Travis Chappell is a podcasting consultant, professional connector, author, and international speaker. He is the creator and host of Build Your Network with 1.5 million downloads and almost 600 episodes. Travis has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, and NASDAQ, and he has appeared as a guest on more than 50 shows, such as Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas.
In today’s episode, Travis shares his journey of becoming a successful podcaster and entrepreneur.
Travis grew up in a strict religious household. From kindergarten to high school graduation to college graduation, he spent nearly every day on the same church campus, including church on Sundays, and door-to-door sales for the church on Saturdays. Within that community, he felt pushed into full-time ministry and decided to go to college with a double major in Biblical studies and church ministries.
It wasn’t until his senior year in college when he questioned his life’s path. “I was getting ready to graduate and go out and finally do this thing that I’ve been prepping for since I was like 12 years old, and I started to realize that I didn’t want to do it,” Travis said.
He and his wife moved from Southern California to Fresno to get away from the bubble he grew up in, and after deciding not to do ministry, he transitioned to door-to-door sales. He made good money, but it wasn’t something he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
“For the first time in my life, I was just kind of forced to jump into personal development and figure out what that new path was going to be. That’s when I started listening to podcasts for the first time,” Travis said. “And then I started my show a few years ago and have been rocking and rolling ever since.”
After deciding sales wasn’t the path for him, Travis started a podcast where he speaks with successful entrepreneurs. That podcast now has 1.5 million downloads and almost 600 episodes. It took a lot of hard work, a few life transitions, and a lot of persistence, but he eventually made it to where he wanted to be.
“In the absence of clarity, ‘Take Action’ has always been the mantra. It’s like, ‘Okay, I don’t know what I’m going to do, but doing nothing isn’t going to get me there so I may as well try something,’ and you just fail your way into figuring out what the next step is going to be,” Travis said.
Based on his own journey, Travis wanted to help make transitions easier for others, so he created Guestio, a software designed to give access to the inaccessible. Travis’s podcast is focused on guest interviews with successful entrepreneurs. That’s what helped him take off. But, it wasn’t easy. Sometimes it can take months just to get in contact with the person you want to connect with. Sometimes it took years. The platform he created helps people get guests on their shows. Instead of chasing someone for months, we can get in contact with them right away in order for people to get better interviews and increase their credibility.
“Running a software company is not easy; it’s difficult. It’s a long treacherous road at some points but somebody else has figured it out. A lot of people have navigated that road successfully. All I got to do is to get the map from them, and then retrace those steps and add my own little spin on it,” Travis said.
90% of startups fail (Source: Forbes). Starting a business is not an easy thing we can do on our own. In order to fall into that 10% of successful startups, we should be building relationships and looking at the examples of those around us. Learning from the examples of our mentors will help us monetize our businesses faster.
“Get around to the people who are doing it at the highest level, and learn what [you] don’t know, and then implement those things,” Travis said.
We don’t have to pioneer the road alone. Chances are, someone has already done what we’re trying to do and succeeded. When we hit a roadblock or when we’re trying something new, it can save us so much time to just go to someone for advice. They can help us avoid the mistakes they made, and give us advice that will help us be so much more successful than if we tried to do it on our own.
“90 people will fail. 10 will succeed,” Travis said “You have the ability to control which part of that group you end up in. If I want to end up in the group that’s successful and beat the odds . . . then I know that I have to outdo what most people are willing to do.”
We need to be willing to do more than everyone else. Unfortunately, one thing a lot of people don’t do is ask for help. We need to set our pride aside and be okay with accepting the fact that we can’t build a business on our own.
“Too many things out there are going to try to prevent you from being successful. If you’re not proactively trying to put yourself in positions around people who can help you achieve that success then it’s going to be much, much more difficult,” Travis said.
If we want to start a small business, we will need to put in the work and take risks. And if we’re taking risks, why not get help from someone who has done it before? Why not take advantage of the resources around us? We should constantly try to form relationships that can help us navigate the road we are walking on. “You get the results based on the work that you put in, so you better put in more work than everybody else so you can get better results than everybody else,” Travis said.
We can also monetize our relationships. For example, in a podcast, people will pay to be on someone’s show for promotional reasons. People will also pay others to come onto their show for the same reasons. On Travis’s app, Guestio, we can go and pay $300 to interview someone on their show. That person monetizes simply for having a relationship with us.
A great way to monetize a business is to sell knowledge. We don’t need to be an expert to sell knowledge, we simply need to know more than the person we are selling to.
In terms of monetizing a podcast, Travis said that the first thing we want to do is use our knowledge to help our clients, and then find a way to monetize our guest list through the products and services we offer.
“The core of it is, do you have an offer, and do you have an audience for that offer? That’s really what it comes down to, especially if you’re in a knowledge business,” Travis said. But even if we aren’t in the knowledge business, we can find ways to use our knowledge with some of the products we are offering. Before we even offer a product or service, we can go one step earlier in the customer journey and provide our customers with informational value that will entice them to take the next step and purchase our product. Providing free knowledge will also help with our credibility.
One of the big tectonic shifts in the market today is independent content creation and virtual, online businesses in general. The power is shifting from big corporations and businesses to the people. Celebrity status is so much easier to accomplish now because we can create a media presence and develop a fan base without even leaving our house. Travis calls this process decentralization—taking away the power from one person and putting it into the hands of multiple people. Instead of a few wealthy powerbrokers, we now have thousands of micro-influencers with power, credibility, and influence.
There are YouTubers and influencers on Instagram that make six figures just from building their own brand online. They do this through content creation and sharing knowledge.
Thank you so much Travis for sharing your stories and knowledge with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
1. Transitions are a part of our journey. We may fail, but if we keep moving forward, we will eventually find where we need to be.
2.We need to continue to take action, even if we feel uncertain about where we want to go. We won’t get anywhere if we do nothing.
3. We should find people who are doing what we want to do at the highest level and learn from their example.
4. We get results based on the work we put in. If we want to be successful, we need to put in more work than everybody else so we can get better results than everybody else.
5. Selling knowledge is a great starting part in monetizing a business such as a podcast.
6. One of the biggest shifts in the market is independent content creation.
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