You don’t have to be great. Amazing is good enough.
Podcast Pickle changed my world.
PodcastPickle.com was one of the first podcast directories. It was a directory with a very active forum board, wrapped in a social atmosphere. At one time Podcast Pickle had an Alexa ranking under 5000.
Podcast Pickle went live in the early part of 2005. At the time there were not many podcasts in the world. Podcasting was so new it was hard to even find them. I still remember how excited I was when our 100’th podcast listed itself on the directory.
This certainly was not my first website. I probably had around ten websites by the time I started Podcast Pickle. The people I met, and the connections I made from Podcast Pickle changed the way I thought about the Internet forever. Many of these people are still good friends of mine almost 13 years later, and of course I am still podcasting. Now I am even in the Academy Of Podcasters Hall Of Fame.
Whenever I am at a podcasting event someone will refer to me as a podcast pioneer. I don’t know about the pioneer part, but it was great to know people remembered me and my website
Podcast Pickle. Countless people have told me that Podcast Pickle helped shape their podcasting careers. It gives me a wonderful feeling when someone tells me that. I could not think of a better compliment.
In 2006 Time Magazine honored Podcast Pickle by naming it one of the their Fifty Coolest Websites in the world. Here is the link to the Time Magazine Article.
You can also find Podcast Pickle listed on Wikipedia. Podcast Pickle was written about in the books Podcasting For Dummies, and The Business Podcasting Bible. I was also quoted in the books Tricks of The Podcast Masters, and Promoting Your Podcast. One of the coolest things that happened was being asked to judge the Parsec Awards. The Parsec Awards are the awards for Science Fiction Podcasts. I am still a judge to this date, and look forward to it every year.
Another fun fact about Podcast Pickle was our mascot. The Pickleman as I called him, was a hit anywhere he went. He went to Dragon Con, SXSW, Podcamp NY and Podcast Expo in California. People loved getting their photos taken with him. The Pickleman was a great way to advertise the website.
PodcastPickle.com changed my world. Today a lot of what I do on the net was formed from what I learned in the early days of podcasting.
Yes, I was hanging out with Tom Cruise.
During my one, and only appearance in a major motion picture. I was in the movie Born On The Fourth Of July with Tom Cruise.
Being in a major motion picture was a great experience. For a full week I was hanging out with Tom Cruise, and having a blast. While doing this I really learned a lot about Movie Magic while there. It makes for a great story that I am going to share with you. A story of how some opportunities are made, not given.
It all started one day while driving to work in Dallas. I was listening to the radio, and a story came on about a movie being filmed at the Dallas Convention Center. Since I was a salesman and could schedule up my own day I went straight downtown to the conventions center to see what was going on.
Walking in the convention center I saw a hundreds of people hanging out, and waiting for something to happen. I was told they were the extras for the movie. I was told that if I wanted I could just wait with them. That I could be an extra in the movie, so I waited.
After about thirty minutes of waiting I heard a voice on the speaker say “All secret service agents come to east door”. I decided to go to the east door and see what the story was on the secret service agents. When I arrived at the east door I saw twelve men all wearing nice suits. Since I had a suit and tie, I knew would fit right in.
I remember when one of the people in charge of the cast came over, and started counting. I almost laughed when he said “there is thirteen of you guys. There is only suppose to be twelve.” I thought I was busted for sure. Then he said, “Oh well come on everyone lets go.” The next thing I knew we were all going to over to get our guns, badges, and earphones. Basically, they gave us everything a secret service agent would need.
After we were given our gear we were all marched into the arena. This was where the filming for the Republican Convention would take place. I was then assigned a spot to stand at. I was just suppose to stand at this spot, and stay there during the entire filming of the movie.
I have to tell you this was a terrible spot to stand. The camera would never see me if I stayed in this spot. I was very removed from the action, so I had to move. I moved to the main aisle, where all the filming was going on. The aisle that Tom Cruise would be rolling down in his wheel chair. I found a good spot, and just stood there like that was my assigned spot.
