About The Guest
NOTE: This episode was recorded back in May 2021
That feeling when you get to interview the creator of a product you are absolutely in love with. I was beyond thrilled to have James Mulvany, founder of Radio.co, Podcast.co and matchmaker.fm (my fave platform to connect with podcast guests and other podcasters).
Really enjoyed learning about his entrepreneurial journey (he started his first business when he was 16) and about his 30 podcasts in 30 days experience (it was actually more than that). James also shares a lot of valuable advice with respect to podcasting- including how to be a great guest on a podcast and on the flip side, how to create a great podcast.
How To Make A Sh*t Podcast article:https://www.linkedin.com/posts/jamesmulvany_how-to-make-a-sht-podcast-activity-6628598778393870337-yULB
Social Media: https://jamesm.com/connect
[13:08] – Podcast Trends and The Accessibility of Podcasting
[16:06] – When it’s time to call it quits on the business, depends on the situation
[18:27] – Running Multiple Companies Simultaneously
[21:00] -Story behind matchmaker.fm – platform where podcasters can find guests and vice versa
[27:51] -30 podcast interviews in 30 days
[33:36] -Face to face in-person podcasts are becoming more irrelevant, it’s about what people have got to offer and the stories they want to tell
[37:15] – Podcasting has not reached a saturation point
Watch on YouTube
Karen Swyszcz 00:00
You’re listening to The Bacon Bits ‘n’ Bytes Podcast, and I’m your host, Karen Swyszcz. This is the podcast where a bit of business and a byte of technology come together. Every month I interview entrepreneurs, investors, startup founders, and people in tech to learn about what drives them and what makes them tick.
So I’m really excited for you all to listen to this episode with James Mulvany, Founder of Radio.co, Podcast.co and my favorite platform for podcasters matchmaker.fm. So the third business, which originally was a side project, has been a game changer for my podcast and for many other podcasters in finding guests. So James provides a lot of great insight on the podcasting industry. We talk about how podcasting is nothing new, but it’s now entering another wave and there’s still definitely a lot of potential and opportunity in the space. And it’s a fantastic way to not only meet people but have really cool conversations. So speaking of really cool conversations, I hope you enjoy this one.
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of The Bacon Bits ‘n’ Bytes Podcast. And I’m super excited today to talk with very special guest, James Mulvany. James Mulvany is a successful entrepreneur and over the past 10 years has built multiple internet companies plus a property portfolio, and has made a range of angel investments and startups, having actually never had a job in his life, he started his first business when leaving school. James is the founder of Podcast.co and Radio.co, two companies doing pioneering things in the online audio space. He’s also the founder of matchmaker.fm, which is like Tinder, but for podcasters. Welcome to the show, James.
James Mulvany: Thanks, Karen. How’s it going?
Karen Swyszcz: Oh, it’s going great. I’m super excited because I am like a fan girl of matchmaker. So I can’t wait to talk about matchmaker.fm plus your other companies. But first off, I’d like to talk about your entrepreneur journey, because you start your first company, when you’re 16. And when most of us, you know, are thinking about our part time jobs, hanging out with our friends and getting our driver’s license, you were starting a company. So could you speak to that?
James Mulvany 02:21
Yeah, so it all started because I was a little bit of a nerdy kid, I guess I was probably quite shy, I was really interested in computers, you know, I spent a lot of time like kind of locked away in my bedroom, just learning how to build websites. And I kind of taught myself Photoshop, and it got to a period, we have something in the UK called study leave, right. So this is the end of high school where you know, before you go into college, so you’re 16 years old, and you get like two months off where you’re supposed to revise and study for your exams. And I thought, well, this is great, I’ve got two months where I can do what I like. And of course, instead of studying, I thought, I’m gonna see if I can make some money online. And I, at the time it was this was like 2003. So it’s kind of the internet was still pretty young. You know, I’ve been around for 10 years, but I’ve probably only been online for like three years myself. And you know, the concept of like having a startup or being an entrepreneur was something that I’d never really heard of.
You know, my dad always had, when I was growing up, he had a furniture business very, very sort of different to obviously what I do now and what I’ve been doing for the last 15 years or so. But you know, I think that was probably one of the reasons I thought, you know, I’m gonna go and see if I can go go out there and make some money because he was always, he always said to me, you know, going self employed and starting his business was the best decision he ever made. And before that he did when he was growing up, he did lots and lots and lots of different jobs and never really kind of get never really going to found himself like a successful career until he, he kind of started out his own business. So I guess that sort of taught me that, you know, you don’t need to go and work for someone. You don’t need to go and find a job.
I think on the other side, my mom really wanted me to go to college and then go to university. So I still ended up going down that route, I still went off to university and did a, an undergrad degree. But then by the time I’d sort of graduated from uni, I was in a really lucky position. I, at that state, that’s they built a company which was you know, earning creating enough revenue to so I didn’t have to go and then find a full time job or get a graduate role anywhere. And indeed, probably about a year after graduating I was in a position where I actually, I made my first ever hire. So around 2010 so that’s kind of how I got started. A very, very sort of brief overview and I think really just came from like a desire to learn things. I was just very curious kid. I wanted to absorb as much knowledge as I could and I kind of turned my hands at various different things.
