From Kobe Bryant to Simon Sinek, Jordan Harbinger is no stranger to conducting guest interviews, and he knows a thing or two about people, building relationships, and personal networks.
In this episode of On the Mic with Ad Results Media, Nathan Spell and Lindsay Boyd sit down with Jordan to talk podcasting, starting over, and not getting caught up in the "tit for tat".
Boasting over 11 million downloads per month, as well as the title of Apple's best of 2018. It's no secret that the Jordan harbinger show is a must listen in the podcast space. In this episode of, On the Mic with Ad Results, Media Nathan Spell. And I sit down with Jordan to discuss the successes and advice to others, looking to break into the Podcast space, as well as what it's like to start over after hitting reset on your life. So let's get, I started and I was recording the talks to CDs, and then I would give the CD's to people who wanted to talk. It's really easy to look at what you don't have and think, how am I going to get back there? ABG is like, okay, what can I do for you?
Some of the most long lasting Media personalities and in any Media format or what radio Thank you for joining us. We really appreciate it. Personally, before we start with the rest of the interview, I'd like to know more about the Sphinx cat on your website. That's my hairless cat. Momo. He has no hair. He's a hairless <inaudible> so he really is hairless. He is not shaved or anything. He is just like a mutant cat that doesn't have any hair. And it's great. Cause he feels like smooth all the time and he doesn't shed because there's no hair or you know how he feels. Yeah. Yeah. He feels like a little peach.
I love it. I love those cats. I love watching videos of them. I hear they're really funny. Yeah. Yeah. They're like dogs that are well, mine are, they don't bite or scratch, but they also don't like they don't, they're not moody really. I mean, he is still a cat, so he jumps around and sometimes he doesn't want to hang out, but you know, a lot of times cats they'll like scratch up your they'll scratch at you. And they're not in the mood. Or like these cats, you can like pick them up and throw them around and wrestle with them and stuff. And they just like, we'll leave if they don't fit, not in a mood. And both of my cats are like that. Both of my hairless Sphinx cats are like, Oh, you have to have two. Yeah. That'd be good with the baby. They are pretty good.
Yeah. And he, my kid who's 14 months old. He like smacks them. 'cause he doesn't know how to pet gently. And they just kind of like sit there and they don't get mad. They'll like slowly walk away or they'll just take it. Cause they know he's a baby. I guess they can tell. So they don't get mad. No, I'm curious how natural it was for you to take the leap into Podcasting. And if there was any reason why you chose Podcasting over pursuing like a talk show career. Yeah. I started Podcasting in 2006. So the reason I started originally was because I was giving lectures often and there was no place for me to record my lectures and post them because there's no YouTube or anything like that. So I was giving talks and I was recording the talks to CDs.
And then I would give the CD's to people who wanted the talks, but then it was like a huge pain to distribute these CDs. Then he started charging for the CDs than the price of the CDs went up because people really want it to get these talks on their, and then I was like, Oh, let me make it entertaining. And then I kept saying, I just wish I could put these on the internet because then I can tell you where to go get it. And then a friend of mine was like just putting an MP3 file on a server, like a GoDaddy server. So I did that. And that was the beginning of essentially a podcast telling people how to get it though. They would be like, I don't know, I click on it. And nothing happens because there were no embeddable web players at the time that could play MP3. So is that in the thing? So I'm back in 2006, there probably were, but I just didn't know how to do it. And then a friend of mine was like, you can put these in iTunes and everyone has iTunes on their computer.
So I put them up in iTunes as a podcast and that was the beginning of the show. So I didn't think like I'm going to be a talk show host, you know, I was like, I just need to put these sound files online. I know that There've been so many changes in your career and in your life. And you know, what I'm really curious about is what is it like to basically have to hit reset? And what are some of the takeaways, you know, from that experience that you could share with our listeners? Yeah. Anytime you need to restart, it's really harrowing is a little bit dramatic, but it can feel that way because you look at the mountain that you were on before, where you'd climbed up. This is this giant thing in your, on the top.
