On this episode, I’m talking to my good friend and mentor Victor Menasce. Victor is a commercial real estate investor, coach, and host of the daily podcast Real Estate Espresso.
Today he’ll explain how he grew his podcast from 0 to over 500,000 downloads in just two years with advice on how he records and scripts his show, structuring a podcast to stand out from the crowd, and how to use a podcast to increase visibility in your industry and build better relationships.
Female Speaker: [00:00:06] Welcome to Financially Free Podcast with your host, Ney Torres.[00:00:10] One of the reasons Ney could retire when he was 25 years old is because he was coached by the best. And now through this podcast, so can you.
Ney Torres: [00:00:20] Hey! Again, we are talking to Mr. Victor Menasce. I consider you a great friend and of course a mentor, somebody I look forward to speaking every now and then. And Victor, can you tell us a little bit more about your podcast and how you started The Real Estate Espresso podcast?
Victor Menasce: [00:00:38] Well, Ney, great to be here. And yes, The Real Estate Espresso Podcast started out of an idea a couple of years ago. It’s a daily show running seven days a week now. Over 700 episodes. Over half a million downloads. The show is doing extremely well.[00:00:57] What I wanted to do was to create a show that fill a void, fill the gap in the marketplace. There’s a lot of good shows out there. There’s literally hundreds and hundreds of real estate podcasts. The statistics for podcasts are kind of interesting. In the United States today, there’s about 80 million people that listen to podcasts. So, you know, a little less than a third of the US population listen to podcasts. And those who do subscribe on average to about six shows a week and they listen to five because that’s all they have time for. [00:01:31] So, if someone is already listening to podcasts, they already subscribed to six. The question was, if they’re going to listen to my show, who am I going to kick out? Am I going to kick out Tony Robbins? Am I going to kick out Oprah Winfrey? Like, who am I going to displace on their list of six podcasts because there’s a lot of good shows out there? [00:01:56] I don’t have the celebrity status of a Tony Robbins or an Oprah Winfrey. So, if I’m going to get on someone’s list of six, two things needed to be true. Number one, the show had to be really good. And number two, it needed to compete without competing. So, I wanted to find a way. Could I get onto that list of six or maybe become show number seven but created differentiation in the marketplace so that they would listen to my show first? And that was the idea behind the show. [00:02:26] There’s an awful lot of shows out there that today are 60 minutes long, 30 minutes long, two hours long. Who has the time? Who has the time to listen to a two-hour show? I mean Tim Ferriss’ show is wonderful. It’s one of the top shows in iTunes today. And I love it. I love the interviews. But boy, devoting that time is difficult to do that on a consistent basis. [00:02:53] So, I designed a show that would be a daily show, seven days a week, but only five minutes. Five minutes, just me on the weekdays, so that people would get literally their morning shot of what’s new in the world of real estate investing. So, the show’s called Real Estate Espresso Podcast. It’s your morning shot of what’s new in the world of real estate investing. And on the weekdays, they listen to me and I get across one idea, only one idea in those five minutes. The weekends are interviews. They’re slightly longer, 10 to 15 minutes. So, the weekend edition is interview style, and it’s a little bit more freeform. So, you get a little bit of interview style, you get a little bit of point form very straight to the point very tight shows. [00:03:37] You know, I listen to some shows that have 15 to 30 seconds of intro music before the announcer even starts talking, and those shows drive me crazy because they’re not being respectful of the listener’s time. When my show starts, the music starts and I’m literally at the two second mark of every show welcoming the listener to The Real Estate Espresso Podcast because time is important and my listener’s time is important. The feedback I’m getting from the listeners is that it’s working. So that was the idea. That was the idea behind the genesis of the show.
Ney Torres: [00:04:13] I agree. And actually, I’ve been recording interviews this last couple of weeks. And, of course, I’m interviewing people so that goes to 30 minutes, 45 minutes. But I’ve been thinking about your model. And the one thing that comes to my mind is, well, yours is really good quality. How long does it take you to prepare a podcast episode?
