In January 2014 a member of Podcasters’ Paradise approached me at New Media Expo after John’s presentation.
At the time, Podcasters’ Paradise was just 3 months old.
He asked me whether or not we would ever consider hosting an event for podcasters on a cruise – a play on our community name… you know “Podcasters in Paradise”.
I smiled and said, “Yeah, maybe one day.”
To be honest, the idea of John and I hosting something like that was pretty far-fetched at the time. We had barely proven that Podcasters’ Paradise was going to work, let alone be in a position to plan and host an event for podcasters.
A Movement for Podcasters
Later that year, in August 2014, something huge happened in the podcasting space. For the first time ever, an event took place called Podcast Movement, put on for podcasters, by podcasters.
As an attendee of the event, I experienced first hand what it was like to be a part of a movement – a part of something that didn’t simply have leaders, and then followers, but that had doers.
Leading up to Podcast Movement 2014 John and I had the pleasure of getting to know the guys behind the event: Dan Franks and Jared Easley, along with their co-founders, Gary Leland and Mitch Todd.
Podcast Movement 2014 represented a lot of things to us – one of them being the strength of our Podcasters’ Paradise community who came out in droves to support and participate.
At the time, Podcasters’ Paradise was coming up on its 1-year anniversary.
As the 2014 event came and went with great success, and 2015 came into view, we all started to see that the name behind this podcasting event had a real meaning: we truly were a part of a movement.
The Podcasters’ Paradise Cruise
In January 2015 John and I received an email from Dan and Jared, and it didn’t have to do with Podcast Movement 2015.
It wasn’t about The Business Podcaster’s Summit, or about Podcast San Diego, two other podcasting events that Dan and Jared created in 2015.
It was about a cruise.
Dan and Jared presented something unique, special, and something that had a deeper meaning to all of us by this time.
Just like Podcast Movement, the Podcast Cruise would feature THE top podcasters in our industry. But what would really set the Cruise apart, in addition to it being on a boat, was that it would focus not just solely on podcasting, but on entrepreneurship and business, too.
It wouldn’t just bring podcasters together – it would bring their families together, too, so they could also experience what it’s like to be a part of a movement.
John and I chatted about it, and we decided it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.
There was just 1 caveat: we would call it the Podcasters’ Paradise Cruise.
This post is going to cover what exactly went down on the Podcasters’ Paradise Cruise. But before you take my word for it, check out this video that Matt and Alyssa put together from Re-Peet Productions:
How it all went down
Months of planning, several weeks of marketing, a whole lot of lessons learned, sleepless nights leading up to Nov 1 (at least for me there was), so many details, some guessing, and finally – embarkation day had arrived.
With our families, 10 speakers, 4 hosts and 50 incredible doers, we boarded Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas and set sail.
Embarkation: Sunday, Nov 1, 2015
First things first. Once on board, the 4 of us met with our Cruise host, Pablo, to make sure everything was set for the week.
Lucky for us, Jared’s wife Rachel was there to help out, and we also had our favorite videographers along, Matt and Alyssa (they’re the two who went to Podcast Movement 2015 with us and filmed an amazing Sizzle reel).
Once we got settled into our rooms, we made our way to the Pyramid Lounge for the welcome party, set out badges, laid out the Podcasters’ Paradise Cruise T-shirts, and anxiously waited for the crew to arrive.
Some mingling, a few specialty cocktails, and a lot of laughs later, it was as if we’d all known each other for years.
The week was off to a smashing start!
Note 1: staying in touch once you leave port is tough. Some people have Internet, some people don’t have Internet, those who do have Internet know that the Internet isn’t that great… We tried walkie talkies, but it turns out the channels on those things get switched very easily.
Note 2: the entire schedule can change at any moment.
Our game plan
Re: the notes above, our game plan was to have at least 1 of the hosts available by the Guest Services desk every morning from 8am – 8:30am to answer any questions.
Dan and Jared even got in a little recording time each morning ;)
In addition, every morning we would announce 2 optional group activities for that night: a dinner time for anyone who wanted to eat together, and a show time.
This worked out pretty well, and believe it or not, we ran into one another throughout the day probably more than we had expected. It was of course a bit tougher the days in port.
Day 1 of Sessions: Monday, Nov 2, 2015
Our first full day on board was a day at sea, making it a perfect conference day.
Creating Systems that Create Freedom
I was lucky to kick off the day with a presentation about creating systems around your podcast.
Why do I love systems so much?
Because systems are what help you create freedom in your business and in your life.
In my presentation I covered 3 steps to creating systems that create freedom:
Growing Your Community Outside of iTunes
Donald Kelly, host of The Sales Evangelist podcast, followed with a powerful talk on how to grow your community outside of iTunes – a subject that not many focus on when launching and growing their podcast.
“Stop playing Halo!”
What does Halo have to do with growing your community?
Donald shared a powerful story about how when he was in college, all his friends just sat around playing Halo, while he wanted to get out there and start meeting some girls!
One day, Donald had had enough: he ditched the Halo crew and he went to a Zumba class – what better place to meet girls than Zumba?
Donald had a powerful realization that day: if you want to surround yourself and serve a specific group of people, then you need to go where they are.
From Listeners to Lifers
Jill & Josh Stanton, creators of Screw the 9 to 5, shared GOLD in their talk about turning listeners into lifers.
Not only have they grown a private Facebook Group from 0 members to nearly 5,000 raving fans, they’ve also created what they refer to as “the octopus” of sales funnels.