And you think I built a show with the a hundred thousand listeners, right? Built a career. And I'm a partner at a law firm or whatever it is. And then you get humbled or you leave and you make a switch or you pivot, you think to yourself that you have to reclaim that same mountain and that the path is going to be similar to the same, or at least take the same amount of time. And, and, and it really isn't true. You know, when I had to start over with my podcast or my business a few years ago from the show that it eventually evolved into the Jordan harbinger show, I was like, I'm never going to be able to do this. It took me 11 years building my previous show. Now I'm starting again. What am I going to do? I had first to market advantage before or early to market advantage, I guess he would say before, and now I'm just going to start fresh.
How was this even going to be possible? And then you kind of realize, well, I'm not really starting from scratch. You know, I've got my relationships that I have from my network. I know a bunch of people I've earned a lot of trust. There's a lot of equity in your personal brand. You have a lot of technical knowledge. You have a lot of skill. And so it's really easy to look at what you don't have and think, how am I going to get back there and harder to look at the resources that you do have on your side plus technology and things like that changes so quickly that somebody who spent 11 years building a show from 2006 to a 2017, 2018, whatever it was that is your life. You're talking about a show that started in a market where there were like eight, a hundred podcasts and then starting a new show in a market with a million plus podcasts or, or 900,000 or whatever it was when I started again, started over again that I thought, Oh my gosh, there's too much competition.
But what that really meant was that the opportunity was bigger. The market was bigger. There were more listeners, people were sharing things more. You didn't have people go, what's a Podcast. You know, you were just able to say, there is a podcast you should listen to. So things were sharing faster and spread faster. So it really was tough and stressful in the beginning. And I lost a lot of sleep over it. But after a while, you kind of realize that if you do it once, it could be luck. But if you do it again, it's probably skill and you have the skills and you have the experience. So it's hard to think of that in a moment because you're worried about whether or not you're going to be successful. But truthfully, I think that it pays to look at that is an advantage. And in a way, an opportunity to hit the reset button as opposed to something happening to you where you've had to hit the reset button, or is it it's better to reset yourself then to, to have got reset by, by circumstances?
Yeah. So in that moment where you're sort of, you're taking the initiative to like hit reset, what exactly was it that made you want to continue specifically like with Podcasting? Well, I mean, some of it was, what am I comfortable doing? What industries do I know, what do I enjoy? And Podcasting really ticked all those boxes. You know, a lot of people said, Hey, don't start Podcasting, start YouTube. That's something that grows faster. And I was thinking, you know, I look at the metrics on YouTube. I look at people, I know that do YouTube. I look at the economy of YouTube. I don't really like it. And I don't really enjoy producing video content. Do I really want that kind of a learning curve? Or do I want to kind of like get stable income, building a podcast?
And I thought, you know, it would take me a year or so. And I get to 20,000 downloads and then I'd get another year and I'd get to 30,000. And now we're up in the a hundred plus thousand or hundreds of thousands. And even in the first eight months of re starting to show, I was already up in a better spot than I was after 11 years of the previous show, just because everything was intentional. Well. And what about building a brand? How do you handle the stress of building your own brand, especially rebuilding your own brand and rebuilding a show? Well, you lose a lot of sleep for sure. You call it a lot of your friends and relationships and see who is going to help you. And who's willing to help you in what network connections you can call upon.
You lean on your network. Podcast. One, you know, was really instrumental in the beginning. They signed me right away, basically taking a flyer on the new show, which probably had no, they had very little reason to do that. So you find out who really sort of believes in you and who your real friends are, so to speak. And the truth is you probably have a lot more friends than you think you do. You know, when you see this ESPN series and they go like, Oh man, you find out who your friends are. Whenever these guys are broke after like 10 years after leaving the NBA, that was kinda what I expected. But it turned out to be like, wow, you find out who your real friends are. And there's people coming out of the woodwork and people that you talk to three times over the last three years that are like, I would love to help you. I see what you're doing is great and really believe in you and people that were sort of acquaintances saying like, Hey, if I could buy stock, I would buy it.
You know, stock and Jordan Harbinger, I'd buy it. And you hear, I'm going to mail this out to my email list, whatever. So it's all about the Goodwill that you build beforehand and that you built over time. It's not like it's, it's fun to see that come out. And it's not as hard as people think it is. I think a lot of it is about giving too. A lot of other people helping a lot of other people without the expectation of anything in, in return. And then over time you build that social capital in that Goodwill. And then when it comes back to you, it's really rewarding. You know, I think a lot of people who find themselves out in the cold and no one's going to help them. I always have to wonder like, well, how much did you help other people when they needed it? Because when I reached out for help, I had a lot of people help me out, but I also help a lot of other people out all the time.
