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with Beau Billington

The Free Agent- Hacking Podcast Views- How to Gain Visibility with Sean Everett

Founder of Everett Advisors
Posted 1 year ago

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Interview with Sean Everett   Host: Beau Billington   Guest: Sean Everett   Beau  0:00     Hello, everybody. Welcome back to the free agent Podcast. I’m Beau Billington, I got Sean Everett here, Sean, thanks for joining. Happy New Year.   Sean  0:20     Hello, Happy New Year. Good to see you, man.   Beau  0:23     Yeah, good to see you as well. Last time we connected I was actually on your podcast, which I thoroughly enjoyed. You know, we spent about an hour and it seemed like it was about 15 minutes, to be honest with you. Just a good flow.   Sean  0:34     Time flies when you’re having fun, you know?   Beau  0:37     No, it does. It was definitely a thought-provoking conversation, we’ll be sure to add a link to this podcast. But I’m super excited about this one in particular because you’ve recently started a podcast. And of course, I want to learn, you know what the audience learned about you, as well as kind of what your podcast is about.    Beau  0:54     But you’ve figured out a way to really kind of optimize and hack, like view, like viewership in a very, very, very short time. And so that’s really what I want to kind of base today’s conversation around, figure out how the hell do you do it? And is it really gonna be that easy to replicate?    Beau  1:09     And hell, maybe my team, and I will, we’ll take this to the war room, if you will, and see if we could replicate and then compare and contrast our notes with kind of what you’ve shared. But yeah, prior to doing that, you know, tell us a bit about what you do. And then let’s talk a bit about your podcast.   Sean  1:26    Yeah, sure. brief background on me, probably, I don’t know, 20 years of experience in business, I’ve been advising and operating companies   Sean  1:36     All the way up to the fortune one, and everything in between. And so, I’ve been sort of on the bleeding edge of emerging tech a long time ago, which now is like just tech. So it’s kind of like, you gotta be out in front and software, you know, and it’s like, that catches up to you really quick.    Sean  2:01     And those cycle times are coming faster and faster. So it makes your job harder, but also not as hard because technology always changes but humans never do. So, I found myself swinging back on the pendulum the other way.    Sean  2:15     But yeah, my specific expertise is product management, growth strategy operations, and being a former founder and helped other founders. And yeah, just build, grow and exit companies. And I’d also do some diligence on product and technology stuff and value creation for private equity companies at the moment of m&a in and around that. So yeah, sort of the full lifecycle and flywheel of build, grow, exit, built, grow, exit, build, grow, exit, and on and on until the cows come home.   Beau  2:49     As a fellow entrepreneur, I consider that God’s work, you know, like people in my situation, needs people like you to kind of help provide guidance and get us  moving and get us groovin. And so that’s great to hear, what about your podcasts. What’s the name of your podcast? How long have you been doing it? And then we can jump in the meat potatoes here?   Sean  3:07    Yeah, the name is ingenuity. And I started that, I think, right after the first week in August of 2022. And it was just, it was a hypothesis test. And we can go into the details of that. So it’s only been I don’t know, what, four or five months, something like that. And I’m at I think 85 episodes, but the cadence of that has changed over time. So yeah, I can talk about that as well.   Beau  3:38     Yeah, so 85 episodes, that’s interesting to me, because I’ve been doing this for like a year and a half. And I think I’m like at 30, right. I mean, I’m trying to kind of get to a better cadence myself better rhythm and what I’ve understood is that it’s kind of, you know, critical to viewership and getting eyeballs on your content.    Beau  3:54    But that being said, you know, what I find really interesting is, you did a case study, which again, we’ll, put a link to, but in less than two months, you went from zero subscribers. So that’s zero goose egg to 14,000. And you did so with a zero budget, which is insane.    Beau  4:09     So a couple more data points, you know, your RSS subscribers with from zero to 14,000. And YouTube views zero to 35,000. Like, teach, like, how does one do that? Because I haven’t found a way to kind of hack the system, or optimize and of course, you know, that’s the goal.   