Podcasting has proven its success in digital marketing as the primary source of audio content. This medium has helped a number of entrepreneurs to establish their voice and build authority and relationships. One that will shed light on this conquest is Melissa Monte, the host of the popular podcast Mind Love, a podcast that’s all about raw stories, personal experiences, inspiring interviews, and highlighting the incredible role that the mind plays in happiness, health, success, and love. A former corporate VP turned entrepreneur and yogi, Melissa takes us into her podcasting journey, from the unforgettable perks to the mistakes and a-ha moments. A self-proclaimed seeker, she touches on how creating audio content helped her business grow and cultivated a mindset and gives the best tips to producing and monetizing your podcast.
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Center Of Influence Tips From The Mind Love Podcast with Melissa Monte
I am interviewing another great podcaster who you’ve got to learn from. I’m bringing you Melissa Monte, the host of the popular podcast Mind Love. Don’t you love that title? It’s already got a great title. You’ll hear a lot of why that title is essential in creating a great podcast. Her podcast is all about raw stories, personal experiences, inspiring interviews and highlighting the incredible role that mind plays in happiness, health, success and love. She’s a former Corporate VP who’s turned entrepreneur and yogi. She’s a self-proclaimed seeker. Melissa spent the last several years exploring methods of improving the human condition and learning what makes us tick. Melissa, I’m excited to have you here. Thank you for being with me.
Thank you so much for having me.
Let’s start about the podcaster’s journey. It didn’t come out of a whim saying, “I’m going to start podcasts,” because you started out as a blogger.
I got interested in entrepreneurship a while ago and part of that was listening to podcasts. I started listening to Pat Flynn. He called to me because of his authenticity. I remember thinking, “I’m going to do something.” Those sparks of ideas were coming in and I was like, “I could create an Amazon store. I can do a blog.” The easiest entry point for me seems to be blogging. I started a travel blog. I used these little methods to get noticed early on. I started to get free travel. It wasn’t long before I realized that travel was my happy place. The last thing I wanted to do at the top of Machu Picchu was to be blogging. It’s taking photos and making sure my audience was happy. That’s where I wanted to escape. That was the first lesson in learning how to create something that’s going to be sustainable for you.
I noticed you might not still be blogging. I didn’t see a blog on Mind Love.
I don’t still blog.
Why? Is it too much work?
That was part of my journey to realizing I wanted to do podcasting. I don’t love writing anymore. It used to be my thing. I majored in journalism but something about sitting down to that blank page blanks my mind. I started to think when do I feel the most fluid? When do I feel like giving the most value? It’s when I’m talking. Podcast sounds like the perfect solution for me.When you feel secure in your truth is when you should start questioning because it's always a bigger picture than we see initially. Click To Tweet
You’re here because I’m writing an article on you for Authority Magazine. I’d much rather do these interviews than have you guys submit information. I figure out, research and write an article on it. That to me is dry. It’s missing this passion and connection. You’re the first one who took advantage of the interview part. Others would rather submit their information and a press release. It’s not the same thing. It’s missing the human touch, which I know that you’re all about.
I’m glad to be here. That fits both of our needs and my love to talk more than write.
Tell me a story about the most interesting thing that’s happened to you because of your podcast.
Everything was a whirlwind after I started my podcast. It took off in a pleasant way. I have been invited to speak at conferences on how I grew my podcasts quickly. I’ve been on some top shows. The most valuable thing for me has been the way my network has been able to grow. You hear so much that your network is everything. It’s where you get your opportunities, that next big opportunity. There are a few ways to get there. One of the easiest ways there is through the people you know. With podcasting, it’s awesome because it’s a mutually beneficial platform. Even though I’m reaching out for somebody to be on my show and it’s an ask, I’m also saying to them, “How can I help you promote what you’re working on? How can I share my audience with you?”
When you’re coming together with people in that way, some amazing things can happen. One of my favorite things has been this entrepreneur network I’ve found in LA by inviting people on my show. About once a month I get to go to this amazing house in the Hollywood Hills and they’ve had names there like Randy Jackson and David Maisel of Marvel Studios and even Kevin Harrington of As Seen On TV and Shark Tank. I get to go learn from them every month. That’s got to be the most interesting.
