How Thought Leader Nicky Billou Of The Thought Leader Revolution Activates Profitable Relationships By Serving Your Podcast Network

TBF Nicky Billou | Podcast Network


In this episode, we sit down with Nicky Billou, co-host of The Thought Leader Revolution podcast and an expert in building profitable relationships through podcasting. Nicky shares his insights on how to use your podcast network to serve your audience, connect with influencers, and grow your business. He goes deep into how he built his own successful podcast network and the strategies and tactics he used, and how you can apply those same principles. From creating engaging content to leveraging social media, Nicky offers valuable tips for anyone looking to take their podcasting game to the next level. Whether you’re just getting started or a seasoned podcaster, this episode is packed with actionable insights that will help you take your podcast to new heights and activate profitable relationships. Tune in now.

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How Thought Leader Nicky Billou Of The Thought Leader Revolution Activates Profitable Relationships By Serving Your Podcast Network

In this episode, I got Nicky Billou from The Thought Leader Revolution Podcast. I thought when he first was proposed to me, “Thought leadership, do I want to talk about that? Another entrepreneur podcast with an overstated name, overused terminology,” but this was nothing as I expected. Once I listened to the show, I knew instantly we were going to hit it off famously. This was going to be quite the philosophical discussion about thought leadership and not one of those cursory-surfaced type conversations at all.

He also has other shows. Nicky Billou has got over 425 episodes in 1 show alone, let alone multiple shows. He’s been doing this for a long time. He has it dialed into being a great show and exactly what it needs to be. In addition, bringing in this great perspective and deep thought on his market area. Nicky Billou is the number one international bestselling author of the book, Finish Line Thinking: How to Think and Win Like a Champion, The Thought Leader’s Journey: A Fable of Life and The Power Of Connecting: How To Activate Profitable Relationships By Serving Your Network. This is something that he uses well in the podcasting market.

He is an in-demand and highly inspirational speaker to corporate audiences such as RBC, Lululemon, Royal LePage and TorStar Media. He is an advisor and confidante to some of the most successful and dynamic entrepreneurs in Canada. He is the Cofounder of eCircle Academy where he runs a yearlong Mastermind & Educational program. He’s working with coaches, consultants, corporate trainers, clinic owners, realtors, mortgage brokers and other service-based entrepreneurs, positioning them as authorities in their niche. He’s the creator of the Thought Leader/Heart Leader Designation.

As the host of the number one podcast in the world on thought leadership, The Thought Leader Revolution, Nicky has interviewed over 400 of the world’s top thought leaders such as Astronaut Chris Hadfield, George Ross of the hit series The Apprentice, Barbara Corcoran from Shark Tank, supermodel and business mogul, Kathy Ireland, John Maxwell, world’s number one leadership author, Seth Godin, Marie Forleo, Jack Canfield, and Scott Adams, Creator of Dilbert.

You’re going to have as much fun as I did. I let this conversation go on for a longer than normal interview because I was fascinated with where we were going with things and how we were debating things. We got into a little discussion here on AI so you’re going to want to read intently. Let’s have Nicky Billou, The Thought Leader Revolution.

About The Thought Leader Revolution Host Nicky Billou

TBF Nicky Billou | Podcast NetworkNicky Billou is the #1 International Best Selling Author of the book: Finish Line ThinkingTM: How to Think and Win Like a Champion, The Thought Leader’s Journey: A Fable of Life, and The Power Of Connecting: How To Activate Profitable Relationships By Serving Your Network. He is an in-demand and highly inspirational speaker to corporate audiences such as RBC, Lululemon, Royal LePage, and TorStar Media. He is and advisor and confidante to some of the most successful and dynamic entrepreneurs in Canada. He is the co-founder of eCircle Academy ( ) where he runs a yearlong Mastermind & Educational program working with Coaches, Consultants, Corporate Trainers, Clinic Owners, Realtors, Mortgage Brokers and other service-based Entrepreneurs, positioning them as authorities in their niche. He is the creator of the Thought Leader/Heart LeaderTM Designation.

As the host of the #1 podcast in the world on Thought Leadership, The Thought Leader Revolution ( ) Nicky has interviewed over 300 of the world’s top Thought Leaders, such as:

•Astronaut Chris Hadfield
•George Ross of the Hit TV Series The Apprentice
•Barbara Corcoran from Shark Tank
•Supermodel & Business Mogul Kathy Ireland
•Ivan Misner — Founder Of BNI
•Graham Weihmiller — CEO of BNI
•John Maxwell — World’s #1 Leadership Author
•NYT #1 Bestselling Author Seth Godin
•Marie Forleo — Oprah’s Coach
•Jack Canfield: Author Of Chicken Soup For The Soul
•Scott Adams: Creator of Dilbert

Follow Nicky Billou on Social: LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram


Nicky, thanks so much for joining me. Thought Leadership, I love to talk about this topic. It’s so interesting to try to build something that’s become a little bit of a catchphrase, thought leadership. How can you present that differently? You do that. By adding the word revolution on, you set the mark for where you want to go. Were you thinking that at the time or did you want to dive deeper into thought leadership?

