Steve Fredlund and Annie Tutt - Small Small Business Podcast

Steve Fredlund is the founder of Small, Small Business. He’s got over 30 years in analytic corporate roles with an overlapping 20 years of leadership experience with nonprofits. And over the last few years, he’s really focused on helping small businesses optimize the results by guiding them towards clear vision-aligned strategies and effective execution.

Annie Tutt is the host of the Small, Small Business Podcast. Her name is Annie Tutt. Now, Annie is deeply experienced in the world of small business, as well as nonprofits and with all great podcasts or she’s just got a knack for asking the right questions to get the valuable information needed, to help small businesses run more successfully.

Topics we covered:

  • Scaling Impact with Stronger, More Relational Networking through Podcasts
  • The Advantages of Delegating Your Podcast Hosting
  • How to Become an Effective Podcast Host
  • The Antidotes to Pod Fade

This episode is brought to you by “Start My Business Podcast Challenge“. I’ve been using podcasting as a powerful business growing tool for years. Nothing is more powerful than podcasting for help businesses grow. If you’re tired of playing roulette with your ad dollars and frustrated with algorithms constantly changing on social media platforms, the only thing that has changed about podcasting is the popularity of the platform.

If you’re a business owner and you want to grow your business but you’re not sure where to start, then join the FREE 5-Day Start My Business Podcast Challenge. Within 5 days, you’ll go from no podcast to having a full realized podcast with built in strategies to help use this tool for your business.

Select Links from the Episode:

Show Notes:

  • Why Steve left the corporate world in order to help micro businesses (01:46)
  • How Steve is using his podcast for the greater good of his community (05:02)
  • Why Steve chooses Podcasting over YouTube (07:14)
  • How podcasting increases the power of networking (08:32)
  • Why podcasting makes increasing your business’s credibility a breeze (10:40)
  • How one podcast appearance got a guest $30,000 worth of business (11:20)
  • Matchmaking communities and small businesses using podcasting (12:58)
  • Why taking a hiatus as the host of his podcast was a strategic move (14:45)
  • How delegating his podcast turned out for the better (16:14)
  • The importance of putting the spotlight on your guest (17:04)
  • How hosting a podcast has become an extended channel for Annie’s nonprofit leadership (17:42)
  • What you should consider when selecting your podcast host (19:34)
  • Overcoming the fear of not being good enough (20:48)
  • Excelling at hosting despite disliking hearing her recorded voice (23:21)
  • Embracing the authenticity of conversations to fight off perfectionism (26:15)
  • The secret formula to an impactful interview (27:25)
  • Why your audience should be the foundation of your podcast (30:28)
  • Why your marketing framework matters (31:30)
  • Flexibility: the antidote to pod fade (33:04)
  • The question you need to ask in order to sustain your podcast (37:00)


Cliff Duvernois: Hey, they’re world changers in. Welcome back to another episode of Entrepreneurs on Podcasting. And today we’re doing a first. We actually have two guests on today and I’m really excited to talk to them about their business. And I think we’re going to get a ton of value today. So our first guest is Steve Fredlund.

Now Steve is the founder of Small, Small Business. He’s got over 30 years in analytic corporate roles with an overlapping 20 years of leadership experience with nonprofits. And over the last few years, he’s really focused on helping small businesses optimize the results by guiding them towards clear vision-aligned strategies and effective execution.

Steve, welcome to the show.

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: Thanks so much pleasure to be.

Cliff Duvernois: And our second guest today is actually the host of the Small, Small Business Podcast. Her name is Annie Tutt. Now, Annie is deeply experienced in the world of small business, as well as nonprofits and with all great podcasts or she’s just got a knack for asking the right questions to get the valuable information needed, to help small businesses run more successfully.

Annie, welcome to the show.

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: Thanks so much, Cliff. It’s a pleasure to be with you. 

Cliff Duvernois: Great. So Steve, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about what Small, Small Business is.

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: Yeah, for sure. Well, it’s really all in the name. We there’s a lot of folks out there that are doing coaching, training, consulting, facilitation for businesses. Some of them focus on small businesses, but by definition, small businesses can still be millions of dollars and a hundred. Uh, hundreds of employees and that sort of thing that we really want to focus on helping those really small micro-businesses, the mom and pop shops, the solopreneurs, the small nonprofits, the people that are really, really become the lifeblood of the community.

And so when I left the corporate world about three years ago I really wanted to focus on. How do I help transform communities, especially these small rural communities in Minnesota, where I am and, and beyond. And one of the ways I think I can do that the best is by helping these micro-businesses because as they are successful, they start to employ other people.

