January 18, 2023
Lindsay McMahon - Staying One Step Ahead in a Crowded Market

Lindsay McMahon is the CEO of All Ears English and co-host of the All Ears English podcast serving professionals around the world where speaking English is key for their career success. The popularity of podcasting has explod...

Apple Podcasts podcast player icon
Spotify podcast player icon
Google Podcasts podcast player icon
Castro podcast player icon
RSS Feed podcast player icon

Lindsay McMahon is the CEO of All Ears English and co-host of the All Ears English podcast serving professionals around the world where speaking English is key for their career success.

The popularity of podcasting has exploded over the last several years, but back in 2013, ESL teacher Lindsay McMahon, recognized podcasting as an opportunity to teach English as a second language to adults in a new way. After approaching a fellow teacher and friend to start a podcast together, the All Ears English podcast was born and receives 8 million downloads per month.

In this episode, Lindsay discusses using podcasting to help her clients improve their English language skills and scaling a business that is both an education and a media company.  She also covers the key elements that have helped her ensure the continued growth of her business as well as the one thing that has supported her personal growth as an entrepreneur.

Lindsay takes us behind the scenes on moving to a blended revenue model to scale her business, using innovation and experimentation to come up with new offers,  and how she is using quizzes and other types of lead magnets to attract new customers to help her stay one step ahead of a crowded market.

Lindsay describes the challenges of working with international customers in a global economy, how she solicits continuous feedback from her customers, and transitioning from a partnership to being the sole owner of her company. 

Our conversation concludes with Lindsay’s advice for other entrepreneurs when it comes to hiring a team, choosing a niche, and the importance of knowing your financial numbers. In the future, Lindsay is looking forward to launching additional podcasts, building white labeling partnerships, and helping more business owners start podcasts. 

Lindsay’s innovative approach to her business and her experience as a podcaster is sure to fill you with lots of inspiration and ideas to apply to your own business.

Skip to Topic:
3:29 - Scaling a business that is both a media and education company

4:25 - Transitioning to a blended revenue model to grow the business

6:27 - 2 things Lindsay prioritizes to ensure company growth continues

8:46 - The one thing that has been instrumental in Lindsay’s growth as an entrepreneur

12:06 - Using quizzes and other types of offers to attract customers

14:22 - Innovating and experimenting with different offers and how to decide which ones to pursue

16:05 - The impact of mainstream podcasting on her business

17:51 - The unique podcast format Lindsay uses to teach her audience

20:31- Choosing a niche

21:30 - Transitioning from a partnership to sole ownership of the business

23:50 - 3 key insights about hiring, niching and finances for your business

25:49 -Challenges of serving international clients in a global economy

26:59 - Key elements for consistent business growth

28:11 - Creating a customer feedback loop for improvement and growth

Find Lindsay  at:

The All Ears English Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/all-ears-english-podcast/id751574016
Website: https://www.allearsenglish.com
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/all_ears_english/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/allearsenglish
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AllEarsEnglish/

Visit Stephanie at:https://stephaniehayes.biz/

Follow me onInstagram|Facebook|LinkedIn

Support the show

Did you love the content in this episode and would like to continue the conversation?

I'd love to get to know you better!

Book a free call with Stephanie to chat about your strategy and what's next for you in your business.

Learn more about Stephanie here.


