Our Favorite Podcasts: What We’re Listening To On Those Long Holiday Car Rides

Our Favorite Podcasts: What We’re Listening To On Those Long Holiday Car Rides

Heading out of town for the holidays? Don’t spend the drive bored out of your gourd. Check out some of our favorite podcasts — they’re sure to keep you entertained and make the time pass. Scenic-Winter-Drive

Blue Collar Proud Show— Obviously we’re a little biased about this one, but if you’re looking for great insight, advice, and stories tailored to you as a service business owner, we think you’ll like the BCP Show.

This American Life — This podcast is hosted by Ira Glass and is a great podcast for getting unbiased stories, expanding your horizons, adding to your knowledge, and seeing real journalism at work.

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History — For history with a twist, this is the podcast. Dan Carlin explores historical moments, asking questions and making interpretations that you won’t find in a history book.

The Splendid Table — We’re all food lovers here at Spark Marketer, which is why we love this podcast. Host Francis Lam and his guests explore all-things-culinary and passionately discuss the culture and power of food.

Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People —  In this podcast, comedian Chris Gethard gives callers one hour to share whatever they want. The only rule: he can’t hang up first.

The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe — In this podcast, our guy crush, Mike Rowe explores tales with a twist and provides an unfamiliar look at things and people you thought you knew.

Revisionist History — Take a second look at things past with Malcolm Gladwell, author of several books, including Blink, The Tipping Point, What The Dog Saw, and David & Goliath, to name a few.

RV Family Travel Atlas — If you like to get the family together and see the world from your RV or car, this podcast is a must listen. You’ll hear reviews of campgrounds, gear reviews, kid-friendly travel tricks, tips on what to do when your trip doesn’t go as planned, and more.

You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes — In this podcast, comedian Pete Holmes hangs out with comedians and musicians and gets them to share their secret weirdness. It’s kind of like getting your favorite comedians drunk, setting up a tape recorder, and putting them in a room with their best friend.

Us & Them — You know all those topics that are taboo because they’re so divisive? This podcast touches on them all.

The Unpodcast — Husband and wife, Scott and Alison Stratten share stories and discuss all the things wrong in the worlds of customer service and marketing. And since poor service is the norm, there’s always something to talk aboot (they’re Canadian and they’re lovely).

The Joe Rogan Experience — In this podcast, comedian Joe Rogan talks with musicians, comedians, actors, film producers — you name it.

The Dinner Party Download — No one wants to be the bore or the uncultured one at a dinner party, and this podcast is designed to help you avoid being that guy. Each episode is themed and includes a joke, a strange snapshot from history, a cocktail recipe, an artist, an etiquette rule of thumb, a trending food, and a song. If you’re a theme-loving host/hostess or you dream of being one, this is a great podcast for you.

Read To Lead Podcast — There are a lot of leadership and business books out there and you could never read them all. Get the Cliff’s Notes in this podcast, where you’ll hear some of today’s greatest non-fiction writers discuss leadership, business, personal development, marketing, and more.

The Pen Addict — If you’re a stationery and pen nerd like the Jessica’s, this podcast is for you. That’s literally all they talk about and it’s WONDERFUL.

The Minimalists Podcast— Looking to declutter and cut out things in your life that you just don’t need? Check out this podcast — it’s all about living better with less.

WTF with Marc Maron — In this podcast, comedian Marc Maron and his guests get philosophical, without losing their humor.

Lead With A Story Podcast — In this podcast, you’ll hear some of the most successful executives and leaders out there share their insight on creativity, sales, customer service, leadership, and more.

Off Camera with Sam Jones — This podcast was created to offer an intimate and inside look at what makes some of the greatest artists so great. This isn’t your TMZ snapshot of a celebrity, it’s real conversation with the real humans we often forget they are.

Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield — Online marketing strategist, Amy Porterfield, and her guests offer insight into what makes an online business thrive and provide tips and strategies to help you build an audience and sell more of your product or service.