Tracy, first of all, thanks for having me on the show. It’s great to be here. Thought leadership is a powerful concept. The best way to understand it is by drawing a distinction between an expert and a thought leader. An expert is someone who knows something but a thought leader is someone who’s known for knowing something. Another way to put it is an expert is like a cover band, while a thought leader composes and plays original music.

TBF Nicky Billou | Podcast Network
Podcast Network: An expert is someone who knows something, but a thought leader is someone who is known for knowing something.


Experts are a dime a dozen. Thought leaders are rare and valuable. It’s important to understand the difference between being a thought leader and having a strong personal brand. Personal brands are great and they’re very important. Thought leadership comes from having taken the time to take a deep dive into your favorite subject and seeing what all the experiences of your life have taught you. What is at the core of your expertise at what it is that you’re supposed to be able to help people with.

I love that you’re saying this way. Too often, that’s where I say thought leadership has lost its essence because people aren’t understanding its true definition of it.

Let me give you an example of some thought leaders and business experts and the cultural zeitgeist. I’ll give you a business example first. In 1998, two major American computer companies were roughly the same size. They were Dell Computer and Apple Computer. Both were roughly $8.5 billion a year in revenue, had the same market capitalization and both made great products. One of them was led by someone who took on developing his thought leadership, what he was all about. That company grew and scaled at a different rate than the other ones.


TBF Nicky Billou | Podcast Network


Dell computer in 25 years is roughly an $85 billion a year company. It has very respectable growth but Apple is worth over $320 billion a year in revenue. Apple is the world’s most valuable company. Dell is valuable, but not in the top 50, or I don’t even think the top 100 most valuable companies in the world. Why is that? Everybody knows that Apple was led by Steve Jobs. Very few people know that Dell was led by Michael Dell. Steve Jobs put himself out there and created for himself a following of people who wanted to be like Jobs, who wanted to learn from him, understand how he thought and wanted to run their businesses that way. Michael Dell wanted to be in the background. He didn’t care for that and that’s fine.

Steve Jobs put himself out there. He created a following of people who wanted to be like him, learn how he thought, and who wanted to run their businesses that way. Click To Tweet

He could have. I’m a late ’90s girl. I’m older than I look for those of you out there. I remember so lots of interviews with Michael Dell. He was in WIRED Magazine a lot but he didn’t have that same energy. You’re right. It was just like, “This is how we run things. This is what we think.” It was like the brand and his publicity team forced him out there. It felt like that. It was too prepared. Steve Jobs would say all kinds of stuff back then. He was a little wild at that point.

He was. He also had done some original thinking about why Apple existed, why Apple is important and there was more to Steve Jobs than Apple. He also was the CEO of Pixar. This is a man whose thought leadership created for him an incredible legacy. Jobs died in 2011. I’m doing this interview on a Mac. I’ve got an iPhone. My whole family is on Macs and iPhones. I still go online and watch YouTube videos of Steve Jobs to inspire myself. I read Walter Isaacson’s book, Steve Jobs. I didn’t do any of that for Michael Dell. I’m sure Michael Dell is pretty fascinating.

There is a book about Dell but I don’t have it on my shelf either so that says a lot. How did you become a thought leader of thought leaders, though? How did that progress for you?

I’m originally an immigrant from the Middle East. I’m a Christian from Iran. When I was eleven years old, the Islamic Revolution happened in Iran. The relatively benign secular dictatorship of the Shah was replaced by the absolute tyranny of the mullahs who implemented a theocracy. My late father, God rest his soul, he could see the writing on the wall. He’s like, “We got to get out of here.”

He made a plan. He got us out of Iran. Eventually, we settled in Canada. I thank God every day for my dad having the foresight to do that. It changed my family’s historical and future legacy. My dad was someone I looked up to. He was an uplifter of humanity. If you knew him and you were looking for work, he’d find a job. He’d make calls and make that happen for you.

If you’re trying to start a business, he’d sit down with you and go, “We’re going to make this happen for you.” He invested himself into you. He’d even help you find capital. If you worked for him and you were looking to buy a car, a house or an apartment and you didn’t have enough money, dad would top you up so you could buy that car, house or apartment.

I would look at this and go, “Who does that?” My dad, Napoleon Billou, did. Why? First of all, he was a Christian and he believed he’d been blessed by God. It was his duty as a Christian to share those blessings with others. Secondly, he did it because he could. He had the financial wherewithal. I wanted to be like dad. Dad was an entrepreneur. I wanted to be an entrepreneur.

Dad believed that, “You got to understand that life is about people, not about how much money you make. Business is about people, not money.” The first time he told me that, I go, “I thought business was about money.” He goes, “No, it’s about people. You got to help people. It’s about solving problems for people for a profit.”