Before I knew it another guy came by, and told me to run into the crowd. He told me to help remove Tom Cruise from the convention center when all the fighting started. It was not five minutes later before the original guy, who told me where to stand came by. “What are you doing in over here?” he said. I simply pointed to the other guy, and said “he told me to stand here”. That was all it took to make this my new assigned spot.
For the next week I was within thirty feet of Tom Cruse all the time. I was right in the middle of the action. Personally, I thought Tom was great. He hung out with everyone between scenes. He was very pleasant, and talked all the time. I know people give him a hard time, but my only experience with him was great.
It took close to a week to film this one scene. I was amazed how long it took to get this one scene done. It is hard to believe that after a week of being in all that action, and that close to Tom I am only in the movie for a few seconds.
I guess most of my scene ended up on the cutting room floor. Oh well thats show biz, and the end of my story.
Just remember that sometime you have to make your own opportunities in life. The things that are left to those who wait, are left by those who hustle.
I blog because I podcast, and I podcast because I blog. It’s a never ending circle of content marketing.
A few months ago a young lady from the University of Texas at Arlington came in my store, and asked if she could interview me for a case study she had to do in one of her classes.
I really do not think she had any idea of who I was. She simply came in because her boy friend was a softball player and suggested me as an interesting interview subject.
I just received her Case Study and while she did get a few facts wrong, all in all it was pretty good.
I thought I would share it with you.
Leland did not want that to be his story in life, so he moved to Texas in 1979 in his early twenties to get away from his environment and start fresh. He knew he couldn’t be great living in his hometown. Leland started out as a salesman in home sales with just $24 he built himself a small empire by selling mini blinds door to door, which now has turned into numerous small successful businesses.
Leland, an owner of SoftballJunk.com which came into fruition in 2000, then he turned the website into an actual store in 2001. The store was the first fast pitch softball store to be established in the country. Leland’s store is a small but lucrative shop that originally sold just softball gear, but over the years developed into also carrying baseball gear is celebrating its 14’Th year in business. Leland, a father to two girls, Amanda and Lauren one could say he owes a certain amount of gratitude to his daughters. Gary’s daughters both played softball and he was their coach.
Gary first created softballjunk.com in 2000 to help pay for the cost of uniforms and equipment, with four teams under his belt, one can imagine how expensive playing softball could be.
Gary also owns Leland’s Interiors which was founded in 1981 by Gary and his wife Kathy. The Lelands first began selling mini blinds, and now sell custom blinds, wallpaper and other decorative textiles to suit all customer needs rather it be business or personal.
Leland’s online world began in 1996, he has 25 websites and is the owner of 450 Facebook groups with 100,000 followers, he has written a number of books and owns and runs two magazines, he is the former National Director of Social Media for 3.7 million member strong United States Specialty Sports Association.
Leland has his own show the Gary Leland Show, along with Fast Pitch T.V. Network. He owns and runs Podertainment.com and is the publisher of Podertainment Magazine, a magazine at a rate of $12.99 a month, which welcomes ideas for original editorial content from guest writers. Leland is believed to be one of the first 50 pioneers of podcasting.
At a point in time in the interview Mr. Leland described his business as a wagon wheel, all spokes… his websites, his books, and his magazines all lead back to his stores Sports Junk and Leland’s Interiors.
Gary first started working in small jobs that most teenage kids have while maturing and growing up. Gary worked at a clothing store, he did telephone sales in high school and worked at a dance studio signing people up for classes, working at the dance studio was one of his favorite jobs; “It was a blast working at the dance studio, all we did was play around.”
After high school, Gary, a 27 year old young man worked for a marketing company which travelled 3-6 months per city opening cable t.v. markets that taught people how to be door to door salesmen. The business was supposed to move on to Louisville, Kentucky but he met Kathy, his wife to be and stayed in Texas and started selling storm windows.
He wanted to get out of in home sales so he got involved with a vending food company. The company ran restaurants for larger corporate companies, General Motors was one of the accounts Gary personally ran. Gary stayed with the company for a year or two and then went back to in home sales selling mini blinds door to door, at that time new houses and sub divisions were built and no one had mini blinds to protect their privacy.