The community starts to rebound if you will, the downtown start to be revitalized and ultimately the community has become more vibrant. So the focus is really on helping those folks get the kind of support that normally. For, the fortune 500 companies because all of the, all the coaches and consultants and trainers are chasing the big dollar contracts.

Right. And so we’re trying to give that level of support to the smallest businesses that are really integral to their.

Cliff Duvernois: Now, what is it about being active in the micro-business in the communities? What is it that attracted you to that? Cause your resume is really impressive working with bigger companies. So what is it that’s attracting you to work with a Small, Small Business.

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: Yeah, I think ultimately at the core that’s who I am. So yeah, as you mentioned, I’ve worked for a number of fortune 500 companies. I’m an actuary MBA, blah, blah, blah, great stuff, great career, all of those things. But at my core, I’m a small-town guy. That’s the way I, my wife, and I. Fifth generation in the same small town 8,000 people in rural Minnesota, like that is who I am at my core.

And so it doesn’t necessarily mean that I was a poser, that I was an imposter, like I had a great corporate career, but ultimately it comes back to how can we help our communities? And then a few years ago, just man, even before COVID, businesses boarding up and people leaving their communities to find the jobs in the bigger cities.

And it was just horrible. And for man for 30 years, I’ve also done a lot of work in the community. So I had my corporate gig, but I I’ve started nonprofits. I’ve been a number of local nonprofit board serving the community because of my heart is just for these communities. I think there’s so much richness and so much value in these communities.

And so when I left the corporate world, it was pretty obvious to me that I wanted to invest whatever remaining work life. Into helping the communities become more vibrant. So short answer is really, it’s just ultimately who I am is a small town, rural guy that cares about community. And part of this, is I’ve done a lot of work in Rwanda Africa, and I see the, the level of community that’s there, the level of relationship and the richness and vibrancy, even in the midst of having nothing.

And I’m thinking, how can. Possibly help bring that to our communities here in Minnesota and beyond. And so it’s all sort of a jumbled mess in my brain, but it makes sense to me to to bring that forward in the nature of helping small buses.

Cliff Duvernois: Nice. And in the spirit of helping small businesses. One day, you decided to start a podcast. Why.

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: I podcasted for quite a while, uh, doing a number of different things. My buddy and I had to show for a few years, we had, I don’t know, 400 podcast episodes or something. I love the platform of podcasting. It’s such a great opportunity to share ideas to build community. And I just loved it. And part of it is my personality.

Speaking, podcasting, those things are really good for my personality because it’s giving myself a platform to share my. not the kind of person that’s just going to go to. I’m not going to just go to a party and interject my thoughts unless I’m asked I’m just not that guy.

I’ll hang out in the background and just enjoy it, but I’m never going to just force my way into a conversation. But podcasting I used to do acting I think doing radio speaking from stage, all of those things are in a way giving myself permission to share my thoughts. And so I did that.

I also started a poker podcast, which has been really successful. And so for me, that made sense as part of the Small, Small Business model is to start this not only. To give myself a platform, but it’s really about the guests. I really want to give an opportunity for these small businesses. The people that are investing in small businesses, give them a platform to let the world know what they’re doing, and then through that help other people.

So it’s sort of a way of just scaling the impact that we can have versus just one-on-one.

Cliff Duvernois: I absolutely love that. And I think there’s an absolute power to podcasting. Cause I oftentimes will compare the content of creation, the podcasting to let’s say a post on Facebook or post on Instagram, where when you produce an episode of a podcast, it sits out there for years. Right? People could come two years from now.

And find one of your old podcast episodes and listen to it and be like, man, I really liked this guy. Thanks. Versus I don’t know of anybody who would sit there and say, well, I’m going to go back, two years ago and watch somebody’s Instagram. I just, I don’t see that.

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: Right. And we see that happening and I’m sure you’ve seen that too. And you will see that, like that does happen from time to time. Somebody says, Hey, I listened to episode number three. I’m like, oh man, that was a while ago, but I love it. I love, I just love the platform. I think it’s fantastic.

Cliff Duvernois: Is there something, cause I know you said before that you were already in a podcasting, but is there something in particular that attracted you to it versus let’s say for instance, creating videos on YouTube.

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: That’s a really good question. I think for me, it’s always been about the guests. And so. For example, I started a direct poker podcast to talk about poker. I’ve started something for disc golf. I started a podcast there. Both of them are things that I just started out on and it would actually gave me an opportunity to interview.

