John Corcoran is a recovering attorney, an author, and a former White House writer and speechwriter to the Governor of California. Throughout his career, John has worked in Hollywood, the heart of Silicon Valley, and ran his own boutique law firm in the San Francisco Bay Area catering to small business owners and entrepreneurs.
John has been the host of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast since 2012 where he has interviewed hundreds of CEOs, founders, authors, and entrepreneurs, from Peter Diamandis and Adam Grant to Gary Vaynerchuk and Marie Forleo.
John is also the Co-founder of Rise25, a company that connects B2B businesses with their ideal clients, referral partners, and strategic partners. They help their clients generate ROI through their done-for-you podcast service.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [04:01] John Corcoran shares his professional background in the Clinton White House
- [09:08] Networking, relationships, and consistency in messaging
- [11:04] John talks about his transition from writing to podcasting
- [13:35] John’s journey as a podcaster
- [19:44] The value of being authentic in a podcast
- [20:46] How to stay motivated in your podcasting journey
- [24:16] How can one relinquish control over some tasks and delegate them to others?
- [28:24] Business lessons John learned from presidents and other renowned leaders
- [37:46] What lessons did John learn from his dad?
- [42:27] Adapting to new situations and finding friends
- [46:10] The value of having mentors
In this episode…
Podcasting has emerged as a powerful tool for entrepreneurs to foster relationships, showcase their expertise, and attract clients. However, producing a quality podcast requires specific skills and abilities.
John Corcoran, a former White House writer, discovered his passion for networking and building meaningful relationships during his tenure. Recognizing the benefits of podcasting, he shifted his focus to this platform. However, the process of producing a podcast presented its own set of challenges. From production to editing, the task was overwhelming for him as an entrepreneur with many responsibilities. He shares his journey of overcoming the challenges associated with podcasting to establish meaningful conversations and connections with his guests.
On this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast, Dr. Jeremy Weisz sits down with John Corcoran, Co-founder of Rise25, as he shares his podcasting journey. John shares his professional background in the Clinton White House, his transition from writing to podcasting, the value of being authentic in a podcast, and how he stayed motivated as a podcaster.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- 25 Professional Networking Experts to Watch in 2015
- Tina Fey on Instagram
- Real Men Real Style
- Antonio Centeno on LinkedIn
- Entrepreneurs’ Organization
- Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant.
- “Building a Great Team and More Helpful Insights with Jason Swenk Host of The Smart Agency Master Class Podcast” on the Inspired Insider Podcast
- “[Top Agency Series] Growth Through Acquisitions – What is Your KPI and Northstar? With Jason Swenk” on the Inspired Insider Podcast
- “https://www.inspiredinsider.com/ian-garlic-interview/” on the Inspired Insider Podcast
- “How to Set and Achieve Goals With Ian Garlic, Founder of Video Case Story” on the Inspired Insider Podcast
- “[Sweet Process Series] How to Save Hundreds of Hours a Month Using Top Productivity Tools with Adi Klevit of Business Success Consulting Group” on the Inspired Insider Podcast
- “053: Brett McKay of Art of Manliness | How He Built the #1 Independent Men’s Interest Website” on the Smart Business Revolution Podcast
- “011: Antonio Centeno of Real Men Real Style and A Tailored Suit| How to Start and Grow a Men’s Style Business” on the Smart Business Revolution Podcast
- “072: Kevin Thompson | How to Make $14.5 Million from an Ugly Website” on the Smart Business Revolution Podcast
- “Jason Swenk | How to Scale Up an Agency Business in an Economic Downturn” on the Smart Business Revolution Podcast
- “055: Adam Grant Author of Give and Take | How to Succeed in Business by Being a Giver” on the Smart Business Revolution Podcast
- “Paul Orfalea | Founder of Kinko’s Shares Secrets of Going From a 100-Square Foot Shop to 1,000 Locations and $2 Billion in Revenues” on the Smart Business Revolution Podcast
- “The real key thing you’re doing with writing a lot of the time is you’re building relationships.”