Beau  4:26     I’m not trying to be the next Joe Rogan. But I would love to have more eyeballs on my content, because ultimately, that’s my company’s brand, etc. So how’d you do this?   Sean  4:36     Yeah, it’s, well, let’s talk about mindset first and approach. And so for me, the critical problem I kept seeing in startups and companies I was working with was a fundamental one, which was how do we get more organic growth instead of paying for that growth? So like ads, right?    Sean  4:58     And so it’s a fundamental question we need to reduce our customer or our cost per acquisition, right, per user, per customer, whatever. So, you know, over the summer I was thinking about it. And I was like, All right, well, if I’m quote, as good as I say I am or like, I know what I’m doing, then I want to figure out, do I have the stuff in order to like, practice what I preach, right? So I said, Alright, let me set up a hypothesis test and design this thing.    Sean  5:28     And let me do some difficult metrics. And if I can do it, then and I do it all, by myself, no one else involved, if I can do it, then I have proven at least to myself, that there’s some kind of value there that I’m on to something. And really, what it came down to was, Can I trust my instincts?, because I think that is such an important piece that you need as an operator, as a founder in a big company,    Sean  5:28     Because business is moving faster and faster and faster. So if you have to stop and second guess yourself, that is a curse. And so you need to be able to trust your own instincts built on experience, skill, whatever the case may be. So that was the approach and mindset.   Sean  6:10     So I wanted to do something which was in a highly competitive environment, let’s say social media, zero budget, so you can’t pay for the Sales Team, marketing team, you can’t pay for ads, you can’t pay for anything, basically, you have to do it all yourself.   Sean  6:29     Now granted, you can use tools like an iPhone, a MacBook, Dropbox, you know, figma, which is free. So a couple software tools, and I found you could do all of this for free, but at the highest end, maybe 100 bucks per month.   Beau  6:44     Okay, which is still a drop.   Sean  6:46     It was like sitting. Yeah, right. So then it came down to okay, I’m still operating businesses. So I need to be able to do this thing and like one to two hours a day, so those were the requirements that I gave myself. And then the last one, the Northstar metric was, let’s say, subscribers, viewers, whatever. And I wanted that growth curve to be as steep as possible.   Beau  7:27     Yeah, sorry. You mentioned your North Star metric you want to be as steep as possible, and then we get added to it self.   Sean  7:39     Yeah, no worries. So basically, the premise is your growth rate is your investors return rate? So keep it as vertical as possible. So that was the starting point. So then the question is, Okay, those are the requirements now, how am I going to do it?   Sean  7:58     So, I had been on social media, designed some social networks and some media formats. So I had a hypothesis, which was alright, can I look at all the short form content, Tik Tok, YouTube, Instagram reels, Twitter, LinkedIn, can I and then podcast and I wanted to test every media format.   Sean  8:21     So not only every social media and distribution channel, but every media format. So text, audio, video, image, people, et cetera. And so what that meant is, I had set up a hypothesis test where I’m testing every media format, every social network to figure out the combination that grows faster than others.   Sean  8:41     I even tested music. And then on the podcast side, because I wanted to get a number of episodes quickly, I had a hypothesis as well that, and I had this 10 years ago, which was, we’re not going to spend an hour on a call for every podcast, I need some that are quick hits a minute, two minutes, minute and a half.   Sean  9:06     And I also knew that the human face was highly engaging, rather than just other types of content, it just is from a human perspective.    Beau  9:17     Agree, yeah.   Sean  9:20     So that was the foundation. I’ll pause there any questions?   Beau  9:24     A lot of this has resonated with me. So you know, as a founder myself, like analysis, paralysis is a real thing. And so I think, you know, trusting your instincts is critical, and we’ve all been caught in that situation. Also, too, you know, I’ve got a keen interest in keeping advertising spin low.    Beau  9:38     And so organic growth is really important and kind of like my singular focus for this year is how do you flip the funnel? Right? So we’ve got campaigns we’re doing, you know, outbound and, you know, direct touch, but I really want to put myself and my company in a position where people are coming to us and not sound opportunistic, but we can kind of cherry pick those A and B clients.    