New home owners would just put up sheets, the 1 inch mini blinds had come into fashion and the blinds couldn’t be purchased at home depot or other retail stores. Gary would sell the mini blinds and receive a thousand dollars per house, he and his friends were rolling in the dough. He had a quota to make which was a million dollars a year, Gary had made his quota by January 8th, he gave his boss two weeks’ notice and decided to go into business himself selling mini blinds full-time.
One could say that Gary Leland fell into his own businesses he loved in home sales, and still does. Leland did not have business plans or business models, he started out going door to door selling high pressure storm windows.
He did however have some help when it came to establishing his first website in 1996, against the advice of his friends, who said nothing will come of that Gary pursued it any way. Gary can see the big picture, “you gotta know what the people want”.
While being an in home salesman Gary was bringing in thousands of dollars, he was an optimistic, charismatic person who could sell anything, who just happened to be a relatable average guy and people loved that. The success that in home sales brought him was what started his first business Leland’s Interiors.
At that time there were many small interior businesses in Arlington on Cooper Street and Gary’s was one of them. His friends saw how successful Gary was becoming and they wanted to work for him, and they did. After years of working under Gary his friends realized that he was receiving 100% of the business revenue and they wanted that income for themselves; so Gary helped his friends establish their own interior businesses.
To this day Gary has gone on to accomplish a plethora of successful small businesses and his friends still just have one interior business, and his friends are all college educated; in fact they all graduated from Texas’ top schools. A college education isn’t everything when it comes to being successful, Gary’s many successes are proof of that. Gary agrees and strongly feels that a college education is important and that everyone should go to college. He tells the technology gifted people he frequently comes in contact with that they too should attend college, regardless of how skilled they are at being techs.
Leland’s Interior’s is now one of the largest and most successful interior stores in Texas, Gary and his wife Kathy started in a smaller shop but over time their business grew and they moved into a larger brick and mortar store. The other textile companies that were located on Cooper Street have since then gone out of business, when they did Gary bought their textile books and materials for pennies on the dollar. One could say that Gary was and is successful from the other business owners’ failures.
The same with his softball and baseball junk store, Gary heard that a business owner was going out of business in Fort Worth, Texas and Gary offered to buy the man’s gear, but the man refused to admit that his business was foreclosing. In the end Gary was able to save money and buy the gear for pennies on the dollar, another success from someone’s failure.
When asked to describe his life as an entrepreneur Gary replied, “What does that mean? I know what the term entrepreneur means I learned it ten years ago, but I don’t know what that means.” “These days everyone wants to be an entrepreneur it is such a big term that you didn’t see fifteen twenty years ago.”
Gary starts his days at six am, gets up checks his emails and social media sites as he watches T.V., specifically the news. He then heads to the Leland’s and arrives at his stores by eight am, he gets a couple of hours to himself before the stores open at ten am. He works from ten to closing which is 6pm, heads home to get ready to walk two miles with his wife and then works somewhere until ten pm and afterwards calls it a night.
You don’t have to create everything from scratch. You can always recycle someone else’s ideas and make them your own.
I have spoken all over the country.
Yes, I have spoken everywhere from New York to California.
You can see all the presentations I have given at GaryLeland.com/speaking.
Coming up in February I am a keynote speaker at Podfest in Florida. Podfest is a great new podcasting conference.
Then in March I am speaking at the world largest social media conference. That is Social Media Marketing World in California.
I love speaking, and giving presentations, but I never took the time to create a speakers reel.
Now I finally have one thanks to Dennis Yu, and the crew at Blitz Metrics. They created this speakers reel for me, and I really do appreciate it.
I think it turned out pretty nice.
Podcasting and Blogging go together like peanut butter and chocolate. I like Reese’s, but I love podcasting.
I found this old logo from the SportsPodcasts.com website, and it put me in a mood for writing.
Late in 2004 I read a two line blip in a newsletter about a new technology that was coming out called podcasting.
I thought it sounded interesting so I put my team on it right away. I told them that podcasting was new, and we needed to get on it now.
I did not realize how new it was. I had no idea that there were not even one hundred people in the world podcasting yet.
