#480 WP-Tonic Show With Special Guest Jamie O'Kane

How A Denver Based CPA Is Using Podcasting To Help Her Build A Great Business With a Podcast of 20.000 Downloads Audience Per Month!

Jamie is owner and operator of JE O’Kane CPA, LLC, in Centennial, Colo., where she provides advanced tax planning, tax preparation, growth consulting, and accounting services for women-owned veterinarian and dental practices across the country. A QuickBooks® Online ProAdvisor, she is also the founder and host of The Abundant Beans Podcast, a weekly podcast that brings to light the struggles, successes and purpose of entrepreneurs all over the world. Jamie has two school-age kiddos and one engineer husband

Jonathan: Welcome back folks to the WP tonic show. This is episode 480 we got a great guest. We’ve got Jamie O’kane with us. She’s a CPA, but she’s also big in multimedia podcasting, and we’re going to be delving deep into why she went into podcasting. What have been them surprises in her journey in podcasting, has she got any advice. If you’re looking to go into podcasting to promote your business or service. It is going to be a great discussion. We seem to be missing my cohost, the intelligent one and the good looking one, Adrian. But he might be joining us, he might be having some technical troubles. Otherwise I will be doing the interview, my beloved listeners and viewers. So Jamie, can you give us just a quick intro about yourself and what you.
Jamie: Yeah, so actually I run a CPA firm here in the Denver area. We work primarily with a women owned veterinary clinics and we help them grow and build sustainable businesses. I’m an advanced tax planner so we’re constantly looking for cash savings for all of our clients. So I have been doing that for a long time. I was a tax manager in a firm before that, met my husband up at CSU. We have two kiddos and we just put it in an application for a rescue cat. Yeah, we’re really excited. Hopefully we get her name is Gouda. I don’t think that’s what we’ll keep her name to be, but her name is Gouda.
Jonathan: Right. So before we go into the main part, the interview, I’d like to talk about our major sponsor has been with us for the past couple of years. We host our WP tonic website with them and that’s Kinster hosting. What is Kinster hosting, you might say, well if you’re looking for supper posting for yourself or for your clients and you got a Woo Commerce website, you’ve got a membership site, got a learning management system like Learn Dash or Lifter LMS. You need something better than your average box for standard Go Daddy account, or you’re soon going to find out that you do. And if you’re looking for some of the best value and some of the best hosting on the market, I’ll suggest that you go over to Kinster and have a look at their plans. You know when I’m supporting Alec clients and they’re not hosting Kinster, we have to log in to their hosting providers.
Jonathan: I always think, I’m not trying to be funny here I think I just couldn’t leave Kinster. I couldn’t go to what these people offering, because what you get with Kinster, you get Google Framework. So they host your website on the Google platform, but you get a customized interface that is just superb and so easy to use. Plus it all has the technical bells and whistles that you’re looking for, not only for your own website, but for your client’s website plus, and this is the major thing. You get some of the best support I’ve ever had from a hosting company and you only know the importance of great support is when you really need it. And I’ve not ever, never for client’s site or for my own being disappointed with the support that I’ve got from Kinster. So if that sounds great, go out to Kinster, buy one of their packages. And the most important thing is tell them that you heard about them on the WP tonic podcast. So Jamie, so what first got you into podcasts? What was the first thing that it came on your ride on, you think, Oh, I want to give that a go.
Jamie: I was I’ve had some people in my life who’ve been really good mentors for me, pushing me to do video or lives or something. They kept telling me, you’re the CPA with a personality, you know, you have a lot to offer, you know, beyond just, you know, pushing out tax returns. And you know, people want to know that people want to meet you. And for the longest time I was looking for maybe to do just videos on the website and things like that. And then a good friend of mine was like, I just met this amazing podcast producer. You should talk to him. And I was like, podcasts and I had never listened to a podcast before that. So I started listening to some podcasts and talked to my producer and I said, okay, let’s sign up. You know, it was the year that I said yes to a lot of things that I didn’t really know what I was saying yes to. I decided I’m just going to say yes to everything. So I said yes, I signed a one year contract and here we are, we just put out the 74th episode this week.
Jonathan: Oh, so you’ve been doing it over slightly over a year then?
Jamie: Yeah. So we’ve launched our podcast in November of 2000. What year is it? 18. So yeah, we’re about a year and a half in.
Jonathan: Right. So what was the reason that you thought this was going to be a good idea? Because you know, is it aimed at your target audience, which I think you said was veterinarians?
