Achieving Startup Success in a Competitive Podcasting Niche [Madison Catania]
As entrepreneurs, we are faced with many challenges and hurdles when it comes to starting our own businesses. Listen and hear about how Madison Catania was able to overcome the fear of competition and push forward to launch her new company, Wildcast.
Nick (00:00): Last week, we talked about tips and strategies for getting on podcasts and being a guest on other people's podcasts. We talked about how beneficial it can be for growing your business and building awareness around your brand. If you haven't yet listened to that episode, I'd definitely go check it out. It was episode 29 with Trevor Oldham. This week, we were talking with Madison Catania who has created her own platform, Wildcast to connect more podcasts with guests, looking to get on podcasts. They just started building Wildcast in 2019 and launched their platform in September of 2020. And now they're going hard at it. In this interview, we'll be talking about how Madison and her co-founder were able to get Wildcast started, along with the challenges that they faced with new competitors, stepping into the space as they were building the service. Additionally, we get into how she was able to overcome these frustrating hurdles and feeling of wanting to give up, which ultimately led to the success of Wildcast.
Nick (00:51): Now, before we dive into this interview, go subscribe to the Nine-Five Podcast. I have a lot of great interviews past present, and future coming up on the show. So you're not going to want to miss out by subscribing to the podcast. You'll get notified when new episodes go live. So you don't miss out on any of these amazing stories from entrepreneurs who, as you continue listening will realize they're just normal people like you and me. So definitely go subscribe to the Nine-Five Podcast right now. All right, now let's get into this interview with Madison Catania.
Nick (01:20): This is the Nine-Five Podcast and I'm your host, Nick Nalbach where we get into the minds of entrepreneurs and people just like you. So you can start, build and grow your own online business.
Nick (01:38): Welcome to the Nine-Five Podcast. I'm your host, Nick Nalbach. And this is the show where we interview entrepreneurs and business owners to get inside their minds and find better ways to help you start and grow your own business. And today on the show, I have Madison Catania. Madison, welcome to the Nine-Five Podcast.
Madison (01:58): Thank you so much. I'm very excited to be here. And we actually met through my platform, which is, which is pretty cool.
Nick (02:06): Yeah, that is, I guess, before we even tell everybody what that platform is, because I, I honestly can not remember how I found it, but I think it is such a cool idea.
Madison (02:18): Oh, thank you. Yeah. So I've, I've been in podcasting for a few years and we can kind of go into how the idea came about, but essentially it's called Wildcast and our website is gowildcast.com. And it's basically a LinkedIn for people in the podcast industry to network and connect. So right now the main functionality is you sign up as a podcast, a guest, you can even set up as a network with multiple podcasts, and then you can request to connect with other, the platform message back and forth to schedule interviews. And we definitely have a lot of other cool features that are kind of in the works to just help the podcast community connect and collaborate since that's essentially what it is at its core.
Nick (03:01): Yeah. I love that. And obviously being in the podcast space, I think that is such an awesome idea. Now I want to get into the story where that all came about, but before we do that, something I'd like to do with all the guests that I bring in the show is I'd like to ask them what their superpower is. And for any new listeners coming in, or if you haven't heard the podcast yourself by superpower, I mean like, what is that thing that you just crush it, like you are the go-to person here, or someone comes to you if they need help with this, what, what do you think your superpower be?
Madison (03:33): This is a little bit random, but I've always been pretty great at short form copy and just witty copy in general and kind of coming up with ideas and thinking outside the box, when it comes to that, my husband's in a copywriter at an ad agency and I'm often with him and trying to come up with different things for his clients, which is a lot of fun for me. So it's, it's something that I've done throughout my career a lot and something I really enjoy.
Nick (04:02): That's awesome. So did you have a copywriting background as well? Or is it just something that you just kind of pick up naturally?
Madison (04:08): Yeah, I I've worked in marketing throughout my whole career and a lot of my jobs in marketing have been dealing with a lot of content creation as well. So writing has always been a big part of my career and it's just something I, I love doing. So it's, it's definitely not my job per se, but it's something that I'll always try to do in some form or another.
Nick (04:30): And it definitely, we've had some copywriters that have come on the podcast before in the past copywriting. I mean, that's, it's one of the most important aspects that says it's often overlooked when creating a business or trying to set up a sales page or whatever you're trying to do. Writing is a lot at the core of everything that you do. So I think that's a awesome skill to have.
Madison (04:53): Yeah, yeah, absolutely. We've had some people try to write copy for Wildcast and for some of our businesses in the past. And I think it's helpful that, you know, at least I feel confident in my writing because I'm the one who knows it best. So it's easier for me to talk about it than it is anyone else. So it's definitely come in handy. Absolutely.
Nick (05:13): So now I want to jump into Wildcast, cause that is primarily what this episode is about, is about Wildcast, how you got started with this and how we can kind of take lessons and learn from what you did to build Wildcast. So if we can help all the people who are trying to get their own business going. So I'm curious, what kind of role has podcasting played in your personal and professional life? Like where, where was the interest in podcasting coming from?
Madison (05:43): Yeah, so like a lot of people, I don't really have a unique story. I actually got interested in podcasting because of Serial. So whenever that came out, like six or seven years ago, I just became absolutely obsessed. And my husband and I were doing a cross country trip and we just listened to podcasts basically across the entire country. And then I started listening to other true crime podcasts and then podcasts outside of true crime. And it just became a huge love and passion of mine. And then at the time I was working in marketing, in hospitality actually, and I hit this one day where I was really unhappy at work and I cold emailed like five of my favorite podcasts. And I was like, is there anything I could do to freelance and get involved? Like I want to be part of the industry. And that's actually how I started working in the podcast industry. Kind of a random email.