Victor Menasce: [00:04:35] That’s a great question. One of the things that I discovered is that for me to deliver a piece of quality content, you know, when you and I are talking just like we’re talking right now and having a conversation, I can speak pretty clearly without too many pregnant pauses, without too many “uhm” and “ah” and stammers. I can do that reasonably well. But if I’m trying to get a particular idea across, I find that it’s much more difficult I find that if it’s not a conversation, I have to stop and think. And then there’s too many pauses, and there’s too much time spent in editing. So, I found that I’m much better off actually scripting the show. I literally write out word for word, what I’m going to say in every episode. And I can tell you that 850 words is exactly five minutes. And it takes me about 30 minutes to write a five-minute show each and every day.[00:05:25] Now, if there’s research involved and I have to research a topic, let’s say there’s maybe a new report on census data, I’m not just going to pull something out of the Wall Street Journal, I’m actually going to go to the US government Census Bureau. I’m going to download the tables, I’m going to analyze the data, and I’ll put together a show. So, sometimes there’s research involved before I write those 850 words. But when I do write those 850 words, I can then focus during the recording on the intonation, on vocal inflections, so that it sounds a bit more musical. It’s a little bit more… The tonality of the voice is there. It’s a better listener experience as compared with just trying to wing it.
Ney Torres: [00:06:06] And that takes… And you do that daily, right?
Victor Menasce: [00:06:09] I do that daily, seven days a week.
Ney Torres: [00:06:11] How does the day in your life look like? What time do you wake up? What time do you go to sleep? What happens next?
Victor Menasce: [00:06:18] I usually reserve my mornings for focus time. I rarely schedule any meetings in the morning. My morning routine starts with a morning routine. It’s exercise, meditation, some journaling, planning. I really keep the morning reserved for doing that creative work. I will often record my podcast in the mornings because I find that my voice is stronger and clearer. I can tell the difference in the quality of the recording between something that’s been recorded say at nine in the morning versus nine at night. At nine at night I sound like an 80-year-old man. My voice is simply not as crisp and as clear. I can tell the difference. So, I usually try and do my recordings in the morning when my voice is clearer and crisper.
Victor Menasce: [00:07:01] Sometimes I find that I will do the writing in the evening when, you know, maybe I’m a little bit more tired, but I’m not so tired that I can’t write. So oftentimes in the evening, I’ll compose the podcast for a few days down the road, and do that writing at that time and then record the next morning. That’s typically the sequence or the habit that I formed.
Ney Torres: [00:07:25] And when do you take care of business, by the way? Because I also have my little fund and I have my little things going on. I’m thinking, “How can I schedule this time for podcasting, and being the best podcaster, I can by creating value to people?” Because interviews as you say, is super easy but creating–.
Victor Menasce: [00:07:44] Meetings are easy. They can be time consuming as well. I really focused on trying to get the podcast done and get it out of the way first thing in the morning. It’s a creative thing to do. You feel good when it’s done. And then, I get into literally the meat of doing my work. I’m not a podcaster per se, that’s not my job. My job is as a developer. We’ve got major projects going on. Multiple different markets. Most of them new construction, probably 95% of the new construction. Maybe the smallest one is two units, the largest one is 260. These are major projects. They require a lot of time, focus, and attention. We’ve got teams in each of the markets. We’ve got to make sure the teams are doing what they need to be doing so that we spend an awful lot of the afternoon, I focus most of my meetings and phone calls in the afternoon. Unless it’s an emergency, I keep the mornings for that creative time for doing that focus work that’s needed. Whether it’s maybe developing a new financial model or what have you. I really divide my day that way.[00:07:47] And you’re a master networker. And podcasting is about networking too, right? I bet you decided to do this to also expand your influence and communicate more to people? What can you tell us about networking? Because you’re really good. Especially because you mentioned a 90-year-old, and I think George Ross is around 93. [00:09:09] Yeah. He’s 92. Yeah, he’s going to be 93 in about a week. Wow, my goodness.
Ney Torres: [00:09:15] Wow! And he’s sharp.
Victor Menasce: [00:09:17] He’s very sharp.
Ney Torres: [00:09:18] Who is George Ross, for everybody listening that doesn’t know?
