What You Will Hear in Ben Krueger's Story:
- Does MBA Teach You on Entrepreneurship? Ben’s Experience
- 9 to 5 is not for you? How Ben Find Business Idea
- Runing a Business Overseas
- How to use podcasting to grow your business
Listen to ReLaunch Show on iPhone or Android App
More about our featured guest Ben Krueger
Ben’s probably best known around the water cooler as the “Podcast Marketing Guy” and has become the go-to authority on positioning, cultivating and growing small businesses through the power of podcast marketing.
Ben has also had the privilege of being featured on Duct Tape Marketing, Boomer Business Owner, Tropical MBA, The Lifestyle Business Podcast and Starting From Nothing to name a few, but can be seen regularly in the podcasting space for interviews and speaking engagements spreading the word about podcast marketing.
[00:02] Joel: Welcome to ReLaunch, the best show you will ever hear for career changers, difference makers, and those with the dream. It's the mom who is looking for that daily dose of hope and inspiration. It's that dad who's searching through options, and just trying to figure out what to do next. It's that entrepreneur who is ready, willing, and able to take action, move forward, and create a purpose driven business. And if this is your first time listening to us or you're a daily listener and a frequent visitor to the ReLaunch nation, thank you. You are among friends. And one of the questions that are on the minds of a lot of people these days is, “Would starting a podcast make sense for my business?” And it's a great question, and you and I have kind of wrestled and struggled with similar questions for ourselves, and for our own business.
[01:02] Joel: And joining us on the show today is the podcast development expert for small businesses. He is a serial entrepreneur. He's a world traveler. He's living in Thailand right now for about a half a year, and he is the founder and the head honcho of Authority Engine. And if you don't know Authority Engine, definitely look it up. It is a trail blazing company that will take your podcasting idea, and then build out your show, and take care of all the details, everything from A to Z in the podcasting world, so that you can focus on your business. Wow, what is service that is so needed today? Ben Krueger, welcome to ReLaunch.
[01:53] Ben Krueger: Yeah, thank you so much for having me. That was quite the intro. I'm excited to be here always pumped to talk on some podcasting shop, and I just love what you guys are doing with the show, so I'm excited to have the opportunity to come on and share however I can.
[02:06] Joel: Well, thank you, Ben. And as you know, Pei and I love helping podcast to zero in on the podcast idea, and create a show, and then grow it exponentially. So of course you got three podcasters in the same room, the virtual room. You know there's gonna be a lot of podcast shop talk, but before we get into that, Ben as you know, this show is all about the relaunch. And while many of us have experienced numerous launches, and relaunches throughout our life, we generally ask people to kind of zero in on the personal or the professional relaunch that has been the most significant or the most transformational for them and their growth. And then just unfold the story from there. We'll definitely talk about Authority Engines. So before we get into that though, how do we need to start today's show? Talking about the relaunch that has been transformational for Ben Krueger.
[03:05] Ben Krueger: That's a really good question, and I think… I think this is really revealing about a person, which is exciting for me. So I think my biggest relaunch is… I've always had that kind of entrepreneurial spirit that I wanna do things on my own terms, a type of a mentality, and throughout college… I went to Ohio State University, and…
[03:31] Joel: We won't hold that against you. That's okay.[laughter]
[03:33] Ben Krueger: I figured it would either go one way or the other here. So I got a business degree when I was there, and all I could really notice throughout college is that they didn't teach you to be an individual person in business, even though I was an entrepreneurship minor. I was a marketing major entrepreneurship minor, and instead they taught you to be a cog in the wheel at a Johnson & Johnson or something like that. They were interested in job placement rates not necessarily in sending out independent business people into the world. So that kind of rubbed me the wrong way to be honest, and…
[04:21] Joel: Well, let me as you about that. Well…
[04:22] Pei: I got a question there, too.
[04:23] Joel: Yeah, we're both jumping now. We're all over this. Go ahead, Pei. Get it.
[04:27] Pei: Well, mine is gonna be quick. I was just curious. Was your… You had this entrepreneurial spirit. What about your classmates? What were your observations then? Did they wanna look for a corporate job afterwards or did they share with your mindset?
[04:43] Joel: Did they make you sit at the lunch table by yourself or…[laughter]
[04:48] Ben Krueger: I was the guy in the corner under the one low cloud, and it was raining. Now, the… My classmates, I would say 90% of them wanted to do the corporate thing as well. And I know… I remember during the classes, the one thing that everybody talked about not wanting to do was sales, and then that's pretty much what some of the professors were like, “90% of you guys are gonna start off in sales.” They kept really drain it or drilling that into us, and everybody would groan every time. They positioned it as this terrible thing. But the concept of going out in business on your own was not even talked about rarely even in our entrepreneurship classes, which boggled my mind. But yeah, so it's a little bit of a different… It was a little bit of a different crowd with a different mentality. And I was definitely the person that stuck out.
[05:46] Joel: So I'm curious. So you went through your business curriculum. Did you go right into corporate? It seems like nine out of 10 people kinda had that set in their sites. Did yo go in a corporate or did you immediately decide that, “You know what, this is great. I'm glad I have this diploma, had some good experiences, and now I need to do my own thing.” Where did you go first?