Nick (06:37): I mean, I think that's a really good story actually. That's it's unique. Yeah,
Madison (06:44): No, I think the, the Serial, part's definitely not unique, but the way I got it,
Nick (06:52): Yeah. Serial was probably the first podcasts that I actually listened to and I think I stopped. Yeah. I don't think, I think I listened to that. And then they made it come out with like a second season and I kind of got into it, but it was really the only podcast that I'd paid attention to and then stopped listening to podcasts for probably a good year and then got back into, um, once I started getting interested in the online business space. So I started finding podcasts around that. But since, since then, I feel like podcasts are pretty much all I consume at this point.
Madison (07:24): No, I feel the same way. I was like listening to music the other day and it was such a strange experience. I was like, I don't think I've listened to music in a really long time weirdly.
Nick (07:33): Yeah. I used to listen to music every time I would go to the gym and I started switching to podcasts and I had to come back to music. So I was like, okay, I'm consuming way too much content to this point. And I was like, I don't even know what to listen to now listen to music for so long. I don't even really know what's happening.
Madison (07:51): What do I like anymore? I'm not sure. Yeah.
Nick (07:55): Now before we actually, sorry, I keep prolonging this, getting into your story here, leaving the listeners on edge. They gotta stick around if they want to hear the juicy stuff, but I actually came across a interview that you did. I think it was Ideamench was the website. I don't know if I'm saying that. Right. But there was something in that interview that you said, and I, I think it pertains really well to the listeners here. Um, you said "some people have a clear idea of what success means. They're not right and they're not wrong. There's no correct path. So do what feels best to you." And I read that and I don't know. It just kinda clicked for me. Do you want to talk about what, what you were meaning when you said that like kind of dive into that a little bit for me?
Madison (08:44): Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, I went to college and study marketing and psychology and I thought I moved to New York city after that. And I thought I was going to work in tech and marketing have a very specific path. And that's kind of what I saw growing up. I mean, my dad was in finance and he worked in finance his entire career and was very successful in his career. And I kept feeling confused because I didn't feel like I fit in, in any of my jobs up until this point. So I kind of shifted around in different industries, always kind of in marketing and content creation, but I didn't exactly feel happy or fulfilled doing a lot of those things. And I think one day I do just kind of hit me that, that those things aren't the right things. So I could kind of create my own path and find what feels right to me, which I guess I was kind of doing when I was emailing podcasts that I listened to wanting to work there because I just gravitated toward that. And what I've come to realize is everyone has a different idea of what success means. And so there is no right answer because everyone has different right answers. And so I think I've tried to embrace that and just do what feels right to me instead, which is, a lot easier said than done.
Nick (10:01): Yeah. I mean, you, you have a very similar mindset to what I had as I was getting into the corporate space, leaving college, I was kind of in that same mentality. I knew that it wasn't something that I wanted to do forever. I knew there was something different that I needed to be doing, but I didn't know what that was. And I feel like a lot of listeners and aspiring entrepreneurs as they're getting into, or thinking about getting into online business, they're in a very similar boat where it's like, well, I'm on a path towards success or at least what everyone's telling me success needs to be, but I just don't feel right with where I'm at. So I think that's when people start actually venturing out looking for things like a podcast like this or other business podcasts or trying to start their own business. Cause it's whatever they're doing in the corporate world just isn't quite right for them. So that's, that's why like really that quote, I thought fit really well with what we're talking about here on this podcast. So thank you for sharing that.
Madison (10:58): That's awesome. And that's, you know, it's something I think about a lot when it comes to defining your own success and trying to figure out what makes you happy. It's such a, you know, a lot of people talk about it, but it is, it is really hard. It's a hard one and something I struggle with like almost every day.
Nick (11:14): Yeah, no I I'm right there with you. So let's actually get into your story now. So Wildcast, we talked a little bit about what that is already, where did this idea come from?
Madison (11:31): Yeah, so I was, um, well, I still am involved with a podcast network. It's a small podcast network and we mostly work on reality TV and pop culture shows and I lead production there. And you know, my role has decreased as I've started to do Wildcast, but they've been so supportive and they're actually a little bit involved as well. And when I was working, full-time in production, they're a big part of my role was finding guests, doing research, seeing who would be a good podcast to collaborate with and do an ad trade with and all these different things. And I would just have a million different spreadsheets going and I absolutely hated it. And I was in business school at the time because that's what I thought was the successful thing to do. And, uh, there was like one class that I actually hated, but there was an assignment where we were talking about in our industries, what like the different steps look like throughout our days and how we can simplify them.
Madison (12:28): And they just kind of got me thinking, and it was always a little idea that I had. I was like, I don't want to be hating this part of my job. I'd rather just try to fix it in some way. And I've always wanted to start my own business and you know, I'm young and it's a scary thing to do, but I had actually touched base with my really close family friend. He's actually my godfather. And he had just retired and I was telling him about the idea and he was like, I don't want to be retired anymore. I want to try to do this thing with you. And he kind of had the exact skills that I didn't have and I had the skills that he didn't have. And we were like, you know, like, let's just, let's just try to go for it. So we, this was late 2019 and you know, like we said, we just launched in fall of 2020. So it was really like a year of ideas and seeing what it would look like and trying to develop just a very basic product. And that's where we are now.