Stuff You Should Know — For the curious minded, this podcast is a must. Whether you’re wondering if a head transplant is really a thing or you want to understand the science behind empathy, it’s all here.

Serial — Sarah Koenig goes in depth and follows a single story from start to finish over a series of episodes. Season one is a favorite here in the office.

The Brainfluence Podcast with Roger Dooley — If you’re looking for science based life and growth hacking tips and insight into neuromarketing, persuasion, and consumer behavior, this podcast is for you.

S-Town — From Serial and This American Life comes a podcast about a murder in an Alabama town. Follow host Brian Reed as he investigates…

Building A StoryBrand with Donald Miller — Since Donald Miller is a local, some of us have had the privilege of attending a StoryBrand workshop. But thanks to this podcast, now you can get tips on clarifying your brand message and growing your company without heading to TN (although the workshop is definitely worth it).

Lore — Where do our superstitions come from? This bi-weekly podcast aims to find out.

The Command Zone — Unless you’re a mega-nerd like Chris, you won’t get the podcast or even the description of the podcast. I think it has something to do with the game Magic, the Gathering?

My Favorite Murder — Avid true crime story fans Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark talk about murder, crime stories, and death. Just a little light listening…

The EntreLeadership Podcast — Listen in as great minds discuss everything leadership and business related, from hiring practices to procrastination.

Hollywood Babble-On — Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman catch up on Hollywood and celebrity news, do some great impressions, talk movies, and babble on about a variety of things.

How To Do Everything — Wondering how to do something? Whether it’s dating, leaving a good voicemail, finding water in the desert, or quietly opening a Velcro bag, this podcast will help. What will callers ask next?

Hello From The Magic Tavern — This fantastical and strange podcast features interviews with wizards, monsters, and more.

Freakonomics Radio — Think like a freak and learn about human nature in this podcast, brought to you by Stephen J. Dubner, the co-author of “Freakonomics.”

Smart Wrestling Fan  — This podcast will make sure you don’t miss a thing in the wrestling world, whether your thing is WWE, NJPW, or Lucha Underground.

Manager Tools — For insight on becoming a better, more effective manager and tips you can implement right away, check out this podcast.

Better Friendship Through Podcasting — Listen to friendship developing and deepening in this podcast with real life friends Adam Ellis and Kristin Rossi. It’s all about two friends getting drunk, asking each other questions, and catching up.

Edumacation — Kevin Smith & Andy McElfresh set out to learn something, sometimes stopping to meow both popular and obscure songs.

Wow. We’re weird. What are some of your favorite podcasts?

5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Starting A Service Business

5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Starting A Service Business

Starting your own service business can allow you a great life. But it’s not always easy and it isn’t right for everyone. Here are five questions to ask yourself if you’re considering starting a service business:Woman-Thinking-With-Question-Marks-Above-Her-Head

1. Do I have a heart for service?

We’re lucky to partner with some pretty great businesses that really love serving those in their communities. But over the years, we’ve also met some business owners who really shouldn’t be in the service business. Why? They don’t like serving! They don’t have a heart for service and instead think of their customers as pains in the ass or burdens. It may seem like an obvious question if you’re considering going into the service industry, but make sure you really dig deep and find out if you have a heart for service — and be honest with yourself! If you don’t have a heart for service, save you, your employees, and your customers the heartache and go into another field.

2. Is there a need for this particular service in my community?

One mistake that business owners make is that they launch businesses or products people don’t want or need. So before you put the energy, effort, money, and time into starting a service business, do some basic research and find out if there’s really a need or demand for your service in your community. Start by looking at what your community already has, reading up on forums, and asking friends and people you meet. If it’s obvious that what you have to offer is missing, move forward with your plans. If it’s not, give it some thought.