In their presentation they revealed how they’ve created multiple touch points with different groups of people in order to attract their podcast listeners to their #1 product: The Screw.
FOCUS on Your Goal
Chase Reeves, co-host of the Fizzle show, focused on goal setting and shared a formula for not only figuring out what goals you have, but more important, which should come first.
Create a list of goals you want to accomplish, and don’t over complicate things. Declare your #1 goal based on the impact it will make in your business, and FOCUS.
Content Upgrades for the Win!
Tim Paige, host of ConversionCast, rocked his talk by sharing how to set up content upgrades to build your email list – a subject I know hit close to home for many of us in the room.
Don’t just record an episode and publish a show notes page; get your content to work for you!
It’s as simple as spending 5 extra minutes to create a content upgrade that your listeners can download in exchange for their email address.
They get added value, and you grow your email list.
Stop Trying to Keep Up
Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group, laid it all out on the line, and to be honest, I’m not sure how to sum up his presentation.
Passion-filled and straight to the point, Chris urged everyone in the room to just stop – take a look around them – and realize that everything they had just heard from the speakers was everything they needed to know.
“You are in a room full of brilliance.”
Chris also said something that really hit home for me: that for us to go home and fall back into the habit of “trying to keep up” with everything instead of putting into action the lessons and strategies shared in that room would be… well, stupid.
I couldn’t agree more.
First Port: Haiti, Tuesday, Nov 3, 2015
We decided to use our days in Port to host VIP excursions, which would include special one-on-one time for our VIP attendees with the speakers.
Our first port of call was Haiti, where we took a boat tour out to a private island.
We chatted podcasting and listened to reggae while swimming in the warm Caribbean waters.
We were back on board the Independence by mid-afternoon, which allowed for prep time before the evening festivities began.
While on board we rocked everything from karaoke, to literally dancing in the street at a 70’s party, to renting out the wave rider on board!
Little did we know, this was only the beginning of an action-packed week alongside a group of rockstars who are not shy people.
Second Port: Jamaica, Wednesday, Nov 4, 2015
Our second VIP excursion was to Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica, where we hiked 900 plus feet straight up a waterfall.
We didn’t stop there…
After the waterfalls it was off to our own snorkeling spot, followed by a traditional Jamaican lunch: jerk chicken and Festivals!
Note: if you’ve never tried a Festival, it’s a doughy, sweet piece of magic. I could eat them every day.
Third Port: Grand Cayman, Thursday, Nov 5, 2015
Our third stop in Grand Cayman was a free day. Despite the thunderstorms many of us enjoyed a stroll through the streets of Grand Cayman, while others enjoyed a relaxing day on board.
…and by relaxing, I mean we decided to rent the Waverider on Deck 13 for our crew, and let’s just say things got pretty wet and wild!
Day 2 of Sessions: Friday, Nov 6, 2015
How To Do A Shockingly Open Interview
Andrew Warner of Mixergy talked about the power of story-telling, pointing out that stories stick with us long after they are told, and beyond instruction, they get you to take action.
He shared some incredible advice on how to walk your guest straight to the action during an interview, and even revealed his trick for interrupting a guest without coming across rude.
Pre-Interview Chat – Live w/ John Lee Dumas
Andrew followed up his talk with an on-the-spot pre-interview chat with John, where he showed us exactly how he connects with his guest prior to an interview.
It was so intriguing watching Andrew lead John to opening up, being vulnerable and sharing bits of his experience and life that will no doubt be main subject matter for their actual interview that’s coming up on Mixergy.
From Failed Podcast to Best in iTunes
Nicole Baldinu and Omar Zenhom of $100 MBA shared their own experience of going from failed podcast (People Who Know Their Sh*t) to best of iTunes in just 1 year!
They covered 5 main points every podcaster should consider:
- Why you? Then, so what?
- Your format – what does it do for your audience?
- Production quality
- Your performance
- Quality: consistently delivered & improved
Omar also dove deep into what he calls the “Minute of Power” the first minute of every episode, and why this is so integral when it comes to setting your episode up for success.
The Minute of Power should:
- Have a powerful intro with energy
- Grab their attention
- Brand yourself
- Share what’s in it for them
- Tell them why they should keep listening
Becoming a Youpreneur
Chris Ducker, creator of the Youpreneur Community, talked about the importance of being original (being YOU), branding yourself, practicing FOCUS, scheduling things to make them REAL, charging what you’re worth, and about P2P relationships: people to people.
- BE ORIGINAL – in everything you do
- BRANDING – what do people say about you when you’re not around?
- FOCUS – don’t let yourself get distracted
- SCHEDULE – if it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t get done
- MONEY – #1 pricing strategy: double it
- RELATIONSHIPS – should be treasured, not used
We wrapped day 2 of sessions with some powerful brainstorming time: 6 groups of six; 1 hour; 3 questions; and a 30 minute recap with 2 speakers in each group.
During the 1 hour, each group was to go around and answer 3 questions:
1. What ONE thing will you change when you get home?
>> What’s the very first step to accomplishing that?
2. Where do you want your podcast to go?
>>What’s your next SMART goal?
3. What will you take away from this conference?
>> What have you learned?
Jumping in on a mastermind group after they’d been chatting for an hour was amazing; the energy was high, and everyone was sharing powerful tips and strategies they couldn’t wait to implement.
Podcasters’ Paradise Cruise Experience
It’s hard to put into words the experience we all had on board the Podcasters’ Paradise Cruise. I can say one thing for sure: it was priceless.