PHILLIP CRUM: It is time again for another edition of “It’s Just Coffee”, our weekly podcast with Kathleen Mills of Life Tree Counseling and her guest of the week. How are you doing, Kathleen?
KATHLEEN MILLS: Fine.
PHILLIP CRUM: Tell me something I don’t know about you that’s happened this week?
KATHLEEN MILLS: I have to read it.
PHILLIP CRUM: Read it, then.
KATHLEEN MILLS: I got an e-mail yesterday. This is embarrassing.
PHILLIP CRUM: You got an e-mail from World Wide Branding announcing that you are an honored member, qualified for inclusion in the 2014-15 edition of the World Wide Who’s Who Registry of Executives, Professionals, in witness thereof… So you are now officially what?
KATHLEEN MILLS: I’ve got the e-mail yesterday that I was inducted into that in, I think, February, the e-mail came where I was Entrepreneur of the Year from World Wide Branding.
PHILLIP CRUM: Good. Another feather in your cap. I’m still Phillip Crum, content marketing coach.
KATHLEEN MILLS: It’s Friday.
PHILLIP CRUM: Yes, it’s been a very fast week, and you’ve had a good week, and you’ve got a new face starting at Lifetree Counseling.
KATHLEEN MILLS: Yes, and we’re going to have a couple more new faces in the next, hopefully, couple weeks.
PHILLIP CRUM: Excellent. Today, we are blessed with a Mr. Dan Franks, who is a local big dog in the world of podcasting.
KATHLEEN MILLS: I have to do this because one of the things that captured my attention to Dan Franks was the very short succinct bio of him on his – I think it’s your website or your podcast site or something like that – so I’m going to read it because I was hooked. Dan Franks, you’re a full-time CPA moonlights as a podcaster, blogger, and professional wrestler. He considers himself an all-around good guy, and I can just faithfully say, without really having known him for more than 20 minutes right now, he is a good guy because the wrestler part…
PHILLIP CRUM: By way of intro…
KATHLEEN MILLS: Dan Franks, tell me a little bit about you.
DAN FRANKS: What you said there was my Twitter profile. It does its job, right, it caught your attention.
KATHLEEN MILLS: I’m hooked. Totally.
DAN FRANKS: Everything that I said was true. I’m a full-time CPA. I work with small business owners and entrepreneurs to try to steer their ship in the right direction in terms of money. I’m a now-recovering former professional wrestler, so I’ve had to, by way of many injuries and wear-and-tear on the body, give it a little rest. I’m still a lifelong fan; that’ll never change. Blogger, podcaster, and now more specifically, a podcast conference creator, I guess you could say.
KATHLEEN MILLS: I am very excited because we’ve talked off-air about this and you and I have e-mailed a couple of times in the last week and I do want you to tell me about what’s coming up in August, what you do, what you’re planning, what this is all about because I think it’s very helpful for people all over across the board business-wise, including mental health professionals to know about this.
DAN FRANKS: What I’m creating, as I mentioned, is a podcasting conference for podcasters. A lot of people have maybe heard of podcasting. If they’re listening to it, they know what a podcast is. There is a lot of people out there who maybe don’t know if having their own podcast is something that’s right for them. We really wanted to create this place that not only could people who are currently podcasting come to this one central conference to learn to get better, but also people who are just starting a podcasting or thinking “Is a podcast right for me?” We wanted to create a place that all of them can come and really answer all of those questions and get better and grow whatever their decision is.
KATHLEEN MILLS: Tell me what made you venture out doing this particular conference. There’s others in the universe. Why are you so special?
DAN FRANKS: The main other one that appeals to podcasters is called “New Media Expo” and it’s in Las Vegas and three or four thousand people every year go to the New Media Expo. Unfortunately, it’s not just for podcasters, it’s also for bloggers and web TV hosts and any of these new media content creators is really who this New Media Expo caters to. While we were there this January, myself and a couple of co-creators of the conference, we thought it was really cool as current podcasters to be there, but at the same time, we felt like it was lacking a little bit in terms of tracks and courses for podcasters. And the other thing we noticed is if we’re not podcasters now, but we think maybe we need to be, or maybe we’re just starting out, this is a little overwhelming because there’s 4,000 people there and maybe 500, 600, 700, maybe a thousand of them are podcasters. But if you’re somebody looking to get into podcasting and saying “Maybe there’s some kind of in-person event I can go to to learn”, this New Media Expo is not for you because the price point is very high, it’s in Las Vegas, the overwhelm factor is just huge because of the sheer volume of people, and it’s not just folks who are podcasters. We really wanted to create on something that really was focused for podcasters that we could open the door for anyone who is interested in podcasting, but maybe, say, well, bloggers, web TV hosts, this really isn’t the right place for you, we’re focusing on a certain people, so that’s why we came up with this.
