July 07, 2022

#067: Podfest – Podcast Hosts Larry Roberts, Michael O’Neal, and Jennifer & Paul Henczel

Hosted by Fran Racioppi

Podfest is the world’s largest community of podcasters. This year, host Fran Racioppi was invited to speak at, and emcee, the military track,  so he invited our guest from Episode 53 (and fellow Podfest speaker) Juliet Hahn to co-host a combined Jedburgh PodcastYour Next Stop series of Podfest Episodes. 

In this Podfest compilation episode Fran and Juliet sat down with Podfest Newsletter Editor Larry Roberts, longtime podcast host & creator Michael O’Neal, and podcasting couple Jennifer & Paul Henczel to talk Podfest, branding, interviewing, YouTube and how being crushed alive led to a career in podcasting.

Listen to the podcast here


About Larry Roberts

TJP 67 | PodfestA high energy and charismatic podcaster, speaker, Amazon #1 best selling author and top rated Udemy course creator, Larry Roberts has been in coaching and facilitator roles for more than 25 years.

Whether it’s corporate soft skill, technical or sales training, facilitating small business groups or teaching martial arts, Larry thrives on sharing his knowledge and insight in a way that will grab your attention, put you at ease and reassure you.

Larry fell in love with podcasting several years ago and has had two of his own shows, including his Readily Random Podcast that features a random selection of savvy and insightful interviews with entrepreneurs, authors, athletes, podcasters and more! He is also the host of 1 Big Win: Moments in Motion to Mastery. On this show Larry highlights those moments in our lives that when put into motion accelerated our individual life mastery.

Larry’s podcasts can be found on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and countless other podcast platforms. The show features interviews with some of the top leaders in their respective fields, with new episodes being made available on Tuesday of each week.


About Michael O’Neal

TJP 67 | PodfestI’m originally from Ohio, and lived there for 12 years. Grew up Catholic (I’m a recovering Catholic now) and played every sport known to man when I was a little kid. Became a Steelers fan back then. Steel Curtain and all that. Got in a lot of trouble in school too. (No surprise to those of you that know me). At 12, we moved to a little ‘burb outside Philadelphia where I was one of three gentiles in the entire town. I had an entire drawer of Yamikas. That was great…they were warm on my head and velour.

In between 10th and 11th grade my parents decided it would be a great idea to move down to a little redneck town in Florida called Spring Hill, which I hated for every second I was down there. (Well, except for you Renee…you rocked.) In fact, I think my bags were packed on stage as I accepted my high school diploma.

I bolted back to Philly and had stops in Newark DE, Long Beach Island NJ, and Palm Beach FL, where I graduated from music school. I then finished up undergrad at Temple University in Philly and studied communication, and this new thing called the “Internet”. (It was 1994).

I became a web designer, and worked that field for 15 years. I still do design and development, but only if you hold a gun to my head. In 1997 I moved to Boulder Colorado, and have lived there and in Denver for almost 13 years, until 2012 when I moved to San Diego. After a few brief stints working for other people, I found myself to be truly unemployable around 2005, and have been on the entrepreneurial track ever since.

From 2004-2008, my parents would fall ill, and basically “level” me in all aspects of my life. Emotionally, financially, etc…They both passed away in 2007, just 7 months apart.

I tried to “muddle” through 2008, and didn’t have much success. But I decided to take actual time to mourn, so in 2009, thanks to my wonderful friend Melanie, I went to Europe to spread their ashes everywhere I could. You see, I had a “dream” as an adult to surprise my parents with a trip to Europe, so this was my best substitution. So, I got a little Italian Parmesan Cheese shaker, and I ventured off into the wild blue yonder. And they are *everywhere*. In the Sistene Chapel, the Beaches of Normandy, Notre Dame…you name it, they’re there.

I arrived back in the States, healed, broke, and happier than I’d been in years. But I knew that I no longer wanted to trade a dollar for an hour, so I went looking for something else. That’s when network marketing and internet marketing found me. It’s been 4 years since I found that world, and the transformation it’s made in my life has been nothing but profound. I’ve met amazing people in the network marketing, internet marketing, life coaching, and entrepreneurship world. Every single day I learn from them and they impact me.

In August 2013, I started a Podcast called The Solopreneur Hour – Job Security for the Unemployable. It’s aim is to show the other unemployable people of the world the correct path to business success on their own terms. It’s been an amazing ride. I’d love if you’d have a listen: https://solohour.com


About Paul Henczel

TJP 67 | PodfestPaul Henczel is a Storytelling Expert. He has told his stories on TV, Radio and the TEDx stage.

Paul Henczel, BBA is a volunteer community speaker, Author of “Crushed Alive!” and a motivational speaker near Vancouver, BC, Canada. Paul has gone from an injured mill worker to an international speaker. While he has extensive injuries and disabilities to navigate each day his near-death accident and obstacles have not stopped him from sharing his story, because he believes opportunities create stories and stories create opportunities. He uses his story and experiences from overcoming adversity and daily challenges to inspire and empower others to tell their stories.


About Jennifer Henczel

TJP 67 | PodfestJennifer Henczel is a Podcaster, Best Selling Author, Founder of Inspired Influencers and a global network called Women in Podcasting VIP Club. Jennifer’s mission is to lift women’s voices and stories globally.

Jennifer Henczel is known as the Queen of Encouragement for her ability to build inspiring, supportive and collaborative communities. She loves creating opportunities for women to connect and collaborate in meaningful ways.

Her podcasts include the Women in Podcasting Show, where you can get tips about podcasting and guesting at Women in Podcasting show and the Inspiring Influencers Show which she co-hosts with her husband, interviewing thought leaders about today’s top marketing and mindset strategies and you can find that at inspiring.show

Through her Inspired Influencers Inner Circle, Jennifer helps her clients navigate all of today’s top mindset and marketing tools to create a client attraction system that works. Jennifer teaches people her proprietary Influence Formula for monetizing their message for more impact and influence.

Most importantly, Jennifer leads people through a process of ascending to their highest self, creating harmony and abundance for themselves, while serving the world with their purpose.


Podfest – Podcast Hosts Larry Roberts, Michael O’Neal, and Jennifer & Paul Henczel

Podfest is the world’s largest community of podcasters. I was honored to be able to speak at and host the military forum in sunny Orlando on Memorial Day weekend. Since podcasting is way more fun as a crowd, and I usually do it myself. I will never again let a great live of ankle unrecorded. I invited my guest from episode 53 and fellow Podfest speaker Juliet Hahn to come together for a joint episode, your next stop series of Podfest episodes.

When Fran asked me to cohost, I said, “I am there,” because we had such great synergy when we did our recordings together. When I saw Fran set up this amazing live experience with his show and people were coming all over to check out what we were doing, it was an amazing experience. In this Podfest compilation, we interview Larry Roberts, who is the newsletter editor of Podfest. He sits down with us to talk about the importance of branding and how has red hat changed his life.

We also sit down with Michael O’Neal, who has 11 million subscribers to his podcast, and now he’s tackling YouTube. We sat down with power, couple Jennifer and Paul Henczel. There’s a funny story behind that. Fran met them the night before at a restaurant and missed the back of Paul’s car where it says he was crushed alive.