I found the same thing. It’s similar that we hear a lot of these stories, so I’m looking forward to bringing more of those stories out to people as to what it’s given you on the personal side. A lot of us are building businesses using podcasting. How has it helped your business grow?
It’s where I started my business from scratch. I was a former Corporate Vice President. I was working with startups. That experience lent to helping me grow my show in learning to write pitch decks and manage a number of different things. In a startup, you’re wearing many different hats. It’s the same when you’re starting your own business. That was helpful. When I first began podcasting, it was because I was unfulfilled in what I was doing. The CEO I was working with wasn’t the energy I seek in a relationship I have to come to every single day. I started to find what would make me fulfilled on the side without having to take that first big risk and give up everything. Podcasting started as a little bit of a side hustle for me. Within a few months, I knew it was going to take off.
It was still a lot of sacrifice in the beginning. It’s not like it has suddenly replaced my income. I suddenly had the faith that I could replace my income. I decided to go all in. I put full-time work into my podcast. I got it to grow to a certain level. Sponsorships started coming in. I started to take survey responses from my audience to see how I could best serve them. I created my first course off of that. Between my courses and sponsorships, I have now replaced my income. It’s growing that from there and seeing how many streams of income can come in. What I love about something like this is that the sky’s the limit in what you think you would excel at and the ways that you can best serve. I am considering events. I’m looking into a possible membership site. It’s finding that middle ground between what is sustainable for me, what would bring me joy and what would best serve my audience. It’s still unfolding.
Your mindset is a big category. You’re unique in that. Have you cultivated that purposefully? Have you thought about how you stack up against the other podcasters and think about, “I’m separating myself,” or have you done it organically?
It’s been a little bit of both. My personality is the type that likes to stand out or when I see everybody in the room agreeing on one thing, even if I agree with that, my natural tendency is to poke a little hole over here and challenge it. I feel like when you feel secure in your truth, it’s when you should start questioning because it’s always a bigger picture than we see initially. When we do feel convicted in our beliefs, that’s a sign to me that everyone around us might be involved in group think or all of those things. I came from a fairly close-minded background. When I started to have unique thoughts in my teen years, a big thing for me was being as open-minded as possible because I didn’t feel like I was surrounded by that when I was younger. I like to come up my show with an open-minded approach and do some topics that maybe haven’t been touched on in a mindfulness show before.
Share with us some of the topics and some of the guests you’ve had because you’ve got great highlights. How many episodes are you in it?
I’m in the 70s right now.
What have been some of the highlights?
My absolute favorite is my favorite author in the world, Paul Selig. His books changed my life. He has channeled multiple books in front of a live audience with no editing, which challenged my beliefs on what I thought was possible in channeling in general. That wasn’t something I was raised as truth with. Angela Duckworth‘s Grit came on. She was great. I’ve also done episodes on The Surprising Psychology of BDSM because I read an article that people who engaged in the BDSM lifestyle have lower anxiety and depression. Rates have a ton of different mental imbalances, slightly higher narcissism, but that’s to be expected.
You get to explore your curiosity on your show.
It’s interesting because I used to view these things as distractions. I remember finding books that had nothing to do with what I was doing with my life at the time and being interested in it. I was wondering if I was going to be that person with scattered interest my entire life until I started to drill down. It was at that point of quarter-life crisis when I was like, “What am I going to do with my life?” I started to lay out what my ideal day looked like and what interests me. I started to find the through line that everything had to do with mind expansion and realizing that in a shift of mindset you have a little more power than you think you do. That’s what the premise of my life is about, not just my show.The more we try to avoid the mistakes, the more our fear holds us back from taking action. Click To Tweet
I got a lot of people who are going to read the articles. They’re going to be thinking about starting out a podcast. What are some of the mistakes you made? What are some of the things you wish you were like, “I wouldn’t do that again,” or some of the things you know you did well and you want to give them some advice to do that definitely?
As far as mistakes, the mistakes have all been learning points. I feel the more we try to avoid the mistakes, the more our fear holds us back from taking action. To preface this, none of the mistakes was anything that was like a knife to the gut. One of the biggest ones were early on I secured a big interview at the time with Alex Mehr. He’s the Founder of MentorBox. He was the Founder of Zoosk worth $500 million at this point. He agreed to come on my show partially because of how I positioned myself with networking. He came on. It was one of those things where I felt like a newbie. I was a newbie at this time. He was on the other end like, “Can this be 30 minutes instead of 45?” Those things I already know I was infringing on his time.