Jamie: So our podcast is actually pretty general business. I interview, I interview all types of business owners. We talk about obstacles, we talk about successes. You know what the real purpose of the podcast is, what I do in my daily life, which is support business owners in a way that gives them tangible information. So, you know, we’re interviewing people from, you know, productivity experts to culture experts. But we have a lot of veterinary people on there also. We have not a lot of people that work with veterinarians on the podcast.
Jonathan: Right. And so what has been the response to the podcast in general?
Jamie: It’s been really, really positive. It’s so fun when people are like a really, you know, I just, you know, or I’ll get somebody that wants to be, you know, thinks they want to be a client or whatever and like, yeah, we’ve listened to a few episodes and I’m like, what did you think? Tell me, you know, tell me good things about, you know, how, what you think and everybody, it’s just been really positive and it’s so fun. I love talking to people. I love, you know, getting into the nitty gritty of, you know, their businesses and their lives. And so it’s actually, you know what I already do, we just get to, we just get to record it.
Jonathan: So you got you signed a contract for a company I’m more kind of hybrid. I have an editor that helps me edit, but I push that up to a shared Dropbox folder and then he edits them and pushes back the edited version to me, but then I put it, I use libsyn. So does this production, do you just have to turn up at this nightly time and then and then he, he or she does the rest or how does that work?
Jamie: Yeah, so we work so his name is Steven Andrews for spotted dog media and he’s been on the podcast too. I’ve interviewed him a couple of times. We generally do in person as much as possible. Those podcasts tend to do better for us. But so he does, he comes actually to my house and we do all the recording here. And then I also do zoom calls. As you know, you and I are recording next week. But we also do zoom calls and then I’ll just send those over to him and he’ll do that. It’s, but we do video and audio and then he also creates, you know, a bunch of content clips through all that content for us. So he does most of that. And then it all goes up onto our Squarespace, Squarespace website, which then pushes to all of our,
Jonathan: I’ll forgive you
Jamie: That’s okay. Which pushes it out to him.
Jonathan: When you’re ready for the lie and the flexibility of WordPress, I’m there for you.
Jamie: See what I love about Squarespace and I know you love WordPress and we’ll talk about kind of the different one, the differences. What I love about Squarespace is I can do stuff on there.
Jonathan: Well, you can do stuff on WordPress.
Jamie: I have a WordPress website and it’s, man.
Jonathon: Well, the way it’s changing It’s become just as flexible with Squarespace, with the right set up but.
Jamie: Yeah. So, you know, that’s how it was set up for us and that’s what we’ve been running on. So it’s been really good.
Jonathan: I’ll forgive you. So what have been some of the challenges or things that have surprised you so far in your podcast journey?
Jamie: Yeah you know, I think the first thing that surprised me was how well it does. We have about 25,000 listeners a month, which I’m being told is a really good numbers. So that’s been really good. The other thing that has surprised me is how soon we got PR companies asking to, or wanting their people to
Jonathan: Well you’re in the, you’re in the top 20%, Jamie.
Jamie: That’s crazy, see, I don’t even let, it just boggles my mind. It doesn’t even, you know, doesn’t even register with me. So I think that has been the biggest surprise. The biggest challenge is, you know, just the time to do the podcast. You know, cause I run a busy CPA firm so, but I have to say podcasting is one of my favorite things, so it’s pretty easy to make that time.
Jonathon: Yeah. If you really enjoy what you do that’s so insightful. If you really like doing something and it’s benefits in your business as well. It’s difficult, but you normally will keep doing it, won’t you?
Jaimie: Yes. It’s really fun. I love interviewing people.
Jonathon: So does your producer, does he or his company find the guests or is it a mixture of you and him?
Jamie: So we generally find all the guests. I have an assistant Emily. So she helps us find the guests. I actually I’ve been doing a lot of LinkedIn outreach in our industry and into the veterinarian space. For the partners. There’s not a lot of veterinarians on LinkedIn, but there’s a lot of people that work with veterinarians on LinkedIn. So that’s where a lot of our guests come from. And then also local networking group.
Jonathan: And you have agencies also, because I think that’s my lady that does outreach from another approach.
Jamie: And then we have a whole pile of agencies sending us their people.
Jonathan: So what are some of the main things you’re looking for from a guest? Because I look back, fortunately I haven’t ever had a really, really terrible guest. I’ve had a couple of, I did kind of calm down the Englishness around cause I’ve had, when I first started, I had a couple of American guests that I call it the rabbit stare. They didn’t quite know what the hell I was saying. I mean, so I’ve had to calm it down a bit. So what do you think really makes a great guest ready in general?