Super embarrassing moment. I’m not talking about it here in this intro. You have to read the episode to find out for yourself. Check out the full video versions of all of our conversations and discussions from Podfest on YouTube. Don’t miss our other episodes coming up, including Pick Cherries, Katie Brinkley, and Shure microphones. Follow me, Fran Racioppi, at JedburghPodcast.com and @JedburghPodcast on all social media.

You can follow me at IAmJulietHahn.com and @IAmJulietHahn on all social media. You can also check out my podcast, Your Next Stop, on all your podcast players.

Time for Podfest.

Larry, welcome to the The Jedburgh Podcast and Your Next Stop combination episodes. Juliet, join me down here. First of all, I want to thank you for having us down here, setting up Podfest. You are one of the key people involved in the organization, setting it up a couple of years off because of COVID but everybody is back together. My first time down here and Juliet too. We could not be more impressed with what has gone on down here, the community that’s being built. I sincerely am honored that you invited me to speak. Also, let me set this thing up here now because this has been awesome, and we’ve met so many people. It has been an incredible experience.

That’s so cool to hear that. I love Podfest, and the last one was in 2020. It was an amazing event as well. In all honesty, that was my first ever in-person Podfest. I was so blown away by the community and the support that everybody in this community gives to one another. It’s such an amazing feeling to know that as an independent creator, there are resources out there, and there are literally teams out there that are more than willing to share their knowledge with you, build you up, and make you part of the community as well.TJP - E67 Podfest 2022

We’ve talked about this with Fran and I together. It’s so awesome to be feeling the energy here. Everyone is excited to be together but not only that, and it doesn’t matter where your podcast is. If you are starting out, if your millions of downloads, everyone is here to help. Everyone is here to teach. Everyone is here to connect, and that’s one of the things that we are missing is that connection piece that we have been missing for so many years. As Fran said, I’m so excited to be talking about storytelling and to be here with this community.

It’s great, and I will tell you something. I should’ve shared this but back in 2020, and this sounds cheesy. I’m the editor of the newsletter for Podfest. Some people are going to know you are biased but maybe. Trivia night, which is usually the first night of Podfest. I don’t know if you guys participated in trivia night. Trivia night of 2020 literally changed my entire podcasting trajectory.


I didn’t even want to go to trivia night.

Those are the best times. The best nights you ever have in your life are the ones where you say, “I need to stay home tonight.”

I’ve met another podcaster for the first time. We hit it off or whatever. She’s like, “Are you going to go play trivia?” I’m like, “No, I’m not going to play trivia. I’m way to cool for that.” She goes, “Come on. Let’s go. Let’s go play trivia.” We went in. We sat down at like the last table. Somebody randomly yelled out, “Sit at ours.” We took a seat. Unbeknownst to me that at that table was my soon-to-be podcasting coach who was David Hooper wrote the Big Podcast.

Amazing podcast coach and radio contributor. He’s next level. I met him. Hit it off. Of course, that changed my trajectory as well. Not only that but that night, even though I was reluctant to play, our table won. We got a full VIP experience at the next Podfest. We also got to meet the Founder of Podfest, Chris Krimitsos. I met Chris Krimitsos. I met my future podcast coach. I met my future, and I will call him my boss to a degree.


There we go. Those relationships were established that night, right there. I had already been podcasting for years but didn’t know anybody in the space. That first night at Podfest in 2020, I met two of the most influential people in my entire podcasting career, and since then, things have skyrocketed. That’s the potential that joining something like this community will do for you. You have to show up. Everybody here, as I mentioned before, they are ready to take you to that next level.

It has been such an experience. Talk for a bit about the growth of Podfest. Where did it come from, the vision behind it that Chris had? It started, as we were talking before we started recording here, that there were fourteen people at the first one and it was like, “What are you talking about?” Now, there are thousands of people here.

It started off as a local meetup group. It did start off with about fourteen. If you are reading, don’t quote me on that number but it’s somewhere in the lower double digits. Let’s put it that way. It literally grew to, just in 2021, even though we had to go virtual. We set two Guinness World Records.


Yes, two legitimate real Guinness World Records for having the largest online podcasting conference with the number of attendees.

How many people? Now, you better be exact.

I’m very close to the first one. I’m dead on the first one. We hit it at 5,004 for people the first time, then we got real close to 6,000 the second time. The second time was a struggle. Guinness is like, “It was a longer process. It was a difficult process but we managed to come through. We blew the first one out of the water.” Holds two Guinness World Records. That shows going from a fourteen person in-person local meetup group to literally building a community that’s so big that it set a Guinness World Record twice.TJP - E67 Podfest 2022

One of the things that I love is when the pandemic happened, you pivoted. It was like, “We are not going to,” because this is my first live event but I was a part of it in 2021. I did a presentation, one of the tracks where people can go and listen to that way. It’s so important, and that’s one of the things that we talk about on our show and in the world now. It’s about taking that pivot.

Sometimes you are going, “Things are not going to happen the way that you envision them. The way that you want them but you have to take that pivot to find out where it is going to go.” Now, we are here, so many people. We were talking about how many different tracks are going on at the same time, which is so cool to see.

We have over 350 speakers at this event that we are at now. I was looking at our Whova app, which is our coordination and agenda app that we use. We had 1,666 people registered for the event virtually and in person. In total, we are way up there as far as the numbers go. It’s so amazing because, as you mentioned, you probably can get your Guinness certificate. I’m pretty sure you are probably part of that event. I got mine at $35 and got my certificate. It’s in the studio now.

It goes to how hungry people are for this type of community and this type of content, and because of that pivot, so many relationships were established during that time from 2020 to now that we knew each other. We felt like we were best friends because we spent so much online time together. Over the last few days, I have met so many of my best friends in person for the first time. It has been amazing. Getting that connection together and being able to interact, love, and support each other in person it’s amazing.

I know everyone asks you this but just so the audience can know, what is the significance of the red hat?

This is going to be a fun story. I shouldn’t say this on a show. It’s going to get millions of downloads but I turned 50.

No, you did not.

I will. Being on stage as a speaker and talking to probably, a younger generation that is these content creators these days. I want to look as young as possible. I thought, “I got to wear a brand.” I started wearing a Supreme hat, the brand Supreme. It was a red hat with Supreme on there, and I spent about $150 for this hat to be cool.

I’m undercharging for my hats.

Way undercharging. I have given several speeches, and Alex Sanfilippo, I think you probably know Alex, and if you don’t, you need to. He came up to me in November of 2021 after I presented at Podfest origins in Tampa. He goes, “Why are you giving Supreme all this love?” I told him the story, “I’m trying to be cool or whatever.” He goes, “Are they sponsoring you?” I’m like, “No, they are not sponsoring me.” I could give them love. He says, “Lose the Supreme and grab the red hat.” As soon as I got home, I jumped on Amazon and ordered a flat bill red unbranded hat for $7. I started rocking that.

I got to tell you, from November to now, and I’ve landed speaking gigs because of the red hat.

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“I’ve landed speaking gigs because of the red hat.”

I was at Bitcoin Miami. People recognize me with 30 some odd thousand people in attendance as the podcast guy and approached me at Bitcoin Miami because of, “I saw the red hat.” I walked into this venue days ago. People were jumping up and down from all the way down the hall because of the red hat. It has become such a branding moniker, and you find it everywhere. All my headshots are black and white but the hat is red. All my branding is black and white but the hats are red. The red hat has become the calling card. Everybody that doesn’t know me thinks they know me because they see the red hat.