I made that part of my mantra. Nicky Billou’s 7 bigger 3-peat business success solution. You solve acute problems for awesome people for an amazing profit. If you did that, you had a wonderful business. To me, that was important. That was my background. I became a champion for freedom coming from tyranny. I laugh at people in America and Canada who go, “We’re so oppressive here.” I’m like, “What? You’re kidding. Are you out of your freaking mind? This is the greatest, freest, most tolerant place on earth. You open your mouth like that. Come with me to Iran. I dare you to do it because they’re going to beat you to death in the street, the police.”

Put it into context here. I grew up from the age of 8 to 10 at the height of apartheid in South Africa. That gave me a very different worldview like you have. Watching something that wasn’t right isn’t the way the world should work. It provides the context for the rest of your life in a way that has formed everything you do. I love that that has been the driver for you. It makes such a difference. You’ve been immersed in this idea of thought leadership from the beginning without realizing that that’s what you were being immersed in.

A few years back, when I was in business, I had a client. I was a top fitness coach transitioning into the world of services for business owners. This fellow and I were talking. He was my last fitness client. I said, “You’re a pretty smart guy. I enjoyed talking to you. We should create some mastermind together.” He’s like, “It’s a great idea. Let’s call it eCircle for the entrepreneur circle. Let’s charge for it.” That’s how my thought leadership journey started.

We started running peer groups for business owners and realize that there were a lot of good people in business with big hearts who want to make a difference but they sucked at business. They were good technicians but they sucked at business. They don’t understand sales, marketing, financial statements, balance sheets, income statements and cashflow statements.

They didn’t understand hiring, firing, culture, customer service, structure and systems. Their businesses were wobbly. I looked at this and I’m like, “I come from a business background so people need to know they can trust me. Let me start to position myself that way.” I wrote some books. I’ve written and published eight books so far. My ninth one’s coming out soon. This is the sixth of them.

I was noticing your ninth one on the most recent episode. You’ve got another book coming out. You’ve been busy.

It’s been great but that was a part of me writing primarily. Most of those books are business books. One of them is about having the mindset of a champion and applying it to business. The other one is about the power of connecting and how your network can be the source of your net worth. Most people don’t properly utilize their network to generate business. Probably I could say if you’re reading this, there’s at least $250,000 in annual business in your network that you should get but you’re not getting.

I wrote a book called The Thought Leader’s Journey. It’s a fable. It’s written in the style of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino. This book goes deeply into what thought leadership is and how to become a thought leader. For me, I started to build some credibility in the marketplace, “This is the fellow who wrote all these books.” I had my podcast, The Thought Leader Revolution.

That’s what I want to ask you. When did you decide and how did you decide that podcasting was going to fit into this model of thought leadership? What was that impetus?

I have a mentor. My mentor said, “Start a podcast.”

You’re 425-plus episodes in so you’ve been doing this for a while.

I have. I have a second podcast I do as well. It’s not a business podcast. It’s a podcast for men. Overall, we’ve released over 500 total episodes between the 2 podcasts. I’ve been a guest on probably 200 podcasts minimum as well.

Your name pops up everywhere when you search. That’s for sure. When you approach this podcasting, we hear this a lot. There are a lot of coaches out there who go, “Start a podcast.” There are many reasons why they recommend that but so few turn it into something that becomes a thought leadership platform. That’s what you’ve done here. What do you think was the approach that you made that was different that made this integrated into the growth of your thought leadership?

This comes from my dad again. For most people that get into coaching, here’s the first thought that’s in their head, “I want to sell my programs.” What they don’t understand is people don’t buy their way into something, AKA your program. They buy their way out of something, AKA their hellish problem. They don’t care about your program, expertise and that wonderful methodology you developed or all the degrees and credentials next to your name. All they care about is, “Can you help me stop the pain?” The reason most people fail at being a coach is that they talk about themselves.

“We’re the biggest. We’re the best. We’ve been around the longest.” That’s the kind of messaging they put out there. Your eyes glaze over when you ask someone what they do and they go, “I’m the biggest. I’m the best. I’ve been around the longest.” Stop talking. What if instead, they said to you, “What I do is I help awesome people that are coaches that are making the average amount of money a coach makes, which is between $50,000 and $100,000. I help them double that in a year or less?” If you’re a coach and you’re in that bracket of $50,000 to $100,000 in income, that message would be interesting to you. You’d go, “I wonder how he does that.” If he said, “I’m the biggest. I’m the best. I’ve been it on the longest,” you’re like, “Stop talking. Let me get out of this.”

TBF Nicky Billou | Podcast Network
Podcast Network: The reason most people fail at being a coach is because they talk about themselves. They brag how they’re the biggest, the best, and have been around the longest.


It’s very true. That’s the big problem why so many podcasters quit. It’s because they come in there with this mindset of, “This is a platform to hawk something.” Instead of, “This is a platform to build and help people with their problems.” Sometimes we don’t always know what the cute problem is. We could discover it on our show if we’re listening properly.