So I think I mentioned before I taught myself Photoshop so I think my first ever dollar online was selling like a logo design or I used to make those little animated banners that used to flash away in the corner of websites. I had, I had a business selling those and designing those for a while. And really, it was just a case of like, get out there, try and find some some clients. And as soon as I think like the first ever I got a PayPal account on my 16th birthday, because I think you had to be 16 to sign up to PayPal. And as soon as I got my first paycheck, which was only like $20, or something for designing a logo, I was like, wow, this is actually, you know, this is a real thing. This is actually, you know, something that I can actually do, you know, I can turn the skill on this screen in front of me and turn it into money, which then goes into my bank account, what a brilliant opportunity.
Karen Swyszcz 05:30
And when you received like that first $20 in your PayPal and you’re like, what was that feeling? Like? Did you go and you know, blow it on something? Or were you like, Oh, I’m gonna reinvest it in my business.
James Mulvany 05:40
I think I think I was just like, it was probably more like, Wow, I’ve made $20. Now, how can I make 100? You know? And I think as well it was, you know, for a 16 year old kid, $20 is loads, right? You know, it’s, it seems, you know, it’s, it’s a lot of money. So it’s kind of more, the more money that I’d be getting, if I was going out and washing cars or, you know, doing a paper round or whatever. So, you know, a lot of my friends at that stage, were looking at getting part time jobs on a Saturday. And I was like, No, I think I’m going to focus on doing this. And, and it kind of just grew from there. Like I mentioned, you know, I then went off to university and I did a year in industry. So I was supposed to go, we were supposed to go work for someone else for a year, right as part of my four year degree. So near the third year, you go and work for someone else? Well, I said to the university, I don’t really want to go find a job working from someone else, I really want to focus this spend this year focusing on my business and seeing if I can kind of, I suppose really test and make sure that I’ve got some legs. So when I actually graduate, I can kind of move it forward. And to begin with the university were a bit like we don’t really have a structure for this. So they didn’t, you know, because normally the you know, the employer would report on how well you’re doing as part of that placement. Yeah. But of course, I was my own employer. So they’re kind of like, a bit funny about it to begin with. But eventually they agreed to it. And and I think by the end of that year, I was really certain that going down this route as an entrepreneur and going into the internet industry was something that I wanted to do.
Karen Swyszcz 07:07
And this really fascinating and after, like your first company, you ended up into starting a few other ones. Was there ever a point during that period of time where you ever thought like, oh, maybe I’ll try a nine to five or like, well, I wonder would that be like are you were just dead set? Like No, I’m going to be an entrepreneur and build my own things.
James Mulvany 07:27
I don’t think there’s ever been a point where I thought, No, I want to go and find a nine to five, I think there’s certainly been times where I, I would I’ve probably thought wow, having a nine to five would be so much easier. Because you know, as an entrepreneur, you can sometimes I’ve learned a lot more now to switch off, I used to be very much like, you know, when I started out, I’d be in the office till 11pm at night. You know, working crazy hours. And back then as well going on vacation was really difficult because you didn’t have when I was at university, the iPhone was like launched whilst I was going through that process. So like when I was kind of like 18 to about 22. You didn’t have smartphones. And it was very difficult. If I went on vacation, I could and I didn’t have any staff. So I just couldn’t ever switch off and I never really enjoyed. I kind of that’s one regret I have I never really went traveling or did anything like that, because I was so focused on the business all the time. But you know, I think so. So yeah, to answer the question, I think there was probably times where I thought, Wow, it would be easier if I had a full time job. But I don’t think I’ve ever really looked back and I don’t think I’d ever. I don’t think. I’d be unemployable, now, I think really.
Karen Swyszcz 08:32
So with respect to the two companies that I mentioned in the bio Podcast.co and Radio.co, what made you decide to focus on the online audio space?
James Mulvany 08:43
Okay, so one of the things I was looking at before, well, kind of around the time of starting my first business I was really interested in the radio industry. I love listening to the radio as a kid and a DJ’d and stuff like this, I was kind of thinking, well, I could go and be a radio presenter, maybe that would be a career that I could pursue. So I started getting work experience working in local radio stations, and doing a bit of online radio and figuring out how to broadcast online. And as a result, I learned that process. And I think that was my first ever business. That was when I’ve kind of went from, as I said before, like just doing odd jobs like designing websites for people or doing logos to actually having a kind of a product to sell, which was my first ever business wave streaming I launched in 2004 when I was about 17. And we were selling streaming media services to the radio industry. And that’s because I’d kind of gone into the industry, done a bit of work experience, decided that I wasn’t going to go into the follow that as a career but I’d learned enough about it that I kind of understood the lingo and I could see that there was an opportunity there and again, a lot of the or other companies doing this but I felt like their sales process. Their marketing sites weren’t really very sharp. It was very kind of clunky, old school like websites and I thought, Hey, I can design a better looking site than this, I think I can sell this product. Coincidentally, when I first started out, I didn’t really know what I was doing. So I had to find someone else who would, who was kind of clever enough to know about all the servers and stuff. And, subsequently, I picked a lot of that up, well then when I went off to university and sort of taught myself to code, and you know, learn a lot more about the kind of the inner workings of how you build web products and how you maintain infrastructure, etc.
Karen Swyszcz 10:23
Okay, so there was Radio.co and then at what point did you decide to start a Podcast.co, causeI, I can only imagine you’re running one business? Yes, tough. And then you decide to add another one Podcast.co and then eventually matchmaker.fm, which we’ll talk about a little bit later more in the episodes, I want to talk about your second company.