Nick (13:27): Wow. I didn't realize that's who your co-founder was. That's that's very awesome.
Madison (13:32): Yeah. It's a funny dynamic there because you know, we have it, he lives on the East coast and I live on the West coast right now. I'm on the East coast, but my life is kind of weird right now, but, um, we hadn't done, this is a very different thing to do with like your godfather or someone. He's my dad's best friend. It's just kind of random, but it, it works somehow.
Nick (13:54): Yeah, no. And if, if they're bringing to the table, the skills and traits that you don't have, I mean, that's a perfect partnership. That is something that if anybody is thinking about getting into business and they're getting into business with either friends or family or people that they know, it is always a good idea to find people that kind of have a, an opposite, I guess, not even opposite, but like different skills than you have that can be brought to the table. That way everyone's kind of contributing in different aspects. And I don't know, you could probably speak to it a little bit better, but having two different points of view probably definitely helps when developing the idea behind what Wildcast was going to be.
Madison (14:35): Oh yeah. I mean, I, there's no way it would've worked with anyone else because his expertise was what I needed to make it happen. And I was kind of the person behind the product and he was the person behind the tech and the finance. And it would just, it would have been an idea that I had that was kind of fun that I couldn't execute. And he made it get to the point where I could execute it. So I there's no way I would've been able to do it without that like complimentary skill set.
Nick (15:05): Oh, that, I mean, that makes a lot of sense. I feel like a lot of people do get hung up in that stage of it where it's an idea and they're like, all this would be super awesome, but then there's no follow-through.
Madison (15:15): Right.
Nick (15:15): And I mean, I guess you may have been in that position, had you not known that your godfather was going to be the one that could bring those skills to the table, I guess, but I mean, you did take action. Like that's the, the moral of the story here is you did take action and you have a sweet product and service out of that. So that was one, all the listeners to take that home and let that sink in. Like, just because you have an idea, you have to go out there and take action with that idea.
Madison (15:43): Yeah. I think that's something that a lot of people like say to me like, Oh, I have this amazing idea. And like this person ended up doing it and look how much money they have. And I'm like, it wasn't the idea. It was the fact that they executed it well. And like everyone has ideas and it's the hard part is doing it obviously, or else, you know, all of us would be wildly successful, whatever that means.
Nick (16:07): Yeah, no, that's a hundred percent true. No idea. I feel like is unthought of, but it's the people that actually execute on it. I love that. So as you were kind of coming up with this idea and developing it at what point for you, did you realize like, okay, this is, this is something real, like we got something here.
Madison (16:27): I think when I first started to realize it was when I was kind of, I don't want to say cold emailing because I had a bunch of contacts who I've worked with through the podcast network. And I started to reach out to them from Wildcast and telling them what it was And asking if they wanted to be part of it. And they didn't know me. Well, I had maybe booked them on one show like a year ago. So it did seem to me like a genuine response. And I started to get some really, really cool feedback. And it was before we launched and I wanted to launch with like at least a couple of hundred people who had signed up and before we were live and there were people being like, Oh my God, like, this is, this is going to save my life. Like this is going to make such a difference in my day to day. And just the words that people said were kind of what kept me going at that time because it, it truly meant a lot coming from people who didn't really know me other than an email in the past few years or something like that.
Nick (17:25): Right. So the, the people that you were reaching out to, you had already had some form of contact with them, I guess, in the past. And then you just, again, go back to the cold email and just start reaching out and saying, Hey, I got this thing.
Madison (17:36): Yeah. So I, you know, throughout my career at the podcast network, I've probably done booking for like 10 to 15 different shows, um, to some extent. And so I had those people's from, from doing that. And I had some credibility because I was reaching out from shows that did have a lot of listeners. So they, you know, they knew, I wasn't just kind of like a random person reaching out. So that definitely helped, but I think their responses were actually more genuine than I expected because, you know, it's easy to like ignore an email if you haven't talked to someone in a while, but there were a few people who were just like advocating for me, which was really cool to see.
Nick (18:15): That is really cool. I'm curious with your emails, what, I guess, what did you do? What, what were you sending these in these emails to make them, I guess, open click through, follow back up with you?
Madison (18:28): I think the first thing is I would open it. I was coming from an email address they had never heard of before. And I would say the context of how I had spoken to them before. And, you know, I booked these shows and I could name some very credible shows, so that tends to get people's attention. And then I kind of had a paragraph or two that described like why I was creating Wildcast and what it was going to be. And what I was asking from them, which was pretty simple, which was just a sign up for free. And a lot of people were receptive even like much bigger names than I thought I would hear back from
Nick (19:03): The reason I asked. Cause we had a couple, we got a couple of episodes where guests were coming on, talking about cold email specifically in cold email outreach. So I was just curious what was working for you in that aspect, but it sounds like what you were doing is very similar to what everyone else is preaching and that have had success with it. It's explaining your expertise and being very personal with that. Obviously if you're trying to grow your business, you want to be as personal as possible and put in that effort to, I guess, make that outreach and kind of get some feedback. So I think that's awesome.