Victor Menasce: [00:09:21] So, George is a lawyer. He grew up in New York City, grew up in Brooklyn. He went to work for a gentleman named Saul Goldman back in the 1960s. Saul Goldman was, at that time, real estate in New York City. He also then went to work for Fred Trump, Donald’s father. And then eventually, he went to work for Donald himself. He did the very first project for Donald Trump when Donald was just 27 years of age, which was the Commodore Hotel, became the Grand Hyatt Hotel, next to Grand Central Station in Manhattan. And he actually stayed with the Trump organization for close to 47 years. He was literally Donald’s right-hand man.[00:10:04] And for those of you who have seen the TV show The Apprentice, you would have seen him as his right-hand man on the TV show for close to 10 years. It wasn’t just on the show. He was his right-hand man in real life. Many of the successes of the Trump Organization, I personally credit George for creating those successes because it was his experience, his pragmatism, his wisdom that ultimately created the success in those projects, among other things. Donald himself, it doesn’t matter what you think of him politically, has been a shrewd business person. Whether you agree with him or not, he has been effective in some things that he’s done business wise, not everything by any means. And a lot of those successes, I credit George for. And those times when Donald got into trouble thinking specifically of the Eastern Airlines shuttle or the casinos in Atlantic City, there was a period of about nine years when George did not work for Donald. And that’s when he got into trouble. So, I think there’s a correlation, not necessarily causality, but a correlation between those two events.
Ney Torres: [00:11:14] So, you’re two degrees of separation from the most powerful man on earth.
Victor Menasce: [00:11:19] I guess that’s true. Yeah. And, of course, I’ve got to know Donald’s son Eric, reasonably well. I have a lot of respect for Eric. I think he’s a sharp individual. I know the press has been pretty unfair to him and kind of treated him as a bit of a dummy but he’s not at all. I’ve been at events with him. We’ve done some charity fundraising at the winery together and things like that. I have a lot of respect for Eric. He’s the only member of the family that I know directly. And then of course, George, his wisdom is unparalleled. I just love the time that we spend together every month.
Ney Torres: [00:11:57] Knowing George is like knowing Donald Trump’s grandfather. Or father, sorry, father. Yeah. I remember Eric too. He’s very smart. He was raising money for–. Yeah. This is not a political show, though. But the point is, how do you network with high profile people?
Victor Menasce: [00:12:22] Well, I guess the first thing is to just be human. It’s not about networking. I actually am going to make a distinction between the word networking and the word relationship building because they’re very different. Networking is a very utilitarian word. You go to a networking event, you go hand out business cards, and you try and figure out, “Is this someone I want to get to know?” That’s a utilitarian thing.[00:12:45] Relationship building is much more genuine. And think about it. Nobody wants to be used. I don’t want to be used. You don’t either. And people who have financial means, who have high net worth, are in particular very sensitized to that. Some people want to build a relationship with them for one reason and one reason only. And that’s because they have money. Well, they don’t want to be used any more than you or I do. So, don’t use people. [00:13:10] You see this happen all the time in the business world. And if you’re lacking clarity on this, the relationship building process follows a very natural process. I mean if you think about a romantic relationship, it goes through a lot of steps, you know. Two people might meet each other. They might eye each other from across the room. They might have coffee. They might go see a show together. And then a long way down the road, with many many steps in between they might decide to get together, to get married, have a family, move in together and so on. But if you skip any steps in that process, you go from a natural relationship progression to creepy in a heartbeat. And the same thing happens in the world of business. A business relationship has to follow a natural progression. And if you skip steps in that, you go too creepy. I mean how often does somebody connect with you on Facebook? And as soon as they connect with you, they say, “Could you like my business page?” They don’t want a relationship with you. They just want to use you for a like on their business page. That’s creepy. Right? It just is. So, don’t go too creepy.
Ney Torres: [00:14:20] Now, let me ask you this. I read a study that says that as primates we can only kind of sustain 200 relationships. Sustaining a relationship is kind of hard. I guess there’s people that are really good at that and may have 600 relationships. But you have to decide who to get along with. How do you do that?
Victor Menasce: [00:14:43] Well, I think there’s many different forms of relationship because remember, a relationship requires a conversation. So just like you and I are having a conversation. And I run into this all the time. Now having run The Real Estate Espresso Podcast for a couple of years, I think we recorded Episode 720 today.