Getting that connection together and really being able to interact, love, and support each other in person is just amazing. (Larry Roberts) Share on X

I did that. I was like, “That’s the red hat guy. I know the red hat guy.”

You were sitting here in the big room when they were doing the influencer event. That room was massive. It was the biggest and Juliet said, “I see Larry over there with the red hat.” I can’t even see that far.

I have a client that came in from Nashville to join me here and he said the same thing. He was at the back of the room and ran up to me. He goes, “I want you to know, I don’t have my glasses on. I saw the red hat. I know where you are at.” There’s a big lesson there that. There’s an authenticity factor there because it’s got to be a flat bill. That’s my thing. You got to be tilted slightly to the right. That’s my thing, whether it’s cool or not, I don’t know. This is my gig. It seems cool in my head.

I’m getting into your age, so I think it’s cool, maybe it doesn’t count.

It’s a testament to anybody out there that’s looking to stand out in a crowd. Find that one thing that stands out and own, live, and be it.

TJP - E67 Podfest 2022

“Find that one thing that stands out and own it. Live it. Be it.”

You got to have that consistency, though. Like I said, my business cards, my face, black and white, red hat, and headshots. It’s consistent throughout everything that I do. I didn’t ever know I was going to be recognized as the red hat guy. Sometimes, honestly, I like blue better. I’ve done a stumbling red but it has been so beneficial. It’s amazing that months since November, the overall impact that is wearing the red hat and standing out in a sea of thousands of other podcasters with the difference it makes.

We’ve touched on this before and maybe are going to know what I’m going to say but did you hear the excitement when Larry started talking about the red hat? That’s one of the things. I’m not kidding but that’s one of the things I love to talk about on my podcast. It’s to hear when people get excited, and the audience can know. That’s something that means something to you. You worked hard on it. We all do things and it’s like, “What’s going to work? What’s going to hit? What’s going to miss?” When you get those hits, you are like, “I’m so happy that I got a hit there.” It’s awesome.

A lot of people ask, how do you keep getting all these speaking gigs? This is my seventh gig, and I came from Austin and another guy that was there speaking. I speak on branding most of the time. Ironically enough, I spoke on branding here, how to build a strong personal podcast brand. When I got down to Austin, the guy goes, “You are going to get up there and talk about for 30 minutes how to wear a red hat?” I said, “Not specifically.”

Seven minutes.

It’s going to be part of it because I’ve learned so much with this transition. Again, now and these numbers are updated. There are 504,000 active podcasts out there.

What’s considered active?

Active is 90 days and at least 10 episodes. Those are Apple statistics from Apple Podcasts. If you look someplace else, you are going to get some variations but those are active only. There are 2.5 million that are out there that may not be considered active. Again, this is Apple only. The numbers can fluctuate.

It’s not a lot of competition for those of us who are trying to make it?

Not at all. It’s only half a million are out there. You can jump out there and be somebody like that but no, it’s not. I have been podcasting for years and only started seeing that progression. Honestly, when I told you about the trivia night of 2020. That’s when things started changing. It’s only because I got involved in a community and started figuring out the ins and outs of the industry and learning and absorbing all of this massive content and all this tremendous knowledge that I so willingly shared that I started seeing that transition and that change. It led me to January 4th of 2021. I left a 21-year career with the same company to podcast and did podcasting and speaking full-time.

It’s so exciting that with all the hard work that you put in, you are seeing it. This is what, again, I talk about often is sometimes when you think, “Is this the path I’m supposed to be on?” You keep feeling those feelings. It’s like, “I’m walking through this door. Is this the right door? Am I supposed to go left or right?” Many people give up too soon. They give up before it’s their time that’s meant to happen. I love that you stayed the course, changed things up a little bit and were like, “Let’s see where this takes me.”

That’s the thing too. I’m even in between shows now. I killed my last podcast weeks ago. I’m in between launching Bitcoin Impact, and it’s going to be my new show. The only thing that’s holding me back is my voice. As you can probably know, I sound a little raspy. I can’t even record my new show, so I’m stuck. The thing that I want to reinforce there with that is that you are going to change your show most likely.

It may not be your first show that gets you where you want to go. I’ve had four podcasts total. Bitcoin Impact will be my fourth show in the line of shows since I have been doing this for years. Find your niche, drive, desire, and message. It may take time, and you may strike out that first time. You may strike out the second time but keep coming back and keep going at it. You are going to find that niche eventually.

TJP - E67 Podfest 2022

“Find your niche. Find your drive. Find your desire. And find your message.”

Talk more about the show you are going to launch.

There are a lot of people that have heard the term Bitcoin. Lot of people that know the term cryptocurrency.

We are watching NFTs with Katie Brinkley, and we were completely exposed. Julia and I were completely exposed about our lack of knowledge of NFTs.

I had a little more than you did. I was like, “I understand this a little bit.”

Katie is a Rock star, for starters, and her podcast is NFT Ninjas, a phenomenal show.

1 of 3 podcasts.

She’s an amazing creator and social media expert. If you guys don’t know, Katie, get in contact with Katie. She’s awesome. She influenced me on the Bitcoin Impact show a little bit as well because I was like, “That is what we need to be talking about now.” Honestly, the reason I got inspired to launch the show at Bitcoin Miami months ago, I don’t remember the exact date. As I said, I have been everywhere.

I realized that there are so many people out there that hear these terms but they have no idea what they mean. With Bitcoin Impact, my goal is to take and remove the technical and the deep dive investing aspects of it. Talk about the practical application and impact that Bitcoin, crypto, and blockchain technology have on every one of us, whether we realize it or not. I want to take the general public and tear down that veil of technical obscurity and speak to the average person so they can understand what this technology is capable of and how they can take advantage of it to benefit them, their families, and their futures as well.

When is the launch?

As soon as my voice healed. Honestly, I wish I could give a date. I do, but I can’t because I got COVID in Bitcoin Miami. I brought home the bonus package and want to thank Jordan Peterson for that because he was the only talk that I went to and everybody that I know that went to Jordan Peterson got COVID, and everybody that didn’t go to Jordan Peterson did not, so I’m blaming Jordan Peterson. I still love him. He’s cool but thank you for COVID, Jordan Peterson. My wife thanks you too.

Everything is in place. I’ve even got merged ready to rock. I’m ready to go. It’s going to be a video first show. That’s one of the transitions that I’ve made as well. Still doing audio. It’s still going to be available as an audio podcast but we are diving into the video first aspect of podcasting with Bitcoin Impact. I’m sponsored by RiverSide. They are going to be promoting the show as well. That’s going to be a tremendous opportunity there but as soon as you can hear Larry again, we will get that intro knocked out and get launched. The contents and the interviews are there. Everything is in place. I got to be able to create the content, and now I don’t want to launch with a partial brand.

I love Riverside. That’s where I record as well. They are great.

What else can we expect here at Podfest?