Welcome to the Real People, Real Business Show. My name is Stephanie Hayes and I'm a business strategist who loves to speak with like-minded entrepreneurs to share their real stories and the gritty details on building their businesses. On this show, you won't hear the glamorized entrepreneurship journeys that you see online. You won't be told how to make six figures in six weeks. Instead, you can expect to hear real, vulnerable and inspiring stories that you can relate to that have helped create the foundation for each of our. Businesses. Goodbye, boss Babes. Hello, real life entrepreneurs. Today, I'm so excited to welcome Lin Lindsay McMahon. Lindsay is the co-host of All Ears English. The All Ears English podcast is downloaded 8 million times per month globally and has been ranked in best of Apple Podcast categories in 2018 and 2019, as well as number one in US education language courses. Lindsay and her team have been featured in Podcast Magazine, language Magazine, and Forbes. I'm so excited to talk to Lindsay about building a podcast based business. So welcome to the show, Lindsay, and thanks so much for taking the time to share your story today. Hi Stephanie. Thanks for having me on your show. I'm excited to be here. Yes, and I, you know, I love podcasting. I, it's just, it's my favorite thing to do and, you know, if that's all I could do, that is what I would do . So that's what you're doing, so I, I love it too. Tell me the story. Tell me how you got here. Oh my gosh. Yeah, I love it too. You know what? It is such a cool method to connect with your audience, your potential customers, to build not just a customer base, but a fan base, a loyal audience that actually believes what you believe and is inspired by you every day. It's so much more than just building a, a group of people that could eventually convert into your product. How did I get here? It's a broad question, but I started in 2013 before podcasting was cool. Uh, no one really knew what a podcast was In 2013, I was a listener of kind of personal development shows. I was, I was excited about personal growth and things like that. I was already a teacher of English as a second language. . And so I approached a friend of mine who is also a teacher in Boston, and I said, Hey, would you like to start a podcast? And that's where it started. I mean, it really wasn't super technical. It's still not super technical. Um, and we just got started, right? There wasn't a lot of buildup to it. There was just plug in the microphone, create some episodes and see how it resonates. Awesome. And so, and so you saw the, you saw the opportunity. And you jumped on it and now you are where you are. Tell me about how you have, um, like what has growth meant to you and, and how has growth happened for you? Yeah, I mean, I would guess in 2013, I would say, I don't know that I saw the opportunity in terms of where podcasting would go. Didn't know that it would become more mainstream and so much ad money would come into the space. I didn't really know that, but I did know that there was an opportunity to teach English as a second language to adults in a new way through this medium of on their phones. Right. While they're on the train through short 15 minute entertainment style lessons. Right. That was different and I could see that right. So that was the opportunity that I saw. And then can you ask me your second que the question of what you Well, so, so what? I mean from 2013 until now. Yeah. What has growth looked like? Obviously you've experienced some tremendous growth and, and what do you attribute that to? It's been gradual, you know, and it still is, right? We're always, in terms of the business growth, we are always looking for scale. Uh, when you run an education company, inherently, uh, learners of any topic need feedback. They need one-on-one support in some cases, or group support. They need contact with their teachers. And so as a, but as a media company, we as a company looking to grow, we need scale. So it's always kind of a bit of a. tension between those two goals, right? What's right for our students, what's right for our audience, versus where can we actually really find ourselves surging forward? As an entrepreneur, I need to see growth every year, not just in our revenue, but also in our profit margins. right. Um, at the same time, we need our students to be happy. So we're always kind of negotiating that, how to offer a blend of one-on-one feedback, group lessons, and also how to work with, uh, ads and brands to monetize our content a bit more. So is that the revenue model? It's, so historically up until now it has been mostly online courses, apps, um, education products. Now, in 2022 and 2021, we've started blending the education model with the media model. So as of 2022, we started working with advertisers on our podcast, because we do have a really large podcast, we have a huge reach. The number of people that listen to us and never spend a dime is humongous, and that's fine. Right? So then there's an opportunity then to work with companies and brands. So we're, we're splitting the model in half at this point as an experi. and what was the trigger for considering that? I mean, moving from the, the transactional model to more of a monetization through ad revenue, through sponsorships. I'm, I'm assuming, Yeah, I think the transition for me in my head was attending conferences, particularly one conference in August of 2021, the podcast movement conference in Nashville, and meeting people and people saying, you know, what are you doing? Or why, you know, with such a big podcast, you know, why are you not monetizing by working with companies and brands and just understanding there's only so much you can do. With online courses and so to kind of see where that