Ney Torres: [00:15:03] Congratulations, by the way.
Victor Menasce: [00:15:04] Thank you. One of the things that I’ve discovered is that I will meet people at conferences, at events, and they’ve been listening to my show every day. So, they’ve been hearing my voice, they know me, but I don’t know them. So, there’s an imbalance. But they feel like they know me. Now in truth, they don’t. They’ve heard me speak for however many episodes they’ve been listening to the show. And, hopefully, maybe that resonates with them. So, it’s not a cold introduction. It’s a warm introduction. At least half of it is a warm introduction. And that can accelerate the process.[00:15:38] You know, you can go much faster from, “Hi! How are you? What’s your name? What do you do?” to a deeper conversation if they’ve been listening to your show. So that definitely does accelerate the process. There’s no question in my mind. I’ve had people who I’ve never met, email me and offer to invest in my projects simply because they’ve gotten comfortable with me, with my philosophy, simply by listening to the show on a daily basis. Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to take their money. It doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily a good fit for our projects but it does accelerate the conversation. It does deepen the relationship much faster than if you were just calling somebody that’s cold saying, “Hey, do you want to invest in my project?”
Ney Torres: [00:16:22] Uh huh. Very good. If you can talk to yourself back two years ago, when you were starting this podcast or this project? What will you tell yourself?
Victor Menasce: [00:16:34] One of the things that I focused on, where right now, just at the start of the year, it’s the beginning of 2020 and a lot of people are thinking about goal settings, goal setting for the next year, goal setting for the next decade. And there’s two different types of goals. One type of goal is what’s called an attainment goal. An attainment goal is where you have a particular objective. Maybe your idea is, “I want to buy a new house.” That’s an attainment goal. The other kind of goal is a habit goal. And that is simply to establish a habit. And I was thinking that when I launched the podcast, I said, “Well, maybe I want, I don’t know, a hundred thousand downloads.” I picked a really big number out of the middle of the years. A hundred thousand downloads, that’s what I want. I thought about it some more and I said, “No, I’m not going to make that the goal.” And I’m glad I didn’t because if I had made a hundred thousand downloads the goal, I probably would have failed. I don’t know why, but I probably would have failed. Instead, I made the goal to put out one piece of quality content every day. And now, here we are, two years later, 720 episodes in, and half a million downloads. I blew way past that hundred thousand download number that I had in my head. And maybe in the next year, I’ll get a million downloads. I don’t know. But I’m not focused on that. I’m focused on putting out one piece of quality content every day. When you do that, there’s a certain, I don’t know, authenticity that comes from… There’s a genuineness that comes from whatever it is that you produce. And the rest kind of takes care of itself. And that’s what I’ve discovered.
Ney Torres: [00:18:15] And that’s what you will tell yourself two years ago?
Victor Menasce: [00:18:19] Yeah.
Ney Torres: [00:18:19] Yeah?
Victor Menasce: [00:18:20] Yeah.
Ney Torres: [00:18:20] Any crazy stories with this podcasting? I know you live in a ship in Europe, in a yacht or something, for three months.
Victor Menasce: [00:18:29] Yeah.
Ney Torres: [00:18:30] How did you make it?
Victor Menasce: [00:18:31] Yeah, great question. I managed to find an internet connection to upload a show pretty much everywhere I went, even if that was a cellular data connection. And if I knew that we were going to be at sea for a couple of days and really outside of access to any internet, we would upload and preload a few shows so that they would publish on schedule. They come out at 2am every day, you know, same time every day. And it is challenging sometimes. There’s no question.[00:19:00] If I’m in the middle of something, I’m in a different time zone in a different environment, then oh my goodness, I need to get a show out, it is a heartbeat, it is a treadmill. It is a commitment. And I can tell you 720 days without missing a single heartbeat feels good. It hasn’t always been easy. There had been a couple of times when I was in a motel in upstate New York, and my wife was going to bed and I was in the bathroom recording the show and making sure that it got uploaded. I did what it takes.