I know we’ve got a massive party to wrap everything up. It’s the finale party but there’s still content. That’s going to be going on. If anybody is looking to bail out of here early, I highly recommend you don’t. Hang out. There are still tremendous things to learn. It’s going to be amazing. We are going to have a dance floor. We’ve got three different DJs. We got a live rock band. We are going to blow this thing out of here and have a good time. You can tell where my focus is.TJP - E67 Podfest 2022

I got my party shoes on.

Larry, thanks for hopping in here with us. We appreciate it. Again, thanks for having us down here. It has been a truly impactful and amazing opportunity.

Thank you for having me. It has been a great opportunity to be on your show. Thank you again so very much. I appreciate it. Best of luck.

Michael, thanks for taking some time to join Juliet and I on The Jedburgh Podcast. Your Next Stop is Juliet’s show. We came together for this collaboration, and we are going to be in full disclosure with you now. We stalked you on the Whova app then she tracked you down over the last couple of days and was not letting you off the hook until we dragged you in.

I appreciate it. Thanks for letting me be here. It’s a little slow. It was a late night. All my brain cells are organizing now but that’s the nature of conferencing. I did a little spiel at the big influencer party thing and it was like, “This is what this is.” This is a go-go then you get exhausted on Monday, especially after taking a couple of years off. I appreciate the community again. You get a bit of a scratchy voice. That’s how that works.

We talked about it with a couple of other guests that it’s the community. It’s the podcasters coming together, and it doesn’t matter if you have millions of downloads. If you are starting out, everyone is here to rejoin, talk, and connect. We miss that connection and community aspect during the pandemic. This is what I love about this, the energy.

Nobody’s done a better job, by the way, with the community with a conference that has grown so large than Chris has with this one. The community aspect of this particular conference is still so great. It still feels like it did in 2015. It’s way bigger than it was. We were in like a little tiny hotel and one room and there was like, “This is the one track, and here’s the other track,” and that was it. Now, they’ve got twenty tracks in this thing. That’s an accomplish.TJP - E67 Podfest 2022

At any one time, there were ten conversations going on so many things. All of us said we were honored to be able to come here and be asked to speak. That’s how I felt. I’m like, “You want me to come and speak here? I have only been doing this for like months,” but I was so honored to be able to do that.

Being a former Green Beret, what has been the most challenging transition for you to turn into someone who now has to be an entertainer?

My daughter will say, “You are not even entertaining.”

That’s a problem.

It takes an incredible amount of energy, discipline, and focus.

I don’t have either of those two things. I’m not sure how much.

The whole talk that I gave is called, especially for operations mindset. The very first thing I say is that being special forces is not special. There’s nothing that different from me than anybody else but there’s a sense of commitment. There’s a sense of discipline and a standard that you are uphold to a level that I call no compromise.

I would argue that’s special but go ahead.

In transitioning that but it’s a mindset like physically, mentally, there’s no difference between me or anybody else. You have to take that to succeed in this space because you talked about the growth of this, just this event but we could talk about all day about the growth of this industry. The fact that the barrier to entry where we had Katie Brinkley in here, and we spoke to her. She’s got three podcasts. One of the things we talked to her about was the barrier to entry. The barrier to entry is so low in podcasts. Everyone can jump in.

It was way higher in 2013 when I started. You had to learn gear and stuff. Now that stuffs is amazing. You can buy a $69 mic on Amazon and say, “It sounds pretty good,” and you are off to the races.TJP - E67 Podfest 2022

That’s it. You can use self-upload. It takes two seconds, and you are done. To separate yourself, in my perspective, you have to pay attention to everything. I try to make sure that we are locked in all the time. We don’t get it right very often. You have to demonstrate. We talk about the nine characteristics of performance on this show that special operations command uses. Resiliency and adaptability are two of those. My team and myself demonstrate resiliency, adaptability, and drive every day.

I was going to say two things about that. One is that when you are first starting. One of my good buddies is a drum teacher, and his name is Mike Johnston. When I was a touring drummer for years, I was like a pretty good player overall but I can sit down with Mike, who’s a career educator. He’s a great player but I can be doing a thing and be like, “Check this out.” He goes, “Cool. Now keep a quarter note pulse with your left foot.” It’s as if I’ve never played drums before. It completely unravels.

The cool thing about drums in that respect is like being an athlete. There’s no ego attached to not being good at something. You go, “I got to get better at this,” and you start doing it. He has these wristbands he gives out when he does these drum camps and they say, “Embrace the suck.” It’s the thing. The part B is that what the secret sauce and when I teach beginners, these things. I say, “You may not realize this but you are now in competition with NPR, Howard Stern, and Netflix. You are now in the media as much as you could go to an event and get a media pass,” which you can. It’s one of the more underutilized things that happens in the podcasting world. I’ve gone to the Super Bowl on a media pass before.

I did that.

It is your responsibility to now be good at the craft. I nerd hard out about podcasts interviews and things like that because if someone is going to flip over from NPR to my show, I don’t want there to be a drop-off. I want to be that good, and very few podcasters are. They don’t understand that entertainment is paramount to anything else. Think of it as your favorite teacher.

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“If someone’s gonna flip over from NPR to my show, I don’t want there to be a drop off.”

If you have some favorite Algebra teacher that wasn’t your favorite teacher because they were great at Algebra. They told great stories and were entertaining. You learned those lessons because they were entertaining. If we be like, “I’ve got to provide value every time.” It’s like, “Nobody wants value with every conversation.” Sometimes they want to laugh or they want to have a pretty good time.

I will connect through the stories. You brought that up. Stories are so important because it gives you a deeper connection to the person you are talking to. What you said about the drumming and stuff I’m like, “I want to know more about that. I want to know more about what Michael said.” Even though I’m not a drummer, I’m not musical at all, I like music but I do want to know that aspect about you because of the way you can tell in your energy. The way that your body moved to the way that your voice went up that you were excited about. That’s something that you are interested in.

You will see some YouTube videos. Some guy doing a thing and you go, “Cool. I’m going to try it,” and go and sit down. I can’t do it at all. It does not work, then fifteen minutes later, I’m ripping through it. To me, it’s an amazing combination of your synopsis firing, which might not very well now, and the muscle memory kicking back in and going, “This is this. I’ve done this a million times. I didn’t know.” It’s almost like when you learn a new sport. I’m addicted to pickleball now.

Entertainment is paramount to anything else. (Michael O'Neal) Share on X

It’s growing. It’s huge.

Whenever I’m teaching somebody, I always ask them, “What did you play? Have you ever played anything?” They will go, “I will play this up.” I’m like, “That’s the forehand. Your swing, it’s the same swing.” It’s sometimes connecting to things that we have already done. For podcasters, I’ve got this story. I was out to happy hour with a friend of mine, and she brought a friend. It was probably two years into my show. My show is an hour, and I hit record and hit stop. I’ve done 850 something episodes. I’ve never edited a show.

That’s how we run. We run true.

This is what the show is. I do it because I like the idea of live to tape like they did in the ‘60s, and it puts more onus on me to be good at my job. Be a good host, plug my guests in, and do a good interview and all this stuff. We are sitting here having this happy hour. My friend goes off to the restroom, and I’m sitting with her friend. It’s the worst small talk. We can’t think of a thing to say to each other.

