do this kick, figure out how it works and keep practicing it and get better and better. Another thing that we got great feedback from our clients on was asking for feedback. So after every podcast interview, we reach out to the guest and the host and say, how did this work out for you? Because we want to make sure that we’re getting better and better each time. We want to give the best return on investment for our clients time and their money. Right there’s, what 250,000 live podcasts right now? You don’t have time to go on all of them, so let’s make sure that everyone is important.
I’m intrigued by all the data points that you’ve been gathering about what makes.
A good host versus a good guest. But I’m curious, when I started, there were 250,000 podcasts in the market, but you pointed out something really important, even though there are somehow seven to 800,000 podcasts on itunes, but a lot of them are not actively updated. Like, where does that 250 number come from?
Yeah, and that 250 number comes from Todd Cochrane at Blueberry. And the number that people throw out there is 750,000, which is true. That’s how many podcasts are on itunes right now. But the little asterisks behind that, only 250,000 have been updated in the last 30 days. And the dirty little secret on podcast is that most podcasts that die, die within the first ten episodes. And so from that standpoint, like we said, it is a lot of hard work, it is a commitment, and some people will say, well, 250,000 podcasts, that’s too many. It’s saturated. Well, how many blogs are out there? I think the number is like 40 million blogs and nobody at 250,000 blogs said there’s too many blogs. No. If you’re interesting, if you’ve got something specific to say, there’s always room for another podcast. It’s just that there’s not another room for bad podcast or enough room for a podcast that is just like another one.
I love the numbers that you shared because I feel like you possess so much of the data that we don’t have. We meaning either we are podcast hosts and guests and it’s really fascinating to me, for example, the number you use on average, which is completely true. How much? If you’re trying to outsource everything for people to produce, write your show notes and record it for you, edit for you? Yeah. Each episode could cost not up to there’s. No ceiling for that, I guess. But on average could be around $500, hundreds of dollars, like you said. But to me, I feel like another way to look at it for me as a host, and it’s just so much information for you, Tom, which is sharing my own point of view is like, it’s a lot of money. There are days I feel like maybe I shouldn’t be doing this, but I feel like I evaluate this conversation as I’m learning so much from you and hopefully from each other, and it’s very therapeutic. And so think about how much you pay for college plus a shrink. It’s a lot more costly for that 1 hour.
Well, I would argue that some podcasts are probably spending tens of thousands of dollars per episode. So when people say, well, I want to be like, that NPR podcast, you know, they’ve got eight people on staff to do a 30 minutes podcast once a week. There’s a lot that goes into that. But I agree with you that podcasts are invaluable from the standpoint of the richness of our lives. It’s the richness of our relationships. So the connections you make, the people that you reach, and especially over time, right, we’re recording this in 2019. There’s somebody like 2022 now listening to this for the first time, and they’ll reach out to you or to me, and it’s like, they’ll talk about the podcast and it’s like, oh yeah, I remember doing that way back, way back when. It’s just an amazing medium. And you talk about therapy. There are times my bride, my wife Karen, listens to all of my podcast interviews and there’ll be times where she’ll reference one and she’s like, you started to tear up, didn’t you, on that one? And I’m like, yeah, I didn’t expect it to go that way. And they asked me a question about my dad or growing up or something like that.
There are times where I think these conversations are therapy. And sometimes when I am asked a question, a business question, that I know the answer to, it’s also the answer that I need to remind myself of, it’s like, yeah, that’s the right answer, and I need to start doing that more again.
Yeah, it’s so completely educational in a very noninvasive way that I feel like I’m learning on the spot and learning.
Before I get on the call, even.
Just by literally spending half an hour reading through your website. And I love the way you write, which is maybe perhaps why we both love the skills so much. It’s about right, like, no wasted words to the point. And we learn as guests, as hosts, and you learn in addition to that, looking all the data points and proactively, reaching out to people with surveys, with good questions. So what can you know? The people who listen to my shows right now are a good amount of podcasters as well as people who have been guests and people who belong to neither of those categories, but so I want to kind of benefit. What are some of the key takeaways or what you have learned? You mentioned just recently, top of mind, to help people become better hosts and to help people become better guests?
Well, I would say the first thing with that is think about what the best podcasts are. And to me, the best podcast is a conversation. A podcast should be like two people sitting down at a coffee shop, right? At Denny’s. If we were sitting together in Boston having a cup of coffee, we would be having the same discussion here. And a great podcast is the one where you’re sitting down and you’re listening to the people behind you, and you can’t turn around to get in a conversation because that’d be rude. You can’t turn around and stare at them because that would be rude, but you just want to sit there and listen to them. And sometimes that podcast is at 08:00 A.m., depending on the podcast. Sometimes they’re at 02:00 a.m when the bars get out. So I would always tell people, have an authentic conversation. Nobody wants to hear talking points or canned questions. Some of the worst interviews that I’ve ever done and that I’ve ever listened to are when they asked the same five or six questions and they’re not even listening to it. It’s like, So, Tom, what book is on your nightstand?