I don't think I would of had as good of a luck restarting if I had just been like concerned with what's in it for me for the last 11 years prior to my restart, I think I was always helpful to other people. I was always giving, instead of ABC always be closing. It's always ABG, always be giving. Right. You know, the Glen Gary, Glen Ross, like always be closing. That's like, what's in it for me. But ABG is like, okay, what can I do for you? That doesn't necessarily is necessarily going to cost me much. Like you need an introduction, fine. You need me to help you out with something fine. He needed a little bit of expertise. Fine. You need another 5% of your deal. No way. So, but if you need to, if you need to do a, another, a little bit, like a little bit of help, a little bit of Kerry, it's all good.
Right? So that's the kind of thing that I did for years and years and years, and years and years. And I never went, Hey, remember that time that I helped you out. I never did that. So when I needed help, people were like, Oh, this guy never asks for help. Always helps other people. He needs it. And I'm in a position to offer it. Finally after him helping me out for five, six, seven, eight, whatever years, or just them enjoying the show and the things that I've created with the Jordan harbinger show that built a lot of Goodwill. So I think lean on your relationships, lean on your Goodwill. Yes. It's going to be stressful. There's not much you can do about that. If you don't have an appetite for any sort of risk, you know, definitely don't go into business for yourself. But I think, you know, the Mo as much as you can do to de-risk things is always great.
And the best thing you can do to de-risk things is I have a lot of great people around you. Yeah. I love that. And I love the way that you talk about like the importance of it being without the expectation, because you know, that's real Goodwill that transfers, you know, otherwise it's just asking like for a tit, for tat kind of thing, which is totally disingenuous. No, it was the transactional people so that, you know, those people that go, Hey, if you get me on this, I'll give you that. I never want to get into bed with those people. I mean, look, if there is a negotiation in a business, that's one thing that's fair. But the people who say something like, Hey Jordan, I've got a great opportunity for you and you go, okay, great. And then it's got some weird string attached.
That's bad. You don't want to get into bed with those people or into business with those people. Right. And I look, if someone says, I'm going to get you to Interview magic Johnson, but I want to come with you. That's not what I'm talking about. That's fine. That's a fair ask. But when someone says like, Oh, Hey, I want to you to this person. But in return, I want you to introduce me to this other person. Don't take those deals because these transactional people they're rarely ever satisfied with what you supply them. So they, they leave the deal or unhappy. You feel like you've been forced to do something in order to get something else. And a lot of the time, if you don't have the, these aren't long-term relationships, right? Because if you don't have anything to offer those people, they are not going to help you.
So like, that's the kind of person who those tit for tat. If I called and said, Hey, I'm starting over. Can you help me? They're going to be like, why would I do that? You have nothing to offer me right now. They don't understand that ABG generosity. They, they're never going to be there for you. If you need something from them, unless you can provide something else. And further, those are the type of people that also will say, Oh, you really need me right now. Well, I'll tell you what, I'll help you, but you have to do these five things for me later. And then you're just like, why am I doing this? This is like taking a loan with a a hundred percent interest. No, thanks. Do you should get away from those people as fast as you can. Like, you never need anything from anyone bad enough to get into a deal like that.
I think that that's a really excellent advice. I feel like a lot of folks who are looking to break into different industries and, and not just Podcasting, but you know, various industries, they hook up with the wrong people just because they're looking for an In. So I think that that's a really important lesson to keep in mind. Yeah. I mean, there's a reason that there is a literal, when I was in law school, there was something called quid pro quo, sexual harassment. Right. And what that is, it is, is it is a tit for tat literally, I guess, in this case, it is, and it is, you did this for me and that not right. So that's what that means. So you don't want to be in an arrangement for them. And that's why we see the stuff coming out of Hollywood like, Oh, well this happened, well, how did that happen?