scale could, maybe that scale lives outside of what we were looking for before. Right? Yeah. Things are never where we think they are. They're somewhere else. . That's right. I mean, the first, the first rule in online business is like build an audience, right? And then yes, all the other opportunities start to present themselves. And I think a lot of people who have done it the other way, I know a lot of sort of service providers and, and sort of solo entrepreneurs have done it. They do it the other way, right? Like where they, right. They work on building one-on-one relationships and sell higher ticket. And I think both models are obviously fine. Mm-hmm. , and this is why we have diversity in our business model design. Exactly. But, um, you know, I think that, you know, you've, you've kind of had the best of both worlds and you have explored a number of different business models to arrive where you are right now. So how are you ensuring that that growth continues? Yeah, it's a great question. Well, number one, it's making sure we take care of ourselves as a team. I'm taking care of my employees, my team, that we're happy because in the end we love podcasting, and that is why we're starting to be able to find that scale. If we could get paid just a podcast, I would be totally happy. . Yeah, me too, me too. . You know, if I can make a full-time living, just being a podcaster, done, I'm ready. I'm, I'm good. I can ride this out. Right. So, taking care of ourselves, making sure that my team is well paid, they're, they have enough time off. Um, they feel like they're being challenged. They're given a forum for feedback to me. Ways we can pivot, you know, checking in with them, I would say. And then beyond that, Being honest with myself every month, every month with the numbers, having a p and l, and at the end of the month entering everything and coming down and what, you know, having that formula give me the actual number. Honestly, for so many years I didn't even bother to do that. I thought, oh, we're just a small business. There's money in the bank account. No problem. , but you know, looking at indirect expenses, direct expenses, the hard stuff that someone might look at more in accounting or larger companies trying to lend some of that thinking to a small business is just being honest with yourself. Right. I'm so glad that you say that because I, I, I agree with you. I am always shocked, um, when I start working with a business and they don't know the numbers. I mean, I'm obsessed with my numbers. I know everything, everything. Even if it's not good, I know it and it's, it allows me to have so much more, I guess, peacefulness, right? Yes. And calm and confidence in the decisions that I'm making. Uh, so, you know, with, was that a skill you had to sort of train yourself to do? Yeah, I, yeah, I would say I've gotten help over the years with people close to me who are more involved in finance, the finance side of businesses. Um, I really, we haven't really had anyone on the team directly who is kind of a C F O. We're not at that point yet. Um, but yeah, I've had to reach out and ask for help in different places for. And we all do and we all should. , absolutely. There, there's like the stigma, I think with small business owners that, you know, the, when you start asking for help, it means you've, you're admitting failure or you've given up or something like that, and it's just so untrue. You know, it's, I wish people would realize how. Quickly, they should be asking for help because it'll move them forward so much faster. Oh, it's so true. It's so true. You really need help. And then another thing that's been instrumental in my growth is joining mastermind groups, different groups for a year. I was part of Strategic Coach. I don't know if you've heard of them. They're a, uh, company, actually I think they're based in Canada as well as Chicago. And they, they bring small business owners together to brainstorm and to learn principles on how to manage your time. It's amazing. So joining groups like this has been huge for us, right? Yeah. I take these ideas back to my team, implement new ways of doing business together, things I had never thought of. So tapping into. Your network that you already have, people you don't know yet, even if they're not in your niche. I've joined groups of people directly in my niche, my direct competitors. I'm in groups with them too, and people that do completely different things like real estate businesses. Right. We can have something in common. Cause we're running a Absolutely. Yeah. Yep. And we all, you know, even we we're all just sharing the emotional experience to Yes. Being an entrepreneur because it, it can be lonely, it can be isolating, it can be very defeating. And I, I think, you know, one of the things that entrepreneurs have to be able to do is keep going. Yes. Even in the face of like, we're very good at getting in our own heads. Oh, it's so true. I think by nature is being an entrepreneur, we kind of, we have big dreams. We have probably big egos, we have big ideas, things we wanna put out into the world, and it's tough. You need that longevity, right? You need to be able to keep your business running for years and years and years. Maybe one year your revenue's down, but you have to find a way to bring it back up the next year. So you need these things that replenish you connections, absolutely. Networking and, and to know yourself, right? Yes, a hundred percent. So who are you serving? What's your, who's your. So the audience for all ears English is, we call them global professionals. So they're adult uh, professionals around the world. They may be living in the US or an English speaking country, Canada, the uk, Australia, or they're living in their home