And it’s like, that’s not interesting to anybody. And the other thing, too, is, I think, be interested in being interesting. It’s gotta be a conversation back and forth and listen to the other person ask, followup questions, challenge them. The other thing that I like about it is that podcasts are so niche down, you don’t have to have everybody that likes you, right? Those people that try to make everybody like them and appeal to everybody, they appeal to no one. Now, I personally feel there’s no place in being offensive. You don’t need to do that, but you don’t have to be so lukewarm that you have no opinions. I always say when people hear me on a podcast interview and hear about interview ballet, there’s three types of people that hear me. The first one says, Tom is an idiot. I don’t disagree with them, right? I’m not changing. They’re not changing. God love them. There’s somebody that could serve them better. The next one is like, that was interesting, but I don’t need that. God love you. Go on. I hope this helped your day. Put a smile on your face or whatever. The third ones are the ones that say, wow, Tom gets me.
I like him. He’s quirky, but I get his jokes. Interview ballet helps people like me. He understands my problems. That’s the kind of person that you want to attract. And I think you see that in the numbers too, because the average podcast listenership has gone down and down, even though the number of people listening to podcasts has gone up. The newest studies say that 51% of the US population has listened to podcasts. But last year the top 1% of podcasts were listened to by 540 downloads per episode. This year it dropped to 47. So what it means is that the audiences are getting smaller, but they’re getting better too, right? So they’re choosing that podcast. And so when people talk about that, I’m like, every person that listens to your show has opted in and they opt in every second to stay on there. I think that’s amazing. Don’t tell me about that. You have an email list of 20,000. If you’ve got 500 people that are listening to every word, that is amazing. And I think sometimes people underestimate that. It’s like the other day I was speaking to an audience and there were people sitting down on the floor.
It was great. I loved it. In that room, there were about 50 people. I’ve never been on a podcast with 50 people, right? All podcasts probably get more downloads than 50 downloads, but somehow we can sit in a room and say, I love these 50 people, but I just want a big audience on a podcast, right?
Hi there. This is Fae and you’re listening to the Phase World podcast. Today on Phase World, we invite creative entrepreneur Tom Schwab, who’s also the Chief Evangelist Officer at Interview Valet, a full service, concierge level service who take care of everything but the speaking. They use targeted podcast interviews to help you talk directly to your ideal customers.
I feel like there are a lot of stats or unfortunately, there’s a lot of dishonesty on the internet today. Whether from just generous, I don’t know who’s generating these, or podcasters, as we heard from podcast movement, feel like they have to share a much bigger number in order to attract advertisers. I feel like that’s kind of throwing things off a bit, perhaps, yeah.
And you said dishonest. I’m not going to say that. But what was it? Figures. Lie and liars figure. I remember a high school math teacher told me that. And sometimes you ask people about like, downloads, not that that ever matters, right? And they’ll throw out a number and it’s like, I could tell you I can bench press 350, I’m not lying. You look at me and go, no, he can’t. You were thinking pounds, I was thinking grams. Right. So what difference does it make, right? So when people start talking about their downloads, I think that’s a vanity metric. And I think some of the bigger podcasters and the bigger people out there, seth golden is talking about this now. Pat Flynn talks about super fans, right? Who cares how many likes you have on Facebook, that doesn’t matter, but how many people really like you? And I think with podcasts, that’s amazing. Joe Sal sehi from Sacking Benjamin’s podcast. Wherever he goes, he does a meetup. So if he’s in town the night before, he’ll say, hey, I’m going to this restaurant, this bar, and I’m going to have a meetup. If people will drive 3 hours in an evening to meet you as a podcast host, that doesn’t count as a listener or download.
That counts as a superfan, and he has yet to go to a place where he doesn’t pack it with just people that love him.
Yeah, these stories, I wish people shared them a bit more. And for me, I don’t think as a woman, I haven’t really publicly shared that I’m going to be at this bar, and also, I don’t get a drink to meet up. But I have to say, so much of what you said reminds me of the fact that I travel around the world, and sometimes I have to remind myself where some of the listeners are and where I certainly know where the guests are. And I always make it a point. I’m sure if I go to Michigan, you’ll be the first person for me to call up. And just incredible that fact. You know, you may interview someone two years ago and then meeting them for the first time in person, it’s so powerful. You’re like long lost brothers and sisters. It’s so dramatic. But it feels so good.
