Jason Allan Scott created his consultancy, A Podcast Company, in response to popular demand. As host of the Smarter Event Planning podcast, the veteran meeting professional kept getting inquiries from avid listeners, asking him how to create a podcast of their own for their businesses. Many were drawn by his informal style and sense of humor. “You can make it a great experience by making it a great story, where it feels like you’re listening in on a conversation,” he says.
By 2015, he had the company up and running, teaching others how to do it themselves and differentiate their voices by thinking about questions like “How many people think like you do?” and “How many people ask the same questions as you do?”
Today, Scott is a member of the prestigious YCombinator accelerator and owner of a multi-pronged business that collectively brings in seven figures. Beyond his consultancy, he offers a SaaS tool for podcasters that walks them through the process of starting a podcast and a master class for podcasters.
The serial entrepreneurs is involved in several other micro business ventures outside of the podcast world. Scott also runs MICEOFFERS, a deals site for meetings, conferences and event bookers, and Lokkima, which rents non-invasive spa machinery used in cryotherapy to hotels and other venues. Beyond that, he recently raised a round of funding for Pynk, an investment platform aimed at making blockchain accessible to everyone, through his podcasting and social media outreach. He’s also an influencer and public speaker whose YouTube videos have had over 1 million views.
“My mantra: Never be a boss, never have a boss,” he says.
Scott, who grew up in South Africa and now lives in London, is part of a global trend in which more solo entrepreneurs are breaking $1 million in revenue.
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Global data that drills down into this trend is hard to come by, but to put his business in context, there were 28.5 million nonemployer firms—those with no employees on payroll—in the U.S. in 2018, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Among them, 41,666 hit $1-2.49 million in revenue, the largest number on record and a 48% uptick since 2011. While they are clearly the 4-minute milers of the one-person business world, they show what is possible for solopreneurs to accomplish.
Scott will be sharing his story at a free community event about high-revenue, one-person businesses on Thursday, Nov. 19 at 1 p.m. Eastern time.
Here are some of the strategies that helped him build his successful solo empire.
Find the right mentors. After interviewing many leaders on his podcast, Scott knew he would save a lot of time by learning from the best. He invested in coaching by entrepreneurs and podcasters John Lee Dumas and Lewis Howes early in his podcasting career, so he’d hit the ground running.
It was there that he learned crucial information that helped him keep going during the early months of establishing his podcast. “Lewis Howes said he didn’t make money for his first three years in podcasting,” notes Scott.
Build an extended team. Scott has been able to grow revenues by relying on assistance from seven freelancers around the world who create social media assets, produce his podcast and newsletter, handle technology work and more.
To spread the word about his business, he has also taken on two “awareness ambassadors,” retired professionals who get a commission for every closed sale they bring in.
“I call it a smart tribe,” says Scott. “We’re a tribe of people working smartly, not ‘hard-ly,’ to get to where we want to be.”
Embrace free and low-cost technology. Scott has always made his mobile phone his business hub. “My entire business is run off WhatsApp,” he says. He also relies heavily on Voice Notes on his phone to record information on logistics, delivery, training, marketing, PR and other tasks and shares them with his team before directing them to a Trello board that lists projects. And he’s a fan of Calendly for setting up appointments.
“I try to make it as low-cost and low-tech as humanly positive,” says Scott.
Keep diversifying your revenue streams. Scott’s years as an entrepreneur made him well aware that earning money in several different ways would give his business staying power if something changed in the events industry, where he has spent much of his career, or in the economy.
Over time, he built four revenue streams tied to podcasting: his own podcast, 39 self-published books, a master class he teaches on the business of podcasting, and his software.
Lokkima, the business that rents esthetic cosmetic machinery, brings in another 40% of his revenue. He visited each client that leases the machines to get them up and running and celebrate their launch before the pandemic, so they could operate self-sufficiently.
The “low tech, low touch,” business which he says has always recommended operating its machines in a way that fits the sanitary and social distancing protocols now widely adopted in other businesses in the pandemic, has been thriving. Many hotels send the machines, covered with sanitary membranes, to customers’ rooms. “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity,” he says.
Cultivate personal resilience. Scott tries to limit the risks he takes in his business, but as a serial microbusiness founder, he understands that sometimes, failure is par for the course. “If you don’t get knocked down, you are not fully engaged,” he says.
A fan of books such as The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer, Scott tries to maintain a mindset where he takes things as they come. “One client upset doesn’t mean all the clients are upset or the world is out to get you,” he says. “Taking anything personally is very much an irrational act. It has little or nothing to do with us. All of that is a waste of time and energy.”
It’s hard to always keep your eye on the big picture these days, but it’s a worthy goal—especially when you’re got multiple