I have learned so much since securing my Business Identification Number. Running your own business isn't just about providing quality service to clients, it's also:
- Time Management
- Accounts Receivable
- Project Management
Looking back, I don't think I could have gained this wisdom without having done it. There's really no shortcut to experience.
I just filed my HST remittance for the second quarter. A year ago, that sentence would have been completely foreign to me. Since I don't pay taxes until the spring, I've set up a handy system with my business account to ensure there are no surprises. When you run your own business, you learn to avoid surprises like the plague. I've learned so much, particularly in the fields of Sales and Accounting, two realms I had never really worked in before. I've come a long way, but it really feels like I'm just getting started.
So happy birthday TMDS! You're definitely one of the very best things I've done in my life.
If anyone wants to chat about how TMDS can help with your brand and/or business, here's the bat signal.
This really is the latest and greatest soundboard on the market. It's got channels for my four Rode Procaster mics, one for USB I use to record on my laptop, one for connecting a cable to a smartphone, one for Bluetooth and one for eight colourful buttons that will play pre-loaded audio.
It's pricey, but it features multistage dynamics, such as compression, limiting, de-essing and noise-gating. Robbie J can finally stop telling me I need to buy a compressor. Truth be told, I'm still getting used to this change. After seven years of getting on that mic, I'm now hearing Stoakley's voice in my head telling me to back off the mic. That's going to take a little time.
Tonight, I gave the Bluetooth channel a thorough test. We called Bogota and recorded a phone conversation. It worked like a charm.
I now play the Toronto Mike'd theme and Rosy & Grey from the board itself, and other audio (like Ralph Benmergui's jams) from my laptop. Recording calls is now super easy and if I don't have a laptop with me, recording to a microSD card is simple. And most importantly as far as TMDS is concerned, this new setup is much easier to take on the road for remote recordings.
In podcasting, the only constant is change. The evolution will not be televised... it will be podcast!
You see, I've been in the field, building my studio in boardrooms across this city, producing professional podcasts for companies. Actually doing it is the greatest education. There are satisfied corporate clients willing to be references and extol the virtues of podcasts as a corporate communications tool.
There are essentially three target audiences: employees, clients, and prospects.
The Employee Podcast
For larger companies, internal communication is a challenge. This is particularly true when employees are located in different offices, often in different provinces, countries, or even continents. Then there's remote employees, independent representatives, and the road warriors.
Historically, companies have relied on an Intranet, email newsletter or sporadic meetings / calls / webinars. That's if they have a strategy at all. Imagine a regular podcast for employees sharing the latest updates, best practices, company news and other pertinent data. It's essentially a company radio station, only on-demand. I have clients successfully leveraging podcasts as a modern internal communications channel.
The Client Podcast
If you think it's a challenge communicating with internal employees, imagine messaging to clients. I have a finance company recording regular podcasts for clients-only who consider it a game-changer. They share this audio as a value-add for clients and have received rave reviews. If you're responsible for communicating with customers, we should talk!
The Prospect Podcast
Unlike the employee and client podcasts, this podcast would be available to the general public, and would be found on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher et al. The formula is simple:
- Identify your target audience - the personas who buy your products and/or services
- Create content that appeals to this audience - typically it's educational, full of best practices and relevant news
- This regular podcast isn't about your product or services - it's brought to you by your organization
The result is that you will be top of mind when they require your products and/or services. You're essentially promoting yourself as a thought leader, and when you link a prospect to your podcast, it's tremendous validation. Sometimes, it doesn't even matter how many subscribers you have, it only needs to exist and be available 24/7 on-demand. Often it's the ace up a salesperson's sleeve.
It's Sunday morning, and I could go on an on about the benefits of corporate podcasts. Before I log off, let me just remind decision makers how incredibly low risk this is, and how easy I am to work with. I'll handle the A-Z, you merely need to worry about the content.
I'd love to chat one-on-one if you think this could benefit your organization or business. Reach out!
Chris Brown heard that episode and wrote me to say he'd paint the studio for free. Chris is a professional painter and long-time fan of Toronto Mike'd, and he explained that he wanted to be the official painter of the podcast.
