How to Teach Complex Subjects Online, New Media, and Disruption With Podcasting Expert Bill Conrad

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Welcome back to this episode of LMScast with Chris Badgett of LifterLMS. This episode is about how to teach complex subjects online, new media, and disruption with podcasting expert Bill Conrad. Bill is a very talented man who’s had a lot of great experiences in life, ranging from the military to real estate, new media, online education, and podcasting. Chris and Bill dive into Bill’s story and he shares some great pointers for getting started in podcasting and the online education world.

Right out of high school, Bill attended West Point and went into the Marine Corps as a crew chief on a helicopter. He also went to flight school at age 27, after applying five times. Bill got out of active service after nine years and started a design-build construction company. He went back into service when the war broke out. Then his focus shifted to half military, and any time he wasn’t doing military things, he was helping his wife’s real estate companies build. He has not done much construction since then.

Bill entered the world of podcasting after December 2012, which was his last deployment to Afghanistan. He learned how to use things like WordPress when he was developing his real estate podcast, where he focuses on better ways to train real estate agents.

New media includes pretty much all of the available media sources given to us by mass communication on the internet. This includes things like YouTube, podcasting, websites, and social media. It is basically everything online. Chris and Bill discuss this in depth and touch on some of their experiences with different types of new media sources.

Podcasters Home is a free course that Bill has right now. It teaches you how to create a podcast in four hours using an iPhone. He is also working on another course that is similar, but teaches you how to do the same thing with a Mac and iPhone in strictly two hours. His course encourages you to create small, two minute per day podcasts, and although those are not going to be the highest quality, it proves to yourself that you absolutely have the ability to start a podcast.

Disrupting the current flow of specific industries and the economy is something entrepreneurs have been doing for many years. Chris and Bill discuss the unique perspective of the entrepreneur with seeing value and solving problems. They discuss Bills experience with this and how it applies to the real estate industry. Disruption in an economy is not necessarily a bad thing. Uber entering Reno, Nevada has caused DUIs to go down 25%, and fatality rates have gone down there as well.

The online course industry doesn’t necessarily save lives like Uber, but it makes education for people of all ages more enjoyable, and it makes the people who take the online courses more employable. They learn skills that will help them survive in the workforce that they did not learn during formal education.

To learn more about Bill Conrad you can visit Podcasters Home at

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Episode Transcript

Chris Badgett: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett and I’ve got a special guest today, Bill Conrad. Bill is a very talented man who’s had a lot of great experiences in life, ranging from the military to real estate to new media to online education to podcasting. All these different things. We’re really going to dig into his story and kind of pull some knowledge out of him and all his experience with new media and business in general. But first, Bill, I wanted to thank you for coming on the show.
Bill Conrad: Oh, thanks, Chris. I appreciate it very much. We met actually through podcasting, I believe, on WP-Tonic, which is a very successful WordPress podcast.
Chris Badgett: Absolutely. I actually recently re-interviewed … Or, I interviewed Jonathan Denwood just the other day, so that’s a coincidence.
Bill Conrad: Are you kidding me? I love Jonathan.
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Bill Conrad: He’s just got me a ticket to WordCamp of Orange County yesterday.
Chris Badgett: Awesome.
Bill Conrad: We love to go to WordCamps.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. That’s a big takeaway right there is just the power of podcasting for connecting people, but we’re going to get into that in just a little bit. Just so people listening if they haven’t heard of you yet, can you tell us a little bit about your background? I know you’ve got a course called Podcasters Home and are really wanting to help people get going with podcasting, which there’s a huge demand for that. We’ll get into that in a little bit, but where’d you come from? What’s kind of your short story, and what do you do?
Bill Conrad: Well, right out of high school I was going to go in the Marine Corps as a crew chief on a helicopter. My mom said, “Well, why don’t you try to go to the Naval Academy and become a pilot that way?” I wanted to be a marine pilot. Well, I applied and I ended up going to West Point, which, pretty interesting. I ended up becoming a helicopter pilot and a few other things along the way, special forces ranger. Went to flight school at 27, applied five times to flight school.
I think my first lesson there is if you want something, don’t quit. At 27, which is relatively old, I went to flight school’s ranger special forces officer and flew [inaudible 00:01:57] special operations. Got out after nine years. Started a design build construction company and the war broken out and got back in the military. I sort of [inaudible 00:02:06] the construction company. I was always into design build, three-dimensional design, construction, exchange servers. I spent $100,000 on our systems designed houses and subdivisions, and it paid off. A really nice exchange.
I like technology. [inaudible 00:02:21] after 9-11 it really … My focus was half military, and then when I wasn’t doing military I was helping my wife’s real estate companies build. I really enjoyed that. I had more time. I really haven’t done construction since then.
When I got out of active duty, I went back into active, when I got out in 2000 I came back, actually December 7, 2012 was my last deployment to Afghanistan. About two months or three months later I was completely out of the military and I was going to start a real estate company here in Reno, Nevada where we moved to, starting from the basics. My wife didn’t want to start another office right now. I said, “Okay. Let me do something I want to do.” I dug into computers, got into podcasting.