Ney Torres: [00:19:36] Okay. But I mean, isn’t that like… Because I’m thinking about copying your model. It kind of make sense. But wouldn’t I be like setting the bar a little too high? I mean I’m not saying this in a bad way. But aren’t you just pushing yourself too much? Maybe three shows a week is more than enough. What do you think?
Victor Menasce: [00:19:56] Well, it’s hard to say. I chose daily simply because… I guess the person that I treated as the role model is a guy from Puerto Rico named John Lee Dumas. He started the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast, which was a daily show, again, seven days a week. And he ran seven days a week for, my goodness, I don’t know, five or six years, maybe longer. And I developed a relationship with him. I got to know him and his partner Kate. They’re wonderful people.[00:20:27] He was batching the shows. He would record 30 shows two days a month. He would do 15 shows one day, 15 shows another day. So, you do literally a full day of 15 30-minute interviews. So, a long, long day. So, eight hours of interviewing back to back two days a month, and that’s how he would get his entire month done. That’s one way to do it, but he demonstrated to me that it was possible. [00:20:59] It’s a little bit like Roger Bannister, the guy who broke the four-minute mile. Nobody had broken a four-minute mile. Within a year of him breaking the four-minute mile, like a dozen people had done it. And it’s not that all of a sudden in that year, it got easier. It didn’t. It just became possible because there was a proof point. And so, I learned from John Lee Dumas. Again, he’s a great person. Now, he’s been doing it well. He’s been doing it for quite some time. He got in early. He’s had, I don’t know, 65-70 million downloads at this point. Some huge, crazy number like that. He’s done extremely well. He’s done well, both in terms of listenership as well as in terms of monetizing the show. So, he is a professional podcaster. He’s someone who has turned podcasting into a profession. [00:21:48] I’m treating it more as something that I do to relationship build with my target audience. I get the fan mail from my listeners each and every day that tells me that I’m on track. So that’s why I keep doing it.
Ney Torres: [00:22:04] Yeah, I’m one of those. One fan here. When did you decided, “Okay. I’m going to do a podcast. I’m going to do it daily.” What was that motivation?
Victor Menasce: [00:22:15] I had been experimenting for about a year with video and I’ve been putting out YouTube videos that we’re about two minutes in length. I called it Victor’s Update from the Field. I would sometimes record them from the cockpit of my sailboat or wherever I happened to be. I was doing them quite frequently. I was doing several a week. People were following me and they were saying… I was getting emails. “Victor, I love your updates from the field.” which was great but what I found was two things.[00:22:42] Number one, editing video is much more complex than editing audio. If I make a stumble, if I do an “uhm” or an “ah”, I can edit that out in an audio recording very easily and the listener has no idea that there was an edit at all. But with video, it’s much more difficult. Unless you have multiple cameras, then you don’t have any cut points. You can pan between cameras and cut out an audio clip. And then that works. So, you can edit if you have multiple cameras, but if you have single camera, edits become very clunky. They become very cumbersome. So, now, your delivery has to get really crisp. If I’m tired, and if my delivery isn’t quite on point… [00:23:23] I can do two minutes of video without too many stumbles. I can do that usually in one take. Sometimes I’ll do a couple of takes but to do a five- or 10-minutes show without stumbles or without a ton of editing is really difficult. It’s a heavy lift. And so, I realized that I started to reach the limit of what I could do with the video platform. Now, I’ve gotten much better on video. Much much better. But still, it’s not the same quality that I can produce in audio. And if I wanted to do a daily show, if I wanted to do it well with high production value, I found that doing a podcast was the way to do as opposed to video. So, I made the decision to experiment with it. It would have been probably November, December of 2017. I started in January of 2018. And then like I said, I haven’t missed a day.
Ney Torres: [00:24:16] Wow, congratulations. Do you monetize the podcast? How do people monetize the podcast? Do you have any team members that help you with this?