I took Chris up on his generous offer, and quickly learned that Chris isn't only skilled at his craft, but he's a sweetheart. He'd greet me each morning at 8:30 with a couple of coffees and we'd chat about the Leafs, the Tragically Hip, our daughters (we both have a 14 year old daughter) and the podcast. I so enjoyed hanging around Chris and thought his work was so good, I hired him to paint my main floor.
Yesterday, Chris finished the work. It looks amazing, and now I miss him. If you need any painting done, call him at 416-220-2430 or write him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here's a few shots of the studio I took this morning.
A securities firm in Toronto's financial district uses TMDS to handle the A-Z of their client-only podcast. Their clients love the valuable information they learn from these episodes, and the firm only needs to provide the content. I handle the rest.
That means once a month I tear down my recording studio, take it on the road and set it up in their boardroom for a morning of recording. We record three episodes and then I head home to edit the files. The feedback from their investment clients has been extremely positive. It's a value-add asset exclusively for their clientele on a variety of topics from cannabis to cryptocurrency.
If you're responsible for client communication, we should talk. This proven model disseminates key information with minimal disruption to your day-to-day business. If you know what data you wish to share, I handle the rest. It's time you had a podcast for customers.
It's been an absolute pleasure bringing Hebsy on Sports to podcatchers everywhere. Mark Hebscher is an Ontario legend when it comes to sports broadcasting and this podcast is all about his opinions and stories about Toronto sports.
At TMDS we're looking for great content, and Hebsy has that in spades. If you have even a little interest in fun sports talk with a Toronto slant, I urge you to subscribe to Hebsy on Sports today at hebsyonsports.com.
We've got 38 episodes in the can and we record every Monday and Friday morning, so this Toronto sports content is always fresh.
I'm a big fan of podcasting as an effective communications channel. I saw the potential way back in 2005, empowering Humble and Fred to continue broadcasting without the support of radio, and I started my own podcast way back in 2012. To say I'm passionate about this medium would be an understatement. It's part of my daily life, both as a listener and as a creator.
I reference December 2015 as the tipping point for podcasts in terms of mass acceptance. That's when Serial dropped, and normies discovered how to subscribe and listen to podcasts. Part of the problem, in my humble opinion, is the name "podcast". It's intimidating for those who aren't particularly tech savvy. I spent many hours explaining to people how you subscribe and how the syndication functions. It's so simple, but that name makes it sound awfully technical.
If there is any message you wish to communicate to any group of people, I'm a huge proponent of podcasting. There are several reasons you should have a podcast.
There are typically three target audiences for business communication: employees, customers, and prospective customers. Yes, there can be more, but these are the big three.
Each of these audiences needs to be messaged to in a different way. Podcasting is a fantastic medium for accomplishing this!
For example, let's say there's a big Bay Street financial company with hundreds of clients. They could use podcasting as a way to discuss news and share industry changes relevant to clients. Because this is a podcast for clients only, this podcast wouldn't be indexed by Apple, Google, Stitcher, etc. The feed for this podcast would be shared privately via email.
Another example of a highly targeted podcast that wouldn't be publically available to subscribers is a podcast for employees. Communication with employees of larger companies can be very difficult, and let's face it, email and intranets don't make it much easier. Imagine a fun but informative 20 minute episode dropped once a week. It could be 5 minutes of fun, lighter news of relevance, and then 10 minutes on news and events affecting staff, and then product and/or service updates, tips for communicating with customers, birthday shoutouts, and more. If done properly, employees will begin anticipating new episodes and everyone will be reading from the same handbook.
And of course, there's communicating with prospective clients. This one is a little trickier, because your employees and customers will listen to your podcast, but who wants to listen to a salesy vendor podcast? The goal here is to create a podcast that adds value to those interested in your industry or space. If you were a real estate agent, for example, with a primary focus on The Junction, you'd create the best Junction podcast with valuable content for any resident of the Junction or anyone interested in The Junction. Then, in the final segment, there's a pivot to homes listed or sold in the neighbourhood that week and, of course, a reminder that you're the neighbourhood expert and all buyers and sellers should speak with you!