I thought, “I do a show when I sit down with a stranger and hit record. We do this amazing show, and how am I not able to have this conversation now?” In my head, I flipped the mic on, and all of a sudden, we were having this great conversation. To sum that up, I focused on being interested and not interesting. That’s what the shift was. I think any good podcaster has to be that curious but not profound.

TJP - E67 Podfest 2022

“I focused on being interested and not interesting.”

I’ve never had it positioned that way. We should caveat that. We’ve stalked Michael because of his background. He has an entire course called the art of the interview. He told us right before we started that we better not fuck this up. We need to be good. We need to be locked on. I told you Juliet was on my show, then I subsequently went on hers. This is the first collaboration that we’ve come on together and said, “Can we co-host together?” We are testing it out. It’s going well.

We connect well.

Will you do a little intro and outro where you will talk over it or will it be like music that gets put on each side?

We will find time to record an intro of her and talking about this episode.

We will both put them out on our RSS feed, so it will be like, “Here’s a double show thing.”

Otherwise, I was going to take you to task for something you didn’t do already. That’s like the biggest cardinal sin that 97% of podcasters do. You guys listen to podcasts, obviously. Of the podcasts you listen to, how often do you make it to the very end of a show like the closing credits?

Not that much.

When do 99% of podcasts promote their guests?

It’s at the end.

It’s when no one is listening to the show anymore. Always plug in the guests at the beginning. This is why I asked you about the intro/outro because you would do that in the intro. This is their thing and social media but generally, since I don’t do a separate intro. I have to get all of that out of the way. I will be like, “Today’s guest has won nine Emmys. They’ve done blah, blah, blah.” I would introduce them like I do someone on stage, then before I say a word, I will be like, “You can find them at blahblahblah.com, and all their social media is.”

As the show goes on, if they have this great point, I might say something like, “You got to tweet them at blah, blah, blah.” I will plug them ten times during the course of the show. The reason why is because if I was lucky enough to get some A-lister guest, two things. One, I want them to go, “Holy shit. This guy knows what he’s doing.” Number two, I want them to tell all of their A-lister friends, “That was a great show. You should be on that guy’s show.” That’s how I’ve gotten great guests for years.

The experience. Now, I’m going to do this because you said your show for years, so The Solopreneur Hour is yours. What you said about the actual interview, what I call the experience, is the most important thing. I’ve said this to people before because they said, “Why do you put so much time into the preparation for your interviews?” I said, “It’s about the experience that the guest has in their interaction with me.” 9 out of 10 times, the guest doesn’t listen to the interview after. They know what they talked about. Some do, most don’t but they need to walk out of that conversation and say, “That was awesome. I feel awesome having had that conversation.”

This is where it’s fun. If you do a killer intro for somebody, this is the upside. You are working without a net. If they are live on the show and their quiet and you do it a great diffusive intro for them, if you nail that and what I like to do is I call it the Eminem 8 Mile intro. Have you guys ever see 8 Mile? That very closing rap battle, he had to go first.

He used all of the guys ammo against him. The guy had nothing to say. What I like to do is if I’m bringing somebody on that’s known for a thing, I cover their entire thing in the intro. Now, they have to come up with new shit on my show. They can’t tell me the thing they do. Two things happen. 1) They go, “This guy’s got chops.” 2) They go, “Thank God. I don’t have to tell the stupid story about the duck crossing the road again.” It opens them up, and it changes the whole dynamic of the show. They end up having a great time until their other little A-list.

It takes it deeper. If I have guests on who read books, I read their book. If they have a show, I watched their show, then I will pull the quotes. In every block that we have, I will open it up. I will read the quote and say, “You talked about this in this context. Now, tell me more about what, why, how and let’s go do that.” As you said, they look at you and they are like, “Now, I got to think about this.”

Access to a new spot.

One of my favorite things is to ask questions that typically people don’t ask. On my show, it’s about their story like where they got, where they are, and why. We dive into little parts of their story. Maybe when they were a child. “I remember this,” then connecting the dots for them is what lights me on fire. All of a sudden, they are like, “You are right. I didn’t think about that what happened to me throughout my schooling prepared me to be the person that I am now because of all these experiences.” I’m like, “That’s what it is.” It’s so cool to see that happen and them leave and be like, “I’ve never thought about it that way.”

Do you guys know who James Altucher is? He’s a big podcast and writer guy in New York City. I had him in the studio, so we were alive. He’s this angsty Jewish guy from New York. I grew up in Philly, all around that world. I was like the one gentile in the town that I grew up in. I know that community. We were two minutes into the show and I said, “You must have been close to your grandfather.” He was physically like, “How would you know that?”

He’s a super curious, almost like Larry King Jewish guy annoyingly but in a charming Jewishness. He was so curious. What would happen as I grew up is I would see the annoyed parents that wouldn’t want to answer any more questions, “Go talk to your grandpa.” They would go, and they would talk to their grandparents, who would be happy to chat with him about it. It’s what happens. It’s how he grew up but I only had that insight because I grew up that way. He was like, “Wow,” but that is the thing that if you can connect the dots, you go, “How on Earth would you put that together? That’s unreal.TJP - E67 Podfest 2022

You bought a point but I’m going to touch on it quickly because I know that this can go on forever but the questions. I’m a huge person about questions. Some of my kids were little, and I answered every one of their questions. I would have friends that would say, “Can you answer my kid’s question because I don’t know how you do it.” I love questions.

I have brought my kids up to where I’m like, “If you don’t understand something or you are curious about something, you need to ask it because you are going to learn something from that curiosity that you have.” That is something that is not taught. It needs to be taught more to children and adults. If you are curious about it, ask it because there’s going to be an answer behind that you might not be aware of but you are going to learn something and become a better person because of it.

It sounds like you are a natural teacher or natural explainer or something.

I do. I explain. I’m curious.

I want to ask about YouTube because you, through COVID or the pandemic, made a bit of a shift. A little bit still involved tremendously in the podcast world but have taken on this YouTube. You started a channel and you are over a hundred thousand views a month on it. I’m getting ruined on YouTube now. We are producing awesome videos. They are professionally done, and I have 25 views of some of my videos. Getting crushed.

What’s the content?

It’s the content from the show.

This doesn’t work.

We have promo videos. We have the episodes.

This doesn’t work. The answer is we are not Joe Rogan, and this doesn’t work.

He’s making me feel better. Although, a lot of wasted time.

It’s quick in money. Everyone is trying it. It’s not going to work. You can’t compete against people that are walking in with millions of dollars of budget and a set and a producer. You can’t. It’s not going to happen. Unless you walk in with some ammo. You got to walk in with some audience, and you’ve got to have a hook that they don’t. The only way I see any podcast content working now that’s video based is repurposing it to TikTok and Instagram but not YouTube. No regular podcast listener, who are our people goes to YouTube to listen to a podcast.

Different if you are a standup comedian and, by default, and entertaining human. People are like, “I want to see that,” and if it’s Mike Tyson bringing some people and you are like, “He’s a train wreck, and I want to watch everything he does because that’s interesting.” You would probably get 95% of the show audio only and could still be on a treadmill or walking your dog. That’s what you are competing against.

I shouldn’t feel that bad about it?

No, because the odds of traction happening for a podcast on YouTube are slim.

I do little snippets, though. I will do little parts.

That works.

I was going to say because that does get views.

It could be shorts.