Madison (19:37): Yeah. I definitely struggle with, you know, some of our competitors who have popped up, they, I know a lot of people like scrape RSS feeds and they get everyone's email and they send out like a mass email and like some of that really does work. And I struggle with like, is that the right thing to do? Because then, you know, they're also upsetting like half the people who receive it. And I think what I was doing, it was more like warm emailing. Cause at least I knew these people were and they kind of knew who I was so cold emailing is definitely something that I've struggled with.
Nick (20:09): No, I guess that is a good point. You, you have had contact with these people in the past, so that's yeah, like you said, it's more of a warm lead than a cold lead in that aspect. So once, once you actually started developing the platform, Oh, I guess first of all, when you started reaching out to these people, did you already have the platform in stone or were you reaching out to these people before you even had it developed?
Madison (20:32): I was reaching out to them a couple months before we had anything that they could really see. So yeah, part of me, I wasn't expecting people to respond so quickly or people to respond at all. And so I stopped for a while and was like, Oh, I should, I should stop reaching out to people. I don't have anything that I could, that they can do for me right now. So there was a chunk of emails and then a big break. And then I was like, okay, now I have something.
Nick (20:57): Right. Well, I think it, it's not a bad approach for anybody that is trying to come out with a product or service. I mean, if anything, you were just validating the idea, you were getting responses coming back saying, yeah, this is awesome. Where can I sign up? It's like, okay, well, hell we might be onto something here? So I, I, I think there is something to be said about going out and reaching out even before you have something tangible to show. I think I, my opinion, that was a good approach.
Madison (21:26): I think like one thing that a couple of professors said when I was in business school is if you have an idea before you even spend the money to go build it, like do a couple Facebook ads for something that doesn't exist, that just leads to like an email form and see if people are like interested in clicking on that before you spend the money to go build it, which I didn't, you know, I did it in some extent, like I did run the idea by a lot of people who were in the industry, but I always thought that was a really clever way to do it. And I think it kind of works more for like a product where you can sign up for a list to get it when it comes out or something. But I thought that was pretty cool.
Nick (22:04): Oh, that is interesting. I've actually not heard that. Trying to actually run ads to be a quick way to get in front of a massive amount of people.
Madison (22:12): Right. And just to kind of test your market and see like you could even do different like product variations and see which one people are clicking on.
Nick (22:20): Yeah. No, I like that. That's a good idea. So now that you've started reaching out with this idea, how did you actually begin developing this thing? Did you have specific experience with creating any kind of product like this or is this where your co partner here was able to step in?
Madison (22:41): So I had taken a couple of classes on wire framing. And so I, the first thing I did was I just drew the worst things you could ever imagine. Like, I don't even know where they are now, but they're so bad. And it was the initial idea. And then we hired a, third-party a development firm they're actually in Canada and it was a friend of a friend. It was, it was somebody who we really trusted and they had a great reputation and they referred us to this company and we met and we kind of hit it off right away. And so I gave them these horrible wireframes and then I knew what I wanted for the brand. So I went to my husband's company and I met with a designer there and I explained what I wanted for the brand, you know, got some of those elements done. And then the developers really put together like the brand with my horrible wireframes and, and we, we could actually have real wire frames where we then kind of dove into what it was like. Exactly.
Nick (23:48): That's cool. So then do they, do they develop somewhat of a prototype to begin with? Or how, what does that process actually look like after the wireframes are developed
Madison (23:58): Was basically on this, it was called Zeplin and it's this program that had just like very in-depth wireframes that would show exactly what it was going to look like and nothing was functional at all. But once we approved what every single page was going to look like and what was going to happen when you pressed every button, then they just took those and started coding exactly what that was.
Nick (24:21): Okay. That's really cool. I honestly, I have no experience in that at all. So that's why I'm, I'm curious how all that works. Cause I completely oblivious to it.
Madison (24:33): Yeah. I like wish I could code because sometimes I would be like, Oh, I could think of something, but it's hard to explain. And like, there are so many different ways to do it, I think, but it worked for us since we really didn't have any experience doing something like that. And you know, they, the developers also had a designer in house, so it was just really a good relationship from the start.
Nick (24:56): That's cool. Do you know where you did you have to do any kind of shopping around, it sounded like you already kind of had some people in mind. Where if others were interested in kind of going that route, getting with developers. Do you know of any places people would be able to start looking for that type of stuff?
Madison (25:13): Or there are some like really good resources, but that was something we really struggled with because when you're looking up development firms, it's going to show you like the best ones who are coding, like TikTok and you're like, can't afford this. So, I mean, we, my co-founder Scott, he had a bunch of contacts from his previous companies and they were having us meet with people who are in Spain actually. And so we met with them a lot, but I was like, there's kind of a language barrier. There's a huge time zone issue. And then I started looking I'm from San Diego and that's where I lived up until a couple of months ago. So I started just like looking at local firms. And I was like, I don't know if this is the right fit either. Like they don't necessarily have to be local. And then we just started asking around friends and family and that's how we found who we ended up partnering with. But that's, I'm sure there are good resources out there. I just, unfortunately I wasn't able to find them.
Nick (26:09): Oh yeah. I mean, I think it kind of worked out better for you in your situation, how it all unfolded.
Madison (26:17): So we were lucky in that way.
Nick (26:18): So now you've got this thing in development or it's developed at this point, you've already found interest with these people that you've reached out to through email. I'm assuming a lot of them, you went back to email again, kind of got them rolling. What did you do then after that to continue the growth of Wildcast, especially I guess right now still kind of be in that state is right now. Yeah.