[06:12] Ben Krueger: It was a combination of both, to be honest.
[06:14] Joel: Okay.
[06:15] Ben Krueger: So when I graduated, I knew that I wanted to do my own thing, but I also had zero experience, had no income necessarily, so I had to get some kind of a cash flow rolling, so my first job out of college was… I was a forklift operator at a shipping yard, I guess is what they're called. But, so yeah, that was pretty glorious. And when I was there, all I was doing was looking for a marketing job, so I was looking for small marketing agencies that were looking to hire SEO consultants, people who had anything to do with managing marketing for small businesses, 'cause I figured that would be a really great way to break into that space.
[06:59] Joel: Sure.
[07:01] Ben Krueger: And… ‘Cause I knew I wanted to do something online, because I'm very… I wanted to do it from wherever in the world I wanted to go, 'cause I had these grand dreams of travel and all this stuff. I was kind of… It was a loosely laid plan, but I figured if I learned to market things online, I could go wherever I wanted.
[07:22] Joel: Sure. Definitely a great concept. And that's what a lot of the people that are in the re-launch nation strive for. And that's what they're working towards is having that time freedom… I'm sorry, that location freedom, and then, of course, the time freedom goes with that. I'm curious, Ben, when you were telling people about your hopes and dreams, these don't have to just people at school, but maybe people in your circle, maybe friends at church or family members, when you were telling people about, “You know what? I want to be able to travel, I want to be able to go to Thailand, or I want to go here, and as long as there's an internet connection, and my laptop, I'm in business.” I'm sure you had some of those conversation so, how were you taken? How did people respond to that? Go ahead, Pei.
[08:07] Pei: By the way, if we haven't shared with our listeners, Ben is actually currently in Thailand.
[08:12] Joel: Oh yes, that's right. I think I said that.
[08:13] Pei: Yeah, go ahead.
[08:15] Ben Krueger: Yeah, hanging out here in Northern Thailand in Chiang Mai. But when I had those conversations, quite honestly, I didn't broadcast it a whole lot. I didn't really talk about it a whole lot. But when I did, particularly with my family, or with close friends, or people who were kind of in the entrepreneurial mindset circle… Like I could tell that they had the bug as well, it wasn't really like, taken with this… It was kind of like an eye roll. Like that's really the extent of it. I just kind of got that, “Okay, cool.” Nobody really truly believed or disbelieved, or really tried to talk me into it, or out of it. It was just kind of this, very liaise… Whatever, they just moved on with their lives. They didn't care.
[09:09] Joel: Okay.
[09:10] Ben Krueger: So it wasn't like… There weren't people building me up, there weren't people tearing me down. It was just kind of “meh.” There were a lot of shoulder shrugs. And that's okay with me. That didn't bother me one bit.
[09:22] Joel: Okay. Okay.
[09:24] Ben Krueger: I was kind of used to that at this point.
[09:25] Joel: Okay. Sure.
[09:28] Ben Krueger: So the… When, after that job, or after that initial job, I got a position in Ohio doing some online marketing, and I was kind of looking to change things up. I wasn't really liking… The position was essentially a low paid internship a couple days a week. So I was looking to shift things up. My brother had moved out to Idaho about a year and a half prior, and he kept sending me all these pictures of them out boating, and out riding dirt bikes and going camping and hiking in the mountains and I was like, “I gotta get out there, this looks awesome.” So I started searching for marketing agencies and some open positions in Boise, and had a couple of interviews lined up for Boise. So quite honestly, I packed up my car. I made the decision in about two weeks, I packed up my car with everything that I owned, and drove out there. So I think it was like 32 hours of driving time, but I shifted my sorry self out to Idaho, and proceeded to get none of the jobs that I Interviewed for. So that was an adventure.
[10:50] Joel: So, if we fast forward to this wonderful idea of Authority Engine, and really working with podcasters, and helping small business owners grow podcasting as part of their marketing platform, when did this idea come to you, and how did it materialize?
[11:15] Ben Krueger: That's a fantastic question. So when I was in Idaho, I went through a couple different jobs in about the span of a year. I think I went through four different jobs.
[11:25] Joel: Okay.
[11:26] Ben Krueger: And, in the last position that I had, I really figured out that the whole nine-to-five thing was not my piece of cake, and that I really needed to figure out my own runway. I needed to figure out what was the thing that I wanted to do for myself and to give me the freedom to do that. And I was listening to a podcast at that time, which was called “The Lifestyle Business Podcast”, run by Dan Andrews and Ian Schoen. And these guys… Now the pod is called “Tropical MBA”, but at the time they were talking about running business from your laptop and doing it anywhere in the world, obviously things that were right up my alley, and they talked about on one episode a position to intern for them in the Philippines and I was sold. Like, as soon as I heard that, I was like, “Yep, that's me, I have got to get that.” And so I directly emailed multiple of the previous interns that had already had the position and figured out how can my application really stand out 'cause this has gotta be me.