Isn’t it almost weird because you meet somebody, quote, unquote, for the first time that you’ve known digitally and feel like they’re a close friend, and it’s like, is it creepy to give somebody a hug the first time you meet them? Well, no. It’s like, I’ve known you for years. Or sometimes it’s like, I have no idea how how tall people are because everybody’s 150 pixels by 150 pixels. But it really struck me is that a few years ago, we had an awful tragedy in Calamit Zoom. A very, very sick and demented man killed about ten people on a Saturday night. Well, I woke up on Sunday morning and looked at my phone. I’m getting all of these texts from people that I know digitally, podcasts hosts, friends that I know, customers online that I’ve never met in real life. But they heard Kalamazoo, and they texted me. And I’m looking at this and going, hope you and your family are safe. Prayers for all of you. I’m waking up on Sunday morning going, what are they talking about? It wasn’t until I walked downstairs and my wife had the television on, and she told me that there was a mass murder in town.
And I thought it was really interesting that before any quote, unquote friends or family reached out, there was a digital world that reached out to me because they saw it on Wherever and saw Kalamazoo. Tom’s from Kalamazoo.
Yeah. The relationship they have, and it just shows how much that they enjoyed being your customer, being helped by you, because from what I can tell, there are a lot of endorsements on the people I love, including Podcast Answerman. He gave you this great testimony, and he was the reason I followed literally all of his videos on YouTube to set up my podcast back in 2014. And Johnny Dumas, I feel like they truly and people I haven’t, you know, heard of, but they really value you. You as a person and your business that says so much about I can just imagine, first of all, how much you enjoy what you’re doing. That as a validation of how people feel about.
My mom doesn’t understand what I do in my business. I wrote the book. She wanted a copy, so I gave her a copy of the book. Then she gave us back, and she says, well, you didn’t sign it. So I signed a copy of the book. She read it, and she’s like, Honey, I still don’t understand what you do, but I’m proud of you. And I said, Mom, I introduce people to other people that they should know for the benefit of all. And she said, well, that’s nice. She’s still probably telling everybody I’m an engineer because that was my undergraduate. But I look at that as what I do. I love introducing people. And our mission at Interview Ballet is to personally introduce inspiring thought leaders to millions of people they could serve for the betterment of all. Nowhere in there does it say podcasts. That’s just the medium that we use for it. And I get the biggest kick when I see one of our clients is now a friend or a business partner with a host that they introduced. Or we get a review online that I didn’t know where it came from, and somebody’s talking about, yeah, I got, you know, this great client from podcast interviews and working with Interview Ballet.
I’m like, that’s really cool. And we made that introduction. And the other thing is, I think this medium is so different. It was JB Glossinger from Morning Coach that first pointed this out to me. He says it’s a non prejudicial medium. So if somebody is just listening to me, they’re not judging. I’m not going to listen to that guy because he’s too old, or I’m not going to listen to that person because they’re too young or they don’t look like me. We judge people by their content, not by the way they look. And it’s really cool because my niece started to listen to Zig Ziggler. They recommended her in one of her training programs for real estate. And she was so excited to listen to Zig Ziggler, and she had asked me if I’d ever heard of them. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that Zig has been dead for, I think, four or five years now. To her, this guy was really neat, and he was alive to her. And so I thought, wow, that audio that she was listening to could have been made before she was born. But to her, that was.
The coolest thing going.
Yeah, it’s crazy, right? You reminded me of this completely benign er experience that I had, and just it turns out it was like kind of food poisoning, except for it was so bad, I thought I was having a heart attack. And I know it turns a lot of people with acid reflux thought they were having heart attacks. And in that moment of not trying to try to catch up my breath, I couldn’t. As crazy and as stupid as it sounded, sounds now, I was thinking about my podcast. I was thinking about literally what is at the age of back then, 32, 33, I realized that I didn’t like, what’s my legacy like, what’s my point of view? And I don’t know how people feel about it in that moment of despair to think about, what do I have left? It’s not my clothes, my computer, any of this is how I lived. And my mom and my friend at the time at the hospital with me, and they were angry. They’re like, how could you probably think that we’ll slap you out of your but truly, I didn’t realize how powerful it was for me doing this.
And like you said, legacy. This medium is going to live on, and people are going to listen to it. And I remember being asked a question about swearing on a podcast. Is it wrong? And I’m like, well, it’s house rules, right? If they don’t swear on their podcast, you shouldn’t. If they do, it’s up to you. But I don’t. Right? And because I know that my mom listens to them sometimes, and someday my grandkids will. And I don’t want them listening to their five and three right now, but I wouldn’t want them listening to a podcast and thinking, well, PA doesn’t talk like that normally, but it’s that legacy, and people will be listening to this.