Then one reason why I got into podcasting is for real estate. I wanted to start a course, like Star Power, which used to be [inaudible 00:03:06], which we used for our real estate business. I never did that. I started just interviewing people. Then I realized I had to learn WordPress. Then I leaned I had to learn all these different things. WordPress [inaudible 00:03:19].
One of them was learning management systems. I started looking at better ways to train real estate agents. I really enjoyed podcasting. I’m also working on a reserve deputy program because I was either in the military or in the reserves my entire life from high school, so I’m trying to go back right now and get sworn as a deputy reserve sheriff. Not to do it full-time, but to do it for my community.
Also I like Jiu-Jitsu. I’ve got all the videos and all the tapes ready to go make a training course on defensive training, which is a good thing. That’s where I am today. Three years of just hard studying, and hard work to tell the truth. Much more than I can get in a college or university.
Chris Badgett: You’re definitely a multi-passionate guy and do a lot of different things, which is awesome. I know we connected on that when we met. I’m really into real estate. We’re both into the outdoors. We’re family guys. We’re trying to figure out this whole new media thing. You mentioned in our earlier conversation that new media, it’s not just podcasting. It’s the whole mesh of it all, of which audio and podcasting is a part of.
What do you think the challenges are of learning new media? How have you gone about it? Like you said, you’ve tried five times and you don’t give up. How does someone approach getting a handle on new media? We hear it thrown around, but what is it? How does someone really embrace it for real-world results?
Bill Conrad: That’s a really good question. It’s been around for a while, since the internet started and blogs started and all that sort of thing. I would say the first thing to do … I wouldn’t start podcasting right away, even though I think you can. I’ve got a course that you can get it up in two hours, but I’d really try to master a platform like WordPress to have the basic understanding and start blogging. I think didn’t you start sort of like that, blogging?
Chris Badgett: Yeah. Yeah. I started blogging. That’s what I did.
Bill Conrad: Yeah.
Chris Badgett: I created a blog about my experiences outdoors. I was writing for outdoor professionals like myself.
Bill Conrad: For very little money you can start a blog. If you can blog and post something every day and just get used to it, learn how to put pictures up and tag pictures and get SEO and all those things. I’ve done that for my wife’s little real estate company and she’s rated number one in Reno right now for SEO. I’m figuring out how to beat the big guys, too. That’s just from a good blog. We put all sorts of interesting stories up. We write. Then you add a podcast to that later, I think.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, what else is in new media besides blogging and podcasting?
Bill Conrad: Well, we’ve got YouTube, we’ve got podcasting. Any website’s part of new media. We’ve got all sorts of different tools now for marketing.
Chris Badgett: Social media.
Bill Conrad: The autoresponders. You got Facebook. You’ve got Google Plus. Google Plus is really interesting. A lot of people underrate it, the Google Plus account, because of the SEO that comes out of it, and YouTube. Another thing I tested like a year and a half ago, two years, and I had more fun doing this, I had Timelines, which I really enjoy.
Chris Badgett: Which is a podcast.
Bill Conrad: Yeah, it was a podcast. I still enjoy doing the podcast, but it takes time. I started saying, “Well.” I was looking at … I interviewed just podcasters. I only did it on YouTube, and then I took the very best shows and I put them up on the Timelines. I said, “Man, this is kind of cool. I tested my podcast on YouTube before I went into podcasting.”
Chris Badgett: To make sure you had a demand? Is that what you mean?
Bill Conrad: Yeah. You could see it. You could feel it. I did it with Skype and Call Recorder, and then put it up on YouTube. I loved those shows.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome.
Bill Conrad: It’s everything. I mean, new media is … What’s your definition of new media? To me it’s anything online, basically.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. Everything as long as it’s connecting people with information of any format online. That’s new media. [crosstalk 00:07:07].
Bill Conrad: [crosstalk 00:07:08].
Chris Badgett: Well, I mean, I’ve flown around in helicopters a lot. Not as a pilot, as a passenger. You’re a pilot, three-dimensional thinking and visual, and you mentioned all of these things in terms of design. I think that gives you a unique skillset in taking complex subjects and bringing it down to the essentials.
Bill Conrad: Yeah.
Chris Badgett: Building a podcast, as an example, you have of course, Podcasters Home. How do you teach somebody something complex without … You know they’re already really worried about, oh my gosh, this is too complicated, it’s too technical, there’s too many moving parts. How do you teach someone?
Bill Conrad: Well, Podcasters Home is the free course right now. It’s how to create a podcast in four hours using an iPhone. Now I’m making another course called Podcasting in Two Hours strictly using a Mac and an iPhone. The iPhone, you got to use a simple platform that works to get people to understand the concepts, the big pieces, without understanding the details. By just taking a two minute … Just doing a two minute podcast every other day. Just a little vlog, actually. Do a vlog. Put it up on YouTube and then take that same feed and bring it back and put in on a podcast because YouTube actually will clarify the sound when you download it.