James Mulvany 10:43
Yeah, so Radio.co was born out of our It was the first business ever had wave streaming. And before that, I had a couple of sort of failed ventures, which I launched, which, you know, again, as an entrepreneur, that’s part of the deal, right? You know, you you, you have some successes, you have some failures, and I’ve had both. And yeah, it kind of Radio.co came around, because we thought, let’s build like a really nice platform, learn a lot about the selling to the radio industry. So I thought, let’s create sort of this nice, unified platform. And I think the podcast, Podcast.co came around, because the industry is interesting with podcasting, obviously, is not a new medium. It’s been around for like 15 years or so. However, probably around 2016 and 17, it really had like a second wave, like I think a lot of people started listening to podcasts that previously weren’t, it sort of became a bit more of a mainstream medium. And so and we had a lot of clients were approaching us saying, Do you think you’re going to build podcast functionality into Radio.co? So we thought to ourselves like it? Does it make sense to do that? Does it make sense to kind of make the product even more convoluted? Or should we launch this as a separate standalone platform and sort of just have a like a link between the two, which, which made more sense. And again, a lot of people who start podcast don’t want radio stations, but then a lot of radio stations do want podcasts. So there are two different markets there. But also, interestingly, probably, a few years before that, like, towards the end of when I was at uni, I remember actually have I had a podcast for a period of time with my friend Steve, who was someone I was in a shared sort of like a shared office environment with and we just would sit down and just discuss what we were doing. We were both like running startup companies, we kind of were really in the early stages of, of doing that. And we just used to sit down and discuss what we were doing. And it was quite, quite fun. Interesting, like, all the episodes, which we recorded, have vanished off the internet, and I’d love to listen back to them, but I can’t find them anywhere. They’d probably be on a hard drive somewhere. But But yeah, you know, again, but then I remember that the actual process of creating the podcast was so convoluted. It was really hard to get out there online. And it was sort of something that I think was very much reserved for enthusiasts, you know, because you had to download it onto your iPod, transfer it onto your iPod, and then you could take it out with you. But now obviously, you just click a button, and you can stream it when you, whenever you sat on the train or on the bus or wherever.
Karen Swyszcz 13:08
And the fact that it’s such a lower barrier to entry. Now, Would you say that’s kind of one of the big factors that cause the the second wave?
James Mulvany 13:16
Yeah, absolutely. I think that and also just the higher availability of people with mobile data. Also, smart speakers, things like that, it’s just made the medium a lot more accessible. But also, yeah, you know, that was one of the prime goals with with Podcast.co. And that’s what we try and achieve with any with any product I build, I always try make it. So it’s simplifying a complex problem, I really enjoy creating technology or web products that kind of that are a simple solution to to otherwise quite convoluted issue, quite convoluted problems.
Karen Swyszcz 13:48
And you mentioned about having many successes and many failures, which is very common in an entrepreneur’s journey. And rather than focusing on the successes, I’d actually like to talk a little bit more about the failures if you’re open to it, because I love talking about it. Yeah. I feel people find other entrepreneurs, especially successful ones, like more relatable when they realize like, oh, okay, you struggled to like, Oh, yeah, I don’t feel so bad anymore. Was there any, like failure in particular that really stood out in your mind?
James Mulvany 14:18
So I had, um, there’s a, there’s a couple of businesses I spent a lot of money on in terms of, you know, investing and time and hiring staff, and they just haven’t worked out. The first was a cloud platform called CDNify which still exists, it got acquired in the end, whether or not I made that much money on that, it’s very much questionable, because you know, the price was acquired for is probably, maybe less than that I’d spent on on actually building the platform, everything. And we ran that for about two years. And it just didn’t make sense. And I think really, CDNify is a content delivery network to sort of, sort of put it in a simple way that’s, it’s basically a platform which accelerates websites so you know, host images or web pages on a network of servers all around the world. And we kind of saw an opportunity to, there were quite a few big companies in this space. So we thought, well, there’s room for a startup. And then it’s kind of more cool. And we’ll work with sort of more independent developers and stuff like this.
But it wasn’t really an industry, I spent a lot of time researching. And I think that was probably where I went wrong. Really, it was something that I kind of jumped into, because I thought, well, I’d love to use this product. So surely everyone else will. So we created this platform. And it was, you know, it didn’t, it just didn’t take off. It didn’t gain the momentum that I was I was hoping for, and obviously spent, probably about a year creating it. And obviously, all the costs that go with that, you know, hiring web developers to build it, and then spending time and money on the marketing. And, yeah, we grew it to a certain size. We had customers, we had some momentum, but it just was kind of plateaued. It didn’t kind of it didn’t really capture the you know, the industry didn’t really sort of create a dent that I wanted to. I got an offer a couple years later, I just said yeah, it’s probably time to call it a day.
Karen Swyszcz 16:05
And with respect to like, starting up several businesses, like at what point would you say, it would be time to call it quits? Because I feel like there would be several factors. And it’s different for everyone. But is there some kind of general idea? I mean, like, because here’s the thing you want to work on it, you want to give it enough time and effort, but at the same time, you have to take a step back. And when it comes to the point like Okay, do I continue to persevere? Or is it time to focus on the next thing?