Madison (26:45): Yeah. That's definitely our biggest challenge right now is user acquisition. And it's just something we're always thinking about. But at first I had about, I tried to get 300 or so people to sign up before the, the platform was ready to use. So all you could do was sign up because I figured you didn't want them to be able to go to a page and then no, one's there to like network with. So once we had about 300 people, we made the website go live and it was people who, you know, I had followed up with those warm leads. So they, they kind of knew where I was coming from. They knew they were the very early adopters. They knew that were going to be issues. And so we monitored those issues for about a month or so. I was still kind of reaching out to friends of friends or warm leads or people I've worked with in the past. So we're growing that number very, very slowly. And then once we felt like it was, you know, there are still bugs always forever, but there are enough that it's acceptable. Then we actually hired a third-party marketing firm who went out and did PR and paid social for us, which they're still doing. And that really was when we started like really acquiring users because we were actually getting the word out to people beyond our immediate network.
Nick (28:02): Okay. No, that makes sense. I, I want to say I ended up finding Wildcast. I think it was through like an Instagram ad or something. Yeah. I think I saw it pop up on Instagram and I was like, Oh, I'm going to go check this out. I got in there and it's, it's a really neat platform if anybody, I mean, I can let you speak to it a little bit better than me, but if you have a podcast or you're wanting to appear on podcasts, you guys with Wildcast, you guys cater to both sides of that. So it's almost, I would almost describe it like a social media networks for connecting podcasters and guests.
Madison (28:40): Yeah, exactly. And you know, there's a lot more that we want to do, like, especially in the sponsorship world, which, you know, a lot of people are trying to solve that problem, but I think there's a lot of room there and in a few other areas, but that's primarily where we want to just start with, just create a community where people could just connect, messaged back and forth and try to find like-minded people or people to record with or everything like that. And Instagram and Facebook is where we're putting those ads out right now. So that, that makes sense.
Nick (29:13): Well, it's, it's working. I signed up
Madison (29:15): Good. There we go. At least we got one.
Nick (29:18): How, so there, I've seen a couple other platforms that are kind of the same idea, the same concept of trying to connect guests with podcasters. I just wanted to kind of give you a chance here to talk about how yours is different than some of these others. Cause I've, I've had some positive and some negative experiences with some of these other tools out there. So I kind of want to let you kind of, here's a little like PR moment basically. Like how, how was your, how was Wildcast different than some of these other platforms that are out there?
Madison (29:50): Yeah. I think when we were developing what we have now, they're really, there were only like one or two and they were very different than what I wanted to do. And then I started seeing them while we were like in the middle of development. I started to see some people pop up and I was like, I almost wanted to stop because I was like, this is really frustrating. We filed patents before we began development. So if we did want to use those and some of them are technically like potentially infringing. So it's nice that we have those patents because I think when it comes to the world of podcasting and like everyone being acquired, you want people who are like doing things very by the book and are protected. So I think that was a good move on our part. Um, I think one of the things that we really want to do is, like I said, create a community and some of the ones that are out there, I think of them more like a Tinder or like a one night stand.
Madison (30:48): Like that's what I call them. And I'm like, I don't want to be a one night stand, like I want to be a party or like a networking event where people can really congregate and talk about all these different topics. And I think that like our whole set of features that we have planned for 2021 will hopefully allow us to very much differentiate ourselves from that kind of matchmaking. Like one night stand type service. Um, I personally, you know, a couple things, I don't want to call anyone out by name, but I'll say like, firstly, I don't believe people should be paying to be on a podcast or paying a guest to come on their podcast. I think it should be beneficial for both parties. So that's one way that I would say we differ from some, I would say, you know, I want people to actually look and see and connect and like have a human aspect to the technology rather than like a machine telling you who to record with.
Madison (31:44): Um, so those are a couple of things, but like I said, we're, we're also, we have a lot in mind for, uh, sponsorships and different things like that. So I think once we start to build and introduce, those it'll be a more comprehensive platform than just guests, which is why we, one of the reasons I it's called it Wildcast is it's not like podcast matchmaker because that's not, that's not what we are. Like, we want to be a community and a platform for everyone in the industry eventually. And so our name was more vague.
Nick (32:14): Yeah, no, that, that makes sense. I, for what it's worth the, as I've been messing around in, it I've really liked the way that it's been set up. I actually, there was a couple guests that I was able to book through Wildcast already, and I'm only been using it for a short period of time. So I think it is a really cool platform. I honestly, I believe like a week or two of using Wildcast, I've had more success than of the other services that have tried using.
Madison (32:42): No, that's great to hear. I honestly, like this is something I really struggle with. Like I should check out the competitors more than I do. I should see what they're doing. It like hurts me personally when I see people doing things that I'm trying to do. And so that's something I shy away from it I'm like, I can't really look at that or else I will get discouraged and get off the path of what I'm trying to do because it, you know, it affects me. And so it's nice to have feedback from other people versus me trying to go and discover it myself. Cause it's, it's hard.
Nick (33:15): Yeah. I mean, it can be a slippery slope that, that wasn't going to be one of the questions I was going to ask you, when you did see competitors to what you were trying to develop, start popping up, like you said, you were about ready to hang it up. What made you keep going?