Jamie: Anybody that’s, and it’s so funny, I tell people all the time, all I need you to do is come talk about you. You know, come answer my questions about you and your business. It’s pretty easy. Some, we’ve had some, you know, really deer in the headlights, guests, people that were, that wanted to be on the podcast, but how to, you know, we’re scared to but it’s really conversational. Styled if you put me as much as I can run a camera, I also do deer in the headlights that if I get to talk to somebody, I’m happy to be on camera.
Jonathan: Yes, yes. Well I suppose it depends on its approach. So also, you know, I’ve also noticed, I think I’ve kind of have a reasonably good on-boarding process. I find, I find going on, I love podcasts. I find that in general, they haven’t really hit the sweet point either. They have literally no on-boarding process. You literally just sent a link like half hour before podcast goes live or, or they’ve got like a five form system and they’re terrified that they’re going to get the wrong guests.
Jamie: You know, I think, you know, I’m all about processes and systems. That’s one of my, my big strengths. And, but you know, having an assistant on, you know, we’re, we’re working on that process, but so our processes is, if it’s somebody I don’t know and I’ve never met I asked them to hop on a quick zoom call with you.
Jonathan: Just as you did with me.
Jamie: Yes, I did. Just to meet and greet. So I just kind of have a better idea of who they are before we hop on. And then I go do my research, ask them, you know, formulate my questions before. But we also like make sure that, you know, people know what to expect. We, you know, here’s your link, here’s, you know, making sure everything is working. And then we actually are working on our process when people schedule, especially when we’re doing the zoom call ones.
Jamie: Um we actually, I have a podcast I’m going to be on next week when we scheduled theirs, or my assistant scheduled me for their podcast. She was like, Oh my gosh, there are process. It was like, she was like, it was so many things they needed, but it was everything upfront. So it’s not like asking for bio’s on the back end and then I’m waiting for them so I can prep. So it was really, you know, more forward and asking. And so we’ve kind of updated our process based on their process and so that’s been really helpful.
Jonathan: Well, I used more, I’ll come back to sending the link to very short form because I do mean this. But we had a great guest on a few weeks ago and I didn’t ask him to fill in the form and then he came back and he said, well, you’ve used the wrong photograph. The photograph you used is not me allude to the one he sent, the one that I can’t see the difference. So I’ve gone back to setting the form which I don’t think I’ve sent you, but you obviously you got a few pictures on the web.
Jamie: Yeah, I’ve got a bunch of them.
Jonathan: But we’re going back to sending out the form just to make sure that we get them right.
Jamie: Yes, you know, and for our cover photos, because we also do video, our cover photos have to specifically be landscape. And so, you know, we have to specifically ask for that. And then we’re scrambling sometimes because we’re like, eh, we don’t have a photo. And then my producer will put up another photo of me and I’m like, can we, can we not? So, you know, we’re just trying to, we’re just trying to streamline our process, but definitely those podcasts that have the good processes that are podcast people still, you know, want to be on again.
Jonathan: Yes. It’s just finding that balance. We’re going for our break. We’ll be coming back in a few moments. I’m going to be talking to some more about podcasts and I am going to be talking a few questions about finance and freelancing, and some of the tax avoidance and other problems that you should try and avoid that this time of year, we were back in a few moments folks.
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Jonathan: We’re back, we had a great discussion so far with Jamie. My beloved cohost has missed this. I think he’s missed a good one. I feel very relaxed with Jamie. Jamie has got a very relaxing voice. So have you gone, so when it came to the equipment this is the other area where a lot of people get kind of fixated on what is the actual equipment that you use to record the sound in the video.
Jamie: So my producer has all of his equipment, so when we do in person podcast, he just brings everything. And so we have, you know, he’s got all of his professional equipment for zoom calls. I just have, I have my, this, this guy who’s an auto technical something and my, my noise canceling headphones so that if the children are running around behind me, I don’t, not that worried about it. So that’s pretty much it. You know, his equipment, his, his equipment, I don’t know what he uses on the back end. I, I realized really soon in my business that there are certain things I need to learn how to do and certain things. I don’t know how to, I don’t need to learn how to do and editing audio and videos, not on my list of things. So he handles all of that stuff.