Give me an excuse, really, to interview some of these people that are really in the know that might otherwise not give me the time of. And so I think the same thing with Small, Small Business, like a podcast gives you a platform. It gives your guest a platform. And so I can reach out to the best players in the world.

I can reach out to people that really have good small business insights and say, Hey, why don’t you come on the show? And then they will give you that time because it’s advancing their careers as well, advancing their influence their visibility. And if I’m going onto YouTube, it’s really about me and my experience and my expertise and there’s value in that.

But when I bring somebody onto the show, I can share my expertise, but I can also just really tap into to the guests and get the, get the knowledge from them. And I think that’s where being able to ask the right questions is so powerful. So I think that’s why I like it more is because. Everything I’ve done is really focus on the guest there and they’re, it’s what they can bring to the audience versus myself as the whole.

Cliff Duvernois: Yeah, exactly. 

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: cliff, I would just add 

Cliff Duvernois: go ahead. 

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: cliff. I would just add the power of network. I think that’s part of what Steve is really highlighting is the podcast platform and the way to grow. Everyone’s network. So it’s not just growing Steve’s network as the founder and as the leader of Small, Small, but it creates a mechanism for other small business leaders in our case to grow their network and have people that they can reach out to be a LinkedIn or via the podcast via myself and Steve.

And we just know that particularly for small business leaders, the power of the network is huge. 

Cliff Duvernois: That’s right. Cause they always say that your network is directly related to your net worth. Right? So Steve, let’s talk about, let’s just talk about the impact that podcasting has had on your business. What are you seeing from that?

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: Yeah, I think Annie touched on it a bit with when she talked about the networking thing. I think the people that we’ve been able to meet, so through the podcasting I bring on guests and what it does is it is an interview process in a lot of ways for me, Part of the small business model is I meet with small business owners.

I meet with program leaders. I meet with foundations, whoever it is that kind of has a problem and they need a solution. And so I work with them to really figure out what is the problem and what is the strategy? What is the path forward that you need to take? And then I connect them with the experts that can make that happen.

And so Small, Small Business really predicated on having a really strong network of people that are willing to help these small businesses take it to the next level. And so when you have people on the podcast, as guests, part of that is almost an interview process. Like I’m talking to this person and I might think, you know what, they might not be the person that we need to actually help some of our people, or in most cases, boy, this person is a great person to know.

Boy, do they, they just know how to, take social media to the next level. So then when I have a client that has a need, I can connect with that person and say, Hey, you were on the podcast, you were Phantom. Do you have any interest in serving this client? And so part of it is that part of it’s just the networking piece of, of getting to know that person, getting to know their network through that.

And so it advances our business that way. It advances it in terms of credibility and social proof, which I think is really an underestimated piece. And it’s very, very hard to make. But when I talk to program directors in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Iowa, other places, when I talk to, when I’m writing a proposal in response to a request for proposal, and I say, I’ve got a podcast, we have a platform, we can do some promotion.

We could do some marketing, we could get one of your people on the podcast. It provides that level of credibility and it gives you those extra perks that you can throw in. That I think might make the difference between getting a contract and not getting a contract. And then I think the, the other piece of that is it helps our business to the extent that it helps our guests business.

So we’ve had guests that’ll tell us, man, I got a bunch of business from your show. This is even early on. Well, we didn’t have a lot of people listening to the show. I had one person in particular said, I’ve gotten at least 25 to $30,000 worth of business from that appearance on your show.

And so I’m an, obviously that helps my business because they’re then telling other people, yeah, I was on this podcast and I generate a business. And so then there are, people are reaching out to us saying, how can we, how can I come onto your podcast? And so it just keeps building that network little by little, but not from a broad, how many Instagram followers do you have?

It’s a much more relational sort of network. So it’s a lot stronger. It bears a lot more.

Cliff Duvernois: And I’m glad that you’re pointing this out, and I, and Annie referenced this earlier, but. Podcasting really is just a very powerful tool for networking. But as well as, and you were talking about this before is creating that platform. So other businesses can get access and get out there and share their message with the world, right?

How are they impacting the world? How are they be able to help those that they’ve been called to serve?

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: Yeah. Yeah. How can I serve you by giving you a platform? That’s a, it’s an amazing, it’s an amazing business model to be able to offer that to somebody and say I’d love to have you come on the show and tell the world about what you do give them. And it’s not always about sales pitching, right?

The point is, come onto the show and add value to our audience. You know, that’s really the thing. It’s not just each one is not just a glorified commercial, right? It’s about come on here, add value, and then we’ll see how else we can use you going forward. And maybe we can partner on some things, but first and foremost, you need to add value and keep in mind, who’s listening to this.