James Mulvany 16:37
I kind of think like for me two years is enough time, I think if you’ve if you spent two years and you know, obviously there’s a whole thing that the phrase of fail fast, right, you know, you can’t launch a business and always expect it to take off ridiculously and become hugely successful within like the space of six months. It doesn’t always work like that, you know, sometimes you’ve got to spend six months just creating enough momentum and getting traffic to a website before it starts really getting anywhere on Google, like with organic rankings. So I think too, after a two year period, if something’s really, you know, still not kind of breaking even or at a point where you think you know that there’s no, this hasn’t got legs, I think that’s probably a good time to call it quits. But then again, there’s so many different factors there’s a lot of my businesses have been built. Well, the first few businesses that were entirely bootstrapped. So, for us, it was very much important that we turn a profit because we have bills to pay. And we had, we had our staff wages and office space, and all this kind of stuff. Whereas if you’re a company that’s backed by VC, sometimes, VC backed companies don’t make a profit or don’t make any money for years. And they’ll just raise more and more and more investment. And sometimes they can grow crazy big, like look at like Uber, for example, and still not make any money. But then would you would you say was a failure? No, of course not. It’s a huge success. But it’s just one of these things where it’s just kind of they’ve had so much an insane amount of money pumped into over the years. And it’s become this big global organization. So I think it’s really it depends on the business and the sort of the situation. And also the I suppose the founders attitude as well. Like, you know, again, I’ve had, I’ve seen people who have kind of run businesses for years and years, and you know, sometimes it won’t make a huge profit. But if it’s paying the bills, you know, and they’re happy, then you could consider it a success or keep going, you know, it just depends on what you want.
Karen Swyszcz 18:27
Yeah, that’s so true. So before we touch base on matchmaker.fm, I’m really curious to know or what your tips are on running multiple companies simultaneously? That’s a good question. Yeah.
James Mulvany 18:39
So I think, like right now, three different, well, three different websites, I suppose under two different companies. So two different sort of corporations, make sure you’ve got good team around you. So the way we operate is we have separate development teams who are working on each product, I think that’s really important. With marketing, there is a little bit of crossover. So we have some people who are working across different brands, but as much as we can, we’ll try and dedicate resource to each individual brand. Obviously, my job as a founder is kind of, you know, keep the ship driving forward, so to speak. So, you know, and again, I think, sometimes you’ve got only got so much mental bandwidth. So it’s kind of a case of, you have to sometimes focus on one thing, and then like, come back to one so so for example, Radio.co now is six years old. We’ve got a great team behind the product. It’s a mature sort of business now. So it doesn’t require as much of my time, however, you know, you still can’t take your eye off the ball too much, you’ve still got to kind of pay attention to where it’s going. Whereas Matchmaker at the moment is very, very high growth. I’m sure we’ll get onto this in a second. So with Matchmaker that’s kind of occupying a lot of my kind of mental bandwidth on a day to day basis, I guess. But it’s just about balance, really. But I think, you know, there are some people who’ve got I think three right now is probably enough for me. I don’t think I’d want to have any more right this second. But there are sometimes people who, you know, sometimes in some cases might have like 10, 20 different businesses. You know, it’s just about making sure you’ve got the right structure in place. So you’re not trying to do everything all yourself.
Karen Swyszcz 20:17
Yeah, that’s so true. And yeah, with respect to Matchmaker, it started off as a side project. And just over a year ago, like when you’ve, you launched it, and now you’ve reached the milestone of a community of 25k. Yeah, and it just blows my mind. Because I’m trying to think in my head, like, how did I find out about it? Maybe it was like on LinkedIn, or Twitter. And then when I came across it, I was just so amazed. Like, Oh, my gosh, like, finally a platform because prior to finding Matchmaker, I was just going through my link, LinkedIn network, like LinkedIn connections, just like scouring, like, okay, who can be a good podcast, like Do they even want to be on on my podcast? So yeah, could you? Can you talk about how Matchmaker came to be?
James Mulvany 21:00
Yeah, so Matchmaker was one of these products, that was a real sort of pleasant accident almost. So probably, yeah, just come up to two years ago, the summer before last, we were launching Podcast.co. We were looking at different ways to market and, and sort of different funnels that we could create, to drive traffic to our website. And obviously, we thought, well, loads of podcasts are based on having guests, or, you know, finding people for interview. So we kind of set up this, these landing pages, which said, Oh, you know, if you’re looking for great guests we can match you up with and it was really like the very basic MVP, and we sort of came across this with all that, let’s just see if there’s something here. So we started running some traffic to it. We have one page, which was targeted towards podcasters, looking for guests. And one page, which was targeted towards guests looking to be featured on podcasts. And these weren’t just like, put your name and your email, and they were like, please give us your you know the details about your podcast, tell us what your podcasts about what sort of guests are you looking for, and sort of vice versa. And we noticed that people were actually filling this out. And it was effectively like people create a profile about themselves. But we didn’t actually have any way of kind of connecting these two groups of people together. So we thought, maybe this is this has got legs, you know, maybe there’s an opportunity here. So we started, we sat down with our designer. We were in the midst of launching Podcast.co. So we didn’t spend a lot of time on it then. But what we did is we kind of came up this idea of Matchmaker, and we kind of thought a little bit like Tinder, but for podcasters. Really like a tiny tongue in cheek sort of expression. But, you know, but let’s design this product, and maybe we’ll come back to it. So probably six months went past, we launched Podcast.co and then we thought, okay, maybe let’s give this a go, let’s create sort of a platform, we’ve already got these lists of people. I think by that stage, we maybe had two or 300 entries into these forms. So they were if you like our kind of our Beta users. But so we already have the kind of the data there. So rather than just being like an empty platform with we had a group of people who could say, look, come and join us and see how it gets on. And we learned really quickly that the the feedback we had was tremendous. When we put the product live, it was February 2020, just to those users and our existing customers. And then we kind of launched it to the public and kind of March, April time and really started pushing it. And yeah, we’ve, we’ve just hit we’re about 27 and a half thousand users now, just over a year. And it’s really exciting.