When I have someone come on my show and all they’re doing is pitching, I typically don’t publish the episode. There was a fellow, I’m not going to mention his name. He’s written a lot of books. He’s got a little bit of a following. All he did all show long was the pitch. What I did is I cut him off at some point. I say, “It’s been great having you on. Thanks for your time.” I ended the interview and deleted it. I wasn’t going to have it out for somebody to listen to.

The people that I bring on my show don’t pitch. They come and talk about their expertise and how they help people. I had Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman on my show. Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman is the author of the book On Killing. He created the Killology Institute. He’s a man who’s thought deeply about the impact of killing people on military law enforcement. Think about it. These people have to kill people. They’re the good guys but they have to kill people. There’s an impact when you kill a human being.

He thought through what this impact was and wrote this tome of book and that book sold over a million copies worldwide. This man then became the go-to speaker for law enforcement and the military, not just in the United States but all over the world. That’s a thought leader. He came on my show. We talked a bit about that but then he talked about what he’s passionate about, which is sleep. He said, “Most people are sleep deprived.” I’m sleep deprived. One night, I slept four and a half hours.

This is one of my favorite titles on your episodes because it’s so compelling, Why Sleep is A Weapon where you have Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman. It caught my eye. It was one of the episodes I had to listen to because I want to hear what someone like that thinks. Using that terminology weapon is so powerful too.

I was intrigued and I said, “I’d love to write that book with you. That could be your next book on sleep.” He’s like, “I’m in.” Over the next couple of years, writing a book with Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman is a cool thing. It’s amazing that he’s doing that with me. It’s because he came on the show and delivered some good content.

Also, I had Jimmy Capra, the Chief of Global Operations for DEA. He was involved in the capture of El Chapo and the chase for Pablo Escobar, all kinds of these big wheels. He’s the Chief of Global Operations. That was his whole shtick. This dude came on my show and we talked about his principles of leadership, culture and team building.

He was so good. I brought him on my men show as well. He told me stories about what he did when he was a Chief of Global Operations. I got to tell you, that was a lot of fun to have folks like that on the show. I’ve had folks like John Maxwell on the show, the world’s number one leadership author. You bring good people on the show that are ready to talk about things that make a difference. People will listen and they find it valuable.

TBF Nicky Billou | Podcast Network
Podcast Network: You bring good people on the show that are ready to talk about things that make a difference. And people listen and they find it valuable.


They don’t come to listen to me so much as they come to listen to the awesome people that I’m bringing on the show. That also ironically gives me a bit of notoriety and authority amongst the folks. That’s what allowed me to be able to help so many people in making a difference in turning their coaching practice into a thought leader practice. Take something worth between $50,000 and $100,000 a year and turn it into something worth $300,000 to $500,000 a year. That’s awesome. I love doing that. That’s a lot of fun for me.

I can hear it come through your shelf, your energy from the beginning to the latest episodes. Shows that get over 400 episodes have been around the block for a while. Sometimes the host can get a little bit like, “I’m done. I’ve soaked through this.” You don’t. You have that same excitement and energy. It’s because you have such fascinating guests that fascinate you. That is helpful. It’s the binge factor of your show. It’s the reason why I want to go back through and not just listen to one episode but I want to listen to all of them.

That’s awesome. Thank you.

Let’s talk a little bit about the net worth of guests, because normally I do my three things on the show, which I talk about guests, audience, monetization, return on investment and stuff. We’re going to get to those but I want to start with this guest one. This idea is that you are the net worth of your network. You have a network of all of these guests too. What do you estimate yours is at?

Billion, probably.

That’s what I think. You’re about to hit, especially with this number of episodes and the caliber of the guests that you’ve had. You’re talking about over a billion.

It’s probably $3 billion to $4 billion is the net worth of all the guests. I’ve had a couple of billionaires on the show so that helps.

That pushes it over a little bit more. It’s not about the money. It’s about the impact that can have.

Tony Robbins talks about the law of proximity and proximity is power. Whom you get to hang around matters. Your inner circle matters. The wondering around it matters. It’s important to be very deliberate and whom you let into your circle. If you listen to shows like mine and shows like yours, then you’re getting good people that you’re putting into your circles. That’s important. Get close to the people that you want to be like. That’s important.



Do you have any tips for the audience and those podcasters starting who want to make sure that they’re continually expanding and growing into more renowned guests? Do you have any tips for how you do that?

One of my superpowers is I connect people. My very first guest was Raymond Aaron, who’s called Canada’s coach. We were no buddies but I knew Raymond. I’d done some things for Raymond. Raymond liked me. I said, “I’m doing a podcast. Would you like to come on and be our very first guest?” He agreed. We had a second guest, someone I knew who had spoken at an event and I asked him. The 3rd and 4th were speakers I’d met at events.

You got to go into your existing network, see who you know who’s got some notoriety and is renowned. Ask them if they’d be willing to come on your show. If you do that, you’re going to crush it. Once you get some good names on your show, you can use those names and name-drop shamelessly to other people that you want on your show. The fact that I’ve had a lot of big names on my show makes it easier for me to attract other big names to come onto my show.