Sean  9:59     We Just just a better partnership for us as well as kind of the companies you work with. So that really resonates. So, ya know, I’m super engaged, keep going.   Sean  10:08     Okay, yeah, it makes sense. I mean, that’s the whole idea, right is like lower customer acquisition costs. Okay, so then what I did is I just went with the mindset, so here’s what I did, I just started creating content and publishing and putting it out there.    Sean  10:35     And I even changed my professional services website a little bit to be more consumer friendly. So I started publishing music playlists on Spotify, and Apple Music. I started creating little thumbnails that I would use as an image.   Sean  10:52     And my other premise was, the internet is so 2d flat now over the last 510 years that I wanted to use 3d objects. So I was using 3d models in my imagery. And then I was also including principles as the intent of each episode. So you know, a principle is basically an instruction.   Sean  11:15     And then below the image or below the 3d model, I would include a link to the landing page or to the website. In my case, it was my app. And so then I would probably push those episodes in video format to Tik Tok, reals, whatever. And then, because it’s not a watermark, it’s embedded in the image and the video itself, it can’t be removed and can’t be overlaid.    Sean  11:39     If other people try to strip that content and use it for themselves. It’s embedded in the video itself. So if you try to light it over, overwrite someone else’s brand on top of yours, because I take copyright and intellectual property very seriously, because it lasts 170 years,    Beau  11:57      Sure.    Sean  11:57     Like our kids, our kids, kids, kids.   Sean  12:00     So I take it very seriously. So then it was just like, publish as fast as I can at the speed of thought almost. So I would have an idea, I would go outside and I would do this on my morning walk where I’m walking my dog and I would point the phone at my face and I would talk for a minute on a subject and then I just edit it quickly and then get the audio file, set up my RSS feed on my own site because I wanted everything to be owned by my brand and my company and then I distributed that everywhere else and drew everyone back.    Sean  12:35     So it’s like a flower petals you’re always bringing people back home to the beehive if you will.    Sean  12:45     Because here’s my thing, the social networks 3 billion people they are distribution channels they should not house or own your content you own your content, you’re the creator and they are just a dumb pipe if you will that connects people together but the content is the most valuable part of it not the pipes connecting the piece together so use the back of the distribution channels that already exist in bringing the bees home to the hive so to speak.   Beau  13:18     No, I love the analogy that makes sense. And I feel like there’s a revolution that’s taking place right now about taking your own taking control of your own content. Right and going back to a homepage and RSS feeds and all this jazz and taking it from Facebook and et cetera, you get the point.    Beau  13:33     Couple questions what type of content was this because I thought it was all business within you mentioned like some playlists which is fine but was a combination of just kind of like who Sean is at a 30,000 foot view so you’ve got music, you’ve got business, you’ve got personal, you’ve got kind of this array of different content that you’re pushing out.   Beau  14:17     Okay, all right. So we could get out of this section out again, but I mentioned you know, kind of the type of content so, Is it personal? needs business, meets pleasure all the above?   Sean  14:39     It was almost entirely focused on professional services. So business, specifically software and I just put it in a format and a feeling that it was like a consumer feeling only the content itself was very b2b professional services focused, which was another hypothesis that says, you know, business content puts everyone to sleep. But why?    Beau  14:43     Yeah, it shouldn’t, it didn’t have to.    Sean  14:44    It doesn’t have to. I mean, we’re all humans, whether we’re working, we’re at home or watching a YouTube video, like any industrial enterprise, it’s not like we magically change who we are. So just make the content more human, more engaging, more authentic.   Sean  15:28     And the other thing I’ll say is, that’s one of the reasons that a lot of the short form episodes because I also did the long form hour long podcasts thing, the short form one, two minutes, I did it while walking and walking my dog to prove that there wasn’t a script, it was completely off the top of my head, it was skill.    