And what’s one of these products that’s a delight as an entrepreneur, because I constantly have people in thanking me for the platform, which is really unusual, because like normally, you create a product and you’re trying to sell it. And it’s almost like you got to try and overcome those barriers, that friction because you’re trying to get money off people for a product or a service. And there’s always lots of ifs and buts and whys and you’ve got to try and figure out really what the route to market is going to be. Whereas with matchmaker it seems to have been pretty much plain sailing. You know, we have a lot of people who join us, we’ve got some really exciting users. And we constantly hear from users who are just getting great results on a day to day basis, which is like really rewarding as an entrepreneur. We’re at a stage now where we kind of realize that this is an interesting platform. It’s more than just a side project. So we’re kind of we’re kind of starting to look to potentially raise investment to sort of take things to the next level, which is pretty exciting.
Karen Swyszcz 24:23
Yeah, I think it’s it’s such a fantastic idea. I can’t tell you how excited every time I check my inbox, and then it got to get these messages saying like, oh, we’d love for you to be a guest on your podcast. Yeah, me really well. It’s so exciting. It’s such an honor. And then like likewise, yeah, being able to find guests like the right kind of guests that I want for my podcast. And every time someone asked, like, Where can I find podcasts, guests, refer to Matchmaker. I’m like just, you know, go to Matchmaker, which brings me to my next question. Maybe maybe you already have it in place. But is there a referral program?
James Mulvany 24:56
There’s no there’s not yet. There’s something we’ve talked about and I think it’s something we’re probably Really like implement at some stage? Yeah, I mean, the the main thing with Matchmaker, the main challenge over the past year has just been building, it’s that kind of critical mass where you’ve got enough users that don’t want to sign up to something. If it’s just got like a couple of 100 people on it, it doesn’t work. So we’re obviously because it’s been free, and we’ve not really been monetizing it until recently. You know, creating a kind of like your affiliate program or referral programs not really made sense. But we’re looking at how we can potentially do that. And I certainly think it’s something that we’ll probably implement at some stage. You know, most recently, actually, today, finally, we just managed to get our iOS app out the door. I don’t know if you noticed. We had Android, which the Android app came out, like about a month and a half ago. And Apple’s notoriously difficult review process has just held us back, which is really frustrating. But finally, we got it live yesterday. And we were like, yes. So hopefully, that’s gonna again, because again, one of the things you have with a kind of community platform, such as this is, you know, you want to keep people engaged. And of course, the current method of you get an email to your inbox when you get a new message isn’t ideal. Whereas if you get a ping on your phone, it’s going to be much easier. So hopefully, we’re going to increase engagement, and it’s just going to be a better experience for everyone.
Karen Swyszcz 26:14
Yeah, and I think having that messenger app is such a great idea. And yeah, thank you so much for putting it on Android because I feel most of the apps that I want, especially Clubhouse, yes, iOS and Android. Yeah, right. Okay. Like, all right, you know what, I’m just gonna miss out and now I’ll just, you know, do other things instead.
James Mulvany 26:35
I find it astonishing with Clubhouse just because like number one, you know, they’ve had huge growth. Number two, I’m sure they’ve not, you know, they’re not short of investment. They’ve had a lot of money put into it. Why? Why haven’t we got an Android app? Surely, like if we can, if we’re a tiny little startup, you know, surely Clubhouse could afford to put together an Android app? I don’t get what what gives there? That’s strange, isn’t it?
Karen Swyszcz 26:54
Yeah it is very strange and just kind of adding a little bit more to the messenger app. I think it’s also a great idea, just because with respect to scheduling podcasts, you kind of want to get that ball rolling in the conversation, like going as soon as possible. Like with respect to requests, I try to answer as soon as possible and like give the link to my schedule, because it’s something that you want to kind of have in place because especially when you’re doing interviews, you have to prepare for them. So you just like, you know, a lot some time to prepare. Well, I’m assuming that most people prepare for their, their podcast when they have to interview guests. And I also wanted to talk about the 30 podcasts in 30 days tour. When I come across that I was just like, Oh, my God, like that must have been so intense, even though it was a virtual tour. So could you speak to that? And what made you decide to attempt that intense challenge?