Yore done. You’ve got reasonable sound and you’ve done it on your iPhone, which is designed for your voice. You’ve got a lot of good tools, simple tools. Don’t understand how it all works. Just get the big pieces down. Then, you hook it into a media server and you hook it into iTunes, which takes two seconds, because I feel like I’m relatively sharp. I took someone else’s course when I first got out. Now, it wasn’t the big guys’ course, but it was someone out there. He made it too complicated. They started too complex with all the details. I don’t need the details. I just need the big parts.
Then, you can learn so much faster by knowing how it works and to see it work. Literally in one weekend actually in one morning, you should be able to get a podcast up. My last iTunes was up within 24 hours actually on iTunes. Now, my art. I found some new tools [inaudible 00:09:17] to make art even faster.
Chris Badgett: Right. Well, let me just clarify just a couple things in there. You mentioned an iPhone.
Bill Conrad: Yeah.
Chris Badgett: A MacBook Pro, a media server. Is that, like, a Libsyn account?
Bill Conrad: I use Libsyn, but I also like Blueberry. On the next two hour course I may be using Blueberry.
Chris Badgett: Okay.
Bill Conrad: [crosstalk 00:09:37].
Chris Badgett: Let’s just say we’re using Lipsyn, and then an iTunes account. You really just need these four parts. That’s the minimum.
Bill Conrad: Right. That’s why the next course is only going to be four lessons. I’m going to take the last course and break it down to simplify it. I’m also doing a really good PDF with it, so you can have a reference to look at. I love digital. You can pull a PDF [inaudible 00:09:59], but I still like paper to print out and write notes on and scribble on.
Chris Badgett: That’s really awesome. I just want to highlight what you said when you were teaching somebody, especially something somebody knew, we talk a lot about on this podcast the importance of having a free course or an entry-level course. You’re giving them concepts without the need to understand the detail, just to get the gears moving.
Bill Conrad: Right.
Chris Badgett: Also to get results quickly.
Bill Conrad: Right.
Chris Badgett: Your two minute podcast episode one may not be the best in the world, but what you’re saying is after a couple hours or within a day or whatever you can prove to yourself that you can do it. There’s nowhere to go but up.
Bill Conrad: Right, right. It’s not that bad. iPhone makes you sound pretty darn good. Plus, you’re getting credibility now. One, two, three. Another thing I teach now in the big picture is your episode one is your first episode two and three. You launch all at one time, but you hold off on your zero zero episode until you’re comfortable. That’s the episode [inaudible 00:10:59]. You post it and then you … I could show you how you … I don’t want to get into the weeds, but how you set it. You post it for a week or two and then you put it back at the very start of your podcast links.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. That’s just like building a course. It often makes sense to write lesson one last, or write the sales page at the end.
Bill Conrad: Right.
Chris Badgett: I mean, makes total sense.
Bill Conrad: Zero zero in the podcasting world has come to be about the person, about the podcast, and sort of the overview of it. Just get something up because I remember what a challenge it was for me to get it up on iTunes. In retrospect, it shouldn’t have been. I was down in the weeds when I didn’t have to be in the weeds.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. That’s a really good point. Well, there’s a segment of people who listen to this show who are actually into teaching people about real estate. It’s actually a big niche in online education, whether that’s sales-related or management-related or career-related. We were talking about this book, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller, right?
Bill Conrad: Right. Wonderful book, and Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan, or whatever his name is.
Chris Badgett: These are the guys behind the Keller Williams real estate empire, if you will. I’ve read that book a while ago. One of the things you said that actually fascinated me the most is you said just recently you’ve reread it. This was written in 2002.
Bill Conrad: I listened to it.
Chris Badgett: Oh, you’ve listened to it while you were driving. Sometimes real estate can be a complex subject. It’s important to revisit the fundamentals. I recently reread The Lean Startup. I read that many years ago. I reread it and I actually got a lot more out of it and learned some more. I think I could actually teach other people some of the concepts in that book better because I revisited it. What’s up with you in terms of why did you revisit that book?
Bill Conrad: Yeah. Basically I listened to it. I like to listen to things, too, while I was driving. I have a 17 minutes and 49 seconds left of ten hours.
Chris Badgett: Okay.
Bill Conrad: Of listening. I re-listened to it because it motivated me so much. It came out about 2001, somewhere around 9-11. I got it while I was on deployment, sort of read it. I’ve read some interesting books while on deployment and some in Afghanistan and those places. Late at night and 15 minutes with a little light. It really motivated me. I came back with this book and literally … I love design build construction, but I also like to make money. Design build, you talk about complex and about risky.
I built two subdivisions and houses and all this. People get hurt. There’s a lot of liability, but we did … Anyway, so I focused just in real estate. I came back and within four or five months I had some $50,000 commissions months because of this book. That’s a lot of money to make in a month, $50,000.
Chris Badgett: That motivated you to reread it?
Bill Conrad: Well, no. I hadn’t read it for a while because I went back. I got recalled twice more and I said, “I might as well finish up my active duty. I really enjoy the military and I think I do a good job.” I went back and finished my active duty. Then, I wanted to restart a company. [inaudible 00:14:09]. This motivated me, it got me going, listening to it again. It was done in 2001 and a lot has changed since then, so some of the techniques may not be applicable, but the principles are all still there.