KATHLEEN MILLS: So I’m going to narrow it down. You’ve answered some of it already, but who should attend this here in Dallas.
DAN FRANKS: The people who should attend this, as I mentioned, is anyone who is interested in becoming a podcaster, or you already are a podcasters, so podcast listeners, someone who just enjoys consuming them, you’re not going to get a whole lot out of this unless there’s maybe one of your favorite podcasters and you want to buy a ticket and come meet one of your favorite podcasters. But we’re not going to not sell you a ticket. The people who are going to get the most out of this are people who either have a podcast and feel like there’s some room to make it better, whether it’s they want to start making money with their podcast or whether it’s that they want to improve the quality of it or learn how to interview guests on their show where they’re normally just talking. If you already have a podcast, you can come and make it better. If you’re looking to start a podcast, you’ve decided you want to do it, but you don’t know where to start, this is a good place to come. Maybe, if you are just thinking about starting a podcast, this is a good place to come and surround yourself with podcasters. I guarantee you that if you’re thinking about starting one already, once you get around these people and start hearing them talk and visiting with them, you’re going to want to take the next step.
KATHLEEN MILLS: I want you to tell the audience when it is, the venue, how do I register, the whole nine yards. Where can people find you?
DAN FRANKS: I don’t even think I’ve said the name yet, which may be my marketing on that is a little failing, but it’s called Podcast Movement and it’s this August 16th and 17th here in Dallas, Texas, where we’re recording from right now. It’s at the Westin Galleria, which is an awesome venue. It’s not where we originally planned to do it, but this thing has grown so fast that we had to find a bigger, better venue, and I think we’ve done that. You can go to podcastmovement dot com and you can see all the speakers, you can see some overview of the sessions, what the days are going to look like, buy tickets and get in touch with us if you have any questions.
KATHLEEN MILLS: This is a powerhouse.
DAN FRANKS: We’re trying.
KATHLEEN MILLS: I think it just speaks for itself. How many registrations do you have so far? We’re at the end of June and it’s in August. How many registrations do you have so far?
DAN FRANKS: We’re right around 500 right now. About a month and a half, two months out, somewhere in there, and we’re very pleased with that number. Our original goal when we first set out to do this – we funded it through a Kickstarter campaign, actually, and when we first put that goal together, we had planned on doing something for 200-250 people. Here we are, a month and a half of ticket sales to go, and we’re already at 500, so it’s very exciting and we’ve never run conference before. We’ve never run anything like that before. We’ve run some very small things that some of our partners have, but this is new to us, so we don’t know. Are there going to be 100-200 ticket sales coming in the last week, or is it going to slow down? We don’t know, but we’re super excited already with the number of people who are going to be there and we think it’s going to create a great community and environment who’s there, and that’s the real goal.
PHILLIP CRUM: You’ve already outgrown one venue, have you not?
DAN FRANKS: We have. That 250 number we had planned – that was for our original venue, and within about two to three weeks of ticket sales, we realized that wasn’t going to work.
PHILLIP CRUM: You’ve shed your skin and grown already.
DAN FRANKS: I’m not a snake guy, but you can say that.
PHILLIP CRUM: Tell me about a Kickstarter campaign. You mentioned that. For those that don’t know.
DAN FRANKS: The general term is crowDan Franksunding and Kickstarter is a website that hosts crowDan Franksunding campaigns and what it really is is if you have some kind of artistic project or something they consider artistic and Kickstarter is pretty strict on what they allow on their website. Any kind of product you’re thinking of inventing, you can go and post your idea, post your sales pitch for the idea on Kickstarter and see if there’s enough people in the Internet community that believe in your idea enough to fund this campaign for whatever it is you’re looking to do. You set a goal on that Kickstarter page and if you can collect that much money in contributions, because that’s what you call them, then that goal or that Kickstarter campaign ends up making and happening and you, then, do whatever it is you said you were going to do.