I will do a little shorts.

The point is you got to use the platform in the way that the platform was designed. My podcast has had 10 or 11 million downloads now. I’ve got zero on YouTube because who cares?

TJP - E67 Podfest 2022

“You’ve got to use the platform in the way that the platform was designed.”

Now I feel way better.

Car stuff on YouTube, great. People love to watch that. They want to see me weld on something and fix something. It’s a more visual medium. You got to use the platform the way it’s designed, so if you have something visual. If you were doing man on the street interviews where you were literally physically walking around here. That would work on YouTube but sitting down with another person, there’s nothing entertaining about this.

We did an episode about it was called midnight express from Midnight Express Powerboats down in Miami, and we put a B-roll of the boats in the background. That one’s done well because people want to see the boats.

I have an interesting question for you. It’s interesting but I’m interested in your answer, I should say. You told us a little bit before but what made you pivot into the car during the welding?

I was already working on it. It was already a brand that was building. I nerd out about that stuff. I eventually wanted to open this. I have been deeply immersed in the vintage Porsche world since 2003. I wanted to build a channel because I wanted to open a retail store but I wanted to get investors. I wanted the investors to see, “I already have this big audience, so this is a no-brainer.”

I’ve worked backward from that to try to build this channel. I found a cool car, and I have been doing a cool project for a few years, then COVID happened. It felt very tone-deaf to be talking about like an entrepreneurship and personal branding and things like that while the world was burning. I was like, “I’m going to work on a car and go to my garage and do this for a minute,” so I did. The channel I had, finally, after a freaking grind. That was the other thing I was going to say is that YouTube is an absolute grind. It’s 1 or 2 subs first like a week, then maybe a day if you are lucky. If you play the game right, you might get a “hit song” that the algorithm loves, and it spikes, you go, “Okay.”

That happened to us with one of our episodes. I was like, “You turned the corner,” and the next one, zero.

I remember November 2020. I was very frustrated because I had 1,500 subs and have been doing it for a couple of years. December 2020 and I was like, “This is stupid. I’m getting two subscribers a day. I’m still going to build this car but maybe I shouldn’t be doing this.” I did a timelapse video the first year of working on this car. Overnight, it did something like 15,000 views and now it has almost 1.2 million. The channel went from whatever it was 2,000 to 15,000 to 20,000. Now I’m getting 700 to 1,000 subs a month. It’s still a small channel. I have 23,000.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big but I’m doing 100,000 views a month, which is great for that size of a channel. It’s so hyper niche that anybody in the vintage Porsche universe, we nerd out hard about these things. We spend money on them or into them. It’s almost like the gun culture where people are into guns. They were like, “I’m going to collect them and rebuild them,” and viola, this guy makes custom things or whatever.

People are very willing to spend money on them. Now that the supply chain issues are starting to open back up again, I can reach out to these advertisers and say, “Can we do a brand deal? Can I do six live reads for you for $1,500 or whatever it is?” Monetize in a much bigger way than YouTube will pay, which is not much.

The thing that’s cool, which I love, again, we’ve talked about this, and you can hear how you got excited. The other thing is that you were almost on the edge, and this is what I talk about on my podcast lot. When you think it’s not what you are meant to be doing, give it a little bit more time. Until you know, you get those signs that, “This is something that I need to lay to rest. It’s not what I’m meant to be doing,” but the fact that, it was like God or the universe, whatever you believe in was like, “No, I don’t want you to stop. We are going to blow you up here so you can see I got that energy back. I got that excitement back. Let’s see where this goes,” then you have been doing this now and teaching other people how to do it, which is amazing. Do you want to touch on that a little bit?

You’ve got to use the platform in the way that the platform was designed. (Michael O'Neal) Share on X

I teach as much as I can but I’m doing the closing keynote here at Vidfest. Podfest and Vidfest are like one conference. I did 2 things for Podfest and 1 thing for Vidfest. My talk is how to build a small but mighty YouTube channel without friends, fakes or family.

That’s me. I may need that. I need that knowledge.

I don’t have Jake Paul. I can’t do a colab with some big giant person. I’m not doing prank videos. I’m not part of a family channel that’s like the unboxing of Minecraft Lego. All of which, if you are doing any of those things, you could blow a channel up pretty fast. The meat on the other end, the people that are watching that stuff aren’t as rich of an audience member to monetize as someone who’s watching what I’m doing. Which is a vintage Porsche stuff. I know that all 23,000 of my people are typically DIY dudes in a garage. That means I can reach out to tool companies.

I can reach out to anything that anybody, any of the satellite type companies, can be potential advertisers for me. Anybody in the automotive space. It’s a much denser ability to monetize but God, is it way longer to build the channel. It’s a tough road to hoe as they say. There’s a guy here that’s doing incredible. I forgot his first name but he’s the plumber. Have you seen him?


He’s got a huge plumbing channel. He’s a career plumber. He started making YouTube videos and now has 600,000, 700,000 subs. He speaks all over the world but has shown this industry, and he’s in his 60s, probably. He’s showing everybody, you don’t have to be a 22-year-old influencer to do any of this stuff. I love that. He would be the guide look to, and I will. I will go back, and when I get back, I will go through his channel and deconstruct. “I see what he did here. I can apply this to mine. I can do a video on doing bodywork in the same way that he did this thing.”

I will look at his thumbnails and his titles, a good example is there was a guy who was a lawyer. Again, it could not be more of a boring career, and he’s literally talking about law stuff on his YouTube channel and helping Law students like study for their bar exam and useful for whoever that is but nobody gives a shit. It is not a channel that’s doing well.

He put out a video, and a lawyer reacts. My cousin Vinny is a lawyer. He then watched the scenes and my cousin Vinny, and he gave actual like, “Here’s what he was talking about here.” Interesting as hell gets millions of views. Channel blows up. All he starts doing is reacting to movies. That’s what people dug. That’s what people are into. If you want to blow a channel up, it would be former Green Beret reacts to military scenes all day long.

You just got your YouTube channel.

That could be truly a side gig but I guarantee the side gig would do better than the podcast gig.

Too much to think about.

Another thing to add to your list.

I will add it to the list. Michael, it has been truly an honor to sit down with you. I appreciate all the insight. I now have a checklist that I have to execute on.

Embrace the suck.

Every day, it starts at between 4:00 and 4:30. The last question that we have for you is how did we do? You are the interview expert.

Great. It’s fun. Super fun. If I give demerits for anything. You didn’t do the tell people how they can find you, which is the worst thing anybody can say on a show. It’s like your job. You cover all that stuff in the intro. That’s usually the thing I pin people on. It’s like, “Let me tell people where they can find you,” because it’s your job to tell people where they can find you. You guys were great. Thanks for having me.

Thank you.

My voice is here now. My voice has arrived towards the end.

Thank you.

Jennifer, Paul, thanks for stopping in here and sit down with Juliet and I. She’s got the giggles. She has been sitting here joking with you guys. Some of us have been working. Everyone else is here, messing around.

I did have them earlier but I think I’m on point now.TJP - E67 Podfest 2022

I appreciate you both coming in and spending some time with us. I know you are going to speak soon. We got to get you out of here but we are going to put you in the hot seat for a couple of minutes because we are going to talk about each of your podcasts. We are going to talk about Women in Podcasting. We are going to talk about mental health. Lots of areas, and I know that each one of these could be 3, 4 hours of discussion, and we would still say we didn’t get there. We’ve got to start at the top of this. What brought you both to Podfest?