Jonathan: My first cohost bill was a bit awkward in the sound Nazi. Because also, when we were first starting, we were having to use Google hangout and which is a terrible system folks never used that for anything. And half the time we were pleased. We actually got through recording with a drop in actually. Um. And then we went onto Skype. Skype’s not too bad, it has some rough edges too. Um. And then zoom came on the market and I think their sound quality over the past two to three years as moved on enormously. And I know there are some sound editors, a little bit sniffy about using zoom, but in general, I think you got to be a real sound professional with that kind of ear to see the real difference really so.
Jamie: Yeah, it’s actually really interesting, our zoom calls don’t do as well as our in-person because the audio is not as good, so it’s very interesting. We have good data to say that the zoom calls don’t do as well, which is really sad because I’ve had some really interesting people on.
Jonathan: I’m really fascinated.
Jamie: Um so, you know, part of it is me, so my voice goes in and out, that’s how I talk. So I’ve had to learn how to stay my voice on. So, you know, part of it’s me, part of it’s, you know, just the zoom, that’s audio. But we use zoom, so we’re a virtual firm, so we use zoom for all of our meetings. We use zoom for, you know, all of our client meetings. You know, we are huge about zoom Um so it’s been interesting. We also tried Stitcher for a little bit to see if we could get you know, if we could get better audio on the zoom calls through that, it wasn’t better. The zoom calls are really our best option or for this type of podcast. So, some hopefully, but then the whole world’s on zoom right now. So, but today it seems to be working. I’ve had a few calls this week where nobody could, like, everybody’s internet is not working.
Jonathan: Wow. This is the only, that’s been one of the most attractive things about using zoom. It’s been pretty rock solid.
Jamie: Yeah.
Jonathan: So like you say, so like you say your CPA firms, so, your remote. Um. What have been some of the benefits and what are some of the non-beneficial things that you think you get from being a distributed company then?
Jamie: You know, I think the big benefit is the ability to harness talent that I can’t get here in the Denver area. It, everything is, there’s no accountants and there’s a ton of an accounting jobs.
Jonathan: Why is that?
Jamie: They can’t pay them enough, I don’t know. You know, it’s very interesting it’s a, it’s an interesting I get, I get job offers all the time. I have recruiters on LinkedIn constantly contacting me. No I don’t want to come work for your companies. I’m unemployable at this point, so I have to make this business work. You know, it’s just been the ability to harness new talent and the ability to, you know, give our clients, you know, access to people. You know, we don’t, I don’t need, and I don’t need an office. I work, I’ve always worked the, I’ve always run the firm from house. My coffee pot is right over there. If I need to take a nap, I can go upstairs. You know, it’s just, it’s been really good for my family. It’s very good for my family and it’s been really good for my mental health. And my ability to, you know, to take care of my clients in a productive way.
Jonathan: My partner she doesn’t understand because she’s got a normal nine to five job. But I work the craziest hours, you know, but I can have a nap for a nap for like 40 minutes in the afternoon. But then I’ll be working on something at midnight.
Jamie: Yeah. It’s just been good because I can run out, go do kids, you know, go do kid’s stuff, or if the kids are sick, we can stay here. You know, they can stay home if they want to. You know, it’s just, it’s been really good for my family to have me here. And now that we’re trying to get a new animal I’m home, you know, so it’s good.
Jonathan: So you could classify your children husband is an animal too.
Jamie: Yes. Yeah. They’re also animals. Especially now because I’m stuck with them for at least the next three weeks. They’re all in my office.
Jonathan: Um what about, how do you deal with clients that want, you know, conference meetings? You know, where you, they want a one to one conference meeting.
Jamie: We do zoom calls or phone calls. We don’t, I mean, if they’re super local and they super insist on it, we’ll meet them at their office if they have one. There’s a local coffee shop that has little conference rooms if I absolutely need to rent a space. But mostly, yeah, if you can’t work with us virtually, you’re, we’re not a good fit for you because we’re asking you to upload things all the time. And if you can’t handle that on the front end, there’s no way we’re going to be a good fit long term.
Jonathan: Yeah. Well, I’ve got an arrangement with a coworker because I live in Carson city, but I have arrangement I no longer deal with many local clients. I used to be a kind of very traditional digital local agency that really tried to get most of their clients in Northern Nevada. And then I did a big job in around learning management system and we really enjoyed the project and I was attracted to it. So I kind of, I aim WP tonic now in the building of learning management systems and membership sites and Woo Commerce and that’s what we specialize in there. So my amount of local clients over the past three years has diminished quite substantially. But I still have a couple and for that Um I have arrangement, with a co-working facility, we know where I pay a minimum amount and I have access to their conference room if it’s necessary.