KATHLEEN MILLS: That’s exciting because you’re able to focus on the venue after you get the Kickstarter program commitments.
DAN FRANKS: Exactly. That’s really just the simple reason was we thought this was a great idea, but we didn’t know if anyone else did. That was our way of validating our idea was asking people to put their money where their mouth was.
PHILLIP CRUM: Kill two birds with the same dollars. You have some partners in your Podcast Movement venture. Give a little shameless plug to these fellows.
DAN FRANKS: Gary Leland is the first partner I’ll talk about. He’s a local Dallas guy here and he’s been in the bsiness community for years. He runs one of the biggest wallpaper stores in Texas. He runs one of the biggest softball equipment stores in Texas, so he’s got all different things going on. He also happens to host a monthly meetup in Dallas for podcasters. Since he’s been doing this podcast meetup already, it made sense for him to be a partner because he has a little experience, at least in gathering groups of podcasters together. Jared Easley is another partner of ours. He’s somebody that’s, for anybody who’s in the business podcasting space, he’s pretty well known.
PHILLIP CRUM: He’s in Florida.
DAN FRANKS: He’s in Florida.
PHILLIP CRUM: You’ve let him in anyway.
DAN FRANKS: We’ve let him in anyway. Anyone who’s familiar with podcasting or you’re a podcaster, you know it spans local boundaries. Even though we’re lucky enough to be in a studio together here today, most podcasts aren’t like that. When you’re interviewing somebody, they can be across the world, so because of that, and because of that, we figured there’s no reason to let the boundaries of the DAN FRANKSW area keep Jared, who is a very integral part of the team, from being on board. The last partner is Mitch Todd, and he’s very well tied into the tech scene here in Dallas, which obviously, podcasting is a technical thing, high technology area. As I look at all this equipment in the studio here. Mitch is familiar with all the people in that area. He goes to a lot of the different tech conferences here in Dallas, so he has that experience and knows what things are supposed to look like and how they’re supposed to be. So all of us together complement one another’s skills and experiences to really put together a good team and put together a good conference.
KATHLEEN MILLS: All of you have different gifts and you pulled it together and you guys are on fire. This excites me.
PHILLIP CRUM: Your podcasting movement lineup, your speakers, there are a lot of them and there are some names that I recognize and a few that I don’t, but that doesn’t mean anything, me being relatively new to the industry. You’ve got a lot of big names here showing up for this thing.
DAN FRANKS: That’s one of the things that let us get off the ground to begin with, because as I mentioned, we did a crowdfunding campaign and to do that, we had to have some “star power” behind this crowdfunding campaign to convince people to give us money to start this. We did go out and we found as many of these big name people we could that believed in our ideas. One of the biggest things we did before that was we had relationships with all these people. Not one of the 40-plus speakers that are going to be there do one of us, as organizers, not have a personal relationship with. And that really helped when we started reaching out to these people and say, “We have this idea. Can we attach your name to it? Will you be a part of it?” That’s risky for them because these guys have these well-developed personal brands and we don’t the personal brands, so when they attach their name to it, it became something that they were more closely tied in than we wer,e pretty much. If something had not happened, if it hadn’t worked out, if it still doesn’t work out, it’s going to be them it reflects poorly on. So to be so giving to us, to not just use their name but to participate in it was huge, and they are really the people who made us get this far.
PHILLIP CRUM: Have you thought about, after this event, because it’s obviously going to be fairly successful, is it going to be a traveling roadshow? Are you going to do East Coast, West Coast, or are you going to worry about that after the event?
DAN FRANKS: The idea right now is to just do another one in 2015 at this similar time of year, probably keep it in Dallas. One of the things that New Media Expo has done in the past is they tried to do the twice a year East Coast, West Coast, and they’ve since scaled that down. They’ve realized that, well, they just liked the business model more of having the one central place once a year. Everybody can know it and count on it. So I think we’re going to learn from, I don’t want to call it their mistakes, but learn from their lessons that they’ve learned.. We’ll keep it once a year for now.