Of course, these people aren't in positions of power. The other person wants to get into the industry that can happen in any industry. It might not necessarily be the same type of trade, but you don't want to get into a situation in which you have essentially, given someone leverage over you for some kind of favor, like it, you don't need that. You don't need that in Business. I've never seen a situation in which you absolutely need to allow that to happen. There are so many good people to work with, especially in something like Podcasting or digital media, you don't have to work with the a-holes. You just don't, you can just walk right around them. There's always another deal around the corner. Kind of going back to Podcasting. What would you say is the most interesting thing that has happened to you during your podcasting journey? The most interesting thing that's happened to me during my Podcasting journey.
Woo. That's such a broad question. You want to file that one down a little bit at all? Give me a little bit of a Sue is raising her hand and saying me, Oh God, how do you mute? And zoom. Do you wanna, you wanna narrow that down a little bit? We'll make it a little simpler. Who's been your favorite guest so far. Oh yeah. That's tough. I mean, and so many good people, so many different things to say it was great to be able to Interview Kobe Brian a few months before he passed. That was great for various reasons. Frank Abignail from catch me. If you can. The real guy From catch me a few can. He was really interesting because he just tells all of these stories about it becoming a fake airline, pilot, lawyer, a doctor, but I mean, other amazing folks that are still around and in very much current like Ray Dalio, who is a hedge fund investor.
I mean, these guys have a great insight into the markets. It's really hard to pick one favorite guest, everybody, especially with the Jordan harbinger show, right? Cause I've got a mafia enforcer one week and then the next week I've got a hedge fund guy. And then the next week I've got a retired FBI agent in the next week. I've got a neuroscientist I'm actually really excited to go back and find the episode with Frank Abignail 'cause. I just recently watched the movie for the first time. So I'll, I'll be digging through the archives for that one Episode, one, easy to find We've sort of covered like the guests in, in, you know, your trajectory of the show. I'm curious, like we're building a show here and it's not a typical kind of a podcast, but there are listeners out there who are building and growing an audience.
And they're maybe hoping to make a living with a show. What is your words or advice for them? I would say that Podcasting, unless you have a built-in audience already is a pretty slow way to start making money. I'm in a look. If you are a celebrity or an influencer or whatever you want to call it, go for it, start a podcast. But I think a lot of people expect it to grow like YouTube or social media, where they post pictures of their lunch and then they expect it to grow. And Podcasting is great because in many ways it's a meritocracy of the quality of content in many ways. It's not, you know, you start off with a bang if you're Conan O'Brien, but those are few and far between and people share shows they love and they stay loyal to shows they love.
And they quickly tire of shows that they don't. So what's great about Podcasting for me is I can do great content. And even though I'm not some sort of widely known celebrity, I can retain an audience and slowly grow an audience over time. Whereas it is so in a way, it's the sort of like the great equalizer, right? Because then you see these other celebrities dive in or somebody with 20 million YouTube subscribers. And then suddenly it's like, Oh, that show's getting 4,000 downloads and Episode. What happened? Oh, well it started at 30 and then it went to 20 and then it went to 10 and now it's at four. And I bet next week is going to be at one because that person doesn't put any thought into their content. And also it's really good for people like me who have a face for radio and aren't going to be putting my, you know, my booty short photos on Instagram or YouTube or anything like that.
I can just read books and talk to smart people. So if you're good in, in long format conversation, you know, you're witty or funny, which I'm not, but at least, you know, you can read and hold a conversation, which I can. That's a huge advantage. Whereas on YouTube, a lot of the things that are prized on YouTube are the same things prized on television, youth, beauty shock value. I don't want to make a business out of any of that, because then you have to outdo people and you can't outdo people with youth and beauty shock value is a downward spiral. So that's why you see some of the, some of the most long lasting Media personalities and in any media format or what radio with Howard stern, Larry King, that, that type of thing.
Now you're seeing Joe Rogan getting a hundred million dollar deal. Why did Rogan get a a hundred million dollar deal from Spotify word? All of these movie stars getting their deals From they're getting one or less a million dollar deals because they, everyone knows they can't do the long format thing. They're not able to do it. You have to have a special skill set to do it. And you have to be, you have to be able to be smart and be able to hold the audience's attention for long periods of time. And you can't run out of stuff to say, whereas a lot of times with YouTube, you can just jump on a table full of food as a whole Arius prank. And suddenly your channel gets a a hundred thousand subscribers, but then next week, nobody cares. So the next week you're jumping off the roof into a pool, you know, like that's what those people are competing for.