The interview started and he was doing it on his phone and every minute or so there was a buzz. He was getting a notification. I could see him swiping the notification away. He never put on do not disturb. I felt too timid to ask him to put on do not disturb. I went through the whole interview. It wasn’t up to my content standards even though I was saying, “I couldn’t air that on my show.” I had to pass it off. It was a lesson and realizing, “I felt worthy enough to get to this place. What held me back from speaking something that I knew was not going to serve me but to serve my entire audience?” That interview went to waste. That was probably my biggest lesson. It was learning to speak up for myself. If I know something’s going to be good for my audience and say, “This is my realm of authority here.” I’m able to stand in that. That was a mistake.
As far as the things I did right, I did a lot of googling on how to grow a podcast. Part of it is working backward and realizing, “How do I find podcasts?” I have spent a lot of time in the app world so I love downloading other apps. One of the things I did was I downloaded a bunch of other podcast apps and looked for the ones that had their own featured sections because Apple wasn’t updating their New and Noteworthy Section for quite a while. I thought, “How can I get featured in other areas?” That worked for me. It was a huge springboard to my growth. It wasn’t that one tip, but the fact that if you work backward and realize, “How do I get my podcasts? When was the last time somebody recommended one?” I began listening.
Those things come from guesting on other shows. I’ve found some of my favorite podcasts because they were guests on podcasts I was already listening to and being recommended through people that also listen to podcasts. The hardest way to get somebody to start listening to you is if you put an ad on Facebook or you start sharing all over social. Number one, those people are your friends not seeking you for business advice most of the time. Number two, many of them might not even know how to download a podcast. You’ve got to find the spots of the least amount of friction.
I’m laughing because this is the story I tell. Our first podcast was called WTFFF?!, which is about 3D printing. My mom didn’t listen to it for months because she thought we were swearing because she didn’t understand that it stood for What The Fused Filament Fabrication, which is the geeky term for 3D printing. That’s what she said. I realized it was because she didn’t know how to download it at all. She was too embarrassed to tell me that. She didn’t know what a podcast was. I laugh because that story resonates again and again across the community. We hear that often. Most of them don’t even understand how it is including podcasters. I talk to podcasters every single day which they didn’t listen to podcasts before.
Those you would assume might know how to get a podcast are then too afraid to ask somebody else. Have a page on your website about exactly how to give a review and how to download your podcasts, have it playable from there. Reduce the friction in as many ways as possible. When you are sharing with your friends on social, instead of sharing my episode every week, that’s a good way to get all of your friends to hide you from ever showing up in their timeline again. I would share my wins like, “I was featured in Forbes. I was featured here.” Other people like this. It’s that social validation that you have to add. It’s about coming at things from the sides instead of straight on sometimes.
We’re going to be doing a feature for BuzzFeed. I’m going to ask you five questions and you’re thinking about it from the podcast of the best way to for your purposes. What’s the best way to book guests?
Make it easy for them. Have a Calendly link or a booking link. There’s nothing worse than that back and forth going on and on. It makes your life a lot easier too. My biggest piece of advice there is write your pitch email as you would if you were pitching for investors or writing a pitch deck or pitching to be featured somewhere. Add validation in whatever ways you can find it. If you’re a newbie, what I did is I had taken Pat Flynn’s course. I also weaseled my way into his network and told them he was my mentor. When I was reaching out to guests, I was saying, “I am mentoring under Pat Flynn, who’s named in Forbes,” using his validation as my own. Whatever way you can get validation that can also include past business successes. They’re buying into you. They’re going to spend an hour of time with you. The less you have to show with your own podcast, the more you need to reach in with validation from other areas of your life. That they know that this is a worthwhile time commitment instead of another podcast that might be off, might’ve given up after fifteen episodes.
What’s the best way to increase listeners?