3. What will define and separate my business from others in my community?

No matter what service industry you go into, you’re (probably) going to have competitors — how will you stand out? It’s easier to define your company with a culture, vision, and purpose at the start than it is to try to establish these things later on or repair a bad reputation. So take some time to consider what type of company you want to build and how you’ll stand out from your sea of competitors. Think about companies you admire and that make you, as their customer, feel good. Decipher what they do differently. Check out your competitors reviews and see what their customers like and don’t like about their service. From there, make a list and determine just what kind of company you’ll build.

4. How big do I want to scale?

We all have to start somewhere, but think about where you’d like to be five and 10 years from now as well. Do you want to remain small, a one man or woman company? Or do you want to scale bigly and employ dozens of people in your community? There’s no right or wrong answer, but knowing how big or small you want your company to be will help you make better decisions going in and over the years.

5. What kind of lifestyle do I want my business to afford me?

We have a saying here that goes something like this, “It takes just as much blood, sweat, and tears to build a business you hate as it does to build one you love — so why not build one you love?” No two businesses are the same and no two business owners want the exact same things from their business. Some business owners want to be out in the field, while others want their business to eventually function largely without them. Knowing exactly what you want from your business going in will help you put the systems and steps in place to get you where you want to be so you can have the lifestyle you want to have.

So get to work reflecting. Putting the effort and time into thoroughly and honestly answering these questions up front will serve you well on your business journey!

If you’re considering starting a service business and would like to talk with a business coach before getting started, let us know. We can recommend some great coaches with some great insight — just ask!

Do You Wake Up Excited About Your Business?

Do You Wake Up Excited About Your Business?

If you read a lot of articles on entrepreneurship and leadership, you likely see this question all the time. The question that’s designed to make YOU question whether or not:

  • You have what it takes
  • You’re in the right business
  • You’re worthy of chasing down this dream of yours
  • Your dream is even worth chasing down.

Here’s the question: Do you wake up excited about your business? 

If this question triggers your inner critic and self-doubt, you’re not alone. But I’d like to challenge all the “experts” who sit behind their laptops all day (when they’re not working on a new Medium post, biking local trails, or drinking craft beer); those who encourage the rest of us to mistakenly believe that if we aren’t 100% excited, 100% of the time, we’re doing the wrong thing or we’re the wrong ones to do it.

Full disclosure: I’m not a traditional optimist.

The Reality Is…You’re Normal

Any realistic, transparent business owner will tell you that some days are the bees knees and they couldn’t imagine doing anything else. But they’ll also tell you that some days feel like nightmares that end with them lying in bed at night, eyes wide open, stomach in knots, with thoughts of calling it quits.

That’s normal. No matter what you’re doing – whether you’re living your dream and doing exactly what you were made to do or not – you’re going to have good days and bad days. When a day, week, or month kicks your a**, it’s normal to wake up feeling less than thrilled about getting to work. This doesn’t mean you lack passion, talent, or grit (the hottest word in business) – It just means you’re human and you’re in a rough patch.

Ask a Better Question

When you find yourself in the middle of a rough patch and read an article that asks “Do you wake up excited about your business?” it can be anything but inspiring and motivating.

What we really need in these tough times is a different question.

Carter (one of our co-founders) is famous for saying it’s all about the questions we’re asking. Our questions frame our answers. When you’re feeling discouraged, don’t ask yourself the question, “Do I wake up excited about my business?” You already know the answer is, “Not today.” And that’s ok.

Instead, ask yourself, “What can I learn from where I sit right now? What is this part of my journey showing me?” Push it further. Ask yourself, “What needs to change and how can I change it?” And if you don’t know the answer to this, ask yourself, “Why aren’t I excited about my business when I wake up?”

When we ask different questions, we get different answers. And the biggest difference between the question we see plastered across entrepreneurship blogs and the questions above is that the latter encourage learning, growth, and change, while the former encourage stagnation, discouragement, and complacency – the killers of many businesses and business dreams.

So next time you feel like you’re ready to call it quits, don’t buy into the delusion that you’re somehow cut from a different cloth and not qualified or justified in your pursuit – instead, ask better questions and see what you can learn from the bad days and how you can turn it around.