- “Podcasting is about focusing on the highest and best use of your time, but also stripping out anything that drains your energy, so you can focus on the pieces that you enjoy.”
- “You have to trust that others are going to do it.”
- “You can’t get to set on life being always the way that it is forever, things could change in a heartbeat.”
- “Be flexible, and don’t be too stuck in your ways of ‘things will always be this way forever,’ because things do change, and you have to adapt.”
- “If you are a good person, and you are nice to people, and you’re kind to people, you’re more likely to be successful.”
Sponsor for this episode
At Rise25, we’re committed to helping you connect with your Dream 100 referral partners, clients, and strategic partners through our done-for-you podcast solution.
We’re a professional podcast production agency that makes creating a podcast effortless. Since 2009, our proven system has helped thousands of B2B businesses build strong relationships with referral partners, clients, and audiences without doing the hard work.
What do you need to start a podcast? When you use our proven system, all you need is an idea and a voice. We handle the strategy, production, and distribution – you just need to show up and talk.
The Rise25 podcasting solution is designed to help you build a profitable podcast. This requires a specific strategy, and we’ve got that down pat. We focus on making sure you have a direct path to ROI, which is the most important component. Plus, our podcast production company takes any heavy lifting of production and distribution off your plate.
We make distribution easy. We’ll distribute each episode across more than 11 unique channels, including iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We’ll also create copy for each episode and promote your show across social media.
Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90x, Atari, Einstein Bagels, Mattel, Rx Bars, YPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk, and many more.
The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.
Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.
Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.
Insider Stories from Top Leaders & Entrepreneurs…
You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz.
Jeremy Weisz 0:22
Dr. Jeremy Weisz here founder of inspiredinsider.com where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today is no different. I have John Corcoran, you’ve probably heard him on my podcast several other times of Rise25. But John, before I formally introduce you have never formally introduced you on my podcast before because we have other episodes. But this one is specifically about your story. I always like to mention other guests people should check out and some other ones people should check out Jason Swenk. I did two episodes with him. One, he built his agency to over eight figures and sold it and then he had another one where he’s been buying agencies. And that’s a really interesting one. Our good friend mutual friend Ian Garlic videocasestory.com talks about how his day, he learns a lot of lessons from his dad and his dad had a restaurant with live dolphins in it. And by the way, that restaurant was not in Orlando, it was in Wisconsin, so which makes it even stranger, check that episode had a lot of lessons and also Adi Klevit, a mutual friend. This is one of my favorite episodes because we talk and geek out around productivity and software and what we use and it’s a great episode on tech tools, but how to be more productive. So check that one out and Adi Klevit is a great podcast as well. And this episode is brought to you by Rise25. At Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships and partnerships. And how do we do that? We actually do that by helping you run your podcast. We’re an easy button for a company to launch and run a podcast we do the strategy, the accountability and the full execution. And John you know this that we call ourselves a magic elves that work in the background and make it look easy for the hosts in the company. For us and this is how John I first got connected. The number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. And I’ve found no better way over the past decade than to profile the people and companies I most admire on this planet and share with the world what they’re working on. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, you should. If you have questions, you can go to rise25.com or email [email protected]. I am excited to introduce John Corcoran. He’s a former Clinton White House writer, speechwriter to the Governor of California. He’s worked in Hollywood for DreamWorks, he worked at the heart of Silicon Valley ran his own boutique law firm in San Francisco Bay Area, catering to CEOs and entrepreneurs. He’s written for Forbes, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and I can list a dozen others. But at one point, John, Inc. Magazine listed your podcast Smart Business Revolution as one of the top podcasts. And John has interviewed the founders and CEOs of Activision lending tree OpenTable Vern Harnish, Gary Vee, and many, many, many more. He’s the co-founder of Rise25, where he helps b2b businesses connect to their dream 100 clients or referral partners, and actually get good ROI using a podcast. And most impressive, he does this. He has four kids. He’s a father of four kids, he juggles work and family life. I don’t know how he does it. I can hardly do it with two kids. John, thanks for joining me.