Well after a week or so we were in the podcasting business. Since our main business was selling sporting goods, it made sense to have a podcast about sports. Like I asked they set up a page for the podcast about sports, but what I did not expect they made an entire directory for sport podcasts called SportPodcasts.com of course.
Thats right, after we recorded the podcast there really wasn’t anyplace great to put it so they made any entire directory.
The directory was really nice, and a great tool. You see there were no such thing as podcasts in iTunes at the time, and there were only one or two directories of any kind in existence. Out of the existing podcast none of them were for a single niche, much less just sports.
I soon found out why. With there being such a small amount of podcasts in the world it took forever to get any podcasts in the directory. We were watching the internet everyday for people that may of created a sports related podcast. I think after a month we had maybe ten or so in the directory.
It was such slow going, and we were so excited about podcasting that we decided to make a second podcast directory. Next we created The Podcast Pickle Directory which became popular very quickly.
It made a big difference going after podcasts in general instead of a small niche.
After a year or so we realized it was a hopeless effort at the time to work and build out SportPodcast.com any more, and we soon retired the site.
So that is the basic story of how I became involved in podcasting, and the ancient history of SportsPodcasting.com
The 2016 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Convention was a great event this year.
As I fly home from the NFCA Convention in New Orleans I decided to jot down a few thoughts about this great event.
First let me say I think the NFCA is the number one resource for all softball coaches. I don’t care if you are a travel ball, high school, or a college softball coach you need to join.
If you take the cost of a yearly membership, and what you get as a member it is a no brainer. You need to join today.
One of the things I always enjoy is the exhibit hall. For two days during the convention softball vendors set up their booths, and are there to tell you all about their products. This is also an opportunity to see all the new products on the market. Many times it is a preview before they’re even on the market.
All of the big companies are there like Mizuno, Wilson, and Schutt. There are also a lot of smaller companies like software creators, educational, and training companies. While this part of the exhibit isn’t about softball you would still want to go and see everything. It is amazing how much you can learn in the exhibit hall.
The biggest and best part of the convention are the speaker halls, and all the great speakers that are there everyday.
Want to get more education in pitching, hitting, or fielding? Help is there. Do you wish you were a better coach? Help is there. I would have to say that there is someone speaking on almost every subject you could think of.
I do not think there is any event on the planet that has as many speakers covering as many parts of softball as the NFCA has.
Another great part of the convention every year is the Hall Of Fame Banquet. Not only are the new inductees there, but many former inductees and legends of the game. People like Joan Joyce, Mike Candraia, Diane Baker, and many more.
The opportunity to meet and talk softball with these legends of the game is priceless and I always learn so much during this event. I love the history of softball and there is no other event like the Hall Of Fame Banquet for softball history.
Then there are all the networking opportunities. The chance to make friends, and relationships with other softball coaches. There were over 1,500 people at this years event. That is a whole lot of people to meet and get to know.
To make the networking opportunities even better companies like Diamond Sports, USSSA, and Wilson Sports sponsor networking events in the evenings. This is a great way to meet and network with other softball coaches.
I have made great friends that will last a lifetime. I actually look as much to seeing old friends when I attend as I look forward to the education I receive.
There are a lot of other events during the convention that I do not have time to mention in this article, but I think you get the picture from the few I mentioned.
Yes, the NFCA Convention is a MUST attend event, and the NFCA is a MUST join association.
I recommend you go to their website at http://NCCA.org and join today. The cost is very cheap for all you will receive in return.
If I make a mistake running my business I want it to be my fault, not because I copied a competitors ideas.
Many people know that I built my first website back in 1996, and that building that website was the start of my online world.
I actually tried to build that same website in 1994 but it was a little hard for me to figure it out. At the time, I had no computer skills, so I quickly gave up, and gave the idea a rest for a couple of years.
In 1996 I repurchased the domain name LelandsWallpaper.com again, and gave the site a second try.