The whole concept of the book is to build a real estate company into a business yourself as an agent. The first hire you have is assistant. I also had, because I started out borrowing a lot of money, I always had a office manager, a bookkeeper, and people helping me out [inaudible 00:14:39]. Even in this business I’m in now I’m going to eventually get an assistant. I’m just not sure. It’s a little different in the new media business, but I will get an assistant. We will evolve. I’m working right now on the new real estate company. We’re going to open our first new office up in [inaudible 00:14:57]. We also are in Reno. In fact, my wife just got a listing yesterday, which is good.
Here’s what I’m really looking at on training. We’re going to build training courses, but they’re [inaudible 00:15:08] brokerages right now. Keller Williams created this for his brokerage, but he gave it out to everybody. I’ll probably open that up to everybody. Here’s my brokerage. It’s a little different. I see the traditional real estate broker is eventually going to go away. Because of what’s online now on Zillow and people finding houses and Facebook ads, and all these different things that we’re doing that didn’t exist, I see …
I just did an open house in California for a pretty nice house in a gated community. We sold it the first day with people who came by. We put it in the [MLS 00:15:44] and we put it in Zillow. we used some targeted marketing, but everybody that came came off our targeted marketing. No one came off the [MLS 00:15:52]. Then they went and found a real estate agent to write the offer.
My theory is right now our new program’s going to be a 2.5% listing, where we only put a half a percent in the [MLS 00:16:02] for that, writing offer, because [inaudible 00:16:04] to write the offer and do it. The other 2% will go to us for the marketing and for the other things. It’ll be a 2.5% listing.
Now, if they want to they can go up [inaudible 00:16:16] 2.5% to the listing agent, but we think that model is going to work. I want to do it with teams. I want a listing agent. Under a broker I can hire a listing agent. They’ll get a great commission as the team leader. [inaudible 00:16:31] assistant to them, and then as it grows you got a buyer’s agent. You evolve.
I want to create these little teams in different cities, try to reduce the brick and mortar. If we do have an office, this is going to look like a Mac store, the front of a Apple store, and those places. We’ll build little teams. Everyone will be a team as opposed to an individual in real estate. That’s my model in real estate.
Chris Badgett: [crosstalk 00:16:49].
Bill Conrad: I’m working on that right now. My hardest sell is my wife, of course. She’s very traditional real estate agent. She’s a traditional broker. She started with me selling to the subdivisions and built a very good traditional real estate company, but I’m a new guy. I do things differently.
By the way, the way I made most of my money when I came back, back then we had postcards and marketing in-house because we had the construction. I would send postcards out to landowners, property owners, who could build a house, make 40 acre parcel, 10 acre parcel. We sold them [inaudible 00:17:23], so I started focusing on just building parcels and land.
I sold a lot of farmland, a lot of parcels. We get one listing and one area, we send cards out around it and we get more listings. It just grew, grew really fast. I was making really good money. Then, of course, 2008 came along. Remember that?
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Bill Conrad: We’re doing fine, but I also got activated again in 2007. My wife was concerned, so she shut down one of my main offices, all my systems, and combined with another company, because we’re doing pretty well. She still did well even during the recession, but it wasn’t the same. I needed to have my own business, my own company, because my whole company got taken over when I went back on active duty.
It worked out well. My wife … It’s a team business. Anyway, I love real estate. Real estate, you can make a lot of money over a lifetime. It’s a long-term thing. Everyone should have at least one three bedroom, two bath rental house somewhere, I think.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. You’re touching on your entrepreneurial side a little bit. You’re talking about kind of disrupting the way things are done, but a lot of that I think comes from just a unique perspective on seeing value and solving problems. Let’s say just looking at the real estate industry there, what problems are you solving or what is broken today that you really want to fix?
Bill Conrad: I think the brokerages are mostly broken. Maybe Keller Williams isn’t, but, for example, they’re still doing things the traditional way, the 6% listing. When I go on and I go to Zillow, and Zillow, if you put a little video on the front of Zillow it drives you to the very top in that area. Just that alone.
When I see only a handful of agents out of 500 agents, maybe 20 agents putting video [inaudible 00:19:04], I’m going, “Wow.” This is in Zillow. I said, “Wow, this is … Who’s training these people?” This is not hard. I’ve held them up. [inaudible 00:19:16] agents are still making very good money the traditional way, that’s 6%, and that’s got to go away. I just think it can’t last.
To me, the problem is the structure of the traditional brokerage and the mindset. Now, real estate, like everything else, is know, like, and trust, so it’s a relationship-built business. You have to have relationships, but there’s a point where relationships and money [inaudible 00:19:38] is it really worth me spending $10,000 more to use my good friend or my cousin or my niece or something?
Chris Badgett: That’s a really good point. Just to tie it back to new media, there is a period in my life where I got into real estate sales. I was learning the internet.