And that's why you see the comments you do on YouTube. Not that everybody On there is some kind of drooling idiot, but Podcasting is decidedly a better audience. And if you, eh, when people argue with me about this, I go, great. Tell me what your CPM is for YouTube. Oh, $4, $3. Cool. Mine's 25 30. So the market says my audience is smarter and more affluent. And that's what Podcasting has. Nobody else is getting those kinds of CPMs ever. Not even close. Yeah. It's interesting. You know, because the network re like some agencies have now Ad Results is like, started like In personality, radio, and then morphed into a lot of Podcasting is one of them is that as the top agency for Podcasting in the country.
And it, it's funny that they, they understand and see that cause they know how to buy it and you'll get these other agencies that will try to buy it and then network radio. And they're like, well, we buy network radio, it's $4 or $6 CPL. I'm like, okay, well, good luck because that's not what's happening here. And we say, and I say all the time, like if, if you have a lot of social media followers, that's great. But that doesn't mean you can hold a conversation for 40 minutes. You know, it's like, give me your first episode, the third episode. And let's see, because I'd be like, as Jordan said, these top people in and I've had conversations with people, they're like, Oh great, you got this great star who is starting. They don't usually last more than a year.
They get a guarantee for a year. And then all of a sudden it's like, Oh, okay. Because people are, and what you pointed out as SU amazing is that how upscale the podcast listen to this. And that's why they're hard to grow and hard to, to build because smart affluent professionals or whoever's listening, they don't have 10 free hours in a day to listen to something they're selective in what they download them, what they listen to because they are paying attention. And so they want higher quality content, which is harder to make. So that's why when you see things like Tik TOK and people are these there, I have a hundred thousand plays on Tik TOK. Cool. What are you monetizing that at 400 bucks?
Maybe if you're lucky, I mean, this is nothing, you know, there's nothing there because it's all 13 year olds or people sitting in the toilet, you know, whereas Podcasting is like lawyers, doctors, and normal people who are going about their day that have a level of trust with the person that their listening to cause their listening to you for an hour or three hours a week or whatever it is. Whereas, you know, everything else is just kind of a very passive stare at the stare at the screen experience, That level of trust. That's so accurate. Everybody that I talk to you, they talk about having what they feel like has a very personal relationship with the folks that their listening to like they really come to, to trust their opinions and their, their views on things.
It's, it's really interesting. Yeah. I mean, it's one of the biggest benefits of Podcasting is people say things like I bought this, but I don't need it. I'm going to give it away to a friend, but I just want it to support your show a sponsor, or they're like, Hey, I can't order anything. Cause I live in New Zealand. Can I pay pal you $500? And I'm like, yeah, sure. I'll buy pizza or a steak or whatever for my team. You know, that happens all the time. And I'm sure that that happens to certain YouTubers and things like that. I don't mean to like slam YouTubers. There are plenty that make a ton of money that are blogging that have a great personal relationship with their audience, but it's just not the majority. And with social media influencers, you see a lot of like wide influence where they'll post something, it'll get a bunch of likes and a bunch of emoji comments, but not necessarily like deep interaction.
You know, I'm looking at the amount of email that I get from people. And I tell people that I know that I have like 4 million followers on Instagram and they're like, Oh, I just get DMS. And they're all like, well, I won't say that on the show, but a lot of them are photographs. Let's put it that way or, or, or emojis. Yeah. Or eggplant emojis. Right. And I'm like, okay, I don't get that. I get three paragraph four or five page letters about how the show is improved. Someone's life. That's a level of trust and connection that sponsors want and are willing to pay for it. And that's why CPMs are higher. And like, there's just kind of no argument here. If, if YouTube and social media had that same kind of connection, their CPMs would be higher.
Period. How have you approached creating the podcast and continuing with the interview format now? I mean, now it's all remote, which is great because all of these people who are flying everywhere or like setting up video camera crews and everything, they're like, Oh God, how do I do this remotely? And I was just thinking welcome to the first 12 years of my career. Right. Just recording stuff remotely on Skype or whatever. Like, you know, something like that. And now we have all these great tools, like squad, cast.fm and things like that, that high quality dual and interviews. So we use those and people are just blown away that they even exist. You know, just like people who are now finding out they don't need seven conference rooms in a skyscraper in Manhattan.