James Mulvany 27:51
Well, okay, so a couple of reasons. Like number one, I was aware that I was founder of this, this platform to introduce guests and podcasters. And I’ve done a few shows and interviews myself, but I haven’t done loads. So I was like, I probably should do like a few more. Number two, it was a great way of getting the word out about Matchmaker, you know, because a lot of people listen to podcast, either have their own podcast, or they’d be interested in doing guests. So it was a good way of doing that. It was great way of engaging with and talking to users of the platform so I could get feedback. And fourthly, one of the weird reasons there’s just like, I was in lockdown. And you know, I was at home, I wasn’t in the we normally our office base. Obviously, we’ve been working from home for the past year. I’m still working from home now. And I was like, I’ve got this time on my hands where I can easily just hop in and out of calls, which I would never have the opportunity or time to do when I’m at the office because there’s too many distractions or the other, you know, people using the meeting room or I’ve got other stuff going on. So I was like, this is a great time just to actually kind of get stuck in and I can kind of be flexible, I can hop in and out if I wanted to do one in the evening I could. Likewise during the day, so I just thought be really exciting thing. And I ended up doing 48 actually within 30 days. So to give myself a break, I didn’t do like 30 days in one month. It was more like in the end six weeks. I just counted like Monday to Friday, so I wasn’t doing recordings on the weekend so it made it a little bit more manageable. But yeah, it was really good fun. And I just met so many interesting people in the process. And, you know, I still try and do maybe like four or five podcasts a month. I mean, there’s some times where I don’t do any of this. I probably do a few more but I try and kind of keep it fairly consistent.
Karen Swyszcz 29:40
For sure. And you know, having done that many podcasts even though it wasn’t 30 days straight, like how did you maintain the energy and the stamina? Like I’m not sure about you, but whenever I’m a guest on podcasts, I end even when I’m interviewing people, it’s kind of like I’m really focused. I focus all my energy in that one particular hour, but then afterwards I’m like, okay, I need a break. And I actually, you know, spend a few days like not talking to people.
James Mulvany 30:05
I think well, okay. So some tips are, the way I approached it was I kind of categorized the three different types of podcasts that I wanted to approach. Some were like, mainly focused on like marketing, some were focused on sort of the entrepreneurial stuff, or there’s some more focus more on like, sort of personal development or sort of self improvement, that kind of thing. And then for each of these three categories of podcasts, I had, like a few different topics that I wanted to talk about. So you could kind of like, you know, the best thing to do is a guest is just trying to like, figure out what your skill set or what your knowledge applies to a try and like, just don’t think okay, let’s, let’s say you’re a nutritionist. Don’t just think, Okay, I need to be on nutrition podcast, but you could be on podcast, which are health and fitness. You can be on podcasts, which are about entrepreneurial mindset or all sorts of stuff. So, try think about, like outside the box and what skills, what areas could you kind of go into, and kind of give your wisdom. In terms of like, remaining upbeat- yeah, I know what you mean, it’s sometimes especially like, back then I was doing sometimes three or four podcasts in a single day. And then sometimes they, you know, because of timezone differences, obviously, I’m in the UK, I’d be sometimes recording at 7pm at night, and, and it can be tough. If you need to reschedule because you’re completely like, you know, tired or just think you’re not going to be great. That’s always an option. Have a coffee beforehand, probably helps like, and I think just generally like, Yeah, you’ve got to just try and give it 110%. I think the advice I give to people when they’re either starting a podcast or starting to get a guest gig on podcast, is if you think about it as you try and give 110% of your normal self. So you’ve got to just like ramp up your normal personality just by like 10% extra because it comes across on on camera. It comes across when you’re listening down the microphone, or you know, via headphones or whatever, versus just kind of just trying to be completely like chilled. I think you need to try and like just have a little bit more excitement, and perhaps you normally would.
Karen Swyszcz 32:07
Yeah, yeah, it’s for sure. Yeah. It’s funny, because when I tell people I’m actually quite socially awkward and introverted. They find it very surprising. Just cause Oh, well, you sound very, like energetic. And, yes, I’m like, Well, yeah, of course I grew talking about you have to bump it up a little bit, or people won’t want to listen to your podcast. So yeah, that’s really great advice. And although people are getting vaccinated, like the idea of a virtual tour, like because it’s more economical and flexible, it sounds more appealing. Like, do you think this is something that people would consider to do in the future, even though things are like opening up? Just because it enables you to? Yeah, talk to people, you don’t have to worry so much about like, say, a, a tour bus or a tour manager?
James Mulvany 32:55
Well, yeah, well, just, you know, I mean, again, I do think, you know, I used to record podcasts face to face and I think you do have a different dynamic when you sat in person with someone. However, the tools online you know, we at the moment UC Riverside FM has a bunch of these tools like Squadcast, Welder which do the same sort of thing. And you know, it is it is still the next best thing is weird, because when we built Matchmaker, the location thing and having this sort of in person available for in person interviews, remote interviews, because obviously we designed it like a year or two before the pandemic hit, it seemed like it was quite an important feature, whereas now I kind of feel like it’s not as much I think, actually. It’s about what people have got to offer the stories they want to tell. That’s kind of what people want to know more about it. I think it’s become more irrelevant, having people face to face. But as I say, I think Yeah, face to face does have an extra dynamic. Whether or not it will go back to like, you know, I think is even like when you look at, if you look at movie stars, being interviewed on chat shows, you know, it was always be a case, they’d be sat there on the couch, whereas now a lot of the time they have them on a screen. I don’t know if that will ever go back to that, you know, that old school way of doing things or I think moving forward is probably going to be more of a combination. What do you think?