Success begets success in that kind of model. How many of them? My instinct says your percentage is going to be low but very few of them probably asked you what the circulation of your show was.

Honestly, I’ve only ever had 5 people ask me that and I’ve only had 1 of those 5 people that I’ve brought onto my show.

When they ask, I don’t bring them on. Exactly.

One of the things I say to folks is, I don’t jump through hoops to bring people on my show. It’s either fit or it’s not. Also, I don’t jump through hoops for people. I was introduced to someone who was a production person on a podcast that I was looking to get on. I didn’t realize I was being introduced to a production person. I was polite to the fellow.

Honestly, if I have known he was the production person and not the host, I would’ve never gone on that meeting. No offense to this individual but they’re not a decision maker. I only deal with decision-makers. If you want to come to my show, I love to have you on. If you’re wanting to qualify me and have me jump through hoops, no, forget it. It’s not going to happen.

I know who I am. I know what I’ve done. You can go in two minutes and go look me up. That should be enough to let you know whether you want to be on the show. Don’t try to put yourself in a position like this because it’s not the kind of energy I want on my show anyways. I want people that are loving, kind, free, giving people.

It’s going to be a better show anyway. That’s so true. Podcasters especially in the early days didn’t have this problem because they had a different mindset, to begin with. You had the exposure and experience of your father. You come in with this energy that says, “It doesn’t matter that my show is just starting because it’s going to be successful. We’re going to turn it into something.” There’s not this fear of, “They’re going to ask me about it and then I have to tell them they’re my second guess.” You don’t even have to go there because that’s powerful. Being a second guest is powerful because they’re on a train to something great.

One thing podcasters are always seeking is more listeners. You have your eCircle Academy so you do want your listeners to join your community. I’m pretty sure that your answer is going to be that’s not what’s driving you. Audience matters to you. I can tell by listening to your show. In what way do you consider that audience? What are you putting into that to make sure that they are helping you get more listeners?

If I keep giving them good content that is relevant to their lives and businesses, then they’re going to want to continue listening. At the end of my shows, I go, “If you enjoyed the show, give us a like, a review, a rating. Share it with somebody who you think would benefit from it. You probably know somebody who’d like the message, share this episode with them.” That works. That helps.

If you keep giving your audience good content that is relevant to their lives and their businesses, then they're going to want to continue listening. Click To Tweet

I like that you do that personally. For all of you audience out there, Nicky does it personally. He’s telling them, “If you’ve got something from this, make sure you share it.” That’s better than just the outro doing it for you.

The other thing that can work is you can do things like run ads on places like Facebook and Instagram and say, “We got a show. Come check it out.” That’s the thing that would be pretty valuable for a lot of folks. For my men’s show, I may run some ads to get some folks to come and check us out on Instagram and Facebook because I like to take our show to another level.

This is something that I’ve seen in the patterns of it because we’ve done this many times where we’ve watched clients do it and it doesn’t work so well because it’s hard to track. The way people subscribe to shows, it’s hard to have this direct clickthrough link to be able to follow. Lots of people go into their podcast app and your listeners do grow but you got to watch it over time. You don’t see the direct clickthrough that you normally see in an ad.

However, the exception is men’s show. Men tend to take recommendations straight from an ad more than women do. It’s an unusual phenomenon but we’ve not seen it work on the same kinds of shows for women that we have for men. I’m not sure what that says about it. Maybe we women are a little more skeptical of social media advertising. We depend on someone else recommending it to us.

If someone said to me, I will subscribe and check it out. When I see an ad, it makes me wonder whether or not it’s a lot of smoke and mirrors and a lot of advertising, not a lot of value. I’m skeptical about that but I find men don’t do that. That’s an interesting phenomenon. It might work well for your men’s show. You’ll have to try it and come and tell us. What’s the men’s show called? Let’s tell everybody about that.

It’s called The Sovereign Man. There are two podcasts with that name. Mine’s got cross swords in a shield and the other one is a man with a briefcase. Ours is a pretty edgy show. It’s a little bit politically incorrect. Twenty percent of our listeners are women, which is interesting. Some of the women that listen to our show love our message. Some of them hate it but they listen.

One of my favorite things is the Howard Stern movie, Private Parts. I love how they said, “The people who hate them listen even more.” I love that about that idea that you do have people who are trying to get your viewpoint and understand what’s going on. They hate it but they still listen. That’s powerful. Tying into this monetization or return on investment question that I asked. That multibillion-dollar value of what you’ve built here is a definite return on investment net worth. What kind of more direct things do you see in the growth of eCircle Academy and the sales of the books? Anything like that where you see a little bit more direct result from the podcast?

I’ll give you one example. A few years ago, a fellow called me that I knew but didn’t know well. He asked me to meet him. He said, “I’d like a coach.” We sat and met. He was eager. He was a multi-millionaire already. We made an agreement. We signed a deal. I became his coach. As we were doing that, I said, “What made you call me?” I was curious. I knew him slightly but I didn’t know him well. He said, “I’ve been listening to your podcast for a year. I feel like I know you.”