Cliff Duvernois: Nice. And what are the 

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: Yeah, I think it’s like matchmaking. Sorry, cliff. I was just going to it’s less of that commercial feeling. But it’s more like matchmaking, I think, because it’s really authentic conversation. The guests get to talk about their business in a way that the list of. Can really go, okay, that’s a person that I can relate to and I need a marketing specialist or I need a business coach.

And so that matchmaking piece of it is already being created for them because it’s so hard to pick vendors and partners, but I think the. The way that Steve built the podcast and what I’ve tried to continue is really around storytelling and authentic relationships. So they get a little peek into who that person is and they can determine if that’s the right fit for their business and fills the gap on a need that they might have

Cliff Duvernois: Yeah. 

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: I love that. It just, it builds up so much trust. Like when you have somebody on the podcast, you’re able to connect with them in a certain way and you give them a platform to advance their business. They, they trust you. You get to know them that, there’s just this trust built. So like Annie said, then when somebody comes to me and part, part of this is, the listeners also trust you too.

Right? So it’s not just. Th the, the guests it’s the listeners begin to trust you. They feel like they get to know you. They might run into you and say, Hey, you know, you host the podcast. Yeah. That kind of thing. But it’s really about building this network, this audience of people that trust you, they know you, they like you.

And then when you say, Hey, here’s somebody that actually offers a great service that you should look into. They will give that the time of day, they’ll give that a look or the otherwise one tab. So it’s this really community of trust that’s built.

Cliff Duvernois: Nice that. And what I would like to do. Cause we started talking a little bit about this before. So you, so Steve you started the Small, Small podcasts, and then at some point in time you turned the reins over to Annie. Why did you decide to do that?

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: Yeah well, it I did around 40 episodes or so I loved the connection, but I was starting to get overwhelmed with everything else in the business, trying to really figure out how can I grow the business. And I loved doing the podcasting, but all the other stuff that kind of came with it just got to be a little bit too much.

And then I was starting to think through what is really my core business. And so I decided to take a hiatus from a few things. Just to really sort that out to really get that locked in on how do we attract small businesses? How do we serve small businesses? We can’t be something to everything. So I took a hiatus from it figuring I would pick it back up in the future.

And then as I was really sorting out that model and I had a business coach working with me decided that the best path forward is really for me to focus on certain elements of the business and to offload delegate some of the other stuff. And that was a hard decision because I do. Hosting podcasts. I love talking to people.

I love asking questions. I love picking their brain on things. And so it was really a strategic decision to put the podcast in somebody else’s hands. And then I’d worked with Annie before her and I partnered on a project or two before. And I just love how she thinks about. And so I just reached out to her and I think she was probably a little surprised.

But I reached out and say, you know what? I just think you’d be great for the podcast. I love how you do things. I love how you approach it. I love how you ask questions. I just think her nature is consistent with my nature. And so I felt like it was a very on-brand selection. And so the decision. Make a hiatus, uh, was really, to, to allow myself to be strategic.

The reason to relaunch was because I think it was and is an important part of our business model. And then the reason to actually give it to somebody else was just so that I can focus on what I do best and and free somebody else up to probably what they do best too. And I think frankly, Annie does a better job on the podcast than I did anyway.

And I’m not afraid to admit that. I think she’s a better host. I think she’s better at landing better. I think she’s better at organizing it all. And so it’s just been, I think, a win all around

Cliff Duvernois: Nice. I absolutely love 

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: That’s a huge compliment, Steve. Thanks for all that sentiment. I don’t know if I agree with all of that, 

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: and that’s because you’re home that’s because you’re humble and you won’t agree with it, but it’s true. When you think about it, you’ll realize how true it is.

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: Well, I think when you know first pitched the idea, I said no. And uh, we really had to have some thoughtful conversation of, but it’s been really, really fun so far, so incredibly grateful for the operative. 

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: I think the reason that works too, and I know I’ve said a lot of words about all that, but I think Annie has the same posture as I do. It’s about the guest. And so the host has a role to play. Um, but in our situation, the role is not to overwhelm every conversation and make it about us or make it about Small, Small.

So as much as you need to have a good host in that role, you really just need somebody that’s going to put the spotlight on the guest, ask the right questions and let them share their insights with the world. When you’re looking for the right host, you’ve got to make sure, what is the point of the podcast so that you can find the right host and Annie just checked every.

Cliff Duvernois: Nice and any, how did you get into podcasting?