Ask people to share. That’s one of my biggest ones. I ask people to share and tell them how to share. Specifically, I’ll say, “Screenshot this and tag this.” I notice an influx in those episodes that are getting people to come in through them. That’s been helpful. It can also be helpful to target a clump of episodes based on topic. That was another time I noticed a big increase was when I did three episodes on relationships in a row. I started to specifically notice on social that people were saying, “This is a great episode on relationships and her next two episodes are going to be on relationships also.” That’s when people know instead of saying, “I know my friend would be interested in this type of mindfulness.”
They start to think, “I know this friend needs relationship advice and I can share with her three weeks’ worth of value.” That was helpful. Finally, it’s guesting on other shows because it’s that reduced amount of friction. One of the best ways I’ve found to do that is to go to your own show and look for the related shows at the bottom. That has already proven that those related shows are found because those people are listening to your show and those shows. Reach out to them and see if you can do a guest swap or something along those lines. That’s been helpful as well.
What’s your best way to produce it in a professional manner?
Equipment and adding your own style. I use the ATR2100 microphone. It’s such a great microphone that is affordable. I get compliments on my sound all the time. I also use a $10 pop filter and a shock mount. Those things help as well. Those are inexpensive. You can get your whole setup for under $100. I edit the whole thing in GarageBand. I also like to make the content easily digestible. There are a lot of times that a guest will come on and their response is nine minutes long sometimes. It goes all over the place. That’s hard to follow as a listener. Even though this takes me quite a while, I will rearrange it or cut out redundancies or break it up into multiple questions. I started doing that from the beginning because it’s the easiest for me to take in the content. I’ve found that it’s appreciated by my guests. It’s anything that you can do to add your own little unique flair to. When I want to add something that I didn’t think of during the interview, I do an overlay with a specific background track that people like. Those things make your podcast memorable.
What are your best ways to encourage engagement?
I have a lot of listeners on the platform, Castbox, which is one of the top platforms for Android. They have comments in there. I’ll tell people to leave comments. They always respond to mine. I also direct people to my show notes page. We’ll respond to any comments there. The absolute best way that I found to engage people is by getting them on your email list because that’s when it goes from broadcasting to the world to developing a relationship. It comes with reducing friction. What I do is they can sign up straight from my website easily. At the same time, most people are out and about, some people are driving. I use a program called Textiful that allows people to text a keyword to 444999 to sign up for my email list. They can do it through text message simply. I get to nurture that relationship in whatever way I see fit from there.When you're trying to level up your life, a lot of changes need to be made. Click To Tweet
Engagement is the biggest measure measurement. That’s what we found across all of the podcasters. They say that it’s the engagement that adds the value back because you’re getting direct feedback. You’re feeling it. You’re engaging with people. You’re talking with them. You’re finding out what makes them tick. Some of it’s starting to be conversion, so it’s not a straight conversion. That engagement is a gauge level that you need to hit. It’s important. Thank you for that. What’s the best way to monetize it? This is the tough one because many people have trouble monetizing their shows.
This can depend on a number of factors. I do love sponsorships. Sponsorships are a lot of fun. You get a lot of free things: my mattress, my luggage and half my outfits. It’s so much fun and rewarding too. That can be hard to get in the beginning when you’re smaller. If your podcast is niche, then if you do actual outreach to things that you think would be good sponsors, that could be a good fit where you would get paid much more than if they were finding you through some ad monetizing platform. Look through your network of friends and see what people have products or services that would be a good fit to have a mutually beneficial relationship with their show.
I did this with one of my friends. He owns Four Sigmatic, which is mushroom coffee. I have been obsessed with it even before I knew him. I went up to him and I said, “I would love for you to sponsor my show.” It was an easy fit for both of us. That can be helpful. It’s a way for you to give back to your friends doing cool things too. The number one way is to create your own products because you’re going to get so much more money from those things basically. I was barely getting by with sponsors in the beginning. Once I started to launch my own courses, that’s when the relationship paid off. People were waiting for me to deliver value in a new way. People fall in love with you when you have a podcast and they’re listening to you for that long.
They feel like they know you. The number of times I’ve gotten an email from people that say, “I feel like you’re one of my closest friends,” is a lot. People want to find new ways to interact with you and to learn from you. I love coming out with that course. One of the most rewarding parts of it is when you are broadcasting and podcasting, it can feel easy to want to people please. You get one negative comment out of the 100,000 listeners that you’re getting and that can throw you for a loop to the point that I’ve wanted to change my style based off of one comment. The moment I started to interact with people and the way through the digital course as it had a deeper relationship. That was when you start to see who your true fans are. Those are the people you need to serve, not the people that are going to be coming in and looking at how to be critical.