At the time I talked to a few people that design websites to get prices, and other information. I knew that the new website would be a long term project, and that I would need to learn how to maintain the new site. I knew that I could not afford to pay someone to handle every update that I would need for the rest of my life. My goal was to hire someone that worked in house and could teach me how to maintain the site while building it.
One day while I was sitting at the office I received a phone call from a new developer. The developer knew I was looking for someone to build a new site, and offered to build mine at half the price everyone else was charging back in 1996.
His voice sounded really strange. It was as if it was cracking, or breaking up. I finally realize it was a young person whose voice was changing, I asked him ” how old are you”. He replied I am 14.
I was shocked that I was on the phone with a 14 year old kid who was trying to charge me $40 an hour to build my site! I told him I would think about it, and call him back.
After I talked to him I immediately called the local high school, and asked to talk to the computer teacher. They connected me with the teacher, and I asked her if any of her kids could build a website.
“Everyone of my 3rd year students can” she said. I asked her to tell them I was looking to hire someone to help me build a company website.
The next day a student showed up and I hired him at $7.00 an hour. He worked for me until he finished college, and for a few years more.
I remember calling my vendors and asking if they had any images of wallpaper they could send me to use. Back in 1996 there were no digital cameras to use for taking photos.
All of my vendors laughed when I told them what I was trying to build. They all said ‘people will never buy wallpaper on the internet”. I always replied that I would, so I thought there were other that would too.
We ended up using scanners as they had been invented in 1996. We scanned wallpaper patterns out of the wallpaper books, and added them to the website.
It was a learning process for sure, but as we built the website I learned the basics of coding.
Don’t get me wrong I am still not a great coder, but I can get most stuff accomplished with time. Also things are so much easier thanks to tools like WordPress and WooCommerce.
I am so glad I did not listen to all the people who told me how stupid I was to attempt to sell wallpaper on the internet.
Just as an FYI the site that I originally built in 1996 is still up and running, and business is as good as ever.
You can take a look at LelandsWallpaper.com
Back in 2010 I was on Fox News about Fastpitch TV.
It was a pretty interesting experience.
They sent a driver to pick me up and take me to Dallas. Once I arrived in Dallas I went up to the 10th floor. It may of been the 11th floor, I can really remember.
Then I went into an office/studio and there was just one guy there. I thought it was so funny because I really expected it to be this busy TV Studio. I thought there would be all kinds of people buzzing around doing TV Stuff.
Instead it was basically one guy with a camera, and the camera was pointing at a chair. I was told to sit ion that chair and wait.
After waiting a few moments the interview started, but it was so weird because I was talking but could not see the people I was talking to.
It was just me, and the guy that worked at that location. It really changed my concept of what a TV Studio was.
My studio in my home may of actually been a better studio than the one I went to for the interview.
All it takes is one great idea to be successful, or just working really, really hard. Which do you think is more likely?
If you follow me at all then you know I am a big believer in Multicasting.
Just to be clear I did not make up the concept of multicasting. I actually got the idea from an old friend Paul Colligan.
I thought I would create a post about a new podcast I have started, and the circle of marketing I am building around it.
The new podcast is the Fixer Upper Podcast. If you are a fan of The Home And Garden Network (HGTV) you are very familiar with the Fixer Upper TV Show. The TV Show stars Joanna and Chip Gaines.
The Gaines family live in Waco, Texas and together they remodel homes. They attempt to take older homes (Fixer Uppers) and make them into a Dream home for their clients.
This is a very popular show, and the host Joanna Gaines is quite the marketer.
My wife is joining me on The Fixer Upper Podcast. This is the first time we have recorded a podcast together, and it is a new experience for us both.
I believe this may be the first independent podcast of an HGTV Show.
Now that you understand the podcast subject lets get back to the marketing circle which like I said is the multicasting part.
In case you are not aware my wife and I own, and operate the largest wallpaper store in Texas. I built my first website for this store back in 1996 at LelandsWallpaper.com
Everything I am going to talk about building in this post is being built to market the wallpaper store and website. The podcast, the blogs, the Facebook accounts, the Twitter account, everything is built to help sell more wallpaper and decorating products.