My journey started with my traumatic near-death workplace accident where I was crushed by 12,000 pounds of wood.

TJP - E67 Podfest 2022

“My journey actually started with my traumatic near-death workplace accident where I was crushed by 12,000lbs of wood.”

You said I was going to be shocked.

You failed to mention that to me prior to this moment.

I gave you my business card with a free download of my book on the back that had said crushed a life.

He put it back on me again.

You haven’t had time to read it in the last 24 hours?

What have you been doing, Fran?

I am going to read it now. I have you back.

I thought you had not done enough where you can have time to read the whole thing through.

You said I was going to be shocked and I was like, “I don’t get shocked a lot.”

I could hear my body cracking, gurgling, and crunching. It felt like my head was going to explode doing so much pressure. I thought to myself, “If this doesn’t stop, I’m going to die.” I then blacked out. Now I was without oxygen and not breathing for twelve minutes before finally regaining consciousness. The immense pain was overwhelming.

TJP - E67 Podfest 2022I was rushed to the hospital. Everyone thought I was dead before that. There was a lot of confusion and panic when I arrived. I didn’t understand what was happening. Among other things, my organs were failing, so something had to change but then I was touched by an angel. That was my wife. Now, my injuries were critical at that moment but I wasn’t alone. I felt like, “I can do this.” I have multiple physical and mental injuries. I have spine, lung, shoulder, and nerve damage. I have a permanent brain injury and cognitive disorder. I also have PTSD.

That’s where later now, I will be speaking on a mental health panel. I’ve incorporated numerous physical modalities and also mindset strategies but the one strategy that I want to talk about that has been life-changing to me was telling my story. It was emotionally healing, and it helped me to move forward. I noticed that every time I shared my story, people were compelled to share theirs back. I learned stories are connection magic, and they are one of the most powerful ways we have to communicate and motivate.

There’s a quote by Wayne Dyer and it said, “If you believe it will work out, you will see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you will see obstacles.” I saw the possibilities in my story. Now I had no idea I would ever have a podcast, write a book, finish my degree, and become an international speaker but that’s what my story did.

TJP - E67 Podfest 2022

“That’s what my story did. It took me from injured mill worker to international speaker.”

It took me from injured millworker to international speaker. My passion now is to inspire and empower people to find their voice. I tell people, “The situations that we’ve gone through to get here might be different but there are similarities in our story, so share your message. The world needs to hear it. Your story matters.”

Story telling is close to my heart, and I’m speaking about that now. Everything you said is something that I say every day because it is so true. It doesn’t matter if you are a janitor to a president. Everyone has a story, and we can all learn from it if we actively listen. Not just hear but actively listen, then take something from that. I love how you said that all, and it’s beautiful.

To add to storytelling, I did some research when I found the magic of storytelling. I call it connection magic. I found out that in 2006 a study was published in the journal NeuroImage and researchers in Spain determined that when it comes to inspiring people to understand a new change in themselves, storytelling is the most effective. That’s because we think and learn through stories. Stories activate up to seven areas of the brain. Not only are the language processing parts activated but any other area that you would use when experiencing the events of the story yourself, and that’s the same for the listener. That blows my mind.

As you said, stories connect. When you tell that part of your story, we want to know more. We feel like we can feel and how you told that as well. How long were you guys married? Where was this in your marriage? Jennifer, how did you feel when you heard this?

I was at work. I got the worst call away for once to receive, is his boss called and said, “Paul is in the hospital. It doesn’t look good. You need to come now.” When I got there, I didn’t recognize him. His whole body was crushed in. He had a punctured lung and everything. He survived, thankfully. The days and weeks, and months that followed were very difficult on both of us and him, of course, and our whole family but his courage and determination were so inspiring to me.

What I noticed and was so interesting were all the communities that he was involved in before his accident rallied around him. He was a football coach and football announcer in our community. Football players and coaches would come around and say, “We are here for you, Coach Paul.” It made me realize that I had become isolated and stuck in my life and business. I thought, “I need to create some community for myself.”

The whole situation, it blew up our lives but it ignited a new spark within me. I invited some business owners to lunch. I wasn’t that organized with it back then. To my surprise, 50 business owners showed up. That showed me that there was a need for a deeper connection. That one meeting turned into a group, and that group turned into a network then, I ended up with multiple chapters around my whole region of these business network.TJP - E67 Podfest 2022

It was life-changing for me. I approached the concept of community with fresh eyes. I learned how to collaborate rather than compete. I learned how to receive support and be surrounded by others, and work with others. That was so wonderful to me. I sold that network, and now I have Women in Podcasting. I’ve built several successful communities. Community is so important to me. You have to build a community around whatever you are doing. Community is what we are doing everything for.

TJP - E67 Podfest 2022

“You have to build a community around whatever you’re doing.”

Community and adversity are two central themes to many of the conversations that I have on the show. I say many times that it’s not about the adversity that you face in life. You are judged and made as a person by how you respond to that adversity. Many times as you’ve experienced, the adversity that you face is sometimes out of your control. A lot of times in our lives, it is within our control, and we bring it on ourselves but many times, it is not.

We are therefore put in a position where we have to decide. I talk a lot about choice and the choices that we make in our life to perform. I say that a performance is a choice, and we have a choice in which we decide to perform at what level we want to do that. Our ability to seize these moments and understand the broader context, the bigger picture, is what makes us as people. What you have both started to at the end of this crisis that was put upon you and come here and share that and be impactful and speak on this topic is so commendable.

That means so much. You talked about that we don’t pick the situations that we are given. My Angelo said exactly that. You don’t pick the situations you are given but you can decide how you respond to those. I was a millworker. Mindfulness, having a growth mindset, all of that were not in my vocabulary, but now, she has started a network, and I’m invited to speak in front of small groups to start. There were times I didn’t want to go, and she dragged me. One of those times, if I hadn’t gone, I met a TEDx organizer who needed a speaker, and that turned out to be one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Again, I’m going to jump out because I’m so excited about this. I talk about this so much. First of all, you had a terrible, tragic situation happened. As you said, you chose to rise above it. You didn’t let it define you but you are going to take that situation and help others with it. What I always tell people is find that space that they can daydream. Some people call it meditate. I call it daydream. I need to walk. I can’t sit on mat and meditate. I have to daydream but think about things.

When I talk to people, what gets me excited? What lights my fire? I need to explore that. When I talk to someone, and they get excited about, I’m like, “Why didn’t I get excited about that?” Many people don’t do that. From that experience of Jennifer saying, “No, please come because your story is going to help someone else,” then the more you did it and realize, you can hear the intonations of both of you when you spoke. Those are the things that light you up. That’s what excites you.

I have always been positive but if I didn’t have that support when I was feeling down, she lifted me up when I wasn’t up, and that is huge because we cannot do this alone. She motivated and inspired me. Right before the pandemic, we started our own podcast together called InspiredInfluencers.com or Inspiring Influencers Show. That’s our website, so I know the difference.

Go to the website.