John Corcoran 3:32
I’m so excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
Jeremy Weisz 3:35
When I do, as you know, I always do a lot of research ahead of time. And one of my favorite stories from your background, we’ll talk about lessons and lessons learned from some of your mentors. One of my favorite stories from your journey has to do with country western DVDs.
John Corcoran 3:54
Yeah. digging deep into the archives there with that story. Okay.
Jeremy Weisz 3:57
So set the stage what was going on at the time?
John Corcoran 4:01
Yeah. So as you mentioned, I worked in the Clinton White House. And back then, the way it worked was when people would staff left the White House, they would, one of the options you could sometimes get in on was to watch the president record, the historic radio address, which when I was there, at least, had been done since FDR. And it was recorded in the Oval Office and like maybe 100 staffers would be there and be like celebrities and like members of Congress and governors and departing staff. And I found out maybe a couple of days beforehand that I could get in on this. It was like rent writer on my last day of work. So I called my family and my dad and my brother were the only ones were able to come in. So they flew in to come to this. And we go down to the Oval Office with 100 other people, as I said, like governors, members of Congress, stuff like that. But we knew beforehand that President Clinton at the time was building up his DVD collection. Now this sounds really dated me recording this now but at that I was able to give his DVD club and he’s a big country western fan of like Western movies. My dad was actually a film critic on television for many years. So like, he’s encyclopedic knowledge of like movies. So we bought a bunch of DVDs. And we put a little bow on it, and we brought it down, we came down there. And again, this, get in the Oval Office president comes in, sits down at the resolute desk, their records, the radio address, these days would probably be for YouTube or something like that. It records it. And then it starts, like doing like rope line, like, shaking hands and taking pictures with people and stuff like that. And he’s like, moving through all these people, because he doesn’t every Saturday, right? And he’s moved through all these people. And then we come up, and we hand him the gift. And he looks down at it. And then he has like, a five-minute conversation with us, like, no one else they talked to, and everyone was looking at me like, who are these guys? Why are they getting a long conversation with him. And it was really amazing, because it made me realize the lesson that I take from that is that, I talk to people all time that really struggle to reach out to people that they admire respect from afar. And they think that they’re going to be like taking from them or inconveniencing them. But just like a sincere act of gratitude, and I was just giving them a gift, like here, I know, you’re building up your DVD collection, I appreciate working for you here at the White House have an amazing experience, I just wanted to thank you for that. It led to this wonderful moment for us in this opportunity to just have a conversation with my dad and, and the President of the leader of the free world having this conversation about their favorite movies. And if you can try and keep that in mind, if I can manage to have that in that context with 100 other like leaders staring down my neck and in like this place of power, then you can certainly do it in your industry with the people that you respect and admire the leaders in your industry.
Jeremy Weisz 6:53
When you talk about networking, you’re really talking about relationships and forming relationships, and how can we help someone and in that situation, you did research ahead of time and found out their needs and their wants.
John Corcoran 7:12
Yeah. I mean, it wasn’t me giving something that I cared about, was somebody that he cared about. And that’s why he was willing to have that conversation. It was engaging, talking about westerns, my brother and I, by the way over there, like had nothing to contribute to that conversation. Fortunately, my dad was there to talk about Western movies, because we didn’t know anything they were talking about.