Yeah, you’re right. That’s really interesting. That’s a question that comes up so often as whether I where the guest should swear. There’s a judgment immediately, and some of the guests will ask for permission, which is a nice thing to do, you know, to ask the host. But like you said, turns out I didn’t realize this, but in India, a podcast is banned or not to be broadcasted publicly. If there’s a single square word or if there’s a single explicit episode, then it’s to me, it’s not worth it. It really isn’t.
Yeah. And you know, they’re just words, right? But I always say, you respect the house that you’re brought into, right? If you walk into a house and they take their shoes off, take your shoes off. If you go to a podcast and none of the shows are explicit, well, that would be like swearing in a G rated movie. If you’re watching a G rated movie, you shouldn’t swear if you’re in an R rated movie, okay? That’s a different audience, a different crowd. So to me. It’s like, respect the person that invited you.
Totally fair. Hi there. This is Faye, and you’re listening to the Phase World podcast. Today on Phase World, we invite creative entrepreneur Tom Schwab, who’s also the chief Evangelist officer at Interview Valet, a full service, concierge level service who take care of everything but the speaking. They use targeted podcast interviews to help you talk directly to your ideal customers.
I cannot overlook the fact that you mentioned engineering a few times, because I, too, was a computer science and math major, and my career really helped me quickly realize that, number one, I wasn’t a hardcore developer, and two, my energy, my creativity was better spent doing something else. But when was that transition for you, and what was it like.
For me? I loved engineering. I hated being an engineer. And it’s weird. Maybe that’s why we get along so well is because I think you can tell what somebody’s undergraduate was by the way they process, by the way they think. You can spot an engineer from a history professor, a history major, or a philosophy major or an accountant. They all sort of process information differently. So I’ve always loved that it’s taught me how to think and made me who I am. But I just realized that I was so much more of an extrovert, so much more of a learner, a communicator. And people now are like, you ran nuclear power plants? And I’m like, yeah, I wasn’t really good at it because I’m not really big at following systems, and it’s really important there not to make up your own procedure. So I could do it, but it’s not what I loved. I loved the drills more than anything, where you could start to creatively problem solve, not just open the manual and follow along. So I think it was more when I got out of the military and then started to work in corporate America.
So I went, and the first job that I had was in engineering. And I remember some of the guys from the Navy that went into sales, and I just sort of looked at them funny, and I’m like, no, I’ve got an education. Why would I go into sales? And then I went from engineering to operations. I was the distribution manager for well, it’s now a Fortune 500 company. They were much smaller back then, and I loved it, but I saw what the salespeople out there were doing, and I’m like, that really looks fun. And they’re like, no, engineers can’t become salespeople, and you don’t go from the inside to the outside. So that’s really where I kept pushing that and learned the marketing, learn the sales. And I just love that new problem solving and then becoming an entrepreneur. I learned more in my first couple of years of being a business owner than I did learn in nuclear power school, just because you’ve got to. And today all the information is out there. If you’re isolated or you’re ignorant, it’s largely by choice. Today.
Yeah, every day, like you said, I feel like every single day, maybe I’m learning the amount of what I was doing and my full time job, two, three, four weeks worth, if not more, every day is problem solving. And you feel for us, I think, people with our type of personality and approach and the kind of interest, you feel so much more alive doing, being able to create your own rules and working on your own project, picking your own clients. So thank you for sharing that. And again, I try to be a good host and respect your time. And since you, Tom, has been interviewed, you know, you have been interviewed for hundreds of times, what are some of the questions that you wish people ask you, but they haven’t yet? I kind of want to fill in some of the blanks there.
Thank you for asking that question. And I remember when I talked to podcast movement, you were in the front row, and you asked the best question, and I would go back to that one. You asked, why do you do it? And I don’t think I had ever been asked that question before. I go to back that one because I don’t think I’ve ever talked about it on a podcast interview. When I grew up, I was in the suburbs of Chicago. I lived, like, in a Maybury type existence. It was beautiful. I had a great childhood, great family, but my world was small, and I had never really been more than 100 miles away from my home. And then by a technical error, I was allowed into the US. Naval Academy. I’ve got no death perception. I shouldn’t have been allowed in, but they didn’t see it on my record to my senior year. And so going to the Navy within one year, I’d gone around the world seeing how big the world was, and my world changed then. And so when I got out of the Navy and started to work in Michigan, I didn’t want my world to get small again.