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: So really this is aside from being an avid listener and being married to someone who is, I don’t know what the next step up from avid listener is, but my husband is the podcast guy. If I had a dollar for every time, he told me some cool thing that started with, oh my gosh, you’re never gonna believe what I heard on a podcast today. We, we would, we’d be able to give a lot more money to all of the causes that we care about. If I had a dollar for every time, he said that, but this was my first jump in, this was a leap of faith really at Steve’s suggestion and compliment and insistence.

So it was not something that was on my radar as a part of my event management, nonprofit leadership. I’ve had a lot of great opportunities over the years to step onto local news, to be on radio shows and a huge amount of public speaking, which is an activity that I love and talking about the organizations that I work with and sharing their information with the community.

But never envisioned this type of opportunity and so much like Steve, I really enjoy building new relationships and having exciting and fun conversations. A huge part of my work in non-profit fundraising is storytelling. And so this opportunity to host the podcast is allowed me to do more of that.

Which I am really excited about, but I’ve been honest from the transition episode that Steve And I did together for the mid-January relaunch, that I’m a newbie and I’m learning and I’m really eager for feedback. And so far it’s been really exciting and I look forward to continuing, but hope that I can perfect some of these skills in this very unique space.

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: And I think her husband’s a little bit jealous that he wasn’t selected to be the host of the podcast with, without.

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: I agree. I agree. He he definitely was excited about the opportunity and, and I think maybe in the future, that’s something that, that he would aspire to do. 

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: But here’s the thing, not to, not to belabor the point too much, but I am such a believer and I have been for years and it almost always works in my favor. Sometimes it doesn’t, but like just get the right people around you. And so I did a Ted talk about having the right peeps in your Jeep and I’m just such a believer.

Like I thought Annie was the right person. On her resume as a podcast or no, but she’s the right person she wants to learn and she’s, she’s willing to learn. And so let her go release her into the world to do this thing. What is the worst thing that could happen for you? No nothing bad is really going to happen.

And so I just think it’s about having the right people. So rather than go find somebody that’s got all this litany of experiences as a podcast guest or a podcast host. And even if they’re not a good, maybe they’re not a good match. Chemistry-wise think they’re the right person for the job.

My, my approach to leadership is more around get the right people on the bus, get the right people that you want to be around, that you enjoy talking with. And if they want an opportunity, let them have it. And let’s.

Cliff Duvernois: Nice. I really liked that and I really do have to appreciate it. And I would like to explore this a little bit more, Annie, cause it’s it with you being still relatively new to hosting a podcast. What was, or what is your biggest struggle when it comes to podcasting?

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: So I think one of my biggest concerns in the beginning is that in this partnership, Steve is by far more of a traditional business expert and certainly a small business expert within that specific space. And that’s not an area where I would count myself as an expert. So my expertise is really in nonprofit management and leader.

Working with volunteers raising money. And I’ve been really fortunate to do that in the corporate community. So I have these incredible business relationships and I’ve learned about all of these organizations through my traditional nonprofit role, but that was a big concern for me. Like I’m not a topic expert.

How am I going to talk to these incredible business owners and strong business leaders and not be. Small business pier. And so I think Steve and I had some great conversation about that. Not being the focus of the podcast, as he’s already said today and what the role of the host really was. So a big struggle for me was overcoming that fear.

Not having enough expertise in the topic and then certainly the mechanics of being new to podcasting. And so again, Steve was a great support and just talking about the foundation that he has had built, and Steve will talk a lot about how he’s not the best organizer, but he doesn’t give himself enough credit for the systems that he builds.

And so he really had a ready-made process for me to walk into. If that hadn’t been the case, I don’t think I would have been. In a position to take on the project. And so that really was everything before our first episode was my biggest struggle. And then. I didn’t know that I would really have the network to bring guests.

And that’s where I would kind of challenge people that are thinking about getting started on podcasting or thinking about transitioning to a new host is that you really just, it takes a few minutes of brainstorming within your network of the people that you know, and the people that you’ve worked with over the years.

And it was a pretty quick find that I really had some great friends and some great business partners and even people from, from way back when at the podcast has been an excuse and a treat to reconnect with. And so I wouldn’t let that hold somebody back. I think contrasting what’s been the biggest struggle what’s been the biggest surprise and joy is the number of people that I have that are great experts and great candidates to join us as guests on the Small, Small package. 

Cliff Duvernois: Nice. And Annie, from what you were describing there below if I could put a label on it, it sounds like you were battling a little bit of imposter syndrome. 

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: I think that that’s really fair. Uh, I’ll tell what I think is a little bit of an embarrassing secret. So I don’t like to hear my voice recorded at all, and I really didn’t enjoy watching back any of those opportunities. I had to be on local news when. I would be recorded or broadcast live.