That’s the website but the easier website is Inspiring.show but I do messier message, and my wife does monetize your message. We interviewed nowaday’s top thought leaders on their mindset and marketing strategies.

I have the Women in Podcasting show. I did the Women in Podcasting track at Podfest. It was amazing. The energy in the room was incredible. I have the Women in Podcasting Show at WomenInPodcasting.show.

We connected through Clubhouse back in the day, so it was fun when Fran said, “We are going to have this couple on Jen and Paul Henczel. I was like, “I know Jennifer.” He’s like, “You do?”

She was talking about you when we were planning this out.

I said, “There’s this woman that I met. I know she’s doing Women in Podcasting. I’m not going to be able to get her to track because I’m not here yet.” It’s funny how those things come full circle.

Share your message. The world needs to heart it. Your story matters. (Paul Henczel) Share on X

We are at the Hilton Orlando. We are at Podfest 2022. We came from Vancouver, BC, Canada, and we were in Orlando. We are sitting in the restaurant having steak and potatoes. I got to go to the washroom but meanwhile, there’s this small, tiny, cute little boy who’s peaking around. He’s got his pacifier in his mouth. I’m telling you that as a couple, I’ve maybe witnessed a child that young that behaved maybe twice.

All the kids are at the table.

They weren’t on the airplane.

I had to go to the washroom and I said to Jen, “I’m going to tell them because, as parents, that your kids are the most well-behaved kids I’ve ever seen.” What did you say?

You weren’t on the airplane.

I said, “I’m here now.” They are wonderful. We started chatting, and Fran had the whole show that he was telling me about. That’s how we connected. The power of networking, which by the way, I learned through my wife. I was a football coach but didn’t know the power of networking but that’s what can happen.

It’s also the fact that you weren’t nervous or scared or be like, “They don’t need to know.” The fact that you were like, “I would like to share this with this couple because it means something.” That’s what people also don’t do enough. They don’t talk and say, “They are scared or not bothered.” That’s why it’s so important to stop, talk, listen, and share to people. That meant so much to you, guys.

It made us feel good. My wife and I have talked about it a couple of times. It is. As you know, raising kids is hard. It’s trying, especially him, because he’s wild. Now, he’s in a phase where he refuses to sleep in his shirt. He puts his pajama bottoms on, and now everything is, “No shirt,” and he keeps raising up his arms and he goes, “I’m strong.”

We have a son and daughter. When he was young, he was an absolute terror. We love him. He’s the greatest human on the planet.

Our kids were well behaved like yours but they had their moments for sure.

I was saying to Fran, and I’m not tooting my own horn now but when my kids were little, even they are older. We always sat at tables and went out to dinner. People would come up or the waitress would say, “Your kids are so well behaved. They would say please and thank you.” I would say to my husband, it’s so nice that they are sharing that with me but it also makes me so sad that not more people are like this.

We used to go to one of our favorite restaurants in Connecticut, and literally every time, a patron or someone would say, “It’s so nice to see a family sitting and talking and them not being on electronics.” You guys were having real conversations. It is nice but it also then hurt my heart that not more people are doing that.

I didn’t mean to call out my son that he was a terror. In private, he didn’t want to wear a hat leaving the house when it was 35 degrees.

They all do.

He still wear shorts in the winter.

In public, they were well behaved.

I go do that with my daughter. She’s trying to go out to the bus, and it’s like snowing out. She’s got a short sleeve shirt on. “I don’t need my jacket. I don’t want to carry it around in school all day.” That’s nuts.

What I do when my kids say that, I’m like, “Fine. If you are going to be cold, you will learn. The next time you will bring it.” I let them go out. My boys still wear shorts and sweatshirts. They don’t wear jackets, and they are fine. My daughter is the same but has gotten where she’s a little bit more like, “I’m going to put a jacket on because I’ve gotten cold.” When she was little, people would say, “Isn’t she cold?” I’m like, “She says she’s not. I’m not going to force her to wear a jacket. If she wants to not wear one, she will learn.”

Can I ask you about working together because you’ve gone through this journey together before the accident and since after, which has brought you so much closer? We’ve talked about the ability of crisis to bring families and people together. In caveat that COVID for so many was difficult, and it effected millions of people’s lives and their families. For my family, it brought us together. We had our son during COVID. We came back together. I had traveled my entire career and it was the first time where it’s like, “You are not going anywhere.”

To my shock, I was asked dozens of times, “You are still with him?” After the accident. Apparently, for people in our situation, there are a lot of divorces. A very high divorce rate. I was surprised by that. We’ve always very decisively chosen to stay positive and build our platform on positivity.

TJP - E67 Podfest 2022

“We’ve always very decisively chosen to stay positive.”

There have been a lot of challenges but we had discussions and decided to stick to the positive side of things. That’s made a huge difference.

I would like to add that, there’s that saying, “Behind every man, there’s a greater woman.” That’s 100% true in this situation. Like what she dealt with on her side and had to put up with, yet who she was, was always consistent when I wasn’t. She inspired me to be stronger and still does. When I’m weak, I have someone there who knows my true self, who will always be there. I wish I could be more like her. I do.

When one of us is down, the other one seems to be the support and up. We have a good balance that way, so I want to encourage anyone to keep going, breathing, and taking the next step, take the next day and stay on the path and things will work out.

I do want to add. We tell each other separately, we might be running at about 65%, 70% but if you add that together, we are one dynamic person. That’s pretty good math anyway.

You are both operating at 100%. It has been great to get to know you. We have been able to run into each other a few times and have a couple of meaningful conversations. I love your topic and your story. What’s next for you guys? You are going to give your talk here.

I talk on mental health but going home, I feel like I’ve now connected again to my true self. I can be more consistent. I want to get back into the interviewer, Paul, the interviewee Paul. I have a couple of things in the books but I don’t want to say that now. I set myself up. I want to be active more on social because that’s her thing and I’m I don’t know. I have done a few posts but wanted to get more active on Twitter and Instagram. I want to start Paul’s show. I’m putting it out in the universe because now that I said it.

I’m going to read the book, and we’re going to do a follow up. We are going to unpack this entire story, then check out your social media.

I got homework to do. In the meantime, I will try to gather followers. It’s going to be more of a fun thing because I have a saying like, “I like short controlled bursts.” I don’t have the endurance. I want stead but I think I have an out.

What a story. Again, so nice to meet you in person. Not just hear your voice. We were on some Zoom calls together.

We clicked online though. It’s cool meeting face to face that we’ve clicked through the conference. It’s fun.


This conference that meeting everybody, meeting you, it blows my mind. It was like, it was meant to be. Honestly, for the last months of planning coming from Vancouver, there were quite a few extra hurdles we had to climb to get here. It was 100% worth it.

The community here is beautiful and thank you so much for having us. We’ve loved the work. We love finding out about the work that you are both doing. Fran, this is amazing. Juliet, we are going to stay connected and do lots of things together.

I do want to also say again, Fran, thank you for your service.

Thank you. It was truly an honor of my life, and now it’s about creating impact, as you talked about. How can we share the lessons that I was fortunate enough to have and share other’s lessons and put it out there for the world? If we can impact one person through every one of these conversations, then we’ve done our job.

I agree. Thanks. It’s so nice meeting you.

You too.

Thank you.

Honor being on your show. Thank you so much.


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