Madison (33:32): Yeah, I think there's probably been like, I shouldn't say this, this is a horrible thing to say, but there's probably been like five or 10 times where I was like, yeah, I am. I'm done. Like I don't, I it's, it's so hard for me to like sit in front of investors and take people's money if I'm like having self doubt, which is something I struggle with. And my co-founder, he, he worked at a tech company that was acquired for a huge number and he had so many competitors and he's like, there's first of all, there's room for everyone like this isn't, we're not a hosting platform where someone has to choose one hosting platform. Like you can be on Bumble and Tinder and all of those different, like it's, it's fine to do that. So I do think that there's room for multiple people out there and he kind of talks me off the ledge. Like every time I'm, I'm having doubts, he's like, well, we're going to do this. Like just like, you know, just keep going and that's without him. I, yeah, I there's a lot of reasons. I probably wouldn't be doing it without him, but that's one of them as he kind of tossed me off that ledge.
Nick (34:36): I, I just think that like what you're saying right there, that is the fact that you kept going is super important because I think a lot of people that is what prevents them from starting a business is like, well, someone's already doing that. And it just kind of ends there and they might not even start the thing because, Oh, well I already saw someone else doing that. And just because like you said, there's room for everybody just because someone's already in that space, doesn't mean you can't get into that space and have a piece of that space, something your competitor doesn't do well, you can step in and be like, Hey, we're going to crush it at that particular thing. So I do think it's awesome that you guys kept pushing through it.
Madison (35:17): There was, there was another thing he said to me before we launched, when I started seeing some competitors and he was like, this is good. They're proving that there's demand. Like if no one was doing this, yep. That's a horrible sign. Like why would we be doing something that no one else is trying to do? And that really reframed it in my mind
Nick (35:38): That that is a great point. That something that I've heard quite often as well, like if there are other people in the space, that means that there's a market for it. People are looking for this thing. So yeah. Seeing people pop up, I mean, it's, it's difficult to look at that and be like, well, that's exactly what I'm trying to do. And now they're stepping into the space, but at the same time, it's like, okay, well, yeah, this, there is a need for this thing. So I, those are very wise words.
Madison (36:04): Yeah. Luckily he's, he's older and wiser. And so he's able to give me that advice.
Nick (36:10): So one thing I did want to ask you about this, you had mentioned how you don't think podcasters and guests, you have to pay to start creating podcasts. So how are you guys actually planning or if you already, how are you guys monetizing this? Or how do you guess making money on your side if you're fine sharing that?
Madison (36:32): Absolutely. I think, um, like more of what I'm saying is I don't think somebody should directly, like a host should pay a guest directly to go beyond their podcasts. But what we ultimately are trying to do with, when we do build out these other features are probably more of a LinkedIn model where it's freemium, you can sign up for free, you can use the basic services. And then there are some other services that we will be charging for once they're an option, but there will always be like a free base level. And then we also, like I said, we're trying to get into sponsorships in a very different way than, uh, other people are doing it right now. And so in that way, you can kind of take a fee off the top of transactions that happen there. But I definitely am opposed to seeing like a guest say, I'll, I'll pay you $500, come on your podcast or something like that.
Nick (37:25): Right. Okay. Yeah. That makes sense. That's really interesting. I have seen some, some services out there that are just absolutely outrageously priced. So I, I don't know. I think that is, that's a really good idea to kind of go the freemium route with that service. I'm trying to think of some of the other ones that I was looking at. I can't think of one off the top of my head, but like the service kind of piqued my interest and then they talk about the price of it. I was like, Holy cow. Like, I couldn't do that if I wanted to.
Madison (37:58): Right. And, and most people who are podcasting, it's like, it's not a lucrative business. Like most, for most people it's a side hustle or it's a hobby. And so I definitely don't think people should have to pay to play in that, in that way. Like, I think that they should have free access to at least some form of the service. Um, and then there's other offerings that make more sense that people do want to outsource or if they do find it beneficial enough to start paying for it that way.
Nick (38:27): Yep. No, I like it. What you, you guys started, you were talking about taking on investors and doing that whole gambit. What, what has that been like for you
Madison (38:38): That's TBD. Because I think that's going to be a big part of 2021 for us. So what we did in late 2020 was a safe round with friends and family, which is just like from the Y Combinator, they put that together and it's essentially like around where you don't have to price your company because it's essentially not, it's not priceable yet. And so we raised some money through friends and family and through friends of friends and it was enough to get us to where we are and we still have a lot in the bank, but with the features that we have in mind, it's going to take more than we have. And so we're going to try to actually get real investment, hopefully in the first half of 2021.
Nick (39:21): That's awesome. Well, congratulations on that and good luck. That's pretty exciting.
Madison (39:28): Yeah. I mean, I hope so. Like I, I'm kind of a deer in headlights when it comes to that. And so that's again where my co-founder comes in. He does have experience, um, raising money, but in kind of a different industry in tech, but not in podcasting, which is very different. And so it's, it's definitely going to be an interesting, uh, upcoming few months.
Nick (39:50): Yeah, for sure. Well, yeah, I'm excited to see where it goes. I think you guys are doing some really awesome stuff with it already. And like you said, there's going to be new features coming out this year. So I'm excited. I'm excited to see where this all kind of leads to.
Madison (40:03): Oh, I appreciate that. And all you'll have to be like my little Guinea pig. I'll just send you like what we're thinking and you can tell me if it's something you think would be useful. I'm going to have to use you for market research.
Nick (40:12): I am all for it. Shoot me a message. I am here.