And so I thought, how can I be a podcast host if I don’t feel comfortable with those types of activities. And so it was weeks before I could sit down and listen to an entire. One of our live-released episodes because I love the conversation and I love being in the conversation, but I did feel really insecure about my voice and my word choice and how I was facilitating the conversation.

So it was probably three or four weeks in that I sat down and listened to one of my own episodes all the way through listened to a ton of Steve’s episodes. 

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: So funny because I I’ve done, I’ve hosted like 600 episodes. I still just hate my voice. Like I rarely listened to the ones that I’ve done because I just can’t do it. And so it is interesting that we’re in the same camp that way.

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: Yes, I’m not moving into permanent broadcasting roles. Any time in the future. 

Cliff Duvernois: Nice. And I’m in the the interest of full disclosure. It has been very rare that I’ve actually listened to one of my own podcast episodes. So I completely understand where you’re coming from with that. And it’s not because I hate the sound of my voice, but I was already in the conversation.

So why would I want to listen to it again? 

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: Yeah, I’m curious, to people that are working in this space and have really thrived in podcasting. My interest was. Around, how am I going to learn and how am I going to improve? And so external feedback is one way to do that. And I look forward to our listeners engaging and sharing their ideas for topics and sharing their feedback around the way that we structure our episodes.

But without some of that feedback beyond feedback from Steve and our small production, Now, it felt like I had to listen to one as a learning opportunity. So I’m going to try to do that from time to time, but I, it sounds like I’m in good company with that being a little bit more of the norm of not loving that process. 

Cliff Duvernois: Yeah. And it’s one of the things that I’ll share one of my, so I suffer from perfectionism, and it’s always a battle for me to overcome. 

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: oh, 

Cliff Duvernois: These things like filler words, like, um, you know, like, and when I first started out, it seemed like every other word coming out of my mouth. That’s all I heard.

And I would literally spend, hours upon hours editing a podcast episode to get rid of all those filler words. And really at the end of the day, the only person who noticed them. Nobody else did. And I think that gave me the courage to sit there and start to relax and start letting go of the fact that, cliff, it’s more important to get the content out.

Then it is about making sure that you sound perfect because no, one’s really gonna care. 

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: I think that’s the joy of podcasting. We want these to be really human experiences and really natural conversations. And so if they’re scripted and perfect, it’s not going to resonate with listeners because they’re not going to feel connected to that. So I think that’s a great frame of reference, clip to think about it.

It’s definitely a good learning for me. I was with a group of corporate and small business leaders earlier this week, talking about how to build successful internship program. And one of the best pieces of advice was don’t try to build a perfect program because if you do, you’ll never get it off the ground.

And so I think that applies to a lot of areas of life, that if we were trying to make every episode perfect, if we were trying to make the design of the podcast, perfect is Steve was trying to make all of the work within Small, Small. Perfect. Nothing would be moving forward. And so it’s really about progress over perfection. 

Cliff Duvernois: And so with that being said with you still being relatively new to podcasting and all of a sudden you, now you find yourself in this position where you’re the host of a podcast. When you’re interviewing people, what’s a framework that you use to get your guests to, to open up and be able to share their knowledge.

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: So I use a three-part formula. One of the changes that Steve made when we relaunched was to shorten up the episodes. And so it’s a lot of content to pack into. I think we run now, somewhere between. 18 and 28 minutes, we kind of shoot for 20 to 25 and episode. And the guests that we’re bringing on, all of them could do an hour if not more.

So I break it up into thirds. And when I do a prep call with our guests, we walk through, I’m not great on a script. So I don’t typically pre-write my questions, but I do operate in these three buckets. So the first piece is for them to introduce themselves and I really encourage them. To go beyond just their day-to-day business hat, who are they as a partner?

Who are they as a community member? Who are they potentially as a working parent and what is their business and how did you get here? So we try to really wrap in that first. Making them human and giving them a chance to be a whole person as they share their story. And then an opportunity to set the stage for why are they an expert in their field?

How did they get here? And then we dive into what their businesses and the middle part. We focus a lot on because we want to build capacity for our small business listeners and future entrepreneurs. So in the middle, we talk a lot about showcasing. But I try to have them bring to the table, some tips and tricks that anybody listening to the podcast, regardless of where they are in their business journey can get value.

And so that middle section is really the value add of why you listened to this Small, Small podcast. And so that everybody walks away. I heard a cool story. I feel like I met a cool person and I really learned something that’s going to maximize my business. And then the last third is really how we wrap up.