And now my world is larger than it ever has been, right? So I’ve got a friend in Massachusetts, right? We’re talking right now. This is fun. I’ve got friends throughout the world. And the reason I do this, I think, in some way, is fear of being isolated and the love of connecting and connecting people. And so when people talk about, well, retirement, retirement to me would be like prison, right? You tell me I can’t talk to all these people. I can’t talk with customers, and they’re like, yeah, but you don’t have to get up at 05:00 a.m. To talk to somebody in Australia. It’s like, no, I wouldn’t get up to get to talk to them. Or when somebody says, oh, I can’t believe that you’ve got to take a call on Sunday morning with somebody from the Middle East on a weekend. I’m like, it’s not their weekend. Their weekend is Friday and Saturday. I get to talk to somebody from the United Arab Emirates. How cool is that? So to me, I think why I love to do it, why I don’t consider it work, is that it makes my world bigger. I get to learn, I get to expand my relationships.
And I remember you asked that question at Podcast Movement, and it was the very last one, and it brought a tear to my eye. I had never been asked that question. And it’s not the technical side, but this is the passion, this is why I do it, and this is why I was here at the beginning and I’ll be here at the end.
Thank you, Tom. That was such an even better answer than when I heard the the event, because it’s more filled in and I really didn’t realize people are raising their hands. There are questions that were waiting to be answered. But thank you so much for kind of reiterating this, because for me, as a podcast host, they’re really hard days. They’re great days, or hard days trying to get through and feeling like you’re behind and you have all these to do and follow ups, and we all want people to share the stories, like this story for me to share with my audience. For you to share with your audience. But sometimes for podcast guests, I wish they could be a little more proactive in terms of getting the word out. But thank you so much for sharing your best fits. I really appreciate it.
Thank you, Faydo. The only way this could be better is if we were both sitting down live doing it. But the problem there is it’d probably be a four or five hour podcast.
Yeah, I can imagine that. I will be cooking and making coffee and tea. My friends don’t always have a good time.
How do people always say, I know how to have a good time, even though I don’t drink personally. But it’s so much fun to sit down with people and have that heart to heart. This is wonderful. Tom, thank you so much for your time.
Thank you so much, Faye.
This was awesome. Yeah, this is great. I’m so happy.
I’ll definitely tell Karen I’ll listen to this one. This one was great.
Yeah, Karen is going to love it. She was so sweet. She really was. And that’s the thing, like, sometimes I meet entrepreneurs where whether it was their husband or their wife that you’re like, you know, not really your people, it’s, like, really awkward. That happens all the time. But I instantly knew. I was like, oh, I totally love this woman. She’s so relaxed, so supportive of you and great partnerships.
Being an engineer, I can tell you, I always call her my catalyst. Remember, from chemistry. Chemistry, you can have all the elements together. But if you don’t have the catalyst, nothing happens. And we met later in life. We just celebrated our 11th anniversary, and my life, my happiness, everything took off when I met her. All the raw things were there, but she was the catalyst that made everything happen.
How did you see her, by the way?
We were both training for a marathon, and you can imagine in winter, we’re running long routes with, like, lots of people, right? And if you ever run a marathon, everybody can smile and be nice for, like, the first mile, maybe 2 miles, and then you just get tired, and the truth comes out, and you’re so bored that you start talking about all kinds of things, and somebody will bring up a question. And so we got to be really good friends from that. And I joke that I knew her from about here to about here because I had no idea what she looked like because she had a scarf up over her face and her hood down, and she’d say the same about me, and we got to be friends. And I can remember the first time that I quote, unquote, saw her in close. Right. We were meeting for a run at her house, a bunch of people. She answered the door, and I was just like, that’s Karen. Oh, my God, she’s gorgeous, because she just got home from work. And so we got to be friends first, got to know each other, and then started to date after that.
So that’s our story.
I think the later in life part.
Is really important, too, because you learn so much as an adult and as an adult self, you really know what you want, what you don’t want, and you don’t have to compromise in ways that you did when you’re younger.
That’s so beautiful. Yeah.
I love your work. And keep recording those videos on LinkedIn, all right?
All the best. Have a great weekend.
Thank you. You too.
This episode of the Phase Feisworld Podcast is brought to you by Phase World LLC, our marketing service agency created for independent creators and businesses. We offer website development, video production, marketing, mentorship to people who want to tell better stories, level up, and create a profitable brand. Face. War podcast.
Our chief editor and producer, Herman Sevillos. Associate Producer Adam Laffert. Social media and content manager roasted. Leon Transcript editor Alina Afmidova And lastly, myself, the creator and host of Faze World. Thank you so much for listening.
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