Sean  15:53     No filter, no mask. And that was the other thing. So you know, from an approach, you have to know your stuff if you’re going to do this. So like, you have to stay in your lane or your circle of competence, which is what I did, I didn’t branch out into things I didn’t know.   Sean  16:10     So it was all like product management stuff, strategy stuff, organizational design stuff, startup entrepreneurship stuff, things that I had been living and breathing for decades. So it just kind of comes out. And you just need a moment for it to come out. And then you capture that.   Sean  16:29     And then you publish it out. And I think that ultimately the secret was things people maybe hadn’t heard before, or like, in such a quick, bite sized, nice chunk that they could just capture it. And it started spreading pretty quickly. From there, I think.   Beau  16:45     Yeah, I think too like walking your dog or just kind of, you know, shoot him in the car that humanizes people. You know, I think we talked about this on your podcast, and I pretty much stopped editing mine, you know, because it’s inhuman to not screw up.   Beau  16:57     I mean, it happens. Right? So a couple more questions I have. So you mentioned that you create 100 pieces of unique content, sort of 30 distribution channels, which is crazy. But then you also mentioned that you had one piece of content that was two seconds long, and got 20,000 views like what could possibly be two seconds long.   Beau  17:14     I mean, did you say hey, this is Sean, I’m a product manager extraordinaire or like what you know, what in the world, that’s interesting.   Sean  17:23     Well, the other thing, because I’ve been in emerging tech, I started playing around with how I messed with my video editing. So I would create an image with a 3d static image in there. And then I would cut through it and do like an actual overlay of my face, which was reality.    Sean  17:41    So I believe it’s like I was playing around with augmented reality concepts in a podcast medium. And so the two-second one on video, I mean, you can see all of the content on my podcast on ingenuity if you go to the website, you can view all of every episode from the beginning with the text, audio, video, etc.   Sean  18:01     But if you go to my YouTube channel, you’ll see the other stuff, which isn’t necessarily always included in one of these was a two second clip. I took a photo of my neighborhood. And then it was just a house with this sort of beautiful sunset. And then out front of the house was.   Sean  18:31     Love it, I just popped my face in there doing something crazy. And that was it. And I just published it to YouTube shorts. And like, it just took off because it was crazy.   Sean  18:44     I mean, this is the thing about trusting your instincts, like if you have some zany idea you’ve been thinking about especially as we move into like the AR 3d World stuff with digital and real combined.    Sean  18:54     Just do it, push it out there. And like two seconds 21,000 views like.   Beau  19:00     Right.   Sean  19:02     You know, I mean, that’s the distribution channel, but also unique and different kinds of content. So just do it. Just be respectful of other humans, don’t hurt other humans’ feelings, and you’ll be okay, that’s your guardrail.   Beau  19:17     You know, I think that’s great. I like how you use like, you’re using YouTube and also YouTube shorts. Sounds like you’re also on tick tock, you know, I personally have stuck to one channel, and that’s typically LinkedIn will actually to LinkedIn and YouTube.    Beau  19:30     But candidly, I think my goal is to really kind of start leveraging the different distribution platforms that are out there because, you know, I’m only you know, hurting myself, but by not, you know, taking advantage of the tools that already exist. So I think that’s really interesting.   Beau  19:44     And again, I like to how you’re talking business, but you’re also kind of taking a real human approach. You know, you’re not a white shirt with a tie on, you know, that thing that you’re not necessary and articulate but like, it’s okay to mess up and you’re being authentic, which I think is really what people are looking for these days.    Beau  20:00     Especially with all the noise out there. So that’s awesome. I really appreciate the share, any other advice for budding podcast hosts that are out there that are trying to really, you know, get that scale?   Sean  20:14     I think the mindset is because there was a period where I went for it 14 or 16 days straight without a break. And it was all day everyday just working, and it didn’t feel like I was working. And that’s because it felt like play.   