countries. Japan, China, Taiwan, Brazil, France, Spain. And they need English for their career. That is the majority of people. So English is important, whether it's once a month while they have that conference call with the New York office, or whether it's every single day talking to customers, English is key for their career success. And so there, there, it's a, it's a bit different than if you were teaching someone who just wants to go traveling. Yes. I mean, that is a segment, especially of all theirs English. At this point, we have three podcasts that we just launched, a brand new one, which is a hundred percent focused on business English. All business English episodes. It is a small portion of our listeners who are hobbyists learning English as a hobby, wanting to travel. But the majority I would say are a good chunk are career professionals. And English does determine their success, their salary, their promotions, whether they can be moved abroad by the company. Right. So, and the path for them as. Customers is they start with something for free. Mm-hmm. . And is there a, is there a path they can go on to become a paying customer to Yes. Have more advanced education? for sure. So we have a number of products. One thing that we've done over the years that we continue to experiment with continue to rework is offering quizzes, which makes perfect sense for an education company, especially a language company. So we have a number of quizzes in the areas that we offer courses on. So we'll offer our listeners a quiz. Hey, if you enjoy this podcast, take this quiz. Let's get you a broad idea of your level. It's not perfect, but it is based on our experience in the field. Here's your level. Now, in some cases, we will invite them to a webinar based on that level, and then at the end of that webinar, we'll invite them into the course. So that's just one path that we provide to come and work with us in a more concentrated. . Right. And are there other offerings as well that you might lead them into? Oh, over the years we've had eBooks, uh, we've had video courses, the three videos series, minicourse. Um, we also have kind of lower price products. We offer our transcripts from our podcast, and so that's one way they can engage with us on a weekly basis and kind of a membership program. We also have an app, uh, iOS and Android, and that shows the transcripts, but an app format. So there's a lot of ways you can. But I would say most pe many people come through that quiz, those quizzes, those are pretty popular. And did you, did you have a background in English education? I did, yeah. I spent most of my career up until the time that I started all's English, traveling, living abroad, uh, living in Japan. I was in Japan for a year and a half in South America for a year, learning languages and teaching English as a second language. So I was able to see what, how English was being taught and what the gaps were. And that's why, as you asked me in the beginning, you know, that was my intuition. I knew the opportunity was not too much. A huge industry that was going to blow up more a way to teach English in a different way that I knew that my adult students had never necessarily encountered but wanted. I had that intuition. Yeah. Yeah. And, and you, you seem very tuned into the way people actually use the product and use the, you know, and, and I, I imagine there's sort of constant innovation trying to happen within the business. Yeah. for better or for wars. You know, sometimes when you're an ideas person, you can send your team in all these different direct, we've. We've tried a lot of things over the years, right? Half of them have worked out, the other half have been kind. It's hard because sometimes you'll try something. My biggest challenge is we'll try something and it won't be a total flop, but it also won't be a huge success. So then you look at the numbers, you're like, uh, it's okay. Right? And now what do we do? Do we continue this? It's making, you know, a some money monthly, but it's. A huge success. Do we spread out our energy across all these things that are doing okay? Or should we let it go and try to find that winning thing? Right. It's challenging when the results are not clear. Yeah. So how are you making those decisions on a case by case basis? I'm using my, my gut a little bit more now, right? Like after a number of years of experience trying to listen to my gut, like how much time am am I spending is a key factor, right? So when it comes to cutting a product or continuing it, if it's performing okay, but it's not standout, I'll say, how much time is this taking from? And that's become a huge thing that I'd like to focus on this year more is tracking my time better, really understanding where my time is going, as well as my team's time. So, yeah, yeah, yeah. Absolutely. And I think that we forget that as entrepreneurs a lot, we're like, oh, just put as much time as we can into the business. And that's what we're expected to do, but we have to treat them like, like we're there are jobs as well. Um, the, so we've had this explosion of podcasting, uh, as a, you know, a, a medium and as a format in the last, say, five years, and it's, mm-hmm. , you know, it's really become. . Wonderfully diverse. Yeah. Um, has that explosion been good or challenging for you? It's a good question. A little bit of both. So I think it's great that now more people know more of the mainstream. It's kind of gone mainstream, right? Yes. So more of I, more of your average person knows what a podcast is, right? When I first started, people would say, what is a podcast? I have no idea what that is. It sounds very nerdy, , and thank goodness now it has become cool. So mainstream America and North America, and the whole world is getting to know. We still have some