Jamie: Yeah. And I was doing that for a while because I had a lot of really local clients. But really, yeah. Yeah. So we actually, our clients are across the country of, we have clients from California to North Carolina right now and that’s what we want. You know, we’re looking for this small amount of perfect fit clients. And that doesn’t have to be in the Denver area.
Jonathan: Yeah. So this decision very similar to my own, to specialize in a niche industry. How beneficial has that decision been to your business then?
Jamie: It’s, I dragged my feet for way too long. I dragged my feet for way too long guys, make a choice and do it. It’s been amazing. It’s been amazing to focus my efforts and to focus how we work. And to focus how we help people because it’s really, it is a niche industry. And they have their own set of, you know, of things that you know, really works for them or doesn’t work for them and the way that things are changing and it’s, it’s actually very parallel to the accounting industry and which I keep my thumb on my thumb on a lot of the time. So it’s very interesting to learn more about the industry and learn how it’s growing because it’s changing and growing very rapidly. But also on the same trajectory as accounting. So it’s actually kind of fun.
Jonathan: I know obviously being that you are specializing in that niche, I would imagine that you can offer so much more value because you get to learn the ins and outs of that industry very closely. You build relationships, it’s much easier to get referrals. It’s a win-win not only for the client, but for your practice.
Jamie: Yeah, it’s a win-win and it’s been a win-win for the podcast. So it’s been a win-win to, you know, go into LinkedIn and really go towards the people who really work in this industry and offer them some, some time on the podcast. We have a ton of listeners. It’s, it’s good for them. It’s good for us.
Jonathan: I’ve got a much more specialized, it’s a WordPress market between four to five thousand listeners per month if you know, for you to get out of a 20,000. You know, even with that, I’m still in the 20% bracket because most podcasts get about 400 listeners a month. Four to five hundred, so we’re both in the 20% you a lot more, you must be getting a lot more veterinarians listening to your podcasts.
Jamie: Yeah. So we actually, yeah, so our podcast is national is not as is also international. So we have I actually don’t know the data now. But we’re in, last, last I heard, we were in 80 countries. We had listeners in 80 countries. I think we are on in all the States now. We might have a few that we haven’t, haven’t turned yet. But yeah.
Jonathan: Oh, you said that, you’re also on the radio as well?
Jamie: No.
Jonathan: You’re just talking about, yeah, I, I get what you mean. How are we doing for time? I think we can, in the podcast part of the show. If Jamie is okay we have some bonus content where we get into some financial advice.
Jamie: Sounds good.
Jonathan: And that sounds good. So Jamie, how’s the best way for people to find out more about you and maybe get a hold of you?
Jamie: so you can find me on LinkedIn Jamie O’Kane CPA CTC and I’m a certified tax coach, which is, that was the last three letters. You can find us at the Abundant Beans Podcast, we’re on all the platforms and YouTube. You can hit me up on, on Facebook, and then the CPA firm is Jamie is at jeokanecpa.com.
Jonathan: That’s great. [Inaudible 27:23 – 27:27]. We’ll be back next week folks, with another great guest like Jamie trying to give you insight to make your business more successful in 2020. And if you really want to support the show, go to the WP Tonic website and join our newsletter list and you can, there’s a popup that comes up straight away and also it is in the pages on the sidebar. And we also doing a prize as well, every month one new subscriber per month can win a prize up to the value of $100 plus and I will be announcing the first winner of that next week. So we will be looking at those that have subscribed in March and in choosing one of them, I’ll just throw a dart at the dart board and I’ll be emailing them to see if they want the price. And.
Jamie: Jonathan, can I do one more? Can I talk about one more thing? We are creating a Facebook group to support small businesses and this time I’m expecting it to launch tomorrow. So just a heads up. It’ll be attached to the abundant beans on Facebook page. That’ll be the abundant beans support community. This is a hard time for small businesses and I just have a heart to, you know, to support people and see if there’s any way we can help them.
Jamie: Yeah, that’s fantastic. I’d like to say thanks for that Jamie.
Jamie: You’re welcome.
Jonathan: And I want to say I joined the newsletter, the WP Tonic newsletter. We send all information about e-learning and WordPress, and I put a fair bit of effort into that in providing the latest most interesting stories. We’ll be back next week, hopefully with my cohost and another great guest like Jamie. Speak to you, see you soon. Thanks, bye


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