Bill Conrad: Yeah.
Chris Badgett: It always amazed me that I would do video, I would create videos. Even if it was just from a slide of images, I would do vid marketing on YouTube, I would build websites for subdivisions. That’s how I actually learned WordPress.
Bill Conrad: Yep.
Chris Badgett: My first paying client was a subdivision owner.
Bill Conrad: Wow.
Chris Badgett: It always amazed me. Sometimes I’d look at other listings on the multiple listing service and people would just hae a couple pictures, or no pictures. There’s 35 spots. Fill it up.
Bill Conrad: You fill up all 35.
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Bill Conrad: When were you in real estate?
Chris Badgett: I was in real estate. I started just on my own investing in land and building rentals and getting into some construction spec stuff. Late 2000s, and then I started selling in 2010. Then, from there I quickly transitioned into the online world because I started falling into websites and people started contacting me about all that. Then I started moving around more.
Like you said, real estate’s a relationship game. You got to kind of stay put for a little bit, which is hard for me. I’ve always loved real estate and I’ve always just seen how easy it could be to disrupt it just by doing things a little differently and using modern marketing in real estate. It just blows my mind.
Right now I’m actually shopping for real estate. Just some of the stuff I see, I’m like, man, this could be a lot better experience for me as a buyer. I know I also see a lot of underrepresented sellers out there.
Bill Conrad: Just going up on Zillow you can find some so fast if you just know how to track it. There’s other services too, of course. Yeah. That’s interesting. I think real estate is like the last [inaudible 00:21:40]. One of the reasons … I’ll tell you why I’m a licensed broker. My wife’s a licensed broker in two states. I’m a licensed broker in California.
California is a really good state for having openness and allowing new systems to take place. Other states aren’t. I’ve got to be careful with this, what I say, I won’t say the name of the association, but the realtors all belong to an association. They all have a lobby. There’s [inaudible 00:22:05] and senators and politics. There’s a lot of things that slow down or protect the real estate [inaudible 00:22:12] there.
Chris Badgett: [crosstalk 00:22:15].
Bill Conrad: [crosstalk 00:22:15].
Chris Badgett: There was a lot that protected the taxi driving industry with Uber.
Bill Conrad: Oh, let’s talk about that.
Chris Badgett: Uber came along, right?
Bill Conrad: Let’s talk about that because that’s a good thing to talk about.
Chris Badgett: All right. Yeah. Well, I mean, disruption happens.
Bill Conrad: Yeah.
Chris Badgett: Even if it’s protected by lobbies or unions or whatever. Eventually, like you said, even if you’re looking at your good friend and you’re like, “I don’t know if it’s worth paying the premium to do it the old way anymore.”
Bill Conrad: I got to tell you an Uber story because I studied Uber. I like Uber a lot. I might go out and be a Uber driver for a while. I’m going to do that. In fact, I am going to be an Uber driver. I want to experience it. Uber in California is really good. The San Francisco, the [inaudible 00:22:57] area, they allowed it to grow. It never really got hurt like some of the other states.
Uber tried to come into Nevada. I watched it the last few years because I’m really interested in Nevada. They said they just went into Las Vegas, they [inaudible 00:23:07], and they just did it ahead of time. They just did it. They just did it and they said, “You go ahead and throw us out.” The attorney general of the state, who actually got elected to senate, put a order out to stop Uber, right? Uber. Then they fought it.
Chris Badgett: Okay.
Bill Conrad: They finally got in. The mayor here of Nevada, of Reno, is very good. She got it in. It went into Las Vegas. Anyway, it was in and then out for a year and then back in. Now, studies have been done, DUIs because of Uber has gone down 25% where it’s gone down, death rates, gone down. Saved lives. The politicians, the bureaucrats, protecting the cab industry, so special interests because they elect them and give them money, caused people to die in Nevada. Period. Uber saves lives. It saves lives, DUIs, and it’s much better. It’s a better value and it allows people to have their own little businesses, but the politicians are holding it back as much as anybody.
Chris Badgett: Well, I mean, if we talk about education as a metaphor, or [crosstalk 00:24:09] different industry.
Bill Conrad: [crosstalk 00:24:09]. That’s good.
Chris Badgett: I mean, I’m not claiming that online education [inaudible 00:24:14] saves lives, or whatever, but what I can say is that sometimes if the goal is not to save lives but to help young people or people of any age become more employable, or give the tools they need to be entrepreneurs, perhaps piecing together curriculum online can get you better paying jobs and better chances of success in business or as an entrepreneurs than going to a traditional school. Like we mentioned earlier in the show, even just trying to learn new media in a traditional school or a community college, it’s …
Bill Conrad: You can’t do it.
Chris Badgett: It’s not possible.
Bill Conrad: Can’t do it. You could learn how to draft, you can [inaudible 00:24:59] engineering, use principles of construction, but new media moves too fast. There’s too many smart people out [inaudible 00:25:06] right now.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. Disruption is all around us. If we look at even podcasting, to tie it back into what we were talking about, there used to be only so many radio stations.
Bill Conrad: Right.