work to do in Asia and other countries around the world in terms of moving podcasting mainstream. Along with that comes, of course, more competition. Oprah has a podcast. Everyone has a podcast, all these famous celebrities. But what I like to say is you're really not competing with millions and millions of podcasts, because a lot of them, the truth is a lot of them pod fade. Don't make it past episode 20. Uh, and they're really not your competition. If you consider your podcast the hard and soul of your business, it's kind of a machine for you, right? Where you publish on time every week, it's non-negotiable, it's quality. You're not competing with people that are kind of doing this on a hobby basis, right? Yeah. They're not your competition. Yeah. Yeah. And I, I imagine that you also have to be comfortable. I mean, I, I remember, gosh, 15, 20 years ago downloading an audio book or something, which would lean, learn in Your Car French or something like that. maybe it was Spanish, I can't remember. . Right, right, right. Yeah. And, and, you know, you would listen to, but it feels like almost a little bit different because in your, in a podcast, Format. I imagine you're bringing more personality, you're bringing more, yeah. Conversation. You're like, how does that, how is that different? Yeah. It makes me, I think the brand Pimsler was one that I used to buy. Yes. and the CDs and I, I did too. I did the same thing. Right. It's completely different the way, not every ESL language learning podcast is like this, but what we set up from the beginning, which is quite different, is. We are two co-hosts. There's always two people on the pi. It's not just one teacher talking into the microphone. It's always two of us. Yeah, and it's really just a con, a conversation between the two of us. We started off by saying, hi Michelle. Good morning. How's it going? Right? What are we getting into today? It's an engaging conversation, so that's quite valuable for our listeners. They feel like they're sitting in a cafe and eavesdropping on a real conversation. The two native speakers of English might have in New York City. and they're also con learning. Yeah, yeah. The context is so important, isn't it? Exactly. Yeah. So we build in things that we know that they want and need, like role plays. We teach them specific vocabulary, but not in that kind of very stiff, old-fashioned academic way. Right. We speak at a pretty normal speed. I would say. We enunciate a little bit more. We use our stage voices a bit more, but we don't do like teacher talk where it's just. Quite slow and quite condescending, to be honest, because our listeners are intermediate to advanced learners. Right. They're not beginners. If we had beginner listeners, we would have to slow it down, maybe have just one teacher on there. We'd have to change our format, so, absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. I know when I was learning Spanish, um, you know, the, the sort of rote. Memorization and mm-hmm. and that sort of thing. I mean, that was fine, but when I would get out into the world right, and be immersed inside of, you know, the real world, Spanish speaking community. Oh man, I found it so people speak so fast and trying to pick out, if I see the words, I know them, but if I hear them, I find it really, really difficult to sort of discern what I've heard. Cause they all kind of mush together. So I think that hearing the conversation can be extremely valuable in terms of that kind of immersion. Oh, it's huge. I mean, I just took a trip to Argentina and I made a point of every morning while I was walking my dog finding a couple of podcasts just by Argentines, right? Argentine Spanish, which is its own beast. Yeah. It's really difficult, to understand. Much harder than pretty much any other kind of Spanish. And just listening, taking it in, not putting any pressure on myself to understand every single word. And that did prove to be helpful. When we got into those situations in Argentina, I was able to catch, you know, what they were saying. where I wouldn't, may not have if I hadn't done that. More passive form of listening. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so what made you focus on this particular niche? The business people? Well, we've realized that, you know, it makes sense. It's what people are of course, willing to invest in, right? You need to, when you choose kind of a niche, it makes sense to choose one where stakes are relatively high. We've also focused on another niche, which is test prep. So there's an exam called the IELTS, the International English Language Testing System. This is an, an exam that happens all over the world every Saturday. Um, Millions of people that need to immigrate or are doing like a work visa situation to an English speaking country. So for example, MIT accepts, IELTS and different tech companies will accept it. And so we actually have another podcast entirely designed around that test. Everything is about that exam. Um, and we, that was the first course that we built as well. So when my original co-host left the business, I hired my first teammate who was an expert in that exam. She had been an examiner. In that test for 14 years. So I said, oh, we are definitely gonna create a course right now. . So you had a partner to begin with? I did, yes. Yeah, for the first year. Nine months, more or less. Right. And then you eventually moved into sole ownership? Mm-hmm. . Exactly, yes. Yeah. Yeah. She, Kate. Mm-hmm. . I can elaborate a little bit. A little bit. She made the decision to move on W She also had her own YouTube channel, and I think she was just wanting to put her time into her own thing. You know, if you think about it, with a small business that's being created. It's, it's good to have a co-host