In today’s episode of the startup chat, Steli and Hiten talk about 4 lessons for podcasters after 400+ podcasting episodes.

Today’s episode is a special one. After over 400 episodes of hosting the Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten share the biggest lessons they’ve learned from the experience.

In this episode, Steli and Hiten talk about why it’s important to do your research on guests on your show, the importance of making your podcast conversational, why consistency is king when it comes to podcasting and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:50 Why this topic was chosen.

02:14 The first tip for podcasters.

02:41 Why it’s important to do your research on guests on your show.

03:07 The second tip for podcasters.

03:30 The importance of making your podcast conversational.

04:28 The third tip for podcasters.

05:06 Why consistency is king.

05:35 The fourth tip for podcasters.

06:00 The importance of finding your value proposition.

06:31 The final tip for podcasters.

3 Key Points:

  • Do your research.
  • Don’t just make it an interview.
  • Consistency is king.


Steli Efti: Hey everybody. This is Steli Efti.


Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.


Steli Efti: Hiten is like, “What are we gonna talk today? I don’t know.” I told him that this is gonna be a fun one, so, he was like,-


Hiten Shah: No, no, no, no, no, no. Wait.


Steli Efti: What?


Hiten Shah: You said I’m gonna love it. No, no. Don’t get it twisted.


Steli Efti: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Fair. That’s fair.


Hiten Shah: And so now, I’m completely scared.


Steli Efti: Alright. So, here’s the setup.


Hiten Shah: Thanks for scaring me, bro.


Steli Efti: Alright. It doesn’t happen that often, so I enjoy when I’m able to do that.


Hiten Shah: I’m like, “What? What?” I’m like, “What?”


Steli Efti: You’re like, “Wait a second.” Your “Hey, this is Heten,” was really slow, because you’re, What is he talking about? What is this gonna be?


Hiten Shah: If anyone tells me I’m gonna love something, it doesn’t matter who it is, right away I’m, “Alright. Let’s-“


Steli Efti: I hate this. Let’s see. Let’s see.


Hiten Shah: Oh, no, no. I don’t know. Not “I’m gonna hate it,” but-


Steli Efti: Okay, okay.


Hiten Shah: …I trust you.


Steli Efti: Alright.


Hiten Shah: Let’s go. What you got?


Steli Efti: Let’s go. So, here is what we wanna talk about today, or what I want to talk about today. I want to do a four-minute episode, so were gonna-


Hiten Shah: Wow!


Steli Efti: …After this intro. We’ve done 400 episodes of the Startup Chat. Big milestone.


Hiten Shah: Yeah.


Steli Efti: Over 400 now, and what I’d love to do is, turn it around a little bit. There’s an episode … We’ll link to it. I’ll need to search for it. Where we talked about everything we’ve learned. Having a podcast and doing a podcast.


Hiten Shah: Yeah.


Steli Efti: So, what I’d like to do, is a quick, four tips to people who are doing a podcast or starting a podcast, based on everything we’ve learned, or based on all the interviews we’ve done. You have done thousands of podcasts.


Hiten Shah: Same with you.


Steli Efti: Other people’s podcasts.


Hiten Shah: Yeah.


Steli Efti: Same with me. So let’s talk to people-


Hiten Shah: Heck yeah. Let’s do it. Love it, love it, love it.


Steli Efti: …that have a podcast. Four tips in four minutes. I’m gonna stopwatch this.


Hiten Shah: So, we get a minute each and we get two each? Is that what’s up?


Steli Efti: Yeah. Let’s do that.


Hiten Shah: I don’t know. I’m just making it up.


Steli Efti: I thought, four tips one minute each, and we’ll go one minute me, one minute you, one minute me, one minute you.


Hiten Shah: Alright. Cool. And of course you first. Go first.


Steli Efti: I’m gonna be doing the stop watching.


Hiten Shah: You’re timing. Great.


Steli Efti: Alright.


Hiten Shah: Thank you.


Steli Efti: So, I’ll go first. First tip that I’ll give to people that have a podcast that interview people is, do your research. Right? And either interview people that you’ve been calling for a while, or that you know intimately. Maybe it’s just your friends, or people you work with, or people that you’ve been following for a long time, so that when you talk to them, you can make your interview stand out. You can ask questions they have not been asked, or ask the questions that they have been asked before in a different way, and have a conversation that makes the person that you’re interviewing really enjoy it. Because if they enjoy it, and if they feel like your questions and your interaction with them is really engaging, they’re gonna give you really amazing content. Versus asking them generic questions, because you know nothing about them, nothing about their business, and never listened to them, and never heard anything about them. I have ten more seconds. And I’ll tell you, I interviewed Gary Vee a long time ago, and he told me at the end of the interview, “This was one of the best interviews I’ve ever done.” Because I asked him a bunch of shit nobody had ever asked him. Alright. That’s it. That’s my first tip. You go next.