Madison (40:17): Okay, perfect.
Nick (40:18): Now I have two more questions. I want to ask you before we kind of wrap up here. What do you think the benefits are of podcasting for any other business? I mean, obviously podcasters, there's a need for getting guests on the show, if that's how they choose to run their show. But for anybody else, who's not in the quote unquote podcasting space. Why should they think about getting into podcasting?
Madison (40:46): I think going on podcasts, it's like, because I don't believe you should pay to do that if it's, if it's free and it's, first of all, I think there's so many benefits. Like you're working on your skills of promoting yourself and your brand and your company, which I think is always useful. Like I remember when I used to apply to jobs, I would go to interviews for jobs that I didn't want. I would do like 10 of those before I went to an interview that I did want. So I think it's always useful to be talking and positioning yourself just for your career in general. And I think it's a way to reach people who you otherwise either couldn't reach or just couldn't reach in the same way. Cause I think everyone's kind of discovered with podcasting is hearing people have a conversation authentically is just so different than what you're getting Instagram or TikTok or any form of social media that we have. It really is unique. And Clubhouse is kind of playing into that a little bit because it is just, Oh no,
Nick (41:47): I, I honestly Clubhouse has consumed much of my time.
Madison (41:53): Oh really? I'm like a little scared of it. Like I, I signed up, but I don't really know what to do now. I need to get more involved and I really need to figure it out. But I do think it's like playing into that same thing that podcasting is, it's just authentic conversation and that's what people want. And especially now it's like, if you can't go to dinner with your friends, like, I feel like I'm with my friends all day when I listened to podcasts and I feel like I know these people so well and they don't know who I am, which is very sad when you, when you come to that realization. But it is just like such an interesting, meaningful form of media to me. And like, you can listen to podcasts like this and actually learn, or you could be like entertained or scared or like whatever you want to feel. You can, there's a podcast for that.
Nick (42:43): Yeah. I, since starting this, this podcast, I only started this back in July of 2020, so it's fairly new, but it's opened my eyes up to the whole world of podcasting. What is actually possible with podcasting. And that, that goes for podcasters and just business owners in general. I am a huge proponent for it now because I've realized what kind of, I mean the relationship building with the guests and the hosts and connecting with more people and then just being able to get your platform out on other people's audiences. I've just, I've become a huge, I already liked listening to podcasts, but I've become a huge podcast nerd since starting the podcast.
Madison (43:25): I think that that's something I'm going to have to do eventually is start a podcast. Like whether that's for me or for Wildcast. I just, I know as a producer how much work it is, like there's so much. And when you listen, it's a lot of that. You don't know the behind the scenes or like how the sausage gets made or whatever you want to say. Like, I don't know, knowing what I know. I don't feel like I'm fully ready to do it, trying to do other things, but it is maybe, maybe end of this year, we'll see.
Nick (43:58): Well, I'll be on the lookout for it then.
Madison (44:00): You'll be a guest.
Nick (44:03): Oh, I love that deal. Okay. Last question for you here. What would be any kind of final tips or advice that you would give somebody that's thinking about starting their own business, but they're not quite to that point of like getting there.
Madison (44:21): Yeah. Well, first of all, they're welcome to talk to me. Like 1-on-1. I'm always happy to listen to people. And I love doing that. I would say kind of what we talked about is you have to, if you want to do it, you can't just talk about wanting to do it. You have to actually do it. It's like working out. It's like you can think about working out all day, but then like if you're not actually going to the gym, like you did, you didn't do it. So I'd say that's one thing. And I would say if you're not sure about it doing those tests that we talked about, like whether it's spending $50 on a Facebook ad or just talking to friends and family and then friends of friends and people who are actually going to give you honest feedback, I think it's so important before you actually invest and do anything like that.
Madison (45:06): But I would also say if you have room to fail, like just, there's nothing wrong with failing. I don't think it's failing. I think it's a huge success to like even try to do something, whatever the outcome is. So that was something that definitely held me back. I was like, if I'm going to share with people that I know personally that I'm trying to do this, like it's almost embarrassing. It's like, well, what if I have to tell them that it didn't work out? And then I was like, no, like they don't care. Like they probably were like, Oh, cool, like good for you. Like, no one's thinking about you, how you're thinking about yourself or if they are they're a dick. So I would say just ultimately go for it.
Nick (45:48): Perfect. I love it. Now. I want to end it on that. But before we go, I want to give you a chance where can people get in touch with you? Find your service, what social media website links, where you want people to go to get in touch with you or go check out Wildcast.
Madison (46:07): Yeah. So for wild cast is just gowildcast.com or on Instagram, Twitter, uh, @gowildcast. And then if people want to email me directly, that's always welcome. And my email is just Madison@gowildcast.com.
Nick (46:22): Perfect. And for all the listeners, I will put all the show notes, the links to get in touch with Madison and to go check out, Go Wildcast in the show notes to this episode. So make sure you go check out the show notes and go see what Madison is got going on with Wildcast. Now, Madison, I want to thank you for coming on the show and sharing your story. I had a really good time learning about it, and I do think it's going to help a lot of people that are on the fence and pushing this, try to start their own business.
Madison (46:54): Yeah, I loved doing this and you know, I don't do podcasts interviews often because I'm more of an introvert and it's so funny like that. I, I tell everyone else to do podcasts and to go do it, but actually this was a great time. So thank you so much for having me on.