and a co-owner partner, but it's hard too, right? If you're not making much money in the beginning, it's tough. Really, really tough. And so we just went different ways. We sort of had different philosophies on business, I think. Um, and then after she left, after a few months, I went ahead and hired my co-hosts at that point for my, for the two podcasts that we, for the main podcast. And then eventually we started that second. And so in your experience, um, you know, what, what did you learn from the, um, the experience of having a partner versus being kind of the sole c e O. Yeah. I mean, it was a really stressful time when that happened, when there was that transition, um, I felt in my gut that All Ears English should continue because it All Ears English is really based on my core values and our core values as a team. Mm-hmm. , we have a, our slogan is connection, not perfection. We've actually trademarked that slogan because it is so good for language learners, it's good for us as people, and it goes way beyond learning a language. I think a key principle of businesses find something that applies to your subject matter, but then goes way beyond that goes to your audience as human beings and that really does. So I knew that we had something special and I said, I have to hang on here. I have to, I have to do this. And it was really scary deciding to continue all's English, but I did it. Uh, we moved forward. I learned to trust myself. I think. I think at that time I found my voice on the podcast behind the microphone, and as the owner of the company, That's what I'd say that I learned. Yeah. Yeah. And you learned so much about yourself, right? Oh yeah. For sure. For sure. So I'm, I'm sure we talk about real stories here, and I'm sure that this journey has not been, um, just a smooth ride. , no, . I never is. What are some of, what are some of the things, the big lessons you've learned? What are some of the big things that you would take away from the last, oh gosh, what, almost 10 years. I would say, um, definitely hire up, like hire someone that is well qualified and make sure that when you build your team, you hire people that are bringing something substantial to your company that you don't have. It's easy to kind of hire the same skills that you have, right? Because you connect with those people better. But especially in the beginning, your first few hires are so important. So when I hired Jessica, I mean, she brought in this, IELTS skill that I had no idea about IELTS and I could have tried to learn it, but you can tell when teachers are trying to learn IELTS and they don't have an insider perspective on the exam, right? She came in with this 14 years of experience that we could immediately package up into a new podcast and then into a new course five months later. So really look for those gaps and something new that someone could bring into your business. And then get those people training your team so that, that those knowledge doesn't just stick with this one person. You now have a team that's trained in this method that this employee's bringing in. , that's one thing. Figure out how to niche down, um, and, you know, try to ride the waves. Like right now it's a tough time. The US dollar is very strong against the yen, uh, against international currency, so we're in a really tough Yeah, we're entering potentially a tough period for All Ears English, so find a way to keep your margins as as big as you can. Try to slim down if you need to. We're looking at how we're going to cut some expenses in the next few months. Just be smart about how you're spending your. And then it comes back to that always being certain and knowing what your numbers are. Right. Exactly. It's a, it's an interesting thing you bring up because you obviously sell to or promote your, your, um, services to an international audience. Right. I'm, I'm assuming that you, you do have folks in the u in the us but Yes, there are some very heavily international, so I'm, I'm guessing that that brings a whole other dynamic to the. Yeah, it's interesting when, yeah, exactly. Because the economy is, you know, starting to do interesting things and at the same time, we're facing inflation here, so our cost of living goes up. But it's harder for people internationally to buy into us, do like to buy something priced in US dollars. So you do get a little bit squeezed, but we're gonna find a way. We're gonna figure it out. We're fine. You know, and also creating that steadiness for your team. Right. I'm not panicking all the time. I know we're gonna, we're gonna make this work. No, these challenges make us smarter as entrepreneurs. So, and I think then every year that you're continue to be in business. Yes. These challenges seem less and less like they're gonna sink you and Exactly. More and more like, okay, well let's next, here we go, next round. . Exactly. Like in the beginning, you know, 20 14, 15, every month is like, oh my God, am I gonna have to close down All Ears English? I never think that way. You know? Yeah. We're gonna be here next year. We're gonna be here in five years. Yeah. And, yeah. Yeah. I love that. What do you attribute the, the consistent growth to? I mean, you've, you've obviously developed a brand, right? Mm-hmm. , and how are new people finding you? Well, I think that, well, certainly it helps that our podcast is heavily shared, right? So, you know, we launched early and we launched strong, super strong and we published four days a week. So that's one thing I can attribute to it too, is the audience trust that we will publish four days a week and we never miss that. If it's Christmas, it's 4th of July, it's New Year's. We always publish when we say we're going to. So just that incredible consistency. Um, that's consistency. That, yeah, it's