I can't tell you how much I've learned from podcasts. A podcast listener is paying attention, pausing when they can't listen and picking up where they left off when they can. Podcasting is a tremendous communications channel.
If you have a brand, or if you represent a business, you should have a podcast. There's no better way to stay top of mind and present yourself as an industry leader than by producing regular, professional sounding podcast episodes.
If you're an artist who specializes in Anime, start an Anime podcast in which a different comic book is reviewed and discussed in detail each week. Present yourself as the Anime expert you are! When people think Anime, they'll think of you. When people search Anime podcasts via Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, they'll find you.
Back in the day, people would self-publish books and then use that book as evidence that they were a thought leader in the industry. Speaking engagements, consulting opportunities and even fame would follow. John Smith is a widget expert. Afterall, he wrote "The Art of Widget Creation"! The modern day equivalent is having a podcast on the subject. In theory, even if nobody listened to the podcast, it would have great value simply because it exists. Think about that!
Monetization via Sponsorship
If you have a good podcast, and make people aware of it, you will get subscribers. People love to tell their friends and family about that great podcast they discovered. You'll tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on...
With an attentive audience, there's an opportunity to monetize the podcast via sponsorship. If a business wants to target your podcast listeners, a partnership opportunity will present itself. Right now in the United States, podcast revenue is robust. Canada is lagging behind, but it's best to be there when we catch up!
Broadcasting a show is great fun, even if it's just for your friends and family. Heck, maybe it's just you and a friend who love to talk Leafs or review movies or share retail horror stories. Some call these vanity podcasts, because they aren't intended to generate revenue or become popular with the masses, but I prefer to think of them as good wholesome fun.
I will tell you this... I started podcasting because it was fun, and I continue to podcast because it's fun. I'm a big fan of fun.
You should have a podcast, and I'm here to hold your hand throughout the process. TMDS will handle the A-Z, you just have to bring the content. We can record at my studio, or I can bring my studio to your office. I've got great references, so ping me if you'd like to discuss further.
I drew up the blueprints for TMDS back in June, soft-launched in July, and hard-launched just last week. Today, I'm delighted to share the details with you all.
TMDS, which stands for Toronto Mike Digital Services, is my new business of which I am the sole proprietor. There are three streams of revenue:
1. Sponsorship of Toronto Miked Digital Properties
This includes the blog Toronto Mike and the podcast Toronto Mike'd. Sponsorship opportunities exist for both and I'm eager to discuss this with any and all interested parties.
2. Production of Other People's Podcasts
I'm very excited about this aspect of TMDS. There are a plethora of reasons why businesses and individuals should have a podcast, from branding to internal and external communications, and I'm here to handle every detail from A to Z. You bring the content, I'll take care of the rest.
If you represent a business that could benefit from having a professional-grade podcast, or if you think it's something you'd personally enjoy, I want a conversation with you. We can discuss over the phone, over coffee, or over a beer. I urge you to reach out, I'm very friendly!
I have clients who visit my home studio, and clients where I pack up my studio and build it in their office's boardroom. As I often say, if I'm not small and nimble, I'm just small.
And yes, references are available upon request. I know what I'm doing, have a proven track record, and work very well with personalities and situations of all types. Let's talk.
3. Digital Marketing Projects Large and Small
Some clients need a website, web presence management, case studies and press releases written, email marketing consulting, or a restructuring of their website to make it maintainable, integrating digital marketing and demand generation into existing marketing and sales processes. There's a lot to unpack here, from marketing automation to social media strategy to SEO and PPC, and I've got the experience to help. Again, if you require assistance with digital marketing and content creation of any scope, I'm eager to discuss.
I'm excited about TMDS because I'm betting on myself. I promise honesty and quality work with minimal risk to you. I enter this customer acquisition phase with the discipline and passion necessary to help you succeed.
TMDS is open for business! Share the news with anyone who would benefit from working with me. And follow TMDS via the following channels:
- Website: torontomike.com/tmds/
- LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/tmds/
- Facebook: facebook.com/torontomikedigitalservices/
- Twitter: twitter.com/tmds_digital
- TMI, where I will document the journey is short podcast episodes: torontomike.com/tmi/
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