Nick (47:08): Awesome. Thank you. Okay. Thanks for listening. That was the interview with Madison Catania. If you can take anything away from this episode, I want it to be these two things. One podcasting is an excellent way to grow your business and brand. And that is clearly evident. After listening to the past few episodes of this podcast, more platforms are popping up like Wildcast as a way to bridge the gap between podcasts and guests and podcasting is really becoming extremely popular right now. So if you've ever thought about going on a podcast or creating your own podcast now is the time to do it. And number two, as you start thinking about your business and what you want to build, don't let competition discourage you from taking action. Like we mentioned in the episode, competition means validation. There's a market for what you're trying to put out into the world, just because others are currently in that space.
Nick (47:54): It doesn't mean that there's zero room for you to be in it and do what you want to do. So just don't let that factor of competition prevent you from starting. If you've listened to the Nine-Five Podcast in the past, you've heard my guests and I speak a lot about just getting your ideas out there. Until you start to just an idea. But once you get going, the market is going to guide you where you need to go. So the best thing you can do right now is just start now. If you want to check out the show notes, transcripts, or any of the links discussed in this episode and make sure you go to the show notes for this episode specifically in that will be found ninefivepodcast.com/episode32. Just remember Nine Five is all spelled out. That's N I N E F I V E podcast.com forward slash episode 3 2. So that is it for this week. Next week, we'll be chatting with Bruce Bright Jr. Who is currently a college athlete has managed to earn $10,000 per month with his own business. While he continues to go to school and play collegiate basketball until then stay safe, have a great rest of your week. And I will catch up with you guys in next week's episode.
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Links & Resources
Note: Some of the links listed below may be affiliate links. This means I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you choose to purchase through them.
Connect with Madison
- Sign up for a free account on Wildcast
- Connect with Madison on Instagram
- Connect with Madison on Twitter
- Email Madison directly: Madison@GoWildcast.com
Additional Resources and Links Mentioned
- Episode 31 with Trevor Oldham (I said 29 in the episode lol)
- Start your own podcast with the Free Podcasting Quick-Start Guide
If you haven’t done this already, you can leave a review of the Nine-Five Podcast over on iTunes
Want to Start Growing your Audience with a Podcast?
We are faced with many challenges when trying to start a business. In this episode, Madison talks a lot about the challenges she had to overcome to launch her new business, Wildcast.
So how do you overcome these challenges and keep pushing forward when all else seems to be lost?
That’s what I’m here to talk about!
Find Partners Who Compliment Your Skillset
It’s often thought that you need to find people who think like you in order to run a successful business together.
The truth is, you actually want people who can bring something to the table that you might not be able to handle yourself.
This is exactly what Madison Catania was able to do when launching Wildcast.
Madison came from a podcasting background and had the knowledge and expertise of the industry, but she wouldn’t have been able to build the platform without the help of her Co-Founder (and Godfather).
Madison’s Co-Founder was able to bring many skillsets that she herself did not possess, which helped lead to the realization of Wildcast.
The best business partner you can have is one that has a different mindset and different skillset to your own.
By leaning on these complimentary skillsets, you have the ability to accomplish much more than you would be able to do on your own.
Validate Your Idea Before Investing Money and Time
This is a big thing I’m hearing more often recently.
Why would you put a bunch of time into project without first knowing it is something your audience wants?
By validating your idea ahead of time, you can ensure that there is a need for your product.
This is exactly what Madison did when setting out to create Wildcast.
Before even having a physical product, website, or anything tangible to show, Madison was reaching out to her potential audinece assessing whether or not there was a need for her service.
After receiving a positive response from this audience, she began working with her Co-Founder to develop a tangible product.
Consider Pre-Selling Your Product
If you have a product that you are trying to sell, you can even pre-sell your product before starting to create it.
When people are willing to pay for a product that doesn’t exist yet, you know there is a need and you have clearly validated the idea.
This little extra cash up front can even help with the creation of the product you are trying to produce.
Don’t Let Early Competition Get in Your Way
If you listend to the episode, you heard how Madison was on the verge of giving up on the idea before it was even finished. That is because she saw competitors popping up in the space.
Although it can be discouraging to see this happen to you, it’s actually a good thing.
Competition is another form of validation. Again, the market is showing you that there is a need for your product or service.
Before getting discourage by the competition, see it as a form of validation and continue pushing forward.
Don’t let a few competitors stand in your way of getting your offer out into the world.
Market Your Business on Other Podcasts
You don’t need to be a podcaster in order to get featured on podcasts.
Podcasting is quickly becoming one of the best ways to market your business or offering.
By appearing on podcasts in your niche, you are actually getting amazing exposure to your ideal customer. No where else on the internet will you find a more engaged audience then with a podcast listener.
People who listen to podcasts are typically engaged much longer than anywhere else. Sometimes for 30-60 minutes at a time!
Think About Starting Your Own Podcast
Give guest podcasting a try. See how you like it.
It may even be a good introduction to starting your own podcast.
With podcasting, you’re able to grow an audience (even from scratch!) which can be another fantastic marketing tool for your business.
I’m trying to help more people get their own podcasts started, so if podcasting is something you’ve ever been interested in, I have a Free Podcasting Quick-Start Guide that will walk you through the first steps of getting your own podcasting up and running.
I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Nine-Five Podcast. Thank you so much for listening!
What is your biggest podcasting challenge right now?
Leave a comment below and let me know how!
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