Sean  20:29     It was my fascination. I was messing around with ideas. It was like a kid in a sandbox. And I think if you approach your work in that way, there’s some magic that comes out. And that magic is what the audience is desperately searching for. And so if you try to like, make it too professional, you lose the magic.   Sean  20:54     And like, Yes, you said I was in a cut-off because it was 100 degrees over the summer like I wasn’t in a collared shirt, and it’s like, what am I gonna do, I’m gonna run inside and put on a collared shirt and record a podcast. Like, that’s just not real.    Sean  21:06     So I think you just have to come as you are. And that like really connects in and the last thing is just find that fascination and that magic, and cool things will happen, because that’s your differentiator. And then people be like, oh, yeah, like, that’s Bo. That’s the guy that’s talking about, like talent on a totally different wavelength.   Sean  21:26     And we got to talk to him, because he’s talking about something I’ve never heard before. And like, it’s just different, you know, versus, like, were recruited. I mean, come on, you know, I mean, you’re not that person.    Beau  21:40     No, I think I get highly relatable. You know, actually, this is on LinkedIn. before the holidays, I found an old is about two years old, I found a kind of blooper reel of myself doing like videos where I was trying to be so professional, like, it took me two hours to record a minute and a half,   Beau  21:55     Because I just kept screwing up here or there the other night and I posted on LinkedIn just said, you know, screw it, what the hell would I have to lose, and it literally went viral. I don’t recall the actual numbers, but it’s still out there. And it’s crushing. And I think it’s because (A), I was able to laugh at myself, not take myself too seriously.   Beau  22:11    And (B) it also shows that we’re all human. And that’s what people want to see, especially in a business setting. And I agree with your point about the kind of recruiter like this is not the sexiest space. And there’s a lot of stuffy, stuffy individuals, and kind of my goal is to bring, you know, a new take on recruiting the town industry in general.   Beau  22:30     And part of that starts with being a human. So man, that was a cool show. I appreciate it. And thanks for Thanks for joining. Thanks for kind of sharing your knowledge with my audience. And I’m gonna try to put some of this into play. I mean, sincerely, and I’ll report back to you with some results and some metrics.   Sean  22:46     I love it. Yeah, just keep the magic going. Like we can be a lighthouse for everybody, you know, so yeah, I’m here for it. Love to see it. I can’t wait to see what you do. Like, I’m a subscriber, like.   Beau  23:00     Well, I appreciate that. Oh, no, that’s gonna be so crazy. But it’s baby steps. You know what I mean? I grew up with Facebook. But I was never on Facebook. I’m not a social media person. It was so hard for me to get on LinkedIn. So I’m like, you know, every year I’m getting bolder, getting older, and getting smarter. So I try to put myself out there and grow up. And I want to be Shawn Everett. That’s the goal.   Sean  23:22     Be careful what you wish for. And I like that. Older and bolder. I like that.   Beau  23:28     Yeah, I may write that down. But it’s fine. In parting. You think that I liked what you mentioned. First, you said a kid in the sandbox. And that’s what another kind of initiative for me and 2023 is to figure out, like, how can I regain that fun and that energy that I had when I first started my company, you know, and it’s easy to lose.   Beau  23:45    It’s so easy, especially as we age, I’ll be 43 this year and you know, and it’s really my goal is like have fun again, like break stuff. Be bold. So I appreciate the perspective and thanks for being on man.   Sean  23:58     Yeah, for sure. We are stronger in the broken parts. So scar tissue is there for a reason like shearing the scar tissue, you know?    Beau  24:08     No, I like that. Yeah.    Sean  24:09     Cool. Great, man.    Beau  24:14     Have a great day.  
Posted 1 year ago
Sean Everett

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About Beau

FOUNDER, THE FREE AGENT

Beau spent over 14 years in enterprise-level software sales and was exposed to high-level talent by working alongside companies such as Apple, AT&T, Amazon, Coca-Cola, and more. 

In this podcast, Beau aims to interview high performing business leaders in the hope that their insights will bring about real positive change to the businesses of his listeners.

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