PHILLIP CRUM: And you have the added advantage that Dallas is in the middle of the known universe. East coast, west coast, roughly same distance, Canada, Mexico City, you’re in the middle. It doesn’t get any better than this.
DAN FRANKS: It doesn’t. Two airports, and anywhere you want to go in Dallas, there’s an airport that’s probably 15 minutes. We’ve got a bus station, too. Dallas is a good location. Luckily, three of the four of us are here, so that makes it easier to choose here.
KATHLEEN MILLS: The three things that I hear is you talked about the podcast movement, and I think for many people who don’t know about this, it is relational. This is a relationship event. It is very personal, and it’s that cultivation and also, going outside the box. You’ve got a lot of people who have gone outside the box. You’re outside the box, you’re still at the heart of what everybody is cultivating, and that’s something that’s a takeaway for everybody, but that’s going across, not party line, per se, but business lines, but you just cultivate the relationship and then all things can happen.
DAN FRANKS: It’s interesting. As podcasters, there’s so many different niches and genres and models for the podcast that that’s what we found one of the most difficult things about reaching out to people is that there’s so many different circles that everyone’s running in. You have your people that do video game podcasts versus sports podcasts and the business podcasts. And podcasts like this that are appealing to just a whole different audience. It’s very difficult to get in touch with all these different people, these different circles, that are pretty close-knit to let them know about what we’re doing. But because of these such diverse podcasters, once you get them all together, it’s just this wonderful blending of all these people that they have completely different interests, but at the same time, they have one similar interest that’s bringing them all together and they’re all growing from working and being around one another.
KATHLEEN MILLS: And that creates so much different energy, in my mind.
DAN FRANKS: And the creativity and you hear things that well, me as a podcaster that’s talking about small businesses. I’m never going to think about the things about the video game podcaster’s doing, but why not? Why can some of the things they’re doing not work for me? It just creates that environment for those experiences to happen.
KATHLEEN MILLS: I’m going to fire these off about the Phillip Crumoming thing, but how is the event structured? Are there main meetings? Are there breakouts? Are there private sessions that one can acquire during the two day stint?
DAN FRANKS: Every day is going to begin with a keynote session and end with a keynote session. Those keynote speakers are selected because we feel like they will appeal to people that are just starting, haven’t started yet, are thinking about starting, or who are experienced. So we’ve hand-selected some keynote speakers that we think will add good value to anyone. Beyond that, there’s going to be four different tracks going on simultaneously. Four different sessions going on simultaneously throughout the days. We’re trying to spread it out so if you do fall into any of those categories between experienced podcaster, new, starting out, thinking about starting, there’s always going to be a session going on that appeals to you. That’s the structure and it’s going to be two full days, 8 to 5-type things. It’s going to be a little tiring. We’ll have some good breaks in there; we’ll have some good vendors demoing different equipment and different ideas during the breaks. We feel like it’s going to be a good environment for everyone. And like I said, one of the things that we’re focusing on is providing value to any podcaster at any level throughout the whole day every day.
KATHLEEN MILLS: That’s exciting. I can be a happy tired. I think it’s a happy tired.
DAN FRANKS: I think it is, too. I hope so.
KATHLEEN MILLS: And there’s a lot of energy in happy tired.
PHILLIP CRUM: I know you have an early-bird pricing schedule, too.
DAN FRANKS: As of now, July 1st is when the next pricing jump comes up, and the truth is, it’s just as you get closer to the event, you start paying more for buying rooms for your people to be able to stay, and paying some extra things to the venues for additional capacity, so it’s not just one of these things. Obviously, it is a marketing tactic to raise the price as you get closer, but it’s also a necessity just because of the increased cost to the organizers. So July 1st is the next jump, but from there, you can go to podcastmovement dot com to see when the next one is. We’ve already passed a few of those first jumps because, as we get closer, things start changing and we need to plan accordingly.
KATHLEEN MILLS: Accommodating, and you’re running the show and you want everybody to be taken care of. That puts pressure on you.
PHILLIP CRUM: There’s information on the website about the hotel.