Victor Menasce: [00:24:25] I have team members who helped me with booking guests. When I’m looking to book two guests a week and make sure they’re high quality guests, there’s a process of vetting them, making sure that they’re going to be the right fit for the show. Getting that all scheduled. So, I have someone who helps me with that process. I’ve also developed relationships with some booking agents, who very regularly send me folks who say, “Oh, so and so would be a great guest for your podcast.” Sometimes they are. Sometimes they aren’t so we have to go through that vetting process.[00:24:53] The show itself is really me putting it together. It’s my effort. It’s my creative process. It’s my planning. And because I’m looking to speak to a particular target audience, I know who my avatar is. I’m not looking to monetize the podcast. It’s a little bit like the author that hopes to get rich from selling books. Most of the time, you don’t get rich from selling books. Because if you’re selling books, let’s say you sell a book for $15. And then the publisher keeps 12 of that and you get three. You need to sell a lot of books to make any money. If they’re making any money, it’s because of what the book has done for them. It’s given them greater authority. greater credibility. It means they can get consulting engagements. It means they might get access to opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise get. And it’s really the same kind of idea. [00:25:51] If you were to say, “Well, I’m going to go into television. I’m going to get rich off television.” It’s a silly statement. If you said, “I’m going to go get rich off the newspaper.” Nobody would say that. “I’m going to go get rich off a radio.” Nobody would say that. These are all just different channels that allow you to get in front of your target audience. The more you can get in front of your very specific target audience and engage in a dialogue with them that is meaningful to them, then some percentage of them are going to want to do business with you in some capacity. Maybe you host events, maybe you provide consulting, maybe you have investment opportunities, whatever it might be. There will be some other benefit that ultimately becomes the reason for doing it.
Ney Torres: [00:26:36] Okay, very good. Do you use publicity ads, Facebook ads, Instagram, something like that to promote?
Victor Menasce: [00:26:44] I haven’t used a lot of paid advertising. I’ll make a distinction between advertising and publicity. So, publicity is what you get for free by being on other platforms. Advertising is something that you pay for. So, you know, you can go to Google or you can go to Facebook and you can pay $6 per thousand views. And that’s kind of the going rate for advertising. Publicity is free. When I think about for example, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, these are the authors of the chicken soup series that has sold over 500 million books. What these guys did in order to get their message out there is even like, right from the very early days is they got publicity. They would go on radio shows all over the country. They were averaging three interviews a day for years. These guys were hustled. They worked their butt off to get in front of people by getting on these interviews.[00:27:47] And you can get on radio interview, usually in the morning shows when people are in their cars or sometimes during the daytime, maybe the noon show. They’ll get on the show and start telling stories out of the chicken soup series. They would get 20-30 minutes of airtime interview style. Now, if you had to pay for 20 to 30 minutes of airtime on any radio station in America, you’d go broke really really fast. So, publicity is free. advertising is paid for. And in the world of podcasting, be a guest on good shows. That’s the key, whether it’s a radio show, whether it is other podcasts. Even television is getting access to that publicity. So, I’ve been on some great shows. I’ve been on Joe Fairless. I’ve been on Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad show. I’ve been on Get Rich Education. Lots and lots of different shows.
Ney Torres: [00:28:41] And now my show too.
Victor Menasce: [00:28:42] And on yours. Exactly.
Ney Torres: [00:28:44] Yeah. All right. So, I understand. Very good. Thank you so much Victor for your time. I appreciate it. And again, to everybody listening, where can they find you? I guess kind of obvious, but please let them know again.
Victor Menasce: [00:28:58] Well, they can connect with me directly at VictorJM.com. That’s my website. We do hold some events from time to time throughout the year, whether it’s raising capital event, goal setting events, various things like that. So, they definitely want to connect there at VictorJM.com. Or if you want to reach out to me directly there’s an email form that you can use on the website. Or listen to the podcast, The Real Estate Espresso podcast. That’s spelled like the Italian coffee Espresso, E-s-p-r-e-s-s-o. And it’s your morning shot of what’s new in the world of real estate investing.
Ney Torres: [00:29:30] And with that, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your time. See you next time.
Female Speaker: [00:29:36] Did you learn something today? How can you apply your insights? What’s next for you? The fastest way to make things happen is to just share this podcast episode with more people that may find it valuable too. Talk about it with them and surround yourself with like-minded people.[00:29:51] Hope you found this valuable. Don’t forget to subscribe. See you next time.