And that part is really built around how to get out of the episode. Because again, I found that. Five minutes is not that long. And so the last third we use as a wrap-up, what have we not talked about? That’s really important to you as an individual or really important to your business. We’ve had some guests that have wanted to share other podcasts or books that have been really meaningful to them.

One of our episodes with somebody that was really into journaling and they’re using a cool kind of tech tool for their journaling into that last third is open forum and that’s how we closed. 

Cliff Duvernois: Nice. I really liked that that particular format for doing an interview. I think that’s absolutely great. One of the questions I’ve got and Steve, if you want to jump in on this one you can do so as well. One of the, one of the things that I like to do is I like to ask each guest, cause there’s, here’s the deal.

The reason why I even started this podcast is because 60 to 80% of podcasts that are out there going to pod fade, right? An entrepreneur starts a podcast. They do maybe 10, 15 episodes. And then they stop. For the entrepreneur who has a podcast, they want to use it for marketing.

Maybe they’re struggling. What would be a piece of advice you’d want to give them?

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: Any do you want to jump in or you want me to jump? 

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: I don’t know. See if I think that might be a good one for you to start.

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: I think for me there’s a few things to keep in mind. One is really understand who is your audience? Who’s your target audience. This is why we do 20 to 25-minute episodes. I think Annie and I would both love to do long-form discussions, but our audience is small business owners, entrepreneurs, and they’re not the ones that are.

Taking these super long commutes or, doing housework while they’re listening to a podcast or whatever, or even you know, coding while they’re listening to podcasts or their desks, these are the people that they need value. And so there’s that? I think so you understand your audience, you understand your brand.

I think one of the things that we offer with Small, Small Business, we offer people really, high-value, compressed sort of information and support, whether. Through podcasting, but whether that’s your training, consulting, coaching facilitation. And so to through the brand with the podcast is to say, Hey, for 25 minutes, we’ll give you some really good content in that short period of time.

And that’s on-brand with everything else that we. Which is high value. We don’t waste your time. We get to the point we know you’re busy and we want to give you high value. So know your audience, know your brand and build the podcast structure around that. Another thing that I was using more when I was on a different podcast and stuff but it’s something to keep in mind is these markets.

Frameworks, whatever your favorite marketing framework is for me, I use StoryBrand. So I’m a big Donald Miller StoryBrand fan where he really, you know, okay. So he, he takes this idea that our marketing is like a movie. And so when I used to interview guests, I would actually go through the StoryBrand framework as I constructed what the interview would look like.

Now, I didn’t pre-write questions or. But I’m like, first of all, first, what I want to know is what’s the problem that you solve. What is the issue that, that is in the way, what’s the villain of the story. And then, who, who are you, why are you an effective guide? And then what’s your plan for people to overcome the problem.

And then, what’s at stake. If people, succeed or they fail and, kind of almost building. The construct of the interview around a marketing plan, which is the same sort of marketing that you would use when you’re creating your website or creating your marketing collateral. And so that’s another tip that I would have is think about what you’re trying to accomplish with your podcast, who your audience is, what you want them to do at the end of the podcast.

Some podcasts are just information. That’s fine, but most of us are doing this as part of a business model. So what do we want them to do after they listened to an episode? Do we want them to go to the small, small website? Do we want them to set up a call? Do we want them to engage with Annie on social media?

Like what do you want and then constructed in that sort of fashion?

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: Yeah. I think those are all great points. I think it’s also really hard to even just a few episodes in. To keep it fresh without being all things to all people. So I think Steve has built a lot of clarity around what the purpose of this podcast is. And there are so many amazing conversations that we could have that really wouldn’t line up with those intentions.

And they might still make for a great episode, but they don’t fit into the master plan of what we’re creating and how it lines up with a small, small. Entity as a business, which is what the podcast is created for. And then I would also say in that idea of keeping it fresh, even within your niche, you can be creative.

So the guests that Steve had prior to the relaunch and the ones that we’ve recorded so far. They couldn’t be a more different group of people in businesses. And so I hope that we will have repeat listeners because they know they’re going to get something new and it’s going to continue to be interesting.

But to Steve’s point, it’s going to stay in the lane of what the intention of the podcast is because we know that there are millions of podcasts and people can find whatever value and conversation they’re looking for. We don’t have to try to do all of those things for everyone. That to me doesn’t feel sustainable, but there is no shortage of incredible small business leaders that we could continue to have as guests that I think would prevent us from being on hold or going by the wayside.