DAN FRANKS: We have discounted room rates at the Westin Galleria, which anyone local to Dallas knows it’s not the cheapest hotel in the area, but we’ve negotiated rates for doing the conference there. That’s allowed us to get the rates down that are very competitive to if you just go to Travelocity and get an area hotel. We really think that it’s really important that people stay where the conference is, if they can, just because we’re going to start Friday night with a mixer to welcome everybody and there’s some different events going on. And throughout the day, we want people to feel comfortable and not feel like they have to get home or have to beat any kind of traffic or anything like that. We’re really hoping that the attendees will stay there and spend time together and really just get the full benefit of the weekend, so that’s why we’re doing it at a hotel to begin with.
KATHLEEN MILLS: The Westin is the hot spot. Perfect place.
DAN FRANKS: We just did another tour of it, because we tour it as we get closer and look at how the layouts are going to be, where the vendor tables are going to be. We just did another one, and this was actually for a couple of the partners, the first time to see the venue, because I’ve been heavily involved in the venue selection, the negotiations, and now they’re coming in to see what I’ve put together. And they were very impressed and gave me the thumbs up. They were all happy, and that was a good feeling for me.
PHILLIP CRUM: If the meeting room at the Motel Six is not big enough, you’ve got to go to the Westin.
PHILLIP CRUM: What else is there about the Podcast Movement that you want everybody to know?
DAN FRANKS: I just want people to know that, in podcasting in general, it can be for everyone. I know a lot of people think that podcasting might be for the techies or it might be for a certain type of person, but there are so many podcasts now popping up. That’s why we call it the movement, because there are so many people getting into podcasting that, seven, eight, nine years ago when podcasting first really started taking storm, you would never expect people to be into it. It was a bunch of techies, tech nerds. But now, you have dentists having their own podcasts and growing their brands. You have accountants – as a CPA, I listen to the accounting podcasts that not a lot of people listen to. It doesn’t have the mass-market appeal that some of these other podcasts do, but for us as accountants, it’s an invaluable resource that they’re putting this together. So I want people to know that don’t just immediately dismiss it because I say it’s for podcasters. Because you might be a podcaster, you just don’t know it.
KATHLEEN MILLS: It’s for everybody.
DAN FRANKS: I think it is. I have not met somebody yet that has some kind of business or some kind of profession or something they’re doing that a podcast wouldn’t work for it. It might not be or them personally; they may not want to do it, but there’s not a disqualifier because you do whatever it is you do.
PHILLIP CRUM: It’s a medium. It’s a content medium. It just happens to work very, very well like radio has worked very, very well for a hundred years. It’s quite fascinating, actually. And the name podcast has come about because of the iPod, way back when. It’s an audio file, and it works very well. We’re sure glad to have you here today.
KATHLEEN MILLS: Dan, thank you so much.
DAN FRANKS: You’re welcome. I’ve had a blast.
KATHLEEN MILLS: Will you come back?
DAN FRANKS: I absolutely will come back. Like I said, you guys have an awesome setup here and for somebody who podcasts on a regular basis and spends a lot of time facing my computer screen, it’s nice to face some real people and some really good people, too. So I definitely appreciate it.
PHILLIP CRUM: Thank you. Why don’t you tell us where we can find you. If someone wants to know more about Dan Franks, where can they find you, and then the Podcast Movement, as well?
DAN FRANKS: You can find me at danfranks.me, that’s my personal website, and you’ll see there’s not a lot to it. It links to all of the projects I’m working on. It’s a basic website. As somebody who fancies myself a website designer, it’s funny that my personal brand website is the worst of them all, but any website you go to from there is also my website, and they are all much more beautiful. But that’s how you can find out more about what I’m doing, get in touch with me, and all of that.
PHILLIP CRUM: So that’s Dan Franks, and what about the Podcast Movement..
DAN FRANKS: Podcastmovement.com, plain and simple.
KATHLEEN MILLS: I’m so excited. I can’t wait to be an attendee.
DAN FRANKS: I can’t wait for you guys to be there.
PHILLIP CRUM: Where can we find you?
KATHLEEN MILLS: Lifetreecounseling.com, or you can call me at 972-234-6634. My extension is 104, and I do return my calls.
PHILLIP CRUM: I’m Phillip Crum, content marketing coach, and can be found at contentmarketingcoach.us and this has been a lot of fun. Thank you for being here.
KATHLEEN MILLS: Thank you, Dan.
PHILLIP CRUM: Thank you for tuning in, and we’ll see you next week, and on we go.