Chris Badgett: Even WordPress itself and blogging, everybody’s a publisher now. Everybody’s a broadcaster now. Everybody’s a teacher now.
Bill Conrad: Yeah.
Chris Badgett: The cream will rise to the top, which is … Really the best cream is the training or the media that really helps people get results. That’s what matters.
Bill Conrad: Let’s take a step back to education, I think education is extremely important. I was a city councilman for six years, vice mayor of a city of 200,000. I truly believe that education breaks the cycle of poverty. I truly believe that. If we could educate people … You have to take the expense of the education and get down so they have the tools of available.
One of the projects I worked on early, I was on city council around 9-11, was building. We had built affordable housing. We had this HUD money come in. I changed the profile of it because they were usually moms with kids who worked at Walmart and older people. We made it one strike you’re out. If any drugs, you couldn’t stay in there. Had to go to Section 8, but the other thing we did is we built the two centers I was able to work on. We built them out ahead of the new developments, so people knew that there was affordable housing there. We made a computer center in each of them for learning, believe it or not, and training and education.
Around 2000 you could go online. It was happening. By the way, when I was on council I was elected ’96, ’97. I was in my 30s. I was the only one using email and it was [inaudible 00:26:44] email at the time on city council. All these people were, like, 20 years older than me.
Chris Badgett: Okay.
Bill Conrad: I started seeing these things. We got the computers in, we got the broadband. We built these little centers and they worked. One of my philosophies is education breaks the cycle of poverty. They were already starting to learn stuff back in these little computer centers and people wanted to be there. There’s waiting lists of people to get into those two centers, those two affordable housing. They’re nice areas, so they had quality of life, they had good schools.
You know what was amazing? One of the biggest heartaches I had was Modesto, California. I was chastised by minorities, all sorts of stuff, for voting against building affordable housing downtown Modesto. I said, “Let’s get it out in the communities, out with the people ahead of the growth so they have the same areas.” They were wanting to put housing downtown. There’s no parks. The schools aren’t that great. Get them out with the normal people and educate them. I’m a big believer in education breaks the cycle of poverty. Anything we can do to help make it easier for people to learn is better.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. Well, we’re 100% in alignment there. I mean, with LifterLMS we always knew we would make the core software free. We’re more working to make it so that the teachers who ultimately end up helping the students can build training online for free with LifterLMS. We do have paid add-ons and all that thing, but we wanted the free version to be able to go to a place anywhere in the world, especially places where the U.S. dollar is way too strong, and have people still have the tool that they could use with free WordPress, free LifterLMS. Figure out some kind of hosting situation.
Bill Conrad: Yeah.
Chris Badgett: Help break that cycle of poverty, so that’s cool.
Bill Conrad: I got to tell you another story about free. I’m into free, too. I like free, but I’m willing to pay and to pay money to people after I’ve tested it and I know I can use it and not waste money. I probably use more marketing automation [inaudible 00:28:41] than you could possibly imagine. Right now I’m going to probably go full-blow onto Drip. I’ve spent … I’m not going to say the names, but you would know them because sometimes call them confusion soft. I won’t say the name, though.
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Bill Conrad: I spent, like, two years on that platform and spent thousands of dollars. Offered, I said, “Well, why don’t you just charge me $100 as I really get … I’ll keep it going and I’ll just play with it?” They wouldn’t do that because they’re very expensive. Drip offers free for the first 100.
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Bill Conrad: MailChimp is free at 2,000. MailChimp works great, by the way. I’ve got a lot of my clients. I do some nonprofit work on MailChimp. I’m onto Lifter. I will probably continue ahead on Drip because they gave it to me for free to learn.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome.
Bill Conrad: I generally won’t buy something until I learn it somewhat.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. Yeah. That’s what the world expects now. For those of you listening who use LifterLMS, there’s another developer company called Very Good Plug-Ins that made a Drip connection for LifterLMS. It goes through a tool called WP Fusion. This just comes back to disruption. Companies like Drip, ConvertKit, they came in. They’re later arrivals to the marketing automation CRM market.
Bill Conrad: Right.
Chris Badgett: They’re looking at the problems in the marketplace. They’re trying to create more value. They’re moving the free line. They’re attacking the pain points. This is how innovation happens, and it’s happening at an accelerating rate. If you want to have any chance at all you got to kind of wrap your head around modern marketing, modern business in general, and new media as a tool for communication.
Bill Conrad: Right.
Chris Badgett: Tell us a little bit more about Podcasters Home and your goals with that before [crosstalk 00:30:31].
Bill Conrad: Before I do that I’m going to give one quick commercial for LifterLMS.
Chris Badgett: Sure.
Bill Conrad: It fits right into what you said. You were on a podcast, I think it was WP-Tonic, and you’re on Timelines, which is my fun podcast [crosstalk 00:30:43].
Chris Badgett: I was on [inaudible 00:30:43], too, I think.
Bill Conrad: [inaudible 00:30:44].
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Bill Conrad: [crosstalk 00:30:47].
Chris Badgett: [crosstalk 00:30:47].