kind of ridiculous, but , we just keep going. And then the other thing that's important in my business is, Launching new products. So we need to always be creating new courses to put in front of our students who are ready for the next thing. Oh, I finished your business English course. What's next? Do you have a course on providing upward feedback to my boss? Right, for example, right? What's the next thing we can do? So always creating new products and courses to increase lifetime value, to keep your students going deeper and continuing to improve and be more confident on their own. In the. But that takes that feedback loop from the customers as well. And so how are you ensuring that that's that feedback loop feed, I can't even say that feedback loop happens and continues to feed into the business. Yeah. Well I'm working right now, today, getting back to it on our survey for the year, um, big survey we're looking to do, um, we survey our audience, we look at our stats. Of course we use Chartable to track our podcast stuff. What's happening? We notice like what does, well, what episodes do well, and then we think, oh, could, could there be a course made out of this episode? Could this be extended even further? Um, we read comments. So kind of bringing all those things together. It's never any one thing. It's never just the survey, cuz surveys are flawed for sure. Um, but it's triangulating everything. Yeah, I think it's an in incredibly important part of your business and because you have such a huge audience, or I don't know how many of those of your kind of monthly downloads are repeat, but you have a large audience. Yeah. And so I think especially with such a huge, um, resource to tap into, do you dedicate. one of your resources or one of your team members or more of your team members to harnessing those ideas that come out of those surveys or the feedback from your clients? Uh, that's kind of more something I do. I certainly the team. They'll come to me with ideas and that's great. That's how you know you're building a great. Team environment that people feel comfortable saying, oh, I had this idea, we should really do this. And they really come to you with energy and they're excited. Um, but I'm definitely an ideas person as well. And so we have multiple documents. Uh, we've used Miro board in the past to envision what we wanna create, uh, spreadsheets where, and we also do, you know, quarterly check-ins, quarterly meetings where I'll update them on what, you know, what the plan is for the next quarter or the next year. and illicit ideas and have a conversation together. So I love that. As somebody who does, uh, innovation strategy and innovation consulting, um, I love to see how we operationalize the generation and the ideation of, and, and how we bring those two fruition within our, our own business. So I, I love, I love work. I love that you have the recognition that the innovation is extremely important to the longevity of the. Absolutely. People need to be free to say, like, to provide an idea whether it's accepted or, yeah, they just need to be open. You need to create this environment where people are excited about where the business is going, and they want their ideas to show up. In the world. Yeah. So, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So I mean, that's a great segue to the next question. What's next for you? Where are you headed? Well, as I said, we're experimenting now with kind of splitting our business model between online courses, education and media. So we're exploring the world of, you know, working with brands, sponsorships, pro programmatic ads, and we're also looking to launch more podcasts. We just launched our newest podcast, like I said. Business English a few months ago. It's already at a hundred thousand downloads, which is great. It's a much smaller than the other show, but, but great for a new podcast. Um, and so we've seen that we can use our original shows and launch a new one that makes sense for this audience. And so what else can we launch? You know, what else can we do? Can we provide a podcast for native speakers of English on grammar? And I think that's something that a lot of us as native English speakers are also interested in. Am I saying this right? Or someone judging me, right? What am I saying? Is it right? Is it wrong? Um, Lang exploring language. also from the perspective of other like training other languages. You know what, if we could take the All Ears English concept, the format, the, you know, our trademark connection, not perfection, and apply it to helping people in the US learn Spanish, right? Hiring two co-hosts from Spain and Mexico and having them go and bring their personality into the brand. So it's unlimited what we can do. I'm banking on the future of podcasting. I know right now the industry's a little weird and things are feeling. It's not going anywhere. Um, but it's not going anywhere. I think this is like a little blip and then things are gonna keep steadily growing. Yeah. Yeah. And I think because what podcasting brings is this element of personality that I don't think you can get in just written content. And that's where yes, that's where the wor the online business world started was, you know, blogging and that sort of thing. Right. And now, I mean, I would much rather. Talk for an hour than . Me too. You know? A hundred percent. I think it's far more effective. You know, it's not for everybody. That's fine. Right, right. But I know for, for those of us that are well like us, it's um, it's a godsend for sure. Have you ever done any sort of kind of white labeling into corporations or made private podcasts for corporations? Yeah, we're doing that now. So we're working with some platforms that provide. Content, specifically