051: Networking at Conferences Like a Champ with Michael O’Neal

On this episode of Build Your Network, Host Travis Chappell interviews Michael O’Neal, founder of the Solopreneur podcast. Chappell and O’Neal talk about building businesses and getting the most out of conferences.

Here’s what Travis and Michael discuss in this episode:

 How did Michael get into podcasting?

    • He was a web and branding guy for 15 years, then had a major personal shift in his life.
    • In 2009 started learning all over again.
    • He was super successful really quickly because not very many people were doing social media yet.
    • He did a live training experience, then in 2011 one of the guys he did training for asked if he could help with YouTube.
      • Michael offered to help him grow his brand.
      • Helped create The Kickass Life with David Wood podcast show.
      • David spoke into the mic and Michael did everything else.
      • Michael jumped onto the mic when David was on vacation, he enjoyed doing it.
        • He got a bunch of emails saying he should do podcasts for himself.
      • Had lunch with Pat Flynn from smartpassiveincome.com
        • As they left the restaurant, Pat thanked him for getting to talk about normal things and not entrepreneurial things.
        • On his podcast he wants to do a deep dive first before focusing on providing value.
      • How did Michael monetize his podcast?
        • First, you have to assume that you won’t be able to make money off of your podcast.
          • Podcasts can be flighty, just like TV shows can be.
          • The only intention Michael has was to have good conversations with people.
        • You can make a good living just helping people launch professional podcasts.
        • Within the first couple of months he got a bunch of emails – he hadn’t realized how much he learned.
          • People wanted to know if he coached on things.
        • You have to remember that when you’re speaking in front of an audience then you’re in media.
          • Entertainment trumps everything.
          • Your favorite teachers are the ones who are entertaining, not necessarily the ones who know the most.
          • Personality has to lead the way.
        • He eventually began coaching people.
          • When he’s learning about something he goes deep “into the lab,” learning everything about a software.
          • He started a coaching group called “Solo Lab.”
        • For anyone trying to monetize, you have to tell people you’re ready.
          • You have to see that there’s a demand.
          • People vote with their wallet.
          • Did the 1-1 version with a 15 minute Skype call.
            • Did 41 over three days.
          • After doing the 1-1 versions, his idea for the lab completely changed.
          • He realized that he’s shot far over the mark of what people needed.
          • He got 17 people to say they were definite “yes’s” for his course.
            • He launched, gave urgency and incentive by providing two 30-minute coaching calls for the first ten.
          • Six weeks after the first ten people, he had 70 in solo-lab.
          • Go Daddy called him and wanted to advertise on his show.
            • This opened doors to make it over six figures in revenue.
          • His show has leveled out over the last few years, but there are other opportunities that have
          • There was never a monetization plan.
          • It only took three and a half months to start monetizing.
          • People tend to jump on bandwagons without having the chops to back them up.
        • He never edits his show and he often reads questions impromptu during the show.
          • The onus is on him to be a good host.
          • He runs his show like an old school radio guy.
          • Doesn’t want people to turn from a radio show to his podcast and feel a big dip in quality.
        • Now with half a million podcasts, is it still possible to monetize and scale quickly?
          • Yes, but it’s dependent on the niche of the show.
          • Michael is a hi-fi stereo nerd, he’s all about experiential music listening.
            • He went to an audio show and then tried to find a podcast about it, but there weren’t any.
            • Started a show called “beginner audio-phile” taking people from big box to niche audio stores.
              • He’s now monetized it to 50k a year.
            • The audience loves to talk about the gear and they love to spend money.
            • Got affiliate plays and advertisers that want to be in front of this audience.
          • The Bad Crypto podcast is only six weeks in and is about to reach over a million downloads.
        • How much of Michael’s networking has he attributed to podcasting?
          • All of it. Without his podcast show, there wouldn’t have been a reason for him to go to conferences.
          • He did go to New Media Expo and met a few mentors there.
          • If you know somebody, you need to ask them who they know so you can connect with them.
        • Do you believe that what you know or who you know is more important, and why?
          • One begets the other. You can know people, but if you can’t back it up, it’s a problem.
          • Knowing people gives you opportunity, knowing things keeps the opportunities coming.
          • Nothing is more important than relationships in life and business.
          • Check out conferencetopia.com to get the most out of conferences you attend.
            • Connecting with influencers before the show or conference, by the time you meet them, you can sit down and have a conversation with them.
          • Seven quick things to help you network better at a conference.
            • Sometimes the speakers are crappy, so you could be let down at every conference. You need to walk away from the show with two or three game changers.
              • Walk into every conference with two pressing questions about the business:
                • “What are people doing to grow their Instagram,” etc.
              • If you have a six-word intro, like “I help ‘blank’ do ‘blank.’ You can get permission to give a business card.
              • Have someone else introduce you so you don’t have to brag on yourself.
                • Have an intro buddy so you can introduce each other.
              • The FORM Method – Family, Occupation, Reformation, Motivation
                • Structure your questions this way to establish rapport.
                • Questions don’t have to go in this order, helps you know what to say next.
              • Magic happens at the bar.
                • All of the successful networking and business deals are done at the bar, don’t turn in early.
                • Nobody will feel great on Sunday at the conference, you have to burn it on both ends at the conference.
              • Body language.
                • A conference is not the place for intimate deep conversations.
                • When someone is hovering, open your body up to invite them into the conversation – let them know what you were talking about.
              • Schedule a calendar event 4-5 days after the networking event to follow-up.
                • Start responding to people you talked to and check in.
                • The fortune’s in the follow-up.
                • You want people to still feel the energy you had when you were talking.
              • The Random Round:
                • What profession other than your own do you think it would be fun to attempt?
                  • Stand up comedy
                • If you could sit on a park bench with someone for an hour who would it be?
                  • His mom
                • How do you like to learn best books, blogs, or podcasts?
                  • YouTube
                • Give us a glimpse of your morning routine:
                  • Wake up
                  • Walk to the coffee shop
                  • 90 minute entrepreneurial walk, listening to entrepreneurial content
                • What is your go-to pump up song?
                  • Eminem, Lose Yourself
                • What are you not very good at?
                  • Systems
                • Where can we find you the most on socialmedia
                  • Instagram: @solohour @beginneraudiophile
                  • Solopreneurhour.com

Tweetable Quotes:

  • Knowing people gives you opportunity, knowing things keeps the opportunities
  • Nothing is more important than relationships in life and business.

Resources Mentioned:

Buildyournetwork.com – Podcast website

New Media Expo

Solopreneurhour.com – Michael’s Website

Conferencetopia.com – What to do before, during, and after a conference to make the most out of it.

 

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