Jeremy Weisz 7:31
You’ve always been pretty consistent with your messaging. I was actually watching an interview that you did five years ago. With the Art of Manliness, I think it was over five years ago. And you were talking about at the time 50 people, look at the top 50 people you want to connect with and see how you can add value to them. Right. One of the things you did at the time as you were writing for like Forbes and Entrepreneur and some of the other magazines, and one of the pieces you did was the 25 professional networking experts to watch in 2015. I want to talk about some of the people like if we go back to 2015 which whatever year this is someone’s listening, here’s some of the people on a list and like talk about some of the people that you actually formed a relationship with back then we have so Michael Ports on the list Judy Robinson list Jason gainers on list Susan Rowan’s on the list. Keith Ferrazzi. Larry Benet, Jordan Harbinger, Michelle Lederman, Adam Grant, Daniel Pink, Andrew Warner, Dorie Clark, Michael Simmons, Derek Coburn, Stephanie Palmer, Noah Kagan or meets at Ryan Holidays, V Band, James Swanwick, Dr. Dave Stonezach. Vanessa Van Edwards, Dr. Ivan Meisner, Tim Ferriss, and Mike Muni. So who sticks out? Who are some people that stick out to you, when we’re looking back in 2015? Because of that article.
John Corcoran 9:08
Man, so many of those, I mean, many of those, it’s funny. Some of them I didn’t have a relationship with and some of which I did. So I aspired to get to know them. And I actually did get to know them because of that article. And then others like I just knew they were valuable, and I’d like to get to know them better. In so many great things came from that. I mean, I ended up going to Jason Gainers conference and you and I became business partners because we both went to that conference. I don’t remember when that was published before the conference or what. But many of those I mean, Michael Ports been a friend for a bunch of years, like many of those are people that to this day, we keep in touch with or we’ve done different forms of collaborations with but it’s funny because you say about consistency of messaging. The lesson from that came from I’m actually Arnold Schwarzenegger of all people. So I mentioned my dad was a film critic, and he would also interview celebrities for the local TV stations that…
Jeremy Weisz 10:09
You were also out of a job, because of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
John Corcoran 10:12
He comes back into my life and other time, but earlier, but when he was still the action movie star, I remember my dad interviewed him a bunch of times for these movies that he came out with. And he was so disciplined and on message. That’s what my dad would always say, like I interviewed Arnold Schwarzenegger today. And like any question, you ask him, he would bring it back to that movie that he was talking about. You ask him about something else in his personal life, he bring it back to that movie, and that’s partly why he was successful as a political leader later. But you’re right, I was working for the governor that was replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger years later. And I lost my job because of him.
Jeremy Weisz 10:49
So the point is, at that time you were writing articles, and you realize something writing versus when you started podcasting?
John Corcoran 11:04
Yeah. The funny thing about that is that I mean, I am a writer, I have got something I created when I was 10 years old, from elementary school that said, what do we want to be when you grow up, and I wrote, I want to be a writer. Because my dad was a writer and writers, my family was just something I was really interested in, I still really liked writing. But I realized that writing was getting in the way, because I was writing for Forbes and writing for Entrepreneurs, stuff like that. And I realized that the real key thing you’re doing with writing a lot of time is you’re building relationships. At least that’s why I was doing in many cases, I would write these profiles, and Ryan Holliday was one of them and others and I would write these profiles like Forbes and stuff. And yeah, it would open the door. But it took so much effort and energy to create these articles that it took forever. And so instead of like, what I realized is that instead of just doing like, 10 of them a year, what I would be better off doing is having a conversation, like for a podcast, and then I could do many more, you actually really helped me to realize that. And so when I shifted my energy from creating these long form profile articles that were custom written by me, in doing maybe eight or 10 of them in a year, I shifted that to having a high caliber conversation with the right person, and publishing it in the form of a podcast rather than an article, that’s when I went to 40, 50, 60 conversations per year, I was building so many more relationships, it was just a vastly better use of my time.
Jeremy Weisz 12:35
Yep. And if you’re watching the video part, or if you listen to the audio there, you’re here to see the Forbes article, the 25 professional networking experts to watch in 2015. And it says obviously, this was written quite a while ago.
John Corcoran 12:52
The funny thing about writing that is that, it did take a lot of effort to put that article in. But it had such a big impact on money that people like some of them. I remember had it in their email signature for many years, they put that link into their email signature, because it was so impactful for them. So you can imagine their feelings towards you when you do that sort of thing. Right.