This might be seen and/or read by some big names. Who’s your dream guest? Who would you love to have on your show?
Aubrey Marcus is my number one. I love Aubrey Marcus. It’s one of the only shows I’ve consistently listened to in the last few years. Not every episode but mostly. I love the way he thinks. I’m one degree of separation away from him and a bunch of different ways. I’m planning my attack.
The audience, if you’ve got a connection for Melissa, it’s your job to make that degree disappear. If you’ve loved what she shared with you, pay her back in making that intro for her. You’re on social, you mentioned that. You also mentioned not pushing out a lot to your audience because they’re friends and family and things like that. Where is the best way? Where do you engage with most of your audience?
I engage with most of my listeners through my email list. I send out a morning email called the Morning Mind Love, which is daily inspirational value to remind you of your own beauty, worth and power. It doesn’t sell things on that. It’s value for you. That’s my favorite way. I also am on Instagram. You can follow me personally @MindLoveMelissa or the podcast @MindLovePodcast.
We see a lot more engagement on Instagram with podcasters. I love the way it’s growing. I had a talk with the guy who’s running Instagram TV. They’re making long tail there for us. We can utilize that in the future, which is exciting. Lots of new things coming on for everyone. Are there any other stories that you’d like to share with us about things that you’ve received from your podcast or the funny things that have happened then that you’d like to share with us in closing?
I went to a big entrepreneur event and scheduled this guest that I wanted to get on named Emily Fletcher. I was excited that she agreed to be on my show. I went to this event with a lot of big-name people and she happened to be there. It was cool to go up to her and say, “We have an interview scheduled.” It was bonding. We ended up having a conversation. She was like, “They say that if a podcast interview goes well, that’s how you know you found a new friend,” or something like that. It is a way I have found a lot of good friends through this medium. When you’re trying to level up your life, a lot of changes need to be made. Part of that for me has been changing my social circle and surrounding myself with other uplifting people who are also challenging themselves in new ways and setting the bar higher for what they thought was possible. I highly encourage anyone that’s considering podcasting to get into it because it’s life-changing in many beautiful ways.
I’m going to close with a story about you that you may not realize. As we’ve been having this conversation, I realized that I met you at a meet up in conjunction with Traffic & Conversion. I knew your show sounded familiar. When you started saying the story about Pat Flynn, that was the story you told me that night. That story has stuck with me and I remembered it. This woman has gone from launching to what you see right now. The success she’s having within a year is absolutely phenomenal. I am glad we’re reconnecting here. We found friendship here too. Thank you for that. I’m glad because I couldn’t find your card. I couldn’t find your information. It was because at that time it was early. I did have your podcast already in my playlist, which was odd. That’s what it was when I listened to your voice. When I’m hearing you now I realized, “I did meet her.”
Traffic & Conversion has been life-changing for me. That was of things that changed my life. I won some contest and it set up my freelance career for a couple of years. That was the beginning of the journey to here.
Melissa, thank you so much for coming on. I’m excited that you have become a center of influence in the podcasting world in Mind Love and in mindset. That’s a tremendous growth area. Good for you. I’m amazed by your success and your progress.
Thank you so much. This has been so much fun.
Feed Your Brand readers, this is the Center of Influence podcast. We’re going to be bringing you a lot more of these shows that are focused on the stories of podcasters, how they got started, how successful they are, and how they’re growing and keeping that pace of engagement, success and business. If you would like to read more, you can subscribe to the Feed Your Brand feed and we will make sure that you get both the Feed Your Brand typical podcast and the Center of Influence podcast at the same time. Thank you all for reading.
- Mind Love
- Pat Flynn
- Paul Selig – Mind Love episode
- Angela Duckworth – Mind Love episode
- The Surprising Psychology of BDSM – Mind Love episode
- Four Sigmatic
- Aubrey Marcus
- @MindLoveMelissa – Melissa’s Instagram
- @MindLovePodcast – Mind Love’s Instagram
- Emily Fletcher
- Traffic & Conversion
About Melissa Monte
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