[12:38] Ben Krueger: Luckily I did get it, I got the “pack your bags” email and about, again, two weeks later, this time I sold all my stuff and shipped out to the Philippines with two backpacks about two weeks later, and while I was in the Philippines, I was in talking with Dan and getting to know some more of this live and work anywhere business crew, there's a lot of podcasters among them and I kept hearing the trouble of how much of a pain podcast post-production was. And so that's when I put two and two together. Dan Andrews, the host of Tropical MBA podcast was my first client. I just made him an offer right there on the spot when he was talking about how big of a pain it was, at one point, and after going back and forth a little bit we struck a deal. He was my first client and a couple of referrals later and a little bit of time and here we are.
[13:43] Joel: And a business was born.
[13:45] Ben Krueger: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely, so it was very much a, I knew that there was a problem before I started anything and then it was just a, I did the work myself, I hustled and got that initial momentum rolling and it was all relationships, it was all in knowing the right people and knowing who needed this kind of stuff, and then really when I got into really deep into podcasting and I could see how powerful it was as a marketing tool, that's when I shifted towards some of the launch services and really positioning myself as the podcast marketing guy because that's the part that I really love.
[14:35] Joel: Authorityengine.com got some great podcasts here and I wanna talk about some of this wonderful content that you have like teaching people how to get conversions, using email marketing, you've got podcasts here that talk about the secrets of a powerful podcast episode. Just talk about a little bit of the content that you've schooled yourself up on and what some of the experts in these podcasts that you're featuring have helped you learn.
[15:12] Ben Krueger: Absolutely, so it's just like anything, when you start learning about it, it's a little bit of a rabbit hole. You get down there and you figure out there's so many, there's so much more to it than you originally thought, and that's definitely how podcast marketing is because just like any other form of marketing, it comes back to basic psychology and how people operate, and with my focus in podcasting I always, I come to podcasting with a focus on, and I think of podcasting, not necessarily as a new exposure tool, so not necessarily as solely a tool that can be discovered by people. A lot of people, their sole focus is download numbers and their sole focus is growth and expansion, which is great, but I like to really think of podcasting especially from a business sense as a tool to build personal trust and relationships between you and potential audience members already, and then it becomes more of a customer life cycle tool. So essentially…
[16:26] Joel: Okay, talk… Break that down a little bit because you talked about building… Yeah, you talked about building relationships with your listener, I think the second or third time that you've mentioned that. I agree with you, but for folks that are new in this game, and you know what, that's a lot of people. What do you mean exactly when you're talking about building relationships with your listeners, potential customers. How do you do it?
[16:50] Ben Krueger: Yeah, let's say you're a consultant and you consult on, you're a fashion consultant. Well, if you start a podcast to where you're giving out fashion tips, helping people discover the different ways that fashion can help them in their daily lives and their professional lives, yada, yada, and quite literally when people listen to your podcast, they're listening to you give them advice about your area of expertise, so they may discover you through a guest post you did on a website. They may discover you through the podcast. They may discover you through any one of a hundred different channels, but then once they do and they realize, “Oh, he's got a podcast, let's check this out.”
[17:39] Ben Krueger: If the podcast really connects with them because it's informational, because it talks about things that they're interested in, because the podcast host has a really great personality and is engaging, then when they get to a point to where they decide, “Okay, I'm ready to take the next step with my fashion, with my personal fashion in my life, who do you think they're gonna go to? ‘Cause they've already been listening to this host, straight up, give them advice. And this is their free advice, imagine how good their paid advice is. So it's really… It really builds that trust. It allows you to, it allows prospects and people to know who you are, what you stand for, how you think about about things, and how you approach the industry, before they ever get to any page where they're pushed to buy something. So I think a lot of times people try to seal the deal on the first date, as it were, as opposed to with podcasting, you can build that relationship over time, and that trust over time. And then when they're ready to come to you for that next step, it's the obvious choice.
[18:54] Joel: Well, it's the best way that I know of, and probably you too, to build authority in your niche. And so many people are still focused on, “Buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff,” but the consumer is smarter than that. They're looking for information. So you have to add value first, in a genuine way, no strings attached. And when you add that value, like through a podcast, that Authority Engine can help you with. Then you're seen as the trusted expert and then when that moment comes when they need to make that purchasing decision, you're right there, next to that person, because you've been in their ears once a week, twice a week, or whatever your podcasting frequency is. Ben, this has been a blast, authorityengine.com, that is the place to go, of course we're gonna include the social media hot spots in our broadcast show notes, and… You know what, this definitely needed to happen. An organization that can do all of the necessary work, the busy work, for the podcast so entrepreneurs can focus on whatever it is that they know best and that is their business. So, appreciate you coming on and talking a little bit about it, talking a little bit of podcast. I love doing that.[chuckle]
[20:28] Ben Krueger: Yeah, I really appreciate you guys having me on, this is been fantastic. Love what you guys are doing with the show, with the whole ReLaunch concept. I think this is fantastic, so wish you guys the absolute best and I'll be helping out and supporting in any way I can.
[20:44] Joel: All the best, Ben. Thanks a lot, bye-bye.
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