And Steve talked about it at the beginning, thinking about capacity and being mindful, we’ve had a lot of conversations about our release cadence. Can we stay up on a weekly and do we need to modify that? And so I think for a lot of podcasters, having some flexibility, maybe it’s better to change your release schedule than it is to completely stop and be kind of one of the podcasts that doesn’t make it.

So to speak.

Cliff Duvernois: I think that’s really excellent that you pointed that out, Annie, because the thing is, is that, like I said before it’s really important to make sure that you’re getting your content and your message out there. So if you do have to start considering something for instance, going from, like I know some people that are like, Hey, I’m going to get into podcasting and I’m going to produce an episode every day.

And I’m like, Right. And then, so if they do try it and they find that they can’t sustain it. Okay. Well then think about, do you do this once a week or maybe you should do this every other week, right? There’s some podcasts I listened to where it’s a monthly podcast, but the content is just absolutely stellar and I enjoy it and I will, I will wait another month for another episode, the drop.

So being able to make those changes and be, and having that self-awareness of what you can do and what your schedule permits. I think that’s a really great point that you bring up.

Steve, did you want to add something?

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: Well, you’re just, you’re complimenting us. So, w why would I want to interrupt that at all? But, but no, I, I think, I think that’s exactly right. And I think it, it does, what you’re saying is exactly right. And. The most important thing to you and your audience. That is it like whether it’s a once-a-month blow it out of the low, the socks off sort of episode, is that a regular sort of thing?

What are you trying to accomplish? And I think one of those pieces is trust for us. We want trust. We want people to be able to count on an episode coming out every week. So I think consistency is very important, but another thing not to get lost in this, and I know your focus is on people that are using podcasts as part of their business model, but.

What, what do you really enjoy about podcasting too as the host? Because if you’re not enjoying doing the hosting, you are going to burn out and you’re going to eventually just give it up. So I think it is finding that balance between what are you trying to accomplish in your business? What do your guests need?

What does your audience team, but what really gives you life? And for me part of that is just, I just love I’m so curious about people’s lives. Right. And so that actually can get in the way of a business podcast, because I want to be like, okay, that’s great that you, that you can give us insight into social media, but what you just said that.

Whatever this happened in your life. I want to explore that, right. I want to start digging into their life because I’m so curious and that’s off-brand right. That’s not going to be for good make for a good small business podcasts. And so you just figure out, like, what do you really enjoy about the episodes?

Some people it’s they feel very uncomfortable being uncomfortable, being a solo host. And so some people go to a co-hosting model where maybe they don’t have guests. Maybe they do have guests, but they have one or two even co-hosts because it’s just more comfortable, it’s more fluid.

Um, part of it is what is your audience part of it’s what is your brand? But part of it is what gives you life. So when it’s time to hit that record button, you’re like, man, I can’t wait here comes another one. I’m excited to do this because over the long run, if you want to be a sustainable podcast, if you’re not enjoying.

Well, first of all, it’s going to take away join fulfillment from your life, but you’re probably not going to last real long.

Cliff Duvernois: Yeah. And I absolutely agree with that. And I think that, it, part of it it’s again, going back to the self-awareness model. If you’re podcasting, if you’re thinking about who your ideal listener is, How you serve them, how you best can serve them making sure that you keep those things in mind, and then just, remember that, with podcasting, there’s, there’s gotta be an element for you.

There’s gotta be some pleasure that you derive from it yourself. So that’s a very valid point. So if people listening to this podcast, they want to connect with you. They might want to check you out online, whatever it is, what’s the best way for them to.

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: Yeah. 

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: For me, it would be a Steve at small, small If you want to shoot an email, otherwise just go to the small, small website and check that out. Otherwise yeah, feel free to connect on LinkedIn or wherever else. You’re on social media.

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: And for me, cliff, LinkedIn is a great place to start. I found that LinkedIn, I think, is having such a recent. Uh, in recent years. And so it’s been a great place to stay connected to my network and grow. My network is actually a place where I do a lot of communication around the podcast. And so Annie Tutt, T U T T.

And so I look forward to some new connections. 

Cliff Duvernois: Wonderful. And for our audience, we will make sure to have all those links in the show notes down below Steve, Annie. It’s been awesome having you guys on the podcast today and thank you for sharing your incredible journey with us. And I, I personally have learned a lot today, so thank you.

Steve Fredlund, Small Small Business Podcast: Well, it’s fantastic to be on this side of the mic. It’s very odd to be having questions asked of me. I’m so used to asking questions. So thanks for the opportunity.

Annie Tutt, Small Small Business Podcast: I agree completely with Steve. This has been a lovely opportunity. Thanks again.