Bill Conrad: [inaudible 00:30:48] is doing really well. These are shows I started and the cohost, Jonathan, picked up another cohost. The guys’ doing great. They’ve had amazing people on that show. WP-Tonic is just killing it right now with the quality of people. I still get a lot of benefit from those associations.
Let me talk about Lifter. When you’re on the show, I was going to buy your program. I was actually going to buy it. It was, like, $100, or whatever. You said, “Wait off for a couple of weeks because I can’t tell you. Just wait off for a couple weeks,” and it was free a couple of weeks later. I got the free version and I liked it and I used it. I didn’t have to because I was getting good support, but I went and bought your pro series. That was worth it because it was a little bit faster, but I bought the pro. I [inaudible 00:31:28]. I built some courses.
Then I went back. You know I’m trying to be a reserve, so I went back and did four months of training. Then I got out. Then you changed your model a little bit. It was something. I forget. I’m totally testing it in the free mode. I still have the pro support. I just bought a while back your full-blown [inaudible 00:31:53].
Chris Badgett: Universe Bundle. Yeah.
Bill Conrad: Yeah. That’s nice. I’m experimenting and playing with your different tools, but that’s because you built trust. I also have some of your competition’s work too. I bought some of that. I didn’t spend a ton for it because I didn’t want to … I have testing. I bought it to test. I’m not going to spend a lot of money to buy a test [inaudible 00:32:12]. I’ve tested it. You have the most universal best bundle I think going. I’m trying to figure out other ways to do things with it, too, for membership.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Well, I appreciate you saying that and I appreciate what you’re saying about the need to test. Even several weeks ago from the time you hear this podcast we rolled out try LifterLMS for $1.00, where we actually build a temporary website with the universe bundle, all the add-ons installed. You got the site for a week. If you want to keep it you can claim your site. It has a bunch of demo content. You can start building your course.
Then you skip the whole setup, or you can just let it expire and then go buy the bundle and rebuild it from the group up yourself. We’re really trying to attack that problem of let’s make it easy for people to test because people, especially in the online world, they go from thing to thing to thing to thing.
Bill Conrad: Yeah.
Chris Badgett: [crosstalk 00:33:05] if they’re going to make a big investment in a [CRM 00:33:08] or a LMS or eCommerce thing, they need to be able to test it and make sure that it’s got what they … The goods.
Bill Conrad: That’s a good segue into podcasting because you want to … Podcasting alone is podcasting. It’s just like FM radio. You’re just talking, listening. If you want to add the third dimension in it you need a website. What I find is Lifter might have the same issue is people have to learn the basics of WordPress to run Lifter, right?
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Bill Conrad: How do you teach them that?
Chris Badgett: Well, we have a course on our demo site. We actually license the course from Shawn Hesketh of WP101.
Bill Conrad: Okay. [crosstalk 00:33:47].
Chris Badgett: We have his WordPress training course that I always recommend when you’re just getting started. Spend a couple hours with that course just to get familiar with WordPress, then spend an hour or two with our Lifter course. With that foundation, now you’re ready to roll.
Bill Conrad: As I evolved with my business and companies, we offered what I call a quick WordPress platform delivered, set up. I used Shawn’s training too. Same as you did, the licensed training, but now I’ve gone off to start building our own training. Shawn has the best training out there. He’s one of my heroes out there towards quality of … Building courses. He knows code inside and out.
Chris Badgett: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, he’s definitely a great example.
Bill Conrad: Shawn and I have taken one of Shawn’s themes, well, I know which [inaudible 00:34:31] theme he’s using on [Genesis 00:34:32] because we both use [Genesis 00:34:33]. I wonder how long he’s going to stay on [Genesis 00:34:36].
Chris Badgett: I don’t know.
Bill Conrad: Because [Genesis 00:34:37] you have to know [PHP 00:34:39], you have to know CSS. You have to know a little code, so I had to learn some code. Now I’m going … Right now I’m looking. I’m doing a deep dive into [inaudible 00:34:48] Builder and their [inaudible 00:34:50]. I thought I’d never do that. I was just using [inaudible 00:34:52] Builder on top of [Genesis 00:34:52], but one of my friends who here in Reno has a very successful online business, who is, I’ll plug him, top dealership plug-in worldwide for selling used, for selling cars. He has gone off the [Genesis 00:35:08] framework and he’s gone into [inaudible 00:35:10] Builder for their everything.
Chris Badgett: Yeah? [inaudible 00:35:13] Builder’s great. When you’re listening to this they will have released [inaudible 00:35:18] Themer. They just continue. It just gets better and better with time.
Bill Conrad: Oh, neat.
Chris Badgett: That’s actually one of our number one recommendations is using the [inaudible 00:35:30] Builder as a page builder. We’ve got a really close eye on [inaudible 00:35:34]. We do whatever we can to collaborate with those guys. It’s a great company and a great product and a great community.