Hiten Shah: My tip for being a podcaster and podcasting, meaning being the interviewer, is, don’t just make it an interview. You have to have a conversation. You have something to say, you have a response to what they’re saying, don’t just ask them questions. I don’t care who you’re interviewing, how popular they are, how smart they are, how much you want to learn from them, or even how much you know about them. In fact, the more you know about them, the more conversational you can make it. And so, to Steli’s point, research is important, but I hate it. And hate is a word … And I don’t hate a lot of things. Okay, fine. I dislike it. I dislike it, when all I’m asked is a bunch of questions, and I have no opportunity to go back and forth. I recently got on a podcast. All I got was questions, and we could have had an amazing podcast, because I’ve know this person for over ten years. We have a whole bunch of history, and all he did was ask me questions. And I love this person. I think he’s great, and we could have done a ten-times better job. And it was on him to ask me questions or not, and I had no opportunity to flip it. So, then I got on another podcast. I was getting asked questions. I got two questions deep … This person is amazing. Very successful. And so then, I flipped on them and said, “What about you? Here’s what I think. What about you?” And I think he caught on, and the whole conversation and the whole podcast was so much more interesting. So, I think when you start a podcast, you don’t understand this.


Steli Efti: I love it. Alright. My next tip is – consistency is king. Right? And this goes very much to us surpassing 400 episodes. We’ve been doing this very consistently, right?


Hiten Shah: Yeah.


Steli Efti: Almost every week. Once in a while we’ll travel and we can’t.


Hiten Shah: Yeah.


Steli Efti: But have been incredibly consistent-


Hiten Shah: True.


Steli Efti: …considering how busy our lives are with families, with kids, with businesses, with ventures, with responsibilities-


Hiten Shah: We’ve been around drama whatever. Yeah.


Steli Efti: …all kinds of things. Life has happened to us many, many times, and will continue to happen to us many, many times, but we are both committed to this.


Hiten Shah: Yeah.


Steli Efti: And when you start a podcast, when you’re at the beginning, understand that this is going to take you a long time to get into a groove, to really understand what you are doing, how you’re doing, how to make this better. This is not a short-term game. A podcast is not like a short-term growth act that will get you millions of followers or audience over night. That’s very rarely what happens. Even some of the biggest podcasts in the world, sometimes it took them two, three years building a little audience, building a little audience, and then there was an inflection point where they exploded. So, you need to be consistent about your publishing schedule, you need to be consistent and committed, when you start this, to do this for the long haul and not just for a few weeks.


Hiten Shah: Alright. Last tip. Find your value proposition. This is a thing I don’t see enough people do. And what I mean by that is, “What’s your thing?” And you might not figure it out in the beginning, but what is your thing? Our thing is simple. Two founders talking. I was gonna say, “Two friends,” but I’m not your friend, right? Kidding. Kidding.


Steli Efti: No, no.


Hiten Shah: Yeah, yeah. It’s too bad, but you-


Steli Efti: You’re my brother from another mother.


Hiten Shah: Yeah. There you go. But when you think about it, it’s called the “Startup Chat.” It has a name, it has a brand, and there’s two founders talking. That’s how I’d want people to describe it, right? You can say, “Two crazy founders,” you can say, “Two remote founders.” Whatever it is. Two founders talking, and that’s our thing. And in fact, that’s been our thing since the first day we started it, right? We got lucky. We figured that out, and obviously we’ve changed it up a little bit, and this and that, in terms of our time, amount of length, and things like that. End of the day, find your thing. And if you’re interviewing people, it’s even more important to find your thing, because otherwise no-one will listen to you. You have to find, what is your value? What does that consistency? What is that thing people come to you for? Not because you interviewed blah, blah, blah, right? Not because you interviewed this famous person or whatever. It’s because you have a thing. And it is about you. It’s about the interviewer, not just about the interviewee.


Steli Efti: I love it. Alright. Last tip from me, and then we’ll wrap this up. Get started. Listen to our first episode. It’s the episode that was recorded an hour before we had the idea to do a podcast. It was an episode recorded on a laptop with no mic, no nothing, no equipment,-


Hiten Shah: On a balcony.


Steli Efti: …on a balcony. Right? So, I see this all the time. Friends of mine tell me, “I want to start a podcast, what’s the equipment you use? What is the setup? What kind of studio do I need?” All this is bullshit. Don’t procrastinate. Get started. You have a laptop, you have a webcam, you have a-


Hiten Shah: Headphones, yes.


Steli Efti: …headphone and a mic. Boom! Go! Get started! You can get better in quality. And this is something we have not really invested a lot in, even after 100 episodes.


Hiten Shah: Yeah, yeah. No. Sorry.


Steli Efti: But, just get started. You don’t need equipment to do this well. All you need is good content, right? And you need to start putting yourself out there, getting feedback, learning about yourself, your point of view, the guest and all that. And once you get into a groove, you can still invest in all this stuff. That’s it. That’s it from us for this episode. Four-ish minutes for four tips after 400 episodes. We’ll hear you very soon.


Hiten Shah: See ya.