Jeremy Weisz 13:15
So you started podcasting a long time ago. Tell the story at the time. So obviously we talked about your background, the White House to Governor California DreamWorks. But you’re a lawyer at the time.
John Corcoran 13:34
Yeah. Yeah. So I’ve always been interested in emerging technology still am, you know, I love cutting-edge new technology. And so podcasts were becoming popular around 07, 08. And I was listening to a bunch of other podcasts and other people in New were starting podcasts. And I wanted to do it. But I didn’t know, just like today, in many ways, I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know how to do it. So I started very simply. So I had a good client that had come to me for tiny little matter actually hired me to write a spare, right Elise on a spare bedroom in his house these days, you just put it on Airbnb back then there wasn’t a platform like that. So hired me for 500 bucks to write this lease. And I researched a little bit about him. And turns out, he’d been a successful entrepreneur started businesses that gone public on the stock exchange. I was like this guy who I love to have the great client. So I just kind of like on a whim said, hey, can I have like 20 minutes of your time, I’d love to interview you over video Skype at the time. I didn’t know what I would do with it after we recorded it. But I said I’d love to do this. And so he does it. And then we have a great conversation goes far beyond really like this limited engagement, the limited interaction that I’d had previous with him. And then at the end of it, he was like, hey, this was really a lot of fun. I’ve actually got a couple other legal projects. I don’t really know all the things that you do, but you help me with these other legal projects that I have. And so he ends up hiring for these other things and becoming a great client and it was just like light bulb moment went off. I was like, Wow, this was great. I could do this all the time. I like having conversations with people. And so that’s what really kind of sparked it for me, I was like, I’m gonna keep on doing it. And I just kept on going and using it to first starting with I was practicing lawyers and started interviewing other lawyers in my local community started interviewing other businesses in my local community, and started reading on out from there, and then realized I could interview anyone in any part of the globe, and been doing it ever since.
Jeremy Weisz 15:29
The interesting part is, and we talked about this a lot with the podcast, it can change and evolve with whatever your business evolves, or whatever you evolve to right at that point, you were practicing wire. Today, you call yourself a recovering lawyer. So it’s obviously the podcast in the people you’re having on has evolved, but it’s still Smart Business Revolution. So talk about you did it, you saw it working. And then what happened.
John Corcoran 16:06
So I actually plotted this a while back, because I saw that I had a couple of years of increasing episodes published per year. And then it just kind of went off a cliff, I think is about four or five years in, I think I had a year where I only published seven episodes. And then a year when I published zero episodes, I was recording some of those in that time, but I wasn’t publishing them. And I just remember feeling like this angst and anxiety around it, because I had not put a good system in place at all, I had a couple of people that were helping me with it. But I was totally the bottleneck at this point. I was thinking I needed to have this really high standard of perfection, what I was applying the standard perfection that I was applying to the client work that I did with the legal clients, which is up here and applying that to the podcast, which was completely unnecessary. Because I mean, I joke now that I never want to have had a client come to me and say, I was thinking about hiring you. But I went and looked at one of these episodes in your podcast archives, and I saw misplaced comma. And you really have a lack of attention to detail. And so I’ve concluded I’m not gonna hire you, that is never once happened. But I was holding this really high standard. And so once I realized that it was the misplace of energies. And once I shifted my energies to having as many high-caliber conversations as possible. And then putting a system and a process in place and a team in place to handle the production, the publishing the show notes, the promotion, putting all that in place, then I went from having a handful of conversations per year to having dozens 40, 50, 60, sometimes 100 conversations per year with the right people. And you were frankly the one who helped me to figure that out, you helped me to figure out that I needed to have a system in place and a process in place. And I’m so grateful to that because it was such a better use of my energies. And I enjoyed it so much more. And it probably was less time-consuming than putting out seven episodes where I was in trouble to writing the show notes and going and listening to the recording and all that convoluted stuff that I’d put in place previously.
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