They just, We were actually checking out squad cast earlier. Yeah. Yeah. Great products. So do you have any other projects coming down the pipeline that we should be looking out for? I am woof. Well, I'm focused on growing the show. I actually have been focused a lot on, On growth recently just because I'm cooped up and there's not a whole heck of a lot else that I can do. So I'm cracking the code in terms of marketing Podcast, because I've, I've realized that ads and other shows are really what drive listens and working with companies like chartable and trying to figure out attribution there. Of course, I'm looking forward to different projects. I've got going with Podcast networks like Podcast, one, trying to figure out how I can get more hours than the day to record things.
Cause that's what I really liked doing. So for me, it's all about cracking the code on growing shows because if I can grow my show using Advertising and help other people grow their shows using Advertising, we can increase the market, share that these shows have in this space. And it's kind of nice to be able to do that because I think I'm going to look. We've seen that there is a lot of money coming in to Podcasting. That's not going to slow down anytime soon, especially as supply of social media, impressions goes way up and the quality goes down. Podcasting has the potential to actually be that sort of top 1% in terms of the best content. Being able to be monetized in a really, really great way to pay for a good living for people like me.
So I think it's, it's a great way to create content that helps people run a business, make a good living doing it. And the production is pretty easy. I mean, as you know, like this is advanced stuff right here, we have video, but for most podcasts you can literally just use almost anything. You can have people on the phone and as long as they are recording a voice memo on their iPhone, on the table, sitting next to them, you can put those two things together. And it sounds like you were in the same room almost. So that's the type of thing. That's, that's really excited about the medium, it democratizes content creation, but not necessarily in a way that lowers quality all the time. Yeah. That's one of our favorite things about Podcasting and we've actually talked about that. I'm quite a bit how there's very little gatekeeping and it's fairly cheap to get started.
I mean, just to put it bluntly, like it's theirs, it doesn't take a whole lot just to set up and get rolling as long as you're content is good and you've put some thought into it. I'm seeing people even talk about it almost like a blank page syndrome now, which is like to think that that's where we are. We're Podcasting is almost so easy that people are like, okay, well I know I want to start a podcast with something, but now the question is what is the idea? I mean, with that in mind, like any final tips for success, like building a, a show from scratch for, for the listeners who are in that stage, building a show from, I mean, that's always Tough, right? I would say focus on your content and not your metrics for the first few years.
Most people try and figure out how to crack the code, how to get more downloads. And then they're like, Oh, this one got a a hundred downloads and this one got a 112, what did I do differently? What did I title it differently? There's a place for that. But the thing that I think helped me the most was when I started was there were no download metrics in 2007, you would just look at some server data and it'd be like, you had 11,000 requests. Okay. I don't even know what that means. Right. So I just kept doing it and kept focusing on what I liked doing, which is talking to people, interviewing, having conversations. I didn't worry about whether one episode was more popular than the other. And then as technology caught up, I was like, Oh, okay.
We can start to measure different things and track these as well. But people get caught up in these traps and that's why a lot of people quit Podcasting is they go, Oh man, my audience isn't growing. Okay, well maybe it's a quality issue. It's probably not because you don't have the right SEO and your titles just focus on the skills. And the other thing I would say is don't even worry about monetizing for the first couple of years, because even if you start with a bang and you get some serious luck, what do you make at a couple, a hundred bucks per episode? I mean, you're not going to quit your job with it anytime soon. So play the slow game and over a year's you'll find out if there is really for you. And if you quit before then it's, you didn't quit because you couldn't monetize it.
You quit because it's not for you. This is a hobby that you can monetize, not a career that you jump into. That is, this is some sort of like glamorous thing. Like for most in its early YouTube where you start it. And then you're surprised when you make money. That's what it should be like because that's where most people end up in. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe for updates on future episodes and leave us a comment with your feedback, questions, or ideas for future segments. If you would like more info on Ad Results Media in what we do, please visit us online at Ad Results. Media dot com. This podcast is an Ad Results, Media production.