Another great thing for me is the fact that Joanna Gaines has teamed up with York Wallcoverings to come out with her own line of wallpaper. Of course I already have Joanna’s wallpaper books on my website at LelandsWallpaper.com/JoannaGaines.
This will add a special touch to the podcast and marketing of the wallpaper website since Joanna is now putting her wallpaper into some of the homes she decorates.
Step 1: Create the Podcast. I am not going to go into this very much. Their are plenty of sites that explain how to podcast, but I will run a commercial for the wallpaper store on every episode
Step 2: Set Up A Blog. This was another basic, and easy step to do. We set up a WordPress Blog for the podcast at FixerUpperPodcast.com. This also allows up to post banner ads and sidebar ads for the wallpaper store.
Step 3: Make A Facebook Group. Of course you need a Facebook Group to get your fans involved. I made one at Facebook.com/groups/FixerUpperPodcast. Of course we will post about decorating, and the wallpaper store here too.
Step 4: Set up a Twitter Account. For this podcast I decided to use my wife’s Twitter account to make it more personal. Her Twitter account is at Twitter.com/KathyLeland
Step 5: Set up a corresponding blog. This blog works to market the podcast, and the core business which is the wallpaper website. For this podcast I took InteriorDecorate.com as the blog name.
Step 6: Podcast Directories. Now, of course, I have set up the podcast on the major directories like iTunes, Stitcher, Speaker, and etc.
Step 8: Started a newsletter. Gathering names for the podcast mailing list will not only allow me to send information to fans of the podcast, but it will allow me to send special offers from the wallpaper store.
Step 9: YouTube Videos. I have built a YouTube page to market wallpaper. My wife Kathy creates video reviews of new wallpaper books. We have actually done very well on wallpaper sales already from these reviews at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLVIkpCq1M9aSW58Sayuxhg/videos
Step 10: Set up a secondary Facebook Group at Facebook.com/groups/DecorateInteriors This is just anther place to attract people and get them involved.
These are the first steps I use in creating the circle of marketing around my Wallpaper Store. It will grow as time goes by and I add more resources.
I thought I would at least share what I have going on so far. I also hope that this will give you some ideas of your own, and help you make your own Circle of Marketing.
I have been a salesman my entire life and I have never had a mustache. I believe they make people look kind of sneaky.
I have had Twitter accounts for years. Actually I think I started my first Twitter account the first month, or so that it was online.
Even though I have several accounts on Twitter until recently I have only spent time on my softball account at Twitter.com/FastpitchTV. I feel like I have been somewhat effective at building the account for Fastpitch TV as I am over 29,000 followers.
I am not very active on that account, and only follow 14 people at the moment, but the account has grown just the same. The main reason that account has grown is the fact that my staff puts out a lot of great softball content everyday.
Lets move on to my personal Twitter account which is at Twitter.com/GaryLeland. This account has been just sitting there for years. I have really never done anything with my personal account until recently.
I decided I would start using my personal account, and build up my followers. I started posting more, and more often and I am even interacting with other people.
I have to admit I am happy with the growth in my number of followers. It went from almost none to 3,000 followers in a very short amount of time.
I have actually started spending a good bit of time on the account. I have been reading a lot of post from the 300 or so people I follow.
I am really in shock at the number of people that just post other peoples quotes. Quotes are close to 40% of what I see in my Twitter feed.
I don’t mind the idea of quotes that much. It is just the fact that they are all other peoples quotes. I wonder do these people just buy ebooks of quotes on Amazon. Then copy and post a couple of new quotes every day.
I figure that buying the ebook would be the easiest way to do this, so I searched for books of quotes on Amazon.
OMG there are literally tons of books of quotes on Amazon, so I think I am on track here.
Then I have to wonder are there that many people that want to see quotes that bad. I mean if there are the guys who write these quote books must be making a ton of money since there is so much demand for quotes.
Then I wonder is there not a copyright on quotes? I saw one book that had 1000 quotes in it. I just can’t imagine someone is paying 1000 people every time they sell a copy of there book?
So to get back to Twitter, I just wonder if there are many people who really love seeing the same quotes over, and over again from all there different people?