Karen Swyszcz 34:08
Yeah, you know what? I mean, I like the idea of convenience. So yeah, I the majority, I would say like 99.9% of my podcast, I think there was only one time and that was when I was just dabbling in podcasting. Like just a story a little side note, I tried to launch in 2015 didn’t work so I launched in 2019 but I’m a big fan of the remote podcasting just again because of the the flexibility and you know, location and you know, like you said you’re in the UK I’m based in Canada and of course I unfortunately I don’t have the funds to fly you over if I wanted to. And I think it’s great because with Matchmaker yeah, I’ve been getting requests from people who are not only based in Canada, but also in the states, in the UK and other parts of Europe and it just sounds I don’t know it it also. It makes me feel like I can promote my podcast to like another level saying like, Oh, well, I have international guests like from Europe and Australia.
James Mulvany 35:09
I don’t you know, I think as well I think Karen like when when things kind of go back to normal and like a normal sort of business travel resumes, like if you’re going to say like I was supposed to go to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas last year, just literally, it was canceled, right at the last minute. And I’ve been once before back in 2017. And I since then I’ve interviewed or, or been interviewed by like, probably four or five people who live in Austin, which is where South by Southwest is held. So I would, you know, I guarantee you next time, I’m in Austin, if I go to South by again, I will probably meet up, I’ll make an effort to reach out to the people I’ve spoken to on my, on my podcast or spoken to on their podcast, and actually say that, hey, I’m at South By, you know, you want to go for a beer or drink or for, you know, drink or whatever. So it’s a great networking tool. And I do think that, you know, you can sort of in a weird way, like almost make friends or build your network, you know, all around the world. And I think certainly, it I expect to sort of feel like almost know those people even though I’ve never met them before, because I’ve recorded an episode with them.
Karen Swyszcz 36:11
Yeah, for sure. I agree with you. 100%. With podcasting being a networking tool, because I started with a blog and then, you know, I connected with bloggers, and now that I have a podcast, I’m connecting with a completely set of, excuse me, a completely different set of people, which I think is really cool. And then just, again, also agreeing with you how you feel like you you know, the person just because again, with the podcast interview, I feel with podcasting is such like an intimate medium, you know, just like talking to them and like listening to their voice listening to the way their voice sounds like when they get really excited about something and then you know, when they’re like get not so excited about something. So yeah, definitely agree with that. So I just want to continue the conversation a little bit with like some other podcasting trends. Since the start of the pandemic, I don’t know about you, if you can speak to this the same way. I feel like the podcasting space has like exploded. Like I feel every almost everybody you know, your, your friend, your brother, your mother, your sister is starting a podcast. So do you feel like it’s reaching a saturation point?
James Mulvany 37:15
No, I don’t I think if you there are a lot of people who start. Interestingly some data I saw the other day, which was on the Podnew newsletter. And they said, basically, they did an analysis of like, there’s about 2 million podcasts now on Apple, okay, sort of 2 million podcasts out there in the wild. And that figure was only about 1,000,000 million about this time last year, I think they had just hit a million. So obviously, since then, like and before that, it was like 800,000. So yeah, like, there’s probably been over a million podcasts started over the past year. But if you look at the amount of those podcasts, I think they analyzed, and they were like, the amount of shows that had got more than like 10 episodes was only like 800,000. And there’s a huge chunk of that, which is only like one episode or two episodes. So yeah, there’s lots of people have said, I’ve started a podcast, but the one of the main, sort of important traits of a good podcaster is being consistent, you know, it’s mostly making sure you’re pushing content out on a regular basis according to a good schedule. So you can kind of build up that consistency for your listeners. And I think, you know, obviously, recording one episode and thinking I’m gonna get like a million people tuning in is just unrealistic. But people do think that, you know, for some reason, you know, this is just the same as if you’re starting a YouTube channel or an Instagram account, you know, you’ve got to post consistently, you’ve got to upload consistently, whatever. But yeah, so I think 800,000 is the number of like, podcasts are active. And I think they did some more analysis, I can’t remember the figures off the top, my head of how many of those 800,000 actually published an episode over the past few weeks, or a month or whatever. So the numbers even lower. So I still think there’s a huge amount of opportunity there. You know, if you compare that to the number of active Facebook pages, or YouTube channels, or whatever, it’s a very low number. It’s just about trying to find your niche, making sure that you’re consistent, making sure that you’re producing content is interesting and captivating. But you know, it’s it’s a really exciting medium. So I don’t think it’s reached saturation. No.
Karen Swyszcz 39:15
Yeah, it’s interesting. Just talking about how, like a lot of people starting them, but not that many pushing past the 10 episode mark. And do you think it’s because they have a hard time like with the consistency like what do you think are some factors that makes people like, quit so soon after?
How To Leverage Audio For Your Brand and Business
James Mulvany 39:34
Well, I think it’s probably an easy, easy to answer about how to approach it. I think if you’re starting a podcast, don’t just think about what you’re going to talk about in Episode Number one, but try and map out like the first season so if you’re gonna do say, you know, eight episodes or 10, episodes, whatever, and then come back and maybe have a little break and then come back to Season Number Two. That’s always how I recommend doing it rather than just committing to doing 52 episodes a year because it can be quite grueling at times. But yeah, I think my advice is always like, try and map that season out think, right what story we’re going to tell how these episodes going to link together. So, if you’re creating about a podcast about marketing, you know, and again, this is what Matchmakers great for, because you can then find experts to talk about whatever you want. So if you’re going to do a podcast about marketing, you might say, in Episode Number one, talk about content, you might talk about Facebook Ads in Episode Two, SEO In Episode Number three, media buying or whatever in Episode Four. So you can then go and find out find experts who can talk about each of those topics, and sort of plan it out. So you’ve got sort like a coherent series that makes sense, versus just thinking, oh, let’s just chat about marketing for one episode, and just kind of making up as you go along. I think if you can have an idea of the sort of the content you want to deliver to your audience, that really helps.