Bill Conrad: That’s great. Anyway, Podcasters Home. If you just go to, you can Google, you’ll hit a landing page. You can sign up there and stay alert. Behind that there’s all sorts of different things and elements, freebies. Also, I launched the free course of Podcasters Home. It’s called all different names because of SEO. It’s basically a free podcasting course. It teaches you podcasts within four hours. I’ll tell you what. I’ve been making money every day off of the purchases that people are doing on Amazon because of that free course.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome.
Bill Conrad: People give back.
Chris Badgett: I’m planning on launching a new podcast. Just a personal brand podcast. I’m definitely going to go through your training and really just simplify and sharpen the saw and get ready for podcasting and using your methods.
Bill Conrad: Well, wait for the two hour course. It’s going to be up. I have to go to a wedding. My son’s getting married this week in Cincinnati, so I’m going to a wedding. The two hour course is going to be up I think. The one now is fine, but the two hour course I want to make it more clear and concise. It’s going to be free. What I’m putting behind that is using an iPhone, which is fine. You can do great sound with an iPhone. I mean, you can do amazing sound with an iPhone and creating a podcast.
What I’m doing is I’m creating some of the more older, traditional ones. I had the name [inaudible 00:36:59] for my basic course. I started [inaudible 00:37:02] motivated me. My daughter, who’s in graphic design, created a new logo and played around on site. I’ve sort of changed the space [inaudible 00:37:11].
Chris Badgett: Awesome.
Bill Conrad: Lifter’s there. I have Lifter [inaudible 00:37:15]. Anyway, It’s free right now. It’s going to grow into some more advanced things. I’ll tell you what we found is eventually I’m going to take it where you have a business model for real estate or whatever it might be. Really you started out with a podcast. You got to learn WordPress, I would say. You don’t have to, but you learn WordPress, or the basics of WordPress, and then you can go different directions. Whether you want to create your own courses, you want to podcast in your community, you want to podcast real estate.
Oh, I didn’t even mention that. My personal podcast where I interview people on Timelines has made $30,000 in commission in real estate. We can track it directly to it.
Chris Badgett: Wow. In terms of clients’ referrals?
Bill Conrad: Yeah. What happened is we’re new in Reno. [inaudible 00:37:59] didn’t know anybody. I interviewed the mayor. I’ve interviewed some key people. Their friends listen to it and their family listens to it. My wife is They just put a little ad in there at the end, use
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome.
Bill Conrad: You meet people and they get to know my wife. That’s how we built that.
Chris Badgett: Great.
Bill Conrad: It’s fun.
Chris Badgett: [crosstalk 00:38:23].
Bill Conrad: [crosstalk 00:38:23]. What podcast do you have right now out? Lifter.
Chris Badgett: Right now it’s just LMS Cast.
Bill Conrad: Yeah, LMS Cast.
Chris Badgett: Which is for Lifter, a podcast at That’s it. That’s what I have.
Bill Conrad: What’s your personal one going to be about?
Chris Badgett: Just a lot of topics that interest me because I, like you, am … I have a lot of different interests that don’t necessarily always overlap. I mean, they overlap for me.
Bill Conrad: Yeah.
Chris Badgett: I know there’s other people out there who have these similar things. They might be into having a strong family or care about education and care about digital entrepreneurship, care about healthy living, care about having fun. All these different things. I just want to … I’m really into online education, obviously, but just to have a place where I can expand a little bit.
Bill Conrad: I think you should keep one podcast, like you have, online education focus, so you build your listener base. If you go off and you build this podcast that has, like, eclectic and everything on it, your listener base is going or be eclectic.
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Bill Conrad: It may not build, but you’re sure going to have a lot of fun.
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Bill Conrad: I’ve played around with that model. You’ve got to keep one standard, but I think everyone should have their primary podcast, which is the podcast that is one theme, one niched-down area, but then I think you should do a very general podcast. You can even change the name of it. I’m playing around with keeping [inaudible 00:39:46] and even changing the direction of that podcast. They’re [inaudible 00:39:49]. It’s just like a fun show. I’m not going to be [inaudible 00:39:52] forever. By the way, Podcasters Home, the demo [inaudible 00:39:55] show. You know Ron.
Chris Badgett: Yeah.
Bill Conrad: [inaudible 00:39:58]. That’s mostly done on an iPhone, that whole show, and using tools that you’re not supposed to use in podcasting, like ScreenFlow. It’s actually so far every course has been edited on ScreenFlow and run through Google or YouTube and then put up on the podcast, so you know what you’re getting. That’s the basic course.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Well, Bill Conrad, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for sharing your story and your insights with us. For those of you listening, I strongly encourage you to check out and get going with all that. Bill, thank you again for coming on the show.
Bill Conrad: Well, thank you, Chris. I appreciate coming on the show and have to have you back on as a regular on … By the way, one other thing. Timelines. Timelines, my interview, I’m seriously thinking about building a [inaudible 00:40:49] of regulars to come on, or really interesting people. Then, put some other folks in there too. I think it’d be good to hear from you every few months and see what has changed because you are so connected.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. Well, count me in.
Bill Conrad: That’s good.
Chris Badgett: I’ll be a regular on your show. I’d be honored. All right. Thanks so much.

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