I said this with my client base. Too often, people quit their show without thinking this all the way through. Are you getting faster closing going on? There’s a whole bunch of measurements that if you want to measure it and it matters to you, you could but it has nothing to do with your download numbers. I never even look at that.

Downloading numbers don’t mean much, honestly.

No. You had a millionaire listening to your show. That means something.

It does. He became a client and because of him, I probably generated about $300,000 in business from him and other people that came to me. It was one listener that my show has generated over seven figures in business for me. Me guesting on shows has generated almost $250,000 in business for me.

People underestimate the power of guesting when you already have a show. You see more growth on your show as well which translates into much more. If I heard you on a show and then chose to listen to your show, that’s an even more powerful flowthrough than me picking up your show randomly. I’m so impressed by the overall trajectory of the way that you run your show too, where you have interviews and solo shows. You call them nuggets. How did that come about? Why are you doing that? I find that a lot of people don’t do it from the beginning but they do it over time and develop into that. Did that happen to you as well?

It did. There’s a friend of mine who has probably the biggest men’s show in podcasting. His name’s Ryan Michler. It’s called the Order of Man. He does three shows a week on his podcast. One show is with a guest. One show is with someone on his team and they do Q and A. The third show is he does what he calls Friday Field Notes, which is a solo show. He goes around and gives people field notes on what he’s thinking about and teaches them something.

I liked that so I thought I want to create Thought Leader Nuggets, my version of Friday Field Notes. The Thought Leader Nuggets are going to be about a nugget of information that could be valuable for whoever’s listening to the show. When I do that show, I typically don’t video record it. It’s just audio. It’s a powerful episode because what I do on that show is it’s usually 5 to 15 minutes long and it’s laser-focused on one topic.

Your most recent one is Focus, the name of the topic. To me, this is where I got the sense of you being a thought leader of thought leaders. When you listen to enough episodes, I can see the tie where you’re reflecting on what you heard from your guest a couple of weeks ago. You’re translating that into a nugget. You’re taking it, synthesizing it and putting it into your thought process.

It’s interesting you say that because one of the things I’m going to do now that Dave Grossman and I are talking about sleep is I’m going to start doing some episodes on sleep. What I’m learning from my life and some of the things Dave taught me, all of that’s going to be super powerful stuff. Coming onto your show with a good idea of things that are interesting to you will give you some passion in how you speak and then people will want to listen.

TBF Nicky Billou | Podcast Network
Podcast Network: Coming onto your own show with a good idea of things that are interesting to you will give you some passion in how you speak, and then people will want to listen. So talk about and explore concepts that are interesting.


You want to talk about and explore interesting concepts. That’s one of the reasons Joe Rogan is so successful. He brings people on the show that he’s interested in talking to. He likes having conversations and learning. Joe Rogan’s show is interesting, not because Joe Rogan’s particularly brilliant. We’re reasonably smart but I wouldn’t call him a mental giant by any stretch of the imagination. He’s not but he’s smart. No one’s going to deny he’s not smart but he’s curious. His superpower is his curiosity. He asks good questions and does good follow-ups.

He goes deeper into things and he wants to understand things. He brings people on the show that know things about the subjects that he finds interesting. When someone’s on the show and you’re listening to Joe Rogan interview them, what’s cool about the show is that Joe gives that person a chance to shine and talk about what they’re good at. I work hard on being that kind of person when I interview somebody on my show.

It’s so interesting that you’re a prolific author and podcaster at the same time so you’ve got both going on. Have you been doing some more tie-ins to both launching the books and/or creating the books with your podcast show? Is it helping you? Are they going hand in hand in developing your thoughts?

For sure, from a launch point of view, they are. When I launch the books, I take excerpts from the books and make them into thought leader nugget pieces. People listen to that and they go buy the book and all that jazz. To me, everything I do though goes hand in hand with building my thought leadership and authority. I’ll bring back this book, The Thought Leaders Journey.

Having written this book and having done my podcast, if somebody is looking at thought leadership and how they can help them, they’ll go, “Who talks about thought leadership? Let me go google it. Who’s this Nicky Billou guy? He’s got a show about thought leadership. Let me check that out. He’s also been a guest on all of these shows. He wrote a book about thought leadership. Let me check this guy out.”

When they go, see all that and consume some of that content, if it resonates with them, they’re going to be interested in having a deeper conversation and engagement with me, either through listening to my shows or maybe even wanting to jump on a Zoom meeting with me. That’s how I grow my business. If you think about it, thought leadership is about being known for knowing something.

Let’s say you want to make seven figures a year. Let’s say that’s your deal. I’m going to make this number up. Let’s say r you’re reliably making $250,000 a year. If you want to make $1 million a year and you’re thinking, “Maybe thought leadership can help me do that. How can I utilize that? Is that going to work,” you then find out about me and listen to some of my stuff. You go, “I might want to jump on a phone call with him.” By the time you and I jump on that phone call, you’ll probably spend five hours already exploring the concepts that I talk about.