Karen Swyszcz 40:47
And as you were talking about that, I thought about the posts you have featured on your LinkedIn profile, like, it makes me laugh gonna laugh as I start to say How To Make A Shit Podcast. Like, yeah, and I’ll put the link in the show notes in the summary for the audience, because it is just truly truly funny. So of course, we know what makes a shitty podcast but I want to ask you, what’s the difference between a good podcast versus a great podcast?
James Mulvany 41:14
Oh, that’s really good question. Again, I think that’s really subjective, isn’t it? It depends what you listen to podcasts for, you know, there’s obviously a lot of people who go to to them for entertainment. Personally, I don’t, I tend to listen more for facts. I tend to listen because I’m interested, learn more about stuff that’s going on online or in industry, or trying to learn some new ninja marketing tricks, or whatever. Versus like listening to a, you know, horror series, or whatever. So I guess, what makes a good podcast is just, I always think when you have a teaser, at the beginning of the episode kind of gives you an inkling as to what you’re going to learn in that episode, that’s always good. Because it kind of says, you know, this is why you should invest your time in tuning in to this entire episode. And quite often the intro of a podcast, you know, it can be, they can kind of be quite sort of similar in terms of like, we started this episode with a little bit of my about my background, etc. You know, so I always think, you know, if you can talk, if you can sort of sell that episode at the beginning of the sort of episode is always a good idea. You know, just come up with like, if you’re, if you’re a podcaster, just do like a little pre record, say, here are the three things that we’re going to learn through this episode. And it gives the reason the listener a reason to keep tuning in. And, as I mentioned before, consistency, having a clear description as a title, you know, again, just saying that you’re talking to, you know, your podcast is great about this, because you don’t just say who you’re talking to, but you talk about what they’re actually going to what you’re going to learn in that episode. I think that’s that’s really key too, as well.
Karen Swyszcz 42:51
So I want to change up, change it up a bit. So one of my closing questions, and this is actually taken from an article from the education section of matchmaker.com I just discovered Amplify. If you could have dinner with any three podcasters who would they be and why?
James Mulvany 43:07
Okay. So I think Joe Rogan, just because he’s insane, isn’t he? And he’s managed to like grow this crazy. Yeah, I think he’d be interesting, although I can’t imagine going for dinner with him. It will just be an end up being a podcast episode. There’s a UK kind of motivational guy who was like a sort of hypnotist called Paul McKenna quite like I’ve always been a big fan of his. I read a lot of his books, certainly when I was kind of young and kind of started my career. Who else? Tim Ferriss is another good one. I you know, 24 Hour Work Week. I remember reading that back in the day. It was pretty inspirational for me at the time. So so yeah, there we go.
Karen Swyszcz 43:45
Cool. I can also also imagine like you like all four of you just like chatting in it in a pub to like when it’s safe to do so.
James Mulvany 43:54
Yeah, it was the pubs have opened up now in England, but you can only say outside. So it’s like another month before we can actually go and sit inside which is fine. Apart from that the weather has not been great over the past couple of weeks. So literally on the first everything opened up, everyone was sat there with like, big thick coats on like, trying to eat their food. But yeah, it would be safe to do so. Totally.
Karen Swyszcz 44:16
And looking back on your entrepreneurial journey, was there anything that surprised you along the way?
James Mulvany 44:21
I think I think the biggest surprise was like when I managed to strike a deal when I was about 22 years old with AOL. And I couldn’t quite believe it really like it was one of those turning points in my career is probably a story for another time. But yeah, I literally change, you know, change my fortunes, I suppose. And, you know, I was just this 22 year old kid. I flew to New York, just to go meet them because they kind of expressed interest in working with us and I was like, I’ve just got to get on a plane and see them and I did they didn’t ask me to but I knew it was a good idea. And I left that meeting. I was like, Wow, that was like one of those moments where I was just like, couldn’t quite believe what was happening in it. Yeah, it was. It was pretty, pretty incredible.
Karen Swyszcz 45:07
Wow, that sounds absolutely amazing. And I know you’re online pretty much everywhere. But I guess my question to you is like, if people wanted to connect with you, where would you be the most active online?
James Mulvany 45:18
Probably, well, I, LinkedIn, I’m quite active, and YouTube, I upload, try video, upload one video a week. There depends sometimes they’re focusing on podcasting type stuff. Sometimes it’s radio, sometimes it’s equipment. But all of my social links are on jamesm.com/connect. You can find all my sort of social media channels there.
Karen Swyszcz 45:41
Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for this really great conversation. I really enjoyed learning about your journey and just chatting about podcasting.
James Mulvany: Likewise, Karen, thanks very much for having me on.
Karen Swyszcz: Thanks, everyone, for tuning in and stay tuned for more episodes. Ciao for now.