357 – Jordan Harbinger: How to Keep Growing and Keep Moving Forward

“I was growing more and more disillusioned,” Jordan Harbinger said.

Jordan and I were finally catching up. So I wanted to know what happened.

See, Jordan used to be the host of a popular podcast called “The Art of Charm.” Until he got fired… He reached out to me in an email. And I knew I needed to get him on the show right away.

He spent 12 years building up the brand. He’s done close to 900 interviews. And in a way, this is who he was. Building a brand or a company or a team—all of it—is an investment. It’s time and vision. It’s concentration. It’s heart.

And eventually, it becomes a part of you.

But Jordan didn’t lose it all when he got fired. He started to take steps back before that happened. Because he didn’t like his brand anymore. He didn’t like what it was morphing into. And he thought his partners understood. They didn’t.

I’ve been through my own terrible losses like this before. So I can say fully that what Jordan did next was the definition of a true entrepreneur.

He’s in the middle of an ongoing legal battle right now. So he couldn’t really talk about the details, but it sounded like getting fired actually worked out for him. I’ll explain.

“I called a lot of people to ask for help,” Jordan said. “I called people and asked ‘What do you think I should do?’”

Jordan was given some great advice. Norm Pattiz, the founder of the PodcastOne Network, told him, “You should pick up and continue like nothing ever happened. You shouldn’t just reel back. Or take a break. Or go to Hawaii. Don’t do any of that stuff, just keep going.”

And he did.

He launched “The Jordan Harbinger Show.” And brought his team with him.

“I just continued the show,” he said.

I really feel like you have to lean into crisis to find opportunity. And that’s what Jordan did.

A million people told him, “This is the best thing that ever happened to you. You just don’t know it yet.”

And now, just 4 months in, he sees it.

“I see the growth trajectory that I’m on. I brought the majority of the team with me. I’ve got the audience coming back. And I left everything I didn’t like about what I was doing before behind.”

I wondered about the things he didn’t want to deal with. I was asking as a fellow podcaster.

So he told me the changes he was making.

“There’s a huge difference in the way I wanted the brand to go,” Jordan said. “The other guys just wanted to focus on dating and relationships. I thought, ‘I’m married. I don’t care about this. I’m not interested.’ The brand was embarrassing for me.”

He wanted to interview neuroscientists, all-Star athletes, and authors. The people he actually respected and admired.

Jordan told me about Dan Harris, who’s a news anchor turned author and app creator. He teaches people how to be “10% happier.” And he has a strong message. But Dan didn’t want to come on Jordan’s old show. He canceled last minute.

Cancelling is normal is this business. But for Jordan, it was a bigger sign.

“He thought the brand sucked. And he didn’t want to be a part of it. He didn’t want to do it. And I had so many rejections like that from guests.”

I wanted to dig into why he wanted to continue down that same path. He left his old podcast for a new one, “The Jordan Harbinger Show.”

But I asked him, “Why do a podcast at all? You were pushed out. So why didn’t you want to do something different?”

“I love it. And I love interviewing,” he said. “I love the contact, the prep, reading the book from the guest. I love the connections. Everything about it I like. I love interviewing.”

He chose himself. Without compromising his interests.

“I left the deadweight of my personal brand behind,” Jordan said.

He gave me a lot of insights into his process of rebuilding. Not just a brand, but also a business. And it starts with “The Jordan Harbinger Show.”

These are the tips I learned from Jordan Harbinger about podcasting and his process of becoming new again:

1. High Performers Prepare Like Crazy

You can tell when people don’t prepare. Like Larry King, he’s famous for never preparing. But often times it doesn’t work. Preparation is the key to success.

“I’ve noticed that high performers prepare like crazy,” Jordan said.

Shaq doesn’t say, “I’m good enough at basketball, I don’t have to go to practice anymore.”

Olympic sprinters don’t quit after they’ve gotten fast enough.

“They realize keeping at the top of their game and innovating requires them to work harder than everybody else. Not to then go, ‘I’ve already developed the skills, I don’t have to worry about this.’”

For me, I would say I spend 10 hours per guest. And I always read the book.

That’s my advice for any upcoming podcaster: Always read the book. The guest will be surprised.

2. Go Deeper Than Everyone Else

“You gotta find the dirt,” Jordan said.

He was telling me about a technique he uses for researching people: .

Go to Wikipedia. Find the “talk page.” That’s where all the editors argue over what should go in the actual Wikipedia article.

Jordan said, “You get these stories that you would never get if you just looked at the person’s LinkedIn or Facebook profile.”

That’s one way to go deeper into a bio. Another way is to hack their friends.

Jordan actually does this. And I’m impressed. He goes to LinkedIn and checks for mutual friends.

When he interviewed Mike Rowe (host of “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel and “Someone’s Gotta Do It” on CNN), Jordan found, by random coincidence, Mike’s college roommate. So Jordan asked him for a story. And got one that Mike wouldn’t mind talking about.

No other interviewer had ever gotten that story.

“That’s that extra work you put in,” Jordan said. “Look up their personal interests, you’ll cut through the noise.”

And this advice can be replicated. It’s not exclusive to interviewing guests. It also applies to networking or interviewing for a job.

It’s one of those skills you can take to any area of your life. BUT don’t do it for dating. I think you’ll scare the other person away.

3. Don’t Edit Who You Are

Over the last two years I’ve become consumed with stand-up comedy. And I’ve had a large group of comedians on my podcast. I wanted to learn the nuances of stand-up from them.

There was a portion of my audience who didn’t like this. They were sick of listening to the comedians on the show. But what I’ve learned is that you can’t please everyone.

“You have to try not to edit what you’re interested in and who you are,” Jordan said. “I had to let myself outgrow the old show. If I didn’t grow into this I would’ve had to freeze myself in time.”

Then he said, “If you’re doing this right you’re creating a connection with your audience that’s so strong, their interests evolve with yours. They’re looking to you for some kind of leadership in this area.”

4. Networks and Relationships Will Save Your Butt

When Jordan launched his own show, he had to rebuild the audience.

“You really only have a few things you can take with you when you start something new,” he said.

Your relationships and network is what’s going to keep you moving forward.

“This is not a bonus. It’s not an add on. It’s not something you can make up for lost time. This is the most important lever that you have. You have to dig the well before you’re thirsty.”

And he’s lucky he did. Because Jordan created so many different relationships over the past 12 years with producers, managers, talent bookers, etc. And he’s also built them up with other people in the business: podcast hosts, guests, talent, authors, speakers, actors. And each one of these relationships is helping him now.

They’re helping him rebuild his subscribers to his new show. And it’s working. He’s seeing the audience come back. The traffic is rising.

So I asked him how I could be proactive with my own network. And how can the listener?

“Open up your text message app. Scroll all the way to the bottom. These are the people you met at some conference where you spoke 2 and a half years ago. Text those people.”

I’ve done this with emails. I’ll go back 5 years. And I’ll respond to someone and pretend they just sent the email. I don’t even mention the time gap. The response rate is usually 100%.

I could’ve kept talking with Jordan for hours. He has so many insights on rebuilding. I kept asking for the next thing and the next thing. I wanted more.

He’s been podcasting for 8 years longer than I have.

We got to talk about some of things Jordan’s been learning on his new podcast so far.

He’s had on Annie Duke, the poker player and James Fallon, a brain researched. So we talked about what he extracted from them. We talked about abductions and psychopaths and books. And I realized, I wasn’t just interviewing Jordan. I was getting to look at a new side of myself. I was getting to see who I am today.

That’s what makes Jordan so great. He’ll reintroduce you to yourself. Just as his did for himself.

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