When I’m talking to you, the questions I’m going to ask you are all about what you want as an outcome and what’s prevented you to date from achieving that outcome. I’m going to go deep and get that going for both your benefit and my benefit. If I understand that you’re somebody who’s been good at getting to a certain level but then you’ve plateaued, I’m going to go into, “Why have you plateaued? Tell me more about it. What happened?” I want to get deep into why that is. The final thought of it is maybe you’re good at what you do but you don’t have any more bandwidth because you sell your programs too cheaply.

I can tell you to raise your prices and you can go great but are you going to go home and own that or is your limiting belief around what you’re worth to charge going to kick in? If that’s the case, I’m going to say, “I’m going to help you own raising your fees. You’re going to work with fewer people than you’re working now but you’re going to make three times as much money.” The question I’d ask you in the call is, “How much longer are you willing to work this hard for this little money?” I want to get you to the point where you’re like, “I’m done with that crap. Let’s go.”

When I do that with you or anybody I do that with, they say yes to themselves. They’re not saying yes to me or my program. Nobody cares about my program. They care about themselves and what they’re going to get out of it. I don’t talk about my program except very briefly when they go, “How does this work?” I then tell them briefly in two minutes, “This is how it works. This is the investment. Are you ready? How can I support you in saying yes to your dream and getting out of this plateau that you’ve been on?” That’s what I talk about.

That’s what they’re going to say yes to. They’re not going to say yes to your program and give you $10,000, $20,000 or $50,000. They’re going to say yes to being unstuck and never again working too hard for too little money. If that’s the case and they invest $20,000 in your program, out of that $20,000 investment, they get $100,000 return or $200,000 return. That’s amazing.

I can get pretty much anybody who’s got real expertise. Someone who’s got something that makes a difference for people and delivers an outcome. Let’s make that clear. I can take anybody from wherever they are to $500,000 to $2.5 million a year in 3 years or less. The total investment is $100,000 over a 3-year period. If I told you, “Tracy, would you be willing to invest $100,000 if you had a powerful chance of turning that into a permanent $1 million a year income within 3 years?” If your answer was anything other than an immediate resounding yes, that’s 10X return every year.

You’re not even spreading the money except over three so you’re spreading your investment out too. This is a thing that I often see when you talk to people. I guarantee you’re seeing this pattern of behavior and that’s where they’re limiting belief is becoming clear to you but it’s not clear to them because they’re in the middle of it.

There are two things that I see very often happen when someone plateaus. The one is that this limiting belief has been happening to them again and again. It is stopping them all along the way. It might be stopping them in different ways. It might be happening in their relationship, fitness goals and business goals. It may be a pattern happening that way.

The second thing is some people hit technical knowledge and tactical goals. Typically, it’s a do-it-yourself mentality that is the limiting belief side holding them back from getting the right support and help or it’s like, “I’ve been burned so many times by so many experts and I can’t trust anyone anymore.” Those are the things that happened in there but something is missing in their technical execution of things. It’s typically the thing that someone’s out there selling a program on so they don’t tell you that that’s what you’re missing. They’re waiting for you to buy the program so that they can reveal to you that that’s what you’re missing.

Here’s the deal. This is one of my pet peeves, the charlatan marketers who are good at selling the sizzle but zero steaks. You bite into it and burn your mouth. There’s no steak there. I sell steak. People bite in the steak and they get juicy, medium rare Texas great triple-A beef and it’s delicious.

I’m not a vegetarian so my mouth is watering.

There you go. That’s how you sell. When somebody comes to the table and they’ve been burned, those are my peeps. Those are the people that I help. There’s a woman who came to us a few years ago. Her first name is Adele, like the singer. Adele had been a coach who spent $125,000 with 0 return on experts to help her.

When she met us, she came to us and we showed her what we could do. We said, “We can help you. Come work with us.” She says, “I’m trusting you. This better work.” I’m like, “It’ll work.” It did work for her. She went from making between $500 and $2,000 a month to making between $20,000 and $50,000 a month. Within three months, she did that because we knew exactly what she was doing wrong and we helped her do it right. We locked arms with her. We didn’t just say, “You go do it.” We were there every step of the way.

That’s part of the problem in a lot of the programs. A lot of people leave people behind and only concentrate on the success stories they’re seeing in their community or group. That doesn’t help. Everyone needs their pace but they might need a hand.

The truth of the matter is that when somebody’s had a situation where they’ve been burned many times, it’s going to be harder for them to trust. At the end of the day, you got to show them that you’re sincere, authentic and real, you care about people and that you’re going to do everything with them. They got to do the work. They can’t just pay money and not do anything. That doesn’t work. They got to do the work but as long as they do the work, the results will be there. That’s what we’ve noticed and what we’ve been able to help people achieve. It’s very important.