videos, they are, they wanna get into providing podcasts, but they're not quite there yet. So right now it's just videos. So for example, things on our YouTube channel, getting into a place where those platforms license or provide it so that larger companies, larger textbook brands you would know can then go and license that content and put it into their courses because they don't necessarily have the budget to hire influencers and podcasters and set up the studio. But if it's already there, so we've done a little bit of that. Um, . And I would also like to get into showing small business owners eventually how to start their own podcast. And That's right. Project for next year to go more into consulting. I . Just need to get my website up and get going. . Yeah. And do the other 500 things that you have to do. Yeah, I'm kidding. You know how it is, ? I do, I do, I do. I have a, about three businesses on the go. So at any given time, , , um, I have a question And this show is all about kind of the real stories and what's really going on out there and how people have really gotten to where they've gotten to. What's the difference in your, what's the biggest difference in your mind between what we hear out there in the business world, the online business world, and what's real in business? Hmm. Yeah, that's a good question. The difference is something I touched on before, you know, H growth is not always hockey stick growth. Right. For us, it's been very gradual every year. Mm-hmm. revenue's going up, but very gradually, maybe 10% increase, 15% increase. It's never what we hear is, The tech darlings, right? The the Silicon Valley bros. All the growth, all the investment. But the reality is with a small business, online business, it's slow growth. Maybe sometimes going back plateauing. Mm-hmm. , it's kind of a fight. So you have to love it. Like you have to love working for yourself. You have to love innovating. You have to love the idea of putting something new out into the world. Beyond just the money, right? Like I would podcast, I might do it a little bit less, but I would podcast for free for many years into the future, right? I might do two episodes a week, not four , but I would do it. I would keep going. If this were it, like if we were just becoming a, a nonprofit or something, I would keep podcasting. And you have to find something in your business that ignites that passion. Um, otherwise it's just too hard. It's just hard. Yeah. Right. Oh, I agree with you. I like, I would just, I do, I podcast for free. , there's no, there's no uh, right monetary gain for me, but it's, to me, it's just, it feeds all of the things that I, I love. I love hearing stories. I love connecting with other people. I love. digging in and you know, having these sort of fireside chats and yeah, I just think there's so much for me to learn as well as, you know, for my guests. And so I think every, every conversation introduces something more to the world. Absolutely. Yeah. So we're coming up on time, but I wanted to ask you if you can share with our listeners, how would they find you and how do they, how would they find all of the goodness that you have to. Yeah, that's a good question. So you could check out our podcast. So if you're already listening to this show, you're a podcast listener, um, you can type in All Ears English podcast and you will find the yellow. There's three shows that will come up and the main one is All Ears English, the original show. You can check that out to see how we publish and what we do. You can also find me on LinkedIn. I am offering kind of informal mentoring right now until I get my consulting up and running next year working with a few online business owners, especially if you do wanna get into podcasting. I'm offering kind of a mentoring type thing. So I'm on LinkedIn under allers English Lindsay McMahon, um, and you can check out our website@allearsenglish.com. Awesome. We'll put all of the links in the show notes since so people can, can find you. And if they're just listening, um, go to all english.com and go find Lindsay in all of her shows. And thank you so much for sharing your, your story. It was great to chat with you today. Yeah. Thanks Stephanie. I enjoyed our chat. Great questions. By the way. It's always good to be able to talk through this stuff, even as an, as a founder, as an owner, we learn a lot through how we articulate things. Yeah, absolutely. My favorite episodes are the ones where the, the, the guests kind of sit back and say, gosh, I didn't think about that. I'm like, oh, okay. , I've done my job. Awesome. Exactly, exactly. Great. Thank you so much. Yeah, and that's a wrap. I'm so happy we had the opportunity to chat with Lindsay today to hear more about how her business came to be, her experiences along the way, and what the future of the business entails. And thank you for turning into this episode of Real People, Real Business Show, where we can get the real entrepreneurial stories and journeys that you can relate to the show notes, resources, and links from this episode are available on our website and social media platforms. Thanks for joining us today, and if you've enjoyed today's content, I'd love for you to give us a review on whatever platform you're on. To help us share these genuine stories with an even bigger audience. Until next time, keep building, keep dreaming and keep being real.

Lindsay McMahonProfile Photo

Lindsay McMahon


Lindsay McMahon is the co-host of All Ears English. The All Ears English Podcast is downloaded 8 million times per month globally and has been ranked in Best of Apple Podcasts categories in 2018 and 2019 and as well as #1 in US Education Language Courses. Lindsay and her team have been featured in Podcast Magazine, Language Magazine, and Forbes.