TBF Nicky Billou | Podcast Network
Podcast Network: The truth of the matter is that when somebody’s had a situation where they’ve been burned many times, it’s going to be harder for them to trust. But at the end of the day, you have to show them that you’re sincere, authentic, and real, care about people, and that you’re going to do everything with them.


The episode that’s going to follow this one is an episode that’s what we call a crossover episode. It’s a very rare solo show, like you do your nuggets. We do a couple a year where we do a crossover. It’s because the topic is so relevant here that I’m mentioning it. It’s going to happen to follow yours anyway so it’s perfectly timed.

We’re going to be talking about this AI ChatGPT world. The reality is that thought leadership and AI can’t connect. There’s no way that you’re going to create original thought from a chatbot, an AI. The role of a thought leader is going to be so much more powerful. The role of what you do on your podcast is going to be so much more powerful in this AI-driven marketplace and world. It shocks me.

The ones whom we consider to be thought leaders in our world already, their charlatan side is starting to show up, their trend-following side. It’s because they want to make sure they go viral on social media. They’re talking about it. It’s starting to show up if they think that Gary Vee’s been coming out. Lots of people are talking about that. It’s dangerous because they will not be using it if they’re going to maintain their thought leadership. What’s your thought about this AI model that’s coming in?

I found out about ChatGPT myself. I’ve been using it for the last few days, asking some questions. I had it write a love poem for my lady. It did a pretty good job with the love poem. I sent it to my girl. I told her, “I didn’t write this.” I’ve written her quite a few poems. She says, “My god. This was AI?” There are questions you can ask the AI algorithm platforms, which are good questions and they come up with good comprehensive answers. If you outsource your thinking to that, it’s lazy.

You got to do original thinking on your own. You can get those guys to come up and give you good ideas. You can use some of those ideas and incorporate them into what you do but you got to do your own thinking. If you don’t do your own thinking, you’re screwed because they’re going after something that they can find and search in a database.

That means it’s out there in a lot of places. I want you to hear what Nicky’s saying here. It’s already in the mainstream so it’s not coming up with an original viewpoint.

I hate to say this but the folks that have built these come from a left-wing culture primarily. There are certain topics they go, “No, that’s hate speech.” I’m like, “No, it’s not.” I don’t know how you can offend anybody.

You’ve got to have both sides. If you don’t see it, you and I both know that you’ve got to see that to know what to do with that.

Number one is hate speech is something a lot of people use to shut up opinions they don’t agree with. They go, “That’s hate speech,” to shut you up. I’m like, “I don’t agree that’s hate speech. That’s my speech.” There’s something called the First Amendment over here. I’m not using the First Amendment to put your life at risk or steal from you. I’m just giving you opinions you don’t like. Deal with it.

Hate speech is something a lot of people used to shut up opinions they don't agree with. Click To Tweet

AI is telling me that? Come on, give me a break. There are issues that I have with that as well. It’s important to understand that AI’s pretty cool. Some things about AI can be useful in helping you run your business. That’s great but you still got to do your own thinking. You can’t outsource your thinking. Thinking is the highest-paid work in the world. Why? It’s because so few people engage in it.

That’s why being a thought leader is so revolutionary and powerful. Nicky Billou, thank you for coming on this show, talking about Thought Leadership Revolution, putting out two amazing podcasts and being so prolific in it.

Thanks for having me on your show. It was an honor to be here. You’re an incredible host. I enjoyed myself.

We touched on all kinds of things here like how AI fits into podcasting, tech stuff, tactics, problems, people and profit. We talked about so much here. There’s a lot to unpack. I hope that you understand why I let that one go on and why I let that dive in. When you’ve got a podcaster who’s been doing this as long as I have and who’s got lots of episodes as I have, you have a deep knowledge of what’s going on.

At the end of the day, the net worth is his network of all the guests that have been on his show. He’s mined that well and turned that into an amazing community and connection points with which he could do something and create that big value that he’s going for. I’m looking forward to seeing where he goes with it, how he keeps doing, how he keeps growing it, what’s next and the book that’s next.

Nicky Billou is one to follow and one I’m going to be listening to as I go into the future as well. Go to your favorite podcast app and download The Thought Leader Revolution Podcast. Thanks, everyone, for reading. I’ll be back with another thought leader in the podcasting space next time.


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Tracy Hazzard

Tracy Hazzard is a former Authority Magazine and Inc. Magazine Columnist on disruptive innovation, and host of 5 top-ranked podcasts including: The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand–one of CIO’s Top 26 Entrepreneur Podcasts. She is the co-founder of Podetize, the largest podcast post-production company in the U.S. As a content, product, and influence strategist for networks, corporations, marketing agencies, entrepreneurs, publications, speakers, authors & experts, Tracy influences and casts branded content with $2 Billion worth of innovation around the world. Her marketing methods and AI-integrated platform, provides businesses of all sizes a system to spread their authentic voices from video to podcast to blog, growing an engaged audience and growing valuable digital authority.
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